網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Association was transacted. The ministers and friends, to the number of between 60 and 70, male and female, then dined together at the Crown Tavern.

Mr. W. Selby, minister of the Chapel at Lynn, was invited to the chair, and the afternoon was passed in great Christian harmony. In the evening, Mr. Tagart again preached from 2

im. i. 7. The friends in this district thinking it adds much to the pleasure to finish the day in each other's society, supped together at the place of the dinner, in number equal to that which had dined. The chair was taken by Mr. Tagart, who, with other individuals, enlivened the company with many ani. mated addresses and exhortations. lå an especial inanner was this seen and experienced when the chairman introduced the great subject of Catholic Emancipation. With this almost every heart seemed to beat in unison, and every tongue to respond in wishes for its speedy accomplishment. This, and the other subjects of address, were calculaied to excite zeal and constancy in the profession and support of Unitarian Christianity, believed, as it is by its friends, to be the truth as it is in Jesus, as well as most certainly by all who properly embrace it, a doctrine according to godliness; and impressively were its defenders exhorted to be careful on every occasion to act consistently with their profession of such principles of purity and truth.

The spirit of the meeting was kept up till the company sepa. Tated; nor is it too much to say from the countenances and expressions of most, that no small portion of enjoyment had been experienced, and, let us hope, edification and additional strength in the faith of the gospel, been also received.

W. STANGER, Secretary. Lynn, July 19, 1826.

Lancashire and Cheshire Provincial Meeting. · On Thursday, June 22, the Annual Meeting of the ministers and others of the Unitarian Christian profession was held at the Chapel, in Mosley Street, Manchester. The Rev. — Ashton, of Knutsford, led the devotional part of the service, and the Rev. W. Tate, of Chorley, preached the sermon. The text, Matt. xxvii. 8, “Be not ye called Rabbi, for one is your mas. ter, even Christ, and all ye are brethren.” The design of the preacher was to shew and enforce the principles of dissent, and. particularly of Unitarian dissent. The ministers and friends dined together to the number of forty-five to fifty.

On the removal of the cloth a series of resolutions were sub. mitted to the consideration of the meeting and adopted. The general tendency of these resolutions was to promote a closer union and a more effective co-operation among the Unitarians, of the two counties, and to make the Provincial Meeting the medium of such union and co-operation. The old name of

Provincial. Meeting of Presbyterian Unitarian Ministers is to be retained; but objects of more extended usefulness are to engage their attention. The Tract Societies of Liverpool and Manchester, and the Missionary Society, are to be invited to communicate the most remarkable features of their reports to the Provincial Meeting, and the meeting is to consider those means which seein best fitted to promote the interests of these societies. Other objects also contemplated to form a part of the business are, to ascertain the actual progress and real state of Unitarianism in the two counties-the number of children educated in the various schools belonging to Unitarians—and the real state of their different congregations. It is also intended that the Provincial shall be united to the British and Foreign Untiarian Association.

OBITUARY. On Friday morning, June 23, 1926, at the house of Mr. Thomas Brewin, Hales Owen, Mr. John Taylor, of Norwich, aged 76. The immediate cause of his death was a fall from a gig, while descending the hill which passes the residence of that gentleman. There, though a stranger, he was received and nursed with the most anxious solicitude, and with the kindest sympathy. Some hopes of his recovery were at one time entertained; but it pleased Hiin “in whose hands our breath is. and whose are all our days," to disappoint those hopes and to take him to himself. Mr. Taylor was a grandson of Dr. John Taylor, of Norwich. His maternal ancestors had for more than two centuries been resident in that city, and had been repeatedly called to fill the highest offices in it. That he discharged the duties of a good citizen, all who knew him (and there were few in his native city to whoin his character was not known) will testify. Firmly attached to the principles of civil and religious liberty, he gave them his active, zealous, and consistent support; but his mind was not formed to feel the bitterness of party spirit, and from his warmest political opponents (enemies he could have nove) he commanded both respect and friendship. Age had not abated the vigour of his mind; and though he had withdrawn from the cares of business, he was constantly occuvied in promoting, by public exertion or by private assistance, the welfare of others. His death, even at his advanced age, has thus left a gap which will not easily be filled up. But he has shewn his survivors how their duties to God and to their neighbour should be performed; how the most ardent piety may subsist with the most active benevolence; how firmness of prin ciple may be blended with sweetness of temper; how cheerfulness may exist without levity; how cultivation of mind may be added to the character of a man of business. May the blessing of such an example not have been bestowed in vain!

Christian Beformer. No. CXL.]. AUGUST. . [Vol. XII.

Reflections on the Goodness of God. The goodness of God is no other than his disposition to promote the well-being of his creatures; this disposition we ascribe to him in that absolute perfection which appertains to bis nature as absolutely perfect in every point of view. The system of nature presents to us immense numbers and great varieties of sentient beings; they have all strong propensities and corresponding powers for the pursuit and attainment of the objects which are conducive to their well-being ; and they all, in different degrees, actually partake of the blessings of existence. As the more perfect orders of creatures are susceptible of the most varied and the highest degrees of enjoyment, they occopy by much the largest and fairest portions of the earth, and render the inferior kinds, and almost all the principal productions of nature, subservient to their authority and conducive to their use. Man is placed at the head of the habitable globe, and is distinguished by a capacity of continually rising in the scale of intellect and enjoyment, and, with these advances, of producing a corre. sponding favourable influence on the well-being of the in. ferior animals, as well as of rendering both them and the inanimate creation subservient to his increasing excellence and happiness. If we compare man in his most defective condition, a wild wanderer in the desert, to man in a highly civilized state, with all nature subjected and, as it were, sympathizing in his acquisitions and enjoyments, we may form some idea of that advancing progression by which the Creator is continually carrying forward the great work of promoting the well-being of his creation. How numerous are the arts of civilized society! How conducive to the sustenance, improvement and enjoyment of life! They are all obtained gradually as the result of that growing capacity with which God has endowed his creature man. The manner in which both animate and inanimate nature concurs with his industry and improvements, and flourishes under his cherishing hand, is deserving of the highest admiration. The wild, unproductive desert is conVOL. XII.

2c

verted into a land of fertility and luxuriance, as the result of his industry. The ferocious and noxious creatures with which it was infested, either disappear or are tamed to his uses; while the more docile and useful kinds increase in numbers, in beauty and usefulness. His will becomes the law of their actions, and in yielding obedience to it, they, oh in the general, experience a great accession to their own enjoyments. The resources of his ingenuity in converting the rude materials of nature to his various purposes, are wonderful even in his own eyes ; nevertheless they are as nothing compared with what is effected by the co-operating energies of the Creator. If the desert is seen 'to smile on the industry of the agriculturist, it is because the germinating power of the Almighty crowns his labours with rich and abundant blessings. If the husbandman selects the useful seeds and plants, and prepares the earth for their reception, it is God who expands them into trees and fruits and flowers, and renders the single grain the source of manifold increase. It is his fashioning hand which, concurring with the attentions of man, adapts the several orders of domestic animals to lis wants, wishes and inclinations. Thus the Creator is seen continually conferring blessings on all the varied exertions of human intellect and industry, and promotiny the advancing enjoyments of man, and those also of the inferior animals, with his advancing capacities to receive and communicate them.

This tendency to progressive improvement may be said to mark the great plan, the coin prehensive outline, of the Divine proceedings, by which the scale of excellence avd happiness is in the most effectual manner extending, and, in my appreliension, is a decisive proof of the infinite goodness of God.

If we turn our attention to the natural relationships which are established between creatures of the same species, we perceive that they are admirably adapted for the maintenance of their mutual well-being. In all the orders of animals in which we have opportunities of observing it, the ardent affection of parents towards their offspring is conspicuous. It is a principle of sympathy or benevolence which, in the ardour of its solicitudes, is often found to end equal, if not exceed, the strongest impnlses of self-love. It is the source of the most amiable emotions, and of the most useful and energetic exertions. Not only are the tender offspring thes preserved and cherished, but the pa

rent in whose breast such excellent affections predominate, apd whose every fạculty is thus excited to such kind and arduous exertions, is by this principle greatly elevated in the scale of being and happiness. These affections, while they have for their object the well-being of those young and lively creatures, which are unable to sustain them, selves, but are thus rendered healthy and joyous, are at the same time sources of exquisite enjoyment to the breasts which they aniinate. The feelings of sympathy and good. ness are those of the purest happiness. We see with amazement their operation in raising the intellects and refining the passions of the four-footed, and feathered tribes. We witness with delight their influence on huinan life in almost every state of society. It is so predominant in all societies, that a departure from it is marked with odium, as a violation of one of nature's strongest laws. We pay see in an affection which continually draws forth the milk of human kindness, which exalts every faculty and nerves every action, not only a proof, but a lively emblein, of that, parental benevolence which superintends the whole system of animated being. And with the same manifest reason that we exclaim, “He that fashioned the eye, shall he not see?” we may add, “ He that inspires each parent with affection toward his offspring, that lights the eye with sympatby, and actuates the life with ardent usefulness, is not as the fountain of beneficent affections, of active goodness ?".

Besides the provision which is thus made for the suste nance and enjoyment of every creature in the young and helpless state, by which it is left free to expand its facul. ties and receive pleasure in the first stages of its existence, we might instance the obligations which each human being is under to the society and attentions of others for those various attainments by which he is enabled to recommend himself to notice, to forward his own improvement, to obtain a maintenance, and to contribute to the general benefit; as also the advantages be enjoys from the constant concurrence of his fellow-creatures for almost all that he can effect or obtain. By the combined skill and industry of various artizans, the agriculturist is furnished with the implements necessary to till and dress his ground. It is by mutual exchange that the several classes of society are furnished both with the various necessaries and blessings of life, and with the means by which they are procured.

« 上一頁繼續 »