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No. 4. DECEMBER, 1822. Vol. III.
From the Unitarian Miscellany.
(Concluded.) Such are the alarming statements of the reviewer, who is himself a stanch churchman, and who elsewhere says,
“The Americans will find, and at no very remote time, that the want of an adequate provision for the moral and religious instruction of the people, that is to say, the want of an established church, -a circumstance of which their short-sighted admirers have boasted as their peculiar happiness,--will bring upon them, in its inevitable effects, worse evils than have ever been produced even by superstition itself!" But we must not attribute this deficiency of churches, and consequently of “moral and religious instruction,” to any want of tithes, or of lay-patronage ; for Englishmen, even in the bosom of the church, are taxed to their hearts' content, both for church and state. In fact, the revenues of the church would have been sufficient to build houses enough for worship, and support religious teachers for all classes of society, if they had not been diverted into other channels, and given for the aggrandizement of a few. While, however, a selected number are permitted to enjoy princely incomes* from these revenues, and the great body of clergy are compelled to wear out their lives in poverty, while a bishop may keep his palace, and the curate must be contented with an humble cottage ; the people will call in vain for new churches and religious instructions.
We have no such cumbrances and mockery of cor
* The bishop of Durham, Dr. Shute Barrington, derives from his see £24,000 per annum. Yet many a eurate in his diocess is necessitated to support himself on the scanty pittance of £40 s year.
rect institutions in America; and we venture to say, the time will never come, when so deplorable a picture of the deficiency of religious instruction, as that exhibited in the passage just quoted, will be found in any part of the United States. We hope ever to look to a higher source for the support of our religious institutions, than to an overbearing aristocracy, or the tyranny of a beneficed clergy. We think our religious concerns quite safe in the hands of the great Head of the church, and we do not believe any and is required from an earthly tribunal of aspiring men. We have no desire to build palaces for domineering ecclesiastics, nor any passion for paying taxes to give them salaries four times as large as that of the President of the United States. Englishmen may do this, and then complain, that millions among them are without the ineans of religious instruction. But we will hold fast the simplicity and equality of our religious institutions, and rejoice to see the light of christian truth, and the power of christian principles, extending to every corner of our immense empire.
We put no reliance on the information of Dr. Dwight, who "declared in 1812, that there were three millions of souls in the United States, entirely destitute of all religious ordinances and worship;". nor in that of the framers of the report to the Connecticut Society, who would have it appear, that "five millions of people in the United States are destitute of competent religious instruction." These reports are totally unsup; ported by facts. We have not room to enlarge, and therefore we will instance only two states, one in the eastern part of the union, and the other in the western. Together these may be considered as affording a fair medium for all the others.
In Massachusetts, there are about five hundred and twenty thousand inhabitants, and seven hundred regularly organized religious congregations; making seven hundred and forty persons to each congregation. In Kentucky the number of inhabitants amounts to five hundred and sixty-four thousand. In that state, in the year 1817, there were four hundred and thirty-one Baptist congregations. We have seen no returns of other denominations, but it is reasonable to suppose, that all the others together make at least as many as the Baptists. * We presume it is not to be credited, that in any one of the States, a single sect of any persuasion is more numerous than all the others.
This would make in Kentucky somewhat less than six hundred and fifty-six persons to each congregation. And the average, according to this calculation, in Massachusetts and Kentucky, will be, for each congregation, six hundred and ninety-five. This, we think, inay be considered a fair allowance for all the states when taken together. This calculation embraces, we are to understand, persons of all ages and conditions. We know not by what ratio the report above quoted was inade out; but we do not suppose, that under any circumstances it would be thought necessary, or even expedient, to have more than one religious teacher in a parish consisting of only six hundred and ninety-five inhabitants. And altho there may not be a stated preacher in every congregation, yet a liberal allowance for vacancies will leave the ratio so small, as not essentially to affect the general results. Our argument is rather strengthened than weakened, by admitting the number of organized congregations greatly to exceed the number of preachers; for this fact shows, that the religious spirit and zeal of the people prompt them to unite in advancing the purposes of religious worship, even under the most unfavorable circumstances.
That there are deficiencies in the means of religious instruction in many parts of our country, is not to be doubted. This is necessary in all new countries, which are rapidly settling, and where the population is scattered. But to attribute this to any defect in our institutions, to a prevalence of irreligion among the people, or even to any growing indifference on this subject, shows as much weakness as ignorance. In the well settled parts of this country, and in every
part, where local circumstances will permit the people to form societies for public worship, there is as much regard for the institutions and ordinances of religion, we do not hesitate to say, as in any Christian country on earth. And we are mortified and ashamed, that any should be found among us giving such distorted views of this subject, as to put into the hands of captious and cavilling foreigners the weapons of abuse and misrepresentation, for which they triumphantly quote our own authority. Till we know ourselves and speak truth, we can have no claims to the respect of others.
From the Universalist Magazine.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE GENERAL CONVENTION OF UNI
VERSALISTS, OF THE NLW-ENGLAND STATES AND
The Ministers and Delegates composing the Convention met at the hall of Br. George, on the evening of the 17th, and opened the Council with solemn and devout prayer, by Br. Samuel C. Loveland. And
1st. Chose Br. Hosea Ballou, Moderator.
2d. Chose Br. S. C. Loveland and Br. Hosea Ballou, 22, Clerks.
3d. Proceeded to read and examine the letters from various societies, and the credentials of the delegates, which furnished just 'occasion for rational joy of heart, and gratitude to our common Father in heaven, for the prosperity which he has kindly sent to our Sion the year past.
4th. Pursuant to requests from societies in Cambridgeport, Mass. New-London and Wilmot, N. H. and Strafford, Vt. to be - received into the fellowship of the General Convention, Voted, that said requests be granted.
5th. Chose Brs. Sebastian Streeter, Hosea Ballou, and Russell Streeter, a committee to attend to requests, either for letters of fellowship, or for ordination, and to report thereon.
6th. Adjourned until the morning of the 18th at 8 o'clock, A. M. Prayer by Br. Elias Smith.
7th. Met on the morning of Wednesday; Prayer by Br. Hosea Ballou.
8th. Called on the Committees which were appointed last year to visit the several Associations in connexion with the General Convention, who gave favorable representations concerning the good work of the Redeemer's grace in the north, the south, the east and the west.
9th. Adjourned to attend public services. The order of the morning service was as follows
Br. Kittridge Haven, the introductory prayer.
Br. H. Ballou, 2d, the sermon from Rom. i. 25, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." Br. Asa Priest, the concluding prayer.
Br. Elias Smith, the sermon from Daniel yii. 13, 14, “And I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him : his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his king.' dom that which shall not be destroyed." Concluding prayer, Br. John E. Palmer.
Evening Service on Wednesday. Br. Russell Streeter, the introductory prayer,
Br. Sylvanus Cobb, the sermon, from St. John iii. 35, 36, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his band. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life ; and be that believeth not the Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
Br. Benjamin Whittemore, the concluding prayer.
10th. Ăppointed Brs. John E. Palmer, Isaac Whitnall and Asa Priest, a committee to visit the Western Association to be holden in the town and county of Otsego, N.Y. on the first Wednesday and Thursday of June, 1823.
11th. Appointed Brs. Robert Bartlett, S. C. Loveland, K. Haven, and Elias Smith, a committee to visit the Northern Association, to be holden in Barre, Vt. the first Wednesday and Thursday in October next.
12th. ppointed Brs. H. Ballou, R. Streeter, and Joshua Flagg, a committee to visit the Eastern Association, to be holden in Waterville, Me, on the first Wednesday and Thur day in June, 1823.
13th. Appointed Brs. H. Ballou, 2d, Elias Smith, and Tho. mas Whittemore, a committee to visit the Southern Association,