Imágenes de páginas

and whose labours have blessed the world: in reviewing the past, therefore, every Christian must pray the great Head of the Church, that by his good Spirit the bright example of such devoted disciples as HILL, and WILBERFORCE, and MORE, and WINTER, and HUGHES, may animate their survivors to follow in the same path, with an increased measure of zeal, expecting from God the honour of double usefulness.

Liberty has been gloriously extended during the past year; and by the truly politic and philanthropic measure of the Abolition of Colonial Slavery, a foul stigma has been wiped from the national character of Britain. In accomplishing this noble work, the cause has been aided by the pages of the CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE: and its Conductors hail the early extinction of Slavery in America as a natural consequence, leading to the establishment of universal freedom, preparatory to the blessedness of a Christian Millennium!

Education advancing with still accelerating progress, the appetite for intellectual food has increased in the same proportion. The extraordinary thirst for knowledge which is prevailing, must be promptly met, and provision must be made for its sufficient supply. This is demanded of the elders of the church, alike by duty, interest, and religion; requiring that the spirit of investigation, especially in the youthful mind, should be directed in a safe course, and guided in that channel which leads to goodness, to greatness, and to God. Infidelity is rampant in our crowded cities, fostering the corrupt propensities of human nature and unless its deadly progress be arrested by the omnipotent energy of divine truth, and its baneful principles neutralized by the diffusion of Christian doctrine-that renovating instrument of the Eternal Spirit-irreligion and immorality, disloyalty and anarchy, will assuredly prevail, prostrating the far-famed national glory of Great Britain!

In anticipating the new year, arrangements have been made for the CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE to maintain uncompromising hostility against every anti-social principle, and to prosecute its high objects in a still more engaging and efficient manner. Every reader will therefore render a service to the cause of religion and his country, by employing his influence in extending its circulation. Besides several series of original Essays on the most important branches of intellectual and religious improvement-Scripture Illustrations and Antiquities, Notices of the most useful new Publications, and the advancement of Christian Knowledge-it is intended to give particular attention to the State and Progress of Religion throughout all the nations of the world, the Revival and Progress of Religion in Britain, the importance of Bible Classes, Young Men's Societies, Sunday School Teachers' Associations, and every branch of instruction calculated to render the CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE à register of "whatsoever things are venerable, just, pure, lovely, and of good report," and still more interesting to its increasing readers, — a suitable, worthy, and welcome Companion to every Christian Family in the British Empire!

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

GREAT BRITAIN RECOMMENDING THE BIBLE TO ALL THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD. DISSEMINATION OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. GREAT BRITAIN, as every intelligent observer perceives, has arrived at a most momentous crisis of her history. The year upon which we have entered, portends events of the most extraordinary character. A REVOLUTION, different from every thing in former times, is evidently taking place. Thanks to Divine Providence, "whose kingdom ruleth over all," it is not like any of those recorded in the annals of our country: it is being accomplished without the unsheathing of the murderous sword, and without the bloodshed and iniseries of a civil war. It is a revolution effected by means of increasing knowledge.

sanctified by the fear of God. We cannot but regret to perceive, that many of the "master-minds" in our extraordinary times, make no pretensions to piety, and decline the direct advocacy or patronage of revealed religion and pure Christianity. But we also know, and we exult in the inspiring fact, that no learned society exists in our land, nor has any individual arisen, respectable for learning and purity of moral principle, having the temerity to impeach the integrity, or to question the divinity of the BIBLE.

Enlightened public opinion is prevailing, and carrying forward our national affairs in a progress which no coalition of human power can possibly arrest. We exceedingly rejoice in the prospect: because, by the revealed decree of Heaven, it is declared, "knowledge shall be increased" to regenerate and sanctify a depraved world.

We are painfully aware, that much of the knowledge which is now influencing the public mind, is not VOL. II.

Scepticism itself also must admit, that notwithstanding the licentiousness of many of our fellow countrymen, and the virulent attacks that are made upon every religious institution, Christian truth has sanctified much of the general mass of the knowledge which is diffused through the nation; and amid all the speculations of the age, no man of liberal education and sound morals, has possessed hardihood sufficient to lead him seriously to attack the HOLY SCRIPTURES.

Believers in Divine Revelation should not omit to regard this most remarkable of all the "signs of the times" in which we live. Every one, even those who are looked upon as practical infidels, have been con


strained to bow to public opinion in favour of the Bible; and to do homage to the sacred volume, as the inspired word of God.

Gre. t Britain, as represented in our engraving, influenced, in a great degree, by the Holy Spirit, under whose gracious inspiration that blessed word of everlasting life was written, by means of its various religious Institutions is recommending the Bible to all the nations of the world. We are not insensible of the commanding majesty of Great Britain, by means of her naval and military power, supported by her amazing resources of wealth. Divine Providence has exalted and magnified our nation in these respects: but still more, and in a far higher degree, by granting her the ability, and by giving her the disposition, to recommend the Bible to all nations; translated into their various languages by the devoted and persevering labours of her pious missionaries, and offered to them gratuitously, as the divinely-appointed means of their eternal salvation.

Although we cannot particularize every step towards the elevation of Great Britain to this privileged condition, to be prepared to recommend the blessed word of everlasting life to all the nations of the earth, we cannot omit to notice the translation of the Holy Scriptures into the Chinese language, used, it is believed, by nearly one-third of the human family. The ancient, populous, and ingenious, but degraded and idolatrous nation of China, engaged in preparing for us an article of our food which we use every day, has peculiar claims upon Christians, for sympathy, prayer, and religious exertion to make them acquainted with the Gospel of Christ. Two independent translations of the Bible into the Chinese language have been completed; doubtless under the merciful direction of a gracious Providence. And though Christian Missionaries are at present excluded from the empires of China and Japan, at least in their character of evangelical preachers, the Holy Scriptures are prepared for the reception of that numerous people; they are beginning to manifest dissatisfaction with their debasing idolatries; and a spirit of inquiry after truth is arising in those regions. Dr. Carey of the Baptist, and Dr. Morison of the London, Missionary Society, must be reckoned among the most honoured of mankind, in having so greatly contributed by their astonishing labours to enlighten and bless that immense portion of the children of men.

"The British and Foreign Bible Society," as the special means of recommending the Holy Scriptures to all nations, must not be forgotten in this place. But as, in the third Number of the Christian's Penny Magazine, we gave an account of that most noble Institution, our observations here must be few. In the "Brief View of the Plan and Operations " of that Society, published in 1831, ONE Hundred and fiFTYTHREE translations of the Holy Scriptures are specified, a recapitulation of which is as follows:

[blocks in formation]

"The progress and success of the British and Foreign Bible Society during a period of twenty-seven years; the simultaneous anxiety to possess the Sacred Records, among nations remotely distant from each other; and the remarkable and unexpected openings which have appeared, from time to time, for translating the Scriptures into languages and dialects hitherto unknown even to the most learned, are facts so plainly beyond the bounds of human foresight and experience, that it would be presumption to ascribe these propitious circumstances, and the blessings which have followed the circulation of the Scriptures, to any other than to the overruling wisdom and love of Him who ordereth all things in heaven and in earth,' and who is 'wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.'

"After presenting this Sketch of the Institution, any thing like a formal appeal, on its behalf, to the liberality of the Public, would be superfluous. When it is considered that the Society is engaged in promoting the translation, printing, or distribution of the Scriptures, or portions of them, in more than One Hundred and Fifty different languages and dialects; that it stands pledged to aid numerous Bible Societies already formed and still forming in different parts of the world; and that, after issuing more than Seven Millions of copies of the Scriptures, and expending upwards of One Million Seven Hundred Thousand Pounds sterling, the demands upon its services appear rather to have increased than diminished ;—when these circumstances, together with the simplicity of its principle, the catholicism of its spirit, and the extent of its proceedings, are deliberately considered, no additional motive can be wanted to stimulate the inhabitants of the British Empire to promote, by all means in their power, the interests of an Institution, which promises, if liberally and extensively supported, to become a blessing to the whole earth."


Our missionaries are singularly impeded in their benevolent efforts to convert the heathen to Christianity. Most of their difficulty arises from the immorality of those who profess the religion of Christ. The following is lamentably applicable even to our times. Bartholomew de Las Casas, after giving Charles V a picture of the cruelties committed in the New World by the Spaniards-"This," says he, "is the reason why the Indians are so ready to make their mock at the God we worship, and persist so obstinately in their incredulity. They are persuaded that the God of the Christians is the most evil of all gods,-because the Christians, who worship him, are the most wicked and corrupt of all mankind!”

If we entered the world with the same feelings with which we enter for the first time into a theatre, and if the curtain of the universe were to be rapidly drawn up; struck with the grandeur of every thing we saw, we should not be capable of refusing our homage to the Eternal Power which had prepared for us such a spectacle. But who thinks of marvelling at what he has seen for fifty years? What multitudes are there, who, wholly occupied with the care of obtaining subsistence, have no time for speculation! The rise of the sun is only that which calls them to toil, and the finest night in all its softness is mute to them, or tells them only that it is the hour of repose.

CHRISTIAN EMPLOYMENTS.-We have employments assigned to us for every circumstance in life. When we are alone, we have our thoughts to watch; in the family, our tempers; in company, our tongues.-Mrs. H. More.

THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST MONTH. "FUTURE events are known to God alone." To what a series of events, novel, calamitous, or beneficial, affecting Great Britain, its families, or individuals, the First Day of the First Month may introduce, the most intelligent and penetrating observer cannot foresee, and dares not presume to foretel. "Known unto God are all his works, from the beginning of the world," Acts xv, 18: it is our business, therefore, with cheerful confidence, to pursue our daily duties, assured that our Almighty Father "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will," Eph. i, 10; and that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Rom. viii, 28. What will be the events of this year? is an inquiry proposed by many, and revolving in the minds of more. Every 'reflecting person seems anticipating changes and improvements: while not a few are agitated with fears and gloomy forebodings. Not only the sagacious politician, the speculating merchant, and the Christian philanthropist; but the humble mechanic and the agricultural labourer are considering "the signs of the times," and looking for occurrences new, unheard-of, and surprising.

With the march of intellect," there is an advance of Providence. The Kingdom of God is approaching; and He appears, by passing events, to be preparing to illustrate speedily his own most gracious predictions recorded in Holy Scripture. Narrow-minded prejudice and unprincipled oppression shall be overthrown by the increase of divine light and truth. Our favoured country shall still more fully be blest. Our God declares, "I will also make thy officers peace, and thy exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise." Isai. lx, 17, 18. The LORD hasten it in his good time!

"The First Day of the First Month" is mentioned three several times in the Holy Scriptures; and the events to which they immediately led were of the most instructive character: on each of them we will make a few observations.

1. In connection with Noah's preservation from the Deluge. "And it came to pass, in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold the face of the ground was dry." Gen. viii, 1-3.

Noah, the venerable patriarch, beheld, on this first day of the first month, the superficies of an uninhabited world, purged from the pollutions of the degenerate and the corrupt millions of his fellow-creatures. Whether in all its primitive beauty and loveliness, and its natural richness, it appeared to delight the holy man, we cannot tell. Whether the widely scattered fragments of ancient buildings, and the wretched remains of their infidel inhabitants, were visible, we do not know. But an immensely extended surface, noiseless, unoccupied, and void, presented itself to his astonished view-inducing him to reflect on the dreadful indignation of God, and to anticipate scenes and events of which he could previously form no conception. The earth must again be peopled: generations, through successive ages, must spring from him: but what would be their character, habits, principles, and final destiny, that new beginning of time could not make manifest, nor could his privileged intercourse with God lead him clearly to determine, without the special revelation and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

2. In relation to the commencement of the Levitical

Dispensations. "On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation. Thus did Moses according to all that the LORD commanded him, so did he." Exod. xi, 2-6. This was the establishment of that dispensation of grace and mercy, which, though only a shadow of good things to come, designed to be superseded by the Gospel economy, exhibited to the thousands of Israel, in the daily sacrifice," the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world." Extensive and pernicious was the defection, which, from time to time, appeared among the Israelitish nation; yet, we have every reason to believe, that tens of thousands were, from generation to generation, brought to a sense of their guilt and to true repentance, looking through the burnt-offerings and oblations, the incense and priesthood, to behold the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world."

3. In connection with Hezekiah's reformation of religion. "Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the LORD: So they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end, and they went in to Hezekiah the king," &c. 2 Chron. xxix, 17, 18, &c.

[ocr errors]

Without considering the awful declension and defection of the nation from Divine institutions, during several preceding reigns, in the last of which the temple of God had been shut up by the impious Ahaz-and the extent of the reformation which was effected by Hezekiah, in restoring the appointed services of religion, and in circulating the Holy Scriptures (see Prov. xxv, 1) the wondrous and beneficial consequences of this first day of the first month cannot be fully appreciated. The inspired writer describes this reformation and some of its blessed effects, 2 Chron. xxix, xxx, xxxi, xxxii, which appears to be one of the most instructive parts of sacred history; and we have reason to conclude, that this good work was accompanied by the conversion, the sanctification, and the salvation of multitudes. "And in every work," &c. 2 Chr. xxxi, 21..

Nothing precisely similar to either of these remarkable events can possibly take place on the first day of the first month of 1833, in Great Britain: but who is prepared to say that this will not introduce a new era, unspeakably interesting to our country, and beneficial to the whole world? Something unusual “the signs of the times" seem to warrant us to expect, and loudly call upon every Christian to be earnest in calling upon God for the communication of the blessings of the everlasting covenant. Every pious patriot will feel it his happiness to pray-" God be merciful unto us, and bless us," &c. Psal. lxvii, 1, 2.

Shine mighty God, on Britain shine,
With beams of heavenly grace;
Reveal thy power through all our coasts,
And show thy smiling face."

THE CROWN OF THORNS. "The mockery of reed, and robe, and crown, Of plaited thorns, upon his temples press'd." THERE still exists a plant in Palestine, known among botanists by the name of the "thorn of Christ,' supposed to be the shrub which afforded the crown worn by our Saviour at his crucifixion. It has many small sharp prickles well adapted to give pain, and as the leaves greatly resemble those of ivy, it is not improbable that the enemies of Messiah chose it, from its similarity to the plant with which emperors and generals were accustomed to be crowned; and thence that there might be calumny, insult, and derision, meditated in the very act of punishment.—Russel's Palestine:


YOUR interesting papers on the Statistics of different parts of the kingdom have been the origin of the following desultory notices of that part of the metropolis in which I live. They will, I think, be found to contain some remarks of interest to your Readers in general, and would prove very acceptable to your numerous friends in the parish to which they relate.

Clerkenwell consists of the united parishes of St. James's and St. John's, the former of which, since the building of the new church in it under the present commission, is divided into the districts of St. James's and St. Mark's, to which will be added the Battle-bridge district, when the church now building there is coinpleted. The population of the whole parish, by the last census, is 47,634 souls-a number sufficient to form one of our first rate county towns, as Oxford, Exeter, Leicester, or Nottingham.

Means of Religious Instruction-The following is the existing provision for the religious instruction of this vast multitude.

The Establishment has the churches of St. James,

St. John, and St. Mark, with St. James's
Chapel of Ease, Pentonville

Independent. Claremont Chapel, and Raw-
storne Street Chapel

Calvinistic Methodist.-Spa Fields Chapel.....
Baptist Chapel in Goswell Road
Wesleyan Chapel in Wilderness Row
Scots Church in Chadwell Street

[ocr errors]

Friends' Meeting House in St. John Street.....



To these will shortly be added the new church at Battle-bridge, and an Independent chapel in St. John Street.

Five of these places of worship are large, and fully attended: the others are much smaller and estimating them as accommodating about 1,500 each, which perhaps is high, they will give room for something more than a third of the population.

An evangelical ministry has been established in the parish church for the last thirty years. The inhabitants have the privilege of electing their own minister: and the writer well remembers the violent struggle which took place at the period alluded to, which ended in the election of that venerable servant of God, the Rev. Henry Foster, though strenuous efforts were made for a length of time afterwards to remove him. Upon his death, the contest was again renewed; but the present vicar, the Rev. T. Sheppard, was elected notwithstanding the utmost efforts of the adverse party; and it is not likely that the scenes of commotion which disgraced the parish at the time referred to, will be again repeated. The new church of St. Mark is favoured with the ministry of the Rev. T. Mortimer, and is regularly crowded with a very large and attentive congregation.

Claremont Chapel has a very large congregation, under the pastoral care of the Rev. J. Blackburn, the zealous secretary of the Christian Instruction Society. This institution, to which every Christian must wish great success, without ostentation, is efficiently labouring, especially in this parish, in the cause of the Gospel. The lectures of this Society to Mechanics are calculated to be of the very highest service to the class for which they are principally intended, and by the great ability displayed in thein they are worthy the attention of all.

The Calvinistic Methodist Chapel is that known by the name of Spa Fields Chapel, and is in the Countess

of Huntingdon's connection. Nearly all the churches and chapels in the parish have Sunday schools attached to them; and we may estimate the number of children receiving religious instruction in this manner at about 1,500.

Observance of the Sabbath.-Religion may be expected to flourish or decline, in proportion to the regard or neglect of the Lord's day. Though efforts have been occasionally made by the parish officers to promote a stricter observance of the Sabbath, much remains to be accomplished under this head. We still see many shops opened on the Lord's day morning; and though the alehouses and liquor shops are kept closed during the time of Divine service, there is undoubtedly a considerable number of the worthless sheltered in them all the day: news-venders also display their attractive placards; and of late tobaccoshops are opening in every neighbourhood, and set all regard to the Sabbath at defiance, as far as they dare. But the most open violation of the day of rest is by the omnibuses and stage coaches, and every other description of carriages, in the New Road, which are rattling up and down from morning till night, to the great annoyance and danger of those who are going to or from Divine worship, and to the scandal of any place professing a regard to the fourth commandment."

Prisons. In this parish are two of the county prisons, the "House of Correction," and the "New Prison, Clerkenwell;" in the former of which are sometimes crowded no less than cne thousand prisoners, either under sentence or for trial; and between the two, an average of upwards of that number of offenders against the laws of their country are at all times to be found. The want of classification in these receptacles of the vicious, and especially the little attention paid to their religious instruction, sufficiently accounts for the lamentable fact, that the general effect of imprisonment is, not the reformation of the offender, but the confirmation of his character in villany, and the destruction of all hope of future amendinent. What a degrading picture of human nature is presented by a prison ! How are we to account for the great bulk of offenders against the laws? It is not true that they are driven to their crimes by poverty; a man of sound principles, however poor, will still be honest: -nor even by ignorance; for no one is so ignorant as not to know the difference between mine and thine. The only true solution of the fact is given in the indictment upon which they are tried-that they "had not the fear of God before their eyes, and were moved by the instigation of the devil."

In this parish also the quarter sessions for the county are held, on Clerkenwell Green. The building has an eminently beautiful front, and calls up in the mind a feeling of regret, that so handsome a structure should be devoted to the investigation of crime, and the punishment of the lawless and profligate.

The Theatre.-A survey of the moral condition of any place possessing a theatre, must be very imperfect without a notice of its influence upon the inhabitants. Sadler's Wells in this parish is, I believe, the oldest theatre in or near London, and is conducted so respectably as to merit being considered one of the best of those establishments. It is not my design to trespass upon your columns with a dissertation on the stage; but I must mention one fact in illustration of the influence of the theatre- a fact easily verifiable by any one who perambulates London with his eyes open. It is, that wherever a theatre is established, in its immediate neighbourhood is to be found a colony of those wretched beings, who, while they call loudly for our compassion, cannot but excite our abhorrence and

« AnteriorContinuar »