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the Lady, that little book which lay before you-ETERNITY! ETERNITY! ETERNITY!-what state am I in, should ETERNITY begin THIS NIGHT !? The pious servant embraced this favourable opportunity of speaking to her mistress, with trembling respect, on the concerns of her immortal soul. The Tract, the conversation, and frequenting the house of God, where the Gospel was faithfully preached, issued in her reformation of manners, conversion, present peace, and sure and certain hope of everlasting happiness through CHRIST her REDEEMER."
In the North of Europe, the distribution of religious Tracts is carried on with exemplary ardour, and with great success.
The Evangelical Society at Stockholm, which was noticed in our last Report, has printed, during the last year, 137,500 Tracts; and during the six years it has been in operation, 952,750. This Society, of which Count Rosenbald, the Minister of State, is still the President, and the King and Crown Prince are among the liberal and zealous patrons, has recently adopted a measure, which appears well calculated to secure a general distribution of Tracts through every part of Sweden and Norway, and the Islands of Gothland and Iceland. It has printed in large editions, its own Reports, together with copious extracts from the Reports of the London Tract Society, and the British and Foreign Bible Society; and, supported by the authority of the government, has sent them to all the Bishops, Consistories, Universities, Rectors, Curates, and Schoolmasters, in the Swedish dominions, directing them to read them, and communicate them to others. In the diocess of Linkoping, it is stated, "there has been a considerable awakening, and the consequent demand among the clergy, for the Tracts of the Society, has been very great."
In Russia, the zeal for spreading Christian knowledge is rapidly increasing. The noble and pious Lady of Moscow, who was mentioned in our last Report as having translated fourteen of the English Tracts into the Russian language, has since added eight or ten to the number. Aided by a few of her religious friends, she has printed and distributed, in the course of the last year, from thirty to forty thousand copies. Some of the copies were sent among the Cossacks, about 2000 miles distant in the interior of the empire; and it is mentioned in a letter from St. Petersburgh, that, in a Committee of the Russian Bible Society, a letter had been read, from several of these Cossacks, stating that a parcel of small Tracts which had been put into their hands, "had been the means of pointing out to them the way to eternal life," and "that they were desirous of obtaining Bibles, that they might know more of that blessed way."
The following intelligence from Prussia, we present in the language of the London Tract Society: "In Berlin, where, for several years past, some private Christians have been very active in printing and distributing a number of pamphlets, written in a truly evangelical spirit, a more regular and comprehensive plan has been adopted for the attainment of this desirable end. Among the individuals that had been most actively engaged in the dissemination of religious truth, by the instrumentality of such pamphlets, the late Baron von Schernding held a distinguished place. He is said to have printed at his own private expense, several hundred thousands of Tracts, and employed people for their gratuitous distribution. A large stock remained on hand when this excellent man died, which his widow, animated by the same generous spirit, lately transmitted as a present to the friends of the good cause in Berlin."
This body of intelligence respecting the establishment, progress, and usefulness of Religious Tract Societies, both in this Country and in Europe, the Managers have communicated, not only for the information and encouragement of this Society, but also with the hope of exciting, on this subject, a spirit of noble and generous emulation throughout the Christian community.
While much has been done, and is still doing, for the promulgation of religious knowledge, by our Christian brethren on the Eastern Continent; we have to lament, that comparatively, little has been accomplished by the fol
lowers of the Lamb in this Western World. A few individuals in this, and in other cities and villages of our country, have indeed made honourable efforts in their Master's cause; but how small a proportion, we would ask, is there of professing Christians in this populous and opulent city, who have ever raised a finger, or contributed a cent, to promote the important object for which this institution was established?
Let us for a moment examine the question.
The New-York Religious Tract Society, requiring from its members only. the small sum of two dollars per annum, has been in operation during the last four years; and, in the course of that period, it has obtained upon its list about one hundred and ninety annual contributors. In this number, it embraces Christians of various denominations, possessing, within the limits of the city, about twenty congregations-most of which are both numerous and wealthy. The estimate, we are persuaded, would fall far short of the fact, that each of these congregations contain one hundred professing Christians, who are abundantly able to contribute two dollars a year to the objects of this Society, without subtracting aught from their contributions to other religious purposes. this estimate be correct, the question is answered. Not one in ten of the professed disciples of Christ in these congregations, have, through the means of printing and distributing Religious Tracts, contributed even the widow's mite to the promotion of His Glory, and the interests of His Kingdom.
Let us glance at the subject in another light. In printing 70,000 Tracts during the past year, the Managers have exceeded the number that their funds would warrant; but had the two thousand professing Christians contributed, each the pittance of two dollars to the object, the amount would have enabled them to print more than HALF A MILLION. Had this number been distributed through our country, who can estimate the temporal and eternal benefit that might have resulted to a multitude of sinners who are hastening down to the pit, shrouded in ignorance and covered with guilt! Who can tell how many slumbering professors might have been awakened to a sense of their privileges and their duties; how many thoughtless and profligate individuals might have been arrested in their career of impiety; how many precious and perishing souls might have been turned from their downward course, and taught the way to immortal life!
To professing Christians in this highly favoured city, the inquiry is of serious import. Let it be remembered, that "Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required." While we are sitting at our ease, blessed with the light of Revealed Truth, supported by its promises, enjoying its comforts, and cherishing the hope of a celestial inheritance; thousands, and we may add, millions of our countrymen, are as destitute of a preached Gospel, as destitute of the Word of Life, and almost as destitute of every kind of religious instruction, as the savages of the wilderness. Let us then unite our efforts; let us engage with renewed ardour in the important work of communicating the tidings of salvation to the sinful, heedless, and dying mortals around us. Let us prove the reality of our faith, by our exertions to promote the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom. Let us manifest the sincerity of our love, exhibiting our compassion for the multitude, who are living without Christ, having no hope, and without God in the world.
New-York, Feb. 12, 1816.
By order of the Board of Managers,
ZECHARIAH LEWIS, Cor. Sec'y..
We have lately received several interesting communications, which, for want of room, we are under the necessity of reserving for a future number.
VOL. I.] Saturday, August 17, 1816.
The New-York Female Union Society for the promotion of Sabbath Schools,
HELD their second quarterly meeting in the Lecture-room of the second Presbyterian Church, July 3d, 1816: Present: Mrs. Bethune, First Directress; Mrs. Mumford, Second Directress; Mrs. Colgate, Treasurer; Miss Mumford, Secretary; Miss Oram, Corresponding Secretary.
Committee.-Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Bostwick, Mrs. R. Strong, Mrs. Hall, Mrs. Wallace, Mrs. Dickson, Mrs. B. Bailey, Mrs. Baldwin, Mrs. Ruthven, Miss Sturges.
Upwards of two hundred superintendents and teachers, and a number of ladies, subscribers to the Institution, attended. The Rev. Mr. Feltus opened the meeting with prayer. The Directress addressed the Society as follows:
"According to the resolution passed at our last quarterly meeting, a Committee, consisting of Ladies from different denominations, was chosen, who have met three different times to deliberate on measures tending to the advancement of our union. In the name of the officers of the Society and the Committee, I congratulate the superintendents and teachers, and the Society in general, on the return of another quarterly meeting.. Animated by the success with which our God has crowned the feeble attempts of his handmaidens, we have persevered in the important duties belonging to our different stations, and we trust the reports which will now be read will abundantly prove, that the superintendents and teachers have been equally diligent in the part they have chosen in this "work of faith and labour of love."
Early in the month of May, we observed, with considerable uneasiness, a great falling off among the scholars, which made us fearful that novelty alone had brought together the multitudes which were reported at our last meeting; but, by the great exertions of the superintendents and teachers, assisted by the Committee, in visiting the parents of the children, and the adults themselves, many have been induced to return, and that not from curiosity and novelty, VOL. I.-No. 21.
but from a conviction of the importance of attending to the instructions given in the schools. Although our schools do not now overflow, our scholars are more steady in their attendance. In many instances extraordinary, and in all, with a very few exceptions, gradual improvement rewards the labours of the teachers. The Directresses, who have visited the schools, generally have been struck with the great change manifest in the outward appearance of the scholars. When they first entered upon this duty, the squalid, filthy appearance of very many excited in them a painful feeling, amounting almost to disgust. The skins ingrained with filth, and the matted locks, evidently showed that even the poor perishing body had none to care for it; while the bold impudent look of some, and fearful unconfiding look of others, proclaimed in more affecting language," No one careth for our souls."
"Great indeed is the change! The clean face, the smooth hair, the clean, though coarse patched garment, and above all, the cheerful countenance created by the conviction of being thought worthy the attention of those whom they formerly considered as moving in a sphere beyond their reach, now convey a pleasure which none can conceive, but those who have experienced it. This change is no doubt in a great measure owing to the meritorious exertions of those Ladies who have formed themselves into Dorcas Societies, for clothing the children. But as we have observed it in many instances where no garments have been given, we are induced to believe that our pupils gradually begin to respect themselves, and that the hitherto neglected little mendicant will soon be transformed into the useful domestic: this has already been effected in several instances. But we will no longer detain you from hearing the Reports, which must be more interesting than any thing we can say on the subject."
Reports were read from the Committees of eighteen Schools, from which the following extracts are selected: Extract 1st.
Five girls have taken handsome leave of the School, and hired out for service; and we have reason to hope that they will gratefully remember the good instructions received from their teachers. Sarah T, a child of seven years of age, has committed to memory the first catechism, and the morning and evening service of the Church, from the prayer book, with Dr. Watts' divine songs. This child is worthy of particular notice, on account of her amiable deportment, unwearied attention, and great thirst after a knowledge of sacred things. In justice, she has been presented with the above nam ed books.
On Whitsunday we exercised the children by reading to them some excellent tracts, suited to their capacity; called in their tickets of approbation, and rewarded them generally by distributing twenty-four historical catechisms and twenty-one tracts. We had thought of buying in the tickets of the little girls with money which had been collected in fines; but first put the question-whether money or books would be most acceptable? and were highly pleased with their unanimous answer in favour of books. Indeed, we have abundant reason to be satisfied with the fruits of our labour. The irregular attendance of some of the scholars is the only drawback on our pleasure, and to silence completely the prevailing excuse," want of proper clothing," we have established a Fragment Society, for the reception of cast-off clothing; the teachers and others occasionally assemble and fashion the garments to suit the poorer children.
In the city of New-York, incredible as it may seem, we have found some who had no idea of God, of their having a soul, or of a future state of existence. To such poor beings, enveloped in mental darkness and spiritual ignorance, Sabbath Schools may be the means of bringing the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. With so great an object before us, we cannot but feel strengthened to go on with the good work, looking for a blessing from Him who has promised to be with us even unto the end."
With unfeigned gratitude to the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, we now add an account of the spiritual growth of our interesting charge.
One girl, from being a pupil in the highest class, has become a serious and useful teacher, and we believe is earnestly seeking "the pearl of great price." Another girl, nine years old, praises God for placing her in a Sabbath School, and gives a clear testimony of her acceptance with Him, and prays earnestly that she may be kept à faithful witness for Jesus. Many more are very seriously impressed; and we believe that the good seed sown is now ready to burst the earth in this part of the Lord's vineyard.
The superintendent has adopted a plan in regard to the scholars who have made the greatest progress, which your Committee highly approve, namely. to make them prove from Scripture, certain points of Scripture doctrine; such as the fall of man, the total depravity of human nature; the love