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on finding our large National School Room crowded, on this occasion, with my parishioners pressing forward to cast their mites, with me, into the Treasury of the Society. Not less than 350 Penny Subscribers offered their names, who were increased afterward by 150 more from another part of the Parish—thus proving that the obstacles being removed which had impeded the course of parochial benevolence, it has, at length, set in with a full and strong tide.
It may naturally occur to reflecting persons, on witnessing such scenes as these, where the flock assemble so readily at the call of their Pastor, what those Clergymen lose who are negligent in cherishing a Missionary Spirit in their parishes. To say nothing of that peace of the bosom which arises from a consciousness of labouring to fulfil the great and last command of Christ, to make the Gospel known to every creature, such Clergymen deprive their people of the great personal, domestic, and parochial benefit which results from meetings of Associations of this nature; and they themselves forego that strong attachment of heart in the people, which accompanies the attempts of the Minister to rouse their zeal and love in works of expanded benevolence and mercy.
On this subject the Committee will extract some passages from the Reports of several Associations.
In the Report of one Association, the following just remarks are made on the advantages resulting from Public Meetings:—
Your Committee fully concur with the Parent Committee, in highly appreciating the benefits which have resulted from the Public Meetings of the various Associations for Missionary Purposes throughout the kingdom. May we not appeal to those who have been present at these Meetings, whether they have not tended more deeply to impress upon their minds the awful realities of Heathen Darkness and Heathem Superstitions, to increase in their estimation the value of the light and privileges which we possess in a Christian Land, and to enlarge their desire for the extension of those blessings to the countries which as yet possess them not ? And, surely, the self-denying labours, which on such occasions are brought to our notice, of those who have gone forth with their lives in their hands to foreign climates, may well suggest the inquiry, whether we, who are at home, are according to our substance contributing toward those more distant operations of Christian Benevolence, and according to our talents and opportunity rendering our personal exertions in dispensing the blessing of religious instruetion in our own place and neighbourhood.
To the personal benefit derived from engaging in this charitable labour, the Report of one of the County Associations bears the following testimony:—
It is gratifying to observe, in those places where Branch Associations are in most active operation, a growing conviction of the benefits conferred upon the inhabitants themselves, by the diffusion of a Missionary Spirit among them. In multiplied instances, a desire to assist in the conversion of others, is accompanied with a serious impression of the glad tidings of the Evangelical Revelation on themselves. Doubly blessed is the introduction of Church Missionary Objects into our parishes, if, while the hearts of our people are moved to unite for the suppression of idolatry among the Heathen, they feel a strong desire to inquire into the reality of their own conversion to the Gospel. This blessing having been experienced in several districts, it has been thought due to the Giver of every good Gift, to record it in this Report, as a testimony of gratitude to Almighty God, and as an encouragement to Ministers to go on with their Missionary Labours.
Your Committee cannot entertain a doubt, that similar advantages will be found, in other places, to result from the influence of Missionary Associations, in proportion to the extent and activity of their exertions. On this account, therefore, no less than for the sake of the Society, your Committee would rejoice to hear of the formation of such Associations, in every town and village of the County, where they do not already exist. For this purpose, it is, in the first instance, simply necessary that a few individuals, who have the cause of Missions at heart, should undertake to collect the voluntary contributions of their neighbours, and to circulate among them the Monthly and Quarterly Publications of the Society. Such endeavours, however small in their beginnings, will seldom prove unavailing. Should LARGE sums not thus be obtained, even the PENce of the Pious Poor, accompanied with their prayers, will greatly enrich the Treasury of the Society: and your Committee venture to predict, that both the Contributors and the Collectors, in such small Associations, will, according to the Scriptural promise, in watering others, be watered themselves.
An extract from the able Report of another Association places in a striking light, the benefit arising to the Labouring Orders from associating themselves with this work of mercy:—
We know the value set upon the widow's mite, and by whom
It is, no doubt, the unqualified meaning of the Society, and we are persuaded is well understood and acted upon by our friends who benevolently engage in the collections, that such contributions are to be strictly voluntary; that no influence is to be used beyond a fair statement of the nature of the cause. Under such limitation we cannot hesitate to believe, and our own experience warrants us in saying, that this feature in the domestic proceedings of the Church Missionary Society (which indeed, under some modification, is found in all our charitable institutions) is, in itself, a valuable part of this Institution; valuable not only to the receiver, but also to the giver. By the return made for such contributions in Monthly Registers and Quarterly Papers, a channel is opened for a wide circulation of Missionary Intelligence. Persons even of the humblest class are furnished with a subject of reading of continued and never-ceasing interest, and that immediately connected with their religion; an advantage not to be disregarded, when we consider, that, having taught the people almost universally to read, our anxiety now is to give them what is good, and to pre-occupy the place of what is bad. They see, in these publications, the difference between a Christian and a Heathen : they feel, more than ever, the infinite blessing of the faith which they profess; and enhance its value to themselves, by gladly giving of their little to impart it to others. The only, and we allow not unnatural, objection to the system is, that it may induce people to give more than they can afford, consistently with a proper regard to the wants of their families. To this we answer, that, as a general objection to the system, it is so far from being warranted by experience, that the very reverse has been shewn to be the case in the recorded instances of Liverpool, Southwark, and of many other districts; as well as from the evidence of persons, who, in various parts of the country, are now witnessing the fact. It has been shewn, that the very circumstance of providing against the regular weekly or monthly subscription has led to a habit of forecast, and of consideration of the value of small sums; and has broken the habit of wasting these on unworthy objects. In short, the object in this instance being religious, has called forth and cherished a principle, from which every good and useful quality, in a temporal no less than a spiritual view, may be expected to proceed.* We may add to these considerations, another, well calculated to obviate the supposed objection. The Collectors are, generally, of a class in station and means above those who give. When such persons of different classes are brought together, and for a benevolent purpose, it is easy to foresee, in this land of
• Savings for religious purposes have led to the same practice for the supply of various temporal wants, and have been found in general to prepare the way for Savings Banks.-See Dudley's Analysis of the System of the Bible Society, under “Southwark," and General Remarks. See also “Chalmers on the Influence of Bible Societies on the Temporal Necessities of the Poor."
charity, which party will ultimately be the gainer; but not easy to imagine that contributions would be accepted, through such a channel, known (and the opportunity of ascertaining the fact is at hand) to be withdrawn from pressing, or even from ordinary wants. It may be sufficient to say, that when the Clergyman is not inio, employed in this part of the Institution, the usual Collectors are Ladies.
The Committee quote, with pleasure, from the Report of another Association, a strong testimony to the good effect of circulating Missionary Intelligence:—
Above Thirty Copies of each Number of the Missionary Register, and more than Five Hundred Copies of each Quarterly Paper, are circulated among several hundred individuals.
These publications are inquired after with eagerness, and perused with attention; and Contributions, arising from a conviction of duty, and a feeling of sympathy for the voluntary deprivations to which a Christian Missionary subjects himself, have, in some instances, been the pleasing consequence.
“While I read in the Missionary Register,” said one poor labouring woman, “of those who are willing to sacrifice so much in such a cause, I feel I ought to do to the utmost of my power:” this observation accompanied an unsolicited donation, in addition to her usual subscription; and was soon after followed by the subscription of her husband likewise. Nor is this a singular instance; and while the Ladies' Committee acknowledge with gratitude the favourable reception which their applications have met with #. , they cannot refrain from bearing testimony to the feelings .# interest manifested by numbers, whose ready pence and cheerful welcome encourage the hearts of those engaged in these friendly visits. There are those who not only look for the weekly visitant with pleasing anticipation, but notice with expressions of regret any occasional omission; and not a few of whom have indeed been found ready even of their poverty to manifest the riches of their liberality; thus proving themselves willing to labour, working with their own hands the thing which is good, that they may have to give to those that need. From the
ouring Cottager, and the Female Domestic, has the volun
tary stream of bounty flowed, before the one could be solicited, or the other knew through what channel to direct its course,
COLLECTIONS BY IN DIVIDUALS. The Committee notice with pleasure the increasing exertions of Individual Friends, in their respective circles, where circumstances probably render it impracticable, at present, to form regular Associations. There are about a Hundred such Friends, who had added, during the year, nearly 900l. to the funds—and the total of whose Collections, from the commencement
of their exertions, has been nearly 3500l. The Committee beg to express their grateful sense of the exertions of these Friends. Several have contributed largely —the Rev. Edward Lake, of Worcester, having paid in 461.; Mrs. Williams, of Moor Park, 70l.; and the Rev. John Hill, of Oxford, 94!. This last Gentleman's Collections among his friends at Oxford have amounted, in the whole, to no less a sum than 516l.