« AnteriorContinuar »
BAPTIST HOME MISSIONARY
The Annual Meeting of the Society duty in this matter. The increase of was held on Monday, April 26th, in city missions and home and county Finsbury Chapel, which was well filled missions was a proof of this ; and the on the occasion. The chair was occupied success attending many of these comby SOLOMON LEONARD, Esq., A.M., of paratively new-born efforts clearly showBristol.
ed what a promising and valuable field The Rev. W. LAROM, of Sheffield, had long been lying almost entirely having opened the proceedings by neglected. Whole districts prayer,
ignorant of, and as unconcerned about, The Chairman said-It afforded him the church be awakened to a sense of
the Gospel, as heathen countries. Let great pleasure to have an opportunity of its high vocation ; let each man lay himspeaking a word in behalf of the Baptist self out for the conversion of others; Home Missionary Society; not because and the event would fully justify the it was Baptist (though he liked it none prediction of the Saviour, that “ He the worse for that), but because it was would draw all men unto Him." No a missionary society, the object of which cause with which the Almighty Saviour was to give a wider diffusion to the was linked could fail, but it must issue Gospel of Jesus Christ ; and especially in final triumph and full prosperity. because it was a home missionary society, But what a melancholy consideration it endeavouring to secure that diffusion
was that we should allow the opportuamongst the populous but neglected nity of hastening that issue to escape districts of our own beloved country from us, and be transmitted to those He need not say that this was a field of who should come after us. The time Christian labour which had not by any was short, and it was our bounden duty means met with its proper sliare of attention and cultivation from the Christian Gospel amongst our own countrymen,
to be steadfast in the propagation of the church at large. Our Lord instructed to work in the cause with all our might, his disciples to “ begin at Jerusalem.” under the assured conviction that our
This circumstance had often been re- labour would not be in vain in the ferred to as indicating a wonderful
Lord. compassion on the part of the Saviour, enjoining the efficacy of His blood to be A summary of the report was then proclaimed first to the nation that had read by the Secretary, who also read the been employed in shedding it; but was cash statement, in consequence of the that all He intended to convey? It was absence of the Treasurer through severe pot only the dictate of compassion but domestic affliction. The report, which the suggestion of unerring wisdom, is now ready for circulation, and which teaching us where to begin and how to contains several extracts from the comcarry, on attempts to evangelize the munications of the missionaries in raworld; not commencing at the utmost rious districts, closes with the following limits of our commission and then work statement respecting the management of ing our way doubtfully homewards, but the society :beginning at home, securing the ground For several years past the Committee as we went on, even to the utmost have earnestly wished their respected regions of the world : or at least work- secretary to relinquish his pastoral ening in both departments simultaneously; gagements, and devote his time excertainly not making our interest in the clusively to the interests of the society. salvation of the heathen a plea or excuse They have found from experience that for neglecting that of those around us travelling agents or deputations, howin a state of ruin and perdition. He ever excellent as such, could not conwas glad to find that Christians were stitute the link they felt to be necessary evidently awakening to a sense of their I between themselves and their agents
and auxiliaries. On two previous occa- Committee will again be specially disions, therefore, they unanimously re- rected to this and to a kindred subject ; quested their secretary to devote himself and it is probable that their relation to wholly to the requireinents of the insti- several of their auxiliaries will gradually tution. But while he was willing to become much more defined and beneundertake the labour, and make the ficial to both parties than at present. domestic and other sacrifices which were The times in which we are living necessary, he was anxious, if possible, clearly enough indicate the importance that the society should be spared the of healthful united action between the expense involved in such an arrange- different sections of the same denomiinent, 'at any rate that it should not be nation, aud, as far as practicable, beincurred until other expedients had been tween the several denominations ; while exhausted. During the last ihree years, if any rivalry be admitted, it should be with the view of cconomizing the re- without jealousy, and of the most genesources of the society as far as possible, rous and Christian character. Your Comno regular collecting agency has been em- mittee unfeignedly rejoice in the wide ployed. In many instances the churches field which is occupied, and in the imhave been left to make their own con- portant results which through the Divine tributions ; in others, in which deputa- | mercy, are being secured by kindred intions have been insisted on, they have stitutions whose resources and appliances been employed; and while the secretary are much more extensive than their own. has been obliged to be much more fre- They are thankful, too, that a very much quently from home than was compatible larger amount of home evangelizing with due regard to his pastoral engage- effort is put forth by the churches than ments, he has been quite unable to meet could possibly be registered by any the exigences and satisfy the demands Society however comprehensive its orof many of the auxiliaries. At length it ganization. If the British churches are appeared indispensable to the efficient not doing all that they might for the inanagement of the affairs of the society, scriptural enlightenment of the British that some such measure as that pre- people, they are doing more than deviously contemplated should be adopted. sponding friends, or uncandid foes, are For tlie third time, therefore, your Com- prepared to ackuowledge. But while mittee unanimously and cordially invited admitting this, it is not to be denied, Mr. Davis to undertake the treble office and ought to be deeply felt, that there of secretary, collecting agent, and fra- is sadly too much occasion for humiliaternal visitor of the stations; convinced tion, self-reproach, and repentance; and that his doing so would operate more or for renewed self-consecration, effort, and less beneficially on the interest of the prayer. Popery is steadily, earnestly, institution through all its auxiliaries. and systematically at work, and if the Sympathizing thoroughly in the con- point from which it started only a few victions of the Committee, though feel- years ago be taken into the account, ing as solicitous as ever not to incur any it has more comparative success than expense that could by a true economy certain chapel building and other be avoided, the secretary determined to statistics, which overlook this considergive himself, at least for a time, exclu- ation, would lead us to suppose. Semisively to the work. Since his full en- popery, that form of the great apostacy gagement he has laid before your Com- from which our population has most to mittee much information which is likely fear, is at work, if with somewhat less of to lead to important modifications and Jesuit-like system, with numerous and changes; and through various channels important advantages which Jesuits they have become apprised that his cannot command. Infidelity is at work; occasional ministrations have proved both that which is indigenous, and that useful to many of the churches. Their which is of German or German-Ameriattention has recently been drawn to can origin ; boldly speaking out in some, the importance of discriminating, both and stealthily insinuating itself into in the body of the report and in the much larger, portions of our literature. cash account, between those auxiliaries It behoves us, therefore, to endeavour which are in working co-operation with to lay our plans wisely, and carry them them, and others which are simply af- out with a a zeal according to knowfiliated bodies. The cash statement of ledge," not waiting, however, for a perthe present year makes a distinction be- fect organization, or perfect men ; but tween them. The attention of your doing our utmost with the means and agents at our command ; and in a spirit | the missionaries to counsel and encouof suppliant and confiding dependence rage them in their work. The report on Him with whom is the residue of the speaks of the efforts of tractarians by Spirit,” and who alone “can give the means of the National Schools. We increase.". The gospel, made known in know that their favourite doctrine, bapa compassionate spirit by men who have tismal regeneration, is recognized in the been divinely taught it, and who have cateehism which is regularly taught in experienced its life-giving energy, is those schools. The generality of the still “ the power of God to salvation to children may not believe the unscriptural every one that believeth.” The true doctrines of the catechism, but by means greatness of Britain depends under God of the sehools in which it is taught they on its wider diffusion amongst us, and are precluded from receiving scriptural on its more commanding influence. The instruction. So that if the tendency of eyes of many peoples, longing intensely, these schools is not superstitious, it is anunder the iron despotisms which for the ti-religious. The belief is gaining ground moment keep them down, both for that if fairly dealt with the people may liberty and for religion, are turned to safely be left to provide_for their own wards us as examples, and that they comfort and education. But the quesmay obtain our help. “ The Lord have tion occurs, by what moral force are the mercy upon us, and bless us, and cause people to obtain these things ? Withbis face to shine upon us ; that his way out engaging to answer this inquiry, we may be known upon earth, his saving may safely affirm that some time must health among all nations."
elapse before they can be obtained, and The Rev. E. GRIFFITHS (of Upwell) still longer time before their beneficial moved the first resolution :
results can be realized. Meanwhile this That the Report, an abstract of which has society proposes to go to the people as just been read, be printed and circulated under they are, and preach to them the gospel the direction of the Committee; that gratitude of Christ. We are encouraged by the is due, and is bereby expressed, to Almighty fact that it is easier to induce adults to God, for the measure of success which has hear the gospel, than to attend to any attended the operations of the Society during regular course of secular instruction. the past year; and that while the great work and it is generally found that when the on recognised principles of Christian patriotism, parents become interested in the gospel, it every day assumes increasing importance in they are anxious for both the secular and conseqüence of the emigration of great numbers religious instruction of their children. A of our countrymen to our colonies and to other Baptist home missionary has peculiar parts of the world.
advantages. He has no political system [As time did not permit Mr. Griffiths to defend. He may, for every good purto deliver the latter part of his intended pose, be a man of the people. He has address, the substance of the whole no ecclesiastical organization to uphold, is given from his notes considerably he has simply to proclaim the truth as it abridged.]
is in Jesus. There is no scriptural docHad I been permitted to choose the trine or precept on which he is bound to sentiments of my present speech, it neutrality; he may boldly declare the would have been that the Home Mis-whole counsel of God." However valusionary Society ought to be supported. able other means may be for preventing There is a sense in which every Chris- the external manifestations of sin, it is tian is a home missionary, and every only by the gospel that the heart can be Christian church a home missionary changed. Oiher means may act against society; and a wider sense in which the outworks of sin and misery, but the a county association is a home mission- gospel is mighty through God to the ary society. I would now call your pulling down of strong holds, and bringattention to a society whose cperations ing into captivity every thought to the are much wider than any of these. To obedience of Christ. To elevate a people the efficient working of such a society without the gospel, would be nothing as intimated in the report, it seems more than a temporal elevation. They necessary to have the services of at least must still be left without hope for one competent person, who, while he eternity. Nothing but the gospel can fit acts as secretary to the society and them for “glory, honour, and immorcollector of its funds, shall be a mission- tality.” And it is only by keeping the ary to the churches to stir up their spiritual and eternal blessings of the missionary zeal, and a missionary to 'gospel permanently in view, that even its temporal 'advantages can be fully and the gratification is not unmingled; the effectually secured. Home missionary increased interest indicates the existence efforts are pre-eminently reproductive. of evil; it has been awakened by deChurches formerly assisted by this plorable facts which have forced themsociety (several instances I happen to selves upon public observation-facts know) now contribute with comparative which show that the interest, great as it liberality to both home and foreign is, is not equal to the occasion, and that missions. And from these churches men every argument by which it may be of God are raised up to preach the gospel augmented, and the church stirred up to both at home and abroad. The report vigorous and persevering efforts should states that some of the churches have be diligently and incessantly plied. It been diminished by emigration. How- is not unusual on these occasions to ever painful it may be to the churches prove the necessity of such societies as to be thus deprived of tl:eir members, it this by quoting facts illustrative of pois pleasing to know that a few individuals pular ignorance. But it is not needful to of the many thousands who are leaving appeal to the accident of popular ignoour shores are true Christians, who may rance, while there is the essential fact of become the living epistles of Christ in human depravity: Man's derangement distant lands. Who can calculate the is not so much in his intellectual as in good that might be effected in those his moral nature; and it will avail little distant lands, if but half of those who that his intellect be cultivated while his leave our shores were only converted to affections are unchanged. Even in this God ? Seeing then the tendency of age of vaunted enlightenment and prohome missionary efforts to promote both gress, when the world is to be regenethe temporal arid spiritual well being of rated by the diffusion of knowledge, man in every part of the world, we have much of the literature provided for ihé every encouragement to persevere, people is comparable only to moral knowing that we are employing means poison. It is like pitch, you cannot which God has graciously engaged to touch it without being defiled. Nor do bless. May the Society be encouraged we forget that knowledge, which is to go forward, praying “God to be good in itself, may be rendered by demerciful to us and bless us, and cause pravity the instrument of greater evil. his face to shine upon us, that liis way Could you combine the intellect of a may be known upon earth, liis saving Newton with the passion of a Nero, the healtlı among all nations."
intellect would not subdue the passion, The Rev. W. LANDELLS (of Birming- but the passion would press the intellect ham) seconded the resolution. He said: into its service; the result of the comthe question-how to evangelize our bination would not be a philosopher of country, is now occupying a large share such commanding force of character as of the attention of the church. The time the strong passions of the monarch would has happily gone by when home was in lead you to suppose, but an intelligent danger of being overlooked, in conse- monster, in which the brute and the quence of the superior eclât connected fiend were nearly equal. When I hear with foreign operations. The infidel the talk which is now so common of the cannot now taunt the Christian with in- moral results which are likely to accrue sincerity, in professing to care for the from the diffusion of knowledge, I ask, heathen abroad while he feels not for Do facts justify the expectation? I think the more wretched heathen at home. of Rosseau who was alike distinguished Various institutions for the benefit of for his intellect and his vice;
of the proour country have sprung into existence, fligate Mirabeau, who had the most comand various means have been wisely manding intellect, perhaps, which France chosen and are now vigorously worked in bis day could produce ;-Napoleon and extensively supported by the most comes to my remembrance, the man of active spirits of the age. The fact is the greatest mental capacity, not only in gratifying as an indication that the France but in Europe, but who was, church lias become more alive to her withal, “a boundless liar,” a thief, an first duty, and to the interests of a class assassin, a slanderer, " a scamp Jupiter," who have a first claim upon her benevo- as he was well called, who trod upon lent regard, and also as affording reason the neck and waded through the blood to hope that an increased interest, lead- of thousands, that he might obtain the ing to more commensurate efforts, will object of his ambition ;-the name of be crowned with enlarged success. But | Byron presents itself; Byron, who rose at one bound to the very pinnacle of racter of the day. Nor is the condition fame, who was familiar witli nature in of these parties in relation to Christianher wildest and her softest moods, but ity merely a negative one ; that of many who, with all his genius and all his fame, of them, at least, is one of direct anwas, ere he reached life's meridian, a tagonism. Religion is so associated in worn-out debauchee, weary of living, their minds, that the slightest allusion to and yet unfit to die. When I think of it excite their intense hostility; its these things I see the utter inadequacy badges, its professors, but especially its of knowledge to regenerate the cha- ministers, are the objects of ridicule and racter and remedy the evils of society ; scorn. To sneer at it is manly; to seek and I see that we perform a gratuitous its destruction is to prove yourself a task when we attempt to prove the ne- benefactor of, and to merit the gratitude cessity of home missions by appealing of, mankind; to profess it is an indicato popular ignorance; for, however far tion of weakness or of fraud; to be man may have advanced in knowledge, completely devoted to its promotion is though his intellect matched that of an to practise an organised and systematic angel, there is still need for the applica- deception for the furtherance of some tion of a more efficient remedy. Neither sinister end. That this is no exaggerated is it necessary to adduce particular in- description of the condition of the workstances as illustrations of the depravity ing classes, especially in our manufacand wretchedness of many of our coun- turing towns, you are very well aware. trymen. It may with propriety be as- And does not the fact present the loudest sumed that there are facts sufficient for argument in favour of such societies as our purpose with which you are all this? To rest satisfied with such a state acquainted. I communicate no intelli- of things is an impossibility to a Chrisgence when I say that only a small pro- tian man: and it is only in the measures portion of the inhabitants of this land which home missions contemplate or profess to have become partakers of a admit of that you can find an efficient new, a spiritual, and a higher life; and remedy. We plead not for the preachwhen you reflect that, while destitute of ing of “another gospel,” nor for the that life they are passing on to a dark application of any novel remedy; we and dismal futurity, is not the thought have already expressed our belief in the sufficient to make your hearts throb inutility of mere knowledge ; nor have with the strongest emotions, and to ex- we any greater faith in the advocacy of cite in you the deepest sympathy? You virtue. It is essentially defective, becannot be ignorant of what is again and cause it confines its care to the present ; again being brought to light-the ex- it overlooks futurity, and makes no proistence of thousands in your own city, vision for its enjoyment; and even in and of proportionate numbers in every the accomplishmeut of its own object it largę town in the country, who are as is a failure. Popular sceptical philosolow in the social scale, as far removed phy is equally useless, were it only for from the ameliorating influences of the its unintelligibility. Take a man of gospel, as brutal, as savage, as wretched ordinary intelligence, a man more inas the most degraded heathen tribes. It telligent than many who understand the is, alas! a too palpable fact that, long gospel sufficiently to be sauctified by it as the gospel has been proclaimed in the and to have derived from it a good hope land, that, studded as our towns are with of future glory, and try to find, in the sanctuaries, the mass of wickedness re- writings of Carlyle, Emerson, Parker, mains as compact and unbroken as Morell, and others, an answer to the ever. From some cause or other, the question, “What must I do to be measures which the church employs saved ?" and you may, by the uncouthexert but little influence on those by ness of your phraseology, so excite bis whom their influence is most needed. wonder as to divert bis mind a little In the very neighbourhood of the sanc- from his own sorrows, but you can give tuary there are thousands who never him no reply which can soothe his difficross its threshold, and to whom the culties or dispel his fears. A system gospel is never proclaimed. They crowd which is too profound for the great mass to your fields, they throng to your public- of mankind, is one by which man, as house, they lounge about their homes in man, cannot profit, and is not to be idleness, or are engaged in some em compared to that gospel which is ployment having nothing congenial, but adapted by its simplicity to the comdirectly at variance with the sacred cha- prehension of the child, and commended