By THOMAS BRADBURY CHANDLER, D. D. Rector of St. John's Church, in Elizabeth-Town, New-Jersey, and Missionary from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, &c.

We desire a fair Trial—if we are guilty, punish us; if we are innocent, protect us. JUSTIN MARTYR.



A BISHOP, that shall have the chief Inspection over those whom he is to ordain, and over the Labours of those already placed; whom he shall direct and assist in every Thing; and who governs himself by the Rules of the primitive Church, and by the Advice of his Brethren, is the likeliest Instrument both for propagating and preserving the Christian Reli­gion.

Bishop Burnet.




THE Author's Inability to attend upon the Press, hath occasioned some Errata, of which the following are the most material, which are to be corrected thus: In Page 1, Line 10, for the Support, read Support of the. Page 9 in the Note, for Faste, read Fasti. Page 14, l. 13, for nor, read or. Page 21, l. 25, for this, read these. Page 22 in the Notes, for niscis, read nescis; for Justar, read Instar; and quidam, read quidem. Page 67, l. 2, for Person, read Persons. Page 73, l. 24, for The Opinion, read His Opinion. Page 76, l. 31, for full, read the full. Page 83 in the Note, for Chlan­dler, read Chandler. Page 88, l. 22, for could, read should. Page 89, l. 30, for others, read the others. Page 98, l. 8, for King, read Kings.


TO The Most Reverend Father in GOD, THOMAS, Lord Archbishop of CANTERBURY, Primate of all England, &c.

May it Please Your Grace,

THE Arguments for sending Bishops of the Church of En­gland to America, are so strong and convincing, that an Appeal may be made to the World for the Reason­ableness of sending them. The ge­neral Plan which has been long settled for the Regulation of their Authority when sent, is so well calculated to secure the religious Privileges of every [Page ii] Denomination of Christians, that no­thing more than a proper Explanation can be needful, to recommend it to the Approbation of every candid and unprejudiced Person. For Want of this, many are still averse to an Ame­rican Episcopate, and some are indus­triously employed in misrepresenting the Matter, and in propagating their Prejudices and Objections against it. It is therefore the general Opinion here, that it is at length become ne­cessary, to explain this Plan, and thereby, as the most effectual Method, to remove these Prejudices and Ob­jections.

Such, My Lord, is the Design of the following Appeal. The Author of it was not forward to undertake the Work. Want of Leisure, and a Consciousness of Inability to execute it properly, were Difficulties in his Way not easy to be surmounted. But as no one appeared that was willing to [Page iii] perform what all seemed to allow was necessary to be done, and as he was requested by many of his Brethren to undertake it, he finally consented.

Without this Apology, the Author would not presume to inscribe to Your Grace so imperfect a Piece, or to ask for it your Patronage. Nor indeed would any Apology justify him in doing so, did he not know that Your Grace takes a Pleasure in encou­raging every well-meant Endeavour, however unsuccessful it may prove, to serve the Cause of Religion and the Church of Christ—of which amiable Disposition your whole Life has been a Proof.

As to the Church of England in America, it will ever be acknowledged with all Thankfulness, that none has shewn for it a more affectionate Con­cern, or treated the Members of it or its Clergy with more Kindness and [Page iv] Condescension than Your Grace. Se­veral of them You have honoured with a private Correspondence; and but few have gone Home from this Coun­try for Holy Orders for a long Course of Years, who have not been able on their Return, to tell of the great Obligations You have conferred upon them. And this was the Case long before your Advancement to that high Station, whereby You became related to all of them as their Metropolitan, and to many of them also as President of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign Parts.

But besides these particular Kindnesses shewn to the Clergy, the general State and Interest of the American Church, has always been the Object of your close, and careful, and anxious Atten­tion. None has ever entered so deeply into the Knowledge of her Condition, or had so true a Sense of her Wants, or represented them to the Public in [Page v] so proper and striking a Light, as Your Grace did many Years ago, in your most excellent anniversary Ser­mon preached before the Society. Therein particularly You explained the Need and Usefulness of an American Episcopate; and what You then said and published on the Subject, together with what You have continued to speak and write ever since, on all proper Occasions, has probably contributed more to prepare the Way for it, so far as it has been prepared, than what has been said, and written, and done, by any other Person. For these Things, as well as on other Accounts, the Clergy and Friends of the Church in America revere You, with Sentiments of the sincerest Gratitude. They look up to Your Grace as eminently their Friend and Patron; and they can ne­ver despair of the Success of their late Application, while so reasonable a Cause is supported by your Abilities and Influence.

[Page vi]At the same Time they are not in­sensible of the Obligations they are under to many other illustrious Per­sons, and especially to some great Prelates of the Church, who have been pleased to become their Advocates on this Occasion: And it is not doubted but they will continue to assist and co-operate with Your Grace in this good Work, of rescuing the Ameri­can Church from the Distress she is under, through the Want of an Epis­copate. Every Attempt to relieve her, My Lord, is really an Act of Charity; and it may properly be said that "the Blessing of her that is ready to perish," will come upon those that befriend her in this Necessity.

As the following Papers were drawn up with a View of serving the Cause, which you have always had so greatly at Heart, and been foremost in promo­ting, in that Respect they can be ad­dressed to none so properly as to Your [Page vii] Grace. But in many Respects the Offering is unworthy of your Accep­tance; and yet—since it is made with an Intention of publickly expressing, not only that Reverence which is due to your exalted Station in the Church, but that Gratitude to which You are entitled, by the many signal Proofs You have given of your Attention, to the general Interest of Religion, and especially of the Church of En­gland in America, and your Concern for it, and assiduous Exertions in its Behalf; it is humbly hoped that it will not be rejected.

If it may be received also as a Testimony of Gratitude, for particular Favours which Your Grace has con­descended to bestow on the Author, it will add greatly to his Happiness.

That GOD may long continue your Life and Health, so useful to the Public, and of such peculiar Importance to [Page viii] the Church in America—and, that You may have the Satisfaction of seeing all your pious and benevolent Attempts to promote the Happiness of Mankind attended with Success, and in the End find them gloriously rewarded—is the daily and devout Prayer of,

My Lord,
Your Grace's most dutiful and obliged Son, and obedient humble Servant, THOMAS BRADBURY CHANDLER.
[Page ix]

Advertisement to the Reader.

THE Author of the following Appeal, has said, by Way of Apology, that ‘he was requested by many of his Brethren to undertake it.’ He thinks it not amiss to declare more particularly, with the same View, that the Task was first imposed upon him by the very worthy and Reverend Dr. Johnson of Strat­ford in Connecticut. From that venerable Person a Work of this Nature would have come, with more Propriety, and greater Advantage to the Cause. For an Appeal to the Public in Behalf of the Church of England in America, on the present Occasion, could be made by none so properly, or with so good Effect, as by him, who has so frequently signalized himself as its Advocate, for the Course of more than Forty Years, and who, for a considerable Part of that Time, has been anxiously solliciting the Cause of an American Episcopate. But a Tremor in the Hand, which causes him to write with the utmost Difficulty himself, made it necessary that he should leave the Work for another. He thought proper to apply to the Author, whose Obligations to him were such, that he could not refuse him any Thing in his Power, without incuring the Imputation of Ingratitude and Injustice.

At the Time when this Treaty was nearly concluded, the Clergy of New-York and New-Jersey, being met together in a voluntary Convention, and assisted by some of their Brethren from the neighbouring Pro­vinces, took into Consideration the Propriety and Ex­pediency of addressing the Public, on the Subject of an American Episcopate. After a thorough Discussion of the Point, they were unanimously of Opinion, that fair­ly to explain the Plan on which American Bishops had [Page x] been requested, to lay before the Public the Reasons of this Request, to answer the Objections that had been made, and to obviate those that might be otherwise conceived against it, was not only proper and expedient, but a Matter of Necessity and Duty. It was accor­dingly voted that Something to this Purpose should be published, and the Author was appointed to this Ser­vice—with Liberty, however, to make the Time of his performing it most convenient to himself. Excuses were not admitted, and a Refusal could not be justified.

The Author, being brought thus under double En­gagements, determined to acquit himself as well as his Circumstances and Abilities would permit. In Order to this, he was careful to follow the Directions he had received, and, as he had Opportunity, to consult the most judicious of his Friends, in Regard to the Method and Management of the Work. How he has suc­ceeded, must be submitted to the Judgment of the Reader, whose Candour is requested.

It gives the Author great Pleasure, to find that his Sentiments have been so clearly and forcibly expressed, by The Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Lan­daff, in his excellent anniversary Sermon preached be­fore the Society in February last. The Thanks of every Friend of the American Church are due to His Lordship, for so seasonable and spirited an Assertion and Vindication of its Rights; from which it is not doubted but the following Extract will be acceptable to the Reader, although for Want of Room it must of Necessity be short.

The want of Bishops (in America) hath been all along the more heavily lamented, because it is a case so singular, that it cannot be paral­leled in the Christian world. For what sect was ever any where at all allowed, that was not [Page xi] allowed the means within themselves of providing for the continual exercise of their worship? the granting one without the other would be but a mockery, Yet such is the state of our church in the colonies; and at a time, and in a realm, where the rights of conscience are best under­stood, and most fully allowed and protected. All sects of Protestant Christians at home, and all, save one, throughout our colonies, have the full enjoyment of their religion. Even the Ro­mish superstition, within a province lately added to the British dominions, is completely allowed in all points; it hath Bishops.—Thus stands the case of all churches in our colonies, except only the church here by law established; that alone is not tolerated in the whole, it exists only in part, in a maimed state, lopt of Episcopacy, an essential part of its constitution. And whence this disgraceful distinction? whence this mark of distrust? what is the fear? what the danger? A few persons vested with authority to ordain ministers, to confirm youth, and to visit their own clergy. Can two or three persons, restrain­ed to these spiritual functions, be dangerous to any in any matter? in what? or to whom? Can they possibly, so limited, on any pretence what­ever, attempt to molest any in their religious concerns? Can they invade the rights and juris­diction of magistrates? Can they infringe the liberties of the people? Can they weaken, or be thought disposed to weaken, the fidelity of the colonies to his Majesty, or their dependence on this country? To these duties, if there be any difference, the members of this church, as such are bound by one special motive, besides the many motives common to them with other sub­jects. Page 22, &c.

Page 1
SECTION I. A Sketch of the Arguments in favour of Episcopacy.
p. 3
SECTION II. The Powers peculiar to the Episcopal Office shewn to be those of Government, Ordination and Confirmation.
p. 13
SECTION III. That the Church in America, without an Episcopate, is necessarily destitute of a regular Government, and cannot enjoy the Benefits of Ordination and Confirmation.
p. 26
SECTION IV. The unparalleled Hardship of this Case represented.
p. 39
SECTION V. Reasons assigned why the Church in America has been thus ne­glected.
p. 47
SECTION VI. That the present Juncture is apprehended to be favourable to the Episcopate in Question.
p, 54
SECTION VII. The Case of the American Heathens particularly considered, and shewn to require an Episcopate.
p. 61
SECTION VIII. The Plan on which American Bishops have been requested, fairly stated, with Expostulations on the Reasonableness thereof.
p. 75
SECTION IX. That the Episcopate proposed cannot hurt the Dissenters, and is free from all reasonable Objections.
p. 87
SECTION X. The Case of Tithes distinctly examined, and the Apprehension of being forced to pay them in this Country, proved to be intirely groundless.
p. 97
SECTION XI. Farther Suspicions and Objections obviated, and the Subject con­cluded.
p. 107
An Appendix.
p. 119


The Introduction.

THAT Application has been lately made to our Superiors, by the Clergy of several of the Colonies, requesting one or more Bishops to be sent to America, is a Matter now generally known, and was never intended to be kept as a Secret. As there is great Reason to hope, both from a Review of the Arguments that were offered in the Support of Addresses that were transmit­ted on the Occasion, and from the favourable Disposition of many in Authority, that this Request in due Time will be granted; it has been thought [Page 2] proper, in a public Manner, to inform all who may imagine themselves to be any Ways concer­ned in the Event of our Application, candidly and explicitly, for what Reasons, and with what Views, an American Episcopate is so earnestly desired by the Clergy, and the other Friends and Members of the Church.

Some Persons are said to have been alarmed by this Conduct of the Clergy; but when the Case shall be duly explained and understood, it is not apprehended that any Uneasiness will remain, or that any Opposition can be formed against the Execution of a Plan, so reasonable in itself, so ne­cessary to the Church here, and so universally harmless to others of every Denomination. As no Invasion of the civil or religious Privileges of any, whether Churchmen or Dissenters, is thereby in­tended, it is hoped that every Objection, or even Doubt or Suspicion of that Nature, will, by this Method, be intirely obviated. But should any Objections continue which shall be thought to de­serve Notice, the Objectors are invited to pro­pose them in such a Manner, that they may be fairly and candidly debated, before the Tribunal of the Publick; and if none shall be offered, it will be taken for granted that all Parties acquiesce and are satisfied.

[Page 3]

SECTION I. A Sketch of the Arguments in Favour of Episcopacy.

IN Order to judge properly of the Subject before us, it is necessary to premise,SECT. I. and it should be well considered, that the Church of England is E­piscopal, and consequently holds the Necessity of Bishops to govern the Church, and to confer Ec­clesiastical Powers upon others. Of this there can be no Dispute, since many of her public Offices, and indeed the whole System of her Conduct with Regard to the Clergy is founded on this Principle.

In the general Preface to the Ordination Offices she declares, that ‘it is evident to all Men dili­gently reading the Holy Scriptures and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles Time there has been this Order in Christ's Church, Bishops, Priests and Deacons, as several Offices.’ And her Practice of admiting none to officiate as Clergy­men, who have not been ordained by Bishops, is a Proof, that she esteems every other Ordination to be, at least, irregular and defective. It is not ne­cessary to enter upon a particular Defence of this Doctrine, in an Undertaking of this Nature; since our present Plea is equally valid, whether these Principles are founded rightly or wrongly. How­ever, a brief Sketch of the Arguments, whereby the Necessity of Episcopal Government is defended, may, on this Occasion, be not altogether useless or improper.

It is an essential Doctrine of the Church of Eng­land, that none can have any Authority in the [Page 4] Christian Church, but those who derive it from Christ, either mediately or immediately. Those who receive Authority immediately from Christ, before they can expect Submission to it from others, must be able to prove that they have it; for which no­thing less can suffice, at this Day, than the Power of working Miracles. Those who receive it medi­ately, must derive it from those Persons whom Christ has authorized to convey it, i. e. they must receive it by a regular Succession. For any to say, that such a Succession cannot be proved, is insuffi­cient: it is incumbent on the Objectors to prove that the Succession, by which we hold, has been in­terrupted. Proof of this, although zealously at­tempted, has never yet been made; and could this Point once be made clear, it would also prove far­ther, that Christ has neglected to provide for his Church, in a Case so essential to the very Being of it, notwithstanding his having expressly promised to be "ever with it, to the End of the World."

Men may ridicule the Notion of uninterrupted Succession as they please; but if the Authority of the Clergy is derived from Christ, (and if it is not, they are no Ministers of Christ) they must receive it in one of the Ways already mentioned. And if the Succession be once broken, and the Power of Ordi­nation once lost, not all the Men on Earth—not all the Angels in Heaven, without an immediate Com­mission from Christ, can restore it. It is as great an Absurdity, on St. Paul's Principles, for a Man to preach without being properly sent, as it is to hear without a Preacher, or to believe in him of whom we have never heard.

As Christ is the great Founder of the Church, so he is the only Fountain of Ecclesiastical Autho­rity. Whatever general Laws he was pleased to [Page 5] injoin, must be of indispensible Obligation to all his Followers. Indeed, with Regard to the Go­vernment of the Church, his Laws are expressed in such general Terms, that we must necessarily have Recourse to those, whom he immediately in­trusted with the Government of his Church, for a more particular Explanation of them.

That the Apostles, ‘to whom he shewed himself alive after his Passion, being seen of them Forty Days, and speaking of the Things pertaining to the Kingdom of God,’ understood the Laws of Christ, is not to be doubted: and, as they were also conducted by the Spirit of God, the more ex­plicit and particular Rules which they have given for the Government of the Church, must be re­ceived—either as authentic Explanations of Christ's general Laws, or as Regulations that are agreeable and conformable to them. To this must be ad­ded, that the public Practice of the Apostles is a faithful and plain Comment on the Laws of Christ, unless we can suppose them to have been unacquainted with, or disobedient to, his divine Will; and it is of equal Authority with any written Instructions.

Now if we carefully examine the Writings of the Apostles, and the Canonical Records of their Pro­ceedings, I must think that these Things will evi­dently appear,—that our blessed Saviour, before his Ascension, committed the Government of his Church upon Earth, intirely to them—that this Government was exercised by them—that they con­veyed this Power to others, to be communicated successively to others, to the latest Posterity—par­ticularly, that these their Successors were an Order distinct from, and superior to, those who are now called Presbyters—and that none who were not of [Page 6] this highest Order, had the Powers of Ordination and Government committed to them. It would lead me too far from my present Design, to esta­blish these Points by particular Proof; nor can it be necessary, as several of the Facts that support them, have been brought to a close Examination, and fairly stated to the Public, in the Instances of James at Jerusalem, Timothy at Ephesus, Titus at Crete, the Angels of the Seven Churches of Asia, &c. *

Let us now consider what Evidence arises to fa­vour these Conclusions, from the general State of the Primitive Church. The Travels of some of the Apostles are related in Scripture, and from thence, as well as from other Proofs, it appears, that with amazing Success they planted and settled Churches in all the most considerable Countries of Asia and Europe, within the Compass of not many Years. And it is a Fact well known, that all the Churches that were gathered during the First Century, whe­ther immediately by the Apostles, or their Mis­sionaries, were under the Direction of some or other of that venerable Order. Men of the most eminent and undoubted Piety, who had been ho­noured with their intimate Acquaintance, were ap­pointed by the Apostles to superintend Churches in certain limited Districts, some of whom were chosen to succeed them in those Churches which they had always kept under their own more im­mediate Inspection. So that during this Period, while the Christian Church was governed by the Apostles, and others of their Appointment, no­thing, in our Opinion, but gross Prejudice, or a [Page 7] wrangling and captious Disposition, to say no worse, can lead any to suspect or assert, that it was ma­terially corrupted, or that it had departed, in any considerable Degree, from that Plan of Govern­ment which Christ had instituted. The Govern­ment of the Church is as much a positive Institu­tion as the Christian Sacraments, and the Laws relating to it bind us as strongly, as the Laws which oblige us to receive Baptism or the Holy Eucharist. As such they were considered in the Period we are treating of; and any Attempt to change them would have been treated with the same Indignation and Resentment by the Christians of that Age, as if the Laws relating to the Sacra­ments had been wilfully violated.

And if we consider the general Character of Christians, and the State of the Church, in the Second and Third Centuries, we shall find it not easy to believe, that there could have been any essen­tial Variation or Departure, from the original Plan of Discipline and Government committed to the Church. Christianity still continued to be attack­ed with all the Engines of worldly Power and Policy, and had nothing to support it, but its own rational Evidence, accompanied with the Power and Spirit of God, and the Expectation of Happiness in an invisible State. But very few worldly Prospects and Motives could operate either on the Clergy or private Christians, when they all knew that their Religion tended to deprive them of all worldly Ad­vantages, and would probably cause them to be a­bused, and insulted, and persecuted, even to Death. Their only Dependance was on their ascended Re­deemer, for whose Sake, and in Obedience to whom, they sacrificed all the Ease and Happiness and Glory of the World, esteeming them but as [Page 8] Dross and Dung in Competition with their Duty: In this State, and with this Disposition, every Law of Christ was valued more than Life, every re­ceived Usage and Practice of the Church was re­vered as sacred, by Christians in general.

And as we are obliged to believe, that but few could have been desirous of making Innovations, so it is utterly incredible that many would have been willing to submit to them, in Matters of Im­portance. How firmly the Christians of those Days were attached to, and how conscientiously they followed, whatever they esteemed to be an In­stitution of Christ or his Apostles, the Quarto-de­ciman Controversy, or the Dispute which divided the Church about the proper Time for the keeping of Easter, among others, is a noted Proof. And although in this Point one Party must have been mistaken, yet it is manifestly a Matter of no great Consequence, and the Church at that Time was divided in their Judgment: and, it by no Means follows from this Instance, that the Church might also have been mistaken in Matters of the greatest Weight, such as those of Faith and Government, especially when all were united in Opinion.

And as the Practice of the primitive Church was a faithful Comment on the Laws of Christ, and his Apostles, relating to the Government of the Church; so it is not so difficult a Matter, to dis­cover what that Practice was, as some may ima­gine, The Works of the Apostolical Fathers * [Page 9] are still extant—the Writings still remaining of the Second and Third Centuries are numerous—we have not only the Christian Apologies of those Times, in [Page 10] which many Practices of the Church are explained, but private Epistles from Friends to Friends, in which they are mentioned without Guard or Dis­guise—we have the Regulations and Decrees of Councils—and the Report of Ecclesiastical Histo­rians—to say nothing of other Writers, whose occasional Testimony will perhaps be less excep­tionable to many Persons, as they had no Design to serve the Cause of Religion. Now these all agree in their Account of the general Practice and Government of the Church, and the Evidence arising from the Whole, appears to us to be of irre­sistible Force in Favour of Episcopacy; and in the Opinion of Mr. Chillingworth, one of the best Reasoners the English Nation ever produced, it amounts even to a Demonstration. It greatly con­cerns those who can resist this Evidence, to be very careful that the same Arguments whereby they endeavour to overthrow the Weight of it, do not also operate with equal Force against the Authen­ticity of the Canonical Books of the New Testa­ment.

It is generally allowed by the Rejecters of Epis­copacy, that Episcopal Government obtained very early in the Church. Dr. Doddridge * admits, that ‘the Distinction between Bishops and Presbyters has been as ancient as the Time of St. Ignatius: i. e. the Beginning of the Second Century, and within Seven or Eight Years after the Death of the last of the Apostles. Now if this Government was not of Apostolical Institution, a general Usurpa­tion must have been attempted—the Attempt must have succeeded—and a capital Revolution must have been established and completely settled [Page 11] throughout the Church within a very few Years of the Apostles Death. Those Powers which were now given to a new Order of Officers, must have been quietly abdicated by their former Possessors, and the whole Christian Church must have been persuaded to give up a Form of Government, which had been consecrated by the Practice and Authority of the Apostles, and then to submit to a new Form, which they had never experienced or heard of. Surely so great and strange a Work could never have been accomplished in so short a Time, without the Assistance of supernatural Power; and the Enemies of Episcopacy must con­fess, that a very extraordinary Miracle must, on this Supposition, have been wrought in Favour of it.

If the Experiment should be made at this Day, what Address would it require, what a tedious Process would be found necessary, to proselyte even a single national Church, that of Scotland for Instance, which holds Episcopacy to have been an Innovation in the Christian Church, to a peace­able Submission to it? And yet no modern Chri­stians can pretend a greater Veneration and Zeal for apostolical Institutions, than the primitive Christians were undoubtedly possessed of. What long Struggles and violent Convulsions have al­ways been suffered, before any Republican Govern­ments have been brought to acquiesce in a Change to Monarchy? And yet Men have commonly been found as ready to give up the established Forms of Civil Government as those of Religion.

But supposing such a Change to have happened, can any tolerable Reason be assigned, why no Re­cords, no Intimations of it are to be found in History? Can it be imagined, that while many trifling Occurrences in comparison, such as the [Page 12] Death of one Bishop, and the Succession of ano­ther, and the Birth of a third, in every Age of the Church have been carefully related, that not the least Notice should have been taken, either by Friends or Enemies, Pagans or Christians, of such a capital Revolution? Or, are we able, from this universal Silence of History, to form any other Conclusion, than that the Event in Question has never happened?

Let us hear on this Subject a very celebrated Writer *. ‘When I shall see therefore all the Fables in the Metamorphosis acted, and prove true Stories; when I shall see all the Democracies and Aristocrasies in the World lie down and sleep, and awake into Monarchies; then will I begin to believe that Presbyterial Government, having continued in the Church, during the Apostles Times, should presently after (against the Apo­stles Doctrine and the Will of Christ) be whirled about like a Scene in a Masque, and trans­formed into Episcopacy. In the mean Time while these Things remain thus incredible, and, in human Reason, impossible, I hope I shall have Leave to conclude thus:’

Episcopal Government is acknowledged to have been universally received in the Church, presently after the Apostles Times:

Between the Apostles Times and this presently after, there was not Time enough for, nor Pos­sibility of, so great an Alteration:

And therefore there was no such Alteration as is pretended; and therefore Episcopacy being confessed to be so ancient and Catholic, must be granted also to be Apostolic.

[Page 13]

SECTION II. The Powers peculiar to the Episcopal Office shewn to be those of Government, Ordination and Con­firmation.

THE Episcopal Order appearing thus to be distinct from,SECT. II. and superior to that of Pres­byters, it is proper now to enquire, wherein that Distinction and Superiority consists. In Order to this, we must carefully separate the several Things that have been added as Appendages to the Epis­copal Office, from those which originally and essentially belong to it. In Christian Countries, the Alliance between the Church and State has obtained for the former many Perquisites and Ad­vantages of an external Nature, which may be reduced to the three Heads of, legal Exemption, temporal Possessions, and civil Power. These have generally varied in different Countries and Ages; and although they have influenced the external Form and Appearance of the Church, yet they have not altered its real Nature, which is always and essentially the same under all outward Circum­stances, whether protected, neglected or perse­cuted, by the Powers of the World.

Thus the Woman, in the Visions of St. John *, was the very same, after ‘she fled into the Wil­derness,’ and was pursued by the Dragon, as when she ‘was clothed with the Sun, had a Crown of Twelve Stars on her Head, and the Moon under her Feet,’ notwithstanding that her out­ward [Page 14] Circumstances and Figure were widely dif­ferent. Every one knows that the Office of a Clergyman is the same, whether he is possessed of a Fortune, or is without one—whether he has a large Parish, or a small one. And if these things make no Alteration in the Office of a Presbyter, it will be hard to shew why they should alter the Episcopal Office, and why it should not be exactly the same now, as it was before the Days of Con­stantine.

As worldly Prosperity or Adversity does not affect the Nature of the Office, so neither does the Location nor Limitation of it with Regard to Place. He who has a small Diocess, has the same Episcopal Powers, as he that has a large one; and it matters not, as to the Validity of the Act, whether it is performed by the Bishop of Man, or the Archbishop of Canterbury—or, in the Lan­guage of St. Jerom, whether by the Bishop of Rome or Rhegium, of Constantinople or Eugubium, of Alexandria or Tanais.

Our present Inquiry therefore, leads us to the Consideration of those Powers only, which, being inseparable from the Office, and peculiar to it, all Bishops, as such, are equally possessed of, and without which they would cease to be Bishops: and these will be found to be the Powers of Government, Ordination and Confirmation.

The Power or Right of Government is neces­sarily included in the Superiority of their Office. For in every Society, where there is a Subordi­nation of Offices, that which constitutes the highest Office is the legal Possession of the highest Power; and the superintending and governing Power, being superior to all others, must of Consequence [Page 15] belong to the highest Office. In the Christian Church, the Apostles were invested with this Power by Christ—as it was intended for perpetual Use, they conveyed it to their Successors—it was exer­cised by Timothy at Ephesus, by Titus at Crete, by Dyonisius the Arcopagite at Athens, by Epaphroditus at Philippi, by Archippus at Colossé, &c.—and, through all the Ages of the Church, it has been transmitted down and maintained by the Episcopal Order; who, in the exercise of it, have occasionally and frequently taken the Advice of their Presby­ters. The Bishop may communicate this Power, in some Degree, to Presbyters or others as he shall think proper; but in such Cases, it must be exer­cised in Subordination to him, for he can never divest himself of his controlling and superintending Authority. It is so essential to his Office, that he cannot relinquish it in such a Manner, as not to be accountable for the Exercise of it.

The Epistles to the Seven Churches of the Lydian Asia are a Proof of this, and shew plainly, that the Government of those Churches respectively, was lodged in the Hands of single Persons, who are called Angels; by which was meant and intended, according to the united Voice of Antiquity, Bishops, in the appropriated Sense. Some of these are reproved for the Relaxation of Discipline, and all of them are treated as having the intire Government of their respective Districts, and as accountable for the State of Religion within the Bounds of their Spiritual Jurisdiction. But it is needless to prove what the Enemies of Episcopacy will not deny, that wherever this Form of Govern­ment has obtained, the Government of the Church has always been exercised by Bishops, and never by Presbyters, unless in an inferior Degree and in Subordination to them.

[Page 16]Another Power belonging to Bishops, is that of Ordination; which has always been considered by the Friends of Episcopacy as peculiar to Bishops, and unalienable from their Office. And indeed there would be an Absurdity in supposing the con­trary. For to whom can the Appointment of inferior and subordinate Officers belong, in every Society, but to those who govern it? Besides, the same Arguments which prove the Distinction of Bishops from Presbyters, prove also that Ordi­nation is an Office peculiar to the former; for it is chiefly by the Appropriation of Offices, that we are able to prove the Distinction of Orders. Be­cause some Ecclesiastical Offices are never per­formed by the Clergy in common, but only by such of them as are particularly ordained for those Purposes, it is evident that those who are thus or­dained and impowered▪ are admitted to a different and higher Order. Now, with Regard to the Power of Ordination, none that have laboured in the Cause have ever been able to shew from Scrip­ture a single Instance, wherein this Power has been exercised by Presbyters only; but there are many Instances in which those, who are manifestly supe­rior to Presbyters, are found to have used it.

As to the Case of Timothy, whom St. Paul ex­horts, in his first Epistle to him, to ‘neglect not the Gift which was given him by Prophecy, with the laying on the Hands of the Presbytery,’ it will not answer the Purpose. For allowing, at present, the Word Presbytery to signify, what some would choose it should signify, a Number of meer Presbyters; yet we are certain that Timothy was not ordained by such Persons only, unless St. Paul was but a meer Presbyter. For in his second Epistle to him he expressly asserts, that this same Gift was [Page 17] imparted to him by the laying on of his own Hands.’

The Question then arises, How these two Ac­counts of Timothy's Ordination can be reconciled? To this Question the Answer is obvious. There is not a Presbyter of the Church of England but can, with Truth and Propriety say, that he re­ceived his Ordination by the laying on of the Hands of the Bishop, and with the laying on of the Hands of Presbyters. For in our Ordinations, in which, as in other Things, we endeavour to come as near as possible to the primitive Standard, the Presbyters that are present, always join with the Bishop in the Imposition of Hands. But ob­serve the Difference between by and with: Timo­thy received his Gift by the Imposition of St. Paul's Hands, as being effectual to convey it; but it was only with the Imposition of the Hands of the Presbytery▪ which implies not any Power in them, but their Concurrence only. St. Paul could have ordained without their Concurrence, but the Im­position of their Hands would have been altoge­ther unavailable without the Apostle—much more in Opposition to him. I am ashamed to repeat Things which have been so frequently said by others; but an Apprehension that these Papers may fall into the Hands of some, who are Stran­gers to what has been written on the Subject, must be my Apology.

As to the other Case of Paul and Barnabas, which is objected against us, there is no Evidence that this was any Ordination at all; and when it can be proved that it was, it will be soon enough to consider it.

I have said, that there is no Instance in Holy Scripture, wherein Ordination has been performed [Page 18] by meer Presbyters: I may go on and say, that there is not an Instance of it to be found in the Church for several Ages. Aerius and Colluthus in the Fourth Century, seem to have been the first Contrivers of Ordinations of this Sort; but, with what Views they acted—in what Light they were considered by the Catholic Church—and how badly they succeeded—are Particulars, for which I beg Leave to refer the English Reader to Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity *, and to Archbishop Potter's very excellent Discourse of Church Government .

From this Time, until after the Beginning of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century, no In­stances worthy of Notice occur to favour Ordina­tion by Presbyters. So that the uniform Practice of the Church for 1500 Years, may be added to the Evidence of Scripture, in Support of the Ne­cessity of Episcopal Ordination.

There is another Branch of the Episcopal Office, which must not be passed over on this Occasion, as we think it a very material one; I mean the Imposition of Hands in Confirmation. The Nature and Design of Confirmation may be seen in our public Office for the Administration of it—wherein the Persons to be confirmed are, in a public Man­ner, presented to the Bishop, who asks them with due Solemnity, ‘Do ye here in the Presence of God, and of this Congregation, renew the solemn Promise and Vow that was made in your Name at your Baptism; ratifying and confirming the same in your own Persons, and acknowledging yourselves bound to believe, and to do all those Things which your God-fathers and God-mo­thers then undertook for you?’ to this Question [Page 19] each Person answers in the Affirmative, "I do." Then follows the Imposition of the Bishop's Hands, with Benediction and Prayer.

We see here, that Confirmation consists of two Parts; one to be performed by the Bishop, and the other by the Persons presented to him. The Persons presented, on their Parts, solemnly, in the Presence of God and the Congregation, renew the Promises made, not by themselves, but by others in their Name, at their Baptism, and ratify and confirm the same in their own Persons; in Conse­quence of which, the Bishop for his Part, imposes his Hands upon them with Prayer, and blesses them.

As to that Part of the Transaction which be­longs to the Persons confirmed, none can dispute the Propriety or Usefulness of it. For nothing can be better adapted for the Promotion of Virtue and Piety, than that those who have been baptized in their Infancy, as soon as they are duly instructed in the Nature of the baptismal Covenant, should thus publickly engage, in their own Persons, to perform the Conditions of it. And as to the Bishop's Part, for the same Reasons that we expect the Blessing of God to attend any ministerial Offices in the Christian Church, it may be expected in this; which is founded on the Example and Au­thority of Scripture, as well as on the unvaried Practice of the primitive Christians.

The Church of England declares, * that ‘it hath been a solemn, ancient and laudable Custom, continued from the Apostles Time, that all Bishops should lay their Hands upon Children, baptized and instructed in the Cate­chism [Page 20] of the Christian Religion, praying over them and blessing them.’ If this Custom has been continued from the Apostles Time, it must have been practised in their Time; for, in the Language of the Schools, the Terminus a quo is the Time of the Apostles. And it can with no Pro­priety be said to have been continued from their Time, if it commenced after it. Let us see then what Information the Scripture gives us, relating to this Subject.

In the Acts of the Apostles * we have the follow­ing Passage: ‘When the Apostles that were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John; who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For as yet he was fallen upon none of them; only they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their Hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.’ These Words exactly describe Confirmation, as it is practiced in the Church of England, and there is hardly Room for a Possibility of applying them to any Thing else. Two Apostles are sent to Sa­maria, to perform a particular Office—had it not been necessary that this Office should be performed by those of the highest Order in the Church, others undoubtedly would have been employed in that Service; it being absurd to imagine, that Apostles would have been sent from Jerusalem to Samaria to do that only, which might as effectually have been done by common Elders—the Office itself was to impose Hands on those that had received Baptism—and the great End of it was, that, by [Page 21] this Imposition of Hands, the Subjects of it might receive the Holy Ghost.

We have another Instance of Confirmation in the Disciples at Ephesus, on whom, ‘after they were baptized, St. Paul laid his Hands, and the Holy Ghost came upon them *.’ There can be no Reason to doubt but the Office here performed to the Converts at Ephesus, was the very same that was performed to those in Samaria; since it was administered, in the same Manner—by a Person of the same highest Order in the Church—to those that had the same Qualifications—and was atten­ded with the same Effects.

Should it be objected, that these Instances prove only what was occasionally practiced by the Apo­stles, but not that this Rite was intended to be of standing Use to the Church in all Ages, I an­swer: What was the Intention of the Apostles, was best known by their Contemporaries who con­versed with them; and what their Opinion was of this Matter, we may safely judge from their Practice. That Confirmation was also practised by the immediate Successors of the Apostles, and has been universally continued through all the Ages of the Church, until within this Two Centuries, he that has the least Acquaintance with Ecclesiastical History must confess. Had there been any Doubts or Disputes, about the Usefulness or Propriety of its Continuance, in the first Ages of Christianity, we might have some Reason to dispute it now. But so far was this from being the Case, that it was universally received as of sacred Obligation, and of great Importance.

‘Can you be ignorant (says St. Jerom) that this is the common Custom of Churches, that [Page 22] Hands are laid upon those who have received Baptism, and in that Manner the Holy Ghost is implored? Do you ask, where this is writ­ten? you will find it in the Acts of the Apostles. But even if the Authority of Scripture had been wanting, the Consent of the whole World in this Matter, would have the Force of a Com­mand *.’ Whose Hands were imposed in such Cases, we are plainly told, soon after. ‘The general Custom is this, that the Bishop goes abroad to impose Hands upon those, who, in the smaller Cities, and at a Distance, have been baptized by Presbyters and Deacons, that he may obtain for them by Prayer the Gift of the Holy Ghost .’

But that it was the Intention of the Apostles, that Confirmation should not expire with them, but be continued for the perpetual Benefit of the Church, we are not only able to prove thus medi­ately, but it must necessarily follow, from what one of them has said concerning it. The Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of it, as one of the first Principles of the Christian Doctrine, and fundamental to it; and puts it upon the same Footing, in that Respect, with Repentance, Faith, &c. ‘Leaving the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, let us go on to Perfection; not laying again the Foundation of Repentance from dead [Page 23] Works, and of Faith towards God, of the Doctrine of Baptisms, and of the laying on of Hands, and of the Resurrection of the Dead, and of eternal Judgment.’ What we are to under­stand by the laying on of Hands, subsequent to Bap­tism, those who reject the Doctrine of Confirmation may probably dispute. But all the ancient Com­mentators agreed in Opinion, in which they have had the Concurrence of the most considerable of the Moderns, that what is here meant, is the Im­position of Hands in Confirmation only. If there­fore, the Principles of Christianity are the same now as they were originally, Confirmation, which, in the above Passage is declared to be one of them, ought always to be retained in the Church.

But it may be farther objected, that from the Instances of Confirmation recorded in Scripture, the Effects of it appear to have been miraculous, and consequently, as the Power of Miracles has confessedly long ceased, that this Rite whereby it was imparted, is now useless, and ought not to be continued. But the Solution of this Objection is not difficult. There is no Reason to believe, that miraculous Gifts, although frequently, were always imparted by the Imposition of the Apostles Hands. But could this be proved, yet other Gifts of a dif­ferent Nature were also communicated at the same Time; and this Communication is necessary to all Persons in all Ages. Without the gracious As­sistances of the Holy Spirit, it is as certain now as it ever was, that no Man is able to withstand Temptations, and to fulfil the Conditions of the Gospel Covenant.

Those upon whom the Apostles laid Hands, are said to have received the Holy Ghost: but, I trust, there is nothing so extraordinary in this, but that [Page 24] Christians in all Ages, who have a proper Dispo­sition, and make Use of the standing Means ap­pointed in the Church, may hope to obtain even this unspeakable Benefit. And if some, in Con­sequence of this Imposition of the Apostles Hands, are said to have spoken with Tongues, and prophe­sied, which was not so much for their own personal Advantage, as for the Conviction of others; it is sufficient for Christians at this Day, that, without these miraculous Endowments, after ‘the For­giveness of their Sins,’ they are ‘strengthened with the Holy Ghost the Comforter,’ and that ‘the manifold Gifts of Grace are daily increased in them—that they receive the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding—the Spirit of Counsel and ghostly Strength—and are filled with the Spirit of the Fear of God;’ for all which Things the Bishop and Congregation are directed to pray, in the Office of Confirmation.

Thus we see upon what Authority this Practice is founded, and the Advantages that attend it; and if Persons in this Age are disaffected, or in­different towards it, it is either because they do not understand the Nature of it, or have not that Zeal and Anxiety for their spiritual Interests, which Men had formerly *.

[Page 25]It remains only to be observed under this Head, that Confirmation can be administered by none but Bishops. In the Time of the Apostles, this Power was exercised by them—they conveyed it to those only who were appointed to succeed them—and it has always been confined to the highest Order in the Church.

[Page 26]

SECTION III. That the Church in America, without an Episcopate, is necessarily destitute of a regular Government, and cannot enjoy the Benefits of Ordination and Confirmation.

SECT. III.IN the preceeding Sections I have endeavoured to give a Summary of the Arguments in Favour of Episcopacy, and to prove, with all possible Brevity, that the Powers of ordaining, confirming and governing the Church, belong rightfully to Bishops, and are not to be exercised by any of an inferior Order.

If the Considerations which have been offered have no Weight with others, they are, however, convincing to us of the Church of England; and we firmly believe the Truth and Importance of the several Points, the Proof of which has been thus briefly attempted. Indeed the Conviction of Dissenters, with Regard to the Divine Institution and Authority of Episcopacy, is not the imme­diate Intention of this Publication: and yet it is no Mark of an unfriendly Disposition, to hope, that those who are unable to invalidate the Force of the preceeding Arguments, will candidly sub­mit to them, unless they are able to oppose to them others which they judge to be, at least, of equal Strength. For it is the Duty of every rational Inquirer, in all Cases, and more especially in Matters of Religion, to be governed by what appears to be the strongest Evidence. But the present Design is to set before the Public, the [Page 27] Necessity and Importance of Episcopacy, in the Opinion of Episcopalians, and to shew the wretched Condition of the Church of England in America for Want of Bishops.

And this appears, in Part, from what has been already offered. For if, according to the Doctrine and Belief of the Church of England, none have a Right to govern the Church * but Bishops, nor to ordain, nor to confirm; then the American Church, while without Bishops, must be without Government, without Ordination and Confir­mation.

Was there no other Disadvantage attending our Want of Bishops, than that it necessarily prevents our having Confirmation administered, we should esteem it a great Grievance. For in Proportion to our Opinion of the Usefulness of this sacred Institution, must be the Hardship of being ex­cluded from the Enjoyment of it—especially, when it is considered that our Enjoyment of it would not interfere with either the civil or reli­gious Rights or Privileges of any. I will not, however, enlarge on this Subject, but proceed immediately to Matters of greater Consequence; and such are the Church's Want of Government and ordaining Powers.

When it is said, that the Church of England in America, without Bishops, must be without Go­vernment, this is to be understood in a qualified Sense. For where there is absolutely no Govern­ment at all, there can be nothing but Disorder and [Page 28] Confusion, without any Appearance of Regu­larity; which, I trust, is not yet the Case of the Church in America. Some Degree of Govern­ment is essential to the very Being of every So­ciety, whether civil or religious; and as soon as Government intirely ceases, the Society is dissol­ved and has no Existence.

It has been allowed that Presbyters may have a subordinate Authority to govern; and it is well known, that the Bishop of London hath formerly taken some Cognizance of Ecclesiastical Matters in the Plantations, by Virtue of the King's Com­mission. But much more than this is needful, to answer the Necessities of the American Church. The Clergy can evidently do but little * without a Bishop; and when it is disputed, whether one Bishop residing in America would be sufficient for the Colonies, it is agreed, on all Sides, that pro­per Care cannot be taken of them by a Bishop, [Page 29] who has the immediate Inspection of a large Dio­cess in England, and resides at the Distance of Three Thousand Miles. Trial has been heretofore made what could be done by Commissaries; but their Usefulness, upon the Whole, appeared to be so inconsiderable, that none have been appointed for near Twenty Years.

So that the State of the Church in America is, at present, really this: The Clergy are indepen­dent of each other, and have no Ecclesiastical Superiors to unite or control them; and the Peo­ple are sensible of their Want of Power, and find themselves free from all Restraints of Ecclesiastical Authority. They both consider themselves as ac­countable to God for their religious Behaviour, and, in some Sense, to the World for the Con­sistency of their Characters. They have the Rubrics of the Church of England, whereby they profess to govern themselves, and to which, for the most Part, they strictly adhere, in the public Offices of Religion; and they endeavour to conform to the Canons, so far as the Circumstances of the Church in this Country will admit of. But after all, Men's governing themselves by certain Rules and Laws, (if the Expression may be allowed of) and their being governed by others, who have a proper Authority, although according to the same Laws, are Things that will ever be found to be different. In the former Case, some Appearance of Order may be maintained, but the Body is [Page 30] without Strength, and liable to be destroyed by innumerable Accidents; whereas it is only in the latter Case, that Health and Vigour and Perma­nency can be reasonably expected.

The Government of the Church may be na­turally divided into Two Branches, and considered as relating either to the Clergy, or the Laity; and it may be proper to take a short View of it, with Reference to both. Religion being a Matter of free Choice, for which we are ordinarily ac­countable only to him, who will hereafter judge us for our moral Behaviour—and the Church, considered with Relation to civil Power, being in the very Nature of it a voluntary Society; it is left to Men's Consciences, whether they will be­come Members of it or not. But after they are become Members, the Laws of the Church are in Force against them, and they are subject, in Ecclesiastical Matters, to the Authority of those who govern it.

What the just Penalties of Disobedience are, we must learn from the Nature of the Church it­self. In Civil Society, the Magistrate is armed with the Sword of Justice, and ‘he is the Mini­ster of God, a Revenger to execute Wrath upon him that doeth Evil *,’ according to the De­gree and Nature of his Offences. But the Power of the Church is of a spiritual Nature, and the utmost Effect of it in this World, is the cutting off and rejecting those Members which are in­curably and dangerously corrupted. This Punish­ment which has commonly been known by the Name of Excommunication, however it was dreaded in the purest Ages of Christianity, has lost much [Page 31] of its Force in this; wherein Altars are set up against Altars, and Churches against Churches, and those who are rejected by one, may be received by another. A Disposition to slight the highest Punishment which the Church can inflict has become general, and there appears to be no Remedy for it, unless in the Use of Reason and Persuasion. But we live in an Age, in which the Voice of Reason will not be heard, nor the Strength of Arguments regarded, although sup­ported by the Declarations of Heaven, on the Subject of Church Discipline. Nay, a Man would be generally esteemed to be either wrong-headed, or mean-spirited, or both, who should profess much Reverence for Ecclesiastical Authority; and the Charge of Priest-Craft, so long hackneyed by Infidels and Libertines, would be sure to fall upon the Clergy, should they have Courage to speak up in Defence of it.

In this State of Things, the Restoration of the primitive Discipline seems to be a Matter rather to be wished for and desired, than to be rationally attempted by those in Authority. Accordingly no Attempts of this Nature will be made under in American Episcopate; the Discipline of the Church, so far as it relates to the private Mem­bers, will be left as it is, and nothing farther will be done than refusing the Communion to disor­derly and scandalous Persons, which every Clergy­man may now refuse, and ought to refuse, agree­ably to the Rubrics.

But with Regard to the Clergy, it is proposed that a strict Discipline be established, and that the Bishop's Power over them shall be as full and complete, as the Laws and Canons of the Church direct. Of the Necessity of this, none can be [Page 32] more sensible than the Clergy themselves, who, in all their Addresses in Favour of an Episcopate, have proposed and requested that this may be the Case. The general Character of the American Clergy, the Author believes, if he may judge from a large and extensive Acquaintance with them, and he hopes it may be thought excusable in him, on this Occasion, although one of the Number, to declare his Belief of it, to be truly respectable. They are sound and steady in their Principles, and regular in their Behaviour. In so large a Body, some Exceptions from the general Character must be expected; but it is rather to be wondered that their Number is so small, considering all Things.

Indeed we have heard much of the profligate Behaviour of the Clergy to the Southward, and in the Islands; but this, perhaps, may have been owing to the Conduct of a few Individuals, re­ported and aggravated with a malicious Intention. But allowing many of these evil Reports to have been justly founded, yet we all know that the im­moral Practices of one vicious Clergyman will be more frequently mentioned, than the Virtues of Fifty, of an orderly Life and Conversation.

But after all, whatever may be the Proportion between the virtuous and vicious Clergymen in America, as there are undoubtedly some of both Characters; the Want of Bishops to superintend and govern them, is obvious at first View. If one Sort have no Need of a Bishop to keep them to their Duty, yet some Cases will arise in the Dis­charge of it in which his Direction will be useful —and many Cases, wherein his Support and En­couragement will be needful—and in all Cases, his Friendship and Patronage will give Life and [Page 33] Spirit to them in undergoing the Difficulties, and in performing the Duties, of their Station.

But as there are Clergymen also of a different Character, it is more immediately necessary on Account of these, that Episcopal Government should take Place in America. The Process of carrying an Accusation, and afterwards of suppor­ting it, before our Superiors, at so great a Distance, must be tedious and difficult; and this Conside­ration undoubtedly, in some Cases, may cause those to escape Punishment who really deserve it. But the Case will be different under a settled Epis­copate; as then, for every Grievance of this Nature, the Church will have an easy and effec­tual Remedy. If a Clergyman shall disgrace his Profession in an open and scandalous Manner, a Bishop residing in the Country can suspend him immediately; and if upon Trial the Case shall be found to deserve it, he can proceed to deprive him of his Benefice *, and not only silence and depose him, but excommunicate him from the Society of Christians. The Consideration of this, and that they are under the Eye of their Bishop, one main Branch of whose Business is to inspect and enquire [Page 34] into their Conduct, will naturally tend to make the Clergy in general, more regular and diligent in the Discharge of the Duties of their Office, and more careful and circumspect in their whole Beha­viour. In a Word, of those whose Characters are justly exceptionable, some may probably be re­formed by a Bishop; and as to others, they may be easily displaced, unless it be the Fault of the People themselves.

But a greater Disadvantage, if possible, than the Want of a regular Government, attends the Church of England in America in its present State, I mean the Want of Ordination: for none can be ad­mitted to Holy Orders without crossing the Atlan­tic, with great Hazard and Expence. The Dan­ger of such a Voyage may, to some, appear to be trifling; but the Apprehension of it, together with a natural Aversion to the Sea, has been known to deter many worthy Persons, who have been de­sirous of obtaining Ordination in the Church, from attempting it—the Fear and Apprehension of Danger, in such Cases, whether rightly founded or not, having always the same Effect. But what real Foundation there is for such an Apprehension, will be best discovered from Experience and Facts. Now the exact Number of those that have gone Home for Ordination, from these Northern Co­lonies (excepting some who have sailed lately, who cannot properly be included in this Account) is Fifty-two. Of these Forty-two have returned safely, and Ten have miscarried; the Voyage, or Sickness occasioned by it, having proved fatal to near a fifth Part of them.

The Expence of this Voyage cannot be reckoned at less, upon an Average, than One Hundred Pounds Sterling to each Person. To Men of For­tune [Page 35] this is an inconsiderable Sum; but Men of Fortune must not be expected to devote them­selves to the Service of the Church in America, where the Prospect is so discouraging, and so many disagreeable Circumstances are known to attend it. The Expence must therefore generally fall upon such, as having already expended the greatest Part of their Pittance in their Education, will find it extremely hard to raise a Sum sufficient for the Purpose.

Under these Discouragements, there has al­ways been great Difficulty in supplying the Church with Clergymen, and there always must be. In what Manner the Church is supplied at present *, the following Instances will sufficiently testify. In the Province of New-Jersey there are Twenty-one Churches and Congregations; Eleven of these are intirely destitute of a Minister, and there are but Five Clergymen to do the Duties of the other Ten. In Pennsylvania, including the Lower Coun­ties, the Case is similar. In the City of Philadel­phia there are Three Churches and Congregations, and but Two Clergymen; in the Rest of the Pro­vince the Number of Churches is Twenty-six, and that of the Clergy is but Seven.

If some of the Colonies are better supplied, perhaps others may be found which are provided for not so well. In North-Carolina, the late Go­vernor Dobbs informed the Society, in his Letter dated March 29th, 1764, ‘that there were then but Six Clergymen in that Province, although there were Twenty-nine Parishes, and each Parish contained a whole County:’ And the Majority of the Inhabitants are said to profess [Page 36] themselves Members of the Church. Other Rea­sons may have contributed to this general Want of Clergymen in America, but it has always been principally owing to the great Difficulty of ob­taining Ordination.

Under this Head it may be observed farther, that the Danger and Expence of a Voyage to Eng­land for the Purpose of obtaining Ordination, are not the only Evils we have Reason to complain of: for another glaring Disadvantage, to which the Church in America is manifestly subject, arises from the impossibility that a Bishop residing in England, should be sufficiently acquainted with the Characters of those who go Home from this Country for Holy Orders. To this it is owing, that Ordination has been sometimes fraudulently and surreptitiously obtained by such Wretches, as are not only a Scandal to the Church, but a Dis­grace to the human Species.

The Church has taken all due Care that none shall be ordained, without full and proper Evi­dence of their good Character and Abilities *; and as to those who go Home from this distant Country for that Purpose, sensible of the peculiar Hazard attending such Cases, the Bishop of London, in Conjunction with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign Parts, every Year proclaims and publishes to the World, that he ‘requests and earnestly▪ beseeches all Persons concerned, that they recommend no Man out of Favour or Af­fection, or any other worldly Consideration, but with a sincere Regard to the Honour of Al­mighty God, and our Blessed Saviour; as they tender the Interest of the Christian Religion, and the Good of Men's Souls.’

[Page 37]But although the Bishops of London, to whom this Application from America has always been made, have successively exercised the greatest Care and Circumspection in this Matter, yet none of them have been able intirely to avoid Imposi­tions of this Nature. Notwithstanding their ut­most Caution and Care to prevent it, Instances have happened, wherein Persons have produced in England the most ample written Credentials, obtained God knows how, of their pious and or­derly Conversation, whose Lives have been noto­riously infamous in this Country; and after having been invested with the sacred Office, they have been sent back to take Charge of the Souls of others—in the Prosecution of which Work they have acted as if they had not, or imagined that they had not, any Souls of their own.

And this is not much to be wondered at, since in such a Country as America, an artful Man may sometimes be able to procure Testimonials in his Favour, signed by a competent Number of such Clergymen and others, as a Bishop of London will not know how to object against. Or, should this Attempt fail him, he may even forge his Testi­monials, and so carry his Point before he is de­tected. This Supposition is not an absurd one— it is necessary in Order to account for the Success of some Adventurers from the Colonies, who have obtained Ordination in England, and then have returned to America to disgrace themselves and the Church—to the great Grief and Vexation of all its Friends, and, I doubt not, to the no small Consolation of some of its Enemies.

And when we consider the miserable Conse­quences that must necessarily follow, even from a single Instance of this Kind, and that one worth­less [Page 38] Clergyman will do more Mischief to Religion, than many worthy ones are able to repair; it is evident that the Church may be, as Experience proves that it sometimes actually has been, a great Sufferer in this Respect. And there seems to be no Method of preventing this Evil intirely, but by the Residence of Bishops in America; in which Case the general Character of each Candidate for holy Orders might be known by the Bishop, and such Impositions as have been mentioned, would seldom be attempted.

[Page 39]

SECTION IV. The unparalleled Hardship of this Case represented.

WAS the Author disposed to proceed in the Way of Declamation, he is of Opinion,SECT. IV. that the Christian Church has not, in any Instance, for Ages past, afforded a more fruitful Subject for it. But it is his Design only to state Arguments and Facts as briefly as he can, and to recommend them to the candid Consideration of the Public. He therefore begs Leave, on the foregoing Repre­sentation, barely to make an Appeal to the Con­sciences of Men in Behalf of the Church—whether, in Case the religious Society whereto they belong, was doomed to undergo such an Hardship as the Church of England in America suffers for Want of Ordination, to say nothing of other Instances, they would not think themselves injured, and com­plain most bitterly? If any other Denomination of Christians in his Majesty's American Dominions was not allowed to have a Clergyman, without paying a Fine of One Hundred Pounds Sterling on his Admission, and exposing him, at the same Time, to some dangerous Process, which had proved fatal to a fifth Part of his Predecessors, would they not esteem it an intolerable Grievance, and a cruel Persecution? And indeed, would not every disinterested Person consider it in the same Light? Now, if this would be esteemed Persecu­tion, in the Case of Presbyterians or Congrega­tionalists, or of any other religious Denomination of People in this Country, why it should be esteem­ed less when suffered by the Church of England, [Page 40] is hard to conceive. We have the same Feelings, the same Sensibility with other Persons, and are equally affected by any Sufferings.

Some perhaps may dispute the Propriety of the Word, as the great Grievance in Question arises not from any positive Exertion of Civil Power against us: but if it be not properly Persecution, it is something that is as bad in its natural Conse­quences. It may be questioned, whether the worst Persecutions have ever exterminated a fifth Part of the Clergy in any Country; and it is evident, that all direct Persecutions have been attended with this good Effect, that the religious Zeal of those against whom they have been intended, has been animated and increased: whereas, in the particular Species of suffering, of which the American Church so justly complains, there is a peculiar Tendency to render the Members of it careless and indiffe­rent in religious Matters, and regardless of its Interests.

If there are any Points, in which the Reason and common Sense of Mankind can be supposed to agree, this must unquestionably be one, that the Church of England in America, under the before-mentioned Disadvantages, although not formally persecuted, is in a most wretched and deplorable Condition. And, we who are Members of it, cannot but think it an Aggravation of our Unhap­piness, that it appears to be altogether unprece­dented; we being singled out from all the People upon Earth to be made the first Example of it. It would be but a poor Consolation, we confess, to be able to recollect Instances, wherein others have suffered in the same Manner with ourselves. But yet our Condition seems to imply, and Strangers may conclude from it, that there has been some­thing [Page 41] grosly amiss and unprecedented in our Beha­viour, which has brought down upon us the Dis­pleasure of our Superiors, from whom we might otherwise expect, at least, that common Protection and Indulgence, which is so generously and pro­perly afforded to all others.

But while we thus suffer, we are not apprehen­sive that it can be owing to the Displeasure of our Superiors, as we are conscious of no Crimes, with Regard to the State. On the other Hand we claim a Right to be considered as equal with the fore­most, in every due Expression of Fidelity and Loyalty. We esteem ourselves bound, not only by present Interest and Inclination, but by the more sacred Ties of our religious Principles and Christian Duty, to support, to the utmost, the National Civil Establishment. Accordingly no Trumpet of Sedition was ever heard to sound from our Pulpits—no Seeds of Disaffection have been suffered more privately to be sown in our Houses. As our Religion teaches us, in the first Place, and above all Things to fear God; so, while we can preserve it, it will be a full Security to the Govern­ment for our honouring the King, and not meddling with them that are given to Change *.

If then the Church of England in America is not distinguished by the Want of Duty and Affection to the Government, why should it be thus distin­guished [Page 42] and stigmatized by the Want of those re­ligious Privileges, which are granted to all other Denominations of Christians whatever, in the Bri­tish Dominions. In our petitioning for Bishops, all that we ask for ourselves, is what has been freely granted to others, what has been refused to none else who have applied for it. We request only the Liberty of enjoying the Institutions of our Church, and thereby of being put upon an equal Footing with our Neighbours—with the various Sects of English Dissenters, who have the full En­joyment of their respective Forms of Ecclesiastical Government and Discipline—and even with the Moravians and Papists, who are severally allowed a Bishop. And we cannot but flatter ourselves, that we have as good a Right to expect Success in an Application of this Nature, as if we were Dis­senters, or Moravians, or Papists. For it is utterly inconceivable to us, that there can be any Thing in the peculiar Principles of our Religion, or in the distinguishing Circumstance of its being the national Religion, that can account for a Refusal .

It has been said, that we look upon the Case of the Church of England in America to be unpre­cedented. [Page 43] That it is so, compared with the State of religious Denominations in the British Domi­nions, has been already shewn. And if we look abroad, or carry our Inquiries back through all the Ages of the Church to its first Origin, I am persuaded we shall not be able to find its Parallel.

During the Time of the Apostles, as the Num­ber of Christians increased, Care was taken to form them into proper Ecclesiastical Districts, and a Bishop was appointed for each, ‘to set in Or­der the Things that were wanting, and to ordain Elders in every City*.’ What was the Extent of these original Districts, to which the Exercise of the Episcopal Authority was ordinarily limited, is, perhaps, not easy exactly to determine at this Day. But it is most probable, that in every large City, including its Environs and Dependencies, where the Gospel had been received, and the Num­ber of Christian Congregations and Presbyters was considerable, Bishops were appointed. And in every Territory, which had natural Boundaries and Limitations, whereby it was made separate and distinct from the neighbouring Countries, whether it did or did not include any Capital City, pro­vided, as before, that the Number of Churches required it, a Bishop was also settled. By this Means due Provision was made for the whole Church, and no large Number of Christians was [Page 44] neglected, nor suffered to continue long without a regular Ecclesiastical Government.

An Instance of this general Care is to be found in Crete over which Titus was appointed Bishop by St. Paul; at a Time, when the Number of Con­verts in that Island, was probably much inferior to the present Number of professed Christians, in more than one of our British American Islands. In the succeeding Ages, until the Roman Empire be­came Christian, this Apostolic Plan was carefully followed, and the Number of Bishops was in­creased, in Proportion to the growing Extent and Advancement of Christianity *. When the Church at length obtained the Protection and Patronage of the State, these Ecclesiastical Regulations were established by Law, and Bishops, in the Exercise of their Jurisdiction, were aided and supported by Civil Power.

If we pursue the History of the Church from this Period, we shall meet with no Instance, in which any large Number of People proselyted to the Christian Religion, or any considerable Colo­nies, settled by a Christian Country, have been without a Bishop, the Dutch Colonies excepted, which do not desire them. It has been the Prac­tice of all Christian Nations, to provide for and maintain the national Religion, and to render it as respectable as possible, in the most distant Colo­nies; wherein, either a Regard for their Religion, or Reasons of Policy, and probably both, have led them to take equal Care for the Establishment of Ecclesiastical, as of Civil Government. As to America, in particular, wherever we meet with French or Spanish Settlements, we find Bishops. [Page 45] In Canada, a Country less populous than many of the British Colonies, when we took Possession of it, there was a compleat Ecclesiastical Establish­ment under an Episcopate.

But we need not confine our Inquiries to Chri­stian Nations and Countries. If we consult the Records of Paganism and Mahometanism, the Case appears always to have been the same in this Re­spect. Among the ancient civilized Heathens, the national Religion was never neglected; for it was generally considered as one of the first Duties of the Civil Magistrate, to encourage, support and increase its Influence, to the utmost of his Power. And the Mahometans have ever been as zealous in propagating their Religion, as in extending their Conquests.

This universal Practice of all Nations and Ages, has proceeded from Two general Principles that are deeply founded in human Nature, and human Policy. The first is inseparable from our Nature, and necessarily leads Men to exert themselves, for the Preservation and Security of whatever they esteem and hold to be valuable, in Proportion as they judge of its Usefulness and Importance. The other seems to be a fundamental Principle of sound and consistent Policy, which necessarily requires the Protection and Security of the national Reli­gion. For as some Religion has been ever thought, by the wisest Legislators, to be necessary for the Security of Civil Government, and accordingly has always been interwoven into the Constitution of it; so, in every Nation, that Religion which is thus distinguished, must be looked upon as, in the Opinion of the Legislature, the best fitted for this great Purpose.

[Page 46]Wherever therefore the national Religion is not made, in some Degree, a national Concern, it will commonly be considered as an Evidence, that those who have the Direction of the national Affairs do not esteem their Religion—or, that they are negli­gent of the Duty they owe to God and the Public, as the Guardians of its Happiness.

[Page 47]

SECTION V. Reasons assigned why the Church in America has been thus neglected.

ARE we then,SECT. V. from the present State of the Church of England in America, immedi­ately to form so harsh a Conclusion, concerning those who have the Direction of our national Af­fairs? Must we necessarily suppose, that they have no Esteem and Affection for that Religion, which is so closely allied and connected with the Consti­tution of the State? Has the Conduct of the Church of England been such, with Regard to the Go­vernment—or, are its Principles such, that it is not intitled to the same Care and Protection, which other Kingdoms and States have ever afforded to the national Religion, whether Christian, Maho­metan, or Pagan? Neither of these, it is hoped, can be said properly.

Although the Church of England in America appears not hitherto to have been made a national Concern; yet many Reasons may be assigned for this Neglect, owing to the peculiar Circumstances of the English Nation and Colonies, which will account for, although, perhaps, not altogether ex­cuse it. The Colonies were generally settled by private Adventurers; and some of them, by those who had an Aversion to Episcopal Government. The Propriety of not sending a Bishop to Colonies of the latter Sort, will be disputed by none: and as to the others, their Beginnings were small, and for some Time an Episcopate was not greatly wanted.

[Page 48]Besides, it ought to be considered, that the Chan­ges of Government—the Revolutions of Power— the Opposition of contending Parties at Home— the Intrigues of foreign Courts—and the Attacks of neighbouring Kingdoms and States, have gene­rally been more than sufficient to employ the pub­lic Attention, almost ever since the Rise of our Colonies. Accordingly we have found, that even the commercial and political Importance of these Colonies, has been but little known or regarded, until of very late Years. In these Circumstances, it is not to be wondered, that the Case of the Church in America, has not been attended to; especially as the Members of it, not excepting the Clergy, have been careless themselves, and not made those Representations in Favour of it, which they ought to have made.

To this may be added, that so long as no re­gular Plan for an American Episcopate was settled and proposed, a Fear of infringing the religious Rights of Protestant Dissenters in this Country, for which both our Civil and Ecclesiastical Rulers have so tender a Regard, must have created an al­most insuperable Difficulty in carrying into Exe­cution a Work of this Nature.

Our own Negligence in this Country has been confessed; and I wish as much could be fairly said in Excuse for it. How can the Necessities of the Church here be known, at a Distance, unless those who reside here will be at the Trouble of represen­ting them? And from whom can such Represen­tations be properly expected, but from the Clergy, and other Friends and Members of the Church?

Indeed there have not been wanting some Indi­viduals, for almost a Century back, who have seen [Page 49] and lamented the Want of Bishops in this Country, and endeavoured to obtain them: and there was a Time, wherein the Members of the Church in ge­neral, seem to have exerted themselves in Behalf of an Episcopate. So early as in 1672, this Sub­ject was mentioned, and it was thought needful and expedient even then, that a Bishop should re­side in Virginia. But in the Beginning of this Cen­tury, Addresses were earnestly and repeatedly made to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign Parts, then newly incorporated, signed not only by the Clergy and by Vestries, but by Gover­nors of Provinces *, setting forth the Necessity of [Page 50] an American Episcopate, and imploring their In­fluence and Mediation in Favour of it. That truly charitable and worthy Society, to whom the Nation and the Christian World in general are under great Obligations, and to whose unexampled Liberality, indefatigable Application and amazing Perseverance, the Church of England owes its very [Page 51] Existence, at this Day, in some of the Colonies, most heartily and vigorously engaged in the Pro­secution of so good a Work. They began with making all proper Representations of the Case to the Queen —they proceeded to purchase a House in New-Jersey, for the Residence of a Bishop—and [Page 52] after duly preparing the Way, obtained an Order from the Crown for a Bill to be drawn and laid before the Parliament, for establishing an Ame­rican Episcopate:—but when the Affair was in a Way of being speedily accomplished, the Death of that excellent Princess suddenly put a Stop to it.

The Attempt was renewed with the same Spirit, in the Begining of the next Reign, and the Pros­pect of Success was most encouraging §; but— it proved abortive. The Reasons of this Miscar­riage are not now well known in America. Pos­sibly the Rebellion, which soon broke out, diverted the Royal Attention to Subjects of a different Nature—perhaps also the Clergy, and Members of the Church in this Country, grew careless them­selves, and neglected to renew their Application; and their Silence may have been construed by the Government to imply, that the Necessity of the [Page 53] American Church was not so urgent as had been formerly represented.

However, the venerable Patrons and Supporters of the Church in America, the Society for the Pro­pagation of the Gospel, notwithstanding our own Negligence and Stupidity in this Country, with Regard to a Matter which so nearly concerns us, (for which the Failure of the before-mentioned Attempts must apologize as well as it can) con­tinued to keep Sight of the great Object; and they have ever been watching for seasonable Opportu­nities of exerting themselves to obtain it.

In the mean Time, the public Declarations of its most illustrious Members, concerning the Pro­priety, Usefulness and Necessity of sending Bishops to America, frequently made as Occasions have been suitable, have done Honour not only to them­selves, but to the Society in general; as we flatter ourselves that they express the common Sentiments of that venerable Body, as well as their own *. And although hitherto their Endeavours to pro­cure for us an Episcopate have been unsuccessful, they have never dispaired of succeeding in the End; and while the Times would admit of nothing farther to be done in Favour of it, a Fund for its future Support was raised under their Influence and Auspices—they never having ceased to hope, amidst the most discouraging Prospects, "that a Design" (to use the Words of the late Bishop Butler on this Subject) ‘so necessary and unexceptionable, could not but at last be put in Execution.’

[Page 54]

SECTION VI. That the present Juncture is apprehended to be favou­rable to the Episcopate in Question.

SECT. VI.THE favourable Opportunity which has so long been waited for, in the Opinion of many wise and judicious Persons in America, now presents itself—and such, in several Respects, as the Circumstances of the Nation have never, until now, afforded. As the Tumults of War have ceased, and the public Tranquillity is restored, without any reasonable Suspicions of a speedy In­terruption—so, the greatest Harmony subsists be­tween our Mother-Country and most of the Colo­nies, the late Disputes having been brought, by the Wisdom and good Temper of the former, to a happy Termination—the Plan of an American Episcopate has been previously settled, and ad­justed in such a Manner, that the religious Privi­leges of none can be violated or endangered—and, which we should ever acknowledge with all Thank­fulness, we are, at this Time, so happy as to have a Prince on the Throne, from whose most un­questionable Disposition to promote the general Interest of Virtue and Religion, from whose sin­cere Affection for the Church, and from whose most gracious Declarations on the Subject before us, we cannot possibly doubt of the Royal Appro­bation and Concurrence—while a wise and virtuous Ministry cannot fail of being ready, to afford to so good a Cause, all needful Assistance. These are the Advantages, which now happily concur to fa­vour [Page 55] the American Church, and which peculiarly mark the present Period.

It ought to be farther considered, that the Ar­guments for sending Bishops to America, were never so urgent and forcible as they are at present. When such Progress was made towards obtaining for this Country an Episcopate, in the former Part of this Century, the Number of American Clergy and Professors of the Church, although judged then to be greater than in many Diocesses in Eng­land *, was small and inconsiderable, in Compari­son with the Amount of their present Number. The amazing natural Increase of the Colonists, and the vast Accession of Europeans to the British Ame­rica, have, in the Compass of Fifty or Sixty Years, so enlarged the Number of its Inhabitants, and proportionably of the Members of the Church, that perhaps it is not inferior now, to the Number of Inhabitants in all the Diocesses in the Province of York, exclusive of Dissenters.

Should it be said, that the Church of England in America contains now near a Million of Mem­bers, the Assertion might be justified. It is not easy to ascertain the Number exactly, in a Country so widely extended and unequally peopled; but from general Calculations it has been frequently said of late Years, that the proper Subjects of the British Crown in America amount to Three Mil­lions. This has been said even in the Parliament of Great-Britain, if our Information may be trusted —it has been repeatedly said in this Country, by some of our most sensible Writers. Strangers may be astonished at so large an Account, but to others it is not incredible.

[Page 56]An actual Survey * of the Number of Inhabi­tants in 1762, with a Distribution of them into Classes, according to their religious Professions, is said to have been carefully made: and it was then found, that, not including the new Colonies ceded by the last general Treaty of Peace, they amounted to between Two and Three Millions, in the Colonies and Islands. Of the Whites, the Pro­fessors of the Church were about a third Part—the Presbyterians, Independents and Anabaptists were not so many—the Germans, Papists and other De­nominations, amounted to more.

Let this Representation be carefully considered, and it will appear in a very evident and striking Light, that the Wants of the American Church, as it has been destitute of Bishops, must have na­turally increased, and can amount now to little less than an absolute Necessity. In these Circumstances, could such a Number of Christians, even under a Pagan Government, unless in a State of open Per­secution, provided they had always proved them­selves loyal and faithful Subjects, apply in vain for a Favour, so needful for themselves, and so harm­less to others? How much less Reason then can the Church in America have to fear a Refusal in the present Case, not only from a Christian Na­tion, famed for its prudent Indulgence to all re­ligious Denominations in general—but from a Nation, which is moreover disposed to befriend it, from peculiar Reasons both of Affection and Policy?

This Argument taken from the Number of those who belong to the Church of England in America, will receive great additional Force, from a Con­sideration of the State of the Blacks in our Islands [Page 57] and Colonies; who were found, in the above-mentioned Survey, to be about Eight Hundred and Forty-four Thousand. Although many of these, it is to be feared, through the Neglect of their Masters, are not Christians at all; yet, as they are connected with, and under the immediate Govern­ment of, Persons who profess Christianity, they may be said, in an imperfect Sense, to belong to the respective religious Classes of their Owners. However, their Situation is undoubtedly such, that in Proportion as a Sense of Religion prevails in their Masters, they will receive Benefit. Now as these are known chiefly to belong to the Professors of the Church, if an Episcopate will naturally tend to improve the State of Religion in the Church of England, it must consequently, (to say nothing of a particular Care which will probably be exten­ded to them, when Bishops shall be settled) have a general good Effect upon more than half a Million of poor Creatures, Sharers with us of the same common Nature—sent into the World as Proba­tioners and Candidates for the same glorious Im­mortality—whom Christ equally purchased by his precious blood-shedding—who notwithstanding, as they are bred up in Ignorance and Darkness, are suffered, to the eternal Disgrace of their Owners, to walk on "in the Shadow of Death," without a Ray of rational religious Hope to chear them.

This Consideration must make a deep Impres­sion upon the Minds of all serious Christians, and lead them to encourage and help forward every Work, which has any probable Appearance of pro­moting the Spiritual Interests, of so many of these wretched Outcasts of Humanity. If it is the Duty of Christians to communicate ‘the glad Tidings of Salvation’ to Heathens in general; it is a [Page 58] Duty more peculiarly incumbent upon us, to ex­tend the Gospel to such of them as are under our immediate Government and Inspection, and who wear out, under the hard Yoke of Bondage, their Strength and very Lives in our Service.

Another Argument for granting an American Episcopate, arises from the Obligations of Grati­tude; a national Sense of which, it is humbly con­ceived, ought, at this Time, to have a peculiar Efficacy in Favour of Religion in the American Plantations. By a signal Interposition of Divine Providence, the British Arms in America have triumphed over all that opposed them, our Colo­nies have been prodigiously extended, and our new Acquisitions, together with our old Settlements, have been secured, not only by Treaty, but by a total Annihilation of that Power on this Continent, whereby our former Safety was chiefly endangered.

Every wise Nation sees and acknowledges the Hand of God in the Production of such Events; and every religious Nation will endeavour to make some suitable Returns to him for such extraordi­nary Favours. And what Returns are proper to be made in such Cases, one Moment's serious Re­flection will clearly discover. The Circumstances of Things evidently point out two Duties to our Governors, on this Occasion, both of them impor­tant in themselves, and of indispensible Obligation: One is, the farther Security and Support of the true Religion in America, in those Places where it al­ready is; and the other, the Propagation of it in those Places, to which it has not hitherto been ex­tended.

As America is the Region, wherein the Divine Goodness has been more remarkably displayed, in [Page 59] Favour of the British Nation; so, America is evi­dently the very Ground, on which some suitable Monument of religious Gratitude ought to be erected. This should be of such a Nature as to be visible to the World, and, that the Honour of the Supreme Ruler of Events may be thereby im­mediately promoted. Now as the Honour of God is most directly promoted by public Worship—as that Worship must be most acceptable to him, wherein the Praises and Adorations of his Creatures are regularly offered him, in the solemn Offices of the purest and best Religion—and as the national Religion must be supposed best to answer these Characters, in the national Opinion; it necessarily follows, that the State of the national Religion here has a Right, on this Occasion, to the peculiar Attention and Consideration of those, who are in­trusted with the Direction of our public Affairs.

What then does the present State of this Reli­gion in America require to be done? What is pos­sible to be done for its Benefit and Advantage? These are the Questions that, must naturally arise. And every one that professes it, every Witness of its suffering Condition, is able to answer:—The Church of England in America, is perishing for Want of common Necessaries. She has long been imploring Relief, under such Diseases as must prove fatal to her, if much longer neglected. She there­fore earnestly requests, and she only requests, that proper Remedies may be provided for her present Sufferings. And she leaves it, with all due Sub­mission to the Wisdom of her Superiors, whether any Thing farther is proper to be done, to strengthen and improve her Interests. She wishes for nothing, which shall be thought inconsistent with the Rights and Safety of others. She asks [Page 60] nothing, but what has been granted to others, without any ill Consequences; and she relies on the common Affection and Justice of the Nation, to raise her to this Equality. And, whether there is any Thing presumptuous or unreasonable in these Expectations, let Heaven and Earth judge!

[Page 61]

SECTION VII. The Case of the American Heathens particularly con­sidered, and shewn to require an Episcopate.

BUT besides taking proper Care of the true Religion where it already is,SECT. VII. the Providence of God calls loudly upon the Nation, to prosecute such Measures as may be most effectual, for the Propagation of it amongst those Nations on our Borders, which still sit ‘in Darkness and the Sha­dow of Death’ —or, at the very least, to afford those who are engaged in, or desirous to undertake the Propagation of it, all due Encouragement. And in this View, an American Episcopate will be found to be necessary.

Nothing can be plainer, even from the common Principles of Humanity and Benevolence, if we have no Regard to the sacred Injunctions of our holy Religion, than that it is the Duty of those whom ‘the Day-Spring from on high hath vi­sited,’ to communicate this Light to others, and as they have Opportunity, ‘to give the Knowledge of Salvation’ to those that are without it, ‘for the Remission of their Sins’ —This is the indis­pensible Duty of every private Christian, and it is a Duty still more strongly incumbent upon every Christian Nation; as the Means of such a Com­munication are more in the Power of a Nation, than of private Christians.

The Situation and Circumstances of some Na­tions are more favourable than those of others, for [Page 62] Attempts of this Nature. The fairest Opportuni­ties are commonly in the Hands of trading Nations, like ours; to which Commerce opens a free Inter­course with the unenlightened Parts of the Earth —and, when conducted fairly and properly, it is attended with such sensible present Advantages, that farther Proposals for their spiritual Benefit, will probably be received, with less Prejudice, as coming from the Hands of their Benefactors.

When the English Nation first proposed to esta­blish Settlements in America, the Propagation of the Gospel among the native Inhabitants was al­ways mentioned as a principal Part of the Plan. Queen Elizabeth, in whose Reign these Settlements were projected, considered the Opportunity they would furnish for the Advancement of Christianity, as a strong Motive for carrying the general Scheme into Execution. "The first Letters Patent gran­ted by her Successor, to establish a Company for improving the Trade and Plantations in Virginia, April 10th, 1606, expressly enjoined the Propaga­tion of the Christian Faith, as the End principally intended. Another Patent in the same Year, gran­ting two Colonies to Sir Thomas Gates, Sir George Summers, Knights; Richard Hackluit, Clerk, Pre­bendery of Westminster, &c. directs it to the Fur­therance of so noble a Work, which may by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating the Christian Religion to such People as yet live in Darkness, and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God*."

How this original Plan came to be altered, and so essential a Part of it as the Conversion of the [Page 63] American Heathens, to be afterwards omitted, would require more Time to explain, than the in­tended Brevity of this Publication will admit of. That it has been altogether laid aside as a national Design, is too evident to be disputed. And yet as the Nation has not rejected the Christian Religion, but professes to be governed by it, and to esteem the Light of the Gospel as an invaluable Blessing, may it not be hoped that they may still be per­suaded to resume the Plan? Are there no Sparks of Christian Compassion remaining, to warm the Breasts of our national Rulers, in Favour of in­numerable Tribes of our Fellow-Creatures, origi­nally "made of one Blood" with us—with whom we are farther connected by Position and political Ties—and who are still ‘Strangers from the Co­venants of Promise, having no Hope, and with­out God in the World?’ May it not be reason­ably expected, that some generous Efforts will be made, to furnish them with the Means of rational and eternal Happiness, of which most of them con­tinue to be intirely destitute? Especially, may it not be expected, under the peculiar Advantages which the present Season affords?

The Providence of God, as has been observed, points out this general Duty, by the late Events, more plainly and expressly than ever. We never had, until this Time, so favourable an Opportu­nity for carrying forward this blessed Work. We never had it so much in our Power; and our Ob­ligations of Gratitude were never so strong. A ne­cessary Dependance of the Natives upon us, is now established; as they can have Recourse to no other European Nation, without the utmost Difficulty, for the Supply of their Necessities. The British Standard is now erected in the Heart of their [Page 64] Country; and a friendly Communication is opened with many Tribes and Nations, whose Names were unknown to us until very lately. The Influence of Jesuits and French Missionaries ceases to operate in those Regions, where formerly every Attempt made by a Protestant Nation to propagate the Gospel, was sure of being counteracted as effectually as pos­sible. In a Word, their Situation is now such, that no Opportunity or Chance remains for their ever hearing so much as the Name of Christ, if they do not hear it from us.

What Influence these Considerations may have upon our Politicians, one who is no Politician will not undertake to determine. But certainly they must deeply affect the Minds of all serious Chri­stians, and, one would think, of rational and con­sistent Deists, who profess a Regard for natural Religion—the great Doctrines and Duties of which, are generally corrupted and violated by the Ame­rican Heathens, and will be most effectually resto­red and secured by the Propagation of the Gospel.

After all, it may deserve to be considered, Whe­ther, on the Principles of meer worldly Policy, some Pains and Expence prudently bestowed to­wards the Conversion of these Savages, would not turn to our Account? The nearer they are brought, in their Principles and Morals, to the Christian System, the more they will resemble Christians in their Way of Life. The Principles of the Gospel, and the Manners of Savages, cannot consist with each other, for any considerable Time. The more they improve in Civil Life, the more useful they will be to us in the Way of Commerce—and the less we shall have to fear from their barbarous Cruelties, on any Occasion. ‘Nor should it be for­gotten, that every single Indian, whom we make [Page 65] a Christian, we make a Friend and Ally, at the same Time.’

But while the Propagation of the Gospel amongst the American Heathens has been altogether ne­glected, as a national Concern, many private Per­sons, whose eminent Abilities have been an Honour to the Nation—whose universal Benevolence has been as conspicuous as their Abilities—and whose Activity has been equal to their Benevolence— have not neglected to exert themselves, in Behalf of the general Interests of Christianity. Can any Englishman, even at this Day, hear the Name of Boyle mentioned, without a very sensible Emotion of Pleasure? This truly honourable and illustrious Person, amidst his unwearied Application for the Improvement of religious and useful Knowledge at Home, found much Time and large Sums to be­stow, for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, in different remote Parts of the Earth, and parti­cularly amongst the Natives of America.

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, al­though, notwithstanding they have been abused in this Country by many petulant Tongues, and some petulant Pens, on this Account, the Conversion of Heathens was not their primary and original Ob­ject (for if we read the History of its Rise, or exa­mine its Charter, which recites a particular Case only, and makes Provision for it, and may judge from thence, we shall find it as evident as Language can make it, that the Support and Propagation of the Gospel amongst our own People in America, was the immediate and principal Design of their Incorporation;) I say, this worthy Society, have most assiduously and vigorously attempted, so far as their more immediate Duty would admit of it, [Page 66] the Conversion of the Indians in the neighbour­hood of our Settlements.

It may seem strange, to such as judge of their Design by mistaking their Title, and are acquain­ted with the large Sums * they have annually ex­pended in America for the Propagation of the Gospel, that their Progress in the Conversion of Heathens has been so small. But when it comes to be considered, that their Benefactors have en­trusted them with their Donations, chiefly for other Purposes—and, that their Funds have never been sufficient, to answer the Occasions that have arisen in their more immediate Department—it is rather to be wondered, that they have been able to make any Attempts at all of this Nature, than that they [Page 67] have done so little. And yet they have always em­ployed some Person in this Service; and I believe it may be truly said, that they have never neglected any fair Opening to introduce the Gospel amongst the American Heathens, especially if proper Per­sons could be found, to engage in such a Mission. But they can force none into this Service, which heretofore has been attended with great Danger, as well as Fatigue: they can only offer such Salaries and Rewards by Way of Inducement, as they have Abilities to offer. However, they have not been altogether unsuccessful in their Attempts. Several Hundreds, by Means of the Society, have been converted from Heathenism to the Christian Faith, among whom some have been Ornaments to their new Profession, and an instructive Example to those who have had better Advantages. Yet still it must be confessed, that the Success has not been pro­portionable to the Pains that have been taken; and from the repeated Trials that have been made, as well as from other Evidence, it appears, that there must be some more effectual Way for the Conver­sion of Savages, than has been yet taken.

As it was always known, that the living like Christians with Respect to Religion, and like Sa­vages with Respect to civil Life, could not be re­conciled in the same Persons; it was hoped that the Conversion of Indians to the Christian Religion, would naturally introduce amongst them Civility of Manners—and this was reckoned among the Ad­vantages to be expected from converting them. But it seems now to be generally agreed, that what was proposed as a Consequence, ought to be consi­dered as a necessary Means, of spreading the Gos­pel amongst savage Nations.

[Page 68]The Religion of the Gospel was intended for Men and reasonable Creatures, and not for Brutes, although in the Shape of Men. Until these Wretches therefore are, in some Degree, humani­zed, there can be but little Prospect of making them Christians, to any lasting and valuable Pur­pose. The Society, for a long Time, seem to have been growing sensible of this; but as another Me­thod had been undertaken, it was proper that a full Trial should be made of it.

The venerable Dr. Bray, who has not impro­perly been stiled the Father of the Society, and than whom, no Man ever more carefully considered Subjects of this Nature, and but few have had bet­ter Opportunities of informing themselves, was latterly of this Opinion. In his Memorial relating to the Conversion of the American Indians, addressed to the then Commissaries of Maryland, and the Rest of the Clergy, he has the following Para­graph.

‘You must earnestly endeavour to bring them off from a wandering and idle Life, to a settled and industrious Way of living; it being impos­sible to conceive how any religious Impressions and Instructions should be given them to any Purpose, or remain upon them in their wandering State. Nor was it ever known in Fact, that Chri­stianity did thrive among a rude and barbarous People, continuing in an unsettled and savage Way of living, as in the Nature of the Thing, it is impossible that it should. And it is very remarkable, that as our Blessed Master came into the World when it had become most civi­lized; and where it was so, in a few Ages, Chri­stianity overspread the civilized Part of it: so upon the Inundation of wild and barbarous Na­tions [Page 69] into the Roman Empire, true Christianity did sensibly decline; and Satan, by his Deputy or Vicegerent Anti-Christ, regained his Domi­nion over the greatest Part of Christendom, both in the Eastern and Western Parts of the Empire.’

Dr. Stebbing, a Person of distinguished Abilities and Penetration, and a Member of the Society, in his anniversary Sermon, delivers the same Senti­ments. ‘Of a general Conversion of the native Indians, (says he) I see no great Likelihood at present. If this is to be done by human Means, there must be the necessary Preparations for human Means to operate. They must be poli­shed into good Manners—there must be some common Intercourse between us—we must bring them to some good Liking of our Laws and Customs. All this is necessary, where the Power of Miracles is wanting; and when, and whether ever, [...] will be done, God only knows.’ One of the grand Obstacles the Doctor complained of, is now happily removed; the others will always continue, until we heartily engage in the Removal of them. I might avail myself of the Names of more illustrious Persons now Living; but farther Authorities are needless in so plain a Case.

It having then become a settled Point, that the most proper Way for converting Savages, is pre­viously to instruct them in the Arts and Manners of civil Life, the Society has been, for a conside­rable Time, carefully employed in collecting such Information and Intelligence, relating to this Sub­ject, as may enable them to form a proper Plan for civilizing the Natives of America, in Order to their becoming Christians—in which great and good Work, they cannot doubt of meeting with all needful Encouragement. For this Purpose many [Page 70] Persons in America have been particularly consul­ted, both Missionaries and others; and the Result already is, that they have come to a general Deter­mination to erect Schools, for teaching the Indian Children the Elements of Agriculture, and the most necessary mechanic Arts, together with civilized Manners—to be followed by proper Instruction in the Christian Religion *. They have entered into Resolutions for carrying into Execution a Scheme of this Nature, as soon as proper Places can be fixed for the Erection of such Schools, and proper Persons be found to engage in the Service—trusting in that good Providence to assist them in this Un­dertaking, which has so wonderfully supported them in the Prosecution of their original Work.

But here a Number of Difficulties arise to retard their Progress. A Variety of Plans and Proposals have been transmitted from this Country. The Persons who have been consulted, have their par­ticular Prejudices and Attachments. The Things and Places which one represents as expedient, are condemned by another. And this must of Ne­cessity happen, where so many Persons, uncon­nected together, and without Opportunities of con­sulting one another, are called upon to give their Opinion of a Case, like this, whereof most of them must be supposed to have but a partial Knowledge.

To ballance and adjust so many different Opi­nions and Representations, must be the Work of much Time and Care, and will of Course greatly retard the Execution of the general Plan. For one false Step taken in the Beginning, may in Time produce Consequences that are pernicious and fatal. [Page 71] But these Difficulties would vanish in a great Mea­sure, under an American Episcopate. Suitable Places for the Erection of Indian Schools, might be speedily ascertained—proper Persons to be intrusted with the immediate Care of them, might be found out and appointed—and when actually employed, the general Direction and Superintendency of a Bishop residing near them, would not only give Spirit to the Work, but would moreover be neces­sary to unite so many Persons, in different Parts of the Country, who are independent of each other, and to make them regular and uniform in their Endeavours to promote the same general Design.

In a System of this Kind, where a Number of Powers and Movements are to be employed to one common Purpose, a regular and consistent Direction of them is as requisite, as of the diffe­rent mechanical Powers, in a Watch or a Clock. And the nearer the superintending Influence is, the better; for when it is present, if irregularities arise, they are soon corrected, and are never suffered long to continue. In other Cases, where a Number of Persons are employed in one general Work, a com­mon uniform Direction is allowed to be necessary; and why this particular Case should be an Excep­tion, will not be easy to shew.

The Necessity of one common Direction in the Case before us, will probably be granted; but per­haps some may think it may as well be carried on without an Episcopate. This is a Point which de­serves some Examination. Although the general Direction of such a Work must belong to the So­ciety at Home, so long as it is carried on at the Expence of the Society; yet it will be highly re­quisite that a Superintendent in this Country should oversee the Whole, with a Power to regulate the [Page 72] Behaviour of all that are immediately employed in it, to hear Complaints, to redress Grievances, and to correct Abuses; to whom Application may easily be made on all Emergencies.

Now the Question is, Whether a Bishop would not be a more proper Person to be entrusted with this Superintendency, than any other? And if we consider that the great End in View, is the Ad­vancement and Propagation of the Christian Reli­gion—and that many Clergymen as well as others must be employed in the Service, there must evi­dently appear to be a peculiar Propriety in carrying on this Work, under the Direction of a Bishop. Who can be so proper to conduct a Plan for the Propagation of the Gospel, as one of that Order, to whom the Charge of the Gospel was prin­cipally committed, and to whom a Blessing was expressly promised, in their Endeavours to pro­mote it? Who so proper to govern Clergymen, as those to whom the Government of them, together with that of the whole Church, was particularly in­trusted by its Divine Founder?

If some of the Ends of this Superintendency might as well be answered, by putting it into Lay-Hands, yet others manifestly cannot. There must be frequent Occasions for the Exercise of those spiritual Powers, which are peculiar to the Episco­pal Office; and it will be of great Consequence to the Success of the Work, whether Recourse may be had to a Bishop in such Cases easily and speedily, or whether the Application must be made to one, at the Distance of more than a Thousand Leagues.

It should also be considered, that such a Station must necessarily require some Person of eminent Abilities and Influence, to fill it properly. And [Page 73] although many such, at this Time, are to be found amongst the Laity; yet, where shall we find one thus qualified, who is not too deeply engaged in Affairs of another Nature, to devote himself to this in such a Degree as will be necessary? If such a one should be sent from Home for this Purpose, he must be supported agreeably to his Rank and Cha­racter, the Expence of which the Society can by no Means afford. Whereas if there was a Bishop in America, this would be considered as Part of his Office; which he would therefore freely execute, without any Addition to the necessary Charges. Those Persons in this Country, who may be thought best qualified for such a Trust, I believe, are fully employed in other Matters already, and cannot be expected to relinquish them and engage in this, without a handsome Support.

Sir William Johnson, who, by his long Expe­rience in, and careful Attention to, Indian Affairs, is probably best qualified for this Direction, and is undoubtedly the best Judge of these Matters in America, has, on this Occasion, been particularly consulted by the Society, whereof he is a Member, and by some in this Country. The Opinion of the Matter, which must always carry the greatest Weight, is, that an American Episcopate will greatly facilitate the Conversion of the Indians, upon any Plan that shall be followed. He declares his Readiness to assist and co-operate with a Bishop in so good a Work, but says nothing of under­taking it as Principal, as the political Superinten­dency of Indian Affairs, with which he is invested by the Government, already affords him sufficient Employment.

What then remains to be done? Shall the Society, at an Expence which will in a great Measure dis­enable [Page 74] them to pursue their Plan, be obliged to support a Lay-Superintendent, who, at the same Time, will be unable to answer all the Purposes of such an Office? Or, will an Opportunity be granted them, of putting the Management of this important Affair into the Hands of an American Bishop—who can more properly and effectually execute the Office, and without any additional Ex­pence? If a Christian Nation does not think fit to undertake this Work immediately, a Work which will probably be attended with many political Ad­vantages; yet surely it cannot refuse to give all due Countenance and needful Encouragement, to such benevolent Christians and worthy Patriots, as are willing and desirous to undertake it—especially when this can be done, without burthening the Public.

[Page 75]

SECTION VIII. The Plan on which alone American Bishops have been requested, fairly stated, with Expostulations on the Reasonableness thereof.

THE Design of what has been offered in the foregoing Section,SECT. VIII. is to shew—That the Pro­pagation of the Gospel amongst those who are Strangers to it, is a Duty incumbent upon every Christian Nation, as they have Opportunity:— That the English Nation in particular has, at this Time, a much better Opportunity, for converting to the Christian Faith the Heathen Nations on the Borders of our Settlements, than has heretofore offered, and that the Obligations of Gratitude to perform this Duty are stronger, and the Providence of God points it out more plainly, than ever:— That the commercial and political Advantages to be expected from such a Conversion, if it can be effected, are a strong Argument for attempting it, on the meer Principles of worldly Policy:—That the true Method to be taken for the Conversion of Savages, is by previously teaching them the Arts and Manners of civil Life, in order to which, pro­per Schools in different Parts of the Country are necessary:—That the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, not waiting to see what the Nation will attempt, have, on these Principles, formed a gene­ral Plan for the Erection of Indian Schools, with a Design to put it in Execution, as soon, and as ex­tensively, as possible:—And that in Order thereto, it is reasonable to think, that an American Episco­pate [Page 76] will be most eminently useful, and indeed that the Work cannot be properly conducted with­out it. From these Considerations it evidently fol­lows, that every Friend, not only to the Church of England, but to Christianity in general, ought most earnestly to desire the Settlement of Bishops in America, on this Account, and to use his Influ­ence for obtaining it.

The Reasons which have been offered in Favour of an American Episcopate, appear to us to be of that real Weight and Importance as to deserve, and we humbly hope that they will obtain, the Atten­tion of our Superiors; and if they are duly con­sidered, we are unable to conceive that they can fail of producing the desired Effect, under so mild and equal a System of Government.

The Principles of Liberty, Justice and Benevo­lence, are the main Pillars that support the fair Fabrick of the British Constitution. It is the Glory of British Subjects, that they enjoy as much Happiness and Freedom as is consistent with Go­vernment, and infinitely more than is consistent with the Want of Government—and that their Li­berties are secured by Laws that have been made by, and cannot be suspended or repealed without the Consent of, those whom they have chosen to act as their Representatives. No undue Superio­rity over some can legally be claimed by others; and for every Act of Injustice or Oppression, a sure Remedy is provided. Provision has been carefully made, that all may have full Enjoyment both of civil and religious Liberty; and so free and equitable an Execution of the Powers of Govern­ment is established, that no Body of Subjects, not an Individual, can justly complain of any Suffering or Grievance, without Confidence of Redress. [Page 77] Such is the happy Tendency of our Constitution, and we trust that our present Rulers have a Dispo­sition to act, in all Cases, agreeably to the Genius and Spirit of it.

Will not then the Complaints of near a Million of British Subjects in America, of unimpeached Loyalty and Fidelity, who are suffering under the most unprecedented Hardships with Regard to their Religion, an Interest dearer than Property and more invaluable than civil Liberty, be re­garded, and procure the Redress of so intolerable a Grievance? When an impartial Tenderness and Care for the religious Rights of all, is the professed Principle of the Administration, as well as of our Legislature, is it not absurd, and injurious, and ungrateful, to entertain any Suspicions, that so large a Number of Subjects will be treated with a cruel Partiality?—of such Subjects especially, as have ever been dutiful and faithful, and who stand in a peculiar Connection with, and Relation to, the national Body? Can it be imagined that so gross a Partiality against the national Religion, may ever be justly imputed to the British Nation, as no other Nation upon Earth was ever guilty of? For no ‘Nation has ever treated their Gods, which are no Gods,’ in such a Manner, as this Imputation would charge a Christian and Protestant Nation with treating the great Sovereign of the World.

As therefore we cannot but hope that the Voice of so many Petitioners will be heard, and that so reasonable a Request will be granted; so we cannot but flatter ourselves that it will be granted speedily, and that no unnecessary Delays will prevent its good Effect. The Reasons which have been assigned for granting us an Episcopate, are now in full [Page 78] Force, and stronger than ever; and if they require it at all, they require it immediately.

It is not apprehended that any Difficulties can attend the Execution of this Plan at the present Time, which will not always continue; and some peculiar Motives and Advantages now concur to favour it, which probably no future Period will afford. If then our Application fails of Success now, we shall despair of it hereafter; and—we want Language to express the ill Consequences we fear from such a Disappointment.

What has been said implies not an Opinion, that there are at this Time no Difficulties in the Way, but only that there are no Difficulties but such as must be always expected. We are very sensible that a Work of this Nature will have many to oppose it. Some will oppose it from an Enmity to all Religion. Others will oppose it from an En­mity, either open or secret, to the Protestant Re­ligion; of which the Church of England is confes­sedly the strongest Barrier against Popery. There are others again who heretofore have opposed it, from an Apprehension, that either the Property or religious Liberty of their Friends might be affected by it; as it was not so well known, with what Powers and with what Views it had been requested that Bishops might be sent to us. But this has been so often and explicitly mentioned of late, that it can hardly be supposed, that any Persons of Power and Influence can remain ignorant of our true Plan.

However, for the Sake of others, and of such as mistake it, it may be proper, in a Work of this Nature, to make the following Declaration to the Public, (and I appeal to every Reader, who is ac­quainted [Page 79] with the Matter, for the Truth of it) that it has been long settled by our Friends and Supe­riors at Home, and the Clergy of this Country have often signified their entire Approbation and Ac­quiescence therein—That the Bishops to be sent to America, shall have no Authority, but purely of a Spiritual and Ecclesiastical Nature, such as is derived altogether from the Church and not from the State— That this Authority shall operate only upon the Clergy of the Church, and not upon the Laiety, nor Dissen­ters of any Denomination—That the Bishops shall not interfere with the Property or Privileges, whether civil or religious, of Churchmen or Dissenters—That, in particular, they shall have no Concern with the Probate of Wills, Letters of Guardianship and Ad­ministration, or Marriage-Licences, nor be Judges of any Cases relating thereto—But, that they shall only exercise the original Powers of their Office as before stated, i. e. ordain and govern the Clergy, and admi­nister Confirmation to those who shall desire it.

This, without any Reservation or Equivocation, is the exact Plan of an American Episcopate which has been settled at Home; and it is the only one, on which Bishops have been requested here, either in our general or more particular Addresses. And so far is it from being our Desire to molest the Dissenters, or any Denominations of Christians, in the Enjoyment of their present religious Privileges, that we have carefully consulted their Safety and Security, and studied not to injure, but oblige them.

Many may have received different Accounts of our Designs, and of our Conduct; but such as have not proceeded from Ignorance, must have been the Effect of Maliciousness. When Bishops were first proposed and requested for this Country, they were [Page 80] mentioned under the Title of Suffragans. This is no ambiguous Term; it has a fixed and deter­minate Meaning in the Laws of England, and can­not be mistaken. Suffragan Bishops are the same with those that were called Chorepiscopi, or Bishops of the Country, in the primitive Church; and it is their Business to discharge all Offices merely Episcopal, in the remote Parts of the Diocess where­in they reside, according to the Direction of, and by Virtue of a Commission from, the Diocesan *. And since the Term has been omitted, such Ex­planations have attended our Petitions for Ame­rican Bishops, that I know not of a single Instance, wherein Reason has been given to suspect, that a Departure from the same general Plan has been aimed at or desired. And of this I am certain, that all our Addresses from this and several of the neighbouring Colonies, for many years, have had one consistent and unvaried Tenor, agreeable to the preceding Explanation.

What Weight will be allowed to these Asser­tions, the Author knows not; but the Authority of the following Declaration to the same Purpose, contained in an Answer to Dr. Mayhew's Observati­ons, cannot fairly be disputed; as the Author of it, supposed to be a very high Dignitary in the Church, manifestly discovers that he is perfectly acquainted with the Affairs of the Society, and of the Church in America. Speaking of the Mem­bers of the latter, he says: ‘It is desired, that Two or more Bishops may be appointed for them, to reside where his Majesty shall think most con­venient; that they may have no Concern in the least with any Persons who do not profess them­selves [Page 81] to be of the Church of England, but may ordain Ministers for such as do; may confirm their Children, when brought to them at a fit Age for that Purpose, and take such Oversight of the Episcopal Clergy, as the Bishop of Lon­don's Commissaries in those Parts have been em­powered to take, and have taken, without Of­fence. But it is not desired in the least that they should hold Courts to try Matrimonial or Testa­mentary Causes, or be vested with any Autho­rity now exercised, either by provincial Gover­nors or subordinate Magistates, or infringe or diminish any Privileges and Liberties enjoyed by any of the Laity, even of our own Communion. This is the real and the only Scheme that hath been planed for Bishops in America; and whoever hath heard of any other, hath been misinformed through Mistake or Design.*

Now what reasonable Objections can be offered against such a Plan as this, which is so universally harmless in every Respect, that none can be injured by it; and so useful withal, that near a Million of Persons will receive Benefit, and perhaps the Sal­vation of many Souls will be effected, by its being put in Execution? Can any Thing be promoted by it, but the Good of the Church? Can any Thing then be objected against it, but that this End will be promoted? But will any dare, in this Age of British Freedom and improved Liberty, to avow the Objection? Would not such a barefaced At­tempt thus wantonly to oppress us, and to prevent our Enjoyment of those invaluable Rights, to which we are equally intitled with others—which there is no Pretence that we have ever forfeited— and no Appearance of a Disposition to abuse— [Page 82] rouse the Indignation and Resentment of all the Friends of religious Liberty and Toleration, whe­ther Churchman or Dissenters?

Every Opposition to such a Plan, has the Nature of Persecution, and deserves the Name. For to punish us for our religious Principles, when no Reasons of State require it, is Persecution in its strictest and properest Sense. Will it be said, that the Prevention of an Episcopate in America, is no Punishment? It may as well be said, that keeping a Man out of his Right is no Injustice. Whatever Evil is inflicted on us on account of our Principles or Practices, is properly Punishment; and every Good we are deprived of, is equivalent to an Evil inflicted. Wherever therefore an Evil is inflicted, or we are deprived of a Good, on account of our Religion, unless it be necessary for the Security of the Public, we suffer Persecution.

As such Treatment has the very Essence of Per­secution, so it can have its Source only in an into­lerant persecuting Disposition. And it is not to be doubted but a Disposition that will produce thus much, if armed with Power, would be productive of more—and that they, who only endeavour now to prevent our Enjoyment of those Advantages, to which we are intitled by the Laws of God and the Constitution, would bring us, if they could, to the Stake or the Gibbet. But what an Abomination is such a Disposition and Behaviour, in the Eyes of every true Englishman, of every true Protestant! What an Indignity and Affront to the Nation, to desire it to countenance such Injustice and Cruelty!

It is hard to believe that any Protestants, espe­cially that any English Dissenters, who have gene­rally, for a Century past, been warm Advocates for [Page 83] religious Liberty, and who are greatly indebted to a Toleration themselves, can be so inconsistent, as to wish this Harm to the Members of the national Church. It would be a very ungrateful Return, for the most ample, compleat and generous Tole­ration, which is this Day to be found upon Earth. Many of the most sensible Men belonging to that Body, have expressed, on this Subject, Sentiments that are candid and liberal; and he who was late­ly considered in some Sense as their Head *, when our Plan was explained to him, and his Opinion thereupon was desired, did not hesitate to declare his free Consent to, and Approbation of, American Bishops, in the Manner that we request them.

The Principles of religious Liberty professed by the Dissenters, must not only restrain them from opposing an American Episcopate, as now settled and explained, but oblige them, if they would act consistently, even to befriend it. Some of them, I am fully persuaded, would freely join with us in our Applications for Bishops, it their Assistance was needed, as we should be ready to assist them, in Case of the like Grievances; and all of them will really have a much worse Opinion of the Church of England in general, or of those who belong to it, as probably their Reproaches on future Occa­sions will testify, if this Matter should not be brought to a speedy and happy Termination. For certainly nothing can more degrade our national Religion, in the Eyes of Dissenters and others, both Protestants and Papists, at Home and abroad, than to see that it is in so small Estimation, and its Interest so little regarded, by those who profess it.

For, wherever Men are indifferent towards the Religion they profess, one of these Conclusions [Page 84] will necessarily be made, and there is no preven­ting it—either that their Religion, upon a more intimate Acquaintance, appears to be unworthy of their Esteem and Affection—or, that its Professors are of an irreligious Character, and have no Regard for that which is the most invaluable of all Things. And in either Case, the Reputation of their Reli­gion will greatly suffer.

At the Time of writing this, casting my Eyes upon the Public Paper of the Day, I was struck with the following Paragraph, said to be an Answer from the King of Poland to the Empress of Russia, who had interposed with that Monarch, in Behalf of his Protestant Subjects. ‘I have not forgot the Obligations I am under to the Empress of Rus­sia, among the Means which God Almighty made Use of to raise me to the Throne: but when I came to it, I promised the exact Obser­vation of my Religion throughout my Kingdom. If I was weak enough to abandon it, my Life and my Throne would be exposed to the just Resentment of my Subjects. I am threatened with forcible Means to oblige me to do what is asked of me, which would reduce me to an Extremity equally unhappy. I perceive some Danger in whatever Resolution I may take; but I had rather be exposed to such as my Duty and Honour induce me to make Choice of; and from this Time I join with my Country in Defence of our holy Religion.’

On the Supposition, that the Proposals, made by her Russian Majesty to the King of Poland, were believed to be inconsistent with the Safety of the national Religion, there is Something so sensible, spirited and open in this Declaration, that every candid and consistent Protestant must applaud it, [Page 85] at the same Time that he condemns the established Religion of Poland. Popery is a gross Corruption of the Christian Religion, and it has been wrought up to its present State, by the Application and Po­licy of many Ages. It presents to us, not the ami­able and undefiled Religion of the Gospel, but under the Name of it, an intolerant System, com­pounded of Superstition, Absurdity, and I know not what; and it manifestly appears to be the gene­ral Interest of Mankind, to endeavour, in the Use of all proper and fair Means, to reform it. But although this appears to be so evident to Prote­stants, there are undoubtedly others, to whom it does not appear at all, and who believe the contrary.

As the King of Poland has solemnly bound him­self by Oath, to maintain and defend the Popish Religion, we must charitably suppose that he be­lieves it to be true. And as he believes it to be true, and has sworn to maintain it, he cannot give it up, he cannot neglect it, without betraying his Duty and Honour, in the Opinion of all reasonable and unprejudiced Persons. If therefore the Dissen­ters and others, who are sensible of the Absurdities and Corruptions of the Popish Religion, cannot but commend this firm Adherence to it in his Po­lish Majesty, so long as he believes it to be the true Religion; surely they must at least equally com­mend the like Conduct, with Regard to the na­tional Religion, in Protestant Princes—more especially, when the Security of the established Re­ligion, and a Toleration of those who peaceably dissent from it, are allowed to be consistent.

In the same Public Paper we are told, that the Courts of London, Berlin and Copenhagen, have agreed to assist and co-operate with the Russian Em­press, in Favour of the Protestants in Poland. It [Page 86] must give Pleasure to every considerate Protestant, to hear of so generous an Effort to be made, pro­vided it be made properly, in Behalf of the refor­med Religion; and we cannot but earnestly wish it Success. But could it be conceived, that those Powers who are thus active for the Protestant In­terest in foreign Countries, would neglect to en­courage it in their own proper Dominions, their Zeal for it abroad would be esteemed but little bet­ter than political Grimace. And on this Principle our English Dissenters would have a much better Opinion of the Church of England, and of our Superiors who are Members of it, if, while they warmly interest themselves in Favour of Protestan­tism in Poland, they do not inconsistently neglect, what they profess to esteem the purest Species of it, in our own Colonies. A true Regard for the Pro­testant Religion is not confined to particular Places: it will produce vigorous Endeavours to improve and secure it, and to render it as respectable as we can, in all Places; and especially in those Places, wherewith we are most closely connected, and wherein our Power and Influence are greatest.

[Page 87]

SECTION IX. That the Episcopate proposed cannot hurt the Dissen­ters, and is free from all reasonable Objections.

SHOULD it be pretended,SECT. IX. that what appears to be so reasonable in itself as an American Episcopate, and so becoming the Honour and Cha­racter of the British Nation to grant, would be pro­ductive of much Clamour and Discontent in the Colonies, and, on that Account, that sound Po­licy forbids it; it would be an ill-grounded As­sertion.

It may deserve Consideration, whether any Un­easiness that can be imagined, so destitute of a proper Foundation to support it, that can arise-from the Prospect of Bishops in America, sent only to take Care of the Church, in the Manner explained, can in Reason and Policy justify the Refusal of what is so essentially needed. Every reasonable Objection of others ought to be considered; but those which are evidently perverse and unreason­able, especially after due Care has been taken to make that Unreasonableness and Perverseness ap­pear, deserve not to be regarded—much less to be regarded in such a Manner, as to sacrifice thereto the Interest and very Being of the Church of Eng­land in America. But if the Uneasiness of Ame­ricans be of such Consequence, why the Uneasiness of the Members and Friends of the Church, so justly founded in Case of a Refusal, deserves not to be considered, as much as the Uneasiness of its Enemies without any Foundation, will be difficult to shew.

[Page 88]Should it be said, which I conceive is the only Thing that can be said to the Purpose, that Dis­content in the Minds of Churchmen has not that dangerous Tendency with Respect to the Govern­ment, which there is Reason to apprehend of it in the Minds of others: whether, and how far this is true, I will not undertake to determine. But this may truly and properly be said, that so long as we are governed by the Principles of the Church of England, no Hardships or Trials which we are doomed to undergo, will ever occasion just Suspi­cions of our Fidelity and Loyalty. But then, ought our inflexible Loyalty and political Integrity to be thought, in such a Case, a sufficient Reason for our being denied the common Rights of British Subjects, and the most sacred Rights of Conscience? We humbly apply to our Superiors—we call even upon our Enemies—we appeal to the World—for a Decision of this Point.

These Things have been hinted as worthy of Consideration, even on the Supposition that sending Bishops to America could be really attended with Discontent and Uneasiness in Dissenters and others. But of any considerable Discontent or Uneasiness, there is no Reason to be apprehensive. Whatever Notions the Dissenters in this Country may have formerly entertained, concerning the Church; yet of late Years they have greatly come off from their Prejudices, and Sentiments of Candour, Charity and Moderation have visibly taken Place. And, excepting here and there a hot-headed Writer, or a pragmatical Enthusiast, some of whom are to be found in all Communions, who expect to find their Account in raising a Combustion and being noisy, we would hope of the Dissenters in America, that they bear no Ill-Will to the Church, and desire [Page 89] nothing more than Security in the Enjoyment of their present Advantages.

Indeed in the Time of the late Disturbances oc­casioned by the Stamp-Act, it was asserted in some of the London Papers, that the Fear of Bishops being sent into America, was the principal Cause of that Uneasiness and Clamour, which raised such a Flame in this Country. Every one here knew the Asser­tion to be a vile and malicious Representation of the Case; and whoever could believe it to be true, must have previously conceived of the Americans, as being of all Creatures the most wretchedly stu­pid. The Discontent of that Time, arose altoge­ther from another Quarter. It was by no Means peculiar to the Rejecters of Episcopacy, nor had any Relation to it; but proceeded from what the Americans generally esteemed, and complained of, as an unconstitutional oppressive Act. I appeal to all the Remonstrances of those unhappy Times—to all that was published here, either in Pamphlets or periodical Papers, whether the Fear of an Episco­pate was once assigned as a Reason for the public Uneasiness. And I appeal to every American, whether there now is, or ever has been any con­siderable Noise or public Clamour on this Account. For myself, I can truly declare, that I have not heard of any, nor do I forsee any.

Of the Inhabitants of this Country, a full third Part belong to the Church, and a considerable Pro­portion of others are professed Episcopalians; and none of these can be supposed consistently to have an Aversion to Bishops. Of the English Dissen­ters, a very large and respectable Body are the People called Quakers; who entertain a particular Friendship and Respect for the Church of Eng­land, and have given many substantial Proofs of it. [Page 90] The Affair of Bishops has been mentioned and explained to many of them, and they appear to have no Disposition to be jealous or uneasy on Ac­count of their coming.

And as to Dissenters of other Denominations, the Subject has been proposed to some of the most sen­sible of them, who have, with great Candour, con­fessed, that as such an Episcopate as has been re­quested, could have no ill Effect upon any, they had no Objections to offer. Nay some have even been so generous, as to endeavour to undeceive their more ignorant and illiberal Brethren, if the Author of these Papers has not been misinformed. And even amongst the most prejudiced, it is hoped that but few can be found, who would not think themselves injured by any Suspicions of their having such an Antipathy to Bishops, that they cannot en­dure to breathe the same Air, or to live in the same Country, with them. Time perhaps was when this might be truly said of some of them; but the present Age has, in this Respect, mended greatly on all Sides, in this, as well as in the Mo­ther-Country.

The Dissenters in England find that they can live happily with Bishops, even where their Jurisdic­tion is complete—where it extends to all Persons —and where it is supported by all the Strength of the civil Power. The English Bishops have, for a long Course of Years, exercised their Authority with so much Mildness, Tenderness and Modera­tion, as scarcely to have afforded an Instance of reasonable Complaint, especially to Dissenters; and many of the latter have been so generous as to confess it. The late Dr. George Benson, a very learned Dissenter, did not scruple to make the fol­lowing Declaration. ‘The Church of England, [Page 91] with its present Candour, Spirit of Toleration and Charity, appears to me, to be the best Esta­blishment on the Face of the Earth *.’

The Authors of the Monthly Review, than whom none can be warmer Advocates for every Species of religious Liberty and Indulgence, say, with particular Reference to our very Subject: ‘Whatever formidable Ideas of Episcopacy, those Dissenters that fled into America, might carry along with them, and transmit to their Posterity, we can safely aver, that Episcopal Power, gran­ting that it was oppressive formerly, is not so now: and that Dissenters at Home have no Reason to conceive any Terror of it .’ If then the Dissenters in England, who live under the im­mediate Jurisdiction and Government of an Epis­copate, find no Reason to complain or ‘to conceive any Terror of it;’ surely in America they can­not have Reason to be terrified at the Prospect of the same Episcopate—especially as they will not be under the Jurisdiction and Government thereof in any Respect.

As all Power is liable to be abused, and some Defects must be expected in the best-regulated Government in this World, whether Ecclesiastical or Civil; it is not denied but there have been for­merly some Instances, wherein the Power of our Bishops has been strained too high. But these may be considered rather as the Fault of the Times, in which neither the natural Rights of Men, nor the religious Rights of Christians, were so well de­fined and understood, as in the present Age. And even then, the Spirit of the Church of England like [Page 92] that of the Gospel, was more ‘peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated,’ than that of any other national Church; and the English Bishops, to whom it was greatly owing, were treated with particular Respect on that Account. In what Light the most eminent Reformers and foreign Protestants have always considered them and the English Prelacy, may be seen in The French Church's Apology for the Church of England *, to which I must refer those who are desirous of particular Information.

In the mean Time, I beg Leave to produce two short Extracts from that Work. The first shall be from a Declaration of the celebrated Peter du Moulin, an eminent Professor of the French Church in the Beginning of the last Century, in the fol­lowing Words: ‘I know that under Pretence that the Church of England hath another Form of Discipline than ours is, our Adversaries (the Papists) charge us that our Religion is divers. But Experience confuteth this Accusation.— The most excellent Servants of God in our Churches, Peter Martyr, Calvin, Zanchius, Beza, &c. have often written Letters full of Respect and Amity to the Prelates of England.—Our Adversaries unjustly accuse us to be Enemies of the Episcopal Order.’ The other Extract shall be from the Words of Calvin himself. ‘Give us such a Hierarchy (says he) in which Bishops preside, who are subject to Christ and to him alone (not to the Pope) as their only Head; and then I will own no Curse too bad for him that shall not pay the utmost Respect and Obe­bedience to such an Hierarchy as that.’ And what Calvin says in general of such an Hierarchy [Page 93] as ours, Beza and the most illustrious foreign Pro­testants have particularly applied to the Church of England.

If then Calvin and the most celebrated foreign Protestants, were of Opinion, in former Times, that the Dissenters in England ought peaceably to sub­mit to the Government of our Bishops: surely the Dissenters in America now, when the English Epis­copal Government is so much milder than hereto­fore, will not oppose the very Existence of Bishops in the same Country with themselves—especially as no Obedience or Submission at all from them is required or expected. But, as was said before, I take not this to be the present Disposition of Dissenters in America, and believe that they would resent the Imputation of it as a gross Affront. They have acquired the same liberal Turn in their Sentiments and Manners, with the Dissenters at Home; and provided there be no Invasion of their Privileges and Rights, they can live as quietly and peaceably with their Neighbours, although diffe­ring in Principles, and even with Bishops, as their Brethren can in any other Part of the World.

Some of them indeed formerly have had an Aversion to the Idea of Bishops in America, on the Supposition that they must become subject to their Authority. But the Plan which is now fixed, must effectually obviate all their Objections and dissipate their Fears. As the Bishops proposed will have no Power over them, or Concern with them, there can be nothing to alarm them. Our Ordinations cannot hurt them; any more than their Ordinations can injure us. They can have no more Reason to complain of Confirmation, or of any other Episcopal Office performed in our Churches by Bishops, than they now have to complain, that [Page 94] Preaching and the common Administration of the Sacraments are practiced in them by Presbyters. And as to such Discipline and Government as is in­tended to be exercised under an Episcopate, they will have no Reasons to be dissatisfied therewith; any more than we now have to be dissatisfied with the Discipline exercised by them—but on the other Hand, they will have many Reasons to be pleased with it.

There are several Things in the Church of Eng­land in America, owing to the Want of a proper Superintendency and Government, with which they say they are offended; and the Removal of Offences will naturally give them Pleasure. Sometimes they have been grieved, at seeing the ill Behaviour of a Clergyman in the Orders of our Church; but by the Settlement of American Bishops, a Remedy will be provided for this Disorder. Sometimes they have lamented, that the Bishops at Home, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, have been imposed upon by false Accounts transmitted from hence by our American Clergy, (whether with or without just and sufficient Reasons, I will not stop to enquire); but under an Episcopate, they must be sensible that there can be no Opportunity for any gross Impositions of this Nature. Sometimes, again, Complaints have been made, that, in Con­sequence of this false Information, Missions have been erected in improper Places, and the Society's Bounty has been misapplied; but of all such Cases Bishops in this Country will be competent Judges, and no Perversion or Abuse of the Society's Fa­vours will be suffered to continue. Some of them have signified that it would give them the utmost Pleasure, to see more vigorous Efforts made by the Society, for propagating the Gospel amongst the [Page 95] Heathens on our Borders: This Pleasure the So­ciety intends to afford them, as soon as Bishops shall be settled in America, without which this im­portant Work cannot be conducted properly—and this is one Reason why an Episcopate has been so earnestly requested. I might instance in many other Particulars to the same Purpose, but these are suf­ficient to shew, that an American Episcopate will probably produce many Effects that will be agree­able to the Dissenters. And as the Laws of Chri­stian Charity and Benevolence oblige them to de­sire it, for our Sake; so they may be supposed, very consistently, to desire it also for their own.

If our American Bishops are to have no Autho­rity over Dissenters, nor indeed to exercise Disci­pline over our own People, the Clergy excepted; then the frightful Objection of Spiritual Courts in­tirely vanishes. For if no Authority of this Kind will be claimed or exercised by them, we may be sure that no Courts will be erected for the Exercise of it.

What Foundation there is for Complaint of the Spiritual Courts in England, I know not. Per­haps they may have used too great Severity in some particular Instances. But this Complaint is not infrequently made, of our common Courts of Justice. Cruelty and Severity is by no Means the Character of the English Bishops, nor is it connected with the Exercise of their Authority, more than with that of the civil Magistrate: and in all Courts, whether Ecclesiastical or others, where an Injury is suffered, the Laws of England have provided a Remedy.

If some of the Laws which relate to these Courts, are imagined to bear hard upon British Liberty, [Page 96] this, by the Way, is not necessarily to be considered as the Fault of the Bishops—it ought to be charged to the Account of the Legislature in general, and not of a particular Branch of it. But be this as it may, it is probable that these, and all other Eccle­siastical Laws, as well as our Liturgy and public Offices, and our Translation of the Bible, will be reviewed, as soon as it shall be thought that there is good Sense and Candour enough in the Body of the Nation to admit of it.

Some undoubtedly blame these Courts, because they find themselves punished therein for Actions, of which other Courts at present take no Cogni­zance. But such Persons do not consider, that if Spiritual Courts were abolished, those Actions which are prosecuted and brought to Trial there only, would many of them be made punishable in other Courts, as they were before the Norman Con­quest; since they are esteemed by the Legislature of the Nation to be inconsistent with the public Happiness.

Upon the Whole, I may venture to assert, that the Spiritual Courts at Home, with all their De­fects, are an advantage to the Public; and that the Annihilation of them would be no Benefit to those Individuals, who make the loudest Com­plaints of them. But whether they are useful or hurtful, and whether the Aversion to them in this Country be rightly founded or not; as it is certain that they will never be established here, they cannot with Propriety be made an Objection against an Episcopate.

[Page 97]

SECTION X. The Case of Tithes distinctly examined, and the Appre­hension of being forced to pay them in this Country, proved to be intirely groundless.

AS to Tithes, of which many Americans have had formidable Apprehensions, there could be no Reason to fear the Payment of them here, even should the Authority of our Bishops be as full and extensive as it is in England; and it is owing altogether to Ignorance and Misapprehension, that People here have ever given themselves Uneasiness on that Account. As perhaps no Prejudice has taken deeper Root or extended wider in America than this, and as it still continues to prevail in the Minds of many well-meaning but mistaken People; some Pains taken to undeceive them, and to place this Subject in its true Light, will not be condem­ned by the friendly Reader.

Tithes cannot be demanded by Bishops in this Country, because there are none belonging to the Church: they are demanded in England, only be­cause they are due to the Church. They are due to the Church there, because they have been freely given to it, by the ancient Proprietors of the Lands; and the Laws relating to them do not convey them to the Church, but make them recoverable as its Property, to which it had a previous and compleat Right. This Right was vested in the Church by King Ethelwulph, with the Consent of his Barons, in the Year 854. At this Time all the Lands in England were properly the Kings Demesne, and he [Page 98] had as good a Right to dispose of any Part of them in this Manner, as any Proprietor or Owner of Lands in this Country has, to dispose of them to such Persons and for such Purposes as he thinks proper. Sir Edward Coke, in his Comment upon Littleton's Tenures *, says: ‘It appeareth by the Laws and Ordinances of ancient Kings, and espe­cially of King Alfred, that the first King of this Realm had all the Lands of England in Demesne, and les grands Manours and Royalties they reser­ved to themselves, and with the Remnant they for the Defence of the Realm enfeoffed the Ba­rons of the Realm with such Jurisdiction as the Court Baron now hath.’

The very Charter, by which this Conveyance was made, is extant, we are told, in the old Ab­bot Ingulph, in Matthew of Westminster, and the Leiger Book of the Abbey of Abingdon. This Charter was solemnly offered by the King on the Altar at Winchester, in the Presence of his Bishops and Barons, and of Beored and Edmund, the Two tributary Princes of Mercia and the East-Angles, by whom it was also signed; it was accepted by the Bishops in Behalf of the Church, and immediately published throughout all the Parishes in England. The Charter, as translated by Collier, is in the fol­lowing Words:

‘I Ethelwulph, by the Grace of God, King of the West-Saxons, with the Advice of the Bishops, Earls, and all the Persons of Condition in my Dominions, Have, for the Health of my Soul, the Good of my People, and the Prosperity of my Kingdom, fixed upon a prudent and ser­viceable Resolution of granting the Tenth Part [Page 99] of the Lands throughout our whole Kingdom to the holy Churches and Ministers of Religion, officiating and settled in them, to be perpetually enjoyed by them, with all the Advantages of a Free Tenure and Estate. It being likewise our Will and Pleasure, that this unalterable and in­defeasible Grant shall for ever remain discharged from all Service due to the Crown, and all other Incumbrances incident to Lay-Fees: which Grant has been made by us in Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin, and all Saints; and out of Regard to the Paschal Solemnity, and that God Almighty might vouchsafe his Bless [...] upon us and our Posterity. Signed Anno [...]. Indiction the Second, at the Feast of [...] .’

Afterwards, when a Distribution was made of the Lands to the Barons for the Defence of the King­dom, they received them under this Incumbrance; and by Conveyance and Descent they have come down into the Hands of their present Possessors, thus incumbered, i. e. Nine Parts as private Property, and the Tenth Part as, through all Changes, be­longing to the Church. When therefore the Tithe is paid to the Church, the Church only receives its own, and what never did, nor can rightfully, be­long to the Person who pays it.

To make the Nature of Tithes appear plainer if possible, let us consider them in their most simple and original State, before any Alteration was introduced by Impropriations, Modus's, &c. And here let us suppose two Estates of equal Value, each to be really worth One Thousand Pounds, but one free from Tithes, the other titheable. If these two Estates were to be sold, the Price of the first would be its [Page 100] full Value One Thousand Pounds, while that of the other would be abated, in Proportion to this In­cumberance. Or supposing these two Estates to be leased at an annual Rent; in this Case, if the former is rented at Fifty Pounds per Annum, the latter will be rated at Forty-five Pounds only, to be paid to the Landlord, the remaining Tenth Part being due and payable to the Church.

From these supposed Cases the Nature of Tithes plainly appears; and it also appears, that none have Reason to complain of the Hardship of paying them, any more than of paying Rent to the Land­lord—or than he who receives Money belonging to the Church, can justly complain of being accoun­table for the Use of it. For as the Tenth Part of the Produce of the Land, in this latter Case, be­longs to the Church, the Landlord never purchased it, and consequently he has no Right to receive it from the Tenant. If the Tenant pays Five Pounds in Tithes to the Church, he pays but Forty-five to the Landlord, in all Fifty Pounds; whereas, if he paid no Tithes, he would be obliged to pay the same Sum of Fifty Pounds to the Landlord. If Tithes were exactly paid in the Manner here stated, neither Party would be injured in their Rights; the Church would receive Nothing but its own from the Land-Holder, nor the Land-Holder from the Church, and neither in this Case would be injured or benefited.

Although the State of Tithes in England is now become more complex and intricate than is here stated, owing to many Causes, which it is not my present Business to assign; yet their true Founda­tion and Original has been explained, from whence the general Nature of them, which continues the same, may be easily understood. And it evidently [Page 101] follows from what has been said, that so far as the Church is supported in England by Tithes, espe­cially by Predial Tithes, it is supported without any Expence to the Inhabitants.

Some may imagine that the Tithes of most Parishes in England must amount to an enormous Sum, and that such exorbitant Wealth must have a general bad Effect upon the Clergy. Whether this be so or not, is, I confess, not immediately to my present Purpose to consider. And yet, since I have entered upon the Subject, I would willingly, if possible, remove every Prejudice and Mistake concerning it, which have been conceived in the Minds of Americans. Every Prejudice relating to this Subject, contributes Something to that Aver­sion to Bishops, which many are possessed of. The candid Reader will therefore excuse my taking No­tice, even of such Prejudices as these, as not alto­gether impertinent to my general Design.

In what Manner Wealth has a natural Tendency to affect the Clergy, may be concluded from this common Assertion, sometimes made with a friend­ly Intention, but perhaps more frequently with a malicious one, but which is strictly and literally true, that the Clergy are but Men. For this will directly lead us to infer, that Wealth will operate upon them, much in the same Manner that it does upon Men in general. Upon some it will have a bad Effect, and upon others a good one, according to the prevailing Disposition and Character of each Person respectively. But as it is hoped that, in Proportion to their Numbers, there is more true Piety and Virtue to be found amongst them, than in any other Order of Men; so it will be expected, that their Wealth is proportionably employed to better Purpose. And, to say nothing of what has [Page 102] been bestowed in private Charity, if we take a View of all the public Institutions in the Kingdom, such as Colleges, Hospitals and charitable Societies; the Friends of the Clergy will have the Pleasure to find, that none have been more forward than they, in affording all useful and charitable Assistance to their Fellow-Creatures.

As to the other [...] of the Suggestion, concer­ning the Amount of Tithes; it is acknowledged, that if they were at this Day paid according to the original Grant of them, they would, in most Pa­rishes, produce a large Revenue to the Church. But under the present Customs and Regulations, I believe that there is not a Parish in England that pays a full Tithe, agreeably to the Intention of the Donors, in such a Manner that the Incumbent receives Five Pounds out of every Fifty Pounds produced by the Parish: But of this there is no Complaint, with Regard to those Parishes, where the Clergy are still provided for sufficiently; and it is confessed that there are such in the Kingdom. But the Number of them is very small, when com­pared with that of the Livings that fall short of it.

An Author of Reputation says: ‘It is well known that there are in England and Wales about Three Thousand parochial Cures, none of which exceed the yearly Value of Thirty Pounds a Year, Two Thousand of which are not above Twenty Pounds a Year a piece, and a Thousand of those not above Twelve Pounds a Year. I, (says he) now Minister to a Congregation of about Twelve Hundred People, in the dearest Part of England, and almost daily am employed in the Business of the Cure, and yet have not Fifty Pounds per Annum certain, of which the Tithes are about Thirteen Pounds per Annum, [Page 103] and the Glebe about Twelve Pounds *.’ Now can it be imagined that the Tithes are fully paid in any of these Parishes, I mean that the Tenth Part of the yearly Value of the Lands in the Parish, is paid to the Incumbent? A landed Estate of Three Hundred Pounds per Annum is esteemed but mo­derate in any Part of England; and yet the com­pleat Tithe of such an Estate is more, than all the Tithes that are actually paid in the largest of Three Thousand Parishes—as the proper Tithe of an Estate of but One Hundred and Twenty Pounds per Annum, is equal to the Tithes received by the Incumbent, in a Thousand Parishes.

The Author mentions his own particular Case, wherein he cannot mistake. His Cure, I suppose, he meant Margate in Kent, contained about Twelve Hundred People, which cannot be computed at less than Two Hundred Families, and his Tithes amounted to about Thirteen Pounds per Annum, i. e. not to One Shilling and Four Pence to a Fa­mily on an Average, which is but the Tenth Part of Thirteen Shillings and Four Pence.

From this Representation, is it possible not to see, that the Church at Home has suffered a pro­digious Depredation of its Property? And that, in the Case of Tithes, there are indeed the greatest Reasons for Complaint—but not on the Side of those who pay, but of those who receive them? And yet, not satisfied with the Injuries that are past, some, it is said, still pay with Reluctance the poor Pittance that is left! But, as has been ob­served, Men might as justly refuse to pay the Rent that is due to their Landlords, or any just Debts whatever. For what is saved from the full Pay­ment [Page 104] of Tithes, where they are due, by any Arts or Evasions, is only so much gained by the Plunder of the Church, already greatly distressed in many Parishes: a Species of Injustice which has the true Nature of Sacrilege, and is as highly criminal un­der the Gospel, and even the Law of Nature, as it ever was under the Law of Moses.

Let us now return, and proceed to the Appli­cation of what has been said on the Subject of Tithes, to the Case of America. If any Person in America has given to the Church the Tithes of his Estate, as possibly some may have done, although I have never heard of such an Instance; the Church has unquestionably a Right to receive it, whether we have Bishops or not. If any have given less or more than this Proportion, as some have; the Church has equally the same Right to receive it— the Right being not founded on the Circumstance of its being precisely a Tenth Part, but on the free Gift and Conveyance of the legal Proprietor. Whatever has been given or conveyed to the Church, the Church has a Right to demand; what­ever has not been given or conveyed to the Church, belongs not to the Church, nor can it be claimed as its Property.

The Case of Societies, whether Ecclesiastical or Civil, is exactly the same, in Regard to the Acqui­sition of Property, with that of Individuals. Nei­ther of them can obtain a Right to the Property of others, without the free Consent or Conveyance of the true Proprietors. These Principles are evi­dently and necessarily founded on the Law of Na­ture, and no Power, either divine or human, can reverse them. Can any then be so weak as to fear, that the Arrival of Bishops in America, will imme­diately cause the Nature and Relation of Things [Page 105] to be changed? The Residence and Power of more than Twenty Bishops in England have no general Effect upon private Property; and [...] may be very certain, that the Residence of one or two Bishops in this, which is a much larger Country, without any Power of a temporal Nature, will not affect it. In this Respect, at least, our American Bishops will be like the Bishops of the primitive Church; they will content themselves with such a Reception as they can obtain fairly, and claim no Perquisites, but such as shall be freely granted them.

But although it is evident, that Tithes, in the present State of Things, cannot be claimed in this Country, and that Bishops cannot make any Change in the Nature of Property; yet some may go on to object, that the Laws of England relating to Tithes, will take Place in America, under an Episcopate. I answer: those Laws unless they are now binding in America, or have some enacting Clause to make them to be of Force here as soon as we shall have Bishops, neither of which will be pretended by the Objectors, can no more operate in this Country under an Episcopate, than without one. They can never have any Effect here, until an Act of Parlia­ment shall be made to extend them to us. And it is absurd to suppose, that such an Act will be made; because all that it could effect, is sufficient­ly provided for already, by those Laws which are universally allowed to be in Force in America.

For, as has been before shewn, the Laws which relate to Tithes in England, only enable the Church to recover them as its lawful and equitable Pro­perty, but do not make them its Property. There are many Estates in England, which, notwith­standing those Laws, pay no Tithes at all. This, in particular, is the Case of most of the Abbey-Lands [Page 106] which were vested in the Crown, in the Reign of Henry VIII. on the Dissolution of the Monasteries. If then the Laws in Question make not Estates titheable in England, a Person of the lowest Capacity can draw the Consequence, that they can make none so here.

[Page 107]

SECTION XI. Farther Suspicions and Objections obviated, and the Subject concluded.

BUT it may be inquired,SECT. XI. whether new Laws will not be made, in Case of an American Episcopate, to subject us to the Payment of Tithes? But of this there can be no more Reason to be ap­prehensive, than if Bishops were not to be sent hither. Tithes are not paid in England to Bishops, but to the Incumbents of Parishes; and the Clergy in this Country will have no greater Need of Tithes after the Arrival of Bishops, than they now have, and have had always. In several Provinces on this Continent, the Clergy are regularly and well sup­ported: and in the others, we have no Prospect but still to depend, in a great Measure, upon the Charity of our Benefactors at Home, until God shall either enable or dispose our Friends in this Country to do more for us.

But as Ignorance is ever suspicious, it may far­ther be asked, Shall we not be taxed in this Country for the Support of Bishops, if any shall be appoin­ted? I answer, Not at all. But should a general Tax be laid upon the Country, and thereby a Sum be raised sufficient for the Purpose: and even sup­posing we should have three Bishops on the Con­tinent, which are the most that have been men­tioned; yet I believe such a Tax would not amount to more than Four Pence in One Hundred Pounds. And this would be no mighty Hardship upon the Country. He that could think much of giving the [Page 108] Six Thousandth Part of his Income to any Use, which the Legislature of his Country should assign, deserves not to be considered in the Light of a good Subject, or Member of Society.

But no such Tax is intended, nor, I trust, will be wanted. It has been proposed from the very Beginning, that the American Bishops should be supported without any Expence to this Country. A Fund accordingly has been established, for this particular Purpose, for more than half a Century past, under the Influence and Direction of the So­ciety for the Propagation of the Gospel; and many worthy Persons have contributed generously and largely to the Increase of it. I can recollect as I am writing, the following Instances: Archbishop Tennison, who has been dead upwards of Fifty Years, bequeathed to it One Thousand Pounds Sterling; Sir Jonathan Trelawney, near the same Time, another Thousand Pounds; the Lady Eli­zabeth Hastings, Five Hundred Pounds; Bishop Butler, Five Hundred Pounds; Bishop Benson, Two Hundred Pounds; Bishop Osbaldeston, Five Hundred Pounds; and Mr. Fisher, One Thousand Pounds. These, and all other Sums which the Society have received for this Use, were put into the public Funds as soon as paid into their Hands, and have been accumulating ever since, excepting what they expended at Burlington, in the Manner that has been mentioned. If this Stock is not suf­ficient for the Support of a proper Episcopate in America, I imagine the Difficulty in making it suf­ficient, will not be great. For, as many have given liberally on the remote Prospect of its being needed, it is not to be doubted but Benefactors will be raised up, when Assistance shall be called for by a present Necessity.

[Page 109]Another Objection has been made by some Per­sons, to the following Purport; That if Bishops are once settled in America, although in the Man­ner we now propose, there will probably be an Augmentation of their Power, as soon as Circum­stances will admit of it: and what is easy and in­offensive in its Beginning, may become burthen­some and oppressive in its End. But at this Rate there can be no End of objecting. For if every possible ill Effect of a Thing, although confessedly proper in itself and harmless in its natural Tendency, may be made an Argument against it, there is no­thing that can escape. Arguments of this Sort may be as fairly and properly alledged—against a religious Toleration, which is now generally esteemed by Protestants, to be a natural Right of Men, and a very important one of Christians— against admitting those who dissent from the na­tional Religion to any Degree of civil or military Power, to which, indeed, they have no natural Right—against allowing the common People the Use of the Holy Scriptures, or the Liberty of exa­mining any Points of Religion or Government— against suffering any to receive a learned Educa­tion, &c. for none can tell what ill Consequences and Abuses may follow, in some future Period, from these Concessions and Indulgences. The Truth is, Men are not to be terrified or influenced by Fears of such Consequences as are barely pos­sible; but to consider what is reasonable and pro­per in itself, and what Effects will probably and naturally follow.

That an American Episcopate is reasonable and proper in itself, and that such an Episcopate as is now proposed has a natural Tendency to produce no ill Consequences, has, I trust, been sufficiently [Page 110] proved. There is not the least Prospect at present, that Bishops in this Country will acquire any In­fluence or Power, but what shall arise from a ge­neral Opinion of their Abilities and Integrity, and a Conviction of their Usefulness and of this, no Persons need dread the Consequences. But should the Government see fit hereafter to invest them with some Degree of civil Power worthy of their Acceptance, which it is impossible to say they will not, although there is no Appearance that they ever will; yet as no new Powers will be created in Favour of Bishops, it is inconceivable that any would thereby be injured. All that the Happiness and Safety of the Public require, is, that the legislative and executive Power be placed in the Hands of such Persons, as are possessed of the greatest Abilities, Integrity and Prudence: and it is hoped that our Bishops will always be thought to deserve this Character.

To explain in what Manner civil Power, if vested in American Bishops, would be most likely to operate, I beg Leave to put the following plain and familiar Case. Let us suppose a Clergyman in this Country, of any Denomination, made a Justice of the Peace, or a Judge of the Quorum: Would the Persons who are immediately concer­ned in his Proceedings, be otherwise affected, than if he was a meer Layman? It cannot be preten­ded. Whether it would be proper to give such a Commission to any of the Clergy, is another Point. In most Parts of this Country there can now be no Occasion for it, and where it is not evidently ne­cessary for the Good of the Public, I know that some of the Clergy would refuse it, and I believe there are but very few that would desire it. If then it could be of no great Consequence to the Public [Page 111] or to Individuals, whether a Justice of the Peace be a Clergyman or a Layman, supposing their Abilities and personal Characters to be equal; so, if Bishops should be invested with a proportionable Degree of civil Authority, neither would there be any great Reasons for Complaint. But after all, nothing of this Kind is at present foreseen or inten­ded; and it is absolutely determined that no Powers shall be given them, that can interfere with the civil or religious Rights of any.

But there is no Occasion for dwelling on Parti­culars of this Nature. The real and only Plan on which it is agreed to settle Bishops in America, when his Majesty shall see fit to appoint them, has been fairly stated and explained in the preceeding Pages. This Plan is now proposed to the Public, to see whether any reasonable Objections can be offered against it. But whatever may be objected against any different Plan, is not to the Purpose. The Friends of the Church are desirous to know, what can be said or suggested against an American Episcopate, in the Form wherein it is proposed to settle it; and they who have any Thing to offer, are requested to confine themselves to this parti­cular Point: For to object against Bishops in this Country, under a Form wherein it is determined not to settle them, is as foreign to the Purpose, as to object against the Authority of the Archbishop of Gnesna, or the Pope of Rome.

I have now taken Notice of all the Objections that have been made against sending Bishops to America, so far as they have come to my Know­ledge; and it must be left to the Reader to judge, whether, with Regard to the Episcopate in Que­stion, they are not unreasonable and groundless. It is indeed possible that other Objections may have [Page 112] been offered, or may be hereafter suggested, against American Bishops; but I am persuaded that upon Examination they will generally be found to be Proofs, rather of the Dexterity or Ill-Will of the Inventors, than of the real Fears and Uneasiness of the Inhabitants. Ar ful Men may raise Objec­tions and Difficulties in the plainest Cases, and can make any Thing an Argument against any Thing, in a Way that shall appear plausible, to those who are unacquainted with the Legerdemain of Cavilers and Sophists. But whoever employs his Talents in this Exercise, is as unworthy of the public Attention, as the Child that engages in Crambo or Push-Pin.

Thus, having represented the Distress the Church of England in America is under, for Want of an Episcopate—having attempted to prove, by various Arguments and Considerations, the Propriety and Fitness and Necessity of relieving it, and of allow­ing it the same Advantages which are granted to all other Denominations of Christians in his Ma­jesty's American Dominions—and having explained the Nature and Extent of that Authority with which our Bishops will be invested, when it shall be thought proper to send them, and shewn that such an Appointment can produce no Harm to the Dissenters, nor afford just grounds of Uneasiness or Complaint to any; I must now hasten to a Con­clusion, submiting what has been offered to the Judgment of the Reader. Nothing has been as­serted, in the Course of this Work, but what the Author believes, upon good Evidence, to be true; no Argument has been advanced, but with a full Persuasion of its being pertinent and conclusive. He looks upon the Subject to be of the utmost [Page 113] Importance; and he has no Disposition to trifle with it, or with the Public to which he appeals.

If these Papers should have the Honour of coming into the Hands of any of those Persons, from whose Power or Influence an American Epis­copate is in any Measure expected; the Author humbly begs, that the Cause which he has under­taken to plead, may not suffer, in their Estima­tion, from the Unskilfulness of its present; Advo­cate. Although he greatly distrusts his own Management, he has no Diffidence of the Cause itself. He believes it to be the Cause of Truth, of Justice, and of Christianity, and as such he most respectfully and submissively recommends it, imploring their Attention to so extraordinary and important a Case, as that of the Church of Eng­land in America.

It need not be repeated, that unless Bishops should be speedily sent us, we can foresee nothing but the Ruin of the Church in this Country. It need not be suggested, that such an Event is too much to be hazarded, when no Good can be ex­pected to arise from such a Risque, and much Evil will probably follow it—Evil, which it is the unquestionable Duty of those to prevent, who are intrusted with the Interests of the Nation. The Church of England here, is so inseparably con­nected with the Church at Home, or rather, is so essentially the same with it, that it must ever sub­sist or perish, by the same Means. The Causes indeed, which destroy it here, may be local, and not immediately operate in England; but then, that Inattention and Negligence in our national Superiors, which would suffer it to be destroyed in the Colonies, must have a general Effect, and can produce no Good to the same Church in the [Page 114] Mother-Country. Here, the Church has been long struggling under such an increasing Load of Difficulties, and is now in such a State of Oppres­sion, as to deserve the Compassion▪ of the whole Christian World. From our own Nation, and the Guardians of its Interests, it conceives itself to be intitled to more; as there is a Concurrence of every Kind of Motive for prevailing upon them, to afford it the Relief which is so essentially needed. The common Principles of Justice, and the most sacred Obligations of the Christian Religion, have been shewn to require this at their Hands.

Nor need the Author use many Words to prove, that Considerations even of a political Nature, are sufficient in this Case, to prevail with those who are insensible to other Motives. The Church of England, in its external Polity, is so happily con­nected and interwoven with the Civil Constitution, that each mutually supports and is supported by the other. The greatest Friendship and Harmony have ever subsisted between them; and in that me­morable Period, wherein the Ruin of the one was effected, the Destruction of the other immediately followed. The Resurrection of the one, after­wards closely attended the Restoration of the other; and he that has a Regard for the Happiness of either, can never wish to see the Experiment re­peated, either in England or her Colonies.

It is not pretended that the Character and Man­ners of the present Times are, in this Respect, the same, as in the Period refered to; nor that those who are Enemies to Episcopacy in this Age, are Enemies to Monarchy, as was frequently the Case formerly. The contrary is evident, in innume­rable Instances. There are many British Subjects, both at Home and in the Plantations, who reject [Page 115] Episcopacy, and yet are warm Advocates for our happy Civil Constitution. It is therefore rash and Injurious to charge any with Disaffection to the Government, at this Day, because they dissent from the national Religion. But notwithstanding, Episcopacy and Monarchy are, in their Frame and Constitution, best suited to each other. Episco­pacy can never thrive in a Republican Govern­ment, nor Republican Principles in an Episcopal Church. For the same Reasons, in a mixed Mo­narchy, no Form of Ecclesiastical Government can so exactly harmonize with the State, as that of a qualified Episcopacy.

And as they are mutually adapted to each other so they are mutually introductive of each other. He that prefers Monarchy in the State, is more likely to approve of Episcopacy in the Church, than a rigid Republican. On the other Hand, he that is for a Parity and a popular Government in the Church, will more easily be led to approve of a similar Form of Government in the State, how little soever he may suspect it himself. It is not then to be wondered, if our Civil Rulers have always considered Episcopacy as the surest Friend of Monarchy; and it may reasonably be expected from those in Authority, that they will support and assist the Church in America, if from no other Motives, yet from a Regard to the State, with which it has so friendly and close an Alliance.

But there is no Reason to doubt, but every proper Motive will have its Effect, upon those wise and illustrious Patriots, who now conduct our public Affairs. We no more suspect the Goodness of their Disposition, than the Reasonableness of the Cause, for which we are so anxious. All that we can be justly apprehensive of, is, that to those who [Page 116] reside at such a Distance, the Necessity of relieving the Church in America, with all possible Speed, may not be so evident, as to those who are Eye-Wit­nesses of its suffering Condition. We therefore beg Leave to suggest this—and earnestly to request, that the Relief, which we doubt not is intended, may be speedily granted. The ill Effects of delay­ing it, may be irretrievable. The present favour­able Opportunity may be soon lost, and then De­spair will succeed our disappointed Expectation.

To those who have been averse to American Bishops, and hitherto have shewn a Disposition to oppose their Settlement, I have but a Word more to offer. Their Prejudices, we charitably believe, must have arisen altogether from Misapprehensions of the Case, and from the Fears which, from thence, have been conceived, of their becoming Sufferers, either in their Property or Privileges, by the Epis­copate in Question. The Subject is here placed in its true Light, and thereby, it is trusted, their Misapprehensions are fairly removed, and their con­sequent Fears are shewn to be groundless. Instead therefore of distressing themselves, or of opposing the Church in the Case before us, we flatter our­selves that they will act the Part which Generosity and Candour prescribe, and behave towards us as Fellow-Christians and Protestants ought to behave to one another. If they have been led by Igno­rance or Misinformation to oppose a Cause, which they now find to be just; their Duty obliges them to be careful for the future, at the very least, not to obstruct it. If they are in Reality the Friends of Truth, and Justice, and Liberty, which they pretend and we are willing to believe them to be, they must be heartily disposed to act a friendly Part towards us, with Regard to an Episcopate; [Page 117] which Disposition will add greatly to their own Happiness, as well as to ours. They know, by Experience, the inestimable Value of those Advan­tages, for which we have petitioned; and if we are as fairly intitled to them as any other Christian So­cieties, they ought not to envy, but to take Plea­sure in, our Enjoyment of them.

If all the religious Denominations in America, by the general Constitution of the British Colonies, are to be treated on the Footing of a perfect Equa­lity, for which some have contended; then, the Church of England is as fully intitled to the com­pleat Enjoyment of its own Discipline and Institu­tions, as any other Christians. If any one Deno­mination is intitled to a Superiority above others, as is believed by many; then, the Claim of the Church of England to this Preference, is not to be disputed. One of these must be undoubtedly the Case; and on either Supposition, to endeavour to prevent the Episcopate we have asked for, is In­justice and Cruelty.

If any should remain unconvinced by the Argu­ments that have been advanced, or unsatisfied with the Solution of Objections that has been attempted, or should have any new Objections to offer; the Author will be ready, in Case of a decent Notifi­cation of it, to reconsider the former, and to exa­mine the latter—should it be thought proper by his Friends, upon whose Judgment, in such Matters, he will always depend more, than upon his own. For the present, he begs Leave to conclude in the Words of an eminent Writer of the last Century, as they exactly represent his own Disposition and Sentiments: ‘I shall heartily beseech all those who shall please to read what has been written, that if they meet with any Thing therein, which [Page 118] either is less fitly spoken, or not clearly evi­denced, they would give me Notice of it in such a charitable and Christian Way, as I may be the better for it, and they not the worse. Which Favour if they please to do me, they shall be welcome to me as an Angel of God, sent to con­duct me from the Lanes of Error into the open Ways of Truth. And doing these Christian Offices to one another, we shall by God's good Leave and Blessing, not only hold the Bond of external Peace, but also in due Time be made Partakers of the Spirit of Unity. Which Bles­sing that the Lord would graciously bestow on his afflicted Church, is no small Part of our De­votions in the public Liturgy; where we are taught to pray unto Almighty God, that he would please continually to inspire his universal Church with the Spirit of Truth, Unity and Con­cord, and grant that all they which do confess his holy Name, may agree also in the Truth of his holy Word, and live in Unity and godly Love. Unto which Prayer he hath but little of a Chri­stian, which doth not heartily say, Amen.

[Page 119]


SINCE the drawing up of these Papers, I have met with a Pamphlet intitled, A Demonstra­tion of the uninterrupted Succession and holy Consecra­tion of the first English Bishops, being an Extract from Mr. Ward's Second Canto of his England's Reforma­tion: with an Introduction, Notes and an Appendix, containing the solemn funeral Song of the native Irish. Printed M, DCC, LXVI. This curious Performance has been printed with great Secresy, probably in Philadelphia, although the Place and Name of the Printer be not mentioned, and as secretly dispersed amongst the Inhabitants of the remote Parts of the Country. The Design of it is to ridicule the Of­fice and Succession of our English Bishops, and the Occasion of it appears to have been the late Application made by some of the Clergy, for Ame­rican Bishops.

The Editor, in his Introduction, which he has endeavoured to set to the Tune of Ward's Canto in doggerel Verse, absurdly assumes the Character of a Churchman, as he introduces his Hero to de­fend, what he even professes to expose; whereas a Regard to Consistency of Character, which is as necessary in Works of Drollery and Humour as in any other, should have led him to appear in his [Page 120] true Shape of an Anti-Episcopalian, or rather of an Anti-Protestant.

For the Story of the Nag's-Head Consecration, the only Engine with which this vain Mortal ad­vances to attack the Church, is well known to have been a Fiction of the Papists, invented Forty Years after the Time wherein it is said to have been transacted, and when it was hoped that no direct Proof could be made of its Falsity. But he, who frequently ‘disappointeth the Devices of the Crafty,’ so ordered it in his Providence, that what was thus infamously projected to dis­honour the Church of England, is an eternal Mo­nument of Reproach to the Church that invented it, as it must ever disgrace those who endeavour to propagate it. But that the Reader may better judge of it, an Account of the whole Affair, as given by Bishop Burnet, is hereunto subjoined.

The Extract from Ward, which makes the Body and even the Soul of the Pamphlet, is no­thing else than a Repetition of this villainous Slan­der of the Nag's-Head Consecration in wretched Rhyme, cooked up and larded with such unsavory Ingredients, as must render it offensive to every Person of the least Delicacy, and can agree only with such Stomachs as can bear the Rankness of Train Oil. It is now generally agreed that Ridicule, even when managed with the greatest Dexterity, is not the Test of Truth. If this Edi­tor thinks otherwise, let him try the Experiment with One or Two keener and better Pieces, which are recommended for the Improvement of him and his Friends, if peradventure he has any, I mean Butler's Hudibras and Swift's Tale of a Tub.

The Appendix is intitled Remarks on the pre­ceeding Piece; wherein the Editor condescends to [Page 121] come down to the Level of tame Prose, and ad­vances a Number of Assertions tending to discredit Episcopacy, which have been frequently and effec­tually confuted, and shewn to be false. For the Support of them, he refers to a List of Authors, who have been often and abundantly answered, without taking the least Notice of the Answers; and concludes with a doleful Story of a poor Clergyman in Ireland who was supposed to be frightened to Death, and a Lamentation of the wild Irish on the Occasion. This, we may chari­tably suppose, was intended for an Exploit of Wit; but it will puzzle a Reader of ordinary Sagacity, to discover any Thing, either in the Imagination, or Execution of it, that can justly intitle it to this Character.

His whole Performance is closed with this grace­ful Period: ‘I shall conclude my Remarks with only adding, that I wish there may be no Occa­sion to repeat this solemn Dirge over your Bishop upon his Introduction.’ The Danger here in­timated there is no great Reason to fear, as it is suggested, not by any public Appearances, but by the Ferocity and Rancour of his own Heart, of which his whole Performance is a Proof. But does he not say that he wishes the Occasion may not happen? Aye, indeed does he; but any one that reads his Pamphlet, will think it to be as cha­ritable and polite Treatment as he deserves, to re­ply to him in the Words of Valerian, an old honest Capuchin, "Mentiris impudentissime."

Upon the Whole; I can venture to pronounce the Performance before me to be the most unfair, impudent and malicious Thing I have met with; and I am persuaded that those whom he intended to serve, or rather to deceive, will not thank him [Page 122] for his Trouble. For so long as Men, in any to­lerable Sense, continue to be reasonable Creatures, such Management must be esteemed a Disgrace to the Cause which it aims at promoting.

If this Person is alarmed at the Prospect of Bishops in America, Why does he not stand forth fairly and produce his Objections? In the Name of Goodness, let him shew, if he can, that the Church of England in this Country has no Need of Bishops—or that she has no Right to expect that Bishops will be granted her—or that such an Indulgence will harm the Dissenters. But con­scious of his Weakness, should it be put to a fair Trial, he dares not venture into the open Field. Like a Cherokee, he chooses rather to skulk in the Dark, and to do what Mischief he can amongst such of the Inhabitants as he suspects to be most weak and unguarded. Contrary to the Rules of Honour, and the Laws of all civilized Nations, like his Brother-Savages he attacks with poisoned Arrows; and therewith he too is supplied by the inveterate Enemies of the Protestant Interest. For, as has been observed, this Nag's-Head Affair, was altogether a mean and wicked Contrivance of the Papists, to blast the Reputation of the English Reformation. Ward was a notorious Papist, and his whole Book, from which this Extract is bor­rowed, was written for the very Purpose of setting the Reformed Religion in a contemptible Light. What must the World then think of such a Pub­lication as this? Or, of a Cause, that can require such an Advocate, and such Arts, to support it?

I will not give this poetico-prosaic Haberdasher any farther Disturbance, but leave him in the Pos­session of as much Tranquillity and Satisfaction as such a Production, with the Consciousness of his [Page 123] own evil Intentions, can afford him. Had his Views been honest, with whatever Abilities he had acquited himself, his Reward would have been greater. For there is much Truth in the Obser­vation of Father Garasse, speaking of those Au­thors that write with a good Design, that ‘when a poor Genius toils incessantly to produce some worthless ridiculous Piece, and for that Reason will never obtain the public Applause, yet that all his Pains might not pass unrewarded, God gives him a Self-Satisfaction, for which it would be an Injustice beyond Barbarity to envy him, And thus God, who is all just, denies not even to Frogs the Pleasure of being charmed with their own Music.’ M. Paschal's Letters.

An Account of the Consecration of Archbishop Par­ker, and the Fable of the Nag's-Head confuted, by Bishop Burnet.

"On the 8th Day of July the Congè d' Elire was sent to Canterbury; and upon that, on the 22d of July, a Chapter was summoned to meet the first of August; where the Dean and Prebendaries meeting, they, according to a Method often used in their Elections, did by a Compromise refer it to the Dean to Name whom he pleased: and he naming Doctor Parker, according to the Queen's Letter, they all confirmed it, and published their Election, singing Te Deum upon it. On the 9th of September the Great Seal was put to a Warrant for his Consecration, directed to the Bishops of Duresme, Bath and Wells, Peterborough, Landaff and to Barlow and Scory (stiled only Bishops, not being then elected to any Sees) requiring them to consecrate him. From this it appears, that neither Tonstal, Bourn nor Pool were at that Time [Page 124] turned out: It seems there were some Hope of gaining them to obey the Laws, and so to continue in their Sees.

"This Matter was delayed to the 6th of De­cember. Whether this flowed from Parker's Un­willingness to engage in so high a Station, or from any other secret Reason, I do not know. But then the Three Bishops last named refusing to do it a new Warrant passed under the Great Seal, to the Bishop of Landaff, Barlow Bishop Elect of Chichester, Scory Bishop Elect of Hereford, Cover­dale late Bishop of Exeter, Hodgkins Bishop Suffra­gan of Bedford, John Suffragan of Thetford, and Bale Bishop of Ossory; that they, or any Four of them, should consecrate him. So by Virtue of this, on the 9th of December, Barlow, Scory, Cover­dale and Hodgkins, met at the Church of St. Mary le Bow; where, according to the Custom, the Congè d' Elire, with the Election, and the Royal Assent▪ to it, were to be brought before them: and these being read, Witnesses were to be cited to prove the Election lawfully made; and all who would object to it were also cited. All these Things being performed according to Law, and none coming to object against the Election, they confirmed it according to the usual Manner. On the 17th of December, Parker was consecrated in the Chapel of Lambeth, by Barlow, Scory, Co­verdale, and Hodgkins, according to the Book of Ordinations made in King Edward's Time: Only the Ceremony of putting the Staff in his Hands was left out of the Office, in this Reign. He being thus consecrated himself, did afterwards consecrate Bishops for the other Sees: namely, Grindal Bishop of London, Cox, that had been King Edward's Almoner, Bishop of Ely, Horn Bishop [Page 125] of Winchester, Sandys Bishop of Worcester, Merick Bishop of Bangor, Young Bishop of St. David's, Bullingham Bishop of Lincoln, Jewel Bishop of Sa­lisbury (the great Ornament of that Age for Lear­ning and Piety;) Davis Bishop of St. Asaph, Guest Bishop of Rochester, Berkley Bishop of Bath and Wells, Bentham Bishop of Coventry and Litchfield, Alley Bishop of Exeter, and Par Bishop of Peter­borough. Barlow and Scory were put into the Sees of Chichester and Hereford. And sometime after this, in February 1561, Young was translated from St. David's to York; there being now no Hopes of gaining Heath to continue in it: which it seems had been long endeavoured, for it was now Two Years that that See had been in Vacancy. In like Manner, after so long waiting to see if Tonstal would conform, there being now no more hope of it, in March 1561, Pilkington was made Bishop of Duresme. Best was afterwards made Bishop of Carlisle, and Downham Bishop of Chester.

"I have given the more distinct Account of these Promotions, because of a malicious Slander with which they were asperst in aftertimes. It was not thought on for Forty Years after this. But then it was forged, and published, and spread over the World, with great Confidence, That Parker him­self was not legally nor truly consecrated. The Author of it was said to be one Neale, that had been sometime one of Bonner's Chaplains. The Contrivance was, that the Bishop of Landaff being required by Bonner not to consecrate Parker, or to give Orders in his Diocess, did thereupon refuse it: Upon that the Bishops Elect being met in Cheapside at the Nag's-Head Tavern, Neale, that had watched them thither, peeped in through an Hole of the Door, and saw them in great Dis­order, [Page 126] finding the Bishop of Landaff was intract­able. But (as the Tale goes on) Scory bids them all kneel, and he laid the Bible upon every one of their Heads or Shoulders, and said, Take thou Au­thority to preach the Word of God sincerely, and so they rose up all Bishops. This Tale came so late into the World, that Sanders and all the other Writers in Queen Elisabeth's Time, had never heard of it: otherwise we may be sure they would not have concealed it. And if the Thing had been true, or if Neale had but pretended that he had seen any such Thing, there is no Reason to think he would have suppressed it. But when it might be presumed that all those Persons were dead that had been present at Parker's Consecra­tion, then was the Time to invent such a Story; for then it might be hoped that none could contra­dict it. And who could tell but that some who had seen Bishops go from Bow-Church to dine at that Tavern with their Civilians, as some have done after their Confirmation, might imagine that then was the Time of this Nag's-Head-Consecration. If it were boldly said, one or other might think he remembered it. But as it pleased God, there was one living that remembered the Contrary. The old Earl of Nottingham, who had been at the Con­secration, declared it was at Lambeth, and described all the Circumstances of it, and satisfied all reason­able Men that it was according to the Form of the Church of England. The Registers both of the See of Canterbury, and of the Records of the Crown, do all fully agree with his Relation. For as Parker's Congè d' Elire, with the Queen's Assent to his Election, and the Warrant for his Conse­cration, are all under the Great Seal: So upon the Certificate made by those who consecrated him, the [Page 127] Temporalities were restored by another Warrant also enrolled; which was to be shewed to the House of Lords when he took his Place there. Besides that the Consecrations of all the other Bishops made by him, shew that he alone was first consecrated without any other. And above all other Testimo­nies, the original Instrument of Archbishop Par­ker's Consecration lies still among his other Papers in the Library of Corpus-Christi College at Cam­bridge, which I saw and read. It is as manifestly an original Writing, as any that I ever had in my Hands: I have put it in the Collection, for the more full Discovery of the Impudence of that Fiction. But it served those Ends for which it was designed. Weak People hearing it so positively told by their Priests, came to believe it; and I have myself met with many that seemed still to give some Credit to it, after all that clear Confutation of it, made by the most ingenious and learned Bishop Bramhall, the late Primate of Ireland. Therefore I thought it necessary to be larger in the Account of this Consecration; and the rather, be­cause of the Influence it hath into all the Ordina­tions that have been since that Time derived down in this Church." History of the Reformation, Vol. II. Page 402.

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