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gone through. This must, indeed, be a gratifying proof to you of the excellence of your system over that generally pursued.”
A short note, received not long since, from a Christian friend, I am induced to introduce in this place. It will speak for itself, and will be readily understood by all who are taught of God to know the power of his truth and the enmity of the unrenewed mind against him.
The following is the note to which I refer :
“My son lately met a gentleman just returned from Australia, and it struck me that his unwilling testimony to the good effects of Dr Browning's labours was valuable, as coming from such a quarter.
“Speaking of the convicts, he said—There are some among them who are shrewd clever fellows, and they are cunning enough to know that good behaviour is more likely to be advantageous to their interests in the colony than bad; so they become the most consummate hypocrites, and, from the time they land, pretend to be penitent, and they manage to act their part so well, that their conduct is irreproachable, and people are glad to employ them, and in this way they get on. They are a complete contrast to the abandoned race who act incorrigibly. May not we who have been behind the scenes, and watched the results of the religious impression produced on board The Convict Ship,' hail this irreproachable conduct as a fruit meet for repentance ? That men of the world, who are ignorant of the power of the gospel, should call it hypocrisy, is not wonderful, but it may lead those who are endeavouring to reclaim the wanderer, to thank God and take courage.
(Signed) “E. A.”
EXTRACT FROM A LETTER WRITTEN BY AN OFFICIAL GENTLEMAN
RESIDING IN SYDNEY, AFTER THE PRISONERS HAD BEEN
“SYDNEY, New South Wales, Oct. 3, 1850. “I am happy to be able to assure you, that, up to this moment, with very few exceptions, your 'Hashemy' men still
retain their high character; the doctrines so well impressed upon them have enabled them, in the midst of temptation, to pursue their course in honesty and integrity,-a fact that must be most gratifying to you, and one which proves most conclusively the advantage of the discipline, mainly consisting of scriptural instruction and prayer to God, which you always have adopted in regard to such men while under your charge."
FROM A LETTER WRITTEN SOON AFTER THE FOREGOING.
“ Your men have been an example of good conduct to all the ticket-of-leave holders who came out. Up toʻthis time we continue to receive from all those who engaged them, assurances of their being most useful and honest servants.”
HERE I close my report of my ten voyages-eight from Great Britain, and two from Norfolk Island to the Australian colonies - with convicts; 2,420 of whom have been, in successive bodies, committed to my charge. To the whole of these, while they were on board, was the salvation of Christ daily exhibited, and instruction imparted from the holy Scriptures, accompanied with humble and fervent prayer, and according to the ability vouchsafed from on high. The 1,722 prisoners who embarked in England were, of course, much more fully instructed in the truths of Divine revelation than the 698 who were removed from Norfolk Island to Tasman's Peninsula; but all had clearly and faithfully declared to them the truth concerning Jesus Christ, which is able to save the soul, and by which the Holy Spirit is graciously pleased to translate sinners from darkness to light, to rescue them from the power of Satan, and bring them to God.
Several hundreds of sailors and soldiers, with the wives of the latter, have also had opportunity of sharing with the prisoners in the instruction imparted to them from day to day; and large masses of con
victs in the colonies and Norfolk Island have I had frequent opportunity of addressing, and of earnestly warning to flee from the wrath to come unto Jesus, the only refuge provided for the guilty and the lost. All the good that has been accomplished must be referred to the Word and Spirit of God. When I think of the countless imperfections which have mixed with all my labours, I see abundant cause of deep humiliation and self-abasement, because in every thing I have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Whatever I have done needs to be pardoned; it is only the work of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, that is perfect and free from all taint.
The foregoing record exhibits nothing more than the happy effects which the instruction of the Scriptures is calculated to produce, and which has been promised to the believing and prayerful teaching of the Word; nothing appears to encourage pride or selfgratulation; all that is good is of God, and to him belongs all the glory. A considerable number of the prisoners who appeared, while on board, to receive the truth in the love of it, were rescued, not merely from the power of ordinary hindrances, but from the deadly delusions of the mystery of iniquity; for when they embarked they were members of the idolatrous and apostate church; but during the progress of the voyage, Divine light was let into their minds—they received the holy Bible as the inspired Word of God, and the only rule of their faith and obedience; and before they landed in the colony, they renounced the
fatal communion of the apostasy, and became consistent members of the Church of Christ.
In conclusion, we would earnestly implore all parents and all instructors of the people, especially of the young, to put forth, with unflagging and devout zeal, their utmost legitimate efforts, in the strength of the Lord, to promote the close and prayerful study of the Bible, and the cultivation of the habit of bringing, in honesty, all doctrine and practice to the touchstone of written and inspired truth, according to which we and all mankind shall be tried and disposed of at the judgment-day.
We desire to give thanks unto God for all the good he has been pleased to accomplish by former editions of this work, and would commit the present impression also to his Divine and effectual blessing; praying, that although it may in its feebleness be reckoned among “the things which are despised,” yea, among “ the things which are not,” he may nevertheless be graciously pleased to employ it to resist the spread of idolatry, superstition, and infidelity, that threaten to overrun our land; and to promote the spiritual reign of Christ in the hearts of the people, according to Divine promise. And such desirable results does this volume tend to produce, inasmuch as it encourages the diffusion among all classes of the community the knowledge of the inspired Scriptures, ignorance and neglect of which are so favourable to the growth of vice and crime, of insubordination and sedition, and of all ungodliness;