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Similar effects produced in Germany, Switzerland, India, America, &c.
differ; each strenuous in what, it is presumed, he believes right, renouncing every interfering interest, sacrificing every jarring opinion, forgetting all in which they differed, and thinking only on that in which they agree; each reconciled to his brother, and leaving his gift at the altar, offering up every resentment at the foot of the Cross.' *.
Nor was the joy excited by those triumphs of charity and peace confined to British Christians :
“In Hanover, as in Petersburg, I saw,” says Mr. Pinkerton, “ the Lutheran, Calvinistic, and Catholic Clergy, join hands to promote the good cause : and some of these persons assured me, after the meeting, that though they had been teachers of the same religion in this city for many years, yet they had never had an opportunity of speaking to each other before. Oh! what a blessed plan, which is capable of bringing together the long-divided parts of the Christian Church!" +
In a similar strain, the venerable Antistes Hess, of Zurich, thus addresses the Foreign Secretary :
“ To you we are chiefly indebted for that new (or, let me rather say, renewed) bond of Christian truth and charity; by means of which we behold Christians, widely separated from each other by countries, forms, and names, daily approximating and coalescing, as it were, into one spiritual body; yet without the least encroachment upon outward distinctions, and without com. pelling a single individual to desert his own church and to pass over to another.
“You have, as it were, opened the door of the common temple dedicated to the worship of our God and Saviour, for all, to whatever particular Church they may belong, if they only agree in acknowledging, as a fundamental principle of religion, the general use of the Scriptures by all classes of people :-a work worthy indeed of your piety and philanthropy !"#
“ Of all the signs of these eventful times,” says the Rev. T. Thomason, of Calcutta, none affects my mind, as indicating the near fulfilment of prophecy respecting the glory of the latter days, so much as the extensive union of Christians, differing in name and profession and nation, which is presented to us in the British and Foreign Bible Society. To this characteristic feature of the society must be ascribed, under God, the exe traordinary vigour of its operations, and the extensive success with which they have been crowned. While this union remains unimpaired, our prospects must continue to open, and shine with progressively increasing brightness, until the earth be filled with the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." S
“As in England, so in Nova Scotia, Christians of every Church, forgetting lesser differences and distinctions, have assembled round the standard of the · Bible, and have formed a bond of union, in their efforts to make known far and wide its blessed truths, proclaiming glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good-will to men." ||
In acknowledging a grant in aid of the Cologne Bible Society, his Excellency Count William Ernst, of Lippe, Presi
* Hannah More's Christian Morals, Vol. II. p. 17.
Testimonies to the same effect from the Clergy of the Swedish Diet. dent of that institution, thus addresses the Right Honorable Lord Teignmouth :
“I feel constrained, in the name of our society, to seize this opportunity of rendering your venerable society the most fervent thanks for this assist, ance, and of soliciting that communion of spirit, which, by that one principle of life which bids us to love one another, melts the different languages of the earth into one, understood by all. For this sentiment there exist no national limits. Even across the sea we reach out to you our fraternal hand, for uniting our exertions in that holy cause which the Author of every good gift, and the Fountain of light, will vouchsafe to bless.” *
On this delightful theme it is difficult to limit the selection of extracts; but there are two others of so remarkable a character, as to justify their insertion.
The representative bishops and clergy in the Swedish Diet assembled at Stockholm, after expressing their “highest satisfaction at the institution of the Bible Society," and attending the meetings of the Committee, addressed an exhortatory letter to the clergy throughout the kingdom, inviting their active co-operation in this work of mercy. From this official document the following passage is selected:
“ When all Christian congregations, forgetting abstruse controversies, unanimously meet at the heavenly fountain, to drink and communicate its holy waters without human admixture, a great step seems to be taken towards 'the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peoce.' By this charitable union the Church of Christ will rise as one harmonious whole; and the consequence will be, the universal revelation of the heavenly light." +
If the avowal of sentiments like these be animating and encouraging, how much is their value enhanced, when we find them supported and illustrated by a corresponding conduct! Too often the sense of gratitude, and the feeling of benevolence, resemble the "early dew," and evaporate in the expression of their existence. An opportunity, however, was afforded, at an early period of the society's history, to our American brethren, of evincing, that, so far as they were concerned, those feelings were not of an evanescent character, but the mature product of Christian principle. This, which has been appropriately termed a "splendid occurrence,” is so well described by the Rev. John Owen, that it will be given in his own words:
“ In the month of June, 1813, a supply of Bibles and Testaments, destined by the British and Foreign Bible Society for the inhabitants of Nova Scotia, was captured by an American privateer, brought into Portland, and there sold and dispersed. As soon as this fact became known to the Bible Society of Massachusetts, a determination was taken, by the managers of that institution, to replace the value of the Bibles and Testaments; their
* Twelfth Report: Appendix, p. 130.
+ Owen's History, Vol. III. p. 76. Striking illustration of this effect, in the instance of an American privateer.
secretary was directed to ascertain, by correspondence, to whom the amount of the property captured should be transmitted : and he was at the same time instructed, 'to express the deep regret of the Massachusetts Bible Society, that any occurrence should have so long detained so many copies of the Bible from their proper destination, and that to the other calamities of the disastrous war in which their country was engaged, should be added any interruption of the charitable and munificent labours of their fellow Christians in Great Britain, in diffusing the knowledge of the word of God.'
“ In the mean time, a subscription was opened at Boston, to raise a sufficient sum, without diverting the funds of the Massachusetts Bible Society from their regular object; and such was the eagerness manifested, by the citizens of Boston, to shake off from their country the disgrace of this transaction, that, in the course of a few days, double the sum required was contributed ; and it might, as appears, have been easily increased to an almost indefinite amount. On the 9th of November, 1813, a bill for £.155 sterling, which covered the cost of the Bibles and Testaments, together with the expense of insurance upon them, was transmitted to the British and Foreign Bible Society, by the Secretary of the Massachusetts Bible Society, the Rev. S. Thatcher, who concludes his letter in the following very appropriate and excellent terms :
“ • We have thus done what we can to express our shame and regret at this occurrence, and to repair the evil which it has occasioned. We indulge the hope that we shall not again have to number it among the calamities of a war, in which we cannot cease to regret, that two nations, allied in feelings, habits, interests, language, and origin, should be engaged ; that it counteracts, in any degree, the exertions of any of the charitable institutions of Great Britain ; or tends to loosen or break that golden chain of mutual benevolence, which ought to bind together the disciples of CHRIST, of every nation and clime, without regard to political animosities.'”+
7. Among the collateral advantages of the British and Foreign Bible Society, there is one which the Christian may contemplate without a feeling of national vanity, while it increases his sense of individual responsibility, and his gratitude to that Almighty Protector who has preserved this highlyfavoured country, to be a blessing to the whole earth. The respect and attachment of wise and good men, of every religious denomination, in Europe and America, have been secured to Great Britain, by the unbounded zeal and liberality of the Bible Society. The following evidences of this grati
This spirit of liberality was not confined to Boston: assurances were received from other quarters, of a desire to participate in the transaction. In par. ticular, the Merimac Bible Society passed a vote to contribute 100 Bibles towards this object; but the largeness of the subscriptions in the town made it unnecessary to accept the proffered donation.
+ Owen's History, Vol. II. p. 486, et seq. The address prefixed to the list of subscribers at Boston on this memorable occasion will be found in the Appendix to the Tenth Report of the British and Foreign Bible Society: it breathes, as has been well observed, “a spirit of genuine philanthropy, and conveys an instructive lesson to the whole population of Christendom.”
Respect and attachment of Foreign Nations toward Great Britain illustrated.
fying result, selected from numerous testimonies to the same effect, will be read with interest.
On receiving intelligence that the formation of an "English Bible Society in Holland" was in agitation, the Committee of the Parent Institution encouraged it with a grant of 500 English Bibles, and 1000 English Testaments; and promised the sum of 5001. upon the eventual establishment of a National Bible Society for the United Netherlands :
“ When your Committee's correspondent mentioned this liberal offer in presence of three of the wealthiest citizens of Amsterdam, (to use his own emphatical words,) one of them shed tears, another seemed petrified with astonishment, and the third exclaimed, “The English are a pattern to all nations !'”
In their primary report, the Committee of the Swedish Bible Society thus address their constituents :
“ This sacred fire broke out first in England, a country so memorable for the warfare that has been carried on between liberty and tyranny-between religion and infidelity and immorality—a country which has suffered less, whether spiritually or politically, from the desolating storm than any other, because it seems to have been JEHOVAH's object to spare it, in order to become a nursing mother, when the time was come for sending forth the knowledge of His will to all nations. What has been achieved by that country would require volumes to describe. The rest of Europe has caught the sacred flame from England; and there is scarcely a country but has got its Bible Society. Our own is one of its glorious monuments; and will hand down, to the latest age in which the Bible shall be held in due estimation, a memorial of the sacred feeling which prevails in that happy country.”+ From no part of the world have those expressions of
gratitude and affection been more frequent and ardent, than from Switzerland. The venerable Wyttenbach, member of the Ecclesiastical Council of Bern, may be considered the interpreter of the general sentiments of his countrymen, when he says,
My very heart and soul exult in the idea, that millions, in all the ends of the earth, bless England's noble promoters of the knowledge of the only Mediator and Saviour, while they make known to him their requests with prayer and praise. What shouts of joyful gratitude to God will ascend on that great day of recompense, when every one shall receive according to his works !"
And where is the British Christian, whose heart will not beat responsive to the following apostrophe of the Committee of the Lausanne Bible Society ?
Tenth Report, p. 25.
+ Twelfth Report : Appendix, No. LXXVII. Pourteenth Report: Appendix, p. 187.
Remarkable proof of this feeling in the case of Dalecarlia. “ Thy real glory, Britain, that which shines in the present day with so much lustre, is, the glory of enlightening the whole world with the bright beams of the Gospel ; of making the ocean, on whose bosom thou art so majestically seated, proclaim to the four quarters of the world, ‘Bebold your God!' and, by the force of mild persuasion, bringing all nations to reply, “ Henceforth He shall be our God, and we will rejoice because our eyes have seen his great salvation. Yes, Britannia, it is to the zeal of thy children, that we owe this harmonious concert of all people, and nations, and languages: it is through thy indefatigable zeal, that the isles and the continents, the Nile and the Ganges, the Niger and the Euphrates, unite in chorus with the Thames and the Wolga, the Rhine, the Danube, and the Mississippi - And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and os the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Hallelujah, for the LORD God OMNIPOTENT reigneth !”.
Our Huss,” says an Hungarian correspondent, was the faithful disciple and constant follower of your countryman, Wickliffe. From you the first rays of light of holy scripture penetrated to us. Now, after the lapse of four centuries, you are preparing again to confer upon us this gift, and to lay our gratitude under new obligations. I say these things from a deep sense of thankfulness; and all my countrymen will make the same acknowledgment." +
Nor do we find the glow of grateful attachment less ardent among the simple inhabitants of Finland; who thus conclude their filial address to the Parent Institution :
“ Blessing and honour be upon that Christian nation, who profess and advance the glorious sentiment, that the whole human race, whatever be their creed or however diversified their language, are brethren, children of the same gracious God and Father of us all, joint heirs of the same unfading inheritance and the same glorious salvation !" I
Here, again, it is delightful to find, that those, to whom the name of England is endeared by the labours of this Society, attest the sincerity of their attachment by their deeds. The pervading influence of British charity had reached the mountains of Dalecarlia, in the heart of Sweden ; and the effect is thus simply and emphatically related by the lamented Dr. Brunnmark, late Chaplain to the Swedish Embassy at the Court of London :
“After Sweden was forced to make peace with France, and declare against England, the usual war-prayer continued to be read in all the churches. The Dalecarlians asked, who were the enemies of the country: and when they were told that the English were meant by that name,- No, no,' exclaimed they, “the English are not our enemies ; they are our best friends : they sent us corn to sow our land, when in our distress we had con. sumed even the grain intended for seed; they sent us medicine for our siek and wounded soldiers, and woollen blankets for our hospitals ;---and, what is more than all, they have lately sent us Bibles !!! The Dalecarlians there.
• Second Report of the Committee of the Lausanne Bible Society.
Sixteenth Report: Appendix, p. 187.