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liberal contributions toward his support. The sentiments of the meeting on the late proceedings of the Unitarian Association of London, was expressed by the following resolution, which, like the foregoing ones, was carried with perfect unanimity: "That this society has witnessed with much satisfaction and thankfulness, the late proceedings of the Unitarian Association of Loudon, both in obtaining the attention of the legislature, through the medium of the Marquis of Lansdown, to their petitions for relief in the Marriage Ceremony; and in originating that truly Christian Petition, so ably advocated by Mr. Hume in the House of Commons, against prosecutions in behalf of a religion, whose only legitimate support is derived from its divine original, and the benignity of its spirit and principles." About 80 persons of both sexes dined together at the George Inn, where they were afterwards joined by other friends. Sentiments suggested both by the general objects of the society, and by the more interesting public transactions of the year, were given from the Chair, which was occupied by the excellent Mr. Holden, one of the originators and most efficient promoters of the institution. He was supported by Messrs. John and George Kenrick, who, by their judicious remarks, assisted the reflections of the company, and other friends contributed to promote that unanimity and Christian feeling which was manifested throughout the meeting. The next Anniversary of the Association was appointed to be holden at Maidstone.
July 21, 1823.
Tenterden Unitarian Christian Association.
THE First Meeting of the Tenterden District Unitarian Christian Association was held on Wednesday, 25th June, at the above place. It commenced with an afternoon service at the chapel. The devotional services, with reading the Scriptures, were conducted by Messrs. Ketley, Payne and Blundel. Mr. Holden preached the sermon, and concluded with prayer. Those of the congregation who were inclined, then adjourned to the Woolpack Inn, where tea was provided for them. The company amounted to 114. And it is to be here observed, that at the first meeting of the Kent and Sussex Unitarian Christian Association, in 1812, of which the above is only a branch, the dinner party consisted of little more than thirty, whereas only a District Association of the present year consisted of the before-stated number. This speaks
for itself; and we here earnestly recommend similar district associations to the Unitarian body in general. After tea Mr. Holden was requested to take the Chair. The company was then favoured with speeches from Messrs. Ketley, Grisbrook, Harding, Payne, Blundel, Cole, J. Blundel, Shoobridge and Taylor. The cause of civil and religious liberty, and the right of private judgment, were briefly but forcibly pleaded by Messrs. Grisbrook and J. Blundel; Sunday Schools were recommended; missionary and laypreaching was also earnestly pressed upon the company present. All appeared to rejoice in the progressive course of Unitarianism in the above counties. The evening passed with the greatest cordiality, and in that delightful spirit of union, which hath characterized our former meetings. L. H.
Western Unitarian Society.
THE Annual Meeting of "the Society of Unitarian Christians, established in the West of England for promoting Christian Knowledge, and the practice of virtue by the distribution of books," was held in Bristol, on Wednesday, the 9th of July, when the Rev. John Kentish, of Birmingham, preached at Lewin's Mead, from the words of the Apostle Paul, in 1 Tim. ii. 5, "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." It was the object of the preacher, in his very able and closely argumentative discourse, to shew the strict and intimate connexion between the Unity of God and the proper Humanity of Christ; and at the close of the discourse, he gave a brief but impressive view of the practical influences of the doctrine of St. Paul, that the Mediator was the MAN Christ Jesus. The publication of the discourse was earnestly requested by the Society at their meeting after the service; and there is room to hope, that Mr. Kentish will comply with their request. About seventy members and other friends of the Society dined together, Arthur Palmer, Esq. in the Chair. Mr. Kentish, Mr. Rowe, Dr. Carpenter, and Mr. Maurice, afterwards addressed the meeting, when the latter adverted to the valuable services of the Unitarian Association; but the unexpected shortness of the interval between dinner and the evening service, prevented the introduction of several topics for which these meetings usually afford a suitable opportunity. In the evening, the Rev. Richard Wright, for many years engaged in missionary labours, and now settled at Trowbridge, preached from Acts xiii. 32, having as his object to shew that, on
Unitarian principles, the gospel may be peculiarly denominated "glad tidings." The leading topics of the discourse are to be found in a little tract recently published by Mr. Wright, entitled "The Touchstone of reputed Evangelical Principles." The other services of the day were conducted by the Rev. Messrs. Hunter, of Bath; Fawcett, of Yeovil, and Wawne, of Bridport.
Devon and Cornwall Unitarian Association.
THIS Association held its Annual Meeting on Wednesday, July 2, at Tavistock. The very retired situation of this town would have made the expectation of a large attendance unavailable: but this is no reason why our annual meetings should not sometimes be held in places, in which a large company cannot be expected to assemble; since these meetings have a tendency to give animation and spirit to the cause of truth, and are gratifying to our friends who are thus sought out in their unavoidable retirement. The devotional part of the service was conducted by Mr. Martin, who had opportunely arrived in Devonshire on his way into Cornwall, where he has undertaken to remain some weeks in Missionary pursuits. It was a great pleasure to those that were present, to see a young man, who had devoted himself to those important duties which cannot be undertaken by settled ministers and family-men; and the seriousness and piety which distinguished the service he conducted, together with the peculiar pleasantness of his voice, are, we hope, guarantees of his being rendered useful in that line, from which our old and esteemed friend, Mr. Wright, is now excluded by his age and growing infirmities.
Mr. Johns, of Crediton, delivered the sermon. The subject he chose was, "the Coming of the Kingdom of Heaven," for which we are directed to pray in the second branch of that address to the Father, which seems to have a prophetic reference to a future and more glorious period on earth, and to a bright resplendent day in a perfect state hereafter. It is not possible to do any thing like justice to the compositions of this gentleIman, in such a report as we are now called on to make of the meeting at Tavistock. Mr. Johns' compositions are of a very peculiar cast: they are truly his own; resplendent with imagery, often of the most beautiful and striking kind. His style is as poetical as his language; but while all that hear him listen with delight, they have some difficulty in following him in the rapid and continued
succession of his images, and have often to regret, that they too soon lose sight of his striking metaphors and well-constructed allegories, by their, perhaps, too frequent recurrence, and by a too great quickness of delivery; a common defect in young men, which we hope will be remedied in our Crediton friend.
After the service was closed, the business of the Tract Society was entered upon; when the question was fully considered, "Whether it was expedient to re-unite this Society with the Western, or continue it still a separate association." This question was brought forward, in consequence of some gentlemen having been displeased at the manner in which the proposal had been set aside at the last year's meeting at Sidmouth. The Devon and Cornwall Association sprang up in the year 1814; it was formed apart from its parent, the old West of England Society, on three distinct, and, we conceive, very important grounds. 1st. Because the extent of country, reaching from beyond Bristol to the Land's End in Cornwall, is too large for only one annual meeting. In the present year, for instance, the Western meets at Bristol; of course, two-thirds at least of its members would have been deprived of a public meeting had they adhered to that Society alone. 2d. The rules of that Society are so drawn up, as virtually to exclude those Unitarians that hold the doctrine of the pre-existence, while it is our opinion, that they should be embraced as brethren, and invited to unite with us in the diffusion of the great doctrine of the Unity of the Godhead, in which we are all well agreed. And, 3d, It is expedient to admit subscribers, to associations of this kind on the lowest possible terms, on any terms indeed that may suit the finances of our friends. Therefore, the Devon and Cornwall permits its members to subscribe whatever sum they think proper, and requires no specific subscription to be demanded of them.
Letters from several of our congregations were read, and the report of the ministers present received, as to the opinions of theirs: and, since it appeared that all were unanimous, excepting the three gentlemen who had signed the letter of complaint, the proposal of uniting the the two societies was dismissed, and the next meeting appointed to be held at Collumpton, on the first Wednesday in July, 1824. After dinner at the Bedford Hotel, an elegant house that the Duke has recently built, a discussion, by no means uninteresting, closed the business of the day; in which the actual state of things, both in the political and the religious circles, engaged the thoughts of the
speakers; the signs of the times were
A general wish had been expressed at
Eastern Unitarian Society. THE Eleventh Yearly Meeting of this Society was held at Bury St. Edmunds, on Wednesday and Thursday, the 25th and 26th June. On Wednesday evening the service was introduced by Mr. Toms, of Framlingham, after which Mr. Latham, of Laxfield, prayed. Mr. Valentine, of Diss, preached from Matt. xv. 13. From these words the preacher reviewed the leading doctrines and principles of the Church of England, and by applying to them the test of Scripture, shewed that they came under the description, given in the text, of plants, which were not planted by our heavenly Father. The contradictions and absurdities which exist in the Book of Common Prayer were ably aud strikingly delineated, and shewn to be unworthy the belief of those who profess to derive their Christianity from the Bible. The present state of the Established Church was depicted in terms which are but too consonant with truth. On Thursday morning, Mr. Perry, of Ipswich, began the service, Mr. Bowles, of Yarmouth, followed, and Mr. Selby, of Lynn, preached from Phil. iii. 3. Of this admirable discourse it is needless here to say more, than that it powerfully impressed the minds of an attentive audience, who unanimously joined in requesting its publication, a request to which Mr. Selby acceded.
After service the business of the Society was transacted; Thomas Robinson, Esq., in the Chair. The Report of the Committee was read, and the Secretary was directed to request its insertion in the Christian Reformer (where it will be found, in the Number for this month). The Treasurer's accounts were then read, by which it appeared that the finances of the Society continued in a prosperous state. Isaac L. Marsh, Esq., and Mr. Edward Taylor, were severally elected Treasurer and Secretary for the ensuing year. The next yearly meeting was appointed to be held at Harleston, in Norfolk, and the Secretary stated that he had reason to hope Mr. Aspland would preach.
Fifty-four gentlemen dined together at the Six Bells Inn; Mr. Richard Taylor, of London, in the Chair. After dinner several ladies joined the party. It was highly gratifying to see so many individuals collected from various parts of the two counties, engaged and united in the support of those great principles which have for their object the liberty, peace and happiness of mankind. The toasts were intended to express and to call forth these principles, and they were in general most cordially received by the company present. On the health of Mr.
Selby being drank, he expressed the pleasure which it had given him to have had an opportunity of defending the doctrines of Unitarianism in his native county. He then related the circumstances which had led to his invitation to the care of the Unitarian Church at Lynn, where, he hoped, though the difficulties with which its members had to struggle were formidable, that the uncorrupted doctrines of the gospel would take root and flourish. Present appearances there warranted him in expressing that expectation. The number of hearers was considerably increased. By seriously and sincerely laying before them not merely Unitarian morality, but Unitarian Christianity, he looked forward with hope and confidence to the result.
Mr. Latham, of Laxfield, gave a very interesting account of his progress to Unitarianism, and of the various and disgraceful kinds of opposition which he had to encounter in consequence of having embraced his present opinions. It was highly gratifying to the meeting to learn that the simple and uncorrupted truths of the gospel were making their way in various parts of Suffolk, and were daily proved to be not merely calculated to interest philosophers and men of learning in their closets, but men of all ranks and all classes.
An interesting address was delivered by Mr. James Abbott, who is a shoemaker at Mildenhall, and who on this occasion attended an assembly of Unitarians for the first time. He stated that he had been connected with the Wesleian Methodists about sixteen years, and had been a zealous advocate for their cause; but that about three years ago he was led to suspect that "all was not right" in Methodism, and that inquiry led him to embrace the Unitarian faith, but for which he must have sunk into Deism, much as he shuddered at the bare thought. Since he had become an avowed Unitarian, he had encountered considerable odium and reproach, which had at one time almost determined him to seek for peace and comfort in another place of abode. But he was happy to say, that the prejudices against him were gradually melting away, and that he does not now stand alone at Mildenhall, but can reckon upon the countenance and co-operation in his religious views of several individuals of intelligent minds and good characters. He added, that a desire of reading Unitarian publications had been lately, manifested in his neighbourhood, and concluded by requesting the assistance of such friends as might be able to furnish them with popular religious tracts.
On the whole, we believe it may be
said that this was the most interesting and delightful meeting the society had ever enjoyed. The utility of the Association was most convincingly established: a spirit of friendship, of zeal and of union seemed to inspire all present, and the company separated in the hope that they should meet next year upon new ground, to enjoy a similar gratification.
North Eastern Unitarian Association,
THE North Eastern Unitarian Association was held in Lynn, on Wednesday, July 9, on which occasion the ministers and friends were present from Boston and Wisbeach, as well as friends from Norwich, and from Tidd and Fleet, in Lincolnshire. The fineness of the day gave additional interest and satisfaction to the proceedings, which were commenced and conducted in the following order. Mr. Payne, of York College, introduced the morning service by reading a portion of Scripture; Mr. Walker, minister from Wisbeach, offered up the prayer; and Mr. Valentine, minister at Diss, delivered a very animated address upon the peculiar doctrines of the gospel being identical with Unitarianism, from 1 Thess. v. 21. The friends afterwards, male and female, to the number of fifty-nine, partook of an economical dinner at the Coffee House, and passed a highly gratifying, and, we also trust, an instructive afternoon; in the course of which several appropriate sentiments were given from the chair, and respectively and warmly dilated upon by gentlemen present. It would be an act of injustice to the individual, as well as acting contrary to the wishes of the friends, if I were to omit to state, that the satisfaction of the meeting was considerably increased by the gentleman who filled the chair, Mr. Edward Taylor, of Norwich, whose introductory remarks to the several sentiments proposed, were such as deservedly called forth the most sincere, as well as the greatest applause. This satisfaction was moreover further increased, by the prospect of the Association being continued, as the time and place for the next year's meeting were fixed at this, to be at Lutton, in the first week of July.
A public service was conducted in the evening, which was introduced by Mr. Valentine's reading a portion of Scripture; Mr. Selby, minister to the Lynn congregation, delivered the prayer; and Mr. R. Smith, lately of York College, addressed an attentive audience upon the subject of the Divine Unity, from 1 Tim. ii. 5. W. S.
Ordination of the Rev. A. Paterson, Stourbridge.
ON Tuesday, July 15, the Rev. Alexander Paterson, M. A., was set apart and ordained to the pastoral office, in the society of Protestant Dissenters assembling in the chapel on the western side of the High Street, in Stourbridge. The Rev. John Small, of Coseley, offered the introductory prayer, and read some appropriate passages of Scripture. address explanatory of the nature and design of the service, was delivered by the Rev. Robert Kell, of Birmingham, who received Mr. Paterson's answers to three inquiries, relating severally to the grounds of his belief in Divine Revelation, his motives for exercising his ministry among Protestant Dissenters, and his views and desires in undertaking the duties of a pastor. Then followed the general and ordination prayer, which was presented by the Rev. Richard Fry, of Kidderminster. The charge to Mr. Paterson was given by the Rev. James Scott, of Cradley, who founded his observations on the words, a good minister of Jesus Christ, (1 Tim. iv. 6). The Rev. John Kentish, of Birmingham, delivered a discourse to the people on the obstacles to the efficacy of public religious instruction, and the means of removing them, from James i. 22-25, "Be ye doers of the word," &c. &c.; and the Rev. James Yates, of Birmingham, concluded with prayer; suitable hymns having been sung by the congregation in the course of the service. A considerable number of ministers, and of members of some of their societies, dined and passed the afternoon under the hospitable roof of William Scott, Esq., and felt great delight in reviewing the proceedings of the day, and in anticipating the permanently happy influence of them on those by whom they had been witnessed.
Opening of the Unitarian MeetingHouse, Great Cross Hall Street, Liverpool.
ON Sunday, 8th June, the meeting house, lately occupied by a society of Calvinist Baptists, was opened for the public worship of the One and only God, by the society of Unitarian Christians formerly meeting in Sir Thomas's Build ings. The Rev. George Harris, of Bolton, in the morning, delivered a very eloquent and impressive discourse, to a very attentive and exceedingly crowded audience. In the evening the Rev. Robert Cree, of Preston, delivered a very interesting, argumentative discourse on the Doctrine of
THE Annual Assembly of the Unitarian Ministers of Lancashire and Cheshire, commonly called "The Provincial Meeting," was held at Bury, on Thursday, June 19th. Thirty four ministers and preachers were present. The Rev. William Allard, of Bury, gave out the hymns, the Rev. John Gaskell, of Dukinfield, conducted the devotional parts of the worship, and the Rev. George Harris, of Bolton, preached from 1 Cor. xiv. 12, "Seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church." The preacher dwelt on the necessity of increased exertion on the part of those who held a purer faith and advocated more benevolent doctrines than the generality of Christian professors, and gave a comparative statement of the numbers and labours of the Methodists, Calvinists and Unitarians of the county. The congregation, which was deeply attentive, appeared to be about 400.
At the close of the service, the Rev. William Allard, of Bury, in the Chair, the thanks of the meeting, on the proposition of the Rev. John Yates, of Liverpool, seconded by the Rev. J. G. Robberds, of Manchester, were unanimously given to Mr. Harris for his discourse. The Rev. William Hincks of Liverpool, was appointed the supporter for the next yearly meeting, to be held at Altringham. Afterwards the business of the Missionary Society was transacted.
At two o'clock the friends of Christian
liberty and equality dined together at the Hare and Hounds, the Rev. George Harris in the Chair. One hundred and sixty-two persons, male and female, sat down to the tables. The price of the dinner-ticket was 1s. 6d. Individuals were present at the dinner from Bolton, Preston, Walmesley, Bury, Cockey-Moor, Kingsley, Manchester, Park Lane, Warrington, Hindley, Wigan, Chowbent, Rivington, Stand, Rochdale, Swinton, Newchurch Rossendale, and Haslingden; the following toasts and sentiments being given: "The cause of civil and religious liberty all over the world;""The progress of knowledge, and may it issue in