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A History of American Christianity by Bacon

FOOTNOTES 210 1 Quoted in Tiffany


[210:1] Quoted in Tiffany, p. 289, note. The extreme depression of the Protestant Episcopal and (as will soon appear) of the Roman Catholic Church, at this point of time, emphasizes all the more the great advances made by both these communions from this time forward.

[211:1] Preface to the American "Book of Common Prayer," 1789.

[211:2] See the critical observations of Dr. McConnell, "History of the American Episcopal Church," pp. 264-276. The polity of this church seems to have suffered for want of a States' Rights and Strict Construction party. The centrifugal force has been overbalanced by the centripetal.

[213:1] Tiffany, pp. 385-399.

[216:1] Bishop O'Gorman, pp. 269-323, 367, 399.

[218:1] Buckley, "The Methodists," pp. 182, 183.

[219:1] Jesse Lee, quoted by Dr. Buckley, p. 195.

[222:1] Newman, "The Baptists," p. 305.

[222:2] _Ibid._, p. 243.

[224:1] Tiffany, p. 347; McConnell, p. 249.

[225:1] Dr. Richard Eddy, "The Universalists," p. 429.

[225:2] _Ibid._, pp. 392-397. The sermons of Smalley were preached at Wallingford, Conn., "by particular request,

with special reference to the Murrayan controversy."

[227:1] Leonard Bacon, of New Haven, in conversation.

[228:1] Eddy, p. 387.



The closing years of the eighteenth century show the lowest low-water mark of the lowest ebb-tide of spiritual life in the history of the American church. The demoralization of army life, the fury of political factions, the catchpenny materialist morality of Franklin, the philosophic deism of men like Jefferson, and the popular ribaldry of Tom Paine, had wrought, together with other untoward influences, to bring about a condition of things which to the eye of little faith seemed almost desperate.

From the beginning of the reaction from the stormy excitements of the Great Awakening, nothing had seemed to arouse the New England churches from a lethargic dullness; so, at least, it seemed to those who recalled those wonderful days of old, either in memory or by tradition. We have a gauge of the general decline of the public morals, in the condition of Yale College at the accession of President Dwight in 1795, as described in the reminiscences of Lyman Beecher, then a sophomore.

"Before he came, college was in a most ungodly state. The college church was almost extinct. Most of the students were skeptical, and rowdies were plenty. Wine and liquors were kept in many rooms; intemperance, profanity, gambling, and licentiousness were common. I hardly know how I escaped.... That was the day of the infidelity of the Tom Paine school. Boys that dressed flax in the barn, as I used to, read Tom Paine and believed him; I read and fought him all the way. Never had any propensity to infidelity. But most of the class before me were infidels, and called each other Voltaire, Rousseau, D'Alembert, etc."[231:1]

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