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Wednesday, 17 September 1919

Mr SPEAKER (Hon W Elliot Johnson (LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I desire to announce that His Excellency the Governor-General, Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson, accompanied by Her Excellency Lady Munro Ferguson and representatives ofthe British and Foreign Bible Society of Victoria, assembled in the north lobby of Parliament House on Friday afternoon for the purpose of presenting to the Commonwealth Parliament a Bible and lectern from the Bible Society as a souvenir of the signing" of Peace. Their Excellencies were received by Mr. President and Mr. Speaker on behalf of the Parliament, and by ChaplainGeneral Rentoul, D.D., and Mr. John M. Griffiths on behalf of the British and Foreign Bible . Society. The following' is the official report of the proceed- ings:- "HIS EXCELLENCY, in making the presentation, said - It is my privilege to present this copy of the Scriptures to the Commonwealth Parliament on behalf of the Bible Society, an organiaztion which has a long, and illustrious history. No doubt many members of Parliament are familiar with the works of the society's greatest colporteur, George Borrow, and haveread his celebrated book, The Bible in Spain. In his day, centuries ago, the need for the activities of the Bible Society were very apparent, and evidenced by the story of one great coal master betting another that he could not say the Lord's Prayer, and paying the forfeit when his friend triumphantly vindicated his knowledge by repeating the 23rd psalm. In contrast to this we can trace in the most mundane deliverances of a hustled and bustled Prime Minister evidences of familiarity with . Bible language, without which no man can measure the strength,' flexibility, the majesty and rhythm of the English tongue. I come from a country where, as in Wales, the Bible -has played a great part in moulding national character and stimulating the intellectual development of the people. Scotland has, no doubt, had other pre-occupations - she has never neglected a bawbee - but she owes her moral stability and her attachment to the eternal verities to the fact that for centuries the Bible has been the standard work in the home and in the school. The Bible Society and parliamentary government are typically British institutions. One strives to promote the good of man and of the nation by implanting high ideals in the heart of the individual, and the other by engrafting such ideals and giving them permanence in the laws of the country. It is fitting, therefore, that this Book should be given, by the Bible Society to Parliament to stand in its Library as a symbol of the copartnership of two forces working in very different fields for the good of the country and the uplift of national life. "Mr. SPEAKER (Hon. W. Elliot Johnson), in accepting the gift, said Your Excellency and representative's of the Victorian branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society: I desire to express, on behalf of honorable members, a deep appreciation of the handsome gift of this beautifully-bound copy of the Bible and the appropriately-designed lectern accompanying it. Not only will the Bible, with its historical inscription, be a valued and distinctive addition to the Commonwealth Library, but it will stand as a constant reminder of the fact that its presentation was 'associated with the restoration of a condition of peace following upon four years and a half of unprovoked warfare, waged with relentless ferocity and unparalleled cruelty and inhumanity against peacefully disposed countries by a nation intoxicated with the mad lust of power, ambition, and world conquest.

A gigantic world-encompassing conflict was precipitated as the ultimate consequence of. the vicious ethical and moral training of thepeople of Germany, and flagrant disregardof the principlesand nobleChristian idealsenshrined within thecoversof this sacred Book.

Honorable members generally, I am sure, heartilyappreciate the gift, and the spiritby which it was prompted. May I express the hope that it will ever serve to inspire us all in the performance of our dutiesas legislators to strive to mould the destinies of Australia in harmony with its great ideals, its lessons, and its precepts. I commend to the earnest consideration of honorable members, before they return to the chamber to renew their legislative duties, a quotation inscribed on thecover, from a psalm with which, doubtless, many, if not all, of them are familiar -

Beholdhow good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. "The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Hughes). - Your Excellency, Mr. President, and Mr. Speaker.-I feel illequipped to speak those wordsthat ought to be spoken upon such an occasion as this. Whatever giftsof speechI may have, are, I fear, utterly unsuited to servemy presentpurpose; but, on behalf of my fellowmembers,I desireto sayas well asI can how much we appreciate this manifestation of that which His Excellency has signalized asthe joy which is in the hearts of himself and of thepeopleof Australia, of the Empire, and of the world, that Peace has comeat last.

In what concrete form could he have expressed that joy which would be onehalf so suited tothe occasion as in the presentation of this Bible? " On earthpeace, good-will toward men !" Thatis in our hearts; and that is our purpose. The Australian nation - emerging as it is after dreadful trials in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.; and, turning its face towards the rising sun, heavily laden, surrounded on all sides by pitfalls,beset by difficulties - shall find in those words which are here set outthat consolation, that counsel, that advice, that stimulus for courage and patience, whichalone can see us through.

Your Excellency, onbehalf of the Par liament, I thank you. Ihope that succeeding generations willregard this asoneof those things whichmark thespirit in whichthe Australianpeople, whohavedone their dutynobly in the war,accepteda great victory - not arrogantly, not in a spiritof vengeance, but in a spirit of true thankfulness; offering up to the Diety who has had us in His kindly keeping these many and dark years those thanks for all thatwe oweto Him. " The Rev.W. S. ROLLAND. - Your Excellency. - Onbehalfofthe Victorian branch of theBritish and Foreign Bible Society, I desire to tender to youa hearty vote of thanks for your kindness, and for the kindness of Lady Munro Ferguson, inbeingpresent with usupon this very unique occasion.We accord toyouour hearty thanks for the admirable address which you have delivered in connexion with this presentation. Weall join - both the members of this Parliament and the members ofthe British and Foreign Bible Society - in expressing to you, sir, our thanks and. appreciation. I formally move that such a vote ofthanks be given. " Mr. JAMES BIRTCHNELL.- It is my pleasure andprivilege to second the motionexpressing the thanks of this gathering.

Motioncarried withacclamation.

Chaplain-Major Hume Robertson, B.A., pronounced the Benediction.

The proceedings concludedwith the National Anthem."

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