Bacon A History of American Christianity

Bacon A History of American Christianity

Bacon A History of American Christianity is Twenty two chapters describing the history of Christianity in America from the founding of America.

Bacon A History of American Christianity is Twenty two chapters describing the history of Christianity in America from the founding of America.




CONTENTS Bacon A History of American Christianity

CHAP. I.–PROVIDENTIAL PREPARATION FOR THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA 1-5

Purpose of the long concealment of America, 1. A medieval church in America, 2. Revival of the Catholic Church, 3, especially in Spain, 4, 5.

CHAP. II.–SPANISH CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA 6-15

Vastness and swiftness of the Spanish conquests, 6. Conversion by the sword, 7. Rapid success and sudden downfall of missions in Florida, 9. The like story in New Mexico, 12, and in California, 14.

CHAP. III.–FRENCH CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA 16-29

Magnificence of the French scheme of western empire, 16. Superior dignity of the French missions, 19. Swift expansion of them, 20. Collision with the English colonies, and triumph of France, 21. Sudden and complete failure of the French church, 23. Causes of failure: (1) Dependence on royal patronage, 24. (2) Implication in Indian feuds, 25. (3) Instability of Jesuit efforts, 26. (4) Scantiness of French population, 27. Political aspect of French missions, 28. Recent French Catholic immigration, 29.

CHAP. IV.–ANTECEDENTS OF PERMANENT CHRISTIAN COLONIZATION 30-37

Controversies and parties in Europe, 31, and especially in England, 32. Disintegration of Christendom, 34. New experiment of church life, 35. Persecutions promote emigration, 36, 37.

CHAP. V.–PURITAN BEGINNINGS OF THE CHURCH IN VIRGINIA 38-53

The Rev. Robert Hunt, chaplain to the Virginia colony, 38. Base quality of the emigration, 39. Assiduity in religious duties, 41. Rev. Richard Buck, chaplain, 42. Strict Puritan rÈgime of Sir T. Dale and Rev. A. Whitaker, 43. Brightening prospects extinguished by massacre, 48. Dissolution of the Puritan “Virginia Company” by the king, 48. Puritan ministers silenced by the royal governor, Berkeley, 49. The governor’s chaplain, Harrison, is converted to Puritan principles, 49. Visit of the Rev. Patrick Copland, 50. Degradation of church and clergy, 51. Commissary Blair attempts reform, 52. Huguenots and Scotch-Irish, 53.

CHAP. VI.–MARYLAND AND THE CAROLINAS 54-67

George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, 54; secures grant of Maryland, 55. The second Lord Baltimore organizes a colony on the basis of religious liberty, 56. Success of the two Jesuit priests, 57. Baltimore restrains the Jesuits, 58, and encourages the Puritans, 59. Attempt at an Anglican establishment, 61. Commissary Bray, 61. Tardy settlement of the Carolinas, 62. A mixed population, 63. Success of Quakerism, 65. American origin of English missionary societies, 66.

CHAP. VII.–DUTCH CALVINISTS AND SWEDISH LUTHERANS 68-81

Faint traces of religious life in the Dutch settlements, 69. Pastors Michaelius, Bogardus, and Megapolensis, 70. Religious liberty, diversity, and bigotry, 72. The Quakers persecuted, 73. Low vitality of the Dutch colony, 75. Swedish colony on the Delaware, 76; subjugated by the Dutch, 77. The Dutch evicted by England, 78. The Dutch church languishes, 79. Attempts to establish Anglicanism, 79. The S. P. G., 80.

CHAP. VIII.–THE CHURCH IN NEW ENGLAND 82-108

Puritan and Separatist, 82. The Separatists of Scrooby, 83. Mutual animosity of the two parties, 84. Spirit of John Robinson, 85. The “social compact” of the Pilgrims, in state, 87; and in church, 88. Feebleness of the Plymouth colony, 89. The Puritan colony at Salem, 90. Purpose of the colonists, 91. Their right to pick their own company, 92. Fellowship with the Pilgrims, 93. Constituting the Salem church, and ordination of its ministers, 95. Expulsion of schismatics, 97. Coming of the great Massachusetts colony bringing the charter, 98. The New England church polity, 99. Nationalism of the Puritans, 100. Dealings with Roger Williams, Mrs. Hutchinson, and the Quakers, 101. Diversities among the colonies, 102. Divergences of opinion and practice in the churches, 103. Variety of sects in Rhode Island, 106, with mutual good will, 107. Lapse of the Puritan church-state, 108.

CHAP. IX.–THE MIDDLE COLONIES AND GEORGIA 109-126

Dutch, Puritan, Scotch, and Quaker settlers in New Jersey, 109. Quaker corporation and government, 110. Quaker reaction from Puritanism, 113. Extravagance and discipline, 114. Quakerism in continental Europe, 115. Penn’s “Holy Experiment,” 116. Philadelphia founded, 117. German sects, 118. Keith’s schism, and the mission of the “S. P. G.,” 119. Lutheran and Reformed Germans, 120. Scotch-Irish, 121. Georgia, 122. Oglethorpe’s charitable scheme, 123. The Salzburgers, the Moravians, and the Wesleys, 124. George Whitefield, 126.

CHAP. X.–THE EVE OF THE GREAT AWAKENING 127-154

Fall of the New England theocracy, 128. Dissent from the “Standing Order”: Baptist, 130; Episcopalian, 131. In New York: the Dutch church, 134; the English, 135; the Presbyterian, 136. New Englanders moving west, 137. Quakers, Huguenots, and Palatines, 139. New Jersey: Frelinghuysen and the Tennents, 141. Pennsylvania: successes and failures of Quakerism, 143. The southern colonies: their established churches, 148; the mission of the Quakers, 149. The gospel among the Indians, 150. The church and slavery, 151.

CHAP. XI.–THE GREAT AWAKENING 155-180

Jonathan Edwards at Northampton, 156. An Awakening, 157. Edwards’s “Narrative” in America and England, 159. Revivals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, 160. Apostolate of Whitefield, 163. Schism of the Presbyterian Church, 166. Whitefield in New England, 168. Faults and excesses of the evangelists, 169. Good fruits of the revival, 173. Diffusion of Baptist principles, 173. National religious unity, 175. Attitude of the Episcopal Church, 177. Zeal for missions, 179.

CHAP. XII.–CLOSE OF THE COLONIAL ERA 181-207

Growth of the New England theology, 181. Watts’s Psalms, 182. Warlike agitations, 184. The Scotch-Irish immigration, 186. The German immigration, 187. Spiritual destitution, 188. Zinzendorf, 189. Attempt at union among the Germans, 190. Alarm of the sects, 191. M¸hlenberg and the Lutherans, 191. Zinzendorf and the Moravians, 192. Schlatter and the Reformed, 195. Schism made permanent, 197. Wesleyan Methodism, 198. Francis Asbury, 200. Methodism gravitates southward and grows apace, 201. Opposition of the church to slavery, 203; and to intemperance, 205. Project to introduce bishops from England, resisted in the interest of liberty, 206.

CHAP. XIII.–RECONSTRUCTION 208-229

Distraction and depression after the War of Independence, 208. Forlorn condition of the Episcopalians, 210. Their republican constitution, 211. Episcopal consecration secured in Scotland and in England, 212. Feebleness of American Catholicism, 214. Bishop Carroll, 215. “Trusteeism,” 216. Methodism becomes a church, 217. Westward movement of Christianity, 219. Severance of church from state, 221. Doctrinal divisions; Calvinist and Arminian, 222. Unitarianism, 224. Universalism, 225. Some minor sects, 228.

CHAP. XIV.–THE SECOND AWAKENING 230-245

Ebb-tide of spiritual life, 230. Depravity and revival at the West, 232. The first camp-meetings, 233. Good fruits, 237. Nervous epidemics, 239. The Cumberland Presbyterians, 241. The antisectarian sect of The Disciples, 242. Revival at the East, 242. President Dwight, 243.

CHAP. XV.–ORGANIZED BENEFICENCE 246-260

Missionary spirit of the revival, 246. Religious earnestness in the colleges, 247. Mills and his friends at Williamstown, 248; and at Andover, 249. The Unitarian schism in Massachusetts, 249. New era of theological seminaries, 251. Founding of the A. B. C. F. M., 252; of the Baptist Missionary Convention, 253. Other missionary boards, 255. The American Bible Society, 256. Mills, and his work for the West and for Africa, 256. Other societies, 258. Glowing hopes of the church, 259.

CHAP. XVI.–CONFLICTS WITH PUBLIC WRONGS 261-291

Working of the voluntary system of church support, 261. Dueling, 263. Crime of the State of Georgia against the Cherokee nation, implicating the federal government, 264. Jeremiah Evarts and Theodore Frelinghuysen, 267. Unanimity of the church, North and South, against slavery, 268. The Missouri Compromise, 270. Antislavery activity of the church, at the East, 271; at the West, 273; at the South, 274. Difficulty of antislavery church discipline, 275. The southern apostasy, 277. Causes of the sudden revolution of sentiment, 279. Defections at the North, and rise of a pro-slavery party, 282. The Kansas-Nebraska Bill; solemn and unanimous protest of the clergy of New England and New York, 284. Primeval temperance legislation, 285. Prevalence of drunkenness, 286. Temperance reformation a religious movement, 286. Development of “the saloon,” 288. The Washingtonian movement and its drawbacks, 289. The Prohibition period, 290.

CHAP. XVII.–A DECADE OF CONTROVERSIES AND SCHISMS 292-314

Dissensions in the Presbyterian Church, 292. Growing strength of the New England element, 293. Impeachments of heresy, 294. Benevolent societies, 295. Sudden excommunication of nearly one half of the church by the other half, 296. Heresy and schism among Unitarians: Emerson, 298; and Parker, 300. Disruption, on the slavery question, of the Methodists, 301; and of the Baptists, 303. Resuscitation of the Episcopal Church, 304. Bishop Hobart and a High-church party, 306. Rapid growth of this church, 308. Controversies in the Roman Catholic Church, 310. Contention against Protestant fanaticism, 312.

CHAP. XVIII.–THE GREAT IMMIGRATION 315-339

Expansion of territory and increase of population in the early part of the nineteenth century, 315. Great volume of immigration from 1840 on, 316. How drawn and how driven, 316. At first principally Irish, then German, then Scandinavian, 318. The Catholic clergy overtasked, 320. Losses of the Catholic Church, 321. Liberalized tone of American Catholicism, 323. Planting the church in the West, 327. Sectarian competitions, 328. Protestant sects and Catholic orders, 329. Mormonism, 335. Millerism, 336. Spiritualism, 337.

CHAP. XIX.–THE CIVIL WAR 340-350

Material prosperity, 340. The Kansas Crusade, 341. The revival of 1857, 342. Deepening of the slavery conflict, 345. Threats of war, 347. Religious sincerity of both sides, 348. The church in war-time, 349.

CHAP. XX.–AFTER THE CIVIL WAR 351-373

Reconstructions, 351. The Catholic Church, 352. The Episcopal Church, 352. Persistent divisions among Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, 353. Healing of Presbyterian schisms, 355. Missions at the South, 355. Vast expansion of church activities, 357. Great religious and educational endowments, 359. The enlisting of personal service: The Sunday-school, 362. Chautauqua, 363. Y. M. C. A., 364. Y. W. C. A., 366. W. C. T. U., 367. Women’s missionary boards, 367. Nursing orders and schools, 368. Y. P. S. C. E., and like associations, 368. “The Institutional Church,” 369. The Salvation Army, 370. Loss of “the American Sabbath,” 371.

CHAP. XXI.–THE CHURCH IN THEOLOGY AND LITERATURE 374-397

Unfolding of the Edwardean theology, 374. Horace Bushnell, 375. The Mercersburg theology, 377. “Bodies of divinity,” 378. Biblical science, 378. Princeton’s new dogma, 380. Church history, 381. The American pulpit, 382. “Applied Christianity,” 385. Liturgics, 386. Hymns, 387. Other liturgical studies, 388. Church music, 391. The Moravian liturgies, 394. Meager productiveness of the Catholic Church, 394. The Americanizing of the Roman Church, 396.

CHAP. XXII.–TENDENCIES TOWARD A MANIFESTATION OF UNITY 398-420

Growth of the nation and national union, 398. Parallel growth of the church, 399; and ecclesiastical division, 400. No predominant sect, 401. Schism acceptable to politicians, 402; and to some Christians, 403. Compensations of schism, 404. Nisus toward manifest union, 405. Early efforts at fellowship among sects, 406. High-church protests against union, 407. The Evangelical Alliance, 408. Fellowship in non-sectarian associations, 409. Cooperation of leading sects in Maine, 410. Various unpromising projects of union: I. Union on sectarian basis, 411. II. Ecumenical sects, 412. III. Consolidation of sects, 413. The hope of manifested unity, 416. Conclusion, 419.

Excerpt from the Book

* * * * * The YMCA

Not the least important item in the organization of lay activity is the marvelously rapid growth of the “Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor.” In February, 1881, a pastor in Portland, Me., the Rev. Francis E. Clark, organized into an association within his church a number of young people pledged to certain rules of regular attendance and participation in the association meetings and of coperation in useful service. There seems to have been no particular originality in the plan, but through some felicity in arrangement and opportuneness in the time it caught like a forest fire, and in an amazingly short time ran through the country and around the world. One wise precaution was taken in the basis of the organization: it was provided that it should not interfere with any member’s fidelity to his church or his sect, but rather promote it. Doubtless jealousy of its influence was thus in some measure forestalled and averted. But in the rapid spread of the Society those who were on guard for the interests of the several sects recognized a danger in too free affiliations outside of sectarian lines, and soon there were instituted, in like forms of rule, “Epworth Leagues” for Methodists, “Westminster Leagues” for Presbyterians, “Luther Leagues” for Lutherans, “St. Andrew’s Brotherhoods” for Episcopalians, “The Baptist Young People’s Union,” and yet others for yet other sects. According to the latest reports, the total pledged membership of this order of associated young disciples, in these various ramifications, is about 4,500,000[369:1]–this in the United States alone. Of the Christian Endeavor Societies still adhering to the old name and constitution, there are in all the world 47,009, of which 11,119 are “Junior Endeavor Societies.” The total membership is 2,820,540.[369:2]

Contemporary currents of theological thought, setting away from the excessive individualism which has characterized the churches of the Great Awakening, confirm the tendency of the Christian life toward a vigorous and even absorbing external activity. The duty of the church to human society is made a part of the required curriculum of study in preparation for the ministry, in fully equipped theological seminaries. If ever it has been a just reproach of the church that its frequenters were so absorbed in the saving of their own souls that they forgot the multitude about them, that reproach is fast passing away. “The Institutional Church,” as the clumsy phrase goes, cares for soul and body, for family and municipal and national life. Its saving sacraments are neither two nor seven, but seventy times seven. They include the bath-tub as well as the font; the coffee-house and cook-shop as well as the Holy Supper; the gymnasium as well as the prayer-meeting. The “college settlement” plants colonies of the best life of the church in regions which men of little faith are tempted to speak of as “God-forsaken.” The Salvation Army, with its noisy and eccentric ways, and its effective discipline, and its most Christian principle of setting every rescued man at work to aid in the rescue of others, is welcomed by all orders of the church, and honored according to the measure of its usefulness, and even of its faithful effort to be useful.

* * * * *

It is not to be supposed that this immense, unprecedented growth of outward activity can have been gained without some corresponding loss. The time is not long gone by, when the sustained contemplation of the deep things of the cross, and the lofty things in the divine nature, and the subtile and elusive facts concerning the human constitution and character and the working of the human will, were eminently characteristic of the religious life of the American church. In the times when that life was stirred to its most strenuous activity, it was marked by the vicissitude of prolonged passions of painful sensibility at the consciousness of sin, and ecstasies of delight in the contemplation of the infinity of God and the glory of the Saviour and his salvation. Every one who is conversant with the religious biography of the generations before our own, knows of the still hours and days set apart for the severe inward scrutiny of motives and “frames” and the grounds of one’s hope. However truly the church of to-day may judge that the piety of their fathers was disproportioned and morbidly introspective and unduly concerned about one’s own salvation, it is none the less true that the reaction from its excesses is violent, and is providing for itself a new reaction. “The contemplative orders,” whether among Catholics or Protestants, do not find the soil and climate of America congenial. And yet there is a mission-field here for the mystic and the quietist; and when the stir-about activity of our generation suffers their calm voices to be heard, there are not a few to give ear.

* * * * *

An event of great historical importance, which cannot be determined to a precise date, but which belongs more to this period than to any other, is the loss of the Scotch and Puritan Sabbath, or, as many like to call it, the American Sabbath. The law of the Westminster divines on this subject, it may be affirmed without fear of contradiction from any quarter, does not coincide in its language with the law of God as expressed either in the Old Testament or in the New. The Westminster rule requires, as if with a “Thus saith the Lord,” that on the first day of the week, instead of the seventh, men shall desist not only from labor but from recreation, and “spend the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.”[371:1] This interpretation and expansion of the Fourth Commandment has never attained to more than a sectarian and provincial authority; but the overmastering Puritan influence, both of Virginia and of New England, combined with the Scotch-Irish influence, made it for a long time dominant in America. Even those who quite declined to admit the divine authority of the glosses upon the commandment felt constrained to “submit to the ordinances of man for the Lord’s sake.” But it was inevitable that with the vast increase of the travel and sojourn of American Christians in other lands of Christendom, and the multitudinous immigration into America from other lands than Great Britain, the tradition from the Westminster elders should come to be openly disputed within the church, and should be disregarded even when not denied. It was not only inevitable; it was a Christian duty distinctly enjoined by apostolic authority.[372:1] The five years of war, during which Christians of various lands and creeds intermingled as never before, and the Sunday laws were dumb “inter arma” not only in the field but among the home churches, did perhaps even more to break the force of the tradition, and to lead in a perilous and demoralizing reaction. Some reaction was inevitable. The church must needs suffer the evil consequence of overstraining the law of God. From the Sunday of ascetic self-denial–“a day for a man to afflict his soul”–there was a ready rush into utter recklessness of the law and privilege of rest. In the church there was wrought sore damage to weak consciences; men acted, not from intelligent conviction, but from lack of conviction, and allowing themselves in self-indulgences of the rightfulness of which they were dubious, they “condemned themselves in that which they allowed.” The consequence in civil society was alike disastrous. Early legislation had not steered clear of the error of attempting to enforce Sabbath-keeping as a religious duty by civil penalties; and some relics of that mistake remained, and still remain, on some of the statute-books. The just protest against this wrong was, of course, undiscriminating, tending to defeat the righteous and most salutary laws that aimed simply to secure for the citizen the privilege of a weekly day of rest and to secure the holiday thus ordained by law from being perverted into a nuisance. The social change which is still in progress along these lines no wise Christian patriot can contemplate with complacency. It threatens, when complete, to deprive us of that universal quiet Sabbath rest which has been one of the glories of American social life, and an important element in its economic prosperity, and to give in place of it, to some, no assurance of a Sabbath rest at all, to others, a Sabbath of revelry and debauch.

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