Schuermans in central Asia
George Mueller Of Bristol
The Scriptural Knowledge Institution For Home And Abroad
I. The Principles of the Institution.
1. We consider every believer bound, in one way or another, to help the cause of Christ, and we have scriptural warrant for expecting the Lord's blessing upon our word of faith and labour of love: and although, according to Matthew xiii.24-43, II Tim. iii. 1-13, and many other passages, the world will not be converted before the coming of our Lord Jesus, still, while He tarries, all scriptural means ought to be employed for the ingathering of the elect of God.
2. The Lord helping us, we do not mean to seek the patronage of the world; i.e., we never intend to ask unconverted persons of rank or wealth to countenance the Institution, because this, we consider, would be dishonourable to the Lord. In the name of our God we set up our banners,d.1 He alone shall be our Patron, and if He helps us we shall prosper, and if He is not on our side, we shall not succeed.
3. We do not mean to ask unbelievers for moneyd.2 though we do not feel ourselves warranted to refuse their contributions, if they, of their own accord should offer them.d.3
4. We reject altogether the help of unbelievers in managing or carrying on the affairs of the Institution.d.4
5. We intend never to enlarge the field of labour by contracting debts,d.5 and afterwards appealing to the church of God for help, because this we consider to be opposed both to the letter and the spirit of the New Testament; but in secret prayer, God helping us, we shall carry the wants of the Institution to the Lord, and act according to the means that God shall give.
6. We do not mean to reckon the success of the Institution by the amount of money given, or the number of Bibles distributed, etc., but by the Lord's blessing upon the workd.6 and we expect this, in the proportion in which He shall help us to wait upon Him in prayer.
7. While we would avoid aiming after needless singularity, we desire to go on simply according to Scripture, without compromising the truth; at the same time thankfully receiving any instruction which experienced believers, after prayer, upon scriptural ground, may have to give us concerning the Institution.
II. The Objects of the Institution
1. To assist day-schools, Sunday-schools, and adult-schools, in which instruction is given upon scriptural principles, and, as far as the Lord may give the means, and supply us with suitable teachers, and in other respects make our path plain, to establish schools of this kind.
a. By day-schools upon scriptural principles, we understand day-schools in which the teachers are godly persons,— in which the way of salvation is scripturally pointed out, and in which no instruction is given opposed to the principles of the gospel.
b. Sunday-schools, in which all the teachers are believers, and in which the Holy Scriptures alone are the foundation of instruction, are such only as the Institution assists with the supply of Bibles, Testaments, etc.; for we consider it unscriptural that any persons who do not profess to know the Lord themselves should be allowed to give religious instruction.
c. The Institution does not assist any adult-schools with the supply of Bibles, Testaments, spelling-books, etc., except the teachers are believers.
2. To circulate the Holy Scriptures.
We sell Bibles and Testaments to poor persons at reduced price. But while we, in general, think it better that the Scriptures should be sold, and not given altogether gratis, still, in cases of extreme poverty, we think it right to give, without payment, a cheap edition.
3. The third object of this Institution is to aid missionary efforts.
We desire to assist those missionaries whose proceedings appear to be most according to the Scriptures.
It is proposed to give such a portion of the amount of the donations to each of the fore-mentioned objects the Lord may direct; but if none of the objects should claim a more particular assistance, to lay out an equal portion upon each; yet so that if any donor desires give for one of the objects exclusively the money shall be appropriated accordingly.
d.1 Psalm xx.5, "We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions."
d.2 II Corinthians vi.14-18.
d.3 Acts xxviii.2-10.
d.4 II Corinthians vi.14-18.
d.5 Romans xiii.8.
d.6 Zechariah iv.6.