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hoped that the demand would fail, and every inhabitant of Birmingham was interested in its defeat. The right to mortuary money is ancient, but there are few parishes in which it can be sustained. It must have been claimed before the reign of Henry VIII.; and if disused, cannot be revived.
But for elergymen, the situation of the Committee would be comparatively a sinecure. This statement was illustrated by most of the cases, and confirmed by one from Tremadoch, in Wales. In that distant retire.ent a young man, member of a congregation under the pastoral care of Mr. John Jones, went to assist a neighbour in bay-making, and by the consent of the family read a chapter and prayed. In the afternoon he read another chapter, and again they went to prayer. This house being a public-house, the rector of the parish, who is a magistrate, happened to be there! (Laughter.) The family, which, including all who were in the house, amounted to fifteen, attended the devotions of the young man. The rector began cursing and swearing, laid hold of the young man by the neck, in the act of praying, and actually tarned him out of doors! (Shame! shame!)
Mr Parry of Chester, wrote also to complain of another clergyman in the county of Denbigh He was offended because a new meeting-house was erecting within, what he thought, some hallowed circle round the parish church. He must have feared the internal attractions of the building, as the humble edifice could not vie in architectural splendour or costly adorament with his Established Church. This gentleman wrote, that the clergyman had but one arm, yet threatened to knock down the rising meeting-house. The Committee replied, that if the clergyman instead of one arm had been Briareus with one hundred arms, he would find the law had a still stronger arm, should he presume to execute his threats. (Loud applause.)
From Soham, in Cambridgeshire, complaints were made that the Clergyman refused to marry Dissenters. In Northamptonshire certainly the fact occurred. The Clergyman actually refused the performance of a marriage ceremony until the bridegroom had been rebaptized. (Laughter.) Two respectable families assembled to witness the marriage ceremony, intended to unite two estimable
young persons in "holy matrimony." What was their surprise to hear the Clergyman, previous to the commencement of the ceremony, ask the gentleman if he had been baptized? The bridegroom replied affirmatively, that he was baptized by a Dissenting Minister. The Clergy
man rejoined, "I consider all such baptism as illegal, it is only lay-baptism. I do not consider you a Christian, and therefore I shall not marry you" Was it possible to conceive a situation more embarrassing and unfortunate? What remedy would the Clergyman propose? Rebaptism only would satisfy his mind. The demand was disgustful; but then the mortification of disappointment at such a moment, was it not even more intolerable (Laughter.) The parties were therefore compelled to submit, and the respectable families were detained whilst the sexton was sent for a bason of water, with which the adult persons were actually sprinkled by this zealous priest, and to two sacraments of this Protestant reformed church the Dissenters were obliged to submit. (Cries of shame.)
If there be any proper feelings among Protestant Dissenters, they must be excited by circumstances like these. He had combatted one prejudice as to churchyards, and was not the marriage of Dis senters by Clergymen an equal prejudice? Why should they not also be freed from the compulsory administration of this same rite also, by ministers of a church to which conscientiously they are unwilling to conform? (Applause.) What is there in this same sacrament of marriage? Is matrimony a civil or religious ceremony? If it be civil, abstain from the priest; if religious, let the ministers of religion with whom they are connected, ntter the useful exhortation and breathe out the pions prayer. (Applause.) Are Dissenters to submit to an arbitrary form, from which, by more consistent attention, and more vigilant care, the people called Quakers and the Jews are exempt? Why should they not apply for, and obtain a similar exemption? (Applause) The Unitarians, unwilling to recognize the doctrine of the Trinity, according to the established form, have resolved on such an application; and who will not wish them success? What is marriage, by the law of England, but a civil contract between two persons, competent and willing to contract? These ceremonies too are a remuant of Catholic superstition, improperly retained by the Reformers: by the Reformers, those great men; those giants of a dwarfish age; those lights amidst deep darkness; but who were yet only men, and whose cheering splendour was occasionally obscuredas an envious haze lessens the lustre of the full-orbed moon. (Applause.) Before him (Mr. W.) was a copy of a certificate of
marriage in the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, before a Justice of the Peace ; and in that period of Puritanism, were not husbands as good, and wives as fair and chaste, as in the episcopalian and voluptu
ous age of Charles II.? (Applause.) In Scotland too, where none of these ecclesiastical benedictions are essential to conBubial union and to conuubial bliss, are the women less "gude wives," or their children not "bonny bairns?"
On another topic he also requested their attention. The Poor Rates are an increasing evil, which will not fail eventually to destroy our national prosperity: they are corroding and wide-spreading cankers: they repress the independent spirit of the people, damp the ardour of honest industry, augment depravity, increase in a ratio perpetually progressive, and must be either destroyed or be destroyers. (Applause.) Yet an additional feature of ugliness is added to their deformity, when they are perverted into instruments of religious persecution. (Hear)
If the poor man may not have the consolation of worshiping God after the dictates of his conscience, he is at once deprived of his only remaining treasure and support. (Applause.) During the last year, in various parts of the country, and even contiguous to the metropolis, these poor laws have been so perverted into instruments of hardship and oppression. It is high time that this subject should be investigated, and a remedy applied. (Applause.)
From Ringwood, in the county of Hants, a worthy friend, Mr. Bishop, states several such acts of oppression.
At Ramsgate too, where many parade to inhale the salubrious breeze, and recreate the mind by gazing on the works of art and the sublime of nature, they little think that the pious poor are suffering a species of martyrdom for an attachment to religion and truth. From St. Peter's, Mr. Cramp complains, that three or four people in the workhouse, who had attended his chapel, had been commanded by the Committee to attend the parish church, and in default thereof were deprived of their meals. (Shame.)
At Richmond, the Tivoli of England, amidst its bowers sacred to the classic muse, the demon of persecution, armed with the poors' laws, might be seen to glide. There, among others, a poor woman named Rebecca Hill, was sick, sad and solitary; she was visited by some Dissenting almoner, who introduced the Dissenting Minister to read and pray. The parish officers, however, tracked their steps, and told her if the visit was repeated she should be deprived of all parochial relief. (Hisses.) She thus addressed Mrs. Crundell of Richmond, to whose kind efforts she had been indebted: "Honoured Madam, I hope you will not be offended, but I hope you will not bring that gentleman to visit me any more, as it has got me
That is to
a great deal of ill-will. The parish will not allow me any relief if I continue your religion; as I have been prayed for in Petersham church, which the Committee think sufficient. One of the gentlemen saw you come in himself." say, one of the Committee for distributing the rates, saw this poor woman in affliction, and, like the minister of death, forbade the comfort which the minister of religion might afford. (Shame.)
Mr. Deane, of Sittingbourne, made a similar complaint. There was an old man, 80 years of age, who for more than twentyfive years had been a Dissenter, and had got the title of bishop for his venerable age, or more venerable life. This poor fellow, reluctantly compelled to apply for parochial relief, was deprived of his dinner, because, after having attended at the church in the morning, he attended at his chapel in the afternoon. This sort of punishment some might not think severe, although perhaps, that should not be intimated in the City of London, where a good dinner is not ill-esteemed. (Laughter.) But it should be recollected, that this must be a real privation of a pittauce never too redundant to the poor.
It was not, however, necessary to travel so far as Kent, to be pained with abuses of the laws of the poor. In the parish of Camberwell, circumstances had taken place in the workhouse which he must condemn. A benevolent and respectable man, named Dakin, had been in the habit of visiting some poor women bed-ridden with cancers, and in a dying or dangerous condition. This good man was studiously excluded from the work house, although he had repeatedly applied to distribute tracts, which the poor were anxious to receive, and to offer, with these unhappy people, prayers which they were desirous he should pre
These boons to the poor were disallowed. It was stated that one poor man, within the house, had actually been muleted in meat for a month, because he attempted to speak to him at the door. (Hisses.) An application was made to the Clergyman of Camberwell, also a magistrate, but he declined to interfere, as his curate attended once a week to read prayers in some part of the house, and he thought that was as much of religion as these people could require."
Were not these cases which demanded immediate and permanent relief? Would any present have been willing to endure that sort of martyrdom? Who could be content that the poor should groan beneath such persecution? A persecution which only requires to be mentioned to be condemned. (Applause.)
(To be continued.)
London Unitarian Society.
Taz Twenty-eighth Anniversary of this Society was holden at the London Tavern on Thursday the 22d of April, J. T. Rutt, Esq. in the Chair. The attendance was rather less than usual, but the day was passed very pleasantly. In the course of the evening notice was taken of the obligations of the Unitarian public to the Chairman for the edition of Dr. Priestley's Works, which he is now carrying through press, on which he has bestowed great labour in the correction of typographical and other errors, and which he has enriched with very numerous original and valuable notes.
No sermon was preached before the Society this year; nor has it been the uniform practice in this institution to have 3 religious service on these occasions. We think the custom, however, a good one, and hope to see it resumed.
"CHRISTIAN FRIENDS, "We are now met together for the purpose of laying the foundation stone on which a building is to be erected for the worship of the One living and true God, as well as for the dissemination of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. "There is a God. This is a first principle in religion; take away this, and there can be no religion. This God is to he worshiped and adored: even nations unenlightened by revelation have had strong impressions of the importance of these solemn duties. But a question may arise when and where are these duties to be performed? To this we answer, every where; in heaven, on earth. All nature is God's altar. Earth and heaven form one great temple for the service and worship of the living, eternal, uncreated Deity.
"The great God is unconfined; his presence is every where. Prayers may be presented and praises offered, whether ou a mountain or in a valley, in a palace or a cottage, a temple or a desert, if appropriated to those particular purposes; and there is no place where prayer and praise offered in sincerity to God, are not heard
with acceptance. Why then build tem-. ples? Will God, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain'-will God dwell in temples made with men's hands'? Yes, he will; he has promised so to do, and that promise has been fulfilled.
"Here, too, is conveniency for mortals devoutly and unitedly to associate together for the purposes of Christian fellowship, as well as for the worship of the Supreme Jehovah. Universal then is the sanction which we have for the object before us; it combines the suffrage of God and the sentiments of inen.
"We are now, then, met to lay the first stone of a foundation on which a chapel is to be erected, sacred to the service of God, and as a place in which a Christian community may congregate for the discharge of public religious duties.
"But let us not mistake; though this stone is to commence the foundation for a place of Christian worship, yet observe, it is for the building only. The foundation stone of the Christian Church is Jesus Christ; as God said by the prophet, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a sure foundation,' &c. This stone which the builders rejected, is made the head of the corner.' When our Lord, after inquiring what opinions prevailed respecting himself generally, said to his disciples, "But who say ye, that I, the Son of Man, am?' the answer by Peter was, 'Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.' To which our Lord rejoined, 'Upon this rock (or fact, or truth) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'
"On the same rock, as a primary truth of Christianity, we wish to build. On this the apostles built: they went every where preaching, not that Jesus Christ was God, but the Son of God. Take away this stone and the building is defective: on this important truth we wish to build as the basis both of our faith and practice.
"We are by profession Christians. If you ask (as the sects and parties of the Christian world are diversified) under what class we rank ourselves, we answer, we call ourselves General Baptists; General, because we believe in the universal love of God, and that Christ died to benefit all mankind; Baptists, because we baptize, and in the admission to a Christian church assimilate in practice to the original method practised and established by Christ and his apostles.
"The term Baptist is not an exotic in the gospel history; for although modern sects are not there to be ound, yet the
appellation Baptist is. We read of John the Baptist, who was the herald to proclaim to the Jewish nation the coming of their king. Our Lord may also be denominated a Baptist, for he was baptized in
Jordan, and he made and baptized more disciples than John.' The apostles also were Baptists; all the first Christians were Baptists; and the purport of the commission, Go, teach all nations, baptizing them,' &c., was to make all the world Baptists. So far, then, from being a modern sect, as some have insinuated, we claim antiquity on our side, and are as a sect coeval with Christianity itself.
"If it should be said that we are a sect every where spoken against; so were the primitive Christians. We wish to resemble them in our sentiments, in the constitution of our churches, in our religious duties, in the piety of our hearts and the holiness of our lives. If, therefore, in our views and practices we are so unfortunate as to differ from our brethren of other denominations, yet we wish to live in charity with all men. We claim liberty of conscience for ourselves, and we allow that others have an equal right thereto. To think and let
think is our motto. We trust the gates of heaven will be open to the good of every persuasion amongst Christians, and think it our duty to hold every good man in
"We shall now proceed to the immediate object of our present meeting, and may the society, at whose request we are now assembled, be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know that our labour is
not in vain in the Lord.'
This speech was heard with the most marked and respectful attention. Kingsford then proceeded to place the stone, which had an appropriate inscription. A stanza, composed by Mr. Read for the occasion, was then sung; and Mr. Pound closed the whole by humbly imploring the Divine blessing on the efforts of the society, and, that having commenced they might be enabled to proceed in the work until they should "bring forth the top stone with shouting."
The company, consisting of persons of various denominations, then separated, apparently gratified with the novelty not only of what they had seen, but of what they
I cannot finish this article without offer
ing, through the favourable medium of the Repository, the grateful acknowledgments
of our society for the pecuniary aids which it has received in favour of this undertaking.
Our applications were first sauctioned by
the following gentlemen:
Mr. George Smallfield, Rev.
Aspland, Mr. Fox, Dr. Thomas Rees, Mr. William Frend, Mr. Christie, &c., amongst the number of subscribers.
We cannot omit to notice, that a Unita. rian Pædobaptist gentleman residing in London, but occasionally visiting Dover, gave the first guinea (which is not his only contribution) to this undertaking; also, that we received a donation of five pounds, being part of the first year's proceeds of the Parliament Court Fellowship Fund, and a like sum from the Tenterden Fellowship Fund. We have further the pleasure to state, that Mr. Thomas Reed, building surveyor to Government for the coast of Kent and Sussex, on account of his firm attachment to Unitarian principles, has very kindly and gratuitously drawn our plans, and superintended the work.
All this proves to us that the shade of difference between ourselves and our Unitarian Padobaptist brethren, does not preclude that harmony of principle and union of effort which we conceive to be insepa rable from the true spirit of Unitarianism. B. MARTEN.
Dover, March 20, 1819.
P. S. A list of the subscribers will here.
after be subjoined to the Repository; but as there is yet a considerable deficiency to be made up, we beg further to solicit the aid of any friends whose contributions will be gratefully received, and may be forwarded either to Mr. G. Smallfield, Printer, Hackland, near Dover, Kent. ney; or to Mr. William Kingsford, Buck
Unitarian Chapel, Flushing. THE Unitarians at Flushing, in Cornwall, having engaged the Old Methodist Chapel in that place, at a moderate rental, it was opened for Unitarian worship on Tuesday, May 4, when Mr. Wright, whe is on a mission in that county, delivered a discourse on the leading doctrines maintained by Unitarian Christians, principally with the view of shewing that they are clearly the doctrines of Scripture, and can be expressed in the words of Scripture without either addition or comment. respectable audience attended. The following extract from a communi
since his arrival in Cornwall, may not be unaccep
table to our readers:
already made in this remote corner of the "The progress which Unitarianism has island, is gratifying and encouraging. Rev. S. Kingsford, Rev. John Evans, When I first visited Cornwall, about eight Robert years since, I found one Unitarian; when Aspland, Rev. W. J. Fox, Rev. Dr. T. I revisited it, about four years since, I Rees, Rev. James Gilchrist, Rev. William found a little church of Unitarians; but Moon, Dr. Crombie, and Joseph Holden, they had no convenient place to meet in, And it affords us no small gratification to find the names of Mr. Belsham, Mr.
in a room, badly situated, at the e and were under the necessity of assembling of the town, [Falmouth;] now they have
a good chapel, well situated; and another is just opened at Flushing, on the other side of the harbour. The cause is going on steadily, though not rapidly, and the persevering exertions of the friends deserve every encouragement: were they enabled by the Unitarian public to pay off the remainder of the debt incurred by the erection of the chapel in Falmouth, it would be likely to accelerate the progress of the cause among them."
Quarterly Meeting of Welsh Unitarian
THE Quarterly Meeting of Welsh Unitarian Ministers was held at Llangendeyrn, near Carmarthen, on the 14th and 15th of April last, and was well attended both days. In the evening of the 14th, Mr. J. Griffiths, minister at Llandyfaen, introduced; and Mr. J. Davies, minister at Capel-y-Groes and Ystrad, preached from John viii. 40, and Mr. D. Jones, minister at Capel-Sion, and one of the tutors of the Carmarthen College, from Mark iv. 20. The introductory part of the service on the 15th, was conducted by Mr. J. Thomas of Pant-y-defaid; and Messrs. E. Lloyd of Wick, and J. James of Gelli-Onnen, preached; the former from Acts xxvi. 29, and the latter from 1 Tim. vi. 3—5. Immediately after the service a conference was held, at which the doctrine of supernatural agency on the human mind, (the subject discussed at the last meeting held at Swansea,) was resumed at the desire of
some of those who had attended the former meeting. Several persons spoke at some length, and many texts of Scripture, which were thought applicable to the subject, were explained; but the doctrine had no supporters at the conference, though it is highly probable there might be many present who believed it to be an important, if not an essential part of Christianity.
It was resolved, that the annual meeting of the Unitarian Society rendered it inconvenient to hold the quarterly meeting in the summer, and, therefore, that only three quarterly meetings should in future be held every year.
The annual meeting of the Welsh Unitarian Society is to he at Llandyfaen on the 17th of June, and Mr. J. Thomas of Panty-defaid, to preach the sermon.
The question proposed for discussion at the next, and at every succeeding meeting of ministers, till it shall go through the whole circle, is, What are the best laws, rules, or regulations for the government of a Christian church?
Report of the Scotch Unitarian
THE Seventh Annual Meeting of the Association of the Unitarians of Scotland, was held in Edinburgh on Sunday and Monday, April 25 and 26. There were few strangers from the country present on this occasion, but the communications received from the different corresponding members afforded satisfactory proof of the gradual, but steady progress, of the cause which it is the object of the Association to promote. On Sunday, the devotional part of the morning service was conducted chapel, and a sermon was preached by the by the Rev. T. C. Holland, minister of the Rev. B. Mardon, of Glasgow, from Romans Christian." In the afternoon Mr. Holland x. 9, on "The Scriptural Definition of a preached an excellent sermon from Matt.
xv. 10, on "The Use of Reason in Matters Mardon delivered the Annual Sermon of Religion;" and in the evening, Mr. from John iv. 23 and 24, on "The Proper Object of Christian Worship," which was listened to with great attention by all present, and at the request of the meeting Mr. Mardon has consented to its publication. The Report of the Association was read after the forenoon service, from which it appeared that the number of tracts distributed by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Tract Societies, during the last year, besides a variety of tracts of which copies amounted to 2448. These comprehended, ciety, a considerable number of Mr. Turhad been formerly circulated by the Soner's Two Discourses preached at the last Association; of the Layman's Leiter Dr. Smith's Appeal.* to the Protestant; and of extracts from The committee were happy to learn that these tracts have the name of Unitarian was once heard with obtained admittance into families where horror and disgust; and they think that opposition is taking place. a very perceptible diminution of bigoted The Edinburgh Report stated the sale of books on their bookseller in Edinburgh, for the behalf of the London Unitarian Society, by year 1817-18, the first year that books were sent by the Society for sale, to have been seventy seven volumes, including and amounting to £12. 19s. And during twelve copies of the Improved Version, the last year, although very little was done the number of volumes sold increased to to promote the sale by advertizing them, thirteen copies of the Improved Version, one hundred and twenty-one, including and amounting to £15. ls. These are
A copy of this tract has been sent for insertion in the Christian Reformer.