HISTORIOGRAPHER OF THE CHURCH,
AUTHOR OF "A CHRONOLOGICAL INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF
THE CHURCH," ETC. ETC.
PRESS OF WM. FAXON,
REVEREND AND DEAR SIR,
We are desirous that the Sermon delivered by you this morning, at the opening of our Diocesan Convention, should be allowed to benefit other portions of the Church, and many more individuals than were able to hear it. Regarding it as peculiarly adapted to the dangers of the times, and as well-fitted to promote confidence in the principles of the Prayer Book, as the doctrines of the Apostles and the primitive faithful, we respectfully request your permission to print it, and ask a copy for that purpose.
TRINITY CHURCH, NEW HAVEN,
June 9th, 1846.
FREDERICK HOLCOMB, Rector of Christ Church, Watertown.
ISAAC JONES, Rector of Trinity Church, Milton.
WM. COOPER MEAD, Rector of St. Paul's Church, Norwalk.
AMBROSE S. TODD, Rector of St. John's Church, Stamford.
GURDON S. COIT, Rector of St. John's Church, Bridgeport.
ROBERT A. HALLAM, Rector of St. James', New London.
W. WHITE BRONSON, Rector of Christ Church, Trumbull
WM. WATSON, Rector of St. Peter's, Plymouth.
S. B. PADDOCK, Principal of the Episcopal Academy.
S. JEWETT, New Haven.
G. H. DESHON, Rector of St. Luke's Church, South Glastonbury.
A. C. COXE, Rector of St. John's, Hartford.
WM. F. MORGAN, Rector of Christ Church, Norwich.
C. W. EVEREST, Rector of St. John's Church, North Haven.
J. H. NICHOLS, Officiating in Grace Church, Hamden.
E. E. BEARDSLEY, Rector of St. Peter's Church, Cheshire.
H. CAMP, Rector of Trinity Church, Brooklyn.
JOHN PURVES, Rector of Union Church, Humphreysville.
O. HOPSON, Rector of St. Michael's Church, Naugatuck.
WILLIAM JARVIS, Portland.
D. H. SHORT, Rector of St. Mark's Church, New Canaan.
H. CROSWELL, Rector of Trinity Church, New Haven.
S. S. STOCKING, Rector of Trinity Church, Newtown.
A.B. CHAPIN, Rector of Christ Church, West Haven.
Wednesday, June 10, 1846.
MY REV. AND DEAR BRETHREN,
As we are all engaged with united hearts and hands in the cause of Christ and His Church, it is to me a source of joy that what I have said meets your approbation. It is at your disposal to do with it as you please, and I remain
Your Affectionate Brother in Christ,
SAMUEL FARMAR JARVIS.
THE REV. DR. BURHANS, &c. &c.
EXTRACT FROM THE JOURNAL OF THE CONVENTION.
The following Preamble and Resolutions were offered and passed.
WHEREAS it is understood by this Convention that the Sermon of the Rev. Dr. JARVIS, delivered before it, on Tuesday the 9th inst., has been obtained for publication, at the request of a number of the Clergy,
Resolved, That the Rt. Rev. the Bishop be requested to present to the Rt. Rev. the Primus of the Church in Scotland, any number of copies which may be placed at his disposal by the subscribers, for the purpose of distribution among our Brethren of that Church.
Resolved, That this Convention would be happy to see the Concordate between the Church of Scotland and this Diocese, re-printed as an Appendix to the Sermon; together with the Letter of the Bishops of the Church of Scotland to this Diocese.
TO THE RIGHT REVEREND FATHERS IN GOD,
THE BISHOP OF CONNECTICUT,
THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC REMAINDER
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND:
ALWAYS ABOUNDING IN THE WORK OF THE LORD:
WITH ALL HUMILITY AND REVERENCE
SERMON. PHILIPPIANS I. 27-30.
"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ; that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel;
And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.
For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me."
THIS whole passage, beloved Brethren, seems admirably suited to the present condition of the Church, and the occasion far which we are assembled.
It was then, as it is now, a time of general suffering in the Church. The great Apostle to the Gentiles was a prisoner at Rome, "set," as he says, "for the defence of the Gospel." The Church at Philippi, and indeed all the Apostolic Churches, were also in tribulation from their Adversaries; notwithstanding which, this Church had collected offerings to supply the wants of their spiritual father; and Epaphroditus their Apostle, to convey to him their liberality, had himself made the journey from Macedonia to the Imperial City. On his return, St. Paul [7/8] addressed a letter to the Clergy and Laity of this excellent Church, in terms of unmingled endearment and commendation, exhorting them to bear up firmly against the evils of the times, and encouraging them not only by his own example, but by that of their divine Lord to endure the conflict, which, for his sake, they were called to suffer.
It is well worthy of our observation that, in St. Paul's Epistles, there is always a covert allusion to the peculiar condition of those whom he addressed, which adds great force, and beauty, and individuality, to his exhortations. Philippi was a Roman Colony, composed originally of Roman soldiers and their families, sent into that remote Province to subdue it to the allegiance of the Empire. Of these military colonies it was the exclusive character that they were governed by the laws, and possessed all the rights and privileges, of Roman citizens. An old Latin writer compares them to so many shoots of a tree propagated from its roots. [A. Gellii Noct. Alt. Lib. xvi. c. 13.] "On account," he says, "of the amplitude and majesty of the Roman people, these colonies seem to be, as it were, small effigies and likenesses of the same." No one could be a Roman citizen unless he renounced allegiance to every other 1 city. No government could be allowed in a colony unless it was derived from Rome. No laws, no customs could be there observed which were at variance with those of the Metropolis. Hence arose the cry of designing men at Philippi against St. Paul and his companions, that they taught customs which it was not lawful for Romans to observe; and hence the powerful effect upon the magistrates and the multitude, which [8/9] led them to unlawful deeds of violence against the Apostles. [Acts xvi. 19-24.] For the Philippians knew that if they were but faithful to Rome, no power on earth could dispossess them of their high prerogative. Every Philippian when he went to Rome, went thither as to the city of his birth-right. Like globules of quick-silver, separated into minute divisions, and rolling far distant and in every direction, the colonial soldiery when they returned to the Great City, were blended with the commonwealth in the undistinguishable unity and brightness, of Rome's political organization.
These few particulars are sufficient to illustrate the Apostle's language. He employs the words which are used by the Greek historians of Rome, to denote these city-privileges; and he uses them to the Philippians in manifest allusion to their character as Roman Colonists. [Ch. i. 27, politeuesqe. Ch. iii. 20, politeuma.] Thus in the text: "Only let your conversation be as it becometh the Gospel of Christ." Literally it is: Let your conduct as citizens be worthy of the Gospel of Christ. So in the third chapter, the Apostle says: "Our conversation is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ." [Phil. iii. 20.] Strictly rendered, it would be, our Citizenship is in Heaven. As , if he had said: We dwell indeed upon earth, but only as colonies, placed here by the Great Captain of our Salvation, to subdue to His obedience the kingdoms of this world. Like a Roman general, our divine Lord hath ascended in triumph, leading captivity captive. He hath trodden the sacred way; He hath entered the [9/10] Pomoerium; [The Pomoerium was a sacred space without and around the walls of the City which it was not lawful to inhabit or to cultivate.] He hath passed through the gates of the Eternal City; He hath gone up to the Capitol; He hath taken his seat on his Father's throne. But with longing eyes we look for his return. He will come again; and if our conduct as Citizens of Heaven be worthy of our exalted calling, He will change the body of our humility; He will clothe us in the splendid robes of eternal triumph; He will bear us in His train to the City of our inheritance whose builder and maker is God.
Suppose ye, dear Brethren, that this was written only for the men of that age? Suppose ye, as deceivers have taught, that St. Paul and the rest of the Apostles, looked for the coming of the Lord Jesus in their life time, and were therefore mistaken and fallible? Oh, how low and grovelling are such conceptions! How utterly unworthy of the Christian name! It was the Holy Ghost who inspired the mind and guided the pen of His servant. St. Paul wrote indeed to the Philippians, but he wrote under the guidance of Him who is now abiding with the Church, and will so abide until the coming of the Lord. Let us implore His blessing on our hearts, while we proceed to consider how this passage of the Epistle to the Philippians may be applied to the men of this age, and especially to ourselves.
In the first place, the Apostle, or rather the Holy Ghost speaking by the Apostle, exhorts us and all Christians, individually, to let our conversation be as it [10/11] becometh the Gospel of Christ. If saved by the Gospel, it must be on the conditions of the Gospel. Privileges and duties are reciprocal and are never to be separated. As Citizens of Heaven, our conduct must be in strict conformity with our exalted character. The members of God's Church, whether Clergymen or Laymen, have but one rule; and that is PERSONAL HOLINESS IN HEART AND LIFE. Our very profession, when we became regenerate, implied a death unto sin, and a resurrection unto righteousness. But as our Ninth Article well expresses it, the "original--infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated." And hence springs the necessity of that unabating care and diligence with which every one must guard against the violation of the laws of Heaven, the City of our birth-right.
We, my Brethren of the Clergy, have many peculiar dangers and temptations. We are the divinely appointed Messengers and Stewards of God's mysteries. The Holy Ghost, presiding invisibly in the earthly Colonies, while our triumphant Lord is our Advocate in Heaven, dispenses to the Church, by our ministrations, the means by which her children live. But the very performance of our duties as ministers, may draw off our attention, from our own personal sanctity. St. Paul has feelingly described this danger, when he says, "I keep under my body and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away." [I Cor. ix. 27.]
And so, my dear Brethren of the Laity, are there [11/12] many dangers to which you are peculiarly exposed. One, and perhaps the most common, is that of supposing that you avoid responsibilities by not performing the duties of the Christian life. But this is a fatal mistake. Every man living is responsible, according to the light which God has given him. [Rom. ii. 14.] Christ hath died and risen for all men. Ample provision is made for the salvation of all mankind; and yet the terms of that salvation are conditional. "Ye are bought with a price," saith the Apostle. "Ye are not your own" but God's; "therefore," he adds as the condition, "glorify God in your body and in your spirit." [1 Cor. vi. 19, 20.] You cannot shake off your responsibility, even if you would. The Gospel of salvation is proclaimed in your ears; and it must by every one of you be received or rejected. I will not now, therefore, dwell on the importance of baptism. It is enough to say that no man can properly be called a Christian who is not baptized. By that simple act of faith on your part, and of mercy on the part of God, you have been translated by Him into the kingdom of his dear Son. [Col. i. 13.] Without baptism you could not be citizens of Heaven; but being thus born anew, you have promised conformity to the laws of the Heavenly city. [John iii. 5.] The same rule of personal sanctity by which the lives of the Clergy are to be measured, must measure yours. If they are appointed to minister, you are also appointed to receive. If they are appointed to preach the Gospel, you are appointed to hear and obey and act upon it. Every man, in the station in which he is placed, must be a soldier of Jesus [12/13] Christ. His conversation must be worthy of the Gospel of Christ.
And this leads us to the second important point in the text. Our personal sanctity as individual members of Christ is the first; our character and conduct as a Christian Community is the second.
Viewing all the Philippians both Clergy and Laity, in their several stations, as soldiers of Heaven, the Apostle exhorted them to "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel." The same exhortation, the Holy Ghost, speaking by his mouth, addresses to us. As the sacramental host of God's elect, stand in your ranks, animated by one spirit, even by that which proceedeth from the Holy Ghost the Comforter; and when called to struggle for the faith, struggle jointly, as if one soul animated your whole body.
One of the Greek historians of Rome, commenting on its constitution, observes: "So firm was the concord of the Romans, that, from the beginning of their constitution under Romulus, though there were many and great controversies between the people and their magistrates, they never, for 630 years, came to mutual blood-shedding and slaughter; but by mutually persuading and teaching one another, taking somethings voluntarily and others by concession, they produced the political solution of all their difficulties. But from the time," he adds, "when Caius Gracchus became tribune of the people, he violated the harmony of their citizenship, [13/14] (politeumatoV) so that they never ceased butchering one another, driving one another from the City into exile, and abstaining from no act of iniquity for the sake of victory." [Dion. Halic. Lib. ii. c. xi. Ed. Reiske. Tom. 1, p. 259. Ed. Hudson, Tom. 1, p. 83.] Oh brethren! what a picture is here,--not of the Heavenly City, for within her walls there is eternal peace,--but of her earthly Colonies!
The infection of Adam's guilt--the infirmities of mental vision--the impulses of passion remaining even in them that are regenerate [Art. ix.]--the tares sown among the wheat--the bad in the net of God's church [St. Matt. xiii. v. 38 to 42, and 47 to 50.]--the ungodly men who have crept in unawares, turning the grace of God into laciviousness, and denying the Lord who bought them--have in all ages, even from the beginning, created many and great controversies. [St. Jude, v. 4.] But if the Church, throughout the various Provinces, had been left quietly to exercise her own discipline, and to be governed by the laws of the Heavenly City, all these combined causes would not have so put her members at variance as to make them "bite and devour one another." [Gal. v. 15.] And let it be observed, beloved brethren, that the same means which corrupted Rome, have been resorted to, in most, if not all instances of similar corruption in the Militant Church. Many a Caius Gracchus, covering his selfish and ambitious views under the cloak of great zeal for the rights of the people, has arisen to disturb the Church's peace. Her polity differs mainly from that of the World, in that one essential principle that ALL SPIRITUAL POWER MUST BE DERIVED FROM CHRIST IN THE ONE CHANNEL OF APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION. It [14/15] has ever been the design of these turbulent Tribunes of the people to weaken the confidence of the Laity in a divinely appointed ministry. You can hardly open to any one of St. Paul's writings in which he does not vindicate his Apostolic Authority, and complain of the attempts made by heretical teachers to impute bad motives to himself and the other Apostles. It is so now. Let the Church go on in her appointed order, and then, by mutually persuading and teaching, taking somethings voluntarily, and others by concession, the harmony of her citizenship will be preserved. But when that is violated, when the spirit of party prevails, and every "act of iniquity" is resorted to "for the sake of victory,"--nothing can be the result but confusion, disorder, and every evil work. Happily, in this Diocese, we have, from the beginning, been exempt, in great measure, from such evils. Our Colony, like that of Philippi, has been, "of one accord, of one mind, doing nothing through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind, each esteeming other better than themselves." [Phil. ii. 2, 3.] Our Laity have not learned to distrust their Clergy, nor have our Clergy arrogated to themselves to be " Lords over God's heritage." [1 Pet. v. 3.] A spirit of moderation, and, where there have been differences of opinion, a spirit of mutual concession, have at all times preserved inviolate "the harmony of our citizenship." The lamented Bishop, who, for a time, administered this diocese, was accustomed to speak to his own, of Connecticut Churchmen, as St. Paul spake of the Philippians, with unmingled commendation. Let us always [15/16] endeavour to preserve this good report. Let us "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel."
We are therefore exhorted by the Apostle, in the third place, to be " in nothing terrified by our adversaries."
Our Church, like that of the Philippians, is but a Colony of Heaven, dwelling upon earth to subdue it to Christ; and that is the reason why we must always be surrounded by Adversaries. The stricter we are in observing the laws of Heaven, the more shall we be hated and maligned by the men of this world. Our divine Lord pronounced a solemn Woe to those of whom all men should speak well; [St. Luke, vi. 26.] and so, with like solemnity, He said to His disciples, "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake." [St. Matt. v. 11.] Though he plainly forwarned them that "in the world" they should "have tribulation," He exhorted them to "be of good cheer," because He had "overcome the world." [St. John, xvi. 33.] In like manner St. Paul in the text, exhorted the Philippians to be "in nothing terrified by their Adversaries." In common with all the other Churches founded by the Apostles, the Philippians had to contend in that Age, with two classes of Adversaries. They had on the one hand the Jews, with their vain traditions, and effete ceremonies; and on the other the Greeks, professing themselves to be wise, but thereby becoming fools, turning into profane jest and mockery, the sublime [16/17] mysteries of our religion, which are the more sublime because they are simple.
And is it not so, dear Brethren, at the presentday? Are there not now two classes of adversaries equally distinct and parallel with those of the Philippians? The one have elevated matters of opinion into articles of faith; the other have degraded articles of faith into matters of opinion.
Our blessed Lord hath commanded us to love even our enemies; and this we may do, though we speak with grave and indignant rebuke against their corrupt practices. Whose love was ever greater or tenderer than that of St. Paul for his own nation? Yet he speaks of their conduct with just severity as pleasing not God and being contrary to all men. [Thes. ii. 15.] He denies them a title which they exclusively claimed and of which they falsely boasted. He represents them as no longer pure. He calls them by the reproachful name of the Concision; while of the Christians he says "We are the Circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh." [Phil. iii. 2, 3.] And this he says even when the Jews were numerous and formidable, and the Christians few in number, and therefore despised by their Adversaries.
Following the holy Apostle in his charity as well as his firmness, let us not join, my Brethren, in that indiscriminate condemnation of the Church of Rome which is now so common. Let us look back to the time when her faith was "spoken of throughout the whole world." [Rom. i. 8.] And now that she has fallen from her high estate, let us, [17/18] with "great heaviness and continual sorrow in our hearts," [Rom. ix. 2.] offer "our desire and prayer to God" for her members "that they might be saved." [Rom. x. 1.] Though "as concerning the Gospel they are enemies," yet are they "beloved for the fathers' sakes." [Rom. xi. 28.] Yet let us ever bear in mind that they, even when they are most numerous, are become the Concision; while we, and all who hold to primitive truth and order, are, even when the fewest, the true Circumcision. The desponding prophet, when he thought himself alone, among the idolatrous tribes, was cheered by the declaration of the Searcher of all hearts, that seven thousand were left in Israel which had not bowed their knees to Baal. [Kings xix. v. 18.]
It is obviously impossible to enter largely on the present occasion, into the points of controversy which divide the Roman schism from the Catholic Church. I shall confine myself therefore to a few remarks on the recent attempt of a bright, though unhappily fallen spirit, to defend her infallibility under the specious name of developement.
The Roman theory of General Councils has been by him silently assumed as the Catholic theory. Here is the fundamental fallacy of his book; and this being destroyed, the gorgeous fabric built upon it falls of course.
In the Catholic sense, Councils are the solemn witnesses of antecedent faith; in the Roman sense, they are infallible agents of the Holy Ghost, whose decrees are as much inspired as1 the Bible itself. [Thus in the Bull of Pope Pius IV. super forma juramenti, he speaks of carrying into effect the provisions for the government of the Church with which Almighty God had vouchsafed divinely to inspire the holy Fathers assembled in his name; "ut ea quae Dominus Omnipotens, ad providam Ecclesis suae directionem, sanctis Patribus in nomine suo congregatis, divinitus inspirare dignatus est.] The Roman [18/19] theory has, in the language of Lord Bacon, in its "very body and frame of estate a monstrosity" which shocks all sober thought, and is contradicted by all history; the Catholic theory carries truth upon its very face, is supported by irrefragable testimony, and therefore commends itself to the enlightened judgment of all sober-minded and reflecting men.
The Apostles planted the Church as Colonies in the several provinces of the Roman Empire. For nearly three hundred years after the personal descent of the Holy Ghost, there were no other Councils but Provincial; and even when the Emperor Constantine brought together the delegated Bishops of these several Provinces, and so for the first time formed a General Council, they only testified to the fact that what is now called the Nicene faith had been always and by all received in their several Provinces. And here comes in the admirable rule of Vincent of Lerins, which defines the Catholic faith to be that which always and every where, and by all provincial Churches had been received as the faith once delivered to the Saints. [Salv. Massil et Vinc. Lirin. Opera. ed. Baluzii, Par. 1669, 8vo. p. 317.] It was as if the several Colonies had sent messengers to one general Assembly to declare how they interpreted the laws of the Heavenly City. The proceedings of the Council of Nice were received everywhere and by all the Provinces, as the just exponent of the Catholic faith; and Arianism, though supported by imperial power, and using for the first time among those who called themselves Christians the [19/20] weapon of persecution, fell after forty years of precarious establishment, and now, among all the primitive Churches is known only by the history of by-gone ages.
Keeping then in our view the Catholic sense of a Council, as the solemn witnesses of antecedent faith, lei us now ask if the Council of Trent can properly be considered as Catholic or general? During its interrupted and broken sessions from 1546 to 1564, it was composed almost entirely of Italian Bishops and Doctors, with a few other stragglers to swell the pageant and render seeming the assumption of Catholicity. The few Frenchmen, and Spaniards, and Germans, who were there, struggled manfully, on several occasions, against the overwhelming force of Rome; and for this, by her tender mercies, the Spanish Bishops were afterwards incarcerated in the dungeons of the Inquisition. The profane and bitter sarcasm that the Holy Ghost was conveyed from Rome in a valise, exhibits forcibly the arts and machinations then used. Happily we have the letters and memoirs of Vargas, a learned lawyer and canonist, sent by Charles V. to the Council, which contain many important particulars not mentioned by Fra Paolo or Pallavicini. He tells us that while there were great professions of entire liberty, the Pope's Legate did every thing in his own way; that this was confessed with secret murmurings by the Italians themselves, most of whom were the Pope's pensioners; that there were not twenty Bishops in the Council capable of examining a point of Theology; that sensible of this, the ambassadors proposed a reference of many points to the Theologians of Louvain and Cologne, and in fact many gross [20/21] errors committed by the Council through ignorance were afterwards silently corrected by those learned faculties; that the whole Council was divided into three classes or congregations over which the Legate and the two Nuncios presided; that in these the members were asked to express their views, ostensibly under pretence of liberty, but in reality, to learn who were for, and who against the views of Rome; that if against, they were constantly interrupted, severely censured, and made to understand that they would suffer for their temerity; that when the minutes of the Notaries who were appointed, not by the Council, but by the Legate, and the decrees, prepared by him and the Nuncios in secret, were ready, they were instantly sent to Rome by a courier, to be revised by the Pope and his Consistory; that on the return of the courier with secret instructions, the three classes were called together with indecent haste, and required to give their assent or dissent, and then a general congregation to pass them with only YES or NO, Placet or Non placet; that if they said Placet they were sure of favours and honours, and if Non placet of suffering from the implacable resentment of the Court of Rome; in a word that the council was in reality held in Rome, while for form's sake its decrees were promulgated at Trent. [Lettres et Mémoires de Vargas, passim.] To crown all, at the end of the Council, an act of excommunication was passed, (and we all know the terrors of a Roman excommunication at that period,) against all who did not sign the decrees. [Pallavicini, Lib. xxiv. c. viii. 13.] All these particulars show most clearly the anti-Catholic character of that celebrated assembly.
 Let the Council of Trent, then, be taken exactly for what it is worth. Let us not be unjust, nor reject indiscriminately all that was there said and done. It represented the Mediaeval faith and practice of the Roman Communion; but has no claims to be considered as Catholic or general. It tied a mill stone about the neck of that unhappy Church, which has ever since sunk her deeper and deeper in the quagmires of heresy and schism.
But powerful and numerous as that Communion is now becoming in this country, from the wealth of Europe poured into her lap, the multitudes flocking from unhappy Ireland and from Germany, the facilities of the American Constitution, and the influence which numbers will always give, amid the conflicts of political parties, yet the Church of Rome is by no means our greatest or most formidable adversary. [And perhaps the projected confederation with Mexico.]
At the beginning, while the Gospel was to the Jews a stumbling-block, it was to the Greeks foolishness. The pride of human reason has at all times created an evil heart of unbelief; and if we look at the history of the last three hundred years, we shall see substantially the same workings of this evil heart of unbelief, falsely assuming the name of Protestant, and hidden in these latter ages under the specious cloak of reform. It has already been observed that one extreme raises matters of opinions to articles of faith, while the other extreme degrades articles of faith into mere matters of opinion. A false theory, in both cases, leads to most fatal and similar results. In the one, a Pope with his Council may decree what is contrary to the Gospel, and [22/23] call it a developement; in the other, every man's private ' judgment supersedes all Church authority, and calls itself religious liberty and progressive reform.
I am willing to concede that such was not the original intention. The first agents may have verily thought that they were doing God service; but we, my Brethren, live at a period when results are seen which they had not largeness enough of vision to anticipate. The dragon's teeth which they sowed have sprung up into armed combatants, "butchering one another," in the language of the Roman historian whom I have quoted, "driving one another into exile from the city" of our God, "and abstaining from no act of iniquity for the sake of victory." The mere motive of opposition to Roman errors has led to errors of equal, or perhaps greater magnitude. Because Rome arrogates to herself the name of Catholic, therefore that holy and venerable name by which the Christians of primitive times loved to be distinguished, is now considered as a term of reproach, and by these false Protestants avoided as if it were a name of blasphemy. Because Rome has exalted her Bishop to the seat of God, therefore the Apostolic Office itself must be rejected. Because Rome has perverted the Sacraments to superstitious uses, therefore the proper use of them is not necessary to salvation. Because Rome has made the public prayers of the Church an unintelligible incantation, a muttered spell of the Clergy for the pretended benefit of the people, therefore the public worship of the Church in a language intelligible to all, is to be discontinued or rarely used. Because Rome has denied the Bible to the Laity, except [23/24] as a special favour, and under prescribed restrictions, therefore the Bible is to be cheapened like a vile thing, opened with irreverence, read with proud unbelief, and its meaning measured by the rule of Self-infallibility.
The principle of private judgment, which, within due limitations, is just, has, without those limitations, produced innumerable and conflicting sects, all professing to be guided by the light within them. That light is by some attributed to the influences of the Holy Ghost acting without any of the external means which He himself appointed; while by others the necessity of His influences is denied, and the reason alone of each individual is the boasted arbiter of human responsibility. The one leads to the wildest, and most extravagant fanaticism, terminating often in mental derangement; the other, to skeptical indifference and a cold and scornful rationalism, which leads finally to a settled infidelity.
My Brethren, we have not so learned Christ. The Bible is our standard of faith; but it is the Bible, as it has been always, every where and by all Provincial Churches interpreted--the laws of the Heavenly City as understood and practised upon by all her Colonies. The great principle of our Sixth Article guards us effectually against Roman errors. The Thirty-fourth Article "Of the Traditions of the Church," guards us equally from the rash effects of private judgment. Our Liturgy, and the various orders, ministrations and offices connected with it, are Catholic. They contain the Ancient Creeds, the Ancient interpretation of Christian Doctrine, the Ancient formularies of prayer and praise, and all those essential usages, which from the beginning have [24/25] been esteemed as the laws and customs of the Heavenly City. Being thus guarded on all sides by the entrenchments which the Church supplies, it remains only for each one of us to cultivate religious affections, to be instant and fervent in prayer, to be diligent in the use of all the means which the Holy Ghost hath appointed for the sanctification of our souls, to avoid all strife and contention among ourselves, to go quietly forward in the defensive order which the Church prescribes, never attacking " those that are without," unless we ourselves are attacked, and then standing fast in the Lord as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. If we act thus, we shall know by our own happy experience that they have nothing to gain, but much to lose, who are terrified by their adversaries, and are thus induced to desert our Communion. And this leads me to the last portion of the text on which it is necessary to dwell, and that is the effect of our intrepidity in the joint struggle for the faith of the Gospel.
The Apostle speaks of two effects; the first upon our adversaries, the second upon ourselves. To the adversaries, our standing fast and being in nothing terrified, is an evident token of our perdition; to ourselves it is a sign from God of our salvation.
When the Jews had become the concision, they endeavoured to frighten the true circumcision into the belief that they could not be saved unless by the law of Moses, as explained by their vain traditions. The Greeks, on the other hand, looked upon Christians [25/26] as Atheists, and haters of all men, because they would not worship the idols of man's invention, and complied not with customs and usages at variance with the laws of the Heavenly City. So it was in the time of St. Paul; and so it is now.
I need not tell you, dear Brethren, that Rome affects to confound us with the sects who have departed from that conversation which becometh the Gospel of Christ. By the excommunication of the Catholic Church of Great Britain, and consequently ourselves as the offspring of that Church, she has taken upon herself the awful sin of rending the body of Christ. As regards this country, to say nothing of her conduct in the British dominions, she has, like the Donatists of old, intruded a schismatic priesthood. Like them, and indeed worse than they, because her doctrines are more heretical, and her practice idolatrous, she has re-iterated baptism and holy-orders, conferred, as she knows in her heart, by a Catholic and Apostolic ministry. Both are, by her own confession, acts of sacrilege;: and as regards baptism, in [26/27] particular, the more absurd, because she admits, in her own Communion, even the baptism of illiterate women. [In the Bull of Pius IV. already quoted, speaking of the Sacraments, it is said: "Of these Baptism, Confirmation and Orders cannot be re-iterated without SACRILEGE: ex his Baptismum, Confirmationem et Ordinem, sine sacrilegio reiterari non posse." See also Bingham's Antiq. B. XI. C. v. Of the laws against rebaptization, particularly sections 6 and 7. In the latter he says, "If they were Bishops, Presbyters or Deacons who thus suffered themselves to be re-baptized, then they were to be DEGRADED, and obliged to do penance all their lives without being suffered to communicate with the Church, either in the prayers of the faithful, or the prayers of the Catechumens, and were only to be admitted to lay-communion at the hour of death, because they had not only denied their orders, but their CHRISTIANITY, and openly professed themselves pagans by being re-baptized." Bingham's authority is a Roman Council held by Felix III. The penalty to re-baptizers was degradation; but this he observes did not apply to those "who thought themselves obliged to re-baptize those who were only baptized by laymen." If with the zeal of Phinehas, the Church of England had made a public example of the first man who dared thus to break from her ranks, we should not have had the pitiable sight of so many of her younger Clergy following their leader like sheep over the pale of her sacred enclosure. If she had imitated and supported her suffering sister of North Britain in the intrepid administration of discipline, we should not hear of Clergymen profaning the sacred anniversary of her Saviour's passion, by preaching to their flocks on Good Friday against baptismal regeneration. If we ourselves, unfettered as we are, were equally intrepid, we should never suffer the sacrilege of the re-iteration of baptism and orders, without degrading instantly the unhappy men who have made themselves partakers of such sins. But better times are coming. Our intelligent and well-principled laity will support their Clergy in the struggle for the faith of the Gospel. Our Clergy will stand in our Thermopylae, if need be, as an Army of Martyrs. In A. D. 744, an illiterate priest in Bavaria baptized in this form, Baptizo te in nomine Patria et Filia et Spiritua Sancta. Boniface judged that this baptism should be re-iterated. But Pope Zachary wrote to him that simple ignorance of language without any error of faith did not invalidate the baptism; for, said he, "even those who have been baptized by heretics, are not to be baptized provided it was done in the name of the Trinity." Fleury H. E. Liv. xli. sec. 47. But a case occurred not long since, in which a dignified Ecclesiastic discovered that he had never received any other baptism than that of his nurse. "How did you baptize me?" said he to her. "How? Why, as I always do: In the name of the Holy Virgin." This was related by a clerical friend to the author, and it was in his mind when he used the phrase "illiterate women." That friend is now at a distance, and it has been impossible to get from him an accurate statement of the fact without delaying the publication of the Sermon. As far as the author recollects it occurred in Spain. How absurd and how contradictory is the modern practice of the Church of Rome in re-iterating baptism conferred by Catholic and Apostolic priests, under pretence of uncertainty, when by their own admissions, and within their own Communion, a baptism, universally acknowledged to be invalid because it was not in the name of the Trinity, has been administered by an illiterate woman!] She denies to her laity the Cup of blessing, enjoined equally with the other element; and so renders it very questionable whether the valid Eucharist is ever administered in her Communion, excepting to her priesthood. And yet with all these sins upon her own head, our intrepid firmness is to her an evident token of our perdition.
So, on the other hand, I need not tell you my Brethren of the Clergy, how much our unyielding firmness in maintaining the great principles of Catholic faith and [27/28] practice is reviled by fanatical or irreligious men, as an evident token that we are periling our own souls, and the souls entrusted to our care. As St. Paul and his companions at Philippi were assailed by odious names, confounded with the Jews, and accused of exceedingly troubling the city, so are we called Papists in disguise, formalists, without vital religion, or if the charge means any thing, men without religion, dead in trespasses and sins. Sectarian appellations are given to us. We are called by the name of this or that, learned Doctor, as if we were responsible for his opinions, on all points, because we agree with him in the common faith, or because we endeavour strictly to keep the laws of our Heavenly City, and promote a spirit of zeal and devotion in the flocks committed to our charge. My Brethren, let none of these things move us, if so be that we finish our course with joy, and the ministry which we have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God. [Acts xx. 24.] Let us by patience, meekness, and forbearance, endeavour to overcome this bitterness, and by our example convince the gain-sayers. Afflictions of this sort are the lot of our inheritance. Our blessed Lord "when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered He threatened not." [2 Peter ii. 23.] Can his disciples expect to be exempt from the hatred of the world? If they have called the Master of the house, Beelzebub, how much more they of his household? So far then from repining or being discouraged, let us all consider it as a privilege that "unto us it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but to suffer for his sake."
 The Apostle proceeds to say that the same evidence which to our adversaries is a token of our perdition, is to ourselves a sign of salvation. As the pillar of God's presence gave light to Israel, while it was a cloud and darkness to their enemies, so is it with the joy shed abroad by the Holy Ghost in the hearts of his faithful servants. [Exod. xiv. 20.] We desire to record with devout thankfulness that while in other portions of the Church some have fallen from their steadfastness, not a single instance has occurred in the Diocese of Connecticut of any defection from our ranks. And this I attribute mainly to those Church principles which, according to the solemn Concordate made in 1785, by our first Bishop, have always been maintained inviolate both in Scotland and Connecticut.
As I have mentioned this Concordate, I think it necessary, Brethren, to remove a lace misapprehension of its second article. [See Calendar, April 25, 1846.] It was not intended to prevent lay-representation in our conventions, but to guard against an opinion then maintained in England and in some parts of this country, that the Spiritual powers of Bishops were conferred by acts of Parliament. In the Catholic remainder of the Church of Scotland, which is situated as we are, without worldly wealth or power, but surrounded by numerous sects, who formerly persecuted and now unite in nothing but reviling and calumniating her, not a solitary instance can be named, to my knowledge, of any defection to Rome. The Church of England, on the contrary, from that connection with the State to which the second article of the Concordate [29/30] alludes, is now, even more than then, in bondage to a lay Parliament elected indiscriminately, and composed of sectarians of every sort. She cannot hold her provincial Councils, nor exert a wholesome discipline, nor provide for the right education of her children, because a lay-establishment interferes with her spiritual rights. Otherwise she would not suffer so much heresy within her own jurisdiction; nor would any of her Clergy, under the pressure of such bondage, have been induced to look with favourable eyes upon Rome, if they had not learned in early life to depreciate the Catholicity of their Holy Mother.
While we rejoice at our exemption from all inclination to Romanism, let us be fully aware that the real dangers of our position proceed from the opposite extreme. Ignorance and indifference are what we have most to dread. On religious subjects the present age is not so learned nor so thoughtful as the past. The sects around us are not so well versed in their peculiar tenets. Among them, the consequences are perpetual schisms, the wild-fire of fanaticism, or the frost of a skeptical spirit. Among them, extremes easily meet; and when the controversy with Rome comes upon them, their private judgment is not well informed enough to avoid its captivity. But, blessed be God! the effect upon Churchmen is different. They are learning more and more every day to distinguish what is Catholic from what is Roman; to hold to the one and reject the other; to promote a spirit of devotion, without running into enthusiasm or superstition; to observe on earth the laws of [30/31] the Heavenly City, that they may be prepared to enjoy the glories of an eternal triumph.
Soldiers of Jesus Christ! The time is not far distant when you will be called to put off the soiled and bruised armour of a thousand victories. In the delightful consciousness of your earthly fidelity you will exclaim with the holy Apostle who has furnished the theme of our discourse, "the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." [2 Tim. iv. 6-8.] Our Citizenship is in Heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.
The robe of a Roman Citizen was white; and when the Colonial soldiery went up to the City to receive the honours of a triumph, they put off the garb of the warrior, and were clothed in the peculiar garment of their Citizenship. And so will it be, Brethren, on that moraine of the resurrection when the Lord Jesus shall come again in His glorious majesty to take us unto Himself. By the mighty energy of His all-subduing power, He will make our bodies like unto His own glorious body. [Phil. iii. 20, 21.] The white robes of the Heavenly City will then have been put on: the fine linen which is the righteousness of saints, [Rev. xix. 8.] "not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing," [Eph. v. 27.] because they have been "washed by Him in His own blood." [Rev. i. 5.] The bright procession of unnumbered myriads [31/32] will enter the Eternal City and ascend the sacred way. The Angelic inhabitants, clothed also in white and rejoicing in our victories, will welcome us with songs of celestial harmony: Well done, ye who have been good and faithful over a few things on earth! ye will now be made rulers over many things in the City of your inheritance: enter ye into the joy of your Lord! We ourselves shall join in the song of triumph with ten thousand times ten thousand voices, saying, Blessing and honour and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth on the throne and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. No sun will go down on that triumph. "The glory of God will lighten it, and the Lamb will be the light thereof." [Rev. xxi. 23.]
THE wise and gracious providence of this merciful God, having put it into the hearts of the Christians of the Episcopal persuasion in Connecticut in North America, to desire that the blessings of a free, valid, and purely ecclesiastical episcopacy might be communicated to them, and a church regularly formed in that part of the western world upon the most ancient and primitive model: and application having been made for this purpose by the Rev. Dr. Samuel Seabury, presbyter in Connecticut, to the right reverend the bishops of the church in Scotland; the said bishops having taken this proposal into their serious consideration, most heartily concurred to promote and encourage the same, as far as lay in their power, and accordingly began the pious and good work recommended to them, by complying with the request of the clergy in Connecticut, and advancing the said Dr. Samuel Seabury to the [33/34] high order of the episcopate; at the same time earnestly praying that this work of the Lord, thus happily begun, might prosper in his hands, till it should please the great and glorious head of the church, to increase the number of bishops in America, and send forth more such labourers into that part of his harvest.
Animated with this pious hope, and earnestly desirous to establish a bond of peace and holy communion between the two churches, the bishops of the church in Scotland, whose names are under written, having had full and free conference with bishop Seabury after his consecration and advancement as aforesaid, agreed with him on the following articles, which are to serve as a CONCORDATE, or BOND of UNION between the catholick remainder of the ancient church of Scotland, and the now rising church in Connecticut.
ARTICLE I. They agree in thankfully receiving, and humbly and heartily embracing the whole doctrine of the gospel, as revealed and set forth in the holy scriptures: and it is their earnest and united desire to maintain the analogy of the common faith, once delivered to the saints, and happily preserved in the church of Christ, through his divine power and protection, who promised that the gates of hell should never prevail against it.
ARTICLE II. They agree in believing this church to be the mystical body of Christ, of which he alone is the head and supreme governour; and that under him the chief ministers or managers of the affairs of this spiritual society are those called bishops, whose exercise of their sacred office being independent on all lay powers, it follows of consequence, that their spiritual authority and jurisdiction, cannot be affected by any lay deprivation.
ARTICLE III. They agree in declaring that the Episcopal church in Connecticut is to be in full communion with the Episcopal church in Scotland, it being their sincere resolution to put matters [35/36] on such a footing, as that the members of both churches may with freedom and safety communicate with either, when their occasions call them from the one country to the other: only taking care, when in Scotland, not to hold communion in sacred offices with those persons, who, under the pretence of ordination by an English, or Irish bishop, do, or shall, take upon them to officiate as clergymen in any part of the national church of Scotland; and whom the Scottish bishops cannot help looking upon, as schismatical intruders, designed only to answer worldly purposes, and uncommissioned disturbers of the poor remains of that once flourishing church, which both their predecessors and they have, under many difficulties, laboured to preserve pure and uncorrupted to future ages.
ARTICLE IV. With a view to this salutary purpose, mentioned in the preceding article, they agree in desiring, that there may be as near a conformity in worship and discipline established between the two churches, as is consistent with the different circumstances and customs of nations; and in order to avoid any bad effects that might otherwise arise from political differences, they hereby express their earnest wish and firm intention to observe such prudent generality in their publick prayers, with respect to these points as shall appear most agreeable to apostolick rules and the practice of the primitive church.
ARTICLE V. As the celebration of the holy eucharist, or the administration of the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, is the principal bond of union among Christians, as well as the most solemn act of worship in the Christian church, the bishops aforesaid agree in desiring, that there may be as little variance here as possible. And, though the Scottish bishops are very far from prescribing to their brethren in this matter, they cannot help ardently wishing, that bishop Seabury would endeavour all he can, [35/36] consistently with peace and prudence, to make the celebration of this venerable mystery conformable to the most primitive doctrine and practice in that respect, which is the pattern the church of Scotland has copied after in her communion office, and which it has been the wish of some of the most eminent divines of the church of England that she also had more closely followed, than she seems to have done, since she gave up her first reformed liturgy used in the reign of King Edward VI.; between which and the form used in the church of Scotland, there is no difference in any point, which the primitive church reckoned essential to the right ministration of the holy eucharist. In this capital article, therefore, of the eucharistick service, in which the Scottish bishops so earnestly wish for as much unity as possible, bishop Seabury also agrees to take a serious view of the communion office recommended by them; and if found agreeable to the genuine standards of antiquity, to give his sanction to it, and by gentle methods of argument and persuasion, to endeavour, as they have done, to introduce it by degrees into practice, without the compulsion of authority on the one side, or the prejudice of former custom on the other.
ARTICLE VI. It is also hereby agreed and resolved upon, for the better answering the purposes of this concordate, that a brotherly fellowship be henceforth maintained between the Episcopal churches in Scotland and Connecticut, and such a mutual intercourse of ecclesiastick correspondence carried on, when opportunity offers, or necessity requires, as may tend to the support and edification of both churches.
ARTICLE VII. The bishops aforesaid, do hereby jointly declare in the most solemn manner, that in the whole of this transaction they have nothing else in view but the glory of God, and the good of his church; and being thus pure and upright in their intentions, [36/37] they cannot but hope, that all whom it may concern, will put the most fair and candid construction on their conduct, and take no offence at their feeble but sincere endeavours to promote what they believe to be the cause of truth and of the common salvation. In testimony of their love to which, and in mutual good faith and confidence, they have for themselves, and their successors in office, cheerfully put their names and seals to these presents, at Aberdeen, this fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four.
[L. S.] ROBERT KILGOUR, Bishop and Primus.
[L. S.] ARTHUR PETRIE, Bishop.
[L. S.] JOHN SKINNER, Bishop.
[L. S.] SAMUEL SEABURY, Bishop.
TO THE EPISCOPAL CLERGY IN CONNECTICUT
IN NORTH AMERICA.
REVEREND BRETHREN, AND WELL-BELOVED IN CHRIST--
Whereas it has been represented to us the Bishops of the Episcopal Church in Scotland, by the Reverend Dr. Samuel Seabury, your fellow Presbyter in Connecticut, that you are desirous to have the blessings of a free, valid, and purely Ecclesiastical Episcopacy communicated to you, and that you do consider the Scottish Episcopacy to be such in every sense of the word: And the said Dr. Seabury having been sufficiently recommended to us, as a person very fit for the Episcopate; and having also satisfied us that you were willing to acknowledge and submit to him, as [37/38] your Bishop, when properly authorized to take the Charge of you in that Character:--Know therefore, dearly beloved, that We the Bishops, and, under Christ, the Governours by regular Succession, of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, considering the Reasonableness of your Request, and being entirely satisfied with the Recommendations in favour of the said Dr. Samuel Seabury, have accordingly promoted him to the high Order of the Episcopate, by the laying on of our hands, and have thereby invested him with proper powers for governing, and performing all Episcopal Offices in, the Church in Connecticut. And having thus far complied with your Desire, and done what was incumbent on us, to keep up the Episcopal Succession in a part of the Christian Church, which is now by mutual Agreement loosed from, and given up by, those who once took the Charge of it, permitt us therefore, Reverend Brethren, to request your hearty and sincere Endeavours to further and carry on the good Work we have happily begun. To this End, we hope you will receive and acknowledge the Right Reverend Bishop Seabury as your Bishop, and spiritual Governour, that you will pay him all due and canonical Obedience in that sacred Character, and reverently apply to him for all Episcopal Offices, which you, or the people committed to your pastoral Care, may stand in need of at his hands, till through the Goodness of God, the Number of Bishops be increased among you, and the State of Connecticut be divided into separate Districts or Dioceses, as is the case in other parts of the Christian World. This Recommendation, we flatter ourselves, you will take in good part from the Governours of a Church which cannot be suspected of aiming at Supremacy of any kind, or over any people. Unacquainted as we are with the Politicks of Nations, and under no temptation to interfere in Matters foreign to us, we have no other Object in view but the Interests of the Mediator's Kingdom, no higher Ambition [38/39] than to do our Duty as Messengers of the Prince of Peace. In the Discharge of this Duty, the Example we wish to copy after is that of the primitive Church, while in a similar Situation, unconnected with, and unsupported by, the temporal Powers. On this footing, it is our earnest Desire that the Episcopal Church in Connecticut be in full Communion with the Episcopal Church in Scotland, as we the underwritten Bishops for ourselves, and our Successors in Office agree to hold Communion with Bishop Seabury and his Successors, as practised in the various provinces of the primitive Church, in all the fundamental Articles of Faith, and by mutual Intercourse of Ecclesiastical Correspondence, and brotherly fellowship, when Opportunity offers, or Necessity requires. Upon this plan, which, we hope, will meet your joint Approbation, and according to this Standard of primitive practice, a Concordate has been drawn up and signed by us, the Bishops of the Church in Scotland, on the one part, and by Bishop Seabury on the other, the Articles of which are to serve as a Bond of Union between the Catholic Remainder of the antient Church of Scotland, and the now rising Church in the State of Connecticut. Of this Concordate, a Copy is herewith sent for your Satisfaction; and after having duely weigh'd the several Articles of it, we hope you will find them all both expedient, and equitable, dictated by a Spirit of Christian Meekness, and proceeding from a pure Regard to Regularity and good Order. As such we most earnestly recommend them to your serious Attention, and, with all brotherly Love, intreat your hearty and sincere Compliance with them.--A Concordate thus established in mutual good Faith and Confidence, will, by the blessing of God, make our Ecclesiastical Union firm and lasting; And we have no other Desire but to render it conducive to that peace, and agreeable to that Truth, which it ever has been, and shall be, our Study to seek after and cultivate. [39/40] And may the God of Peace grant you to be like-minded: May He, who is the great High-Priest of our profession, the Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls, prosper these our Endeavours for the propagation of his Truth and Righteousness: May he graciously accept our imperfect Services, grant Success to our good Designs, and make his Church to be yet glorious upon Earth, and the Joy of all Lands. To his divine Benediction, we heartily commend you, your Flocks, and your Labours, and are
Your affectionate Brethren, and fellow-Servants in Christ.
ROBERT KILGOUR, Bishop and Primus.
ARTHUR PETRIE, Bishop.
JOHN SKINNER, Bishop.
Aberdeen, November 15th, 1784.