Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

which the country abounded. Thus, he said, we had not only an additional the utmost barrenness was often found argument for the authenticity of the in proximity to the greatest luxuriance. Scriptures, but a fresh assurance that The neighbourhood of Jerusalem was all that the friends of religion and scibare ; but at Jericho, a distance of only ence should be anxious for, was that seventeen miles, might be observed the both might be made to rest on the setokens of a most prolific soil. The cure and indestructible basis of welldiversities of level in Palestine also ascertained facts and principles. (Apincreased the productive service of the plause.) On the motion of James Hey. country. With a probable length of wood, Esq., M.P., a vote of thanks was 190 miles, and an average breadth of unanimously accorded to Dr. Beard. 70, the land did not contain more than Manchester Guardian. 14,000 square miles; yet, at times, the population seemed to have been very large; which arose partly from the fa- Deputation of the Unitarian Association cility with which life was sustained in

to Birmingham and Kidderminster. the East, where the cultivated and spon- We are rejoiced to find that the Britaneous growths of the soil supplied tish and Foreign Unitarian Association most of the required nutriment; and is renewing its visits into the provinces, partly from what might be the exten- feeling assured that it deserves a much sion of the land, occasioned by its great larger amount of provincial support inequalities. Palestine had probably than at present it receives, and that but few wholly desert parts. Even on intercourse between the representatives the limestone rocks, wherever a little of the Metropolitan Society and the debris formed a lodgment, vegetation Country Congregations must tend to would make its appearance in vigour, promote the Unitarian cause. On Sunthough unaided by the human hand. day, April 9, the Rev. Thomas Madge, Chiefly interesting and important, how- of Essex-Street chapel, visited Birmingever, were these diversities of surface, ham, and preached in behalf of the from the new means which they afford- Association, in the morning at the New, ed for explaining peculiarities in the and in the evening at the Old Meeting. phraseology of the sacred Scripture. Collections exceeding £50 were made He called the means new, because the upon the occasion. Of Mr. Madge's facts on which they depended had only morning sermon we have received a been ascertained within the last ten or most gratifying report. It is described fifteen years; and, at the present hour, to us as a clear and powerful argument they were unknown beyond a limited in defence of Unitarianism as the basis circle. The peculiarity of diction to of religious union. On the same day, which he referred was found in the the Rev. Edward Tagart, the Hon. frequent employment, in conjunction Secretary of the Association, visited with verbs of motion, of the terms “up” Kidderminster, and preached two very and “down" when speaking of loco- able and interesting sermons, after motion from one part of Palestine or which a handsome collection was made its neighbouring lands to another. In for the Association. On Monday evenHebrew there were two specific terms ing, a publie meeting was held in the denoting motion, one in an upward school-room of the New-Hall Hill chaand the other in a downward direction; pel, at which a deputation, consisting in Greek there were two compound of Mr. Madge, Mr. Tagart and H. J. words for these expressions, which Preston, Esq., attended. We have been nearly answered to the English "going favoured with a very full report of all up" and " going down." The use of the addresses delivered on the occasion, these Hebrew words or their Greek but the late period of the month and compound equivalents, occasioned some the crowded state of our pages (from difficulty to the old commentators. Dr. which we have been compelled to exBeard here referred to Genesis xlvi. 4; clude matter previously prepared and Joshua xxiv. 4; Samuel xxv. 2, &c., in type to admit even this brief report) and a great number of other passages, compel us to limit ourselves to a few in which going down into Egypt, up into extracts from the principal speeches. Jerusalem, Judea, &c., were spoken of; The Rev. J. KENTISH, in proposing and shewed that these phrases were the cordial thanks of the meeting to the literally correct, according to the best Rev. T. Madge, for his impressive and authenticated accounts of the various appropriate sermons, said the great obelevations or depressions on which the ject of the preacher was to shew us that cities of Palestine stood. In this fact, the foundation of a Christian church is

no objective principle as such, but ne- never dispense with, never comprocessarily and invariably the incorpo- mise. ration of a great doctrine with our wor- Mr. RUSSELL, after a few appropriate ship. Now it appears to me that his observations, seconded the resolution, object was most excellent, and the rea- which was carried by acclamation. soning by which he supported his pro- The Rev. THOMAS MADGE, after thanke positions was unanswerably good and ing the company for the cordial manner strong. It is most true that free inquiry in which his name had been received, -excellent as it is—can never with said— The cause which brings us toany propriety of reasoning be stated as gether this evening is one deserving of the basis of a Christian church; it is, our warmest sympathy and support, as he observed, the adjunct. Free in- because it is connected with the highest quiry is, in fact, a duty which we ought and best interests of our nature. There to perform; it is a privilege which we is nothing more beautiful, there is noall enjoy, in consequence of our rational thing more elevating and refining, than nature-in consequence of our being the spirit of an enlightened and benepossessed of mental powers; but it is volent religion; and it is because I see, never in Scripture-to which alone we or think I see, such a spirit embodied are to look for the basis of a Christian in that form of Christianity which we church-I boldly and deliberately say have had the happiness of embracing, it is never there laid down by our Lord that I am anxious for its more general or his Apostles as the basis of a church. adoption. I am aware that, in the preFree inquiry is, in other words, kind. sent day, more especially, theology and ness, judgment and forbearance, it is religion, the doctrines and the morality worth nothing without them, it must of the Gospel, are thought by many to conduct to some definite conclusion, it have little or no connection with each must exist previously to the conclusion other; and, upon this presumption, an being drawn and formed, and it only argument has been founded for a feeling can be really formed under the exercise of almost entire indifference as to the and influence of a sound judgment. doctrines which may be generally reMr. Madge further urged with resistless ceived. Now, Sir, I admit that a man focre, that when once we have obtained may be a very good theologian,-he this devoted conviction it is our bounden may be well acquainted with the conduty and our privilege to avow it. tents and history of the Sacred WritLooking at the writings which are the ings, with the laws of biblical criticism, records of onr faith, the guides of our and the rules of biblical interpretation, duty, and the basis of our hope, you - he may, as a matter of intellectual will find that our Lord, and still more curiosity and gratification, have studied his Apostles-because they were the the various points of difference existing founders of separate churches - per- among Christians, and be well read in petually urged the duty of holding fast the history of the Christian church,to our convictions, of avowing them he may be all this, without being inpositively, and constantly enforcing the spired with the real spirit of religionduty of forbearance" Let every man without his having cultivated the disbe fully persuaded in his own mind." positions and the habits of a religious Him that is weak in the faith, receive life. I grant this. But I must conye; but not to doubtful disputations." tend, at the same time, that a man And not only in this, but upon all great cannot be truly religious- he cannot points, they are perpetually shewing cherish the faith, the confidence and the duty of avowing your convictions. the hopes of religion-unless there be Many such passages could be produced, lodged in his mind some notion of God, but it is unnecessary, I think. When and of the character of God, and of the I consider the importance of the divine relations subsisting between the creapurity of that doctrine as it affects your ture and the Creator. I do not say he views,-first of the spirituality of the must be an accomplished theologian, Divine Being, and then of the paternal but I do say there must exist, as the character of the Deity,---and further, as basis of his religious feelings, some docit supposes a perpetual acquaintance trines or principles on which they rest with the study of the Scriptures, we -that he cannot be animated with remust be aware that the practical con- ligious motives unless they spring out clusion to which Mr. Madge wished of some sort of religious belief. It to lead us, is a true one, namely, that therefore often happens that, in order the duty of avowing our convictions to make a man wiser and better, more in our worship is one which we can yirtuous and more happy, the thing required is, not to make him more re- Unitarian Association. The objects of ligious-for, after his own fashion, he this Association are such as many of may be religious to an excessive and us contemplated, in part at least, in morbid degree-but the thing that is our local associations ; but it is imwanted is, to put him in possession of portant to consider, that while our a truer theology, of a more enlightened local associations are in themselves of and benevolent faith. When think, very great value, and ought on no Sir, of the licentious practices, of the account to be discouraged, it is very frivolous and foolish ceremonies, of the desirable indeed that something more soul-debasing idolatry, with which re- should be done than can well be effected ligion has sometimes been associated, merely by them; and that is the reason -when I call to mind that almost every why I have such great pleasure in earvice and every error has been enshrined nestly recommending the purposes and in the name of religion,-when I re- objects of the British and Foreign Unimember that the merciless inquisitor tarian Association to the cordial supthought that, in blasting the most beau- port of the present meeting. tiful of God's creatures, it was all for The Rev. HENRY SOLLY, of Cheltenhis honour and glory, — and when I ham, said I feel highly honoured in reflect on the intolerance and bigotry being called upon to second this resowhich would consign such men as Mil- lution. When I look around me, and ton and Locke, Lindsey and Priestley, see how much there is of concealment to eternal misery, on account of the in certain quarters, I feel a profound supposed heresy into which they had respect for those men who

have openly fallen,-when I think of these things, and boldly maintained the doctrines I confess I do wonder that any one can which bring us here to-night. Does maintain that the question of religious not the same thing hold true in religion doctrine is one which we need not as in morality? If it is of importance concern ourselves about, and that the to hold sound opinions in reference to feeling or sentiment of religion is every morality, surely it is equally so in rething. Why, Sir, the feeling or senti spect to religion. It is because this ment may exist, and exist in the great Association has boldly maintained an est degree, and yet the consequences opinion through good report and evil that follow from it may be of the most report, that I admire them; and belamentable description.-Let us then, cause they have said, it is good to abide as Unitarian Christians, while we think by it, until the world comes round to we have the truth, do all we can for us; and they have been of incalculable its promotion in the world. It is not benefit in another important respect. one God that made us to think, and At the present time, the congregation another that made us to feel ; but the which I have the honour to represent, same God who gave us the understand. has been most largely indebted to the ing to perceive the truth, gave us also Unitarian Association. For several the passion to love it ardently, and to years they granted it £50 per annum. pursue it steadily and perseveringly. In They were, in fact, the means of estathe words of the Immortal Bard of blishing, at its commencement, a most “Paradise Lost," I would say, in spite efficient minister there. Organization of the many difficulties and discourage- is essential, if we are to make progress; ments with which we are surrounded and when persons speak of being satislet us not

fied merely with a religious sentiment, “bate a jot

it appears to me that they have lost Of heart or hope ; but still bear up and steer

sight of the true idea of the Christian Right onward."

church. Do not for a moment suppose The Rev. SAMUEL BACHE proposed the that we can dispense with doctrines in next resolution, which was as follows our religion, or with organization in _" That this meeting feel great satis

And it is because the faction in receiving the Deputation here Unitarian Association has upheld the present, from the British and Foreign one and maintained the other, that I Unitarian Association; and desire to think it is entitled to our fervent and express their cordial approval of its heartfelt thanks. I most sincerely hope plans and objects, as rendering import- that they may go on and prosper. ant service in the support and dissemi- The Rev. E. TAGART said I rise with nation of the principles of Unitarian particular pleasure upon this occasion, Christianity." This resolution expresses because personally I have long looked great satisfaction in receiving the De- forward to a meeting of this kind in putation from the British and Foreign your town. It is pleasing to see so

our church.

raised every

many ministers from this neighbour watched its progress, it has had a great hood associated together, and so many influence on the important Acts of members of your several congregations Parliament connected with religious combining to express cordial sympathy liberty: The Corporation and Test with the plans and objects of the Asso- Act--the Dissenters' Marriage Act, ciation to which my labours are ear- the Act for the Registration of Births nestly directed. My friends who are and Deaths-and, lastly, the Dissentwith me in the deputation will agree ers’ Chapels Act—all of these it was with me when I say that with some im- most active and efficient in furthering. patience and some anxiety I have looked It has, therefore, had an important forward to an occasion of this kind; bearing upon the historical interests of and there is abundant evidence in what our country. The Association is also has already passed, from the senti. of vast importance in protecting the ments of the speakers to-night, and rights of Unitarians. We have had the reception which was given to Mr. questions of law decided of great conseMadge's beautiful discourses yester- quence. A gentleman in Scotland left day-from the collections which have a sum of £1000 for the establishment been made, which have amounted to of a Unitarian society there. The lemore than we expected—that we have gality of the bequest was questioned ; laid the foundation for your permanent and the executor hav interest and continual sympathy with possible objection to prevent its being the objects of the Association, with fulfilled, it was only an Association which you now will be better ac- like ours which could take the case up quainted. When I look at the Report and supply the necessary funds. The I hold in my hand, and observe that as question was heard before Lord Jeffrey, a consequence of the deputations sent who decided that the bequest was perto the West of England and to the North fectly legal, and that Unitarians were of England, two or three years ago, we in Scotland as much entitled to have have ifty annual subscribers in Bristol funds bequeathed for that purpose as and a similar number in Exeter, I feel any other society. The decision was confident that we shall have shortly as thus in our favour, though the funds many here. But in London the chief were found to be no more than equal assistance has been derived, the funds to pay our expenses. A gentleman left having been raised almost entirely £300 a-year in the South of England, there, while the objects concern you about four or five years ago : £100 for as much as they can concern the re- a congregation at Devonport, and £20 sidents of the metropolis. I am happy a-year to ten other congregations, to be to learn that, besides the collection distributed until the year 1850. That which was raised yesterday, a number of bequest

was also contested, and it took gentlemen have already given in their four or five years in the Court of Channames as annual subscribers. Five shil- cery to have it decided. It was held lings, indeed, is a sufficient sum as a to be perfectly legal. In minor cases, subscription, and will be welcomed: too, our Association is frequently apand I trust that a local committee will plied to, as at Port Glasgow, to secure be formed in Birmingham to concen- small trusts, which it is of importance trate the energies of our friends, and to protect against invasion. Now, to that you will, after the annual meeting glance at another department, that of in London, receive and distribute the the books and tracts which are distriReports, and that, having so large an buted by the Association among the experience in the wants of the religious congregations, and which are supplied world, you will favour us with such to ministers to aid them in forming suggestions as may occur to you, likely vestry libraries, to circulate among into increase the influence of the Society. quiring minds, is of very great utility; Permit me, Sir, as briefly as I can, to and from time to time they also assist give you some illustrations of the great ministers who are ill supplied with the importance of an institution like this to means of buying expensive books. Conour churches in all parts of the country. sider how many thousand volumes have It is no local Association; it compre- been circulated within the last twenty hends, as far as our means will permit, years, and the heavy expense which the advancement of those religious prin- the society incurred in keeping such ciples over the world to which previous books as the Greek Testament and speakers have adverted. First, to speak “Turner's Lives of Unitarians," which of its proceedings with respect to the no one could undertake to print with civil rights of Unitarians. Since I have the expectation of a remuneration from the sale; yet there are a great number of resolution, said—I have been for many works which it is desirable should be years actively connected with the Brikept before the public, and be read far tish and Foreign Unitarian Associamore than they are.

tion, and the impression I have formed The Rev. Hugu HUTTON, M. A., pro- from such intimate connection is, its posed the next resolution—"That the vast importance to the Unitarian body. ministers and chapel-wardens, or other I believe its usefulness is not suffofficers, of the several Unitarian Conciently estimated. Its benefits are so gregations in Birmingham and its neigh- unostentatious, so constant, so everbourhood are requested by this meeting fowing, that, like many of our domestic to adopt measures for the raising of blessings, their value is not felt till we funds in their respective localities, for are deprived of them. It is my deli. the support of the British and Foreign berate opinion, that if, from any untoUnitarian Association." In order to ward circumstances the operations of shew that I do not wish to be con- this society should be suspended, the sidered as recommending other people want of an institution like this would to do that which I am not prepared be so decidedly felt, even by those who myself to perform, I am happy to tell have not already taken an interest in you that since the arrival of the depu- it, that, within a very short period, tation I have spoken to some of my there would be a general outcry for its friends, and I have obtained a list of revival. It is a London society, inasannual subscribers of from one guinea much as its office is in London, and to five shillings, for the support of the many gentlemen in London give their institution ; but I have also great plea- time and attention to the objects of the sure in stating that some ladies have society; and inasmuch as a very conset the example of giving their names siderable portion of the funds are raised for handsome subscriptions, and I shall in London. So farit is a London society, go on with this canvas when the depu- but no farther, for it is very rarely that tation are gone. I intend to encourage any of the funds are expended in Lonsmall subscriptions over a wide extent, don. rather than large subscriptions from a The duties of the chair were most small number.

ably fulfilled on this occasion by T. Mr. PRESTON, in responding to the Eyre LEE, Esq.

MARRIAGES.

1848. Feb. 9, at the Great meeting, Lei. WILLIAM DAVIES to Hannah, daughter cester, by the Rev. C. Berry, J. F. Hol- of Mr. James OLIVER, all of Dukinfield. LINGS, Esq., to SARA, second daughter of the late Mr. John Biggs, of Leicester. March 9, at the Presbyterian chapel,

Ainsworth, by Rev. James Whitehead, Mr. Feb. 17, at St. Arvans, co. Monmouth, LEVI HARRISON, grandson of the late Rev. ROBERT PREston, eldest son of Thomas Mr. Harrison, of Park chapel, Bury, to RoDick, of Liverpool, Esq., to ELLEN, Miss Maria SCHOLES, of Little Lever. eldest daughter of Mr. Robert BAIN. BRIDGE, of Lancaster, and niece of the

March 26, at the Old chapel, St. Nicholate John Bainbridge, of St. Arvans Park, las Street, by Rev. T. F. Thomas, Mr. Esq.

THOMAS CROSS to Miss MARY ANN

CALVERT. Feb. 19, at the Unitarian chapel, Bridport, by Rev. J. L. Short, Mr. JOSEPH

April 5, at Upper Brook-street chapel, CRABB to Miss JANE SMITH, both of Manchester, by Rev. J.J. Tayler, B.A., RoBridport.

BERT HEYWOOD, Esq., of Bolton, to ELI.

ZABETH, only daughter of the late Mr. Feb. 21, in Guernsey, W. KELLY, Esq., William SHAWCROSS, of Chorlton Terrace, to ELIZABETH, youngest daughter of the Manchester. late James MONTGOMERY, Esq., of Brentford.

April 17, at the Old General Baptist

chapel, Dover, by the Rev. T. B. W. Briggs, March 7, at the Old chapel, Dakinfield, minister of the chapel, Mr. THOMAS BAby Rev. R. Brook Aspland, A.M., Mr. KER to Miss JEFFERY, of Charlton,

« VorigeDoorgaan »