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UPON a review of the state of religion during the present year, our attention has been particularly excited by the following things.
1. The continued exertions and prosperity of the Bible Society. The Bibles issued by Societies in foreign parts, aided by the Parent Society, have risen this year from 426,820 to 547,320; and the Testaments from 393,000 to 588,200. The total number of the copies issued by the Society itself has increased from 2,617,268 to 2,857,291; of which 1,152,434 were Bibles, and 1,704,857 Testaments. So that 3,992,811 copies of the Scriptures have been issued, either by the Society, or in consequence of its institution. The different languages or dialects in which the Scriptures are circulated are increased from 127 to 130.
2. The great good now doing on the Continent by some of the more enlightened Clergy of the Church of Rome. Whilst the Roman Catholic Clergy in general, both on the Continent and in Ireland, are opposing with all their might the circulation of the Scriptures, Professor Van Ess, countenanced by many Catholic Dignitaries, is circulating his version of the New Testament. Since his last published account, he has 'issued 106,234 copies of the Catholic Scriptures, besides 10,639 copies of Luther's version among Protestants. This single individual, partly by his own exertion, and partly by means of his Catholic Correspondents in Germany and Switzerland, has, in less than four years, distributed 350,414 copies of the Scriptures. The British and Foreign Bible Society are granting him the most liberal assistance.
3. The increasing regard paid to the Scriptures in France. During the present year more than 16,000 Bibles and 11,000 Testaments have been issued in that kingdom. "There is not," says M. Boissard, a pastoral visit that I pay among people of the middle rank, where I do not discover some happy results. I see tradesmen making it their duty to read every evening to their families and their apprentices, assembled around them, a Chapter of the Bible. The women, particularly, are acquiring a most happy taste for these domestic lectures. Some, who could not read, endeavour to learn, in order to be able to read this Holy Volume for themselves. You behold the Bible regarded in these
humble habitations as holy; and it is not without great respect that it is taken out of the neat case in which it is carefully deposited after reading. The distribution of the Holy Scriptures in the hospitals, poorhouses, and prisons, has there likewise excited the liveliest gratitude; and I am in possession of most affecting letters, which poor prisoners have written to me, to thank me for having procured for them this source of edification and comfort."
4. The attempts which are now making by a Society of British ladies to introduce Female Education into India.
5. The Societies established during the present year for promoting the Gospel among Seamen.
6. The Spread of the Gospel in the South Sea Islands, through the instrumentality of the London Missionary Society.
7. Although we were not to mention them, our readers would not forget the successful exertions of the Baptist Missionary Society, the Baptist Irish Society, and the Baptist Itinerant and British Missionary Society, details of which are given in this Volume.
We have not room here to mention other new Institutions, and the increased exertions of the old ones.
Upon the whole, we congratulate Christians of all denominations on the gradual advancement of the Redeemer's Kingdom. Though he has still many enemies, he "shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
We return thanks, in the name of the Baptist Ministers' Widows who are relieved by means of this Magazine, and whose cause has been so ably pleaded by our friend Mr. Morgan of Birmingham. (See Magazine for September, page 363,) to our Readers and Correspondents; and, assuring the former that we will do all in our power to merit their continued support, we earnestly solicit our Ministers and other friends to encourage this Work, both by their recommendations and their communications.
London, December, 1820.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. THOMAS THOMAS,* OF PECKHAM.
It is universally acknowledged, that abstract truth is less im
pressive than truth imbodied in a living example. This is more especially the case, when biogra phy records the virtues and the excellencies of those whose dispositions and views were congenial with our own. It may also be added, that what would be very coldly regarded by indifferent observers, will be eagerly read, and highly valued, by those to whom the individual was endeared by the ties of blood, of friendship, or of gratitude for instructions, or other benefits received. To these the most minute particulars are acceptable. The subject of the following Memoir was a warm and steady
friend to our work from its commencement, for the sake of the widows, whose interest in it he often mentioned with tenderness. In no former year has there been an account given of a man of more sterling worth. We are glad, therefore, to be able to say, that by the kindness of one of his relatives, we can present our readers with a few particulars, which we proceed to lay before them.
Mr. Thomas was son of the
began to preach at the age of Timothy Thomas, their father, ed, and remarkably useful. He nineteen, and was highly esteemhad a weak constitution, and in 1768 died, aged 47. His widow, a very pious and excellent wostill survives. Joshua
Thomas, his elder brother, died at Leominster in 1797, aged 78. Zechariah Thomas, his younger brother, lived and preached, nearly ninety years of age; and greatly respected, till he was at sixty, the subject of this Memoir appeared likely to arrive at the age of his uncles.
Our friend was born March 5, 1759; and from childhood was the subject of serious impres sions, conducting the social worage, He was baptized and reship of the family at a very early ceived into the church abovechurch was then under the pasmentioned in March, 1776. The toral care of his late venerable uncle, the Rev. Zechariah Tho. He was recommended by the church to the Academy at Bristol in July, 1777, at that time superintended by the Rev.
Messrs. Hugh and Caleb Evans, and Mr. James Newton. Mr. Hall, now of Leicester, was one of his fellow-students. There he pursued his studies to considerable advantage till the summer of 1780, when he left the Academy; and having spent the greater part of a year with the Baptist church at Pershore, after the death of their late pastor, the Rev. Dr. Ash, he was ordained with prayer and imposition of hands, by his senior uncle the Rev. Joshua Thomas, then of Leominster. The late Dr. Caleb Evans, one of his tutors, addressed him very impressively, in a most solemn charge, on that occasion.
In the autumn of 1781, Mr. Thomas married the youngest daughter of Mr. Robert Moseley, a most worthy deacon of the Baptist church in Cannon-street, Birmingham.
when the meeting-house was burnt down. Till their place of worship was rebuilt, Mr. Thomas and his friends assembled on the Lord's-day evening at the meeting-house of Mr. Booth, by whom our deceased brother was ever most highly esteemed. This change operated to the disadvantage of the cause of Christ among them. They, however, continued their union in public worship together till the Midsum mer of 1799. A few of those individuals now survive, who retain, and will for ever retaiu, the impression made upon their hearts by the excellence of his ministry, and the affectionate fidelity with which he watched over them for Christ's sake.
Mr. Thomas had a school for some years in Mile End, and when he removed to Peckham, he pursued the same arduous occupation on a more extensive scale. Many of his pupils have
the cares of the present life, with all the benefit of that solid learning, and of those pious impressious, which, under the divine blessing, his tuition could not fail to produce.
After spending seven years at Pershore, with unblemished reputation, the situation of our de-entered, or are now entering, into parted friend was rendered uncomfortable by an unhappy disputé between two very respectable families in the congregation. Though he took no active part in the business, yet being apprehensive that a division would be the result, he thought it most prudent to withdraw. The division actually took place after he left them.
Towards the close of 1787, on paying a visit to his friends in London, he preached with general approbation in the pulpits of most of his brethren. The Baptist church in Mill-yard, Goodman's-fields, being destitute of a pastor, invited him to settle with them, which he did in the summer of 1788. Here, under his able and faithful ministry, considerable additions were made to the church till the year 1790,
Having now no pastoral charge, our excellent friend was at liberty, and discovered great readiness, to assist his brethren of different denominations, and many destitute congregations, in which the doctrines of grace, with their practical influence, were acceptable. This introduced him into many societies and families in which few ministers have been more generally respected.
After a long-continued and very heavy affliction, Mrs. Thomas was removed by death in October, 1808. Two sons and three daughters are now living.
The general health and ap