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At the above convention, the action of the bishops in reference to the Ordinal, resulted in the adoption of the English form, except that the words used at the ordination of priests, “ Receive ye the Holy Ghost,” and “Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained,” resulted in the adoption of a double form, to be used at the discretion of the officiating bishop: Bishop White understanding the first to signify the conveyance of the ministerial character; and of the second the
of passing ecclesiastical censures, and of releasing from them, and as placing the efficacy of the act of absolution from sin on the condition of sincere repentance, &c.; while Bishop Seabury contended that both acts were absolute, as well that of the priest as of the bishop.
OF THE DOCTRINES OF THE CHURCH.
These are to be found in the Creeds, in the Liturgy, and in the Thirty-nine Articles, &c. of the church.
Of the legislation of the church in reference to their final adoption, in addition to what has been already said respecting the article in the Apostles' Creed touching the descent into hell, and the rejection of the Athanasian Creed, it must suffice that we add that, at this convention, Bishop Provoost being in the chair, expressed no opinion. It was, however, supposed that he united with Bishop Madison in the opinion against articles altogether, on the ground of the approximation to the principles of the confessional and the like books.
Bishop Seabury, though at first opposed to any authoritative rule in the form of public confession, on the ground that all necessary doctrine should be comprehended in the Liturgy; yet at last yielded the point, and united with Bishop White and Claggett in the adoption of the Thirty-nine Articles; not, however, without expressing his dissatisfaction with some of them.
Bishop White not only expressed himself an advocate for articles, but that, all things considered, the Thirty-nine Articles were the best rule that could be devised. He did not, however, wish to have them signed, as in England, according to the tenor of the thirty-sixth canon of that church. He preferred the resting of the obligation of them on the promise made at ordination, as required by the seventh article of the constitution of the American Church, as adopted in the convention of Sept. 29, 1789; which, being considered as sufficient by the English bishops, would contribute more effectually to promote the peace of the American Church. And, although in his private judgment, some of them might have been advantageously omitted, and others altered,
yet they were finally adopted, and have remained as we now find them in the Book of Common Prayer.
Another matter of interest in the history of the American Episcopal Church, now presents itself. It consisted of an attempt made during the session of this convention, to effect a reunion with the Methodists. In this attempt Bishop Madison bore a conspicuous part. It proved a failure. This, however, is to be attributed neither to a want of disposition on the part of the convention to encourage the well-meant design of the bishop, nor to a want of readiness on the part of a large portion of the Methodist body to acquiesce therein. What determined the decision of the convention in considering the proposition as preposterous, was an absolute distrust of the motives which actuated the movements of the leading spirit of the Methodist Society, in seeking such an alliance. We now allude to Dr. Coke. The Episcopal community was not ignorant of the circumstances, as already related, under which, as superintendent of that society, he had derived from the hands of Mr. Wesley his “ fuller powers.” Nor had they forgotten the language of his sermon before their conference of Nov. 14, 1784, by which that society was severed from all further connexion with the Episcopal Church: "We cannot, we will not hold further communion with them.” Nor did they overlook the fact of a conference being held between Dr. Andrews and Mr. West of the Episcopal Church, and Dr. Coke and Mr. Asbury, at Baltimore; the object of which, on the part of the former, was the security to the Methodist Society, of the episcopal succession in a regular way, which it was intimated might be obtained, and they still be left to manage their own affairs in their own way; and its pertinacious rejection by the latter. When, therefore, the above proposition was submitted to the convention by Bishop Madison, it resulted in the disclosure by Bishop White, of a letter written to him by Dr. Coke, the purport of which was, a proposal for reunion of the Methodist Society with the Episcopal Church.
The plan was, in substance, that all the Methodist ministers, at that time in connexion, were to receive episcopal ordination, as also those who should come forward in future within the connexion; such ministry to remain under the government of the then superintendents and their successors. And, in subsequent interviews on this subject, it was intimated by Dr. Coke, that it would also be expected that he and his coadjutor Mr. Asbury, (between whom and himself there were indications of a growing jealousy,) should receive episcopal consecration. In the above letter also, (a copy of which is now before me,) Dr. Coke most penitentially acknowledges, that he had gone further
in the separation than had been designed by Mr. Wesley, from whom he had received his commission; that Mr. Wesley himself, he was sure, had gone further than he would have gone, if he had foreseen some events which followed, and that he was sorry for the separation, and would use his influence to the utmost, for the accomplishment of a reunion; and, finally, that he (Dr. Coke) had been guilty of inadvertencies, both in reference to his conduct towards the Rev. Mr. Jarrat, (an Episcopal clergyman,) Bishop White, and the Rev. Dr. Magaw, to the first of whom he had written " a penitential letter," and closes by saying, “I sincerely beg your and Dr. Magaw's pardon."
These circumstances, suffice it to say, determined the convention to dismiss all further consideration of the subject. Bishop Madison silently withdrew his proposal for a reunion, agreeably to leave given.
Of the various institutions of the Protestant Episcopal Church in these United States, the following are the principals, viz:
I. THE GENERAL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NEW YORK.-This institution was first established in New York in 1817. It was removed to New Haven in 1820, but the next year, being incorporated with the Theological Seminary of the Diocese of New York, was again removed to this city, when its present organization commenced. Between the years 1819 and 1843, its number of students advanced from 26, to 67.
Beside the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church, located at New York, there are also several diocesan institutions for the study of divinity. One of the most prominent of these is located at Gambier, Ohio; another at Alexandria, in the District of Columbia ; and a third at Lexington, Kentucky.
II. THE DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN Mission ARY SOCIETY. This society was first instituted in 1820, and was re-organized in 1835. The board of managers at present consists of 118 members, and has two standing committees, viz: “ The Committee for Domestic Missions," and "The
" Committee for Foreign Missions.” To the above board belongs the supervision of the general missionary operations of the church. Its meetings are annual and triennial.
The stations in the Domestic Department, as reported in June, 1842, are the following:
Two missionary bishops, appointed by the General Convention, are connected with this department.
1. Indian Missions.—Duck Creek, 1 missionary, 2 female assistants; Green Bay, 2 female and 1 male assistant.
2. NORTHERN Missions.-Maine, 3 stations, 2 missionaries; New Hampshire, 1 station, 1 missionary; Delaware, 1 station, 1 missionary; Ohio, 5 stations, 4 missionaries; Michigan, 13 stations, 11 missionaries; Indiana, 17 stations, 8 missionaries; Wisconsin, 12 stations, 8 missionaries; Iowa, 7 stations, 3 missionaries; Missouri, 12 stations, 5 missionaries; Illinois, 15 stations, 9 missionaries.
SOUTHERN Missions.-Kentucky, 5 stations, 5 missionaries ; Tennessee, 7 stations, 4 missionaries; Georgia, 2 stations, no missionary; Florida, 5 stations, 2 missionaries; Alabama, 12 stations, 4 missionaries; Mississippi, 9 stations, 4 missionaries; Arkansas, 7 stations, 3 missionaries; Louisiana, 4 stations, I missionary.
Stations in the FOREIGN DEPARTMENT, reported June, 1840:
1. WESTERN AFRICA. —4 missionaries (3 married), 2 male and i female assistants.
2. China.—1 missionary (married).
3. Eastern Missions.— Athens, 1 missionary (married), and 3 female assistants; Crete, 1 missionary (married), and i female assistant; Constantinople and Mardin, 2 missionaries (married).
4. TEXAS.—2 missionaries (1 married).
Receipts in the domestic department for 1842–3, $38,835 60. Expenditures, $36,238 64.
Receipts in the foreign department, 1842–3, $35,198 50. Expenditures, $37,330 05.
Official organ—"The Spirit of Missions.”
II]. THE GENERAL PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION.Instituted 1817. Depository, New York. The Union publishes books for Sunday School instruction, and Sunday School Libraries; and also the Children's Magazine, and the Journal of Christian Education.
IV. THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL TRACT SOCIETY.-Instituted A. D. 1810.
V. THE DIOCESAN Institutions are the following:
New York.—Columbia College, Trinity School, St. Paul's College and Grammar School, College Point, Flushing, L. I., and St. Ann's Hall, Flushing, L. I. Also,
The Protestant Episcopal Society for the promotion of Religion and Learning, Corporation for the Relief of Widows and Children of
Clergymen, New York Bible and Common Prayer Book Society, Education and Missionary Society, City Mission Society, &c.
Western New York.—Geneva College; Hobart Hall Institute; Holland Patent, Oneida county; Episcopal Seminary for Young Ladies, Lockport, Niagara county.
Massachusetts.-Board of Missions.
Connecticut.-Washington College, Hartford; Connecticut Episcopal Academy, Cheshire; Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge ; Church Scholarship Society.
New Jersey.—Offerings of the Church; St. Mary's Hall, Burlington; St. Matthew's Hall, Port Colden, Warren county.
Pennsylvania.-Society for the Advancement of Christianity; Bishop White Prayer Book Society.
Virginia.—Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary; Episcopal High School; Protestant Episcopal Association for the Promotion of Christianity.
Ohio.—Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary; Kenyon College ; Senior Preparatory School; Milnor Hall, or Junior Preparatory School.
Tennessee.-Columbia Female Institute.
The following table shows the progress of the church: exhibiting the population and the number of the clergy in each Diocese, at six successive periods, from A. D. 1792, to A. D. 1843, inclusive.