AT ST. PAUL'S CHURCH, YORKVILLE;
A NARRATIVE, &c.
On the 19th of November, 1855, Messrs. Jas. Henderson, Thomas J. Preston, and W. V. Bacon, were appointed a Committee by a meeting of the Vestry of St. Paul's Church, Yorkville, to draw up a statement of facts connected with the strenuous opposition which the Vestry felt it to be their duty to make to the decision of the Bishop in the case of their late assistant minister, the Rev. W. A. Johnson.
Unwilling, however, to set forth to the world the unfortunate dispute between themselves and those in authority, they have hitherto hesitated to publish the documents which, in accordance with their instructions, they had prepared,--preferring to suffer what they must always regard as injustice, rather than expose what they deem to be the errors of those whom, from their office, they are bound to reverence and obey.
A most one-sided and untrue statement of "the Yorkville case" having appeared in the Echo of the 4th April, the committee find themselves reluctantly obliged, in justice to the position assumed by the Vestry in the late dispute, to forego their previous intention and to publish the whole facts of the case, perfectly confident that the verdict of the Church at large will be in their favour.
The Echo would make it appear that the acts and teach of their late highly esteemed assistant Minister had produced "confusion and strife, division and evil," in the parish; that the parish had remonstrated against his proceedings; that he had "distracted, divided and troubled the congregation." The committee cannot allow any statement which so utterly misrepresents the congregation and parish of St. Paul's, Yorkville, to go forth uncontradicted.
The following statement of facts will prove beyond the possibility of controversy that the parish, represented by its [3/4] vestry meeting, was all but unanimous in supporting their clergyman, and that the whole trouble, confusion and strife has been occasioned by one or two individuals, who will be shown by the accompanying documents to be utterly incompetent for the office of Ecclesiastical Reformers, which they gratuitously assume.
To vindicate themselves, and to justify their opposition to the Episcopal decision (the only regret connected with which is its want of success), the Parish, by the resolution of the 19th Nov., publish the present narrative, and they rejoice that in the performance of this duty which they owe to themselves, they are also enabled triumphantly to vindicate the character and teachings of their late respected Minister, the Rev. W. A. Johnson, from the malevolent attacks and positive persecution by which he has been assailed.
With these introductory remarks, the committee address themselves to their task, which will consist of little more than a chronological arrangement of documents, accompanied with a few necessary connecting explanations.
The state of health of the Rev. J. G. D. MacKenzie having become too infirm to permit him to discharge efficiently the duties of the pastoral charge of St. Paul's Church, Yorkville, he entered into an arrangement with the Rev. W. A. Johnson, to act as his assistant Minister. This arrangement was made with the concurrence of his Lordship the Bishop, though no formal license to that effect was granted.
Though Mr. Johnson was comparatively unknown to the congregation (who had not been consulted in his appointment), he very soon produced a very favourable impression upon them by the assiduous discharge of his duties as a parish priest. The beneficial results of his ministrations were evident in the large additions made to the roll of communicants, and to the offertory collections, and before long the number of worshippers became so great that a want of accommodation for them began to be painfully experienced. In such circumstances the idea of the erection of a larger Church naturally suggested itself.
Without entering minutely into details, it may be sufficient to mention that the vestry, with only one dissenting voice, [4/5] viz., that of Mr. Walter MacKenzie,--whose objection, however, was not to the appointment of Mr. Johnson, but to the action of the vestry, who resolved to undertake the building of a new Church, on the express condition that Mr. Johnson should be appointed the Incumbent thereof.
The Hon. P. B. de Blaquiere was requested to bring the matter before the Bishop of the Diocese, and his Lordship, as the vestry were informed by that gentleman, entertained the proposition in a favourable manner. He consented to allow the vestry to nominate their clergyman, on condition of their rebuilding the church, and becoming bound for the Incumbent's support without drawing on the Endowment Fund. It was likewise stipulated by the Bishop that the present Incumbent should resign his charge prior to the appointment of Mr. Johnson.
The Rev. J. G. D. MacKenzie, having been waited upon, expressed a willingness to meet the views of the vestry, feeling that he was unable effectively to discharge the duties of the cure. He entered into an agreement, binding himself to resign his charge if a majority of the congregation in vestry assembled should request him so to do. The resignation, if sought for, was to take effect at the expiry of his agreement with Mr. Johnson, which was for one year, from the 1st of October, 1855,--the vestry becoming bound to carry out to the letter the terms of said agreement.
Up to this point every thing had proceeded in the most propitious manner, and the speedy erection of a new and commodious Church became, to all human appearance, a matter of absolute certainty. This fair prospect, however, was doomed to be sadly blighted.
For reasons best known to himself, Mr. Walter MacKenzie developed himself as a bitter opponent of the Rev. W. A. Johnson. His personal character, or ministerial efficiency, he could not impugn; but he uplifted against him the cry of "Puseyism," that undefined, but frequently most convenient accusation, which, owing to its very vagueness, is found to produce a telling impression upon the unthinking and unreasoning masses.
Mr. W. MacKenzie managed to bring over the Hon. P. B. [5/6] de Blaquiere to his views, and by those two gentlemen was the crusade against Mr. Johnson mainly carried on. Very few of the other members of the vestry took part in the opposition; but on the contrary, the vast majority up to the present moment repudiate and disown the proceedings of the agitators.
The charges laid against Mr. Johnson are as follows:
I. Introducing into the Sunday School of St. Paul's Church, Yorkville, the Catechism of Bishop Innes, as republished by Bishop Seabury. This compendium, in the opinion of Messrs. De Blaquiere and W. MacKenzie, contains matter at variance with the standards of the United Church of England and Ireland.
II. Mr. Johnson's antecedents at Coburg, and especially the part taken by him while assistant Minister there, in reference to a certain altar and emblems which led to a disgraceful outrage and other evil consequences.
III. A sermon preached by him at St. Paul's Church, wherein he commended the use of a Credence Table, or shelf for the elements to be placed thereon before consecration, and other such like matters.
IV. The peculiar manner in which the Rev. Gentleman kneels away from the Communion Table, and his significant mode of consecrating the elements.
V. A Tract recommended by him to Mr. W. MacKenzie, wherein, among other objectionable reasons, an outward, visible, typical and symbolical ritual, is declared to be necessary to the performance of public worship. This tract is entitled "A few reasons for discontinuing to have pews in our Churches." Also other tracts and publications rumoured to have been issued through his instrumentality, "The Churchman's Diary," "Down with the Tractarians," &c. [Those Tracts may be had at Mr. H. Rowsell's Book Store.]
VI. A sermon preached by him on the parable of the Good Samaritan, wherein an allegory was impressively introduced by him, as the teaching of the Fathers of the Church, [6/7] such allegory being a revival of the Scholastic Theology which first impaired the purity of Gospel preaching, and introduced strife into the primitive Church.
VII. A sermon preached by him, in which he denounced the University of Toronto as "a school of the Devil," and that without a proper regard to the composition of the congregation.
The above charges having been formally laid before his Lordship the Bishop, the Rev. W. A. Johnson replied thereto in the following terms:--
ANSWERS TO CHARGES.
In replying to the charges or complaints made by the Hon. P. B. de Blaquiere and Mr. Walter MacKenzie against me, the first point demanding attention is, that in a letter from the Hon. P. B. de Blaquiere to the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie, dated Out. 5, 1855, the former gentleman demands that the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie shall dismiss his curate, for two reasons assigned by that gentleman,--the first is what he is pleased to term my antecedents at Cobourg; the second, insidious introduction and spread of most indiscreet, unsound, and therefore most dangerous teaching.
With regard to the first point, the phrase, "my antecedents at Cobourg," is so vague as to appear very much like a trap to catch my words; and it is so entirely out of the province of my accusers to find fault with things, whatever they may be, done 70 or 80 miles away from their parish, and of which they knew nothing but by false report, that I cannot attempt to offer any explanation, except that from Mr. Walter MacKenzie's accusations it appears to be something about an "altar,"--therefore I have sent your Lordship the whole correspondence on that point: not, allow me to say, to lay it before my accusers, but to satisfy your Lordship's own mind.
I consider that my accusers have nothing to do with this matter; and while the accompanying correspondence shows most clearly that the introduction of that altar does not rest with me, I leave it to your Lordship's better judgment to inform them or not as you think fit.
The second charge refers to a Catechism which Mr. De Blaquiere considers unsound in doctrines. With his opinions of doctrine I have nothing to do; but with the introduction of the Catechism into the Sunday School I have. Here I would observe that, in answering Mr. De Blaquiere, the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie says that a Catechism by Bishop Innes was introduced into his Sunday School by the Rev. W. A. Johnson; and he further adds, that he, the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie, has discontinued the use of it in the Sunday School.
 In answer to these assertions made by the Rev. J. G. D. MacKenzie, and forming a cause of objection on the part of the Hon. P. B. de Blaquiere, I shall simply assert that they are false. Bishop Innes' Catechism was never introduced into the Sunday School, and the only construction I can put upon such a charge is, that the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie must have taken that for granted which he never inquired into.
Some months ago I gave Miss Telfer a copy of Innes' Catechism to look over, and express her opinion upon; also I lent a young man (a connexion of Mr. Howard's) a book in which Innes' Catechism was bound up with other things, telling him that I had used it for years in teaching children, and that I lent him the book to look at and return it to me,--and it is now on my table. I also gave Mr. Dickson a copy of Innes' Catechism, telling him to look at it and express his opinion of it to me. These are the only two copies of this Catechism that I remember giving to any one in that parish, and they never used them in the school; and, moreover, they understood that they were given them to read and examine, not to use in the school. With reference to this subject, the accompanying letters to and from Mr. Dickson will prove that no such catechism was ever introduced into the Sunday School.
There is nothing more of any importance in Mr. De B.'s charges; and I have disposed of the Cobourg matter by stating that Mr. De B. has nothing to do with it; and of the introduction of a catechism into the Sunday School, by showing that no such thing was ever done or intended by me.
In passing on to Mr. Walter MacKenzie's charges or complaints, I find him, in a letter to the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie, dated Oct. 4, 1855, saying that he (the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie) "unhesitatingly repudiates" certain parts of Bishop Innes' Catechism. I send the catechism itself herewith, and how far it is sound or unsound, scriptural or unscriptural, your Lordship will decide, and charge myself or my Rector accordingly.
When answering Mr. W. MacKenzie, I find the Rev. Mr. MacK. making the same assertion about introducing Bishop Innes' Catechism into the Sunday School, and would refer to the proofs given before on the same head--namely, that the catechism was never introduced at all.
Firstly--Coming to the "further objections" urged against me, I find, "my conduct at Cobourg with regard to an altar and emblems." Reference to letter No. 2 of the Cobourg correspondence will satisfy your Lordship on this point, and as I said of Mr. De B., so I repeat Mr. W. MacK. has nothing to do with it. (See Appendix, from No. 25 to 29.)
Secondly--The sermon referred to, being No. 174, accompanies these explanations, and the passage alluding to a "Credence Table" is marked for your Lordship's perusal. Allow me to add that a credence table has been used in St. Paul's, Yorkville, for years. The Hon. P. B. de B. once told me he feared that I would introduce a credence table, and I answered [8/9] him, "that would be difficult, seeing one had been in use for years already." My accuser may refer to something of which I am ignorant; but in Yorkville the bread and wine are placed on the table in the vestry until just before saying the prayer for the Church Militant, when they are placed on the altar.
Thirdly--With regard to my kneeling, from my youth I was always taught that I could not kneel with too much humility and reverence in the house of God, and have therefore always preferred kneeling on the floor and not on stools. Mr. De B. once asked me about this, and I answered him, whereupon he expressed himself as being fully satisfied: on which occasion I told him if my kneeling was offensive to the congregation at large, and they were pleased to request a change on my part, I would willingly comply. Dr. Beaven once asked me the same, expressed himself satisfied with the explanation, and I told him also that it was not a point of conscience, but of preference with me, and that I would leave it off if the congregation at large wished it. At the same time, if the matter is too indifferent for the congregation to petition about it, it is too indifferent for me to change. As to "significant mode of consecrating the elements," I cannot offer any explanation, for I am quite ignorant of what is referred to. I have asked several of the congregation, but they cannot tell me anything peculiar in my way of performing that holy, typical and symbolic rite.
Fourthly--The fourth charge refers to some tracts. The one on pews I wrote and compiled; then it was published in the Church newspaper, about the time it was removed from Toronto to Hamilton: the others I have had nothing to do with, except that I gave a copy of "Down with the Tractarians," "Pews," and "Church a family," to Miss Telfer, whom I have known for many years. And as the sexton sat on a bench one warm day, outside the church, while the Sunday School was in, I gave him the "Church a Family," which I happened to have in my pocket, saying perhaps it would interest him for a quarter of an hour. The "Churchman's Diary" I received (I think) from a friend in England about the beginning of the year. It was a novelty to me, and I never had another copy before or since.
Fifthly--The sermon on the Good Samaritan will not admit of extracts. The substance of it is, to declare that its literal signification is that every man when in distress is our neighbour, let him be of what nation or religion he may; but that on the 13th Sunday after Trinity, it is to be viewed and considered as an allegorical declaration of the fall of man, and of his salvation by Jesus Christ alone.
Sixthly--The passage about Toronto University is marked in sermon No. 179. It is only a few lines which come in by way of proof concerning another subject. With regard to the composition of the congregation, so long as I can edify I am not very careful to please the ears of my hearers, and have no means of knowing who may hear me.
NOTE.--This is all that refers to the laity. But I send a [9/10] summary containing expression of belief in certain doctrines, that any differences between myself and the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie may be made clear.
In offering your Lordship these explanations, I beg that it may be clearly understood that I offer your Lordship the catechism by Bishop Innes as one of which I thoroughly approve. One in which the great doctrines of salvation are laid down plainly and intelligibly, and in which the points wherein a little latitude is quite allowable in our Church are just mentioned, so far as is absolutely necessary to prevent the injury arising from not teaching such subjects at all.
With regard to the tracts, I beg it may be clearly understood that I fully concur in the principles that they advocate, though certain words or phrases might be altered, but by no means so as to affect the sense.
With regard to Master's "Churchman's Diary," I wish it to be as clearly understood that I do not, and cannot speak of it as I do of the others: it seems to me to be quite extreme; and without presuming to pass too decided a condemnation upon it altogether, I must be allowed to say I would rather not have anything to do with it. Many of its assertions about little things want proof, or else I am not acquainted with their proofs, and therefore I cannot conscientiously circulate it myself, nor would I advise any body else to do so.
In reference to the charge based upon the "Altar" of Cobourg, the subjoined letter from the Venerable Archdeacon Bethune, Rector of St. Peter's Church in that town, demonstrates, that if anything was unsound about said altar, the blame did not rest with Mr. Johnson.
The Rectory, Cobourg, August 10, 1854.
My dear Sir,--I have to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 4th instant, and to thank you for the intimation that several young men, members of our congregation, have been good enough to purchase an altar for the service of St. Peter's Church.
While I am myself much obliged by this act of pious consideration on their part, I am sure it will be equally appreciated by the congregation at large.
Having had the gratification of seeing the altar thus procured, I regard it as very substantial in appearance, neat in its workmanship, and appropriate in its symbols.
Outward things, in connexion with Divine service, are often impressive in their teaching; and this new gift, we shall hope, will help to produce a greater reverence for the most awful of the solemnities of the Church, and a more guarded as well as thankful approach to that most sacred spot in the sanctuary.
I remain, dear Sir, very sincerely yours,
(Signed) A. N. Bethune.
Wm. Corrigal, Esq.
 After considering the various documents submitted to him, the Lord Bishop was pleased to pronounce the following deliverance upon the case.
Having carefully perused the correspondence referring to this case, as also the Tracts and Sermons to which allusion has been made, and upon which are grounded objections to the doctrinal opinions and teaching of the Rev. W. A. Johnson, and haying anxiously weighed the evidence which they contain, I find as follows:
That no prejudice or ground of objection can be justly entertained against the Rev. William A. Johnson, upon what are called his antecedents at Cobourg; for no charge was made by his Rector, nor was the connexion between them dissolved in any unfriendly spirit.
That in reference to the Catechism by Bishop Innes, which it is alleged the Rev. W. A. Johnson introduced into the Sunday school at Yorkville, little need be said, because there is no proof that it was ever introduced. It must nevertheless be admitted that the dissemination, however limited, of this or any book containing questionable matter, is a grave error of judgment, and especially in this instance, because some expressions and sentiments in the Catechism (page 34) are not countenanced by the teaching of our Church. Nor is there any reasonable excuse for bringing forward such publications, when we have so many expositions of the Church Catechism from our most eminent and sound divines, which are of standard authority, and have been long used in our schools with the most beneficial effect. On this point I cannot refrain from expressing my regret that Mr. Johnson should have thought it his duty to affirm his thorough approval of the Catechism of Bishop Innes, as it is calculated to create a suspicion in the minds of parents, and to bring about what has actually taken place--the withdrawal of some of the teachers themselves from the Sunday school.
That with respect to the other tracts alleged to have been circulated by Mr. Johnson, "The Churchman's Diary" is the most objectionable; but as it is not approved of by Mr. Johnson himself, and neither, circulated nor recommended, it requires no further notice than to say that it is unsafe, and may lead to vain and superstitious practices, at variance with Gospel truth.
"THE CHURCH A FAMILY."
This appears to me a very beautiful and affecting tract. It persuades in an agreeable and pleasing way the duty of adherence to one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism--all which our Saviour inculcated, and his Apostles after him strongly urged.
"THE TRACT ON PEWS."
This tract is not written in a spirit to do good. It is onesided and narrow in its views. There are very few sincere Christians favorable to pews in the abstract, and in consequence modifications and improvements towards their removal are in progress, [11/12] and becoming daily more general, and will with God's blessing be gradually successful; but such progress will not be accelerated by ridicule, bitterness, and exaggerated statements. It is a case which in new and poor countries grows up almost of necessity, and very seldom from motives which can be justly called reprehensible. It springs rather from a desire to do something towards promoting the worship of God; it is frequently the very first move towards religion, and which, if cherished, may be purified and go on to perfection. No doubt the donors and subscribers in many cases stipulate for some privileges for themselves and families; but we never find them disinclined to provide accommodation to a certain, and sometimes to a very liberal, extent for the benefit of the poor. Hence reviling and hard language are neither just nor commendable. The evil, where it is an evil (for it is not always so), can only be abated by kind persuasion, and the extension of purer Christian knowledge.
"DOWN WITH THE TRACTARIANS."
This, tract is liable to much the same objection. Its circulation in this diocese is uncalled for and injudicious, not only because no such persecuting spirit as that complained of exists among us, but because the opinions and sentiments which the pamphlet contains is the very way to kindle the spirit of which we complain.
In regard to the three sermons of Mr. Johnson before me, I perceive nothing unsound in doctrine. The style is simple, unassuming and frequently effective. Sometimes, indeed, there may be a little straining in the expression, which deducts somewhat from its perspicuity; and some tendency to allegory, which requires to be kept under due control, lest it lead to some of the errors into which German expositors have fallen. On the whole, the sermons are not unsatisfactory.
To introduce topics of a statistical or local character into sermons with effect, requires great prudence and delicacy, and is scarcely wise in an assistant minister. Hence the allusion to the University of Toronto in one of the sermons may offend, because not happily expressed; and the references to that city's ecclesiastical destitution are injudicious, since they can hardly be borne out by facts. For be it remembered, that things stated from the pulpit as facts, unless strictly correct, are mischievous, and discreditable to the preacher, and even when correct may be very unseasonable.
It is not very easy to collect a just impression of the doctrinal opinions and peculiar teaching of a clergyman from the perusal of a few sermons, nor would it be fair to deduce a knowledge of his views from a bias in favor of particular tracts, or even a desire to circulate them; but independent of this, certain features may be traced in the papers which would seem to indicate that in some way the conversations and private monitions pursued by Mr. Johnson are calculated to beget distrust and suspicion of the soundness of his tenets, of which in future he will require to be especially on his guard. The truth of this is manifest in the [12/13] fact that some respectable members of the congregation of St. Paul's, all of whom were in peace and harmony when Mr. Johnson commenced his labors amongst them, now doubt the correctness of his views, and the safety of making him their spiritual guide. Indeed so far has this doubt prevailed, that according to the declaration of the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie himself, nearly twenty persons have entered into a protest against the continuance of his services; and unless a remedy be found, the course they have taken threatens to become a source of increasing disunion and strife.
Although nothing has been proved that can or ought to be allowed to affect Mr. Johnson's character as a clergyman, or mar his future prospects in the Church, yet there is enough to shew that he is not in his proper sphere at Yorkville, nor has he at all times exercised a sound discretion. Moreover, as he has had the misfortune, though not, I believe, intentionally, to disturb the peace and harmony of the parish, it would seem unwise to continue him its pastor.
It further appears that Mr. Johnson differs in some things from his Incumbent, the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie, and on that account is not the most suitable to minister in his absence. To all this we must add, that Mr. Johnson's appointment was from the first irregular, insomuch that the Bishop was not consulted, nor his license obtained. Nevertheless, had matters proceeded agreeably, this irregularity might have been overlooked, and the necessary license granted. But this is now a step which no Bishop can conscientiously take, in the face of discontent and opposition.
Having thus taken a careful view of all the facts, and circumstances of the case, I am of opinion that the Rev. W. A. Johnson will best consult his own comfort and respectability by retiring from the ministry of St. Paul's Church; and by doing so he will enable me to transfer him, with as little delay as may be, to some other, and I trust to him a more promising field of duty.
(Signed) JOHN TORONTO.
Toronto, 29th October, 1855.
On this decision being communicated to the Vestry of St. Paul's, they, with a unanimity seldom witnessed in similar cases, agreed upon the annexed Memorial to their Bishop.
To the Honorable and Right Rev. JOHN, Lord Bishop of Toronto.
The Memorial of the undersigned Members of the Congregation of St. Paul's Church, Yorkville,
That we have read with feelings of the deepest concern your Lordship's decision in the case of the Rev. W. A. Johnson; and we are led by a sense of duty to that gentleman, as well as by what seems to us the demand of common justice, to approach [13/14] your Lordship with the candid but most respectful expression of our views on this most unfortunate matter.
At the outset we beg leave most solemnly to assure your Lordship, that we are actuated by no feelings of partizanship towards Mr. Johnson personally, as, from the short period of his residence amongst us, he is necessarily almost a stranger to the majority of the inhabitants of this parish. A deep and sincere desire for the well-being of the Church, and a well-grounded fear of the disastrous consequences to the spiritual interests of our congregation, which may result from the promulgation of the decision in question, alone induces us to submit the following views for your Lordship's consideration.
The whole matter has all along been regarded by the bulk of the parishioners as frivolous in the extreme; and, without questioning the motives of the gentlemen who laid complaints against Mr. Johnson, we disapprove of the spirit of minute fault-finding in which the controversy has been carried on.
We beg leave to express the most undoubting confidence in the justice which has always characterized your Lordship's proceedings, although we cannot refer to the document recently transmitted to our Churchwarden, but with mingled feelings of pleasure and pain; pleasure in that your Lordship has fully exonerated Mr. Johnson from every charge that has been brought against him, and declared that "nothing has been proved that can or ought to be allowed to affect his character as a clergyman, or mar his future prospects in the Church,"--pain, that notwithstanding this exoneration and declaration, your Lordship recommends that Mr. Johnson should retire from the ministry of St. Paul's Church--a recommendation which, if carried into effect, must inevitably prove ruinous to his character as a clergyman, and cannot fail to give great dissatisfaction to a majority of the parishioners.
We now take the liberty of referring to some of those points on which it appears to us your Lordship labors under great misapprehension, from the want of due information on the various matters.
It is stated that "Mr. Johnson is in the habit of giving private monitions and advice of a questionable character."
We beg leave most solemnly to assure your Lordship that so far as our knowledge and information as inhabitants of this parish extends, such a charge is utterly incorrect.
It is further stated that "some respectable members of the congregation doubt the correctness of Mr. Johnson's views, and the safety of making him their spiritual guide; and so far has this doubt already prevailed, that according to the declaration of the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie, nearly twenty persons have entered into a protest against the continuance of his services."
We, my Lord, after making every inquiry in our power, cannot learn that such a protest was ever entered into, and we are inclined to disbelieve in its existence. Of the regular attendants on Divine worship, we cannot find that more than five or [14/15] six persons have absented themselves for the reasons indicated by your Lordship, unless are included with them the members of their respective families.
On the other hand, we beg to assure your Lordship that St. Paul's Church, both in its morning and. evening service, has been more numerously attended since Mr. Johnson officiated there, than at any former period; that the number of communicants has been greater; that larger sums have been collected at the offertory; and on the occasion of the last annual sermon for the Widows and Orphans' Fund the amount contributed by the congregation was nearly twice that of the previous year. During the last few weeks also applications for pews have been made to the Churchwarden, which he has been unable to grant, in consequence of every pew being already let. These, my Lord, are facts which admit of no contradiction, and shew that Mr. Johnson's ministrations were acceptable to the parish, even before he had time to live down the wide and unwearied circulation of reports to his prejudice made by his accusers.
It is also asserted that "Mr. Johnson, on coming amongst us, disturbed the harmony of the parish."
But we beg respectfully to assure your Lordship, that long before his arrival the parish was in a state of disunion; and, in the absence of our Minister from ill health, we rejoiced in being placed under the spiritual care of a clergyman who seemed in every way worthy of our regard and respect, when suddenly the union and harmony which we believed had begun to reign amongst us was interrupted by the two gentlemen whose accusations your Lordship has pronounced to be unfounded.
It is also stated that "Mr. Johnson's appointment was irregular."
This statement strikes us with surprise, as the Rev. Mr. MacKenzie mentioned to Mr. Preston and Mr. Henderson, two of our number, that the arrangement entered into between Mr. Johnson and himself met with your Lordship's approval.
Your Lordship states, in conclusion, that "it is evident Yorkville is not Mr. Johnson's proper sphere."
We believe that your Lordship has arrived at this conclusion in consequence of a want of full and sufficient information; and we would most respectfully suggest for your Lordship's consideration, whether it would-be wise or expedient to remove Mr. Johnson from his present position, contrary to the wishes of the congregation generally, merely because he happens to be distasteful to a few who ventured to bring accusations against their clergyman, not one of which they have been able to substantiate; and, my Lord, with the most perfect respect, but with an earnestness which the occasion demands, we implore your Lordship to reconsider that part of your decision which affects the removal of Mr. Johnson. If that decision be once laid before the Vestry of St. Paul's Church, it is impossible that it can any longer continue private; and we are firmly persuaded that Mr. Johnson's removal in consequence will not only be most injurious to the [15/16] best interests of our parish, but that when all the facts of the case, shall be disclosed, as they then must necessarily be, it will be productive of dissatisfaction, and of evil consequences to the Church at large.
And your memorialists will ever pray.
Yorkville, 8th November, 1855.
(Signed) Thomas J. Preston, Churchwarden.
A. M. Clarke, Wm. Vynne Bacon,
James Henderson, Robt. J. Turner,
Alex. Murray, John Evans,
Dalrymple Crawford, G. H. Sootheran,
Wm. G. Telfer, Dudley F. Jessop,
Edwd. K. Radford, Geo. McKeand,
Adml. Baldwin, Robt. Beard,
J. W. Beaven, Jas. Beaven, D.D.
C. J. Philbrick, W. R. Bartlett,
J. M. Jarvis.
Without subscribing to the facts before stated, many of which are unknown to me, I most cheerfully, however, subscribe to the spirit of the Memorial.
(Signed) James Browne, Jun.
His Lordship replied as follows to this representation.
Toronto, 10th November, 1855.
Gentlemen,--I have carefully read the Memorial which you presented to me yesterday, and which was signed by yourselves and several other most respectable members of St. Paul's Church.
The points which this document embraces do not in the least affect the grounds of my decision, which is founded upon the consideration of circumstances entirely irrespective of the facts which you urge upon ray attention.
The difficulties which have arisen appear to have sprung chiefly from a defect in judgment, which time and experience may be expected to correct; but a remedy must be applied without delay, for a sound discretion is indispensably requisite for the efficient administration of a parish so important as that of Yorkville.
It gives me much satisfaction to learn that you entertain so favorable an opinion of Mr. Johnson; and it is my hope and earnest prayer that in another field of labor, better suited to his capacity, to which I am prepared to appoint him, his zeal and energy may be wisely and profitably exerted, and that his future usefulness in the service of the Church may be such as to justify the expectations of his warm and intelligent friends.
I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,
Your most obedient humble servant,
(Signed) JOHN TORONTO.
To Thomas J. Preston, Esq., Churchwarden; A. M. Clarke, Jas. Henderson, Alex. Murray, Esqs.
 The Committee have little more to add. It will be seen that the Rev. W. A. Johnson has been fully and unreservedly exonerated by his Diocesan from the slightest imputation of unsound or heretical teaching. His Lordship has nothing to advance against the Reverend gentleman, except "a DEFECT IN JUDGMENT."
If the infusion of active vitality into a languishing congregation be a proof of defective judgment, then most assuredly the Reverend gentleman is a delinquent of the deepest dye! If the necessary and natural effects of pastoral wrongheaded-ness be to swell the number of guests at the Lord's table, to make pews overcrowded, to increase the offertory collections, and to create a spirit of devotion where listless worldliness before prevailed, the Rev. W. A. Johnson is wrong-headed indeed! If for the Vestry to resist and resent the attempt of a few individuals to dictate to a whole parish, and if for the same body strenuously to remonstrate with the Bishop on a decision which (as the accompanying documents will shew) was come to upon misinformation, be a factious opposition to lawful authority, then must the PARISH of Yorkville plead guilty to the charge.
APPENDIX. [No. 1.] Copy of Letter from Rev. W. A. Johnson to Mr. Walter McKenzie.
Toronto, October 6, 1855.
Dear Sir,--Your pastor, the Rev. J. G. D. McKenzie left me a piece of paper containing some observations upon a catechism, or I think I ought more correctly to say, extracts from a catechism. I presume from what he said that they are such as you, or it may be your adviser or advisers, disapprove of; if I can be of any service in offering explanation, or references to Holy Scripture and our Church's teaching, I shall be happy to do so. I am at home every morning until about one o'clock, and would gladly attend to any such matters; or I will wait upon you, if it be for edification, at any hour you wish.
Believe me, very faithfully yours,
(Signed) W. A. Johnson.
W. McKenzie, Esq.
Yorkville, 8th October, 1855.
My Dear Sir,--Accept my thanks for your very polite note, and the kind offer of spiritual assistance conveyed in it. I must, however, decline your aid under existing circumstances, and seek for help where I have hitherto found it, from an internal Adviser.
If you can prove to my pastor, the Rev. Mr. McKenzie, that he acted under a mistake in rejecting your catechism from his Sunday School, I am sure he will deeply regret having done so, for he has shown the most earnest desire to sustain you as his assistant.
Believe me, yours very faithfully,
The Rev. W. A. Johnson.
[No. 3.] Copy from the Rev. W. A. Johnson to the Hon. P. B. de Blaquiere.
Toronto, October 6, 1855.
My dear Sir,--I have been informed, by authority that I can-not doubt, that you stated publicly in the Church at a vestry meeting, that you had such grave objections to me as a Minister, that you would rather "suffer death" than receive the Holy Communion as long as I officiated in the Church of St. Paul's, Yorkville. Such reports are highly injurious to me, as well as to the interests of the Church, and therefore it is my duty to request some explanation.
Believe me very faithfully yours,
(Signed) W. A. Johnson.
To the Hon. P. B. de Blaquiere.
 [No. 4.]
Yorkville, October 9th, 1855.
Rev. and dear Sir--I received yesterday your note of the 6th. With reference to any remarks I may have made at our late vestry meeting, of a nature distasteful to you, I must beg of you to permit me to refer you for an explanation to a correspondence which I have placed in the hands of the Churchwardens to be laid before our Bishop, and to other matters which are in course of being brought under his Lordship's notice.
Involving, as this subject does, what I conceive to be false doctrine and pernicious formulary, without any imputation upon personal character, I must hold myself at liberty to express what I feel, strongly; and believe me that our present trouble sits heavily upon my advanced years and bodily infirmity.
I remain, Rev. and dear sir, your faithful servant,
P. B. de Blaquiere.
The Rev. W. A. Johnson.
[No. 5.] From the Rev. W. A. Johnson to Mr. C. R. Dickson.
Toronto, October 8, 1855.
My dear Sir,--In conversation with the Rev. Mr. McKenzie, he remarked concerning a certain catechism, and gave me to understand that the one he held in his hand was the same which I gave to you. You would be conferring a favour upon me, if you would kindly put your reply in writing to the following questions. They are merely facts which I may probably require to use, and therefore ask them simply as a matter of justice.
I hope these questions will not seem to you vexatious on my part: believe me, they are not intended to be so. It is currently reported that this crusade against (so called false doctrine) is undertaken for the glory of God, without a shadow of personal dislike, and this opinion emboldens me in requesting information which may go a long may towards putting things in a proper light. Awaiting your reply,
Believe me very faithfully yours,
(Signed) W. A. Johnson.
The questions are as under:--
1.--Did I ever give you a copy of Bishop Innes's Catechism, as republished by Bishop Seabury, "Baltimore, Joseph Robinson"?
2.--Did I give it to you to use in the Sunday School: or did I ask you to read it over, and remark upon what you thought of it; adding also that I had used it for long, and liked it better than any I had met with?
3.--Did you ever use it in the Sunday School, or see it used there?
4.--Did I not go to the Vestry Room, and get you Bishop Mants' Catechism? and, declaring in its favour, recommend you to use it?
5.--Which was given you first, Bishop Innes' or Bishop Mants'?
 6.--Were you under the impression, from any language I used to you, that I wanted to introduce "novelties" in doctrine? If so, do me the favour of just mentioning a point or two, that I may avoid such a rock in future.
Toronto, October 12, 1855.
My dear Sir,--1 am sorry that such a length of time has elapsed before I answered your note of the 8th instant. I need hardly repeat that my time is so fully occupied with office business, that I have very little left to myself. I now enclose answers to the questions you sent me, and hope they will prove satisfactory. As I think it is due to you, I also enclose a copy of the correspondence which has passed between the Rev. Mr. McKenzie and myself on the subject.
Believe me very faithfully yours,
(Signed) Chas. R. Dickson.
No. 2.--When you gave it to me you said it was a valuable book, having been written by a man who lived in troubled times: that I could take it home and read it; and you remarked at the same time that it contained fully the teachings of the Church.
No. 3.--I never used it, nor would I after I once read it.
No. 4.--You said Bishop Mant's Catechism was a good catechism which had been used in the school; and that it was as well to go on with it, as the other was rather too far advanced for the boys in my class.
No. 5.--You had them both in your hand together, and gave them to me at the same time.
No. 6.--I have had no private correspondence with you but what passed with regard to the catechism, or relating to the Sunday School, &c, in general; but the doctrine of the catechism which is approved of by you, although not dangerous in my hands, as I at once repudiated it, would be extremely so if placed, under any plea, in the hands of some of the teachers, one of whom, for instance, is a youth of nineteen years of age.
I remain, dear Sir, your obedient servant,
(Signed) Chas. R. Dickson.
To the Rev. W. A. Johnson.
Yorkville, October 5th, 1855.
Dear Sirs,--I enclose herewith copies of a correspondence which has taken place between myself and the Rev. J. G. D. McKenzie, with reference to a complaint I preferred against his assistant Minister, the Rev. Mr. Johnson; and I request you will transmit the same to the Bishop of Toronto, trusting that I may receive from his Lordship the redress which is refused me by Mr. McKenzie.
(Signed) P. B. de Blaquiere.
Messrs. Brongeest and Preston, Churchwardens,
St. Paul's Church, Yorkville.
 [No. 8.]
Yorkville, October 5th, 1855.
Rev. Sir,--In reply to a question I addressed to you at the vestry meeting on the 3rd instant, you stated that the arrangement you had entered into with the Rev. Mr. Johnson to act as your assistant Minister was still to continue in force, and I now learn with deep regret you decline putting an end to that arrangement.
I was in hopes your knowledge of what had taken place in the Church at Cobourg, where Mr. Johnson acted as assistant Minister, and of which I was not made aware until very lately, as also what has since taken place under your own immediate observation, would have induced you to adopt a course altogether different, and to have spared myself and others, who have hitherto used every means in their power to promote your comfort and happiness, the painful alternative of either tacitly submitting to the insidious introduction and spread of most indiscreet, unsound, and therefore most dangerous teaching; and the probable repetition of the scandalous and disgraceful proceedings enacted at Cobourg; or at once terminating all further connexion with a Church where this was permitted to exist. My family, as you are very well aware, have been during the whole of our residence here assisting in your Sunday School; but you very much mistake their principles if you suppose they are at all disposed to sanction or encourage the introduction of teaching in that school such as your assistant Minister has so rashly ventured on, and which it appears you repudiate. On this ground alone, if no other cause of complaint existed, I cannot conceive you will hesitate from discharging the paramount duty you owe before God to your congregation, in saving them against the ministrations of an assistant whose errors of doctrine you reprobate; and I call upon you most solemnly to discontinue the further services of Mr. Johnson.
It is my painful task to add, that until this is accomplished, neither my family nor myself can again enter St. Paul's Church.
You are the cause, and responsible, for having placed me in the distressing position which compels me to abandon my place of worship, when unable from bodily infirmity to seek another; and to absent myself from partaking of the sacrament at the Lord's Table next Sunday, or submitting to receive it at the hands of Mr. Johnson.
Let your own conscience decide if this is the return I have merited from you.
I request your early answer, and I remain, Rev. Sir, your faithful servant,
(Signed) P. B. de Blaquiere.
The Rev. J. G. D. McKenzie,
Minister St. Paul's Church, Yorkville.
Yorkville, October 5th, 1855.
My dear Sir,--I am sorry that I was not at home when your letter was left at my house yesterday.
 My attention has been drawn to a catechism by Bishop Innes introduced into our Sunday School by the Rev. W. A. Johnson. That catechism contains passages of which I do not approve, and I have discontinued the use of it in the school.
In taking this step, I have done all I conceive that is in my province to do, further than that I have no right to go.
I am not Mr. Johnson's judge, and cannot think of adopting a measure which would be an improper interference with the Episcopal tribunal to which Mr. Johnson himself has demanded a reference.
I deeply regret that you should be resolved on leaving your parish Church, in connexion with which Mrs. De Blaquiere and your daughters have made themselves useful in various ways, and I would gladly do all that I could conscientiously do to prevent the painful separation. If I be brief on this distressing subject, you will do me the justice by imputing it not to any want of interest in the position in which you are about to place your family and yourself, but to the illness under which, as you are aware, I am suffering, and which recent occurrences have contributed to aggravate. Believe me very sincerely yours,
(Signed) J. G. D. McKenzie.
Hon. P. B. de Blaquiere, Yorkville.
Yorkville, October 6th, 1855.
Rev. Sir,--I have this day received your note of the 5th instant. I consider it altogether unsatisfactory, or in any respect a reply to my letter of the 5th.
Your discontinuing the catechism introduced by Mr. Johnson into your Sunday School does not in any way palliate or excuse its introduction, or afford security against future insidious attempts of the kind by your assistant Minister to spread false doctrines.
I was advised that, in the first place, you were the channel through which redress was to be sought. You pass over unnoticed the other parts of my letter, which refer to the reasons why you ought not to have appointed Mr. Johnson your assistant Minister, or as to what has occurred since lie officiated; and as you refuse to terminate your engagement with him, it is my intention to seek redress from the Bishop, by transmitting the correspondence which has passed between us to his Lordship, through the churchwardens, which I am instructed is the regular mode of proceeding, and which I shall do this day.
I remain, Sir, your faithful servant,
(Signed) P. B. de Blaquiere.
The Rev. J. G. D. McKenzie.
Yorkville, 9th October, 1855.
Gentlemen,--I beg leave to enclose to you herewith a copy of correspondence which has passed between the Rev. J. G. D. McKenzie and myself, relative to certain objections to the continuance [23/24] of the Rev. W. A. Johnson as his assistant Minister at St. Paul's Church, Yorkville; and I have to request that you will at your earliest convenience lay the matter, with the accompanying publications, before his Lordship, the Bishop of Toronto. ["The Churchman's Diary," "Down with the Tractarians," "The Church, a family," "A few reasons for discontinuing to have Pews in our Churches," "Bishop Seabury's republication of Bishop Innes's Catechism;" the latter can be produced by Mr. Johnson to the Bishop, pending the inquiry, if it cannot be obtained in time.]
I have the honour to be, Gentlemen, your obedient servant,
(Signed) Walter McKenzie.
The Churchwardens, St. Paul's Church, Yorkville.
Yorkville, 4th October, 1855.
Rev. Sir,--As you have unhesitatingly repudiated the doctrines contained in certain extracts from a catechism, which has been placed by the Rev. Mr. Johnson, your assistant Minister, in the hands of certain teachers in your Sunday School, which extracts I laid before you this morning, I feel it incumbent on me, as one of your parishioners, to beg you will perform the duty, however painful it may be, of dispensing with the further services of that Rev. Gentleman.
I cannot sufficiently express the distress I labour under in calling upon you to take this step, especially as it affects a clergyman of high personal character.
Your reprobation of Mr. Johnson's unsound views, enunciated as we must take them to be in the catechism extracted from, renders it unnecessary for me to advance further grounds of objection. Some of these are already known to you, and you are aware that my convictions, as a member of the Reformed Church of England, coupled with the sense of duty I entertain towards my family, must debar me from attending Divine Worship in St. Paul's Church until Mr. Johnson shall have ceased to officiate as your assistant.
One of the catechisms in question was placed yesterday in the hands of the Rev. Mr. Schreiber by a teacher in the Sunday School, who received it from the Rev. Mr. Johnson.
A copy of the extracts referred to is herewith enclosed.
I remain, Rev. Sir, your obedient, faithful servant,
(Signed) Walter McKenzie.
[No. 13.] Copy of Extracts from Catechism. (For Title, see conclusion of the Extracts.) [For explanation of these doctrines, see Letter No. 53, in the Appendix.]
Extract from Preface--"This republication at the end of sixty years of the first Catechism of Connecticut, may also serve for a sufficient answer to the silly cry of "innovation" that has been so often heard of late, as well as a rebuke of the unworthy artifice played off in the use of the nickname "Puseyism."
Page 35. Question.--Does baptism cleanse us from all the actual sins we have committed before it?
Answer.--Yes, as well as from our original sin, &c.
Page 34. Q.--Does the communion of saints extend to the other world?
A.--Yes. The Church upon earth and the Church in Paradise communicate together by mutually praying for each other.
Q.--Need we apply to the saints in Paradise for their prayers?
A.--No, they know our dangerous condition here, and their charity wants not to be desired to recommend us to God.
Q.--Are there not likewise other reasons for our not desiring their prayers?
A.--Yes, there are several reasons, and in particular we are not sure that they could hear us, were we then to address ourselves unto them.
Q.--Why do we pray for them?
A.--Because their present condition is imperfect, and therefore capable of improvement; and because they are to be judged at the last day, and will then stand in need of mercy.
Page 66. Q.--Does God accept the Sacrifice? [oblation by the Priest of elements in the Sacrament.]
A.--Yes, and returns it again to us to feast upon, that we may thereby partake of all the benefits of our Saviour's death and passion.
Q.--But how do the bread and cup become capable of conferring such benefit?
A.--By the Priest's praying to God the Father to send the Holy Spirit upon them.
Page 70. Q.--What does repentance consist of?
A.--Of examination, contrition, confession, and penance.
Page 71. Q.--What is penance?
A.--Being punished in this world for our sins.
Q.--To what end?
A.--That our spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Q.--Is penance reasonable?
A.--Yes; for as the soul and body have been partners in the same sins, they should join together in the same humiliation.
Page 78. Q.--If Christians be submissive and penitent, what must they do?
A.--They must make their public confession to God, in the face of the Church.
Q.--And what follows?
A.--The Bishop, or a Priest commissioned by him, is to prescribe them a suitable penance.
Q.--Who can pronounce absolution?
A.--None but the Bishop, or a Priest appointed by him.
Q.--What should they (i. e., persons in anxiety of mind or trouble of conscience) do in this case?
A.--They ought to have recourse to their pastor.
Q.--To what end?
 A.--To have the benefit and assistance of his prayers.
Q.--Why of his prayers particularly?
A.--Because he is an authorized intercessor under Christ for them.
This is the title of the catechism in question-:--"A Catechism, designed as an explanation and enlargement of the Church Catechism, formerly recommended by the Bishops and Clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New York. To which are added the omitted parts of the original Catechism of Bishop Innes, as republished by Bishop Seabury. Baltimore, Joseph Robinson, 1851."
Yorkville, Oct. 5, 1855.
My dear Sir,--I remain fixed in my persuasion that I have done all that is in my province to do, in discontinuing the use of Bishop Innes' Catechism in our Sunday School; further than that I have no right to go; I am not Mr. Johnson's judge, and cannot think of taking a step which would, I conceive, be an improper interference with the Episcopal tribunal, to which Mi. Johnson himself has demanded reference.
I deeply regret that you should have resolved on leaving your parish Church, and would gladly do all that I could conscientiously do to prevent the painful separation. If I be brief on this distressing subject, you will do me justice by imputing it not to any want of interest in the position in which you are about to place yourself and your family, but the illness under which I am suffering. Believe me, very faithfully yours,
(Signed) J. G. D. McKenzie.
Walter McKenzie, Esq.
Yorkville, Oct. 6, 1855.
Reverend Sir,--I had hoped that your reply, which I have just now received, would have terminated the correspondence between us on the subject of my note of the 4th instant.
I am, however, under the painful necessity of addressing you again, with a view that the further grounds of objection to the Rev. Mr. Johnson, referred to in that note, shall be placed in a position of being brought legitimately under the notice of our venerable Bishop. Should you decline to prosecute them, I shall then be justified in going before his Lordship.
These objections may be briefly stated as follow:
1st. Mr. Johnson's antecedents at Cobourg, and especially the part taken by him while Assistant Minister there, in reference to a certain Altar and Emblems, which led to a disgraceful outrage, and other evil consequences.
2nd. A Sermon, preached by him at St. Paul's Church, Toronto, wherein he commended the use of a credence table or shelf, for the elements to be placed thereon before consecration; and upon other such like matters.
4th. A Tract, recommended by him to myself, wherein, among other objectionable reasons for what seems to me to be a good object, [26/27] an outward, visible, typical and symbolical ritual is declared to be necessary to the performance of public worship. This tract is entitled, "A few reasons for discontinuing to have pews in our churches." Also other tracts and publications rumoured to have been issued through his instrumentality, such as "The Churchman's Diary," "Down with the Tractarians," &c.
5th. A Sermon preached by him on the parable of the Good Samaritan, wherein an allegory was impressively introduced by him as the teaching of the Fathers of the Church; such allegory being a revival of the Scholastic Theology, which first impaired the purity of Gospel preaching, and introduced strife into the primitive Church.
6th. A Sermon, preached by him, in which he denounced the University of Toronto as "a school of the Devil," or such like, and that without a proper regard to the composition of the congregation. It is in fact a point of justice to Mr. Johnson, that all matters of objection to him as a sound and discreet Minister should be brought before his Bishop; and it may be assumed that the reverend gentleman's knowledge of such objections being in circulation has prevented him from at once appealing from your reprobation of the doctrines contained in the Catechism which he introduced into your Sunday school.
While intimating to me your discontinuance of this Catechism, you say of yourself, "I am not Mr. Johnson's judge." Permit me, Reverend Sir, to urge with due respect, that by expressing your disapproval of doctrines contained in that Catechism, you have already actually judged him. By discontinuing the use of it, you have partially executed that judgment; and yet, after thus reprobating the doctrines put forth by your assistant, you refuse to carry your judgment into full effect; and thus you drive your parishioner, whose objections you sustain, from his proper place of worship. For I say it firmly, that I cannot disconnect the teacher from his teaching, nor do I believe that the honesty of Mr. Johnson's convictions will suffer him to desist from inculcating that which you pronounce to be error and he upholds to be truth.
I grieve to trouble you in your feeble state with this most painful subject;--my duty, however, leaves me no alternative but to do so. I reiterate that I merely seek for the legitimate position which will enable me to approach our venerable Bishop in a proper and efficient manner. In that position you can at once place me, by refusing to take action in these "further grounds of objection" which I have stated in this communication. I shall only add what I have expressed to you verbally, that so far from desiring to avoid, by the mere local removal of Mr. Johnson, the main subject which unhappily distracts our Church, I have felt from the first that the vital questions which he has raised are destined to swell into proportions far beyond the limits of St. Paul's Church, Toronto.
It could therefore form no part of my object (but the reverse) to avoid giving Mr. Johnson an opportunity of vindicating himself before his Bishop, which he could do by appealing from your own judgment against him. To the result I look forward with perfect confidence in God, that he will aid the truth, and that our Church will come [27/28] forth from the trial thoroughly cleansed from the taint which unhappily disfigures her present aspect.
I remain, Reverend Sir, your obedient and faithful servant,
(Signed) Walter McKenzie.
Rev. J. G. D. McKenzie.
Yorkville, October 9, 1855.
Rev. Sir,--Not having received from you any reply to my communication of the 6th instant, I presume that I may ascribe the cause of your silence to your indisposition, and that I may consider the same as a sufficient reason for your abstaining from prosecuting the painful subject of our correspondence.
Under this impression I have prepared a copy of that correspondence, to be brought by the Churchwardens under the notice of our venerable Bishop, with other matters of a similar nature, which have been placed in their hands for the same purpose.
With every wish for your restoration to strength, I remain, Rev. Sir, your obedient and faithful servant,
(Signed) Walter McKenzie.
Rev. J. G. D. McKenzie.
[The following reply from Mr. McKenzie was received after the preceding note had been despatched to him ]
Yorkville, October 9th, 1855.
My dear Sir,--Yesterday I was too ill in body and disturbed in mind to attempt a reply to your second communication.
Upon "the further grounds of objections" I decline of course to enter, consistently with the position I have taken in regard to the appeal to the Bishop.
You represent me as virtually concurring in the allegations made against Mr. Johnson's orthodoxy; but, leaving that orthodoxy to be investigated by the proper authority, I solemnly protest against its being considered that my disallowance of Innes' Catechism, and my expressed dissent from certain doctrinal views enunciated in it, amount to a repudiation of Mr. Johnson's opinions, in the sense in which I understand you to repudiate them,--that is, as being inconsistent with the position of a clergyman of the Church of England; and as to your comprehensive assertion, that I "sustain your objections," I admit that I do sustain them as far as both you and I regard Innes' Catechism as an unsafe work to use in a Sunday School. Upon every other ground of objection I have refused to enter.
That Mr. Johnson and myself have a different bias, and that there exists between us a partial disagreement in opinion is undeniable; but the explanations he has given on the disputed parts of the Catechism in. question would satisfy most persons, I feel persuaded, that he has riot exceeded that liberty of thought and latitude of interpretation which have been allowed in the Church of England in all times. I remain your faithful and obedient servant,
(Signed) J. G. D. McKenzie.
 [No. 18.]
Toronto, October 6,1855.
Rev. Sir,--Although I have done what lay in my power to restore the peace and harmony (in the Church) which has been nearly destroyed, I have still a duty to perform to myself and others, which no consideration whatever can induce me to abandon. I feel a great responsibility rests on me, as God has put under my care three children, for the welfare of whose souls I shall have one day to give an account, and for all the good and evil example that I may set before them in this life, and for any opportunity I may have neglected of bringing them unto their Saviour. I also feel that having assumed the position of teacher in the Sunday School, my duty is to take care that these children, who are put under my charge, shall not be taught anything contrary to God's word. I hope you will excuse me for again troubling you, but I cannot rest satisfied without making an earnest appeal as a member of the congregation, and as a Sunday School teacher.
To you, as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, are entrusted the souls of many, and you are responsible to him for the teaching that may be set before them, which may lead them to everlasting life, or to everlasting perdition. The fear of creating divisions in the Church may be a matter of consideration with some people, but with the minister of God it should have no weight: he is placed over his people to teach not as men teach, but as God directs, and his duty is to remove from them all evil examples, and to teach the truth as it is set forth in the word of God. The attempt that has been made by Mr. Johnson to distribute Tractarian Catechisms in the Sunday School, whereby the minds of the teachers might be corrupted, and by their teaching, the minds of the children under their charge, has been brought under your notice. You have expressed your disapprobation of such teaching, and stated that it is contrary to anything you yourself have taught. I have only to add, that if Mr. Johnson's services are continued, I shall be driven to some other Church, and that my children cannot any longer attend the Sunday School, which, under the present management, bids fair before long to rival any Roman Catholic institution of the kind in the country. I am sorry at having to give up my class, in which I had begun to take a great interest; but I sincerely trust that you may adopt some course which will enable you to replace Mr. Johnson by a person who will preach the word of God in all its purity, and who does not believe in any intercessor between God and man, but Jesus Christ.
I remain, dear Sir, yours very respectfully,
(Signed,) Charles R. Dickson.
To the Rev. J. G. D. McKenzie.
Yorkville, Saturday Evening, October 6th, 1855.
My Dear Mr. Dickson,--I am too unwell to answer at such length as I should wish. Recent events, I need not assure you, are [29/30] pressing heavily on my spirits, but God, I trust, will not fail us. As the objectionable catechism has been removed, I had hoped that you would go on with your class as usual, and quietly await the Bishop's decision; I look, however, for your speedy return.
Believe me your affectionate Pastor,
(Signed,) J. G. D. McKenzie.
To C. R. Dickson, Esq.
Toronto, Saturday Evening.
My dear Sir,--Nothing, I assure you, could be further from my intention, than to give you pain, but a sense of duty only has directed me in my present course. I readily echo your words, "God, I trust, will not fail us;" but, although the objectionable catechism has been removed, the principle that introduced it is still at work, and when I admit that I cannot sit under the ministry of a person who promulgates such doctrine, (although I am far from having any personal feeling against Mr. Johnson), I must at once say that I cannot teach in the Sunday School, while he has the opportunity of undermining our efforts.
Believe me, my dear Sir, yours respectfully,
(Signed,) Charles R. Dickson.
To the Rev. J. G. D. McKenzie.
Toronto, 11th October, 1S55,
My dear Sir,--I cannot allow a moment to elapse without informing you, that the Rev. Mr. Darling has just now assumed the responsibility of having ordered through Mr. Rowsell, the "Churchman's Diary," and the three tracts, forwarded with the matter of appeal, which has been brought before our venerable Bishop. [The above is an error, "The Churchman Diary" was never ordered or possessed by Mr. Darling.]
As I assume it is not your desire that the subject of reference should be shorn of its proper proportion, as respects your views in point of either doctrine or formulary, in both of which you are an accredited fellow labourer with Mr. Darling, I beg of you to say whether or not you repudiate these publications. If I am right in my estimate of the sincerity of your convictions, and your fearlessness in the support of them, your answer will be clear and unhesitating. The almanac and tracts were sold, to myself and two other gentleman at Mr. Rowsell's, as issued under your auspices. ["The Churchman's Diary." "Down with the Tractarians." "A few reasons for discontinuing to have pews in our Churches." "The Church a Family."]
I shall, of course, enclose a copy of this note, and of your reply to be laid before the Bishop.
Believe me, my dear Sir, yours truly,
(Signed,) Walter McKenzie.
The Rev. W. A. Johnson.
 [No. 22.]
Toronto, October 11, 1855.
My dear Sir,--The pamphlets to which you refer are among matters given me to-day by his Lordship the Bishop for my explanation. In replying to his Lordship your questions will be answered, and therefore it is needless for me to enter upon them again with you. Believe me very faithfully yours,
(Signed) W. A. Johnson.
To W. McKenzie, Esq.
[No. 23.] Copy of Letter accompanying the Answers to Charges.
Toronto, October 13th, 1855.
My Lord,--In handing you the answer or explanation of charges, made against me, I have endeavoured to keep each subject as distinct as possible.
Your Lordship will find a correspondence between Mr. C. R. Dickson and the Rev. Mr. McKenzie, which you have not as yet seen, but there is nothing new in it. It only came into my hands after I had finished my explanations.
I have sent you two catechisms; the longer one, that has so many notes, is the original of Bishop Innes', and that I lent to Mr. Dick-son. The shorter is Bishop Whittingham's edition of the same. I use them with my own children thus: by giving the children the shorter one to learn by heart, and keeping the longer one in my own hand, and explaining it to them. Were it my duty, which it never has been, to introduce catechisms into a Sunday School, that is the plan I would like to pursue. Give the teachers the larger one, and the children the smaller. I must apologize for sending catechisms marked and written over, but I trust your Lordship will not think it disrespectful when I assure you I have no others. The larger one is the copy that I fully examined for myself some years ago, and, therefore, it is written upon here and there. The smaller is one which one of my little children has used.
Sorrowing that your Lordship is put to so much trouble about these matters, and hoping that your decision will meet with that approval from all parties, which it shall even do from me,
I have the honor to remain, my Lord, your humble and ob't serv't,
(Signed,) W. A. Johnson.
To the Hon. &., &c.
(For No. 24, see page 7.) [No. 25.]
Cobourg, August 4th, 1855.
Rev. and dear Sir,--I beg to inform you that several young men, members of our congregation, have purchased a carved altar, built of white oak, for the service of St. Peter's Church, Cobourg. They have deputed me to acquaint you with the fact, and to see it safely placed whenever the Church is ready for its reception.
I remain, Rev. and dear Sir, your most ob't servant.
(Signed,) W. Corrigal.
The Venerable Archdeacon of York.
 (For No. 26, see page 10.) [No. 27.)
Cobourg, November 27th, 1854.
Rev. and dear Sir,--The late troubles in our Parish about the Church Altar or Table, seems to acquire a few words of explanation from the donors.
Moved lo offer something to our God, upon the completion of the New Church, in which ornament and instruction were combined, beauty and usefulness joined, we determined to have an Altar made as correct and as handsome as our circumstances would afford. Upon conversing with you in the month of June last, on this subject, you approved much of our intention, warning us, at the same time, not to have it made of stone, for some "legal enactment" in England seemed to forbid it.
In July, 1854, having decided upon the pattern, and carefully considered the symbols to be carved upon it, we ordered it from an ecclesiastical carver, in Troy, who had been lately employed in the oak carving restoration in Ely Cathedral, (England.)
When it arrived in Cobourg, we wrote to you as Rector, stating our wish to make an offering of it to St. Peter's Church, Cobourg, for the use of the congregation.
Before receiving it, you observed it would be necessary to examine it for yourself, You looked at it, thoroughly approved of it in every respect, and received it in writing from us, and then, on the 13m or 14th of October, told us to place it in the Church, which we did.
On the 4th November, or early in the morning of the 5th, it was sacrilegiously defaced. We took what steps we could to bring the perpetrators of this outrage before the civil law, but without effect.
Upon your return from Quebec, the question arose as to what should be done with the defaced Altar or Table, and you strongly expressed a desire to consult the wish of the donors. Their decision was simply this:--The Rector has most fully received and approved of our offering, therefore he ought to see it repaired immediately; but if he fears the voice of the congregation, (as those emblems, which have been removed, can only serve the purposes of holiness, when they are understood) let him explain the subject of emblems and symbols from the pulpit, or at a vestry meeting, and then leave the subject altogether to the upright intelligence of the congregation.
We at the same time assured you that whatever they decided upon, less or more, even to the removal of all ornaments, should be done, as far as we were concerned, for our gift was never intended to be a cause of offence, but on the contrary, a help to true devotion.
From all that has passed, we are led to believe that you would like that piece of furniture to remain in the Church, but will neither replace the emblems, nor offer it to the congregation. This, we must be allowed to say, seems to us (though we may be mistaken) harsh and highhanded; but rather than be contentious upon a matter so indifferent, we prefer to wash our hands of it altogether, and leave the gift with you, Rev. Sir, to do as you please with, hoping that all [32/33] our congregation may be as well pleased with your decision as we shall try to be, and that we may all continue to worship and praise God as usual in His holy Church, and remain, Rev. and dear Sir,
Your humble and ob't servants, the Donors.
(Signed,) W. Corrigal.
The Venerable Archdeacon of York.
Wednesday, November 29, 1854.
My dear Sir,--I have to acknowledge the receipt of your obliging letter of the 27th instant, written on behalf of the donors of the altar-table, about which so much discussion has unhappily arisen.
Your statement of the circumstances under which it was presented and accepted, appears to be quite correct.
If I differ with you as to the course which it was best to pursue, after the very discreditable outrage which has taken place, it has been from a sense of the responsibility under which I feel myself not to encourage any step which can only sharpen the animosity of discussion and aggravate the division of opinion which already prevails.
My experience of promiscuous public meetings for the purpose of testing, or deciding upon important questions, especially in sacred matters, will not permit me--unless in unavoidable cases--to submit any disputed point in Church affairs to such a tribunal. With abundance of strife, and hard words, and unkind feelings, we seldom through that agency arrive at a wholesome or satisfactory decision. On this ground, I stated that it would much better answer the end intended, that the point in dispute should be left to the adjudication of the Select Vestry, who in all ordinary Church questions are empowered to act on behalf of the Congregation.
The Vestry were accordingly summoned for this purpose; although the opinion expressed by those who were present would probably be the sentiment of the whole, no absolute decision was come to, and I recommended that the donors should have the opportunity of giving full consideration to what appeared to be the general feeling of the Vestry, before any positive action was taken.
From the letter you have addressed me, I judge that such consideration has been given to their expressed opinion; and while I thank the donors for so fully placing the decision of the matter in my hands, I must dissent from the justice of the complaint with which that concession is accompanied, that my action in the matter has been "hard and high-handed." This is a most unfair accusation, when I had taken nothing upon myself but shewed every desire to consult the feelings of the donors, and if they were accordant, to adopt the arbitrament of the Vestry of the Church. Be assured that whatever action may be taken shall be in consistency with the general sentiments of those respectable gentlemen that compose the Select Vestry, and not as my mere judgment or wishes might prompt.
 I shall always be too glad to defer, where it is right for me to do so, to a legitimate responsible government in Church matters, such as a Select Vestry may be considered to constitute.
The explaining of emblems and symbols from the pulpit would, under present circumstances, be of very doubtful expediency, and a single sermon or address on the subject would hardly produce such a full and correct conception of it, as to allow of decided action founded upon impressions which might by that means be produced.
After the final decision upon the matter which the Vestry may feel it advisable to adopt, there might be a benefit in adverting to the subject from the pulpit--stating briefly the circumstances under which the gift was made. The excellent intentions of the donors; the harmlessness of the symbols which were employed; the great guilt involved in the desecration that followed; and the compromise which with the consent of the donors, had for peace-sake and to avoid giving offence to weak brethren, been agreed upon.
This I should be quite willing to do; and I have not. a doubt that if judgment and temper be maintained on all hands, the result thus arrived at and adopted will be generally satisfactory.
I remain, dear Sir, very sincerely yours,
(Signed) A. N. Bethune.
W. Corrigal, Esq.
Cobourg, January 22, 1855.
Gentlemen,--In reply to your request that the donors would take back the altar-table some time since given by them, and accepted by the Rector for the Congregation of St. Peter's Church, I am requested by them to state that having for reasons set forth in the accompanying correspondence in reference to the altar-table, washed their hands of it altogether and left the gift with the Rector to do as he pleased with, they beg respectfully to decline entering into any negociations with the Select Vestry in the matter. I remain, Gentlemen, your most obedient servant,
(Signed) W. Corrigal.
The Homewood, October 18th, 1855.
My dear Sir,--If you will allow me to be the medium of communication between you and Messrs. DeBlaquiere and Walter MacKenzie, I fancy, unless they are indeed impervious to reason, I could so place matters before them as to induce them to feel they have been acting under a delusion in attributing to you Tractarian conduct and doctrine; and if you would fortify-me with a concise statement embracing the tenor of your observations to me on the subject last night, I should be the better prepared to shew them the unreasonableness of their proceedings. We can but suppose they have been acting under conscientious convictions, however baseless the grounds under which their convictions are founded.
I am, dear Sir, yours truly,
Toronto, October 18th, 1855.
My dear Sir,--Much as I value your kindness, I could not have asked you to interfere in the very delicate position occupied by Messrs. DeBlaquiere and Walter MacKenzie. No one knows better than yourself the sacred obligations of the Priestly office, and I think no one would rejoice more than I, if my accusers could be brought to see that in performing those obligations I have not gone a whit beyond my charge, or gone out of the way to make an unkind remark, or taken any part in parochial matters at Cobourg, that I am now ashamed of. God grant your kind intentions may meet with the acceptance they so greatly deserve, and the gentlemen of whom you speak will resume their positions in the congregation, grow in grace, and be daily strengthened in well-doing.
With you, I really believe they have been acting upon conscientious convictions; but I do think if they would only look at the whole matter fairly, and quietly, they would surely feel satisfied that they have been harsh and extreme against one who did everything openly and above board, and offered any amount of explanation. But, to say a few words on each of the subjects that appear to trouble them:
The catechism. What more would they ask of me that I have not done? I have sent it to his Lordship, and am utterly unable to judge whether he will approve or disapprove of it: and this they brought upon me, without even asking me one question, or offering me an opportunity to make one single remark; and now it is only reasonable, and barely charitable, to hold me innocent until I have time to answer for myself, or am proved guilty. But in the meantime, it will not mend the matter for Mr. DeBlaquiere to introduce the unscriptural doctrine of Papal Rome as a reason for his withdrawal from the Holy Eucharist, (I mean that of the "opus operatum,") which that gentleman most undoubtedly, though perhaps ignorantly, advocates in all its fulness. If my preaching offends them, I would be quite satisfied to see them go out of church when I begin, provided only they had said their prayers, heard the word of God, and accepted the holy Sacraments of the Church: and these I try to deliver and to minister with reverence, and never alter a word if I can help it.
As to the Cobourg antecedents, I defy their bringing proof of anything against me. I thank God that when I was subpoenaed there a few weeks ago, I met with the greatest kindness on every side.
With regard to a particular passage of a sermon in which reference was made to Toronto University, I am quite willing that it should be called highly indiscreet to have spoken it, when the late Chancellor of that institution, one of its greatest admirers, was sitting before me. However of this I knew nothing, either at the time of writing, or of delivering that sermon.
I trust your kind intentions will meet with entire success. Anything I can say, or do, or explain, short of abandoning the TRUTH, I will be at any possible trouble to do; and God grant they may not [35/36] be offended at me: more especially seeing that if Mr. McKenzie returns in good health, I shall in all probability have nothing to do with their parish at all.
Believe me, most sincerely yours,
(Signed) W. A. Johnson.
To the Rev. T. Schreiber,
Toronto, 31st October, 1855.
Sir,--I have the honour to enclose my decision on the papers which you handed to me, as Churchwarden of St. Paul's, and to request that the same may be laid before the vestry for its information, at a special meeting convened for that purpose.
As I consider the enquiry strictly private, it is sufficient in my opinion to place the document among the Parish Archives, but not publish or allow it to be copied either in whole or in part, since it concerns no one but the Rev. W. A. Johnson and the congregation.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient, humble servant,
(Signed) John Toronto.
(For No. 33, see page 11.) [No. 34.]
The Homewood, Nov. 6th, 1855.
My dear Sir,--I return herewith the Bishop's judgment in Mr. Johnson's case. I have attentively read it, and feel persuaded his Lordship has been guided by kind and Christian motives in coming to his decision. Indeed, there is manifestly on the face of the document an anxious desire on the part of his Lordship to conciliate all parties.
It is, I think, much to be regretted that Mr. J. has avowed his adoption of Bishop Innes' Catechism, for I can but agree with the Bishop that it contains questionable doctrine, and more particularly in reference to the invocation of Saints, (page 34); yet, in justification of Mr. J., it should be borne in mind the very same doctrine is inculcated in Archdeacon Sinclair's exposition of the Catechism; and Sinclair's Catechism is the one strongly recommended by the Propagation Society, and is the one chiefly in use among the National Schools in England; therefore, if Mr. J. is in the error, he is so in company with many of the most learned and eminent Divines of our limes. I must confess I could never bring my mind to the conviction, that the doctrine in question can be proved by warranty of Scripture. As, however, Sinclair's Catechism is circulated under such high authority, we ought to be diffident in forming our opinions; therefore, it is, I deem the doctrine questionable, rather than objectionable. I infer from the tenor of the Bishop's judgment, that Mr. Johnson has been charged with lack of good discretion; and that he has been the cause of destroying the harmony of the congregation of St. Paul's. I fear his Lordship has formed his opinion on misinformation. As far as I know of Mr. [36/37] Johnson, I believe him to be a pious, zealous, faithful minister; and though my deference for Episcopal authority does not admit of my joining in a memorial to the Bishop in his behalf, I cannot forbear expressing my regret that as a pew-renter of St. Paul's, that I and my family are likely to be deprived of his spiritual ministrations.
I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully,
(Signed) Thos. Schreiber.
Thos. J. Preston, Esq., Churchwarden,
St. Paul's, Yorkville.
(For Nos. 35 & 36, see pages 13 & 16.) [No. 37.]
Toronto, 5th November, 1855.
1. I called upon His Lordship The Bishop of the Diocese, soon after his return from his Confirmation tour, and informed him of the arrangement I had made with the Rev. W. A. Johnson, subject to his approval; whereupon His Lordship told me that he would permit the arrangement to stand, provided it were found to work satisfactorily. This, though not accompanied by the formal license, I took to be sufficient ground for carrying out the arrangement.
2. During the troubles which have since arisen, I have had, up to the present time, only one interview with the Bishop on the subject, on account of the feeble state of my health.
That interview, as I was very ill at the time, was a very brief one, probably of less than ten minutes' duration. His Lordship will remember that I breathed not a word of complaint against Mr. Johnson; that I professed myself satisfied with his statement that Innes' Catechism has not been introduced for the purpose of being used in the Sunday School; and that I assured His Lordship that the movement against Mr. Johnson did not embrace, comparatively, any large body of the parishioners, or in other words to that effect. His Lordship, I fear, has misapprehended the spirit of any allusion I may have made to the number of the dissentients. His Lordship is likewise aware that I have never expressed to him a wish that the connexion between Mr. Johnson and myself should be dissolved.
3. As to the partial disagreement in opinion between Mr. Johnson and myself, I have already assured His Lordship by letter, that it does not, in my estimation, "exceed the liberty of thought and latitude of interpretation, allowed in the Church of England at all times."
All the above statements I solemnly declare to be made deliberately and with full conviction of their being strictly correct and true.
(Signed) J. G. D. McKenzie,
Incumbent of St. Paul's, Yorkville.
Toronto, Nov. 6th, 1855.
My Dear Mr. Henderson,--Upon further reflection and effort to recall the precise words used by me in my interview with the Bishop, I desire that the words--"I assured his Lordship that the [37/38] movement against Mr. Johnson did not embrace, comparatively, any large body of the parishioners," should be thus corrected, "I assured his Lordship that the movement, &c, did not embrace the more influential of the parishioners."
Please attach this paper to the document in your possession, and
Believe me very sincerely yours,
J. G. D. McKenzie.
Toronto, November 5, 1855.
My Lord,--I have the honour to acknowledge I have just received a verbal message from Mr. Churchwarden Preston, that your Lordship has made provision for the ministrations of the Church of St. Paul at Yorkville.
I have the honour to be, my Lord,
Your Lordship's humble and obedient servant,
(Signed) W. A. Johnson.
To the Hon. & Right Rev. John Strachan, D.D.,
Lord Bishop of Toronto.
Toronto, November 9th, 1855.
My Dear Sir,--In view of the decision which the Bishop has arrived at, in reference to the Church at Yorkville, I am desired by his Lordship to inform you that it is his intention to make temporary provision for the performance of the duties there, commencing on Sunday next. I remain yours faithfully,
(Signed) H. G. Grasett.
The Rev. W. A. Johnson.
Toronto, Nov. 9th, 1855.
Mr. McKenzie presents his compliments to the Rev. Mr. Johnson, and begs to enclose for his information, as due to him, the accompanying copy of a letter addressed by Mr. McKenzie to the Rev. H. J. Grasett, Chaplain to the Bishop of Toronto, with a view to its being laid before His Lordship.
Toronto, 8th November, 1855.
Rev. Sir,--I have received information that a meeting was held by certain friends of the Rev. W. A. Johnson on the evening of the 5th instant, for the purpose of moving our venerable Bishop to modify the judgment which he has delivered in the case of that Rev. Gentleman. What conclusion those gentlemen have arrived at, and what steps they are taking I know not, and I believe the same ignorance prevails among the other appellants in the matter of our parochial controversy. If, therefore, I am under any misapprehension, the blame must rest with those whose mode of action has been unnecessarily occult. Their proceedings would indeed seem to tend very adversely to Mr. Johnson's personal interests,--to be rather disrespectful to our Bishop, after the elaborate care he has bestowed on the subject brought before him,--and to be scarcely [38/39] fair to their opponents, in case the question at issue admits of being re-opened. Moreover, whatever success may attend the persuasions of Mr. Johnson's friends among members of our congregation, the subject itself is beyond their reach, for it is exactly one of those controversies which must be decided with reference to quality rather than quality.
The same fatuity has marked the conduct of Mr. Johnson's friends from the very commencement of this matter. On my late return to Yorkville, after an absence caused by severe family affliction, I found Mr. Johnson established as the assistant Minister among us. Up to that moment he was utterly unknown to me, by name, person, or report. The first intelligence I received of him was from a member of my own circle of connexions, who impressed me most favorably towards him. Soon, however, certain peculiarities developed themselves, which received additional weight from reports of sermons preached by him. One of these in particular, which I heard myself, that on the "Good Samaritan," awakened my suspicions, and, all things taken together, induced doubts as to his doctrine and discretion. A meeting was called for the purpose of obtaining increased Church accommodation. The subject, very much to my surprise, resolved itself into a proposition to address our Bishop, with a view to his immediately recognizing Mr. Johnson as Mr. McKenzie's successor at the expiration of the temporary arrangement made between those reverend gentlemen. I stated what I had heard and seen, but merely as grounds for caution, to prevent unnecessary haste in a mailer wherein the two persons chiefly concerned at the time had settled their relative positions with their eyes open, and without any idea of immediate change. I begged for delay, that Mr. Johnson's real tendencies might have a better opportunity of developing themselves. My suggestion was received with some asperity, and the meeting broke up without definite action being taken.
A second meeting was called, but not publicly. The first intimation I received of it was purely accidental. The second came in the shape of an hour's notice during my time of public business. On this second occasion of our assembling together I urged the same arguments for delay as before, but with stronger evidence. Yet I stood alone, until about the close of the meeting, when the Hon. Mr. De Blaquiere, in the most candid manner, declared that his prepossession in Mr. Johnson's favour could not withstand the convictions which forced themselves upon him. That meeting terminated on grounds of informality, and a third meeting was publicly announced.
This brief narrative will serve to show,--firstly, that Mr. Johnson broke ground among us most auspiciously for himself, inasmuch as there was a strong predisposition in his favour; secondly, that the precipitancy of his friends invited the first check; and, thirdly, that I was correct in my anticipation of a speedy development of his proclivities, for between the second and third meetings Bishop Innes' Catechism came to light as having been placed by Mr. Johnson in the hands of two of our Sunday School teachers, [39/40] one of whom, Mr. Ballard, is a youth of about nineteen years of age. On that catechism we took our objections in absolute form at the third meeting.
I must here beg leave to draw your attention to the accompanying copies of two notes which have passed between the Rev. Mr. Johnson and myself; and you will have the goodness to lay them with this communication before his Lordship the Bishop at your earliest convenience. This course I am constrained to take, from the fact of Mr. Johnson's friends being in movement as above stated, and because in his note to me he stands fully convicted of asserting the doctrines which our Bishop condemns.
The "piece of paper," which seems to have offended Mr. Johnson, perhaps from its condensation of matter belonging to his favorite catechism, exhibited no doubt the precise extracts which accompanied my correspondence, as laid before his Lordship; such, at least, were the extracts furnished by me to the Rev. Mr. McKenzie. Now I must solicit your patience while I say a few words concerning this catechism, for it is somewhat curious to trace Mr. Johnson's sinuosities in regard to it. According to young Mr. Ballard's version, it was handed to him to teach the children the hymns bound up with it. It contained also a supplement, styled "Things to be remembered"--"By a Priest." All were together under a black cover, which closed with a clasp. I should mention that Mr. Ballard's attention was lured to the catechism by a hint that it contained something he might not like, but which no doubt Mr. Johnson would have been equally ready to explain to him, as he was to myself; nor will it be thought probable that Mr. Ballard would have received a reprimand from Mr. Johnson if found in the act of indoctrinating his class from it, even though he should have instructed the children from it, to regard their Minister, Mr. Johnson, as an "authorized intercessor" with God for them. This copy was withdrawn by Mr. Johnson from Mr. Ballard's hands, in sufficient time to lay it before his Lordship. Of course no clergyman would think of withholding from his Bishop a book which, whatever its peculiarities might be, whether ornate or manuscript, he would entrust to a youth of the age of nineteen years? I should add, that there were not among Mr. Johnson's manuscript notes marks of objection to any passages in the book, so far at least as I could make the discovery.
Bishop Innes' Catechism was also placed in the hands of another teacher, with a laudatory notice of its contents, for the avowed purpose of ascertaining what he thought of it; but with the remark, that his class was not sufficiently forward to be instructed in it.
So Mr. Johnson could not procure any other hymns for the children than those bound up with his own catechism, and therefore he placed it in Mr. Ballard's hands on account of the hymns alone. But he was about the same time seized with a great anxiety to learn the views of another teacher, Mr. Dickson, and therefore sought his opinion of it most meekly. The next moment he turned round boldly and indignantly on myself, for presuming to call it in question, and therefore tenders his services "in offering explanations or references to Holy Scripture and our Church's teaching."
 The point is really too palpable to admit of doubt. The placing of that catechism in the hands of those teachers was clearly intended as its introduction to the Sunday School, as clearly indeed as Mr. Johnson's note to me enunciates his advocacy of the doctrines contained in my extracts. His failure in both cases resulted from our opposition, not from any want of design on his part.
The Rev. Mr. McKenzie's view is very plain upon this point. He has written as follows: "My attention has been drawn to a catechism by Bishop Innes, introduced into our Sunday School by the Rev. W. A. Johnson. That catechism contains passages of which I do not approve, and I have discontinued the use of it in the School." I presume the Rev. Gentleman meant that he had forbidden the use of it.
I regret to have extended this communication to such a length, but the circumstances of the case must excuse me. In asking you to lay this letter, with its enclosures, before our Bishop, I must express my profound sorrow to be under the necessity of soliciting his Lordship's renewed attention to the case. Gladly would I persuade myself, could I do so, that the leaven of Tractarianism does not exist in our Canadian branch of the Church, but the evidences thereof are unhappily too patent. I can freely admit that the Rush-lights among us glimmer but dimly, when contrasted with the Antique Candelabra of the Oxford divines from which they have been kindled. But a conflagration may rage from a spark, which should therefore be trodden out at once. The sooner it is extinguished in this case the better will it be for ourselves, and for those whom we shall leave behind us. In this respect his Lordship's judgment would be of value; and having placed the subject, as to my portion of the appeal, on grounds extending far beyond our own locality, and without any reference to our congregation, I trust that his Lordship will grant me a copy of his decision. Believe me when I say that I fully appreciate the difficulty of his Lordship's position, in his having to harmonize elements which claim so great a latitude as those within our Church, a difficulty which can only be lessened by a more stringent definition of our position. The attainment of such a standard may be more remote than we would desire; but the conviction is daily gaining ground, that we must seize without hesitation upon every link of the Scriptural chain, which must ultimately be completed under an all wise Providence, so as to secure our Church beyond chance of rupture to the Anchor of her Salvation.
I have the honour to be, Rev. Sir,
Your obedient, humble servant,
Toronto, Nov. 9, 1855.
My dear Sir,--I am sorry you took the trouble to send me a copy of your letter, for really, to tell you the truth, I have no desire to be troubled reading such silly self-laudation.
You really should try, like a man, to rule your own spirit; then others would be disposed to attend to what you say. It would ill [41/42] requite your zeal not to take this opportunity of telling you, that an uninstructed, well-meaning layman should try to be modest, retiring, and willing to learn. Do not trumpet your own deeds. Allow me, in all sincerity, to recommend you a good way to keep down and bring into subjection a too great self-conceit: it is to study frequently our baptismal vow, and pray for God's help to understand it. Thai lust of the flesh, conceit, though useful in its proper place, is always likely to become a sinful lust; and then it makes a man nm into the sad error that St. James refers to in the 3rd chapter of his epistle--a man becomes "many masters;" and this brings him into the greater condemnation, which I pray God we may all avoid.
Be advised, zealous friend; do not lean to your own understanding. Never come to a final conclusion about matters of doctrine, until you have discovered the voice of the Catholic Church upon (hem; for after all, though a man's own judgment may be remarkably sound (and this is a blessing that all do not possess), still it is hardly fair to pass by the decision of eighteen hundred years or more. To get at this decision, you must not take the opinion of any one man in the Church, or of any one parish, or of any one age in the Church, but take her Book of Common Prayer, and along with it some good compendium of her doctrines--such as Bishop Innes' Catechism or the like--and then compare these, and prove them by holy scripture.
One word more of earnest advice. Before you attempt to meddle with the doctrines of "the faith once delivered to the saints," read and study most carefully the first faith once delivered to the saints," read and study most carefully the first part of St. John, vii. 17, and Phil, iii. 15. Remember, no man by searching can find out God; and you must first be willing to lay aside and renounce all that your conscience tells you is wrong, or else you can make no progress in Divine Truth.
Unless it be a case of inquiry for your soul's welfare, do not allow yourself to be at the trouble of copying or sending me any more of your letters: I do not think it is absolutely necessary. And besides, I have not time or inclination to attend to anything but the plain instruction of those who are inquiring for the way.
Believe me most sincerely yours,
(Signed) W. A. Johnson.
P. S.--I forgot to say this note need not be positively secret: the others having gone to his Lordship, you need not withhold this unless you wish it. W. A. J.
To W. McKenzie, Esq.
Toronto, Nov. 18, 1855.
My dear Sir,--I have heard from authority that I have reason to depend upon, that you reported or said that I "was suspended." I should like to have it in my power to deny such an assertion concerning yourself, and beg you will do me the favor of giving me your authority for setting the question at rest.
Believe me very sincerely yours,
W. A. Johnson.
To the Rev. E. Baldwin.
 [No. 44.]
Toronto, Nov. 13th, 1855.
My dear Sir,--I regret exceedingly that a careless method of expressing myself regarding your removal from St. Paul's, Yorkville, should have led to the circulation of a statement to your prejudice, which has no foundation in truth.
I am very sorry to think that I should in any way have been the unintentional cause of a false report concerning you; and can only add, in justice to yourself, that should I meet with any one under erroneous impressions regarding your present position, from whatever quarter derived, I shall make it my duty to remove them.
Believe me, very sincerely yours,
(Signed) Edm'd. Baldwin.
P. S.--The expression referred to, was used, to the best of my belief, to but one person, and I endeavored afterwards to guard against the misunderstanding which has arisen from its use.
Toronto, November 15th, 1855.
My dear Sir,--Many thanks for your kind and full explanation and apology. It needs no answer from me, yet I may be permitted to say its frankness commands, and shall always receive my sincere respect and admiration.
I remain very faithfully yours,
W. A. Johnson.
To the Rev. E. Baldwin, Toronto.
Toronto, Nov. 13, 1855.
Rev. and dear Sir,--In reference to our conversation of yesterday, and my decision in your case, I send you this document in my own hand, that your mind may be set at ease as to my feelings and intentions respecting you.
After a careful perusal and examination of the various papers laid before me by your accusers, I felt much relieved to find nothing proved that can or ought to he allowed to affect your character as a clergyman, or mar your future prospects in the Church. Hence I was able to confine myself to the simple fact that during your temporary ministry the peace of the congregation had been disturbed. This evil--unintentional, I believe, on your part--seems to have arisen chiefly from an error of judgment, which time and experience will no doubt in future correct, but which had already produced too much excitement to warrant the hope of a sincere and hearty reconciliation.
Under such circumstances, I felt it my duty to recommend your retirement from the parish, as the best and safest remedy for the restoration of peace and harmony. But in so deciding, I am prepared to appoint you to another field of labor, in which your zeal and energy may be wisely and profitably exercised, and to which you will carry with you my renewed confidence in [43/44] your strict adherence to the teaching of our Church, and my earnest prayers that you may justify my expectations, and those of your warm and intelligent friends, by proving yourself a faithful and devoted servant of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I remain, Rev. and dear Sir, yours truly,
(Signed) John Toronto.
To the Rev. W. A. Johnson.
Toronto, Nov. 15, 1855.
To the Hon. and Right Rev. John Strachan, D.D., Lord Bishop of Toronto.
My Lord,--I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's letter of the 13th instant. I am sorry to say it came to hand too late (having been sent to Yorkville instead of Toronto) to allow of my writing a letter to the Vestry assembled to hear your Lordship's decision in my case.
I most thankfully and gratefully acknowledge the expression of your Lordship's "renewed confidence in my strict adherence to the teaching of our Church." I am indeed indebted to your Lordship for this, and I am very sorry that the Vestry did not hear it yesterday. It clears up the only really important question in my accusers' charges, viz., whether I was "introducing and spreading unsound and dangerous teaching" or not. I trust they will in future try to know what they ought to believe, and then practise it.
Here I might stop, for I have no wish to officiate in Yorkville, beyond what my personal friends and the manly testimony of the Church's true supporters have created in me; but the impression still seems to lurk in your Lordship's mind that the angry feelings at Yorkville commenced on my account. Will your Lordship kindly remember that the parish of Yorkville was actually in an extremely dissatisfied state when I went there, the Hon. Mr. DeBlaquiere himself being the witness?
For the future I shall try to forget, and not even mention this unpleasant business, employing my thoughts as to the next step it is my duty to take in reference to my locality in this diocese or another; and on this point I would beg of your Lordship to shew me that indulgence which this sudden and unexpected check, the lateness of the season, and necessities of my family seem to require, but concerning which I shall allow of as little delay as possible.
I have the honor to be, my Lord,
Your Lordship's most humble and obedient servant,
(Signed) W. A. Johnson.
[No. 48.] Proceedings taken at a Vestry Meeting held in St. Paul's Church, Toronto, on Wednesday, the 14th November, 1855.
Present--Rev. T. Schreiber; Honourable P. B. DeBlaquiere; A. M. Clarke, Esq., M. D.; C. J. Philbrick, Esq., M. D.; Admiral Baldwin; Thos. J. Preston, Esq., Churchwarden; J. Henderson, Alex. Murray, A. V. Bacon, W. R. Banlett, D. Crawford, F. F. [44/45] Carruthers, W. G. Teller, J. Evans, G. K. Eadford, G. McKeand, J.O. Browne, D. Jessop, Jesse Thomson, J. Beaven, J.Herschfelder, Walter McKenzie, Chas. R. Dickson, W. Heward, A. M. Howard, ------ Haldin, R. Beard, Esquires.
The Lord Bishop's decision in the case of the Rev. W. A. Johnson having been read to the meeting, and the memorial to the Bishop in behalf of the Rev. W. A. Johnson, with the Bishop's answer to said memorial, being also read, the following resolution was moved by the Hon. P. B. DeBlaquiere, and seconded by Mr. Walter McKenzie:
That in the present disturbed state of the congregation, any discussion at this meeting on the decision of our Bishop would be indiscreet, and at the same time disrespectful to his Lordship, and that the consideration on this occasion of the general affairs of the Church is unadvisable: that the spiritual interest of the congregation will be best guaranteed at the present juncture by unreservedly trusting to his Lordship for the adoption of measures adapted to harmonize their unsettled condition: that a copy of this resolution be submitted to his Lordship, and that the meeting do now adjourn.
Moved by Dr. Clarke in amendment, seconded by A. Murray, Esq.:
Resolved, That this Vestry sincerely congratulate the Rev. W. A. Johnson on having been fully acquitted by his Bishop of the charges brought against him. Carried.
Moved by Dr. Clarke, seconded by Mr. McKeand, and
Resolved, That this Vestry deeply regret to observe, that while the Bishop exonerates Mr. Johnson from the charges brought against him, he has so far yielded to the representations made to him by a small minority of the congregation as to refuse to continue Mr. Johnson as assistant minister at Yorkville, and has deprived the parish of the services of a minister whose zeal and faithfulness in the discharge of his duties have proved so acceptable to the great majority of the congregation. Carried.
Moved by Mr. Henderson, seconded by Dr. Clarke, and
Resolved, That this Vestry feel strongly that an act of great hardship has been committed against them, as well as against the Rev. W. A. Johnson, by his Lordship's refusal to alter his decision in accordance "with the memorial of a large majority of the pewholders; and that he has established a precedent most dangerous to the well being of the Church, by admitting the principle that an insignificant minority of the congregation shall have the influence, by unfounded representations, to deprive a parish of the services of a zealous and faithful minister: and they feel it their duty, not only in justice to Mr. Johnson and themselves, but to the Church of which they are members, most respectfully but solemnly to protest against his Lordship's decision. Carried.
Moved by Mr. Crawford, seconded by Mr. Bacon, and
Resolved, That this Vestry respectfully request his Lordship the Bishop to allow the engagement entered into between the Rev. Mr. McKenzie and the Rev. Mr. Johnson for one year, to be carried out; and that if, at the expiration or during the continuance of that engagement, the ministrations of the Rev. W. A. Johnson shall be proved to the satisfaction of his Lordship to shew defect in judgment, or a want of sound discretion, the congregation will acquiesce without a murmur in the removal of Mr. Johnson: and that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to his Lordship the Bishop. Carried.
Toronto, 19th Nov., 1855.
Sir,--I have to acknowledge the receipt of a copy of a resolution passed at a recent meeting of the vestry of St. Paul's Church, [45/46] conveying to me a request that the Rev. Mr. Johnson should be permitted to resume the curacy of that parish.
I have already intimated to that congregation that I deem it essential to the peace and welfare of the parish that Mr. Johnson should be transferred to some other sphere of ministerial labour, and have also fully explained to them the grounds upon which my decision in the case is founded.
Having arrived at the conviction, after much careful consideration, it becomes a solemn duty, from which I may not depart, to act in accordance with it, and to make such arrangements for the temporary charge of the parish during Mr. McKenzie's illness, as, according to my judgment, the interests of the Church imperatively require.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
(Signed) John Toronto.
Thos. J. Preston, Esq., Churchwarden.
[No. 51.] Vestry Meeting held on 29th Nov., 1S55.
Present--Rev. T. Schreiber, Thomas J. Preston (Churchwarden), Hon. P. B. de Blaquiere, Walter McKenzie, Dr. A. M. Clarke, Rev. Dr. Adamson, James Henderson, A. Murray, G. Sootheran, D. Crawford, W. Telfer, Dr. Philbrick, W. V. Bacon, G. K. Radford, J. Evans, John O. Browne, A. M. Howard, F. F. Carruthers, Allister Clarke, Dudley Jessop, Adml. Baldwin, -- Bartlett.
The Rev. Dr. Adamson having remarked that the appointed time for the meeting had arrived, and intimating his desire to take the Chair, a question ensued as to whether he could lawfully do so, upon the ground that he was neither incumbent, curate or pewholder. The Church Temporalities Act being produced, and the clause referring to the question at issue being read, it was evident that the Rev. Dr. Adamson could not lawfully take the chair, to which the Rev. Dr. assented.
It was then moved and seconded, and carried, that Mr. Preston take the chair.
The Chairman rising to offer some explanation why he wished to be relieved from the duties of Churchwarden, was interrupted by Messrs. DeBlaquiere and Walter McKenzie, who raised an objection that such resignation was illegal. The meeting loudly called to order, to hear the explanations of the Chairman.
The Chairman proceeding in accordance with the wishes of the meeting, Messrs. DeBlaquiere and Walter McKenzie withdrew, amid loud and unmistakable expressions of satisfaction at their departure.
The meeting then proceeded to propose and adopt the following resolutions:--
Moved by Rev. T. Schreiber, seconded by Jas. Henderson, Esq.,
Resolved, That this Vestry Meeting, in St. Paul's, Yorkville, deeply deplore being deprived of the pastoral services of the Rev. W. A. Johnson, inasmuch [46/47] as it believes him to be a zealous, discreet, and faithful minister of the Protestant Episcopal Church; and though this Vestry Meeting disclaims any intention of impugning the discretion exercised by the Bishop in removing Mr. Johnson, it cannot forbear expressing its unfeigned sorrow on being informed of his Lordship's determination. This Vestry Meeting, however, has the satisfaction of knowing, from the finding of the Bishop on the charges against Mr. Johnson, and also from communications addressed to him by his Lordship, that Mr. Johnson is altogether exonerated from the charge of inculcating unsound doctrine: the perplexity this Vestry Meeting feels arises from the fact that the abrupt removal of Mr. Johnson seems inconsistent with the eulogistic terms in which his Lordship commends the ministerial qualifications of the Reverend gentleman. That the foregoing resolution be communicated to the Rev. W. A. Johnson. Carried.
James Henderson, Esq., then read the following letter from the Rev. W. A. Johnson:--
Toronto, Nov. 29th, 1855.
My dear Brethren of the Laity,--As you are assembled in vestry to-day, I take this opportunity to hand you a small account, and one or two books connected with the parish; these might have been given to the Rev. Mr. McKenzie, but as he is absent you can take charge of them for him.
I will also take this opportunity of adding, that his Lordship the Bishop (to whose authority in all things lawful we willingly submit) has seen fit to put an end abruptly to my connexion with St. Paul's. "After a careful view of all the facts and circumstances of the case," his Lordship fully exonerates me from all the charges brought against me by my accusers; and declaring his "renewed confidence in my strict adherence to the teaching of our Church," our aged and venerable Diocesan has remarked only that there seems to have been an "error of judgment" on my part, which time and experience will no doubt in future correct."
His Lordship's letter to me, dated No. 13th, will put you all in possession of this fact. (Read letter, on page 43.)
Should any of your number be disposed to inquire further into his Lordship's "decision," you will do well to state to them the reason assigned by his Lordship for my abrupt removal, assuring them for me at the same time, that anything but willing submission to Episcopal authority is not Scriptural or right; and whatever happens, resistance, save from the ignorant and unruly, has no precedent in the Catholic Church, and is to be earnestly deprecated. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord."
Should any of your number be desirous to know what, in his Lordship's opinion, my "error of judgment" was, you will do me the favour to state what happened: That I gave a copy of Innes' catechism to a Sunday School teacher, thinking that one whose love and zeal led him to undertake the instruction of others, would of course be tolerably informed himself. But the result seems to show that I had not duly considered my weak brother's want of knowledge. I must own it did not at first sight strike me as possible that any one would have made that book (which our Bishop does not attempt to condemn) a cause of offence. In this sense I plead [47/48] guilty. And I beg of you all to take warning from this "error of judgment," and while you try yourselves to know more and more fully what is "the truth once delivered to the saints," deal gently with your disaffected brethren, feed them with milk, remembering that the very first principles of Gospel truth have been obnoxious to them; and, like babes, they cannot comprehend the Gospel meat, and in recompense for your sound doctrines may turn again and rend you, as they tried to do with me.
Here I may pray you to remember also, that if ever it should be your bounden duty to "contend for the faith," and feel an honest indignation at what you think to be error, you will be justified in imitating my accusers' zeal, but by no means in imitating the unfounded assertions, and the evil surmisings, which I am really sorry to say have so decidedly marked their proceedings against me, that you have reason to be careful how you work with them in future.
I will only add one observation more. I know there exists in some of your generous minds a strong feeling of dissatisfaction at the decision of our venerable and worthy Diocesan. Do not encourage this feeling. Entertain it not for a moment. It never tends to holiness. The mind which broods over a dark, unhappy event is led away from the every day duties of life, and finds itself further and further from God. Moreover, it is likely to happen that, after magnifying the possible fault of a member of the Church, the mind begins to realize a dislike to the principles of the Church; and this is sin. In the words of a learned writer, let me remind you, "that if the practice of the Church is at variance with her adopted theory, the blame rests with the individual, or with the generation, not with the Church, which belongs to no place or time."
Take these matters into your consideration, dear friends, and show your unshaken love to Christ by your regular and thankful acceptance of the means of grace now within your reach; remembering that it is even possible, in the eyes of a just God, that indifference for his past favours, both on your part and on my own, may be causing him to permit this unhappy separation between us; and if we receive it meekly he will make it a door of future hope and benefit; and ere long you as a congregation may again be united "in the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace," and thus go on unto "righteousness of life."
That our gracious Father may bring these things to pass and forgive the erring, and crown your sincere kindness to me with much peace and plenty here, and your love of truth with much glory hereafter, is the earnest prayer of one, sometime your pastor, and still your most faithful and sincere friend,
(Signed) W. A. Johnson.
To the Vestry assembled at St. Paul's Church, Toronto.
Moved by Dr. A. M. Clarke, seconded by A. M. Murray, Esq.,
And resolved--That this Vestry regret to observe that the Bishop, in reply to the resolution requesting him to continue the Rev. W. A. Johnson as assistant, minister until the end of the term of his agreement with the Rev. Mr. McKenzie, has refused to alter his former decision; and they feel that such [48/49] determination not to do a simple act of justice, after all the circumstances of the case have been pointed out to him in their true light, and clearly shewing him to have been misinformed, has tended to widen the unhappy disunion existing in this parish, and to produce a lasting and injurious effect on the interests of the Church, not only in Yorkville but throughout the whole diocese. Carried unanimously, with the exception of the Rev. T. Schreiber objecting to the words, "simple act of justice," in the resolution, but cordially agreeing with the other part of it.
Moved by W. V. Bacon, seconded by Dr. Phillbrick:
Whereas it was some time since proposed to rebuild the Church of St. Paul at Yorkville, and a subscription list was prepared and signed by several persons wishing to aid in that object, and the sums of money set opposite to their names which they were willing to subscribe; and whereas it has since become apparent that that object cannot be attained, and that it is only just to the persons who have so subscribed their names that they should be exonerated from complying with their said subscriptions; be it therefore
Resolved, That as it now appears impracticable to rebuild the Church of St. Paul at Yorkville, the several persons who have subscribed to the subscription list of 1852, with the view of forming a fund to rebuild the said church, be exonerated, and they are by this resolution exonerated, from the payment of their said subscriptions; and that in all cases (if any) where any of the said parties have already paid the amount of such subscriptions, that the Trustees do refund the same. Carried unanimously.
Moved by James Henderson, seconded by D. Crawford:
In justice to the motives which have actuated this Vestry in regard to the removal of the Rev. W. A. Johnson, and to enable the Church throughout the Province to form a correct opinion as to the facts of the case, and if possible to correct the injurious and evil reports that have been circulated by the enemies of the Rev. W. A. Johnson, affecting his character as a clergyman, and which have been strengthened by the most unjust and arbitrary decision of the Bishop, it is
Resolved, That all the papers and facts relating to this unhappy disturbance be printed and circulated under the direction of a Committee, to consist of Messrs. Henderson, Bacon and Preston; and that for this purpose the Churchwardens shall permit any member of this Vestry to copy all the documents relating to the complaints made against Mr. Johnson, as well as to the action of the Bishop and this Vestry connected therewith: the expense of printing and publishing to be defrayed by voluntary subscription. Carried unanimously, with the exception of the Rev. Mr. Schreiber objecting to the words "unjust and arbitrary."
Moved by Alexander Murray, seconded by W. Telfer:
Resolved, That the Churchwardens be requested to send to the Bishop a copy of all the resolutions and proceedings of this and the last Vestry meeting held in this church. Carried.
Mr. Murray and Mr. Henderson having tendered their resignation of the offices of Trustee of the Building Fund and Treasurer of the Parochial Branch of the Church Society, it was moved by Dr. Clarke, seconded by Mr. Telfer, that their resignations be accepted, and carried unanimously.
After the passing of the resolutions the Rev. Dr. Adamson requested to be allowed the favor of making a few remarks, which being granted he took occasion to say that he had been requested by the Bishop to use every means in his power to restore peace and harmony to the parish. He also took the opportunity of expressing a high approbation of Mr. Johnson's sound doctrines and edifying instruction.
The meeting then adjourned.
 We are happy to have the opportunity of publishing a letter from Mr. J. to a friend, in which the doctrines of the Catechism are explained:--
Toronto, April 10th, 1856.
My dear ---------,
Those extracts in the Echo, forming as they do, part of a catechism which I approve of, and think very good, but which Mr. Walter McKenzie or his advisers seem to think heresy, certainly require a little explanation. They are not such as I, if left to myself, would ever have brought before the world--but they are such as I shall now and then explain to a few, as I find they are able to understand and improve by them. Owing to the strange negative Protestantism in which we have been nurtured, very few persons are aware of what the Church teaches on these points; consequently, when they are brought to light some one is offended, for as our blessed Lord said to his disciples, "it is next to impossible to put new wine into old bottles." To set these doctrines before the world in a newspaper is wrong, if not very sinful; it is like casting pearls before swine. There is a wide-spread epidemic among professing Christiana (I speak GENERALLY) just now; it is a sort of Romaphobia; and when they hear anything about prayer for the dead, they think it must be some feature of Romanism and purgatory, and forthwith resist it.
I do not mean anything personally unkind in writing this; I mean just what your question suggests, and what I am sure has arisen in the minds of many who read the Echo of the 4th inst.; it is this: "are these extracts in strict accordance with the doctrines held by the reformed Catholic Church; or, are they not rather, some tractarian revival of those Romish novelties which have so fatally destroyed the beauty and the fruit of that branch of the Church?"
That they are not popish novelties may be conclusively proved from the following historical facts:
The catechism was first published by Dr. George Innes, elected Bishop by the Presbyters of the Diocese of Breckin, and consecrated in A. D. 177S. See Lawson's History of Scotch Church."
It was afterwards published by Bishop Seabury, the first Bishop of the United States, who, after begging of grown-up persons as well as children to examine and understand it, thus concludes his few words of advertisement: "That the grace and blessing of Almighty God may descend on all who read this little book, is the fervent prayer of the publisher. Samuel, Bishop, Connecticut. New London, February 12, 1791."
This same catechism was used in the Diocese of New York, passing through eleven editions, up to 1824, shewing, as the editor says, "that the doctrine of the first Bishop of our Church has continued to be the avowed and officially recommended doctrine of its greatest diocese. And this reproduction, at the end of sixty years, of the first catechism of Connecticut, may also serve for a [50/51] sufficient answer to the silly cry of "innovation," that has been so often heard of late, as well as a rebuke to the unworthy artifice played off in the use of the nickname "Puseyism."
This brings the account of this little catechism down to the present time, when, being republished by Bishop Whittingham, it can be had of Joseph Robinson, Baltimore, United States, and still continues among us; from its simplicity and truthfulness, a catechism peculiarly suited to the wants of this age, of which it may with justice be said, "ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God," Heb. v. 12; and in itself an answer to the supposition that there are any of those Romish novelties to be found in it, concerning which there is truly need on the part of some to be careful, lest they be drawn away to their own destruction.
Perhaps you do not know how Dr. Seabury came to have any thing to do with Bishop Innes' Catechism. It happened in this way: When the United States had entirely severed themselves from the British Crown and nation, a question arose as to how that portion of the Church of Christ which had been the Church of England in America, should become the American Church. The members of the Church in Connecticut felt that until they had a Bishop among them, they were under a privation which ought to be remedied without delay, the more so, because the strange, uncatholic, unscriptural alternative had been proposed in another State, of organizing a Church without Episcopacy. They elected Dr. Seabury, and sent him to England for consecration. But alas! though in justice, it should be said that England's spiritual rulers were well affected towards Dr. Seabury's visit, her secular rulers stood in the way. A full year did that good man wait and labour patiently for the removal of obstacles, and then seeing there was no hope of success, he turned to that branch of the Catholic Church which God's arm had protected and preserved in Scotland, without any union with the State. There the love of Christ and his Church was left free to act, and thence the Apostolic succession was passed over into America, and with it the valuable little catechism, which, like all good things, has had, and will have its measure of abuse. See Churchman's Monthly Magazine, for January, 1S54. (New York.)
I will say a few words upon these extracts, leaving the most important to the last.
Concerning that upon Baptism, at page 35, nothing need be said, because on all sides dissenters, and all who look upon tile question at all, admit that the Church does teach the doctrine of regeneration, as there stated. Moreover, it is taught in Bishop Hants', Archdeacon Sinclair's, and other catechisms most commonly used in our Sunday Schools, just as really as it is in Bishop Innes'.
The extract from page 66 must be read in connection with the Scottish or American Communion office. Standing alone as it does, in the extract, apart from the context, it would lead to error. My accusers have inserted one question, viz.: "Does God accept [51/52] this sacrifice?" They ought in common honesty to have inserted the answer, which says the Holy Eucharist is a "solemn memorial or representation of Christ's great Sacrifice." And this is sound doctrine; for our catechism does not say, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was ordained for a continual remembrance of the death of Christ, but, for a continual remembrance of the SACRIFICE of the death of Christ. The rest of the extract is plain, by noticing the arrangement peculiar to the Scottish or American form, which, by the way, I think brings the true doctrine more prominently forward than our own.
If there is any objection raised to the extract, from page 70, I suppose it is on the word "penance." But this, I think, will not trouble you, who know how our services for Ash Wednesday pray for the restoration of penetential discipline, and deplore its loss. Without it a congregation can never be satisfied, nor an erring member restored to communion. (See rubric before communion office.) Yorkville affords a case in point; Mr. Walter McKenzie (probably with good intentions, but ignorant zeal) has disturbed the peace and welfare of a congregation. The "congregation have been thereby offended." And he "ought not in any wise presume to come to the Lord's table until he hath openly declared himself to have truly repented, and then he must declare himself willing to recompense the parties to whom he hath done wrong. This would be penance, and when performed, under the direction of the Bishop or Priest appointed for that purpose, the offender would enjoy communion with the faithful, the prayers of the congregation, and a hearty reconciliation.
The extracts from pages 71 and 78 are answered above, unless as respects the word "Intercessor," as applied to an appointed minister. Every one who prays for another is certainly in some sense an intercessor, so is an appointed "ambassador for Christ" an "authorized intercessor." In this sense, it is used by Bishop Andrews.--See "Devotions by Bishop Andrews, pages 19 and 35; edition, 1S40, by the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge," where these words occur: "O Thou who acceptest the intercessions which thy servants offer up for one another." And page 35: "Finally, O Lord, shower down the riches of thy mercy upon every one recommended or not recommended by me or any other intercessor, and grant to each of them, &c., &c." Surely this language is easily understood, without supposing that it teaches there is any other meritorious advocate or intercessor at the throne of God, but Jesus Christ alone.
Lastly, as to the extract from page 34. It contains two distinct points--praying to, and praying for, the departed Saints. To pray to them is not allowable for a moment, therefore this point is disposed of, and the other only remains. Now let us consider this praying for the dead by way of a question or two. May you pray for an individual saint, say your brother, sister, mother, or departed friend? I say no, and this catechism does not teach [52/53] that you may. I say no, simply because, although, such prayers were used in the burial service, in the Prayer Book, 1549, still they are altered in that of 1662.--See Clay and Keating on the Books of Common Prayer. Take notice of the extract, and you will find the first question is, Does the communion of Saints extend to the other world? The answer is, yes. Of this I need only refer you to Hebrews xii.23, where it is written, ("ye," the saints on earth,) are come, (not shall or will one day come, but in the past tense) "to the spirits of just men made perfect, &c." The last part of the answer says, "The Church upon earth, and the Church in Paradise mutually pray for each other." We, the Church upon earth, pray for the Church in Paradise every Sunday, for in the Prayer for Christ's Church Militant here upon earth, we pray that we--i. e., the living--may be partakers of God's heavenly kingdom with them--i. e., with the departed saints. In the burial service too we pray that we, the living, with all those that are departed in the true faith of Thy holy name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss both in body and soul. But we cannot have this bliss, until they are about to receive it, for St. Paul says the dead shall rise first, I Thes. iv. 16; and again they without us cannot be made perfect, Heb. xi. 40. They under the altar, cry "Lord how long," Rev. vi. 9,10,11; and we cry "Thy kingdom come." Thus, as a Church, we pray for one another. Their condition is not perfect. There is a day coming when they shall be taken to glory everlasting. Their souls are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them; but still there are greater blessings in store for them after the great judgment day; and THEN--i. e., on that day--we as well as they will stand in need of mercy. Thus in our litany: "In the day of judgment, good Lord, deliver us." See Dean Comber's Companion to the Temple, and Bishop Pearson on the Creed. Archdeacon Sinclair's Catechism also, which is No. vii. of the catechetical series of S. P. C. K., has the same doctrine in the same words; and this is the catechism (if I am rightly informed) most used and recommended by the Board of Education in England.
Should you still have some doubts on this subject, the decision given by the Court of Arches, which should set the matter at rest, is most conclusive. It is in the case of Woolfry v. the Vicar of Carisbrooke. The judgment was given in the following words: "Prayer for the dead is not contrary to the Articles and Canons of the Church of England.
Now we have decided that we may pray for the departed saints, but not as individuals, only as a Church, only as parts of a body, now separated, but again to be united at the second advent of the Lord of Glory. There remains another question yet; it is this: What may we pray for concerning the departed saints? May we pray that their souls may have rest and quiet? This, certainly, would not be contrary to early usage, but I think there is nothing in our Prayer Book (that is the book of 1662) which warrants it? May we pray that they may soon be relieved from purgatorial cleansing? I find no authority, whatever, for [53/54] this; it being a fond thing having no warranty of Holy Scripture; for as the tree falls, so it must lie; there will be no moral or religious improvement between death and the resurrection. But we may pray, and do pray for them thus: Bearing in mind that when the saints are received into glory it will be as a BODY, not as individuals, we pray that the Lord would hasten his kingdom, and take them and us into his eternal glorious presence.
Time was, my dear friend, when I was surprised, much as you have been at these doctrines; but now-a-days there is something quite real in the feeling that I am an inhabitant of two worlds, and am constantly surrounded by the spiritual. It is a mysterious, but not, on that account, a less real fact, "that we are knit together, in one fellowship, with the inhabitants of a better country, that is, an heavenly,--Phil. iii. 20." The Japanese are said to have a pretty type of this fact. I do not know to whom we are indebted for the poetry, but I will transcribe it,--
"In the bright fables of an Eastern land,
Where song and moral travel hand in hand,
They say, the dove laments not as alone,
That lingers here, her sweet companions gone;
She knows that, denizen'd in brighter skies,
They shine as glorious birds of Paradise;
And though she may not see their sportive rings,
Nor the fleet glancing of their rainbow wings,
(For earthlier vision clogs her earthlier eye),
To know and feel them near, is ecstacy.
And so, methlnks, comes such a season, fraught
With heavenlier communing and purer thought,
What time we linger o'er the quiet rest,
Of those, the lonely once, and now the blest."
A late very eminent professor, now gone to his rest, has a beautiful sermon on the subject, where he remarks upon Gen. xxiv. 63 to 67, shewing how Isaac went out at eventide, and was comforted for the death of his mother. Doubtless he was peopling the plain, in imagination, with the spirits of the just, departed; and how could one fail to be improved by such company? They will not cross our plans. They have no ambition that interferes with our hopes, their presence will not destroy our earthly prospects, they can have no designs against us, unless you would construe into such, a longing earnest desire that we might come to that peace and rest, of which they are enjoying the blessed foretaste.--(J. J. Blunt's University Sermons.)
If what I have said shall quiet your mind, though these views are by no means necessary to salvation, and open to you a new channel of spiritual enjoyment, the Lord be praised, and His forgiveness descend on those who (perhaps it may be thoughtlessly) dragged his holy doctrines before a busy, restless world.
With my best wishes, believe me most sincerely yours,
W. A. Johnson.