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SERVICES AT THE OLD PRESBYTERIAN CHAPEL, HALLBANK, Buxton.—1841. July 4; Rev. Henry Green, Knutsford. 11; Rev. Peter Wright, Stannington, near Sheffield. 18; Rev. J. Ragland, Hindley, near Wigan. 25; Rev. Jas. Brooks, Hyde. August 1; Rev. George Wells, Gorton. 8; Rev. Wm. Johns, Cross-street, Cheshire. 15; Rev. John Robberds, Park, Liverpool. 22; Rev. Noah Jones, Derby. 29; Rev. Franklin Howorth, Bury. - Sept. 5; Rev. John James Tayler, Brook-street, Manchester. 12; Rev. Wm. Gaskell
, Cross-street, Manchester. 19; Rev. Robert Smethurst, Monton. Morning service, at eleven o'clock; evening service, at half-past six.
SUNDAY-SCHOOLS, UNITARIAN CHURCH, New-HALL-HILL, BIRMINGHAM.—The Seventh Anniversary of these Schools was celebrated on 31st May. Two sermons were preached on the occasion, by the Rev. Dr. Beard of Manchester. The collections amounted to £20:28. 31d. The day following, about 150 members and friends of the Society took tea together in the large school-room—Mr. Matthias Green, in the absence of Mr. Gittins, who was to have presided, was called to the chair. After a few introductory observations from Mr. Green, Mr. Thomas Prime moved the following resolution, which, being seconded by Mr. Charles Crick, was unanimously adopted:-“ That the grateful acknowledgments of this meeting being due to the Rev. Dr. Beard, for the excellent discourses delivered by him yesterday, the meeting rejoices to express them, and to offer their warmest thanks to the reverend gentleman for the interest he has always evinced for the welfare and success of this Christian Society."
Dr. Beard replied at considerable length; after which, the Rev. John Palmer of Dudley was called to speak to the following sentiment:-" The religion of Jesus; being the only religion consistent with nature, and answering to the intellectual and sympathetic spirit of man, and exemplifying clearly his relation to God.” Mr. Palmer pointed out the various bearings of the subject, and Mr. John Green made a few remarks. “Mr. Charles Lloyd, Jun. spoke to the following sentiment:“ The memory of those worthy individuals who were the first promoters of Sunday-schools; and may the Sunday-school teachers of the present day possess zeal, and perseverance, and principle, to discharge their duties faithfully.” Mr. Adam Standly, and Thomas Clark, Jun. Esq. also addressed the meeting on this subject.
Mr. John Lloyd gave “ The Teachers of the Schools belonging to this Christian congregation, especially those of the female department of the Institution; and may they be inspired with similar benevolence to that which animated those worthy women, to whom merit has been lately publicly ascribed, as amongst the first institutors of Sunday-schools: this meeting believing that the vital and permanent good of this Society and Sunday-schools, much depends on the sincere and faithful exertions of the young women therewith connected.” Mr. John Green responded to this sentiment.
Thanks were voted to Mr. John Hughes, the organist, and to the choir, for their gratuitous services. Thanks were voted to Mr. Gittins, for taking the chair on his arrival; and the meeting concluded with singing, and a prayer by the Rev. Dr. Beard.
THE Minister of the General Baptist Congregation, Cranbrook, Kent, would be glad to hear of a vacant situation, combining the prospect of comfort and usefulness as a reward of zealous endeavours to inculcate Scriptural Christianity.
On Wednesday, 30th June, the Annual Meeting of the “ Exeter Assembly of Ministers” was held at Exeter. The Rev. William Maccall preached the usual sermon on the occasion, at George's Chapel, taking for subject the Religious Nature of Man. He showed that man is a religious being: first, because some species of religious doctrine and belief has universally prevailed; secondly, because all men are endowed with conscience, and conscience is only another form of religion; thirdly, because all men have a longing for immortality, and this longing is only a variety of devotion; fourthly, because all men brood over the mysterious nature of infinitude, and this brooding is in reality an appreciation of the grandeur of God; and, lastly, because all men are ideal—have a conception, and a love of beauty and perfection—and the Deity is necessarily the centre of all beauty and of all perfection. After the service, the members and friends of the Assembly dined together at the White Hart Inn—the Rev. Henry Acton presiding. Several interesting speeches were delivered by the chairman and other gentle
The duties of Dissenters, and the great and abiding claims of civil and religious freedom, were eloquently stated and enforced.
We have sincere pleasure in announcing, that the Rev. John Taylor of Kidderminster has accepted the invitation of the Members of the Christian Unitarian Congregation, Glasgow, to become their Minister.
THE AGENTS OF CIVILIZATION.
THE PRIEST. THE Agents of Civilization may be divided into three classes, when considered in respect to the modification of their influence at different periods of history;—first, of realities that never cease to be realities, but whose agency, being mainly material, always tends to become less and less a social want; secondly, of realities, whose agency being mainly spiritual, remain realities, and evermore widen the boundary of their dominion as such; thirdly, of realities, combining in their original phases equal portions of the material and the spiritual, and undergoing a gradual change into falsehoods as society improves. An example of the first, we have in the Hero; of the second, in the Poet; of the third, in the Priest.
We are left more to conjecture, in delineating the early appearance of the Priest as a social power, than in tracing the source and developement of any other human agency. All ancient historians derived the materials of their works from records written and preserved by the priesthood. And modern historians, unless narrating events of comparative recency, have been obliged to resort to productions that had either emanated from priestly minds, or been copied by priestly hands. An obvious result of this fact, is, that in all the manuscript and other documents that form the basis of the historian's narrative, little is inserted that could militate against the priestly character, while as much as possible is introduced that might tell in its favour. To represent the Priest as the sole and immediate delegate of Heaven, clothed with a peculiar authority, and consecrated with a peculiar sanctity, no exaggeration is reckoned too gross, no fable too monstrous. That this must have been the undeviating aim in credulous, ignorant, superstitious times, we may well suppose, from witnessing the absurdities on Apostolical succession that are gravely propounded in our own. If, in the face of enlightened Europe, and of its millionvoiced press, our ears are assailed by the din of lying signs and wonders, the object of whose performers is to juggle us out of our judgment and convictions, and to trample us beneath the haughty triumph of a newly concocted infallibility, what must have been the amount of deception, when priests had an unquestioned and uncontrolled recognition as the messengers of God, were the sole depositories of science, the sole conservators and communicators of knowledge? In endeavouring to ascertain the benignant influence of this powerful class of social agents, must there not, therefore, be required a degree of caution, skill, perspicacity, and critical watchfulness, which would be misplaced in almost any other inquiry?
The first worship must have been hero worship. This is evident. Veneration for the Hero as the strongest of known strengths, patriotic pride in him as the fatherland's glory, patriotic gratitude to him as the fatherland's saviour,--would rise into rapture and commingle into devotion. Such worship needed no temple and no priests. Its temple and its priest alike were every patriot's heart. It sought no revealing from, it held no communion with, a mysterious world; it hoped no reward, it feared no punishment from invisible powers; it was so direct, so personal, so simple, that the intervention of any person or caste between it and its object, would have been felt as a preposterous intrusion.
Gradually, however, would it modify this personality, directness, and simplicity. As tribes took more of a social form, so would their religion, their hero worship, take more of a social aspect. The individual sentiment of reverence, burningly alive in every bosom towards him who had walked among their fathers of old as a seen divinity, would content itself for a time with adding its incense of praise to the general sum of applause. It had no need of symbols to make it more ardently intense. Its own impassioned utterances were found to be its most impulsive suggestions. But sentiment of any kind has a tendency to become social, especially at a period when
the community is taking more expansion and abidingness. And the sentiment of hero worship could not escape this general tendency. Something more palpably commemorative of the Hero's renown than the united plaudits of his countrymen, would consequently arise. On some sacred spots, which tradition had handed down
1-on the battle-field of freedom, and where the Hero had nobly fought, would rude monuments be constructed. Similar monuments would be constructed over his traditional birthplace and traditional grave. To these monuments, would the tribe resort to perform such ceremonies as its limited ingenuity might contrive, and to offer such offerings as were deemed most suitable. Water, and milk, and honey, would be poured out, and flowers and branches would be strown to honour the memory of the brave. If any one took a more prominent part in this modified form of hero worship than another, it would of course be the Patriarch, the leader of the tribe. But he would do this, not from any attribution to him of sacerdotal characteristics, but on account of his patriarchal position.
When hero worship underwent a subsequent modification, its ceremonies, becoming more regular in their recurrence, and more numerous and complicated, the Patriarch's priesthood would be transferred, and naturally transferred, to the Poet. When the ceremonies were few and simple, the Patriarch sufficed; he presided, he superintended and this was all that was necessary. As soon as the ceremonial became more varied and frequent, the intelligent head would be found more requisite than the controlling hand. And this new want the Poet supplied. He had more knowledge than the rest of his countrymen; he was the historian of his tribe, as far as his tribe had a history; he was the recognised celebrator of the Hero's actions, the recognised proclaimer of the Hero's glory. Who so fit as he to give grace, and splendour, and system, to the religious homage bestowed on the Hero's name? Partly through his agency, partly through other causes, would this religion be materialised by the manufacture of idols to represent the Hero's image, and spiritualised by the introduction of creative and providential godhead in connection with the Hero's supposed capabilities. But the priesthood of the Poet, was, like that of the Patriarch,