No. 1920 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE,
WASHINGTON, February 6, 1874.
Right Rev. William R. Whittingham, D. D.:--
RIGHT REV. AND DEAR SIR:--Having, after much deliberation and earnest weighing of the whole matter involved, determined it as my duty to dissolve my connection with the Protestant Episcopal Church, and to unite with the Reformed Episcopal Church, I hereby, in accordance with the canonical provision in case of those renouncing the ministry. of the Church, request that my name be erased from the list of ministers of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Maryland, and that the usual deposition from the ministry required by canon in such cases may be performed at the time specified in said canon. I would not, Right Rev. Sir, here enter upon any full exposition of the wide reasons, connected with the doctrinal and ritual attitude of the Protestant Episcopal Church, which have impelled me to the course I have marked out for myself. Suffice it now to say that in my view the position of the Church as a living, acting organization, whatever the alleged soundness of its doctrinal formularies may be, is essentially, increasingly, and hopelessly a Romanizing position. I say hopelessly so, for the one obvious reason among many, that the dominant party in the Protestant Episcopal Church cannot ever be expected to renounce its distinctive features, any more than, can the Evangelical body in the Church abandon the Truth of God, which is to them dearer than life. The opposition of the two systems is diametric and indestructible. Protestantism and Romish sacramentarianism cannot now live and breathe together any more than they did when the deep and vital contrarieties of Church parties in the Sixteenth century culminated in the separation of the ever blessed Reformation. I sever myself from the Protestant Episcopal Church, among many graver reasons, because I am unwilling longer to bear the responsibility of a supposed upholding in spirit of the Church system with which. I am connected. Membership in any organization necessarily involves toleration, and directly or indirectly patronage of the objects and operations of that organization, and. in the case of a Church which, as I believe, has departed from the faith, to have membership therein, is to contribute to the subversion of the souls of the people, and-to the dishonor of the Lord Jesus. With a deep sense of the solemnity of the step I am [3/4] taking in this severance from the Church of my fathers, and with every sentiment of good will towards yourself, from whom, during my connection with the Diocese, I have received only courtesy and kindness, I remain respectfully, yours,
BISHOP WHITTINGHAM TO REV. WM. M'GUIRE.
BALTIMORE, February, 10, 1874.
REV. AND DEAR BROTHER:--The painful tenor and purport of your note of the 6th inst., by me received only yesterday morning, leave me, after repeated perusal, impressed with the need of introducing my reply by a reciprocation in the fullest manner of the expression of personal regard and satisfaction in past personal and official relations, with. which you kindly bring your communication to a close. Aware, from the very first, of the wide difference between the stand-points from which we respectively regarded the central verities of the Gospel in the Church, I have ever found in you the courteous brother in the Ministry, and the candid, free-speaking Christian man, with whom a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be otherwise than bound in the bonds of mutual love in a common faith.
It is as from such a free-spoken brother in Christ that I must now ask you to receive what I have to answer to your letter.
Were the proposition made in it one that it depended on my own discretion to accede to, I should feel bound, before determining to accede, to present to you considerations arising in my mind, dissuasive from a step which seems to me insufficiently grounded, and as I understand the Word of God and the doctrine of Christ, criminally rash and ruinous.
While virtually admitting the unchanged soundness of the formularies of the Church in which you are a minister, and making no allegation of constraint put upon you to interfere with your personal and ministerial adherence to those formularies, you ground your desire to forsake the Ministry to which you have been admitted upon the sufferance within the membership of the Church of systems which you assert to be in diametric opposition.
Admit the case to be so, that at least the extremists in either of the two systems occupy points in the circumference diametrically opposite, does that require the ejection of either from the circle which they help to constitute? does that hinder either from having a direct and equal interest in the centre, which I take to be our Blessed Lord himself? or from holding equal communication with Him through the radii of His Word and means of grace?
When you say that the extreme which you disfavor is "hopelessly Romanizing," you mean only, of course, that you so regard [4/5] it; you cannot intend any claim that I should accept your view as infallibly exact, nor that I should take your word for the extraneity of it from the circle of Scriptural and Catholic truth of the point in diametric opposition to the place of your own opinions in the circumference.
You cannot suppose that your renunciation of ministry in the Protestant Episcopal Church is needful for your own deliverance from any pressure put upon you by what you describe as "the dominant party," for you do not make, you could not truthfully make, any allegation of pressure exerted to cause you to "abandon the truth of God." You regard me, I suppose, as an average representative of the majority which, you say, you cannot expect to renounce its distinctive features." Wherein have I, during the three, years of our relations as Presbyter and Bishop, shown any disposition to interfere with your liberty in holding and inculcating "that truth of God which- is to you dearer than life?" How is it less, free to you now than it was on the day when you took your solemn. vows to maintain the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this Church in the exercise of the awful trust of the holy Ministry? The variant interpretations of our formularies existed then. The relative proportions of those holding them can make no difference to the holders so long as neither class attempts to eject the other, or to infringe on its liberty of speech and action. Were you objected to when you came into my diocese because you were "Evangelical?" Has any restriction been laid on you, as such, either in your pastoral work or in your Christian life and intercourse?
It is not, then, in assertion of your own views, nor in defense of your own position, that you find yourself driven, as you suppose, to the extremity of abandoning your ministry; but because a majority of the members of the Church interprets the Bible and the Prayer-book differently, on some points, from yourself and those agreeing with you, and you cannot find it in your heart any longer to bear the responsibility of such toleration of the difference as would be implied in your continuance to minister in the same Church organization.
Is that, my brother, a sufficient ground for dishonoring, before God and man, the solemn obligations, deliberately assumed at your ordination? Is the great crime of vow-breach a thing to be incurred for the mere indulgence of partisan views and predilections, to free one's self from the apprehended tyranny of a majority, and, the irksomeness of being reckoned partaker in its doings, while in no way oppressed by the one or implicated in the other?
I cannot so regard it; and if your note to me contained--as you seem to have meant that it should contain--such a renunciation of the Ministry as I am canonically empowered to receive as a ground of deposition, I should feel bound to oppose your action, and withhold my own consent to the very utmost limits of allowed discretion.
 But such is not the case. You have not put me in the condition under which I should be bound to take action, according to the provision of Canon V, Title 2, of the Digest, my only canonical ground for concurring with you in your relinquishment of your Ministerial vows and obligations.
The language of the Canon is explicit. It makes it the duty of a Bishop to record the written declaration of a Minister of "his renunciation of the Ministry, and his design not to officiate in future in any of the offices thereof."
You, thank God, have made no such declaration.
There is, therefore, nothing before me which I am called upon or empowered to put on record; and such record is the indispensable preliminary of procedure to deposition.
Your evident intention to do something like availing yourself, to a certain extent, of the provisions of Canon V, while it is ineffectual, because incomplete and inconsistent with the terms of the Canon, happily protects us both from the operation of Canon VI. Even if your letter were laid before the Standing Committee, that body would be unable to indict you for either open renunciation of the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this Church," or "formal admission into any religious body not in communion with the same." It would not, therefore, be in the power of the committee to make such certificate to the Bishop of the Diocese as he would be able and obliged, under the canon, to take as equivalent to renunciation of the Ministry, and make a ground of procedure to deposition.
You do not renounce the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this Church. You claim, on the contrary, to understand them better, hold to them more faithfully, and appreciate them more conscientiously and higher than I do myself.
Your talk of dissolving your connection with the Protestant Episcopal Church, to unite with the Reformed Episcopal Church, is (excuse my plain speaking) a baseless dream. One perjured Bishop no more makes a Church than one swallow makes a summer. In the sense of the canon there is no such "religious body" as that you name known to me or to the Standing Committee of my Diocese, into which we could suppose your "formal admission" possible; while, if there were, your mere determination and resolve to join it would not come up to the requisition of the canon.
Again, I thank God that it is so; in the hope and belief that your renewed deliberations (which I humbly and earnestly entreat you to make with a careful and prayerful re-examination of the whole office used in your ordination to the Presbyterate) may dispose you to refrain from doing the great wrong, and incurring the awful dangers which present themselves to my judgment as involved in the course which you have, as I am profoundly convinced, "unadvisedly and hastily" proposed to me to aid you in taking, in a way uncontemplated by the Church. and inconsistent with its canonical legislation.
 In the bonds of the one faith, one baptism, one Lord and Saviour, one Holy Spirit of Grace, and as yet (may it long continue so!) of the one Ministry of the blessed Gospel in the one household of love, I am, Reverend and dear brother, affectionately and truly, your loving brother,
(Signed) WILLIAM R. WHITTINGHAM,
Bishop of Maryland.
The Rev. William McGuire.
REV. WM. M'GUIRE TO BISHOP WHITTINGHAM.
WASHINGTON, D. C., May 7th, 1874.
Right Rev. William R. Whittingham, D. D., Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland:
RIGHT REV. SIR:--As the matter contemplated in my letter of a few weeks ago, requesting the dissolution of my connection with the ministry of the Episcopal Church, has now been finally settled, I use the press to reply to your elaborate letter to me, as published in the columns of the Hartford Churchman, under date of February 10th, 1874. This reply appears somewhat later than I had intended it should, but it was because of my pre-occupation with the peculiar work devolving on me in my new Church relation, and not, I beg to assure you, from any difficulty presented to me in grappling with the proffered arguments of your letter. With my thanks for the friendly remarks towards myself, personally, with which you commence and close your communication, I proceed at once to the examination of the points put forward by yourself as dissuasives from the step contemplated by my letter of resignation.
As the first material point in the case, with an inadvertence out of keeping with your usual attention, you assert that I have grounded my desire to discontinue my ministry in the Episcopal Church upon the sufferance of doctrinal errors in the Church, "while virtually admitting the unchanged soundness of the formularies of the Church." To say nothing of the almost a priori impossibility of my making an admission so damaging to my position, I simply refer you to my letter of February 6th, to, which you were responding, and in which I expressly speak of "the alleged soundness," of those formularies, and nothing further. I said "alleged," for I hold that the Prayer-book, while containing much Protestant truth, has yet inwrought into its very texture and fabric the most serious doctrinal errors. In proof of this I ask what well-informed person is there in the Episcopal Church who is not aware of the almost precise correspondence between the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration as taught in the Prayer-book and in the formularies of the [7/8] Romish and Greek Churches? These apostate Churches teach the spiritually quickening power of baptism, and so does the Prayer book, in Article Twenty-fifth, and in the Services for, Baptism, so plainly that if one endeavors to explain it away, he must, as soon as he has done, begin again, in order to bring up the mind of his heater even to the point of mere credulous assent. So plainly that the House of Bishops, in 1871, could not, by any influence of logic, rhetoric, or love, be induced to make a declaration that the Services for Infant Baptism did not teach the dogma of spiritual regeneration in baptism, whatever futile judgment they were willing to give as to the non-occurrence of a moral change in that sacrament. So plainly, that, as you are very well aware, the largest proportion of Episcopalians, building themselves on the Prayer-book, assert either baptismal justification, or the occurrence of an inward change of nature as wrought in baptism. The doctrine of the American Prayer-book on this subject, you, sir, need not be informed, is identical with that of the Prayer-book of the Church of England, and what the latter is has been practically settled in the Church of England by the great voice of the leading divines of the present day, and even by the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeals, which, asserting that the Calvinistic doctrine of baptism is tolerated in the Church of England, leaves the logical result, that the Sacramentarian view of the baptismal teachings of the Prayer-book is the view most generally held and to be sustained, just as the same court has, in the "Bennett Judgment," declared that the Lutheran or the Roman view of the Lord's Supper is tolerated under the formularies of the Church of England, though the doctrine of the Church is the Zwinglian, or Reformed. The teaching of the American Prayer-book is Sacramentarian, as you do not deny. The endorsement by the great body of the Bishops, clergy and laity of the Church, of the Church Book Society's publications, prominent among which is the tract of Sadler, "The Sacrament of Responsibility," with its "seed of grace" theory of baptism, shows very clearly that, in your view, the formularies of the Church on this subject are Sacramentarian, or in other words, Romish, for any attempted distinction between the two is frivolous.
I do not mean, sir, here to argue the matter of the Scripturalness of these portions of the Prayer-book, for I really think the controversy beneath the dignity of the human intellect. I only say that herein I deem the Prayer-book an unsound book, and that there is not one word of Scripture for its teachings on this subject.
The case is the same regarding the ineffable absurdity of Apostolic Succession, embodied in the service for the "Consecration of Bishops," the communication of God's Holy Spirit by the hands of a Bishop to the person consecrated, on the, mere inanity of which the Nine Centuries of the Dark Ages, made dark by the gross moral corruptions of Bishops as well as of others, and the fearful personal debasements of some of the same class in our day and [8/9] land, is a comment which needs no enlargement. This is a plain doctrine of the Prayer-book, as well as of the formularies of the corrupt Greek and Roman Churches, though the words Receive the Holy Ghost" were never incorporated even in them until the Twelfth century, crafty priests presuming on the density of the surrounding spiritual gloom to hide the enormity of their blasphemous claims.
So with the Catechism of the Prayer-book; to teach the catechumen that he is made by baptism the child of God, a member of Christ, an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven, how utterly at variance is this inculcation with the Scriptural doctrine of justification by faith only, without works, of which, of course, baptism is one. How forestalling, also, must it be of all true sense of religion, for a child to be told that by his baptism he is regenerate, and to be addressed by his Rector as a Christian, when the consciousness and conscience of the child must tell him that, as he is perhaps profane, like his associates, and like the unbaptized youth around him hates religion, and Divine worship, and his Catechism, he is in no wise different from them! What does the Catechism do in such cases but tell of peace when there is no peace?
The constant use of the word "priest" in the Communion Service, a word weakly retained in your Prayer-book by the Reformers, in spite of its recognized sacerdotal meaning, and the repeated occurrence of the words "altar" and "sacerdotal function" in the Institution Service, terms long since discarded by all Protestant bodies, sensitively jealous of every inroad upon the Scripture doctrine of the one sacrifice of Jesus, once for all, and of the only High-Priest, even Christ; what are these but seeds of Romish error, ever vegetating, and almost with the periodicity of the yearly seasons cropping out on the plains of the Church, in Romanism more or less developed?
Not to enlarge upon this topic, I dismiss this part of the subject by repeating what Dr. Pusey says of himself and of his party, and that is, that the American "ritualists have made their way by the Prayer-book," and that High-Churchmen stand on the same basis. As they all make their way by the Prayer-book, of course they have utterly refused to alter it. Their foundation in that case would have been removed; and who is willing to be sinking down?
And now let me say that you grievously misunderstood a figure of speech contained in my letter, viz.: "the diametric opposition of the two systems of Protestanism and Romish Sacramentarianism. You intimate plainly that you consider me as contemplating herein simple oppositeness of position of the two systems in a great circle of Gospel truth. But I meant nothing of the kind. The figure used was one of those forms of speech which, from triteness, have lost their figurative character, and become literal, and which was intended by me to indicate in the two systems of dogma mentioned an utter and irreconcilable diversity. I did not mean for a [9/10] moment to admit that Romanizing dogmas occupied simply an opposite position to that of Evangelical truth in the same circle of allowed theological opinion. No, sir; the Romanizer is nowhere in the circle of such allowed opinion. He. is outside of it altogether, beyond the pale of the truth of Christ, and it is because I regard the Episcopal Church as having essentially committed itself to a formalistic and sacramentarian system, a system thoroughly legal, Romish and Jewish, that I have felt it my duty to prosecute my ministry in an ecclesiastical body where the religious atmosphere is not loaded with elements so neutralizive of the Gospel of Christ preached in its simplicity.
In regard to an assertion in my letter to you, that the position of the Episcopal Church is a "hopelessly Romanizing" one, and which you criticise, it is transparently evident to every reader how utterly you fail to hold out any hope to Evangelical mere that any effort will be made to correct the tendency in question. You say you cannot take my word for the continuance of the evil complained of, but you take very good care not to give me your word for the suppression of those evils. Indeed, you inform me in a shorter letter, which you have given to the press, that, in your judgment, I am right in anticipating the refusal of the dominant party in the Church, under any circumstances, to mutilate the Prayer-book, by expunging from its varied services those "expressions of Catholic truth which presumptuous-misinterpretation insists on stigmatizing as Romanizing germs." Bishop Potter, of New York, like yourself, a representative man in the Church, in his response to the paper of the nine Bishops, on the matters by which they were disturbed, intimated plainly that, in his view, the proposed changes in the Prayer-book, though not amounting to revision, were then impossibilities. The thing was a simple absurdity. He told them of the emptiness of any hope that a large and strongly-intrenched majority should yield their position at the request of a minority. He proceeds, also, to let them know that if the door of revision is opened, the ultra High-Church party will walk in, and write their names, and dogmas, and symbols higher than ever on the walls of the Church, and make the Book an unqualified exponent of ultra Sacramentarian doctrine--a mere depository of Ritualism. Bishop Coxe, of Western New York, in a late published letter on these controverted matters, equally fails to hold out any hope that the Prayer-book, the cherished armor, offensive and defensive, of Ritualism, will be touched by the Church, or rendered one iota less potent for the Romanizer than it has hitherto been. How hopeless, then, the case for the suppression of Ritualism, when this suppression has to be done by its friends, either real or virtual, may readily be imagined. The effort made in the General Convention of 1871, in this direction, was as pitiable a failure as history records, for the plain reason that High-Churchmen were therein asked to suppress their own [10/11] flourishing child, who only differed from themselves as a robust and powerful son differs from a parent whose muscular development is. merely ordinary, and who is without the dash and enterprise of his more lively progeny. To crush Ritualism, indeed, would have been to crush themselves; for large numbers of leading Bishops and Presbyters are themselves Ritualists, more or less advanced. How absurd, too, to talk of removing Ritualism, when there is a positive refusal to take away the foundation-stones of their system, and to touch the strongholds to which they continually resort. Who is to execute an. milk and water canon that may be passed against Ritualism? Ritualistic Bishops and self-styled priests? They would have first to confess their own sins, before proceeding to punish others, and that they are able to climb to this great devotion, the world, for some time yet, will be. incredulous. How vain to talk, as Bishop Coxe does, of curbing Ritualism, when he will not curtail the pabulum on which this great giant fattens! With one hand he feeds them, and with the other pens an indictment against them. But they are unarraigned on the indictment, and grow on Episcopal nutriment. Ritualists are not merely tolerated, they are positively patronized. And how can a patron try and condemn his own protégé for the very things on account of which he patronizes him? For example, how could you, Right Rev. Sir, select an ecclesiastical court to try for Romish doctrines the Rev. Calbraith Perry, of your diocese, whom, according to your report to your Convention, in 1872, you ordained to the presbyterate in the spring of that year? He honestly avowed to you, as he had previously done to Bishop Clark, of Rhode Island (who ordained him deacon), that he held the dogma of the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper; and when you were asked by an official friend how you could ordain a person of such views, you intimated, without hesitation, that the Episcopal Church was not intolerant of the doctrines in question. For you to pass sentence on such a clergyman, would be to condemn yourself. And how could you, sir, a prominent member of the Standing Committee of the General Convention to promote Communion with the Russo-Greek Church, holding, as does that Church, nearly all the heretical doctrines of the Roman Church, how could you, sustaining this character, condemn any presbyter of your diocese for teaching those doctrines? How could Bishop Potter pass sentence on the Ritualistic rector of "St. Mary the Virgin's" Church, in New York, for adoration of the host, on the so-called altar in his church, when Bishop Potter consecrated that altar, in a service framed by himself, especially for the occasion.
In view of these facts and considerations merely, to say nothing of the ominous negative fact that the dominant party in the Protestant Episcopal Church have made no promise of reformation in all these vital matters of religion, the expectation of Low-Churchmen that you will correct or materially modify the evils complained of is, in the [11/12] phrase of an old author, "the most impertinent dream" of the nineteenth century. With no idea of themselves yielding anything in the Prayer-book or canons favorable to them, they expect you to yield principles that, on some ground, are just as necessary to you as their principles to them, They expect you to perpetrate that which, from your stand-point, is merest folly, while they retain wisdom. They expect you to give up your stronghold of the Prayer-book and make it a Low-Church book, when the great overshadowing majority of the Church is High-Church. The High-Church body is to do what no Bishop of the Church has had the moral courage even to propose, that is, alter the Prayer-book and take away the foundation on which High-Churchism stands. Only a few months will now elapse before it will be painfully evident on how sandy a foundation this ho-De is built. The history of the Episcopal Church, like that of the Romish Church in the Dark Ages, has, for years past, been a mere record of High-Church triumph, and that person reads history to little purpose who supposes that you will now yield your strong grounds, and put the Church on an Evangelical basis; and yet, what Evangelical man can be content with less than this? Your system is in conflict with the doctrine of justification by faith only, and as this is your cherished theology, of course you will maintain it, you will preserve in your formularies of doctrine and devotion the seeds of Ritualism and Romanism which bring forth their crop more unfailingly than does any material grain that is cast into the ground. What influences can be brought to prevent your maintenance of your system is, I think, past the wit of man, to imagine. The High-Church party evidently is wholly unconscious of any purpose to alter its theological aspect, or in any material sense to modify its relations to the minority within the fold. They would, in their own eyes, be simply contemptible, should they abandon ground on which they have so long successfully and triumphantly stood. For one, I should never, except as a matter of form, perhaps, ask your Church to leave its ground of Sacramental justification, to occupy the ground of salvation by a simple faith in an all-sufficient Saviour. Only Almighty grace can bring this to pass, and a universal outpouring of the Spirit from on high, which may the Lord hasten in his time. It is the boast of the great Corypheus of your party, Dr. Pusey, that Ritualism, or ultra High-Churchism, has made its way by the Prayer-book, and to ask you now to throw away your tried armor, and to put yourselves at the mercy of the Bible and of the truth of God, is the emptiest of all forms, and can receive but one answer. Especially is this evident when it is remembered that the party thus making its demands of you has become so fearfully reduced in numbers and every element of real ecclesiastical power. Diocese after diocese, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, have all passed away from the Evangelical ground which they substantially occupied, [12/13] and are with the other side. Georgia, in truth, is lost. Pennsylvania has altered greatly its numerical aspect in a High-Church direction. Central Pennsylvania secured the election of a moderate Bishop, only by the votes of a few High-Churchmen who chose to turn the scale. Ohio, once decided, now hangs in a trembling scale. Beyond the Mississippi no diocese can present an important front in the General Convention. Virginia, almost alone in the South, retains her ancient character of devotion to God's truth, but what political power can she command in the General Convention to confront the serried cohorts of High-Churchism? Certainly, sir, Low-Church power will present an aspect materially diminished since even the last General Convention, and as you have it in your hands, in October next, to give the finishing blow to its waning vitality, of course you will do so. As you can then practically put an end to the High and Low-Church controversy, you will certainly do so, and have done, finally done, with this old trouble from Low"-Churchism. In view of all this it was that I said in my letter that the position of the Episcopal Church was "hopelessly Romanizing, and now, as then, I feel that the ruling party in your Church is, and will continue, in supreme mastery of the situation.
And now, sir, in regard to your intimation that no pressure has. been put on me by the ruling party in the Church, which might serve as a ground of alienation from the Church, I have only to say that I am not unwilling to confirm your assertion as far as I am personally concerned. Complaints of exclusion from. the administration of dioceses, of intolerance towards them in all deviations from the ritual, while High-Churchmen used the ritual as they chose, of sneers at them as no Churchmen, these and similar complaints from my Low-Church brethren, I have, of course, heard. That they are not without foundation, a reference to the committee lists of Conventions, and to the columns of many Church papers, will show, but I confess I never very sensibly or consciously felt these burdens. My field of vision has, I may say, been almost wholly filled with the relation sustained by the Church to the truth of the Gospel. This is the great overshadowing matter, seeing the salvation of the Church and of the world depend on their relation to this truth. It was with the attitude of the Church towards my master, Jesus Christ, and towards the souls for whom He died, that I found fault. This attitude I did and do consider antagonistic to Christ. This is the position I occupy. The Protestant Episcopal Church is only nominally Protestant. The great cardinal doctrine of the Reformation, the article of a standing or a falling church, that is, "justification by faith only," the Episcopal Church as a body has discarded, and as an organization has fully adopted, and now cherishes, the wholly opposite doctrine of "sacramental justification." Now as the Sacraments are acts of obedience to Divine command, and are, therefore, good works (there being no other definition of good works but this), in case of a religious body which holds to the [13/14] efficacy of baptism, as bringing man into a state of covenant acceptance with God not before enjoyed, and that man has no assurance of pardon unless baptized, it follows undeniably that, in the matter of baptism, to say nothing of the Lord's Supper, where the same principle is avowedly maintained, said Church maintains the doctrine of justification by works. It stands not on the Protestant ground of justification by faith, which, while an act of obedience, only saves in its character as an act of acceptance of proffered mercy, so excluding boasting, as does no other act of obedience, but it rests potentially on the Romish ground, of legal or mechanical justification. And no reflecting man need wonder that so large a number in the English and in the American Episcopal Church have boldly walked on to the ground which the logical development of "Church Principles," as they are termed, entitled them to occupy. Hence, it is with the doctrinal attitude of the Episcopal Church that I have an irreconcilable difficulty. Deeming it to have ceased, as an organization, to be a Protestant Church, I must go to a Protestant body, where only, as a Protestant, I can feel at home; a body which has not unchurched itself by forsaking and opposing the truth which alone can give it power for the salvation of man. In leaving the Protestant Episcopal Church, I wished not for more liberty for myself, for I was ever a lawabiding Churchman, and kept the Church's rules. I cannot respect a lawless Churchman any more than I do a lawless citizen. No man has ever hinted that I was a violator of the rules of the Church, by excess or deficiency of observance. Nor was I restive under those rules. My difficulty was not that I was bound, but that in the Church the Gospel of Christ was bound. Low-Churchmen generally preach it, but as related to High-Churchmen, as a class, the Gospel is bound. As a glorious system of free, unhought grace and salvation to guilty and beggared man, though fearful the declaration, it is not proclaimed to the people. The great burden of High-Church preaching is "Church, Church, Church," instead of Christ, the only hope of the Church. This, sir, is my difficulty with the Episcopal Church, and I believe it is God's controversy with it at this hour.
And here let me say, Right Rev. Sir, that you grievously misconceive my disquietude in the Episcopal Church, if you attribute it, as seemingly you do, to the mere fact of the toleration in the Church of theological, dogmas which are different from my own. My objection to these dogmas is a perfectly valid one, and it is that they are not the Bible doctrines of the Reformation. As a Protestant Episcopalian I had a perfect right to object to them, not because they were different from my own, but because they were different from those of the English Reformers, and in my view subversive of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. It is in my view wholly unsustained by correct reasoning to say that as long as my own liberty to preach the truth was unrestricted I need have no concern [14/15] on the score of the numerical preponderance of those preaching other views of truth. This might be true within certain easily defined limits, but beyond those limits the assertion is baseless. The numerical predominance of men of certain views in a Church gives character to that Church in the sight of God and of man, and where the views in, question are opposed to the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation, said Church is evidently arrayed against that Reformation; it is unprotestantized, and it is high time that every Protestant should have done with it; and if these dogmas overthrow the Gospel of Christ, it is high time that every Christian should have conclusively done with such Church, seeing it has done with Christ. Now does any Christian feel willing to uphold an organization which is committed to the furtherance of another Gospel than that of the Son of God? The maxim is about as old as the world, that a man is known by his company. Every member of an organization is necessarily supposed to favor that organization, its aims, objects, and purposes, or why is he in it? An organization is not joined without object, and if one disapproves of the purposes of an organization, why does he give it his adherence, his membership, his influence, and his means? To assert opposition to such body, and yet by the means cited to uphold it, is a contradiction not possible to be reconciled. To illustrate my meaning, without any intention of offense whatever, when an upright member of a mercantile firm finds that the other members, or a majority of them, are acting unlawfully, say towards the government, self-respect prompts him to retire at once, lest his character be compromised and lost. Of course he must be deemed to favor the practices of the firm, or as tolerating them, as long as he continues with them, so, of course, he must leave them. So in the Church. St. Paul insisted, in the case of the incestuous member of the Church at Corinth, that the Church must clear itself by dissolving its connection with the offending person. If the majority had become corrupt in the same way, it would have been incumbent on the minority to terminate its union with the offending members. So in matters of doctrine; you degrade from Church connection a denier of the truth of Christianity, or of the doctrine of the Trinity, or of the Atonement, and if the majority in such church should make a denial of these truths, it would be the duty of the orthodox minority to leave the organization, thus apostate from Christ. You yourself would not, I suppose, remain in the Episcopal Church if it should become Socinian and Arian, and I deem it sufficient ground for separation of a minority from the Episcopal Church, that the majority has left the distinctive ground of the Gospel, and passed to a position that is essentially legal, Romish and Jewish.
It is almost idle to discuss the principle involved in one's retaining connection with a body, the platform of the principles and doings of which he disapproves. Primitive Christians, you remember, were to be wholly disunited from idolaters. "Come ye out [15/16] from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and I will receive you." It was the injunction of St. Paul to Timothy, that he should not be "partaker of other men's sins," and is not that man a partaker of other men's offences against Christ, who sets them forward in the work of propagating their errors by his union with them? by his supposed upholding of their position, plans and practices; who gives his own means, or persuades the people of his flock to furnish means to further the support of a false system? St. John enjoined on the early saints to receive no man who came to them with false doctrine subversive of the truth of Christ, and to bid him God speed was to be partaker of his evil deeds. And does riot he who consorts in every way with teachers of error, and gives of his substance to sustain their organizations, sends delegates to their assemblies, helps to pay the expenses of such, assemblies, pays to sustain Ritualistic Bishops, and Sacramentarian newspapers, pays to build Churches which he knows will be under High-Church control, and asks, as he often must ask, Ritualistic ministers to occupy his pulpit, while prohibited by courtesy from rising to controvert their false teachings, carries Bishops about from parish to parish to teach doctrines which Christ has not commanded, does not such a minister bid such people God speed, and is he not, therefore, a partaker of the guilt of such doings necessarily offensive to. Jesus, and disastrous to men? Of the Romish Babylon seen by St. John in Patmos, the Apostle says, "I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her my people' that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." And why should the faithful of the Lord not remain in the apostate Babylon? Simply because she had departed froth the faith, and gone after another Gospel, to the subversion of the souls of the people, and to the dishonor of the Saviour. For this the dooming decree had gone forth against her, and to cling to her was not only to be regarded as upholding her, but was also more or less to learn her works and to share her punishment. This, Right Rev. Sir, is the principle laid down for the guidance of those who fear God, would maintain His Gospel, and save themselves in the day of visitation.
Looked at in the light of these considerations, it is perfectly obvious how unfounded is your intimation that my renunciation of the ministry of the Episcopal Church is dishonoring the solemn obligations assumed at my ordination. At that ordination I promised that man of God, Bishop Meade, of Virginia, who ordained line, that I would preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. Traveling with him for a month at a time, and preaching before him every day, I have the happy recollection that he approved of my preaching as Gospel preaching. This same Gospel, with no shade of modification, I now preach every Sabbath. How am I departing from my obligations by merely leaving a body, which, as such, has ceased to preach the Gospel, and. therefore was incessantly neutralizing the effect of my preaching; by charging and surcharging [16/17] the Church atmosphere with elements antagonistic to the simplicity that is in Christ?
You, sir, will, I hope, admit that the Gospel is paramount in value to the Church, which is merely saved by the Gospel as a divine instrument; and when the organization has emptied itself of the Gospel, would you have me cling to the vessel when the water of life is gone? Should I treasure up an egg-shell, when the meat is removed? Shall I value a skull from which the brain has been lost? This would be the essence of absurdity, and religion run mad.
Beside this, Rev. Sir, by what mental process were you led to imagine that when a person unites with the Episcopal Church he agrees to remain in it for life? He does not say so, nor would he, if possessed of his rational senses. Who that fears God would solemnly pledge himself to retain his connection with any religious body, whatever the religious character of that body might become. You have, in a public document, professed your opposition to "the lying deceits and usurpations of the Vatican." Now, if the Episcopal Church should give in its adherence to the infallible Pope, with all his claims to boundless supremacy in things secular and spiritual, would you retain your Episcopate in that Church? I think you would say no. If so, then, in your view, cases may arise in which it would be your duty to cease to perform the functions of your, ministry in the Church, notwithstanding your vows. Now, as you would be judge of your duty in the case supposed, so I am the judge in the matter of my renouncing the ministry of the Episcopal Church. Your course would be properly based on the assumption that ministerial vows are, in the nature of things, necessarily conditional, and mine is similarly founded. It has, probably, occurred to you, as an officer of your Church, to receive into its ministry ministers of the Romish Church who had been bound by its ordination vows, yet you did not disapprove of their course; and on what newly found principle is there, in my case, or in that of my associates, any forfeiture of obligations, merely because we regard the circumstances under which such vows are not binding as having been too sadly realized? No, sir, I, for one, never meant to adhere to a Church except as she adhered to Christ. To cling to a Church and forsake duty to the Gospel, would be a dereliction "for the judgment," and not an imaginary one, like that of which, without wide reflection, you speak. I left the Church that I might preach the Gospel and oppose those errors which I could not properly withstand in the Church without occupying the absurd position of one who; with one hand, pulled down that which with the other he upheld. I gave up the ministry in the Ecclesiastical body to which I belonged, but not the ministry of "the Church of God," as you say; that ministry I daily fulfill, and shall do so to the end, the Lord being my helper.
Now let me look for a moment at your gratuitous thrust at [17/18] Bishop Cummins. You were not afraid to speak of him as a "perjured Bishop." You did not tremble when you wrote this solemn accusation against a minister of Christ who filled his office without a stain, and with no ordinary acceptance and power. Had you been a judge of a civil court, with your knowledge of Bishop Cummins for nearly thirty years past, you would, in any case at your tribunal, have received his sworn testimony as unexceptionable. How then does it happen that as soon as Bishop Cummins does an act offensive to you, and conveying a reflection on the religious orthodoxy of the body to which you belong, he suddenly became capable of perjury? You know, sir, that transitions in, character, of so abrupt and violent a nature, are not possible. Perjury, too, being the violation of an oath, it is very pertinent and conclusive in the case to ask, when did Bishop Cummins take any oath in the Episcopal Church? Who authorized the Bishops consecrating him to administer oaths He? made a promise on that occasion, to fulfill properly the office of Bishop, if the Lord should help him, and so he did. He never promised to remain in the Episcopal Church all his days. His promise on this subject, like that of the English Bishops of the Reformation was conditional. His promise was binding until the occurrence of certain circumstances, as were the consecration vows of those English Bishops from whom your own Church orders were derived. If Bishop Cummins is a perjured man, then are your Episcopates received likewise from "perjured Bishops," for the reforming Bishops of the Church of England disregarded their vows in the Church of Rome, set up another organization, and consecrated the Bishops from whom you are ecclesiastically descended, just as Bishop Cummins consecrated Dr. Cheney. If Bishop Cummins is perjured in this act, then the reforming Bishops of the Sixteenth century were perjured, they having performed similar acts, and the Episcopal office in your Church is undeniably the offspring of perjury, and invalid. If Bishop Cummins and his associates, including Bishop Cheney, are, as you assert, "No Church," then, on the same ground, the post-Reformation Church of England was no Church, her Bishops no Bishops, having no right to consecrate, and therefore all such Episcopates are void, and a nonentity, and you are just what the Greek and Roman Churches pronounce you, no Bishops or ministers, but mere unbaptized schismatics. This is the inevitable logical result of your principle as to the perjured and invalid position of Bishop Cummins. say your principle," but I really am at a loss to discover anything more in the accusation than mere assertion. You aid in framing a canon providing a method in which any Bishop of your Church can abandon the function of his office in that Church, and when any Bishop uses that method, for reasons he, in the professed fear of God, deems sufficient, you promptly denounce him as a perjured man. How strange, sir, is this [18/19] distortion of truth! Does this fierce objurgation await every man who shall abandon his position as Bishop in your Church.?
What better reasons could any bishop have for voluntarily resigning his office in the Church than conscientious reasons, connected with the soundness of the Church in the faith of Christ? It is difficult to think of any reasons which commend themselves more to Our respect than do these, yet he who is. impelled by them to take the step prescribed by law is a perjured man!!
Once more, 1 should like to be informed on what principle, in the event of a separation in any Episcopal Church, the majority have a right to claim all the Bishops, and to say to the minority, you have no right to any Bishops, and that those who side with the minority. must renounce their Episcopal office, because they are in a minority. How can such a stand be maintained before intelligent minds? To use an "argumentum ad hominem," on what ground should a minority of Bishops, because they are a minority, smother an office which in your view is indestructible? How utterly impotent is your theory on this subject, if in such eases the Episcopal office is as a mere extinct crater? If practically to be without existence, why not theoretically so? Alas! for your theory; alas! for its results as they concern, at least, yourself. I am quite aware that the plausibility of such sentiments gives a very convenient instrument to the vain and lordly hierarchies of Europe, now crumbling to pieces from their intrinsic rottenness, but as it is impossible or me to find any reason in them, I must request you to reexamine the ground for me. And while this search in opposition to Bishop Cummins is being prosecuted, let me remind you that when Bishop Ives forsook the Episcopal Church, and his office therein, you did not, that I remember, style him a perjured Bishop, though he was gone to the scarlet woman of Babylon; and perhaps the result of your inquiries in the matter of this perjury may be that Bishop Cummins is equally innocent with Bishop Ives, though he went to a position where he simply preaches the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.
A clear implication from your where strain of remark is, that because Bishop Cummins is perjured, he is therefore schismatic. Alas! sir, the charge is pertinent elsewhere in the very Church he left. Doubtless you are fresh from your reading of the New Testament, and must be aware that schism, in the sense of separation, from the Apostolic Church was unknown. There was no schism than but that separation, in mind, heart and speech, from "the truth as it is in Jesus." And the solemnity of the present aspect of things in the Episcopal Church is deepened by the fact that the dreadful sin of Scripture schism rests on those who, in spite of their public vows to "banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God's word," nevertheless, in their own hearts, have loved that strange doctrine, and patronized, and cherished it, and ordained men to the ministry [19/20] who boldly avowed Romish doctrines, and who declared that bread and wine were their God, and were worshippers of images and of saints, and placed the creature on a level with the Creator. While Bishop Cummins preaches to-day the same doctrines he delivered when he begin his Episcopate, And, observes the same ceremonies, other Bishops have wholly abandoned the truths they proclaimed at the first of their career, are now preaching Romish Sacramentarianism, and. legal Judaism, and sustaining presbyters or so-called "priests" in their unscriptural and unhallowed pretensions to offer the Son of God anew in sacrifice, to give His body to men to eat, to regenerate infants with a few drops of water, to absolve the laity from sin, and in other absurdities which must excite the pity of every manly intellect in the land, and kindle the wrath of the Lord Jehovah. One of your Bishops deposes a Presbyter for omitting from the Baptismal service a word wholly unessential to the validity of the ordinance, is sustained in his tyranny by a majority of his peers, and he and they tolerate and patronize the unholy claims of their Presbyters to priestly character and function, in the offering of pretended propitiation for the living and for the dead, and all the Romish practices which mark these sacerdotal aspirants. Are not these officials the living veritable descendants of the ancient race who would strain at a gnat and swallow a camel? Bishops visit Churches where the altar is erected, and the most superstitious gestures performed around the bread and wine, as if the divine Redeemer, was physically present, the sad deceit of an odious mediaeval priestcraft, yet they sit quietly in the chancels, or in the pulpit preach the same doctrines, or exhort the people to hearken to their minister, as if such ministers were not as miserable idolaters as ever bowed to wood and stone, and were not leading their people to ruin, under the decree that no idolater shall tauter the kingdom of heaven. The majority of the Bishops deem themselves the successors of the Apostles, but where is your warning cry of impending evil, like that sounded by St. Paul in the ears of those Galatians who had returned to the law and fallen from grace? Where are the promised efforts of your majority to banish and drive away erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's word? From whose lips comes. gracefully a charge of perjury in these things? I sound the inquiry through your ranks, but I hear only the echo of my own voice.
I am, Right Rev. Sir, yours, very Respectfully,