« AnteriorContinuar »
2. From the Second Annual Report of the City of London
Auxiliary, &c. “ Four thousand one hundred and eleven Bibles and Testaments were distributed in the last twelvemonth, which cannot have been read by fewer than 15 or 20,000 individuals, most of whom, without the aid of your Associations, would have remained destitute of the Word of God. When to this it is added, that the efforts of all these Associations are harmonized by periodical Conferences between themselves, and are exclusively directed to the circulation of the authorized version of the Holy Scripture, without touching directly or indirectly on any other either religious or civil topic, your Committee think they may leave it to every benevolent heart to estimate the extent of real and almost unmixed good which, under the blessing of God, must have been produced during the short period of the Society's existence.” Ibid. p. 183.
See most interesting and important confirmations in an Abstract of the third CITY OF LONDON Report in the Christian Observer for May 1816. • If these testimonies appear, to any readers, of too gene
ral a nature, the original Reports will furnish them with numerous individual cases. From these I shall select one, which is contained in the document immediately succeeding the last, but one, referred to:
* An instance has occurred of a person subscribing for Bibles to be given to each of his servants; a person who, previously to the formation of this Bible Society, as he himself stated, discredited the Bible-lost no opportunity of contending against it, and would not suffer a single copy to be kept in his house : but having heard much of the great activity and zeal displayed in the formation of Bible Associations, he was induced to attend the Meetings, and afterwards to search the Scriptures himself diligently, the result of which was a deep conviction of the truth of the Divine oracles, and of the fallacy of those arguments which he had formerly employed against them.” : The following extract is adduced (from the second Annual Report of the HACKNEY and NEWINGTON Auxiliary, &c. * to illustrate the manner in which (according to Mr. O'C's. phraseology) " these miserable confederacies" elicit
• See Appendix to the 11th Report of the B. & F. Bible Society, p. 179.
from the poor part of their hard-earned pittance.” (" Thoughts,” &c. p. 35.)
" The Committee have the happiness of reporting that these Associations have, during the past year, very considerably increased, both in the interest which they have obtained, and in the usefulness which has evidently followed their exertions. They have been met by a most encouraging disposition on the part of the poor to avail themselves of the opportunity thus afforded for possessing the Sacred Volume. · Many have shewn a willingness to make the most self-denying sacrifices that they might acquire the means of subscribing for a Bible. It has indeed been far from the Committee's intention ever to render such painful sacrifices necessary; yet this fact has afforded a high reward of their endeavours, as affording some proof that the oracles of truth and morality are prized for their intrinsic worth, and are desired with a view to the best improvement of such a treasure. A subscription, at the rate of one penny per week, till amounting to half the value of the book, has been received, where it has appeared productive of no real inconvenience, and those have been the most numerous instances." .
It remains to prove that these extracts are not singular; but that they present a faithful specimen of the whole system:
o With respect to Bible Associations,” (says the Christian Observer for August 1816, in an Abstract from the 12th Report of the B. & F. B. Society) “ experience has' confirmed all that has been asserted in their favour in former Reports. The Committee acknowledge the great aid they have afforded to the parent institution, while they admire the moral effects which have resulted from them, in the encouragement of religious habits, and in the increase of kind affections and brotherly love." · In the last place, I shall illustrate the aspect of the Bible Society at large in reference to the Established Church, by an extract from the Bishop of Gloucester's speech at the last Anniversary Meeting, which refutes Mr. O’C's. assertion, that “ the current of public opinion has already set in against the Established Church.” (p. 49.)
" The circulation of the Prayer-book has not been lessened: it has, on the contrary, greatly increased during the whole period since the formation of this Society-a sufficient evidence that the Established Church is moros
firmly seated in the affections of the community. The forebodings of those who argue on this side of the question, are now absolutely forgotten. In the mean time, the other tendency which the friends of our Society thought to be the most probable, begins to appear. The effects of the Bible are becoming daily more and more visible. May the God of the Bible grant that this tendency may increase year by year!” See Christian Observer for June 1816.
With such a testimony from an English Prelate before such an assembly as he addressed, need the members of the Establishment in Ireland be alarmed at the cry which our author has raised of the danger of the Church? I believe its danger to be in proportion to the prevalence of such sentiments as he has published. But these, I trust, will more and more be exploded every day. There is nothing human, which is not in danger; nothing human which is not fallible. The chosen church of Israel has fallen, by secular principles and unbelief. The church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred * ;” and the candlesticks of the seven churches of Asia have been removed out of their place. These are awful warnings that we should " not be high-minded, but fear;" that we should not be so much occupied in complaining of secta. ries, as in examining ourselves. It will be of no avail to exclaim, “ The Temple of the Lord, The Temple of the Lord;” unless we “ thoroughly amend our ways and our
But I h Jer. vii. 4, 5.7oroughly amend be. Temple of the
But I hope better things of the Church of England-I hope in the divine mercy, that she will be preserved: and, that the Almighty, having blessed her with such a time of refreshing within her own borders, and honoured her with so eminent a share in the propagation of the Gospel, will cause her to shine more and more in the beauty of holiness, and in sending out his light and truth into the dark regions of thc earth. In this hope we are brought in prospect of
The foreign operations of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
And here, says Mr. O'C. “ respecting this part of the subject, our information is limited; our facts are few; and personal observation is altogether excluded.” (p. 49.)
* See 19th Article of the Church of England.
It must be astonishing incredulity indeed, that can complain of the want of a personal observation” in matters of notoriety! And is it true that “ personal observation is altogether excluded ?" It may be impracticable for Mr. O’C. vr for me, to have this advantage-But how are we excluded from it ? Surely, by our own circumstances. The Bible Society no more excludes any one from personal observation, than it withholds the means of understanding the Holy Scriptures. Nay, it has been, and is, actually enjoyed by numbers of our countrymen; and the Society have even sent Agents to the scenes of foreign operations. Their Reports are before the public, containing the most interesting and satisfactory details; together with most copious extracts from correspondence of unquestionable authority. Yet, after all, Mr. O’C. tells us, " our information is limited; our facts are few !!! What does he mean by these assertions ? Without attempting to solve the question, let it be observed—that, taking them for granted, they speak volumes in favour of the Bible Society. “Our facts are few !" Then there is no evidence that a Society, of such immense magnitude and energy, has produced a single particle of mischief, throughout the whole extent of its foreign operations ! And can it be believed, that they have remained in a state of suspense, without being the cause of either good or evil ? It is incredible, that so mighty an engine could be so long at work—without effects. If these have not been pernicious, they must be beneficial. Hence it is an irresistible consequence from Mr. O'C's. representation of the case, that it is not a premature” to form a confident opi. nion, 6 respecting thís part of the subject.” Would the Governor-General of India permit his name to be continued among the Vice-Presidents of the Society, if his personal observation had furnished him with grounds to change the opinion he had conceived before he left this country ? Would he have omitted to report facts to the people of Britain, which might dispel their delusion? If we suppose him otherwise occupied—let me ask, would the Bishop of Calcutta have neglected a duty so obvious and imperative ? If Mr. O'C. should suppose both to be raised to that “ giddy elevation,” which he assigns to our “s peers and prelates” at home,-(p. 41.) Were there none, throughout the British territories in India, to whom
the daily occurrences of common life are discernible, pos-
1. From the Rev. Mr. Supper, Secretary to the Bible Society . . at Java. Batavia, Feb. 4, 1815. No. XVI.
“ You cannot think with what eagerness some Arabian merchants and Skeiks read the Bibles they received of me; . for whole nights they sit in company together, reading this Book of books. An Arabian merchant, who has returned to Arabia, received, a few days before his departure, a Bible of me, and he has actually delayed his departure for several days, in order to read it with tranquillity and reflection. He promised to recommend this book to his countrymen, and implored a thousand blessings upon the Bible. I must also tell you that many Chinese in this place eagerly read the New Testaments put into their bands, last year, by the Rev. William Milne, who is really a faithful and very able assistant to Mr. Morrison, in China. I sometimes go round on purpose, and often find Chinese parents reading to their families, in the morning, out of the New Testament; and they also request instruction about some passages. I gave a portion . of the Old Testament, in Chinese, to several, who received it with the warmest gratitude ; and one merchant pressed it to his bosom, and kissed it. Oh that you could be an eye-witness of the eagerness with which these people read the word of God !” 2. From the same, May 18, 1815. No. XL.
.“I am acquainted with a rich Chinese, who speaks and writes the English and Dutch languages pretty well, who also understands the Canton dialect, and reads the
New Testament with great pleasure. He assured me, he ... found the doctrines and morality of Jesus and his apostles,
: Very able. William Mil into their