Category Archives: July 4rth

Smith’s Temporal Salvation

Winning Heathens at Jamestown

The following essay takes quotes from a Sermon, delivered for our 1790 Independence Day, by the Rev. Dr. William Smith of the American Episcopal Church. The address considers our Temporal and Spiritual Salvation as a nation, and how sorts of blessings work together for the expansion of Kingdom of Christ.  Dr. Smith reminds his esteemed audience their duties following their Independence, and how our early-Republic fit into a latter-day Gospel economy. Smith’s sermon(s) lay much groundwork for an American civil religion, identifying the American states with God’s elect, and their extension to the fullness of Gentiles. Smith gives us a nice example Christian Patriotism. The larger text is from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 52, reading thusly:  Continue reading

Schaff on Non-Establishment

schaffA Prussian immigrae, Phillip Schaff (1819-1893) was committed to the idea of uniting Lutheran and Reformed churches which began in Germany under the aegis of Prince Frederick William IV. Dr. Schaff is perhaps better known for his voluminous writings on Church history and the ancient fathers. His contribution alongside John W. Nevin in making “Mercersburg Theology”(1) is also significant as a traditional Protestant answer to American revivalism. Initially scandalized by the proliferation of enthusiastic sects, Schaff gradually found a silver-lining in American disestablishment, concluding God’s Providence set aside the United States to play a crucial role in forging an Evangelical Christendom by voluntaristic means. His change of opinion on freedom of religion is worth study, answering questions perhaps vexing for Anglicans-abroad who normally are ambivalent about their Republican advantages and not-too-distant past with Royal Supremacy.  Continue reading