The Book of Religions
by John Hayward
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"ART. XXVIII. Of the Lord's Supper.—The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death: insomuch that, to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.

"Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but it is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthrowing the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

"The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean, whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is faith.

"The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

"ART. XXIX. Of the Wicked, which eat not of the Body of Christ in the Use of the Lord's Supper.—The wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ; yet in nowise are they partakers of Christ; but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or sacrament of so great a thing.

"ART. XXX. Of Both Kinds.—The Cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay people; for both the parts of the Lord's Sacrament, by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be ministered to all Christian men alike.

"ART. XXXI. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross.—The offering of Christ once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifice of masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits.

"ART. XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests.—Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, are not commanded by God's law either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage: therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness.

"ART. XXXIII. Of excommunicate Persons, how they are to be avoided.—That person which, by open denunciation of the Church, is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken, of the whole multitude of the faithful, as a heathen and publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a judge that hath authority thereunto.

"ART. XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church.—It is not necessary that traditions and ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like; for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church, which be not repugnant to the Word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, (that other may fear to do the like,) as he that offendeth against the common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the magistrate, and woundeth the consciences of the weak brethren.

"Every particular or national Church hath authority to ordain, change, and abolish ceremonies or rites of the Church, ordained only by man's authority, so that all things be done to edifying.

"ART. XXXV. Of Homilies.—The second Book of Homilies, the several titles whereof we have joined, under this article, doth contain a godly and wholesome doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies, which were set forth in the time of Edward the Sixth; and therefore we judge them to be read in Churches by the Ministers, diligently and distinctly, that they may be understanded of the people.

"Of the Names of the Homilies.—1. Of the right Use of the Church. 2. Against Peril of Idolatry. 3. Of repairing and keeping clean of Churches. 4. Of Good Works; first of Fasting. 5. Against Gluttony and Drunkenness. 6. Against Excess of Apparel. 7. Of Prayer. 8. Of the Place and Time of Prayer. 9. That Common Prayers and Sacraments ought to be ministered in a known Tongue. 10. Of the reverent Estimation of God's Word. 11. Of Alms-doing. 12. Of the Nativity of Christ. 13. Of the Passion of Christ. 14. Of the Resurrection of Christ. 15. Of the worthy receiving of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. 16. Of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost. 17. For the Rogation-Days. 18. Of the State of Matrimony. 19. Of Repentance. 20. Against Idleness. 21. Against Rebellion.

"[This article is received in this Church, so far as it declares the Books of Homilies to be an explication of Christian doctrine, and instructive in piety and morals. But all references to the constitution and laws of England are considered as inapplicable to the circumstances of this Church, which also suspends the order for the reading of said Homilies in Churches, until a revision of them may be conveniently made, for the clearing of them, as well from obsolete words and phrases, as from the local references.]

"ART. XXXVI. Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers.—The Book of Consecration of Bishops, and Ordering of Priests and Deacons, as set forth by the General Convention of this Church, in 1792, doth contain all things necessary to such consecration and ordering; neither hath it any thing that, of itself, is superstitious and ungodly: and, therefore, whosoever are consecrated or ordered according to said form, we decree all such to be rightly, orderly, and lawfully, consecrated and ordered.

"ART. XXXVII. Of the Power of the Civil Magistrates.—The power of the civil magistrate extendeth to all men, as well clergy as laity, in all things temporal; but hath no authority in things purely spiritual. And we hold it to be the duty of all men, who are professors of the Gospel, to pay respectful obedience to the civil authority, regularly and legitimately constituted.

"ART. XXXVIII. Of Christian Men's Goods which are not common.—The riches and goods of Christians are not common, as touching the right, title, and possession, of the same, as certain Anabaptists do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.

"ART. XXXIX. Of a Christian Man's Oath.—As we confess that vain, and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ, and James his Apostle; so we judge that Christian religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet's teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth."


The Cambridge Platform of church government, and the Confession of Faith of the New England churches, adopted in 1680; the Saybrook Platform, adopted in 1708; and the Heads of Agreement, assented to by the Presbyterians and Congregationalists in England in 1690,—form a volume, and cannot, therefore, be inserted in this work.

The form of church government, however, embraced in those Platforms, is essentially the same as that now in use by the Orthodox Congregationalists at the present day, and the Confession of Faith the same in substance to that we term the "Andover Orthodox Creed."


A name given to the followers of Nicholas Lewis, count of Zinzendorf, who, in the year 1721, settled at Bartholdorf, in Upper Lusatia. There he made proselytes of two or three Moravian families, and, having engaged them to leave their country, received them at Bartholdorf, in Germany. They were directed to build a house in a wood, about half a league from that village, where, in 1722, this people held their first meeting.

This society increased so fast, that, in a few years, they had an orphan-house and other public buildings. An adjacent hill, called the Huth-Berg, gave the colonists occasion to call this dwelling-place Herrnhut, which may be interpreted the guard or protection of the Lord. Hence this society are sometimes called Herrnhuters.

The Moravians avoid discussions respecting the speculative truths of religion, and insist upon individual experience of the practical efficiency of the gospel in producing a real change of sentiment and conduct, as the only essentials in religion. They consider the manifestation of God in Christ as intended to be the most beneficial revelation of the Deity to the human race; and, in consequence, they make the life, merits, acts, words, sufferings, and death, of the Savior the principal theme of their doctrine, while they carefully avoid entering into any theoretical disquisitions on the mysterious essence of the Godhead, simply adhering to the words of Scripture. Admitting the sacred Scriptures as the only source of divine revelation, they nevertheless believe that the Spirit of God continues to lead those who believe in Christ into all further truth, not by revealing new doctrines, but by teaching those who sincerely desire to learn, daily, better to understand and apply the truths which the Scriptures contain. They believe that, to live agreeably to the gospel, it is essential to aim, in all things, to fulfil the will of God. Even in their temporal concerns, they endeavor to ascertain the will of God. They do not, indeed, expect some miraculous manifestation of his will, but only endeavor to test the purity of their purposes by the light of the divine word. Nothing of consequence is done by them, as a society, until such an examination has taken place; and, in cases of difficulty, the question is decided by lot, to avoid the undue preponderance of influential men, and in the humble hope that God will guide them right by its decision, where their limited understanding fails them. In former times, the marriages of the members of the society were, in some respects, regarded as a concern of the society, as it was part of their social agreement that none should take place without the approval of the elders; and the elders' consent or refusal was usually determined by lot. But this custom was at length abandoned; and nothing is now requisite to obtain the consent of the elders, but propriety of conduct in the parties. They consider none of their peculiar regulations essential, but all liable to be altered or abandoned, whenever it is found necessary, in order better to attain their great object—the promotion of piety.

What characterizes the Moravians most, and holds them up to the attention of others, is their missionary zeal. In this they are superior to any other body of people in the world. "Their missionaries," as one observes, "are all of them volunteers; for it is an inviolable maxim with them to persuade no man to engage in missions. They are all of one mind as to the doctrines they teach, and seldom make an attempt where there are not half a dozen of them in the mission. Their zeal is calm, steady, persevering. They would reform the world, but are careful how they quarrel with it. They carry their point by address, and the insinuations of modesty and mildness, which commend them to all men, and give offence to none. The habits of silence, quietness, and decent reserve, mark their character."

The following is a sketch of the mode of life of the Moravians, or United Brethren, where they form separate communities, which, however, is not always the case; for, in many instances, societies belonging to the Unity are situated in larger and smaller cities and towns, intermingled with the rest of the inhabitants, in which cases their peculiar regulations are, of course, out of the question. In their separate communities, they do not allow the permanent residence of any persons as householders who are not members in full communion, and who have not signed the written instrument of brotherly agreement, upon which their constitution and discipline rest; but they freely admit of the temporary residence among them of such other persons as are willing to conform to their external regulations. According to these, all kinds of amusements considered dangerous to strict morality are forbidden, as balls, dancing, plays, gambling of any kind, and all promiscuous assemblies of youth of both sexes. These, however, are not debarred from forming, under proper advice and parental superintendence, that acquaintance which their future matrimonial connections may require. In the communities on the European continent, whither, to this day, numbers of young persons of both sexes resort, in order to become members of the society from motives of piety and a desire to prepare themselves to become missionaries among the heathen, and where, moreover, the difficulties of supporting a family greatly limit the number of marriages, a stricter attention to this point becomes necessary. On this account, the unmarried men and boys, not belonging to the families of the community, reside together, under the care of an elder of their own class, in a building called the single brethren's house, where usually divers trades and manufactures are carried on, for the benefit of the house or of the community, and which, at the same time, furnishes a cheap and convenient place for the board and lodging of those who are employed as journeymen, apprentices, or otherwise, in the families constituting the community. Particular daily opportunities of edification are there afforded them; and such a house is the place of resort where the young men and boys of the families spend their leisure time, it being a general rule, that every member of the society shall devote himself to some useful occupation. A similar house, under the guidance of a female superintendent, and under similar regulations, is called the single sisters' house, and is the common dwelling-place of all unmarried females, not members of any family, or not employed as servants in the families of the community. Even these regard the sisters' house as their principal place of association at leisure hours. Industrious habits are here inculcated in the same way. In the communities of the United Brethren in America, the facilities of supporting families, and the consequent early marriages, have superseded the necessity of single brethren's houses; but they all have sisters' houses of the above description, which afford a comfortable asylum to aged unmarried females, while they furnish an opportunity of attending to the further education and improvement of the female youth after they have left school. In the larger communities, similar houses afford the same advantages to such widows as desire to live retired, and are called widows' houses. The individuals residing in these establishments pay a small rent, by which, and by the sums paid for their board, the expenses of these houses are defrayed, assisted occasionally by the profits on the sale of ornamental needle-work, &c., on which some of the inmates subsist. The aged and needy are supported by the same means. Each division of sex and station just alluded to, viz., widows, single men and youths, single women and girls past the age of childhood, is placed under the special guidance of elders of their own description, whose province it is to assist them with good advice and admonition, and to attend, as much as may be, to the spiritual and temporal welfare of each individual. The children of each sex are under the immediate care of the superintendent of the single choirs, as these divisions are termed. Their instruction in religion, and in all the necessary branches of human knowledge, in good schools, carried on separately for each sex, is under the special superintendence of the stated minister of each community, and of the board of elders. Similar special elders are charged to attend to the spiritual welfare of the married people. All these elders, of both sexes, together with the stated minister, to whom the preaching of the gospel is chiefly committed, (although all other elders who may be qualified participate therein,) and with the persons to whom the economical concerns of the community are intrusted, form together the board of elders, in which rests the government of the community, with the concurrence of the committee elected by the inhabitants for all temporal concerns. This committee superintends the observance of all regulations, has charge of the police, and decides differences between individuals. Matters of a general nature are submitted to a meeting of the whole community, consisting either of all male members of age, or of an intermediate body elected by them. Public meetings are held every evening in the week. Some of these are devoted to the reading of the Scriptures, others to the communication of accounts from the missionary stations, and others to the singing of hymns or selected verses. On Sunday mornings, the church litany is publicly read, and sermons are delivered to the congregation, which, in many places, is the case likewise in the afternoon. In the evening, discourses are delivered, in which the texts for that day are explained and brought home to the particular circumstances of the community. Besides these regular means of edification, the festival days of the Christian church, such as Easter, Pentecost, Christmas, &c., are commemorated in a special manner, as well as some days of peculiar interest in the history of the society. A solemn church music constitutes a prominent feature of their means of edification, music in general being a favorite employment of the leisure of many. On particular occasions, and before the congregation meets to partake of the Lord's supper, they assemble expressly to listen to instrumental and vocal music, interspersed with hymns, in which the whole congregation joins, while they partake together of a cup of coffee, tea, or chocolate, and light cakes, in token of fellowship and brotherly union. This solemnity is called a love-feast, and is in imitation of the custom of the agapae in the primitive Christian churches. The Lord's supper is celebrated at stated intervals, generally by all communicant members together, under very solemn but simple rites.

Easter morning is devoted to a solemnity of a peculiar kind. At sunrise, the congregation assembles in the graveyard; a service, accompanied by music, is celebrated, expressive of the joyful hopes of immortality and resurrection, and a solemn commemoration is made of all who have, in the course of the last year, departed this life from among them, and "gone home to the Lord"—an expression they often use to designate death.

Considering the termination of the present life no evil, but the entrance upon an eternal state of bliss to the sincere disciples of Christ, they desire to divest this event of all its terrors. The decease of every individual is announced to the community by solemn music from a band of instruments. Outward appearances of mourning are discountenanced. The whole congregation follows the bier to the graveyard, (which is commonly laid out as a garden,) accompanied by a band, playing the tunes of well-known verses, which express the hopes of eternal life and resurrection; and the corpse is deposited in the simple grave during the funeral service. The preservation of the purity of the community is intrusted to the board of elders and its different members, who are to give instruction and admonition to those under their care, and make a discreet use of the established church discipline. In cases of immoral conduct, or flagrant disregard of the regulations of the society, this discipline is resorted to. If expostulations are not successful, offenders are for a time restrained from participating in the holy communion, or called before the committee. For pertinacious bad conduct, or flagrant excesses, the culpable individual is dismissed from the society. The ecclesiastical church officers, generally speaking, are the bishops,—through whom the regular succession of ordination, transmitted to the United Brethren through the ancient church of the Bohemian and Moravian Brethren, is preserved, and who alone are authorized to ordain ministers, but possess no authority in the government of the church, except such as they derive from some other office, being, most frequently, the presidents of some board of elders,—the civil seniors,—to whom, in subordination to the board of elders of the Unity, belongs the management of the external relations of the society,—the presbyters, or ordained stated ministers of the communities, and the deacons. The degree of deacon is the first bestowed upon young ministers and missionaries, by which they are authorized to administer the sacraments. Females, although elders among their own sex, are never ordained; nor have they a vote in the deliberations of the board of elders, which they attend for the sake of information only.

The Moravians that first visited the United States, settled at Savannah, Ga., in 1735.


A denomination of Seventh-Day Baptists, which took its rise in the year 1724. It was founded by a German, who, weary of the world, retired to an agreeable solitude, within sixty miles of Philadelphia, for the more free exercise of religious contemplation. Curiosity attracted followers, and his simple and engaging manners made them proselytes. They soon settled a little colony, called Ephrata, in allusion to the Hebrews, who used to sing psalms on the border of the River Euphrates. This denomination seem to have obtained their name from their baptizing their new converts by plunging. They are also called Tumblers, from the manner in which they perform baptism, which is by putting the person, while kneeling, head first under water, so as to resemble the motion of the body in the action of tumbling. They use the trine immersion, with laying on the hands and prayer, even when the person baptized is in the water. Their habit seems to be peculiar to themselves, consisting of a long tunic or coat, reaching down to their heels, with a sash or girdle round the waist, and a cap or hood hanging from the shoulders. They do not shave the head or beard.

The men and women have separate habitations and distinct governments. For these purposes, they erected two large wooden buildings, one of which is occupied by the brethren, the other by the sisters, of the society; and in each of them there is a banqueting-room, and an apartment for public worship; for the brethren and sisters do not meet together even at their devotions.

They used to live chiefly upon roots and other vegetables, the rules of their society not allowing them flesh, except upon particular occasions, when they hold what they call a love-feast; at which time, the brethren and sisters dine together in a large apartment, and eat mutton, but no other meat. In each of their little cells they have a bench fixed, to serve the purpose of a bed, and a small block of wood for a pillow. They allow of marriages, but consider celibacy as a virtue.

The principal tenet of the Tunkers appears to be this—that future happiness is only to be obtained by penance and outward mortifications in this life, and that, as Jesus Christ, by his meritorious sufferings, became the Redeemer of mankind in general, so each individual of the human race, by a life of abstinence and restraint, may work out his own salvation. Nay, they go so far as to admit of works of supererogation, and declare that a man may do much more than he is in justice or equity obliged to do, and that his superabundant works may, therefore, be applied to the salvation of others.

This denomination deny the eternity of future punishments, and believe that the dead have the gospel preached to them by our Savior, and that the souls of the just are employed to preach the gospel to those who have had no revelation in this life. They suppose the Jewish Sabbath, sabbatical year, and year of jubilee, are typical of certain periods after the general judgment, in which the souls of those who are not then admitted into happiness are purified from their corruption. If any, within those smaller periods, are so far humbled as to acknowledge the perfections of God, and to own Christ as their only Savior, they are received to felicity; while those who continue obstinate are reserved in torments, until the grand period, typified by the jubilee, arrives, in which all shall be made happy in the endless fruition of the Deity.

They also deny the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity. They disclaim violence, even in cases of self-defence, and suffer themselves to be defrauded, or wronged, rather than go to law.

Their church government and discipline are the same with other Baptists; except that every brother is allowed to speak in the congregation; and their best speaker is usually ordained to be the minister. They have deacons and deaconesses from among their ancient widows and exhorters, who are all licensed to use their gifts statedly.

The Tunkers are not so rigid in their dress and manner of life as formerly; still they retain the faith of their fathers, and lead lives of great industry, frugality, and purity.


The Mennonites derive their name from Menno Simons, an illustrious reformer. This people came to the United States from Holland, and first settled in Pennsylvania, where a large body of them now reside.

It is a universal maxim of this denomination, that practical piety is the essence of religion, and that the surest mark of the true church is the sanctity of its members. They all unite in pleading for toleration in religion, and debar none from their assemblies who lead pious lives, and own the Scriptures for the word of God. They teach that infants are not the proper subjects of baptism; that ministers of the gospel ought to receive no salary; and that it is not lawful to swear, or wage war, upon any occasion. They also maintain that the terms person and Trinity are not to be used in speaking of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

The Mennonites meet privately, and every one in the assembly has the liberty to speak, to expound the Scriptures, to pray, and sing.

The Mennonites do not baptize by immersion, though they administer the ordinance to none but adult persons. Their common method is this: The person who is to be baptized, kneels; the minister holds his hands over him, into which the deacon pours water, and through which it runs on the crown of the kneeling person's head; after which follow imposition of hands and prayer.

Mr. Van Beuning, the Dutch ambassador, speaking of these Harmless Christians, as they choose to call themselves, says, "The Mennonites are good people, and the most commodious to a state of any in the world; partly, because they do not aspire to places of dignity; partly, because they edify the community by the simplicity of their manners, and application to arts and industry; and partly, because we fear no rebellion from a sect who make it an article of their faith never to bear arms."


The rise of this society, if we only look back to the drawing of the lines of demarkation between it and other professors, is of recent origin. About the commencement of the present century, the Bible alone, without any human addition in the form of creeds or confessions of faith, began to be preached by many distinguished ministers of different denominations, both in Europe and America.

With various success, and with many of the opinions of the various sects imperceptibly carried with them from the denominations to which they once belonged, did the advocates of the Bible cause plead for the union of Christians of every name, on the broad basis of the apostles' teaching. But it was not until the year 1823, that a restoration of the original gospel and order of things began to be advocated in a periodical, edited by Alexander Campbell, of Bethany, Virginia, entitled "The Christian Baptist."

He and his father, Thomas Campbell, renounced the Presbyterian system, and were immersed, in the year 1812. They, and the congregations which they had formed, united with the Redstone Baptist association, protesting against all human creeds as bonds of union, and professing subjection to the Bible alone. This union took place in the year 1813. But, in pressing upon the attention of that society and the public the all-sufficiency of the sacred Scriptures for every thing necessary to the perfection of Christian character,—whether in the private or social relations of life, in the church, or in the world,—they began to be opposed by a strong creed-party in that association. After some ten years debating and contending for the Bible alone, and the apostles' doctrine, Alexander Campbell, and the church to which he belonged, united with the Mahoning association, in the Western Reserve of Ohio; that association being more favorable to his views of reform.

In his debates on the subject and action of baptism with Mr. Walker, a seceding minister, in the year 1820, and with Mr. M'Calla, a Presbyterian minister of Kentucky, in the year 1823, his views of reformation began to be developed, and were very generally received by the Baptist society, as far as these works were read.

But in his "Christian Baptist," which began July 4, 1823 his views of the need of reformation were more fully exposed, and, as these gained ground by the pleading of various ministers of the Baptist denomination, a party in opposition began to exert itself, and to oppose the spread of what they were pleased to call heterodoxy. But not till after great numbers began to act upon these principles, was there any attempt towards separation. After the Mahoning association appointed Mr. Walter Scott an evangelist, in the year 1827, and when great numbers began to be immersed into Christ, under his labors, and new churches began to be erected by him and other laborers in the field, did the Baptist associations begin to declare non-fellowship with the brethren of the reformation. Thus by constraint, not of choice, they were obliged to form societies out of those communities that split, upon the ground of adherence to the apostles' doctrine. The distinguishing characteristics of their views and practices are the following:—

They regard all the sects and parties of the Christian world as having, in greater or less degrees, departed from the simplicity of faith and manners of the first Christians, and as forming what the apostle Paul calls "the apostasy." This defection they attribute to the great varieties of speculation and metaphysical dogmatism of the countless creeds, formularies, liturgies, and books of discipline, adopted and inculcated as bonds of union and platforms of communion in all the parties which have sprung from the Lutheran reformation. The effect of these synodical covenants, conventional articles of belief, and rules of ecclesiastical polity, has been the introduction of a new nomenclature,—a human vocabulary of religious words, phrases, and technicalities, which has displaced the style of the living oracles, and affixed to the sacred diction ideas wholly unknown to the apostles of Christ.

To remedy and obviate these aberrations, they propose to ascertain from the holy Scriptures, according to the commonly-received and well-established rules of interpretation, the ideas attached to the leading terms and sentences found in the holy Scriptures, and then to use the words of the Holy Spirit in the apostolic acceptation of them.

By thus expressing the ideas communicated by the Holy Spirit, in the terms and phrases learned from the apostles, and by avoiding the artificial and technical language of scholastic theology, they propose to restore a pure speech to the household of faith; and, by accustoming the family of God to use the language and dialect of the heavenly Father, they expect to promote the sanctification of one another through the truth, and to terminate those discords and debates which have always originated from the words which man's wisdom teaches, and from a reverential regard and esteem for the style of the great masters of polemic divinity; believing that speaking the same things in the same style, is the only certain way to thinking the same things.

They make a very marked difference between faith and opinion; between the testimony of God and the reasonings of men; the words of the Spirit and human inferences. Faith in the testimony of God, and obedience to the commandments of Jesus, are their bond of union, and not an agreement in any abstract views or opinions upon what is written or spoken by divine authority. Hence all the speculations, questions, debates of words, and abstract reasonings, found in human creeds, have no place in their religious fellowship. Regarding Calvinism and Arminianism, Trinitarianism and Unitarianism, and all the opposing theories of religious sectaries, as extremes begotten by each other, they cautiously avoid them, as equidistant from the simplicity and practical tendency of the promises and precepts, of the doctrine and facts, of the exhortations and precedents, of the Christian institution.

They look for unity of spirit and the bonds of peace in the practical acknowledgment of one faith, one Lord, one immersion, one hope, one body, one Spirit, one God and Father of all; not in unity of opinions, nor in unity of forms, ceremonies, or modes of worship.

The holy Scriptures of both Testaments they regard as containing revelations from God, and as all necessary to make the man of God perfect, and accomplished for every good word and work; the New Testament, or the living oracles of Jesus Christ, they understand as containing the Christian religion; the testimonies of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, they view as illustrating and proving the great proposition on which our religion rests, viz., that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the only-begotten and well-beloved Son of God, and the only Savior of the world; the Acts of the Apostles as a divinely-authorized narrative of the beginning and progress of the reign or kingdom of Jesus Christ, recording the full development of the gospel by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven, and the procedure of the apostles in setting up the church of Christ on earth; the Epistles as carrying out and applying the doctrine of the apostles to the practice of individuals and congregations, and as developing the tendencies of the gospel in the behavior of its professors; and all as forming a complete standard of Christian faith and morals, adapted to the interval between the ascension of Christ and his return with the kingdom which he has received from God; the Apocalypse, or Revelation of Jesus Christ to John, in Patmos, as a figurative and prospective view of all the fortunes of Christianity, from its date to the return of the Savior.

Every one who sincerely believes the testimony which God gave of Jesus of Nazareth, saying, "This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I delight," or, in other words, believes what the evangelists and apostles have testified concerning him, from his conception to his coronation in heaven as Lord of all, and who is willing to obey him in every thing, they regard as a proper subject of immersion, and no one else. They consider immersion into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, after a public, sincere, and intelligent confession of the faith in Jesus, as necessary to admission to the privileges of the kingdom of the Messiah, and as a solemn pledge, on the part of Heaven, of the actual remission of all past sins, and of adoption into the family of God.

The Holy Spirit is promised only to those who believe and obey the Savior. No one is taught to expect the reception of that heavenly Monitor and Comforter, as a resident in his heart, till he obeys the gospel.

Thus, while they proclaim faith and repentance, or faith and a change of heart, as preparatory to immersion, remission, and the Holy Spirit, they say to all penitents, or all those who believe and repent of their sins, as Peter said to the first audience addressed after the Holy Spirit was bestowed, after the glorification of Jesus, "Be immersed, every one of you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." They teach sinners that God commands all men, every where, to reform, or to turn to God; that the Holy Spirit strives with them, so to do, by the apostles and prophets; that God beseeches them to be reconciled, through Jesus Christ; and that it is the duty of all men to believe the gospel, and turn to God.

The immersed believers are congregated into societies, according to their propinquity to each other, and taught to meet every first day of the week, in honor and commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus, and to break the loaf, which commemorates the death of the Son of God, to read and hear the living oracles, to teach and admonish one another, to unite in all prayer and praise, to contribute to the necessities of saints, and to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord.

Every congregation chooses its own overseers and deacons, who preside over and administer the affairs of the congregations; and every church, either from itself, or in cooeperation with others, sends out, as opportunity offers, one or more evangelists, or proclaimers of the word, to preach the word, and to immerse those who believe, to gather congregations, and to extend the knowledge of salvation where it is necessary, as far as their means allow. But every church regards these evangelists as its servants; and, therefore, they have no control over any congregation, each congregation being subject to its own choice of presidents or elders, whom they have appointed. Perseverance in all the work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope, is inculcated, by all the disciples, as essential to admission into the heavenly kingdom.

Such are the prominent outlines of the faith and practices of those who wish to be known as the Disciples of Christ; but no society among them would agree to make the preceding items either a confession of faith or a standard of practice, but, for the information of those who wish an acquaintance with them, are willing to give, at any time, a reason for their faith, hope, and practice.


This class of Christians arose in England about the middle of the 17th century. They were at first called Seekers, from their seeking the truth; and afterwards Quakers, for directing their enemies to tremble at the word of the Lord. They prefer the more endearing appellation of FRIENDS, which has been transmitted to them by their predecessors.

George Fox was the first who publicly advocated their principles in England, and the celebrated William Penn in America.

The following is a SUMMARY of the doctrines and discipline of the society of Friends, published in London in 1800, and sanctioned by the orthodox society of Friends in this country.

DOCTRINE.—"We agree, with other professors of the Christian name, in the belief of one eternal God, the Creator and Preserver of the universe, and in Jesus Christ, his Son, the Messiah, and Mediator of the new covenant.

"When we speak of the gracious display of the love of God to mankind, in the miraculous conception, birth, life, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension, of our Savior, we prefer the use of such terms as we find in Scripture; and, contented with that knowledge which Divine Wisdom hath seen meet to reveal, we attempt not to explain those mysteries which remain under the veil; nevertheless, we acknowledge and assert the divinity of Christ, who is the wisdom and power of God unto salvation.

"To Christ, alone, we give the title of the Word of God, and not to the Scriptures; although we highly esteem these sacred writings, in subordination to the Spirit, from which they were given forth; and we hold, with the apostle Paul, that they are able to make wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

"We reverence those most excellent precepts which are recorded, in Scripture, to have been delivered by our great Lord; and we firmly believe that they are practicable, and binding on every Christian, and that, in the life to come, every man will be rewarded according to his works. And, further, it is our belief that, in order to enable mankind to put in practice these sacred precepts, many of which are contradictory to the unregenerate will of man, every man, coming into the world, is endued with a measure of the light, grace, or good spirit, of Christ, by which, as it is attended to, he is enabled to distinguish good from evil, and to correct the disorderly passions and corrupt propensities of his nature, which mere reason is altogether insufficient to overcome. For all that belongs to man is fallible, and within the reach of temptation; but this divine grace, which comes by Him who hath overcome the world, is, to those who humbly and sincerely seek it, an all-sufficient and present help in time of need. By this, the snares of the enemy are detected, his allurements avoided, and deliverance is experienced, through faith in its effectual operation; whereby the soul is translated out of the kingdom of darkness, and from under the power of Satan, into the marvellous light and kingdom of the Son of God.

"Being thus persuaded that man, without the Spirit of Christ inwardly revealed, can do nothing to the glory of God, or to effect his own salvation, we think this influence especially necessary to the performance of the highest act of which the human mind is capable,—even the worship of the Father of lights and of spirits, in spirit and in truth; therefore we consider as obstruction to pure worship, all forms which divert the attention of the mind from the secret influence of this unction from the Holy One. Yet, although true worship is not confined to time and place, we think it incumbent on Christians to meet often together, in testimony of their dependence on the heavenly Father, and for a renewal of their spiritual strength: nevertheless, in the performance of worship, we dare not depend, for our acceptance with him, on a formal repetition of the words and experiences of others; but we believe it to be our duty to lay aside the activity of the imagination, and to wait in silence, to have a true sight of our condition bestowed upon us; believing even a single sight, arising from such a sense of our infirmities, and of the need we have of divine help, to be more acceptable to God than any performances, however specious, which originate in the will of man.

"From what has been said respecting worship, it follows that the ministry we approve must have its origin from the same source; for that which is needful for man's own direction, and for his acceptance with God, must be eminently so to enable him to be helpful to others. Accordingly, we believe that the renewed assistance of the light and power of Christ is indispensably necessary for all true ministry, and that this holy influence is not at our command, or to be procured by study, but is the free gift of God to chosen and devoted servants. Hence arises our testimony against preaching for hire, in contradiction to Christ's positive command, 'Freely ye have received, freely give;' and hence our conscientious refusal to support such ministry by tithes or other means.

"As we dare not encourage any ministry but that which we believe to spring from the influence of the Holy Spirit, so neither dare we attempt to restrain this influence to persons of any condition in life, or to the male sex alone; but, as male and female are one in Christ, we allow such of the female sex as we believe to be endued with a right qualification for the ministry, to exercise their gifts for the general edification of the church; and this liberty we esteem a peculiar mark of the gospel dispensation, as foretold by the prophet Joel, and noticed by the apostle Peter.

"There are two ceremonies in use among most professors of the Christian name—water baptism, and what is termed the Lord's supper. The first of these is generally esteemed the essential means of initiation into the church of Christ, and the latter of maintaining communion with him. But, as we have been convinced that nothing short of his redeeming power, inwardly revealed, can set the soul free from the thraldom of sin, by this power alone we believe salvation to be effected. We hold that, as there is one Lord, and one faith, so his baptism is one, in nature and operation; that nothing short of it can make us living members of his mystical body; and that the baptism with water, administered by his forerunner John, belonged, as the latter confessed, to an inferior and decreasing dispensation.

"With respect to the other rite, we believe that communion between Christ and his church is not maintained by that, nor any other external performance, but only by a real participation of his divine nature, through faith; that this is the supper alluded to in Revelation, 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me;' and that, where the substance is attained, it is unnecessary to attend to the shadow, which doth not confer grace, and concerning which, opinions so different, and animosities so violent, have arisen.

"Now, as we thus believe that the grace of God, which comes by Jesus Christ, is alone sufficient for salvation, we can neither admit that it is conferred on a few only, whilst others are left without it, nor, thus asserting its universality, can we limit its operation to a partial cleansing of the soul from sin, even in this life. We entertain worthier notions, both of the power and goodness of our heavenly Father, and believe that he doth vouchsafe to assist the obedient to experience a total surrender of the natural will to the guidance of his pure, unerring Spirit, through whose renewed assistance they are enabled to bring forth fruits unto holiness, and to stand perfect in their present rank.

"There are not many of our tenets more generally known than our testimony against oaths, and against war. With respect to the former of these, we abide literally by Christ's positive injunction, delivered in his Sermon on the Mount, 'Swear not at all.' From the same sacred collection of the most excellent precepts of moral and religious duty, from the example of our Lord himself, and from the correspondent convictions of his Spirit in our hearts, we are confirmed in the belief that wars and fightings are, in their origin and effects, utterly repugnant to the gospel, which still breathes peace and good-will to men. We also are clearly of the judgment, that, if the benevolence of the gospel were generally prevalent in the minds of men, it would effectually prevent them from oppressing, much more enslaving, their brethren, (of whatever color or complexion,) for whom, as for themselves, Christ died; and would even influence their conduct in their treatment of the brute creation, which would no longer groan, the victims of their avarice, or of their false ideas of pleasure.

"Some of our tenets have, in former times, as hath been shown, subjected our friends to much suffering from government, though to the salutary purposes of government our principles are a security. They inculcate submission to the laws in all cases wherein conscience is not violated. But we hold that, as Christ's kingdom is not of this world, it is not the business of the civil magistrate to interfere in matters of religion, but to maintain the external peace and good order of the community. We, therefore, think persecution, even in the smallest degree, unwarrantable. We are careful in requiring our members not to be concerned in illicit trade, nor in any manner to defraud the revenue.

"It is well known that the society, from its first appearance, has disused those names of the months and days, which having been given in honor of the heroes or false gods of the heathen, originated in their flattery or superstition; and the custom of speaking to a single person in the plural number, as having arisen also from motives of adulation. Compliments, superfluity of apparel, and furniture, outward shows of rejoicing and mourning, and the observation of days and times, we esteem to be incompatible with the simplicity and sincerity of a Christian life; and public diversions, gaming, and other vain amusements of the world, we cannot but condemn. They are a waste of that time which is given us for nobler purposes, and divert the attention of the mind from the sober duties of life, and from the reproofs of instruction, by which we are guided to an everlasting inheritance.

"To conclude: Although we have exhibited the several tenets which distinguish our religious society, as objects of our belief, yet we are sensible that a true and living faith is not produced in the mind of man by his own effort, but is the free gift of God in Christ Jesus, nourished and increased by the progressive operation of his Spirit in our hearts, and our proportionate obedience. Therefore, although, for the preservation of the testimonies given us to bear, and for the peace and good order of the society, we deem it necessary that those who are admitted into membership with us should be previously convinced of those doctrines which we esteem essential, yet we require no formal subscription to any articles, either as a condition of membership, or a qualification for the service of the church. We prefer the judging of men by their fruits, and depending on the aid of Him, who, by his prophet, hath promised to be 'a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment.' Without this there is a danger of receiving numbers into outward communion, without any addition to that spiritual sheepfold, whereof our blessed Lord declared himself to be both the door and the shepherd; that is, such as know his voice, and follow him in the paths of obedience. (See Heb. 12:24. 1 Cor. 1:24. John 1:1. 2 Pet. 1:21. 2 Tim. 3:15. Matt. 16:27. John 1:9-16, 33. 1 John 2:20, 27. Heb. 10:25. Rom 8:26. Jer. 23:30-32. Matt 10:8. Joel 2:28, 29. Acts 2:16, 17. Eph. 4:5. John 3:30. 2 Pet. 1:4. Rev. 3:20. Matt. 5:48. Eph. 4:13. Col. 4:12. Matt. 5:34, 39, 44, &c.; 26:52, 53. Luke 22:51. John 18:11. Eph. 2:8. John 7:17. Isa. 28:6. John 10:7, 11.)

"DISCIPLINE.—The purposes which our discipline hath chiefly in view, are, the relief of the poor; the maintenance of good order; the support of the testimonies which we believe it is our duty to bear to the world; and the help and recovery of such as are overtaken in faults.

"In the practice of discipline, we think it indispensable that the order recommended by Christ himself be invariably observed. 'If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother; but if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be established; and if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church.'

"To effect the salutary purposes of discipline, meetings were appointed, at an early period of the society, which, from the times of their being held, were called quarterly meetings. It was afterward found expedient to divide the districts of those meetings, and to meet more frequently; from whence arose monthly meetings, subordinate to those held quarterly. At length, in 1669, a yearly meeting was established, to superintend, assist, and provide rules for the whole; previously to which, general meetings had been occasionally held.

"A monthly meeting is usually composed of several particular congregations, situated within a convenient distance from each other. Its business is to provide for the subsistence of the poor, and for the education of their offspring; to judge of the sincerity and fitness of persons appearing to be convinced of the religious principles of the society, and desiring to be admitted into membership; to excite due attention to the discharge of religious and moral duty; and to deal with disorderly members. Monthly meetings also grant to such of their members as remove into other monthly meetings, certificates of their membership and conduct, without which they cannot gain membership in such meetings. Each monthly meeting is required to appoint certain persons, under the name of overseers, who are to take care that the rules of our discipline be put in practice, and, when any case of complaint, or disorderly conduct, comes to their knowledge, to see that private admonition, agreeably to the gospel rule before mentioned, be given, previously to its being laid before the monthly meeting.

"When a case is introduced, it is usual for a small committee to be appointed to visit the offender, to endeavor to convince him of his error, and to induce him to forsake and condemn it. If they succeed, the person is by minute declared to have made satisfaction for the offence; if not, he is disowned as a member of the society.

"In disputes between individuals, it has long been the decided judgment of the society, that its members should not sue each other at law. It therefore enjoins all to end their differences by speedy and impartial arbitration, agreeably to rules laid down. If any refuse to adopt this mode, or, having adopted it, to submit to the award, it is the direction of the yearly meeting that such be disowned.

"To monthly meetings, also, belongs the allowing of marriages; for our society hath always scrupled to acknowledge the exclusive authority of the priests in the solemnization of marriage. Those who intend to marry appear together, and propose their intention to the monthly meeting, and, if not attended by their parents and guardians, produce a written certificate of their consent, signed in the presence of witnesses. The meeting then appoints a committee to inquire whether they be clear of other engagements respecting marriage; and if, at a subsequent meeting, to which the parties also come and declare the continuance of their intention, no objections be reported, they have the meeting's consent to solemnize their intended marriage. This is done in a public meeting for worship, toward the close whereof the parties stand up, and solemnly take each other for husband and wife. A certificate of the proceedings is then publicly read, and signed by the parties, and afterward by the relations and others as witnesses. Of such marriage the monthly meeting keeps a record, as also of the births and burials of its members. A certificate of the date, of the name of the infant, and of its parents, signed by those present at the birth, is the subject of one of these last-mentioned records, and an order for the interment, countersigned by the grave-maker, of the other. The naming of children is without ceremony. Burials are also conducted in a simple manner. The body, followed by the relations and friends, is sometimes, previously to interment, carried to a meeting; and at the grave a pause is generally made; on both which occasions it frequently falls out, that one or more friends present have somewhat to express for the edification of those who attend; but no religious rite is considered as an essential part of burial.

"Several monthly meetings compose a quarterly meeting. At the quarterly meeting are produced written answers from the monthly meetings, to certain queries respecting the conduct of their members, and the meetings' care over them. The accounts thus received are digested into one, which is sent also in the form of answers to queries, by representatives, to the yearly meeting. Appeals from the judgment of monthly meetings are brought to the quarterly meetings, whose business also it is to assist in any difficult case, or where remissness appears in the care of the monthly meetings over the individuals who compose them.

"The yearly meeting has the general superintendence of the society in the country in which it is established; and therefore, as the accounts which it receives discover the state of inferior meetings, as particular exigencies require, or as the meeting is impressed with a sense of duty, it gives forth its advice, makes such regulations as appear to be requisite, or excites to the observance of those already made, and sometimes appoints committees to visit those quarterly meetings which appear to be in need of immediate advice. Appeals from the judgment of quarterly meetings are here finally determined; and a brotherly correspondence, by epistles, is maintained with other yearly meetings.

"In this place it is proper to add that, as we believe women may be rightly called to the work of the ministry, we also think that to them belongs a share in the support of our Christian discipline, and that some parts of it, wherein their own sex is concerned, devolve on them with peculiar propriety; accordingly, they have monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings of their own sex, held at the same time and in the same place with those of the men, but separately, and without the power of making rules; and it may be remarked that, during the persecutions, which, in the last century, occasioned the imprisonment of so many of the men, the care of the poor often fell on the women, and was by them satisfactorily administered.

"In order that those who are in the situation of ministers may have the tender sympathy and counsel of those of either sex, who, by their experience in the work of religion, are qualified for that service, the monthly meetings are advised to select such, under the denomination of elders. These, and ministers approved by their monthly meetings, have meetings peculiar to themselves, called meetings of ministers and elders, in which they have an opportunity of exciting each other to a discharge of their several duties, and of extending advice to those who may appear to be weak, without any needless exposure. Such meetings are generally held in the compass of each monthly, quarterly, and yearly meeting. They are conducted by rules prescribed by the yearly meeting, and have no authority to make any alteration or addition to them. The members of them unite with their brethren in the meetings for discipline, and are equally accountable to the latter for their conduct.

"Thus have we given a view of the foundation and establishment of our discipline; by which it will be seen that it is not, as hath been frequently insinuated, merely the work of modern times, but was the early care and concern of our pious predecessors. We cannot better close this short sketch of it, than by observing that, if the exercise of discipline should in some instances appear to press hard upon those, who, neglecting the monitions of divine counsel in their hearts, are also unwilling to be accountable to their brethren, yet, if that great, leading, and indispensable rule, enjoined by our Lord, be observed by those who undertake to be active in it,—'Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,'—it will prevent the censure of the church from falling on any thing but that which really obstructs the progress of truth. Discipline will then promote, in an eminent degree, that love of our neighbor which is the mark of discipleship, and without which a profession of love to God, and to his cause, is a vain pretence. 'He,' said the beloved disciple, 'that loveth not his brother, whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God, love his brother also.' "


The Friends are divided in sentiment; there are, in fact, two sects, denominated Orthodox and Hicksites.

Some opinion of Elias Hicks's sentiments, in regard to the Trinity, may be formed by an extract from one of his publications, (Sermons, vol. iv. pp. 288, 289.)

"He that laid down his life, and suffered his body to be crucified by the Jews, without the gates of Jerusalem, is Christ, the only Son of the most high God. But that the outward person which suffered was properly the Son of God, we utterly deny. Flesh and blood cannot enter into heaven. By the analogy of reason, spirit cannot beget a material body, because the thing begotten must be of the same nature with its father. Spirit cannot beget any thing but spirit: it cannot beget flesh and blood. 'A body hast thou prepared me,' said the Son: then the Son was not the body, though the body was the Son's."


The editor gives an account of the religious tenets, &c., of this society, in the precise words of his worthy friends and correspondents at Enfield, N. H.:—

"Respected Friend,

"Having received your circular, requesting information concerning our society, we freely notice it, and are most willing to give you any information respecting us.

"It appears your request extends sufficiently far to embrace an exposition of our moral and religious tenets, our faith, principles, and manner of life, our secular concerns, &c.

"We have seen several historical sketches of our society by different writers; but it is very rare to find one free from misrepresentations of some kind, which must be owing either to ignorance or prejudice. Therefore, in our communications, we may be somewhat particular on some points; in any of which, if there be any thing found agreeable to your desires, you are welcome to it; and, as it is presumed your publication is intended for information, among other truths, we hope to see something relative to us, different from most of the descriptions of former writers.

"In obtaining information of one society, you get a general understanding of all; for we are of one heart and one mind. Our faith is one, our practice is one.

"We are acknowledged and distinguished as a peculiar people, singular from all others; which peculiarity arises wholly from these two principles—our faith and manner of life, which comprise our motives in separating from the course and practice of the world, the manner in which our property is held, &c. &c.

"It is a fact acknowledged by all professed Christians, that there are two creations, an old and a new; or, which is the same thing, two kingdoms, the kingdom of this world, and the kingdom of Christ. It is also a truth as frankly granted, that these two creations, or kingdoms, are headed, the one by the first Adam, denominated the old man, and the other by the second Adam, Christ Jesus, denominated the new man—two different personages, possessing very different spirits, and executing very different works. As positive as the preceding declarations are, that there exist two distinct creations, and which are headed by two distinct characters, so positive are the following:—that the subjects of each kingdom bear a strong resemblance to their respective king, and plainly represent the particular kingdom they inhabit; for, 'As we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.' (1 Cor. 15:49.)

"Also that no person can have demands upon, and privileges in, these two men and creations at one and the same time. We must either hold to the old, and have nothing to do with the new, or we must come out and forsake the old, and come into the new. We must either put off the old man, Adam, and his works, which are well known to be multiplying and supporting of an earthly kingdom, which is the kingdom of this world, or we must put on the new man, Christ Jesus, and his works, which are well known to be a life without spot, chaste, virgin, and unstained by indulgences in any of those things which a beloved worthy said constitutes the world. (1 John 2:15, 16.) To these principles of faith we are strict, and may be called rigid, adherents; equally tenacious in the practical part of the new man, and in the same degree pointed against the old.

"The second part of this subject of singularity in us consists in the manner in which we hold our property, which, perhaps, is well known to be in common, after the order of the primitive church in the days of the apostles, in which state we have lived rising forty years, 'of one heart and one soul;' not any of us saying that 'aught of the things which he possessed was his own,' (Acts 4:32;) 'buying as though we possessed not,' (1 Cor. 7:30;) and 'having nothing, and yet possessing all things.' (2 Cor. 6:10.) In consequence thereof, we are retired from the world, as not of that kingdom; 'My kingdom is not of this world,' &c., (John 18:36;) by which we enjoy a closer communion with our God, and by which we follow the instruction of the Spirit, which saith, 'Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate,' &c. (2 Cor. 6:17.)

"Our society contains three distinct families, comprising 233 souls; 103 males, and 130 females. The number of persons over 70 is 18; between 60 and 70, 21; between 21 and 60, 125; under 21, 63. The oldest person is 88. Deaths since the gathering of the society, in 1792, 85.

"Our village is situated in the N. W. corner of the town, on the western shore of Mascomy Pond, a pleasant sheet of water, of nearly five miles in length, and half a mile average width. Our village and home are pleasant to us, and are said to be so by travellers. It is about ten miles S. E. from Dartmouth College, forty N. W. from Concord, and one hundred from Boston.

"In all the families there are nearly thirty buildings, unadorned, except with neatness, simplicity, and convenience, besides many out-buildings. Among the buildings are one house of public worship, one convenient school-house, three dwelling-houses, one for each family, sufficiently large to accommodate us as places for cooking, eating, sleeping, and retirement from labor, and shops for the different branches of work. Our privilege for mills is very small; consequently our machinery cannot be extensive. Yet the little water that is running in small brooks, which can be conveniently collected into artificial ponds, is improved, by their emptying from one to another, and by the interspersion of mills upon their discharging streams. We have three saw-mills, two grist-mills, and some other machinery.

"As strangers, who many times wish to call, are frequently much straitened and embarrassed by not knowing where to call, or what to say, we should be pleased to have it particularly noticed, that we have one building designated from the rest by the sign, 'Trustees' Office,' over the door, where strangers are received, where our commercial business is transacted, and where civil people wishing for information may freely obtain it, or be directed where it can be obtained.

"In our occupation we are agriculturists and mechanics. The products of the garden may be said to be as important as any; which are principally seeds, herbs, &c., from which this section of the country is chiefly supplied. Our manufactures are wooden ware, such as tubs, pails, half-bushel and other measures, boxes, &c.; also, whips, corn-brooms, leather, and various other articles.

"We keep from 1200 to 1500 sheep, mostly Saxon and Merino, which afford wool for our own wear, and is likewise a source of small trade with us. We keep about eighty cows, which supply us with milk for a dairy, for our own consumption only.

"The education of our youth and children has been a subject of much conversation among many people. It has been reported, that the children which we frequently take in and bring up with us, are kept in ignorance, having no opportunity of improving their minds by a literary education. But the weight of this censure is gradually growing less, by the contrary proof to the hundreds of visitors who flock into our school, and who are not at all sparing of their high encomiums upon it. It is conducted partially on the Lancasterian system, and is said to surpass any of the common schools about us. Our school-room is furnished with books and apparatus of a superior kind, which, we presume, is not equalled by any school in the country, save the one among our people at Canterbury, which, perhaps, is not in any respect inferior.

"In this society are two physicians. Each family has its respective elders or ministers; among these and other individuals of the society, are public speakers, whom you would denominate the clergy.

"You see, from what we have here written, that we have taken up many subjects, and several of them explicitly treated upon, although short; from which, together with the pamphlet accompanying this letter, we conclude you may be able to get considerable of an understanding, and which you are at liberty to call at your pleasure. But it is sincerely to be hoped, if you publish any thing concerning us, you will be careful to preserve the true ideas of our communications."

From the pamphlet above mentioned we make the following extracts:—

"Faith And Principles Of The Society.

"1. A life of innocence and purity, according to the example of Jesus Christ and his first true followers; implying entire abstinence from all sensual and carnal gratifications.

"2. LOVE.—'By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Love is the fulfilling of the law.' This is our bond of union.

"3. PEACE.—'Follow peace with all men,' is a divine precept; hence our abstinence from war and bloodshed, from all acts of violence towards our fellow-men, from all the party contentions and politics of the world, and from all the pursuits of pride and worldly ambition. 'My kingdom (said Christ) is not of this world.'

"4. JUSTICE.—'Render to every man his due. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another.' We are to be just and honest in all our dealings with mankind, to discharge all just dues, duties, and equitable claims, as seasonably and effectually as possible.

"5. HOLINESS.—'Without which no man shall see the Lord.' Which signifies to be consecrated, or set apart from a common to a sacred use. Hence arise all our doctrines and practical rules of dedicating our persons, services, and property, to social and sacred uses, having adopted the example of the first gospel church, in establishing and supporting one consecrated and united interest by the voluntary choice of every member, as a sacred privilege, and not by any undue constraint or persuasion.

"6. GOODNESS.—Do good to all men, as far as opportunity and ability may serve, by administering acts of charity and kindness, and promoting light and truth among mankind. 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.'

"7. TRUTH.—This principle is opposed to falsehood, lying, deceit, and hypocrisy, and implies fidelity, reality, good, earnest sincerity, and punctuality in keeping vows and promises. These principles are the genuine basis of our institution, planted by its first founders, exhibited in all our public writings, justified by Scripture and fair reason, and practically commended as a system of morality and religion, adapted to the best interest and happiness of man, both here and hereafter.

"Manner Of Admitting Members.

"1. All persons who unite with this society, in any degree, must do it freely and voluntarily, according to their own faith and unbiased judgment.

"2. In the testimony of the society, both public and private, no flattery nor any undue influence is used, but the most plain and explicit statements of its faith and principles are laid before the inquirer, so that the whole ground may be comprehended, as far as possible, by every candidate for admission.

"3. No considerations of property are ever made use of, by this society, to induce any person to join it, nor to prevent any one from leaving it; because it is our faith, that no act of devotion, or service, that does not flow from the free and voluntary emotions of the heart, can be acceptable to God, as an act of true religion.

"4. No believing husband, or wife, is allowed, by the principles of this society, to separate from an unbelieving partner, except by mutual agreement, unless the conduct of the unbeliever be such as to warrant a separation by the laws of God and man. Nor can any husband, or wife, who has otherwise abandoned his or her partner, be received into communion with the society.

"5. Any person becoming a member, must rectify all his wrongs, and, as fast and as far as it is in his power, discharge all just and legal claims, whether of creditors or filial heirs. Nor can any person, not conforming to this rule, long remain in union with the society. But the society is not responsible for the debts of any individual, except by agreement because such responsibility would involve a principle ruinous to the institution.

"6. No difference is to be made in the distribution of parental estate among the heirs, whether they belong to the society or not; but an equal partition must be made, as far as may be practicable, and consistent with reason and justice.

"7. If an unbelieving wife separate from a believing husband, by agreement, the husband must give her a just and reasonable share of the property; and if they have children who have arrived to years of understanding sufficient to judge for themselves, and who choose to go with their mother, they are not to be disinherited on that account. Though the character of this institution has been much censured on this ground, yet we boldly assert that the rule above stated has never, to our knowledge, been violated by this society.

"8. Industry, temperance, and frugality, are prominent features of this institution. No member who is able to labor, can be permitted to live idly upon the labors of others. All are required to be employed in some manual occupation, according to their several abilities, when not engaged in other necessary duties."


"The rules of government in the society are adapted to the different orders of which it is composed. In all (as far as respects adults) it is spiritual; its powers and authorities growing out of the mutual faith, love, and confidence, of all the members, and harmoniously concurring in the general form and manner of government established by the first founders of the society.

"The leading authority of the society is vested in a ministry, generally consisting of four persons, including both sexes. These, together with the elders and trustees, constitute the general government of the society in all its branches, and, being supported by the general union and approbation of the members, are invested with power to appoint their successors and other subordinate officers, as occasion may require; to counsel, advise, and direct, in all matters, whether of a spiritual or temporal nature; to superintend the concerns of the several families, and establish all needful orders, rules, and regulations, for the direction and protection of the several branches of the society; but no rule can be made, nor any member assume a lead, contrary to the original faith and known principles of the society. And nothing which respects the government, order, and general arrangement, of the society is considered as fully established until it has received the general approbation of the society, or of that branch thereof which it more immediately concerns.

"This community is divided into several different branches, commonly called families. This division is generally made for the sake of convenience, and is often rendered necessary on account of local situation and occurrent circumstances; but the proper division and arrangement of the community, without respect to local situation, are into three classes, or progressive degrees of order.

"Those children taken into the society are treated with care and tenderness, receive a good school education, and, according to their genius, are trained to industry and virtuous habits, restrained from vice, and, at a suitable age, led into the knowledge of the sacred Scriptures, and practically taught the divine precepts contained in them, particularly those of Jesus Christ and the apostles.

"During a period of more than forty years, since the permanent establishment of this society at New Lebanon and Watervliet, there never has been a legal claim entered by any person for the recovery of property brought into the society but all claims of that nature, if any have existed, have been amicably settled, to the satisfaction of the parties concerned. Complaints and legal prosecutions have not, hitherto, come from persons who brought property into the institution, but from those who came destitute of property, and who, generally speaking, have been no benefit to the society in any way, but, on the contrary, after having enjoyed its hospitality, and brought no small share of trouble upon the people, have had the assurance to lay claim to wages which they never earned, or property to which they never had any just or legal claim.

"No person can be received into this order until he shall have settled all just and legal claims, both of creditors and filial heirs; so that whatever property he may possess, may be justly and truly his own. Minors cannot be admitted as covenant members of this order; yet they may be received under its immediate care and protection. And when they shall have arrived at lawful age, if they should choose to continue in the society, and sign the covenant of the order, and support its principles, they are then admitted to all the privileges of members. The members of this order are all equally entitled to the benefits and privileges thereof, without any difference made on account of what any one may have contributed to the interest of the society. All are equally entitled to their support and maintenance, and to every necessary comfort, whether in health, sickness, or old age, so long as they continue to maintain the principles, and conform to the orders, rules, and regulations, of the institution. They, therefore, give their property and services for the most valuable of all temporal considerations—an ample security, during life, for every needful support, if they continue faithful to their contract and covenant, the nature of which they clearly understand before they enter into it.

"We believe it will be generally granted that the history of the world does not furnish a single instance of any religious institution which has stood fifty years without a visible declension of the principles of the institution, in the general purity and integrity of its members. This has been generally acknowledged by the devotees of such institutions and facts have fully verified it. But we would appeal to the candid judgment of those who have known this institution from the beginning, and have had a fair opportunity of observing the progress of its improvement, whether they have, in reality, found any declension, either in the external order and regulations of the society, or in the purity and integrity of its members, in the general practice of the moral and Christian duties; and whether they have not, on the contrary, discovered a visible and manifest increase in all these respects. And hence they may judge for themselves, whether the moral character of the society, and its progressive improvement, can be ascribed to any other cause than the blessing, protection, and government, of Divine Power and Wisdom."

This denomination is also styled the millennial church. Although celibacy is enjoined by the Shakers upon their members, yet their numbers rather increase, by converts from the world.

There are fifteen societies of Shakers in the United States, located in the following places:—Alfred, New Gloucester, and Poland, Me.; Canterbury and Enfield, N. H.; Shirley, Harvard, Tyringham, and Hancock, Mass.; Enfield, Conn.; Watervliet and New Lebanon, N. Y.; Union Village and Watervliet, Ohio; Pleasant Hill and South Union, Ky. The number of Shakers in the United States is about 6000.

This sect of Christians arose at Manchester, in England; and ANN LEE has the credit of being its founder. They derive their name from their manner of worship, which is performed by singing, dancing, and clapping their hands in regular time, to a novel, but rather pleasant kind of music. This sect was persecuted in England, and came to America in 1774. They first settled in Watervliet, near Albany, N. Y. They have, or think they have, revelations from Heaven, or gifts from the Holy Spirit, which direct them in the choice of their leaders, and in other important concerns. Their dress and manners are similar to those of the society of Friends; hence they are often called Shaking Quakers. They display great skill and science in agriculture, horticulture, and the mechanic arts; and their honesty, industry, hospitality, and neatness, are proverbial. These people choose their locations with great taste and judgment. A Shaker village always presents a scene of beauty.

We close this article with an extract from a speech of the Hon. John Breathitt, late governor of Kentucky.

"Much has been urged against Shakerism, much has been said against their covenant; but, I repeat it, that individual who is prepared to sign the church covenant, stands in an enviable situation: his situation is, indeed, an enviable one, who, devoted to God, is prepared to say of his property, 'Here it is, little or much; take it, and leave me unmolested to commune with my God. Indeed, I dedicate myself to what? not to a fanatical tenet; O, no! to a subject far beyond; to the worship of Almighty God, the great Creator and Governor of the universe. Under the influence of his love, I give my all: only let me worship according to my faith, and in a manner I believe acceptable to my God!'

"I say again, the world cannot produce a parallel to the situation which such a man exhibits—resigned to the will of Heaven, free from all the feelings of earthly desire, and pursuing, quietly, the peaceful tenor of his way."


This term is used, by way of eminence, to denote that great change which took place in the Christian world, under the ministry of Luther, Calvin, Zuinglius, Melancthon, and others, who successfully opposed some of the doctrines, and many of the practices, of the Roman church. It commenced at Wittemberg, in Saxony, in 1517, and greatly weakened the Papal authority.

It was from causes seemingly fortuitous, and from a source very inconsiderable, that all the mighty effects of the reformation flowed. Leo X., when raised to the Papal throne, in 1513, found the revenues of the church exhausted by the vast projects of his two ambitious predecessors. His own temper, naturally liberal and enterprising, rendered him incapable of severe and patient economy; and his schemes for aggrandizing the family of Medicis, his love of splendor, and his munificence in rewarding men of genius, involved him daily in new expenses, in order to provide a fund for which, he tried every device that the fertile invention of priests had fallen upon, to drain the credulous multitude of their wealth. Among others, he had recourse to a sale of indulgences.

The Romish church believe that pious persons may do works of supererogation, that is to say, more good works than are necessary for their own salvation. All such works, according to their doctrine, are deposited, together with the infinite merits of Jesus Christ, in one inexhaustible treasury. The keys of this were committed to St. Peter, and to his successors the popes, who may open it at pleasure, and, by transferring a portion of this superabundant merit to any particular person for a sum of money, may convey to him either pardon for his own sins, or a release for any one, for whom he feels an interest, from the pains of purgatory. Such indulgences were offered as a recompense for those who engaged in the wars of the crusades against the Infidels. Since those times, the power of granting indulgences has been greatly abused in the church of Rome. Pope Leo X., finding that the sale of indulgences was likely to be lucrative, granted to Albert, elector of Mentz and archbishop of Magdeburg, the benefit of the indulgences of Saxony, and the neighboring parts, and farmed out those of other countries to the highest bidders; who, to make the best of their bargain, procured the ablest preachers to cry up the value of the commodity. The form of these indulgences was as follows.—"May our Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon thee, and absolve thee by the merits of his most holy passion. And I, by his authority, that of his blessed apostles, Peter and Paul and of the most holy pope, granted and committed to me in these parts, do absolve thee, first, from all ecclesiastical censures, in whatever manner they may have been incurred; then from all thy sins, transgressions, and excesses, how enormous soever they may be; even from such as are reserved for the cognizance of the holy see, and as far as the keys of the holy church extend. I remit to you all punishment which you deserve in purgatory on their account; and I restore you to the holy sacraments of the church, to the unity of the faithful, and to that innocence and purity which you possessed at baptism; so that, when you die, the gates of punishment shall be shut, and the gates of the paradise of delight shall be opened; and if you shall not die at present, this grace shall remain in full force when you are at the point of death. In the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost."

According to a book, called the "Tax of the Sacred Roman Chancery," in which are the exact sums to be levied for the pardon of each particular sin, some of the fees are thus stated:—For simony, 10s. 6d.; for sacrilege, 10s. 6d.; for taking a false oath, 9s.; for robbing, 12s.; for burning a neighbor's house, 12s.; for defiling a virgin, 9s.; for murdering a layman, 7s. 6d.; for keeping a concubine, 10s. 6d.; for laying violent hands on a clergyman, 10s. 6d.

The terms in which the retailers of these abominable licenses described their advantages to the purchasers, and the arguments with which they urged the necessity of obtaining them, were so extravagant that they appear almost incredible. "If any man," said they, "purchase letters of indulgence, his soul may rest secure with respect to its salvation. The souls confined in purgatory, for whose redemption indulgences are purchased, as soon as the money is paid, instantly escape from that place of torment, and ascend into heaven." They said that the efficacy of indulgences was so great, that the most heinous sins would be remitted and expiated by them, and the person be freed both from punishment and guilt: this was the unspeakable gift of God, in order to reconcile man to himself; the cross erected by the preachers of indulgences was equally efficacious with the cross of Christ. "Lo," said they, "the heavens are open; if you enter not now, when will you enter? For twelve pence you may redeem the soul of your father out of purgatory; and are you so ungrateful that you will not rescue the soul of your parent from torment? If you had but one coat, you ought to strip yourself of that instantly, and sell it, in order to purchase such benefit," &c.

It was against these preachers of licentiousness, and their diabolical conduct, that Luther began first to declaim.


The Reformed churches comprehend the whole Protestant churches in Europe and America, whether Lutheran, Calvinistic, Independent, Quaker, Baptist, or any other denomination who dissent from the church of Rome. The term Reformed is now, however, more particularly employed to distinguish the Calvinists from the Lutherans.

The Reformed churches in America are the two following:—

Reformed Dutch Church.

This is the oldest body of Presbyterians in America: it descended immediately from the church of Holland; and, for about a century from its commencement in this country, it hung in colonial dependence on the Classis of Amsterdam, and the Synod of North Holland, and was unable to ordain a minister, or perform any ecclesiastical function of the kind, without a reference to the parent country and mother church.

The origin of this church will lead us back to the earliest history of the city and state of New York; for they were first settled by this people, and by them a foundation was laid for the first churches of this persuasion, the most distinguished of which were planted at New York, (then called New Amsterdam,) Flatbush, Esopus, and Albany. The church at New York was probably the oldest, and was founded at, or before, the year 1639; this is the earliest period to which its records conduct us. The first minister was the Rev. Evarardus Bogardus. But when he came from Holland, does not appear. Next to him were two ministers by the name of Megapolensis, John and Samuel.

The first place of worship built by the Dutch in the colony of New Netherlands, as it was then called, was erected in the fort at New York, in the year 1642. The second, it is believed, was a chapel built by Governor Stuyvesant, in what is now called the Bowery. In succession, churches of this denomination arose on Long Island, in Schenectady, on Staten Island, and in a number of towns on the Hudson River, and several, it is believed, in New Jersey. But the churches of New York, Albany, and Esopus, were the most important, and the ministers of these churches claimed and enjoyed a kind of episcopal dignity over the surrounding churches.

The Dutch church was the established religion of the colony, until it surrendered to the British in 1664; after which its circumstances were materially changed. Not long after the colony passed into the hands of the British, an act was passed, which went to establish the Episcopal church as the predominant party; and for almost a century after, the Dutch and English Presbyterians, and all others in the colony, were forced to contribute to the support of that church.

The first judicatory higher than a consistory, among this people, was a Coetus, formed in 1747. The object and powers of this assembly were merely those of advice and fraternal intercourse. It could not ordain ministers, nor judicially decide in ecclesiastical disputes, without the consent of the Classis of Amsterdam.

The first regular Classis among the Dutch was formed in 1757. But the formation of this Classis involved this infant church in the most unhappy collisions, which sometimes threatened its very existence. These disputes continued for many years, by which two parties were raised in the church, one of which was for, and the other against, an ecclesiastical subordination to the judicatories of the mother church and country. These disputes, in which eminent men on both sides were concerned, besides disturbing their own peace and enjoyment, produced unfavorable impressions towards them among their brethren at home.

In 1766, John H. Livingston, D. D., then a young man, went from New York to Holland, to prosecute his studies in the Dutch universities. By his representations, a favorable disposition was produced towards the American church in that country; and, on his return, in full convention of both parties, an amicable adjustment of their differences was made and a friendly correspondence was opened with the church in Holland, which was continued until the revolution of the country under Bonaparte.

The Dutch church suffered much in the loss of its members, and in other respects, by persisting to maintain its service in the Dutch language after it had gone greatly into disuse. The solicitation for English preaching was long resisted, and Dr. Laidlie, a native of Scotland, was the first minister in the Dutch church in North America, who was expressly called to officiate in the English language.

Reformed German Church.

As the Dutch Reformed church in this country is an exact counterpart of the church of Holland, so the German Reformed is of the Reformed or Calvinistic church of Germany. The people of this persuasion were among the early settlers of Pennsylvania: here their churches were first formed; but they are now to be found in nearly all the states south and west of the one above named. The German Reformed churches in this country remained in a scattered and neglected state until 1746, when the Rev. Michael Schlatter, who was sent from Europe for the purpose, collected them together, and put their concerns in a more prosperous train. They have since increased to a numerous body, and are assuming an important stand among the American Presbyterians.

This denomination is scattered over the Middle, Western, and Southern States, but is most numerous in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. The population of this church in the United States is estimated at 300,000; 180 ministers, 600 congregations, and 30,000 communicants.


The Restorationists are those who believe that all men will ultimately become holy and happy. They maintain that God created only to bless, and that, in pursuance of that purpose, he sent his Son to "be for salvation to the ends of the earth;" that Christ's kingdom is moral in its nature, and extends to moral beings in every state or mode of existence; that the probation of man is not confined to the present life, but extends through the mediatorial reign; and that, as Christ died for all, so, before he shall have delivered up the kingdom to the Father, all shall be brought to a participation of the knowledge and enjoyment of that truth which maketh free from the bondage of sin and death. They believe in a general resurrection and judgment, when those who have improved their probation in this life will be raised to more perfect felicity, and those who have misimproved their opportunities on earth will come forward to shame and condemnation, which will continue till they become truly penitent; that punishment itself is a mediatorial work, a discipline, perfectly consistent with mercy; that it is a means, employed by Christ to humble and subdue the stubborn will, and prepare the mind to receive a manifestation of the goodness of God, which leadeth the sinner to true repentance. (See Gen. 12:3; 22:18. Gal. 3:8. Isa. 45:22, 23. Phil. 2:10, 11. Rev. 5:13. 1 Tim. 2:1-6. Col. 1:20. Eph. 1:7-11. Rom. 5:12-21; 8:20, 21. 1 Cor. 15:24-28.)

They contend that this doctrine is not only sustained by particular texts, but grows necessarily out of some of the first principles of divine revelation. They maintain that it is immediately connected with the perfections of the Deity; that God, being infinitely benevolent, must have desired the happiness of all his offspring; that his infinite wisdom would enable him to form a perfect plan, and his almighty power will secure its accomplishment. They contend that the mission of Christ is abortive on any other plan, and that nothing short of the "restitution of all things" can satisfy the ardent desires of every pious soul. On this system alone can they reconcile the attributes of justice and mercy, and secure to the Almighty a character worthy of our imitation.

They insist that the words rendered everlasting, eternal, and forever, which are, in a few instances, applied to the misery of the wicked, do not prove that misery to be endless, because these terms are loose in their signification, and are frequently used in a limited sense; that the original terms, being often used in the plural number, clearly demonstrate that the period, though indefinite, is limited in its very nature. They maintain that the meaning of the term must always be sought in the subject to which it is applied, and that there is nothing in the nature of punishment which will justify an endless sense. They believe that the doctrine of the restoration is the most consonant to the perfections of the Deity, the most worthy of the character of Christ, and the only doctrine which will accord with pious and devout feelings, or harmonize with the Scriptures. They teach their followers that ardent love to God, active benevolence to man, and personal meekness and purity, are the natural results of these views.

Though the Restorationists, as a separate sect, have arisen within a few years, their sentiments are by no means new. Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Didymus of Alexandria, Gregory Nyssen, and several others, among the Christian fathers of the first four centuries, it is said, believed and advocated the restoration of all fallen intelligences. A branch of the German Baptists, before the reformation, held this doctrine, and propagated it in Germany. Since the reformation, this doctrine has had numerous advocates; and some of them have been among the brightest ornaments of the church. Among the Europeans, we may mention the names of Jeremy White, of Trinity College, Dr. Burnet, Dr. Cheyne, Chevalier Ramsay, Dr. Hartley, Bishop Newton, Mr. Stonehouse, Mr. Petitpierre, Dr. Cogan, Mr. Lindsey, Dr. Priestley, Dr. Jebb, Mr. Relly, Mr. Kenrick, Mr. Belsham, Dr. Southworth, Smith, and many others. In fact, the restoration is the commonly-received doctrine among the English Unitarians at the present day. In Germany, a country which, for several centuries, has taken the lead in all theological reforms, the Orthodox have espoused this doctrine. The restoration was introduced into America about the middle of the eighteenth century, though it was not propagated much till about 1775 or 1780, when John Murray and Elhanan Winchester became public advocates of this doctrine, and by their untiring labors extended it in every direction. From that time to the present, many men have been found, in all parts of our country, who have rejoiced in this belief. This doctrine found able advocates in the learned Dr. Chauncy, of Boston, Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia, and Dr. Smith, of New York: Mr. Foster, of New Hampshire, may also be mentioned as an advocate of the restoration.

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