Page images
PDF
EPUB

Missionary Labours.

21

when religious apathy had succeeded to the overexcitement of the preceding age. Lax morals and a sceptical philosophy began to undermine the Christian faith, treating with indifference and even ridicule the most sacred objects. Still this Society persevered in its labours with unremitting zeal, turning its chief attention to the North American continent, where a young and vigorous society was rapidly growing into a people.

The second jubilee found this country in a most critical position: she had obtained, by the peace of Amiens, a moment's respite from the tremendous contest in which she had been engaged with her continental rival, and which she had soon to renew, in order to maintain her own existence, and to secure a permanent peace to Europe. Since the last jubilee, the American colonies, which had originally been peopled chiefly by British subjects who had left their homes to escape the yoke of religious intolerance and oppression, had thrown off their allegiance to the mother country in defence of civil rights, the attachment to which they had carried with them from the British soil. Yet this Society was not dismayed, but in a truly Christian spirit continued its labours in the neighbouring North American and West Indian settlements.

This, the third jubilee, falls in a happier epoch, when peace is established in Europe, and religious fervour is rekindled, and at an auspicious mo ment when we are celebrating a festival of the civilization of mankind, to which all quarters of the globe have contributed their productions, and are sending their people, for the first time recognising their advancement as a common good, their interests as identical, their mission earth the same.

And this civilization rests on Christianity, could only be raised on Christianity, can only be maintained by Christianity! the blessings of which are now carried by this Society to the vast territories of India and Australasia, which last are again to be peopled by the Anglo-Saxon race.

on

THE LIMITS OF STATISTICS.

STATISTICAL science is comparatively new in its position among the sciences in general, and we must look for the cause of this tardy recognition to the fact, that it has the appearance of an incomplete science, and of being rather a helpmate to other sciences than having a right to claim that title for itself. But this is an appearance only ; for if pure statistics, as a science, abstains from participating in the last and highest aim of all science, viz. the discovery and expounding the general laws which govern the universe, and leaves this duty to its more favoured sisters, the natural and the political sciences, this is done with conscious self-abnegation, for the purpose of protecting the purity and simplicity of its sacred task—the accumulation and verification of facts, unbiassed by any consideration of the ulterior use which may or can be made of them. Those general laws, therefore, in the knowledge

of which we recognise one of the highest treasures of man on earth, are often unexpressed, though rendered self-apparent, as they may be read in the uncompromising rigid figures placed before him. It is difficult to see how, under such circumstances, and notwithstanding this self-imposed abnegation, statistical science, as such, should be subject to prejudice, reproach, and attack; and yet the fact cannot be denied.

A FUTURE HAVEN OF COMMERCE.*

We have been laying the foundation not only of a dock, as a place of refuge, safety, and refitnient for mercantile shipping, and calculated even to receive the largest steamers in Her Majesty's navy, but it may be, and I hope it will be, the foundation of a great commercial port, destined in after times, when we shall long have quitted this scene, and when our names even may be for

. From the speech on laying the first stone of the Docks at Great Grimsby, April 18, 1849.

A Future Haven of Commerce. 25 gotten, to form another centre of life to the vast and ever increasing commerce of the world, and an important link in the connexion of the East and the West. Nay, if I contemplate the extraordinary rapidity of development which characterises the undertakings of this age, it may not even be too much to expect that some of us may yet live to see this prospect in part realized.

THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION.

ONE of the latest undertakings of the Association has been, in conjunction with the Royal Society, to attempt the compilation of a classified Catalogue of Scientific Memoirs, which, by combining under one head the titles of all memoirs written on a certain subject, will, when completed, enable the student who wishes to gain information on that .subject to do so with the greatest ease. It gives him as it were the plan of the house, and the key to the different apartments in which the treasures relating to his subject are stored, saving

« EelmineJätka »