« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
boy, Sen., J. F. Snodgrass, J. R. Murdock, W. S. Gardiner, David B. Spencer, J. J. Jackson, Beverley Smith, W. P. Rathbone, Dr. Farmin, E. D. Safford, C. J. Meale, Isaac Morris, W. H. Morehead, G. B. Neale, J.J. Dickenson, W. H. Laurence, W. H. Small, J. J. Neale, J. H. Adams, E. F. De Selding.
CHURCH IN WETZEL COUNTY.
A church at New Martinsville, in this county, was partly built some years since, under the auspices of the Rev. James McCabe and the Rev. Mr. Hyland, and supplied for some time with services by the same. I have no list of the vestrymen of this parish, which was called Wetzel parish after the name of the county.
CHURCH AT MOUNDSVILLE.
Within twelve miles of Wheeling, on the Ohio River, is to be seen one of the largest of those Indian mounds which are to be found in our Western world. It gives the name to the place. In the time of the elder Mr. Armstrong, there were some families belonging to our Church in and around it, which were visited by him, and to whom with the other people of the place he preached. The passage of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad through it, and the establishment of a large depôt at it, has increased the population so much that an Episcopal church was erected here some years since, and the Rev. Mr. Hyland has, in connection with a school, performed the duties of a minister in it.
The following is a list of the vestrymen of the parish :—Colonel John Thompson, Isaac Hoge, E. H. Caldwell, W. S. Lane, 0. S. Hock, G. W. Bruce, William Collins, General G. Jones.
From the foregoing notices of the Church in Western Virginia, it will be perceived that our “beginning is small.” May some future historian, when all its resources have been developed, have the pleasure of recording that “its latter end has greatly increased”!
Recollections of the Episcopal Church in this Country during the
last Fifty Years.
HAVING thus disposed of the Church of Virginia, I purpose in the present to record some things in relation to the General Church which have come under my observation, and in which I have taken some part. As I introduced the notices of the Virginia Church with some preliminary remarks on its previous history, so would I offer a few thoughts as to the earlier bistory and character of the American Church generally, before entering on the particular narrative to which this article is devoted. And, as I was forced by a regard to historic truth to acknowledge that at no time from its first establishment was the moral and religious condition of the Church in Virginia even tolerably good, so am I also, by the same consideration, obliged to admit much that was defective in relation to other parts of the American Episcopal Church. More especially was this the case in regard to Maryland, which bore a strong resemblance to Virginia in more respects than one. The character of her early population resembled that of Virginia, in having more of the aristocracy than was to be found in some other parts of the English territory in this country. Slavery also was introduced at an early period, and served to strengthen that feature in her character. She, like Virginia, was also put under a regular establishment,though not at so early a period. She had her Governors and Commissaries, who acted as substitutes for the Bishop in ecclesiastical matters. Neither Maryland nor Virginia were under the patronage of the Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, as other portions of America were. The history of those other portions, by comparison with those of Virginia and Maryland, establishes the fact beyond contradiction, that the selection of missionaries by that Society was generally better than the supply coming to Virginia and Maryland through the Bishop of London, or some other channel. The reader is referred to Dr. Hawks's faithful and laborious History of the Church in Maryland for proof of this in relation to that diocese. I adduce only one testimony besides, and that from the well-known Dr. Chandler, of our American Church. After a
visit to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, about the year 1753, he addressed a letter to the Bishop of London, in which, after speaking in high terms of the laity of that part of the State, he adds, “The general character of the clergy, I am sorry to say, is wretchedly bad. It is readily confessed, that there are some in the Province whose behaviour is unexceptionable and exemplary; but their number seems to be very small in comparison,—they appearing here and there, like lights shining in a dark place. It would really, my lord, make the ears of a sober heathen tingle to hear the stories that were told me by many serious persons of several clergymen in the neighbourhood of the parish where I visited; but I still hope that some abatement may be fairly made on account of the prejudices of those who related them.” My own recollection of statements made by faithful witnesses forty-five years ago, as to a number of the old clergy of Maryland, accords with the above. I have but little knowledge from any source of the few Episcopal clergy north of Maryland. They were not more than eighty in number when the War of the Revolution began. As to foreign importation of clergymen, Bishop White (who was once the only Episcopal minister in Pennsylvania) justly remarks, “ It could not be the channel of a respectable and permanent supply.” Nevertheless, as they nearly all of them depended chiefly for their support on the aid of the above-mentioned Society, it is to be believed that pains were taken to select the best which could be obtained from the English Church at that time, and to require the best recommendations in behalf of those who were natives of America. That there were mistakes none can doubt.*
The history of the missionaries of that Society in South Carolina, as given by one of her sons, (the Rev. Mr. Dalcho,) informs us of some who, on account of their evil character, were soon complained
* That some of the followers of Laud came over to Virginia after his fall, is evident from what Sir William Berkeley says in his memorable protest against much preaching and the establishment of a printing-press and schools in the Colony. He speaks in praise of some ministers who came out soon after Laud's death, and very slightingly of the rest, saying that, “ if they would only pray more and preach less, he would like to see them better paid.” As for free schools and a printing-press, he thanked God there were none in the Colony, and trusted there would be none for a hundred years to come, as he considered them fruitful nurseries of heresy and rebellion. No doubt Sir William sympathized with Laud in many things. He was as much disposed to high-handed measures in the management of the Colony as Laud was in England. Cromwell's rebellion in England and Bacon's rebellion in Virginia may be, in a great measure, traced to the arbitrary spirit and conduct of the Archbishop and Governor.
of, and either recalled or dismissed from the service. gregations, indeed, became very cautious how they received the missionaries. They delayed institutions, as in Virginia, until satisfied of their good character by sufficient trial. The Society sometimes complained that too long a trial was required. Still, I doubt not that their general character for morals and piety was much superior to that of the imported clergy of Maryland and Virginia. But now a most important inquiry must be made, in order to form a correct estimate of the religion of the Colonial Churches. It is this :—What was the type of the theology—the substance and style of the preaching—of the ministers of that day? What doctrines were insisted on with emphasis from the pulpit? How did the preaching of that day accord with the doctrines of the apostles and the reformers on the subject of human depravity, and of Christ as the sinner's “ all in all”? How did the sermons compare with our homilies on ihe misery or sinfulness of man, on justification, on the new birth, &c.? It will surely be admitted to be a fair way of deciding this question to ascertain what was the theology and preaching in England during the time when our supply was greatest from the Mother-Church. The clergy coming over to us must have borne a strong resemblance in their theology and style of sermonizing, and in other respects, to the great body of those left behind; only that we are obliged to admit the probability of what was so generally declared in all the documents and histories of the times,-namely, that, with some honourable exceptions, they were inferior in character. In making this inquiry, we shall not go back to the few who came out during the reign of James I. We will pass over those few who came to America in the days of Laud, who, intent on establishing high Episcopal and Sacramentarian views and on putting down all dissent, neglected (as some of his own admirers admit) most shamefully the religious condition of the Colonies.*
* Dr. Coke, the Methodist Bishop, who from his office and his extensive travels throughout England and America had a good opportun ty to form a correct judgment, says, not only of those who absconded at the American Revolution, but of those who remained, that, “ Fallen as the ministers of the Establishment in England generally are, they are incomparably to be preferred before the clergy of America.” (See his Life of Samuel Drew, p. 145.) The Bishop of London wrote a letter to Dr. Doddridge, in the year 1751, concerning a communication from the Rev. Mr. Davies, in which, while he endeavours to defend the American clergy against the wholesale charges brought against them, he is forced to make the following acknowledgment :“Of those who are sent from hence, a great part are the Scotch or Irish, who can get no employment at home, and enter on the service more out of necessity than choice; some others are willing to go abroad to retrieve either lost fortunes or lost character
We pass over also the times of the Commonwealth and of the two succeeding reigns, and come down to that of William and Mary,– the time of the greatest influx of ministers to America,—the time of Tillotson and Burnet, and the formation of the two great societies for extending the Church,—the Christian Knowledge Society and the Propagation Society, which began their work within two years of each other under the direction of kindred spirits,—the one in 1698, the other in 1700. The history of those times shows that Romanism and Calvinism were equally eschewed. Let the sermons and tracts of that day be compared with those of the Calvinistic preaching in the time of Elizabeth and the semi-Romanistic ones in the days of Laud, and a marked difference will be seen. But there may also be seen as marked a difference between the sermons of Tillotson and others of his stamp, and those of the earlier Reformers, as well as those of a later period, which have been denominated Evangelical. The age of Tillotson and Burnet may be called the age of reasoning, of liberalism, of comprehension. Tillotson and Burnet were great and good and pious men,-practical and useful men. Their views of the Church, ministry, and Sacraments were conservative. Their charity was truly Christian. And yet it inust be admitted that they stood at the beginning of a new school, differing from any going before, and destined soon to degenerate into something which they did not design. The sermons of Tillotson are masterpieces of reasoning on all theological subjects,-are a body of divinity to students; but then they are not addressed to the hearts and consciences of sinners so as to awaken them to cry, “What must we do to be saved ?” They do not present Christ in all his fulness to the soul with that earnest application which the true evangelical preacher does. Burnet also admitted that he wished to lower the doctrine of the article “ On Justification by Faith” somewhat,—though by no means to make it approach the Sacramental view, but rather the contrary. The followers of such men soon began to substitute reasoning, natural religion, and mo.. rality for the Gospel. They did not deny the evangelical system, but they did not preach it as they ought to have done, and the pulpit, of course, lost its power. There were but few sermons published
The Bishop on this and other accounts was anxious to have Bishops sent to America, that they might exercise discipline over the clergy coming from England, and ordain natives for the Church. Had all the ministers of Dissenting Churches in America been as liberal as Mr. Davies, Bishops would probably have been sent at an early period, and much evil been prevented. Mr. Davies, in his letter to the Bishop of London, expresses himself most favourably of the measure.