Imágenes de páginas

which seems to be lavishly indulged in by all parties in that ill-fated country, as if the individuals were unconscious of the disgrace they thereby entail, not only on themselves, but likewise on the cause they advocate, this odious vice must give place to that more correct and rational and Christian conduct—which, whilst it lashes the guilt, still pities the vicious-which condemns the error, but spares the erring—which opposes principles, but does not anathematize persons. Pure and undefiled religion must be supported with steadfastness; but, at the same time, it must be disseminated in a spirit of love. It must not be held in trammels by Synodical mandates, nor be prevented from uttering its voice by the gifts of the Treasury. There must be no paltering with men in a double sense. Words must be used as the signs of ideas, and trimming and expediency be discarded as unworthy and contemptible. Nor, even if all these desirable changes were effected, do we think that peace would be permanently given to that distracted and divided land, till that fearful monopoly, the main-spring of her feuds, the promoter of her party contentions, the origin of her rival factions, the prolific parent of her host of associators and agitators, the obstacle to the country's cultivation, the bar to agricultural improvement, the source of ferocious passions, and countless oppressions, and unnumbered crimes—the Church as established by law—is no longer bolstered up by Acts of Parliament, and protected by the constable's staff and the soldier's bayonet, but is placed on a level with all other communities of professing Christians, those alone paying for religious instruction, who feel the need which human nature has of the consolations, and instructions, and hopes, which it gives and inspires. This we take to be the true and only effectual emancipation, not merely of Catholics, but of Ireland-of Christianity,—and towards the accomplishment of this all-important object, we look on all other measures as the preparation and the prelude.

We are glad that Mr. Fox has published his discourse. It is a short but glowing tribute of thankfulness to the Great Disposer of all things, for the progress which, within the last year particularly, religious freedom has made in Britain. The sermon exhibits the characteristics of the Author-bis ardent love of liberty, his elevated piety, his comprehensive views, and expansive benevolence of feeling. From the lxxxii. Psalm, and Ist verse, the preacher

shows the influence and the responsibility under which the mighty ones of the earth exercise their authority; and after stating that it is not as partizans, but as the children of God and brethren of mankind, that we should rejoice in the progress of freedom, the Author, in the remainder of the sermon, proves that the progress of religious liberty is the advance of a Christian principle of public right-of national prosperity—of social harmony—of religious candour—of theological truth-of the Christian spirit. We should willingly enrich our pages with many passages, but we must content ourselves with the following:

“The progress of religious liberty, is that of social harmony. Theological antipathies, though not wholly, yet in part, may be resolved into the temporal advantages and disadvantages which are connected with different professions of faith. These give them, oh how much of vigour and bitterness, and obstinacy and extension, and carry them into the intercourse of society, and the mart of commerce, and the hall of justice, and the school of childhood, and the temple of God, and to the family fireside How can religionists be expected to meet and mingle on terms of kindness and friendship, when this faith walks the streets in golden bracelets, and that in iron fetters; this in silk and purple, that in the felon's garb? It is not with such distinctions and contrasts ever visible, that man meets man in the frankness and the enjoyment of the social circle. Hearty and pleasurable communications are not for the plunderer and the plundered, the oppressor and the oppressed, the jailer and the prisoner, the privileged and the excluded; they are for men thinking differently, but thinking freely: and alike free to follow the dictates of their consciences in the worship of their God, and the avowal of their opinions. This is a blessing included in religious liberty, promoted by every approximation towards it, for which we may consistently and worthily praise the Providence that leads to its enjoyment. It is so much of bitterness abstracted from that is, of pleasure added tothe cup of social life.”

« The elevation of human character, is the great object of Divine Revelation. Its aim is to develope those high capacious powers which lie folded up in man;' and exhibit our nature in the depth of its emotions, the immensity of its faculties, the grandeur of its aspirations. The Christian spirit is the image of God in the soul of man. It walks at large over the eartb, seeking truth and goodness, and loving them wherever they may be found. It owns no master in the world, but the God who made the world. In piety it ascends to heaven, in love it flows over the earth. It scorns the paltry encumbering and polluting aid of political patronage, like Saul's armour upon David, shackling its bounding steps, and crippling the free arm, that, with its sling and stone, can level the proudest champion who defies the living God. It is not of the world, because above the world. It loves to break the chains from others' limbs, by which it disdains to have its own enfettered. It tells truth in love, and shows faith by works. Mercy and truth, and righteousness and peace, are its attributes, as they are those of its heavenly Fatherfrom whom it emanates, whom it best represents on earth, and to whose bosom it returns, there to rest in eternal blessedness.

“Oh, but little can man do in such a work as this! Little to this, are the splendid achievements of senators, conquerors, and sovereigns. They do most when they draw back the band, which, by pretending to touch the ark of God for support, only wrought profanity, pollution, and a

And when such a Legislature as ours, over such a people, renounces the penalties and proscriptions of former ages, when, to diversity of religious creeds and forms, they proclaim equality of civil rights, we may surely say, This is the finger of God; it is Providence in its benignity; God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods."



Glasgow, September 1, 1829. We are gratified in being able to extract from “ The Christian Register," published in Boston, Massachusets, the following account of the last Annual Meeting of the American Unitarian Association:

“ The Fourth Anniversary of the American Unitarian Association, was celebrated in Boston, on the 26th May, 1829. The meeting for business was held at the Vestry in Berry-Street. The proceedings of the last year were read, the report of the Treasurer was made and accepted, and the officers re-elected, who are as follows:

Rev. Dr. BANCROFT, President.

Hon. Joseph Story, Mass.

Hon. Samuel Hoar, Mass.
Joseph Lyman, Mass.

Henry Wheaton, Esq. N. Y.
Charles H. Atherton, N. H. Rev. "James Taylor, Penn.
Stephen Longfellow, Maine. Henry Payson, Esq. Md.
William Cranch, D. C. Martin L. Hurlbut, Esq. S. C.
Samuel S. Wilde, Mass.

Directors. Rev. Francis Parkman, J Rev. James Walker, | Rev. Samuel Barrett.

Rev. Henry Ware, Jun. Foreign Secretary.

Ezra S. Gannett, Domestic Secretary.

Henry Rice, Esq. Treasurer. The Association adjourned at 7 o'clock to the Church in Federal Street, which was filled with an assembly, encouraging not only from its numbers, but from the highly respectable character of those who composed it.

The meeting was opened with prayer by the Rev. Dr. Ripley of Concord. The Report of the Executive Committee was then read by the Rev. Mr. Gannett of Boston, Domestic Secretary of the Society. It was interesting in its details, and presented animating views of the progress and prospects of Unitarian Christianity.

We learned from the Report, that the Committee bave pursued the same course during the past, as in preceding years. Ten new tracts have been published, and the demand for them, we were told, bas extended from Canada to Georgia, and the Valley of the Mississippi. The gratuitous distribution of tracts, was recommended. The labours of missionaries employed for limited periods, were stated to have been productive of good. The flourishing condition of new churches was noticed. The domestic mission in Boston, under the care of the Executive Committee, was said to bave fulfilled every hope of its founders. The receipts of the past year were quoted, amounting to nearly 4000 dollars, and the expenditures about 2,400 dollars. The progress of Christian truth is to be seen not only in the larger number of avowed Unitarians, but in the change that has taken place in the features of Calvinism. The attempts of illiberality are defeated by the good sense and free spirit of the people. Unitarian, whether it be considered as a name, a doctrine, or a party, was never more worthy of regard than at the present moment. The wickedness of mingling personal abuse and unchristian temper with religious controversy, was severely rebuked. “A general survey was taken of the state of Unitarianism throughout the country: the western part of New-York, visited during the last summer by the Rev. W. Ware, who had preached in several towns with great effect, offers the most interesting prospects ; in Cincinnati also, a surprising expression of sentiment has been elicited. The state of the society at Washington was recommended to attention. The Report then spoke of the connexion that had been formed with Boston Sunday School Society, in the publishing of juvenile books—of the changes in the government of the Association, occasioned by the resignation of Rev. Henry Ware, of whom a just and affectionate notice was taken—and of the prosperous state of the Theological School at Cambridge. The Report adverted to the sym. pathy manifested by Unitarians in England and India, and closed with the expression of a hope, that the evening would be occupied by a free and earnest discussion.

After the reading of the Report, the meeting was addressed by the Rev. Dr. Bancroft of Worcester, the venerable President of the Association, who invited the attention of the audience to the judicious and faithful labours of the Executive Committee as evinced in the Report, and to their claim on the cheerful and earnest co-operation of the friends of truth. Among other favourable auspices, he spoke of the re-action which had followed the violent measures resorted to by the leaders of certain denominations of Christians, and augured from it favourable results. He compared the manner in which religious inquiries are conducted now with that of former times, thought he found in the contrast, an occasion of joy and hope, and urged on the attention of liberal Christians, the duty of vigilance and active exertion. The President was followed by the Rev. Mr. Stetson of Medford, who addressed the meeting at considerable length, after having offered the following resolution:-Resolved, That the progress of Christian truth is not to be estimated by the number of religious societies, or by any visible triumphs, but that its silent diffusion is sure and constant.

Mr. S. illustrated the principle, that the progress of Christian truth was not to be estimated by the number of religious societies, and showed that its silent, unseen advance, was constant and rapid. He said, that it was making its way in orthodox communities and families; that the literature of the country was essentially liberal; and that another generation would reveal results that the most sanguine hardly dare now anticipate.

« AnteriorContinuar »