PUBLISHED BY BRADFORD AND INSKEEP, NO. 4, SOUTH THIRD-
STREET; AND ABRAHAM H. INSKEEP, NEW-YORK.
IN the General Convention, held in the city of New-York, in the year 1804, it was provided, that there should be a pastoral Address from the House of Bishops of this church, to the clergy and laity of the same; on such matters as might be thought the most pertinent to the state of the church at each particular period; and grounded on the documents which, on every such occasion, might appear in the official reports from the various sections of the union. In compliance with this provision, the bishops assembled in general convention in the city of Baltimore in the year 1808, addressed all orders of persons within our communion, on the topics of doctrine, worship, discipline, and a christian life and conversation. During the next general convention, which was held in the city of New Haven, in the year 1811, the bishops there and then assembled, issued their second pastoral letter; which related to sundry particulars, especially interesting to themselves in their ecclesiastical administrations. Although any of the matters discussed on these occasions, might be now profitably recurred to, as having not been before exhausted; yet we rather feel a desire to set before you some circumstances in the state of our church, which we consider as fruitful of encouragement; and some other circumstances, which open to our prospect an extensive field of zealous labour; and, on the review of these two subjects, to ground some heads of advice and exhortation, deemed by us worthy of being presented at this time to the members of our church in general, and to the clergy in particular.
One branch of the encouragement referred to, is the visible decline of infidelity, and the growing disrepute attaching to activity in its cause. It is within the memory of most of the present generation, when that destroyer of human happiness broke in like a flood on civilized society, as well in the new as in the old world, threatening destruction to all its best interests; although with the boast of introducing a new aera, relieved from prejudices of former times, and embellished by improvements not heard before, in public policy and in private morals. In this threatened revolution, there was nothing new in the line of argument: so that the defenders of the christian revelation had need of no other than the old stores of answers to objections, which had been made at different times, during [3/4] the lapse of ages. Whatever there was of novelty in the event, arose from an extraordinary combination of circumstances in the political concerns of nations; which produced an imaginary alliance between projected improvements in civil policy, and the eradicating of religion under the name of superstition; whereby whatever was corruptor unreasonable in the former line, was supposed to be upheld. Under gigantic struggles for the reformation of political abuses, there rose into notice and into power a species of philosophy, which proclaimed war with religion generally, and with christianity in particular: and very extensive were the ravages which happened in consequence, in every line wherein human happiness, either temporal or spiritual is concerned. The issue which we hold out as a subject of congratulation, although not without painful sensibilities on account of intermediate mischief, is an opening of the public mind to the shallowness of the pretences, by which so many have been deceived and demoralized. It is more and more confessed, that religion enters essentially into all the interests of individuals, of families, and of state: and while some are induced, on that account, to encourage if with a view to public order and private morals, and for the promoting of the temporal prosperity of the social body, doubtless, a prevailing sentiment to this effect must lead others to contemplate the important subject, as it manifests a bearing on the interests which will remain when the present state of things shall he forever at an end. For when we suffer ourselves to proceed in the correct reasoning, which ascends from what we observe and know, to causes competent to the producing of it; we cannot but perceive, that the benefits resulting from the due exercise of the religious principle, are evidence of its being given by the great author of nature, for the government of the human mind. The consequence is undeniable; unless on the pretence, that in the contrivance of the present system, its order and its continuance have been provided for by a salutary deception: which yet has not been so ingeniously contrived, as to escape detection by the discernment of those, who cherish a sentiment so foolish and so profane.
This leads us to remark another article of encouragement, tending more immediately to the same blessed end. We mean an increased attendance on the duties of public worship, and an increasing desire to provide the means of sustaining and continuing it, over a considerable proportion of the territory of these states. While we ascribe this, partly to the detection of the insidious pretensions of infidelity, we cannot but have our eyes open to the fact that, from whatever secondary cause it may happen, there are seasons of religious sensibility, wherein it is more easy than under ordinary circumstances, to call the attention of the people to the things which belong to their everlasting peace. It is for the purpose of improving an opportunity of this description, that the remark is made: and accordingly we invite all serious persons of our communion, and especially the ministers of the gospel, to avail themselves of existing circumstances, for the sowing of the seed of gospel doctrine; under the hope, that through the influences of the [4/5] Holy Spirit of God, it will bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and an hundred fold. A considerable addition to the number of our houses of public worship, a growing measure of attendance in them, an extending demand for the Holy Bible, and for books on subjects of christian doctrine tending immediately to practice, and, we hope there may he added greater liberality for the supply of the wants of those who seclude themselves from all lucrative employment, that they may devote themselves to the ministry; are among the favourable appearances, on the ground of which we indulge ourselves in the prospects here intimated. We are aware, how easily there may take place counterfeit revivals of religion, and how often it has happened in different times and places. There are now alluded to, what has been the effect of violent agitations of the passions, suddenly excited and soon subsiding. We neither aim nor rejoice at such revivals; perceiving nothing like them either in the word of God, or in the history of the primitive church; nor any thing favouring them in the institutions of our own. Accordingly, when we refer to a growing attention to religion, we mean of that cast which is agreeable to truth and soberness, and congenial with the known devotions of our church. While we thus define the religious profession which we are desirous of perpetuating we do not act up any institutions as conceiving them to be acceptable to God, any further than as the outward form may be expressive of an inward power. But we do not aim at revivals of religion, in a departure from the principles of christian worship, which we believe to have descended to us from Jesus Christ and Ins apostles, through the channel of the primitive church and of the church of England. On this ground, when we rejoice at what we conceive to be observable within our communion, of an increased interest in religious inquiries and attention to religious duties; we mean to be understood as speaking of these, within the bounds which have been defined.
Having alluded, under the preceding head, to some extravagances interfering with the spirit of the worship of this church; which in some districts of country, wherein there was the want of an intelligent and zealous ministry, have withdrawn many front her communion; it is with great satisfaction that we go on to remark, as another cause of congratulation, a decrease of the disorder. In various vicinities of the United States, wherein our communion was formerly numerous and respectable--for we speak of the subject, only as it has a bearing on our own religious interests--there has been a visible decline of the effects of a species of zeal, covering itself with the character of our church, although not in harmony with her institutions, and no longer continuing to wear her name, than until circumstances sustained it in secession, and often in undisguised hostility. We are not at a loss to discover some of the causes of this inroad, existing within ourselves. And although we plead, that it was partly owing to a cessation of public ministry, in consequence of events brought about by the providence of God; yet, if any should lay a share of the blame on the want of godly and rational zeal, or a holy life and conversation, in some of our clergy; [5/6] we wish to humble ourselves under the charge, and to call on all our brethren of the clergy to do the same, as a body, in proportion as it may be just; and each individual on his own account, who may be conscious of having given occasion in any degree, to the resulting evil.
Whatever may have been the cause of it, we are persuaded of the fact, that it is on the decline. We know that there are many, who feel the loss of the substantial nourishment of doctrine, which they had abandoned; and who testify that they have not found in other quarters, the satisfaction which they had expected. We anticipate the growth of the sentiment; in proportion as under the divine blessing, we can send qualified and faithful labourers into the vineyard. We deplore, as a lessening of the prospect of this, every instance in which there may have intruded into our ministry, any person destitute of zeal for the work; or any one, who may have adopted the scheme of checking extravagancies extraneous to our communion, by introducing the like to them within her pale: conduct which we expect to see checked, by its being found to be an expedient for the obtaining of popularity, not commonly attended by permanent success, and always contrary to a good conscience.
While we invite our whole communion to rejoice with us, in the sources of satisfaction which have been disclosed; the use to which we desire to apply the consideration of them, is an increase of gospel zeal and labour, by providing in all places the means of grace, where they are wanting or imperfectly enjoyed; and by exciting in the imperfect sense in which such an object can be said to be accomplished by human measures, the spirit of religion; in the exercises of a rational piety, and in a suitable life and conversation. To our endeavours for the accomplishing of this, there opens to our view a very extensive field, wherein the consider the following particulars as especially worthy of observation.
Within these few years, and within the bounds of this combined commonwealth, there have risen into existence sovereign states, with a numerous and increasing population, but without a proportionate provision for the ministry of the gospel; and this perhaps the most of all, in regard to those of the inhabitants who profess our principles in doctrine, worship and discipline. The condition of our professing members within those states, has been a subject of our most serious concern and the pressure of the exigency seems to be in a great measure owing to the want of exertion, for the concentering of the means within the power of the persons principally concerned. Among the expedients which have been proposed for the bettering of our prospects in the western states, there has been that of extending the episcopacy to those regions. At the time of the last general convention, this came with all the weight of its importance, under the consideration of the only two bishops then assembled. They expressed their wishes to the effect, and gave a beginning to measures, of which it was hoped, and is still hoped, that they will issue in the accomplishment of the design: although, [6/7] besides the general difficulty of the object, it has been hindered by events not then foreseen.
As there are thus whole states recently risen, without any or with very little provision for the support of our religious profession; so in the older states, there are large districts equally destitute; and containing members of our communion, who are as much cut elf from all intercourse with us, as if they lived in the other hemisphere. In the former emigrations from Europe, into this new world; there seems to have been a circumstance in the condition of those of our communion, which distinguished them in many instances from other emigrants, and eventually added much to that scattered population of the former, which we are here pointing) out as the cause of a difficulty meeting us, in our exertions for the sustaining of the existence of our communion. It was not uncommon, for a body of settlers to be bound closely together, either by a foreign language, or by some peculiarity of religious opinion, labouring under discouragement in the land of their nativity. To such persons, it was an obvious dictate of prudence, to form compact settlements in the land chosen by them, to be in future the country of themselves and their posterity. The case was otherwise with the emigrants of the church of England, who being without such especial ties, were the easier induced to make their settlements, according to each family's separate interest and convenience. As a counter balance to this, so far as their religious profession was concerned, it was natural to look for encouragement to the church in the parent country. This was indeed extended to them, until the change of the relative situation of the countries in civil matters, produced such a severance of them in religious discipline as rendered pecuniary aid either impracticable or inexpedient. The fact above stated is at least one of the causes of the dispersed settlements of the members of our communion, in districts wherein the mass of population has risen under the influence of principles, and in some instances of languages, different from ours. From members of our communion of this description, there continually reach our ears some such incitements as that heard by St. Paul in a vision, from the men of Macedonia--"Come and help us." While our means in their behalf are limited, we cannot excuse ourselves from presenting them to the members of our church in general, as fit objects of Gospel care and labour.
Even in our settled congregations--some of them of long standing--there occasionally occurs so much indifference to the sustaining of even the profession of religion, and the making of provision for the administration of its ordinances, as that while their neglect renders them subjects of censure, it ought also to he an excitement of our zeal. Even in such congregations, there are always at least a few persons, who are ready to "strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die." And even if there were none such, those of the contrary stamp are not out of the reach of that voice of the gospel which is raised, "not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." We have the satisfaction of knowing, that the call has been made with great effect, even in congregations of the description which has [7/8] been stated. And this, we hope, will serve as encouragement to those who are ready to do their part of the work of God, leaving the issue of their labour to the influences of his Holy Spirit.
It ought further to he taken into view, that even in neighbourhoods wherein provision is made for the exercise of the ministry, and congregations are duly organized, according to the venerable institutions of the Church; there are powerful incitements to zeal and labour, that we may call sinners to repentance; that we may direct the attention of professors beyond the forms, to the power of Godliness; that we may guard the imperfectly informed, against the errors engrafted by the weakness of men on the holy stock of Christian doctrine; that we may open all the branches of this in their integrity, as found in the Word of Truth; and that we may urge persons of all descriptions, to the attainment and the practice of whatever may contribute to the adorning of the doctrine of our rod and Saviour. It is not here forgotten, that for the accomplishing of these blessed ends, "although Paul plant and Apollos water," it is "God alone who giveth the increase." But he sees fit, as well in the influences of his grace as in the dealings of his providence, to produce his high ends by the instrumentality of human means. And in each of these departments, the duties of all of us are discernible from the relations and from the circumstances in which we severally stand.
While we thus hold out to all the members of our communion, the gospel work which we conceive to he laid on them by the divine Author of our religion; we are not backward to extend their attention to some articles of advice and exhortation, which we think especially worthy of notice, for the accomplishing of the ends which we have in view.
The first, and as essential to all the rest, is mutual incitement to the work; and this, in the Christian Spirit, which alone can either render it an object worthy of considerable exertion, or claim the promise of divine support. We read in one of the prophets, that when a general reformation was in prospect, "they who feared the Lord spake often one to another," it being evidently meant in mutual incitement, to the object of their common concern. The religion of the Scriptures is eminently social. And whatever relates to the visible profession of it, must be effected by joint exertions. Yet we mean not by this, that any concurrence in them is solicited, without a sense of religion on the consciences, and real piety in the affections of the agents. For we are free to declare our opinion that the encouraging of active endeavours, prompted by any other motives than a religious state of mind, is that building with untempered mortar, to which there is not likely to be attached duration--much less usefulness and beauty.
We consider as a necessary expedient for the perpetuating and for the increasing of our church, that reasonable provision be made for the ministers, in proportion to the means of the people in their respective parishes. There is not here forgotten the delicacy of the subject, nor the misconstruction liable to be put on whatever is said [8/9] concerning it, coming from men who are themselves of the body to which the discourse applies. But while this is a consideration prescribing the limits of moderation on our zeal for the matter recommended, it does not cause us to be silent on what we perceive to be a dictate of religious obligation. Were we restrained by a mistaken delicacy, from the delivery of our sentiments, we should find ourselves reproved by that of St. Paul to the Galatians--"Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap:" words which the connexion shows to apply to the wants of those who labour in the gospel. There can be no argument adduced, to prove the divine institution of the ministry, which does not also prove, that ministers, received on the choice of the people, and for their service renouncing all secular means of maintenance, ought, on the most obvious principles of justice, to be furnished with whatever is essential to their sustenance and their comfort. While there is, in theory, a general conviction of this pervading our communion; and while the principle is acted on, in some places, to a reasonable extent; there are others, wherein there has been lamentable deficiency, in the discharge of pecuniary engagements. This is a hardship which affects our own characters, in a point of great delicacy and difficulty: For being pressed from various vicinities within our respective dioceses, for the supplying of a resident ministry; in addition to the distress which we generally feel on account of the want of opportunities of meeting the demand, there is often the additional embarrassment, when opportunities occur, that we may be the authors both of loss and of vexation to worthy men, by encouraging them to trust to promises which will not be fulfilled.
The comparatively small number of our clergy, induces us to recommend to destitute congregations, especially to those whose number is such as renders the speedy settlement of an ordained minister improbable, to avail themselves of the services of a lay-reader; where such a person, respectable in character, and sufficient in other respects, takes so much interest in religion, as to be willing to read on Sundays those parts of the Liturgy, which are not appropriate to ordained ministers, and such printed discourses as may be judged to be adapted to the understandings and the circumstances of the people. It will be no difficult matter, under the superintendence of the proper ecclesiastical authority, to select such discourses from the many able works of Divines, which have been given to the public from the press. We hold this to be a laudable effort of christian zeal. Nevertheless, as like every other expedient of the same description, it is liable to abuse; we would hold up to view the provisions of the 19th canon, in regard to the selection of the sermons to be read. Neither will it be foreign to the purpose, to allude to what the same canon provides, when, in relation to readers having. a view to the ministry, it forbids not only the use of such parts of the service as are appropriate to it, but also some matters of little importance in themselves; yet tending to mislead the world, as to [9/10] the claims of the agents to an official character, which is not yet, and perhaps may not hereafter be conferred.
Another mean to be recommended, is encouragement and pecuniary aid, where necessary and practicable, to young men of known piety and virtue, and of promising qualifications in other respects, in their preparing of themselves for the ministry. An apostle has said, "How shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent?" What was the nature of the sending contemplated by him, is sufficiently evident k the plan on which, in person, he sent labourers into the vineyard. And if it was comprehended in the counsels of divine wisdom; to extend christianity to heathen countries, through the medium of a preached gospel; the same must be the mean of its continuance, in the countries in which it has been heretofore received. If so, pious motions to such a ministry ought to be a motive to the extending of aid. for the supply of the necessary acquirements, in a church which entertains the opinion, and contends for it as of vast importance to the cause of christianity in general, that her ministers should be furnished with all those branches of literature which are necessary to the sustaining of the truth of Scripture against the assaults of infidelity, and the errors of mistaken professors of Christianity. Besides pecuniary aid, there is another species of it to which we invite. It is to be expected from the clergy in particular, and consists in assisting students in their progress, by suitable instruction and advice. It is with pleasure we add, that this benevolence had been extended in some instances, to the great profit of the church; which we mention under the hope, that there will be an increase in the opportunities of the benefit, and in ability and readiness for the extension of it.
But while we would thus expedite the means of accession to the ministry; we would be far from pressing the subject in such a manner, as may incite to the forwarding of the expectations of any persons, concerning whom it may afterwards appear, that due attention would have shewn them to be very unlikely ,to be either useful or respectable. Our stations have familiarized us to two great dangers, on the present subject. One as; that the desire of being engaged in the sacred function occupies some persons, concerning whom there are manifest evidences on the one hand of sincere piety, and on the other of such imbecility, as will not stiffer us to believe, that they are within the meaning of that qualification of our ordination service, "the being called by the Holy Ghost to this office and ministry." The other case, is that of persons who fancy the clerical profession; sometimes from vanity in the display of talents real or imaginary, while their characters and their conversation may shew, that they have not an adequate apprehension, either of the contemplated character, or of the temper of mind with which it should be engaged in. However sensible of the disadvantage of the paucity of our clergy, we do not wish to add to their number, by either of these descriptions of persons. On the contrary, we consider the [10/11] discouraging of them as a meritorious act, in any members of our church who have opportunities to that effect.
Increased exertion for the building of churches, and to keep in decent order those heretofore erected, is another matter to be recommended. In a country so much advancing as ours in population, it is evident, that a very great proportion of the people must be without the benefit of social worship; unless there be a proportionate addition of houses, in which it is to be offered. We appeal to it as an incontrovertible fact, that in general, of the mass of society, in the portion of it who become lost to this great mean of whatever is estimable in every department of social life, there ensues manifest evidence of depravity in their conversation and in their manners. Here is a canker in the body, which cannot fail to spread; unless it be subdued by active efforts, for the putting of the means of public worship within the power of all. In this debt to the public welfare, have not we a share? Have we not also a like debt, to the church of which we call ourselves members? Certain it is, that very many have left the membership of it, because they and their families could not enjoy the means of grace within its pale. It is not improbable, that from the same causes many have been lost to the Christian profession, in whatever shape. The keeping of churches in decent repair, is so manifest a dictate of propriety; that we should not have mentioned it, were not the fact known to us, that in some places, there is delinquency in this matter, to the dishonor of those to whom it is to be ascribed: since in the vicinity of such neglect, there is scarcely a passing stranger, who can forbear to remark severely on the indifference or the, parsimony which are the causes of it.
While the subject now before us is contemplated as leading to expence, we wish to define the limits of it. There is reason to believe, that in sonic instances, there has been discouragement of the design of erecting a house of worship to Almighty God, because the agents in it could not compass the means of gratifying a taste for magnificence and expensive ornament. We do not think with those, who would interdict the fine arts from this department. On the contrary we are of opinion, that where wealth abounds, and where it can be bestowed on this object, without interfering with any other more imperious; and white it carries with it the incidental benefit, of, giving employment to industrious tradesmen and subsistence to their families; it may be not only innocently, but even laudably thus bestowed. But under the insufficiency for the erecting of splendid churches, we consider the affecting of them as evidence of too weak an influence of the principle, which should govern in accomplishing such objects and we know that it has had a mischievous tendency, in the frustrating of some efforts and in the discouraging of others.
Associations, in those vicinities wherein the number and the ability of our people are competent to the sending of occasional aid to our more scattered and less wealthy population, we hold to be a judicious mean of building up our church; and not unreasonably [11/12] claimed of any members of that mystical body, concerning which we are taught, that if one member suffer, all the members should suffer with it. The expedient recommended has been adopted in some states, and has already produced such fruits, as encourage us in pronouncing it to be an object eminently worthy of christian care and exertion.
Another article of our recommendation, is the distribution of bibles, of the books of common prayer, and of a few tracts on the principal articles of christian faith, as held by our church. The benefit of such a measure may be contemplated, as it respects places where no provision exists for divine worship, and others where this benefit is enjoyed. As to the former, without disparaging the divinely instituted ministry, we may be assured, that even where Providence has not bestowed this mean of grace, the gospel, derived immediately from the sacred records, will often be found "the power of God unto salvation." In the latter instance, there will always be a proportion of the people, whose indigent circumstances call for pecuniary aid in a variety of ways: and surely, among the means of their relief, no call can be more pressing than that which invites to the reaching out to them of the bread of life.
While we are on this, part of the subject, we avail ourselves of the opportunity of congratulating all the members of our church, on what we conceive to be eminently a cause of joy to the christian world in general--the wonderful efforts which have been made within these fey years, being begun principally by members of the parent church, by a body known under the name of the British and Foreign Bible Society, imitated in.. various countries of the old world, and concurred in with alacrity and zeal throughout the extent of the American union--to disperse the bible in regions wherein it has been hitherto unknown; and, in those wherein the religion of it is professed, to provide that none shall have reason to complain, of their being necessarily destitute of this, instructor, this guide, and this source of the highest consolations.. We should conceive of ourselves as wanting on this occasion to the high duties of our stations, were we to neglect to bear our testimony in favour of this energetic effort, for the disappointment of the wicked designs of infidelity, for the extending of the influence of pure and undefiled religion, and finally, for the carrying into effect of those gracious promises of heaven, which will not have been accomplished, until "the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea."
When we recommended exertions for the more general diffusion of the Book of Common Prayer; it was not from the presumptuous sentiment of ranking any compositions of meer men, with what was indited under the immediate influence of the Holy Spirit. But it was on this double ground; first, that the order of our service requiring the audible voices of the people in the act of worship, there is peculiar propriety in providing, that no portion of any congregation shall be necessarily debarred from bearing their share, in what [12/13] we deem essential to "the worshipping in the beauty of holiness;" and principally, because as John the Baptist taught his disciples how to pray; and as a greater than he gave similar instruction, in an admirable form left on record in the gospel; in like manner it is expedient, that the public wisdom of the church should furnish her members with a body of devotions, held to be agreeable to the direction of St. Paul, of "worshipping with the understanding;" and yet not inconsistent with that higher principle of his and our master, of "worshipping in spirit and in truth." And although we do not doubt, that the religious discipline of the heart, in whatever language it may be clothed, rises an acceptable incense to the throne of a gracious and common father; yet, while we contend that public devotions should be such, as the most intelligent and cultivated understandings must approve of; we conceive that a body of public: devotions, so framed, must have an influence on the retired exercises of individuals; so as to prevent their either sinking into indifference, or running into the excesses of enthusiasm.
In the mention of small tracts, there were understood those which give correct views of any of the doctrines, or any of the duties, applying to all descriptions of persons; and which it is especially desirable to accommodate to those in the less informed departments of society. We know, that similar attempts to what is now recommended have had a powerful influence in propagating opinions, which we believe to be not agreeable to gospel verity: and this itself is a sufficient call to a counterbalance of the evil, in the proper use of an engine so liable to be misapplied. We have had ample proof of what may be accomplished in this very line, by the success therein of a society in the parent church, known for above a century, and lately acting with a vast increase of energy, under the name of "The Society for the promoting of Christian Knowledge:" which venerable body we cannot notice on this occasion, without recommending the tracts published by them, as a storehouse from which there may be drawn the religious armour, competent to the end within our view.
We have touched, although slightly, the various topics contemplated by us in the beginning of this address. It must have been visible of the mass of the remarks comprehended in it, that they apply alike to the clergy and to the lay-members of this church. But we ought not to conclude without in especial call on the former, to be active in the patronizing and in the executing of designs, for the extending of the influence of religion; agreeably to the principles, on which alone there can be any acting to that effect, within the bounds of our communion. In a church, existing in countries not under the peculiar circumstances of these United States, it must in general leap en, that the objects of the concern of a clergyman are within the bounds of the parish of which he is the pastor. Our case is different; and will continue so, while there shall apply to so many members of our communion, that they are a scattered abroad, as sheep which have no shepherd." It would be a mistaken remedy of the evil, to seal up sources of instruction now open, in the uncertain [13/14] search of opportunities of usefulness, where they are wanting. Yet it is possible, and this is what we recommend, for any minister, within the limits of his especial duties, and without injury to any of them, to favour and to promote designs, by a zeal which extends beyond his more immediate sphere. Even where the efforts of the several individuals may be small; yet, combined, they will probably have an effect which shall be extensively, deeply, and permanently felt.
The lay-members of our communion we exhort, in reference to and for the accomplishment of the objects which have been laid before them, to aid the clergy in their measures; or to propose and pursue measures themselves, to the effect. We disclaim sectarian zeal, in every matter which we propose for the increase of our church. We profess to aim herein at the doing of our part, for the advancement of christianity; a work, of which no share can be undertaken by us, except on the ground of the doctrine, the worship, and the discipline, which we believe to be the most agreeable to the scriptures, and to the practice of the primitive ages of the church. Under the influence of this sentiment, we invite all descriptions of persons contemplated in the present address, to aid us in sustaining and extending a church, "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone:" not forgetting, that in all endeavours to this effect, an essential expedient, and without which we are not likely to be favoured with the divine blessing, is the "adorning of the doctrine of our God and Saviour in all things."
Adopted in the House of Bishops, May 23d, 1814.
JACKSON KEMPER, Secretary.