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them ; for religious people avoided them, and irreligious people did not care about them.
The opening of the chapel was blazoned in one of the magazines of the sect as a wonderful achievement, and all the common-places were trumpeted forth, of a crowded and attentive auditory, of a spirit of free inquiry being kindled in the town of Z-, of the eagerness with which the people received the tracts, of the importance of the station as a centre from whence Unitarianism might diffuse its light into the surrounding villages. Knowing as I did all the real facts of the case, I could not but smile when I read the pompous advertisement. As the winter came on, and travelling became not quite so pleasant as it had been in the summer, the zeal of the young minister began to cool ; his visits to Zwere less frequent; he had gone through his whole list of objections to the doctrines of Christianity, and had nothing more wherewith to attract straggling hearers, and people of unsettled minds. The corn-merchant also began to grow tired of reading his Unitarian Liturgy and Blair's Sermons to the select few—and he also wanted the corn-chamber for other purposes ; so all on a sudden, one Saturday night, “ The Unitarian Chapel". vanished; the board was removed from the entrance of the passage, and pulpit and benches made way for beans, barley, and wheat. So much for free inquiry ; and I never heard of any one who inquired or cared what had become of the concern. I don't think that their magazine contained any account of what had become of the important station. I have mentioned the above as one, but I have known or heard of many other such abortive attempts to establish Unitarian 'chapels. They can do nothing without the assistance of Presbyterian endowments, and very little with them. I am really astonished that the sect lasts so long as it does. It is thirty years ago since Robert Hall said of it, that it was “a headless trunk bleeding at every pore but I suppose there will always exist some few singular and fantastical persons, who, not relishing the doctrines of the gospel, nor caring to be altogether without religion, will make profession of this Unitarianism. The sect has been at work now long enough to have converted half the kingdom, if it had possessed anything worth regard. I have often been astonished at the importance which many clergymen of the Established Church have seemed to attach to the Unitarians--preaching and writing against them with learning, sagacity, and zeal, as if the civil and religious institutions of the kingdom were in danger from them. I have no doubt that many of them would be glad to see the demolition of existing establishments ; but their numbers are so absurdly small, that the Established Church is in no more danger from them than from the followers of Joanna Southcott; and the bond of union which holds them together is not stronger than that which united the multitudes who occasionally filled the Rotunda, to listen to the discourses of the Rev. Robert Taylor.
CIIURCH SOCIETIES. MR. EDITOR, -I am desirous of adverting again to the subject of the Church Societies, which I consider so deeply important, that public attention should be continually directed towards it.
The plan proposed is the formation of distinct district committees for each of the Societies, and the division among them, in tripartite proportion, of the gross amount raised by collections made in the respective churches, at least once a year. The working out of this plan would be productive of so many advantages, that I trust, ere long, to see it in universal operation. Its two characteristic features are these ; viz. the fostering charitable dispositions, and their direction to wise and important ends.
It is in the lemple that the devout Christian knows that it is good for him to be; it is there that by divine appointment he seeks and obtains his spiritual blessings ; it is there whilst engaged in public offices of prayer, himself being also the subject of the intercessions of others, that his social affections are warmed, and his social resolutions are strengthened ; it is there, whilst contemplating the character and the extent of the Divine love, that his spiritual energics are quickened, and his christian sympathies awakened, and that he longs to go forth and “speak the things which he has heard and seen," and to “bring in" all he can find, that “ together with him they may be comforted by mutual faith.”
Now it is in this happy situation-alive to his responsibility, and “drawn with cords of love"—that he has need to be taught how to carry out his desires and his prayers into practice. And the necessary instruction on this head it naturally devolves upon his appointed minister to afford, whose duty it is, not only to“ put him in mind to be ready to every good work," but also so to direct his efforts, thatt he glory of God may be promoted, the discipline of the Church preserved, and the truth of the Gospel maintained and spread abroad; and to these ends his efforts would be directed, were the pulpit made to bear upon the condition of the Church Societies. Nor is the implied recommendation one either of modern date or of doubtful origin; for St. Paul expressly enjoins it upon the Corinthian Church, that "upon the first day of the week, every one of them should lay by him in store, as God had prospered him.” And concerning congregational collections, a greater than St. Paul, even He who, in his human nature, “set us an example that we should follow his steps," distinctly gave his sanction to the practice, which he did, “ when he sat over against the treasury, and beheld the people cast money into the treasury, and commended the poor widow who threw in her two mites." Nor need we doubt that the same practice, prayerfully undertaken, and earnestly engaged in by ourselves, would be productive of the greatest benefit to the Church and to the world. For who knows but that there may be in our congregations many Bezaleels and Aholiabs, who, “ filled with the Spirit of God," would, if called upon, be found ready to “ work all manner of work" for the service of the tabernacle? Who knows but that there may be many Davids, who, if specially exhorted to " let their light shine before men," would exhibit bright examples of self-denial, and refuse to "offer unto the Lord that which should cost them nothing ?” Who knows but that the alms of our “ poor widows" would ascend with their prayers
VOL. XX, NO. II.
to the throne of grace? And, again, who knows how many there may be who, although like Onesimus “ in time past unprofitable,” if they were now affectionately addressed, would become partners and fellowhelpers ” with the Church, and whose love and zeal would provoke very many? And, to refer also to a striking example in our own history, may there not be amongst us now some Edwards, who, listening to the spiritual instructions of some Ridley, may be led to inquire how their pastor's general lessons of charity apply particularly to themselves, and how they may most wisely and effectually put them into practice ? May there not be some whose hearts may be stirred to devoted acts of christian love, whereby the truth may be maintained, and its precious blessings also extended and propagated ? These are considerations of great moment, and of great interest, upon which we might profitably dwell; but I proceed to observe, that the spirit of charity, infused by devout attendance in holy places, and upon divine ordinances, should, on no account, be suffered either to misdirect itself, or to grow cold and languid for want of encouragement and proper guidance. These are points of vast importance ; and I believe that, through inattention to them, a large share of the errors and indifference of the present age may be attributed. But here the labours of the Church Societies open themselves to our view. They not only supply a vent for christian zeal, but they endeavour also discreetly to direct it. And if we could but succeed in centering the energies of the Church in them, not only would the zeal of churchmen be prevented spending itself upon strange altars, and any undue tendency to indiscriminate association be obviated, but, on the contrary, we should unite the different members of the Church in firmer bonds of christian fellowship, and withal direct their conjoint, and therefore powerful, exertions, to the wisest and best purposes. Our three chief Societies contain within themselves the germ of universal beneficence; and there is perhaps no class of spiritual wants to which they are not competent to afford relief. They are CHURCH-BUILDING SoCIETIES, Bible Societies, PRAYER-BOOK AND Homily Societies, Tract Societies, TRANSLATION Societies, School SOCIETIES, MISSIONARY SOCIETIES; and it is not too much to say, that the gathering together of churchmen in them would contribute more effectually towards consolidating the strength of the Church, would operate more legitimately towards her expansion, and minister more surely towards the edification of her sons, than perhaps at the present moment any other means we could adopt. Why, then, should we decline, or even hesitate, to call for the support, more or less, of each of her sons? We cannot combine for the prosecution of a nobler or a better work than that in which the Societies subordinately, and the Church authoritively, are engaged ; and now that her “enemies compass her about," and she puts forth the importunate cry, Come, and help, we must not, we cannot, suffer her to call in vain. And seeing that her warfare is not carnal, but spiritual, and that her auxiliary forces are the Societies of her own appointment, we are directed at once to the spiritual weapons we should use, and the means we should employ, for the "defence of the Gospel.” But, be it remembered, that, to act with effect, the Societies must act in conjunction ; for “not one can fulfil even its own specific design without the simultaneous cooperation of others." And, for this reason, it is obviously better to divide the aggregate yearly or half-yearly collections amongst the three Societies, than to collect successively for each Society in turn. By the former method, the continual connexion of each institution is kept up; whereas, by the latter, no connexion would be apparent. And as it is absolutely necessary that each Society should do its part towards the enlargement of the christian church, and the improvement of the christian character; so is it upon principle desirable, and therefore most satisfactory to a christian mind, that each man's single offering should be made contributary to the same great purposes, and which, in some degree or other, it would be, if applied in the way suggested. And let me add, that urgent as are the claims of national and other schools upon the bounty of the richer members of the Church, their claims, however pressing, ought by no means to be suffered to withdraw attention from the Societies above referred to; for as it is the business of the former to lay the foundation of the spiritual building, so is it likewise the no less important duty of the latter to rear the superstructure. And let us, moreover, remember, that neither the beginnings, por yet the subsequent processes of christian education, can be expected to answer any really beneficial purpose, if the means of grace, which are dispensed only in the Church, be not also invariably had recourse to,
In conclusion, let me earnestly and affectionately entreat every member of the Church (especially those placed in influential stations), to weigh well the important bearing the Societies for BUILDING AND ENLARGING CHURCHES, PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, AND PROPAGATING THE GOSPEL, have upon the peace and prosperity of our Zion, and how very intimately connected they are with her internal and exlernal efficiency. To promote the objects of the Church by the agency of her Societies, let committees of them be everywhere formed, and collection sermons periodically preached. Thus a perpetual interest in their concerns will be kept up, and the harmonizing and constraining influence of our “ solemn assemblies " be really made the most of. And because we think that we cannot accomplish all that we wish or know ought to be done, let us not foolishly omit that which it is in our power, to do; but casting ourselves, by faith and prayer, upon the promises of God, let each man do what he can, and whilst we go on planting and watering, let us trust to Him to give the increase.
EXTRACTS FROM THE NOTULÆ OF THE REV. S. ISAACSON, B.A.
RECTOR OF FRECKENAM. 1719. Maxims.—2 Cor. cap. vii. v. 6, paraphrase.
Never may a man with such boldness and confidence become a petitioner unto God for comfort, as when he feeleth himself much deserted.
Where good duties are not done cheerfully, they can never be performed constantly; a destroyed heart must, of necessity, make a fainting and languishing body.
The main thing that makes some men unhappy is the excess of their happiness.
REPORT OF THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN
KNOWLEDGE. This Society has again tu cougratu- since the first appointment of the late its Members on a year of undi- Committee for the revision of Tracts, minished prosperity, during which it in 1813, the number of Tracts which has continued to promote the great end have been added to the permanent of its institution, according to the Catalogue is 235; that the number of means and opportunities with which Tracts which have been suffered to it has been blessed.
remain out of print is 167 ; that, since The receipts during the past year the year 1833, no Tracts have been have exceeded, by a small amount, removed from the Society's Catalogue; those of the preceding, or of any and that 31 Tracts have, printed on foriner year. They have amounted the title-page, the words, “ Adapted to 80,5421. 178. 8d.
to the use of the Society." The expenditure has amounted to A Report from the Standing Com109,4461. 11s. 6d. Of this suin about mittee, respecting the Committee of 40,000l. has been paid for the pur General Literature and Education. chase of Messrs. Rivington's stock, The Report stated, that the Standing and in other investments on account Committee having reconsidered the of the Depository.
arrangement which was agreed upon The result of the year's experience, with Mr. J. W. Parker, by which he with regard to the new method of con was required to pay to the Society the ducting the Society's business, has sum of 375l. per annum for twentybeen even more favourable than had five years, as a commutation for the been anticipated. The saving during rent of the publications of the Comthe present year, as compared with mittee of General Literature and Eduthe old method of conducting the So- cation; and it having appeared to ciety's business, amounts to about them that it will be inore desirable 7,800l.; and, as compared with the for the Society to adopt a different reduced estimate made by Messrs. scale of arrangement, by shortening Rivington, the saving has been about the term of years, and increasing the 5,5001.
earlier payments, they recommended 'It is due to Messrs. Rivington to that a scale of payments upon that státe, that the Committee do not by principle, which had been acceded to any means consider that profit to that by Mr. Parker, be adopted, and that amount accrued to them from their the Standing Committee be empow. connexion with the Society. The al- ered to carry it into effect. teration of the system has given ad Under the above arrangement, Mr. vantages which they could not have J. W. Parker has agreed to take upon had under the former method. - himself the publication of the Satur.'
The total number of Books and duy Magazine. Tracts circulated since the last Report, At the General Meeting in July, has amounted to TWO MILLIONS, TWO inquiry having been made by W. W. HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE THOU- Hüll, Esa. relative to the progress SAND, SIX HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN. which had been made in the Bible Of this number there were 187,715 Commentary, the Dean of Chichester, Bibles and Testaments, and 192,444 as one of the Referees, made a statePrayer-Books.
ment, the substance of which is as A return respecting the Society's follows:Tracts, which had been moved for by “1. The work has now advanced the Rev. R. Harvey, at the October to the end of the Gospel of St. Luke, Meeting, was laid on the table at the and has been executed in a manner General Meeting held on the ist of entirely satisfactory to the Bishops of November. By this it appeared, that, London and Lincoln, the Episcopal