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Association of the Students at Princeton College.

on the importance of distributing the Bible. Her little heart seemed immediately impressed with the duty of saving her cents, to buy Bibles for the Indians. Ever since that period she has not spent one farthing of what her parents gave her as her accustomed weekly allowance. Her residence is in the country. During the last week she paid my family a visit, and brought the box with her treasure in her hands. My children took her several times to town; and, in order to try her, shewed her every thing the shops or fruit-stalls afforded, and asked her repeatedly whether she would not lay out her money for some of the articles which she saw. Her answer was, uniformly, that she would like to have many things she saw ; but she would not spend the money that was to buy Bibles for the Indians. I requested her to take the money home: she seemed affected, and thought I did not like the trouble of disposing of it.'-How easily can GOD touch the heart, and multiply streams of liberality to replenish our funds! When He gives the word, even children shall hasten with their little offerings to his altar; and, by their zeal, chide the sluggishness of age in the discharge of an important duty."

After announcing the receipt of one hundred dollars from a society recently formed in Princeton College, New Jersey, and designated "The Bible Society of Nassau Hall," the report states

"The manner in which this last society originated deserves to be related. It affords a pleasing instance of good educed out of evil, by the superintending influence of a wise and holy Providence. The establishment of this society was the result of a gross indignity offered to the Bible, and was intended by the students as an expression of their abhorrence of the crime. They have associated with a view to distribute the holy scriptures in the American army and navy; and likewise copies in their original languages to suitable persons unable to buy them. Of this society most of the students in that College are members."

In their address to the public, these noble-minded young men observe, "that a desire to manifest their sense of the infinite value of revealed truth, and the high esteem they have for the Bible which contains that truth, was among the causes which led to the formation of their society." Well might the Committee of the New-York Bible Society remark on this occurrence,-" What an edifying example is here exhibited to the rising generation, when they who are to constitute the hope and the ornament of their country, thus glorify the Giver of every good and every perfect gift!"

At New York, and several other parts of the United States, Juvenile Bible Associations have been established; and at Quebec, a similar institution has afforded considerable aid to the Auxiliary Society of that city.

4. Nor is it in the Western hemisphere alone that this bright example has been followed. Even on the shores of the Black Sea and of the Baltic, and among the mountains of Switzerland, the generous flame has been kindled.

"At Odessa," says Dr. Paterson, "the boys in the Lyceum united among themselves, and collected 130 rubles for the Bible Society in that

U

Prince Oscar's School for Soldiers' Children.

place; and, on delivering the contribution, requested that they might be allowed to form an Auxiliary among themselves, and that some of the directors might have a seat in the Committee, that they might be regularly acquainted with the progress of a cause in which they take so deep an interest. This was permitted; and a letter was ordered to be written, to encourage them to persevere in the good cause in which they had engaged."

When Dr. Pinkerton visited Odessa, in December 1819, he attended a committee-meeting of this Juvenile Association; relative to which he observes,

"I was peculiarly pleased to observe the order and instructive manner in which the business was transacted. The Secretary, a fine-looking boy of about nine years of age, read the Minutes of their last meeting, and presented to the Committee the papers which had been received since that period. The Treasurer then laid before us the account of their last year's subscriptions. A petition on behalf of eight poor boys, scholars in the Lyceum, who were unable to purchase Testaments for themselves, was next read, and granted. The Association consists of eighty-four members, and is under the special direction of the archimandrite Theophilus, principal preceptor of the Lyceum."

One of the most interesting Juvenile Associations on the continent of Europe is that formed at Gothenburgh, in Prince Oscar's School for Soldiers' Children. Its establishment was the spontaneous act of the children themselves, in consequence of the deep impression produced in their minds by the occasional addresses of the Rev. Mr. Rahmn, one of the Chaplains of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. In his Report he observes, that he interspersed his addresses with anecdotes of children who loved their Bible better than their play. The children desired his countenance and help, in order to form themselves into a Bible Society; intending, under his guidance, to distribute Bibles and Testaments gratis among the poor people. The offer was received by him with delight, and rules were drawn up for them accordingly. The Report further states, that twenty-eight children began this good work; that it speedily increased to sixty; that their minister, Mr. Rahmn, is their President and Treasurer; and their sub-schoolmaster, the Secretary; and that the Committee for the time being consists of six boys. In further reference to this important Juvenile Society, it has been subsequently reported, that their funds employed for the purchase of Bibles and Testaments consisted, on the 28th of December 1815, of 138 rix-dollars, the number of subscribing children one hundred and six, and ninety-eight adults; and that in consequence of the admission of the latter, the Committee now consisted of twelve members, six children and six adults.

From Zurich, the amiable and excellent Mr. Gesner thus writes:

"Last week I had a great treat, at a visit which I paid to the girls' school: I addressed the children on the Bible in general, and then stated

Association of the young Nobility in Moscow.

what pains were taken to supply the poor with it. In England, I said, even little children, like you, [the school consists of children between six and ten years,] have contributed to this purpose; should you like to do the same? Joy brightened all their little countenances into smiles; and, at the next visit, every one brought me her little boon, the whole of which amounted to thirty-five florins. Their number was sixty; many of whom must have given their all.”

And the secretary of the Frankfort Bible Society, in a more recent communication, reports as follows:

"Desirous of calling the attention of the public, especially that of the more respectable and opulent, to the concerns of the Bible Society, we determined to print an address, and to distribute it from house to house. No sooner had this address been published, than its good effects were visible. A copy found its way into the orphan-house, and one of the teachers gave it to an orphan boy to read at prayer-time to the rest of the children in the hall. As soon as they heard of what had been done for the cause of the Bible by poor orphan children in London, they exclaimed, with one voice, 'We must follow this example!' and immediately a little Association was formed of seventy boys and thirty-eight girls, which produced, from their small savings, of three to six kreutzers, a contribution of eighteen florins, and twelve kreutzers."+

While it is delightful to behold the generous zeal thus manifested by the pupils of the Lyceum at Odessa, the soldiers' children of Sweden, the little school-girls of Zurich, and the poor orphans of Frankfort, it is peculiarly gratifying to find that the example has extended to that class of society which should ever lead the van in the march of Christian benevolence. The ardour and liberality of the young nobility of Russia, as described in the following communication from the secretary of the Moscow Bible Society, may well incite their British cotemporaries in the higher walks of life to similar exertion:

"A number of noble youths in Moscow formed themselves into an Auxiliary Bible Association. They drew up a set of regulations for themselves, signed them, and commenced raising subscriptions to promote the object of their Association. In a very short time, these benevolent youths collected a very considerable sum (2000 roubles, as their first contribution), which they presented to the Treasurer, and prayed that it might be put into the treasury of the Moscow Bible Society."

In reviewing these striking evidences of interest manifested by the young in the circulation of the Scriptures, we may well regard them as some pledge, that they will make this sacred volume the guide of their youth; and thus, through the infinite mercy of HIM from whom it proceeds, find it the support of their riper years, and their strong and unfailing consolation in the approach of death.

About four pounds sterling.

About two pounds sterling.

CHAP. VI.

MARINE BIBLE SOCIETIES & ASSOCIATIONS.

THEY THAT GO DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS, THAT DO BUSINESS IN GREAT
WATERS; THESE SEE THE WORKS OF THE LORD, AND HIS WONDERS IN
THE DEEP."
PSALM CVII. 23, 24.

66 IN THAT DAY SHALL MESSENGERS GO FORTH FROM LE IN SHIPS."

EZEK. XXX. 9.

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PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS.

WHOEVER attentively considers the peculiar situation of

Great Britain, her extensive commerce and numerous colonies, must be convinced of the importance of that part of the system on which we are now about to enter. According to the Census of 1811, the number of seamen employed on board registered merchant vessels, was at least one hundred thousand; and if to these we add the crews of foreign ships resorting to the ports of Great Britain and Ireland, we may safely estimate the aggregate at one hundred and thirty thousand. The question that naturally arises from this simple statement, in reference to the subject before us, is, Whether such a numerous and interesting body of valuable men should be excluded, as objects or agents, in the mighty scheme of benevolence which has attracted the affections of all classes and denominations in our country?

This question derives additional importance from the peculiar character of seamen. Open and ingenuous in their disposition, warm and generous in their feelings, and too often careless and improvident in their habits; many of them are the dupes of artifices against which they cannot guard, or the victims of temptations, with which they have neither the strength nor the inclination to contend. Generally speaking, no means are provided for their religious instruction when on board; the few books with which they are supplied are not calculated to instil or to confirm correct principles; and if Religion be not contemned, it is too frequently treated as a matter with which they have no concern: and yet it is a

Origin of the Thames Union Committee.

remarkable fact, that in no body of individuals can you find more striking instances of firm and decided piety, of gratitude for kindness, and of a willingness to receive instruction. Whatever be the faults of a British sailor, he is rarely a hypocrite: you see him as he is; and to secure his attention and respect, it is only necessary to convince him that you have his interest at heart.

Extensive as was this field, and favorable as is the soil, it is a matter of astonishment, that measures were not devised at a more early period for bringing it under cultivation. This appears the more remarkable, when we reflect, that an admirable Institution-the Naval and Military Bible Society,: established in the year 1780-had been engaged for more than thirty years in supplying the seamen of our ships of war with the holy scriptures, and had received the most unequivocal evidence of the happy effects of their distribution. It might naturally be supposed, that, by an easy extension of the plan, the merchant service could be included in the naval department of this valuable society; but its conductors found the sphere of action, originally prescribed, sufficiently large and arduous; and until the winter of 1812, no means appear to have been adopted for exciting a general interest in favour of the object of the Bible Society, among this numerous and important class of our fellow subjects.*

SECTION L

ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF MARINE SOCIETIES AT SEA-PORTS.

1. Towards the close of the year 1812, the author had occasion to visit some merchant vessels lying in the Thames; and the result of his casual inquiries induced a belief, that an unexpected and deplorable dearth of the holy scriptures existed among the British and Foreign sailors resorting to the port of London. In order to ascertain the fact, eleven ships were indiscriminately visited by him, and only one Bible found, and this on board a Swedish vessel. A subsequent and more extensive investigation followed; which led to a conviction,

It would be unjust, in connexion with this object, to omit the name of the Honourable Lady Grey, to whose ardent piety and indefatigable zeal many thousands of our seamen are indebted for their possession of the holy scriptures. A more distinct allusion to the extraordinary exertions of this inestimable Lady will be found in Chapter VII.

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