BLTC Press Titles

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The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller

The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

Booksellers and bookbuyers in byeways and highways

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon


THE Christian Colportage Association is one of the youngest of the pure literature societies, having been established about seven years, and its constitution differs in some respects from that of other similar agencies. Explaining the working of the Society some time ago the secretary said that there were nearly seventy colporteurs in different parts of England and Wales, all quietly and more or less efficiently working away at their duties. That which aroused the promoters of the Parent. Society to a sense of the need of such a work was the knowledge that an enormous amount of literature of the vilest possible kind was poured out among society every week. In London alone there were three million copies of demoralizing literature issued every week, and there was one Sunday newspaper alone which had a weekly issue of six hundred thousand. The great aim of the Colportage Society was to win souls to Christ, and this the Society kept in view in selecting the publications for sale. The Bible first, and then good and religious books. Vile literature found its way into the quietest corners of English home life; in the cottages of the poor a Bible was not often to be had, while a sickly serial or an evil newspaper might be had readily. The fact, however, was that the thirst for unclean and debasing literature permeated all classes of society, and the work of the colporteur was as much re" quired among the middle and upper classes as among the lower.

Speaking at one of the early meetings of the Society,, Mr. S. A. Blackwood said :—

" It appears to me that a most convincing proof of the need for the Christian Colportage Association is found in the fact that in four years and ten months it has received, in subscriptions, ^10,453, in days when there is much difficulty in getting money for Christian work. This I think you will accept as evidence that it is doing something that could not be done without its help. And when I tell you that in the districts already occupied by the Society—amounting now to sixty-three in number—the sales amount to a total of upwards of ^22,000, and that 53,628 copies of the Scriptures, 492,000 good books, and 394,000 periodicals have been sold, and 900,000 tracts have been given away, you will see that there must have been a wide sphere for the operations of the Society, and an unsupplied demand for pure, wholesome Christian literature.

"The object of the Society, further, is destructive. It seeks to destroy—by supplanting with good—the abominable, trashy, immoral, and infidel literature that is flooding our land on every side; displayed in thousands of shop windows in towns and villages, as well as in London; devoured by little children, boys and girls, and polluting the mind of the rising generation to an extent almost inconceivable."

On the same subject the Rev. Dr. Dykes also re* marks:—

" Our peasantry are being educated, and that politically too. What are you going to do with this people, under these circumstances ? Do you think the present state of things will enable you to meet them and their requirements? I do not. But I think the Colportage Society is one great step in the right direction, by sending to the people men of the same class of life as themselves, little if any different from themselves, but superior only it may be in Christian life and knowledge of divine things, who meet them in their own homes and by their own firesides, with a kindly Christian personal life; who meet them as traders, as men of business,—I ask, can you show us any other way or means so well adapted to reach the homes and hearts of our peasantry as the work of the colporteurs ? who, like the rills and runnels in our native land, quietly and modestly carry, both by their life and their books, into many otherwise unreachable districts and homes, the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, fertilizing, blessing, and doing lasting good."

At a meeting of this Society, a clergyman mentioned that upon visiting a dying girl he found a copy of one of the low serials of the present time, the front page of which is covered with ghastly pictures of murder and violence, pasted up at the foot of the bed so that the poor girl might look at it. Upon remonstrating with the mother, she replied : " WJiy, sir, she has it put there every week; she wouldn't be happy without it! "

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