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to the Declaration of Independence (1 10 years), the influence of the churches on civil government was as great as the influence of civil government on the churches, and was far more beneficial. Indeed, it would be difficult to discriminate between the life of the churches, through all that period, and the life of the State with which they were so closely connected. The influence by which public opinion on all great questions was formed and directed, came from the churches under the leadership of their ministry. In every town, the men of chief weight and influence were ordinarily the leading men in the church, and were always in relations of intimacy with the minister. Every Governor in either colony before the union, and afterwards every Governor in the united colony down to the year 1811, was in his own town a member of the church in full communion. As in the days of Thomas Hooker, so afterwards, it was from the pulpit-on Sabbathdays and lecture-days, and especially on fast-days and thanksgiving-days, but most eminently on election-days—that men heard what stimulated and guided their thinking on public affairs. They were taught, from God's word, that he who hath made of one blood all nations of men, is no respecter of persons, Cæsar in purple and the beggar in rags being equal before him the Judge of all; that the relation between the powers that are by the providence of God, and the people subject to those powers, is a relation of reciprocal duty; and that, as the church is not for the minister, but the minister for the church, so every civil ruler—whether king or governor-whether a justice of the peace in some frontier settlement, or a chief-justice in Westminster Hall is for the commonwealth, and not the commonwealth for him. Certain practical inferences from such principles were easily made when the cloud of threatened usurpation began to rise over the sea ; for though the cloud seemed at first no bigger than a man's hand, it was even then, to the instructed eye, portentous of a flood that would sweep away all the foundations of just government. It was not difficult for men of common sense-New England men—who revered their pastor, not for his priestly ephod, nor for his awful wig, nor for some ineffable quality supposed to be imparted by the touch of apostolic hands, but only" for his work's sake,” his personal fitness for his work and his fidelity in it,—to infer that the king himself was to be honored, not for his crown and jeweled scepter, nor for his royal robes, nor yet for his “ blue blood” and his descent “from loins enthroned" of other ages, nor for the mysterious “ divinity that doth hedge a king,”—but only for his "work's sake.” From that position another inference was easy: If George III, in violation of God's law, in violation of charters and of the laws which made him king, is faithless to his appointed work—if, instead of protecting his subjects from injustice, he lends his power to schemes for their oppression—the loyalty due to him for his work's sake, is no longer due, and the fundamental compact between him and them is broken by his fault. The relation of the Congregational churches of Connecticut to civil government at the time when American liberty was to be secured by the achievement of American independence, appears in the well-known fact that of the few Tories in Connecticut, there were almost none who had not been trained for a while under a very different ministration of religion.
I forbear to speak of the service done to the cause of American liberty by individual pastors of these churches, in the few years next preceding the Declaration of Independence. The time forbids me to speak of what was done, from the pulpit and through the press, by Stephen Johnson of Lyme, by Ebenezer Baldwin of Danbury, by Nathan Strong of Hartford, by James Dana of Wallingford, by Levi Hart of Preston, and by others. Let it suffice that the associated ministers of our Congregational churches have taken upon themselves in the General Association the duty of commemorating those services.
Other topics were included in the subject assigned to me for this occasion. But I must pass by them, with only the briefest notice.
Why need I expatiate on the historic relation of our churches " to popular education ?” Such was the connection between the churches and the State that, from the beginning of our history, our common schools, so fundamental to the new civilization that was planted here, were in reality church schools. The earliest legislation concerning them, whether in the river colony or in the New Haven colony, announces a religious, a Christian, a Protestant motive for establishing and maintaining them. Where there was a church for all the people, not to have schools for all the children was an absurdity. The minister in every town or parish was of course, and indeed by the stress of necessity, superintendent of the schools in that town or parish. When towns were divided into ecclesiastical societies for the support of public worship, the support of public schools was also a function of the ecclesiastical society; and in every school there was the reading of the Bible and the recitation of the catechism.
Such, through all the years till 1776, was the relation of these churches to popular education in the limited sense. But if we take the phrase in its broader sense, as including not only the instruction which every child is expected to receive, but also a more advanced instruction, provided either by municipalities or by public institutions for all who aspire to higher degrees of knowledge, we find the same influence of the churches and their ministers in whatever was attempted for the Commonwealth in the way of higher and liberal education—the education of youth" for public service in church or state.” The oldest institution of learning in Connecticut is the Hopkins Grammar School, which owes its existence not simply to the benefactor whose name it bears, but even more to the first pastor of the First Church in New Haven. So the "collegiate school," which was begun one hundred and seventy-six years ago, and which is now our famous University, owes its existence not to the man whose name it has immortalized, but to those ministers of the Congregational churches of Connecticut" who, as representing these churches and their ministry, became in fact and law its founders, and whose successors remain to this day its chartered guardians.
Yet these historical allusions are by no means an adequate representation of what our churches have done-still less of what they ought to have done for “popular education.” A Congregational church (and this is true, in one degree or another, of all true churches) is itself an educating institution, a school for the people—not for its communicants only and their children, but for all the households gathered into its weekly assemblies; nay, for all the people within the reach of its influence as a local institution. We talk about Sundayschools, and in these days they are doing much for popular education. Before 1776 there were no Sunday-schools in the modern and technical sense. But is not a Congregational church, itself, a Sunday-school in the broadest and highest meaning of that phrase? Is not some degree of intelligence in its members—some familiarity with that old and unique collection of books, the Bible--a primary condition of its existence? Is not every member of it required to have some knowledge of the highest themes of human thought ? Is not its ministry a teaching ministry? Its worship—the mode of worship in Congregational and Puritan churches—has been censured for the lack of ritual pomp ; no priestly vestments of divers colors; no surpliced choirs with antiphonal chanting; no mediæval architecture with long-drawn aisle and fretted roof; no stage-effect of slow processions moving to solemn music; no pictured saints in “storied windows richly dight;” no crucifix or gilded cross toward which the eye may turn in prayer ; no attempt to move the religious sensibility through the bodily senses, or otherwise than by thought expressed in words. We acknowledge the fact, and God forbid that we should try to get rid of it. Our public worship, as our fathers worshiped in their churches, was not sensuous, not histrionic, but such as is best described by the Apostle's phrase, translated, “reasonable service,” (Xoyen darpeia) — rational or thinking worship—the sort of worship which is rendered not by the bended knee alone, nor by words alone mechanically or melodiously recited,—but by the mind in the exercise of its intelligent powers. In public worship thus conducted, the congregation is trained to a thoughtful habit, not less thoughtful for being reverent and devout. I say, therefore, that the church, in its Sabbath assembly, under its teaching ministry, the church, praying, witnessing, and following on to know the Lord, is a school for the people, old and young, and is, by its very nature, one of the most efficient agencies in the work of popular education. Let the history of Connecticut in the early days when barbarism was the first danger, and through the colonial period—let the character with which its almost unanimous people (already republican for a hundred and forty years) entered upon the career of our national independence, testify to the capability of churches as institutions for the education of the people.
It remains for me to say something about the relation of the Congregational churches, in this Commonwealth, to "social reforms," before 1776. But what shall I say? What do we mean by “social reforms” in the plural ? Had the phrase been put in the singular number, I should have under stood it to mean the progressive reformation of society in respect to morality, bringing the sentiments and the habits of society nearer continually to the Christian ideal. That is just what the churches and their ministry were trying to do, according to their light, through all the generations of the period which we are reviewing. I do not find that there had ever been a conception of reforms conducted by specialists or of reforming societies and conventions, each with its one idea, and each agitating for its own specialty. When a pastor saw in his parish a prevalent or growing immorality, he could not send for a specialist to come and do his work for him ; but it was his duty, and a necessity was laid upon him, to hold up the light of God's word as bearing on that immorality, and so to demand and effect the needed reformation. Whenever a church found, in anybody subject to its discipline, a definite violation of God's law, it was the duty of that church to testify against the wrong, by censure demanding penitent confession. Doubtless, pastors were sometimes deficient in courage, and sometimes slow in the discernment of evils to be rebuked ; doubtless churches were sometimes slack, and sometimes indiscreet in their treatment of scandals ; but there is no room to doubt that, on the whole, the churches with their teaching ministry were faithful to their