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As to their doctrinal tenets, and the practical inferences thence deduced, they appear to be effentially right, and such as will not be excepted against by any candid and liberal person who has made himself acquainted with them. Those who wish to obtain a thorough and impartial knowledge of their religious sentiments and customs, may see them excellently summed up in a plain, but nervous ftile, in " An exposition of Christian Doctrine, as taught in the Protestant church of the United Brethern, written in German by A. G. SPANGENBERG; and translated and published in English in 1784. By this book nothing appears but that they are thorough in the doctrines of grace, as they are obviously exhibited in the Old and New Testament. They profefs to live in strict obedience to the ordinances of Christ, such as the observation of the fabbath, infant baptism, and the Lord's Supper; and in addition to these, they practise : The Foot-washing, the Kiss of Love, and the use of the Lot;' for which their reasons, if not conclusive, are yet plausible.
They were introduced into America by Count Zinzendorf, and settled at Bethlehem, which is their principal settlement in America, as early as 1741. The following authentic descriptions of their several settlements in this state, which was obligingly sent me by one of their own number, will afford the reader a just idea of the uncommon regularity, industry, ingenuity, and economy which characterize these people.
Bethlehem is situated on the river Lehigh, a western branch of the Delaware, fifty-three miles north of Philadelphia, in lat. 40° 37. The town being built partly on a high rising ground, and partly on the lower banks of the Manakes, (a fine creek, which affords trout and other filh) has a very pleasant and healthy fituation, and is frequently visited in the summer season by gentry from different parts. The prospect is not extenfive, being bounded very near by a chain of the Lehigh hills. To the northward is a tract of land called the dry lands.
In the year 1787, the number of the inhabitants amounted to between 500 and 600, and the houses were about 60 in number, mostly good itrong buildings of limestone.
Besides the church, or public meeting-hall, there are three large spacin ous buildings, viz.
1. The single brethern's, or young men's house, facing the main-fireet or public road. Hore the greatest part of the single tradesmen, journeymen, and apprentices of the town are boarded at a moderate rate, under the inspection of an elder and warden, and have, besides the public meetings, their house-devotions, morning and evening prayers. Different trades are carried on in the house for the benefit of the fame.
2. The single filter's, or young women's house, where they live under the care of female inspectors. Such as are not employed in private families, earn their bread mostly by spinning, sewing, fine needle-work, knitting, and other female occupations.
Though this house has its particular regulations to preserve order and decorum, and may perhaps bear some resemblance to a nunnery, (being sometimes improperly so called) yet the plan is very different. The ladies are at liberty to go about their business in the town, or to take a walk for recreation ; and some are employed in private families, or live
with their parents ; neither are they bound to remain in the single ftate, for every year some of them enter into the married state.
As to their almost uniform dress, the women in general, for the sake of avoiding extravagance, and the follies of fashion, have hitherto kept to a particular simple dress, introduced among them in Germany many years ago.
3. The house for the widow women, where such as have not a house of their own, or means to have their own house furnished, live nearly in the same way as do the single sisters. Such as are poor, infirm, and superannuated, are affifted or maintained by the congregation, as is the case with other members of the same, that are not able to obtain fubfiftence for themselvcs.
There is, besides, an institution of a society of married men, begun since the year 1770, for the support of their widows. A considerable fund or principal has been raised by them, the interest of which, as well as the yearly contributions of the members, is regularly divided among the widows, whose husbands have been members of the institution.
In a house adjoining the church, is the school for girls ; and, since the year 1787, a boarding school for young ladies from different parts, who are instructed in reading and writing, (both English and German) grammar, arthmetic, history, geography, needle-work, music, &c.
The minister of the place has the special care and inspection of this, as well as of the boys school, which is kept in a separate house, fitted to that purpose, and are taught reading and writing in both languages, the rudiments of the Latin tongue, arithmetic, &c.
Besides the different houses for private tradesmen, mechanics, and others, there is a public tavern at the north end of the town, with pretty good accommodations; also a store, with a general affortment of goods; an apothecary's shop; a large farm-yard; and on the lower part, on Manakes creek, is a large tan-yard, a currier's and dyer's shop, a grist-mill, fulling-mill, oil-mill, and saw-mill; and on the banks of the Lehigh, a brewery.
The towa is fupplied with good water from a spring, which being in the lower part of the town, is raised up the hill by a machine of a very fimple construction, to the height of upwards of 100 feet, into a reservoir, whence it is conducted by pipes into the several streets and public buildings of the town.
The ferry across the river is of such particular contrivance, that a flat, large enough to carry a team of fix horses, runs on a strong rope, fixed and stretched across; and, by the mere force of the stream, without any other assistance, crosses the river backwards and forwards ; the flat being always put in an oblique direction, with its foremost end verging towards the line described by the rope.
The greater part of the inhabitants, as well as the people in the neighbourhood, being of German extraction, this language is more in use than the English. The latter, however, is. cultivated in the schools, and divine service performed in both languages.
Nazareth is ten miles north from Bethlehem, and fixty-three north from Philadelphia. It is a tract of good land, containing about 5000 acres, purchaled originally by the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield, in 1740,
and sold two years after to the brethren. The town was laid out almost in the centre of this tract, in 1772. Two streets cross each other at right angles, and form a square in the middle, of 340 by 200 feet. The largest building is a stone house, erected in 1755, named Nazareth-hall, · 98 feet by 46 long, and 54 in height. In the lowermoft story is a spacious meeting-hall, orchurch; the upper part of the house is chiefly fitted for a boarding school, where youth, from different parts, are under the care and inspection of the minister of the place and several tutors, and are instructed in the English, German, Latin, and French languages; in history, geography, book-keeping, mathematics, music, drawing, and other sciences. The front of the house faces a large square open to the south, adjoining a fine piece of meadow ground, and commands a most beautiful and extensive prospect. Another elegant building on the east side of Nazareth-hall is inhabited by single fifters, who have the same regulations and way of living as those in Bethlehem. Besides their principal manufactory for spinning and twisting cotton, they have lately begun to draw wax tapers.
At the south-west corner of the aforesaid square, in the middle of the town, is the single brethren's house; and on the east-south-east corner a store. On the southernmost end of the street is a good tavern. The houses are, a few excepted,' built of lime stone, one or two stories high, inhabited by tradesmen and mechanics, mostly of German extraction. The inhabitants are supplied with water conveyed to them by pipes from a fine spring near the town. The place is noted for having an exceedingly pleasant situation, and enjoying a very pure and falubrious air. The number of inhabitants in the town, and farms belonging to it, (Schoeneck included) constituting one congregation, and meeting for divine service on Sundays and holidays at Nazareth-hall, was, in the year 1788, about 450.
Litiz is in Lancaster county, and Warwick township; eight miles from Lancaster, and seventy miles west from Philadelphia. This settlement was begun in the year 1757. There are now, besides an elegant church, and the house of the single brethren and single fisters, which form a large square, a number of houses for private families, with a store and tavern, all in one street. There is also a good farm and several mill works belonging to the place. The number of inhabitants, in cluding those that belong to Litiz congregation, living on their farms in the neighbourhood, amounted, in 1787, to upwards of
300. Such is the Moravian interest in Pennsylvania. Their other settlements in America, are at Hope, in New Jersey, already described, and at Wachovia, on Yadkin river, in North-Carolina, which will be described in its proper place. Besides these regular settlements, which are formed by such only as are members of the brethren's church, and live together in good order and harmony, there are, in different parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey, and in the cities and towns of New-York, Pennsylvania, Lancaster, York-town, &c. congregations of the brethren, who have their own church and minister, and hold the same principles, and doctrinal tenets, and church rites and ceremonies, as the former, though their local situation does not admit such particular regulations as are peculiar to the regular settlements.
In Pennsylvania there are sixteen congregations of English BAPTISTS. The doctrines, discipline, and worship of these, are similar to those of the New-England Baptifts. In 1770, the number of this denomination of babtists was reckoned at 650 families, making, as was fuppofed, 3,250 fouls, who were divided into ten churches, who had eighteen meeting-houses, and eleven ministers. Besides these there are a few Sabbatarian babtists, who keep the seventh day as holy time, and who are the remains of the Keithian or Quaker babtists, and a number of Tunkers and Mennonists, both of whom are profefionably babtists, and are of German extraction.
The Tunkers are so called in derision, from the word tunken, to put a morjel in fauce. The Engliih word that conveys the proper meaning, of Tunkers is Sops or Dit;ers. They are also called Tumblers, from the manner in which they perform babtism, which is by putting the perfon, wiile kneeling, head first under water, so as to resemble the motion of the body in the action of tumbling. The Germans found the letters t and b like d and p; hence the words Tunkers and Tumblers have been corruptly written Dunkers and Dumplers.
The first appearing of these people in America, was in the fall of the year 1719, when about twenty families landed in Philadelphia, and disperied themselves in various parts of Pennsylvania. They are what are called General Baptists, and hold to general redemption and general falvation. They use great plainness of dress and language, and will neither swear, nor fight, nor go to law, nor take interest for the money they lend. They commonly wear their beards-keep the first day Sabbath, except one congregation--have the Lord's Supper, with its ancient attendants of love-feasts, with washing of feet, kiss of charity, and right hand of fellowship. They anoint the fick with oil for their recovery, and use the trine immersion, with laying on of hands and prayer, even while the person baptised is in the water. Their church government and discipline are the same with those of the English baptists, except that every brother is allowed to speak in the congregation; and their best speaker is usually ordained to be their minifter. They have deacons, deaconesses (from among their ancient widows) and exhorters, who are all licenfed to use their gifts statedly. On the whole, notwithstanding their peculiarities, they appear to be humble, well-meaning Christians, and have acquired the character of the Harmless Tunkers.
Their principal settlement is at Ephrata, sometimes called Tunkerstown, in Lancaster county, fixty miles weitward of Philadelphia. It confifts of about forty buildings, of which three are places of worship: One is called Sharon, and adjoin’s the filters apartment as a chapel; another, belonging to the brother's apartment, called Bethany. To these the brethren and fifters resort, separately, to worship morning and evening, and sometimes in the night. The third is a common church, called Zion, where all in the lettlement meet once a week for public worship. The brethren have adopted the White Friars' dress, with some alterations the fifters, that of the nuns; and both, like them, have taken the vow of celibacy. All, however, do not keep the vow.
When they marry, they leave their cells and go among the married people. They fubfift by cultivating their lands, by attending a printing-office, a grist mill,
a paper mill, an oil mill, &c. and the fifters by spinning, weaving, sewing, &c. They, at first, slept on board couches, but now on beds, and have otherwise abated much of their former severity. This is the congregation who keep the seventh day Sabbath. Their singing is charming, owing to the pleasantness of their voices, the variety of parts, and the devout manner of performance. Besides this congregation at Ephrata; there were, in 1770, fourteen others in various other parts of Pennsylvania, and some in Maryland. The whole, exclusive of those in Maryland, amounted to upwards of 200 fouls.
The MENNONIsts derive their name from Menno Simon, a native of Witmars in Germany, a man of learning, born in the year 1505, in the time of the reformation by Luther and Calvin. He was a famous Ro. man Catholic preacher till about the year 1531, when he became a Baptist. Some of his followers came into Pennsylvania from New York, and fettled at Germantown, as early as 1692. This is at present their principal congregation, and the mother of the rest. Their whole number, in 1770, in Pennsylvania, was upwards of 4000, divided into thirteen churches, and forty-two congregations, under the care of fifteen ordained ministers, and fifty-three licensed preachers.
The Mennonists do not, like the Tunkers, hold the doctrine of general salvation; yet like them, they will neither swear nor fight, nor bear any civil office, nor go to law, nor take interest for the money they lend, though many break this last rule. Some of them wear their beards; wash each other's feet, &c. and all use plainness of speech and dress. Some have been expelled their society for wearing buckles in their shoes, and having pocket holes in their coats. Their church government is democratical. They call thtmselves the Harmless Chriftians, Revengeless Christians, and Weaponless Christians. They are Babtists rather in name than in fact; for they do not use immersion. Their common mode of baptism is this: The person to be baptized kneels; the minister holds his hands over him, into which the deacon pours water, which runs through upon the head of the person kneeling. After this, follow imposition of
Literary, Humane, and other useful Societies.] These are more numerous, and flourishing in Pennsylvania, than in any of the Thirteen States. The names of these improving institutions, the times when they were established, and a summary of the benevolent designs they were intended to accomplish, will be mentioned in their order.
1. THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, HELD AT PHILADELPHIA,
This society was formed January 2d, 1769, by the union of two other literary focieties that had fubfifted for some time in Philadelphia; and were created one body corporate and politic, with such powers, privileges, and immunities as are necessary for answering the valuable purposes which the society had originally in view, by a charter, granted by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on the 15th of March, 1780. This fociety have already published two very valuable volumes of their transactions; one in 1771, the other in 1786. In 1771, this society consisted of nearly 300 members ; and
ards of 120 have since been added; a large proportion of which are foreign
hands and prayer.