Sunday, March 5, 2017

Church Record Sunday: Prince William Auxiliary Bible Society (1829)

Alexandria Gazette
29 May 1829


Brentsville, May 3d, 1829

   The Annual Meeting of the Prince William Bible Society appointed to be held on yesterday, having been prevented by rain, the members thereof, sufficient to proceed to business, assembled to-day in the Court-House; and, the President being absent, on motion, the Rev. Elias Harrison, of Alexandria, late Corresponding Secretary to the Young Men's Bible Society of Alexandria, who favored the Society with is presence, was called to preside over the meeting.  The following Report was then read by the Corresponding Secretary, and adopted:


   The period fixed by the constitution of the Prince William County Bible Society for its Annual Meeting, and a Report of the Board of Managers, for the past year, having arrived, they beg lleave, respectfully, to present the following statement:

   In the first instance, its their duty to acknowledge the favorable circumstances under which they are permitted to meet together at this time, calling for the unreserved homage of their grateful acknowledgments to the Giver of all Good; and, although they are thus favored by their Divine Parent, they have to deprecate and lament the many deficiencies, on their part, in discharging those duties imposed upon them from the nature of their trust; but they, are nevertheless, encouraged to persevere, from the circumstances that they are not left wholly without hope of the ultimate success of the important work in which they are engaged. The means to perpetuate it are within their reach, and are attainable by proper management and renewed energies--which are alike indispensable to the accomplishment of all objects of importance. That Christianity has elevated the character of man, ,and blessed him, in the various relations he has sustained in this life, we presume will not be denied by many.  We must shut our eyes against the light of truth, if we do not yield implicit faith to the exalting virtues of our divine religion. We can, perhaps, form some estimate of its value and influence, by supposing that it had never shed its light and blessings upon us. -- What, then, would have been our condition, or the state of the world? In all probability, the gross darkness which benighted mankind int eh first ages, and, in some degree, now extends over our happy and beloved country, would have been perpetuated.  The "Star that attracted the curiosity of the Wise Men of the East," has become a sun of light to the  human race; and wherever its light reached, it has been the parent of civilization, of knowledge, and of virtue. Christianity being a revelation from God, recorded in the Bible, it must be obvious that we can never have a just and satisfactory view of its doctrines, unless we are possessed of the writings that promulgate them. In diffusing these sacred books, we, of course, render an all important benefit to our country; hence we should feel the importance of extending these lights to our fellow creatures of every condition, which would enable them to act correctly, and to appreciate justly the advantages and blessings we enjoy over every other nation, and above all, open the way to a state of unchangeable bliss.

   It gives them pleasure to state, that no occurrence has transpired, in the discharge of their duties, calculated to injure the cause -- They have endeavored to act upon what they conceive to be the spirit and intention of the constitution, and feel assured no instance can be adduced, in which secrarian feelings have had any influence in the discharge of their duties.

   Since the appointment of Managers, in the first instance, the names of Joseph A. Williamson and Wallace McCrea, Esqs. have been added to the list--the former to supply the vacancy, occasioned by the death of James Howerson, and the latter that of Dr. James B. C. Thornton, who has not rendered himself eligible by signing our constitution.

   As yet we have accomplished but little in the distribution of Bibles and Testaments, in consequence of inattention on the part of some of the Agents, and for the ant of time by the Treasurer to make collections and reports of the state of the funds. We have not the means of ascertaining, with any degree of accuracy, the number of persons destitute of the Scriptures within the county but, from the facts that have come to our knowledge, there is a much larger number than was anticipated.

   From the Treasurer's account, as audited, it appears that the sum of $25 have been laid out in procuring 14 Bibles and 70 Testaments -- nearly all of which have been distributed in various parts of the county by Agents appointed for that purpose. There remains, at present, in his hands the sum of $9 89 cents, to be laid out as heretofore; and the sum of $26 is yet to be collected from the list of the year now closed.

   Some remarks having been made by the Chairman, on the importance of the cause in which the members of the institution are mutually engages; the necessity of free expression of sentiment by the members, as to the most advantageous measures to be adopted; and the salutary effect of a resolution to go forward; and not to be content with small calculations, as to the work to be performed during the year upon which we had just entered--

On motion, it was
   Resolved, That the members of this institution will, in the course of the present year, if accompanied by the blessing of Providence, furnish each destitute family in the County of Prince William with a copy of the Holy Scriptures.

On motion,
   Resolved, That the constitution be so amended, that the annual meeting of this Society shall, in future, be held on the 4th Sabbath in March; at which time a delegate shall be appointed to attend the subsequent annual meeting of the Young Men's Bible Society of Alexandria.

On motion,
   Resolved, That we now proceed to the election of Officers for the present year.

Whereupon the following persons were duly elected:

   William J. Weir, President
   Richard Foote, 1st Vice President
   Francis T. Cheris, 2d Vice President
   Thomas R. Hampton,   Corr. Secretary
   Joseph A. Williamson, Treasurer
   Larkin N. Sanders, Recording Sec'y.

John S. Trone, George Washington Renoe, Robt. Latham, Bazil Brawner, James B. Ewell, Fitzhuh Carter, Joseph R. Lynn, Henry L. Lewis, George W. Fitzhugh, and Wesley Fitzhugh, Managers.

   Resolved, That the thanks of this Society be tendered to the President thereof, for his activity and zeal during the past year.

   And the meeting is adjourned.

Teste:  TH. R. HAMPTON, Cor. Secretary.

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