תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

turned from Moscow, who gave us the most favourable account of the proceedings of the Society in that city. The Prince has also, as on former occasions, furnished me with a number of letters of recommendation, in the name of the Committee, which I hope will powerfully tend to promote the benevolent work in which I am engaged, particularly in those parts of White Rus. sia and Lithuania which I have never visited before. Continuing my course from Gatschina, through Luga, and Borovitch; I found myself, early in the morning of the 27th, approaching the once strong and massive, but now fast mouldering, walls and towers of the ancient capital of the principality of Plescovia. This city, like her sister Novogorod, though still retaining numerous monuments of former greatness and opulence, is, in general, in a ruined state. The number of its inhabitants is still reckoned about ten thousand.

I met with a very kind reception from the Archbishop, (residing in a monastery about five versts out of town, beautifully situated on the banks of the Velikia,) who in union with his Excellency the Governor, since my last visit to this place in 1816, has succeeded in forming a Bible Society for this province, which contains a population of upwards of 650,000 souls. This took place on the 12th of March, 1817, and the progress of the institution, during the first year of its existence, has far surpassed their fondest expectations. The number of annual subscribers is 211, and of benefactors 1117, among whom there are many of the poorest of the peasantry, who, on being made acquainted with the simple and sącred object of this Society, willingly came forward with their kopeks to aid its funds. The subscriptions, and kopek collections made among the peasantry, during the first year, amount to near 13,000 rubles. The demand for the Holy Scriptures has been great.

The Archbishop informed me, that in his diocese, which consists of 450 churches, the greater part of the clergy are still without a Bible! Through the continued exertions of the Society, however, with this learned and venerable Prelate at its head, there is good reason to hope that this lamentable scarcity of God's word, not only among the clergy, but also among numbers of the laity who are able to read it, will be removed.

From the same.

Tiitepsk, June 5, 1818. On my arrival in Potolsk I met with a very kind reception from his Royal Highness the Duke, who inquired particularly respecting the prosperity of the Bible Society in different quarters of the world, and expressed his great satisfaction at its continued success in every Province of the Russian Empire. On the 4th instant we had a full meeting of the Members of Committee, in which several new arrangements respecting the distribution of the Sacred Writings were proposed and adopted ; which, it is hoped, will produce good effects.

The income of the Society, during the first year, is 4538 rubles. Since receiving the Bibles and Testaments from St. Petersburgh, upwards of 300 copies have been sold and circulated. They have opened a sale for the Holy Scriptures in the chief market place, and have sent numbers of copies into the district towns of the Province for sale and distribution.

This Society has two associations, one in Velege, and the other in Potolsk. Both in Pleskoff and in this city I have visited the prisons and hospitals, and distributed the Sacred Volume among the afflicted and unfortunate. The number of the Jews in this city is great; they compose upwards of one half of the inhabitants, who are reckoned at 12,000. One of the Directors of the Committee, General Tschorba, is very zealous in circulating the Hebrew Testament among them. From the same.

Mogilef, June 10, 1818. It affords me great satisfaction to be enabled again to address you from the seat of the White Russian Bible Society, and to inform you of its prosperity. I now write to you from the residence of the venerable Archbishop Daniel, who most kindly invited me to lodge with him during my stay, and who is unwearied in his excrtions to further the Bible cause in his extensive Eparchy. At a very respectable meeting of the Committee, at which the Archbishop, the Catholic Bishop, and Count Tolstoy, attended. I learned the particulars of their transactions since the formation of the institution in November, 1816, and was happy to see several propositions agreed to which promise to accelerate their benevolent labours in time to come. They have already succeeded in bringing into circulation upwards of 3200 Bibles and Testaments, in different languages; of which number, 1800 copies have been distributed in the army. According to the regulations of the late much lamented Field-Marshal Prince Barclay de Tolly, each regiment was at first furnished with one Bible, and twelve Testaments. The Bible was given to the Chaplain of the regiment, and each of the twelve companies, of which it is composed, received a Testament; and the Chief Priest of the army informs me, that, at stated times, each company is assembled to hear the 'Testament read. Those also among the soldiers who are capable of reading, have opportunities of obtaining copies for themselves ; but, as the number of these is but small, the above regulations were thought to be the most proper, in the first instance, for making the soldiers acquainted with the saving truths of the Gospel. Many of the officers have purchased Bibles for themselves, particularly in the French, German, and Sclavonian languages. The amount of subscription and donations already received from different regiments is about 10,000 rubles.

In the town of Skloff, which is mostly inhabited by Jews, I found them exceedingly desirous of obtaining Testaments. They told me that they had seen one in the possession of a young man belonging to another village, but that he would not consent to let them have it. This roused their desire to obtain copies for themselves. I distributed ten Testaments among such of them as I found capable of understanding them, and was sorry that I had no more with me, as many came afterwards, earnestly begging for them. The number among the Jews in this country who understand the Hebrew, is much greater than I formerly supposed.

NEW-YORK ORPHAN ASYLUM. Institutions for the relief of the destitute members of the buman family will always find an advocate in every generous breast. The founders of hospitals, and of asylums of every kind for the wretched and friendless, have justly been ranked among the distinguished benefactors of mankind. Much however of the admiration and praise bestowed upon these beneficent institutions, has been excited by the consideration of the temporal advantages which they afforded to suffering humanity. The more secret, but far greater blessings, which christian charity has laboured to confer on the immortal souls of their bereaved and helpless inhabitants, are too little noticed and appreciated.

The establishment of a Society to provide a refuge for poor orphans in this neighbourhood, was undertaken a few years ago with very scanty resources. No institution could have been more opportune, or more popular, It has justly partaken of no small share of public and private bounty. The management of its concerns has been such as to deserve and receive universal approbation ; and, under the smiles of the Father of the fatherless, it has become an ornament to our city.

The large and convenient Asylum at Greenwich, cherishing within its walls one hundred and thirty orphans, provided with wholesome food, and comfortable raiment, and enjoying in a high degree, hcalth and comparative happiness, with the benefit of in

struction in useful knowledge, especially such as is calculated to make them wise unto salvation, is a spectacle which the eye of benevolence and piety cannot contemplate without increasing delight. The mere sight of those little cherub-faced-immortals, rescued from misery and vice, in possession of all the comforts which humanity and religion are capable of affording, must fill the heart of the benevolent visiter with highly interesting emotions. The private history of many of those little ones furnishes incidents of bereavement, indigence, and wretchedness, far more worthy of our sympathy than the fictitious tales of splendid misery, drest in the pompous decorations of mimic art, which awaken only a fruitless sorrow, without presenting any object for the practical exercise of beneficence. In these mansions of charity, also, we often behold displays of sovereign mercy, which render them a subject of interest to the pious soul, far exceeding any thing which this world can boast of.

In some instances the Great Shepherd takes the lambs of bis flock, from the midst of the temporal and spiritual evils to which they would become an easy prey in a sinful and miserable world ; places them in a secure fold; leads them to the pastures of bis word; and, without sending them back again to conflict with the trials of this life, removes them by a happy death, into the everlasting habitations prepared for them in his kingdom above.

We are led to these observations by a late remarkable instance of the power of divine grace upon the heart of one of the young tenants of the Asylum above mentioned. We give the following account of it in the words of Mr. John Mc Farlane the worthy superintendent of that institution.

OBITUARY.–For the Christian Herald. Charles Petit was admitted into the Orphan Asylum on the 7th of November, 1815. He was then four years of age. He continued in good health, and exemplary in his conduct, till about three weeks before his death, when he took the measles, and afterwards the whooping cough, which confined him to his bed. During this time I visited bim very often. The first time I asked him how he did, he answered, “I

am very sick.” I said I was very sorry, and asked him what was the cause of his being sick. He replied, “It was sin that brought sickness and death into the world.” I then asked him if he thought himself a sinner, and dying. He an-, swered, “ Yes.”—I said “Charles, are you prepared to die?” He answered, with a smile on hiscountenance, “Yes."--I said, "since you are a sinner, how can you expect to be prepared to die, and go to Heaven?” He answered ; " For the sake of Jesus Christ God will pardon my sins and take me to heaven. I want you to pray for me.”—“What shall I ask the Lord to do for you.”—“I want God to make me a good boy, and take me to heaven when I die."-On Monday my daughter Joanna attended him. She asked him if he thought himself dying, and if he was willing to die. He answered,

Yes," and begged her to advise John, his brother, to be a good boy, and not to tell lies nor steal; for he had heard that he had stolen a turnip, and he was afraid that God was angry with him, and would not take him to heaven when he would die. My wife conversed a great deal with him, and observed him often praying in a low voice.-On Tuesday he sent for me to pray with him.I asked him, as before, if he still thought himself dying. He answered, “Yes." I asked if he had any thing to say to any one. He said, “I want you to advise John, and all the boys and girls, to be good, that they may go to heaven when they die.” He became so hoarse that he could hardly speak. We sent for the physician, who put him into a warm bath, and bled him, and applied a blister to his breast, which relieved him considerably. When the doctor was gone, he begged my wife to send for me to pray with him. - After prayer she asked him how he felt. He said, " “Better ; I heard my Teacher pray for me, and I was glad ; for I love to hear people pray.”—She asked him if he prayed for himself. He said, “Yes; and I try to sing a little. I think I shall not die to night yet, I feel so much better." He wished his brother to come to him that he might hear him say his prayers, and that he might pray with him. I told him John was gone to bed, but promised to send him to him in the morning. On Wednesday morning he was much the same. John came and said his prayers, and Charles prayed also, and said he felt better. He asked Joanna to join with him in singing the Christian's dying song.

Mine eyes are now closing to rest,
My spirit must soon be removed,
And inould'ring lie buried in dust,

No more to be envied or lov’d.
He said, “I shall soon sing in Heaven.”

Mrs. B-, (one of the Trustees,) spent the day with him, and expressed great satisfaction at the interview, being delighted with the simplicity and power of his faith, and the spirit of prayer with which he breathed his desires to God. Another physician attended at Mrs. B's request. When they had left their orders, she said, “my dear Charles, you must be a good boy, and take your medicines, and ask the blessing of God upon them: perhaps the Lord will raise you up again.” He seemed no way concerned about getting better; but after a pause, said, “ Mrs. B., don't you think when I am gone God will take care of John, and bring him up to Heaven too by and by ?”—He told the children that he would give them all his play things if they would not make a noise when he was dying.- In the evening I again asked him if he thought himself prepared to die. He replied, “ Yes.” I said, “How can you expect that such a holy and just being as God is, will take such a guilty sin

you are to heaven?” He said “Jesus Christ died for sinners." “But do you suppose that Jesus will think of a poor sinner like you, weak and low ?" He said, “I pray to God, and he has made me willing to die, and he will take me to Heaven.” I said, “Well, Charles, I am glad that you are prepared to die, and go to Heaven, but

ner

don't you wish others to go also ?"--He answered, " I want John to go, and my Teachers, and all the boys and girls to go.” “Do you wish any more to go.”- "I wish every body to go." "I want you to pray for me.”—“I will, Charles, when the children have finished their supper."-Soon after, he begged my wife to call Christopher, (the assistant Teacher,) and me, to come and sing and pray with him. On Thursday he was much weaker in body, but strong in faith, begged us to pray with him, and when his complaints would admit, continued praying for himself. Joanna and he sang the following lines :

Now for the eye of faith divine,
To pierce beyond the grave;
To see that friend and call him mine,
Whose arm is strong to save.

Lord I commit my soul to thee;
Accept the sacred trust :
Receive this nobler part of me,

And watch my sleeping dust.
He was very restless throughout the day, but conversed frequently
with his brother, and those who attended him, and had no doubts on
his mind. He several times expressed a wish that Mrs. B. would
come and read to him, and said, I love to hear Mrs. B. read, she
reads so pretty. My wife asked him if he loved Mrs. B. He said,
“Yes I do, and I love my Teachers, and all the good boys and girls."

In the evening he sent for Christopher and me to pray with him, and to sing the hymn beginning with the following verse :

How condescending and how kind
Was God's eternal Son:
Our mis’ry reach'd his heavenly mind,

And pity brought him down.
About eleven o'clock I asked him if he thought himself near his
end. He said he did. “Yes, Charles,” said I, "you will soon get quit
of your bad cough, and your other complaints : you will soon be
happy in Heaven, singing the song of Moses and the Lamb." He
became gradually weaker, but still continued praying.-The last
words that he uttered was the prayer of Holy Stephen, “ Lord Je-
sus, receive my spirit;" and in the arms of that blessed Jesus, who
suffered and died for him, he fell asleep on Friday morning, the
27th of November, 1819, at six o'clock, aged seven years.

[ocr errors]

NINTH REPORT
Of the Board of Managers of the New-York BIBLE Society.

At the last Anniversary there were on hand 276 English, and 547 French Bibles. Since then the Board has purchased of the American Bible Society 350 octavo, and 600 duodecimo Bibles.

« הקודםהמשך »