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4. Are Unitarians in their practice as a body, free from the charge of inconsistency and of culpable indifference to truth and principle?'

These Freethinking Christians are the same community who met about twelve years ago, at No. 5, Cateaton-street, with whom another set of sectarians, calling themselves the Church, assembling at No. 7, Cateaton-street,' thought it necessary publicly to disclaim all connection, expressing at the same time their regret, that any of their countrymen should hold sentiments so repugnant to the word of God. They made themselves notorious at the time, by advertizing in one of the Sunday papers, their intention of publicly inquiring into the existence of the Devil. The business in their meetings (for the term Religious Service would be inapplicable) is thus described in Mr. Evans's sketch :

'At these meetings, doctrinal, moral and scriptural subjects are chosen for public instruction: there is the utmost simplicity and familiarity in their form and manner. The elder opens the business by stating the subject; and at his call, several speakers, one after the other, address the Church and the audience assembled. It is no unusual thing to hear among them a difference of opinion, which they express without the least hesitation, considering that truth is engendered by the comparison of sentiment, and that no sensible mind can be otherwise than pleased at every attempt to correct what another may esteem its error. This exercise generally occupies about an hour and a half, and the business is concluded by the elder. The speakers, in their discourses, take frequent occasions to controvert the current opinions of the Christian world in general; and to shew their ground of dissent from all sects and parties: nor are they at all sparing with their censures on the priesthood, which under all its modifications and refinements, they consider as opposed, both in theory and application, to the best principles of the Christian Church, inimical to the purity of the Gospel, inconsistent with the advancement of mind, and unfriendly to the interests of truth,'

It appears then, upon translating this lingua-franca, or liberal language, into its meaning in plain English, that this meeting, though the house is licensed under the pretext of being a place of religious worship, is neither more nor less than a debating club, in which the opinions prevailing throughout the Christian world, those Catholic doctrines which have been held by all Christians, at all times and in all parts of the world,-are controverted; and the clergy, not those of the Establishment alone, but the religious ministers of every denomination, are denounced as a class of men whose existence is incompatible with that new and liberal order of things, that golden age of philosophy, which the sages of this society are labouring to advance, sometimes by their metaphysical talents

VOL. XXIII. NO. XLVI.

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talents in Jewin Street,* and sometimes by their political harangues in the Common Hall.

Far as these gentlemen have gone, the convenient method of turning a meeting house into a debating society has been carried still farther. In this lowest deep there is a lower still. The following is literally copied from a handbill before us.

Judge Abbot

and the
BIBLE!

The following adjourned question will be debated
At Hopkin's Street Chapel,
Near Berwick Street, Soho,

On Monday Evening, Nov. 1, 1819.

Is Judge Abbott's refusing Mr. Carlisle to read the Bible on his Trial, to be attributed to a sincere Respect for the Sacred Writings, or to a reasonable Apprehension that their supposed Absurdity and Falsehood would be exposed?"

On Wednesday Evening next, the
Following question will be debated;

Is the removal of Earl Fitzwilliam from the Lord Lieutenancy of Yorkshire, to be considered as a crafty Design of Ministers and Wigs,† to subvert the gigantic Power of the Radicals, vainly supposing the lower Order would accept of a rich Man for their leader, who Commands eleven Voices in the Senate, or to be Considered as an Act of Prudence on their Part, to suppress the inquiry made respecting the innocent Blood spilt at Manchester?

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One of the late acts of government (those salutary acts which were so loudly called for by all the loyal and religious part of the nation-the great majority of the British people) has put an end to this hot-bed of impiety and sedition, and to others of the same kind. The law has also reached some of the wholesale dealers in blasphemy and treason. But numerous agents of evil are still as busily at work as ever; and the poisonous drugs are still prepared and vended, though they are no longer labelled as they were before.

Mr. Yates has stated the result of a personal and minute inquiry into the extent of circulation given to papers and pamphlets injurious to morals, and of an infamous, loose and irreligious character.'

There are,' he says, many printers and publishers of such works;

The following specimen may shew the manner in which religious subjects are treated in this preparatory academy for infidelity.-The true mode of conversion, said one of the speakers, is to deal with a man, as did with St. Paul.-How was that? -By knocking him down!'

The spelling, syntax, punctuation, and other peculiarities, of this precious paper are faithfully eserved.

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one of whom alone employs from ten to twenty persons (men and women) to traverse the town and country with packages; to find their way into the kitchens and stables of the higher classes; and into the shops, manufactories, public houses, and all the resorts of the numerous servants, artizans, mechanics and labourers, the greater part of whom, in all the large parishes, are left totally destitute of the care of the national religion; wholly without any participation in the instructions of a parish minister, or in the benefit of the Established Church. How successfully these sheep without a shepherd are sought after by the destructive zeal of the enemy, may appear from the fact, that each of these emissaries of vice maintain themselves by a profit of from ten to forty shillings each per week-after their employers have received an ample gain upon the printing and publishing: each of these venders of Good Books (as they term themselves on their catalogues and packages) brings a sum seldom less than five pounds in ready money, or a sufficient security for a like sum, and receives books to that amount at the wholesale price, living upon the retail and ready money profit, and when all are sold returning with the capital for a fresh supply. A circulation beyond credibility is thus given to the silent and insidious vehicles of licentiousness, disaffection, and every description of vice. And if even when the good seed is sown, the enemy intermixes his tares, how abundant must be the growth of evil when the uncultivated soil is left entirely to him!'-Basis of National Welfare, p. 64.

Thus it is that those pestilential opinions are diffused which have cankered the populace at the core; opinions which are equally destructive of patriotism and of loyalty, of morality and of religion, of national welfare and of individual happiness;—which wither and blast the household virtues, and eat into the main beams and pillars of society, like a dry rot. The newspapers and other journals, through all the imperceptible shades of gradation between Whiggery and Radicalism, continually administer their stimulants and keep up the diseased action in the body politic. Quarter after quarter, month after month, week after week, day after day, the revolutionary press sends forth its poison

Nihil est profecto stultius neque stolidius
Neque mendaciloquius, neque argutum magis,
Neque confidentiloquius, neque perjurius.

But false as it is, ignorant and self-contradictory even to absurdity, its impudence and its perseverance must inevitably prevail-if the laws are not vigilantly enforced. Oh folly to believe that the press, like the spear of Telephus, possesses a virtue which can heal the wounds it makes! Oh madness to suppose that the press can counteract the evils which the press is producing! As well might you hope to remedy the effects of habitual drunkenness by medicine, while the patient continues in the practice of the vice: as 002

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well might you expect to restore a maniac to his senses, by putting into his hauds a treatise upon the right use of reason!

Upon this subject the opinion of an American writer already mentioned may be read with some interest. Fisher Ames considered it as the best proof of the remarkable strength of the British Constitution, that it had stood so long in spite of the abuses of the press. The press,' said this excellent man, (a republican by education, principle and duty, and a true lover of liberty)— the press has left the understanding of the mass of men just where it found it; but by supplying an endless stimulus to their imaginations and passions, it has rendered their temper and habits infinitely worse. It has inspired ignorance with presumption, so that those who cannot be governed by reason, are no longer to be awed by authority. The many, who before the art of printing, never mistook in a case of oppression, because they complained from the actual sense of it, have become susceptible of every transient enthusiasm, and of more than womanish fickleness of caprice. The press is a new, and certainly a powerful agent in human affairs. It will change, but it is difficult to conceive how, by rendering men indocile and presumptuous, it can change societies for the better. They are pervaded by its heat, and kept for ever restless by its activity. While it has impaired the force that every just government can employ in self defence, it has imparted to its enemies the secret of that wildfire that blazes with the most consuming fierceness on attempting to quench it.'

The greater the power of any instrument, the greater is the mischief which it may produce if managed by unskilful hands, or directed by wicked ones. This is as true of printing, as it is of gunpowder and steam. The direction which is given to the press we see and feel at this time, and the anarchists, to do them justice, honestly tell us the end which they are endeavouring to bring about. The press in their hands, is exhibited by themselves as

'The THING

that in spite of NEW ACTS,

And attempts to restrain it by SOLDIERS OF TAX, is to POISON THE VERMIN of the country.' And that there may be no doubt, who these vermin are, they are represented as the ministers of justice, the military, the persons who are adorned with marks of honours and nobility, and the clergy. In disordering the manufacturing population these poisoners have succeeded to the extent of their ability. The result, however, has disappointed their hopes; for, heaven be praised, the conservative powers of society have been found stronger than the united efforts of sedition, privy conspiracy and rebellion. The arm of authority and the vigour of the law have with God's blessing sufficed for our

preservation.

preservation. But the country can never again be in a state of permanent tranquillity,-the feeling of settled security can never be restored, unless more be done, and unless effectual means, in aid of authority and the law, be taken for providing the people, from their youth up, with sound religious instruction. The sure and only way of making them good subjects is by making them good Christians and good men.

A despotism of laws and institutions is supposed as the basis of all Utopian romance. It was aimed at by the legislators of antiquity, and (omitting less complete examples) has been thoroughly exemplified in Egypt and in Japan. To some such despotism every society which is not founded upon Christian principles, must tend, if it be not retrograde instead of progressive; and when it reaches that point, the hopes of man are extinguished. It is only through the prevailing influence of pure religion and undefiled, that the permanent blessings of perfect freedom can be attained; and it is only by timely inculcating the principles of that religion that governments can at once effectually provide for their own security, and for the happiness of their subjects. To this object the measures of the legislature are at length wisely directed, since that by the termination of a war not more arduous than it was inevitable and just, it has won for itself leisure to give its main attention to the improvement of the people, which is the great end of govern

ment.

O glorious England! thou hast borne thyself
Religiously and bravely in that strife;

And happier victory hath blest thine arms,
Than in the days of yore
Thine own Plantagenets achieved,

Or Marlborough, wise in council as in field,
Or Wolfe, heroic name.
Now gird thyself for other war!
Look round thee, and behold what ills
Remediable, and yet unremedied,
Afflict man's wretched race!
Put on the panoply of faith!
Bestir thyself against thine inward foes,
Ignorance and Want, with all their brood
Of miseries and of crimes!

And here let us remark, that although the grant of the late parliament is far from being adequate to the whole exigencies of the case, no measure of equal magnitude has ever yet been deliberately taken by any government for the interest of religion.-Nor must we omit to notice the conduct of those distinguished persons who have come forward on this occasion to assist in forwarding the object of the legislature by their voluntary contributions. The rea

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