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Christian charity, the healthy workings of a manly and highly cultivated intellect, and the manifestations of a benignity which ministers gratification at almost every page.
There is a fiction in the work before us. It is, that the identical traveller who published the first Travels was troubled with some compunction for the levity therein displayed, and some second thoughts, which, in spite of himself, made him doubt the correctness of his avowed convictions. An affair of the heart as our Gallican neighbours term it, the villainy of a priest who crossed his love—and a journey to Rome itself, wrought together with a due quantity of incident, hair-breadth escapes, serious argumentation and historical detail, bring about a wedding, a death, and our author's conversion. Enough of the fiction ;we and our readers are concerned rather with the truth which the work may contain ; and the truth it does contain is neither small in amount, nor trivial in importance. Indeed, such is its value, that the work might be termed Religio Laica,' or The Religion of a Protestant Gentleman. And glad should we be to believe that Protestants generally held the religion of the traveller. They might not be Unitarians in name, but they would be something better in reality—they would be Christians, not after the manner of churches or confessions, but the spirit of Christ. It is a good omen for the progress of religious reformation when a work like this proceeds—as this is reported to domfrom a clergyman of high cultivation and no mean social influence. We hope there are many in the Church who think with the traveller on the great subjects he discusses, and we have reason to believe that the Archbishop of Dublin is among the number. The work is an illustration of the way in which orthodoxy will be converted into Christianity. It will be by the prevalence, not of a sect, but of principles. Unitarianism, as a separate form of belief, will extend itself widely—and no effort should be spared for its furtherance, seeing that, to a great extent, it is the reforming power of the religious world ;—but its triumphs will have to be measured, not by numbering its adherents so much as by a comparative estimate of the moral, intelleetual and spiritual condition of society. The change is going on. Among the more highly cultivated, especially of the Establishment, the grosser forms of religious profession are disowned, and will soon be abandoned. The aims and spirit of Christianity are in no mean degree rightly understood. Religion is seen to be a power and not a creed-to stand in the life and not the profession—to possess inherent vitality, and not to be dependent on the support of human establishments.
The publication of such a work as these Travels is a good omen for Ireland. That unfortunate country has been convulsed more by religious factions than even by political ascendancy, and almost every religious writer has added fuel to the flame. Our Irish Gentleman has, however, brought a peaceoffering. His sword is tipt with the olive branch, and his face beams with the mild radiance of the Gospel, and hope of better days. If Catholicism is opposed in the work with energy and firmness, Catholics will feel themselves surprised at being treated as brothers, friends, and fellow-seekers after truth. They may possibly remain unconvinced, after having read the Travels, but they cannot be unimproved. Their heart must be bettered, if, their mind is not enlightened.
The author has pleaded his own cause in the most effectual manner, though we do not mean to assert that he has done more than justice to it would require. But he has had the good sense to see the proper bearings of the question, and refusing to identify Protestantism with Church of Englandism, he has saved himself from a host of embarrassments, and secured the advantage of having to defend the Gospel against the corruptions which have assumed its name. It is not, therefore, against the Church of Rome, merely, that his arguments prove cogent, but against the spirit of antichrist—whether found at Rome or at Canterbury—whether veiled under the name of Catholicism or Orthodoxy.
GREENGATE CHAPEL ANNIVERSARY. The Tenth Anniversary of the Opening of the Unitarian Meeting House, Greengate, Salford, was held on Sunday and Monday, the 18th and 19th January. On Sunday two impressive and truly Evangelical sermons were preached in that chapel, by the Rev. John Scott Porter, of Belfast, and collections made in aid of the fund for liquidating the debt on the chapel, amounting to about £22. On Monday evening upwards of three hundred and fifty ladies and gentlemen, members and friends of the Salford congregation, and of the two Manchester congregations, took tea together in the Exchange dining-room. After tea, the Rev. J. G. Robberds, Minister of Cross-street Chapel, took the chair, in the absence of Richard Potter, Esq. M.P., occasioned by illness, and after briefly introducing the objects of the meeting, he proposed several sentiments, which were responded to by Ottiwell Wood, Esq.; the Rev. J. Brookes, of Hyde; the Rev. H. Green, of Knutsford ; Mr. Eckersley, and others. Circumstances compel us to limit ourselves to the following report, in which some sentiments offered to the meeting are omitted, and the addresses given are curtailed:
" The Rev. J. Scott Porter, with our best thanks to him for his valuable services on the present occasion, and for the zeal and energy he has heretofore displayed in vindicating the great truths of the sole deity and essential goodness of the One God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,"
Mr. Porter, after expressing his thanks, said—I cordially unite with our respected chairman in the remarks which he has made upon the spirit in which controversy ought to be carried on; and if I know my own heart, I think I may say that not only upon the occasion to which allusion has been made, (the speaker's controversy with the Rev. Mr. Bagot, a Catholic priest,] but throughout the whole course of my ministerial life, whenever I have felt myself called upon to defend my views of truth, I have endeavoured to discharge that arduous duty in the spirit which he has recommended. Controversy has been supposed by many to be inseparable from the promotion of unkindly and uncharitable feelings. From my own experience, I should say the reverse. With respect to the particular occasion to which reference has been made, I parted with my Rev. opponent as I had met him, with respect for his integrity, his talents, his learning and his general character; and before we separated upon the platform, upon which for five hours on four successive days we had been engaged in debate concerning some of the most important matters of theological inquiry, we cordially extended to each other the right hand of fellowship.
- I may take the present opportunity of informing you that our cause appears to be prospering in Ireland, as I am happy to find it is making its way in this country. The truth is making progress,-a silent, and perhaps a gradual, but certainly a steady, and eventually I trust it will prove a triumphant progress. The barriers of bigotry and prejudice have been surmounted—those accusations to which, in common with our friends on this side of the Channel, we were exposed a few years ago, and the attempts made to put down the dissemination of our opinions by ecclesiastical and in some instances by the civil authority, have been repelled, and have left our friends more confirmed, our congregations more united, our enemies more impressed with sentiments of respect for our religious zeal and character; and the atmosphere, I consider, is brightening around us. But I shall not attempt to conceal from you, that there are some things in our position with which we are not, and cannot be satisfied, so long as these circumstances remain. We are not, and cannot be satisfied to be treated by the law as in some measure aliens in the country of our birth-we are not, and cannot be satisfied to see a dominant hierarchy erected over our heads, to which we are compelled, not indeed to bow down and worship, but to pay what we must regard as an unrighteous tribute. In common with the vast majority of our countrymen, we consider it as a crying injustice that a portion of the population of Ireland, not more than a sixteenth part of the whole, should have all the revenues of an Establishment conferred upon it, with all the privileges and prerogatives which belong to that established constitution. We, therefore, are dissatisfied with our present position ; and we look forward, in common with our countrymen, to our relief from it, and chiefly, I must say, through the aid and co-opeation of the liberal members both of the Church of England and of the Protestant societies that are established in this country. A society has been formed in Dublin for maintaining the Church Establishment in Ireland, in all its rights, possessions and prerogatives ; and emissaries from that society have been sent abroad throughout England, in order to agitate the public mind in its favour. Ladies and gentlemen, I come before you in no such character; but I think I may fairly take the occasion afforded me by the present assemblage, to appeal to you as friends of fair-dealing and justice, to know whether the continuance of the Established Church in Ireland, with all its emoluments and its prerogatives, is a thing which you are inclined to sanction and to perpetuate? [“ No, no.”] I may surely put it to you to know whether it is your opinion that the law shall continue in that state, that, rather than submit to its exactions, our peasantry are prepared to shed their blood, to make their parents childless, their wives widows, and their children orphans,—rather than allow not their own property, but that of their friends, to be invaded by the myrmidons of this unrighteous law? I ask, too, is this a state of things to which the English people would consent in their own case ? There are nearly as many Catholics in England as there are Protestants of the Established Church in Ireland. Suppose the circumstances were altered, and the Catholic Church were here what the Church of England is in Ireland, I ask how long would it be established here? And shall there be one spirit of legislation for England, and another for Ireland ? Shall our unhappy country never meet with justice? Shall the deeds of our unrighteous governors be sanctioned by the English people, who have now, thank Heaven, the means of making their sentiments known to the legislature? I trust that in the approaching contest,--for the contest is approaching, and must come,-we shall meet with sympathy and support from those whose intelligence, whose public services and public character, give them a right to guide the decisions of the public mind. And I trust I shall be enabled to go back to Ireland and say, that whatever may be the determination of our governors, although the constitutional head may happen to be shaken against us in disapprobation, and with a frown upon its brow,--and although the feet of their hired and low retainers may happen to be lifted against us with indignation and scorn, still, that in the middle region of the English body politic there beats a heart that is alive to truth and justice, and which will ultimately aid the decision of the hand in tearing down this fabric of corruption.
“ The Christian Teacher, and the Christian Reformer. May it be found that there is room for both, and that they differ not as rivals, but only as fellow servants, of whom one planteth, and another watereth."
In speaking to the preceding wish, the Rev. F. HOWORTH, of Bury, said-Ìn the field of controversial discussion the defenders and opponents of reputed orthodoxy have been long and fiercely engaged ; and it is much to be regretted that in the din
of war the still small voice of Christian peace and Christian love has been unheard or unheeded. The period, it is hoped, is now arrived when angry feeling will no longer disturb the course of sober argument, when the respective combatants will learn that their opponents are fellow men, and fellow Christians. Little can now be added to the direct arguments of either the Trinitarian or the Unitarian faith ; and many thanks we owe to such philosophers and divines as Priestley, Lindsey, and Belsham, for their able championship of the truth. From the state of theology and the Christian
world in their day, their work was to prepare the way of truth by battering down the strong-holds of error. It was theirs to expose the unscriptural nature of doctrines which had become venerable by the sanction of ages and the testimony of many learned and devout men. A somewhat different task devolves upon us, their successors. It was theirs to destroy the bulwarks of error; it is ours to build up the temple of truth. It was theirs to address the reason; it is ours to move the affections. theirs to enlighten the intellect; it is ours to enkindle the heart. And as one means for this important end the Christian Teacher has made his appearance. The schoolmaster treads in the footsteps of the soldier, emulous to display, on the ruins of error, ignorance and misery, the banners of peace, intelligence and happiness. From my intimate knowledge of the feelings which have actuated my highly valued friend in undertaking, in addition to his other arduous engagements, the anxious and responsible office of editor of the Christian Teacher, I can assure this company that had he consulted only personal feeling, convenience, or emolument, he would never have been induced to enter on the task; and I may take this opportunity of stating, that the proposal of raising a guarantee (which I am sorry to find he has relinquished) originated not with him, but was urged upon him by some friends who thought it only reasonable, under the circumstances, to secure him from the risk of pecuniary loss. The editor of the Christian Teacher was influenced by no spirit of rivalry whatever to any existing publication among us, but on the contrary, I know, cherished towards each the best feelings and wishes. Even after considerable promises of support had been given him, he offered to deliver up the work to other efficient hands, with the promise of rendering it every assistance in his power. This offer being declined, he resolved to undertake its publication, in the hope that it might supply a want much felt by many in the Unitarian body, of a periodical that should have a more decidedly practical and devotional character than what was either realized or contemplated in any of our existing periodicals. The Christian Reformer differs from the Christian Teacher in serving, in addition to other important ends, as a miscellany conveying not merely local but general intelligence of events interesting to our religious community. The peculiar office of the Christian Teacher is to state and develop the positive principles of our faith; to carry a pure and elevated spirit into the homes and hearts of men, into all the exercises of devotion and affection, and into all the departments of intellectual exertion. Its literature will be baptized in the pure
fountain of Christianity. Its aim is high and holy. It aspires to display the power and beauty of the pure Gospel of Christ ; to consecrate the highest energies of mind to the work of elevating the tone of moral and devotional sentiment; to quicken intellect, enkindle piety, universalize benevolence; in one word, to diffuse the Spirit of God in the heart of man.
The Rev. T. May, of Stand, having been called upon by the Chairman to propose a sentiment, spoke as follows:Ladies and gentlemenThe preceding sentiments you have received cordially and enthusiastically; and I feel persuaded, that when I announce to you the sentiment which I hold in my hand its simple announcement will gain for it at least, an equal cordiality and an equal enthusiasm of reception.
“ The Ministry to the Poor, and its zealous agent Mr. Ashworth; may he be aided in his labours by the liberality of the rich, and rewarded for them by the blessings of the poor.'