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770 Extracts from the Report of the Unitarian Fund, 1812: devil, the miraculous conception, the reverence the scriptures, and thal by plenary inspiration of the scriptures, and the right of private judgment they were even materialism and necessity have justified in interpreting them differently been brought forward. I had no other from others. The audience was more choice, thus circumstanced, than an respectable in appearance than any I open avowal of all my sentiments. I had yet had. have, therefore, frankly made it. The In the evening our place was 80 consequence has been such as I expected. crowded that I had again difficulty to The whole town is moved by it. Every get to the pulpit. The stairs, pretty place of worship rings with the cry of large and wide, were also filled.' The heresy: cautions, warnings, threats, counting house was likewise nccupied prayers, tears and outeries are used to by many. Above thirty went away, not stop the dreadful evil. Even the learned being able to get within hearing. I archdeacon, incumbent of St. Mary's- preached on Mat. ix, 13.“ I came aot to no evangelical man himself-has joined call the righteous, but sinners to repen. the evangelical alarm, and honoured tance." It is thought that 400 persons me expressly with a cautionary sermon were present. I described repentance to his genieel audience.
as a practical thing, turning from sin to Afraid of incurring expences which, rightcousness-proved that sinners and from the unsettled state of things bere, righteous persons were distinct characmight ulu mately fall on the Fund, no- ters in scripture-that Christ came to thing decisive had been done concerning call the former to repentance, as ist, the theatre, when your last letter ar. idolaters; 2d, ignorant and openly rived. On receiving it, I felt myself en. immoral Jews; 3d, hypocritical pharicouraged to request a meeting with sees, all the worse for their religionsome of the friends to confer about pro. that the gospel was intended for the curing the Theatre : but, happily, this same purpose' now—that the righteous was rendered unnecessary, for Mr. S. Were moral persons, who feared God shewed me a large workshop of his, and worked righteousness, and as doing he is a carpenter,-- which, if I thought this were accepted of him-Christ did it would do, he should be glad to hear not call these io repentance, they did me proach in. I accepted it immediately, not need it. But he called such the Another person, a boat builder, who full know ledge of God's favour by his had heard me, but never spoken to me, gospel, and to the rich hope of eternal sent 10 offer a boat-house, which he lifc. said he would make as convenient as The most deep and profound attention possible. Thus I had choice. The prevailed in the audience, most of whon carpenter's shop is best situated and consisted of persons who seldom attend largest, tifty feet long, twenty-three any place of worship.” wide, open to the roof, with a counting
« Dec. 13. house, which I call the vestry, opening “ In order that the Committee may into it. With his work-benches, tool- form a correct idea for themselves, it is chests, deals, &c. hc fitted it up in great necessary that I take a retrospective taste:-A branch drawing up and down view of circumstances, and also state in the middle-Sconces, candlesticks, and present appearances at this populous table for singers, stools, chairs, and an town. excellent pulpit of rough wood. This 1st. The original design of Mr. S. place I knew not of till Friday evening. or those who acted with him, was to There was only Saturday to circulate unite the Cudworthians, the Universal. notice of my preaching, and this was ists, the Arminians, for there are some done so effectually, though only ver. few such, and other semi-orthodox nonbally, by my friends, that on Sunday descript characters, together on a broad morning we had a larger congregatioa and liberal plan, so far as to preach of than I have had on any Sunday morning general subjects in which they all since I have been at Reading. I preach- agreed, but by no means disavowing or ed on Acts xxiv. 14. “After she way even in the least trenching upon the which they call heresy so," &c. I de. grand Unicarian doctrines. This mescribed heresy in its innocent and nox- chod continued while I used the Cud. ious senses ;—proved that no sincere worthian mecting, where I preached man can be, in the bad sense, a heretic; seven serions that gave the most entire showed that Unitariaos believe and satisfaction to all the aborç parties, and
dren some Calvinists who attended were also that my ejeciment had soused the as much pleased as any others. For attention of the non-professing part of ought that I can see I might have the town. I was iherefore dciermined preached s venty times seven discourses to preach somewhere. Several places in the same manner, and with the same weie offered. I chose, as most con. success, but the genius of Calvinism venient, the large shop of Mr. S. a carexerted itself to prevent so good a work. penter, in London Street. Here I have The heads of all the above parties, and preached four Sundays, and though the many of the indiv duals among them wea i her has been cold, and, last Sunwere visited, and their prejudices, and day, very wet, yet the congregation their fears, and their ignorance, were has continued to increase, and, in the all wrought upon, till they were terri. evening, the place is greatly crowded fied exceedingly about my principles. indeed, though perhaps not twenty They were told that I denied Christ, religionists attend in the whole congrethat I called him an idol, that I had gation. declared I would destroy him; that I 4th. As I had no place in which 10 denied the inspiration of the scriptu, es; give a lecture on a week evening, 1 dethat I did not believe man had a soul; livered lectures to different classes of that I denied all future punishment, d.d persons, two, tbree, &c. and once even not believe there was any hell, totally four times in the week, in private denied ihe leing of the devil, and that houses. I began with about twenty perit was doubtful if I admitted ihat there sons in a company. The numbers lave was either a God or a heaven. These increased to thirty, forty, and even fearful reports worked some days in fifty, yet still select and respectable. I secret, and it is even but lately that I read most part of all these lectures, and have understood their number and ex. all of some of them. A few orthodox tensive operation Their effect, how- or semi-orthodox at first attended then, ever, on the minds of ignorant reli- but have now left me, except two or gionists, you may well conceive of three, for they say, “I am capable of without a description.
deceiving, if it were possible, the very 2d. The consequence of these reports elect.” Consequently I have gotten was that I was excluded from the Cud- quite a new school. My method is this : worthian meeting : the owner of it say. I neither sing nor pray, but begin by a ing, that hc fully approved of every short address on the rights of conscithing which he had heard me deliver ence, or on the use of reason in religion, there, but as I did not believe the or on the sources, nature, and effects of Deity of Christ and the doctrine of deism, or on the excellency of revelaatonement, I must preach there no tion, &c. &c. I state my subject, and more: refusing at the same time to dis. read the whole, or enlarge extempore cuss these points with me, because, so on particular parts. After I have done, he said, “I was too weighty for him in conversa ion follows. 0.jections are argument." About the same time most made, or questions are asked, or some of the Cudworthians, Universalists, and other interesting subject is discussed. Arminians, &c. forsook me, after giv- Here are persons who some of them all ing me a sum to pay travelling expenses. me tha: they have not been to any place Except Mr. S. and Mr. D. I had hardly of worship, except on a public occasion, a religionist left to encourage me. But for five, or seven, osten, or fifteen three days before I was dismissed from years. A few of these have been in the the Cudworthian meeting, Mr. W. C. habit of reading their Bibles attentively, my, present kind and generous host, others not at all. One of them told me, had invited me to take up my dwelling after a lecture last week, that he had in his house, else I believe I must have not opened his Bible for eight years past returned home immediately; which was till since I came to Reading, and he what the orthodox intended wiren they believed he never should have opened threatened to drive me out of Reading it again had I not come.
3d. Thus circumstanced I looked Among my present public hearers about me, and found that ten or twelve and attendanis on my private lectures, poor Unitarians and a great number of are also some steady respei table churchsceptical persons, some of them of good men, tradesmen with families. These character, had attended my preaching, have never concein dehe...selves further and my conversation parties. I found about religion than to go to church and
772 Extracts frum the Report of the Unitarian Fund, 1812. prescive the'r moral character. About 3d. That they will bear the travelling six or eight of them now search the expenses of the ministers. This they scriptures with great attention : four of mean to do by way of trial for one them tell me that i hey neither knew nor year. cared any thing about religion further They are desirous of putting the than to preserve their credit in society: Fund to no expense; but if the new that they nevir could understand any cunverts shou'd drop off, and the few thing about Christianity, it was to them hearty friends should feel themselves mystery and darkness, but they were oppressed, they then hope that some content that the parson knew all about assistance will be afforded by the Fund.'' it, or at least, that he said he did so, although they often doubted whether he In this state Mr. Vidler left Reading, knew more than themselves. These are after staying several weeks. He was not vet wearied from the church. They soon succeeded by Mc. Wright, who have character and interest at stake, spint four Sundays there. During this they say that I bave spoiled all that time he had the happiness of superin. holy lethargy which ihey used to enjoy tending the formation of an Unitarian at church; for they can no longer wor- congregational library; towards which ship any but the God and Father of our many books were contributed by your Lord Jesus Christ. I have good hope committee, lo March, Mr. Bennett of these, because of their steady and vis- also devoted a month to this infant tuous habirs.
cause, most acceptably and successThere is also another interesting class fully employed. Within these few of persons who now begin to attend me. weeks, Mr. Vidler has paid a second These are young men, some of whom visit to Reading, and the following is possess considerable intelligence. A the brief statement of things as he found few of them have some literary attain. them after some months absence, and ments. Where intelligence and attain- as they are now. ments unite, I find a strong inclination to deism is predominant in them. This
“ May 11, 1812. is the natural effect of the stupefying absurdities of orthodoxy. I hope I have " In my late visit to 'Reading I made been so happy as to reverse a state of the following observations. incipient deism in two of them with 1. That the morning congregation whom I have freely conversed, and as which is composed chiefly of the most they are both virtuous, sensible, and steady friends of Unitarianism, conrather learned also, I have the best ex- sisted on an arerage of about a hundred pectations of them.
persons. From the above account you will see 2. Tha: the evening congregation, both what has been, and what is, the among which are many inquiring perstate of Unitarianism at Reading. solis, as well as many curious and idle
The congregation in the morning is ones, consisted on an iverage of at least fron 10010 about 150 persons. In the two hundred. The number of the evening as full as the place can crowd. evening congregation is not so large at I think it can hold 34, but every ave- this season of the year as during the nue is filled, so that there is, probably, winter months. nearer 4 }', among whom I have scarce 3. That of about thirty families with ly more than one wḥo has been under a whom I was acquaint d in my first visit, religious profession,
and with whom I had more or less The triends have concluded on con. conversed upon various topics of Chrissideration of your letter,
tian doctrine, and of whom I had ist. That ibey will continue to meet formed a hope of their perseverance in Mr. S.'s shop. He has generously in truth, there is not one tamily which offered it gratis, on Sundavs only, for has drawn back, but several have been two years, or until they can get a better added by the labours of the brethren place.
who have succeeded me. d. That there shall be a boarding 4. That these families, with a cumhouse appointed for the minisiers who ber of others, individuals, have made may suc eeu nie, the expense of which very considerable progress in the knowthey will jointly defray, together with ledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, not expense of candles, and other incidents, all indeed in the same degree, but all in
such a degree as to justify the conclusion numerous and respectable congregations
spent the last Sunday at Reading, and
ample of what might be done by similar 6. Thcy have, under the direction of means in many populous towns, and Mr. Wright, established a chapel lic that no case could more fully shew the brary, which is increasing both in num- urgent necessity for a Society like yours, ber of subscribers and in books. This authorized and prepared to seize institution promises great utility in pro. promptly every opportunity for spreadmoting the progress of Christian know. ing the knowledge of the pure gospel. ledge and virtue, especially among the We must, though unwillingly, conyounger part of them. I observed also clude our extracts, with one quotation that many persons in the middle, and from Mr. Wright's Journal of a tour to some even in the decline of life, were the north in the autumn of last year. inquiring after the knowledge of God
“ Newcastle upon Tyne. and of Christ with all the avidity of " Here I preached twice; one evening youth,
in the Hanover Square Meeting-house,
Calvinists and Methodists.
9. They have the pro peci of procur- Edinburgu being informed of this
use further than it led those who
Intelligencei - Police.--House of Lords.—No Popery. could dispense with them. Some time and disturbed the place by notatural after, Mr. B. one of the Kendal people, coughing, &c. when the preceptor left happened to be in Newcastle, and the desk and turned him down stairs. knowing of the Baptist society therc The defendant, by his conduct at the in Haldane's connection, he went door, in challenging Mr. W. to fight, among them, and it was agreed for swearing, &c. prevented the congreseveral of Mr. Campbell's people to gation from being quiet, and made a meet Mr. B, at the house of the for- promise to send some rouing lads on mer, for conversation, after the morn- the next Sunday. On the day proing service on the Sunday. When they mised a gang of hackney coachmen met there Mr. C. was so unwell that made their appearance, and after he could not participate in the con- forcing the door-keeper from his staversation, but he laid on a bed near tion, they proceeded up stairs, upset enough to hear the debate. In answer the stools, siruck at the preacher, and to the arguments for the inferiority of threw the place into the utmost conChrist to Goil, which Mr. B. urged, fusion by singing flash songs and swear his opponent said, this related simply ing. The defenda:it, Kicheuer, was to the economy in wbich he had taken ordered to find bail, but the prosecuan inferior station, and acted in an in- tor liberally consented to his release, ferior capacity. Mr. B. immediately on condition that the constable sbould quoted and urged 1 Cor. xv. 24-28, to hold the warrant to apprehend him shew that when the economy termi- again if required. There was no case nated, Christ would still be inferior against Dimond. and subject. This made a deep im The Eraminer, Nov. 8th, 1819. pression on Mr. C.-be thought Mr. B. must omit something in the passage.
House of Lords. The first leisure he had he resolved to re-examine the passage and subject: of Chester presented a petition from
Thursday, Dec. 17. The Bishop this he accordingly did, and things the clerzy and certain inhabitants of soon appeared to him in a new light. Manchester and Salford, against the He said to himself, “ If our views be
Catholic claims. right the passage ought to read, then that the petition was signed, in ad.
His lordship stated shall the Son ve EQUAL with him that put dition to the clergy, by a thousand all things under him."
He now entered respectable inhabitants, and several upon the examination of Trinitarian. Dissenting Ministers. ism with that ardour and perseverance which belongs to a Scotchman (of which vation he is), when inspired by
No Popery. a love of truth and a spirit of free in.
This abominable cry is again about quiry: The result is, that having fully to be set up, for the purpose of bolster. satisfied himself, a few weeks since bie ing op a crazy mnistry. It is intendopenly declared to bis congregation ed, we believe, to play off the Method that he was become a Unitarian. isls against the Catholics. Some miuis. Many of his people left him, a part
ters of the former persuasiun hare remain, some scein to be disposed to already learned their lesson and begun return; in the mean time he goes on
to practise intolerance. The pulpits preacliing, and doing all he can to
of the Talernacle and Tottenham Court promote what he believes to be the Road Chapel have resounded with No truth."
Popery, and the pious attendants have been exhorted, by their love of the
gospel, to support the guveroment Police.
against the wicked Papists. Where
will this end? Ought not the better G. Kitchener and
Dimond, ap- principled part of the Methodists and prentices, were charged with disturb. Calvinistie Dissenters to interfere and ing Mr. Wildey, a licensed preacher, stop the march of bigotry; or, at least, at his room in Howland Mews, Tot- to set the public right, and prevent the tenham Court-road, whilst preaching factions cries of a few unenlightened to his congregation. It appeared that individuals being taken for the sense Kitchener, in particular, had disturb- of the community, who, we rerily ed the congregation for the last six believe, are wiser than the teachers months. On Wednesday se'nnight he referred to, and better koow the Lord repaired again to the meeting-house, of couscieuce.