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fewer than twelve hundred persons within the walls. The audience comprised individuals of all religious denominations; but unfortunately very many members of the congregation were prevented from hearing the closing service of Mr. Harris, by the crowd pressing in so early. Before two o'clock, Mr. Harris began the service, preaching from 2d Corinthians xii. 11. Nothwithstanding the great inconvenience which many persons must have suffered from the pressure, breathless silence prevailed, and the most respectful sympathy was manifested. Great regret was subsequently expressed, at the disappointment endured by the hundreds who were unable to hear the farewell discourse, and urgent requests made for its publication.
In the evening, the services were conducted by the Rev. John Taylor, late of Kidderminster, now the minister of the Glasgow congregation, who preached a highly argumentative and powerfully reasoned discourse, from Genesis i. 1. The chapel was well filled.
On Monday afternoon, the members and friends of the Association met at a social entertainment in the Trades' Hall, Glassford-Street. The entertainment consisting of tea, coffee, cakes, fruit, was provided by Mr. Buchanan, confectioner, Ingram-Street, and was admirably and abundantly arranged and supplied. Twenty young friends of the Glasgow congregation officiated as Stewards, and were most efficient in their attentions to the comfort and convenience of the assembled company. An excellent instrumental band added greatly to the pleasure of the meeting, by playing at intervals appropriate pieces of music. The Hall is a very handsome one, and when brilliantly lighted up, six tables running the whole length of the spacious building, the President's table and platform crossing the top of the room- flowers and evergreens, kindly presented by some friends to grace the festival, adding beauty and freshness to the scene—and nearly five hundred individuals, male and female, occupying the provided seats,-a most impressive and gratifying spectacle was presented, heart-cheering to all who, knowing the objects of the assemblage, saw in it an earnest and a proof of the progress of Christian truth and freedom. At half-past six o'clock, on the motion of Mr. Bridges of Glagow, Mr. Harris was called by the acclamations of the meeting to the chair, and Thomas Boyd, Esq. Bellfield, was appointed Vice-President. The President was supported, right and left, by the Revds. John Taylor and James Forrest, and by the Rev. J. M‘Dowal, formerly of Whitby, and for the last four months supplying the congregation at Edinburgh; and Messrs. Couper, Brownlie, Watson, and Hedderwick, of Glasgow. Prayer was offered up by Mr. Harris before tea, and on its conclusion, a hymn of thanksgiving sung by the company, accompanied by the instrumental band.
Mr. Harris, as Secretary of the Association, commenced the business of the meeting by reading the following Report of the Committee:
With unfeigned satisfaction and pleasure, the Committee of the Scottish Christian Unitarian Association meet their Christian brethren on the present occasion, united with them in the belief and advocacy of the great Christian principles of the undivided Oneness of Jehovah, and of his universal love to his creatures, respectfully to tender to them the Eleventh Annual Report of their stewardship of those interests which have been committed by their friends to their superintendence. Valuing highly the pleasures of social intercourse and the interchange of free thoughts and friendly greetings, particularly when those gatherings are consecrated to human improvement and virtue, the Committee look on this Association, which aims to band together those who are likeminded in Christ, and to increase their number by stimulating a spirit of serious inquiry, as peculiarly deserving the zealous, and persevering, and increased support of all who esteem as of great price, the truth and freedom of Christianity, and in the spirit of its benevolence, are anxious for the diffusion of these blessings, that others may participate in their joy.
The confederated hosts of error accumulate sufficiently numerous obstacles to human improvement and religious reformation, to prevent the friends of Christian truth and righteousness, from adding to their number by supineness and neglect; on them, in this their day of small things, the duty of strengthening the weak hands and of confirming the feeble knees, of protesting against the world's ills and the world's idolatries, lifting up a standard for the people, is peculiarly obligatory; a duty which the Committee feel persuaded, will be cheerfully performed by every one to whom religion constitutes a practical life-giving principle, and not a mere intellectual speculation; and who, consequently, whilst desirous of uprooting error and sinfulness, will not stultify their desires by neglecting the means of their fulfilment.
The Committee would do injustice to their own feelings, as well they think to those of their friends and brethren who were happily present on the last Anniversary, did they not recall to recollection the high intellectual, the pure religious instruction and enjoyment, which all must have derived from the deeply interesting services and addresses, as well at the social meeting as from the pulpit, of their respected friends, the Rev. T. Madge and the Rev. James Martineau; and were they to omit to record, their grateful sense of the kind and efficient manner in which they contributed their powerful aid in promoting the objects of this Association, and of their Christian zeal and devotedness to human good. Long may they be preserved in health and strength, to vindicate the exercise of reason in promoting the glory of the Source of all intelligence, and in portraying the intellectual power, the moral purity and perfection, the holy and undying consolations, of the undefiled Gospel of the blessed Saviour. No slight commendation of this Association, is it, that it enables its members and friends to enjoy the privilege of listening to the outpouring of words of truth and soberness from gifted minds and eloquent tongues; and that it calls forth reciprocal interest in the welfare and happiness of individuals and societies, who otherwise would, in all probability, have remained ignorant of each other's position, difficulties, and encouragements, in the work of well-doing.
The usual correspondence with the friends in the different districts, has been maintained through the Secretary; and the Missionary efforts prosecuted with as much vigour, as in the circumstances, was possible. The Secretary preached at Kirkintilloch, on Sunday evening, October 18, in a large and admirably constructed school-room, erected by one of the members of the Association resident near that town—the respected Vice-President of this meeting, who, anxious to diffuse the blessings of knowledge, and to provide for the rising generation a more thorough education than that which can usually be obtained in the Parochial schools, has built this school-room, and the house adjoining it for the teacher, whom, with judicious care, he has selected for the carrying out of this benevolent and important purpose. The schoolroom was densely crowded, and, at the close of the service, Mr. Harris announced the intention of the worshippers of the Father only through Christ Jesus, to assemble in the same place every Sunday for public worship and instruction.
It is presumed that this intention roused anew the ire of
one of the ministers of the Established Church, who, aforetime, had distinguished himself by his bigotted ignorance in reference to Unitarianism; and who now out-heroded Herod by his mis-statements and misrepresentations.
Such an attack could not be passed over, and a reply to this accuser of the brethren was announced to be delivered by Mr. Harris, on Sunday evening, November 22. Those unacquainted with the strange doings of theologians, may be surprised to learn, that on the morning of that day, the Rev. Andrew Marshall, the sometimes pleader for Voluntary Churches and Protestant rights, volunteered his aid in support of the vituperations of his Established brother, warning his people not to listen to Unitarian preaching, on peril of being summoned for their contumacy before the Session; and affirming, that none but the ignorant, the drunkard, the slaves of lust, and those who could not enter the kingdom of God, would ever embrace the Unitarian faith! Notwithstanding this defamation, this inquisitorial threat, the place was so crowded as to render it barely possible for the Unitarian preacher to gain entrance; and at the request of numbers who thronged the outside of the building, he announced that he would repeat the reply he was about to deliver to falsehood and intolerance, on the following Tuesday evening. On that night, it was again delivered; and on three other Sunday evenings since, Mr. Harris has likewise preached in the same place, whilst the friends continue with commendable zeal and perseverance to assemble together there every Sunday, for the purpose of worshipping the God of their fathers after the way which the world calls heresy. May their hands and hearts be continually strengthened, by the consciousness that it is their bounden duty to obey God rather than men; that no wisely directed effort for truth and liberty is ever lost; and may they, by lives and conversations illustrating and enforcing the power and loveliness of Christian purity, put to shame the calumnies of the gainsayer, and see of the travail of their souls for human improvement, and be satisfied.
The Secretary was to have preached in Stirling on Monday evening, October 19; but every place was shut against the Unitarians, and for a season bigotry was triumphant in that Royal Burgh. Application was then made at St. Ninians, distant about a mile from Stirling; and one of the Unitarian friends being president of a subscription-school in that place, obtained the sanction of the committee and the schoolmaster for the use of the room for that evening. Placards were accordingly issued announcing the preaching. Instantly, the Clergy, Established and Dissenting, became alarmed, the parents of the children were called on and
frightened, and the schoolmaster, at their instigation, refused the school-room and removed the forms. The preses, determined to resist the bigotry, obtained the keys and took possession, also replacing the seats. On reaching St. Ninians, Mr. Harris found considerable excitement had been occasioned, and that numbers of persons, of all ages, were assembled in the street to offer. every annoyance. The schoolmaster was insolent, and threatened all manner of evil should Mr. Harris attempt to preach. The hooting on his ascending the steps to the school-room, was loud and continuous. Having entered the pulpit, Mr. Harris addressed the auditory, detailing the circumstances which had occurred, exposing the Protestant Popery which characterised the proceedings, appealing to their sense of justice and of right in the matter, but, under the circumstances, declining to preach, preferring to suffer wrong, and, like the Saviour, to hold his peace when bigotry was rampant; at the same time expressing his conviction, that when the people returned to their right mind, and really understood the meaning of Protestantism and Christianity, they would invite him to come amongst them, that this stain on their profession of the religion of liberty and love, might be effaced. Immediately an individual stepped forward, and proffered his cottage for the preaching. It was not many hundred yards off, and he should rejoice to open his door to show his hatred of intoler
The offer of the stocking-weaver was accepted, and Mr. Harris preached to as many people as could possibly be crowded into two rooms and the entrance of the humble dwelling of this morally courageous individual. The preacher had scarcely reached Stirling, after these occurrences, when a deputation called from Bannockburn, to state that, having heard of the treatment he had experienced at the schoolroom at St. Ninians, a meeting had been held there on the instant, and the large Subscription-hall in the village was resolved to be placed at his disposal any night in the week, or on any future occasion. . Mr. Harris has since preached at Bannockburn; and also in Stirling, the Trades' Hall having been engaged by the friends for twelve months, for occasional meetings.
The Secretary preached at Tillicoultry, October 21; and had much interesting conversation with the friends in that locality, as to purchasing the old Secession Church in that thriving and populous village. In the January following, , the purchase was effected on highly advantageous terms; and on Sunday, February 21, it was opened and dedicated to the sole adoration of the Universal Father, by Mr. Harris, assisted by Mr. W. A. Jones, then a student at the University