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The American Tract Society
The Rev. THOMAS SMYTH, D. D.
Published in The Southern Episcopalian
ARTICLES ON THE AMERICAN TRACT
Why I LOVE THE AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY. 1. I love it, because it is American. It is not English, Irish, or Scotch. It is not European, Asiatic, or African. It is American. It was born, nurtured and matured in these United States, and it is the offspring of the nation. It is not Northern, nor Southern, nor Eastern, nor Western. It is American. It has no relation to section or party, either in Church or State, either political or ecclesiastical. It knows no isms, except American isms, and no narrower limits than those which are defined in the ninth article of its constitution, that is "all parts of the United States."
2. I love it because it is a Tract Society. The Bible is made up of tracts written at sundry times, in divers manners, and by many various authors, but all breathing the same spirit, all telling the same story, and all having for their common object to "promote the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as the Redeemer of sinners, and the interests of vital godliness and sound morality.”
The publication of tracts is therefore, the divine plan for best instructing and awakening sinners, and love I this Society, because it adopts God's plan of doing good. And as the object of this Society is precisely the same as that of the Bible, I love it both for its object, and for its instrumentality as being both divine.
3. I love it because it is a Society-an association. Association is a divine principle, unknown to antiquity, originated and first exemplified by christianity. It is indeed the basis of the family, of the Church, of tribes, and of kingdoms. But as a bond of voluntary union on the ground of some common principles; selected from many others; because they are mutually believed that they may be mutually acted upon, for mutual benefit and for the good of others—so far forth as these princiles extend and no further; in this aspect of it, association is exclusively christian, and only found co-extensive and cotemporaneous with christian civilization.
I love the American Tract Society, therefore for its principle as well as for its nationality, its patriotism, its divine instrumentality, and its God-like object.