their future place of worship. " We are slowly completing our
alterations of the Green Street meeting house into something that
shall be all-glorious within. I think, however, that it will be the
divine service chiefly that will make it so. The basement is very
large, and will afford fine accommodations for our Sunday school.
There will also be a large robing room and vestry below.
The principal audience room will have a spacious and com-
modious chancel, and a rather high altar. The pew doors
have been taken off", and there is abundant room to kneel.
There seems but little remaining to be done ; but the days are
short, and it may be that we shall not be ready to commence our
services there till Advent Sunday." Speaking subsequently of the
slow progress of these alterations, he says, " But what they accom-
plish is very satisfactory ; and I think we shall have as church-like
arrangements of the altar and furniture as are to be found in the
city ; though this is not saying much. There will be a hundred
pews, or rather open seats, on the floor; for we have discarded
the doors, and cut down the ends to a scroll elbow piece — a vast
improvement in the appearance of the building, and settling an
important principle. How strange the spectacle would be in our
eyes, if we were not accustomed to it — this buttoning in of families
on the floor of the sacred edifice, each in their separate pens !
. . . Since these repairs have been going on, I have dwelt, as
it were, in the house of the Lord, when I could be spared ; and
shall spend much more time there when all is completed ; and hope
400 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CEOS WELL. [1847.
to find, as indeed I have ever done, that one day in His courts is
better than a thousand."
Writing on his forty-third birthday, he began to morahze on the
occasion ; but being interrupted, he says, on again taking up his
pen, " I will not resume the attempt to sermonize. Suffice it to say,
that I adore the goodness and mercy that have followed me all the
days of my life thus far, and so abundantly blessed our domestic
relations to our mutual comfort. May God long spare each mem-
ber of tlie family to be a comfort to the rest ; and, after a short
separation, may it please him to hasten the number of his elect, and
unite us forever in his heavenly kingdom, through Jesus Christ our
Lord. Amen ! "
The following characteristic passage is from the same letter : " I
was at the laying of the corner stone of the Church of the INIessiah
yesterday. I endeavor to unite with the brethren, whether they
will unite with me or not. Brother Randall's address was very
good ; and at the aspiration at the close, I audibly responded, ' Amen.'
I took his hand afterwards, for his faithful testimony, and hoped
that they would bring forth the top stone with shoutings. I do not
envy him his building when completed, in comparison with ours ;
and I forgive him that I could not draw from him a word of con-
gratulation in return for mine."
November 14, he speaks of his desire " to make out, if possible, a
genealogical table of the Crosvvell family before all are gone who
can assist in developing it. I think the memoirs of the family, in all
its branches, would be rich in curious anecdote — the eastern hardly
less so than the western. Without an exception, whatever their
parts, none of the name have ever accumulated any great wealth,
though many of them have come very near it. I am inclined to
think, however, that many of them have been rich in faith, and heirs
of the kingdom."
November 22, he writes, " We had our last communion and Sun-
day services at the chapel in Lowell Street yesterday, and they were
of solemn interest — both the curate and myself preacliing appropriate
The opening of the new place of worship in Green Street was an
event of deep interest to the parish as well as the rector, and the
fulfilment of many pleasing anticipations. From his own pen, how-
ever, there is but a brief sketch of the event itself, and this is found
in a diary, entitled " Words of Days : a record of the daily minis-
trations of the offices and ordinances of the Church at the Church
of the Advent, in Green Street, from the time of its reopening as a
place of Episcopal worship, on Advent Sunday, November 28,
1847." But a more particular accouiit is copied from one of the
religious periodicals of the day : —
1847.] CHUECH OF THE AD^TINT. 401
" Church of the Advent. The first service of the parish of
the Advent, Boston, in their new place of worship, was held on
Sunday, the 28th of Novemher. The chapel was previously occu-
pied hy a Congregational society, and has been fitted up in a man-
ner suitable for the worship of our church. The pew doors have all
been taken off, and every seat is free. The chancel is spacious, with
only the altar within the rail, and a lectern and seats for the clergy
without the rail. Above and behind the altar are four tablets, for
the creed, Lord's prayer, and sacraments, and a simple cross,
over which are the words, Lo, I come ! particularly significant of
that event, to the commemoration of which, as past, and the prepara-
tion for which, as to come, the church is specially consecrated. The
Rev. Drs. Croswell and Eaton, and Rev. Mr. Pollard, officiated ;
the communion service was performed, and Dr. Croswell preached
a highly interesting sermon. The congregation was very large, and
the prospects of the parish are quite encouraging. It is a singular
coincidence, that tliis parish, which took its name without reference
to the time of its organization, should have had its first public ser-
vice, its first service and sermon by its first and only rector, and its
first service in its new place of worship, each on Advent Sun-
day." — Churchman.
Among the pleasing incidents connected with the transfer of the
Green Street Meeting House to the parish of the Advent, was the
receipt of the following communication from the Rev. Dr. Jenks,
in answer apparently to a note inviting him to attend the services
of the Church on Advent Sunday : —
1 Crescent Place, Novemher 26, 184-7.
Reverend and dear Sir : Accept my sincere thanks for the
very kind invitation you have so obligingly sent me. I could not
peruse your note without emotion. And I rejoice that the house
in which I have so long officiated in the gospel will still resound with
the preaching of " Christ crucified " for the sins of men.
This satisfaction is much enhanced, when I contemplate the dan-
ger there was, lest a company, formed for the purpose, should have
succeeded in obtaining the house in order to erect a theitre on its
site. This would have been a " grief of heart " to me.
I had made my arrangement with my reverend brother Blagden
some time before the reception of your note ; and shall expect to
attend statedly, (when abroad,) at the Old South, where I am
engaged to preach on Lord's day morning next. But this does
not lessen my obligation for the kindness of your friendly ofi'er.
Among the most painful things attending the scattering and dis-
solution of the late church and religious society in Green Street, the
dispersion of the flourishing Sabbath school was, perhaps, the greatest.
402 MEMOIR OF ^VILLIAM CROSWELL. [1847.
It is pleasant to me to reflect that the room it occupied will be
reopened, and sacred instruction be still given to the young.
That it may please the great Head of the Church to make your
ministry long and greatly successful, and that he may enable you
not only to " save yourself," but also " them that hear you," is the
desire and prayer of, reverend and dear sir.
Yours in the gospel of Christ,
Rev. Dr. Croswell.
But while the affairs of the Advent were thus prosperous, the
rector and his people were soon taught to feel that the " tyranny "
of the bishop's course was by no means " overpast," although it
assumed, in some respects, a new or modified form. The rector,
writing to his father November 22, says, " Last week, five of the
clergy, Messrs. Vinton, Clark, Mason, Woart, and Randall,
called, in a body, first at our house, and then at the church ; but not
finding me at either place, they left without mentioning their errand.
The next evening they called again, and I gave them a cordial
reception. They professed to have the best intentions, and a beai'ty
desire for unity and a restoration of clerical intercourse. This
feeling, of course, was reciprocated. They had been first to the
bishop, to see on what terms he would consent to bury the hatchet.
They had had difficulty in inducing him to concede any thing. But
he had finally concluded to waive his objections to every thing, pro-
vided I would pray towards the people. I had rather a free talk
with them — not unpleasant on either side, and not compromising,
you may be sure, on mine. It ended with the assurance that I
would give the subject a deliberate consideration, and inform them
of the result. A meeting of the clergy, the beginning of a sort
of city convocation, is to be held this evening at Dr. Vinton's.
Instead of attending, I purpose to send the following note : " —
BosTox, November 22, 1847.
To Dr. Vinton, &c.
Dear Brethren : I have again to thank you for your kind efforts
to mediate between the bishop of the diocese and myself, with
regard to the posture observed in divine worship at the Church of
the Advent. I have carefully reviewed the whole subject more than
once, and have uniformly returned to the conclusions which are con-
tained in a correspondence between the bishop and myself, nearly a
year since. I beg leave to submit a copy of that correspondence to
your candid perusal, and should have no objections, for my own
part, to its being pubUshed, if it should be thought advisable. It
should be understood, that conformity to our usage, in the particular
to which you refer, has never been required as a condition of clerical
1847.] CHURCH OF THE ADVENT. 403
exchange with my brethren, and that a kneeling stool will be pro-
vided for the use of those who may prefer, for any reason, to kneel
at the lectern.
Very sincerely, your obedient servant,
P. S. There are considerations of a delicate nature, which I will
mention when we meet, that prevent me from joining the brethren
at your house this evening.
This was followed by a letter from the bishop : —
Tremont Street, November 24, 1847.
Reverend and dear Sir : I have learned, with great satisfaction,
that several of the parochial clergy of the city, with a view of pro-
moting brotherly unity and friendly clerical interchange between
yourself and them, have represented to you their wish that you
would so far conform to prevaihng usage, in your mode of conduct-
ing divine service in your church, that so desirable an end might be
I now beg to express to you once more my own strong desire on
the same subject ; and, as you are on the eve of taking possession of
a new place of worship, I have thought the present a favorable
opportunity for thus afresh declaring to you my wishes.
There are several particulars in which a return by you to the
usages of your brethren is desired by me — such as the wearing of
the gown, instead of the surplice, in preaching ; the reading of the
morning and evening prayer from a reading desk ; and the use of a
pulpit for preaching, and the regular use of the hietrical psalms
and hymns. On these, however, 1 will not insist ; and the utmost
that I now ask you to do in this matter is, either that, if the prayers
should be read from a reading desk, you will kneel at it, according
to the prevailing custom, with your face towards the people ; or
that, if the prayers be read at the communion table, you will see
that it be so placed that both you and the other clergymen officiat-
ing can stand or kneel without inconvenience at the end of it, and
close by it, in the usual way, instead of being at a distance from it,
either at the end or in front.
I take this opportunity of saying, though I can scarcely think it
necessary, that, in all my past measures connected with this unpleas-
ant subject, I have been influenced by no considerations of personal
unkindness to you. The friendly intercourse which had previously
subsisted between you and your family and myself, after your
removal from western New York to this city, forbids this
My motives, in what I have done, have been those of official duty
exclusively ; and, under the influence of the same motives, I now
404 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1847.
most earnestly call upon you, as your diocesan, at least to make
the change above referred to, and no longer to persevere in a
course so at variance with the customs which, from the first estab-
lishment of oar Church, have prevailed in our places of worship,
both in this and other dioceses.
T am, reverend and dear sir.
Your faithful brother,
The Rev. W. Croswell, D. D.
He could not but look upon the introductory part of this letter
as "rather cool — the object of the clerical delegation being, as was
expressly stated by them, to mediate between the bishop of the dio-
cese and myself." He was too much occupied at the moment to
return a full answer ; and therefore sent, by way of explanation, the
following hasty note : —
Crescent Place, November 27, 1847.
Right reverend and dear Sir: I write this brief note to
say that your favor of the 24th was put into my hands the next day ;
but that, owing to the very pressing nature of my engagements in
prej^aring for the opening of our new place of worship on Advent
Sunday, I am not able, this week, as I could have desired, to do
more than to acknowledge the receipt.
In great haste, very truly,
Your friend and servant,
Right Rev. Dr. Eastburn.
From various causes of delay, the full answer was not forwarded
to the bishop until the 30th of December. In the mean time, he kept
his father advised of every proceeding, and often received a free
expression of his opinion on the several points involved in the dis-
cussion. But a single extract is made from a letter to his father,
December 6 : " Touching the postures, I agree with you entirely.
The arrangements being mainly like those at the Church of the
Holy Communion, (New York,) we kneel at an angle of forty-five
towards the end of the altar, exhibiting the profile to most of
the congregation. . . . Dr. Boyle was with us on Sunday, and
commended our manner of exhibiting the service, as not only unex-
ceptionable, but exemplary, and said that it came nearer than any
other to the interior of the oldest church in Christendom, St.
Clements of Rome, built in the fourth century, with a simple altar,
and without that invention of a late Papal age called a pulpit — a
word, he said, originally applied to the rostrum from which the
mountebanks exhibited their antics. 'A use not so foreign,' said
1847.] CHURCH OF THE ADVENT. 405
the doctor, ' from that to which they are now sometimes devoted.'
It is somewhat remarkahle, not to say providential, that the oldest
and most venerable presbyter in the diocese, good Dr. Eaton, is
constantly present and assisting in our daily and weekly services."
Nothing now remains to complete the record of the year hut liis
letter to Bishop Eastburn.
Boston, December 30, 1847.
Right reverend and dear Sir : I have thought it due to your
office and character that a letter of so much importance as yours
of the 24th ultimo should receive the most mature deliberation.
Hence the delay in returning an answer ; though I cannot say that
I have, from the first, felt much hesitation as to the course which I
ought to pursue.
My impressions differ considerably from your own with regard to
the design and intention of the call of several of the parochial
clergy of the city, to whom you allude as interested in promoting
brotherly unity. These respected brethren, with a view to the res-
toration of happier relations between yourself and the Church of
the Advent, had kindly volunteered, as I understand it, to act in the
capacity of mediators. To this end, according to my recollections,
they had first called upon you, to ascertain precisely what terms of
promised conformity they were to be allowed to propose as a con-
dition of the performance of episcopal acts in our church, and,
of course, were to acquaint you with the result of their interview
with me. I gratefully appreciated such services as these at their
hands, as neither unworthy of them nor myself; and, at their re-
quest, I carefully reviewed the whole subject. Several days before
the receipt of your letter, I informed them that I had done so,
more than once, and that I had also uniformly returned to the same
conclusion which I had already communicated to you in a corre-
spondence with regard to confirmation, about a year since, and for
the same reasons. As they did not appear to have been made ac-
quainted with that correspondence and its bearing on our present
unfortunate relations, I submitted a copy to their candid perusal.
And I would now beg leave to call your own attention to it again,
as bringing to view some momentous principles which are involved
in this matter, as it has been regarded by me, and a recollection of
which is necessary to a proper understanding of our relative rights
and duties. If these were as clearly expressed as I suppose, in my
letter of December 8, 1846, they were perhaps unconsciously over-
looked by you at the time, or have been forgotten, or lost sight of,
since. Certain it is, at least, that you have not, to my knowledge,
taken any notice of them. I further apprised the bretln-en that
waited on me, that, however well satisfied of the correctness and
suitableness of our usages, I had never assumed to require con-
40G MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1847.
formity to them as a condition of clerical exchange ; and that a
kneeling stool, moreover, would be provided for those who, for any
cause, should prefer to kneel at the lectern. In this connection, I
cannot but regard it as remarkable, that many other of the breth-
ren of the city and neighborhood, as well as of the Church at large,
and who had been much more familiar with our mode of w orship
than some of the brethren who waited upon me, have repeatedly
officiated at our chapel, and have had no difficulty in accommodating
themselves to our usages. I think it right to state, that the three
senior presbyters of the diocese, veterans in the service of the
Church, are among the number who have expressed great satisfac-
tion in our services, and have regarded our arrangements as unex-
ceptionable ; and I must be allowed to add, with undisguised gi'ati-
fication, that one of these, the eldest and most venerable of all your
presbyters, whose irreprovable ministry covers more years than 1
have lived, has been in the habit of assisting at our daily and weekly
service, and authorizes me to say, that he is ready to bear his testi-
mony in favor of the tendency of our mode of ministration to high
religious enjoyment and edification.
If I am correct, as I believe, in the positions taken in the letter
alluded to, of December 8, 1846, then I cannot perceive how they
are affected, either by any thing that fell from my brethren (who
had not seen that correspondence) at the time of our interview, or
by your own letter of the 34th ultimo ; unless it be that certain things
are now yielded as admissible which have heretofore been publicly
set forth in terms tending, where I was not known, to bring my
ministrations into contempt, as, " degrading," or, what is worse,
into abhorrence, as " perilous to the souls of men." The remain-
ing particular, in which conformity is yet insisted on, as the condi-
tion of the performance of episcopal acts, stands, as it seems to
me, upon the same footing with the rest. Nor do I perceive upon
what notions, either of church law, of general propriety, or the
furtherance of uniformity, it is more obligatory than the claim to
enforce by authority the use of the collect and Lord's prayer be-
fore sermon, the reverent bowing at the holy name of Jesus in the
creed, or the exclusion of desks and pulpits from chancels. Yet in
none of these points is there any such penalty imposed upon your
clergy for a non-compliance with your wishes and preferences, how-
ever earnestly expressed ; while among the clergy themselves, as is
best known to those who have been longest among them, there is a
conceded diversity of opinion and practice, and a mutual toleration
Putting all previous acts out of the question, and supposing the
case to stand solely upon your last letter of the 24th ultimo, I should
certainly have been disposed, for the sake of peace, to yield all
deference to your requests, whether official or otherwise, and with-
1847.] CHURCH OF THE ADVENT. 407
out, perhaps, very carefully considering whether the compliance
proceeded from a spirit of submission to ecclesiastical authority, or
from mere good nature, or indifference, or sentiments of personal
consideration. Even in this case, however, it could not witli con-
sistency be admitted, for a moment, that the bishop's conscience and
private opinion were to be regarded as the standard of clerical con-
formity, or that compliance with his preferences was the condition
on which his clergy and parishes were to be allowed the enjoyment
of their chartered privileges. Canonical obedience to the diocesan,
in our branch of the Church at least, has its limits, which, however
they may seem to vary, as viewed by different minds, are intended,
as the expression shows, to be distinctly defined by our standards.
And one cannot help being struck with the strong and explicit terms
in which those limits are jealously guarded in the pages of the only
exposition of the canon law of our Church which has yet been pub-
lished, and which in many quarters, at the present time, would be
regarded as authoritative. Speaking of the supposition that the
bishop is not to be restrained in the conscientious exercise of his
official functions, this alble writer observes, " Now, on this subject,
a very dangerous error seems to be gaining ground. The practice
of early bishops is often refei'red to, under the imposing names of
antiquity and primitive tisage, to sanction the acts of modern Epis-
copacy. But it seems to be forgotten, that the usage of regulating
the exercise of the bishop's functions by certain fixed rules is as ancient
as the office of a bishop. There is as much of venerable antiquity
in the custom of making latcs for bishops, as there is in making
bishops tiiemselves. It may be safely affirmed, that, since the days
of the apostles, they never were left with no guide but their own
discretion. A law, indeed, cannot be made wholly to prevent a
bishop from doing a bishop's appropriate duty ; but the history of
the Church is full of legislation to regulate the mode in which he
shall perform that duty." — The Rev. Dr. F. L. Hawks, on the Con-
stitution and Canons. Canon xxvi. pp. 2.57-8.
In accordance with what is here stated, surely the most dutiful
presbyter would be justified in declining compliance with any re-
quirement of his diocesan, which, according to his conscientious
belief, was wrong and of dangerous precedent, and also of conse-
quence enough to warrant him in bringing on himself and his
Church the results ; or if there was a conviction that the manner
of the requirement was illegal, and that the illegality was of the
same consequence as in the preceding instance.
The present case, however, it is unhappily not to be forgotten,
does not stand upon your last letter of the •24th ultimo, nor is it to be
regarded independently of previous episcopal acts. Even the
apostle Paul, (Acts xvi. 37,) after he had been " beaten openly, un-
condemned," at Philippi, was not willing to be " thrust out privily."
408 MEMOIR OF WILLIAM CROSWELL. [1847.
In view of his ignominious treatment, witiiout a trial, without an
opportunity to plead his privilege, or make his defence, he did not
choose to go away, or abandon his ground, as Thomas Scott re-
marks, " in an underhand manner, and with the imputation of hav-
ing deserved such punishment, but he required to be honorably dis-
charged." There may be cases, says the same homely but honest
commentator, when it will be proper for the servants of Christ to
claim the protection of the laws against oppression, not from vin-
dictive feeling, but as being most conducive to public justice, the
peace of the Church, and the credit of their profession. It is