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A Collection of Essays on the subject of Episcopacy,
which originally appeared in the Albany Centinel, and which are principally ascribed to the Rev. Dr. Linn, the Rev. Mr. Beasley, and Thomas Y. How, Esq. With additional notes and remarks. 8vo. p. p. 210. New-York, T. & J. Swords, 1806.
EARLY in the summer of 1804, the Rev. John Henry Hobart, an assistant minister of Trinity Church, New-York, published a work, entitled, “ A Companion for the Altar : consisting of a short explanation of the Lord's Supper ; and meditations and prayers, proper to be used before, and during the receiving of the Holy Communion, according to the form prescribed by the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the United States of America.” This was followed, in the fall of the same year, by another compilation, from the pen of the same gentleman, entitled, “ A Companion for the Festivals and Fasts of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America."
These volumes, especially the former, appeared, at the time of their publication, not only to the non-episcopal reader, but, if we are correctly informed, to discreet Episcopalians themselves, to advance claims which it is extremely difficult to substantiate.
Of the nature of these claims, the following extract from the Companion for the Altar, will give a general idea.
“ The Judge of the whole earth indeed will do right. The grace of God quickens and animates all the degenerate children of Adam. The mercy of the Saviour is co-extensive with the ruin into which sin has plunged mankind. And in every nation, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him. But where the Gospel is proclaimed, communion with the church by the participation of its ordinances, at the hands of the duly authorized priesthood, is the indispensable condition of salvation. Separation from the prescribed government and regular pristhood of the church, when it proceeds from involuntary and unavoidable ignorance or error, we have reason to trust, will not intercept from the humble, the penitent, and obedient, the blessings of God's favour. But when we humbly submit to that priesthood which Christ and his apostles constituted; when, in the lively exercise of penitence and faith, we partake of the ordinances administered by them, we maintain our communion with that church
which the Redeemer purifies by his blood, which he quickens by his Spirit, and whose faithful members he will finally crown with the most exalted glories of his heavenly kingdom. The important truth which the universal church has uniformly maintained, that, to experience the full and exalted efficacy of the sacraments, we must receive them from a valid authority, is not inconsistent with that charity which extends mercy to all who labour under involuntary error. But great is the guilt, and imminent the danger, of those who, possessing the means of arriving at the knowledge of the truth, negligently or wilfully continue in a state of separation from the authorized ministry of the church, and participate of ordinances administered by an irregular and invalid authority. Wilfully rending the peace and unity of the church, by separating from the ministrations of its authorized priesthood; obstinately contemning the means which God in his sovereign pleasure, hath prescribed for their salvation, they are guilty of rebellion against their Almighty Law-giver, and . Judge; they expose themselves to the awful displeasure of that Almighty Jehovah, who will not permit his institutions to be condemned, or his authority violated, with impunity.” This from the 6 Meditation” for 66 Saturday evening.” p. 202-204.
As we have quoted the passage, rather in order to connect the circumstances which gave rise to Vol. III.