of the law. Mr. Bone mentioned some things in the Mosaic economy favourable to freedom and independence.

“ May 17, 1807. - Nottingham, High-Pavement; annual charity sermon for the school ; large congregation; collection £35; accounted good. The Unitarians at Nottingham flourishing. Messrs. James Tayler and Grundy, ministers. Schools in excellent order. Large and handsome meeting-house.

1“ Oct. 4, Sunday.-Interwove with prayer, a prayer against national crimes, war in particular, and for the oppressed and afflicted Danes.* This prayer, I now learn (Oct. 27), gave infinite offence.

“1808. Jan. 24.-Sermon on Sleept (written on the Saturday), made at the request of Anna, out of a few notes of a week-evening lecture at Newport. Heard by Mr. Joyce, who requests me to draw up the art. Sleep for Nicholson's Cyclopædia now preparing for the press.

“ March 16.-Conference. Question, The Calvinistic Doctrine of the Imputed Righteousness of Christ examined by the Light of Scripture. After prayer and opening, Mr. Vidler undertook to state the orthodox opinion fairly and favourably. Acting, however, does not become him!

“ March 27.-Committee meeting in vestry to consider of taking a lease of the meeting-house. The lessors ask seventy guineas.

“ April 6.-Gravel-Pit conference. Question, The probable Condition and Employment of Mankind in another World. I suggested that a future state would be a state of probation-possibly a mutable state-so that, though heaven be eternal, man's abode in it may be temporal. This idea was once started by Mr. Rutt in a conference on the destruction of the wicked. Vis April 17, Sunday.--Sermon on the Discriminating Influence of Christianity on Moral Character, John vii. 46. Very large congregation. Several Jews were present, brought by Mr. E. Johnston, who expressed themselves gratified; also a Mameluke (a Mahometan), brought by Mr. Wood (a late convert at the Gravel-Pit), who attended the lecture likewise, and was introduced to me by Mr. W.

“Aug. 8 (at Harlow).—This morning, after breakfast, Mrs. Flower ΑΠΟ set me to work. She had before importuned me to write for B. F.'s Political Register, and I had offered to give her a paper if she would furnish me with a subject; upon which she took me to the countinghouse, gave me

a pipe of tobacco, and told me to write on the Impudence of Counsel at the Bar; a subject suggested by her husband's

b. The history of war scarcely furnishes an instance of a more indefensible and unrighteous attack on a brave and neutral power than the seizing of the Danish fleet, consisting of eighteen ships of the line and fifteen frigates, by the English fleet. The defence offered by the Government was, that the Danish fleet would have fallen into the hands of France, and that it was expected the Danes would quietly surrender. This anticipation, if really entertained, was disappointed. The Danes resisted, though vainly, at the cost of two thousand lives of their citizens and the conflagration of a portion of their capital. By a national outrage like this, well might the spirit of a Christian minister be stirred within him, and the outpouring of his heart be listened to without “offence.” † See Vol. of Sermons, 1847. Sermon X. 13:31

1 The Gravel-Pit meeting-house had been built on a lease granted by St. Thomas's Hospital, which was now expiring. On this subject many and some anxious meetings were held during this year.

late proceedings against * I was obedient, and penned the letter which appeared on the subject in the next No. of the Political Register.

“ Aug 14, Sunday (Wicken).--I had engaged to preach for Mr. Gisburne at Soham, and after an early dinner walked thither with Isaac and John Emons. Gisburne met us half-way. When we arrived at Horse Fen Droveway, within a mile of the town, we came suddenly upon a number of men waiting apparently to receive us, whom we instantly recognized as the Calvinistic party. I shook hands with the ringleader, Thomas Emons, accosted the rest, and pushed through them. They followed. The spokesman inquired if I were going to preach. I answered, Yes. He told me they wished me not to preach, and had come out to prevent me. I asked, By what authority-made him confess that the majority of the church and congregation were with Mr. Gisburne, and silenced his arguments. Thus we walked into the town, I at the head of about thirty people, friends and foes. When we reached the town, the people flocked to see what was going forward; but I advised the Calvinists, for their own sakes, to be quiet. They took my advice, the greater part dispersing ; a few came to hear me. Independently of this party, I found assembled within doors a large and respectable congregation. The circumstance of being beset in the way did not flurry me; the subject I had chosen was appropriate, viz. Christianity the Spirit of Fortitude, of Love, and of a Sound Mind. Under the pulpit sat my father's friend and the friend of my youth, Robert Fyson, of Fordham, who in his blunt way and loud voice thanked me before all the congregation for my sermon, and, on my relating what had passed on the road, vented a philippic against the bigots of the place which struck a few Calvinists present with surprise. In conclusion, he pressed me to go to Fordham to preach in the evening; but finding I was engaged at Wicken, agreed to go thither, as did his daughters and other Fordham friends, as well as many from Soham. On coming out of the meeting, I found a crowd of people around the gate of the meeting-yard, and John Emons and brother Isaac encountering some of the Calvinists. Not wishing to engage in a controversy with mere ignorance and prejudice and brutal passion, I passed through the multitude and walked on to Wicken with friend Fyson and others.

“Evening. -A large congregation assembled early at our little chapel. At the time of beginning I found it difficult to get in. There were many about the door and the yard. I preached on Unitarians being a sect every where spoken against,' a long discourse. The people

• A lamentable quarrel had arisen between Mr. Flower and a brother-in-law, consequent on the settlement of the father's affairs. Serious imputations were thrown on Mr. Flower's character by a son of his brother-in-law, many years after the transactions referred to took place. Mr. Flower proceeded against his nephew for defamation. The trial took place before Sir James Mansfield and a special jury, in the Court of Common Pleas, London, July 25, 1808. The damages were laid at £2000, but the jury gave only such damages as would carry the costs of the action, influenced in part by Serjeant Lens's unscrupulous speech in defence, and in part by a strong and not unnatural distaste to family quarrels. Mr. Flower published a “Statement of Facts" as a Preface to a Report of the Trial. Those who are curious in studying such documents will find it highly seasoned. If the nephew were guilty of defamation, the uncle was not innocent of railing,

[ocr errors]

were attentive, though it can hardly be hoped they went fully into the subject. The remark at the conclusion of the service was, Old times were reviving, and that I was now regarded as ten years ago in the Calvinistic fervour of youth. To me the reflection was a melancholy one, as it struck me with a feeling of pensive regret that he, my everto-be-lamented father, who took such delight in my usefulness, was no longer capable of encouraging or assisting my services. But he rests from his labours and is blessed!

" Sept. 18, Sunday.-Gravel-Pit. It happened well that the latter part of the sermon this morning was on the duty of Christian liberality, for Mr. Johnston assembled the Committee after service to propose building a new place, the bargain for the old one being broken off, and we being warned out by Lady-day. Everybody came into the plan.

** Oct. 2.Gravel-Pit. Mr. and Mrs. Potticary from Blackheath, with Mr. Conybeare, grandson of Bishop Conybeare and Master of Christ Church, Oxford, present. A fortunate sermon (on the Lord's Supper) for an Oxonian to hear !

**Oct. 9.-The Committee again met and resolved to build a meet-
ing-house on freehold ground, with room for a burial-place. Only
nine gentlemen of the Committee were present, and they put down
their names for £800.
ha Christmas-day.—The Committee came to a resolution to purchase
a piece of freehold ground, adjoining that taken for the meeting, for a

ediyot to LTORY
«1809.1 January 4.-Conference. Question, "The Reasons for con-
tinuing the Rite of Baptism in the Christian Church.' Prayer as usual.
In opening the conference, I requested the discussion to be confined
to the positive side of the question. Let such as hold the perpetuity
give their reasons, and let others, if they choose, examine them.
Mr. Simpson argued for the perpetuity on two grounds, the nature of
baptism an act of personal religion, and the commission to baptize all
nations. Mr. Marsom confined himself to the apostolic commission,
which he contended could not be proved to militate against the per-

b Mr. Christie and Mr. Mears made some observations; and I took up the apostolic commission and shewed that it limits itself; that it was addressed to Jews, and intended only for Jews; and the only commission given to a Gentile apostle for the Gentiles (Paul's) said nothing of baptism, nay excluded it, for he was not sent to baptize.

prayer. GIBT ert bar 100bit to 9. Jan. 25.—Conference. This morning we began to feel at Hackney the effects of the thaw after the immense quantity of snow. At noon I was going to the children at the Gravel-Pit by way of New Cut, but found the road overflowed with water, which ran into the houses. I succeeded by way of the Church Well, but found the water rising fast there also. In consequence I sent the children home.* * * In the afternoon Mr. Marsom came, and after reading together for an hour or two, we attempted to get to the Gravel-Pit. The New Cut was completely flooded still ; at Church Well the water was lower, but even

This good resolution was never carried into effect. Spiritedly as the collection began, the sum expended on the chapel greatly exceeded both the estimate and the amount raised, and a debt hung on the building for a sufficient number of years to efface the resolution from the recollection of its promoters. VOL. IV.

2 P


there it was over the tops of Mr. Marsom's boots. He went to reconnoitre at the Gravel-Pit, to determine whether the conference could go on or be deferred. He presently returned and told me there were about a dozen persons, upon which I went round by Church Street, and got put across the water in a ferry cart. We had nearly twenty persons, but only three speakers, viz. Mr. Marsom, Mr. Mears and myself. Subject, State of the Dead. We were all of one mind, viz., that the dead are dead, and not alive in whole or in part.

“ Jan. 29.-Mr. Stower* here, who brought proof-sheets of Monthly Repository, and took copy for the new edition of Lardner's Works which I have engaged to edit.

* Feb. 1.-Conference. “Introduction to Gospel of John.' Speakers, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Marsom, Mr. Ellis and Mr. Parkes. I maintained the Word to be Christ, but objected to and endeavoured to expose the rendering of the Improved Version, John i. 1, a God; as if Christ were a created or demi-god.

“ March 8.-Conference. Question, · Whether the Constitution of the Apostolic Churches be a suitable Model for Christian Churches of the present Day?' Many speakers. This is the last conference but one this season, and the last I shall attend, as to-morrow morning I set off for Cambridge with Wilks, the attorney, in consequence of John Gisburne, the Unitarian minister at Soham, Cambridgeshire, being under prosecution for a riot in opening the doors of his meeting-house, which the Calvinists had shut up.

“ JOURNEY TO CAMBRIDGE, MARCH 13, To The Assizes (having long neglected to record this very interesting journey, I must now content myself, Jan. 9, 1810), with a brief account of it as far as an imperfect memory and the press

of business will allow. * Monday, March 13.-Mrs. Wilks, wife of J. Wilks, the attorney,

* The well-known (to Unitarians at least) printer, and the author of the “ Printers' Price Book."

† This scheme was nipped in the bud by the interference of some booksellers, with whose interests the proposed edition would clash. From the Prospectus, which was widely distributed, the following short passages are taken :

“ Dr. LARDNER has justly obtained the appellation of THE PRINCE OF MODERN DIVINES. With his name is associated the praise of deep erudition, accurate research, sound and impartial judgment and unblemished candour. The publication of his great works constituted a new era in the annals of Christianity; for, by collecting together a mass of scattered evidences in favour of the authenticity of the evangelical history, he established a bulwark on the side of truth which infidelity has never presumed to attack. His Credibility' and his Collection of Jewish and Heathen Testimonies,' may be said to have given the Deistical controversy a new turn, and to have driven the assailants of the gospel from the field of Christian antiquity, in which they esteemed themselves securely entrenched, into the by-paths of sarcasm and irony.

“In applause of Dr. Lardner, all parties of Christians are united; regarding him as the champion of their common and holy faith. Archbishop Secker, Bishops Porteus and Watson, and Doctors Jortin and Paley, of our National Church; and Doctors Doddridge, Kippis and Priestley, amongst the Dissenters, have done public homage to his learning, his fairness and his great merits as a Christian apologist. The candid of the literati of the Roman Catholic communion have extolled his labours. And even Morgan and Gibbon, professed unbelievers, have awarded to him the meed of faithfulness and impartiality,"

called at Homerton Row in a post-chaise, about nine o'clock in the morning, and took up S. and myself. Wilks had gone forward by stage-coach. We all met to dinner at Harlow, Mr. Benjamin Flower's. Here we left Mrs. A., and we three proceeded in the evening by chaises to Cambridge. “None ride so fast as those whom a lawyer drives.' Wilks has the knack of bribing the post-boys into a gallop. We reached Cambridge about nine o'clock in the evening, and drove to our lodgings on the Market Hill, which I had by letter got Mr. Staples to take for us, and of which Mr. S. informed us by a letter. Wilks and I presently called on Mr. Staples, and inquired after Mr. Gisburne, whom, however, we could not find.

“Tuesday, 14.–To-day I met at a book-stall, and presently introduced him to Wilks, who was shocked at his

appearance. was dressed as follows: a white beaver hat, blue coat, white waistcoat, corduroy breeches and white stockings. Wilks suggested that we must change his dress or lose our cause, he being our chief witness before the Grand Jury, who it was feared would be prejudiced against such a comically-dressed parson. It was agreed that he should go and look for a clerical suit. He did, and presently came back with a good black hat, covering a powdered head, a black coat and black silk waistcoat. All these he had found ready for him, and as suitable as if made on purpose, at a brother Unitarian's, alias a Jew's. The cost was twenty-eight shillings! We congratulated him on his happy metamorphosis, but he remarked that there might be one inconvenience attending his change of appearance—if confronted with his own witnesses in Court, they would not know him.

“I spent the morning in perambulating the Colleges and recalling the associations of my boyish days. In the evening, my brother Isaac and the rest of our witnesses assembled, and were invited to the great room at the Black Bear, which we engaged for the assizes. We informed them that the adversary had indicted three persons, namely, Gisburne, Isaac Aspland and John Emons. We gave them but little comfort.

“Whilst here this evening, Mr. Staples and Mr. Wm. Hollick called upon me to express their fear of the trial, if proceeded in, disgracing the Dissenters, and their wish for an accommodation. I found they were misinformed as to the state of the case, and of course prejudiced. Mr. Andrew Fuller was come as the head of the Calvinist prosecutors, and had tutored these gentlemen. After narrating matters to them, I stated of course that, as defendants, we had nothing to offer or to do; we were only prepared to meet a prosecution.

Wednesday, 15.-- This morning early, we met our witnesses, and prepared them for their examination. I was called away from them by Messrs. Hollick, Nutter and Audley, who came to talk of some scheme of saving the Dissenters from disgrace. I could only refer them to Andrew Fuller. If,' I said, they would agree to an arbitration to settle all the points in dispute, we were willing to agree to any feasible plan, though we were not to be frightened into any unseemly concessions. They regretted that Andrew would listen to no accommodating measure he was sure of a triumph.' I told them at last they must not reckon too fast, as we had drawn up indictments against the Calvinists.

« VorigeDoorgaan »