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knowing that they have been instrumental in sending the light of Revelation into the most benighted parts of the world; and of publishing the glad tidings of salvation in languages in which they had never before been heard. In this exalted pleasure the Christians of America can never hope to share, while they persevere in their present system. What Society among us can expect to publish the Scriptures in the languages of Asia and Africa, when we find it so difficult to print them in our own tongue? But it may be urged, that although our Societies may not be competent to the publication of expensive editions, yet that the number is so rapidly increasing, that before long
there will be no extensive district of our country without its Bible Societies; and that these Societies will at least supply the want of Bibles at home. Let us not deceive ourselves with this pleasing expectation. The number of our Societies is no test of our zeal in the cause of the Bible, nor does it enable us to estimate the amount of Bibles distributed. No Society is so easily formed as a Bible Sociely; almost any pious individual has it in his power to establish one. To a proposal to form one, no objection is made; it interferes with no religious or political views. A small meeting may be convened at a short notice; there is but little difficulty in finding persons who will consent to be the officers of the Society; as to private members, they are to be found hercafter, if possible. A constitution is soon agreed on and printed, and thus another Bible Society swells the list. But the amount of money raised, the number of Bibles distributed, is probably never known or thought of beyond the limits of the village or county in which the Society is established. But in England, the amount of the contribution of each auxiliary, and frequently of the associations, is published to the world in the Report of the parent Society; and the exact number of Bibles and Testaments distributed can at any time be ascertained from the same document.
If further proof be wanting of the superiority of the British system over the American, it may be found in the adoption of the former, and the rejection of the latter, by almost every Protestant nation in Europe. The United States are the only nation that has attempted the diffusion of the Scriptures by means of a number of small Bible Societies, rejecting the aid of a general institution. Russia commenced on the American system ; but the error was soon discovered, and the St. Petersburgh Bible Society was speedily changed into the Russian Bible Society. This change has been attended with the happiest consequences ; and the Russian Society, aided by auxiliary Societies in different parts of the empire, is now publishing the Bible in thirteen different languages. But the Russian Society is not the only national institution of the sort on the continent of Europe: we find there the Prussian Bible Society, with an auxiliary at Potsdam ; the Swedish Bihle Society; the Finnish Bible Society; the Hungarian Bible Society; the Bible Society of the kingdom of Saxony; the German Bible Society, with a number of auxiliaries; the Netherlands Bible Society, with about 30 auxiliaries; and several other general institutions.
When we first commenced our unfortunate system, the British and Foreign Bible Society warned us of our error. “ Had," said the Committee of that Society, in answer to a notification of the formation of the Philadelphia Society, which was the first established in the country, Had it entered into your views, to comprehend as many Provinces" (States) as could be brought to concur with you
in one in. stitution, of which Philadelphia might be the centre, the Committee would have regarded your plan as better adapted to the accomplishment of your object, and would gladly have extended to it a proportionate degree of pecuniary encouragement."
(To be continued.)
Communicated for the Christian. Herald. It is respectfully submitted to the consideration of several Christians in this City, of the different denominations, whose religion prescribes the duty of celebrating Good Friday as the anniversary of the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ, whether, on the late commemoration of that day, it would not have been becoming, in them, to have desisted, far more than they did, from their usual occupations, and to have kept their stores and work-shops shut; that thus they might have had more leisure to attend to their respective places of worship, and to their private devotions. We all agree to refrain from labour on the 4th of July. Is this merely because it is, by common consent, kept as a day of mirth and jollity? Or, is it rather because we feel grateful to God for the national blessings which we enjoy, and for our being emancipated from a foreign yoke? If the latter reason has weight with us, must we not acknowledge, that we have far more cause, on Good Friday, with all solemnity, to celebrate that great event, by which
death was conquered, the tyranny of Satan was abolished, the partition wall between Jew and Gentile was broken down, God and man were reconciled, and an ternal redemption was obtained for us? Are we pleased
to hear that, in our times, Missionaries to the heathen, like St. Paul of old, preach Jesus Christ, and him crucified ? And shall we not show too, that the day when we, in this Christian country, especially call to mind his crucifixion, is a day that is very highly regarded by us ?
Christians belonging to Churches that do not keep Good Friday, are also most respectfully requested to consider, whether, on such occasions, it would not become them to avoid, as much as possible, disturbing the worship and devotions of those who, from principle, think it their duty to set apart such days as holy time. Are not the genuine candour and brotherly love, recommended Rom. xiv., and our common duty to promote the cause of righteousness generally, strong arguments, addressed to all Christians, to show such deference for each other? Surely it may be said, with the strictest propriety, of those who celebrate Good Friday.--" He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord.”
New-York, 13th April, 1816. AN OBSERVER.
The exhibition of the Free Schools, under the superintendence of the Female Association, which took place a few days ago, in the large room in Chatham-street, afforded a feast of pleasure to a crowded assembly of spectators. To behold this interesting group of about 400 female children, from 6 to 14 years of age, who, without this excellent institution, might have been left subject to the consequences of a depressed and destitute condition, living in ignorance, and many perhaps exposed to become a prey to vice and wretchedness ; now exhibiting cleanliness, decency, good order, cheerfulness, and in numerous instances, extraordinary improvement, was highly gratifying to the benevolent mind. To view their little countenances, while reciting their exercises, brighten with eagerness to please, and win the applause of a large and attentive audience; to witness the expressions of their gratitude to their benefactors, and their respect and affection for their worthy instructresses ; to hear the heart-breaking valedictory, pronounced, with faltering tongue, amidst sobs and tears, in behalf of the class who had completed their education, and were about to dissolve the interesting connexion which had endeared them to each other, and to their teachers ;-was a scene which could not fail to excite the liveliest emotions in all present.
We feel much pleasure in presenting to our readers the following Report of that highly useful and commendable establishment. Annual Report of the Female Association for the relief of
the Sick Poor, and for the education of such female chil. dren as do not belong to, or are not provided for, by any religious Society.
The return of another year has again imposed on the members of the Female Association, the duty of reporting their proceedings to the friends of their
Institution. They perform this office with feelings of unfeigned satisfaction, and with grateful recollections of the assistance which they have received.
The relief of the sick poor still continues to claim the notice of the Association. To this interesting branch of their duties they have lately directed an unusual share of their attention ; and there is reason to hope, that their endeavours to add to the comfort of that afflicted class of their fellow-creatures have not been unavailing.
The instruction of the female children of the poor in useful literary knowledge, and in needle-work, forms, however, the principal object of their care. Two hundred children have been received, and one hundred and ninety discharged, during the last year : and there are, at the present time, nearly four hundred scholars, in their three rooms in Chatham and Henry-streets.
It would not be easy to present an accurate account of the actual progress made by the children in their several studies. It may not, however, be unimportant to state, that it has been, in general, satisfactory to the teachers ; and some instances have occurred, in which the scholars have exhibited proofs of great proficiency, and of agreeable deportment.
It is with a continuation of the same feelings of pleasure and congratulation expressed last year, that they again mention, that the schools are conducted by the same teachers. Their acknowledgments are also due to the “FreeSchool Society,” for the generosity with which it still grants them the gratuitous use of the school rooms.
The Association has also equal reason to congratulate itself on the continued reception of extensive pecuniary aid. The second distribution of the fund for " the establishment and support of common schools” in this state, has placed under the direction of this institution the sum of thirteen hundred and thirtyfive dollars and eighty-four cents : and the amount of private subscriptions, since the last report, is six hundred and twenty-one dollars. The liberality of these donations has served to renew the grateful impressions of the Association ; and, also, to evince the prevalence of a disposition, anxious to diminish the misery, and to increase the happiness, of the human race.
The Treasurer of the Association has paid, during the last year, in the various instances of its expenditure, the sum of sixteen hundred and nineteen dollars and seventy-eight cents.
Nearly eighteen years have now elapsed since the formation of this society ; and in the course of this period, it must be supposed, that it has been deprived of some of its members : it is cause, however, of much satisfaction to be able to state, that the present number of the Association is more than usually large ; and that, within a few years, several have been added to it, whose accession is esteemed to be truly valuable.
In closing this periodical account of their services, they may, perhaps, be allowed to express the hope, that their efforts have not been unsatisfactory to their benevolent patrons. They have endeavoured to cheer the dreary hours of sickness and sorrow; and to communicate instruction to the young and illiterate mind. Their attempts to promote the great work of education will not, probably, be unacceptable to those, who rejoice in the advancement of the intellectual faculties. In the natural world, it is pleasing to behold the progress of improvement; to see its wild and rugged forms tamed and softened by the hand of cultivation : but the labours of the mental cultivator are still more pleasant and important; under his direction, scenery of a nobler kind is formed and beautified; and flowers of a brighter hue, and of a richer fragrance, deck the features of the landscape. Signed in behalf of the Association,
MARY MINTURN, First Directress,
MARY M. PERKINS, Secretary.
A Circular Letter from the Massachusetts Peace Society,
respectfully addressed to the various Associations, Presbyteries, Assemblies and Meetings of the Ministers of Religion in the United States.
RESPECTED FATHERS AND BRETHREN, The Massachusetts Peace Society now addresses you on a subject of the first importance to the interests of Christianity and the happiness of the world.
The crimes and desolations of war have long been a subject of deep regret and lamentation to reflecting Christians. The incessant havoc of human life and human happiness, produced by the custom of settling controversies by the sword, must shock the mind that is not dead to benevolent sympathies and deaf to the cries of suffering humanity, or bewildered by some deplorable delusion.
How great a portion of the history of Christendom is filled with narratives of sanguinary deeds, at the thought of which benevolence recoils and religion weeps! How have thousands after thousands, and millions after millions, bearing the name of CHRISTIANS, been sacrificed on the altars of military ambition and revenge! How have provinces been plundered and depopulated -cities laid in ashes or sacked, unoffending men, women, and children exposed by thousands to indiscriminate butchery, brutality and insult, to gratify the savage and licentious passions of conquering and ferocious armies ! Can any intelligent Christian reflect on the immense slaughter, desolation, oppression, and distress occasioned by the wars of Christendom, and not be compelled to exclaim, Does our benevolent religion justify such scenes of wanton barbarity! And “shall the sword devour for ever!"
Whatever diversity of opinion may exist among Christians, as to the right of self defence, must they not all admit, that the spirit of war and revenge is the reverse of the spirit enjoined by the gospel? When the benevolent, peaceful character of our Lord is compared with the warring character of the nations professing his religion, how awful is the contrast? Must it not fill the mind with astonishment, anxiety, and alarm? Could a spirit more hostile to the gospel have been exhibited by these nations, had they been avowedly Pagans or Mahometans?
By reflecting on the present state of the Christian world, and the causes an effects of war, the members of the Massachusetts Peace Society have been led to hope, that something may be done to correct public opinion, and at least to diminish the evils of this scourge of nations and of humanity. Encouraged by this hope, they have been induced to unite their exertions in diffusing sentiments of
peace on earth and good will among men.” In this great work they need, and they earnestly invite, the aid of the nisters of religion of every denomination.
The objects of the society and the means to be employed for their attainment, are stated in the Constitution, which will accompany this letter. If the following inquiries and observations should seem to imply a fault on the part of Christian ministers, still nothing of the nature of reproach is intended. Many, who are represented in this address, have known by experience the power of education and of popular custom ; and they can sympathize with others, who have been subjected to the same influence. Such candour as they need, they are disposed to exercise. If in any instance the language which may be adopted shall appear too strong, you are requested to impute it to an abhorrence of an unchristian custom, and not to disrespect towards Christian brethren.
From the history of mankind it is clear, that whether a nation be professedly Pagan, Mahometan, or Christian, the acknowledged ministers of religion have an extensive influence in supporting or reforming popular customs. And may it not be said, that according to their influence must be their responsi bility?