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EVENING SERVICE ON WEDNESDAY. Br. Russell Streeter, the introductory Prayer. Br. Sylvanus Cobb, the Sermon, from St. John ii. 35, 36. Br. Benjamin Whittemore, the concluding Prayer.
10th. Appointed Brs. John E. Palmer, Isaac Whitnall and Asa Priest, a Committee to visit the Western Association, to be holden in the town and county of Otsego, N. Y. on the first Wednesday and Thursday of June, 1823.
11th. Appointed Brs. Robert Barilett, S. C. Loveland, K. Haven and Elias Smith, a committee to visit the Northern Association, to be holden in Barre, Vt. the first Wednesday and Thursday in October next.
12th. Appointed Brs. H. Ballou, R. Streeter and Joshua Flagg, a Committee to visit the Eastern Association, to be bolden in Waterville, Me. on the first Wednesday and Thursday in June, 1823.
13th. Appointed Brs. H. Ballou, 2d. Elias Smith, and Thomas Whittemore, a Committee to visit the Southern Association, to be holden at Western, Mass. on the 2d Wednesday in December next.
14th. Adjourned until Thursday, 8 o'clock, A. M. Prayer by Br. George W. Brooks.
15th. Thursday morning met according to adjournment. Prayer by Br. Lemuel Willis.
16th. The Committee appointed to consider requests for letters of fellowship or ordination, reported that it is expedient to grant letters of fellowship to Brs. Thomas F. King, city of New York, Linus S. Evereti and Joseph Bradley, Hudson, N. Y. Lemuel Willis and Dolphus Skinner, Reading, Vt.; Hiram B. Clark, Brookfield, Mass.; Asa Wheaton and Massena B. Ballou, Boston, Mass.; Hubbard H. Winchester, Halifax, Vt. and George W. Brooks.
17th. Voted to accept the above report. 18th. Adjourned to attend public services.
ORDER OF THE MORNING SERVICE. Br. S. C. Loveland, the introductory Prayer. Br. S. Streeter, the Sermon, from 1 John iii. 3. Br. D. Skinner, the concluding Prayer.
ORDER OF THE AFTERNOON SERVICE. Br. Joshua Flagg, the introductory Prayer. Br. H. Ballou, the Sermon, from Psalms xlvi. 4. Br. R. Bartlett, the concluding Prayer.
ORDER OF THE EVENING SERVICE. Br. R. Streeter, the introductory Prayer. Br. I. Whitnall, the Sermon, from Acts xx. 32. Br. H. H. Winchester, the concluding Prayer.
19th. Appointed Br. H. Ballou to arrange the Minutes of this session and accompany the same with a Circular Letter, and to publish the whole in the Universalist Magazine as soon as convenient.
20th. Voted to request the Editors of all the periodical papers of our order, to insert the Minutes and Circular at large in their respective publications.
21st. Adjourned the General Convention, to be holden in Clinton, N. Y. on the third Wednesday and Thursday in September, 1823.
Prayer by our aged and much respected brother William Farwell.
HOSEA BALLOU, Moderator. SAMUEL C. LOVELAND, } Clerks. Hosea Ballou, 2d.
[The Circular Letter will be given in our next number.]
FROM THE UNIVERSALIST MAGAZINE,
NEW ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSALISTS. Agreeably to previous arrangements, Brs. Hosea Ballou, David Ballou, Hosea Ballou, 2d. Hubbard H. Winchester, and John Brooks, convened at Br. Elizur Chamberlin's, in Bernardstown, Mass. on Thursday the 10th day of October, and formed an Association, by the name of the “Franklin Association of Universalists." Made choice of Brs. David Ballou, Moderator, and John Brooks, Clerk.
Attended public worship, at the Rev. Mr. Rogers? meeting-house, at half past 10 o'clock, A. M. First prayer by Br. H. H. Winchester. Sermon by Br. Hosea Ballou, 2d. from Isaiah xxix. 13, 14. Concluding prayer by Br. Brooks.
Public worship commenced in the afternoon with prayer, by Br. David Ballou. Sermon by Br. Hosea Ballou, from Rom. x. 17. Concluding prayer and benediction by the same.
In the evening a discourse was delivered by Br. David Ballou, from Col. i. 28.
The Association retired to Br. J. Connable's, and completed their business, by
1. Voting that the several Universalian churches and societies in this region be requested to send delegates to the next session of this Association.
2. Appointed Brs. David Ballou, H. H. Winchester, and John Brooks, a committee to attend the General Convention, to be holden at Clinton, N. Y. on the 3d Wednesday and Thursday in September next, and request that this Association may be received into their fellowship, and placed under their patronage.
3. Adjourned, to meet again at Whitingham, Vt. on the 4th Wednesday of September, A. D. 1823. Per order.
FOR THE CHRISTIAN INTELLIGENCER.
FALLIBLE DOCTORS, OR BLIND GUIDES.
. DEAR SIR-From several recent occurrences, with a relation of which I need not trouble you, I have been led to suspect that our school Divines, are not sufficiently evangelical to constitute them infallible guides, in matters of religious opinion. I presume not to decide for others, but leave them to decide for themselves, after hearing the reasons of my suspicion, whether some of our spiritual Fathers and Doctors of Divinity may not fall under the denomination of “blind guides.” I allow, my subject is by no means pleasant, otherwise than a sense and love of duty renders it such; because it has the appearance of being on the uncharitable side of the question ; but then lenient charity you know, is often conquered by obdurate, stubborn facts. Evidence frequently compels us to believe with reluctance, many unpleasant things of our neighbors, against a voluntary choice. Dark and stormy, therefore, as my prospect may appear, I will venture to submit my reasons to the prove
sensible and candid. And the first is, the reluctance they manifest to having their doctrines examined by reason and God's word. Doctrine advanced by the Apostles, was directed to our understanding, and submitted for our inspection. They did not challenge the implicit confidence of their hearers in all they might advance, which had nothing better for its support, perhaps, than their own ipsi dixit; that is, they did not require men to believe, or tamcly to assent to dogmas and propositions which had not, to them, the appearance of truth. At that age, men had the liberty to all things, and hold fast that which was good ;" nor were they bandied about as heretics, libertines and scismatics, because they would not receive doctrines without examination. The Apostles were anxious that their sentiments shonld be examined, for being sounded in truth, they knew they would derive advantage and strength from the trial. It is error and falsehood only, that suffer by inspection; and these will always try to avoid, while truth elicits examination. Consequently, when a man would impose a creed upon me, which he will not allow me to discuss, I suspect an imposition. And why not? If he were to refuse me the privilege of inspecting a commodity, which I was about to purchase, I should be jealous of a deception ; and why not jealous also of his story, or his creed, when he insists upon my receiving it with my eyes shut, or without the exercise of my own understanding. It looks like an insult in the clergy to prescribe, and it is certainly weakness in us, to allow them to prescribe a faith for our assent, which requires the surrender of common sense, before it can be adopted. For we may as well be without eyes, as always to go blindfold, and without reason, as not use it. Since nothing but falsehood and deception, suffers by being explored, this sort of clerical domination which prohibits the use of reason, carries the imposition on the very front of it; for they would have all, to be either fools or hypocrites. These things make up my first reason, for being jealous that they are “blind guides."
2. Their doctrine is scholastic. They are taught it at the schools of divinity, and of course, “ according to the rudiments of this world.” Its character is conformed to the model of the institution in which it is taught. If in the Theological Institutions at Andover, or Bangor, they are Calvinists; if, at Providence or Waterville, they are Baptists; if at Princeton, they are Presbyterian, if at Georgetown, they are Roman Catholics, and if at Yorktown, they come out blazing academical Episcopalians. Now I leave it to the good sense of your readers to decide, whether this is scholastic divinity, and also whether these qualifications are most likely to constitute them infallible guides, or “blind guides.”
3. They belong to a consociation or synod of Ecclesicastics, to whose tribunal they are answerable for all their doctrines and instructions. Hence if one have the capacity to discern an error, but few have the boldness, probity and courage to renounce and expose it, for fear of the tyranny and excommunication of the church, and the envy and execrations of an Ecclesiastical council, and of being followed with the popular cry of “ Anathema-Maranatha.” So that to live in peace and friendship, he must either be a blockhead, by refusing to learn, or a hypocrite in concealing his improvements ; either of which, constitutes, as I think, a “blind guide.”
4. They are flattered with the notion of church preferment; of being honored with the splendid titles of A. M. or D. D. And such honorary epithets have considerable influence on professional characters, who are always more or less pleased with such solid attainments. Their sparkling brightness, not only eclipses the mild and gentle lustre of the gospel, but frequently blinds the eyes of its pursuers so thoroughly, as to change a religious guide into a “blind guide.” Because if they freely examine and honestly expose the errors of their creed, they loose those preferments, epithets, and clerical elevations, and are driven from the holy order, as enemies to religion and as opposers of grace. To keep their