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in giving such power and influence into the hands of Britain !
Besides all this, our's is the language of that wonderful and enterprising people, spread over the Union of States in America. And their influence in all countries is surpassed only by that of their progenitors. Christian Missionaries from both countries are preaching the Gospel and carrying the English Bible among all the nations; and every thoughtful person sees in all these things, plain indications of the gracious design of God to our world, by means of the Holy Scriptures and by the English language.
PROSPECTS FROM THE NUMBER OF TRANSLATIONS
OF THE SCRIPTURES.
DIVINE Providence is seen remarkably in the early translations of the Holy Scriptures; as the Old Testament into the Greek, preparatory to the development of Christianity in the writing of the New Testament. The same heavenly direction was manifested in the early labours of good men, translating them both into Latin, the language of Rome, then the mistress of the world. These were followed, in the second and third centuries, by numerous other translations in the same language, and by the Syriac version ; in the fourth century, by the Ethiopic, Coptic, and Gothic versions; and by others, partially at least, in several succeeding centuries, manifesting at once the goodness of God and his gracious design to the nations. Christian zeal was not quite extinct even in the dark ages : and there arose several lights in the world amid the general gloom ; by which a French version was made in the twelfth century; an English one in the fourteenth, and, in the fifteenth, an Italian version and one in Spanish ; all indicating that, with the invention of printing, God was graciously designing to bring about a glorious revival, and a reformation in religion.
Luther led the way to a numerous series of new translations of the Scriptures—at once the cause and the means of the Protestant Reformation ; further developing the merciful purposes of heaven, and proving the duty devolving on our modern evangelical missions.
Benevolence unites with necessity in prompting our missionaries to undertake the work of translating the Scriptures. This is indispensable for the edification of those for whom they labour in the gospel; and this great service has now been rendered, completely or in part, for almost all the principal nations ; so that into one hundred and fifty languages translations have been made of the entire Bible or parts of the Holy Scriptures.
It is to be observed that these inestimable labours have not been the enterprises of mighty monarchs ; nor the undertakings of powerful governments; nor yet the work of wealthy collegiate corporations of the learned. They have been the doings of holy, humble, self-denying men, the servants of God, in their devotion to the cause of the Redeemer. And these noble triumphs of Christianity—these splendid achievements of faith in the Saviour, have been illustrations of the economy of Divine grace, to stain the pride of human excellency,—that all the glory may be seen to belong not to the great and noble of the earth, but entirely to the Lord our God, of whom He has ordered it to be written, that His cause shall prosper—“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD!”
PROSPECTS FROM THE ASSURED BLESSING OF GOD.
BISHOP HORNE has beautifully said, in his “ Commentary on the Psalms"_“In every undertaking the blessing of God must accompany the labours of man, to render them effectual. No work can prosper without Him, nor can any design miscarry under His favour and protection.”
On ordinary labours, the Christian may seek the Divine blessing, to crown them with success, but how much more may he expect that blessing on all his works which are undertaken with a view to the honour and glory of God! Every reflecting person acknowledges that without Him nothing prospers ; that.“ nothing is strong, nothing is holy, nothing is wise.” But the Bible Society is His own cause ; and in its past labours, it has most conspicuously prospered under the blessing of God. And as it is the most simple, unsectarian, and unselfish of all our religious institutions, we may rest confident that God will yet command upon it His effectual benediction.
Assured that the Bible is especially the Book of God, designed for all nations of mankind, the friends
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of the Society rest upon His faithful word of promise for His new covenant blessing. Himself has sworn to His people, “ The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” He appeals to the processes of nature for an illustration of the manner and certainty of His blessing; and declares, “ For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” He has also solemnly declared to Messiah, “ As for Me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever!”
These, among others of the “exceeding great and precious promises ” of our God and Father, are, “all yea and Amen in Christ Jesus," inspiring our utmost confidence; and such is the glorious ground of hope for the blessing of God on their labours, to the friends of the British and Foreign Bible Society.