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portant benefits, and thus in fact to strengthen the surest foundations of her power.
But, Sir, I am told that all these and similar considerations are irrelevant, for there is another society which might have accomplished all that we have done. But on this point, I would only ask, whether any one acquainted with the two institutions will undertake to say, that if the British and Foreign Bible Society had never existed, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge would have performed all that she has effected—that is, that that Society would have distributed upwards of a million of Bibles and Testaments, in addition to those which she has actually circulated ? would ask again, whether any candid person will say that that excellent institution would even have made the increased exertions which we have all seen and admired (none of us more than the numerous individuals, who, like myself, are members of both Societies), if the impulse had not been given, I do not say, by the British and Foreign Bible Society, but by that blessing of God which has rested on the dissemination of his own word. 'Sir, it is the interest excited in behalf of this simple and unadorned plan of distributing the Bible without note or comment, to which the new vigour of this, as well as of various other important religious institutions, is in a great measure to be traced. But, independ
ently of these considerations, it really does appear to me, that, when a grand scheme of benevolence is on foot, and has prospered for ten or eleven years greatly beyond the expectations of even its warmest admirers, it is one of the most unfortunate arguments that can be devised to turn round upon it, and say, If you would but have remained quiet, we would have done all this good for you. 0, when will the unholy spirit of rivalry be extinguished in our breasts, and no other emulation be known but that of outstripping each other in the sacred race of charity! Instead of uncertain speculations on the probability of events now beyond our reach, would it not be a better proof of a truly Christian spirit to adore that gracious Providence which works by means little thought of by man, which grants success when and where it pleases, and which advances by the concurrent efforts of different benevolent institutions, the common end of the divine glory in the salvation of the world?
For my own part, Sir, it is little for me to say that, with these views of the subject, I shall continue to support, insignificant as that support is, the great cause in which we are engaged, which contains in fact in the one unbending principle of circulating the Bible alone, the answer to every fair objection, and the motive to the most zealous exertions. The
most formidable objection against this Institution which I can imagine, would be, if it could be truly said, that the members of it were not living under the influence of the great doctrines and duties of the Book which they disseminate. To aim at a practical result from our meetings is the duty of us all. I am sure the celebration of the anniversaries of our subordinate Societies has a tendency to promote this end. Yes, Sir, we do not come here to deal out insipid commendations; we do not come to display ourselves or triumph over others. We come to be animated in our high exertions; we come to have the baser passions of our nature subdued, and the holier affections of it enkindled; we come to learn the progress and success of our past efforts, and to cast an eager view over the boundless prospect which stretches on every side around us. And, whatever may be the varying sentiments of different minds in the moment of darkness and prejudice now, we may be assured that in the solemn hour when the brightening rays of eternity shall break in upon us, and all the pursuits and objects of men lie exposed in their native colours, we shall never repent of those measures which we may have taken for the diffusion of that stupendous revelation of Christ Jesus, which is our best consolation in this life and our only source of hope for the next.
ADDRESS on seconding the Third Resolu
tion at the First Anniversary Meeting of the BRISTOL AUXILIARY Society for PROMOTING CHRISTIANITY AMONGST THE Jews, October 3, 1816.
In rising to second the motion which has been assigned me, I trust I shall be excused if I venture to take a somewhat extended view of the great question connected with this Society.
And here I am ready to admit, what I well remember to have felt in my own mind, that the attempt to promote Christianity among the Jews does not on the first appearance seem very attractive. There is a mingled feeling of contempt and despondency in the minds of Christians towards the fallen house of Israel and Judah, which indisposes them from making those compassionate and persevering efforts which their case demands. We turn from the subject with indifference, if not with disgust, and employ our labours and our prayers on objects more congenial to our prejudices or more flattering to our hopes. But surely such a state of feeling is both unreasonable and sinful. Surely it must spring from self-conceit of our own privileges as Gentiles, or from distrust of the future promises of mercy to the Jewish people, or from a perverse inconsistency in the exercise of our charity towards the miserable. There is nothing, I can safely say, which fills me with greater shame than the recollection of my own share in this guilt. And therefore I am anxious, in the very outset of what I have further to offer, to remove if possible so fatal an obstacle -an obstacle which bars up the way even to the candid consideration of a subject, which, the more it is understood, will I am persuaded the more strongly commend itself to our judgments and our hearts.
For I really must be permitted to think, that in whatever light we view the efforts of this Society, whether as simply directed to instruct and relieve an immense body of unbappy and degraded individuals, or as involving the whole subject of the restoration and glory of the antient people of God, there are few benevolent institutions which have so large and undisputed a claim on our support.