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What, then, is it that divides them? Slavery divided the Northern and Southern, the race question the two Cumberland bodies; one branch is Welsh, and the rest are kept apart by minute variations. They have close points of agreement, but they differ on questions that seem to others utterly insignificant. We may sum up
the causes of division under four heads : (1) controversies over doctrine; (2) controversies over administration or discipline; (3) controversies over moral questions; (4) controversies of a personal character.
We are a nation made up of diverse race-elements. All varieties of speech, habits of thought, mental, moral, and religious training are represented among us by the older and the newer, the European and the Asiatic, immigration. Here there is the utmost freedom for all forms of religion, with no exclusive favors to any. We must expect, from such a commingling, currents, counter-currents, and eddies of religious thought. Different systems of doctrine, different forms of worship, and different principles of discipline are brought into contact, and each has its influence upon the others. Calvinism affects Arminianism, and Arminianism Calvinism. The Teutonic element modifies the English and is modified by it in turn. Catholicism has been most profoundly affected by Protestantism, and some elements of Protestantism by Catholicism. Thus there are various forces acting upon religion in the United States, and producing phenomena in our religious life which the future historian will study with great interest.
Without attempting to consider with any degree of thoroughness the tendencies manifested in the history of religion in the United States, I must refer to that toward liberal views. Most denominations have become much more liberal in spirit than they used to be. It was the growth of this liberal spirit which caused many of the divisions of the past sixty or seventy years.
Let me give a single illustration of the tendency. A band of Dunkards came across the sea from Germany to Pennsylvania in 1719. They were a very simple people, interpreting the Bible literally, fashioning their outward as well as their spiritual lives by it, and believing they were called by God to be a peculiar and exclusive people. More unworldly men and women never inhabited cloister. They were in the world but not a part of the world. They thought it a virtue to resist its customs and ignore its fashions. In the character and cut of their garments, in the manner of wearing their hair, in the way they ordered their homes and their daily life, they were separate and peculiar. They adopted stringent rules of discipline to prevent the trimming of the beard, the wearing of hats instead of bonnets, the laying of carpets, the use of pianos, and similar acts, in order to keep themselves pure and unspotted from the world and maintain their simplicity of life and faith.
For many years the influences of the world seemed to have no effect upon them; but gradually innovations crept into their habits, their discipline was insensibly relaxed, and the questions sent up to their annual meeting grew more numerous and perplexing, and differences of opinion became quite common. One year this question was presented, among others : “How is it considered for Brethren to establish or patronize a high-school ?" After canvassing the Bible carefully for light, the following answer was returned: “Considered that Brethren should mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate." Nevertheless the high-school was established, and has since developed into a college. The Dunkards within a decade have split into three bodies. Association with others inevitably changed the views and habits of a number of them, and led to innovations. These innovations were resisted by the more conservative, and
division, where full toleration was not possible, was the inevitable result. Consequently, the body that had persisted for a century and a half as an unworldly, harmonious, and united communion, was divided into three branches, a Progressive, a Conservative, and an Old Order branch.
Conservative and liberal tendencies appear in all organizations with which men have to do. They are manifested in all churches, When circumstances accentuate them, only broad toleration and strong interests in common can prevent division.
ANALYSIS OF RELIGIOUS FORCES OF THE UNITED
The statistical results given in this volume, more thoroughly and exhaustively than ever before, show that the religious forces of the United States are almost entirely Christian. The number of organizations and members belonging to other than Christian bodies is a very small fraction of the whole, over one, but less than two, per cent. Among the non-Christian denominations we count the Orthodox and Reformed Jews, the Society for Ethical Culture, the Chinese Buddhists, the Theosophists, the New Icarians, and the Altruists. (The pagan Indians are not included in the census, and no account is made of them here.) Those bodies are all insignificant, except the Jews, and are hardly sufficient in number to constitute a class. Including the Jews, there are 626 organizations and 132,301 members who are non-Christian. I assume that the Latter-Day Saints and the Spiritualists, whatever may be thought of certain features of their systems of religion, are as bodies properly classed as Christian. The Latter-Day Saints make much of the name of Christ, at least, embracing it in the title of both of their branches.
The nonChristian bodies which, excepting the Jewish, are not growing, but rather decreasing, need not further engage our special consideration.
The aggregates by which the forces of religion are represented are very large. There are, in the first place, 111,036 ministers. This number represents chiefly those who are in the active service as preachers, pastors, and missionaries. The percentage of those who, though retaining their ecclesiastical standing as ministers, have ceased to perform its duties cannot be large. On the other hand, it should be observed that the very numerous body of men known to Methodism as local preachers, some of whom are ordained, are not counted; nor are any returns given for those who exercise the functions of the ministry in bodies like the Plymouth Brethren, the Christadelphians, the Shakers, and similar societies. The ministry is not an order or an office among the Plymouth Brethren; but any believer who feels called to preach is given the opportunity to manifest his gifts. They have, therefore, no roll of ministers to be reported. The vast majority of the 111,036 ministers give their whole time to their ministerial work, and are supported by the churches they serve.
The number of organizations, or church societies, or congregations, is 165,297. This covers not only all self-supporting churches, charges, or parishes, but also missions, chapels, and stations where public worship is maintained once a month, or oftener. Many of these places are supported by home mission societies or neighboring churches. It appears that upward of 23,000 organizations own no church edifices, but meet in halls, schoolhouses, or private houses.
It would be interesting to know how many meetings are held by all denominations in the course of a year.
Catholic parishes, five or six services of the mass, in a few cases even more, are provided every Sunday. In most Protestant churches there are two services on Sunday, besides the week-night prayer-meeting, and special evangelistic gatherings. In sparsely settled sections of the South and West, bi-monthly or monthly services are the rule. Besides the rented places, there are more than 142,000 Christian church edifices opened periodically to the general public. If monthly meetings only were held in these churches, there would be a grand total of 1,711,200 every year. But as a rule three services are held weekly, not including the Sunday-school. Probably the actual number of Sunday and week-night services, to say nothing about Sunday-school sessions, is between 15,000,000 and 20,000,000 a year, with 10,000,000 sermons. Those who would get some idea of the activity of the churches in publishing the good tidings and propagating the principles of religion must consider the tremendous significance of this conservative estimate.
The accommodations afforded to Christian worshipers by the 142,000 church edifices aggregate 43,000,000 and apward. That is, more than 43,000,000 people could find sittings at one time in the churches, to say nothing of other places where divine service is held. The question has been raised whether, if everybody wanted to go to church once a week, the churches could contain them. It is to be said, in the first place, that not all the inhabitants of any community could attend service at any particular hour or on any particular day. Infants, the infirm, the sick, and those who wait upon them must remain at home, and it is doubtful, under the most favorable circumstances, whether more than two thirds of the population of any community of a thousand or more could be free to attend any one service. The churches alone, it appears, furnish