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From the Rev. Dr. Paterson.
St. PETERSBURG, Oct. 2, 1818. It was not until yesterday that our fifth Anniversary was held; and I now proceed to give you some account of this Meeting.
As the court is absent, and a great number of the inhabitants of the capital still in the country, it was expected that only few people would be present; and it was even proposed, on this account, to defer the Meeting till the next Spring. This, however, was over-ruled; and it was agreed, at our last Committee, that the Anniversary should he held, however late, and however small the number might be who were expected to attend.
His Imperial Majesty having granted the use of the Tauridian Palace, as usual, we entered the great hall at eleven o'clock; and, contrary to all our expectations, we found it nearly full, and, in a few minutes, it was crowded. The large rooms, on the right and left of the hall, were also nearly full, and some hundreds went away who could not get in.
The first thing that struck me, on taking a view of the hundreds now met, was, that, after the Society has existed more than five years, the interest which the public take in the cause, is so far from being diminished, that it has evidently been increasing year after year. Desire and expectation seemed to be visible in every countenance, and we had only to lament, that the place could not contain the numbers who were anxious to gain admission.
Those who have never witnessed such a scene, can scarcely form an idea of the effect produced on the mind by such a motley assemblage. Persons of twenty different nations and languages were present, and many of them in their national costume. Our Mongolian Chiefs were also to be seen in the group, rejoicing to see so many met for the purpose of promoting the circulation of a book, now more precious to them than thousands of gold or silver. It was delightful to see the bearded peasant and the prince, the craftsman and the minister of state, the layman and ihe clergyman, Christians of all denominations, Jews and Genliles, assembled for the one glorious purpose of causing the word of the Lord to “have free course and to be glorified."
The Russian Clergy made a conspicuous figure, with their truly enlightened and pious Metropolitan at their head; nor were we less pleased to see the venerable Roman Catholic Metropolitan sitting opposite the Head of the Russian Church, and on his left hand the Metropolitan of the Greek Uniats, who was chosen one of our Vice-Presidents.
Notwithstanding the absence of the Court, our Assembly shone with stars and ribbons, worn by the first stalesmen, and military and naval officers of the highest distinction. Had a West been present, it would have afforded him an interesting subject for a
painting of the very first order. It reminded me of that company which John saw “out of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.” If evidence were wanting, to prove that the Bible Society is to be the instrument, in the hand of God, of making known the Gospel to them all, I would point to the assemblage of yesterday, as experimental testimony of what has already been done, from which we can easily infer what will ere long take place.
Our meeting was also graced by a number of Ladies of the first distinction, many of whom we knew to be truly pious. Among those, on the right hand, was the Queen of Imeretta, expressing her gratitude for what the Bible Society had done, and is still doing, for her country and her kindred.
The business was opened by a Speech from our President, replete with interesting matter, in which he gave a general view of the object and operations of the Society, and which was listened to with much attention. Our Secretary Papof then read the Report, which had been drawn up by himself; and which was a true index of his own spirit and his own feelings, and produced corresponding sentiments in the hearts of all present. Our other Secretary, Mr. Tourgeneff, then read an interesting account of the progress of Bible Societies in every part of the world. If the hearers were before delighted, they were now enraptured! The Thames, the Ganges, and the Neva, seemed to have mingled their streams, and formed the river of the waters of life, for vivifying and refreshing all the nations of the earth.
SEAMEN'S BIBLE SOCIETY. The Merchant Seamen's Bible Society, established in January last, is in full activity. For several months, an agent of the Society has gone on board the outward-bound merchant ships, when clearing from Gravesend, to inquire into the supply which the several ships already possess of the holy Scriptures; and, when needful, to invite the crews to purchase at a very reduced rate; or if this, through their poverty, cannot be accomplished, to present, from the Society, Bibles and Testaments for their use during the voyage. An exact record is kept of such supplies, and many opportunities have already occurred on the return of ships to port, for inquiring into the result of this attention to the moral and religious interests of these men. This bas generally been satisfactory. Already there have been supplied upwards of 1,200 vessels, navigated by more than 16.000 men, of whom more than 13,000 were able to read-1,200 Bibles and 2,785 Testaments have been gratuitously bestowed for the general use of the ship's companies; and 275 Bibles, with 126 Testaments, have been purchased by individuals of the crews; in addition to the supplies found on board, and which were either placed there by well-disposed owners for the use of the seamen, or were the private property of the sailors.
LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY
THERE is reason to believe that some movements have taken place among the natives in India, with intent to abolish the practice of burning widows with the corpses of their husbands; for we learn from a Calcutta Journal, that'a petition counter to that . of those natives who prayed for a repeal of the orders of government, restricting the privilege of suicide of widows to such cases only as are authorized by the Hindoo Shastres, is now in circulation for signature.' This petition states that the principal authorities of the Hindoo religion altogether forbid the burning of women on the funeral piles of their husbands--that those legislators of inferior authority who have authorised the practice, wrote in a different age, when many similar sacrifices, forbidden to the race of mankind in the present age (Kali Yoog) were common; such as human sacrifices, leaping from precipices, &c.-and that even they recommended a life of austerity as more meritorious than such self-destruction.
Upon these grounds they pray that such further measures to check, if not entirely put an end to sacrifices so revolting to humanity, may be adopted, as the government may in its wisdom deem expedient.
By letters from India it appears that the schools are increasing in number; and that the School-book Society is active in preparing elemeptary books for their use. Extract of a letter from a Missionary in India to a friend in
London. Personally, I sing only of mercy; chiefly, that from the day of my arrival, I have not experienced a moment's illness; and receiving every possible kindness from Mr. and Mrs. have been enabled unremittingly to apply to business. ?
-Away with all talk of outward sufferings, with cautions against sinking beneath the pressure of hardships and privations; the dread of being cut off by savages or devoured by tygers ;-caution me rather against eating, drinking, and sleeping; against becoming proud and lazy, indifferent and hard-hearted, forgetful of God, of Christ, and of his kingdom.'
Extract of a letter from Mr. Ellis to Mr. J. B. Moor.
Eimeo, 4 Dec. 1817. • Things are going on well here. We have printed 7,000 copies of different kinds of school-books; have finished the first sheet of Luke (24 pages) of which we intend to take off 3,000 copies. Several hundreds of the natives have learned to read since the spelling-books have been printed, Some thousands are
now waiting for the publication of Luke's Gospel. Canoes are frequently arriving from various parts, with persons whose business is to enquire when the books will be ready; and an increasing desire to become acquainted with the word of God, powerfully peryades the minds of the people.'
* I work seven or eight hours, most days, at printing : it is warm work here: but thanks be to God who has condescended to engage me in so useful an employment, as that of assisting to prepare the word of God for a people so anxious to receive it.'
Mr. Reeve, who has been two years at this station, in connexion with Mr. Hands, in a letter, dated 27th August, 1818, says,
You will no doubt feel much pleasure in hearing that the good cause is still prospering in this place. The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad. Our Auxiliary Bible Society will, I trust, prove a very great and most extensive blessing; many copies of the Scriptures have been distributed far and wide. Some time ago a large number were sent to a camp about 100 miles hence, the whole of which were sold in less than an hour ; and another liberal supply is requested. There never was such a hungering for the Bread of Life among the English soldiery as there now is : the Bible is become the inmate of the knapsack, and may be found under many a soldier's pillow.
• These good men have also a strong desire to furnish the poor heathen with the Scriptures; for this purpose they have already subscribed more than seven pounds.
We have the New Testament and the Psalms in Hindostanee and Persian, and expect a supply of Mahratta, Tamul, and Teloogoo; and to these will very soon be added, the greater part of the New Testament in the Canarese.
This camp, though surrounded by the grossest idolatry, has in its midst one sacred temple devoted to the true God. The pious soldiers have their stated seasons for prayer, reading the Scriptures, and singing the praises of God: their place has been once enlarged, but is now too strait for them.
• We have lately received very pleasing accounts from the little society at Bangalore : they sent £10 last month for the Missionary and Bible Societies. A subscription has been commenced at Seringapatam also; an invalid soldier lately died there, and bequeathed his little all to Mr. Hands, for the use of the Bellary Bible Society.
• In June we remitted to Calcutta £50 for the Bible Society, and £25 for the Naval and Military Bible Society.
· The great head of the church still deigns to smile upon our labours among the English at this station. On the sabbath day our chapel is well attended, both in the morning and evening; neither are the prayer-meetings, nor the Wednesday evening lecture slighted. You will perceive from the journal that we continue to have additions to our church from month to month.
• In May last a private soldier in the 84th regiment died, ex. claiming, death, where is thy sting! About fourteen months before he was led by curiosity into our place while I was preaching, and the word was made effectual ; from that time he persevered in adorning the doctrine of God his Saviour.
• My dear brother Hands is still mourning, on account of that mysterious Providence which has taken away the delight of his eyes with a stroke ; but he bows like a Christian with humble resignation beneath the afflicting hand of his heavenly Father. He is still poorly, anda change of air seems necessary to improve his health; he needs an interest in your sympathy and prayers.
'My dear partner has already felt the debilitating effects of a tropical climate. Her charge is now great and heavy. My two little ones are quite well, as are Mr. and Mrs. Taylor. We need tracts for the hospitals, &c.'
Death of the Rev. Mr. May. MR. LOVELESS says, we have heard that brother May is removed ! Yesterday, we received a letter from brother Townley, dated Calcutta, August 15th, 1818, in which he says, ' About 12 days ago, he (Mr. May) was taken ill at Chinsurah; his disorder assumed the aspect of a threatening fever. On the 11th he was brought down to Calcutta, for the advantage of the best advice; but all was in vain ; he breathed his last the following morning!
MORAVIAN MISSIONS. The United Brethren, commonly called MORAvians are comparatively little known in this country. Their missions among the heathen, however, have recently attracted much attention, not only as models of what such establishments should be, but as proofs how effectually the rudest barbarians may be civilized by being Christianized. Wherever the Brethren have preached the gospel among savages, they have introduced the arts of social life; and wherever the gospel has been received, those savages, have become new creatures, not only in heart and in conduct but in personal appearance and intellect. The commendation due to the Moravians on these accounts, has been liberally awarded to the Brethren, not only by enlightened travellers, who have occasionally visited their remote settlements, and been struck with wonder on beholding the comfortable habitations, the happy circumstances, the humble demeanour, and the fervent piety of the converts from Paganism, whether Greenlanders, Esquimaux, North American Indians, Negroes, or Hottentots, but