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Øn the occasion ; in' the morning, from John xi. 31, in the afternoon, to a very full congregation, from 2 Sam. xii. 23. The excellent sentiments, advanced with so much earnestness and tender sympathy by the eloquent preacher, made strong im. pressions on the audience, and were highly edifying and consoling to the mourning parents and friends.
Evesham, April 16, 1828.
April 11, after a short illness of two days, at Highbury Grange, HARBIET, the daughter of Mr. John BENTLEY, aged 21 years.
The following brief account is from a father's pen, commųnicating the sad event to a friend :
“Our poor dear Harriet is no more : her pure spirit quitted its tabernacle of clay for those realms of bliss where there will be no more sickness, sorrow, or death, at three o'clock this morning
“Her disorder was inflammatory, and it was only two short days from my first information of her being at all unwell to its fatal terimination, though her medical attendants were almost incessant in their attentions.
“ Never in my life did I witness in nature's last struggle such real fortitude and sweet Christian resignation, in bidding a long and 'last adieu to all the endearments of the most affectionate friendships. 'She called every one in the house to her bed-side, in exact order, and, with a short but warm embrace, bid each ą last farewell!
“Seeing the grief of her mother, she looked anxiously at her, and said,
Attend to my dying injunction : I hope you will never forget me, but I entreat you not to grieve for me. I am not afraid to die, and never was happier in my life, believing that we shall all soon meet again in happier worlds."
“She said she should have been happy to have taken leave of all her dear friends, but that was not permitted : she named most of them affectionately.
“But I cannot proceed to narrate all her last, dying, kind and feeling reflections and remembrances; they will be a source of long and lasting consolation to us all, who had the melancholy happiness of hearing them”
April 15, aged 75 years, at his house, Upper Homerton, Mr. JACOB Godfrey Hippius, Merchant. For several weeks he laboured under a severe disease, which at his age (upwards of three-score years and ten) nature was utterly unable to support, and which baffled all medical skill. He was ever ready to hold out an helping hand to the poor and destitute, the sick and the affilieted, the fatherless and widow, many of whom will rise up to call him lalessed. His warmest feelings were engaged
on behalf of the liberties of mankind, and his honesty in the expression of them, as well as his unbending integrity, often stood in the way of his worldly interests. But he had his reward in the satisfaction of his own conscience, in the esteem of the small circle of friends in which he latterly moved, and in the well-grounded hope of the blessing of “the righteous Lord, who loveth righteousness."
AN ACCOUNT OF THE LABOURS OF THE REV. G. BUCKLAND,
THE MISSIONARY OF THE LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION.
The above-named Association, under whose auspices I have acted as its stated Missionary for the last fifteen months, has regularly supplied four congregations with the means of moral and religious improvement; besides the occasional assistance it has afforded to other societies, and the exertions which it has inade to introduce Unitarianism into new places. Its operations, however, have been principally (though by no means exclusively) confined within the very populous district around Manchester, and have, upon the whole, been attended with considerable success.
At Oldham I have preached many times ; but from various causes the congregation there continues in a very depressed state. The society at Oldham has been peculiarly unfortunate. It was early deprived of the very efficient services of that truly excellent young man, the late Rev. B. Goodier, under whose ministry, had Providence spared his life, it would in all probability have continued to flourish. Several of the principal members emi. grated to America, and from the difficulty of procuring a supply, the public services of the chapel were very irregular ; nor, from the same cause, has the congregation enjoyed the advantages which it otherwise would have done during the last quarter. But, notivithstanding the low state of the society at Oldbam, I am glad to find that the few friends of Unitarianism there are inanifesting a greater zeal, and indulge the hope that means will shortly be devised for regularly conducting public worship.
I have often preached in several populous villages in the vicinity of Oldham, and have sometimes addressed large audiences in the open air, and distributed a great number of tracts. The working people of this, district have long been noted for their rough and uncouth manpers, but they seem now to be emerging from the darkness in which they have been enveloped for ages, and manifest a spirit of inquiry on moral and religious subjects. I have reason to believe that I have been the means
of widely scattering in this densely populated district the seed of future good.
At Middleton I have preached frequently, but not with that success which I could wish. The congregation is composed of thinking and serious people, but their number is small. They have a Sunday-school that is flourishing, in which 120 poor children are reaping the advantages of ednication. Though Unitarianism has not rapidly increased in Middleton, still much that is valuable has been effected; many popular prejudices have been softened down, and a more liberal spirit is beginning to manifest itself towards the Unitarians.
At Swinton, my labours, in conjunction with those of others, have been very successful. The regular congregation consists of about eighty persons. A Sunday-school is likewise established, in which 150 children are educated. I have often preached on a week-day evening in the different houses of those who belong to the society. I would strongly recommend this plan wherever it is practicable; it carries religion to the homes of the people ; brings it before the notice of their children, and thus promotes family religion and domestic happiness. The society at Swinton is greatly indebted to the attention and exertions of two gentlemen who reside near the village, (one of whom is a missionary preacher, and was the founder of the society,) and who have given ine every assistance and encouragement.
Astley I have frequently visited, and spent many agreeable days with this interesting people. The society here is a living proof of the good which is sometimes found to attend the smallest beginnings. A few years since, Unitarianism was unknown to the inhabitants of this village, but now there are not less than eighty or a hundred (and often a much greater number) who meet regularly on the Sabbath “to worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” When the Missionary Society began its operations here, (about five years since,) the religious services were conducted for a considerable time in a barn, as no better place could then be procured. The people flocked together for a while to hear what this new doctrine was, but manifested no inclination to embrace Unitarianism ; many, indeed, who are now its firmest friends, evinced the greatest opposition. I mention this to shew that the people of Astley were not forward in identifying themselves with Unitarians; their conversion was gradual, and, therefore, I hope, the more certain. As soon as a few began to avow Unitarian sentiments, a more commodious place was taken, a room capable of accommodating near two hundred people, in which a Sunday.school was commenced, and public worship regularly conducted. The congregation from that time has continued to increase, and the Sunday-school consists of 150 children. The teachers meet together weekly, on Saturday evenings, for the truly
commendable object of mutual improvement. It must afford to the benevolent mind the highest degree of pleasure to visit this little community, and to witness their proceedings; with them I have spent some of the happiest days of my life.
I have visited the district of the Methodist Unitarians three times, and have been pleased to observe the cause of truth advaucing among them. My first visit to this part was in May, -1827; the second, in January, 1828; and from the third I ain just returned. I have each time taken up my bead quarters at Padiham, as I thought this society stood most in need of any services. When I visited them last year I found them active and zealous in the great cause of religion, though they were but just recovering from the very severe distress under which they laboured. But on my last visit to them I found their numbers greatly increased, and every prospect of farther success. I preached on the Sunday, and sometimes during the week, to congregations consisting of from three to four hundred people, who paid very serious attention. They have likewise weekly prayermeetings, which are held in different parts of the town. I have attended some of them, and was delighted to see the decent and truly Christian manner in which they were conducted. A superintendent is appointed, who commences by reading and expounding a portion of scripture; he afterwards, with as inany others as feel desirous, gives out a hynin and engages
prayer: At the meetings which I attended there could not be less than a hundred persons, though another of the same kind was held in a different part of the town, and which I understood was equally numerous. I feel persuaded, from what I have seen here and at other places, that meetings of this or a similar nature are admirably calculated to excite the best emotions of the .soul, to promote the growth of genuine piety, and to extend the bounds of Christian benevolence. They have likewise held, during the winter, weekly, meetings for the investigation of certain passages of Scripture, and which have been numerously attended. Mr. J. Ashworth, of Newchurch, also preaches to ther once a month, on a Monday evening, which he has been in the habit of doing for many years.
The society at Padiham affords one of the best proofs I ever had of the peculiar adaptation of Unitarian Christianity to the wants and capacity of the poor. They not only understand its principles, but likewise enjoy its practical influences. Several of them have told me, that during their late distress, when under the privations of want, that their religion afforded them the richest consolation. Often have I heard them speak with feelings of the liveliest gratitude of the donations sent them by their distant friends; they were cheerfully given and most thankfully received. The congregation still continues to labour under a heavy ground rent for the chapel (£10 per annum), which, to a people that are extremely poor, is a great burden.
They have hitherto received the kind assistance of friends, or they never could have raised annually, in addition to their other necessary expenses, such a sum among themselves. Should an appeal be made to the public to assist them in removing this burden, which so materially operates against the cause of truth in Padibam, we most sincerely hope that it may receive the attention of the charitable and benevolent. I feel great pleasure in stating that the Sunday-school connected with this congregation is in a most flourishing state, consisting of 240 scholars, several of whom are adults.
During my visits to Padiham I have often preached in the week, and sometimes on the Sunday morning, in several of the surrounding villages. I have generally had large audiences, and never received the slightest interruption. I have had the honour of preaching the great doctrine of the Divine Unity where it had never been preached before, at least as it is maintained by Unitarians. On Sunday morning, April 27th, I preached to between two and three hundred people at Downham, a most beautiful village, situated under the eastern part of Pendle Hill. The service was conducted in the open air, in a garden, as the house was too small. In this sequestéred village (eight miles from any Unitarian congregation) are living about a dozen serious and intelligent Unitarians, whom I recommended to meet together on the Lord's-day for the purposes of Christian worship.
At Rattonstall I have preached twice to pretty good congregations. This society, a few years since, with their worthy minister, who is upwards of seventy, were avowed Antinomians; but such is the change that free inquiry and scriptural investigation have produced, that they are now decided Unitarians. At Newchurch I have preached only once, but have had considerable intercourse with their highly respected minister, Mr. J. Ashwortb. The congregation, I understand, amounts on the Sunday to about three hundred. Upon the whole, froia what I have seen of the Unitarians in this part, I can bear testimony to their piety, zeal and good sense; and ain thoroughly convinced that the labours of a missionary would, in this populous and extensive district, meet with an ample reward.
G. BUCKLAND. Manchester, May 9, 1828.
ANNIVERSARY OF MOOR-LANE MEETING-HOUSE,
MOORS. On the 6th, 7th and 8th of April was held the Sixth Anniversary of the Moor-Lane Congregation, Bolton-le-Moors. The Rev. H. H. Piper, of Norton, near Sheffield, conducted the religions services of Sunday morning and evening, and the Rev. J. R. Beard those of Sunday afternoon and of Monday evening.