The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 53
The Signs of the Times
The Signs of the Times.
On the 10th of October, 1882, the Rev. Joseph Cook, of Boston, delivered the following address, in Abbott's Opera House, Auckland. The building was crowded to excess in all parts, most of the Nonconformist clergy of the Province, and several Anglican ministers, having seats on the stage. The lecturer had only just arrived by steamer from Australia, and was booked to leave by the California steamer, which left Auckland in a few hours.
There shines through all our earthly dress
Bright shoots of everlastingness.
Bacon said that the first act of God was the physical light, but the supreme act was the light that beams through the faces of human beings—the soul. The old Greeks raised the question, as I have already said. What is the source of this light, what was the light of the Transfiguration? What was the source of the light in the face of Moses when he descended from the Mount? What was the light in the countenance of Stephen, which made the men who saw him speak of it as like the face of an angel? I believe that what shines is something not put into the germ: that man has a natural body and a spiritual body; that man is made up of body and soul. The spirit is not two things, nor yet one thing", mere matter, as the materialist says, but three things—the thing you can touch, the thing that thinks, and the thing that shines. This is the enswathement, the pneumatic of the spiritual body in the germ. We are not to have a mere bodiless immortality, we are to have spiritual bodies. This spiritual enswathement is in us here and now; it is in the wicked as well as the holy. The Bible makes not merely a riddle of itself, if the doctrine of conditional immortality be truth, but is brimful of contradictions. We have been purposelessly page 7 frightened by this work, if annihilation or conditional immortality is to be found in it. Where it speaks of immortality it co-ordinates it with punishment and reward. God bless that great preacher when he calls this conditional immortality the most mischievous thing that ever was. A person has said that he incurred more responsibility than any other man living for resisting the spread of it. But Mr. Spurgeon said, "I am quite prepared to take the responsibility." I thank God that this doctrine is opposed by a man who has preached to more human beings, and for a longer period, than any other man on earth. I give you my rapid reasons for saying that when I go hence I am going somewhere, and there is no annihilation in the question. What I have said concerns the spiritual body and the facts of physiology. They all stand in thorough accord with the revelation of immortality in this Book. We are going, and going soon, to the judgment bar of the Most High God. Demosthenes said that every public address should begin with an incontrovertible proposition. It is incontrovertible that a little while ago we were not here, and a little while hence we will be here no more.
I wish to solemnize this occasion by a reference to the great objects that are before you. I have stood this morning on some of your extinct volcanoes. I have looked over an almost paradisiacal landscape, from the top of Mount Eden. I do not know when I was more charmed by any outlook than this of yours. I can imagine how profoundly attached you must be to this part of the world—to these blest islands to which you have come, and how attached you are to the British Empire whence you came. But the time will soon come when you and I will cease to be Britons or Americans. We are to go hence, and our concern therefore is with the Kingdom that is everlasting. Have I not proved my proposition, that the chief thing worth living for is death? One hundred and thirty-five thousand working hours are all that any man has to live. Few people begin their working life before twenty-five years of age, and very few continue it beyond their seventieth year. Between twenty-five and seventy you have forty-five years. Suppose you leave out the fifty-two Sundays in each year, and thirteen days for recreation, you have three hundred days in each year—the sum makes 135,000 working hours. That is the whole of your earthly career. This is not theology but arithmetic. It is as certain as "Gunter's Chain." We are going hence, and going soon. You think you are the tree page 8 of the human race, but you are only the leaves. Both the tree and the leaves fall. Some of you have not ninety, some not seventy some not ten, thousand hours to live. I do not know that the Pacific will float me to my native land. This is my last address in Australasia. It is commonplace to say that we all must die. But it is not commonplace that says you shall all go hence at the end of 135,000 hours. That is certain without; a scintilla of doubt about it. We must then be delivered from the love of sin and from the guilt of it, otherwise in the nature of things there can be no peace in the hereafter for us. The personal signs of the times are as significant as the hand-writing on the wall was to the King of Babylon. We must be delivered from the love of sin, for if we are to live with God we know that who lives with God must hate it. No two beings can walk together unless they agree. And when we are delivered from the love of sin, we are not necessarily delivered from the guilt of it. We must have deliverance from the love of sin, from the guilt of it, and we must go hence—these are three mighty facts.
I will now speak to you of the "national" signs of the time. Let me address you as the "Pilgrim Fathers" of the fairest and foremost domain of the Southern Hemisphere. You have not, in all the Australias, four millions of people. But the first three millions set the fashions for the millions that are to follow. I wish I could make it enter into your hearts and minds, as the lightning enters into the oak, that you are the leaders of the ages to come. The three millions that first come to a new land are more important than any ten million fifty years after. Look at the first three millions that came to my own Republic. They were the people who set fashions in politics and religion, customs and law. They laid the corner stone of the future government and power. They made some mistakes, and bitterly indeed have they atoned them. They did not, for instance, throttle the young viper of slavery, which grew almost immediately into a monstrosity that coiled itself about the whole body politic, and which in later years they were obliged to wrench from its holding. But in the good or great things they have done, those first three millions were more important in determining what the "United States" was to become than any twenty millions of the inhabitants now alive. I beg to insist upon it, therefore, that you who belong to the first three millions who came here, have a responsibility not easily measured in its vastness or its solemnity. It has pleased Providence to bring page 9 into existence, in the Australias, the most brilliant and most powerful set of circumstances in the Southern Hemisphere. I have not seen all the cities of your Islands. I had hoped to beat up from Invcrcargill, through Duuedin, Christchurch, and Wellington to Auckland. But certain accidents to sea going vessels upset this plan. I had hoped to be a week in this beautiful city. I have only six hours to remain here. I think it is one of the signs of the time that at so short notice in this place an assembly of this kind could be gathered together. Do not think I underrate your city because my stay is so short. I have seen your people. I have heard much in their honour. I believe I am leaving a part of my soul in this place. I have seen everywhere I went testimony of the great future that awaits you. Brazil cannot match the three foremost cities of the Australias. Rio, the largest city of Brazil, is not as large as Melbourne, or as Sydney now is. But Sydney hopes soon to be larger than Melbourne—(laughter)—while Melbourne is determined to be larger than Sydney. Adelaide is a most cultured and brilliant city. The second cities of Brazil are not equal to those of the Australias—Pernambuco is inferior to the Australian cities of second rank. Brazil has ten millions of population, but of these some millions are in a servile condition. If not slaves, they belong to a class, the Peons, that are as bad as slaves. But you will never have a servile class in Australasia. I know what criticism has pointed to for Queensland. I have looked into the faces of the population there, and I see a thunderbolt there that will strike if ever an attempt is made to impose slavery upon them. And you will have thunderbolts cast at you from British power if you should organize slavery in these lands, and not only from British power, but from the highest quarters here, from your educated men, from your ministers, from your lawyers, and statesmen, You are for ever to be a free people. The first sign of the time is this very fact, that you are the only thoroughly free people in the whole southern hemisphere, a people who believe in government by the people for the people. And you are a part of a limited monarchy—very limited here by the way. (Laughter.) Here, as in America, you have a great prospect. If the American Union had never been treated somewhat badly by the British Government, I believe we Americans would be colonists as you are to this dav. My great grandfather was a colonist and an officer in Washington's army. If you had such a George as we had for King, I do not know that he would not have been your last. The truth is, that page 10 England must hereafter have good Kings or Queens, or none. (Applause.) Do not suppose that I am obliquely hinting at any prospect of a change. No—long: as the Southern Cross and Ursa Major, those bright constellations that shine in the southern and northern heavens, shall roll in their course—so long may the Australias and Great Britain live in peace with each other, and belong to the same empire. (Applause.) As it is a part of your glory that you belong to a free people and government, and to an Empire greater than the Empire of the Cœsars so is it part of your usefulness that you are not detached from it, but that the stalwart right arm of both sides of your Empire shall be engaged with America in the cause of freedom. This should be the morning dream of both, keeping company with the hours and encircling the globe, spreading the light of truth, and protecting the weak. (Applause.)
The quantity of your population is another "national" sign of the time. I don't like to venture on prophecy, but I think it is a moderate hope that you will have, at no very remote period, one hundred million of people in the Australias. You ought to make provision for such a population. For such a provision to be made you stand in trust. It is as pilgrims, as sojourners here, as citizens of a kingdom not of this world that I would have you act while in a kingdom which is of this world. I would have you aot as those should act who will have to give account to a government on High. Be prepared to give it soon, and give it thoroughly. Consider how you should acquit yourselves in this matter. It is a matter for which you will be held responsible, and you ought to pray for the power to do your part in such a manner as may please God perfectly. That would be claimed of us if we could have been among the Pilgrim Fathers, the colonists of old, who carried the culture of the British Islands to New England. Here you are colonizing an immense territory, and laying the foundation of a truly mighty country. You are now as the Pilgrim Fathers were once in regard to America. You will be responsible to God for the opportunities you miss, for the duty you neglect. You are turning the streams, digging their new channels. It is for you to suffer no indignity to befall the coming population, who may never hear or see the England of their fathers. I hear a great many things of your young people, but I do not believe all that I hear. Some of the future population are now children in your schools. And where are you who brought your torches lighted at Cambridge, Oxford, page 11 Edinburgh, or Glasgow—where are you that should be pillars of fire in the darkness of the night, and overcome God's enemies against the morning. Your young men and women will want new fashions. If they have never seen the best civilization of the West, it is possible they may not invent anything equal to it. You must take off the chariot wheel of the spirit of unrule. You must block the wheels if the ground is steep. A critical time is coming, when you will have to transfer the authority of Pilgrim Fathers to generations born here, made up of individuals who never saw Great Britain.
Another sign of the time in your national affairs is the quality of your population. The quantity of population does not make a nation good. I thank God that you are English and Scotch, and for the most part Protestant. You have a per centage of Asiatics in your population. God bless all working men—white, black, or yellow. I can say that in California, although the slums of San Francisco do not echo the prayer. But the churches do. I believe that you do here. I believe that you will be a tower of light, casting Christian rays upon paganism—north, east, and west. It is well that the fashions of these islands should be set by Europeans. The quality of this generation is remarkably high on the whole. Birth and education do act as a protecting tariff, shutting out drones—and scoundrels. I am quite aware what the convict system did for part of Australasia. But you have packed that off. Of the effects of the system, only a remnant remains. This remnant, let us hope, will also disappear. On the whole, you impress me as a population quite able to set the fashions of the future. Sir Charles Dilke said that it was hard to find in Australia any one in an important position that did not possess more than average ability. Pioneers are picked men. Those who formed new colonies are likely to be selected by some such law as the survival of the fittest. 1 have been much impressed with the high average ability of men in prominent positions here. You are certainly setting high ideals before the young men whom you send to your Universities. I have looked into the examination papers of your three Universities, and I find that a man must leap a high bar before he gets a degree from any of your seats of learning.
But I am not quite satisfied with the exclusion of devotional exercises from your state schools. There seems to be a tendency towards the complete secularization of instruction. When I was in South Australia, the Bishop of Adelaide set on foot a movement page 12 to prevent the secularization of the schools, and he was met with arguments such as these: It is said there is a fear of denominational teaching. But no denominational teaching is asked for, and something, such as Bible reading and prayer, should be admitted, something that may guard against conscience being left out. Germany put the Bible out of her schools, but the result was so bad that she put it back again. America put it out, but in several of the schools she has put it back. In New Haven, where Yale College stands, they excluded it, but the effect was so mischievous that the Bible was brought back. The schools of New Haven are now a model for all others. Now, we do not believe in denominational schools in the United States, and we do not think that devotional exercises in schools will ever open that question. That question is closed; it is, I believe, dead and buried in America, and a heavy stone has been put on its grave. And we don't want connection between Church and State. We know that a great number of children go to the Sabbath schools. They would leave all they could to the churches, but while it is said they are efficient, they are not sufficient. More than 10,000 schools are outside the Sabbath schools, and I am justified in appealing to statistics. You have separated Church and State. That is another "national" sign of the time. Let me congratulate you on the separation. Am I speaking at random? Are we sure that it will eventuate for good? Let us again appeal to reason and experience. The voluntary system will not give large salaries to curates on the country side. They will not be so well supported as upon the old plan. But your wealthy men will help those country churches. You will have missionary societies, whose officers will be able to assist those churches in the country side. I stand in this upon American experience. At the opening of this century there were only three free churches in America. Now we have only free churches there. But there has never been any very influential connection of the church with the state in America. In 1800, the proportion of the evangelical church members to the population was one in fifteen. To-day, under the voluntary system, it is one in five. There is the result, whereas some people said we would be wrecked. What do I mean by church members? I mean by it baptised persons, persons who have made a public profession of faith—nonconformist, denominational, or free church. Counting the Protestant bodies, this is exclusive of Unitarians and Univer-salists. It is a goodly thing to try to stand alone, for when we try to stand alone we generally succeed. The Universalist churches page 13 and preaching houses are in decay. But counting only the Evangelical churches, we have ten millions of church members to fifty millions of population. I may repeat that I am counting only those who have made serious profession of their faith. This is one of the results of the separation of Church and State. Under the voluntary system, as in America, so here, there would be a similar progress. There is nothing makes a church so to use its own possibilities as to claim and got recognition and support. It rejects all the crutches of State patronage. In America the doctrine is "sink or swim." And they mostly swim. (Applause.) Because that alternative is put before every church organization, every church that has true and lofty aims learns to swim. (Applause.) And any church that has not true and lofty aims—it ought to sink. (Applause.) A good authority says that the Evangelical churches are the orthodox. It must be so, for it is orthodoxy that pays. (Applause and laughter.) Left to itself, heterodoxy goes to the wall, thank God. (Applause.) Let those who refuse to be fettered with the Evangelical churches be reckoned, and their number is few. It is quite right that God should convert the heart of the wicked, but even the wicked must have the regard of the Church. The Evangelical churches are spread over the length and breadth of the land. Let the Universalist go out and unite with the Unitarian in certain cases. The Universalist Church is perishing for lack of spiritual life. The Unitarians are twice less numerous now than they were in 1840. The Universalists are twice and a half less numerous. I am speaking advisedly when I say this, for I have had occasion to examine the facts. There was a time when there were only two Evangelical churches of any weight. To-day there is no prominent church which is not evangelical. There are two Unitarian and Universalist churches which have some weight, but they are officered by men who are merely agents—men who have no successors in prospect. As I look round on those Universalist and Unitarian churches, I do not see where the men will come from who will take the places of those who to-day fill their pulpits. Even when a considerable part of Christianity is retained by heterodoxy, as in the case of these denominations, you may point to the earnestness of their officers and preachers if you please, but they do not create earnestness in the members. Under the voluntary system it is only the Evangelical doctrine that gives such aggressiveness as to maintain church life on a lofty plane. There is nothing more certain than that the voluntary system in page 14 church affairs merges into the aggressive action, so remarkable for its unity in Evangelical denominations. I therefore congratulate you upon the whole prospects of your separation of Church and State. I cheerfully hope you will not go back to the old plan. Having progressed so far, you should take the measures necessary to secure your position. Your rule should be to work, to learn—to work well for the success of the plan you have adopted. I congratulate you again on your acceptance of this supreme law of self-help,
I am travelling, I fear, too long over these "national" signs of the time. Among others, I ought to mention one or two which I confess give mo some disquietude, as well as a glowing hope. One of the most striking is the concentration of your population in cities. I have seen fourteen cities in these Colonies, and in them about the third of the population of Australasia and Tasmania is concentrated. One quarter of the population of Victoria is gathered into her principal town. It is notorious that under the broad suffrage which you have instituted, the management of people in towns is peculiarly difficult. In America we find we can do what we please with the suffrage, where the population is virtuous. In that case the system of universal suffrage will work well. But in the towns it is put to the test. It sometimes tends to go loose. I say these things at home. The management of great towns is a thing that representative government must provide for, or representative government itself must perish. I believe it is a long time since we permitted New York city to appoint all her own people. The police there are said to be quite previous when political affairs are uppermost. It even strains at putting down the vulture of intemperance that is consuming the heart of English speaking people. It is a new style of comment to say that the counts of this indictment are drawn up by females. We have refused to allow New York the appointment of all her own officers. We have appointed some by the vote of the whole State. New York city has 70,000 voters who cannot read or write, nearly every one of them of foreign breed. We are troubled in New York city by the broad suffrage—yet we believe in universal suffrage. We believe also in making the moral influence of the Church omnipotent, to prevent the evils that would arise out of this vote. Our population in America is also concentrating in the great cities. At the opening of this century we had one twenty-fifth of our people in the towns. We have now one fifth of our population page 15 in cities. The same state of things is produced in other places-Berlin grows faster than Germany, London faster than England, Paris faster than France. This concentration is a necessary growth, arising out of the greatly increased facilities of inter-communication. When railways have their termini in large cities, passing through intermediate towns, carrying the produce of the country to distant markets, and thus developing commerce and increasing manufactures, a large population necessarily concentrates in the towns, where commercial enterprises are common, and where manufactures are raised up. Fewer middlemen are needed when you produce goods or sell them at the centre. Hence all over the world we find the cities growing faster than the rest of the country. Under the Republic from which I come this question of the management of great cities, under a broad suffrage, is become the great question of the time. I believe you here will contribute largely to that problem, for it is being thrust upon you in its most perplexing form. Your voters are being brought from England, where they have not been accustomed to a broad suffrage. The question appears to be, whether the agricultural labourer, the manufacturing operative, the average man of a large middle class shall overcome? Will he vote hero as he ought or should vote? These people have not been trained to freedom in the highest sense. Of the power of the people they will soon learn enough, but how will they use it? Will you become disgusted with them, or they with you? I know that you have government from Home, and that you have perfect freedom to do what you please, and, except the power to do wrong—(laughter)—a greater power than your fathers exerted. It would be sad if you were to set a bad example in this matter. But I hope that Australasia will set such a good example that England may copy from Australia, little by little, her improvements in their application to modern affairs. It will not do for an American like me to tell England and Scotland they must be Americanised, but they will bear to be told that they may be Australianised—that is the same thing. (Applause and laughter.) You are a government of the people, for the people, by the people, and, as an American, I am anxious that you should succeed in applying the broad suffrage to the management of municipal populations. You have not a large rural population. It will be many years before your rural population exerts any great influence in securing the purity of the vote. How then is the purity of the vote to be kept up? By the coming in of fresh blood? But you cannot rejuvenate city life in Australia in that way. There is nothing page 16 which will give you safety but a most aggressive Christianity, acting against all immoral issues of public affairs. In America the dogs would bark in the streets if the Churches took any other side than the moral side. The members of Churches are the only aristocracy left in America. There may be an aristocracy of learning, or of wealth. It is not to the aggregate that we are to look for the ideal. I do appeal most specially to those who have taken God's work upon themselves as divinely appointed, to enable the Church to fulfil its mission, and to take their share in the responsibility of setting the fashions both in the Church and in the State. We have found in America that the separation of Church an d State does prevent the State from governing the Church, but it don't prevent the Church from governing the State. The high duty of governing these States, and calling forth a Christian population into Australia and New Zealand to your aid, is cast upon you. That duty has to be performed in view of a broad or universal suffrage, which I understand you are now debating. The Church cannot be governed by the State, but the Church can teach the State in an independent Republic that the ends of all government are the diffusion of liberty, intelligence, property, and a definite conscientiousness. The State concerns itself with liberty, intelligence, commerce, and property, but it is the supreme business of the Church to define and enforce conscientiousness. (Applause.) No one of these four things without the other three will make government upon a broad suffrage safe. Look into the future, and see your population gathered about your best river courses and your fortunately situated seaports. In Australia proper the population will cling to the coasts. In the centres, where there is but small water supply, there will be but little population. I think I see in the future an Australasian population spread out like a mighty crescent, the tips of it at Adelaide and Port Darwin, the thickness of it in Melbourne. Near this crescent will be two stars, Tasmania and New Zealand. There will be the Fijis and other stars—God knows how many you may yet annex to this crescent of the British Empire. Now you are responsible for all those who are to live within and about this crescent. God grant that you may not raise up some rashness of municipal power that would overspread the Churches and Press of your great towns, and so cast the shadow of an eclipse for life over your scar. Allow mo to say that you are performing an experiment of the utmost interest to the Western Islands of the Pacific, as well as to the North. Canada is confederate. A similar plan has been discussed at the Cape. page 17 Canada cannot maintain 100 millions of people below the line which is frozen. I believe that you cannot put into the Cape Settlements, no matter how far you extend them towards the north, as many healthy white people as you have in Australasia. Central Africa will never be colonized by whites. Only here, in these parts of the British Empire, can you put 100 millions of people. And you are to govern them under the broad suffrage. The problem is, "How to do this?" How are you to do it, unless that every man act as his brother's keeper, and with that conscientiousness of man to man which ought to belong to him who knows that he is but a sojourner on earth, while at the same time he is a citizen of a kingdom that is not of this world? I would have this discussion sink deep into your hearts, that you may be convinced of the advantages which you will derive from the solution of the problem, and those which you can extend to others. I believe that a vast population will yet be ruled from these Islands which you inhabit. Let me then consider your opportunities of being of service to neighbouring lands. I have come here from Japan. Their eyes are upon you. India watches you. I hope that your example will be imitated. Japan is a country that has made the most remarkable advances of any country within the last few years. It is only a few weeks since I was standing in Tokeo, addressing an audience made up of natives of that country, addressing them sometimes through an interpreter. They sat with the utmost patience while they heard a savage attack made on their native Buddhism. They listened to the explanation of our Christian defence. Let the great waves roll beneath your vessels, let the tall chimneys rise, or Japan will get a-head of you, and lay hold of the markets of Asia. If there should be a revolution in China, if she should shake off her feudal system, what a mighty possibility would arise! The Chinaman is not seen at his best in your coolies. If he should once look into the future, instead of croning his head to look at the moon, and follow the example of Japan; if the immense resources of his rivers, his tea fields and cotton plantations, should be once opened to the world, there indeed would be an opportunity to cast the light into the midst of the hundred millions of the celestial empire. "Look at Rome," says Gibbon, "with her 120 millions of peoples." You could affirm that you have twice that number between the Himalayas and the sea. It has been my fortune to address great assemblages of the natives of India. Their red and white turbans had an imposing appearance. Even in the fanatical town of Benares, where I addressed a large assembly, they listened to me page 18 while I attacked their Brahminical customs. These distant places will be affected in some sense by your example in the future. You will no doubt, in the course of your government, make some slips, but you will be true to the principles upon which all good government must stand. It is possible some of these Australian states may part company, but if so I hope they will part good friends. When you shall have 100 million people within your territories, I hope you will keep together even then. You have to tell the world whether it is safe to carry on representative institutions under a broad suffrage with large municipalities. If you succeed, India will be copying your administration. Mighty populations will be looking to Melbourne, to Auckland, and to Adelaide, to show them how you govern large cities. But you will never do that without saturating the public thought with aggressive Christianity. If you do so, you ought and will succeed. Apart from that aggressive Christianity, you might succeed with a despotic rule, but without it you cannot succeed under free institutions. Do Tocqueville has said, that governments need to be most critically watched when they are most democratic. The work of the Tocqueville is a most useful book, and I would recommend every colonist to study it. The signs of the time are above the horizon in America. Now that they are getting up to the mountain top, they are in the presence of posterity; that thought commands their earnest consideration. One of these signs is that, in the name of an aggressive Christianity, people must conquer, or not conquer at all. We must shed the light, or be in darkness ourselves. Africa is before you. They want you to shed the radiance of jurisprudence and a school of aggressive Christianity in Japan, China, and the country at the foot of the Himalayas, and in those desolate regions which we know of in Egypt, in Affghanistan, and all the lands that lie round India. Tou have the free institutions of North America to copy. You will be confederated here before 50 years shall have passed. You will have an increase of your reponsibility when that takes place. I should desire Australasia and America, and England, and her Empire in India, to be the four sides of a mighty quadrilateral for the advancement of sound ideas in politics, and of sound doctrine in Christianity. And you will find that England, when she is sufficiently idealized, or Australianized, or Americanized—its the same thing—(laughter)—we shall have free government upon a mighty scale, influencing the whole world. I trust that I am not speaking with an improper spirit of familiarity when I say that the dearest hope of my heart is that the time is page 19 coming when the English-speaking people will not he merely a political unit but a grand political alliance, making arbitration, for instance, a substitute for warfare; having common copyright laws—well, we steal more books from you than you from us—(laughter)—but then you steal more patents from us than we from you. I would have improved copyright laws, and improved patent laws, and I would have them both international. (Applause.) I would have such an alliance as to make war impossible. I would cast the moral weight of this alliance into the scale whenever we would be called on to arbitrate. I have even gone so far as to express a hope that the time is coming when Great Britain and the United States will be a guarantee for the neutrality of the whole Pacific Ocean. You guarantee the neutrality of the Suez Canal. America will guarantee the neutrality of the Panama Canal. Yes, gravely, I advocate making the whole Pacific Ocean neutral. I hope, too, the time will come when we can make the North Atlantic neutral, when we can put round the whole globe a white girdle of peace, until by-and-by it shall become a robe, covering the planet from head to foot.
Here I make my transition to the wider cosmopolitan aspects of my subject. Cæsar could drive his chariot round his Empire in 100 days. We can send a letter in 9G days round the whole globe. Great is the German Empire, great is the French Republic, great is the American Republic, but greater than French, American, or German is the Christian world. The Christian world is, or ought to be, so morally confederated as to be in power and substance politically One. You say these are fanatical ideas. Well, when the suspension bridge was to be built over Niagara Falls, the first thing they did was to send a boy's kite across the chasm. That took a thread, and again that took a wire. Then they found that they had a cable across, and at last the bridge was built, which is now the connection between east and west. (Applause.) This idea of making England and America not merely competitors but allies, this scheme of an Anglo-Saxon alliance, may now be only a question getting into a state of preparation for discussion. I am on a popular platform. I keep before the people the ideas which I feel. What I do is to carry over the thread. That may carry over something stronger, that something may carry over something stronger yet, and that the strands of a cable, until a bridge of international habitudes is erected, and the chariot-wheels of empire may pass, carrying throughout the earth universal peace. (Applause.) Your Mr. Forster is not regarded as a sentimental politician. But he once made a page 20 Speech on Now Zealand, in which he advocated such a union or alliance. He said that England ought to favour it. He feared, however, that America could not be drawn into it in consequence of the doctrine of avoiding entangling alliances. I have great respect for Washington's advice to avoid entangling alliances. What have we boon doing? We have called a convention—a very proper and useful thing on our side of the globe—for the purpose of considering such treaties as should be rediscussed, as well as to make arbitration the rule for determining national differences, instead of war, and so decide the settlement of international disputes. Twe important cases have occurred. Once we had an arbitration when you did not believe in it. Once you had an arbitration when America did not believe in it. But let us eat humble pie when it is necessary. I remember once being in Mr. Spurgeon's study, when he showed me with great glee two essays, which he said he highly valued. What do you think they were? well, one was "Bull on Bragging," and the other was "Jonathan on Exaggeration." (Laughter.) This points a moral, and shows how both nations may eat humble pie to do them good. I say let us both be Christian first, and English and American afterwards. Let us give a stern account to the people how we act in matters which involve the issues of war. Let us take by the throat and break the neck of any political power that will not submit to Christian laws. It is high time that a Christian internationalism of this kind should be established. Let all Christian men feel themselves called upon to check the growth of any power that would bring about the horrors of an unjust war. (Applause.) Mr. Bright said he felt obliged to resign his seat in the English Cabinet, because it was "a precious doctrine to him that the moral law applied to the relations of nations as well as to individuals." Mr. Gladstone, in his reply, said, "The right hon. gentleman and myself have no debate about the general principle. We differ only as to the application of the principle to the affairs of Egypt." Here is a recognition of what I call the "higher law." Mr. Gladstone himself lifts it up as the law of the British Empire. Mr. Bright holds it up as the law of a higher authority and a wider kingdom. America will lift up this higher law. Let it be raised above American constitutions, above British enactments of every kind, of every province, of every nation—make it the supreme law to be recognised in our international arrangements—make Christendom united in sustaining this law as a supreme guide for nations. When that is done, there will be a Christian internationalism with which every other power will page 21 have to reckon. God speed, I say, the growth of that Christian internationalism, that shall make this law a recognised force, whether national or provincial. It results from the fact that there would be no foreign lands in our time. The cause of free institutions, the cause of free education, the cause of Christianity, would be, not for the benefit of some or many, but for all; whatever good cause comes to the front in our time must be regarded as cosmopolitan in all its possible relations to the future. Let the free institutions of the West, and here in Australasia, proceed until they go through all Asia ultimately; let the grand views of education adopted in Germany, or the United States, or the British Empire, be taught in China and Japan. Let Christianity succeed in the high places of the West, and it will be sure to succeed in the dark places of the earth. War in one place is war for the whole earth. We must regard ourselves denizens of this planet, as well as citizens of a vast republic. We will act in both capacities, when we are also citizens of one great theocracy. I wish to impress on this audience that no nation can be secure without a law of this kind. There is no security in isolation. You can send a letter home in 40 days from Sydney. It is immaterial which way it goes, in 40 or 45 days it is at the river Thames. Look at the globe then so rapidly encircled. How can Paganism maintain itself on its mental seclusion? They will sooner or later follow Japan, in opening their ports to commerce, to civilisation, and when they are thus accessible it will be impossible to remain in the mental isolation of the false creeds of Asia." You encircle the globe in 90 days. Cæsar could only circuit the Roman Empire in 100 days. Do not think I am underrating the dignity of the Roman Empire and its ruler. If Cæsar were alive in these days he would be cosmopolitan. What was the ambition of the Greeks, who conquered empire, to that which would conquer the earth, for the reign of the kingdom of God? What should our ambition be, if we are to match those who threw paganism off its hinges? Our ambition should be worldwide. The early bishops used to begin their missions with the words Sursum corda—"Raise up your hearts." The chief signs of the time now is, that there can be no foreign land, all men belong to one family, to be taught by the Word of God.
Will you allow me, as I part from you, to think with you aloud? There is more cheap printing in the world than ever before. There is also more cheap thinking. Small philosophers are great characters in half-learned ages. Such is the ago in which we live. What are we page 22 doing, but carrying over a multitude from no culture to half-culture but whom we hope to lift from that condition when they come to think for themselves. In this transitional period there will be much unrest. There will be a hundred questioners, each of whom will ask as many questions, and won't take the majority as an authority. Their minds are filled with their own conceit and narrow reasoning upon real or imagined grievances. A man is a man if his father were rich; a man is a man though he were cleverer than his fellows, or not so clever; a man is a man though poor and distressed; and a man is a man though he went to a university. But, (rod be praised, little by little men are are helping to think for themselves. When they shall have learned a good deal there will be a good deal less of this unrest. Let us not be too much disturbed by the diseases peculiar to the childhood of a people. Populations, like young boys, must go through the measles. There is a teething time for societies as well as babes. In American colleges there are fresh men, and sophisters, and the fresh man who goes first to college thinks he knows more than the sophister, or than he is likely to know 20 years after. In my state of Massachusets there are more small philosophers than in any other. You must not laugh at her too much, for there are many in the other states also. I find that it is this transitional state of unrest that accounts for much of the so-called infidelity that we see around. But I believe that there are less infidel scholars in our age than in any of the previous ages. Compared with a time of high learning at the French Revolution, the comparison is very favorable to the present age. I believe that Christianity to-day stands upon an advanced ground that she never possessed before or since the patriarchal age. There is a great deal of vulgar infidelity, that makes a noise, because printing is cheaper than before. But that is more a sign of audacity than real strength. The question is, "What is the relative power of infidelity and Christianity?" Suppose I measure on this table five hands'-breadth for fifteen centuries. Now, in that space of time, Christianity gained fifteen millions. If I mark off three centuries between the Reformation and 1800, we find that Christianity gained in that time one hundred millions. If we take from 1800 to 1882, what do we find? We find that Christianity has gained, in these eighty-two years, two hundred and ten millions. There are now four hundred and ten millions of Christians in the world. Of that number, two hundred and ten millions have been gained during this present century—that is, more in this century than in the page 23 previous eighteen centuries. Do you ask, Where do you get these figures from? I answer, From a dozen quarters—from Germany, from America, and other places. They will be found in a work issued by Dr. Dorchester, of Boston, compiled with great care from authentic records—" The Problem of Christian Progress." I have shown a copy of it to several gentlemen. It is well illustrated with diagrams, showing the outcome of his statistical investigations. And what is it? The great fact is, that to-day we have thrice the number of adherents to Christianity on the globe as compared with the beginning of this century. So mighty has been the advance of gospel truth, so powerful have been the efforts of missions, so great has been the Evangelical movement inside the nominal Christian population. And what do I mean by adherents? I mean, not merely the subjects of Christian governments. I mean baptised and confirmed persons, persons who are themselves supporters of a Christian church, men who come to the communion service. Now, these facts are extraordinary. I bring them forward to show the rate of progress that has been made. You must take, not the absolute, but the relative powers of these forces. At the opening of this century there were 50 translations of the Bible, now it is to be seen printed in 308 languages. At that date, £50,000 was spent for missions, to-day the sum is £1,700,000. And this sum has rapidly increased from year to year, and is increasing. There is a Bible in circulation for every ten men on this planet. There are millions who regularly read the Bible, that never read it before. In Japan, in China and India, there are several self-supporting Christian churches. This is a fact not generally known as regards China, and not widely understood as regards Japan. I am informed that it will be immediately in our power to bring a knowledge of the Gospel to every human being, by placing a copy of this Book in his hand. Standing in the presence of this triumph of Christianity, you may talk as you please of cheap printing and thinking. The truth is that infidelity is now very far less powerful than it was in the days of Voltaire and Lord Bolingbroke. And if Christianity was mighty when giants were opposed to it, if it was powerful enough while in its babyhood to take the Roman Empire by the neck and throw it to the earth, if it has come to its present colossal power, what should it have to fear from pigmy enemies? Christianity is not now a new thing in the world. Its vindication is that it works well, while infidelity works ill. Wherever infidelity has been seen in the veins of nations, you have there diseases which eclipse the mind as well as page 24 the conscience. In this Book there is the evidence which proves it to be divine, and shewing the lofty destiny of the human race, if they obey the commandments of God. Oh, but some one says, what about the external and internal evidence? The external evidence is adduced by the greatest scholars of the age. And if you want internal evidence, let us take a loaf for instance. The external evidence is derived from the maker, the quality and quantity of the material, and if you want the internal evidence, any sensible man will tell you that there is a shorter method of proof than a small philosoper would suggest—that is, "eat it, and see whether it is good." (Loud applause.) Without any fear whatever of the contradiction of the opponents of Christianity, we may affirm that whenever the pure bread of Christianity has been absorbed into the veins of nations—not merely taken, into the lips, but absorbed undiluted into the veins—there you see a health and stalwartness that cannot be seen anywhere else in history. These broad facts are supremo facts. I know how often it is insisted on that they are commonplace, because they are important and trite; because they are close to our own inquiry. But look at the so-called sacred books of the religions of the East, and you will see that they contain a great deal more of irreligion than French infidelity or modern schemes of atheistic tendency. When the poisonous lymph of the book of Mahomet is absorbed into the body politic, it breaks out into the ulcers of polygamy. Where the system of Confucius has had sway, it leaves a nation stunted, without any moral loftiness, without enthusiasm. Take the sacred books of the Hindoo, and you understand at once how a nation can be paralysed with caste. Buddhism leads the nation that feeds upon its precepts into a state of prolonged childhood. Only this book, the Bible which I now hold in my hand, produces that healthiness, that stalwartness of the mental and moral life which goes to the completion of man's nature, which gives him hope in the future, and releases from the darkness of ignorance. The proof of its divineness is to be found in the divineness of the mighty facts it records. I do not underrate the external evidences of Christianity. De Wette, who was called a universal doubter, said there may he a mystery connected with the manner of the Resurrection, but as to the fact of the Resurrection, there can no more be a particle of doubt than there can be a doubt about the historical evidence of the assassination of Cæsar. Over this admission, Neander, the great historian of the Church, shed tears of joy. It is well known, although the authors of all the concessions which have been made page 25 in favour of Christianity cannot be brought face to face, that there never was an hour when the historical evidences of Christianity stood on a stronger basis than the present. The historical evidence proves the Resurrection, the Resurrection proves the divinity of Christ, and the purity, the loftiness, the holiness of Christ's doctrines are proofs in themselves. The Divinity of Christ proves the certainty of the fulfilment of prophecy, the immortality of the soul of man, the atonement and eternal judgment. There is a legion of external evidences of Christianity on that side of her defences. She has stood the test of ages, and has never been defeated. If we place the internal evidences over against the external evidences, as one side of an arch over against the other, with Christ the keystone there, we find the truth, against which the rage of infidelity cannot prevail. The philosophers of doubt have been unable to move the solidity of the arch. The facts have been investigated by the most patient and industrious scholarship, which is at length able to cast upon the pretensions of those opponents of Christianity a look of mingled scorn and pity.
There is no death,
What seems so is transition of this life,
Immortality is the sphere of higher life
"Whose portals we call "Death."
Emerson and Longfellow were both called "conservative," but I never heard Emerson claimed under that designation, except by Longfellow. Whittier is one of the devoutest of Quakers, and Lowell is also one of the most devout men living. William Cullen Bryant was also the most devout of men. It has been a blessing to American literature that infidelity was never attached to its leading writers. There is no such foolishness in the leading minds of America. Looking round the world, I find there is no book which has not been put on the shelf by scholars when it came in competition with this one—the Bible. (Applause.)
Let me speak now as to the attitude of Christian scholarship face to face with learned infidelity in the world wherever it has appeared. page 28 Let us first take the New Testament, and see how that stands. Eighty years ago it was thought that, as a work of divine authority, these writings could not be dated earlier than the year 180. First there came Strauss, who said that between the Crucifixion and that date there was time for all kinds of myth to grow round that event. No doubt we must account for the New Testament. Strauss and Hume said everything relating to "miracles" must be an exaggeration. No doubt there is a history of the events which occurred immediately before and immediately after Christ's death. It was alleged, as almost certain, that myths would grow up in connection with the founder of the Christian dispensation and his apostles and disciples, and 180 years would be ample for a plentiful crop of them. Many scholars were annoyed by this theory, and most of the ablest scholars repudiated it. I have no doubt that many of you now remember when you were young that the attack of Strauss was considered a great assault upon Christianity. But we have seen since then much higher authorities upon historic evidence. We have seen its death and burial. It died even before the death of its author. In the last book written by Strauss, he confesses that his mythical theory had been buried before him. Now if I succeed in fastening upon your mind the great facts that the most erudite scholarship of the present day admits, my coming here to-day will not be altogether unprofitable. The whole of the subjects connected with the writings of St. Paul and the synoptical Gospels have been thoroughly investigated. The highest scholarship, men of diverse opinions in other respects, have arrived at the conclusion that the "Four Epistles" of Paul are as early as the year 60. Now that shuts out the later date (180) altogether from consideration. As to the actual date of the Crucifixion, there is a divergence of opinion covering two or three years. There is a doubt to that extent as to the date, but none as to the fact. Some scholars assign it to the year 31, others 34, but most scholars fix it at 34. Now we know that Paul suffered under Nero. It is well known when Nero died. Jerusalem was taken by Titus in the year 70. We have the Colosseum at Rome, and the Arch of Titus in Rome, which testify as to this fact. Their testimony is tolerably distinct. The Colosseum shows that it was begun in the year 12, and that there the captives taken at Jerusalem were exhibited. Then there is the Arch of Titus showing upon it the sacred utensils, such as the candlestick and altar vessels. There is no doubt about them. They cannot be mistaken. Nero, we know, died in the year 68. We know, therefore, that the Epistles of Raul must have been page 29 written before 68. Festus and Felix we know had certain relations to Judea, and we can fix the time pretty nearly when Paul appeared before them. We know that when a certain succession occurred it occurred before the war. Those and other historic evidences go to show that the Epistles were written as early as the year 60, some of them as early as the year 58. It is now admitted by Bauer and Renan that these were written before Co., and that the Epistle to the Galatians was probably written as early as the year 54. This is the testimony of men who are, in some sense, among* the defenders of infidelity. Now, Paul himself says that he knew a man who, 14 years before, went up, into Jerusalem, where he heard the Gospels read. We know that Paul sojourned for three years in Arabia. Now take these 17 years (14 and 3) from 54, and you have the year 37, just within three years of the Crucifixion. Thus the doctrine of Strauss and infidelity has been cut into shreds. (Loud applause.) We now see, upon indubitable histoxic evidence, that the antiquity of the four Gospels can be referred back nearly to the death of Our Lord. There can no longer be any doubt as to the date of the synoptical Gospels. But what does this evidence show? It shows two mighty facts: It shows that very shortly after the Crucifixion there was a set Christian organization in existence, reaching from Jerusalem to Antioch. It shows, as plain as any evidence could show it, that certainly within 20 years of the Crucifixion one set doctrine was received by this organization as of Divine Authority. There can be no mistake whatever on the point. Anybody who reads the records of the time must be convinced that this doctrine was the doctrine set forth in these Gospels. The Resurrection is everywhere mentioned, and St. Paul mentions that there were in his time 250 persons "yet alive, who saw Our Lord after the Crucifixion." Now, to whom does Paul say this? He says it to the Churches, at a, distance from Jerusalem, to whom the fact must have been known. You must remember that he wrote the Epistle at Rome. Do you say that he was deceived, that he was the dupe of others? There were no printed books in those times. But the writers had amanuensis who made copies of their writings, so that every copy had a living witness behind it. You are belated and benighted if you think there is any infidelity that dares to face the compact body of evidence that can now be adduced to support the claims of Christianity. The German Universities, which may be described as the thermometer of modern philosophy, had enough of infidelity 50 years ago, but the scholars who 50 years ago were prominently page 30 infidel, are now evangelical and theological. I happen to know a great many of the young men at present attending the German Universities. And I know the fact, that the young men of the Universities are now giving their time to evangelical and theological teachers, in the proportion of ten to one. Heidelberg has seven philosophical teachers, but a very small number of students. Look, on the other hand, at the patronage given by the young men to Halle, to Berlin, and Leipsic. I stood with Baroness Stowe lately, at the grave of my own excellent teacher, a man of truly evangelical spirit. Halle has from 200 to 300 evangelical pupils, Berlin has from 300 to 400 evangelical pupils. Leipsic has from 400 to 500 evangelical and theological pupils. These signs are significant, as showing me what the highest scholarship has decided, and that high scholarship is on the side of Christianity. The best and most authoritative opinion upon questions of critical scholarship, like everything else, will find the widest support. The opinion of the public is enforced by the fact that the young men of Germany are giving their patronage 10 to 1 to the best commentators on the Old and New Testament, and the best works on that subject written in more than one language. The signs of the time show the personal advancement of enlightened opinion in this matter, as well as the national progress of opinion on the side of Christianity. The future destinies of the world are bound up with the fortune of Christianity. The Word of God is pledged to* it in prophecy. That word is justified by the chosen men upon the earth. These men shall become a chosen people. His Church will be made up of these chosen people, making a family. This family shall become a chosen nation, who shall send forth a chosen band of religious teachers, to found a church in every land, and make the earth rejoice with the glory of His name, for these teachers will occupy every part of this entire planet. The prospect is grand beyond description. The seed is sown, the grain grows, and the stream of human history flows on, but this is a movement proceeding out of the heart of God. He has been acting for thousands of years, and do you think he will not continue to act as before? Will He cease from the work He is doing and has done? Do not be troubled with any anxiety that God will change the plan upon which he has been acting for three thousand years. Almighty God has given to us, and to all the children of man, His Holy Spirit and counsel, and His only Son, Immanuel, Prince of Peace. My cheeks grow white with solemn feeling when I look to the facts of fulfilled pro- page 31 phecy, to its constant and consistent growing. I separate from you now through the force of circumstances. My personal creed, I should like to have it written on my tombstone, though the grass grow green upon it—"The Word of God shall be fulfilled, the presence of God is over all the earth, the will of our Father shall be done in all lands, and by all people." (Loud and prolonged applause.)
The rev. lecturer concluded his discourse by reciting a series of verses, and pronounced the benediction in a most impressive manner, after which the large assemblage separated.