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THE SELECTOR. No. I.
(UNDER this head we intend to give extracts from works, old and new, illustrative of the struggles of mankind for freedom of conscience, their efforts to promote knowledge and virtue, and to disseminate rational and scriptural views of duty and of God. The aid of our correspondents is also solicited.-Edit.] Conference between John Roberts, a Quaker, and
Nicholson, Bishop of London. Some time after, my father had three conferences with Nicholson, Bishop of Gloucester, introduced in the following manner: An apparitor came to cite my father to appear at the Bishop's Court; but he told my father he could not encourage him to come, lest they should ensnare him, and send him to prison. At the same time he cited a servant of my father's, named John Overall. My father went at the time appointed, without bis servant; and wben bis name was called over, he answered to it. The discourse that occurred was in substance as follows:
Bishop. What's your name?
J. Roberts. I have been called by name, and answered to it.
Bishop. I desire to hear it again.
Bishop. Well; you were born Roberts, but you were not born John. Pray, who gave you that name?
J. Roberts. Thou hast asked me a very hard question, my name being given me before I was capable of remembering wbo gave it me. But I believe it was my parents, they being the only persons who had a right to give me my name.
That name they always called me by, and to that name I always answered; and I believe none need to call it in question now.
Bishop. No, no; but how many children have you?
J. Roberts. It bath pleased God to give me six children; three of whom he has pleased to take from me; the other three are still living.
Bishop. And how many of them have been bishop'd?
J. Roberts. A very good one, I think; Most of my children were born in Oliver's days, when Bishops were out of fashion. [At this the Court fell a laughing.]
Bishop. But how many of them have been baptized?
J. Roberts. Yes; but perhaps we may differ in that point.
Bishop. What baptism do you own? That of the Spirit, I suppose.
J. Roberts. Yes. What other baptism should I own?
more? The Apostle said, “ One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
Bishop. What say you of the baptism of water? J. Roberts. I say, there was a man sent from God, whose name was John, who had a real commission for it; and he was the only man that I read of who was empowered for that work.
Bishop. But what if I make it appear to you, that some of Christ's disciples themselves baptized with water, after Christ's ascension?
J. Roberts. I suppose that's no very difficult task; but what is that to me?
Bishop. Is it nothing to you what Christ's disciples themselves did ?
J. Roberts. Not in every thing; for Paul, that eminent Apostle, who I suppose thou wilt grant had as extensive a commission as any of the rest of the Apostles; nay, be says himself, he was not a whit behind the chiefest of them, and yet he honestly confesses he had no commission to baptize with water; and further says, I thank God I baptized none but such and such; for, says he, I was not sent to baptize, i. e. with water, but to preach the gospel. And if he was not sent, I would soberly ask, who required it at his hands? Perhaps he might have as little thanks for his labour, as thou mayest have for thine; and I would willingly know, who sent thee to baptize?
Bishop. This is not our present business. You are here returned for not coming to Church. What say you to that?
J. Roberts. I desire to see my accusers.
you deny it?
J. Roberts. Yes, I do: For it is always my principle and practice to go to church.
Bishop. And do you go to Church?
J. Roberts. Yes; and sometimes the church comes to
Bishop. The Church comes to you! I don't understand
J. Roberts. It may be so. 'Tis often for want of a good understanding that the innocent are made to suffer.
Apparitor. My Lord, he keeps meetings at his house, and he calls that a Church.
J. Roberts. No; I no more believe my house to be a church, than I believe what you call so to be one. I call the people of God the church of God, wheresoever they are met to worship him in spirit and in truth. And when I say the church comes to me, I mean the assembly of such worshippers, who frequently meet at my house. I do not call that a church which you do, which is made of wood and stone. That is but the workmanship of men's hands; whereas, the true church consists of living stones, and is built up by Christ, a spiritual house to God.
Bishop. We call it a church figuratively, meaning the place wbere the church meets.
J. Roberts. I fear you call it a church hypocritically and deceitfully, with design to awe the people into a veneration for the place, which is not due to it, as though your consecrations had made that house holier than others. Bishop. What do
call that which we call a church? J. Roberts. It may properly enough be called a masshouse, it being formerly built for that purpose.
Apparitor. Mr. Roberts, it is expected you should show more respect
do in this place, in keeping
Bishop. No, no; keep on your hat: I don't expect it from you. A little after, the Bishop said, Well, Friend, this is not a convenient time for you and me to dispute; but I may take you to my chamber, and convince you of your errors.
J. Roberts. I shall take it kindly of thee, or any man else, to convince me of any errors that I bold, and would hold them no longer. Bishop. Call some others.
MEMOIRS OF JOHN ROBERTS, BY HIS SON.
on your hat.
THE CHRISTIAN PIONEER.
GLASGOW, April, 1, 1831.
In our Number for March, we gave an account of a public meeting at Cork, of such as think that every Church ought to support itself. We now insert the Resolutions passed by that meeting.
That the revenues required to afford the various forms of religion, full and adequate means for building and supporting edifices, paying ministers, &c. ought, and could be voluntarily subscribed; as it is well known, that Roman Catholic and Protestant non-conformists, and also a large portion of the members of the Established Church, would prefer providing for their own religious wants, and object conscientiously to being compelled either to uphold or derive support from other religious denominations.
That it is not ascertained how any country can thrive, the labouring population of which has to sustain two or more religious hierarchies; that in Ireland nine-tenths of the people have to uphold the churches of their consciences, and also the church of the law, which expense seems to be insupportable any longer, under the poverty which extends through the agricultural and artisan classes, and which oppresses the industry of the manufacturers and traders of Ireland.
That the diocese of Cork and Ross is at present vacant, which places at the disposal of bis Majesty's Government a revenue of at least £6000 per annum, which large sum might be appropriated to charitable purposes, or to the relief of civil or ecclesiastical taxation; and, as many of us think, with advantage, rather than injury, to the cause of religion in the diocese.
That we cannot defend places, or endowments, which, under the name of vested rights, are too often established wrongs, yet we humbly conceive that a better appropriation of the temporalities of the See in question is facilitat.ed by the fact, that no individual injury will be effected.
That mankind have not been left any precept in the Christian religion, nor example in the practice of its inspired founders, recommending to our approbation or imitation the mode of supporting-religion adopted by the Established Church. That while we cannot find any Scriptural sanction for such a procedure, it is known to violate all the rules of expediency and good policy, and by exciting the bitterest resentments and jealousies between man and man, between ministers and people, to retard or subvert the exalted objects of the Christian religion.
That we do humbly beseech our most gracious Sovereign to withhold the issue of his permission to elect a bishop for the diocese of Cork and Ross, until we have opportunity to petition Parliament for a law, dictating that every form of religion shall be allowed to sustain itself, and be freed from the oppression of sustaining other churches, or until the intention of the King's Ministers is known on this subject, which is so important to the prosperity, peace, and happiness of Ireland.
That we disavow, in the most unqualified manner, any intention of transferring the temporalities at present enjoyed by the Established Church to any other hierarchy, and that we do pronounce the calumny which would impute to us such intention, as part and parcel of that system of misrepresentation, which confounds reform with revolution, and redress of grievance with imposition of wrong, because opposed to the unjust and selfish pretensions of its upholders.
Died, on Saturday the 5th February, in the 27th year of his age, the Rev. John Hincks, minister of the Unitarian Congregation, Rensbaw-Street, Liverpool. He was interred in the burial-ground adjoining the Chapel, on Friday 10th. The Rev. John Grundy officiated at the funeral; the service was performed in a solemn and impressive manner; the attendance was numerous, and the people were deeply affected. The deceased had rendered himself, by his amiable manners, and benevolent dispositions, the object of esteem and respect, not only to his own congregation, but to all who were in the least favoured with his acquaintance.
On Sunday morning, a Funeral Sermon was preached in the Chapel, by the Rev. J. G. Robberds of Manchester, to a numerous and deeply affected audience. The text was from Lamentation iii. 33: “ For be doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” The publication of this discourse would do much good, not only as affording consolation to the bereaved family who mourn the loss of a dear and much valued relative, and to a con