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That they have intercourse with angels and departed spirits, agreeably to what is said, 1 Cor. xii. 'There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; to some is given the word of wisdom, to some the discerning of spirits;' that they may arrive to such perfection in the divine life as to speak with divers tongues: that it is lawful to practise vocal music, dancing, and other manifestations of great joy, if it be done with a single eye to the glory of God. In one part of their worship, they have "an uniform dance, while the elders sing a solemn hymn, to which they move in a regular figure." See New-York Theol. Mag. for November and December, 1795. That the highest perfection of the Christian life is neither to marry, nor to give others in marriage: because by this, they get rid of their sensual relation to Adam, and thus are fit subjects to receive heavenly visions: that those who attain to this state are of the number of the hundred and forty-four thousand, that were not defiled with women: that eternal punishment does not apply to any others but those, who fall away from their persuasion.
The Jumpers, in Wales, are of a similar description to the Shakers of America, in their forms, when attending what they call divine worship; at a certain period, they begin to move their bodies, and increase this motion by rising and jumping about, until they are exhausted, and frequently fall down.
The only discipline wherein they differ from the Shakers, is, that they do not twirl upon the tip-toe. These are the renewals of an ancient heresy in the third
century, called Hierarchies, from Hierarcha, who lived a short time after Origen. They pretend to justify this kind of enthusiastic whimsey, by saying, that David danced before the ark—the lame man leaped for joy, that he was cured—and in the prophet, "then shall the lame man leap as a hart."
I have mentioned these professors, for no other reason than to show, how human nature may be imposed on; for though they have been ranked as a sect by some writers, they are too contemptible for such notice. Enthusiasts are found in all ages, and if 1 were to attend to all the whims and fancies which have entered the heads of a few unsettled, ignorant and intempered individuals, I should not be giving an account of the different sects of the Christian religion, but of the folly, pride and depravity of those, who have promulgated erroneous opinions, and followed lying vanities.
NEW SECT IN AMERICA.
These may be called a new sect, because they take the New Testament only for their rule. They meet after the manner of the Methodists, by delegates, and at their meetings, make collections for the poor. They call their assemblies, the Christian church. Every member enjoins his own opinions without the least restraint, provided that he conduct himself agreeably to the precepts of the Christian dispensation.
These professors are French Protestants, who are 80 called from their formulae of faith, hue nos venimus. They arose in the year 1560, and greatly increased to the year 1572, in the reign of Charles IX. when, at the feast of Bartholomew, on the 24th of August, near 80,000 Protestants were massacred in France, by the decree of this king. Twenty-six years afterwards, Henry IV. caused the Edict of JVantz to be passed, which enabled the Protestants to worship God agreeably to the dictates of their consciences. Their privileges were thus enjoined by them to the time of the voluptuous, and sensual reign of Louis XIV. when they were again persecuted, their churches destroyed, thousands were put inhumanly to death: and from the best authorities it is said, that near 100,000 were driven out of their own country. Vast numbers found an asylum in England, who brought with them the manufacture of silks, which has been a great source of wealth to the government of England.
THE PROTESTANT CHURCH
Is properly the church of England, which obtained that name when the people protested against the doctrines, sacraments, and worship of the church of Rome, in the reign of Henry VIII. to which period the Roman Catholic religion, had been the established religion of the English nation. But the first blow which was given to
popery in England, was about 200 years before Henry VIII. in the reign of Edward III. when the noted Wickliffe opposed the doctrines and worship of the church of Rome. The term Protestant is also given to all ranks of professing christians, who, like the church of England, disapprove of the doctrines of the church of Rome; though they have separated from the church of England. Such are called Protestant dissenters.
This church admits but of two sacraments, viz. baptism and the Lord's supper, agreeably to the command of Christ, Matt, xxviii. 19. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Acts viii. 36. "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch said, see, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptised? Luke xxii. 19. il And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, this is my body, which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me."
This church holds with infant baptism, which appears to be a very ancient custom. Pelagius, whose followers were called Pelagians, who was one of the orthodox divines, and lived 180 years after Christ, taught, that "infants might be saved without baptism."
The fundamental doctrines of the church of England are, repentance, faith and holiness of life: these are held forth in her catechism, homilies and liturgy. 'Repentance whereby we forsake sin, and faith, whereby we steadfastly believe in the promises of God.' And again, 'My duty towards God is, to believe in him, to fear him, and to love him with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength; to worship him, to give him thanks, to put my whole trust in him, to call upon him, to honour his holy name, and his word, and to serve him truly all the days of my life. My duty towards my neighbour is, to love him as myself, and to do unto all men as 1 -would they should do unto me? Thus does the church of England, in her purity, comprehend the sum and substance of the religion of the scriptures, which is, Love To God,
AND CHARITY TO MAN.
In this place, I wish to recommend An Address,* published by the Rev. Dr. Valfy, to his parishioners, where under the head of Works without faith, he says, "The morality of Jesus Christ enjoins us to observe all things whatsoever he has commanded us; to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction; and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. But the morality which is usually meant, is the morality of the world, and not oi Christ. The morality of the world only plays about the head, the morality of Christ is deeply rooted in the heart." And again, under the head, Faith without Works, "Hence it appears, that justification cannot exist without sanctification. Hence, although you cannot be saved by works, it is clear that you cannot be saved without works."
On the whole, it is wonderful, that among every tribe and tongue, from pole to pole, the savage hordes of Africa, the untaught Indians, as well as the learned and civilized nations, worship a Divine Being, or First Cause, under some form. It is inherent in our nature, it is the language of gratitude for our being:
For God has stampt it on the heart of man.;
It is a part of his eternal plan.
Come then, religion, lead me to that shrine,
* This Address has already gone through three editions, and is well calculated for distribution among our poorer neighbours.