« VorigeDoorgaan »
merely in their very equivocal dresses, Had that occurred, it is very certain that end their very alarming manifestations. the violent party would have been exBut those who went amongst them, ceedingly liberal to the Gospel, as long talked with them, and learned and as the Gospel did not interfere with studied them generally, came home, and them. But it is equally certain, they relieved friends who were looking out of would have been as despotic to the Gosthe windows in great distress. I can pel as they endeavoured to be to the only express my own feelings in the electors of France: they would have put language of a Frenchman, who, previous down the Gospel, or anything that interto the Revolution, hardly ever thought fered with their own despotism, without of a divine Providence. I saw him the the slightest hesitation, There was no day after the Republic was proclaimed. time when I feared greatly a permanent He was bathed in tears, and predicted a anarchy, although for a considerable reign of terror. I saw him about a time I was compelled to admit its possi. fortnight afterwards, and he said, with bility. But since that memorable Monthe utmost feeling, as he had done before, day in London, following the prayers of but with feeling of a very different kind, a Christian Sabbath, when the benefits of “I cannot account for the conduct of the holy Sabbath, and the sanctuary serthat populace, except on the ground that vices, and the prayers of that Sabbath, God is governing their instincts.” And came down and shed their peace upon wherever I have gone, whether among
,—the balm that shed joy and the Legitimatists, among the Constitu- gladness through England gave strength tional Monarchists, or among the Re- and refreshing to every friend of order publicans, I have found, more or less in throughout all France. And I know it every mind, a persuasion that the Revo. to be a fact, that a French lady, a Roman lution, in its occurrence, and that the Catholic, when reading the exaggerated moderation and temper of the majority and alarming, and in some respects amusof the people since the Revolution, were ing, reports of what was to occur in altogether beyond the common order of England, where many terrible things were political events; and that, as an English to take place, said to her servants, officer, who was not disposed too readily must all pray for England; for if Eng.
acknowledge God, observed, “I land be overturned, what is to become of watched as a soldier all that was done in the world ?” And, Sir, while I believe this Revolution ; and I know that no that England had, on that day, the hand of man brought the King off the prayers and sympathy of every friend of throne; there must have been some order and of happiness in France,- that hand which no man saw.' And that is, the prayers of such of them as do hand which no man saw is, I believe, pray, (and would to God they were inore recognised in the public mind of more than they are !)-I believe, also, the French people at this moment, than that the events of that day nerved the it has been for many, many years. I be- minds of the French people unconlieve that there is an undefined, but a sciously to themselves. The benefit was most salutary, impression abroad, that immense. The ultimate reign of order there is a controlling Providence,—that appears now to be expected. Another there is something in the state of the danger was from the prevalence of Comworld that cannot be accounted for, munist doctrines. And if we had reexcept on the ground that it is God's garded the speeches of a few persons, doing. And, Sir, with regard to the the words of a few noisy individuals, we prospects which this Revolution opens might have supposed these sentiments for our operations in France, I look had taken general possession of France. upon our English work there as not But my decided opinion is this,- that a a matter to be taken into account at vast majority of the French people are, all; because, if the English who were at this moment, convinced that a nation there, and heard the Gospel from our without a religion is an impossibility ; English brethren there, are now in Eng- they are convinced that, in the main, land, they will hear the Gospel here ; so Christianity is a religion divine ; but they that that matter need not be weighed as look upon Christianity, as it has existed affecting the general interests of the king in France, as a thing rich in abuse and dom of Christ. But the work of God, in absurdities. Many of them have not as conducted by us and other evangelical yet learned how to separate Christianity Christians in France, has had, it is true, from these abuses and absurdities. Very in passing through the Revolution, to many of them are unaware that Chris. encounter some danger. First, there tianity, in itself, does not imply either was the danger of a complete anarchy. the one or the other. But even those
who have their eyes open to these abuses
occupy every land.” We cerand absurdities are content, rather than tainly occupy some parts of Asia, and abanfon the country to infidelity, which Africa, and Europe, and America. But, they believe would be its greatest woe, take the races of men, and the Mongol still to retain that Christianity which race-take the creeds of men, and the they see, with all its absurdities and all Buddhist, with the exception of a small its abuses; and, I believe, never, since portion of Ceylon—are altogether beyond the days of the Huguenots, was the pub- the sphere of our exertions. Not one of lie mind in France so favourable to the the multitudinous race of the Mongols, truth as it is at this very day. That is not many of the hundreds of millions my conviction. Then, as to the opportu
where Buddhism prevails, are yet apnity of our acting upon that mind, so proached by our Missions. All these prepared by the providence of God, tribes are entirely beyond our efforts. why, the facilities given to us now place And, again, if you take the vast continent us altogether in a new position. Hitherto, of Asia, .where half the world is living, in France, the work of evangelization has I find that, east, north, west, centrally, been of a very restricted kind. It was you have not a foot of ground. If you impossible to enter a town unawares, or to come again into our territories, the whole get on until you had paved the way, and, of the Bengal Presidency is without any after long anxiety, got an authorization agency of ours; the whole of the Bomto preach in some little room or other. bay Presidency is without any agency of So that our acting energetically on the ours; the whole of the Agra Presidency mass of the people was impossible. But is without any agency of ours : and if, now the opportunity seems to be opening upon the continent of Asia, you are to upon us, and the sphere of usefulness find our traces at all, you must come will be great. At the most recent Sta. within two or three hundred miles of the tion which we have occupied in France, termination of that continent. In Asia our Missionary had the greatest difficulty there are thirty-three languages that are possible, six months ago, to obtain leave speaking allegiance to the Queen of to open his chapel. Since the Revolu- England ; but in Asia (Continental Asia, tion occurred, twelve individuals in that I mean) you have only two languages town have publicly renounced Popery; that are speaking by your agents the and two villages in the neighbourhood Gospel of the Son of God to our fellowhave invited him to enter them, to subjects there. However, I am glad preach the Gospel ; and he is in nego. that other Societies have agents there ; tiation with several other neighbouring and I cite the encouragement of others towns, with every prospect of forming a as a stimulus to our exertions. In alCircuit, and working it as Circuits used luding to what has been done, and the to be worked in the former days of our prospects opening before Christianity, in evangelization at home: and I believe India, I rely upon the calculations of a that the sphere of labour now opening respected brother belonging to another up will present a new aspect of our Missionary Society, who has collected a affairs in France, and perhaps call our variety of most valuable statistical in. Committee to deliberations and measures forniation, In India, at this day, we of a character they were not prepared to have, of European Missionaries, 300 anticipate. If we look at the Continent men,-a staff wonderfully increased generally, I think the expression which within the last seven years, and holding you used more than once in your opening out still greater hopes of a further exaddress, “auspicious times,” most ap- tension. These 300 Europeans have, of propriate. I believe, not only with regard native Agents, Catechists, and native to France, but to Germany, and also to Ministers of various grades,-excluding Italy, the times "are most“ auspicious.” Schoolmasters, - they have, assisting Although my Resolution stops at the them, of Hindoos preaching the Gospel continent of Europe, I certainly could to Hindoos, 1,304 men. They have of not stop there. I shall soon stop; but, Schoolmasters also assisting them, though looking at our great work abroad, our many of them not directly, in the dis. Heathen work,-a work for reclaiming to semination of the Gospel, 1,600 men. Christ those who worship idols,-1 be. What, then, do you suppose is the lieve we have other calls quite as loud as actual number of Missionary communiwe have from that part of the Mission cants now in India ? 24,000 men. The field, and louder. After all, what you, number of nominal Christians under the Sir, said in your opening address, though charge of the various Missionary Socieperfectly true in one respect, is only true ties of those who have renounced Heaia a very gencral point of view ; that is, thenism, and profess Christianity—is
now 90,000 ; and you may add to them, sacrificing everything for principle; and 110,000 of the ancient Syrian Chris. they do it. Christians,—ye that are tians. Now, these facts are sufficient to really to regenerate the world, ye talk show that where the teachers have a of sacrifice, and self-denial, and death to strong staff, where they have laboured the world, and crucifixion of the flesh, long and hard, God has given a bless- and resurrection to a new life in Christ. ing; and I earnestly implore every Such is your doctrine. Your words are member of your Missionary Society to words from heaven; they are not your take into his thoughts that vast continent To make them realities, you must of Asia. I have no time to go into the have feelings from heaven, you must matter as I could wish to do. Many of have principles from heaven, you must you know what I would say if I had the have help from heaven. And with these time ; many of you have responded on feelings, these principles, and this help, other occasions to what I have said ; but you will be prepared to make your words I trust that, with more and more width go out upon the population of Britain and fervour of heart, you will be pre- and of all other lands; and so the moral pared now to take the entire of our great and spiritual regeneration of the world, cause into your consideration. Sir, when occupying the mind of English piety, I look at this Society,—when I look at the heart and prayer of English piety, the Christianity of England at this day, will be accelerated, under the present - when I look at the movements of the facilities, at a rate which, I believe, the churches abroad,-one impression ever Christian church has never witnessed, returns upon my mind, wherever I am, and at a rate which the wide world will whether it be in my closet, in the streets hail, and in which heaven itself will of Paris amidst their excitement, or rejoice. whether it be here,—the impression, The Resolution was then put, and that the crisis of this moment will de carried unanimously. pend, for its ultimate development and The Rev. William BEVAN, (Offi. issue, to an extent altogether unappre- cial Secretary of the Evangelical Alliciable, on the movement taken with ance,) said, - The Resolution which it is regard to it by the piety of Great Bri. my privilege to submit to the Meeting is tain. I believe we have now come to a in the following terms :point in our religious history, where “ That this Meeting rejoices to learn, Providence thunders into our
that the favourable answer of Her Ma. necessity of the spirit of sacrifice; if it jesty's Government to the Committee's be necessary, even to death. The rege- Memorial on the danger which threatneration of the world is now the cry of ened the Missions in New Zealand, every man that possesses any love for from the apprehended infringement of liberty. “Regeneration !” is ringing the Treaty of Waitangi, is calculated to round the barricades of Europe, and allay the feeling of alarm which had been surrounding itself with much that is ercited among both the Missionaries and dangerous, not to say appalling. But the natives under their pastoral care ; all this regeneration is only the regenera- and, that the grateful acknowledgments tion of institutions, a material regenera. of the Meeting are due to the Right tion. It will do little. And yet that cry Honourable Earl Grey, for his kind and for regeneration is but the echo of the considerate attention to the subject, and wants of the world. We must interpret for the assurance that he will immeit in another sense. They do want it. diately send such further instructions to Those cities, those villages, those conti. the Governor of New Zealand, as will nents, want it. Every man upon those secure the practical maintenance of the barricades wants it. Regeneration is the Treaty in its full integrity.” thing they require. But that which is I rejoice, Sir, that this Meeting has demanded, that which man really wants, the opportunity of recording its sentiis that which God has commissioned us ment on this important question, as I to carry him,—not the regeneration of believe it will be recorded cordially political institutions, but the regenera- and unanimously. We have been action of men, the regeneration of souls, customed to look upon our Missionary the regeneration of that which is dead in institutions, and our Missionary princisin. And, to carry out this regeneration, ples, as, in days gone by, requiring vinwe must be prepared with a spirit like dication. We have now to bless God that which the world has. Men talk of that the direct and indirect action of dying for their country; and they do it. Missionary labour bas vindicated itself'; Men talk of contending to blood for that whereas, in the days that are past, liberty ; and they do it. Men talk of it was found necessary almost to smuggle our Missionary brethren into the lands of Sir, however much we may express our their destination, our men of commerce indebtedness to those who thus yield to now hail their passage and speed their our wishes on matters like these, we must way. Then was the fashion to grace never forget that brief but instructive even the highest style of literature by sentence which I find at the close of your witty lampoons on the simple and unso- Report, that “the cause of the world's phisticated men who went forth with no salvation is the cause of God.” We have engines of civilization in their hands to been taught to cease from Princes, or any regenerate the world ; now our Mission- son of man, in whom there is no help, ary literature takes its place, if not and we have all had to learn, by the course amongst the most ornate, at least amongst of bitter experience, the momentous lesthe most useful, of the times. Sir, in son, that we are dependent on the guiddays gone by, Governments were accus- ance and grace of God, for all that we tomed to look, at least with some degree have realized, and all that we hope yet of suspicion, upon the men who went to realize, in the regeneration and conforth to vindicate the claims of another version of men. Let me for a moment King, one Jesus ;” but we now rejoice dwell upon that impressive sentence, to find, that they hail the co-operation of “ The cause of the world's salvation is the simple-minded followers of Jesus, the cause of God.” Then, Sir, it is the that they understand that the principles cause, the common cause,—the property, of our heaven-born Christianity are and the common property, of all the principles which give solidity to states, children of God. He has given his sacredness to treaties, and happiness to authority and commandment to the fol. all mankind. I rejoice, therefore, in this lowers of Jesus, to preach his Gospel to opportunity of presenting to the Meeting every creature ; and if there is a feature, a Resolution which bears on its fore-front Sir, in the whole of your Methodist a recognition of the social blessings constitution, which commends itself to which our Missionary labours have been my judgment and to my heart more the means of sending forth through the readily and more warmly than another, nations of the world. As it regards the it is this, that you vindicate the authosubject of the Resolution, I am sure rity and the prerogative of every Christhat the British nation will account itself tian to teach the truth of Christ. You indebted to the Committee of this So. have no other question than this,—"Do ciety, for a vindication of British con- you know the Lord ? Do you love the sistency and British conscientiousness, Lord ? Then go and teach his knowin the preservation of the spirit and the ledge, go and spread abroad his love.” letter of the Treaty to which this Reso- And there can be no better answer to Jution refers. If it had been violated, the arrogant pretensions of some men, the character of the British nation must there can be no better barrier against the hare, in a greater or less degree, suffered encroachments of refined or vulgar superin the eyes of the world. You have stition, than the carrying out of this high been privileged to step in and conserve behest, committed not to one section the rights which had been conceded by nor to another, but, as their common British treaty, and you have been the right, and their common duty, intrusted means of accelerating those measures to all who are born from above. “ The which will establish the character of cause of the world's salvation is the British honesty in dealing with the cause of God.” Has he not given natives of that far-distant country. Sir, opportunities for the prosecution of this I cannot conceive that a higher satisfac- cause to all ? Wide and effectual doors tion can be afforded to the distinguished are opening before us. Shall we stand Statesman, to whom this Resolution quarrelling as to our occupancy of one refers, than that which arises from the field or another, when the whole of recollection of having yielded so promptly Europe is languishing with an insatiable to representations which were based, as I avidity after what it knows not ? when believe, solely on Christian grounds; the nations of the entire world, to which, and I am quite convinced of this, that from all our ports, we are brought into while, on the one hand, you will have closest and responsible contact, demands contributed to uphold British integrity that every link of communication should among those who are beginning to feel be sanctified and laid under tribute for their path in the way of civilization, you the great purposes of our common faith ? will have a wider and clearer ground open when nations and potentates, waking up before you for the successful prosecution to new visions of liberty, are admitting of your labours among that people. But, the Bible with its precious treasures, and the messengers of truth with their institutions, have we not received the ministry of reconciliation ? Is it not first-fruits of that Spirit of promise ? time that we cease to entertain jealousy We go, then, strong in the Lord and in and strife, as to the occupancy of these the power of his might. We know that fields of labour, and come to a common our feet tread upon the soil which our agreement to go together in all, and in Saviour has redeemed ; and we tread it all to lift up, not a distinguishing stand- with firmness of foot, because we go in ard, but the one glorious banner of our the spirit and power of the Most High. crucified and crowned Redeemer? Then, We gather the first-fruits of that harSir, may I not say, that the cause of vest, and we present them on the altar, the world's salvation, as the cause of not to the honour of the church, to her God,” is the property of the whole joy, indeed,—but to the honour of Him church, because he has given the instru- who is her Head. In this we are one. ment for the prosecution of that cause In prayer on earth, the saints are one, in to all ?
There is no monopoly in the deed, in word, and mind. Now, Sir, Bible. There is no monopoly of the with a cause such as this, divinely delebread of life committed to any portion gated to us, divinely wrought, and hereof the church; and he violates the very after to be divinely successful through first principle of the government of our instrumentality, shall we give a nigChrist, who sets himself up as the exclu- gardly amount either of sympathy, or sively authorized teacher of tha word. intercession, or substance ? Consider, I What is that instrument, Sir? “ The beseech you, beloved brethren, in what sword of the Spirit, which is the word of position you now stand. The world is God." And if God has given me the sighing for regeneration. You stand in light and knowledge of the truth, if he the midst of a heaving chaos, and on has warıned my heart by the love which you, and your brethren in the labour that truth reveals, he has put that word and faith of the Gospel, it depends into my understanding, he has diffused whether that chaos shall be moved to its influence over my heart, that I may ruin or to life ; whether, out of the use the gracious and divine talent for his elements that are mow in social conflict honour; and it is my honour, my privi- everywhere, there shall be evoked a curse lege, no less than my responsibility, to or a blessing. It is yours to diffuse the use it for the good of men. The Bible, healing, tranquillizing, elevating, sanctiand the Bible only, it has been said, is the fying influence of the truth of God; it is religion of Protestants. So I affirm yours to stand before him, pleaders for of our Missionary enterprise. We are him before men, and pleaders for men at men of one book. If you go to distant his footstool; and how will your prolands, and stand by the side of the Mis. testations of sympathy, and your prayers sionaries, gathered from various associa- for help, be vindicated and sustained, tions, and hear their message, you will unless you “strive mightily,” according find that they lift but one trumpet, and to the strength and ability which God give but one sound; that they vindicate giveth you, for the maintenance of his the claims of one Lord on the homage of cause ? Sir, let us hope that this Meethis creatures ; that they open the cove. ing will set an example to those of other nant of one faith, and that they cry and kindred institutions which have to fol. sigh for the baptism of the one Spirit. low, of intense zeal, of self-sacrificing Let us go on, in this confidence, not liberality, which all shall delight to imimerely that the principles of truth, be- tate. Then shall this year, over which cause they are the truth, shall prove irre- so many clouds of darkness have lowsistible against all the hostilities of error; ered, and concerning which so many but that the truth, which is our only fears have been awakened in the breasts instrument, is almighty for its purpose, even of God's most believing people, because it is the truth from the mouth of
prove to us yet once more the lesson that God, spoken by the command of God, i man's extremity is God's opportunity," and ministered under the presiding bless- that when most we need the impulse, he ing of the Holy Spirit of God. Once is most prompt to give it ; when most again, Sir, “is the cause of the world's his cause needs our resources, then most salvation the cause of God," and there- will he give a willing mind; and when fore the cause of his people ? Has he we yield to the impulse, then shall we not given the pledge of blessing to us find him most near at hand to succour and all? Have we not all the same pro- to bless, Let this spirit pass from mise ? From every field of Missionary assembly to assembly, from denominaenterprise occupied by our evangelical tion to denomination, and it will con