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ANNIVERSARY OF THE YORK UNITARIAN SUNDAY-SCHOOL.
York, Feb. 6, 1828. The anniversary of the Sunday-school conducted in the Unitarian Baptist chapel, York, was held on Thursday, January 24, and gave occasion to a large and spirited meeting of the friends of education and of religious inquiry.
In the afternoon the Sunday scholars assembled in the chapel, to the number of 60; and, after a short religious service, and an address from one of the teachers, proceeded to the Mer. chants? Hall, where tea was provided for them. This is a large, convenient room, which was furnished gratuitously for the occasion, through the generosity of a Catholic gentleman who is governor to the company. It was gratifying to the teachers and their friends to observe the very cleanly appearance of all the children, from the eldest to the least, and to mark the propriety and order which attracted the admiration of inany per: sons as they walked two and two through the streets, and which was afterwards maintained throughout their feast: Nothing seemed wanting to complete the pleasing impression which the siglat of their innocent enjoyment on this annual festival could not fail of producing in those who look with in. terest on the sports or the pleasures of childhood. The whole scene afforded satisfactory proof that they were initiated into those practical habits of neatness, order, and good behaviour, which, though we do not usually speak of them as virtues, par: ticularly when exhibited on a boliday such as I am describing; are nevertheless very closely connected with moral habits and religious feelings.
The children were dismissed before dark; and the tea-table was then prepared for the visitors and friends assembled on the occasion. Upwards of seventy now sat down, and the number was afterwards increased to about a hundred by the arrival of such as had been detained from the social table, but were anxious to be present at the conversational part of the evening. A chairman was now chosen, and a series of lively and interesting addresses from several students of the College, and from other friends connected with the Sunday-school, or interested in the progress of religious truth, engaged the willing attention of the meeting until nine o'clock. The prose perity and usefulness of the Sunday-school, by the anniversary of which we had been called together, naturally engaged our first good wishes. An encouraging account of its state and prospects was given by the teachers; and the important cause of universal education found several advocates, and apparently as many friends as hearers.
The success of the Unitarian cause, in connexion with the St. Saviour Gate and Jubber Gate chapels in this city, furnished
the next topic for mutual congratulation and encouragement. And great indeed was the satisfaction with which the past saccess of the exertions made by the joint congregations in their common cause was now reviewed. The encouragement which that review gave to persevering and increased efforts in spreading scriptural truth will, it is hoped, be confessed by the steady and active zeal of all who then rejoiced in the anticipated pro. gress of inquiry and knowledge. The meeting expressed their cordial sympathy with the venerable, but now enfeebled, missionary of Christian Unitarianism in this neighbourhood, Mr, John Mason, whose best days (and the vigour of all his powers has been graciously prolonged to a good old age) had been indefatigably employed in the vineyard of Christ, and whose now numbered hours are blest with all the dying Christian's hopes.
Advancing from subjects of Unitarian interest in the imme. diate neighbourhood, the attention of the meeting was directed to some imperfect sketches of wider and more distant prospects, The objects of the Unitarian Association, the latest accounts of the Calcutta mission, American Unitarianism, and the secession of the “ Tolerants” from the advocates of Orthodox creeds among the American Quakers, preserved the interest of the meeting alive to the last, and were only too briefly adverted to when other subjects had beguiled us of almost all our limited time.
I shall not trouble your readers, Mr. Editor, with further details of our unpretending tea party. I wish rather to record (if I could do it with any thing of that spirit which animated the meeting itself) the pleasing and beneficial tendency of this and similar associations. It was delightful to see so many persons, young and old, enjoying themselves so unreservedly, and at the same time. so innocently and so rationally in each other's company, and it is surely impossible that a meeting which called forth so much kind feeling towards one another, and so much zeal for the success of several important objects, should fail of supplying a perceptible impulse to useful exertions, and of uniting more firmly the hands of those whose hearts are individually warmed with an interest in the same plans for the education of the young, and for the improvement and happiness of their race.
UNITARIAN MARRIAGE BILL.
A Deputation from the Unitarians, of which WM. SMITH, Esq., M. P., was at the head, have been favoured with an inter: view on the above subject, with his Grace the Duke of Wellington, now Prime Minister. They were very courteously received. His Grace promised to take the matter into consideration, and to return an answer. As yet, the intentions of Government are not made known ; but we cannot help thinking that no obstacles will be put in the way of this righteous ipeasure.
CORPORATION AND TEST ACTS. WAILE this sheet is printing, the Repeal of these Acts is, we take for granted, being discussed in the House of Commons, on the motion of Lord John RUSSELL. We cannot speak confidently of the result; but the auguries of friends and the prognostications of foes in Parliament allow us to hope that the motion will be carried. A decided majority might give the question a fair chance in the House of Lords. Some hundreds of Petitions on the subject have been already presented to both Houses : some from Corporations, several signed by clergymen and members of the Church of England, and many from friends of Religious Liberty, not calling themselves Protestant Dissenters. The Roman Catholics too, both in Ireland and England, have come nobly forward on behalf of the Dissenters, and their petitions cannot fail of making an impression upon Parliament. We trust, also, that this generosity on the part of the Catholics will awaken a corresponding liberality in the breasts of the Dissenters and induce them, whether they succeed in their own claims or not, to help forward the great national work (as we conscientiously esteem it) of Catholic Einancipation.
ASPECT OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
At home, attention has been lately absorbed in the changes of ministry, and the criminations and recriminations of the Ins and Outs, which as yet nobody understands. One thing only is seen, and that is, according to the often-quoted saying, “ With how little wisdom the world is governed !” The proper business of Parliament has been hitherto nearly at a stand.
France is shewing herself regenerated. The king has appointed a constitutional ministry, and the Charter is again respected. There is no longer a censorship on the press; and one of the principal periodical works (the Revue Encyclopédique) has published the passages struck out of former numbers by the Censors, amongst which we observe one in commendation of the English Ünitarians and their magazines, the Christian Reformer amongst the rest.
The Ottoman Porte, having for some time practised dissimulation, has at length put out a hostile manifesto against the Infidels. Some doubts have been thrown upon this State Paper ; but if it be authentic, war between Turkey and the Christian European powers seems inevitable.
CORRESPONDENCE. Communications have been received from Ą Tradesman ; 1. H.F.; T. L.; and A Layman.
Erratum.-Vol. XIII. p. 541, note §, 3 lines from the bottom, for Dudley's," read, Dodsley's.
OBSERVATIONS ON I COR. XV.
March 1, 1828. OFTEN as this sublime chapter is read at the burial of the dead,* the method and design of it are not perhaps distinctly understood. Like an eminently grand and beautiful spot in a garden of large extent, it stands by itself in the epistle ; having no specific connexion with what goes before or follows, yet referring to the state of opinion, at that time, in the church of Corinth. It opens with a recognition, by the author, of those plain facts, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which constituted the gospel that he had preached to the Corinthians ; facts which they had professedly received, but of which it became necessary to remind them (1-5). Feeling the peculiar importance of our Saviour's resurrection, Paul adds a summary of the evidence on which it chiefly rests; classing himself
among the persons who saw our Lord subsequently to his having risen from the grave (5~12).
One error which obtained in the Christian society at Corinth, the denial, by some of its members, that there will be a resurrection : not, probably, that they doubted of a life to come
but that they looked upon such a life as likely, or, at least, possible, to be enjoyed without this particular process, or by means of some other. This sentiment was manifestly at variance with a belief in the occurrences
* Nothing is more common than to meet with eulogies on the Burial Service employed in the Church of England. Yet scarcely any commendations are more indiscriminate and misplaced. In that service, when divested of some passages of Scripture interwoven with it, there is little which can justly claim our admiration : most of the prayers contain exceptionable, irrelevant and ill-expressed sentiments; and even the noble chapter before us fails of making a due impression, when it is read over the remains of individuals, concerning whom charity itself must pronounce that they were strangers to the Christian spirit and hopes; and read, too, (a frequent case,) with the greatest: carelessness and inaccuracy.
which form the basis of the gospel. Accordingly, the apostle proceeds to shew that on the supposition of there being no resurrection from the dead Christ could not be risen, and that if Christ be not risen, the hopes of Christians are destroyed, and the writer's own testimony false, his own conduct absurd in the extreme, and his own situation beyond description wretched (12—20). The very idea being inadmissible, he reasserts the fact : he declares that the resurrection of Jesus is preparatory to the happy resurrection of all his sincere disciples, and a pledge of it; be affirms that the exercise of Christ's mighty power, in raising all the dead, will instantly be succeeded by his delivering up his mediatorial kingdom, then completely victorious, to his God and Father. Paul next makes a solemn appeal to his own sufferings in the Christian cause, and to those of his brethren, as proofs of the enlightened and firm belief of the apostles in a future resurrection, to be effected by the instrumentality of their risen Master : and he warns the Corinthians against those licentious notions and practices, to which the rejection of this doctrine naturally led (20—35).
Such is the summary of the contents of the former part of the chapter, the remaining verses of which are chiefly employed in refuting a cavil that seems to have made a strong impression upon members of the church at Corinth, who, no doubt, had been sufficiently habituated and attached to disputations in the schools of the philosophers. Although the gifts of God can never be mutually irreconcileable, yet the speculations of man's wisdom are quite misplaced when it is attempted to blend them with the facts and discoveries of Revelation. By this attempt, indeed, more than by any other cause, the corruptions of the pure truths of the gospel have been produced. The Corinthians, like some modern reasoners, inquired, “How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come ?" As though difficulties attending the manner in which the event is to be brought about, and the qualities and appearance of the future body, ought to affect our faith in the event itself! Paul treats the objection as the fruit of ignorance and inconsideration ; styling the proposer of it an unreflecting man.* After some illustrations,
* Nut as our translators improperly render the word, Fool !"