Samuel M. (Samuel Mosheim) Smucker.

History of all religions; containing a statement of the origin, development, doctrines, forms of worship and government of all the religious denominations in the world online

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lived till she embarked for America. She herself was a
cutter of hatter's fur, and had five brothers and two sis
ters. She was married to Abraham Standley, a black
smith, and had four children, who died in their infancy.

In 1758, this singular woman joined the society under
Wardley, and became a distinguished leader amongst

When therefore Anne, who, by her perfect obedience,
had attained to all that was made manifest in the leading
characters of the society, still, however, found in herself
the seed or remains of human depravity and a lack of the
divine nature, which is eternal life abiding in the soul, she
did not rest satisfied in that state, but labored in contin-
ual watch ings and fastings, and in tears arid incessant
cries to God, day and night, for deliverance. And under
the most severe tribulation, and violent temptations, a?
great as she was able to resist and endure, such was, fre
cjuently, her extreme agony of soul, that she would clinch
her hands together, till the blood would flow through the
pores of her skin !

By such deep mortification and suffering, her flesh
wasted away, and she became like a skeleton, wholly in-
capable of helping herself, and was fed and nourished like
an infant, although naturally free from bodily infirmities,
and a person of strong and sound constitution, and invin-
cible fortitude of mind.

And from the light and power of God, which attended
her ministry, and the certain power of salvation transmit-
ted to those who received her testimony, she was T&-


ceived and acknowledged as the first Mother, or spiritual
parent in the line of the female, and the second heir in
the covenant of life, according to the present display of
the gospel. Hence among believers, she hath been dis-
tinguished by no other name or title than that of -Mother,
from that period to the present day. To such as addressed
her with the customary titles used by the world, she would
reply, 'I am Anne the Word;' signifying that in her
dwelt the Word"

In 1774, Anne Lee, with some of her followers, having
been thought mad, and sorely persecuted, settled their
temporal affairs in England, and set sail from Liverpool
for New York. James Wardley and his wife, remaining
behind, were removed into an almshouse, and there died.

The others, we are told, " being without lead or protec-
tion, lost their power, and fell into the common course and
practice of the world !" Anne Lee and their brethren
reached New York, after working a kind of miracle, for
the ship sprang a leak on the voyage, and it is more than
hinted that had it not been for their exertions at the pump,
the vessel would have gone down to the bottom of the
ocean. They fixed their residence at Niskyuna, now
Watervliet, near the city of Albany. In this retired spot,
they greatly multiplied, but Anne was not without bitter
reproaches and manifold persecutions. She and the elders
would delight in missionary journeys being out for two
or three years, and returning with wonderful accounts of
their success.

The decease of Elder William served as a particular
means of preparing the minds of believers for a still
heavier trial, in being deprived of the visible presence and
protection of Anne the thought of which seemed almost
insupportable to many. But having finished the work
which was given her to do, she was taken out of their
eight in the ordinary way of all living, at Watervliet, en
the 8tt day of the ninth month, 1784.

Thus in the early dawn of the American Revolution,
when the rights of conscience began to be established,


the morning star of Christ's second coming, disappeared
from the view of the world, to be succeeded by the in-
creasing brightness of the Sun of righteousness and all
the promised glory of the latter day.

And thus the full revelation of Christ, in its first de-
gree, was completed ; which was according to that re-
markable prophecy of Christopher Love, who was be-
headed under Cromwell "Out of thee, England! shall
a bright star arise, whose light and voice shall make the
hea t vens to quake, and knock under with submission to the
blessed Jesus."

The most remarkable tenet of the Shakers is the abo-
lition of marriage and indeed the total separation of the
sexes. The essence of their argument is, that the Resur-
rection spoken of in the New Testament means nothing
more than conversion ; our Saviour declares that in the
resurrection they neither marry nor are given in mar-
riage, therefore on conversion, or the resurrection of the
individual, marriage ceases. To speak more plainly, the
single must continue single and the married must separ-
ate. Every passage in the Gospel and in the epistles is
interpreted according to this hypothesis.

Whatever degree of indulgence, say they, was ex-
tended to some among the gentile nations, who professed
faith in Christ, because they were not able to bear the
whole truth ; yet the truth did not conceal the pointed
distinction which Christ made between his own true fol-
lowers, and the children of this world.

"But I would have you without carefulness," saith the
apostle ; " He that is unmarried careth for the things that
belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord : ( his
noblest and principal affections are there.) But he that ia
married careth for the things that are of the world, how
he may please his wife." The Avife is put m the place cf
the Lord, as the first object of his affections.

The unmarried woman careth for the things of the
Lord, ( upon whom she places her affections,) that she may
be holy both in body and spirit ; but she that is married


careth for the things of the world, how she may please her
husband, instead of the Lord.

The same pointed distinction is made by Christ; not
only when he says of his disciples, " They are not of the
world, even as I am not of the world," but when in answer-
ing the Sadducees, who denied and knew not that he was
the Resurrection, he says, " The children of this world
marry, and are given in marriage ; but they which shall
be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resur-
rection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in
marriage." Neither can they die any more (spiritually),
for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children
of God, being the children of the resurrection.

An idea of the notions of the Shakers in regard to their
founder may be formed from the following passages : In
the fulness of time, according to the unchangeable purpose
of God, that same Spirit and word of power, which created
man at the beginning which spake by the prophets
which dwelt in the man Jesus which was given to the
apostles and true witnesses, as the Holy Spirit and Word
of promise, which groaned in them waiting for the day of
redemption and which was spoken of in the language of
prophecy as a woman travailing with child, and pained to
be delivered, was revealed in a woman.

And that woman, in whom Avas manifested the Spirit
and Word of power, who was anointed and chosen of God,
to reveal the mystery of iniquity, to stand as the first in
order, to accomplish the purpose of God, in the restoration
of that which was lost by the transgression of the first wo-
man, and to finish the work of man's final redemption,
vras Anne Lee.

As the chosen vessel, appointed by divine Wisdom,
she, by her faithful obedience to that same anointing,
became the temple of the Holy Ghost, and the second heir
with Jesus, her Lord and Head, in the covenant and prom-
ise of eternal life. And by her sufferings and travail for
a lost world, and her union and subjection to Christ Jesus,
her Lord and Head, she became the first-born of many


sisters, and the true Mother of all living in the new crea-

Thus the perfection of the translation of God in this
latter day, excels particularly, in that which respects the
most glorious part in the creation of man, namely, the
woman. And herein is the most condescending goodness
and mercy of God displayed, not only in redeeming that
most amiable part of creation from the curse, and all the
sorrows of the fall, but also in condescending to the lowest
estate of the loss of mankind.

The four leading peculiarities of the Shakers are : first,
community of property ; secondly, the celibacy of the en-
tire body, in both sexes ; thirdly, the non-existence of any
priesthood ; and, fourthly, the use of the dance in their
religious worship. All these they defend on Scriptural
authority, and quote very largely from the writings of the
Old and New Testaments in confirmation of their views.
The following are their rules for the admission of mem-
bers :

1. All persons who unite with the society must do it
voluntarily and of their own free will.

2. No one is permitted to do so without a full and
clear understanding of all its obligations.

3. No considerations of property are ever made use
of to induce persons to join or to leave the society ; be-
cause it is a principle of the sect, 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 re*
ceived 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 Avould
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 at years of understanding suffi-
cient to judge for themselves, and who choose to go with
their mother, they are not to be disinherited on that ac-
count. 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.

As all persons enter this society voluntarily, so they
may voluntarily withdraw ; but, while they remain mem-
bers, they are required to obey the regulations of the so-

The leading authority of the society is vested in a min-
istry, generally consisting of four persons, including both
sexes. These, together with the elders and trustees, con-
stitute the general government of the society in all ita

No creed is framed to restrain the progress of impror^.
ment. It is the faith of the society that the operations of


Divine light are unlimited. AW are at liberty to improve
rheir talent* and exercise their gifts, the younger being
subject to the elder.

In the beginning of the year 1780 the society consisted
of but about ten or twelve persons, all of whom came from
England. From this time there was a gradual and ex-
tensive increase in their numbers until the year 1787,
when they began to collect at New-Lebanon. Here tho
Church was established, as a common centre of union for
all who belonged to the society in various parts of the
country. This still remains as the mother church, being
the first that was established ; all the societies in various
parts of the country are considered branches of this ; and
there are now twenty separate communities, numbering
about 4000 members.

In Ohio there are two societies, one at Union Village,
in the county of Warren, 30 miles northeast from Cincin-
nati, which contains nearly 600 members ; and one at
Beaver Creek, in the county of Montgomery, six miles
southeast from Dayton, which contains 100 members. In
Kentucky there are also two societies, one at Pleasant
Hill, in Mercer county, 21 miles southwest of Lexington,
containing nearly 500 members; the other at South
Union, Jasper Springs, in Logan county, 15 miles north-
east from Hussellville, which contains nearly 400 mem-
bers. In Indiana there is one society, at West Union,
Knox county, 16 miles above Vincennes, which contains
more than 200 members.

"The Shakers," says one of their visitors, "are, in
their religious notions, a compound of almost all the other
sects. They are a kind of religious eclectics, with this
commendable trait, that they are enemies to every sort of
coercion in matters of religion. They have chosen what
appeared to them to be good out of every denomination.
The Shakers unite with the Quakers in an entire submis-
sion to the Spirit, and in the rejection of baptism and the
Lord's Supper with the Calvinists an I Methodists iii
laying great stress on conversion witn the Anniniaiu


in rejecting election and reprobation, as well as the impu
tation of Adam's guilt to his posterity with the Unita-
rians in exploding a Trinity of three persons in one God.
together with the satisfaction of Christ with the Roman
Catholics in contending for the continuation of miracles
in the church with the Sandemanians in practicing a sort
of community of goods, and having no person regularly
educated for the ministry with the followers of Joanna
Southcott, in believing that a woman is the instrument to
bring on the glory of the latter day with the Moravians
arid Methodists in encouraging missi mary undertakings -
with the Swedenborgians in denying the resurrection of
the body, and asserting that the day of judgment is past -
with the Jumpers in dancing and shouting during divine
worship ; and lastly, with the Universalists in renouncing
the eternity of hell torments. To all this, they have
added a tenet hitherto unthought of by any body of Chris-
tians. The Catholics indeed led the way in enjoining the
celibacy of the clergy, and in the institution of monachism.
It was left to the Shakers to enjoin celibacy as one of
their religious exercises."

As far as the history of the Shakers can establish the
fact, it has certainly shown that, where property is held in
community, and not individually, the disposition to bestow
it in works of charity and benevolence to others is greatly
increased. And that the property itself is better managed
for accumulation and preservation, no one can doubt who
has watched the progressive advancement which this so-
ciety has made in the augmentation, as well as improve-
ment, of its possessions, and in the neatness, order, arid
perfection by which everything they do or make is char-
acterized : this is so much the case, that over all the Uni-
ted States, the seeds, plants, fruits, grain, cattle, and man-
ufactures fui nished by any settlement of Shakers, bear a
premium in tt. > market above the ordinary price cf similar
articles from o.her establishments. There being no idle-
ness among theu, all are productive. There being no in-
temperance amoL them, none are destructive There


being no misers among them, nothing is hoarded, or made
to perish for want of use ; so that while production and im-
provement are at their maximum, and waste and destruc-
tion at their minimum, the society must go on increasing
the extent and value of its temporal possessions, and thus
increase its means of doing good, first within, and then
beyond its own circle.

The most remarkable religious ceremony among the
Shakers is that of dancing. The following account, from
Buckingham's Travels in America, appears to be a wholly
unprejudiced one:

" The males were first arranged in pairs, following each
other like troops in a line of march ; and when their num-
ber was completed, the females followed after, two and
two, in the same manner. In this way they formed a
complete circle round the open space of the room. In the
centre of the whole was a small band of about half a
dozen males and half a dozen females, who were there
stationed to sing the tunes and mark the time ; and these
began to sing with a loud voice and in quick time, like
the allegro of a sonata, or the vivace of a canzonet, the
following verse :

' Perpetual blessings to demand,
Perpetual praise on every hand ;
Tlieu leap for joy, with dauce and song,
To praise the Lord forever.'

" The motion of the double line of worshippers, as they
filed off before us, was something between a march and a
dance. Their bodies were inclined forward like those of
persons in the act of running ; they kept the most perfect
time with their feet, and beat the air with their hands to
the same measure. Some of the more robust and enthu-
siastic literally 'leaped' so high as to shake the room by
the weight with which they fell to their feet on the floor ;
and others, though taking the matter more moderately,'
bore evident signs of the effects of the exercise and heat
unite 1 on their persons. The first dance lasted about five


minutes, and was performed to the air of ' Scots whn IIH'C
vvi' Wallace bled,' sung with great rapidity. The second
dance was of still quicker measure, and to the much less
respectable old English tune of 'Nancy Dawson,' and to
this lively and merry tune the whole body, now formed
into three abreast instead of two, literally scampered round
the room in a quick gallopade, every individual of both
the choir and the dancers singing with all their might
these words :

' Press on, press on, ye chosen band,

The angels go before ye ;
We're marching through Immanuel's land,
Where saints shall sing in glory.'

" This exercise was continued for at least double the
time of the former, and by it the worshipers were wrought
up to such a pitch of fervor, that they were evidently on
the point of some violent outbreak or paroxysm. Accord-
ingly, the whole assembly soon got into the ' most admired
disorder,' each dancing to his own tune and his own mea-
sure, and the females became perfectly ungovernable.
About half a dozen of these whirled themselves round in
what opera dancers call a pirouette, performing at least
fifty revolutions each, with their arms extended horizon-
tally, their clothes being blown out like an air-balloon all
round their persons, their heads sometimes falling on one
side, and sometimes hanging forward on the bosom, till
they would at length faint away in hysterical convulsions,
and be caught in the arms of the surrounding dancers.

" This, too, like the singing and dancing which pre-
ceded it, was accompanied by clapping of hands to mark
the time, while the same verse was constantly repeated,
and at every repetition with increased rapidity. Altogether
the scene was one of the most extraordinary I had ever
witnessed, and, except among the howling dervishes of
Bagdad, and the whirling dervishes of Damascus, I re
member nothing in the remotest degree resembling it."

The Shakers vindicate this singular ceremony by quota-
tions from the Bible. " The exercise of dancing, in the


worship of God," say they, " was brought to light not aa
an exercise of human invention, instituted by human au-
thority, but as a manifestation of the will of God, through
the special operations of his Divine power. No reader of
the Scriptures can doubt but that dancing was acceptable
to God as an exercise of religious worship in times past,
and will be in time to come, according to the prediction oi
the prophet :

" ' Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built,
virgin of Israel ! thou shalt again be adorned with thy
tablets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that
make merry. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance,
both young men and old together. Turn again, virgin
of Israel ! turn again to these thy cities.'*

" God requires the faithful improvement of every created
talent. ' clap your hands, all ye people ; shout unto
God with the voice of triumph. Sing unto the Lord a
new song ; sing his praise in the congregation of the saints
Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King ; let theiij
praise his name in the dance.'

" These expressions of the inspired Psalmist are worthy
of serious consideration. Do they not evidently imply
that the Divine Spirit which dictated them requires the
devotion of all our faculties in the service of God ? How,
then, can any people professing religion expect to find ac-
ceptance with God by the service of the tongue only ?

" Since we are blessed with hands and feet, those active
and useful members of the body on which we mostly de-
pend in our own service, shall we not acknowledge our
obligations to God who gave them by exercising them in
our devotions to him ? There is too powerful a connec-
tion between the body and the mind, and too strong an
influence of the mind upon the body, to admit of much ac-
tivity of mind in the service of God without the co-opera-
ting exercises of the body. But where the heart is sin-

* Jeremiah, o. 31, v. 4, 13, 21.


ecrely and fervently engaged in the service of God, it has
a tendency to produce an active influence on the body."

" From every inquiry I could make," says Mr. Bucking-
ham, " of those longest resident in the neighborhood of
the Shakers, I could learn no authenticated case of evil
practices among them. On the contrary, every one ap-
peared ready to bear testimony to their honesty, punctu-
ality, industry, sobriety, and chastity."


THIS sect is called after the Rev. Samuel Hopkins, D. I).,
pastor of a Church at Newport ; who in his sermons and
tracts, has made several additions to the sentiments first
advanced by the celebrated Jonathan Edwards, President
of New Jersey College.*

The following is a summary of the distinguishing tenets
of this denomination, together with a few of the reasons
which they employ to support their sentiments :

I. That all true virtue, or real holiness, consists in dis-
interested benevolen-ce.

The object of benevolence is universal Being, including
God, and all intelligent creatures. It wishes and seeks
the good of every individual, so far as is consistent with
the greatest good of the whole, which is comprised in the
glory of God, and the perfection and happiness of his

The law of God is the standard of all moral rectitude,
or holiness. This is reduced into love to God, and our
neighbor as ourselves ; and universal good-will compre-
hends all the love to God, our neighbor, and ourselves, re-
quired in the divine law; and therefore must be the
whole of holy obedience. Let any serious person think

* This denomination supposes, that this eminent divine not only illus-
'rated and confirmed the main doctrines of Calvinism, but brought the
whole system to a greater degree of consistency and perfection, than
%ny who had gone before Mm. They profess only to pursue the samt
iesign of gtilj further perfecting the same system.


are the particular branches of true piety ; when ha
has viewed each one by itself, he will find, that disinter-
ested, friendly affection is its distinguishing characteristic.
For instance, all the holiness in pious fear, which distin-
guishes it from the fear of the wicked, consists in love.
Again, holy gratitude is nothing but good will to God and
our neighbour, in which we ourselves are included, and
correspondent affection excited by a view of the good will
and kindness of God.

Universal good will also implies the whole of the duty
we owe to our neighbor. For justice, truth, and faithful-
ness, are comprised in universal benevolence. So are
temperance and chastity. For an undue indulgence of

Online LibrarySamuel M. (Samuel Mosheim) SmuckerHistory of all religions; containing a statement of the origin, development, doctrines, forms of worship and government of all the religious denominations in the world → online text (page 19 of 29)