The Independent
New York: S. W. Benedict, 11 September 1856

[from] Religious Intelligence.


  The New-England Churches.—If there are any churches on the face of the earth that truly belong to that universal church of which Christ is the head, they are the churches of New-England. This is the general sentiment of the Christian world. But there are men who evidently think that these churches will not bear comparison with certain others, which add to the New-England faith an article of belief in a divine "peculiar institution." Rev. N. L. Rice, D. D., of St. Louis, attended the recent meeting of the Evangelical Consociation of Rhode Island, and from what he there saw and heard, was led to make the following exceedingly flattering remarks:

  "A second impression made on my mind was, that the people of New-England, the descendants, as the number and neatness of their church edifices show, of pious ancestors, have become unsettled in their religious views, and are in a transition state. Some of the leading doctrines of Calvinism, so powerfully defended by Edwards, Dwight and Woods, have been modified or abandoned by many of the clergy; and as the connection between sound doctrine and sound morals is intimate and inseparable, Christian morality is on the wane. The sad decay of sound morals is sufficiently manifest from the 'Sharp's Rifle' meetings and sermons which have recently excited so much attention, and from the political declamation which now takes the place of Christ crucified, in many pulpits and some religious papers. Whether this transition state is to continue in its present direction, from bad to worse, the future only can reveal."

  Such a tribute as the above can hardly fail to be properly appreciated by those on whom it is bestowed. But this is not the only complimentary reference which has been made to New-England faith and practice. The Rev. Dr. F. A. Ross, of Tennessee, to whom our readers had an introduction in our report of the proceedings of the recent New-School Assembly, has since written a letter to the Presbyterian Witness, of Knoxville, concluding with the following generous and Christian sentiments:

  "Ye hypocrites—ye New-England hypocrites—ye French hypocrites—ye Uncle Tom's Cabin hypocrites—ye Beecher hypocrites—ye Rhode Island Consociation hypocrites. O! your holy twaddle stinks in the nostrils of God, and he commands me to lash you with my scorn, and His scorn, so long as ye gabble about the sin of slavery, and then bow down to me, and buy, and spin cotton—and thus work for me as truly as my slave. O! ye fools and blind—fill ye up the measure of your folly, and blindness and shame. And this ye are doing. Ye have, like the French infidels, made reason your goddess, and are exalting her above the Bible. And in your Unitarianism and Peology, and all modes of infidelity, ye are rejecting and crucifying the Son of God.

  "Now, my brother, this controlling slave power is a wide-world fact. Its statistics of bales counts by millions. Its tonnage counts by hundreds of thousands. Its manufacture is reckoned by the workshops of America and Europe. Its supporters are numbered by all who must thus be clothed in the world. This tremendous power has been developed in great measure by the abolition agitation, controlled by God. I believe then, as I have already said, that God intends one of two things. He either intends to destroy the United States by this slave power, or he intends to bless my country and the world by the unfoldings of His wisdom in this matter. I believe he will bless the world in the working out of this slavery. I rejoice, then, in the agitation which has so resulted, and will so terminate, to reveal the Bible and bless mankind."