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Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States.

The proceedings of this body, which is now in session in Columbia, S. C., is somewhat interesting. The following is a portion of its proceedings on Friday last:

Bishop Elliott presented some considerations in favor of the adoption of the first article, viz: ‘"This Church shall be called the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America."’ He though it inexpedient to make changes unless absolutely required. The identity of the Church might be more or less called in question, and questions in regard to property might arise, and litigation ensue.

Judge Phelan, of Alabama, maintained that if the corporation remained the same, so would its rights and liabilities.

Rev. Mr. Trapier mentioned several facts in the history of churches in Charleston, New York, and Vermont, substantiating this view — that if the essence, doctrine, and discipline be preserved, its form might be changed.

Bishop Green considered the term Protestant unmeaning from its generality, and that it involved the Church in the odium of the follies and heresies of various sects. Episcopal, as a term, was not distinctive, because there were other Episcopal bodies. He preferred the title ‘"The American Catholic Church."’

Mr. Williams, of Virginia, glorified in the term Protestant. Does the Church still protest? The Articles are explicit upon that point, and any change of the kind advocated would subject the Church to suspicion.

Rev. Mr. Hines, of Tenn., inquired if there were no other errors to protest against but those of Romanists? In the creed we professed to believe in the Catholic Church. He wanted a name which would take us back to the days of the Saviour and apostles.

Mr. Fairbanks, of Florida, was at a loss to discover how Protestant came to be applied as a name to the Church — it was superfluous. The argument to retain it upon the ground of expediency was wholly untenable. They were not to regard expediency; it was the lowest ground of action.

Dr. Mason, of North Carolina, had never liked the title. It had always seemed to him to be sectarian. But it was hard to get rid of. He would gladly escape from it, but the attempt might entail confusion, and require endless explanations.

Bishop Elliott would be extremely loth to strike out a term which was a standing rebuke of Rome's peculiar assumption, that she is the Catholic Church of the world.--The English Church gloried in it, and even the Queen had to take an oath to support the Protestant religion. He would repeat what he had said in a sermon in 1844, that the Church is Catholic for every truth of God, and Protestant against every error of man.

Bishop Atkinson urged that names should correspond to things. They should be distinctive. He thought the term Reformed more expressive than Protestant. The Jansenists protest, but do not reform. His preference was for the Reformed Catholic Church.

Rev. Mr. Trapier urged that Protestant Episcopal, as a designation, was now a concrete thing, and hallowed by association.

Bishop Davis dwelt upon the inconvenience of change. For several centuries after the Church was established, it bore the title Catholic, and derived character from it. Subsequently, when corruption crept in, it was not so. It became a falsehood. Protestant in due time became the true term, and gave its historic testimony to the pure and true Church. Viewing each in its time, Catholic and Protestant are in harmony. The term Episcopal likewise testifies to the true Government of the Church.

Bishop Otey contended that the term Protestant is derived from Germany, and was not originally directed against errors in the Church of Rome. He alluded to the present war as the result, in his belief, of ultra Protestantism or Puritanism. He objected more particularly to the expression ‘"in the Confederate States."’ It was entangling.

Rev. Dr. Crane, of Mississippi, considered that to take the name Reformed Catholic would be but to resume the appropriate and original title of the Church. Cramner, Ridley, and Latimer were not Protestants, they were Reformers.

Bishop Lay, of Arkansas, gave as a strong reason why the name should be retained, that its origin could not be discovered. Names gradually came into use. The reasons for their adoption were in the course of time lost sight of, but the necessity for retaining them continued. When names were changed, principles often were. He thought protestant affirmed the position of the Church in respect to the accretions of Rome, and Episcopal did so likewise as to the subtractions of other denominations. We should also not assume a name which others could not recognise as rightfully ours, without denying their own principles.

Mr. Hines said the term Protestant was common to the innumerable seets who disgraced the Christian world. He moved that Protestant Episcopal be stricken out.

Mr. Williams argued that if you strike out Protestant, you march more than half-way towards Rome. When changes of this sort were proposed, there must be some reason for them.

Mr. Pearce, of Alabama, said that the term Protestant Episcopal originated in Maryland, to distinguish it from the Romish Church there. It was attached to the Church by the merest accident.

Bishops Otey and Davis entered into some explanations of their previous remarks.

Bishop Elliott moved an adjournment. The question was called for.

Pending the call, Dr. Wilmer, of Virginia, expressed his desire to cut short the whole discussion. He was for adapting the old Constitution and Canons to the altered circumstances of the Church. He would move at the proper time to substitute it for the one now proposed.

Bishop Meads, from the chair, expressed the deep regret he felt in putting the question. He implored his brethren to pause and consider well the results of the contemplated action. They might give aid and comfort to their enemies, and inflict incurable wounds upon their friends, whose affections they might alienate and whose support they might loss.

The motion to adjourn prevailed.

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J. T. Elliott (3)
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