STATE OF NEW-YORK
and Wednesday, October 16th, 1822.
Pastoral Theology and Pulpit Eloquence in the General Theological Seminary
of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.
PRINTED BY T. AND J. SWORDS
No. 99 Pearl-street
Brethren of the Clergy and Laity,
IMMEDIATELY after the meeting of the last Convention, on the 18th Sunday after Trinity, October 21, I held an ordination in St. Paul's Chapel, New-York, and admitted William B. Thomas to the holy order of Deacons, and the Rev. Marcus A. Perry, Deacon, Missionary at Unadilla, Otsego county, and parts adjacent, to the holy order of Priests. Mr. Thomas has, since his ordination, officiated at Fishkill, Dutchess county, and occasionally in some other vacant congregations.
On the 23d Sunday after Trinity, November 25, in St. John's Chapel, in the city of New-York, I admitted Mr. Algernon S. Hollister to the order of Deacons. Mr. Hollister soon after entered on duty as a Missionary in the town of Trenton, in Oneida county, where a small number of individuals, whose meritorious exertions I noticed in my address of the former year, had organized an Episcopal congregation, and, with much difficulty, through the want of pecuniary means, have succeeded in nearly completing a place of worship. It ought to be kept in mind that, in many instances, new congregations have been organized, and edifices for worship erected, by a very few individuals, whose pious zeal has manifested itself in contributions and exertions more than ordinary, and deserving of the highest commendation. This has been remarkably the case with the congregation at Trenton. It has been made a Missionary station, though the funds did not admit of fixing the salary of Mr. Hollister at a higher sum than one hundred dollars per annum.
I have to notice the destruction, by fire, in the month of December, of the Church of St. Philip's, New-York, appropriated to the people of colour. This congregation was increasing in numbers, in piety, and in attachment to the sober and orderly worship of our Church, under the ministrations of Mr. Peter Williams, jun. one of their own [3/4] colour, who had been recently admitted to Deacon's orders. Happily the building was insured; and the insurance money, with some additional contributions, for which, the congregation being generally in low circumstances, they must trust to public beneficence, will enable them to erect a structure of brick instead of the one of wood, which was consumed. The building is nearly completed, and it will give me great pleasure to see assembled in it the decent and devout congregation whom I have often witnessed in the former edifice. There is every prospect that the spiritual condition of the people of colour, belonging to our communion, in the city of New-York, will be essentially improved by this arrangement of their forming a distinct congregation, under the judicious, zealous, and prudent ministrations of their present pastor.
On Friday, December 21, being the festival of St. Thomas, in St. Michael's Church, Bloomingdale, I admitted the Rev. William Richmond, Deacon, the officiating Minister of that Church and St. James's, to the order of Priests.
On Wednesday, the 6th of March, in Trinity Church, New-York, I admitted the Rev. William H. De Lancey, Deacon, Minister of St. Thomas's Church, Mamaroneck, Westchester county, to the order of Priests. Mr. De Lancey was soon after appointed Assistant Minister to the Right Rev. Rector of the united churches, Christ Church, St. Peter's, and St. James's, Philadelphia, and has removed to that city.
In the month of March, it gave me great pleasure to lay, with suitable religious solemnities, the corner stone of a new building, for the parish of Christ Church, in the city of New-York. This congregation, one of the first organized in that city since the revolutionary war, and which, for several years, has been under the charge of the Rev. Dr. Lyell, have worshipped in a building in Ann-street, which requiring very extensive repairs, the parish resolved to erect a new edifice, in a more eligible site, and in a style of greater taste and convenience. The Episcopal [4/5] churches in New-York have hitherto been erected, either wholly or in great part, at the expense of the Vestry of Trinity Church. The condition of the funds of that corporation has compelled them to withhold those liberal grants, by which, in various parts of the state, the congregations and the clergy, previously to the period of my Episcopal administration, were aided. This circumstance, though of course retarding the progress of our church, and operating unfortunately in many cases, has not prevented the formation of new congregations, and the erection of new churches, under circumstances which, from the comparatively small number of the individuals composing the congregations, require great effort, great zeal, and great pecuniary liberality. But no new congregations and no new churches had, as yet, been organized and erected, in the city of New-York, independently of the bounty of Trinity Church. The parish of Christ Church has the credit of setting the example of a parish in that city resolved to erect a building, the expense of which will amount to twenty-five thousand dollars, entirely on their own responsibility. This, indeed, is doing no more than what has been done, in many instances, by other denominations of Christians. It is earnestly to be desired that the numerous, respectable, and wealthy Episcopalians of New-York would cease to depend on a bounty which it is now impossible should be extended, and would meet the demands of the increasing population of the city, and imitate the spirited efforts of other religious communities in erecting new churches.
The ordinance of confirmation was administered in the churches in the city of New-York as follows:--
The fourth Sunday in Lent, March 17, A. M. in Trinity Church, 54 confirmed; P. M. in Zion Church, 120 confirmed; on the following Sunday, the 24th, in St. Paul's Chapel, A. M. 71 confirmed; on the next Sunday, the 31st, A. M. at Grace Church, 49 confirmed; P. M. at St. John's Chapel, 77 confirmed; on the third Sunday after Easter, April 25, at St. George's Church, [5/6] 97 confirmed; the following Sunday, at Christ Church. 45 confirmed; and the next Sunday, at St. Stephen's Church, 130 confirmed; on Sunday, June 2d, at St. Mark's Church, 19 confirmed.
On Wednesday, May 1, the festival of St. Philip and St. James, I held an ordination in Trinity Church, New-York, and admitted Alonzo P. Potter, at that time Tutor in Union College, Schenectady, to the order of Deacons. This gentleman has since been elected Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in that institution.
On Ascension-Day, the 16th of May, I consecrated to the service of Almighty God, the new church of St. Luke's, in the city of New-York; having the pleasure, on this occasion, of the attendance and participation in the services of the Right Rev. Bishop Brownell, of Connecticut. This church is situated in that part of the city of New-York which is called Greenwich. The building is a neat and commodious edifice, of moderate dimensions. The desk, the pulpit, and the chancel, are constructed with great judgment and taste; and the chancel is so elevated in front of the former, that the congregation may see with convenience all the services performed there. The congregation of St. Luke's was organized about two years since, and has been gradually increasing under the services of its rector, from thirty families to more than double that number. The lay gentlemen who associated for the building of this church deserve great credit for their zealous and persevering exertions; and it is much to be desired that their example should be imitated by others, and that new churches might thus be erected in other parts of the city, where they are much needed.
On the next day, Friday, at an ordination in St. John's Chapel, New-York, Manton Eastburn, of that city, was admitted to the order of Deacons.
On the following Sunday, in the afternoon, confirmation was administered in St. Luke's Church to 13 persons.
 In the month of June I held confirmation in St. Peter's Church, Westchester, and confirmed 11 persons; and in Trinity Church, New-Rochelle, and confirmed 16 persons.
On the 27th of June last, I held an ordination in St. James's Church, Goshen, Orange county, and admitted the Rev. James P. Cotter, Deacon, the officiating minister of that church and St. Andrew's, Coldenham, to the order of Priests. On the next day I performed divine service in this latter church, in the morning, and in the afternoon, at the village of Montgomery.
On the sixth Sunday after Trinity, the 14th of July, in St. George's Church, Flushing, the rite of confirmation was administered to 60 persons. On the next day, Monday, I consecrated the new church in Jamaica, Long Island, which the respectable congregation of Grace Church, in that village, one of the oldest in the state, had erected on the site of their former edifice. The church is remarkably neat and handsome; and the chancel, the desk, and the pulpit, are so conveniently arranged as to accommodate all the worshippers with a full view of the chancel. In this part of the church the Episcopal solemnities and some of the most interesting parochial offices are celebrated; and yet, in almost all the old churches, and in many of the new ones, it is so low, or otherwise so placed, as to be concealed from the great body of the congregation. It would be very desirable that this defect should be remedied; and I am gratified to find, in several of the new churches, that the chancel is elevated, and placed in full view of the congregation.
On the 9th Sunday after Trinity, August 4, in St. John's Church, New-York, I admitted Thomas K. Peck, Levi S. Ives, and William S. Irving, who had pursued their theological studies in the diocesan seminary in that city, and the two latter, subsequently, in the general institution, to the holy order of Deacons. And it gives me pleasure to mention that these gentlemen immediately entered on their duties in the western parts of the state, Mr. Peck as Missionary at Onondaga, in the place of Mr. [7/8] Wilcox, whose health required his removal; Mr. Ives at Batavia; and Mr. Irving, as officiating minister at Le Roy, both in the county of Genesee.
I had made arrangements for performing various Episcopal acts in the congregations in the northern part of the state, in the Black River and St. Lawrence country, and to the westward, but have been prevented by a dispensation of Providence, in an illness of some weeks continuance, from which I have just recovered.
In addition to the particulars already mentioned, the following are to be noticed.
In consequence of the establishment of the General Theological Seminary in the city of New-York, this diocess has received the valuable accession of the Rev. Dr. Turner, and the Rev. Dr. Wilson, professors in that institution.
The Rev. Mr. Pardee has removed to Oswego, from the missionary station at Manlius, Onondaga county, which is now filled by the Rev. Mr. Dyer, from the diocess of Connecticut. The Rev. Lawson Carter has taken the missionary station at Ogdensburgh. The Rev. Mr. Shaw has removed to the diocess of Maryland; and the congregation at Sacket's Harbour, where he officiated, is now supplied by the occasional services of the Rev. Mr. Rogers, the missionary at Turin. The Rev. Phineas L. Whipple, Deacon, officiates as missionary at Fairfield, Herkimer county; and the Rev. Moses Burt, Deacon, at Granville and Hampton, Washington county, in the place of the Rev. Mr. Jewett, long the active missionary in those places, who has removed to the diocess of Connecticut. The Rev. Ravaud Kearney has resigned the charge of the church at New-Rochelle, and the Rev. Lewis P. Bayard that of Eastchester, and the latter gentleman is now the Rector of the church at New-Rochelle. The Rev. Charles W. Hamilton has resigned the charge of the church at Duanesburgh, and the Rev. Mr. Phinney officiates in a congregation recently organized at Ithaca, at the head of the Cayuga lake, in the county of Tompkins. The Rev. Nathaniel [8/9] Huse has resumed the charge of the churches at Richfield and Paris, and the Rev. Amos G. Baldwin officiates as missionary at Sandy Hill, and some other places.
I have also to record the admission, this day, to the order of Deacons, of Richard Bury and William L. Johnson.
The following are candidates for orders:--George M. Robinson, Eleazar Williams, Rosevelt Johnson, Augustus G. Danby, David Osborne, Henry N. Hotchkiss, Seth W. Beardsley, Richard Salmon, Orsimus H. Smith, Marvin Cady, W. W. Botswic, Edward K. Fowler, Augustus L. Converse, Burton H. Hecox, W. C. Meade, Samuel Morse, Edward Neufville, jun. Henry W. Duchachet, Cornelius R. Duffie, Lewis Bixly, William R. Whittingham. There are several preparing for orders in the Academy at Geneva, and elsewhere, who are not yet admitted candidates for orders.
At the last Convention a resolution was passed, pledging the Convention to concur in any plan for consolidating the diocesan Seminary with any general Seminary established by the General Convention in the state of New-York, on certain conditions; and with the provision that the terms should be approved by the Bishop of the diocess, and the clerical and lay delegates to the General Convention; and also by the trustees of the Protestant Episcopal Theological Education Society in the State of New-York, or the board of managers acting under their authority. The plan of consolidation in the constitution of a General Seminary, permanently established in the state of New-York, which was adopted by the General Convention, has received the approbation specified in the resolution of the last Convention, and the Seminary has gone into operation in the city of New-York, and a Branch School at Geneva. It may be proper, as a matter of form that this Convention, agreeably to the pledge given by the last Convention, should concur in the plan of consolidation.
This arrangement was the result of a happy spirit of compromise, which animated the deliberations of the [9/10] General Convention. Its adoption called forth the liveliest emotions of pleasure in the members. They cherished the persuasion that the plan of the General Seminary then adopted, would unite the efforts of all parts of the Church in its support, and that it would thus assume an importance worthy of the high station which our Church occupies; and not only furnish her with a ministry of learning, piety, and zeal, but also greatly contribute to secure her purity, unity, and peace. It is most earnestly to be desired that no circumstances may occur to disappoint these gratifying expectations, and that Episcopalians generally, viewing this institution as one of the most powerful instruments, under God, of extending our Church, and of thus advancing the interests of pure religion, may afford it that liberal support which will be essential to its extensive and permanent dignity, prosperity, and usefulness.
As connected with this subject, it is with the highest gratification that I inform you of the incorporation of a College at Geneva, in this state. With the exception of Columbia College, which, eminently useful and respectable as it is, must, from obvious circumstances, accommodate almost solely the citizens of New-York, the colleges of this state are under the management of non-Episcopalians. Extending our views to the other states of the union, the numerous colleges that are established in various parts, with increasing funds and influence, are, with one or two exceptions under the same control. The fact is an alarming one, and were it not for the very peculiar circumstances of depression and difficulty under which she has laboured, and which rendered all her exertions necessary for providing the means essential to her existence, would be a disgraceful one to our Church. The union between science and religion, and their reciprocal influence, are so intimate and powerful, that no religious community can flourish where that union is not recognized, and that influence maintained in literary institutions and colleges subject to its paramount control. There is no instance of any universities or colleges in the Christian [10/11] world, in which some religious denomination has no, directly or indirectly predominating influence. The causes of this may be traced to the intimate union between science and religion, and to principles deeply seated in human nature. And it is believed that no universities or colleges, whatever may be their professions, will long be managed on any other footing. But, without digressing into these general views, it is surely obvious that Episcopalians, in common with other Christian denominations, ought to have colleges in which their candidates for orders may receive preparatory instruction, and in which they may have an opportunity of educating their sons under circumstances most favourable to their being confirmed in those principles and views of religious truth, maintained by the Church of which they are members.
An eminently favourable opportunity of obtaining a college of this description is now afforded. The regents of the University in this state, recognising the right of all religious denominations to colleges of their own; and viewing, in the competition thus excited, results highly favourable to the general interests of science, have, with great liberality, granted conditional charters for two colleges, one at Ithaca, and the other at Geneva: the former of which, it is understood, will be under Methodist influence, and the latter under that of our own Church. Not that there is to be exacted any religious test for office, or any exclusion from the benefit of these institutions of those of other denominations, or any restraint imposed on the religious principles of the students, or any obstacles presented to their worshipping where they may think proper. But it is presumed that, without infringing on the rights or privileges of others, these institutions will be managed as other institutions are, with an especial reference to the interests of those religious denominations who have the principal control over them.
In my address at the last Convention, I took the liberty to allude to the eminent advantages of Geneva as the site of a literary institution, and I much question whether, in [11/12] any part of the continent, a place can be found, uniting so many advantages for a college which is to accommodate Episcopalians generally. Central in its situation in reference to the western and atlantic states; immediately contiguous to the canal, the great water communication between them; in a country that is destined to be the garden of America, affording from its soil the richest products, and in its numerous lakes and diversified surface, the most interesting and picturesque views, the healthy village of Geneva unites all the local requisites for the site of a literary institution. Our Church has now an opportunity of obtaining a college that may be made, in all respects, to answer her wishes; and much is it to be desired that Episcopalians, laying aside all local jealousies and partialities, should unite their liberal and zealous efforts in the establishment of an institution that will be honourable to their Church, and productive of incalculable and lasting benefit. It is believed that the institution may be so organized as to present powerful inducements to general support.
A Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society was organized at the last General Convention, and is recommended to the patronage of the members of our Church; and so far as may be compatible with the claims of this diocess, where there is so extensive a field for missionary exertions, I trust this patronage will be extended. I should much fear, however, that any plan of constant and permanent operation, such as the constituting of auxiliary societies, would essentially interfere with the missionary system of this diocess, which has been so successful in its operation, and to which we are indebted for the organization of many new congregations, and for the resuscitation of some which were nearly extinct. In order to increase the missionary fund, the last Convention provided, by a canon, for the formation of parochial associations, or societies; and it is hardly to be expected that our parishes would liberally support more than one association or society for missionary purposes, or, if constituted, that they would not materially interfere [12/13] with each other. I should therefore consider, as a preferable mode of aiding the General Missionary Society, occasional collections, to meet special exigences, or to answer particular appeals. Of this description was the recent call from the state of Ohio for pecuniary aid, for the support of missionaries, which was answered in this state, and particularly in the city of New-York, and in the city where we are now assembled, with a promptness and liberality which prove that, strong and numerous as are the claims upon us from the destitute portions of our own diocess, we are not insensible to the urgent wants of our brethren in the western states.
The field for missionary labours in this diocess is very extensive. Many portions of the state have been recently settled, where, as well in some older settlements, there are opportunities of establishing our Church. The want however of clergymen, and especially of the means of supporting them as missionaries, is a great obstacle to its increase, and is a loud call on Episcopalians to continue and to increase their contributions for the purpose of extending the ministrations and ordinances of religion to their brethren who are deprived of them.
The thanks of the Church are due to the New-York Protestant Episcopal Missionary Society, and the societies auxiliary thereto, for the funds which they have collected and placed at the disposal of the Committee for Propagating the Gospel, to whom the appointment and control of missionaries are confided by the Convention. There are auxiliary societies organized in Zion Church, in Christ Church, in Grace Church, and in St. Paul's and St. John's Chapels, in the city of New-York; and those churches which have not these societies organized are not backward in their contributions at the public collections for missionary purposes. There are also similar institutions existing at Geneva, Utica, and some other places in the state; and the collections elsewhere for the purpose prescribed by the canon, are generally made. The Missionary Society has authorized me to draw on the treasurer for the sum of one thousand dollars, [13/14] collected by them and by the auxiliary institutions. In the hope of the increase of contributions, and in compliance with urgent solicitations for the purpose, some new missionary stations have been established, but it did not seem prudent to assign a higher salary to these new missionary stations than one hundred dollars per annum, fifty dollars less than the .other missionary salaries. And still there are many urgent applications for missionary aid. One of the last which I have received is from Fredonia, Chautauque county, in the south-west corner of the state. It contains so striking an exhibition of the situation of the new settlements, that I am induced to lay before you an extract from the letter of the gentleman who addressed me on behalf of the vestry.
"There are but few Episcopal families here, and, as is generally the case in new settlements, they are poor, and need assistance in the commencement. And although we are thus situated, there appears to be a disposition in the people, and especially among those who, strictly speaking, are attached to no religious society, to connect themselves with the Church; and if we were blessed with the labours of a good Minister, and had suitable accommodations for the congregation, there is not a doubt, in my mind, that in one year our society would become large and respectable.
"This fertile and healthy section of the state, (Chautauque,) which but a few years since was a wilderness, contains, at this day, a population of 15,000 inhabitants; and, incredible as it may seem, there is not a church, or house of public worship, in the county, except in the town of Portland, where a small building has been erected for the Presbyterian society at that place. With a view to accommodate our society, we have put up a large school-house, which will probably be finished in decent style by the 15th of October, and sufficiently large to contain from two to three hundred persons. The property of this house is in the trustees of the school district. To fit this building for the use of the Church has called forth individual exertions and considerable expense, which cannot, and ought not, to be a charge on the district. We intend to have a stove and a small bell for the house. These expenses, thus laid out, will exhaust all, and, in truth, more than we are at present able to furnish."
 After stating the want of Prayer Books, he observes--
"We are also destitute of a Minister, and, at present, unable to support one. If the friends of the Church--if the Missionary Society--if those whose bounty is bestowed on foreign missions, should extend the fostering hand to this destitute part of the diocess, their charities would not be thrown away, or misapplied. On the contrary, we believe a little assistance would be the means of enabling us, in a few years, not only to support the Church here, but also to contribute to the general fund. Much is done for the spread of the Gospel in foreign countries, whilst thousands at home, by reason of their poverty, are destitute of the ministrations and ordinances of the Church. And, although no person has a right to control the bounties of others, is it not a Christian duty first to provide for our own household?"
Many are the new settlements nearly similarly situated, where our Church could be established without difficulty, could they be supplied with missionaries. Let me then earnestly press you, my brethren of the clergy and of the laity, to state to the Episcopalians of the diocess, as it may be in your power, that many opportunities exist for establishing new congregations, if the means of aiding missionaries were furnished; and to endeavour to call forth their contributions for this highest object of Christian charity, the extension of the blessings of the Gospel to the destitute members of our own household.
From my official station, I have so many opportunities of observing the powerful claims of destitute congregations upon the zealous exertions and liberal contributions of their brethren, and their wants so often press upon my feelings, that I cannot cease to lament that so large a portion of the bounty of Episcopalians flows in a channel over which their own Church has no control, and from which it derives no immediate advantage.
One would think it obvious that it is the duty of Episcopalians consistently and zealously to bend all their efforts to the advancement of their own Church, and "to avoid all admixture of administrations," and of exertions "in what concerns the faith, the worship," and the ministry of the Church. On this subject there is so [15/16] much of sound wisdom, of correct principle, and of decided and true policy, united with Christian meekness and benevolence, in the observations contained in a recent address of the Bishop of the Church in Pennsylvania, to the Convention of his diocess, that, notwithstanding their length, I am induced to lay them before you. They derive high interest and force, from the peculiar agency which their venerable author has had in our ecclesiastical councils, and from his long experience in the concerns of our Church. These are the observations to which I allude:--
"There is a subject on which your Bishop wishes to record his opinion, matured by the long experience of his ministry, and acted on by him, as he thinks, to the advantage of the Church. It is the conduct becoming us towards those of our fellow Christians who are severed from us by diversity of worship, or of discipline; and in some instances, by material contrariety on points of doctrine.
"The conduct to be recommended, is, to treat every denomination, in their character as a body, with respect; and the individuals composing it with degrees of respect, or of esteem, or of affection, in proportion to the ideas entertained of their respective merits; and, to avoid all intermixture of administrations in what concerns the faith, or the worship, or the discipline of the Church.
"On the conduct to be observed towards every denomination, it is not intended to recommend silence concerning any religious truth, from the mistaken delicacy of avoiding offence to opposing error; nor to censure the exposing of the error, if it be done in a Christian spirit, and in accommodation to time and place. To take offence at this, is to manifest the spirit of persecution, under circumstances which have happily disarmed it of power. But when, instead of argument, or in designed aid of it, there is resort to misrepresentation and abuse; or, when the supposed consequences of an opinion are changed as the admitted sentiments of the maintainer of it; these are weapons as much at the service of error, as at that of truth; are the oftenest resorted to by the former; and are calculated to act on intelligent and ingenuous minds, as reason of distrust of any cause in which they may be employed.
"It is no small aggravation of the evil, that it tends to retard the time, which we trust will at last be brought about [16/17] by the providence of God; when, in consequence of friendly communications, arising out of the ordinary intercourses and charities of life, there will be such an approximation of religious societies in whatever can be thought essential to communion, as they shall "with one heart and one mouth glorify God." For, to those who have attended to the first workings of what has ended in the divisions and subdivisions among Christian people, it must have been evident, at least in the greater number of instances, that with diversity of sentiment, there might have continued the "unity of the spirit in the bond of peace," had it not been for the intrusion of personal injury, or provocation, the effects of passion or of interfering interests, which have sometimes insensibly induced the persuasion of service done to the cause of God, when, in fact, human views had a dominant share in determining the conduct.
"There has been referred to, in favour of the point sustained, the danger of exciting and increasing unfriendly feeling between differing denominations. It is on this principle,--although there are other considerations tending to the same effect,--that your Bishop has resisted all endeavours for an intermixture of administrations, in what concerns the faith, or the worship, or the discipline of the Church. In every known instance, in which it has proceeded from the usurpation of authority by individuals, it has been productive of conflicting opinion, and of needless controversy. On some occasions, our institutions have been treated with disrespect, and doctrines unknown in them have been taught, within our walls. There have even been advanced claims of rights, to what was granted as temporary indulgence; and thus our property in religious houses has been rendered insecure: all under the notion of liberality and Christian union. It would be painful to have it supposed, that any reference is here had to the many respectable ministers of other denominations whose characters are in contrariety to the offences stated. Of the intrusion of such men, there is no apprehension entertained at present: and if the door should hereafter be thrown open, the most forward to enter it would be persons of the most moderate pretensions in talent and in acquirement.
"It is confidently believed, that what is now said, would not be offensive to the more respectable and prominent persons, whether clerical or lay, in the concerns of other religious societies; who would probably concur in the declaration, that the contrary assumption, when carried into effect, in opposition to the governing authority in any religious denomination, [17/18] is the intolerance, which, in former ages, pursued its designs by penal laws; but is now reduced to the necessity of making hollow professions of fraternity: the object being the same, with difference only in the means. By any among ourselves favouring such designs, for what they may conceive to be a righteous end; it should be considered, that, however commendable the being "zealously affected," there is the qualification of "a good thing;" and that there can be no goodness in what is contrary to modesty, and tends to unnecessary controversy and division: for, if the attempted intermixture should be accomplished, there must be the severance of those who would "seek the old paths," not without sensibility to the hinderances opposed to the "walking in them." Thus, there would be an increase of division, growing out of what had been professedly undertaken for the healing of it.
"It is difficult to be on the present subject, without giving occasion to the injurious charge of bigotted attachment to our communion: to guard against which, consistently with the acknowledgment of decided preference, it may be expedient to be more particular.
"Our Church calls herself Episcopal. She affirms Episcopacy to rest on scriptural institution, and to have subsisted from the beginning. On the varying governments of other societies, she pronounces no judgment. The question is, not whether we think correctly, but whether we are to be tolerated in what we think. If this be determined in the affirmative, we must, to be consistent, interdict all other than, an Episcopalian ministry, within our bounds. [* May I be excused for making a few additional observations on the topic noticed in this part of the Address of my venerable Father in the Episcopacy. The distinction is important between Episcopacy, considered as the government of the Church, and Episcopacy considered as the constitution of the Christian ministry. In the latter sense, Episcopacy, strictly speaking, means the ministry, as subsisting in the three orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons; the Bishops possessing particularly the power of ordination, of superintendence, and of supremacy in government. In this sense, Episcopacy is of "scriptural institution," and has "subsisted from the beginning." But Episcopal government means the particular organization by which the Bishops, the Clergy, and the Laity, exercise, in their appropriate spheres, the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers; including also the officers instituted by the Church for these and other purposes. This organization, and these officers differ in different countries: the Church of England, for example, in these respects, being constituted in a very different manner from the Episcopal Church in this country. Episcopal government, in this sense, is of human arrangement; no form of government, as shown by the "judicious Hooker," in his Ecclesiastical Polity, being unalterably prescribed in God's word. But Episcopacy, in its strict sense, denoting the three orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, with their respective functions, is the same in all Episcopal Churches, [18/19] These orders, with their appropriate powers, are unchangeable; resting on "scriptural institution;" and have accordingly "subsisted from the beginning;" as our Church declares, "from the Apostles' times." As this is the sentiment of the Episcopal Church; as in common with their Presbyterian brethren, Episcopalians maintain the necessity of an external commission, derived by succession from the head of the Church, the "being called of God, as was Aaron," in order to constitute a lawful ministry; and as the offices of ordination declare that God, "by his divine Providence and Holy Spirit appointed divers orders of ministers in his Church," among which are Bishops, with their appropriate power of ordination, of conveying the ministerial commission; is there not a further reason than that of consistency for our "interdicting all other but an Episcopal ministry within our bounds?" There is a certainty that such a ministry has a lawful commission. Can there be certainty as to any other? J. H. H.]
"Again; our Church is decidedly in favour of a form of prayer, believing it to be sanctioned by divine ordainment under the law; by the attendance of our Saviour and of his Apostles, on composed forms in the synagogues and in the temple; and by indications of their being in use in the primitive church. We do not judge harshly of the public prayers of our fellow Christians; but we allege, that among ourselves, the people are not to be dependent on the occasional feelings, or the discretion, or the degree of cultivation of an officiating minister. With such views, it is contrary to what we owe to the edification of the people, were we to give way to the introduction of the latter species of devotion.
"Once more. That our Church teaches the doctrines of grace, and holds them to be of paramount importance, is obvious to all. Man's utter want of righteousness by nature; his absolute incapacity of merit, whether in the state of nature, or in that of grace; his being under the government of passions impelling to sin, any further than as counteracted by principles derived from grace; the agency of the Holy Spirit in this, going before, that he may have a good will, and working with him in the exercise of it; and finally, the meritorious ground of all benefit, in the propitiatory offering of the Redeemer; are not only affirmed in our institutions, but pervade them. We rejoice, so far as any of our fellow Christians consent with us in acknowledging the said essential truths of Scripture. But in some public confessions, we think we find embodied with those truths, dogmas neither revealed in Scripture, nor deducible from its contents; and, in some instances, contradicting what our Church explicitly teaches. The introducing of such matter among ourselves, is what we cannot countenance: and introduced it would be, under the intermixture here objected to. Of this we have had instances, where an alien agency has been obtruded: and, if it [19/20] should be countenanced, the consequences would be in the greatest degree injurious.
"If, after all, there should be a leaning in any mind to the plausible plea of liberality, let there be an appeal to the fact, which will bear a strict investigation, that every proposal to the purpose, when explained, amounts to the surrendering of one, or of another of our institutions, without conformity to them in any instance.
"Brethren--It is fit, that there should be explicitly declared, the motive for the present expression of opinion. It has been confidently acted on by the deliverer of it, in alliance with esteem for worth, in whatever individual or body of men it was discerned to reside. It cannot be expected, that he will continue much longer to sustain any of his opinions, either by argument, or by example. He hopes, that they who may be expected to survive him, entertain similar views of what the exigences, and even the existence of our Church require. But, lest an effort to the contrary should hereafter be made by any, he wishes to oppose to it, and to leave behind him, his premonition; and to attach to it whatever weight, if there should be any, may be thought due to his long experience and observation. Under this impression, he has made it a part of his official address, to appear, for the purpose stated, on your journal."
A strict adherence to these principles and views, stated with so much interest, must indeed be considered as "required by the exigences, and even the existence of our Church." The spirit of them seems to me applicable to all associations for religious purposes where Episcopalians unite with those "severed from them by diversity of worship, discipline, or by contrariety in points of doctrine." We ought indeed to "treat every denomination in their character as a body with respect, and the individuals composing it with degrees of respect or esteem, or of affection, in proportion to the ideas entertained of their respective merits." But a due regard both to principle and sound policy, and even Christian harmony, requires, in the judgment of him who addresses you, that we avoid all intermixture with them in efforts for religious purposes; and that for the propagation of the Christian faiths by whatsoever particular mode, we associate only among [20/21] ourselves, and act exclusively under the guardianship and authority of our own Church.
The views founded on this opinion, the propriety of which seems to me so obvious, which originally influenced me with respect to the union of Episcopalians with other denominations in Bible societies, have gained strength by subsequent reflection and observation. These societies seem to me erroneous in the principle on which, in order to secure general co-operation, they are founded--the separation of the Church from the word of God--of the sacred volume from the ministry, the worship, and the ordinances which it enjoins as of divine institution, and the instruments of the propagation and preservation of Gospel truth. As it respects Churchmen, the tendency of these societies has appeared to me not less injurious than the principle on which they are founded is erroneous. They inculcate that general liberality which considers the differences among Christians as non-essential; and they thus tend to weaken the zeal of Episcopalians in favour of those distinguishing principles of their Church which eminently entitle her to the appellation of apostolical and primitive.
The success of institutions which are erroneous in the principle on which they are founded, or in the measures which they adopt, cannot vindicate them; except on the maxim, that "the end justifies the means." Nor is this success to be considered as evidence of the favour of Heaven: for then, divine sanction would be obtained for many heretical and schismatical sects which, at various times, have obtained great popularity, and corrupted and rent the Christian Church.
It is a satisfaction to me, that in withholding my support from Bible Societies I act with those in the highest stations in the Church from which we are descended, and with the great body of its Clergy.
[* The names of the following Bishops of the Church of England and Ireland appear among the supporters of the British and Foreign Bible Society:--
Most Rev. Poer Trench, Archbishop of Tuam; Honourable and Right Rev. Shute Barrington, Bishop of Durham; Right Rev. John Buckner, Bishop of Chichester; [21/22] Right Rev. Thomas Burgess, Bishop of St. Davids; Right Rev. John Fisher, Bishop of Salisbury; Right Rev. Henry Bathurst, Bishop of Norwich; Honourable and Right Rev. Henry Ryder, Bishop of Gloucester; Honourable and Right Rev. Thomas Lewis O'Beirne, Bishop of Meath; Honourable and Right Rev. Charles Lindsay, Bishop of Kildare; Honourable and Right Rev. William Knox, Bishop of Derry-10.
The names of the following do not appear among the supporters of the British and Foreign Bible Society:--
Right Honourable and Most Rev. Charles Manners Sutton, Archbishop of Canterbury; Right Honourable and Most Rev. Edward Venables Vernon, Archbishop of York; Most Rev. Lord John George Berisford, Archbishop of Armagh; Most Rev. William Magee, (author of the work on the Atonement), Archbishop of Dublin; Right Honourable and Most Reverend Richard Laurence, (author of the celebrated Bampton Lectures on the Articles), Archbishop of Cashell; Right Honourable and Right Rev. William Howley, Bishop of London; Right Rev. George Tomline, Bishop of Winchester; Right Rev. William Henry Majendie, Bishop of Bangor; Right Rev. Richard Beadon, Bishop of Bath and Wells; Right Rev. John Kaye, Regius Professor of Divinity, Cambridge, Bishop of Bristol; Right Rev. Samuel Goodenough, Bishop of Carlisle; Right Rev. George Henry Law, Bishop of Chester; Right Rev Bowyer E. Sparke, Bishop of Ely; Right Rev. William Carey, Bishop of Exeter; Right Rev. George Isaac Huntingford, Bishop of Hereford; Honourable and Right Rev. J. Cornwallis, Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry; Honourable and Right Rev. George Pelham, Bishop of Lincoln; Right Rev. William Van Mildert, Bishop of Landaff; Honourable and Right Rev. Edward Legge, Bishop of Oxford; Right Rev. Herbert Marsh, Bishop of Peterborough; Right Rev. Walker King, Bishop of Rochester; Right Rev. John Luxmoore, Bishop of St. Asaph; Right Rev. F. H. W. Cornwall, Bishop of Worcester; Right Rev. George Murray, Bishop of Sodor and Mann; Honourable and Right Rev. R. Ponsonby, Bishop of Down and Connor; Right Rev. William Bisset, Bishop of Raphoe; Right Rev. Nathaniel Alexander, Bishop of Clogher; Right Rev. George De La Poer Beresford, Bishop of Kilmore; Right Rev. James Saurin, Bishop of Dromore; Right Rev. Robert Fowler, Bishop of Ossory; Right Rev. Lord Robert Tottenham, Bishop of Ferns; Right Rev. Thomas Elrington, Bishop of Limerick; Honourable and Right Rev. Richard Bourke, Bishop of Waterford; Honourable and Right Rev. Thomas P. Lawrence, Bishop of Cork; Right Rev. Charles Mungan Warburton, Bishop of Cloyne; Right Rev Richard Mant, Bishop of Killaloe; Right Rev. John Leslie, Bishop of Elphin; Right Rev. Christopher Butson, Bishop of Clonfert; Right Rev. James Verchoyle, Bishop of Killala. To whom are to be added the Bishops of the Scotch Episcopal Church; Right Rev. George Gleig, Primus, Bishop of Brechin; Right Rev. Alexander Jolly, Bishop of Moray;
Rev. Daniel Sandford, Bishop of Edinburgh; Right Rev. Patrick Tarry, Bishop of Dunkeld; Right Rev. William Skinner, Bishop of Aberdeen; Right Bev. David Low, Bishop of Ross. Total 45.]
But it is a source of painful regret to find myself differing, on this subject, from many of the Clergy and members of our own communion whom I greatly esteem and respect. I would wish to guard against the supposition of any design on my part to censure those Episcopalians who deem these societies worthy of their support, and the proper channels of their pious munificence. Among the Episcopal laymen of this [22/23] description, I recognise in the President and acting Vice-President of the American Bible Society, individuals who are not for a moment to be suspected of acting from any other principle than a sense of duty, and whose pure and elevated characters adorn the Church of which they are members. My object is not to censure others, but, in the discharge of my official duty, to state and defend the principles on which I think Churchmen should act in their efforts for the propagation of the Gospel; and to ask for those who do act on these principles, the credit of an adherence to the dictates of conscience, and an exemption from the imputation of being unfriendly to the distribution of the oracles of truth. No imputation can be more unjust, injurious, or unkind. It is not to the distribution of the Bible, but to the mode of distribution that our objections apply. We deem ourselves not warranted in sanctioning what appears to us a departure from the apostolic mode of propagating Christianity--in the separation of the sacred volume from the ministry, the ordinances, and the worship of that mystical body which its divine Founder has constituted the mean and the pledge of salvation to the world. And we think that Episcopalians will best preserve their attachment to the distinctive principles of their apostolic Church, and thus best advance the cause of primitive Christianity, and most effectually avoid all collision with their fellow Christians who differ from them, by associating for all religious purposes only among themselves.
The Bible and Common Prayer Book Societies continue their eminently useful operations; and the Central Bible and Prayer Book Society is distinguished for its zealous exertions. It is highly gratifying to see Churchmen uniting their efforts and their contributions in the extension of our Church; and with it, of the truths, the ministry, and ordinances of that Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, in their primitive purity.
It gives me pleasure to notice the prosperous condition of the Sunday Schools which are instituted in several congregations of our Church, As the principal [23/24] object of these schools is the religious instruction of the young, it would seem that they ought not to be liable to any influence or any control but that of the authority of the Church, the young members of whose fold they profess to instruct in Christian truth and duty.
And here, my brethren of the Clergy, I would earnestly call your attention to the important part of our office, the religious instruction of the young members of our flocks, as the best security, against enthusiasm on the one hand, and lukewarmness on the other, and as a principal mean, with the divine blessing, of establishing them in the principles and habits of sound piety.
I am not influenced by any apprehension that this important duty is neglected. On the contrary, I well know that some of the Clergy have extended this instruction beyond the formulary set forth by the Church designed for children, to explanations of the Christian system, suited to those of riper years. My object is to suggest the importance of uniformity, as far as may be practicable, in this particular. It would seem that the Church Catechism supposes some preliminary religious instruction, and that this excellent formulary will admit of a subsequent enlargement of the course of religious instruction. Under this impression, a short Scripture Catechism, which has been prepared and submitted to the revision of the venerable senior Bishop of our Church, and the alterations suggested by him adopted, has been published. It is my intention to pursue the same course with the explanation of the Church Catechism in use in this diocess, and with the volume on the Festivals and Fasts, the basis of which is the standard work of Nelson, the pious layman of the Church of England. It would then seem that in the Scripture Catechism, in the Church Catechism broke into short Questions and Answers, in the Catechism explaining and enlarging the Church Catechism, and in the work on the Festivals and Fasts, there will be a course of instruction embracing the whole circle of religious truth and duty, the ministry and liturgy of the Church, and those parts of the [24/25] sacred volume which establish and enforce the doctrines and duties of the plan of salvation which it reveals. It is my intention to take measures to have these books stereotyped, so as that they may be procured at a low price.
The importance of this subject will, I trust, account for the solicitude with which, in the discharge of my official duty, I would press it on your attention.
In conclusion--I am averse to obtrude my personal concerns or feelings on your attention. But I trust I shall be excused for a single remark. The recent illness which suspended, for a time, the exercise of my official functions, in the evidence which it afforded me of the interest which I have in the kind regards of my brethren of the clergy and the laity, has imposed on me the obligation to devote, with renewed zeal, my exertions in their service. And it powerfully excites to the same course, by the admonition which I ought to derive from it, of the uncertainty of the time when I may be called to give an account of my stewardship in that station which it has pleased our divine Master to assign me in his Church.
JOHN HENRY HOBART.
Troy, 15th October, 1822.