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nations were comparatively but ill supplied, and that many more were entirely destitute. The moment, however, for combined exertion had come; this has continued ever since, even with growing energy; and it is now assuredly more than time for the contributors to observe the result. Notwithstanding all that had been printed and sold for more than two centuries and a half; the number of English Bibles and New Testaments separately, which have passed through the press, within the perfect recollection of many now living, has exceeded the number of souls in Britain ' It has been more than double the population in 1801 ! Should we suppose the printing-press to have been employed incessantly every lawful day, or three hundred and thirteen days in the year, and for ten hours daily, throughout the four seasons of all these years; then has it been moving, on an average, at the rate of more than three copies of the Sacred Volume, whether of the Bible, or New Testament separately, every minute ; or five hundred and sixty-three thousand four hundred annually But the speed at first, or for several years, was slow, when compared with that which followed. For some time past, it has nearly doubled, so that in the space of twelve months the press has sent forth more than a million of copies; or say above nineteen thousand every week, above three thousand every day, three hundred every hour, or five every minute of working time ! At this rate there has been producing equal to an entire volume, and such a volume, in less than twelve seconds ! To the minds of many in recent years, velocity or speed, in various forms, has proved a subject of ardent study and delight, but here is one form, which, when viewed in its ultimate moral consequences, will not admit of any rival competitor. Yet compared with its importance, it has been but little regarded ; and never yet, as it ought to have been, in connexion with the state of other nations. Before thousands, or rather millions of our countrymen, the process, from day to day, has “Mov’d on unheeded, as the bird That cleaves the yielding air unheard,

And yet must prove, when understood,
The harbinger of endless good.”

To a certainty, however, it had never entered into the imagination of a single individual, that more copies of the Scrip

PREFACE. ix

tures would be demanded in the English tongue alone, than in that of all other nations put together And, more especially, as the number of versions now called for, and as contemplated by Britain, is above one hundred and fifty . At the outset, had any individual suggested the propriety of printing twenty millions of English Bibles and Testaments, what would every other man have thought or said : The proposal would have been fatal to the design. The general result which so many have concurred in producing, was foreseen by no one. Thus it is, that, by the agency of man, the intentions of Providence are wrought out, in the guidance of a nation, or the government of the world. In all our movements, or combinations, His hand and power appear at last, conspicuously; and if any seek for evidence, that, with all our supposed shrewdness, we are still a governed race, he may find it here. Like some of those great operations in mature, which proceed unnoticed, amidst all the turmoil of this ever shifting scene, this work has gone on, and arrived at a height, which in the light of an event, is sufficient to arrest the attention of every intelligent mind, exciting, as it ought, to deeper inquiry and reflection. But if the English Bible be so distinguished for the number of its copies, it is equally, or rather more so, by the eatent to which it is now being read. With the movement of the press, we have another movement, not less worthy of notice, and one which renders the subject doubly interesting, or rather momentous. It is about nineteen years ago, since it was remarked by an acute living writer, Mr. Douglas—“The world has not witnessed an emigration like that taking place, from this kingdom to America, so extensive in its range, so immeasurable in its consequences, since the dispersion of mankind.” He compared it to the principle of attraction in the material world—“an influence which like that of Nature, was universal without pause or relaxation; and hordes of emigrants were continually swarming off, as ceaseless in their passage, and crowded, and unreturning as the passengers to eternity.” Since then, however, and especially with every returning spring, has come as certainly the season of migration; and from many seaports, our countrymen have been sailing far and wide as the winds and waves could carry them. In short, with the exception of the most remarkable of all people, the Jews, the English-speaking population has become the most widely diffused of any branch of the family of man; and for years past this one kingdom has been in the act of colonizing America, Africa, and Asia, nay, and Australia, or New Holland, New Zealand, and the bosom of the Pacific. A vast improvement also has taken place, in the character of this emigration, rising, as it now does, to the more reputable classes, and the higher ranks in British society, including many a benevolent, humane, and Christian mind. Safely may we anticipate that, at no distant day, “the wilderness and the solitary place will be glad for them;” but so far as the Scriptures in our own English are concerned, we have not to wait for an event, which has already taken place. Emigration from one's native land, in almost every aspect, is a subject which, it is granted, must awaken sombre feeling, whether in those who depart never to return, or in those who remain behind; yet in rising above our “Native nook of Earth,” held so dear, there is one point of view, perhaps only one, which can soothe the mind into perfect acquiescence. “Not one hour of the twenty-four,” it has been remarked, “not one round of the minute hand of the dial is allowed to pass, in which, on some portion of the surface of the globe, the air is not filled with accents that are ours. They are heard in the ordinary transactions of life; or in the administration of law ; in the deliberations of the senate-house, or council-chamber ; in the offices of private devotion, or in the public observance of the rites and duties of a common faith.” Has such a reflection cheered on, in his toilsome path, the patient lexicographer? How much more deeply ought every one, who speaks this far-spread language, to be moved, when, in our day, he casts his eye over the Sacred Volume. Adieus and farewells at last die away in the contemplation of this great movement. The Divine hand becomes apparent, not merely in guiding so many thousands safely across the deep, and to the ends of the earth, but in the numbers who carry with them the Sacred Volume, in a language common to them all. To many, no doubt, it might seem too bold, were we at once to affirm that the English Bible is at present in the act of being perused from the rising to the setting sun. The assertion

* Richardson's English Dict. Preface.

PREFACE. xi

might appear little else than a figure of speech, or an event to be anticipated ; and yet this is no more than the half of the truth. The fact, the singular and unprecedented fact, demands deliberate reflection from every British Christian, whether at home or abroad. His Bible, at this moment, is the only version in existence on which the sun never sets. We know full well that it is actually in use on the banks of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence, as well as at Sidney, Port Philip, and Hobart Town ; but before his evening rays have left the spires of Quebec or Montreal, his morning beams have already shone for hours upon the shores of Australia and New Zealand. And if it be reading by so many of our language in Canada, while the sun is sinking on Lake Ontario; in the eastern world, where he has risen in his glory on the banks of the Ganges, to the self-same Sacred Volume, many, who are no less our countrymen, have already turned. Yet are all these but as branches from one parent stock, under whose shade this version, corrected and recorrected, has been reading by myriads for three hundred years. People talk of sublime spectacles, but what favour conferred upon any other nation is once to be compared to this? To an enlightened English mind, no consideration as to this earth can rise above it. Here, unquestionably, is the most elevated point of view in which Britain can be viewed—the only true summit of her greatness. How extraordinary that it has never been distinctly, and with leisure, contemplated, nor with due regard to its national importance Have we been so engrossed by the local, or limited and inferior distinctions among ourselves, as to slight the grand one : What, in ancient times was the pre-eminence of the Jews? Did it not consist in this, that to them were entrusted the Aoracles of God : But were these ever committed to them as they have been to us? Jehovah had not so dealt with any nation ; but had he dealt with even that nation, as he hath done with this? If Divine Revelation be regarded, in its proper light, as the voice of God, to what people in existence has he ever spoken so long, so uninterruptedly, and now, above all others, so extensively : It was said of old, that “the mighty God, even Jehovah, hath spoken, and called the earth, from the rising of the sun, to his going down ;” and is it nothing, that in our language, by way of eminence, this should have been first so singularly and literally verified : Such, at all events, is the present high and momentous position of Britain and her sons. If, from this moral elevation, we could once look down to the valley below, and, guided only by impartial history, observe the singular path by which the nation has been led up to such an eminence, we should better understand what, and how much, is involved in the history of Divine Revelation in our native tongue; to say nothing of many reflections which could never before have occurred to any mind. The following pages form an attempt to furnish the reader with such a history, from the first sheets thrown off at the press, down to the millions now dispersed and in use, whether at home or abroad. But, even here, and before we descend—before we begin, where the Almighty, in a manner so peculiar, began with this nation—if, from this summit, we now look round, is there any parallel case to be discerned —any nation upon ground so high 3 No, not one, nor by many degrees: not even Germany, with all her Bibles. Yet is there nothing on which the eye may and should rest, in the way of comparative contrast : Assuredly there is, for there is one other European language upon which the sun also never sets. It is the Spanish, and the contrast may be soon expressed. The Bible in Spain The Bible in Britain Two languages on which the sun shines with no intermission, yet, in point of supply, are they wide as the poles asunder What a contrast is presented here, whether we look to Spain herself, or to her offspring in those colonies once all her own In the history of Europe at this moment, no two facts of similar magnitude can be placed in opposition before the human mind. One is almost reminded of the sun, in comparison with a star of the smallest magnitude. Let the contrast, the indescribable contrast, at once humble and inspirit a people whom God has so distinguished. To all those, therefore, who regard the Scriptures, printed in our native tongue, to be infinitely the highest boon ever bestowed on Britain ; or to the English Christian, whether he be at home or abroad—in Britain, Ireland, or America—in India, China, Australia, or New Zealand—the providential origin of that Sacred Volume to which he daily turns his eye, cannot be a subject void of interest. Its progress to completion he will find to have involved a struggle, with which there is no other to be compared—its history since, one that bears directly and

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