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politic. Forgetting all that is past—and the Christian public will readily unite in such an act of oblivion-let the Review come forth at once as the advocate of Christian missions, on the largest scale, and the most liberal principles. Let the reverend traducer who wrote the articles in question, be at once thrown overboard ! It might wound his pride to see the Review practically disown his productions, but it might also serve to appease his conscience. As he still lives, he must have seen enough of the beneficent results of missions to cover him with confusion! He and his co-operatives in the manufacture of impiety and falsehood, have had time to ascertain the effect of the “pestilent absurdities” of the gospel ; they may now witness, in the work of Williams, “ the extent of the mischief of that delirious enthusiasm, which is still more pernicious in its remote consequences than in its immediate effects."* The isles of the South Seas are tolerably “remote" as to space, and thirty-three years are tolerably “remote as to time.
How it is to be wished that the venerable libeller would now favour the world with his septuagesimal reflections on the deeds of his unreflecting youth ! The friends of missions are now in circumstances to answer his question—" Why are we to send out little detachments of maniacs, to spread over the fine regions of the world the most unjust and contemptuous opinions of the gospel ?” Their reply is, Read Williams's “Missionary Enterprises” in the South Seas, and behold the work of the madmen!
With respect to the duty of attempts to convert the heathen, the reverend adversary of missions says, “ It is somewhat strange, in a duty which is stated by one party to be so clear and so indispensable, that no man of moderation and good sense can be found to perform it : and, if no other instruments remain but visionary
* Vol. xiv. p. 83.
enthusiasts, some doubt may be honestly raised, whether it is not better to drop the scheme entirely.” Let him read Williams's “ Missionary Enterprises in the South Seas," and behold the work of the enthusiasts ! The conscience of the critic, towards the end of his se. cond article, seems to have become rather uneasy, and hence he concludes with the following passage, by way of caveat and redemption: “For ourselves, if there were a fair prospect of carrying the gospel into regions where it was before unknown ; if such a project did not expose the best possessions of the country to extreme danger ; and if it was in the hands of men who were discreet as well as devout, we should consider it to be a scheme of true piety, benevolence, and wisdom ; but the baseness and malignity of fanaticism shall never prevent us from attacking its arrogance, its ignorance, and its activity. For what vice can be more tremendous than that which, while it wears the outward appearance of religion, destroys the happiness of man, and dishonours the name of God ?” *
To all this we reply, Read Williams's “Missionary Enterprises in the South Seas,” and behold the fruits of fanaticism! The clerical calumniator, at the close of his first article, thus expresses his solicitude for the good of his country :-" It is impossible to say what political animosities may not be ingrafted upon this marked and dangerous division of mankind into the godly and the ungodly! At all events, we are quite sure that happiness will be destroyed, reason degraded, sound religion banished from the world ; and that, when fanaticism becomes too foolish and too prurient to be endured, (as is at last sure to be the case,) it will be succeeded by a long period of the grossest immorality, atheism, and debauchery. Whatever happens, we are for common sense and orthodoxy. Insolence, servile politics, and the spirit of persecution, we condemn and attack, whenever we observe them ;
* Vol. xii. p. 181.
but to the learning, the moderation, and the rational piety of the Establishment, we most earnestly wish a decided victory over the nonsense, the melancholy, and the madness of the Tabernacle.” * To all this, again I reply, Read Williams's “ Missionary Enterprises in the South Seas," and behold the results of the work of the men who laboured most deeply under these mental maladies! Williams was, beyond all question and all comparison, one of the maddest and most melancholy members of “the Tabernacle."
The present conductor of the Edinburgh Review is not to be held responsible for the folly, ignorance, impiety, and injustice of the articles from which these extracts are taken. They were highly mischievous in their tendencies, at the time of their appearance, both at home and abroad. Their evil effects have long since, however, been obliterated ; but a large debt of reparation is still due from that journal, to a cause which is that of the whole human race, as well as to a people who form the wisest, the most virtuous and philanthropic portion of mankind, who are now counted by millions, and are spread among all nations. It is to be hoped that the learned conductor feels a conviction of the justice of this debt. There can be no doubt of it. In proof, I rejoice to acknowledge that he has honourably paid one instalment of it in his review of the Voyages and Travels of Tyerman and Bennet, deputed from the London Missionary Society to visit their various stations in the South Sea Islands, China, India, Africa, and other places, between the years 1821 and 1829. In that just article there are concessions made which, on its appearance, multitudes of right-minded men read with much satisfaction, and which go far to furnish an antidote to the malignant virus of the adverse articles already quoted. It is there stated that the volumes “relate some very remarkable phenomena in the history
* Vol. xi. pp. 361, 362.
and condition of rude nations, and give a more striking view of the existing state of the heathen world, and of its dawning day of civilization, science, and religion, than has been furnished from any other quarter ; and that the account of the islands of the South Sea is peculiarly interesting, as offering to our view some of the most remarkable moral improvements that the world has seen since the early diffusion of Christianity.” The article concludes with the declaration, that the Deputation "accomplished one of the most varied, interesting, and instructive expeditions of which we have any record."* Sir, the whole missionary community estimate these concessions at their due value. They set the greatest store by them. Such acknowledgments, from such a quarter, it is scarcely possible too highly to appreciate. That community, moreover, take them as an earnest of something more, and of something still better. I say better, for, although the opinions just recited are highly flattering, still they are but opinions. The article is merely a mass of extracts, with a few connecting sentences. There is a total remission of that intellec, tual might, profound research, and amplified discussion, which, upon all great questions of a literary, scientific, or political order, characterise the Edinburgh Review. The writer appears to have merely lounged, wondered, and admired, while he read the marvellous record of the Deputation, without once arousing himself to reflection or to inquiry. What labour, what vigour, what brilliancy, the Review has from time to time displayed in articles upon romance, poetry, and party strife! Yes ; and often upon subjects of little general interest, and of absolutely no intrinsic importance. It will be a bright day for letters, for science, for jurisprudence, and for all that is dear to man, when the literature of missions shall become a reverend subject of intense and constant attention in all the great organs of literature. I do fer
* Vol, lvii. pp. 80-95.
vently hope that the Edinburgh Review will quickly set forth and take the lead in this most urgent and laudable of all intellectual labours.
In this walk it may yet earn laurels inexpressibly more glorious than those which it has already reaped.
It merits the attention of the Edinburgh reviewers, that the business of Christian missions is fast becoming a national matter. Men of all classes, from the peasant to the peer, and Christians of all sects, from the Established Churches to the Plymouth Brethren, are becoming engrossed by its consideration. Even the heads and chiefs of the literary world have not only begun to look with favour upon the undertaking, but are lending their powerful aid to promote its success. That great national work, the Encyclopædia Britannica, has done itself lasting credit by the insertion of a valuable
upon the subject. The Quarterly Review, also, --which, notwithstanding difference of opinion on certain points, must, I think, be allowed to have done immense service to letters, science, humanity, and religion, —is boldly putting forth its great power in behalf of this cause.
It has already done excellent service by its articles on missionary works. The question of the general principle of missions, in fact, is carried, among the ruling minds of the empire. It is, therefore, every hour assuming a more practical aspect. In this highest enterprise of philanthropy, as in every thing appertaining to civilization, the first place is held by England. May our beloved country continue to be in the cause of missions what she so long was in the cause of Mars! To adopt the words of a youthful writer, the gifted son of a gifted sire ;
“Rule—but, Britain, rule no more,
As thou didst in days of yore,