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In May following, the Convention of Virginia, untrammelled by the 'fundamental principles of this preliminary gathering, in which it was not officially represented, gave but a limited sanction to a review of the Prayer-Book in its instructions to its delegates to the General Convention of 1785;1 and accompanied this resolution with a requirement of the use, until further order, of the Liturgy of the Church of England, 'with such alterations as the American Revolution has rendered necessary.
Bishop White assures us, with reference to the Convention of 1785, that when the members first came together, very few-or rather, it is believed, none of them-entertained thoughts of altering the Liturgy any further than to accommodate it to the Revolution.'3 It would appear, however, from an examination of the manuscript authorities of this period,4 that as the time for the assembling of this Convention drew near, the minds of prominent clergymen and laymen of the Church in the
expressed itself 'not anxious to retain any other than that which is commonly called the Apostles' Creed.' Journal of a Convention of the Clergy and Laity of the Prot. Ep. Church of Virginia, May, 1785, p. 14.
2 Ibid. p. 17.
4 Reprint of the Early Journals, I. 476-478.
middle and southern States turned gradually in favour of a thorough revision of the Prayer-Book; and thus occasioned that unanimity of sentiment and rapidity of action so noticeable in the preparation and acceptance of the alterations proposed at this session.
Measures had transpired since the informal meeting in New York that, doubtless, had an influence in bringing about this change of views; Connecticut had succeeded in her effort for the episcopate, and Samuel Seabury, D.D., the first American bishop, had been joyfully welcomed by the clergy of that State, and was already received in his episcopal character throughout New England. At the first Convocation of his clergy, held at Middletown, August 3d and 4th, 1785, the Bishop, together with the Rev. Samuel Parker, afterwards second Bishop of Massachusetts, the Rev. Benjamin Moore, afterwards second Bishop of New York, and the Rev. Abraham Jarvis, second bishop of Connecticut, gave their careful attention to this subject of alterations, but their action was confined to the changes necessary to accommodate the Liturgy to the civil constitution of the State. Should more be done,'
' writes Bishop Seabury to Dr. White, in reviewing the action of the Convocation, it must be a work of time and great deliberation.'2 At a Convention of the churches of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode
1 Documentary History, Connecticut, II. 263. Notes" to Early Journals, 1. 618.
2 Documentary History, Connecticut, 11. 282.
Island, held the following month, the omissions and alterations agreed upon at Middletown were recommended to the churches in these States, and further changes were proposed, the use of which was postponed till there should be definite action on the subject at the Connecticut Convocation, appointed to meet at New Haven, and the General Convention in Philadelphia, These proposed changes, many of which were finally incorporated into the American Book of Common Prayer, were received with disfavour by Bishop Seabury and his clergy, and were never formally adopted by the churches to which they were recommended. In Connecticut it was found that the laity were averse to any alterations, and though in accordance with the terms of the Concordate entered into with the Bishops of the Scottish Church at the time of his consecration, Bishop Seabury published an edition of the Scottish Communion Office, and recommended it to the churches
1 Journals of the Conventions of the Prot. Ep. Church in the Diocese of Massachusetts, 17841828, pp. 8-15.
· These changes, in most respects identical with those subsequently contained in the
Proposed Book,' comprised an alteration of the Te Deum; the omission of the descent into hell in the Apostles' Creed ; the disuse of the Athanasian Creed, and the discretionary use of the Nicene; the omission
of the 'Shorter Litany,' and the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of the Common Service; the use of the Gloria Patri only at the end of the Psalms; the admission of parents as sponsors ; the omission of the sign of the Cross in Baptism when desired ; changes in the Burial and Marriage Services; and a number of verbal alterations of less moment. Journals of Conventions, Mass. 1785, pp. 10-14.
3 Doc. Hist. Conn, 11. 287, 288,
of Connecticut, it was not deemed wise to enforce its use, and by general consent the whole subject was suffered to wait a more fitting time.
In the midst of these discussions, the first American Liturgy appeared, the production of no convention, clerical or lay, but issued 'for the use of the first episcopal church in Boston.'2 This book, publicly
1 The title of this rare tract come to God but by the one is as follows: The Commu- Mediator, JESUS CHRIST, every nion Office, or Order for the petition is here offered in His Administration of the Holy name, in obedience to His posiEucharist or Supper of the tive command. The Gloria Lord. With Private Devo- Patri, made and introduced into tions. Recommended to the the Liturgy of the Church of Episcopal Congregations in Rome by the decree of Pope Connecticut, by the Right Damasus, towards the latter Reverend Bishop Bishop Seabury. part of the fourth century,
and New London; Printed by T. adopted into the Book of ComGreen, M DCC LXXXVI.' 12mo. mon Prayer, is not in this
Liturgy. Instead of that doxo2 Procter's History of the logy, doxologies from the pure Book of Common Prayer, p. 164.
Word of God are introduced. It The heretical nature of this is not our wish to make proLiturgy may be inferred from selytes to any particular system the following extracts from the or opinions of any particular Preface : Tbe Liturgy, con- sect of Christians. Our earnest tained in this volume, is such, desire is to live in brotherly love that no Christian, it is supposed, and peace with all men, and can take offence at, or find his especially with those who call conscience wounded in repeat- themselves the disciples of ing. The Trinitarian, the Uni- JESUS CHRIST. tarian, the Calvinist, the Armi- 'In compiling this Liturgy nian will read nothing in it great assistance hath been dewhich can give him any reason- rived from the judicious correcable umbrage. God is the sole tions of the Reverend Mr. object of worship in these Lindsey ; who hath reformed prayers;
and as no man can the Book of Common Prayer
denounced by Parker, and the other:Massachusetts clergy, as heretical,was the result of the loss of the churchly element from the parish by the withdrawal of the loyalist proprietors from Boston, and the substitution in their place, during the war, and while the chapel was in other hands, of men of unsound views and unepiscopal training. The defection of this parish, if such it can be considered, had no imitators. The Prayer-Book, thus 'Socinianized,' only served to strengthen the prejudice at the north against hasty alterations and innovations.
The Convention of 1785, at the very outset, assigned to the Committee appointed to report the alterations contemplated by the fourth 'fundamental principle,' the consideration of such further alterations in the Liturgy as it may be advisable for this Convention to recommend to the consideration of the Church here represented.' ? This Committee consisted of the Rev. Samuel Provoost, subsequently bishop, and the Hon. James Duane of New York; the Rev. Abraham Beach, and Patrick Dennis, Esq., of New Jersey; the Rev. William White, D.D., afterwards bishop, and Richard Peters, Esq.; the Rev. Charles Henry Wharton, D.D., and James Sykes,
according to the plan of the truly pious and justly celebrated Doctor Samuel Clarke. Several of Mr. Lindsey's amendments are adopted entire. The alterations which are taken from him, and the others which are made, excepting the prayers for Congress and the General Court,
are none of them novelties ; for they have been proposed and justified by some of the first divines of the Church of England.'
1 Greenwood's History of King's Chapel, pp. 197, 198.
2 Journal of a Convention, &c. 1785, p. 6.