War of the Rebellion: Serial 108 Page 1214 MD., E. N. C., PA., VA., EXCEPT S. W., & W. VA. Chapter LXIII.

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remain in a state of ecclesiastical separation (like the Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist churches North and South) entirely distinct or connected by a concordat, or whether the single dioceses would in future exist in their isolated condition or unite in provinces, this question will be discussed in the church, and not in the councils or courts of the civil authority. There is not in this country a union of church and state. As clergymen of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the diocese of Virginia we are subject to the ecclesiastical authority of that diocese and in our ministerial functions gbound by her laws. As far as known to me, our clergy have been guided by this from the beginning. When the secession of the Southern States took place, and it was expected and by many desired that Virginia should adopt the same course, the clergy of Virginia (whatevertheir individual views or wishes on that question might have been) left it their duty to continue the prayer for the President of the United States as prescribed by the ritual of the church to which they then belonged. They wered to omit it; but the political question was not theirs; they had no right in any way to anticipate the action of the State. When Virginia seceded, the political condition of the country made it necessary for them to omit that prayer; but they did not, nor could they lawfully substitute for it any other prayer until the church in convention assembled acted in the premises and prescribed by her authority a modified ritual Individual action of the clergy was not attempted. We are now living under the ecclesiastical law of the diocese of Virginia. In defence to the circumstances existing, and acknowledging the power which the providence of God has given the Government of the United States over us, we fell bound to omit the prayer furnished us by our church for the President of the Confederate States. We do so because the continuance of that prayer would be constructed to involve an act of disloyalty; we do so because we deem it our Christian duty to avoid offense, and do all we can to conscientiously, and as far as the laws under which as clergymen we live will allow, to promote peace and good will. But whilst we continue to live under the ecclesiastical authority of this diocese, and until that diocese orders otherwise, we cannot conscientiously, by our own unauthorized action, introduce a prayer which is not found in our ritual, but has been removed from it by the only authority which has that power. We stand now on the same ground on which we stood in the beginning of this war. As we conscientiously then refrained from individual action and resisted outside pressure and even opprobrium until our lawful authority had acted, I do not see how our couse can be changed now.

This I beg leave respectfully to remark is the legal side of the question, as I understand it. But allow me to refer to the question of equity and fair, impartial dealing. It is evident, and was acknowledged by youon yesterday that the difficulty raised affects chiefly, if not solely, the services of the Episcopal Church. Permall humility, is it generous and fair to exact of us what it not wanted of others? You may suppose that, until by your late successes you obtained possession of Richmond, the feeling and conduct of the different denominations in this city was the same, sincerely or at least outwardly, in obedience to and in favor of the cause of the Confederate States. The extempore mode of wordship enabled the ministers of other denominations to indulge their feelings of loyalty or patriotism to any extent, and you know too much of human nature to expect that this should not have been done in times of excitement and commotion. The ministers of the Episcopal Church were content to use the sober collect