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many benevolent and truly Christian spirits, have justly regarded its operations in society with unmingled disgust. I know how the intolerant zeal with which those operations have been accompanied, has driven many into a state of religious indifference. But it should not be so. These things condemn the abuse only, and not the use of sectarianism; and if others abuse it, that is no good reason wby we should not use it. I believe sectarianism, "pure and undefiled," is a truth-loving, liberalising principle, with which bigotry and intolerance have naturally no more connection than has frugality with meanness. Frugality is a virtue; but if it be suffered to degenerate into miserly meanness, it is no longer a virtue. So it is with sectarianism; if the degenerate spirit of bigotry or intolerance be suffered to mingle with its operations, its name and its nature are changed, and it is sectarianism no longer. But true, liberty-loving, liberalising sectarianism, is at once the preserver and defender of truth and charity. And, in the midst of a world divided (as it ever must be, so long as the human mind remains in its present imperfect state) into sects and parties, it becomes the true Christian philanthropist, the real lover of Christian charity and Christian liberty, not to fritter away his powers in individual exertion-not to sit down in listless apathy, but to unite his own energies with those of congenial spirits, in order to disseminate those great truths, which, upon careful examination, and comparison with the teachings of Christ, are found best adapted to the sacred and holy purpose of at once raising the whole moral and intellectual nature of man-of aiding the progress
of human improvement—and of eventually diffusing, among all ranks and degrees of mankind, that charity which “ never faileth,” which “ rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth.” In a word, to become sectarian; that not only the interests of religious truth, but also the sacred rights of liberty and of conscience may be carefully guarded and defended against the inroads of bigotry, superstition, intolerance, and fanaticism. Thus shall we erect a bulwark, within whose holy precincts the good seed of liberty and Christian brotherhood may be sown in safety; and, watered by the heavenly dew-drops of faith, and patience, may, in happier days, and under holier in
fluences, he transplanted in the world-under whose spreading branches the sons of bumanity may find shelter and repose, and whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations.
A LOVER OF TRUTH AND CHARITY. Edgbastou, Birmingham, Dec. 17, 1840.
THE TEMPERANCE REFORMATION. OUR readers cannot but have noticed the efforts which have, of late years especially, been made to check and uproot the evil of Intemperance; but many may not have entered so earnestly and practically into the nature, tendency, and results of those efforts, as their great importance to the improvement and well-being of their race imperatively demands and deserves. Former volumes of the Christian Pioneer will testify to the interest we have always taken in the Temperance movement; and to the readers of this magazine we are persuaded it cannot be necessary to dwell on the frightful demoralization occasioned by the use of intoxicating drinks. But notwithstanding the acknowledged prevalence of the enormous evils thereby entailed on the community, it is probable many may not have sufficiently considered the question, Whether it be not the bounden duty, under existing circumstances, of every Christian philanthropist, to abstain altogether from the use of intoxicating liquors; and to exert every influence in his power to discountenance and put down the customs of society which lead to their consumption? Our minds are made up on the subject. We answer the question in the affirmative. We are persuaded that nothing can effectually stay the ravages of intemperance, but the total abstinence principle. The efforts which since 1826, have been made in Great Britain and Ireland as well as in America, through the agency of Temperance Societies, to check the evil, have doubtless been of considerable service in exposing the fatal consequences of indulgence, more especially in ardent spirits; but the good thus accomplished, was as nothing, when compared with the beneficial results already effected by the promulgation and practical observance of the Total Abstinence principle. We notice, with highest pleasure, the state
ment of our respected friend, Mr. James Haughton of Dublin, in the “ Bible Christian” for January, in reference to the Temperance Reformation in Ireland:—“I may say, without fear of contradiction from any well-informed human being, that a greater moral good has never taken place among any people, within the whole history of our race; my own opinion is, that it is the greatest and most glorious change, from evil habits and practices to good ones, that has been witnessed since the promulgation of our peaceful religion by its Divine Founder.”
Scotland, England, and America, also bear testimony to the great good which has been already attained. But the good yet effected bears no comparison with that which remains to be accomplished. We shall resume the consideration of this subject in our ensuing Number. But in the meantime, we reiterate the exhortation of Mr. Haughton, in the Bible Christian :-“ I would earnestly and affectionately ask my brethren and sisters in religious profession--Christian Unitarians everywhere, clergymen and laymen—what are you doing to forward man's happiness in the great question of Temperance? As a body, I believe you are not known as supporters of this great moral movement." “ And I am firmly persuaded, that until Unitarians come forward more decidedly, as the uncompromising advocates of this and other great Moral Reforms, that the great truth, the Unity of God-with whose promulgation among the nations of the earth, we are charged will suffer in our hands."
We cannot believe, however, that Christian Unitarians, who have ever been first and foremost in their efforts for the attainment of Civil and Religious Liberty, not only for themselves but also for their brethren of mankind who have been indefatigable in their labours to communicate the blessings of knowledge to every individual in the land—will lag behind in this labour of Christian benevolence, when once they understand its claims on their zealous co-operation. When once they come clearly to perceive, that the moderate use of intoxicating drinks is not only useless but noxious, and specially pernicious as it offers a ready plea and convenient shelter to their immoderate consumers, they will adopt in reference to them the noble and Christian resolution to which the Apostle gave utterance in relation to those who, imbued with Christian knowledge, sat at meat in the Temples of Idolatry,—“ Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."
FEBRUARY 1, 1841.
The Second Tea Party of the Members and Friends of the Unitarian Congregation of Walsall, was held on Wednesday evening, Jan. 6, 1841. The Rev. Wm. M.Kean, the Minister of the Congregation, was in the chair; and was supported by the Revds. Hugh Hutton of Birmingham, John Palmer of Dudley, W.Whitelegge of Coseley, and T. Bowring (Home Missionary to the Poor), Birmingham. The meeting was also addressed by Messrs. Worsey, Green, and others. Although the proceedings of the meeting were interesting in themselves, as bodying forth the sentiments of liberalminded men, entertaining large and extensive views of the education, intellectual and moral, of the masses of society, and of the necessity of alleviating them at the present time from the burdens of taxation, &c.; yet, the point of view from which this meeting was most interesting and important, and most deserving of the attention of well-wishers and workers in the cause of Unitarianism, consists in the fact, as inanifested by numbers, of the increase of liberality shown by the people of Walsall towards the Unitarian body. At the first meeting of this kind, two years ago, there were present about 90 individuals; on this last occasion, upwards of 200. This number, it must be understood, was made up, not merely or nearly of the members of the Unitarian Congregation, but of the several other Dissenting bodies.
That Mr. M.Kean is doing his duty, and is bringing forth fruits worthy of the great cause he advocates, all who were present at this meeting, and who know the difficulties with which he has had to contend, must be well satisfied. His lofty views of the nobleness of human nature, his thorough and soul-felt conviction of the paternity of God, of the freedom and brotherhood of man, are developed in a style of eloquence so powerful and persuasive as must captivate the understandings and the hearts of all who are not “ blind to the glories of God's universe, and deaf to its divinest har. monies.” And his success has been great, and is likely to be much greater. The chapel is crowded on every occasion of an advertised lecture, and frequently when the lecture is
not publicly announced. If all Unitarian ministers possessed Mr. M.Kean's earnestness and faith, in addition to the learning and science which characterise them as a class, speedily and powerfully would our cause go on conquering and to conquer. Our zeal and our energy would bring about a reformation, as much superior in its nature to the Reformation, as Christ is to Calvin, and as much more extensive in its sway as humanity is than Christendom.
TESTIMONIAL TO MR. GIBBS, DEVONPORT.---A Meeting of the friends of Mr. Gibbs—who has upwards of twenty years officiated at the Devonport Unitarian Chapel, and has otherwise promoted the interest of the Unitarian cause, without any pecuniary remuneration-was held in Elliott's Royal Hotel, on Thursday the 17th of December, 1840. More than 160 persons were present from Devonport, Plymouth, and other places. After tea, John Norman, Esq. was called to the chair. He stated the object of the meeting; which was, to present to Mr. Gibbs a Portrait of himself, which his friends, who had subscribed for it, desired to offer as a small but sincere tribute of their gratitude for his services, and esteem for his character. The Portrait, which was executed by Mr. Opie of Plymouth, was in the Hall in a proper position for being observed, and is acknowledged by all to be a faithful likeness. After Mr. Odgers had read a letter from Mr. Commins of Tavistock, apologising for unavoidable absence on an occasion so interesting, and offering his testimony of esteem and congratulation to Mr. Gibbs, the Chairman called upon Mr. Nicholas Rundell to read the Address of Presentation to Mr. Gibbs, which was as follows:
“ To Mr. Silvanus Gibbs,
“ Dear Sir,- It is with sincere pleasure that we proceed to the principal business of this evening, which is, to offer the expression of our unfeigned thanks to one whom we have indeed much cause to honour and esteem, as a long-tried friend, and self-denying and persevering labourer in behalf of the untrammelled Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of us have been the recipients of your valuable expositions of Christian truth and duty, hope, and happiness; and all of us have been confirmed, and encouraged in our faith and diligence, by the private example and public manifold exertions of so blameless a man and so faithful a teacher.
“Do not suppose, that in presenting you with the portrait of your external self, we mean by the value of the painting to measure or make any comparison of your internal worth, or our esteem and gratitude. The picture is acknowledged,