Billeder på siden


Worcester, &c.; and occasional contributions in too many parishes to be enumerated.

It ought to be understood however, that it is more desirable to have a constant stream of sınall sums, than rare contributions of large amount. The Society is far most indebted to those who aid it a little every year. It is very desirable that the number of annual subscribers should be increased. It is desirable also that Auxiliary Societies should be formed. If the ladies, or the young men, of our several parishes, would form among themselves auxiliary societies, to which they would pay but fifty cents a year, the whole annual sum thus collected would be very important. Drops added to drops, constitule the ocean. To effect this, would demand nothing but the active exertions of one or two individuals in each society.

Another mode of aiding this object, might be by annual contributions in our churches. Few of our churches are ever called upon to contribute for religious charity. But certainly, it is a very little thing to ask that Christians should once a year put in their mite to aid the extension of religion among their destitute fellow-men. It might easily be shown that no man can reasonably do less than this. Many churches have a collection at Thanksgiving for the poor; why not another at Fast for domestic missions? What might be expected to be the result?

First of all, we should become more generally interested in the cause and progress of religion, and should be sure of doing something systematically in the high duty of benevolence. Many do nothing in it, or nothing right, for want of some system.

• Then, in the next place, how easily would the sums which are needed be thus obtained. There are about one hundred parishes of a character to patronize this society for home missions.Take the rich with the poor, and their contributions could not be on an average less than $40. Add to this, annual subscriptions and auxiliary societies, which might average $10, and we have $50 from each of the hundred parishes. This will give five thousand dollars a year,

• How much good might be done with this sum! How little exertion of a few individuals in each church, would collect it! We hope that there will not be found wanting those who will do it.'


[ocr errors]

Annual Report of the New-York Unitarian Book Society. · Believing that it is of the utmost importance to the interest of virtue and the well-being of society, that our religious opinions should be free from error, since our practice is always influenced more or less by our speculative tenets and that nothing will so

[ocr errors]

effectually tend to bring to light true religion, and dispel erroneous doctrine as a free inquiry into the doctrine and meaning of the holy Scripture—and that free inquiry is provoked and aided by nothing so much as a ready access to the best books on theological subjects ;-with such impressions, a few of the members of the First Congregational Church, about two years since, joined themselves into an association under the style of the “Unitarian Book Society,” for the purpose of printing and distributing tracts, both moral, practical and doctrinal, and of collecting a library of substantial works on theological subjects. We fondly hoped in this way to do some service to the great cause of religious truth--to give to the uninformed the means of enlighten: ing themselves to furnish the inquiring with books such as may satisfy their doubts, or at least enable them to pursue their researches—and more than all, to place in the hands of those who were unable to purchase expensive works, short and cheap trea. tises on the doctrines and duties of Christianity.

During this time, many valuable tracts have been printed and disseminated. The books on our shelves, such as they are, have been in constant requisition, by which, somewhat has been accomplished, we trust, toward removing what we believe to be most unhappy corruptions of the gospel of Christ, and restoring it to its long lost simplicity; and toward mending the lives, purifying the affections, enlivening the piety and strengthening the faith of many Christians who have been asking the way to Zion. If an individual las by our efforts been brought to solemn reflection,-if one sinner has been shown the error of his ways claimed, if one anxious and conscientious mind has been set at rest,--we shall not think that our labour has been in vain.

With the Annual Report, the committee present to the subscribers catalogues of the library, and of the tracts for sale. We have reason, so far, to be well pleased with the success of our undertaking. Books have been presented, and deposited, and donations sent in with a very commendable liberality. We gladly take occasion publickly to make acknowledgment to those who have lent us their countenance and aid. Much however remains to be done. Our funds are small, and by no means such as to allow of so rapid an increase of our volumes and tracts as we could wish. Many book are exceedingly desirable, almost es. sential, which we are unable to purchase, and many tracts are wanted which we cannot afford to republish. We hope, therefore, that those who have helped us hitherto will not withdraw their support, and that others will be induced to join our society, that we may enter upon this year with a prospect of promoting more to our satisfaction the objects of its institution.

and re

[ocr errors]

•We will only add, that it is by no means our intention to confine our selection of books to those on theological subjects, much less to those that are merely controversial in their character. We are also desirous of possessing standand works in general lierature, history, sciences, &c. Nor is it our intention or wish to restrict the use of our volumes, or the privilege of subscription to the members of our church. We would have it considered as open to all of every denomination who many wish to avail themselves of its advantages.'

[ocr errors]

American Bible Society.-- The American Bible Society, have Jately erected a building for the use of the Society, in Nassaustreet, in the city of New York – The front of the building is fifty-five feet upon Nassau-street, and extends back thirty feet, when it is contracted to the breadth of thirty feet, and runs that width to Theatre alley seventy feet, making the whole depth from front to rear one hundred feet. In the basement are rooms for the aqsoinmodation of the keeper and his familya large cellar, and rooms for fuel for the various occupants of the building. On the first floor of the front part of the house is one large room for the use of the agent, and two smaller ones for the secretaries and committees. The rest of this floor is devoted to the general purposes of a depositary for the books issued by the Society, and will hold nearly sixty thousand bibles and testaments. On the second story in front is the room appropriated to the use of the managers. This occupies the entire front of the house, and is fifty by thirty feet, including the walls, and sixteen feet in height, and is neatly but not splendidly finished. The rear is divided into two rooms for the use of the binder, as is the corresponding l'oom on the third story ; the front of both being taken up by the managers room. The third story of the front, and fourth of the rear, are occupied by the printer. There are twelve presses in the oflice, six of which are devoted to the Society's service, and as many more are to be employed as they may require.

The foundation of this building has been laid and the edifice completed, since the last spring; and though the cost of the house and the ground has exceeded 20,000 dollars, no part of the amount is to be taken from the ordinary funds of the Society. A considerable portion of the money has been raised by subscription, and principally from individuals in this city. The residue has been raised by a loan; and we hope we are not too sanguine when we express our expectation that it will be repaid by further contributions from the liberal and benevolent, who regard the objects as wortby the patronage and support of a christian community.

The completion of this house is a very interesting event in the history of the American Bible Society. All the business of the Institution, which is to be transacted under the immediate direction of the managers at home, will henceforward be carried on in the building. Here ihe agent and other executive officers of the Society will be furnished with rooms for their respective accommodation; and here a large number of mechanics will find employment in the Society's service.”-N. Y. Daily Advertiser.

Religious Notions of the Indian Nations on the Missouri-- From

Long's Expedition to the Rocky Mountains. Konzas.--They bear sickness and pain with great fortitude, seldom uttering a complaint; by-standers sympathize with them and try every means to relieve them. Insanity is unknown; the blind are taken care of by their friends and the nation generaily, and are well dressed and fed. Drunkenness is rare, and is much ridiculed; a drunken man is said to be berest of his reason and is avoided. As to the origin of the nation, their belief is, that the Master of life formed a man, and placed him on the earth; he was solitary and cried to the master of life for a companion, who sent him down a woman; from the union of these two proceeded a son and a daughter, who where married and built themselves a lodge distinct from that of their parents; all the nations proceeded from them excepting the whites, whose origin they pretend not to know. When a man is killed in battle the Thunder is supposed to take him up they do not know where. lu going to battle each man traces an imaginary figure of the thunder on the soil, and he who represents it incorrectly is killed by the thunder. A person saw this thunder one day on the ground, with a beautiful mockasin on each side of it; having much need of a pair, he took them and went his way; but on his return by the same spot the thunder took him off, and he has not been since heard of. They seem to have vague notions of a future state. They think that a brave warrior, or good hunter, will walk in a good path; but a bad map or coward will find a bad path. Thinking the deceased has far to travel they bury with his body, mockasins, some articles of food, &c. to support him on the journey. Many persons they believe, have become reanimated, who had been, during their apparent death, in strange villages ; but as the inbabitants used them ill they returned. They say they have never seen the Master of life, and therefore cannot pretend to personify him; but they have often heard him speak in the thunder; they wear often a shell, which is in honour or in representation of him, but they do not pretend that it resembles him, or has any thing in common with his form, organization or dimensions.-p. 125-126.

The Missouri Indians believe earthquakes to be the effect of supernatural agency, connected, like the thunder, with




the immediate operations of the Master of life. The earthquakes which in the year 1811, almost destroyed the town of New-Madrid of the Mississippi, were very sensibly felt on the upper portion of the Missouri country, and occasioned much superstitious dread amongst the Indians. During that period a citizen of the United States resided in the village of the Otoes, trading for the produce of their hunts. One day he was surprized by a visit of a number of Otoes in anger. They said that a Frenchman, who was also trading in the village, had informed them, that the Big knives had killed a son of the Master of life; that they had seen him riding on a white horse in a forest country, and being of a sanguinary disposition they had waylaid and shot him. And it was certainly owing to this act that the earth was now trembJing before the anger of the great Wahconda. They believed the story implicitly, and it was with no little difficulty that the trader divested his own nation of the singular crimination.-p. 272.

Omawhaws. This people believe firmly in an existence after death; but they do not appear to have any definite notions, as to the state in which they shall then be. And although they say that many re-appear after death, to their relatives, yet such visitants communicate no information respecting futurity. They consist of those only who have been killed either in battle with the enemy, or in quarrels with individuals of their own nation, and their errand is to solicit vengeance on the perpetrators of the deed.

Futurity has no terrors to the dying Omawhaw, as he has no idea of actual punishment, beyond his present state of existence. He, however, regrets the parting from his family and friends, and sometimes expresses his fears that the former will be impoverished, when his exertions for their support, shall be withdrawn.

The Wabconda is believed to be the greatest and best of beings, the creator and preserver of all things, and the fountain of mystic medicine. Omniscience, omnipresence and vast power are attributed to him, and he is supposed to afflict them with sickness, poverty, or misfortune for their evil deeds. In conversation be is frequently appealed to as an evidence of the truth of their asseverations, in the words Wahconda-wa-nah-kong, “the Wahconda hears what I say,' and they sometimes add Mun-ekuhwa-nah-kong, the earth hears what I say.' Whatever may be the notions of other Indian nations, we did not learn that the Omawhaws, have any distinct ideas of the existence of the devil; or at least, we always experienced much difficulty and delay, when obtaining vocabularies of this and some other langu ages, in ascertaining corresponding words for Devil and Hell; the Indians would consult together, and, in one instance, the interpreter told us they were coining a word.

They say that after death, those who have conducted them

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »