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The Annual Sermon was preached on the 23rd of April, by the Rev. John Aldis, who had promptly and kindly consented to supply the place of Mr. Brock, who was prevented by illness from fulfilling, his engagement. The preacher founded his discourse on the case of the man who was born blind; and proceeded to show that personal and national calamities were often employed by the Almighty to make his works manifest. Having applied the principles deduced from luis subject, the preacher most touchingly and earnestly enforced the claims of the mission on the consciences of his hearers, who appeared deeply interested in this discourse.
The thirty-third Annual Meeting was held at Finsbury Chapel, on Tuesday evening, April 27th. The Chair was taken by Wm. Vickers, Esq., of Nottingham, We subjoin a condensed report of the proceedings.
The proceedings having been commenced calling on the Secretary to read the Report : by singing the 72nd Psalm, and prayer having an abstract of which was published in the last been offered, by Rev. J. PAYNE, of Chesham, Chronicle.)
The CHAIRMAN rose and said : In compliance The TREASURER then presented his accounts, with the wishes of the Committee, I appear from which it appeared, that the total receipts before you this evening. We cannot mention of the Society for the past year amounted the name of Ireland without a thrill of sympathy to £2,283 11s. 70.; the expenditure to passing through every breast. The unparal- £3,913 38. 10d.: leaving a balance against leled circumstances in which that unhappy the Society of £1,629 12s. 3d. country has been placed, whatever may be the The Rev. J. ELVEN rose to move :-the cause, call for our deepest sympathy. The
“ That this meeting has heard the Report now object for which you are met, does not imme- read with feelings of deep interest, and rejoices in diately contemplate the temporal circumstances the success which has attended the labours of the of Ireland ; but still you cannot overlook those agents of the Baptist Irish Society during the past circumstances, and through the iutluence of year; that it regards the steady support which has
been awarded it, amidst the numerous and pressing your Society a very considerable amount of assistance has been afforded through the means of liberality, as indicative of its growing hold on
claims which have recently been made on Christian your agents. It is one of the matters that may the public mind; and that it would fain hope tho call for our londest gratitude, and we should be circulation of the Report will have the effect of exceedingly thankful that we have been able to augmenting the Society's income, and of stimulating assist in ameliorating the physical condition of to more earnest prayer for the out-pouring of the that country. Bat you have had a much higher Holy Spirit on its agents, and on those of all kindred and nobler object in view-one which has contemplated the spiritual and moral circumstances If you will read the Report, pray over it, of a country which has been sank and degraded and embody the spirit of it in all your future in a manner that you have deeply felt, and ! references to, and in connexion with, the Bapam sure must deplore. It has been said, and tist Irish Society, I am persuaded it will do very properly said, that through the influence more good, under the Divine blessing, than a of this and kindred Societies, you have super. thousand speeches from the platform. We say, induced a desire and thirst for knowledge. in the resolution, that this meeting takes a deep The people of Ireland are determined to think interest in the affairs of this Society. I hope it for themselves. That is an important point in will be a deep, intense, and growing interest ; connexion with Ireland. Leading the people for it concerns the welfare of our fellow men, to think for themselves, in the midst of the and the glory of God. In passing an infirınary ignorance and superstition by which they are for the blind, the thought struck me, there are surronnded, mast tend to their moral benefit men that take an interest in the physical malaand spiritual emancipation. I am persuaded dies of their fellow men; and it is benevolent that the circumstances to which your attention to use any means that may restore the blind to will be called in connexion with the operations sight, for sight is sweet, and a pleasant thing it of this Society, will be such as to stimulate is to behold the sun. But we ought to take a your minds to increased efforts on its behalf; deep interest in the preaching of the Gospel and while you cherish a kindred feeling to all among the inhabitants of benighted Ireland; similar Associations, you will feel it your duty because, they are under the domination of to come forward with renewed vigour to the a church, one of whose axioms is said to be, aid of this Institution. I shall best consult your that "ignorance is the mother of devotion," and feelings on the present occasion, by nt once we want to pour the beams of heavenly truth on
their mind. Whatever other remedies have I believe that it will work out in the highest de been proposed for Ireland, there is one, we are gree, the glory of God. I am quite sure that persuaded, that will be successful. I know he is able to fulfil his own gracious declaration, that if you give to Ireland, or to heathen lands, that "All things shall work together for good science, you may enlighten them; if you give to them that love God, and are the called ac. them arts, you may refine them; give them cording to his purpose.” When I think that some education, and yon may civilize them ; but, if of the emigrants, who have tasted the good you would save the people from the wrath to word of God, will be led just wbere the provicome, you must say, as did the herald of our dence of God will direct them, I am sure that Lord, “ Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh they will go aud sow the seed of the kingdom. away the sins of the world.” Shall I say it is a When the down of the thistle has been ripe, benevolent interest ? We have felt that it is. the breeze has come and carried it here and Our hearts rejoiced in connexion with that there; not by chance-for not a sparrow fallmeasure which secured, on the 1st of August, eth to the ground without the knowledge of our the emancipation of 800,000 of onr fellow men heavenly Father; and so this suffering, now in the West Indies ; but our bearts will be still endured by Ireland, will tend to increase the more joyous, if we succed in emancipating the glory of Him who hath loved us, and given bimpeople of Ireland from those shackles of igno- self for us. But the resolution goes ou to sag. rance and popery in which they have been gest the importance of more earnest prayer for held. That will be a glorious day. We ought, the outpouring of the Spirit. That is what we in the language and sentiments of this reso- want; if tbat shall be the result of the meeting, lution, to cherish a deep and glowing interest in there will be no want of contributions, and there Ireland. It is an angelic interest. They take will be the verification of that axiom, that great delight in the works of creation; when, “What begins with prayer, will end with prac: however, they contemplate the work of re- tice.” There is nothing that prayers cannot demption, they not only see the power but the effect, when these prayers are regulated by exceeding greatness of God. They can dis- God's unfailing promises. You have beard cover bright and glorious displays of Divine that a prince is harder to be won than a great grace everywhere around them; but the ex.city; you have read of Jacob being afraid to ceeding riches of his grace, the full develop meet his brother. But see what prayer efment of his Divine power and love, are only to fected: the arms of Esau are thrown aronnd be seen in the gospel of his Son. I do not Jacob, and they weep and weep together. The wonder that our secretary should have said Israelites soon met with Amalek, and then that that we ought to take a lively interest in what did they do? They poured out tbeir the welfare of Ireland. It is a God-like inte hearts in prayer. In connexion with prayer, rest. It is said, “ There is joy in the presence God will pour out the richest blessings on his of the angels of God over one sinner that re- church; we are to pray, however, for the Holy penteth;" and I understand that declaration of Spirit ; and let us think' of the omnipotency of our blessed Redeemer as assuring us, not only the Spirit. To say that the Holy Spirit cannot that angelic minds take an interest in it, but that regenerate Ireland, is not only discouraging to God himself does. When it is announced in the church, but dishononring to God. You Ireland that a soul is converted, a new wave regretted, probably, to hear that the funds for rises in the regions of bliss, and rolls right on the ordinary operations of the Society were in to the throne. The Saviour sees of the travail some degree less than in former years, and it of his soul and is satisfied. The resolution also was accounted for; but I hope that will speaks of success. It is true that we should not be an item in any future Report. We have been glad to have heard of success on a want not merely the excitement of a public larger scale; but when we look aright at the meeting, but the steady operation of Christian subject, and remember that some souls have love. There will be a motive that will furnishi been savingly converted to God, surely we you at all times with a sufficiently-impelling have great encouragement. Suppose there had force for prayer and contribution to this and been the simple announcement that one soul every other department of the Redeemer's had been happily converted to God, --if we kingdom. The secret of all our soccess will be had felt as we onght to do, there would have to have our learts influenced by the love of the been a thrill of joy and gladness running through Saviour. our hearts, and we should have entered into The Rer. T. JAMES, (Secretary of the Irish the meaning of the word “ succesy." But Evangelical Society,) in seconding the resolueven if there were no development of actual tion, said: Those of you who come up on these conversion, we rejoice to know that a great anniversary occasions from the country have our own fields of late, we have observed that meeting to another, and experience all the batthe blade is just forcing its way through the lowed pleasures which the addresses to which superincumbent clud; and although the ear has you listen are calculated to excite. Those of not appeared, yet we cannot say that the us who bave, unfortunately I was going to say, husbandman has been labouring in vain. I to prepare the
feast for you, are often so wear know, that if there is the blade, there will be and so fatigued, that we are scarcely able when the ear. I love to think of onr' dear brethren called upon, as I am at this moment, to uttera labouring in Ireland, going up to God on the word that is likely to create interest. But he children thou hast given us." With
regard to entertain the thought of declining the invie: great harvest day, saying, “ Here are we, and there are two considerations which forbade me to the present visitation resting on Ireland, i do tation to assist at your meeting this evening.
The first is, I was anxious to unite in the anni- fore, to exert yourselves for her spiritual wel. versary of a Society which is sustained by fare as you have already done for her temporal another denomination than my own. I have distress. I was surprised and exceedingly so much of Christian charity, that I delight to grieved when I heard it announced that you are embrace every opportunity that offers to show more than £1,600 in debt. This is a very I am a brother amongst all those who love our serious consideration, because you cannot go Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. If I feel this forward with the energy which God, in his with reference to all sincere Christians, I feel providence, seems so loudly to call upon you to it in a very especial manner when I am in the display, until you have first discharged your midst of 'my Baptist brethren. My sainted debts. As the Report states, and I can verify mother, than whom a holier saint never adorned it by a reference to the agents connected with the church of God, and my excellent father, the Society I serve, the Romanists are seekwere both baptists. I cannot forget this fact ; ing the instruction of your agents in great num. and whenever the opportunity offers, I am glad bers and with much eagerness. I rejoice that they to mingle with those by whom I am at this have not declined such applications. Whilst moment surrounded. The next consideration | however, they have ministered the relief which which prompted me to comply with the invi you have enabled them to do, they are willing tation of your Secretary was, that it was the to impart the instruction they need. It is an Baptist Irish Society. By the providence of encouraging fact, that the bated Saxons are the God, I have now for some years been connected individuals that have stepped forward to save a with Ireland, through the medium of another multitude from death. This circumstance has denomination, and everything Irish, intc- prepared multitudes to listen to the instruction fests me more than I am able to describe of your agents in a measure and to a degree Long before I became officially connected with that Ireland has never before witnessed. I bethe Society, in connexion with my own denomi: lieve that if we have had the means of sending pation, I could never think or read of Ireland forth more Christian readers and missionaries without the deepest interest being awakened in into the heart of the country, and of settling my mind. I read descriptions of her splendid pastors in large and influential cities, the period scenery, her beautiful glens, her majestic rivers, is approaching when we should find multitudes with intense emotion; and when I read in the prepared to cast off the shack les by which they page of my country's history the wrongs that have been enslaved, and to rejoice in the liberty England had inflicted on Ireland—the bad wherewith Christ makes them free. If this be legislation, the abominable laws by which that the case, and all agree in the testimony that people have been trodden down to the very dust, such it is, then I do feel that this is emphatically I felt ashamed, and longed for the opportunity of the accepted time for Ireland, and it remains for doing good to our sister country that had been thus British churches and British Christians to make treated. I firmly believe that, if equal laws had it the day of Ireland's salvation. been enacted, and Ireland had been treated as a Rev. T. BERRY, one of the Society's Agents sister should be treated, her population at this from Ireland, rose to support the resolution. I moment would have been in a very different am, he said, overwhelmed with gratitude for position from that in which unhappily they are what you have done for Ireland. Is it any now found. Ireland was once the island of wonder? We were hungry-you have fed us; saints, and possessed a piety which was a pat-naked, and you have clothed us ; ignorant, and tern and example to the whole of Europe. It you bave enlightened us; without God and was not till our own Henry the 2nd, with the without hope in the world, and you have sent power of his arms, compelled them, and the us the glorious gospel of the grace of God. Oh, treachery of the reigning pope seduced them, what gratitude do we feel that God has put it that they were induced to give it up. Ireland into your hearts to have such pity for Ireland. was the last country in Europe that submitted Ireland once was conquered by this country, to the popish yoke. She submitted, not till and Popery was forced npon our sons and England compelled her to do it. Hence, I feel daughters by the government of this land. Now, an interest in Ireland, and, at the present you are engaged in a warfare, not to cover the moment, in a very peculiar manner. Look at green fields with blood, and to spread carnago her,-- prostrate in the dust. We see her chil- and destruction in the land, but you are engaged dren expiring. And, if this were the fitting in a glorious and noble work, to rescue us from opportunity, I could relate facts that would be the thraldom of popery, and to introduce us sufficient to harrow up your feelings, and prompt again to the glorious liberty of the children of yon to come forward and heal her bleeding God. It was supposed, that when enjancipawoands. But that which, to my mind, consti- tion was granted, it would remove all the evils fates the darkest feature in this sad calanity is, of Ireland; but it has failed. The soul must that the people are passing away by hundreds be emancipated from the shackles of sin and and thousands into eternity, without a know- Satan before Irishmen can feel their true posiledge of that Saviour who alune bath power to tion, or Ireland can be made happy. We have forgive sins. If you have manifested your pity not gone forth abusing the people of Rome, for the sufferings of that country by contribut- calling them hard names, but we have simply ing to her necessities, let me charge it upon you gone forth with the gospel of the Lord Jesus for consistency's sake to manifest, at least, an Christ, calling upon men to repent and believe equal liberality for her spiritual necessities. the gospel; to turn from all unrighteousness and Awful as is the condition to which she is re- sin, and to put all their trust in the finished duced, it is but too accurate a representation of work of the Redeemer. We have not been ber spiritual necessities ; and I ask you, therc- labouring without success. The Word we bave
prrached has not returned unto us void; many heart is open to receive them. Your readers have been converted to God; many converts and missionaries will be admitted into every bave gone to heaven; many have been added town and village thronghout the length and to the churches; and many are inquiring their breadth of the land. I assure you that every way to Zion. We believe that the calamity individual to whom I have spoken about the that has befallen the land will be overruled for Gospel of Jesus was ready and disposed to hear good, and that gracious results will proceed the glad tidings of salvation. The rough, un, froin it. Perhaps it is better, being an Irish- tutored, and uncivilized man, that before would mau, and coming from scenes of destitution, turn away, and would not listen to the voice of that I should refer to some of those things of mercy, is now bumbly bronght down, as it which I have been an eye-witness. I will not, were, into the dust and ashes, and, with the however, harrow up your feelings by referring deepest attention, will listen to the missionary in detail to these scenes of woe. It is sufficient preaching the Gospel of the grace of God. to tell you that all you read of Ireland's misery Now is the time to send the gospel to Ireland ; in the public press of the day, falls short of and, if you do, God Almighty will bless you. describing the actnal misery that exists, and the This famine, dire, and calamitous, and awsal as real state of the millions of that at present un- it is, will end in the promotion of God's glory. happy land. The village in which I live con- There will be a rich harvest of souls, and you tains a popnlation of 4,000. In our work house will be able to say, “See what hath God there are 700 inmates, 253 of whom are ill with wrought." fever. Our chief doctor and matron are The resolution was then put and carried. deceased; the poor-law guardians and clerk of The Rev. J, WHEELER, of Norwich, rose to the union were compelled to abandon the moveestablishment and hold their meetings in private houses. The soup shops, which did so much
"That this moeting desires to record its deep sym. good at the commencement
of the famine, have pathy with the Irish people in their present ur paralproduced dysentery, and fully two-thirds of the the spontaneous efforts of the British public to population of our district are supposed to be alleviate them; that it regards with peculiar satisfacaffected by that weakening disease. It must, tion the absence of sectarian restriction in the dishowever, afford you great pleasure to know that tribution of relief; and that, while recording its the rice which was sent by this Society and by approval of the management of the large fund placed English Christians has been the means of at the disposal of the Committee, would earnestly
pray, that God in his mercy may overrule this visitasaving several lives. This is not simply my tion for good, in removing the causes of Ireland's own experience, but it has been confirmed by social degradation, and in preparing the way for the the doctors of the town and neighbourhood. Í orerthrow of those systems of ecclesiastical tyraung am addressing some of those who have con
which have so long afflicted that land." tributed to send the relief; and it must afford The management of the funds placed in the you happiness to know that you have been the hands of the Committee of this Society has means of alleviating human wretchedness and excited the approbation of the public press; bat misery. A kind friend sent me a barrel of beef in connexion with the Relief Fund, there is one to distribute among the poor. One poor man, remark that should be made, namely, that all not a stravger to nie, but whose wants I did not such circumstances are apt to engender evilknow so much as those of others around me, evil of a serious nature. We most not forget, implored me so much, that at last I gave him a while we are helping the distress of Jreland, bit of the beef. I met him a few days after there are rights which Ireland has that po wards, and he then said, “That beef has been charity can obliterate. She has claims in relathe means of saving five lives. Myself and tion to her social condition which no benevolence children had tasted no food for three days, por can set aside ; and while we are happy to had we the means to procure any for two days relieve temporary distress, it behoves us not to afterwards.” I made inquiries into the case, forget that we are bound to assist in procuring and I found that the man was actually stating for her all the civil and social advantages we the truth. That friend was the means, in the possess, and to give her the religious privileges hand of God, of saving the life of this man and we enjoy. I am afraid, that because we think his family. At the time the Indian corn was we are helping to alleviate the distress that Bent to us, the nills were so occupied, that I exists, we are doing all that we are required to could not get it ground for several days, and at do. In the present emergency we are helping last the miller sat up all night to do it. It only a difficulty that is temporary, and the true turned out that the next day there was no meal claims of Ireland have as great a demand op us in the town but that belonging to the Baptist as they formerly possessed. Though the poor Irish Society. That was all upon which the have felt the distress, yet it is wider than the people had to subsist from the Saturday till aspect that simply touches the poor. It touches the Monday. Great was my pleasure in all classes. The landlords feel the pinching sustaining a number of individuals during that emergency; the traders and small farmers seel period. Blessed be God, the time has come it as intensely in some respects as do the poor. when Ireland rightly appreciates union with The landlords are men, in their present circum, you. The voice that raised the prejudice of stances, deserving our pity. With entailed and millions would fail to do so now. No agitator mortgaged estates, with lands let on long leases, will be able to disturb them
again. The Celt is there has arised the cry, that they should be united to the Saxon in bonds that can never be chargeable with the sustenance of the poor; broken. If the gospel be preached and the when they are not virtually the possessors of Scriptures be sent forth, the doors of Ireland's the land. The farmers have been crying out,
Give us labourers to till the soil, men to sow the never have and never will receive, unless by seed; and they cannot obtain the assistance such means it is brought about. I look to they require, to bring under tillage the land they voluntaryism as the best thing to improve the possess. Many of the traders, taking advantage Irish character and to implant the principle that of the distress, demand exorbitant prices for they must help themselves-help themselves the provisions the people require; and so the constantly, if they would arrive socially and distress has been ripened to its present maturity, religiously at those rights they possess. The and has touched all classes of the community. sooner the time comes when, by means of such In order that we may rightly apply the remedy, lessons as these, these systems of ecclesiastical it is necessary that we should distinguish the tyranny to which my motion refers are overcauses by which the evil has been produced, as thrown, the sooner will the degradation of the well as the action of the remedy, if we are people be removed and their sufferings as well. about to amend it. The condition of Ireland is conceive the people of this land have been Dot to be rernedied by this one thing or the wrong in thinking that the Irish Societies ought other; and we shall find ourselves, in the appli- to have had greater saccesses, more instances cation of one exclusive thing, much mistaken in of large and flourishing churches, and a wonderthe results that may accrue compared with ful augmentation of the churches, arising from a those that we anticipate. I look for the chiefest large conversion from the Roman Catholic faith. good from the instrumentality of such a Society we must be content to work at old prejuas we are met to-night to support; but, in my dices and feelings. That which it has taken opinion, this Society cannot do all that is re- centuries to build up is not to be overthrown quired to amend the condition of Ireland. It by any agency in a few months'operation-a few may do much in infusing the principle of self-months' labour. If we do work constantly, help, which the Irish require; but it cannot do assiduously, and prayerfully, for the blessings all that is required to reniove the present fallen we desire and the success we anticipate, we condition in which the people exist. The shall not always want. It is only by showing manner in which Englishmen have used Ireland that we have no sympathy with the Established is the true cause of Ireland's ignorance and principle that we shall lay hold of the Irish misery. First, she was treated as a conquered people. I do join in the spirit the resolution country; and the rights of man to live on the inculcates, that God would overrule the visitasoil that their forefathers possessed were matters tion of this land for good; that to its social and about which they cared but little, and which political condition it may alike be blessed, and they regarded with the supremest contempt. that changes may soon take place; that systems If we turn again to the ecclesiastical history of of ecclesiastical tyranny may entirely and comthis country, what have been the steps that have pletely come to the ground. I believe that been taken? In the reign of Henry VIII., and another session of Parliament will not pass of Elizabeth, the old cry of alien in blood was
away before we hear something that will make changed to aliep in creed; and nothing so much us act on the principles that we profess, and surprised the clergy of this comtry, who turned make us turn oor attention more strongly to this twice in a few years from Protestant to Catholic, land than, perhaps, even this signal calamity and then from Catholic to Protestant, that they itself bas been able to do. could not get the Irish to go back to Protestant The Rev. T. F. NEWMAN, of Shortwood, in ism at the bidding of an English monarch; seconding the resolution, said: Ireland has therefore a system of persecution was adopted occupied a large share of attention for several towards them, and the old revolutionary law years past; it has been the difficulty of statescame into play, and disfranchisement and dis- men, the battle field of contention in the possession of property followed. Wbat is the Senate-house ; it has been the lever for overresult of the Protestant Establishment of that throwing successive Administrations; it has conatry? It is to this we are to look for her called forth speculations on the part of political present degradation and ignorance. The Pro economists; it has elicited a considerable testant church has presented the truths we hold measure of sympathy on the part of the Christian in the aspect of an enemy, rather than in the public; and still it would seem as if Ireland is goise of a friend. We will turn to the remedies destined to fill a large space in the view of the - they seem exceedingly strange. When one public; and it is a happy circumstance that we reads the accounts of the treatment that Ireland can turn away from political considerationsis undergoing, in one paper, you have laborious, that we can lose sight, for a little, of those lengthened articles, all going to prove that there angry contentions in which partisans strive with is one sovereign remedy for distress, and that is, partisans, that onr thoughts and sympathies that they should cultivate the Jerusalem arti may be directed to Ireland's spiritual condition choke ; another tells us it is the parsnip; and and spiritual wants. I do not entirely agree in some landlords have concocted a colonization the notion that the Catholic priesthood inva. scheme, to ponr out of the country a people, riably manifested so deep a sympathy with the who ought to have been instructed and enlight people as is supposed. I do think some persons ened there. We propose that they should have have entertained too liberal and too generous the Gospel preached by men who will have a view of the general spirit and conduct maninothing to do with the principles of an Esta- fested by the Catholic priests of Ireland. At blisbment, who will identify themselves with the the same time I do feel that the Catholic popupeople's distress and popular rights, as com- lation of Ireland would never have clung so pletely as the Catholic priesthood have done ; tenacionsly and so desperately to their creed and while identifying themselves with the and to their Church, it' there had not been a people in that way, will hold up the truth they Protestant Establishment there. It has seemed