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In the foregoing pages I proposed to treat of Rhode Island, the one by Roman Cathof the origin, history, economy, action, and olics, who enjoyed their religious rights at influence of religion in the United States that epoch in no Protestant country, and of America, and in the execution of this the other by a sect of Protestants, who task I have endeavoured to omit nothing could find no toleration either in Massa-that seemed requisite to a full elucidation chusetts or Virginia. Nearly fifty years of the subject. The extent of ground ne- later, Pennsylvania was planted as an asycessarily traversed has rendered it indis- lum for persecuted Quakers, who, till then, pensable that I should lay before the read- had no place of assured protection and reer very numerous details ; but these, I pose in the whole world. The influence of trust, he has found at once pertinent and these three asylum-colonies, one in the interesting. Here the work properly ends; north, one in the south, and one in the midbut I am desirous of recalling the attention dle of the entire series of plantations, where of the reader to a few of the most impor- perfect religious liberty was established at tant facts which it brings to light, and brief- the very outset, and in two of which its ly to remark upon them, in order, if pos- reign was never interrupted, though silent, sible, to render them more useful to those was powerful. The complete demonstrawho may be led to contemplate then. I tion which they furnished-in the internal wish, also, to make a reply to several tranquillity which prevailed, so far as relicharges against my country, and especial-gious questions were concerned, in the ably against its religious institutions, which sence of all unhappy collisions between I have heard in certain parts of Europe. the Church and the State, and of corroding
I. THE PROGRESS OF Religious Liberty jealousies and attritions between the variIN AMERICA.-On this subject so much has ous sects—not only of the justice, but also been said in the second and third books of of the wisdom of giving to all' men the this work, that I need do no more than be fullest possession of the rights of constow a very brief review upon it. In no science and of worship, could not be lost part of the world, I apprehend, can we upon the other colonies. find any progress, in this respect, which Its influence concurred with the many can be compared with what has taken long - protracted and severe discussions place in the United States.
which took place in them, to bring about: In the year 1607, the plantation of the ultimately the triumph of better principles. Southern group of colonies was commen- And what is now the state of things in: ced within the settlement of Jamestown. the United States, as regards religious In 1620, that of the Northern was begun in liberty? It is that of the universal enjoythe landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. ment of this liberty. The Christian-be Though originating in motives as widely he Protestant or Catholic—the infidel, the: different, almost, as possible, and having Mohammedan, the Jew, the Deist, has not in view the diffusion of forms of Protest-only all his rights as a citizen, but may antism, so far as ecclesiastical organization have his own form of worship, without the is concerned, as completely antipodal as possibility of any interference from any can be conceived, both were founded in policeman or magistrate, provided he do that spirit of intolerance which prevailed not interrupt, in so doing, the peace and at that day throughout the Old World, and tranquillity of the surrounding neighbourwhich, alas! reigns even yet in so large a hood. Even the Atheist may have his. portion of it. All that the Puritans who meetings in which to preach his doctrines, settled in Massachusetts and Connecticut if he can get anybody to hear them.* expected to accomplish was the planting It is a remarkable fact, that the United of colonies in which they and their chil- States and Texas are the only countries dren might profess and practise the religion which they preferred. The tolera- * Even as it regards the holding of political offition of other doctrines and other forms of ces, while the Constitutions of almost all the states, worship formed no part of their desire or Christianity, in a certain sense, and at present make
as we have shown in the third book, are founded on design. Nor was there a better spirit in no distinction between Protestants and Roman CathVirginia. In both, the narrow bigotry of Olics, the Jew is, with one exception, nowhere de. Europe struck deep its roots, soon attained barred from any civil privilege. There is, I am sora vigorous growth, and brought forth its ry to say it, one state, that of North Carolina, where
the Israelite is still excluded from political privileges; appropriate fruits.
and this, too, under her new Constitution. But it is In ihe year 1634, the colony of Mary- the only relic of this species of barbarism which re-land was founded, and two years later, that I mains among us.
in all Christendom where perfect religious of a power that ought not to exist, that in liberty exists, and where the government itself is tyranny. It implies that you, an does nothing, by “ favour" or otherwise, to earthly authority, an earthly power, say promote the interests of any one religion, to me, so condescendingly, I permit you or of any one sect of religionists, more the exercise of your religion. You perthan another. And I cannot but think mit me? And what authority have you to that the very freedom from 'a thousand permit me, any more than I to permit you? perplexing and agitating collisions, from God permits me, God commands me, and which one sees the governments of other do you dare to say that you tolerate me? countries in the Christian world to be con- Who is he that shall come in between me tinually suffering, furnishes one of the and God either to say yea or nay? Your most powerful arguments which can be toleration itself is tyranny, for you have conceived in favour of leaving religion to no right to meddle with the matter. But its own resources, under the blessing of whenever Church and State are united, its adorable Author. Whatever diversity then there will be meddling with the matof opinion may exist among Christians in ter; and even in this country, if one payAmerica on other subjects, there is none ticular sect were to get the patronage of on this subject. They would all acknowl- the State, there would be an end to our edge, without a moment's hesitation, the perfect religious freedom. views expressed in the following para- “In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the graphs, which were uttered lately by a poet Southwell, who wrote one of the gifted and elegant writer.*
most exquisitely beautiful death-hymns in “ Almost every sect in turn, when tempt-our language, and who seems to have been ed by the power, has resorted to the prac- truly a devout man, was put to death viotice of religious persecution ; but to the lently and publicly, no other crime being credit of Rome it must be said that the proved against him but what he honestly baptism of fire is almost exclusively her and proudly avowed, that he had come sacrament for heretics. Good men of al- over into England simply and solely to most all persuasions have been confined preach the Catholic religion. And he in prison for conscience' sake. Bunyan ought to have been left at liberty to preach was the first person in the reign of Charles it; for if the Protestant religion cannot II. punished for the crin of nonconformi- stand against Catholic preaching, it ought ty. Southey's own language has the word to go down. No religion is worth having, punished ; it should have been persecuted or worth supporting, that needs racks, or for the virtue ; for such it was in Bunyan; Inquisitions, or fires and fagots, to susand any palliation which could be resorted tain it; that dare not or cannot meet its adto for the purpose of justifying an English versaries on the open battle-field of Truth ; hierarchy for shutting up John Bunyan in no religion is worth supporting that needs prison, would also justify a Romish hie- anything but the truth and Spirit of God to rarchy for burning Latimer and Ridley at support it; and no establishment ought to the stake. Strange that the lesson of be permitted to stand that stands by perreligious toleration should be one of the secuting others, nor any church to exist last and hardest, even for liberal minds, to that exists by simply unchurching others. learn. It cost long time, instruction, and So, if the English Church Establishment discipline even for the disciples of Christ dared not consider herself safe without to learn it; and they never would have shutting up John Bunyan and sixty other learned it had not the infant Church been dissenters (several of whom were also, cut loose from the State, and deprived of like himself, clergymen) with him in prisall possibility of girding the secular arm or, the English Church Establishment was with thunder in its behalf. John had not not worthy to be safe; the English Church learned it when he would have called Establishment was a disgrace and an indown fire from heaven to destroy the Sa- jury to the Gospel, and a disgrace and an maritans; nor John, nor his followers, injury to a free people. No church is when they forbade a faithful saint (some worth saving from destruction, if it has to John Bunyan of those days, belike) from be saved by the destruction of other men's casting out devils, because he followed religious liberties; nay, if that be the case not them. And they never would have with it, it ought to go down, and the soonlearned it had the union of Church and er the better. No church is worthy to State been sanctioned by the Saviour. stand that makes nonconformity to its Whenever one sect in particular is united rites and usages a penal crime; it becomes to the State, the lesson of religious tolera- a persecuting church the moment it does tion will not be perfectly learned; nay, this; for, supposing that every man, womwho does not see that toleration itself, ap- an, and child in the kingdom is kept from plied to religion, implies the assumption nonconformity simply by that threat, and
that, through the power of such terror, * Rev. George B. Cheever, of New-York, in a there comes to be never the need to put Lecture on Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
such penal laws in execution, and so never
a single subject really molested or punished, still that church is a persecuting church, and that people a persecuted people, a terrified people, a people cowed down, a people in whose souls the sacred fire of liberty is fast extinguishing, a people bound to God's service by the fear of men's racks. Such a people can never be free; their cowardice will forge their fetters. A people who will sell themselves to a church through fear of punishment, will sell them-vances in the United States. selves to any tyrant through the same derfully opened the way for this blessed fear; nay, a people who will serve God prosperity; it has removed hinderances, althrough fear of punishment, when they layed prejudices, and placed the country would not serve him otherwise, will serve in a true position in regard to Christianity. Satan in the same way. It has created an open field, in which Truth may contend with Error, clad in her own panoply, and relying on her own weapons.
II. THE TRUE CAUSES OF SUCCESS.-But our religious liberty, unbounded and precious as it is, is not the cause of the success which has attended the Gospel in America. It is only the occasion, if I may so express myself, not the means, by which the Church of Christ has made so great adIt has won
Much as I love the perfect liberty of conscience and of worship which we enjoy in America, there are other things which, to my mind, must be regarded as the causes of the success which has attended the efforts of God's people among us to promote his kingdom. Let us notice these for a few moments.
the churches are open, at least in the forenoon, and sermons are preached throughout the limits of the Commonwealth.*
"If you make nonconformity a crime, you are therefore a persecuting church, whether your name be Rome, or England, or America, even though there be not a single nonconformist found for you to exercise your wrath upon, not one against whom you may draw the sword of your penalty. But it is drawn, and drawn against the liberty of conscience, and every man whom in this way you keep from nonconformity, you make him a deceiver to his God; you make him barter his conscience for an exemption from an earthly penalty; you make him put his conscience, not into God's keeping, but into the keeping of your sword; you dry up the life-blood of liberty in his soul; you make him in his inmost conscience an imprisoned slave, a venal victim of your bribery and terror; and though he may still walk God's earth as others, it is with the iron in his soul, it is with your chain about his neck, it is as the shuffling fugitive from your penalties, and not as a whole-souled man, who, fearing God religiously, fears nothing else. There may, indeed, be no chain visible, but you have wound its invisible links around the man's spirit; you have bound the man within the man; you have fet-meet with universal acquiescence. tered him, and laid him down in a cold, dark dungeon, and until those fetters are taken off, and he stands erect and looks out from his prison to God, it is no man, but a slave that you have in your service; it is no disciple, but a Simon Magus that you have in your church."
1. There is the grouping of our children, rich and poor, in the Sunday-schools, arranging them in small classes, and bringing their young minds and hearts into contact with the Word of God,
2. There is the continuation of this good work in the Bible-class. What a powerful
pleased to see one of the proclamations issued on The European reader of this work may be such occasions; we subjoin that of the Governor of New-York for the year 1843.
"In obedience to that high sense of gratitude due the Almighty Ruler of the Universe, I do hereby designate THURSDAY, THE FOURTEENTH DAY OF December next, to be observed by the people of this state as a day of PRAYER, PRAISE, AND THANKSGIVING TO ALMIGHTY GOD for the numerous and unmerited blessings of the year.
"I feel assured that this act of public duty is in accordance with the wishes of the people, and will
"As a people, we have great reason to be thankful, and to praise the Almighty Dispenser of all Good for the continued smiles of His providence on our state and nation.
"During the past year we have been permitted to enjoy our religious and political privileges unmolested. We have been exempt from those ravages of malignant disease which sometimes afflict a people. The season has been highly propitious, and seldom has the harvest been more abundant. As a
But though with us "heresy" is nowhere considered to be "treason," and all crowning blessing, the Spirit of the Lord has reenjoy equal religious liberty, neither the vived the hearts of Christians, and brought to a saGeneral Government, nor those of our in-ving knowledge many that knew not God. dividual states, are indifferent to religion. One of the most striking proofs of this is to be found in the fact, that every yearalmost without exception in the autumnthe governors of a large majority of our states recommend and name a day to be observed as a Day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God for his mercies, and of supplication for their continuance. And such days are generally observed by Christians [L. S.] November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-three. of every name. Business is suspended, "WM. C. BOUCK."
For the distinguished blessings we have enjoyed, Iwe should raise our hearts in humble adoration to our Father in heaven, thereby presenting to the world the imposing spectacle of the entire population of a great state abstaining from all secular engagements on the day designated, and devoting themselves to the service of the Almighty. We should always remember that righteousness exalteth a nation.
"Given under my hand, and the privy seal of the state, at the city of Albany, this tenth day of
means of doing good! and how well cal-preciated, honoured, sought by the Church culated to follow up, or prepare the way as He ought to be? Oh, when shall Chrisfor the instruction around the family altar! tians awake to a proper sense of the desi
3. There are our societies for educating rableness, yea, the absolute necessity of in a thorough manner young men of piety His glorious effusion upon the world, in and talents for the work of preaching the order to its conversion, and which is the Gospel. And many hundreds of young subject of so many and so remarkable premen of promise, whom God's Spirit urges dictions ? Many who profess the name of to preach salvation to their dying fellow- Christ seem almost not to know whether men, are thus every year brought forward there be a Holy Ghost! for the work.
Now, though the churches in America, 4. Next come the Home Missionary Soci- taken as a whole, are very far from a eties and Boards, which send forth these proper appreciation of this subject; though young men, when prepared to preach, to even the best of them are far from havthe new and destitute portions of the coun- ing attained such views, and from having try, and help the people to sustain them. put forth such action respecting it as they
5. In connexion with these, the Mater- ought to do, yet there is, in all evannal Associations, and other nieans for im- gelical and truly converted Christians pressing on parents the duty of bringing among us, some sense of their dependance up their children for the Lord, and for aid- upon the Spirit for success in their efforts ing them in the attempt, must not be over- to grow in grace, as well as to turn sinlooked; nor those efforts which are made ners unto righteousness. There is, also, to disseminate the Sacred Scriptures and much earnest prayer for the outpouring of religious tracts and books. These are si- the Spirit upon their souls, and upon all lent but efficient means of co-operation in those who hear or read the Gospel. this blessed work.
There is no one thing which has more 6. And, lastly and chiefly, there remains decidedly characterized the preaching of the preaching of the Word, the most effect our best and most successful divines, or ive of all instrumentalities for the conver- the feelings of our most devoted Chrission and sanctification of men. There is tians, than the doctrine of the existence, nothing which may supplant this. And the personality, the offices, and the saving here we have abundant occasion for thank- operation of the Holy Spirit. It has been fulness. We have a great many thousands the great dominant idea, if I may so term of pious and faithful preachers ; very many it, which has pervaded and influenced the of whom are able, skilful, and successful Church of Christ in America during the labourers in the vineyard of the Lord. last hundred years. Hence the esteem in
Let the reader review what has been which revivals of religion are held. said on all these points in the portions of To this great subject I cannot but enthis work which treat of them, and he will treat the religious reader to direct his most discover the true causes, under God, of the serious attention. It is one of vital imporprogress which religion has made in Amer- tance. Surely God has led his people to ica from the first, and especially within the expect a great outpouring of his Spirit in present century.
the latter days. And, surely, the world, as III. THE TRUE SOURCE OF ALL SUCCESS.- well as the Church, has seen the need of Still, these must all be considered as only such an influence, if it is ever to be brought means; the success is of God. “ It is not under the renovating influences of the Gosby might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, pel to a degree corresponding with its nesaith the Lord." Here is all our hope ; cessities. And whatever importance the even Truth itself is impotent to renovate author may attach to other portions of this the heart of man, depraved and debased as work, beyond all comparison he is desihe is, without the influence of the Holy rous that the portion of it which relates to Spirit. It is the province of this blessed revivals may be most deeply pondered by Agent to take the things of Christ and every reader. show them unto men. It is He alone who IV. GROUNDS OF HOPE IN RELATION TO can open the blind eyes, and cause them the CHURCHES IN AMERICA.-I know of noto see the beauty and fitness of the glori- thing which is so well calculated to inspire ous plan of salvation through the crucified hope in relation to our American churches Son of God. It is he alone who can ren- as the extensive diffusion of the spirit of der the preaching of the Gospel “the pow- missions among them within the last few er of God and the wisdom of God to the years, for it is the spirit of Christ. Let salvation of men.” And He, blessed be us look at this fact for a moment. God, can as easily render the same pres- Twenty-five years ago, with the excepentation of the glorious Gospel effectual tion of what was doing by a Committee or to the salvation of many as of few—of Board of the General Assembly of the hundreds and thousands, as on the day of Presbyterian Church, and the missionary Pentecost, as of one.
societies of some of the New England But, alas ! when shall the Spirit be ap- States-and this did not amount to very
much--there was nothing doing in behalf |CIPLE IN AMERICA IN RAISING UP AN ADEQUATE of domestic missions. But within that pe- Ministry.—That the Voluntary Principle riod have been formed the American Home has not been inefficient in America, in this Missionary Society, which unites all the respect, will readily appear from a simple evangelical Congregational churches in statement of facts. the land, together with the New School If the reader will recur to chapter i. Presbyterians; the Board of Domestic of book iii., he will learn that, at the epoch Missions of the Old School Presbyterians, of the commencement of the Revolution the Home Missionary Societies of the Bap- in 1775, the number of ministers of the tists, Methodists, and Free-Will Baptists; Gospel, of all denominations, including and the Boards for Domestic Missions of even the Roman Catholic priests, did not the Reformed Dutch, Lutheran, German exceed 1441. Indeed, I am sure this estiReformed, Associate, Associate Reformed, mate is too high. But let us suppose it to Reformed Presbyterian, Protestant Episco- be correct. Now, if the population of the pal, Cumberland Presbyterians, and Sev- country was then three millions and a half, enth-day Baptist churches. No denomi- there was one minister of the Gospel for nation is too insignificant to have its Soci- about 2428 souls. But if the population ety or its Board of Domestic Missions. then was only three millions, which I apAnd what do we see? Nearly two thou- prehend to be an estimate nearer the truth, sand ordained ministers are labouring in then there was one minister, on an avernew and destitute neighbourhoods, in the age, for nearly 2082 souls. On the other East and the West, to gather congrega- hand, the population of the country at the tions and build up churches. What a commencement of 1844 may be fairly eschange! And what a ground of hope! timated at 18,500,000 souls. And if the
Moreover, thirty-four years ago there reader will refer to what we have said in was not one Missionary Society in the chapter xvii. of book vi., he will see that United States for the promotion of foreign the number of ordained evangelical or ormissions, save the small one of the Mora- thodox Protestant ministers alone, excluvians. But now the Old and New School sive of the local preachers of the MethoPresbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodist churches (not far, in all, from 8500), dists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Reformed exclusive, also, of the German United Dutch, Lutherans, Free-Will Baptists, As- Brethren, and several other little German sociate, Associate Reformed, and Reform- sects, as well as two or three small Methed Presbyterians, and perhaps some others, odist secessions, was, in the year 1843, as well as the United Brethren, have their sixteen thousand three hundred. That is, Foreign Missionary Societies or Boards, on an average, one evangelical Protestant and sustain a greater or less number of minister of the Gospel for rather less than men on the foreign field. It cannot be 1135 souls. said that they have done all that they It is not here asserted that all these might. But it may be said that they have ministers are pastors, or that they all made a good beginning, and that what they have congregations to which they statedly have done is nothing in comparison with preach. It is certain that a good many what they will do, with God's blessing. are teachers and professors, secretaries That they should have nearly 400 preach- and agents of religious and benevolent soers abroad, besides other labourers, and cieties, who, nevertheless, preach a great raise more than half a million of dollars deal; and many, who are not pastors, for the extension of the Gospel in that direc- preach to churches which are for a time tion, is a subject which calls for thanks to destitute of pastors. But what is here God. It is the wide diffusion of the spirit meant is simply to show the increase of of missions through our churches, rather evangelical ministers of the Gospel, and than its positive and present results, which its decided gain upon the increase of the I am here holding up as a ground of hope. population. The fact is clear and striking ; And in that light I am sure it may fairly be there is at present one evangelical Protregarded. It is the best omen for good estant minister in the United States for both to the Church and the nation. It is less than 1100 souls; in 1775 there was our great palladium. It is also our best one minister of the Gospel, of every name, pledge, and even our most certain means, for about 2428 souls, or, at best, for 2082. of prosperity to all the interests of Truth. On the one supposition, the number of As long as the spirit of missions is exist- evangelical ministers is more than twice ent and efficient in our churches of every as great, in proportion to the population, name, we may venture to hope that, what- as was that of the ministers, both Protestever may go wrong in our political organ- ant and Catholic, in 1775, and, on the othization, or however wickedness may aug- er, it is nearly twice as great.* ment, God will regard us in mercy, and say of us as a nation,“ Spare it, for there priests, and the Unitarian, Universalist, and other
If we were to include the Roman Catholic is a blessing in it."
heterodox preachers, we should have at this time V. EFFICIENCY OF THE VOLUNTARY PRIN-I one preacher for every 800 souls.