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On Thursday morning, April 22nd, a Devotional Meeting was held in the Library of the Mission House, at which the Rev. C. M. Birrell presided, when prayer was offered by Messrs. Walton, Wallace, Tritton, and Watson.
On the evening of the same day, the Rev. T. Winter of Bristol preached on behalf of the Society, from Zechariah xiv. 6, 7, and Messrs. Stalker of Blockley and Mills of Kidderminster prayed.
The Annual Juvenile Meeting was held in Finsbury Chapel on Monday, April 26th, when the Rev. Joshua Russell presided.
On Wednesday morning, April 28th, a sermon was delivered at the Poultry Chapel, by the Rev. J. Mortlock Daniell of Birmingham, from Psalm cxxxix. 23, 24, and prayer was offered by Messrs. Hewlett of Dover and Daniell.
GENERAL MEETING OF SUBSCRIBERS. The General Meeting of the Subscribers to the Baptist Missionary Society was held on Tuesday, April 27th, 1847, at 10 o'clock.
John L. Phillips, Esq., of Melksham having been called to preside, he requested the Rev. C. H. Roe, of Birmingham to open tlic business of the meeting with prayer
. The Secretary laid upon tlie table the Reports of the Committee and of the Treasurers for the year. The Minutes of the Committee for the year were then read, and various questions asked in reference to matters of business, and answers given. In an interval during the reading of the Minutes, the Meeting proceeded to the nomination of the Committee. The list being completed, and the ballot taken, scrutineers were appointed to examine the papers; and the following names were brought up as the Committee for the ensuing year.
Rev. JAMES ACWORTA, LL.D.
Bradford. Rev. WILLIAM H. MURCH, D.D.
On the motion of Rev. Joseph Angus, M.A., seconded by Rev. James Sprigg, M.A., it was resolved unanimously, " That W. B.Gurney, Esq. and S. M. Peto, Esq. be respectfully requested to continue their services as Treasurers of the Society for the
ensuing year." On the motion of the Rev. Joshua Russell, seconded by the Rev. Thomas Winter, it was resolved unanimously, “That the Rev. Joseph Angus, M.A. be respectfully requested to continue his services as Secretary:
On the motion of J. H. Allen, Esq., seconded by the Rev. I. M. Soule, it was resolved, “That Charles S. Tosswill
, Esq., George Gould, Esq., and Charles Jones, Esq., be auditors for the year ensuing.”
On the motion of the Rev. Dr. Steane, seconded by the Rev. Joseph Tyso, of Wallingford, it was resolved, " That this meeting having had brought under their notice in the reading of the minutes for the year, the fact that the Committee had deputed the Secretary, the Rev. Joseph Angus, and the Rev. C. M. Birrell, to visit the churches in the West Indies, and that these brethren having discharged their important mission, had returned in safety, upon which the Committee had recorded their gratitude to God for the gracious protection afforded them, and had offered their congratulations to them on their return, as well as their acknowledgments to their brethren who had acted officially in their absence, takes occasion to express its approval of the steps taken by the Committee in the appointment of the deputation, and its entire concurrence in the resolutions subsequently adopted by them in relation to the subject.”
PUBLIC ANNUAL MEETING.
This meeting was held in Exeter Hall on the 29th of April, Joseph Tritton, Esq. in the chair. After prayer by the Rev. E. Hull of Watford, the chairman spoke as follows:Ishould have been truly glad if the place which efficient exponent of these; an advocate whose I have now the honour to occupy were filled by practical eloquence is weightier and better some other gentleman, whose connexion with than words. ' By the grace of God it has our Missionary Society had been of longer borne a part, a useful and honourable part, in standing and far more service than my own. the great work committed by the Head of the I trust that this is not a selfish feeling, ihough church to the sanctified energies of its various certainly in that case I should have been members. Those who have gone forth in relieved of a deep sense of responsibility, the connexion with it have diffused in heathen existence of which will not appear unnatural lands the savour of the knowledge of Christ, when you remember the sacred nature and and have set it forth in all its simple purity,the solemn importance of the object which
" When unadorned adorned the best," has brought us together, and also how much, at a meeting like this, depends upon the spirit the faith once delivered to the saints. By and tone adopted at its very commencement. preaching, by translating, and by living the This position, however, happily, has its pri- gospel, theirs has been an influence most vileges too, among which I cannot but reckon beneficial to mankind; and who shall question that of bidding you welcome to another of its acceptableness to God? They have had a these delightful anniversaries, of mingling share, too, in advancing, we think materially, with brethren, whom, from circumstances, we those great social changes in our colonies have rarely the pleasure of meeting except on which have wiped out a fearful stain of opoccasions of this nature, and of uniting to pression from our national escutcheon. They gether with you to lay at the feet of our Lord have helped to burst the bondsman's fetters, and Master these our services and offerings, and in the name and strength of their Master in the humble hope that, like those of the pre- have said to the oppressed, “Go free!” We dicted future, they may come up with ac- say not these things boastfully. Our soul ceptance on his altar. Permit me also to would make her boast in the Lord. The remind you of one other privilege common to cause glorious in its excellency, the openings us all, and the enjoyment of which I trust we providential in their development, the men shall not only earnestly desire, but actually striking in their adaptation, and the means realize in the proceedings of this day: I mean voluntary, and therefore the more valuable in the presence of Him in whose name we meet their bestowment, have all been of and from Then will its duties be effectively discharged, himself, and to him alone be all the glory. its pleasures immeasurably enhanced, and its And let it not be thought that I speak inpurposes happily attained; and when it is vidiously. There are other societies engaged gone, while its memory will be fragrant of in the same great work, to which God has elevated emotions and holy resolves, its results, been pleased to give many and precious extending their influence far into the future, tokens of his approval and blessing. We shall be themselves the tokens and the proofs have rejoiced in their joy 1-we sympathise in that what we asked we did receive, that what their sorrows—we wish them tenfold success, we sought we found. It would be unne- and we sigh for the day, God speed it on. cessary for me, seeing that this is the fifty- ward ! when both the citizens and watchmen fifth annual meeting of the Society, to dwell of Zion shall all see eye to eye. Assuming, at any length upon its objects and claims, however, that the things I have mentioned with which doubtless you are all familiar. are so,—do they not constitute a legitimate Its own history thus far is the best and most ground of appeal for continued, and even
best summer of its age,
increased support? And suffer me to say, the triumph of their departure, may we not though it should seem like a tale often told, adopt, concerning them, in spirit, if not in that there have been few seasons, if any, in letter, the glowing language of the modern which the Society needed your support more proverbialisi ?than now. I must not anticipate the Report further than to observe, that, financially, the
"As the aloe is green and well liking till the last, position of the Society is still not such as its
And then hangeth out its golden bells to mingle friends can contemplate with satisfaction. glory with corruption; Debt, though happily somewhat reduced As the meteor travelleih in splendour, but burst
eth in dazzling light: since the last anniversary, still continues to
Such was the end of the righteous—their deatb oppress us,-a fact, I think, that is chiefly to
was the sun at its setting !" be lamented in this point of view, that it prevents the Committee from enlarging the Burchell, Francies, Sturgeon, Dutton! may sphere of their operations, from listening to we die the death of the righteous, and may calls of most pressing importance, 'and from our last end be like yours! The fields of carrying the light of life further and deeper labour, however, with all their spiritual necesinto the dark places of spiritual death. More- sities, from which they have ceased, still over, in its necessary and righteous demand claim the prayers, the efforts, and the offerfor the most rigid economy, there is a danger ings of the people of God. That was a poble of curtailing too much, not the luxuries--they thought to which the great general of France know not such a term-but the requisite com- gave utterance, when standing on the plains forts of those who have gone forth, taking of Egypt, and pointing his followers to her nothing of the Gentiles, and casting them. wondrous monuments, he exclaimed as a selves, singly and all together, upon the motive for action, “Soldiers ! from the sum. sympathy of their brethren in Christ. This mit of those pyramids forty centuries look burden will not, we trust, be allowed long to down upon you." We also, brethren, soldiers remain. We have tried some methods to of the cross of Christ, are compassed about remove it. Let us, this morning, make one with a glorious cloud of witnesses-our grealexperiment more, – let us all resolve, by the leader limself, ihe noblest, the brightest, the grace of God, with a diligence more intense best. There was a time--more than 3000 and an affection more glowing, to follow in years have passed since then - when his his footstep3, whose principle was, “It is divine voice addressed bis servant on the more blessed to give than to receive,"— whose memorable shore of that same Red Sea, and command, “Go, preach the Gospel to every this was its bidding, “ Speak unto the children creature," and who embodied them both in a of Israel that they go forward.”. What betler course of sublime benevolence, which, while motto could we adopt at a meeting like this? it is the happiest theme of thought, is the It is the motto of this age of the world ; let it noblest study for action. There is another be also of this age of the church. It is circumstance to which, as it bears upon the written on the daily discoveries of scienceinterests of the Mission, a reference will on the tariffs and treaties of commerce-on naturally be expected this morning. I allude the maliplying institutions of public benevoto the many painful bereavements we have lence, and the advancing tide of intelligence experienced during the year that has just and knowledge; and surely the cause of closed. These visitations must command our Jesuis, more worthy than they all, shall not sympathy., Debts, however pressing, may be want some such practical endorsement at the paid; liabilities, however heavy, may be dis hands of its friends. That cause is not, charged; but who shall recall the high- blessed be God, the scheme of a wild enthu. minded, consistent, devoted labourers who siasm, which to-morrow's stern realities shall have gone from amongst us? “ The fathers, scatter to the winds; it is not a baseless fabric where are they? and the prophets, do they which the coming storm of infidelity and live for ever?" It will be in the recollection idolatry sball level to the dust; but it is the of some present, that, scarcely had we retired cause of living, elernal, triumphant truthfrom this ball, on the occasion of our last esteemed it may be the foolishness of man, anniversary, and the words of well-earned but gloriously manifest as the wisdom of God, eulogy for some then deplored were still --catholic in its nature, for it welcomes allfresh upon our hearts, when another of our kindly in its ministrations, for through them dear bretbren, the early associate of the dead, the mourner finds his comfort, the captive his and the honoured friend of the living, was liberty, the dying his life—ennobling in its called away. Others have followed in quick relations, for beneath its influence the abject succession, and the places that once knew slave of yesterday is to-day the worshipper, them now know them no more. We believe, the servant, the child of the Most High; and however, that their work was done; they had as to its perpetuity,--the crown of all its fought the good fight, they had kept the faith; excellence, while it baffles our conceptions, blessed they are, and their works do follow it shall elevate our hopes and animate our them; and, contemplating the usefulness of hearts, for “of his kingdom there shall be no their lives, and the calmness, or say rather end."
The Rer. D. Katterns of Hackney then moved, and the Rev. J. Stock of Chatham seconded, the first resolution, in speeches which we regret that it is impossible to give, as our limits will not allow us to do so without curtailing, what all our readers will be anxious to sce, the addresses of the two brethren who had just returned from the West Indies, and who were now called up by the chairman.
The Rev. C. M. BIrrell then said : If I These are to be known only at the cost of were to yield to the present impulse of my two months of unrest on the hoarse Atlantic; heart, and I do not know why I should re- and although, Mr. Chairman, I do not wish press it-it would be to give expression to to deter you, whom my companion and myself ihe sincerest gratitude to those in this assembly often wished were present when we were who have aided the work to which you have crossing some inspiring landscape, from actujust made allusion by their effectual prayers. ally visiting those scenes, yet I'must confess, I have been informed we have signally en in all honesty, that the horrors of the sea and joyed such supplications both in public and in the beauties of the land approach pretty near private ; and every one who has offered on to the point of counterbalancing one another. our behalf but one petition ought to know But with respect to the moral condition of that what be asked has been granted. I shall these countries, I do think that a pretty accunever cease to look upou it as one of the most rate idea may be formed of it without leaving remarkable proofs of divine goodness that our own island. It is well known that the during two voyages of 10,000 miles in extent, | population of Jamaica,—to refer at once to and journeys under tropical suns of about the island to which the principal part of our 2000 miles more, we never were overtaken attention was directed,—is now passing through by the slightest accident, and never were pre- an economical change of the deepest interest. vented by indisposition from pursuing our There never was, perhaps, so remarkable an duties, which were sometimes most arduous experiment performed on human society as and exhausting, for a single hour. Although that which is transpiring at present in that the preliminary, the provisional arrangements country. We are concerned in it at this which we made still remain for the considera- meeting only so far as it affects the state of tion of the new Committee, I may perhaps religion, and, even in that department, its take the liberty to arld, that the assurance on consequences are not the least marked and tbe part of the brethren in all the islands which momentous. It is, of course, well rememwe visited, ibat our communications had bered, as I judge by the numerous references served to remove misapprehensions, to com- to it to-day, that both before and after the pose some differences, to alleviate pecuniary period of emancipation there was an unusual embarrassments, and to be some comfort to attention to personal religion, and vast accesthemselves, to their families, and to their sions to the churches. Now, besides the flocks, has been to us a rich reward, and I influences of the Spirit of God, which were hope will put a new song into the lips of those undoubtedly richly enjoyed in those days, it who commissioned us, even praise to that God must be remembered that there were some who alone could through such instrumentality external and secondary causes which conconvey blessiugs so seasonable and so great. siderably contributed to that result. Among And now it is very natural to expect that we these, perliaps, might be the mere love of should present, not only to the Committee. excitement, which found gratification in large but to the Society itself, some account of our weekly assemblies, together with that tendency stewardship. Yet, I never felt any duty to to imitate and to take the complexion of the be more difficult. I do not know that I have society in which they happen to mingle, so anything to communicate suitable to a general characteristic of the negro race--and, I supmeeting, which is not already well known, or pose, of all races precisely in their condition. which may not be easily deduced from facts But still more powerful was there in operation with which we have been long familiar. It a desire to possess the approval and consequent is of course impossible for any sort of linguage protection and advice of the white man. 10 describe the material splendour of these They had no friend, no guardian, no coun. countries. I have never met with either the sellor, but the minister under whose banner tongue or the pen which has conveyed to me they had ranged themselves; all their sorrows anything approaching to an idea of the glories and difficulties--and these neither light nor which we beheld among the Antilles ; it was imaginary--they came and spread ut his feet, hard enough, when they lay before us, to in the certainty of obtaining sympathy, and keep our minds siendy enough to receive a perhaps deliverance. Who can wonder that just impression of the raplurous ckies, the ihis consideration should have come to the wooded mountains, the luxuriant valleys, to help of their religious convictions, and persay nothing of the blue ocean, and the gliticrhaps in some instances should even be the ing rivers, and the midnight firmament. only real impulze to a religious profession ?
And who is there prepared to say that the ship; while the numbers seeking to avow missionary was capable of so analyzing these themselves soldiers of Christ, form a striking motives as infallibly to determine upon the and touching contrast to the “ exceeding great existence of the one class or the other, or to armies" of former times. It is undoubtedly a assign its proper strength to each, if both sad thing to contemplate this state of com. were acting in combination? The only thing parative depression; but who can be surprised a man could do after the most earnest prayer that it should come; and now that it has come, and diligence, was to proceed upon the prin- who would give way to despondency? It is ciple which Mr. Knibb, in one of the letters my decided conviction, that, with all the included in his Memoir, says was his own deductions which must be made, these maxim, not to wait till he obtained all the churches have not reached a state of religious evidence he could desire, but till he obtained feeling far beneath our own. The attendance so much that he dared not incur the respon- at public worship has not, on the average, very sibility of refusing the application. Now greatly diminished. They still travel many nothing but the lapse of time and the operation miles under their scorching skies to the of new circumstances, could fairly test the house of God. Whenever, in the course of character of the churches so formed. That our tour, we fixed a public meeting, we met with test has come with greater rapidity, and a prompt response. In our own agricultural perhaps in a severer form, than many antici-counties, under the best circumstances, it is pated. It is now acting in its full power, hard to obtain a meeting, even in the evening, and the results are developing themselves when all the labour of the day is over. But every day. It is now no longer necessary what would be thought of a proposal to give for the black man to have a white protector, up a whole day, and to go, not only to lose no longer necessary for the labourer to appeal that day's remuneration, but to contribute from his employer to his spiritual teacher ; something to the object presented; yet this and, consequently, one mighty impulse to a was done repeatedly in our journey. It sig. religious profession is removed. But, on the nified not on what day of the week, or at contrary, there is positive reason for reluctance what hour of the day we summoned the in taking that step. There is not only the gathering,—it was there before us. The absence of an impulse, but the presence of an mountains poured down their torrents of in. obstacle. A religious profession involves to dependent settlers, and the plains contributed some extent pecuniary liability. The funds their companies of the humbler labourers, which sustain the services of religion are that still seek their sole subsistence on the drawn, with the most trilling exceptions, not estates. The ground around the chapel from the general congregation, but from the quickly shook with the trampling of a hundred inquirers and the church, and for these funds horses, and the air with salutations which, if their new condition has opened up modes of loudness be any index of cordiality, must application of which formerly they were have proceeded from the very abysses of the ignorant. Clothed and fed, and guarded like heart. But the moment the service began, children in the days of slavery, like children all was unbroken silence, and a propriety of they spent all the money they had, and that demeanour quite delightful; and he must the moment after they obtained it, upon their have been an intolerable speaker who was favourite object, which then was the cause of not quickly greeted with Aashes of the eyes religion. But now, required to clothie, to and teeth, or with the deep “ Amen," which feed, to guard, and to elevate themselves, they bespoke devotional sympathy. And, although find it necessary to ponder before they part I have spoken of their pecuniary contribuwith the pecuniary fruits of their industry. tions, there is still left among them a degree That a certain amount of such caution is of liberality not unworthy of imitation. Let right, will be granted; and that it should us remember that all their ministers, and all sometimes be carried to excess, we should be their schools, are supported by themselves ; the last people to wonder at. There is, per- and we did not hear, in any part of the haps, no severer trial to the piety of our own island, a single wish breathed to fall baek churches than that which arises from this again upon the pecuniary bounty of the cause ; and we cannot be surprised that, British churches. 'Without at all pretending coming so suddenly and so powerfully on to distinguish between the donations which churches so young, so inexperienced, of such arise from principle, and those which spring slender attainments, it should make a rapid from other causes, it deserves to be wentioned, separation between the chaff and the wheat. that last year, which was on many accounts Accordingly, not only our own churches, but the least prosperous, twenty-four pastors, rethose of every other evangelical communion, presenting about 24,000 members, raised not mourn over a somewhat general langour. It less than £10,000 sterling, which, you permust not be concealed, that multitudes who ceive, is nearly, on an average, 10s. 8-piece; were formerly full of zeal, are now engrossed and, at this moment, on all the property conwith the world; and not a few, of whose piety nected with the Mission, amounting to about they had the most decided conviction, they £130,000 in value, the whole remaining debt have been obliged to detach from their fellow- amounts to a sum somewhat under £4000.