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Let this be the prayer of all who read this paper ; and as the new year is now approaching, it would be a great kindness if those who approve the object, and have influence over the press, would republish and circulate this invitation, which any one, into whose hands it may fall, HAS FULL PERMISSION TO DO.
Peace be with all who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity ! Thus prays their affectionate Brother,
Ard Servant in the Lord,
St. Bride's, Liverpool.
MY DEAR MADAM,
As I am persuaded that the sole object of your excellent Magazine is to promote the glory of God, in the extension of his kingdom ; I cannot but suppose that this principle rules also in the hearts of your readers ; and therefore, I am anxious, through the mediam of your pages, to encourage them in works of love.
The particular object I have in view, is to promote the circulation of books and tracts among the middle and lower orders, by means of Lending Libraries, where they do not already exist. I will first state our little experience for the encouragement of others.
About seven years ago, we began with a small number of books, and tracts stitched together in covers, wbich were carried through a circuit of several miles, by an individual of independent means, in the middle class of life, and whose zeal for God, and strength of body, enabled her to devote herself to the work. She called at isolated farms, and walked through retired hamlets, knocking at the doors of lonely cottages, everywbere leaving her books, which she regularly exchanged every month, the readers for the most part, not knowing whence she came or whither she went.
At first she met not unfrequently with indifference, but seldom with rudeness. By degrees she found one at least, in every family, ready to welcome ber visits. The books became liked—then valuedmany were retained to be read over again, and not seldom was she witness of their usefulness, by finding them on the beds of the sick, and even beheld the triumphant departure of Believers, who either had received their first spiritual impressions, or were strengthened and established by means of the books they had read. Thus encouraged, we have gone on adding to our library, and enlarging our sphere, till both have become extensive; and though I have only mentioned the distant readers, of course it will be inferred that those nearer bome were not neglected. But farm-houses, and lonely cottages are most important, as in the general activity of doing good, they too often are left out.
Now surely, any lady will see that it is in her power to benefit souls to a considerable extent, by so quiet, unobtrusive, and effective a system as this. True, there may not be many individuals like the agent to whom I have alluded, equally gifted with bealth and energy ; yet such may be sought for and found.
For £2, a subscriber to the Religious Tract Society, may have thirty books and a sufficient number of Tracts to begin with ; £5 would furnish an excellent library, and as much, added every year, would keep it going and enlarging. We spend upwards of £10 annually, but the sphere is wide. Generally speaking, we have found it best to lend narrative tracts and entertaining books in the first instance. We then proceed to doctrines, and after some time, persons who once would only relish what was amusing, ask only for what is spiritual.
Let me seriously call tbe attention of your readers, to this important sphere of usefulness. Such as are strong and active, may take part in the distribution of books themselves; and those who are not able to do so, may originate, organize, and carry out the plan, by the agency of others. As they are encouraged by the happy results, they will soon (if living in towns) feel how desirable it is to supply workshops, flymen, and every class of persons, with books adapted to their reading ; not only that they may read what is good, but avoid reading what is evil. Novel-reading, even in country places, exists to a degree little imagined ; and infamous newspapers abound every where.
I wish only to add, further, a remarkable instance which lately occurred in France, relative to the advantage of lending religious tracts. .
Bibles were left in two districts, in the one with tracts, and in the other without. When these districts were visited some months after, that in which no tracts were circulated, was found without the Bibles, which had not been valued, and had been given up to the priests. In the other district, they were all carefully preserved. . . Believe me, with great respect,
Your constant reader, A. A. Should any one desire other hints on this subject, or like to have lists of books, such a request addressed as below, will be readily complied with.
Gravel Pits, Kensington.
PAUL THE AGED.
He sits within his prison walls, and memory brings
to mind His strangely chequered portion in the world he
leaves behind; And as the star of mortal life seems in its course to
wane, He feels that though to live is Christ, to die is count,
He was of weather-beaten brow, that prisoner grey
and old, For bim the drought consumed by day, by night the
bitter cold, When in past days of pilgrimage he slighted joys of
rest, And fought a stalwart soldier, with the red cross at
He was of purest Hebrew blood; well versed in
antique store Of rabbin's mystic canons, and traditionary loreAnd once a bigot in the cause of Judab's blindfold
zeal, To death and dungeons he the true and chosen seed