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PREFACE TO TIE AMERICAN EDITION.

The reader will learn from the preface to the English edition of this work, that it was originally intended to meet the wishes of Christians on the Continent. Valued friends in Great Britain having, however, expressed the belief that it might be useful in that country, it was published there in the month of September last, being introduced to the Christian public by the very kind and flattering recommendation of the Rev. Drs. Welsh, Buchanan, and Cunningham, of Edinburgh. Upon his return to this country in November, the enterprising publishers who present this work to the American public having expressed their willingness to undertake its publication, the author at once applied himself to the task of giving it a thorough revision, in order to make it as useful as possible in this country. In doing so, he has availed himself of the aid of many excellent men of almost all our evangelical denominations, in order to give not only the most exact, but also the most recent information respecting our churches.

And although the well-informed American reader will see many things in this book with which he is already familiar, yet it is presumed he will find some things, especially taken in the connexion in which they are presented, that may both interest and profit him. There is no work among us that goes over the whole ground which the author has attempted to survey and describe in this book.

At first he thought of abridging certain portions, especially the first, fourth, and fifth books ; but he was dissuaded from this by the publishers, who preferred to give it entire, and to put it at a price which would place it within the reach of all who might wish to have it.

The reader will perceive that the work throughout, even in its American dress, bears the stamp of being written, as it really was, for the perusal, and the author would fain hope the benefit, of Europeans. To have altered this would have required the remodelling of the whole plan of the work; nor was it necessary, inasmuch as the information is just as well conveyed in the one form as in the other.

In writing this work, the author, if he has not been self-deceived, has simply aimed at giving a faithful picture of the religious and moral state of his country. He has endeavoured to write in strict accordance with fact and truth. He trusts that in doing so he has not violated that Christian charity which ought to regulate our opinions as well as our actions in relation to others. It has given him great pleasure to speak of the zeal and the prosperity of all the evangelical denominations in our land ; and if he has said anything which

may not be entirely acceptable to them, he begs that it may be ascribed to inadvertence or want of correct information. Of those which are, in his opinion, not evangelical, he has tried to say what he deems to be the truth, in no unkindness of spirit. He felt compelled, however, to follow what he believed to be the clear demands of truth.

It is probable that many readers will not agree with the author in all his statements and computations, especially those which are contained in the Conclusion of the work. He only requests such persons to take the pains which he has done to examine into the facts of the case; and then, if they differ from him, he can have no reason to complain. But he is of the opinion that but few people have taken the trouble necessary to form a correct judgment respecting either the present state or the past progress of evangelical religion among us. In what he has written on this subject, he has endeavoured to state only what appeared to him to be true. It is due to candour, however, to say, that it is possible a strong feeling of patriotismhe hopes a Christian patriotism_may have led him to take a more favourable view of some things than others may be able to do.

He is aware that on some subjects he has incurred the danger of those who would walk over hidden fires; but he trusts to that “charity" which will believe that he has tried to discuss these matters in an impartial spirit.

The work in its American form is that from which the translation is to be made into French, and probably into German and one or two other languages on the Continent.

The author has, therefore, made it more full on some points, and especially in its summary statements in the Conclusion, than it is in the English edition.

Such as it is, he commends it to the blessing of God, and bespeaks for it a candid consideration on the part of his countrymen and fellow-Christians.

New-York, January, 1844.

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A few words respecting the circumstances which have led to the preparation and publication of the work now submitted to the reader seem to be required by way of preface.

In the year 1835, at the instance of several distinguished Christian gentlemen of his native land, the author visited the Continent of Europe for the prosecution of certain religious and philanthropic objects, and in this pursuit he has been employed during the eight years that have since elapsed. He has had occasion, in the course of that period, to visit repeatedly almost every country on the Continent, and has been led, also, to spend some time, more than once, in England and in Scotland, from the latter of which two countries his forefathers were compelled, by persecution, to emigrate two hundred years ago.

In the course of his Continental journies, his engagements introduced him to the acquaintance of a goodly number of distinguished individuals, belonging to almost all professions and stations in society. Among these are many who rank high in their respective countries for enlightened piety, zeal, and usefulness in their several spheres. From such persons the author has had innumerable inquiries addressed to him, in all the places he has visited, sometimes by letter, but oftener in conversation, respecting his native country, and especially respecting its religious institutions. To satisfy such inquiries when addressed to him by an illustrious individual,* whom God has called from the scene of her activity in this world to Himself, he wrote a small work on the Origin and Progress of Unitarianism in the United States. But that little work, while it so far satisfied curiosity on one subject, seemed but to augment it with regard to others; so that, without neglecting what was by his friends as well as himself deemed a manifest duty, the author had no alternative but to accede to the earnest request of some distinguished friends in Germany, Sweden, France, and Switzerland, that he would write a work as extensive as the subject might require, on the origin, history, economy, action, and influence of religion in the United States. This task he has endeavoured to accomplish in the course of the summer and autumn that have just elapsed, and which he has been permitted to spend in this ancient city, whose institutions, and the influence of whose great Reformer, have, through their bearings on the history of England and Scotland, so greatly affected

* The late Duchess de Broglie.

† This work was published in Paris in 1837, under the title, “L'Union de l'Eglise et de l'Etat dans la Nouvelle Angleterre.”

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the colonization, political government, and religious character of the greater part of North America.

His aim throughout this work has been, neither to construct a theory on any controverted point in the economy of the Church, or its relations to the State in any European country, nor to defend the political organizations of his own, or the conduct of its government, on any measure, properly political, whether of foreign or domestic policy. His sole and simple object has been to delineate the religious doctrines and institutions of the United States, and to trace their influence, from their first appearance in the country down to the present time, with as little reference as possible to any other.

The author has mingled freely with his Protestant brethren in all the countries of Europe where Protestants are to be found, whatever might be their political sentiments, and whatever the religious communions to which they belonged. He has received nothing but kindness from them all. And while it would be the merest affectation of impartiality, and most unbecoming in him as a Christian, to profess having formed no opinion on the various questions so warmly discussed among them, and especially on the relations which do, or ought to, subsist between the Church and the State-a question so much agitated at the present moment in some countries, and which seems destined, ere long, to be so in many others—yet he can most conscientiously say that he has not allowed himself to be involved in any of them, nor is he aware of having written a sentence in the present work with the view either of supporting or opposing any of them. He has endeavoured to confine himself throughout to a faithful exhibition of the religious institutions of his native country--their nature, their origin, their action, and their effects. His first desire has been to satisfy the reasonable curiosity of those at whose request he writes ; his second and most strenuous endeavour has been to promote the extension of the Messiah's kingdom in the world, by communicating some information respecting measures which, through God's blessing, have proved useful in America without having anything to adapt them to that country more than to any other.

The more that the author has seen of the Christian world, the more has he been impressed with the conviction that, whatever relations the churches maintain with the civil powers, whatever their exterior forms or even their internal discipline, nothing in these respects can compensate for the want of soundness of doctrine and vital piety. Not that, as some seem to do, he would treat those things as matters of indifference; for he firmly believes the maintenance and promotion of true religion to be much affected by them; but it is not in them that we are to look for that panacea for all evils which many hope to find in them, or any substitute for the agency which God has appointed for securing the effectual reception of his glorious salvation. That agency, he humbly conceives, is the presentation of the Gospel in all its fulness, in all proper ways, and on all suitable occasions, by a spiritually-minded ministry, ordained and set apart to that work, combined with holy living, faithful co-operation in their proper spheres, and earnest prayer on the part of the members, in general, of the churches. The parts of his work, accord

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