Imatges de pÓgina

Protestant Dissenters, and did not judicial and discretionary power
afford protection to the numerous which was before asserted by ma-
bodies of Methodists who object gistrates is entirely swept away-
rather to some of the preachers in and they must accommodate even
the Establishment, than to the the humblest religious instructor,
discipline or doctrines of the Es. whenever his own convenience
tablished Church, whilst the com- shall induce him to take the oaths,
prehensive language of this Act and sign the declaration as pledges
includes every person of every de. of bis belief in the Holy Scriptures,
nomination who is a Protestant and of his fidelity to the state. As
and Christian.—The penalties of another advantage we must not
the Conventicle Act extended, omit that under the Toleration
notwithstanding the former Acts of Act, no per ons were liable to
Toleration, to every assembly for penalties for disturbing a congre.
religious worship, in an unregis- gation, unless they entered the
tered place, where more than FIVE place where the congregation was
persons were assembled - but this assembled, but this Act will en.
Act supersedes the necessity of able you to punish with equal cer-
any registration where the number tainty, those who are guilty of er.
assembled does not exceed TWEN. ternal clamor and disturbance, as
TY.-From the laity as well as those who may internally interrupt
from the ministers of religion, the your devotion.
former Acts required, previous to Perceiving that all important
their becoming entitled to the re- legal impediments to the progress
lief of toleration, an expensive of religious instruction are thus
and inconvenient attendance at happily removed, we hope that
the sessions of the peace, and such you will partake the pleasure
attendance was a preliminary re- which we expressed, and be sti.
quisition to their presuming to mulated, by your additional se-
deliver a private exhortation, or a curity, 10 additional labours to
public address. Wbilst this act promote the salvation of men,
compleatly removes this onerous But whilst we express this unaf-
and absurd demand, it enables fected satisfaction, we do not in-
every person to attend at such tend to intimate that the provisi-
places of religious worship as he ons do not admit improvement,-
approves without being liable to that future and progressive efforts
any future requisition to take any are superfluous,--or that

we oaths--and to preach, teach and should relapse into a state of tranexhort, without previously attend- quil uriconcern. We regret that ing at a sessions for permission to under any circumstances the nodischarge the duties which his tification of places of religious conscience may suggest. The im- worship should be required, that munities and exemprions bestowed any oaths should be from religious on preachers by the former Acts, instructors peculiariy and exclu. and wbich were restricted to the sively demandable, and that civil appointed ministers of separate disabilities, imposed by the Test congregations, are more widely and Corporation Acts, improper. and beneficially diffused. The ly exclude conscientious and des

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Toleration Act. vout men from offices, which they preacher to any civil or military would occupy with honour to tbem- office should require its exercise. selves and with advantage to the And if any proceedings should state. All these objects our Com- take place, by which any of the mittee are not unsolicitous lo ob- penalties may be improperly im. tain, and, as the sun of religious posed, and an appeal against a liberty has risen so high above the conviction can be successfully horizon, they hope that we shall prosecuted, we additionally re. survive to hail its meridian and mind you that a notice of the in. unsetting splendour with delight. tention to appeal must be given

Whils: we have endeavoured to within eight days from the time of explain the advantages we have ac- conviction, or the person injured quired, and offered our tribute of will be prevented from the benefit praise to the human instruments of an appeal. who bave assisted their attainment, As however experience will pre. we would endeavour to impress sent the best criteria of the act our own minds with that devo- which has been obtained, and tional gratitude, which is due will effectually discover any praconly unto him in whose hands tical defects which no ingenuity are the hearts of men, and without can foresee, we shall always re. whose blessing our ablest and our ceive with interest the communi. kindest friends would have labour- cations you may transmit of any ed but in vain.

measures which may be attempt. By this sentiment we would re. ed, calculated to infricge the prostrain ourselves from improper ex• visions it contains, or to restrict ultation, and, by avoiding all that religious liberty which we are triumphant language, we would associated to defend, as well as to prevent alarm to our watchful afford you any advice or protec. enemies, and prepare the path for tion which the emergency of cirfurther advantage. We would cumstances may require. As the also advise all persons iminediate. Committee desire that the benefits ly to notify all uncertified places of an institution so obviously re. of stated or occasional worship, quisite, as long as any obstrucand thus relieve anxiety and in. tions prevent the complete enjoysure protection. With all requi. ment of Religious Liberty, should sitions from magistrates to preach- be universally extended, they reers to take the oaths we recom- gret that many subscriptions for mend prompt and cheerful com. the current year have been from pliance, as the renewal of their forgetfulness withheld, and bave applications will be thereby most determined to extend the period probably prevented. As the until Sept. 30, within wbich the power to require magistrates to subscription (amounting at least administer oaths, &c. is valuable to two pounds from congregations to us, and may be offensive to in England, and to one pound them, we also recommend that from congregations in Wales,) such power should be cautiously may be remitted to Robert Sieexerted, and should never be en. ven, Esq. the Treasurer, No. 101, forced unless the election of a Upper Thames Street, London:



and we are persuaded that no con- ning, at the New London Tavern, gregation will refrain from future Cheapside, we shall be always punctuality in the payment of most happy to receive. their amount (which ought to be But whilst we respectfully inti. annually sent in the months of mate the expedience of pecuniary March, April, or May, and support, cannot conclude which must be universally contri- without more urgent intreaties, buted) to enable the Committee that your . congregation, when to act with liberality and promp. they partake our gratitude, will titude, and to discharge the great not forget us in their prayersexpences which they unavoidably that by their fervent and reiterated incur. At the same :ime we re- supplications for divine aid, they quest you to send the name of will best invigorate our minds, some lay member of your congre- and most effectually assist the at. gation, who will, jointly with tainment of every object we are yourself, belong to our Committee, associated to promote. We have to whom, on particular occasions, the honour to be, we can apply, and the benefit of

Dear Sir, whose attendance at the general Your most obedient, meetings of the Committee on the

humble Servants, last Tuesday in every month, at

THOMAS PELLATT, half past six o'clock in the eve.

John WILKS, Secretaries.


Extracts from the Report of the under his ministry: but in the same proUnitarian Fund. 1812.

portion that he won over strangers, he

scandalized his friends; a division took (Concluded from p. 727.)

place in his church, and he was, in conYour Committee now proceed to re- sequence, about to leave the town. There Jate the history of their proceedings ina were two parties, principally, that bad niew field of exertion, which was unex- been interested by his preaching ;-the pectedly opened to them, and which disciples of a teacher of the name of promises to yield abundant satisfaction. Cudworth, and from him called Cud.

In the end of autumn, a messenger was worthians; and the Universalists; both sent to the Secretary, from a number of of whom had places of Worship in the persons at READING, in Berkshire, en- town, but no regular ministers. These, treating him to send down to them a joined by one or two Unitarians, and preacher, for a few Sundays, to make some other individuals, agreed to invite the experiment, whether preaching of a the minister referred to, to preach to liberal and rational cast would not suc- them for a time; which, however, he ceed, in that populous town. The ap- declined. They then resolved to look plication was made under the following abroad; and it was proposed to them to circumstances. A minister in one of the apply to the Secretary of the Unitarian Calvinistic places of Worship, had lately Fund, known to the proposer, officially, attracted much popularity, by insisting by means of the Monthly Repository. from the pulpit on the right of private Unacquainted with Unitarianisni, almost judgment, the sufficiency of scripture, by name, they consented, provided and other kindred topics : several parties, there was a likelihood, of their obtais supposed to be somewhat tainted with ing such another preacher as the one seputed heresy, seemed disposed to unite that had gathered them together. They


768 Extracts from the Report of the Unitarian Fund, 1812. had the Cudworthian place of worship any regular body. I never felt myself at their command, and they formed a more ardeptly engaged in any thing, small fund, for defraying the expences than in my desire to raise an Unitariza and providing for the entertainment of cause in this place, but I never was. a preacher.

placed in circumstances of greater per. Such was the nature of the application plexity. How I shall cart my cup made to the Secretar who communi even I know not. I have announced, cated with the Treasurer upon it singu- ho :vever, that I seek neither to please Jar and unpromising as the case was, nor displease any man, lu: that i will they judged that the opening ought not walk at liberty, for I seek che precepts to be neglected; and they immediately of God. consulted Mr. Violer, who, wib his

Nw. 11. usual readiness to serve the Fund, and

The orthodox, after I had preached thereby the cause of truth, consented to the first Sunday, filled the town with go down to Reading, for a longer ur alarm, by the cry of heresy. The chief shorter time, as might be found expe topics which they insisted on were, that dient. Within a few days of the appli i counted Jesus Christ an idol, that I cation being made, he had arrived at his station: the progress of his labours totally denied his atonement, and that I will be best described in a series of ex

destroyed all moral restraint by holding

universal salvation. tracts from his successive letters.

The few Unitarians in Reading were 1811, Nov.3.

onmoved by these rumours The UniI found that the news of my coming versalists were perplexed, and some of had preceded me, and had excited con- them terrified at the two first. I have siderable attention.

succeeded with most of them, by distin The meeting-house is in an obscure guishing between the divinity of Chrisc's part, with a very bad passage to it. Per- person, and the divinity of his mission, haps it may hold, with the vestry, 250 insisting upon the latter, and dedying persons with tolerable case. I have the former --As for atonement, I have preached three times to day In the had more difficulty on that subject morning from Jude 21. The house was than on any other, but by distinguishing decently filled.

it into three views, I have done pretty In the afternoon from 1 Pet. ii. 9. I well with them ; as ist, satisfaction, endeavoured to shew that God had which I totally deny. ood, That the chosen some part of mankind, to privi- deach of Christ was a valuable considerleges and office for the good of the ation, paid to the justice of God for sin, whole, and confirmed this by the scrip. on account of which sin is forgiven, this tural history of election. The house I oppose to satisfaction, calling it a comwas crowded.

position of, perhaps, five shillings in the In the evening, I went to the meeting. pound, and stating satisfaction itself as house before the appointed time of wor- twenty shillings, or the full demand of ship, meaning to sit a while in the ves- justice. Both these I utterly reject as try, to give opportunity for any persons inconsistent with the glorious doctrine of to speak to me, who wished so to do; free grace; and then turning the tables but in this I was disappointed, for the upon the orthodox, I call them bought meeting house, aisles, vestry and yard grace preachers, and claim the popular were so crowded that I had a difficuly to title of free grace preachers for the Uni. get to the pulpit, and while I was preach. tarians, which I maiatain by the third ing I saw people climbing up the win- view of the doctrine of atonement, dows on the outside, to hear. Many, I namely, that of the reconciliation of a am informed, went away, not being able repentant sinner to God, in Chrit Jesus. to get near the house. My text was 'As for universal salvation, I deny it, Heb, x. 22.

and substitute universal restoration in the Thus far it is well, but I feel that I room of it, maintaining that there will stand on slippery ground; nor should I be a righteous recompence of reward to be surprised if this sudden popularity all men, and, consequently, every singer should as suddenly cease, and even be will be punished according to his works, followed with reproach.

but that the end of punishment is the From the heterogeneous mass of un- good of the sinner, and that God, who is connected professors in this town, I per- love, can punish from no other motite. ceive it will be difficult, indeed, to form This account of the manner of my

Warfare, will convey no new ideas to visit. The few Unitarians here (I have you, or to any other of my friends in not found more than twelve) met on London, but it will shew the peculiar Monday evening to consult what was character of my method of procedure. best to be done in present circumstances.

Towards the conclusion of last week, There was present the proprietor of a I found that my continuance at the small meeting house, which he lets to a Cudworthian meeting house was pre- Calvinistic congregation, who are tecarious, for though the place was al. nants at will. He offered to request the ways crowded when I preached, yet in. loan of that place, at such times as they timations were conveyed to me, that the did not use it. He has done so ; but Calvivists were using every effort to get they have sent a written neg tive, pleadthe doors shut against me. On Mon/lay, ing conscience for their refusal. Applithe 4th instant, as I have since learned, cation has been made to the Quakers, there was a private meeting of the or- but the spirit of liberality does not move thodox ministers in and about Reading, them.--My host, formerly a Cudworto consult of the proper methods to thian, but who has not for years past prevent the growth of the Universal and been into a place of worship, till I came Unitarian doctrines. Nothing particular to Reading, means to try his influence has transpired concerning their deter- with the proprietor of the Cudworthian minations, but some warmCalvinists said, meeting house, to open his place again; that I should soon be driven out of the but neither himself nor others thinkihere town. The propriecor of the Cudwor- is much hope of success. These efforis thian place heard me on the first Sun. shew that zeal is not wanting in the day three times, and also on the follow. friends of rational Christianity at Reading Wednesday. He publicly declared, ing.There is no large room in the town that I preached, as far as he had heard that could be hired or borrowed. The me, nothing but pure gospel. But he town hall and the Lancastcrian schools trembled to find that I was a Unitarian, would either of them do well; but such which indeed I had avowed to him and is the influence of Calvinism, both in to all others who had asked me. In fine, church and meeting-house, that neither there is no more access to that place. of them can be obtained. There is howThe proprietor has much grieved and ever, a theatre that will contain about offended most of his own religious 500 persons. It is used only in Septemfriends. I am informed that only him- ber and October. It has been proposed, self and one or two more were on the and if it could be procured I have no negative side. The rest, who with two doubt but thac it would be weli filled. or three exceptions, are poor, pleaded I know not that I shall have any place hard for my continuing to preach. I to preach in next Sunday, but, if possipreached three times last Sunday, and ble, I mean to preach, at least in the notwithstanding the reports of the Cale evening, in the theatre.—At any rate, I vinists to frighten the people, the house will not return till next week, if I even was still as full as on the first Sunday.- do so then; for though I do not preach, I have also every day met parties, more yet I am employed, I humbly hope, to or less numerous in which most of the some good purpose, in conversation." Unitarian doctrines have been calmly

« Nov 30. debated among serious and enquiring " Finding my associates of this motley persons, with apparent satisfaction, and character, (alluding to their great variety growing conviction of their truth; so of sentiments,) I meant to proceed with that, generally from ten in the morning great caution, and to urge nothing, but till about twelve at night, I have been in to watch the opening of their minds, and continual conversation. -- I have no proceed gently as I thought they could words by which to describe the heart bear it. This prudent plan has been utfelt pleasure which I feel in this labour terly frustrated. The ardency of one, of love. ---After being shut out of the the cool inquisitiveness of another, the Cudworthian place, it seems, the Calvin- boldness and steadiness of a third, the ists thought that I would take myself off open manly candour of a fourth, with in despair of making any further at- the fear, and even terror, of others, tempt for the introduction of Unitarian- when in company together, which has ism at Reading ; bnt though I foresce frequently happened, have not permitted great opposition before me, yet circum- me to leave any part of rational Christie stances justify the prolongation of my anity untouched.' The existence of the VOL. VII,

5 G

« AnteriorContinua »