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Text provided by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Selwyn College Cambridge, 2008

[4] I have, in consequence of the position which I have held as Secretary to the Church Union, been hitherto debarred from addressing you in relation to its constitution or operations; but I am unwilling to pass from among you without seizing this opportunity of entering somewhat at large on the circumstances which attended the formation of the Church Union. I entirely disclaim being its founder--it had its origin among my friends and your friends. The subject was, in fact, discussed over and over again, by many resident in this neighbourhood. I must particularly refer to many conversations which I have had on the subject with one, whom many amongst you esteem, though he be removed from amongst us,--the Rev. H. H *****, to whom, more than to any living man, I trace up my ideas on this subject; though, perhaps, it is better to describe all good desires, as I humbly trust these are, to the direct influence of God's Holy Spirit, which both puts into our minds good desires and enables us to bring the same to good effect. My humble, though sincere desire, to carry out the principles thus formed, have produced the greatest effect upon my own mind, and I trust has not been without some effect upon yours. My object in thus speaking of the origin of the Church Union, is to divert entirely from myself some portion of that kindly feeling which has been poured upon me as its founder, but unjustly. As for its object, it was this, "To include in one bond of union all true Christians." [4/5] Its principles were not of an exclusive character, and I thank God that it has been most comprehensive in its result. It has been supported by many who are commonly called "High Churchmen," yet, I trust, it has worked as one of the many instruments which God is employing for the abolition of such distinctions. God grant that the day may soon come, when there will no longer be any other distinction among us, than in the degree of earnestness, with which we strive after the common good we have in view; and this effect, as far as it has hitherto been produced amongst us by the Church Union, has been produced, not by the sacrifice of any principle--God forbid we should do this for any temporary object!--not by the compromise of one tittle of that which I believe essential to the existence of the Church, but by carrying out the full idea of a true and holy Churchmanship. For I verily believe that were this done, even in this age of sects and schisms, our loved Church would in time absorb all other denominations within itself. As it is, I am most thankful for that feeling of perfect cordiality which enables me to act in many things even with those, who differ from me in much which relates to the government, and even the discipline of our Church. The Church Union has not established any other tests of membership than those which our Church firmly maintains as essential to communion with herself.

I would not dwell needlessly upon my own feelings, yet I cannot help entering somewhat at large [5/6] upon a subject which bears closely upon my present position. When I was preparing myself, eight years ago, to enter holy orders, it seemed in the judgment of many in our Church, and them the most judicious and far-seeing of her sons, that a time of sore and heavy trial was awaiting her. It seemed doubtful whether the connexion between Church and State, which had been preserved inviolate since the days of Constantine, to the manifest advantage of the latter at least, could be much longer maintained. It seemed likely that we should have to prove by experience, whether our Church would not shine more brightly by its own in-dwelling light, when deprived of those endowments which were given her as a means of usefulness,--but too often abused, too often made a cause of scandal and reproach to her, whose vital power and true riches are not of this world, and come not from any early source. I say her own in-dwelling light, for though she may be deprived of her earthly riches, she has still Christ's promise, that he will be with her to the end of time. What then was the course for me, and others like myself, to take? I felt like a seaman who sees that his ship will, in a few minutes, be among the breakers. I cast off my clothes, and at once prepared to swim. But now that by His power, who alone can say to the troubled waters, Peace, be still; now, that our ark has safely weathered this storm, we are bound to employ the season of rest which God has [6/7] given us, in spreading abroad the blessings, which we ourselves enjoy. Our Churches now have rest, and so the Church is extending her branches far and near. The past year will ever be memorable, when views as a period of Church history.

I would willingly have brought it to a conclusion in my native land; but it has otherwise seemed good to God. It will ever be memorably by reason of an act, which may, I trust, be one step toward the re-establishment of goodly discipline in our Church--a recurrence to the system of pure and apostolic times. The act to which I refer is the meeting of many of our Bishops for the purpose of sending to our colonies men imbued with powers like our own, which have a civil governor, but no spiritual ruler. I looked upon this as the first exercise of her lawful authority in a collective character; and I asked myself, What is the duty of every priest? There could be but one reply,--to obey. To test my own feelings, I put to myself what then seemed to me to be of all the most improbably case, that I should ever be called upon to go; and the answer could be but this,--I am ready. In order to try myself further, I put this further question,--Are you ready to go wherever you are sent? A similar answer was given,--I am ready. Are you ready to go even into the centre of Africa, though it be morally certain that within a few years your bones will be bleaching together with those who have perished in [7/8] those pestilential sands? I was prepared to go even to Sierra Leone, to cancel, as far as my efforts might, one item of the debt of sin and woe which England's commercial prosperity had entailed upon the sons of Africa. I thought, that should I refuse to go, the bones of those who fell in Walcheren would rise up in judgment against me. Many of you know not where Walcheren is, but you must have heard of Chusan; many of those whose bodies are still wasting on the isle of Chusan would rise up in judgment against me; for there the British arms have been sullied by the most ignoble and humiliating warfare in which this country was ever engaged, and yet not a soldier refused to go, even into that warfare, the principle of which he could not approve. And should any soldier of Christ refuse to go to support a cause to which he has been pledged by a far more solemn engagement? So when I heard that, not the shores of Africa, but that land of promise, New Zealand--a land literally flowing with milk and honey--was to be mine, there was no doubt, no hesitation, no fear; enlargement of heart alone was mine, that, through m humble instrumentality, the abundance of the isles might be converted unto God.

I will now give a sketch of what, to my mind, should be the progress of missionary operations. Devoted servants of Christ, walking together as men agreed and sent forth, like Christ's seventy disciples, by two [8/9] and two, take up an advanced post on behalf of the Church, in what we must call the enemy's land,--for in heathen lands Satan visibly reigns. They labour without looking to immediate results; God gives them fruit when it seems to Him good,--sometimes sooner, sometimes later. The enterprising spirit of our merchants follows our missionaries wherever they go; alas! they too often impede their work, and show that Christian men can, in their lives, be worse than heathens. And when England, by pouring our the swarms of its overteeming population, renders English law necessary for these her sons, the settlement is formed into a colony; but can that colony prosper, unless we give to them, as is our bounden duty and privilege to do, all the blessings of religion? Plant our church in New Zealand, that centre of missionary operations; bless its inhabitants with the same privileges which we enjoy at home; let it be supplied, by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, with the means of planting stationary clergy in every future parish of that island, and then the Church Missionary Society may send forth its emissaries to all the isles which stud, like the stars of the firmament, the boundless waters of the Pacific. By their means the standard of the Cross may be planted on each rocky isle: and God grant that the multitude of the isles may be glad thereof!

For the exertions of the Church Missionaries, I feel [9/10] deeply thankful; and, above all, for their exertions in New Zealand. Twenty-four years ago they went out into New Zealand, a land literally devouring its inhabitants, into which the commercial prosperity of England, with most wretched policy, has introduced fire-arms, in fatal abundance; 30,000 stand, it was reported before a committee of the House of Commons, were in New Zealand. Our merchants, the princes of the earth, to increase their own petty gains, have not shrunk from deluging a whole land with blood, from end to end. Fire-arms and ammunition were once the sole means of barter in New Zealand; but now what a change has been effected by the exertions of the missionaries! Were I in the forests of New Zealand, without a hope of safety except by purchasing supplies from the natives, I should now have no need to buy an extension of my own life by using such means of barter; now the highest price I could offer to a New Zealander who possessed what I needed of the necessaries of life, would be that which I hold in my hand--the Testament, in the New Zealand tongue. Such is now the demand for it, that the missionaries cannot adequately supply it. They cannot give an entire Testament to all who ask it; and so, in order that no suppliant may go away without, at least, a chapter or two of the word of God, that bread of life, they divide each testament into many portions. The entire volume, in England, would be easily [10/11] purchased by the labour of one day--in New Zealand, a fragment of that book is thought to overpay a week of toil. From my heart I joyfully thank God for these blessings; and, under him, the Church missionaries. May they be multiplied a hundred-fold; and multiplied they will be, if our own exertions are but increased; by yours, and yours only, can every heathen land,--can every wilderness of ignorance and sin, blossom like the rose; for it is by increased exertions alone that the dew of heaven can be called down upon that sterile desert.

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