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large portion of neglected time has already elapsed; that the toil and wealth already expended have been amply recompensed; and, finally, that pledges with out number are deposited by us, which Mahometans and Heathens, and our fel, low-Christians, and our consciences, and our Saviour command us to redeem. Waving the illustration of these facts, I am induced by the felicitous and most welcome (but till of late peculiar, if not unparalleled) circumstances which now surround me, to offer a few remarks on the intermingling of several religious denominations in the public advocacy of a Missionary Institution bearing the name, and conducted by the members, of one denomination. This growing practice ought, in my humble judgment, to be promoted, to the utmost limit which a system of enlightened expediency, and a just reference to our respective ecclesiastical engagements, will allow.
“ Thus, without any unhallowed compromise, we exhibit theological sentiments on a well-graduated scale, subordinating the less to the greater, and demonstrating that the points respecting which all real Christians differ are not worthy to be compared with those respecting which they cordially agree. Thus, too, we seal a bond which enhances all other obligations to exemplify elsewhere the candour professed within these walls. We virtually say, 'Nothing opposite to the temper so sweetly cherished here, shall, as far as we are concerned, escape from the parlour, the pulpit, or the press; if we must occasionally touch a controverted question, we will do it with a gentle hand, and whatever may be determined relative to the state of our judgments, there shall be but one opinion relative to the state of our hearts.'
“Our conduct, this day, places an edifying spectacle before carping infidels, and rigid Christians ;showing the former, that diversified modes of worship and ehureh-government, and clashing interpretations of certain passages contained in the comprehensive, ancient, and partly mysterious books which we call the Bible, comport with substantial union; and reminding the latter, that, when the disciples of the same heavenly Teacher associate as far as they can, and separate only where they must, much more benefit accrues to the common cause than it is possible to fetch out of the perpetual exhibition of Christianity in all the fractional varieties of distinct and often rival communions.
“ Nor ought we to forget, that the transactions of Societies at home are made known abroad, and operate as examples there. Let the employers of Missionaries become envious, encroaching, proselyting controversialists; then will Missionaries themselves be likely to receive the infection, and transmit it from station to station, and from age to age. Let us, on the contrary, who send forth those self-denying and indefatigable labourers, maintain, in our references and behaviour to each other, frankness, mildness, and magnanimity; then will it be easy, and, I had almost said, necessary, for Missionaries, from whatever district of the universal church they proceed, to invest their mutual intercourse and dealings with the attractive and beneficial charm of these Christian virtues.
“When we come thus peaceably and harmoniously together, we evince a fuller accordance in doctrine than we had previously been aware of; nor can we reasonably doubt, that by the habit of periodically exchanging these friendly visits we shall, in part, anticipate the felicities of that day in which the watchmen of Zion shall see eye to eye, and all invidious partitions be removed, and the communion of saints be realized, as well as spoken of, in every sanctuary throughout the whole extent of the Christian world. Even now we learn, in these new and happy connexions, to supply, some defects in our theological education; and, instead of speaking like those who seem resolved to be technical, sectarian, and particular, we are making a hopeful essay towards the adoption of a phraseology pure, catholic, and free, as the spirit by which we trust that these great assemblies are more and more animated.
“ Here, I may add, we tender ingenuous congratulations on the occurrence of glorious events which, under the divine blessing, have resulted from an agency not immediately our own. Many, for example of those who are listening to this address, are not enrolled among the Wesleyan Methodists; but may I not aver, that we all rejoice in what these our esteemed brethren have been enabled to effect, through the medium of that Missionary Institution which they more especially support ?
“ Allow me to say, in conclusion, that we may with perfect consistency accept congratulations as well as tender them : for, some of us who belong to other religious denominations are members of the Wesleyan-Methodist Missionary Society;
some will, at least, this day, stand forth, as I have been permitted to do, willingly pleading on behalf of that excellent cause. But whether we bestow money, or make public appeals, or only swell such immense assemblies by our attendance, provided our hearts go with these indications of good will, and all be accompanied with fervent prayers we connect ourselves with the most strenuous efforts and with the most brilliant successes of this society; we become identified with its interests and its honour; we are entitled to say, "These are the triumpbs with which it has pleased God to adorn our Society, and we will not cease to exult gratefully in the recollection of having contributed, through such a medium, towards the attainment of an end the noblest that ever awakened the desires of men, or ever employed the energies of God.'”
JOHN BACON, ESQ., seconded the Resolution, and spoke as follows:
“I beg to apologize for commencing with a personal allusion to myself ; but repeated illness lately, and much medicine, have so despoiled me of the few nerves which I once possessed, that, were it not for a promise given, I should plead to be excused, as unfit to address this vast assembly. I thought it best to mention this, in order to secure your indulgence, if I should be obliged to stop short and resume my seat; in which case, I hope you will accept the will for the deed.
“However, I am happy that in that blessed work, and that glorious contest, in which we are engaged in this day of unexampled Christian exertion, the race is not exclusively to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. Indeed, on finding that your muster of auxiliary forces to-day included so humble an individual as myself, I conjectured that our worthy commander in the Chair was about, for once, io dispense with the usual mode of warfare, and to try, like GIDEON of old, what he could effect merely with his pitchers and lamps.
“The history of Gideon, by the by, I have been thinking, is fraught with encouragement for us all in our conflicts, at home and abroad, with the forces of infidelity, superstition, and blasphemy. If the Lord of Hosts be with us, then shall a mere. cake of barley bread,' tumbling into the hosts of our enemies, smite their tents, and put their army to flight. If this be encouragement for the feeblest instrument among us, with what cheerful confidence may it be said to such an one as our Leader on the present occasion, as the Angel did to GIDEON, 'Go on and prosper' in this transcendently important work, for the Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.'
“ This I say, not merely to your Chairman, but to all your Missionaries and Preachers, and to your Society in general; and I say it with double pleasure, as being myself, by education and attachment, a member of the Church of England.
"Wesleyans, I am aware, are not to be accounted Dissenters; yet there is evidently a shade of distinction between you and us Churchfolks of a more inflexible description,-at least, sufficient to authorize my saying that you are, perbaps, of Paul, and we of APOLLOS. Well, Sir, let it be so, I have no doubt, if Paul had taken the Chair at a Missionary Meeting, (and I am far from being sure that he never did,) the disciples of Apollos, I will answer for it, would very cheerfully bave filled up half his platform, and would have joined con amore, in all bis motions and resolutions for disseminating the everlasting Gospel, wheresoever and by whomsoever it might have been preached. And I say, Sir, let a salutary shame and confusion of face cover that professing Christian who cannot rejoice in the spread of the REDEEMER's kingdom, unless it be effected by means of what he may consider to be his own religious denomination.--Not so with our common Lord and Master :-10 sectarian spirit contracted the benevolence that glowed within his sacred breast : He came, indeed, to his own: but, as his own received him not, what would have been our condition at the present moment, if he had said, 'From henceforth, as the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans, neither will I concern myself with the spiritual wants and calamities of the Gentile world ?? Does any one complain to us who are Episcopalians in this assembly, and say, in language similar to that addressed to Moses,— These Wesleyan Christians are appointing Missionaries, and prophesying in the camp ; let us forbid them, for they follow not in all respects with us?" I can answer for myself and my brethren of the Church here present, that we should one and all spontaneously exclaim as Moses did, “Enviest thou for our sakes? would to Gon that all the LORD's people were prophets, and that he would put his Spirit upon them.'” Vol. VI.
The RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR GEORGE HENRY ROSE, G. C. II., proposed the Second Resolution :-" That this Meeting solemnly recognizes afresh the claims which the unenlightened millions of the Heathen World possess upon the piely and benevolence of the whole Christian Church; and is also deeply sensible of the necessity and importance of that portion of the Missionary labours of this Society, which is devoted to the moral improvement of the British Colonies, and especially of the Slave-population of the West-Indies.”-He said that, for reasons which it would be necessary for him to explain, he had to address the Meeting as a member of the Established Church, and as a holder of West-India property. Of that Church he was an affectionate, and, he trusted, not unfaithful member; in her he had lived, and in her, if reason continued, he believed he should die. But, being such, he had felt himself called upon to act in a new and most painful situation, by a solemn and imperative sense of duty, which would appear from the predicament in which he had been placed, and which did not arise from any choice of his own. A small West-India property had come to him by inheritance, and by entail. It brought with it a great burthen on his mind, because it involved a fearful moral responsibility, which had rested deeply upon his heart, for he could not but be most anxious for the spiritual welfare of the negro population on his Eate ;-their temporal weal he bad ascertained was well provided for. It was his duty to obtain spiritual instruction for those who were thus placed in his hands; and to seek it from those persons who could best communicate it. There was a slight varnish of Popery over a gangrenous mass of heathenism in the negro population of the estate. Under the circumstances of the island, it was not possible for him to obtain assistance from the Church of England, or he should naturally have sought it there. Upon these matters he spoke on authority, though that of others,-having never himself been in the West-Indies; for when he came into the possession of this property, he filled a confidential trust from bis Sovereign in a foreign land, and, since then, had, with but little exception, been absent from England. He knew something of the hostility of the Planters of the island against certain modes of providing for the religious instruction of the negroes. It was his duty on the one hand to obtain it for them at any rate ; but to select, if possible, the most palatable mode, as that wbich would insure him the co-operation of other proprietors, and their agents. Under this impression, he addressed himself, in the first instance, to another respectable sect, but unsuccessfully. In these circumstances he felt that he had no choice but to go, at once, to the Wesleyans; through whom he sought to benefit the souls of the slaves. He accordingly addressed himself to the Wesleyan Missionary Society; and he spoke it to their honour, that their co-operation was not sought in vain. They most willingly seconded his views, and were ready labourers in the cause, acting with equal zeal, liberality, disinterestedness, and piety; and under God's blessing they had greatly succeeded. Of two considerable plantations in a large island, the responsibility for which rested considerably on him, the moral state of the one, where the Missionary had been, was greatly improved; in the other, on which no Christian instruction had been given, ignorance, dishonesty, deceit, and vice, prevailed to an alarming extent. This discovery pointed out the advantages of moral and religious instruction. On the religious estate the infliction of punishment was gradually diminishing, and thus, in a plantation of two hundred and fifty persons, (one hundred and twenty men, and thirty women,) only ten of the former, and one of the latter, had been punished for objectionable conduct during the preceding year. He was informed by a very sensible and respectable man, that he had the most sanguine hope and conviction, that, in a few years, corporeal punishment would be wholly discontinued, by means of the improvement in the moral and religious character of the negroes; and he felt himself called upon in honour and fairness to state, that this flourishing condition and important change were almost exclusively, if not exclusively, owing to the labours of the Wesleyan Missionaries. And it had been fully demonstrated to him, that the inferior, but now Christian estate, is become more productive than the other, which still remains pagan.
WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, ESQ., M. P. rose to second the motion of his Right Honourable Friend. He said he should follow his example, by stating at the commencement, that he, likewise, was a member of the Church of England. But he made that declaration for the purpose of adding that, in that place, and on that day, he waved all inferior considerations, and would open his arms wide to all his fellow-Christians, engaged in the glorious work for which they were
assembled.' He came there to lay down those distinctions which were appropriate and peculiar, to take up the common colours, and to march in the ranks of the whole Militant Church, united in this blessed cause. They all knew that, in ancient times, even in the darkest ages of barbarism, mankind sometimes met each other upon this very principle of mutual forbearance. They knew that, in those states of Greece, which were often engaged in warfare with each other, there was a sacred tent, whence there differences were excluded; where a spirit of concord prevailed for a time; and where they forgot their animosities. If this was the case amidst the darkness of paganism, what shame and reproach would attach to them, if they acted differently in this religious and enlightened country. With pleasure he could divest himself of the little distinctions of party. He seemed, indeed, to rise above them; to breathe a purer air; and to ascend to those higher regions, where all was peace and love.
The Third Resolution,—" That this Meeting, encouraged by the effects produced wherever Christianity has been faithfully preached, and its institutions of piety and mercy established, and deeply affected with the moral wretchedness of a great part of mankind, offers its grateful acknowledgements to Almighty God, for the success which he has been pleased already to vouchsafe to the exertions of the Society; and solemnly pledges itself to renew its exertions in providing the means of a more extensive ministration of the Gospel of Christ to the religious wants of the human race,” moved by JAMES STEPHEN, ESQ., Master in Chancery. He observed that the man must have a cold heart, and must ill deserve the name of Christian, who could behold such an audience, assembled on such an occasion, without lively, emotions of gratitude to God, the author of all good.
Among all the charities that abounded in this bis native land, none certainly were more interesting, or equally interesting, with those whose object was the diffusion of the glorious light of the Gospel in heathen lands. Compared with all other charities, the difference was as great as that between beaven and hell, as that between eternity and time. But, as “one star differeth from another star in glory;" so one object of Missionary labour may, and does, surpass others of the same general nature. And he rust say, that he could have wished to have been called to second the last Resolution, in order that he might have spoken for a few minutes on a subject introduced by his Right Honourable Friend, (Sir G. Rose,) and further noticed by that exalted Character (MR. WILBERFORCE) who last addressed them ;-a topic most interesting and dear to his heart;-be meant, the communication of Christian Knowledge, and of the advantages of Christian Worship, to that most degraded part of mankind,—the slaves of the West-India Islands. With him that object of the labours of this Society had a peculiar interest ; because, while we owe a duty of charity to all, to the Negroes we owe a duty of justice. They have been brought from their own native AFRICA, by. means now universally confessed to be unjust; and the only compensation that we can make is to give them that better inheritance, which alone transcends the inestimable blessing of civil freedom.
Another consideration made him feel a lively interest in the Wesleyan Missionary Society. He had watched, from an early period, the growth of that tree, which they had planted. It was his lot, (though without any merit on his part,) to see the introduction of the Gospel by the Wesleyan Connexion among the slaves of the West-Indies, seven or eight and thirty years ago; when their Missionaries first visited the island of St. Christopher's, where he resided for eleven years. He was, one Sunday, attending the Church in the capital of that island; --(for he also was a member of the Church of England; and their kind friends seemed determined on that day to put forward Members of the Church of England, in order to elicit from the consciences of those, who had beheld the fullest and fairest proofs of their success, a testimony in favour of their cause ;) -and while there he perceived that, present in the Church, and immediately behind himself, were three persons who joined very fervently in the responses of the service, which was no common thing in the West-Indies. The three strangers were dressed in black; and he concluded, from their animated devotions, that they were no ordinary characters. He had not heard of them before. They were the three Missionaries, first sent out by the Wesleyan Missionary Society to that part of the world; and one of them was that amiable, that pious, that indefatigable servant of his Lord and Master, the late Rev. Dr. COKE. These were the men who came to bring the blessings of the Gospel to the slaves of the WestIndia Islands. They could not be, as some uninformed persons had imagined,
enemies of the Church of England, whose first visit was to that Church. He was sure that the memory of that blessed man, whose name he had just mentioned, was still dear to many around him.-The difficulties of the Missionaries at that period, from local circumstances, were much greater than many supposed, They came there, not to meet with encouragement and assistance; but to encounter every species of neglect, contempt, and aversion. But they diligently sowed that seed of life, wbich would spring up into an abundant harvest. grain of mustard-seed would become a large tree.” Much good fruit would be produced. Who could calculate what would result, from the Christian instruction and discipline of twenty or thirty thousand persons, now actually united in the classes of the Society, and of a much larger proportion of hearers? If he had been told at the time, “You shall live to see these effects of the labours of those pious strangers behind you,” nothing could have more astonished him. He should have thought it impossible. Nothing less than a voice from heaven could have convinced him, that, in less than forty years, he should have witnessed that glorious success of their labours, which called for such gratitude to God.
To the religious instruction of the slaves, one obstacle, at that period, was the opposition of their masters; for that then there was such a spirit of hostility is not to be denied. There could not then have been found a man like his Right Honourable friend, (Sır G, ROSE,) who had that day avowed feelings and principles so honourable to himself, and who had given such a laudable example to his fellow-planters. He could sympathize with_SIR GEORGE Rose in the situation which he had described. His West-Indian Property (if he had understood him right) had come to him by inheritance, and not by his own choice; and the property was entailed. In consequence of those restrictions to which such property is subject, it was impossible for him to give his Negroes their en. franchisement. He found them in a state of dependance on himself, to which even he could not put an end. He beartily applauded the generous, pious, and Christian part, which bis Right Honourable Friend bad acted, under these circumstances, in searching for
the means of promoting the moral and religious welfare of those whom Providence had brought under bis care.
At the most moderate calculation, there were eight hundred thousand slaves in the West-India Settlements; who were their fellow-subjects, as well as their fellow-creatures; who had the strongest claims of justice, as well as compassion, upon the British Government, and upon the British people. It was impossible for him to add to their convictions on the importance of this subject; but let them animate each other in humble and pious exultation for what Almighty God had already been pleased to effect. They had not only been enabled to carry the blessings of the Gospel, in the exercise of Christian charity, to those who so greatly needed them, but they had redeemed this Christian land from merited reproach. The Protestant Church of England, to which he belonged, had neglected to pay any particular attention to the slaves of the West-Indies; for the fact was, that, with the exception of the Protestant Dutch Church, no provision had been made for their spiritual wants. Not so had the Roman Catholics acted. In the French, Spanish, and Portuguese Settlements, some knowledge of the Catholic faith had been communicated to them; but nothing had been expressly done in their behalf by the Protestant Clergy of the Church of England. Few of the slaves ever attended the regular services of the Church. Scarcely ever were they seen there, except that now and then one peeped in at the doors, to see what was going on. He knew one pious Clergyman (and he mentioned it to his honour) who attempted to benefit the slave-population by establishing an evening-lecture; but he soon gave it up, because he found that, from their want of previous elementary instruction, he could interest them but little. Yet that pious Clergyman rejoiced that others were doing what himself could not effect. Religion would benefit the temporal and civil condition of the Negroes, as well as promote their spiritual and eternal interests. To act like bis Right Honourable Friend, would raise the feelings of the master, as well as those of the slave ; and make them both, not merely in name, but in reality, Christians. This was an attempt which every conscientious and every good man must approve. They would thus convey to them the blessings of the life which now is, and the bappiness of that which is to come. Let this Society persevere in a work so eminently calculated to promote the good of mankind; a work by which they would wipe away the deepest reproach from their country, and open wide to myriads of their fellow-creatures, the doors of their REDEEMER's kingdom.