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ments, is a contribution, which will not be in vain, towards this glorious result. The bare statement of error, unaccompanied by any comments, is often of great service to the cause of truth. Men, heated by controversy and fired with the ambition of victory, have their vision commonly not a little disordered; as we are accustomed to say in some other cases, they see but poorly. So it happens that religious controversy seldom effects any change in the opinions of those who are not predisposed to a change, or wavering and unsettled in their religious views. So much of passion in such cases mingles with all our judgments, that we hold on to our errors with a pertinacity corresponding to the force by which they are attempted to be wrested from us ; and long after we are convinced that we have taken a wrong road, we shut our eyes, and then quiet our consciences by saying that we do not see that we are wrong. But if we can show men their errors without giving them reason to suspect that we have any improper design upon their faith, if we can, from writers whose authority is indisputable, by a fair and impartial statement of the false and absurd sentiments which they hold, induce them to examine and to reflect upon them in a dispassionate manner, we have grounds to hope for success. Inquiry, serious calm inquiry, is what we ought most to desire and to aim to induce in men. Let us persuade them, if we can, to subject their religious opinions, as they would bring any other opinions, to the test of reason and common sense. When men can thus be brought to look calmly at what they have professed to believe, they will often start back with affright from the hideous deformity of a creed to' which, before they perfectly saw its character, they clung with extreme obstinacy.Inquiry, we repeat it, is all we ask for. It is upon the gradual illumination of the human mind that we rely for the progress of true religion. Docility, intelligence, knowledge, are its most powerful auxiliaries. Superstition and fanaticism present no impassable barrier to the progress of truth, if men can only be persuaded to judge for themselves what is right, to maintain the independence of their own minds, and take common sense and reason as their guides. Printing, education, civilization, are doing in our community every thing for religion. In the spirit of inquiry, which pervades all classes, and in the facilities of knowledge, which are afforded to all, we place our most sanguine hopes; and in every advance, made in the improvement of the human mind, in every inducement and advantage, offered to lead men to think for them. selves, we hail an omen, auspicious to the interests of true Christianity.
Nero Series--vol. IV. 50
On Tuesday, the 5th Nov. inst. the Second Congregational Society in Lynn, Mass. proceeded to lay the Corner Stone of the Meeting House, which they are now building, with appropriate solemnities. After prayers on the oceasion, and singing, the Stone was fixed in its place, a plate with the following inscription, and other mementos, having been previously deposited under it.
There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Tim. II. 5:
God is no respecter of persons; but is every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
The Second Congregational Society in Lynd,
maintaining in their fullest extent The Rights of Conscience and of Private Judgment in Religion,
Christian Era 1822.
May God give the Increase. The subjoined address was then delivered by the Rev. Joseph Tuckerman, of Chelsea, to a numerous, attentive, and satisfied audience. It is, we think, what it ought to have been
. This society has grown up under favourable auspices. Commenced as we have reason to believe, under serious convictions of duty, established apon the best principles, inquisitive in the pursuit of truth, and cultivating good will towards their fellow christians of every denomination, we can have no doubt of prosperity ; and confidently trust, that this establishment, under an enlightened and faithful ministry, may prove a rich blessing to its founders and their descendants, and an honour to the Christian community. Address, delivered at Lynn, November 5th, 1822, on the occasion
of laying the corner stone of the second congregational church in that lown.
We have assembled to lay the corner stone of an edifice, to be erected for the worship of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only living and true God; whose we are, and whose
are all things in heaven and in carth; to whom be ascribed all glory and dominion forever.
By this act, then, we profess our faith in the religion of Christ; we profess to receive Jesus Christ our Lord in all the offices, in which he is revealed to us in the gospel; we acknowledge the divine authority of all the precepts and institutions of his religion ; and our entire reliance for final acceptance, and for eternal bappiness, on our fidelity to the conditions, on which they are offered in the gospel of our salvation.
Nor is this all. By this act, christian brethren, you assert and exercise the right of private judgment in religion. You have withdrawn from those with whom you have been accustomed to worship, that you may enjoy a worship, that is in accordance with your convictions of the truth as it is in Jesus. And this right is readily conceded to you alike by those, who most deeply pity what they think to be your delusion, and who most severely condemn the doctrine, which they consider as a fatal error. Thanks be to God, that we live in a day, when the rights of conscience are so well understood; and when, by the moral power of opinion, exerted through the whole community around us, these rights are so extensively and effectually secured. It is the most distinguishing characteristic, and the richest blessing, of that improvement which the progress of knowledge has given to society, and especially, to the civil institutions of our happy country, that while it has rescued our religion itself from the sbackles, so long imposed on it by human legislation, it has awakened, and brought into exercise, a feeling as extensive, of the paramount worth and importance of our rights as christians. But let us not forget, that every blessing is a responsibility; and that rights of every kind imply duties of proportionate solemnity and obligation. May we then worship God in the manner in which
we believe that he requires to be worshipped ? may we follow out the convictions of our own mind on the questions of the person of our Lord, of his offices, and of the eternal life that is before us? We claim these rights as the gift of God, through Jesus Christ. To God, then, and to Christ, we owe the corresponding duties, to inquire for christian truth with an earnestness proportioned to its worth ; and to maintain a simplicity and singlenees of mind, which will
give to truth an uncontrolled influence over our judgments and conduct. He is guilty of unfaithfulness to God and to Christ, who asserts the rights of conscience, and who maintains not a mind open to .conviction; or who values any interest, as he .values that of truth. And do we demand of our fellow men, the acknowledgement of these as our inalienable rights ? Let us extend then to their opinions, to their usages, and to their rights, the
respect which we claim for our own. To this charity,-01 rather, may I not say, to this equal justice, -our religion calls us ; and, whatever may be our provocations, let us never violate it.
We are distinguished among christians, as Unitarians; and we feel less reluctance in admitting this designation, because we had rather be distinguished by a term which marks one of the most important of the differences between us and other christians, than receive a name, by which we might be enrolled as followers, or disciples, of any other master iban Jesus Christ. We build our conviction of the perfect unity of God, and our sentiments of the person and offices of him whom the Father has sanctified and seni into the world, on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. Unitarianism, we are therefore persuaded, will prevail, till it shall be universal. As the scriptures have been more thoroughly investigated, it has prevailed. And it is not among the least interesting circumstances of this time, when the siinple unity of God has been controverted with all the learning, skill and zeal, that could be brought to bear upon it, that its ablest opponents have given up many of the strong holds, on which their predecessors have relied with the greatest confidence for their defence. New concessions, we doubt not, will still be made, and new advances of truth obtained, till every church will be consecrated to the worship of the one God; and christians of every name will confess Jesus to be their Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
God dwelleth not indeed, exclusively, in temples made with hands; yet be regards with favour, and blesses with his presence, the house that is reared to his name, and consecrated to his service. To his name then, and to his service, from the beginning of it, we devote the work of this place. Here may a church arise, in which the Father of spirits will be worshipped in spirit and in truth. Here may faith in Christ be strengthened in the hearts of multitudes, who now believe in him; and here may your children, and your children's children, be reared in the kuowledge of God, and of his son Jesus Christ, whom to know aright is life eternal. Here, christian brethren, associated in this pious work, may you find a place for your solemn assemblies, which will be made holy to God, by the holy affections and purposes with which you engage in his worship, and observe the ordinances which Christ has instituted. Here may your thanksgivings arise, an offering of pure incense ; and here may you bring your penitential confessions, and obtain their acceptance. Here may you acquire fortitude and resolution in all the trials, and consolation in all the afflictions of life ; and here may christian excitement be received, and christian hope and charity es. tablished and enlarged, till you shall be prepared to be dwellers and worshippers in a house that hath foundations, eternal, in the heavens.
Finally, brethren, may the Lord bless you, and keep you ! The Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. The Lord prosper your work, and give you to see the end of it in bumble joy and thanksgiving. And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all our spirits !
The Evangelical Missionary Society in Massachusetts held its annual meeting in Boston, on Thursday, October 3d, in the vestry of the church in Federal Street. After the transaction of the usual business, the society attended religious services in the church in Federal Street, where prayers were offered, and the annual discourse was delivered by the Rev. John Bartlett, of Marblehead, from Romans x. 1. Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved. A collection was afterwards made. The following is the substance of the Report, which was offered to the society by the Trustees.
The Trustees submit to the society the following Report of their proceedings for the year past, and of the labours of the Missionaries, who have been employed in the service of the society.
The situation of Brooklyn in Connecticut is already known to the society; and has continued to receive, as it appeared to de. mand, the particular attention of the Trustees. In the course of February last, a committee from their society was sent to communicate with the board, and from the information given of their state and prospects, and the strong desires they expressed of continued aid, the Trustees had no doubt of the propriety of continuing the assistance hitherto granted. Mr. Samuel J. May, whose services among them have been highly acceptable, and whom they have been desirous of establishing in the ministry, has, at their request, been ordained by a council in Boston, and has now for several months been labouring among them in the word and ordinances. The strong interest they express in his services, and their unanimity amidst the difficulties with which they have been called to contend, give them an additional claim to the sympathy, and as far as possible, to the co-operation of the society.
The Rev. Silas Warren bas continued his Jabours at Jackson ; and as the best evidence of his acceptance and usefulness, the numbers and means of his society have been enlarged, particu