« ZurückWeiter »
HUTCHINSONIANS. HUTCHINSONIANS, the followers of John Hutchinson, born in Yorkshire, 1674, and who in the early part of life served the Duke of Somerset in the capacity of a steward. The Hebrew Scriptures, he says, comprise a perfect system of natural philosophy, theology, and religion. In opposition to Dr. Woodward's Natural History of the Earth, Mr. Hutchinson, in 1724, published the first part of his curious book, called Moses Principia. Its second part was presented to the public in 1727, which contains, as he apprebends, the principles of the Scripture philosophy, which are a plenum and the air. So high an opinion did he entertain of the Hebrew language, that he thought the Almighty must have employed it to communicate every species of knowledge, and that accordingly every species of knowledge is to be found in the Old Testament. Of his mode of philosophising the fol. lowing specimen is brought forward to the reader's attention : “ The air (he supposes) exists in three conditions, fire, light, and spirit: the two latter are the finer and grosser part of the air in motion : from the earth to the sun, the air is finer and finer till it becomes pure light near the confines of the sun, and fire in the orb of the sun, or solar focus. From the earth towards the circumference of this system, in which he includes the fixed stars, the air becomes grosser and grosser till it becomes stagnant, in which condition it is at the utmost verge of this system, from whence (in his opinion) the expression of outer darkness, and blackness of darkness, used in the New Testament, seems to be taken."
The followers of Mr. Hutchinson are numerous, and among others the Rev. Mr. Romaine, Lord Duncan Forbes, of Culloden, and the late amiable Dr. Horne, Bishop of Norwich, who published an Abstract of Mr. Hutchinson's writings. They have never formed themselves into any distinct church or society.
THE Dunkers and Shakers are two sects peculiar to AMERICA.
DUNKERS.' THE Dunkers (or Tunkers) arose about 1721, and formed themselves into a kind of commonwealth, mostly in Pennsylvania. They baptize by immersion, dress like the Dominican friars, never shave head nor beard, have different apart. ments for the sexes, live chiefly on roots and vegetables, except at their love-feasts, when they cat only mutton. It is said that no bed is allowed
them but in case of sickness; for in their separate cells they have a bench to lie upon, and a block of wood for their pillow. Their principal tenet is the mortification of the body, and they deny the eternity of future punishment. They are commonly called the harmless Dunkers.
SHAKERS. THE Shakers, instituted in 1774, are the followers of Anna Leese, whom they 'style the elect Lady, and the Mother of all the Elect. They say she is the woman mentioned in the twelfth chapter of the Revelations, can speak seventy-two tongues, and converses with the dead. Their enthusiasm is vented in jumping, dancing, and violent exertions of the body, which bring ing on shaking, they are termed Shakers. This dancing, they say, denotes their victory over sin. Their most favourite exercise is turning round for an hour or two, which, in their opinion, shews the great power of God. See a curious account of the Shakers in the first volume of the Duke de la Rochefoucault's Travels through America.
NEW AMERICAN SECT. THE American editor of this work, has added the following article: .
“ Many of those who lately migrated from Wales to America, have adopted the following articles as their religious constitution :
~ 1. The convention shall be called the Christian Church.
- 2. It shall never be called by any other name, or be distinguished by the particular tenets of any man or sect of men.
- 3. Jesus Christ is the only head-believers in him the only members and the New Testament the only rule of the fraternity.
" 4. In mental matters, each member shall enjoy his own sentiments, and freely discuss every subject : but in discipline, a strict conformity with the precepts of Christ, is required. .“ 5. Every distinct society belonging to this association, shall have the same power of admitting its members, electing its officers, and in case of mal-conduct, of impeaching thèin.
“6. Delegates from the different congregations, shall meet from time to time, at an appointed place, to consult the welfare and advancement of the general interest.
“7. At every meeting for religious worship, collections shall be made for the poor, and the promulgation of the gospel among the Heathens."
This plan, which has many traits to recommend it, originated chiefly with the late Rev. M. J. Rees, who a few years ago emigrated from Wales, and distinguished himself in America by his talents and activity. He died in the prime of life, December 1804, at Somerset, in Pennsylvania, deeply regretted by his numerous friends and connections.
As to the other sects in the United States, they are much the same as on this side of the Atlantic. For an account of them, the reader may consult Morse's American Geography, and Winterbothom's History of America.
MYSTICS. - THE Mystics are those who profess a pure and sublime devotion, with a disinterested love of God, free from all selfish considerations. Passive contemplation is a state of perfection to which they aspire. Of this description there have been many singular characters, especially Madam Guyon, a French lady, who made a great noise in the religious world. Fenelon, the amiable Archbishop of Cambray, favoured the sentiments of this female devotee, for which he was repri.