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Title: Report of the Cromer Ladies' Bible Association, 1838
Author: Association, Cromer Ladies' Bible
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Report of the Cromer Ladies' Bible Association, 1838" ***

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Transcribed from the 1839 Josiah Fletcher edition by David Price, email

                   [Picture: Public domain book cover]

                                  OF THE
                        LADIES’ BIBLE ASSOCIATION,


                                * * * * *


                                * * * * *

Cromer Ladies’ Bible Association,

                                * * * * *




                               MISS BUXTON.


                              MISS JOHNSON.


                MISS EARLE, MRS. B. RUST, MRS. J. W. RUST.



Cash Secretary’s Statement.

                          _£_    _s._    _d._        _£_    _s._       _d._
Amount received                                       42      15          9
this year, FREE
Ditto BIBLES                                          15       5         0½
                                                      58       0         9½
Amount received                                      507       2          8
since the
Ditto BIBLES                                         407      13         2½
                                                     914      15        10½
Amount paid since         896      10      3½
the establishment
for Bibles,
Testaments, &
Incidental                 18       5       7
                                                     914      15        10½
Grant to Norwich                                      37       8         4½
Auxiliary Bible
Society, 1838

Bible Secretary’s Statement.

                                   BIBLES        TESTAMENTS      TOTAL
Received this year                     62                24         86
Distributed this year                  73                29        102
Received since the                   1465              1072       2537
Distributed ditto                    1418              1032       2450
Remaining on hand                      47                40         87

Received free since the establishment.

                  _£_    _s._     _d._
1828               45       9        3
1829               45      10        9
1830               47       5        8
1831               45      13        3
1832               43      12        0
1833               49       7        1
1834               51      10        8
1835               51      19        2
1836               36       6        8
1837               46       0        4
1838               42      15        9
                  505      10        7
Interest            1      12        1
                  507       2        8
                  914      15      19½

Received for Bibles and Tests. since the establishment.

              _£_    _s._     _d._
1828           52      17        9
1829           43      16        9
1830           39       5       4½
1831           44      13       7½
1832           39       2       11
1833           52      11        0
1834           40       0        3
1835           35       6        6
1836           23       2        1
1837           21      11       11
1838           15       5       0½
              407      13       2½
              507       2        8
              914      15      10½

Paid for Bibles & Testaments.

                   _£_    _s._     _d._
1828                75       8        8
1829                56       1        6
1830                59       4        6
1831                59       7        4
1832                51      10        3
1833                69      19        5
1834                48      14        3
1835                47       1        9
1836                32      18        5
1837                31      17       10
1838                19      11        5
                   551      15        4
Grants             344      14      11½
Inc. Exp.           18       5        7
                   914      15      10½


                _£_    _s._     _d._
1828–9           40       0        0
1830             35       0        0
1831             29      13        2
1832             29      18        0
1833             30      10        7
1834             41      13        2
1835             38      14       10
1836             25      10        8
1837             36       6        2
1838             37       8       4½
                344      14      11½

Annual Subscribers.

                        _£_    _s._    _d._
LADY SOPHIA WINDHAM       1       1       0
MRS. GURNEY,              1      10       0
MRS. BARING               1       1       0
MRS. MORRIS               1       1       0
MRS. PAUL                 1       1       0
MRS. FOX                  1       1       0


1.  _Aylmerton & Felbrigg_.
                           _£_    _s._    _d._
Mrs. Fuller                          4       0
Mrs. Knights                         4       0
Mr. Daniel                           4       0
Smaller subscriptions                6       0
2.  _Alby & Aldboro’_.
Mr. Springall                       12       0
Rev. Mr. Shuckburgh                  6       0
Mrs. Clarke                          6       0
Mrs. Hacon                           6       0
Mr. Press                            6       0
Miss Press                           6       0
3.  _Beeston_.
Smaller subscriptions                2       0
4.  _Baconsthorpe & Bodham_.
Miss Mayes                           6       0
Miss S. Mayes                        6       0
Mrs. Bumfry                          3       0
Mrs. Beales                          6       0
5.  _Beckham_.
Cook Flower, Esq.                   12       0
Mr. Fuller                           6       0
Mr. Sayers                           6       0
6.  _Cromer_.
Miss Earle                           6       0
Mr. Betts                            6       0
7.  _Cromer_.
Mrs. Sharpe                          6       0
Mrs. Goodwin                        12       0
Mrs. Bunnett                        12       0
Miss Press                           6       0
Miss Pank, _Lodge_                   6       0
8.  _Cromer_.
Mrs. J. Rust                         6       0
Mrs. B. Rust                         6       0
Mrs. Hogg                            6       0
Mrs. Sidle                           6       0
9.  _Cromer_.
Miss Peele                           6       0
Miss Field                           6       0
10.  _Cromer_.
Mr. F. Pank                          6       0
Mr. E. Heath                        12       0
11.  _Gimingham & Trimingham_.
12.  _Hanworth_.
Miss Mayow                           6       0
Miss U. Mayow                        6       0
Mr. Press                            6       0
Mrs. Press                           6       0
Mr. Amis                             6       0
13.  _North Repps_.
Miss Gurney                         12       0
Miss Buxton                         12       0
Miss Richardson                      6       0
14.  _North Repps Hall_.
T. P. Buxton Esq.           £1      10       0
Mrs. Buxton                 £1      10       0
A. Johnston, Esq.                   12       0
Mrs. Johnston                       12       0
Mr. T. F. Buxton                    12       0
Mr. C. Buxton                       12       0
Miss Buxton                         12       0
Mrs. Cook                            6       0
Mrs. Hyde                            4       0
M. Kealey                            4       0
E. Rix                               4       0
M. Holmes                            4       0
S. Bourne                            4       0
15.  _Overstrand and Sydestrand Village
Miss Gurney                 £2       2       0
Miss Buxton                 £2      10       0
Mrs. Cubitt                          6       0
Miss Carr                            6       0
Mrs. Cross                           6       0
M. J. Cross                          6       0
Miss Emery                           6       0
Mrs. Moore                           4       0
Mrs. Field                           4       0
Miss Field                           4       0
Miss M. Field                        4       0
Mr. R. Curtis                        6       0
Mr. J. Curtis                        4       0
H. Roper                             4       0
L. Rushmore                          4       0
E. Goodwin                           4       0
E. Greenaker                         4       0
S. A. Nichols                        4       0
John Spinks                          4       0
Stephen Rogers                       4       0
John Howes                           6       0
Smaller subsns.             £2      10       0
16.  _Roughton_.
17.  _Runton_.
H. J. Johnson, Esq.                 12       0
Miss Johnson                         6       0
Miss E. Johnson                      6       0
Mr. I. Pank                          6       0
Mrs. Yearham                         3       0
Mrs. Bumfry                          3       0
Mr. Wright                           3       0
Miss Wright                          3       0
Mrs. Baker                           3       0
Mrs. Covell                          3       0
Miss Carr                            3       0
Miss Ellis                           3       0
Smaller subscriptions                7       0
18.  _South Repps_.
Mrs. Weeds                           6       0
19.  _Saxthorpe & Corpusty_.
Mr. Kelly                            4       0
Mr. Goldsmith                        4       0
20.  _Sheringham_.
The Hon. Mrs. Upcher                12       0
H. Upcher, Esq.                     12       0
Mrs. Upcher                         12       0
Mrs. E. C. Buxton                   12       0
Arthur Upcher, Esq.                 12       0
Mr. Overton                         12       0
Mr. Long                             6       0
Rowland                              4       0
21.  _Stody_.
Alice Pigott                         6       0
Mrs. Ladle                           6       0
Mr. Paul                             4       0
Smaller subscriptions               11       0
22.  _Weybourne_.
T. F. Buxton, Esq.                  12       0
S. Hoare, Esq.                      12       0
The Hon. Mrs. Upcher                 6       0
Mrs. Copling                         6       0
Mr. Arms                             6       0
Stephen Eades                        6       0
Mr. Pigott                           6       0


WE, the committee of the Ladies’ Bible Association for Cromer and its
neighbourhood, consider it our duty to lay before our subscribers, the
prefixed statement of the condition of our charge; and in doing so, we
think it may be expedient to accompany the same with some extracts from
the slight records which we have kept of our proceedings, since Nov.
1827, when our friend, Mr. J. J. Gurney, now on a christian mission in
America, first called us together.

We may premise that in our note of the first year, (1828,) we find the
need of the society indicated by the fact, that in one outlying district,
a poor woman had lately given three shillings for the tattered remains of
a bible.  The announcement of the formation of our association, and of
the facility which it afforded for obtaining bibles, was received with
pleasure throughout the neighbourhood.  Many parents were desirous to
avail themselves of the opportunity of providing bibles for their
children, and even some solitary old couples who could not read
themselves subscribed, that they might have a bible in the house for
their neighbours to read to them.

The young people were generally found eager to subscribe.  All the girls
(but one) of one school gave their names as soon as the plan was proposed
to them, and several having supplied themselves with bibles, continue as
free subscribers, and take much interest in reading the monthly extracts.
It was pleasant too, to see the desire of children in various places, to
devise a way to earn their own subscriptions.  One little girl, who had a
hen, set aside the first chickens for the payment of hers, and an errand
boy volunteered to run some additional miles, to obtain a few pence for

Some interesting particulars of the effect of passages of the word of God
upon individuals, have occasionally been related in conversation with the
collectors.  On one of these applying to a young man, the latter said,
that though he had a bible, he would willingly subscribe five shillings
for another, (as a gift we suppose, to some friend,) and he proceeded to
say, that when very young he was very thoughtless, and, for a length of
time, had feared neither God nor man.  Being alone one day in his
father’s house, he saw a bible lying on a window seat; he opened it in a
careless manner, and his eye was caught by a verse of awful denunciation
against sinners.  He could not bear it, and flung the bible into a corner
of the room, and went out.  The words still haunted him, and, on his
return after some time, seeing the bible still on the floor, he picked it
up, and opening it again, observed a passage containing, as he said, “a
promise, a blessed invitation.”  His attention was happily attracted, he
read on, and from that time, formed a habit of reading the scriptures,
which has proved, as he thankfully acknowledged, a blessing to his soul.

We may now mention an instance of the utility of reading the bible freely
and undauntedly to others.  A gentleman, who had been in the practice of
reading in the cottages, went into one for this purpose on the evening of
a fair held in the neighbourhood.  He found the old woman on whom he had
called gone to bed, but five or six rough-looking men were sitting round
the fire, and hesitatingly he asked, if they would let him read a chapter
to them.  They, with at least equal hesitation, assented, and our friend
asked for a bible.  They brought him first a Latin testament, but at last
a large bible was brought from another cottage, and he read to them the
26th chapter of St. Matthew’s gospel, and spoke to them on the
injunctions there given.  They all became attentive.  One of the men who
had been a smuggler, and much addicted to drinking, and who would
probably have finished his evening by intoxication at the fair, appeared
particularly struck by what he then heard.  On his going home, his wife
was astonished at his altered demeanor, but dared not speak to him; his
daughter, however, asked him, “what he had been doing?”  On which, he
answered her in his uncouth way, that he had “been praying and would pray
again, for so the gentleman had told him from the book.”  The man
entirely changed his habits from this time.  The following harvest he was
seen by the same gentleman, coming out of a farm house with a party of
fellow-labourers, and his kind friend spoke to him, fearing he had as
formerly indulged himself.  The poor man replied, “I have been doing,
sir, what I never in my life did before, I have refused a pint of beer,
for I did not want it;” and his companions confirmed his words.  His
resolution was put to a severer test the next summer, for being lame he
was set to keep the birds from a field directly opposite one of the new
public-houses.  “Was it not a temptation to you?” said the same
gentleman.  “A sad temptation, sir, and very hard it is; but I have
resisted and kept out.”  The poor man’s conduct to his family was equally
improved; and we have perhaps the more pleasure in giving this little
history, as it happened that the bible, which was rendered the instrument
of convincing this poor man of the error of his ways, was furnished by
our association.

We must here acknowledge that it in the spirit with which subscriptions
are offered, and the prayers with which they are accompanied, which give
value to the little collections, and we trust that the prevailing motive
in most of the givers, is the honest desire to spread the knowledge of
that gospel which they have themselves learnt to prize.  It is however
pleasant, when such a desire is expressed.  Thus on one of our districts
being lately revisited with a view more especially to the promotion of
free subscriptions, a fisherman came forward with his twopence a month,
saying.  “May a blessing go with it; and perhaps even that, may be the
means of saving one soul.”  A poor woman too, on giving her offering,
said to the collectors, “If I have to work ever so hard, I will have the
penny ready when you come again; for I will pay it for the sake of the

One more instance of the same kind, we cannot refrain from giving as
related by a beloved and lamented young member of our committee, who
laboured diligently during her brief career, to lead others to the
knowledge of those promises of the Redeemer, of which we may thankfully
believe she has experienced the blessed fulfilment.

    “December 13th, 1833.  We called on a poor woman to-day, who wished
    to subscribe for a bible for her son.  After she had told us the
    size, she said, ‘I am afraid of being troublesome, but might I give a
    trifle to the Bible Society?’  God, she said, had done so much for
    her, and she felt such a great desire to do something for his glory;
    then she thought what a poor, miserable, sinful creature she was,
    could she be permitted to do anything in his service?  What to do she
    could not guess!  Then she thought she would set to work, and what
    she could spare of her earnings, she would give with all her heart to
    the Bible Society, if I would be so kind as to receive it.  She made
    many more acknowledgments of God’s mercy, particularly that of
    opening her mind, to understand the word of God, which though she had
    read, it was without profit to herself, till lately, and when people
    used to speak to her of the benefit of reading it, she hardly
    believed them, but now she found it was her greatest comfort; when
    she opened her bible, she seemed directed to the particular passage
    that suited her case; and when she went to a place of worship,
    whatever the minister said, seemed meant for her.  She could not
    express all she felt for these mercies, but still to be silent, she
    knew would be wrong.  It was settled that she should pay one penny a
    week, and when she gave me her first penny, she said, ‘May God’s
    blessing go with my mite, that it may be useful.’”—A. U.

One of our committee gives the following account of a poor old deaf
widow, well known for twenty years past, as a consistent earnest

    “She is thankful to have been enabled to read and understand her
    bible.—It was for some time a sealed book to her; she read it as a
    duty, but did not feel its power; she was convinced something was
    wrong in herself, and one evening, after having suffered much
    unhappiness at not being able to enjoy her bible as some did, she
    locked her cottage door, closed her shutter, spread her bible on her
    little table, and with tears, in earnest prayer, begged that God
    would show her her error, and the way of true happiness.  She chanced
    to have opened her bible at the 16th of St. John, and her eye caught
    the verse, ‘Hitherto hast thou asked nothing in my name, ask and thou
    shalt receive, that thy joy may be full.’  This verse powerfully
    impressed her mind with the mistake she had been guilty of.  She
    pleaded ever after the intercession of her Mediator, and has
    constantly enjoyed that peace and comfort his blessed word so fully

The same lady writes:—

    “The simplicity of a little child may not be uninteresting to those
    who wish to trace the use of the bible, in its effects upon the
    poor.—A boy of eight years old, seeing his old grand-mother
    overwhelmed with grief at a severe loss of property, which she was
    quite unequal to retrieve, went up and kissing her, said, ‘Pray don’t
    grieve, God will be sure to take care of you.—The bible tells us, he
    is a friend to the widow, and that must be true.’  The poor woman was
    so struck by the earnestness of the child, that she made up her mind
    not to grieve, but to trust in God, and she is now happy and cheerful

She adds of another person who had lingered many years in acute
suffering, and whose departure was at length drawing near:—

    “Poor Mrs. W. continues to evince most strikingly the power of the
    bible to give comfort and support in the greatest need.  She said to
    me,—‘What would have become of me, had I been born in a heathen land,
    without a bible to rest upon?’”

A gentleman, who was looking after some crews that had been wrecked in
the storm of Sept. 1st, 1833, went into a room at the public house where
they were staying, and found one young man alone, with a book before him.
He observed it was a bible, issued by our British and Foreign Society,
and asked him if he was reading it.  The young man said, “Yes, he did not
know that he could read a better book, for it was worth the saving.”  He
then said, he had bought it “because it was so cheap, only three
shillings, and a very fine book!”  Our friend remarked to him, that he
“must know such bibles could not be built for that price, but that it was
afforded by means of a subscription.”  This he said he knew, and then
observed, that sailors were now reading their bibles at his port,
Shields, more than they used to do.  The gentleman said, he hoped that
they were not hypocrites.  “No,” the sailor said, “he thought not; he
believed the prayer meetings and bible readings at the time of the
cholera, had had a real effect upon numbers of them.”

We would earnestly recommend our associates not to lose the
opportunities, which their proximity to a dangerous coast too frequently
affords, of applying the word of God to the comfort of the ship-wrecked
mariner, and of fixing religious impressions which may have arisen in
hours of peril.  We possess a small depôt of Dutch and French testaments,
for the use of foreigners under such circumstances, and have occasionally
found them acceptable.  Our local position also calls for our unremitting
efforts to enlighten our fishermen, whose lives are so often in jeopardy.
The precariousness of their situation is an argument to which persons of
this class will be found peculiarly accessible, when pressed to acquaint
themselves betimes with the way of salvation.  Fishermen, too, have many
spare hours, while waiting for the tide, or detained by bad weather, on
shore or in harbour: we remember the pleasure with which a fisherman, who
had lately learnt to read, spoke to us of the delight he enjoyed in
spelling out a chapter of the testament, in the cuddy of his herring
boat, during many dreary winter evenings that he was moored in Boston

For the sake of suggesting profitable topics of discourse, and of
obtaining from time to time correct information respecting the progress
of our work, and the moral condition of our districts, a set of queries
for our collectors was drawn up soon after the beginning of our
association, and it is from the answers to these, that most of our facts
are gathered.  Some advantage is gained by keeping notes of our visits,
the state of a family is the better remembered, and appropriate remarks
may be made.  Thus in one house, which was without a bible, the woman on
being asked if she would subscribe, answered, she would consider about
it.  The visitor turned to her book and said, “Mrs. L. you gave me that
very answer when I called before, and that is four years ago to-morrow;
time flies.”  She was so struck that she immediately paid a penny towards
a half-crown testament, evidently frightened at her own procrastination.

Many of our stories bear on the desirableness of a diligent and frequent
revision of our work.  We give an extract from the notes of one of our
committee, in 1833:—

    “Having been somewhat struck with the example of the ladies of
    Wisbeach, recorded in the extracts for last October, of recanvassing
    their districts once in three years, I thought it might be well to
    visit a neighbouring village for this purpose.  I did this, with the
    cordial concurrence of the collector, who though diligent and
    persevering is incapacitated by circumstances and health from extra
    exertions.  We visited every house in the place, with scarcely an
    exception, and found 23 persons willing to pay for bibles and
    testaments.  The place has had a constant, though small supply, but
    there would be a much larger demand, were it not for the lamentable
    want of education.  Perhaps the discovery of such a state of things
    may prove in some instances one of the indirect benefits of bible
    visiting.  The effects of the bibles and testaments already
    distributed, were in some instances happily observable.  Many were
    shown me which had been purchased from the society, and some appeared
    to have been used and valued as we should wish.  One elderly and very
    poor woman showed me her bible, and said, ‘eighteen years ago I
    learnt to read in it.’  I asked how she had learnt at so advanced an
    age, being now nearly sixty: she replied, ‘I went down on my knees
    and asked God Almighty to teach me, and he did.’  I said I did not
    doubt that this was the best way, but I asked her what means had been
    used?  She told me that she had heard a sermon preached on a text in
    St. John, which so strongly impressed her mind, that she felt an
    earnest desire to read it again.  Having found the place, she spent
    nearly the whole night trying to spell the words, and returned to the
    employment the next day, till her son came in, and on his expressing
    surprise at her attempting to read, she said, ‘Then why should not
    _you_ teach me? so he taught me whenever he came in from work, and
    now I can read a chapter any where in the bible.’  In this case, if
    the Bible Society did not excite the desire, it was ready to furnish
    the means of gratifying it, to the great and lasting blessing
    apparently of the individual in question.

    “Another very old woman spoke in such terms of her testament, as to
    make me feel most thankful she had ever had it.  She reads it
    constantly, to her old infirm husband, and says, ‘I know it is all I
    have to attend to, for I am getting very forward in age.’  I
    expressed a hope that she knew to whom to look for safety in the hour
    of death; she burst into tears at the name of the Saviour, and
    earnestly expressed her sole dependence upon him, saying, she found
    herself full of sins and infirmities, but that his redemption was
    sufficient.  She showed me a friend’s tract sent her several years
    ago by a lady, and said it had done her as much good as any thing
    (saving her bible) that she had in the house; also a little
    hand-bill, dropped in the road by some ladies, it was entitled, ‘Do
    you ever pray?’ and she said she had read it over and over, and it
    always reminded her of her duty.  I cannot precisely repeat her
    conversation, but it made me strongly feel the truth of that text:
    ‘Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many
    days.’  In the road I met a very infirm and afflicted old woman, the
    survivor of a husband and, I think, of six children, living on two
    shillings per week.  I asked her whether she had a bible.  ‘Ah, I
    paid in for one several years ago, and it is the greatest comfort I
    have had.’  I afterwards saw her in her own abode, a wretched hovel,
    with a chimney in the middle, where she lives with her old and most
    wretched mother-in-law.  She showed me, with pride, her precious
    bible, for which she had paid 7_s._ 10_d._, and said, ‘I spared the
    money when I wanted it for bread many a time, but I have never
    grudged it, it is all the comfort I have, and much more comfort than
    victuals to me.’  I believe, also, the effects of it may be seen in
    her forbearance and attention to her afflicted companion.  Having
    completed my round, I took my list to the collector, who gladly
    received it, and will enter with fresh spirit on her increased task.”

The benefit of carefully revisiting our districts, has been lately again
exemplified; when on our collectors going to nearly all the families of a
small circuit, about one hundred, most of which had already provided
themselves with bibles from our institution, they obtained sixty-four new
free subscribers, (many indeed of but one half-penny per month,) and
twenty-three for bibles and testaments.  This was after the interest of
the people had been excited by an address from the zealous agent of the
Norwich Auxiliary Society, delivered at Overstrand, in the church of the
long tried friend and unwavering advocate of our cause, the Rev. John
Cubitt.  One poor woman said, that after hearing the gentleman, she went
home, and poured out her soul to God for the heathen, and on offering her
half-penny, she said, “she gave it to the Lord, and wished she could make
it more.”  Her husband, and a daughter, have also subscribed a penny per
month, free.

When a district becomes fairly stocked with bibles, we cannot expect to
find so many anecdotes, furnished by the contrast between the condition
of destitute villages, and that of those supplied with the holy
scriptures, but we think we may say that within the last ten years,
owing, as we believe, to this society, combined with the extension of
education, and other causes, there is, amongst the people of this
neighbourhood, a perceptible advance in their acquaintance with the word
of God.  This is, we think, apparent, if only in the increased readiness
with which the people turn to the chapters and verses referred to by
ministers in their sermons, or on other occasions, when the scriptures
are read and explained to them.  We hope, and we cannot but believe, that
acquaintance with the letter of scripture must produce its corresponding
fruits.  Of these, however, it is not our province to speak rashly, but
we may observe that the contrast is very striking between the moral
state, and intellectual powers of the labouring classes of those
countries where the scriptures are in general use, and those where they
have no access to the written rule of life.  The operations of the Bible
Society, and the need that exists for its redoubled exertions are fully
set forth in the annual reports, and in the monthly extracts.  You may
not, however, be displeased to have a few facts bearing on these points,
which came under the notice of two of your own associates, during
excursions on the continent, in the summers of 1836 and 1838.  In the
little intercourse that they managed to get with the people, they had
reason to feel the contrast above alluded to; they felt the want of an
acknowledged rule of common reference in conversing with individuals of
those countries from which the bible is very much excluded.  If, for
instance, they gave a tract on the keeping of the sabbath, they found the
people had no sense of the sabbath, as a day of religious observance,
because they had no understanding of its being enforced as such in the
scriptures.  There was no bringing them “to the law and to the
testimony,” which they possessed not.  Very different is the effect of
conversing with the well-taught peasantry of Scotland.  You are aware
that the scriptures are circulated with difficulty in the Austrian
dominions.  In Prague, once the seat of biblical study, and whence issued
one of the very earliest printed translations of the bible, a bookseller
told your associates that the Bohemian bible was a prohibited book; he
might obtain a copy for a known customer, but it would be a smuggling
transaction.  Your associates were much struck by the wretched appearance
of the Jews in that city.  They have a separate quarter there, as well as
at Frankfort, and in both it was melancholy to drive through the narrow,
crowded streets, and to observe the squalid degraded countenances, and
the repugnance with which they seemed to regard the christian strangers.
It made them long to extend to them the boon which they could receive
with equal pleasure and profit—their own scriptures, in their own revered
language.  Your associates did not scruple to offer a few tracts in their
passage through Austria and Bohemia, and they noticed that those which
consisted solely of scriptural extracts were received with the most
pleasure: they often left groups reading them aloud, around the post
houses.  The same may be said of the French text books, selected by Mrs.
Fry, which were always received as a most acceptable present, and so were
the few copies of the New Testament, which they were able to carry.

A friend of theirs, Mrs. R. Fox, of Falmouth, had been in the South of
France, last Spring, and had mentioned to your associates, that she had
been much pleased with a young pair, Roman Catholics, who kept the small
hotel attached to the post-house at Orange.  She found they were just
married, and she left them a bible as a wedding present.  Your associates
asked the pleasing young landlady, if she had made any use of the bible.
“Yes,” she said, “her husband and herself read a chapter of it _every_
evening;” and the warmth with which they received the friends of the
donor, proved their true value for the gift.

In France, though there may be some opposition to the dispersion of the
scriptures, especially in the south, no danger can be incurred by the
attempt.  In the Sardinian dominions, the case is far different, and it
ought to teach us to value our own privileges, when we reflect on the
sufferings still endured by others, in their adherence to the testimony
of Jesus.  When your associates were at Nice last July, they heard of a
very respectable man, a small farmer, who had just been released from the
dungeons of the neighbouring Villa Franca, where he had been spending six
months in a vault sunk in the rocky cliff below the level of the sea, for
the crime of reading the bible to his wife, under his own tree on a
Sunday.  The gentleman who told them this fact, assured them also, that
though P–’s affairs had suffered from his imprisonment, he was not a man
to be daunted, nor was he likely to waver in his faith, or in his
practice of studying the scriptures.  Two other householders had also
been imprisoned that spring for the same cause.

Your associates could venture to give but few tracts and one or two
testaments in their passage through Piedmont and Savoy.  These however
were received with much interest.  The contrast was striking when they
reached Geneva, and found a bible in every set of rooms of their well
appointed hotel.  They believe this is usual in the Protestant cantons,
at least they found the same at other hotels, and Mr. Scholl the pasteur
of Lausanne told them, they had been placed there by the committee of the
Bible Society.  A great work of religion is carried on by means of this
society, and also of the Protestant Evangelical Societies of France and
Swisserland, which combine the objects of bible, missionary, and tract
societies.  For the former, they chiefly employ the colporteurs or
travelling salesmen, described by M. de Pressensé in his excellent
account of the operations of the Bible Society in France, (printed in the
appendix to the last report 1838,) and all that is there said of the
usefulness of this devoted class of men, was amply confirmed by the
information your associates gained respecting their labours.  These too
they perform for so small a remuneration, that it is clear they are only
prompted by conscientious motives. 100,000 copies of the scriptures are
now yearly distributed in France, and the directors of the societies
find, that it answers much better to sell them at a low price, than to
give them away.  The people are less willing to surrender their bibles to
be burnt by the priests, if they have paid a sum of money, however small,
for their purchase.  In some few instances, the Roman Catholic priests
themselves have been willing to promote the sale of the scriptures.
Amongst the countries which your associates most desired to see provided
with the scriptures, should any opportunity offer of aiding the supply,
were the valleys of the Alps, the people of which are confined by the
snows for months together, and express great desire for a store of
winter’s reading.  They met with a gentleman who had lately visited Felix
Neff’s parishes of the Hautes Alpes.  They asked if his work stood; he
assured them it did, and said that Neff’s people showed the effect of his
labours by the morality of their conduct, and especially by their
kindness towards each other, and freedom from petty quarrels, and
disputes about their strips of fertile land, which, from the general
barrenness of the soil, form a frequent source of litigation amongst
little proprietors in such situations.  They are however, excessively
poor; the best Sunday dinner they had to offer our friend was soup made
with suet, like tallow, and dried beans, with black bread two years old
chopped with a hatchet; the fare which killed poor Neff: he much wished
that a supply of bibles could be sent them, for they greatly needed them.
They had kept up the schools established by Neff, and in the long
winter’s evenings used to meet in the cow-houses (for warmth) to read by
lamp light, but they were very destitute of books of all kinds.  In no
way, perhaps, could a grant of bibles be better bestowed, than amongst
these well-disposed mountaineers, who may be in danger of losing the
christian standing they have acquired under the influence of a most
devoted minister, if they are not assisted to keep up their knowledge of
the word of God which he so successfully laboured to infuse.

We cannot omit to notice, that our association had pleasure in taking its
little share in the grant issued by the Parent Society, in thankful
commemoration of the event of the first of August, 1834, the abolition of
slavery throughout the British dominions.  Some of our subscribers
especially, took this occasion of proving that a liberal spirit is not to
be circumscribed by restricted means.  The behaviour of the negroes on
the day of their first emancipation, and on that of its completion by the
termination of the apprenticeship, Aug. 1st, 1838, has been such as to
afford an assurance that they could appreciate the gift.  A private
letter from Trinidad says, that the first of August last, “was spent in
praise, reading the scripture and prayer; all was order and peace.  Not a
drum or dance was heard, and the best of feeling pervaded every heart;”
and another from Jamaica, that “the day was there held as a sabbath.”

In retracing our course, many pleasing recollections present themselves;
we could name an aged friend of the cause, who had always given us her
cordial support, the last act of whose existence as to worldly affairs
was to put into her daughter’s hand her subscription for the bible and
other societies, in advance for the ensuing year, (1832,) with a warm
expression of the love for that gospel which must, she was convinced,
finally spread and prevail.  We could speak of another, a member of our
committee, who has carried the good wishes of us all to a distant island,
(Ceylon,) where she is placed, and we doubt not to useful purpose,
amongst scenes of heathen darkness, which she could effectively feel for,
when she little expected to behold them.  Others of our fellow-labourers
have been called to other spheres of active duty; but in one sense we may
truly say, that our band has never been disunited.  It will be seen from
the prefixed statement of our secretaries that we have distributed 2450
bibles and testaments, since our commencement, but we fear that the
obvious remark (on the inspection of our accounts) will be this, that our
efforts have not advanced in the ratio that might have been expected; we
are, however, convinced, that there needs but a vigorous push to carry
the present year’s gathering ahead of any former sum, and this
gratification we would call upon our friends, to secure for themselves
and for us.  We trust indeed that the work of renovation has been already
put in train by the labours of Mr. Wiseman, (the society’s agent, to whom
we have already alluded,) in forming new village associations, and in
exciting a fresh spirit of zeal amount us.  Our hearty desire is, that
every family in all our districts may be brought into direct connexion
with a society, which has already circulated nearly eleven million copies
of the holy scriptures.

The Use of the Ladies’ Bible Association

            “As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men.”


I.  Have we attended to the suggestions to collectors?

And to the directions of our printed papers?

How many “free contributors” have we now subscribing?

How many “subscribers for bibles and testaments” have we now on our list,
“not yet supplied?”

Can we mention the number of our _free_ contributors in each district,
“since the establishment of our association?”

And the number of our subscribers for bibles or testaments since the
establishment of our association, in November, 1827?

                                * * * * *

II.  How many families are there in our districts?

How many of these have we visited this year?

What number of persons can read in these families visited, and how many
are supplied with bibles?

Could we ascertain the number of persons above six years old, who cannot
read at all, in each of our districts?

                                * * * * *

III.  Are we alive to the feelings and interests of those with whom we

Have we taken pains to inform ourselves of the habits of our cottagers
with regard to reading the scriptures, and do we endeavour, in seasons of
sickness and calamity, to lead our neighbours to seek for comfort in the

Can we discover that any passages have impressed them, and can we mark
the application of such passages to their own circumstances?  In very
many cases it may be desirable, not only to recommend the constant
perusal of the scriptures, but to direct the attention of our subscribers
to the plainest parts, and to point out particular chapters, and even
books, of the sacred volume, for their study.

Do we enforce the necessity of private prayer, and of a regular
attendance on public worship?

                                * * * * *

IV.  Can we bring forward any instances of piety and love to our Lord and
Saviour, appearing in the character of the contributors?

Any proofs of habits of prayer for the grace of the Holy Spirit?

Any instances of truth, uprightness, and honesty?  Any acts of
self-government, self-denial, and general moral restraint?

Any victory obtained over prevailing temptations, such as
Sabbath-breaking, drinking, smuggling, &c., over evil tempers, and
propensities, in obedience to the commands of God?

                                * * * * *

V.  What indirect benefits can we ascribe to the operation of our

Are we as collectors and visitors, instrumental in promoting peace and
harmony, and in diffusing some religious feeling?

And do we encourage good order, neatness, and economy, amongst our poorer

                                * * * * *

VI.  Do we try to interest all our subscribers in the dispersion of the
scriptures in foreign parts?

And are we careful not to discourage even the poorest from enjoying
according to their very limited means, the privilege and blessing of
contributing to so good a cause?

                                * * * * *

VII.  Are we vigilant to uphold, and zealous to assist and to encourage
each other in the work before us?

Any information on the subjects of the above queries will be very
thankfully received, for the use of the committee, by

                                                                  S. M. B.
                                                      NORTH REPPS COTTAGE.

                                * * * * *

  _N.B.  This Report is printed independently of the funds of the Bible

                                * * * * *


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