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980; and of females under twenty one, 136. Among the two latter classes were five of 11 years of age; seven of 12; seventeen of 13; thirty two of 14; sixty five of 15; 121 of 16; 132 of 17."-Christian Observer for Sept. 1817, p. 610.
This is a melancholy and disgraceful account: Melancholy as it relates to the victims of transportation; and both melancholy and disgraceful in respect to the government and police of Great Britain. The whole number transported, male and female, in a little more than four years and a half, was 4659-about 1000 annually-83 monthly and nearly 3 every day for the whole term of time.
Now let it be considered that the rulers of a nation are called fathers, and that they are bound to exercise towards their subjects parental care, affection and tenderness, to seek their welfare in this world and in the world' to come. Can it then be consistent with the duty of rulers to suffer little children to grow up in ignorance and vice, exposed to every temptation and allurement, and then condemn them, even before they are capable of providing for themselves, to a transportation as little adapted to reform them, as sending them directly to hell. What good parent could endure thus to exile children from 11 to 16 years of age, and doom them to spend their days in the society of abandoned villains and prostitutes!
Botany Bay is an English Purgatory from which it is believed very few ever returned reformed. The most splendid efforts of the British Christians to extend the blessings of the gospel abroad can never atone for their dreadful neglect of the poor population of their own country.
But any one who is acquainted with the history of that nation-with the number of men employed in the work of slaughter and devastation-with the immense appropriations of money for military establishments and for rewarding their heroes; will be able to account for the prevalence of vice and pauperism, and for their neglect of educating the poor in the paths of virtue, without imputing all the blame to Adam and Eve,
AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY.
THE President of the United States and the Several Heads of Departments of the general government, havo by their respective contributions become members for life of the American Bible Society.
From the First Annual Report of the Committee of the Reading Ladies Bible Association.
Ar this early period of their establishment, your Committee cannot but regard it as a circumstance of peculiar encouragement from Him, who alone "giveth the increase," that they are enabled to record some most inportant personal benefits resulting from their pleasing labour. The following anecdote reported by one of the District Committees, will, they trust, communicate to the hearts of their fellow labourers in the Vineyard, a portion of the cheering fervor which animates your committee in relating it.
"One of our subscribers, after having given us the usual sum, and as we were departing, smiled and said, this is not all, I have something more to add connected with a little tale you will rejoice to hear. A few weeks ago, a young man came to my shop, where the subject of the Bible Society was mentioned; on this, his indignation immediately kindled, and he expressed, in unbecoming language, the rancorous and bitter sentiments of his heart; he was, at this time, so little master of his passion, that any remonstrance would have been ineffectual-we made no reply, and he soon left us. I mentioned the circum-stance to my little girl, then on her death bed, who, though young in years was old in christian experience ;* and asked her what should be done; O father!' she replied, subscribe for a Bible for him!' This we did, and I presented it to the young man, at the same time informing him, who had induced us to procure it for him. Forcibly struck with the dying child's anxiety to supply him with a Bible, he received it with gratitude-he took it home, he read it; deeply impress ed with the nature of its contents, ho wished to share with others the pleasure he himself enjoyed; he read it ta
his fellow servants, who soon imbibed a similar feeling; and one of them, ardently wishing to be in possession of a volume, so unspeakably valuable, immediately paid down six shillings, longing for the time to arrive, when she could say, this precious book is mine. We received the money with peculiar interest, and with increased conviction, that the work is of God, and that nothing shall impede its glorious and triumphant progress.'
At a subsequent meeting, the Collectors delivered the following pleasing conclusion to this gratifying anecdote. "The remarkable change wrought in the heart of an individual by the perusal of the word of God, who, from a bitter enemy, became a zealous advocate for the Bible, was lately noticed; since that time, we have been informed, that he earnestly endeavours to improve in the knowledge of divine things, and that his actions prove the sincerity of his professions; he considers the offer of a Bible to a friend as the highest token of sincere regard; and for this purpose we have received nine shillings, with the acknowledgement of the privilege he felt it, to obtain so great a treasure for so trifling a consideration. Surely if this were a solitary instance of successful exertion, this Association would not have been established in vain!-Appendix to the 13th Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
formed in the usual order by Rev. Mr. Bartlett, of Marblehead; Rev. Professor Porter, of Andover; Rev. Mr. Thurston, of Manchester; Rev. Dr. Worcester, of Salem; Rev. Mr. Emerson, of Salem; Rev. Mr. Edwards, of Andover.
In Utica, N. Y. Feb. 4, Rev. S. A. Aikin.
CANDIDATES FOR THE MINISTRY.
Mr. Thomas Tracy, Cambridge. Jonathan P. Dabney, do. Samuel Gilman,
F. W. P. Greenwood, do.
E. Q. Sewall,
Died In Stratford, Conn. Rev. N. Birdsey, aged 103. He had 12 children, 76 grand children, 163 great grand children and 7 of the 5th generation.
In Philadelphia, Rev. Absalom Jones, aged 72.
In Griswold, Conn. Isaac Hernek97. He had 19 children, 92 grand children, 182 great grand children and 1 of the fifth generation; two brothers were at his funersl, one aged 93, the other 81.
In Salem (N. J.) Henry Plat a black man-106.
At New Haven, General David Humphreys.
At Brookfield, Rev. Ephraim Ward, aged 77.
For the Christian Disciple. We may determine the mer it or the mischief of free enquiry, by reflecting on its purposes. These are two, to discover, Ist what is scripture ; and 2nd what is its meaning.* May we not do this in consistency with perfect respect for the Scriptures ?
Let us consider. The first object is, to discover what is scripture. Now the reason that we are to reverence the Bible, is that it contains a revelation from God; and if any part of it should be found not to be a part of his revelation, then of course the reverence we feel from that cause must cease. Thus the books called apocryphal, were found not to have the necessary authority, were put by themselves, and are not treated by christians with the same respect they pay the other books. So too Luther had no respect for the epistle of James. If we desire to have the pure word of God, we cannot but be anxious to know whether all the books which have been handed down
I have sometimes heard it said, that those who respect the holy scriptures as they ought, will not indulge in free enquiry; and that this indulgence of itself, is proof of deficiency in proper respect for them. I cannot accede to the truth of the remark. I think I have a full and unequivocal respect for the sacred volume, and yet am not able to persuade myself that I am forbidden the most thorough and free examination of its meaning. It is true, such freedom may degenerate into boldness, imprudence and rashness, so that sacred truths may be treated with unbecoming familiarity. But this is an abuse of it; and that it may be abused, is no proof at all that it is not useful and right in itself. The best things may be abused, and any thing in its excess is bad. Zeal,one of the best things in the christian world, is bad, when it becomes intemperate enthusi
*It will be seen by this, that the views of the writer are limited to the study of the scriptures, and have no concern with the free enquiry in its larger meaning as applied to those who speculate beyond the limits of the sacred writings.
Vol. VI.-No. 4.
to us, have the necessary authority. Does it indicate any want of respect to ask the question? Is it dangerous to ask the question? For has it not been asked and answered, by men capable of enquiring and deciding, and are not these discussions in our hands, and yet do we not as firmly believe and honour our bible, as we should have done otherwise?
But then, some books in this volume were written nearly two thousand, and some more than three thousand years ago; and during this period have been copied again and again by different persons. The question naturally occurs, is it not possible that a few mistakes may have crept in? or that some designing men may have made unwarrantable additions ? When such questions arise, it cannot be from disrespect that we seek an answer. May we not say, that in no one thing has greater genuine regard for these writ ings been manifested in the christian world, than in those diligent researches which have been made to detect and expose the corruptions which have crept into them; and which have now given us such fixed assurance that providence allowed but few, that we can trust our faith and our souls to them with unhesitating confidence. If any one give us for the word of God what is not so, ought we not to reject it? and if so great a wo is denounced against those who should take away from the prophecy of the book of Revelation, would it not be wrong
and dangerous in us to receive the addition with as much respect as we receive the rest? It is a false, superstitious reverence for these books, which would make us afraid of pursuing such enquiries, as if it were impious to satisfy ourselves whether they are now exactly as the holy men wrote them. It is yet worse, when an error has been pointed out, still fondly to cherish it, as if it were the word of truth when it is not. Perhaps a man will say, that if we admit there is one error, we must another, and then another, and so on without end. But it is not so. These enquiries have actually been made, by men who had means and opportunity, diligently, faithfully, honestly. And what is the result? That scripture is uncertain? Not at all, but quite the contrary. The result is, that during near two thousand years, these holy books have passed down to us almost unaltered. Our confidence in them, as the sure guides of all faith and conduct, is confirmed. It is idle to be frightened at their errors; for we know what they are, we know how to correct them, and they cannot lead us astray. Therefore such a mode of enquiry concerning the Scriptures, so far from being inconsistent with proper respect, appears to me the truest and strongest proof of it which can be given.
The same is true in regard to the second purpose of free enquiry--to determine meaning of the scriptures. Here is a volume of writings
which claim divine authority; every thing delivered here is to be received as true and obeyed without dispute. Its doctrines and laws are unreservedly binding upon us. What enquiry then can be more important than this-, what are these doctrines and laws? With respect to many of them, different opinions have been entertained among christians. Some have learned that baptism belongs only to the grown, while others think it enjoined likewise on children. Some understand the bible to teach that man is utterly incapable of doing any thing toward his own salvation ; others understand the contrary. Some learn from it that the one God exists in three persons; others think it teaches there is only one person as well as one Being. There are many other differences of equal importance. Can it be irreverence or disrespect to search out very carefully and freely on such subjects, what the real intention of scripture is ?-Is it not rather a mark of regard to them? For are not our previous ideas, and our first interpretations of scripture language, the result of our education, rather than our actual knowledge? We have been educated to understand the expressions of scripture on these subjects in a certain sense-the sense in which they were understood by those with whom we have lived. We have learned to affix certain ideas to certain phrases, and, having these firmly asso.
ciated in our minds, are not easily persuaded that they can be erroneous. For instance, to baptize, has from our infancy conveyed the same meaning to our minds as to sprinkle; therefore the image of sprinkling rises before us whenever we meet the word in the New Testament, and how difficult to fancy it with any other meaning. It is the same with innumerable other words. But when we see that others, our equals and superiors in religious knowledge, understand such language differently, must we not think it possible we may be mistaken? Is it any mark of proper respect for the scriptures to insist that we cannot be mistaken ; to refuse to enquire whether we be or not? Is it not rather a blameable confidence in our own correctness?
There are some who have an unconquerable dread and horror of every thing that can be said to show, that any passage in the bible means any thing different from what they have always thought it to mean. If you attempt to explain a text which they have misunderstood, they think it dangerous to listen to you; they are afraid you intend to destroy their faith and their souls; they almost think it a sin to put themselves in the way of hearing what you have to urge. This, they think, is honouring divine truth, and proving their veneration for the oracles. But they err, and deceive themselves. They but too much remind us of the Jews in the days of our Sa