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KENT & SUSSEX UNITARIAN CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION.The Twenty-ninth Anniversary of this Association was held at Tenterden, on Wednesday the 28th of July. The Revds. G. Hoade of Battle, and T. Bradshaw of Cranbrook, introduced the services; and the Rev. G. Harris of Glasgow preached, from the words, "What is truth?"-John xviii. 38. After a brief introduction, as to the circumstances which gave occasion to this interrogation of Pilate, the preacher proceeded to consider this question, as applicable to revealed truth; which, he stated, would be found to be consistent with the attributes of God, as unfolded in the works of naturewould be in unison with itself, and, at the same time, calculated to develope the moral nature of man. He showed that the representations which modern Orthodoxy gives of the Divine dispensations, do not contain these criteria of truth; but that they are to be found in the simple and Scriptural creed of the Unitarian, who conceives Christ to have made known God as One and Merciful. This well-reasoned and impressive discourse was delivered to a very large and attentive audience. At the close of Divine service, the business of the Association was transacted, when an admirable report was read by Mr. J. E. Mace, the Secretary; C. Ellis, Esq. of Maidstone, in the chair. Various resolutions were moved by the Rev. B. Mardon of London, T. Bradshaw, G. Hoade, E. Talbot, Harris, and others, after the reading of the Report, which contained a powerful and touching appeal for renewed exertions, on the ground, that as Unitarian Christians maintain what they deem valuable but neglected truths-important talents have been committed to their charge; that, therefore, the worshippers of the Father only cannot be indifferent to what they deem purer views of Gospel truth, and at the same time be guiltless.
After the transaction of the business, the friends dined together in the Court Hall. This social meeting was more than usually interesting. Immediately after the cloth was withdrawn, the assembled friends were both surprised and delighted with seeing the Rev. L. Holden, though nearly 70 years pastor of the Unitarian Congregation at Tenterden, enter the room. The sensation produced by his appearance, but more particularly by the address which he delivered, was solemn, affecting, and consolatory. He took a rapid but distinct view of the manifestations which God had made of himself to man, by Abraham, by Moses, the Prophets, and Christ, and that by all these messengers God proclaimed himself as a God of mercy, and as the Father of his rational offspring; whilst in the Gospel, more particularly, we possess everything needful to guide us in the way of duty, to support
us in weakness, sickness, and old age, and to enable us to trust in God's mercy, even in the approaching hour of dissolution. Such views had been his own guide, and were now his comfort and unfailing support. After this address, which he concluded by an affectionate benediction, Mr. Holden quitted the assembly, amidst the loud cheers of some, and the tears, still more eloquent, of others. The Chairman, the Rev. Edward Talbot, in commencing the business of the afternoon, observed, that after the address they had just heard, it seemed almost a species of desecration to enter on any other topic, that they had been listening to the eloquence of facts, and had witnessed a refutation of the assertion, that our opinions were not able to support and comfort in the hour of man's utmost need, that meditation on what they had heard would strengthen their faith and prepare them for their peculiar duties.
Many important sentiments were proposed and spoken to in the course of the afternoon. The Rev. George Harris, in responding to the wish for his continued usefulness in his new scene of labour at Edinburgh, delivered a most stirring speech, in which he alluded to the inconsistencies and comings short of the Established Churches both of Scotland and England; and concluded by urging Unitarians to renewed diligence, inasmuch as their opinions were worthy of every effort for their diffusion; that the question really at issue, was not Trinity or Unity, but the defence of our common Christianity against the attacks of infidelity, the deadly influences of worldly-minded indifference, and the gloom and agony of creeds which cast a shade over the brightness of the mercy of God. Charles Ellis, Esq. one of the Justices of the Peace for the Borough of Maidstone, spoke on the subject of Civil and Religious Liberty. He regarded the present state of the Liberal cause as only a transitory reverse. Rev. T. Bradshaw made some excellent remarks on the sentiment, "May Woman, as the moulder of the infant mind and future man, realise the greatness of her power and the weight of her responsibility." Mr. John Brent of Canterbury, proposed "The Moral and the Political Emancipation of the Mind." He took a rapid review of the labours of the great and good in past times, evil spoken of then, but honoured afterwards; he held them up as examples to the Unitarians of the present day, and trusted, that those who came after us would rise up and call us blessed, for having advocated opinions on account of which many now cast out our name as evil. Mr. George Buckland, lately the Minister at Large in Manchester, in adverting to the subject of City Missions, made some important and cheering remarks on the
moral state of the poor; on their readiness to aid and assist each other; that the faults which they possessed were faults common to humanity; that, amidst all their sufferings, they are men; and that their brethren cannot work a richer mine, than to bring to light the treasures hidden and buried in the obscurities and sufferings of poverty. The meeting was also addressed by Messrs. Payne and Blundell; and, had time permitted, those assembled would have been delighted to have prolonged this social and improving intercourse. One hundred and twenty-five individuals sat down to dinner; and, after dinner, fifty or sixty more entered the room. Fifteen ministers and preachers were present. E. T.
SUNDAY, August 1, Mr. Harris preached at Maidstone in the morning and evening, for the Boys and Girls' Daily Schools supported by the Congregation. The collections amounted to eighteen pounds.
Mr. Harris also preached at Maidstone the following Sunday morning, August 8; and, in consequence of the request of the committee of the Maidstone Total Abstinence Society, delivered in the evening of the same day, a discourse on the Temperance Reformation. The attendance at all the services was large, and particularly so, notwithstanding the wetness of the evening, at the closing service.
DIED, at Glasgow, July 20, aged 49, Mr. John Dunn, mathematical and philosophical instrument maker, and conducting an extensive business, both in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Mr. Dunn had long been in delicate health, but still continued to attend to business till within a week of his death, when he found himself so unwell as to call in the aid of medical advice. Every means was employed to stay the progress of the disease, but in vain.
Mr. Dunn took a lively interest in whatever could tend to human improvement, virtue, and happiness. He was one of the founders of the Edinburgh Mechanics' Library, and also of the School of Arts' Friendly Society, and for many years took an active part in the management of those valuable institutions. He was also, for many years, curator of the Society of Arts for Scotland; and in the School of Arts for the Instruction of Mechanics, manifested untiring concern.
The friend of rational freedom, Mr. Dunn bore his share in the various elections for his native city, Edinburgh, which have occurred since the passing of the Reform Bill, and rejoiced in seeing the principles of free trade brought forward by the Ministers of the Crown.
Forming his religious opinions on personal examination, Mr. Dunn adhered with unflinching rectitude to what he deemed Christian truth and righteousness. From an early period of its history, he was connected with the Christian Unitarian Congregation of Edinburgh, and was one of the Trustees of St. Mark's Chapel. The estimation in which he was held by his fellow-worshippers, will best appear from the following resolutions, passed by the Committee of St. Mark's, on learning the death of their friend:
"1. That this Committee have heard, with the deepest regret, the afflicting intelligence of the sudden death of their friend and colleague, Mr. John Dunn.
"2. That the feelings of sorrow which the Committee experience on this most distressing occasion, are not confined to themselves alone, but must be equally felt by every member of the Congregation who is aware of the warm attachment of their late friend to the cause of Liberal Christianity, and his active and long-continued exertions in its support.
3. That this Committee desire to convey to Mrs. Dunn and her family, the assurance of heartfelt sympathy in the affliction into which this lamentable event must have thrown them; and to express a hope that the unfailing and elevated trust in the reality of another and a better life, which the Committee feel assured was the support of their deceased friend in his last sufferings, will likewise afford a strong stay and support to his family, under the distressing bereavement which has severed the nearest of their earthly ties.
4. That the Secretary be instructed to communicate these resolutions to Mrs. Dunn, on the first suitable opportunity."
ANNIVERSARY OF THE OPENING OF THE UNITARIAN CHURCH, NEW-HALL-HILL, BIRMINGHAM.-On Sunday, Aug. 15, two sermons were preached by the Rev. G. Harris of Glasgow, in the above-named Church; after which, £30 was collected towards liquidating the debt on the buildings of the Society. The service in the morning was well attended; and in the evening the Church was crowded.-A tea-party was held, in the large hall under the Church, on Tuesday, 17th instant; but Mr. Harris, it is to be regretted, was not able to stay in Birmingham for that meeting. The meeting on Tuesday was intended to celebrate the twofold purpose of the Anniversary of the opening of the Church, and also, the first establishment of the Society: it being seven years that very day, since its commencement in CambridgeStreet, Sunday, 17th August, 1834.
The party on Tuesday consisted of about 200 persons. The hall was decorated with evergreens; and flowers in abundance were tastefully dispersed on the tea-tables.
The national anthem was played before tea, on the pianoforte;* after which, the Rev. Thos. Bowring, the minister of "the Birmingham Unitarian Domestic Mission Society,' asked the blessing of God. During tea, several of the young persons of the Congregation, whose instruction in the several pieces, Mr. John Hughes, the gratuitous organist, had kindly superintended, played on the piano; and a truly happy scene presented itself, graced by the smiles of good-will and benevolence, in the countenances of young and old, where many families had met to taste the sweets of social intercourse, while they partook in common of the social meal. After tea, that well-named tune, " Devotion," was played on the piano by Miss Elizabeth Green, to which the assembly sang the hymn," God of mercy! God of might!"
Mr. John Green was then called to the chair, and prefaced the matter he had to bring before them, relative to the special occasion on which they had met, by reverting to the past days, and the first efforts of the Society; and alluded particularly to some who, in its first days, had sanctioned and fostered its efforts, when they saw the object sought and the spirit manifested were worthy of support; amongst whom, he said, were persons deceased, who should be mentioned, viz.-Edward Corn, James Luckcock, Archibald Kenrick, and Thos. Gibson, Esqrs. He referred, also, to some expressions of the late Dr. Lant Carpenter, made by him at a social meeting in Birmingham, relative to the founding of this new Society; that the Doctor conceived that the old Congregations in the town should rather be glad that, in the general order of things, another body had emanated from their own, capable of conducting another large Sunday-school, and likely to produce another congregation, rather than view their efforts as uncalled for, and another Unitarian Society in the town as unnecessary. The Chairman also stated, that he regretted that the Rev. George Harris, by whose valuable services the Society had been repeatedly so much benefited, could not be present to gratify the meeting; and, nevertheless begged to take the opportunity to read the first letter received from that Rev. Gentleman by the Society, when invited to preach in 1834, and also to read a letter received from the Rev. John Palmer of Dudley, in the same year, in reply to an
This is the excellent and full-toned instrument, presented to the Society, for its use at these social festivals, by the late Thomas Gibson, Esq. shortly after the donation he made of £1,000 towards the buildings.