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This, my Lord Duke, is only a 'specimen of a work which, in substance, is being carried on with like success under almost every sky, and by Protestant missionaries of all denominations. Among men of all hues, of all tongues, and in every stage of barbarism, it is now being demonstrated that the gospel of Christ is “ the power of God unto salvation to every one that beliereth.” Those portions of the globe which have been last discovered, have been among the most successful fields of modern missions. I refer more especially to the islands of the South Seas. The spirit of discovery, animated by the love of science, first descried those lovely isles. Commerce, impelled by cupidity, next visited them ; but science and commerce left the natives ignorant of God. To them, the white man's discovery was no blessing, and each successive visit was but a greater curse! At length the missionary ship from England arrived at Otaheite, with men of manners so unlike all that had previously appeared on their shores, that the natives could scarcely believe them to be English. After fifteen long years of delay and disappointment, difficulty and danger, and the murder of a portion of the missionary band, the truths of God began to take effect, and produced such results as had had no parallel since the times of the first propagation of Christianity. Would your Grace wish to see a record of those moral wonders ? The volume of John Williams records facts which place the work of missions in a light altogether new. The perusal of it will, I doubt not, fully convince you that nothing is wanting to the entire moral renovation of our race, but that “ the earth should be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” This allegation admits of no dispute. Its truth
is as clear as the light; its certainty amounts to demonstration. What developments you will perceive in that book of spiritual life, of intellectual and moral power ! What an exuberance of all that tends to make man lovely and life happy! See once degraded humanity now robed in the dignity of virtue, and liberty, formerly unknown, enshrined in the sanctuary of Law! See Art strewing her comforts, Education diffusing her benefits, Science her pleasures, and Religion her glories! See the candle of the Lord lighted up in the hearts of myriads who but lately dwelt in darkness ! Now beholding the image of God in the face of Jesus Christ, they rejoice in the Prince of Peace.
It well becomes England to think highly of Christian missions, for with them originated all her greatness. They found her a slave-province of Rome: they now behold her the foe of thraldom and the first of free empires, and the mistress of great nations. The Protestant principle and doctrine, to which she owes her present constitution, with all its attendant blessings, was first brought to her by these missionaries. England is the chosen abode of civil freedom; and still more is she distinguished by that yet greater blessing, Freedom of Conscience. Most nations know but little of civil, still less of religious liberty. The union of these liberties, however, is the principal source of her renown. Nor is this all: during the late great continental war of freedom, England's gold mainly sustained the costs of its armaments throughout the terrible struggle ; and, in the person of your Grace, she fought, in its war, the greatest battle that ever was fought for freedom in our world. Thus has England attained the dreadful summit of martial glory; and her matehless maritime power and prowess have been long proved and confessed by all lands, and in all seas.
Such is the peerless pre-eminence of Old England, in matters of a warlike character; but in the mind of Christians this constitutes the meanest of her glories. Her true glory is based on her piety, and on the institutions which it has created. In the British Isle there is more true godliness—religion founded on knowledge—the fear and love of God residing in the heart, and regulating the life-many times over, than among all the nations of Europe. Her schools, her colleges, her chapels, her churches, her hospitals, her asylums, and her innumerable receptacles for every variety of suffering humanity—these and their attendants are more substantial grounds of praise. One chief element of her greatness is the fact alleged by your Grace, that the English are “not naturally a military people,” that “the army is an exotic," and that none can be induced to enlist in it but the very offscouring of society. This national feeling of aversion to war may be traced up to the evangelical principle of the Reformation, a principle which has affected the moral sentiments of multitudes who never received the gospel in the love of it. She has become deeply imbued with that gospel which is destined to extinguish war throughout all the earth. Next to her glory in being the great European depository of pure religious truth, is her glory in being the foster-parent of Christian missions. She has been chosen of God, in preference to all other kingdoms, for this great work of piety and mercy. She has not only taken the lead of all the nations of Europe, but she has the honour of performing nearly the whole work alone. It is British type that is diffusing the Scriptures of truth
among all nations; it is the English tongue that is calling upon those nations to behold the Lamb of God!
In connexion with the work of Christian missions, and in order to facilitate its advancement, God has given to England more colonial territory than to all Europe. She is marked out to be the great mother of empires. Her gigantic first-born, in the New World, is fast becoming her rival in all that constitutes true worth and national greatness. What interest attaches to Plymouth Rock, New England, on which the Pilgrim Fathers first set foot as they left the little ship which had wafted them from the land of their fathers' sepulchres! See them ascending from the frozen beach, and penetrating the pathless forest, where they effected a first lodgment for the arts, letters, and religion! What a work was that day begun! Never was colony so commenced. Never did perfect liberty so combine with the most enlightened piety. On that day, a continent, stretching from pole to pole, became the residence of a portion of the highest civilization and the purest Christianity that the world had seen. The arrival on those shores of the bark of the Pilgrims was an event only second in importance to that of Columbus. But how different the principles, religious and political, of the Spaniards and of the English! and how different the results! From the one colony sprung evil without mixture—crimes without parallel-calamities and curses which baffle description, which baffle conception! From the other incalculable and unmingled good,-good which will exist through all future time, and which will be diffused over all countries. The shores of New England are now studded with cities, its plains are waving with
golden harvests, religion and commerce, liberty and learning, preside, with matchless beauty, throughout all the happy land!
What the doctrines of the gospel have done for the colony of the Pilgrim Fathers they can effect for all the colonies of Britain. No place more loudly demands their restraining presence and mitigating labours. Nothing but the doctrines of Christ, as diffused by his true and faithful missionaries, can prevent even British colonies from becoming what the Spanish and Portuguese colonies have ever been, a double curse—a curse to the Aborigines and to Britain herself. She has, in her colonial movements, too much resembled ancient Rome. Her object has not been to benefit the natives, but herself; her policy has not been governed by the principles of Christianity; it has been always military and commercial. Her aim has been subjugation, ascendancy, and wealth. Like Rome, her colonies, as your Grace well knows, have been little more than military establishments, advanced posts in the path of rapacious conquest. Her law has followed her cannon. First the soldier, then the merchant, while both have done their utmost to exclude the missionary. “First bind, and then plunder,” has been the motto of England's colonial procedure; and if God had not, in mercy, raised up Christian missionaries, and sent them forth to both the East and West Indies, to Africa, and elsewhere, to mitigate misery as well as to abolish or prevent it; to plead for the oppressed, and to break the rod of the oppressor, the cry of the afflicted in the British dependencies had long since ascended to the throne of Eternal Justice, and brought down vengeance upon the head of the guilty! But why has God given to England those