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"There were three canons passed at this convention. One of them was concerning the alms and contributions at the holy communion. They are subjected to the distribucion of the minister, or such person as they may be committed to by him. The provision was designed to limit munificence of this description to poor communicants, and to sustain a pastoral intercourse with them. The cause of interposition in this matter, was some proposals of appropriation said to have been made, for Church purposes indeed, but wide of the original design of the oblations at the Lord's table.
The next canon was explanatory of the twenty-ninth, guarding against the effect of its excluding from diocesan conventions and votes in the choice of bishops, of uninstituted ministers and deacons, where these are not excluded by the respective diocesan constitutions; and further, against the extending of the Office of Institution to gatherings of persons not bound together by a common interest in a place of worship.
The remaining canon was a repeal of so much of the forty-fifth, as requires the reading, in the General Convention, of the parochial reports entered on the journals of the different state conventions. The design of this, was to devolve on the Church in each state, the preparing of a report of its concerns. Accordingly, this was provided for by a separate resolve.
There was also entered on the journal an explanation of the nineteenth canon, which regulates the dress of candidates for orders, and other particulars relative to them. The explanation goes to the point, that such provisions are merely a guard against popular mistakes.
At the instance of the clerical members from the diocese of Connecticut, who acted under instructions from the convention of that state, the bishops gave their sense of some matters in the ninth canon, and in the fortieth. Their sense, which was sanctioned by the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies, is as follows:
The ninth canon having provided, that some literary qualifications, therein specified, may be dispensed with, in consideration of certain other qualifications of the candidate for the ministry, the bishops define the latter to be, a considerable extent of theological learning, a peculiar aptitude to teach, and a large share of prudence. The fortieth canon having referred to persons, who join a congregation of this Church from some other religious society, the bishops
rested the evidence of the membership of such a congregation on the two circumstances, of their being baptized persons, and of their possessing an interest in its concerns, by express or implied permission. But there is a caution against its being supposed, that a more definite mode for the same object may not hereafter be profitably adopted.
It was thought proper, in this convention, to issue a de claration, that the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, is the Church formerly known among us under the name of “ the Church of England in America." Accordingly, an instrument to this effect was drawn up by the bishops, and received the approbation of the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies.
At the suggestion of the bishops, the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies joined them in an instrument, designed for the introduction of the posture of standing during the singing of any portion of the psalms or hymns in metre. This comely practice had recently been introduced in some of the congregations of this Church, in all of which, it was heretofore the custom to sit during that act of devotion.
In consideration of the scarcity of the Homilies of the Church of England, and of their being recognised by the articles of this Church, although with due regard to the diversity of local circumstances, the two houses made a provision, which has occasioned an edition of them in this country. In the event of a failure of this, they were to be provided for the use of candidates for the ministry, by the bishops, or other ecclesiastical authorities in the respective states.
On the journal of the last Triennial Convention, the providing for an Episcopacy in the western states was held out as a desirable object. Intermediate circumstances having prevented the acting on this business, it was again held out as a matter to be kept in view.
On the same journal there was recorded a measure, designed to obtain from the Society (in England) for Propagating the Gospel, a legal title to lands in Vermont, originally appropriated for the Episcopal Church in those states, but vested in that society in trust. All proceeding in this business was suspended, at first by the circumstance that the necessary documents were not in preparation; and since, by the occurrence of the war.
Published in 1815 by T. & J. Swords, and may now be had at the store of Swords, Stanford, & Co. New-York. Publishers.
In consequence of a communication to the bishops, proposing to them, what was considered as a profitable improvement in the Book of Common Prayer, they proposed to the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies a declaration, that it was not intended to bring the book under review during this convention. And in consequence of a communication, proposing to the bishops to give their sanction to a work on a subject of great importance in religion, they made it a rule of their house, that in future, no application of this sort shall be considered as regularly before them: and they proposed to the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies, a declaration to the same effect. The House of Clerical and Lay Deputies signified their concurrence in the proposals, with their thanks, for what they called "the judicious course adopted in reference to these subjects.”
A question was moved in each of the houses, as to the propriety of establishing a theological school, to be exclusively under the patronage of the General Convention. The subject was referred to a future meeting of the body, and, in the mean time, measures were to be taken to ascertain the general wish on the subject in each of the states.
A proposal was also made, to grant an exclusive copyright of the Book of Common Prayer, for a valuable consideration. This also was delayed, under the same provision, for the ascertaining of the general sense of the Church; and, with it, advice in law.
As at each of the last two conventions, a pastoral letter was drawn up by the House of Bishops, and read in the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies.
The convention appointed their next triennial meeting to be in the city of New York. R.
Agreeably to appointment at the last General Convention, there assembled another in the city of New York, on the 20th of May, 1817. There were present all the bishops : the house then consisting of Bishops White, Hobart, Griswold, Dehon, Moore, Kemp, and Croes. The occasion was opened by a discourse from Bishop Griswold.*
In consequence of an application from the Church in
During the recess of the convention,
Dr. Kemp had been consecrated on the first day of September, 1814, in Christ Church, in the city of Brunswick, New. Jersey, by the presiding bishop, assisted by Bishops Hobart and Moore. And Dr. Croes had been consecrated on the 19th day of November, 1815, in St. Peter's Church, in the city of Philadelphia, by the presiding bishop, assisted by Bishops Hobart and Kemp.
North Carolina, in which a convention had been held, the said Church was considered as having acceded to the ecclesiastical constitution. From the time of the revolutionary war, there had been but temporary supplies of the ministry in a few places; but some clergymen, recently settled in the state, in connexion with some influential lay gentlemen, had taken active measures for the revival of our communion.
The presiding bishop made report of sundry matters committed to him by the last convention. They were the certifying to the venerable Society (in England) for the Propagation of the Gospel, of certain facts in favonr of the Church in Vermont, relatively to lands of which the titles were vested in the society--the taking of measures relatively to the organizing of the Church beyond the Alleghany mountains, and the republishing of the journals of this Church from the beginning. The first and the last had been carried into effect, and the other had been attended to, as far as circumstances would permit. The thanks of the house were voted to the presiding bishop.
Relatively to the last mentioned subject, the House of Bishops saw cause to record their opinion as follows:
“ Resolved, That it be recommended to the Episcopal congregations in the states referred to in the above communications, where conventions are not already organized, to organize conventions, which may be received into union with this convention, and, when expedient, may unite, according to the canons, in the choice of a bishop, having jurisdiction over those states; and that this convention have received, with much satisfaction, information of the measures which have been already adopted in the state of Ohio, for the organization of the Church in that state.
“ Resolved, That though the measure of a convention comprising sundry states in the western country, may be a measure of temporary expediency, it cannot be authorized by this convention consistently with the general constitution of the Church, which recognises only a convention of the Church in each state.
“ Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the authorities of this Church, in each state respectively, to adopt measures for sending missionaries to our destitute brethren in the western states: such missionaries to be subject to the direction of the ecclesiastical authority of the state or states in which they may officiate.
“ Resolved, That the presiding bishop be requested to
transmit the foregoing resolutions to such person or persons as he may judge proper."
This resolve was carried into effect, partly by a canon made during the session, and partly by a forwarding of the contemplated communications.
The several bishops made reports on the sense of the Church in their respective diocesses, on the subject of a theological school. There was diversity of opinion, but the general sense, in both houses, was in favour of a general school; which, on the proposal of the House of Bishops, and with the consent of the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies, was determined to be instituted in New-York. For the carrying of the design into effect, there was chosen a committee, consisting of members of both houses. On the part of the House of Bishops, there were chosen Bishops White, Ilobart, and Croes; and on the part of the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies, Drs. Wharton, Harris, and How, Hon. Rufus King, Charles Fenton Mercer, Esq. and William Meredith, Esq.
The House of Bishops thought it expedient to make a solemn call on the attention of the clergy in relation to the twenty-second canon, which enjoins on them diligence in catechetical instruction and lectures. The bishops consider these as among the most important duties of clergymen, and among the most effectual means of promoting religious knowledge and practical piety.
It being represented to the House of Bishops by Bishop Hobart, that the congregation du St. Esprit, in the city of New-York, having joined the communion of the Episcopal Church, with their minister, who had lately received Episcopal ordination, which congregation consisted originally of Protestant emigrants from France; and there being many to whom the French language is still more familiar than the English, it is expedient that they be furnished with the liturgy in the former language ; and that there is such a liturgy, not sanctioned by this convention, it was recommended to the said bishop to cause the said French liturgy to be examined, in order to ascertain how far the translation is correct, and to confirm the use thereof, with such amendments and improvements as the case may call for; and to declare it to be the liturgy which may be used by any minister of this Church who may officiate in a congregation to whom the French language is familiar.
The bishops issued the following call on the members of this Church, and sent it to the House of Clerical and