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In this list many varieties of sects are blended
For instance, the Baptists who are divided ; also the Friends, who have been separated into Orthodox and Hicksite, the Camelites, &c., &c. But it is not worth while to enter into a detail of the numerous minor sects, or we might add Deists, Atheists, &c.--for even no religion is a species of creed. It must be observed, that, according to this table, out of the whole population of the United States, there are only 1,983,905, (with the exception of the Catholics, who are Communicants,) that is, who have openly professed any creed; the numbers put down as the population of the different creeds are wholly suppositious. How can it be otherwise, when people have not professed ? It is computed, that in the census of 1840 the population of the States will have increased to 18,000,000, so that it may be said that only one-ninth portion have professed and openly avowed themselves Christians.
Religion may, as to its consequences, be considered undertwo heads; as it affects the future wel
fare of the individual when he is summoned to
the presence of the Deity, and as it affects society in general, by acting upon the moral character of the community. Now, admitting the right of every individual to decide whether he will follow the usual beaten track, or select for himself a bye-path for his journey upward, it must be acknowledged that the results of this free-will are, in a moral point of view, as far as society is concerned, anything but satisfactory.
It would appear as if the majority were much too frail and weak to go alone upon their heavenly journey; as if they required the support, the assistance, the encouragement, the leaning upon others who are journeying with them, to enable them successfully to gain the goal. The effects of an established church are to cement the mass, cement society and communities, and increase the force of those natural ties by which families and relations are bound together. There is an attraction of cohesion in an uniform religious worship, acting favourably upon the mo
rals of the mass, and binding still more closely those already united. Now, the voluntary system in America has produced the very opposite effects: it has broken one of the strongest links between man and man, for each goeth his way: as a nation, there is no national feeling to be acted upon; in society, there is something wanting, and you ask yourself what it is? and in families it often creates disunion : I know one among many others, who, instead of going together to the same house of prayer, disperse as soon as they are out of the door: one daughter to an Unitarian chapel, another to a Baptist, the parents to the Episcopal ; the sons, any where, or no where. But worse effects are produced than even these : where any one is allowed to have his own peculiar way of thinking, his own peculiar creed, there neither is a watch, nor a right to watch over each other; there is no mutual communication, no encouragement, no parental control; and the consequence is, that by the majo
rity, especially the young, religion becomes wholly and utterly disregarded.
Another great evil, arising from the peculiarity of the voluntary system, is, that in many of the principal sects the power has been wrested from the clergy and assumed by the laity, who exercise an inquisition most injurious to the cause of religion ; and to such an excess of tyranny is this power exercised, that it depends upon the laity, and not upon the clergy, whether any
individual shall or shall not be admitted as a communi
cant at the table of our Lord. *
Referring to religious instruction, Mr.Carey in his work attempts to prove the great superiority of religious instruction and church accommodation in America, as compared with those matters
* Miss Martineau may well inquire, “How does the existing state of religion accord with the promise of its birth ? In a country which professes to every man the pursuit of happiness in his own way, what is the state of his liberty in the most private and individual of all concerns ?"
in this country. He draws his conclusions from the number of churches built and provided for the population in each. Like most others of his conclusions, they are drawn from false premises : he might just as well argue upon the number of horses in each country, from the number of horse-ponds he might happen to count in each. In the first place, the size of the churches must be considered, and their ability to accommodate the population ; and on this point, the question is greatly in favour of England ; for, with the exception of the cities and large towns, the churches scattered about the hamlets and rising towns are small even to ridicule, built of clapboards, and so light that, if on wheels, two pair of English post-horses would trot them away, to meet the minister.
Mr. Carey also finds fault with the sites of our churches as being unfortunate in consequence of the change of population. There is some truth in this remark : but our churches being built of brick and stone, cannot be so