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superior to those of Confucius. I have often conversed with him upon the doctrines of Confucius, allowed them their value, and compared them with those of our Gospel, which never failed of leaving a good impression. After some conversation about the absurdity of idolatry, he promised me he would now always pray to the only true God; he knows the Lord's prayer by heart. He has actually put away his household gods.”
3. From the Rev: T. Robertson, Pro-Secretary to the Calcutta Auxiliary Society. Old Church, Calcutta, March 27, 1815. No. XII.
“ However small the success, which hath hitherto followed our endeavours, this seems to be morally certain, that knowledge the best of all knowledge, will be increased. Indeed, there are manifest tokens of the fall of idolatry, at least; and, I observe all those who have learnt the English language, even imperfectly, have acquired new sentiments with respect to the Author of their being, without themselves being aware of it. Thus the foundations of Polytheism are undermined daily, and a hope excited, that, in a little time, we may hear the whole building tumble to the ground. With the Sacred Scriptures in our hands, we can have no doubt as to the temple that will rise upon its ruins. We look up to your Society, as the great instrument under God, for the raising of this house of the Lord, where the nations of Hindoostanee may flow together under the banners of Jesus Christ.”
Here are well authenticated facts, which, though few in number, are a host in power. The last extract, especially, may justly be considered, as a multitude of evidences, collected into one focus ;-affording the most reasonable, as well as animating ground of hope, that the BIBLE SoCIETY * is the destined instrument, in the hands of the Almighty, for accomplishing that ancient promise, that “ THE GODS THAT HAVE NOT MADE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, EVEN THEY SHALL PERISH FROM THE EARTH, AND FROM UNDER THESE HEAVENS: (Jer. x. 11.)
If this be regarded as Enthusiasm, it is a sort of Enthusiasm, whose vital, salutary warmth, I should wish to cherish. It is no blind impulse, though “jo: unspeakable and full of glory.” How cheering to meet its sacred
I mean, as one great harmonious whole, throughout the world.
flame, as bright and vivid in the regions of the North, as of the East ! Behold it in the letter of a venerable Bishop of Norway to the British and Foreign Bible Society : (12th Rep. App. No. XXIX.) Ďuring the space of seven years” (says he) “ my native country lay bound fast in the fetters of war;"
“ Lately, however, I received, as it were, falling down to me from heaven, your Annals, viz. the tenth Report, &c.
6 I read read again ; and, after reading it ten times over, it still delighted me. I lifted up my hoary head, and, from my inmost soul, fetched sighs of gratitude to the paternal Ruler of the universe."
66 O, what immense good are you doing !"
66 Thus the divine oracle is fulfilled; • Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world : in them has he set a tabernacle for the sun.'” (Psalm xix. 4.) Alas! how different the impressions of our author! How much does he lose, by the gloomy and distorted medium, through which he views these scenes ! I fear he cannot unite with this excellent Bishop in his wishes for Norway: he could not, when he wrote that extraordinary censure, in his twenty-third section, upon a correspondent of the Bible Society, who affirms (according to Mr. O'C's statement) “ that he can never be happy till every man and womaïi in Sweden has a Bible *.” It is not worth while to correct the error of this quotation; nor necessary to enter into a distinct argument upon female capacity, in addition to what has been offered in the first and second chapters. The passage is noticed, merely to exhibit one of the fewer facts, which Mr. O'C. has been able to glean to the discredit (as he supposes) of the foreign correspondence. One other fact (and it is the only remaining one which he has presented to us) deserves consideration :the religious disposition of the people of Iceland, notwithstanding the scarcity of Bibles. But, is it a just conclusion, because they have made a good use of the means within their power, and received a blessing upon them, that, therefore, we are to withhold additional meáns, from the fear of abuses? Is it agreeable to the gracious assurance,
“ Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance ?” Is it even consistent with the hope expressed by our author in the 20th page, of seeing the
* See p. 16 & 17 of the 11th Report, &c.
judgment of the peasant “ gradually improved, till at last, it may, perhaps, be profitably employed on the Bible itself ?” Is it sanctioned by the example of Cornelius in the Acts of the Apostles, who, though " a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house," yet received the heavenly message to send for Peter, “ who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and thy house shall be saved ?” (Acts x. 2. xi. 14.) The case of Iceland is, doubtless, an extraordinary one ; but, when fully understood, it affords the strongest encouragement to the circulation of the Scriptures. We are not to conclude that they had not been read, :even in that parish which was without a Bible; or that the acquaintance of this people with its general contents was entirely obtained at second hand. To confirm and illustrate these observations, I refer to two documents in the Appendix to the third Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society. (No. VII.) In these we learn, that, although the inhabitants of this exemplary Island have no public schoolmaster, " there is not one among a hundred, above twelve or fourteen years of age,
who cannot read with ease; and few who cannot write Many of them write a most beautiful hand:”. that “ as no people in the world are fonder of reading - they endeavour to supply the want of books by the laborious substitute of transcribing them”--that “ four editions of the Bible have been published in Iceland,” three editions of the New Testament."
66 Never” (says the writer of the second Document) “ never will Iceland forget her dear Stistrap, who, at his own expense, bought and sent to this place a great number of Bibles "and New Testaments, to be given away gratis. This has now ceased, however, for the space of sixty years and upwards, and the most of these Bibles are now worn out. I remember frequently to have heard the best farmers in the parish warmly contending which of them should have the loan of the Bible which was sent to their parish,” &c.
Thus it appears, that the scriptural knowledge of the Icelanders is to be traced to their reading of the Bible it. self; accompanied indeed with other means: and among them the instructions of their spiritual pastors. But how far these excellent men are from concurring in the admonition of our Author, may be seen from the account of the Rev. Mr. Henderson's visit to the Island, in the 52d No. of the Appendix to the 12th Report. It is highly
gratifying also, 'to contemplate the zeal of Denmark for the dissemination of the Sacred Scriptures, not only at home and in Iceland, but in all the dependencies of the kingdom :-a zeal, however, which is far from being singular on the Continent of Europe. It abounds with Bible Societies in active operation. And in Holland, especially, the plan of Bible Associations has been adopted to such an extent, as would be wholly unaccountable, but on the supposition of a full conviction of their utility in England. Nor are the blessings of a liberal distribution of the Word of God confined to Protestants. Besides the large supplies from the Ratisbon Catholic Bible Society, we have satisfactory evidence of the precious and abundant fruit, with which it has pleased God to crown the labours of the Rev. Leander Van Ess. 66 The activity and success of this learned, enlightened, and indefatigable friend of the Bible, are equally surprising. In the midst of difficulties he went on with his Testament, and prospered. Upwards of 60,000 copies have already been printed, fresh editions are in the press, Episcopal sanction has been obtained, new channels are constantly opening, fresh subscribers and donors come forward, the demands increase, considerable progress in the translation of the Old Testament is made, and the good effects arising from an attentive and devout perusal of the Scriptures, become daily more evident; so that some Catholic Clergymen, who were formerly hostile, or at least wavering, have yielded to the irresistible evidence of facts. Whole families, as well as individuals, have been reformed, prejudices removed, union and harmony promoted *."
If we pass on rapidly to Russia,-an immense and glorious prospect bursts upon us. The progress of the Russian Bible Society has been wonderful in the midst of wonders. Besides the printing of the Holy Scriptures in a variety of languages, a translation into the Modern Russian has been undertaken, “ for the perusal of people in every condition of life t." For this a Resolution of the Holy Legislative Synod was necessary; and it was decided on in a sitting of February last, " in agreement with the desires and reasons of his Imperial Majesty.” This fact is stated, as clearly indicative of the sentiments of the
See Appendix to the 12th Report of the B. & F. Bible Society, p. 143. # Ibid. No. LXXXV.
highest civil and ecclesiastical authorities of that great Empire, in opposition to those of Mr. O'C. But it is impossible for the eye to rest upon it. The operations at Moscow, and upon the shores of the Black and Caspian seas, connected with those which we have lately glanced at upon the other side of Asia, are certainly calculated to 'impress the idea of a great confederacy and a besieged fortress. But it is a confederacy of a very different kind from that which our author apprehends-a confederacy against Mahomedanism and Paganism ; together with all the other strong holds of the kingdom of darkness; and their walls and foundations have already begun to shake, Of this sacred confederacy another extensive Branch exists in the Western Heinisphere. Its members are equally ardent in the common cause; and, in dependence upon one great Leader, who animates the whole, not less assured of immediate gradual success, and of complete ultimate victory.--But who is He ? Even the the same, to whom " the Heathen” are promised for his “ inheritance," and the uttermost parts of the earth" for his “ possession.” (Psalm ii.)
The predictions, which foretel this happy consumma, tion, are plainly and repeatedly delivered in the pages of Revelation, "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord ;” (Isaiah xi. 9. Heb. i. 14.) “ All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O LORD; and shall glorify thy name.” (Psalm lxxxvi. 9.)
What means (I would ask) are so likely to fulfil such promises, as those which are now in operation ? Our author tells us, (p. 52.) that missionaries “ have failed." -I am far from adopting this assertion ; for it is evident, that their labours have been blessed to the conversion of thousands. But it must be admitted, that their progress has been hitherto slow, and their success small; compared with the millions “ who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death." Yet they have persevered, in faith and patience; and they have been encouraged by gathering the First-fruits. “Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain." (James v. 7.) Perhaps the Bible Societies may be the very Associates, whose co operation was necessary for the full maturity of harvest. Accordingly, they are hailed by missionaries