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and deep dislike in so brief a period ? Let us think of its history. If we glance at Scotland, what meets our eye? The mass of an intellectual country, which was then generally indifferent, is now awakened, through all its borders, to a sense of the claims of Christian missions ! The Independents, the Baptists, the United Secession Church, the Relief Presbytery, and the Establishment,—all, all are now boldly standing forth in this cause ;-all, all have their sons and daughters labouring in the foreign field. Again, if we look at England, we see the whole of the evangelical denoininations of that teeming country animated by the same spirit, and embarked in the same cause. The English Established Church, it is true, 'does not, like her northern sister, stand forth as a church, in the work ; but a multitude of her best people, and the flower of her bishops and clergy, have all given in their adhesion; and the Church Missionary Society claims as hers some of the most devoted and excellent missionaries now to be found among the Gentiles. Would any man, conversant with human nature and its tendencies, judging of this subject beforehand, have anticipated the accomplishment of so great a work in so short a space, in spite of habit and apathy, pride and prejudice, ignorance and banter ?
The wondrous change which has been thus effected in the human mind, is not limited to churches and communities of believers; it extends to all ranks, and all classes. The first and most hurtful adversaries to the cause were men of letters, authors, and conductors of the periodical press. Bitter was the spirit of these parties ;-violent were their assaults,—and great was the evil which they inflicted on the rising cause. Their tone, by degrees, however, was lowered ; and at length, their voice has either been silenced, or changed into eloquent advocacy. One literary organ, whose power was equalled only by its malice and mendacity towards the promoters of the infant movement, has honourably
changed its course, and done good service to an undertaking which it had laboured to destroy. Nor is this all; while the hostility of literature has been subdued, a new literature, both in prose and poetry, in behalf of missions, has been created ; and the missionaries themselves, in addition to their specific toils, have done much, by the productions of their own pens, to shame their learned adversaries. The works of Milne, of Morrison, of Medhurst, of Philip, of Ellis, of Williams, of Campbell, of Buyers, of Swan, of Moffat, and of others, are before the world. These volumes speak at once to the mind and the morals of their authors, to the object of their mission, and the tendencies of their labours. It would require more than common courage, in any scribe, now-a-days, to denounce, even anonymously, the men who wrote these books, as “ignorant clowns," “ enthusiasts,” and “maniacs;" or to deny that they are wise, humane, and virtuous !
But not merely is the harmlessness, and even the propriety of Christian missions now conceded; their matchless importance is fairly allowed in the high places of the earth. Their claims, in this respect, may now be asserted without provoking laughter and ridicule, even in the British Parliament. Yes, even in that place, where no excess of sympathy has ever been shown with Christian men or with spiritual enterprises, the merits of missions and the claims of the missionary character are now respected. It is no longer safe, even in that privileged place, to pour contempt on this heavenly undertaking. The high value of missionary labours has been frequently recognized in recent acts of legislation. Nor is this respect for Christian missionaries confined to England; America, as well becomes her, is not ashamed to confess her missionary citizens. Her Secretary of State recently declared that she will extend her protection to those noble men in every part of the world. It will not be prudent for France again,
other power,—to repeat her outrages upon American evangelists, either at the Sandwich Isles, or in any other portion of the globe. Brethren, are these small considerations? But the missionary principle has gained another triumph, perhaps even greater than any of those which I have mentioned. It has fairly subdued, and, to some extent, made the friendship of the proud genius that presides amid the academic bowers of Britain. It is at length fully recognized, both in the English and Scotch Universities; and most zealously espoused by the Board of Trinity College, Dublin. And last, not least, two prizes for Essays on Missions have just been given, it is understood, by Scottish Churchmen; and the arrangements, with respect to adjudication, have been under the management of men closely connected with the Scottish Universities. This circumstance is, I think, entitled to be considered as one of the most remarkable and cheering signs of the times. It is a noble act in relation to a nobler cause, and will doubtiess be attended with consequences of the greatest importance to the missionary enterprise. It was also meet that the first prize should have been carried by the chief head of the only College in England created by the spirit of missions, and the second by one of the chief ornaments of the most enlightened community of Christians in Europe, and the first to take the lead, upon a large scale, in the missionary enterprise. But prejudice was not confined to the chartered colleges; the Dissenting collegiate institutions of England were, at the outset, far from cordial ; but now, even the oldest of them are foremost in the race of promoting whatever tends to advance the grand object of the world's regeneration. That object is carefully provided for by the deed of Springhill College, while it was the specific design for which Cheshunt College was called into existence. What achievements! Can any Christian ponder the system of events of which these are only a part, without wonder and gratitude to
the Head of the Church, who makes his people willing to do his pleasure in the day of his power ? Surely the finger of God is here! Brethren, even if nothing had yet been done or begun, in foreign lands, still, to have brought about such a revolution in the mind of a great empire, extending itself to the churches in America, within the short space of fifty years, is surely a stupendous result! Yet this is only the beginning of the wondrous recital. Allow me to recommend to those who are sceptical upon the subject, to sit quietly down and peruse the reports, for the past year, of the Baptist, the London, the Methodist, and the Church Missionary Societies ; and when they have completed the task, let them speak their honest opinion. Let them take care to weigh well the difficulties attendant on the conversion of men under any circumstances, but especially in heathen lands ; let them compare the result, in the missionary field, with the agency; and then let them tell us whether the reaping, to say the least, has not been in full proportion to the sowing. * But leaving the British part of the proof as comprehending preparatory arrangements, I now proceed to the field of toil, and inquire into the actual condition, at the present time, of the missionary enterprise.
Brethren, you know that in foreign lands there is much, very much, to rejoice the hearts of the faithful. Could any man of prudence and experience, even twenty years back, have reasonably looked for the opening of so wide a door to the heathen, and that door beset with so few adversaries ? How altered is the aspect of the chief missionary fields since the elder portion of the present evangelists went forth ! You will remember the fearful condition in which our brethren were placed in the West Indies prior to the Act of
* See a very able discussion of this subject in Buyers' Letters on India, p. 21
Emancipation. They moved in fetters; they were in hourly jeopardy ; their presence was hateful to the bulk of the planters, and, so far as practicable, they were thwarted in all their efforts to promote the good of the suffering negroes. Such was their condition but yesterday. Now, however, old things have passed away, and all things are become new! The slave has awoke from the stupor of thraldom, and finds himself a free man ; and the persecuted missionary now rejoices in all the privileges of an Englishman and an evangelist. Only those who have known both the past and present state of things, can fully appreciate the importance of the change. Then Africa, the land of darkness and of blood, stands ready, to-morrow, to receive a hundred thousand missionaries ! No region ever presented a more inviting aspect to the servants of God than that suffering and benighted continent. It is now admitted that the poor black is not a beast, but a man ; and the hardest heart scarcely disputes that eternal happiness is not the less necessary to him because he is black, and because he has been robbed and oppressed by the white man !
The African missions furnish some of the finest specimens of Christianity that modern times can boast. The mass of the South Sea islands are fields white unto the harvest. With one or two peculiarly barbarous exceptions, there is reason to believe that missionaries, in any number, may be settled on them all. Their sylvan voice breathes across the Pacific, to England and America, an hourly prayer for increased assistance. Passing on to the Indian Archipelago, all is ours ; and the palmy plains of India, with all her millions, smile with the golden smile of harvest, invite us to put in the sickle, and reap for the Lord. Such, in a word, are the fields which are open to us,-fields where life and property are both in perfect safety,—that were missionary means and instruments augmented five hundredfold, we have ample scope for their employment.