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The reasons assigned by the Bible late war, excited the admiration of the Society of Massachusetts for declin- British and Foreign Bible Society, and ing to receive the Bibles and Testa- perhaps had some influence in the folments redeemed by their liberality, lowing instance. could not fail to insure the acquiesc.
Soon after the arrival and imprisonence of our Committee, and whilst we ment of the crew of the late U.S. cordially concur in the propriety of Brig. Siren at Cape Town, Cape of their determination, we are no less Good Hope, the Rev. George Thom, sensible of the delicacy with which it "Scot's minister and a missionary has been communicated.
from the London Missionary Society," Whilst we rejoice with our brethren applied to the admiral for leave to fur. in America, at the increasing interest nish them with Bibles, and if agreeaoxcited there, for diffusing the knowl- þle, occasionally to preach to them, edge of our Redeemer's kingdom, by but was refused. the circulation of the holy scriptures,
Sometime afterwards however, ap. you will no less rejoice with us, at plication being made by the prisoners the efforts displayed all over the world themselves, the desired permission for the attainment of the same object. was granted, and they were immediThe extent in which the principle of ately supplied with a variety of useful our institution has been adopted, fur. Tracts, and each one with a Bible or nishes a most gratifying proof of the Testament; and subsequently by the veneration in which the holy scrip- assistance of soine liberal friend, Mr. tures are held; and whilst it calls Thom succeeded in establishing a valforth our admiration and devout grat. uable little library among them, subitude, suggests the duty of fervent ject to certain regulations while they prayer, that the light thus communi. should continue together, and to be eated to the eyes of men, may shine equitably distributed among them into their hearts.
when they should be separated. In constant dependence on Almigh- Nor was the liberality of this active ty God for the continuance of that and truly benevolent man limited to favor which has so signally prospered the supplying of books merely, but sev, the proceedings of the Bible Societies eral articles of small stores, conducing so extensively established, it only re- much to their comfort, were at differmains to excite and emulate each oth. ent times supplied. er in the discharge of that duty, to The gratification and improvement which we have devoted ourselves, and
which these men seemed to derive which has the glory of God for its ob- from perusing their books, and the ject, and the salvation of mankind for order and attention observed by its end.
them, during the time of his profesI have the honor to be, Sir, your sional and very friendly addresses to most obedient humble servant.
them, afforded their benefactor, and TEIGNMOUTH others, the highest satisfaction, and Pres. of the B. & F. B. Soc. caused him to part with them with W. PAILLIPS Esq.
regret. Pres. Mass, Bible Soc.
But the value of this attention and
kindness to prisoners in a distant land, LETTER FROM MR. WM. SWIFT.* perhaps cannot be duly appreciated New York, 230 Nov. 1815.
but by prisoners themselves, or those
who have been such. It affected me My dear Sir, The conduct of the Massachusetts
in a manner that I shall not soon for.
Your friend &c. &c. Bible Society, in compensating for a get. quantity of Bibles, captured and sold
J. BAKER, Esq. WM. SWIFT. by one of our privateers during the
Perhaps the writer of this agreeable letter was an oficer, but we have not been informed, ED.
LINES COMPOSED ON HEARING THE NEWS OF PEACE
Want joyful sounds are those, that greet mine ear?
And where our songs of praise shall never cease.
Massachusetts Peace Society.
This society is formed in Sermon by Rev. Otis Thompson of Re-
Obituary. 1816, to be attended at Chauncey Place Died Oct. 22, 1815, at Royston in immediately after the public lecture. England, Rev. §. Cary, one of the minWe hope to give the Constitution of isters of Kings hapel in Boston. the Society in our next Number.
He was born at Newbury Port, Nov. “The kingdom of heaven is like unto 1785, was ordained in Boston, Jan. 1, leaven which a woman took and hid
1809. in three ineasures of meal till the
Dec. 1, at Williamstown, (Mass) whole was leavened."
... Rev. Walter King, in the 58th year of
Candidates for the ministry in Cambridge and its vicinity.
Mr. Hiram Weston, Duxbury:
Mr. Samuel Clarke, Cambridge,
Mr. Henry Ware, jun. do.
Mr. Rufus Hurlbut, dos
it may appear, that such a comThat the people of the pres. plaint was made among the Isant age are less pure iu princi- raelites in the days of Solomon ple and practice than their an. "Say not thou, What is the cause cestors, is a common complaint. that the former days were better The amiable Cowper, in his than these for thou dost not inPoems, has many things import- quire wisely concerning this." ing an awful degeneracy in Great Eccles. vii. 10. A similar deBritain. Similar complaints are feet of wisdom may be suspect frequent in this country, and ed relating to the inquiries and they are heard both from the opinions of men in the present pulpit and the press. By some age. things which are heard and That there is much error and read, one would be led to im. vice prerailing at the present agine that Christians of the time will not be denied. Nor present age-when compared shall we deny that there has with former generations are ever been such a thing among little short of infidels and bar- any people as a growth of dea barians.
generacy from one goneration to Still, however, it is possible another, But suspecting that that these complaints are in a there are misapprehensions regreat measure groundless, and lating to this subject, which have that there is a gross deception a pernicious influence, we shall in suck estimates. Similar com. state some of the probable sour. plaints have probably been com- ces of mistake-propose a stand. ion in every age and in every ard for deciding the question country, and may be traced back and then examine the matter in through the line of our progen. view of historical fuets. itors to the age in which they Let it however be understood, were all Pagans.
that it is not the object of this In the book of Ecclesiastes inquiry, to cast reproach on our we find a passage from which ancestors, but to illustrate the No, 2. Vol. IV.
merey of God to their posterity, therefore exposed to form our and to encourage benevolent ex- estimate of a whole generation ertions for the moral improve. of ancestors from the characters ment of society.
of a small number of eminent
or popular men. Probable sources of misappréhen
however were fathers to but a sion. First. It has probably been small part of the present gener. the fashion in every age for
ation. How many claim the children to eulogize their ances
honor of having descended from tors, and to ascribe to them a
pious ancestors, who would find greater share of virtue than they by pointing out a single person
it difficult to support'their claim ever possessed. By following eminent for piety in the line of this fashion, people have been led to imagine, that there has
their progenitors, since the man been a gradual declension and boast of pious ancestry on no
the ark? degenerues from age to age for better ground than this--their many centuries, if not from the days of Adam. Indeed if we
ancestors happened to live in the might give full credit to the eu. neighborhood of some pious men! logies of ancestors and the com
Third. Biographical accounts
of plaints of degeneracy, which
men, wbo were eminent and have been made in past ages, and popular with their own seet or in the present age, it would be party, have too commonly been natural to suppose that by tracing such prepossession as naturally
written under the influence of baek our pedigree fifteen centu- led their biographers to conceal ries we should arrive to a race
their defects and to overrate of men as pure as the angels of their virtues. Hence it is reaheaven. But on opening the pages of history, we find abune in many instances but an imper
sonable to suppose, that we have dant evidence that our ancestors
feet view of the character even were men of like passions” with ourselves, and that there was
of good men of former
and a great diversity of character that those whom we have been among them in every age, as well taught to venerate, as models of as among our cotemporaries. purity and excellence, were less Some of them were doubtless perfect than has been generally eminently good, and many of imagined. This
This opinion will them eminently wieked and irre. perhaps be supported when we ligious.
shall come to an examination of Second. The characters of
historical facts. but a small part
Fourth. In making a of our ancestors have come down to us, and those parison between the people of of whom we have the most in- thers, we are apt to include the
our own time and their forefa. formation, are those who were the most eminent for virtue, or
virtuous of several past genera• the most popular men of the age scale together, against the virtu
tjons, and place them all in the in which they lived. We are
ons of the present age. Not on. deception in the estimates which ly so, while we take into one have been made, in comparing scale the vices as well as the men of the present generation virtues of the present age, we in with their ancestors. Had i here a great measure exclude from the been in Egypt a thousand cotem. other the vices of former genera. poraries equal to Joseph, less tions.
would probably have been said Fifth. The present amount of the whole, than has been said. of population, either in Great of him. Britaiu or in the United States, Eighth. It has not perhaps is much greater than it was in been duly considered, that the former ages, and consequently standard of eminence in knowl. there may be now a greater num- edge and virtue has been varying ber of openly vicious and irrelig. by the progress of light. Snce ious characters than there was in the first settlement of our coun. earlier times, and still the moral try a remarkable change has tastate of society may have been ken place in regard to the advaygreatly improved the number of tages of education and the means virtuous persons, compared with of knowledge. Customs, opinthe whole population, may jow ions, and babits of thinking, have be really greater than it was at consequently been changed. A any former period.
man, who had his education Sixth. Some errors and vices 150 or even 100 years ago, might may be more prevalent now than indeed be eminent, compared with they were a century ago, and bis coteirporaries; yet a man, still the general amount of er- possessing an equal share of ror and vice may be comparative knowledge and virtue in our day, ly less—that is, less in propor. would per haps not be at all distion to the population. For ertinguished or celebrated. Let ror and vice have their fashions any one read the history of Mas. as well as dress, and some vices sachusetts, and reflect on the con. may have been in a measure aban- duct of the magistrates and the doned to give place to others. ministers of religion, in their per
Seventh. The scarcity of any secution of the Quakers, and their important article enhances its hanging people for supposed value and its fame. When such witchcraft, and he will deplore is the state of society that there the ignorance, the folly, and the are but a few men of improved fanaticism of former ages He understandings and virtuous "dis- · will also find reason to adore the positions, these few will natural. distinguishing goodness of God to ly acquire a greater share of no- the people of this age, in granttice and celebrity, than the same ing us a more improved state of persons would obtain if surround. society, and freedom from those ed with a great number of equals dreadful delusions, to which the or superiors. The scarcity of first characters in the state were men in past ages, who were em- formerly subjected. inent both for knowledge and vir. Ninth. In past ages, as well as tge, may have been one cause of the present, the pagan virtues of