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Anniversaries*.-—American Bible Society. I?
Societies of the present day, (who, in fact, maybe considered as branchet and fruits of the Can9tein Institution,) have been issued by this venerable establishment at Halle. Mention was also made of the superior style in which these books appeared. Many copies of the earliest editions are still extant in Europe and America. They hate been handed down as the richest legacy, from father to son; and our first religious impressions have an inseparable connexion with the ancient family volume. We feel, as if it reads better---and all your modern German editions printed in Germany, or stereotyped and published in London city, have a strangeness about them, and, there is a kind of sweet relief in turning from them, to a good Canstein edition. Mr. S. farther remarked, that the emigration from Germany, the cradle of the reformation, the land of religion and biblical literature, was considerable for many years. Germans and their descendants in this country have all, more or less, experienced the blessings of the Canstein Institution ; and whatever religious benefit our own happy country has derived from Germans and Lutherans, must, in some degree, be ascribed, under God, to the meritorious German, on whose name I delight to dwell. So long as the glorious cause of Bible Societies shall be respected and supported, the name of Canstein shall be celebrated—and his memory shall ever be revered by thp friends; of the sacred volume which teaches the penitent sinner that his Redeemer lireth.
The second resolution was then proposed as follows:
Resolved, That ihc Society highly appreciate the services and exertions of the Board of Managers during the past year, and request them to accept their thanks for the laborious attention which they have paid to the business of the Institution.
The Rev. Mr. Howe, of New-Brunswick, N. J. rose to propose this resolution, at the same time requesting to be permitted to express the lively pleasure which he received from the interesting accounts detailed in the report of the operations and success of this society. I cannot, said Mr. H. but regard the establishment of the American Bible Society, as one of the most interesting events in the history of our country, and the institution itself, as one of its greatest ornaments and blessings: assembled together, not on the narrow principles of a selfish and worldly policy, but to aid in evangelizing the world, and on the principles of that christian charity which originates from God, and embraces in its affections the whole human family, surely we may indulge in congratulations on the past success which has attended the operations of this society, and in pleasing anticipations of the future. That great and blessed God who rules among the nations, and whose eyes run to and fro upon the earth, we question not, beholds this society with special approbation.
The Bible is a gift to man; and how precious is the gift. It is a token of his mercy and his love to our apostate race. It has guided through life and lighted up to the third heaven myriads of holy men of God, who are now walking in the light of the heavenly city. We too rejoice in it as a lamp to our feet—as affording us our sweetest consolations in adversity, our firmest supports against the fears of death, and all our hopes of a glorious immortality.
Great as are the blessings which the world has received from the sacred word, we look for still greater. Prophecy assures us, that the
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knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth. And what is to produce this glorious event? Faithful Missionaries will be raised up, and they shall take the written word and give it to the nations, and the work will be done.
The movements of the providence of God, which have taken place in our own days, announce that this time is near at hand. Desolating judgments have been inflicted on the anti-christian world, and amidst these distractions and tumults of the nations, christians have been filled with an unusual zeal to spread the gospel. These exertions, we confidently believe are closely connected with the bringing in of the millenium.
We have our part to bear in this most important work. The frontiers of our own country, and the rising empires of Mexico and South America, have demands upon us peculiarly strong. Our country too, is probably destined to take the lead in evangelizing the world.
While we feel the animating influence of these considerations, it is delightful to reflect that we are engaged in the best of causes, and with the best of men. Had we time to recite the blessed effects which have been already produced by the word of God, how would every tender sensibility of our souls be awakened, and our devout praises ascend to God, that he ever put it into the hearts of his people to distribute his word.
The Rev. Robert B. E. M'leod, of New-York, on seconding this motion, commenced with some observations respecting the importance of the Bible; and in the course of bis introductory remarks, animadverted upon the opposition of infidels to the Bible, and ascribed the source of this opposition " to pride of intellect."
He then proceeded to state some facts in connexion with the Bible, and from these he inferred, that patriotism with piety were solemnly called upon to aid in promoting the interests of Bible associations. The facts adverted to were the following:—First, That the study of the Bible had a most powerful tendency to promote the intellectual powers of man. This he undertook to prove from the fact, that men the most celebrated for genius in modern days, were the most strenuous and studious adherents of the Bible. He likewise stated that Christianity was ever productive of civilization and science in those countries in which it was divulged, while on the contrary, the doctrines of "Brahma, Confucius, and Mahomet, were invariably attended with intellectual debility." The reason,.of this difference, he ascribed to the different genius of these respective religions; that the one enlightened and encouraged the efforts of mind, and consequently liberty; the others ignorance, and consequently slavery. From this view of the tendency of the Bible to promote the intellectual power, and consequently the natural rights of man, he inferred the importance of a general diffusion of the Scriptures.
Mr. M'Leod then proceeded to the morality of the gospel—here he made some remarks with respect to the purity, simplicity and grandeur of the morality of the Bible; that here it was radically distinguished from all other religions. On this subject he observed that there was a variety of crimes, both of a public and private nature, which no human legislation could possibly control; that they were to Anniversaries.—American Bible Society. 19
be prevented alone by that which awes the conscience ; by the principles containerl in the word of God. He took a view of the moral and good effects of the Bible on society, and from this took occasion to advert to the millenium, and described the happiness and purity which would exist when the idolater, the Mahometan, the Jew, and the barbarian would read the Bible and imbibe its spirit.
The Rev. Speaker next observed that the principles contained in the Bible constituted the firmest basis of national glory; that the ruin and utter annihilation of ancient kingdoms were to be ascribed to their ungodly principles; that the revolution of France, was in a great measure owing to infidelity; and, that the glory and safety of our own government was deeply connected with the circulation of the Bible, and the practical influence of its doctrines upon the inhabitants of the country. He concluded by observing that the doctrines of the Bible, were the only doctrines that could yield to man any substantial enjoyment in affliction, any thing like triumph in death, any thing like glory beyond the grave.
The following was the next resolution:
Resolved. That the Society are very much gratified at the choice, made by the Managers of the venerable John Jay, as the successor of their late lamented President, Dr. Boudinot, and at his kindly consenting to accept the appointment; and that the thanks of the Society be conveyed to their said President, for the excellent address, which, in his unavoidable absence, he has been good enough to transmit to the present meeting.
Rev. Eli*ah Waterman, of Bridgeport, Conn, observed, that in the few remarks which he should offer, he should admit the end for which God hath established his church, and notice the means and motives which he has provided to assist and animate us in our exertions for its promotion. In that Holy Book which we receive as our inflexible guide, we are told that the leader of'those apostate angels, who left their own habitation, succeeded in seducing the man of Paradise from his allegiance to his Creator, into a state of rebellion, enmity and death. A world was lost. The dominion which God intrusted to the first man, fof himself and his posterity, he wilfully surrendered to the Prince of Darkness. The mighty movement which this rebellion excited about the throne of the Eternal—the coming forth of the Son, the Lord of Hosts, in the form of a servant, to establish his kingdom in the midst of his enemies—all had for their end to destroy the works of the Devil—to recover the lost dominion—and in all this mighty labour to glorify the riches of the Grace of God. This is the eternal and devoted purpose that attracts every eye, and affects with awful impulse, the remotest habitation of the universe. For this Jehovah keeps his sleepless eye on his everlasting covenant—for this the Almighty Mediator stands touched with our infirmities, and clothed in a garment dipped in his own blood, at the right hand of God. For this the Spirit moves his divine influence over the moral chaos of this apostate world. For this the Hosts of God descend from their lofty standing, and enter the warfare with Satan and his Angels. For this eternal purpose—to magnify the glory of his grace—God hath established 'Zion, and set her king upon his holy Hill—holding forth a sceptre of mercy over a dry sepulchral heap—saying to his prophets, "can these dry bones live !"—
prophesy anJ say, "come, O spirit, and breathe upon these slain." And here, sir, said Mr. W. I pause with amazement at the wisdom and goodness of Jehovah, who has constituted his church as the medium through which he sheds the light of life, and pours its healing waters over the face of this benighted and polluted world.—In the very nature that rebelled, the remedy is found. Through the agency of men God has appointed to communicate all the provisions of his salvation. The part assigned to the sanctified members of that body, of which Christ is the head, is of high and awful import. 1 ask, said Mr. W. is the sword of the Spirit, the work of reconciliation committed to them? Is the command exclusively directed to them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature?" And is the provision limited to them, " Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world?" Is it not, then, to his devoted people, that the King of Zion looks for the consummation of his victory over the Prince of Darkness? The warfare is for immortal souls; and shall the partakers of the glory of the grace of Christ, sleep at their posts, and suffer the destroyer to hold his usurped dominion, when by united efforts under the captain of salration, their victory will be complete, and their triumph eternal? These were deep and awful questions of theology into which he would not obtrude; but in all our research into the scriptures, we no where find an intimation that any man can be saved, unless the holy bread, the medicine of life, is communicated to him, and the Bible presses upon us the necessity of spreading and preaching the Gospel to all nations, not even excepting the Jews, who hold the scriptures in their hands. It is the command of Jesus, " Go"—and the promise " I am with you," is the certainty of success, and the grandeur and glory of the issue.— Do we ask for motives to animate us in the cause. On the banks of what river does not the herald of the cross tread 1 Through what valleys does he not traverse? Over what mountains does he not make his way? What island does he not visit? What language does he not speak? And to whom does he not carry the bread of life? The way is even now clear to open to every nation and tribe the Bible—a sovereign balm for the wounds of sin, in disclosing to them that kingdom which consists in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Shall we then faint or slumber while the world is awaking from the thraldom of Satan, and bursting the chains of darkness—while new and powerful allies are marching in the very van of our armies, and the inhabitants of the islands are burning the strong holds of the enemy—and all difficulties, like the waters of the Red Sea, are retiring to make way for the messengers of the Gospel.
"Haste then, ye heralds, and with rapid wing,
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H. Ketchum, Esq. of New-York. The wants and sufferings of our fellow creatures very properly excite in us feelings of pity, although' it is inconceivable whence our most refined happiness would be derived, if there were no wants to relieve, no suffering to abate. The happiness of man springs out of his social relations, and is all in some way or other connected with benefits conferred or received. The feelings of gratitude which arise in the heart of a good man upon the reception of a benefit, warm and exhilarate him, but the most felicitous sensations are reserved for him who awards the benefit; "it is more blessed to give than to receive." We are apt to censure that economy which renders it necessary for the rich man to part with his substance for the relief of the destitute: butif any one will be at the trouble of analyzing his sensations of happiness and tracing them to their source, he will find that they are dependent upon this very economy. Let none therefore complain that he is called upon to give; his only concern should be to ascertain in what way his gifts will be productive of most service to mankind. But the motives which sometimes induce us to give are not commendable; the very fact of a man's ability to confer a favour, implies a superiority on his part, over the objects of his beneficence, the consciousness of which is flattering to the pride of human nature; the applause which they excite is also frequently the motive to actions apparently benevolent. If, sir, the individual governed by motives of this description would contribute to the support of commendable objects only, it would be of little consequence to mankind to investigate the character of his motives. But the misfortune is, that such a man as frequently contributes to support the wrong as the right, and when you receive his donation in aid of the most righteous cause you have no security that he will not the very next day, or the very next hour, yield his substance in support of some plan which will utterly defeat your purpose. The man who in the bestowment of his alms, is governed by any other, motive than the moral improvement of the recipient of those alms, ought not to be commended; and although all possible charity should be extended to such a man, though every one ought reluctantly to yield to the belief that his motives were less pure than his actions were apparently benevolent, yet were it ascertained that he gave merely to gratify his pride, or to awaken the applause of mankind, the tongue should be palsied ere it moved in his praise.
In applying these remarks to those to whom this institution looks for support, I would not be understood to mean that a desire for the salvation of the human soul, is the only laudable motive to the dissemination of the Bible. No, sir, putting, for an instant out of view, the happiness or misery of a future state, there are benefits of a temporal and civil nature derivable from an acquaintance with the precepts of the Bible, which render its dissemination of vast importance; to secure these benefits is an object worthy of any man's ambition.
Were we unacquainted with the actual effects which have been produced in society through the medium of the Bible, and from a knowledge of-its contents, should we suffer ourselves to speculate upon the probable consequences which would flow from this source, the conjec•urr would be an obvious one, that a book laying claim to such high