Imágenes de páginas

province of Nova Scotia, on which he has expressed to us his entire approbation, and has written to administration, warmly recommending the measure. We took the liberty, at the same time, of mentioning our worthy brother, the Rev. Dr. Thomas B. Chandler, to his excellency, as a person every way qualified to discharge the duties of the Episcopal office in that province, with dignity and honour. And we hope for your grace's approbation of what we have done in that matter, and for the concurrence of your influence with Sir Guy Carleton's recommendation in promoting the design.

We should have given this information sooner to your grace, but that we waited for Doctor Seabury's departure for England, which we considered as affording the best and most proper conveyance.

If Doctor Chandler and Doctor Seabury should both succeed, as we pray God they may, we trust that, with the blessing of heaven, the Episcopal Church will yet flourish in this western hemisphere.

With the warmest sentiments of respect and esteem, we
have the honour to be,
My lord,
Your grace's most dutiful sons,
And obedient, bumble servants,


Rector of Trinity Church, New-York.

BENJAMIN MOORE, D. D. Assistant Minister of Trinity Church,

New-York, and others. His Grace the Archbishop of York.

No. 3. Page 92. A Letter from the Rev. Abraham Jarvis, in the Name of the

Clergy of Connecticut.


We, the clergy of Connecticut; met at Woodbury in voluntary convention, beg leave to acquaint you, that a small pamphlet, printed in Philadelphia, has been transmitted to us, of which you are said to be the author. This pamphlet proposes a new form of government in the Episcopal

Church, and points at the method of erecting it. As the thirteen states have now risen to independent sovereignty, we agree with you, sir, that the chain which connected this with the mother Church is broken; that the American -Church is now left to stand in its own strength—and that some change in its regulations must in due time take place. But we think it premature and of dangerous consequence, to enter upon a business, till we have resident bishops (if they can be obtained) to assist in the performance of it, and to form a new union in the American Church, under proper superiors, since its union is now broken with such superiors in the British Church. We shall only advert to such things in the pamphlet, as we esteem of dangerous consequence. You say the conduct you mean to recommend, is to include in the proposed frame of government a general approbation of Episcopacy, and a declaration of an intention to procure the succession as soon as conveniently may be; but in the mean time to carry the plan into effect, without waiting for the succession. But why do you include a general approbation of Episcopacy, in your proposed new frame of goyernment? not because you think bishops a constituent part of an Episcopal Church, unless you conceive they derive their office and existence from the king's authority; for though you acknowledge we cannot at present have bishops here, and propose to set up without them, yet you say no constitutional principle of our Church is changed by the revolution, but what was founded on the authority of the king. Your motives for the above general approbation, seem indeed to be purely political. One is, that the general opinion of Episcopalians is in favour of bishops, and therefore, (if we understand your reasoning) it would be impolitic not to flatter them with the hopes of it. Another reason is, that too wide a deviation from the British Church might induce future emigrants from thence, to set ap independent churches here. But could you have proposed to set up the ministry, without waiting for the succession, bad you believed the Episcopal superiority to be an ordinance of Christ, with the exclusive authority of ordination and government, and that it has ever been so esteemed in the purest ages of the Church? and yet we conceive this to be the sense of Episcopalians in general, and warranted

the constant practice of the Christian Church. Really, sir, we think an Episcopal Church without Episcopacy, if it be not a contradiction in terms, would, however, be a new zhing under the sun; and yet the Episcopal Church, by the pamphlet proposed to be erected, 'must be in this predicament till the succession be obtained. You plead necessity, however, and argue that the best writers in the Church, admit of Presbyterian ordination, where Episcopal cannot be had. To prove this, you quote concessions from the venerable Hooker, and Dr. Chandler, which their exuberant charity to the reformed churches abroad, led them to make. But the very words you quote from the last mentioned gentleman prove his opinion to be, that bishops were as truly an ordinance of Christ, and as essential to his Church as the sacraments; for, say you,

he insists

it (meaning the Episcopal superiority,) as of divine right, asserts that the laws relating to it bind as strongly as the laws which relate to baptism and the holy eucharist, and that it the succession be once broken, not all the men on earth, not all the angels in heaven, without an immediate commission from Christ, can restore it—but you say, he does not, however, hold this succession to be necessary, only where it can be had. Neither does he or the Christian Church hold the sacraments to be necessary, where they cannot be had agreeable to the appointment of the Great Head of the Church. Why should particular acts of authority be thought more necessary than the authority itself? Why should the sacraments be more essential than that authority Christ has ordained to administer them? It is true that Christ has appointed the sacraments, and it is as true that he hath appointed officers to administer them, and has expressly forbid any to do it but those who are authorized by his appointment, or called of God as was Aaron. And yet these gentlemen (without any inconsistency with their declared sentiments) have, and all good men will express their charitable hopes, that God, in compassion to a well meant zeal, will add the same blessings to those who, through unavoidable mistake, act beside his commission as if they really had it. As far as we can find, it has been the conxtant opinion of our Church in England and here, that the Episcopal superiority is an ordinance of Christ, and we think that the uniform practice of the whole American Church, for near a century, sending their candidates three thousand miles for holy orders, is more than a presumptive proof that the Church here are, and ever have been, of this opinion. The sectaries, soon after the reformation, declared that the book of consecration, &c. was superstitious and contrary to God's word, and the moderation you mention in the articles and canons, consists in affirming that this declaration was entirely false; and would you wish to be more severe? The instances you adduce, wherein Presbyterian ordination has been tolerated in the Church, have, by its best writers, been set in such a point of view as to give no countenance to your scheme, and the authorities you quote have been answered again and again. If you will not allow this superiority to have an higher origin than the apostles; yet, since they were divinely inspired, we see not why their practice is not equal to a divine warrant; and as they have given no liberty to deviate from their practice in any exigence of the Church, we know not what authority we have to take such liberties in any case. However, we think nothing can be more clear, than that our Church has ever believed bishops to have the sole right of ordination and government, and that this regimen was appointed of Christ himself, and it is now, to use your own words, humbly submitted to consideration, whether such Episcopalians as consent even to a temporary departure, and set aside this ordinance of Christ for conveniency, can scarcely deserve the name of Christians. But would necessity warrant a deviation from the law of Christ, and the immemorial practice of the Church, yet what necessity have we to plead ? Can we plead necessity with any propriety, till we have tried to obtain an Episcopate, and have been rejected ? We conceive the present to be a more favourable opportunity for the introduction of bishops, than this country has before seen. However dangerous bishops formerly might have been thought to the civil rights of these states, this danger has now vanished, for such superiors will have no civil authority. They will be purely ecclesiastics. The states have now risen to sovereign authority, and bishops will be equally under the control of civil law with other clergymen; no danger, then, can now be feared from bishops, but such as may be feared from presbyters. This being the case, have we not the highest reason to hope, that the whole civil authority upon the continent, (should their assistance be needed) will unite their influence with the Church, to procure an office so essential to it, and to render complete a profession, which contains so considerable a proportion of its inhabitants. And on the other hand, is there any reason to believe, that all the bishops in England, and in all the other reformed Churches in Europe, are so totally lost to a sense of their duty, and to the real wants of their brethren in the Episcopal Church here, as to refuse to ordain bishops to preside over us, when a proper application shall be made to them for it? If this cannot be, why is not the present a favourable opportunity for such an application ? Nothing is further from the design of this letter than to begin a dispute with you; but in a frank and brotherly way to express our opinion of the mistaken and dangerous tendency of the pamphlet. We fear, should the scheme of it be carried into execution in the southern states, it will create divisions in the Church at a time when its whole strength depends upon its unity: for we know it is totally abhorrent from the principles of the Church in the northern states, and are fully convinced they will never submit to it. And indeed should we consent to a temporary departure from Episcopacy, there would be very little propriety in asking for it afterwards, and as little reason ever to expect it in America. Let us all then unite as one man to improve this favourable opportunity, to procure an object so desirable and so essential to the Church.


We are, dear sir, your affectionate brethren, the clergy of Connecticut.

Signed by order of the convention,

Rev. Mr. White.
Woodbury, March 25, 1783.

No. 4. Page 100.

A Letter of the Right Rev. Bishop Seabury, to the Ret.

Dr. Smith.

August 15, 1785. Rev. AND DEAR SIR,

It has not been in my power till this day, to pay that attention to your letter of July 19, which the importance of its several subjects demanded. The grand difficulty that defeated my application for consecration in England, appeared to me to be the want of an application from the state of Connecticut. Other objections are made, viz. that there was no precise diocese marked out by the civil authority, nor a stated revenue appointed for the bishop's support; but these were removed. The other remained, for the civil authority in Connecticut is Presbyterian, and therefore could not be supposed would petition for a bishop; and had this been removed, I am not sure that another

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »