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ing principles of Christianity, with all its civilizing tendencies, than the Hindoos. Almost the first declaration which a distinguished individual was understood to make on his arrival in India (I speak not from official statements, but from private communication) was, that he found he had been deceived when in Europe with respect to the danger of propagating the Gospel in India; that there was a preparation in the native mind for receiving the Gospel; that the minds of the Hindoos were no longer bound with impenetrable fetters; and that, if England did not give them the Gospel, there would be an outburst through the country, which would, in all probability, endanger the existence of our Empire.
To have begun, then, an infant society like ours, in the moments of fear and apprehension and ignorance of the future, and to have witnessed the steps of that Society, till it has stood on the firm ground of successful experiment, is at least one subject of congratulation for the past, and of animating encouragement for the future.
But, indeed, with regard to the state of mankind, and the duty of communicating to them the Gospel, the case has been made out so strongly, that we stand in no other relation to them than that in which the man who has been saved from a shipwreck stands towards his fellow-sailors who are still buffeting the waves,
and unable to discern or reach the shore. And I cannot understand any argument that can be addressed to the sound understanding of an Englishman more conclusive than this, that if God has given to me a blessing, and given it to me that I might propagate it to others, it is my duty to employ every means in my power of fulfilling that command.
And if in every thing else but religion the spirit of benevolence leads men to diffuse their discoveries, and if on the memory of the great benefactors of mankind the blessings and the praises of grateful nations repose, I would ask you, whether we are not to use every method for disseminating to the distant nations of the world the greatest discovery that God ever made to men?-the discovery of his own mercy-the discovery that God is not the object of terror, the author of misery and cruelty, as he is depicted in all idolatrous worship, but the Father of mercy and of love. I call that man a benefactor to the human race who can be the means of communicating, not the mere arts and luxuries of life, but the hopes of eternity; not the mere civilizing properties of human policy, but the ennobling, the sanctifying truths that raise prostrate man to his God, and implant in him the seeds of eternal life.
Every thing else will fade away; time slips from us; the works of art moulder into dust;
earth shakes to its foundation; an eternal state is pressing on us: and that which will remain will be, not the quibbles and the errors by which a fallen world is disturbed, but those mighty realities and truths by which as sinners we may obtain pardon and life. In the language of our native poet, Cowper
Marble and recording brass decay,
There is another sentiment which I wish to press upon your attention; namely, that enlarged efforts of Christian mercy ought to keep pace with the enlarged grandeur and character of our own country. I need not remind you in this vast town, so intimately connected with the greatness of our empire, that the British dominions extend over one tenth part of the population of the globe; that for about 270 degrees of longitude by 94 degrees of latitude, that is, nearly twenty thousand miles by six or seven thousand, there are but very short intervals between the separate colonies and posses
sions of the British Crown. I need not remind you, that within the last thirty or forty years the moral influence of England, the grandeur which has encircled her brow, the glory which Divine Providence has shed around her arms in lifting up prostrate nations, has placed her in a very different situation of importance, and therefore of duty, to that in which she had previously stood. Looking at England from the period of the Revolution, conflicting upwards through her various rebellions till our Indian Empire was gained about sixty years ago—I ask, whether any one will tell me that what was sufficient when we had not one-tenth of our present possessions, glory, and power, is adequate now, with the commerce of the world at our beck, our marine covering the ocean, and our discoveries illuminating almost every nook of the trackless deep? I would ask, whether a British public will allow that the contracted empire and the limited means of England are to be the standard of her benevolence, now that God has so inconceivably increased her power and enlarged her dominions? It seems to me, after all my friends have said about a new institution, that instead of any real ground for difficulty on this head, the difficulty lies here—why were we not at work before? Why were not new institutions formed long ago? At least this I may venture to affirm, that if any apology is ad
mitted for our past neglect, it must be found in our future exertions. If we have been so tardy in doing justice to the world, we can remedy that tardiness only by our present activity.
With this feeling I look round upon this great assembly with peculiar pleasure, comprising, as it does, so much of the wealth, and respectability, and benevolence of this great community. Next to the metropolis, there is no town which seems to be growing with such splendour, and to be taking so high a rank in the relative proportion of British greatness, as Liverpool. Though a stranger here, I am no stranger to your prosperity and your beneficence. Nor can I doubt that you will cheerfully aid in sending forth the Gospel of our Saviour to the distant shores of the world; so that wherever your commerce spreads, the Christian Missionary may penetrate; and that upon the temple of British glory may be inscribed the name of her God.
And, in the present state of the world, who can calculate what may be the ultimate blessing on a Society like this? It may be said of this Society, as was said of Lord Bacon's works by Morhof, that they were full of the seeds of things; were not so much occupied with developed projects; but were rather the first germs of future splendour, and the first elements of untold discovery. So I look on this Society as