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Report of the Committee of the Sheffield Fellowship Fund , read at the Society ' s Third Special Meeting , held in the Chapel , on Monday Evening , June 2 a , 1828 . The Committee , in reporting to the members the state of the institution committed to their care , have great pleasure in announcing that the increased support which it obtained from the congregation at the close of the year 1826 , continues ; and although no great addition has been made to the number of
members since the last Animal Meeting , the Funds of the Society are greater than those of the preceding year . Donations have been given in the course of this year to the chapels at Preston , Glasgow , St . Clear , and Northampton , and also to the Unitarian Association .
Notwithstanding the publicity given on a previous occasion to the plan and objects of Fellowship Funds , your Committee think that it will not be improper on the present occasion to again call the attention of the members , and of the friends of the institution , to a brief
sketch of the rise , progress , and intent of these associations ; the establishment of which forms an sera in the history of English Unitarianism ; and they trust that this deviation from the usual plan of reporting a mere formal detail of their stewardship will not be unacceptable .
In the year 1816 , the late Dr . Thomson , of Halifax , and afterwards of Leeds , first drew the attention of the Unitarian public , through the medium of " the Monthly Repository , " to the advantages , both as regarded policy , —temporal aud
religious , which the union of efforts was calculated to create ; he appealed to the experience which other sects had afforded of the efficacy of the contribution of uunibers at stated times , and in proportions differing according to their ability towards the attainment of some
common object , and pointed out the peculiar advantages arising from such institutions in the Unitarian body , where " such a combination of strength was the more necessary , as they were not united in any ecclesiastical discipline ; and as the
diffusion of their doctrines among the humbler classes of their countrymen had brought forward many cases in which persons were desirous of joining together in the profession and worship of the one God the Father , after the example , and according to the commandment of the
Christian Lawgiver , but were prevented from carrying their pious desires into effect by the want of means . " The amiable originator had other ends in view besides a mere accumulation of strength in advocating these institutions . He foretold the benefits which would arise from bringing the different members of each society into a
Christian fellowship with each other ; in creating a personal as well as a congregational friendship amongst the respective parts of the different bodies . It would be a delightful task to trace the gradual developement of the embryo system in the mind of its inventor , to follow step by step the arguments as they presented themselves to his imagination from his first mentioning the plan at a meeting in Elland , in this
county , in the year 1815 , to the recommending these institutions to the acceptance of his fellow-religionists ; but that task cannot now be attempted ; imagination can . only supply the place of facts ; for that mind war soon removed from its earthly clothing , —that amiable spirit which , when on earth , seemed superior to its station , was soon removed to dwell with kindred spirits in another and a better state . Before he
could see the glorious fruits and blossoms which have sprung up and flourished from the seed he sowed , death removed him in the prime of youth , and in his removal has cast a hallowed atmosphere around these the fruits of his dying labours Some of the views which he entertained in connexion with these
institutions , and the nature of some of the incentives which spurred him on in the developement of his plans , are preserved in the paper which he published in the Monthly Repository for October , 1816 , and the following remarks of the late Rev . H . Turner , of Nottingham , his friend on earth , and now , no doubt , his friend in heaven : for
there" Congenial minds , arrayed in light , High thoughts shall interchange ; Nor cease , with ever-new delight , On wings of love to range , " fortunately afford some further light ou this part of the subject . " It may be allowed one , " says Mr . Turner , who had the happiness of being intimately acquainted with the late Dr . Thomson , to dcBcrrbe the views which he
entertained on this subject . He was of opinion that the Unitarians were far from doing justice to their own cause . The
( in )
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Nov. 2, 1828, page 792, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2566/page/64/