Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

chester, Shelburne, Truro.

Londonderry, Parrsborough, Dor- New Brunswick .

EDITIONS printed for the Society, previously to March 31, 1821.

1820

Bibles. Testaments.

Bibles.

Testaments.

English,various edits.1145,961..1,038,780

Do. Hebrew Charac.

1,600

Welsh

60,297 104,252

Greek Antient & Mod.

13,000

[blocks in formation]

43,700

Greek, Modern

10,000

[blocks in formation]

17,801

Arabic....

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

2,250

Arabic Psalter...

3,000

[blocks in formation]

81,000

Syriac

6,000

Spanish.

35,000

Esquimaux

1,000

Portuguese.

[blocks in formation]

Mohawk, StJohn'sGos.

2,000

Italian

19,000

Ethiopic Psalter....

2,100

[blocks in formation]

15,000

French and English.

5,000

[blocks in formation]

10,000

Malay

10,000

Hebrew.

500

3,700

Malay,in Arabic Charact.

10,000

Swedish

500

Turkish..

5,000

[ocr errors]

German.

[blocks in formation]

Hindoostanee..

5,000

[blocks in formation]

Dec. 31, 1812, to Mar. 31, 1814, (1 year)..
Mar. 31, 1814, to Mar. 31, 1815, (1 year).
Mar. 31, 1815, to Mar. 31, 1816, (1 year)
Mar. 31, 1816, to Mar. 31, 1817, (1 year)
Mar. 31, 1817, to Mar. 31, 1818, (1 year),
Mar. 31, 1818, to Mar. 31, 1819, (1 year)
Mar. 31, 1819, to Mar. 31, 1820, (1 year).
Mar. 31, 1820, to Mar. 31, 1821, (1 year)....

Total issued in Great Britain in 15 years
Purchased and issued for the Society on the Con-
tinent of Europe.....

TOTAL issued on account of the Society

Printed by Societies in connexion with the British and Foreign Bible Society....

89,795 104,306 194,101 123,247 136,784 260,031 115,775 141,108 256,883 104,828 142,129 246,957

1,179,262 1,456,986 2,636,248 97,205 468,525 565,730

1,276,467 1,925,511 3,201,978

673,820 797,900 1,471,720

N.B. In addition to the above, the Society has granted about 35,000%. for distributing, by Societies and confidential Agents, in various parts of the Continent, Bibles and Testaments in the French, German, Swedish, and Danish Languages; the number of which cannot be ascertained exactly, but may be fairly estimated at upwards of 235,000 Bibles and Testaments.

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

DISTRIBUTING THE HOLY SCRIPTURES

AMONG THE LOWER ORDERS OF SOCIETY, CHIEFLY BY THEIR OWN AGENCY.

(Written by the Rev. W. DEALTRY.)

WHOEVER is acquainted with the history of the Reformation, cannot fail to have observed the extreme anxiety displayed by our Martyrs and Reformers for the free circulation of the Bible. The same feeling has been found to animate wise and good men in every age, since the promulgation of the Gospel: and some of the charitable institutions which have arisen in modern times, hold out the pleasing assurance, that this Christian principle still survives; that many are still emulous to follow the example before them, and are in some degree influenced by the spirit of those who have long since gone to the resting-place of the just.

One of the most important and effective institutions which the world has ever seen, is the British and Foreign Bible Society. Its means are great, but its projects are magnificent. It proposes to do nothing less than to diffuse the blessings of Revelation to all men. Its operations must be con

sidered in a two-fold view: as a British Society, it directs its first regards to the wants at home; and as a Foreign Society, it encourages the re-printing and dissemination of acknowledged versions where they already exist, and promotes translations, and the circulation of the Scriptures, where they are wholly unknown.

The efforts and utility of such an institution can be limited only by its means and in proportion to the augmentation of its funds, will it extend the empire of knowledge and of truth. The assistance which has been afforded by Auxiliary Societies in many parts of the country, can hardly be estimated at too high a rate. By calling the attention of the opulent to the want of Bibles in their own vicinity, they have contributed very essentially to the benefit of thousands, who might otherwise have remained in ignorance; and by aiding the funds of the Parent Institution, they have enabled it to carry on its foreign operations with great and increasing success. Many are the prayers which have ascended from distant lands on behalf of their benefactors in Britain; and many are the blessings which have been invoked on their heads.

That a project of this godlike tendency, so full of mercy, and so abundant in reward, should be checked or narrowed by the want of resources, is a circumstance deeply to be lamented. Yet nothing is more certain, than, that the efforts already made, however glorious, and however unexampled, are not commensurate with the magnitude of the case. Here is a world in ignorance! a world to be enlightened and evangelized! To the reflecting mind it must be obvious, that a plan, which shall at the same time adequately supply the demands at home, and effectually meet the hopes and expectations of those myriads of human beings, who, in other lands, suffer " a famine of the Word of the Lord," must be supported by more general interest, or aided by more extensive means.

To complete the system which has commenced and been conducted with such happy results, no measure seems to have occurred of such reasonable promise as Bible Associations. The contributors to the Parent Institution, and to its Auxiliaries and Branches in different parts of the country, consist in general of that class of persons who are somewhat elevated in the scale of society. It is the object of Bible Associations to bring into action also the poorer classes; to collect subscriptions, not merely from the opulent, but likewise from that large body of the people, who are unable to give much, and yet are not unwilling to give a little. If the number of contributors be great, the accumulation even of small sums will not be contemptible; and it may be presumed, that most persons who are not absolutely in the lowest walks of life, can afford a subscription of a penny a week.

In illustration of the system, it may be proper to observe, that while the Committees of such Associations are formed from the contributors them. selves, yet the stimulus must be afforded by others. On the formation of an Auxiliary or Branch Society, the members of the Committee (under the designation of District Committees) should select certain districts for their own more immediate exertions, and endeavour to awaken the attention of the poorer classes to the importance of rendering whatever aid they can afford. It would be expedient to appoint a numerous Committee for each Association, in order that a greater interest may be excited, and that the wants of the poor may be more accurately known. The members of the District Committees should also regularly sit with the Committees of Bible Associations. A proper direction will thus be given to their efforts; a similarity of system will be maintained; and the Parent Society, with all its auxiliaries and dependencies, will thus present a perfect whole, correspondent in plan and united in harmony: a noble fabric, in which all the parts are combined at once for beauty and for strength; whose foundations are laid deep in the ground, but its pillars are seen from afar, and its turrets sparkle in the skies.

As the object and tendency of the measure here recommended is to promote the widest circulation of the Scriptures, and to excite the greatest attention to them, through the whole masss of the community, it may seem almost superfluous to enlarge upon the benefits which must result from its adoption. In a land professing to be Christian, where is the man who would arrest the free streams of heavenly mercy? Where is the man who would not rather rejoice to behold every mound and barrier swept 66 overflow and pass away by the ample tide ?-to see the liberal current over" in all its rich and fertilizing influence? that the soil which has hitherto been parched and unfruitful, or "fertile only to its own disgrace," may smile in new attraction, and cheer the eye with strange luxuriance.

If, in these awful times, we conceive ourselves to be placed on an eminence, from which we may contemplate the ever-varying scenes which

This was written when a desolating war prevailed on the continent of Europe.

are flitting around us, how melancholy is the prospect! The face of nature indeed continues the same; the works of creation still reflect the wisdom and goodness of the Creator; seed-time and harvest, and summer and winter, acknowledge their appointed course; the earth expands her beauties to the day, and the lights of heaven still rise and descend, obedient to the will that formed them. But the moral world is thrown into convulsions; the image of God is defaced; the impress of the Divine Hand seems to be almost obliterated; and the best and chiefest of his works-for the sake of which this fair and fertile earth is commanded to yield her increase, and the lights of heaven to travel on their destined way-presents little else than the fragments of a mighty wreck. Public principle has been violated; public order inverted: the fury of the nations has shaken, even to their base, the pillars of civilized society, and the stately edifice itself seems tottering to its fall.

These are scenes at which wise men are confounded, and good men turn pale. Nor will the considerate mind be much eased of its anxiety, by turning to the occurrences of private life, especially among the ignorant and uninstructed. In poverty there is nothing which necessarily tends to debase the character. Many have "wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented, of whom the world was not worthy:" ""the Son of Man" had "not where to lay his head:"-but who can dwell, without emotion, upon the wretched state of the untutored and irreligious poor? It is here that we see human-nature in its lowest condition, degraded and sunk in shame. We behold a creature formed after the Divine resemblance, but without one feature remaining to indicate his heavenly origin. For him there exists no reciprocal charity, no real union of affection, no Christian sentiment of mutual regard. To these feelings he is unable to rise; he knows them not, heither does he desire to know them. That state which was intended by the Giver of every good and perfect gift, to add, above all earthly means, to the happiness of man, by the society of one who should be at the same time the ornament and the blessing of social life, presents little else than the spectacle of cruelty and of suffering. The wickedness of the parent is reflected in his offspring. Scarcely has the infant tongue learned to articulate, before it begins to blaspheme its Maker. The language of cursing and reviling is there; and those who ought to be the pledges of affection, contribute only to exasperate evil, and accumulate misery,-the scandal of their neighbours, and the disgrace of their kind; without comfort in this world, and without hope for the next.

Many are the evils, both of a public and private nature, to which human legislation can apply no remedy: they are to be removed by that influence alone which can reach the heart; by those sacred principles, which are developed and enforced in the records of unerring wisdom. The Scriptures have ever been acknowledged, by good men, as the best foundation of morals: and those who labour to give them general circulation, and to excite a general interest for the perusal of them throughout the great body of the people, must be considered as rendering no common service, both to individuals and their country.

Let it be granted, that by any means the holy scriptures are perused with diligence by every poor man who is able to read them;-What would be the consequence? Is it too much to hope, that the noise of tumult and disorder may be hushed in peace? that men may be taught to fear God and to honour the king-to do unto others as they wish that others should do unto them—and to discharge with fidelity all the duties and relations of life? Is it an unreasonable expectation, that husbands may learn to cherish their wives and to love their children; that woman may rise to her just elevation. and legitimate influence; and that the virtues of the parents may shine

forth in their offspring? If the blessings of Christianity should be extended to all, according to the measure in which they are enjoyed by many, how would this world of sorrow and of pain be converted into a picture of heaven! Should we refer to past experience, there is no fact more certain, than that the religious and moral state of every country may be fairly estimated by the facility of procuring Bibles, and the disposition to read them.

Appeal to a Christian, in any age and in any country, and ask him what is the greatest benefit which one child of mortality can confer upon another. Will he not refer you to the Bible? He will tell you, that the streams of charity may indeed flow in ten thousand channels, and that they will not fail to convey blessings wherever their course can be directed; but that the records of heaven are calculated, above all other means, to meet the wants and to diminish the sufferings of man; to point out to him his condition; to point out also to him his privileges; to improve his state, and to brighten his prospects; to impart consolation as he proceeds on his earthly pilgrim age; and to cheer his last hours, even in the agonies of dissolving nature, with a hope full of immortality. It would seem as if the very touch of the inspired volume had power to communicate new feelings, and to kindle new desires; to elevate the standard of principle, and to raise the tone of morals; to purify the springs of domestic happiness, to tame the fierceness of the passions, to civilize manners, to bind in harmony the various "members of the embodied state;" and to give to the family on earth some resemblance to the family above. Whenever Christianity has been permitted to walk forth in the native majesty of her form and the loveliness of her character, a blessed influence has travelled by her side. Her charms have fixed the regards of lisping infancy and of hoary age. The mouth which was once "full of cursing, deceit, and fraud," has learned to utter the language of sincerity and praise. The feet which were "swift to shed blood," have run with alacrity in the way of God's commandments. Mankind have been taught to love one another, and have delighted in the assembling of themselves together: the house of prayer has been crowded with worshippers, and the sentiment of every heart has echoed responsive to the sweet singer of Israel: "How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of Hosts! my soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and flesh crieth out for the living GOD.-Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee." Let it be granted that the Scriptures are read with assiduity through the whole extent of our population, and results like these may be confidently anticipated. My word shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I send it." What though the effects are not immediately perceptible; what though the groans of the creation are not at once hushed in repose, or converted into sounds of joy; the promise is indisputable, and the blessing is sure. The change in the moral world will resemble the change in the natural: the sun arises, and the dews descend; but the rigours of winter do not instantly abate, nor does the face of nature at once resume the gaiety of spring: yet the great principle of life and fertility is secretly at work; it is imperceptibly operating in ten thousand channels, and gradually covers the regions of sterility with luxuriant vegetation and abundant harvests.

66

If this be a just representation of the moral change which a knowledge of the Bible is calculated to produce; and if the system of Bible Associations tend, in an especial degree, to the general diffusion of that knowledge; few arguments can be so powerful as those which recommend their adoption. To the rich and to the middle ranks it may be urged; "You have a deep interest in the welfare of the poor. If the security of a state depend upon the loyalty and morals of its people, by what other means can you contribute so

« AnteriorContinuar »