Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

Alsace--Great scarcity of Bibles in Sweden and Finland.

receive more! I will most cheerfully charge myself with the delightful employ of distribution.

To-day, several men and women came to me, desiring French New Testaments; but Mr. Spittler informed me that only a few copies were left. I thank you already, beforehand, for every gift of love; and refer you to Him of whom the Scriptures testify, that He himself will be our shield and exceeding great reward.”—Letter from a Swiss Catholic Clergyman to Rev. Dr. Steinkopit Appendix, Twelfth Report.

SWEDEN.-“ For my own part, I who have the task of corresponding with the members of the Evangelical Society from one end of the kingdom to the other, on the subject of Bibles, must own to you, that I am ready to faint in the work, on account of the pressing demands. Letters that make my very heart ache come in from the ministers of places, where, to my own knowledge, poverty prevails in all its mournful shapes, asking for Bibles gratis. I am obliged to reply, “Our fund is exhausted, we can do no more for you this year.' - Letter from the Secretary of the Stockholm Evangelical Society. Eleventh Report, No. XVI.

“ Pastor Haygman, in Stockholm, has just published a most interesting pamphlet on the editions of the Swedish Scriptures which have been published from the time of the Reformation in Sweden. The result of his inquiries and calculations is, that, previously to the establishment of a Bible Society in Sweden, not one out of eighty among the poorer classes had a copy of the Scriptures. This is a most melancholy discovery. Not fewer than 400,000 families are destitute of the word of life in Sweden ! Our work is not yet begun.”-Twelfth Report, Appendix, No. v.

“ The result of an investigation into the wants of the diocese of Carlstadt furnished a most melancholy picture, for not fewer than 19,770 families were found totally without a Bible: of these, 6460 cannot pay the full value of a copy, and 8600 are utterly unable to pay anything towards the purchase of one. Everywhere, however, a great hunger for the good Word of Gon was manifested ; and unspeakable rejoicings were testified when these poor creatures were informed that there was a hope of their becoming possessed of the sacred treasure."--Sixteenth Report, p. lvi. et seq.

Finland." The archbishop came to Abo, in order to attend a meeting of the Committee of the Finnish Bible Society, which he had appointed. The Committee met at his lordship's house. The requisitions from all quarters are numerous, and the exertions of the society to meet them proportionally great. On a moderate calculation, not fewer than 50,000 are im. mediately required for gratuitous distribution, in order to satisfy the most urgent demands from the poor, who cannot pay for copies; but can read, and are anxious to have the words of eternal life in their possession. I assured them that the British and Foreign Bible Society would assist them to the utmost of their power, and, as far as their other engagements would permit, in furnishing their poor brethren with copies of the Scriptures.

“ In the prison of Sweaborg fortress, I found about 500 prisoners entirely destitute of religious books of any kind. I immediately sent them a supply of Finnish Testaments, and promised to procure them copies in the Swedish language. The unhappy men pleaded earnestly to have books granted them, that they might edify themselves in their solitude; and I have no doubt they will make a good use of them.”-Sirteenth Repori, Appendix, p. 52.

HUNGARY." I never was, in all my life, received with such real delight as when I made my appearance at Presburg with the Bible in my hand. The

Hungary.-Moldavia and Wallachia.-Demand for Bibles in Russia.

Bibles and Testaments which I could spare for them at that time were all sold the next day, with the exception of a few, which were furnished to the very poorest gratuitously. All who could, would pay. The Hungarians wish to establish a Bible Society, and an office of their own, for printing Bibles, both in the Hungarian language and in other similar dialects. They will begin a subscription among themselves, provided the Parent Society in London will assist and support them in such a measure. I gave them great hopes of this, having myself seen what the British and Foreign Bible Society has done, and is willing to do. Remember, and proclaim it as loud as you can, that there are upwards of a million and a half of Protestants in Hungary, and but a few Bibles among them !"-Eighth Report, App. No. 11.

MOLDAVIA, WALLACHIA, &c.“ It appears that no more than two small editions of the Wallachian or Rumanic Bible have ever been printed; the one in 1688, and the other in 1714, in Bucharest, the capital of Wallachia. The last edition is said to have been carefully revised and printed by the metropolitan, Theodosius ; but it is now so rare, that a copy of it is difficult to be obtained. The number of inhabitants in Wallachia is reckoned to be about 900,000, and in Moldavia 600,000 : so that here we find in those two provinces, mostly belonging to Turkey, nearly one million and a half of people professing Christianity, and literally perishing for want of the bread of life.”—Twelfth Report, Appendix, p.76.

“ Mr. Pinkerton is busy at present in making arrangements for printing the New Testament in the language of Moldavia and Wallachia, and has got all ready; but, alas! not a copy of the Scriptures, in this language, can be found here. It was reported that there was a copy at St. Petersburg, and he has been hunting after it, but hitherto in vain. A copy has been written for from Moldavia, and we fear we must wait till it can arrive. This is a great disappointment. We had lately a letter from a Russian priest, from the borders of the Ice Sea, begging most earnestly to have a Bible. He says, that there is not a Bible in all that tract of country. He is 800 versts from the market-town; but even there no Bible is to be found. Had there been no Bible Societies, this poor priest, like many millions more, must, in all probability, for ever have remained without a Bible.”—Twelfth Report, Appendix, No. XI.

Russia.-" The demand for Bibles is astonishing, and it is painful in the extreme not to be able to satisfy them : it makes one's heart ache, to see poor and rich coming, and earnestly requesting Bibles for money, and obliged to go away without the heavenly treasure. The poor Russians even fall down and kiss one's feet, to prevail on one to give them Bibles ; and supposing that money can do every thing, they even offer the young men in our depository, drink-money, if they will let them have a Bible for payment. A Bible serves more than one: the poor day-labourers, who have been so happy as to get one among a number, spend their leisure in hearing one of their companions read to them the words of eternal life. The New Testament now frequently supplies the place of Novels on the toilettes of the formerly gay and fashionable. A poor Tartar, who lately got a copy of the Tartar New Testament as a present, kissed the back on receiving it, repeated the same ceremony on getting home with it, and now spends all his spare time in reading it, and finds much pleasure in so doing.”

Eleventh Report, Appendix, No. XIL “ Prince Galitzin observes, “Many millions of the inhabitants of Russia are in want of the word of life : many millions of our neighbours in Asia, who still sit in darkness und in the shadow of death, may, in lime,

Many of the Clergy in Russia without Bibles.-Denmark,

receive that Word from us, and see a great light. The Russian Bible Society has a great work to do, in furnishing all these nations and countries with the Holy Scriptures in their respective languages.'

Twelfth Report, Appendix, p. 7. “We have begun the distribution of the Finnish Testament in the Government of St. Petersburg., I expected the edition would have lasted us for several years; but the demand is so great, that we cannot get the Testaments bound quickly enough, and the whole edition is already nearly exhausted. When a quantity arrives in a village, all the inhabitants assemble, and can scarcely be restrained from carrying off the Testaments by force. They have been famishing for want of the word of life, and now they are almost insatiable. We have recently received 300 rubles, which have been subscribed by the Ingermanland Russian Regiment, besides 130 rubles from their colonel, for which they require one Russian and one Polish Bible. This gift is peculiarly valuable, as coming from Russian soldiers. The Roman-Catholic metropolitan has published a pastoral letter to his flock, recommending the reading of the Scriptures among them generally. This is an important document. Our Committee ordered it to be published in the Gazettes, that it might be as generally known as pos. sible. We have received from his Imperial Majesty freedom to send all letters and packages, free of expense, by post; so that we can now send our Bibles to the remotest parts of the Russian empire with the greatest facility.-Twelfth Report, Appendix, p. 8.

“At Pleskoff, (says Dr. Pinkerton, in 1818,) the archbishop informed me, that in his diocese, which consists of 450 churches, the greater part of the clergy are still without Bibles !"-Monthly Extracts, No. XIV.

The translation of the Scriptures into the Russ language-a measure which originated with the Emperor himself—is going forward. The metropolitans of St. Petersburg and Moscow, and the archbishop of Twer, superintend and revise the translation. Prelates, priests, and people, throughout the empire, are taking a most lively interest in this undertaking : such parts as are already printed have been sought for with almost incredible eagerness, and the completion of the work is looked forward to with the most ardent and anxious expectation."-Sixteenth Report, p. 62.

DENMARK.-" The demand for Bibles and Testaments on our Society is 80 much on the increase, that we shall have occasion for all the money which we can possibly command. Of the two last large editions we have, in the course of half a year, either sold at reduced prices, or gratuitously distributed, 7000 New Testaments, and about 4000 Bibles ; so that another edition will soon be requisite. The stereotypes for the Danish New Testament are already ordered."--Sixteenth Report, Appendix, p. 128.

“ There are, perhaps, few countries in which the cause of the Bible is become of more general concern than in our own. It is closely united with our ecclesiastical establishment; and independently of all the Deans, the Superintendant-General, with the greater part of the clergy, are either members of Bible Societies or promoters of them. Such conduct was reasonably to be expected from every evangelical clergyman, to whom, and to the congregation committed to his charge, the Bible ought to serve as the ground-work and rule of faith and practice."--14th Report, App. No. cir.

“ The eagerness to possess the Bible is increasing throughout the kingdom, especially among the lower ranks of society, though many individuals Portugal.--Great desire to possess the Bible in Switzerland.

the young

are prevented by the scarcity of money from purchasing that sacred book. Many copies have been sent to ministers, for distribution among after their confirmation, and to governors of prisons.”—16th Rep. App. No. IX.

PORTUGAL. .“ With respect to the Portuguese Testaments, it gives me great satisfaction to report the very quick circulation they have met with. All ranks of people in Lisbon have expressed the greatest regard and estimation for them; and so exceedingly solicitous have they been in their application to me for books, that I have much regretted witnessing their disappointment. May I hope, through your interference, that it will, in a short time, be in my power to comply with their earnest desire of becoming better acquainted with the Gospel.”—7th Rep. App. No. XXXVII.

SWITZERLAND.“ Under the cheering auspices of Baron Wessenberg, Vicar-General of the Bishopric of Constance, I have distributed upwards of 8000 copies of the Ratisbon New Testament in that extensive diocese. A short time ago, I was enabled, by the Bâsle Bible Society, and the generosity of our Vicar-General, to give away 1000 copies in Catholic Switzerland, and to sell 2000 in Catholic Swabia, at the low rate of about threepence a copy, unbound. I cannot sufficiently express to you my joy at the good impressions made, and the moral benefits already produced, by the diffusion of this divine book. People of all ranks and classes of society anxiously desire it. But often my heart bleeds, when I perceive how many of the poor and of the servants are still destitute of the same, notwithstanding the most favourable disposition of our clergy. Night and day I thought on the best means of putting it into the hands of those poor people, who are called to become partakers of the kingdom of God; but scarcely a ray of hope hitherto appeared; the two last wars, and the heavy taxes, having dried up almost every resource in our parts, and multitudes been reduced to a state of the most wretched poverty. How am I moved with compassion for the multitude in the wilderness of this life! How do I behold them fainting for the New Testament ; for this truly divine book might inspire them with new confidence, and courage to fight the good fight of faith.”-Twelfth Report : Appendir, p. 158.

“In the midst of tribulation, when even the necessaries of life are wanti ing, the pious poor man looks to his Bible for consolation. It will not be displeasing to you, to read one instance of it. Having only a few copies of our folio Bible left, we reserved them for unforeseen occasions. A worthy clergyman, in whose parish three families lost all their property by a conflagration, and among the rest their Bibles, writes, that a sum of money was placed in his hands, and, knowing the anxious desire of his unfortunate parishioners to replace the loss of their Bibles, he intended to apply this gift to the purchase of others : upon which we sent him, gratis, the last three we had. He wrote us in reply, as follows:-

“At the moment when I was occupied in opening the parcel containing your Christian present, the mother of one of the families that had been burnt out, came to me, to converse upon other business. I said to her, “You see these Bibles; they are the gift of the Bible Society, destined for you and your fellow-sufferers.' Tears of joy started into the eyes of this good

* Thank God,' she exclaimed, for giving me a Bible again! How often, since our misfortune, have I said, “If our Bible had not been burnt, we could have derived comfort from that in our trouble : ( that we could but get our Bible again! Now, we shall all rejoice.' She took the Bible from the table, while tears of gratitude and joy streamed from her eyes, and

woman.

Norway-Great desire for Bibles.-Poland, Galicia, &c.

fell upon it. On taking leave, she said, with warm emotion, “May God reward those who have given us the Bible again ! God reward you, dear minister, for having thus taken care of us !' The other two families also expressed their joy and gratitude, when they received their copies.”

Thirteenth Report : Appendix, No. LXXXIX. Norway.—“ Before we landed in Norway, we had a proof of the want of the holy scriptures in that country, and the great eagerness of the people to become possessed of them ; for the pilot who came on board, to conduct the vessel to Stavanger, having learnt, by some means or other, that we had some Bibles with us, earnestly entreated that he might be permitted to buy one. He lives in one of the little islands with which this harbour abounds; and stated, that a single copy, which they had among them, had almost ex. cited a quarrel, so many wishing to possess it; and they were at last obliged to decide the matter by drawing lots; and much did he regret that the lot did not fall upon him. We gave the old man a copy, which he received with marks of the deepest gratitude.”- Fifteenth Report : Appendix, No. XII.

Poland, Galicia, &c.—“ There have appeared, at different times, five translations of the Bible in the Polish language. Of four of these versions no copy can be procured : of the fifth, printed by the Reformed Church in Dantzic, seven editions have been published. The first edition was, for the most part, burnt by Wonzyk, archbishop of Gnezen ; and the Jesuits have always exerted themselves to buy up and destroy such copies of the other five editions as come in their way; so that it is concluded that of the six editions of the Protestant Bible, printed between 1632 and 1779, at least 3000 copies have been thus wilfully destroyed. The whole six editions, probably, did not amount to more than 7000 copies; so that if the copies which have been worn out by length of time were added to those which have been des stroyed, it would be found that (with the exception of the seventh edition, printed in Berlin, at the expense of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and consisting of 8000 copies) the existing number of Bibles, among the 250,000 Protestants who speak the Polish language, must be very small. But, alas ! how much smaller still is the number of copies which exist among the Catholics of Poland, will appear from the following facts. The only authorised version of the holy scriptures, in Polish, is that which was translated by Jacob Wuyck, approved by Clement VIII., and first pub. lished in Cracow, in 1599. The translation is considered, by competent judges, to be among the best European versions made from the Vulgate, and the language, though in some degree antiquated, is yet pure and classical. Such care, however, has been taken to keep even this authorised version of the holy scriptures from coming into the hands of the people, that it never was re-printed in Poland ; and has undergone only two other editions out of the country, viz. at Breslau, in 1740, and 1771. Now the whole amount of copies, in these three editions of the authorised Polish Bible, is supposed not to have exceeded 3000. Thus there have been printed only about 3000 Bibles, in the space of 217 years, for upwards of 10,000,000 of Catholics, who speak the Polish language! Hence it is, that a copy is not to be obtained for money; and that you may search 100,000 families, in Galicia and Poland, and scarcely find one Bible.”Thirteenth Report : Appendix, p. 85 et seq.

"A copy of the authorised version of the Catholic Bible, in the Polish language, is not to be obtained for money, either in Poland or Galicia ; and among the five millions of Servians, of whom two millions belong to Austria, the Bible is rarely to be found, even in the hands of the clergy: and

« ÖncekiDevam »