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Anniversary, May 3,1813, the President, Lord Teignmouth, being supported not only by a large meeting of denominations of Christians, Peers and Peeresses, but by their Royal Highnesses, the Dukes of Kent and Sussex.
THE TENTH YEAR OF THE SOCIETY, 1813-1814. Success, under the blessing of God, attended the progress of the Bible through its tenth year. At its commencement, however, its prosperity occasioned difficulty, in obtaining supplies of the Scriptures from the King's printers, and the presses of the two Universties. The Scriptures in the languages of the Continent were mostly printed abroad ; and 1,000 Bibles were procured as granted to the Swedes and Finlanders in London.
New editions of the Bible were now required in Welsh and Modern Greek; and the Syriac New Testament was printed in London, edited by Dr. Buchanan. Aided by grants from the Parent Society, various editions of the Scriptures were printed by the different Societies on the Continent; among which were 10,000 copies of a small German Bible.
Among the labourers for the Bible, on the Continent, Dr. Brunmark claims honourable mention, especially as he originated the “ Arsosian” and the “Gothenburg ” Bible Societies. Progres was made towards the establishment of a Danish Bible Society; and active measures were taken in Moscow and St. Petersburg for the circulation of the Scriptures. Auxiliaries were formed in Yarislaff, Mittau, Dorpat,
Rigga and Revel; and the Committee resolved, “ to provide every family and, if possible, every individual, in the Russian Empire with a Bible, THAT INVALUABLE GIFT OF HEAVEN!" They resolved also, “The British and Foreign Bible Society have acquired a sacred right to the everlasting gratitude of the Society of St. Petersburg.”
Holland was now favoured with efforts to engage in the Bible cause, especially in behalf of the members of British churches, there ; and its friends were encouraged by a grant of 500 English Bibles and 1,000 Testaments, and a promise of £500 in the event of the establishment of a “National Bible Society for the United Netherlands.” This was accomplished in June, 1814. The Marpurg Society prospered in circulating the Scriptures among the Catholics. But it is vain to attempt to give a detail of the correspondence and services of the Parent Society in the various Bible labours on the Continent of Europe.
Important operations were still carried on in the East, by the Societies at Calcutta and Colombo, for the supply of the New Testament to the Portuguese, Tamul, Cingalese and Malabar Christians; and this was now effected for the Portuguese, by a large number sent from Europe ; and progress was made in the Cingalese, the Pali, Sanscrit and Bengalee. As an efficient means of aid in these labours, there was formed, June 13, 1813, the “ Bombay Auxiliary Bible Society,” by the influence of Sir Evan Nepean, the new Governor.
China was contemplated by the Society, especially
as a copy of the Gospel of St. Luke was now received from the Rev. Robert (afterwards Dr.) Morrison, at Canton, and information of his completion of the whole New Testament; aided by the Rev. W. (afterwards Dr.) Milne, both of the London Missionary Society. Thus two independent translations of the Scripture, into the Chinese were being made; the other by the Rev. Dr. Marshman, of Serampore.
Africa was now blessed with a Bible Society, formed at Cape Town, in July, 1813; as a supply of Dutch and German Bibles had been sent to the Cape of Good Hope, by the Parent Society
American Christians proceeded with zeal in the Bible cause, and new Societies were formed in many of the States and principal towns. And, during the short war with England, a supply of Bibles and Testaments, destined for Nova Scotia, being captured by an American privateer, the Bible Society of Masachussetts, replaced the value of them, £155, which was remitted with a letter, expressing “regret that there should be any interruption of the charitable labours of their fellow Christians in Great Britain, in diffusing the knowledge of the Word of God.”
British America also now united with the servants of Christ at home, in the work of circulating the Scriptures; and several Bible Societies were formed in Nova Scotia and in the Canadas.
Prosperity attended the Bible work “within the limits of the United Kingdom ; fifty were added to the list of Auxiliary Societies; independently of
Branch Societies and Bible Associations.” On the formation of the “Hackney and Newington Auxiliary Society," the Rev. H. H. Norris attacked the Parent Institution; but his arguments were refuted by the Bishop of St. David's, and Dr. Dealtry. A controversy arose also on the formation of the “Oxford and Oxfordshire Auxiliary Bible Society;" but the Society was ably vindicated by the Rt. Hon. N. Vansittart, J. Coker, Esq. and Rev. J. Hinton, a Baptist Minister of Oxford.
Wales added further proofs of zeal for the Bible cause; by seven new Auxiliary Societies, four of them for counties; these four contributing £2,424; Flintshire £653, and Denbighshire £1,361!
In Ireland, sixteen Auxiliaries were added to the Society; and 50,000 copies of the Scriptures were delivered to the public. Juvenile Auxiliaries were formed in various parts of the kingdom; the first contributors of this class being those of the “Holborn Sunday School;” and the first organization of this kind was the “York Juvenile Society,” formed in 1812.
Ladies' Associations also were formed in several places : the first being the “Westminster Ladies' Bible Society,” in 1812; and another at Dublin, the Ladies' Auxiliary Bible Society" in aid of the Hibernian: the Patroness was the Viscountess Lorton, with a long list of ladies, as Vice-Patronesses. Similar Associations were established also in America.
Bible Associations were formed in many places at this period, for the payment of weekly subscriptions for Bibles; for which “Hints” and “Rules” were
published by the Society, drawn up chiefly by R. Phillips, Esq.
Every department of this vast organization seemed to prosper under a gracious Providence; and, while Bonaparte, the terror of Europe, was in degradation, and Paris in possession of the allied armies, our metropolis enjoyed peace and liberty, when the tenth Anniversary of the British and Foreign Bible Society was held May 4, 1814. The President was supported by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Kent, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, several Bishops, and a large auditory, to whom his Lordship reported the gross income of the year, as more than £87,000; and the issue of Bibles and Testaments as more than 350,000 copies; the addition to the confederated Societies of sixty-seven within the United Kingdom, and of multitudes abroad. Among the advocates of the Society were the Rev. Mr. Paterson, from St. Petersburg ; the Rev. Mr. Pinkerton, from Moscow; Comte de la Gardie, from Stockholm; and the Rev. Dr. Romega, from New York; representing the Russian, Swedish, and American Societies, cordially co-operating with the Parent Society, in diffusing through the world, a spirit of benevolence, and enlarging the peaceful kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Reviewing the financial condition of the Bible Society through the first decade of its history, every one must admire its activity and progress, indicating the hand of a gracious Providence.