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BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER,
A RATIONALE OF ITS OFFICES.
FRANCIS PROCTER, M.A.,
vicAR OF witTon, NoFFOLK :
WITH AN INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER ON THE HISTORY
AT the opening of the war for American Independence the clergy of the Church of England, who sympathized with the popular cause, readily conformed to the o ments of the provincial assemblies,' or the recommendations of their own vestries,” and omitted from the service all mention of the temporal authority of the mother-land. The further prosecution of the struggle drove the clergy, who found compliance with the acts of Congress and the State legislatures incompatible with their convictions of duty, within the British lines, leaving their parishes destitute of clerical ministrations, and exposing their churches to the outrages of those who failed to distinguish between the English Church and the obnoxious measures of the Crown.
The issue of the war, involving, as it did, the independence of
1 Bishop White earnestly advocated this course. Memoirs of the Prot. Ep. Church, 2d ed. pp. 76, 77.
* Parker, afterwards Bishop of Massachusetts, sought the
advice of his vestry, and acted
in accordance with their recom
mendation. Historical notes
appended to Hawks and Perry's
Reprint of the Early Journals of
General Convention, I. 471,472.
the Colonial Church, gave opportunity for the revision of the Book of Common Prayer; changes in which were now necessary, in consequence of the altered relations of Church and State. Slowly, and with evident reluctance, did the ministers and members of the Church betake themselves, on the return of peace, to the task thus imposed upon them. - At the north, the clergy of Connecticut had bent their energies, from the moment that the issue of the strife was no longer doubtful, towards securing the episcopate. Until they had a bishop, they deemed themselves incompetent to effect an ecclesiastical organization, or to attempt a revision of the Liturgy.” In this unwillingmess to enter upon the discussion of these matters, the clergy throughout New England,” and not a few in New York,” and New Jersey," sympathized. Even at the south this feeling obtained at the first. In Virginia, on the day following the Declaration of Independence, the State Convention “altered the Book of Common Prayer to accommodate it to the change in affairs,'" and by
1 “When, in the course of Divine Providence, these American States became independent with respect to civil government, their ecclesiastical independence was necessarily included.” Preface to the American Book of Common Prayer.
* Hawks and Perry’s Documentary History of the Prot. Ep. Church of Connecticut, II. 272.
* Reprint of the Early Jourmals. Notes, I. 435-437, 475. * Unpublished correspondence of the time in the possession of the writer. * Bishop White's Memoirs, p. 299. * Reprint of the Early Jourmals, I. 473. Hawks' Ecclesiastical Contributions:1. ‘Virginia,' p. 238. Hoffman in his Treatise on the Law of the
subsequent legislative enactments restrained the clergy
from consenting directly or indirectly ‘to any alterations in the order, government, doctrine, or worship of the Church.” Maryland pursued the same conservative course,” and it was not till later in the progress of the war that the State, not the clergy, attempted by civil legislation to effect the organization of the Church and the appointment of persons to exercise episcopal functions.” To such an extent did these scruples obtain, that at the informal Convention of 1784, in which Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland were respectively represented, it was recommended as a “fundamental principle of organization for the ‘Episcopal Church in the United States of America’— ‘That the said Church shall maintain the doctrines of the Gospel as now held by the Church of England, and shall adhere to the Liturgy of the said Church as far as
shall be consistent with the American Revolution, and the constitutions of the respective States.’ “
Prot. Ep. Church in the U.S. chives of the General Conven
p. 31, gives the particulars of
tion among the notes appended