Author Topic: Christian Symbols on Longrifles  (Read 2496 times)

Offline Bob Roller

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6193
Re: Christian Symbols on Longrifles
« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2019, 03:36:22 PM »
All kinds of wars and idiotic behavior and other outrages have been committed
in the name of "religion". Deliver us from all of it as it is an enslavement.
It also gives rise to every kind of con game and swindle known to humanity and
some that aren't as well. "Your money is a burden,send it to me so I can buy the 5th
luxury jet plane to add to the 4 I already own."Another scourge of the electronic age.

Bob Roller
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 03:58:33 PM by Bob Roller »

Offline Mike Brooks

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10233
    • Mike Brooks Gunmaker
Re: Christian Symbols on Longrifles
« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2019, 03:53:45 PM »
This is a very interesting discussion. Our Separatist and Puritan ancestors branded any displays of religious signs, symbols and statues, etc. as "popery".

Mike: the Solar Eclipse happened on June 16, 1806. Maybe the guy who made that rifle (don't remember if it was signed) was engraving the piece and got mad when the lights went out. He then added that detail in protest. At least we can zero in on a date when the gun was made.
I have seen far more comets and suns in eclipse than outright scripture. I imagine the passing of a comet or a solar/lunar eclipse made a pretty big impact on folks back then.
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Offline Seth I.

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 538
  • Seth Isaacson, Describer at Rock Island Auction
Re: Christian Symbols on Longrifles
« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2019, 04:14:59 PM »
Two points I would make.  First while many immigrants to the New World came in large part to escape religious persecution in the Old World, they were seldom scions of religious freedom themselves. 8 of the 13 colonies adopted state supported Protestant churches, most normally the Anglican or Puritan offshoots formed in Great Britain.  Methodists, BAptists, Quakers and other "Dissenters" were considered outsiders and a threat to social order.  Most often encouraged to take up settlement elsewhere. The idea that our ancestors came to the New World in search of a land where everyone could worship as they pleased is a complete fallacy  They wanted somewhere that they and their congregations could worship as their sect required.

Two, post Reformation, specifically, Dutch, German and to some extend English Protestant churches rejected the decoration found in Roman Catholic society as idolatrous.  The Germans and to some extent the Dutch had survived the horrors of the Thirty Years War and years of fighting against traditional Catholic powers (20 million germans died during the 30 Years War).  Protestant churches were most often void of any display of religious decoration, crucifixes, candle sticks, etc.  Various protestant sects abhorred the use of ostentatious decoration, any long arms they owned would likely have been bereft and any decoration whatever.  Of course more worldly, more deist members of society would relax these objections to artistic displays and their possessions obviously would be better decorated but in a secular way.  Certainly the display of a cross on a gun made by a protestant gunsmith, Moravian or Anglican would be suspect.  I would dare say the current practice of the display of  religious exaltation would be met by a colonist in the 18th century as near idolatry.  The Moravians/ PA. Germans/Dutch followed the prescribed Enlightenment artist practice of using natural symbols, the lamb, fruit, flowers, animals making real world objects symbolic of Biblical teachings, and examples of the perfection of God's creation.  Folkart symbolism, somewhat rooted in religious symbolism is about as far as you are going to get.

I seriously doubt you will find an original longrifle built in largely protestant North American that has a crucifix or the name of Jesus Christ displayed anywhere.  If you think you should you really do not understand the people that left Europe to settle in English North American 1650-1790.


Excellent points!
*All opinions expressed here are mine alone and are NOT meant to represent those of any other entity unless otherwise expressly stated.*
“So convenient a thing to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for every thing one has a mind to do.” ― Benjamin Franklin

Online bama

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1435
    • Calvary Longrifles
Re: Christian Symbols on Longrifles
« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2019, 04:24:36 PM »
I know of two Christon Beck rifles that have hand written biblical Bible verses that are written on paper and were placed in the barrel channel between the breech and the first barrel lug from the breech. These biblical verses were written in old German. 

As I stated earlier, I have not studied our earlier religious beliefs and habits as some here have and I appreciate the comments from those that have. I do know that there was perescution of certain religious beliefs in Europe and some of those groups came here to worship their beliefs.

I believe many of the early gunsmiths were deeply religious. I think that belief is implied in some of thier work. How we view and interpret this work may be different than that of what the original smiths intent was. The rampant Lion for instance, I think that this is a biblical reference. Did the smith mean it like that, I don't know, but that's the way I see it.

Religion is a big part of our daily lives, wether you are a believer or not, it does effect us all daily. I personally am a believer in Christ and as such I have accepted his charge to spread his Gospel. That is why I place the cross on my way rifles. I am not a very good public speaker and I do not wish to force my beliefs on anyone so I have trouble being a verbal witness for Christ. I do feel that I have been blessed with the talent and skills to build longrifles and that placing the cross on my rifles is my witness for Christ. The cross is the greatest symbol of love. Christ died on the cross for us that we may have salvation and the promise of life eternal. I can only hope that my rifles last as long as some of the early rifles have, if so my witness for Christ will have been a job well done.

Marc, thank you for your comment.
Jim Parker

"An Honest Man is worth his weight in Gold"

Offline Ken Prather

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1271
    • TomBob Outdoors, LLC.
Re: Christian Symbols on Longrifles
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2019, 06:12:54 PM »
thank you, Jim Parker.

It seems to me that although churches may not have been in great number on the colonial frontier, The Bible was read regularly being a common tool for education, and for parents to teach their children wisdom and morality. It is no surprise that Biblical quotations were used on Powder horns and longrifles. Also I think of the circuit minsters that rode through the frontier preaching... Church buildings or just gatherings were more than just religious in nature they were community meeting places, and functioned as a means to organize and initiate communication, cooperation etc. I actually think that still happens in small towns and rural areas today--maybe not at the same level but a remnant perhaps.

The Northwest Ordinance, passed by the Confederation Congress in 1787.  Article 3: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
« Last Edit: May 08, 2019, 07:15:42 PM by Ken Prather »
Galations 2:20

Offline JCKelly

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1405
Re: Christian Symbols on Longrifles
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2019, 05:16:03 AM »
With respect to INRI being placed on the bottom of a Beck barrel, We should all recognize that it is not at all hidden.
God sees it.
Surely regardless of your religion you finish "hidden" areas of your work, even though they are unlikely to be seen by any human eyes.
You may take that as a very religious attitude, or not at all such. Depends upon interpretation.

This would be a phlosophical/religious discussion I feel inappropriate here.

Offline Mike Lyons

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 954
  • Afghanvet
Re: Christian Symbols on Longrifles
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2019, 06:27:48 AM »
I have always heard that the weeping heart was symbolic of the fifth wound of Christ.

Native Americans used the weeping heart and tear motifs from the fort ancient period back to the ice age.  I don’t think they were aware of Christ prior to the settlers. 

Offline Dennis Glazener

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 15654
  • 2005 Transylvania County NC Heritage Day Event
    • GillespieRifles
Re: Christian Symbols on Longrifles
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2019, 03:10:31 PM »
Guys, I Am a Christian and I hate to lock this thread, it's interesting and I happen to agree with what has been said but this discussion is treading very close to our rule against religious discussion. At some point in time someone will post something that will cause a heated response and things will go downhill quickly. I don't want to see that happen here. I hope you understand my concern.

I have locked this topic from further discussion.

Dennus Glazener
ALR Admin

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend" - Thomas Jefferson