« ÖncekiDevam »
Observations on the Rules and Regulations.
Stations in Upper Canada and in the Ohio and Oneida Country,
“ A circumstance arose in the course of this transaction, which afforded the Conductors of the Society an opportunity of bringing their principles to. the trial. The Translator, desirous to conciliate the attention of the Mo. hawks, and prepare their minds for appreciating the treasure with which the British and Foreign Bible Society had supplied them, drew up a short introductory address in Mohawk and English, and, without consultation, prefixed it to the work. In this state, six copies were bound, and pre, sented, as specimens of binding, to a Sub-Committee, whose office it was to superintend this department of the Society's service. Immediately upon the discovery, a resolution was passed, that the portion which contained the introductory address should be removed from the copies already bound; and that it should in no case be united with the Text, in such copies as should hereafter be issued under the sanction and responsibility of the Society. As the record of this determination evinced the promptitude and firmness with which the first approach to deviation from the fundamental laws of the Society was resisted, it may be satisfactory to the reader to see the terms in which it was expressed.
“ An Address to the Six Nations having been written by the Translator, and printed uniformly with the Gospel, your Sub-Committee have ordered the same to be wholly separated from the Translation of the Gospel, and not in any instance to be bound up with it; it being incompatible with a funda mental principle of this Institution, to attach to the Scriptures any addi. tional matter whatever."
In justice to the Translator it should be stated, that the Address con. tained no other sentiments than those which every Christian might be expected to approve; and there was throughout it an interesting simplicity, characteristic of the kindest disposition and the purest principles.”
In the year 1809, in consequence of an application from the Moravian Brethren, it was resolved to print an edition of the Gospel of St. John in the Esquimaux Language, at the Society's expense; and that of St. Luke, when the Translation should be completed, for the use of the converted Esquimaux on the coast of Labrador:
“ A difficulty occurred in the course of this undertaking, which gave the Committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society another opportunity of testifying their vigilant and zealous regard for the simple object of their Institution. By a practice in general use among the Brethren’s Congre. gations, a Translation had been made of a Harmony of the Scriptures into the language of the Esquimaux; and the petition of their Secretary was, that this Harmony might be printed, for their benefit, at the Society's expense. To this proposition the Committee objected ; considering any mode of printing the Scriptures, but that which exhibited them as they stood in the Canon, to be a deviation from the letter and the spirit of their İnstitution. In this view of the subject the Brethren acquiesced ; and accordingly engaged to conform their Translation to the standard as generally received. A similar exception had been previously taken against the form of a Harmony, in the Calmuc Version, when proposed by the Missionaries at Sarepta ; and it was
Owen's History of the British and Foreign Bible Society, Vol. 1, p. 131 & seq.
Observations on the Rules and Regulations.
attended with a similar result. These facts are mentioned, in order to shew with what scrupulous exactness the Conductors of the Society maintained the observance of their fundamental regulations, and how carefully they abstained from any measures, however speciously recommended, which might be likely to betray them into deflection and error.”
3. In reference to the Second Rule, it cannot be too often repeated, that the British and Foreign Bible Society is neither the enemy nor the rival of any other Institution. It co-operates with all those kindred establishments which the piéty and the benevolence of our country have erected; and by the magnitude of its operations, confined strictly to one object, leaves a greater proportion of their funds at liberty, for the other excellent views which they embrace.
The Annual Reports of the Society satisfactorily prove, that the pledge contained in this Rule has been already redeemed, both at home and abroad. Of the copies distributed, nearly Two Millions and a half have been in the languages of the United Kingdom: and with regard to the
extension of its influence to other countries," it is to be confidently hoped that the day is not far distant, when it may be said of the Holy Scriptures, " There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard: their line is gone out ihrough all the carth, and their words to the end of the world.”
4. The six succeeding Regulations, from No. III. to No. VIII. inclusive, necessarily result from the broad and catholic principle on which the Society is founded. It accepts the contributions of all, in order to supply all with the Holy Scriptures. And it is evident, that any arrangement which should exclude the subscription of any class or denomination, would virtually impugn that principle.
During the first five years of the Society's existence, a donation of twenty guineas constituted a Life-member; but the Fourth Rule, as it now stands, was adopted by the General Meeting in 1809.
5. Among the secondary causes to which the success of the Institution may be ascribed, few are more prominent than the constitution of the Committee. As this subject involves no inconsiderable portion of the internal organization, it will be considered under a distinct head. For a similar reason, the practical operation of the Tenth Rule will come under that division which treats of the “ Mode of supplying Auxiliary Societies and Subscribers."
6. The advantages of an Annual Meeting, on a fixed and Owen's Hist. of the British and Foreign Bible Society, Vol. I. p. 460 & seq.
On the Rules and Regulations.-The Committee.
specified day, are evident; and the experience of fifteen years sufficiently attests the propriety of the time selected, for this important purpose, by the British and Foreign Bible Society, Since the year 1811, these meetings bave been held in the Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street, Lincoln's-Inn Fields ; a place equally central and commodious, though not sufficiently large to accommodate all who are desirous to attend : for this reason, Ladies are not admitted on these occasions. For several years, the practice of making collections at the doors has been discontinued ; a deviation from general custom which is justified by the fact, that the great majority of those who attend are liberal contributors to the funds of the Institution, either directly or through the medium of Auxiliary Societies and Associations. The inconvenience arising from the desire to attend the Annual Meetings is now in a great degree obviated, by judicious regulations: the Officers of Auxiliary Societies, and the Presidents of Associations, are admitted, by means of tickets, to seats reserved for them; while the centre of the hall is appropriated to the public. The Officers of the Society, and those gentlemen who are invited to take part in the proceedings of the day, are furnished with platform-tickets; with which foreigners and strangers of distinction are also supplied, on application at the Society's House. A Sub-Committee, appointed for this special purpose, gives facility to the arrangements; and the gentlemen who compose it are recognised by carrying white wands. Every measure is thus adopted to maintain the good order of the Meeting, and promote the comfort and convenience of the audience.
7. As all the remaining rules relate exclusively to the Committee, their practical application will be considered in the next Section. The Rules XVII. and XVIII. did not enter into the original constitution of the Society, but were unanimously adopted at the third and fourth Annual Meetings. The exercise of the authority thus vested in the Committee, has given a sanction to the labours of
many valuable india viduals both at home and abroad, while it has materially extended their field of usefulness.
ON THE COMMITTEE.
1. The constitution of the Committee is alike remarkable for “ the felicity of thought with which it was conceived, and Sub-Committees, with the objects of their appointment. the practical advantages with which it has been followed *." This executive body is composed of thirty-six Laymen, six of whom are Foreigners, resident in or near the Metropolis : of the remaining thirty, one half are members of the Established Church, and the other half members of other Christian Denominations. The nine vacancies provided for by Rule IX. are annually filled by ballot, with a strict adherence to this fundamental regulation.
The President, Vice-Presidents, Treasurer, and Secretaries, are ex-officio members of the Committee; and the Governors, with all Clergymen and other Ministers who are members of the Society, are entitled to attend and vote at all Meetings of the Committee.
In reference to this part of the subject, the following extract from a periodical publication, now discontinued, appears worthy of preservation.
“ In the constitution of this Committee, the liberal principles of the Society are practically exemplified. Six of the members are foreigners ; and the remaining thirty are, half of them members of the Church of England, and the other half members of other Denominations of Christians. The consideration due to the Religious Establishment of the Country is thus decidedly manifested ; and is still further marked by the regulation, that the President, Vice-Presidents, and Treasurer, all of whom are members of the Church of England, are, ex officio, members of the Committee. The influence of the Secretaries, as ex-officio members, is equal ; one being a Foreigner, another a Clergyman, and the third a Dissenting Minister. The Fourth regulation—that every Clergyman, or other Minister, who is a member of the Society, is entitled to attend and vote at all the meetings of the Committee-gives, in its principle, a decided preponderance to the Ecclesiastical Establishment; inasmuch, as the number of Clergymen who could become members exceeds that of Ministers of other Denominations ;-a preponderance, however, which we do not recollect to have ever been objected to ; which we believe to have been generally witnessed in the Parent Com. mittee ; and which we are persuaded would give general satisfaction, if it existed in all the Committees of Auxiliary and Branch Societies and Associations : a satisfaction, arising not only from the patronage which would thus be given to the Society, but from a desire that all the proceedings of the Committees might be under the superintendence of the representatives of that Church, the interests of which, we should conceive, are identified with the object of the Bible Society.”.
2. At a very early period after the establishment of the Society, it became evident that the order and efficiency of its proceedings required the appointment of Sub-Committees, to whose especial attention various departments and branches of the business might be formally confided. This division of labour became increasingly necessary with the extending magnitude of the Institution; and to no part of the system is
See Owen's History, Vol. I. p. 56 et seq. for an interesting detail of the considerations which, at the suggestion of the Rev. Josiah Pratt, led to this happy improvement of the original plan.
Sub-Committees.-Monthly Meetings of the Committee. it more indebted for the facility and correctness of its details. The following is a list of the Sub-Committees into which the General Committee is divided, and of the objects which respectively embrace; viz.
I. For Printing and General Purposes. II. For conducting the business of the Society's Funds. III. For preparing Papers for Publication. IV. For superintending the Depository, examining its Accounts,
and purchasing Printing Paper. – To this Sub-Committee is assigned the duty of keeping up an adequate Stock of
Bibles and Testaments. V. For superintending the Library. VI. For promoting and assisting Auxiliary Societies. VII. For auditing the Accounts. (This Sub-Committee consists
of Four Members of the Committee and Four other
Meeting. These several Sub-Committees meet, by adjournment or specially, according to the nature and urgency of the business confided to their care, and respectively submit their resolutions and minutes to the General Committee, by which they are confirmed or corrected. That which is specified as No. VI. in the preceding list, and which is usually designated the Local Sub-Committee, meets weekly, and exercises a salutary superintendence over the Auxiliary System.
3. The regular meetings of the Committee are held on the first Monday in every month; but the concerns of the Society have recently become so multiplied and extensive, that an adjournment to the third Monday generally takes place; nor is this extra-meeting always sufficient to prevent arrears of business. The Chair is taken at twelve o'clock precisely, by the President, or one of the other members, as provided by the Fifteenth regulation. After the minutes of the preceding meeting have been read and disposed of, those of the respective Sub-Committees are read, and, if approved, adopted by a regular resolution to that effect. An “Agenda," or Paper of Business, of which a specimen is subjoined, is previously prepared by the Assistant Secretary, and laid before the Chairman, who is thus enabled to direct the attention of the Committee to the subjects which require more immediate notice. These are so numerous, and so diversified in their nature, that a perusal of the Reports of the Society can alone furnish an accurate outline of the business transacted in the Committee Room. It is sufficient here to observe, that the regular proceedings include a monthly statement of the cash