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iiundiecl years ago, what was the political condition of the world? The great powers who divided the empire of the world amongst them, were France (which had succeeded to the predominance of Spain), Germany, Holland, Turkey, and India, the latter under a Mohammedan ruler. What was the political condition of Great Britain at that period? The total number of the subjects of the King of Great Britain, including all its dependencies, was, I believe, under 13,1X10,000; so that it was not equal to that of the United States of America, at this period. What is the number of the subjects of the British sceptre at the present time! Upwards of 152,000,000, which is more than a sixth portion of the human race;—considerably more than the population of the Roman empire; nearly double that of the nations now subject to Mohammedan rulers; and greatly exceeding the number of those who acknowledge the supremacy of the pope, who professes to be the head of the catholic world.* Now when we only look back for 100 years, and see the wonderful change, which, by the providence of God, has been made in the distribution of political power, a man must indeed be an atheist not to be struck with the fact, and to exclaim, "What hath God wrought!" And mli/ hath he wrought it 1
After the Portuguese power had been overthrown in India, a Portuguese priest of Goa was asked, *' When do you expect that your nation will recover its power in India-!" The answer of the priest was, "As soon as the wickedness of your nation shall exceed that of ours." Now God has"given India to is; and let us consider for a moment what is involved in the trust. Upwards of 120 millions of human beings are thus placed under the sceptre of England. England has
conformists; and it still exists under the name of the New England Company. But its operations have not been worthy of the pious design of its founders. The Danish Mission, at Tranquebar, dates from the year 1710. The foundations of the Greenland •Mission were laid by Hans Egede, in 1721. the Moravians commenced their modest labours in the missionary field in 1732. TMt these obscure proceedings excited little 'Merest in the Christian church; no general feeling was awakened; and the riso of the missionary spirit dates from the closing years of the last century.
* Malte Brun estimates the number of Roman Catholics, throughout the world, at only one hundred and sixteen millions; that °f Mohammedans at one hundred and ten millions. The subjects of the various Roman Catholic states, according to Balbi, lorra an aggregate of one hundred and thirtyfive millions; those of Moslem states, seveuty.two millions.
succeeded, within the past century, to the possessions of Holland, and of Portugal in India; she has also succeeded to the empire of the Mohammedan sovereigns of India—to the commercial ascendancy of the Venetians in the Levant—has, in fact, by the political and moral ascendancy she has attained, more nearly approached to universal empire than probably any other empire of which we read in the page of history. Well, therefore, may we feel that we occupy a deeply responsible trust. Now what has been done by missionary exertions in India! It may be thought that hitherto little has been effected; little, when the amount of success is compared with the vast amount of the population. But those best acquainted with India will tell you, that you must not judge of the effects of missionary exertion there by the number of converts. Gratifying as it is to think that any have been rescued from the deplorable state of idolatry which has prevailed there, and, if a single soul only be saved, it is a matter of rejoicing among the angels of God; we must rather look at the general state of society there—at the change which has already begun to take place. We are assured, by those who are impartial judges of the fact, that idolatry has been undermined, that it is tottering on its base; and we may believe that the time is drawing nigh when a revolution will take place in India, somewhat similar to that which God lias wrought in the South Sea Islands. When you consider what is being effected in the shape of schools for the instruction of the rising generation; when you hear also of the multiplication of printing-establishments there—of a native press in India, what may we not look fori When you hear, again, of whole villages in Southern India casting their idols tit the hats, pulling down their pagodas, or devoting them to the worship of the true God, must we not believe that God is really working with us, and on our hehalf; and that we have ground to hope that we shall be spared as a nation 1 God gave India to Portugal, but she was unfaithful to the trust, and lost all her possessions there. He gave Holland the ascendancy in the Indian seas, but Holland was unfaithful to her trust; for, though she did introduce a species of Christianity in her dependencies, yet the result has proved that it was neither the work of the Spirit of God, nor any thing more than the device of secular policy. Now God has put India into the hands of England—and for what end! The language of divine Providence to us, as a nation, is that which was addressed to ancient Israel:— "Not for your sakes do I this."
I must not take up your time by adverting to other subjects of thanksgiving in the report. I understand that the information from the South Sea Islands is highly gratifying, ai.d affords a triumphant refutation of the calumnies which have been vented against, your operations there. 1 might congratulate you also upon the work going forward in the Island of Madagascar; and I might also refer to what has taken place in the Levant, and in the Mediterranean, where God has been pleased to interpose both in judgment and in mercy. There the power long divided between Mohammed and the Alan of sin has been taken from both. The ascendancy in the Mediterranean, so long enjoyed, first by Venice and then by France, has been transferred to this country, and the Morea has become lost for ever to Mohammed. Five times a day for ages the cry had resounded from the minarets of the Morea, "There is no God but one, and Mohammed is his prophet.'" Now, says Mr. Hartley, that cry is unheard. To that country of Europe where the feet of the holy apostles first trod, where the light of the gospel first shone, we are now sending back the word of life. But I will not attempt to go through the report. I will merely call your attention to the fact, that, during the past century, there has taken place an extraordinary change in the distribution of political power; which has placed the Protestant nations collectively a-head of the Roman Catholic states, and England at the head of them all. Now there is no Roman Catholic mission but is in a state of decay. The missionary spirit has been sent down upon us as a nation, and is reviving the church. We have seen this spirit enter into venerable and decayed systems of polity, and they have seemed to be inspired with new life. It has been seen to check the progress of moral corruption in those institutions which were previously exhibiting signs of rapid decay. It has also entered the meagre skeleton of cold orthodoxy, and that has started into life. That spirit we may justly regard as the conservative principle both of our ecclesiastical institutions and of our national prosperity. Dr. Southey has remarked, and he must be deemed a competent and impartial witness, "The rise and progress of the missionary spirit will be one of tlie most remarkable features in the present age. Yet its rise was so obscure as scarcely to be noticed;" and this remarkable circumstance attended it, which shows that the work is not of man but of God; that not a single missionary institution has been formed, not a single missionary enterprise undertaken, that did not meet with opposition and scorn in the first instance, not merely from the world, not from the jealousy of evangelical parties, but from that very body in which it originated." Nor ought we to overlook one important result. Missionary institutions have afforded a stronger demonstration of the unity of the faith, than perhaps any other event could have exhibited to the infidel world. Our separation into denominations is in itself a stumbling block to the infidel: it tends to
obscure that cardinal article, "The unity of the Catholic church." But, however divided we may be in this country, when our missionaries go abroad ecclesiastical jealousies are left behind. The very reverse has been the case with the Roman Catholic missions. No sooner did the Church of Rome send out the Franciscans, the Dominicans, and the Jesuits, as missionaries, than, in the distant fields of labour, they began plotting against each other. But is any thing of this kind found in our missions 1 Send out a Churchman, a Wesleyan, an Independent, a Baptist, to distant climes, and there, in the presence of millions of idolaters, they dare not stand upon their ecclesiastical differences, but exhibit both abroad, and by reaction at home, the essential unity of our common Protestant faith. Now, in this point of view, again the missionary spirit is the conservative spirit of our Institutions. And it is the conservative spirit of our country; for it is this which alone will secure to us our distant possessions. I know not whether, 500 years hence, India may belong to Great Britain or not; but I know that if the English faith be planted there, and the Bible be planted there, she must, in a moral sense, belong to England. But I believe that God is beginning to fulfil, by England, as an instrument, the promise that the universal do, minion shall be given to Him in whose name the missionaries go forth—of Him who is riding forth on the white horse (the mysterious symbol of the reigning family of this country) conquering and to conquer. What, then, is the temper of mind which it becomes us to cultivate '. It is that of a deep sense of the responsibility which lies upon every one of us to show our gratitude to God, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to his service—by a tone of decision warranted by the miracles, I will say, of an unequivocal character, which are taking place before our eyes. We want no miracles at home to establish our faith, but we can point to miracles abroad. We can point to converted Brahmins; we can point to South Sea Islanders evangelized. These things ought to assure and animate our faith. After all, what we see is but the beginning. We are looking for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the world. At this season ol the year God is represented in Scripture as "visiting the earth, and watering it, and blessing the springing thereof." We look, also, for a moral spring; and let us beseech God to visit anew this earth, which seems so long to have been abandoned to spiritual barrenness, that it may yield its increase to God.
One word more and I have done. I wish to remark upon the strong claims which the missionaries themselves have upon our best affections and our prayers. They have separated themselves from their brethren to go forth in what we all profess to be ouf common cause. I shall be followed by one who has long laboured in a distant region—in bleak Siberia—and who is again going forth to labour in the cause. Will you not accompany him with your prayers'! Will you not remember him when he is far away 1 I have heard it said, that missionaries dare not trust themselves, at times, to speak, or hardly to think of England; but when the evening of the Monthly Missionary Prayer-Meeting <omes round, they can bear to dwell on the remembrance, because they know there are thousands then engaged, in intercession at the throne of grace, who remember them in their prayers.
The Rev. William Swan (Missionary from Siberia) next addressed the meeting, and said:—I cheerfully second the resolution which has been proposed for your adoption; and in doing so, 1 am reminded that, at this stage of the proceedings, I must be brief. It is always expected that a missionary should deal more in fact than sentiment, and this I shall attend to. In proposing the adoption of the report, I cannot help alluding to the first paragraph of it, which records the death of missionaries during the past year. The instruments employed in this cause are mortal, but the cause itself is immortal; and he whom we serve lives for ever. Few of the missionaries who appeared once at the anniversary meetings of this institution, before proceeding to their place of destination, returned to tell what tiod had wrought; but a still smaller number returned in health or in circumstances permitting them to go out a second time: and it is with feelings which may be better conceived than I can now express, that 1 regard myself as among the few who are thus favoured. 1 am again about to reenter the field of missionary enterprise; and if the question be put, under what impression I go out a second time, I would say in a few words, under precisely the same impressions that I treat out at first—the impres«ion of duty, of imperative obligation. The charm of novelty may have passed away, but the charm of obedience to Christ has not. The enthusiasm of both may vanish, but the visions of faith cheer us as we proceed in our work. I might say (in especial reference to the land from which I have relumed, and to which I expect soon to proceed again—a land of which comparatively little is known in this country, and concern>ng which almost all I could say, would be new, perhaps, to most persons present; but upon the details respecting which 1 cannot now enter)—I might say it is a good land, and there is much land there to be possessed. I should expect to be hissed from this platform were I to utter one note of despondency respecting the missionary cause. There is no one part of the world,
even to the utmost ends thereof, that is not given to Christ for his possession. We go' out to assert his claim in the midst of idolaters. I am reminded here of the picture, which has been presented to our view by my respected friend who has addressed us, in regard to the progress of Christianity, and the state of the world during the last century. I fully concur in what he has brought before you, and perhaps it may all be expressed in a few words—that the prospects of idolatry were never more gloomy, and the prospects of Christianity never more bright, than they are at this present moment. But there is a fact, in reference to those parts of Siberia where I have been for a number of years, which ought to be brought before the notice of this meeting. Had this Missionary Institution existed a hundred years ago, and had missionaries gone to those parts of the world, they would have found the land overrun with that form of superstition which has existed there for many centuries; but there would not have been found one priest, properly so called, and not one heathen temple desecrating the ground. But when we went thither, fourteen years ago, we found nearly twenty heathen temples rearing their heads amid the snows of Siberia, and to these temples were attached 4000 priests of the Buddhu superstition. The simple fact is this, that if, within the last century, Christians have been making, in some parts, the greatest efforts to propagate the truths of the gospel, the powers of darkness have not been dormant. Their cause has been making progress eastward and westward; and, during the period that I have now mentioned, it has made progress in those very parts where missions have been established, and perhaps, it cannot yet be said to be retrograding. But what we have been engaged in, we trust, has at least a tendency, and we trust will soon have the effect of turning the tide ; and, instead of idolatry spreading there, the light of truth will roll southward and westward to China, that grand source of idolatry.
Perhaps I ought to state what have been our chief occupations during the period of the establishment of the mission. The Scriptures, I am happy to state, have been translated into the language of the Mongolian tribes—a language spoken by many of the tribes to whom we have access, and spoken within the boundaries of the Chinese empire by millions. It is spoken and read (for the books in that language are numerous) from the shores of the Baikal to the gates of Pekin. We know that the weapon by which the monster of idolatry must be pierced, is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. That part of the Scriptures which has been printed and circulated among the people, has produced effects which we, perhaps, cannot properly estimate. Our part is to do the work; and we should ever remember that success is not the criterion of duty. But while we are circulating the sacred volume, from day to day, the light of truth is spreading to those around us in various parts of the country; and we cannot doubt but the word, in due time, will have its legitimate effect, and that Siberia will soon stretch forth her hands to God.
You may easily conceive that I fully sympathise with the affectionate and tender allusion which has been made to myself and brethren in regard to the prayers which are, and, we trust, will continue to be offered to Cod for us and all other missionaries. We know that while to do the work is ours, we are, at the same time, to do it in the exercise of faith, the language of which is prayer; and this prayer, while I believe it is offered up sincerely and constantly by those who are sent forth in this cause, must not be omitted, and is not omitted, by those who continue at home. Those who pray sincerely and fervently will work diligently. But we consider that, while we go out and you remain at home, we are engaged in one cause and are fellow-servants of the same Lord—that Lord before whom we must all soon appear either as those who went, or as those who sent to the help of the Lord against the mighty: we must either go or send. Those who go must necessarily be followed by the prayers, the good wishes, and the assistance of those who send; and it must be left with the conscience of each one what his department of duty is. I shall not detain your longer, but conclude with a fervent supplication that the blessing of God may remain upon this Institution, and that, at each succeeding anniversary, there may be recorded continued and increased success, and that you may likewise continually enjoy the blessing of the Almighty. If there be this devotion and consecration to the cause, then the period shall come when the exertions of such an Institution shall be no longer necessary. But how long will they be necessary 1 They must be continued till idolatry is no more, and the visions which our faith may regard as about to take place, are fully realized—when the idolatry which now darkens and covers the earth shall be no more, when the last triumphs of the cross shall be celebrated in the demolition of the last heathen temple, or in the burning of the last heathen book, the pile of which we may conceive to be set fire to by the hand of the last convert from idolatry, and which shall be accompanied by the shoutings of the triumphant multitude who shall be assembled on that day, and who shall exclaim, Hosannah !" The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever!"
The Rev. John Leikhild moved the following resolution :—
II. "That the meeting, cherishing affectionate condolence with all kindred institutions, which are now suffering from afflictive events, cannot but express their sorrowful and cordial sympathies with the Baptist and Wesley an Missionary Societies, in particular, on the recent and tragical calamities which have placed their operations in painful embarrassments."
The Rev. J. Liefchild, in proposing the resolution, said: — My mind is so disposed and constituted as to take the most encouraging view of things, and I am not at all sorry for it. I am not disheartened by any interruption to our grand scheme, which interruption I know must be but temporary; for I have been accustomed to think that whatever has within itself the seeds of truth and justice, and is planted in the earth, must assuredly prevail. For this reason I am not at all depressed by the accounts which have been given of a partial failure in your funds, and which has been stated, by our respected and beloved late Treasurer, to have arisen from causes involving no diminution on the part of your friends, either in their numbers, their attachment, or their zeal to this great and sacred cause. I see, in the present position of your Society, and in the present state of the world, ample causes for encouragement. What is the position of your Society 1 It is not a youth of promise, for it has long reached manhood, and redeemed the promise of its youth. It has borne the test of time and the buffeting of events. The statements of its agents, respecting their success abroad, have been both contemned and denied; but this has only made them to appear the more true. Its adversaries have been numerous and furious, and have adopted diversified modes of attack; but this has only rendered its friends more united, and undaunted, and firm. It has lost many of its earliest, and wisest, and best friends, whom I miss on the present occasion ; but I see no vacancy—their places are all supplied. Instead of the fathers there are the sons, standing on the vantage ground of the experience of former years, and presenting to us this day the wisdom of experience, in connexion with the buoyancy and ardour of comparative youth. Therefore, I can regard your Society, in its present position, with no olher feeling than that of encouragement and confidence. And what is the present state of the world 1 In my humble opinion, with regard to our own country, religion is on the increase. I gather it from the increased attendance on public worship—from the numerous societies formed for the better observance of the Lord's day, and especially for carrying into the lanes, and alleys, and courts of our cities, towns, and villages, the means of religious
instruction. I gather it from the spirit of repentance and humiliation for our national sins, which I believe to have been recently manifested among all denominations of Christians, and to which I ascribe, in a great measure, the partial, perhaps total, averting of the tremendous curse which has hung its terrors over us. Then, in proportion as religion extends through this country, it must be the better for your Society. You will then have more offerings of gratitude and zeal—more friends enlisted under your banners—more agents coming forward for service—and last (but not least) of all, more prayers shall be piesented to heaven on your behalf. And when I look at the state of the world—when I see the disposition of the great powers of the earth for peace, and when 1 see the falling down, abroad, of old superstition, and ignorant prejudice, I perceive increased facilities for the operation of this and kindred Institutions—I see a great space cleared for laying wide and deep the base for the erection of the solid and everenduring edifice of divine truth. I have been accustomed to conclude, from the little knowledge I have of the past, that convulsions and agitations have generally preceded the more remarkable developments of Providence. Was it not out of the darkness and convulsions of chaos itself that light, and order, and harmony arose 1 I know there are some persons who take a different view of things, and arrive at very different conclusions. In the unsettled state of foreign governments, they see not the preparative for a future reorganization, but only the marks of a final overthrow; and in the daring front of infidelity at home, they see not the frantic efforts of an expiring cause, but the fancied revival of former anarchy; in short, dividing their attention between the vials and the palms of the apocalypse on the one hand, and the evils of heresy and liberalism on the other, they are gloomy, and discontented, and dissatisfied with themselves, and every thing about them. A modern author, in one of his essays, has ingeniously supposed, upon the gratuitous hypothesis of all things coming to a bad end, how many things might be found, in present aspects, that looked that way. But, if it were only for the effect upon my own mind, 1 thank God that I have never been among the gloomy prophets. I would sooner have my mind cheered, and be stimulated to endeavours to glorify God, and to benefit my fellow-creatures, at the hazard of not succeeding, than, through the fear of not succeeding, be made gloomy, and discontented, and useless. I allow, with the author of the work to which I have alluded, that we are at the Saturday Evening of the world; but I maintain that we are called upon by the aspects of all things around us, in spite of temporary interruption, to prepare
for the grand and glorious day of rest. But this is not, properly, what I had to say. 1 have been called to touch a pensive theme; I have to move a vote of sympathy to our brethren of the Baptist and Wesleyan Missionary Societies, on their present sufferings in the West, and the cloud that has fallen on their prospects there. We all know the fierce and fatal insurrection that has broken out on one island there, and the flood of prejudice which, in consequence, has been poured upon the missionaries, some of whom have been imprisoned and cruelly treated; and we have heard that no less than thirteen chapels of the Baptist Society, and five of the Wesleyaus, have been burned to the ground; so that the worship of God there is in a manner suspended, and the ordinances of religion for a while brought to an end. It will not be necessary to ask the religious public to suspend their judgment on the representations that have been given of the missionaries, as if they had incited to this insurrection by telling the slaves that they should have their liberty after Christmas, and, if not, they should fight for it. You know the missionaries too well, and the instructions they have received from their various bodies, not to wait for a different kind of evidence of the fact to what you have hitherto received. But we might ask the public at large to suspend their judgment—to draw no conclusion, but to wait till time shall throw its light, which, perhaps, may not be very distant, upon the real authors of the insurrection, and the motives in which it originated.
I shall not touch upon the question of slavery, not because I do not hold it in abhorrence—not because I believe there is not one in this assembly that does not hold it in abhorrence—but I abstain, for I should be very sorry to drop a single word which might, in any way, inflame the public mind. I would not have the public rash upon the subject, so as to prevent that calm, dispassionate judgment upon it, to which our legislature and the country will, I doubt not, eventually come. I cannot (as my own individual opinion, without pledging this meeting to the statement, but taking the responsibility to myself) help saying that some of the placards on the walls, tending to infuriate the public mind, are to be deprecated. I think the Christian should not be • a man of violence; I think that he forfeits his character as a Christian if he shows any countenance to violent men, or appeals to any other than constitutional measures for a redress of grievances. But though prudence leads me to abstain from inflammatory topics, I shall not be prevented from offering a tribute of sympathy to our brethren. Shall we watch them through a sea of difficulty, and wait till they come on shore before we express to them our regard 1 Shall we not