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“* And I looked, and lo! a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. ** But who are these hundred and forty-four thousand? These are they which were not defiled with women: for they are virgins.'
"Some suppose this to include that particular number only who will attain to that honour. Be this as it may, it is a striking evidence that none but those who live a virgin life can obtain so great a privilege ; and therefore such a life must not only be the most acceptable in the sight of God and the Lamb, but is that alone which can stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion.
* These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.' That is, they walk in perfect obedience to the law of Christ, and follow his example in all purity and holiness; not defiling then selves with women, nor living in any uncleanness, or in any selfish gratification whatever.”
The Shakers, however, are not content with this array of scriptural authorities, from Genesis to Revelation, in favour of their views as to the nature of the original sin, and the expediency and propriety of a life of celibacy, but they boldly and frankly undertake to answer the objections urged by the world in general to the doctrines in question. In this they are as elaborate as in the exhibition of their original authorities; but without following them through all they have said on this subject, one example of the manner in which they answer these objections is worth giving, as a specimen of the reasoning used, and the spirit and feeling with which their arguments are urged.
“Objection: Jesus Christ himself did not condemn marriage ; but, on the contrary, he not only honoured a marriage with his presence, but gave it an extraordinary and most miraculous sanction, by turning water into wine for the guests to drink. What greater evidence could any one ask to prove his Divine approbation?
Answer: His enemies adopted the same mode of reasoning to prove him a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners;' and doubtless they felt as much confidence in the strength of their arguments as our objectors do in theirs. And why should they not? Did he not honour with his presence the assemblies of publicans and harlots? Did he not eat and drink with them, and work miracles for them? And where was the Pharisee that would not have condemned a man for a wine-bibber and a promoter of drunkenness, who would go and turn so much water into wine “after men had well drunk ?? And could any man that would frequent the assemblies of such base characters escape the scandal of being a partaker with them, or the charge of encouraging them in their wickedness?
“So reasoned the Scribes and Pharisees, and so will all carnal men reason when they want to subvert the testimony of truth for the purpose of promoting their own carnal views. But with all their reasoning and all their evidence, they could never prove that the Lord Jesus ever sanctioned the evil practices of these sinners, or authorized them to continue in sin. It is true he did not condemn this darling practice of the world, nor did he condemn the adulteress, though she was taken in the very act; but, after convicting her accusers, he bid her 'go and sin no more.' He was not sent into the world to condemn the world ; that was not
* Revelation, xiv., 1-6
the object of his mission ; ' but that the world through him might be
The Shakers conclude the defence of their own celibacy by admitting the utility of marriage as a civil institution for such of the inhabitants of the world as are still living in a natural state ; but they hold that ihe utility of the institution altogether ceases when men and women become true Christians and join in Christian communities. Their views on this subject should be given in their own language. They say,
“We consider matrimony to be a civil institution, and, as such, it is both useful and necessary for mankind in their natural state ; but it does not belong to the true followers of Christ, and for that reason they have nothing to do with it. As members of a Christian institution, established by the law of Christ, and wholly unconnected with the civil, political, and religions institutions of the world, it is inconsistent with our Christian faith to interfere with any of their concerns. At the same time. we are perfectly willing that every such institution, which produces any beneficial influence on its members, should be freely supported by those to whom it belongs, and whose concern it is to support it; and it is right and just that all people should act according to their own faith in this, as well as in all other matters.
“But though we acknowledge the marriage institution to be both useful and necessary for the world in its present state, yet for the followers of Christ, who are called to forsake the course of the world, and to
crucify the flesh with all its affections,'it is neither necessary nor useful, but the contrary ; it therefore forms no part of their duty, and can have no place among them.”
Such are the views of the Shakers on this question, and such the authorities on which they defend them. The only other peculiarity in their practice which remains to be mentioned is that of their using dancing and clapping of hands, as well as singing, in their worship: On this subject, too, they fortify themselves with abundant scriptural authorities; and the following may be taken as a brief and condensed statement of these in their own words:
“The exercise of dancing in the worship of God was brought to light, not as an exercise of human invention, instituted by human authority, but as a manifestation of the will of God, through the special operations of his Divine power.
“When the children of Israel were delivered from their Egyptian bondage (which was a striking figure of the redemption of God's people from the dominion of sin), Moses and the children of Israel sung unto the Lord a song of thanksgiving for their deliverance. And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her, with timbrels and with dances. Also, when Jephthah returned from his victory over the children of Ammon, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances. So also, after the victory of David and the Israelites over Goliath and the Philistine armies, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing. And again : at the yearly feast of the Lord in Shiloh, the daughters of Shiloh came out 'to dance in dances.' And when the ark of God was removed and established in the city of David, the occa.
* John, ch, iž., v. 17.
SHAKER DEFENCE OF DANCING AND SINGING.
sion was celebrated by the same exercise: "David and all Israel danced before the Lord.'
"We are aware that a strong prejudice prevails against the exercise of dancing as an act of Divine worship, in consequence of its having been for many ages perverted to the service of the wicked. But we would seriously ask whether the same objections will not operate still more forcibly against singing as an act of Divine worslip? Music unconnected with dancing is doubtless much more generally used as an amusement of the wicked. The talents of poetry and music, exclusive of their connexion with dancing, are still far nuore abused by being devoted to base purposes.
“ Is there a single base passion or evil propensity in human nature which has not been more or less excited, indulged, and gratified by means of poetical and musical compositions? How often have the angry passions been roused by war-songs, that urged mankind to mutual butchery, blood, and slaughter? How often have the lascivious passions been excited and indulged by obscene songs? How often is morality set at naught, and piety and religion abused, yea, and the name of God and all sacred things blasphemed by the wicked, in their profane songs? How often has vice been exalted, virtue depressed, and villany imboldened in crimes, by songs calculated and used for those very pur. poses? Do not the revels of drunkards and profane swearers often owe their excesses to their bacchanalian songs as well as to their bottles ?
" In short, have not thests, robberies, and murders, and, indeed, every species of villany, been much more excited and encouraged by music than by dancing? And yet music has been encouraged and practised as a part of Divine worship by nearly all denominations, while dancing has been condemned and excluded. But upon what principle? Why, truly upon this : "That dancing cannot be an acceptable mode of worship, because it is practised in the carnal recreations of the wicked!' Yet no reader of the Scriptures can doubt but that dancing was acceptable to God as an exercise of religious worship in times past, and will be in time to come, according to the prediction of the prophet :
". Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, О virgin of Israel! thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together. Turn again, 0 virgin of Israel! turn again to these thy cities.**
“God requires the faithful improvement of every created talent. 'O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. Sing unto the Lord a new song; sing his praise in the congregation of the saints. Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King; let them praise his name in the dance.'
"These expressions of the inspired Psalmist are worthy of serious consideration. Do they not evidently imply that the Divine Spirit which dictated them requires the devotion of all our faculties in the service of God? How, then, can any people professing religion expect to find acceptance with God by the service of the tongue only ?
“ Since we are blessed with hands and feet, those active and useful members of the body on which we mostly depend in our own service, shall we not acknowledge our obligations to God who gave them by exercising them in our devotions to him? There is too powerful a connexion between the body and mind, and too strong an influence of the mind upon the body, to admit of much activity of mind in the service of God without the co-operating exercises of the body. But where the heart is sincerely and fervently engaged in the service of God, it has a tendency to produce an active influence on the body." • Jeremiah, c. 31, v. 4, 13, 21.
+ Psa. xlvii., I, and cxlix., 1. 2. 3.
To those who have witnessed the effects of music in quickening the devotional feelings of both Catholic and Protestant, and the effect of clapping of hands and other expressions of sympathy in crowded assemblies, there can be no difficulty in understanding that the same class of feelings may be much heightened by the exercises of the dance, so that, supposing the object of using it as a part of their worship to be the quickening of this feeling among the devotees, there is a perfect adaptation of means to ends, and a consistency in the application of them.
Strange as these doctrines and practices of the Shakers may appear to all but members of their own body, we should not forget that all new modes of faith and worship appear strange to those who hear of or witness them for the first time, and that habit alone renders them perfectly reasonable and acceptable to those who practise them from their infancy, whether Pagan, Jewish, Mohammedan, or Christian. From every inquiry I could make, however, of those longest resident in the neighbourhood of the Shakers, I could learn no authenticated case of evil practices among them. On the contrary, every one appeared ready to bear testimony to their honesty, punctuality, industry, sobriety, and chastity.
The instances are very few indeed in which there have been any secessions from their society, while additions are made to their numbers every year; and as they have within themselves the means of increasing prosperity and abundance of contentment with their temporal wealth, and satisfaction with their spiritual exercises there seems no reason to apprehend their speedy decline, especially as they are relieved from some of the most prolific sources of quarrel and strife among mankind in general. They have no individual property, but hold all their worldly goods in common. By this alone, all contentions about property, which forms the subject of half the contentions of the world, are abolished. They have no political or priestly rulers; and, therefore, all the evils of party contention in politics, and secular and clerical disputes for power and pre-eminence, are banished from their community They have no idleness and no intemperance, the two fruitful mothers of crime, vice, and remorse of conscience; and this again assures them great tranquillity, in their freedom from all the evils which these two sources are sure to engender.
Supposing them to be sincerely convinced of the truth of their doctrines and the propriety of their practices, and to be voluntary members of the community-on both of which there is the strong
est evidence of the affirmative, while of the negative there is no • evidence at all I can conceive them to be a very happy commu
nity within themselves, and productive of no political or moral evils to the neighbourhood in which they are planted, or to the country over which they may be spread. I say this frankly, but, at the same time, without any participation in the peculiarity of
DEPARTURE FROM ALBANY.-SCHENECTADY.
their religious views or social habits, which must rest on their own
Joumey from Albany to Schenectady.- Description of the City and College.-- Journey
from Schenectady to Ballston Centre.- Stay at the Country Seat of Mr. Delavan.
On Monday, the 16th of July, we left Albany to pay a visit to Mr. E. C. Delavan at his country residence, near Ballston Springs, in Saratoga county, with whom we had promised to spend a week before going to the springs at Saratoga. We left Albany at nine o'clock by the railroad cars for Schenectady, and after a ride of about 16 miles, through a pleasant and fertile country, which occupied nearly an hour, we arrived at this city about 10 o'clock. On entering it we descended over a steep hill, by an inclined plane, which commences about a mile from the town, and the view from this elevation is commanding and agreeable.
Schenectady, which retains the Indian name of the settlement on which it was first built, is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Some authorities, giving it precedence by a year or two over Albany, make it therefore equal in antiquity with Jamestown in Virginia, which was settled in 1608; others consider it a year or two posterior to Albany, which was settled in 1612: either account, therefore, making it more than two centuries old, which, for America, is a high degree of antiquity.
Schenectady is seated on the banks of the River Mohawk, which winds in great beauty along the level plain whereon the city stands. Its incorporated extent is very considerable, comprehending, as we