ページの画像
PDF
ePub

appear not to respect this Sanhedrim, and have no desire to be embodied with so sleepy a generation.

III. THE EPISCOPALIANS. At the close of the war between Great Britain and the United States, in 1783, the Episcopal community was reduced almost to a name. The indecorous lives, and the tory principles, of the major part of their priests had either silenced or expatriated them. After much delay, the Archbishop of Canterbury consecrated’some prelates for America ; and as they said, by apostolical succession' from Peter, through Pope Boniface and his successors, communicated the Holy Ghos to them that they might carry the celestial donation across the Atlantic, and bestow it upon others.

By some mysterious means, the Vestry of Trinity Church, in New York, at the period of the war, claimed large tracts of land to which it is generally affirmed they have no legal or equitable title. In consequence of the extraordinary enlargement of that city those lands have become immensely valuable, and so fearful was the power which it was conceived would result from the management of a fund so enormous, that the Legislature of New York enacted a law against the accumulation of it; the consequence is, that they are annually obliged to expend a vast revenue in the erection of new churches, and in endowing the ministers appointed to such stations. There are now about 1000 Episcopalian ministers in the United States governed by a regularly constituted prelacy, and conventions formed of clerical and lay delegates.

It appears from their several Miscellanies which we have ex. amined, that there is no small stir' in this community. Like their English and Irish counterparts, they are divided. There are high and low churchmen-orthodox and evangelical churchmen-churchmen who strenuously urge the power of godliness, and others who plead for the sufficiency of their forms. The New York churchman is about a semi-infidel in reference to the necessity of divine revelation for the salvation of ntankind, and upon the essential topics which are comprised in the Protestant controversy with the Papal hierarchy, is a genuine half Romanist. The Episcopal Reader of Philadelphia denounces those delusions concerning natural religion, baptismal regeneration, the virtue of the priestly office, and the efficacy of the sacraments when administered by a man who can trace his official pedigree through the English state church, and the council of Trent, to the councils of Constance and the Lateran.

The Episcopalians differ also respecting the character of other Christian denominations. A large majority, probably about the same proportion as with us in Britain, assert that the preachers of all other sects are intruders into the ministry, without call, without right, without authority; and that the ordinances admi

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

want of zeal, and the tendency of the Episcopalian system to substitute a formal routine for heartfelt emotion, necessarily circumscribes effort for the conversion of sinners, and when accompanied by the errors of baptismal regeneration, the absolution of all sins when a man is dying, and the alleged certainty of a joyful resurrection in which he is interred, whatever his course of life or state at death may have been all these things testify that Episcopalianism is neither attractive to an enterprising Christian, nor adapted by its own energies adequately to arouse sinners from the sleep of sin, and to rescue them from the danger of condemnation.

The increase of the Episcopal church in the United States has resulted partly from the number of emigrants from England and Ireland who avowedly belonged to our Establishment. From habit they unite with the forn to which they have been accustomed, whence it happens that American Episcopalianism assumes much of the same character as our own. Some of the more objectionable features of the English liturgy have been erased, and the connexion between the state and the hierarchy has been destroyed; but in their moral influence and spiritual aspects, the Episcopalians on both sides of the Atlantic are nearly identical. There is an equal destitution of Christian discipline, the same reliance upon liturgical forms, and a similar delusive substitution of priestly efficiency in administering the sacraments for the work of the Holy Spirit

, and consequently the mutual want of that consecration of body, soul, and spirit to the Lord, which is required of all

One remarkable circumstance has occurred in America. several cases it has happened that English Dissenting ministers have become Episcopalians. In the catalogue of Episcopal ministers published at New York, in the almanac for 1839, we perceive the following names,

Robert Bolton, Eastchester, N. Y.; Thomas S. Brittan, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Calvin Colton, Thomas Jackson, Alexandria, D. C.; and James Sabine, Bethel, Vermont. Mr. Bolton resided at Henley, Oxfordshire ; Mr. Brittan at Swansea; Mr. Jackson was a student at Rotherham ; Mr. Sabine, we think, was from Gosport; and Mr. Colton took some pains to make himself notorious, as 'a virulent opponent of Episcopacy when he resided in London. Messrs. Brittan and Colton each published a book to vilify their former connexions, and to justify

One public fact of which we have been assured by an Episcopalian who was present on the occasion, illustrates the moral and religious benefits of the prelatical system in America. A meeting was held not long since in New York by the Episcopal Domestic Missionary Society, and it was affirmed by one of the speakers, that there was a loud and urgent call for their strongest efforts in

his servants.

In

their sudden change.

VOL. 11.

L

nistered by them are a desecration; and that Episcopal ordination with the gown, bands, and liturgy, with other paraphernalia are essential. The minority deny these delusions. They as strenuously insist upon the badges and ceremonies as the portal of admission into the ministry among themselves, but impugn that Papist • blasphemy of the saints, which leaves all who are not prelatists to the uncovenanted mercies of God.'

Amid all their controversies, two characteristics are discernible. The general disbelief of their own Articles of Religion, with the entire rejection of the Homilies of their church ; and the universal absence of Christian discipline. These facts are openly acknowledged. Besides these defects, some of their papers are staunch adherents of a spurious gospel, a mixture of truth and popish leaven. Many of their essays seem to repudiate only the bolder Popish apostacies from the faith ; such as the worship of images, and the pontifical jurisdiction. In a variety of minor aspects, they coincide with Popery, so that we have seen in Jesuit papers published in Philadelphia and New York, the distinct avowal of approbation of the articles in the Episcopal papers, and the loudest exultation is proclaimed that their erring brethren,' are so near to them in opinion. They are also wheedled to advance but a few steps more, and then they will be found altogether' in the

mother church of Rome.' In a work recently published at New York, entitled • Dictionary of the Church,' which is highly approved among them, claims are made, and dogmas asserted, which Cranmer, Hooper, Ridley, Latimer, Rogers, Philpot, and Taylor, with the Marian martyrs, would have discarded with equal vehemence as the Papal mystery of iniquity and working of Satan.'

Upon the subject of slavery, their conventions have maintained a silence just as profound as if that national curse and stigma had never been known. By the catalogue of their ministers, it appears that Peter Williams, descended from African ancestors, officiates in a congregation of colored people in New York. Some time ago, the prelate of that diocess admonished him to abstain from participating in any measures which might be adopted for the abolition of slavery, and the amelioration of his degraded brethren, extraneous from his functions in the church. In the year 1838, there appeared in the Philadelphia newspapers a letter from Mr. Ducachet, an Episcopalian minister of that city. His philippic was in the genuine spirit of a slave-driver, and shows that his compeers are generally opposed to the abolition of slavery.

It may be remarked, however, that the catalogue of ministers affords no accurate criterion by which to judge of the numerical strength of the body. In many of the country congregations the attendance is very thin; and this circumstance combined with the

want of zeal, and the tendency of the Episcopalian system to substitute a formal routine for heartfelt emotion, necessarily circumscribes effort for the conversion of sinners, and when accompanied by the errors of baptismal regeneration, the absolution of all sins when a man is dying, and the alleged certainty of a joyful resurrection in which he is interred, whatever his course of life or state at death may have been all these things testify that Episcopalianism is neither attractive to an enterprising Christian, nor adapted by its own energies adequately to arouse sinners from the sleep of sin, and to rescue them from the danger of condemnation.

The increase of the Episcopal church in the United States has resulted partly from the number of emigrants from England and Ireland who avowedly belonged to our Establishment. From habit they unite with the forms to which they have been accustomed, whence it happens that American Episcopalianism assumes much of the same character as our own. Some of the more objectionable features of the English liturgy have been erased, and the connexion between the state and the hierarchy has been destroyed; but in their moral influence and spiritual aspects, the Episcopalians on both sides of the Atlantic are nearly identical. There is an equal destitution of Christian discipline, the same reliance upon liturgical forms, and a similar delusive substitution of priestly efficiency in administering the sacraments for the work of the Holy Spirit

, and consequently the mutual want of that consecration of body, soul, and spirit to the Lord, which is required of all his servants.

One remarkable circumstance has occurred in America. In several cases it has happened that English Dissenting ministers have become Episcopalians. In the catalogue of Episcopal ministers published at New York, in the almanac for 1839, we perceive the following names. Robert Bolton, Eastchester, N. Y.; Thomas S. Brittan, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Calvin Colton, Thomas Jackson, Alexandria, D. C.; and James Sabine, Bethel, Vermont. Mr. Bolton resided at Henley, Oxfordshire; Mr. Brittan at Swansea; Mr. Jackson was a student at Rotherbam ; Mr. Sabine, we think, was from Gosport ; and Mr. Colton took some pains to make himself notorious, as a virulent opponent of Episcopacy when he resided in London. Messrs. Brittan and Colton each published a book to vilify their former connexions, and to justify their sudden change.

One public fact of which we have been assured by an Episcopalian who was present on the occasion, illustrates the moral and religious benefits of the prelatical system in America. A meeting was held not long since in New York by the Episcopal Domestic Missionary Society, and it was affirmed by one of the speakers, that there was a loud and urgent call for their strongest efforts in

VOL. VI.

« 前へ次へ »