COMMITTEE OF THE STONEHOUSE AUXILLIARY BIBLE SOCIETY
The Stonehouse society was founded in 1815 to assist the British and Foreign Bible Society in the propagation of the Gospel and other “missionary exertions”. A committee was formed with laws and regulations drawn up.
Immediately in 1815, subscriptions and donations allowed £24 and 10 shillings to be paid to the British and Foreign Bible Society, through its Hamilton chapter. Also £10 was paid to the Baptist Mission in India and £3 3 shillings to the Religious Tract Society of Edinburgh.
The goal of the Stonehouse society members was to bring others to the religion which is “the source of all happiness here and hopes hereafter” and to extend the influence of religion thro’ missionaries. To reinforce the message and influence of the missionaries it was necessary to bring their teachings in the indigenous language wherever they were established. Many of the British Royal family promoted this endeavour. That is why so many local societies sprung up across the British Isles, of which Stonehouse was one. Vast sums of money were needed to publish all these scriptures. Extensive co-operation and collection of subscriptions was necessary to push forward this scheme so the slogan was “One halfpenny per week constitutes an individual member of the Society! DARE any of us…….refuse to lend this small pittance to the Lord.” “Imitate the example of our Divine Master who deemed it more blessed to give than receive.”
In Stonehouse Parish, a considerable number of Bibles and Testaments in large print were distributed, with some still in hand for anyone else from the neighbourhood who could request them. It was acknowledged by the Stonehouse Committee that some people could not be expected to give regular pecuniary aid. In March 1815, 186 subscribers from Stonehouse are listed, of whom 12 made up the committee and another 3 held the posts of President, Secretary and Treasurer.
This grand objective was to be spread throughout the settlements of British Empire and beyond, to bring the pure light of the Gospel to all dark places on Earth. Within the British Isles the scriptures were translated into Gaelic, Welsh, Irish and Manx and used in public charitable institutions and hospitals as well as every Church and Sunday school. They were also distributed in the dominions of the Empire to slaves and prisoners of war.
The first translation of the New Testament into English was by Wm Tyndale from 1526 to 1534.
King James VI of Scotland authorised a translation of the Bible into Scots from 1604-1611.
The British and Foreign Bible Society was founded in London in 1804 with the purpose of supplying bibles world-wide in a language people could understand. In its first year it published in 67 languages and now 200 years later there are over 2000 languages covered, translation work continues. The archives of the society are now deposited in Cambridge University Library.
A copy of the original First Report of the Committee of the Stonehouse Auxillary Bible Society with laws and Regulations is provided in the following link and it also provides a list of subscribers.
We note that it was 200 years to the current year 2015 when we received a copy of the phamplet detailing when the society was formed, the society had 186 subscribers in its first year. The laws and regulations are outlined below.
A list of subscribers is provided below.
(Thanks to Shaun Brown who provided an original committee extract phamplet and to June Gilmour who extracted the above information May 2015)