Page images
PDF
EPUB

as I do not myself belong to this portion of on account of them ; but the question recurs, the Church, that your prayers should be given Who will go to fill up the places of the dead? first, of course, for your own Society, but Who will meet the new demand for ten ad. also for every other evangelical effort that ditional Missionaries ? Could their life have shall be made for China. I have great been better employed than it was ? Could pleasure in seconding the resolution.

it by a possibility have been either more god. The Rev. Joun Aldis, in supporting the like in its course, or more peaceful at its resolution, said: I have been requested to close! Is Christian ambition entirely extintake this place simply as a sort of repre. guished? Is there no passion to be stirred sentative of the Baptist denomination. The in the heart but by the love and the hope of Resolution distinctly points us to the great gold ? Oh! there is a Spirit on high, and that ultimate object we contemplate in regard to Spirit shall come down in answer to prayer ! China-the salvation of the souls of the Oh! that it may be as a fire in the hearts people. We must not lose sight of this; if

of many, and give them no rest till they are we did, our object would be shorn of its

constrained to say, “ Here we are, send us !" glory, and our motives of their strength. It is vain, absolutely foolish, for us to atThis is the lowest point at which we can aim, tempt or pretend to predict the future, nor and it is also the highest. We shall confer, in this particular connexion does there seem no doubt, many advantages upon the Chinese; to be any necessity for it. That which has we shall give them ampler liberty, higher been wrought already has been sufficiently knowledge, more liberal views, cleaner streets, wonderful. That this old homestead of and more loving homes; but what we want humanity, whose inhabitants seemed wrap. supremely to confer upon them is the great ped in death-like slumber, should hear some salvation. We regard them all as we regard voice of mercy, and be rubbing its eyes and man everywhere in his natural condition, as asking, “ Is it morning ?”—that this longguilty, depraved, and lost; and we wish to closed empire should not only be penetrated see them become forgiven, renewed, sancti. at last, but have the hearts of its people im. fied, and saved, that they may join with us pregnated with the living word--that these in doing God service upon earth, and in cele- immoveable and stagnant millions should at brating his praise iu heaven. There is a re. last have been stirred freshly, as when the ference in the Resolution to the period during winds play on the surface of the lake, and which these exertions have been continued. deeply, as when the moon leads on the Porty-six years! That is a large portion of mighty tides of the ocean—that this strange human life. The great majority of us were people, at once braggarts and cowards, the unborn when this work began; and of those very impersonation of cowardice on the one wbo witnessed and aided its commencement hand, and of vaunting on the other, should sew, comparatively, survive. Yet these years be taught at once to become modest and have not perished; not only have they gone brave—that those who had been steeped in up to the judgment to be examined, but they the most exclusive forms of suspicion and live upon the earth now, in holy and happy malice should have learned to stretch out influences. They have laid the foundation, their hands to “ the outer barbarians,” and and prepared the materials; they call upon treat them with a kindness and courtesy you to rise and build, that the top stone which their Christian brethren would do may be placed on the edifice; they have well on all occasions to imitate,-these remastered, and accoutred, and disciplined the sults are wonderful enough, and we need hosts; they call on you all to press forward, not speculate about the future, but exclaim, and smite the adversary, and possess the “What hath God wrought?" Seeing, then, land, for you are fully able to do it. The what he has done, you may take heart to go Resolution also refers to those thirty excel- on in this good work; and I pray God to lent men who have been sent out by the So- guide and abundantly prosper you. There ciety. Some of them, as we bave learned, was a fact connected with the first develop. have fallen on the field. We do not lament ment of these circumstances that struck for them. We rejoice, and give God thanks my mind much. It was this. When the

tidings came that a great revolution had taken place, and, further, that a religious element was mixed up with it, the leaders, or, as Kossuth calls some of them, the misleaders of opinion in this country, speculated about the possible cause and agency that had been at work. First of all it was de. clared to be the Jesuits and the Church of Rome-none else were sufficiently powerful; next, it was said to be Nicholas and the Greek Church-none else sufficiently wily; and while this was declared, there were glorious hopes and jubilees of the most ecstatic description. But at last it came out that the true agents were unrecognised Protestant Missionaries ; and then some were dumb, others murmured, others detected faults, others proclaimed all that was evil, and exaggerated that evil, and found evil that they had never looked upon, or thought about before. And so it must be. This is an illustration of a great principle :

4. Therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not." Your ambition has been, not that men should applaud you for your work, but that God should honour you in it; and rely upon it, you will find that this illustrates His method of procedure in the Church from the beginning, --by Josbua's rams'- horns, by Gideon's pitchers, by Paul's thorn in the flesh, by the work of the fisher. men in Galilee, nay, supremely, by Him of whom we read, --" He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground.” Such, therefore, being your position, and such your prospects, go on. But, the Resolution preeminently calls upon you to offer grateful praiseto God for all that He has enabled you to do. This is your duty; this will be your strength. You have very many mercies ; they deserve to be set to music, and celebrated in songs. It is thus they do with God's kindness in heaven. You shall never rightly understand it, or fully enjoy it till you do the same. Till then you will never be in a position to ask for fresh mercies, nor to enjoy and use them if God should see fit to give them. God has called you to this act of thanksgiving by what he has done; he has therein given you the theme of the song, the best reason for offering it, and the strongest impulse to do so. He says, from the

depths of his innermost love, “Let thein shout for joy;" yes, “Let them shout for joy;" and it shall wrap the whole earth round as with delicious music; and the response shall come from the wild Bechu. anas, the scattered Malagasy, and the humble wanderers in the South Sea; ay, from many a heart among those rude and unsettled multitudes moving on the surface of China. “Let them shout for joy,” says our God and Father in heaven, and it will awaken re. sponses in the hearts of the wise, the holy, the devout, and the good, in the sanctuary and in the closet, in the circle of friendship and in the exercises of public worship. “Let them shout for joy,” says God, and he him. self will reflect back your thanksgiving in new forms of blessings on your labours and in your hearts. They shall come swift as the lightning, glorious as the sunbeam, noiseless and refreshing as the morning dew; and thus the blessing shall be commanded upon you which God did command in Zion, even life for evermore.

The CHAIRMAN put the Resolution, which was carried unanimously.

The Rev. Dr. Archer moved the next Resolution. He said: My Lord, I have much pleasure in moving this Resolution, and at this hour I will merely move it. The Resolution is as follows:

“ That the present state and prospects of China demand from the friends of the Lon. don Missionary Society the most energetic measures, for the purpose of adding at least ten new labourers to the present number of its Missionaaries; and to accomplish this inportant object, the Directors be instructed to present an urgent application to affluent friends of the Society for their generous contributions; and also to the pastors and officers of the several churches affiliated with the Society for simultaneous collections on the fourth Sabbath in January next.”

The Rev. J. B. BROWN: My Lord, you may easily imagine that I find myself placed by my friend Dr. Archer in a somewhat dif. ficult position. If an old veteran like DrArcher, and he has a better knowledge of public meetings than I have, thinks it time to bring this meeting to a close, it seems presumptuous in me to say one word except to support the Resolution. On the other hand,

my friend Dr. Tidman says, “ By no means only support the Resolution, but say some few words to commend it to the meeting." But I feel that there is another ground rendering the support of this Resolution some. what difficult, which is, that every speaker who has preceded me bas spoken to it. It is after all the Resolution of the meetingsending out ten fresh Missionaries to China - and some how or other this thought bas haunted the mind of each of the previous speakers, and it has been amply sustained. Now, in saying a few words — and they shall be but very few-in support of it, I must at once frankly confess that I dare not enter into any prophecy; I dare not even conceive to myself any anticipations with regard to the immediate future of this great empire which now claims our notice. The temptation to prophesy under such circumstances, when these mighty social and political revolutions are proceeding, must be sternly re. pressed. A long and serious discipline awaits China. Only by suffering are men and nations forwarded on the path of progress; the day of God is a long day, and it needs much faith and patience to wait to the end of it. By suffering he purges nations and indivi. duals, and afterwards, and sometimes long afterwards, "it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them who are exercised thereby.” Four years ago what confident expectations were entertained, and what confident prophecies were uttered, that the year of European enfranchisement was come, that the yoke of Papal tyranny was just broken off the nations, and that Europe was entering on a career of peaceful progress and development that wonld conduct her to Mil. lenial glory and bliss. Alas ! how soon has the cloud settled down again over Europe ! The Papacy and absolutism have again, for a time-and let us say for the last time-triumphed over it, and, to a great extent, the former state of things has been restored ; and we are compelled to feel and to fear, that there are yet many years of suffering, and struggle, and painful discipline before Europe ere she reaches that peaceful haven which we thought she would have entered some years ago. So with regard to China. With the history of Europe, during these past years, fresh before us, we must

not dare to prophesy; but one fact we will lay hold upon, and we will hold it joyfully, that, by the work of Providence, a plough has been driven deeply into the soil of human thought, and feeling, and passion, which has long been lying sterile beneath the fossil of Chinese civilization. The human heart, for the first time in China, is stirred; the human field is opened for the first time for cultivation, and whatever be the result of this great movement, whatever its political fruits, one thing we are sure of,-China can never be as deaf, as heartless, and as dead as hitherto to all but selfish and earthly inte. rests. The crust has been shattered-it has been shattered for ever-and the Lord's highway, his own highway for the preachers of His Gospel, has been prepared. The Resolution I hold in my hand speaks about ten men. My Lord, I cannot but cling to this word “men." The book, as you have heard, is a precious book; it can reach where men do not, and do a work where men sometimes cannot come; but, after all, the aspect of a human countenance, and the speech of a human voice, are the mightiest and most excellent instruments; and I think it is no derogation to the honour due to the British and Foreign Bible Society in the noble and glorious effort they have inaugurated, to say, that I believe the question of the men stands first. Ten men among three hundred millions of Chinese! That is how it stands here in this Resolution. “Well, it is but a small matter," you will say,

ten men among three hundred millions !" My Lord, Hea. ven does not reckon by our measures. In the Church of Antioch, in ancient times, the Church of Antioch said, “ Separate me two men for the work of the ministry." Those two men, Barnabas and Paul, went forth, and through them the whole Roman world was won to Christ. I say, give us men of that faith and mould ; men of cultivated and dis. ciplined minds, yet full of pity for the lost; men of vehemence and yet continent; men with fiery energy in them, yet gentle, patient, and loving as children; men of large-hearted and catholic charity; men patient, noble, generous; above all, men whom the love of Christ constraineth; men who are able to preach Christ's Gospel with words winged by their convictions and backed by

66

their hearts, and who are ready at any moment to seal the truth which they are testi. fying with the best life's blood beating in their hearts. I say, give us two such men as Barnabas and Paul, and the Chinese empire is already converted to Christ. I be. lieve we shall not do much in the work which we have undertaken unless men go forth who are prepared in some degree to respect the character of the civilization which they meet with in that distant country, and fully persuaded that this political movement has a spiritual root. It is quite consistent with the past history of China that the spiritual and the political element should be found closely intertwined. Though the movement has a political aspect, I believe it is religious at its very heart. I fear that we have allowed ourselves to laugh too much at the Chinese, with their quaint and peculiar civi. lization, which has never mixed itself with that of broader and stronger principles. But I imagine that there are many things at which the Chinese, if they were here, would laugh scornfully in turn at us. Are men, for instance, in China, foolish enough to let the drainage of a city become its poison, instead

ng it, by thrifty contrivances, a source of wealth and profit? You have, depend upon it, something to learn from them as well as to teach them. In ali real vital communication between man and man, there must be giving as well as getting, and get. ting as well as giving. I say you have something to learn from them as well as to teach them.

The revolution professes to be the reestablishment of an ancient order of things. I believe we can scarcely calculate how much preparation there is beneath the surface for the social development of China ; and the moment the spirit touches it, it will be like a lifeless statue suddenly becoming instinct with Promethean fire. In China everything which relates to man's worldly life and interest is curiously organized and managed, at least in theory; and, though all that relates to the spiritual hemisphere is black as midnight without her stars, yet the stars are beginning to beam through the darkness. Principles not of this world are beginning to rise above the horizon. The great idea of the fatherhood of God is seen

in the distance. What this idea is in the Chinese mind none of us perhaps can say, but there it is. Many stars are shining in a firmament, which, up to this time, had been all darkness; and if, by the preaching of the Gospel, we send forth “the truth as it is in Jesus," the sun of righteousness may soon be seen shining in his zenith, and the oldest nation of God's earth basking in his beams. I confess I do not share in the surprise expressed by some, that the Chinese, having before them the relationship of human parentage, did not arrive by the process of generalization at the idea of a Divine parent. age. I think these great ideas are not to be discovered by human intellect, but are revealed to men by God himself; and our work now is to go forth and proclaim Him who said, • He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou, then, Show us the Father ?" This, my Lord, is the Gospel for which China is waiting,-nay, for which China is praying; and we shall be traitors to our inanhood, and, what is more, we shall be traitors to our Christianity, if we do not help her in this her hour of need. The ancients had a

tion, that the great Powers of the universe were always behind, always attendant on what was passing around. Dire portents were seen; aerial squadrons heralded the great crisis of history. Something of the same kind may be witnessed now. There are minds that think, there are hearts that heave, there are eyes that weep, amid the varying scenes of the drama which earth's destinies present to their gaze. I believe that aronnd the gorgeous East all the hosts of the spiritual world are now gathered. Already has the battle begun ;--already, amid the thunder of the conflict which is now shaking the nations from one end of the world to the other, may be heard the thunder of a mightier battle ;-already, amid the rush and shock of strife may be heard the clash of advancing legions—the chariots and armies of our King; and already may be heard rising up to heaven the shout of the victors, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of Our Lord and of His Christ,” and when at last those who won this great victory shall go up to yonder capital to lay their spoils at the feet of their

of rer

Redeemer, the spoils of China shall not be the least, and there shall be "joy in heaven" because this "son was dead but is alive again, was lost but is found.”

The Resolution was then put and carried, after which the collection was made.

Sir C. E. EARDLEY moved the last Resolation, which was as follows:-

"That the best thanks of this meeting be presented to the Right Honourable the Earl ofShaftesbury for his kindness in presiding on the present occasion, and conducting the business of the meeting."

He said, There is a principle embodied in the London Missionary Society which can no more be excluded from it than an insect can be obtained from a piece of amber unless the amber be broken in pieces, and that is, that it was founded with the intention of combining all good men together. Can anything be more opportune than that over a Society which combines all good men, the friend of all good men should to-day have presided : The last few months have made me know how well that title appertains to the President of this day. I am sure you will all join in offering a vote of thanks to Lord Shaftesbury. That is my No. ), which I have tried to get within a Minute. My second point is this :---We have been asking young men to join us as Missionaries I feel that there are two other classes who ought to unite,--those who are to go forth to preach the Word, and those who, in God's providence, may be able to contribute to send it. Now, I would just throw out a hint to the Directors of this Society. On this occasion I should be unwilling myself to make an offer upon conditions ; but to what I am about to state the Directors may attach any conditions they please. I think there should be a condition attached to it. I should not like to afford help in this manner without others being induced to render similar help. I have put down my name, as you have heard, for 1001. towards the object in view. I should like to do some. thing more. With this donation of 1001. I should like to combine, for eight years, 507. per annum, leaving it to the Directors of the London Missionary Society to attach such conditions to it as they may think pro. per. I will contribute that amount if they

can get what they consider a proper mumber of persons to co-operate.

That is my No. 2. My No. 3 is this --After the scene we have had to-day, I do not know what we are made of if we do not learn two lessons, one for home, the other for Missions. The one for home I will inculcate myself, the one for Missions I shall leave for my friend, Mr. Brook, rector of Avening. My lesson for home is, that we should strive more and more to put forth those great principles of the Gospel of Christ in which we all agree, and to throw into its proper place every secondary question. There are two things which I pray God to enable me to bear in mind. One is, that I may be enabled never to deviate from principle and from convic. tion,—to hold fast to the truth whatever may be the consequences. The other is, and I believe it to be quite as important as the foregoing,—that I may keep secondary matters in their secondary places, and let the world and the Pope see--and I always consider the Pope as part of the world—that on the grand primary question of the propagation of the Gospel we are one at heart, however we may differ with regard to minor points. The other topic is one which, as I stated before, I shall leave to be dealt with by Mr. Brook. I will only remark, that in the field of Missions, Christians ought to be much more united than they have ever yet been, We ought to be constantly taking leaves out of one another's books,--we ought to be consulting together as to how we may strengthen each other's hands. We ought to be uniting in a thousand ways which involve no sacrifice of principle. Having made these observations, I will conclude by most sincerely proposing our thanks to the Chairman.

The Rev. Mr. Brook, rector of Avening, in seconding the Resolution said: I wish to make a few remarks on the subject which has just been indicated by Sir Culling Eardley. I think you must all have been impressed by the tone and spirit in which this mecting was opened-first, by the paper wbich was read, and secondly by the speech of the President. That paper and that speech tended to this, that the great movement initiated to-day on behalf of China ought to be commenced in a catholic spirit.

« PreviousContinue »