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Indeed, were the temporal well-being of mankind alone in question, they who rightly estimate the astonishing effects of christianity, in mitigating the evils of war and abolishing the cruelties of heathen superstition, as well as in communicating innumerable other benefits, would ardently wish to diffuse it with a view to the present happiness of their fellow-men, as well as to their eternal felicity.

It is painful to reflect, that, amongst all the nations professing the protestant faith, our own country has had, till within these very few years, the largest share in the guilt of this inactivity. It is truly alarming to consider the rank and commerce and glory of this great empire, and yet the little that she has done in the noblest cause which can animate man. She stretches her dominion over an immense portion of the world: her ships cover every ocean: her territories border on most of the considerable heathen and Mohammedan states: her fame for wealth, and liberty, and valour, and good faith, has filled the earth: and yet what has she effected for the highest interests of mankind? what, worthy of the blessings bestowed on her? what at all answerable to the facilities which she possesses, and the correspondent obligations under which she lies? Especially, since the vast extent of her possessions in India has added sixty or seventy millions to her populationan event of incalculable moment, and bringing with it a deep responsibility-what has she attempted to meet the great occasion which is presented to her, of extending the christian faith?

If we except the laudable efforts of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge in the South of India, where a few clergymen, and those of the Lutheran church, have long been supported, nothing, absolutely nothing, has been done, till these late years, by our church, for the instruction of the heathen.

And yet what is there so holy, what so elevated, what so arduous, as the work of disseminating the most stupendous blessings among nations debased by vice and superstition, nations lost to Heaven and to themselves, without hope and without God in the world?" We boast of our benevolence and humanity; but what exercise of benevolence or humanity can be compared to that of rescuing our fellow-men from ignorance, and cruelty, and lust, and misery; of conveying to them the knowledge of a Crucified Redeemer, and telling them that GOD IS LOVE? We talk of heroism; but what is so heroic as to quit the comforts of our native land, and cheerfully to encounter the dangers of a foreign clime, and all the labors and sufferings incidental to missionary undertakings? Surely there treads not on this earth a man so truly magnanimous as the faithful Missionary! To be engaged in inviting such men into the field of exertion, and of aiding and

animating them in their toils, can only, therefore, be second in importance to the becoming Missionaries ourselves.

And yet England was for a long period, as a nation, utterly unmoved. by these considerations. With a cold selfishness she monopolised the gifts of Grace, which were confided to her for the benefit of mankind. She was contented with languid wishes for the good of others; and, by her indifference, seemed to pour contempt on the ardor of those who were willing to enter on the high service of enlightening mankind.

But, blessed be God, these reproaches on the British name, are, in their full force, no longer applicable. Within these few years, a zealous desire to promote these efforts of love has begun to appear; and it will depend very much on the British nation at large, to determine whether this spirit shall or shall not be nourished and augmented. Benevolent individuals, of various religious confessions in this country, began about twenty years back to form several Missionary Societies for propagating the Gospel in different parts of the world. The proposals were received with attention. The blessing of Almighty God appeared to rest upon these undertakings. It then occurred to a few pious and conscientious members of our church, that some success might attend a modest and prudent attempt to form a Missionary Society in our own body. The moment seemed inviting. Our immense Indian empire, our efforts to open Africa to freedom and the blessings of civilization, our increasing commerce, the apparent revival of christian piety in many quarters, the example and success of other religious communities, the warning hand of Divine Providence in the commotions of the European states, the long reproach which had rested on the church for her remissness in this labour, the comparatively small exertions of the only two societies within her pale which had any concern with missions, the circumstance that not one English clergyman was acting as a missionary among heathens, the duty at any rate of making an attempt though it should fail, and the possibility of its being crowned with success-these considerations loudly and irresistibly called on them to propose a new society, exclusively devoted to the object of missions.

The Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East was accordingly formed. Its measures were, in the first instance, submitted to the notice of the then Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London. For the first few years it was chiefly engaged in making inquiries, circulating information, collecting subscriptions, and instituting preparatory measures. It proceeded with all due caution. It had to contend with various difficulties in its first attempts to send out Missionaries. Its chief impediments, however, arose at home, from that want of a lively interest

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in the members of our church for the salvation of the Pagan nations which, we must acknowledge with concern, had too long prevailed amongst us. Still its conductors bore up, though" in weakness, and fear, and much trembling." They fixed on Africa, injured Africa, as the first scene of their labors. The efforts of the friends of humanity for accomplishing the Abolition of the Slave Trade encouraged them to this attempt. In a few years they addressed themselves to the work in various parts of India; and, afterward, as the Providence of God opened their way, to the large and populous Islands of New Zealand, and to the extensive shores of the Mediterranean sea.

After seventeen years of patient labor, they have been blessed with a measure of success which calls for their unfeigned gratitude, and animates them to further exertions. The stations which the society occupies, including the schools of the Tranquebar Mission, now amount to about forty-five. In these stations there are upward of eighty christian teachers, of the various descriptions of missionaries, readers of the scriptures, schoolmasters, and settlers, of the English and Lutheran churches. More than 3000 children are receiving christian education, according to the principles of the church of England; and, of these, at least 400 are wholly supported at the expense of the society. Besides these children, there are many adult scholars. The Gospel is constantly preached to thousands of the heathen, and has been blessed to the conversion of many who are now living; whilst, in all the chief scenes of the society's labours, some have died in the faith and hope of Christ.

Such is the present state of this infant institution—the only one in the church of England, which has for its exclusive object the conversion of the heathen world.

It is impossible, one would think, for any christian to read this statement, without being filled with gratitude to God for being permitted to assist in such a holy and heavenly undertaking. It is impossible not to look with affection on these extensive blessings diffused by members of our church. Every considerate, every humane person, would surely treat with forbearance any marks of human infirmity which he might imagine that he saw; and more especially as to those great efforts which must have been required to excite and preserve that spirit of zeal and love in the breasts of christians, from which the whole, under the blessing of God, has proceeded.

Among their first and most necessary measures would be that of endeavouring to engage the members of the church of England, in different parts of the kingdom, to aid them with their subscriptions. This plan was accordingly adopted, in proportion as the sphere of the society's operations enlarged, and the demand for

increasing funds became more importunate. In the course, therefore, of the last few years, upward of 200 different associations have been formed; the simple design of all which has been, to offer to such persons, in each neighbourhood, as might feel inclined to subscribe, the opportunity of doing so with the least inconvenience. The exciting also of a spirit of prayer for the blessing of God on the Society, and the stimulating of proper persons to offer themselves as Missionaries, were among the objects in view. The result of these efforts has been, that thirteen clergymen ordained in our Episcopal Church, together with eighteen Lutheran clergymen, have been sent out by the Society; and that, last year, about 20,000l.' was raised in aid of its designs.

In forming these various associations, the most simple and inoffensive method has been adopted. When the friends of the Society in any considerable neighbourhood, and especially the clergy and more respectable inhabitants, have conceived that there was any fair opening for proposing the Society to the pious and benevolent around them, application has been respectfully made to persons of weight and consideration residing in or near the place; and if the measure has been received with favor, a meeting has been called, some nobleman or gentleman in the vicinity being requested to act as chairman, as is customary on similar public occasions. The plan of the Society has then been explained, an association formed in its support, officers to conduct it chosen, and subscriptions raised.

In this manner the Society has been advancing with increasing rapidity, maintaining always a charitable and prudent line of conduct, interfering with no other Societies, violating no usages of ecclesiastical discipline, making no reflections on those who might decline to support it, but relying on the purity of its intentions and the blessing of God for that degree of patronage among distinguished persons in church and state, which it might please Divine Providence to grant. Already had the Society obtained the favour of two venerable prelates and other dignitaries of our Church, of many eminent noblemen, and of a great body of the clergy; and the time seemed approaching, when the attention of our fellow-countrymen would be more generally directed to our great cause, when the extraordinary event occurred which has made the present defence of the Society necessary; but which, we cannot doubt, will, in its consequences, serve only to bring the great question of Missions still more fully before the British nation.

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The income of the first year was about 9001.

2 The reader is referred to the official documents of the Society, contained in seventeen reports, which, with the seventeen annual sermons, now form five volumes 8vo.

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At a Meeting, called by advertisement, of the friends to a proposed Bath Association, the Rev. Josiah Thomas, the Archdeacon of Bath, appeared; and before the secretary of the Society could explain the nature of the projected undertaking, delivered an Address and Protest, which he has since published, and which has appeared in most of the London and many of the country newspapers. This proceeding has, of course, attracted much public attention; but the reasons by which it is supported, are, as I trust will appear, utterly insufficient to justify so unprecedented a measure.

The objections urged by the Archdeacon are of two sorts: the first regards the AUTHORITY BY WHICH THE PROPOSED ASSOCIATION WAS FORMED; the second, the NATURE AND DESIGNS OF THE CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY, with which it was to be united.

On the subject of Authority, the reverend speaker states, that he came to the meeting officially; that, in delivering the Address which he has now published, under the name of a Protest, he was executing his office; that the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of the diocese, and the vast majority of the clergy in his jurisdiction, disclaimed the Society; and that the institution was an irregular association, tending to the subversion of ecclesiastical order. He charges the Right Reverend Prelate, who took the chair at the Meeting, with invading the province of his venerable brother, and thrusting his sickle into another man's harvest. He pointedly intimates, that the Society assumed a title to which it had no right. He expresses his conviction, that the formation of the proposed association at Bath would be pernicious, and would render that city a hot-bed of heresy and schism. As Archdeacon, therefore, of Bath, in the name of his Diocesan, in his own name, in the name of the rectors of Bath, and in the name of nineteen-twentieths of the clergy of his jurisdiction, the Reverend speaker protested against the formation of the proposed Society.

The tendency of this language, as well as of the whole Address delivered by the Archdeacon, was to represent the formation of the Bath Missionary association as an irregular, unauthorised, and uncanonical act as an act so irregular, that it became at once his right and duty to interpose; and, by a personal and solemn protest, to effect either the suppression of the design, or at least the secession of all its clerical promoters.

The question, then, is, In what respect was this Meeting irregular or uncanonical? What were the circumstances, and what the laws applicable to those circumstances, that warranted the Archdeacon in a measure of interference, which, if not justified on the grounds claimed for it, he himself must allow to have been an

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