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the appearance of its opposite. Many years after the publication of the pamphlei, a clergyman of standing in an antiEpiscopalian society, alleged some passages of the performance as sustaining ordination not Episcopal. But he had the candour publicly to acknowledge his mistake, when it was pointed out to him.
For the communication from the clergy of Connecticut, see Appendix, No. 3.
It is no slight instance of the proneness to govern too much, and of the peculiar liability to the error in a collective body, that during the war of the revolution, the legislature of Maryland, although consisting of men of various denominations, took up the subject of organizing the Church, and particularly of appointing ordainers to the ministry. A clergyman of weight of character—the Rev. Samuel Keene -actuated by laudable ardour, repaired to Annapolis, was heard before the house, and was considered as principally influential in producing an abandonment of the design. Perhaps the hasty enterprize was over-ruled to good; for almost as soon as there became known the happy event of peace, there were held two conventions in Maryland; the first, on the 13th of August, 1783, and the other, on the 22d of June, 1784. The proceedings of these conventions, with measures taken at other times and in other matters by the clergy of that state, were chiefly originated and conducted by the Rev. Dr, Smith, who, in his residence there, during the seizure of the charter rights of the college of Philadelphia, exerted his excellent talents in these and in other public works.
The principal business of the convention in August, 1783, was the making of “ A declaration of certain fundamental rights and liberties of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Maryland,” consisting of the following articles :
1st. We consider it as the undoubted right of the said Protestant Episcopal Church, in common with other Christian churches under the American revolution, to complete and preserve herself as an entire Church, agreeably to her ancient usages and professions; and to have a full enjoyment and free exercise of those purely spiritual powers, which are essential to the being of every Church or congregation of the faithful, and which, being derived from Christ and his apostles, are to be maintained independent of every foreign or other jurisdiction, so far as may be consistent with the civil rights of society.
2d. That ever since the reformation, it hath been the
received doctrine of the Church of which we are members, (and which, by the constitution of this state, is entitled to a perpetual enjoyment of certain property and rights, under the denomination of the Church of England,) “ That there be three orders of ministers in Christ's Church, bishops, priests, and deacons,” and that an Episcopal ordination and commission are necessary to the valid administration of the sacraments, and the due exercise of the ministerial function in the said Church.
3d. That without calling in question the rights, modes, and forms, of any other Christian Churches or societies, or wishing the least contest with them on that subject, we consider and declare it to be an essential right of the said Protestant Episcopal Church, to have and enjoy the continuance of the said three orders of ministers for ever, so far as concerns matters purely spiritual, and that no persons, in the character of ministers, except such as are in the communion of the said Church, and duly called to the ministry by regular Episcopal ordination, can or ought to be admitted into, or enjoy, any of the churches, chapels, glebes, or other property, formerly belonging to the Church of England in this state, and which, by the constitution and form of government, is secured to the said Church for ever, by whatsoever name she, the said Church, or her superior order of ministers, may in future be denominated.
4th. That as it is the right, so it will be the duty of the said Church, when duly organized, constituted, and represented in a synod or convention of the different orders of her ministers and people, to revise her liturgy, fornus of prayer, and public worship, in order to adapt the same to the late revolution, and other local circumstances of America; which, it is humbly conceived, will and may be done, without any other or farther departure from the venerable order and beautiful forms of worship of the Church from which we sprung, than may be found expedient in the change of our situation from a daughter to a sister Church.
In the convention of June, 1784, which included laydeputies from the different parishes, the aforesaid declaration was again approved, and certain fundamental principles of ecclesiastical government were established, of which the following is recorded on the printed journal as the substance:
1. That none of the orders of the clergy, whether bishops, priests, or deacons, who may be under the necessity of obtaining ordination in any foreign state, with a view to officiate or settle in this state, shall, at the time of their ordination, or at any time afterward, take or subscribe any obligation of obedience, civil or canonical, to any foreign power or authority whatsoever, nor be admissible into the ministry of this Church, if such obligations have been taken for a settlement in any foreign country, without renouncing the same, by taking the oaths required by law, as a test of allegiance to this state.
2. According to what we conceive to be of true apostolic institution, the duty and office of a bishop differs in notbing from that of other priests, except in the power of ordination and confirmation, and in the right of precedency in ecclesiastical meetings or synods, and shall accordingly be so exercised in this Church, the duty and office of priests and deacons remaining as heretofore. And if any further distinctions and regulations, in the different orders of the ministry, should be found necessary for the good goverument of the Church, the same shall be made and established by the joint voice and authority of a representative body of the clergy and laity, at future ecclesiastical synods or conventions.
3. The third section is intended to define or discriminate some of the separate rights and powers of the clergy, and was proposed and agreed to as follows, viz. that the clergy shall be deemed adequate judges of the ministerial commission and authority, which is necessary to the due administration of the ordinances of religion in their own Church, and of the literary, moral, and religious qualifications and abilities of persons to be nominated and appointed to the different orders of the ministry; but the approving and receiving such persons to any particular cure, duty, or parish, when so nominated, appointed, set apart, consecrated, and ordained, is in the people, who are to support them, and to receive the benefit of their ministry.
4. The fourth section provides, that ecclesiastical conventions or synods of this Church shall consist of the clergy, avd one lay-delegate or representative from each vestry or parish, or a majority of the same, and shall be held annually on the fourth Tuesday of October, unless some canon or rule should be made at some future convention for altering the time of meeting, or for meeting oftener than once a year, or not so often, or with a larger or smaller representation of the Church, as may be judged necessary. But fundamental rules, once duly made, shall not be altered, unless two-thirds of such majority, as aforesaid, duly assembled, shall agree therein.
The following heads of additional articles were set down for the consideration of the next convention.
1. That the power and authority necessary for reclaiming or excluding scandalous members, whether lay or clerical, and all jurisdiction with regard to offenders, be exercised only by a representative body of clergy and laity jointly.
2. That the power of suspending or dismissing clergymen from the exercise of their ministry, in any particular church, parish, or district, be by the like authority.
3. That all canons or laws for church-government, and all alterations, changes, and reforms, in the Church service and liturgy, or in points of doctrine to be professed and taught in the Church, shall also be by the like authority.
The proceedings of these conventions, besides the circumstance of their showing an accommodation to the civil system, by the introduction of the laity, gave great offence to some of the clergy, by the definition of the authority of a bisliop, in the second of the articles established. It is, evidently, the much controverted position of St. Jerome. The author does not think it accurate : and although his principles on the subject of Episcopacy allow of an accommodation of its powers to the circumstances of the Church, at different times, he was afraid of there arising some inconvenience from the asserting, as a fundamental principle, of what was in the opposite extreme to that of the overstrained authorities of the office, maintained by others.
In consequence of the recommendation and proposal of the meeting of 1784, in New-York, there was a convention of the clergy of South-Carolina, at Charleston, in the spring of 1785. This was the state in which there was the most to be apprehended, an opposition to the very principle of Episcopacy, from its being connected, in the minds of some people, with the idea of an attachment to the British government. The citizens of South-Carolina were the last visited by the British armies, and had suffered more than any others by their ravages. The truth is, there was real danger of an opposition in the convention, to a compliance with the invitation given. But the danger was warded off, by a proposal made by the Rev. Robert Smith, to accompany their compliance with the measure, by its being understood, that there was to be no bishop settled in that state. Such a proposal, from the gentleman who, it was presumed, would be the bishop, were there to be any chosen, had the effect intended. Some gentlemen, it is said, declared in conversation, that they had contemplated an opposition, but were prevented by this caution.
Besides the conventions which have been mentioned, there were one in New York, and another in New Jersey, in the summer of 1785. But as their proceedings extended no further than to the appointing of deputies to the General Convention, it is not necessary to notice them any further, than is dictated by this circumstance.
F. Page 24. Of the General Convention, in Philadelphia,
in September and October, 1785.
The president of this convention was Dr. White, and the secretary was the Rev. Dr. Griffith.
There being journals of this convention, and of the conventions following, the matter of those journals will not be repeated in this work, except so far as may be thought necessary to the sense of it, the design being principally the communicating of facts within the knowledge and the recollection of the narrator, tending to throw light on what has been recorded. The statements and the remarks to be now offered, will be arranged under the heads of sundry sections.
Section 1. Of the General Ecclesiastical Constitution.
It has been seen, that in the preceding year, at NewYork, a few general principles, tending to the organizing of the Church, had been recommended to the churches represented, and proposed to those not represented. As all the articles except the fourth, which recognized the English liturgy, with the exception of the political parts of it, were adopted by the present convention, they became a bond of union, and indeed, the only one acted under, until the year 1789. For as to the general constitution, framed at the period now before us, it stood on recommendation only, and was of no use, except in helping to convince those who were attached to that mode of transacting business, that it was very idle to bring gentlemen together from different states, for the purpose of such inconclusive proceedings.
The fifth and the eighth articles of this proposed constitution deserve particular notice, because they have been subir jects of considerable conversation and censure.