THE gentlemen composing the New York Ecclesiological Society express their belief that the "attacks" which have been made upon it "contribute rather to the success than the failure of the Ecclesiologist," their official periodical. Should they regard as an assault upon themselves, our faithful extracts from their lucubrations, our explanations of their symbols, and our obituary notices of their departed members, we shall confidently rely on their cordial aid in giving an extensive circulation to our pages.
The science of Symbolism, to which these gentlemen have devoted themselves, yields to no other in occult profundity. To extend the blessings of this science to the utmost bounds of the Church, is the labor of the Society. It is, perhaps, unreasonable to expect that we should understand what these blessings are, before the science from which they are to flow has been acquired. The foundation must be paid before the superstructure can be raised. The Society is now engaged in teaching the science; in due time we may be also taught how Symbolism promotes righteousness in this life, and salvation in that which is to come. It cannot be denied, that in one particular the labors of the Society are of immediate practical utility; they are affording great facilities for solving the inquiry so frequently made--"WHAT IS PUSEYISM?"
The professed object of the Ecclesiologists is the improvement of [3/4] Ecclesiastical architecture; but their labors embrace a far wider field, and have to do with religious faith and worship quite as much as with stone and mortar.
The first object that seems to have engaged the attention of the Association, was the adoption of a Seal. Not being a corporate Body, a Seal was utterly useless for any legal purpose; but there were other purposes it might be made to answer. Hence, on the 2d April, 1848, the Committee reported--The choice of a SEAL and Motto being a matter of considerable importance, and requiring considerable taste, has been delayed for mature deliberation."--Eccl. p. 14. Three months afforded time for this needed mature deliberation; and on the 3d July, the Committee announced the result of their cogitations: "A Seal is this evening recommended for the adoption of the Society, and a drawing is now laid before the members for their inspection. It has been a subject of much consideration by your Committee; and the one they recommend is perfectly simple, indicating that Church architecture, like Church music, and the other arts, should be the handmaid of the Church, and devoted to the honor and glory of God."
A Seal, perfectly simple, yet indicating all this, must be a wonderful Seal; and so it is, the very triumph of the occult science. The Committee proceed to inform the Society, that this perfectly simple Seal "is of the ancient mystic form, the VESICA PISCIS."--p. 17. The meaning of these two Latin words is fish-bladder. Now, why is the form of the bladder of a fish, mystic? and why should a Christian Society fashion its Seal after such a bladder? Oh, the depth of Symbolism! It is found that the initial letters of our Saviour's name and titles in Greek, when put together, form the Greek word for fish, and hence a FISH symbolises the Second Person in the Trinity! But what of the bladder of the fish? Why, that symbolizes----the womb of the Virgin Mary! [See letter of Professor Lee, of the University of Cambridge, to the President of the Cambridge Camden Society, on Symbolism.] So much for the "considerable taste" and "perfect simplicity" of this remarkable Seal. Within the form, is a figure with a glory encircling the head, attended by two angels, and holding its hands a Church. The figure, we are told, is St. John. On some of the Papal coin, the Virgin Mary is represented as holding a Church, intimating that SHE is the protectress of the Church. The design of the interior of the Seal is apparently taken from the Roman coin; and, had we not [4/5] been told the contrary, we should certainly have mistaken the figure for the Virgin, as the long hair and drapery render it more like a woman than a man. The Society give no explanation of the Vesica Piscis; but, like a Masonic sign, it is no doubt well understood by the initiated; and the Mystic Seal being stamped on the cover of each number of the Ecclesiologist, intimates to all who can decipher it, the character of the Society.
We have instructions in abundance on the proper construction of Churches, but these instructions are founded on the occult science. Thus, we are told, "For transparency of Christian truth and temper, the Gothic or pointed Church of the fourteenth century is unparalleled."--p. 5. Again, we are taught that the Gothic Church is "the embodiment, in wood and stone, of Christian doctrine and spirit." We have heard of persons who could see into a mill-stone, but our Protestant Ecclesiologists can do more--they can see into the wood and stone of a Popish Church of the fourteenth century, and there discover Christian truth, and temper, and doctrine, and spirit. Nor is even this the extent of their ability. From the mere diagram of "the ground-plan of a Church" they can extract "its story of Catholic faith, and order, and truth."--p. 53. Wonderful science, this!
A certain new Church has a rose window just above the chancel-arch. This is condemned because "it violates that symbolism which makes the chancel-arch symbolise the gate of Heaven, through which alone the eastern or heavenly light should shine upon us."--p. 77.
We are gravely instructed that "the most desirable form for a font is the octagon." Why? Know all men, that an eight-square figure has been held to be a "symbol of regeneration." "As the number seven was typical of the old creation, so the number eight typifies the new creation which we have in Christ who rose from the dead on the eighth day."--p. 60. Eighth day of what?
We have a long essay, (p. 106,) on "ORIENTATION OF CHURCHES." Its object is to prove that the Communion Table ought to stand at the east end of the Church. Many of the reasons are worthy of rabbinical lore. Adam is reported by an ancient author to have looked to the east when he said his prayers. The Society neither affirm nor deny the practice attributed to our common ancestor, but acknowledge that they rest the duty of orientation on other grounds, among which are, that Christ is called the Sun of righteousness--that the east is the image of [5/6] our spiritual nativity--that Paradise was in the east--that Ezekiel saw the Cherubim at the east gate of the Lord's house--that such is Catholic usage--and that the Church indirectly requires it, notwithstanding the rubric declares the Table may stand "in the body of the Church" Orientation is to be applied in grave-yards; graves should always lie one way, "and that to the east."--p. 155 [The flippant ignorance of these Ecclesiologists is wonderful. Convenience and symmetry are, and must be sacrificed to orientation. Should the site of a city Church be a narrow deep lot, fronting north, then the Chancel must be on the east side, and the entrance at the north-west corner; and the people must creep along the west wall, till they reach the short nave opposite the chancel.--p. 114; and thus the interior of the Church must present the most grotesque appearance, to preserve orientation. These learned gentlemen seem not to know, that in the Churches in ROME itself, altars are in all possible positions, facing all the points of the compass. We are informed "every Church should consist of a chancel and nave; without these essentials, the building is not a Church."--p. 53. Now, St. Peter's, at Rome, is usually considered a pretty considerable Church, yet the high altar stands in the nave, and is without a chancel; and the altar is just as accessible to visitors as any other part of the Church. There are hundreds of altars in Rome, and a number in St. Peter's without any thing like a chancel. Sometimes the side chapels of a Church have chancels, but most frequently they have none.] The Pulpit, however, should be on the north side of the nave.--p. 105. What particular frigidity is symbolized by this position of the Pulpit is not stated.
"We have had the pleasure of seeing a Communion service for use in the Communion of the sick, which gratified us much--the KNIFE and SPOON pleased us also, having the handles in the cross form, and of course appropriated to holy uses."--p. 195. At p. 190, we have a description of a set of Communion plate, "the property of St. Luke's parish, in this city," which had been exhibited to the Society. "The open work of the SPOON was finished with a cross handle. The chalice was very beautiful, of the true hemispherical shape, the standard large, with a highly chased knob. On one side of the spreading standard was a small incised figure of our Saviour on the cross, in a cusped VESICA PISCIS, and relieved on a ground of blue enamel." Considering the mystic meaning of the fish-bladder, it is difficult to decide which is the most revolting absurdity, putting our Saviour in it, hanging upon the cross, or crowding it with St. John, a Church, and a pair of angels. It was certainly in excellent keeping, that the sacramental cruciform SPOON, and the chalice with the VESICA PISCIS on a blue enamel, should belong to the parish which rejoiced in the President of the New York Ecclesiological Society as its Rector.
 Our Bishops and gray-headed Pastors have much to learn from these new teachers; and among the lessons to be studied, is the proper use of the knife and spoon in the administration of the Lord's Supper. Probably to exercise our ingenuity, the society refrains from giving the slightest hint of the "holy uses" to which these cross-handled instruments are to be applied. The knife, we may suppose, is to be used in cutting the bread into slices. But the SPOON!--it is a symbol? Probably not, as it is to be appropriated to a holy use, because as the Ecclesiologists reason, it has its handle "in the cross form." We venture to suggest that we have here a new and ingenious contrivance to save the consecrated bread from being defiled, by contact with the palm of a Layman's hand; and that the SPOON is appropriated to the holy use of shoveling the bread into the mouths of the Laity.
Let it not be supposed that our Ecclesiologists are dreamy enthusiasts, burying their time and talents in the depths of Symbolism. They are Christians, and of course desire to spend and be spent in their Master's service. They tell us they "have for some time been sensible of the desirableness of presenting some practical result of their labors in such a form as to engage the attention of practicable men, to whom they may thus be of service. It has appeared to them that the great danger to be apprehended in conducting the affairs of our Society, in common with other Societies in general, is that of mere theorising, laying down general principles, without either themselves making the application of them, or enabling others to do so. Hence, they have taken the earliest opportunity to offer the Church a specimen of actual work done, and ready for use, even though it be in so comparatively small a matter as the manufacture of CHURCH LINEN."--p. 137.
And so these practical working Christians are applying their principles in making table-cloths for the Communion Table, well marked with symbols, at "from twelve to twenty dollars a set." But the enterprise of these practical gentlemen will not be confined to the linen trade. They intend to proceed to the manufacture of "altar cloths, plate &c." The plate of their President, with the cross-handled knife and spoon, and the Vesica Piscis on a blue enamel, will, we suppose, furnish the pattern to be followed in the Ecclesiological work-shop. Of the style of the "altar clothes" to be fabricated by the society, some idea may be formed from the following description of a highly approved one in the Church of a Rev. member:
"The material is green silk velvet--the color green being the appropriate [7/8] one for ordinary use--the cloth is made to fit tightly over the top of the altar, hanging down about ten inches all around, and ornamented with a border of quatrefoils worked in gold; the interior of the quatrefoils being filled in with red velvet, on which is worked a gold cross of equal arms; the spaces between the quatrefoils are filled with a trefoiled symbol; the fringe, which is about three inches deep, and is formed of red, green and yellow silk, interchanged."--p. 164.
We shall presently see there are deep meanings hid in colors. The symbolism of the tri-color fringe is not explained--it probably typifies the Trinity.
In a description of a Catholic gem, "a private chapel," in one of the Southern States, (without doubt North Carolina,) we are told, "the (altar) cloth in common use is green satin embroidered with gold-color fleur-de-lys and fringe, covering the top and six inches of the top and sides; the other four canonical colors are used at their appointed seasons--violet for Lent, and black for Good-Friday--covering the whole altar, and having large white crosses worked in front."--p. 125. It thus appears that there are in our Church no less than five sacred colors. Green, it seems, is the least esteemed, being appropriate only for common use. Black is dedicated to Good-Friday, and violet to Lent. What the other two are, we know not; but the whole five are consecrated by authority, being all canonical, and having their appointed seasons. We have searched the Canons of our General Convention, but have not been able to discover a trace of the chromatic legislation referred to by Ecclesiologists. But to proceed with the "private chapel." "The candlesticks are of silver gilt, low and massive. At the time of the Holy Eucharist, the sides and top of the Holy Table are covered with a linen cloth damasked with monogram and cross, and edged with lace. On Christmas Day, and Easter, the altar is adorned with flowers trained on a marble cross. The body of the chapel is surrounded with religious prints, and texts from the Scripture. There are two doors, one for the priest to enter by, and the other for the people." This private chapel, it should be known, is a room fitted up in a private dwelling-house.
Among the extraordinary discoveries made by the New York gentlemen, is the necessity "that every font be furnished with a drain, for without it, it is impossible to remove the water save with great difficulty, and what is far worse, great irreverence."--p. 62. It is also announced, that in the Church of a Rev. Ecclesiologist, the font has been provided with a drain.
 As a tea-cup of water is more than is ever used in an ordinary baptism, the "great difficulty" of removing it from the font, or a bowl within it, is not readily perceived; and as to irreverence, we think the water might as well be disposed of by the sexton, as to be conveyed by a waste-pipe into the kennel. "It seems most desirable that a peculiar vessel should be kept for the purpose of filling the font with water," and it is suggested that a metal pail would perhaps be the best, which "can be ornamented to any extent, according to pleasure." Hence we may expect that the Society will apply their principles, in the manufacture of elegant tin pails, as well as of table-cloths.
We have, at p. 152, an essay on cemeteries and cemetery chapels, transferred from an English Puseyite work. From this, we learn, that on the coffin should be laid "a pall of rich stuff, which may be made either in the form of a plain oblong, or cut with lappets so as to fall over the sides. In either case, a CROSS of different color and material will be fastened upon the pall, extending forward from end to end of it; and along the cross may be work an appropriate Scripture. Good colors for the pall are purple or violet, with a red or scarlet cross, or black with a white cross. Above the coffin and pall will be placed a hearse, or wooden frame, covered with drapery, and ornamented with heraldic devices, banners and lights."--p. 152.
We have another Puseyite essay, on "Church-yards," so much to the taste of the Ecclesiologists that they have republished it, p. 95. In this we are instructed that each Church-yard should have a STONE CROSS set up in it. Such crosses, we are assured, have "two great objects;" and what are these? "to excite the devotion of the living, and TO SECURE THE PEACEFUL REPOSE OF THE DEPARTED."--p. 96. How far the sight of a cross excites the devotion of the living, is of course a matter of opinion. The assertion that a stone cross erected in a burial ground "secures the peaceful repose of the departed" is a very different affair. Whether the repose alluded to be a physical sedative influence exerted by the cross upon the bodies interred near it, or a deliverance of the souls which once animated those bodies, from the penalties due to their sins, the assertion is a horrible insult to our common sense, and our common Christianity. And why such blasphemous nonsense? Obviously to introduce into the Church the Popish idolatry of the cross. But there is something more than a stone cross wanted in Churchyards. Hear once more the English Puseyites, as reported by the New York Ecclesiologists: "There is another appurtenance to a [9/10] Churchyard, the use of which it might be proper to revive, and this is a WELL. Their use is to supply water for holy baptism, and for necessary purposes of the Church, and likewise to afford refreshment to the weary pilgrim. In some cases the water is said to have worked medicinal of miraculous cures."--p. 96. Medicinal or miraculous. This is very superfluous modesty. If a Church-yard cross can save souls, no doubt Church-yard water will cure bodies, not medicinally but miraculously. Let us once have the holy wells, and there will be no lack of certificates to the wonder-working power of the new Hydropathy.
Not only should be have holy crosses, and holy wells, but also holy doors. In the new Trinity Church, New York, "at the foot of the steps dividing the chancel from the nave, it has been found necessary to place a temporary screen to prevent visiters going up into the chancel. Now, how much more appropriate and beautiful would it have been to have had a wood-screen, with its HOLY DOORS always closed and locked except during the performance of service. There would then have been no fear of unhallowed feet (lay-feet) desecrating this holy part of the Church."--p. 35.
Our Ecclesiologists have afflictions and trials peculiar to themselves. They are informed that three persons, not Episcopalians, were found engaged in cleaning the Church at Canandaigua, and they exclaim, "It is most distressing to see persons have no reverence for our holy places thus employed in them."--p. 48. Again, "It is most painful to see the irreverence which necessarily accompanies the administration of holy baptism in so many of our churches, through the want of proper arrangements;" that is, we suppose, from want of waste-pipes to the fonts. We should think Christian men might witness sights in New York even still more distressing and painful. They have, however, discovered one sight in New York which does trouble them. "We have been much pained by seeing the site of Old Grace Church, New York, which we had always looked upon as consecrated ground, given up to secular uses. Certainly men cannot reflect, when the turn over to the service of the world that which has been solemnly dedicated to God."--p. 96.
New York is no doubt a very wicked city, but we are by no means sure that the Rector, Wardens and Vestry of Grace Church are such sinners, above all men, as alone, of all the citizens, justly to cause "much pain" to the Ecclesiologists, and to merit their public rebuke.
The encroachments of commerce had driven most of the [10/11] congregation to distant parts of the city, and the old Church was, in consequence, nearly deserted. Immediately across the street stood Trinity Church, more than large enough to accommodate every Episcopalian in the vicinity. The Rector, Wardens, and Vestry, in compliance with the wishes of their constituents, sold the old site; and with the proceeds erected an elegant and spacious Church in a part of the city where it was wanted, and where it is now well filled. The Ecclesiologists charitably indulge the hope that the "men" of Grace Church did not "reflect" when they robbed God by selling consecrated ground. This plea cannot avail. They did reflect, and they acted like wise and faithful stewards. If the Ecclesiologists will examine the "Form of Consecration of a Church or Chapel," they will find that it is not the ground, but "this house," which is consecrated or dedicated to the worship of God. Hence, a "Floating Chapel" is consecrated, without consecrating the water of the dock in which it is moored. But admitting the ground to be consecrated in the same manner with "the house" on which it stands, then surely the ground is not more holy than the Church itself, or the chancel especially, which we are told is the "Holy of Holies." Now we ask, when an old Church is pulled down to make room or a new one, what would our Ecclesiologists do with the consecrated materials? What "drain" or waste-pipe would they devise, "reverently" to dispose of the holy stone and timber? Would it be sacrilegious to sell what is worthless to the congregation, and appropriate the proceeds to the new Church?
The lot on which Grace Church stood, was worthy eighty or a hundred thousand dollars. It had become worthless as a church-site, yet it seems it was wicked to convert it into money, with which to build a new Church in which God might be worshipped, and souls saved! It ought to have been left vacant and abandoned till sold for taxes. However practical our Ecclesiologists may be in the manufacture of table-cloths, we cannot but think they are rather transcendental on the subject of real estate.
Among the many novel lessons vouchsafed by the Society to Protestant Episcopalians, is one on a subject that has hitherto engaged but little attention. We have an Essay, p. 62, containing "practical rules for the guidance of Church builders and Church founders in the choice of a PATRON SAINT." Churches should not be called Trinity, Grace, Christ, Crucifixion, &c. "We do not hesitate to recommend that all Churches with such titles as Grace, The Atonement, The Redemption, [11/12] &c., should have the name of a SAINT given them instead." We need not, in selecting a PATRON, confine ourselves to the Saints of Scripture--"England was once known as the 'Island of Saints,' and the name of S. S. Bede, Anselm, Thomas, and innumerable others, are famous throughout Christendom. Shall their descendants be the only people to whom they are unknown?" But now, for the Rule of rules--Listen all Rectors, Churchwardens and Vestrymen; all Church builders, and Church founders: "Avoid naming a Church after any person who has not been FORMALLY CANONIZED." By an unaccountable negligence, the Society has omitted to instruct us how to apply this fundamental rule. How are poor ignorant Protestants, like most of our Rectors and Vestries, to find out who have, and who have not been formally canonized? Our General Convention have set forth no calendar of canonized Saints--our Prayer Book contains no form of canonization--we are ignorant of the very process by which Saints are made. How then, amid the vast multitude of Saints, are we to distinguish those whom we may rightfully choose for our Patrons? How, for instance, can we be sure that EDMUND, of the "Island of Saints," was ever canonically, rubrically and formally canonized? and if he were not, what would his patronage be worth? In the extraordinary silence of the Society on this point, we will venture a suggestion. It is well known the Popes exercise the prerogative of canonization, and that in the discharge of this high function, certain forms are observed. Hence, could we obtain from Rome a duly certified schedule of Saints, we would run no risk of selecting from it a Patron not formally canonized, and more especially as any little informality in the process would certainly be cured by papal infallibility. In the meanwhile, there can be no reasonable doubt of the formal canonization of IGNATIUS LOYOLA, since a Church in Rome is dedicated to him, and we take the liberty of recommending him to any Ecclesiologists in search of a PATRON SAINT.
At p. 79 we have a description of a Church in which one of the fraternity officiates. "The chancel is divided into sacrarium and presbytery: the latter is raised three steps above the nave. Stalls of a simple character are against the north and south wall. The sacrarium is elevated two steps, and is also further separated from presbytery by a moveable rail. The altar is of large dimension, and of marble, and provided with various coverings. A SUPERALTAR is also provided, on which we hope to see suitable candlesticks."
We have already seen that the candlesticks on the altar of a certain [12/13] "private chapel," are "silver gilt, low and massive;" such, therefore, we presume, are esteemed "suitable." As the Communion is administered in the day time, and as the wish of the Society does not embrace candles, we are at a loss to conjecture the symbolism of empty candlesticks.
But what is a SUPERALTAR? The word is not to be found in our Canons, Liturgy, or Homilies, nor is it known to the Bible. We read in Scripture that King Ahaz, on visiting Damascus, saw there a new kind of altar, and was so much pleased with it, that he sent a pattern of it to Urijah, the Priest, who immediately erected a Damascene Altar in Jerusalem. We are strongly inclined to believe, that this superaltar erected by the Rev. Ecclesiologist, has been constructed after a foreign pattern; nor is it difficult to imagine where the pattern was obtained. Nor is this the only pattern imported by our enterprising Society.
On the 9 of April, 1849, the Secretary, Rev. Thomas S. Preston, was, by a vote of the Society, appointed to read at their next meeting a paper "On the Arrangement of Chancels." On the 2 of July, the Society again assembled, and after listening to their Secretary, voted "the thanks of the Society to the Rev. Mr. Preston for his valuable paper, and a copy thereof was requested for the use of the Society," p. 189. The use made of this valuable paper, was to publish it for the edification of the Protestant Episcopal Church. A few extracts will show its character, and why it was deemed valuable.
"The sacrarium is that part of the Church immediately set apart for the celebration of the highest mysteries, answering to the Holy of Holies in the Jewish temple, and being the place of the immediate presence of God. [Bishop Ives is more definite in his language--It is "the place where the Incarnate God had taken up his special abode." Pastoral Letter of 1849, p. 55. That is a piece of bread is, or contains the Incarnate God.] The sacrarium, distinguished as we have described it, will be furnished with a plain altar of substantial materials, placed lengthwise under the east window. The south wall will be furnished with a PISCINA, and westward of this with three sedilias for the Celebrant, Epistler, and Gospeller. The sacred vessels should be kept in an AUMBRYE with iron clamped door and padlock, or a massive box chained to the wall of the chapel chancel. Every altar should be furnished with an ALTAR-STONE MARKED WITH FIVE CROSSES, and care should be taken to provide changes of hangings, according to the various ecclesiastical seasons. [13/14] Ecclesiastical art without Ecclesiastical tradition, is a body without a soul."--p. 168.
It cannot be denied that the Society is abundantly liberal in supplying the Church with new patterns: may they not, like the pattern sent from Damascus, be permitted to dishonor the worship of Almighty God. Our Rectors, it seems, are with the approbation of the Society, urged to furnish each chancel with a PISCINA. But probably they know not what the thing is. The Society, with a provident anticipation of such Protestant ignorance, describes it--"PISCINA--a water-drain, formerly placed near the altar in a Church; it consists of a shallow stone basin, or sink, with a hole in the bottom, to carry off whatever is poured into it; it is fixed at a convenient height above the floor, and was used to receive the water in which the Priest washed his hands, as well as that with which the chalice was rinsed."--vol. ii. P. 30. We thus learn that the Piscina was formerly used, that is, before the Reformation, and we are now urged to revive the use of this discarded Popish utensil. Our chancels, if the Ecclesiologists can have their way, are to be furnished with a wash-hand basin and waste-pipe, and in New York, we suppose, supplied with Croton water, and a stop-cock, that the Priest may wash his hands before touching the sacramental bread. He will, of course, require a napkin to dry his fingers, and no doubt the Society will supply him with one "damasked with monogram and cross, and edged with lace," from their linen depository. But if such ablution be necessary for the Priest himself, surely he will not be so irreverent as to put the holy bread into the dirty palms of the Laity. Hence we see why the Ecclesiologists were "much pleased" with the SPOON and its accordance with "Catholic principles." In some Puseyite Churches in England, we understand the wafer has been introduced, and this by being laid upon the tongue of the recipient, is saved from all irreverent contact with either the fingers or palms of the Laity.
So much for the Piscina--now for the ALTAR-STONE. This we take to be the stone slab forming the top of the Altar. It must be marked with FIVE CROSSES. Three crosses might have symbolised the three crucifixions upon Calvary, but what mystery is hid under the five? Happily the Ecclesiologists solve the riddle for us. Nails were driven into our Lord's hands and feet, and his side was pierced with a spear; thus, he received, in all, five wounds, and these are typified by the five crosses! But the Altar-Stone is to be provided with various coverings [14/15] according to the various ecclesiastical seasons, and we have seen, that at other times, a green covering is to be provided. Hence, the five crosses are at all times and seasons, to be kept covered. Now, in this perpetual concealment of the symbol of the five wounds lies a mystery so deep, that we confess our inability to sound it.
Having to some extent seen what practical application the Ecclesiologists make of their principles, let us next inquire what practical influence these same principles exert upon the gentlemen themselves?
The Rev. Dr. Forbes was one of the most influential leaders of the Puseyite party in New York, and a man whom the sect delighted to honor. The Rev. Dr. Anthon was a delegate to the General Convention, at the time he and Dr. Smith made their public protest against the Carey ordination. For this act, which will long endear their names to the true friends of our Protestant Church, he was left off the delegation at the next Diocesan Convention, and Dr. Forbes was elected in his place, as a more worthy representative of New York Theology. In 1847, he was again honored in a similar manner. He was, moreover, a Trustee of the Theological Seminary, and had been so for many years. His Romanizing tendencies were well known, and his ultimate apostacy had been frequently predicted. This gentleman was selected for PRESIDENT of the Ecclesiological Society, and was, it is believed, one of its founders. On the 9th of April, 1849, we find him presiding as President, at a meeting of the Society. At the next meeting, 2d July, a new President was in the chair. The minutes of the meeting contain no obituary of the late officer, no announcement of his resignation, no record of the election of his successor. In this silent, mysterious substitution of one head for another, we may see a symbolism of the character of the Society, and the destiny of its members. But although the name of Dr. Forbes suddenly vanishes from the Ecclesiological records, it reappears in the public journals subscribed to a document, which, for directness of purpose, honesty of expression, and freedom from puerilities, most favorably contracts with the publications of his late associates. It as follows:
"To the Rev. Wm. Berrian, D.D., President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New York:
"NEW YORK, 21st November, 1849.
"Rev and Dear Sir:--You may conceive that it is with no ordinary emotion, that I feel myself constrained to declare to you, as President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New York, that it is my intention no longer to exercise the ministry of the Protestant Episcopal Church, it having become my deep and [15/16] conscientious conviction that duty to God requires me to unite myself to the one Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, in communion with the SEE OF ROME, to which I feel that my allegiance is due.
"With great personal consideration, I remain, Rev. and Dear Sir,
"Your obedient servant,
"JOHN MURRAY FORBES."
But the President did not pass from the Ecclesiologists to the Papists, "solitary and alone." He was accompanied in his transit by the Rev. SECRETARY, the same gentleman who had, a few weeks before, urged the introduction into our chancels of Piscinas, five-cross altar-stones, &c.
On the 8th of January, 1849, the Society unanimously elected the Rev. Jedediah Huntington, of New York, a member of their fraternity. This gentleman is known as theauthor of a Romanizing novel, and also of "A Letter on the Sacrament of Repentance, by a minister of the Protestant Church, but a believer of the Catholic Faith." The Letter is a tract in defence of confession and sacerdotal absolution. The next we hear of our author, is from the "Catholic Register" of Dec. 29, 1849, edited by a late student of the Theological Seminary. "Dr. Huntington, late a clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal denomination in this city, made his submission to the faith a few days ago, and sought admission by penance to the Catholic Church. We hope to have the pleasure of recording the conversion of other persons of distinction among the Episcopalians." Certainly a very reasonable hope, considering how many there are among them, who, like Mr. Huntington, profess, in the same sense, to be ministers of the Protestant Church, but believers of the Catholic faith. Thus, in about four weeks, the President, Secretary, and a distinguished member of the Society, carried out their ecclesiological principles by abandoning the Protestant Episcopal, for the Roman Catholic Church.
On the 8th of January, 1849, Bishop Ives was, with his own consent, elected a PATRON of the Society. About the same time, he issued a Pastoral, entitled "The Priestly Office," in which he maintained that it is "as true now as ever, that man sinning mortally, or so as to hazard his spiritual life after baptism, stands in need of absolution from that priesthood, to whom Christ said, 'Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.' And if these blessings could not be reached in the days of the Apostles, except through the priesthood, how can they be now?" This most significant question the Bishop himself answers, by dwelling on "the dreadful hazard of that presumption which leads [16/17] such neglecters and violaters to trust for pardon to a vague and general repentance--a repentance not accepted by the representatives of Christ, who alone have the charge of the discipline of his Church, with POWER TO REMIT OR RETAIN SINS." How far the Rt. Rev. Father owed his election of Patron of the Ecclesiologists, to this fearless assertion of the Clerical prerogative to seal the salvation or perdition of the Laity, by accepting or rejecting their repentance, we do not know. Certain it is, that his subsequent conduct has fully vindicated the discrimination of the Society. His recent Pastoral in defence of auricular confession and sacerdotal absolution, is too well known to render extracts here necessary. His establishment of an order of Monks of the Holy Cross, is a matter of public notoriety. Mr. Badger, of the Bishop's own Diocese, and now representing the State of North Carolina in the U.S. Senate, thus notices the Order:--"He (the Bishop) has instituted at Valle Crucis, a monastic Order, a Society within the Church, composed of persons bound to him by a vow of celibacy, poverty, and obedience; the form of which the Bishop does not give us in his Pastoral, though he lets out the objects of the Society, and the duties of the Order. He has given to the members, as their peculiar dress, 'a black cassock, extending from the throat to the ankles,' answering to that worn by members of the Romish Order of Jesus. He allows to be placed on the altar, a pyx, in which are reserved the remaining consecrated elements, after a communion; a practice used in the Romish Church, but disallowed and forbidden by ours. Again: there is used at Valle Crucis, with the approbation of the Bishop, a little manual of devotion, in which, the Bishop says, were 'some expression,' which, upon being objected to, were by him promptly altered. Now, these 'expressions' were prayers to the Virgin Mary and the Saints, and these prayers the Bishop does not deem wrong in principle, for in a letter to one of his Presbyters, he says--'I feel bound, however, to say, that while I allow no prayers to the Virgin Mary or to Saints, not because they are wrong in themselves, but because they are liable to abuse, &c.'"--Badger's "Examination," p. 68.
One of the rules of the Order, as admitted by the Bishop in his Pastoral, p. 69, is to avoid "Sectarian language in their conversation." To this, the Bishop appends a note, in which he unwittingly reveals that this rule is intended to restrain his monks from speaking against Popery. To the objection made by some, that he, "the Bishop, never speaks or writes against the Romanists," he answers, among other things, [17/18] "However great may be their errors, Romanists belong to the body of Christ, and hence, to the same family with us. And it is neither lawful to speak against the members of Christ's body, nor in good taste to speak against members of our own family." Worthy Patron of the Ecclesiologists! Most faithful Bishop of a Church, which, in her very name proclaims her hostility to Popery; which, in her Articles (19th, 22d, 25th, 30th, 31st) pointedly condemns the doctrines, ceremonies, and living of the Church of Rome, and which, in her Homilies, denies that Church to be a true Church of Christ, and exposes her idolatries and abominations! And now, the Bishop, who solemnly vowed in the name of God, obedience to the doctrine of "the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America," proclaims in an Episcopal Pastoral Letter, that it is UNLAWFUL to speak against Romanists--unlawful to bear the same testimony against the Man of Sin and his supporters, which his own Church bears, and which her martyrs sealed with their blood!
The Bishop's Pastoral was preceded by a pamphlet, entitled, "The Voice of the Anglican Church on Confession," prepared at his request, by one of his Presbyters, the Rev. D. C. McLeod. The Presbyter, it is understood, has outstripped his Bishop in the race toward Rome, having already arrived at the end of the journey.
On certain of our Bishops, rests the awful responsibility of the discord and apostacy introduced by Puseyism into the bosom of the Church. No less than three of our Rt. Rev. Fathers have thought it consistent with their views, to lend the sanction of their names to the New York Ecclesiologists. A fourth, published a labored vindication of Puseyism, in which he evinced his astuteness by the following remarkable assertion: "They (the Oxford Tractarians) are such--for talents, learning, piety, integrity, holiness, heavenly-mindedness, charity--as would adorn the purest age the Church has ever known, and are, as the Papists know, the boldest and the ablest living champions of the truth, against the force and fraud of fallen, frenzied Rome."--Brief Examination, p. 5. But before this declaration of championship had passed through the press, came news of Episcopal interference to suppress the Oxford Tracts, and the suspension of Dr. Pusey, for Popish teachings. Nothing daunted, the author added a postscript, announcing that he "repudiates, as morally impossible, the thought, that Mr. Newman, Dr. Pusey, and Professor Keble, the holy three, have all, or any of them, apostatized, or even can apostatize to Popery." But Bishop Doane proved a near-sighted [18/19] sentinel on the walls of Zion, and mistook enemies for friends. Dr. Pusey, as we have said, was suspended from the pulpit, Professor Keble sings of fallen, frenzied Rome, "Speak lightly of our sister's fall," and of the first of the holy trio, renouncing his Protestant baptism and orders, has been re-baptized and re-ordained in the Romish Church, and now looks upon his loving and admiring brother of New Jersey, as an heretical layman, doomed to perdition. Grievously, indeed, will the afflictions and alarms of PIUS IX. be aggravated, when he shall learn that the Papacy is threatened by such bold, able, living champions of Protestantism, as the Oxford Puseyites, the New York Ecclesiologists, and the Bishop of North Carolina, with his Monks of the Holy Cross.
A violent, desperate effort, is now making by many of our Clergy, and some of our Bishops, to convert our Church into a sort of tertium quid, a popish Church without a Pope. The attempt is as vain as it is lawless. The supremacy cannot long be rejected by conscientious men, who embrace the other doctrines of Rome. Such men must find the position of "a minister of the Protestant Church, but a believer of the Catholic faith," a perfect purgatory, and can have no rest till they escape from it. The "Catholic faith," held by Mr. Huntington, a few weeks before his apostacy, differed but little (except as to the supremacy,) from what he now holds, and from what is held by Bishop Ives, and the Puseyites, and Ecclesiologists, generally. But the doctrine of a chief or universal Bishop, will not long shock the faith of him who acknowledges the "Incarnate God" abiding in the chancel, or beholds Him in a crumb of bread, or seeks forgiveness of sin, not from his Redeemer, but his Rector. Hence, the numerous apostacies among the English and American Puseyites; hence the late exodus from the Ecclesiological Society.
Our Church may be rent by dissensions, and her members thinned by apostacy; nay, her very temples may be surrendered to the Man of Sin, but she cannot be torn from her foundations, and suspended in the midst of that great gulf which separates Protestantism from Popery. It is beyond the science of Symbolism, wonderful as it is, to construct an independent Popish Church. Into such a Church, Protestant Episcopalians would not, could not remain; and Puseyites and Ecclesiologists, acknowledging Rome to belong to "the body of Christ," and holding it to be unlawful to speak against her at the very moment that she is denying our Sacraments and Orders, and hurling damnation [19/20] upon us, will tremble under her anathemas, and will seek her benediction by taking refuge in her bosom. Hence, the present effort to un-protestantise our Church, which our Ecclesiologists and others are so zealously making, cannot possibly succeed, except by merging it in the Church of Rome. To these gentlemen, therefore, we would recommend the address of the Prophet--"How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him, but if Ball, follow him."