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his will. A pious and good man must be resolute, indeed, not to be sometimes misled and unduly elated by such distinctions. And when the not pious, as sometimes happens, are exalted to these dizzy heights, the effect is liable to be disastrous in the extreme, both to them and to the interests of the church. Their distribution of livings, their visitation charges, their circuits for confirmation, and their general intercourse with their clergy, if not directed to the best ends, will sometimes subserve the worst.
Of the seventeen thousand and fifty-one ministers, large numbers do comparatively nothing, being relieved by vicars and curates; and of the thirteen or fourteen thousand working clergy, many are in parishes in the country, containing from one hundred and fifty to three hundred souls, while others, in the large cities, have monster charges of eight or nine thousand.
The church of England has the advantage of all other churches in that country in the following particulars:
1. It has the friendship and patronage of the government, and of all the great government officers. 2. It is the church of the aristocracy and gentry, and enjoys the public and private patronage of these classes. 3. The prizes held out to its ministry in the higher offices and dignities of the establishment, and other advantages, prove incentives to high cultivation, and induce large numbers from the best families and highest circles to enter the clerical profession.
Its communion embraces a large proportion of all the nobility, official standing, wealth, learning and refinement, of the nation. It has usually indulged in great superciliousness and arrogance towards dissenters; and will not be easily reclaimed from this error, till its peculiar relation to the civil government is dissolved.
Among its members are many excellent and pious men ; great statesmen, eminent lawyers and jurists, wealthy bankers, mer. chants and manufacturers, and distinguished artists and scholars. But its polity is not that established by Christ and the apostles, and is without any adequate foundation in the dictates of reason and experience.
The principal objections to the Papacy, as a system of church polity, bear with equal force against the church of England. It is a monarchical Papacy, and as absolute a despotism as that of Rome. Its ministry is not organized according to the plan of the New Testament, but according to a later method, of human device. The higher clergy are too much exalted, the lower too much depressed. There is not a proper equality maintained between them. The government and administration of its affairs is improperly taken out of the hands of the membership, and placed in the hands of its head and sovereign; and its ministry are in a sense the subordinates of the sovereign, administering by his authority; whereas, they ought to be the servants only of God and the membership.
This seems to be an advantage to the sovereign, and to conduce to the stability of the state. In some respects it is an advantage to the sovereign, and in some respects it does conduce to the stability of the state. But it is an unjust advantage ; and is, therefore, unworthy of a good sovereign, and unnecessary in a well-constituted and well-administered civil government.
The civil government ought to be administered and supported for ends of its own. These, if properly chosen, are sufficient to engage the sympathy and friendship of the people, and to command their most determined support.
It may be said that church democracies, organized on the plan of primitive Christianity, would be unfriendly to monarchy and aristocracy, and would naturally lead to the gradual extension of popular rights and powers, and the equalization of privileges, till all the despotisms of the world would be undermined, every monarchy overturned, all aristocratic privileges annulled, and all the governments of the world reduced to the republican form. This may be. Church democracy may tend to promote democracy in the state. Church liberty may foster the spirit of civil liberty Church government by the membership may tend to equalize all conditions, and to abolish all artificial distinctions in society. It may abase the proud, and exalt the humble. It may overthrow, in its results, thrones, and dynasties, and aristocratic institutions. But it will replace them ; not with anarchy and confusion, but with institutions of a nobler kind.
In the place of arbitrary principle, will come the law of God, justice, mercy, and the highest expediency; in that of hereditary legislators, elective and representative ones; in that of hereditary sovereigns, elective sovereigns, elevated by the choice of the people, understanding their interests and wishes, ruling in their name and for their benefit, for prescribed terms; and, after having served their time in the exercise of the prerogatives of sovereignty, returning with dignity and pleasure, and without regret, to the ranks of private life.
How much better to be such a sovereign than to be a king ! Where is the king that surpassed the grandeur of Washington, of the Adamses, and of Jefferson ? Those sovereigns lost none of their dignity when they resigned their offices as heads and sovereigns of a Christian and admiring nation, and returned to the ranks of the people. They could have gained nothing by the inheritance of a throne, and the power to transmit it to their children. Their country could have gained nothing by such an arrangement; nor do the inheritors of thrones, and of aristocratic privileges, gain anything by their high distinctions. Liberty and equality are the immutable laws of God; and any unnecessary departure from them is fraught with injury, on the whole, to all parties.
But democracy in the church does not commit its subjects to impracticable schemes for the promotion of the same in the state. It favors the greatest possible development of the intellectual and moral powers of the people, and leaves them in a spirit of love to God, and of good-will to all mankind, with modesty and sobriety, with prudence and care, to make the best of their existing conditions, and to change them only for the better, by suitable and practicable means. If democracy in the church tends to promote democracy in the state, it is only as an improvement on other state organizations, and for the general promotion of liberty, virtue and happiness.
Democracy in the church tends to promote knowledge, piety, virtue and enterprise, in the church. It tends to exalt and ennoble the membership, by making them the kings and priests that other systems make their spiritual rulers. Religion cannot attain its most glorious conquests in any other method. This exaltation of the membership is the true ideal of church democracy. It is as yet but partially attained; but it is attained sufficiently to demonstrate its entire practicability, and its glory.
It is a common objection to church democracy that the people are not competent to receive such high trusts. Only a favored and learned few can have sufficient knowledge, capacity and virtue, to be intrusted safely with church rule. To this we reply, that what God hath cleansed is no longer unclean, and that the temples of the Holy Spirit, guided and led by infinite wisdom, trained and instructed in all the duties of piety and true virtue, are as fit and as competent to be intrusted with church power as the most enlightened monarch on his throne, or the most learned prelate.
THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CIIURCH IN THE UNITED STATES.
ORIGIN OF THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
In the early settlement of the American colonies, Congregationalism was planted in New England, in 1620, at the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers at Plymouth. Dutch Presbyterianism was planted at New York and Albany, at about the same time, under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company, which first settled this region, and claimed jurisdiction over it for the Dutch English Presbyterianism was first planted in Virginia, more than seventy years later, in 1690.
The Protestant Episcopal church of England had been introduced into Virginia before either of these other drders, in 1607; and had subsequently become the established church of that province, in imitation of the English church establishment at home.
Perfect religious liberty was not established in Virginia till after the revolutionary war, in 1785, when a law was enacted for that purpose. Subsequently all laws making the Episcopal church a state establishment were repealed.
Besides the establishment of Episcopacy in Virginia, Episcopal churches were organized in most of the other colonies, previous to the revolution ; and all these churches were under the supervision of the bishop, of London, as a part of his jurisdiction or diocese.
During the revolutionary war the Episcopal churches lan