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RELIGIOUS AND PHILANTHROPIC.
WEST RIDING YORKSHIRE, UNITARIAN TRACT SOCIETY.-The thirty-fourth anniversary was celebrated at Huddersfield, June 13. The Rev. J. K. Montgomery of Torquay, Devonshire opened the worship, and Rev. J. Gordon of Coventry, preached from John iv. 35, 36. Rev. W. Turner of Halifax presided at the meeting for business, which was afterwards held in the Chapel, when the Reports of the Treasurer and Secretary were read. Subscribers 148; tracts and books sent out 2,572. The social repast was held in the Gymnasium, chairman, Rev. J. Owen, of Lydgate; vice-president, W. Hornblower, Esq., of Huddersfield. The Rev. W. Turner spoke to "Civil and Religious Liberty;" the Rev. E. Higginson, of Wakefield, to "the West Riding Unitarian Tract Society." He aptly inquired, "What is spiritualism without intellectualism? How can you separate spirit from the intellect and moral powers, powers of duty and powers of feeling? Mr. Turner will excuse me if I go back to my college life; but, I must attribute it to him that we did not learn to image a spiritual faculty or being, destitute of intellect or of moral feelings. We thought, when we had traced our human being in the powers of understanding, imagination and perception, duty and affection, we had got a complex idea of the spirit that is in man. How then can we throw away the powers of intellect and of religious feeling and affection, and adhere to a spiritualism? It is either nonsense or idleness in any one to profess it. Among some people there is less Scriptural knowledge, less inquiry into book learning, and a disposition to depreciate it, and to come by shorter cuts to knowledge, by intuition and spiritual perception, than others who have laboured a long time to bring out of acknowledged principles results worth keeping." The Rev. C. Wicksteed, of Leeds, in proposing thanks to Mr. Gordon for his sermon, gave utterance to much true thought, and wisely deprecated the carping and criticising spirit, which depreciates all effort if not fashioned after its own especial model, or directed to its own pet object, generating oftentimes the listlessness and apathy which does nothing for human well-being. "Some might be most interested in Sunday Schools, some in Domestic Missions, some in Schools for the Outcast, some in their Tract Societies, some in the Unitarian Association, a direct theological agency, and some might even be building up their old chapels; this last might not be the greatest of earthly works, but, considering that there was not too much life among us, we should think it was a pardonable immorality. Let us only regret, not the various forms of good, but only the doing no good, and the carping at others who were doing what their hand found to do. All these various interests and undertakings are signs of action and vitality among us; and, each cheering each, let us go on our several paths, and thus find, at length that by individual activity and zeal we have promoted the general good." Mr. Wicksteed is right. These disputings are sheer folly. Whilst waiting for unanimity of purpose in a given action, the world is perishing in ignorance, error, and sin. Let each do what he can, with those who are likeminded, for the removal of any portion of the enormous mass of iniquitous in
fluences which are rife in Society, and he merits the God speed! of every true hearted disciple of Christ. The meeting was also addressed by the Rev. J. Gordon, J. Kenrick of York, J. H. Ryland, of Bradford, P. Cannon, J. K. Montgomery, the chairman and vicechairman, Messrs. Schwann and Wheater.
BIRMINGHAM NEW HALL HILL UNITARIAN CHURCH.-On Sunday, June 17, the Rev. J. Scott Porter, of Belfast, conducted the religious services of the fifteenth anniversary of the Sunday Schools connected with this interesting and meritorious Congregation. There are in these Schools 132 Girls, 243 Boys; 13 Teachers in the first and 35 in the last. The Library contains 770 volumes. In connection with the Schools there is also the Birmingham Unitarian Teachers, Tract Society. A Tea party was held on Monday, June 18, Mr. John Green, chairman. About two hundred present. Various addresses were delivered by Messrs. M. Green, Prime, Fearn, Simmons, Hughes, Gargory, Suter, J. Lloyd, and Crick. Revds. James Cranbrook, H. Hutton, T. Bowring, S. Bache, E. Bristow, of Birmingham, J. Scott Porter, W. McKean of Oldbury, J. Lunn of Coseley. The meeting closed with Hymn and Benediction.
MIDLAND DISTRICT UNITARIAN MEETING.-This Meeting of Ministers, first assembling in 1798, held their Anniversary at Nottingham June 20, and 21. The religious services on Wednesday evening were conducted by the Rev. C C. Nutter of Lincoln, the Rev. B. T. Stannus of Sheffield, preaching from 2 Corinth. iv. 1. On Thursday morning prayer was offered by the Rev. P. Wright, of Stannington, and the sermon by the Rev. T. Hunter of Chesterfield, was founded on Matt. ix. 36. 38. Dinner was provided in the Magistrates' Room at the Exchange, kindly granted by the Mayor; C. Paget, Esq. of Ruddington Grange, presiding. The subject of popular Education was spoken to by the Revds. H. W. Crosskey of Derby, C. Berry, J. Dare of Leicester, B. Carpenter of Nottingham. Tea was provided in the large School Rooms, two years since erected by the Nottingham Congregation. A numerous assembly was gathered, the Rev. B. Carpenter, chairman. After Tea a hymn was sung, and the meeting was addressed on various subjects of interest to Unitarian Christians, by the Revds. C. Berry, E. O. Jones, of Duffield, P. Wright, C. C. Nutter, T. Hunter, J. Dare, T. C. Holland of Loughborough, W. H. Crosskey, J. G. Teggin of Mansfield, B. T. Stannus, and Messrs. Enfield, Eames, Perry of Nottingham, and James Vickers of Stannington. An Anthem was given in the course of the evening, and the meeting concluded by joining in singing a hymn, and in prayer offered by Rev. B. T. Stannus.
LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE PROVINCIAL MEETING.-This Assembly, founded in the time of the Commonwealth, and continued regularly ever since, held its two hundred and fourth annual meeting June 21. Chowbent, Lancashire was the gathering place, Rev. Travers Madge, of Manchester prayed, and the Rev. W. H. Herford, of Lancaster preached from 2 Corinth. v. 17. The sermon appears to have possessed stirring interest. Among other things Mr. Herford urged "It is time that we, like Paul, should leave the Jews (the Orthodox) to themselves, and go out to the Gentiles who dwell at our gates, and know not of God or of a Saviour. Masses of people
around us have no Religion beyond the untutored feelings of nature. To them we must be Missionaries, telling them of their duties as well as their rights, and reminding them of the all important truth that the evils which spring from within, are far worse and more destructive than all outward ills. We must push our views of Christianity by preaching from them. We should take with us the spirit of the Gospel, and go forth with the New Testament in our hands. We need enthusiasm for common truth, passionate attachment to the simple principles of Christianity. Thus sowing, we shall reap. The harvest is great, but the labourers are few. It should be our prayer and endeavour to be worthy to bear the sickle among them." There is much truth mingled with some error in these remarks. Of the labour indicated, as well as of that proposed to be abondoned, it may justly be said, These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." They both constitute duty to us. They cannot, we think, be severed. Urged has our denomination been to these united labours of love, over and over again. Our various Associations were projected for these purposes. The Missionaries of the Unitarian Fund, the Kent, and Lancashire, and Scottish Associations, went about with these aims. "The untutored feelings of Nature" are not the proximate cause, however, that "masses of people around us have no Religion." The corruptions of Christianity, the bigotry and oppression and immorality of professing Christians, have been and are the prolific sources of the irreligion which we mourn. The Missionary must clear away the rubbish, ere the soil will be prepared for the seeds of Divine truth. He must show that Christianity knows nothing of the corruption, the oppression, the bigotry, the immorality. He must uproot as well as build up. Not to one class only must he address himself, but to all. If tares are continually sowing, his wheat seed may perchance be choked. Go should he to the Gentiles, yet not leave the Jews to themselves. Gather them all should he into the fold of Christ.
Twenty six Ministers of Lancashire and Cheshire were present, as also the Rev. Dr. Montgomery of Dunmurry, Ireland. At the close of the worship, the Minister of the Chowbent congregation, Rev. A. Macdonald took the chair. Thanks were voted to the Preacher, moved by Rev. J. J. Tayler of Manchester, seconded by Rev. J. H. Thom of Liverpool. Rev. J. Ashton of Preston read a communication from T. Ainsworth, Esq., Cleator, Cumberland, expressing pleasure at the arrangements of last year, which had carried out his request of having Unitarian worship conducted once a Month at Cleator, by various Unitarian Ministers, and offering £60 for the same purpose, in the current year. The Rev. J. H. Thom suggested a Committee for considering plans for new Chapels and Congregations in the district, and Rev. Dr. Montgomery heartily approved of more organization. Rev. A. Macdonald read a paper on the Causes of the alleged alienation of the Working classes from Christian institutions. The suggestions advanced appeared worthy of attentive consideration. The Ministers and friends afterwards dined together, and the following day the business of the Widows' Fund connected with the Provincial Meeting was transacted.
HANOVER SQUARE CHAPEL DAY SCHOOLS FOR BOYS AND GIRLS.— Friday, June 22, these Schools were examined, Mr. and Mrs. Harris being present. The improvement manifested in the Boys' School,
since it has had the advantage of Mr. Joseph Ridgway's superintendence as Master, was very striking indeed, especially considering the short period he has been connected with it, and augurs well for the future. The Girls' School does great credit to the continued efficiency of Miss Carr, the Mistress. The children were addressed by Mr. Harris on their several duties, singing engaged in, and prayer closed the meeting.
EASTERN UNITARIAN CHRISTIAN SOCIETY.-June 27 and 28, the Thirty-sixth annual meeting was held at Norwich. Wednesday afternoon and evening were devoted to the objects of the District Sunday School Association, the first anniversary being held in the Chapel at four o'clock when the Report was read, and a religious service being conducted in the evening, when the Rev. M. C. Gascoigne of Framlingham prayed, and a sermon on Revelation xxi., 22, 23, was preached by the Rev. H. Solly of Cheltenham. Afterwards Tea was provided in the Assembly Rooms, about one hundred and fifty persons being present, the Rev. J. Crompton of Norwich the Chairman. The speakers were the Revds. H. Solly, H. Squire of Yarmouth, T. Madge of London, W. Selby of Hapton, H. Knott of Bury, St. Edmonds, Messrs. E. Taylor, R. Taylor of London, Dowson, Stevens of Norwich, who all addressed themselves to the great subject of Education, viewing it under its different aspects, in relation to crime, the exercise of civil rights, human improvement, happiness and peace. The meeting was closed by the chairman offering prayer.
The religious services of Thursday were begun by the Rev. H. Squire, the Rev. T. Madge preaching from Ephesians iv., 4-6. The meeting for business was subsequently held, H. Bolingbroke, Esq., chairman, the Report read by the Secretary, Mr. Dowson, in which were included statements from every Congregation in the District, all approving the objects of the Society. Rightly did the Report affirm "that those objects are by no means sectarian in any bad sense of the word, and do not hinder us from co-operating with other Christians in any plans of usefulness or benevolence, so far as they will permit us to do so without compromising our own views of Religious truth. On the other hand, we do feel that greater earnestness and diligence than have hitherto been manifested, are requisite to the faithful discharge of our duty, as depositories of the sacred truths of unadulterated Christianity, as representatives of the sturdy Reformers of past ages, and as humble disciples of the holy and benevolent Jesus." Yes, union with other Christians is no doubt desirable in the prosecution of common purposes of good, yet may that union be obtained at too great a sacrifice. The hankering after such union to the abandonment or abeyance of our Christian principles, is as irrational as sinful. It has been often sought by members of our denomination, yet seldom thoroughly accorded. Bible Societies, Temperance movements, Anti-slavery confederations, Asylums for the blind, Peace institutions, the Education of the people, have had our aid, and the aiders been insulted, mocked, repudiated. More Christian dignity and manliness of bearing would have become us better. We have our own work to do, and others have theirs. The hateful spirit of prejudice and bigotry has to be exposed, put down, uprooted, or ever there can be religious or philanthropic union. Our own Institutions should be primarily supported, our own principles held aloft, for they are the
foundation of all good, all right, all happiness, and if measures in advancement of other objects can afterwards be benefitted by us, let our help not be wanting. As Mr Madge beautifully remarked in his speech at the dinner meeting in the Assembly Rooms at Norwich, "the duty of every faithful Unitarian Christian to that Religion from which he derives alike his liberty and charity" is “to give it the homage of their lips, by openly professing it in the face of an adverse world; of their hearts, by cherishing an ever-expansive love to God and man; and of their lives, by offering them a willing sacrifice to truth and righteousness."
The dinner was attended by about one hundred friends and members, Edward Taylor, Esq., chairman. The meeting was addressed by most of the individuals already named, with the addition of Messrs. Mottram and Youngs; and afterwards the whole assembly adjourned to tea, at the house and garden of H. Bolingbroke, Esq.
KENT AND SUSSEX UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION.-The annual meeting of this Association was held at Maidstone, on Wednesday, 18th July. The services were introduced by the Rev. J. O. Squier of Deptford, and the Rev. R. E. B. Maclellan of Canterbury delivered, from John iv. 8, 9, a discourse on the character of Christ considered as a Doctrinal Revelation, which gave great satisfaction both from the imputation of the topic which it brought prominently forward, and from the mode in which the subject was treated. After service the meeting for business was held, at which Reports were read from several Congregations, that from Canterbury, especially speaking of many accessions to the worshippers of the one God the Father, in that celebrated city. Much discussion subsequently arose as to the propriety of continuing the publication of the "Quarterly Friendly Visitor," which matter was at length left to the determination of of the Committee of the Association. In the event of their decision being in the affirmative, it was the unanimous wish of the persons assembled, that greater prominence should be given for the future, to the characteristic Doctrines of Unitarian Christianity.
At two o'clock the members and friends dined together at the Star Hotel, the Rev. E. Talbot, of Tenterden, presiding, and the Rev. J. C. Means, of Chatham, acting as vice-chairman. The leading sentiments were the Queen; the Kent and Sussex Unitarian Association; the preacher of the day, for which Mr. Maclellan returned thanks; our pious Nonconforming Ancestors, spoken to by Rev. J. O. Squier; Sunday Schools, advocated by Rev. J. C. Means; our Elder Brethren, the Jews, enlarged on by Rev. R. E. B. Maclellan ; the Churches in the Wilderness [the small societies of Unitarian Christians in the Weald of Kent], replied to by Rev. C. Saint; the claims of Unitarianism on our love and support, maintained by Rev. W. Stevens; Civil and Religious Liberty, descanted on by Mr. Cumming; and good wishes for all earnest and serious Inquirers, acknowledged by Mr. Wells, late a local preacher among the Wesleyans, but now seeking what truth there may be in the Unitarian expositions of the Gospel. The several addresses delivered were unusually bold and fervent, and, in these times when many are advocating the placing our distinctive principles in abeyance, it was cheering as well as refreshing to hear such great and proper importance attached to the duty of openly and fearlessly avowing our convictions before all men.