« FöregåendeFortsätt »
ciples and practices of that portion of the Unitarian denomination, called the General Baptists, as well as to the advocacy of those sentiments in which all Unitarians agree. We always rejoice in the appearance of works devoted to freedom and benevolence; and we trust this periodical will be an useful auxiliary in the dissemination of the great principles of Christian truth and righteousness.
THE CHRISTIAN PIONEER.
GLASGOW, March 1, 1831.
Rochdale Unitarian Sunday Schools.-On January 11, was held a Meeting of the Sunday School Teachers, and friends of the Schools belonging to the Unitarian Chapels in Blackwater-Street and Clover-Street, Rochdale. This was the first united meeting that has been held, but it is designed that such a meeting shall be held annually. After the assembly had taken tea together, Mr. James Gibson was called to the chair, and a series of Resolutions was passed. The objects, which, among others contemplated by the Resolutions, were, to express satisfaction with the flourishing state of the Schools—a conviction that Christian Unitarianism is more worthy of God and better suited to man, than the popular systems-a persuasion, that, therefore, the principles of this Gospel system ought to be inculcated on the minds of the scholars, and that religious tracts should be distributed, through the scholars, among their friends.
The meeting was addressed by the Revds. F. Howorth, J. Taylor, J. Wilkinson, J. Stewart, H. Clarke, and J. Hawkes; and by Messrs. J. Ashworth, J. Clegg, J. Gaskell, J. Brearly, and the Chairman. The interest taken in the meeting by the younger part of it, was evidently warm and lively, and the pleasure experienced by all, was most clearly manifest. For the arrangements to accommodate and gratify the persons assembled, great praise is due to the ladies who superintended and arranged that part of the business. The speeches were gratifying and inspiriting, and, in not a few parts, more than usually so. The
persons assembled on this pleasing occasion, amounting to about 100, continued to partake of the intellectual feast, until nearly 10 o'clock, when the meeting was closed by singing and prayer, and the most pleasurable feelings, and purest satisfaction must have accompanied each one to his home. Nor can the beneficial effects of the meeting soon pass away. The two congregations, were, by this meeting, drawn more closely together, and from mutual aid, and Christian co-operation, good must result. May mutual aid and Christian co-operation abound in all our churches.
H. C. Public Meeting at Cork, of such as think that every Church ought to support itself.—This is the most important meeting in relation to ecclesiastical reformation, which has yet been held. The principles of those who composed it, were equally opposed to any and
every connection of religion with the civil power. The Parliamentary Grant of the English Dissenters, the Regium Donum of the Presbyterians of Ireland, the Teinds of the Kirk of Scotland, and the Tithes of the Church of England and Ireland, are all condemned by those who think that
church ought to support itself. We think the people of Cork have done themselves honour by the proceedings of the 20 February. The meeting was held in the great room of the Chamber of Commerce. The immense hall was crowded. Persons of all sects were there. The Unitarian and the Calvinist, the Catholic and the Episcopalian, were banded together in holy fellowship, to strive to disseminate those principles which will ultimately rid the land of that mighty incubus, which grinds the face of the poor,
and oppresses the many to enrich the few. It cannot be, that a system at war with the feelings and prosperity of the people, and inimical to the precepts and spirit of Christianity, can long withstand the united efforts of the friends of truth, of liberty, and of mankind. Fall it must; for prophęcy, whilst it points out the rise of ecclesiastical domination and corruption, likewise predicts its doom. Be it ours to aid the efforts of those who are struggling, that its doom be speedy.
Mr. Richard Dowden was unanimously called to the chair.
Mr. Sheahan, in proposing the first resolution, said, The resolution which I have read for you, asserts, that religious communities can support themselves. We need not travel far for the proof of the assertion. The very City in which we live, proves its truth abundantly. Do not the Catholics of Cork support their own clergy, and their own places of Worship, without compelling others to contribute to the maintenance of their peculiar creed? do not various classes of Dissenters in our City do the same? do not the Catholics and the Dissenters of Ireland and of Great Britain, act, in this respect, in like manner as the Catholics and
the Dissenters of our City? Again, if we go to the United States of America-that land which presents to us so many examples to admire and imitate-do we not find a nation abounding in clergy and in churches-abounding in every earthly blessing, that we, in our most fervent moments, could wish for our native islemand yet no system of compulsory church taxation! And why should we have one here?
He said that he was a Roman Catholic, sincerely believing in the tenets of the Church of Rome, and desirous of seeing them embraced by all men. If, however, it was proposed to him to-morrow, to establish Catholic for Protestant Ascendancy, and that the substitution could be effected; or again, if he were called upon to sanction the pensioning of the Catholic Clergy by the State-he would oppose the Ascendancy and the pensioning both. He paid his religion the compliment of thinking it could support itself, and he felt that it could be injured only by an adulterous connexion with the State. He, moreover, knew that the zealous, learned, and prudent ecclesiastic, would never have to complain of the voluntary bounty of his flock; and he did not wish to see muskets, and bayonets, and swords, and parks of artillery, in requisition, to coerce a maintenance for ecclesiastics (be they Catholic or Protestant) who are not prudent, and learned, and zealous. As he, then, would oppose a compulsory provision for the clergy of his church, as not merely unnecessary but mischievous, he called upon every sincere Protestant, to assist in reforming the present system, which was proved to be useless for the purposes of religion, and was equally detrimental as it was useless. We, of this meeting, are of opinion, that the temporalities of the Church are the property of the State; and we think also, that it is the duty of every Citizen of that State, to see that the national property should be equitably disposed of. Who is the Citizen or the Christian here who will tell me that the Church property in Ireland is equitably disposed of? We profess to be a civilized, a Christian people. Never did the world exhibit such specimens of civilization and of Christianity
The poor ought to be under the special care of every wise and humane Government, and they are an especial portion of Christ's Church.-How are the poor treated in Ireland? I shall tell you—the food which should be distributed among the sheep is monopolized by the shepherds. Bishop Porter, of Clogher, dies worth nearly half a million of money, and Bishop Agar, of Dublin, dies worth nearly an entire million of money, and the widow and the orphan, and the aged and the infirm, are suffered to die of hunger! Look to the state of your House of Industry at the present moment. There are now tifteen hundred paupers dependant on that establishment, and most melancholy is the condition of the great majority of them, and many a hundred of poor wretches in this city and County in want of even the scanty comforts which that house affords;-how much money, think you, is on hands at the present moment, to support these 1500 paupers, and to meet the prospect of increasing distress which is before us? how much think you?-Seven Pounds !! Ay, such is the fact, and the establishment is even some hundreds of pounds in debt
-and I am to be called a spoliator, and you are to be called spoliators, because we wish the Porters and the Agars to die as Bishops ought to die, empty of money, and full of good works, and that the inmates of the House of Industry should not be liable to-morrow to be thrown upon your streets to die there, of cold, nakedness, and hunger. Spoliation! indeed. Who are the real spoliators,we who would restore to the poor that which ought never to have been taken from them—or they who would exclude the poor from the Church of Christ, and give to the Agars and Porters their patrimony? I have spoken of this House of Industry. Let me tell you—in 1827, the deceased prelate, Dr. St. Lawrence, issued, according to the Act of Parliament, an instruction to the Clergy of his diocese, to preach sermons and collect contributions from their flocks, in aid of the funds of the House of Industry-the only receptacle for the poor of the City and County. How much, think you, did the sermons and contributions of twenty-eight parishes produce?-Twenty-eight pounds nine shillings and fourpence-halfpenny! How did this happen? The twenty-eight clergy gave, I presume, one pound each. How did it happen, that twenty-eight parishes produced but nine shillings and fourpence? The answer is at hand—the parishes were without Protestant flocks. And I am to be called a spoliator, because I think that the widow, and the orphan, and the aged, and the infirm, are better entitled to public provision than flockless parsons. Mr. Sheahan here exhibited the following returns, to contrast the receipts of some of the Clergy of the dioceses of Cork and Cloyne, with the returns made by them to the House of Industry:
Annual Income of the Collections for
Protestant Clergymen. House of Industry. Danbolloge,
£500 0 0
686 0 0
0 9 73
238 0 0
410 0 0
0 0 0 Castlehaven,
650 0 0
618 15 11
237 5 31
401 16 113
0 0 0
262 10 0
2 8 0 The system could not last. It was absurd to think, that whilst tens and twenties of thousands of pounds were thus squandered, that honest Episcopalian Protestants would not blush, or that Catholics and Dissenters would not be very properly discontented. What was it, that some of his acquaintance (Catholics) who never entered Christ's Church, should be mulct in sums like the following, for the repairs of that place of worship. Mr. S. here enumerated 13 Catholics, who were forced to pay in one year, from £7: 12s. to £31: 17s. to a Church in which they did not believe.
Mr. John Osborne, in moving the third resolution, said, he was a Unitarian Dissenter. He knew why he differed from the
2 0 0
400 0 0
225 0 0
1 4 0 0 0 0
45 6 6
650 0 0
4 5 9 1 10 0 5 6 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 10 0 0 0 0 7 18 6 5 3 6
600 0 0 800 0 0 450 0 0 60 00
Churches of England and of Rome, but he knew that it was not on bishoprics, or tithes, or onerous burthens that the Protestant religion should stand. No, it was on a surer basis; it was not necessary that prelates should reside in “ gorgeous palaces," or “worship in domes august;" they had their spiritual duties and interests to attend to, and the discharge of both these duties was more in accordance with their characters than the amassing of wealth, or the enjoyment of power. Mr. O'Leary had said, that the established clergy forget the poor; they did not forget the poor, for they did not forget to wrepch from them the hard earnings of their labour, and the miserable pittance of their families. The Christian religion had a surer basis. He who founded Christianity
despised and rejected of men,” he was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” he was crucified, and died for us, and his example should animate those that followed his steps, to imitate his life; he showed by his practices what became men who preached his word, and taught us that the possessions of men who inculcated his precepts should be poverty, and the principle that influenced their actions should be charity and kindness. Were these characteristics of his life to be found among men who exacted money from the miserable and wretched, and who were more employed in wringing money from the poor, than in administering kindness? Their lives were spent in amassing wealth and levying taxes, not in exerting their talents for diffusing comfort among their fellowcreatures. This meeting had made a great noise abroad. A person who had connection with him in the way of business, and to whom he was indebted for many favours, said that he would create enemies for himself, and do no good; but he replied, “ that as far as myself, I shall do my duty, and as concerning the good we would effect, we should never despair in a good cause.
We were born not only to serve ourselves, but others also; and how can we neglect the interests of our fellow-citizens and of our common country? I say that the man who does his duty boldly, can suffer little from the enmity of other men; he may fail in procuring filthy lucre, but he will secure the applause of his fellow-citizens, and that is compensation to him, besides the consciousness he feels that he has discharged his duty. Some persons have called the promoters of this measure insidious. Is there any thing insidious in your present Chairman?
Is he not candid on all occasionsare not our actions bold and open-are they private or hidden? No-we do not intend to subvert Protestantism; we only strive to maintain it by placing it on a rock, and removing it from its present foundation. Every church should guard against its enemies, and should forward its interests; but, it is not by seeking to acquire wealth, or oppressing the poor, but by fair, open means, that the spread of its principles, the teaching of its word, the purity of its tenets, the dignity of its ministers, the character and actions of their lives, that such things can be effected—not by the wealth and temporalities under which the present Establishment is bending, and which should be given to the poor, from whom they are extorted, and to whose use and comfort any thing that would remain, after the ordinary expenses of life, should be devoted.