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Need stand of laity (in keeping ritual down)
letter, McIlvaine, Crowell
McIlvaine, Charles Pettit, "Letter to John Crowell" (1867). Charles Pettit McIlvaine Letters. 365.
desired vestments & appear in its true character, & then came in England all the wretched Rationalism which is now mocking at the efforts of the English Bishops to [restrain] it, & then came also that following in this country, which though it be as yet considerably in the [rear] is [hastening] to keep company with its Anglican forerunners, & in its real character & aims must be interpreted thereby.
I am glad to see, my dear [Sir], that you as a lay-member of our Church, are seeing these things in [their] true light. We need a bold stand of the laity in these matters. In our Church, they are represented equally with the clergy, in all [her] legislation, & in all Diocesan bodies which have [in charge] the purity of her doctrine & the protection of her institutions. No Parish clergyman has a right independently of the question of unlawfulness to make any important changes in, or any addition to, the established & time-honored exterior of our public worship, without the consent of the laity of his parish, as represented in its Vestrymen. A Layman [once] has just as much right to be heard in such matters as a clergyman’s. The Clergyman is no more a Church-member than he, nor has he any deeper concerns in the the [sic] purity of the faith or the preciousness of the Gospel. All “the [blessed] company of God’s faithful people,” are, all alike, God’s “holy priesthood” (1 Pet. II; 5), & therefore, one as much as the other is required to stand guard at the door of that “spiritual house,” which is built upon Jesus Christ, “the head stone of the corner.”
Pardon me, my friend, for running on at this length.
Your affectionate Bishop
Chas. P. McIlvaine
Hon. John Crowell L.L.D.