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WE commence this department of our work, by giving a view of the different recent religious institutions of Great-Britain. We could wish it were in our power to give some authentick account of the Danish missions: but in the absence of data whereon to frame information, we must witle regret pass by this interesting subject, with an assurance to our readers, that we shall hereafter use our endeavours to lay before them whatever can be obtained. Denmark, we believe, was the first who led the way in the glorious work of giving to the Heathen the word of God, as set forth in the Holy Scripture: an honour more to be desired than the triumphs of power, or the acquisitions of the conqueror. Except the exertions of Great Britain and Denmark, a few partial ones in Sweden, and one Bible Society in Germa ny, we look in vain over Europe for institutions such as those which are happily fourishing in our own country for circulating the Bible among the poor and the dissolute, and sending forth the servants of Christ into foreign lands to labour among those who know not God.
We commence with an account of what in England is called “ The Parent Institution."
BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY.
THIS Society, whose name gives information relative to its views, was esta blished in the British capital about nine years ago. We may form an opinion of the vigour with which its objects are pursued, and the liberality with which it is supported, by observing, from the publication of its transactions at its eighth andl. versary meeting in May last, that between two and three thousand persons as bled. That many hundreds, among whom were several of the nobility, and mem. bers of parliament, could not obtain admission, although a very spacious suite of apartments in the Freemason's Tavern in London, was thrown open to receive them.
This Society is now printing, or has completed the translation of the scriptures into twenty-eight different languages and dialects in Asia, including the Arabies, Persick, and Chinese. The publication of the sacred volume is also undertaken by it in the Finnish and Icelandick languages, and in the dialect of the Lithuanians. It has already completed, and is circulating the Scriptures in the different languages and dialects of the countries of Swedish, Danish, and Russian Lapland; Poland, Bohemia, Livonia, and Esthonia; Sweden, Hungary, Italy, Greece, and Germany; and in France, among the French protestants and British prisoners of war. Among the Esquimaux in Labrador, also, the bible has been distributed, and received with tears | of joy and gratitude.
We have not the means of ascertaining whether this be a full statement of the number of languages and countries to which that Society has extended the posses« sion of the bible. These data we gather from its last annual report; but we prestime its benevolent exertions are still more extensive. In the united kingdom alone well observe it had distributed 106,423 bibles and testaments, in the space of eleven months. Its receipts for the past year, amounted to $ 193,333 33: its payments to $144,444 44: the balance in its treasury being % 48,888 89: but against this it had already made engagements amounting to $63,222 22.
From this view of its labours we may cordially join with the Society in the language of its report, that “ like the little cloud which the Prophet's watchman saw from Carmel, rise out of the sea, and spread by degrees over the face of the heavens, cheering the Israelites with the prospect of fertilizing showers, the British and Fox reign Bible Society, sinall in its origin, has attained a conspicuous elevation and magnitude, and has been hailed as the harbinger of good tidings, and the dispenser of blessings, by the people of the north and the south, the east and the west."
In the Philanthropist, a periodical work published in London, we observe an address by some judicious friend of this Society, which we think so beautiful that we cannot forbear giving the whole of it to our readers.
"The Advantages of distributing the Holy Scriptures among the Lower Orders
of Society, chiefly by their own Agency. “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 considered in a twofold view: as a British Society, it directs its first regards to the wants at home; and as a Foreign Society, it encourages the reprinting 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 bene. factors in Britain, and many are the blessings which have been invoked on their beads.
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. die 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, sufter " a famine of the word of the Lord," must be supported by more general interest, and 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 institution in London, 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 inferiour 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 are yet not unwilling to give a little. If the num
Bible Associations have been established in many places. The Auxiliary Bi. Ole Society for Blackheath, and its neighbourhood, have ten within its district; and one within the town of Darlington, produces after the rate of 701. a yeur, being more than adequate to supply the deficiency of the Scriptures umongst the poor of that town; thereby completely liberating the funds of the Auxiliary Bible Society por Darlington and its vicinity, so far as relates to the town of Darlington itself, for the supply of foreign parts.