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subscribers, that a wider field had chosen into office for the year been opened during the past ensuing:than during any preceding year Taeasurer.-JAMES ESDAILE, since the establishment of the Esq. Society, for making known their Committee.-Messrs. J. Bow. very
instructive publications. ring, J. Fernie, Frend, Hart, But, in making the before-men- and S. Hart, Jun., Holt, Leach, tioued grants while the Society's Parkes, Dr. T. Rees, Messi's. R. finances were at so low an ebb, Taylor, and W. Wood. they hoped for, and,
Auditors.-C. Richmond, S. happy to add, readily oltained Bayley, and J. Todhunter, Esqrs. the sanction of the meeting.
Collector.--Mr. C. Fox, 33, The following gentlemen were Thread-needle Street.
POETRY. Mrs. Barbould's “Thought on Death." Beside their own real excellence, having arrived at a period, when there are associations connect- she must consider the angel of ed with the following lines, which death as having already crossed render them more than commonly her threshold, she looks forward interesting to us. Mrs. Barbauld to the end without apprehension, has passed her eightieth year. and with a triumphant faith to Her long and useful life has been that bright world, where age will spent in the practice of that living be renewed, and the virtuous will piety, wbich breathes from all her meet their reward. And yet she writings, and in the service of belongs to a denomination of that Maker, whose praise she has Christians, which has been charghymned in some of the finest ed with having no true religion strains of devotional poetry which in life, and no hope in death! our language affords. And now, Mrs. Barbauld is a Unitarian.
A THOUGHT ON DEATH.
Alas! how hard it is to die!
How awful then it is to die! When, one by one, those ties are torn, !
And friend from friend is snatched forlorn,
Ah! then, how easy 'tis to die!
'Tis joy, 'tis triumph, then to die!
'Tis nature's precious boon to die!
John Pilkington, Esq. John PILKINGTON, was bred thus honourable, as to profesto the profession of the law, and sional duties, is worthy of our had a well-founded expectation imitation in other points of view. of succeeding to a considerable He was a kind friend and be. property, in which, however, ow- nefactor to the poor; he freely ing to some unforeseen events, gave his advice to those who he was disappointed. Yet he were in difficulties and distress. eventually secured, by his own He was an affectionate husband, steady and persevering industry, a tender father, and in every that independence in his circum- social or relative connexion he stances which fortune had deni- endeavoured to walk worthy of ed him in early life.
the vocation wherewith he was The profession of the law is called. He was the firm and said to offer greater temptations consistent friend of civil and to the man of principle, and to religious liberty.
He was no afford more opportunities for the time-server, nor courtly sycoamassing of riches, than any phant, changing with the policy other; yet in the practice of this and fashion of the times, and profession he was distinguished seekiug applause and reward by his probity and moderation, by the sacrifice of principle; and always acted in strict obedi. nor did he court popularity by ence to the letter and spirit of Aattering the prejudices of the that excellent precept of our holy multitude, and falling in with all religion, “Let no man go be- the extravagant political theories yond, or defraud his brother in of the day; but he advocated the any matter."
He has often cause of rational reform and been the disinterested adviser real liberty, and dared to be the and mediator, when circumstan- steady and honest supporter of ces had put it into his power to the true interests of his country be the retained professional ad- in the most difficult times. Nor vocate. He chose rather to per- was his religious character less suade men to forgive their bre- admirable. Bred up among the thren their trespasses, and to Dissenters, the mode of worship live peaceably with each other, which education and habit had than to enrich himself with the contributed to attach him to, was spoils which contention would still more endeared to him when, have held out to him, or to rear in maturer years, examination the fabric of his own fortune up- and reflection had convinced him on the wreck of that of his fel. of its beneficial tendency. He low-man. But the character noticed how corrupt and oppres.
sive religion had often become when allied to temporal power; and he considered the conduct of those highly inconsistent who, while they professed to be the followers of Jesus, connected themselves with the kingdoms of this world. He therefore acknowledged no head or master upon earth in spiritual matters; and, while he rendered unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, he rendered unto God the things which are God's. It was his practice while reading the sacred volume, to make such notes and extracts as would assist him in his further researches, and enable him “to prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” By this study of the Scriptures he be. came more and more confirmed in the belief of the fundamental article of the Jewish and Christian systems, the Unity of God; and with that independence of mind for which he was remarkable, he worshipped the God of his fathers after the way which the world deem heresy. He chose to abstain from joining the popular sects of the day, although from his connexions and circumstances in life he had many temptations to do so; and he bore with firmness and Christian indifference his share of the misrepresentations and obloquy and suspicion which the sect eve y where spoken against so constantly meets with. Yet, while he differed from his brethren in matters of faith, he had that charity for all men, without which, religious professions and services are utterly vain. He neither limited the mercies of the Holy One of Israel to a few favourites, nor rested the salvation of his fellow-men upon the
weak foundation of a religious creed; but he delighted to call upon the Lord his God, as the Father and the friend of all his widely-extended family, ever ready to receive the repentant sinner.
Such were the religious principles which shed their beneficial influence over his mind, and which produced the character here portrayed. They enabled him to resist the temptations of the world, and to bear the severe pains of body to which he was often subject, and the various distresses of life, with that resignation to the will of God which becomes a disciple of Jesus; and in his last hour he reaped the full benefit of so wise and pious a line of conduct. His health had been declining for some months before his decease; but as no immediate danger was apprehended, his family flattered themselves that he would be spared to them yet many years. Nor did this hope leave them until within a few days of his death. On the evening of his decease, feeling his end approaching, and while surrounded by his sorrowing family, he said, “Will you all join me in prayer?” and immediately prayed aloud in the most collected and pious
He expressed his firm belief of his acceptance with God; not from any merit of his own, for he acknowledged himself a sinner who had often dared the Divine displeasure, and who had not been sufficiently grateful for the bounties of Providence, and that at the best he had been an anprofitable servant. But he trusted to the eternal and ina changeable goodness of his Al
mighty Father, who knew the sincerity of his heart, and to the promises he has vouchsafed to us through the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus He said that he had prayed, if it were the will of God, he might recover, adding, “He is a God of mercy and of truth, and when I think of his power and wisdom and goodness, I am enabled to say, Not my will, but thine be done.'” He blessed God for the consolation and hope afforded by the Scriptures; he said he had founded his faith and hope upon them alone, and that if he had erred in his belief, he felt assured he should be forgiven. He declared his belief in the unity of God; in the divine mission of Jesus; and in the final salvation of all
mankind. He said that God was
ESSAYS, EXTRACTS, &c.
The Justice of God not opposed tu his Mercy. There is not, perhaps, in the which interposes itself to forbid whole range of school divinity, a the intentions of love. more fruitful source of error,
This idea is not confined to than the opinion, so generally en- written systems, and voluminous tertained, of the opposing and bodies of divinity ; would that contradictory qualities, influen. it were, for then its injurious efces, and requisitions of God's fects might not be so extensive ; jnstice and mercy. To read the but your children are taught to common schemes, as they are repeat it in their catechisms, called, of theologians, one would yourselves repeat it in your imagine, that the divine mind church creeds, it is forced into was never at peace, that a per- the prayers of your clergymen, petual conflict was kept up be- and they insist and dilate upon tween its lenient inclinations, and it in their lectures and sermons, the stern demands of what might over and over again. On the not irreverently be termed a great subject of the mission, suf
ferings, and death of the Savi
our, you are constantly told, was thought by the 'ancients to that God saw the sinful and govern the determinations of wretched condition of men, that their supreme divinity; for though he pitied, and resolved to save not stated to be so, it certainly them ; but they had sinned, regives the impression of an exter- beiled, and fallen; they had nal and independent power,
committed an infinite offence
like the unbending fate, which our
against an infinite Deity, and a frowning, unrelenting Justice interposes, and calls for an infinite satisfaction, the sacrifice of his only Son. Mercy is obliged to yield, Justice obtains its demand; while, in the language of a bargain, the sacrifice is called an equivalent, and the whole transaction is termed a merciful plan, a dispensation of love! No wonder that there are so many infidels, when this is represented as Christianity.
Without entering upon an examination of the several errors of this system, a few remarks will be offered on that, which may be considered as the fundamental and prevailing one, namely, the suppositiou of a disagreement between the attributes of God; the idea that his rigorous justice intercepts the benevolent designs of his mercy.
Is not this opinion, in the first place, degrading to the true character of Supreme Perfection ? Does it not leave a blank in the description of Deity, which even our finite conceptions may fill? Is it consistent with the unity of his character, thus to present one of its principles in decided opposition to another? Is it consistent with the loveliness of his charact
thus to present its severity overcoming its benevolence ? Or is it consistent with the dignity of his character, thus to present its benevolence yielding to its severity ? With such conceptions of God, can we feel satisfied, can we feel secure? Let any unprejudiced and thinking man ask himself these questions separately and seriously.
Is not this opinion, in the second place, at variance, not only with proper apprehensions of the whole divine character, but
with a proper definition of the divine justice and mercy, singly considered? What is the justice of God, and what is his merey ? Does his justice demand inflictions, from which his mercy recoils? We think not. Does his mercy ask for indulgences, which his justice refuses to grant? We think not. When justice is unfeeling, and regards not, as its sole and ultimate end, the happiness of its objects, it certainly is not just; it ceases to be justice, and takes the aspect and character of cruelty. And when mercy is shortsighted and partial, acting from impulse, rather than from a sense of right, and relieving present misery, rather than consulting for real and lasting good, it is no longer mercy, it has degenerated into weakness. Who will as. cribe either of these dispositions to God? Who will say, that his justice is but wrath, and his mercy but unguided feeling? And yet this is virtually said by those, who hold the opinions against which we are contending; it is virtually said by the common error which we have stated; it is virtually said by those systems, which make our redemption the resnlt of opposing principles and counsels and the performance of a previous stipulation. There is no getting away from these inferences. In the common systems of divinity, the justice and mercy of God are plainly represented as distinct and opposed. Now these qualities in their perfection, never can be either distinct or opposed; for perfect justice will always have pity on weakness and frailty, and perfect mercy will
- always unfalteringly pursue the
straight and only course, which leads to the best possible consequence.