« AnteriorContinua »
preserve their 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 they neither knew nor year. cared any thing about religion further than to preserve their credit in society: that they never could understand any thing about Christianity, it was to them mystery and darkness, but they were content that the parson knew all about it, or at least, that he said he did so, although they often doubted whether he knew more than themselves. These are not yet weaned from the church. They have character and interest at stake, they say that I bave spoiled all that holy lethargy which they used to enjoy at church; for they can no longer worship any but the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have good hope of these, because of their steady and virtuous habits.
There is also another interesting class of persons who now begin to attend me. These are young men, some of whom possess considerable intelligence. A few of them have some literary attain ments. Where intelligence and attainments unite, I find a strong inclination to deism is predominant in them. This is the natural effect of the stupefying absurdities of orthodoxy. I hope I have been so happy as to reverse a state of incipient deism in two of them with whom I have freely conversed, and as they are both virtuous, sensible, and rather learned also, I have the best expectations of them.
From the above account you will see both what has been, and what is, the state of Unitarianism at Reading.
The congregation in the morning is from 100 to about 130 persons. In the evening as full as the place can crowd. I think it can hold 300, but every avenue is filled, so that there is, probably, nearer 400, among whom I have scarcely more than one who has been under a religious profession.
The friends have concluded on consideration of your letter,
1st. That they will continue to meet in Mr. S.'s shop. He has generously offered it gratis, on Sundays only, for two years, or until they can get a better place.
d. That there shall be a boardinghouse appointed for the ministers who may suc eed me, the expense of which they will jointly defray, together with expense of candles, and other incidents.
They are desirous of putting the Fund to no expense; but if the new converts should drop off, and the few hearty friends should feel themselves oppressed, they then hope that some assistance will be afforded by the Fund."
In this state Mr. Vidler left Reading, after staying several weeks. He was soon succeeded by Mr. Wright, who spent four Sundays there. During this time he had the happiness of superintending the formation of an Unitarian congregational library; towards which many books were contributed by your committee. In March, Mr. Bennett also devoted a month to this infant cause, most acceptably and successfully employed. Within these few weeks, Mr. Vidler has paid a second visit to Reading, and the following is the brief statement of things as he found them after some months absence, and as they are now.
"May 11, 1812.
"In my late visit to "Reading I made the following observations.
1. That the morning congregation which is composed chiefly of the most steady friends of Unitarianism, consisted on an average of about a hundred persons.
2. That the evening congregation, among which are many inquiring persons, as well as many curious and idle ones, consisted on an average of at least two hundred. The number of the evening congregation is not so large at this season of the year as during the winter months.
3. That of about thirty families with whom I was acquaint d in my first visit, and with whom I had more or less conversed upon various topics of Christian doctrine, and of whom I had formed a hope of their perseverance in truth, there is not one family which has drawn back, but several have been added by the labours of the brethren who have succeeded me.
4. That these families, with a rumber of others, individuals, have made very considerable progress in the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, not all indeed in the same degree, but all in
numerous and respectable congregations that any provincial town in England contains."
It remains only to add that your indefatigable missionary, Mr. Wright, spent the last Sunday at Reading, and that the intervals between the visits heretofore described were filled up by Messrs. Eaton, Marsom, and B. Flower, to whom the Society is much indebted for their ready and acceptable services.
Many reflections occur to your Committee upon reviewing the occurrences of the last few months at Reading; but they must content themselves with remarking that this is probably an example of what might be done by similar means in many populous towns, and that no case could more fully shew the urgent necessity for a Society like yours, authorized and prepared to promptly every opportunity for spreading the knowledge of the pure gospel.
We must, though unwillingly, conclude our extracts, with one quotation from Mr. Wright's Journal of a tour to the north in the autumn of last year. "Newcastle upon Tyne. "Here I preached twice; one evening in the Hanover Square Meeting-house, where we had a pretty large congrega tion, considering that the people are not used to week evening lectures. had some Calvinists and Methodists for hearers. The other evening I preached in Mr. Campbell's place, which was pretty well filled, some of the Hanover Square people attending, as well as some Calvinists and Methodists.
Of Mr. Campbell I must give some account. He was of late a preacher of Mr. Haldanes, and his renunciation of reputed orthodoxy is quate recent. A Baptist congregation at Kendal was in Haldane's connection, until of late the minister and people became Unitarians; Haldane and his people at Edinburgh being informed of this change, wrote a curious letter to Mr. Cave, the minister, and his people at Kendal, informing them that they could have no more connection intercourse with them, but that they would pray for them. Cave and his friends wrote in reply, that as they did not see that prayer could be of any use further than it led those who prayed to use all the means in their power to accomplish that for which they prayed, they thought their prayers would do them no good, and
could dispense with them. Some time after, Mr. B. one of the Kendal people, happened to be in Newcastle, and knowing of the Baptist society there in Haldane's connection, he went among them, and it was agreed for several of Mr. Campbell's people to meet Mr. B. at the house of the former, for conversation, after the morning service on the Sunday. When they met there Mr. C. was so unwell that he could not participate in the conversation, but he laid on a bed near enough to hear the debate. In answer to the arguments for the inferiority of Christ to God, which Mr. B. urged, his opponent said, this related simply to the economy in which he had taken an inferior station, and acted in an inferior capacity. Mr. B. immediately quoted and urged 1 Cor. xv. 24-28, to shew that when the economy terminated, Christ would still be inferior and subject. This made a deep impression on Mr. C.-he thought Mr. B. must omit something in the passage. The first leisure he had he resolved to re-examine the passage and subject: this he accordingly did, and things soon appeared to him in a new light. He said to himself, "If our views be right the passage ought to read, then shall the Son be EQUAL with him that put all things under him." He now entered upon the examination of Trinitarian ism with that ardour and perseverance which belongs to a Scotchman (of which nation he is), when inspired by a love of truth and a spirit of free inquiry. The result is, that having fully satisfied himself, a few weeks since he openly declared to his congregation
that be was become a Unitarian. Many of his people left him, a part remain, some seen to be disposed to return; in the mean time he goes on preaching, and doing all he can to promote what he believes to be the
MARLBOROUH STREET. G. Kitchener and Dimond, apprentices, were charged with disturbing Mr. Wildey, a licensed preacher, at his room in Howland Mews, Tottenham Court-road, whilst preaching to his congregation. It appeared that Kitchener, in particular, had disturb ed the congregation for the last six months. On Wednesday se'nnight he repaired again to the meeting-house,
and disturbed the place by unnatural coughing, &c. when the preceptor left the desk and turned him down stairs. The defendant, by his conduct at the door, in challenging Mr. W. to fight, swearing, &c. prevented the congregation from being quiet, and made a promise to send some rowing lads on the next Sunday. On the day promised a gang of hackney coachmen made their appearance, and after forcing the door-keeper from his station, they proceeded up stairs, upset the stools, struck at the preacher, and threw the place into the utmost confusion by singing flash songs and swearing. The defendant, Kitchener, was ordered to find bail, but the prosecu tor liberally consented to his release, on condition that the constable should hold the warrant to apprehend him again if required. There was no case against Dimond.
The Examiner, Nov. 8th, 1812.
House of Lords.
of Chester presented a petition from Thursday, Dec. 17. The Bishop the clergy and certain inhabitants of Manchester and Salford, against the Catholic claims. His lordship stated that the petition was signed, in addition to the clergy, by a thousand respectable inhabitants, and several Dissenting Ministers.
This abominable cry is again about to be set up, for the purpose of bolster ing up a crazy ministry. It is intend ed, we believe, to play off the Methodists against the Catholics. Some miuisters of the former persuasion have already learned their lesson and begun of the Tabernacle and Tottenham Court to practise intolerance. The pulpits Road Chapel have resounded with No Popery, and the pious attendants have been exhorted, by their love of the gospel, to support the government against the wicked Papists. Where will this end? Ought not the better principled part of the Methodists and Calvinistic Dissenters to interfere and stop the march of bigotry; or, at least, to set the public right, and prevent the factious cries of a few unenlightened individuals being taken for the sense of the community, who, we verily believe, are wiser than the teachers referred to, and better know the Lord of conscience,
NAMES AND SUBJECTS.
Academy, the New Unitarian
Aikin's, Dr. General Biographical
N. B. Those articles which are printed in capitals form an Alphabetical
Alete, 297. Of Lord Rochester,
Aspland, R. his reply to Mr.
Banker's check, a curious one
one Dr. Priestley on
adult, in connection
Barbauld, Mrs. her Poem, "Eigh-
Baxter, Richard, curious theolo-
gical discovery by
Berkeley, Bishop, his plan for
Inquiry," 568. On Passages
Bible,. Icelandic, two Versions of
Bible Society, recommended by
Societies, an ancient enemy
Brooke, Mr. Robert, on burning
Buchanan's Christian Researches,
Burns, Mr. on the zeal of Unita-
Canticles, see Song of Solomon
Captive, picture of the
Burton, Mr. John, O
Butler, Dr. on Christian Liberty, R 49
Carter, Mr. George, O
Calvin in England, 157. A per-
Calvinists, correct statement of
Candour, on the want of, towards
Canterbury, Archbishop of, re-