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AH.BOTT : BRADFORD : BERRY



gladden: TUCKER



THE NEW

PURITANISM



/ PAPERS BY y

LYMAN ABBOTT, AMORY H. BRADFORD
CHARLES A. BERRY,' GEORGE H. GORDON
WASHINGTON GLADDEN, WM. ]. TUCKER



DURING THE SEMI-CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION

OF PLYMOUTH CHURCH, BROOKLYN, N. Y.

1847-1897



WITH INTRODUCTION BY

ROSSITER W. RAYMOND



NEW YORK: FORDS, HOWARD,
AND HULBERT % m dccc xcviii



Copyright, in 1897,

BY

Fords, Howard, and Hulbert.



PUBLISHERS' PREFACE.

The expansion both of knowledge and of
wisdom in all departments of life during the
Nineteenth Century has nowhere been more
manifest than in religious matters. The
general mental attitude in nearly all com-
munions has changed, towards God and
towards man. The result is an immense
increase of vital interest, with a correspond-
ing decline in mere formalism.

This is particularly noticeable in two
directions. One is that, where formerly the
more conscientious professing Christians
would ''read a chapter" in the Bible with a
comfortable sense of duty done, now thou-
sands. Christians and others, are studying
those ancient scriptures with discrimination,
yet with genuine delight in their treasures

— of allegory, of biography, of history, of

iii



IV PUBLISHERS' PREFACE.

literature, of spiritual instruction and in-
spiration. Whether as cause or as conse-
quence, is the other: that the pregnant
practical teachings of the Master himself are
looked to for ** standards" of faith and doc-
trine, rather than the ingenious speculations
of his followers, however saintly or learned.

Jesus had no time for rhetoric. His brief
sayings are compact of germinant life. One
of them — perhaps as characteristic of his
whole career as any — is that *'The Sabbath
was made for man, not man for the Sab-
bath." The principle involved in this
maxim is that which has developed into the
splendid humanitarianism of Christian life
and work to-day: although its full meaning
is yet to appear.

Like all the enlargement of the physical
and psychical sciences during the past cen-
tury, the religious growth has been greatest
— or by reason of multiplied ramifications
most discernible — within the latter half of
that period. It was natural, then, that the
fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of so



PUBLISHERS' PREFACE, V

potent an influence as Plymouth Church and
the coming of its first pastor should offer
an occasion for reviewing at large the vast
spiritual migration of multitudes of Chris-
tian pilgrims to ^' fresh fields and pastures
new." And the occasion would lack its
best worth if this did not include a look
forward to coming duties and privileges.
During that celebration, therefore, both
retrospect and prospect — the past century
and the coming one — were set forth by
men of acknowledged eminence, whose
broad views will attract and interest think-
ing people. It was inevitable that the
speakers should find special concern with
Henry Ward Beecher and Plymouth Church ;
not, however, merely because these were at
the focal point of the occasion, but because
in any consideration of morals and religion
in America during the past half-century ** he
reckons ill who leaves [them] out."

The Addresses pertaining to the celebra-
tion have been gathered into this volume.
Concerning the particular relations of the



VI PUBLISHERS' PREFACE.

Speakers to that church and its first pastor,
as well as to the themes assigned them, the
publishers are glad to present an introduc-
tory paper from Dr. R. W. Raymond, — for
forty-two years a member of the church, an
intimate friend of both the first and the
presefit pastor, and a recognized leader in
the brotherhood, not only intellectually and
spiritually, but in the practical organiza-
tion and administration of the work of the
church.

The larger bearings of these Addresses —
those indeed for which they were mainly
planned and of which they chiefly and ably
treat — will be evident from their titles, and
still more from their admirable contents.



TABLE QF CONTENTS.

PAGE

PUBLISHERS' PREFACE iii

INTRODUCTORY : Rossiter W. Raymond .. ix

V'

I. THE NEW PURITANISM : Lyman Ab-
bott 23

II. PURITAN PRINCIPLES AND THE
MODERN WORLD : Amory H. Brad-
ford « 75

III. BELCHER'S INFLUENCE UPON RE-
LIGIOUS THOUGHT IN ENGLAND:
Charles a/ Berry 107

IV. THE THEOLOGICAL PROBLEM FOR

TO-DAY: George A. Gordon . . .141

V. THE SOCIAL PROBLEMS OF THE

FUTURE: Washington Gladden . . 173

VI. THE CHURCH OF THE FUTURE:

William J. Tucker 213

VII. RETROSPECT AND OUTLOOK:

Charles A. Berry 237

VIII. THE DESCENT FROM THE MOUNT:

Lyman Abbott 253

vii



Unttobitctor^*

ROSSITER W. RAYMOND.



INTRODUCTORY.

The occasion, though not directly the
topic, of the addresses contained in this
volume was the semi-centennial jubilee of
Plymouth Church. The story of the origin
of the church, as briefly outHned in the
Outlook of Nov. 13, 1897, is as follows:

" A Brooklyn merchant had accidentally heard
Henry Ward Beecher in Indianapolis, and the
hearing had aroused his desire to bring the al-
most boyish preacher to New York. The un-
suspecting candidate for the pulpit of a not yet
existing church was invited to deliver an address
before one of the missionary societies at the then
famous May meetings. He came east for this
purpose. Meanwhile, a few gentlemen interested
in this Christian conspiracy met at a private
house on the 8th of May, 1847, and decided then
and there to purchase a church building on
Cranberry Street, which the First Presbyterian
Church had just vacated, in order to follow the
population to a more favorable location upon the
Heights. A week later (May 16, 1847) Henry
Ward Beecher preached in this church building



Xll INTRODUCTORY,

his first sermon in Brooklyn. Plymouth Church,
however, was not organized until nearly a month
later (June 13) ; the following day, Mr. Beecher
was called to its pastorate, but did not accept
the call until August; he began his labors on
October 10, and was installed by Council Nov.
11/'

This series of events was follow^ed ap-
proximately in the recent celebration, which
comprised:

1. A memorial prayer-meeting of the
church, held Friday evening, May 7, in
commemoration of the original conference
of May 8, 1847.

2. Services on Sunday, May 16, the
fiftieth anniversary of Mr. Beecher's first
sermon in Brooklyn. In the morning. Rev.
Lyman Abbott, D.D., pastor of Plymouth
Church, preached on ** The New Puritan-
ism"; in the evening, Rev. Amory H.
Bradford, of Montclair, N. J., preached
on ** Puritan Principles and the Modern
World."

3. Services on Sunday, November 7, at
which Rev. Charles A. Berry, D.D., of



INTROD UCTOR Y, XUl

Wolverhampton, England, preached morn-
ing and evening, his theme in the morning
being *' The Influence of Henry Ward
Beecher's Teaching on Religious Life and
Thought in England," and in the evening
** The Secret of the Power of the Christian
Church." The morning service was fol-
lowed by the administration of the Lord's
Supper.

4. On Thursday evening, November 11,
the fiftieth anniversary of the installation of
Henry Ward Beecher, a service at which
addresses were made by Rev. George A.
Gordon, D.D., of Boston, Mass., on '* The
Theology for To-day " ; by Rev. Washing-
ton Gladden, D.D., on " The Social Prob-
lems of the Future " ; and by Rev. William
J. Tucker, D.D., President of Dartmouth
College, on " The Church of the Future.**

5. On Friday evening, November 12, a
prayer-meeting of the church, to express
gratitude for the past and renewed conse-
cration for the future.

Concerning the distinguished speakers



XIV INTRO D UCrOR K.

named above, little need be said to explain
the invitation extended to them by Ply-
mouth Church. The wisdom of that invi-
tation is vindicated by the results here
gathered for publication.

Dr. Bradford is a friend of many years, to
Plymouth Church, to Mr. Beecher, and to
Mr. Beecher's successor, and his splendidly
earnest and active church in Montclair con-
tains many emigrants from Plymouth, who
have found themselves in no strange atmos-
phere by reason of their change of residence.
His work and his books have caused him to
be recognized as a representative Christian
pastor, as well as teacher.

Dr. Berry, by virtue of official position
as well as of acknowledged eminence, may
claim to speak for the Congregational
churches of the country where Congrega-
tionalism originated, and therefore to meas-
ure truly and report fairly the progress and
tendency of those bodies. But he is dear
to Plymouth for other reasons. He was
not yet thirty-five years of age when Henry



INTR D UCTOR F. XV

Ward Beecher, deeply impressed with his
eloquence, invited him to visit America,
and preach in Plymouth Church. The invi-
tation was accepted; but Mr. Beecher's
death intervened before the promise given
could be fulfilled. When, after several
months, the young minister came, his per-
sonal magnetism and apostolic fervor found
instant recognition, and he received an
enthusiastic call to the Plymouth pulpit.
This call, which, after due consideration,
he declined, was followed by a widened
sphere of activity and fame in his own
country: and after the lapse of a decade,
Plymouth Church was glad to welcome
again, in the vigor of his prime, him whom
it had loved in his ardent youth. The
urgent requests pressed upon him from
every quarter, during his six weeks' stay in
this country, and the interest excited by
his numerous public addresses during that
period, in New York, Montclair, New
Haven, Boston, Chicago, Washington, etc.,
have confirmed the reputation he had



XVI IN TROD UCTOR V.

already gained among American Chris-
tians.

Dr. Gordon, whose ministrations in the
historic Old South Church of Boston, not
less than his published lectures and essays,
have put him in the forefront among modern
theological thinkers, was preeminently quali-
fied to clothe the old faith in the terms of
the new philosophy.

Dr. Gladden, identified not only with
liberal conceptions of Christian truth, but
yet more with liberal applications of it to
modern social needs, was the fit mouthpiece
for the Divine message, calling the church
of Christ to wider fields and fresh endeavors.
President Tucker was the author of a
notable address delivered some years ago
before the Phi Beta Kappa Association of
Harvard University, and one of the in-
spirers and founders of that ** Andover
House " which is to-day, under a different
name, doing in the city of Boston a prac-
tical work for Christ, and has set the exam-
ple for the similar work carried on by Union



INTRODUCTORY. XVU

Theological Seminary in the city of New
York. These and other services marked
him as a prophet, bearing a word of the
Lord concerning the church of the future.

A simple inspection of this list of orators
and topics will show that the semi-centen-
nial jubilee of Plymouth Church was not
planned to be a glorification of its history,
or of its beloved first pastor, or of his suc-
cessor. Indeed, these causes for pride and
gratitude are so vividly and perpetually
present in the consciousness of its members,
that they do not need to be recalled by
formal celebration. It was deemed a
worthier use of the occasion to devote it
largely to the recognition and declaration of
the ideals toward which the church is striv-
ing in its inner life and outward activities, to
the demonstration of its agreement in this
faith and practice with the working churches
of two continents, to the contemplation of
its own duties, present and future, and to a
solemn self-consecration for yet higher and
more fruitful service.



XVIU INTRODUCTORY,

That this was the fittest commemoration
of Henry Ward Beecher's Hfe and work, no
one familiar with the history of Plymouth
Church for the past ten years can doubt.
It is well known that, at the time of Mr.
Beecher*s death, few persons outside of the
church believed that it could continue to
be what, under the inspiration of his leader-
ship, it had been. Besides those less
friendly observers, who, deeming it but a
heterogeneous assemblage, held together
by the magnetism of one man, prophesied
that it would fall to pieces when his pres-
ence was withdrawn, there were among its
sympathizing friends few, if any, who did
not sorrowfully anticipate at least some
measure of retreat, some diminution of
activity, some loss of power, some partial
surrender of the field of work, perhaps a
necessary change of locality, involving
almost a practical sacrifice of the continuity
and identity of the life of the church. Such
apprehensions were natural enough to those
who did not understand what had been the



INTRO D UCTOR Y. XIX

real result of Henry Ward Beecher's pas-
toral work of forty years. He had recruited
and organized, trained and disciplined and
led an army of Christian soldiers, which did
not dream of retreating or surrendering or
disbanding because its captain had fallen on
the field. The church was neither a crowd,
fascinated by oratory, nor a throng of
friends, held by loving admiration of their
friend, nor a philanthropic society, trying a
benevolent experiment, and dependent upon
advertising and popular support. It was
an organized body of working Christians —
** heterogeneous " indeed, as a church ought
to be, and held together by loyalty to one
person; but that person was the living,
present Lord Jesus Christ. A striking and
conclusive proof of the truth of this propo-
sition is the fact that although, ten years
ago, the surrounding air was laden with pre-
dictions and suggestions of retreat, no word
of that kind was heard from within the
church. In its crowded meetings, no voice
intimated fear of failure. Its animated dis-



XX INTROD UCTOR V.

cussions all terminated in practically unan-
imous decisions. The writer, as chairman
of the Advisory Committee of the church
during this period of its fancied peril, had
ample opportunity to know the temper of
his brethren, and bears joyful testimony to
their unswerving, undaunted, and undivided
enthusiasm of service.

Ten years have proved that this enthusi-
asm was not a flash, but a glow. Plymouth
Church, originally established in a locality
abandoned as unfavorable to such an enter-
prise, still holds its post, finding its warrant
in the work which lies about Its doors.
Some of its members come many miles to
their worship and labors — the average dis-
tance considerably exceeds a mile. Yet
not one of the branches of church-work
established by Mr. Beecher has been dis-
continued ; and new ones have been added
to the list. The social and the spiritual life
of the church are undiminished in vigor;
and it still enjoys abundant comment and
advice from the newspapers, which may be



INTRODUCTORY, ' XXI

taken as evidence that it still exerts an in-
fluence upon the community.

Certainly this survival of a church sup-
posed to be doomed to decline or decay is
a phenomenon worth noting; and it is fair
to presume that the Divine blessing, to
which, above all, success has been due, has
been bestowed upon the continued preach-
ing of what Dr. Berry calls '* the credible
and beautiful gospel " of which Mr. Beecher
was an apostle, upon Christian lives inspired
by that teaching, and upon conceptions and
methods of church-work suited to the con-
ditions and demands of our time.

The services connected with the late
semi-centennial jubilee, taken together, pre-
sented a comprehensive picture of such a
church as Plymouth has been or aims to
become. Perhaps the most characteristic
features of this picture were those which are
not included in the present volume — -the
testimony, the aspiration, the brotherly
love, expressed in the prayer-meetings of
the church itself. Nor should it be inferred



XXll INTROD UCTOR Y.

that the addresses here given constitute a
formal and official programme of this church.
Nevertheless, they do express, with indi-
vidual variety and freedom, the general
standpoint and attitude of Plymouth Church,
present, past, and future. It has stood for
liberty and progress in theological thought ;
for the application of the principles and pre-
cepts of Jesus Christ to social questions as
well as to single lives; and for the right
and duty of the church to employ all meas-
ures and all instruments which can be con-
secrated to the service of God and of
humanity. It has welcomed the light, and
followed its kindly leading. It has tried to
do Christ's work, in Christ's way, in his
name, and with his help. And to this
high calling it now gratefully girds itself
anew.

R. W. Raymond.

Brooklyn, November 27, 1897.



Ube IFlew Puritanism*

LYMAN ABBOTT.



Ube IRew purttantsm/

By LYMAN ABBOTT, D.D.,
Of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, N. Y.

And he gave some, apostles; and some,
prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pas-
tors and teachers ; for the perfecting of the
saints, for the work of the ministry, for the
edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come
in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge
of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the
measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
— Ephesians, iv : ii, 12, 13.

Fifty years ago to-day, in this very
place, though not in this building, Henry
Ward Beecher preached his first sermon in
Brooklyn. That fact suggests the text and



^ Plymouth Church, Sunday morning, May 16, 1897.
Reported by Henry Winans; revised by the author.

25



26 THE NEW PURITANISM.

the theme for this occasion. I am not
going, however, to preach a sermon of
reminiscences, nor to speak to-day to the
older members of Plymouth Church. I am
somewhat doubtful about the value of such
reminiscences, somewhat doubtful about
the value of endeavoring to live over the
past. A generation has grown up who do
not know that past, who do not know out
of what the Church of Christ has come
into its present light and life and liberty,
and who are not, therefore, able to discern
the tendencies of to-day, because they do
not understand the history of yesterday.
It is to this generation I speak this morn-
ing, for the purpose of pointing out to
them, as well as I can within the limits of a
discourse not to be unduly prolonged, what
has been that transition from the old Puri-
tanism to the new Puritanism, in which,
as I think, Mr. Beecher and Plymouth
Church have taken no inconsiderable part.

John Calvin declared that man had lost
his freedom in the Fall; he was no longer



THE NEW PURITANISM. 27

a free moral agent.' Whatever else may
be said respecting Calvinism, it was at least
logical and self-consistent, and the doctrine
of John Calvin, incorporated in the West-
minster Confession of Faith, remains there
to the present day. Jonathan Edwards in
the middle of the last century gave philo-
sophic exposition to the dogmatic declara-
tion of Calvin.' He possessed what Calvin
lacked — a spiritual imagination. He was
philosopher rather than dogmatist. His
argument in his famous treatise on the
Freedom of the Will may be put very
tersely — at least for the purposes of this
morning: Every phenomenon has its cause;
therefore, said Edwards, every volition of
the will must have a cause. The man's
will is controlled, as everything else is con-



* " Man is not possessed of free will for good
works, unless he be assisted by grace, and that
special grace which is bestowed on the elect alone in
regeneration." — Calvin's Instittites, vol. ii. p. 238.

2 The reader who has not time to read Jonathan
Edwards' Works will find a full and sympathetic,
though critical, interpretation of them in Dr. A. V. G,
Allen's Life of Jonathan Edwards,



28 THE NEW PURITANISM.

trolled. He must decide according to the
strongest motive; because if he did not
decide according to the strongest motive,
then he would decide according to a motive
weaker than the stronger, and that is a self-
contradiction. Man therefore has no free-
dom of the will. Freedom — so Jonathan
Edwards argued — consists in power to do
what you will ; it does not consist in power
to will what you will do. The power which
Chrysostom affirmed in the will, to choose
between good and evil, Jonathan Edwards
explicitly and in terms denied. This denial
was the crucial point, the foundation-doc-
trine of the old Puritanism. Man had lost
his freedom; he was no longer able to
choose the right and eschew the wrong; he
could not repent; he could not do virtuous
deeds; he could not accept God's grace; he
could do nothing. But God in his infinite
mercy was pleased to rescue some men from
this state of servitude. He was not pleased
to rescue all ; he was not under any obliga-
tion to rescue any. Man was culpable,



THE NEW PURITANISM. 29

although he could not choose. God was
pleased by a miraculous act of grace to
select some men and take them out of this
bondage, this life of servitude, and put
them into a new life. These men were the
chosen; they were God's elect. The men
whom God had not chosen thus to select
and rescue by a miraculous act of grace were
hopelessly and eternally lost. Man him-
self had no more power to repent and begin
a new life than Lazarus had to come forth
out of his tomb before Christ had said to
him, Lazarus, arise! and no more power to
stay unrepentant, when Christ had called
him to repentance, than Lazarus would
have had to remain in the sleep of death
after Christ had said, Lazarus, come forth !
The grace that summoned men was an irre-
sistible grace. If summoned they could not
help but come, and not one could come
unless so summoned.

In the old Puritanism this was not an
abstract doctrine, held only by metaphy-
sicians and confined to scholastic discussion.



30 THE NEW PURITANISM.

It was embodied in the practical ministry

of the churches in the earlier history of

New England. A simple extract from a

practical sermon by an eminent preacher of

New England of the seventeenth century,

the Rev. Thomas Shepherd, one of the

founders of Harvard College, will illustrate

this. Imagine it preached to-day in the

chapel of that university:

" Oh thou mayest wish and desire to come
out sometime, but canst not put strength to thy
desire, nor indure to doe it. Thou mayest hang
down thy head like a Bulrush for sin, but thou
canst not repent of sin; thou mayest presume^
but thou canst not beleeve; thou mayest come
half way, and forsake some sins, but not all
sins ; thou mayest come & knock at heaven
gate, as the foolish virgins did, but not enter in
and passe through the gate; thou mayest see
the land of Canaan^ & take much pain to goe
into Canaan^ and mayest tast of the bunches of
Grapes of that good land, but never enter into
Canaan, into Heaven, but thou liest bound hand
and foot in this woful estate, and here thou
must lie and rot like a dead carkasse in his
grave, untill the Lord come and rowle away the
stone, and bid thee come out and live." *

' Quoted in Some Aspects of the Religious Life of
New England, by George Leon Walker, D.D., p. 23.



THE NEW PURITANISM. 3^

This doctrine is no longer preached in
our churches; but it is still preserved in
some of our creeds. Its philosophy is em-
bodied in that Westminster Confession of
Faith, which we might all be glad to recog-
nize as an honest and able attempt in the
seventeenth century to systematize religious
philosophy, but which we must declare to
be heresy when men still demand adhesion
to it as the best embodiment possible in our
times, of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is what the Westminster Confession of
Faith declares on this subject, — that Con-
fession of Faith which is accepted for sub-
stance of doctrine by a very considerable
proportion of the religious teachers of this
country, and is even exalted to be a stand-
ard of faith by some Congregational min-
isters :

" Works done by unregenerate men, although
for the matter of them they may be things which
God commands, and of good use both to them-
selves and others; yet because they proceed not
from a heart purified by faith, nor are done in a
right manner, according to the Word, nor to a



32 THE NEW PURITANISM.

right end, the glory of God; they are therefore
sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man
meet to receive grace from God. And yet their
neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing
unto God." *


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