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representatives of our common faith? We have the character of being an active and enterprising people, whether we deserve it or not; and if you find your way to China as the leaders of the host, we will, I hope, some day follow in your train, and prove fellow-labourers in the Lord.
I had intended to address myself to one topic in connexion with this subject, and that is, the necessity of prayer, in order to tbe accomplishment of all our purposes. I was about to allude to that point with a special reference to one thing, the necessity of prayer on the part of British Christians, in order that Great Britain, through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, may be made to feel as it never yet felt for the world that lieth in wickedness. There is an abundance of wealth to supply our M18sionary coffers, but there is a want of disposition. We can find money to send our troops to far distant lands, to avenge what we call national insult, and to maintain national honour. We can find men and money,--yes, the representatives of Britain can do it, - to carry the banners of idolatry through mountainous defiles, and across rocky heights. If God, in answer to the prayers of his people, pours out his Spirit, to convince the church of the sin and danger of the world, we shall feel as we ought to feel ; we shall give according to our ability, and the blessing of God will come upon us, like a flowing and swelling tide, enriching and gladdening our spirits. Allow me, then, with great humility, to say, Proceed in this noble cause. We must succeed. It is not a matter of question whether China shall be evangelized or not. China was in the contemplation of the Divine mercy ere the foundations of the world were laid. China is within the range of the broad primeval promise, “ The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent." China was in the eye of the expiring Saviour when he said, “It is finisbed,” and bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. China is in the heart of the world's Redeemer, as he stands before the throne presenting the memorials of his own sufferings on our behalf. The Father heareth him always; him he delighteth to honour; and he will honour him by giving him not only China, but the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession.
The resolution was then put, and carried unanimously.
W, A. ÉANKEY, Esq., then rose, and after a few prefatory remarks, proposed the following resolution :
"That this meeting, ascribing all the glory to Him to whom alone it is due, reviews the various preparatory labours of the London Missionary Society, on behalf of China, through a period of nearly forty years, with sincere satisfaction, and devoutly rejoices that the Society is now blessed with a
goodly band of faithful Missionaries, who, by dili. gent and persevering study, are prepared to make known to the Chinese, in their own tongue, the wonderful works of God.' This resolution carries me back, in the records of memory, to an early period in the Society's history, and to the commencement of my own participation in the conduct of its affairs. At the time I advert to, China was the most unpromising field for Missions on the globe. But the early Directors of this Society knew that the Divine deeree bad gone forth, that the Almighty Father "had given to his Son the heathen for bis inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth (including China too) for his possession;" and although, apparently, the time was not near for God to work, the time had come for his people to prepare for the enterprise, and the measure was adopted. God favoured, and brought to them Morrison. He was qualified, and sent out with especial instructions to undertake, what the hand of Providence enabled him and his colleagues to effect--the translation of the Scriptures into the Chinese language, and the completion of a Chinese and English Dictionary, (his sole work,) to assist succeeding Missionaries in acquiring that tongue. Morrison went, and was covered by the Divine hand in performing his work. He overcame all obstacles, and rendered himself eminent in his attainments in the language, and was employed and confided in by the servants of the East India Company in China.
At length, through our own publications, it became known to the rulers at home that Morrison was a Missionarya name as odious in the ears of those in authority, in those days, (I hope it is otherwise now,) as was that of Elijah to the king of Israel. Repeated orders were transmitted for Morrison to be sent out of China, bat he had become so essential to the interests of the Company and of the nation, that he could not be spared ; and I, who have had the means of being acquainted with the cor. respondence, am justified in saying, that the British people is greatly indebted to the London Missionary Society for the eminent services rendered to it by their Missionary Morrison, who may even be said to have fallen a sacrifice in its service. He died, through fatigue and labour, in the suite of the British Envoy, Lord Napier, in that series of events which has at length brought on the crisis, tbat now calls the attention of the Society, and of Christians in general, to the great duty of sending the Gospel, not to, but into China. I might add, that the Society had made another effort, thougb less direct, on behalf of China, in its Mis. sion to Siberia, now brought to a close through the jealousy of the Russian Government. The question then arises, What is
this Society and other British Christians to do? The answer is, Vigorously to go for. ward. The friends of the Society are now invited to come forth to its support, to fur. nish the Directors with the means of accomplishing the resolutions they have already cone to, and others, which their inclination and duty will equally prompt them to form. But do we wish, as a Society, to go alone to this holy warfare? to reap its honours undivided By no means. Stand foremost in it, we cannot but do, and that is honour enough for us. We invite all evangelical Christian brethren to send out their forces. We gladly offer them the advantages which the labours of our Morrison, Milne, and others, can afford in preparing for the Farfare. Sapport our endeavours by such means as you have it in your power to supply; and let us with fervent prayer, and one heart and hand, open a campaign not to be closed till China is won to the Cross of the Redeemer, and a full answer to the petition long offered on his behalf is returned—" Thy kingdom come.”
The Rev. Å. F. LACROIX, of the Bengal Mission, in seconding the resolution, said, - There are, from time to time, events happening in the world which have a mighty influence for good or for evil upon vast portions of the human race. One of those events was the discovery of America. It brought into contact with Europeans many nations till then unknown, and even undreamt of. But, ob! how baneful and calamitous was the influence which, through the cupidity, superstitious bigotry, and cruelty of the discoverers, this event exercised on the newly discovered races. Within the last few months an event even more momentous than the discovery of America bas taken place. An empire containing full one third of the whole population of the globe has been brought into what is likely to be an extensive and permanent contact with Britain ; and the influence which the latter must necessarily exercise upon the former, will, indeed, be a powerfal one. Oh, may it be as beneficial as it will be powerful! Yes, the success of British arms in China, and its result in opening that vast empire to British infiuence, is an event of incalculable importatce. The opening of China truly is a voice of the Lord, calling upon his people to arise and be doing. Does not this event plainly show that he himself is now at work upon the earth; and does he not clearly in. timate thereby, that the time so long wished for, so long prayed for, is now come, when all nations sball hear the sound of the Gospel, preparatory to their being formed into that glorious kingdom which shall include all the tongues and all the kindreds of the earth? Is this, then, a time for
lukewarmness and inactivity, when the Lord himself has set his hand to the work? Should not all his servants, under such circumstances, feel most anxious to be coworkers with God in the noble enterprise of making known the Gospel of truth to the millions to whom access has now beei opened? Oh, let them do it with all their might, and with the full confidence that He who rules supreme in heaven and upon earth will uphold them, and will be with them! " Have I not commanded thee, saith the Lord ? Be strong, therefore, and of good courage, for the Lord thy God is with thee; be strong, and let not thy hands be weak, for thy work shall be rewarded."
Let me touch also upon the claimi of China. It contains 350 millions of your fellow-men, whom you are commanded to love as yourselves. If, as has of ten been observed, (nor can it be too frequently repeated,) the value of one immortal soul far transcends that of the whole material world, of what immense value must hundreds of millions of souls be! And as it is in your power to send forth that Gospel which is able to save them, will you not do it? Do not allow yourselves to be discouraged by the idea that, amongst such vast multitudes, the few Missionaries you may be able to send out will effect but little. That is not the right way of calcu. lating in a matter like this. It is not ex. pected that European Missionaries will ever complete the conversion of China, or any other great nation, nor even that they will be the main instruments in carrying it on. But the task which devolves upon them is to begin that great work, and to put into motion the mighty spiritual engine which eventually will accomplish the end in view, When that is done, the Lord himself will raise up from among the natives themselves agents to prosecute the work among their own countrymen, and to bring it to completion. I had intended to bring be. fore your notice another claim of China upon you as British Christians. It related to the opium question ; but as we have been informed that effective and proper measures will be taken to put a stop to that traffic, I will forbear urging the matter upon you now. I will merely say, that in India my Missionary brethren and myself have invariably found the use of opium to operate most fatally upon the progress of Christianity. Accordingly we have had but few inquirers from among the class of opium-smokers : and where (as was the case in the church of which I was pastor) some of them had been admitted as members, after what was thought a thorough reformation, it was subsequently found necessary to cut them off from church-fellow
ship, and that, in every instance, for crimes which could be traced clearly to their having unfortunately returned to the use of opium.
With such facts as these before me, can I forbear urging you, when the pro. per time comes, and when it can be done in a Christian and lawful manner, to do all that in you lies to cause this baneful traffic to cease? And in order to counter. act the injuries already effected by it, let me urge you, at least, now to send to China the Gospel, that best of antidotes, which will tend more than anything else to pre. vent the progress of the dreadful evil, and may save millions of our fellow-creatures from temporal as well as eternal death. Permit me further to mention, that as an instrument by which to work, the London Missionary Society has the strongest claims on the support of all those who are anxious to benefit the population of China. It has, as you have already beard, been the first, nay, I believe it has been the only one of all the European Protestant Societies, that has ever interested itself actively for that vast empire. It has for forty long years continued faithfully attached to that cause, notwithstanding the many discouragements it has met with; and though the condition of that cause appeared almost hopeless, the Society has believed and laboured against hope. Now, I ask you, would it be right, would it be grateful in the British Christian public, now that brighter days are dawning, to forget the Society that re. mained faithfully attached to China during the many gloomy years that have gone by? This Society, moreover, as you have heard, is prepared to enter on active labours. Not only has it on the spot a printing press, Chinese types, and all the apparatus for forming a Missionary slation, but it has actually there eight devoted Missionaries, all well acquainted with the difficult lan. guage of China-- a language acquired at the expense of much time and exertion ! Will you allow such an immense advantage to be lost, and refuse to labourers so well fitted for their work the means of entering upon it? God forbid !
Again, where can you find a medium more satisfactory to your own minds for the evangelization of China, than that afforded by the London Mission. ary Society? I doubt not but it is your anxious wish that the Gospel of Jesus should be introduced into that vast empire in all its purity, and divested of all human additions. And in this you are perfectly right; for human additions have been, and ever will be, the bane of Christianity, and would be so especially among a population 80 exceedingly superstitious as the Chinese. Now, is it needful for me to remind you
that the London Missionary Society, by its very constitution, aims, and aims solely, at the propagation of the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, as contained in the Scriptures of truth? And in proof that it actually does so, I boldly appeal to the uniform practice of its Missionaries since its formation, nearly balf a century ago. Yes, I fearlessly assert, that the Gospel was never, in our days, preached with greater purity, and more divested of human additions, by any ministers, than it has been by the Missionaries of this Institution. You may, therefore, safely confide in the assurance that they will be the faithful executors of your laudable intentions in this respect. But I have yet a few words to add in my capacity of a Missionary to India ; and I am sure that you will not think it out of place, if, on the present occasion, I remember the land of my adoption—the sphere of twenty years' labour in the cause of Christ-the land which, of all others on earth, lies closest to my heart. The remarks I shall offer bear closely on the subject of China. India, that land which contains one hundred and thirty millions, not of strangers, but of your fellow-subjects, is already prepared for the Lord, by the most wonderful dispensations of his providence, for the in. troduction of the Gospel. India, in fact, is already what it is only hoped China will once become. India, therefore, has the strongest claims upon your attention for its own sake, and also because if you do not attend to these claims, you must utterly relinquish the idea of your exertions being blessed in China. Need I remind you, that it is only when we faithfully improve the talent intrusted to our care, that God vouchsafes to grant us more. But if we neglect that talent, not only can we have no hope of obtaining more, but even that which was left unimproved is taken away from us. Now India is the talent which was long since intrusted to Britain to in. prove, and if you neglect it, may it not be taken away from you? At all events, on the supposition of such neglect, what bless. ing can you anticipate on your efforts in the new sphere opening before you?
India, too, is a most important field in relation to China, on account of its geogra. phical position. Bordering as it does on the celestial empire, India, as being a British possession, cannot but exercise a mighty influence upon it. It is an historical fact, that Buddhism, wbich is one of the prevail. ing creeds of China, was originally derived from India. If India, then, in the propa. gation of erroneous opinions, exercised such a mighty influence upon its neighbouring country, China, what might not be expected from it, if it were filled with the light of truth; if its inhabitants were burning with
deal for the glory of the true God, and ans, fous for the eternal welfare of their fellow. creatures ! Indeed, it is my firm belief, that it is on account of the favourable situation of India, and with merciful views to the adjacent nations, especially China, that God his placed India under the sway of Britain, and so wonderfully and visibly prepared it for the immediate reception of the Gospel. Let India, then, only be evangelized, and, komanly speaking, it will mightily contri. hate to the establishment of the Lord's cominion in China and the surrounding countries. I cannot conclude these obserrations, without mentioning to this meeting, my strong impression, that the Lord, by opeeing such vast empires as India and China, at the present time, to Missionary exertions, intends thereby to induce his people to desist from the unhappy controversies and differences which have so long prevailed amongst them and divided them, and on which they have spent so coosiderable a portion of their time and their energies. Yes, it appears to me that the Lord, by making these vast countries accessible to the Gospel, intends to divert the attention of his people from mere private and sectarian interests, and to point ont to them a far better and far pobler sphere for their exertions. Oh, then, that all Christians in this much-favoured isle, who hold Christ the Head, would now lay aside their own private party interests, and laite in sincerely and earnestly seeking, above all otber things, the conversion of those millions of their fellow-creatures who are still * without God and without hope in the world !” They would present à phalanx which would carry everything before it, and which nothing could resist. Then, also, no doubt, would the smile of Heaven continue to rest upon their native land, and Britain would, doubtlese, then be still long kept in possession of those vast dominions over which the sun never sets; when her children, with one accord, thus make it tbeir chief concern to cause the Sun of righteousness to shine upon the numerous nations intrusted to their care by an all-ruling Providence.
The resolution was then put, and carried tunanimously.
The Hon. and Rev. B. W. Noel, on risiog to move the next resolution, was received with cordial and reiterated plaudits; on the subsidence of which, he said-The resolation which the Directors have intrusted to my care, has, at first sight, some thing of an equivocal character. I have been requested to propose that you should enlarge your Missionary efforts,—that you should commence a most important Mission of indefinite extent, and that in circumstances which probably will demand much
effort and much expenditure, at a time when your resources, though not diminished, are yet inadequate to the ever-growing necessities of the vast Missions already under your superintending care. Scarcely any one can feel more strongly than I do how necessary it is, that a Society, like an individual, should keep within its resources, and should not contract engagements which it may be very difficult, if not impossible, to fulfil. But, equivocal as the character of the resolution, on the first view of it, appears, I trust the meeting will come to the conclusion, which I desire, if I can, to establish to your conviction-first, that the circumstances under which the proposition is made are most urgent, while the opportunities for action are most inviting; and, secondly, that the resources may be made adequate to the demand. Prudence itself cannot refuse the conclusion we wish to arrive at if both these conditions of the proposition are fulfilled.
That the circumstances are urgent which have called together this meeting, is at once proved by the fact of this large assemblage being convened, and by the knowledge which every one in the assembly possesses of those events which have recently transpired. Yet it must not be supposed that all the circumstances under which we meet are propi. tious; it must not be imagined that there are no difficulties in the way, or that those difficulties have not, in some respects, been recently aggravated. To one, our attention has been directed this evening, the sale of opium in China, by British merchants. If all the effects which follow the distillation and sale of ardent spirits in this country are found to proceed from the use of opium in that distant land, then it is evident that, if British merchants abroad have carried on the sale of that noxious drug, as British traders at home have carried through this land their own poisonous distillations among the millions of our own country, a noxious influence must have been exercised on the minds of all the reflecting portion of the Chinese with respect to the religion of that people from whom such a trade has emanated. They see the death that follows from the use of that pernicious drug; they see the demoralization resulting from it'; and they must have formed prejudices against the character of that people with whom they have become acquainted only through such a medium. In addition to this, they have witnessed the prowess of our arms, impressing tbem, it is true, with a high degree of respect, and even terror, for the valour which characterizes our forces; but they have also seen the character of our soldiers and seamen, never marked by very strong attention to religious duties : they have witnessed some of those excesses which always follow in the train of successful warfare, and the reports of these ex. cesses have a thousand times been repeated throughout the vast population, and, in all probability, abundantly exaggerated.
At the same time, it must be remembered with thankfulness to God, that the course of events has, nevertheless, been favourable to that work in which you are engaged in various important particulars, It would be unjust to our countrymen in those regions, if we were to lose sight of the fact, that they have taught the Chinese with whom they have come in contact, that European traders are honourable, and ex. pect those with whom they deal to be honourable likewise. We have given them a specimen of honest trade, as well as of one that is injurious. They have seen with what care a negociation is carried on, and that we maintain with undeviating integrity the treaties which we form with them. All this is calculated to impress them favour ably with the morals of a Christian people; nor is it wholly lost to the cause of religion that our Government, under the conviction that we must not permit the law of nations to be disregarded, and innocent men to be imprisoned, and their property taken, instead of those that are guilty, require that the representatives of the British Govern. ment shall not be insulted, nor treaties with nations violated. As the result of that warfare, which doubtless all must deplore, the Chinese have at least seen this, that this nation can be honourable and humane eren in victory. I should say that the effect of that warfare is not mischiev. ous only, because as we have learned of the Chinese, by the testimony of all who know them best, that if they are disposed to trample with timidity on the hare, they are also disposed to treat with reverence the lion; and we have taught them that there is a lion-heart, as well as a gigantic spirit, in England. If this impress them with respect for the persons who represent our nation in China, you can see how it will throw a shield in that distant sphere of labour over the character of the Missionary who presents himself among them.
But if the course of political events has not been altogether injurious, there are other effects, alluded to this evening, which distinctly summon you to action in that distant field. The labours of Morrison will never be lost. His Chinese Dictionary smooths the way for the prosecution of Chinese studies to all who come after him, and will save the energy and the time of many a Missionary, and enable him to enter upon his labours far more rapidly than otherwise would be possible. The Bible which Morrison has translated, and given to that people, has already been read by
numbers; and some notion, at least, has been formed along the maritime coasts, of the character of that religion which we are disposed to propagate amongst them. Besides which, the prudent and persevering efforts which this Society has made for the spread of Christianity among the numerous emigrants from their own shores, have manifestly prepared the way for the direct invasion of idolatry in China. The sagacity which planned and founded the AngloChinese college at Malacca will not be fruitless in its result; and those young men who, as students there, may be brought to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, will one day assuredly be found instruments, as one already has been, in improving the condition of their countrymen. If we can point to such an evangelist as Leang-Afa, already in the heart of China, distributing Christian tracts to hundreds and thousands surrounding him, and then addressing to them the words of eternal life, why should not one hundred Leang-Afas arise by-and-by, if only your efforts are in creased, and your prayers accompany them?
Now when we consider the point to which this question has been brought; the cheering accounts which Missionaries have given, who have tracked every bay of the country from Pechelee to Canton; the curious eagerness with which the natives thronged to receive the books which Euro. peans gave them; we may imagine that with tenfold more interest than before, they, will be perused whenever a Chinese eye rests upon an English tract-a tract that tells him of the religion of England-which tells him of the geographical position of many of its inhabitants, and the character of its institutions. The Chinese may say, These tracts tell us of that mighty people whose cannon we never ventured to meet; who threw down, as by enchantment, the fortresses which we believed impregnable, and before whom Tartar desperation could effect nothing. Will they not listen with wonder to the words which tell them, that those whom they thought were barbarians in the remotest parts of the earth, are a people more civilized, and more to be dreaded than those of the celestial empire ?
All this is preparing the way for the introduction of Christianity into China. If what my Rev. friend, Mr. Lacroix, has said, be true, that in India there were in. credible obstacles to the entrance of the truth, and the fact of their being overcome were ingeniously made by him the reason why we should concentrate our energies in India, rather than in other parts of the earth, yet remember that the conquests of those obstacles are a proof that similar victories await the faithful soldiers of the Cross