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It is impossible to estimate what the cause of Christ has gained by the circulation of the Bible. We cannot see how the Church could have existed to this hour, and how it could continue to exist, without the Word. How many souls in the wilderness have, when tempted, been enabled to hold fast their confidence, and to foil Satan with that Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, appealing, like their Master, to its inspired and glorious truths, and saying, "It is written !"

during the last fifty years, also deserve our attention. The story, we dare say, is familiar to most of our readers, how Luther, when translating the Bible during his lonely sojourn in the old castle of the Wartburg, was one night sore perplexed about the rendering of a particular verse ;-how, in a feverish state of body, consequent upon his sedentary life, and in an anxious state of mind, he imagined, during the solitary hours of night, as he sat poring over the sacred text, that he beheld the foul fiend scowling at him ;-how he awoke out of that momentary sleep into which he had unconsciously fallen, when the senses and fancy seem to mingle, and the pictures presented by each cannot be distinguished

and dashed it at the shadowy image before him! As we have sat on that same chair, silently gazing on the black mark on the wall, which tradition has assigned to the famous ink-bottle, we have thought that there was in the scene an undesigned symbol of what has taken place through the Reformation, which that man (a giant among giants!) was, under God, the means of effecting. What have our Christian countries and our societies for the distribution of a religious literature, been doing, but, in a more real and more efficacious manner, attacking Satan, and banishing him from the souls of men, by means of ink, which stamps upon paper imperishable forms of thought?

It surely cannot fail to fill the hearts of every Christian with deepest thankfulness to God, to contemplate the glorious achievements of the last fifty years, in circulating the Word of God. The Church, like the angel seen in prophetic vision, has been flying with the-and how he seized his large ink-bottle, everlasting Gospel to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. It has given the Bible to the inhabitants of the old lands of Egypt, Ethiopia, Arabia, Palestine, Asia-Minor, and Persia-to the indomitable Circassian-the mountaineers of Affghanistan-to tribes of India speaking thirty-two different languages or dialects-to the inhabitants of Burmah, Assam, and Siam-to the islanders of Madagascar and Ceylon-to the Malays and Javanese of the eastern seas-to the millions of China, and the wandering Calmuc beyond her great wall-to the brave New Zealander- to the teeming inhabitants of the island groups which are scattered over the Southern Pacificto the African races, from the Cape to Sierra Leone-to the Esquimaux and Greenlander, within the arctic circleand to the Indian tribes of North America. All are now furnished with a translation of that wonderful volume, which, with the light of the universal living Spirit of God, at once reveals to man, in every age and clime, his lost and miserable condition, and tells him of a remedy that is adapted to meet every want of his being,—to redeem him, by a moral power it alone can afford, from all sin and misery, and to bring him into the glorious fellowship of the holiness, the blessedness, and joy of the family of God in earth and heaven!

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Foremost in this great work has been the Religious Tract Society of London.

That Society was formed in 1799. During the first year of its operations, ending in May 1800, it had issued 200,000 tracts. Its distribution, as reported 1850, amounted to upwards of nineteen millions, two hundred and forty-five thousand publications, in 110 different languages, and with an annual revenue of L.60,000! It has issued, (along with affiliated societies,) during the last fiftyyears, five hundred and twenty-four millions of publications, each of which, according to one of the fun damental principles of the Society, clearly

But the labours of the TRACT SOCIETIES, states the way of salvation by Jesus

Christ! What a mighty agency has this been for the dissemination of religious truth! How extensive the influence, how grand the immortality, which the printing press, employed with such evangelic Christian zeal, secures to the labours of men of God! Their holy words, which, without such an agency as this, could have reached a few minds only, and in some limited spot of earth, now circulate like the air of heaven over the wide world; they enter every dwelling, and are on the tongue of every tribe. Histories of individuals who would have sensitively shrunk from uttering their thoughts beyond the domestic circle, have become familiar to the universal Church. What was spoken in secret has been proclaimed on the house-top. And the battle of a single spirit with evil-its struggles and triumphs-its tremblings and rejoicings -which seemed at the moment to be of no importance to any but itself, and to have no possible influence attached to it beyond the lowly sick-bed, or the cottage home has been transferred by some carnest pastor to his own diary,-from thence passed to the pages of the religious tract and, after multiplying itself a million and a million times, has been translated perhaps into an hundred languages, and converted or comforted immortal souls on the plains of India or Africa, in the wilds of America, or in some lonely Pacific island! It has been thus with such a book as the Dairyman's Daughter, and with innumerable biographies and death-beds of humble saints of God,-yea, even of tender children, whose hosannas and early praises of Christ in the temple, have been heard, with joy and gratitude, by millions of the human race! An old minister, nearly two hundred years ago, was brought before a cruel and blood

Several religious bodies in the United States maintain Tract or "Publication" Societies. But the "American Tract Society" (founded in 1825) is the largest and most influential in the United States, and has a catholic constitution similar to our own Tract Society. We have no report later than 1847. We learn from this that it employs 267 colporteurs, (or hawkers of books,) who had visited, during the year, 215,000 families-32,000 of whom had no religious book whatever, except the Bible, and 15,000 not having even Bibles. 515,975 volumes were circulated during the year.

thirsty judge, who said to him, before sending him to prison, "Richard, thou art an old rogue, and deservest the halter." Yet this same Richard has never ceased to preach from that day till this; and every year now, he addresses millions in every land. Richard Baxter's Call to the Unconverted, has been eminently blessed for the conversion of sinners, and his Saint's Rest, has been equally blessed for the consolation of believers. The same judge seized a tinker, who would not stick to his soldering and hammering, but would make known everywhere the grace of God, and what great things God had done for him. Twelve years he lay in jail; and there, having nothing to disturb him, he fell to dreaming. That dream was afterwards printed, and has gone through more editions than any other uninspired volume. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress has travelled through all lands, and its victories over Apollyon have been more than can be numbered. How much has thus been accomplished during fifty years, by Tract Societies! What sermons have Flavel and Edwards preached! What lessons of the rise and progress of religion in the soul has Doddridge taught! What blessings, through their instrumentality, have been bestowed by Leighton, and Brainerd, and Payson, and Wilberforce, and a host of others, whose names or works are illustrious in the churches of Christ!

We have spoken of the efforts of Missionary, Bible, and Tract Societies only, as evidencing the great fact of the revival of the Protestant Church during the last fifty years. Our space will not permit of our enumerating many other works and labours of love accomplished through innumerable agencies at home

Volumes and tracts, amounting to nineteen millions of pages, had been given away in grants. It has circulated, since its commencement, upwards of eighty-three millions of tracts and volumes; and is supported by more than 700 auxiliary societies,-those in Boston, Philadel phia, and New York, being large and efficient. We may add that its circulation is not confined to the United States, but extends to Mexico, Central and South America, and to those districts in the East and Asia Minor, where the American missionaries are labouring.

and abroad, (and mainly depending on the Christian Church for their existence,) for the education of the young, and aiding man's temporal as well as spiritual wants.*

great and imposing?-when did it ever prophesy so clearly to the eyes of faith, of its coming perfection?

To assert this, is merely to assert that Christ's kingdom is come, and ever coming We must now bring our short glance more and more, and that the leaven of at the last half-century to a conclusion. righteousness is leavening the lump! The In doing so, we would willingly devote a advance of Christianity is one with the few pages to the consideration of what advance of humanity! And, blessed be appear to us to be the characteristic God, if the Apostles could say 1800 years features of the eventful period which ago, "The night is far spent, the day has passed under our notice, and hazard is at hand," much more truly may we a few conjectures as to the probable take up the same triumphant words. character of the era on which we have | It is now far past the dawn, and advancing lately entered. But we are compelled, by our very limited space, to confine ourselves to a few sentences only upon so great a subject.

more rapidly than ever towards the meridian splendour. But we notice, farther, that this progress has been more rapid during the last half-century, than during any previous period in the world's history. There are periods when society, though ever advancing, seems to do so like a tree in winter-when its progress is one of preparation, rather than of actual, visible result. There are other periods, when society is like that same tree during a spring of extraordinary productive power

1. The last half-century has been marked by unequalled progress. When we speak of progress, we do not mean the progress of any individual man. For in vain shall we seek for men of more piety than the saints of the early ages; for men of rarer or finer genius than the poets, orators, sculptors, and architects of Greece or Rome; or for men of higher-when every day seems to load it with science than the great discoverers of later centuries. Nor, on the other hand, do the annals of crime, in any country or age, record deeds of greater atrocity than those which, during the last fifty years, have disgraced our own. But, admitting all this, no one can deny that humanity, as a whole, has immensely advanced. The human race, throughout the world, has progressed in civilization and cultivation. The stately structure is far from having reached the glorious design of the great Architect. Vast additions have yet to be made to it; strong pillars and buttresses are yet required to support it, and many ornaments to grace it; but we boldly ask, When has it ever been building more rapidly?-when was it ever so

*It is stated in the "Economist," (January 25,) that in the metropolis alone, the charitable institutions reach 491 in number, and have an annual income of L.1,765,000. Of these, 109 were established in the last century, and no less than 294 in the last half-century! We learn from the Weekly Visitor, that "There are, at the present time, 12 general medical hospitals; 50 medical charities for special purposes; 35 general dispensaries; 12 institutions for the preservation of life and public morals; 18 for the

more life and beauty. Society, during the last half-century, seems to us to have been such a tree during spring, or, rather, we should say, during an autumn of rich fruitfulness. Other centuries have been eras of vast preparation,-ours has been one essentially of fruition. We have given birth to no new ideas; but we have marvellously applied old ones. A few mighty minds sowed during the past; but millions during the present have reaped! And striking is the ra pidity with which results have been achieved. We have not, for instance, crept slowly in progressing from ten miles an hour to a higher rate, but have sprung at once to fifty or sixty. We have passed from the message transmitted purpose of reclaiming the fallen, and staying the progress of crime; 26 for the mitigation of des. titution and specifical cases of affliction; 14 for aiding the resources of the industrious; 11 asylums for the blind, deaf, and dumb; upwards of 100 colleges, hospitals, and asylums for the aged; 31 asylums for orphan and for necessitous child. ren; and all this exclusive of those legal provi sions which are made for the relief of the poor, the funds of which are raised from the public."

by the mail, and occupying days or weeks glorious results ever attained by the in its toilsome journey, to the electric human race during the next fifty years, telegraph, which announces the coming hurricane, and, in traversing westward, flashes past the sun, leaving it hours behind! In such results, we see, for the first time in man's history, inventions brought to perfection, (for nothing can exceed the speed of thought itself!) and in this fact we have the first intimation of an impassable limit to man's progress here-which silently points to an outlet for the energies of redeemed humanity elsewhere.

2. But without dwelling at greater length on the past, we cannot avoid turning an inquiring eye to the future, and asking, What shall be man's history during the next fifty years? Without attempting with a profane hand to uncover what God has concealed, it is surely a comfort to be able to take our stand on the immoveable Rock of His promises to Christ, and to rejoice in the assurance, that, sooner or later, His name must be glorious in all the earth!

But when? Is it too much to assert, that before the end of the present century, the Gospel shall have been preached to all nations-the Bible translated into all tongues-and the last idol on earth cast down amidst the triumphant songs of the Church of Christ? We might expect this blessing only from the past, and the constantly increasing ratio with which society advances. Yet, as revolutions in the physical world would anticipate in a single night the slow progress of ordinary causes, so, for aught we know, may God, by some evolution of His Providence, make one year do the work of many. There is doubtless a tendency towards "catholic humanity;" but God has decreed most righteously, that there is but one bond of union which can permanently unite humanity-and that is Jesus Christ. But while we do anticipate the most

It is only within 15 years that preaching has become common in all their synagogues, while, during the same period, 10 periodicals have been started by the Jews, in different parts of thet world, in defence of Judaism, in some form or other.

+ In a conversation which we had with Neander in 1848, (immediately before the Continental

we anticipate, also, from the palpable signs of the times, a desperate conflict of opposing systems, both of truth and error. It is not a little remarkable, that never before was there such a life and strength in every system as at this moment. Protestantism, Popery, Infidelity, and even Judaism,* were never so alive; and never were alive together before. Does not this look like a coming struggle?†

We cannot conclude these cursory remarks, without expressing an earnest hope, that the Church of Scotland may rouse herself from her lethargy, and take a worthy place in this world-battle which is before us. Forbid it! that she should cowardly leave the field during this grand crisis in history, or that her name should be unheard when the Lord musters His triumphant and rejoicing hosts on the eve of victory!

God's work, both at home and abroad, can indeed be done without us; but what a loss of honour and privilege to ourselves, and what an accumulation of guilt, unless it be done also by us!

When the next fifty years are ended, what will Scotland say of us?—what will Christendom think of us?--what judg ment shall the Head of the Church have passed upon us?

We would ask each individual reader, "Where will you be when this century ends ?"-alive certainly, acting, remembering, anticipating, suffering, or enjoying, somewhere-but where? How can you be indifferent to the awful question, Whether, if you die ere fifty years are over, you are to be a saint or a devil?— for you must be either!

When all things are perishing around us, how blessed to know Him who is the eternal portion and enduring rest of the immortal spirit! How unutterable the privilege of being able to contemplate,

Revolutions,) he said, "I believe we are enter. ing a period of unprecedented warfare, which will issue in the increased glory and purity of e Church. The light and darkness will every year be more and more separated-the one be coming more bright-the other more densely dark."

with perfect peace, all that can possibly happen throughout the vast ages of eternity, and in the boundless universe of God, and to feel assured that every child of God is for ever safe, and for ever happy! To every believer we may say, “All things are yours, whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours; and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's!" And every believer may, with joy, reply, "I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, is able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!"

FROM THE GERMAN OF RÜCKERT.

CHIDHAR, the Prophet ever-young.
Thus loosed the bridle of his tongue:

I journeyed by a goodly town,
Beset with many a garden fair.
And asked of one who gathered down
Large fruit, "How long the Town was there?"

He spoke, nor chose his hand to stay,
"The town has stood for many a day,
And will be here for ever and aye."

A thousand years past by, and then 1 went the self-same road again.

No vestige of that Town I traced,-
But one poor swain his horn employed,-
His sheep unconscious browsed and grazed,
I asked, "When was that Town destroyed?"
He spoke, nor would his horn lay by,
"One thing may grow and another die,
But I know nothing of towns-not I."

A thousand years went on, and then
I past the self-same place again.
There in the deep of waters cast
His nets one lonely fisherman,
And as he drew them up at last,

I asked him, "How that Lake begun ?"
He looked at me and laughed to say,
"The waters spring for ever and aye,
And fish is plenty every day."

A thousand years past by, and then
I went the self-same road again.
I found a country wild and rude,
And, axe in hand, beside a tree,
The Hermit of that Solitude,-

I asked, "How old that wood might be?"
He spoke, "I count not time at all,
A tree may rise, a tree may fall,
The Forest overlives us all."

A thousand years went on, and then
I past the self-same place again.
And there a glorious City stood,
And 'mid tumultuous market cry,

I asked, "When rose the Town, where Wood,
Pasture, and Lake forgotten lie?"

They heard me not, and little blame,-
For them the world is as it came,
And all things must be still the same.
A thousand years shall pass, and then
I mean to try that road again.

MISSIONS, MISSIONARIES, AND THEIR SUPPORTERS.*

I AM sure that it would little answer the design of asking me to address you, and that it would serve no good purpose, were I either to dwell with the language of eulogy upon the institution and exertions of your Association, or to seek for entertainment in the wide field of interest which the page of Missionary enterprise presents. The lovers of the Gospel must rejoice in the existence of this Society, and will hail with satisfaction its successful efforts. But, in the heart of every enlightened friend, anxiety with respect to your success in those particulars, as to which success manifests itself by visible indications, must yield to a far deeper

and more solemn solicitude,-viz., that the Association may be pervaded, and the hearts of its members penetrated, by a truly Missionary spirit; so that its external success may be not only an evidence of zealous exertion, but a token also, that it is by the grace of God abounding towards its members that they are enabled to abound. It were an awful thought, if we could conceive, that the visible fruit were all that this Association produced. Hopes and desires, as well as ends, the dearest and most sacred, will be fulfilled, if the visible fruit shall prove, by God's blessing, to be the product of healthy roots implanted in the

and published upon the unanimous solicitaof the Acting Committee of the Associa

• An Address delivered by special request, to the Missionary Association of the University of Edinburgh, upon Saturday, 11th January 1851, tion,

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