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culties. The tendency which certain recent events hr.ve to promote both these purposes, gives them the aspect of such indications.
Great and multifarious were the calamities inflicted on the nations of Europe by their extensive war—a war of longer duration, and in the course of which, more blood and tears were shed, more rapacity and desolation committed, more cruelty and perfidy exercised, and more national and individual distress experienced, than in any of those which are recorded in modern history. During the continuance, and in the conclusion of such a war, it was natural to expect that the pressure of public and personal dangers and necessities, would have directed and limited the thoughts, cares, and efforts of rulers and people to their existing exigencies, and to the means necessary to acquire security, to repair waste and terminate privations.
Yet strange as it may appear—desires, designs, and exertions of a very different kind, mingled with these urgent temporal cares. The people of Great Britain formed, and have nobly supported their memorable Bible Society. Their example has been followed, not only by the people of this country, but also by nations who had not yet obliterated the vestiges of war and conflagration. At no former period have the people of Europe and America instituted so many associations for diffusing and impressing the knowledge and influence of the Gospel, and for various other charitable and generous purposes, as since the beginning of the present century. These associations comprehend persons of every class; and their exemplary zeal and philanthropy continue to incite feelings and meditations well calculated to prepare all for the great work before mentioned. We have also lived to see some of the obstructions to it removed, and some of its difficulties mitigated.
Throughout many generations there have been professing Christians, who, under the countenance and authority of their respective governments, treated the heathen inhabitants of certain countries in Africa as articles of commerce; taking and transporting multitudes of them, like beasts of burden, to distant regions: to be sold, and to toil, and die in slavery. During the continuance of such a traffic, with what consistence, grace, or prospect of success, could such Christians send Missionaries to present the Bible, or preach the Christian doctrines of brotherly kindnessand charity to the people of those countries?
So far as respects Great Britain and the United States, that obstacle has been removed; and other Christian nations have partially followed their example. Although similar circumstances expose some of them to an opposition like that which Great Britain experienced, it is to be hoped that an overruling Providence will render it equally unsuccessful. I allude to the territorial and personal concerns which prompted the opposition with which the advocates for theact of abolition had to contend. It will be recollected, that many influential individuals deeply interested in the slave-trade", together with others who believed its continuance to be indispensable to the prosperity of the British West India Islands, made strenuous opposition to its abolition, even in the British Parliament. Delays were caused by it; but considerations of a higher class than those which excited the opposition finally prevailed: and the Parliament abolished that dcstestable trade. Well Atmiversariet.—American Bible Society. 13
merited honour was thereby reflected on the Legislature; and particularly on that excellent and celebrated member of it, whose pious zeal and unwearied perseverance were greatly and conspicuously instrumental to the removal of the obstacle.
Their example, doubtless, has weight with those other nations who arc in a similar predicament; and must tend to encourage them to proceed, and act in like manner.
Although an immense heathen population in India is under the dominion, controul, and influence of a Christian nation ; yet it was deemed better policy to leave them in blindness than to risk incurring the inconveniencies which might result from authorizing or encouraging attempts to relieve them from it. This policy has at length met with the neglect it deserved. The gospel has been introduced into India under the auspices of the British government; and various means are co-operating to advance its progress, and hasten the time when the King of Saints will emancipate that people from the domination of the Prince of darkness.
The languages of the heathen nations, in general, being different from those of Christian nations, neither their Bibles could be read, nor their Missionaries understood, by the former. To obviate and lessen these difficulties, numerous individuals have been induced to learn those languages; and the Bible has already been translated into many of them. Provision has been made for educating heathen youth, and qualifying them for becoming missionaries. Schools have also been established in heathen countries, and are preparing the rising generation to receive and to diffuse the light of the gospel.
The mere tendency of these events to promote the coming in of the Gentiles, affords presumptive evidence of their being genuine indications of the approach of the season assigned for it,—or, in other words, that they are providential. This evidence becomes more than presumptive, when combined with that which the few following inquiries and remarks bring into view.
Whence has it come to pass that Christian nations, who for ages had regarded the welfare of the heathen with indifference; and whose intercourse with them had uniformly been regulated by the results of political, military, and commercial calculations, have recently felt such new and unprecedented concern for the salvation of their souls, and hnve simultaneously concurred in means and measures for that purpose? Whence has it come to pass, that so many individuals of every profession and occupation, who, in the ordinary course of human affairs, confine their speculations, resources, and energies to the acquisition of temporal prosperity for themselves and families, have become so ready and solicitous to supply idolatrous strangers in remote regions with the means of obtaining eternal felicity? Who has " opened their hearts to attend" to such things?
It will be acknowledged, that worldly wisdom is little conversant with the transcendent affairs of that kingdom which is not of this world; and has neither ability to comprehend, nor inclination to further them. To what adequate cause, therefore, can these extraordinary events be attributed, but to the wisdom that cometh from above? if so, those events authorize Ub to conclude, that the Redeemer is preparing to take possession of the great remainder of his heritage, and is inciting and instructing his servants to act accordingly. The duties which this conclusion proclaims and inculcates are too evident and well known to require particular enumeration.
Not only Bible .Societies, but also the various other societies who. in different ways, are forwarding the great work in question, have abundant reason to rejoice and be thankful for the blessings which prospered their endeavours. We of thi6 Society, in particular, cannot fail to participate largely in this gratitude and joy,—especially when we reflect on the beneficent and successful exertions of our late meritorious President to establish and support it, —on the number of our Auxiliaries and members,—on the continuance and amount of their contributions,—and on the fidelity and prudence with which our affairs have been managed.
Let us, therefore persevere steadfastly in distributing the Scripture* far and near, and without note or comment. We are assured that they "are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." They comprise the inestimable writings by which the inspired Apostles, who were commanded to preach the gospel to all people, have transmitted it through many ages, down to our days. The Apostles were opposed in preaching the gospel; but they, nevertheless, persisted. We are opposed in dispersing the Sriptures, which convey the knowledge of it; and let us follow their example. An eminent ancient counsellor gave excellent advice to their adversaries; and his reasoning affords salutary admonition to our opponents. That advice merits attention; and was concluded in the following memorable words:
"Refrain from these men, and let them alone: For if this counsel, or this work be of men, it will come to nought; but, if it be of God, ve cannot overthrow it; Lest, haply, ye be found even to fight against God!"
William W. Woolsey, Esq. Treasurer of the Society, read the Annual Report of that Department, which presented a highly flattering account of the state of the funds of the Institution.
The net receipts of the Treasurer in the 6th year, have been 38,662 dollars 34 rents, of which 22,968 dollars 97 cents have been remitted for Bibles, fcc. from Auxiliary Societies.
The payments from the Treasury, in the 6th year have been 39,995 dollars 93 cts.
The Rev. S. S. Woodhull, of Brooklyn, L. F. Secretary for domestic correspondence, read the annual report.
Of this well written and important document we shall give an abstract in future numbers, and at present barely notice that the number of copies of the Scriptures printed at the Depository during the year, including a small number of Bibles purchased, is 36,625 copies, which, added to the number mentioned in the last year's report, make the whole number 268,177 of Bibles and Testaments, or parts thereof, published by the stereotype plates of the Society here and at Lexington, Kentucky, or otherwise obtained for circulation since the organization of the Society—That there have been issued by the' Society during the year from the Depository 53,470 Bibles and Testaments. Anniversaries.—American Bible Societies. 13
including a small number of the Gospels in the Mohawk and the Epistles in the Delaware language, making a total of 193,818 Bibles and Testaments, and parts of the New Testament, issued by the Society siuce its establishment. Of the Bibles issued from the Depository during the 3'ear, there were—French 551, German 393, Gaelic 21, Welch 5—-making 970, and of Spanish Testaments 1576. During the past year, there have been added G2 Auxiliary Societies—making the whole number of Auxiliaries 301. After the report was read the following resolution was offered: Retolred, That the Report of the Managers be accepted, and printed under their direction.
The Rev. Joshua Bates, D. D, President of Middlebury ColIeger Vermont, in proposing this resolution, remarked, that little need be said to justify this motion; nor should he say much. The public, sir, said the Rev. Dr. are entitled to this Report, because it constitutes arr important chapter in the history of benevolence; because it records what should never be forgotten, and animates to future exertion: because it is calculated to warm the benevolent heart, and open the benevolent hand.
Sir, when I contemplate the rapid progress, the diversified operations and the extensive influence of Bible Societies; when I remember, that twenty years have not elapsed since the first Association of this character was formed—and consider the number, which now exist and their united influence on the character and happiness of the human race J my heart is made glad, and my sold doth rejoice—I observe in these Societies the gradual, or rather I should say, the rapid accomplishment of prophecy, &c.
1 seem to behold the Angel of the beloved Apostle, flying through the midst of heaven; I seem to behold the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, rolling forward, and increasing as it rolls—the heathens casting their idols to the bats and moles—the descendants of Abraham, returning and coming to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads—the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of our Lord, and every knee bowing to Jesus!
Sir, the influence of Bible Societies cannot be estimated, till examined in the light of eternity. Some ofthe direct effects are indeed pbvious; such as supplying the destitute in christian lands, and diffusing this light through the region of pagan darkness; such as uniting the hearts of Christians of different denominations, and bringing all who have received " the truth in the love of it," to stand on common ground, and act together. But there are incidental effects of these institutions, beginning to show themselves of immense importance to the world; I mean the union, which they are producing amongChristians of different nations. We have heard of a Republic of Letters, which disregarding the barriers of civil institutions, extends its dominions with the progress of science and literature. But, sir, the Empire of the Bible is more extensive, and infinitely more salutary. The united exertions of these national institutions, are evidently uniting the Christians of different nations; restraining the spirit of ambition; subduing that narrow, selfish, misnamed patriotism, which has hitherto counteracted the spirit of the gospel, and thus promoting that peace and good will, which the Bible itself inculcates. Bible Societies, to use a borrowed figure, are lik* majestic rivers, uniting the waters of a thousand streams, imparting comfort to every cottage by which they pass, and ultimately enriching kingdoms, and spreading through the world the expansive tide of their beneficence!
The Rev. F. C. Schaeffer, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran church in this city, seconded the motion of the Reverend President; and in pointing out the importance of the Report, remarked, that this document should be widely circulated, and that it would certainly be subservient to the cause which had convened the audience. He adverted to the pleasure which the contemplation of the march of true religion furnishes, as exhibited in the effects of well regulated Bible Societies. It is encouraging, said Mr. S. to behold the evidences of individual zeal, which the organization of these societies has elicited. He observed, that though merit is not to be measured according to pecuniary means, still, every one would agree with him, that the two distinguished bene-, factors whose names had been celebrated in the report, were actuated" by the purest motives, when they added thousands, and tens of thousands to the funds of the National Institution. Such legacies are intended to profit the human family, as well as to benefit destitute individuals. In such instances as those to which he alluded in respectful terms, the scriptural saying was applicable: "The memory of the just is blessed." But he went on to show, that by the Christian all should be gratefully regarded, who had given according to their means, though these were not more in nominal amount than the widow's mite. He rejoiced to the evangelical labours and giAs, and prayers of all, whether a BoudiNot or a WiTHir<-GTo:», whether the indefatigable manager of a Parent Society, or the humblest contributor to the gatherings of the obscurest Bible Association. For every pleasing fact stated in the report, he gave thanks unto him to whom belonged the glory.
Mr. S. said that when he listened to the aunals of Bible Societies, and heard the glad tidings of those excellent institutions, whose object is, by the ai'd of the Omnipotent Arm, to dispel gloom, and to send an exhilarating ray into the darkest abodes, he was forcibly reminded of a man whose name he was justly taught, from his earliest youth, to pronounce with veneration. He stated that Carl Hildebrand Baron Von Canstf.in, was the founder of the celebrated Bible Institution (Cansteinische Bibel Anstalt) at Halle, in Germany, whence more than three millions of Bibles and Testaments have been issued!
Mr. S. then proceeded to give some interesting particulars concerning the history of this Institution, which commenced its operation in the year 1710, and has ever since been faithful to the grand object: to supply every class of persons with the Bible, at the lowest rate. Every Bible, whether large or small, had the same number of chapters and verses on the same page. The different forms of the types were kept standing, so as to be used as stereotype plates. In a land, continued Mr. S. where the Bible was brought into general notice by the man of God, LUTHER, and by the results of the blessed reformation, this Institution met with a congenial spirit, and as the supply was facilitated, so the demand for the word of God increased at an astonishing rate, &c. The greatest number of the German Bibles which are distributed by