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THE PRESIDENTS OF THE BIBLE SOCIETY.
In looking at the origin, the agents, and the progress of the British and Foreign Bible Society, every reflecting mind will feel convinced, that it must have been suggested by Infinite Wisdom and Goodness. That Institution is evidently adapted to accomplish the gracious purposes of Heaven—“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.”
But to effect these blessed designs, various highly qualified agents were indispensable. Success, in great enterprises, is made to depend upon them, under the blessing of God. The preservation of a holy seed of man required a Noah; the deliverance of an enslaved nation from Egypt required a Moses; the conquest of Canaan for Israel required a Joshua; and the establishment of the Gospel of Christ upon earth required a Paul. In like manner, Officers, Secretaries, Directors, Translators, Advocates were needed by the Bible Society. And men of rare endowments have been seasonably raised up, fitted for their several duties both at home and abroad.
A discerning advocate of the Society remarks concerning the founders of this great Institution, thus : “ The apostolic CHARLES represented the wants of his countrymen to persons in London. The practical mind of a HUGHES, aided by other kindred spirits, drew the project of a comprehensive plan for the circulation of the Sacred Scriptures in Great Britain, and in all the world. The pathetic statements of a STEINKOPFF were as dew to soften the affections of all who listened to his plea; while the fervid eloquence of an OWEN stirred the hearts of thousands with the liveliest admiration of the new Institution. The sagacious, constructive talents of a Pratt, were present to suggest arrangements. An individual highly distinguished in the cause of humanity, GRANVILLE SHARPE, as chairman of the first Public Meeting, laid the foundation-stone. PORTEUS, the aged Bishop of our metropolitan city, and others of his brethren, obeyed the heavenly call to give God's word to men. A retired Governor-General of India, LORD TEIGNMOUTH, a devout man, and one that prayed to God always, added his administrative abilities as President; and the plan of the British and Foreign Bible Society was completed."*
Perhaps nothing, in connection with the Bible Society, more manifestly indicates the superintending care of Divine Providence, than the succession of its
* Jubilee Paper of the Bible Society, No. 4. By Rev. W. Jowett, M.A.
officers and agents, possessing endowments and talents so admirably suited to their work. Of the intelligence, judgment, and business habits of the Committees, it will be impossible to speak in a manner worthy of their services. Yet it is only due to state, that it is believed that no society has ever possessed so large a number of gentlemen, who have consecrated such an amount of practical wisdom to the advancement of the welfare of mankind. Theirs was the purest patriotism, and the noblest philanthropy. They were sought for in the different religious communions, like the first Deacons, as “full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.” And these honoured men must be regarded as among the greatest benefactors of our world—“ the living epistles of Christ,”-illustrious examples of our common Christianity, as contained in THE HOLY BIBLE.
MEMOIR OF LORD TEIGNMOUTH. JOHN SHORE, Lord Teignmouth, was born October 8, 1751, in London. His father, Mr. Thomas Shore, was Supercargo to the East India Company; but he died when his son, John, was in his eighth year. His mother, however, was a lady of a truly Christian spirit; and she trained her children in the principles of the Bible. For this she received a delightful reward, in the affectionate, filial correspondence of her son John, carried on with her in the remote regions of the East. Her other son, Thomas William, was brought up as a clergyman, and died in the year 1822.
A writership in the East India Company being secured for John, he was educated for the office, at Tottenham and Hertford until in his fifteenth year, when he was removed to Harrow School. There he made good proficiency in Latin and Greek, and he studied with diligence also the French and Portuguese languages.
Mr. Shore embarked for India at the age of seventeen, and he arrived there in May, 1769, when he was appointed to the Secret Political Department; and in 1770, assistant to the Council of Moorshedabad. He studied successfully Hindoostanee, Persian, Arabic, and Bengalee; and in 1772, he was appointed to the Provincial Council of Revenue. In 1780, he was promoted to be second Member of the Grand Council of Revenue. He lived on terms of intimacy with Warren Hastings, the Governor General ; and when Hastings returned to England, in June, 1795, he accompanied his friend. He married, in February, 1786, Charlotte, the only daughter of J. Cornish, Esq., a medical practitioner of Teignmouth; and in April he was summoned to proceed again to India, as Member of the Council, to assist the new Governor, Lord Cornwallis. He returned to England in 1790; but in 1792 he was made Governor General, and created a Baronet. He embarked again for India, October 26, 1792, and arrived in Bengal in March, 1793. He succeeded Lord Cornwallis on the 28th of October.
Sir John Shore entered upon his office in a manner becoming his profession as a believer in the word of God, cherishing a spirit of faith in Christ and humble
prayer. He laid aside much of the pageantry attached to his high office, and secured the confidence and esteem of the whole community in Bengal. His estimable and learned friend, Sir William Jones, dying, April the 27th, 1793, he was requested to accept the honour of being his successor, as President of the Asiatic Society. In 1797 he was raised to the Irish Peerage, by the title of Baron Teignmouth; but he relinquished the office of Governor General, and embarked on the 7th of March, 1698, for England.
After a short residence in Devonshire, Lord Teignmouth settled at Clapham, near London, in 1802 ; and in 1804, he published "Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Correspondence of Sir William Jones,” in quarto. His excellent principles and character, as a religious person, being known, especially as he was one of the earliest members of the British and Foreign Bible Society, on the recommendation of Dr. Porteus, Bishop of London, he was chosen its first President.
Lord Teignmouth, as we have seen in the History of the Bible Society, fully justified the choice of the Committee of that Institution ; and for nearly thirty years, he held that distinguished office, with a singular devotedness to its interests. He died in the lively hope of eternal life through the mercy of God in the Redeemer, February 14, 1834; and he left the character of one of the most enlightened and excellent of the followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At a Special Meeting of the Committee of the