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Respecting supplies of Bibles and Testaments.
It is requested that all orders may be sent post-paid, and accompanied with a bill for the amount, or an order on some friend in London, including the packing-case, if such be required."
During the first ten years of the Society's existence, the great scarcity of Bibles in many parts of our country, and the absence of any other means by which the wants could, in any considerable degree, be relieved, furnished a sufficient reason why subscribers should avail themselves of the privilege thus extended by the Institution. But as this necessity has, in a great measure, ceased, in consequence of the formation of Bible Associations,—whereby the local deficiency can be more accurately ascertained, and more efficiently supplied, -Subscribers will perceive the wisdom of exercising this privilege with caution, and to a very moderate and partial extent.
2. As the establishment of Auxiliary Societies did not enter into the contemplation of the founders of this remarkable Institution, the laws, as originally framed, do not contain any provision for supplying them with Bibles and Testaments. But a code of regulations, for this purpose, has been subsequently prepared, and constitutes an important feature of the system now under consideration. This code, with such remarks as exhibit its practical tendency, is detailed in the following official publication :
REGULATIONS ADOPTED BY THE COMMITTEE, RESPECTING SUPPLIES OF
BIBLES AND TESTAMENTS TO AUXILIARY SOCIETIES.
“ The Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society, finding it requisite to establish some general principles for supplying AUXILIARY SOCIETIES with Bibles and Testaments, and being desirous of holding out to such Societies the greatest possible encouragement to ascertain the want of the Holy Scriptures in their respective districts, and to supply it according to their discretion, have adopted the following
“ 1. That the Committees of Auxiliary Societies shall be entitled to receive Bibles and Testaments, estimated at prime cost, to the amount of half the entire sum remitted by them to the Parent Institution, if their local necessities shall require such a supply.
“2. That the Members of Auxiliary Societies, whose subscriptions amount to One Guinea or upwards annually, or to Ten Guineas or upwards at one time, may purchase Bibles and Testaments, from the Depository of the Auriliary Society, agreeably to the Rules of the Parent Institution.
“ 3. That, in order to facilitate such supplies for the Members of Auxiliary Societies, an adequate quantity of Bibles and Testaments shall be forwarded, as required, to their respective Depositories, charged at the reduced prices ; the same to be paid for by each Society, half-yearly, in the months of January and July*.
The Author would respectfully suggest, in reference to this regulation, that a more simple and economical arrangement may be adopted, which will be submitted in the third division of this Section.
Observations on the supply of Auxiliary Societies and Subscribers.
“4. That the Committees of Auxiliary Societies shall have the further privilege of purchasing to any amount, at prime-cost.
“ 5. That they cause to be transmitted to the British and Foreign Bible Society, when required, a List of their Subscribers and Benefactors, alphabetically arranged, distinguishing the Annual Subscribers of One Guinea and upwards, and the Benefactors of Ten Guineas and upwards.
OBSERVATIONS. " It will appear, from the above Regulations, that Annual Subscribers of One Guinea and upwards, and Benefactors of Ten Guineas and upwards, throughout the empire, are placed on the same footing, as to their privilege of purchasing Bibles and Testaments at the reduced prices, whether they contribute directly to the Parent Institution, or to any of the Auxiliary Societies.
“ Auxiliary Societies will now find it to their advantage so to modify their constitution, as to transmit the whole of their funds, after deducting their incidental expenses, to the Parent Society; as, in that case, they will be entitled, by the above Regulations, to receive Bibles and Testaments, estimated at prime cost, to the amount of one-half of the sum so transmitted; and will, moreover, be enabled to supply their Annual Subscribers of One Guinea and upwards, and Benefactors of Ten Guineas' and upwards, at reduced prices, from their own Depository, according to the full rate of privilege enjoyed by such as contribute directly to the Parent Society.
“ In thus returning to Auxiliary Societies one-half of the whole sum received from them (if required) in Bibles and Testaments, estimated at prime cost, and yet allowing the individual Members of such Societies to exercise their privilege of purchasing at reduced prices, the Parent Institution will be exposed to the possibility of great loss-a loss which would equal, in the case of some Auxiliary Societies, (were the privilege of purchasing at reduced prices carried to its full extent by their Members, the entire contribution derived from such Societies; and in other cases, would greatly exceed it.
“ It is clear, therefore, that the Parent Institution entrusts much of the interests of her general and foreign objects to the prudence and liberality of the Auxiliary Societies ;-to their prudence, in availing themselves of the advantages which she offers to them, no further than their local necessities really require ;—and to their liberality, in assisting the general and foreign objects of the Parent Society, with whatever sums can be spared from the supply of these local necessities.
“But the Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society have no fear in thus entrusting the general and foreign objects of the Institution to the prudence and liberality of the Auxiliary Societies. One common feeling animates the whole body, and the Committee anxiously wish to cherish and perpetuate this feeling. They will leave it, therefore, to the Auxiliary Societies to determine to what extent they shall avail themselves of the above Regulations, in the supply of their local wants. In consideration however, of the liberality of these Regulations, they not only recommen with confidence that economy in gratuitous distributions, which will restrain itself to the supply of real wants, but they request such Auxiliary Societies as may retain any portion of their funds, to transmit, at the close of every year, their unopplied balance to the Parent Institution, in furtherance of the general, and, more especially, the Foreign objects of the Society.
Mode of keeping the Accounts with Auxiliary Societies. 3. The Accounts with Auxiliary Societies are kept under the distinct heads of“ MOIETY Account"--for Bibles and Testaments, in re
turn for contributions, to the extent of a moiety, if
required for local distribution; and “ PURCHASE Account"-for Bibles and Testaments, at
cost and reduced prices: and the letters advising remittances, to the Accountant and Depositary, should distinctly specify the particular object, for which the whole, or any definite proportion of the sum, is remitted. Thus, if the local necessities of Auxiliary Societies, or their connected Associations, require that the whole amount of any particular sum shall be returned in Bibles and Testaments at the cost prices, the remittance is made “ on purchase account;" but if, as is generally the case, the return of one-half be sufficient to supply those wants, the remittance is made “on moiety account.”
With regard to the supply of Subscribers, it would save considerable trouble to all parties, if the Secretaries of Auxiliary Societies were to furnish a statement, annually, of the number and description of Bibles and Testaments sold to their subscribers at reduced prices, and their loss on such sales: the amount of this loss would then be placed to the credit of such society, under the head of purchase or moiety account, at their option.
The following observation, dictated by a sound judgment, is strongly recommended to the attention of those few local societies which continue the injudicious practice referred to:
" It is much to be regretted, that any of the Auxiliary Societies should retain the practice of allowing a proportion of Bibles and Testaments to the individual subscriber. A reference of the distribution to the Committee exclusively, would, in all cases, afford the best security for having the local wants supplied, on terms proportioned to the circumstances of the popu. lation."
When an Auxiliary Society finds itself enabled to remit a sum for the general and Foreign objects, it should be distinctly stated that “no return is required” for such remittance, which would then be expressly acknowledged in the annual reports of the Institution. The circulation of more than Two Millions of Bibles and Testaments within the United Kingdom, and the increasing magnitude of the Foreign operations, justify the expression of an earnest hope, that the contributions for this object will become annually more prominent.
• Owen's History, Vol. II. p. 537, note.
Branch Societies entitled to the same advantages as Auxiliaries. The Secretaries of Auxiliary Societies should be particular in specifying the descriptions of Bibles and Testaments required, according to their respective designations in the Society's Catalogue.
BRANCH Societies are entitled to the same privileges in every respect as Auxiliaries; but it is very desirable, in order to prevent trouble and inaccuracy, that their orders and remittances should be transmitted through the medium, or in the name, of those Auxiliary Societies with which they are respectively connected.
4. It should be remembered, that the Society's cost prices, in consideration of the extent of its rs, are below the usual cost to Booksellers, of books bound in like manner; and, consequently, materially lower than the prices at which Booksellers can afford to sell them.
The following Notice, appended to the Sixteenth Report, deserves the particular attention of those to whom it is addressed.
" TO AUXILIARY SOCIETIES AND BIBLE ASSOCIATIONS. “ The Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society, finding that their Third regulation for supplying Auxiliary Societies with Bibles and Testaments on a short credit, to enable them to supply their Members, has been misunderstood as extending also to supplies for Bible Associations, whose funds are chiefly limited to the purchase of Bibles and Testaments; they beg leave to state, that it is necessary for orders intended for Associations to be accompanied with payment; it being understood that the moneys are usually collected from Associations previous to purchasing the books: and, from the vast increase of them, the demand has become so progressively extensive, that, were the Parent Institution to allow a credit to be given by their Depositary, they would be under the necessity of taking credit from the Universities; whereby they would lose the benefit of the discount allowed for prompt payment, and, of course, the cost prices of the Bibles and Testaments would be proportionally advanced.
“Of the copies sold by Auxiliary Societies to the poor at reduced prices, the loss must necessarily be sustained out of the Bibles and Testaments returned for a moiety of their contributions, or otherwise furnished to such Societies at prime cost ; as any other measures would be ruinous to the funds of the Parent Institution.”
The Rules recommended by the Parent Institution for adoption by Auxiliary Societies, Branch Societies, Associations conducted by gentlemen, Marine Associations, and Ladies' Associations, with such alterations as experience and observation have suggested, will be found in the respective Chapters which treat of these societies.
Agents :-Rev. Dr. Paterson-Rev. Dr. Henderson.
1. In contemplating the progress of the Bible Society, especially in reference to its foreign relations, the great importance of that part of the system on which we are now about to enter, will be seen and appreciated. The chain of providential circumstances that led to the first engagements of Agents, and the astonishing results of their exertions, justify the introduction of the following extracts from a work, to which the reader is referred for more copious details on this highly interesting subject :
“ In the year 1805, the Rev. John Paterson, and the Rev. Ebenezer Henderson, both natives of Scotland, and animated with a zeal for the propagation of the Gospel, resigned their country, connections, and worldly prospects, in order to serve as Christian Missionaries in India. Precluded by the regulations of the British East-India Company from occupying sta, tions within their territorial dominions, they repaired to Copenhagen, in the hope of obtaining a passage to Tranquebar, and exercising their ministry within the settlement attached to the Danish Crown on the coast of Coromandel. Having been disappointed in their expectation, they felt themselves compelled to abandon the design-a design nearest their heart, of proclaiming the glad tidings of salvation to the heathen; and began to consider, in what manner they might turn their Missionary zeal to profitable account in that part of Christendom upon which the Providence of God appeared to have cast them.
Under this impression, they commenced a very diligent inquiry into the state of religion in the countries by which they were more immediately surrounded. Among the individuals of consideration with whom they had formed a connection during their residence at Copenhagen, was Justiciary Thorkelin, Privy-Keeper of the Royal Archives, a person very generally respected, and distinguished for his zealous attachment to the cause of Christianity. This gentleman, being a native of Iceland, and feeling, as a Christian patriot, for the spiritual welfare of his country, laid open to these disappointed Missionaries a field of immediate usefulness, by directing their attention to the religious state of the inhabitants of that island, and to the dearth of the Holy Scriptures at that time prevailing among them. Mr. Thorkelin stated, that the population, amounting to nearly 50,000, scarcely contained one person in a hundred, above the age of twelve or fourteen, who could not read; that no people in the world were fonder of reading; and that as the only press of which they were possessed had not been used for many years, the inhabitants supplied the want of printed books by the laborious and tardy expedient of transcribing them: that the Scriptures were no longer to be obtained for money; and that not above forty or fifty copies of the Bible were to be found throughout the island. These affecting particulars excited in the breasts of these excellent young men the kindest emotions. Touched with compassion for nearly 50,000 of their fellow-Christians, inhabiting a remote island, and destitute of those sacred oracles which they so dearly prized and revered, Messrs. Paterson and Henderson despatched the information, with which themselves had been 80 deeply impressed, to their friends in Scotland; and made an earnest,