« PreviousContinue »
RISLEY CHAPEL, NEAR WARRINGTON, IN THE PARISH OF WINWICK,
LANCASHIRE. This Chapel has lately, by process of law, been transferred from the successors of the English Presbyterians to the Presbyterians of the Church of Scotland. The Unitarians have suddenly been ejected from the place where their fathers worshipped. In ignorance that any human being besides themselves had a claim upon their humble Temple, they had made it their own by the solemn memories that connected them with the dead who had prayed within its walls, and by the devotion and hope with which it stood associated in their hearts, and in theirs alone. It never occurred to them to examine the legal grounds of possession. They thought they were holding it by the most sacred tenure : it had descended to them from their forefathers, and it was the dwelling of their souls.
We are sure that among the members of our richer congregations, sympathy will not be slow to put itself in the situation of those who have been treated as intruders and plunderers in the place of their weekly worship, and to feel for them from the midst of their circumstances, and through their hearts. It is a severe trial for a simple people to be disturbed in their most cherished habits of feeling, and, in the same hour, to be taunted by their neighbourhood, that in their most sacred connexion with God, they were violators of the rights of property, transgressors against man.
The Members of the Congregation are few and poor : but there is nothing in the smallness of numbers to enable a people to dispense the better with a religion they hold dear, and poverty only gives them a claim upon all those who are not willing to let the spirit of religious freedom be extinguished in any corner of the land, by the coarse persecution which would crush it out of existence, because it is too poor to maintain the outward institutions which nourish and express its life. If our principles are false, let them die and disappear : but they must not perish for want of aid. Wherever the attempt succeeds of depriving an existing Unitarian Congregation of their Place of Worship, another must immediately appear, to show to the leaders of this warfare that not by such means can Opinion be suppressed, nor that Faith, which is the object of their hatred, be exterminated. It may have no small tendency to put an end to this persecution altogether, by defeating perhaps its principal object, if Unitarians, commencing with the very first case that has occurred, show themselves resolved to let nothing be taken away from the outward strength and manifestation of their principles, to supply by the hands of Love whatever the hands of Law abstract from their fellow believers.
It will testify to the zeal and earnestness of the Unitarians at Risley, that poor and few though they are, amounting to scarcely forty adults, they have taken the promptest measures to supply their loss, and that, by the assistance of some friends locally connected and interested, they are already in possession of Ground on which to build a Chapel, and of Subscriptions to the amount of Ninety Pounds,
We cannot recommend this case too strongly. Independently of sympathy with the individual sufferers, it is of general interest and importance, and the manner in which it is met will in all probability, largely decide the character and extent of future proceedings of a similar description.
Contributions will be gratefully received and acknowledged.
KENT AND SUSSEX UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION. The annual meeting of this Association was held at Northiam, on Wednesday, the 11th of July. The little chapel, which is pleasantly situated on the side of a hill overlooking the village, was nearly filled with friends to the cause, some of whom had come from no less a distance than twenty-five miles. The Scriptures were read by Mr. Saint, of Headcorn, and prayer was offered by Mr. Bradshaw, of Cranbrook ; after which, the audience had the gratification of listening to an admi. rable discourse by the Rev. George Harris, of Glasgow, from Acts xvii, 22-31. It was chiefly occupied with an attempt to discriminate the cases in which error is innocent from those in which it is culpable ; and we think that no person, whose mind was not absolutely impenetrable to the force of argument, could have failed to be convinced of the obligation of extending to the supposed errors of others the same candour and indulgence which the preacher so liberally allowed to him, and at the same time of pursuing the investigation of truth with a free, unshackled and diligent spirit. At the conclusion of the service the business of the Association was transacted. In the report, it was stated that the societies at Battle, Cranbrook, and Canterbury, which had for some time been in a depressed state, were now reviving under the pastoral care of the ministers who had lately been appointed to them; and it was also reported that a tract, entitled “A Defence of Unitarian Principles, in a Letter to a Friend,' had been printed and circulated. Three gentlemen residing at Maidstone were appointed the acting Committee for the year ensuing, and the next meeting of the Association was, after some discussion, fixed to be held at Battle.
WESTERN UNITARIAN SOCIETY. The general annual meeting of this Society was held at Ilminster, on Wednesday the 18th of July. The service was commenced in the morning by the Rev. John Robberds, of Yeovil; the second prayer was offered up by the Rev. William Odgers, of Plymouth ; and an excellent and timely sermon was preached from Tim. iv, 5, by the Rev. Jerom Murch, of Bath. After the service the business of the society was transacted, the chair being taken by John Bishop Estlin, of Bristol. The Secretary read a report of the proceedings of the Committee, as well as a statement of the funds of the Society. It appeared that the affairs of the Society were in a satisfactory condition, both as regarded the increase of its members and the amount of its funds. It was resolved to hold the next annual meeting at Plymouth, the Society not having met there since 1810. Some new members were added to the Society.
EASTERN UNITARIAN SOCIETY. The twenty-sixth anniversary of this Society was held at Ipswich on Wednesday and Thursday, the 25th and 26th days of July last, when it was hoped that the Rev. Robert Aspland, of Hackney, would have preached and presided ; but his much-regretted absence, from severe indisposition, was kindly supplied by the Rev. William Selby, of Hapton, as preacher, and Sir Thomas B. Beevor, Bart., as Chairman of the meeting.-On Wednesday evening, the Rev. W. Selby introduced the service, and the Rev. Alfred Hardy, of Framlingham, delivered a very able and judicious discourse from Heb. iii, 1-6, tracing the origin of Unitarianism to be identical with that of Christianity, and enforcing the duties of Unitarian Christians, as not forming a sect, but constituting the household of God. On Thursday morning, the Rev. Henry Knott, of Bury St. Edmund's, introduced the service, and the Rev. W. Selby preached from John vii, 24 : “ Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” The preacher pointed out, with his usual eloquence and pathos, the danger to which all men are more or less exposed, of forming partial judgments of their fellow-men, derived from external circumstances, coincidence of opinion, or the like, and earnestly exhorted his hearers to withstand these common but unworthy prejudices, and to embrace all men, of whatever condition, sect, or party, who manifest a Christian spirit, as brethren. The report of the general state and progress of the Society was very favourable and encouraging; its total income, and the amount of books and tracts sold, being greater than in any former year. The reports of the several congregations in the district were also generally favourable, one entirely new and promising congregation, and two new Brotherly Societies, having been formed since last year. No local missionary has yet been appointed, but exertions have not been spared to prepare the soil for future success in this department.--Among the resolutions passed unanimously, but not without some animated discussion, were the following :-" That this meeting, while it deeply deplores the indisposition which has prevented the Rev. Robert Aspland from being present on this occasion, and thereby deprived the Society of his valuable services, humbly prays that the Father of all mercies will speedily restore him to health, and to the field of his important labours.”
-" That this meeting cordially responds to the desire expressed by the late Aggregate Meeting of Unitarians in London, of promoting a closer and more effective union amongst the Unitarians of Great Britain and Ireland, and will cheerfully forward any measure which may be conducive to that end.”—“ That every conscientious Unitarian residing apart from a regular congregation, may do something towards the promotion of liberal views of Christianity and Christian worship in his own immediate neighbourhood ; and that, where two or three reside near each other, a church may gradually be formed for Unitarian worship.”
-" That Brotherly Societies, having for their object not only a mutual provision against sickness, old age, and other contingencies, but also mutual religious instruction and Christian union among different classes of society, are most valuable appendages to Christian churches, and worthy of all encouragement from this Society.”—“That this Society be in future denominated the Eastern Unitarian Christian Society.”” The whole passed off with great animation, and afforded no small gratification to all present.
J. W. DOWSON, Sec.
The Rev. Dr. Perry has entered upon his duties, as Colleague to the Rev. Mr. Acton, of Exeter, where he has succeeded the Rev. Mr. Cropper, removed to Aberdeen.
We solicit for the future numbers of the Christian Teacher Intelligence affecting the general interests of Religion, whether within or without our own body. Intelligence however should be a record of Changes, of new events, social or intellectualand not of such Meetings as, though deeply important and useful to the hearts and affections of those who join in them, contain nothing new of occurrence or of sentiment. The intelligence we should wish to afford would comprise the Statistics and the important movements and changes of the Religious World—the stirrings of life in all directions. It is our wish that this Department, so defined, should be as full as the nature of a Quarterly Periodical, which aims at upholding a graver interest, will admit. With this view, in the January number and afterwards we shall occupy the whole space hitherto given with Articles; and in addition to this give an Intelligence Department separately numbered, so as, without inconvenience, to be rejected at the end of the year, if not of a sufficiently permanent interest, to be thought worthy of preservation. We have received a long notice of an interesting religious anniversary at which the Rev. N. Jones was the Preacher, which we cannot publish, all mention of the place being omitted. Our best thanks are due to the Editor of the Christian Reformer, (from which a considerable part of the above intelligence is taken) for the great courtesy with which the Notes of the Aggregate Meeting, made specially for that Periodical, were offered to be placed at our disposal.
ART. 1.—THE PRINCIPLES AND RESULTS OF THE MINISTRY AT LARGE IN BOSTON. By JOSEPH TUCKERMAN. Boston, 1838. pp. 327.
Two Influences have breathed upon Christianity, from the Transatlantic world, to which we look for consequences the most deep, happy, and lasting. One of these has chiefly to do with Christian Thought; the other, with Christian Action. Two names will at once indicate the nature of the Influences referred to: they are those of Dr. Channing and Dr. Tuckerman. No two men, we believe, have more fully understood their missions. The one in council, the other in the field, they have achieved great things for the improvement of humanity. We have nothing at present to do with the former, the Master Mind of the contemporary West, except to intimate our belief of the share he has had in calling forth the energies, and determining the course, of the latter. It has been the labour of Dr. Tuckerman's life, or at least of its later and most valuable years, to carry into practice the large and lofty conceptions of Christian brotherhood and love, which the intellect of his great brother so clearly conceived, and in defining and communicating which he has shaped himself out a way to the noblest of human power and the truest of human fame.
Dr. Tuckerman is well known to many of our readers as the originator of that particular Ministry known, in America, as the Ministry at Large; and, in this country, as the Ministry to the poor. The difference, implied by these names, is too unimportant to be noticed. The one is little else than the European form of the other. Long and free communication with the lower classes of American society, had made Dr. Tuckerman acquainted with the appalling extent to which ignorance of the
VOL. I. No. 3.~-New Series.