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International Religious Networks: Methodism and Popular Protestantism, c. 1750 – c. 1850

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2016

David Hempton
Affiliation:
Harvard Divinity School
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Extract

The benefits of using an international lens to understand both the complexity and the essence of religious movements have been well demonstrated in a number of important recent studies. In fact it has become quite unusual to write about early modern puritanism and Protestantism without taking at least a transatlantic, if not a global, perspective. Philip Benedict’s important book, Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism (2002) has shown that only by looking at Calvinism as an international movement taking root in France, the Netherlands, the British Isles, the Holy Roman Empire, eastern Europe and New England can one properly identify the distinctive aspects of Calvinist piety and begin to answer bigger questions about Calvinism’s alleged contribution to the emergence of modern liberal democracy. He shows, for example, that while no post-Reformation confession had a monopoly of resistance to unsatisfactory rulers, Calvinists, because of their deep hostility to idolatrous forms of worship and unscriptural church institutions, were generally speaking more unwilling than others to compromise with or submit to religious and political institutions antithetical to their interests. Similarly, although Benedict is sceptical about the supposed connections between Calvinism and capitalism and Calvinism and democracy, he does show that Calvinism was a midwife of modernity through its routinization of time, its promotion of literacy, and its emphasis on the individual conscience.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Ecclesiastical History Society 1994

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References

1 See, e.g., Bozeman, Theodore Dwight, The Predsionist Strain: Disciplinary Religion and Antinomian Backlash in Puritanism to 1638 (Chapel Hill, NC, 2004);Google Scholar Kidd, Thomas S., The Protestant Interest: New England after Puritanism (New Haven, CT, 2004).CrossRefGoogle Scholar Kidd introduces his book with a quotation from Thomas Prince’s sermon on The Endless Increase of Christ’s Government (1740), in which he confidendy predicted that the whole globe was about to be enlightened by the ‘gospel of the kingdom’. See also Noll, Mark A., The Rise of Evangelicalism:The Age of Edwards, Whitefield and the Wesleys (Leicester, 2004).Google Scholar

2 Benedict, Philip, Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism (New Haven, CT, 2002), 544.Google Scholar

3 O’Brien, Susan, ‘A Transatlantic Community of Saints: The Great Awakening and the First Evangelical Network, 1735–1755’, AHR 91 (1986), 811–32 esp. 81115;Google Scholar eadem, ‘Eighteenth-Century Publishing Networks in the First Years of Transatlantic Evangelicalism’, in Noll, Mark A., Bebbington, David W. and Rawlyk, George A., eds, Evangelicalism: Comparative Studies of Popular Protestantism in North America, the British Isles and Beyond, 1700–1990 (New York, 1994), 3857.Google Scholar

4 Ward, W. R., The Protestant Evangelical Awakening (Cambridge, 1992), 2.Google Scholar

5 Baker, F., ‘Introduction’, The Works of John Wesley, 25: Letters I: 1721–1739 ed. Baker, F. (Oxford, 1980), 82.Google Scholar

6 A modern edition of her works includes a volume of letters: Selected Spiritual Writings of Anne Dutton: Eighteenth-Century British-Baptist, Woman Theologian, ed. J. F. Watson (Macon, GA, 2003). I am indebted to Bruce Hindmarsh for this reference.

7 Bruce Hindmarsh, ‘The Medium is the Message: Spiritual Experience in the Personal Letters of the Early Evangelicals’, paper delivered at the 2005 Regent History Conference, Regent College, Vancouver, July 2005. See also Hindmarsh, D. Bruce, The Evangelical Conversion Narrative: Spiritual Autobiography in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2005).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

8 This subject is treated in more depth by Snape, Michael E, The Redcoat and Religion:The Forgotten History of the British Soldier from the Age of Marlborough to the Eve of the First World War (London, 2005), 768.Google Scholar

9 See Maffitt, John Newland, Tears of Contrition, Or Sketches of the Life of John N. Maffitt: With Religious and Moral Reflections. To Which Are Appended Several Poetic Effu sions (New London, CT, 1821);Google Scholar idem, The First Sermon Delivered in the Senate Chamber, on Sunday, January 9, 1842 (New York, 1842); idem, A Voice from the Ocean: Sermon Delivered in the House of Representatives, Sunday, July 31, 1842. To the Memory of Rev. George G. Cookman (Washington, DC, 1842).

10 Andrews, Dee E., The Methodists and Revolutionary America, 1760–1800 The Shaping of an Evangelical Culture (Princeton, NJ, 2000), 358;Google Scholar Townsend, W. J., Workman, H. B. and Eayrs, George, A New History of Methodism, 2 vols (London, 1909), 2: 23781;Google Scholar Breward, Ian, A History of the Churches in Australasia, Oxford History of the Christian Church (Oxford, 2001).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

11 Semmel, Bernard, The Methodist Revolution (London, 1974);Google Scholar Thompson, E. P., The Making of the English Working Class (Harmondsworth, 1968);Google Scholar Wearmouth, Robert, Methodism and the Working-Class Movements of England 1800–1850 (London, 1937);Google Scholar idem, Some Working-Class Movements of the Nineteenth Century (London, 1948).

12 Barclay, Wade Crawford, History of Methodist Missions, Early American Methodism 1769–1844 1: Missionary Motivation and Expansion (New York, 1949), 16675.Google Scholar For a useful overview of the mission history of American Methodism, see the series History of Methodist Missions by Barclay (vols 1–3 and J. Tremayne Copplestone (vol. 4), published by the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church (New York, 1949–73. For more detailed information on the rise of Methodism in Nova Scotia, see Semple, Neil, The Lord’s Dominion: The History of Canadian Methodism (Montreal and Kingston, ON, 1996), 307.Google Scholar

13 Taylor, William, Seven Years Street Preaching in San Francisco, California; Embracing Incidents, Triumphant Death Scenes, etc. (New York, 1856).Google Scholar For good short accounts of his career, see Bundy, David, ‘Bishop William Taylor and Methodist Mission: A Study in Nineteenth Century Social History’, Methodist History 27 (1988–9), 197210;Google Scholar 28 (1989–90, 2–21 Bundy s bibliography supplies a useful list of Taylor’s prolific publications, including Story of My Life; An Account of what I have Thought and Said and Done in my Ministry of more than Fifty-Three Years in Christian Lands and among the Heathen, Written by Myself (New York, 1895).

14 Hempton, David, Methodism: Empire of the Spirit (New Haven, CT, 2005).Google Scholar

15 Finley, James B., History of the Wyandott Mission (Cincinnati, OH, 1840);Google Scholar Smith, Donald B., Sacred Feathers: The Reverend Peter Jones (Kahkewaquonaby) & the Mississauga Indians (Lincoln, NE, 1987).Google Scholar Jones was of mixed race and was converted at a Methodist camp meeting in 1823. For earlier Moravian missions to Native Americans which may have had a bearing on Methodist strategy, see Olmstead, Earl P., David Zeisberger: A Life among the Indians (Kent, OH, 1997);Google Scholar Martin, Joel W., Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees’ Struggle for a New World (Boston, MA, 1991), 10810.Google Scholar For a wider interpretation of American Indian identity, see Grounds, Richard A., Tinker, George E. and Wilkins, David E., eds, Native Voices: American Indian Identity and Resistance (Lawrence, KS, 2003).Google Scholar

16 For more on the cultural encounters between Native Americans and Christian proselytizers, see Axtell, James, Natives and Newcomers: The Cultural Origins of North America (New York, 2001).Google Scholar

17 Finley, History of the Wyandott Mission; Barclay, Wade Crawford, History of Methodist Missions, Early American Methodism 1769–1844 2: To Reform the Nation (New York, 1950), 2835;Google Scholar Bangs, Nathan, A History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 4 vols (New York, 1838–41), 4: 294.Google Scholar See also Barclay’s judicious general conclusion on the fate of the Methodist mission to Native Americans in his History of Methodist Missions, The Methpodist Episcopal Church, 1845–1939, 3: Widening Horizons (New York, 1957), 363–4 There were nevertheless a reasonable number of Native American Methodists who preached to their own people: ibid. 363.

18 Fourth Annual Report of the Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society (New York, 1823), 8–9 16–17 Fifth Annual Report of the Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society (New York, 1824), 22.

19 Thirtieth Annual Report of the Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society (New York, 1849), 105–10

20 Thrirty Fifth Annual report of the Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society (New York, 1854), 37.

21 For examples of the rhetoric, see the Thirtieth Annual Report, 13, in which Catholicism is described as ‘the galling fetters of Romish superstition’.

22 This comparison is taken much further than is possible here by David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish (Oxford, 2002)

23 Mudge, Enoch, ‘The Salvation of Sinners Effected by the Cooperation of the Divine and Human Agencies’, The Methodist Preacher I, no. 2 (1830), 28.Google Scholar I am grateful to Dr Glen Messer for help in researching the references from The Methodist Preacher.

24 Maffitt, John Newland.‘Our Country. [A Sermon] Delivered in Bennett Street Church on the Afternoon of the 4th of July’, The Methodist Preacher 1, no. 7 (1830), 1034.Google Scholar

25 Hedding, Elijah, ‘Self-Government’, The Methodist Preacher 2, no. 1 (1831), 24.Google Scholar

26 Scott, Orange, Address to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church; Presented During Its Session in Cincinnati, Ohio, May ig, 1836. To Witich Is Added, the Speech of the Rev. Mr. Scott, Delivered on the Floor of the General Conference, May 27th, 1836 (New York, 1836), 1.Google Scholar

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