The New Zealand Evangelist
Great Meeting At Exeter Hall
Great Meeting At Exeter Hall.
The public meeting to receive the President and Vice-Presidents of the late Congress at Brussells, and to hear a report of the proceedings at that Congress, was held on Tuesday night, in the great room, Exeter Hall. The body of the hall, galleries, and platform were densely crowded, and the utmost enthusiasm prevailed.
The Chair was taken at six o'clock by C. Hindley, Esq., M.P.
The Chairman said, the objects of the Society by which this meeting was convened were based on the scriptural principle “Peace on earth and good will to men.” Let those laugh who would, he was quite certain this principle would prevail; and, while the laughers and scoffers would hereafter be in derision, the friends of peace would be triumphant. They were now assembled to receive the President and Vice-Presidents of the Brussells Congress, and to hear from them a report of its proceedings. Before those gentlemen addressed them, however, Mr. Scoble would give the meeting some information as to the arrangements and proceedings of the Congress.
Mr. Scoble said that, in complying with the request of the chairman, he would not dwell on the various preliminary arrangements which were made previously to the Brussels Congress. The original intention had been to hold the Congress at Paris, but circumstances to which it was unnecessary for him further to allude prevented that intention from being carried out. An application was then made to the Belgian Government to allow the Congress to be held in Brussels. The reply of the Belgian Minister was, “It is written in the constitution of Belgium that public meetings are open not only to its citizens but to foreigners;” and the Belgian Government afforded every facility in their power to promote the comfort and convenience of the members of the Congress. There were present at the Congress 130 gentlemen from England, who were accompanied by about 40 English ladies; and 170 gentlemen from Belgium, France, Germany, and Italy. The Congress sat for two days, and held four sittings, at which resolutions were, with one or two exceptions, unanimously adopted.
Mr. Elihu Burritt said.—“There seems to be a sentiment abroad, a latent thought permeating slowly the minds of the most depressed of the world's population—a thought that whispers its bright promise in the ears of the dejected labourer, and sometimes even giving to the slave a song in the burning hours of his unrequited toil—a thought that was helping the millions of the poor to bear the pressure of their poverty, and even to sing beneath its burden —“there's a good time coming.” And while this is the hope of the masses of the people, there is in every page 67 Christian community, an impression strong in faith, that we are approaching one of the grand realities in the destiny of humanity, predicted by ancient prophets and poets who were blessed in the dark sea of their lives with the clear perspective of these latter years. The youngest of the listening thousands present may not live to enter on the fruition of that reality, but when it shall come, they who shall see it will attest that it was not a fortuitous condition into which humanity stumbled, in the progress of its genius, but a condition prepared for mankind before the nations of the earth were formed. Whatever that glorious day might bring to the future ages of the race, they who should possess its goodly realities would confess that they were all embraced in the condition described by the prophets, “Nation should not lift up sword against nation,” when “their officers should be peace and their exactors righteousness.” The advent of that day was not a new-born illusion of modern fancy; it was secured to the world by the unwavering verities of the word of God, and there were before us principles which secured it—principles of great antiquity, principles that had lasted the years of God—“If thine enemy hunger, feed him;” “resist not evil, but overcome evil with good;” “love your enemies;” they that take the sword, shall perish by the sword.” These principles, though long “foolishness to the Greek,” were mighty, and would prevail; the principalities of earth should yet how to the power of those principles. The truth that “God hath made of one blood all nations of men,” should yet be written upon all the standards of popular progress, and before it the bestial emblems of nationality should hang their heads for shame. Was it, in the middle of the nineteenth century, too early to issue from the verge of Waterloo, as the Congress did, an appeal to mankind to raise from the dust that principle which had been trampled down by the demon of war? What fitter place could be chosen than the neighbourhood of that spot on which was perpetrated the most stupendous fratricide that ever filled the world with lamentation and woe. One could almost fancy, when the Congress was deliberating, that there were plaintive voices coming up from that field, as from a world of moaning spirits, sighing in the midst, “God hath made of one blood all nations of men,” and pleading trumpet-tongued to have that great truth preached abroad over the earth.”
The next Congress is to be held in Paris in August 1849.