• The Original and Nature of the EPISCOPAL OFFICE.
  • Reasons for sending BISHOPS to AMERICA.
  • The PLAN on which it is proposed to send them.
  • And the OBJECTIONS against sending them obviated and refuted.

WHEREIN THE REASONS for an AMERICAN EPISCOPATE are shewn to be insufficient, and the OB­JECTIONS against it in full Force.

By CHARLES CHAUNCY, D. D. And Pastor of the first Church of Christ in Boston.

BOSTON: N. E. Printed by KNEELAND and ADAMS, in Milk-Street, for THOMAS LEVERETT, in Corn-Hill. 1768.



THE Author of the following work cannot say, that he undertook it in virtue of any "voted appointment," by a "convention of the Clergy"; or that he was "assisted" in it, either as to "method", or "management", by "directions" from so learned and able a body of men. He does not pretend to have been favoured with such distinguishing advantages. Not that his appear­ing, upon this occasion, was of his own meer mo­tion. He would rather have chosen to have been excused from engaging in an affair, that he knew would be attended with labour, and might expose him to much ill-will. But he was, at length, overcome by private friends: More especially as urging this motive, its being published to the world, that, if no "objections were offer­ed against an AMERICAN EPISCOPATE, it would be taken for granted ALL PARTIES WERE SATISFIED".



IT has, for some time, been known, that the Episcopal Clergy, in the Colonies, in conse­quence of consultations, in convened bodies, have transmitted a number of addresses to England; one, to his present Majesty, importunately request­ing an AMERICAN EPISCOPATE; others, to the Arch-Bishops of Canterbury and York, to the Bishop of London, and to the Universities of Ox­ford, and Cambridge, solliciting their influence in an affair of such importance to the well-being, if not the very being, of the Church of England in these parts of the world. If this was "never in­tended to be kept a secret", it was certainly made one, at least in regard of the arguments made use of in support of the thing requested; for though an authentic knowledge of them was desired, it could not be obtained at first, and I know not that it ever has been since. The affair seems to have been carried on, as it were, under ground, until "the discovery of a favorable disposition in ma­ny," at home, towards the support of the thing in view. And now, the way being prepared, it is "thought proper, in a public manner, to give information of the REASONS, why an American-Episcopate is so earnestly desired by the Clergy, and other friends and members of the church". It might have been as proper, and certainly would have been more candid and generous, not to say fair, if they had given these reasons, when they sent their addresses supported by them. We might then have been heard at home as well, and [Page 6] as soon, as they; and judgment might have been made upon an impartial hearing of the case, and not by hearing one side only. We are, after such previous care to ripen matters at home in their favor, without all controversie, under disadvantage in offering what we have to say upon this affair, which may far more nearly concern the civil as well as religious interests of the Continent, than some may be ready, at first view, to imagine.

IT must not be esteemed strange, if "some persons", I may rather say many, are "alarmed at this conduct of the clergy". For now "the case has been explained", and is well "under­stood", there still "remains uneasiness"; nor is the exhibited PLAN "so reasonable", even in regard of the Episcopal churches; or so "harmless to other denominations", as the Dr. would repre­sent. He hopes, "every objection", or even "sus­picion", will be "intirely obviated" by what he has to say. But "should any objections continue, which shall be thought worthy of notice, objectors are invited to propose them in such a manner, that they may be fairly and candidly debated before the tribunal of the public". It is in compliance with this invitation, that the following sheets are wrote; as also, that it might not be "taken for granted, that all parties acquiesce and are satisfied". We join with the Episcopalians in bringing the case to open tryal. We desire nothing more than an impartial hearing. Let the public judge between us.

I SHALL proceed in the method the Dr. has chalked out; taking into consideration his several sections one by one, and saying what may be thought proper, in a way of answer, to each of them distinctly.


The Appeal to the Public answered.

Answer to Section I. which contains "a Sketch of the Arguments in favor of Episcopacy."

THE Dr. begins the subject before him with premising, "that the Church of England is Episcopal; and consequently holds the necessity of Bishops to govern the Church, and to confer ecclesiastical powers". If he means, that the constitution of the Church of England, as established by law, is Episcopal, making Bishops, under the King, and within certain prescribed li­mits, the governors of the Church, and conveyers of ecclesiastical powers, and that this is the doctrine of the Church, it is readily acknowledged: But, if he intended to lead us into this thought, that the Church of England holds, or is obliged to hold, the DIVINE RIGHT of Bishops to govern the Church, or confer ecclesiastical powers, in virtue of their being officers distinct from, and superior to Presbyters; we differ from him in opinion. [Page 8] None of her public offices, no part of the system of her conduct towards the clergy is founded on this principle. The passage he has here quoted, from the preface to the book of ordination, may seem to have an aspect this way; but it is, as the late learned and excellent professor Wigglesworth, observes,* "too slender a foundation to build upon in the present case; especially, if it be remember­ed, who were the compilers of that book, and what reason we have to conclude they were of the judg­ment, that Priests and Bishops are by God's law one and the same". This was certainly the doctrine of the Church of England in the beginning of the reformation, and of the generality of its pious and learned divines for a very considerable time after­wards.

IN Henry the eight's time, the Arch-Bishops, Bi­shops, Arch-Deacons, and Clergy of England, in their book intituled, "the instruction of a christian-man," subscribed with all their hands, and dedi­cated to the King, Anno. 1537; and King Henry himself, in his book stiled, "a necessary erudition for any christian-man," set out by the authority of the statute of 32. Henry VIII. chap. 26. approved by both houses of Parliament, prefaced with the King's own epistle, and published by his command Anno. 1543, expresly resolve, "that Priests and Bishops BY GOD'S LAW, are one and the same; and that the power of ORDINATION and excom­munication belongs EQUALLY to them both.

[Page 9] EDWARD the sixth no sooner came to the throne, than he took proper methods to go on with the reformation, begun in the former reign. Among other measures, he called an assembly of select Di­vines, the most respectable for station, piety and learning in that day, and proposed to them several questions, relative to the settlement of religion ac­cording to God's word; to which questions they gave in severally their resolutions in papers, all whose judgments were accurately summed up, and set down by the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury him­self. In answer to the 10th question, "whether Bishops or Priests were first", Arch-Bishop Cran­mer's opinion, given in writing under his own hand, was this, "Bishops and Priests were at one time, and were not two things, but one office in the beginning of Christ's religion".* The Bishop of Asaph, Dr. Therleby, Dr. Redmayn, and Cox, were all of the same opinion with the Arch-Bishop; and the two latter expresly cited the opinion of Jerom with approbation. In this same reign, in a public declaration, subscribed by the Arch-Bish­ops of Canterbury and York, eleven Bishops, and many other Doctors and Civilians, it is expresly asserted, "that, in the new-testament, no mention is made of any degrees, or distinction of orders, but only of Deacons or ministers, and of Priests or Bishops". It is indeed beyond all reasonable dispute, that the Episcopal form of government was settled, at the reformation, as Dr. Stillingfleet expresses it,§ "not under pretence of DIVINE RIGHT, but for the conveniency of that form to the state and condition of the Church at the time [Page 10] of its reformation". And it is in fact true, that, both in Henry the eighth's time, and in Edward the sixth's, the Bishops "took out commissions from the Crown* like other STATE OFFICERS, for the exercising their spiritual jurisdiction; in which they acknowledge, that ALL SORTS of jurisdiction, ecclesiastical as well as civil, flow ORIGINALLY from the Regal power, as from a SUPREME HEAD, the fountain and spring of [Page 11] ALL Magistracy within this kingdom; and that they ought, with grateful minds, to acknowledge this favor derived from the King's liberality and indulgence; and accordingly, they ought to ren­der it up whenever the King thought fit to require it of them. And among the particulars of eccle­siastical power given them by this commission, is that of ORDAINING Presbyters; and all this to last no longer than the King's pleasure".* Even in the days of Queen Elizabeth, when there was a re-establishment of Church government, after the fiery reign of Queen Mary, in the articles of reli­gion agreed upon, the English form of Church-government was only determined to be "agreable to God's word", which, as Bishop Stillingfleet says, "had been a very low and diminishing expression, had they looked on it as absolutely prescribed in scripture, as the only necessary form to be observ­ed in the Church". Nay, as this same writer ob­serves, if we come lower to the time of King [Page 12] James, his Majesty himself declared it in print, as his judgment, "that the civil power, in any na­tion, hath the right of prescribing what external form of Church-government it pleases, which doth most agree to the civil form of government in the state".*

THE plain truth is, this notion of the right of Bishops to govern and ordain, as being officers in the Church, superior to Presbyters by DIVINE APPOINTMENT, was, as the excellent Mr▪ J. Owen says, "first promoted in the Church of England by Arch-Bishop Laud. Dr. Holland, the King's professor in Oxon, was much offended with him for asserting it in a disputation for his degrees. He checked him publicly, and told him he went [Page 13] about to make a division between the English, and other reformed Churches".*

IT may have been the practice of the Church of England, for some time, as the Dr. observes, "to admit none to officiate as Clergymen, who have not been ordained by Bishops". But it was not always so. The point of re-ordination did not begin to be urged, until the days of Arch-Bishop Laud. Through his influence, as Mr. Prin tells us, Bishop Hall re-ordained Mr. John Dury, a mini­ster of the reformed Church. But the old Church of England did not require, or practise re-ordina­tion. In King Edward the sixth's time, Peter Martyr, Martin Bucer, and P. Fagius, had eccle­siastical preferments in the established Church with­out it. Mr. William Whitingham was made Dean of Durham, about 1563; though ordained by Presbyters only.§ In like manner, Mr. Tra­vers, ordained by a Presbyter beyond sea, was se­ven years Lecturer at the Temple, and had the Bi­shop of London's letter for it. And, even in the reign of King James the first, the validity of ordi­nation by Presbyters was not set aside; as appears from the case of the three Presbyters that were consecrated Bishops for Scotland, at London.

[Page 14] THE Dr. having premised, that the Church of England holds the necessity of Bishops to govern the Church, and confer orders, says. "it is not necessary to enter upon a particular defence of this doctrine, since the plea", in the present undertak­ing, "is equally valid, whether these principles are founded rightly or wrongly". Why then did he put himself to the trouble of exhibiting "a sketch of the arguments, whereby the necessity of Episcopal government is defended"? I know of no valuable end this was adapted to answer. It may have increased the number of his pages; but, at the same time, it has detained his readers from attending to the main business in hand, and need­lesly too, as I imagine; since he has given us only a detail of arguments that have been repeated over and over again, and as repeatedly been an­swered. However, he has made it proper, if not necessary, to postpone the consideration of the grand point in view, until I also have given "a sketch of the arguments" that have been used on the other side of the question.

HE says, "it is an essential doctrine of the Church of England, that none have any authority in the christian Church, but those who derive it from Christ, either mediately or immediately". This is not a doctrine peculiar to the English Church. Every other christian Church, of whatever deno­mination, holds the same. The Churches, in the Colonies, are certainly of this opinion. But we differ from the Dr. when he says, "that this au­thority must be derived, if mediately, by a regular succession", meaning hereby an uninterrupted one, in a line of Bishops, as an order superior to Presby­ters, even from the Apostles▪ Nor can we be [Page 15] brought to think, that the uninterruption of this line of succession is SO NECESSARY, that, "if it be ONCE broken, and the power of ordination [that is, the power in this way communicated] lost, not all the men on earth, not all the angels of heaven, without an immediate commission from Christ, can restore it". Is this the doctrine of the Church of England? I am bold to say, no such thing can be found in the thirty-nine articles, or in the homilies, or in the form of ordination, or in the common-prayer-book, or in any part of the Church's system in regard of the Clergy: Nor is it easily supposeable, that one in an hundred, even of those who are thorow Episcopalians, make this the object of their faith. It is indeed scarce cre­dible, that any who have read the scriptures, which every where so expresly secure the great blessings purchased by Christ to all that believe in him, re­pent, & sincerely obey him, should imagine notwith­standing, that all who have a right to these blessings must be also members of a particular Church, over which an officer superior to Presbyters presides, and in an uninterrupted succession from the Apo­stles; especially, when this pretended regular succession is so far from being incontestable, that it is not capable of good proof, nor is there any probability, that so long a chain, running through so many ages of ignorance, violence, and all kinds of imposture, has never once been broken.* To [Page 16] make the very being of a Church, and all cove­nant hopes of salvation to rest upon so precarious a foundation, is, in reality of sense, to expose the Church and religion of Jesus Christ to open ridicule—It will also follow from hence, that all the public worship of the Colonists, that are not Episcopalians, of all the dissenters in England and Ireland, of the Church of Scotland, and of all the reformed protestant Churches abroad, whose mi­nisters were ordained by "the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery" only, is a vile affront and abomination to Christ the head of his Church. So very charitable is this doctrine of the Dr. In­stead of deserving a serious confutation, it may reasonably excite the contempt of all, who are ac­quainted with the genius and spirit of true christi­anity.—It will farther follow from this doctrine, that, if the popish Bishops, at the reformation, had stuck to their old principles, and discontinued the succession of the ministry by refusing to consecrate; or to ordain, any but those of their own commu­nion, it had then been the duty of the Protestant [Page 17] laity to "forsake the assembling themselves to­gether", and all succeeding generations must have been content without the public worship and or­dinances of God, until a new commission was sent down from heaven, giving power to some new apostles to administer them, and to transmit again the same office to their successors. The Dr. ac­cording to his principles must affirm all this; and yet, I believe, he will not be very free openly and explicitly to do it.—But the worst of this doctrine of an uninterrupted succession is still behind; for it is derived through the BISHOPS OF ROME, who for an hundred years together, as Baroneus him­self acknowledges,* namely from the year nine hundred, to the year one thousand, were "monsters for ignorance, lust, pride and luxury". I cannot so well express myself here, as in the words of one of the best writers upon the subject in controversie; says he, in one of his letters to Mr. White, ‘These very orders, in which you glory, you acknowledge to have derived ONLY from the Church of ROME; a Church, which yourselves, in your homilies, confess to be idolatrous and antichristian; ‘not only a HARLOT, as the scripture calleth her, but also a foul, filthy, old, withered HARLOT; the foulest and filthiest that was ever seen.—And that, as it at present is, and hath been for nine hundred years, it is so far from the nature of the TRUE CHURCH, that nothing can be more.’ Note, these homilies every Clergyman publicly declares and subscribes with his hand, that they contain a godly and wholsome doctrine, fit to be read in Churches by [Page 18] ministers. Now it is ONLY, Sir, from this filthy, withered, old HARLOT, that you derive by or­dination your spiritual descent. You confess your selves born of her, as to ecclesiastical pedigree: And the sons of this foulest and filthiest of harlots, you acknowledge as brethren, by admitting their orders as regular and valid; whereas those of the Protestant Church you reject. If a Priest, ordained with all the superstitious and idolatrous rites of this antichristian and false Church, comes over to the Church of England, you admit him as a BROTHER duly ordained, without obliging him to pass under that ceremony again: But if a minister of the reformed Church joins himself to you, you consider him as but a Layman, an unordained person, and oblige him to receive or­ders according to your form. How, Sir, is it possible to account for this procedure? Can that Church, which is NO TRUE CHURCH, impart valid and true orders? Can a filthy old harlot produce any other than a spurious and corrupt breed? Will you rest the validity and regularity of your ministrations on your receiving the sa­cerdotal character from the Bishops and Popes of the Romish Church? Many, if not most, of whom, were men of most corrupt and infamous lives; men, who were so far from being regular and valid MINISTERS in the Church of JESUS CHRIST, that they were not so much as regular or real MEMBERS of it at all; and therefore could not possibly, duly or regularly, OFFICIATE therein; consequently, had no power to com­municate or convey orders or offices in the CHRI­STIAN Church. Whatever offices therefore they conveyed, are at best doubtful and suspicious; if not absolutely null, irregular, and void. So [Page 19] that your own orders, if strictly examined, may minister great doubt & disquietude of mind’—I shall only say farther, upon this article of suc­cession, supposing it was true, which is by no means allowed, that "objectors could not prove it has been interrupted", this is far from being sufficient, in a matter of such ESSENTIAL impor­tance, as the Dr. makes the succession to be. Was I in his way of thinking, I should not, I freely own, dare officiate as an officer in the kingdom of Christ, unless I was able to satisfie myself, upon positive evidence, clear and indubitable, that the Bishop, from whom I had received orders, derived his power to confer them on me in an uninter­rupted line from the Apostles: Nor should I be­lieve, that the people of my charge acted a wise and safe part, unless they also, upon like evidence, were fully convinced, that I had, in this way, re­ceived my commission from Christ. It is my firm persuasion, the Dr. would never again preach to his people, or they be willing to hear him, if his preaching, and their hearing, was to be consequent upon the proof he could give, that the Bishop, who ordained him, had in a direct line succeeded some one of the Apostles. I cannot therefore but e­steem it highly rash and extravagant in him to say, that, if the succession could be proved to have been broken, "Christ has neglected to provide for his Church in a case essential to the very being of it".

WE again agree with the Dr. when he says, ‘that the Apostles understood the laws of Christ—that they were conducted by the Spirit of God—that they have given explicit and particular rules for the government of the Church—that the [Page 20] public practice of the Apostles is a faithful and plain comment on the laws of Christ, and of equal authority with any written instructions—that our blessed Saviour committed the govern­ment of his Church to them—that this govern­ment was exercised by them—and that they con­veyed it to others, to be communicated to others still to the latest posterity’. Thus far we are perfectly agreed; but we must now part again. We cannot say with the Dr. "that these successors were an order distinct from, and superior to, those who are now called Presbyters; and that none who were not of this highest order had the power of ordination & government committed to them". He has not seen fit to give us here the evidence upon which this point may be established, least it should "lead him too far from his present de­sign". It might therefore be sufficient to say, it cannot reasonably be expected we should be bro't to be of his mind, until we have seen this proof, and are convinced by it. However, I shall not think it a going out of my way, just to remark one thing, which is unaccountably strange, if Bi­shops are, by apostolic appointment, an order of officers in the Church distinct from, and superior to, Presbyters. It is this. The Apostles have not any where given instructions, descriptive of the persons fit for the work of the ministry, that are at all adapted to the supposition of a DIFFERENCE OF ORDER in the pastoral office. Had there been such a difference, different qualifications would have been requisite to the sutable discharge of the different trusts arising therefrom; and it might justly have been expected, that they would have distinguished between the qualifications respective­ly proper for the management of each of these [Page 21] trusts. But they no where thus distinguish. They no where intimate, that such different endowments were necessary. Far from this, they have specified the qualifications of ONE ORDER of pastors only; as may be seen at large in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. And, what may be worthy of special notice, they have been very particular in describ­ing the qualifications of this ONE ORDER, while they are totally silent with respect to the other that is pleaded for, though that other is said to be by much the most honorable and important of the two. In like manner, they have no where laid down any rules for the guidance of ordainers in vesting ordinary ministers with different degrees of power. They no where speak of the institution of two distinct orders of standing pastors; they no where give instructions to exercise the or­daining right conformably to this distinction, by placing some in an higher, others in a lower rank in the Church. The sacred writings of the Apo­stles say nothing to such a purpose as this: On the contrary, they present to our view a very full and explicit directory for the ordination of ONE ORDER ONLY of fixed pastors. This we have in the Pauline instructions, referring to the settle­ment of the Churches in Crete. The great Apostle of the Gentiles gives it in charge to Titus, whom he left in this Island with a direct view to "set in order the things that were wanting", to or­dain pastors in the several Churches there. But what pastors were they? Of a different rank, some superior, others inferior? Not a word leading to such a thought is to be found throughout his whole Epistle. No; but the pastors he directs should be ordained were precisely of the same rank or de­gree: Nor did Titus ordain any other. He could [Page 22] not indeed have done it, unless he had acted coun­ter to the direction he had received from the in­spired Paul. Should it be said here, Titus was himself, at this time, the sole Bishop of Crete, and as such intrusted with the sole power of ordaining inferior pastors; the answer is, this cannot be sup­ported upon just and solid grounds. It is a meer pretence, as we have often had occasion to make very clearly evident.

THE Dr. now proceeds to consider the evidence, in favor of Episcopacy, in his sense of it, "from the general state of the primitive Church". If, when he says, ‘it is a known fact, that all the Churches that were gathered, during the first Century, by the Apostles, or their Missionaries, were under the direction of some one or other of that venerable order; that men of the most e­minent piety, who had been honored with their acquaintance, were appointed by them to super­intend Churches in certain districts, some of whom were chosen to succeed them in those Churches which they had always kept under their own immediate inspection;’ I say, if by this fact he means, that the persons appointed by the Apostles in their day, or chosen afterwards, within this Century, to succeed them in super­intending the Churches, were officers of a superior order to those, who are called, in the New-testa­ment, sometimes Bishops, sometimes Presbyters, meaning by these names one and the same order of men, he should have given better proof of it, than a bare declaration, that "nothing but gross prejudice, or a wrangling and captious disposition, to say nothing worse, could lead any to suspect or [...]" the contrary. He is much mistaken, if he, [Page 23] imagines, that prejudice, or wrangling captiousness, or any thing worse, is confined to Presbyterians. The sticklers for Prelacy are as much, not to say a great deal more, under the influence of these fatal hindrances to the reception of "the truth in the love of it". All he has said here in favor of Episcopacy, in the sense he understands it, rests solely upon his meer affirmation.

HE goes on, "if we consider the general cha­racter of Christians, and the state of the Church, in the second and third Centuries, we shall not find it easie to believe, that there could have been any essential departure from the original plan of disci­pline and government committed to the Church". There certainly was not. The state of things was not much varied from this plan, within the second Century. Bishops were not as yet known, as an order in the Church distinct from, and superior to, Presbyters. The promiscuous use of the terms Bishop and Presbyter was still in use; nor is that mode of diction, BISHOPS, PRESBYTERS AND DEACONS, to be met with in any writer before Clement of Alexandria, who did not flourish until the latter end of this second Century, unless we ex­cept Ignatius,*in whose corrupted and interpo­lated [Page 24] Epistles this manner of speaking is com­mon. If, when the Dr. speaks of the "writings of the fathers that are still extant, their apologies, [Page 25] private epistles, the regulations and decrees of councils, and the report of ecclesiastical historians, as exhibiting evidence of irresistable force, in favor of Episcopacy"; I say, if he means, by these an­cient records, such as are to be met with in the TWO FIRST Centuries, he is grosly mistaken while [Page 26] he thinks, that they will be of any service to the Pre­latical cause. Ignatius excepted, whose Epistles have been proved, in the DUDLEIAN-DISCOURSE, to have been so corrupted as to be unworthy of notice, none of the primitive writers, within this period, speak of the government of the Church, as committed to Bishops, in the sense here con­tended for. If Episcopalians are pleased to affirm the contrary, let it be remembered, the onus pro­bandi lies with them; and if they can, let them give us good evidence, that any of these writers say, that Bishops are an order in the Church supe­rior to Presbyters; that ordination was the pecu­liar work of Bishops, in distinction from Presby­ters; that Episcopal government was that by which the Church was governed; and that this form of government was instituted by Christ, or his Apostles. Until they do this, which we know it is not in their power to do, we shall continue of the mind, that no more can be collected from the fathers, within this period, than from the scrip­tures themselves, to give countenance to Episcopa­cy, in the view in which we oppose it.

IF, by the writings of the fathers referred to, the Dr. means the fathers AFTER the second Cen­tury, and downwards, we don't think any testi­monies from them will be much to the purpose; as it is well known to all, who know any thing of antiquity, that we are NOW got into those times, in which there was a deviation from the purity and simplicity of the gospel, in many other things be­sides this of the government of the Church. We are free to acknowledge, that, in the third Century, there began to appear a departure from the origi­nal plan of government in the Church. Bishops [Page 27] were now distinguished from Presbyters; though, to ascertain the precise idea meant by this distincti­on, will, I believe, be found, upon tryal, to be exceeding difficult. It is indubitably clear, that the Church was governed, AS YET, by Presbyters as well as Bishops: Nor does it appear, that a Bishop was NOW any thing more than the head of a SINGLE flock or congregation, the affairs of which were managed, not by the Bishop ALONE, as though all power was vested in him; but by its Presbyters also, united in one common council. This is plainly visible thro' the whole of Cyprian's writings. Nay, that wonder of learning, Professor Jameson, is very positive in it, that, in the opinion of Cyprian himself, Bishops were no otherwise su­perior to Presbyters, than Peter was to the other Apostles, the FIRST, the HEAD, of one and the same order in the Church.* But, whatever the di­stinction was, that might take place, in time, between Bishops and Presbyters, it was undoubtedly small in its beginnings. The Bishop was, at first, only PRIMUS INTER PARES, the Head-Presbyter, the praeses of the consistory; and it was gradually and imperceptibly that he attained to that dignity and power, with which he was afterwards vested. It did not come into event at once. It was the work of time, and a long time too. From Prime-Presbyters arose Bishops; from City-Bishops, Bishops whose power extended to the neighbour­ing Country-Churches; and, when christianity had got the secular arm on its side, and corruption had increased therewith, as it hastily did to a mon­strous height, we now hear of Diocesan Bishops; from these arose Metropolitans; from Metropoli­tans, Patriarchs; and finally, at the top of all, his [Page 28] holiness, the POPE, claiming the character of uni­versal Head of the Church. This state of things came on insensibly, step by step, and not all at once. It began, in a degree, even in the Apostles days, discovering itself in the pride of Diotrephes, who "desired the preheminence"; and it went on increasing, until the rise of that amazing power, which for so many Centuries, has oppressed, and destroyed, the saints of the most high God.

THIS will reasonably and fully account for "a departure from the original plan of government", without its making at first, or in its gradual ad­vances for a while, "any violent struggles and convulsions". According to the prophetic decla­ration of the Apostle Paul, it was to come on MYSTERIOUSLY; and so it did in fact, and insen­sibly too, until the powers of this world could be called in to the aid of aspiring grasping Clergy­men; and then there was bustle, struggling, and noise enough: For, from this time, we read of little else, in Ecclesiastical history, but the squabbles of some of the Clergy, and their artful, and some­times perfidious, managements to enrich and ag­grandize themselves, to the depression of others; until, at length, he that is called THE SON OF PERDITION became the MAN OF SIN grown up to his fullness of stature.

THE Dr. has introduced that truly great man, Mr. Chillingworth, saying, ‘when I shall see 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 Presbyterian government, hav­ing continued in the Church, during the Apo­stles [Page 29] times, should presently after (against the Apostles doctrine and the will of Christ) be whirled about like a scene in a Masque, and tras­formed into Episcopacy.’ I also shall insert a few passages from this celebrated writer, leaving it with the Public to judge, whose quotations, the Dr's or mine, reflect most honor on him, and are the strongest illustration of his real greatness.—Says he, "By the religion of Protestants, I do not understand the doctrine of Luther, or Calvin, or Melancton; nor the confession of Au­gusta, or Geneva; nor the catechism of Heidel­burg; nor the articles of the Church of England; no, nor the harmony of the Protestant confessions: But that in which they all agree, and which they all subscribe with a greater harmony, as a perfect rule of their faith and actions; that is, the BIBLE. The Bible, I say, the Bible ONLY is the religion of Protestants.—I, for my part, after a long, and (as I verily believe and hope) impartial search of the true way to eternal happiness, do profess plain­ly, that I cannot find any rest for the sole of my foot, but upon THIS ROCK ONLY. I see plainly, and with my own eyes, that there are Popes a­gainst Popes, Councils against Councils, some Fa­thers against others, the same Fathers against them­selves, a consent of Fathers of one age against a con­sent of Fathers of another age, the Church of one age against the Church of another age.—In a word, there is no sufficient certainty but of scripture only, for any considering man to build upon. THIS therefore, and this ONLY, I have reason to believe; this I will profess; according to this I will live; and for this, if there be occasion, I will not only willingly, but even gladly lose my life; though I should be sorry that Christians should take it from [Page 30] me. Propose me any thing out of this book, and require whether I believe it, or no; and seem it never no incomprehensible to human reason, I will subscribe it with hand, and heart; as knowing, no demonstration can be stronger than this, God has said so, therefore it is true".* It is strange that one, who could make so good a judgment of the ancient Fathers, and give his sentiments con­cerning them with such exact truth, and sound reason, should afterwards write in the manner he is here represented to have done in relation to E­piscopacy. It is certain, he was wrought upon, by the famous Jesuit, who went under the name of John Fisher, to forsake the communion of the Church of England, and to embrace the Romish religion, and to do it with an incredible satisfaction of mind. Perhaps, the best way to account for the extravagant mode of language in which he writes of Episcopacy, is to suppose, that he was under some undue influence from those arguments which had induced him to profess himself a Roman-Catholic. And there may be the more reason to suspect this, as, after his conversion from Popery, it appears, from a letter of his to Dr. Sheldon, "that he had scruples about leaving the Church of Rome, and returning to the Church of England"; which scruples he freely declared to his friends. I shall only add here, much greater men, than Mr. Chil­lingworth, for knowledge in Antiquity, if not for reasoning powers, and in the communion of the Church of England too, not to say any thing of [Page 31] others, quite differ from him upon the head of Epis­copacy, and as urged hereto from their intimate acquaintance with the writings of the fathers, as well as the sacred scriptures. That great Anti­quary, the learned Arch-Bishop Usher, in a letter to Dr. Bernard, says, "I have ever declared my opinion to be, that "Episcopus et Presbyter, gradu tantum differunt, non ordine"; that is, Bishop and Presbyter DIFFER ONLY IN DEGREE, not in ORDER. And, in the close of this letter, he adds, "for the testifying my communion with these Churches, [the reformed ones in France and Hol­land] which I do love and honor as true members of the Church universal, I do profess, that, with like affection, I should receive the blessed sacra­ment at the hands of the Dutch ministers, if I was in Holland; as I should do at the hands of French ministers, if I were in Charentone. * The cele­brated Bishop Burnet says, "I the more willingly incline to believe Bishops and Presbyters to be SEVERAL DEGREES OF THE SAME OFFICE; since the names of Bishops and Presbyters are used for the same thing in scripture, and are also used pro­miscuously by the writings of the two first Centu­ries". I shall only mention farther the learned Dr. Stillingfleet, who was as well versed in the fa­thers as any man, in his day, or since. His words are these, "I believe, upon the strictest inquiry, Medina's judgment will prove true, that Jerom, Austin, Ambrose, Sedulius, Primasius, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, were all of Aerius's judg­ment as to the IDENTITY of both name and order of Bishops and Presbyters in the primitive Church". [Page 32] And again, a little onwards, "I do as yet despair of finding any one single testimony in all Anti­quity, which doth in plain terms assert Episcopacy, as it was settled by the practice of the primitive Church in the ages following the Apostles, to be of UNALTERABLE DIVINE RIGHT".

THE two propositions, from which the conse­quences are drawn which finish this Section, are both utterly denied; and, upon what has been offered, we may fairly and justly say in direct con­tradiction to them:

THAT Episcopal government was not at all, much less universally, received in the Church PRESENTLY AFTER the Apostles times.

THERE is therefore no room for the supposition of an alteration in this Government PRESENTLY AFTER these times; and, in fact, there was no such SPEEDY alteration.

EPISCOPACY therefore was not so ancient as is pretended, nor is there any need, or reason, to suppose, or say, it was apostolic.


ANSWER to SECTION II. which says, "The Powers peculiar to the Episcopal Office are Government, Ordination, and Confirmation".

THE Dr's business here is to explain, and esta­blish, the proper superiority of Bishops to Presbyters. In order to this, he previously endea­vours to separate, what he calls, the APPENDAGES to the Episcopal office, from the powers that essen­tially belong to it. And here he says, "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 so "with regard to place, he who has a small Diocess has the same Episcopal power, as he who has a large one; and it matters not, as to the validity of the act, whether it be performed by the Bishop of Man, or the Arch-Bishop of Canter­bury". The question is not, whether these and such like APPENDAGES to the Episcopal-office will be destructive of the powers, which, by the insti­tution of Christ, essentially belong to it; but whe­ther they do not unfit the persons vested with it for the proper discharge of the duties of it? In­somuch, that it would be highly unreasonable to add such Appendages to the office, and as much so to expect, if they are added, that christian pro­fessors should not complain of it as an intolerable [Page 34] grievance. If it "matters not, as to the validity of the act", whether a Bishop has a single congre­gation for his charge, or several hundred, it cer­tainly does as to his capacity to serve the great ends of his office. I suppose the Dr. would not say, it would destroy the "validity" of a Bishop's act, was he an universal one, as the POPE is; but there are few, I believe, but would think it "mattered much", whether there was such a Bishop, or not. And the clothing Bishops with worldly dignity and power, and placing them at the head of large Di­ocesses, is, in proportion, the same incongruity; and, instead of serving the true spiritual interest of the Church of Christ, has been greatly detrimental to it in all ages, from Constantine to this day; and, I am persuaded, will ever be so.

THE Dr. now comes to the consideration of "those powers that are peculiar to Bishops, and without which they would cease to be Bishops"; and these, he says, "will be found to be the powers of government, ordination, and confirmation".

HE begins with the "power or right of govern­ment", in support of which he has offered three things.

ONE is, that "this right is necessarily included in the superiority of their office". He does not here, as might have been expected, in so impor­tant a matter, go into the consideration of the na­ture of this office, proving herefrom its superiority, in the sense he affixes to this word. By the go­verning power he would make essential to the Episcopal office, he means a monarchical power, such an one as may be exercised without subordi­nate [Page 35] officers, yea, in opposition to them. But, surely, such a power as this is not "necessarily in­cluded" in meer superiority of office. This su­periority there may be, and this there has been, and now is, in many societies, where the power of the highest office, among subordinate ones, is not the power of an absolute Monarch, which knows no check but his own sovereign pleasure. No­thing therefore is yet said, that has the appearance of solid argument.

ANOTHER thing is, "that this power was con­veyed from the Apostles to their successors, the Bishops; that it was exercised by Timothy, Titus, and others; and that it has, through all ages of the Church, been transmitted down, and maintain­ed by the Episcopal order". So the Dr. says, with­out adding one word by way of proof. It is very extraordinary, when he undertook to support the superiority of Bishops in point of government, and as absolute Monarchs too, that he should do it in a dictatorial manner only; as though his affirma­tion would be esteemed good evidence in the case. We must have a much better argument to con­vince us, that the exorbitant power he claims for Bishops really belongs to them, than barely his saying, that it was "conveyed to them by the Apostles, and has been exercised by them ever since".

THE last thing is, the Epistles to the seven Churches of the Lydian-Asia; which, says he, "are a proof, that the government of the Chur­ches, respectively, was lodged in the hands of sin­gle persons, who are called Argels, by which was meant and intended, according to the voice [Page 36] of united antiquity, Bishops in the appropriated sense". Here again he rests this essential affair of the government of Bishops upon meer affirmation; though he could not but know, that it has been proved, at least in the opinion of Non-Episcopali­ans, an hundred times, that these "Argels" were not Bishops, "in his appropriated sense". This is all, however strange it may appear to the reader, that the Dr. has been pleased to say in defence of that super-intending, absolutely monarchical power he essentially connects with the Episcopal office. If nothing more can be offered in proof of this claim, it is, without all doubt, an unjustifiable one; and we may justly look upon such power, where-ever exercised, as a real usurpation; especially, if the two following passages of scripture, among many others that might be mentioned, are attend­ed to. The first is in the Acts of the Apostles, chap. 20. 17. "And from Miletus, he [Paul] sent to Ephesus, and called the Elders [Presbuterous, the Presbyters] of the Church". It follows, ver. 28. "Take heed to your selves, and to all the flock, over which the holy Ghost hath made you over­seers [Episcopous, Bishops] to feed [Poimainein] the Church of God". Two things are here ob­viously discernable. One is, that, in the opinion of the apostle Paul, Presbyters and Bishops are one and the same officers in the Church; for he pro­miscuously makes use of these names, in the same discourse, to point out precisely the same persons. The other is, that the work proper to Presbyters is that of "feeding the flock of God"; an allu­sion to the business of Shepherds, which essentially includes in it the inspection and government of the Sheep committed to their care. "To feed", [Poimainein] is often used to signifie the whole [Page 37] duty of the Governor of a family, and of those Governors also who are at the head of Kingdoms. In Revel. 2. 27. it is said of Christ, in his character as "Lord of all", that Poimanei autous, "he shall rule them [the nations] with a rod of Iron". The other text of sacred writ is that in Peter's first Epistle, 5th chap, first and second verses, "The Elders [Presbuterous] which are among you I ex­hort, who am also an Elder;—feed [Poimanate] the Church of God, which is among you, taking the oversight thereof", Episcopountes, acting the part of Bishops towards them. It is plain, from this passage, that the work of instructing and go­verning the Church of God properly belongs to Presbyters: Nor could it well have been more plainly and fully expressed; for they are not only exhorted, by an inspired Pen, to "feed the Church of God"; but to do it, Episcopountes, acting in the character, and performing the proper work of Bishops; which surely includes government, as well as instruction. If governing authority is not, in these texts, committed to Presbyters, and by apostolic institution too, there are no words in which it can be done. Let the Dr. produce only a single passage, any where in the New testament, that mentions Bishops, in his appropriated sense, and entrusts them with the affair of Church-Government, and we will then acknowledge he has done something to good purpose; which we do not think he has done as yet.

ANOTHER power belonging to Bishops, says the Dr. is "ordination; which has always been consi­dered by the friends of Episcopacy, as PECULIAR to Bishops, and UNALIENABLE from their office". He does not here speak the truth of fact, even [Page 38] since the settlement of Episcopacy in England, after the reformation. The first reformers, and hundreds of others, all along from their day, of high dignity in the Church, and the best character for piety and learning, have been of our mind as to the Identity of Bishops and Presbyters, and that ordination was appropriated to Bishops by human constitution only.

THE Dr. goes on, "with regard to the power of ordination, none, that have labored in the cause, have been able to shew from scripture a single in­stance, wherein this power has been exercised by Presbyters only". He should have added, in his opinion; for, in the opinion of judges far more learned in the scriptures, and all other wrtings, than he or I can modestly pretend to be, instances of this power of Presbyters have been produced, and such as Episcopalians have never yet been able to set aside. He subjoins, in the immediately follow­ing words, "but there are many instances in which, those who are manifestly superior to Presbyters are found to have used it". Let him give us, from the scripture, if he can, a single instance of ordi­nation by any ORDINARY FIXED officer in the Church, that was of an higher order than that of Presbyters. It is certain, though we have exam­ples, in scripture, of ordination by extraordinary and ordinary officers, by Apostles, by Evangelists, by Teachers, or common Pastors or Presbyters; yet, we no where read, throughout the New-testa­ment, of so much as one ordination by any person under the name or stile of a Bishop. If what I say does not consist with exact truth, the mistake may be easily shewn; as the sacred books are open to every one's view.

[Page 39] THE Dr. proceeds, "as to the case of Timothy, whom St. Paul exhorts, in his first Epistle to him, "not to neglect the gift which was given him by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery", it will not answer the purpose". And why? Because "in his second Epistle to him, he expresly asserts, that this same gift was imparted to him" by the laying on of his own hands". But how does the Dr. know, that the apostle Paul is speaking of one and the same gift, in both these texts? He should have given us some proof of his knowledge, as to this point; for it is far from being certain, that the same gift is spoken of in these different Epistles, wrote at different times. Some of the best writers think it most probable, that diffe­rent gifts are meant in these passages. But should it be supposed, not granted, that the same gift is spoken of in both texts, and that this gift was the power communicated by ordination, how does it appear, that it was given by "the laying on of Paul's hands" only, and not by "the hands of the Presbytery" as truly? It is as positively said, in the first Epistle, that it was given "with the lay­ing on of the hands of the Presbytery", as it is, in the second, that it was "by the laying on of Paul's hands". What then? Says the Dr. "observe the difference between BY and WITH. Timothy re­ceived this 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". Notably said! An irrefragable argument truly! The distinction the Dr. here makes between the just import of the prepositions, meta, and dia, is altogether ground­less, and could be contrived for no other reason [Page 40] than to serve a present turn. These prepositions are commonly used, in the New-testament, as carrying in them the same force. An observable instance of this we have in the 15th chap. of the Acts. In the 4th ver. it is said of Paul and Barnabas, that "they declared all things God had done [meta] with them". In the 12th ver. the same thought is thus expressed, they "declared what miracles and wonders God had wrought a­mong the Gentiles [dia] by them". The prepo­sition, meta, in the 4th ver. has exactly the same force with the preposition dia in the 12th ver. and might, with equal propriety, have been rendered by, as it is in the 12th ver. An instrumental effi­ciency is the thing meant in both places. Many more instances might be brought of the like use of these prepositions, but that it would take up more room than can be here spared. The Dr's sug­gesting, that holy orders were conveyed to Timo­thy, solely by Paul's hands, in virtue of the force of the preposition dia; while, in virtue of the force of the word meta, with, nothing more is imported, by the imposition of the hands of the Presbytery, than their concurring with, or approbating the apostle Paul's act, which wholly communicated the power, is nothing better than an arbitrary inven­tion to support a sinking cause. In this view of the matter, any private members of the Church might have "laid on hands" in Timothy's ordi­nation, with as much pertinency as it's Presbyters. It cannot, with the least shadow of reason, be sup­posed, that an inspired Apostle would have called in a number of Presbyters to join with him in the sacred solemnity of "imposing hands", if they had not a right, as officers in the Church of Christ, to perform this action; and their performing it is a [Page 41] sure argument of their right to do the thing in­tended by it, that is, separate a person to the work of the Gospel-ministry: As they that have a right to apply water in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the holy Ghost, have a right to baptise; and they that have a right to set apart bread and wine, and distribute it to the people, have a right to administer the Lord's supper.

I CANNOT help observing here, if it had been in the Dr's power to have turned us to a text of scripture, in which it is declared, that the ministe­rial gift was given "WITH [meta] the laying on of the hands of the EPISCOPATE, he would have triumphed in it, as a decisive argument in his favor. And should it have been objected, that this gift was also said to be given "BY [dia] the laying on of the hands of Paul", and that, in con­sideration of the peculiar force of the preposition BY [dia] HE it was that conveyed the gift; but that the EPISCOPATE only signified their concur­rence in the affair; I say, should such an objection have been made, I doubt not, it would have been attributed to a "wrangling captious disposition", not to say any thing worse.

IT is added, in the next following words, "St. Paul could have ordained without their concur­rence, but the imposition of their hands would have been altogether unavailable without his". We say, on the contrary, and our bare word carries as much convincing weight with it as their's, that this Presbyterian-consistory might have ordained Timothy without the apostle Paul, as he might have done it without them; and, in either case, the ordination would have been valid to all the [Page 42] purposes of the Gospel-ministry. If the passion of shame, excited in the Dr. had operated with a little more strength, he would not, by "repeat­ing things which have been so frequently said by others", have made it necessary that we also should do the same.

HE has seen fit to say only two things more, in support of the peculiar unalienable right of Bishops, in the appropriated sense, to ordain.

THE first is, that "no instance of ordination, performed by meer Presbyters, can be found in the Church for several ages. Aerius & Colluthus, in the fourth Century, seem to have been the first con­trivers of ordinations of this sort". So we were told in a book, intituled "a modest proof of the Government settled by Christ and his Apostles in the Church", published here and dispersed about forty years ago; which was soon answered by the late worthy Dr. Wigglesworth, and in so masterly a way, in his "sober remarks", that this bluster­ing pretence has lain dorment ever since; and it would have been more to the Dr's honor to have suffered it to continue in this state of oblivion, than to have revived it with only a bare mention of it, and refering his readers to "Hooker's Eccles. Polity, and Arch-Bishop Potter's very excellent discourse of Church-government". Epiphanius was the first that found fault with Aerius, stigmatising him as an Heretic. And why did he thus condemn him? Was it only or meerly for his opinion concerning the parity of Bishops and Presbyters? Far from it. He zealously opposed the lawfulness of PRAYING FOR THE DEAD. Epiphanius was a stickler for this rank superstition, now coming into practice, [Page 43] and could not bear to have it exposed. The He­resies therefore he taxed Aerius with, were the IDENTITY of Bishops and Presbyters, and the un­lawfulness of PRAYING FOR THE DEAD; Here­sies, as Dr. Wigglesworth writes, ‘of much the same nature, and Epiphanius's confutation of them both equally learned and satisfactory: For it is observable, that, in the same place, where he condemns that monstrous Heresy of the Identity of order, he fairly confesses, that, by the two orders of Presbyters and Deacons, all Ecclesiastical offices might be performed. To this I shall only add the words of the learned Dr. Stillingfleet, who says, if Aerius was an Heretic for holding the Identity of order, it is strange that Epiphanius should be the first man that should charge him with it; and that neither Socrates, Sozoman, Theodoret, nor Evagrius, before whose time he lived, should censure him for it. And why should not Jerom have been equally animadverted upon, who is as express in this as any man in the world.’ * There was no need, nor any reason, to join Colluthus with Aerius; for he did not act in the capacity of, what Episcopalians would call, a meer Presbyter, in the business of ordaining; but as a Bishop. Dr. Stillingfleet has proved, from Blondel's apology, that he was a Bishop of the Meletian party in Cynus, and is supposed to have been ordained a Bishop by Me­letius.

As the Dr. has been pleased to say, "no instance of an ordination by meer Presbyters can be found [Page 44] in the Church for several ages", we might natu­rally conclude there are numerous examples of Episcopal ordination in these several ages. We should take it kindly to have pointed out to us so much as ONE instance, within the long period of an hundred and fifty years from Christ, of an or­dination by any Bishop, in any part of the christian world; meaning by a Bishop, an officer in the Church of a superior order to that of Presbyters. I have lately been looking over the extracts I made twenty years ago, from the fathers of the two first Centuries, containing every thing in their writings that might be thought to have relation to the pre­sent controversy; and I don't find a single exam­ple of an ordination by Bishops, in the appropri­ated sense, within the time before specified. If the Dr. would present us with one from his own know­ledge, or by communication from the convened body that appointed him to write, it would be, to me, a great favor, as hereby I might fill up an essential vacancy in my extracts, and render them quite perfect: And, besides it's being a gratifica­tion to me, it would be a vast help to the Episco­pal cause, and, in a good measure, justifie the Chal­lenge, prelatical writers sometimes triumphantly make, calling upon their opponents to give an in­stance of Presbyterian-ordination for some Cen­turies.

THE other thing, with which the Dr. finishes what he thought proper to say upon the head of ordination, is, that "from this time, [the fourth Century] until after the beginning of the refor­mation in the sixteenth Century, no instances wor­thy of notice occur to favor ordination by Presby­ters". He had before said, Aerius and Colluthus [Page 45] were the first contrivers of ordination by Presby­ters; so that, according to him, there were no in­stances in this kind until the fourth Century, the age in which they lived. How does this agree with the account of Eutichius, who says, "that the twelve Presbyters constituted by Mark, in the See of Alexandria, chose out one of their number to be head over the rest, and the other eleven, laid hands on him, and blessed him, and made him Patriarch"?—Or with the account, Jerom, more ancient than he, has given us of the same fact, saying, "at Alexandria, from St. Mark to Hera­clius and Dionysius, Bishops, the Priests always took one out from among themselves, whom they set in the highest seat, and called Bishop, just as an army makes an Emperor, or as if the Deacons should chuse one out of their number, and call him an Arch-Deacon"? These are instances that are to be met with in most writers on our side of the question. A great variety of cases also, in proof of Presbyterian-ordination, within the time specified by the Dr. may be seen in Dr. Stillingfleet's Iren­icum, pag. 374. and onwards. He is egregiously mistaken likewise in saying, that, from the fourth Century, until the beginning of the reformation in the sixteenth, "no instances worthy of notice occur to favor ordination by Presbyters". What he may think worthy of notice I cannot tell; but ordinations, in this kind, were common many ages before the reformation he speaks of, and as worthy of special notice as any Episcoapal ones since.* I [Page 46] would here ask the Dr. in the words of that emi­nently learned man, the late reverend Mr. Thomas Walter of Roxbury, ‘whether the Vaudois of Piedmont were not much ancienter than two hundred years? Leger has sufficiently demon­strated their antiquity, and proved, that the Waldenses were long before the time of Peter Valdo, which name (as they are now called Vaudois from the word Vaux, that signifies a valley) belonged to them as inhabiting the vallies of the Alps. We will take their cha­racter and history from a sworn enemy of their's, from Claudius Sesselius, the Arch-Bishop of Turin, in a book which he wrote against them. There he tells us, that the seat of the Wal­denses took its rise from a most religious person, called Leo, that lived in the time of Constantine the great, and who, detesting the covetousness of Pope Sylvester, and the immoderate bounty of Constantine, chose rather to embrace poverty with the simplicity of the christian faith, than with Sylvester to be defiled with fat and rich benefices; and that all they who were seriously [Page 47] religious, joined themselves unto them. Also Requerus Sacco, the celebrated inquisitor, quoted by the Jesuit Cretzer, in his Bibliotheque of the fathers, asserts, that among all the sects there is none that has been so pernicious to the Church of Rome, as that of the Leonists, because it is the most ancient, and has continued longest: For some affirm, that it began in the time of Sylvester, and others say, in the time of the Apostles. The Fryar Belvedoras, excusing the Missionaries for their not converting one of these Waldenses, assigns this reason for it, that their Heresie was too firmly rooted for any to be able to do good among them: They of the Valleys have been always, and through all times, accounted Heretics.* So that, upon the whole, the Dr's "uniform practice of the Church for fifteen hundred years", is as destitute of evi­dence from antiquity, as the necessity of Episcopal ordination is from the scriptures.

HE now comes to the last branch of the Epis­copal office, "imposition of hands in confirmati­on"; concerning which, after explaining the na­ture and design of this rite, he says, "the Church of England declares, that it hath been a solemn, ancient and laudable custom, continued from the Apostles time". And here his reasoning is emi­nently curious. "If this custom has been from the Apostles, it must have been practised in their time; for, in the language of the schools, the terminus à quo is in the time of the Apo­stles. And it can with no propriety be said to have been continued from their time, if it com­menced [Page 48] after it". Demonstrably argued! But to what purpose? May it not be true, that this was a custom neither in the Apostles days, nor within the truly primitive times, though it be granted the Church of England says "it continued from the Apostles times"; and if so, that it was their judg­ment, in consequence of the Dr's learned reasoning, that it was in use by the Apostles themselves? Is infallibility the peculiar priviledge of this Church? Will it ascertain the truth of a disputed fact, to say the Church of England affirms it to be one? Some farther proof is necessary. The Dr. seems sensible of it, and goes on to "see what information the scripture gives us, relating to this subject". And he particularly mentions three texts to his purpose.

THE first is, Acts 8. 14—17. which gives an account of Peter and John as sent to Samaria, who, when they were come, "prayed for them that they might receive the holy Ghost; and laying their hands on them, they received the holy Ghost". These words, says the Dr. "exactly describe confir­mation as practised in the Church of England, and there is hardly room for a possibility of applying them to any thing else". It is as evident as words can well make it, that the imposition of hands by the Apostles, spoken of in this text, was for the im­partation of the holy Ghost in MIRACULOUS GIFTS. For it is said of Simon the sorcerer, ver. 13. that he "wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done"; and, in the 18th ver. that "when he saw, that, through the laying on of the Apostles hands, the holy Ghost was given", that is, a power to do those miracles and signs, "he offered them money, saying, give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the holy [Page 49] Ghost", that is, the ability of working wonders▪ Will the Dr. in sober seriousness, say, that there is any likeness between the imposition of a Bishop's hands in confirmation, and this laying on of the Apostles hands, as to it's use and end? Was any miraculous power ever conveyed, in this way, by any Bishop of the Church of England to any one his hands were laid upon? Does any Bishop, since the days of Popery, pretend to impart this power? Why then is this text brought in proof of the doctrine of confirmation? Might it not be rea­sonably thought, that prejudice itself could not find a possibility of applying it to this purpose?

THE second text is that in Acts 20. 7. which contains, says the Dr. "another instance of confir­mation in the disciples at Ephesus, on whom, "after they were baptised", St. Paul "laid his hands, and the holy Ghost came upon them". He has here shamefully stopt short in the middle of a sentence, keeping out of sight a necessary part of it. For it follows immediately, and in order to finish the sentence, "and they SPAKE WITH TONGUES, and PROPHESIED". Is this fair? Does it carry the appearance of that impartial uprightness, which becomes every honest writer? Can any imaginable reason be assigned for his thus curtailing the text, but only this, that if he had given it in whole, it would have been, at once, visible to his readers, that it was nothing to his purpose? And this will always be the truth, until it appears, that baptised persons, upon a Bishop's laying his hands on them, are able to "speak with tongues, and prophesie".

THE last text is that in the Epistle to the He­brews, chap. 6. ver. 2. where, it's author, among other things, speaks of "the laying on of hands". [Page 50] We read of the Apostles, as "laying on their hands" in the following cases; in ordination, in healing the sick, and in conveying miraculous powers; but in no other that I can recollect at present. In whichsoever of these senses "the lay­ing on of hands" is here understood, it makes no­thing to the Dr's purpose.

HE takes notice of two objections against what he had offered, from scripture, in proof of this rite of confirmation.

ONE is, that "these instances prove only what was actually practised by the Apostles, but not that this rite was intended to be of standing use to the Church in all ages". And, in reply, he round­ly affirms, that "confirmation was practised by the IMMEDIATE successors of the Apostles, and has been UNIVERSALLY CONTINUED through all the ages of the Church, until within these two Cen­turies"; and that this "must be confessed by all that have the LEAST ACQUAINTANCE with Eccle­siastical history". This is not the first time the Dr. has discovered his want of knowledge in the ancient writings; nor the first time he has, with great assurance, declared that to be true, which o­thers know to be false. It is well known to those, who are tolerably versed in antiquity, though the Dr seems quite ignorant of it, that NO INSTANCE of confirmation is to be met with, in any of the writings of the fathers, until towards the close of the second, or rather the coming in of the third Century, I now tell him what may appear a new and strange thing to him, that Tertullian is the oldest father who speaks of this rite of confirma­tion; and I could tell him of several other super­stitious [Page 51] rites that were, by this time, brought into practice. And if he will be at the pains to consult Mr. Pierce's vindication of Dissenters, or the dissen­ting Gentleman's answer to White, he will find, that confirmation, in those days, was always per­formed, not as it is in the Church of England, but IMMEDIATELY after Baptism.

THE other objection the Dr. considers is, "that from the instances of confirmation [he should have said, of the laying on of the Apostles hands] re­corded in scripture, the effects of it appear to have been miraculous; and as the power of miracles has long since ceased, this rite is now useless, and ought not to be continued". But, says he, "the solution of this objection is not difficult". How then does he solve it? Why, by cautiously avoid­ing to say any thing upon it that is really to the purpose. For though he says, miraculous gifts were imparted by the imposition of the Apostles hands, and other gifts also of a different nature, meaning hereby "the gracious assistances of the holy Spirit, without which it is as certain now, as it ever was, that no man can fulfil the conditions of the Gospel-covenant"; yet he does not venture to go on, and affirm, that either of these gifts are imparted by Bishops to those, upon whom they lay their hands in confirmation; or that Bishops have, or pretend to have, in these days, this power of communication. And if they have no power to impart the holy Ghost, either in miraculous gifts, or gracious assistances, why should they use that rite or ceremony by which the Apostles did this? "Might they not as well, to speak here in the words of an excellent writer,* stretch themselves [Page 52] upon the dead body of a child, in imitation of Elisha; or, make ointment with spittle for the cure of the blind, in imitation of our Savior; or, anoint the sick with oil, in imitation of the aposto­lic Elders; as pray, and lay their hands on those who were baptised, in imitation of Peter and John, who did this to the Samaritan converts ONLY that they might receive the miraculous gifts and powers of the holy Ghost"?

I SHALL finish what I have to say, upon this head of confirmation, by addressing to the Dr. in the language of the above quoted author to Mr. White, ‘By the order of your common prayer, all persons baptised, when they come to compe­tent years, and are able to say the Lord's prayer, Creed, and ten Commandments, and the answers of the short Catechism, are to be brought to con­firmation. The Bishop having asked, whe­ther they renew the solemn promise and vow which was made in their names in baptism, upon their answer, we do, proceeds hereupon to declare, in the most solemn man­ner, even in an address to God himself, that he has vouchsafed to regenerate these his servants by water and the HOLY GHOST, (note: Not by water only, but also by the HOLY GHOST) and to give them the forgiveness of all their sins: And laying his hand upon each particular per­son, he CERTIFIES him by that sign of God's favor and gracious goodness towards him. I pray you, Sir, in the name of God, inform me, what warrant has the Bishop to pronounce a man's sins ALL FORGIVEN, and himself RE­GENERATED by the HOLY GHOST, upon no o­ther grounds than his being able to say the short [Page 53] Catechism, and declaring that he stands by his baptismal engagements? Will you say that this is the christian doctrine concerning the terms of acceptance and forgiveness with God?—Are there not multitudes who call Christ their Lord, and publicly profess to stand by their baptismal covenant, whom yet he will reject with abhor­rence at last? You will then inform me, Sir, how his Lordship, upon this meer profession and promise, presumes to declare to almighty God, and to ASSURE the person, that he is REGENE­RATED, FORGIVEN, and without all peradven­ture in a state of favor with heaven! The ex­pressions, you must acknowledge, are couched in absolute and strong terms▪ Nor do I find that there is any intimation, that their forgive­ness depends upon their care to keep, and to live up to, their baptismal engagements. No: But though their whole life hath hitherto been scandalously corrupt; yet upon their being able to say the Lord's prayer, &c. the Bishop so­lemnly pronounces a most absolute pardon over them; appeals to almighty God that he hath forgiven them all their sins; and lest this should be too little to satisfie the doubting sinner, and quash his upbraiding conscience, he lays his hand upon his head, and CERTIFIES him, by that sign, of God's favor and goodness to him.—To me, Sir, I assure you, this appears, I do not say a very shocking, but I must say a very unaccoun­table solemnity; and should be glad to know how to reconcile it to the reverence you owe to God, or to the faithfulness and charity due to the souls of men.—Whether the continuance of this ceremony, in it's present form of admini­stration, be either for the honor of the admini­strator, [Page 54] or for the benefit of the Church?—Whether it hath not an apparent tendency to cherish a delusive hope, and to speak peace to such persons as are not, by the christian cove­nant, entitled to peace? I, with all humility, leave to the consideration of those whom, I thank God, it more immediately concerns than my self; who are to watch for souls as those who must give an account to the GREAT SHEP­HERD, who will shortly come; before whom it will be a tremendous thing to have the immortal souls of THOUSANDS required at their hands.*


ANSWER to SECTION III. which declares, the Church in AMERICA, without an Episco­pate, is necessarily destitute of a regular Go­vernment, and cannot enjoy the Benefits of Ordination and Confirmation.

THE design of the Dr. in this Section, is, to set before the Public the "wretched con­dition" of the Episcopal Churches in the Colonies "for want of Bishops". And it's lamentably bad state lies in this, pag. 27. that "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".

As to confirmation, it is acknowledged, they must be in want of it without Bishops, because they only can perform this piece of service, con­formably to the established order of the English Church. But this, though a "great grievance", is yet passed over without "enlargement", as not being suted, I suppose, to the Colony-taste, and the other "more important points of Government and Ordination" immediately proceeded to, and [Page 56] distinctly considered. I shall follow the Dr. in his own way. Only, before I come to take notice of what he has offered upon these "more important" heads, I shall not think it needless to make the two following remarks.

THE first relates to these words, pag. 27. "ac­cording to the doctrine and belief of the Church of England, NONE have a right to govern the Church but Bishops". It is added, in a marginal note here, "the reader will observe, that only such authority is spoken of as is purely Ecclesiastical, and peculiar to the officers of the Church. The King's supremacy, as expressed in article XXXVII, is maintained by the Church in America, in as full and ample manner as in England". What I would observe here is, the difficulty, I may rather say the impossibility of conceiving how it should be be­lieved, that "NONE but Bishops have a right to govern the Church", while it is, at the same time believed, that the "KING is the supreme Governor of it", according to the article refer'd to, which declares, that he hath the CHIEF POWER, the CHIEF GOVERNMENT in all Ecclesiastical causes. The King's supremacy in the Church means no­thing short of this, that he is ‘vested with all power to exercise all manner of Ecclesiastical jurisdiction; and that Arch-Bishops, Bishops, Arch-Deacons, and other Ecclesiastical persons, have no manner of jurisdiction Ecclesiastical, but by and under the King's Majesty, who hath full power and authority to hear and determine all manner of causes Ecclesiastical, and to reform and correct all vice, sin, errors, heresies, enor­mities, abuses whatsoever, which by any manner of spiritual authority or jurisdiction ought, or [Page 57] may be lawfully reformed.* Bishops there­fore, are so far from being "the ONLY Governors of the Church", that they are nothing more than subordinate rulers, dependent on the King, who, by their own acknowledgement, is placed over them as their SUPREME head. The plain truth is, as to authority, "purely Ecclesiastical", there is no such thing in the Church of England. Whatever au­thority it's Clergy, whether superior or inferior, are vested with, it is, in all it's branches, both granted and regulated by the state, and absolutely under it's controul; insomuch, that, be their spiritual powers as you please, they have no right, by the constitution of the Church, to put them into ex­ercise, but in the precise way that has been pre­scribed to them; nor can they do it in any one instance. No Bishop in England, not all the Bi­shops united in a body, with all that plenitude of power that has been derived to them in a direct line from the Apostles, have a constitutional right to make the least alteration in the established form of worship, ordination, or discipline. They are [Page 58] restrained within certain bounds, beyond which they have no authority, and can no more exercise it than any common Layman. This is the "doct­rine and belief of the Church of England"; and yet, according to the doctrine and belief of this same Church, as the Dr. says, "NONE have a right to govern it but Bishops". He may, perhaps, find it difficult, upon tryal, to make both parts of this contradiction true. The short of the case is, Bi­shops, with the whole Church-Clergy, are CREA­TURES of the state, and the Church itself a PAR­LIAMENTARY Church. The dissenting gentle­man, in his answer to Mr. White, has set this mat­ter in a strong point of light. Says he,* ‘You need not be informed, Sir, that all the Clergy of this Kingdom, with all the Bishops at their head, have not the least authority to enjoin one ceremony or rite of worship; or to either esta­blish or annul one article of faith. No, but all power and jurisdiction is lodged chiefly in Lay-hands; it is solely in the KING and PARLIA­MENT, and the Clergy are to act in all things under their direction and controul. The KING and PARLIAMENT are in truth the real Fathers, Governors, or Bishops of this Church: These only have power to make or unmake forms and rites of worship, and do AUTHORITATIVELY instruct and prescribe to the Clergy what they are to believe—in what manner, and to whom the sacraments are to be given—what prayers they are to offer up—what doctrine to preach—who are to be admitted to the Episcopate or Priesthood, and who to be refused—by what ceremonies, prayers, and exhortations they are to be set apart, and consecrated to their office.—These, with every other circumstance relating to [Page 59] religion and the worship of God, which is AU­THORITATIVELY prescribed or enjoined in your Church, you know, Sir, not the Bishops and Clergy, but the KING with his PARLIAMENT, are the ONLY persons who have AUTHORITA­TIVELY enjoined and prescribed them. The Clergy of the whole land, in convocation assem­bled, cannot so much as attempt any canons or constitutions without the KING'S licence,—yea, so far Sir, were the Bishops and Clergy from having any hand in the first forming our present established Church, or in ordering it's rites and articles of faith, that it was done not only WITH­OUT, but in actual OPPOSITION to them. For in the 1st of Queen Elisabeth, the PARLIAMENT ALONE established the Queen's supremacy, and the Common-prayer-book, in spite of all opposi­tion from the Bishops in the house of Lords; and the Convocation, then sitting, were so far from having any hand in those Church-acts for reformation, that they presented to the Par­liament several propositions in behalf of the Tenets of POPERY, directly contrary to the pro­ceedings of the Parliament. Hence, Sir, I think you must be absolutely forced to own (what I know gentlemen of your robe do not care to hear) that the Church of England is really a PARLIAMENTARY Church; that it is not pro­perly an ALLY, but a MERE CREATURE of the state. It depends intirely upon the acts and authority of PARLIAMENT for it's very essence and frame.’

THE other remark, though not essentially im­portant, may yet be worthy of notice. It's design is to point out a great and manifest difference be­twixt [Page 60] the complaint as made at the head of this Section, and in the paragraph some words of which we have been considering, and it's vindication after­wards. The ground of complaint, as there speci­fied, is this, the Church of England in America, being without Bishops, must, for that reason, "be without government and ordination": Whereas, the justification of this complaint does not proceed upon the supposition, either that they have "no government", or can have "no ordination"; but that their government without Bishops is incom­plete and insufficient, and that ordination cannot be had without difficulty, danger and expence. No government, and that which is incomplete; no ordination, and ordination with inconvenience and charge, are quite different things. The com­plaint therefore should not have been made in ab­solute terms, as it's illustration is attempted in a restained mitigated sense only. There would not then have been a disagreement betwixt them, as there certainly is as they now stand. Let it be re­membered, it is only in the restrained sense of this complaint that I am called to consider it. Hav­ing observed these things, the way is prepared to go on.

THE Dr. begins with the affair of "Govern­ment", and says, ‘It is to be understood in a qua­lified sense. For where there is absolutely no government at all, there can be nothing but disorder and confusion; which, I trust, is not yet the case of the Church in America.’ The Church then, by this "qualified sense", mitigating it's distress, is not in that "wretched condition", one was led to imagine when it was said, "while without Bishops it must be without Government".

[Page 61] IT follows in the next paragraph, ‘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.’ If Presbyters may act "authoratatively", in mat­ters of government, though their authority should be "subordinate", the Church is in a still less de­plorable state than was represented by the com­plaint, as at first worded; especially, if the Bishop of London may "take cognizance of their Eccle­siastical matters". And it is evident he may, be­cause he has. That which has been may be again. But says the Dr. "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 he might have added, [Page 62] they can do but little with him, in point of disci­pline. The Church at home is, in this respect, in as lamentable a state as the Church in America, and it's "necessities" as loudly call for redress. The Liturgy itself supposes their discipline to be in a wretched condition. Why else is the Church taught, once a year, on Ash-Wednesday, "to wish it's godly discipline restored"? But, notwithstand­ing it's pious wishes, annually repeated, it remains still in a deplorably bad state, Episcopalians them­selves being judges. Says the learned Dr Whit­by,* "The Church of England observes no dis­cipline". The excellent Bishop Burnet, at the close of his history of the reformation notes, ‘There was one thing [we could heartily wish there were no more] yet wanting to compleat the reformation of this Church, which was the restoring a primitive discipline against scanda­lous persons; the establishing the government of the Church in Ecclesiastical-hands, and taking [Page 63] it out of Lay-hands, which have so long pro­phaned it, and have exposed the authority of the Church, and the censures of it, chiefly excom­munication, to the contempt of the nation; by which the reverence due to holy things is, in so great a measure, lost, and the dreadfullest of all censures is now become the most scorned and despised.’ I shall add here the complaint of a noted high Church-writer upon this head. ‘Discipline, says he,* is lost, and will not be per­mitted by the state; which, by virtue of conge d' Eslire's, Quare impedits, prohibitions, &c. have made themselves the sole and ultimate judges, not only of all Bishops and Churches; but of their excommunications, and every exercise of their spiritual jurisdiction.’ The plain truth is, the constitution of the Church, at least in the affair of discipline, is in a miserably defective, if not ruined, state. It greatly wants amendment; and unless it should vastly differ in America from what it is in England, Bishops would be of little service with respect to discipline. The Church may, perhaps, do as well without them, as with them.

THE Dr. says farther, "Tryal has heretofore been made what could be done by commissaries".—And why might not commissaries supply the place of Bishops, at least in regard of discipline? Per­haps, it will be found, upon examination, that Bishops can do little more than they might be able to do. "But their usefulness (as it follows) upon the whole appeared to be so inconsiderable, that none have been appointed for near twenty years". Possibly, the reason of their not being useful was owing, not to the uselessness of the office itself, but [Page 64] to it's not being filled with those who were duly qualified for it. This, I believe, is the exact truth with reference to the last commissary the Church had in these parts, and I know not but the only one it ever had. He was a native of England, and sent from thence an utter stranger to the people here. The Bishop of London could not therefore be imposed on by "ample credentials", relative to his character, from this part of the world. And yet, he was so far from being superior to his bre­thren, that some of them, I know, would have tho't it a dishonor to be compared with him. Some­thing of his just merit may be learned from the affair of Hopkington, as published by Dr. Mayhew, in one of his pieces on the dispute about the con­duct of the Society for the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts. If no more care is taken as to the personal qualifications of Bishops, should they be sent, I will venture to prophesie, that, in less than twenty years, even the Episcopal-Clergy themselves will be heartily sick of them.

THE Dr. pag. 30. divides the government of the Church into "two branches", taking in both "the Clergy, and the Laity". But, before he comes to apply this division to the case of the American Church, he interposes a few things which must not pass unnoticed.

SAYS he, pag. ibid. ‘What the just penalties of obedience are, we must learn from the nature of the Church itself.—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 is certainly true of [Page 65] the Church, considered, in it's proper sense, as "a kingdom that is not of this world". But it is really astonishing, that he should make spiritual censures the utmost effect of the power of the Church of England. He must be very ignorant, if he did not know, that an ‘excommunicated member is delivered over to the civil arm to humble and chastise him; is disabled from asserting his na­tural rights, from being a witness▪ from bring­ing actions at law, and, if he does not submit in forty days, a writ shall issue forth to imprison him.* It follows, "Excommunication, how­ever it was dreaded in the purest ages of Christi­anity, has lost much of it's 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". I cannot affirm, that the Church of England in the Colonies have not admitted those to the Gospel-privileges from among us, whose moral conduct was an hindrance to their being admitted to them in our Churches; but this I will say, on the contrary, that no one, in like circumstances, was ever received from Epis­copal Churches into any of our's; and I dare ven­ture to engage; that this will never happen, unless we should become corrupt to a degree far beyond what has ever yet been our case. The Dr. goes on, ‘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, although supported by the de­clarations of heaven, on the subject of Church- [Page 66] discipline. Nay, a man would be generally e­steemed to be either wrong-headed, or mean­spirited, 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 for it.’ It is readily acknowledged, the discipline of the Church is held in contempt by multitudes. Infidels and Libertines laugh to see how it is exercised, while serious good people are pained at heart. And it would, in truth, be a shame for a man to speak in it's defence: But whose fault is this? If so sacred a matter as the discipline of Christ is managed by the Church in a contemptible manner, and is permitted to be so, year after year, without any attempt for redress, why should it be thought strange, if Libertines treat it with sneer and ridicule? This is no other than might reasonably be expected. Just occasion is given for it. You know, Sir, to use here the words of the dissenting Gentleman,* that ‘some of the most sacred acts of spiritual jurisdiction, it's solemn censures and excommunications are exercised in the Church of England by unconsecrated and meer Laymen. These hold the Keys, open or shut, cast out or admit to it, according to their sole pleasure. The Chancel­lors, Officials, Surrogates, who administer the ju­risdiction of spiritual Courts, and determine the most important spiritual matters, such as deliver­ing men to the devil, &c. frequently are, and, by express provision of law, always may be Laymen. And truly, Sir, I greatly pity you Gentlemen of the Clergy, that some of the most tremendous and [Page 67] solemn parts of your sacred office, such as Ex­communications, Absolutions, &c. you are forced to perform, not only according to, but sometimes, perhaps, directly against your own judgments, as you are authoritatively directed and command­ed by these Lay-persons. Forced, I say, to do it, notwithstanding what you urge about your own concurrence; for if you refuse to concur, you are immediately liable to suspension ab officio et beneficio; and if you continue obstinate, to be excommunicated your own selves.’ You know also, that in the Church of England spiritual cen­sures may be bought off with money, or exchang­ed for it. ‘May not, says the dissenting Gentle­man,* a grievous sinner, according to her consti­tution, be suffered to COMMUTE? To have par­don for money, and to skreen himself by a round fee from the stroke of the Church's rod? Yea, when he is going to be delivered, or actually is delivered, into the hands of the devil, and satan has him in keeping, will not an handsome sum presently pluck him thence, and restore him to the Church's soft and indulgent bosom again?’ What a mockery of religion is this! How pro­phane an abuse of the discipline Christ has insti­tuted! "Thy money perish with thee", said the apostle Peter, upon a like occasion. This most scandalous practice can be justified, neither by the scripture, nor primitive antiquity. There is not a word to be found in either of this prophane commu­tation.—You cannot but know farther, what is still, if possible, more shameful, that the vilest sinners are suffered, in your Church, to partake of the sym­bols of Christ's body and blood. Says one of the [Page 68] best and strongest writers against the Church,* ‘are not some of the most prophane and aban­doned of men, Rakes, Debauchees, Blasphemers of God, and Scoffers at all religion, often seen upon their knees around your communion-table, eating the children's bread, and partaking of the holy elements to qualifie for a Post? Dare your ministers refuse them! No, they dare not refuse the most impious blasphemer the three kingdoms afford, when he comes to demand it as a quali­fication for an office in the Army or Fleet. And if, in any other case, the Priest denies the sacra­ment to the most infamous sinner dwelling in his Parish, if the man, upon an appeal to the Eccle­siastical court, can secure the favor of the Lay-Chancellor, he may securely defy both the mini­ster and the Bishop to keep him from the Lord's table. The Chancellor's determination shall stand in law, though CONTRARY TO THE BISHOP'S; and the minister be liable to a suspension for re­fusing compliance; and if he is contumacious, and will not give the man the sacrament, even to excommunication itself.’ As this is the real state of the Church of England's discipline, it is no wonder "a man would be esteemed wrong-headed, if he should profess much reverence for it". Instead of revering "Ecclesiastical authority", as exercised in the established Church, it ought rather to be lamented over as giving but too just occasion for it's being slighted and condemned.

THE Dr. now comes to the point in hand, the discipline of the Church under an American Episco­pate. And he enters upon it with a frank, honest acknowledgment, though it totally subverts all that [Page 69] he has afterwards said. His words are,* "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". And yet, it is proposed, that this very thing, which cannot RATIONALLY BE ATTEMPTED", should not only be attempted, but carried into effect. It is said indeed, "no at­tempt of this nature will be made respecting the LAITY, under an American Episcopate. The dis­cipline of the Church, so far as it relates to the PRIVATE MEMBERS, will be left as it is".—But then, it is added, "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". But why should the discipline, directed to by the laws of the Church, be confined to the Clergy, while the Laity are left without re­straint? Judge ye that constitute the Public, whe­ther this is reasonable? Whether it consists, in any tolerable measure, with the Gospel-institution of discipline? Is not godly discipline as needful for the Laity as the Clergy? Are the Church-Clergy so much worse than the Laity, that the latter may be left to themselves, while "a strict discipline shall be established for the former? What would the Dr. have the world think of the Episcopal-Clergy, by placing them in so unfavorable a light? Besides, are not Bishops, as successors to the Apostles, as much vested with authority to govern the Laity as the Clergy? And why should their apostolic au­thority be thus limited by a meerly human esta­blishment? Especially, as the Dr. himself makes it one main article of his complaint, that "the [Page 70] PEOPLE, being sensible of the Clergy's want of power, without an Ecclesiastical superior, find them­selves free from all restraints of Ecclesiastical au­thority"; intimating the expediency of their being "governed by those who have proper authority, and that, without this, the body is without strength, and liable to be destroyed". It is really surprising, when Bishops are pleaded for as NECESSARY in order to discipline, that they should not be suffered to exercise it, in so important a branch as that of the government of the Laity! One would not have expected such a proposal from Episcopal Clergy­men.

PERHAPS, it will be said, the lamentable state of the Church's discipline respects the Laity only. It would therefore be in vain to attempt it's resto­ration in regard of them; though it may reasona­bly be attempted with respect to the Clergy. But this is a meer pretence. If there is any force in the argument taken from the wretched condition of the Church's discipline, it is equally strong against it's being established for the government of either. For it is equally lame, lax, and ineffectual respect­ing both. It's ruined state, in regard of the Laity, has been already pointed out. I would now say, notwithstanding all the godly discipline of the Eng­lish Church, many ignorant, loose, vicious men, are vested with the Priest's office, and permitted to act in it. The Public is called upon to attend to a few words, from the excellent Bishop Burnet, re­lative to the Church-Clergy. They are intro­duced in this solemn manner,* ‘I am now in the 70th year of my age, and as I cannot speak long to the world in any sort, so I cannot hope for a [Page 71] more solemn occasion than this of speaking with all due freedom, both to the present and suc­ceeding ages: Therefore I lay hold on it to give a free vent to those sad thoughts that lie on my mind both day and night, and are the subject of many secret mournings. I dare appeal to that God, to whom the secrets of my heart are known, to whom I am shortly to give an account of my ministry, that I have the true interests of this Church before my eyes, and that I pursue them with a sincere and fervent zeal.’—The words themselves I would bring to view are as follow,* ‘Our Ember weeks are the burden and grief of my life. The much greater part of those who come to be ordained are ignorant to a degree not to be apprehended by those, who are not obliged to know it. The easiest part of knowledge is that to which they are the greatest strangers; I mean the plainest parts of the scriptures, which they say, in excuse of their ignorance, that their tutors in the Universities never mention the reading of to them; so that they can give no account, or at least a very imperfect one, of the contents e­ven of the Gospels. Those who have read some few books, yet seem never to have read the scrip­tures. Many cannot give a tolerable account even of the Catechism itself, how short and plain soever. They cry, and think it a sad disgrace to be denied orders, though the ignorance of some is such, that, in a well regulated state of things, they would appear not knowing enough to be admitted to the holy sacrament. This does often tear my heart. The case is not much better in many, who, having got into orders, come for institution, and cannot make it appear, that they [Page 72] have read the scriptures, or any one good book, since they were ordained; so that the small mea­sure of knowledge upon which they get into holy orders, not being improved, is in a way to be quite lost; and then they think it a great hard­ship if they are told▪ they must know the scrip­tures, and the body of divinity better, before they can be trusted with the care of souls. These things pierce one's soul, and make him often cry out, Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away, and be at rest! What are we like to grow to? In what a case are we to deal with any adversary, Atheist, Papist, or Dissenters, or in any sort to promote the honor of God, and carry on the great concerns of the Gospel, when so gross an ignorance in the fundamentals of re­ligion has spread itself so much among those who ought to teach others, and yet need that one teach them the first principles of the oracles of God. This same pious and learned Bishop has also given us the sentiments of Arch-Bishop Leighton upon this head in the following words, "He looked on the state the Church of England was in with very melancholy reflections, and was very uneasie at an expression then much used, that it was the best constituted Church in the world. He thought it was so with relation to the doctrine, the worship, and the main part of our government. But, as to the administration, both with relation to the Eccle­siastical Courts, and the Pastoral care, he looked on it as one of the most corrupt he had ever seen. He thought we looked like a fair carcase of a body, without a spirit, without that zeal, that strictness of life, and that laboriousness in the Clergy that became us.* To the like purpose the excellent [Page 73] Mr. Pierce complains upon this head. ‘The Parishoners, says he,* in a very few places have that power, which, CYPRIAN says, belongs chiefly to the people, of CHUSING WORTHY PRIESTS, or REFUSING THOSE THAT ARE UN­WORTHY. If a Rector is to be placed in a Parish, the Patron of the living writes a letter to the Bishop, and recommends what Clergyman he pleases to be put into it. The Bishop cannot re­fuse the person thus recommended; and so the Parishoners, whether they will or no, are com­mitted to the care of that Presbyter, chosen by a stranger, and, it may be, a notoriously wicked person. It might, perhaps, seem incredible a­broad, if I should assert, that, in the Church of England, the best reformed Church, as they themselves boast, in the world,—the right of Patronage is bought and sold; and that it is not reckoned simony, nor any crime at all, for a per­son to buy that right, or the next presentation of a living, provided it be not void at the time. Hence ignorant fellows, if they are but rich, often get the fattest benefices. And when they have got the livings, they are not bound to take care of the flock themselves; it is enough if they leave so troublesome a work to any sorry Curate, who will do it cheapest. Nay, sometimes the mini­ster shall have the income of two, three, or more parishes, who will not vouchsafe to take the pastoral care of one.’ He adds from Bishop Burnet, ‘what can we say, when we find often the poorest clerks in the richest livings? Whose in­cumbents, not content to devour the parsimony of the Church, while they feed themselves, and not the flock out of it, are so scandalously hard in their [Page 74] allowance to their Curates, as if they intend­ed equally to starve both curate and peo­ple. Mr. Pierce observes yet farther, they who have procured themselves benefices may, in a manner, live as they please. Several of our present Bishops, of eminent learning and piety, who would be glad to proceed against vicious Clergy-men, and turn them out of their livings, find themselves hindered by our laws from doing it. Hence our nation abounds with dissolute Clergy-men, the shame of their Country, and the holy function.’ I may subjoin to what has been offered from the above writers, that a very great part of the Episcopal-Clergy are only Curates, meer Underlings, hired to do the work which, in all reason and conscience, ought to be done by o­thers; and at so low a rate too, that, notwithstand­ing the riches of the Church, they are, many of them, by reason of their poverty, made "contemp­tible and base before all the people".

THUS miserably lax is the Church's discipline respecting the Clergy; and it's method of admi­nistration is such, that, while this continues, it will be as vain a thing to attempt a reform in regard of the Clergy, as the Laity. The government of the former is in as ill a state, as the government of the latter; and this, notwithstanding they have so many Bishops at their head, super-intending and directing their conduct: And no wonder, as the affair of discipline is in the hands of Chancellors, rather than Bishops. Says the Bishop of Hereford,* ‘If there be any thing in the office of a Bishop to be challenged peculiar to themselves, certainly it should be this, (excommunication) yet this is [Page 75] in a manner quite relinquished to their Chancel­lors, Laymen, who have no more capacity to sentence or absolve a sinner, than to dissolve the heavens or the earth—The Chancellor takes upon him to sentence not only Laymen, but Clergymen also brought into his court for any delinquency. And in the court of Arches, they sentence even Bishops themselves.—He adds, I remember when the Bishop of Wells, hearing of a cause corruptly managed, and coming into court to rectifie it, the Chancellor Dr. Duck, fairly and mannerly bid him be gone, for he had no power to act any thing; and there­withall pulled out his Patent, sealed by this Bishop's Predecessor, which frightened the poor Bishop out of the court.’—The establishment of discipline here must therefore be different from what it is at home, or it will be as truly incomplete with a Bishop at the head of the Clergy, as it is at present without one; and as insufficient for their government, as the government of the Laity.

THE Dr. goes on to represent the necessity of esta­blishing a strict discipline in regard of the Clergy. But what he has offered is far less weighty than one would have expected in an affair he seems to lay so great stress upon. He considers the Church-Clergy as either virtuous or vicious, and, in either case, says, "the want of Bishops to super-intend and govern them, is obvious at first view".

SAYS he, in case of their being virtuous, ‘if they have NO NEED of a Bishop to keep them to their duty, yet some cases will arise, in which his direction will be useful—and many cases, where­in his support and encouragement will be need­ful— [Page 76] and in all cases, his friendship and patronage will give life and spirit to them in undergoing the difficulties, and in performing the duties, of their function.’ But what is all this to the af­fair of DISCIPLINE, the grand point in view? The Dr's business here was, to shew it to be NECESSARY that STRICT DISCIPLINE should be established with respect to the Clergy; and he begins his ar­gument with a case, wherein it is NOT NEEDED AT ALL. Is this pertinent to the proposed subject of debate? Might he not as well have left out what he has here said, as being little to the pur­pose? Besides, the advantage here represented by the mission of a Bishop is rather imaginary, than real. Was there now a Bishop in whatever part of America he would chuse, the Clergy would not­withstanding be variously distant from him some hundreds of miles; insomuch that but few of them could reap much benefit either by his direction, encouragement, or patronage; very little more, and with very little less difficulty, than if he was in England.

As to the Clergy of a vicious character, the Dr. goes on to say, "it is more immediately necessary, on account of these, that Episcopal Government should take place in America" And why? The following considerations are mentioned.

"THE process of carrying on an accusation, and afterwards of supporting it, at so great a distance, must be tedious and difficult, and, in some cases, may cause those to escape punishment who really deserve it". Is not this a just representation of a process at home, though there are Bishops there, and the case may be carried on without a plea for [Page 77] delay on account of this "great distance"? Have not multitudes "escaped punishment" by this means, who richly deserved it? And is not this the very reason that Episcopalians themselves, as well as Dissenters, have often given, why there should be a reform of the administration of discipline in the English Church? Have they not long complained of the difficulty, tediousness and expence, occasion­ed by the SPIRITUAL COURTS, and their manage­ment by Lay-chancellors? And this would be the complaint here, notwithstanding the presence of a Bishop. The Dr. indeed says, "the case would be different under an Episcopate; as then for any grievance of this nature, the Church would have an easie and effectual remedy". Has not the Church this "easie and effectual remedy" at home, under the government of Bishops? And yet, this grievance continues, and there is no prospect, at present, of it's being removed. And the case would probably be much the same here, unless the established mode of discipline should be so changed, as to be quite different from what it is in England. But, if an alteration is to be made, it is infinitely reasonable, it should first take place at home, where it is most needed. When it is effected there, it will be time enough to desire it here.

ANOTHER consideration the Dr. mentions is, "if a Clergyman shall disgrace his profession in an open and scandalous manner, a Bishop residing in the Country might suspend him immediately". Why don't the Bishops do it at home, as scandalous Clergymen are not uncommon there? Besides, Commissaries might be vested with the power of suspension; and it is possible those might be found, who would exercise this power with as much wis­dom, impartiality and faithfulness, as Bishops.

[Page 78] IT is added, "and if, upon tryal, the case should be found to deserve it, he can proceed to deprive him of his benefice, and not only silence and deprive him, but excommunicate him from the society of Christians". Observe, the case must be TRIED be­fore the suspended Clergy-man can be deprived, silenced and excommunicated. But where is this case to be tried? Can it be tried any where, con­formably to the mode of the established Church, but in a SPIRITUAL COURT? To this court it be­longs to hear the case, and, if it appears proper, to order the sentence of deprivation, or excommuni­cation. It can be done by this court only; and, should the suspended Clergy man be able to procure the Chancellor's judgment in his favor, he need not fear the whole power of the Bishop, should it be exerted against him. Now, this spiritual court must be erected here, or the case must be carried home to some court there. If it is to be carried and supported at home, the complaint of "tedi­ousness and difficulty" will remain in full force. If a court is erected here, it must be quite changed from what it is in England, or there will be still tedious difficuly, and great expence; insomuch that, I doubt not, Episcopalians themselves would soon be as earnest in their desires to be delivered from it, as they now are to have Bishops.

IT is observed still farther, "the Clergy's being under the eye of their Bishop will naturally tend to make them, in general, more regular and dili­gent in the discharge of the duties of their office". If their being under the eye of the omnipresent, omniscient God, will not make them regular and diligent, it is a vain thing to expect that their be­ing under "the eye of their Bishop" should do it. [Page 79] It certainly has not this effect at home; and it is not probable this would be the effect here. Be­sides, it must be by the help of a very strong figure that they can be said to be under "their Bishop's eye, so as to be much influenced by this conside­ration, when, by far the greater part of them, are fixed in cures, some fifty, some an hundred, and some two or three hundred miles from him; as they must continue to be in America, unless the Church here has many more Bishops than have ever yet been talked of.

IN fine, it is said, "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" The reformation of vicious Clergy-men is not so easily effected. The Bishops at home find this to be a sad truth. And no good reason can be given, why it should be otherwise here, though the Clergy had one or more Bishops at their head to govern them. As to the "dis­placing" unreformed Clergy-men, it has long been complained of in England, as one of the greatest difficulties; and the difficulty would be much the same in America, under the same mode of admi­nistring Church-discipline; and there can be no other, unless the established constitution is departed from. And if it may in one instance, it may in another; and so on until it has quite lost it's pre­sent form.

I HAVE now taken notice of every thing the Dr. has said, in favor of an American-Episcopate, up­on the head of discipline, and cannot but think, it will appear, that he has very much failed in what he [Page 80] undertook to prove. The sum of what he has offered, and of what has been replied, is this;—He has honestly declared, as "the restoration of primitive discipline cannot RATIONALLY BE AT­TEMPTED, no attempt of this nature will be made in regard of the Laity". And might he not, for the same reason, in full force, have said, neither will it be attempted with reference to the Clergy? But though it can NO MORE RATIONALLY BE AT­TEMPTED in regard of the one than the other; yet the establishment of strict discipline, under an Episcopate, is pleaded for in regard of the Clergy, to the intire neglect of the Laity. And why? Because, if the Church has a Bishop here, he can "immediately suspend a scandalous Clergyman". And might not a Commissary do the same as well? And yet, this is all within the reach of a Bishop's power, in consistency with the Church's constitu­tion. For, as to "depriving, silencing and excom­municating a supposed scandalous Clergyman, the Bishop can do neither of them, before TRYAL of the case in some SPIRITUAL COURT; in conse­quence of which, the Clergyman may be acquitted, and his suspension taken off, even in opposition to the remonstrance of the Bishop himself. As to "direction, encouragement, patronage, and refor­mation, by being under the eye of the Bishop", they do not belong to the affair of "strict discipline"; so that however useful a Bishop might be in these respects, it is nothing to the purpose in that view of the argument it was proposed to be here considered. The Public will now judge be­tween us.

THE Dr. proceeds to the affair of ordination, the want of which, he says, is "a greater disadvantage, [Page 81] if possible, than the want of a regular Government". And why? For the following reasons.

ONE is, "the danger of crossing the Atlantic, without which none can be admitted to holy orders". And the danger, in this respect, he re­presents, "however trifling in it's appearance to some" to have been so formidable "in the appre­hension of others, that it has deter'd them from attempting to obtain ordination". He then tells us, "the voyage has proved fatal to near a fifth part of those who have gone for holy orders". I have never heard of more than two to whom the sea proved fatal. If eight more lost their lives by sickness, it is no more than they might have done if they had tarried at home. But be the "danger" great or small, there is good reason to believe, the going to England for ordination is rather an ad­vantage, than disadvantage to the Church in regard of it's being supplied with ministers. As to my self, I should esteem it a happy circumstance in the case, was I inclined to take orders; and many I have mentioned it to have declared themselves to be of the same mind. And, were it proper, I could name some Candidates for the ministry a­mong us, who have been tempted, by professors of the Church to receive Episcopal ordination, with this motive in special, that they would have a FINE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE ENGLAND. It should seem from hence, as though going home for orders may be considered by Episcopalians, either as an advantage, or disadvantage, according to the turn they have in view to serve for the present.

ANOTHER reason is, "the expence of the voyage, which cannot be reckoned at less, upon [Page 82] an average, than one hundred pounds sterling to each person", And this is aggravated by the con­sideration, that "the expence must 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 sufficient sum for the purpose". I candidly suppose the Dr. had never seen, or, if he had, did not remember at the time of writing, the account of the Society, published in 1706, in which they say, pag. 74. "all young Students in those parts (meaning the Colonies) who desire Episcopal ordination, are invited into England; and their EXPENCES in coming and re­turning are to be defrayed by the Society". Ac­cording to this invitation, there is no hardship, as to the article of "expence", that can be complain­ed of, unless absurdly, but by the Society them­selves; and they can have just reason for com­plaint, as the money they expend in this way is as properly bestowed, as in support of the Mis­sionaries themselves.

A FARTHER reason is, that, "under these dis­couragements, there has always been great diffi­culty in supplying the Church with Clergy-men, and there always must be". Several instances are mentioned in illustration of this, taken from Pen­sylvania, New-Jersey, and North-Carolina", where, as "Governor Dobbs informed the Society, in 1764, there were but six Clergymen, though there were twenty-nine Parishes, and each Parish con­tained a whole County". The Dr. very justly observes, "other reasons may have contributed to this want of Clergymen"; but it is really strange he should say, "it has always been principally ow­ing to the great difficulty of obtaining ordination". [Page 83] If this has been so "great a difficulty", how comes it to pass, that the New England-Colonies have all along been, and now are, supplied with Mission­aries; insomuch, that there are few, if any Chur­ches, but are provided with them? Why should the difficulty be so very great in other Provinces, and none at all in the New-England ones, or so incon­siderable as to be easily got over? If it was in it­self a real and great difficulty, it's operation would be as powerful in these Colonies, as the other. Other causes must certainly be sought for, in order to account for, this want of a supply of ministers. And it is easie to point them out; more especially in regard of "North-Carolina", which is far more sparingly provided for, than either Pensylvania, or New-Jersey.—The Society has comparatively neg­lected this Colony, though it's circumstances most importunately called for their pious and charitable care, being destitute of the means of salvation in a degree that was never known in the more northern parts of America. These, though in as full enjoy­ment of the worship of God, and the instituted means of grace, in all their towns and villages, as the people in England, have yet been partakers of the Society's charity in such large measures as to incapacitate them from giving so full a supply of Clergymen to the other Colonies, as perhaps they might have been willing to have done. The view indeed of the Society has been to episcopize these Colonies, and this they have made their great business; insomuch, that should it be accomplished, IT WILL THEN HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO THE HAPPY ISSUE INTENDED, as we are told, in plain words, by the Bishop of Landaff, in his Society-sermon February 1767. The Society's capacity of supporting Missionaries is not inexhaustable; [Page 84] upon which account, it is no wonder they cannot provide for such numbers in the more northern Colonies, and send a needful supply also to the southern ones. This, I believe, is, at bottom, the chief reason of the want of Missionaries in the places complained of—Another reason may be, the want of care in the Church-people to educate their sons for the ministry, owing, I suppose, to their appre­hending they would not, in this way, be so well provided for, as they should desire.—Another rea­son still may be, the insufficiency of the temptation, in most cases, to influence Candidates among us to go over to the Church. They have a better pros­pect in continuing with us, than they would have should they change sides, and become Episcopali­ans.—I shall only add, I never heard the difficulty of obtaining ordination given as a reason against going for it, by any one in this part of America. And I am persuaded, it is now mentioned chiefly in a speculative way, as carrying with it a plausible ap­pearance to those who are strangers to the Country.

IT is farther mentioned, as a "more glaring dis­advantage, that it is impossible a Bishop, residing in England, should be sufficiently acquainted with the characters of those who go home from this Country for holy orders". And to this cause it is attributed, "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". It is said, notwithstanding the ‘greatest care and circum­spection have successively been exercised by the Bishops of London, instances have happened, wherein persons have produced in England ample written Credentials of their pious and orderly [Page 85] 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 the charge of the souls of others, in prosecution of which work, they have acted as if they had not, or imagined that they had not, any souls of their own.’ Had such a charge been publicly exhibited against the Society's Missionaries by those of the Presbyterian or Congregational per­fusion, it would, however respectable they might be for their virtuous integrity, have been diregarded at home, and esteemed by Episcopalians here a sure argument of inveterate enmity to the Church. But they can themselves freely say that, which, if others had only suggested, they would have bitterly ex­claimed against them. There may have been Mis­sionaries, whose character is here justly described; but, I believe, it would be found, upon examination, that they were natives of England or Ireland, and sent from home, from whence they must have had their ample Credentials, if they had any, and not from this Country. I know of none, who have gone from America, at least this part of it, to whom the above description can be justly applicable; nor am I, at present, inclined to think, it is strictly true in regard of any of them.

IN order to give the matter a still more plausible appearance, it is said, "in such a Country as Ame­rica, an artful man may sometimes be able to pro­cure testimonials in his favor, signed by a compe­tent number of such CLERGYMEN and others as a Bishop of London will not know how to object a­gainst". What there is in "such a Country as this", more than in other Countries, to favor a wicked art­ful man in procuring such testimonials of his pious [Page 86] and regular life as "a Bishop of London would not object against", the Dr. has not pointed out, and I am utterly at a loss to know his meaning here; but it is easie to know thus much, that he has shamefully reflected on the Episcopal-Clergy, by saying, that this artful man, whose life had been notoriously infamous in this Country, might be able to get a "competent number of them" to sign testimonials of his christian good conversation.—Nay, he makes his artful seeker of orders infamous to so high a degree of guilt, as even to FORGE testimonials in his own favor. And to this he at­tributes "the success of some adventurers from the Colonies, who have obtained ordination, and then returned to America to disgrace themselves, and the Church". It is strange to see, when men have an end in view their heart is set upon, what lengths they will go in saying those things, which, if said by others, would be attributed to the powerful in­fluence of imbittered hatred and malice. The Dr. has painted the Missionaries, some of them a least, in the blackest colors. They were never viewed, by the worst enemies the Church ever had, in a light so glaringly bad. It is very much doubted, even by these, whether an instance can be given of a single person, so infamously vile, as to go from America with FORGED CREDNETIALS, in order to obtain ordination. One there was who came from England with a FORGED LICENCE to preach; and he was as notorious a sinner as ever prophaned a pulpit; but we never heard, in this part of the world, of any one who forged Credentials from hence to come over with orders to officiate as a minister.

BUT if it should be supposed, that the whole of what is here said is exactly and literally true, might [Page 87] not the case be the same was there a Bishop in America? The greater part by far of those who would go to him for orders, would be as unknown to him, by reason of their great distance from his seat, as to a Bishop in England. He must there­fore depend upon testimonials from others, and these might be forged, or procured no one knows how; and there would be little less danger of it than there is now. It is certain, many notoriously wicked persons in England, vastly more in pro­portion than in America, have found ways, by forging testimonials, or by procuring them, to use the Dr's phrase, "God knows how", to get into holy orders; and this, though they are much near­er the ordaining Bishop, than most of those can be, in the Colonies, who may want, and go from them. And the like legerdemain might as easily be pract­ised here as there. I know of nothing, if it be supposed that men are abandoned to all sense of God and religion, to hinder it. Besides, Com­missaries might as well prevent this mischief as Bishops, so far as it can be prevented. And a Bishop of London would be no more in danger of being imposed upon by such infamous wretches, than a Bishop in America, if he would give orders to none but such as came recommended by a Com­missary. In this case, one must be a fool, or mad­man, should he forge testimonials under his name; because he would immediately be detected upon his returning hither.

UPON the whole, the Dr. appears to have been as deficient in his arguing upon the head of ordi­nation, as discipline. He does not pretend, in his reasoning, that the Church will be deprived of the benefit of ordination, should there be no Bishop [Page 88] in the Colonies. All he goes upon is the "danger and expence" that attend the obtainment of it; and that the Episcopal Churches would be in greater danger of having vicious Clergymen ob­truded on them. Enough, I trust, has been said to shew, that these are pretences, rather plausible in appearance, than carrying with them real and great weight.

BUT should the whole of what the Dr. has offered be allowed it's full force, without the least abate­ment, there is no other hardship, or difficulty, in the case, than what naturally results from pro­fessed principles, and must unavoidably follow up­on them, unless an establishment is purposely made in their favor. The only proper question therefore is, whether such an establishment, at such a distance from the acknowledged supreme head of the Church of England, especially in the present state of the American Colonies, may be thought wise, expedient, or politic? It appears to us such incon­veniences, or rather mischiefs, will be the atten­dants on it, as to make it no ways proper or fit. What these are shall, in it's due place, be particularly mentioned as so many reasons or objections against an American Episcopate.


ANSWER to SECTION IV. in which the unparalleled Hardship of this Case is repre­sented.

THE Dr. seems to think, that he has here a most "fruitful subject for declamation"; though he declines to "proceed in this way", and has it in design to "state arguments and facts for the consideration of the Public". If he had kept this design steadily in view, he would have given us less declamation, and more reasoning that was solid.

HE begins with "making an appeal to the con­sciences of men in behalf of the Church". And here, if he had fairly "stated the fact", he might easily have known, the question he puts could not have been answered in his favor, upon an impar­tial, thorow attention to it. The fact placed in it's true point of light is this. The greater part by far of the Episcopal-Churches, in those vastly ex­tended, and well inhabited, parts of America, reach­ing from Pensylvania southward, to Nova-Scotia northward, subsists chiefly upon the pious help of the Society at home, at the expence, it may be, of three thousand pounds sterling per annum;—they cannot have such Bishops placed at their head as [Page 90] they would desire, at a much less additional annual expence of pious charity;—and, least going to England for ordination by a Bishop, conformably to Episcopalian-principles, should be discouraging, as it would be attended with charge, the Society has publicly invited into England all young Stu­dents in these parts, who desire holy orders; de­claring, THAT THEIR EXPENCE IN COMING AND RETURNING IS TO BE DEFRAYED BY THE SO­CIETY. This is the fact justly stated; and, in this view of it, I believe, no denomination of christians, under like circumstances, in his Majesty's domini­ons, or in any part of the earth, would think them­selves in the least injured on account of the expence attending the obtainment of ordination. Instead of crying out "persecution! intolerable griev­ance"! they would rather, if they had a just sense of obligation, feel the bonds of gratitude, and ac­knowledge they were kindly dealt with. There could be no room, in this case, to lament the ima­ginary hardship of "not being allowed a Clergy­man without paying a fine of an hundred pounds sterling on his admission to orders". And as to "the dangerous process that has proved fatal to a fifth part" of those who have entered upon it, it is really strange the Dr. should again bring it to view. It is no other than that common danger which thousands voluntarily expose themselves to, tho' they have nothing more in prospect, than the plea­sure of seeing foreign Countries. Besides, this was much more than an ordinary fatality; and may not happen again for hundreds of years. Surely, the Dr. must needs be at a loss for something weighty to say, or he would not have so enlarged upon this comparative trifle, and painted it in such hideous colors. And, notwithstanding this [Page 91] mighty grievance, I am verily persuaded, the grea­ter part of those who are desirous of holy orders, was it at their option, would much rather chuse to expose themselves to the danger of going to Eng­land to obtain them, than to be put into them here. The gratification of their curiosity, by being in England, and getting aquainted with Gentlemen of worth and learning there, would be a much stronger motive to excite them to go, than the danger of going would be to keep them at home.

THE Dr. in a flush of zeal, had spoken of the necessity of going home for orders as "persecu­tion". He seems, upon being a little more cool, to retract that word, as "the grievance in question does not arise from any positive exertion of civil power"; but still, it is "something as bad in it's natural consequences". And, being again sudden­ly fired, "questions, whether the worst persecuti­ons ever exterminated a fifth part of the Clergy in any Country"; as if accidental misfortunes, men, in all parts of the world, readily run the hazard of, upon motives far less important, than those go upon who desire holy orders, might be compa­red to a formal persecution designed to extermi­nate a whole Clergy, though it should take effect upon a fifth part only. The Dr. certainly forgot he intended to argue, or he could not have substi­tuted in the room of it, the meer flight of a warm­ed imagination.

HE goes on in the same extravagant strain, say­ing, ‘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 [Page 92] formally persecuted, is in a most wretched and deplorable condition.’ It may, on the contrary, be affirmed as a most unquestionable truth, and in much better agreement with the common sense of mankind, that the Episcopal Churches, in most of the Colonies, are favored and distinguished far be­yond any other Churches of whatever denomina­tion on the Continent, as the most of them, in such Colonies, are preserved in being by a vastly ex­pensive charity; on which account, instead of sigh­ing out groans, they have abundant reason for the most grateful acknowledgments.

He farther speaks of it as "an aggravation of their unhappiness, that it appears to be altogether unprecedented; they being singled out from all the people upon earth to be made the first exam­ple of it". If the Church was really in that wretched deplorable state" he would represent, and if it was owing to downright positive perse­cution, it is unaccountably strange he should men­tion it as "an unprecedented case", and describe the Church as "singled out for the first example of it". Did he never hear of the infinitely more distressed condition of great numbers that were deprived, fined, imprisoned, and, in other ways, most cruelly dealt with, in the days of those hard-hearted Arch-Bishops, Parker, Bancroft, White-gift, and Laud?* Did he never hear of any bar­barous [Page 93] acts passed in the Reign of King Charles II. subjecting multitudes of Clergymen and others to hardships and sufferings, not to be thought of with­out horror?* Did he never hear, what it was that [Page 94] occasioned the removal of our fore-fathers from their native land, to this part of the new, and then desolate world? That they fled hither, as to a place of safe retreat from the oppressive power of tyrannising Bishops; chusing rather to expose themselves to external hardships and dangers, sadly grievous, and extraordinarily trying, than wrong their consciences by submitting to meer human impositions in the worship of their maker?—Hav­ing now heard these things, if he never heard of them before, will he not suspect, whether the representation he has made of the "deplorably wretched condition" of the Church in America, is not a little romantic? Let it be supposed, to give his account it's full weight, that, in the course of sixty years, fifty-two persons have gone to England for orders, at the expence of one hundred pounds sterling each; and that ten of these were so unfor­tunate as to lose their lives in the adventure—Let it be supposed, that the Church will be still liable to the same danger & expence, without a Bishop.—Let it be supposed still farther, that this danger and expence may be looked upon as great a grievance, as, in the nature of the thing, it can be.—And after all, will the case be "an unprecedented one"? Is this "the first example" of a "condition so wretched and deplorable"? Is the expence of a few thousands in sixty years, to be compared with the heavy fines that have been imposed upon such multitudes, at one time and another, for a much longer space? Is this difficulty, attending the affair of ordination, to be set in competition with being silenced, turned out of livings, sent to filthy jails, and confined there to perish through poverty and misery, which has been the case of thousands?—To speak of a few comparatively small inconveni­ences, [Page 95] (to make the most of them) as arguing a "condition wretched beyond all precedent", is to "declaim", not to reason; and to do it too in a manner that is really ridiculous. I would ask the Dr. yet farther, are not the Dissenters at home, e­ven to this day, in a far worse condition than the Church now is, or ever was, here, if their case be considered in it's most aggravated height? What is an HUNDRED POUNDS sterling for FIFTY-TWO Clergymen each, in the course of SIXTY YEARS, in comparison with the HUNDRED THOUSAND pounds sterling, many times told, the Dissenters have paid, in that time, towards the support of the EPISCOPAL-CLERGY, besides maintaining their own? And what is a much greater grievance still, are they not, by "the positive exertion of civil power", deprived of their natural rights as men, by not being permitted, while they act conforma­bly to the dictates of their consciences, to sustain any post, either of honor or profit, in the kingdom of South-Britain? Perhaps, these hardships, being endured by Dissenters only, may be thought wor­thy of little or no notice. But Dissenters, to use the Dr's own words, upon another occasion, "have the same feelings, the same sensibility with other persons, and are equally affected with any suffer­ings". Upon the whole, it is highly extravagant, I might rather say, to a great degree ludicrous, to speak of the Church, in America, as "without a precedent", in point of grievance, should what has been said be considered, in all it's force, without the least abatement. But, if viewed in it's proper light, as accompanied with the mitigations, and lessenings that have been mentioned, it will appear, if at all a grievance, but a very light one; and so mixt with kindness as to give occasion rather for gratitude, than complaint.

[Page 96] THE Dr. having endeavoured to work upon the passions of the people, now comes to try his skill upon those in power. He begins with claiming it as the right of Episcopalians here to be "con­sidered as equal with the foremost, in every due expression of fidelity and loyalty". We won't con­tend with him, while he only makes them "equal", not superior, to the other denominations of men in the Country; who esteem themselves as strongly bound to fidelity and loyalty to the British Crown, upon the "principles of Christianity", as well as from "present interest and inclination". If he really meant no reflection, when he said, "no trumpet of sedition was ever heard to found from our pulpits—no words of sedition have been suffer­ed more privately to be sown in our houses", as he seems to declare in a marginal note, we will find no fault; though some are disposed to think, he would not have expressed himself in this manner, unless he had intended an insinuation, that some­thing of this nature had been done by others.

HAVING thus proclaimed the extraordinary loy­alty of the Church, he proceeds to the work of ex­postulation. ‘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 and stigmatized by the want of those religious privileges, which are granted to all other denominations of christians whatever, in the British dominions?’ Strangers to the real state of things in the Country would be naturally and obviously led, by what is here said, to imagine, that some great difference was positively made, by the Government at home, be­twixt Episcopalians in the Colonies, and other de­nominations [Page 97] of christians; favoring the latter, and putting some "stigmatizing" mark upon the for­mer: Whereas the truth is, they are allowed the same liberty with all other persuasions, and do, with as much freedom from molestation, worship God in the precise way they themselves are pleased to chuse. All the difference is, our principles do not hamper us with those objected difficulties, their's expose them to. He goes on, "in our petitioning for Bishops, all that we ask for our selves, is what has been freely granted to others, what has been refused to none else who have applied for it". We know of nothing that has been granted to others, and refused to none, but what is equally granted to them, and has never been refused. No deno­mination of christians in the Colonies ever asked, or desired, more than free liberty to serve God con­formably to the dictates of their consciences; and this liberty the Church enjoys, in common with all others. No; they are not upon an "equal footing" with their neighbours. So it should seem the Dr. thinks, by what immediately follows. Says he, ‘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.’ It may be perti­nently asked here, what institution of the Church is not enjoyed here, save only confirmation, which the Dr. has thought proper to pass over, leaving it out of the present debate? As to "discipline" and "ordination", he does not complain, as in justice he could not, of the real want of either; [Page 98] but the only complaint is, that the former is in­complete without a Bishop, and the latter attended with inconvenience. And is there no difference between NOT ENJOYING AT ALL these institutions of the Church, and enjoying them partially and with inconvenience? Besides, whence does it arise, that Episcopalians do not enjoy the institutions of religion as fully and completely as the other denomi­nations of christians? Can it, with the least appear­ance of reason, be ascribed to any peculiar favor the government has shewn to these denominations, to the exclusion of them? Far from it. It is the natural result from their own principles, and not at all owing to any distinction that has been made between them and other christians.

IT will, perhaps, be said here, if, according to the principles they profess, they cannot fully enjoy the institutions of the English Church without a Bishop at their head, why should they be denied one? I answer, for reasons that shall hereafter be mentioned, which, I would hope, will be thought sufficient by indifferent judges. In the mean time, I would only say, if the KING, who is acknowledg­ed by Episcopalians to be the head of the Church in America, as well as England, does not see fit, in his great wisdom, to favor them beyond any other of his subjects in the Colonies, as he must do by sending them Bishops, which, though spiritual offi­cers, are yet greatly expensive ones, why should they make such bitter complaints? It would not argue their being over-modest, if they esteemed him as good a judge of what was proper to be done in this case, as themselves. Possibly, he may think greater inconveniences would attend the settlement of an Episcopate, at so great a distance from him, [Page 99] than those that are consequent upon the present want of it.—Possibly, he may be apprehensive, it might prove an occasion of "bitterness, envy, anger, wrath, clamor, strife, and evil-speaking", those "works of the flesh", which are destructive of all true religion.—Possibly, he may fear some ill effects relative to the state.—But, whatever the reasons are, which restrain his Majesty from establishing Bishops in America, his wise pleasure should cer­tainly make them easie; especially, as they own him to be the supreme Governor of the Church.

IN aggravation of the Church's "unprecedented" hardship, the Dr. goes on to say, in "apostolic times", care was taken to form christians, as they increased, into "proper Ecclesiastical districts, and to appoint Bishops for each". If he means, that, as "the number of disciples was multiplied", they were "added to the Churches" in these and those places, which had pastors at their head; or were formed into new Churches with pastors over them, this is very true: And we heartily wish, that all the Churches in America had such Pastors, or Bi­shops. But if he intends, that christians were▪ in those days, "formed into districts with Bishops over them", in any measure conformable to the manner of the Church of England, or that which is intended for the Church in America, he is grosly mistaken. There were then no such districts or Bishops. And if we pursue the history of the Church, through the times that may, with any propriety, be called truly primitive, we shall meet with no instance of this kind; nor can an instance be produced, until there had "come a falling a­way first", and that "man of sin" began to be "re­vealed", who hath opposed himself to all that is [Page 100] called God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as God, has set in the temple of God, shewing that he was himself God".

THE Dr. by recuring to the "records of Pa­ganism and Mahometanism", to magnifie the neg­lect of the Church in America by his superiors in England, is both ungrateful and unreasonable.—He is ungrateful, as they have for more than sixty years been expressing their pious regards to it, by expending, at the lowest computation, thirty thou­sand pounds sterling to promote it's growth. And he is as unreasonable, in that, notwithstanding the discovery of so much concern for the Church in the Colonies, he would make them even worse than "Pagans", or "Mahometans", because they do not gratifie his fond desires in establishing an Episcopate here, after the mode of the Church at home. Let me take this opportunity to remind the Dr. once for all, that, as it lies with the KING, whether they shall, or shall not, have Bishops in America, all his complaints finally terminate on him: For this reason, I could wish he had ex­pressed more dutiful reverence towards his Sove­reign, than to charge him, as he does virtually, and in reality of construction, with treating the Church here with "UNPARALLELED HARDSHIP; PER­SECUTION, or what is AS BAD IN IT'S CONSE­QUENCES; yea, with NEGLECT SO GRIEVOUS as not to be PRECEDENTED", either by PAGANS, or MAHOMETANS. It is hoped, the Clergy of the Church of England, in their address to his Majesty, have spoken to him with more decency, and be­coming reverence.


ANSWER to SECTION V. assigning Rea­sons why the Church in America has been thus neglected.

THIS Section would have been wholly passed over, as we have no concern with the more immediate contents of it, but that the Dr. has, here and there, mixt with his reasons, why the Church has been so greatly neglected, some mat­ters of intelligence it may be fit to take into con­sideration.

THE first I would mention is thus expressed, "the propriety of sending a Bishop to these Colo­nies", that is, the Colonies that were settled by those who had an aversion to Episcopal govern­ment, "will be disputed by none". This is no­thing more than a rattle to please children with. If a Bishop is sent, will he have nothing to do in these Colonies? Will they not be part of his Dio­cess? Will not the Episcopal-Churches in them, at least their Clergy, be under his inspection and government? All that can be meant, by the "ac­knowledged impropriety" of sending a Bishop to these Colonies, is only this, that it may not be proper he should, at present, have his seat here. But still, he will be as completely settled at the [Page 102] head of the Episcopal Clergy, within these bounds, as in the other Colonies; and will have the same right of super-intending and governing them. So that, if his place of residence should not be here, his power will; and it will be the same, in all it's exercises, as in any of the other Provinces: Nor are we so destitute of foresight as not to see, that it will be thought as "proper", a Bishop should have his seat in these Colonies, as in any of the o­ther, whenever a fit opportunity, with promising circumstances, shall present.

ANOTHER piece of intelligence we are let into is, that however "negligent" and "stupid" the Episcopalians here have been, about the affair of an Episcopate in America, it has engaged the at­tention of their superiors at home for more than sixty years. "The 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 it's VERY EXISTENCE, at this day, in SOME OF THE COLONIES"; I say, this Society in particular has most heartily and vigorously employed it's pains in prosecution of this good work, by "making all proper representations of the case to Queen Ann in her day"; by "purchasing a house in New-Jersey, for the residence of a Bishop" some time after; by "obtaining an order from the Crown for a bill to be drawn, and laid before the Parlia­ment for establishing an American Episcopate; by attempting the same thing, with the same spirit, the next reign, and with an encouraging prospect of success": And the "venerable Patrons and Supporters of the Church in America", this same [Page 103] worthy Society, "have continued to keep sight of this great object, and have been WATCHING FOR SEASONABLE OPPORTUNITIES OF EXERTING THEMSELVES TO OBTAIN IT". Who now can be at a loss to know the true reason of the appli­cation of such vast sums of money, in those Colo­nies that stood in little or no need of such pious charity! Who can help yielding the full assent of his mind to this affirmed truth; that it is, in the opinion of Episcopalians here, and their superiors at home, an "indisputed impropriety" to fix a Bishop in the New-England Colonies, should the way be duly prepared for it!

I SHALL here add to the intelligence the Dr. has given us, that there never was a time, since the incorporation of the Society for the propagation of the Gospel, wherein such earnest and vigorous efforts were made, both in the Colonies and in England, to obtain the long wished-for blessing, an American-Episcopate. No pains have been wanting, no methods left untried, in order to bring this into event. The whole Clergy of the Church of England here are united in their endeavours; and, without all doubt, have been spirited hereto by instructions from those, in high dignity at home, who have promised their influence and assistance in an affair of so great importance. Surely the Dr. had no need to have taken up so much of the preceding section, in fetching arguments from the apostolic, and succeeding times; yea, from the records of "Paganism" and "Mahometanism", to excite in superiors there compassion towards the poor American Church, in it's "deplorable wretch­ed condition"; or rather to shame them for their neglect in taking so little care of it's interest. Per­haps, [Page 104] there never was a Church, in any christian Colony, in any part of the earth, that has had more done for it, or that has been the object of a more sollicitous concern in the minds of better friends, and more able Patrons. It must not be esteemed a matter of wonder, if we are so far alarmed, as to consider, and speak freely upon so interesting an occasion.—

THE last article of intelligence relates to the ex­ternal circumstances of the Bishop that is desired to be sent to America. "A seat has been pur­chased for his residence, at six hundred pounds sterling expence, in a convenient Mansion-house and lands, situate at Burlington in the Jerseys". And, as the Dr. declares elsewhere, pag. 108. ‘a fund has been established for this particular purpose, (the support of a Bishop) for more than half a Century past; and many worthy persons have contributed generously and largely to the in­crease of it. Says he, I can recollect, as I am writing, the following instances: Arch-Bishop Tennison, who has been dead upwards of fifty years, bequeathed to it one THOUSAND POUNDS sterling; Sir Jonathan Trelawners, 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 Os­baldaston, 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. If this stock is not [Page 105] sufficient for the support of a proper Episcopate in America, I imagine the difficulty of making it sufficient will not be great. For, as many have given liberally on the remote prospect of it's be­ing needed, it is not to be doubted but bene­factors will be raised up, when assistance shall be called for by a present necessity.

IT is unquestionable, from these passages, if a Bishop is sent to America, that such provision must be made for his support, as will enable him to ap­pear in all the grandeur of a Bishop in England. His place of residence, and manner of living, must exceed a common Clergyman's in proportion to his much more exalted station in the Church. Such Bi­shops were unknown in the christian world, in it's first days of purity: Nor do we read of them, until christians had grosly departed from that sim­plicity in living, which was their primitive glory. At so great a distance from apostolic times as the third Century, though corruption had then crept into the Church, Paul of Samosata, Bishop of An­tioch, and one of Cyprian's contemporaries, was deposed, among other things, for this, "that, hav­ing been poor before he was Bishop, he had after that grown very rich, born secular dignities, passed the streets with a train of attendants, and erected to himself a magnificent seat in the Church".* Nay, a good while after this, though the Church had grown still more corrupt, the fourth council of Carthage decreed, "that the Bishop shall have a little dwelling-house near the Church; that he shall have but course houshold-stuff and diet, and seek his reputation only by sound doctrine, and a good life; that he shall not spend his time in caring for [Page 106] his family, but be employed wholly in reading, pray­ing, and preaching the word of God".* And some of our reformers, of high distinction in the Church, have freely spoken against the opulence and gran­deur of Bishops. Says the good Arch-Bishop Cran­mer, in a letter to my Lord Cromwel, ‘Even at the beginning of Christ's professors, Diotrephes desired to have preheminence in the Church. And since, he hath had more successors, than all the A­postles had; of whom have come all those glori­ous titles, stiles & pomps, into the Church. But I would, that I, and all my brethren the Bishops, would leave all our stiles, and write the stile of our offices, calling ourselves the Apostles of Christ: So that we took not upon us the name vainly, but were so even in deed. So that we might order our Diocess in such fort, that neither paper, parch­ment, lead or wax, but the very christian conver­sation might be the letters & seals of our offices; as the Corinthians were to Paul, to whom he said, ye are the letters and seals of our Apostleship To the like purpose are those words of the famous Bishop Hooper, ‘They [the Bishops] know, that the primitive Church had no such Bishops as be now-a-days. If the fourth part of the Bishoprick remained unto the Bishop, it were sufficient; the third part to such as should teach good learning; the second part to the poor of the Diocess; and the other to maintain men of war for the safe­guard of the common-wealth, it were better be­stowed a great deal. For now it is ill used and bestowed for the greater part upon those that have no need of it.—If any man be offended with me for thus saying, he loveth not his own health, nor God's laws, no man's, out of which I am always [Page 107] ready to prove the thing said to be true.* Riches, if we may believe the word of truth, are attended with dangerous temptations; insomuch, that it is really a difficult, extremely difficult, thing for one possessed of them, to prevent his being "drawn aside by those lusts, which drown men in perdition". Men are too ready, if they are much raised above others in worldly circumstances, to grow big in their own ap­prehensions, to be haughty and imperious; treating those below them with insolence and comtempt. They are too apt to set their hearts "upon that which is not"; to live high, keeping sumptuous tables; to spend their time in ease and indolence, to the dissipation of their minds, and unfitting them for those spiritual exercises, without which they will have little relish for the things of God and religion. And, perhaps, this has been as common among the Clergy, as any other order of men; not excepting Bishops themselves. The excellent Bishop Burnet, sensible of this, in an address to his brethren, and successors in the Episcopal office, thus expresses himself, ‘I wish the pomp of living, and the keep­ing high tables, could be quite taken away. It is a great charge, and no very decent one; a great devourer of time, and will make you look too like the men of the world. I hope this is a burden to you; it was indeed one of the great­est burdens of my life, to see so much time lost, and to be living in a luxurious course, which might have been much better bestowed. I had not strength enough to break through that, which custom has imposed on those provided with plentiful Bishopricks. I pray God to help you find a decent way of laying this down. Riches [Page 108] and poverty are both extremes, neither of which seem sutable for Clergy-men. "Conveniency of food and raiment" for them, and their families, is rather desirable. More than this; to be sure, an abundance of the world will be dangerous to them, and greatly hurtful to the Church of God. This is a truth in fact, and known to be so. Christia­nity never suffered so much by all it's persecutions by Pagan-powers, as by the pomp and grandeur of the Clergy, especially of superior orders. The riches of the Church, under the Patronage of those Princes of the earth who were called it's "nursing fathers", have been it's ruin, by being the occasion, through abuse, of those numerous abominations, which have most shamefully defiled the temple of God. I am therefore free to declare it my hearty wish, that we may never have a Clergy, in the American world, for whose residence fine seats must be provided, and funds established to bring in an income much better suted to maintain offi­cers in a kingdom of this world, than that which is related to, and pertains to another, that is purely spiritual. And I wish this, not only in regard of the Episcopal-Clergy, but the Clergy of every de­nomination on the Continent; yea, the whole christian world.


ANSWER to SECTION VI. which says the present Juncture is apprehended to be favorable to the Episcopate in question.

THE Dr. here speaks of it as "the opinion of many wise and judicious persons, that the favourable opportunity", for establishing an Ame­rican Episcopate, "now presents itself"; an op­portunity, which "the circumstances of the nation have never, until now, afforded". But, what are these circumstances, which make the present, so favourable an opportunity? "The tumults of war have ceased, and the public tranquility restored, without any reasonable suspicion of a speedy inter­ruption". Was this never the case before, and within the memory of the Dr. himself? If he will only reflect a little, he may bring to mind a time, since he became capable of noticing facts, when "the circumstances of the nation" were so very like to these, that he will not find it an easie mat­ter to point out the difference. And are there "no reasonable suspicions of a speedy interruption of the present tranquility"? He herein appears a stranger, not only to the known disposition, and past conduct, of both France and Spain towards England, but to what they have been doing ever since the conclusion of the late war to strengthen [Page 110] their naval force, and put themselves in a capacity to break the present peace.—Again, "the greatest harmony subsists between our Mother-country, and most of the Colonies; the late dispute having been brought to a happy termination". It is true, the dispute, relative to the STAMP-ACT, has been hap­pily terminated. But has nothing intervened since, that has disturbed the harmony between the Mo­ther-country, and the Colonies? Are "most of the Colonies" quite satisfied with the doings at home, brought into effect with reference to them? One would think, by the representation here made of them, that the Dr. had been shut up from the world, and knew not what was passing in it. There is nothing more certain, than that "most of the Colonies" think themselves as nearly touched in their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS by the late Par­liamentary proceeding, as by the STAMP-ACT it­self; and they are every day groaning out their complaints; though they are resolved to do it in those ways that are legal. It is strange, that pre­judice itself, though speaking to promote a favour­ite-point, should publicly say, that "the greatest harmony now subsisted between the Mother-country, and most of the Colonies". No fact re­lated for truth was ever more distant from it—Farther, "the plan of an American-Episcopate has been settled, and adjusted in such manner, that the religious privileges of none can be violated, or endangered". By whom has this plan been settled and adjusted? We have no good reason to think, that it has been done by those, who have any con­stitutional-right to meddle, of their own meer mo­tion, with matters of this nature; and we shall see, in proper time, that, if it has been settled, it is not so adjusted, but that the privileges, even of [Page 111] Episcopalians, will be violated by it.—As to what follows, relating to "the happiness of having a Prince upon the throne, who is unquestionably disposed to promote the general interest of virtue and religion", the other denominations are as thankful as the Episcopalians can be; but do not look upon this an argument more favoring their cause than our's. We can chearfully rely on the impartial justice and goodness of the British Sove­reign, not in the least doubting his equal paternal regard to all his loyal Colonists of whatever class. We know not what "declarations he has made on the subject of an American-Episcopate"; but this we have abundant reason to believe, that he will do nothing in this matter, but what is wisely and kindly fitted to promote the real good of his sub­jects here, not considered separately, but in one collective view; which is all we desire.—These now are "the advantages," which, as the Dr. says, "peculiarly mark the present period." But they all, excepting the last, which is as favourable to us as them, may be justly looked upon as real disad­vantages, pointing out the present, as the most in­convenient juncture that could be pitched upon, for the accomplishment of the great thing desired.

THE Dr. now goes on to "other arguments for sending Bishops to America, never so urgent and forcible as at present".

ONE is, the "great increase" of professors of the Church. "In the former part of this Century, they were small and inconsiderable in comparison with the amount of their present num­ber". He is pleased to say, "that the Church of England in America contains now near a MILLION [Page 112] of members". This is more than once repeated in other parts of his performance; and the like account, we have been informed, has been inserted in the petitions, the Episcopal-Clergy have sent home to bespeak the interest of their superiors with reference to the mission of Bishops to the Colonies. It is surprising, they should publish it to the world, that their Church containts so great a number. They must certainly, in order to inhance the ac­count, reckon the NEGROE-SLAVES* among the [Page 113] members of their Church"; though not one in fifty of them know any thing more of Christianity, than those of the same color who live in Africa: Otherwise, it is not possible their account should consist with truth. In the two Provinces of Pen­sylvania and the Jersies, there are no more than three Episcopal Churches that support themselves. The Society, if we may depend on their abstracts, have but nineteen Missionaries. The Dr. says, there are, in these Colonies, a considerable number of Churches and Congregations without Clergy­men. It is reasonably supposed, these destitute Congregations, for much the greater part, are similar to the scattered handfuls of Episcopalians in some of our New-England towns, consisting, in some places, of three or four; in others, of half a dozen; in others still, of a dozen or fifteen fa­milies. However, that there might be no com­plaint that we are disposed to lessen their real number, we shall reckon them all as Congrega­tions equally numerous with those that have Mis­sionaries. Their number then, according to the Dr. will be forty-seven; which, with the three we before mentioned, will make fifty.—In the Pro­vince [Page 114] of New-York, there are three Episcopal Churches that subsist without help from the So­ciety. The Missionaries, by the abstracts, are eleven; and as the Dr. has said nothing here of destitute Churches, we shall take it for granted, that fourteen is the number of Episcopal Con­gregations in this Province.—In the four New-England Colonies, Connecticut, Rhode-Island, Massacusetts, and New-Hampshire, there may be three Episcopal Churches that are supported within themselves, though I certainly know of no more than two. The Missionaries, by the Society's account, are thirty. The members of the Church, settled here and there in towns, where there are no Mis­sionaries, may possibly make a number equal to six or seven Congregations that are supplied with Clergymen. The Churches then, in the New-England-Colonies, will be forty. According to this computation, which, I am persuaded, exceeds the truth, there are, in the seven Colonies, extend­ing from Pensylvania to the utmost northern bounds of the Massachusetts-Province, one hun­dred and four Episcopal Churches. Let it now be supposed, there are fifty families belonging to a Church one with another; which, I believe, Episcopalians themselves will think full allowance. Let it also be supposed, there are five persons to each family; which is again large allowance, as there are few families in which all the members go to Church: In some, not more than one goes; in others, not more than two or three. The a­mount then of all these professors of the Church is only twenty six thousand; a meer handful in compa­rison with more than a million persons, which, with­out dispute, live within these bounds. And, if we should take in Nova-Scotia, in which there are more [Page 115] of other denominations, than there are of Episco­palians, the number would not rise to more than twenty eight or twenty nine thousand. But we will allow thirty thousand. There is still wanting nine hundred and seventy thousand to make up the MILLION of Episcopalian professors we are told of. And where shall we find these? Are they to be found in the Colonies southward of Pensylvania? In all these, unless we reckon the blacks as members of the Church of England, we shall fall vastly short of the number that is want­ed; and the same must be said, should we take in all the whites of all the English West-India Islands. It is acknowledged, there are more Epis­copalians in Virginia and Maryland, than other denominations; but all their white inhabitants, together with those of the Carolinaes, and Georgia, even to Florida, will not make one half the num­ber that is wanting; as might be made to appear by surveys that have been taken of their numbers. But if we substract Quakers, Bapists, Presbyterians, and Roman-Catholics, which are numerous espe­cially in Maryland, and those also who make no profession at all, and attend no public worship after any mode whatever, [and surely it would be too shameful to reckon such as "members of the Church"] it is really questionable, whether the a­mount of Episcopal professors, in all these Colonies, will be more than about two hundred and seventy thousand. So that, confining ourselves to the A­merican Colonies, it cannot, as we judge, be sup­posed, with any probability of reason, that there are so many as one third part of that MILLION of "members of the Church" the Dr. has reckon­ed, not taking in the blacks So widely distant are our apprehensions from his, concerning this matter.

[Page 116] EITHER the Gentleman that made "a survey of the inhabitants in the Colonies and Islands, and a di­stribution of them into their several classes, in 1762", was egregiously mistaken, or the Dr. in his account from him, when he says, "of the whites, the pro­fessors of the Church were about a third part; the Presbyterians, Independants and Anabaptists, were not so many; the Germans and other denomina­tions amounted to more". There are no indepen­dants that I know of in any of the Provinces. The Presbyterians and Congregationists are perhaps as numerous as all the other denominations, Non-episcopal, put together; and these only are more than double the number of all the Episcopalian-whites on the American Continent; as could de­monstrably be made to appear, was it worth while to be at the trouble of making calculations, and exhibiting the grounds on which they are made.

THE Dr. to add force to his argument in favor of the mission of Bishops, would bring in the Ne­groes, "who have been found, says he, to be about eight hundred and forty four thousand". His head and heart are so filled with the notion of an Episco­pate, that he seems disposed to imagine it the best fitted mean for every good purpose that can be men­tioned. As he thought it proper to take notice of the poor Negroes, could he have hit upon nothing but an Episcopate for their relief? This, at best, is a far-fetch'd, round-about expedient; and would, probably be of little service, was it to take effect. Their forlorn case calls for a more direct and pow­erful remedy. As "sharers with us in the same common nature", have they not the same natural essential rights? And are not these outragiously invaded, while they are held in ignoble slavery? [Page 117] Are they not inhumanly trampled upon, while they are treated as though they were nothing better than so many beasts of burden? It is most horribly shameful, that so many of the human species, as good by nature as their masters, and that have as good a right to the FREEDOM OF MEN, should be bought and sold as though they were cattle; and dealt with as though they were an inferior order to dogs! If, instead of an Episcopate, for the be­nefit of these greatest of all sufferers in his Ma­jesty's dominions, an act of Parliament had been proposed to set them all free, or to prohibit the enslaving any more for time to come, or to restrain the cruelty of the Planters in their usuage of them, it would have been much more to the purpose. It is a dishonor to Englishmen, who esteem it their distinguishing glory, that they enjoy the fullest reasonable liberty, to make SLAVES, and in the most abject sense, of such amazing numbers of their fellow-men. It is an abomination highly worthy of a Parliamentary interposition. This would do the poor Negroes infinitely more service, than to settle an Episcopate over their masters, who can­not be supposed to have any tolerable degree of religion, while they thus palpably break in upon the most evidently plain laws of righteousness and goodness, to their eternal disgrace as reasonable moral agents. I have often wondered, nothing has been done in the Colonies to put a stop to the cruelly unjust practice of making slaves of the poor Negroes; especially, as they have, for some years, been sighing out the most bitter complaints against all tendencies towards their being enslaved them­selves. Is this to act a consistent part? Is it, in any equitable sense, doing to others as they would others should do to them?

[Page 118] THE last argument, "for granting an Ameri­can Episcopate", is taken "from the obligations of gratitude; a national sense of which ought, at this time, to have peculiar efficacy": As, "by a signal interposition of divine providence, the British arms in America have triumphed over all that opposed them, prodigiously extending our Colo­nies by new acquisitions, and securing them, not only by treaty, but by a total annihilation of that power on the Continent, whereby our former safety was chiefly endangered". What special connecti­on the victorious success of the British arms in America, under the blessing of providence, has with the establishment of an Episcopate here, is not so very easie to discern. It is readily owned, "every wise nation sees and acknowledges God in such events: and every religious nation will make some sutable returns to him for such extraordinary favors". And it is hoped, some such returns have been made. If not, the nation, including the Co­lonies, are justly chargeable with great ingratitude to that al-wise righteous being, who turned the late war so much in their favor. But, says the Dr. "the circumstances of things evidently point out two duties to our Governors, both of them im­portant in themselves, and of indispensible obliga­tion. One is, the further 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". By the "farther security and support of the TRUE RELIGION in America", the Dr. must mean, to make his arguing pertinent, the providing for the support of an Episco­pate, as an expedient for the security of the TRUE RELIGION, that is, the religion of the [Page 119] Church of England. Surely, his imagination has here got the better of his judgment. Is the reli­gion of the Church of England the only true re­ligion on the American Continent? Is religion, in none of the other forms, to be regarded? Were Episcopalians the only Colonists employed, under God, to effect the late glorious conquests? We do not esteem it a duty, much less an indispensible one, in consequence of these conquests, to provide for the security or support of the religion of Epis­copalians, any more than the religion of other de­nominations of christians in the Colonies. And of all denominations, the professors of the Church have the least to say upon the head of "farther support", as they are, in most of the Colonies, pro­vided for by the Society at home at an annual great expence.—As to the other duty, "the propagation of religion, in those places to which it has not been extended"; such a sense of it was impressed upon the hearts of the rulers, ministers and Laity, more especially in this Province, that proper measures were concerted, and Missionaries actually sent to the Mohawk-Country, to carry the gospel to them; but the whole design was made void, because it was not to be executed by professors of the Church, according to the Episcopalian mode. More may be said of this hereafter.

THE Dr. goes on, "as America is the region, wherein the divine goodness has been more im­mediately displayed in favor of the British nation; so America is evidently the very ground on which some sutable monument of gratitude ought to be erected". And what monument is this? In con­sistency with the course of the present argument, it must be the establishment of an Episcopate. [Page 120] How is this made out? After the following man­ner, if at all; "the honor of God is most directly promoted by public worship—that worship must be most acceptable to him, wherein the adoration of his creatures are regularly offered him, in the solemn offices of the purest and best religion—and the national religion must be supposed best to an­swer these characters in the national opinion". It is far from being true, that the religious adorations of the Church of England are the "purest and best", or that their worship is, on this account, "most acceptable to God". But, supposing this to be the national opinion, meaning hereby, the o­pinion of those in the nation, who are members of the established Church; what is the consequence herefrom? Says the Dr. "it naturally follows, that the state of the national religion here [in the Colonies] has a right, on this occasion, to the pe­culiar attention of those, who are entrusted with the direction of our public affairs". It needs something more than a bare affirmation to make this an undoubted truth. The other denomina­tions think they have as good a right, as the Epis­copalians, to the attention of those, who have the management of the public affairs; and, in many of the Colonies, it is thought, they have, in strict justice, a PECULIAR right. But, let it be supposed, that the PECULIAR right lies on the side of the Church of England;—what then? This Church, in America, without a Bishop, "is perishing for want of common necessaries; she has been long imploring relief under such diseases, [being desti­tute of a Bishop] as must prove fatal to her, if much longer neglected". What is the conse­quence? Her request must be answered, as a SUTABLE MONUMENT OF GRATITUDE for the [Page 121] late divine appearances in favor of the British arms in America. Heaven and earth are called upon to judge, whether this is unreasonable! This is the Dr's argument in full force, so far as it has any. Upon which I would ask, is it indeed a truth, that the Church of England, in the Colonies, "is in a perishing condition for want of necessaries"? Is it a real object of faith, that "her diseases are such as must prove fatal to her", if she is much longer with­out a Bishop? Surely, this representation of her case must be the effect of zeal, not conducted by knowledge. And, had not the Dr. been under the influence of an undue warmth of spirit, he would never have thought, much less have pub­licly said, that an AMERICAN EPISCOPATE, for the relief of the Church, under her diseases opera­ting to her speedy ruin, was that SPECIAL MONU­MENT OF GRATITUDE that ought to be erected in return for God's goodness; displayed in favor of the British arms in this part of the world. I scarce know how to speak upon the matter seriously, it is placed in so ludicrous a light Notwithstanding the "diseased perishing" state of the American Church, have not praises and adorations, accord­ing to the "purest and best" forms of devotion, been offered up to almighty God, in all the Episcopal assemblies on the Continent, for the marvellous interpositions of his providence, on our behalf, in the late war? If this is not the truth, they are far behind the other denominations of christians, whose religious thankful adorations have publicly been presented to the divine majesty on this ac­count, in their way, however short it may have fallen of the "better and more pure" mode of praising God in practice by the Church. There have also been NATIONAL religious adorations for [Page 122] this NATIONAL mercy; and, if they proceeded from truly thankful hearts, they are, in the ac­count of the sacred books, a sutable expression of gratitude. But the Church here is still in want of Bishops; and there is therefore still wanting the most SUTABLE MONUMENT OF GRATITUDE, for these favors of heaven. Grateful hearts, and well-ordered conversations, may possibly be as SUTABLE MONUMENTS, upon this occasion, as the settle­ment of an EPISCOPATE. If the Colonists, whe­ther Episcopalians, or others, have not, by this goodness of God, been engaged to love him with all their hearts, and to serve him with all their powers, no other return will atone for the want of this, not excepting there being an EPISCOPATE established here. This is what God mainly ex­pects; with this he will be pleased, yea, a thou­sand times more pleased, than with the mission of as many Bishops as can be desired. I appeal to heaven and earth for the truth of this.


ANSWER to SECTION VII. in which the Case of the American Heathens is particularly considered, and said to require an Episcopate.

WE are as fully sensible as the Dr. or any of the Episcopalians, can be, that it is "the duty of those whom the "day-spring from on high" has visited, to communicate this light to others, and, as they have opportunity, to give the knowledge of religion to those who are without it". We think, with him, that "the providence of God points out this general duty by the late events, more plainly and expresly 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"; nor the arguments that may be fetched from the "principles of worldly policy". These, and such like, powerful motives have often been urged upon our people, both publicly and privately. We do therefore most cordially join with the Dr. in every thing he has said to repre­sent the reasonableness, the indispensible duty of a pious concern for the aboriginal-natives of America, expressed in all sutable endeavours to aquaint them with "the gospel of the blessed God". The differ­ence between us lies in this, we do not think, that [Page 124] an Episcopate in the Colonies is so connected with this duty, but that it may very well be performed without one; nor do we believe that an Episco­pate is peculiarly pointed out by those events that have made the present, the most convenient time for extending the knowledge of the only true God, and his Son Jesus Christ, to these uttermost parts of the earth. The Dr. is of the contrary opinion. His principal aim indeed, in this section, is to shew, that our duty, in regard of the Ame­rican-Heathen, more especially in consideration of the happy events of the late war, requires an E­piscopate. His reasoning here takes in a variety of articles. They are comprehended in the fol­lowing summary, but just, representation. ‘From repeated trials, it appears, that there must be some more effectual way for the conversion of Savages, than has been yet taken. It was hoped that the conversion of Indians would na­turally introduce among them civility of man­ners; 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 among savage nations.—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, employed in collecting such intelligence, relating to this subject, as to enable them to form a proper plan for civilizing the nations of America, in order to their being christians.—But a variety of plans have been transmitted from this Country. The persons who have been consulted, have their particular prejudices and attachments. The things and places which one [Page 125] represents as expedient, are condemned by ano­ther.—To balance and adjust so many different representations would be a work of much time, and of course retard the execution of the gene­ral plan. A false step in the beginning might produce consequences that are fatal. But these difficulties would vanish, in a great measure, un­der an Episcopate. 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 requi­site.—Upon the whole, a Bishop is thought to be the most proper person to be entrusted with this super-intending influence, one therefore must be appointed and sent in order to a compli­ance with the duty, arising from the late victo­ries on the American-Continent.’ This, in sum, is the Dr's argument in all it's parts.

As to the first; "it's being generally agreed, that the most proper way for converting Savages, is previously to instruct them in the arts and man­ners of civil life"; it may be justly questioned, whether it exhibits the truth of fact. I am confi­dent it does not, if this "general agreement" is sup­posed to extend to the more northern Colonies. We are here pretty generally inclined to think, that the increase of temptations, from the arts and manners of civil life, would rather be an hindrance to their conversion, than a previously proper requi­site in order to it. The Indian-Natives have certain­ly been hurt, not served, by being put into the Eng­lish way of living. Many tribes of them, in the Massachusetts-Province, have, by this means, been so depopulated, that there are now scarce any re­mains of them to be seen. And I am fully per­suaded, [Page 126] the taking them off from the way of life they have been so long accustomed to, and getting them into that which is in use among us, would be an effectual method to put an end to their lives in the world. Nor is there any need of what is called civilizing them, in order to their embracing Christianity. Their being Savages, and living in a way different from what we do, is no reason why their conversion may not be expected, if sutable means are used with them. The design of the re­ligion of Jesus is to humanise, as well as christianise the soul, to meliorate the temper, to soften it's roughness, and of savage to make it meek and gentle. And this will be it's effect, in whomsoever it is really planted; and, without such implantation, men may be savage, notwithstanding the arts and manners of civil life; instances of which are too common, even in the most civilised nations. It may be worthy of notice here, the Canadians ne­ver made it any part of their care to change the Indian's mode of civil life; and yet, they found ways to attach numerous tribes of them so firmly to the religion of Rome, that it is a vain thing to try to bring them to a better sense of things. And why may not we, in like manner, implant the reli­gion of the gospel in the minds of those, who have not been as yet indoctrinated in the principles of Popery? Should we expend as much zeal and pains to make them good Christians, as the French have done to make them good Catholics, we should, I doubt not, soon see the happy fruits of it; though no care should be taken to bring them into our way of civil life.

THE next link in the chain of reasoning is, "the Society's having, after great pains in collecting [Page 127] informations, formed a plan to civilise the Indian-Nations, in order to the making them Christians". One would not have expected to have seen the Society brought in here, as so essential a part of the argument. For it is affirmed, a few pages back, "if we examine it's Charter, we shall find it as evident as language can make it, that the sup­port and propagation of the gospel among OUR OWN PEOPLE IN AMERICA, was the immediate and principal design of their incorporation. The conversion of the heathen was not their primary and immediate object". This is said to shew, that the Society has been "abused", when spoken of as expending their charity in the English Colonies, to the too great neglect of the Indian-Heathen. And those who have been thus "abusive to the Soci­ety" are charged with the guilt of "petulent tongues", or "pens". But now an Episcopate is in view, it is their proper work, and in distinction from all others, to discharge the duty of sending the gospel to the American-infidel Natives. The writers on the Episcopalian side have the advan­tage beyond all others. They can make use of the same argument, with a good grace, to contrary purposes. When the Church is to be increased in the Colonies, the Society perfectly fall in with the great design of their institution, while they lay out so much of their money to serve this end, that they have little left to christianise the Indians; but when a Bishop is wanted, and christianising the In­dians can be used as an argument for his mission, it at once becomes the great work of this Society; and they, in distinction from all others, must en­gage in it as their inviolable duty. And I will suppose it to be their business, for I really believe it is, and in virtue of their Charter, however inatten­tive [Page 128] they may have been to this part of the trust that has been committed to them. And what follows herefrom? The argument goes on.

"THERE are so many plans and proposals, so many different opinions in different persons, and such a number of difficulties arising, in regard of this work of christianising the Indians, that there is a necessity for one super-intending direction; and who so proper for this as a Bishop? Sir William Johnson's experience in, and careful attention to, Indian-affairs, may make him the best qualified person for a Political super-intendant; but, as the great end in view is the advancement and propa­gation of the christian religion, there must evi­dently appear a peculiar propriety in carrying on the work under the direction of a Bishop". To all which the answer is, If a Bishop was now resi­dent in the Colonies, it is questionable whether it would be fit to entrust him with this super-intend­ing power. He might, as he ought to, be better qualified for this office than any other Clergy-man; but a Bishop cannot do every thing. If the care of all the Episcopal-Clergy is committed to him, this, one would think, is, in all reason, full work enough for him, if not a great deal too much. He would not find it an easie matter to perform it with fidelity. This super-intending business might therefore, to better purpose, be put into other hands. The Society in Scotland, for the propaga­tion of christian knowledge, appoint Commission­ers, and from the Laity as well as Clergy, to con­duct and manage their affairs, when at a distance, and not within reach of their own immediate in­spection. The honorable Company for the pro­pagation of the gospel in New-England, and places [Page 129] adjacent in America, have, from the beginning of their incorporation, acted upon the same plan, and thousands of the poor Indians, in execution of it, have been christianised. They have, at this day▪ within the Massachusetts-Province, under the su­per-intending direction of their Commissioners, six­teen Clergy-men, English and Indian, statedly labouring, either as Pastors of so many Indian-Churches, or as Preachers to assemblies of Indians that meet together for divine worship; nine English Lecturers, and seven stated School-masters, besides occasional ones. They have likewise a Missionary in the Mohawk Country, and an In­terpreter who has been supported at Ohonoquague from a boy on purpose to learn their language, which he can now speak with as much freedom as any of the Indians, and with vastly more propriety. This young man is also a School-master to the chil­dren in that Indian town. It may be feared, the other Society in England will never accomplish any great things, unless upon a plan of a like nature. It is heartily wished this Society would, in good earnest, engage in the affair of Gospelising the Indians, and that they would be thorow in it, not merely to promote a party-interest, or to favor the design of settling an Episcopate here; but purely to extend the knowledge of the way to salvation though Jesus Christ, the only Savior of men. It may be feared, whether, in what is proposed to be done by the Society, a regard to the Church, as established in England, may not be too much mingled with the common cause of Christianity.

I SHALL not think it impertinent to add here, "as America is the region wherein the divine [Page 130] goodness has been more remarkably displayed in favor of the British Nation"; so Americans are the proper persons to erect "some sutable mo­nument of religious gratitude" on this account. And what more sutable one, than a visible per­petually standing testimony of their pious con­cern, and earnest care, to spread the knowledge of that only Lord who has done such great, things for them? The Non-episcopal Clergy and Laity, in the Massachusetts-Province, were so filled with a sense of the peculiar fitness of expressing their gratitude to heaven in this way, that they volun­tarily and liberally contributed, upon the conclu­sion of the late war, towards the immediate sup­port of two Missionaries in the MOHAWK-Country; who were accordingly sent, and so far succeeded in their labors, that the Indians desired to have a Church gathered, and to have the sacrament of the Lord's supper administred to them. And, upon discoursing with them with this view, it was found that a number of them were well indoctri­nated in the essential principles of Christianity, and had upon their minds an uniform practical sense of religion. A school also was set up for the instruction of their children. But, besides this provision for the present, they were zealously desirous of having a perpetually continuing one. In order to this, two thousand pounds sterling were subscribed, in a week, in the town of Boston, upon condition there might be an incorporated Society among our selves for the conducting and managing this important affair. An incorpora­ting act was prepared, and passed by the several branches of the Government here, and sent home for the Royal sanction, without which it could [Page 131] not continue in force. But it soon met with a Negative, by which means this whole money was lost, and as much more we had good reason to expect would soon have been subscribed, besides the income of many hundred pounds sterling that had been devoted to the service of the Indians. The Public will judge, whether it was not hard, severely hard, to be restrained from making use of our own money in carrying on so good a work as that of christianising the Indians; especially, as it was intended as a "monument of gratitude" to heaven for the marvellous display of it's good­ness to us in the late war. We esteemed this hardship the greater, as, but a few years before, an incorporating act was confirmed at home, though upon a good design, yet upon a far less important one. And we should esteem the hard­ship much greater still, if, in any measure, it was brought upon us by EPISCOPAL influence. I will not too positively say that it was; but this I will say, and in the words of a letter from home, wrote by a Gentleman that well understood what he was about; ‘There is reason to think, that an account of your proceedings [relative to the incorporating act] was sent to LAMBETH, as early as to—. The A—h-B—p was pre­judiced with a notion, that the Society had re­fused to admit the Episcopalians at Boston to subscribe to the undertaking. [This was an absolute falsehood.] The umbrage taken at this new Society was such, that any the least attempt to take subscriptions here would have blown up the suspicions of the CHURCH, and of the SOCIETY FOR PROPAGATING THE GOS­PEL, into an open flame against it. What could [Page 132] be done at the board of trade—has labored to do—But it soon appeared to be a desperate cause.’ We have had other accounts to the like purpose; and have no reason to think, they are ill-grounded: But whether they are, or are not, it is put out of our power to erect as "pro­per a monument of gratitude to heaven" as would be done, should there be the settlement even of an Episcopate.


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

THE repetitions, with which the Dr. begins this section, and in consequence of which he hopes for the attention of his superiors, and the settlement of an American-Episcopate, have been already considered. One thing he has menti­oned, previous to his introducing the plan upon this head, it may not be amiss to take some notice of. It is in these words, ‘Will not 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 religion, an interest dearer than property, and more inviolable than civil liberty, be regarded, and procure the redress of so intolerable a grievance?’ He had before said, pag. 45. that "the Church of England in Ame­rica contains near a million of members"; and re­peated it again, pag. 81;* though there is no [Page 134] reason to think, as has been before observed, there is one third part of this number on the American-Continent, and not so much as a thirtieth in all the Colonies to the northward of Maryland, which are much the most populous, and bid fair to be still more so, as they increase with much the greatest rapidity. We are now told of the "COMPLAINTS of this nearly a million of British subjects". If they have complained, their complaints have been kept secret in their own breasts, and not divulged [Page 135] to the world. So far as we may judge by the PETITIONS that have been sent home, the Episco­pal-Clergy ONLY are the complainers. They are certainly the only persons, we have heard of, who have made any stir about the want of Bishops; and had not they discovered a restless frame of mind, upon this account, no body else would: Nor, so far as I can learn, are there any considerable num­bers, to whom they have been able to propagate their uneasiness of spirit. Some of the most re­spectable Episcopalians, in these parts, for sobriety, good sense, and a steady attachment to the interest of the Church of England, have declared it to be their opinion, that Bishops would be of no service here, and that they did not desire they should be sent. And it is to me, as well as to many I have conversed with upon this head, Episcopalians a­mong others, very questionable, whether, if the members of the Church of England, in these north­ern [Page 136] Colonies, were to give in their votes, and to do it without previous Clerical influence, they would be found to be on the side of an American-Episcopate.—As to the "most unprecedented hardships, and intolerable grievances" this "million of British subjects are suffering with regard to re­ligion", they are, as we have seen, nothing more than these;—that they are not favored with the enjoyment of that "discipline, the restoration of which cannot RATIONALLY be attempted by those in authority", and which, if "much reverenced by any, they would be esteemed WRONG-HEADED, or MEAN SPIRITED, or BOTH": That though or­dination cannot be obtained without going to Eng­land for it; yet that they have good friends there, who will lighten, if not totally take off, this burden, by bearing themselves the expence arising there­from: And, in fine, that they put the Society at home at a vast expence of charity, without which the Epis­copal Churches, in many of the Colonies, would be in danger of soon dropping into Non-existence. And notwithstanding this groundless clamor of "unsufferable hardships, and intolerable griev­ance", the Church of England in America has had more and greater favors bestowed on it, than any other denomination of christians here; yea, than all of them put together: And it may also, I be­lieve, with strict truth, be affirmed, that no reli­gious professors, in any Colonies on the face of the earth, have been so kindly and charitably encouraged, helped, and, I may say, upheld in being.

I NOW proceed to take into consideration the PROPOSED PLAN for an American-Episcopate. It is as follows.

[Page 137] ‘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 Laity, nor Dissenters of any denominations—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 Guardian-ship and Administration, or Marriage-licences, nor be judges in any cases relating thereto—But, that they shall only ex­ercise the original powers of their offices, as be­fore stared, i e ordain and govern the Clergy, and administer confirmation to those who shall desire it.’

BEFORE I come to the objections we have to make to this plan, I would previously interpose one thing, weighty in itself, and of special im­portance to those, who have been employed in contriving, and opening, it to the world. It is this. They have given no evidence, that they were au­thorised to this business; and, in meddling with what they were not duly called to, they have acted in direct violation of as express an article as any in the established orders of the Church of England. Let it be observed here,

THE Dr. introduces this plan with saying, "it has long been settled by our friends and superiors at home, and the Clergy of this Country have often signified their intire approbation and acquiescence therein". And again, when he had wrote the plan [Page 138] for publication, he adds, "this, without any reser­vation or equivocation, is the exact plan of an American Episcopate, which has been settled at home". It is truly extraordinary, that Episcopa­lians should tell us of a SCHEME for the mission of Bishops to the Colonies settled at home, and ap­probated by the Clergy of the Church of England here, to the intire neglect of his MAJESTY, the acknowledged SUPREME HEAD of their Church, without whom there can be not only no settlement of a plan, refering to any Ecclesiastical affair what­ever; but no authority so much as to ATTEMPT to form one. It is justly presumed, if his Majesty had been in view, when it was said of this plan, "that it has long been settled by our friends and superiors at home", the manner of diction would have been more expressive of dutiful reverence and subjection; at least, some intimation would have been given of the RORAL LICENCE to act in this matter. But, instead of this, a plan is mentioned, and published to the world as a settled one, with­out so much as an hint of any COMMUNICATED AUTHORITY from his MAJESTY to this purpose; which is really strange, especially if considered as done by those who may reasonably be supposed to be well acquainted with the constitution of their own Church, and the vast extent of the King's supre­macy over it. Even the CONVOCATION, when convened by the King's writ, have no authority to settle any plan without his consent, nor indeed so much as to ATTEMPT to form one without HIS LICENCE. In the year, 1722, the upper house refused to act upon a declaration sent to them from the lower house, for this reason in special, "that without a ROYAL LICENCE, they had no authority to ATTEMPT, enact, PROMULGE, or execute any [Page 139] Canon, by whatever name it might be called, which should concern either doctrine or discipline".* And yet, a plan has been PRIVAETLY formed "by some friends and superiors at home", and "AP­PROBATED by the Episcopal Clergy here", and in CONVENED BODIES for the purpose; which plan is now published to the world, and objectors in­vited to propose their objections, if they have any, to be tryed at the tribunal of the Public. Is this manner of conduct, in any degree, conformable to the constituted order of the Church of England? Dare Bishops, or even Arch-Bishops, at home, venture upon a method of acting so repugnant to that SUPREMACY in all Ecclesiastical matters, with which, by repeated acts of Parliament, the CROWN has been vested? It cannot easily be accounted for, that it should be ventured upon in the Colo­nies. Surely, a Plan for an Episcopate thus form­ed, settled and published, ought to have no great regard paid to it. Whatever "superiors at home" [Page 140] may have had an hand in contriving and settling this plan, whether they were Bishops, or Arch-Bishops, and how "often soever" it may have been "approbated by the Episcopal-Clergy in this Country", it is, in reality, nothing more than their private sentiments concerning the matter; and to publish these as "a settled approbated Plan" must appear, to all capable judges, an instance of no small presumption: Especially, if it be remem­bered, that this is done in direct violation of an express Canon of the Church of England, guarded with a very heavy penalty; which the Dr. and those who put him upon publishing this plan, may do well to consider. The Canon, I have in view, is the LXXIIId, which ordains and constitutes, ‘that no Priests, or ministers of God's word, nor any other persons, shall meet together in any private house, or elsewhere, to consult upon any matter or course to be taken by them, or upon their motion, or direction by any others, which may any way tend to the impeaching, or de­praving of the doctrine of the Church of Eng­land, or of the book of common prayer, or of any part of the government or discipline now e­stablished in the Church of England, under pain of excommunication, ipso facto.’ It will not be disputed, that there has been "the meeting to­gether" of some of the Episcopal-Clergy, superior or inferior, or both, at home, or in this Country, "in private houses, or elsewhere, to consult upon a course", yea, to form a Plan, for altering the "government and discipline of the Church of England" in the Colonies; which, in true mean­ing, and reality of construction, is a practical "im­peachment" of it; and greatly aggravated, as this plan, thus privately formed, has been published to [Page 141] the world for them to judge of it's reasonableness. The fact itself is too flagrant to need any proof; and we shall have occasion, by and by, to shew, that the planned and published alteration ESSEN­TIALLY breaks in upon the constituted government and discipline of the Church of England. How the framers and publishers of the scheme for this alteration can reconcile their conduct with the a­bove-cited Canon, they are best able to say. In the mean time it behoves them to think, whether, by the constitution of their own Church, they are not esteemed excommunicated persons.

I MIGHT now be reasonably excused from tak­ing any further notice of this Plan, as it is, not only destitute of all authority, but comes handed to consideration in evident contradiction to it. However, I will go on, and distinctly mention the objections we have to make against it. And, as "the friends of the Church, to use the Dr's words, pag. 111. 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 have "requested those who have any thing to of­fer, to confine themselves to this particular point", I shall endeavour their gratification; and the ra­ther, that they might not have it to say, "the ob­jections are not to the purpose", as not being a­gainst the plan that was proposed.

OBJECT. I. The government and discipline of the Church of England, under the proposed Ame­rican Episcopate, is injurious, both to the Church, and the Bishops that are to preside over it.

IT is injurious to the Church. One of the grand pleas, in favor of the mission of Bishops to the Co­lonies, [Page 142] has all along been, the "lamentably wretch­ed state" of the Episcopal Churches in being "without government and discipline" for want of them; and yet, according to this Plan, "the au­thority of Bishops", if they are sent, "shall operate only on the Clergy, not the Laity", even of the members of the Church of England. We are fully satisfied with that part of the Plan, which limits their authority within the bounds of the Episcopal Churches, and provides for it's "not operating upon other denominations of christians". This we think is highly reasonable. But why should the government of these Bishops be con­fined to the Clergy of the Church of England? Why may not it's Laity also be favored with the benefit of their governing authority? If this Church is in suffering circumstances, in point of govern­ment and discipline for want of Bishops, and to so great a degree as to justifie the complaint of "un­precedented hardship, intolerable grievance", why should not the Laity, as well as Clergy, be reliev­ed by their mission? Are it's Clergy it's only members that need government and discipline? Are they, beyond all others, inclined to vice, or disorderly in their conduct? It is to be hoped, this is not the real truth: Or if it was, it would not be a justification of this part of the Plan. For, if government in the hands of Bishops is an insti­tution of Christ, and intended for the benefit of the Church, including the Laity, as well as the Clergy, why is this distinction made? What ima­ginable good reason can be given, why the former, as truly as the latter, should not be partakers of this benefit? By the constitution of the English Church, the Laity as well as Clergy are put under the governing care of Bishops; and their autho­rity, [Page 143] at home, extends to both, to the one as truly as to the other. And why should not the Episco­pal-Colonists enjoy the same happy privilege? The plain truth is, they are hardly treated in this Plan. They are not merely neglected; but, what is much worse, express provision is made that they shall be excluded the benefit of the governing au­thority of their Bishops. Is this reasonable? Will they, will the world, think it is?

IT is injurious to the Bishops also it is proposed should be sent to the Colonies. They are, in a meer arbitrary manner, restrained in the exercise of that authority, which, in the judgment of these very Planners, properly belongs to them both by apostolic appointment, and the constitution of the Church of England. Why then should they be deprived of one half of that, which is their just right? If it is fit, they should be allowed the ex­ercise of their authority in the government of the Episcopal-laity at home, why not in America? What good reason can be assigned for making this wide difference? If Bishops are sent hither, the Laity of the Episcopal Churches are as properly the objects of their government, as the Clergy; and, if they are considered either as officers of Christ, or of the Church of England, it as truly belongs to them to exercise a governing authority over the one as the other. The limitation of their power, proposed in the Plan, is therefore an un­reasonable invasion of their just, right as Bishops; yea, if the government of the Church, as the Dr. has endeavoured to prove, is lodged by Christ, and his Apostles, with such Bishops as he would have sent to America, will it not savour of spiritual robbery to deprive them of it in any part? And [Page 144] why should any attempt to do so? What special end the formers of this Plan might have in their view, by thus limiting their Bishops authority, I am not able to say. It is not easie to conceive what advantage they could propose to gain hereby. But, whatever their end was, they have certainly laid their American Bishops under restraints, in regard of governing authority, that are injurious to them as well as the Laity, as they do not allow them the exercise of those rights, which, they themselves think, properly belong to them, as officers in the kindom of Christ.

OBJECT. II. The Bishops, in this plan, are so widely different from the Bishops of the Church of England at home, that it is not reasonable they should be either desired, or sent. The Bishops, proposed for the Colonies, besides being re­strained in the exercise of their authority to the Clergy only, are to be stript of all that civil pow­er, which is, in England, annexed to their eccle­siastical. And, if we may depend on the Dr's word, they are, moreover, to have no SPIRITUAL COURTS. For he says, pag. 95. "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 kind of Bishops are here provided for the Colonies? How amazingly different from the Bishops at home? Is it reasonable to expect the mission of such? I may rather say, is it reasonable so much as to desire their mission? Have not the [Page 145] Dissenters in England been complaining for more than an hundred years of the difficulties and hard­ships, arising from the unnatural junction of civil and spiritual powers in these Church-officers? Yea, have not Episcopalians themselves, Bishops as well as others of inferior rank, joined with them in ar­dent wishes, and importunate intreaties, for a change in the spiritual courts, at least as to their manner of administration? And shall a compara­tive handful of Episcopal professors, most of whom, in many of the Colonies, are so insufficient, as that they are upheld in being, with respect to their religious denomination, at the charitable expence of a distant Society; I say, shall these imagine themselves so important, as that, for their sakes, the powers and appendages of Bishops shall be so mightily abridged? Surely, the whole body of Dissenters in England, and a very considerable part of the established Church there, are as well worthy of the national attention; and it is as fit, their re­quests, often repeated, should be answered. When this is done, it will be time, and not before, to ex­pect that this plan should be considered, and bro't into effect.

NOT that we object against the proposed abridg­ment of the power of Bishops as unreasonable in itself. We think, on the contrary, it is a wise and equitable alteration; and heartily wish, that these appendages, quite extraneous to the office of Bi­shops, and greatly prejudicial to he faithful exe­cution of it, may no more be united with it. The sooner they are disjoined, and forever separated, the better. It would, we apprehend, tend greatly to promote the good of the Church of Christ. But what we object is, the partiality of the proposal; [Page 146] it's being confined to the Colonies, and not ex­tended to the Mother-country. For if this plan­ned restraint is reasonable in itself, it is as reasona­ble it should take place there, as here; and to de­sire it here upon any other plan than such an ex­tensive one as shall operate in England, as well as America, appears to us inconsistent and absurd.

IT may deserve consideration, as uniformity is one of the main things aimed at in the constitu­tion of the Church of England, whether it would comport with this design to make the proposed difference between Bishops here and at home? Are they not officers of one and the same Church, and of equal rank and degree? Why then should they be thus vested with different powers? How dissimilar would be the appearance of such Bishops? Would it not hurt, if not quite destroy the Church's uniformity, in regard of it's officers? And what must we think of a constitution, that would clothe precisely the same officers of the same Church, not with the same, but with widely differing pow­ers? Would it argue consistent regularity in the constitution?

IT ought to be considered yet farther, if Bishops should be sent to the Colonies with these restrained powers, whether undesirable consequences might not be naturally feared, both here, and at home?

WOULD it be unreasonable to suppose, that the Bishops here would be disposed to throw off this restraint as soon as might be? Would it be any other than what has been done a thousand times over, if they should embrace all opportunities, in the vigorous use of all likely means to recover [Page 147] these appendages to their office they have been de­prived of? Would it not be a good plea in their favour, that they aimed at nothing more, than be­ing upon a par with their brethern in the same office? Have Bishops, in the several past ages of the Church, discovered such want of ambition, and so great a disinclination to the enlargement of their sphere of power, as to render it in the least degree improbable, that they would act in the manner that has been described? Nay, the Dr. himself has been so off his guard, as even to suggest,* that, in time to come, they "may be vested with such a degree of civil power, as may be worthy of their acceptance", and to justifie the thing itself. What he has said, upon this head, may be considered in it's proper place.

AND, at home, would there be no likelyhood of uneasiness, in consequence of an American Epis­copate upon this plan? Might not the vast num­bers there, who have long complained of the too largely extended power claimed and exercised by Bishops, think themselves hardly treated, that no regard should be paid to their intreaties, while a comparatively few inconsiderable professors of the Church of England in America are heard, and an Episcopate settled for them according to their mind? And would even the Bishops themselves at home be pleased with the proposed limitation of the authority of Bishops here? Would they not easily and naturally argue from what was done in the Colonies, to what might, with as much reason, be done in England? If Bishops in Ame­rica may be as faithful in their office, and do their duty as well, without spiritual courts and civil [Page 148] power, as with them, what need of these annexed appendages at home? Why may not Bishops there be as reasonably restrained in their authority, as Bishops in the Colonies? It can scarce be supposed it should escape the thought of our English Bishops, that the settlement of such an Episcopate in Ame­rica, as is here proposed, may prepare the way for such a change in the power of Bishops at home, as they would not be very fond of.

I SHALL not think it unnecessary, before I leave this objection, to observe, that not only the Dr. but the Clergy that desired him to write, and their superiors at home also, seem to be united in the thought, that, if Bishops are sent to the Colonies, it would be reasonable they should be such, as they have described, that is, Bishops divested of all power but that, which they call "purely spiritual": Otherwise, they would not have been at the pains to prepare, and publish their plan of an American Episcopate. We all as one join with them in this sentiment. If Bishops are sent to the Colonies with civil as well as spiritual powers, and claim it as their right to concern themselves here, as they do at home, with the Probate of Wills, letters of Guardian-ship and Administration, holding their courts, and acting as judges in matters of this na­ture, it would introduce an essential change in the settled constitution of the Colonies upon this head, and vacate all their laws relative thereto. And this is an alteration that would affect all denomi­nations among us, Episcopalians in common with others; insomuch, that they themselves would not desire Bishops should come here vested with such power. It is not supposed, there are a score of this denomination, in all the Colonies, who would [Page 149] be gratified with so destructive an establishment. It would, without all controversie, be the occasion of universal confusion. Instead of that peace and quiet we now enjoy, there would be noise and clamor, anger, wrath, strife, and all manner of dis­traction: Especially would this be the conse­quence, if these Bishops, in the exercise of their authority, should interfere with the religious liber­ties and privileges of other denominations. These their fathers purchased for them at a very dear rate, these they value as their dearest interest, and, rather than be deprived of them, they would chearfully submit to the loss even of life itself. It is not therefore imagined by Episcopalians, any more than other denominations, that this kind of Bishops will be thought proper for the Colonies; nor can it be supposed, they will be ever sent, un­less a change in the state of affairs at home should unhappily take place, that will be as detrimental to them, as it will be to us.

OBJECT. III. The Church of England knows no such Bishops as are specified in this plan, nor can they, in consistency with it's constitution, be sent to the Colonies. The American Bishops, says the Plan, "shall have no authority but purely of a spiritual and ecclesiastical nature, such as is AL­TOGETHER FROM THE CHURCH. NOT FROM THE STATE"; that is, in plain English, they shall have no authority at all as officers in the Church of England.

IF by this "purely spiritual authority" is meant, authority that has for it's object ONLY the con­cerns of religion, and the souls of men, it is ac­knowledged, it may be thus confined. This was [Page 150] the only authority of Bishops, whether we under­stand the word in the Episcopalian sense, or our's, in apostolic times, and afterwards, until Constan­tine became a christian by profession. And it would have been happy for the Church of Christ, if civil power had never been annexed to that office, which has nothing to do but with the spi­ritual interests of men. But then, it is to be re­membered, that this authority, at least as to it's exercise in the Church of England, is not ALTO­GETHER FROM THE CHURCH, and NOT FROM THE STATE; nor can this be the case, conform­ably to it's present establishment. Is not the KING the acknowledged SUPREME HEAD of this Church? Does it own any for Bishops, or can there be any, without his licence for their election, and nominating the persons that shall be chosen? And when they have been elected and consecrated, can they exercise the least authority, even in spi­ritual and ecclesiastical matters, but by him, and within the limits that have been pointed out to them by the STATE? Can they vary a title from it's prescribed orders in any one thing per­taining to the exercise of authority? Are they not obliged to the use of those forms of prayer, that mode of ordination, and that manner of admi­nistring the sacrament, the STATE has enjoined? Is there any one part of government or discipline they can depart from, or alter? How then should their "authority be ALTOGETHER from the CHURCH, not from the STATE"? Can that au­thority, with any shew of reason, have this affirm­ed of it, which cannot be obtained without the in­tervening pleasure of the KING, and, when ob­tained, cannot be exercised but within certain li­mits, which have been ascertained by the STATE? [Page 151] To speak of that authority as ALTOGETHER from the CHURCH, which is so essentially dependent on the STATE, that it cannot be had but in com­pliance with the laws it has made, nor exercised but in conformity to them, is highly inconsistent. It is indeed this dependance on the STATE, not­withstanding the desired authority ALTOGETHER from the CHURCH, that is the true source of all the hardships and grievances, on account of the want of Bishops in America, that have been so bitterly complained of. Did Bishops of the Church of England no more depend on the STATE, and no more derive their authority from it, than our ministers do, the Episcopal Churches here might as well be supplied with Bishops, as our's are with Pa­stors. What should hinder? The Apostles in their day, and their successors afterwards for many years, were vested with spiritual powers, and exercised them, according to the institution of Christ, with­out the intervening help of any civil state what­ever. And why may not the officers of God's spiritual kingdom now be vested with like powers, and go on in the exercise of them, in the same way? Our Episcopalian Colonists make some pretences to this, while they say, the Bishops they propose should be sent to America "shall have no authority but such as is ALTOGETHER FROM THE CHURCH"; but what a vain pretence is this? How absurd? when they know that Bishops can have no authority in the Church of England, but from the STATE? If they may be vested with authority, it cannot be exercised, as officers in this Church, but from the KING, and ALTOGETHER conformably to the ORDERS of the STATE. If it had been only said, the Colony-Bishops shall have no other than purely spiritual authority, nor exercise any other, this [Page 152] would have been intelligible and consistent; but to propose that they should have this authori­ty not at all from the STATE, as must be the case if it is ALTOGEHER FROM THE CHURCH, is to propose that which is incompatible with the KING's SUPREMACY in all spiritual and ecclesiasti­cal matters, and subversive of that STATE-POWER, by which the Church of England has been esta­blished. It cannot therefore be supposed, but that this part of the plan should be rejected, both by the King and Parliament.

OBJECT. IV. We are, in principle, against all civil establishments in religion; and as we do not desire any such establishment in support of our own religious sentiments, or practice, we cannot reasonably be blamed, if we are not disposed to encourage one in favor of the Episcopal-Colonists. We profess to "fear God, and honor the King"; declaring our readiness to obey, in subordination to the allegience we owe to him who has been constituted "Head over all things", the "powers ordained of God" to bear rule over us. We ac­knowledge, with humble gratitude, the favor of our rightful Sovereign, in allowing us the enjoy­ment of those "liberties, wherewith Christ has made his disciples free"; though we judge, at the same time, and upon solid reason, as we imagine, that we have a just right to think for our selves in matters of religion, and, in consequence of this right, to worship God in that way, which, we ap­prehend, will be most acceptable to him; and while we do this, "leading quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty", we think far­ther, we have a claim to the protection of the State, and the benefit of those laws it has made, or [Page 153] reasonably may make, for the security of it's loyal subjects in the exercise of their rights and liber­ties, whether civil or religious. But we desire not, and suppose we have no right to desire, the inter­position of the state to establish our sentiments in religion, or the manner in which we would express them. And, as we do not desire this for our selves, it would be hard to expect we should desire it in behalf of others. It does not indeed appear to us, that God has entrusted the state with a right to make religious establishments. If the state in England has this delegated authority, must it not be owned, that the state in China, in Turkey, in Spain, has this authority also? What should make the difference, in the eye of true reason? Hath the state in England been distinguished by heaven by any peculiar grant, beyond the state in other Coun­tries? If it has, let the grant be produced. If it has not, all states have, in common, the same au­thority. And as they must severally be supposed to exert this authority in establishments conform­able to their own sentiments in religion; what can the consequence be, but infinite damage to the cause of God and true religion? And such in fact has been the consequence of these establishments in all ages, and in all places. What absurdities in sentiment, and ridiculous follies, not to say gross immoralities, in practice, have not been established by the civil power in some or other of the nations of the earth? When in christian Countries, so call­ed, has not that been established for the religion of Jesus, which, for the greater part by far, palpably contradicted the principles of common sense? Has not a power been religiously established in opposi­tion to Christ, that has exalted itself "above all that is called God", and that has filled the earth [Page 154] with the blood of those, who chose death, in the most hideously contrived forms, rather than to pay homage to such an idol of false worship? Yea, in England itself, has not the religion of Christ, under popish establishments, been debased, corrupted, and turned into a meer farce? And, since the re­formation, what has been so great an obstacle to Gospel-simplicity and purity of worship, as that establishment, which, having once obtained, the strongest reasonings, and most earnest intreaties, have not availed to effect an alteration in it, not so much as in acknowledged exceptionable articles? We are not convinced, that religious establish­ments are at all adapted to serve the cause of truth and virtue; but are rather persuaded, they have been, and ever will be, greatly detrimental to the prevalence of real genuine Christianity. And as the American Colonies, at least many of them, are, at present, free from difficulties and embarasments by means of such establishments, we cannot but hope they will always remain so. It ought not to be supposed, that those Colonies should be fond of an established Episcopate, which were settled by such as were driven from their native land by the oppressive exercise of Prelatical power. We should express but little regard to the memory of our Progenitors, and less gratitude for their pious care, in opposition to heavier tryals, and greater hardships, than we can now easily conceive of, to transmit religion to us free from [...] yokes of bon­dage, if we should encourage the establishment of that very power which was so injuriously harrassing to them, and may in time be so to us.

OBJECT. V. The Church of England in the Colonies, in it's comparative low state, instead of an [Page 155] Episcopate, upon this plan, or any other, needs rather the charitable assistance of it's friends to support it's present ministers, and others that are still wanted. In North-Carolina, the religious state of things, by all accounts, is deplorably sad. The public worship of God, in any form, is strangely neglected; and they have few, very few, ministers to officiate in gospel-administrations. That chari­ty, which might be sufficient for the maintenance of as many Missionaries as would be needful there, would be swallowed up by one Bishop only. And would this so much tend to the honor of God, and the good of souls, as if it was expended in support of Missions that are really necessary? I shall only say of Virginia, and Maryland, that it can do them no harm, if we heartily wish, that a better and more general regard was paid there to the institutions of Jesus Christ. As to the other Colonies, extending from Pensylvania to the northernmost bounds of the Massachusetts-Province, notwithstanding the pious care of the Society at home, and the vast charity they have annually been expending in fa­vor of the Church of England, from their first in­corporation to this day, it has grown but little in comparison with the other denominations of christi­ans, not having got as yet beyond it's infant state. Perhaps, there are not more Episcopal Churches in these Colonies, than there have been thousands of pounds sterling expended towards bringing them into existence; and they are, by far the greater part of them, in so weak and low a state, that there would be no hope of their continuance in being, if that charity was with-held, which, at first, gave it to them: Whereas, the Churches of other denominations, without any charitable help from home, or elsewhere, are become a great mul­titude, [Page 156] rapidly increasing in all parts of the Coun­try, in the same proportion beyond the Episcopal Churches, as they have all along done from the beginning, At the largest computation, there are not more than twenty six or seven thousand Epis­copalians in these seven Colonies, which contain the greatest number of inhabitants on the Ameri­can Continent; and of these, it would be no wrong to the truth if it should be said, a very considera­ble part went over to the Church, not so much upon sober inquiry and real principle, as from dis­gust at their Parish-minister, or unhappy prejudices arising from the placing of a Meeting-house, or some such important difficulty in the towns where they lived. In this view of the matter, which is certainly a just and true one, what occasion is there for the mission of Bishops? Especially, as their au­thority is not to extend to the Episcopal Laity. Would it not answer much better ends, to bestow that charity it will require to support Bishops, in providing for those Churches that must come to nothing, if they are not supported in this way?

IT may be worthy of special notice here, one great complaint in behalf of the Episcopal Churches is, that numbers of them are destitute of ministers. This want of ministers cannot with more truth and justice be attributed to any cause, than the want of money for the support of more missions. The Society at home, the grand source of charitable help, have seen fit, of late years, to lessen their grants in support of their Missionaries, for no other reason, it is presumed, than their inability to make larger ones; and to the same inability it is, we believe, chiefly owing, that there are no missions in the places where they are wanted. And, as [Page 157] this is the case, is it prudent to desire an Episcopate, which will be attended with a vast charge, which must be defrayed some way or other? It should seem as though it would be time enough to desire Bishops, when the Church is able to stand upon it's own legs, and to support it's own inferior Cler­gy, as well as such superior officers as Bishops. Things are not ripe, as yet, for an Episcopate. The Church must get stronger footing in the Co­lonies before this may reasonably be thought of; and there is no probable way, in which it, can at­tain to this strength, but by employing all the pi­ous charity that can be collected for the better supporting the present Missions, and providing for still more: Though after all, it is very questi­onable, whether, even with this help, the Church will soon arrive at such a state of maturity, as to make it worth while for a Bishop to come here.

OTHER objections we have to make against the plan that has been proposed; but as they co-incide with what has been powerfully offered by the late excellent Dr. Mayhew, I shall take the liberty to insert his objections at large. And there may be a special propriety in this, not only as we esteem them highly pertinent, and indisputably valid; but as they were wrote in answer to this very plan, which, though exhibited by one "who is supposed to be an high dignitary of the Church", and de­clared, by our author, to be so harmless, in every respect, that no reasonable objections can be offer­ed against it", he has yet suffered to lie exposed to all the Dr. has said against it, not having lisped a word in reply to him.

BUT, before I present the reader, with what Dr. Mayhew has said upon this subject, I would briefly [Page 158] suggest one thing, as an expedient well adapted to com-promise matters between Episcopalians, and other Denominations, in the Colonies, and unite them all in love and peace. It is this; that the King and Parliament, who vested Bishops at home with governing and ordaining power in the Church of England, may, if in their wisdom they think fit, lodge the same power with Presbyters here. And should they please to do this, it would instantly put an end to the complaint for want of governing and ordaining authority in America. There would now be no need of Bishops, as Presbyters might, with as much valid propriety, govern and ordain in the Colonies, as Bishops in England. For, let it be particularly noticed, what is now suggested is perfectly agreeable to the principles of the first founders of the reformed Church of England. Governing and ordaining power was not given to Bishops, because it was thought they were an or­der of officers superior to Presbyters by DIVINE RIGHT. It was supposed, that all powers in spiri­tual and ecclesiastical matters, as well as temporal, was vested in the KING, who might communicate it to what subordinate ministers he pleased. It was upon this principle, that the power of ORDI­NATION was once delegated to Cromwel, a LAYMAN, as the King's vice-gerent; who, in virtue of the King's acknowledged supremacy, had then as full legal authority to ordain as any Bishop in the kingdom. Upon this same principle, ‘Cranmer, Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, Bonner, Bishop of Lon­don, &c. took out commissions from the Crown, importing, that, because the vicegerent (Crom­wel, a lay person) could not personally attend the charge in all parts of the kingdom, the King authorises the Bishop in his (the King's) stead to [Page 159] ordain, within his Diocess, such as he judged worthy of holy orders; to collate to benefices; to give institution; and to execute all other parts of the Episcopal authority; and this dur­ing the King's pleasure only.* As a celebrated writer argues, ‘from these Commissions, which the Bishops took out, especially Bonner's, Bishop of London, it is evident, that all the power of ORDINATION which the Bishops had, or could have and exercise in this Kingdom, they derived entirely from the CIVIL MAGISTRATE, and only from him. And that this really is the case as to ecclesiastical orders conferred by our PRESENT Bishops, that all the validity, significancy or weight which they have in this Church, they derive purely and solely from the authority of the MAGISTRATE, incontestibly appears from hence; namely, that the magistrate has autho­ritatively directed and prescribed HOW and TO WHOM, ordination is to be given. And should an ordination be given by all the Bishops in this Church in OTHER manner, & OTHER form, than that prescribed by the magistrate, such ordina­tion would be of no legality at all, nor authority in this Church. The man so ordained would be no proper minister in the Church of England. A minister in the Church of Christ, he possible might be; but he would, I repeat it, be no minister in the Church of England; nor would have power and authority to officiate as a priest therein.—Nor let it be here replied,—that these Bishops, who by the laws of England are im­powered to ordain, are at the same time to be [Page 160] considered as successors of the Apostles, and have received power of ordination from these founders of the christian Church by an uninterrupted lineal descent. For the constitution and law of England knows nothing at all of this; it rests not this power, which it commits to it's Bishops, upon any such lineal succession or descent (which it knows to be a rope of sand, a ridiculous chimera, a thing which no man upon earth is able to make out.) No; but it considers the KING, vested (by act of Parliament, or the suffrage of the people) with a FULLNESS of ALL power ecclesiastical in these realms, as impowering and authorising Bishops to ordain.* I shall subjoin here, should this power of ordination, which has been delegated to Bishops in England, be delegated, by the KING and PAR­LIAMENT, to Presbyters in the Colonies, they would have as much authority, as officers in the Church of England, to ordain here, as Bishops have at home; and any upon whom they should confer holy orders would be as authentic ministers of this Church, and their administrations in it as valid, as if they had been ordained by the laying on of the hands of any Bishop, or all the Bishops, in England. I would say yet farther, such a constitution would much better suit the state of the Colonies, than the mission of Bishops; and for the same prudential reasons that governing and ordaining power was vested in Bishops, at home, upon the settlement of the Church after the reformation, it might be vested in Presbyters in this new world. And such a delegation of power would, I will venture to say, be far more reasonable, than the mission of Bishops to the Colonies that "shall have no authority over the Laity" of the Episcopal Churches. Such [Page 161] Bishops are unknown to the Church of England, and to all antiquity. They are, in truth, a thing quite new under the sun.

WHAT Dr. Mayhew has wrote, in opposition to the proposed Plan for an American Episcopate, is as follows.*

"THE gentleman, I must own, has, in his scheme, set this proposal for American bishops in a more plausible, and less exceptionable point of view, than I have seen it placed in before.—But he is not known; nor has he informed us, upon what ground or authority he goes, in giving this account of the matter. The declaration of an anonymous writer, how confidently soever he may express him­self, is not, surely, sufficient to satisfy us, that this is the true scheme planned. How much regard soever he might justly claim, if he were known to be a person of that eminence and dignity, which some of his expressions intimate him to be; yet while this is unknown, he will excuse us if we do not intirely rely upon his word, that no other scheme has been proposed. This may possibly be only his own scheme, the scheme of a private man: And, till it comes from better authority, or in a more authentic way, we may consider it as an imaginary one, calculated to serve a present turn, or to lull us into security as to bishops here, till, by the real, and much more fatal scheme's being carried into execution, it is too late to remonstrate.

[Page 162] BUT let us for the present take it for granted, that this gentleman's is the real and only scheme. Let us suppose, that bishops are to be at first sent to America with such limited powers, to reside in episcopal colonies, and to have no concern, but with episcopalians. Have we sufficient ground to think that they and their successors would, to the day of doom, or for a long time, remain contented with such powers, or under such limitations? in a word, that they would continue such inoffensive, harmless creatures, as this gentleman supposes; only diffusing blessings around them, on all manner of people susceptible of such holy impressions as are made by their hands on the good people in Eng­land; so that we can reasonably apprehend no mis­chief from them? Has this order of men been remarkable for a quiet, inoffensive behaviour? Have they usually been free from ambitious views and projects? from a disposition to intermeddle in secular, worldly matters, and to enlarge the sphere of their domination?—from attempts to en­croach upon the rights of mankind, religious or civil? from intriguing with princes, or the gover­nors of countries, for their own advantage? from lending their assistance, and joining with them, in carrying on schemes of oppression? Is it natural to suppose, that American bishops would long con­tent themselves in a condition so inferior to that of their brethren, the successors of the apostles in Eng­land?—without any of their temporal power and grandeur, so as, in the eyes of most people, to ap­pear of a lower order; and consequently wanting that authority and respect which, it might be pleaded, is needful? Ambition and avarice never want plau­sible pretexts to accomplish their end. The gen­tleman says, he cannot perceive why the people, [Page 163] even of New-England, ‘might not as safely breath the same air with a bishop, as their brethren in Old England do. However (as he goes on) we are unwilling to disquiet any of them, by import­ing and settling amongst them a creature, which it seems some of them account to be so noxious. Only we hope, that his occasionally travelling through the country, cannot infect it very danger­ously*.’ One, of such a disposition as he pro­poses, might not. But what if, instead of this, he should be another Sacheverel? no impossible suppo­sition! And such a man would probably be the most acceptable to the major part of the episcopal clergy, if not of the laity, in New-England. Might not He be a very noxious creature, infect the country in travelling through it, and diffuse plagues instead of blessings, in his progress? What the gen­tleman says upon this head, brings to my mind what I have read of that great church-man: ‘When the spiritual hydra began to belch forth his poison, when the—priest went his progress, the air was corrupted, with his breath, and the fell conta­gion spread itself far and near. The snakes which had laid long in the grass, began to show their heads, and hiss; they stung many and did much mischief, &c.

I AM very remote from suspecting, that this gentleman would think such a person a proper one for a bishop in America, or any where else; since he appears to be of a very different spirit himself. And it is intimated by him, that we shall have no ground for apprehensions, since bishops here, if any there are, will be appointed by the crown, and [Page 164] intirely dependent on the government in England; that the smallest attempts towards an oppressive enlarge­ment of spiritual power would be immediately crushed with indignation by the legislature there; and that both the moderation of the clergy, and the watchfulness of the laity over them [God be thanked, if it be so] are much more likely to increase than diminish *. These are good words, and fair speeches; nor do I doubt, but that the gentleman speaks his real sentiments. But supposing all this; taking it also for granted, that in the present administration, there has been a discovery of so much wisdom and integrity, of such a great regard to the liberties and priviledges of the subject, and, particularly, of such a tender concern for the interest and prosperity of his Majesty's American colonies, as leaves us no room to fear an oppressive enlargement of spiritual, or any other power, during the continuance of it: All this be­ing taken for granted, yet may not times alter, and administrations change? Who knows what the next reign and administration may be? or whether attempts towards an oppressive enlargement of power, may not be as much encouraged, as it is supposed they would be frowned on, during the present? We are certainly much more secure a­gainst such oppression, in the absence of bishops, than we should be if they were fixed here. Obsta principiis, was never thought an ill maxim by wise men. Bishops being once fixed in America, pretexts might easily be found, both for encreasing their number, and enlarging their powers: And these pretexts might probably be hearkened to, and prevail, on such a change of times as may be sup­posed. To say the least, this is much more to be apprehended, than it is, that, on such a change, bi­shops [Page 165] should be sent hither at first with such op­pressive powers, or powers that interfere with the present rights and privileges of the Colonists. Peo­ple are not usually deprived of their liberties all at once, but gradually; by one encroachment after another, as it is found they are disposed to bear them; and things of the most fatal tendency are often in­troduced at first, under a comparatively plausible and harmless appearance. It cannot therefore be thought strange, if we like the aforesaid maxim, as to opposing the first attempts, in the present case; and are desirous to keep the apprehended evil at as great a distance as may be. All prudent men act upon the same principle: Nor can I bring myself to reason as he did, who said, What hath posterity done for us, that we should be concerned for posterity? And should bishops be once fixed here, to me it is high­ly probable, that our posterity would not find it half so difficult as this gentleman thinks it is for us now, before the experiment is made, to answer his spi­rited demands, ‘Where are the persecutors? Where is the dragon? * Especially if it be true, as many affirm, that high-church tory principles and maxims are lately revived in England; and favoured great­ly by some, whose influence may go far towards bringing them into as much reputation, as they have been in disgrace since the death of Queen Anne.

THE gentleman considers as perfectly chimerical, the apprehensions which I formerly hinted, respect­ing the inconveniences that might result from the appointment of bishops in America. Particularly, that by the increase of the episcopal party, they might get a majority in our houses of assembly; that in consequence thereof the church of England, [Page 166] might become the established religion of all these colonies; that a sacramental test, or something like it, might ensue, to exclude non-conformists from places, preferment, and civil offices as in England; and that taxes might be imposed on us all in com­mon, for the maintenance of these bishops, and the episcopal clergy. I did not, however, imagine that these dangers were very near at hand in New-England; nor do so now, considering the small proportion that episcopalians bear to protestants of other denominations. Should bishops be sent, and the Society bend its whole force to increase the church among us, it is not probable that these e­vents would speedily take place. But even remote evils may be reasonably apprehended, as well as those which are imminent; and are to be guarded against, as much as may be. That appointing bi­shops for America, would be a probable means of increasing the episcopal party here, will not be de­nied. This is doubtless one principal reason, why it is so much desired; tho' neither this gentleman, nor the Society, so far as I can at present recollect, has particularly mentioned it. There is how­ever, something which looks a little this way in the Abstract before-cited, wherein the rea­sons for bishops here are enumerated; one of which is, ‘to confirm new converts from schism *.’ But even supposing a majority of episcopalians in the legislative body, in any [I must not say either, because there are more than two] of these colonies, the gentleman asks, ‘Why should a test law follow? Is there any such law in the episcopal colonies? Or even though there were, can it be imagined, that if a prevailing party in New-England were wild enough to [Page 167] propose, his Majesty, would ever be advised to pass one for that purpose*?’ Whether there is any such law already in any of the episcopal colo­nies, is with me a doubt. But by what I have ob­served of the over-bearing spirit of episcopalians among us, it is strange to me if there is not. The very Candid Examiner of my Observations, plainly enough intimated his desire of such a law here. And if there were a considerable majority of epis­copalians in the legislature, with a zealous, not to say bigotted and oppressive episcopalian Governour at their head, and bishops in these parts to coun­tenance and forward so pious a scheme for edifying the church; I make no doubt, but that the church of England would soon be established here by a provincial law, and a test-act speedily passed. Nor am I able to see any ground for the gentle­man's great confidence, that the King would not be advised to allow that test; seeing there is such a one in our mother-country. I presume, the gentleman could assign no solid reason for a test-law in England, by which protestant dissenters are excluded from offices there, which would not hold good in favour of a law of the same tenor here; I mean on the supposition of such an increase and majority of the episcopal party. Can what is sup­posed reasonable and equitable in Old England, be supposed unreasonable and injurious in New? Or is it to be imagined, that the Head of the church of England would, at the desire of the legislative body in any of his colonies, refuse to allow of laws for establishing that church therein, and for introducing a test? laws manifestly adapted to the worldly grandeur, if not to the spiritual good of that church, which is as it were his body; [Page 168] and to bring in, if not to convince schismatics? If the gentleman was able, I could wish he had done something more toward removing our apprehen­sions in this respect, than to treat them with scorn; which is not the most likely method to convince those that think calmly of the matter.

HE treats as still more wild and chimerical, the supposition of our ever being taxed in common, for the support of bishops and their clergy. Says he, ‘The terror of being taxed for bishops, &c.—is yet more chimerical than the former*.’ But in case of such an increase of the episcopal party, of the government's coming into their hands, and of the church of England's being here established by a provincial law, which things must be presup­posed; where is the absurdity of such an apprehen­sion? I can see none, except it lies in the injurious and oppressive nature of such a supposed tax: But this consideration will never prevent the doubts and fears of those, who reflect on what has been done in almost every age and country in christen­dom, by the prevailing religious party, for their own ease, and the further weakening and vexing the minority. The gentleman observes, that ‘tithes are paid in England to the clergy by virtue of grants, which laid that burthen upon estates many ages before the present possessors enjoyed them.’ i. e. in the days of popery. He also ex­presses himself very positively, that if this had not been done, an act of parliament could not now be obtained, of this or the like nature, by which dissenters in common with others, should be taxed for the maintenance of the hierarchy. And having, for ought I can see, merely by his peremptoriness, com­pleated [Page 169] his victory in this respect, he immediately begins his triumph, by saying: ‘With what mo­desty then can the Doctor suggest, that such a thing might be feared in New-England*?’ I am very glad if the governing part of the nation have so much moderation respecting protestant dissenters, that such an act could not now be obtain­ed there; which might, as it appears to me, be justly looked on as a great hardship, or instance of oppression. It may naturally be supposed, this gentleman is of the same opinion: Why else could not an act of that nature be now obtained, if the hierarchy were not already pro­vided for, by virtue of grants, when Popery was triumphant, which laid the burthen of tythes on estates? But I do not pretend to have a thorough understanding of the doctrine of tythes, as professed and preached in the church of England; never having made this any, much less a principal part of my study, however important an article it may be.

BE this matter as it may, while there is a law in force, which bears so hard on protestant dissenters, as the test does, I shall not easily be perswaded, that it would be impossible if the hierarchy was not already provided for, to obtain an act for that purpose, by which the burthen should be laid up­on dissenters in common with others; which, in some respects, might be thought a less grievance than the other: Particularly as it would be much less reproachful and ignominious to them, to be only obliged to pay to the support of a clergy disapprov­ed by them, than to be treated as if they did not merit the character, and were therefore unworthy to enjoy the privileges of British subjects; though [Page 170] it is well known, his Majesty, whom God preserve, has none more loyal and faithful.

BUT to return. If bishops are sent to America, they must be well supported; this is beyond doubt. By whom? or by what means? I suppose there is not yet a fund provided by legacies, near adequate to the support of one; it not being a small matter, that suffices such dignified and apostolical persons. The Society will probably think, this burthen should not lie upon them; as they are not able to support a sufficient number of missions among peo­ple, whose necessities are great and urgent. Is it like­ly then, that the British nation, so deeply plunged in debt, and in which there is scarce a possibility of laying any new taxes, will undertake to maintain bishops for America? No surely. Will the bishops and rich clergy in England do it out of their abun­dance? This is at least as improbable; especially since it is supposed, that many of them cannot, to this day, be intirely perswaded, but that it is rather more blessed to receive than to give. Will American bishops then, trust to the generosity of the people here; depending upon providence and alms, or, in other words, upon the good will of the Americans? Will they be content without reaping any other carnal things here, than what the people may judge an adequate recompence for the spiritual things sown by them; particularly, since bishops seldom preach, for confirming weak brethren, and for those holy impressions made by their hands, on all manner of people susceptible thereof? If this is all, or the principal part of what they receive, their mainte­nance will not probably half satisfy them; except perhaps at first, while wonderful effects are expect­ed from their blessing, and the benign influence of their [Page 171] function. Nor will they run the risque, unless they have more faith in God, and less love to the world, than most of their order have had, since Constantine the Great became a nursing father to the church, and the pious maternal council of Nice suckled her with the clear and pure, the uncorrupt and 'sincere milk' of Homôôusianity, that she might 'grow thereby.' Can there then be a more probable sup­position than this; that in consequence of the episcopal party's increasing in these colonies, and becoming a majority in the legislatures, the church of England would be established by pro­vincial laws, and the people in common taxed for the support of bishops and their clergy? Have we reason to think that, from brotherly affection and tenderness, for schismaticks, they would exempt them from bearing a part of this burthen? I wish there was not more reason to apprehend, that they would oblige non-conformists to bear a double pro­portion of it; not, to be sure, out of any enmity, but only as an instance of wholesome severity, and a probable means of bringing them into the bosom of the church, to their eternal salvation—However, if a law for an equal tax upon conformists and non­conformists were passed in any British colony, for the purpose aforesaid, there is scarce any room to doubt, but that it would be confirmed by the crown: The Head must take care for the good of the body, and all its members. Nay, if bishops were speedily to be sent to America, it seems not wholly improbable, from what we hear of the un­usual tenor of some late parliamentary acts and bills, for raising money on the poor colonies with­out their consent, that provision might be made for the support of these bishops, if not of all the church clergy also, in the same way.

[Page 172] THE gentleman having endeavoured to expose to ridicule the aforesaid apprehensions, as perfectly chimerical, and called my modesty as well as under­standing in question, even for hinting them, im­mediately adds, ‘Besides, would it have been a good reason at the revolution, for debaring the dissenters from the full exercise of their church government and worship, that if they obtained it, they might perhaps increase till they got a major vote in both houses, and then enact no mortal knows what*.’ These cases, it is conceived, are much too dissimilar to argue thus from one to the other. The church of England had an exclusive legal establishment, at the time spoken of; the King for her Head, and sworn Protector, and almost all persons of interest and power for her members. Conformity was almost, if not the only path to pre­ferment, civil honours, offices and emoluments. In short, the constitution both in church and state was so secured, so guarded both by laws and mem­bers, and non-conformists were so few, and under such disadvantages, that there was not room for any fear that they would ever increase so as to be­come the major and leading part in parliament, or be able, if they desired it, to over-turn the estab­lishment, and oppress episcopalians. Apprehensi­ons of this sort, would indeed have been perfectly chimerical at that time; especially considering the disunion of non-conformists among themselves, and the moral impossibility of their uniting, in establishing any other particular form of church government. What parity? what similitude is there between the circumstances of New-Eng­land and Old, in these respects? The cases are so widely different, that it is strange a [Page 173] gentleman of so much penetration and acumen should, by his manner of reasoning, suppose them parallel We have no such ecclesiastical establish­ment, as that of England; and, I hope, never shall. Our churches have no royal Head and Protector, in the sense which that has;—only ONE in heaven, whom we pray to be the Protector of the other. We are not an independent people, or sovereign state, but dependent on England, wherein episcopacy is established, and which we honor and obey, as our mother-country. Our Governor and all provin­cial Governors appointed by the crown, I suppose are, and by law must be, conformists to the church of England. A considerable number of persons, even in the N. England colonies, are persons of much wealth, influence and power. In most of the colonies the respective Governors have all military offices at their free disposal, and the nomination to civil; and in some, a negative on the choice of coun­sellors. They must also be supposed, as a thing of course, most to favour episcopalians; so that conformity, instead of being a bar to preferment here, is perhaps generally found the readiest way to it. Episcopalians may be, and often are, chosen members of both houses of assembly in the colo­nies of New-England; nor is there either law, or any thing else, to prevent this, if, by their qualifi­cations and good behaviour, they can recommend themselves to the electors. And I hope this gen­tleman would not have the people obliged by law to chuse them, whether they approve of them or not; though this seems to be the amount of what he somewhere says. Besides, the episcopalians here are more united among themselves than we are, being of different sects and parties. And should they [the episcopalians] hereafter approach any [Page 174] thing near to an equality with us in point of num­ber, they will have the advantage greatly in this respect; since they may more easily unite their strength, in pursuing measures for their separate advantage, and to our common detriment, than we shall ours, in any particular methods of oppo­sition to them: So that they may carry their points, even with inferior numbers; especially being most favoured by an episcopal Governor, whose influence is ordinarily very great out of court, as well as his proper constitutional power in it.

OUR circumstances being such, is there not a hundred, a thousand times, more reason to appre­hend that episcopalians may in time become the major and governing party here, and enact such laws as I have been speaking of, than there was at the revolution, that the non-conformists in Eng­land might do the like there? I can hardly think that the gentleman, upon a little reflection, will disown it. Which being the case, the grand prin­cipal on which he sets out, in speaking of Ameri­can bishops, is not applicable to the state of these colonies; at least, not by far, very far, so applica­ble as it was and is to that of England. The prin­ciple I intend, is this: That ‘all members of every church are, according to the principles of liberty, intitled to every part of what they conceive to be the benefits of it, intire and compleat, so far as consists with the welfare of civil government *.’ It is readily owned, that our apprehension of what may possibly or probably be the consequence of bishops being sent hither, ought not to put us on infringing the religious liberty of our fellow sub­jects, and christian brethren, if they will pardon [Page 175] this freedom: Neither have we any power to do so, if we were unreasonable and wicked enough to to desire it; our charter granting such liberty to all protestants. But the episcopalians here may enjoy this liberty, as they now do, without bishops in America, though under some inconveniences; principally perhaps, for want of holy impressions made by their hands in the ceremony of confirma­tion; their lack of which it must be owned, is sometimes but too visible in their behaviour. We are therefore, methinks, very excusable, if we express a reluctance at the proposal of a scheme, which we really apprehend may bring great trou­ble and temporal inconveniences upon us; and be the source of much division, discord and confusion: Especially, if it be also a scheme tending to pro­mote that particular mode or profession of christi­anity among us, which we cannot but think, on the whole, much less conformable to the gospel, and therefore less conducive to the eternal happiness of mankind, than that which at present generally prevails among us.

BUT one thing mentioned by this gentleman, in order to reconcile us to this scheme, had almost escaped me. It is this. 'Popish bishops reside here,' says he, 'and go about to exercise every part of their function, without offence and without observati­on*.' But this has a much less tendency to re­concile us to the proposal about American bishops, than to give us an alarm for the welfare of our mother country; with which, we are very sensible, our own is connected. If popish bishops exercise their function in England without observation, as the gentleman says, it is not indeed strange, if they [Page 176] do it also without offence. But I cannot readily comprehend what he means by saying, that they do this without observation, when at the same time he speaks of it as a notorious fact: Though his meaning cannot be mistaken, when he says, this is done without offence. It must be, that it gives no considerable umbrage or jealousy, but that the people, at least those of higher rank, are contented it should be so. For he speaks of this as an in­stance and proof of the mutual candor, forbear­ance and moderation, which prevail at this day in England, among christians of different denomi­nations; and so, as a reason why we should be well satisfyed with having bishops of the church of England in these parts. But if this proves any thing, it proves too much; viz. that we should be content to see, not only English, but Popish bishops, freely exercising their functions among us; the latter of which is not agreeable to our charter and laws. And though I am a warm friend to re­ligious liberty in the largest sense; and tho' mutual forbearance cannot be too much recommended, where the differences are merely of a religious nature, or such as do not affect the liberty, safety and natural rights of mankind; yet I must own, I hope never to see popish bishops thus going about without of­fence, in New-England; being perswaded, from the very nature of divers popish tenets, that roman catholics cannot be safely tolerated in the free ex­ercise of their religion, in a protestant government.

I HAVE freely explained myself as to the pro­position concerning bishops in America; and though not so fully, yet more particularly than I intended to do; having been almost compelled to it, at once by this gentleman's formal attack upon [Page 177] a few expressions, which occasionally dropped from my pen, and by his great courtesy in attempting to propose my objections distinctly for me, because he thought I was a great deal too vehement to do it myself. By what has now been said, he may per­ceive, at least that he has not wholly dissipated 'the poor man's fears*,' either by his reasoning or rallying on the subject. I have attended to his serious request, at the conclusion of his Argument—‘if he is still dissatisfied, I intreat him to consider, for all men ought, what manner of spirit he is of .’ STILL DISSATISFIED I am; and, I hope, from such a spirit as he will not wholly disapprove, however wrong he may think my opinions:—from a love to truth, cultivated in my early days; from a love to what I take to be the most primitive chris­tianity; from a sincere concern for the welfare of my country; and an apprehension that this scheme of bishops, if put in execution, will be greatly detri­mental to it, both in civil and religious respects. This, I think, is the spirit, from which my dissatis­faction chiefly arises. The gentleman has doubt­less well considered, from what spirit it is, that he is so much set upon this scheme of bishops; and it would be very uncharitable in me, to conclude it a bad one; as I do not, whatever I may think of the scheme itself. However, I think it but justice to him to acknowledge, that if such a scheme as he has proposed were to be put in execution, and only such consequences were to follow, as he pro­fessedly has in view, as the ends aimed at, I could not object against it; except only upon the same principle, that I object against the church of Eng­land in general, and should be sorry, from a regard to what I suppose a more scriptural way of worship, [Page 178] to see that church prevail here: Which yet, I solemnly declare, I would not prevent, though it were absolutely in my own power, by any methods inconsistent with that full, entire liberty in religi­ous matters, which I desire for myself; and which all men, whose principles or practices are not incon­sistent with the safety of Society, have a right to enjoy. Thus far I have the honor fully to agree with this gentleman". Thus Dr. Mayhew.

IT is evident, by this time, that "objections can be offered against such a plan" as has been pro­posed. Whether the Dr. or those who employed him to write, will esteem them "reasonable", time may discover. We have this opinion of them; and are persuaded, that no "management", how­ever "artful and dexterous", will be sufficient to make them appear otherwise to those, who will jugde impartially.

HAD the Dr. after he had opened the plan for the intended Episcopate, pointed out particularly it's reasonableness in itself, it's consistency with the estab­lishment at home, and the RIGHT Episcopalians have to such a constitution in the Colonies, he had done something to good purpose; but, instead of this, he appears in the guise of a confessor, and gravely asks, "what reasonable objections can be offered against such a plan as this, so universally harmless in every respect?—Can any thing be promoted by it, but the good of the Church? Can any thing be objected against it, but that this will be pre­vented? Will any dare, in this age of British free­dom, to avow the objection? Would not such a bare-fac'd attempt, thus wantonly to oppress us, and prevent our enjoyment of those invaluable rights to which we are equally entitled with o­thers, [Page 179] —rouse the indignation of all the friends of religious liberty, whether Church-men, or Dissen­ters"? What could the Dr. aim at by these ex­postulatory queries, unless to work upon the passions of the vulgar? Surely, he could not ima­gine, that any man of good understanding would be otherwise moved by them, than to wonder he should only harangue, when it was his business to argue.

HE goes on with placing again before our view the bugbear of persecution. If they cannot have an Episcopate, they are punished; and to be punished for their religious principles is persecution in the strictest sense. Says he, "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". The Co­lonists then, who worship God according to the mode of the Church of England, have a RIGHT to an Episcopate; and to prevent their enjoyment of this "invaluable right" is to punish them, and thus to punish them is, in "the properest sense", to persecute them. Let me make a pause here, and ask, on what do they found this pretended RIGHT? How came they by it? Should it be said, we claim liberty of conscience, and fully enjoy it. And why would we confine this privilege to our­selves? Is it not as reasonable, Episcopalians should both claim and enjoy it? It is readily allowed; and we are as willing they should possess and exercise religious liberty in it's full extent, as we desire to do it ourselves. But then, let it be heedfully minded, we claim no RIGHT to desire the inter­position of the STATE to ESABLISH that mode of worship, government, or discipline, we apprehend [Page 180] is most agreable to the mind of Christ. We de­sire no other liberty, than to be left unrestrained in the exercise of our religious principles, in so far as we are good members of society. And we are perfectly willing Episcopalians should enjoy this liberty to the full. If they think Bishops, in their appropriated sense, were constituted by Christ, or his apostles, we object not a word against their having as many of them as they please, if they will be content to have them with authority ALTOGE­THER derived from Christ. But they both claim and desire, a great deal more. They want to be distinguished by having Bishops upon the footing of a STATE-ESTABLISHMENT. Was this a RIGHT the apostles claimed, or any of their successors in the uncorrupt ages of the Church? Is this a right that Christ has vested in any professors of his reli­gion, much less in some, as contra-distinguished from others? If Episcopalians have a RIGHT to a civil establishment in their favor, the other deno­minations in the Colonies have, in TRUE REASON, as good a right; and may, with as much justice, complain of persecution, if it is not granted to them. The plain truth is, by the Gospel-charter all professed christians are vested with precisely the same rights; nor has one denomination any more a right to the interposition of the civil magistrate, in their favor, than another; and wherever this difference takes place, it is beside the rule of SCRIP­TURE, and, I may say also, the genuine dictates of UNCORRUPTED REASON. If Episcopalians would rest satisfied, as the other denominations do, with what they apprehend to be PURELY SCRIPTURAL ministers, they would be perfectly upon a par with them, as to the enjoyment of religious liberty in it's fullest extent: But, if they must have what [Page 181] they call these scriptural ministers upon a STATE-ESTABLISHMENT, they can have no reason to com­plain, unless of themselves, if they do not enjoy that liberty which others do; not because they are more favored or distinguished, but because they claim no other religious liberty, than what is grant­ed in the Gospel-charter. The short of the matter is, if the Episcopalians in the Colonies are perse­cuted, while they cannot obtain such an Episcopate as they desire, their own desires are their ONLY persecutors; unless they will say they are perse­cuted by the KING, or PARLIAMENT, or BOTH, to whom solely it belongs to give them what they desire: And if they should not be pleased to do this, it may be justly "doubted", as they are cer­tainly "armed with power", whether they would be "disposed to bring them to the stake, or gibbet".

IF it is the truth of fact, that the late Dr. Samuel Chandler "gave his consent to, and approbation of, American Bishops, in the manner they have been requested", we very much wonder at it; and can no otherwise account for it than by supposing, that he was either too complaisant to some high dignitary of the Church, or did not so carefully attend to the true merits of the case as he would have done, had he himself, or the dissenters at home, been more immediately concerned in it.

WHO those "some" are "that would freely join with the Episcopalians in their application for Bishops, if their assistance was needed, we know not; but we know of numbers of the Church of England, of good sense and great integrity, who are as truly hearty, as any among us, in their wishes, that they [Page 182] may never see Bishops in America; as firmly be­lieving it would be a disservice, instead of advan­tage, to the interest of religion, considering the circumstances of the Colonies.

THE Dr. has nothing farther to say, in this section, but to tell us how, "by casting his eyes, while writing, upon the public paper of the day, he was struck with a paragraph, said to be an an­swer from the King of Poland, to the Empress of Russia", and by making some remarks upon it. But we are unable, notwithstanding what he has offered, to perceive it's pertinency to the present dispute. We find no fault with the King of Po­land for "binding himself by oath to maintain and defend the popish religion, as it was the reli­gion of those with whom it lay to make him King; but we think, at the same time, he was highly blamable, should it be supposed he really believed this to be the true religion, to promise upon oath, that, instead of defending, he would persecute those in the Kingdom who were protestants by principle. Far from applauding his conduct, we have no other opinion of him, in consequence of it, than of Saul, who, under the false persuasion of doing God good service, madly persecuted the disciples of Christ. And the best excuse that can be made for him is that, which this Saul, when he came to himself, made in his own behalf, namely, "that he did it ignorantly"; notwithstanding which, he calls himself "the chief of sinners", for his former folly. We do not believe, that the King of Poland, or any other King on the earth, has a right, either from his oath, or any other way, to persecute his subjects for their religious princi­ples: On the contrary, we are fully persuaded, [Page 183] that he ought, so far as the safety of the Govern­ment will allow of it, to protect them all, without discrimination, in that way of worshipping God, they think will be most acceptable to him. We desire no favor in this kind, in distinction from the Episcopalians; neither ought they to desire any in distinction from us. If they have a right, upon the foot of scripture or reason, to desire Bi­shops upon a STATE-ESTABLISHMENT in order to the exercise of their religious principles, we have as good a right to desire Pastors, in the same way, for the exercise of our's; but as we do not desire this for ourselves, they cannot reasonably complain if we do not desire it for them.


ANSWER to SECTION IX. which pre­tends that the Episcopate proposed cannot hurt the Dissenters, and is free from all rea­sonable Objections.

THE Dr. begins this section with saying, "should it be pretended, that an American Episcopate would be productive of much clamor and discontent in the Colonies, it would be an ill-grounded assertion". We are of a quite different mind; as knowing it would be the occasion of great uneasiness to multitudes. But says the Dr. arguing upon the supposition that it would be productive of discontent, "why the uneasiness of the members of the Church, so justly founded, deserves not to be considered as much as the un­easiness of it's enemies, without any foundation, will be difficult to shew". It would be difficult upon his representation of the case. But, by only reversing it, and hereby exhibiting it's true state, the difficulty at once vanishes. Episcopalians, as we judge, have no right, in virtue of the Gospel-charter, or any other, to a STATE-ESTABLISH­MENT of Episcopacy in the Colonies; and if they are uneasie for want of it, their uneasiness is "with­out any just foundation": Whereas, if they are [Page 185] distinguished from the other denominations, by the grant of such an establishment, these denominati­ons would have "just reason" for uneasiness on ac­count of this discriminating difference.—The sug­gestion that follows, namely, "that discontent in the minds of Church-men would not have that dangerous tendency with respect to the govern­ment, which there is reason to apprehend of it in the minds of others", is at once base and unjust. If he does not know it, we do, that there have been in the bosom of the Church of England, in this Country, red hot Jacobites, who would gladly have overthrown the present establishment of the Crown, had it been in their power; and if there are any such Jacobites in the Colonies at present, they belong to that denomination only in whose "minds there is no dangerous discontent", unless it be supposed there may be such among the Ro­man-catholics.

THE Dr. having offered these few hints, upon supposition that the mission of Bishops would be attended with discontent, now goes on to say, "of any considerable discontent or uneasiness, there is no reason to be apprehensive". And why? It follows, "dissenters in this Country have, of late years, greatly come off from their prejudices; and sentiments of candor and moderation have visibly taken place. And, excepting here and there a hot-heated writer—we would hope of the dissen­ters in America, that they bear no ill-will to the Church, and desire nothing more than security in the enjoyment of their present advantages". How does this agree with a passage, in the petition, which was sent to the University of Cambridge, by the Dr. and the convened body who put him upon [Page 186] writing? In this petition, speaking of "the dissen­ters of all denominations", they say, "such is the UNEASINESS not to say PERVERSENESS of their disposition, that they are not contented quietly to partake these immense privileges, but make it their CONSTANT PRACTICE to TRADUCE and VILIFIE the CHURCH, not even refraining from the STATE under which such immunities are allowed them". It is not possible there should have been this most apparent inconsistency between their appeal and petition, if they had both been wrote under the in­fluence of "simplicity and godly sincerity", with­out the mixture of "worldly wisdom". Infallibly, the account in the appeal is wrong, if that in the petition is right, and vice-versa; for they directly contradict each other.

THE Dr. goes on, "as to other denominations, the subject has been proposed to some of the most sensible of them, who have, with great candor, confessed, that, as such an Episcopate as has been requested, could have no ill effect upon any, they had no objections to offer". We say, on the other hand, the mission of Bishops, upon the proposed plan, has been mentioned to Episcopalians; and some of the most solid, judicious, and wise among them, have freely expressed their disapprobation of the thing, considering the state and circumstances of the Colonies, and as freely declared their wishes it might not come into event.

IT is farther said, to shew there could be no rea­son for discontent, that "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 [Page 187] complaint, especially to dissenters". Their tenderness and moderation towards the Colonists, that are Non-episcopalians, has not of late been remarkably visible, should this have been the case in regard of dissenters at home. Had they been thus mild, it would have been much to the advan­tage of the infidel-natives here. Many of them, by this time, would probably have been converted to the faith of Christ, in consequence of the opera­tion of that INCORPORATING-ACT, which, under their benign influence, as we believe, was rendered null and void; and for no other reason than this, that the work of gospelising the Indians would not be carried on after the more of the Church of Eng­land, unless Episcopalians had a hand in it. To the same mildness and tenderness it was owing, that the petition of the Presbyterian Church at New-York for a charter from the King met with the like fate. The account, as transmitted from a Gentleman in that City, is this. ‘The Church (Presbyterian) of New-York lately petitioned the King for a Charter. On the 26th of August it was rejected. The ghostly father of London turned sollicitor for the Bigots here, at the board of trade. It was suggested, that the grant of this favor would be a breach of the Coronation oath. The trade would not decide upon that argument; but reported, that general policy was against our having greater privileges, than are allowed by the laws of toleration. We were very moderate in our request. It was only to secure our Church from falling into secular uses, and preserve the bones and graves of our fathers from being sold. How hard! When Vintners, Sadlers, Taylors, &c. &c. &c. are incorporated Companies in London for less honorable ends! [Page 188] Is this the moderation of the Hierarchy!’ If let­ters, from Episcopalians here of private character, and small importance, could, by being handed to dignitaries at home, avail to such hurtful purposes, what might reasonably be expected as the effect of letters from a Bishop in the Colonies!

AS to the extract from Calvin, the Dr. must have inserted it rather for the sake of his name, which he knows is held in great veneration by many in the Country, than from his esteeming him a friend to Episcopacy, in his sense of it. He knows, or might easily have known, that he was no greater a friend to it than we are. He has in­deed been often traduced, by Episcopal-writers, as one of the greatest enemies of the Church of Eng­land. Says Dr. Nichols, besides others I have not room to cite from, "Mr. Calvin, in his letters to some of his friends, made use of some very hard expressions with relation to the Church of England, which did not so well become the mouth of a di­vine".* The plain truth is, Calvin was in prin­ciple as real an enemy to the DIVINE right of Bi­shops, as to the divine right of POPES.

THE Dr. goes on, "some formerly 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". It has been largely shewn, that there are objections still, and just ground for fear; and such as Episcopalians will not find it very easie to remove. It is added, "our ordinations cannot [Page 189] hurt them, any more than their ordinations can injure us.—And as to such discipline and govern­ment as is intended to be exercised under an Epis­copate, they will have no reason to be dissatisfied therewith, any more than we now have to be dissa­tisfied with the discipline exercised by them". The Dr. quite mistakes the true ground of our dissatis­faction. It is not SIMPLY the exercise of any of their religious principles that would give the least uneasiness, nor yet the exercise of them under as many PURELY SCRIPTURAL Bishops as they could wish to have; but their having Bishops under a STATE-ESTABLISHMENT which would put them upon a different foot from the other denominati­ons, and, without all doubt, sooner or later, expose them to many difficulties, and grievous hardships.

HE says farther, "we should have many reasons to be pleased with an Episcopate", and mentions two or three by way of specimen. "Sometimes we have been grieved at seeing the ill-behavior of a Clergyman in the orders of our Church; but, by the settlement of American Bishops, a remedy will be provided for this disorder". They have this remedy already provided at home; and yet, there are more disorderly Clergy-men there in pro­portion, than are to be found here. And, as this is certainly the truth of fact, it should seem better to let things remain as they are, than to run the venture of a remedy, which, upon long tryal, has been found not to answer it's intention. "Some­times we 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; but under an Episcopate, we must be sensible there [Page 190] can be no opportunity for any gross impositions of this nature". There has been, and now is, op­portunity for impositions in this kind at home, where there are Bishops in plenty; and here would be much more opportunity for it here as Bishops in America would be so vastly distant from most of the Clergy under their care. It would be easier to impose upon them by wrong accounts here, than it is in England. "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 favors will be suffered to continue". It is not for want of good information, as to the real state of religion in North Carolina, that it has been so long, and so strangely neglected by the Society; but from a prevailing disposition to episcopize the more nor­thern Colonies. And should this be in the view of the Bishops to be sent, as many improper missions, in our estimation, might be erected, or encouraged, as there are now; probably a great many more. We are firmly persuaded, this would rather hurt than mend the matter.

THE Dr. concludes this section with removing, as he calls it, "the frightful objection of spiritual courts"; and he does it by telling us, "we may be sure no such courts will be erected". This is fully satisfying, so far as we may rely on his word. He seems to allow, that "some laws which relate to these courts may bear hard upon British liber­ty"; but says, "it is probable that these, and all other Ecclesiastical laws, as well as our liturgy [Page 191] 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 candor enough in the body of the nation to admit of it". When this happy day shall arrive, it will be time, and not before, as we judge, to think of an Episcopate in the Colonies.

THE next section wholly relates to "the case of Tythes"; which, as it has no immediate con­nection with the present subject, and would re­quire a great deal of room thorowly to discuss, I shall not trouble my self, or readers, with saying any thing upon it; but proceed to that which follows.


ANSWER to SECTION XI. entitled, farther Suspicions and Objections obviated, and the Subject concluded.

THE first objection is thus expressed, "it may be inquired, whether new laws will not be made, in case of an American-Episcopate, to sub­ject us to the payment of tythes"? The Dr. an­swers, "of this there can be no more reason to be apprehensive, than if Bishops were not to be sent hither". Very true, if the laws of England, re­lating to tythes, should not be interpreted to bind in America, or no enacting clause should be added to make them to be of force here: But of this there might be "reason to be apprehensive", through the influence of Bishops; especially, if the support of most of the Episcopal Clergy, in many of the Colonies, should continue to depend on the charity of benefactors at home, as would probably be the case. This would afford a plausible argu­ment to subject the Colonies to the law of tythes; and no man living can say, they would not, in time, be thus subjected. Without all doubt, this law, or some other less offensive in it's sound, would take place here, as soon as the state of things would allow of it. The Dr. himself has incauti­ously [Page 193] dropt that, which naturally leads to such a thought, under the next objection he mentions, which is;

"AS ignorance is ever suspicious, it may be farther asked, shall we not be taxed in this Coun­try for the support of Bishops, if any should be appointed"? The Dr. answers in as peremptory terms, as if he had been endowed with absolute foresight. "Not at all". And yet, he immedi­ately adds, ‘But should a general tax be laid up­on the COUNTRY, and thereby a sum be raised sufficient for the purpose,—I believe such a tax would not amount to more than four pence on one hundred pounds. And this would be no mighty hardship upon the COUNTRY. He that would think much of giving the 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.’ You here see, ye Co­lonists, the opinion of the Dr. and, we reasonably presume, of the Episcopal-Clergy under whose di­rection he wrote, that the COUNTRY might, in equity, be taxed for the support of Bishops; that it would be "no mighty hardship", if it should; yea, that we should not be worthy of the "cha­racter of good subjects, if we thought much of it". If the COUNTRY might be thus taxed, the tax might be laid upon those Colonists whose fore­fathers forsook their native land, with all it's ac­commodations and comforts, that they might be freed from the Episcopal yoke of bondage. And shall it be declared, in the face of the world, that this would be "no hardship" to their posterity, and that they would be neither good subjects, or good [Page 194] members of society, if they "thought much" of supporting that power which has been, and may again be, terribly oppressive? Would this give no uneasiness? Would there be no reason for discon­tent? If the COUNTRY might be taxed four pence in one hundred pounds, it might, for the same rea­son, and with as much justice, if it was thought the support of Bishops called for it, be taxed four shillings, or four pounds in the hundred, and so on to ten pounds, until the tax of tythes was com­pletely fastened on us. Surely the Dr. was off his guard, or he would not have given us just reason to suspect, instead of "ignorantly suspecting", that we should dearly pay for Bishops, if they were sent to America.

ANOTHER objection is, "that if Bishops are set­tled in America, although in the manner we now propose, there will possibly be an augmentation of their power, as soon as circumstances will admit of it". But, says the Dr. ‘at this rate there can be no end of objecting. For if every possible ill effect of a thing, proper in itself, and harmless in it's tendency, may be made an argument a­gainst it, there is nothing that can escape. Ar­guments of this sort may as fairly be alleged a­gainst a religious toleration,—against allowing the common people the use of the holy scripture, or the liberty of examining any points of religion or government, for none can tell what ill consequences and abuses may follow, in some future period, from these concessions and indul­gences.’ Enough, I trust, has been already said to shew, that the proposed Episcopate is neither "proper in itself", or harmless in it's tendency"; and the objected "augmentation of power", far [Page 195] from being MERELY POSSIBLE, is in an high de­gree probable. Would Bishops here be contented with "restrained powers" longer than they could help it? Would they not endeavour, as they had opportunity, and circumstances would permit, to re­gain those appendages they have been deprived of? Would they be easie until they were upon an equal footing with their brethren of the same rank and order at home? Are these ONLY possibilities? May they not rather be expected in the natural course of things? Nay, the Dr. himself has unwari­ly opened the workings of his own heart upon this head. Says he, ‘should the government see fit hereafter to invest them [Bishops] with some de­gree of civil power, worthy of their acceptance, which it is impossible to say they will not;—yet it is inconceivable, that any would thereby be injured.’ We are not told, what degree of civil power would be worthy of a Bishop's acceptance; but, if we may guess by what is thought worthy at home, it cannot well be supposed to be any thing short of the super-intendency of two or three Ame­rican-governments. It may easily be conceived, wherein this might be "injurious", at least, to some. And, as civil power, in every degree, has in fact been exercised, by some or other, in an op­pressive arbitrary manner, we are even necessitated not to be at a loss to conceive, how this might be the case, was this kind of power, in whatever degree, vested in Bishops. The Dr. indeed says, "it is hoped, that our Bishops will ALWAYS be thought to deserve the character of being possessed of the greatest ability, integrity, and prudence"; which is "all that the happiness and safety of the Public require". But on what does he found this hope? Neither Bishops, nor any other men in dignity and [Page 196] power, have ALWAYS been remarkable for supe­rior ability, or integrity, or prudence. This is too much to be expected in such a world as our's. It has never yet been the case in any age, or place. And should it happen, in time to come, that Bi­shops here should be not only wanting in these good qualities, but possessed of the contrary ones, would it be at all difficult to conceive wherein they might be injurious? But supposing the best, that they were ALWAYS the men that have been de­scribed, would it be no hurt to the Church of Christ, should there be conjoined with their spiri­tual powers, those that are of a worldly nature? Would this be no injury to the special objects of their care, as God's ministers in his kingdom that is not of this world? Timothy was, in the Dr's opinion, a Bishop of the highest order in the Church; and what were the sentiments of the inspired Paul, relative to his proper work as such? Says he to him,* "Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth en­tangleth himself with the AFFAIRS OF THIS LIFE". And again, "Meditate on these things, give thy self WHOLLY to them, that thy profiting may appear to all". There is, in the nature of the thing, an incongruity in vesting the same persons with spiritual and civil powers. It unavoidably tends to divide their minds, as well as labors; and is much more adapted to do hurt, than good. Bishop Latimer, one of the first reformers, and a blessed Martyr for the sake of Christ, has expressed his sentiments upon this head very justly and strik­ingly, in his sermon of the plough; which I re­commend to the Dr's perusal.

[Page 197] I HAVE now taken notice of what he has reply'd to "all the objections", he says "have been made against sending Bishops to America, so far as has come to his knowledge"; and I willingly leave it with the reader to judge, whether, instead of having proved them to be "unreasonable and groundless", he has not, by what he has offered, added to their real strength, rendering them more difficult to be justly answered. He seems to think it "possible o­ther objections may be suggested"; and herein he has judged right. Such objections have, in these papers, been placed before his view, not as "in­vented by dexterity, or ill-will", but as naturally and obviously arising from the true merits of the cause itself: Nor do we think they are capable of being refuted. "Cavilers and Sophists" may at­tempt their refutation, and, by the help of "leger­demain", they may possibly do it with some "ap­pearance of plausibility" to vulgar eyes; but should they "employ their talents in this exer­cise", though they might please themselves, as children are diverted while "engaged in crambo or push-pin", they would neither "deserve the public attention", or impose upon men of good understanding, and solid judgment.

THE Dr. concludes his subject with a few mis­cellaneous thoughts, he may suppose of some weight. Says he, "unless Bishops should be spe­dily sent, we can foresee nothing but the ruin of the Church in this Country". So far as it is a STATE-CHURCH, there is no reason for concern a­bout it's ruin. Wherein it is a Church having no officers, superior or inferior, but PURELY SCRIPTU­RAL ones, and walking according to no rule but that which is of DIVINE appointment, it's "ruin" can­not [Page 198] not be feared, but through want of faith in the super-intending government of the great "Head over all things".—Says he, "the Church of Eng­land here is so essentially the same with the Church at home, that it must ever subsist or perish by the same means". The Church of England at home, and here, may perish in regard of a STATE-ESTAB­LISHMENT, and undoubtedly will, sooner or la­ter; but so far as it is a Church, built on the "foundation of the Apostles", Christ himself being "the chief corner-stone", it will "subsist" against all opposition of earth and hell.—Says he, "The Church here 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". We are really asto­nished at this hyperbolical representation; and can no otherwise account for, or excuse it, than by sup­posing that the Dr's zeal had, at this time, depriv­ed him of all sober judgment.—Says he, "the author need not 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". What he means here is, "that no form of Ecclesiastical government can so exactly harmonise with a mixed monarchy in the state, as that of a qualified Episcopacy". But it ought to be remembered, the Dr's Bishops, accord­ing to his own account of them, pag. 14, 15. are ABSOLUTE MONARCHS in the CHURCH; and SUCH must Kings be in the STATE to make out a proper analogy. Bishops there have been, even in England, who, in their own imaginations, were ABSOLUTE MONARCHS in the CHURCH; and they would have made the King the same ABSOLUTE MONARCH in the STATE, to the destruction of that [Page 199] wisely contrived mixture of power, which gives the British-state-constitution the preference to any on the whole earth. The government of the Church, by the Dr's Bishops, is more unlike the government of the state, by King, Lords and Com­mons, than any form of government in the Church that was ever known in the Colonies; and, per­haps, is more naturally and powerfully adapted to subvert it.—Says he, in a word to those who have been averse to American Bishops, "the subject is here placed in it's true light, and thereby, it is trusted, their misapprehensions are fairly removed, and consequent fears are shewn to be groundless". As the Episcopate proposed is not, in all respects, as we apprehended it might be, upon it's first ap­pearance, so far our conceptions are rectified; but the Dr. is much mistaken, if he thinks, that he has removed our fears. By what he has offered, espe­cially in answer to objections, instead of shewing that they are "groundless", he has really added strength to the reasons on which they were ground­ed. We are, from him, more satisfied than ever, that an Episcopate in the Colonies, upon the pub­lished plan, even in his view of it's operation, will be greatly hurtful. It ought not therefore to be expected, though we call ourselves "friends of truth, justice and liberty", that we should do any thing to help forward the mission of Bishops.—Says he, on one supposition, in order to point out the "injustice and cruelty" of endeavouring to prevent the Episcopate asked for, "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 entitled to the compleat enjoy­ment [Page 200] of it's own discipline and institutions, as any other christians". Who ever objected against this "compleat enjoyment", upon the footing of a "perfect equality"? The "other christians" do not enjoy, nor do they desire to enjoy, any religi­ous liberty but that wherewith Christ, without discrimination, has made his disciples free; and if this is not enjoyed by Episcopalians "as compleat­ly", as by the other denominations in the Colonies, it is because they want to be upon an UNEQUAL FOOTING with their neighbours; that is, to have Bishops that are more than MEER SCRIPTURAL ones, that shall exercise their authority under the patronage of a STATE-ESTABLISHMENT, whereby they would be distinguished from, and set above, all the other denominations in America; which, as we are verily perswaded, would be putting them into circumstances, they have no right, either from na­ture or grace, reason or revelation, to expect or desire. If they have such right, let the grant of it, as made to them, be produced, that it's authenticity may be fairly examined in the view of the Public; if they have not, their complaints are unreasonable.—Says he, in fine, on another supposition, "if any denomination is entitled 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". We dispute it not in regard of Virgi­nia and Maryland; but as to the Colonies north­ward of these, we think, the preference, in point of superiority, if such preference be at all supposed, ought, in common justice, to be given to them; not only as they are more than thirty times more numerous than the Episcopalians, but as they have merited distinguishing favor, so far as it may rea­sonably be bestowed, in virtue of the vast expence [Page 201] of labor, treasure and blood, their fore-fathers, in some of these Colonies, have been at, to extend the British Empire, and add to it's strength, riches and glory.

HAVING thus largely considered the PLAN PROPOSED for an American Episcopate, and what has been offered in it's vindication, I shall not think it proper to conclude without first letting the Dr. and his friends who voted him their writer, know, that we give full credit to what they have declared, upon having mentioned their plan for an Episcopate, upon it's FIRST APPEARANCE, in the Colonies, namely, "this, without any reservation, or equivocation, is the exact plan which has been settled at home; and the only one on which Bi­shops have been requested here, either in our ge­neral or more particular addresses". But then, we would, at the same time, add, that we must be excused, if we say, we do not believe, they would ever have contrived, or proposed, this plan, had it not been, as they imagined, a scheme for the introduction of Bishops that would carry with it a plausible shew, and give opportunity to keep that out of sight which would occasion universal un­easiness and discontent. We are neither so void of discernment, or unacquainted with the intrigues of those who are most zealous for an American Episcopate, as not to be fully satisfied, they have much more in design than they have been pleased openly to declare. Their ultimate views, what­ever they propose to begin with, have not been so perfectly secreted in their own breasts, but that they have been whispered about from one friend to another, so that we are at no loss to form a true judgment of them. The Dr. himself, though [Page 202] he says, pag. 79. "they have carefully consulted our safety and security, and studied not to injure but oblige us", has yet very freely, however injudi­ciously, given us to understand, pag. 107. that "a tax", in consequence of the mission of Bishops upon this very plan, "may be laid upon the COUNTRY"; which, if it should, "would be no mighty hardship", and should we think it such, we "should not deserve to be considered in the light of good subjects, or members of society": Nay, he even supposes, notwithstanding the express guard against it in the plan, that Bishops "may hereafter be invested with civil powers worthy of their ac­ceptance", and is particular in his justification of it as reasonable, pag. 110. Other things have transpired from those, who did not know how, or were not able, to keep a secret. We are as fully persuaded, as if they had openly said it, that they have in view nothing short of a COMPLETE CHURCH HIERARCHY after the pattern of that at home, with like officers in all their various degrees of dignity, with a like large revenue for their grand support, and with the allowance of no other privilege to dissenters but that of a bare toleration.* Such an Hierarchy may possibly, in [Page 205] time, take place in the Colonies to the south of Pensylvania; but there is no probability, humanly speaking, that this should be effected in the Colo­nies to the northward of it. Had it not been for the Society's pious charity, we should not have seen, at this day, it may reasonably be thought, more than half a score Episcopal Churches in these seven Provinces; and, notwithstanding the immense sums of money they have expended in propagating the Church of England, it's numbers, within these bounds, are comparatively triffling; and they consist, in great part, of those too, who are no otherwise Episcopalians, than their being so tends to serve a present turn. The other de­nominations, from their first capacity of moral discernment, have been indoctrinated in that way of serving God that is peculiar to them. And will they easily give this up, and embrace the Episcopal mode of worship and discipline? "Hath a nation changed their gods which yet are no Gods"? If people, in pagan Countries, who have been taught by their ancestors to worship Idols, which are vanity, instead of the living Jehovah, will not, without the utmost difficulty, be wrought upon to change the object of their devotion; why [Page 204] should it be thought, that the Colonists would renounce those religious sentiments and modes of expressing them, that were handed to them from their fathers, which, instead of being ridiculous and absurd, are agreable to the dictates of uncor­rupted reason, and the truth of revelation, and clearly perceived to be so? A strange change must be effected in that temper of mind they have hitherto discovered, and that has, upon certain oc­casions in providence, been greatly improved and strengthened, if they should be persuaded, instead of enjoying the freedom of christians, to take up­on them that yoke of bondage, which their Pro­genitors threw off as too burdensome and galling to bear! In vain may this be looked for. There is not the least reasonable room to hope for such a thing; and it is really surprising, the Episcopalians are not convinced of it, after so long a tryal to so little purpose. It is our firm faith, trusting in God, that the principles of religious as well as civil liberty will ever distinguish these Colonies, and that gospel worship and discipline, in their purity and simplicity, which was the great Errand of our fore-fathers in coming over to this new world, will be upheld and maintained here, from genera­tion to generation, until time shall be no more, whatever plans may be formed to the contrary, and whatever efforts may be made to carry them into execution.

I WOULD now ask pardon for being thus lengthy, and for being too often tediously so by meer re­petitions. I have only to say in excuse for my self, that I was not willing to let any thing pass, the Dr. or his friends, might think worthy of notice, and so worthy of it as to bring to view [Page 205] over and over again. If he had comprehended what he has offered to the Public in a few pages, as he might easily have done, and, as I imagine, greatly to the advantage of his cause, he would have saved me some trouble, and both our readers the tryal of much patience.


PAGE 12. last line read, vol. I. pag. 637, 638. p. 25. l. 7.r. some of those. p.28. l.1.f.highness in some copies, r. holiness. p.30. l. 3. f. no r. so. p.32. l. 16. f. this govern­ment r. the government of the church. p. 32. l. 2.fr. bot. r. angels. p. 36.l. 6.r. angels. p.64.l. 6 fr. bot.r.disobedience. p. 65. l. 19. dele the. p. 82. l. 18. f. can r. cannot. p. 85. l. 9. r. persuasion. p. 87. l. 16. r. for instead of from. p. 91. l. 23. r. orders. p. 93. l.6. fr. bot. r. trade. p. 97. last l. f. real r. intire. p. 138. l. 19. r. ROYAL, and l. 5. fr. bot. r. 1702. p. 150. l. 10. fr. bot. r. sacraments.


To be had of THOMAS LEVERETT, at his Shop in Corn-Hill.

A Few of Dr. Chauncy's Discourses at the Dudleian Lecture, at Harvard-College in Cambridge, on the Validity of Presbyterian Ordi­nation:—His Sermon on the Repeal of the Stamp-Act;—and, Remarks on the Bishop of Landaff's Society-Sermon.—As also,—Henry on the Bible, 6 Vol. Doddridge's Family Expositor, 6 Vol Bur­kett on the New-Testament, Puffendorff's Law of Nature and Nations, ditto his Introduction, 2 Vol. Rolt's Dictionary of Trade & Commerce, Fla [...]el's Works, Hill's British Herbal, Hogarth's Analysis, Seed's Sermons, 4 Vol. Rosseau Emilius, Naval Trade and Commerce, 2 Vol. Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, 4 Vol. Spectator, 8 Vol. Howell's History of the Bible, 3 Vol Drake's Anatomy, 3 Vol. Quincy's Lexicon, ditto Dispensatory, Brook's Practice of Physic, 2 Vol. Huxham on Fevers, Wood's Institutes, Burn's Justice, 3 Vol. Barne's Notes of Cases, 2 Vol. History of Common Law, Martin's and Gravesend's Philosophy, Salmon's and Gordon's Geographical Grammar, Ainsworth's, Young's and Cole's Latin Dictionary, Johnston's, Bailey's and Dyche's English ditto, Paradise Lost, Young's Night Thoughts, Thompson's Seasons, Cases of Conscience, 2 Vol. Visitor, 2 Vol. Elosia, 4 Vol. Tom Jones, 4 Vol. Roderick Random, 2 Vol. Pamela, 4 Vol. Folio, Quarto, and other siz'd Bibles, School, and a Variety of other Books, &c. &c. &c.

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