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CHURCH is, in the widest sense of the word, the collective body of those who declare themselves to be followers of Christ. In this sense, the founder of the church is Jesus Christ himself; for, though his followers did not separate themselves from the community of the synagogue until after his death, yet he had, by preaching a doctrine essentially different from Judaism, and by collecting disciples and friends around him, laid the foundation of a new religious body. Moreover, he ordered his disciples, at the time of his departure from the world, to go forth and preach the gospel through the earth, and established two religious ceremonies, by which his foliowers were to be distinguished. These circumstances, many have thought, must be taken as indicating his intention to found a church. Judaism, too, may be considered as having paved the way for the establishment of a Christian church or organized religious community.But the word church is not so often taken in the sense just described as in a much narrower one, in which it signifies a body of Christians, which differs in doctrines, constitution and usages from the remainder. From the 11th cen tury, the Greek or Oriental Christians were separated from the Latin Christians, or Christians of the West; and thus originated the difference between the Greek Catholic church, whose chief is the patriarch of Constantinople, and the Roman Catholic church, whose chief is the Roman bishop, or the pope. In the 16th century, the refoimation caused another division in the Western church, one part of its members seceding from the government of the Roman see, and adopting different doctrines from those professed by the rest. Thus arose the difference between the Catholic and Protestant churches. It might reasonably be asked, whether some Protestant sects do not differ from each other as much as from the Catholic church; for instance, the Quakers from the English Episcopal church. But, for the purpose of this article, it is sufficient that, in the common use of language, they are all called Protestants. There is, moreover, one point which distinguishes all Protestant sects, or the whole Protestant church, from the two Catholic ones, namely, that the Protestants declare the Bible their only ground of belief, and permit it to be freely read and examined into.In a third sense, the word church is sometimes used for the whole Christian community of a countiy, e. g., the French church, Italian church, &c.In a fourth sense, this word signifies the building in which Christians assemble for the worship of God. The Christians of the 1st century worshipped in private houses, or in the open air, in remote places, because they were not acknowledged by the state, and were often persecuted. It was not till the 3d century, that they could venture to give more publicity to their service, and to build churches. Since the 4th century, the churches have become large and magnificent edifices. Such were erected by Constantine and, more particularly, by Theodosius and Justinian. Many heathen temples, also, were changed into Christian churches. In the middle ages, many splendid edifices were erected for the performance of divine service, which, in loftiness and grandeur, were never surpassed. Some of the most famous churches at present are St. Peter's, at Rome; Notre Dame, at Paris; St. Stephen's, at Vienna; the church of Isaac, at St. Petersburg; the minsters at Strasburg and Cologne; and St. Paul's church, in London. (See Cathedrals.) Excepting the last mentioned edifice, Protestantism nas produced no very splendid church. n fact, the Protestants, in the construc tion of their places of worship, seem to have had almost exclusively in view the accommodation of the hearers, particularly in England and America. This fact is easily explained from the circumstance that they do not celebrate, in their churches, divine service, in the sense in which the Catholics use the phrase, but chiefly meet to hear the Efible explained to them, and to be instructed in their duties ; on account of which the churches of a large portion of Protestants are often, or even usually, called meetinghouses, and their sermons discourses.In New England, the word church is used to denote the members of a religious society, who have made a public profession of the Christian religion, in contradistinction to the other individuals belonging to the same religious society, who have not made such a profession.There are various derivations of the word church, which, of course, has the same origin with he German Kirche, and the Scottish kirk. Some derive it from the Greek KVOIUKOV, from icvpios, lord, a l.ouse appropriated for the service of the Lord. Others think the German word is a translation of the Latin ecclesia, in which case it would be derived from kiiren, to elect, and imply the idea of the elect people of God.As it is the natural course of things that the different branches, powers, or, in general, the component parts of every establishment, are at first confounded, and separated only by degrees, with the progress of improvement, and after long struggles, so it has been with the church and the state. The violent contentions which took place at first between the emperor of Germany who considered himself emperor of Christendom, and the pope, were repeated in many countries, and still continue in some. It would far exceed our limits to give even a sketch of these disputes, and of the theories which have been advanced on the different sides respecting this question: we will only mention, that, in all Protestant countries, the monarchs have? usurped the highest ecclesiastical power, without any support from history or Scripture. Three equally untenable theories have been advanced to justify this assumption: 1. the episcopal system, so called, according to which the episcopal rights are said to have been transfeiTed to the sovereign by the reformation ; 2. the territonal system, which maintains that the worldly ruler is, ipso facto, spiritual chief of the church of his country ; 3. the collegial system, which considers the members of a church as a society, whose rights rest upon a con tract, by which a part of them has been conferred upon the sovereign. History and reason prove how unfounded these theories are, which are properly to be considered as defences of usurpation. The United States of America are the only Christian country in which there is no established religion; but, notwithstanding all the advantages springing from this state of things, it is not entirely free from evils.The revenue of the church is a subject of great importance in political economy. The following table, showing the annual amount of the income of the clergy in all parts of the Christian world, is copied from the Catholic Miscellany. It will be perceived, that the revenue of the clergy of Great Britain, according to this statement, is greater, by £44,000 sterling, than that of all the other Christian clergy in the known world ; while the number of hearers attending on their ministry, compared with the aggregate number belonging to the Christian flocks in other nations, is as 1 to 32. Amount. French Catholic and Protestant churches, £1,050,000 United States, Spain, ) ™>d" Jhe>>; (T? , i > constitutional < Portugal, ) governments. ( Hungary, Catholics, Calvinists, Lutherans, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Prussia, German small states, Holland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Greek church, Cath. and Luth. Christians in Turkey, dispersed > elsewhere, 5 Hearers, 30,000,000 9,600,000 11,000,000 3,000,000 3,000,000 1,050,000 650,000 19,391,000 16,918,000 1,720,000 10,563,000 12,765,000 2,000,000 3,000,000 1,700,000 3,371,000 34,000,000 8,000,000 6,000,000 776,000 1,000,000 300,000 220,000 63,000 26,000 776,000 950,000 87,000 527,000 765,000 160,000 105,000 119,000 238,000 510,000 480,000 180,000 520,000 21,000,000 £8,852,000 198,728,000 les, >i, 5 England, Wales, and Ireland. Iixome of the established clergy of the whole Christian world beside, Balance in favor of 8,896,000 8,852,000 6,400,000 oalance in favor of \ nAA AnA the English clergy, $ ^44>uuu