Project Canterbury

The Charges against the Rector of St. Clement's Protestant Episcopal Church, in Philadelphia

Together with his Statement, Explanation, Protest, and Arguments of Counsel.

Philadelphia: Times Printing House, 1879.


June 2, 1879.

Gentlemen:--I have reason to believe that in St. Clement's in this Diocese, of which Parish the Rev. O. S. Prescott is Rector, ceremonies and practices not ordained or authorized in the Book of Common Prayer, and setting forth or symbolizing erroneous or doubtful doctrine, have been and now are in use in said St. Clement's Church during the celebration of the Holy Communion:--

Viz.: Genuflections, prostrations, bowings to or before the Lord's Table by the clergy and choristers.

The use of candles and light in the chancel, beyond what are needed for the purposes of giving light.

The wearing of various kinds of vestments and ornaments by the clergy other than the usual and recognized vestments which have been worn by the clergy of this Diocese from the beginning.

The elevation of the bread and wine during or after the consecration so as to expose them to the view of the people, as objects towards which adoration is to be made.

The employment of acolytes or "servers" in the celebration of the Holy Communion.

The celebration of the Holy Communion at times and under circumstances when the members of the congregation are neither invited nor expected to partake.

Prayers, sentences, hymns and rites in the celebration of the Holy Communion, which are not authorized by our Book of Common Prayer; and also the omission of what is prescribed, as, for example, the exhortation to those "Who mind to come," and to those who come to the Holy Communion.

[2] I ask, therefore, that you will, in accordance with the provisions of Canon 22, Title I., of the Digest, investigate the same with me, and for that purpose appoint a time and place where the Rector of St. Clement's can be notified to be present and make his defense.

Very respectfully, yours,


To the Standing Committee,
Diocese of Pennsylvania.


To the Right Rev. William Bacon Stevens, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Oliver Sherman Prescott, Priest and Rector of St. Clement's Church, Philadelphia, having read certain charges of irregularities in the conduct of Divine Service in St. Clement's Church during the celebration of the Holy Communion, made in a letter dated June 2, 1879, and signed, "William Bacon Stevens, Bishop," and addressed to the "Standing Committee, Diocese of Pennsylvania," and having heard certain evidence given before the same William Bacon Stevens, Bishop, and the same Standing Committee, comes and otters the statement and explanation and protest following:

Charge I.--"Genuflections, prostrations, bowing to or before the Lord's Table by the clergy and choristers."

(A) "Genuflections."--On or about May 1, 1879, he caused to be posted in the vestry-room of St. Clement's Church, a notice, of winch the following is a copy:

"Directions for Priests celebrating in this Parish:"

"There may be no genuflections, and no kneeling except for purposes of private devotion, from the Prayer of Humble Access till the Benediction."

"There may be no elevations of the sacred species above the head, and those with reference to God only."

[3] "The whole Canon must be said so as to be heard and followed by the people."


A few weeks later there was added to clause first: "This rule is extended to servers."

These directions have been followed.

(B) "Prostrations."--He has never used prostrations. Being told that they were used by others, he has spoken against them both publicly and privately. He cannot say, of his own knowledge, that anything which he should call a prostration ever has been used in St. Clement's Church. What he has seen has been a low bending of the body, while those so bowing were kneeling upon their knees.

(C) "Bowing to or before,'" etc.--It is the custom at St. Clement's Church on coming into or going out of church to make an act of reverence by turning to the east; such act may be a look, or a slight bending of the head, or, on the part of a woman, a curtsy.

Charge II.--"The use of candles and lights in the chancel beyond what are needed for the purpose of giving light."

(A) "The use of candles."--Candles have been held in the hands of persons during the singing of the "Holy, Holy, Holy," and during that part of the prayer of Consecration in which are recited the words of our Lord at the Institution of the Blessed Sacrament.

(B) "Lights beyond what are needed," etc.--It would be difficult to say exactly how much light is needed. It would depend upon the weather and the time of service. On most days, and always at early services, some lights would be necessary.

He must beg leave to add that in saying this, he does not mean to imply that he should not use lights for purposes of beauty and decoration, and also to symbolize truths which they are used to symbolize in the Word of God.

Charge III.--"The wearing of various kinds of vestments and ornaments by the clergy other than the usual and recognized vestments which have been worn by the clergy of this Diocese from the beginning,"

[4] He objects to the term "ornaments" as not being sufficiently explicit, and as not conveying any idea to his mind. As regards vestments, he wears such as he found in use in the Church when he became its rector, and such as he has worn ever since he was made a Priest in 1848, and such as are used in other Dioceses of this Church, with the sanction of some and the example of others of the Bishops of those Dioceses. The difference between the vestments worn in St. Clement's and in some other of the churches in which he has ministered is in color and beauty of embroidery, and not in shape or fashion.

Charge IV.--"The elevation of the Bread and Wine during or after the Consecration, so as to expose them to the people as objects towards which adoration is to be made."

This charge, he conceives, is covered by the paper given under Charge I.

Charge V.--"The employment of acolytes or 'servers' in the celebration of the Holy Communion."

Under the rubric immediately following what are called the Offertory sentences, be feels at liberty to employ such young men as he may deem "fit persons" to assist in the collection of the alms of the people, and to render such other help--not clerical--as is, or might be given by the sexton or by an assistant minister.

Charge VI.--"The celebration' of the Holy Communion at times and under circumstances when the members of the congregation are neither invited nor expected to partake." He has reason to think that difficulty has arisen in the minds of some in regard to this charge, because of a notice which was given in Church, warning non-parishioners against presenting themselves for Communion at late celebrations on the great Festivals. This warning was cancelled on November 30th, 1879, by the reading at the morning and night services of the notice following:

"The Rector wishes me to give notice, that in consequence of the non-attendance of communicants at the twelve o'clock celebration on the first Sunday in this month, and because of the reduction of our staff of Priests, that [4/5] celebration will be discontinued. There will be no celebration after Morning Prayer next Sunday.

"As to persons desiring to communicate at the late celebration on Festivals, the Rector wishes it distinctly understood, that while on every account early Communions are most desirable, he does not wish any parishioner to feel that he may not communicate at those times, if he cannot well do so earlier. Parishioners are quite free in this matter; and the restriction in regard to non-parishioners, imposed because of an act of sacrilege, the danger of which being passed, is withdrawn; though such persons, if residents in the city, ought to communicate on Festivals in their own churches."

No verbal invitation is ever extended to the people, except in the form provided in the exhortation, "Ye that do truly," etc, and this, so far as he knows and believes, has been used whenever there has been a celebration.

Besides this, a silent invitation for people to approach is given by the Priest turning towards them when he is ready to communicate them--an act mistaken for an elevation for purposes of adoration by one of the witnesses. This invitation, though not directed to be given by the Prayer Book, has never been omitted, so far as he knows, except on two occasions, one of which was St. Clement's Day, 1878, and the other within a week of that day. The Rev. Carlos E. Butler testified that he was present on one of those occasions.

Charge VII.--"Prayers, sentences, hymns and rites in the celebration of the Holy Communion which are not authorized by our Book of Common Prayer; and also the omission of what is prescribed, as for example, the exhortation to those 'Who mind to come,' and to those who come to the Holy Communion."

(A) "Prayers."--No prayers other than those provided in the Book of Common Prayer, have ever been used by himself or any one else in the celebration of the Holy Communion.

(B) "Sentences."--in regard to sentences he cannot speak so positively, because the responsibility for the anthems [5/6] sung he has placed largely on others. He cannot, however, recollect any anthem which has been sung during the celebration which was not taken from the Bible or the Book of Common Prayer.

(C) "Hymns."--Except the Sunday-school service, and two hymns out of those used by the children, no hymns, so far as he knows, have been used in the celebrations which have not now, or which have not at some time had the sanction of the General Convention.

(D) "Rites."--He excepts to this as indefinite, but answers generally that no illegal thing has been practiced during the celebration of the Holy Communion.

(E) "Omission of what is prescribed," etc.

The warning addressed to those of the congregation who are present for the purpose of communion, is generally omitted by himself, and by others with his sanction. The invitation, "Ye who do truly," etc., has never been omitted. Having made this explanation and statement, he protests against being called upon to notice Charges II., III. and V. (lights, vestments and lay-helpers), because they have reference to accessories, and are not Acts of Worship, or if they are "Acts" because they are not like Acts to elevations and genuflections; and in any case do not symbolize erroneous doctrine.

He asks for the removal of these charges, and he further protests, most solemnly, against his being admonished to give up, as irregularities, any of the practices used in St. Clement's Church, in the celebration of the Holy Communion.

In regard to the evidence of the witnesses, he denies, among other things, that the organ has ever been played during the entire service: he denies that the invitation to those who come for the purpose of communion, "Ye who do truly," etc., has ever been omitted; he denies that the Offertory, or the Prayer for Christ's Church Militant, were not said in their proper places on St. Clement's Day, 1878: and he declares that he is not the person whom Rev. Mr. Butler, thought that he recognized on that same day. Mr. Butler seems to have mistaken Mr. Longridge for him, at [6/7] least Mr. Longridge was the celebrant. He did not officiate in any way at that service.

He wishes to add, that whenever he assists at a celebration by administering the cup, he kneels at his going to and leaving the altar.

He does not mean to deny, that through inadvertence or forgetfulness, the Clergy of the Parish or visiting Priests for some other reason, may not have done some of the acts alleged. If such has been the case, it has been very exceptional.

All which is respectfully submitted:

Rector of St. Clement's.

Philadelphia, February 3d, 1880.

I can certify to the correctness of the above statement.

Associate Priest.

To the best of my knowledge and belief the above statement is accurate.

Associate Priest.

To the best of my knowledge and belief everything contained in the above printed statement is perfectly true.

Assistant Minister.

[8] 717 Walnut St., Feb. 10,1880.

Dear Sir:

I have been requested to inform the Rev. Mr. Prescott, that at the meeting of the Bishop and Standing Committee last evening, it was resolved:

1. That Rev. Mr. Prescott be requested to attend at their next meeting, for examination in explanation of his statement.

2. That Mr. Prescott having sent to the Bishop the answer read at the last meeting, with certain certificates added, he be informed that if it is his wish that such certificates form part of his answer, it will be expected that the parties signing the same attend at same time for examination.

The next meeting of the Bishop and Standing Committee will be held at Bishop Stevens' house, 1633 Spruce Street, on Monday, February 16. 1880, at 7 1/2 o'clock P. M.

Yours truly,


GEORGE W. BIDDLE, Esq., et al.,
Counsel for Rev. O. S. Prescott.

Philadelphia, Feb. 11, 1880. John Clayton, Esq., Secretary, etc.,

Dear Sir: The Rev. Mr. Prescott declines to submit to an examination by the committee, believing and being advised that it is contrary to all regular procedure, that a person who is under investigation before a body which has the power, through its head, to admonish him, if found offending, shall be subjected to what is really a cross-examination by this body, assisted, as it has been, by a trained and accomplished lawyer. Mr. Prescott further authorizes us to say, he has no witnesses or evidence to produce before the committee as the case now stands.

Unless, therefore, the counsel of Mr. Prescott are notified to the contrary by you, they will be prepared to present [8/9] their views on his behalf on Monday next, February 16, at 7.30 P. M., at the Bishop's residence.

We are, very respectfully
and truly, yours,



Right Reverend Sir, Mr. President, and Gentlemen of the Standing Committee:

I need hardly say to you that I regret extremelv being here to-night to discharge the duty which is imposed upon me, and I say this for two reasons:--one that is personal to myself, which you can readily imagine, when I state that I feel embarrassed in addressing a body of gentlemen, some of whom by profession and others by choice have for many years bestowed great attention upon these subjects, and are supposed to be very familiar with the learning which is involved in them. I, of course, claim to know nothing, except in so far as my diligence has enabled me to look into the matter since I have been retained in the case.

But there is another and a much higher reason why I regret being here. I see and I foresee that the result of this investigation and of investigations of this kind will be to create a breach--how wide I know not--in a church to which I feel a very deep attachment; a church most respectable and venerable by its traditions, distinguished by its noble liturgy, and estimable by reason of the pious lives and pious works of a very large majority of the presbyters belonging to it, and the high character and exemplary conduct of most of those who are in professed communion with it. I regret deeply being here, and I shall endeavor in what I am about to say to confine myself as closely as I can to the subject in hand, and thus by keeping strictly to the record I shall in nowise be instrumental in adding fuel to this fire.

[10] We are met here to-night, and have been engaged for many nights, to ascertain whether the Reverend Oliver S. Prescott has violated certain portions of canon 22, as it is called in the Digest which I have before me; and your inquiry has a double character,--a double nature. It is a preliminary inquiry in a certain sense, but in a certain sense only. It is not merely like the office of a grand jury, to ascertain whether there is probable cause for trial. It goes very much beyond this, because as I shall point out to you, both from the scope and very words used, if you certify a certain thing to the Bishop of the diocese, then, without further trial at all, the Bishop is to admonish, which is of course punitive; and it' the person admonished refuses to obey, ho is again in default and is then handed over to another tribunal. So that you are sitting here as investigators and as triers, to pronounce, in some sense at least, a sentence; and while the sentence does not extend to forfeiture of goods or to interference with personal liberty, still it is punishment. To a presbyter of the diocese who, at least, before conviction, is to be supposed to have the feelings which such a member of the church should have, censure from his official superior is a very grave punishment indeed, and therefore not to be imposed lightly,--not to be imposed at all, unless it is shown in the clearest way that he is an offending person to whom admonition may be properly addressed. I do not say this by way of caution at all, but in order that you may understand clearly in the outset what your functions are, and that you may therefore proceed in an orderly manner, keeping your minds throughout in that condition, if it be possible, that you may stand the impartial triers of this gentleman, holding the scales of justice even, not depressing them unduly either on the side of what may be called here the prosecution for want of a better term, or on the side of the accused.

Having said thus much by way of introduction, I now desire to say a few words in regard to the canon itself. This canon was passed six years ago, and it professes to deal with doctrine and with ceremonial,--with rubric. It professes to deal with both, Perhaps the latter is involved in the former. [10/11] Perhaps doctrine after all is what is meant by the language of the first paragraph of section 2 of canon 22, which I shall read directly. But it does deal, at least in form, with both. Now here comes a preliminary inquiry. I merely broach this that you may understand we do not yield our assent to this canon, at all, except sub modo.

We can hardly be expected to ask you, to ask the Bishop of this diocese and this learned committee, when they find this canon written in the digest of their ecclesiastical law, to say that it is not constitutional. We do not now expect you to say so; but we desire to say in advance, that the counsel of Mr. Prescott do not admit that this canon is in accordance with the fundamental law of the church. We believe that, on the contrary, it is at variance with Article VIII. of the Church's Constitution, which tells us in substance that no change can be made either in its rites or in its doctrine, except in the way pointed out by that article; that at least two general conventions must pass in a certain way upon any such alteration. We believe that what is set forth in this canon is such an alteration; but while we do not expect you to enter upon any such discussion as this, and while we suppose you will take the canon as you find it, yet we do expect that the grave doubts which have been entertained and expressed as to its binding efficacy, will make you more cautious and circumspect in applying it to any proved or presumed state of facts. You will, also, of course, look with us into the circumstances under which that canon itself was passed. You cannot very well avoid this. Some of you, one of you certainly, the right reverend head of this diocese, was a member of the General Convention which passed that canon, and possibly other gentlemen here may also have been members. But you are all at least familiar with the debates in reference to this canon, the reasons assigned for its introduction, what words it originally contained, what it now contains, and what erroneous doctrine it was supposed to strike at.

It is clear that as it now stands it strikes as you and I know, at one thing only, one single thing and nothing else. It strikes at the exposition or exposure of the elements of [11/12] the communion by the priest to the people for worship,--for adoration; and in what I have to say I shall use the terms adoration and worship as synonymous. I say this with great confidence; it strikes absolutely at nothing else. Therefore when I come to read you the charge or the indictment that has been preferred here, almost everything which is contained in it must necessarily drop out of it. I may say here that I cannot for a moment suppose that the very learned Bishop who sits at the head of this diocese ever drew up this charge with his own hands. It is quite true it is subscribed with his name and his official title; but I look upon this very much as lawyers look upon a writ tested by the name of the presiding judge or the chief justice of the court, which runs in a certain form, and is merely tested by his name to vouch its validity. For the composition of it he is not responsible. It is done by the clerk of the court, frequently by the counsel who sues it out. So it must necessarily have been here. It would be improper to suppose for a moment that the Right Reverend and learned head of this church, familiar from personal knowledge with the origination of this canon, its intended scope and effect, not only its very words but its spirit, knowing, as he must have known, what gave rise to it, what concessions were made in its concoction, and in what shape it was finally promulged by the General Convention,--I say it would be improper to suppose that the Bishop did this, or that all the things which are found in this charge were placed there by his direction, or even with his knowledge.

Let us see what they are. I will first read the canon, or so much of it as is applicable. The first section we have nothing to do with. It is not touched, as I understand, by any specifications. What concerns us, reads as follows:

"If any bishop have reason to believe, or if complaint be made to him in writing by two or more of his presbyters, that within his jurisdiction, ceremonies or practices not ordained or authorized in the Book of Common Prayer, and setting forth or symbolizing erroneous or doubtful doctrines have been introduced by any minister during the celebration of the Holy Communion, such us [12/13] (a) elevation of the elements in the Holy Communion in such manner as to expose them to the view of the people as objects toward which adoration is to be made; (b) any act of adoration of or toward the elements in the Holy Communion, such as bowing, prostrations, or genuflections; and (c) all other like acts not authorized by the rubrics, etc., etc., it shall be the duty of the Bishop to summon the standing committee, etc., etc.

Let us now read the charge. The charge is, that the Bishop has "reason to believe that in St. Clement's Church in this diocese, of which parish the Rev. O. S. Prescott is rector, ceremonies and practices not ordained or authorized in the Book of Common Prayer, and setting forth or symbolizing erroneous or doubtful doctrines, have been and now are in use in said St. Clement's Church, (luring the celebration of the Holy Communion --thus far, following very properly the formula of the canon, it proceeds: Such as genuflections, prostrations, or bowings to or before the Lord's table by the clergy and choristers; the use of candles and lights in the chancel, beyond what are needed for the purpose of giving light; the wearing of various kinds of vestments and ornaments by the clergy, other than the usual recognized vestments which have been worn by the clergy of this diocese from the beginning: the elevation of the bread and wine during or after the consecration, so sis to expose them to the view of the people, as objects toward which adoration is to be made; the employment of acolytes or servers in the celebration of the Holy Communion; the celebration of the Holy Communion at times and under circumstances, when the members of the congregation are neither invited nor expected to partake; and prayers, sentences, hymns, and rites in the celebration of the Holy Communion, which are not authorized by our Book of Common Prayer; and also, the omission of what is prescribed, as for example, the exhortation to those who mind to come, and to those who come to the Holy Communion. I ask, therefore, that you will, in accordance with the provisions of canon 22, title one of the digest, investigate the same with me, and for that purpose appoint a time.

[14] Now, from this comparison of the canon with the charge, I say unhesitatingly, that you must dismiss entirely from your consideration ten of the eleven specifications found in the charge; and I speak thus emphatically, because I know that whatever is shown to you to be right, that you will do. I have intended, in saying this, to speak not in any way in a minatory tone, but because I believe absolutely that you will do that which is lawful and right, when it is shown to you. There are seven paragraphs and eleven specifications.

First.--I take up the use of candles and lights, beyond what are needed for the purposes of light. I will not go into any discussion of this; you cannot under this canon, whatever your powers may be otherwise, inflict the slightest admonition upon this gentleman for that. He is not here to answer it. While Mr. Prescott has done so in his protest, it was supererogatory on his part. The next is, the wearing of various kinds of vestments and ornaments. There are here two distinct specifications, but you must also absolutely dismiss both from consideration under this canon. The subject has no place in this indictment. And I will give you another reason, if it requires one. Our rubric is silent on the entire subject of vestments. The priest may wear any vestment not absolutely incongruous with his sacred office, or he may wear none at all. He can be censured for neither. So also as to the employment of acolytes or servers. You have nothing to do with this, whether he employs two or twenty. So, as to the celebration of the Holy Communion at times and places which this charge seems to regard as unsuitable. He is not here to answer this, and needs not to open his mouth in regard to it; nor under the canon can he be found guilty of it, nor admonished for it.

So also is it as to prayers, sentences, hymns and rites, and the specifications of acts of omission and commission under this head. It is said that some of the hymns sung are not authorized by the Book of Common Prayer. This is denied; but be it that it were true, he is not here to answer for that offense. The sole point at which this canon [14/15] was leveled, when it left the learned body from which it emanated, was the supposed abuse of adoring the elements in the Holy Communion--a point on which there is believed to exist a vital difference between ourselves and another church, or another great section of the Catholic Church, which we suppose to teach erroneously the doctrine comprehensively called "transubstantiation." There is not a word in that canon pointed at anything but just this.

I go now a little further. Reference is made in the charge, and testimony has been given, as to genuflections, prostrations and bowings. Unless you can find, as you cannot very well, for they are not so charged, that they were done as acts of adoration you have nothing to do with them. A man may bow or genuflect or prostrate himself just as often as he pleases, in coming in or going out of, or crossing the church; and, furthermore, he may cross himself (which I find to be a subject of some of the testimony here), and he or his congregation may march with banners in processional or recessional parades so long as they like, and this canon does not in any way meddle with them.

What is the history of the canon? It is too recent almost to require even a passing explanation. We know very well that after it had been pared down of the words interfering with lights and vestments, they kept in--hoping that this might also escape excision--the ceremonial of incense. Well, some one said, in calling the overzealous to their bearings, "Why, how can you say that the use of incense symbolizes erroneous doctrine, when, in the very earliest time of the olden Church, we know that it was used?" Then that too fared the fate of the candles--out it went. I do not know whether they use it in St. Clement's or not, and I do not care; but I know very well that it does not symbolize erroneous doctrine.

As to what a doubtful doctrine is I decline to discuss. There is no such thing. We are either right or we are wrong. It is a misapplication of terms. But we find it in this canon. Punish a man for a doubtful offense! Who ever heard of such a thing? The very moment you find [15/16] doubt making lodgment in your mind, that very moment you must absolve. To doubt is to acquit in a criminal case always.

And now let me go a little further still before I come to collate the evidence with the charge. I have shown that all the specifications must be swept out of the charge, except the single specification as to the elevation of the bread and wine so as to expose them for the purpose of adoration.

Before we can convict, however, before we can expose to censure, which is conviction, we must show from the testimony that the particular ceremonial or practice struck at is not ordained or authorized in the Book of Common Prayer. We here get at once upon very delicate ground, indeed. We come to the discussion of a subject as to which the greatest minds in our own and in all Christian churches have expended a vast amount of learning and of intellect; and, after all, we are bound to admit, that human nature is too imperfect to set forth in words with anything like accurate precision the great mystery involved in the Holy Communion. But we must have recourse to the article.

What is the language of our twenty-eighth article? I care not whether you take it in our own vernacular or in the Latin. There is no essential difference. The translation is wonderfully precise, and I shall use it: The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather it is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death, insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is partaking of the body of Christ, and likewise the cup of blessing is partaking of the blood of Christ. Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be approved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of the sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions. The body of Christ is given, taken and eaten in the Supper only after a [16/17] heavenly and spiritual manner, and the means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up or worshiped.

This is remarkable language. The very next article gives us an explanation of what is meant by faith, because it tells us that the wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, though they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in nowise are partakers of Christ, but rather to their condemnation do cat and drink the sacrament or sign of so great a thing.

I have marked down a few citations from the treatise of one of the most learned of the commentators, Bishop Harold Browne, not that I expect thereby to bring any light into the minds of the learned clergymen, at least, who are before me, (I have read to inform myself, not to enlighten others), but that I may keep before myself, and before you also, the true doctrine of the church upon this great point. We are told emphatically by this learned man, a most orthodox luminary of the church from which this article is taken, that the doctrine of the church is that those who commune worthily are partakers spiritually, but really, of the body and blood of Christ: and that although his natural body,--if we can speak of the natural body of the Lord after his ascent into heaven, which seems almost a contradiction of terms,--that although his natural body is not present in the elements, yet in some mysterious manner he is present to him who receives with faith. There is a real presence, spiritual it is true, but something more and beyond the general pervasion of the whole universe by the second Person of the Trinity. We cannot escape from this. It is not transubstantiation, a transmutation of the elements of bread and wine into flesh and blood, but a real, spiritual presence in the consecrated elements. And this is also the doctrine of Calvin, as well as of our church. It is a difficult matter. We all know it. We all feel it. But we are bound to admit that this article justifies the faithful [17/18] communicant in believing that in some mysterious way which the intellect of man cannot penetrate nor words adequately set forth, he has the ineffable satisfaction of knowing, provided he approaches with a sense of his own infinite unworthiness the altar of the Lord, that spiritually he has the blood and the body of that Lord united to him.

With this introduction, which I have tried to make as simple as I can in dealing with so abstruse, a doctrine, I ask what is meant by worship or adoration? To tell a creature, a worm of the earth,--made out of the dust of the earth--that he shall not humiliate himself as absolutely as he possibly can in the presence of the Almighty Creator, whether he be the first or the third Person of the Trinity, is to announce a doctrine which is incompatible with the whole scheme, not only of Christianity, but of all religion. The creature never can be too low--the Creator never can be too high. And every word of the communion service shows just what I am desiring to impress upon this committee. Every sentence, every direction in the rubric, is significant of the abasement of the creature and of the exaltation of the Creator. For instance, take the general confession. I cannot imagine, if I understand words, a more complete surrender of the sinning man or woman approaching the altar, to the power and the mercy of the Creator than this: "We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we from time to time most grievously have committed, by thought, word and deed, against thy Divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us, etc., etc." So in the Preface, so in the Sanctus at its conclusion.

But what are the rubrical directions? Mere is a point, upon which something1 may be properly noted. Without taking up too much time in reading the whole of this service, I will say to you (and you will know that I am telling you what is there) that in at least half a dozen places in the rubric we are directed not only to kneel, but to kneel humbly, devoutly, or, as the old English service says, meekly. When the communion is received all are humbly kneeling. Now, what is the meaning of this? I know very [18/19] well, and you know very well, that out of extreme caution in regard to that particular part of the rubric which requires the communicants, other than the priest who is administering the communion, to be humbly kneeling, there is a declaration in the English service which is omitted altogether in our own; and I might derive a certain amount of comfort from that for my client, but I do not care to treat the subject in so narrow a way. I say that if that declaration of 1661 was there in our Prayer Book, as it is found in the English Prayer Book, it would not make a jot of difference, because all it says is that we are not to understand that by the communicant humbly kneeling he recognizes the corporal and natural presence of Christ in those elements. Of course he does not. But what is the meaning of humbly kneeling?

Throughout this wonderful liturgy of ours--in praise of which too much cannot be said, which the longer every one accustomed to it uses, the more he or she feels its value, its wonderful beauty and power; comprehensive and particular, simple, but free from vulgarity; reaching every condition and every estate in life, saint and sinner, all alike--there is great chariness of adjectives in the rubrical directions. In the ante-communion service rarely do you find an epithet applied to any act directed to. be done. Not so when they come to the communion service. Every rubrical passage speaks of the lowness of the man and the infinite height of the Deity. What is, then, the meaning of "humbly?" It means something. I do not mean to stand upon etymology alone, although we derive light from it; but it means literally and spiritually casting yourself upon the earth. Omnibus humiliter genuflexis is not improperly rendered by "all prostrate on the ground." But etymology, after all, though of assistance to us, is not an unerring guide; and I do not dwell upon that. It surely means, however, something more than mere kneeling. What did one of the greatest judges whom Pennsylvania ever owned say, in regard to something very similar? I take the liberty of referring to it; it, throws great light upon this language.

The policy of this commonwealth at one time was, to [19/20] have controversies between man and man settled as much as possible by what are called domestic forums, arbitrators, laymen chosen from the people. Before a man could appeal from the decision given by those arbitrators, he was bound to swear that he firmly believed that injustice had been done him by the award. Nearly seventy years ago, a man dissatisfied with an award of arbitrators, appealed therefrom, and swore that he "believed injustice had been done to him." A motion was made to strike the appeal off, because the language of the oath did not comply with the requirements of the statute. It was struck off, and Chief Justice Tilghman said this: "The legislature meant something when they put in the word firmly; they meant that a man must express a more positive conviction of injustice than a mere belief. Human nature is so constituted that people will easily believe what they want to believe; but the appellant must go further than that, and must express something like an absolute conviction. Perhaps I have not made this matter very plain, but we all here know that firmly believing means something different from mere belief.'' Mr. McMurtrie knows that T am stating the law with precision, when I am telling you this.

Therefore, "humbly kneeling" means something more than kneeling; and when I find that phrase repeated again and again in this service, I know that it was intended to mean something. The very church-wardens must come up reverently with the offerings, and the priest must receive them devoutly or humbly. The language is so throughout until the dismissal. The general confession is made of course, humbly kneeling, and also the reception. The preface itself expresses very great self-abasement. Devoutly kneeling is the language of the rubric as to the communicants. They are directed to "reverently place," etc.; and the very last words almost in the service, are, ''reverently eat and drink the same."

Now, therefore, except this man, no other man--for he is the man who is charged,--except Mr. Prescott holds up the consecrated elements for the worship or adoration of the people, he may be just as humble, just as prostrate in his [20/21] heart and in his body as he wishes, and I take it upon myself to say he ought to be as much so, both in spirit and in outward manifestation, as it is possible for man to make himself. I recollect very well what a learned presbyter of this church--Doctor De Koven, whose name has been mentioned here to-night--said: "You may make me by your canons stand up when I am receiving the body and blood of my Lord, but you cannot prevent, my inwardly adoring the Saviour who laid down his life for me. I do it in spite of you. I do so because I recognize his infinite goodness to me and my infinite; unworthiness." It is not the form. That is a mere symbol, you cannot prevent the adoration if the heart is filled with it.

It may be proper to state in this place, that the last paragraph of the 28th Article of our church refers simply to the past. The language has been already quoted. "The sacrament of the Lord's Supper vas sot by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped." Here is no prohibition against any of the four acts mentioned. It is simply the statement of an historical fact, which was well known to all. It did not even profess to say that the practice of the early church forbade reservation, circumgestation, elevation or adoration. It did not so say, because the practice of the primitive church, beginning certainly as early as the second century of our era, was the reverse on some of those points. This is clearly shown by Bishop Forbes in his explanation of tins article. It was reserved from the earliest time and carried about; and in this respect the practice of the Scottish Episcopal Church has been the same from the time of it separate establishment. Whether it was anciently lifted up for the purpose of adoration is not so certain. There is, however, no language in the Article inhibiting this.

Let us see then if there is anything in the testimony which justifies your committee in condemning the Reverend Mr. Prescott under the canon. It reads: "If after investigation it shall appear to the Bishop and standing committee that ceremonies or practices not ordained or authorized as aforesaid and setting forth or symbolizing erroneous or [21/22] doubtful doctrines have in fact been introduced as aforesaid,"--which are words of limitation of course and refer to the specific charge throughout,--"it shall be the duty of the bishop to admonish." Now, I desire to know what the testimony is to justify anything pointed out or struck at by this language. I have shown that everything except what is called the elevation of the Bread and Wine--the Elements--for the purpose of adoration, must be stricken out; because unless genuflections and prostrations are done with that special purpose, eo intuitu, they have no place here, and you cannot by this drag net at the end, "all other like acts," bring them in. The merest tyro in criminal law knows this cannot be done; they must be acts ejusdem generis. A vestment is not an act; nor is an acolyte an act. An acolyte is a person, not an act. Nor is a procession an act in this sense. Nor is what one of the witnesses called the "kyrie" an act. It is nothing but the Greek-Latin, Kyrie eleison; which we say, or should say, every day--"Lord, have mercy upon us." Nor are particular hymns or prayers, such as were referred to in the testimony, acts. When I heard the testimony as to some of the obnoxious words, there came into my mind the language of one of the oldest hymns in our church--the old original church--addressed to the third person of the Trinity:

"Lava quod est sordidum.
Riga quod est aridum,
Sana quod est saucium."

You are all, doubtless, familiar with it. It is one of the seven great hymns. "Wash what is unclean, water what is dry, heal what is wounded." You may call this rhetorical language. It is the language of the heart incensed with devotional feeling, and seeking to express this feeling in words. It is nothing more. Why, there is no Methodist who does not say the same thing every Sunday of his life, perhaps even much more emphatically. It is the mere attempt of the poor, imperfect creature to express his absolute sinfulness, and his gratitude for his Saviour's infinite love and mercy. There is nothing more in this. But even if there were, it must pass.

[23] But show us in any part of this testimony where this presbyter whose action is being investigated holds up for adoration these elements to the people. It cannot be done. There may be an array of counsel to make the attempt, but it will defy the ingenuity of man to find anything like this in any of these statements--statements all made, I undertake to say, with the strongest possible bias. It is testimony sought out for the purpose of conviction; and yet, when scrutinized with anything like fairness, it fails to reach the mark. These gentlemen who testify are, I doubt not, good men. But they are prejudiced, a film is over their eyes. I do not doubt their sincerity. I am not here to stand in judgment upon anybody. I am here to try, in my humble way, to assert the rights of a man under an ecclesiastical indictment. But, just consider for a moment. Here is Doctor King, one of the best men in the world, and who, I believe, spoke, as he said he intended to speak, as conscientiously as if under the sanction of an oath or affirmation. Doctor King saw two chalices. He doubled, them unconsciously. There was no such thing. He heard the organ playing the whole time. It was not so: not even in that lower tone which I have heard in other churches. But it was not there during the communion service at St. Clement's. Yet that fair-minded, excellent man, unconsciously imagined two things which did not exist. When a man sets about it, he will generally find what he wants. Human nature is so constituted that you can always find it if you want it. Take the purest and best man that ever lived, and get an astute person to pick flaws in his character; he will convict him of the seven deadly sins before he leaves him. If he has not committed them in fact, it will be found that he has at least thought them; and we have authority for saying that the criminal thought is as bad as the criminal act. A man may be a murderer in his heart, although he never strikes a fatal blow; and, by this kind of reasoning, we may convict any one. But courts of justice--and this is a court of justice--do not deal in this way. They have regard to the infirmities of men. They deal with realities, not with imaginings.

[24] But, what did Doctor King say? He was asked to state what he saw with reference to the elevation of the elements. After his mind had been turned to the subject, he tells us that the man had a large coat upon his back. I suppose they call it a coat. He said it was a garment with gold stripes on the back. He was standing with his back to the congregation, and he says it spread over a considerable distance.

Doctor King then stated as follows: I cannot say that I saw him do any act, so far as the consecration of the elements was concerned, except that I saw him raise the paten above his head, and also the cup above his head. At that time the Rev. Mr. Prescott was sitting on the right hand, facing the chancel in the church by himself. Whether he was sitting or kneeling I can't say. After the consecration of the elements, and after a sufficient time had elapsed, it seemed to me, for the officiating clergyman to partake of them, the Rev. Mr. Prescott went up from his seat with a genuflection, bowing as he, went up to the altar, as they call it, or as it is called. He took from Mr. Longridge two cups.

Well, that part is imaginary. Now, supposing that Mr. Prescott is answerable for what his assistant did, as Mr. McMurtrie seemed to think he was, what did that assistant do? All that he did was this: While he was consecrating and preparatorily to his own partaking, he raised the cup, if you please, and the paten. Is that the offense charged in this canon? Let us look at it again. Don't let us runaway with the thing: let us look at it fairly. " The elevation of the elements of the Holy Communion in such manner as to expose them to the view of the people as objects of adoration." Now, I can understand that if a man turns around and comes down you might have perhaps drawn an inference; but to say that when a man stands with his back to the congregation engaged in what might be aptly called a private act of devotion, to wit, his own partaking of the sacred elements, to call that an exposition for adoration to the people, I say nothing lint a predetermined purpose to find guilt where guilt does not exist would induce any [24/25] tribunal great or small to find that that man is guilty of the offense here charged. It is most remote from it. He was then asked the following question on cross-examination: "You stated something about when the cup was raised above Mr. Longridge's head. Did you not mean above Mr. Prescott's head?

"Answer.--Mr. Longridge had the cup at that time when he consecrated the elements.

"Question.--When Mr. Prescott raised the cup, how did he raise it?

"A. I can't say that he raised it any more than to the level of his chest."

This in not elevating in the sense of the canon, at all. He further says:' "I don't remember that there was anything special at the moment of the raising of the cup which could have called my attention to it." Is this an act of exposure to the congregation for adoration? See how the cross-examination puts the matter in its plain natural light.

We must bear in mind, not only here, but throughout the consideration of the testimony, that the act of the priest in turning towards the people with the elements in his hands, is really a silent invitation to them to approach, and may have been mistaken for an elevation for the purpose of adoration, provided always the minds of the witnesses were turned in that direction. The statement of Mr. Prescott, himself, on printed page 5, is worthy of consideration in this connection. Mr. Redner, from whose testimony I extract all that really bears upon this point, tells us, in speaking of the elevation of the bread and wine, that it was done during the prayer of consecration, and with the priest's back to the people; and, after the consecration was over, he saw no elevation whatsoever. I purposely omit any reference to the witness's testimony as to processions, bowings, supposed omissions of prayers, kneelings, hymns, and the like, since I have already shown that they have no place in this inquiry.

The Rev. Mr. Johnson's testimony covers two different times. On one of them Mr. Prescott was not present at all, [25/26] and I shall therefore only notice the occasion on which he is said to have been present, He tells us that he saw the celebrant, Mr. Mortimer, hold up a large wafer, apparently before the consecration, and after consecration turn and hold up the paten before the congregation, facing them. This witness spoke of an intensification of the attitudes of reverence when the elements were afterwards elevated. If he inferred, which is not very clear from his language, that this was during the turning of the priest towards the congregation to invite them to approach, as is invariably done, it really has no bearing upon the point which is being investigated. The priest, or celebrant, must necessarily, when he is standing in front of the congregation giving them the silent bidding to approach, hold the sacred elements in his hands.

The Rev. Mr. Butler, after describing the brilliant illumination of the chancel and the coining in of the persons whom he is pleased to call performers, headed by a crucifer, and speaking of the difficulty in his making out what the service was, testified, that "after the elements were placed on the altar, there was a tendency on the part of all those persons in the chancel"--he didn't particularly observe the congregation--"to be in a constant motion, and implying in different ways adoration to what was there placed." When asked to describe the acts definitely, he spoke of them as kneeling and bowing of the head at different times. He also spoke of two candles being raised, with an evident intention of expressing adoration, as done in the Church of Rome. He also said that those were known in the Church of Rome as acts of adoration. He also stated that the celebrant might have partaken of the Holy Communion. The acts, however, which he described as acts of adoration, he said, took place at the pronouncing of the words, "This is my body," and "This is my blood." The witness was uncertain whether Mr. Prescott was officiating or not, although the person resembled him. He spoke without positiveness. This gentleman was also, as he said, to some extent taking notes during the service, though he thought he did not do very much of it.

[27] After the testimony had apparently been closed, two other witnesses were called at the request of the committee--Messrs. Wells and Harold Goodwin. Mr. Wells was present at what seems to have been a memorial service in regard to the late Doctor DeKoven. All that he says bearing upon the only point at issue is, that "at the close of the Sanctus, Father Prescott proceeded with the consecration, elevating the elements in turn above his head," and that "at the end of the prayer of consecration, the celebrant and the deacon, who was Father Maturin, communicated and then turned towards the congregation, holding up respectively the paten and chalice, making the sign of the cross. This attitude was preserved for the space of a minute or more, and was responded to by three gentlemen who advanced from the naves and aisles, making a genuflection at the lower step of the chancel, and receiving the sacred elements. The officiating priest then returned to the altar, each bending the knee as the elements were replaced upon it." When he was pointedly asked whether the people performed any acts of adoration or worship towards the elements, he answered, "1 have just mentioned the case of throe members of the congregation who communicated, who made these genuflections upon approaching and retiring from the chancel. I do not remember of observing anything else of that, kind." The whole of the rest of this witness's testimony referred to the various portions of the service which he characterized as the Mass. He referred to certain omissions in the service, and told us the epistle was taken from the fourth chapter of first Thessalonians, thirteenth to sixteenth verses inclusive. Why this epistle was thus carefully particularized, I am unable to conjecture. It would seem, however, that in a memorial service, the assuring comfort contained in this portion of the Scriptures was not very inappropriate. It would seem that, when the persons present were still suffering under the loss of a great presbyter, to be reminded that if they believed that Jesus died and rose again, "even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him," could hardly he regarded as out of place; and that it can never be inappropriate to any church service to be told, that [27/28] "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first." Had Mr. Prescott, or whoever selected the portion of the Scriptures to be read on that occasion, been at all aware of what was to follow in consequence, perhaps he might not have thought it inappropriate to have begun the epistle with the eleventh, instead of the thirteenth verse.

You have the testimony of Mr. Goodwin, referring to a service which took place on the 20th of June, 1878, which he called Corpus Christi day. The greater part of the witness's testimony referred to particular prayers used, which he did not recognize as in our prayer book, and possibly as to certain omissions. This service took place in the chapel, I quote every word that he said in regard to the point involved in this discussion:

"Question.--Were there any bowings or prostrations on the part of the people during the celebration?

"Answer.--Yes, several; some bowed more than others; at the time of the consecration and elevation of the bread or host, or whatever you call it, they all bowed profoundly; some in the aisle, and I should have said that their noses went on the pavement: I don't know, of course, about that; in the case of a lady's veil hanging around her face, I can't say precisely within how many inches she went."

This is, in substance, the whole testimony to support the charge that has been made. How utterly inadequate to the purpose, it is easy to see. The last two witnesses really do not touch it. Bearing in mind what Mr. Prescott has told us, that a witness might readily mistake the intention of the priest when turning to the congregation with the sacred elements in his hands as a silent invitation to them to come forward to commune, all difficulty disappears. So far as the term elevation is appropriate to the raising up of the bread and wine, it is plain that it took place only during the consecration, and while the priest was engaged in this act, and with his back to the congregation. There is not a word to support the notion that in the language of the canon there was an "elevation of the elements in the Holy [28/29] Communion in such manner as to expose them to the view of the people as objects towards which adoration is to be made." That communicants and others, profoundly impressed with the dignity of this sacrament, and the wonderful mystery contained in it, as well as others of the congregation did, by the humility of their postures and other devotional acts, express their adoration of the Deity (not of the elements), may be assumed, but that any adoration of the elements themselves took place, was demanded, sought for, desired or intended, either by priest or people, is totally denied, and has certainly not been shown by any testimony offered--very far from it.

Having thus gone over the testimony to show that no foundation exists for the valid specification of the charge which can stand, what remains to be said? We believe that the whole charge and proceeding should fall, for two sufficient reasons:

First.--Because there is no proof whatever of offense under the only valid specification of the charge. Secondly.--As all the other specifications are bad, the whole charge should fall. First.--If we keep in mind what was the purpose of this canon, and what alone it was designed to strike at, and that what was designed by it should be unequivocally proven, there would seem to be no difficulty in saying that no case has been presented upon this point. We have, in the first place, the denial of the party cited to appear and be heard in his defense. The testimony, wherever it speaks of a raising up of the elements, is confined to the act of consecration by the celebrant, and no other acts are shown to have been done than the usual and proper turning towards the congregation, by way of invitation to come forward. If, indeed, the testimony presented, which it does not, a case of doubt, it would be the duty of the committee, having regard to well-known principles of punitive law, to absolve. As has been said before, the lodgment of a sufficient doubt in the mind of the judge as to the commission of the offense, is necessarily to absolve the accused.

Secondly.--As the charge is, in reality, an indictment [29/30] containing many different specifications or counts, and as all but one are bad, what becomes of the whole charge? In an English criminal court of justice it would not stand for a moment. The law was so laid down, after great consideration, in O'Connell's case. I am willing to admit, however, that in this State the law is technically otherwise. But there are, nevertheless, sufficing reasons for saying that, in the present case, the whole charge should altogether fall. I shall proceed to give them. Here is a charge composed of nine or ten specifications, which, it has been seen, have no place in the trial. They refer to acts of commission and acts of omission. They have not only been put forward prominently in the letter addressed by the Bishop to the standing committee, but testimony to a very large extent has been given in regard to all of them. I have already shown, however, that none of them come within the category of "other like acts," referred to in the canon. They may or may not be in accord with the views of the several members of the standing committee, or of all of them. It is impossible to say how this is; but if they are acts looked upon with disfavor by even a single member of this committee, then their introduction into the charge, and their support by testimony, has been calculated to do Mr. Prescott a very great injustice. They will necessarily, though perhaps unconsciously, tinge the mind and the judgment of his triers, and give color to, or have a tendency to color, the only charge which he is bound to defend himself against. How is it possible for a judge who believes that many or any of the practices which have been detailed at so much length, and which he believes to be inconsistent with the due worship set forth in the service of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States--how is it possible that he will not look with disfavor and bias upon a person charged, it is true, with another totally distinct offense, but who permits these other ceremonial acts to take place in the church of which he is the pastor? How can his triers free themselves from this influence? It is very easy to say that while these charges have been made and testimony has been largely received in their support, "We will dismiss them altogether from consideration and [30/31] hold our minds and judgment to the one single specification which is correct." But while we may say this, we shall find it so hard to do, that no right-minded tribunal should suffer itself to be placed in such a dilemma. It is asking of it more than can rightly be expected. It is like the receiving of testimony, where a man is placed upon his trial for murder, of acts of turpitude committed by him in other totally distinct directions, such as having at one time committed an act of perjury, or forgery, or of theft, or of arson. Their tendency is irresistible. It is of course to poison the minds of the tribunal in whose keeping the question of the accused's guilt or innocence is placed; and when such testimony has been received, and largely, as it is impossible to say what its effect may not have been, the trial is no trial at all, and must be set aside. And all this applies with enormous force to an investigation like the present. Disguise it as we may, these inquiries necessarily, to an extent greater or smaller, will assume the character of partisanship; furthermore, as was shown in the outset of my remarks, there is reason to believe that at least a respectable portion of the church thinks that the canon in question is in conflict with the fundamental law of the church. What, then, is the part of wisdom in such a case? Is it not undoubtedly for the standing committee to say, "This charge, in its concoction, in its presentation, in the evidence offered in support of it, contains so much extraneous, inconsistent and illegal matter, that we must ignore it altogether. Sitting as we are sitting, as inquirers, and as triers, too, the only safe course for us to adopt is, to say that until a charge is presented in strict accordance with the canon and supported by evidence bearing upon the charge itself and nothing more, we will not permit ourselves to exercise the function which the canon confers upon us only in the cases prescribed by it?" We, therefore, on behalf of Mr. Prescott, trust that for one or both of the reasons just stated, you will absolve him by your judgment.

It may not, however, be out of place to say a few words in conclusion which bear generally upon the case. I have always supposed, or to put it impersonally, it has [31/32] always been supposed, that one of the great points of value of our church is, that good men of very extreme, or even the most extreme--yea, even of opposite--opinions on some points, may sit together on its broad platform. Its articles have been described by learned expositors, as Calvinistic, as Lutheran, as designed only to exclude the abettors of popery, and as compatible with the Tridentine doctrine. They include, or certainly should not exclude, the believer who partakes in spirit only of the sacrament, as well as him who regards actual participation as necessarily essential. The sainted Elizabeth Fry, whose life was a mission of mercy, might surely sit in the same church with the holy Keble. This church rejoices in a vast number of martyrs, confessors, and holy persons, of very different opinions. Under its broad banners have been found such men--now resting from their labors--as the spotless Bishop White, Doctor Arnold unwearied in good works, the fervent Simeon, the heroic Henry Martyn, and the no less heroic Frederick Robertson. Why must we disturb those who differ from us in such matters as have been so largely referred to in this investigation? Why drag a man into judgment for wearing a cross upon his back, or carrying a cross in procession in his hands, when he is striving, and measurably succeeding, in imitating Him who was nailed to the cross for our common advantage? Can it not be seen that many of the acts which have been referred to whilst we have been sitting here, and which have been described as performances, reach classes in the community which otherwise would not be reached at all? And who are the clergymen--who are the men--who are being pursued, and who perhaps are to be pursued in the future? They are men who are acting out, so far as they understand it, both in spirit and in deed, the noble profession which they have assumed. They are to be found everywhere, where sin, and sickness, and sorrow, are making their ravages. They are certainly examples of that pure and undefiled religion which we are told consists in visiting the widow and the fatherless in their affliction, and in keeping one's self unspotted from the world. Surely we do not [32/33] require to be told that as to love, joy, peace, long suffering,--against such there is no law: that there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord--or to be reminded that though we bestow all our goods upon the poor, and though we give our bodies to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth nothing.

What then? Shall it be said that men are to be allowed to introduce practices into the church contrary to its traditions, contrary to its doctrines, contrary to its ritual, and go unpunished? We have endeavored to show that nothing which has been done by the Reverend Mr. Prescott is contrary to these things, but that all that he has done is sustained, doctrinally and ritually, by the church of which he is a priest.

But suppose, for the sake of the argument and no further, that he and those who are serving with him have, in some respects, been deviating, as they are said to have done. What is the part of Christian wisdom? Is it not to see whether the good which they are performing does not greatly outweigh the possible evil which may be introduced by permitting them to go on ''. Should not great results be regarded, and not the petty acts of difference by which it is said their conduct is marked? Be assured, moreover, that tender forbearance, affectionate remonstrance, are always much stronger persuasives than denunciations and accusations. I would say, therefore, if they have done any of the dreadful things which are found enumerated in the charge against them,

"Be to their faults a little blind,
Be to their virtues ever kind."

And you may be certain that, though they may stray away for a little while, like the lost sheep of a very early acquaintance of all of us, "if you let them alone, they will soon come home," and perhaps even curtailed of the vestments which have given so much offense to the very excellent but hypersensitive brethren who have been exercising themselves so much in regard to the offenses of Doctor Prescott and his fellows,


Mr. Bishop and Gentlemen, of the Standing Committee:

In addition to what Mr. Biddle has so ably and eloquently addressed to this Committee, I desire to engage their attention by a very brief statement.

We believe, and have no doubt that it will be so held when the question is tested, that the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States cannot legislate upon her worship in any other way than by rubric, nor upon her doctrine, in any other way than by an article of religion.

And when the church undertakes to say that certain things shall not be done in public worship, it is the same, in principle, as saying that certain things shall be done. Both are alike rubrical. And it is fundamental law that the church cannot make or change, enlarge or abridge rubrics by way of canon. If these proceedings, therefore, result as they may, in a trial, the constitutionality of this canon is the preliminary question that will have to be determined. If determined by the proper legal forum adversely to our views, then, it will have to be determined whether these alleged practices and ceremonies do symbolize erroneous or doubtful doctrines; and it will also have to be determined, what is an erroneous doctrine; and the wit of man will have to be exercised in determining1 also what is a doubtful doctrine.

But before this Committee, and in this stage of the proceedings, and treating the canon as if it were perfectly valid, the question with regard to it is, what does it prohibit or condemn? It was enacted by the General Convention of 1874. It was reported to the Convention by a committee of thirteen. Their labors attracted great attention. They were inundated by all sorts of proposals. The iconoclasts were abroad. The Rev. Dr. Fulton, who submitted the canon on behalf of the committee, speaking of the multitudinous specifications that some people wanted to introduce into it, said: "In one paper before us I distinctly remember there were eleven paragraphs containing about thirty [34/35] distinct specifications, and about the small number of three thousand possibilities." Lights, vestments, acolytes, the cross, everything that adds to the dignity and beauty of the worship of Almighty God, was to be stricken down. But the committee resisted the pressure, and reported the canon with only four specifications. Among these were incense and the crucifix; but the House of Bishops, with that dignity and wisdom which characterize their acts, and enlightened, presumably, by Divine influence, promptly struck them out. To the House of Bishops, then, we owe it, that incense and the crucifix are still retained in the spiritual armory of the church.

The canon was then left with but two specifications. Why? The committee have told us:

"It was evident to the minds of many of us" said Doctor Fulton, "that there was a growing variety of services throughout the land: that the aesthetic faculty had been brought as never before into our worship of Almighty God; that the churches of Christ throughout this country had been seeking to allure men to the worship, and to the love of Christ, and it was felt by many of us that it would be a dangerous thing and a wrong thing to break down these aesthetic tendencies used for so high, so holy, and so noble a purpose. . . . And, sir, I beg to say on the part of the committee on canons, that in regard to these things there was no disposition to crush, nor the slightest disposition to repress."

Referring to vestments as a question which had had a factitious doctrinal meaning attached to it, and which did not belong to it, he added: "Processional hymns, recessional hymns, Sunday-school children's crosses, vestments of more or less beauty--these things are left entirely out. I trust the time has gone by when this church can be pestered out of its dignity by proposed legislation on any such subjects as these."

Actuated by such sentiments and motives, sentiments and motives that did that committee the highest honor, they confined their specifications to four points, two of which, as we have seen, were stricken out by the Bishops, leaving these two only, namely:--

[36] (1) The elevation of the elements in the Holy Communion in such manner as to expose them to the view of the people as objects towards which adoration is to be made.

(2) Any act of adoration of or towards the elements in the Holy Communion, such as bowings, prostrations, genuflections.

These are the specifications, and then follows the general clause:--and

(a) All other like acts not authorized by the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer.

What are like acts? Why assuredly upon every canon of interpretation, acts of the same nature, personal acts, acts of posture. And assuredly, too, you cannot rebuke the General Convention, and inject into their enactment what that Convention upon deliberate consideration refused to put into it, and carefully excluded from it. Why, then, in addition to the two specifications adopted by the General Convention, are we confronted, in a proceeding under this canon, with other specifications that have no relation to it? Why are lights, and vestments, and servers, and other things included in the provisions of canon 22, title 1, of the Digest, as matters for your investigation? They have already been investigated by the highest authority of the church, by its General Convention, and that body has said that it has not the slightest disposition to repress them?

We submit, therefore, that nearly all the specifications in this act of accusation have relation to things not prohibited or condemned by this canon. Has this committee the courage to say, that the remaining specifications are unlawful, and that they have been sustained by the evidence, and such evidence! as has been produced in the course of this investigation?

We live in an age when science and philosophy have greatly curtailed the influence of the clergy, and sapped the foundations of belief among large numbers of the refined and educated. Why, at such a time, when the common energies should be employed to resist the common enemy, and to strengthen the defences which are so fiercely assailed, should we allow ourselves to be disquieted and [36/37] distracted because somebody lights a candle, or wears a party-colored vestment, or looks with reverence at an image of our Lord, or of his Mother, or of his Saints, or sings a hymn, or repeats a verse of Scripture a moment before or a moment after the time when somebody else thinks it should he sung or said?

A congregation of a thousand souls, a congregation, I will undertake to say, as devout and as energetic in all that concerns the common faith as any other in this diocese or in this land, a congregation that has never intermeddled with, or arraigned any of its brethren, and which, in an age of unbelief, has apparently believed more fully and reverently than others, has been continually hawked at, and publicly assailed whenever a public opportunity has offered, by those who loathe the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, and denude the Eucharist of all its characteristic lineament and essential properties, and who would convert the church into a conventicle, ill-disguised by a thin coating of Episcopalian varnish.

An occasion has now arisen, when the members of this committee may, if they are so minded, bring this unseemly and injurious warfare to an end. It is impossible by repressive legislation to stay the march of events. It is written that the services of the church shall conform to their original intention, and to the advancing sentiments, tastes and feelings of the generation that is coming rapidly forward, and will soon push us from our stools. By opposing the inevitable we create unavailing strife, distract the church, and subvert its dignity and its influence.

The opinion or argument of R. C. McMurtrie, Esq., on behalf of the prosecution, was handed, as the counsel of the Rev. Mr. Prescott were informed, to the chairman of the standing committee. They have failed thus far to obtain a copy of it; otherwise it would have appeared in these pages, and at this stage of the proceedings. They regret the omission of Mr. McMurtrie's opinion or argument, because they are persuaded it would, both in its positive and negative character; both in what it affirmed and in what it denied, have added strength to the arguments adduced on behalf of the accused.

Tuesday, March 16, 1880.


Right Reverend Bishop, Mr. President, and Gentlemen of the Standing Committee:

If there is any time when a lawyer is not at home, it is when he is called upon to discuss abstruse theological questions. I profess no skill in that direction, and therefore shall escape, as much as I can, discussion of such questions before this learned body. There is the more reason why I should do so in the fact that my colleague. Mr. Biddle, has already done ample justice to that branch of the case, and I know full well that I could add nothing to the strength of his argument. Nor shall I attempt to go over again what my colleague, Mr. Flanders, has submitted on the questions concerning the constitutional validity of the canon under which these proceedings are progressing. My purpose is to confine my remarks chiefly to some considerations which the argument of Mr. McMurtrie, last evening, has suggested. Then, let us turn, first, to the first branch of that argument, which relates to the constitutionality and construction of the addition to the canon numbered 22. To what extent that canon infringes the fundamental law of the church appears to me to be an important inquiry, and that the result, of it ought to influence this body in dealing with the case in hand.

There has never been a time since 1829, when the canon prohibiting the preaching or inculcating heretical doctrines was passed by the General Convention, that a clergyman could not be tried, and, if found guilty, punished for teaching erroneous doctrine. Long before the canon now under consideration was passed, we had the canon numbered 2 of title two of Digest, which provides that every minister of this church shall be liable to presentment and trial for the offense of holding and teaching publicly or privately, and advisedly, any doctrine contrary to that held by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of [39/40] America. So that if it be true that the rector of St. Clement's church has advisedly taught erroneous doctrine, or doctrine contrary to that held by the Protestant Episcopal Church in this country, publicly or privately, by symbols or by word of mouth, or by both, the means of presenting and trying and punishing him for the offense were always open to any three presbyters who were willing to take it upon their consciences to make the charge, and upon their hands to prosecute it. That canon remains a law of the church.

Such a trial must be initiated, proceeded with, and completed under the ample canon of this diocese, which is now numbered 18, and which provides in what manner a clergyman shall be presented, and the preliminary investigation of his case shall be had, how the court shall be constituted, and the trial shall proceed. It could not properly be otherwise, because the sixth article of the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, provides that "in every diocese the mode of trying presbyters and deacons may be instituted by the convention of the diocese.'' It is within the power of the General Committee to define offenses for which clergymen may be tried: but the mode of trying the accused, from the moment the accusation is made in form to the end of the proceeding, was reserved to the dioceses from the beginning, and never passed into the control of the General Convention. That convention is inhibited by the constitution of the church from creating any such tribunal.

The General Convention is a body created by the constitution to which I have referred, and is bound and limited in power by its provisions. If that body has undertaken to enact the gentlemen who are here into a tribunal for the investigation or trial in any degree of the case of a clergyman accused of teaching false or erroneous doctrine in the diocese of Pennsylvania, I submit, that that Convention has overstepped the constitutional limit imposed upon its action. I believe the canon under which the Right Reverend Bishop and this Standing Committee are now acting to be of that nature and character, and therefore that is, one of the reasons which I assign against its, validity. Other reasons, doctrinal and rubrical, I understand to have been submitted by my colleague, Mr. Flanders. There are such reasons against the validity of the canon 22, which have been extensively accepted in the church, and are known to have stood in the way of its enforcement in other dioceses. I do not propose to repeat them. My desire is to view the case before you more particularly from a lawyer's standpoint. The reason assigned now, is dwelt upon for a few minutes only, because it is in the line of the remarks that I submit for your consideration.

You will hardly need to be reminded that an enactment which violates the fundamental law, whether in the church or in the state, binds nobody. It ought not to bind anybody. It is an unnatural monster at best, and it has do force, either in the forum of conscience, or in the forum of law. To give force and effect to the penalties prescribed by such an enactment, is sheer tyranny; and it would be no easy matter for a just man to justify to his own conscience, that he took a hand in such a performance as that.

Mr. McMurtrie has argued that the proceeding before you is not a trial. He has taken some pains to impress this view upon you. You are not trying a charge. The canon under which you are acting is not punitive. This is only an investigation, and it can only result in admonition. If the admonition is disregarded, then there may be a trial of the clergyman for a breach of his ordination vow. This is substantially Mr. McMurtrie's line of argument when he construes the canon number 22; and he submits some other views to which I will advert presently. Now allow me to say that I dispute this construction of the canon. All ecclesiastical trials, under the system adopted by this church, begin with a specific charge in writing, which is followed by a preliminary investigation, and then by the more formal conclusion which is usually spoken of as the trial. But that proceeding from the beginning to the end, is the trial of the clergyman, within the purview of our system of trial. It begins with the accusation or indictment, and it ends with the judgment and sentence. What [41/42] intervenes are only interlocutory stages of the trial. See the canon of this diocese numbered 17.

Now, the charges in this case are contained in the Bishop's letter to Doctor Prescott, notifying him of them, and citing him to appear before this tribunal on account of them. Are they not charges, and very grave charges, to array against any minister of this church? Read them again, if you doubt it. They are, in brief, that he is a teacher of false doctrine, by means of symbols and ceremonies such as are there specifically set, forth. Now what is going on here is, that you are holding an investigation of the truth of those charges, and witnesses have been called and examined to sustain them; and all that for the purpose of promoting further proceedings in the case. Is not all this in the course and in the nature of trial? It is true that there is to be a pause for admonition, if your present investigation shall result in a certain way; but unless things about which you are now inquiring are abandoned in the mean time, what is commonly spoken of as the trial is to follow. I still contend, therefore, that the addition to canon 22, under which you are acting, is within the provision of the sixth article of the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and that it is a plain invasion of the provisions of the canon of this diocese numbered 17, enacted in conformity with the constitution, and which prescribes the mode in which the cases of accused clergymen shall be dealt with in the diocese of Pennsylvania. And when you come to consider this aspect of the case, you may find in it a reason why this is the first experimental prosecution that has been instituted in any diocese under the canon in question. It is now nearly six years since it was passed, and although the ritual ceremonies such as are complained of as being in use at St. Clement's, perhaps all, certainly most of them, have been regularly and continuously used and practiced in at least six dioceses, this is the first attempt at prosecution under the canon now invoked. The disposition to prosecute was not wanting in those dioceses, but there has been a lack of confidence in the validity of the canon.

[43] Mr. Biddle has said that you are not expected to decide that the canon is unconstitutional. I concur in that. Unfortunately, the church has not yet created a tribunal to consider and determine such questions. But there may come a time, and at no distant day, when the necessity for such a tribunal will be made so apparent by the conflicting decisions in different dioceses upon just such questions as are involved in this case, that to abstain longer from the creation of such, a tribunal will be to breed confusion and discord throughout the church. Allow me to suggest, nevertheless, that although you may not be competent to "decide" upon the constitutionality of the canon, yet, if it shall appear to your minds, as it has to the minds of others, that the canon has been enacted in opposition to the sixth article of the constitution, and that it is a plain invasion of our diocesan canon numbered 17, and of the time-honored and exclusive right of the diocese of Pennsylvania to provide her own tribunals for the trial of her own offending clergy, and to prescribe the mode of such trials, that then, and influenced by such considerations, you may very well recognize that the canon has no binding force here, and follow the example of the bishops and clergy of half a dozen other dioceses in which ritualistic symbols and ceremonies are practiced, and give the go by to such a canon. But few exclusive rights were reserved to this diocese when the constitution was adopted and the General Convention came into existence under it, and it seems to me that those few rights ought to be scrupulously guarded against both insidious and open invasion.

A few words only, in reference to the proviso at the end of the addition to canon 22: "Provided that nothing herein contained shall prevent the presentment, trial and punishment of any minister under the provisions of section 1 of canon 2 of title II of the Digest." This does not interfere with the argument; indeed it has no importance that I can see. The section 1 of canon 2 referred to, is that one which defines the offenses for which ministers may be tried. The canon 22 appears to be intended to create a new or additional offense, and to provide an [43/44] original method of dealing with it. If the proviso was intended to guard against a repeal by implication, of the section of the former canon mentioned in it, then it was unnecessary, though harmless, because the doctrine of repeal by implication has no place in the church's system of legislation. And if the proviso was intended to signify that the General Convention did not intend to prevent the presentment, trial and punishment of a minister according to the provisions of the canons of the several dioceses, then it is of no importance, because the General Convention has not the power to trench upon or repeal any of those canons, if it would.

Mr. McMurtrie's argument assumes that the rector of St. Clement's is guilty of all that the Bishop's letter imputes to the clergy of that church. It is not, necessary to consume time in examining either the charges or the testimony in detail. I understand the argument to concede, however, that some only of the charges can be maintained under his construction of the canon, that others are doubtful, and that some of thorn may as well be abandoned altogether, as they are not covered by the phrase "all other like acts not authorized," etc. This appears to throw out of the case the use of lights and vestments, and the employment of acolytes or servers, as referred to in the Bishop's letter.

Mr. Olmsted: But what Mr. McMurtrie says, does not bind the committee.

Mr. Price: I agree that it does not. Although Mr. McMurtrie's paper has been submitted to the committee as an opinion which he was asked to furnish, yet you will find that it is really a close argument against the rector of St. Clement's, on all the points which can he made against him, on an extreme construction of the canon. But notwithstanding all this, it was found to be unavoidable to doubt some of the charges, and to abandon others. I cannot conceive it possible that the committee will desire to go beyond the argument for the prosecution.

Now Mr. Biddle submitted, that under a proper construction of the canon, none in this catalogue of charges should be considered, except those three matters which are [44/45] specified in it, to wit: the elevation of the elements in the Holv Communion, in such manner as to expose them to the view of the people as objects towards which adoration is to be made; any act of adoration of or towards those elements, such as bowings, prostrations, or genuflections; and all other like acts not authorized or allowed by the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer. And he has submitted in strong argument, that the "all other like acts," must be referred to those which are enumerated. It means acts like those. It does not mean lights or vestments, for example, which are not acts. It does not mean the singing of hymns or sentences. But one branch of Mr. McMurtrie's argument would relate the "all other like acts," to the "ceremonies" mentioned at the beginning of the first section of the canon, which are not acts at all. This cannot be the true construction. There is a rule for interpreting doubtful phrases and words in statutes, and that is to interpret such a phrase or word by reference to the immediate context. The plain context here, is the elevation of the elements--an act--the act of adoration, and then the "all other like acts," all having reference to the celebration of the Holy Communion, and to that alone. This construction of the phrase is natural and reasonable, which it is always important to observe in the interpretation of a law: while the other construction is strained and unnatural, and gives latitude for the introduction of anything that the accuser may please to call a ceremony. Such construction of a punitive canon ought not to he adopted. Under such a construction you might import into the canon as prohibited offenses, various of the ceremonies which, as is well known, the Convention that made that canon refused to prohibit.

Then having regard for a reasonable construction of the canon, the charges which relate to the use of lights, the wearing of certain vestments, the employment of acolytes or servers and such like, necessarily go out of the case, and much of the testimony delivered by witnesses fails to be of any importance.

There has been a strange variety of testimony listened to by this body. Persons have narrated what they saw [45/46] and heard, or believed they had seen and heard, and what they had been told by other persons at St. Clement's, from whom explanations were asked. Doubtless the witnesses testified to the best of their knowledge and belief, whatever that may amount to, but most of them testified under considerable bias and feeling against ritual service, and St. Clement's church generally. One of the charges against the rector is the elevation of the bread and wine during or after the consecration of the same, so as to expose them to the view of the people, as objects towards which adoration is to be made. And there is also the charge of genuflections, prostrations and bowings before the Lord's table, by the clergy and choristers. This charge is, of course, to be referred to the consecrated elements, and it has been treated as showing that there was in fact, adoration of them by the clergy and choristers. This supposed fact has been utterly denied, however, and I will refer more particularly to it presently. But if we are to credit the statement of one of the witnesses, there were bowings, genuflections, and prostrations from the beginning of the services which he attended, and not only long before the consecration, but before the unconsecrated elements were removed from the credence table to the Lord's table. To what was that imagined adoration directed? If such testimony is to be relied on, then it would appear that such acts of humility and reverence do not necessarily establish that those who engage in them are thereby adoring or worshiping the consecrated elements.

You have received an explanatory paper from the rector of St. Clement's on these subjects. It appears to me not to have been treated in the argument of Mr. McMurtrie with the consideration that is due to it. The argument is substantially, that the statement contained in that paper may be regarded with suspicion. Intendments are to be made against the author of it. It need not be believed unless you find it supported by the testimony of somebody else. And you are at liberty to infer a great deal, from the fact that the rector did not submit himself to the running fire of a personal [46/47] examination by the members of this body, in which the rules of evidence are not observed; and that certain persons whom you invited to attend as witnesses did not put in an appearance for you. This appears to be the style in which the rector and his paper are treated on the part of the prosecution here. When such a line of argument is resorted to in our criminal courts it is generally aimed at persons who have criminal reputations, but it has no proper place here. Can it be that this is indicative of the estimate which clergymen place on each other? Is that the footing on which the Right Reverend Bishop and the Standing Committee of this diocese are to receive the solemn statement of a clergyman in good standing in the diocese? I submit that the propositions are simply monstrous, and that, they cannot be entertained without discredit to the church to which we belong. If the clergy are to treat each other after the fashion suggested in the argument, how long will they be able to retain the respect and confidence of the laity?

But the explanation dues not stand upon the statement of Doctor Prescott alone. There is attached to it also the certificates of three other clergymen in attestation of its truthfulness, the Reverend Mr. Maturin, Mr. Converse and Mr. Wells, all of good standing in this diocese, and men who know whereof they speak. What man has presented himself here to say aught against the reputation of any one of the signers of this statement for truthfulness? And it so happens that neither of them was a celebrant at St. Clement's upon either of the occasions of which the witnesses have spoken.

The President: Is it understood that those certificates are in evidence here before the Bishop and Standing Committee?

Mr. Price: I suppose so, and therefore I treat them as part of the evidence.

The President: I believe they have never been accepted as evidence. That is my recollection of the matter. I doubt whether they should be referred to in the argument, as they arc, not before us. Those gentlemen never appeared to testify, although some of them were asked to do so.

[48] Mr. Price: I do not know as to that, for I was not present when the certificates were handed in. But attached to the copy of the statement from which I speak, there are copies of the certificates also; and I supposed that all of them had been received by the committee as evidence, and for that reason I referred to them. But if there is a doubt about it, let the matter stand upon the statement of Doctor Prescott alone.

The President: I would like to ask the Secretary how that stands upon our record?

The Secretary: It stands in this way: that I addressed a note to the counsel of Mr. Prescott and said that as those certificates were not in the answer when it was read here by Mr. Diehl, but were subsequently put there, after it was printed, that if he wanted those certificates to form part of his answer, the committee would expect the parties to appear here and give some evidence.

Mr. Price: Then let the matter rest on the statement of the rector alone, and my remarks in relation to that. I am willing to let; that stand against the loose and inaccurate statements of witnesses on the same points; and I will trust to your sense of what is due to justice and propriety to credit your brother clergyman, against whose right to be credited for what he says, no man has taken upon his conscience to utter one word.

A few more words on the subject of Mr. McMurtrie's intendments, and I will leave this branch of the case. You are trying, or investigating, as you may choose to call it, the rector of St. Clement's alone. You are to draw intendments against him, is the argument, because the assistant ministers at his church and members of the vestry of his church have not attended here as witnesses in obedience to your request. If those gentlemen have been contumacious in this respect, do you not think it would be better to try them for that? I have never heard before that the defendant in a prosecution of any kind was to be regarded as guilty, and punished, because the prosecutor's witnesses did not attend the trial to prove a case against him. This looks very much like turning our ordinary views of justice and reason [48/49] up-side down. The case of the prosecution here appears to require a strained construction of everything in order to give it a foothold. The complaint is not that the rector, the defendant, has not attended your sittings, for he has attended all but one of them.

Mr. James S. Biddle: He refused himself to be a witness.

Mr. Price: As every man accused has a perfect right to do; and he is not to be questioned for so doing. But he is charged in the argument not only with that, but with the non-attendance of the other persons also.

The President: Is it the law, that if the accused party puts himself on the stand, he is not to be questioned?

Mr. Price: Not at all: but Ins right not to put himself on the stand is unquestionable.

The President: But if he puts himself there, he is liable to be questioned?

Mr. Price: Undoubtedly; if he puts himself on the stand, he submits himself to be questioned.

The President: I understand that you are treating the certificates as testimony.

Mr. Price: The statement of the rector comes before you, as I understand it, as an explanation of some things done or said to be done at St. Clement's. It appears to be in the nature of an answer, and to correct some misstatements before the committee. I have not referred to the certificates of others since we came to an understanding that the committee does not receive them. Mr. McMurtrie took some such view of the statement, if I remember correctly, and likened it to an answer in equity. I am quite satisfied with the comparison, because the rule in equity is, that the answer of the defendant is to be taken as absolutely true in relation to the matters about which he is called upon to answer, unless it is met by the direct testimony of two witnesses or by one witness supported by corroborating circumstances, to the contrary of the answer.

I have asked you to regard the printed statement of the rector of St. Clement's. Now let me ask your attention to a sample of the testimony you have listened to, to the contrary of the statement, and such as the statement or answer was [49/50] evidently intended to correct. It is charged that among the other ceremonies and practices observed by the clergy of St. Clement's, is that of prostrating themselves, to or before the Lord's table during the celebration of the Holy Communion. Neither of the witnesses saw the rector prostrate himself, and, in view of the testimony, that charge is simply not proven as to him. But you have been told, that on the occasion of a service in the chapel, there was a woman who actually went down upon her stomach. Who that woman was, from whence she came or whither she went, whether sane or insane, you were not informed. Another witness, who ought to have informed you accurately, for he is generally accurate, but who, in this instance spoke hastily, told you of persons who went down on their noses on the pavement in the chapel. But this witness, when the extravagance of his statement flashed upon his mind, immediately added: "I do not know, of course, about that. In the case of a lady's veil hanging around her face, I cannot say precisely within how many inches she went." Now, the rector has said that he cannot say, of his own knowledge, that anything which he should call a prostration has ever been used in St. Clement's Church. What he has seen has been a low bending of the body, while those so bowing were kneeling upon their knees. Such acts of humble devotion have been mistaken for prostration, and the term has been misapplied. There was a clerical witness who testified quite freely about prostrations, as you may remember. It occurred to me that this gentleman, educated in the use of theological terms, ought to know what he was talking about, and I asked him to describe what he meant by a prostration. He answered that it was a bowing of the head and a bending of the knee. That is what he understood to be a prostration; but it was not a prostration at all. I ventured to follow my question by another: "Was you ever in a well-ordered Episcopal church on any occasion, when you did not see persons bow the head and bend the knee?" And the answer was: "No: I don't know that I ever was." This witness confirmed the statement of the rector.

Prostration, or the prostrating of the body in worship, [50/51] is an oriental practice, as we all know. I believe it has a place in the service of the Greek Church: but none in the Latin Church, except in one of the services for Good Friday; and of course it has no place in the service of the Protestant Episcopal Church. The rector of St. Clement's is doubtless justified in saying that he never saw a prostration in his church.

Dr. Watson: Do you make a distinction between church and chapel?

Mil. Price: No, sir; I have not intended to do so. If it be so, however, that a woman did go down on her stomach, arid that others did go down on their noses, in the absence of the rector of St. Clement's, I trust that he is not to be considered on trial for their exuberances. Such a charge will not be found in the Bishop's letter.

One of the extreme conclusions which Mr. McMurtrie draws against the rector of St. Clement's is that he teaches or inculcates the doctrine known as transubstantiation. No such charge is specified in the Bishop's letter; the allegation contained in the argument is denied, and no one of the witnesses has ventured to assert that such an allegation is true. That should end the matter. But notwithstanding all this, you are expected to find that there is such a. fact in the case. From whose imagination shall it be derived? It is argued that you may intend it from the ceremonies and practices at that church. If that he sound in argument, then anything in the nature of erroneous doctrine which it is deemed desirable by the prosecutors to fasten upon the rector, may be intended and found against him by this process. Nothing nerd be proved; denial goes for nothing; and it is only necessary that such an interpretation shall be applied to the ceremonies and practices in use, as the prosecutors desire, for their own purposes, to find in them. Now what is lawful and what is not lawful in the Protestant Episcopal church, in the line of doctrine and worship in the administration of the Holy Communion, was most thoroughly and ably investigated by Dr. Phillimore in the well-known case of Sheppard vs. Bennett, in the Court of Arches, reported in the collection of his ecclesiastical judgments, and again [51/52] in the privy council reports. The judgment of Dr. Phillimore was reviewed by the judicial committee of the privy council, the court of last resort, in matters ecclesiastical, and there affirmed. That case has formulated into law some propositions which are worth citing here:

"It is lawful for a clerk in Holy Orders to affirm that there is a real, actual, and objective presence of our Lord, external to the communicant, under the form of bread and wine at the Holy Communion."

"It is not lawful for him to affirm a visible presence of our Lord at the Holy Communion."

"It is lawful for him to affirm that there is in some sense a sacrifice offered at the celebration of the Holy Communion."

"It is lawful for him to affirm that adoration is due to our Lord present, under the form of bread and wine, at the celebration of the Holy Communion.''

"It is not lawful for him to affirm that adoration is due to the consecrated elements."

I suppose it is to be assumed that the members of this tribunal are believers in the doctrines and sacraments of their Church. Then, if the clergy of St. Clement's reverently bow the head or the body, or both: or, if they humbly kneel, or even genuflect--by bowing the body and bending one knee, in reverent and humble adoration of our Lord in some mysterious manner present in the celebration of the Holy Communion--how can you intend or find that by such acts or practices they teach or inculcate the prohibited doctrine of transubstantiation?

I am aware that the doctrine has been advanced here, that the rector is responsible for all that is done in his church by persons clerical and lay. That is more than a doubtful doctrine. One of the clerical members of the committee suggested that the maxim qui facit per alium facit per se, is applicable; but suppose we add to that civiliter non criminaliter, and then the maxim will be more complete in its applicability to the case in hand. I have already endeavored to show that the canon under which you are acting is a punitive one. It creates a new offense, one theretofore unknown [52/53] to the law of the church, and it leads on to punitive consequences. It is these punitive canons which constitute what may be called the criminal law of the church; and when was it ever heard of before, that a man may be prosecuted to the point of deprivation or punishment for the offense of another?

This proceeding has some other peculiar features. You are conducting one of the stages of an ecclesiastical trial, the investigation of the charges in writing, against a clergyman, preliminary to the more formal trial. And there is the anomaly here of the triers or investigators being one-half laymen. I do not make this point in the spirit of objecting to the practical wisdom and experience of laymen being infused into ecclesiastical trials; on the contrary, I wish there was more of it. But what I have to say of it is, that it is contrary to the law and practice of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this country. A bishop, against whom charges are preferred, is to be investigated and tried by bishops, as provided for in Canon 9 of title two of the Digest of the General Convention. A clergyman, not being a bishop, against whom charges are preferred, is to be investigated by the Bishop and tried by other of the clergy, as provided for in the diocesan canon numbered 17, and by virtue of the sixth article of the constitution of the church. This system appears to be founded upon a conceded right of the clergy to be tried by their peers, from the moment that charges are presented until judgment is reached. But the invalid canon under which this standing committee is now acting would set this long-established law and practice of the church at defiance, and introduce disorder in what may be called the judicial system, always heretofore observed. As that canon reads, after the charges are formulated, it shall be the duty of the Bishop to summon the standing committee as his council of advice, and with them to investigate the matter. And if, after investigation, it shall appear to the Bishop and standing committee that unauthorized ceremonies and practices exist, it shall be the duty of the Bishop to admonish the minister, and if the admonition is unheeded, it shall be the duty of the standing [53/54] committee to proceed further in the same matter, and cause the minister to he tried for a breach of his ordination vow. Now let ns recur again, for a moment, to Mr. McMurtrie's notion that you are not engaged in a trial: and that the only trial prescribed is for a breach of the ordination vow. I respectfully submit that, you are now, and have been for some time past, engaged in a trial, and that a serious one, of the rector of St. Clement's, though you may not be trying him for a breach of his ordination vow. You are trying him, upon the charges specified in the Bishop's letter-to him, as a teacher of false doctrine through the medium of ceremonies and practices in connection with the administration of the Holy Communion. That is the real offense, if any offense at all has been committed. That is what he is charged with: it is that about which you have been receiving testimony. And you are to arrive at a conclusion, and announce it, in relation to those charges. Now you may label these proceedings with any name that fancy may suggest; but what are they after all, but one of the stages of an ecclesiastical trial upon those charges; What element of such a trial is needed to make it complete? That there may be another trial, for breach of the ordination vow, under the same canon, does not prove that this is not in the course of a trial for teaching false doctrine as charged in the Bishop's letter. And if this be not the trial of the rector upon the charges which you now have in hand, when, by whom, and in what manner can he ever lie tried upon those charges under the canon of the General Convention numbered 22, upon which your proceedings are based? I submit again, that this proceeding is in the course of a trial on those charges; and if the rector of St. Clement's should be tried in the future for a breach of his ordination vow, and he should set up at that time, that he had not yet been found guilty of the ceremonies and practices which lie at the root of the case and caused the admonition, he would soon be informed by his prosecutors that all questions about ceremonies and practices were finally passed upon and determined in this proceeding, and that the only open question was whether or not he had broken his vow.

[55] Well, gentlemen, this method of trying a minister upon one of the most serious charges that can be brought against him, in an ecclesiastical point of view, and at the same time saying that it is no trial; or this method of accusing a man of one thing, and trying him for another, may all be harmless enough while it remains here, and seems to be contrivance enough to enable the prosecutors to escape responsibility; but if these proceedings shall ever reach the point of injury to the rector of St. Clement's in person, property or reputation, and he is driven by the injustice of his prosecutors and triers to seek justice elsewhere, it may then be found that the machinery which seems to be at work here will not work so smoothly elsewhere.

Mr. Olmsted: Tour theory is, that if the minister should be admonished, and the admonition should not be obeyed, then the minister is to be tried for a breach of his ordination vow?

Mr. Price: That is no theory of mine; but I understand it to be Mr. McMurtrie's argument.

Mr. Olmsted: That is also your construction?

Mr. Price: I do not mean to say that any such thing can be done.

Mr. Olmsted: You mean to say that the only question is, have you obeyed the Bishop or not?

Mr. Price: That is the argument which I oppose. Mr. McMurtrie appears to hold that there is no trial until after the clergyman has disregarded the admonition of his Bishop, and then he is to be tried only for a breach of his ordination vow.

Mil. Olmstkd: I do not think the canon means that. You may go into the whole question and find out whether lie has violated this canon about the other things.

Mr. Price: I suppose that, must necessarily be so; and that those who entertain the opinion that the finding of this tribunal against the minister finally disposes of the questions of ritual, are altogether mistaken. I am unable to see how a lawyer can doubt it. It would be a strange proceeding that would enable a prosecutor to charge a minister with teaching; false doctrine through the medium of a [55/56] number of specified ceremonies and practices, and then sneak Out by merely having him tried for a breach of his ordination vow of canonical obedience to his Bishop, which is not one of the offenses originally charged.

Mr. Olmsted: Therefore he is to be tried before a tribunal constituted for the purpose of trying him, whether he has been teaching false doctrines by these symbols?

Mr. Price: That is my view of it; if he is liable to be tried at all under that canon. But a different view has been submitted here, and may be entertained by some. It does seem to me, however, that the idea that the consequences of teaching false doctrine may be visited upon a minister without first trying him fully, and. according to the canon of this diocese, for that offense, is simply absurd.

Mr. Olmsted: I do not say that, bat I thought it was your argument that the canon meant that the minister should be simply tried on the allegation that he had broken the ordination vow in not abstaining from certain things which the Bishop admonished him about, without ascertaining whether the Bishop had a right to give the admonition.

The President: Do you not think that was the intention of the framer of the canon?

Mr. Price: To be frank about the matter, it would seem that the trainer of the canon sought to bring about some such result as you suggest, and I regard that as one of the iniquities of such illegal legislation on the subject of ritual. Whether he will be able to accomplish such an object, is quite another question. I would be willing to point out the history of that canon, but there is no time for it now.

There is but one other point to which I will ask your attention. If the addition to the canon 22 were ever so valid and perfect, which it is not, the proceeding in which you are engaged has not been, and is not now, such an one as is contemplated by the canon. Let us consider, first, what kind of a prosecution this is. It began, so far as an open demonstration of it is concerned, in the year 1878, when a clerical member rose in the convention of this diocese and [56/57] opened a fierce attack upon Dr. Pusey, of Oxford, and his teachings, from the speaker's point of view. As neither Dr. Pusey nor his teachings was legitimately before the convention at that time, the member was called to order, and subsided. But that was the bugle-blast that called the hunters to their saddles. This demonstration was soon followed by a dexterously drawn series of preambles, with a resolution for a committee of inquiry into the usages and mode of worship at St. Clement's; the committee to ascertain the facts, and recommend what action should be taken in the premises. The preamble and resolution were offered by the learned president of the standing committee, and were voted for in the convention, by four of the clerical and three of the lay members of the same body, as appears by the recorded vote on the journal. A committee of inquiry was appointed, and they made their report to the convention of 1879. There were three resolutions appended to it, which gave rise to much discussion and excitement at the time, as we may all remember. The report contained a bundle of accusations against the clergy of St. Clement's, substantially the same which you are now considering; and the first of the resolutions, which was concerning those accusations, was particularly obnoxious because it contained, in substance, that the clergy were guilty of the acts and ceremonies and practices, and that they taught false doctrine, in manner and form as they were accused in that ex-parte inquiry and report. It was said in the resolution, "that in the opinion of this convention, the practices and usages referred to in this report, and ascertained to be followed in St. Clement's Church, and especially those in connection with the Holy Communion, are in entire contrariety to those of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this diocese and in the United States." There were many members of the convention who were not convinced either that all the practices and usages set forth in the report had been duly ascertained to be followed at St. Clement's, or that they were in entire contrariety to those of the church in the United States. And there were those whose manhood revolted at the idea of condemning those ministers upon the one-sided work of [57/58] secret investigation by a committee. Nevertheless, the resolution passed; and, what is more to the point of my remarks, all five of the clerical and most of the lay members of this standing committee voted for the resolution, and thus declared their opinion that the clergy of St. Clement's are guilty of all that was thus attributed to them. Now, permit me to remind you, and that is all that is intended, that when a man is indicted in a court of justice, he is entitled to challenge and to exclude from the jury that is to take part in his trial, any and all who have formed or expressed an opinion in advance, that is adverse to his assertion of innocence. And this is only common right. My desire is to speak of these things with all due respect towards this tribunal; but it does appear to me that they should be revived in your memory. But even this is not all, for the same members of this standing committee save one, after voting to condemn the clergy of St Clement's, all voted in favor of the third resolution, which was to refer the whole matter to themselves as constituting this tribunal, to further try, and intend, and find upon the same accusations. Is it expected by the learned counsel for the prosecution that you are merely to repeat here your vote of condemnation? The Bishop's letter containing the charges reads as though it had been framed on the report, of the committee of inquiry, which was referred to this body. The letter alludes to such reference as inducing to this further proceeding, and you have therefore the succession of links which chain the business in which you are now engaged, to its origin in the diocesan convention of 1878. One investigation has been had and you are conducting the second, in the course of the prosecution which began in the preambles and resolution of the president of this body.

We are all interested, I trust, in maintaining the harmony of the organization and government of the Protestant Episcopal Church. No matter what opinion we may have of ritual services, we are under the highest obligation to deal justly with a case of accusation such as this, however strongly bias or even prejudice may stand in the way of it. Let me submit a practical question: [58/59] Suppose that in view of the nature and character of this prosecution, you now simply repeat your former vote of condemnation of the rector of St. Clement's, what moral effect would you expect it to produce, either in the church, or in the world? The world would probably condemn you, and ridicule your action, and cite it as an additional example of injustice and folly in the administration of church affairs. In the church, a body of restless partisans might gloat over it, and endeavor to comfort you with the doctrine attributed to the Jesuits--the end justifies the means. But would not the thoughtful and fair-minded be disappointed, and the judicious grieve? Is it not more important to preserve a decent regard for the fundamental law of the church, and the conservative justice which has been her pride and glory, than to scatter it all in a wild pursuit of ritualists, who may prove to be within the bounds of acknowledged doctrine and discipline after all? But suppose this tribunal will go on, and push this prosecution to admonition, and further trial and suspension, or deprivation, or even deposition, and thus compel the minister to resort to the civil tribunals for protection against the injustice which a disregard of the fundamental law of the church, and this method of investigating and trying the accused by those who have pronounced upon his case beforehand, what then? Do you imagine that such a scheme will succeed while there is justice in the land, and courts in which to administer it? I think not. Do not forget that the clergy have personal rights which even power cannot disregard with impunity. It is the province of civil courts to keep all associations in subordination to the civil law, and to compel them to observe the fundamental law of their own organization in their dealings with members, if it is found that such law has been disregarded. It will be found that a minister, who is liable to be investigated and tried, is not to be disposed of by a mere form of investigation and trial; but that he is entitled, as of right, to a fair and legal trial before an impartial tribunal; and nothing short of that will suffice. It is to be hoped, for the credit of the church, that a proper sense of ordinary justice will yet be found within [59/60] the organization, and that it will never become a necessity to seek it elsewhere. And these considerations are submitted quite as much in the interest of the church in general as of the gentleman whose rights it is my duty to mention.

Now let me say, on behalf of the rector of St. Clement's, that he is not conscious of being a law-breaker in the church, and that he has no desire to be one. His explanatory paper discloses what he did in his church in the way of yielding obedience even to the canon 22, which has been so extensively repudiated in the church at large. But notwithstanding all this, however, he is not inclined to yield to unlawful and unwarranted demands upon him. Those who demand that he shall abandon all such ritual as the use of lights, vestments such as are in use here and in other dioceses, and sundry other matters of like nature, ought to know that they are not prohibited by any law of the church. While there is no law prohibiting them, there can be no transgression of law in their use. We all know that the attempts made in the General Convention to make law on the subject, legislate them out of existence, have failed. The strenuous effort made in 1871 came to nothing. The renewed attack in 1874, and all the clamor attending it, produced nothing but the addition to canon 22; and although it was said that the committee on canons had nearly two hundred propositions before them on this subject, this canon was all that the Convention would concede against ritualistic services. If that Convention would not declare the ceremonies and practices not connected with the Holy Communion unlawful, how shall it be done here?

As to those connected with the administration of the Holy Communion, my colleagues have already spoken, and I have submitted all that I care to say at present. Thanking you for the attention given to this discursive argument, I will leave the case with you.

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