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Gospel dispensation; one in the recognition of his people, one in the understanding of his nature in a way in which we never could have fathomed the mysteries of that nature whilst here below, we shall recognize the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, as reigning unitedly God over all blessed for ever.
In the very terms in which the duration of that kingdom is expressed, we see again a circumstance that calls our mind to the circumstances of the sister land. You anticipate the reign of the Saviour, and you speak of its enduring till his enemies are put under his feet. There reigns one of Christ's greatest enemies, marked in revelation by the name of antichrist, which must be destroyed root and branch before the kingdom of our Redeemer can be established. In giving the designation of antichrist to the superstition that reigns in Ireland, we make no apology for so doing: it is the name that God has branded on the brow of Popery, and it is the name that Popery must wear until, by the power and the grace of God, the antichristian system is destroyed. In using the term, however, we mean no enmity or anger to the votaries of that system: and would that, in speaking of it in the language which scripture warrants us to employ, they would ever feel that we do so simply because scripture uses that language, and we must call things by the names that God gives to them, that it is without a feeling of anger against them, but, on the contrary, pity for them, that under the name of Christians, they should embrace a system that is so contrary to Christ.
But we are speaking to Protestants; we are speaking to Protestants whom we presume to be acquainted with the scriptures. They, in the labours of our early reformers, have been taught that this system is emphatically so called; and if they will be at the trouble of studying the language of the scriptures on the subject, they will find the description to be accurate. Now, shall the grand enemy continue? Shall the enemy that bears such a name as this reign there with infinitely greater power than he does in France; with greater power by far than he does in Italy; and in some degree, with greater than even in Portugal or Spain? Shall antichrist continue to reign and to triumph in Ireland? English Christians! if you leave it unmolested and undestroyed, you are willingly neglecting that which is essential to the universality of the Redeemer's kingdom. That which the Redeemer speaks of in such strong language must not be overlooked; and if you wish to proceed with energy in your foreign missions, and to attack tri
umphantly other foes of the Redeemer, this enemy to the souls of the children of men, existing under the shadow of your wing, and through your neglect of the spiritual efforts by which it might have been overturned long ago, must be put under our Redeemer's feet.
The fourth circumstance to which we would direct your attention relative to the Redeemer's kingdom, is its CERTAINTY. You have already, perhaps, anticipated us in this idea from the very annunciation of the language of this evening's text. Ah! friends, we may be disappointed in our looking to England for aid; we may cry in vain to you, in the midst of your religious privileges, "Come over and help us." Year after year may pass away, and no British minister may visit our shore, in order to explore for himself and to report to his Christian countrymen the darkness and the superstition of Ireland. Year after year may pass away, and no student in your numerous seminaries for training up young men for the work of the ministry, may say to the privileges of Great Britain and the communion of British churches, "I leave you in hands that will not be neglected: Ireland! with thy poverty and thy discouragements, I will take thee as my lot." Years may pass away, and though we urge you that, when you are resolving this year and another to send out fifty missionaries to the heathen, you ought at length to come to the determination that you will not fling on the barren surface of poor Ireland a few scattered drops which only raise her dust, and proclaim her barrenness; but that you will turn upon her the streams of salvation in their fulness and in their richness, till, under the Divine blessing, you have irrigated the whole. In vain we may plead, in vain we may cry, that any one year, by some noble effort of British bounty, fifty missionaries at once will be planted among the seven millions of Ireland. But if we turn from you disappointed, and in answer to the claims of the sister land you stir not in those works which her necessities and ignorance require; we trust in the living God: we know that he shall reign”—that " he must reign;" and in sure and certain dependence upon the promises given to us, we desire to go forward. We are not calculating any mere chance as the result of the warfare in which we are engaged: we are not looking to any contingencies that may hang over the result of the battle, and that may yet await the issue of the fight. Though the few labourers that there are may drop at their posts, and there should seem none ready to supply their places in the field of battle, we know that God, from the very
stones of Ireland (to use parabolical language), can raise up labourers, if you send them not into the vineyard.
In the language which I have employed, let none think that I am merely using declamation, and making an appeal from your feelings, for the sake of effect: I am using the language [of bitter and serious fact. For several years back we have waited in vain to receive the visitor that I have spoken of, from our brethren in the ministry in this highly favoured land. We would simply ask as one thing, that you would raise up among yourselves a society, to send some of your most eminent ministers to do good by a short sojourn (say six weeks) in traversing some parts which we may direct them to in the sister island. We have waited during the time that I have spoken of, and in vain, for such visits as these. In reference to our congregational visit from this land, I said from another pulpit where I had an opportunity of stating its claims, that while America, distant America, was greeted, the secretaries of our union had not time to sit down to write even a note of greeting to Ireland. I repeat the assertion-not to blame the men (for I know and love them), but to show you, friends, that you are too much in the habit in this country, that it is left out of your prayers, left out of your correspondence, and left out of your greeting. Last year our Scottish brethren sent over one whose addresses enlivened and encouraged our hearts, as he told us of the former weakness of the cause in Scotland, and of the way in which it had gained strength, and gone forward mightily up to the period at which he was addressing us. But we had no visitor from England: we had not a single minister, though invited, to cheer our hearts. from that which is the native land of some of us; men who came, when our brethren were gathered, from the back of the world, as they emphatically expressed it; from the remotest corners in Ireland, in order that they might be cheered and animated by their kind and salutary favour. I mention it, and I do it thus publicly, that such may never be the case again. O dear friends, stir up one another to think of Ireland, and to visit, especially, by a deputation of those who may cheer us and do us good, the sister island; that they might come back, and tell on your platforms and in your pulpits, the wants they have seen, and the miseries which they wish you to relieve.
During the period that I have been adverting to, we have heard that your academies are overstocked with students, and that in your land ministers are treading on the heels of ministers; but though
these statements meet our eyes repeatedly, through your missionary and other publications, we have looked, and we have longed, and not one of this overplus, not a single overflowing of your bounty in this way, has ever found his solitary path to Ireland. Through years that I retrace at this moment, and from the period when the institution for the education of our young men was put a stop to, under the idea that the overflowings of your English seminaries would supply us-I repeat it, not one English student has ever come to settle in the land. During the last year death has removed two of our ministers, and their congregations are consequently vacant: circumstances have removed others: and after years of waiting, and some of toil, we have been able to turn out one solitary student as the fruit of our labours. Till the beginning of next year another cannot be suffered to depart from the institution; and, without speaking of new spheres of labour, there are at present four, if not five, vacant churches, where individuals, did your bounty supply the means, might be usefully occupied in Ireland. Under such discouragements-discouragements from the land from which we do not expect them, it is a comfort to know that Christ shall, and that Christ must reign.
The last particular to which I would earnestly and affectionately request your regard is, the use of proper and necessary MEANS for the establishment of the kingdom of Christ. Without entering into a minute specification of the various instrumentalities that ought to be employed with reference to Ireland, we would just remind you of the sentiment we have just advanced in reference to the character of the kingdom we would wish to establish there, and we would say that the kingdom of Christ which we are desirous of establishing must be established in the use of means conformable to the character of that kingdom. It is therefore that, in adverting to those means, on the very threshold we disclaim every interference with every political instrumentality.
I have received this day from a friend of Ireland a letter, the writer of which seems anxious to be informed, amongst the conflicting statements which are made respecting Ireland, as to the actual condition of the country, and the means which must be employed for its spiritual renovation: and two names are classed together in this letter which I regret to see classed together, though I acknowledge that some circumstances may lead to, and seem to warrant, such a classification. I am asked whether the statements of the Rev. Mr. M'Ghee or those of Mr. O'Connell are to be believed on the
subject. I regret that a good and faithful minister, such as the former is one who has at heart the interests of true religion, and would never knowingly stoop to any unworthy means for its promotion-should ever have committed himself, unthinkingly, by the production of a document which he did not sufficiently examine, when he had authentic documents enough to establish the point he was anxious to illustrate and to support. I regret that circumstances should, in the least degree, give a political character to the objects of an individual who, I am sure, has the spiritual welfare of Ireland at heart, however I may differ from him on some details as to the best mode of its promotion. I would say unhesitatingly, that the statements which that excellent minister of the Establishment has given, and continues to give, of the darkness and unholiness of the superstitions which he has been exposing, are statements which may be regarded as just and true, and however they may be contradicted never can be disproved.
As to the other individual who has been named, I have no business to express political feelings or sentiments, or to interfere with public or private character in any way in the pulpit. I would only say to any friend who may build on the authority of a name, that whatever justice may be attached to the name in question, surely a Roman Catholic is not the judge at whose tribunal popery is to be arraigned, if you expect the trial to be a fair one. Nor is it to the special pleading of one who has surrendered his own reason and judgment, in appearance, to the system in question, and to debase himself so far as to kneel in the muddy street before a bishop of the church to which he professes to belong; surely it is not to such an authority as this that you look for the true character of Ireland in a religious point of view. He may tell you of her politics; he may be an oracle about her "wrongs:" with his opinions upon that subject, one way or another, we have nothing to do; but as to her religion, take the evidence of the Book of God, and compare what that says with the religion that you find in the country, and out of its own mouth will it be condemned.
Though we may seem presuming in some of the language we employ on this occasion, we must candidly say, that we regret the admixture of political questions or feelings on the one side and on the other, with any of our religious societies, or with any interposition of British Christians feeling on her behalf. Be they Tory politics, or be they Whig politics, they have no business with the questions of Ireland's welfare, if by religious means you wish to do