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language and ultra maxims. On the other hand, the Church, in whatever degree it may have been the advocate of inaction, at the same time was a main source of the conscience and conviction which kept up the agitation. “It has been fashionable,” says Senator Wilson, " to couple the charge of infidelity with the mention of the abolition effort. Nothing could be more unjust or untrue. Anti-slavery was the child of Christian faith. Its early and persistent defenders and supporters were men who feared God and called upon his name. Till the year 1836 and 1837 there was not a shadow of excuse for such an imputation. Up to that time Mr. Garrison himself was depending and calling upon the churches and ministers for help; and it was not until he had been engaged nearly ten years, and had received rebuffs and bitter opposition, instead of encouragement and help, from both parties and sects, that he and his immediate followers adopted the policy they afterward pursued. But they never constituted more than a fraction of the anti-slavery host. The veteran William Goodell estimated their number at about one eighth. The large majority of abolitionists retained their connection with both the ecclesiastical and political organizations of the land. ... The Protestant clergy and the membership of the Protestant churches in the free States aided, with few exceptions, in the election of Mr. Lincoln, gave large and generous support to his administration, earnestly demanded and vigorously sustained his policy of emancipation.” 1
i Slave Power, iii 718-723. It may be noticed that Garrison in his vocation as an anti-slavery agitator was distinctly under obligation to the Christian Church. The Quakers as a communion inculcated anti-slavery
Custom has sanctioned the statement that the war of the Rebellion gave the death-blow to slavery. The statement, however, is but partly true. Human insight indeed cannot see how anything short of the terrible surgery of the sword could have sundered the evil from the body politic. Still, the effective causes of the downfall of slavery lay farther back : in the persistent protests of the Quakers; in the untiring labors of Wilberforce; in Wesley's terse denunciations of the traffic in human flesh; in the sober reflection of the Revolutionary statesmen, which made them see that a system of bondage was an utter anomaly in a republic dedicated to freedom; in the long line of earnest men whom neither threats nor persuasions could seduce into a surrender of principle to the claims of expediency. Without these causes either the emancipation proclamation of President Lincoln would not have been issued, or being issued would not have been adequately sustained by a firm and resolute public opinion.
In the temperance reform in the United States the Church has undoubtedly been the citadel where the main strength and inspiration have been lodged. A number of sermons, in the early part of the century, from such men as Ebenezer Porter, Lyman Beecher, Heman Humphrey, and Nathaniel S. Prime were a means of awakening conscience over the scandal and ruin of the drinking habits which were then fearfully prevalent. Action taken by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, in 1811, gave an impulse to the foundation of temperance societies. These at first doctrine. Garrison received the initial incentive to his reforming activity from the Quaker Benjamin Lundy.
did not take the high ground of total abstinence; but experience ere long taught that nothing less could be effectual in the warfare against appetite.
A new advance in the reform was accomplished in 1840, as the Washingtonian movement swept like a wave of humanitarian zeal over the country. By the efforts of this era it is supposed that six hundred thousand men were redeemed from alcoholic slavery. But the open saloon was too great an ordeal to the enfeebled will of a majority of them. More than two thirds fell again under the old tyranny. This appalling sacrifice of manhood and defeat of generous effort very naturally aroused serious questioning over the propriety of tolerating such death-traps as the saloons. We find, accordingly, that between 1850 and 1856 prohibitory laws were adopted in a dozen States.
From this plane there was a very noticeable descent in the ensuing years.
An overweening confidence in the efficacy of mere enactments, the demoralizing influences of a protracted civil war, the incoming of crowds of emigrants who had received no training in temperance principles, the fallacy that beer-drinking or wine-drinking might set the fiery liquors aside instead of educating a taste for them, and the desperate energy of mammon and depraved appetite to secure their fill, — prepared for a partial apostasy from the position which had been gained in the middle of the century. The statute-books in many of the prohibitory States were revised in favor of license, and the amount of liquor consumed gave evidence of a perilous drift in the habits of the people. Still, the friends of temperance have not lost courage, and find not a few reasons for hopefulness. By the operation of local option much territory has been placed under a prohibitory policy. Medical theory has become increasingly favorable to abstinence from intoxicants. The power of early education is being utilized as never before for the inculcation of a wholesome fear and detestation of the drink plague. While sluggishness and flabbiness are manifest in a part of the ecclesiasical area, it is still true that some of the leading Protestant communions are in spirit and practice total-abstinence societies. In the Roman Catholic Church total-abstinence societies have made a gratifying progress since their initiation in 1870, and afford thus a measure of relief to the minds of zealous friends of temperance in that communion, who have deplored the fact that so large a part of the liquor traffic is in the hands of men whose baptism and religious training were received in the Roman Catholic Church.
Like other great communities, the people of the United States can doubtless find as many occasions for humiliation as for boasting. Nevertheless, the religious history and present condition of the nation abundantly prove that a church unsupported and untrammelled by connection with the State can be, relatively speaking, an efficient guardian of the interests of Christian piety and morality.
1 See Dorchester, Liquor Problem in all Ages ; also, Christianity in the United States.
CRISES IN THE
II. DENOMINATIONAL MOVEMENTS AND
1. UNITARIANS AND UNIVERSALISTS. - In the first years of the nineteenth century a strange branch appeared upon the old Puritan trunk in eastern Massachusetts. Out of the bosom of Congregational orthodoxy Unitarianism emerged, and with so much freshness and vigor that it threatened for a season to overshadow the parent stock. In Boston the Old South Church alone kept the primitive New England faith, and bore a solitary banner till the founding of Park Street Church in 1809 provided her with a stanch confederate.
The rise of New England Unitarianism was due very largely to native causes. Doubtless the movement in England which in the course of the eighteenth century transformed the Presbyterian into a predominantly Unitarian body exerted a measure of influence on this side of the Atlantic. But the English coefficient was probably a less factor in the result than the developments which occurred in the Puritan communities themselves. The half-way covenant operated to bring into the churches many to whom the Calvinistic theology was too strong a diet for easy digestion, - to whom indeed any form of aggressive piety was scarcely congenial. In proportion as men of this class failed to catch the enthusiasms of the Great Awakening, in which stern doctrines were preached with tremendous force, they naturally were confirmed and strengthened by that profound agitation in their dislike of Calvinistic orthodoxy. For a time this alienation wrought mainly in a negative way.