STATED AND EXPLAINED,
IN DISTINCTION FROM THE
CORRUPTIONS OF THE CHURCH OF ROME,
AND FROM THE
ERRORS OF CERTAIN PROTESTANT SECTS:
at the opening of the Convention of said Church, in Trinity Church, New-Haven, June, 1818;
and subsequently to the Clergy of the said Church in the State of New York,
in St. Peter's Church, Albany, October, 1819.
Episcopal Offices, according to the Canons, in the State of Connecticut.
PRINTED BY T. AND J. SWORDS,
No. 160 Pearl-street.
IT is part of the highly momentous duty assumed by every Presbyter in the most solemn office to which religion can give her sanction, to "banish and drive away from the fold all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's word." The general duty of every Presbyter is more particularly incumbent upon those who, in the highest office of the ministry, exercise, under peculiar circumstances of responsibility, the oversight of the Christian fold. With a single eye to the glory of their Master, and to the purity of that Church which he purchased with his blood, they will solicitously watch the spiritual fold entrusted to them; and, as faithful watchmen, warn against all opinions and all practices, however sanctioned [3/4] by popular favour, which would deform by heresy, or rend by schism, the mystical body of their Redeemer. The firm and persevering discharge of this duty may not be the path to human applause or popular favour; but it will secure that approbation, which, independent of the world, affords higher enjoyment than its applauses can confer, the approbation of their own minds; and will solace them, under all trials, with the humble hope of that commendation which, pronounced by the Judge of the world, will vindicate and reward the purity of their intentions, and their fidelity to his cause.
The present is extolled as the AGE OF LIBERALITY. And so far as it guarantees to every individual the free exercise of his opinions, unawed by the sword of secular power, or the fires of ecclesiastical tyranny--so far as it renders homage to the sincerity and purity of the purposes of the heart, however the understanding may be subjected to the sway of erroneous opinions--so far as it denies no office of Christian kindness, no courtesy of social intercourse, no sentiment even of personal affection to the honest and the worthy, though bearing a different religious name, and unhappily deformed by heresy and schism--so far as the present age thus establishes the rights of conscience, and banishes that bigotry which, in denouncing [4/5] errors, would persecute their abettors--it deserves the plaudit of an enlightened and Christian liberality.
Yet even if circumstances did not establish the fact, the theory of human nature would justify the apprehension, that liberality to men would be extended to their opinions; and that from admitting the equal sincerity of the former, the acknowledgment would be made of the equal truth, or, to speak more properly, of the equal indifference of the latter; so that sincerity of intention would be considered as the only standard of truth, and the age of liberality become the AGE OF INDIFFERENCE.
It is in this view that it is the duty of Churchmen to guard against that popular liberality which claims for professions of respect and kindness which Churchmen may reciprocate, a return which, without treachery to their Church and to their Master, Churchmen cannot render--an indifference or a lukewarmness in professing and vindicating the distinctive principles of their Church.
I say, my Brethren, Churchmen cannot adopt the phraseology of the day, and rank their distinctive principles among the non-essentials of religion, without treachery to their Church and to their Master. For their Church considers many of these principles as lying at the foundation [5/6] of that sacred edifice, which, in clearing from the false ornaments and unhallowed appendages with which superstition and ambition had deformed it, she has sought to exhibit in the lustre with which, reared by apostles, martyrs, and confessors, it shone forth in the first ages of Christianity.
In proportion to the purity and importance of the principles which distinguish any community, is it the duty of every individual who composes it, frequently to recur to them; in order to refresh his knowledge of them, to animate his attachment to them, and to apply them with increased fidelity and firmness to the regulation of his conduct. The importance of a frequent recurrence to first and distinctive principles is increased, whenever from the spirit of the age, or from any other circumstances, the danger is increased of our accurate perceptions of them, our warm attachment to them, or our steadfast adherence to them, being obscured or diminished.
The principles which form the character of the CHURCHMAN are not perhaps clearly understood, or sufficiently appreciated by all who bear the name. And undoubtedly in the spirit and circumstances of the present age, there are many obstacles both to a clear perception of their nature and a proper estimate of their [6/7] importance. The greater then is the necessity of their being delineated and enforced.
It shall be my object, then, at the present time, to delineate and enforce with as much plainness, and, necessarily, with as much, brevity as possible, some of the leading principles which constitute the character of the Churchman; in order to vindicate him from the charge of symbolizing with that Church whose corrupt sway he rejected, and to show the importance of those points in which he must lament his difference from his Protestant brethren. This design will make the present Charge in some measure a sequel to a former one, in which certain corruptions of the Church of Rome were contrasted with some Protestant errors.
The CHURCHMAN claims this appellation, because rejecting equally Papal corruptions and Protestant errors, he adheres in all essential points to the faith, ministry, and worship, which distinguished the apostolic and primitive Church, and particularly to the constitution of the Christian ministry under its three orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
The title may be general or particular in its application.
In its general import, it embraces all those who, holding the essentials of faith and worship, and the Episcopal constitution of the ministry, [7/8] differ in some subordinate and non-essential matters of ecclesiastical discipline and worship.
In its particular signification, I shall consider it as designating the sound member of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this country; which agreeing with all other Protestant Episcopal Churches in the leading points of faith, in the essentials of worship, and in the Episcopal constitution of the ministry, differs, in some subordinate matters of discipline and worship, from them, as they do from each other.
The Protestant Episcopal Church in this country must ever acknowledge with gratitude, and she makes the acknowledgment in her preface to the Liturgy, that to the Church of England she is "indebted, under God, for her first foundation, and for a long continuance of nursing care and protection." In common with that Church she holds her Articles of Faith, and her inestimable Liturgy. The apostolic succession of Bishops, which that Church and the Episcopal Church of Scotland received uninterrupted from the apostolic age, was by those Churches transmitted to her. But she differs from them both, and especially from the former, in the organization of her discipline, and in many offices of human appointment; and most essentially from the Church of England in her entire [8/9] independence on the state--being in this respect, as is the Church of Scotland, in the same condition as the primitive Church before the patronage of the first Christian emperor enriched her with the wealth, and adorned her with the honours of the empire.
It would be unnecessary to remark, except in refutation of a contrary opinion sometimes entertained, that the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States is entirely independent of the Church of England, and of all foreign Episcopal Churches; having no other connexion with them than what consists in the exercise of Christian offices, in such communion as subsisted between the primitive Churches, and as their particular regulations may admit.
With these preliminary remarks we are prepared for delineating the CHURCHMAN--the sound member of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
The CHURCHMAN lays at the foundation of his faith and practice the doctrine of the corruption of human nature, leading to those actual transgressions which render man guilty in the sight of God, and rendering unworthy of divine acceptance his best works.
That as soon as the faculties of the human mind are called into exercise, propensities to evil are exhibited; that the principles of man's nature, though good in themselves, will not [9/10] always lead to actions abstractedly good; and that in no case independent of faith and of divine grace can he produce works acceptable to God, are truths so plainly revealed in the sacred writings, and so strongly attested by reason and experience, that the Churchman receives them as fundamental points of faith.
He asserts, in common with his Protestant brethren, the corruption of human nature, and man's inability, by his "natural strength, without faith and calling upon God," to perform works acceptable to God. And herein he opposes the Romanist, who maintains the ability of the natural man, unassisted by supernatural strength, to do works which render it fit in God to bestow grace, (works which "deserve grace of congruity,") and which thus recommends him to the divine favour. But he rejects as unfounded in Scripture, and utterly repugnant to reason and conscience, the tenets of man's responsibility for the sin of another; of his coming into the world doomed to everlasting death for Adam's sin; and of that utter depravity of man which would make him a fiend, by which he thinks, and meditates, and acts only evil, and in the first and natural dictates of his heart hates his adorable Creator. Yet while he rejects these revolting views of human guilt and depravity, he cherishes a lively and deep sense [10/11] of the propensity to evil which infects his nature through the dominion which his appetites exercise over his reason, his will, and his affections; of his utter inability, except through faith and grace, to do works which, however good in themselves, will be acceptable to God; and of his guilt in those numerous actual transgressions which, through grace, it was in his power to avoid.
The deep, the lively, the permanent conviction of his corruption and unworthiness, humbles him before his Maker and his Judge, and disposes him cordially to embrace the doctrine of salvation through the merits and grace of a divine Redeemer.
It is this doctrine of justification and salvation only through the free grace of God in Jesus Christ, his divine Lord and Redeemer, which the CHURCHMAN daily and constantly cherishes as the only solace of his wounded conscience, and the only ground on which he can hope for acceptance at the tribunal of his Almighty Judge, and for advancement to the celestial glories which infinitely transcend the merit of his best works.
He rejects, with horror, the idea of bowing, with the Romanist, to created intercessors, to saints and images; and of invoking, in epithets of celestial dignity and sovereignty, the [11/12] intercession of the virgin mother of the Saviour, in derogation of the sole and all-sufficient mediation of her divine and blessed Son. But in respect to the mode by which the merits of Christ are applied to the justification and salvation of the believer, the Churchman differs from some of his Protestant brethren, rejecting the phraseology of the imputed righteousness of Christ, not because always exceptionable in meaning, but always liable to a dangerous application. For if, as in the language of some Protestants, the righteousness of Christ be imputed to believers, so that they are clothed with it, and that God views and accepts them only as invested with it, then the Antinomian doctrine is an unavoidable inference, that God can see no sin in believers; and that, therefore, they need not obey the moral law. This dangerous inference the Churchman avoids when he expresses the sole efficacy of the merits and grace of Christ to his salvation in the unexceptionable language, that the imperfect obedience of the believer, performed in the exercise of faith, and through the influences of divine grace, are accepted only on account of the merits and intercession of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; or, that "we are accounted righteous before God only for the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." [* Articles of the Church.]
 With respect also to the mode of the application of the merits of Christ to the justification and salvation of believers, the CHURCHMAN is distinguished by the great stress which he lays on the sacraments, and ordinances, and ministrations of the Church.
He is very far, indeed, from the impiety and absurdity of supposing, with the Romanists, that the sacraments, and ordinances, and ministrations of the Church are available to salvation, opere operato, on account merely of the performance of them, in virtue of the work itself, and the intention of the administrator. But still viewing the Church as the divinely constituted body of Christ, to which he applies the merits of his blood, and the efficacy of his grace, and considering the sacraments, in the language of his Church, as "a means whereby he receives, and as a pledge to assure him of," all those spiritual blessings which Christ's merits purchased, and his grace confers; and, considering further, that Christ set over this Church ministers to celebrate its sacraments and ordinances, he would think that he hazarded his salvation if he refused or neglected to receive these means and pledges of the divine favour. Sincere repentance and lively faith producing obedience to the divine commands, qualify the believer for acceptance through the [13/14] merits of his Redeemer. But, surely, it would be difficult for him to establish his claim to salvation on Gospel principles, while he rejects or neglects those sacraments, ordinances, and ministrations which are "a means whereby he receives the same, and a pledge to assure him thereof."
While, therefore, against the Romanists he extends the efficacy of the sacraments, which depends on the grace of him who has instituted them, solely to those qualified to receive them, he considers them in a higher light than some of his Protestant brethren; who, whatever may be the correct language of their public standards on this subject, seem to consider the sacraments as merely decent rites, to be received on the principle of submission to divine appointments, and not as the means and pledges of divine favour and grace, necessary to salvation where they may be had, and except in the case of unavoidable ignorance or involuntary error.
In accordance with this sentiment, and with Scripture and the faith of the primitive Church, the CHURCHMAN considers baptism as the sacramental commencement of the spiritual life, and the entrance into that fold of the Redeemer, the mystical body of Christ, in which he enjoys a title to the blessings of salvation. There may [14/15] be repentance and operative faith produced by the influences of that Spirit which the Churchman believes is given to all men in sufficient degree to enable them to work out their salvation. And where there is no opportunity of receiving the sacrament of baptism, or where unavoidable ignorance or involuntary error, an error which does not arise from wilful perverseness, leads to the rejection of it, far be it from the Churchman to suppose that repentance and faith, though not certified and sealed by the sacraments of the Church, will not be available to salvation. But who that regards the inspired exhortations, to those who "repent, and believe"--that they must "be baptized in order to receive the remission of sins" and "the gift of the Holy Ghost" [* Acts ii. 38.]--and that hears announced, that "by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body," [* 1 Cor. xii. 13.] will rest his claim to salvation on repentance and faith, while he rejects that sacrament which, by divine institution, is made the mean and pledge of salvation?
When the Churchman, in the language of Scripture, of primitive antiquity, and of the articles and liturgy of his Church, calls baptism regeneration, he does not employ the term in its [15/16] popular signification among many Protestants, to denote the divine influences upon the soul in its sanctification and renovation, in abolishing the body of sin, and raising up the graces and virtues of the new man. The term regeneration is used by him in its original, and appropriate, and technical acceptation, to denote the translation of the baptized person from that state in which, as destitute of any covenanted title to salvation, he is styled "the child of wrath," into that state which, as it proffers to him in all cases, the covenated mercy and grace of God, and in the exercise of repentance and faith actually conveys to him these blessings, is styled a "state of salvation." [* Catechism of the Church.] It must be obvious, that the sacramental commencement of the spiritual life in the regeneration of baptism, and the subsequent sanctification of the principles, the powers, and affections of the new man by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, are distinct acts and operations; the former leading to the latter, which, without it, is wholly inefficatious to salvation, on the contrary, increases the condemnation of the despiser of the gifts and calling of God.
And, therefore, the CHURCHMAN insists on the necessity of that spiritual change denoted in [16/17] Scripture by the terms sanctification, renewing of the mind, renewing of the Holy Ghost.
He does not, with the Romanist, lay an undue stress on external performances, and on his own works and endeavours, as means of obtaining the divine Spirit, and substitute a round of superstitious observances, for "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Nor does he, with some Protestants, rush into the contrary extreme, and expect the divine Spirit in sudden illapses, independently of means, of ordinances, and of the acts of his own mind; nor determine the certainty of the operations of the Spirit of God, by any other standard than the exhibition in his heart and life of the graces and fruits of this divine Sanctifier. But firmly convinced both of the reality of his operations and of their entire conformity to his character as a rational and accountable being, he seeks for them in the use of moral means, pious reading, meditation, prayer, self-denial, holy resolution; and in the participation of the ordinances of the Church; and he employs no other standard to ascertain the sanctifying presence of the divine Spirit in his soul, than the holy tempers which are produced there, and which exhibit the fruits of godliness and righteousness of life.
As one of those means by which baptismal [17/18] regeneration is to be perfected, the Churchman receives confirmation, or laying on of hands.
Divested of those unmeaning ceremonies which the superstition of the Romanist substituted for the original gesture of "laying on of hands," the Churchman observes this ordinance as practised by the Apostles, with this significant gesture only. And considering its highly beneficial tendency in a moral point of view, as bringing to the recollection of young persons, under the most solemn and impressive circumstances, their Christian duty and responsibility, and regarding its apostolic rank among "the principles of the doctrine of Christ," the Churchman feels himself bound to receive a rite which his Protestant brethren have unfortunately rejected as a superstitious ceremony of Papal origin.
In his view of the highest instituted mean of sanctification and pledge of divine favour, the holy sacrament of the Lord's supper, the Churchman conforms to the first and purest ages of the Church, renouncing the corruptions of the Papal age, and the errors of modern times.
He shudders--and reason sanctions the powerful impulse of nature--at the unparalleled absurdity, the tremendous impiety, of changing, by a literal construction of language evidently figurative, bread and wine into the body, soul, and divinity of his Lord and Saviour [18/19] Jesus Christ; of thus literally feasting on his Redeemer; and of bowing to these inanimate elements, and calling them his God, his Saviour. The adherents of the Papacy shuddering too at the naked view of this, I think I may call it, horrible doctrine of transubstantiation, are sometimes disposed to disguise its deformity, and to assert, that on this point the Church of Rome does not go further than our own Church, when she maintains the spiritual presence of Christ in the Eucharist: as if his spiritual presence, by the spiritual graces and blessings which he bestows on the faithful in the reception of the holy supper, was the same with his substantial presence--his presence, soul, body, and divinity--under the qualities of bread and wine. And when Roman Catholic confessions and liturgies, set forth by their Bishops, and by their Clergy under the sanction of their Bishops, are quoted to prove that the Roman Church maintains, in all its deformity, this doctrine of transubstantiation, they will tell you that these are only private and unauthorized exhibitions of Roman Catholic doctrine; and that this doctrine differs not essentially from that of our own Church. Wonderful discovery. For what then did our ancestors shake off the Papal sway? For what did the martyrs of the Church of England [19/20] bear their testimony at the stake? Was it for a Church which symbolized in this her most obnoxious characteristic with that Church, whose persecuting fury was thirsting for their blood? Is it true, indeed, that the Church of Rome does not maintain the doctrine of transubstantiation in the identical terms in which I have stated it? Hear the decrees of the Council of Trent--a council which, according to Roman Catholic doctrine, was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and infallible in its decisions. The 4th chapter of the 13th session of the Council of Trent declares, "Since Christ our Redeemer hath said, that what he offered under the appearance of bread and wine was truly his own body; therefore the Church of God has always been persuaded, and that now this sacred Synod declares, that by consecration of the bread and wine, the whole substance of the bread is converted into the body of our Lord Christ, and the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood; which conversion has been fitly and with propriety called by the Holy Catholic Church transubstantiation." ["Quoniam autem Christus redemptor noster, corpus suum id, quod sub specie panis offerebat, vere esse dixit; ideo persuasum semper in Ecclesia Dei fuit, idque nunc denuo sancta haec Synodus declarat, per consecrationem panis et vini conversionem fieri totius substantiae panis in substantiam corporis Christi Domini nostri, et totius substantiae vini in substantiate sanguinis ejus, quae conversie convenienter et proprie a sancta Catholica Ecclesia Transubstantiatio est appellata." Sacrosancti et oecumenici Tridentini, &c. canones et decreta. Antwerpiae, anno 1674.]
 And the 1st canon of the same session denounces as follows: "If any one shall deny that in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist is contained," vere, realiter et substantialiter, "truly, really, and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the whole Christ; but shall say that he is in it as in a sign or a figure, or in efficacy, let him be accursed." [* "Si quis negaverit, in sanctissimae Eucharistiae Sacramento contineri vere, realiter et substantialiter corpus et sanguinem una cum anima et divinitate Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ac proinde totum Christum; sed dixerit tantummodo esse in eo ut in signo, vel figura, aut virtute; anathema sit." Ibid.]
Bless God, Brethren, that he has given you grace to resist the denunciations of a church which, under the penalty of damnation, calls you to renounce your senses and your reason, and, in worshipping the bread and wine of the altar as your Redeemer, the same Redeemer who suffered on the cross, body, soul, and divinity, to be guilty of the most gross and horrible idolatry.
We have also reason to be thankful to the Disposer of all good, that he has connected us with a church which, while she rejects the terrible corruption of transubstantiation, gives that [21/22] significancy to the holy Eucharist which it maintained in the primitive ages, but which has been denied to it in the opinion of some Protestants. Many of them regard the Eucharist as merely a feast; in which, with suitable dispositions, bread and wine are received in memory of their Saviour. But surely something more than this was meant when our blessed Redeemer solemnly took the bread and wine and blessed them. For what did he bless them? Surely to be symbols of his body and blood. As symbols they must have been offered as an act of worship to his Almighty Father. As symbols they were given to the disciples, and received by them. And all this which he did, Christ commanded his disciples to do in remembrance of him, and thus to show forth his death until he come.
On this authority our Church directs the Priest, in her Communion office, to bless the bread and wine, to be symbols of the body, and blood of Christ, and thus to make a solemn oblation of them to the Father, beseeching him that they who worthily receive them may be partakers of his body and blood. This form of celebrating the Eucharist conformable to the liturgies of the primitive ages she has derived immediately from the venerable Episcopal Church of Scotland, who, by God's gracious [22/23] Providence, has preserved, through great sufferings and trials, the faith, ministry, and worship of the first and purest ages of the Church.
The Churchman then maintains the oblation in the Eucharist of the bread and wine as symbols and memorials of the body and blood of Christ. He will not be tenacious of the term sacrifice as applicable to the offering of the consecrated elements. For in the appropriate application of the term it doubtless denoted those offerings only in which there was shedding of blood. Neither the liturgy of his Church, nor the primitive liturgies, apply this term to the bread and wine of the Eucharist. All due significance is given to this most sacred ordinance when there is a solemn oblation made by God's authorized minister of the consecrated bread and wine, as symbols and memorials of the body and blood of Christ; assuring to those who worthily receive them all the blessings of his meritorious cross and passion.
Another obvious characteristic of the Churchman is his adherence to a worship by a prescribed form--a measure which so effectually secures all the essentials of worship; soundness and accuracy in the matter of the prayers, perspicuity and pathos in the style, reverence, solemnity, and order in the manner, that even if it were not sanctioned by the practice of the [23/24] Jewish Church, and by the prescription and example of Christ and his apostles, the sober reason of mankind would have recourse to it.
The liturgy of his own Church the Churchman revering as the first of uninspired compositions, so correct and affecting in its exhibition of evangelical truth; so sober, and yet so fervid in its spirit; so perspicuous, and yet so elevated in its language; so orderly, and yet so varied in its distinct parts; so impressive and significant, and yet so chaste in its ceremonies; accounts it his distinguishing privilege to worship his God, and to supplicate the merits of his Saviour, in its inimitable forms. And however he may boast the name, he acts unworthy of the character of a Churchman who either permits this spiritual service, calculated to rouse and cherish every devotional feeling of his heart, to degenerate into the formal homage of the lips; or would for a moment compare it with the unmeaning and gaudy pageantry of papal worship, or the meager and unpremeditated, though doubtless sincere, effusions of many Protestants. In his preference of this worship the Churchman, and particularly the Church Clergyman, is uniform and consistent; not merely adhering rigidly to it as far as the Church has plainly enjoined it, but carefully avoiding the suspicion of a secret preference [24/25] for extempore effusions, by not mixing them with her well ordered and comprehensive services.
In the service of the Church the CHURCHMAN recognizes the power of authoritative absolution in the Christian ministry, founded on the declaration of Christ to his apostles, and through them to their successors to the end of the world--"Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." [* St. John xx. 23.] While he acknowledges this power in the due administration of the sacraments and of ecclesiastical discipline, he considers it as also exercised in the sentence of absolution in the daily worship, by which he maintains God certifies, to those who truly repent and believe, the pardon of their sins.
But while in making this absolution a part of the daily service, he differs from his Protestant brethren in general, he even more essentially differs from the Church of Rome. For the Church of Rome makes the absolution of the Priest in the sacrament of penance essential to the salvation of every individual. The Churchman only considers a general absolution as an edifying and consolatory part of public service. The Church of Rome makes [25/26] auricular confession--the private confession to the Priest by every individual of all his sins of thought, word, and deed--an indispensable condition of forgiveness. The Churchman justly deems auricular confession and private absolution, an encroachment on the rights of conscience, an invasion of the prerogative of the Searcher of Hearts, and, with some exceptions, hostile to domestic and social happiness, and licentious and corrupting in its tendency.
It is another characteristic of the CHURCHMAN that recognizing the authority of the Church in matters of faith, and in prescribing rites and ceremonies, he submits to her lawful decisions.
Constituted as the Church is in this country, where she speaks authoritatively only through the united voices of her Bishops, Clergy, and Laity, there is no principle of social order which would justify resistance to her decrees, except when they plainly contradict the word of God, or manifestly and injuriously violate some principle of common reason or justice.
But concerning the Church as a divinely constituted society, acting through her legitimate authority, a divine voice pronounces--"Hear the Church"--"If any man neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man, and a publican." [* St. Matthew xviii. 17.] On the principles [26/27] of social order then, and of the authority of the Scriptures, the Churchman hears the Church--receives her authoritative expositions of doctrine when not plainly and on some point essential to salvation contradicting the declarations of Scripture--submits to her discipline in due form administered--and uses the rites and ceremonies, which, under the influence of the apostolic rule, "Let all things be done decently and in order," she may prescribe. On the subject of the externals of worship there must necessarily prevail great difference of opinion, owing to the different tastes and prejudices of men. But Christian humility will dictate, what social order and the word of God enjoin, that in all these matters of comparative indifference and of variable judgment, our own private opinions be never obtruded in opposition to the voice of the Church.
Lastly, let me not omit the great characteristic of the CHURCHMAN, that he maintains the unity of the Church in submission to the Episcopal constitution of her ministry.
The process of reasoning which leads him to act on this principle is short, and in its various steps luminous and conclusive. The Church is a divinely constituted society, of which Christ is the Head. Its officers must derive their commission from him its Head. This commission [27/28] is transmitted through a superior order of the ministry, among whom ranked Timothy and Titus, subsequently called Bishops. By union with the Church the mystical body of Christ is our union in the exercise of penitence and faith to be maintained with him its Head. Union with the Church cannot exist where we are not in union with the ministry deriving their power through the legitimate channel from the Head of the Church. The Churchman believing that this order is the order of Bishops, would think that, in separating from their ministrations, he cut himself off from the communion of the Church, and was guilty of the sin of schism.
These opinions may not now be popular. And yet they were popular; they were the only principles recognized in those ages when Christian faith was most pure, Christian morals most holy, and the Christian Church most united. For the three first centuries the Christian Church knew no other opinions. Opposition to these opinions is of modern origin. The Christian Fathers inculcate them in every page of their writings. We hold them, my fellow Churchmen, with "the goodly company of the apostles," and with "the noble army of martyrs." Let not Papal advocates, asserting those claims of Papal supremacy, of which the [28/29] primitive Fathers uttered not a word, drive us from Episcopacy, the true principle of Church unity, into the usurped domains of the Bishop of Rome. Let not the clamours of our Protestant brethren who are unfortunately destitute of the primitive bond of Church union in the order of Bishops, intimidate us from avowing and acting on the principle which the Churchman in every age has avowed and acted upon; and which one of the first Bishops of the Christian Church, a disciple of an apostle, the venerable martyr Ignatius, lays down, "Let no man do any thing of what belongs to the Church without the Bishop." [* Epis. ad Smyrnaeos, sec. viii. Cotelerii Patres Apostolici vol. ii. p. 37]
Your time will not permit my enlargement on the various other particulars which distinguish the Churchman.
Those principles, however, which I have briefly stated, form the prominent distinctions of his character. They are principles which, first delivered by our Lord and his apostles, were proclaimed in the writings of the early Fathers of the Church, and which appeared in their lives, and were consecrated by their blood. They are principles which, though [29/30] disguised and deformed by the superstition and corruption of the dark ages, were never totally extinguished, but shone forth with a high degree of their primitive lustre, in the doctrine, the ministry, and the worship of that venerable Church from which they have been transmitted to us. They are principles which now exist in their highest purity in that obscure but sound branch of the apostolic Church, which we should always delight to honour, the Episcopal Church of Scotland. They are principles which, even in these days of declension from primitive faith and order, have the sanction of the names of men whose piety would have adorned the purest ages of the Church--of Horne, and of Jones of Nayland--and, more recently, of a distinguished prelate whose memory learning has consecrated, Bishop Horsley.
[* This paragraph was delivered in Connecticut] They are principles, my Clerical and Lay Brethren, which distinguish the writings of your first apostolic Bishop; [* The Right Rev. Bishop Seabury] which were cherished by his venerable successor; [* The Right Rev. Bishop Jarvis] and a solicitous zeal for the preservation of which, evidenced on all occasions by you, united with the numerous acts of your attention and kindness, [30/31] has rendered the temporary charge of the Diocess which has been committed to me, a source of the highest gratification. It is my fervent prayer, and I am confident it is yours, that they may distinguish the successor, and the successors of your primitive Bishops, and be the objects of your zealous faith and care, my Clerical and Lay Brethren, through every future period of your Church.
The great principle, into which all the other principles of the CHURCHMAN may be resolved, that we are saved from the guilt and dominion of sin by the merits and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ received, in the exercise of penitence and faith, in union with his Church, by the participation of its sacraments and ordinances from the hands of her authorized ministry, distinguished the Church in her first and purest state. It is the universal reception of this principle which alone can restore purity and unity to that Christian family, which is now deformed and distracted by heresies and schisms.
To this principle then, my Brethren of the Clergy, let us, in the strength of our Master, consecrate our talents, our labours, our lives.
Animated by this principle, my Brethren of the Laity as well as of the Clergy, we shall exhibit those holy graces and virtues which flow from a vital union with the Redeemer--and, [31/32] finally, when he comes to translate his mystical body from the changes and trials of its militant state on earth to the glories of its triumphant state in heaven, we shall participate of its triumphs, and be saved with the Israel of God.