War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0692 CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.

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think such cases should be favorably considered as within its spirit. they recommend the adoption of the following resolution:

Resolved, That when any of the clergy of this diocese shall be drafted under the law of 1864, the President of the United States is respectfully requested not to insist upon their entering into the military service as actual bearers of arms, but that such clergy bay be assigned to special duties as chaplains, or to do duty in hospitals, or in the care of freedmen, or i such clerkships or other special duties as may be required by the War Department.








[Inclosure No. 2.] His Excellency ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States:

Your petitioners, the annual convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the diocese of Western New York, assembled in the city of Utica, August 17, A. D.1864, and composed of the bishop, clergy, and lay delegates of the several parishes of said diocese, would respectfully represent:

They hold and most earnestly believe, with the great meass of Christians in this and every other age, that Jesus Christ introduced his religion into the world by setting up a spiritual kingdom, and that the separation of the officers of His kingdom from ordinary avocations to act chiefly for the spiritual interests of mankind is essential to its very constitution. His ministers are His ambassadors sent to men. a Of them especially he spoke as being in the world, but not of the world. b When the Prince of Peace sends ambassadors to men to promote peace and good will upon the earth, can in be consistent for men to force them into earthly strifes and contentions, especially into battle and shedding of blood? Compliance on the part of Christ's ambassadors with such usage would surely be incompatible with their character and office. Christ declared that His kingdom was not of this world, or His servants would fight. The word here translated servants, in the original means officers. c When Peter drew his sword in the garden to resist his Master's unjust seizure, he was told by Christ to put it up, for "they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." This precept evidently is not general, for ordinary Christians are spoken of as soldiers in the New Testament, but limited to His ministers. In accordance with this principle of the separation of the ministry, the action of the Christian Church from the earliest times has always been framed. Ordinary Christians might be soldiers, but ministers were forbidden to take up arms. The Apostolical Canons, which embody the practice of the primitive church, set forth strongly this principle, not as enacting a as guarding the original constitution of Christ's kingdom. Thecanons is: "Let not a bishop, presbyter, or deacon undertaken any secular employment on pain of deposition." The eighty-third canon declares: "A bishop,


a II Corinthians v, 20; I Corinthians iv, 1.

b John xvii, 6, 11, 14, 15, 16.

c John xvii, 36, compare with verses 3 and 12, in both which the same word is translated officers.