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Religion of the Metropolis [1819]

Churches and Chapels;
Societies to promote Christianity, &C.

Source: New Picture of London, Printed for Samuel Leigh, 18, Strand; by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court. 1819

It doubtless would be extremely entertaining to the minute and curious, to trace all the parties, sects, and various ramifications of the professors of Christianity; but such a detail cannot be here pursued and followed to its remotest boundaries. The succeeding mention merely of the names of many of the divisions will show how extensive would be even a full outline:-

I. According to their opinions respecting the person of Christ.

TRINITARIANS, from the Latin word Trinitas, which denotes a three-fold unity in the Godhead.

SABELLIANS, from Sabellius, who lived in the third century, and held a modal, or nominal Trinity.

ARIANS, from Arius, a popular divine of Alexandria, who flourished about the year 315.

SOCINIANS, from Faustus Socinus, who died near Cracow, in Poland, about the year 1604.

II. According to their opinions respecting the means and measures of God's favour.

CALVINISTS, from John Calvin, a reformer, who flourished at Geneva, about 1600.

BAXTERIANS, from Richard Baxter, an eminent puritan, who died in the year l691.

ANTINOMIANS, compounded of two Greek terms.

III. According to their Opinion respecting church government, and the administration of ceremonies.

PAPISTS, from the Latin word for pope, papa, signifying a father, usually resident at Rome.

GREEK CHURCH, (chiefly Russian,) from their native language, which is the Greek tongue.

PROTESTANTS, from their solemnly protesting against a decree of Charles V. 1529.

EPISCOPALIANS, from Episcopus, the Latin term for bishop, inspector, or overseer, of a diocese.

DISSENTERS, from the Laths word dissentio, to disagree with, or dissent from, any person or body.

PRESBYTERIANS, from a Greek word; signifying elder, Senior, or presbyter.

INDEPENDENTS from the independency of each church in its own discipline or government.

BAPTISTS, from a Greek verb, signifying to baptize, dip, or immerse the body in water.

PAEDOBAPTISTS, from Greek words, signifying a baptizer of infants, by sprinkling or immersion.

SCOTCH CHURCH, or KIRK more usually called, established in Scotland; by means of John Knox, who died in l512.

SECEDERS, Scotch dissenters, from the Latin secedo, signifying to withdraw from any body.


QUAKERS, from the agitation or quaking with which their first preachers addressed their auditors.

METHODISTS, from the methodical strictness of their religious conduct, began at Oxford.

JUMPERS, from the act of jumping used in their religious services, chiefly in the principality.

MORAVIANS, from Moravia, the country whence they first arose, a part of Germany.

UNIVERSALISTS, from the belief that all men will in a future state be finally happy.

SANDEMANIANS, from Robert Sandeman, a popular writer among them in Scotland.

SABBATARIANS, from their observance of the Jewish sabbath, or seventh day, much reduced.

HUTCHINSONIANS, from John Hutchinson, born in Yorkshire, in the year l674, nearly extinct.

MUGGLETONIANS, from Lodowick Muggleton, who lived in the days of Cromwell, almost extinct.

MYSTICS, from a Greek word, importing a secret mysterious meaning, found in most sects.

SHAKERS, from the act of shaking used in their public worship.

SWEDENBORGIANS, from Emanuel Swedenborg, a foreigner, who died in London in the year 1772.

JOHNSONIANS, from the name of the founder, who had many followers at Liverpool.

MILLENARIANS, from the Latin mille, a thousand, the years of Christ's future reign upon earth.

And this recapitulatory schedule, shewing the origin of the names by which the chief sects are distinguished, by no means embraces definitions of all the religious parties that exist in this country. There are, for instance, the free-thinking Christians, whose name is a contradiction in language. If they are Christians, they follow the rules laid down by our Saviour; if they receive as much as suits their REASON they may be free-thinkers, but are no longer Christians, in the strict meaning of the term. They reject all forms of worship, of priesthood, &c.; the several members meeting round a table, and discussing various parts of the Scriptures, trying them by the test of REASON. They are few in number, and are not likely to gain too many proselytes; but it is due to them to state that they are men of some talents and acquirements, and respectable members of society.

Amidst all this endless variety of sectarianism, there is proud proof of the really Christian principle that exists amongst them, whatever shades of difference there may be; it is most gratifying to behold all classes of Christians co-operating in various ways to disseminate the word of God, Christian instruction, and, above all, general education.—The schools for the education of the humblest persons in society, we have already noticed; and it is here necessary to show the almost incredible efforts made to spread Christianity.

Related pages:
....The British & Foreign Bible Society
....Missionary Societies
....Prayer-Book and Homily Society
....Miscellaneous Societies