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fidelity has not been unrewarded. The church of Christ now under his pastoral care, composed for the most part of converts, the fruit of his own ministry, is flourishing both in numbers and piety. It is true that they are drawn chiefly from the middling and lower ranks of society, though a few wealthy are yet numbered with thern. But they are a united, affectionate, and zealous band of Christians, co-operating with each other, and with their most estimable pastor, for the advancement of the truth of the gospel amidst their superstitious or infidel neighbours. Having spent one Sabbath and five days among them, I am in some measure enabled to judge of their situation and condition; and from all I have seen and heard, I am prepared to say, that it is a station of great importance to the interests of the gospel in the south of France, and should excite a lively interest in the breasts of British Christians. I therefore most earnestly desire that it may be taken under the affectionate, devout, and sympathising regard of the Committee, and the members of the Union at large.
" M. Monod, upon my explanation of the views and objects of the Union, entered very cordially into the design, and assured me that he would do all in his power to promote it in the south of France. He appointed a special meeting of his congregation for the purpose of affording me an opportunity of stating to them the nature of my mission, which I did, to the best of my ability, in the French language; and which I was happy to find was not only perfectly understood, but was most affectionately received.
“ M. Monod much desired that I should accompany him to Macon, and other places on the Saône, to meet the pastors, who were to assemble for the purpose of considering what form of discipline and order should be more permanently adopted among them. I much regretted that the limits of my time would not admit of this privilege. As a compensation, however, I prevailed on M. Monod to engage to send to the Committee, not only an account of the result of that meeting, but also a succinct statement of the present condition of religion in the south of France. I also received from him the pleasing assurance that, if it could be made to comport with his duties at home, he would probably visit our assembly at some future anniversary; and, as M. Monod speaks English very correctly, his presence and his communications would, I am persuaded, afford the highest interest to our meetings. I am desired by him to present his thanks to the Committee, and in particular to Dr. Bennett, for the interest manifested toward him by the kind and judicious letter addressed to him by the Doctor, in the name of the Committee. The Declaration and Addresses are left in the hands of M. Monod for circulation.
“ From Lyons I proceeded to Geneva, Vevey, Basel, Strasbourg, and Düsseldorf, respecting each of which places and their localities I hope to send interesting communications previously to the next meeting of the Committee.
" I am, dear Brethren,
“ JOSEPH TURNBULL." HISTORICAL NOTICE OF THE CHURCH AND CONGREGATION ASSEMBLING IN SPENCER STREET CHAPEL, LEAMINGTON.
WITH AN ENGRAVING. Leamington Priors, or as it is sometimes called, Leamington Spa, is situated in the heart of Warwickshire, 22 miles from Birmingham, 10 from Coventry, and 2 from Warwick. Thirty-five years ago it was a village of the smallest class; but in consequence of the more general use of its mineral springs it has become an attractive watering place, and contains a population of 12,500 souls.
The establishment of the first dissenting congregation originated in the zeal, perseverance, and self-denying exertions of the Rev.J. W. Percy, of Warwick. He commenced the preaching of the gospel in a spacious room, and in the year 1816 Mr. P., in connection with the neighbouring ministers and others, friends of the truth, erected a chapel in Clemens-street. The first minister was the Rev. A. Bromley. It was the benevolent determination of the trustees to render this place of worship serviceable to the extension of the gospel among all parties, and they therefore resolved to act on the principle of a kind and liberal accommodation. To accommodate the dissenters, the minister selected was of the Congregational denomination, and educated at Hoxton ; to accommodate the members of the establishment the liturgy of the church of England was read. Not to give umbrage to the dissenters, selections only from the prayers were at first used; but to secure the attendance of episcopalians, the church service was introduced on all occasions of public worship. That Mr. Bromley might be fully recognized by the dissenters as the minister of the place, he was ordained ; but' lest his ordination should leave the impression of its being exclusively a dissenting chapel it was privately conducted. To silence the cry of “ open communion” from the dissenters, a society was formed, but on different principles from a Congregational church ; and at the same time no inconvenience was experienced by episcopalians, who were freely admitted to the Lord's Supper, which was administered according to the prescribed form in the Book of Common Prayer. This chapel was called " Union Chapel.” The design of the trustees in this arrangement cannot be mistaken. It was of a truly benevolent character. They were willing to sacrifice party prejudices, not from any selfish or corrupt motive, but only in order to save some." How far the method adopted was judicious is questionable. Dissenters, who prefer extemporaneous prayer to a liturgy, will seek the means of grace elsewhere ;. hence, in this instance, the majority of dissenting visitors attended the ministry of Mr. Percy at Warwick. Episcopalians, who may not be prejudiced against an “ unconsecrated chapel,” will cease to frequent it when an evangelical ministry is to be enjoyed in the establishment. Nominal Christians are led in conse quence to regard the devotional services as of a secondary importance, whilst the irreligious scoff at the design as a worldly speculation-as an attempt (as they express themselves) “ to make the place answer.”
Mr. Bromley was a highly acceptable and pleasing preacher. When first settled over the congregation, he conscientiously declined reading the Liturgy. These scruples were, in the course of time, overcome, and he conducted this part of the worship in his own person; but, in 1823, he left Union Chapel to receive holy orders in the establishment. After two years cessation from all preaching, he was appointed curate in a very small village, where his sphere of usefulness was greatly contracted. He died, much lamented, a few years after. Apart from all denominational considerations, it was a source of sincere regret that Mr. B. should have been induced to exchange so important, interesting, and extended a sphere of labour in Leamington, for so limited a station as that which he subsequently occupied.
Mr. B. was succeeded by the Rev. Mr. Seaton. Like Mr. Bromley, he entered the church, after officiating as minister of Union Chapel, for the space of two years. The “ silence" usually thought necessary from dissenting ministers, to qualify them to preach in a church, was dispensed with in Mr. Seaton's case; and having read the prayers and preached in Union Chapel, on one Sabbath, he was permitted to appear in the pulpit of an established church, in Cambridge, the succeeding Lord's-day, Mr. S. still continues to labour in the establishment.
Mr. Seaton was followed by the Rev. C. Bassano, a student at Blackburn Academy. After Mr. B. had preached about two years, and to many with much acceptance, a spirit of discord was observed in the congregation of Union Chapel. The very few dissenters who still attended expressed dissatisfaction at the total abandonment of congregational privileges, and the absence of christian fellowship, together with the exclusive observance of the rites and ordinances of episcopal worship. No hope of a speedy or efficient alteration being held out to them by the minister, they determined to lay their complaints before the trustees, who also were apprehensive that there existed some defect, as a debt upon the chapel was contracted by the deficiency in Mr. Bassano's salary. In vain they solicited Mr. B, to ascertain the sense of the majority of his congre
gation, as to the proposed alteration in the form of worship; and on his refusing to do so, they resolved - 1st. That the liturgical form of worship should be laid aside, and congregational discipline observed, according to the predilections of those who had founded Union Chapel; and, 2d, That the Rev. C. Bassano should be requested to accept the oversight of the congregation, thus altered in its mode of worship. Mr. B. declined, and retired to rooms in the town, and his congregation afterwards built Mill Street Chapel, which was ultimately purchased by the Rev. Rowland Hill.
The trustees, on learning the disinclination of Mr. Bassano to continue minister, wrote to the committee of Highbury College, who sent the Rev. A. Pope, the pastor of the church and congregation at the present time. The Rev. Mr. Percy, who had been an indefatigable friend of the chapel from the commencement, and who had collected £1300 towards its erection, presided at the formation of the church, July, 1828. The increase in the number of hearers has been very encouraging. When Mr. P. first preached in Clemens Street Chapel, Feb. 10, 1828, only two families had taken sittings, and twentyseven persons attended. In the course of seven years, the congregation had so far augmented, that the chapel was inadequate to the accommodation of those who desired to occupy seats in it. The proposal of an enlargement was mentioned to T. Wilson, Esq. and others, who were of opinion, that as the property was leasehold, the inconvenience of enlarging it, having houses on both sides, and the expense attending such a plan, it would be more desirable to sell the old chapel, and to erect a new place of worship in a commanding part of the town. The foundation stone was laid Sept. 24, 1835, in Spencer Street, by the Rev. J. A. James, of Birmingham, by whose constant and valuable friendship the Independent congregation have been greatly encouraged. It was opened by the Rey Messrs. James, and Parsons of York, last July. (See Congregational Magazine, August 1836.) The increased attendance at Spencer Street Chapel, more than justifies the congregation in taking the important step, as some hundreds regularly worship there who could not have been accommodated in the old chapel. Many efforts have been made to meet the necessary expenses. Large sums have been contributed, and gifts, in the form of materials, have been presented. The stone pillars, and all the ornamental part of the front of the edifice, is the gift of J. Russell, Esq. the gratuitous architect. An earnest appeal for further assistance is made to the public, to visitors, as well as to the inhabitants. As this erection is not merely a local advantage, but a convenience to individuals in various parts of Great Britain, who visit Leamington for health or pleasure, the claims which it possesses on their attention, will be found, it is hoped, of so just and urgent à nature as to dispose them to contribute liberally towards this place of worship. Contributions will be thankfully received by the Rev. A. Pope, the minister, and by J. Ransford, Esq. Leamington Bank.
RESOLUTION OF THE CONGREGATIONAL BOARD. At the Monthly Meeting of the Ministers of the Congregational Board, held at the Library, Blomfield Street, on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 1836; the Rev. W. S. Palmer, in the chair :-" It was resolved unanimously, That this Board begs to express its cordial thanks to his Majesty's Government for the recent Act of Parliament for the Registration of Births, Marriages, and Deaths; and recommends to the Ministers and Churches of the Congregational Denomination, to facilitate the important objects of the Registration Commissioners, by entrusting to their care all documents relating to that subject, agreeably to the regulations and conditions stated in the Circular of the said Commissioners.
Arthur Tidman, Secretary.” ORDINATION, REMOVAL, &c. On Wednesday, the 23d of November, the Rev. J. Chater, late student at Hackney, was ordained pastor over the church of Christ, of the Congregational order, at Lindfield, Sussex. The Rev. Wm. Aldridge, of East Grinstead, commenced the service by reading the scriptures and prayer; the Rev. J. Edwards, of Brighton, delivered the introductory discourse ; the Rev J. M. Saule, of Lewes, proposed the questions, and received Mr. C.'s confession of faith; the Rev. J. N. Goulty, of Brighton, offered the ordination prayer; the Rev. Geo. Collison, Mr. C.'s Theological Tutor, gave the charge from 2 Cor. ii. 15. and the Rev. E. Newton, of Cuckfield, closed the morning service with prayer. In the evening the Rev. T. Wallace, of Petworth, addressed the people from John ii. 6. The congregation was large, and the services throughout most solemn and important.
The Rev. W. Blandy, late of Crediton, Devon, has accepted the unanimous call to the pastoral office over the church and congregation, assembling in the Independent Chapel, Sorsby Street, Chesterfield; vacant by the removal of the Rev. J. Horsey, now of Launceston. Mr. B.'s old friends at Crediton, previously to his leaving, presented him with one of the finest copies of Bagster's Comprehensive Bible, splendidly bound in Russia, as a testimony of their affectionate remembrance of his ministry during a residence of more than nine years.
CIRCULAR FROM THE SECRETARY OF THE COMMISSIONERS OP REGISTRATION. UNDER this general head it is the intention of the Editor to insert those Public Papers that relate to the interests of the Church of Christ at large, or that pertain to the religious liberties of our own country. He is happy to commence these archives with copies of Circulars that have been sent to him by J. S. Burn, Esq. Secretary to his Majesty's Commissioners appointed to inquire into the State of Registers or Records, not being parochial, of Births, Baptisms, Deaths, Burials, and Marriages. This Commission has originated in the liberal dispositions of bis Majesty's Government towards the dissenting community, and their solicitude not only to give them an improved and legalized system of registration for the future, but, if possible, to confer equal authority on such records with those that have been kept by the parochial functionaries. The success of this project, we are aware, must depend on the cordial co-operation of the parties who have such dissenting Registers in their possession, and we, therefore, invite the serious attention of all our readers to the inquiries proposed, and trust that dissenting Ministers, or other representatives of existing or of defunct congregations, will give a prompt attention to the subject, and forward, as instructed, their information to the Home Office at an early period. We are not ignorant of the difficulties which will be found to exist respecting some records, on account of their complex character, one volume having, in some instances, been made to serve the purpose of a church minute-book and of a baptismal register. Where the entries are in distinct parts of the same volume, we would recommend that the register should be detached by a bookbinder, and forwarded with the necessary explanations. In those cases where the entries of baptism, &c. are mixed up with the ordinary proceedings of the church, we should advise that fac simile copies be made of them, with the greatest regard to exactness, inserting numerals where they are used, and abbreviations where they occur. These verbatim et literatim copies should be sent to the Commissioners with the original volume, who, we trust, in such cases will be ready, on ascertaining the perfect accuracy of such transcriptions, tu receive them and return the original documents.
We beg to urge upon the attention of all our readers, the duty they owe to their families, connections, and the public, to inquire respecting these documents, not a few of which, we fear, are in private hands, and to employ their best influence to secure their immediate transmission to his Majesty's Commissioners.