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The Exclusive Principle considered. Two Sermons on Christian Union and the Truth of the Gospels. By WILLIAM H. FURNESS, Pastor of the First Unitarian Congregational Church in Philadelphia. Boston: B. H. Greene. 1845. 8vo. pp. 28.
Righteousness before Doctrine. Two Sermons preached on Sunday, March 16, 1845. By WILLIAM WARE, Pastor of the First Congregational Church in West Cambridge. Boston: Little & Brown. 1845. 8vo. pp. 31.
Letter to the Boston Association of Congregational Ministers, touching certain matters of their Theology. By THEODORE PARKER, Minister of the Second Church in Roxbury. Boston: Little & Brown. 8vo. pp. 20.
Deism or Christianity? Four Discourses. By N. L. FROTHINGHAM, Minister of the First Church. Boston: Crosby & Nichols. 1845. 8vo. pp. 77.
Remarks on an Article in the Christian Examiner, entitled "Mr. Parker and his Views." Boston: Crosby & Nichols. 1845. 8vo. pp. 15.
We notice these pamphlets together as having reference to the peculiar aspect of our religious times.-We cannot go along with Mr. Furness in all his views. He has, as is well known, his own theory of miracles, which he accepts as facts. In the discourses before us he argues eloquently for the strict historical truth of the Gospel narratives, though he thinks that a denial of it is no sufficient reason for withholding from a person ministerial intercourse, provided he calls himself a Christian and leads a Christian life. - Mr. Ware arrives at the same conclusion through a train of argument and remark, the object of which is to show that righteousness is of more importance than creeds. Successful as he is in the illustration of this, the main purpose of his discourse, we do not think it necessary to draw the same inference with him. The whole matter of exchanges is one about which each individual who has possession of a pulpit must be allowed, we suppose, to judge for himself. The "Letter to the Boston Association," after some personal remark, proposes a series of questions covering nearly the whole ground of theology, and including the interpretation that should be given to a multitude of passages in both the Old and New Testament; on which, though Mr. Parker professes to expect he shall find agreement among the members of the Association, he must know that any half dozen men, who are in the habit of thinking for themselves, would probably differ. The most serious objection, however, to the pamphlet is, its attempt to place upon the same ground of interest, or of doubt, the Divine authority of Jesus Christ and
the explanation of certain confessedly difficult passages of Scrip- Dr. Frothingham's four Discourses are in his usual finished and beautiful style, and the mechanical execution of the pamphlet is peculiarly inviting to the eye. Instead of attempting an analysis of it, however, we will let the author state his purpose in his own words. The following passage occurs near the close of the fourth discourse.
"I have thus endeavored, in four discourses, to meet a new exigency in our religious denomination. The first argued the truth of our faith from the history of God's moral government in the earth, and endeavored to show that in all consistency you must either deny a Providence or else accept that faith. The second maintained the wisdom and necessity of some foundation of belief for every church that professes to be a church, - some creed or shape of belief however largely drawn, some understood rule in which it should be united. The third described the different degrees of departure from the standard of the Scriptures; beginning with the most impious form of infidelity, and ending with the skepticism of noble and religious minds. And now we have taken up the ultimate question: Shall we have Deism or Christianity?"- p. 76.
The author of the pamphlet last named on our list thinks that true faith needs no outward helps, such as that derived from miracles, for example, and is incapable of being increased by them. With a certain class of minds this may be, and undoubtedly is, so; but the testimony of other, and of most, minds, we believe, would be far different.
The Christian Ministry and its Fruits. A Sermon, preached at the Installation of Rev. Horatio Alger, as Pastor of the West Church, in Marlborough, Mass., January 22, 1845. By Rev. GEORGE E. ELLIS, Pastor of the Harvard Church, Charlestown. Boston: J. Munroe & Co. 1845. 8vo. pp. 38. The Christian Ministry. A Sermon preached at the Ordination of Mr. Hiram Withington, as Pastor of the First Congregational Church in Leominster, December 25, 1844. By NATHANIEL HALL, Minister of the First Church in Dorchester. Boston: Crosby & Nichols. 1845. 8vo. pp. 30.
MR. ELLIS'S Discourse, to which the Right Hand of Fellowship by Mr. Gilbert, and the Address by Mr. Hill, form suitable accompaniments, is full of thought well and forcibly expressed, and having, in parts, that tacit reference to the times which always enhances the interest of a performance. - Mr. Hall's Sermon is a fresh and vigorous production, also suited to the times, and is well sustained by the other parts of the service printed along with it, by Messrs. Putnam and Allen of Roxbury and Mr. Allen of Northboro'.
Ecclesiastical Record.-We noticed in our last number the formation of a Unitarian society in this city, under the name of the Church of the Saviour. Since our last publication, Rev. Mr. Waterston has resigned his office as a minister at large, and on the first of April entered on the relation of pastor to the new church. A lot of ground has been purchased in Bedford street, on which a vestry will be built this summer, and a larger house of worship before the next winter. — The new meetinghouse of the Second Church is nearly completed, and will be dedicated in a few weeks. The congregation now hold religious services in the Vestry, a large and convenient basementroom. The new society in Worcester have made arrangements for the erection of a meetinghouse this summer. - The Unitarian society_in_Windsor, Vt. have made similar arrangements. Also, that in Rockford, Ill.
Rev. Dr. Éaton of Boxford has relinquished preaching, on account of his great age. -Rev. Mr. Harding of New Salem, after a ministry of thirty-seven years, preached his farewell sermon to his people on the fifth of last January. Rev. Dr. Bigelow has resigned his connexion with the Unitarian church and society in Danvers; who have, in resolutions passed on the occasion, expressed their regret at the separation. - Rev. Mr. Alden has closed his connexion with the people at South Brookfield. Rev. Mr. Bridge has relinquished his ministerial charge at Standish, Me. Rev. Mr. Jones has terminated his connexion with the church at Manchester, N. H.-Rev. Mr. Rice has closed his ministry at Chelsea. Rev. Mr. May, who has been preaching through the winter at Lexington, where he has been instrumental in promoting a settlement of the difficulties that had grown out of the existence of a Fund, given to the Congregational parish when the boundaries of the parish and the town were the same, has accepted an invitation to remove to Syracuse, N. Y., to fill the place of the late Mr. Storer as pastor of the Unitarian church. Rev. Mr. r Cushing, who has spent the last six months with the congregation at Chicago, Ill., has accepted an invitation to become the permanent minister of the Unitarian society at Milwaukie, W. T.-Rev. Mr. Wellington has left Barre, and Rev. Dr. Thompson resumed the charge of the pulpit. Rev. Mr. Edes of Kennebunk, Me. has been taken off from his labors by a long illness, which still detains him in this city. Rev. Dr. Parkman of Boston sailed for England on the first of April, intending to spend a few months abroad.-Rev. Dr. Sharp of Boston and Rev. Dr. Codman of Dorchester left home in the same vessel for a short absence.
The Thursday Lecture, preached weekly in the first church in this city, and for a long series of years conducted by the members of the Boston Association of Congregational Ministers in rotation, has been given back into the hands of the minister of the First Church, with whose distant predecessor it originated, and will hereafter be sustained by a voluntary association of preachers.
Benevolent Fraternity of Churches.-The eleventh anniversary of this institution was celebrated on the evening of Fast-day, April 3, 1845, by public exercises in the Federal Street meetinghouse. Hon. Richard Sullivan presided. After prayer, by Rev. Mr. Barrett, the Annual Report of the Executive Committee was read by Rev. Mr. Coolidge, presenting a brief review of the history of the last year, and embracing large portions of the semi-annual reports of the ministers at large, made on the 1st inst. These reports, by Rev. Messrs. Waterston, Harrington, Burton and Barnard, were full of valuable information and suggestion. Mr. Barnard's report was the first which he had made to the Fraternity, his ministry being sustained by a separate Association; but such a connexion has recently been established, as, without impairing the independence of either, will enable the Committee of the Fraternity to include an account of his labors, with the fruits of his observation, in their annual statement respecting the ministry at large in our city. Mr. Waterston's report was the last which would be received from him, as he had accepted the pastorship of the new "Church of the Saviour." Mr. Burton had been principally occupied, since he received his appointment, in ascertaining the wants of the poor in respect to ministerial or religious instruction. Mr. Harrington had only been engaged for three months -since the resignation of Mr. Sargent, which was represented as not having caused a decrease in the attendance on the chapel services. The reading of the Report was followed by addresses from John G. Rogers, Esq., Charles Gordon, M. D., Mr. James Whiting, Rev. J. F. Clarke, Moses Grant, Esq., Hon. John C. Park, Rev. C. F. Barnard, and Mr. David Reed. The church was nearly filled, though the audience was not so large as on some previous anniversaries. Notwithstanding the resignation of two ministers, the affairs of the Fraternity are in a sound and prosperous state. Mr. Harrington's temporary connexion with the Suffolk Street Chapel has been extended, and Rev. Dr. Bigelow, late of Danvers, has accepted a temporary appointment in connexion with the Pitts Street Chapel. The Fraternity is free from debt, and its receipts the last year were sufficient for its purposes. At the first meeting of the Board of Delegates for the year 1845-46, on Sunday evening, April 13, Hon. Richard Sullivan was reelected President; Rev. J. I. T. Coolidge, Secretary; Mr. Thomas Tarbell, Treasurer; and Rev. S. K. Lothrop and Mr. Benjamin Seaver, with the three former gentlemen, the Executive Committee. - Notice was given of the formation of a Branch of the Fraternity in the Church of the Saviour.
Dedication.-The "Central Chapel" in NEW BEDFORD, Mass., was dedicated March 6, 1845. The Sermon was preached by Rev. Mr. Hall of Providence, R. I.; the Dedicatory Prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Morgridge, pastor of the church; and the other services of the day were conducted by Rev. Mr. Peabody of New Bedford, and Rev. Mr. Dawes of Fairhaven. Mr. Morgridge has in former years been connected with the Christian denomination, with which he still holds as friendly relations as they will permit.
Harvard University. — This institution has reached an important period in its history, though it is only passing through a trial which it has encountered once and again before. From an early date the College has been an occasion of struggle between the liberal and the exclusive portions of the Christian Church in this Commonwealth. The appointment of Dr. Ware to the Hollis Professorship of Divinity gave great offence to those who maintained that an "orthodox" man, in the legitimate sense of the word, must necessarily be a Trinitarian; and at intervals since, the charge of sectarianism has been renewed with more or less of vehemence. But now it would seem as if it were hoped, that by a union of political and theological discontents a successful assault might be made upon the administration of the College. It becomes those who would retain for Harvard its preeminence of being, as a literary institution, free from sectarian influence, to be wakeful and firm in their vindication of its right to this distinction. At the semi-annual meeting of the Board of Overseers, January 16, 1845, Gov. Briggs presiding, after the usual business of receiving reports from the Visiting and Examining Committees appointed the last year, a discussion arose respecting the division of time now adopted at Cambridge "for the recitations and lectures of students, as connected with the times of diet, or otherwise," and a Committee was appointed to report upon the subject. At an adjourned meeting, held February 6, Rev. George Putnam of Roxbury was chosen a member of the Board, in place of Rev. Rodney A. Miller of Worcester, whose seat became vacant in consequence of his resignation of his pastoral charge. Mr. Putnam received 45, out of 66 votes. George Bancroft, Esq., as one of the Committee of Visitation whose Report had been accepted at the last meeting, obtained leave to read a paper, expressing dissent from some of the opinions in that Report, and concluding with certain resolutions; which at an adjourned meeting, on the next day, were referred to three Committees, with instructions to report before the close of the legislative session. Hon. Mr. Walley introduced an order, that a Committee be appointed "to consider the expediency of disconnecting entirely the Theological department from the College," or, in other words, of" sundering the relation now subsisting between the College and the Divinity School,” and of discontinuing all religious exercises in the Chapel, "other than morning and evening prayers"; which order was adopted, and such Committee was appointed, consisting of Hon. Lemuel Shaw, Hon. Samuel H. Walley, Hon. Samuel Hoar, Hon. Alfred D. Foster, and Rev. Dr. Parkman;- whose Report, as it would involve the consideration of certain legal questions, would not be expected till the meeting of the Board the next winter. The Board met subsequently on the 25th of February, and again on the 6th of March, to hear and dispose of the Reports of the Committees upon the subjects embraced in Mr. Bancroft's resolutions. Hon. Mr. Saltonstall, from the Committee upon the resolution, "that this Board do not advise an increase in the requirements for admission to Harvard College," presented a Report, to the effect, "that no action on the subject, on the part of this Board, is necessary or expedient"; which was accepted. Rev. Dr. Codman, upon the resolution, "that in filling up the vacan