Зображення сторінки

official situations, both civil and military, sanctioning and encouraging the efforto which had been made for several years past, to disseminate the Scriptures, and to give the benighted heathen the benefits of the Christian ministry. In this honourable class, the nume of Sir Alexander Johaston occupied an eminert station. The island of Ceylon was especially indebted to his exertions. He was one of those gentlemen who had gone out, not merely to fill the seats of office, and to exercise authority, but to communicate solid and permanent blessings to the people, to raise the condition of society, to establish moral order, to create the religious principle, and 10 erect imperishable monuments of British power, in the exercise of British compassion, and the communication of British intelligence. His wise and comprehensive views on these subjects were in connection with the principles of Christianity. He felt the importance of the labours of Christian Missionaries, to raise the moral condition of the pagan population, and the Wesleyan Missionaries had found in him an adviser, and a friend. 'To him a large class of 'slaves in the island were indebied for their liberty, voluntarily conceded by their masters, under his representations; and to elevate minds rendered abject, and make their liberty a substantial benefit, he had been anxious that they should have the benefit of the exertions of Missionaries, whose saccesses among the negroes in the West Indies, were known by him, and justly appreciated. In addition to the obligation, which every assembly of Christians, met for such a purpose as the present, was under to acknowledge ihe exertions of the friends of Misions resident in foreign countries, this society was under special obligations to Sir Alexander Johnston, for the honour of his frequent attendance at the meetings of the Committee for the purpose of communicating information respecting the mission in Ceylon, and for his valuable advices. On these subjects Sir Alexander was always accessible, and his communications and opinicus equally marked the philosopher, the philanthropist, and the Christian. To such a person, he felt it no less a duty, as an official person in the society, than an honour,' to second a resotution of ihanks. • EDWARD Philips, Esq. of Melksham, said, that at this late period of the meeting he should feel himself blamable if he claimed attention for any lengih of time; but there was one thing which had impressed his mind since he had the honour and the plea. sure of being present; and it was this, how remarkably the providence of God appeared, when he determined to undertake any great work, in raising up suitable persons to carry it into effect. When God was pleased to determine to overthrow the infidelity and indifference to religion which existed 60 or 70 years ago, be raised up that distinguished man, the Rev. John Wesley; he went through the kingdom, and diffused the knowledge of the gospel of the blessed God. He need not tell the Chairman, or his friends, with what great and varied success he laboured, but he should think himself wrong if he did not bear his feeble testimony, that of all the Missionaries who have gone forth in the world, the Rev. John Wesley stands among the first. When it had pleased God to send the gospel to any particular quarter of the globe, he had raised up instruments fit for the work. When the Baptist Missionaries were sent to Continental India, he raised up a boy from the woodsma weaver's boy-he was now the Rev. Dr. Marshman, the translator of the Chinese Suriptores. “For the same work he was pleased to raise up a poor shoemaker's son in Northamptonshire, who was now Dr. Carey; instruments would never be wanted to carry on the blessed work of God throughout the world. He considered this as one of the most happy days of his life ; he had witnessed in this place the presence of the man to whom was principally owing the abolition of the slave trade. When he came forward to bear an honourable testiinony to the conduct and labours

of the Missionaries in the West Indies, the society could have no higher testimony. The glorious cause must go on, and though many things might occur to damp the zeal, and to wound the minds of those engaged in it, yet let them ever remember that great and glorious Being who is its author. In such a work he would never forsake them. Success must attend their efforts, and that success would be fully developed, when those Missionaries whom they were now sending abroad, should be seen bringing forward the children whom God had given them, and presenting them at the tribunal of Christ. These were consolations peculiar to a religious heart; triumphs far exceeding the triumphs of heroes ; triumphs which left no misery behind them, and which would issue in that everlasting glory which awaits the children of God.

The Rev. SAřUEL Woon, of Dublin, said, he did not know that he could add any thing to excite sentiments of gratitude to Almighty God, or a greater fervour in prayer to God on behalf of Missions, to that which had dropped from the lips of the highly respectable mover. He was happy to hear a gentleman, who was not a Methodist, bring a tribute of approval to our cause. In the Resolution he had the

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

honour to second, he found a recognition of the Missions in India, in West and South Africa, in New South Wales, in North America, and in Europe generally; but there was a strong predilection in an Irishman for his country: he did not find Ireland mentioned. He knew, however, that there was not present an Englishman or an English woman who did not acknowledge the people of his country as their brethren and sisters. He had heard a painful description given of the superstition of St. Domingo: he had followed his beloved brother Brown through all the painful and agonizing feelings of his heart, when he described the superstition under which the people there laboured. He had accompanied his friend Mr. Hawtrey through France, through that land strewed with briers and thorns--but his country! It was true his country had her faults and her crimes, but in the kindness of the heart it yielded to no nation! Give his countrymen the truth, and they would vindicate it; let them feel its power, and they would glow with its devotion; let them love God, and all the charities of religion would live on their hearts, and drop from their lips. His country had her faults—her crimes; but her natural failings had been made the tool of a baneful superstition. But she had her virtues, she had her sons of literature, and her sons of glory ; she had also lent to British Methodism one of her most pious, one of her most laborious, and one of her most learned orna. menis. The misfortune of his country was, that they were ignorant: but why were they ignorant? Did it arise from a want of genius? No. Why were they vicious ? Was it because they had not a heart capable of virtue ? No. Why then were they ignorant and vicious ? Because the dominion of popery still held the people in mighty chains—because by the artifices of priestcraft the poor were wretched, while thousands and tens of thousands were hurried into the coffers of artful priests. He alluded to the establishment of Purgatorian Societies in Ireland, which have lended more than any thing to the vitiation of principle and character. These were subscription societies to rescue souls froin hell. Every person becoming a member of a Purgatorian Society was to pay one penny per week, and then was entitled, at his death, to a mass; one month after his death, to a second mass; and eleven months after his death, to a third mass. This was the Christianity of Ireland. Heshould think, upon a nioderate calculation, that out of the three millions, one million of the popish population were members of these Purgatorian Societies. At a penny a week, this would produce 52 millions of pence a year, a sam of £216,666 13s. Ad. Thus the people were kept ignorant and vicious, and the priests extracted a sum of upwards of £200,000 a year out of the pockets of the poor. But he thanked God, that even ia Ireland good was doing. They had their Sunday School Establishnient in Ireland; the week before, he had attended the meeting of this society in the city of Dublin, and he was happy to state, that in the last year's report there were 60,000 children in a course of education, and this year the number was increased 21,000; so that now they had 84,000 children under instruction !-this was progress. They had also Bible Societies in Ireland in effectual operation, with other valuable institutions In addition to all these, there was a small band of Missionaries, supported by this Society, who preached the gospel in Irish, in the darkest and most neglected parts of the country. He had letters with him from those laborious ministers of Jesus Christ, wlrich he had intended to read, but time would not permit; and he would only say that they furnished a strong argument in favour of Irish missions; and shewed that within the last year a greater number of the most ignorant Catholics had been converted to God, than in any year since the mission had been established.-Mr. Wood concluded by putting into the hands of the Chairman a bill of £1500 being the first instalment of a legacy of £2000, left to the Mission Fund by Miss HOUSTON, a benevolent lady in Ireland.

The Rev. W. MARTIN, of Sheffield, said, when he came into the City Road Chapel he recollected the man who had often, in that pulpit, pleaded the cause of Missions—the Rev. Dr. Coke. How.great a Missionary he was, they all knew; he might have pleaded, and who was there who would not have admitted the plea? he might have pleaded the infirmities and disabilities of old age, to excuse him from undertaking the voyage to Ceylon, at his time of life; but this intrepid Missionary was not a man to refuse sacrifices for his God; his character was marked with decision and promptitude, joined with ardent love for the heathen, and the cause of Christ. If celestial spirits could feel any thing of what was going on on earth, then doubtless the benign spirits of such men were hovering about that vast assembly; and it would increase their joy Ao see us engaged in that great and blessed work for which they lived and died. He contemplated with hope the operations of Christian Missions in Africa. She had been degraded, but the African was as capable of

intellectual and moral greatness as any, Africa had energies. We were not to judge of the lion by what we see of him in dens and cages, or menageries; to know him, we must rouse him up in his native forests. From what Africa had produced already, we might judge what she was able to produce. We had read of a Hannibal, whose glory in the field had never been transcended. We had heard of Cyprian, Austin, and Tertullian, among the primitive fathers of Christianity, and all of them were Africans. Africa miylit be what she had been;she'was now in progress to civilization and refinement; and sciences and arts would again flourish with Christianity. He was a Cornish man, and could say, that all that had been said about Ireland was formerly true as lo Cornwall, 50 or 60 years ago. When Mr. Wesley went into Cornwall he found it in a state of great degradation. There were some Cornish men about him on the platform, and they could attest the truth of what he said. In Cornwall they had a popular proverb, " One and AU,” and it used to be one and all to the cock-fight; one and all to the bull-bait; one and all to the shipwreck; one and all to the smuggling vessel ; and, strange as it might appear, when the news of a smuggling.vessel on the coast, or of a shipwreck, reached a congregation at church on the Sabbath, it was one and all to plunder the wreck, or to cheat the king of his duties ;--but now it was one and all to the house of God, one and all to make prayer and supplication to God, on the behalf of the heathen world; one and all to come forward to the help of the Lord against the mighty." The Missionaries who had come into Cornwall had turned Cornwall upside down. There were now hundreds and thousands not only nominally Christians, but“ burning and shining lights” in the county of Cornwall. This motto of “ one and all” was a very good one appli-d to the present meeting ; he believed very little would be done unless all co-operated; but he was very happy to find, that in that meeting lo:day they were “one and all” in the work. He hoped this principle of union would spread through the kingdom.

The Rev. JOSEPH BENSON said, that his observations, as the time was far spent, would be few. He was convinced that those who had engaged themselves in the Wesleyan Missionary Society, and all other Missions, had done it with a single eye to the glory of God, and for the good of mankind; they had done it because they knew what those Missions had in view and were labouring to effect; not merely to bring either Pagans or Mahometans to be nominally Christians, but to be real possessors of Christianity. The men who had been seni forth had good information, and understood the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; they had long experienced its effects in their own souls, and they had it in their hearts to spread this Christianity. Ile was struck by an observacion made by Mr. Hawtrey, that our Missionaries “ went with their lives in their hands.” He had heard this made into an objection,-it had been said, that several who had gone to the West Indies had been cut off; that some bad died in Africa, some in Ceylon, and others had returned sick: but there were two considerations that convinced him that there was no weight in this objection : one was this—that those Missionaries were concerned in spreading that which was absolutely and esssentially necessary to the salvation of mankind, even to that of the heathens. One had mooted a question, wbether we could with propriety use the term “ pious heathen.” We might conceive that a man who had been a heathen might become acquainted, in some measure, with the living and true God, and worship him, and so far he might be a pious person ; but he could not find, from the New Testament, and he had considered the subject again and again, that a person who lived in the practice of gross idolatry, could be saved. When the apostle enumerated gross crimes he said, and "110 idolater," can enter the kingdom of heaven; and the argument which the apostle used might be seen in the first chapter of the epistle to the Romans, where he declared, that having the works of the Creator before them, and the dispensations of Providence, they were without excuse. Again, be could not find in the New Testament that persons living in the daily commission of gross sins, and therefore acting contrary to that light which God had, in some mea. sure, more or less, given to all men, contrary to their own reason and consciences, in theft, murder, adultery, could be saved. He was sure that the apostle said that "the wrath of God was revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” Again, it was commanded that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in Christ's name among all nations. Now preaching repentance implied guilt; no man would preach to another repentance without endeavouring to convince him that he had broken some law. He thought, then, a man might go with his life in his hand, with a good conscience, in a case so urgent. When Jesus sent out his apostles he sent them out with their lives in their bands, and he forewarned them that they should be scourged, and scorned, and hated of all men for his name sake, and that there were those who would kill them, and think they did God service. He forewarned them that brother should rise up against brother, and that children sliould rise up against their parents. Nevertheless, he bid them go, though he knew the consequence of their going would be imprisonment and death,

The Rev. JAMES Wood, (of Wakefield,) said he could not but rejoice at the change of sentiments which had taken place in this nation upon several subjects. Formerly it was a matter of doubt if it were any part of a Christian's obligation to support the Missionary cause in any form. It was said that the Mission to India would excite sedition, endanger the peace of that country, and be detrimental to the British Empire; that sentiment had happily changed, and even the writers who pnblished that sentiment had intimated, that if any thing could be done for the benefit of the heathens, it ought to be attempted. He hoped there was a change in another respect: when Missionary Societies were first established, it was said, that novelly was the reason why people gave so largely. It is now proved that they acted from principle, and he rejoiced in it; he was persuaded thai they felt a conviction that it was the cause of truth, and the cause of Christianity; and that the salvation of souls was closely connected with Missionary exertions.

The Rev. George MARSDEN acknowledged tlle vote of thanks to the General Treasurers. He stated that the Treasurers were largely in advance, but the advance had not been from any decrease of our income, for the income to the present day had 'been beyond that of any former year, but from the extended assistance which the Committee had given in answer to the calls of different parts of the world; they went a little beyond their supply. It was not the wish of the Committee to have a large treasure in hand; they wished to give freely and largely to carry the gospel to every part of the world. When 20 millions of immorial spirits of the heathen world were yearly passing into eternity, it was not the time to heap op treasure; the fields were white for harvest; the Lord had raised up labourerss, and he was convinced that Christian congregations would send them forth.

Mr. ScArth, of Leeds, had witnessed with feelings of no ordinary interest the rise and progress of Missionary Societies, which had for their object the support of the Wesleyan Missionaries. He had seen how God had blessed them, and made them accomplish the intended end. At one of the first Missionary meetings in Yorkshire he ventured to predict, that if the plans of these Societies were universally and generally adopted, the consequence would be, that more money would be raised in Yorkshire alone than at that time was raised by the whole connection. The e views and hopes were now more than realized. He had to move the thanks of the meeting to the General Secretarier. It was not in his power to express any thing like the feelings of his heari, or the obligations which the Society was under to those excellent and valuable men, for their zeal and activity, and indefatigable industry in promoting the interests of the Society. He thought it proper to notice kow much they were indebted to them for their occasional visits to the country; the anniversary sermons they preached, and the information they gave on the subject of Missions, gave an impulse which did not cease to operate till the returning anni. versary. These visits and labours were attended with great sacrifices of time and comfort, and it was the least they could do to express their gratitude. He prayed to God that this cause might not want such scribes to record its transactions, such advo. cates to plead its cause.

Mr. OSBORNE, of Rochester, seconded the motion.

The Rev. JABEZ BUNTING acknowledged the vote of thanks which had been so kindly moved and seconded, and which ihe meeting had done bis brother Secretaries and himself the honour to pass unanimously. As to his highly respected brethren and colleagues, (respected in every point of view in which he was connected with them,) he had the opportunity of knowing the strength of their attachment to this glorious cause, and the sacrifices they made for it. He congratulated the Society on the appointment of the resident Secretary. He was sure that benefits had resulted to the Society in no common degree from the exertions which he had made; from his diligence and attention to business, his indefatigable industry, his general intelligence, his valuable local knowledge on West India subjects

, all which were made to bear on that cause which we were assembled this day to promote. As to his other highly respected friend and colleague, they all knew how warmly he felt in the cause, and the exertions lie inade for its success; and he joined in the wish that this Society may never want such a scribe to record its proceedings, and such an advocate 10 plead in its behall. It gave him pleasure to return his sincere thanks to many of the representa'ives of Auxiliary Societies, who had attended to-day. It was not only on that platform that these gentlemen lent assistance to the cause, it was in their own neighbourhoods that their influence and exertions were most important. He had great pleasure in reporting to the Society, that from every thing which he saw and heard, in every part of the country, east, west, north, and south, the Missionary spirit was rising among the Methodist Societies in general: the field was large enough for all, and we were not willing to be outstripped by the zeal and piery of other congregations ; though we should not like to be considered as rivals, but rather as co-partners and tellow-labourers, He, could not but regret that the meeting had not been addressed, as was intended, by Mr. Morley; but it was right that they should know that he, during his station at Leeds, was the founder of the Methodist Missionary Societies; it would be known in another world to his honour, and ought to be known in this. He had enjoyed great pleasure in what he had heard that day: they had received the kind assistance of several friends of other denominations, and this was as it ought to be. The meetings of Bible Societies were not the only meetings in which we might consider ourselves as members of a common family. Those who were active in Bible Societies were doing a great deal of good, and God grant that they might do abundantly more. It was a circumstance of high importance to the moral improvement of mankind, that the Scriptures should be circulated ; and he knew that the Chairman and many persons present, were taking a most active part to promote their circulation. But he was very glad to hear this sentiment so publicly. acknowledged and expressed, that the Christian ministry too was essential to the general recovery of those who were “ without Christ and without God in the world;" and that they concurred in that principle which was laid down by the excellent Irish lady, to whom they were so highly indebted, who, when she determined to make that noble disposition of her property, for the support of the Bible Society and our Missionary Society, which liad been mentioned, gave this as her reason, that she wished the Word of God and the Servants of God to go together throughout the world. Mr. Wood had been telling them of the money raised by Pargatorian Societies. He had sometimes calculated what might be done for Missions by penny a week societies: with the utmost ease we could, if we had a heart to do so, double the sum which was now received. If every member of the Methodist Society in Great Britain would only give himself, out of the produce of bis self.denial, or his industry, or beg from his richer neighbour, one penny per week, instead of liaving to report an income of £18,500, we should have to report annually upwards of £42,000. God forbid that any thing should be done to injure any other charity; but without injuring any other good cause he thought every member might either give himself, or might beg from well-disposed persons, one penny a week, and that would enable us to double the number of our Missionaries, and carry on the work upon a much more extended scale. Mr. B. then moved the thanks of the meeting to the Chairman, which was seconded by Joseph BULMER, Esq.

The CHAIRMAN acknowledged the vote of thanks. He very sensibly felt the kind manner in which they had received his humble services upon this occasion, and the thanks should be to them for the honour and pleasure which had been afforded him that day. It has added much to that pleasure to meet with our Christian friends from Ireland and Yorkshire, our men of Kent, and our Cornish men, and friends of various denominations, both in the church and among the dissenters. These meetings had a happy tendency to unite in Christian fellowship persons of all parties and denominations. He ihought, that we should act upon the sentiment of the Cornish men, and be “ one and all” in this great work; and when we had done with the things here below, he trusted that “one and all” would spend a blessed eternity together.

Thus ended a most delightful day, in which the best feelings of zeal for the cause of our Lord, joy in the progress of his truth, and compassion for a perishing world, were called into lively exercise. The union of so many persons of different denominations, which the platform presented, pleading the cause of Missions to the pagan world, as the common cause of all Christians, was indeed a sight most grateful to the feelings of Christian charity. We were happy also to observe so great a number of our friends from different parts of the kingdom, come up to celebrate this annual festival, and kindle anew the fire of zeal at a common altar. All these circumstances are im

« НазадПродовжити »