Bishop William White's An Essay on High-Church Principles
by Cynthia McFarland

I am reading Bp White's lectures with much pleasure [1]. On the subject of Baptismal Regeneration he is admirable & unanswerable. On the subject of Episcopacy, lucid & conclusive. There is one difficulty in an admission of his which I have long endeavoured in vain to surmount. If he admits our Chh maintains that the three orders are of divine appointment; & that of course the Bps by divine appointment possess exclusively the power of ordination, how it is possible that any but an episcopal ministry can be valid. John Henry Hobart to Jackson Kemper, 23 August 1818 [2]

Bishop William White's opinions about episcopal ministry not only perplexed his most famous student, John Henry Hobart, third bishop of New York, but puzzled many members of the clergy and laity in the young Episcopal Church. Whether White conclusively considered episcopacy and apostolic succession an esse or a bene esse of the church was uncertain. His writings occasionally contradicted themselves on the matter and his skill as a church diplomat able to reconcile opposing parties only cast greater ambiguity on his position.

Did the lack of a conclusive public position on the part of the church's first presiding bishop matter? Increasingly so, as parties within the early nineteenth-century Episcopal Church became defined ever more by opinions held about episcopacy and the succession. Which camp was the venerable and much beloved bishop in?

The parties
Although a number of issues defined and divided the high- and low-church parties — amongst them, appropriateness of extempore prayers, shortening the services in the Prayer Book by non-rubrical omissions, the support of the American Bible Society, the use (or not) of the surplice, and the like — but episcopacy was often the most significant banner under which the parties joined their battles.

The high-church party could be generally characterized by its uncompromising view of apostolic succession [3]. Holding it as a dominical command, the high-church party concluded that since denominations outside the succession had no bishops, they had no valid clergy. The sacraments of baptism and communion within those denominations were invalid, as the ministers were nothing other than laity. Since members of these churches were thus all unbaptized, the high-church understanding sweepingly relegated them to the uncovenanted mercies of God, leaving them in a position analogous to that of the 'virtuous heathen.' Although some within the high-church camp that drew back from this stark conclusion, it came to dominate under champions such as Hobart and Ravenscroft.

The low-church party found the 'unconvenanted mercies' conclusion far too unpalatable. They would not so rigidly understand episcopacy and the succession as to unchurch members of other denominations. If succession was indeed a defining characteristic of the Episcopal Church, the low-church party was unwilling to push it to a logical extreme. As a result of its more liberal construction of episcopacy and its nature, those of low-church persuasion were more open to fraternization with other denominations and involvement in transdenominational initiatives (such as the American Bible Society) and were often considered to be diluting the 'distinctive principles' of the Episcopal Church.

In the first decades of the nineteenth century, as the Episcopal Church was defining itself and establishing an existence independent of the Church of England, the high and low-church parties vied for dominance within its governing bodies. In a minuscule House of Bishops, every bishop counted. A bishop's party leanings (if not outright allegiance) could tip the balance of the House and thus affect critical legislation that would determine the direction of the fledgling Episcopal Church.

The man and the theologian
William White, primary architect of the constitution and canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA, by the first decade of the nineteenth century was undoubtedly an icon. Brilliant, diplomatic, adroit, and gentle, he was respected and loved by all in the young church.

As a theologian, White was the heir of an English Church theological tradition best exemplified by Archbishops Tillotson and Secker, whose position is often, perhaps unfairly, characterized as latitudinarian. More fairly, it might be called tolerant and unfanatical and thoroughly grounded in reason, tending always to find the centrist position in controversies. White's sometimes elusive position on episcopacy and the succession is traceable to his own intellectual lineage. White's own education at a young University of Pennsylvania (then College of Philadelphia) in the mid-eighteenth century was grounded on secular science and philosophy and, as Sydney Temple notes, the 'greatest single philosophic influence upon White was exercised by the writing of John Locke. White found the mysticism of Jacob Boehme and William Law distasteful, Calvinism 'intellectually irresponsible,' [4] and the emotionalism of George Whitefield misguided. 'He had learned to think empirically even in his study of the revealed religion of the Scriptures and it was this characteristic which made him a truly American theologian in the tradition of English Empiricism.' [5]

In Bishop White's recommended reading list, compiled in the 1790s for John Henry Hobart, the handpicked roster of works was tantamount to a seminary curriculum in the years before 1819, when no Episcopal theological college yet existed in the States. In that roster, 'the second generation Cambridge Platonist Simon Patrick is coupled with radical Latitudinarian Daniel Whitby, and both are listed with the nonjuror Leslie, the Caroline High Churchman George Bull, and the Erastian Benjamin Hoadley. Representatives of nearly all of the movements in Anglican religious thought since the Restoration were eclectically, if not blithely, united in White's list [6].' And they remained thus united, since the General Convention in 1804 approved the roster as the core of a formal course of ecclesiastical study and the 'Course of Ecclesiastical Studies' was still appended to General Convention journals as late as 1874.

The broadness of the views represented on the roster was characteristic of William White, along with the expectation that theological students would be able to hold in tension often contradictory authorities. Bishop White could do exactly that.

The essay
William White's most notorious published work, The Case of the Episcopal Church in the United States Considered, was written at a time (1782) when it seemed to the young clergyman that the Church in America would not succeed in obtaining bishops from the English succession, owing to the ongoing war and the oath of allegiance required by bishops at their consecration. Facing the possible dissolution of the church in the United States, White tackled the question of whether there could be an American Episcopal church without episcopacy. He built a logically rigorous case for the need for there to be so, arguing that if episcopacy indeed was a desirable thing for church order and governance, it was part of the well being of the church and not part of its essence.

No matter how rigorous and well argued, the publication was still shocking to a church that could not conceive of itself without episcopacy. The reaction of Connecticut churchmen was particularly violent. However, very shortly after the publication of the Case, the terms for peace between the United States and England were achieved. Although the Case was not ever formally withdrawn from circulation,[7] the circumstances for its appearance had changed and its impact was lessened.

When White began writing An Essay on High-Church Principles in 1818, however, it is clear that he never withdrew the premises on which the Case of the Episcopal Churches Considered was built. In many ways, the Essay is a another edition of the Case in ordinary time, as it were. What specific incidence caused White in 1818 to take up the question of episcopacy again is not immediately apparent. Certainly the previous years had witnessed many loud public skirmishes, in newspapers and pamphlets, between Episcopalians and Presbyterians on the question of episcopacy and the nature of the church — and White's student Hobart was often in the forefront of the battles. The tone of the arguments became more strident when the influential Hobart attempted to dissuade Episcopalians from contributing to the interdenominational American Bible Society [8] and reached a white heat in the years 1826–27, which saw two extraordinarily bitter conventions over the election of the assistant bishop of Pennsylvania [9], the man who would succeed Bishop White as diocesan [10].

Whether he intended the manuscript for printed publication is not certain. He began it in rough form in 1818 and finished it in January 1819. The Essay is divided into four main sections — Of the Constitution of the Christian Church, Of Doctrine, Of Worship, Of Civil Government — and White builds his case methodically in each section, adding a summary conclusion.

White appears to have laid the document aside until 1827, when he added several annotations and a brief addendum, as well as a new preface, in which he says that his motive for writing was 'that he might be furnished with a Document, to be put into the Hands of any serious Inquirer, when it may be done with the Prospect of Utility. It is also agreeable to the Author to entertain the Hope, that after his Decease what he has written may be of some use to the Church.' No doubt the excitements of the two conventions in 1826 and 1827 to elect his successor, each battered by brutal party politics, made additional comment seem timely.

After the 1827 annotations, the Essay was apparently set aside once again — this time for seven years — for on 10 July 1834, two years before his death, White added a spirited appendix, citing his manuscript as a further response to criticism he had received after his last convention address.[11]

Bishop White died on 17 July 1834, slightly more than two years after completing the final appendix to his Essay on High-Church Principles. The manuscript, characteristically signed W.W., was never published.

The manuscript and its provenance
The manuscript is written in William White's usual strong hand, in a handsewn paper booklet approximately 6.25 inches wide and 7.5 inches long, some 70 hand-numbered pages in length. At various times Bishop White added annotations by means of small paper attachments, sewn by thread to the original pages. The paper, being entirely made of cotton or linen rag, is in very good condition and the black ink remains strikingly rich.

An Essay on High-Church Principles was listed in Bishop White's handwritten inventory of his unpublished works. [12] In his 1835 will, however, he made no specific provision for the disposal of his papers [13] and it seems that a large number of White's papers and unpublished manuscripts remained in his family for many generations, as witnessed by donor records to various institutions. Such was the case with An Essay on High-Church Principles, which appears to have descended eventually to Elizabeth White Wurts (floruit 1900) who gave it to the Bishop White Prayer Book Society in Philadelphia in 1920 [14]. The archives of the Prayer Book Society presumably passed at some point to the Philadelphia Divinity School collection. (Oddly the whereabouts of the Essay appears to have been unknown to Walter Stowe [15] and Sydney Temple [16] in the 1930s and 1940s, a period when they were working extensively with William White manuscript materials.)

The library and archives of the PDS were amalgamated with the collections of the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts when those institutions merged in 1974. For whatever reasons, the White Essay was not formally recorded as a part of the merged collection; its existence was a serendipitous discovery in the mid-1990s. During that period, with the assistance of the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, I had embarked on an inventory and shelf-list of Bishop White's library in his house on Walnut Street, which was restored and is now owned by the US Park Service. This project lead me to pursue a number of possible locations for White books and manuscripts; Episcopal Divinity School was one. Not only was The Essay discovered, but also a number of volumes traceable to Bishop White and likely part of his original library. With the kind cooperation of David Siegenthaler, Archivist and Curator of Special Collections at EDS, these were returned to Philadelphia, and the volumes now reside in what was their original home on Walnut Street.

The Essay on High-Church Principles manuscript remains in Cambridge.



The following Essay was composed by the Author of it in the year 1818. It having been roughly written, & with Interliniations made from Time to Time, he has this Day finished the transcribing of it. His Motive to this, was, that he might be furnished with a Document, to be put into the Hands of any serious Inquirer, when it may be done with the Prospect of Utility. It is also agreeable to the Author to entertain the Hope, that after his Decease what he has written may be of some use to the Church. Feb. 22. 1827


Introduction, p. 1 [18]

1st, Of the Constitution of the Ch: Church, p. 4

2dly, Of Doctrine, p. 37

3dly, Of Worship, p. 50

4thly, Of Civil Government, p. 56

Conclusion, p. 66

An Essay on High Church Principles
To which is added an Appendix, containing the Terms Sacrifice, Priest, & Altar and an Essay on Lay Baptism.

There is sometimes Fallacy in the Use of a Word. It is common this Country, to apply the Term High Churchman, when the Meaning is, simply that the designated Person is a zealous & consistent Member of the Episcopal Church. In this Essay, the Term is understood as begun to be used in England under the Stuart Line; & as it has continued to be used in the same Country at least until lately. The discriminating Marks are to be perceived in the History of it's Church; in which there have been a Proportion of her Divines attached to some Points, thought by others of them to be a retrograde Movement towards Popery; & not to be gathered from her Formularies of Faith & Worship. It is not intended, to charge those Divines with entertaining an Affection for Popery; but it is apprehended, that these Principles have an undesigned Tendency to so bad an Issue; which is the Point intended to be established in this Essay. It was be written, with the Hope of giving to those to whom it may be presented for Perusal, a Caution against an Evil occasionally shewing it's Head in our Church. It has been long since put down from the Seats of Power in England; for, ever since the Revolution in 1688, the Bishops have been of a different Description of Clergy. It would be a Pity, if there should be acquired by it an Influence over our Counsels & Administrations, for, there may be foreseen serious Dissentions as the Consequence.

The Subject shall be considered as it affects — the Constitution of the Christian Church — it's Doctrines — it's Worship, & — Civil Government, in it's Bearings on the other Points. Of the Constitution of the Christian Church
It is a Maxim of the contemplated Theory, that to the Being of a Church Episcopacy is essential; the Members of any Communion being otherwise left to the uncovenanted mercies of God.

There is no such Decision in any of the Institutions of the Church of England; & there are many Facts, in Contrariety to it. Not only so, the Ordinal & the 19th Article are materially defective on such a Supposition, because they hold back an essential Property of their Subject. The Language of the Ordination Service, ought to be construed into Agreement with the Preface & the Articles. They may well be so; for it does not necessarily follow from the expression — 'divers Orders,' that is, more than one [See Johnson or Walker [20] nor from the Exercise of apostolical Authority under the Influence of Inspiration, that what was done under it was obligatory under all Circumstances, without a Command to the effect. This must have been so understood by the Reformers, & by those who succeeded them; as is intended to be made to appear, in what is to follow.

While we are avoiding an Error, let us not run into another, it's Opposite. Daniel Neale [21] & others have pretended, that scriptural Authority for the Order of Bishops was first set up by Dr Bancroft, afterwards Arch-bishop of Canterbury. But it is not true. In the Controversy between his Predecessor Arch-bishop Whitgift & Cartwright the Puritan [22], the former cited from the Scriptures & from the Fathers, the Authorities now currently cited by us; & yet, neither in Whitgift, nor in his contemporary Hooker, is there any Thing to the Purpose of the High-Church Maxim stated. To take the Authority of Hooker in particular. In the beginning of his Preface, he refers to the French Protestants as a constituted Church; & in p. 372 of his Work [Folio Edn] he expresses Sentiments inconsistent with the Theory here opposed.

Let there be remarked it's Consequences. The Credit of the Reformation is nipped in it's Bud. Not only were Luther & the other German Reformers Schismatics; but the Churches founded by them were from the Beginning, & are at this Day, in a State of Schism. Were they to consent, agreeably to our Wishes, to receive the Order of Bishops, it would not correct the Error of their Origin. Let the Conviction of this be carried to the Mind of a Man, who, from some domestic or any other Cause, would find a Convenience in joining the Church of Rome; & will it have no Weight, in reconciling his Conscience to the Measure?

If it should be thought, that this View of the Subject is uninteresting to a Member of the Church of England, or of the Church in the United States; let it be recollected, that the English Reformation was achieved in Opposition to the Bishops of the Day. That the Majority of them were opposed to the Measure, as well when it was accomplished in Edward's Reign, as when it was revived in that of Elizabeth, is too well known to require Proof. Accordingly, it might be contended to rest on questionable Ground to the present day.

It is not a sufficient Reply, to say, that the Services & the Articles were drawn up by Bishops, & by other reformed Divines. If the Question be considered, in reference to the Church of England in her aggregate Capacity; the Reformation, to render it an episcopal Act, requires the Consent of a Majority of the Bishops, which was never given. If the Dioceses are to be considered individually; those of London, & a Majority of the rest, were reformed in Contrariety to the Sense of their respective Bishops. There may be here Use, in a Reference to the Principles of the High-Church Party under William the 3d. The Secession was rested on the lay Deprivation of the non-juring Bishops; an Argument, which applies to the vitiating of what was done under Elizabeth. When the reformed Articles & Liturgy are taken from the Ground of their own Merits, & rested on the Acts of the Episcopacy, there is much in the History of the former Crisis, to shake the Confidence of a well informed Mind; & much more, to fix a vacillating Mind, on the ecclesiastical Decisions of a different Episcopacy from that of England.

This is not all. When a private Christian, not competent to the Discussion of the Question of the Episcopacy, dependent as it is on Biblical Criticism & Research into Antiquity, is told that there is no acceptable Worship but in a Church governed by Bishops; it is to be feared, that he will prefer an Episcopacy which is one throughout the World; & that he will be prepared for those alleged Marks of the true Church, which belong to that of Rome only.

Is there then no safe & Protestant Ground, on which to rest the Point of Episcopacy? There is.

The standard of divine Truth, is the Word of God in Scripture; admitting of Elucidation from cotemporary & immediately succeeding Testimonies. No Pope, no Council, can add to or diminish from it. The Church of Rome, by Dogmas not warranted, & some of which are protested against in the Code on which her assumed Authority is professed to be grounded, is not to be joined with by those who have attained to the Knowledge of her Departure from christian Verity. If there existed no other Cause than her Image-Worship, it would be sufficient; for it is Idolatry; & pleaded for by the Distinctions of the heathen Philosophers, which were made light of by the early Fathers, What, then, is the situation of Persons seceding from the Church of Rome; for such a Cause, without the Sanction of their Bishop? It is, that they remain members of the christian Church, under an imperfect Discipline of their own, which they may set up. The Imperfection they ought to supply, as soon as Circumstances may permit. If, from what we think an erroneous View of the Subject, they neglect this, it is laudable to endeavour to convince them of their Error; & to shew them, that the clerical Profession ought to be continued as it was in the Beginning, in three Orders. But, to deny their Membership of the christian Church, is to charge their Defection from the Romish as shismatical; & to bar all further Reformation from it, unless under peculiarly favourable Circumstances. This View of the Subject, must have been that of the Divines of the Church of England, from the Reformation until the Time of Arch-bishop Laud. It is well known, that Arch-bishop Cranmer had a Project of a representative Union of all the Protestant Churches; which could not have been expected, but with a Toleration of their respective Systems of Discipline. Perhaps one of the Effects of the Measure, would have been the doing away of some Points of Difference, & particularly that in Question.

In the Beginning of the Reign of James the First, when Episcopacy was to be given to the Church of Scotland, a Question arose, whether the Divines sent for the Purpose should be ordained Deacons and Priests. The Primate, who has been accused of carrying Episcopacy higher than his Predecessors, objected to this; for no other Reason, than that it would be calling in Question the Ordinations of other Churches.

Altho' the Mission of four Deputies to the Synod of Dort was merely the Act of the King, & did not bind the Church of England to any of its Decrees; yet, it is Proof of the current Sense of her Divines, that the Communions represented in Dort, were not destitute of the Essentials of a christian Church; no Complaint of the Proceedings having been made on that Ground [23].

That the contrary Idea was soon afterwards adopted by some, has been conceded; & is here believed to have been one of the Causes, which in the three succeeding Reigns, carried such Shoals of Converts to the Romish Church.

In consequence of the said Revolution in Opinion, it became common, in defining the Unity of the christian Church, to reckon Episcopacy as one the essential Properties of it. But, since the Revolution of 1688, the prominent of the English Divines have abstained from this; & have gone back to the Sentiments of their Predecessors, prior to the Succession of the Stuarts. Let three Instances suffice. Arch-bishop Secker, in his 14th Lecture on the Catechism, defining the Catholic Church, makes it's Unity to consist simply in receiving the Doctrine delivered by the Apostles. Bishop Mann, in his Catechism, defines the Church 'the whole Congregation of the faithful, all that profess & call themselves Christians'. There are very imperfect Accounts of it, on the contrary Supposition. Arch-bishop Potter also, however strenuous an Assentor of Episcopacy [24], as the only legitimate Government, contemplates the christian Church as such, independently on it.

The Sentiment is contained even in our solemn Acts of Adoration; as in the Prayer for all Conditions; when, after putting up the Petition for the Universal Church, it is added — 'that all who profess & call themselves Christians, may be led into the Way of Truth': implying that all who so profess & call themselves, are of the said Body. The same may be remarked of 'the Prayer for Christ's Church militant'; in which, after naming the Universal Church, it is supposed to consist of 'all who agree in the Truth of Gods Holy Word, & live in Unity & godly Love'. Be it acknowleged, that such Expressions imply acknowleging of christian Doctrine; since the assuming of a Name, cannot identify it with the Character. But they imply no more. The Distinction is not only important in itself, but may be very interesting to the Conscience of an inquiring Christian. Let such a one be supposed a Member of a Communion not Episcopal; & so situated, as to have no Access to episcopal Worship. On the ground taken by Potter & by Secker, whatever Fault may attach to those who bear Sway in such a Communion, the said private Christian in within the Covenant; united with the rest of Christen-dome under Christ the Head, & in the Possession of the same Doctrine. On the contrary Ground; such a Person, by being a Member of a Communion not under a Bishop, is a Partaker of their Sin of Schism.

It appears from periodical Productions of Great Britain, that the Question has been there lately agitated, whether the Tie of ecclesiastical Unity be the Doctrine of the christian Dispensation, or the Ministry thereby constituted.

When the latter is affirmed by a Protestant Episcopalian, he labours under the Disadvantage, that altho' on the Article of the Episcopacy, different Churches may be similar, they are not the same or under the same Discipline; but they may hold the same essential Points of christian Doctrine; as in the Instance of the Churches of England, Sweden & Denmark.

The other Opinion may be sustained, as follows.

1st, from the greater Importance of the Subject: it being the End, of which Government is no more than the Mean.

2dly, from Facts in Scriptures, relative to the disseminating of Doctrine, without Notice of the Ministry as the Mean; it being either not taken into View, as in the Case of Instruction given to Men of Cyprus & Cyrene [Acts 11.20) or entirely out of the Question, as when Apollos was instructed by Aquila & Priscilla [Acts 18.26).

3dly, from the many Passages in which the Gospel generally, or in particular Faith & Repentance, or the Doctrine of eternal Life is prominent; without Reference to the Ministry, much less to any particular Form of it.

This does not hinder, that the Ministry is of divine Institution; nor yet, that it is a necessary Mean for the carrying of the divine Design into Effect. Much less, will the Point affirmed be a Shelter of that faulty Spirit, which breaks the Unity & disturbs the Peace of the Church.

It would have been easy to have added many respectable Names to those of Secker, Mann & Potter. The Successor of this last Arch-bishop, was Dr Wake; who, in a Letter to the celebrated Critic Le-Clerc, published in the Appendix to Mosheim's History declares, that he is 'not so iron hearted, as to consider non-episcopalian Churches as cut off from his Communion, or to consent with those Writers, who are so furious as to deny the Validity of their Sacraments'.

It is believed by the present Writer, that there cannot be found any Instance of the contrary Opinion, before the Time of Arch-bishop Laud. In a late Number of the Christian Remembrancer [25], there is the Correspondence of an earlier Prelate, the great & good Bishop Andrews, with an eminent french protestant Divine; in which the Bishop denies the holding of the unchurching Theory alluded to. Yet it is supposed, that of all of his Cotemporaries, he came nearest to Claims of this Sort.

The following is an Extract from a Discourse of the late excellent Bishop Middleton of Calcutta, as given in the Quarterly Theological Review (Vol. 2 n. 3. p. 151) 'Where there is no positive Command, we can only judge for ourselves, what Form of ecclesiastical Polity appears to have had the Preference in the Days of the Apostles; & so far as the Case seems to be determined for us, by the joint Authority of Church & State; tho' we need not deny, that under other Forms, & in other Countries, the great Ends of Order & Piety have been accomplished'. In the preceeding Sentences, he had affirmed the good Grounds of the Establishment of the three Orders of Bishops, Priests, & Deacons.

It is painful, to observe some respectable Divines of the present Day in the Church of England, taking the opposite Ground. They defend the Church in her Renunciation of the Church of Rome, because of her Corruptions, & her assumed Supremacy; & in the taking of the Character of an independent Church. But from what they have said concerning the Exercise of private Judgement, there may be inferred their Opinion, that where, not an organized Church, but Individuals, whether many or few, induced by their respective Convictions of the same Corruptions, abandon the same Church, they incur the Guilt of Covah, Dathan, and Abiram. That private Conscience & individual Opinion are often no more than Caprice, is certain; & the same is often true of the public Decisions of a Church. But the Divines alluded to seem to overlook the Distinction, between a Man's assuming of a Right to worship in what Way he thinks proper; & his undertaking to judge the Way, in which God requires to be worshipped. This, is a Privilege & a Duty. The Bereans are commended for searching the Scriptures, to know, whether the Things spoken to them were true. Both the jewish & the pagan Converts to Christianity, acted under the Convictions of their Consciences, in opposition to the governing Authorities of their respective Religions. It is true, there was the working of Miracles. But the Individual had to judge for himself, how far the Miracle was Evidence of the Doctrine, & of the Truth of the Miracle itself. Besides, we know who has said — 'blessed are they who have not seen, & yet have believed.' On the Principles of those Divines, it is difficult to perceive, that a conscientious Member of the presbyterian Church of Scotland can defect it's Communion, for that of the dissenting Church of the same Country, under the Authority of Bishops. There may be set up the Claims of Episcopacy, as superior to those of Presbytery. But of this, the Individual must assume the Privilege to judge. How can that be christian in the one Case, which would be presumptuous in the other?

There is also, according to the Principles of those Divines, a Hindrance in the Way of a Roman Catholic on the Road to Protestantism. It is to be hoped, that they would not deny the english Roman Catholics to be in a State of Schism; altho' the Circumstance is not recollected to be mentioned in their Productions, however clearly the Result of the Arguments. In the Case of a Man bred in Communion with a Bishop of that Schism, he cannot be accused of setting up his private Judgement, while he remains in the Predicament. But the Guilt of this would be incurred, in his first step to Protestantism. It will be in vain, to set up the Distinction between a corrupt & a pure Church; for he cannot have arrive at the Knowledge of this, until he shall have gotten on unlawful Ground.

Arch-bishop Laud, wrote an able Book against Popery; & yet, it might be evident in his Answer to the Offer of a Cardinal's Hat, that a very moderate Reformation would have been with him a Ground of Reconciliation. He said, that something dwelt within him, which would not suffer Consent to the Proposal, until Rome should be other than what she was. There is a Saying of our Saviour to a certain Person — 'thou are not far from the Kingdom of God.' In the Quarter from which the offer came to the Arch-bishop, there must have been an analogous Apprehension of his Character, & a consequent Expectation of his good Offices.

The High Church Principle has charms for some, in the unfounded Notion, that it is inimical to the Sin of Schism. The contrary is the Fact; of which there is Proof, in the Secession made from the Church of England, soon after the Revolution of 1688. It was made on the Principles, that the Bishop who took the Lead in it were deprived by lay Authority; there being put out of View the Circumstance, that the Succession had descended to them under a Deprivation made by the like Authority of Queen Elizabeth. Let it not be imagined, that there is advocated the Intrusion of Civil Authority into an exclusively ecclesiastical Sphere. But under the Circumstance of the Union of Church & State, & of the former's holding of temporal Dignity, Power, & Reverence from the latter; to suppose that it will endure the known Hostility of the principal Churchmen, is extravagant & will never be realized. The Government offered to the non-juring Bishops, to leave them in Possession of their Sees, if they would continue their ecclesiastical Administrations. This they refused, but promised to remain quiet; which would not have been consistently any longer, than until a counter-revolution should be progressing. The Conduct of Dean Hickes [26], lately become so popular with some, is worthy of being noticed. On the Decease of the last of the non-juring Bishops, altho' he had advised the discontinuing of the Secession, as had been done by some of his Brethren, the said Dean was for continuing the Party, under the Bishops consecrated by them in Opposition to the Government, of which he was one. This was twenty years after the Revolution, & such was the Man, who had written against Schism with an extraordinary Degree of Zeal.

It is not here imagined, of Dr Hickes, & those who thought with him, that they were Roman Catholics. But it would seem, in regard to a considerable Number of the People, that being brought to contemplate Episcopacy as essential to the Being of a Church; & therefore, the great Mass of those who had separated from the Church of Rome as Schismatics; the former were the easier reconciled to that Church, in Consideration of the Advantage of having a Test of acknowleged Episcopacy, in the connecting Tie of the Supremacy of the pretended Successor of St Peter. The Argument of Convenience, may prepare for Submission to it as Command.

2.dly of doctrine
The only Matter to be handled under this Head, is what the High-Church Divines have taught, under the Names of 'Sacrifice,' 'Altar,' & 'Priest'. In Opposition to them it is to be here maintained, that the Scriptures, the Primitive Church, & the Church of England, know nothing of 'Sacrifice' & 'Altar' under the Gospel, except in a figurative Sense; nor of 'Priest', otherwise than of presbuteroV (presbuteros) with an english Termination: iereuV (iereus) in greek, & 'Sacerdos' in latin being of human Device; perhaps originally intended for the promoting of Piety; but leading, by a natural Progress, to the enormous Error of Transubstantiation.

The Writer of this has discussed the Subjects more at large than will be here done, in an Essay professedly written concerning them, & published in 'The Episcopal Magazine' edited in Philadelphia in January 1820: of which there shall be here given the abbreviated Substance: it being to be understood, that no Objection is made to the Use of the first two Words metaphorically; or of the last, as a greek Word in an english Dress., Of Sacrifice. Every Thing under this Head, comprehending the other two Particulars, is considered, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, as having had their Completion in the Person of Christ; & the only Sacrifices known in the New Testament, besides that of the Cross, are such as are mentioned in Rom. 12.1. Phillipp. 4.10. Heb. 13.15. & 1 Pet. 2.5. The first & the last of these Places, denote the religious Dedication of our Persons; the second related to pecuniary Offerings; & the 3d, to the offering of Praise.

The Advocates of the opposite Theory rely on that Passage in the 10th Chapter of the first Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians, in which there is a Comparison of the Eucharist with the Peace Offerings of the Jews, & with the idolatrous Sacrifices of the Heathen: But, there being in the Eucharist a Commemoration of the Sacrifice of the Cross, it is a Circumstance amounting to the Design of the Apostle; which was to shew the Inconsistency between such a Commemoration, & the giving Countenance to Idolatry. The Reason applied equally to the original Subject & to the Commemoration of it.

Whatever may be said by any of the Fathers after the first three Centuries, those written within that Time are express to the present Purpose. Justin says — 'Prayers & Praises, made worthily by Men, are the only acceptable Sacrifices. Clement of Alexandria says — the Sacrifices of Christians are their Prayers & Praises, & reading the Scriptures, & Psalms & Hymns before & at their Meals, & at Bed-time, & in the Night. And Eusebius calls the Prayers of Christians — 'the unbloody Sacrifices which are offered to God'. It is precisely the Sense in which the Word is used by our Church, in the Consecration Prayer at the Communion; but it is no where used by her in the other Sense.

2dly, Of Altar. The Place of the Deposit of the eucharistic Elements & Alms, is called a 'Table' in the New Testament. See 1 Cor. 10.21 & Acts 6.2: & there can be no Doubt that at the Moment of the Institution, it was at the Table of the Paschal Feast. We records of 'Altar' in Mattw. 5.23, but the jewish Altar is evidently intended. We also find 'Altar' in Heb. 13.10: but throughout that Book, a figurative Use is made of jewish Phrases, accommodated to christian Doctrine. There is at least a Figure in putting 'Altar' for the Sacrifice on it; & the Figure was only carried a little further by the Use of the Word for 'Table.'

The Roman Catholic Historian Dupin [27] acknowleges, that in the first three Centuries, they did not give the name of 'Altar' to the Lord's 'Table'.

In our Service for the Communion, it has always 'Table' & never 'Altar'. When the Church of England reformed from Popery, the Altars were changed to Tables. On the Restoration of Popery under Mary, the Provision was reversed, but was restored on Return to Protestantism under Elizabeth. The Subject was again brought under Discussion, in Arch-Bishop Laud's Convocation of 1640. The 7th Canon of that Body, treats the Question of Names as a Matter of Indifference; but manifests a Leaning to that of 'Altar', by remarking it to have been of Use in the Primitive Church. To make good the Position, it would have been necessary to extend the Character of 'Primitive' below the first three Centuries.

3dly. Of Priest. There is not an Instance during the first three Centuries, of a christian Minster's being called iereuV (iereus) in Greek, or 'Sacerdos' in Latin. The learned french Divine John Daillé [28] thought he perceived an Instance of it in one of the Epistles of Ignatius; & urged the Circumstance, in Disproof of the Genuineness of those Compositions; on the acknowleged Ground, that no such Use was made of the said Word in the Days of Ignatius. But Bp: Pearson [29], the learned Vindicator of the Epistles of that Father, has shewn, that a jewish Priest was intended in the Place; thus guarding against the Objection, but impliedly admitting the Weight of it, had the Criticism been correct. Altho', when the Church of England adopted the Sentiments of the Reformation, she retained the Word 'Priest', it being presbuteroV (presbuteros) with an english Termination; yet, in her latin Liturgy, she carefully substituted 'Presbyter' for 'Sacerdos' & Presbyteriatus' for 'Sacerdotium'.

That the High-Church Clergy have stickled for those exploded Terms, will hardly be denied. Dr Hickes's 'Christian Priesthood', & Mr Johnson's 'Unbloody Sacrifice', Books of much Esteem among them, may be referred to as Samples. How low, in their Estimation, must have been such Men as Whitgift & Hooker, who have expressed opposite Sentiments! And how low in the Estimation of the Followers of the others, must be some of the brightest Ornaments of the Church in succeeding Times! It has been seen with Sorrow within these few years, that some prominent Divines of the Church of England have maintained the dangerous Theory in Question, & have mentioned as a distinguished Ornament of the Church of England the Dr Hickes, who lived the last 25 years of his Life in a shismatical Separation from her Communion.

If there be a real Sacrifice in the Eucharist, there is so little in common between the Elements & any thing known in Scripture under the Name of Sacrifice, that the Mind naturally goes in Quest of an animal Oblation; concealed under the Species of Bread & Wine. Hence it is, that so many Writers on the Subject have expressed themselves unintelligibly concerning it. Under such Views, it is no unnatural Transition to what it unintelligible, altho' requiring Disregard to the Testimony of Sense; which may be conceived of as what should yield to the Testimony of Scripture, & to the Duty of submitting our imperfect Reason to divine Wisdom.

It is remarkable of the High-Church Divines, especially in regard to the present Subject, on what an Equality of Rank they place the very early Fathers, with those who lived three or four hundred years after Christ. This is an Approach to the Error, of resting Truth on Tradition. No consistent Protestant can cite the Authority of a Father, except as he would draw Light from any Branch of Literature for the Elucidation of Scripture. A Fact of a next succeeding Age, might stand on a different Footing from one at three, or at four, or at five Ages distant. Opinion, as it relates to the present Subject, is of the Nature of Fact.

3.dly Of Worship
That the Clergy denominated from the High-Church Principle, have been favourable to the Admission of Ceremonies alien in Spirit from those received in the Church of England, has been a well known Property of their Theory. A remarkable Case is on Records, in Arch-bishop Laud's consecrating of a Church in London. Some Particulars charged on him in that Transaction, were denied & not proved at his Trial. But his Bowings towards the sacramental Table, were admitted. What Authority had he for this? & is it not probable of the Party who have been ever since favourable to his Memory, that they would do the same if it were tolerated?

Laud's Effort to introduce the Practice, by the 7th of his famous Canons of, is remarkable. To plead an existing Rubric or Canon, was impossible; & therefore, he contented himself with recommending it to 'all good & well affected People, in imitation of primitive Practice, & of what was done for some years in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.' He must have embraced a very long Tract of Time in his Idea of primitive Practice; there being no Appearance of it within the first three Centuries. As for the Mention of the Beginning of the Reign of Elizabeth, it is well known that the Roman-catholics frequented the Churches for about 12 years, until forbidden by the Pope. To all Appearance, these were the Persons, whom the well affected were exhorted to imitate.

For the Practice of bowing at the Name of Jesus, Laud had a Canon to plead, altho' not any Rubric. But, was not his Zeal excessive in this Particular? Certainly it was; if Mr Hooker is correct, where [p. 158, folo Ed] speaking of some Matters including this, he says to the Puritans — 'is it not a Kind of taking God's Name in vain, to debase Religion with such frivolous Disputes, a Sin to bestow Time & Labour about them?' It is not here intended, to interdict the Practice; but it is founded on an erroneous Translation of the Text — 'at the Name of Jesus, every Knee shall bow'. Cranmer's Bible read it more properly — 'in the Name &c'. The Vulgate also has it — 'in Nomine &c': which makes it the more unaccountable, that the Word 'at' should have been substituted. Surely, if the Bowing had been exacted by the Pen of Inspiration, it would been at the Name of Christ, which was peculiar to the adorable Redeemer; & not a Name, which he held in common with many of his Countrymen. This was one of the Subjects, thought worthy of the Zeal of Arch-bishop Laud: a Circumstance, marking the Spirit of his System.

That he was in Favour of Images in Churches, not-withstanding the weighty Contents of the Homily 'against the Peril of Idolatry', may be inferred from a Story concerning him in the Starr-chambers. A Church-warden, in the Discharge of his Duty of repairing a Church, perceiving, on the painted Glass of the Chancel, an intended Representation of God the Father, in the Character of an old Man with Compasses, took down a few panes of the Window; for which he was brought into the said Court. Laud there apologized for the offensive Figure, by the Supposition, that the Artist had in his Mind the Prophet Daniel's Description of 'The Ancient of Days'.

Many who think with that Prelate in other Matters, have expressed the Wish, that Paintings were introduced into our Churches — still, in Defiance of the Homily. Where would be the Harm of them? say some. The Harm would be precisely that which St Epiphanius foresaw, when he tore the Curtain on which was the Image of a Saint; & which Sirenus Bishop of Marseilles foresaw, when he banished Images from his Church. For this he was reproved by Gregory Bishop of Rome; who disapproved of Image-worship, but not of Images. Yet, Gregory had been but a few years in his Grave, when the Worship, of which he knew no danger, was established under the Authority of his Successor Boniface. Of Civil Government
It remains for Time to determine, in what Way Civil Government, & the Concerns of Religion, will have reciprocal Bearings in this Country. At present, it will be sufficient to contemplate the Effects of the opposite Theory on the Government of England.

The Monarchy of that Country, has always been limited. In the Times of the Saxons, the People possessed Rights, fixed by Laws or by immemorial Usage. For a While, those Rights were prostrate under the Norman Race; but they revived in the Reign of Edward the 2d. Both under the Saxon & under the Norman Kings, the Barons, who possessed the landed Property of the Kingdom, depended on the Protection of the Laws against the Power of the Crown. This did not prevent many unjust Acts of some of the reigning Princes; which, however were continued to be covered by the Sanction of Parliament. Those of the Tudor Family fortified themselves in this Way, in much censurable Conduct; never imagining, that they had the Right to govern without Parliaments. The Necessity of their Concurrence was a great Restraint.

It was reserved to the Stuart Race to avow the Doctrine, that parliamentary Rights were Grants of the Crown, & dependent on royal Will. The Story of a Conversation of James the 1st with two of his Bishops, is to the Point, & is familiarly known [30]. The Answer of Bp: Neale was conformable to the Court Doctrine, newly introduced. That of Bp: Andrews was worthy of an Englishman; & manifested him to be aware of the Spirit of the Constitution under which he lived.

The 8th Book of Hooker will remain a Monument, how far the Opinions of the english Divines might have been in his Day from those of the Current which soon afterwards set in from Scotland.

That Charles the first inherited his Father's unconstitutional Opinion of english Prerogative, is undeniable; & that under this Opinion, he acted most arbitrarily & indifferently, needs no other Proof, than what may be found in the Beginning of the History of Lord Clarendon — a Work, written with the Design of giving the most favourable Construction which the Actions of the King would bear. This is not said to justify the ensuing War, which was wicked; unconstitutional Prerogative having been laid prostrate. All that followed was for Change in the Church, altho' under other plausible Pretences.

It is equally certain, that his two Sons were wedded to the same System, & that it cost the last of them his Crown.

In the Review of this Crisis, there is the fairest Opportunity of testing the Merits of the High-Church Theory. Had the Advocates of it been consistent, they would have submitted to the dispensing Power of the King: what was commanded, altho' contrary to Statute; being not contrary to any Law of God. They would have made no Stir about Magdalen College [31]; because its Charter was from the Crown, & according to their Theory, resumeable. Even in the Case of the archiepiscopal See of York, which had been kept vacant about two Years, under strong Appearances of a Design to fill it with some Divine popishly affected; if the Expectation had been realized, Arch-bishop Sancroft & the Prelates implicated with him, might have gone on quietly with their Administrations, their Day of Disobedience being not yet come. In short, all the Laws establishing the Protestant Religion, ought to have been held by them as mere Cobwebs, in the sense of binding the Hands of the King. He might have considered those Laws as expressing the Will of his Predecessors, & not his. But what was the Conduct of those Prelates? It was, that the Gulph of Popery being before them, their religious Feelings were too strong for their political Theory; & that, in Opposition to the Principles which they had always professed, they set themselves against the Will of their Sovereign; rejecting, to his Face, his Declaration dispensing with the existing Laws. No one can doubt, that this their Resistance of assumed Prerogative, contributed greatly to the ensuing Excitement of the national Feeling; which drew the Army from their Allegiance, brought over the Prince of Orange, & seated him on the Throne. It is true that the Arch-bishop, & several others of the same Prelates, returned to their original Ground; & that rather than conform to the new Order of Things, they submitted to Deprivation from their Preferments. Let them have all the Credit, due to suffering on the Score of Conscience; but let it not be a Plea for Opinions, in contrariety to those incorporated with the Laws & the Habits of Englishmen; & resting on Rights which are as much the Ordinance of God, as any Prerogative of the Crown.

The rev'd Dr D'Oiley, Chaplain to the present Arch-bishop of Canterbury, has lately published a Life of Arch-bishop Sancroft [32], from manuscripts in the archiepiscopal Palace of Lambeth, The Writer of this knows nothing more of it, than what is give in the Christian Journal edited in New-York [Vol. 6th). From the Specimens these given of Dr D'Oiley's Work, it would seem to be, at least in general, candid & judicious. But the Liberty is here taken of thinking that there seems to have been an Omission, in no Notice having been taken of the Inconsistency of the Principles of the Arch-bishop with the Measure which conducted him & his brethren to the Tower. The dispensing Power had been exercised by former Kings, & had been declared, by some of the ablest Lawyers of the Kingdom to be an inherent Prerogative of the Crown. It was the Purpose to be accomplished by it at the Time, which justified Resistance, a Measure not to be defended, except on the Principles which led to the Revolution.

Other instances might be given of the Inconsistency of the Arch-bishop. For Instance; it being contrary to his Conscience to consecrate the newly appointed Bishops, he issued a commission to 3 [Ed. note: four or five words illegible] rather than violate what he thought his Duty. But when he is held up, in sundry english Publications of the Day, as a Person of extraordinary merit, it seems not sustained by his conduct, which was weak and vacillating.

It would be disrespectful, to pass by, entirely unnoticed, the Ground taken by those good Men, in the Precepts of Scripture, concerning Submission to the civil Power. Those Precepts contemplate the ordinary Exercise of constitutional Authority; & have not any Bearing on contending Claims. See a Discourse on the Subject by Bp: Sherlock — the 13 of Vol. 4; & another by Bp: Horne — the last in his 20th Vol. The Writer of this, will also take the Liberty of referring to a Sermon of his own on Rom. 13.1.2. printed in 1799. His Reason for introducing the Mention of it, is merely to make it the Standard of his Sentiments, & to guard against the being misapprehended.

The contrary to the Doctrine contended for, is inconsistent with all Restrictions of regal Power, & tends to universal Despotism; altho' set off with the apparent Benefit, of promoting Tranquillity in the State. The Reverse happens. Under all possible Circumstances, there exists somewhere a Control of extreme Misrule. In Rome, under the Emperors, it was for a long Time in the praetorian Bands. In Turkey, it has been for Ages with the Janizarios [33]. In Russia it lies with any few influential Persons, who can lay violent Hands on a Tyrant, & put him to instant Death. How much better is it, where, as in England, there are Constitutions not yielding to the Will of the Monarch! What but the contrary Notion, occasioned the two Rebellions of 15 & 45. It is idle to distinguish between a legitimate & an illegitimate Monarch. Passive Obedience, when it goes beyond the Possessor of the Power, is a Nullity. In short, the Theory tends, as to Schism in the Church, so to Disorder in the State; the two Evils, against which it professes to raise a Barrier.

Let a Reader of the History of England, ask himself, what he thinks would have been the Result, if the Dogmas of those High-Churchmen had prevailed. It is now well known, that the last two Kings of the Stuart Line were Pensioners of the Court of France. To all Appearance, the Result would have been the Depression of Great-Britain to the Condition of a Province subject to the French Crown; instead of her being looked up to in the Character in which she now stands, as the Liberator of Europe.

There has not been lost sight of the Deduction which may be claimed from the Weight of the Argument of this Essay, in consequence of the steady & persevering Protestantism of the High-Church men who have been referred to. The Claim is allowed, so far as they are personally concerned. But it is apprehended, & the Circumstances & the Times are appealed to for the Position, that the lessening of the Distance between protestant & roman-catholic Principles must have contributed to the reconciling to the latter of so many who were crowding to the See of Rome. No doubt there prevailed in their Minds some such Sentiment, as was expressed by a Lady of Quality to Arch-Bp Laud, on his expostulating with her for Apostacy to that Church — my Lord, I see your Grace & so many more looking that Way, as induces me to go before, to avoid the Crowd. The Lady was mistaken, as to the Lengths to which the Arch-bishop was disposed to go; but it did not prevent the silent Influence of his Principles.

The preceding Ground has not been gone over, without the Writers being aware, that he may have incurred the Danger of being thought to harbour an uncharitable Spirit towards an immense Body of Fellow-christians; many of whom adorn their Profession by sincere Piety & consistent Conduct. In Answer he says, that whenever such a Character has come within his Knowlege, he is not sensible of the Want of due Esteem. He abhors the narrow System, which would exclude such Persons from the Number of the Elect of God. It is well known, what Soft'nings are given by liberal minded Roman Catholics, of the most offensive of their Tenets: Soft'nings not admitted by any one their Popes, or of their General Councils. Even when they are considered as a Body, it is conceived that while, for religious Reasons, they should be sheltered from Persecution, there are political Reasons to the same Effect, which, if they had formerly governed in the Councils of England, would have nearly annihilated the Communion in that Country; a great Diminution of them having been produced by the Moderation, which, while the severe Laws continued, prevented the Execution of them.

With all these Allowances, it might be contended, that the most material of the romish corruptions are armed with a deadly Influence over Church & State: an Influence described in the 2d Epistle of the Thessalonians & in some Parts of the Apocalypse. If the Places referred to are not intended of Popery — the Persons of the Popes are here supposed to be out of the Question — the accidental coincidence is the most extraordinary on Record. The Tenderness with which this Point has been treated by high-church Divines, is no slight Evidence of the Leaning affirmed in this Essay. In the Application of the said Prophecies to the Church of Rome, we have our Joseph Mede, our Sir Isaac Newton, our Bishop of the same Name, our Bishops Warburton & Hurd, & many others. But where is the Divine of the Denomination who has distinguished himself in this Field of Argument?

There is not forgotten a Drawing to the rejected Theory, arising from a Cause foreign to the Merits of the Subject. Episcopalians, few in Number, may be seated in the Midst of a large & dominant protestant Society, whose Bigotry & Intolerance may be galling. But such Episcopalians should be aware, how little they know of what would be their Mind, were the Mass of the People Roman-catholics. Therefore, every Thing of this sort should be lost sight of, as foreign to the Purpose; &, by all Means, there should be avoided an Imitation of some Protestants, who estimate the Merit of every religious Dogma, in proportion to it's Distance from Popery. There is equal Impropriety, in estimating it in proportion to it's Distance from the Creed of any protestant Denomination.

It is well known & to be lamented, that there are in our Ministry some Men, not sufficiently attached to the discriminating Properties of our Church; & thought to be competent to the making of a seceeding Party, if an Opportunity should offer. Let it be considered, how much the Views of such Persons are aided, by the opposite Extreme of the High-church System.

The Writer of this is sometimes astonished, on hearing the Acknowlegement of Opinions, which would have been universally scouted in the early years of his Ministry. Tillotson, Secker, & such Men, were revered, & their Authority was held to be good, by all his Brethren. But now the Reputation of the former, in the Estimation of some, is overshadowed by that of a Man [Dr Hickes) who pronounced him an Atheist. As for Secker, if there has been no Attack on his Character from the same Quarter; he is virtually censured by Principles not found in his Works, & inconsistent with some Things contained in them. See particularly his 120th Sermon.

Jan. 2. 1819    W.W.

[See Addendum opposite.]

In Conclusion, & with a Reference to a Distinction taken in the Beginning, between High-Churchism as understood in England, & the modern Use of the Term in the U. States, let it be remembered, that the Writer of this disowns the opposite Qualification of Low-churchism, as meaning little else than Indifference to what our Church has defined: concerning the Ministry, the Services, & some Points of Doctrine; so far as she differs from certain Communions, to which the Advocates of such a mistaken liberality are desirous of approximating. Of High-churchmen in the offensive sense contemplated, the Writer has known very few; whose Sentiments, however, he laments; as tending to the Encouragement of the [34] 

Feb. 22. 1827. W.W.

During the preparing of the Essay, the Author of it has heard, from Brethren whom he esteems, Defences of the Modern Uses of the Terms High Church & Low Church, in the Senses to which he had objected. Now, altho' in Controversy, Language is of little Importance, provided the same Meaning is put on it by the Parties; yet, as in the Concerns of our Church, we have naturally Reference to the former States of Parties in England; the Change advocated may have the unhappy Effect, of fastening on us the Errors noticed in this Essay.

The Advocates of such a Change are in the Habit of ranking among High-Churchmen some eminent Men of whom there cannot be given any Proofs to the Effect; or rather, whom we ought to presume to be in the opposite Theory, from their Silence on the Points, where they ought to have appeared, had they been entertained.

It is also alleged, that from Low-Churchism, there arose great Looseness to the distinguishing Doctrines of the Gospel, so as to verge to Infidelity, & to be great Encouragement to it. Now, what a great Proportion of the english Clergy had allowed themselves in a Sort of moral Preaching, not sufficiently grounded on Gospel Truth, may be admitted. But the Origin of this Mischief began with the Restoration; & has been ascribed — it is conceived correctly — to the affecting of a contrary Extreme to that prevailing under the Long Parliament & Cromwell.

Once more, the Author of the Essay protests against the being understood to approve of Low-Churchism, according to the modern Use of the Word. In that Sense, he contemplates it with decisive Disapprobation; & it is with Sorrow, that he often hears it applied to Church-men, who are such in Name only. But he objects to the modern Use of the Terms, as tending to comprehend under the Idea of High-Churchism, Errors which were not adopted by the Reformers of the Church of England, have had a baneful Influence on that Church; & would have the like on ours, if they should creep in under the Shelter of the modern Phraseology.

An Appendix

July 10, 1834

In a late charge delivered by the Author [35], it was an Object with him, to rest Episcopacy on Scripture, as understood by the Church of England. Some of his Brethren have expressed their Dissatisfaction at this Defence, from the higher Ground taken by themselves. This was expected; & he will not be backward, to confess his Desire of leaving behind him, under the Weight of the special Occasion of the Delivery of the Charge, a solemn Caution against certain Opinions, which if they should become general, will, he thinks, be very injurious to the episcopal Church.

Others of his Brethren consenting with him in his Views of the Subject, have been apprehensive of a bad Use to be made of the publishing of them. May not the same be said concerning any Position of Moment? Take, for Instance, the opposite Opinion of the unvarying Necessity of Episcopacy to the constituting of a christian Church. The Holders of it are charged by Non-episcopalians, with excluding them from Salvation. The Inference, is indignantly rejected. Yet it seems difficult to distinguish the Case from that of the virtuous Heathen, in whose Favour we only hope for the uncovenanted Mercies of God.

The Author has been further confirmed in his Views, by the two following Considerations.

1st; However explicit the Records of the three Orders of the Ministry; there are no Passages pleaded, constituting a Law bound on the Church; Departure from which no Circumstances can justify; & exhibiting Conformity to it, in the same Prominency with the most essential Truths of Scripture. Accordingly, our opposite Opinions are, neither of them, the explicit Dictate of Revelation; but are different Inferences drawn from what has been revealed.

2dly; The Truths referred to, are propounded more specifically & emphatically, than any Points of the Ministry. There shall be cited a few Texts, under each of the three Heads — Faith — Repentance & — Obedience.

(1) Faith

Rom. 10.9. 'If thou shalt confess, with thy Mouth the Lord Jesus, & shalt believe in thy Heart that God hath raised him from the death, thou shalt be saved'.
Acts 1.21. 'Testifying both to the Jews, & also to the Greeks. . .Faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ'.
1.John 4.15. 'Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, & he in God'.
Eph. 4.5. 'One Lord, one Faith, One Baptism'.

(2) Repentance

Mattw 9.13. 'I am come, to call Sinners, to Repentance'.
Acts 5.13. 'To give Repentance to Israel, for the Remission of Sins'.
H. 11.10. 'God hath granted to the Gentiles, Repentance unto Life'.
2 Cor. 7.10. 'Godly Sorrow worketh Repentance unto Salvation'.

(3) Obedience

Heb. 6.10. 'God is not unrighteous, to forget your Works, & Labour that proceedeth of Love'.
Phil. 2.12. 'Work out your Salvation with Fear & Trembling'.
Rom. 2.1. 'Who will render to every Man according to his Deeds'.
Rev. 14.13. 'Their Works do follow them'.

These Lists of Texts might be greatly enlarged; & are not to be evaded by Texts, censuring whatever tends to Disorder & needless Division; which are the Product of Passions wide of the present Argument; & will be punished for their inherent Malignity. Neither do they affect Episcopacy as a Matter of Fact; but they go to the Point, that the principal Ties of the whole Economy of Revelation, are Faith, Repentance, & Obedience.

It is often remarked, that the Doctrine of Christ, & his Church, should go Hand in Hand. They should: but not as challenging an equal Ground of Importance. The Church is pronounced to be 'the Pillar & Ground of Truth'. But she is not the Truth itself; which is incorporated with 'the Foundation, other than which no Man can lay'.

If the Views here taken be incorrect; there should be a thorough Review of the Books prescribed by the Bishops to our Students in Theology. There should be the Dismission of Hooker, of Burnet, of Bingham, & of many others. The last mentioned Author is found of eminent Use, as referring to original Authorities, on all Points concerned with the christian Ministry. But what can be said, in Defence of his so often acknowleging of the Protestants of France, in his Exhibition of them so often as a christian Church, & as consenting with the Church of England on the Subject of Lay Baptism. This is also a Point, on which the High Churchism of the present Day has begun to press Positions, not only in Contrariety to the Belief & the Practice of the Church of England; but leaving to her no Ground, on which to contend for her episcopal Succession; or to pronounce on any Individual, that he or she has been duly admitted to the Church of Christ.

That Extremes are apt to meet, is an old Adage; & has never been more conspicuously manifested, than under the Question of the Last referred to.



[1] William White, Lectures on the catechism of the Protestant Episcopal Church: with supplementary lectures, one on the ministry, the other on the publick service and dissertations on select subjects in the lectures (Philadelphia, 1813). Hobart refers to this sentence about the ministry: 'First, it is of divine institution: Secondly, in every local Church, it is, of right, independent of all foreign authority or jurisdiction: and, Thirdly, as instituted by Jesus Christ and his Apostles, it includes the three orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.'

[2] Kemper Collection, State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison. White was Hobart's teacher and mentor; Jackson Kemper studied for orders under Hobart and served as White's assistant minister at the United Parishes in Philadelphia and as his general administrative assistant from 1811 until 1831.

[3] Robert Bruce Mullin, Episcopal Vision/American Reality, (New Haven, 1986), xiv. He argues for a broader definition of the high-church circle, that 'no unanimity of opinion can be found' regarding the episcopacy and succession within the party.

[4] Sydney A. Temple, The Common-Sense Theology of Bishop White, (New York, 1946).

[5] Temple, ibid., 14.

[6] Mullin, Episcopal Vision, 17.

[7] Temple, Common-Sense: 'Letters in the Hawks Collection in the New York Historical Society show that White continued to circulate his pamphlet for at least two years after the date of the publication ... A reprint of the work appeared, evidently with his approval, in 1827 and he defended his position in the autobiographical notes given to Bp. Hobart in 1830,' 152. The fact that the pamphlet was republished in 1827, the year of the bitterly contested election for the assistant bishop of Pennsylvania, is significant.

[8] Mullin, Episcopal Vision, 52–59, provides a good overview of the controversy.

[9] David L. Holmes, in his two-part article 'The Making of the Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1826–27' (Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church, September 1972 and June 1973), provides a brilliant and detailed narrative of this still astonishing convention.

[10] The February date of the 1827 annotations shows that White was writing between the special convention in late October 1827, which ended in deadlock and failure to elect, and the diocesan convention in May 1827, which was to take up the election again. David Holmes writes: 'A war of words marked the period from January 1827 through the meeting of the annual convention in May ... Pamphlets and counter-pamphlets came off the presses in such a quantity that the literature of only this one election for an assistant episcopate forms a volume of several hundred pages in the library of St. Peter's Church, Philadelphia.' Holmes, 'The Making of the Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1826–27, Part II: The 'Triumph' of the High Churchmen,' HMPEC, Vol. XLII, 179.

[11] The Past and the Future, A Charge, Philadelphia, 1834.

[12] Bird Wilson, Memoir of the Life of the Rt. Rev. William White, D.D., 1839.

[13] A copy of William White's last will and testament, made by his attorney Edward Shippen Burd, is in the Burd Papers, Special Collections of the University of Delaware.

[14] Handwritten inscription on the original manuscript: 'Presented to the Bishop White Prayer Book Society, March 25th, 1920, by Elizabeth White Wurts.'

[15] Walter H. Stowe, The Life and Letters of Bishop William White; Together with the Services and Addresses Commemorating the One Hundred Fiftieth Anniversary of his Consecration to the Episcopate, (New Jersey, 1937).

[16] Temple, Common-Sense Theology. It is even odder that in his bibliography Temple lists materials in the 'Philadelphia Divinity School Vault'; the Essay isn't among them. In an earlier section of his bibliography, Temple notes the Essay as 'Not found.'

[17] The orthography and punctuation used by Bishop White have been retained in the transcription of the manuscript. The archaic forms most noticeable to the modern reader will be the use of the apostrophe in the possessive its, the abundant use of an initial capital letter in many nouns, and the varying spelling and capitalization of a number of words throughout.

[18] These are the page numbers in the original manuscript.

[19] This appendix is missing. However, an article by William White, 'On the Terms Sacrifice, Altar, and Priest,' appeared in the Episcopal Magazine, in the issue of January 1820. (Reprinted in Sydney Temple's Common-Sense Theology.) In June 1820 'An Essay on the Question of Lay Baptism' appeared in the same magazine. Presumably the text of these published articles comprised the original appendix.

[20] White's reference is to two popular dictionaries at the time of his writing.

[21] Daniel Neal, 1678–1743, whose best-known works are a History of New England (1720, 1747) and his History of the Puritans or Protestant Non-Conformists, from the Reformation to the Act of Toleration (1732–1738).

[22] Thomas Cartwright, The second replie of Thomas Cartwright: agaynst Maister Doctor Whitgiftes second answer, touching the churche discipline (Zurich, 1575). Whitgift and Cartwright sparred in print throughout the 1570s.

[23] The Church of England delegates who attended the synod at Dordrecht not only had seat but vote and voice as well.

[24] John Potter, Discourse of church-government: wherein the rights of the church and the supremacy of Christian princes, are vindicated and adjusted (London, 1707).

[25] The Christian remembrancer; or, The Churchman's Biblical, ecclesiastical & literary miscellany (London, 1819-68).

[26] George Hickes, 1642-1715, the non-juring Dean of Worcester.

[27] Louis Ellies Dupin, 1657-1719. His Nouvelle Bibliotheque des auteurs ecclesiastiques, 58 volumes (1686-1704). Censured by the Archbishop of Paris in 1691 and suppressed in 1696, Nouvelle Bibliotheque was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1757.

[28] Jean Daillé, 1594-1670, Traité de l'emploi des saints Pères, 1632; in Latin, De usu Patrum, 1656.

[29] John Pearson, 1613-1686, Vindiciae Epistolarum S. Ignatii (1672).

[30] Bishop Neale of Durham and Bishop Lancelot Andrewes were standing together behind the king's chair at dinner, when King James turned to them and said 'My lords, can I not take my subjects' money when I want it without all this formality in parliament?' Bishop Neale readily answered, 'God forbid, sire, but you should, you are the breath of our nostrils.' The king then turned to Bishop Andrewes; 'Well, my lord, and what say you?' 'Sir,' said Andrewes, 'I have no skill to judge of parliamentary cases.' The king answered, 'No put offs, my lord, answer me immediately.' 'Then sir,' said he, 'I think it lawful for you to take my brother Neal's money, for he offers it.'
     This anecdote is quoted in a 19th-century Andrews family history on the Internet and attributed merely to 'Walter.' The story is likely drawn from the Reverend Henry Walter's seven-volume History of England, in which it is intended to consider men and events on Christian principles, London, 1839, but I have not identified the source of the anecdote further.

[31] In 1687 James II attempted to install an unknown layman as president of Magdalen College, Oxford, whose only qualification was that he was a Roman Catholic sympathizer. A fierce political battle then ensued between the king and the university, and Magdalen was forceably put under Roman Catholic administration.

[32] George D'Oyley, 1778-1846, The life of William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury.

[33] Janissaries, more commonly, in modern orthography. They were an elite corps in the army of the Ottoman empire, often formed of young Christian captive converts to Islam. The celibate Janissaries were known for their martial prowess and political influence, and there was an informal but real balance of power between the Janissaries and the sultan. Janssaries were responsible for a number of palace coups in the 17th and 18th centuries.

[34] Several words on the reverse side of this paper attachment are illegible.

[35] The Past and the Future, A Charge, Philadelphia, 1834.


This article was originally published in Anglican and Episcopal History, Volume LXX, Number 1 (March 2001). Cynthia McFarland was archivist and historian for the Diocese of Central New York when it was written; she is currently (2006) Canon for Communications in the Diocese of New Jersey. She is writing a full-length biography of the second Bishop of New Jersey, George Washington Doane.