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Being of boundless perfection, who is training up bis rational offspring for a state of future felicity, motives will not be wanting to induce all who are in the least degree impressed with the obligations of religion, to yield the most unreserved submission to the dictates of so benign a system of religious faith, or to render the most zealous exertions for the dissemination of doctrines so adapted to the moral wants of mankind.
At the close of the service, the meeting was held for the business of the Association. Mr. T. Pine of Maidstone, in the chair.
The Report of the Secretary, evidenced no lack of zeal on the part of the Committee, to preserve among the members of the Association, an increasing interest in the dissemination of uncorrupted Christianity. By the introduction of a plan of mutual co-operation, public worship has been conducted in several chapels, which otherwise would have remained closed; and if the well-digested plans of the late Committee, are carried forward with zeal and earnestness by the new Committee, it may reasonably be hoped that much good will result from their labours.
The members and friends of the Association afterwards dined together, to the number of 122, which was afterwards increased to about 160 persons, the room being crowded to excess. Mr. Jobn Green, Jun. of Maidstone, presided. A number of sentiments suitable to the occasion, and expressive of the charitable and bigbly liberal sentiments peculiar to the principles of Unitarianism, were introduced; and the following individuals, in the course of the afternoon, addressed the meeting: Rev. L. Holden.
The last Number of the Monthly Repository, contains accounts of the proceedings of various Associations of our Unitarian brethren in England. A brief summary will gratify our readers.
The Southern Unitarian Society held its Annual Meeting at Chichester in Sussex, on the 230 June. The Revds. E. Kell of Newport, Isle of Wight, and Russell Scott of Portsmouth, conducted the worship; and the Rev. J.P. Malleson of Brighton, preached from Luke xxiv. 11. At the meeting for business, the Rev. J. Fullagan of Chichester, was chairman; and the Secretary read the Report of the Committee, which was encouraging. The Unitarians of Wareham, deprived of the Old Meeting-House, in which they and their fathers had long worshipped, are building a Chapel for themselves. In the evening, the Rev. C. P. Valentine of Lewes, preached from Philip. v. 9.
The Sixteenth General Meeting of the Hull
, EastYork, & North-Lincolnshire Unitarian Association, was held at Hull in Yorkshire, on the 25th, 26th, and 27th June. The Rev. W. Duffield of Thorne, introduced the service on Wednesday evening, and the Rev. H. H. Piper of Norton, near Sheffield, preached from 1 Cor. ii. 5. On Thursday morning, the Rev. R. K. Philp of Lincoln, prayed, and the Rev. J. Platts of Doncaster, preached from Dan. x. 21. After service, the business of the Association was conducted. In the evening, the Rev. E. Hawkes of Pendlebury, near Manchester, conducted the worship; and the Rev. J. R. Beard of Salford, preached from 1 Peter ii. 7. On Friday evening, there was a public religious meeting in the Chapel. Mr. Philp presided. Various addresses were delivered and resolutious proposed, by the Revds. H. Piper, Beard, Duffield, Platts, Hawkes, and E. Higginson, Jun. of Hull. Numerous audiences attended all the meetings.
The Eastern Unitarian Society held its Eighteenth Anniversary at Bury, in Suffolk, on the 30th June and 1st July. On Wednesday evening, the Rev. W. Selby of Lynn, made prayer, and the Rev. J. Melville of Ipswich, preached from Gal. vi. 4. On Thursday morning, the Rev. W. J. Bakewell, one of the ministers of Norwich, conducted the worship; and the Rev. John Esdaile of Framlingham, preached from 2 Cor. iv. 6. At the meeting for business, Mr. Robinson of Bury, was in the chair; and the Report of the Committee read and approved. Nearly fifty gentlemen dined together; Mr. Silver of Woodbridge, presiding; and Sir Thomas Beevor, Bart., Messrs. Bakewell, &c. addressed the meeting.
The Sussex Unitarian Association was held at Brighton, on the 7th July. The devotional parts of the service were conducted by the Revds. R. Ashdowne of Horsham, and C. P. Valentine of Lewes; and the Rev. R. Aspland of Hackney, preached from Philip. iii. 3. After worship, the Report of the Committee was read.
Dinner at Greyabbey to the Remonstrant Ministers of Ulster. On the 5th August, the congregation and friends to religious freedom at Greyabbey gave a public dinner to the members of the Remonstrant Synod of Ulster. Though the time fixed for this manifestation of liberality was unfavourable, as it was in the midst of the Assizes and Elections, yet two hundred and seventeen persons assembled on the occasion. A handsome pavilion was erected above the village, from which there was presented a commanding view of Loch Cuan, studded with its hundred green islets, and of the surrounding country, rich in beauty and teeming with the cheering prospect of a bounteous harvest. A succession of arches inside the pavilion were beautifully festooned with flowering shrubs and evergreens. The party, too, assembled on a spot, ballowed, as being the death-scene of virtue and Christian integrity. And to heighten, if possible, all the recollections and associations connected with the place and the object of the meeting, the Chair was taken by William Montgomery, Esq. of Rosemount, who by this honourable and Christian act, not only acknowledged his contrition for past misdeeds, but gave a proof of upright and virtuous feeling, which will ensure the respect and admiration of all who rejoice in the recovery of a fellow-being from error and wrong-doing. The Rev. J. Armstrong of Dublin, with the honesty becoming a minister of Jesus, admirably adverted to this fact:-“ There could be nothing," he said,
more gratifying to him, than to contemplate such a sight as that now presented to his view—a gathering together, in such a cause, of the moral and intellectual strength of the country. It was also most delightful, to see around him so many dear friends in whose struggles he had so warmly participated. But I confess, Sir, by far the most gratifying sight, is to see you in that Chair. It was with sincere pleasure I witnessed the rapturous enthusiasm with which your health was received, but the reason is easily explained. We bebold in you, Sir, an honourable gentleman, who, when he was convinced that he was wrong, did not, for a moment, hesitate to confess his error, and express
for the mistakes into wbich he had been deluded. You have, Sir, in an honourable way,
shown, that you will stand by what is right and just—that you will no longer be the dupe of delusion; and that is the reason why there was such enthusiasm displayed in drinking your health.”
The Rev. Mr. Maguire, the Catholic priest of Greyabbey, expressed the great happiness he enjoyed on the present occasion, in witnessing such liberal principles so warmly advocated. This, however, was only what he would expect in an assembly at Greyabbey. For, whilst the galling chains of penal enactments were pressing heavily on the necks of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, he never tasted in this village, the bitter fruit of that miserable policy, which estranged from each other children of the same soil and subjects of the same king.
The meeting was also addressed by the Revs.F. Blakely, H. Montgomery, J. Porter, and various other individuals. We can only insert the concluding words of Mr. Watson. It must, indeed, have been a proud_a happy day for him, for it was the triumph of liberality over intolerance—of freedom over persecution-of Christian integrity over time-servingness and servility. “I protest," said Mr. Watson, “ against all human authority in the Church of Christ. When men combine, and set themselves up to lord it over others, and presume to tell them what they shall believe, they assume an authority, to which I never will submit. I resolutely opposed it, when the experiment was tried on myself; and though I should have wandered up the streets of Greyabbey a lone beggar, yet I would still have resisted such ecclesiastical tyranny, and would have approved myself to my own conscience. I am now the oldest minister in Ards; and I have always endeavoured to live with all my neighbours in peace and love; yet at the sacraments of some of my Orthodox brethren, the conversation has frequently been, how they should divide among them the slaughtered Congregation of Greyabbey! But I am not afraid to hand down to my successor, with a clear conscience, the pulpit I now occupy, in the same way in which I received it from my worthy predecessor; for the Christian liberty which now flourishes so triumphantly in this parish, was laid in the year in which I was born, 1784, by that independant man, Dr. Stephenson. He took the Bible for his guide; I have done the same for my guide; and every one who has a Bible, and knows it, has my creed, and perfectly knows my religion."
On Methodism.-No. 1.
Progress of Methodism.
The rapid and luxuriant growth of Methodism, is such as to strike the observer with astonishment. Within the space of one century, its institutions and principles have overspread the face of this country, and widely diffused themselves abroad in foreign lands. The causes of this speedy and extensive diffusion of what was in its infancy feeble and almost insignificant, are numerous and diversified. Some of them are such as the well-wisher of mankind can look upon with complacency; others, merit his entire and hearty condemnation. Of this latter character is, first and chief, the pretensions to miraculous aid, which Wesley himself, and his followers after him, bave constantly preferred. It is a strange fact in the moral history of our race, but true as strange, that men in all ages
have been fascinated by extraordinary pretensions. Those bave succeeded best in leading their fellows, who have had the most assurance. The loftier the claim, the greater the power. This fact lies at the base of all the arts of divination, augury, and witchcraft, by which the many have been deluded; and this fact lies at the base of the various instances of religious imposture, by wbich true and rational piety has been, with many, brought into disrepute. The legislators of old, who brought the arts of mystery and the artillery of the gods to enforce their enactments -the Persian magi, who founded and built up their spiritual dominion on a pretended influence over the occult powers of nature, and on an asserted understanding with the celestial luminaries, affording them in ample measure the gift of prescience-Appolonius of Tyana, set up by Heathen philosophers, chagrined at the loss of their usurped dominion over God's creatures, as the rival of Jesus Christ—the Abbé Paris, whose pretended power was played off even from his tomb by one faction in the Catholic Church against another—the French prophets