Imágenes de página

needs only the support of its well-wishers to answer the most sanguine expectations that may be formed respecting it. The Committee has already laid the plan, rules, &c. before the public; my intention is only to impress the necessity of its receiving that prompt assistance and cordial co-operation, without which no scheme, however well-concerted, can ultimately succeed. Within the last few years we have witnessed the great advantages derived from union, in the amazing success that has attended the zealous and unremitting exertions of various religious societies. By the trifling subscriptions of a great many individuals, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been collected. The Gospel has been distributed in almost every part of the habitable globe, and the doctrines of Christianity most extensively diffused. The veil of error and superstition has been withdrawn from the eyes of millions of our fellow-creatures; yet it has been only partially removed, and the mists of ignorance still obscure the sight of thousands who see with To proceed in others' eyes, and read with others' ears. this work of Reformation, and to disseminate the doctrines of the Gospel in their native simplicity, uncorrupted by superstition, and undisguised by mystery, is the contem plated object of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association. Although it must afford pleasure to all who are anxious for the promotion of genuine Christianity, to reflect on the increase that has been made to the number of its adherents; yet it must be considered, that there are thousands and tens of thousands in our native land, who have never heard the sound of Unitarianism, but who we believe only wait for the call of its friends, to reject the doctrines of human invention for those of divine authority. When a Unitarian Missionary has preached where our principles were previously unheard of, the greatest desire to embrace them has frequently prevailed, nor can we ascribe this to the charm of novelty; there is something in ́ truth so irresistible and attractive, that it must and will force its into the minds of all who are not steeled by prejudice, way or the most inveterate dislike: it works slowly and silently, but surely and effectually. We do not immediately witness all the success that may be wished for, but in time the good seed will spring up, and afford an abundant harvest. How many small societies are there in different parts of the kingdom, who have been formed by only hearing a Missionary preacher once or twice, and reading the societys'

tracts. They only require timely assistance to increase their numbers, and to erect temples where the defenders of pure Christianity may worship God in spirit and in truth. The most unexpected events have transpired, to give us encouragement and urge us on in the path of duty. The remarkable conversion of Rammohun Roy, William Roberts, and the Rev. W. Adam, seems as if Providence had stationed those worthy individuals in a part of the world where reformation was most needed, and caused the glorious day-star of truth to dawn on a benighted country. But let it be remembered, that a time will come when the most illustrious champions of our faith will resign the palm awarded them by their brethren here below, for a deathless and eternal one; and although He who governs all things for the best, will raise up other instruments of his will when they are slumbering in their graves; yet it is through human means his purposes are to be accomplished, and it is by our exertions that they are to be forwarded.


These are some of the reasons why the British and Foreign Unitarian Association has a pre-eminent claim to our support; therefore should every Unitarian Congregation in England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, contribute something in furtherance of those important objects which it designs, through the Divine blessing, to accomplish. Every individual may be supposed able to afford something; and if only one penny per month is subscribed by each, a very ample fund will be realized. Let us not be backward in this "labour of love; let it be seen that our religion is a practical one; that it inspires us with feelings of the noblest and purest philanthropy; and may the lengthened lists of subscribers in our monthly publications wipe away the reproach, that error and superstition can inspire more zeal in the bosoms of their deluded votaries, than can be found amongst the friends of truth. When we view the formi dable phalanx of reputed Orthodoxy, marshalled in brilliant. array against us, proudly exulting in their boasted superiority of wealth, and power, and influence - when we witness the interested efforts of the few to enthral the minds of the many, behold the slow progress religious truth, and hear our principles calumniated and misrepresented should we not be eager, in the true spirit of Christian warfare, to thin the ranks of our opponents, to rescue our fellow-creatures from their mental slavery, and to con



tend earnestly for the purity of the faith once delivered to the saints?

The British and Foreign Unitarian Association should be regarded as the main-spring of that mighty engine which is at work to diffuse pure Christianity. It is not a tyrannical convocation formed to enact laws, creeds, and articles of◄ faith it is not an assembly of individuals aiming at priestly power and influence: its councils are not governed by caprice, or divided by faction. The members of it are not the satellites of a party, nor wield the arms of force and compulsion. It is a noble and august institution, and its admirers may cause it to be a powerful and a mighty one. Would we again ask the use of such a society, inquire its motives, and know why it solicits our support, let us look at the well-filled chapels of our Calvinistic brethren, listen awhile to the misrepresentations of the Divine Being, hear the Son of God reverenced as God himself, and everlasting punishments decreed to all who refuse to do so. Let us glance at the proud, domineering influence of an enormous and wealthy Establishment; see the religion of Jesus identified with worldly pomp and ambition; and witness the efforts that are made to fetter the human mind and restrain, the exercise of free inquiry: or, if we think the religion of our own country needs no reformation, and will be content to witness the prevalence of ignorance and error in our native land, let us convey our ideas to a new and more extensive theatre for human improvement; ask if the sacred soil of a new world is not prepared to receive the germ of true religion; or, if it has sprung up there, if it has been fostered by free inquiry and liberty of conscience-if new altars are continually erecting to the "One only living and true God"? If we find that America needs not our aid, we may be assured, that where the rude and uncultivated Indian worships his unknown God, and the proud Bel and Nebo of Idolatry are swaying the minds of a debased and degraded people, there is a wide and ample field for the most unlimited exertions.

I conclude, by earnestly beseeching my Unitarian brethren to give this subject an immediate and attentive consideration. If the cause we advocate be the cause of God and of truth, of Divine benevolence and human happiness, and its object be to promote the best interests of mankind, then does it strongly appeal to all of us. Those whom Pro

[ocr errors]

vidence hath blessed with wealth and affluence, should consider, that where much is given, much will be required; and all who move in a humbler sphere, may remember, that the free-will offering, however small, is a pledge of their good wishes for its success and prosperity.

J. M.

On Church Government.


Coventry, May 11, 1926.

WITHOUT presuming to answer the inquiries on Church Government, contained in the Reformer of last month, (p. 161,) and to which the attention of Mr. Wright is more particularly invited, I may be permitted to remark, that they involve considerations of deep interest to the friends of Unitarian Christianity, and to hope they will receive that attention which their importance deserves. To the want of a judicious system of management, I attribute the paucity of numbers which has marked the congregation in this city for a long series of years, and which forms a striking contrast with the flourishing condition of other places, where the population is very much less, but the interest of the parties, individually and collectively, as it would seem, very much greater. It does not appear that to convey the concerns of a congregation over to the management of the minister and trustees, is to afford the happiest means of ensuring its increase and prosperity. Under this impression, a few persons at Coventry, without the light of experience to guide them as to its efficacy, a few years ago proposed the following plan; but they were subsequently opposed by the trustees, which prevented their carrying it into execution :

1. They proposed that every subscriber, to the amount of one guinea per annum, should form one of a committee; that such committee should meet in the vestry once in every two months, to superintend and regulate the concerns of the society.

2. That every person subscribing to the amount of five shillings per annum, should have a voice in the appointment of the minister.

There are doubtless many others besides the querists

waiting to see what propositions experience has enabled Mr. Wright and others to form on this subject. Among

them is


Youth, a Poem. By a Young Lady, deceased. GAY, happy state, when life begins to bloom, Breathes forth its sweets, and opens all its flowers; When sanguine hope, in fancy's flexile loom, Weaves the gay prospect of our future hours!

Sweet morn of life! untinctured with its pain,
Glowing with ardour, and with transport warm!
"Love, hope, and joy, fair pleasure's smiling train,"
Sport in gay circles round thy smiling form.

On thee we gaze, with fascinated eyes,
Nor heed the moments as they glide away;
For thou art fair as fancy can devise,
Sprightly as health, and as contentment gay.
Oh! ye just enter'd on her tempting sphere,
Who join with beating hearts her jocund throng,
Hemm'd round with gilded snares, and soon to hear
Folly's gay call, and pleasure's siren song;

[ocr errors]

Unconscious yet of pleasure's latent sting,
Hope toys with grief, and transport smiles at care;
We bask beneath the genial warmth of spring,
Our minds serene, and all our prospects fair.

Fair as thou art, how transient is thy bloom!
Soon hope shall wanton in thy train no more;
Soon disappointment shed its sullen gloom,
Fade every sweet, and wither every flower.

Then first attentive to the voice of truth,
We learn how fast thy tempting charms decay
And find, with late regret, that flatt'ring youth
Charms to deceive, and smiles but to betray.

Ah! could ye still be guiltless as ye seem,
As free from sorrow, as enstranged from care;
What wish would shorten your enchanting dream,
Or cloud your pleasures with the gloom of fear!

« AnteriorContinuar »