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these creeds may equally be proved by unquestionable testiinonies of scripture. Nevertheless, the resolution expressed in the preface, that they do not mean to separate from the Church of England in principles, together with the unequivocal declarations still retained in the new liturgy, of the indispensable faith and worship due to the three divine persons (whose existence in the one divine nature or godhead is 80 clearly revealed in scripture, and into whose religious service we are equally enlisted by the baptismal profession and vows being made expressly in the names of all the three), must undoubtedly give sincere satisfaction to all true Christians, notwithstanding the omission of several other things which they would wish to have been also retained. And, therefore, from my confidence of the unexceptionable religious character of the English bishops in general (without waiting to hear their sentiments declared by themselves,) I may venture to repeat what I asserted in my former letters, that the bishops of England will be still sincerely inclined to promote the welfare of the Episcopal Churches in America, and to maintain an affectionate communication with them as sister Churches, provided that the gentlemen elected to be sent for consecration are really in themselves unexceptionable: and I have the satisfaction to inform your excellency, that the archbishops have already prepared themselves to comply with the requisition of the American Churches, lay obtaining an act of parliament in the last session, to remove the former difficulty about the oaths, a copy of which is enclosed. The late accounts in the public papers, that the Episcopal Churches of Virginia and NewYork had elected candidates for the Episcopal office in their respective provinces, gave me very particular satisfaction, because I had understood from former accounts, that the General Convention had nominated the candidates; which would have been a dangerous precedent of infringement on the ancient rights of the clergy and people in each province respectively, to elect their own bishops; and I should have bad still much more sincere satisfaction, if these two provinces had adopted the apostolical mode of electing two unexceptionable candidates for each see, whose acceptance should be determined by lot, as revived by the Spanish bishops in the council of Barcelona, (see my tract on Congregational Courts, p. 89, 90,) but perhaps, upon the whole, it may be more prudent to defer the decision of the lot, until three or four bishops are actually resident in America; who can then more effectually examine (as their apostolical duty requires) the qualifications and characters of the elected candidates, by calling upon the people, publicly, for information, whether any just exceptions are known, before the lot is cast, because even a legal exception would seem to be made too late, if discovered after the solemn appeal to divine Providence by lot and previous prayer; for in such a case there seems to be no alternative: nothing but an humble submission and reliance on the same Providence, for all the future consequences of the decision, whatever they may be; unless some subsequent misconduct should render the interference of the other bishops necessary.
I send herewith a duplicate of my letter respecting a paper currency not liable to depreciation, which was sent by the Mediator, Captain Kennydy; and I remain with true respect and esteem, dear sir,
Your excellency's most obliged,
GRANVILLE SHARP. His Excellency Benjamin Franklin, Esq.
President of the State of Pennsylvania.
No. 13. Page 124.
An Act of the General Convention of Clerical and Lay De
puties of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the States of New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and South-Carolina, held at Wilmington, in the State of Delaware, on Wednesday, the 11th of October, 1786.
Whereas, at a General Convention of clerical and lay deputies of the Protestant Episcopal Church in sundry of the United States of America, viz. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and SouthCarolina, holden at the city of Philadelphia, on the Tuesday before the feast of St. Michael, in the year of our Lord 1785, and divers subsequent days, it was agreed and declared, that “the Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the Church of England,” should be continued to be used by this Church, as the same was altered by the said convention, in a certain instrument of writing, passed by their authority, entitled, “ Alterations of the Liturgy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in order to render the same conformable to the American Revolution and the Constitutions of the respective States:" And it was further agreed and declared, that the Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the Church of England, as altered by an instrument of writing, passed under the authority of the aforesaid convention, entitled, “ Alterations in the Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the Church of England, proposed and recommended to the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, should be used in this Church, when the same should have been ratified by the conventions which had respectively sent deputies to the said General Convention :"-And thereupon the said convention, anxious to complete their Episcopal system by means of the Church of England, did transcribe and transmit an address to the most reverend and right reverend the archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the bishops of the Church of England, earnestly entreating that venerable body to confer the Episcopal character on such persons as should be recommended by this Church, in the several states so represented.
And whereas the clerical and Jay deputies of this Church have received the most friendly and affectionate letters in answer to the said address, from the said archbishops and bishops, opening a fair prospect of the success of their said applications; but, at the same time, earnestly exhorting this convention to use their utmost exertions for the removal of certain objections by them made, against some parts of the alterations in the Book of Common Prayer, and Rites and Ceremonies of this Church, last mentioned : In pursuance whereof, this present General Convention hath been called, and is now assembled ; and being sincerely disposed to give every satisfaction to their lordships, which will be consistent with the union and general content of the Church they represent; and declaring their steadfast resolution to maintain the same essential articles of faith and discipline with the Church of England:
Now therefore, the said deputies do hereby determine and declare,
First, That in the creed commonly called the Apostles' Creed, these words "He descended into hell," shall be and continue a part of that creed.
Secondly, That the Nicene Creed shall also be inserted in the said Book of Common Prayer, immediately after the Apostle's Creed, prefaced with the rubric for this.]
And whereas, In consequence of the objections expressed by their lordships to the alterations in the Book of Common Prayer, last mentioned, the conventions in some of the states, represented in this General Convention, have suspended the ratification and use of the said Book of Common Prayer, by reason whereof it will be improper that persons to be consecrated or ordained as bishops, priests, or deacons, respectively, should subscribe the declaration contained in the tenth article of the general ecclesiastical constitution, without some modification.
Therefore, it is hereby determined and declared,
Thirdly, That the second clause so to be subscribed by a bishop, priest, or deacon of this Church, in any of the states which have not already ratified or used the last mentioned Book of Common Prayer, shall be in the words following" And I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church, according to the use of the Church of England, as the same is altered by the General Convention, in a certain instrument of writing, passed by their authority, entitled, Alterations of the Liturgy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in order to render the same conformable to the American Revolution, and the Constitutions of the respective States, until the new Book of Common Prayer, recommended by the General Convention, shall be ratified or used in the state in which I am (bishop, priest, or deacon, as the case may be), by the authority of the convention thereof. And I do further solemnly engage, that when the said new Book of Common Prayer shall be ratified or used by the authority of the convention in the state for which I am consecrated a bishop (or ordained a priest or deacon,) I will conform to the doctrines and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church, as settled and determined in the last mentioned Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, set forth by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States."
And it is hereby further determined and declared,
That these words in the preface to the new proposed Book of Common Prayer, viz.“ In the creed commonly called the Apostle's Creed, one clause is omitted, as being of uncertain meaning; and”-together with the note referred to in that place, be, from benceforth, do part of the preface to the said proposed Book of Common Prayer.
And it is hereby further determined and declared,
That the fourth article of religion in the new proposed Book of Common Prayer, be altered, to render it conformable to the adoption of the Nicene Creed, as follows, “ of the creeds. The two creeds, namely, that commonly called the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, ought to be received and believed, because they," &c. &c. Done in General Convention, at Wilmington, in the Slate of
Delaware, the day and year first aforesaid.
No. 14. Page 138.
To all Persons to whom these Presents shall come, or whom
the same shall or may in any wise or at any time concern, we, John, by Divine Providence, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, and Metropolitan, send greeting :
Whereas, by an act of parliament, passed at Westminster, in the twenty-sixth year of the reign of our sovereign Lord George the third, king of Great-Britain, France, and Ireland, entitled, “ An Act to empower the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Archbishop of York, for the time being, to Consecrate to the Office of a Bishop, Persons being Subjects or Citizens of Countries out of his Majesty's Dominions," it is enacted, that it shall and may be lawful to and for the archbishop of Canterbury, or the archbishop of York, for the time being, together with such other bishops as they shall call to their assistance, to consecrate persons, being subjects or citizens of countries out of his majesty's dominions, bishops, for the purposes aforesaid, without the king's license for their election, or the royal mandate under the great seal for their confirmation and consecration, and without requiring them to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and the oath of due obedience to the archbishop for the time being. Provided always, that no persons shall be consecrated bishops in the manner herein provided, until the archbishop of Canterbury, or the archbishop of York, for the time being, shall have first applied for, and obtained his majesty's license, by warrant under his royal signet and sign manual, authorizing and empowering him to perform such consecration, and expressing the name or names of