« הקודםהמשך »
dence of Count Styrum, the Scriptures are likewise dispensed to the military.
The Report thus concludes :
Let our zeal be pure ; let us lay aside every private view, and look to the glory of God alone! May revealed truth rise in estimation, and human wisdom be less exalted, and the blessing of God will rest upon our endeavours. Let every Society, every Director, every Member, build upon the only foundation that has been laid; but let them take care how they build, 'for every man's work shall be made manifest.'
From the Monthly Paper containing the Transactions of the Russian
Bible Society, on the 24th of February, 1818. The Bible Association in Kurmuschsk has resolved to undertake a version of the Gospels, in the Tschuwashian dialect, with Russian characters. Those who are engaged in this version have made it their duty to watch diligently over its correctness, so that nothing might be suffered to creep in, contrary to the original, and they determined, when one or more chapters had been translated, and had undergone a revision among themselves, to have such versions read to those Tschuwashians who are best acquainted with the Russian language; (and who are so delighted to hear the Gospel read in their own tongue, that, with eyes full of tears, they give thanks to the Lord for having permitted his light to shine upon them ;) and, when found perfectly correct, to have it sanctioned by their signatures.
The Committee of the Branch Society at Kasan have resolved, that, as the government of Kasan contains, independently of the Tartar tribes, settlements of the Tscheremissians, Tschuwashians, and Mordwanians, who, although the greater part of them have been baptized, yet, from ignorance of the Russian and Slavonian language, have but a very imperfect knowledge of the doctrines of Christianity, the New Testament, at least, should be translated into these languages, and introduced among these tribes, that they also may come to the knowledge of the only true God, and his Son Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, whom he hath sent.
The Director of the Auxiliary Bible Society in Kurmuschsk, reports, that, having presented a Bible and a Testament to a peasant and a soldier, both extremely poor, a wish had thereby been excited among many of the country people to offer their contributions in money, of which 25 rubles were collected in the church. On this occasion, a little girl, seven years old, an orphan, presented to the minister 10 copecks, requesting the Reverend Gentleman would not take it amiss that she offered so very little, but she had no more to give; and that this trifle was a present from her god-mother, on her baptismal day.
A correspondent in one of the Branches of the Russian Bible Society, writes, among other things, as follows: “It is to be lamented, that the copies of the Holy Scriptures have not yet been received
here. We have excited a thirst, but we want the means of satisfying it. Four years ago, our Depository was full of Bibles, but we had no customers; now it is quite the contrary. We have but few Bibles, and many applicants, whom, after repeated inquiries, we are reluctantly obliged to put off to a future period. The poorer the people are, the more willingly they bring forth their mite; and the less cultivated they are, the greater is their desire for the Scriptures, and the instruction they contain. Of this we have daily experience.
The correspondent of the Committee of the Society at Minsk, on announcing the receipt of the Bibles sent thither, expresses himself as follows :“I ought to have written to you earlier, to which I wanted no incitement; but before I received the Bibles so very little business of moment was transacted in the Meetings of our Committee, that I could not communicate to you, or your Society, (which is hardly capable of viewing, from its great theatre of action, all the wonderful occurrences around it,) any thing of an interesting nature. We were, in fact, I may say, at a stand, still hoping for the accomplishment of our wishes. But being now rich in the treasures of salvation, we may proclaim the kingdom of God in various tongues. It is remarkable, that even Jews have purchased the New Testament."
From an anonymous writer in the town of Mosur the following letter has been received: “That the Gospel of Christ our Lord may be proclaimed among all nations, we offer, with reverence, the inclosed mite of 100 rubles, in silver, in aid of so benevolent an Institution; and exclaim, in the consciousness of our unworthy hearts, *We make an offering of thine from thine; from all, and for all.” We promise, as we are in duty bound to do, as Christians, in honour of God, who blesses our undertaking, to make an annual remittance of 100 rubles, and in the same coin, to the Committee of the St. Petersburg Bible Society. We do not sign our names. They are known to the Omniscient, whom we serve, in whose hand is the book of life. He says: “Without me ye can do nothing.' To him alone be glory, honour, praise, and thanksgiving, from eternity to eternity." Address of the Very Reverend Dean Schlauss, of Helferskirchen, to
the Clergy of his Diocese.
Helferskirchen, April 28, 1816. In imitation of the example of other countries, and by the noble co-operation of the renowned Parent Society in London, an Association for the purpose of diffusing the Divine Word has been formed for the Duchy of Nassau,
You, Reverend Sirs, will readily perceive, that this notice is of the nature of an invitation for us to join a Bible Society in our own country. Whoever seriously bears in mind, that the chief purport of our mission, as successors of the Apostles, consists in doing all we can for the glory of the truths of Christianity, will readily lend his aid towards diffusing the Holy Scriptures among the poor and needy, and consider an active co-operation with such an establishment a real pleasure and privilege. It would not become the exalted station of a Minister of the Church, in his contributions, to go below the minimum.
A filial Bible Society will be established in this place, which, if circumstances require, may be divided into several Branches. The splendour of those Societies would be greatly heightened, if the Člergy were to place themselves at the head of them. I shall separately invite the Professors, Vicars, and the beneficed Clergy in Montabaur, to join in this object. Parish Ministers, and others of the Clergy, who are inclined to become Members of this Institution, are hereby requested to enrol their names, and the amount of their intended contributions, in a register, which is opened here for that purpose. My Reverend Brethren will confer an additional obligation, by endeavouring to prevail upon the friends of the Bible among the Laity, to enter into so noble and holy a union.
(Signed) J. SCHLAUSS. From a Catholic Correspondent at Treves, to Professor Leander Van Ess, at Marburg.
December 31, 1817. I have the honour of informing you that I have received 2000 copies of your version of the Scriptures, which arrived here on the 6th of this month, in six cases.
It gives me pleasure to tell you, that two cases are already disposed of, and the general desire is not yet satisfied. I wish, however, to possess a few hundred copies in large print, in order to provide for the more advanced in age. From a Catholic Minister in Germany, to Professor Van Ess.
February 4, 1818. Your Testaments were received with the greatest avidity by the children of my school; and though I go through many chapters with them, in the course of the day, they are not satisfied : among the adults the demand for the bread of life daily increases. In short, the power of God is manifest, and his blessing attends the sowing of the seed. I look forward to a glorious harvest among the young people in general; of which I shall have the pleasure to apprise you in the spring, when I intend to pay you a visit, From a Catholic Gentleman, to the same.
Constance, February 19, 1818. At length I have the satisfaction of transmitting to you an approbation of the General Vicariat of this place; and I beg you not to ascribe it to the want of good will, if the delay appeared long to you: on the contrary, it was not given sooner, because the Provicar wished to distinguish your noble exertions in a more striking manner than a simple approbation appeared to him to do. For
this reason, he read through the whole of your New Testament, in doing which, the weakness of his eyes preventing his reading by candle light, he could proceed but slowly; yet his desire to read it himself, and the delight he experienced in the perusal of it, were so great, that he would not intrust the business to any other ecclesiastical counsellor. The Provicar requests me to present you his cordial salutations, while transmitting you the approbation; and to thank you for the opportunity you have afforded him of serving you, , and the good cause in this particular, as well as for the assignment of 2000 copies of your New Testament, which we shall endeavour so to apply as to promote thereby the glory of God, and the salvation of men. People here are longing very much after this Divine Book; and I am extremely happy to think I shall soon have it in my power to satisfy this spiritual hunger. I have been, for these two months past, without a copy; which gives me the greater pain, since there passes not a day without inquiry after this book.
(By Bishop Porteus.) Although diversions may serve very well to quicken a palled appetite, they are much too poignant and high seasoned to be constant food and nourishment of the soul. They not only destroy our relish for the more plain and simple fare of sobriety and virtue, but lay a foundation for the worst diseases; and though they do not so instantly kill as the deadly poison of vice, yet, with a gradual and a fatal certainty, they undermine the vital parts, and sap the constitution. Beware then of an error, which is the more dangerous because it is not always perceived, or at least acknowledged to be
And such of you, more especially as are just setting out in life, full of those high spirits and gay imaginations which youth, and rank, and affluence, naturally inspire; beware of giving way to that feverish thirst of pleasure, to that frivolous turn of mind and levity of conduct which will render all your great advantages useless, and totally defeat every grand purpose of your creation. Do not imagine that you were born to please yourselves only. Do not entertain that false, that destructive notion, 'that your wealth and time are all your own; that you may dispose of them exactly as you think fit-may lavish the whole of them on your own pleasures and amusements, without being accountable to any one for the application. There is one, most assuredly, who may, and who has declared that he will call you to an account for the use of that leisure and those riches which he bestowed upon you for far other purposes than that mean ignoble one of mere selfish gratification. There are duties of the last importance owing to your families, your friends, your country, your fellow creatures, your Creator, which you are bound under the most sacred ties to perform ; and whateyer calls off your attention from these does from that moment cease to be innocent. Here then is the precise point at which you
ought to stop. You may be lovers of pleasure ; it is natural, it is reasonable for you to be so; but you must not be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. This is the true line that separates harmless gaiety from criminal dissipation. It is a line drawn by the hand of God himself, and he will never suffer it to be passed with impunity. He claims, on the justest grounds, the first place in your heart. His laws and precepts are to be the first object of your regard. And be assured, that by suffering them to be so, you will be no losers even in present felicity. It is a truth demonstrable by reason, and confirmed by invariable experience, that a perpetual round of fashionable gaiety is not the road to real substantial happiness. Ask those who have tried it, and they will all (if they are honest) with one voice declare that it is not. It is indeed in the very nature of things impossible that it should be so. This world is not calculated to afford, the human mind is not formed to bear, a constant succession of new and exquisite delights. To aim therefore at uninterrupted, unbounded gaiety, to make pleasure so necessary to your existence that you cannot subsist one moment without it
, is to convert every thing that is not absolute pleasure into absolute pain, and to lay the foundation of certain misery.
Diversions are of too thin and unsubstantial a nature to fill the whole capacity of a rational mind, or to satisfy the cravings of a soul formed for immortality. They must, they do, tire and disgust; you see it every day; you see men flying from one amusement to ans other; affecting to be happy, yet feeling themselves miserable; fatigued with pursuing their pleasures, yet uneasy without them; growing sick at last of them all, of themselves, and every thing around them; and compelled perhaps at last to have recourse to solitude, without the least provision made for it; without any fund of entertainment within to render it supportable. From this wretched state it is, that religion would preserve you; and the very worst you have to fear from it, is nothing more than such gentle restraints on your gaiety as tend to promote the very end you have in view, the true enjoyment even of the present life. Suffer it then to do you this kind office; and do not look on christianity in that gloomy light in which it sometimes perhaps appears to you. Far from being an enemy to cheerfulness, it is the truest friend to it. That sober and temperate use of diversions which it allows and recommends, is the surest way to preserve their power to please, and your capacity to enjoy them. At the same time, though it forbids excess in our pleasures, yet it multiplies the number of them; and disposes the mind to receive entertainment from a variety of objects and pursuits, which to the gay part of mankind are absolutely flat and insipid. To a body in perfect health, the plainest food is relishing; and to a soul rightly harmonized by religion, every thing affords delight. Rural retirement, domestic tranquillity, friendly conversation, literary pursuits, philosophical inquiries, works of genius and imagination, nay, even the silent beauties of unadorned nature, a. bright day, a still evening, a starry hemisphere, are sources of unadulterated pleasure to those whose taste is not vitiated by criminal