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AMERICAN UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION;
FULL REPORT OF THE ADDRESSES,
ANNUAL REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE,
THE TREASURER'S STATEMENT FOR THE
AMERICAN UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION.
AMERICAN UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION.
THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY of the American Unitarian Association was celebrated at the Music Hall in Boston, on Tuesday, May 25. The Hall was tastefully and beautifully decorated with flowers and plants, and was very well filled by an attentive and evidently deeply interested audience.
Hon. JOHN WELLS, the President of the Association, presided, and called the meeting to order at 9 o'clock.
The exercises were opened by singing, to the tune of "Peterborough," the hymn written for the Semi-Centennial of the Church of the Messiah, New York, by WILLIAM CULLen Bryant.
Prayer was then offered by Rev. JOHN H. MORISON, D.D., of Milton.
The order of business, as prepared by a committee appointed for that purpose, was then read by the Secretary, which was adopted.
Hon. FREDERIC W. LINCOLN, from the nominating committee, reported a list of officers for the Association for the ensuing year, who were subsequently declared elected.
Mr. LINCOLN moved that a committee of three be appointed by the Chair to receive, assort, and count the ballots, and that the polls remain open for voting until one o'clock.
This motion was adopted, and the Chair announced as the committee, BENJAMIN H. GREEN, of Boston, Rev. EDWARD J. GALVIN, of Brighton, and GEORGE H. ELLIS, of Boston.
The report of the Treasurer was then read and accepted.
Rev. RUSH R. SHIPPEN, the Secretary, then read the following report of the Executive Committee, in part, stating that the entire report would be printed and distributed to the members:
REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE.
WE celebrate this day the Fiftieth Anniversary of the American Unitarian Association, a jubilee of gracious memories and inspiring hopes.
The Association was originally founded "to diffuse the knowledge and promote the interests of pure Christianity." That purpose remains unchanged; around it we rally to-day.
To date the beginning of the Unitarian movement would carry us back to Abraham. To chronicle its progress would be to rewrite the history of religion, brightening toward the perfect day. To express its idea would be to republish the Sermon on the Mount, the life and word of Jesus, and the purest heart-faith of humanity in every age.
To our fathers, Unitarianism was pure Christianity, as taught by Jesus and his apostles. It was the faith of the primitive Church, from which the Trinitarian code was the heresy and secession of speculative philosophy. It was the faith once delivered to the saints, - the faith really held at the heart of the saints who have been at the front of the best progress down through the centuries. To our fathers, Unitarianism meant no innovation against genuine Christianity, but the endeavor to break the bondage of church tyranny and middle age dogmas, and with reverent freedom and faith to restore and publish anew the original gospel in its pure simplicity. With the advance of intelligence and liberty during the last century, both in the Old World and New, the Unitarian movement has been coming more conspicuously to the front. Before the Revolution there was Unitarianism in the pulpits and pews of New England. While Priestley, Lindsey, Belsham, and others wrought in England, popular education, activities of free thought, Puritanism, and Congregationalism especially favored it here. Before the Revolution, many lawyers, physicians, tradesmen, farmers, were Unitarians, according to the testimony of the elder Adams; and not the laity only, but many of the clergy of Boston and vicinity, prominent among whom was Mayhew of the West Church. In 1768, the famous Hopkins prepared a sermon especially for the need of Boston ministers, whom he deemed heretical.
At about the close of the Revolution, the King's Chapel Society, under the lead of their young minister, James Freeman, settled in