« EdellinenJatka »
which those aliens to feeling—those apostates to humanity had thus divided. In such an assembly as that which I have the honor of addressing, there is not an eye but must dart reproof at this conduct; not a heart but must anticipate its condemnation. FILIAL PIETY !" It is the primal bond of society—it is that instinctive principle, which, panting for its proper good, soothes, unbidden, each sense and sensibility of man —it now quivers on every lip-it now beams from every eye! -it is an emanation of that gratitude, which softening under the sense of recollected good, is eager to own the vast countless debt it ne'er, alas! can pay, for so many long years of unceasing solicitudes, honorable self-denials, life-preserving cares !—it is that part of our practice, where duty drops its awe !-where reverence refines into love it asks no aid of memory ! it needs not the deductions of reason !--pre-existing, paramount over all, whether law, or human rule, few arguments can increase, and none can diminish it! -it is the sacrament of our nature !not only the duty but the indulgence of man—it is his first great privilege—it is amongst his last most endearing delights !
—it causes the bosom to glow with reverberated love! -it requites the visitations of nature, and returns the blessings that have been received it fires emotion into vital principle-it renders habituated instinct into a master-passion-sways all the sweetest energies of man-hangs over each' vicissitude of all that must pass away-aids the melancholy virtues in their last sad tasks of life, to cheer the langour of decrepitude and age-explores the thought-elucidates the aching eye! -and breathes sweet consolation even in the awful moment of dissolution !
A Speech delivered at Cheltenham, on the 7th Oct. 1819.
at the Fourth Anniversary of the Gloucester Missionary Society.
MR. CHAIRMAN--After the eloquence with which so many gentlemen have gratified and delighted this most
respectable assembly, and after the almost inspired address of one of them, I feel ashamed of having acceded to the wishes of the committee by proposing the resolution which I have the honor to submit. I should apologize, sir, for even the few moments intrusion which I mean to make upon this meeting, did I not feel that I had no right to consider myself as quite a stranger; did I not feel that the subject unites us all into one great social family, and gives to the merest sojourner the claim of a brother and a friend. At a time like this, perhaps, when the infidel is abroad, and the atheist and disbeliever triumph in their blasphe. my, it behoves the humblest Christian to range himself beneath the banners of his faith, and attest, even by his martyrdom, the sincerity of his allegiance. When I consider the source from whence Christianity sprung—the humility of its origin—the poverty of its disciples—the miracles of its creation—the mighty sway it has acquired, not only over the civilized world, but which your missions are hourly extending over lawless, mindless, and imbruted regions--I own the awful presence of the Godhead-nothing less than a Divinity could have done it! The powers, the prejudices, the superstition of the earth, were all in arms against it ; it had nor sword nor sceptre—its founder was in ragsits apostles were lowly fishermen—its inspired prophets, lowly and uneducated—its cradle was a manger—its home a dungeon-its earthly diadem a crown of thorns ! And yet, forth it went-that lowly, humble, persecuted spirit—and the idols of the heathen fell; and the thrones of the mighty trembled; and paganism saw her peasants and her princes kneel down and worship the unarmed conqueror! If this be not the work of the Divinity, then I yield to the reptile ambition of the athiest. I see no God above-I see no government below;
and I yield my consciousness of an immortal soul to his boasted fraternity with the worm that perishes ! But, sir, even when I thus concede to him the divine origin of our Christian faith, I arrest him upon worldly principles—I desire him to produce from all
the wisdom of the earth, so pure a system of practical morality—a code of ethics more sublime in its conception-more simple in its means-more happy and more powerful in its operation : and if he cannot do so, I then say to him, Oh! in the name of your own darling policy, filch not its guide from youth, its shield from manhood, and its crutch from age! Though the light I follow may lead me astray, still I think it is light from Heaven! The good, and great, and wise, are my companions—my delightful hope is harmless, if not holy; and wake me not to a disappointment, which in your tomb of annihilation, I shall not taste hereafter! To propagate the sacred creed—to teach the ignorant -to enrich the poor—to illumine this world with the splendors of the next-to make men happy you have never seen—and to redeem millions you can never know-you have sent your hallowed missionaries forward ; and never did an holier vision rise, than that of this celestial and glorious embassy. Methinks I see the band of willing exiles bidding farewell perhaps forever, to their native country; foregoing home, and friends and luxury—to tempt the savage sea, or men more savage than the raging element to dare the polar tempest, and the tropic fire, and often doomed by the forfeit of their lives to give their precepts a proof and an expiation. It is quite delightful to read over their reports, and see the blessed products of their labors. They leave no clime unvisited, no peril unencountered. In the South Sea Islands they found the population almost eradicated by the murder of idolatry. “It was God Almighty,” says the royal convert of Otaheite, “ who sent your mission to the remainder of my people !" I do not wish to shock
Christian ears with the cruelties from which you have redeemed these islands. Will you believe it, that they had been educated in such cannibal ferocity, as to excavate the earth, and form an oven of burning stones, into which they literally threw their living infants, and gorged their infernal appetites with the flesh! Will you believe it, that they thought murder grateful to the God of
Mercy !—and the blood of his creatures as their best libation! In nine of these islands those abominations are extinct-infanticide is abolished-their prisoners are exchanged-society is now cemented by the bond of brotherhood, and the accursed shrines that streamed with human gore, and blazed with human unction, now echo the songs of peace, and the sweet strains of piety. In India, too, where Providence for some special purpose, permits these little insular specks to hold above one hundred millions in subjection-phenomena scarcely to be paralleled in history—the spell of Brahma is dissolving the chains of Caste are falling off-the wheels of Juggernaut are scarce ensanguined -the horrid custom of self-immolation is daily disappearing-and the_sacred stream of Jordan mingles with the Ganges. Even the rude soldier, ʼmid the din of arms, and the license of the camp, “makes,"
says our missionary, "the Bible the inmate of his knapsack, and the companion of his pillow.” Such has been the success of your missions in that country, that one of your own judges has publicly avowed, that those who left India some years ago can form no just idea of what now exists there. Turn from these lands to that of Africa, a name I now can mention without horror. In sixteen of their towns and many of their Islands, we see the sun of Christianity arising, and as it rises, the whole spectral train of superstition vanishing in-air. Agriculture and civilization are busy in the desert, and the poor Hottentot kneeling at the altar, implores his God to remember not the slave trade. If any thing, sir, could add to the satisfaction that I feel, it is the consciousness that knowledge and Christianity are adadvancing, hand in hand, and that wherever I see your missionaries journeying, I see schools rising up, as it were, the landmark of their progress. And who can tell what the consequences of this may be in after ages? Who can tell whether those remote regions may not hereafter become the rivals of European improvement? Who shall place a ban upon the intellect derived from the Almighty? Who shall say that the
future poet shall not faszinate the wilds, and that the philosopher and the statesman shall not repose together beneath the shadow of their palm trees? This may be visionary, but surely, in a moral point of view, the advantages of education are not visionary. [A long and continued burst of applause followed this passage, and prevented the reporter from detailing some most excellent remarks on the advantages of the cultivation of the human mind.] These, sir—the propagation of the gospel-the advancement of science and industrythe perfection of the arts—the diffusion of knowledge -the happiness of mankind here and hereafter-these are the blessed objects of your missionaries, and comcompared with these, all human ambition sinks into the dust: the ensanguined chariot of the conqueror pauses--the sceptre falls from the imperial grasp—the blossom withers even in the patriot's garland. But deeds like these require no panegyric-in the words of that dear friend whose name can never die-[In this allusion to his lamented friend, Curran, Mr. Phillips' feeling were evidently much affected]—" They are recorded in the heart from whence they sprung, and in the hour of adverse vicissitude, if it should ever arrive, sweet will be the odor of their memory, and precious the balm of their consolation."
Before I sit down, sir, I must take the liberty of say. ing that the principal objection which I have heard raised against your institution is with me the principal motive of my admiration-I allude, sir, to the diffusive principles on which it is founded. I have seen too much, sir, of sectarian bigotry—as a man, I abhor itas a Christian, I blush at it—it is not only degrading to the religion that employs even the shadow of intola erance, but it is an impious despotism in the government that countenances it. These are my opinions, and I will not suppress them. Our religion has its various denominations, but they are struggling to the same mansion, though by different avenues, and when I meet them on their way—I care not whether they be protestant or presbyterian, dissenter or catholic, I know