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carry the Society securely through its
first ditficulties, many of its friends beIn presenting the Report of the first came life members rather than aboual proceedings of your Society, your Com- subscribers; and that however convenient mittee cannot refrain from warning you or even necessary may be such special at the outset agaiust any large expecta- aid at the origin of the Society, its cessations from the incipient efforts of an tion or diminution at the end of the first infant institution in promotion of an year canuot but be seriously felt. At oppressed cause. They are of opiniou the same time that the Committee have that such unreasopable expectations, pro- great satisfaction in being able to report ceeding from that preference of the im- an increase in the amount of subscripposing to the useful which constitutes tions this year, they must be permitted the bad taste of benevolence, have im- to urge the continued necessity of exerparted to the reports of religions societies tions to increase the funds of the Society. a style of declamatory and boastful ex- For the guidance of their successors they aggeration, which justly weakens the would record their opinion that efforts coufidence in their iruth. It is the ob- should be particularly directed towards ject of your Committee to give a faithful augmenting the provincial contributious. accouut of the mode in which they have In Dublin, the Society may be said to administered their trust, of the amount have the principle of self-diffusion; every of valuable influence which their resour member is or may be an advocate and ces may have circulated, and of the means promoter of the Society; and its annual of extended usefulness which appear to meetings, if conducted with due public them to demand increased exertion. city, keep it sufficiently before the view
It was to be expected that the neces- of those who have any sympathy with its sary expeuses of organizing aud setting objects. But in the country, where there in motion the machinery vi the Society are no such periodical mementos, the would contract its operations during the very existence of the Society is iu danger first year of its existence. It has been of being forgotten, or its design of being the object of your Committee to reduce misunderstood, unless efficient measures as much as possible the merely instru- be taken to awaken a permaneat interest. mental and unproductive expenditure of Four District Societies have already your funds, by the employment of volun- been formed; others are in progress; tary zeal instead of paid services ; and in and by observing the causes in which this they have been specially aided by these have had their origin, the Comthe kindness of a well-kuown and public- mittee are enabled to suggest two methods spirited member of the Society, who has by which the operations of the Society liberally afforded to the Committee a may be extended. (1.) Local agents room in the Northumberland Buildings, may be appointed from the knowu with all accompanying accommodations, friends of Unitarian Christianity in difin which to hold their monthly or special fereut places, and may be requested to meetings. With every assistance, how- receive and distribute catalogues aud ever, the cost of printing circulars, of other publications, to collect aud trauspurchasing the first book stock of the mit subscriptions, and by every available Society, and of providing bookcases for means to awaken an interest in the its reception, has cousiderably exceeded affairs of the Society. (2.) A mjuister the average of the annual incidental ex- may occasionally be sent from Dublin on penses. The eucroachment from such a mission to some of the principal towns causes on an income which does not at of Ireland, for the express purpose of present amount to 1301., must obviously encouraging Unitarianism where it is bare borne a large proportion to the weak, and bringing its zeal into action whole. On the other haud, the extraor- where it is strong. dinary exigencies of the first year have Your Committee cappot avoid exmet with extraordinary aid. The liberal pressing a hope that District Societies donations of books to the amount of 51. may not have the effect of intercepting from the West Riding Tract Society, of 51. all individual subscriptions from the from the Western Unitarian Society, and of places where they are organized. If this 251. from the British and Foreign Unitarian should be the case, your Society must for Association, have not only afforded cheer- ever remain exclusively a book associing assurances of the syni pathy of our ation, and be debarred from ever carrybrethren in England, but rendered an ing into effect the missionary objects efficient and almost necessary addition to which were distinctly couteinplated at its the materials of usefulness at the dis- formatiou. While the local bodies may posal of your Committee. It must also usefully represent the tract department be remembered that, with a view to of your Society, various other fields of
usefulness will undoubtedly open from every society professing a jealousy for time to time, with the power of entering Christian truth to present to the world which the central Society should be en- as nearly as possible what the sacred autrusted by the liberality of distant friends. thors themselves wrote; and that the
The District Societies which have hi- mere circulation of another translation therto been formed are at Cork, at Mo- of the Scriptures would tend to shake peyrea, at Carrickfergus, and at Bandon. the undiscrimivating veneration for the The Committee have great satisfaction in Common Version (as if the translators stating that an Association, embracing were infallible or inspired) which pre. the whole province of Ulster, and deno- vails among those to whom the works of minated the Ulster Unitarian Christian learned commentators are inaccessible.
Tract Society, is about to be connected On these suggestions a Sub-Committee with this Society. The troubles which was appointed to consider whether the have so long brokeu the religious peace proposed object were practicable, and to of the North of Ireland having in a great report on the best method of accommeasure subsided, it may be hoped that plishing it. Three plans presented themChristian truth may have found a fitting selves; either to attempt a new translaherald in Christian liberty. May heaven tion; or to adopt and circulate some shed the blessing of visible success on existing version of the New Testament; those noble pioneers of its march, by or to reprint, in the cheapest possible whom the valleys have been exalted and form, the most approved translations of the mountains been brought low!
the several books of the Old and New As this Society originated mainly in Testaments. The last of these plaus apthe want felt of religious publications in peared to the Sub-Committee the most harmony with the great principles of eligible, but, in the present state of your Unitarian Christianity, your Committee funds, to be impracticable. Your Comhave deemed it requisite to confine them. mittee fully accord with their learned and selves to the supply of this want, so respected friend by whom this subject long as the pecuniary resources at their has been introduced as to the intrinsic disposal were not more than adequate importance of the object, and leave their to this purpose. Except in one iostance, own proceedings on record for the asin which they voted a donation of books sjstance of their successors : and, in the to the amount of 30s. to Mr. Alexander mean time, it is satisfactory to believe Bradley, of Saintfield, they have not even that the publications of the Society are felt themselves authorized to circulate scattering a mass of theological knowbooks gratuitously. The value of the ledge, and exciting a desire for religious books and tracts distributed during the truth, which may prepare the way for a year is about £30; subscriptions having juster appreciation of an improved verbeen repaid in books to the amount of siou of the Scriptures than would at pre£14, and £16 having been received from sent reward the labours of the translator the sale of stock. Desirable as it is that or the editor. these amounts should annually increase, Though your Committee should be liait is impossible to question the good ef- ble to the accusation of laying before fected by even this circulation of rational you rather suggestions for the future and elevated views of Christianity ; im- than a report of the past, they cannot possible indeed to calculate it, unless we refrain from recording their conviction had access to the minds to which these that a wide field of usefulness is open to views have been presented, and could see the labours of the first well-qualified what stimulus had been given to intelli missionary that you may be able to emgent research, what perplexities had been ploy. Some opportunities of a peculiar relieved, what light infused, what moral kind have presented themselves of sendcourage awakened, what exalted thoughts ing Unitarian publications among the imparted of revelation, and duty, and humbler classes iu parts of the South of God.
Ireland; and the eagerness with which It has been urged on your Committee, they have been received manifests a deby an enlightened member of your So sire of religious light which it is graticiety, that the theological information fying to observe. And your Committee which they seek to diffuse must meet hare been assured by members of the with serious obstructions so long as the Cork District Society, whom they beliere Authorized Version of the Scriptures, to be competent judges, that an intellinotwithstanding all its merits of general gent, earnest, and affectionate missionary accuracy, and its greater merits of taste, of Unitarian Christianity would find in continues to be the final appeal of the many districts ready and grateful audiEnglish reader in matters of controversy; ences. Persuaded of the truth of this that it should be a primary object with statemeut, your Committ'e have only to regret that their means have not per- Newspaper, the Upper House seemed mitted them to enter on this animating solicitous to lower even the estimation field of exertion; and to hope that, uptil in which it was previously held by the some regular missionary can be sent forth, public. And now the time is come for the settled Unitarian ministers in large the people, those of them, that is, who towus may neglect no opportunity of ex- bave votes, to arquit themselves like tending their evangelizing efforts to auy men. It is a life-and-death struggle. parts of the country round them that may The Ministers have done their duty by afford an openiug to their benevolent the country; the King bas dove his duty, zeal.
and done it nobly, both by his Minis. Your Committee have now only to re- ters and his people ; it only remaius for sign into your hands the power which the present possessors of the elective you have confided to them. Their time franchise to do theirs, and the nation is of service has been cast in “ the day of regenerated. Many sacrifices must be small things :" but when they look back made; but the cause deserves martyron the past year, and see the approach dom in its behalf. Our bopes are high ; that has been made to a general recogni- for so is the enthusiasm of the public. tion of the name of Unitarian, the de- If, which heaven avert, such a House of gree in which the courage of the timid Commons be returned as will not pass has been awakened, the prejudices of the Reform Bill, the non-represented the misinformed removed, the scattered must form one great “ Help-yourself forces of Unitarian Christianity concen- Society.” But we trust it will not come trated, they disceru the promise of great- to that. er tines : and they reverently leave the noble cause in which they have engaged, Rammohun Roy. This “ Apostle of -the cause of religious truth, and Chris- the East" arrived at Liverpool on the tian piety, and moral freedom,-in the 8th ult., and in London a few days after. hands of that Being “ whose attributes His coming has excited great and geneit seeks to vindicate, and from whose ral interest. His health has suffered word it derives its strength."
from the fatigue of travelling and change
of climate ; but not, it is confidently Dissolution of Parliament.—The crisis hoped, so as to throw any doubt on his is come. Corruption would not commit assisting at the approaching Anniversary suicide eren to escape speedy execution; of the Unitarian Association. and its champions seem resolved to die in the last ditch. Ministers were twice The Anniversary of the British and beaten in the House of Commons; first Foreign Unitarian Association will be on the number of representatives for held, as usual, on the Wednesday in England, on which they withdrew the Whitsun-week, May 25th, at Finsbury Reform Bill; and then on a question of Unitarian Chapel. For particulars sec adjournment, by which the Supplies for Advertisement. the Ordnance Department were virtually withheld, on which they advised the The Annual Assembly of the Unitarian King to dissolve the Parliament. It was General Baptists will be held at the Meetprorogued, for this purpose, by bis Ma- iog-House in Worship-Street, London, jesty in person ; a mode which is under- on Whit-Tuesday, the 24th instant. The stood to convey the highest degree of Rev. B. Mardon, A. M., is appointed to royal disapprobation. Both Houses preach. The business will commence at were scenes of great confusion on the 9 o'clock, and the public service at II. day of proroga:ion (22d ult.); and on The Dinner will be at the White Hart that occasion, as well as in its proceed. Taveru, iu Bishopsgate Street, at four ings against the privter of the Times o'clock.
CORRESPONDENCE. Our Biographer of Continental Unitarians has spoken (p. 230) of the Introduction to Dr. Rees's Translation of the Racovian Catechism as a “ hasty sketch." We wish to correct the expression, as it may seem to detract from the learning and accuracy of one who is eminently distinguished by those qualities, and why has shewn them not less in the brief compositiou there referred to than in his many other able and useful works. Several Communications are unavoidably postponed.
ERRATUM. In the notice (p. 206) of the death of Mrs. Wood, of Chorlton Row, the Christian name, “ HANNAN," and the age, “ 51st year," were omitted.
THE MONTHLY REPOSITORY
NEW SERIES, No. LIV.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES OF EMINENT CONTINENTAL UNITARIANS.
No. III. Soon after Servetus began to practise as a physician, he met with his former pupil and friend, Peter Palmier, Archbishop of Vienne, who strongly urged him to settle in that city, and offered him an apartment in his own house. This offer Servetus was induced to accept; and here he continued to live, in good practice, and upon the most friendly terms with his Right Reverend Patron, till his repose was destroyed by the machinations of his arch enemy. It was not till after a period of thirteen years, spent in the greatest harmony, in the society and under the roof of a Catholic Prelate, that Calvin was able to mature the plan which he had formed for the destruction of Servetus. “ Calvin,” says Daniel Chamier, of Dauphiny,“ not only professed a belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, but defended it with the greatest constancy, while the Papists were slumbering, among whom, as long as Servetus lived, he lived in safety : but at length he was made by Calvin to feel the force of truth, and when he came to Geneva, was visited with a holy severity by the pious magistrates of that city.” Bolsec informs us, that as much as seven years before the death of Servetus, Calvin declared, in a letter to Peter Viret, that if he should ever come to Geneva, he would not allow him to return from it alive. The following has been assigned as the cause of this unchristian determination. In the year 1546 Servetus sent to Calvin a manuscript copy of a certain work, in which he freely canvassed his opinions, and ventured to point out some of his errors. Servetus at the same time requested Calvin's opinion concerning this work, which is supposed, with good reason, to have been the original draught of the “ Restitutio Christianismi.” But Calvin was so much incensed at the freedom which Servetus had taken in animadverting upon his views of the Christian scheme, that he ever after inveighed against him with the greatest bitterness, and came, as we have seen above, to the deliberate determination of plotting his destruction. This determination could not be carried into effect at once;
nor would Calvin, perhaps, have been able to accomplish it at all, had not Servetus, in his zeal for the truth, and his indignation against error, ventured upon the publication of the work above-mentioned. His avowed object in the composition of this book was to bring back the Christian world to what he conceived to be the primitive standard of faith; and it was for this reason that he entitled it “ Christianismi Restitutio,” or “the Restoration of Christianity.” It consists of seven parts. The first and last of these are particularly devoted to the doctrine of the Trinity; and the fifth contains a series of thirty letters addressed to Calvin on various doctrinal subjects. No author's name is given in the title-page; but M. S. V., the initial letters of Michael Servetus Villanovanus, are placed, together with the date, (1553,) at the end of the work. It was no sooner published than the most strenuous efforts were made, both by Protestants and Catholics, to suppress it, and with such effect, that not more than three copies are now known to exist. A facsimile of it was published in 1791, but copies of this are almost as seldom to be met with as the original. It was in the “ Christianismi Restitutio" that Servetus promulgated his discovery of the circulation of the blood. This discovery he beautifully unfolds in a passage which is too long to be transferred to the present memoir, and from which therefore the following brief and necessarily imperfect extracts are taken : “ Cor est primum vivens fons caloris, in medio corpore. Ab hepate sumit liquorem, quasi materiam et eum vice versa vivificat." - Vitalis spiritus in sinistro cordis ventriculo suam originem habet, juvantibus maxime pulmonibus ad ipsius generationem." “ Ille itaque spiritus vitalis a sinistro cordis ventriculo in arterias totius corporis deinde transfunditur.” Calvin, who was always on the watch for something by which he might criminate Servetus, soon gave out that this work was written by him; and availing himself of the assistance of one William Trie, a native of Lyons, who happened at that time to be residing at Geneva, he caused Servetus to be apprehended, and thrown into prison, on a charge of heresy. Some of the friends and disciples of Calvin have attempted to free him from this odious imputation, and he has himself represented it as a calumny; but the fact that Servetus was imprisoned at his sole instigation is too evident to admit of dispute. Abundant proofs of it may be found in the accounts of La Roche, Allwoerden, Mosheim, and Bock. Servetus had adopted the name of Villanovanus at least twenty years before the publication of his “ Christianismi Restitutio;" and it was scarcely known that Villanovanus and Servetus were the same person, till Calvin, with studied malignity, wrote to his friends to inform them that “ Servetus was lurking in France under a feigned name.” In order to prove this identity, William Trie was furnished by Calvin with some of Servetus's original letters, which were transmitted to Vienne; and the evidence supplied by them being conclusive of the fact, Servetus was apprehended, and committed to prison without delay. But having so long and so reputably exercised his profession of a physician in that city, M. de la Court, Vice-bailiff and Judge of Dauphiny, gave orders to his gaoler to treat him with kindness, and permitted all his friends who wished it to have free access to him. After undergoing three separate examinations, in the last of which he acknowledged himself the author of the letters to Calvin, he saw that his life was in jeopardy; and availing himself of the carelessness or connivance of his gaoler, effected his escape. His intention now was to settle as a physician at Naples, where Signor John Valdez, the subject of our next memoir, had already introduced the principles of Unitarianism; but he was induced by some strange fatality to go by way of Geneva; and Calvin, who had heard of his escape from