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7. Can any scheme be proposed for giving greater efficiency to the exertions of the missionaries ?
8. Can any additional agency be employed to strengthen Home Missionary stations, to rouse our churches to the necessity of more enlarged home operations to point out the best plans for overcoming difficulties—to encourage and stimulaté feeble churches—and to obtain from all a larger amount of pecuniary aid, for the purpose of benefitting not only their own localities, but also the destitute parts of England and Wales generally? The present state of the Society's funds is such, as to render such aid essential, even to sustain their present amount of exertion-being at this moment £500 in debt, while an additional sum of £2,500 will be required by Christmas, to pay the salaries of the agents due at that time.
Still, the Directors are not discouraged—they may be anxious but they are not dismayed. Any difficulty which at present exists, they believe to be only temporary
-and that it does not arise so much from the decrease of income, compared with the corresponding term of last year, as from the enlarged expenditure of the Society, occasioned by the increase of the Society's agents, stations, and students. There is very much in the present state of the Society, to encourage hope respecting the future. Every attempt made to break up our missionary stations has been unsuccessful, though villages have been closed against us. No missionary has been silenced -no Sunday school has been given up--and no Christian church has been scattered. On the contrary--the work of conversion has been going on-additional Christian churches have been formed ; Sunday schools have been established, and new chapels are in the course of erection. But then, it is only while the Home Missionary Society is supported by the churches, that it can sustain such stations, and, through the labours of its missionaries, preserve the light of truth, in many dreary districts of our country. As to the favourable result of the mighty moral conflict, now going on in this country, we have no doubt. Discouraging as it is, to find obstacles placed in the way of Christian efforts, we feel confident they will be removed. Inadequate as we consider all our present attempts to evangelize England to be, compared with the extent of its necessities, we do cherish the hope that mightier exertions will yet be made to supply them. * With such views of the case before us, we cannot but feel that we are called together for solemn and most important purposes. While we humbly seek Divine direction, we must also give the fullest exercise to our own minds. And, however grave the aspect of affairs may be which is presented to us, it would be unwise and unmanly to yield to discouragement. It is not the part of Christian wisdom to close our eyes on difficulties or dangers ; but rather, on the fullest and broadest consideration of them, to exercise that firmness of purpose which will not waver in the midst of trials, and to employ such prudent, determined, and zealous efforts, as are fitted to accomplish the great object we have in view. Believing that the object we seek to promote is the cause of truth and righteousness, we may adopt, without presuinption, the language of inspiration : "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper ; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn."
This document gave rise to a full discussion on the subject of our Home Missionary operations; at the close of which, on the motion of Messrs. J. A. James and Stratten, it was unanimously received, and ordered to be printed.
The Chairman then called on the Rev. George Rose, Secretary of the Irish Evangelical Society, to read the memorial prepared for the consideration of the meeting by the Committee of that institution. Mr. Rose complied with the request, and read as follows :
Memorial on the State of the Irish Evangelical Society, presented by the Committee of
that Institution, to the Adjourned Meeting, held at Nottingham, of the Eleventh
Annual Assembly of the Congregational Union. . It is well known that a Conference was recently held at Liverpool, to consider the best mode in which the Congregational Ministers and Churches in Great Britain and Ireland might employ themselves, in endeavouring to further the cause of Congregational Protestantism in the Sister Island. The honoured brethren who acted as referees on that occasion were the Rey. Drs. Wardlaw and Raffles, and the Rer. Messrs. James, Kelly, and Blackburn. The unanimous advice of those brethres was, that the Congregational Union of Ireland and the Irish Evangelical Society should prosecute their common object conjointly; the principal condition of the union between the two bodies being, that the Committee of the Irish Evangelical Society should assist the Committee of the Irish Congregational Union with funds to double the amount of any sum that may be raised by the Union in Ireland
With this advice the Committees of the Irish Evangelical Society, and of the Irish Congregational Union, have concurred; and though located at a distance from each other, are prepared to act, in accordance with the advice so deliberately giren, as one body in relation to their one object; viz., the enlightening of Ireland with regard to the nature of true religion, and as to the nature also of that polity which we regard as delivered to the churches of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. The agents already under the direction of the Committee of the Irish Evangelical Society will for the most part so remain ; but others will be added to the number, wbo will be under the direction of the Committee of the Irish Congregational Union, and twothirds of the expence incurred for the support of every such additional missions) employed by the Union, will remain to be defrayed by the Committee in London.
The Committee of the Irish Evangelical Society rejoice in prospect of the harmony which is thus to pervade the future operations of Congregationalists in regard to Ireland; and gladly anticipate, as the effect of this arrangement, that the labours of the Congregational evangelist will be extended much more widely and effectually among the people of that deeply necessitous land. But the Committee must pot conceal from their friends that there is little room to expect that these larger anticipations will be realized, except as larger resources should be made available to the Committee in London for the prosecution of these objects. Persons who do not know the social and religious state of Ireland somewhat intimately, can know little of the difficulties with which Congregationalism has to struggle in that quarter, both from the bigotry of Roman Catholics, and the hostility of nominal Protestants. The speedy formation of many churches in Ireland of our order, that will be capable of supporting their own ministers, or of doing any thing very considerable toward that object, is not to be expected. Ireland is still for the most part a field for the missionary and evangelist, and the support of such labourers must depend, not on the people to whom they minister, but on those who send them forth in that character. The income of the Society last year was about £2350. Its expenditure upon its existing sphere of operations was £2996. It is plain, therefore, that if there is to be any enlargment of effort, there must be an enlargment of means.
The Committee of the Irish Evangelical Society do not feel themselves called upon to adopt any impassioned appeal on this occasion. The motives to exertion are most apparent, and most urgent. Our credit as British Congregationalists; the claims of the humble, laborious men who are employed as our agents; the amount of good accomplished by them; the still greater amount of good which they are every where stimulating others to do; the comparatively feeble hold which our principles have taken upon the Irish people; the opposition with which they have to contend in that country; the many wrongs which Ireland has received from the hands of Britain ;
her juxtaposition with our own shores ; the participation of her people in our own allegiance and birthright, and the perishing state of millions of her population : these are all facts of such a nature, that upon a properly disposed mind they will tell the more powerfully for being told plainly and calmly. Hitherto the Congregational churches of Britain have done little, very little, for Ireland. This little, too, has been done by the few among our churches. By the many nothing has been done. The exception has been to extend a small measure of assistance; the rule has been to leave unhappy Ireland to bleed, and suffer, and perish, not only unaided, but as though unpitied_utterly forgotten! Shall it ever be thus ? Or is the time, the set time, come to consider her state, and indeed to help her?
Its adoption and printing was proposed by Drs. Redford and Morison, and agreed to.
The Rev. Algernon Wells, one of the Secretaries of the Colonial Missionary Society, was then desired by the Chairman to read the statement of the affairs of that branch of British Missions prepared by its Committee for the information of the meeting. That was done as follows: Memorial on the Claims of the Colonial Missionary Society, in connexion with the
Longregational Union of England and Wales, presented by the Committee to the Adjourned Meeting of the Eleventh Annual Assembly of the Union, held at Nottingham, on Thursday, the 21st of October, 1841.
The Committee of the Colonial Missionary Society feel fully justified in claiming on its behalf a foremost place in the objects demanding the liberal and energetic efforts of the Independent churches. Its importance and interest are very great. The warmest sympathy and the soundest judgment of British Christians unite to regard the Colonies of the Empire as a most favourable, necessitous, and important scene for missionary effort. Perhaps no equal number of the human family can now be any where found, placed in circumstances rendering it so obviously, and so strongly desirable, that they should be imbued with pure religion as the British Colonists. Perhaps no other body of Christians has on the whole motives so urgent, and encouragements so great, for energetic enterprise in the Colonies, as the Independents. There is probably no effort now pressing its claims on our churches, of which it can be so truly said, the present is the golden opportunity; what is done must be done quickly; that may now be done which in a few years will be quite impracticable ; timely exertion in the beginning of a Colony will easily secure ground, · which if then lost, the most strenuous subsequent exertions will never recover. Nor is there any department of labour for the spread of religion in our time, that more, if so much, requires to be well done, as well as quickly done, than missions in the Colonies. There, sure foundations must be laid on just principles by able men; and in a state of society very peculiar, very difficult, the honour of religion needs to be sustained by the ability as well as by the consistency of its ministers.
Providence has subjected to the British crown vast regions of the globe in the new world beyond the Atlantic, and in the bosom of the Pacific, unknown to Europe till that signal epoch in human history, the period rendered illustrious by the reformation from Popery. Then the world started on a new career. From that period, date the emancipation and energy of the human mind--the recovery and the spread of the previously lost religion of Christ. During the three centuries that have since then rolled away, in part by discovery, in part by conquest, God has given to Britain wide territories in North America, and Australasia almost entire. Discovery has completed its work, and removed terra incognita' from the map of the globe. War, if not at an end, will be, it is hoped, no more waged by Britain for conquest. Colonization now commences her work. The same hand that gave these fair regions to Britain, forces out her sons to occupy the wide inheritance. Not, indeed, that the present is the first commencement of European Colonization in the New World. Would, indeed, that it were that the crimes and horrors perpetrated during three centuries by the nations of Europe on the Sons of the soil,' in every land of which they took lawless possession, had never been committed, or could be blotted from the page of history! But colonization on humane, and just, and wise principles, is but in its commencement. In this view it can scarcely be said to have commenced. The government, and the Christian public of our country must awake to their duty, and put their hands to the enterprise, as they have never yet done, if the spread of the English people is indeed to bless, rather than to curse, the world. ,, But they will spread. They must spread. The crowded and increasing popola tion of our country must render the expatriation of many an equal benefit to those who go, and to those who remain. Crises of monetary derangement, and mercantile difficulty, plunging multitudes into bankruptcy, and deterring an equal number iron commencing or continuing trade in a state of things so precarious, and often to disastrous, must spread British capital and industry through her Colonies. Usequi political institutions, and social depression and disadvantage for conscience sake, must cause many to bend their way to settlements where freedom may be the social as well as the statute law. As war has so long ceased to furnish appropriate employ for the restless energies of the enterprising, they must in great numbers be impelled to emigrate. Ere long the British government, finding neither in con laws, nor in poor laws; neither in commercial treaties abroad, nor in police regulations at home, adequate safeguards for unequal social interests, which yet it can neither alter Der adjust, must in the end direct and assist emigration with vigour, on a large scale. Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotchmen must emigrate, and that in growing numbers The Colonies will be the safety of Britain, as they are the hope of the world. And looking at the whole question, it is only matter of regret that so few, and especially so few religious persons, leave this land for the Colonies; most of all, that the religious people who do emigrate, do so without system, concert, or union; seatter when they ought to unite; are feeble where they might be strong; and desolate when they might dwell with their own people.
Nothing can be conceived more important than the question of religion, when, in such an age as ours, a people leave this land of light and liberty, to form themselves into new communities on distant shores, and to deposit in the institutions and observances they first adopt, the germs which, expanding with the growth of the people, will determine the future character, destiny, and influence of great nations. Who can fail to perceive this? The Romanist has perceived it; and the activity of his church is perhaps greater in the vale of the Mississipi than in Italy itself, in New Zealand than in Spain. Our Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Wesleyan brethren have perceived it. They are all in energetic activity amidst every scene of British colonization. It is doubted whether our own body, which has come latest on the field of action, is not also most feeble and slow in prosecuting the efforts it has at last entered upon. Yet the voluntary question, and all views on the true nature and laws of the kingdom of Christ, will be settled rather in Canada than in Scotland, in Australia than in England; by the activity of Christians in young nations, rather than by their struggles in old countries; by sending devoted ministers in adequate numbers to the British settlements, rather than by adjusting church-rates or reto laws at home.
No class of persons can be placed in circumstances where the ministry and ordinances of religion are more obviously and pressingly required than British emigrants. Many have carried with them bitter remembrances of the sin or folly that compelled them to leave their native land. Many have their hearts saddened with sorrow, and with the recollection of prosperity blighted, and substance lost. All in their distant sojourn will be often visited with pensive and subduing thoughts of their dear native soil, the scenes of their early days, the kindred and friends beloved,
from which they have parted, never to return. Much toil and many hardships must generally be undergone. The circumstances in which they are placed must tend to roughen manners, to hinder devotion, to render difficult the education of the young, to interrupt the observance of the Sabbath, to diminish the force of social restraints, and the beneficial influence of general opinion. How blessed to a people in such circumstances the public lahours, the pastoral attentions, the sympathy, counsels, and reproofs of a faithful ministry! How sweet to them, in a degree not to be felt in this land of ease, by professors nursed in security and abundance, the Bible, the Sabbath, the voice of prayer and praise !. Yet, the scattered settlers over the wide regions of Canada and Australia, are most destitute of this sweet solace of care and toil. In some instances, months, even years, have been passed without hearing a sermon, by those who in their native land enjoyed and valued the means of grace. In some districts the observance of the Sabbath has been almost unknown--the sacred day has been spent in toilundistinguished from others, unhallowed, unblessed.
There is a loud call on the Independent Churches to devote an increased portion of their energies and resources to this work. They "owe it to their pecular principles, which have an especial adaptation to the habits, interests, and institutions of Colonial Society to the great common cause of religion, patriotism, and philanthropy, in which they have so deep a stake-to their brethren already labouring in the Colonies, who are prosecuting their labours with great energy and success; and are most earnestly soliciting additions to their numbers, and strength-to the numerous members of their Churches and Congregations in the Parent Land, who have gone to those far regions, and who cry to their brethren at home to care for their souls. While enlightened views of the future greatness and influence, on a wide scale in human affairs, of the nations into which these colonies will grow, point to them as the land of promise for the Church and the world in the last times, Christian wisdom and foresight will say, sow your seed in the Colonies-plant your principles in the Colonies-bestow your timely energies and efforts on the Colonies--there is room for their growth and power—there they will be found after many days--there they will not be blighted and withered by the overspreading shade of ancient superstitions and hierarchies. The hand of God has there prepared a virgin soil, and ample regions, where, to say the least, our principles may find a fair field, and start on equal terms to be tested by adequate and favourable experiment.
The Committee of the Colonial Missionary Society have thought it needful to be governed by prudence in the management of its affairs. It is possible they may be thought open to censure for excess of care ; but they saw many older institutions involved in difficulty—they found the public sympathies and resources to a great extent pre-occupied by other objects, the support of which they could not wish to see diminished--they clearly saw that great care, and a high standard, in the selection of agents, were indispensable—they by degrees ascertained that the expectations at first entertained of the ability of the Colonists soon to undertake the entire or chief support of the pastors sent to them, had been to a great degree erroneous. The Committee, therefore, have deemed it wise to assume permanent responsibilities with care, and slowly to accomplish a little well, and on sound principles, rather than to undertake more with risk and uncertainty--to avoid with especial caution the establishing in the minds of the Colonial Congregations, gathered by the labours of their missionaries, the expectation that their pastors could be permanently sustained by the funds of the Society. Yet, after all, truth requires the avowal, that the difficulty of obtaining well-qualified missionaries has, more than any other cause, retarded the move. ments of the Committee, who would not have shrunk from incurring additional pecu. niary responsibilities for the support of other brethren in the Colonies, such as those who now labour in Adelaide, or Quebec; Toronto, or Sydney; Port Philip, Montreal, or Van Diemen's Land.