« ForrigeFortsett »
press. But after that time they went forward; and in 1809, ten years after the formation of the Society, we find they printed five tracts in the year, and that was getting up the steam again. They received £2,619, and distributed 1,519,000 tracts. This was a great affair, if you consider that the first year there were only thirty-four tracts printed, that £467 were the total receipts, and 200,000 tracts the whole circulation.
But go ten years forward, and in 1819 you find the Society wonderfully advancing. Just before this, however, new and valuable agency had been raised up. It was in 1816 that my much-valued and devoted friend, Mr. William Lloyd, joined this Society, and his life since that time has been identified with every step of its progress. In the year 1818, Mr. George Stokes joined the Society-a young merchant of London, devoted to our Divine Master, but then little known beyond his own circle. Mr. Stokes lived to be one of the Society's main springs; and before he died, at the age of fifty-six, he had written and composed 200 volumes and tracts, now on the Society's Catalogue, by time partly secured from active business and partly from the engagements of a beloved family; and he lived to see the vast number of fourteen millions of copies of his own publications sent forth by the press of this one Society.
In the year 1819 Mr. Lloyd, assisted by Mr. Stokes, endeavored to induce the Committee largely to engage in the publication of children's books. I have no doubt, from my subsequent knowledge of these friends, that they induced several gentlemen to press the subject on the Committee by repeated importunate letters. Among others I find Mr. Bejamin Neale, of London-a name still dear to manywriting to the Committee, inquiring why they did not work more zealously in preparing books for the young. In 1819, this important object secured much attention. It has been since fully carried out, and for several years the Society has circulated annually about four millions of books adapted to the youthful population of the country.
In 1819 Mr. Stokes said to the Committee, “Gentlemen, we are not doing much.” “Not doing much !” said some of the old friends, “why we received £6,000 last year; what would you do beyond that; and we distributed four millions of our publications ?" The young Committee-man replied, “Gentlemen, I shall never be satisfied till I see your receipts amount to £20,000 a year ;" and there was doubtless a hearty laugh at the young man for his wonderful zeal in the cause of this society. In 1820 the speaker had the priviledge of joining the Committee.
But let us go on for ten years, and we come to 1829, ten years
after Mr. Stokes's prediction; the number of tracts and books printed amounted to 182; the receipts amounted to£22,660, and the circulation to ten millions, one hundred and thirteen thousand. Go ten years further, to 1839, and the tracts and books are 211; the receipts £60,800,-or three times the amount predicted by Mr. Stokes; and the circulation 18,042,000. If you come to the next period, 1849, you find 223 tracts and books, and the receipts amounting to nearly £60,000, with a circulation of at least of 18,223,900 different publications. I have heard of the Russians being exceedingly attached to what they call “the little grandsire" of the Russian navy,-a boat built by Peter the Great, a man whose mind was one means of greatly improving the barbarous country over which God had placed him. But if a Russian looks with intense delight upon a boat built by Peter the Great, I look with still greater delight upon the ugly minute-book in my hand, containing the first minutes of the Society, the first records of men who were preparing to send the bread of life throughout the world. I look at the first page, and find the names of men all of whom served their generation according to the will of God, who are now before his throne. From their desire for the benefit of our lost world, these records of their work of faith and labor of love, and patience of hope, are more precious to me than the little grandsire must be to the descendants of Peter the Great. In these records I find the first minute which relates to the formation of the Bible Society, and all the subsequent minutes connected with that noble Society till the very day preceding its formation, when the excellent Granville Sharpe took the chair.
The results of the Society are truly great and interesting. Of course I do not strictly pledge myself to the strict accuracy of figures this morning; but I find that we have received from every source, during the fifty years, free contributions, to the amount of about £145,000. There are some friends who fall into error because they know not the real facts of the case, and therefore they speak of the immense advantages the Society has enjoyed in its business transactions by the large amount of public money it has had at its disposal. But let me call your particular attention to the fact, that during the past fifty years the Society has given away in its gratuitous operations about £151,000, so that the grants have exceeded the subscriptions, donations, and auxiliary contributions by £6,000. The sales have realized about £1,022,000; the total receipts including sales, donations for stereotyping, legacies, etc., appear to be £1,200,000; and 4,925 separate tracts and books have been sent forth by this Society since its formation,
I am anxious to notice, very briefly, the commencement of our foreign proceedings, which now forms so interesting a branch of the Society's labors. When it was first established, it printed only English tracts and books. The French, Spanish, and other prisoners confined in England in 1803 led the Committee to inquire what could be done for their spiritual good. French, Italian, and Spanish tracts were prepared for them; and this was the commencement of our foreign proceedings. But just at this time the Rev. Dr. Steinkopff, who is now on my left hand, came to the country and visited our Society; and when he was about to take lengthened and continental tours inquired, “What can I do to spread the knowledge of your blessed Society?" He was one of the great means in the hands of Providence of commencing our foreign labors. Dr. Henderson also who is on my right (and I trust he will say a few words to you,) arrived in London anxious to proceed lo India with his friend Dr. Paterson, but the East India Company of that day said, “ No, we will not permit you to go to India to preach the gospel.” These devoted and enterprising men then went to Denmark, to see if they could get permission from the king to proceed to Serampore; but they were again disappointed. But mark one circumstance: Dr. Henderson, when detained at Copenhagen, printed the first Danish tract, and circulated it freely. This and similar efforts led to the formation of all the Bible and Tract Societies in that part of the continent of Europe.
There is one fact which I will notice, because the gentleman to whom it refers is prevented from being with us; I mean William Alers Hankey, Esq. That gentleman joined the Committee in 1802. A friend was wanted who could carefully examine the Spanish tracts, and see that they were faithfully translated. Mr. Hankey actually learned the Spanish language, that he might devote that talent to the new object which engaged the Society's attention. Surely this, though a novel, was a noble contribution to the cause. These are some of the statistics of our Society; and I leave them with the meeting. I thought they might not be unacceptable to our friends. I deeply regret that want of time has prevented all reference to the multitude of facts of usefulness which have resulted from its operations. I can only say, in conclusion, that up to this time 500 millions of copies of tracts and books, 110 languages and dialects, have been distributed in many parts of the world.—Mr. Jones at Jubilee Breakfast of Religious Tract Society.
THE SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER.
She came amidst her children,
flowers; Cheering with love's soft radiance
Those blessed Sabbath hours.
As round a mother's knee,
Of our Saviour's infancy.
Nor labored, nor refin'd,
Upon the tender mind.
Which that simple history taught,
Of each child's hidden thought. And she bade them in life's spring-time,
Before earth's joys grew dim, Confide in that Redeemer,
And strive to grow like Him!
So bright, yet so serene,
On that quiet Sabbath scene.
Nay, perchance there is not given, So noble an employment
To the seraph-throng in heaven!
It was hers to guide the wandering;
To make the simple wise;
For their home beyond the skies!
Thus gathered to the fold,
Of life had o'er them rolld!
Fadeless is her renown;
Will be her starry crown!
H. M. W.
O Saviour listen to my prayer,
Dear Lord remember me!
Yet, Lord remember me!
Oh! thus remember me!
And wilt remember me!
And still remember me!