« PreviousContinue »
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 bas 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 admitted 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 full of the seeds of things. I conceive that, possibly, the time is not far off, when all that we have as yet done shall be swallowed up in the superior splendour of future achievements; and that, together with other Societies, we may lead on in the grand moral triumph of the Gospel over ignorance, superstition, vice, and misery.
It was said, how correctly it is not my business to inquire, that if the captain of the ship sent in 1818 to discover a north-west passage, when he had entered Sir James Lancaster's Sound, instead of being appalledat the huge chain of mountains, and concluding at the distance of thirty or forty miles that the ice-bergs formed an impenetrable obstacle, had pressed on to the bottom of the Sound, and had sailed boldly up to the ice-rocks, he might possibly have found that what seemed continuous, was not actually so, but that the very passage opened between them, by the discovery of which the most complete success would have crowned his expedition. Now whether that opinion be just or not it is not my concern to examine; all I would observe is, that boldness in pressing up in the very face of the difficulty is in the true spirit of Christian heroism and Christian discovery: and that if, instead of timidly concluding at a distance that the barriers are impassable, we fearlessly sail up
to them, we shall find that the rocks and icebergs leave an intervening passage, a current for enterprize, an outlet into those unknown and unlimited seas, whence blessings may flow forth around the whole earth.
ADDRESS at the Ninth Anniversary of the
PRAYER-Book and HOMILY SOCIETY, May
Am requested to second the motion just proposed to you'. With respect to the discourse itself, to which it relates, I will only say, that if the design of my friend, Mr. Marsh, was to persuade his audience, that design was most completely accomplished, as it regarded my own feelings. There was not one sentiment delivered, in which I did not most cordially agree: and I trust he will not refuse to those members of the Society who were not present the opportunity of judging for themselves of the arguments by which he would support, and the esteem in which he wishes us to hold, the formularies of our church.
On the subject of this Society, Sir, I do feel considerably; more especially as its funds
1 A motion of thanks to the Rev. E. G. Marsh for his Sermon preached that morning before the Society.