« ÎnapoiContinuați »
variety of circumstances consequent on the general revival of religion in England; and chiefly, by the establishment of Sunday Schools through the kingdom, which gave the first spring to the zeal for education at home and for missions abroad; and of the institution of which schools, the Established Church has undoubtedly the praise. At such a juncture, when new sentiments were generally awakened, it was natural that those bodies should act with more promptitude and energy, who had most liberty of action, and to whom the undertaking was new.
In this good work the Church is attempting to take her place. She is advancing more slowly, perhaps, than smaller bodies; but she is yet advancing. And the three Societies, already mentioned, in the United Church of England and Ireland, offer to the whole body of its members the means of assuming a due share in the efforts which are now making to diffuse the light of Christianity throughout the world.
It is certainly true that the members of the United Church exercise, at this moment, an INFLUENCE for the promotion of religion at home and abroad, by public contribution and by learned defence, in a degree not less, in proportion to their number, than other denominations of Chris
tians. And it is probable, that not the influence only of the Church for the extension of the Gospel, but her INSTRUMENTS for the work, will increase in the proportion which these appearances encourage us to expect.
Our Church would gladly supply its foreign missions with a sufficient number of proper instruments; that is, with ordained ministers from England; but hitherto the following difficulty has stood in the way. A person receiving ordination as a Missionary, may choose to alter his mind, and, instead of encountering the peril of foreign climes, seek preferment at home. To obviate this difficulty in time to come, it is humbly suggested that Parliament pass an Act, declaring, "That no person, receiving ordination expressly as a Missionary, should be eligible to any Benefice or Cure of Souls in England or Ireland; unless, afterward, specially licenced thereto." Such an Act would be perfectly just in its principle, in regard to the persons to whom it would refer it could not possibly be attended with inconvenience to the Church at home and it would be of incalculable benefit to the interests of religion throughout the world. Under the operation of such an Act, any number of respectable Missionaries, properly qualified by piety and competent learning for their peculiar work, and
not inferior, in any respect, to the Lutheran ministers whom the Church Societies now employ, might be speedily obtained from among the members of the Church *.
Another difficulty in obtaining Missionaries of a proper character is liable to present itself; though, it is to be hoped, but rarely.
It may be received as an incontrovertible maxim, that no man will go forth, in a right spirit, to contend with the privations of a Teacher of Christianity in inhospitable climes, who is not himself religious, in the genuine sense of that term; and who is not animated by a more than ordinary zeal
* An Act of Parliament was passed, in the 24th year of his Majesty (1784), the direct object of which was the extension of our Church throughout the world, in countries not belonging to Britain. By this Act, "the Bishop of London "for the time being, or any other Bishop by him to be ap"pointed," was empowered to "admit to the order of dea"con or priest, persons being subjects or citizens of coun"tries out of his Majesty's dominions, without requiring "them to take the Oath of Allegiance;" provided always, "that no person, so ordained, should be thereby enabled to "exercise the office of deacon or priest within his Majesty's "dominions."
This Act opens easy access to our Church into every country. Why its operation has been hitherto confined to America, we cannot tell.
to diffuse the blessings of religion. And it may be expected that many persons will be found possessing these qualities, in this age, as well as in the first age of the Church. Our Christian nation is numerous, and the Holy Scriptures are accessible to all. But if, unfortunately, the profession of such a zeal should, from the levity of the age, from misconception, or from any other cause, become, in any great degree, obnoxious to the members of the Church, the consequence would be, that, no duly qualified Preacher would be found to go forth under its banners at all; and the Church must relinquish all hope of taking her due share in the conversion of the heathen world. It is a fact which cannot be denied, that those two illustrious missionaries, Swartz and Gerickè, so long the ornaments of the " Society for promoting Christian Knowledge," and who, since their decease, are honoured with the epithet "the Apostolical," professed a religion, and manifested a zeal to defuse it, which, if they were now alive and resident in this country, would be obnoxious to many. We pray that God would grant unto his Church "that wisdom which is profitable to direct," that the issue of her conduct may be to His glory and her praise.
Translations and New Editions of the Scriptures.
A further means for the extension of Christianity was stated to be, the Translation of the Scriptures into new languages. Let us imitate Rome, not only in sending forth preachers, but in this one of her best works, translating the Bible, and publishing new editions of it in various languages. If there be one nation in the world better qualified than another to resume these sacred labours, it is Great Britain. The Universities of the United Empire may with propriety consider themselves as the Universities of the British dominions throughout the world; for they have the means of conveying their learning to the uttermost parts of the earth: and they are the constituted and authorised channels, in connection with the churches to which they belong, of dispensing the Revelation of God and useful literature among mankind.
Our seats of learning were once famed for their exertions in translating the Scriptures into foreign tongues, or publishing them therein. And under what circumstances is the contrary the case now? When our dominion has extended over the people of different climates, nations, and languages;