Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

306 Mr. Matthews on the new Unitarian Academy.
some account of the Unitarians in perhaps a translation of it, or at
Transylvania ; though I confess I least of the substance of the infor.
ain not surprised at the silence of mation relating to Unitarians,
your correspondents ; for where would be acceptable on your
nothing is known there is nothing pages.

JUVENIS.
to tell. I suspect that the author
of “ The Religious World display. Mr, Matthews on the new Unita-
ed,” was himself acquainted with

rian Academy. Professor Markos's book only at

Bath, April 3, 1812. second hand, and even that is SIR, higher authority for a quotation, Having read and considered the than I fear most of our sectogra. circular letter, containing “The phers are able to produce. Resolutions of the Friends of the

In Mary's New Review for the Unitarian cause, and the plan of year 1783 (Vol. IV. p. 477), I the new Unitarian Academy," I find a brief account of the follow. would beg leave to otter a few re. ing work: “ Transilvania, sive marks thereon, through the me. magnus 'Transilvaniæ principatus dium of the Monthly Repository. olin Dacia Mediterranea dictus,' The reasons assigned for attemptorbi nondum satis cognitus. Nunc ing such an establishment, I premulufariam ac strictim illustratus. sume will be generally approved, Auctore Josepho Benko, Transil- and the object deemed highly Vano-Siculo, &c. Tom. 2. 8vo. worthy of encouragement. The Vindobinæ, 1778."

commencement of the subscription " The account of Unitarians,” is auspicious, and we may hope says Mary,

up

from p. the result of due endeavours to 215 to p. 229 of vol. 2." We have extend it will be complete success. here a short abridgment of their But the accomplishments, and history, their confession of faith, the public benefit, may not be and their church government. In so speedy in their arrival as we the year 1776, their numbers could wish. In the mean time, were 28,697, and their churches it concerns the friends of the Uni. 117.”

tarian cause, to be doing all they This assessment gives upwards can for its advancement, if they of 253 persons to a congregation; believe, as I trust they do, that it according to wbich rate, Professor is the reviving, growing cause of Markos represents them as up- primitive Christianity. The scripwards of 40,000 in number in iural admonition to believers for. 1787— an increase of more than merly was, that they should be 11,000 in eleven years.

"diligent in business, fervent in " There is a supplement to the spirit, serving the Lord :” and work,” adds Maty, “which con. though some professed believers in tains some curious things about our days are prone to call in questhe Unitarians, particularly with tion any good effects of Unitarian respect to their coming into 'Tran. fervency, or religious exertion, sylvania, taken from a manuscript yet is this no good reason why its iraci, entitled, Notanda quædam advocates should be discouraged, de fratribus e Polonia exulibus." or why they should not be zealous

If this work could be procured, in promoting the practice of Uni

66 takes

tarian worship, as the Lord's ser. a brotherly and Christian work, vice. The particular promotion and I am seriously of opinion it which I now have in view, is, in would be crowned with abundant situations where Unitarian te. success. lievers have not the aid of a learn Such has been the

consequence ed or regular minister.

The cause of free inquiry on religious subof religious truth may be advanced jects for many years,--such the by sincere and sober endeavours, demonstrations of Christian docwhere the learning of the schools trines by a succession of pious and is wanting-and indeed the simple learned men, that light has gone dignity of Christian truth is such, forth abundantly; the sacred that large, or fresh supplies of scriptures have become more ex. human learning are not absolutely tensively than ever understood, essencial to its best interests. and their genuine import prized.

From the printed address above Reading and reflection have prealluded to, it appears that inany pared the minds of many, through. of the societies, in different places, out our country, to estimate the “ both of those that have existed value of religious truth and liberty. for a long period, and of those Ecclesiastical and interested sys. that have newly sprung up, have teins have been freely appreciated. been kept together only by the The pomp and splendour of naoccasional services of nrinisters in tional establishments, of spurious their neighbourhood, or by the Christianity, have lost their zoal and activity of individuals, charm. The public mind has not ministers, among themselves, largely revolted from the darkness who have ofticiated in reading the and imposition of former times, scriptures and carrying on Divine and has a strong bias towards ra. Worship.” This part of the state. tional simplicity and scripture ment, I cannot but deem so im- truth. The large increase of po. portant as to require very particu- pulation seems to have been at. lar notice. From such examples lended with a proportionate inof usefulness, due encouragement crease of knowledge, and a love of should be drawn : such auspicious Christian, not of licentious free. beginnings may well be expected dom. This complexion of our to become influential and happy. times is manifest in various ways, Nor can I think that the present and especially in the secession of ministers and superintendants of multitudes from the national Unitarian affairs, in London, could church. Nor is the anxiety of be better employed than in pro. many of the beneficed teachers of moting an extension of such reli- that church, lest their supremacy gious offices, where regular minis. should be gradually lost, the least ters are not settled. Serious, remarkable proof of the salutary sensible, and benevolent men, of effects of free inquiry. In such the same faith, are not uncommon times we have cause io hope that in towns and districts where no “ the corruptions of Christianity;" settled minister resides. To ad- in Trinitarian worship especially, monish and excite such brethren may be happily lessened, and the to the best use of their faculties, genuine truth and simplicity of and religious dispositions, must be primitive Christianity become re

308

Mr. Matthews on the new Unitarian Academy. deemed. This great and most those of ability to become instra. desirable change-this renovation ments in carrying on Unitarian of holy scriptural religion, will, worship, the avowed worship of doubtless, sooner or later, take One Eternal God, agreeably to place, after a long and dark night the doctrines of his blessed Son, of apostacy. But means, under our appointed Highi. Priest, ComProvidence, must be used: and mon Lord and Saviour. The wiat means can be supposed more simplicity of Unitarian principles suitable than endeavours to bring and worship, requires not the aid into active usefulness, on an ex- of robes, lofty pulpits, and splen. tensive scale, among the sober and did houses, as essential in social well-informed commonalty, the devotion. Where, consistently powers and energies of the human with numbers and means, plain mind? A mung men prepared to and commodious buildings may Jay aside the weight and burden of be erected, they are desirable, and ecclesiastical prejudice and do. will of course by degrees be preminion, which neither they, nor pared; but where those means are many of their fathers, have been wanting, and the number of breable to bear.

ihren small, a decert room, or That the national church is in part of a building, may be appro, danger, has often been said, and priated and licensed for the sacred echoed by interested churchmen, use; or, in some instances, a fain this country, but never with mily sitting room may be well emmore alarm than now. This is ployed, for social worship. If notorious. The professed cham- conveniencies serve, it may be a pions of the church may continue Christian office to invite any of the to complain; but the influencing neighbours to attend and be witmotives are obvious; and com- nesses of the order, and partakers plaint from such men is natural. of the benefits, of such serious enBut while sincere Unitarians have ployments. To this end the preno particular views of overturning vious distribution of small and any church, merely as such, and pious Unitarian tracts may be are purely concerned for the in. an excellent preparative. A plain terests of truth, and the personal moveable desk, purposely con. improvement of their fellow-men, structed for the use of the officiat. they must leave the event to Pro. ing brother should be provided, vidence, which works by his own and when used decently covered ; instrumental means; and the end suitable seats or chairs may be of his working they are sure will easily had. Let all things be done be right. This is their ground of decently and in order. procedure and of trust.

The main article of religious With such views, and on such exercise will of course be the so. principles, I would recommend to lemn reading of portions of sacred the Unitarian committee or board, scripture, both in the Old and New in London, the issuing of brother. Testaments; those portions will ly admonitions to their fellow. doubtless be preferred which treat professors, in districts throughout of social and religious duties, and the country, where stated minis- devotional godliness. Other de. teis are not settled, exhorting youional books (there being many

[ocr errors]

which are rational, pious, and be pleasing and profitable to refresh
well-known) the committee may their memories and feelings, and
advantageously recommend a se. to partake with others of wbat they
lection of. In the mean time the had before approved as excellent.
good sense, discretion, and expe. If the understanding be well-in-
rience of the parties using such formed, and good affections excit.
helps, may be relied on as sufficio ed and strengthened by public
ent to determine their choice, ac. hearing, the main end of preaching
cording to their peculiar circum. is answered : and by the use of
stances. It can hardly be neces. correct and animated compositions
sary to add that the most clear and respecting those truths which never
solemn principles of Unitarian change, a great point may be se.
faith should be conspicuous in cured, i.e. the prevention of weak
every work that is used, whether and incongruous addresses, which
in the department of doctrine, though delivered extemporaneously
prayer, or psalmody. It may from the best motives, may some.
sometimes happen that a serious times prove worse than unprofita.
brother, officiating for the general ble.
edification, may be so gified (for Among the names which now
there are gifts both by nature and occur to me, for selection of dis.
grace, independent of human courses, I will mention the follow-
learning) as 10 address a small ing, viz. The doctors Lardner,
congregation profitably, without Samuel Clark, Foster, Price, Jebb,
reading, and if so such a service Priestley, Toulmin, Rees, Carpen-
may be must acceptable. But in ter; and of untitled brethren,
general, it is probable that a solemn Abernethy, Bourne, Lindsey,
public reading of a printed reli- Kentish, Fawcett, Jardine, &c.
gious discourse, may be more Others might be pointed out,
commonly useful. Of such dis- perhaps to equal advantage, and
courses there exist a great abun- which must be well known to the
dance, from the hearts and pens of London committee. From the
many learned and pious Unitarian whole mass of excellence a suffi,
ministers-men whose works, cient variety might be easily se-
though their authors are dead, yet lected, and sent, either as presents,
speak—and speak excellent truths. or at reduced prices, where the
Others yet live, and live worthy cost was an object with country
of the works they have sent forth. correspondents. But it would
Many of those invaluable volumes generally happen that money for
of discourses, though familiar to such purchases would be readily
more general readers, may be new paid, by those who were sincere
to the greater part of such coun. in the cause.
try congregations, whose members The success of this plan of in.
but for such opportunities of hear- struction and edification may de-
ing, might never know of the ex. pend, in a considerable degree, on
istence of such religious instruc. the diligence and qualifications,
tions. To those whose reading natural and acquired, of those
may have extended to all the members who mostly officiated.
works which may be selected for I say mostly, because it seems de-
the purpose in view, it must ever sirable that public reading should

or

310 Mr. R. Flower, on Dr. Buchanan's Christian Researches. not be uniformly confined to one have recommended, take my leave person, in a place or district, if for the present. it can be conveniently avoided;

W. MATTHEWS. but that the talents of more than one, where talents exist, should Mr. R. Flower on Dr. Buchanan's be encouraged, both for social Christian Researches in India. good, and that accidental disap Marden, near Hertford, pointments may be less likely to SIR,

April 25, 1812. happen. Grave and moral cha. In perusing the writings and racters are necessary, and should the records of sensible, intelligent be preferred before age, or literary and benevolent men, who seem to skill, where, in the laiter, moral have the benefit of mankind much rectitude and seriousness are less at lieart---when we find, o suppose conspicuous. The life should we find, a beclouded imagination “adorn the doctrine of God our often mistaking error for truthSaviour.” Under the head of dis. bow great is the disappointment. cipline, in such congregations, I have been led to this reflection brotherly love, and that morality in the perusal of Dr. Buchanan's which is founded in reverence of Christian Researches, a work religion, will furnish the best pre. bighly interesting to every well. vention of the need, either of au. wisher to the Christian cause. To thority or censure. Diligence in see a person foregoing the comforts religious duties, and fervency of of a settled oubitation and the spirit in the performance, are ex. sweets of domestic life, to travel .cellent patterns of practice, and at the peril of health, and ftenguards of union in all congrega- times at the risk of life itself, is tions : and as experience proves truly admirable, and demands both the advantage of frequent religious our respect and admiration ; but assemblies, I would propose its be- it is lamentable if the perpetuation ing strongly recommended, that of error and idolatry should be the evening meetings be holden, where. effect of such virtuous sacrifices. ever they conveniently may be, at The part of the Researches I least once in the week, as well as now allude to will be found in on the Christian sabbath. Their page 261 and onward, enuitled, diffusive usefulness, especially in Vestiges of the Doctrine of Reve. populous districts, may be great, lation in the East—which vestiges and they must be found beneficial are, “ Trinity in Unity, Incar. to the most religiously experienc. nation of the Deity, Vicarious ed ;--- while the setting open of a Atonement for Sin, and the lo. door, for evening instruction and Muence of the Divine Spirit.” 1 edification, 10 the poor and la. need not attempt to prove to Dr. borious, after the toil of the day, B. or his intelligent reader, that is a work of Christian charity, the various idolatries of the Easlwhich will not fail of a blessing. ern nations and the sacrifices of.

I must now apologize for having fered by them, did exist much stated my opinions so much at earlier than Christianity itself. length, and with the warmest History, sacred and profane, at. wishes for the success of what I tests the facts, nor does the Dr.

« AnteriorContinua »