Religious Tract Society (Great Britain).

The 25th annual report ... 1824 : with extracts of correspondence, British and foreign, and a list of subscribers and benefactors ... online

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Religious Tract Society

(Great Britain)
24th Annual report of the

Religious Tract Society

THE ■."-»•= PfC t IW








Uisit of ^ttli0criii0r0 antr fStmUttov&.

" Religious Tracts should consist of PURE TRUTH.

" By pure trutit, wheu not expressed in the words of Scripture, tlie Committee refer
to those evangelical principles of the Reformation, in which Luther, Calvin, and Cranmer
were agreed. On this large portion of c(mimo?i ground, which the Churchman, the Dissenter,
and the Foreigner jointly occupy, they conceive that Christian Uiiion may be established
and strengthened ; Christian Jjffection excited and cherished ; and Christian Zeal concen-
trated, and rendered proportionably effective."

Vide Address of the Committee, p. vll.



By P. ff'hite, as, Xetv Street, Bishopsgate Without j



And by all the Booksellers in the United Kingdom.
[Price Is 6t/. to Non- Subscribers.]





I give unto the Treasurer, for the Time being, of
in London, in the Year 1799, the Sum of
Pounds Sterling; to be paid out of such pairt only of my
Personal Estate as shall not consist of Chattels Real, /or the
Purposes of the said Society ; and for which the Receipt of
su^h Treasurer shall he a sufficient Discharge.

*^* Devises of land, or of money charged on land, or
secured on mortgage of lands or tenements, or to be laid ou*
in lands or tenements, are void ; but money or stock may be
given by Will, if not directed to be laid out in land.


The Committee of the Religious Tract Society take
this opportunity to intimate that Donations of Books, for
the purpose of forming a Library, will be very acceptable.
Any works of general utility are desirable, particularly
those upon Theological subjects. The Committee trust,
that such Benefactions will materially assist the objects of
the Institution.

At the Twenty-Fifth Annual General Meeting
of the Religious Tract Society,

MAY 14th, 1824;
JOSEPH REYNER, Esq. in the Chair:

On a Motion by the Rev. Dr. Morrismi, seconded by the Rev.
Mark Wilks, of Paris, it was


That the Report, an abstract of which has been read, be
circulated under the direction of the Committee; and that this
Meeting receives icith much pleasure, the account of the increasing
operations of the Society, especially in the East, being confident^
that, by the Divine Blessing, important results will ensue.

On a Motion, by the Rev. Spedding Curwen, seconded by
Thomas Ring, Esq. it was


That the thanks of this Meeting be presented to the
Clergymen and Ministers who have so kindly advocated the cause of
the Society during the past year, whereby the Committee have been
enabled to extend their labours in Foreign Countries ; and that
the Committee be recommended to prosecute earnestly this branch
of their operations, during the ensuing year.

On a Motion by the Rev. Legh Richmond, M. A. seconded by
the Rev. P. Treschow, it was


That the thanks of this Meeting be given to the Auxilia-
ries and Associations which have aided the Funds of the InstitU'
tion during the past year; and that this Meeting rejoices to


observe among them, increased attention to the icants of their

respective districts ; being assured, that the more we attend to

the wants of our own Countrymen, the more we shall be induced
to exert ourselves for others.

On a 3Iotion by the Honourable Baptist Noel, seconded by
the Rev. John Dyer, Secretary to the Baptist Missionary Society,
it was


T7iat this Meeting rejoices to hear of the many instances
of usefulness, which, under the Divine Blessing, have resulted
from the gratuitous circulation of Religious Tracts.

On a Motion by the Rev. Timothy East, seconded by the
Rev. Thomas James, it was


That this Meeting would implore the Divine direction
upon the future labors of the Society, and would call upon the
Committee to exert themselves to the utmost, in forwarding the
important work, feeling assured, that He who has so signally
bestowed his blessing on the past operations of the Society, will
not withhold it, while His honour and glory, and the diffusion
of the Truth of tlie Gospel, are the objects they endeavour to

On a Motion by the Rev. Henry Townley, seconded by the
Rev. Charles Dawes, B. A. it was


That the thanks of the Meeting be presented to Joseph
Reyner, Esq. for his conduct this day; and that he be assured
of the cordial esteem and affection of the members and friends
of the Insiitutioii.


I. That this Society be denominated The Religious
Tract Society.

II. That a donation of Ten Guineas constitute a Member for

III. That every Annual Subscriber, paying Half-a-Guinea, or
more, be considered as a Member,

IV. That the Subscription solicited be employed as a mean of
enabling the Society to distribute and sell the Tracts at a cheap

V. That Subscribers be allowed to purchase at reduced

VI. That a Committee be annually appointed in London, lo con-
duct the business of the Society, consisting of Four Ministers and
Eight Laymen; eight of which number, who have most frequently
attended, shall be eligible for re-election for the ensuing year.

VII. That a Corresponding Committee be appoiniccl in diffe-
rent parts of the United Kingdom, with a view to promote the object
of the Society, by encouraging the distribution of Religious Tracts
by individuals, or by local Societies formed for that purpose, and
to obtain Subscriptions or Collections in aid of its Funds.

VIII. That the Treasurer and Secretaries be considered as
Members of the Committee.

IX. That the Committee be authorised to grant to Clergy-
men, or other Ministers who may make Collections for the Society,
a return of Tracts, if required, to the amount of one-half of such
Collections; and, that when their remittances, at one or more pe-
riods, shall amount to Twenty Guineas or upwards, the Clergyman
or Minister be considered a Member for Life, and be presented
with a set of the Society's Publications.

X. That the Cop.aulltee be authorized to nominate Honorary
Members of this Society, from among such persons in Foreign
parts, as may be active in the promotion of objects similar to those
of this Society.

XL That an Annual Meeting of the Society be held in the
month of May, when a Treasurer, Committee, and Secretaries,
shall be chosen.

XII. Thai the Tracts be paid for on delivery.

Depository for the Sale of the Society's Publications,
No. 5C, Paternoster Row.

Rev.JoHN Arundel,


John Campbell,
John Ousby, M.A.

Dr. Conquest,

Mr. Joseph Cecil,


Messrs. T. M. Coombs,
John Green,
W. F. Lloyd,
Thomas Pellatt,
Thomas Preston.

JOSEPH REYNER, Esq. No. 50, Mark Lane, London.

Secretaries, (Gratis.)

Rev. LEGH RICHMOND, MA. Rector of Turvey, Bedfordshire.
Rev. JOSEPH HUGHES, M.A. Battersea, Surrey.
Rev. PETER TRESCHOW, Lamb's Conduit Street.

Assistant Secretary, '^



Agent for Hawkers' Distribution,

By any of whom Subscriptimis are received;



JOSEPH REYNER, Esq. Treasurer,



Communications for the Secretaries, Assistant Secretary,
Superintendent, ^-c. arc requested to be addressed to No, 56,
Paternoster Row.


The Committee of "The Religious Tract Society " ohscrvo, with tlie
most lively satisfaction and gratitude, that the Principles upon which this
Institution is founded, and the manner in which they have been exemplified
have commended themselves to the affectionate attention, and zealous co-ope-
ration of their Christian Brethren, of various denominations ; and, that Aux-
iliary Societies have been formed, and are now forming, in different parts of
the United Kingdom, for the purpose of assisting the Funds, and circulating
the Tracts, of the Parent Institution : — They are, hence, strongly induced to
comply with the suggestions which have been received from several highly-
respected Friends; and, in consonance therewith, to publish this Official
Statement and Declaration, of what they consider to be the Fundamental
Principles on wiiich tlie Religions Tract Society has been established, and of
the measures which have uniformly been pursued, to insure a consistent and
unvarying exemplification of those principles, in the different operations of
this iniportant Institution.

In the Plan of the Institution, it is denominated, "The Religious Tract
Society ;" and in the Publication which stands at the head and front of its
volumes, the nature and qualities of the Tracts to be circulated, are thus
described : — " They should consist of Pure Truth. This, flowing from the
" sacred fountain of the New Testament, should run from beginning to end ;
" uncoiitaminated with error, undisturbed with human systems ; clear as
" chrystal, like the River of Life. There should be nothing in them of the
" shibbiileth of a Sect; nothing to recommend one denomination, or to throw
" odium on another ; nothing of the acrimony of contending parties, against
" those that differ from them ; but that unity of principle, whereby all who
" are looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life, can
" unite \*ith pleasure, as in one great common cause. Nor should any
" worldly scheme be interwoven with the truth, nor attempted to be con-
" cealed under its folds. Here siiould not be seen the slightest vestige of
" any carnal end, in any form, or for any purpose, however laudable some
" may think it; nothing but Divine Trutii, unmingled, unadulterated, pure
" as it came frotn Heaven, and lit for the whole human race to imbibe."

The Committee cannot give a more concise and correct designation of the
Religions Tracts which the Society adopt and distribute, than the foregoing
paragraph furnishes. But, by way of explanation, they will add, that, by
Pure Truth, when not expressed in the words of Scripture, they refer to those
evangelical Principles of tlie Reformation, in which Lutlier, Calvin, and
Cranmer were agreed ; and to that system of Doctrine ami of Scriptural In-
terpretation, which is comprised in the" Harmony of the Confessions of the
Reformed Churches, both at home and abroad." On this large portion of
common ground f which the Churchman, tlie-Dissenter, and tlic I'oreigner,
jointly occupy, they conceive that Christian Urnon may be established and
strengthened ; Christian Affection excited and ciierished ; and Christian Zeal
concentrated, and rendered proportionably effective.

The Committee indulge a hope, tliat they liave satisfactorily described the
common gro^tnd of Scriptural Principles, which is occupied by the supi)orters
of the Religious Tract Society ; and that the spirit of conciliation, by which
its Members are actuated, and the precise and exclusive Objects to which
their operations are directed, are not less satisfactorily defined and explained.
These Scriptural Principles, this Christian Spirit, and these legitimate and
important operations, constitute the Bond of Union, Affection, and Exertion
of the Religious Tract Society. It has be>^n, and ever will be, the most con-
scientious, the most willing, and the most earnest endeavour of the Com-
mittee, to preserve this holy Bond from violation; and they have no hesitation
in declaring, that, if, at any time, or uiulcr any circumstances, they should
knowingly suffer a Tract to emanate from this Institution, which should



include seiitinieiits hostile to the Piinciplos on which it is founded, or to the
character or discipline of any of tlie denominations of Christians, of which its
various niembers are composed, such conduct would be a violation of the
duties and obligations which they owe to the Society at large, and to their
Christian Brethren individually, who constitute its strength, its ornament,
and its efficiency.

To insure a consistent and unvarying exemplification of the Principles
above referred to, has ever been the duty and the cordial endeavour of the
Committee ; and there has been such a perfect understanding of these Prin-
ciples, as they relate to the Doctrinal Sentiments and to the Bond of Union
which connect the Members of this Institution, in affection and in exertion,
that their endeavours have been easy to themselves, and have been acknow-
ledged to be satisfactory to the Society at large.

The measures which have been pursued, to insure these harmonious opera-
tions, and to produce these happy results, chiefly have respect to the consti-
tution of the Committee, and to the mode and spirit of its deliberajionsand
decisions. As the Society is composed of Members of the Church of Eng-
land, and of Dissenters of several denominations, the Committee has been
assimilated to this leading and characteristic feature of the Institution, ever
since its establishment ; and this measure has been attended with the utmost
cordiality of operation, and been productive of the most pleasing effects.
It may be added, that this principle of assimilation is preferable to any spe-
cific and determinate division of the Committee, because it precludes any
direct idea of opposition of Character and Interest : it admits of partial
variations in circumstances which may make it expedient to propose or to
retain an individual, (whether a Clergyman or Dissenter,) whose talents and
zeal may particularly benefit the Society ; and it is thought to proceed
upon a fair and just comparison, between the Members of the Committee,
and the Members of the Society, considered under their various denomi-

The spirit in which the deliberations of the Committee are conducted, does
not partake of the wariness of suspicion, or of the irritations of jealousy.
"Whenever a Tract is proposed and read, or when any measure is brought
forward, each Member of the Committee is expected to deliver his opinion,
with reference to a determination thereon; and a free conversation is thus
excited, by which the feelings and sentiments of every individual are elicited,
on the subject under considei ation. By these means, the Committee are
prepared for a decision, with respect to the merits of the case before them;
and, at the same time, acquire a knowledge of the impressions which it has
made on the mind of each person ; and the decision is grounded, rather
on the general favour or opposition which the subject has met with, in
the course of previous discussion, than upon the result of mere numerical

The Committee are convinced, that the conscientious and unvarying regard
which they have ever manifested for the Scriptural Principles upon which
the Religious Tract Society has been established, in connexion with the liberal
and ingenuous spirit which has pervaded their deliberations and decisions,
have tended to preserve the purity and impartiality of the Tracts which have
been published ; and have also constituted the best and most effective check
that can be provided, against the introduction of any thing offensive. And
they are also persuaded, that a constant and faithful regard to these Princi-
ples, and an earnest endeavour to preserve and cherish the pure and peaceful
spirit of Christianity, in all their deliberations and decisions, will be the
likeliest means of securing the approbation of the Society at large ; of fulfill-
ing its benevolent Plans, and of accomplishing its most enlarged Objects.
(By Order of the Committee,)


JOSEPH HUGHES, > Secretaries.







MAY 14th, 1824.

jL our Committee, in reporting their proceedings during
the past year, would first refer to the


of your Society and other Institutions connected with its

A resolution of the last Annual Meeting recommended
the Committee to continue and increase their exertions for
Asia, and they have not been forgetful of the wishes so
strongly expressed.

The communications respecting China are particularly
gratifying. Dr, Morrison, and the Missionaries at Malacca,
have endeavoured to supply the loss sustained by the decease
of the late Dr. Milne; and, from a letter received a short
time since, it appears, that during the three years preceding
May 1823, One Hundred and Two Thousand, One Hun-
dred and Fifty Tracts in the Chinese language, and Three
Thousand Five Hundred in the Malay, had been printed and
circulated at the expense of your Society.

Dr. Moi'rison is now returned to this country, and
relates many important and encouraging particulars re-
specting the circulation of these Tracts. At Malacca,
those in the Malay are often to be seen ailixed to the walls
of the native habitations ; and, by the vessels whicii trade
to various ports of China, those in the Chinese language
are introduced into places inaccessible to Europeans.

We must not expect that all these Tracts will prove
useful ; many may perish — others may be destroyed — but
there is ground to hope, that some of the bread thus cast
upon the waters, will be found after many days. Dr. Mor-
rison states, that he has known instances of Chinese Tracts
being carefully stored among the valuables of a family, so



that, if neglected by the present possessors, they may speak
to their children, and generations yet unborn.

We know that the redeemed of the Lord are to be
gathered from the land of Sinim, as well as from the
North and the West; (Isa xlix. 12.) and as the Most
High is pleased to accomplish his purposes by the use of
means, we are the more encouraged to implore His bles-
sing upon those messengers, which, (with the Bible,) at
present are the only means of conveying the glad tidings
of the Gospel to more than Three Hundred Millions of
souls. It is remarkable, that while entrance is refused to
every other means of instruction, peculiar facilities are
presented to the operations of the press. A very large
proportion of this immense population possesses the ability
to read; and even the female mind, which, among Eastern
nations, generally is kept in a state of complete ignorance,
there is far more favorably situated ; for the daughters of
China are generally instructed in the rudiments of learning ;
and some among them, as in our favored land, are celebrated
in the literary annals of their country. To these facts may
be added, that Tracts have, for many ages, been circulated
in China ; not, alas ! bearing testimony respecting Him
" of whom Moses and the prophets wrote," but inculcating
the worship of idols, or merely reciting the precepts of
moralists and sages of other times. Thus your little mes-
sengers are peculiarly fitted for the country : they are not
subjected to the suspicious inquiries to which they are
elsewhere exposed ; they walk through the length and
breadth of the land, regarded rather as natives of the soil,
than viewed as aliens, and strangers from afar.

These facts must powerfully plead the cause of your
Society in every Christian bosom. It is an important and
interesting field. Infidels of the last age delighted to refei*
to the Chinese, as unenlightened by the bright beams of the
Sun of Righteousness, yet possessing all the qualities which
render the human character estimable. But the veil which
so long obscured this extraordinary people is now thrown
aside, and we find, that considering themselves as the
wisest of the nations of the earth, and regarding all others
with contempt, they have literally exemplified the words
of the Apostle, — '* Having become vain in their imagina-
tions, their foolish heart was darkened ; professing them-
selves to be wise they have become fools." — It is needless
to pursue this subject ; the knowledge now obtained of
this people, evinces that they are equally strangers to the
faith that works by love, and to the fruits which will ever
be found to proceed from its quickening power.



Your Committee have expressed themselves thus
strongly, as they cannot but feel the vast importance of your
labors in China. The inhabitants can be reached, at pre-
sent, only through the medium of the press, and their habits
and customs render them peculiarly accessible to your little
publications. Here, then, your Committee would desire to
continue and extend their labours to the utmost. AH vou
can supply is inadequate to the occasion ; but they would
desire to be enabled to go forward. Last year they could
apply only One Hundred Pounds to this object — they would
hope to be enabled to do considerably more in the year now

Nor are the Isles of the Eastern Archipelago
indifferent to these messengers of mercy. A commu-
nication from the Baptist Missionaries at Sumatra, bears
powerful testimony to the eager desire manifested by the
Natives, for Tracts and portions of Sacred Writ. The writer
speaks, in the strongest terms, of the advantages of circu-
lating small publications in those countries, and of the ability
to read, generally possessed by the Natives. The state-
ments of the Missionaries of the London Missionary Society,
and others labouring in the same field, are expressed in
similar terms ; and the Printing Paper, forwarded to the
different stations by your Society, has been received with
much thankfulness.

Hi N DOST AN presents an ample field for the circulation
of Tracts. Your Committee would particularly notice the
formation of a Native Tract Society at Nagercoil, in
Travancore. Your messengers have gone forth through
many regions of the earth ; but this is the first instance of a
Native Tract Institution. Let us hail this event as the har-
binger of a brighter and a better day, in the moral and reli-
gious annals of India. It affords a satisfactory answer to the
assertions so often and so falsely made, of the total indif-
ference of the Natives to Christianity ; it exhibits them
casting their mites into the treasury,, and shewing, by their
desire to disseminate the Gospel, that they have felt the
value of the message of grace.

The Fifth Report of the Bellary Tract Society has
been received, and will appear in the Appendix. It pre-
sents many encouraging details ; during the preceding year
this Society had circulated upwards of Twenty- six Thousand
Tracts, in various languages.

The progress of instruction in Ceylon, has caused an
unprecedented demand for small Books and Tracts. This
is strongly stated by the Missionaries laboring on that
Island, and their respective Societies have exerted them-

b 2


selves, in some measure to supply the demand. The Ame-
rican Missionaries stationed there, have strenuously urged
the importance of establishing' Printing Presses on the
Island; they refer to the number of Native Schools, which
render a large supply of Scriptures and Tracts ab-solutely
necessary ; they also notice the importance of training
up among the people a reading population, and state,
that a small monthly publication is particularly desirable.
The attention of the Archdeacon of Columbo, of the
Church Missionary Society, and of the Wesley an Mission-
aries, is also directed to this important subject. The
assistance rendered by your Society has been thank-
fully received, earnest applications are made for its con-
tinuance, and a larger supply of Printing Paper has been
forwarded. The demand for Tracts in the Cingalese lan-
guage has been so great, that many have been copied on
Ollas, and circulated in manuscript.

Your Committee have also corresponded with Cal-
cutta, Madras, Bombay, Serampore, and Bencoo-
LEN; to these stations, as well as to the places before
mentioned, supplies have been sent during the past year,
to the extent of Three Hundred Reams of Paper, and
Forty-nine Thousand Five Hundred Tracts. The latter are

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Online LibraryReligious Tract Society (Great Britain)The 25th annual report ... 1824 : with extracts of correspondence, British and foreign, and a list of subscribers and benefactors ... → online text (page 1 of 18)