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The foregoing declaration of Rights being' made and subscribed, a copy of the same was presented to his Excellency the Governor, with the following Address, viz.
TO HIS EXCELLENCY WILLIAM PACA, ESQ. GOVERNOR AND
COMMANDER IN CHIEF, &c. &c. OF THE STATE OF MART
We the Protestant Episcopal Clergy of the said State, at a Meeting or Convention, duly held at Annapolis in order to consider, make known and declare those fundamental Christian Rights, to which we conceive ourselves intitled, in common with other Christian Churches; Do hereby, in the first place, return your Excellency our most sincere and hearty thanks for your great concern and attention manifested for the Christian Church in general and her suffering Clergy of all denominations. We trust and
Excellency will continue your powerful intercession till some Law is passed for their future support and encouragement, agreeably to the Constitution.
We herewith lay before your Excellency an authentic copy of a declaration of certain Rights, to which, according to our best knowledge of the Laws and Constitution of our Country, we think ourselves intitled, in common with other Churches. Should your Excel. lency, from your superior knowledge of both, think that the declaration we have made, stands in need of any further Sanction, Legislative or otherwise, we are well persuaded that a continuance of the same zeal and re. gard which you have formerly shewn, will at length produce the happy effect which you so anxiously desire.
Praying for a continued increase of your Excel. lency's public usefulness, and that you may meet the Reward thereof in the world to come,
We are, &c. [Signed by all the Members, by whom the above declaration was signed.]
To which his Excellency was pleased to return the following answer, viz.
GENTLEMEN, I have attentively considered the paper intitled “A " declaration of certain Fundamental Rights and Li" berties of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Mary“ land.” And as every denomination of Clergy are to be deemed adequate Judges of their own Spiritual Rights, and of the Ministerial commission and authority necessary to the due administration of the Ordinances of Religion among themselves, it would be a very partial and unjust distinction to deny that Right to the respectable and learned Body of the Episcopal Clergy in this State; and it will give me the highest happiness and satisfaction, if, either in my individual capacity, or in the public character which I now have the honour to sustain, I can be instrumental in advancing the interests of Religion in general, alleviating the Sufferings of any of her Ministers, and placing every branch of the Christian Church in this State, upon the most equal and respectable footing.
We have only here to observe that the general Judgment of all our Churches at this time, so far as it hath been yet collected, is for the invariable maintenance of the three distinct Orders of our Ministry. It is a matter that cannot concern any other Religious Society, and in which, without entering into any contest, we have certainly a Right to our own Judgment.
At a General Convention, June 22, 1784. Committee of Clergymen and Lay-Delegates was appointed to essay a plan of Ecclesiastical Government, and to define therein the duties of Bishops, Priests and Deacons, in matters Spiritual; and the Rights and Duties both of Clergy and Laity in general Synods or ConVOL. II.
ventions for the Government of the Church, and for preserving uniformity of Worship, and the reclaiming, or excluding from Church Communion, scandalous Members, whether of the Clerical or Lay Order.
The said Committee, not having had time to essay a full plan for the purposes above mentioned, reported the following as some of the fundamental Principles thereof, which were agreed to, viz. I. That none of the Orders of the Clergy, whether
Bishops, Priests or Deacons, who may be under the necessity of obtaining Ordination in any foreign State with a view to officiate or settle in this State, shall, at the time of their Ordination, or at any time afterwards, take or subscribe 'any obligation of obedience, civil or canonical, to any foreign Power or Authority whatsoever; nor be admissible into the Ministry of this Church, if such obligations have been taken for a settlement in any foreign country, without renouncing the same by taking the oaths required by Law as a test of allegiance to the United
States. II. According to what we conceive to be of true Apos
tolic Institution, the duty and office of a Bishop, differs in nothing from that of other Priests, except in the Power of Ordination and Confirmation; and in the Right of precedency in Ecclesiastical Meetings, or Synods. The duty and office of Priests and Deacons, to remain as heretofore. And if any further dis. tinctions and regulations in the different Orders of the Ministry, should afterwards be found necessary for the good government of the Church, the same shall be made and established by the joint voice and authority of a Representative Body of the Clergy and
Laity, at future Ecclesiastical Synods or Conventions. III. The Clergy shall be deemed adequate Judges of
the Ministerial Commission and Authority, necessary to the due Administration of the Ordinances of Religion in their own Churches; and of the Literary, Moral, and Religious qualities and abilities of per
sons fit to be nominated and appointed to the different Orders of the Ministry; but the approving and receiving such persons to any particular Cure, Duty or Parish, when so nominated, appointed, set apart, consecrated and ordained, is in the people who are to support them, and to receive the benefit of their
Ministry. IV. Ecclesiastical State Conventions, or Synods of this
Church, shall consist of the Clergy and one LayDelegate or Representative from each Vestry or Parish, or a majority of the same; and shall be held annually or oftener, at convenient times, to be appointed by themselves; but Fundamental Rules, once duly made, shall not be altered, unless two thirds of the Members duly assembled, shall agree therein.
PREACHED IN CHRIST CHURCH, PHILADELPHIA, ON FRIDAS,
OCTOBER 7th, 1785,
BEFORE the General Convention of the Bishops, Clergy, and Laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the States of New-York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and South-Carolina. On occasion of the first introduction of the Liturgy and Public Service of the said Church, as altered and recommended to future use, by the Convention.
Wednesday evening, October 5th, 1785. ORDERED, THAT the Rev. Dr. Smith be requested to prepare and preach a Sermon, suited to the solemn occasion of the present Convention, on Friday next; and that the Convention attend the same, and the Service of the Church, as proposed for future use, be then read for the first time.
Friday, October 7th. RESOLVED, THAT the thanks of this Convention be given to the Rev. Dr. Smith for his Sermon this day preached before them, and that he be requested to publish the same.
AN EXTRACT FROM THE JOURNAL,
DAVID GRIFFITH, SECRETARY.