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into a similar one commenced in London in 1810. This was the only source from which the English translations could be procured for a time—though American editions of most of the works may now be had by means of a similar society here. The two together have caused the circulation of very many thousand volumes; and their labours can never be dispensed with.
A word or two, before we conclude, on certain points of casuistry, as to which (strangely enough!) we have been misunderstood. Religious freedom is the inalienable right of every man, and for its use he is responsible to God alone. Civil liberty, though the means of the greatest blessings to those who are worthy of it, can only prove a curse to such as are not; and it is not desirable that it should be enlarged hastily or farther than the nations are qualified for its use: though we rejoice that the means of such preparation are increased in number and efficiency, and that the spirit of the age is, to avail itself of them more than in time past. Strictly as the Christian should refrain from avenging his private wrongs, and much as he should desire public peace; till the world is regenerated, the injustice of governments and nations, will give frequent occasions of war. In such cases, it is legitimate to employ means of defence; and we accept the general sentiment “ that the only way to avoid it is to be ever prepared for it.” The Newchurchman is taught to shun party spirit, where great principles are not really at stake; to yield obedience to a protecting government, wherever conscience will permit; not hastily to urge changes in organic law; and faithfully to discharge any public duties to which he may be called. In private life we avoid singularity in matters indifferent. We affect none in language, dress, or manners. We have no sumptuary laws: but leave each one to graduate his expenses to the scale of his ability and station in society, and to select his friends and associates among the virtuous and intelligent of every name. We have no respect for affected solemnity, needless austerity, or will-worship of any kind. We do not deem it necessary for Christians of every age to refrain from public amusements and social recreations. The love of self and the world, against which Divine Wisdom has warned us, we take to be something more and other than any of these things. He who will shun the evils forbidden in the decalogue, as sins against God, and cultivate the opposite virtues, will find enough to occupy him without distracting his attention with uncommanded observances. Though, with our views, we cannot but have an abiding sense of the Divine Presence, and of the necessity of regeneration to future happiness: yet the calm and rational delight we take in contemplating religious truths, does not inflame us to enthusiasm in public worship. We must own, too, that we take little pleasure in frequenting the temples of other Christians, where we are not certain that our prayers are directed to the same object; where we hear so much that grates on our sense of truth, and so little that accords with the supremacy of Him we worship-though we willingly co-operate with them in the spread of the Bible, the promotion of any point of public morals, or measures of general utility. For a like reason we read but little of the current theology of the day, except as an index of the state of religious opinion. In our conferences with others on religious topics, we prefer to use other language than that of Scripture, (except the plainest,) seeing our apprehensions of its meaning are generally so different. And while we seek the mollia tempora fandi, we do not indiscriminately press the matter of religion on the attention of all unbelievers, or at all times. Such of us as have leisure to devote to literary pursuits, or inquiry into truth, always seek to unite therewith some useful occupation. There is a good deal of technical phrase. ology in the works of our author, which sounds strange to a novice; but its meaning is easily learnt, and it is used in a steadfast sense. Lastly, we do not look upon death as in itself so terrible an event, and think that no Christian should. Neither do we indulge in passionate grief for our departed friends,-our natural feeling for their loss being generally mitigated by our conceptions of divine truth and mercy, and of the nature of the other life. If any of these " peculiarities” are thought so offensive as to be without precedent or pretence of reason, we must bear the imputation with what grace we may.
In reviewing what we have written, we find we have treated with freedom, but we hope with fairness, the principles of other professed followers of our Lord; and we are sure without any feelings of hostility to individuals who have held and still hold them—for many of whom we entertain high respect. It is with us a principle to recognise and honour goodness wherever we meet with it; though we cannot but regret that, in this our age, it is allied so often to and with so much error. And this feeling we are bound to cherish even though it be not reciprocated. From our own position we survey the state of the world, intellectual, political, and religious, and think we see in all those departments marked and strong tendencies towards a better order of things. Magnus ah integro seculorum nascitur ordo. And Though we live in a period of transition: the anxiety, of which all must partake at such a season, is alleviated in our case by the assurance that He who is at the helm, having eternal and glorious ends in view, orders or permits only such events as can be converted to their promotion. Now that other systems are breaking up around us, we would most respectfully invite our countrymen to give this a fair consideration, and not to condemn it unheard or from the representations of its enemies alone. Fraud, violence, menace, fashion, the favour of princes, diplomacy, have all tried in vain to reunite Protestants on some one basis; wrangling polemics and verbal critics have succeeded as little. In our conscience we believe that in this confusion worse confounded, none but the Author of our faith could tell us what it is; and this we doubt not he has done through a qualified agent. He who receives “ The True Christian Religion," as here delineated, cannot but smile at the pretensions of Rome. For her expositions or superintendence he can have no possible use; and the “brutum fulmen" of her anathema will fall harmless at his feet.
Such is the bread which we have been invited to cast upon the waters. We dismiss it to the care of Providence, and the justice of our readers.
OMISH OR AMISH CHURCH.
BY SHEM ZOOK,
MIFFLIN COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA.
Omish or Amish, is a name which was, in the United States, given to a society of Mennonites, but who are not known by that name in Europe, the place from which they originally came. In many parts of Germany and Switzerland, where they are still considerably numerous, they are there sometimes, for the purpose of distinction, called Hooker Mennonites, on account of their wearing hooks on their clothes; another party of Mennonites being, for similar reasons, termed Button Mennonites. The principal difference between these societies consists in the former being more simple in their dress, and more strict in their discipline. In their religious forms of worship, the different denominations of Mennonites vary but little from other Protestants. They consider the scriptures as the only rule of faith, and maintain that the surest mark of the true church is the sanctity of its members. They have regular ministers and deacons, who are not allowed to receive fixed salaries; in their religious assemblies, however, every one has the privilege to exhort and to expound the scriptures. Baptism is administered to adults only, infants not being considered proper subjects, and is administered by pouring water upon the head of the subject. The Lord's Supper is administered in commemoration of the death of our Saviour. It is considered unlawful to take an oath on any occasion, as well as to repel force by force; and they consider war, in all its shapes, as unchristian and unjust. Charity is with them a religious duty, and none of their members are permitted to become a public charge.
Great injustice has been done the Mennonites by Protestant as well as by Catholic writers, by imputing to them doctrines which they never held with regard to the incarnation of Christ and the Millennium, or personal reign of Christ upon earth. That Menno Simon was charged with entertaining peculiar and unwarranted opinions respecting these matters is true, (doctrines which we deem improper to mention, but an account of which may be found by referring to article Anabaptists, in the Encyclopædia Americana ;) but it is well known to all who are acquainted with the writings or works of Menno Simon, that if his written declarations are to be received as an evidence of his opinions, then the said charges are entirely gratuitous and without foundation in fact. The Mennonites have also been charged with having originated with the Anabaptists of Munster; and have frequently been confounded with the followers of Bockhold, John of Leyden, and David Joris. This charge is equally and totally incorrect. It is not denied that many of those who had been misled by these fanatics, ultimately joined the Mennonites; but they were not admitted into their society until they had wholly repudiated the wild and fanatical notions of the Munsterites. The many, and often bitter, controversies which took place during the time of the Reformation, not only between Catholic and Protestant writers, but often between the Protestants themselves, added to the fact that the history of the Mennonites has hitherto been written by writers of other sects, readily account for the misstatements and incorrect accounts respecting the origin, history, and religious opinions of the Mennonites.
The name Amish or Omish was derived from Jacob Amen, a native of Amenthal, in Switzerland, and a rigid Mennonite preacher of the seventeenth century; but that he was not the founder of a sect will be evident from the fact, that the society who are in the United States wrongfully called Amish or Omish, still rigidly adhere to the Confession of Faith which was adopted at Dortrecht, in Holland, A. D. 1632, (before the time of Jacob Amen,) by a General Assembly of ministers of the religious denomination who were at that time and in that place called Mennonites, (after Menno Simon, an eminent preacher and native of Friesland, in Holland,) but who were (as has been well established by writers of the seventeenth century), prior to that time, at different periods, known by the names of Henricians, Petrobrusians, and Waldenses. The number of the milder Mennonites in the United States is computed at 120,000, while that of the rigid Mennonites is not supposed to exceed 5000.