Project Canterbury

A Plea for Law and Order

[Correspondence of David Dick and other members of Christ Church in Meadville, Pa.,
with John B. Kerfoot, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, regarding ritual complaints]

No place: no publisher, no date; 31-page pamphlet.


PREFACE.

It was our intention to have accompanied the following correspondence with a few prefatory remarks, explanatory of bur reasons for making it public and in justification of the position we therein assumed. On further reflection, however, we deem it unnecessary, perhaps inexpedient at this time, to go further into detail. The correspondence will, of itself, we doubt not, suggest sufficient reason for its publication and afford to the mind of the ingenuous reader ample justification therefor, as well, as of the position which we have been obliged to assume in this most unpleasant affair; by circumstances over which we had no control, without at the same time surrendering our rights as Christian Laymen, or submitting to disturbance in our most solemn acts of worship, by obtrusions upon our established ceremonial of obnoxious nonessentials, not authorized by the Book of Common Prayer--measured only by the individual tastes and private fancies of him, who happens for the time being, to be the officiating Minister of the Parish. We thank the Bishop for his kind reminder to us of our duty in respect to the clergy and the church. While fully recognizing the claims of the Church upon her Laity to "protect the reputation of her Clergy as well as her own honor from inconsiderate and unjust reproach" (the same which we have been ever forward to do) we cannot help respectfully reminding our honored Diocesan, in turn, that we too "have some rights, in this matter of character," and as [3/4] "honest pride in our good names," and that "our hearts are as sensitive as those of other men to the intimations of dishonor, and that our good names are as dear to our homes and our children" as the Bishop's, or any of the respected body of clergymen over whom, in the providence of God, he has been called to preside.

In looking over that portion of the Bishop's reply from which these extracts are taken, we can scarcely repress our surprise, that in penning it, he did not seem to recognise the fact that he was thereby (by implication, at least,) recording an extra-judicial judgement of condemnation upon a portion of his flock, and that, upon ex-parte evidence, or representation, without inquiry into the facts of the case, and without affording them the least opportunity of defence or justification.

In regard to Ritual, we hold to that which the Church has prescribed and from which the Minister may not lawfully depart. We can have no sympathy with those, who, desiring change, cannot in such matters await the judgement of the Church, or the sanction of authority, but, guided by the mere "promptings of sentiment and self-will," substitute their own fancies therefor. "The Church," says Bishop Potter of New York, "seeks uniformity. Within her fold, she will endure no irregularity, no indulgence of individual fancy, she binds the conscience of every minister, she ordains to a strict conformity to her Order, Discipline and Worship. Surely nothing can be good in itself, nothing can lead to ultimate good which involves a violation of obligations so solemnly assumed." "The real question involved then is simply this, whether one who voluntarily" assumes the Ministry of the Church, and promises under the most solemn sanctions, obedience to her laws, is at liberty to violate those vows and break those laws, whensoever in his judgment it may be desirable so to do. To grant this, it will readily be seen, would be to destroy at [4/5] once, the obligation of all law, human and Divine. It is not a question whether this or that law is a good and a wise law, but simply whether being law, it is to be obeyed." The above quotation, which we take from the first number of the American Church Union, although intended by them to apply specially to Canon 12, passed by our General Convention, for the violation of which the Rev. S. H. Tyng, Jr., of the Diocese of New York, was tried and convicted, with how much greater force does it apply to the violation of the Rubric. To observe which, Arch Bishop SHARP affirms "we are under higher obligation than any other ecclesiastical law whatsoever."

We now leave the whole matter, together with the correspondence, to the consideration of those who feel interested in the subject, to decide for themselves, the question, Who are the "opposers of the work"? Who the disturbers of the hitherto harmonious congregation?


TO THE RT. REV. J. B. KERFOOT, D. D., BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH:

"Whereas, the Congregation of Christ Church, Meadville, has, ever since its first organization as a Parish up to a recent date, enjoyed a state of peace and harmony among its members, and, whereas, this desirable state of things has recently been disturbed, if not entirely broken up, in consequence of the introduction, or ingrafting upon our heretofore uniform, solemn and dignified ceremonial practices, which we believe to be entirely unauthorized by the Book of Common Prayer, and in violation of the canons, usages and common order of the Church, which, so far from aiming at novelty or variety in her devotional services, has been careful in her provisions for securing absolute uniformity of worship, leaving nothing to the fancy or caprice of the officiating clergyman. Although disclaiming all right, or desire to interfere with the legitimate rights or official prerogatives of the Pastoral office, we nevertheless claim it to be our right and our duty to enter our solemn protest against the Rector of the Parish, upon his own private judgment and responsibility, for the gratification of his own fancy, or tastes, to force upon the members of this congregation, obnoxious non√ęssentials, having neither the sanction of law, nor the general usages of the Church. And whereas, the Rev. Mr. Byllesby has at various times past, proposed the expedient of using the Offertory in taking up the ordinary collections of the Church; to which the Vestry, under an honest conviction that such use would be in contrarety with the rubric in the Communion Service, which seems to limit its use to that holy ordinance, as being an integral part thereof, withheld their assent. But impatient of restraint, he, subsequently, upon his own responsibility, introduced it in opposition to the known wishes of the Vestry and many members of the congregation. Private remonstrance having failed, the [6/7] Vestry passed a resolution April, 1867, requesting him to discontinue the new, and return to the old method of taking up collections in the Parish. With this resolution Rev. Mr. Byllesby, at a subsequent meeting, agreed to comply. Whereupon the Vestry, with a generous desire and single purpose of preserving and promoting kind and fraternal relations and of obliterating, as far as possible, all trace of disagreement between Pastor and people, unanimously rescinded the resolution passed at their previous meeting. It was therefore, we think, not unreasonable in them to indulge the expectation, that this friendly action upon the part of the Vestry, would have been met and responded to on the part of the Rector in a corresponding spirit; but their surprise was only equaled by their mortification to find him, in total disregard of his pledged word, resuming again the practice complained of in the aforesaid resolution and which had been rescinded in confiding reliance that he would carry out in good faith the conditions upon which said resolution was based. [It is proper to state here, that this charge was withdrawn upon the disavowal by Mr. Byllesby of his having at the Vestry meeting referred to, given any pledge; but simply a promise, or an agreement as a concession to an individual thereof and from which he considered himself absolved upon the introduction of the Free Church System. Without adopting his ethics in the premises, we were nevertheless quite willing to accord to him the full benefit of this, his own disclaimer,--hence, the withdrawal of said charge. We may however be permitted to say, that we think courtesy towards the parties concerned required on the part of Mr. B. that notice should have been given them of his intentions to resume the use of the Offertory on other than Communion occasions; an opinion in which he himself now concurs.] This boundary passed, it was soon followed by other peace disturbing novelties, such as the Choral Service, Intoning the Prayers, Hinging the responses to the Commandments, partly reading, partly singing the Offertory--the Minister reading and the Choir singing alternately sentences thereof, the frequent disuse of the Gown and substitution of the Surplice therefor, turning the back to the congregation in the performance of Divine Service, especially in consecrating the elements at the Holy Communion and at the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister turning his back to the congregation and bowing with his face towards the altar in making the ascription--all which innovations and nonconformities have been, and continue to be practiced by the Rector of this parish, with the exception of the one last named, which, though practiced by other ministers occasionally [7/8] officiating in this church, has not, we are happy to say, been introduced by him. We had permitted ourselves to indulge the hope, that our pastor, ore this, would have seen his error and retraced his steps, and the present communication have been avoided. But this expectation was cut off in consequence of our receiving public notice from the pulpit of his determination to persevere in his efforts to introduce said practice of the above named obnoxious innovations as soon, and in such manner and way as circumstances and opportunity might afford, being part of his mission to this parish, "He would discharge his duty without the fear of man."

As churchmen we can recognize no "mission" that ignores or sets aside the church's laws. The wilful breaking or setting aside a common order, or discipline can be no small offence against God. We therefore, earnestly protest against the novelties complained of; believing they are one, and all of them, unauthorized by the book of Common Prayer and in violation of the laws and usages of the church. How Mr. Byllesby can reconcile his course with the vows taken upon himself at the altar on being received into the Priesthood--vows which tie him to a regular, constant, and punctual adherance to the Book of Common Prayer, we leave for him to determine in foro conscientiae. But for ourselves we think we have a right to ask,--to demand, that the laws of our church shall not be trampled under foot, or at least that we shall not be made a party in the rebellion, or forced to the alternative of choosing between participating in an unlawful service and absenting ourselves from the House of God.

When, in the providence of God these American States, became independent with respect to civil government their eclesiastical independence was necessarily included, and we thereby became a part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolical Church of Christ, with full powers to establish a polity and to mould Her decipline, forms and worship in such manner and form as might be thought or judged most convenient to her future welfare. Having become a "Particular National Church" our Godly, well learned and venerated fathers, in their General Council, held 1789, proceeded in accordance with our XXXIV Article of Religion to ordain, alter, change, abolish and make such other alterations in our Ritual as they deemed expedient and the exigencies of the times, caused by the Revolution, seemed to require. We therefore beg leave to express our most hearty concurrence with that most noble Declaration of [8/9] opinion put forth to the Church, January, 1867, by a large majority of our Bishops, your honored self being of the number, viz: That the ceremonies, rights and worship then established, ordained and approved by common authority, as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer of this Church, are the law of this Church, which every Bishop, Presbyter and Deacon of the same has bound himself by subscription to Article VII, of the Constitution, to obey, observe, and follow, and that no strange or foreign usage should be introduced or sanctioned by the private judgment of any member or members of this Church, clerical or lay. * * * Furthermore, that we be not misunderstood, let it be noted that we include in these censures, all departures from the laws, rubrics and settled order of this Church as well by defect as by excess of observance, designing to maintain in its integrity the sound scriptural, and therefore catholic and apostolic spirit of the Book of Common Prayer," Also, our XXXIV Article. "Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly und purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church which be not repugnant to the word of God and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, as he that offends against the common order of the Church." Bishop TOMLINE explains the word "traditions," in this article, as customs and practices relative to the external worship of God which have been delivered down to us from former times." Allow us, also, to quote Arch Bishop Sharp as in point: "But we may affirm, in general, that we are under higher obligations to obey the rubric than any other eclesiastical law whatsoever: that excepting a few cases, or under some necessary restrictions or limitations, we are bound to adhere to it literally, punctually and perpetually; and that whosoever, among the clergy, either adds to it, or diminishes from it, or useth any other rule instead of it; as he is in the eye of the law so far a nonconformist, so it behooves him to consider with himself whether in point of conscience he is not a breaker of his word and trust and an eluder of his engagements to the Church.

In placing the above statement before you, we need not, we trust, assure you, that we are prompted by no other feelings than those of kindness towards our pastor and of loyal fidelity to our church, and an ardent desire of maintaining in its integrity our sound, scriptural and primitive Book of Common Prayer, as it was transmitted to us by our American Fathers. Trusting that your wise councils [9/10] and Godly admonitions may be the means of restoring order and harmony to the congregation of which we are members.

We remain very respectfully yours,

DAVID DICK,
T. J. LIMBER,
JOHN MCFARLAND,
JOHN DICK,
WM. HOPE, JAS. B. MCFARLAND,
J. E. DICK,
FREDERICK DAVIS,
W. W. DICK.


[11] TO MESSRS. DAVID DICK, T. J. LIMBER, JOHN DICK, WM. HOPE, JAS. B. MCFARLAND, F. H. DAVIS, W. W. DICK, J. MCFARLAND AND J. R. DICK.

My Dear Brethren:--On my return from a visitation on the 30th inst., I received here a paper without date, but inclosed in an envelope post-marked Meadville, July 21. The paper was signed by the nine members of the Parish of Christ Church, Meadville, to whom I address this reply. You claim to speak only for yourselves, as private members of the congregation, representing no other members, not in any way speaking for the Vestry. The paper calls itself a Protest; it does not come to me as a "presentment," in any of the ways provided in Section I, Canon I, of this Diocese. It does, however, charge a Presbyter of the Diocese with various uncanonical, and unrubrical acts and customs, and what is yet more serious with a "total disregard of his pledged word." These are very grave charges; the responsibility incurred by those who make them is very grave; the good standing and reputation of a Presbyter as a Minister and as a man, is impugned, and his Bishop is called on to council and admonish him.

That paper is signed by nine members of the church, several of them aged men, and therefore claim the Bishop's respectful attention; and in view of all this I give careful regard to its statements. I gather out of the paper seven specifications.

1. The use of the Offertory in the ordinary collections.

2. The Choral Service.

3. Intoning the Prayers.

4. Singing the Responses to the Commandments.

5. The choir singing alternate verses in the Offertory sentences.

6. The frequent use of the Surplice instead of the Gown in preaching.

7. Turning the back on the congregation in the service, especially in consecrating the elements in the Holy Communion.

I will notice each item; and I do this trusting to my knowledge of your Parish and its history without waiting to make any further inquiries touching the facts of the [11/12] case, either from the rector or yourselves: 1. In putting No. 1 among your charges, you have forgotten or overlooked the fact, that as Bishop of the Diocese I have twice given you my official judgment and council on this point; once in a special meeting of the Vestry of your Parish (April 27, '67) which I attended at their request that I might decide sundry questions touching the proper customs and rules of the service; and again in my address to the Convention of the Diocese in Erie the next month. You will find that judgment on page 79 of the Journal of 1867. It justified and recommended the mode which your charge seems to condemn, which is (I believe) the mode used in Meadville, which has been my own custom for more than a quarter of a century, and which is a very common, if not a very general use throughout the Church in our Country. No. 2 and 3, must refer to a very few and special services which were desired by some of the people, and which were so held as to interfere very little if at all, with the privileges of those who did not like such a service. Such an indulgence to the musical tastes of a part of the congregation might be premature, or inexpedient or unedifying, but it cannot be pronounced a violation of the order of the Church, such musical services are not common in America, but they are very common as well as ancient in England. They need not, and in the instance in Meadville I know they do not, imply any feeling or taste alien to our Anglican Communion and Church. No's. 4, 5, and 6, are, and long have been, among the allowed uses of the American Church. No's. 4 and 6 have been my own custom for more than a quarter of a century, and to No. 5, I can see no objection. I often meet the custom in and out of my Diocese. These items (4, 5 and 6,) may be questions of taste, but cannot be made questions of principle. No doctrine can be involved in them.

No. 7 is too general and indefinite a statement. I must interpret your words by my knowledge of the worship in your church. This leads me to infer only that for convenience of kneeling or worship, or for proper privacy in his own devotions, the minister may stand or kneel in the same direction with the people, not facing them, and that this has no significance beyond general convenience, propriety and reverence. The case being thus understood as I believe, that it fairly and truly ought to be, no devout churchman need deny his Pastor the comfort and edification in God's House which a minister craves as well as his people. My own feeling and custom express themselves in this answer. The rubrical posture of the Priest in consecrating the [12/13] elements in the Holy communion is "Standing before the Table." This, almost necessarily as our chancels are generally arranged, make most of the people who are kneeling towards the table, see the back of the Minister, if their eyes are lifted from their Prayer Books. How shall the Priest "stand before the table" and not have his back to the people? Those of you who have been present when I have administered the Holy Communion in your church, must have noticed that I have so stood "before the Table" in that one part of the Eucharistic service. I do not see how else the Rubric can be so accurately complied with. The point is one of no special moment. The consecrating Minister sometimes stands at the right side of the Table as in the ante-communion Service, but the natural meaning of the Rubric is the use which you seem to condemn.

Turning and bowing to the altar, as acts of reverence, or worship of any sort towards it, or to any person or presence or sacred thing there, or as implying any exageration or perversion of the Church's doctrine of the Holy Communion, would be grave error in opinion and use; but I know your Rector's Theology and custom too well, to have any apprehension of any such error in him.

As to the pledge to the Vestry which the Sector is alleged to have disregarded, of course I must wait some such complaint coming from the Vestry itself. I am however very sure that Mr. BYLLESBY is incapable of any wilful violation of his promise, and I ought also to add that the cordial and respectful terms in which many members of Vestry have spoken to me of Mr. BYLLESBY make me sure that no complaint is contemplated by these official representatives of the Parish. It is a very serious charge, this one of the forfeiture of one's word. Men in the world repel the charge with indignation, for it blights their good name. May I remind honorable laymen that like themselves, the clergy have some rights in this matter of character, and an honest pride in their good name; and that their hearts are as sensitive as those of other men to the intimations of dishonor? Need I remind any one that a clergyman's good name is dear to his home and his children and that the church counts on her laity protecting the reputation of her clergy as well as her own honor from inconsiderate and unjust reproach?

And now, dear Brethren, will you not all for Christ's sake and his Church's give up this opposition to your Pastor? If your Rectors are to be thus beset by objections and hindrances; if their office among you is to bring them little freedom to act and frequent occasion for humiliation [13/14] and disappointment, no man of energy or power will take the place. You have such a man now, and your congregation is thriving as it never did before in numbers and resources. You see this. I beg you to cease opposing the work. You cannot stereotype the church's feelings and modes after the mind or preference of any man, old or young, or after the custom, in little matters that happened to prevail a generation ago. Other men will have their wishes and tastes, and new generations will think and act for themselves; and if those put in chief control of the Church in a Diocese decide such matters of detail as it is their office to do, when discussions arise about them,--ought not orderly men at once, and cheerfully concur, and let the discussion drop? How else can the church perform in Meadville her proper and much needed work of declaring and sustaining the truth about our Redeemer's Deity as defined in the Creeds, and of manifesting forth her character and office as His Church and Kingdom among men?

Some of you, brethren, are now very aged men. Your time for doing good cannot be long. You hope that you have done the Church some good service in the past. I pray you to use the rest of your days and of your influence to promote that spirit of love, humility and peace which is so essential to the Church's order and growth, which so beautifies the closing years of good men; and so further their preparation for the clearer light and the fuller love of the Church in the better world. I am Brethren,

Truly and faithfully,

Your friend and servant in Christ,

JOHN B. KERFOOT,
Bishop of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, Aug. 1, 1868.

P. S. I forward your paper and a copy of this reply of mine to the Rector and vestry of your parish. J. B. K


[15] To Rt. Rev. J. B. Kerfoot, Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Dear Sir:--"We received your communication of the first ultimo, in reply to one from us (without date), but post marked "Meadville, July 21." The omission of date was inadvertant.

You are quite correct in saying that you (we) speak only for ourselves, as private members of the congregation, not in any way speaking for the Vestry. We had no authority to speak either for the Vestry or for the congregation. The paper sent to you was prepared, originally, as a preamble to resolutions which we had intended laying before the Vestry, as you will readily perceive by its wording; but was withdrawn and the present course of proceeding adopted instead. We had borne with our grievances for eighteen months or more, and in the language of our former communication, we had permitted ourselves to indulge the hope that ere this our Pastor would have seen his error and retraced his steps. Our difficulties, as we ever have, we kept to ourselves, never making them a subject of discussion or conversation in the congregation, or among ourselves--vainly hoping that the evils of which we complained would, in due time, work their own remedy. We are not aware, even now, that our present proceedings are known beyond the circle of those who signed the paper. If our proceedings have been made public they have been so made through other channels. We pursued this course as the one least likely to give publicity to a matter which we had no desire to make known, and which might possibly leave the door open for future reconciliation. Such are some of the facts and motives which influenced our action in relation to Mr. BYLLESBY in the first place, and in the second, our minds in addressing our communication to you and not to the Vestry.

You say in regard to Specification No. 1, that in putting it among your (our) charges, viz: the use of the Offertory in taking up ordinary collections, that "we have forgotten or overlooked the fact that, as Bishop of the Diocese, I have twice given you my official judgment and counsel on this [15/16] point; once at a special meeting of the Vestry of your Parish, April 27, 1867, which I attended at their request, that I might decide sundry questions touching the proper rules of the service, and again in my address to the Convention of the Diocese in Erie the next month."

We would respectfully reply that neither of the opinions alluded to, was either overlooked or forgotten, but were duly weighed and considered; and we can assure you, dear Bishop, that it is with no ordinary feelings of regret we find ourselves under the necessity of differing with you in regard to the meaning or sense of the rubric in question. You will remember, that at the Vestry meeting referred to in your communication, a paper was submitted to you containing the following interrogatories-upon which your opinion was asked in writing. Thin request you declined complying with, assigning as a reason, if we remember right, that you were not then prepared to give an official decision or opinion. These Interrogatories were accompanied by some prefatory remarks detailing the form and manner of taking up collections in the Parish from its organization; and of the Vestry having unanimously at a later period, declined a proposition of the present Rector to dispense with the settled usage of the Parish so as to allow the Offertory to be used in taking up the ordinary collections of the Church. The Interrogatories were as follows:

Interrogatory 1. Was the Vestry by virtue of its corporate powers or by common usage or otherwise authorized to adopt this particular mode of obtaining funds for the purposes aforesaid, and if not, wherein have they transcended their authority?

Interrogatory 2. Has the Rector, by virtue of his office, the exclusive right to adopt the mode and manner at his discretion, of providing funds for the purposes aforesaid?

Interrogatory 3. Has the Rector, by virtue of his office, the right and authority to introduce into the public Worship, practices at his discretion not directed, authorized, or sanctioned by the Book of Common Prayer, and if so, where is the limit of that discretion?

Interrogatory 4. Is the American Book of Common Prayer of" the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, paramount in its authority to all other formularies in defining the duties of the clergy of the said Church?

Interrogatory 5. Is the Rector justified by virtue of his office in setting aside the previous custom and practice formally adopted by this Church in reference to the providing of funds as aforesaid, and which has been approved, [16/17] sanctioned and acted upon by every succeeding Rector and Vestry since the organization of the Parish?

Your observations on that occasion were kind and conciliatory, remarking that the "rubric does not forbid the use of the Offertory on other than communion occasions," and at the conclusion making the admission that "it does not authorize its use on other than communion occasions." It was thought by most of those present at that time, that your remarks fell short of a decided judgment or opinion one way or the other. Respecting your address to the convention at Erie; as to its meaning, we are not left in doubt. In regard to the proper time and mode for collecting the offerings of the congregation, you say: "In the morning the order of the services answers the question distinctly for all communion days, and, I think, for all other days, too, by fair implication--after the sermon and the reading of some of the sentences, the analogy and convenience of the service, and the fact that special collections often depend on the sermon would indicate the same place and rule in the evening." With regard to the implication derived from the rubric in question, we fail to recognize it either by analogy or by the plain words of the rubric itself. Were this a question respecting Diocesan authority or polity merely, we would bow with "ready and willing obedience" to the judgment of our respected Bishop; but being one relating to the general polity of the Church, and believing that she has made her judgment on this subject known through her General Council and that this judgment is in accordance with the views expressed by us in our Protest as we trust we shall be able to make appear by a candid and fair interpretation of her legislation, we feel called upon as loyal churchmen to recognize the authority of her rulings as of paramount obligation.

We assume what we presume few churchmen will incline to question, that the Church is a Divine organization--that the American Episcopal Church is a true branch of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, having her own polity as set forth in her Constitution, Canons and other laws of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States. By polity we mean merely external, not Divine organization; although believing her laws to be accompanied with Divine sanctions; that the Constitution and Canons of the American Episcopal Church constitute her polity, just as the Constitution and laws of the United States constitute its polity and are accompanied by Divine sanction precisely in the same way. The powers that be [17/18] are ordained of God. "Whosoever resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God," is the Apostolic injunction. Rom. xiii: 1, 2. If this may be said in reference to civil government, it is much more true in resisting the polity of the Church, which may be said to be the ordinance of God in a higher sense, any violation of civil authority, is so far, an approximation towards anarchy. In the same manner any violation of a regulation of Church polity is an approximation towards anarchy in the Church. That polity, possibly, may be imperfect, it ever is so, where fallible men are its authors; but that does not diminish the obligation to obedience, so long as it is law. We hold, therefore, that the Church's polity, as embodied in the constitution, canons, rubrics, and articles of the American Episcopal Church, appeals to conscience and demands obedience sis though it were given by Divine inspiration; and it may be allowed to have Divine sanction much more emphatically than civil government. She declares in her XXth Article that "The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith" and in her XXXIVth Article: "Every Particular or National Church hath authority to ordain, change and abolish Ceremonies or rites of the Church," &c. When, then, our American Fathers undertook in their General Council to change, alter and amend the Prayer Book of the English Churchy so as to adapt it to the use of her American Daughter, according to the exigencies of the times and circumstances in which the Revolution had placed her, they declared in her Preface to our Prayer Book, that "The Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline or worship, or further than local circumstances require." The laws then, enacted, the changes and alterations then made, and the "ceremonies, rites and worship," then established and ordained, you, with twenty-seven other members of the Episcopal College, have declared "binding upon every Bishop, Presbyter and Deacon of the Church to obey, observe and follow." This noble Declaration of yourself and associate compeers, was hailed by every loyal churchman with feelings of gladness, and caused many a desponding heart, in view of the many unauthorized innovations recently introduced among us, to "thank God and take courage," imparting joyfulness, and hope for the Church's future. To the Prayer Book, as then changed, altered and amended, we gladly yield a hearty and most loyal spirit of obedience. We would here beg leave to remark, lest it [18/19] might seem somewhat incongruous or out of place, that we should be, or appear to be, in opposition to our Bishop. We have been drawn into it by no act of our own. Our object is not to controvert church doctrine with our Diocesan, but to vindicate our own position and to repel the implied charge contained in his communication, that we are actuated in our proceeding by personal hostility and opposition to our Rector. In this he will find, perhaps when too late to retrieve, that he has been led by some one or in some way, into grave error. On opening the English Prayer Book, we find that the rubric at the end of the Communion service reads thus, "Upon Sundays and Holy Days (if there be no communion) shall be said all that is appointed at the communion until the end of the general prayer ('for the whole state of Christ Church Militant upon earth,')" &c. The American Prayer Book directs that "all shall be said that is appointed at the Communion unto the end of the gospel." From which it seems to us clear, that the offertory by the English rubric, constituted a part of the Ante-Communion service, but wan suffered to fall into disuse long before the period of the American Revolution, and our American Fathers, instead of copying from the rubric in the English Prayer Book in framing or changing theirs, made it to conform to the then prevailing practice of the English Church, by separating it from the Anti-Communion service and making it henceforth a constituent and an inseparable part of the Communion service. Again: In the English Prayer Book, immediately after the offertory sentences, we find the following rubric: "And when there is a Communion the Priest shall then place on the table, so much bread and wine as he shall think sufficient." In the American Prayer Book the words, "when there is a Communion" are left out of this rubric but it is inserted in the rubric immediately preceding the offertory in which it is not found in the English Prayer Book, The rubric runs thus: "Then shall the Priest return to the Lord's Table and begin the offertory." The American Prayer Book directs "that he shall, when there is a communion return to the Lord's Table and begin the Offertory. The words, when there is a communion, obviously signify, that it is not always that the Offertory is to he read, and therefore clearly imply, when it is, and when it is not. It is to be read when there is a communion, and it is not to be read when there is none. But it may be claimed that the above named changes are departures from English law and usage. We admit the allegation in its [19/20] fullest force. But had not the Church a right to depart from the English Prayer Book, laws and usages? Will any American Churchman doubt it? She claims the authority and power to decree ceremonies and rights. Has she not authority to ordain, change and abolish them? These changes or departures from the rubrics, laws and other usages of our Mother Church does not affect their validity, for they are departures sanctioned by legitimate Church authority, and therefore as binding as departures from English rubrics in other cases universally admitted by churchmen. In stating the above opinion it affords us pleasure to know that we do not differ from the expressed views of our good Bishop as set forth in the memorable Declaration before referred to, put forth by himself and his twenty-seven associates of the Episcopal College, viz: That "no Prayer Book of the Church of England in the reign of whatsoever sovereign set forth, and no laws of the Church of England have any force of law in this Church, such as can be justly cited in defence of any departure from the express law of this Church, its Liturgy, its discipline, rights and usages."

If the proofs here adduced be deemed inconclusive, or insufficient, they at least tend to fortify our own minds in the position taken in our first communication to you that the use of the Offertory on other than communion occasions, is an unauthorized innovation, in violation of the laws and usages of the Church, and one of those many novelties which have disturbed the peace of this congregation and the Church. The attempt to force it upon us until the law is authoritatively changed, never can succeed--never ought to have been attempted. The opinions adduced in support of our position is fully sustained, we think, by the late Bishop Hopkins, of Vermont, which opinion allow us to give entire: "It is notorious that the order of the Offertory, which made a constant part of the Ante-Communion service, went out of use by very general consent in England, long before the period of the American Revolution; so that the almost universal practice was, to close the service with a collect and the Apostolic Benediction immediately after the morning sermon,, even on communion days; and then allow the communicants to depart, before proceeding to the Offertory: while on other days the whole congregation were dismissed at the same time, with the larger benediction of the communion service, precisely as our own mode was afterwards fixed, and, as, with very few and recent exceptions, it still continues. How this [20/21] change of practice ought to influence the present judgment of the prelates of our Mother Church, is a matter for them and not me to consider. But I adverted to the fact, in order to account for the striking difference, which our American Church established in our rubrics, by conforming them to the then prevailing custom of the Church instead of copying them from the English Prayer Book. The distinction thus confirmed will be perfectly apparent on a comparison of the English rubric with our own which is as follows: 'Then shall follow the sermon; after which the Minister, when there is a communion, shall return to the Lord's Table and begin the Offertory, saying one or more of these sentences following:' Here we perceive that the words 'when there is a communion,' which, in the English Liturgy, are placed after, in our Liturgy are placed before the Offertory. From which it is obvious that our rubric authorizes the Offertory only when there is a communion, whereas the English rubric orders it in all cases where there is a sermon following the Ante-Communion service. Hence the familiar practice of all our regular churches to dismiss the non-communicants with a collect and the benediction after the sermon, was thenceforth in agreement with our rubric, because the Offertory was now fixed as a part of the ordinary public administration of the sacrament, and the placing of the alms and other devotions of the people upon the holy table, was connected with the prayer for Christ Church Militant, as being offered by those only who remained for the purpose of communing. Consequently, while the Bishops of the Mother Church do indeed innovate upon the prevailing custom among their own parishes, by ordering the Offertory to be used every Sunday and Holy day, whether there be a communion or not, yet they can fairly allege their rubric in justification. Whereas, we cannot authorize such a course without directly contravening our rubric, which agrees with the usages of the Church of England, and which our venerated fathers arranged in its present form, for the very purpose of making the written law harmonize with the general custom.

Specification No's. 2 and 3. The Choral service and intoning the Prayers, "must refer," you say, "to a very few and special services which were desired by some of the people." We have yet to learn of the first individual who desired or requested them; and we have no hesitation in saying that they were distasteful to nineteen-twentieths of the congregation; and as to their "interfering very little, if at all, with those who did not like such services," our Bishop [21/22] had an opportunity of judging for himself, having been present witnessing and taking part in the services on one of those occasions, daring the sitting of our last Convocation. Notice had been given by the Rector from the Desk, that the services on that occasion would be conducted Chorally, accompanying it with the remark, that "he gave this notice, in order that should there be any who did not like such service, they might not be present." Notice of the celebration of the Holy Communion was given at the same time. Many, on that occasion, absented themselves who "loved the Courts of the Lord," and who were not wont to turn their faces other than Zionward, under conscientious conviction, that such services were in open violation of the Church's laws and usages; while others who attended them retired from the House of God with diminished feeling of respect for her services. "Such an indulgence of the musical taste of a part of the congregation," you say, "might be premature, or inexpedient, or unedifying, but it cannot be pronounced a violation of the order of the Church." It is truly painful, we assure you, to find ourselves obliged to differ with our respected Bishop in this matter, but here lies the gist of the whole question. Is it a violation of the order of the Church? Had we not felt, most assuredly, that it was in violation not only of the "order of the Church," but of our rights and liberties and Christian privileges as churchmen, and worshippers of the congregation, you would, probably, never have heard from us in the way of protest.--"Such musical services," you say, "are not common in America, but they are very common as well as ancient in England." That they are not common in America, we readily admit; and if we may instance the specimen exhibited here as indicative of their character, we pray God they never may be. But their being "common as well as ancient in England," with all respect we would say, in our humble judgment, has nothing at all to do with the argument. The question is, are they lawful in the American Church? This question is fully answered by yourself, in that portion of the Declaration, before alluded to, signed by yourself and three-fourths of the Episcopal College, wherein you and they, expressly say that "No laws of England have any force of law in this Church, such as can be justly cited in defence of any departure from the express law of this Church, its Liturgy, its discipline, rites and usages."

In regard to Specifications, No.'s 4, 5 and 6, you say "They are, and long have been, among the allowed uses of [22/23] the American Church. No.'s 4, and 6, have been my own custom for more than a quarter of a century, and to No. 5, I can see no objection. I often meet the custom in and out of the Diocese. These items, 4, 5 and 6 may be questions of taste but cannot be made questions of principle. No doctrine can be involved in them."

The question comes up again, are these practices lawful? Are they, or are they not, innovations upon the "common order and usages of the Church"? Does the adventitious circumstances of their having been tolerated, or passed over for a "fourth of a century" give them a claim to be considered as having obtained authoritative recognition in the Church, and henceforth to be looked upon as being within the limits of Church law and practice? Or justify our Bishop in saying they are "allowed" by the Church? Certainly, dear Bishop, you will not undertake to say, even were we to admit, which we do not, that the rubric in the communion service "does not forbid the use of the Offertory on other than communion occasions," that she could possibly have intended, that solemn portion of our service to be read by one or more members of the Choir; either by themselves, or jointly with the minister. The rubric runs thus: "Then shall follow the sermon, after which the minister, when there is a communion, shall return to the Lord's Table and begin the Offertory, saying one or more of these sentences." Who shall return to the Lord's Table? Who begin the Offertory, saying one "one or more of these sentences?" Certainly the minister. You say No.'s 4, 5 and 6. may be questions of taste, but cannot be made questions of principle. With regard to the choral service, intoning the prayers, &c, wo desired to make some observations, but we have already extended our remarks, perhaps to an unwarrantable length. We shall only remark in this connection, that the framers of our American Liturgy, when they altered and amended the English Prayer Book, struck out the authority to sing the Litany, the Creed, the Psalter, &c., by changing the word "sing" to that of "say." But as our Rector takes the ground that these words are used interchangeably, or convertably, and mean the same thing; we, would say, that by reference to Webster's Dictionary, we observe he defines the word "say" to mean "to speak, to utter in words, to pronounce without singing," as "then: shall be said or sung."

Specification No. 7. Turning the back to the congregation, especially in consecrating the elements in the Holy Communion, you say "is too general and indefinite a statement, [23/24] I must interpret your words by my knowledge of the worship of your church. This leads toe to infer only that for convenience of worship, or for proper privacy in our devotions the minister may stand or kneel in the same direction with the people, and that this has no significance beyond general convenience, propriety and reverence. The case being thus understood as I believe it fairly and truely ought to be, no devout churchman need deny his Pastor the comfort and edification in God's House, which a minister craves as well as his people. My own feelings and custom express themselves in this answer."

Let it be remembered that we are now speaking of public worship--a joint worship for minister and people. The form used is the "Book of Common Prayer." It was prepared by the Church for the use of her children, by such men as Cranmer and Ridley and approved by such as John Rogers and a host of others "of whom the world was not worthy," who sealed their attachment to it and the blessed truths taught therein, with their blood,--on the rack, or amid the flames. This common order, this Book of Common Prayer, consecrated by the piety of the wise and good for ages--this, established, and only authorized Book of Common or Public Prayer, transmitted to us by our American Fathers and derived from the English Church, it is our ardent desire to see preserved and sacredly adhered to, until those having authority to change or alter it shall give us a better.

It is not our wish to deny our Pastor all the "edification and comfort in God's House that a minister craves as well as his people" and we have no objections to his "indulging in his own private devotions " provided, that in so doing he conforms to the usages and common order of the Church, or does not interfere with the public devotions of the congregation. To our minds it is the lawlessness, or seeming lawlessness, of these novelties, or private fancies, that constitutes one feature of its "significance." There is another feature about this matter of which we made no mention in our former communication, which has, we think, a somewhat peculiar "significance"; and that is, that there is not one, out of the nine who signed that paper, although the inquiry was several times made, and probably, not one person in Vestry, or congregation, who knew at the time our Church Building was altered, what the Chancel arrangements were to be, until they were completed, or were in process of erection. We should not have referred to this matter had you not seemed inclined to the opinion [24/25] that our present chancel arrangements seemed necessarily to require the "Priest to stand before the table" in consecrating the elements. If such a necessity docs exist, the Rector of the Parish is responsible for it, in creating the necessity for it in the changes he so furtively brought about. '" The rubrical posture of the Priest in consecrating the elements in the Holy Communion,'" you say, "is standing before the table." You ask: "How shall the Priest stand before the table and not have his back towards the people?" "With respectful deference to your position, judgment and learning, we would say, that, in our humble judgments, a plain, "natural" and grammatical construction of the Rubric under consideration would fully answer this question. But we would bog leave to refer you to a work by Rev. CHARLES WHEATLY, M. A., in which our views are set forth with more clearness and force than we can pretend to. Lest the book might not be at hand we transcribe a few remarks bearing upon the point under discussion:

"If it be asked whether the Priest is to say this prayer standing before the table, or at the north end of it; I answer, at the north end of it: for, according to the rules of grammar, the participle standing must refer to the verb ordered, and not to the verb say. So that whilst the Priest is ordering the bread and wine, he is to stand before the table: But, when he says the prayer, he is to stand so as that he may with the more readiness and decency break the bread before the people, which must be on the north side. [Or right side, according to the rubric in Scotch Prayer Book.] For if he stood before the table his body would hinder the people from seeing, so that he must not stand there, and consequently he must stand on the north side; there being in our present rubric no other place mentioned for performing any part of this office."

And now dear Bishop we have at length arrived at the most unpleasant part of our duty, and we must confess to feelings of no little embarrassment in responding to this part of your communication as well, on account of the high personal regard and esteem entertained for you as a Christian gentleman, as, on account of the respect due your official position as a Christian Bishop. Some time during the month of July a communication was forwarded, signed by nine members of the congregation, setting forth certain grievances as follows: "Whereas the congregation of 'Christ Church, Meadville,' has ever since its first organization as a parish up to a recent date enjoyed a state of [25/26] uninterrupted peace and harmony among its members, and, whereas, this desirable state of things, has been recently disturbed, if not entirely broken up, in consequence of the ingrafting upon our heretofore, uniform, solemn and dignified ceremonial, practices, which we believe to be entirely unauthorized by the Book of Common Prayer, and in violation of the canons, laws, usages and common order of the Church, &c." Said charge or specifications, eight in number, including one against the Rector of the Parish, charging him with "violating his pledged word," were as follows:

"1. The use of the Offertory in the ordinary collections.

"2. The Choral Service.

"3. Intoning the Prayers.

"4. Singing the responses to the Commandments.

"5. The Choir singing alternate verses in the Offertory sentences.

"6. Frequent use of the Surplice instead of the Gown in preaching.

"7. Turning the back upon the congregation in the service, especially in consecrating the elements in the Holy Communion."

That paper was signed by nine respectable members of the congregation, six of whom were Vestrymen, two of them for many years Wardens of the Church, one of whom had acted as such for the greater part of the time since the organization of the Parish and had the principal management of its financial concerns during much of said time, most of them had been members of the Vestry for the greater portion of the time during the whole period of its existence, up to the time that the two Wardens resigned their positions in consequence of the course pursued by the Rector of the Parish. With but one exception they were all communicants. They have labored for the Church in this place during the heat and burden of the day, and now when the shadows of the evening are gathering around them and their whitened locks admonish them that "their time for doing good cannot be long" as you have gently admonished them, they feel that they cannot better do their duty in the Church and to the Church than by obeying her laws, preserving her order, and doing what she requires in the way she prescribes.

You say, "And now dear brethren will you not all, for Christ's sake and His Church's give up this opposition to your Rector"? This, dear Bishop, is a very solemn appeal, and the evidence upon which it is based, ought to be of a very strong and indubitable character to justify [26/27] you in making the charge of opposition to our Rector expressed, or implied in those lines. Again you say, "I beg you to cease opposing the work" "you cannot stereotype the Church's feelings, after the mind, or preference of any man old or young (the italics are ours) or after the custom in little matters that happened to prevail a generation ago. Other men will have their wishes and new generations will think and act for themselves, and if those put in chief control of the Church in a Diocese decide such matters of detail, as is their office to do, when discussions arise about them, ought not orderly men at once, and cheerfully concur, and let the discussion drop." With respect to the charge of "opposition to our Pastor" and of "opposition to the work" we think it entirely gratuitous and unjustifiable, and after reviewing our communication we feel at a loss to imagine how they could ever have been made. We must emphatically deny being actuated by any such motives or feelings towards our Pastor, or that we are either in fact, or intention, "opposing the work." Here we think it is our right, as it is our duty to say, that in such damaging charges as these, your authority should have been of the most unquestionable character to allow them to have been made. We ought certainly to have had an opportunity to have repelled them before they were made or had been entertained. You say "you (we) cannot stereotype the Church's feelings and modes, after the mind or preference of any man, old or young, or after the custom in little matters that happened to prevail a generation ago." Here you again seem to act on false assumption. Can you point to one, name any one single instance where we have endeavored to "stereotype the Church's feelings and modes" "after the minds or preference of any man, old or young, or after the custom in little matters that happened to prevail a generation ago?" On the contrary, is it not evident in every line of our communication, that the central idea throughout, is, rigid adherence to the Church's laws and order. Her "stereotype feelings and modes," if you please, made known to us by the highest eclesiastical authority known to the Church at the time she altered, revised, established and ordained our Book of Common Prayer. The laws, ceremonies and worship of the Church as then set forth, we feel ourselves conscientiously bound to "obey, observe and follow" "literally, punctually and perpetually," not that we feel bound by any vow or subscribed obligation; but by that spirit of loyal obedience which is due from every true son of the Church. It is as much our duty to [27/28] resist unauthorized and arbitrary power as it is to obey that power when it is legitimately exercised; when thus exercised, it is, as we said elsewhere, attended with Divine sanction and appeals to the conscience, "The powers that be are ordained of God," &c.--Rom. xiii, 1-2.

Again, you say "other men will have their wishes and tastes and new generations will think and act for themselves, and if those put in chief control of the Church in a Diocese, decide such matters of detail as it is their office to do, when discussions arise about them, ought not orderly men at once, and cheerfully concur and let the discussion drop?" At the risk of our reputation "as orderly men" we beg leave to answer in the negative. As we have already stated, a paper signed by nine respectable members of the congregation and containing eight charges or specifications against the Rector of the Parish asking Godly council and admonition. These charges, all of them, you either justified, approved, or excused; but more, you virtually arraigned the whole nine brethren, who signed the paper, presented, tried, convicted and sentenced them, without form of trial, whether officially or unofficially, matters not, and that without legal inquiry as to the facts; without notice to the accused and without canonical authority from first to last. You then appeal to us as "orderly men" at once, and "cheerfully to concur and let the matter drop." Our duty as "orderly men to cheerfully concur and let the matter drop" depends, we imagine, somewhat on the nature and extent of the power lodged in the hands of the Bishop, whether it is absolute or limited. "We cannot bring ourselves to suppose for a moment that our Bishop adopts or holds to the doctrine of "Ecclesia in Episcopo" or receives it in such a sense as to abolish or to set aside the constitution and laws: so startling a doctrine as this you undoubtedly repudiate; if so, then as to the requirements of obedience to law, we stand on common ground; one law for the Bishop, one law for Presbyter and layman. Having then shown, as we think, that the practices complained of are unauthorized, had we not a right, was it not our duty, to ask the Bishop of the Diocese to interpose? Had we not a right to call upon our Pastor as an orderly churchman to put away these novelties which disturb the peace and harmony of the Church and cheerfully concur in the law and order which the Church has prescribed, instead of following his own private fancies? With regard to the Sector violating his pledge, none would rejoice more than we, in our Pastor's being able to purge himself of the dishonor [28/29] attaching to it, nevertheless, whether true or false, we regret to say the manner that charge has been treated was not such a response as we had a right to expect from the Bishop of the Diocese. Dear Bishop, it is to us, a matter of deep regret, that occasion should have arisen to cause difficulty between this congregation and its Pastor, or between any portion thereof and their Bishop. We have the comfort however of knowing that our skirts are clear in the matter. We are and have been satisfied with the services of our Church as they are. We have yet to learn of a single person desiring a change in them other than the Rector himself.

Whatever our own views and feelings may be in regard to the use of the Offertory on other than communion occasions, or the introduction of the Choral service, we decidedly object to these innovations before they shall be established by authority. Every one is entitled to his fancies and his tastes, but when he undertakes to thrust them upon the Church without canonical authority, upon "his own private judgment" he violates not only the law of the Church, but the rights and privileges of his fellow Christians, be they many or few. To this respect for law, under God, we are indebted for our security and prosperity as a Nation. The same rule holds good in regard to a free Church; its safety we believe depends on the strict observance of the laws which her Councils have enacted. Her worshippers are not to be disturbed in their solemn acts of devotion by the intrusion of private tastes or fancies of "any man old or young" "propriety and reverence" equally forbid it. Certainly "no devout churchman need deny his people the comfort and the edification in God's House which they crave as well as their" Pastor. This literal and faithful adherence to law may seem to savor too much of "tithing mint, anise and cummin;" but it was commended by the Saviour--"this ought you to have done and to leave the other undone."

When this steady adherence to law, is insisted upon as a principle we are prepared to yield it a ready and willing obedience even to the mint and cummin thereof. But when private tastes and fancies are introduced and forced or attempted to be forced upon us not only without law, but against law, we can only say that as a principle, we cannot yield the point. Those are the best churchmen and the best friends of the Church, who, instead of relying on their private opinion and judgment act upon her principles and obey her laws.

We beg leave to close with an extract from Bishop ODENHEIMER'S [29/30] address to the New Jersey Convention, delivered May, 1868, "Whosoever knowingly disobeys the laws and defends disobedience on the ground of self-will, or assumed evangelical liberty, is contradicting the first principles of evangelical truth, jeopardizing his own soul, introducing discord into the Church of Christ and marring peace, charity and good will among all Christian people."

Hoping that the blessing of the Great Head of the Church may rest upon you and your work,

We remain very respectfully and truly yours,

DAVID DICK,
T. J. LIMBER,
JOHN MCFARLAND,
JOHN DICK,
WM. HOPE,
JAS. E. MCFARLAND,
J. R. DICK,
FREDERICK H. DAVIS,
W. W. DICK.


PITTSBURGH, PA., September 21, 1868.

DAVID DICK, ESQ.,

My Dear Sir:--I found on my return on Saturday last, the second communication from yourself and other gentlemen. Will you do me the kindness to say to them that the oTeat pressure of work in my very brief stay just now at home, makes it impossible for me to reply at length. I hope however that the conference on the 14th instant, has happily met any such necessity. I beg to assure you all of my kindest regards and my sincere prayers for your temporal and spiritual peace and welfare. I am very truly yours,

J. B. KERFOOT.


[31] To Rt. Rev. J. B. Kerfoot, Bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Dear Sir:--We regret to learn that the "great pressure of work in your brief stay at home makes it impossible for you to reply to our last communication." We beg most respectfully to say, that the "Conference on the 14th instant" alluded to in your note of the 21st inst., was not of such a character, or attended with such happy results as to meet the necessities of the case as you suppose, or to lessen our desire that you should, as suits your convenience, give an official decision on the question involved in the specifications submitted to you for adjudication.

What we desire to know is, are the novel practices, complained of in said specifications, in accordance with the established law and order of the American Church. In other words are they justified by the law of the Church? If they are, then we are the "disturbers of the peace of the Church." If they are not justified by said law, then we say, in the name of justice and truth, let the imputation rest where it properly belongs. As we stated, in a previous communication, "We hold the Church to be a Divine organization," connected with a human polity, as is set forth in the constitution, canons and other laws of the American Church. These laws, canons, &c, we feel bound by religious obligation "to obey, observe and follow." They were made for the government and protection of all, both clergy and laity. If however it is your intention as it now seems to be, to dismiss the whole matter with the results of the conference alluded to; we may well ask, Where then are the rights and liberties of the Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church so much boasted of?

If a Bishop has the power, or can by his Episcopal prerogative alone, make a practice in his Diocese, lawful, which, a general law of the Church makes unlawful. Then we hesitate not to affirm, that such a principle as religious liberty in the Episcopal Church, does not exist, it is a more creature of the imagination--a myth. The laity have no rights which the clergy are bound to respect. They may protest, they may plead for law--for liberty--for right of conscience: but what does it amount to? What has it amounted to in the present case? Simply and absolutely nothing.

We have hitherto reserved this matter for private [31/32] discussion and conference only. The course pursued by the Hector of the Parish and some others, we have thought and still think, ill advised and unfortunate for himself, for the congregation and for the Church in this portion of the Diocese in giving the matter so much unnecessary publicity.

The time has now arrived when it may be perhaps necessary, in order to do away with false impressions and to correct false statements, to give a plain statement of facts as a vindication of ourselves and our position. We know of no luster way of doing this than by bringing the whole proceedings, together with the correspondence before the members of the congregation, which we feel, on our part, has already been too long kept from them. We hope that such course may meet with your concurrence and approval. And in conclusion, dear Bishop, we have only to say, that if you intended your last brief note to be a final disposal of the whole matter, then there remains no other way left us, bat to accept the alternative referred to in our first communication viz: that of choosing between participating in what we deem an unlawful service, or absenting ourselves from the House of God. For, if the innovations complained of in this Parish may be forced upon us by the Rector, under Episcopal sanction, we see no barrier to the possible introduction of all the semi-Papal puerilities of St. Alban's, New York.

May the choicest blessings of the Great Head of the Church rest upon you and your work.

We remain, very truly, yours,

JOHN DICK,
JOHN MCFARLAND,
T. J. LIMBER,
J. R. DICK,
J. E. MCFARLAND,
WM. HOPE,
DAVID DICK,
FREDERICK H. DAVIS,
W. W. DICK.


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