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following No. of the Magazine, a writer signing himself H. D. W. (pp. 200—202, understood to be Mr. D. W. Harvey), professed his intention, with a view of forwarding the plan, to move certain resolutions at the next quarterly meeting of the Unitarian Society. Another writer (Festina Lente, pp. 258—260) requested H. D. W. to reconsider his purpose, alleging that the Unitarian Book Society was usefully pursuing its own objects, that the scheme for encouraging popular preaching had already received promises of support, “and the further promotion of it was in the hands of a friend to the cause, whose zeal and ability would not suffer it to languish."
The preliminary discussion in Mr. Vidler's Magazine was not productive of unmixed good. The premature and very unnecessary introduction of the subject of the employment of lay and uneducated preachers, was not unnaturally distasteful to some of the older Unitarian ministers, and shook their confidence in the judgment of the promoters of the scheme. But sufficient support was offered to justify immediate action. The first actual meeting of the Society was held Feb. 11, 1806, at the house of Mr. Ebenezer Johnston, Bishopsgate Street. The chair was taken by Mr. John Christie, who for so many years discharged the office of Treasurer to the great advantage of the Society. The members of this preliminary meeting were few in number, consisting, in addition to the Chairman, of Mr. Ebenezer Johnston, Mr. Joseph Holden, Mr. John Sowerby, Mr. D. W. Harvey, Rev. W. Vidler, Rev. James Pickbourn,* Mr. Eaton and Mr. Aspland.
The principal resolutions passed were,
“I. That it is desirable to establish a Fund for the promotion of Unitarianism by encouraging popular preaching:
'“ II. That by Unitarianism we intend the system of doctrines which is included in the belief and worship of One only God, the Creator and Governor of the world, in contradistinction to doctrines generally termed orthodox.'
“III. That the uses to which the Fund shall be applied shall be, 1, To enable poor Unitarian congregations to carry on religious worship; 2, To reimburse the travelling and other expenses of teachers, who may contribute their labours to the preaching of the Gospel on Unitarian principles ; 3, To relieve such Dissenting ministers as, by embracing Unitarianism, subject themselves to poverty."
A Committee was appointed to prepare the Constitution of the Society, and to Mr. Aspland was assigned the office of Secretary, the duties of which he continued to discharge for many successive years.
Mr. Belsham was named as a member of the Committee. He declined to serve. The motives by which he was actuated appear in the following passage, written by him several years after, marked by the habitual candour of his mind :
“But the Society which at present holds the foremost rank, and engages the most general and warmest support of the Unitarian body, is that which is called the Unitarian Fund Society; the professed object of which is to encourage popular preaching, and to engage missionaries to visit different parts of
Rev. James Pickbourn for many years conducted an academy for young gentlemen at Hackney. He pursued his studies for the ministry under Dr. Jennings. He officiated one year at Harlestone and four years at Brentwood. He was subsequently appointed Librarian by Dr. Williams's Trustees. In 1777, he opened his school, which he continued till 1804. He published a “ Dissertation on the English Verb,” and another on “Metrical Pauses." He left at his death (which took place, May 25, 1814, in his 79th year) £1000 to the Presbyterian Fund. See Mon. Repos., Vol. IX.
the country, and, wherever there is an opening, to preach pure and
uncorrupted Christianity in opposition to popular and prevailing errors. Some of the ministers employed in these missions, though not possessing the advantage of regular education, are men of very popular talents and very extensive information ; and by the great success with which their labours have been attended, they have abundantly proved that simple, unsophisticated truth has charms to captivate even the most ordinary minds, when it is exhibited to them in a clear and affecting light, and demonstrated the fallacy of the commonlyreceived opinion, that Unitarianism is not a religion for the common people. This being a new experiment, in which unlearned ministers were chiefly employed, many of the more learned and regular members of the body stood aloof, and declined to give countenance to a proceeding of the prudence and propriety of which they stood in doubt. Some do not yet (1812) approve it, and others who wish well to the design do not regard it as within the field of their personal exertions. But after the success which has attended the efforts of this Society, no person who is a real friend to the cause can consistently be hostile to its principle."
At the first half-yearly meeting of the Unitarian Fund, held May 29, 1806, the Secretary read a report of the proceedings and prospects of the Society. From this report, which was never printed, the writer is, by the kindness of the Committee of the Unitarian Association in entrusting to his care the early Minutes, able to make the following extract, which, while it serves to shew the obstacles which the Unitarian Fund at first met with, indicates the spirit by which they were in the end happily overcome:
“It is to be regretted that the Society is regarded by some of our Unitarian brethren with a dubious sort of feeling, bordering upon suspicion and dislike. They think we shall degrade the Unitarian cause, and put ourselves on a level with the Methodists. Their fears originate in their love of Truth, and ought to be respected;
but let us ask in what particulars we are likely to become what is feared ? The Methodists are praiseworthy for their zealtheir zeal as displayed in the fervour of their devotions, and their activity in popular preaching
* This question resolves itself into two or three principal inquiries, the bare statement of which is, one would think, sufficient for our purpose. In the first place, Is the Unitarian doctrine the doctrine of the gospel? Is the gospel intended for the poor, or can it be understood by them? Is it the duty of Christians to propagate the gospel ; and, if it is, is it not right to propagate it by the methods taken by our Lord and his apostles, and which have always succeeded? The Unitarian that shall negative these questions will excite my wonder, as will the Unitarian in an equal degree who, granting them, shall yet deny merit to the Unitarian Fund. • We shall, I trust, convince our elder brethren, who like the brother in the parable will not come in, that our claims are not arrogant, our conduct not unworthy of our cause. Whether we succeed or not in satisfying their minds, it will still be meet (to accommodate to our purpose the words of the father in the parable alluded to) that we should make merry and be glad, for popular Unitarianism was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”
Of the proceedings of the Unitarian Fund, occasions will hereafter arise of speaking. It need now only be added, that it rapidly rose in favour with the Unitarian public, and numbered before the close of the year nearly 200 subscribers. There were not wanting the names of several “elder brethren" among the subscribers and donors, including Mr. Lindsey, Mr. Belsham, Mr. Barbauld, Mrs. Cappe, Mr. Kentish, Mr. Holland, Mr. Corrie, Mr. Rowe, Dr. Toulmin, Mr. Turner and Mr. Yates. CORRESPONDENCE.
THE REV. GEORGE CADOGAN MORGAN AND DR. PRICE. Sir, In the last No. of the Christian Reformer, your respectable correspondent the Rev. Dr. Hincks, of Belfast, has very properly corrected an error in Mr. Field's Life of Dr. Parr. I believe that Dr. Hincks is under a mistake in stating that the Rev. George Cadogan Morgan was employed at the Academy at Hoxton to assist his uncle, Dr. Price, in giving mathematical lectures to the students of that institution ; neither Dr. Price nor Mr. Morgan ever having given lectures at all there, as far as I ever knew or heard, and I was resident as a student at Hoxton during the two last years of its existence there, previously to its removal to Daventry, Dr. Rees being the Mathematical as well as Resident Tutor at Hoxton. Mr. Cadogan Morgan generally accompanied his uncle, Dr. Price, during the short period of his Mathematical Tutorship at the New College at Hackney, to assist him if requisite. But the good Dr. had only three pupils to attend upon him, Mr. David Jones, Mr. Jeremiah Joyce and myself, these three being the only students then in the College sufficiently advanced to attend Dr. Price's lectures, which were given in Jebb's Excerpta, from Newton's Principia, and Dr. Thomas Simpson's Treatise on Fluxions. `Dr. Price, however, gave but very few lectures at all while in his situation of Professor at Hackney College, both Tutor and pupils being better pleased to fill up the lecture hour in agreeable conversation on philosophy or on politics, rather than employ it in difficult and abstruse calculations. Dr. Price shewed a great regard for these his three and only pupils, frequently inviting them to his house; and it was through his friendly recommendation that the late Earl Stanhope proposed to them, severally, to become private tutors to his son, the present Earl; Mr. Jeremiah Joyce being the only one of the three who decided upon accepting the honourable appointment. Dr. Hincks, I trust, will excuse his old Hackney fellow-student and friend for presuming to correct this trifling slip of his learned pen.
H. H. IN REPLY TO J. B. SIR, As your correspondent, J. B., in his caustic critique on my unlucky Impromptu, has hazarded the assertion that neither painter, sculptor nor poet, ever described Death under the figure of a vale, which he says has never yet been represented as in any sense a vale, and which he calls a bizarre conception, and adds that the Grave is a vale.--I must crave permission, in explanation of what J. B. represents as a blunder on my part, to call his attention to the entire passage from the Psalms, part of which he quotes—“When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil; thy staff shall comfort me." Surely this can only refer to death and its approaches, where comfort is so much needed and so strictly applicable; the grave being, on the contrary (as it appears to me), uniformly designated as a place of repose and unconsciousness-the rest of the grave, in which there is no knowledge or device.
I beg to assure J. B. that the term "untrusting" was used in a general sense, and never for a moment meant to apply to him in any shape; and in the hurry (as he remarks) of the composition, it did not occur to me that it might be so construed. I simply intended to express a wish for the substitution of a more cheering and encouraging phraseology than that which has hitherto most generally prevailed, for the comfort not only of the departing, but of the bereaved, Regretting that I have been led to intrude on the space so much better occupied in your journal, I am, &c.
H. H. [This discussion must end here.-En. C. R.]
A Review of the Bible : containing Remarks on the Scripture History of Cre
ation, the Effects of Man's Sin, the Deluge, &c. &c. Joseph Barker. WE grieve to see a pamphlet so unworthy of Mr. Barker. Crude, flippant, random remarks like these, can only damage him, or else the Bible, in the estimation of his readers. He seems only just now to have given up his belief in the orthodox notion of Scripture inspiration and infallibility," and to have done so "with the utmost reluctance;" and he has not, as yet, laid hold of any one scholar-like principle of interpretation to put in their place. Yet he must write and print his undigested doubts and disbeliefs and conjectures, instead of quietly waiting and studying what has been thought by men never hampered by " the orthodox notion of Scripture inspiration and infallibility," or by those who have been long enough free from it to mature their opinions. Why must Mr. Barker write and publish every thing that he thinks, just when first he thinks it, and before he knows whether or not it satisfies his own mature thought? This pamphlet betrays the most slovenly rashness. After running through Genesis as the beginning of a “ review of the Bible,” Mr. Barker all at once determines (on p. 29) to carry his review of the Bible no farther for the present,” but, after having added “a few remarks on certain portions of the New Testament, to give a New VERSION of the BIBLE, such as (he says) we think agreeable to truth, adapted to people of all ages, and calculated to promote that true religion, that divine morality, which is inculcated by the prophets, and so beautifully enforced and exemplified in the teachings and character of Jesus." And then, at the end of his tract, he says, “I am not certain that I shall not go on with my Review shortly. It will depend upon circumstances.” Plainly he does not know his own object, except that he means to print-something. Whether a Review of the Bible or a New Version, he is again undecided, before the very pages leave his press in which he has begun the one, and suspended it to promise the other. Does Mr. Barker know what a Version of the Bible means ? Does he really think he has the knowledge and the power to do any such work? Has he the requisite knowledge of Greek and Hebrew? What are we to think of the judgment of a writer who stops in the midst of his remarks on the Bible, just to translate it all afresh ?-and into a version adapted to people of all ages! Why he has, in his remarks on Genesis, been shewing the unfitness of many parts for the present age; and if he believes this is the fault of version only, he should not have made any of the remarks he has. But, in a word, we do not know what he means, and we think he cannot clearly know himself. Would that some prevailing friend would kindly counsel him not to print till he has made his own mind clear upon this or any other subject! "Such words as “authentic," "canonical,” and in fact most terms belonging to scriptural criticism, are so used by him as to shew that he does not in the slightest degree understand what he is writing about; and perhaps his “ New Version of the Bible” does not, after all, mean a Version, but extracts, or an abstract, or something else. We shall see.
Meanwhile, his "remarks” in the present pamphlet, whether on the Old Testament or on the New, are calculated to destroy all confidence in Mr. Barker's fitness to guide a popular theological or religious movement. As regards the Old, he treads among the splendid and beautiful fragments of Jewish cosmogony, early philosophy and patriarchal tradition, without a feeling of reverence, or sense of antiquity, or touch of poetry,-making Joseph Barker and Leeds the standard and test of every thing,—throwing them aside, one after another, with rude contempt
, and saying, “ I don't believe that;" “ I take this to be a fable, but perhaps it is a useful one;" “ I suppose this can't be authentic;" and so on. The simplicity of his dogmatism would, on
an indifferent subject, be quite amusing. He seems to consider himself the first theologian who has ever looked at Genesis without orthodox spectacles, and is perfectly unaware of the existence of a higher atmosphere of literary and philosophical truth than that of coarse doubt and unimaginative lettercatching in which he himself is floundering.
His remarks on the New Testament begin with the quotation of such passages (chiefly in Paul's Epistles) as relate to the duty of allegiance to civil rulers, the subjection of the wife to the husband, and the position of slaves. Because Mr. Barker does not approve of what Paul wrote on these subjects,
“ This passage we believe to be an interpolation;" " The whole passage appears to us to bear the marks of falsehood or spuriousness;" “My impression is, that the passage has been altogether corrupted;" “ We incline to the belief that the passages are spurious.” Now Mr. Barker simply shews his ignorance alike of criticism and of interpretation by writing thus. “The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat,” &c., is too priestly in its bearing for Mr. Barker's taste; so he “regards it as a forgery.” The cleansing of the temple (he says) "always formed the greatest difficulty to us when advocating the principles of peace;" so " we are obliged to regard this passage as spurious, or at least as doubtful.” And this is criticism for the Million! Whatever does not accord with your crotchet is spurious, or at least doubtful. So some 'teetotalers’ pronounce the miracle at Cana spurious. Mr. Barker shews himself incompetent to the task he is attempting. He should learn before he teaches. He is doing harm instead of good.
But his rude attempt at "remarks on the Bible" reminds us of a want which we have often felt to be sadly unsupplied in our popular and juvenile religious literature. We do grievously want a rational Introduction to the Scriptures, which, instead of implying or allowing the absurd orthodox idea of their plenary inspiration, should simply state their literary history and character and general contents, and thus put the young and the unprofessional in possession of some positive data respecting these remarkable books, instead of leaving them to pick up the false orthodox notion first, and to go through the process of negativing it afterwards. Who will do this good work? We were once in expectation of an Introduction to the Scriptures for the young, from the pen of Mr. Wellbeloved ; but the hope has not yet been realized. Something very inferior in critical fulness and exactness to what would satisfy him would satisfy us; and we are sure that a book conveying real knowledge and sound critical principles on these subjects would be more welcome to the working men among whom Barker preaches and sends his tracts, than flippant doubt and denial even from his pen. Who will perform this good and urgent work ? There can be no better time than now. Barker's foolish tract is a symptom of the need, though in no degree adapted to its supply, but making the need the greater. Reply to the Arguments advanced against the Removal of the remaining Disa
bilities of the Jews. By Francis Henry Goldsmid, of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister.
At the moment when the following few lines were penned, the immediate fate of the Jew Bill, then before the House of Commons, was uncertain, and may be perhaps when they leave the press ; but there can be no doubt that this last reproach of our English law will in a short time be removed. There may be possibly as much illiberality and bigotry in the community as ever; but if there be, they will exert themselves in another direction. High-Church intolerance has enough employment in the protection of the Church against further encroachments from the triumphant Erastianism of the hour ; and the Low-Church and Dissenting Evangelicism has more at heart the profiting by its recent victory over pro-papistical Anglicanism, than the continued exclusion from Parliament of the Jews, which is a mere point of honour or pride, miscalled principle; the real principle, as far as it is one, having been abandoned