« הקודםהמשך »
It has also received from that Institution a donation of 50 German Bibles, octavo, in large type, for gratuitous circulation.
It is well known, that many persons who cannot afford, or are not disposed, to purchase Bibles at the rates at which they are sold by the booksellers, are however willing to buy them at reduced prices. In order to avail itself of this means of increasing the circulation of the Scriptures, the Board, in July last, appointed a committee to procure a quantity of Bibles, for the purpose of selling them at low prices to individuals of the description above mentioned. A person employed by that committee to go into those parts of the city most likely to answer the design, has in this manner disposed of 320 octavo, and 121 duodecimo Bibles in less than four months; and the money received has been paid to the Treasurer of the Society
In addition to the above, 671 English, 37 German, and 8 French Bibles, have been distributed gratuitously by the Managers in the following manner : 49 to the Orphan Asylum Society of New York, 12 to the Methodist Free School, 12 to the Charity School of the Reformed Dutch Church, 24 to the New-York Free School Society, 20 to the Sunday School Union Society,
6 to School No. 3, 24 to the Richmond County Charitable and Religious Society, 25 in Sullivan County, 6 in Poughkeepsie, 6 at Flatbush, Long Island, 12 in Flushing, 19 at the East End of Long Island, 36 in various places, (through Mr. Wm. Burke,) 24 in Delaware County,
6 in Rockland County, 12 in the Western part of this State, 429 to individuals in this city.
These make the number gratuitously circulated by the Society, since its organization, to be-twenty thousand Bibles.
When we contemplate the multitude of immortal souls around us, who are without a copy of the Records of eternal life, and the millions in distant places who have no knowledge of the glad tidings which they reveal, we may well exclaim, what are these among so many? And if we consider the assistance which the inhabitants of this populous and wealthy city are capable of contributing towards a supply of those spiritual wants, we cannot but acknowledge, that we have done much less than we ought to have done, to testify our gratitude for the manifold blessings with which we abound, and for which we are so greatly indebted to Divine Revelation.
To promote the dissemination of the Sacred Oracles, is not exclusively the privilege and duty of the affluent. The most indigent may, in some way or other, be instrumental in furthering
this benign charity. In Great Britain and other countries where Bible Societies have most prospered, we find that no small portion of their funds has been derived from persons in very moderate circumstances. The smallest Associations, when extensively established, afford, by their number, an aggregate of resources for carrying on this benevolent work, of which it is not easy to estimate the amount, or appreciate the importance.
The increase of funds is not the only benefit to be reaped from this class of contributions :-it is attended with other advantages of a most interesting nature. By calling into active service every portion of a christian people, by engaging all hands, and hearts, and heads, according to the ability given to each, you promote a community of feeling in relation to the object, as well as extensive, lively, and efficient exertion to advance it. Extensive efforts to distribute the Holy Scriptures cannot fail to produce a corresponding increase of reverence and love for their sacred contents, in the hearts both of the giver and receiver. And wherever the Lively Oracles are disseminated and read, they cannot but diffuse a most salutary moral influence within the sphere of their circulation.
The Managers have long been sensible of the importance of pursuing a system of measures which should set in motion every section of this populous city. The subject occupied much of their deliberations during the preceding year. A plan was adopted for organizing Auxiliary Ward Associations : but various causes have prevented its execution. The Board has, however, recently determined to make an experiment without delay in one of the upper wards of the city. A large committee of the Managers has accordingly been appointed to carry the design into effect, as expeditiously and as extensively as may be found practicable.
We cannot but anticipate a favourable result from this proceeding. The Christian character of the inhabitants of New-York will not allow us to doubt, but that their countenance and support will be cordially and abundantly afforded towards accomplishing so beneficent and interesting an undertaking. On this labour of love angels must look down with delight. What class of human society, or what condition of life, would forego the honour of having some instrumentality in promoting it?
The astonishing effects produced by the Bible Associations recently formed by the ladies of Liverpool, in England, furnish a powerful illustration of the importance of Institutions of this kind, on an extended scale, in a populous city. Between five and six hundred benevolent females have been engaged in entering every dwelling, for the purpose of ascertaining the want of Bibles. They have solicited from theh umblest of their tenants some small, but stated contribution, to purchase a copy of the Scriptures, if they were able, and bave dispensed copies gratuitously to those who were destitute. They have thus enabled the Ladies' Bible Society of that place to pay into the Bank, after deducting their expenses, one thousand seven hundred and twenty pounds sterling, (upwards of 7,600 dollars,) as the produce of a little more than six months; and to enrol on their books more than eight thousand subscribers.
Have we not reason to hope that similar efforts made here would be attended with corresponding results ?
We congratulate our fellow citizens on the prosperity of our National Bible Society. It recognizes at present one hundred and seventy nine Auxiliary Institutions, spread over the face of this widely extended country, harmoniously, and we trust in some good degree efficiently, co-operating with it in circulating the word of life throughout the land. With increasing patronage, and a progressive augmentation of contributions, it bids fair, under a judicious system of conducting its operations, and the smiles of a gracious Providence, to realize the fondest hopes of its founders, and become an extensive blessing to this Western World.
The British and Foreign Bible Society continues its magnificent labours with its characteristick wisdom, liberality, diligence, and energy. It is supported by upwards of five hundred and fifty Auxiliaries. It has printed, or aided the printing or circulation of the Scriptures, in whole, or in part, in sixty-six different languages, or dialects; and has issued, from the commencement of its establishment, upwards of two millions of copies of the Scriptures.
The Russian Bible Society, animated by the same benevolent and liberal spirit, under the distinguished patronage of the munificent Alexander, is distributing the Oracles of Life throughout an immense population, heretofore sunk in the grossest spiritual darkness. It has translated the scriptures into nineteen different languages, and aided by more than 120 auxiliaries, it is extending its operations from the Baltic to the borders of the Chinese empire.
The other National Bible Societies in Europe, as well as the smaller Institutions there, and in other parts of Christendom, appear to be increasing in zeal and usefulness.
With this cheering prospect in view, we are called upon to render our devout and thankful acknowledgments to the Father of lights, that the day-spring from on high is thus extensively visiting the benighted nations of the earth, and preparing the way for the second advent of the Lord of glory. While we are permitted, not only to walk in the light of its heavenly beams, but likewise to be instrumental in diffusing them around us, let us work while it is day, seeing the night cometh, in which no man can work.
SEVENTH WARD BIBLE ASSOCIATION. At a meeting of a number of the inhabitants of the Seventh Ward of this city, convened for the purpose, on the evening of the 15th instant, in the spacious Room of the New-York Free-School in Henry Street, a Bible AssoCIATION was formed, by the unanimous vote of the citizens present, as an Auriliary to the New York Bible Society. GEORGE BUCKMASTER, Esq., the Alderman for that Ward, is President of the Association. From the intelligence, zeal, and active habits of the gentlemen who compose its Board of Managers, we expect much good will result from this new establishment. It is hoped that their efforts will be extensively seconded by the citizens of that district. We expect soon to see a similar Association instituted in every ward of this city; and God grant that they may be instrumental in supplying every family, if not every individual, with the sacred records of eternal life.
Saturday, January 2, 1819.
INDIA. Copy of a Letter from Rev. H. Townley to T. Wilson, Esq. dated Calcutta,
June 27, 1817. MY DEAR SIR,
The necessity of a detail of our proceedings is superseded by the full accounts transmitted half yearly to Mr. B., to which I beg to refer, you. I would only cursorily say, that God has abundantly comforted and blessed us; and that, I, as an individual, perpetually praise him for having sent me hither. Islington and Paddington, and a multitude of other dear and attractive objects, occasionally rise up in my mind; but, by the blessing of God, my heart is fixed upon the work in which I am engaged, and I repent not having quitted the land flowing with milk and honey for this sultry and heathen country. If I were still at Paddington, I should say thrust me out, and send me to India; here I cannot stay whilst the wheels of Juggernaut are crushing its victims—men are swinging with iron hooks in their backs, and walking through the streets with iron spits through their tongues; parents are murdering their children, and children their parents—whilst lying, stealing, uncleanness, and sin in all its forms, abound; and only a handful of men of God to lift up a standard against the devastating flood of impiety.
We have not yet had a servant on whose word (where his interest was concerned) we could place a grain of confidence. Of all our little stock of plate they robbed us in one night, and their petty thests are too numerous to be detailed. A man, with a hole in his tongue, dropping blood, and a spit in his hand, actually came to my abode to request a reward for his piety. My heart sicke ned when I examined closely the back of one of the swinging devotees, and saw the two iron hooks dragging him from the ground by two sinews in the back; but I cannot attempt to specify all the horrid scenes which here meet the eye in quick succession. Enough has been hinted at to justify the conclusion that such a people as this need the gospel. There is no other medicine that can cure them, and this can. There are two loud calls in Providence, to British Christians, to come out to the help of the Lord here : one is, that government has opened the door; the other is, the natives are willing to hear; though they are so afraid of defilement, that some of them will not pull the punkah,* if any food is on the table, least the air should thereby be wafted upon them, and they should incur disgrace from being touched by air which had passed over polluted victuals; yet they will patiently listen to the gospel; and, to my exceeding great joy, have no prejudice against it as possessing a defiling quality. Nothing then is wanting but instruments, and the blessing of God; and where the former come forward, the latter may be confidently expected. ** A kind of large fan suspended from the ceiling to ventilate the dining-room.
Intercede for me with the Directors to send out some more here speedily. The seed of the word of God is all ready, by ibe indefatigable labours of the Baptist Missionaries: the whole Bible is in Bengalee; it only wants husbandmen to open the furrows and cast in the precious seed.
HORRIBLE SUPERSTITIONS. Extracts from a Letter and Journal of Mr. James Keith, Missionary al Calcuta.
Six months have expired since my last, and thousands of the heathen around us have been carried off during that period by the epidemical disease which has prevailed here;
and, what is infinitely worse, have been plunged into eternity without the knowledge of the Saviour. A few extracts from my journal will not only sbor you the wretched state of the natives, but also serve to inform you what we are doing.
Sept. 27, 1817.-Went to Chinsurah. On my way I bebeld effects of idolatry that shock the feelings of humanity. One poor wretch was lying by the river side, waiting for the hour of dissolution, his feet in the water, his back on the mud, and his head leaning on his hed. There were about 50 persons washing near him, but no good Samaritan. Saw also a body in the river, another half destroyed on the beach, and a crow picking out the eyes; and of a third, the head only remaining. On a pile there was placed the body of a man to be burned. The banks of the river are marked with the ashes of the dead. My attention was more particularly attracted by a little child, laid, I supposed by its parents, on the cold ground at the side of the river to die. It was placed within the water-mark, exposed to the burning sun. The relations of the child sat, without any emotion, at a little distance, near the wood wbich was prepared to consume its body as soon as it should expire. It is customary to pour water into the nostrils of the children, and tben leave them to die. The fire occasioned by the burning of another body served as a light to guide us across the river.
Oct. 2.--Upon my return, saw a body in the water, and a number of people preparing the pile. A little child lay on the steps of a ghaut, and the water touching it. A woman stood near, and a man on the spot where a number of children had been burned. At Serampore the Danish government lately refused permission to the widow of a Hindoo to burn herself; on wbich account the people removed the body out of Serampore, and obtained leave from the British government. The woman has left five children, whom she would not suffer to touch her, least they should be defiled. They worshipped her, however; and at last the eldest son set fire to the pile!
Feb. 1, 1818.-I gave a tract to a little boy, who appeared to be all through the extreme length of his pair. I asked him why he did not cut it ; when he informed me that he and his mo ther bad pro