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A HISTORY

OF

AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY



LEONARD WOOLSEY BACON



1^



€?e C^rtBttan Eiteratute Co.



MDCCCXCVil



Copyright, 1897, by
The Christia.n Literature Co.



CONTENTS.



PACB

CHAP. I.— Providential Preparations for the Discovery of
America 1-5

Purpose of the long concealment of America, i. 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 Califor-
nia, 14.

CHAP. III.— French Christianity in America 16-29

Magnificence of the French scheme of western empire, 16. Su-
perior 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: (i) 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 Coloniza-
tion 30-37

Controversies and parties in Europe, 31, and especially in Eng-
land, 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.

V



267893



vi CONTENTS.

PAGE

Base quality of the emigration, 39. Assiduity in religious duties,
41. Rev. Richard Buck, chaplain, 42. Strict Puritan regime of
Sir T. Dale and Rev. A. Whitaker, 43. Brightening prospects ex-
tinguished 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. Commis-
sary Blair attempts reform, 52. Huguenots and Scotch-Irish, 53.

CHAP. VI. — Maryland and the C.a.rolixas •. . . 54-67

George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, 54 ; secures giant of Maryland,
55. The second Lord Baltimore organizes a colony on the basis of
religious liberty, 56. Success of the two Jesuit priests, 57. Bal-
timore 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 mi.\ed 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. Pas-
tors 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 Del-
aware, 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. VIIL— 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 Puri-
tan 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, lOO. Dealings with
Roger Williams, Mrs. Hutchinson, and the Quakers, loi. Diver-
sities among the colonies, 102. Divergences of opinion and prac-
tice in the churches, 103. Variety of sects in Rhode Island, 106,
with mutual good will, 107. Lapse of the Puritan church-state, 108.



CONTENTS. Vli

PAGE

CHAP. IX.— The Middle Colonies and Georgia 109-126

Dutch, Puritan, Scotch, and Quaker settlers in New Jersey, 109.
Quaker corporation and government, no. 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 sclusm,
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 Presbyte-
rian, 136. New Englanders moving west, 137. Quakers, Hugue-
nots, and Palatines, 139. New Jersey: Frelinghuysen and the
Tennents, 141. Pennsylvania: successes and failures of Quaker-
ism, 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. Miihlenberg 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 in-
temperance, 205. Project to introduce bishops from England, re-
sisted in the interest of libertv, 206.



viii CONTENTS.

PACK

CHAP. XIII. — Recoxstruction 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. Sever-
ance of church from state, 221. Doctrinal divisions; Calvinist
and Arminian, 222. Unitarianism, 224. Universalism, 225. Some
minor sects',~228.

CHAP. XIV.— The Second Awake.mxg 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 Ins 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 boaids, 255. The Aiiierican Bible Society, 256. Mills,
and his work for the West and for Africa, 256. Other societies, I

258. Glowing hopes of the church, 259.

CHAP. XVI. — Conflicts with Public Wrongs 261-291 1

Working of the voluntary system of church support, 261. Duel-
ing, 263. Crime of the State of Georgia against the Cherokee na-
tion, implicating the federal government, 264. Jeremiah Evarts j
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. Tlie Kansas-Nebraska Bill ; solemn and unani-
mous 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. Devel-
opment of "the saloon," 288. The Washingtonian movement and
its drawbacks, 289. The Prohibition period, 290.



il



CONTENTS. IX

PAGE

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 Bap-
tists, 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 Immigratio.n' 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. Plant- i^-^
ing 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 re-
vival 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. ^X.,— After the Civil War 351-373

Reconstructions, 351. The Catholic Church, 352. The Epis-
copal Church, 352. Persistent divisions among Methodists, Bap-
tists, 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 en-
listing 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 Institu-
tional Church," 369. The Salvation Army, 370. Loss of " the
American Sabbath," 371.

CHAP. XXL — 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. Bib-



X CONTENTS.

Heal science, 378. Princeton's new dogma, 380. Church history,
381. The American pulpit, 382. "Applied Christianity," 385.
Liturgies, 386. Hymns, 387. Other liturgical studies, 388.
Church music, 391. The Moravian liturgies, 394. Meager pro-
ductiveness 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 predomi-
nant sect, 401. Schism acceptable to politicians, 402 ; and to some
Christians, 403. Compensations of schism, 404. Nisiis toward
manifest union, 405. Early efforts at fellowship among sects, 406.
High-church protests against union, 407. The Evangelical Alli-
ance, 408. Fellowship in non-sectarian associations, 409. Co-
operation of leading sects in Maine, 410. Various unpromising
projects of union : I. Union on sectarian basis, 411, IL Ecumeni-
cal sects, 412. III. Consolidation of sects, 413. The hope of
manifested unity, 416. Conclusion, 419.



A HISTORY
OF AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY.



CHAPTER I.

PROVIDENTIAL PREPARATIONS FOR THE DISCOVERY

OF AMERICA — SPIRITUAL REVIVAL THROUGHOUT

CHRISTENDOM, AND ESPECIALLY IN THE

CHURCH OF SPAIN.

The heroic discovery of America, at the close of the
fifteenth century after Christ, has compelled the generous
and just admiration of the world; but the grandeur of
human enterprise and achievement In the discovery of the
western hemisphere has a less claim on our admiration than
that divine wisdom and controlling providence which, for
reasons now manifested, kept the secret hidden through
so many millenniums, in spite of continual chances of dis-
closure, until the fullness of time.

How near, to " speak as a fool," the plans of God came
to being defeated by human enterprise is illustrated by un-
questioned facts. The fact of medieval exploration, col-
onization, and even evangehzation in North America seems
now to have emerged from the region of fanciful conjecture



2 ■ AME'RiCAk CHRISTIANITY. [Chap. i.

into that of history. That for four centuries, ending with
the fifteenth, the church of Iceland maintained its bishops
and other missionaries and built its churches and monas-
teries on the frozen coast of Greenland is abundantly
proved by documents and monuments. Dim but seemingly
unmistakable traces are now discovered of enterprises, not
only of exploration and trade, but also of evangelization,
reaching along the mainland southward to the shores of
New England. There are vague indications that these
beginnings of Christian civilization were extinguished, as
in so many later instances, by savage massacre. With
impressive coincidence, the latest vestige of this primeval
American Christianity fades out in the very year of the
discovery of America by Columbus.^

By a prodigy of divine providence, the secret of the ages
had been kept from premature disclosure during the cen-
turies in which, without knowing it, the Old World was
actually in communication with the New. That was high
strategy in the warfare for the advancement of the king-
dom of God in the earth. What possibilities, even yet
only beginning to be accomplished, were thus saved to
both hemispheres! If the discovery of America had been
achieved four centuries or even a single century earlier,
the Christianity to be transplanted to the western world
would have been that of the church of Europe at its lowest
stage of decadence. The period closing with the fifteenth
century was that of the dense darkness that goes before
the dawn. It was a period in which the lingering life of
the church was chiefly manifested in feverish complaints
of the widespread corruption and outcries for " reformation
of the church in head and members." The degeneracy of

1 See the account of the Greenland church and its missions in Professor
O'Gorman's " History of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States "
(vol. ix. of the American Church History Series), pp. 3-12.



CORRUPTION IN THE MEDIEVAL CHURCH. 3

the clergy was nowhere more manifest than in the monastic
orders, that had been originally established for the express
purpose of reviving and purifying the church. That ancient
word was fulfilled, " Like people, like priest." But it was
especially in the person of the foremost official represent-
ative of the religion of Jesus Christ that that religion was
most dishonored. The fifteenth century was the era of the
infamous popes. By another coincidence which arrests the
attention of the reader of history, that same year of the
discovery by Columbus witnessed the accession of the most
infamous of the series, the Borgia, Alexander VI., to his
short and shameful pontificate.

Let it not be thought, as some of us might be prone to
think, that the timeHness of the discovery of the western
hemisphere, in its relation to church history, is summed
up in this, that it coincided with the Protestant Reforma-
tion, so that the New World might be planted with a
Protestant Christianity. For a hundred years the coloni-
zation and evangelization of America were, in the narrow-
est sense of that large word. Catholic, not Protestant. But
the Catholicism brought hither was that of the sixteenth
century, not of the fifteenth. It is a most one-sided reading
of the history of that illustrious age which fails to recognize
that the great Reformation was a reformation (^/the church
as well as a reformation /;'<?;// the church. It was in Spain
itself, in which the corruption of the church had been
foulest, but from which all symptoms of " heretical pravity "
were purged away with the fiercest zeal as fast as they ap-
peared, — in Spain under the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella
the Catholic, — that the demand for a Catholic reformation
made itself earliest and most effectually felt. The highest
ecclesiastical dignitary of the realm, Ximenes, confessor to
the queen. Archbishop of Toledo, and cardinal, was him-
self the leader of reform. No changes in the rest of Chris-



4 AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY. [Chap.!.

tendom were destined for many years to have so great an
influence on the course of evangeHzation in North America
as those which affected the church of Spain ; and of these
by far the most important in their bearing on the early
course of Christianity in America were, first, the purifying
and quickening of the miserably decayed and corrupted
mendicant orders, — ever the most effective arm in the
missionary service of the Latin Church, — and, a httle later,
the founding of the Society of Jesus, with its immense
potency for good and for evil. At the same time the court
of Rome, sobered in some measure, by the perilous crisis
that confronted it, from its long orgy of simony, nepotism,
and sensuality, began to find time and thought for spiritual
duties. The establishment of the " congregations " or ad-
ministrative boards, and especially of the Congregatio de
Propaganda Fide, or board of missions, dates chiefly from
the sixteenth century. The revived interest in theological
study incident to the general spiritual quickening gave the
church, as the result of the labors of the Council of Trent,
a well-defined body of doctrine, which nevertheless was
not so narrowly defined as to preclude differences and
debates among the diverse sects of the clergy, by whose
competitions and antagonisms the progress of missions
both in Christian and in heathen lands was destined to be
so seriously affected.

An incident of the Catholic Reformation of the sixteenth
century — inevitable incident, doubtless, in that age, but
none the less deplorable — was the engendering or intensi-
fying of that cruel and ferocious form of fanaticism which
is defined as the combination of reUgious emotion with the
malignant passions. The tendency to fanaticism is one of
the perils attendant on the deep stirring of religious feeling
at any time ; it was especially attendant on the reHgious
agitations of that period ; but most of all it was in Spain,



\



REVIVAL IN THE CHURCH OF SPAIN. 5

where, of all the Catholic nations, corruption had gone
deepest and spiritual revival was most earnest and sincere,
that the manifestations of fanaticism were most shocking.
Ferdinand and Isabella the Catholic were distinguished
alike by their piety and their part in the promotion of
civilization, and by the horrors of bloody cruelty perpe-
trated by their authority and that of the church, at the
instigation of the sincere and devout reformer Ximenes.
In the memorable year 1492 was inaugurated the fiercest
work of the Spanish Inquisition, concerning which, speak-
ing of her own part in it, the pious Isabella was able after-
ward to say, " For the love of Christ and of his virgin
mother I have caused great misery, and have depopulated
towns and districts, provinces and kingdoms."

The earlier pages of American church history will not
be intelligently read unless it is well understood that the
Christianity first to be transplanted to the soil of the New
World was the Christianity of Spain — the Spain of Isabella
and Ximenes, of Loyola and Francis Xavier and St. The-
resa, the Spain also of Torquemada and St. Peter Arbues
and the zealous and orthodox Duke of Alva.



CHAPTER II.

SPANISH CONQUEST — THE PROPAGATION, DECAY, AND
DOWNFALL OF SPANISH CHRISTIANITY.

It is a striking fact that the earliest monuments of co-
lonial and ecclesiastical antiquity within the present domain
of the United States, after the early Spanish remains in
Florida, are to be found in those remotely interior and
inaccessible highlands of New Mexico, which have only
now begun to be reached in the westward progress of
migration. Before the beginnings of permanent English
colonization at Plymouth and at Jamestown, before the
French beginnings on the St. Lawrence, before the close
of the sixteenth century, there had been laid by Spanish
soldiers, adventurers, and missionaries, in those far recesses
of the continent, the foundations of Christian towns and
churches, the stately walls and towers of which still invite
the admiration of the traveler.

The fact is not more impressive than it is instructive.
It illustrates the prodigious impetuosity of that tide of
conquest which within so few years from the discovery of
the American continents not only swept over the regions
of South and Central America and the great plateau of
Mexico, but actually occupied with military posts, with
extensive and successful missions, and with a colonization
which seemed to show every sign of stability and future
expansion, by far the greater part of the present domain
6



SPANISH CONQUESTS IN AMERICA. 7

of the United States exclusive of Alaska — an ecclesiastico-
military empire stretching its vast diameter from the
southernmost cape of Florida across twenty-five parallels
of latitude and forty- five meridians of longitude to the
Strait of Juan de Fuca. The lessons taught by this amaz-
ingly swift extension of the empire and the church, and its
arrest and almost extinction, are legible on the surface of
the history. It is a strange, but not unparalleled, story of
attempted cooperation in the common service of God and
Mammon and Moloch — of endeavors after concord between
Christ and Belial.

There is no reason to question the sincerity with which
the rulers of Spain believed themselves to be actuated by
the highest motives of Christian charity in their terrible
and fatal American policy. " The conversion of the Indians
is the principal foundation of the conquest — that which
ought principally to be attended to." So wrote the king
in a correspondence in which a most cold-blooded authori-
zation is given for the enslaving of the Indians.-^ After the
very first voyage of Columbus every expedition of discovery
or invasion was equipped with its contingent of clergy — sec-
ular priests as chaplains to the Spaniards, and friars of the
regular orders for mission work among the Indians — at cost
of the royal treasury or as a charge upon the new conquests.

This subsidizing of the church was the least serious of
the injuries inflicted on the cause of the gospel by the piety
of the Spanish government. That such subsidizing is in
the long run an injury is a lesson illustrated not only in
this case, but in many parallel cases in the course of this
history. A far more dreadful wrong was the identifying
of the religion of Jesus Christ with a system of war and
slavery, well-nigh the most atrocious in recorded history.
For such a policy the Spanish nation had just received a

1 Helps, "Spanish Conquest in America," vol. i., p. 234, American edition.



8 AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY, [Chap. ii.

peculiar training. It is one of the commonplaces of history
to remark that the barbarian invaders of the Roman empire
were themselves vanquished by their own victims, being
converted by them to the Christian faith. In like manner
the Spanish nation, triumphing over its Moslem subjects
in the expulsion of the Moors, seemed in its American
conquests to have been converted to the worst of the tenets
of Islam. The propagation of the gospel in the western



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