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same liberty be safely admitted in in- this was not delayed, as in after times, dividual churches, or more properly till as catechumens they had been does it belong equally to local church thoroughing instructed in all doctrinal relations ? We answer, all that has matters, Their opinions, therefore,

bebeen proved of it with reference to the ing unforřed on minor doctrines, there church universal applies equally to in- would be a liability to difference. dividual churches, as we shall see by The great object and business of examining briefly, in the third place: churches still further implies this lib

III. The Nature of a Christian erty. This is primarily as is set forth Church as set forth in the New Testa- in the Great Commission and elsewhere, ment.

the cultivation of Christian character, A church of Christ is not there rep- the promotion of knowledge and holiresented as a close corporation, with ness among men, first by their converpower to elect its own members, or sion and secondly by their instruction prescribe its own terms of admission, in righteousness. “And he gave some nor indeed as a voluntary human asso- apostles, and some prophets, and some ciation, with power to make its own evangelists, and some pastors and laws and rules. It is supposed to be a teachers, for the perfecting of the Divine institution, organized under a saints, for the work of the ministry, for Divine constitution and laws, and com- the edifying of the body of Christ.” posed of members already elected by The promotion of doctrinal harmony is Christ himself. True, its mode of or- only a means to an end, and that end ganization, its number of officers, and Christian character; while that harthe manner of their election are not mony itself will most surely be atspecified, but the classes of its officers, tained, not by narrow and exclusive and their respective duties are, and so standards of belief, but a wise encouralso are its terms of admission. These agement to freedom of thought and being prescribed by the Holy Spirit inquiry. The harmony and peace of make it a Divine institution, nor do an unthinking church, all bound to these in any wise exclude liberty of certain dogmas, is not the unity of the opinion in the matters mentioned. See spirit contemplated in the gospel, but Matt. xxviii. 19; also, Acts ii. 28. The the unity and peace of the cemetery. only question submitted to the churches The brief allusions to church discipline or their ministers, appears to have been in the epistles of St. Paul, the occasion a question of fact. Are they elected and grounds of it, still further confirm by Christ ? Are they true believers ? this view. There are but two cases No one was refused who satisfied them mentioned, the one in 1 Cor. v. 5; the on this point, nor do we read of any other in 2 Thess. iii. 6, 11; and in both difference of opinion on any minor these the offense was not opinion, but question ever being raised as a test of immorality of conduct. So also in the membership. The terms and order of case supposed by our Saviour, in Matt. the great apostolic commission also xviii. There is no instance of mere imply the same liberty. “Go ye, there- error of opinion, not vitally affecting fore, teach all nations, baptizing them

Christian character, being regarded or in the name of the Father, of the Son, treated as worthy of discipline. It is and of the Holy Ghost, and teaching only when opinion is of such a nature them to observe all things, whatsoever as to affect character, and make men I have commanded you.” Their recog- do wrong or feel wrong, as well as nized church-membership evidently think wrong, that it is treated as commenced with their baptism, and heresy. This appears to be the Scriptural idea of heresy, aipeous, a taking appreciate the practical grounds of away, a separation, a radical divis- church discipline. There is an odium ion, (see 1 Cor. xi. 19; Gal. v. 20), attached to all church prosecutions for or perhaps also unchristian contention. opinion's sake which is by no means No man can be regarded as a heretic unfounded, since even good men often in the scriptural sense for holding an show more zeal for mere opinions conopinion that does not make a worse sidered in their cold theological aspect man of him; and this is the real ground than for faith, love, and holiness. of his offense and discipline — that he Doubts and difficulties often arise in gives reason to doubt whether he be active and independent but ill-discinot really “ an alien from the com- plined minds, which a little judicious monwealth of Israel.” Were all eccle- instruction might remove, but which siastical trials and heresy huntings di- opposition and the show of ecclesiasrected exclusively to this point, there tical authority only aggravate till the would be less prejudice against the ex- subject of them is driven into a hopeercise of church discipline. When will less extreme of heresy. the people of God learn that sin is the But when a church is intent upon one thing in this universe that God her Master's business only, the vigor of hates, and the only thing that He re- her piety will very quickly reveal all quires them to hate and withdraw the really foreign and heterogeneous from. Opinion, only as it leads to sin; material in her composition as the conduct, only as it results from sin in healthy human body throws out the the heart; and in both cases it is impurities of the blood upon the surneither the opinion nor the conduct face. The purity of a church is not so that is the end of inquiry, but the sin. much in proportion to the soundness While, therefore, a radically wrong of her creed, or the unity of opinion opinion will be certain sooner or later among her members, as to the fruits to involve sin, and hence may be taken of the Spirit manifested in them. as a sign or symptom of evil, care If we have now proved anything in should be exercised that the opinion the course of this essay, we have proved itself, under any name or form of that the right of private judgment bestatement, be not made the object of longs to every Christian - that it exoff nse, but the sin to which it leads. tends to all doctrines not absolute or Suppose, e. g., a professing Christian fundamental to Christian character, and comes to doubt or deny the doctrine of that it applies to particular church rethe depravity of man, or the necessity lations as well as to the church uniof an atonement. Such doubts, once versal. We have only to add one or two securely lodged and favorably enter- inferences that seem to grow naturally tained in the mind, will be likely to re- out of the subject. sult in a decline of interest in the I. That false ideas of Church auprayer-meeting, and a cooling of zeal thority have prevailed to a great exfor the conversion of men, and a gen- tent in the Christian world. We see it eral withdrawal of sympathy from all in Protestant communions as well as in evangelical movements, which will the priestly tyranny of Rome; in the sooner or later become apparent to attempt to exact conformity to excluthe church, and furnish just grounds sive standards, and the exercise of of offense. Let these then be taken up church discipline for small difference of and brought to the notice of the of- opinion or practice. One powerful and fender and of the world, rather than intelligent ecclesiastical body cuts off at the heresy of opinion, and both will a blow half its members and churches,


forever banishing them from the com- unity which consists in absolute agreemunion of saints, for a supposed here- ment in all respects extending to the sy of opinion in regard to the doctrine most minute details of doctrine, as of original sin. Another excommu- well as to its general outlines; but nicates all those who sing hymns of hu- this, too, can only be secured by the man composition, in the worship of untrammeled exercise of undivided God. Another, still, deposes from the thought and inquiry, leading at first to ministry, and excludes from the church divergence, then to comparison and exthose who partake of the Lord's sup- planation, and at last to mutual agreeper with unimmersed Christians, while ment. Such a unity will be witnessed subsequent experience shows that the when knowledge becomes complete, parties thus dealt with were not really and all truth great and small stands aliens from the commonwealth of Israel perfectly revealed to the understanding and could not be treated even by those of man. This, no doubt, is the ultimate who excommunicated them as heathen destiny of the church of Christ on men and publicans. The result of earth,-a destiny perhaps to be fulfilled which has always been, not only to when the cycle of knowledge shall be mutilate the mystical body of Christ, complete in other departments of but to bring Christianity into reproach thought. Truth lies in the written among men, as a system of mere opin- word as botany lies in the fields, and ions and abstractions, and ritual ob- astronomy in the stars, and chemistry servances rather than of facts. And in the elements, and when all shall the whole of this evil has arisen from have been discovered and known in a mistaken idea of the authority of the God's natural world, then we may exchurch. The profound significance of pect all will be seen and known alike our Saviour's words, “ My kingdom is in the sphere of revelation. But, as not of this world,” has not yet been in the one department of knowledge, fully comprehended by his own disci- so in the other, the surest method of atples.

taining this end, is not by cramping, II. This subject has an important re- but encouraging freedom of thought, lation to Christian union. Once let the while in the mean time differences of principle of private judgment within opinion on minor points do not hinder the limits here defined be fully and that oneness of his people for which cordially admitted, and Christian union our Saviour prayed, but rather hightis a thing accomplished. “ Ephraim en by contrast the sincerity of their shall no longer envy Judah, nor Ju- love, and the power of their common dah vex Ephraim.” There is indeed a faith.

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The statistics published by the various ecclesiastical bodies in America are not en- The Monthly Journal of the American Unitirely satisfactory. There are, in almost all, tarian Association gives an alphabetical list too many references to "former reports,” and of Unitarian Societies and pastors, and of too many blanks. There is a great diversity ministers. We have separated them by as to items, after getting beyond the simple States, and have counted as follows: and common facts of the number of churches and ministers. Some of these are significant. The Diocese of the Episcopalian, the Presbytery of the Presbyterian, and the Association of the Congregationalist, involve their Maine,

New Hampshire, differences in their very nomenclature. The Vermont,


28 142 201 Episcopalian has Parishes, the Methodist has

Rhode Island,

3 Societies, the Congregationalist with some


New York, others has Churches. The Episcopalian has New Jersey, Priests, the Presbyterian and Congregational. Pennsylvania, ist Ministers, the Methodist Travelling Preach- District of Columbia,

Ohio, ers. The Episcopalian is particular as to the

Illinois, number of Deacons and Priests ordained, and Michigan,

Wisconsin, churches consecrated, to which most of the Minnesota, others are comparatively indifferent. The

Missouri, Episcopalian reports Confirmations, while the Teunessee, Presbyterian wants to know the number


Kansas, Added on Examination, the Methodist how Louisiana,

South Carolina, many are on Probation, the Congregationalist California, what number are added On Profession of Canada,

Faith, while the Baptist tells how many have Ministers not located,


276 70 209 342 been Baptized. The Episcopalian reports

1 Included in Societies." Communicants, the Methodist Numbers in Society, the others Members; while the Uni- The UNITARIAN figures we find to comtarian and Universalist have nothing to say pare with those of 1859, thus : about either.

Ministers. We have copied when possible, compiled when otherwise, the statistics of various denominations, a portion of which we give in the present number, — remainder in our next.


246 195 102 297 They are taken from official or semi-official

209 133 342 sources only, as mentioned in connection

The Journal says that other statistics "are with each denomination. Where we have been obliged to classify the various items, and omitted, with the expectation that a more make totals for ourselves, we have done it complete collection of such statistics will with scrupulous care. Comparisons with

soon be published by the National Confer

ence." figures of the year 1859 are made, because we had before us fuller figures for that year than any other. The years 1859 and 1866 The Universalist Register for 1866 gives the denote that they were published that year, “Statistics of the Universalist Denomination but collected some time in the year preceding North America ; corrected to December each, unless otherwise noted.





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The Universalists have a “! General Con- The “total” is, of course, a totally inadevention' which meets annually on the third quate representation of the extent of the deTuesday in September.” "Each State (or nomination. Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Territorial) Convention is represented by one Iowa, and fourteen other States, are either clerical and two lay delegates ; if consisting omitted or but partially reported. To comof fifty societies (or churches) and clergymen, pare with the figures of 1859 (see “ Quarterly," two clerical and four lay; and for every addi. 1859), we reckon those States to have now tional fifty societies and preachers, one cler- the same numbers as in that year, with the ical and two lay delegates."

following result: The statistics are not put in tabular

Year. Conventions. Associations. Societies. Ministers. form, nor is there any general summary; and they are avowedly defective. An appeal has been made for "official statistics," but it "has

We are not at all sure that this is a true been responded to only by the New England States, New York, and several others.” Un comparison or account of returns, which we

think must be defective, though not so stated der each State is given, its Convention and

in the Register. The New England States meetings, Associations, Organized Societies and their Pastors, Clergymen and their Post- and New York are represented as “official.”

А office Address, Periodicals, Schools, Meeting

comparison of these at the two dates, gives houses and Benevolent Societies, at least in

the following results : part. A Summary follows each State, in Year. Conventions. Associations. Societies. Ministers. N. E., N. Y., N. J., Penn. (“very imperfect "), Ohio, III., and Mich., and the Provinces. The statistics of "the remote (from This diminution, we imagine, is greatly Boston ?) States and Territories” are

due to the more rigid statistical rule conseger and imperfect,” and “no recent returns

quent on an apparent tendency to more comhave been received from the Southern Border pact and systematic organization.

The term States, nor the States lately in rebellion.”

organized” societies has probably cut down From what is given, we make up the fol- aggregates without much weakening. In sev. lowing table, noting that in some States there eral States there are enumerated places where are churches connected with societies, and in preaching is had part of the time, without an others, the societies seem to be regarded as

“organized” society, and it is also stated that churches; that “Societies not supplied” are there are

many other places” not enumeralso included in Societies”; and that in va- ated. rious places preaching is had but a portion of the time :


Convention (Rev. L. A. Grimes, Boston, STATES, ETC.

President), is a union of churches (colored)

which, though included, we suppose, in the Maine,

tables of the Baptists, are united for mis6 17 17 N Hampshire. 4 33

sionary effort, more especially at the South. Vermont, Massachusetts, 1 6 105 31

14 It held its twenty-fifth anniversary at AlexRhode Island,

andria, Va., Aug. 18—27, 1865. We arConnecticut,

3 14 New York,

16 181 87 96 145 1 1 3 range the following table :
New Jersey,
Pep nsylvania, 6 24

66 Indiana,

Mass., Illinois,

R. I., Michigan,

Conn., Wisconsin,

Geo., Minnesota,

N. J.,




Kansas, etc.
Nova Scotia

Thirteen missionaries were appointed,
N. Brunswick,

to labor in Va., N. C., S. C., Geo., Ala., and Total reported,





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8 5 73 34





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