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The tower is “a memorial of emancipation.” It was fitting, surely, that a house of worship projected at the moment of the emancipation of four million slaves should mark the date of its erection by so grand an epoch for humanity; and it was eminently significant that such an event should be chronicled by a church bearing the name of Him who came “ to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” “ This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." These walls that you have built shall be “stones of memorial ” to all generations, witnessing how close Christianity takes Humanity to her heart.
This exemplification of Christianity has always marked the ministry and work of Surrey Chapel, and is henceforth to be perpetuated by most admirable arrangements in your new home. While the church proper shall be kept sacred, as it should be, to the worship of God, the adjoining suite of buildings provides for the practical ministrations of Christianity to Society, especially for the enlightenment and amelioration of the masses. Humanity is housed under the same roof with Christ. That is your answer to the materialism of the age, and to the social and political philosophy that would undertake to reform and elevate the masses, not only without the gospel, but even by decrying it. You say to such reformers, “ It was Christianity that first really cared for man; it is Christianity that cares for him still, and so makes possible your philosophy of reform; and Christianity shall continue to care for man when your philosophy shall have exhausted the philanthropy it has borrowed of the gospel without union with its source.”
It is because of this practical work for man that Surrey Chapel has always been of special interest to Americans. If there is one thing that marks American society, and makes the American nation worth commemorating to-day, it is that man is there the first object of thought and care, and this through the development of his spiritual nature, man set free under the guidance of the gospel, man to be kept free by means of his moral and religious culture. It is because Surrey Chapel works practically on this platform and toward this ideal that it finds such favor in the
al privilege contribuinfluences
United States, and has always been sought out by Americans visiting London. But we owe to Mr. Newman Hall the special privilege of sharing directly in your prosperity and your work by contributions to the memorial tower. His personal character and influence secured those contributions: and his hold upon Americans was due, first, to his earnestness and power as a preacher of the gospel ; and, next, to his sagacity in discerning, and his courage in maintaining, the right side in our great civil conflict. He foresaw from the first that our real struggle was with slavery, and that slavery was doomed; and having thrown his whole soul into the conflict in which Lincoln was leader and martyr, and done so much to form a right sentiment in England, he is entitled to call the Lincoln Tower“ a token of international good-will.” As such I am proud to recognize and acknowledge it in the name of my countrymen. If the Atlantic cable shall at once convey to America the report of your doings here to-day, I am sure that above the ringing of bells, the booming of cannon, the jubilations of independence, there will go up to God the voice of Christian thanksgiving for this your fellowship, and the prayer that the peoples so truly one in Christian thought and feeling may be ever one in “international good-will.”
But, if I stay much longer in England, that word “international ” will cease to be for me a talisman; for I am fast losing my sense of nationality, if not of personal identity. I have just been down to Devonshire; and I was so struck with the familiarity of the names called out at the railway-stations, that I took out my map, and, just in that western bit of England, found some twenty towns with which I am familiar in New England, — Dorchester, Wareham, Portland, Portsmouth, Lyme, Taunton, Dartmouth, Exeter, Barnstaple, Biddeford, Hampstead, Plymouth, Falmouth, Malden, Milford, Reading, Weymouth, Wilton. Your whole map might be laid down on our side of the water; only we have no “ Land's End ” over there, or at least have not found it yet. At Plymouth, in the fine new Guild Hall, I was shown a splendid memorial window of the Pilgrim Fathers. There, amid the proud memories of Hawkins, Drake, Frobisher, Raleigh, Blake,
of England conscience and the r
and other heroes of England's maritime glory, stand on the barbican those heroes of conscience and the gospel, about to step aboard“ The Mayflower,” — the richest freight that ever England sent to sea. Fresh from these memories I came back to London, to stand on the Fourth of July within the Lincoln Tower, the token of international good-will, and hear you sing " Coronation” and “ America ” as heartily as if you were at the Centennial in Philadelphia. Can you wonder that the tears start for very joy as I fancy myself at home?
But let us beware of making “international ” a word of cant. The international is born of the Christian, not the Christian of the international. In Hugo Grotius, the law of nations was conceived of Christian light and love. Let us not think to broaden Christianity by calling that international. All our names and terms would but narrow the gospel that is for every creature, the church that knows no limit of land or sea, of earth or time. How dare we restrict the Church of Christ to our communion, to our order, to our nation, or even our international alliances? In our social spirit and our political policy, the international sentiment does, indeed, make us broader. Not so as members of the body of Christ. It is his spirit that makes us broad ; that lifts us out of all our prejudices and conceits; that teaches us how in him there is neither Greek nor Jew, Barbarian nor Scythian, male nor female, bond nor free. The inore we have of that spirit, the more shall we manifest of international, rather of universal, good-will. And is not the spirit of Christ strong enough in England and in the United States, are there not Christian men enough in both countries, to make the governments feel that every difference that may arise between them shall be approached from the Christian point of view, and settled by the principles of Christian morality and equity ? Is not our Christianity great enough to keep us in the bonds of peace ? The timely assertion of the Christian spirit will preserve international good-will. This tower, upon whose every pinnacle the flags of the two countries lovingly embrace on this Centenary of their separation, is an omen of the new era of international harmony ordered by Christian love. The people who to-day
with tearful gratitude shall read the name of Lincoln with that of Washington — how can they ever be estranged from you who have here given both names a sanctuary under the Church of Christ? The Lord bless you, pastor and people, church and congregation, English men and nation, forevermore!