« AnteriorContinuar »
All persons who have applied their minds to moral and religious inquiries must be gratified by discovering, that in every age and nation, and amid all conflicting theories of religion, the wise and good have always thought nearly alike on the general principles of conduct which produce human happiness or woe. These principles are in fact nothing more than rational inferences from what is seen and learnt in the workings of nature; and so long as people adhere to nature and reason for their guide, they cannot but travel together, and arrive at similar conclusions.
The concurrence is delightful; and while it necessarily tends to excite mutual good-will and sympathy among mankind, it also creates a hallowed mindfulness and adora. tion of the great first cause from which such admirable harmony and every blessing flows. This Natural Theology is the basis of all religions, and is in itself the universal religion. The Scriptures abound with admirable elucidations of these principles : but the teachers of sects insist on professions of implicit belief in certain mysteries, miracles, and dogmas, whereon many reasoning Christians are unconvinced ; and as the latter would consider it a disgraceful act of hypocrisy, and a gross impiety, in public worship, to address their Creator with protestations that were insincere, they abstain from attending church or chapel altogether.
To afford Christians of every sect, and the religiously disposed of all persuasions, the satisfaction of assembling together for divine worship, and of having their minds refreshed and invigorated by expositions of the principles which naturally produce peace and happiness, free from the supernatural creeds upon which mankind are divided and exasperated, the Chapel in Beaumont Square has been opened and endowed.
The arrangement of the Morning Devotion on Sundays is as follows:
The service begins at eleven A. M. with a symphony. The Minister then, in an opening address, states the objects of the Meeting, exhorting the congregation carefully and impartially to reflect on and inquire into what has been their conduct, particularly since the last weekly meeting, and to ask their consciences whether they have faithfully discharged their moral duties, of which he gives a summary description. He suggests that those who have fulfilled them as occasion has required, are entitled to rejoice in the cheerfulness of an approving conscience; but that others who have violated, or neglected them, are not entitled to that comfort, until they shall have repented, and made the best amends in their power by redoubled diligence in doing good.
This exhortation is followed by a hymn, anthem, or chorus.
A lesson is then read upon one of the moral duties. These are brought under twelve leading principles or laws of nature; one of which is made the subject of a
lesson on each Sunday: and the whole are gone through once in every quarter, or four times in a year.
The reading of the lessons is followed by a hymn, anthem, or chorus.
An adoration of the Almighty is then delivered, having reference to some of the most striking manifestations of the Divine wisdom and goodness in the physical and moral world.
This is followed by a hymn, anthem, or chorus.
A lecture or sermon, which usually bears on the lesson of the day closes the service, and a strain of music in accordance with the lecture accompanies the departure of the congregation.
The object is every Sunday morning to bring the prin. ciples of conduct which conduce to our safety and happiness in life before the minds of the congregation-first by describing the whole round of duties in a summary manner in the opening address, then by reasoning on some particular duty in the lesson of the day, and afterwards illustrating it, and enlarging on it in the sermon.
The Sunday evening service will commence at seven o'clock, and consist of a series of lectures in which the most remarkable phenomena of nature will be described and explained, in illustration of the infinite wisdom, beneficence, and power of God, in a manner which, it is hoped, will strengthen the mental capacity, and enrich its stores, while it improves the moral and religious feel, ings of the hearers.