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each missionary society to furnish itself from its own funds, with the Holy Scriptures, than it is for the American Bible Society to devote any portion of its funds directly for those objects. We are aware, indeed, that the Society has been in the practice of making such donations from the beginning, although some individual members of the board of managers have objected to it. Among others who have received a share of the Society's bounty, in this respect, is the Mis. sionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Some years since a donation of Bibles and Testaments was made to one of our missionaries in Upper Canada, and subsequently, the American Bible Society printed the Gospel of St. Luke in the Mohawk language
for the benefit of our Indian missions. To the American Bible Society, as such, we profess to be friends : and so far as it can sustain itself by an appeal to its original institution, and to its primary objects, namely, the supplying the poor destitute with the word of God, on the cheapest terms, we wish it all possible success, and shall yield it our most hearty support.
The report before us gives a condensed view of the operations of the British and Foreign Bible Society. From this it appears that that society has translated and published, including what are now in a course of publication, the sacred Scriptures into no less than one hundred and fifty-five different languages. Such gigantic efforts surely were never before witnessed to make known the savor of his name among all nations' by means of Bible distribution ; and this extensive circulation of the sacred volume is like laying a train of powder, which, when touched by the fire of the living ministry, will set the nations in a blaze, and finally consume the rotten systems of superstition and idolatry. In view of all these things, we heartily respond to the following language of the report :
In concluding the present report, your board cannot but feel, in view of the state and prospects of the cause in which they are engaged, that this cause is indeed sustained by an Almighty arm, and is yet to bear in its course the blessings of revelation to every nation, and city, and family of the earth. They feel, too, that the time is drawing nigh when these predicted triumphs of Divine truth will in all their fulness be realized. In surveying the state of the Christian world, at least the Protestant part of it, while there are yet many things to pain the benevolent heart, there is also much, very much to awaken gratitude and inspire hope. The growing sensibility of the public mind toward every species of suffering, the union of effort and example to promote habits of temperance, the measures devised and the labors performed for the moral training of the young, the increase of evangelical churches, and the effusions of the Holy Spirit, as well as the extended co-operation of various religious denominations in giving the Scriptures to their destitute neighbors, all afford cheering encouragement, and should greatly invigorate our faith, and quicken our zeal in every good work.
In extending our vision to the unevangelized parts of the earth, while
gross darkness yet covers most of the people, beams of light are beginning to break in upon the borders of almost every nation. Nearly six hundred posts of Protestant Christian missions are already established within the bounds of paganism, and these at different distances, where each like a central fixed star, can dispense its light to new objects of need. At most of these posts heathen children are receiving Christian education, and many of them preparing, in the providence of God, to go forth in turn and instruct other portions of their benighted countrymen. At many of these posts, as we have seen, the work of translating and diffusing the sacred Scriptures is rapidly going forward. It is a circumstance of deep interest, especially to an institution like this, that many of the great nations of the east, though enslaved to superstitious and idolatrous rites, are yet, to a wide extent, reading communities. This is true not only in Syria, Armenia, and Persia, where a corrupt Christianity and Mohammedanism prevail, but also in the more populous regions of Burmah, Siam, and China, where different forms of Pagan worship have been long established. This circumstance, in connection with the numerous translations of the Bible into the dialects of those countries, cannot but fortify the hope that He who sways kingdoms at his will, and who has promised that “the heathen shall be given to the Son for an inheritance,” is about to prepare for “nations to be born in a day,” is rapidly hastening that time " when there shall be no need of one saying to his neighbor or his brother, know the Lord, for all shall know him from the least even unto the greatest of them.” Every thing in that blessed book which we circulate, and every thing in the signs of the times, tell us that great moral changes among the nations are approaching. Old systems of monopoly and oppression are beginning to relax their grasp, every form of idolatry, as one has justly said, bears marks of " dotage” and decay, while the religion of the Bible, with the freshness of youth, and the vigor of manhood, is going on from conquering to conquer.
Living at such a period of the world as this, and placed by a kind Providence in a land abounding with pecuniary and moral resources, with a commerce reaching to almost every portion of the globe, with every facility at home and abroad for printing and publishing that book which is the great source of our blessings, and the hope of the heathen world, how does it become the friends of this sacred institution, to-day convened, to feel-how to resolve-how to act? Could your board speak to every section of the land, they would call on every minister of the Gospel, on every patriot and philanthropist, and particularly on every member of the auxiliary and branch societies to engage the coming year with new vigor in the blessed work of diffusing the oracles of God both at home and abroad. They would every
individual, directly or indirectly connected with this institution, what a beloved missionary, standing on the ground where once apostles stood," has recently said to them- - We love to see you, and all connected with you, lifting up your hands in the face of heaven, and earth, and giving to the world a pledge that you will henceforth labor to cause the fertilizing waters of the sanctuary to flow into all lands, making the wilderness rejoice, and the desert blossom as the rose. We love to see
you looking abroad to the east and west, to the north and south, and resolving in the strength of Israel's God that you will endeavor to give his blessed book to every being created in his image, that you will do what in you lies to impart the bread of eternal life to all the needy and perishing of Adam's race in whatever clime they may be found, aiming at nothing less than placing the hopes of immortality, as speedily as possible, within the reach of every probationer for eternity.'
While we thus notice the successful labors of these great national institutions, we would call the attention of our readers to our own Bible Society. This society was never designed to rival, much less to interfere with the American Bible Society. While, therefore, we rejoice in all that the Lord our God shall do through its agency, we are anxious that those who have thought that they could work to better advantage under a separate organization, should come timely and heartily into the work, and make full proof of their zealous attachment to this cause by contributing to advance its interests. The Bible Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized for the purpose of supplying our Sabbath Schools, missionary stations, and the poor members of our congregations with Bibles and Testaments, on the cheapest terms ; and although its operations have been very limited when compared to the above-mentioned societies, yet it has contributed much to relieve us from the embarrassments under which the cause labored, in respect to being furnished with the needful supply of these books.
We wish, indeed, we could say in truth that the success of this society had been equal to the abilites of our brethren and friends.This, however, we cannot do. But we hope that when its benevolent objects shall be better understood, and its claims more fully known and appreciated, means will be furnished for a more ample supply and extensive distribution of the word of life. Let all who are able be also willing to assist in this sacred cause, and there shall be no lack of means to carry forward this work to the full extent of all reasonable demands. Why should not the example of others stimulate us to increased exertions in helping to fill the world with the BOOK OF God?
In this society no money is expended in paying extra travelling agents. This is rendered unnecessary by the peculiar organization of our itinerant ministry, of which the travelling agency of other societies is but an imperfect imitation. And experience has demonstrated in many particular instances where societies have been organized, and funds collected, by the agency of our travelling preachers, aided, as they have been, by efficient local agents, that the necessity of extra travelling agents is superseded among us. What has been thus done, in these particular instances, by the activity of our travelling preachers, may be accomplished, were the same activity, employed, in every other instance. Let every preacher, therefore, explain the objects of all our benevolent institutions, the Bible society, as well as the others, and press their claims upon the attention of the people, and all will then become enlisted in their behalf. If, however, we neglect to do our duty, others will do it for us, and thus deprive us of our reward.
MINUTES of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, for
the year ending October, 1833. It is now sixty-seven years since Methodism first struck its root in the American soil. So obscure were its beginnings that it is hardly possible to designate the place where Philip Embury first struck his spade into the earth, and planted the seed which has since sprung up, and yielded such a plentiful harvest. For twenty-seven years Methodism had been widening its way through the different parts of Great Britain before it crossed the Atlantic, and commenced its leavening influence among the people of this country.
In 1773 the first conference was held in the city of Philadelphia, under the superintendence of Mr. Thomas Rankin, who had been appointed by Mr. Wesley as his assistant in America ; for though Mr. Asbury had been in the country for about two years before, no regular conference had been held until the time mentioned above. At this time there were ten preachers stationed, and eleven hundred and sixty-nine members in society. In seven years, therefore, the society had increased from five, the number which first assembled in Mr. Embury's private room in 1766, in the city of New-York, to eleven hundred and sixty-nine.
If we divide the age of Methodism in America into three periods, consisting of twenty years each, allowing eleven hundred and sixty-nine to have been the numbers in society at the close of the year 1773, when the first regular conference was held, we shall be enabled to see the average per centum of increase in each of these periods. 1773. Numbers in society
67,643 Increase in the first period of twenty years
66,474 The yearly increase during this period is a fraction over 284 per cent. per
1813. Numbers in society
214,307 Increase during the second period of twenty years
146,664 This is an increase at within a fraction of eleven per cent. per annum. 1823. Numbers in society
619,771 Increase during the third period of twenty years
405,464 This is an increase of nearly ten per cent. per annum for the last period.
From this calculation it will be perceived that the ratio of increase has gradually diminished from the commencement in 1773. In the first stages of society it is to be expected that the annual increase should be more in proportion to the original numbers, than it would be when the society should become more extended ; see no reason why at this time the increase should not continue to be as rapid in proportion to the numbers now composing the society as it was twenty years ago. A
The increase of the last year was seventy-one thousand, one hundred and seventy-eight, which was at the rate of nearly thirteen per cent. And if ministers
and people are faithful to their high trust, why should they not go on to multiply even a "hundred fold! If we were to rely less upon ourselves, and more upon the direct and efficient influence of the Spirit of God, 'praying in the Holy Ghost,' that we may all be built up in the love of God and the communion of the Lord Jesus Christ, what should hinder our success in converting a great multitude of • sinners from the error of their ways ?!
There is another point of light in which we may view, and indeed ought to view, this subject. Has our increase been in proportion to the increase of population in these United States ? On turning to the minutes for 1784, at the close of our revolutionary struggle, we find that the total number in the communion of the Church was 14,988. At that time there were about 3,000,000 of inhabitants in these United States. This gives one member of our Church for every 200 of the inhabi. tants. The present number of Methodists, including the preachers, is 622,171. Allowing that there are 14,000,000 of inhabitants, which is the probable amount of population, it will give one Methodist for at least every 23 members of the American family. This certainly is matter of congratulation to the friends of the Redeemer's kingdom.
We have no data on which to found a calculation respecting the number of other religious denominations at the time of our national independence; but it is highly probable that most of them were more numerous than we were, as they had been in the country for a much longer time than we had been; more especially the Congregationalists and Baptists of New England, and the Reformed Dutch and Presbyterians in other parts of the country, these being among the first settlers of the country, and therefore grew up with the growth and extension of our civil institutions. And though they have not increased in the same ratio with the Methodist Episcopal Church, yet from as accurate a calculation as we have been able to make, there are not less than 1,600,000 members of the var us denominations of Christians in these United States, independently of the Roman Catholics and Unitarians. From this it follows that not less than one ninth of the population of these United States belong to the visible Church. Moreover, when it is recolleeted that four fifths of the population are minors, and that probably more than one half of the Church members are adults, we shall find much cause to bless the adorable Author of all our mercies for what He has done, and is still doing, for the people of these United States.
Infidelity has but little cause for triumph here. Though there are, doubtless, many minds under the blighting influence of skepticism, yet the great mass of the population is decidedly Christian; for there are many, we trust the largest proportion, of those who have not attached themselves to any section of the visible Church, who are, nevertheless, firm believers in the Divine authority of the Christian religion. Let, then, the Christians of all denominations apply themselves to their peculiar work, and the life of infidelity shall be short. Let the Bible be distributed, missionaries be fired with their Master's zeal, and the Sabbath schools and tract societies be multiplied, and the glorious work shall go on, and the cause of the Redeemer every where triumph over the prostration of error and sin. But the most important question is, how many of those who thus profess faith in Christ are walking in all holy conversation and godliness ? Reader! Is it thy endeavor so to do ?