Page images
PDF
EPUB

in the way; and, forgetting the differences which now exist, think of the kind hand which holds us all in its grasp, and the almighty arm which encircles us all in its vast embrace, though we are all unworthy, and all but too unthankful."

Strange that these delightful sentiments should be regarded as remarkable when coming from any disciple of Jesus! Yet we thank God that they are now breathing forth from the bosom of Orthodox Churches. May they speedily make a true Catholic, or Universal Church, a Messiah's Reign of love, purity, and peace on earth!

VII. THE CONSTRAINING LOVE OF CHRIST. A Sermon preached before the Provincial Association of Lancashire and Cheshire Presbyterian Ministers. By F. Howorth. 1843. J. Green, London.

THIS is a truly Evangelical Sermon. For the Scripture interpretation in the introductory observations we do not vouch,but the practical and exhortatory part is worthy of the devoted, fervent, self-sacrificing spirit of a Minister of the Gospel. Perhaps the Author has not done full justice to those functions of a Minister of Religion not included in the personal offices of a Pastor, but we cannot find fault with the exclusive force and aim with which an earnest mind directs itself to those things which most urgently need reform. There are various types of ministerial excellence, and we may doubt whether the Pastor, in the conception of him which this Discourse presents, is the highest,but wherever pitying and purifying Love can do its blessed work of awakening and healing the hearts and consciences of men, may it be found in the earnest simplicity which Mr. Howorth here describes, and in his own life exemplifies!

ART. VIII.-RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.

I. Religious Intelligence from America.-The Monthly Miscellany of Religion and Letters. 1843. Boston: W. Crosby. London: John Green.

It appears that the month of May is as closely associated with the Religious Anniversaries of America, as with the Exeter Hall meetings in London. A May meeting no longer breathes of fresh garlands and fresher spirits, but of crowded rooms and heated minds. We have here an account of the Proceedings of some Twenty Societies, and some of their transactions are not a little notable. We shall turn first to the Unitarian Anniversaries.

AMERICAN UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION. -The Eighteenth Annual Report gave an account of the progress of the Association from a small commencement to its present strength and usefulness.

"The last year's history was a good one. The Secretary had pursued his labours as usual. Auxiliary associations now existed in most of our congregations. The number of members was not far from 5,000. Twenty new auxiliaries had been formed within the year, and nine persons had become life members. Aid had been extended to twenty-seven destitute societies; and twenty missionaries been employed for periods of various length. Between sixty and seventy thousand tracts had been distributed, or between five and six thousand every month. Applications for them had come from all parts of the country. They were in part doctrinal, to meet the misrepresentations of our belief which were current; of which one or two strong examples were cited. In future, the Committee hoped to give more affirmative exhibitions of doctrine. A closer acquaintance had been cultivated the past year with the Christians,' and one of their ministers had been employed as a missionary of the Association. An extract was given from a letter written by him, upon the union which might be maintained between the two denominations. The Report anticipated much good from such a union. The receipts of the year had been 7511,32 dollars; the amount expended and appropriated, 7649,20 dollars. A movement had been made among our churches in behalf of missionary exertions, which had been attended with success and deserved commendation. There was reason to hope that our churches would exhibit more religious action, more life. Notice

was taken of the death of Dr. Channing, as of one who had done more for religion than any other man of the age. Might it teach us lessons of heavenly wisdom."

After the reading of the Report, Mr. Parkman, of Dover, insisted on the need of a more philanthropic spirit. "He urged the claims of humanity, and spoke of the subjection of the Church to the spirit of sectarianism. If a slave should escape from the South, and come into a Baptist, Methodist, or Orthodox anniversary meeting at the North, he would hear of freedom, zeal, and the Missionary spirit, but he would find discussion stifled for the sake of sectarian capital. He related a story of a minister preaching the Gospel with handcuffs for his slave in his pockets, in illustration of the spirit of the American Church; and quoted the older story of the man in the Gospel, whom both priest and Levite passed by. He maintained that it was the selfish principle of our nature to which appeal is made in preaching. Scepticism takes advantage of this, and Christianity turns its back upon the slave and the battle field. The age needs Christian life. Mr. Parkman concluded by offering a resolution in regard to the employment of missionaries at the South." We are sorry to add that this Resolution was disposed of by some technical objection, and a motion for adjournment. We are not disposed to think, however, that Missionaries should be sent to the South, for on services involving peril and perhaps death, devoted men must appear ready to offer their lives for the Truth and Freedom of the Gospel, and the Brotherhood of Man.

The subject was resumed at the Collation which followed the Meeting, but met no better reception. Mr. Pierpoint, one of whose songs, written for the occasion, had just been sung, "asked if the Meeting would tolerate his prose, as well as his poetry, for he had something to say, though he feared it would not be acceptable. He would send Unitarianism to the South unmanacled and unsealed; and would not send it at all, unless it could be received as it was sent; quoted the treatment which their own Missionary had received; believed that our religion needed to be disenthralled here also-in Massachusetts; did not esteem it enough to apply Christianity to the intellect; yet some sins were deemed so vile, that our genteel Christianity will not touch them, but leaves the drunkard, for example, to be saved by his brother drunkard; inquired what Unitarianism had done for the liberation of the slave, who, if he was black, was not therefore unworthy of our regard; but saw, from the number leaving the room, that he was making a moving speech, and concluded his remarks." Some attempt was afterwards

made to explain this interruption, but it is impossible to suppose that it was not directed against the subject and the speaker.

After the various meetings, which continued for several days, the Anniversary was closed by the celebration of the Lord's Supper by the ministers and people. Between five and six hundred communicated. The whole service must have been singularly suitable, solemn and impressive.

The PRISON DISCIPLINE SOCIETY presented a Report unfavourable to the system of Solitary Confinement, as tested by experience. It adopted the following Resolution as expressive of its own principles, which if it does not throw much light on Prison Discipline shows humane and enlightened feeling, and is besides a literary curiosity in its way :—

[ocr errors]

Resolved, That the Bible, the chapel, the chaplain, the Sabbath school-room, the Sabbath school teacher; reading the Scriptures morning and evening, accompanied with singing and prayer in the chapel; faithful religious conversation with the prisoners by the officers and others who have a heart for it; visiting the prisoners; solitary confinement at night; the constant superintendence of humble, faithful, and pious officers; pure air, good light, wholesome food, careful attention to the sick, mild punishments for misdemeanors, cleanliness, order, obedience, intelligent superintendence, careful inspection, full accounts in Annual Reports, are the means which we approve in Prison Discipline.”

NEW ENGLAND ANTI-SLAVERY CONVENTION.-At the meeting of this society, the following resolutions were offered(it is not said whether they were adopted) :-"That the Clergy, and Sectarian Corporations, or existing Church of this country, are the enemies of human freedom, and obstacles in the way of the Anti-Slavery cause, as well as of every other righteous reform; that Christianity can know the clerical profession only as its incorrigible enemy, which it must and will destroy, as it will every other form of usurpation, despotism, and slavery; that the American Church and Clergy are the bulwarks of American Slavery, and that the tremendous engines of truth and love be brought to bear upon these bulwarks and level them to the dust."

These resolutions would really appear almost justified by the proceedings of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, (New School,) at the very same time holding its meetings in Philadelphia. The Assembly resolved that, "Whereas there is great diversity of opinion as to the proper and best mode of action on the subject of Slavery, it is not for the edification of the Church for this body to take any action on the subject."

The General Assembly that, on account of difference of opinion, had no action to recommend on the outrageous evil and sin of Slavery, then proceeds to recommend a most vigorous and united action against the "evil" of "promiscuous dancing." Are the Anti-Slavery Convention far wrong in relation to America, when two such resolutions can be passed, successively, by men callous to the disgrace and mockery of such a juxtaposition of determinations from a Church of Christ; to recommend that nothing be done as regards slavery, but to be entirely resolved to put down promiscuous dancing? Here is the Resolution verbatim-a disgusting mixture of cant, impurity, and church insolence :

"Resolved, That the fashionable amusement of promiscuous dancing is so entirely unscriptural, and so eminently and exclusively that of the world which lieth in wickedness, and so wholly inconsistent with the spirit of Christ or with that propriety of Christian deportment and that purity of heart which its professors are bound to maintain, as to render it not only improper and injurious for professing Christians either to partake in it, or to qualify their children for it by teaching them the art, but also to call for the faithful and judicious exercise of discipline on the part of church sessions, where any of the members of the churches may have been guilty."

II. The Eighteenth Report of the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, with Proceedings of the Annual Meeting, Catalogue of Books, &c. London: 1843.

The decision of the House of Lords upon the Hewley Case, and its bearings upon all Unitarian property and Endowments previous to 1813, are the most important matters in this Report.

66

The Members of the Association are aware that the final decision of the Hewley Case was given in the House of Lords in August 1842. By it the previous judgments were confirmed, and the original Trustees were saddled with the costs of their Appeal to the House of Lords, notwithstanding the anomalies and peculiarities of the Case, and notwithstanding the cogent and ample reasons for that Appeal, which every impartial mind, acquainted with the history of Protestant and Presbyterian Dissent, and of Lady Hewley's foundation, must recognise. It is true that this Society had no immediate connection with, or interest in, Lady Hewley's Charity further than that of respect for the characters of the Trustees, and of sympathy in the spirit in which their duty was discharged, and in the liberal principles on which the Trust, as we conceive, was founded.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »