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punishment scheme, adopted the doctrine | sentiment, who still adhere to the Univer. of materialism, and hence maintained that salist connexion. And if we were to pre. the soul was mortal ; that the whole man sent a complete list of those who believe died a temporal death, and that the resur- that all men will ultimately be restored, rection was the grand event which would we might enumerate many of the Unitarian introduce all men into heavenly felicity. and Christian clergymen.

This senti. Those who have since taken to them. ment prevails more or less among the selves the name of Restorationists, viewed laity of every sect. The Restorationists these innovations as. corruptions of the are Congregationalists on the subject of gospel, and raised their voices against church government. them. But a majority of the convention In relation to the trinity, atonement, having espoused these sentiments, no re. and free will, the Restorationists' views formation could be effected.

harmonize with those of the Unitarians. The Restorationists, believing these er. In relation to water baptism, they rors to be increasing, and finding in the maintain that it may be administered by connexion what appeared to them to be a immersion, suffusion, or sprinkling, either want of engagedness in the cause of true to adults or infants. They do not regard piety, and in some instances an open op baptism as a saving ordinance ; and they position to the organization of churches ; are rather disposed to continue this rite and finding that a spirit of levity and bit- from the example of Christ and his aposterness characterized the public labors of tles, than from any positive command their brethren, and that practices were contained in the New Testament. They springing up totally repugnant to the prin- maintain that the sacrament of the Supper ciples of Congregationalism, resolved to is expressly commanded by Christ, and obey the apostolic injunction, by coming should be open to all believers of every out from among them, and forming an in- name and sect; and while they admit that dependent association. Accordingly, a con- every organized church should have the vention, consisting of Rev. Paul Dean, power to manage its own private and local Rev. David Pickering, Rev. Charles Hud- affairs, they recognise no power in any son, Pev. Adin Ballou, Rev. Lyman May. church to exclude believers of other de. nard, Rev. Nathaniel Wright, Rev. Phile- nominations from the table of our common mon R. Russell, and Rev. Seth Chandler, Master. and several laymen, met at Mendon, The difference between the Restoration. Massachusetts, August 17, 1831, and ists and Universalists relates principally to formed themselves into a distinct sect, and the subject of a future retribution. The took the name of Universal Restorationists. Universalists believe that a full and perfect

Since the organization of this associa. retribution takes place in this world, that tion, they have had accessions of six or our conduct here cannot affect our future seven clergymen, so that their whole num- condition, and that the moment man exists ber of clergymen in 1834, was estimated after death, he will be as pure and as at fourteen, and the number of their so happy as the angels. From these views cieties at ten or twelve. With all or nearly the Restorationists dissent. They mainall these societies an organized church is tain that a just retribution does not take associated. These societies are principally place in time; that the conscience of the in Massachusetts, though there is a large sinner becomes callous, and does not in. society in Providence, Rhode Island, and crease in the severity of its reprovings one in New York city. The largest socie. with the increase of guilt; that men are ties are those of Boston and Providence. invited to act with reference to a future

The Independent Messenger, a paper life; that if all are made perfectly happy published weekly at Mendon, Massachu. at the commencement of the next state of setts, by Rev. Adin Ballou, is devoted to existence, they are not rewarded accord. the cause of Restorationism.

ing to their deeds; that death intro. It ought also to be stated in connexion duces them into heaven, they are saved by with this, that there are several clergydeath, and not by Christ; and if they are men who agree with the Restorationists in made happy by being raised from the

dead, they are saved by physical, and not by moral means, and made happy without their agency or consent; that such a sentiment weakens the motives to virtue,

HISTORY

and gives force to the temptations of vice; that it is unreasonable in itself, and opposed to many passages of scripture.

OF

THE RIVER BRETHREN,

BY A FAMILIAR FRIEND.

THE unsettled state of affairs in Europe | emigrated to the English colonies in America-principally, however, to New York, and Pennsylvania, where every species religion was protected. The latter province had, from its commencement, been an asylum of many persons whose peculiar opinions rendered them impatient of, or obnoxious to, their native governments: hence motives, not to be condemned, influenced many to bid a long farewell to their Vaterland-the enjoyment of religious tolerance, and the certain prospect of bettering their temporal condition.*

The principal Protestant denomination that emigrated from Germany were Mennonites, some of whom settled at Germantown as early as 1683; Lutherans, German Reformed, TAUFER (German Baptists, or Brethren) Schwenkfelders, and Moravians, all of whom had regularly organized congregations in Pennsylvania, prior to 1742.

About the middle of the seventeenth century, 1651, Jeremiah Felbinger, of Berlin, Prussia, wrote and published a book, entitled "DES CHRISTLICHEN HANDBUECHLEINS," setting forth and ably

during the greater part of the seventeenth, and former half of the eighteenth century, subjected many German, French, Swiss and others, not only to the devastations consequent in the train of war, but also to sore persecutions, because they could not conscientiously change their religious opinions, so as to coincide invariably with those of the reigning Prince. The religious complexion was not unfrequently influenced by the character of the rulersas they changed, revolutions in religion took place. Of this, we have striking cases in Frederick II., Frederick III. and others. Frederick II., Elector Palatine, embraced the Lutheran faith: Frederick III. became a Catholic; Lodovic V. restored the Lutheran church: his son, and successor was a Calvinist. These, in their turn, protected some, others they did not.-Besides these unpropitious changes, of being subjects of persecution, the Germans occupied the unenviable position of living between two powerful belligerent rivals, whose element seems to have been

war.

During the period of the latter half of the seventeenth, and early part of the eighteenth century, Germans, as well as Swiss of several Protestant denominations,

Prov. Rec, III. 341.

The preface to this book is dated, Berlin, August 20, A. D. 1651.

vindicating doctrines and sentiments which were subsequently embraced, and promulgated by many of the Tacufer, or German Baptists.*

About the year 1705,† Alexander Mack, a native of Shriesheim, between Heidelberg and Manheim, having been brought under the influence of that spirit which moved the so called Pietists of Germany, commenced carefully and prayfully to examine the New Testament, to learn its requirements.-Soon others, alike influenced, united with him and formed an association for mutual edification. They resolved to lay aside all preconceived opinions and traditional observances, and to be governed by the undisputed precepts of Christ.

The first consociates with Alexander Mack, were George Grebi, of Hesse-Cassel; Luke Fetter, of Hessia; Andrew Boney, of Basil, Switzerland; John Kipping of Wirtemberg; Anna Margaretta Mack, Johanna Kipping, Johanna Noethiger or Mrs. Boney.

On a close and diligent search of the scriptures, and a careful examination of authentic history of the primitive christian church, they arrived at the inevitable conclusion, as they hopefully believed, that the apostles and primitive christians administered the ordinance of baptism to believing adults only, by trine-immersion. And in conformity with this custom, they now resolved to be immersed as obedient followers of their Lord and Master, Matt. iii. 16.

The question now arose: Who is first to administer this sacred ordinance? None of them, as yet, had been immersed. To this end, one of their number visited, in various parts of Germany, Mennonite con

*Felbinger's book comprises seven chap

ters :

ration.

I. Of the creation of man, his fall and restoII. Of receiving infants into the visible

church of the Lord.

III. Of holy baptism.
IV. Of church discipline.
V. Of feet-washing.

VI. Of the holy supper.

gregations, to confer with their ministers, touching the ordinance of baptism. Many of the Mennonites admitted that this ordinance, performed by immersion, if done from pure motives-love to the Saviour, was proper; but still maintained that if administered by pouring or aspersion, it was equally valid; as no particular mode has been prescribed.

Mack and his consociates did not concur with the views of the Mennonites on this subject: they had determined to yield to their convictions, as to the result of investigating the Scriptures and historical testimony. It was by common consent agreed, that Mack should assume the responsibility of baptising the small number of believers. However, as he conceived himself still unvanized, he declined to comply, in this instance, with their ardent wishes. They now resolved to fast, and in prayer and supplication to a throne of grace, to ask God for directions. As did the Eleven, Acts i. 26, they now cast lots as to which of the brethren should be the first baptizer. Lots were accordingly cast; and he upon whom it fell, baptized one of the brethren. The baptized one, now baptized him by whom he had been baptised; and the first baptizer then baptised the others. But upon whom the lot fell to baptize first, has been studiously concealed to this day. For it had been previously agreed among themselves, never to disclose the name upon whom the lot should fall. "Sie gaben," says Mack," aber unter einander ihr Wort von sick, dass es niemand verrathen sollte, welcher der erste Taeufer unter ihnen gewesen damit niemand Ursache nehmen moechte, sie irgend mach einem Menschen zunennen, wielen sie solche Thorheit schon von Paulo an den Corinthern bestrafet funden."

They were baptized early in the morning, in the river Eder, in Schwartzenau.* They now formally organized a church, consisting of believing adults only. Alex

ander Mack was chosen as their teacher.

• On account of persecution at home, they resorted to Schwartzenau, in the country of Witgensteen and Creyfelt, in the Dutchy of Cleves, belonging to the King of Prussia,

VII. Of the prohibition of oaths.

† Proud's His. Pa. II. 346.

Rechte aind Ordnungen des Hauses Gotles, where they had liberty of meeting without

by A. Mack, 1774.

being disturbed. Proud's His. Pa., ii. 346.

Their number soon increased, and grew | ber of his consociates, arrived in this to some importance, in the course of the country. Im Jahr, 1729, says Peter first seven years. In 1715, besides a nu- Miller, in his CHRONICA EPHRA: ist Alexmerous congregation in Schwartzenau; ander Mack, der Urstaender der Taeuin the Palatinate, and other places, co- fer, samt den nebrigen gedachter Ge workers were raised to labor in the har-meinde von Friesland abgesetzt und in vest, in the persons of John Henry Kalk- Pennsylvanien angekommen.* loeser, of Frankenthal, a town in the Palatinate of the Rhine; Christian Libe and Abraham Duboy, of Epstein, in HesseDarmstadt; John Nass, Peter Becker, of Dilsheim. With these were associated John Henry Trout, and his brother, Henry Holtzappel and Stephen Koch; the greater part of them went in the first seven years, to Creyfelt. John Henry Kalkloeser and Abraham Duboy, came to Schwartzenau, so did also George Balser Ganss, of Umstadt, a town in the district of Hesse; and Michael Eckerlin, of Strasburg. The mother church left Schwartzenau for Serustervin, in Friesland, a province of Holland; and thence in 1719, immigrated to Pennsylvania, where twenty families of them settled at, and about Germantown, where the church increased considerably, receiving members from the inhabitants along the Wissahickon, and from Lancaster county. In 1723, the members in Germantown and vicinity formed themselves into a community under Peter Becker, who was chosen official baptizer, and who, in succeeding years, collected the dispersed brethren in Lancaster county into a distinct society at Muelback, (Millcreek.) Among the prominent members of the church here, was Conrad Beisel, who was baptized in 1724, in Pequae creek, by Peter Becker. Beisel was afterwards the founder of another order of German Baptists, usually known by the name of Dunkers ;* or more properly: SeventhDay German Baptists, at Ephrata, Lancaster county.t

Peter Becker was a man of considerable property, much of which he devoted to the common use of the recently organized society. By his indefatigable exertions, and others elected as teachers, among them, churches were organized in various parts of Pennsylvania, and some in New Jersey. The German Baptists, or Brethren, as they called themselves, in common with other religious denominations, grew luke-warm, their number diminished rather than increased with the population of the country. A general lethargy prevailed on the subject of religion in the several provinces, till about the year 1733, or '34, "when the spirit of God began extraor

Congregations were also organized under the supervision of Becker, at Cones. toga creek; and in Oley, Berks county: In 1729, Alexander Mack, the Father of the first society, accompanied by a num

Buck, Hendricks, and others, who follow the traditionary history of this denomination, style them Dunkers.

+ Article German Seventh-Day Baptists, by W. M. Fahnestock, M. D.

*

September 15, 1729, the Ship Allen, James Craigie, Master, from Rotterdam, arrived at of 59 Palatine families-names and heads of Philadelphia with 126 passengers, consisting families are:

Alexander Mack, Johannes Mack, Felte Mack, Alexander Mack, jr., John Henrich Jacob Lisley, Christopher Matler, Paul LibeKalkloeser, Andreas Boney, William Knipper, kip, Christopher Kalkloeser, Christian Cropp, Andreas Cropp, Jacob Cropp, Christian Cropp, jr.. Hans Schlachter. Johannes Pellickhover, Johannes Kipping, Hans George Koch, John Eley, Reinhart Hammer, Samuel Galler, ConMichael Amwig. Hans Ulrich Kisle, Ulrich rad Iller, Hans Casper Kulp, John Martin Crist, Hisbert Bender, Jacob Possart, Jacob Wise, Christian Schneider, Hans Contee, Johannes Flickinger, Felte Beecher, John Jacob Hopbach, Johannes Mackinterfeer, Christian neider, Joseph Prunder, Mathias Ultand, JoKitsintander, Lenhart Amwigh, Mathias Schhannes Prunder, George Hoffart, Johannes Perger, Johannes Weightman, Philip Michael Fiersler, Valentine Gerhart Hisle, Hans fer, George Fetter, John Jacob Knecht, AlexGeorge Clauser, Henrich Holstein, Felte Raander Till, Henrich Peter Middledorf, David Lisley, Jacob Possart, Daniel Crop. Prov. Record, iii., p. 391, 392.

+ Proud, speaking of them, in 1765, says: They are a quiet, inoffensive people, not numerous, at present on the decline. There are 419 families, 2095 persons, at 5 of a family, and 4 meeting houses in different parts of the province. Proud's His. Pa., ii, 347.

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(not only in regard to the general cause of religion, but in each others individual edification," and they met in the capacity of a social devout band, from house to house, to make prayer and supplication for the continued influence of God's Spirit-out of these social circles, was organized the Religious Association, now commonly known as the RIVER Brethren.

*

The appellation they assumed, is "BRETHREN," considering as Christ is their master, that they, as his disciples,

dinarily to set in and wonderfully to work
among the people in various parts of the
provinces; and produced great awaken-
ings and revivals of religion," which, as
history and experience confirm, are essen-
tial, as it were by a sudden shock effec-
tually to counteract the sluggish tendency
in the human mind, on the subject of re-
ligion; and, which have always been pro-
ductive of the greatest good to the cause
of pure and undefiled religion. This was
the case during the period of the Reforma-
tion in Germany, Switzerland, Holland," are all brethren," Matt. xxiii. 8; James
iii. 1. Several societies in different parts
of Lancaster county were simultaneously
organized: one near the Susquehanna
river; another on Conestoga creek. By
way of local distinction, the latter were
called the Conestoga Brethren, those on, or
near Susquehanna, the River Brethren,†
an appellation by which the society is
now generally known, to distinguish its
members from the German Baptists, or
Brethren, first organized in Europe.

France, Denmark, and England, which
were at that time severally visited by co-
pious showers of divine influence. From
the day of the Great Awakening, of
1740, a change in religious feeling and
correspondent action came over society;
"for it appears from the history of reli-
gious opinions and practices since 1733,"
that the most important practical idea
then received prominence and power, and
has held its place ever since, is the idea
of the New Birth-the doctrine, in order
to be saved, a man must undergo a change
in his feelings and principles of moral ac-
tion, which will be either accompanied, or
succeeded by exercises of which he is
conscious, and can give an account; so
that those who have been thus changed,
may ordinarily be distinguished from those
who have not. The salutary effects of
revivals were also experienced among the
Germans of Pennsylvania, during the
last half of the past century.

As they keep neither written or printed records touching their ecclesiastical proceedings, in the absence of these, oral history, or tradition alone can be relied on as to the precise time of their church organization, and who were the first ministers among them. The concurrent testimony, however, among them is, that this denomination commenced during the revolutionary war. Their first ministers were Jacob Engel, Hans Engle, C. Rupp, and others. At a later period some ministers and lay members of the Taufer united with them. Soon after the formal organi

Among the several German denominations, especially among the Mennonites,

mon.

being the most numerous society in Lan-zation of churches in Pennsylvania, Jacob caster county, awakenings were more com- Engel visited Canada, and at a later Between sixty and seventy years period, Ohio, to organize churches. Since ago, awakened persons of Mennonites, which, the first churches have consideraLutherans, German Reformed, Brethren bly increased, and congregations are now or Taeufer, "whose hearts were closely to be found in Bucks, Lancaster, Dauphin, joined together-had a common interest, York, Franklin, Westmoreland, and seve ral other counties in Pennsylvania.—In several parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Canada West,-numbering several thousand members, and some fifty or sixty ministers.

The Great Awakening in the time of Edwards and Whitfield, in 1733, 1740, and other revivals in 1744, 1757, 1772, &c., in various parts of the provinces are alluded to here. Tracey's History of the Revival of Religion, &c.

It is a well known fact that the Germans are opposed to innovation full of pious reverence for the views and customs of their ancestors-not easily moved or excited.-Rauch.

• Some of them joined in with the United Brethren in Christ.

+ Some years ago they were occasionally called River Mennonites, from the circumstance that some of their first ministers had stood in connexion with the Mennonites.

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