Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I sold and gave away 250 Finnish Common Prayer Books

In the middle of Sept. 1828, two of my pious neighbors called on me. Our conversation was chiefly respecting an excellent young man and his wife, who wished to visit an island in the gulf of Finland, named Hogland. It contains about 600 inhabitants, but without a resident pastor or apothecary. The young man had been a theological student in a celebrated university, and his wife was the daughter of a physician, and possessed a good knowledge of medicine.

On the 29th of September — memorable day! — I was packing one of their boxes with medicine, apparel, tracts, and Bibles, when a poor woman from the suburbs called at my house, and the following conversation took place: "Can you read?" "Yes, I can read Finnish." I then put a Finnish Bible into her hands, which she appeared to read fluently. "Have you ever possessed a Bible?" "No, never." "Should you like to buy one?" "Oh yes, I should like it, but I have not money enough." "How much money have you?" "Alas! I have only one ruble." "Well, good woman, you shall have it for a ruble: take it." At this intelligence her eyes sparkled with joy. As she was going away, I requested her to publish it among her neighbors, and to inform them that they might also have a Bible for a ruble. She went immediately to the hay-market, which is the great resort of her countrymen, and there she gave publicity to the glad tidings she had heard, and as a proof of its certainty she exhibited the book. The effect was wonderful! The inteligence flew to all the surrounding villages, and, in the space of six weeks, we sold eight hundred Finnish Bibles.

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