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kind, are powerful calls upon us to make more general use of such means as may be proper for conveying religious information. It is also thought, that many serious persons are prepared to give our writings a candid perusal, and that the present is a favourable time for us to use endeavours, in this way, to increase the knowledge of the spiritual and peaceable kingdom of the Messiah.
Whilst other professors of the Christian faith are attempting, through the medium of the press, to diffuse their religious opinions, and some of them have, through the Divine blessing, been instrumental of good, inactivity, in this respect, on the part of the members of our Society, would indicate a degree of indifference to the value and importance of their religious principles, with which they would be unwilling to be charged.'
A number of Tracts also, bearing more exclusively on the religious tenets of Friends, have been issued from more than one country press. Besides these Tract Associations, there is, moreover, a Scripture Lesson Fund,” the object of which is so admirable, that it deserves to be more generally known. We shall transcribe an Appeal to Friends' on behalf of this Fund, without date, but circulated during the last year; as it contains much interesting information.
• The Plans for the education of the Children of the Poor in a cheap and effectual manner, which first originated in this country from Joseph LANCASTER, having gradually extended since the year 1808, to all the four quarters of the world, and being now adopted in most of the nations of Europe, many thousands of children who would probably otherwise have grown up in ignorance, have received or are now receiving instruction : this affords an opportunity which should not be lost for fixing the great principles of Christianity, the foundation of all pure morality, in the infant mind, by a selection of texts from the Holy Scriptures, without note or comment. Lessons for this purpose have been prepared, which are divided into three parts, and contain a connected selection from the Bible, under the following heads ;-Ist. Historical lessons, selected from the Old Testament. 2nd. On our duty towards God and man, selected from the Old and New Testament. 3rd. Selections from the four Gospels, and from the Acts of the Apostles. It is proposed that this Selection should form the common reading lessons in all these Schools in whatever nation they may bc established.
The Emperor of Russia in the winter of 1819, encouraged the making of the present sélection, ordered it to be printed at his own expense, and to be used in all the Schools in his extensive dominions. The third part, or selections from the New Testament, is already printed in the common Russ upon large sheets, which are pasted on boards and suspended round the walls of the School-rooms: there is also an edition of the whole, in 8vo.; and as the Old Testament was not translated into common Russ, the Emperor ordered those parts of it which enter into these lessons to be immediately translated. It was estimated that more than twenty millions of persons in that empire had never heard a line of the Holy Scriptures, in a language chat they could understand ; the Christian feeling and paternal care of the Emperor will provide for the wants of these millions, but other nations will require the assistance of Great Britain to begin this great and good work.
• In several nations where Schools upon the British system are established, not one thousandth part of the population have ever read the Sacred Scriptures :--this was the case in Russia ; this is the case in Greece and the Ionian Islands, and pretty much so in Sicily, Italy, Sardinia, Spain, Portugal, and many other countries; but as the printing of an edition of these Scripture lessons is attended with a considerable expense, and moreover as other lessons far less useful may be adopted if these are not supplied, the Committee of the British and Foreign School Society are raising a subscription which is to be kept entirely separate from its general fund, and to be applied only in printing editions of these Scripture lessons in foreign languages, not only on large sheets to be pasted on boards and hung against the wall as School lessons, but also in an octavo pamphlet. It is intended that these lessons should be sold as far as it is practicable, and the proceeds employed to print other editions. An edition of the third part, or selections from the New Testament, has been printed in Italian, not only in octavo, but also on large sheets for the use of Schools, and copies have already been sent to Malta, Naples, Rome, Florence, Leghorn, Milan, Turin, &c. Application has been made from South America, where Schools upon the British system are about to be established, for assistance in printing Reading lessons, and accordingly it is intended to print an edition of these Scripture lessons in Spanish; the want is so pressing that although the funds have not yet been subscribed, the Committee have concluded to proceed without delay, not doubting but that they shall receive timely assistance.
Stephen GRELLET and WILLIAM ALLEN, in travelling through Greece, observed with sorrow that the great mass of the people in the different islands, though professing the Christian religion, were as ignorant of the contents of the Holy Scriptures as the Turks themselves ; but they appeared a fine race of people, and likely to do credit to any care that might be bestowed upon them: they received some copies of the New Testament in modern Greek, and some Greek Tracts with avidity; and in the island of Tinos, said to contain 80,000 inhabitants, after the travellers had parted with all they could spare, and were sailing away, a small vessel put off and followed them in hopes of getting some more. During their stay at Scio, they visited an establishment for the education of youth, chiefly of the higher class, containing 600 pupils, at the head of which is the benevolent Professor Bambass, but it did not appear that the Scriptures were used in the School; they exhibited to him the third part of the selection which they had cut out of a Greek Testament; he read it with interest, and said that he should greatly rejoice to see it adopted in their Schools. The Metropolitan of the Greek church in this island, to whom the selection was also shewn, expressed his entire
satisfaction with it, and said he thought the accomplishment of such an object would be a blessing to his country. It is proposed, as soon as the funds will allow of it, to print an edition of these lessons in the modern Greek; and this is the more necessary, as some of our countrymen who are endeavouring to revive learning in Greece, have principally directed their attention to the higher branches. STEPHEN GRELLET and William Allen, on visiting the few existing Schools, universally found the classical writings of the Greeks, but in no one instance did they meet with a Bible or Testament in any of the Schools. As however the plan of the British and Foreign School Society is about to be introduced, it is of the utmost importance to be able to provide a set of Scripture lessons with as little loss of time as possible. In Italy also, where Schools for the Poor are rapidly spreading, and where hitherto the Scriptures have not been used, this selection was fully approved, the conductors of the Schools expressed an anxious desire to obtain such a work, but stated that various difficulties would prevent its being printed in Italy.
Such an opportunity as is now afforded for spreading a knowledge of the Great Truths contained in the Holy Scriptures, and of exciting a desire among the nations who have sat in darkness, to possess the whole Bible, has perhaps never before occurred in the annals of the world. The education of the Poor is proceeding in an unprecedented manner, and its progress should be every where accompanied by the inculcation of those Great Truths which, if universally acknowledged and acted upon, would introduce the glorious times foretold by prophecy, “ when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ." ;
On the subject of Quaker tenets, it is not our intention to offer
any further remarks; but we have felt it due to those estimable Members of the Society for Friends, who are thus actively bestirring themselves for the promotion of religious knowledge among their own body and of the general cause of Education, to sbew that there is such a thing as Quaker zeal as well as Quaker orthodoxy; by which we mean, that genuine benevolence which is inseparable from true piety.
Art. IX. Martha : a Memorial of an only and Beloved Sister. By
Andrew Reed, Author of “ No Fiction.” 2 vols. small 8vo. Price
terms of qualified commendation, having strong objections to the class of works with which it ranks as a sort of religious novel, and not deeming the execution wholly unexceptionable It has obtained, however, a surprising popularity, and has, we would fain hope, been useful in many quarters. We objected at the time to the title, and our remark might then appear hypercritical, but it turns out to have been of some importance. A narrative which is only founded upon fact, as that professed to be, and which indeed, judging from internal evidence, we concluded it to be, could not with any propriety be termed no fiction. All fictions are founded upon facts, but upon facts more or less disguised and arbitrarily arranged to suit the design of the poet or the moralist. Taking No Fiction,” therefore, for a biographical novel, we remarked that the title was a misnomer. Unhappily, the work proves to be too true for a fiction, too fictitious for truth; and its pretensions to authenticity have afforded a handle to a personal attack upon the Author on the part of the supposed Lefevre, which, if not altogether unprovoked, displays a rancour and a malignity which nothing can justify. We cannot assuredly make ourselves parties to this quarrel : it comes more properly within the jurisdiction of a civil court, than within our province as Reviewers. Had Mr. Barnett's object been redress or the vindication of his own character, unobjectionable modes of proceeding were open to him. But we cannot conceal our suspicions, that he has been stimulated to the ill advised line of conduct he has adopted, by those whose virulent hostility has not even the poor justification of revenge, and is directed less against the person of Mr. Reed, than the religion of which he is the minister. Mr. Barnett admits, that when his friends asked him about the work, he certainly did furnish a key to some of the characters. This has satisfied us that he was not at that time acting under the influence of his present advisers; nor could he have been guilty of such extreme indiscretion, had he then entertained the sense of injury which he now affects. He admits, that Mr. Reed cautioned him not to acknowledge the application of the work to himself. This proves that Mr. R. was anxious to prevent its being so applied. All the circumstances of the case are not before the public, for the provocation which has led Mr. Barnett to publish his “ Memoirs," was evidently given or taken subsequently to Michaelmas last : during the three preceding years, he is said to have spoken of “ No Fiction" with commendation and complacency; and he does not deny it. Now nothing short of extreme provocation under a sense of intentional injury, could be admitted for a moment as an extenuation of the libellous disclosures (even supposing they were true) contained in Mr. Barnett's Memoirs. But we do not find him even insinuating an imputation against Mr. Reed of an intention to injure him; and the publication of “ No Fiction" in 1819, could not form the real reason of Mr. Barnett's anger and vindictive conduct in 1823. The length of time which has elapsed, precludes our regarding Mr. Barnett's appeal to the public as dictated by the honest warmth of an injured man, or of one who thought himself injured. The pretence is, that Mr. Reed refused to write something which Mr. Barnett wished him to write, exculpating him from the charges brought in the novel against the fictitious Lefevre. What Mr. Reed refused to do, or what were his motives in refusing, we know not; he may have acted imprudently, or even unkindly in this instance, although it would be the height of injustice to conclude so much from an ex-parte statement. But to us it is wholly inexplicable, that such an application should have been first made in 1822. A prosecution for libel would be vitiated by a similar delay on the part of the prosecutor in applying for redress. It seems strange, that during three years, Mr. Barnett should not have found out; when he was furnishing his friends with the key to No Fiction, that such a disclaimer on the part of Mr. Reed was rendered necessary by his own indiscretion. Had Mr. Barnett thought it possible that his character could suffer from its supposed identification with a fictitious person in an anonymous novel, he ought instantly to have demanded, not that Mr. Reed should write something to exculpate him from the charge of felony, but that the work should be suppressed. Nothing short of this would have contented an innocent and high-minded man, who felt his reputation attacked. Had Mr. Reed proposed to write something to the effect of saying, ' Mr. Barnett did not commit · felony, it would have amounted in our opinion to a cruel insult. How sunk must be the character of an individual which could stand in need of the impotent justification, he never committed felony! Could it then be necessary—if necessary, could it be sufficient-to protect the character of Mr. Barnett? We repeat, that he ought to have demanded the suppression of the work, and that in 1819, had he felt that there was any danger of his being suspected of the crimes imputed to Lefevre.
We cannot, then, but consider Mr. Reed's refusal, whether prudent and justifiable or not, as the mere pretence for Mr. Barnett's vindictive proceedings. There seems to us to have been a wish to make up by some means a legal case in 1823, for the publication of No Fiction in 1819, or to obtain matter for an indictment on some fresh ground. We do not impute this wish primarily to Mr. Barnett. We suspect that he is not even the author, certainly not the unassisted author of the publications sold for his benefit. We say this with no unkindly feelings towards him, for it is impossible that he can gain any reputation from those productions. But we believe that he has fallen into the hands of false friends, who have