Images de page
[blocks in formation]






[blocks in formation]

Rev. W. Lucy in the chair, The Report of the Committee for the past year having been read by Mr. T. C. Cowan, and the audited account by the Secretary, the following Resolutions were unanimously adopted :

1. That the Report now read, with the audited account, be printed and distributed under the direction of the Committee.

2. That the members of this Society rejoice in the continued progress of the pacific principle in the British empire, and its still more rapid extension over the United States of America. But they desire chiefly to express gratitude to God for the formation of a Peace Society at Geneva, the first on the European continent. And they earnestly pray, that as, at a former period of its history, that city was made the centre from which light irradiated the darkness of Europe, so in the present day, it may be made the means of diffusing through the same sphere" that most


excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues."

3. That Joseph Reynolds, Esq., the Treasurer of this Society, and Mr. Bragge, the Secretary, be requested to continue in office; and that the following gentlemen be the Committee for the ensuing year, with power to add to their number:

[blocks in formation]

their friends and the public in general, would desire to commence by ascribing their grateful thanks to Him who has the hearts of all men in his hands, that he has permitted them once more, in peace, to meet together, as the friends of peace, and use their humble endeavours to spread the principles of peace among their fellow-creatures. When they look around on the present state of the world at large, and especially of the European continent, they feel there is abundant cause for gratitude, that this nation has not been permitted to 66 run to the same excess of riot" as others have done; but that the tumultuous and agitated feelings, which lately seemed to threaten some violent national commotion, have in a great measure subsided, under the controlling power of Him who can "still the noise of the waves and the tumult of the people." May the God of peace continue his protecting care over us, and save us from that most tremendous scourge, a civil war!!

In retracing the varied and remarkable events which have marked the period since last they appeared before you, your Committee feel there has been much to gratify, but more to pain, the heart of a Christian. The man who is duly sensible of the inestimable blessings of civil and religious freedom, must feel a sympathetic glow of pleasure with the individual, or the nation, that has been enabled to throw off the galling chain of oppression. So far the Christian will rejoice in some of the events the last year has witnessed. But when he considers the means by which they have been accomplished, and the consequences they have entailed-when he contemplates the evil passions which have been aroused, the spirit of insubordination which has been excited, the BLOOD which has been spilt surely pain and grief can alone fill his mind, at beholding conduct SO at variance with the

precepts and example of his Lord and Master, and so contrary to the real interests of mankind.

It is true, we have not seen a repetition of the "reign of terror;"- -no murdered monarch- no slaughtered fellow-subjects, to gratify the ambition and cold-blooded cruelty of a Danton or a Robespierre! But have the late scenes of tumult and bloodshed been less opposed to the spirit and doctrine of Jesus Christ? Will the specious plea of their having been acted under the influence of popular excitement, and from the imposing motives of "love of freedom,” and "resistance to injustice and oppression," make them more in accordance with the commands of Him, who said, "Love your enemies, do good to them who hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you?" a command, be it remembered, given to the subjects of a nation, at that very time groaning under the yoke of foreign despotism. Your Committee have witnessed with grief the exultation evinced by many professed disciples of Jesus, at the


glorious struggle," as it is termed, that Poland is now making to recover its freedom. Who, indeed, that loves liberty, would not desire to see that fine country emancipated from the thraldom of usurped authority, and restored to her legitimate rank among the nations of Europe? And yet, what man, possessing the spirit of Jesus, would wish to be an actor in that bloody scene?

Your Committee would earnestly call upon all who profess the name of Christian, to look at events of this sort as they really are, stripped of the false glitter which the language of the world throws around them. Let not the seducing name of “ Liberty" blind your eyes to the antichristian and unholy nature of such contests. We would urge this upon you the more strongly, because we cannot but think events are approaching, which will put our principles, in

this particular, to the test. May we be enabled, if such times of trial be indeed our portion, to evidence before an ungodly world, the true nature of the religion we profess; ever remembering our Lord and Master's memorable words, "My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight."

Your Committee would now proceed to give you a brief detail of the progress of Peace Societies during the past year.

And here the eye naturally turns first towards the western world, as the place where the principles of peace have been most materially promoted.

[ocr errors]

The last accounts from America contain much encouraging information of the increasing attachment to the object of the Peace Society among all classes of the community. The Second Anniversary of the American National Peace Society was held in May, 1830; and from the Report there delivered, it appears that much good has been the result of its operations, especially during the preceding year. Many of the ministers of the Gospel had joined its ranks; and, in other cases, prejudices had been overcome, and a considerable increase obtained to its supporters. It is, indeed, truly pleasing to see the way in which Christian ministers of every denomination come forward in that country to promote the cause of peace. Would that their example were followed by their brethren in England! But alas! how few, comparatively, in this land of gospel light, bearing the ministerial character, are to be found, even on its anniversaries, to lend their voice to its support on the platform! and how much fewer still are found taking an active part in its Committees! Surely these things ought not so to be. It is but justice, however, to observe, that recent accounts prove that ministers are awakening to the impor

tance of our object, and its direct connexion with the office of those to whom has been intrusted "the ministry of reconciliation.'

In December last a most interesting Meeting (as appears by TheHerald of Peace) was held at Geneva in furtherance of the objects of this Society; when a powerful address was delivered by the Comte de Sellon, in which he warmly advocates the cause of peace in general; and proposes that the special object of the Geneva Society shall be to obtain, if possible, the settlement of national disputes by arbitration, rather than by the sword. The same zealous individual has also offered a prize for the best essay on the means of establishing a general and permanent peace. The American Peace Society had previously made a similar offer; and we are credibly informed, that the proposal of "a reference of all international disputes to a Court of Nations," has met with the ready and full approbation of several members of the legislature, and of many persons of all classes in society. In our own country we trust the cause is surely, though slowly, gaining ground. A new auxiliary has been formed during the past year in Essex; and the Reports from the other Societies evince undiminished attachment to the cause.

Your Committee feel that their share in promoting this cause has been sadly limited. The feeble support given by those whose office would seem to demand their being its foremost advocates, throws a damp on their exertions, which your Committee find it impossible to overcome. That legitimate influence. which a minister of the Gospel ought to possess, and the undue importance which superstition and custom assign them, make their cooperation in a cause of this kind of much consequence as to its general reception. And while your Committee are far from saying that the want of assist

« PrécédentContinuer »