Page:Canterbury Papers.djvu/58

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50
CHURCH COLONIZATION.

pects, here, is on his way to lay the foundation of a future home for himself and others. The pollutions of our sins—the dregs and lees of our prisons—have not yet tainted that sincere atmosphere: thank God for that! for (as Lord Bacon says) 'it is a shameful and unblessed thing to take the scum of people and wicked condemned men to be the people with whom you plant.' There are no natives there to vex its future tenants; it may become a nursery-plot for God's people, if the Church will be the nursing-mother.

If she lead the way, bearing with her the precious and eternal truths of light inaccessible—if she take the Bible in one hand, and the means of intellectual culture in the other—an accomplished laity will not lag behind. As of old, 'gentlemen of aunciente and worshippeful families, ministers of the gospel of great fame at home, merchantmen, husbandmen, and artificers,' 'persons of condition, education, fortune,' 'noblemen and gentlemen,' will follow. These, according to the old writers, emigrated aforetime: why should they not again? Why should not noblemen and gentlemen embark for the colonies now as well as the labourer and artizan? Is there not one in the ranks of our peerage ambitious of the fame of the illustrious Lord Baltimore, and of the wise, conciliatory Bellamont? Not one among the children of the peerage, who, having no well-defined sphere of duty at home, yet feeling himself to be a minister of Divine Providence, a steward of creation, a servant of the great family of God, would be content to exchange inglorious ease for the honourable toil of building up God's church in a distant wilderness, and of perpetuating a noble name and lineage in a new world?

Or are the sentiments of honour and of virtue, the fires of high ambition, so utterly extinct and dead amongst the sons of English barons; have they become so emasculated by luxury and inaction, that they have no heart to brave a little hardship in order to plant the religion, laws, liberties, of England (for which their grandsires dared even to die) under the cloudless skies of the Southern hemisphere? Why should not we erect there a cathedral which may be a glorious rival of Westminster or of York? Why not send out a bishop endowed with the learning of Pearson or of Bull—with the piety of the sainted Wilson—with the gentleness of the accomplished Heber? Why not found an university which may be no mean rival of the scholastic honours of Eton and of Oxford? Why not raise up a society there, the tone of which need not fear comparison with the piety, honour, purity of an English fireside, though some few outward ornaments for a time may be absent?

The answer to this long series of questions will be the shopkeeper's answer—'No money.'

Be it so. Only let it be put on record, that two centuries ago the Puritans could raise 192,000l., a prodigious sum for those days, to found for themselves a church and nation in New England; that two years ago the poor Irish of America could raise 450,000l. to lead away their brethren from the pestilence and famine at home; but that in 1850 the princes, prelates, nobles, gentry, of Britain cannot spare a single penny to further the advancement of the best design the mind of man ever framed for the reproduction of an English nation.

Again, I say. Be it so! but accept the blame of your infatuated imbecility; bear the reproach of having all the appliances to carry this high enterprise into execution, without having the masculine courage to act accordingly.

Multitudes watch for your fall, and greatly will they rejoice thereat. Only if you fall, you fall by lukewarmness, the turpitude of which God alone can judge, and of which, of all other Churches, only the Church of England could by possibility be guilty.

Multitudes are on the alert, hoping for your fall; and if they should ever occupy the ground on which you might have stood triumphant, they will taunt you with those austere words once applied to a nation foredoomed to desolation: 'This people's heart is waxed gross; and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed, because they seeing see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.'