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in reputation with the public, and to secure the countenance of this great Patron. Indolence and corruption may lay hold of an endowed charity, but when the charity depends upon public favour, a few glaring examples of mismanagement would anni. hilate it.
During a few of the first years of the Bible Society, the members of other Societies were alarmed at the rapid extension of its popularity, and expressed their fears lest it should engross all the attention and benevolence of the religious public. -But the reverse has happened, and a principle made use of in the body of this pamphlet may be well illustrated by the history of this matter. [Sec. 9.] The Bible Society has drawn a great yearly sum of money from the public, and the first impression was, that it would exhaust the fund for religious charities. But while it drew money from the hand, it sent a fresh and powerful excitement of Christian benevolence into the heart, and under the influence of this creative principle, the fund has extended to such a degree, as not only to meet the demands of the new Society, but to yield a more abundant revenue to the older Societies than ever. We believe that the excitement goes much farther than this, and that many a deed of ordinary charity could be traced to the impulse of the cause we are pleading for. We hazard the assertion, that many thousands of those who contribute to the Bible Society, find in themselves a greater readiness to every good work, since the period of their connexion with it, and that in the wholesome channel of individual benevolence, more hunger is fed, and more nakedness clothed throughout the land, than at any period anterior to the formation of our Religious Societies.
The alarm grounded upon the tendency of these Societies with their vast revenues, to impoverish the country, is ridiculous. If ever their total revenue shall amount to a sum which can make it worthy of consideration to an enlightened economist at all, it may be proved that it trenches upon no national interest whatever, that it leaves population and Public Revenue on precisely the same footing of extent and prosperity in which it found them, and that it interferes with no one object which Patriot or Politician needs to care for. In the mean time it it may suffice to state, that the income of all the Bible and Missionary Societies in the island, would not do more than defray the annual maintenance of one ship of the line.-When put by the side of the millions which are lavished without a sigh, on the enterprises of war, it is nothing; and shall this veriest trifle be grudged to the advancement of a cause, which, when
carried to its accomplishment, will put an end to war, and banish all its passions and atrocities from the world?
I Should be sorry if Penny Associations were to bind themselves down to the support of the Bible Society. I should like to see them exercising a judgment over the numerous claims which are now before the public, and giving occasionally of their funds to other religious institutions. The effect of this very exercise would be to create a liberal and well-informed peas. antry, to open a wider sphere to their contemplations, and to raise the standard not merely of piety, but of general intelli. gence among them. The diminution of pauperism is only part of the general effect which the multiplication of these Societies. will bring about in the country; and if my limits allowed me, I might expatiate on their certain influence in raising the tone and character of the British population.
THE SOCIETY IN SCOTLAND
(INCORPORATED BY ROYAL CHARTER.)
HIGH CHURCH OF EDINBURGH,
ON THURSDAY, JUNE 2, 1814.
BY THOMAS CHALMERS,
SOCIETY HALL, JUNE 2, 1814.
At a general meeting of the socIETY IN SCOTLAND FOR PROPAGATING CHRISTIAN KNOWLedge,
JAMES ROBERTSON, ESQ. Clerk to the Signet,
(In absence of the Right Hon. FRANCIS LORD SEAFORTH,
The thanks of the Society were given from the Chair, to the Reverend THOMAS CHALMERS, of Kilmany, for his excellent Sermon, this day preached before them; and he was requested to permit his manuscript to be printed, for the benefit of the Society.
JOHN CAMPBELL, Secretary.