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British and Foreign Bible Society.

. The annual meeting of the Ashburton ' branch of the Canterbury Auxiliary of the above Society took place last evening in the Presbyterian Church, when there was H fairly good attendance. The chair was taken by the Rev A. M. Beatlie, pastor of the Church, who was supported . by.the Rev Mr Robjohns,. the Society's travelling agent, the Revs E. A. Scott, fSt Stephen's, Anglican), A. Blake, (Presbyterian Church, Tinwald), J. N. Buttle, (Wesleyan), J. Boothroyd (Primitive Methodist), J. W. Sawle, (Baptist), Mr J. H. Twentyman, and Major Steward M.H.R.

The grand old hymn " All People that on Earth do dwell" having been sung, and chapter 44 of the Prophet Isaiah read, prayer was offered by Rev Mr Scott, . after which the Rev Chairman opened the proceedings by an address in which he expressed hispleasurethatthisyeartheannual meeting in connection with the, Bible -Society'fell to be held in that church, hence it fell to him to preside which he esteemed a great hpnor and privilege. It was a very rare thing that all demominations, could come together and find one common platform, but there was great cause for thankfulness that they were all united in that as Protestants they were all agreed in accepting the Bible as the . word of God. They onght to be thankful that they lived in a lan.d of of Gospel light and liberty,, that they were not feeding on ashes like ,the heathen world where thousands, and millions were living in . ignorance of the true God. If they were blessed with the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry " Abba "-—" Father," surely it became them to do their very best to spread the glad tidings to those who werejstill dwelling in habitations of cruelty,/]! darknesi greater even than the darkness of.Egypt, darkness that could be felt, spiritual and moral darkness. The - purpose fpT which they Were met together was to further this good work, and the secojid best thing ..which' it was possible . for them to do was to send, the Word to those' who had not yet received it. He said the " second best " thing because the best thing of all was to go themselves and there might perhaps be some even among themselves who would volunteer ,to go and speak to the people who were Bitting in darkness, to take, the Word of God with them and to preach the Gospel with the living voice, but if not then they could all help the Society to send out more missionaries not only to circulate but to preach the Word. The rev gentleman then went on to dilate on the necessity of seeking the aid of the Divine Spirit to throw light upon thereadingof the Word for neither was he that sowed or he that reaped of any avail without Him who giveth the increase. After a reference to the claims of the Chinese among us the rev gentleman concluded by expressing his earnest desire that God's blessing would attend the operations of those who were laboring in His cause through the agencies of the Bible SocietyT Hymn 274 from Sankey's collection. "Sowing in the morning " was then sung, and

The Rev A. Blake, Secretary of the local branch, read the following Report for 1889-90. The annual collection last year was 19s 9d. The ladies have collected. £22 3s 6d, and to this some 80 persons have contributed (as compared with 26 during the previous year who contributed £9). There have been sold Bibles to the value of £9 12s 8d by Mr Flower and Mr , Williams, chiefly by Mr Flower. This means 55 copies of the Scriptures, chiefly the Bible—very few New Testaments have been sold. The expenditure has been £4 9s, about equally divided between the cost of a new case for Bibles, and the usual expenses of printing and advertising. There has been remitted to Christchurch, to Mr Chrystal, £20 17s 3d, leaving a balance in hand of £7 9s Bd, which the claims of the Depot on account of Bibles. New collecting books (or rather cards) have been prepared which will last for two or three years. There has been a change in the Treasurership owing to the late Treasurer, Mr D. H. Brown, leaving Ashburton. The Committee passed a special vote of thanks to that gentleman,. who was a hearty supporter of the Society, and appointed Mr R. W. Jenkins in hie place." Speaking to the foregoing Mr Blake said that many persons made the mistake of supposing that the Society was supported by wealthy persons, and that the help of the poor was not required. This was not the case as it would be seen by the reports that its principal revenue was made up by a great many small contributions without which its work could not be carried on. He then dwelt upon the wide extent of the Society's work as well in the translation as in the circulation of the Scriptures and urged that more should be done in fchis district than was done to help on the work. Surely there should be more than eighty people who would be willing to give a shilling a week, and he that instead of £20 they would be able to send not less than £40 next year, Mr' R. W. Jenkins then read the following Balance Sheet of the

A9HBURTON BRANCH OF CANTERBURY AUXILIARY. April 14, 1890. Receipts.—Annual collection, Wesleyan Church, 19s 9d ; (collected) by lady < collectors, Mrs Scott, £3 9s ; Miss Fox, £6 5s 6d ; Mrs Baxter, £6 16b ; Mrs Lea, £2 5s 6d ; Miss Taylor, £1; Miss Grigg, £1; Mr Wilson, Wakanui, 17s 6d ; Capt, Field, 10s ; by sale of Bibles, Mr Flower, £8 4s 2d; Mr Williams, £1 8s 6d j total, £32 15s lid. Expenditure.—Postages, to Secretary, ss; printing collecting books, £1; advertising, "Mail" office, £1 Is ; new case for Bibles, to Pickford and Undrill, £2 2s 6d ; freight on Bibles, Is 6d ; remitted to Mr Chrystall, £10; remitted by Trea-. surer, £7 14s 9d ; remitted by Secretary, £1 17s 6d; remitted by Mr Jenkins, Treasurer, £1 ss; total, £25 7s 3d; balance, £7 8s 8d~£32 15b lid. He said that the work of the Bible Society lay at the foundation of all Missionary work—was its very basis, and urged upon all Christian people to give it a more liberal support, reminding them that he gives twice who gives quickly. Mr J. H. Twentyman in moving the adoption of the report and balance-sheet delivered an eloquent address, in the course of which he referred at length to the attacks made by the German and ] other schools of sceptical criticism upon the Bible in respect to its authenticity, its alleged unscientific, unhistorical or uninspired character, and went, on to show oiat the Bible's claims were being vindicated daily, and the attacks of its enemies confounded. Even in Germany it was now beginning to be admitted that the sacred books indeed written by those, by whom they professed to be written, and there wag as. yet not one ascertained fact qf science, though there were theories of soientists, which was at variance^ with the . Scriptures. Again recent discoveries, as for example that of the Rosetta stone with its inscriptions in Greek, in Egyptian and in hieroglyphics, and other discoveries in Egypt, in Palesfine and the land of Moab, had led to the confirmation of the historical accuracy of the Bible, and had proved that the sacred writers had written pf actual events of which, tjjey were contemporary witnesses. Pc then dwelt upon the internal evidence pi the inspiration of the Scriptures, and to the testimony borne by Christ Himself thereto; and concluded a Very interesting speech, by urging his hearers to take courage and stand firm in the work in Which they were engaged. The Rev Mr Robjohns in seconding \kv resolution mQYeft by the previous'

speaker, said that there was a general impression that the Bible Society had an immense revenue from invested capital. This was not the case, its revenue from this source being only some £8000, which was not enough to pay for the loss on the year's issue of penny Testaments. Neither did its strength lie in a magnificent list of subscribers of £100 or more, its strength really lay in the earnest support of devoted people in the middle classes. The very very poor were unable to help and the very wealthy spent their money in other directions. The year before last was the Society's most prosperous year for a long time, the free income," that was the receipts other than those for the sale of books, being £147,000, but last year he was sorry to say there was a falling off in the free income of no less than £34,000. This was a cause of great anxiety and meant if the position were not retrieved, that the Society .must withdraw from some of its spheres of operation. The receipts from New Zealand last year were £441, of which £185 came from Canterbury, £100 from Auckland, £57 odd from Southland, £46 from Waiapu, leaving only from £40 to £50 for all the rest of the Colony. After referring to the fact that years ago New Zealand was occupied as one of the Society's mission fields, he went on to describe a very interesting meeting which he had addressed at Mamakutu settlement, near Gisborne, on the occasion of the opening of a new Maori Church, and at which something like 1000 natives were present. Here he had seen these people, some of whom were years ago guilty of most atrocious deeds, taking part in Church work, and taking steps to become missionisers, instead'of the missionised, by raising subscriptions in aid of the sending of the Scriptures to other lands. A very interesting account of the work of the Society and its agents in the translation of the Scriptures followed ; a handsomely bound and admirably printed Bible in the | Tongan language being shown which was supplied to the islands in which John Williams had labored, and it was the proud boast of the Tongans that they nad paid for every copy supplied to them from the first to the last. In the New Hebrides too the Natives supplied themselves with Bibles purchased from the Society, for which they gave £1 a copy. The Bibles were supplied, at cost price but this did not include the cost of translation and when he told them that the Scriptures or portions of the Scriptures had been translated into no less than 290 languages and that there were between 2000 and 3000 known languages they would see how vast was the work which had been done, and which remained to be done. Then followed some very interesting particulars of the work of the Society in connection with the Paris Exhibition, it being among other things mentioned. that in an edition of the Figaro printed on the Eiffel' Tower was an account of the Society's operations, which would be carried away by people of all nationalities to every corner of the earth. The speaker concluded a very interesting address by showing that Christianity and civilisation went together, and that the work of the Bible Society effected the spread of both.

Hymn 305, Sankey's collection, having been sung,

Major Steward, in moving the next resolution, said that the sum contributed by New Zealand towards the free income of the Society, £441, though comparing not unfavorably with the contributions of some other parts of the Queen's dominions, was yet very much less than this colony was well able to contribute. Taking the white population at 600,000 it would be seen that this sum did not amount to one penny per household—say less than onefifth of a penny per head over the whole population. Now if they raised their contribution to a penny per head that would give £2500 a year, and if all the other colonies gave in proportion, then there would be a large increase instead of a decrease in the income of the Bible Society. But could they not easily afford throughout all the colonies to give sixpence per head or a total sum that would average this ? Surely they could and if this were done then the Colonies alone would raise as much as the whole present income of the Bible Society. Nay if the example were set by the Colonies and were taken ud in the old Country, and in the Old World then the Society's income could be raised to a million a year instead of £100,000 and this would mean that where one missionary or colporteur was now employed, ten could be employed and the work which on the present scale of means it would take a hundred years to accomplish could be done in ten. Let them make a beginning in Ashburton and try to raise a subscription equal to 6d per head per annum and there was no knowing how widely the movement might spread and how great might be its results. He moved: '' That this meeting heartily sympathises j with the great work of the Society in translating and circulating the Bible for the world, and appeals to the Christian people of Ashburton county for their [ sympathy and support, cordially thanks | the Collectors and Committee for their j efforts during the past year, and appoints the following Officers and Committee for the ensuing year—Mr R. W. Jenkins, Treasurer ; Rev. A. Blake, Secretary; Messrs J. H. Twentyman, R. Alcorn, A. Orr, J. W. Sawle, H. G. Flower, D. Williamson, with the ministers of the various denominations who subscribe to the Society's funds,"

The Rev, Mr Buttle, in seconding the resolution, pointed out the material advantages which followed fromthe operations of the Bible Society, instancing how commerce followed upon the heels of the missionary. A collection was then taken up, and the Doxology having been sung the meeting was dismissed with the benediction.

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Bibliographic details

British and Foreign Bible Society., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2401, 15 April 1890

Word Count

British and Foreign Bible Society. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2401, 15 April 1890

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