« FöregåendeFortsätt »
but little in Connecticut. Mr. Murray, in his journeys from New York to Boston, had delivered his message in several towns. Mr. Winchester had labored in Hartford, where he died in 1797. There were a few believers in Thompson and Woodstock; others, further down in Preston and Norwich, and others in Wallingford, west of the river. Of the great State of New York, how little could be said at this time in connexion with our subject! There was a society in the city of New York, and what else can we say? The doctrine had not extended into the western parts of the State. In the section adjoining Bennington county in Vermont, there were some individuals professing it, and it had been preached there, but it is questionable whether a society had been formed. In the reinote state of North Carolina, there were two or three individuals who had openly borne witness in favor of Universalism; but their labors do not seem to have produced a wide effect. In 1792, there was in the city of Baltimore a person regarded as a Universalist preacher. Whether he preached at all in the city, we know not; though it is certain, that he ventured a small tract on the subject. This, finding its way into the interior of Pennsylvania, was translated by certain persons into German, and gave rise to a printed controversy in Hanover, then called Mc Allister's town, in York county, between a Lutheran clergyman on one side, and two laymen on the other. This, we believe, is a faithful represen tation of the number of the clergy, and of the extent to which Universalism had prevailed in the United States at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Several works on the subject had appeared before this time. As early as 1753, there had been issued at Germantown, Pa. an edition of Siegvolk's Everlasting Gospel; the first book on Universalism ever published in America. The Dunkers, in that place, originally held the doctrine of the Restoration. Next came Mr. Winchester's famous sermon at Philadelphia, in 1781, entitled 'The seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head.' In 1782 a pamphlet appeared in Boston in vindications of Universalism, supposed to have been written by Dr. Chauncy; and in 1784 came out his large work on Universalism, which although it was not printed in this country, was printed for it, and deserves therefore to be noticed here. A pamphlet appeared in 1785 at Gloucester, Mass., entitled an Appeal to the Public,' in defence of the Universalists in that
town. In 1787 a book of 300 pages, bearing the title, 'The Universalist,' was published by Dr. Wm. Pitt Smith, of the city of New York. Dr. Joseph Young, of the same place, sent out, in 1793, a work in defence of Universalism, entitled Calvinism and Universalism contrasted.' In 1794 an edition of Petitpierre on Divine Goodness was published in Hartford, Con., by whom we know not; and in 1796 came out at New London, in the same State, Huntington's famous work, called 'Calvinism Improved.' We ought perhaps to mention in this place the annual circular of the General Convention,' the only Universalist periodical which had at this time been published. This list embraces, we presume, the principal if not all the works on Universalism, which had appeared in the United States previously to the year 1800. Of these, it will be seen, that two were republications of European works; one, Calvinism Improved,' was a posthumous work, whose author never belonged to the denomination of Universalists; and whether the celebrated physicians Drs. Young and Smith were members of the Universalist Society in New York, is out of our power to say.
Such was the condition of Universalism in the United States, at the time of which we have spoken. It will appear, upon comparison, that there were then about the same number of preachers in the whole country, that there now are in the State of Maine. Scattered over a great extent of territory, their influence was the more feeble. They were obliged to travel almost continually to visit the distant societies to whom they ministered, and it is presumed they seldom saw one another. The General Convention was the nucleus in which they centered: they met at its annual sessions; they recited their successes and reverses during the past year; they had an opportunity of hearing each other's gifts in preaching and in prayer; and thus the union between them was strengthened, and the form and character of the denomination preserved. At the present time the number of preachers in the United States is about three hundred, more than half of whom have been added within the last fifteen years. Of societies, there are more than double that number. No means in our possession enable us to be exact on the point; but the calculations which have been made by the Universalist editors in the several States, justify us in reckoning upwards of seven hundred socie
ties. The General Convention was, in 1799, the only association of the clergy. At present there are seven Conventions, and twenty-seven Associations. The first Universalist newspaper in the United States was commenced in Boston, July 3, 1819. It was published weekly, on a half sheet, at $2,50 per annum, and its average number of subscribers was not far from one thousand. At the present time, twelve years and a half from the commencement of the original paper, there are upwards of twenty Universalist periodicals, two of which alone issue more than ten times the number that were issued in 1819; and the whole of which send out between 25,000 and 30,000 copies. The greater part of these journals are weekly, so that it may be safely calculated that upwards of twenty thousand copies are distributed every week. Within the last six years a far greater number of Universalist books have appeared than had ever been published in the United States. before. To say nothing of sermons and tracts, which have been poured out from the press in almost incalculable numbers, we may mention the Histories of Universalisın, Ancient and Modern; Rev. W. Balfour's Works; the works of Rev. Hosea Ballou ; Smith on Divine Government; Winchester's Dialogues; Murray's Life; Whittemore's Notes and Illustrations of the Parables; Skinner's Essays on the Coming of Christ, and Morse's Six Sermons in reply to Parker. These are the principal doctrinal works which have appeared from the Universalist press; to which may be added large and frequent editions of Universalist Hymn Books. The Restorationists, a class who have separated from the Universalists, have published Hudson's Letters to Rev. Hosea Ballou; Reply to Balfour's Essays, by the same author; Pickering's Lectures in defence of Divine Revelation, and recently, a volume of sermons by Rev. Paul Dean.
The subject of literary institutions has received no small
The principal works of Mr. Balfour are, his Inquiry into the signification of the words Sheol, Hades, Tartarus and Gehenna; Second Inquiry, being an examination of the words rendered devil, satan, judgment, damnation, everlasting, &c.; Essays on the Intermediate State of the Dead; and his Letters to Hudson. The first has been the most read, and has had three editions.
7 Mr. Ballou's works are, Treatise on Atonement; Notes on the Parables; Lecture Sermons, a course of twenty-six sermons, delivered on alternate Sunday evenings, from July 1818, to July 1819; Select Sermons, delivered on different occasions; and Sermons on Important Doctrinal Subjects, being eleven sermons, originally published in Philadelphia.
share of attention from the Universalist denomination. Almost all the colleges, theological institutions and academies in the country, are under the control of their opponents, who manage them constantly to advance the purposes of sectarism. As this is indisputably true, some attempts have been made to establish seminaries that shall be free from such an influence. In New York, the Liberal Institute' has been founded. It is placed at Clinton, as being near the geographical centre of the State. It has been established by the contributions of the Universalists in that State, and is designed to be purely of a scientific character, as theology can never become a branch of instruction, nor the peculiar doctrines of any sect be inculcated. One building is already opened for females, and another is finished, and about ready for the reception of males. We look with some interest to see what effect this will have on the character of the clergy that shall in future arise in the denomination in that State, and whether it is designed as an auxiliary in the establishment of an efficient gospel ministry. An institution, called the Westbrook Seminary,' from the town in which it is located, has been established in Maine. It is designed for the education of young men to the various professions and pursuits of manhood, free from all religious bias and prejudice, and under the influence of such opinions as each one shall imbibe for himself. It has received an act of incorporation, and also a grant of one thousand dollars, from the legislature of that State; and contributions have been made by individuals towards the important purpose of erecting the necessary buildings. In June last, the same subject engaged the attention of the Western Union Association of Universalists in Ohio. An agent, possessing a rare combination of zeal and prudence, was appointed to solicit subscriptions, and fix on the location, having respect to the donations and other local advantages, in selecting a site. A considerable quantity of land having been given to the institution in Mechanicsburg, Indiana, it was determined to establish the seminary there. A board of trustees has been appointed; building lots have been laid out and sold to the amount of upwards of two thousand dollars; the name of the
8 This building is of stone, 96 by 52 feet, four stories in height exclusive of the basement, and is surmounted by a cupola. It contains forty-four rooms for two students each, three rooms for apparatus, and a spacious lecture and library room, 48 by 26 feet.
town has been altered to Philomath; and an act of incorporation for the institution has been petitioned for. This good beginning, we trust, will eventuate in a substantial benefit to the cause of Universalism in the western States.
The ministry of the Universalist denomination hitherto has been provided for, not so much by the means of schools, as by the unaided but irresistible influence of the gospel of Christ. This has furnished the denomination with its most successful preachers. It has turned them from other sects and doctrines, and brought them out from forests and fields, and from secular pursuits of almost every kind, and driven them, with inadequate literary preparation, to the work of disseminating the truth. This state of things has been unavoidable, and the effect of it is visible. It has made the ministry of the Universalist denomination very different from that of any other sect in the country-studious of the Scriptures, confident in the truth of their distinguishing doctrine, zealous, firm, industrious-depending more on the truths communicated for their success, than on the manner in which they were stated. It has had the effect too to give the ministry a polemic character,-the natural result of unwavering faith in the doctrine believed, and of an introduction into the desk without scholastic training. But the attention of the denomination in various parts of the country has of late been turned to the education of the ministry; and Conventions and Associations have adopted resolves, requiring candidates to pass examinations in certain branches of literature. The same motives have governed many in their effort to establish literary and theological institutions. The desire to have the ministry respectable for literary acquirements, is universal. It must be confessed, however, there is some danger that in running from one extreme we shall reach another. We ought to guard against a pedantic, effeminate, fastidious ministry. Clergymen too delicate for any service but to write and utter beautiful sentences, to repeat fine-wrought and well learned prayers, and assume beautiful attitudes in the pulpit, are a curse to the church. The great duty of a clergyman is to preach the truth; and nothing should be considered a necessary study for him, but that which will assist him in the discharge of this duty. Universalists, therefore, should be careful to preserve the original characteristics of their ministry so far as they have been beneficial; to alter in things in which they are clearly susceptible of im