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interesting Address, as well as for his excellent conduct in the chair, and the meeting separated much pleased, and, it is hoped, instructed also, by the proceedings of the evening.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE. Thirty years since, the Society whose annual meeting now takes place sprang into existence, and amidst many vicissitudes and under many depressing circumstances, it has held on the tenor of its way, doing, as it is fondly hoped, much good, though of an unostentatious kind, and thus contributing to spread the pure uncorrupted doctrine of God our Saviour, as revealed by his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. During the lapse of so many years, a whole generation has passed away, most of the original promoters of this institution have been summoned from earthly scenes, and can no longer co-operate with us in the great work that was nearest to their hearts. “We a little longer stay,” and having entered into their labours we are every way bound to contend, as they did, earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. We cannot believe that the day for active exertion is at an end, that, the victory being won, we have no more to do but to repose on our laurels, and raise the song of triumph and congratulation that neither sin nor error has any longer dominion over mankind ; nor can we imagine, that, admitting the existence of evil, arising very much from low, partial, and every way unscriptural views of God, his providence, and his relation to his creatures, that this is best met by agreeing to sink all discussion on differences which undeniably prevail
, and by treating every theological opinion as equally valuable or equally worthless. Firmly believing that the time will come when there shall be but one faith and one practice, each the purest and best of its kind, we yet see but one way to bring about this desirable result, to make our own faith more and more Scriptural, our own practice the best comment by walking worthy of our high and holy calling, and by thus, as lights shining in dark places, teaching men, by our good works, to glorify our Father in Heaven. Acting on these views, the successive Committees of this Society have ever directed their main anxiety to the catalogues which have, for the most part, appeared annually, being ever very desirous to select books best calculated to subserve the important purposes of informing the judgment, enlightening the understanding, mending the heart, and enforcing, by all the power of argument, and the sanctions of God's word, the necessity of that holiness of heart and life which can alone enable men to see the Lord. It is impossible to say how much good these silent yet eloquent messengers have done. The simple and lucid statements of Priestley, the nervous reasoning of Belsham, the devotional spirit of Cappe, the spirituality of Channing, the tenderly affectionate exhortations of Ware, each and all have contributed to form the mind, to regulate the affections, and to refine the soul. But their priceless writings would have been unknown to thousands who have rejoiced, and still rejoice, in the information and happiness thus imparted, were it not for Societies such as these, which have given us the means of learning the best thoughts of the best men, and in the best manner. The Teachers' Tract Society has aimed to go into the cottage and the humble dwelling of the artizan. It has sent thither those who have been ever ready to repeat their lessons, who have ever come at a call, and have said just as much, or as little, as was necessary for the time, or that there
was leisure to receive. Such are among the manifold advantages of books, and for such noble purposes have they been received and welcomed by the pious and thoughtful of all times. It deserves remembrance that but for the annual lists published by our Tract Societies, persons would in general be ignorant of the existence of many works of great value to us as a denomination, and their learned writers also would have had little encouragement to give their labours to the world. The Tract Society conveys information to those who most need it, to individuals who seldom, if ever, see our periodicals, and are, therefore, ignorant of books from time to time appearing. This society has peculiar claims on public support, because it aims to embrace all. There are very few indeed who cannot afford one shilling a-year in the purchase of books. Those who imagine they cannot, have only to make the experiment: less than one farthing per week will do it, and a very little self denial would effect the whole. The Secretary would be very happy to receive weekly pence, or other. wise to facilitate the arrangement, and at the end of the year, the period for the distribution of tracts, the
full value or the subscription will be returned in books, and, let the Committee again say, in books of the best kind, and at the selection of the subscriber. This view of the matter is earnestly pressed on the minds of the friends present. Again, the Committee would venture to call attention to the great desirability of individual exertion in order to increase the number of subscribers. Let members converse on the matter, among their acquaintance, hand about their catalogues and lend their books, and very much benefit would result.
The operations of the Society have necessarily been much confined during the past year. The committee have printed a catalogue, and selections by the subscribers have been made from it. The Committee have great satisfaction in saying that not a single claim remains unliquidated. In some instances, but they have been comparatively rare, other books than those that were selected were sent to the subscribers. This has never been done willingly. In every case it has arisen from not being able to procure the books specified. Many, when written for to London, were not to be found there. One grand cause of this defect is about to be removed :-A Unitarian bookseller has established himself in the Metropolis, and that which has been long and earnestly desired is in progress of being effected, a depôt for the sale of Unitarian publications, together with an assurance to persons in the country, that their wants in this respect will be supplied.
The Committee once more earnestly request additional aid, arising from the accession of members, and they conclude with expressing a fervent hope that their successors in office, will, at the next annual meeting, be enabled to congratulate the Society on a large addition to that strength which can alone ensure permanence to any Institution. Br
£ Balance in hand 4 3 8 By various payments 12 12 11 Subscriptions for past
Balance in hand 4 2 4 year
12 11 7
£16 15 3
£16 15 3
OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY, 1849-50. President, Rev. Hugh Hutton; Treasurer, Mr. John Green ; Secretary, Rev. Thomas Bowring; Committee, Revds. S. Bache, E. Bristow, J. Cranbrook, Messrs. Ashford, Barker, Earl, Figures, Green, Heath, Lloyd, Luckett, Prime, and Redfern.
The Congregation of Mead Row, Godalming, Surrey, held their anniversary meeting on Sunday, the 5th of August, when the Rev. Maxwell Davidson, the esteemed minister of the congregation, preached from the xcvii. Psalm 11, “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart;" and the Rev. Edmund Kell
, of Newport, Isle of Wight, addressed the audience from Malachi ii. 16, on the advantages which result from virtuous and pious men meeting together for the purposes of instructive and brotherly communion. The congregations were large both morning and afternoon, friends attending from Horsham, Dorking, Petersfield, &c., in accordance with an old and excellent custom in this part of the kingdom, of neighbouring churches thus showing their sympathy in each other's welfare. After the afternoon service, about 120 persons of both sexes took tea in the chapel. The Rev. E. Kell was then called to the chair, and after the interesting Reports of the Congregation and Sunday School had been read by the respective secretaries, Mr. Cook and Mr. Sidney Evershed, various sentiments were proposed, with appropriate remarks, by the Rev. M. Davidson, Messrs. Evershed, Crosskey, Cook, John, William, and Isaac Ellis, and Mr. Pinnock, of Newport. These sentiments had reference to-The venerated memory of our predecessors in upholding in this place the worship of God our Father; the responsibilities attaching to a Church which endeavours to prove that man can be religious without being irrational or superstitious; our sympathy with all Associations and Churches which endeavour, in the spirit of Christ, to reduce the vice and misery around them; the cause of general Education, trusting that the legislature and the people will ere long concur in an earnest determination to spread its blessings among all classes, without distinction of party or sect; prosperity to our Chapel Library and Sunday School; the friends from distant congregations whose sympathy has led them to attend on this occasion ; our guest and chairman, whose active zeal and benevolence induce our best wishes for his health and happiness. The proceedings of the day were characterized by a healthful glow of zeal and brotherly love; and many, as they departed that evening from the house of prayer, strengthened by the exercises of devotion, and the commingling of pious friendship, “went on their way rejoicing.”
REMOVALS AND SETTLEMENTS OF MINISTERS. HUDDERSFIELD.—The Unitarian Congregation meeting in Bath Buildings Chapel, have given a unanimous and cordial invitation to Rev.John K. Montgomery, of Torquay, to become their Minister, which has been accepted by Mr. Montgomery, and he is expected to enter upon the duties in October,
Rev. W. A. Jones, M.A., of Northampton, to Bridgewater.
Society is, in every age, composed of two classes of men, marked by very different, if not opposite characteristics, the lovers of the Old, and the seekers after the New. The one class includes the Antiquarians, who are so, not from habit or accident, but from very nature, who reverence, with a feeling of intuitive awe, every thing that carries back their thoughts to a bye-gone day, who turn, with a feeling of contempt, from all things, which have the freshness of youth impressed upon them, and value nothing, which the experience of ages has not approved, and the approval of successive generations has not stamped with worth. They are the enemies of all change, whose first question is, "what has been ?” when they are called on to decide, what shall be; who dread every innovation, and shrink from every alteration, without pausing to consider whether it is an improvement or not. They form the conservative element in Society, alike in common life, in politics, and in Religion, exerting an influence, which, prolonged from one age to another, connects the present with the past, and binds what will be, to at least some resemblance to what is. On the other hand, there are those, who shut their eyes to the past, and live only in the present. No lessons of History, no experience of former ages, no veneration of antiquity has weight with them; they see in the state of Society around them, in the concerns, and interests, and pleasures of to day, enough to occupy their thoughts, and employ their efforts, and they will seldom consent to pause, and select the useful and valuable parts, before they throw away the rubbish of antiquity; they aim at annihilating every thing, which is time-honoured, and think they can replace what they destroy by fabrications of their own.
These tendencies, which have been here sketched in their extreme developement, must not be, either of them, rashly censured as totally mistaken or generally injurious. The
one keeps in existence an orderly and settled state of things; the other secures that there shall be a progress; the one produces sufficient agitation to beat off the rust of ages,
the other gives sufficient stability to enable the machine of social life to do its work; the one destroys what is now cumbrous aud worn out, the other checks the destruction, when it is extending to what is really valuable. Could the two be evenly balanced, either in a community or an individual, the state of Society, or of mind, which would result, would be productive of the highest degree of happiness. and would attain to the greatest excellence.
Any era in the history of a people may be marked by the preponderance of the one, or the other, of these tendencies; and by the power of reaction, the temporary prevalence of the one produces in turn an excess of the other. As we look down the stream of time, we may see their operation made manifest in the events of every age, and we shall generally be able, also to discern the advantages, reaped from each of them, even while we mourn the evils by which they have been accompanied.
It is not difficult to decide which of these two rival powers has the greater number of adherents, in the present day. If there is any one feature, more distinctly marked on our age than any other, it is the rapid changes taking place everywhere around us, the speed and facility, with which the new becomes old. A novelty of yesterday is an antiquity to day. In science, art, literature, and even in morality and Religion, the craving is for what is fresh, newly discovered, or newly invented; every one is anxious “to tell or to hear some new thing," and to many people, no greater stigma can be attached to any thing, than to call it old-fashioned. We are told, of the finest productions of a generation or two back, that they are passed by; we hear complaints of those, who study excellence and value rather than novelty, in the themes they choose, and the models they imitate, that they are behind the times; we find even the truths and precepts of Christianity, sometimes stigmatised as trite and commonplace, and new inventions are not seldom preferred to ancient facts, in theology, as well as in other things.
As far as this tendency, so apparent in the present day, is any thing more than an empty caprice adopted from fashion, and exaggerated by conceit, it has its root in the conviction, deep-seated in the public mind, and as we can all testify, well-founded, that there is much that needs change, and calls