previous next

Doc. 169.-Bishop Whittingham's circular.

Reverend and dear brother: I have learned, with extreme regret, that in several instances, the “Prayer for the President of the United States, and all in Civil authority,” has been omitted, of late, in the performance of divine service in the diocese.

Such omission, in every case, makes the clergyman liable for presentment for wilful violation of his ordination vow, by mutilation of the worship of the Church, and I shall hold myself bound to act on any evidence of such offence laid before me, after the issue of this circular.

I beseech my brethren to remember that current events have settled any question that might have been started concerning citizenship and allegiance. Maryland is admitted and declared by the Legislature and Governor of the State, to be at this time one of the United States of America. As resident in Maryland, the clergy of this diocese are citizens of the United States, and bound to the recognition and discharge of all duties appertaining to that condition. It is clearly such a duty by the express word of God-to make supplication and prayer for the Chief Magistrate of the Union, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty; and it is clearly my duty, by the same direction, to put those whom God has committed to my charge in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers.

To my deep distress and disgust I have too much reason to fear that in at least one instance a minister of Christ may have so far forgot himself, his place and his duty, as actually to commit the canonical offence known as “brawling in Church,” while venturing to do what an archangel durst not do, and to defend transgression of an injunction of the Word of God.

We of the clergy have no right to intrude our private views of the questions which are [253] so terribly dividing those among whom we minister, into the place assigned us that we may speak for God, and minister in His worship. Still less claim have we to assume to frame and fashion the devotions of our brethren by our private notions, and to that end mutilate or interpolate the service of the Church. In such times as these we are more strictly than ever bound to adhere to the precise letter of prescribed form, and to deserve the praise of non-interference with others' rights by the closest seclusion within the limits of our own plain duty.

It is not merely my advice, dear brother, but it is the solemn injunction and caution of the Word of God, to be reverenced and regarded accordingly as you believe it to be His: “My son, fear thou the Lord and the King, and meddle not with them that are given to change; for their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth of them both? These things belong to the wise.”

Your loving friend and brother,

Wm. R. Whittingham, Bishop of Maryland. Baltimore, May 15, 1861.

--N. Y. Times, May 21.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (3)
Maryland (Maryland, United States) (3)
Baltimore, Md. (Maryland, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
William R. Whittingham (2)
Doc (1)
Jesus Christ (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 15th, 1861 AD (1)
May 21st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: