« PreviousContinue »
church alone is given the privilege of making converts to Christianity. They are wont to say to Protestants, Where are the thousands and tens of thousands you have converted ?' But the Protestant was now enabled to reply by adduca ing the interesting, the important, and the splendid facts with which this Society furnished him. · The Bishop of WinCHESTER observed :-I am happy to be permitted to be present at this Anniversary, and am satisfied that I share the feeling with many, when I say, that amongst the numerous Institutions to which attention is directed at this season, there is none wbich interests my feelings more strongly than the Anniversary of this Society. It calls us forth from our parishes and our districts, from a restricted scene of action, to extend our views and enlarge our prospects. We leave our particular districts, and direct our attention to distant lands, now whitening for the harvest. We look into the operations of this Society, and find it the instrument of diffusing truth to those nations which were sitting in darkness and under the shadow of death. It is satisfactory to perceive that there has been no depression in the spirit with which the operations of the Society have been carried on; though I may observe, that I do not measure that spirit by the amount of subscriptions which have been received, by the number of new missions, by the increase of communicants, or even by signal instances of success in particular districts. But I measure the spirit by the feelings displayed by the community at large, and by the increased interest which the subject has excited in the minds of the present generation. It clearly appears to me that these are indications of improvement; but if such an improvement has taken place, let the glory be given to God. This is not a time for the declension of the missionary spirit. New fields are open for exertion, and the marshy and the miry places are ready to partake of the fertilizing influence. Multitudes are still thirsting for lack of knowledge, but by God's help they may yet be plucked out like Brands from the burning. If we are asked, can these things be effected, Can the dead praise God, or can the evil spirit which is called Legion be cast out?' let our answer be, By God's help. God commanded his Apostles to teach all nations, and assured them that he would be with them to the end of the world. Let the supporters of this Society stay themselves with this assurance, and go forth happy in the conviction that by His Spirit those signal blessings were produced which the Lord has vouchsafed to the labours of the Church Missionary Society in Tinnevelly, New Zealand, and the North Western Missions.
Mr. WILBERFORCE said, that the trials and difficulties which we met in our progress through this world, as well as the obstructions which the Society found in its progress, were such as must be expected. Our blessed Lord himself had warned his disciples not to expect too much in this world; and the Holy Scriptures, instead of concealing the faults of God's servants, freely acquainted us with them, to display as it were the weakness of human nature, and to show where strength was alone to be found. Much that had been stated this day was gratifying and satisfactory. How cheering must such accounts be to the Missionary in a foreign country, deprived of the blessings and comforts arising from the society of relatives and friends. Though unsuccessful in his own labours, he might feel that other labourers in the same field were repaid by more immediate signs of success, and he would be taught to wait patiently until the dawn of a brighter day arose. In all undertakings of great moment it should be considered, that there was a great spiritual enemy carrying on a contest for this world, and that we must not expect uniform success. Some allusion had been made to a subject, in which he had at one time taken an active part, he meant the abolition of the slave trade, and he might state that the friends of that measure never thought themselves farther from the object they had in view, than when that object was near being attained. This showed the value of patient perseverance, and many other facts might be stated equally encouraging. The Moravian Missions to Greenland were continued for thirty years, before they were attended with any success. The inhabitants were dispersed along the coasts for the sake of greater profit, and some persons conceived that on this account, the mission would never be successful. Subsequently, however, it furnished an instance of extraordinary success. In the Island of Hayti, too, great opposition and hostility was at first offered to the labours of Missionaries, but those difficulties were ultimately overcome, and they now bad access where before they could not enter. The great obstruction to the progress of Christianity in India, appeared to him to be, that the day set apart for the worship of God in other countries, was a day occupied in the labour of the fields in India. However, looking at the signal instances of God's favour which the Society had already reeeived, there was no doubt that its Missionaries in India would be cheered by the greatness of the task they had undertaken. His Right Rev. Friend beside him (the Bishop of Calcutta) did not go forth with less of hope and spirit to watch over the rising church in India, because another labourer had fallen in the same field before. He was glad of the increase of the Society's pecuniary means, as he thought he could perceive in this an additional mark of the love of God not only towards the Society, but towards the people of this country. Much as had been done, however, much still remained to do. A wide field was open for the exertions of the Society in India. Those who were engaged in Missionary labours, had much to encounter, and many hardships to submit to; but they had also much to reward and cheer them, for it was a labour full of hope. Men made exertions for the acquisition of fortune and similar objects, and surely those who went forth to perform the service of God, need not dread to endure those hardships, and submit to those privations, which men encountered who were merely actuated by little and mercenary motives. Let all the friends of this great cause co-operate zealously, but humbly, and there was no doubt that God would prosper the work. He entirely concurred in the observation, that by every person's Teo trenching some little enjoyment, a great addition might be made to the funds of the Society, and a great extension of benefits would follow. In conclusion, he expressed his confidence, founded on experience, that the longer they were engaged in the great work, which it was the object of this Society to promote, the more they would rejoice at the result of their labours; and when they advanced to the close of their lives, they might look back on those exertions with joy and gratitude to the « Giver of all good things.”
BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY.
THE Anniversary Meeting of this Institution was held at the Free Mason's Hall, Great Queen Street, on Wednesday, May 6.
Lord Teignmouth, Viscount Lorton, the Bishops of Winchester, Lichfield and Coventry, Chester, and Calcutta, Lords Bexley and Calthorpe, Sir Thomas D. Acland, Mr. Wilberforce, and several other distinguished individuals, took theit places on the platform at eleven o'clock; when Lord TEIGNMOUTH took the Chair, and after addressing the Meeting, called upon the Secretary to read the Report ; which commenced with the cheering announcement that the funds, and the wants of the Society had all increased within the last year. A detailed account was then given of the proceedings of the Society's agents in Sweden and the North of Europe; in Russia, Germany, Greece, and France; and in reference to the latter country, it was stated that above 14,000 Bibles had been distributed within the last year, by the Paris Bible Society; that the Calcutta Bible Society had distributed 8,700 volumes of the Sacred Scriptures within the last year, and that the Madras Bible Society had distributed nearly an equal number. An edition of the Bible in the Chinese language was distributed very extensively, and the inbabitants of China manifested the greatest anxiety to possess themselves of copies. In the West Indies and South America, the prospects which the Report set forth were equally gratifying. The receipts of the last year amounted to £86,259, which was an excess of £7,315 over the receipts of the preceding year. The total number of copies of the Holy Scriptures distributed in the year, was above 365,000, being 29,000 more than had been distributed in any former year. In Scotland, and particularly in Glasgow, the interest felt in the proceedings of the Society had greatly increased; and in Ireland the agents of the Society appeared to have conferred most extensive benefit. In conclusion, the Report observed, that God with his Holy Spirit had deigned to bless the labours of the Society, and that to His glory should all that had been done be ascribed.
The Bishops of LICHFIELD AND COVENTRY, CHESTER, WINCHESTER, and CALCUTTA, then respectively addressed the Meeting, in a pious affectionate and encouraging manner. They were followed by the Rev. Messrs. Hands, JOWETT, and REICIARD, Missionaries in connexion with the London Missionary Society, the Church Missionary Society, and the Society for the Conversion of the Jews; by the Rev. Drs. Singer and Town LEY ; the Rev. Messrs. BURNETT, BRANDRAM, and GRIMSHAWE; F. BUXTON, Esq. M.P. and the venerable W. WILBERFORCE, EST
Our limits obviously prevent our noticing at any length the eloquent and able speeches of these distinguished individuals. We are however anxious to bring before our readers the sentiments of the newly appointed Bishop of CalCUITA, which will, we doubt not, be highly interesting. His Lordship observed : it is with considerable satisfaction I have accepted the invitation to take a share in the business of the day, for having been long a member of this Society, and having watched its beneficent influence, it is a matter of much joy to me to have this opportunity of giving my public testimony. And I confess I look forward now to the time when, after having witnessed the blessings of its domestic operations, I shall be allowed to trace the progress of the Society in its wider range, and when I am able to see in India all that the Bible Society has done and can do for the human race. With a very slight change in the words of a favourite poet, we may say of this Society
“Truly it has but one field, and that one the world.” I look forward with interest to trace the influence of this Society, and I know of no part of the region of India, whither I am shortly about to go, where the labours of the Bible Society have not preceded me, and where I trust, by the blessings and favour of Almighty God, they will be continued and persevering. My co-operation and assistance the Bible Society shall ever have, and I am sure I shall find in it the means of confidence and of strength for the support of the Christian Church in India. But when I speak of success, and the language of the Report well justifies me in doing so, I will still call to your recollection that all that has been hitherto done, is but as a pledge of what may, I should rather say what must be hereafter accomplished. When we give a version of the Scriptures, and the agents of the Society are able to translate them into the language of a barbarous or semi-barbarous people, then we have only taken the first step in the cause which we should pursue to the end. We have then merely led them to the threshold of God's temple. And shall we be satisfied with this? or shall we not rather assist them to enter it, and enjoy the treasures of God's blessings. But how are we to accomplish this? How, but by an agency urged on and persevered in by the sacred motives which impel us. Let us take the example of this nation, in which we have long enjoyed a version of the Scriptures so pure and so plain that the humblest of our people can enter fully into their merits. But has this been sufficient? No; with all the exertions of an educated nation, with all our efforts for 25 years, we have yet done but too little, and have not been able to place the Scriptures in the hands of many thousands of our own people. Let us then transfer our thoughts to India, where we shall see the same difficulty, in kind, but enhanced a million times in degree; this will show us what the Society has to effect, and what, under the blessing of God it will accomplish. The success of the Society is not to be estimated by the reports of our treasurer nor by the favourable accounts of our agents abroad. These are no adequate means to judge of the effects of our labours. They are, my Lord, to be traced in the progressive change of the public mind in India - in the preparation of the heart, wbich is so visibly and palpably going on, and of which we know the Word of God to be the real agent. In mentioning this, as an individual, 1 do so as a caution, that we should not with too much haste reckon upon success, and that we should not be in a hurry to count our converts by hundreds, by tens, or even by individuals; for if the process of assimilation be really going forward, this alone will be the crown of our labours, and will be all that, as Christian men, we need desire; for it was by some such process the mind of the world was prepared for God's Word in the earlier ages. Let us look to the times of the Apostles, and the ages immediately after, when first the Word of God was presented in a collected shape. Its influence proceeded silently-the leaven worked slowly, but surely, and it ended in the whole of Idolatrous Rome becoming Christian, as I think will also be the case with idolatrous India. In expressing this strong conviction of success, I trust that I do not go beyond what the Report justifies me in saying. I trust, that in the labour in which we are all engaged, in the same spirit that has been so earnestly pressed upon us, we shall not feel either pride or exultation, but with humility and thankfulness look forward to the progress of the diffusion of truth. Well, indeed, may, we hear with patience, if we believe the Report which has been submitted to us; nay more, we have reason for hope and joy, in looking forward to the increase in the diffusion of the Scriptures. For that great blessing we have abundant cause to rejoice, and our thankfulness ought to be boundless if we ourselves are permitted to be agents in so blessed a consummation.
The Rev. Dr. Singer spoke at some length, and mentioned an Indian anecdote which is worthy of preservation. During the progress of the British army in the Burmese empire, and shortly before the complete triumph of our arms, an American missionary, with exemplary zeal and perseverance had made a translation of the scriptures of God, into the tongue principally spoken in that empire. This missionary sought access to the presence of the “ king of kings," and having with some difficulty, obtained admission to the royal palace, and even into the presence of the king himself, for the purpose of presenting him with the first specimen of that book, by a translation of which he had hallowed the language of the land-having been allowed to kiss the golden feet of the king of kings, he with the becoming independence of a descendant of Britain, though with the deep bumility of a Christian, laid before the monarch that book wherein are written the words of truth, the promises of salration. The king demanded to know what were the contents of the volume-he was told that it was the Book of God. He replied, that the king of kings wanted not the · Book of God. This was the language which he then beld; but one short year elapsed before the crouching tyrant was made to acknowledge the weight of British influence and the valour of British soldiers; and the first ship which, after that reverse of fortune, entered his ports, contained a freight, part of which was composed of Bibles; and but a very short time sufficed to show that he did want the Book of God. Yes, he could find no substitute for it: it is wanted every where, Oh! that the whole of my own country were prepared and willing to receive, through the force of conviction, and admit to their inmost hearts, the fulness of that truth through which alone there is happiness here, or salvation hereafter.
PRAYER BOOK AND HOMILY SOCIETY. Tuc Annual Sermon before this Society was preached at Christ-church, Newgatestreet, on Wednesday Evening, the 6th May, by the Hon. and Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, from 2 Tim. i. 13. Hold fast the farm of sound words which thou hast heard of me in faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus. The Annual General Meeting, was held the next morning at the Freemason's Hall, the President, Lord Bexley, in the chair. The Report was read by the Rev. C. R. Pritchett, From which it appeared, that to 1008 ships which had been visited in the port of London last year, there had been supplied 833 Prayer Books, and 1000 copies of the Homilies were left with the commanders for distribution among their men. Of these 1008 ships, there were 142 on board of which Divine service was read on Sundays (weather permitting), in 246 it was occasionally read ; and in 620 it was wholly neglected. In reference to the visits made to ships in this and other ports, the Report added, that much benefit had been derived to the sailors, many of whom had voluntarily purchased Prayer Books and Homilies, and in some instances Testaments and Bibles. In the 396 ships which had been visited in the ports from which returns had been made, 813 Prayer Books had been distributed, besides a very large number of copies of select Homilies. Of these ships, 260 had no service performed on board, in most of the others it was read only occasionally, and in only a few was it read regularly. The Report added, that some good effect had been produced by the exertions of agents of the Society among fishermen and watermen, and by the distribution of religious tracts ainongst their families. It also gave an encouraging account from several of the agents of the Society in foreign stations. In the last year there had been distributed by the Society 12,650 Prayer Books and Homilies, and 167,630 religious tracts. The whole number distributed since the commencement of the Society was 167,630 Prayer Books, and 1,310,347 tracts.—The receipts from donations, and subscriptions, and contributious, and sale of books, amounted to £2238 35. 4d, and the expenditure £2299 19s. 10d. leaving a balance of £61 16s. 60.
The reading of the Report was followed by a series of resolutions, moved and seconded by the Rev. Messrs. Beachcroft, Bickersteth, Hatchard, lloare, Jowell, Marshı; the Ilon. and Rev. G. T. Noel; Rev. Dr. Singer; Rev, Messrs. Sidney, Townsend and Wilson. The Collection at the Church and Hall, amounted to £108 7s. 4d.
LONDON SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIANITY AMONG
THE Anniversary Meeting of this Society was held on Friday, May 8, at the Freemasons' Hall, Great Queen Street; and was most numerously and respectably attended. The children of the Society's school ranged in the organ-gallery, presented a most interesting appearance, in the extreme neatness of their dress, and still more in the propriety of their demeanour. Before the proceedings of the meeting commenced, they sang several hymns, accompanied by a lady who presided at the organ.-The chair was taken at twelve o'clock; and the meeting opened with prayer.
The Report stated that the Contributions of the year amounted to the sum of £ 12,830 6s. 7d. exceeding those of the previous year, by £102. 19s. 4d. This increase was principally under the head of Legacies received ; the amount of regular Contributions remaining nearly the same as last year. In the remittances of the friends of the Jewish cause in Ireland, an increase of £ 200 was reported last year, and this year there is a further increase of £150; the sum of £ 1454 12s. 5d, having been recived from that country. Nearly £ 1000. has been raised, during the past year, for the support of an Institution at Warsaw, for the temporary relief of Jewish converts and inquirers after truth, by enabling them to obtain a subsistence by their own labour.
The Society issued during the past year 2,020 complete copies, and 20,327 portions of the Old Testament Scriptures in Hebrew, 919 copies of the Pentateuch, in Judæo-Polish, 27 of the Prophets in German Hebrew, and 127 of the New Testament in Hebrew and German-Hebrew, together with about 14,000 tracts in various languages. The missionaries at Warsaw are at present proceeding with the translation of the Judæo-Polish version of the Old Testament Scriptures, of which the Pentateuch has already had an extensive circulation.
The number of children now under instruction in the schools at Bethnal Green, is forty boys and forty-three girls, while the children in the different schools abroad exceed five hundred.
Thirty-six missionary agents are at present in connexion with Society, of whom twelve are of the Jewish nation, besides subordinate teachers employed in the various schools. In the course of the year, ten students have been under instruction in the Seminary, of whom four have been appointed to the Missionary work.
After the Report had been read, the Meeting was addressed by the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, Sir G. Rose, the Hon. and Rev. G. T. Noel, Rev. W. Jowett, C. Simeon, W. Marsh, D. Wilson, B. Woodd, H. Drummond, Esq. &c. when a liberal collection was made for the benefit of the Institution.
On Saturday, May 16, a meeting of the subscribers to the King's College took place at Freemason's Hall, ihe Archbishop of Canterbury in the chair - The report of the provisional committee was read; it stated that the sum of £126,974. 3s. 6d. had been already contributed ; of this £54,074, 3s. 6d. was contributed by donors. The remainder by subscribers. It also stated that a site for the proposed college was granted by his Majesty's government, on the east of Somerset House, That the probable expense of completing the building would be £140,000. which, with other ipcidental expenses, would in all amount to £170,000. An abstract of a charter granted by his Majesty for the incorporation of the society, was also read, and gave much satisfaction. The Bishop of Durham, in moving the first resolution, begged to have it understood (to satisfy ihe feelings of those who imagined that the principles on which the institution was originally founded, might be departed from that no office in the state, however high, would enable any person to have any share in the management of the institution unless he were also a member of the established church. This announcement elicited great applause: he concluded by moving,- That the report now read be approved and printed, under the direction of the provisional committee, for the information of the donors and shareholders.