Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

the Captain of a French vessel was reading the Testament which he had received, his crew was observed to be looking over his shoulder, with the most serious countenances, anxious to know its contents. Such have been some of the immediate effects of the Merchant Seamen's Auxiliary Bible Society.

:

On the importance of this establishment to the Mariners themselves, their immediate employers, and the community at large, your Committee consider it unnecessary to expatiate it will, they trust, be deeply felt by every British subject; and more especially by those who, from considerations of property, occupation, or connexion, have, in addition to the paramount obligations of religion and humanity, a personal interest in the spiritual and moral improvement of the commercial marine.

and the influence of more than 600 ladies, embracing many of the most respectable and pious females in Liverpool, and its vicinity, were called into exercise under the paironage of the Countess of Derby, and other ladies of rank. The union, harmony, and co-operative spirit which characterised the establishment of these Eleven Auxiliaries; the systematic energy with which their proceedings have been conducted; and the extraordinary fact of their having within three months obtained 7292 subscribers, issued 1338 Bibles and Testaments, and raised more than 9701., unanswerably demonstrates the practicability of engaging females to occupy a most useful and efficient department in this work of benevclence; and justifies an assertion of your Committee, (which they here repeat,) that Associations of this de scription, "if regularly constituted, and discreetly administered, are likely to become an instrument of extensive and permanent good."

The Report proceeds in giving a delightful account of the exertions and success of Bible Societies on the、 continent of Europe-in the United Netherlands, Hanover, Prussia, Mecklenburg Wurtemberg, France and Italy. In Denmark and Sweden the Bible Societies are greatly encouraged by the reigning Princes and much has been done; but still greater things have been done in Russia as will appear from the following ex tracts:-

Another source from which by much the largest proportion of additional aid to the local, and eventually to the general, interest of your Society has been derived, is the zeal so laudably manifested by the female part of the community. Desirous of turning this zeal, which had already displayed itself in the formation of "Ladies' Bible Associations," to advantageous account, your Committee examined the regulations by which their proceedings were governed, and issued them in a revised form, in the hope that they might be found serviceable, in giving to that class of exertions a prudent and useful direction. The model suggested in the circular referred to, has, with few exceptions, and those arising altogether, it is believed, out of local peculiarities, been generally adopted; and the effects already produced encourage the expectation of the most pleasing and beneficial results.

As an example, under this head, the Liverpool Ladies' Auxiliary Bible Society, with its ten Associations, deserves to be particularly cited. In the production of this system of Female Auxiliaries, (to which, as well as to by much the largest proportion of these Institutions throughout the country, the personai exertions of Mr. Charles Stokes Dudley, essentially contributed,) the zeal, the talents,

"Your Committee now proceed to Russia and here they feel equally at a loss to express their astonishment at the prodigious operations, in furtherance of the general cause, which are going forward in that extensive Empire, and to exhibit any thing like an adequate representation of them in the columns of this Annual Record.

Fostered by the paternal care of His Imperial Majesty, Alexander, the Russian Bible Society has, in the course of the past year, enlarged very considerably the field of its ex----ertions, and strengthened itself by various newly-formed and promising Auxiliaries in different parts of the Empire.-The following are the prin

place in the three preceding years, while the increase of the funds had been in nearly an equal proportion: Bi--and, moreover, that preparations were making, at the close of that year, for stereotyping the Scriptures in five different languages; versions were going forward into the common Russian, Tartar, and Carelian languages; and measures were adopting for procuring translations into the Turkish-Armenian, and Buriat- Mon. golian. When to these particulars, it is added, that, within a month after the Anniversary at which they were reported, sixteen waggon loads of Bibles and Testaments were despatched from the capital for different parts of the Empire, nothing further needs be said to demonstrate the effective exertions of this zealous and enterprising Institution

The Auxiliary Bible Societies in the East Sea Provinces of Esthonia, Livonia, and Courland, are among those of the Russian Provincial establishments, in which the warmest zeal has been evinced for the distribution of the Scriptures, and the strongest testimonies have been given of advantages from their perusal. The several districts in these Provinces, as well as in the Island of Oesel, are rapidly covering with local Associations; and many instances are reported' of zeal and liberality among all classes of people, (the lowest not excepted,) which afford "honorable proofs of their reverential attachment to the word of God, and their deep conviction of its beneficial tendency.'

"9

cipal stations which they respective ly occupy :-Penza, Kostroma, Tobolsk, Kief, Orel, Vladimer, Irkutsk, Kazan, Simbirsk, Pskoff, Minsk, Jaastock, Grodno, Posen, Bessarabia, Tahanrog, Tscherkask, and Twer. In the stations thus enumerated, (the last nine of which were among the places visited by Mr. Pinkerton, in his memorable tour,) the Russian Bible Society has made very important acquisitions: and whether considered with respect to the rank of the places in which they are seated, the population they comprehend, or the patronage, civil, ecclesiastical, and military, they have obtained, these auxiliaries must be regarded as powerful instruments for promoting the influence and the utility of the general Institution.

-Nor ought those efforts which are making on a small scale to be overlooked.-For, not only whole governments, but also departments, towns, and even single villages, have formed, within their own circles, either Branch Societies, or Bible Associations, according to their circumstances and means. Of the latter, many have been already established; and plans have been formed for multiplying their number. So greatly, in fact, has this expedient for bringing the cause of the Bible Society home to the bosom of the poor, been approved, that there seems little room to doubt that its adoption will be general; and that ere long, in Russia, as well as in Britain, Bible Associations will follow in the train of Auxiliary Societies: and the institutions of the former be co-extensive with the establishment of the latter.

Of the efficiency of the Russian Bible Society, in the prosecution of its object-the preparation and distribution of the Holy Scriptures, some judgment may be formed by the interesting facts, that, within four years after its establishment, the Society had either published, or was engaged in publishing, not fewer than forty three editions of the Sacred Scriptures, in seventeen different languages; forming a grand total of 196,000 copies-that the issue of Bibles and Testaments in the fourth year fell little short of what had taken

[ocr errors]

But of all the Auxiliary Societies, that at Moscow is (as, from the rank of this ancient capital, might be expected) the most splendid and efficient; and, as well in the zeal of its supporters, as in the scale of its operations, is inferior only to the Parent Society at St. Petersburgh.

On the recent celebration of its fifth Anniversary, (which Mr. Pinkerton describes as, in point of interest and splendor, surpassing every meeting of the kind which he had ever yet seen in Russia,) Prince Galitzin, the President of the Russian Bible Society, adverted, in the most impressive manner, to the fitness of this ancient metropolis, from its heredita

[ocr errors]

by dignity, its central position, its signal deliverance from the enemy, and its restoration to more than its pristine elegance and grandeur, to become the centre of the common opérations for disseminating the word of the living God. "The importance of this station" (observes the Prince) "has not escaped the penetrating eye of our most pious Monarch; ever watchful over the spiritual interests of his subjects, and sincerely desirous that all men may drink of that living water which springeth up into everlasting life. His Imperial Majesty, in consideration of the vast number of Bibles sent from this place, and of the hourly augmentation of the Committee's labors, which also renders an increase of means for transacting its business absolutely necessary, has been most graciously pleased to present this society with a large stone house. Thus the good will of the King of kings towards the cause of the Bible Society, is conspicuously revealed in the liberal aid which this cause receives from our most gracious Sovereign, who, having resolved to rule, live, and act, according to the doctrines of Christ the Saviour, and having bound himself to this in the most solemn manner, before the face of all nations, invites to this celestial light those nations also whom Divine Providence has intrusted to his care. And thus is. fulfilled that which was foretold by the prophet, 'The Gentile shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising" "

......

Your Committee cannot take leave of Russia without bearing their testimony to the energy and harmony which characterize all the proceedings of the Committee of the Russian Bible Society. Of the former quality, a fair specimen will be seen in one of the monthly papers of business, which will appear in the Appendix. Traces of the latter are to be found in the whole system of their cperations throughout the Empire. Indeed, your Committee cannot but attribute

large proportion of the success on which they have had occasion to expatiate, to that spirit of unanimity and concord which has animated all orders of the Russian people. The

Clergy and the Laity, through their different gradations, appear to have emulated each other in copying the example of their beloved Emperor, and in endeavouring to give effect to his designs for the spiritual welfare of his dominions.

"I consider" (said the Emperor, in his Address to the Moscow Bible Society,) “the establishment of Bible Societies in Russia, in most parts of Europe, and in other quarters of the globe, and the very great progress these Institutions have made in disseminating the word of God, not merely among Christians, but also among Heathens and Mahomedans, as a peculiar display of the mercy, and grace of God to the human race. On this account, I have taken upon myself the denomination of a member of the Russian Bible Society, and will render it every possible assistance, in order that the beneficent light of revelation may be shed among all nations subject to my sceptre."

With this declaration, so worthy of the sovereign of a great empire, and so consonant with the spirit of the British and Foreign Bible Society, your Committee will conclude the European division of their Report.

Some further extracts may be given in a future Number from this interesting Report.

CONVERTED BUDHU PRIESTS. From the Christian Herald. Extract of a letter from Liverpool, dated Jan. 7, 1818.

A circumstance occurred during the last month relative to the Missionaries, of a very serious nature. "Sir Alexander Johnson, Lord Chief Justice of the island of Ceylon, (who is a very warm friend of the Missionaries on that island,) is just arrived in England, and has brought with him two of the principal priests of Budhu, (the name of the god which the natives worship,) they had read the gospels which are translated into their language, and their belief in the religion of Budhu was considerably shaken. They read the gospels over again, and came to the resolution of renouncing the worship of Budhu and embracing Christianity. They had

read, that except a man give up houses and lands, &c. for the sake of Christ, he cannot be his disciple; and understanding this in a literal sense, they immediately parted with the lands which had been appropriated for their support; and understanding the Chief Justice was coming to England, they waited upon him to request he would bring them with him to England, the land of Christians. They told him they read that Jesus Christ chose fishermen for his apostles; they said that they were of the caste of fishermen, and that perhaps Jesus Christ would send them to preach his gospel. Sir A. Johnstone did not encourage their going to England, told them he had no authority to take them; that they would be a great expense to the Committee who manage the Missions, and that there was no room in the vessel. They repeatedly waited upon him, and said they would go in the steerage if he would but allow them. Still he discouraged them, and when he was on board, and the vessel actually under weigh, they took a boat from the shore, and went along side the vessel, and begged in the most importunate manner he would take them along with him; he then consented, and they came in the steerage. They are placed under the care of Dr. Clark, at Millbrook, about 10 miles from Liverpool, and discover the greatest genius. They are learning the English language, and seem most anxious to be made Christians. Dr. Clark labours to impress upon their minds, that they must be made Christians at the heart. They anxiously inquire how long it will be before they are Christians at the heart. One is about 23 years of age, and the other about 25. They still wear their robes, which are yellow, and are worn thrown over one shoulder, the other left bare. If they should become acquainted with true religion, and ultimately preachers of it, they promise to be of considerable service in instructing other Missionaries in their languages, &c. and in preaching the Gospel to their idolatrous countrymen. I feel a very strong desire to see them, but they have not appeared in public,

[ocr errors]

and very few persons have access to them."

OBITUARY.

Died-In Tennesee, Mr. Daniel Anderson, aged 111.

In England John Williams aged 100, leaving 17 brothers whose ages amount to 1379.

In Pennsylvania, Gen. Jacob Brown-61.

In Boston, Mr. EBENEZER RHOADES, late Editor of the Inde pendent Chronicle, aged 43.-Franklin Tukey, of Portland, by a stone thrown by a lad of the name of Wy

man.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

CHRISTIAN DISCIPLE.

No. 10.

THE

OCTOBER, 1818.

SKETCHES OF MARTIN LUTHER.

THE Roman Catholics have heaped up a mass of falsehood to obscure the fame and obstruct the influence of Luther. No regard has been had in this, says Bayle, either to probability or to the rules of the art of slandering: and the authors of the calumnies have assumed all the confidence of those who fully believe that the public will blindly adopt all their stories, be they ever so absurd. Many of the charges which were once currently propagated have been with drawn; but still there is scarcely a single defence of the Romish Church, published in protestant countries and modern times, which does not make use of the character of Luther as an argument against the Reformation. It is not difficult to vindicate the Reformer from most of the serious charges alleged against him; but were it impossible to clear his memory from any one of them, the Reformation would stand upon the same solid principles, which are independent of individuals and parties. The children of corruption have always sought to brighten themselves by black ening others.

Vol. VI. No. 10.

37

[ocr errors]

Vol. VI.

If Luther's violence and arrogance be objected to Protestants, we reply in the words of our great Chillingworth to his antagonist-" And what if Luther, having a pope in his belly, as he was wont to say that most men had, and desiring perhaps to have his own' interpretations pass without examining, spoke such words in the heat of argument; Do you think it reasonable that' we should subscribe to Luther's divinations and angry speeches? Will you oblige yourself to answer for all the assertions of your private doctors? If not, why do you trouble us with what Luther says and what Calvin says?" And if the Roman Catholics further object as Chillingworth's opponent did, "That when Luther began, he being but one opposed himself to all, as well subjects as superiors,"-we reply again with our renowned Protestant champion-" If he did so in the cause of God, it was heroically done of him. It is not impossible that the whole world should so far lie in wickedness, as St. John speaks, that it may be lawful and noble for one man to oppose the

world."

« FöregåendeFortsätt »