LORD BISHOP OF RUPERT'S LAND.
THOMAS HATCHARD, 187, PICCADILLY.
TO THE CLERGY OF THE DIOCESE OF RUPERT'S LAND, THIS Second Charge, PUBLISHED AT THEIR REQUEST, IS AFFECTIONATELY AND GRATEFULLY DEDICATED, BY THEIR FAITHFUL FRIEND AND BROTHER,
DAVID RUPERT'S LAND.
MY REVEREND BRETHREN,
IT is not, I trust, as to an idle ceremony, sanctioned b y usage and long custom, that we have come together this morning. Rather let me hope that it is in the very spirit of that beautiful Collect which meets us again to-day, with a deeper and more earnest longing, as years roll over our head, that it would please "our merciful God to cast His bright beams of light upon His Church, that it might so walk in the light of His truth, that it might at length attain to the light of everlasting life." We assemble in a dark land, in which it is our blessed privilege to diffuse the light; we meet on this occasion to trade its progress, and to pledge ourselves in the presence of God to renewed and yet more strenuous efforts. Our aim would be not to "cease our labour, our care and diligence, until we have done all that [1/2] lieth in us," to present the light to every human being within this wide spread land, feeling our utter inability to quicken a single soul, yet praying that the same "God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, might shine upon the heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." So holy and spiritual then is the object of our solemn assembly, for counsel and encouragement on the very end of our ministry--the enlargement and extension of the Redeemer's kingdom by ourselves, as especially, in the providence of God, a missionary Church.
But while I would desire that the recollection of this our great purpose might remain uppermost on our minds, and exercise a hallowing effect upon all of us, there are surely some subordinate advantages which such seasons possess, to which, in passing, it may not be unprofitable to allude. There is, it appears to me, an amount even of historical value connected with a Charge, as bearing on the interests of the Church, and the advancement of Christianity. In looking at remarkable periods, and taking a longer interval of time, this is, of course, the more easily discerned. If thus we should take a Charge of the present day, and should compare it with the well-known Charge of Bishop Horsley at the opening of the century, and then should pass from these to one of Archbishop Secker, when holding the see of Oxford, in the middle of the last one, three very distinct eras would appear to view; the marked difference in the moral [2/3] and spiritual aspect of the people, and in the condition of the clergy, could not fail to strike the mind. And it may, perhaps, be pronounced to be an excellence, thus to grasp the prominent features of a period, and successfully to delineate them. [We might notice, as furnishing examples of this, the remarkable Charges of Bishop O'Brien, of Ossory, of 1842 and 1851, and the striking Charge of one, whose name varies but little, Bishop O'Beirne, also of Ossory, and afterwards of Meath, of 1796 and 1797.] If that is, by general admission, an imperfect sermon which can be accommodated to more than a single text, so might we almost say that, other things being equal, that would be the best Charge, which contains within itself the internal evidence and proof of the very period at which it was delivered. Now, if the remark apply at home, if even there an individual Charge give a picture of a period, and a series, if complete, a history, more or less perfect, of the vicissitudes of the Church, it is more obviously applicable in the case of an infant and newly-formed diocese. May not a deep historical interest attach at some future day to the primary Charges delivered in Australia and New Zealand, in India, Africa, or British North America? [Much is thus neglected and passed over by those in the wry centre of the events, which to another generation would he clothed with interest. The first Ordination on Mount Zion, the first Ordination of a native in each heathen land, would thus be events marking eras in the providence of God.] May not the ecclesiastical historian turn to them with eager curiosity, and as the Church swells and increases, may he not delight [3/4] to cast his eye backwards, and trace the "day of small things?" And thus, brethren, among ourselves, if God enable us carefully to watch the growth of the Redeemer's kingdom, and faithfully, from time to time, to report it to you, such documents ought to furnish matter for a connected history of the progress of Christianity in the land.
Add, moreover, brethren, to this their historical value, that they are the judgment and testimony of an eye-witness. It is "what we have seen and heard that we testify;" it is after we have gone and visited our brethren, where we have preached the word of the Lord, and seen how they do," that we make our report unto you. Apart from such a periodical assembly, or such a recurring charge, you would labour in your isolated spheres, and carry on, it might be, as successfully as at present, your ministerial work, but you would remain ignorant of the exact position of your brethren, You might even, beyond this, receive from them some occasional tidings, but you would be liable to an error, of which we have ourselves had experience in hearing from China and New Zealand--you might imagine from the letter of your friend that his success was greater than your own, and his trials fewer, while he was drawing the very same inference regarding yourself, and esteeming your position and prospects more favourable. And this too very naturally, because you have not one and the same standard by which to measure your work; of the difficulties which press home you have the heart-felt experience, while imagination [4/5] gives a brighter colouring to that which is seen at a distance. Bui have we not, in the constitution and order of our Church, a provision exactly adapted to meet this want? One who has himself beheld, the various fields of labour, who has compared their difficulties, who has himself come into contact with the mind of the natives, and endeavoured to form some idea of their intellectual and spiritual state, comes among you, and as he addresses you, he has vividly impressed upon his mind, the faces, wants, and trials of your brethren, who are necessarily absent from us today. He can compare the Indian of the East Main with the Indian of the English River; he can balance the difficulties of the Saskatchewan with those of Moose or Islington; the trials of a sphere purely missionary with those incidental to one possessing more of a parochial character. He has all in his eye, he bears all in his heart, and he seeks to bring the information to a focus, and set it in order before you. The judgment, it is admitted, is fallible; the inferences at best are liable to the imperfection of the creature, but still it is the testimony of an eye-witness, the judgment of a single mind on an extended and extending work.
Now, if such testimony be submitted to you, very faulty surely must be the picture, if it fail to awaken your sympathy. If those various spots are depicted indelibly on our hearts, and "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," the simplest recital must stir up within you [5/6] emotions of the liveliest interest. You almost feel your own burdens to be lighter, or at all events, you feel that others are as sorely tried; you find much additional matter for prayer and daily intercession, ought I not to add, matter of thankfulness for some peculiar mercies, which God gives to each one of us? We meet as parts of one body; you hear how the other members suffer, and you suffer with them; you hear how the other members rejoice, and you become partakers m their joy. If it be asked, for whom are we to feel the most deeply? our ready answer is, for the most distant, the weakest, and the most exposed, for those who are the farthest from such opportunities as the present of clerical intercourse and communion with their brethren. Feel most for those who are the nearest to the confines of Satan's kingdom, who are in the forefront of the battle against him who is mightier than the giant of Gath, who meet him almost as it were, face to face, for our remotest labourer in the North, and our most distant one on the shores of James's Bay. The effect, be assured, is good, to have the sphere of vision and of feeling enlarged. If it was a refreshment to ourselves to change for a time the current of our thoughts, and to have them directed to a wider and more extended area; if it brought us home more thankful and more prayerful; a measure of the same refreshment we would seek to impart to you by asking you for a few moments to drop the recollection of your own spheres, and think of that of others. For to-day we address [6/7] you, not alone as ministers of your several flocks, but ministers also of that Church which God has in mercy planted in this land,--yea, more than this, of our Church, whether existing at home, or now extending her ministrations to the remotest corners of the earth.
In carrying out then, brethren, as far as may be, these various purposes, our survey must necessarily be both general,--of our Church in her largest extent--and local, in reference more immediately to our own country and diocese; In the former case, though very distant, we rejoice to feel that we are not cut off from the Church of Christ at home, but very closely bound to her by affection, interest, and commdn privileges. We turn, therefore, naturally to inquire what changes may have passed upon her,--how she has been affected by the events, which may have happened around and within her. In the latter case, we contract our view, and look around us to see how, as good and faithful stewards, we are endeavouring to keep unhurt and undefiled the trust which we have received,--how we are tending and cherishing the plant, the off-shoot of the parent and noble vine, which is rooted among ourselves.
Now in the general, but necessarily very imperfect, view of our Church, as she exists at this moment, the feature, which most prominently arrests the attention, is the activity which we everywhere behold. The life and energy which pervade the masses of the community seem surely to have penetrated also into the Church, If commerce [7/8] has opened for herself fresh channels of wealth, and the providence of God carried man in mighty numbers to new spots on this habitable globe, Christian zeal has not been backward in following up these openings. And, while the Gospel is sent to the distant the healing balm is applied also to every description of sorrow or distress which Britain can exhibit. To increase the comforts of the poor--to raise them socially--to lead them to the consciousness that they are felt and cared for,-- this is the very glory of our age, and in effecting this our Church holds a happy, I had almost said a proud pre-eminence. The knowledge of the future is in mercy veiled from man, but if He who holds in His hands the hearts of all, before whom "the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance, who taketh up the isles as a very little thing,"--if He should graciously grant to Britain, for yet a more lengthened period, exemption from war, how much of progress might the next generation witness? The jubilees of the different societies have taken place, and they have gone forth again in their career of benevolence, as the recognised auxiliaries and handmaids of the Church; and there has been, too, if we may say it, the jubilee of the nations, rejoicing together in peaceful and bloodless emulation, bringing the productions of the earth as by a common acknowledgment to the "crowning city, whose merchants are princes, and whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth," Hope might gather from these things matter of [8/9] brighter augury, and indulge in the pleasing anticipation that peaceful improvement might have free course, while so many seek as their great object the social and spiritual advancement of man. The asperities of political strife seem, in some measure, to have died away, the edge of party feeling to be rubbed down; and in religion, too, although clouds still rest upon the horizon, something of as similar effect may be seen in the greater union of earnest-minded men,--the prospect is on on the whole brighter than when we last met together.
The movement, of which I then felt it necessary to make some memtion, has not apparently advanced with any rapidity since. The open and declared assumption of the Church of Rome has, in the opinion even of many of her friends, been antedated, and made at too early a period, before Britain was yet ripe for the measure. It has served to open the eyes of many to her true character, and few comparatively have since joined her ranks. The Bible has in consequence been more prized,--the law and the testimony more resorted to. It was certainly not a little significant that the University of Oxford should have been engaged in sending forth the Bible of Wyclife afresh almost at the very time of the arrival of the Papal Brief; and it has been happily adduced as giving a cheering omen, that the "Book of the Scriptures shall still prove the fortress of Protestant England." [See The Letters Apostolic of Pope Pius IX. By Travers Twiss, D,C.L. In this work will be found the fullest and ablest discussion of the Papal Brief in its legal aspect. Of the general bearing of the question on the Church, Bishop O'Brien's Charge, 1851, would furnish the most complete investigation. In it is an elaborate defence of the Ecclesiastical Titles' Bill, with a notice of some defects in its provisions. Having mentioned above the re-issuing of Wyclife's Bible, I would refer also to the presentation, soon after, of a splendid copy of Luther's Translation of the Bible to the University of Oxford by his Majesty the King of Prussia. This edition was printed at the sole cost of that monarch; and the two facts taken together, tend to show a growing interest in the work of the Reformation and the Word of God.] May the bulwark thus be [9/10] raised, may the tide of error be rolled back, and in the day of temptation may the Redeemer's answer, "It is written," prove our unfailing watchword!
And yet Rome has her converts, and we are challenged to account for them. We would endeavour to do so, and find in them only a confirmation of Scripture. It is not the bold declaration of truth which has carried so many over; it is rather the fascination of music, the vision of a fancied antiquity, the unfounded assumption that she alone has the truth and the key of knowledge. [This was written before I saw the following passage in the latest Charge of the Archbishop of Dublin, It gives, in strong and forcible language, what I have hinted at above, "Those of the educated classes who have embraced Romanism, have done so, for the most part, by their own admission, not from investigation of evidence, and on grounds of rational conviction, but by deliberately giving themselves tip to the guidance of feeling and imagination. Argumentative powers, indeed, and learning, several of them possess in a high degree, but these advantages they think themselves bound to lay aside and to disparage in all that pertains to religion. Though well capable, by nature and education, of weighing evidence, they decry all appeal to evidence, either for the truth of Christianity generally, or of any particular doctrine; and place the virtue of faith in a ready reception of what a man is told, without any more 'reason for the hope that is in him' than the Pagans have for their belief. They are led, and consider it right to be led, by a craving for the beautiful, the splendid, and the picturesque. They deliberately prefer what will afford most scope for the exercise of their feelings, and the gratification of their fancy."] [10/11] It is by a fascination and spell that she still works, even as the Apostle warned the Galatians of old against the witchery of kindred errors, even as St. John, in prophetic Yision, speaks of the system once and again as a cup of sorcery. [We have often thought that the Epistles to the Romans and Galatians furnish the best antidote to the errors of Romanism on the subject of justification. They contain the answer to such misrepresentations of Scriptural truth; as the Epistle to the Hebrews would contain the answer provided by the Spirit to the case of the Jew. Is it not strange, too, that in their titles they bear the very names of the two leading nations in which the system most prevails? The striking resemblance between the Galatians and the Gauls of modern Europe, is well drawn out in Howson and Conybeare's St. Paul, vol. i, page 262.] Now it is singular that in Ireland, where there has been the least approximation to such errors,--where few of the clergy, if any, have teen led to trifle with such delusions--that there God should graciously have given so mighty a band of converts from that corrupt system, It would, indeed, appear as if God had conferred this marked and signal token of His blessing upon faithfulness in the proclamation [11/12] of His truth. May it soon be the case also in England, when; awakened to the full sense of danger, she recoils from the debatable ground, and determines no longer to hold parley with the deceiver: may many then be rescued, and restored to the truth as it is in Jesus!
For this end let Romanism be studied as a system, in her acknowledged documents, her hooks of devotion, and in the records of the past. Surely those who would tamper with it betray much ignorance of--
(1.) History. Has not the prosperity and true greatness of Britain been closely connected, in the providence of God, with her adherence to Protestant truth? Is this not marked as with a sunbeam in the successive reigns, ever since the period of the Reformation? [See this powerfully and clearly stated in the preface to Dr. Croly's work on the Apocalypse.] Is it not in the power of any to compare her at this hour, with the leading nations of the continent, where Romanism has the firmest hold on the people--would any wish to make the exchange! Or, taking the darker features of the historical picture, is it that any can have forgotten the bloody massacres and persecutions by which, when dominant, she has sought to promote her cause, and which have been stigmatized even in some of her own chronicles? Is there not a renewal of something of the kind,--a hint of what might happen again, had she greater power, in recent events in Italy and Austria?
(2.) There is too, besides, an ignorance of [12/13] doctrine. It is sometimes said that our Articles are chiefly negative--negations of error rather than positive declarations of truth. Granting that they are such, of what is it that they are the negation--is it not of the errors of Romanism in every varied shape? And naturally did they assume this form, when the Reformers had just escaped from their bondage, and had now planted their feet on a firm rock. They were building up a system of truth, which might he proof against any coming assaults and we at this distance of time feel that it was not uncalled for. And shall we build again the things which they destroyed? Less perhaps has been said through the whole of the present controversy on doctrinal than on other points, and yet I feel convinced that here is our strength. An artificial halo is thus thrown around their system--a mist and cloud raised by which effectually to screen the Bible from the gaze, and thus the eye is withdrawn from the contemplation of revealed truth, and the vital doctrines of Scripture, which are at stake. For the student of the Bible we have little fear;--let the doctrine of mediation and the atonement be studied in its pages, and the mind must shudder at the idea of other mediators, and a divided trust;--let the nature of prayer be contemplated, and from any one book of her devotions it would instinctively turn away;--let the institution of the Lord's Supper be viewed in the light of the Gospels, and then, in looking at her administration, the people are robbed of their birthright as regards the other element, while around [13/14] the other error has done her worst, and, under the idea of honouring Christ, she has derogated from the completeness of the sacrifice once offered for sin, (3.) I fear, too, that to this we must add, that they betray ignorance of prophecy. Awful indeed are the warnings and denunciations which the closing book of Scripture unfolds against some corrupt system,--a system which, if there he continuous prophecy in that hook or in Daniel, must have existed now for a long season, and nearly spent its power. If Babylon be not Rome, the task of explaining such prophecies is hard indeed, and the burden of proof would rest rather with our opponents. The admission of their own writers, such as Bellarmine and Bossuet, might lead many to pause and reflect; for if Babylon be admitted to be Rome, few surely can imagine that all that Scripture predicts is fulfilled in Pagan or Imperial Rome, It stretches over too large a compass,--it occupies too great a breadth in Scripture,--it points too much to spiritual matters to admit of any such evasive solution. [The clearest view of the argument in a short compass, of which I know, is in Dr. Wordsworth's Lectures on the Babylon of the Apocalypse. I refer to it the more readily because it is written with great caution, and without any tendency to extreme prophetical views, so that the testimony is doubly valuable.] And if it be so, then any approach to the system, any palliation of her errors is sin. Oh that some who have been led away by giving the reins to fancy, or a morbid craving after antiquity, might yet see in their true light the judgments which hang over [14/15] the system, and escape ere too late to a purer and a nobler faith!
And to be convinced that Rome is still unchanged, we need not look beyond her last and crowning act. There are those who hold that the points in question between the two Churches are mysterious and difficult, and that to assert the contrary is unwise and unguarded. We cannot yet imagine it to be so; we have not so learned Christ; we have not studied to so little purpose the Articles and Homilies of our Church. Let the issue be joined on the Papal Bull, or rather Brief, and surely those must have their eyes judicially blinded, who can look to the Virgin, to St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Gregory the Great, and the other heavenly patrons of England, as deprecators or intercessors with God. [For these very expressions, see the original document as given by Dr. Twiss in the Appendix to the Letters Apostolic, page xx. For the difference between a Bull and a Brief, see the same work, page 2.] How different this from the majestic simplicity of Scriptural declaration, "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus."
That Britain should ever have, admitted such a document seems indeed strange, and to trace the steps by which it was brought about, yet stranger stilt In each step, we fear Britain has lent her aid, and the verse always recurs to the mind--the proverb, in this case, alas! destined to pass without fulfilment, "Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird," I well remember to [15/16] have felt a chill when it was first proposed, that Britain should enter into diplomatic relations with Rome. Now this Rome at once admitted and gladly welcomed; but was it not then, that she really advanced beyond, and in substance said, "I grant the temporal favour which is desired, but I make beyond a spiritual claim?" Was not the draft of the more obnoxious measure--a measure by which she assumes a power in Britain, denied to her in states of her own communion--was it not placed on the table at the time, as has since been maintained? Was not this done so covertly, as to remain unknown for a long season? a strange gift surely, of which the receiver was unconscious, and the giver unwilling to proclaim it at the moment! a curious political action to be performed ek parergou. But it is at the very time that her power is waning abroad, that she makes this effort. Is she not weakened in Italy, weakened in France, and shall she then triumph on the shores of Britain? Are we then to retrace the work of the three last centuries, and read history after a new fashion, and call the Reformation a dark period! Nay rather, let us arm ourselves with the spirit of those reformers, who resisted even unto blood, and let us take their weapon, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Next in importance to the Papal Aggression, would be the subject of synodical action, and the revival of Convocation, Now this can scarcely any longer be viewed as a question of mere [16/17] speculation, as the experiment has in some degree been made. In Australia and Canada, Episcopal conferences have been held, and at Toronto, Exeter, Melbourne, Adelaide, and the Cape, diocesan synods have taken place. The result of each has been pretty much what we anticipated; where the deliberations were confined to matters of detail and discipline, all has gone on well, but, where any endeavour has been made to interfere with points of doctrine,--to narrow the terms of communion,--and to define more accurately what the Church has left more open, difficulty has always arisen. And this we cannot but feel will be the general effect. The tendency will be to multiply articles of faith,--to draw them out in a more lengthened form, which we hold to be undesirable and pregnant with fatal consequences, in matters of discipline,--for the settlement of some points, which could not have been anticipated at an earlier period,--for the arrangements of questions, which have arisen out of the formation of colonial dioceses, and for the establishment of uniformity of practice and operation among them,--for these ends we can imagine such deliberations to be not without profit.
Thus every colonial diocese has, I believe, felt the necessity of some legislative enactments on the subject of marriage, questions of difficulty continually arising, of a different nature and complexion from any presented in the mother country. [This is noticed by almost every colonial Bishop, and especially in the admirable Charge of the Bishop of Melbourne, --a Charge so full of valuable matter on ministerial duty, that I have circulated it among my clergy, as leaving little unsaid on the details of pastoral work.] [17/18] Again, others have felt besides outsells the want of some simpler form for the admission of converts into the Church of Christ. Beautiful as is our own form for the baptism of adults it is too difficult for the cases which come before us; it presupposes far more knowledge, and a higher degree of civilization and intelligence than can be expected in an entirety heathen land. [This difficulty has been felt at the Cape, and is noticed in one of the minutes of the diocesan synod held at Cape Town.] A latitude has thus, I suppose, been assured, as few could feel justified in deferring baptism until the convert could join in the service with heart and lip* I could wish too (but it is only an individual feeling), that a distinct prayer were formed for infant churches and young converts,--for those who have only lately emerged from heathenism. It is not wonderful that the Prayer-Book should not contain anything of the kind, for the colonial Church did not then exist,--our Church was not then in contact with heathenism, and gathering in converts from it. But sow that she would travail in birth over many such, rescued from the chain and bondage of superstition, might she not suitably use some supplication on their behalf?--might it not draw down a blessing, if from the many thousand congregations at home, sitting tinder their vine and fig tree, the prayer for the tender converts ascended up before God? Would not the [18/19] Saviour, who does not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax, hear and approve; and if God has made the Church of England a nursing mother of many churches, would not the children, the branches, be much blessed by more direct and fervent supplication on the part of the parent stock?
In these respects, diocesan meetings in the colonies might be of use in bringing forward felt wants. These the vast increase of the colonial Church would gradually accumulate, but perhaps the time for legislation upon them is as yet scarcely come. When the common wants of many distant lands are more fully known, and many minds have been brought to bear- upon the subject, then a mass of matter will be collected, which may form a safe basis for ecclesiastical legislation. As a medium of communication with the Primate and the Church at home, I have long felt that an Archbishop or Metropolitan were desirable for British North America. [This subject was discussed at the conference of North American Bishops at Quebec, and a resolution passed in favour of the appointment of a Metropolitan. From extreme distance I was necessarily absent on that occasion, but embrace this opportunity of expressing my concurrence in their views on this question.] I hope that ere this one has been appointed to Australia, as Archbishop of Sydney. Strength, and uniformity, and a greater power of resistance to the encroachments of Rome, would be secured by the appointment of an Archbishop in Australia, in America, in Eastern and Western India, yet all still holding [19/20] as suffragans under the see of Canterbury. [Opinions may of course differ much on this point; my own feeling is strong, that such an act would consolidate the Church in her spheres of operation abroad, and that while there is a Roman Catholic Archbishop of Quebec and Sydney, it is simply a measure of precaution and safety. A Metropolitan in Africa might follow in due time.] To have in each case a fixed metropolitan see would, I feel convinced, be preferable to allowing the power to devolve on the senior Bishop as primus, irrespective of his see. Calcutta and Sydney are thus already marked out, and to these, in the present state of, the colonial churches, might be added Quebec and Jamaica. The-passing of such an act, creating these four archiepiscopal sees, would indicate a spirit of self-confidence, and, while it would confirm the hearts of many, it would, I think, tend to weaken not a little the aggressive movements of Rome. [This is after all, as the Bishop of St. David's has acutely observed, the most significant and formidable aspect of the Romish movement--that it manifested so much confidence m their own resources.]
Of the more extended operation of Convocation, I have always entertained some apprehensions. That these are not wholly without foundation, few reflecting minds can affirm. For, however desirable in the abstract the revival of Convocation may appear, the practical difficulty, which none ought to cast out of sight, in the framework. If power were given not only to deliberate, as at present, but, what is more eagerly sought, to legislate and decide with authority, [20/21] how could the question of election be settled,--who are eligible to sit in Convocation, and with whom does the right of election rest? Very intricate and perplexed is this preliminary subject, from the vast difference between the Church of the present day, and the period when Convocation last met with full power. And even if this question were set at rest, and the elections were duly made after a new and approved model, comprising as we trust representatives of the laity in full communion with the Church, comprising representatives of the various branches of the colonial Church, august and solemn as such an assembly would be, such a panhguriV of our Reformed Church, one cannot but doubt whether its tendency would necessarily be to lessen the breaches and divisions of our Zion, to draw hearts together, and produce a deeper harmony and feeling of brotherhood. [As was beautifully set forth in an amendment proposed in Convocation by Archdeacon Hare.] Oh! if one could for a moment think that such a consummation would be effected, any difficulties in the way would be as nothing. But surely the experience of large assemblies would scarcely justify such an expectation.
It is indeed, brethren, a comfort to feel that these objections rest upon the very vastness and extent of the Church at the present time. It is her very unwieldiness which makes it difficult for her to meet in deliberative assembly, fake the number of churches consecrated by two living prelates, the Primate and the Metropolitan [21/22] Bishop, sad what a change has a single generation witnessed? The cases which are Drought forward in defence and represented as analogous, are surely little to the point. They scarcely, any of them, exceed the number of a single diocese in England, at least they none of them equal two dioceses, nor have they the prescription of so long a period, the perplexity of so many vested rights. [The Church of the United States, to which reference is most commonly made, does not exceed the number of Clergy in the dioceses of Norwich and Lincoln.] And this would itself furnish us with an additional argument and objection. Has not the Church existing as she is, in a state of thraldom as is falsely alleged by some, exhibited for the last forty years unparalleled life and activity? Is it not strange, that the very period should have been selected to complain of want of freedom, when she has stretched out her branches to the sea, and her boughs to the river? [See on this two noble pages in Archdeacon Garbett's Charge, beginning with the words, "In what vital spiritual function, measurable by Scripture rules, do we fail or languish?" as far as "Where is the evidence of the syncope?" pp. 48-50: and the close parallel at the end of that of the Bishop of Norwich, "Are our energies crippled, when we are year by year strengthening and enlarging our Church's ministrations at home, and spreading its institutions to the ends of the world?"] In the larger islands of the south, in Australia and New Zealand, she is in a manner securely rooted, while the other islands are gradually coming into prominence; Borneo is as a beacon in the Eastern [22/23] Archipelago, Loo Choo has now her settled ministrations, and the little island of Pitcairn, colonized by the sin of man, is now rejoicing under the peaceful shadow of the Gospel! Oh! how could the Church enjoy practically a greater liberty than this,--a greater liberty to carry abroad the standard of the Saviour, and plant His banner wherever the flag of Britain waves! Surely it is only life infused into the framework that we want; the mechanism is complete and beautiful, we want only more of the breath of the Spirit to animate it in every part,--the oil through the golden pipes to fill every workman with the unction that cometh from above.
With but two short observations would I close this portion of my subject, which has grown upon me beyond my anticipation: the one, that from the peculiarity of this land in its relations to Britain, no Bill bearing on the colonial Church would, without specific allusion affect ourselves; the other, that, whatever may be our individual opinion on this question, there is nothing to prevent the fullest and most cordial intercourse between us as Bishop and Clergy--nothing to prevent you from always tendering your free and unfettered opinions on any matter, which may concern your comfort and ministerial usefulness. Indeed the healthiest direction, which the whole matter can take, would be to give increased efficiency to these periodical Visitations. For after all, more will be effected by the wisdom of calm deliberation than by the power of mere legislative [23/24] enactment; the former is open to all, and may produce quiet and steady improvement, and, if thus each individual diocese should advance, and, endeavouring more and more to regulate and purity itself, should stand in good working order for the accomplishment of its high destinies, the Church at large would then shine forth from under any temporary cloud, "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." [There has been much confusion of thought on the whole matter. Deliberation has always been open, perhaps too little used; had it been sooner resorted to, with a sincere desire to remedy every grievance, it might have averted much of subsequent Stale interference.]
And this my reverend brethren, would bring me naturally to the local survey of our own work and diocese.
Now the transition is very great in directing our thoughts from the stir,--the restless activity which agitates the world,--to the scene which meets the eye across this mighty wilderness. Here, an almost unbroken sameness prevails,--there is no tide of population pouring in, no rapid advance in internal civilization. And yet I trust that there is growth,--that the desert begins to smile, and that some souls, who, a few short years ago, deemed themselves almost of another race from ourselves, born under a separate destiny, are now rejoicing with us in the glorious liberty of the children of God. The land has been long desolate and waste. She is now beginning to [24/25] enjoy her Sabbaths; prayer and praise echo through her bounds, thanksgiving, and the Voice of melody. The Indian, whose heart; was long cold and cheerless as his own long winter, is now warmed by the promises of God, and rejoicing in the light, That a great change will rapidly take place, the condition of the land precludes us from expecting. Yet to help it onwards may be our humble part, and to prepare the way for a larger work hereafter. They are still the few sheep in the wilderness that we have to tend, yet not the less precious in the eyes of Him, who would leave the ninety and nine, and go after the one that was lost until He find it.
Our own numbers steadily increase, they have quite fulfilled the most sanguine expectations which I could have formed of the proportion in which they would advance. Five was, as you may remember, the number of God's ministering servants, when I first came among you. Ten was, if I mistake not, the number at my last Visitation: and now we are in all fifteen. Nor would I at all rejoice in the mere addition to our little band, unless I felt convinced that more was being accomplished thereby. But this I cannot doubt, the Eskimos are, I trust, some of them under instruction ere now; at all events, the glad tidings are carried [25/26] within their reach. With some of the Chippewyans I have myself held converse, asking for the ministrations of God's blessed Word, while the Crees of the Plains are not forgotten in their wanderings, but they too are sought out and approached, if, haply, some among them might be saved. [I since find by a letter from the Rev. E. A. Watkins, that a young man belonging to that tribe is with hint for that purpose, at Fort George. A Chippewyan, whom I saw myself, is also, I trust, under training with the Rev, B. Hunt. While these youths obtain some knowledge to spread among their countrymen, the Missionary in return gains some insight into their language.]
This growth is, brethren, with ourselves a matter of personal observation, for we have to thank God for His watchful and preserving care, for His mercy in permitting us to travel in health and safety over so large a portion of the diocese. On the journeys of the two last summers we look back with deep and cordial satisfaction. We feel it a great privilege to have been able to confirm at spots more than two thousand miles apart, within one short year. All the infant stations have now been visited by us, except Fort Pelly and the Nepowewin, and we feel thus as familiar with the nature of the work in each of them as with that around its in this settlement. Inviting prospects still lie beyond the utmost limit as yet visited, but farther at present I can scarcely venture to direct my eye. I have received an earnest and pressing appeal from Vancouver's Island to visit and confirm there. To stand on the shores of the Pacific would in itself be a sufficient reward for the journey, and the delight would be great to strengthen the hands of him who labours there, and, I hope, to encourage some hearts [26/27] besides. [The Rev. R. J. Staines, B.A., Hon. H.B.C. Chaplain, Port Victoria.] The uncertainty of life and strength however, the extreme distance and length of time consumed by the way, and, above all, the pressure of claims Bearer home, prevent me from looking forward to this with any definite expectation, though unwilling wholly to dismiss it as a pleasing vision, which hope sometimes presents to the mind. [This is really beyond the limits of the diocese, yet as being connected with the Honourable Hudson's Bay Company, would look more naturally to myself than to any other colonial Bishop. The newly appointed Bishops of California and Oregon would approach very near to us m this direction, and afford proof of the energy with which the American Church extends her boundaries.]
The diocese has in a manner divided itself into three portions, which are for practical purposes sufficiently distinct. The separation has been clearly marked this year by the delivery of this Charge in substance and outline at Christ Church, Cumberland, in the month of July, and its delivery to-day in fuller form to those of the Red River. This is a beginning, and has naturally led to that organization of the two parts of the diocese (the third being not yet ripe for it), which I announce officially to-day, the creation of the two archdeaconries, the one of Assiniboia, the other of Cumberland and York, To the one archdeaconry I have appointed, and admitted in your presence, the senior clergyman among us, as a small token of approval of the labours of more than a quarter of a century in this settlements which in no little [27/28] measure he has contributed to found. [The Rev. W. Cockran, of St. Andrew's Church.] The honour has been well earned, for all that we now witness and for which we thank God and take courage, is mainly, under God, the result of his years of toil, when there was little comparatively to cheer and animate. To the other archdeaconry an absent brother would be appointed, and in his ease (for the gifts of all are different) it is energy in carrying out translations into the native tongue, as well as practical wisdom in planting and conducting subordinate stations on the Saskatchewan, that I would wish to distinguish and reward. [The Rev. James Hunter, of Christ Church, Cumberland.] The machinery is thus in some measure more complete, for the establishment of which I came out; and now, if anything in the providence of God should happen to myself, I leave the work in the hands of those who would not suffer harm of injury to accrue to it; or, if circumstances should ever admit of my visiting England once more, the ecclesiastical direction and superintendence would at once devolve during my absence on these, the recognized functionaries of our Church.
Of our own labours there would not be much to report, yet what there is would be matter of encouragement. It seems a feature in the Charges of our brethren of the American Church to offer a recapitulation of duty performed, and the example in our own case appears worthy of imitation. Of consecrations we have had two, though not of new Churches, St Paul's and St. John's, [28/29] with the churchyard of the former. The local difficulties, which for a time prevented the consecration of the latter Church, having at length been obviated, the Church, in which we are met, now bears the name of that apostle and evangelist, to whom this day of our anniversary is more especially dedicated. St. John's would thus be in effect, though not in name, our Cathedral Church, set apart for purposes of more solemn assembly, until at some future day a more suitable structure can be raised. To that undertaking I must hereafter address myself, and yet you, my reverend brethren, know too well the difficulties which lie across the path to expect much to be accomplished speedily. We have no Bezaleel and Aholiab, artificers in cunning work, we have no Hiram of Tyre to assist in hewing down the cedars; the season of labour is very short, and after the tower and the pillar are raised, the weather affects the fabric whether of wood or stone, and produces an inequality of pressure, against which no human foresight can provide.
You know and feel these difficulties, because two of yourselves are struggling with them, and I bear testimony to the zeal with which by personal and hourly superintendence, you have endeavoured to meet them. Of the foundation of the two new Churches I had spoken at Cumberland, and I scarcely then expected to be able to report them [29/30] roofed in to-day. [The new stone Church at the Indian settlement, and St. James's Church on the Assiniboine.] The many difficulties by the way will, I am sure, enhance a hundredfold the pleasure with which you will regard their completion; or, if anything is wanting to your joy, you will have your full reward when you see a throng of worshippers answering the sabbath-bell, and kneeling within those walls. In each of them I notice some improvement in form and structure, and more especially in the one I am glad to perceive something of an approximation to that symmetry and graceful proportion which render the parish church at home a pleasing, object to the eye, and serve to entwine around it our fondest associations.
Of ordinations we have held eight, at which six have been ordained priests and five deacons. The service has been witnessed more widely-a practice, the benefit of which is now more generally recognized at home, and which in some dioceses is systematically carried out. [In the dioceses of Oxford and Manchester the Bishops have ordained in most of the larger parish churches.] It has been transferred in the settlement from St. Andrew's and was on Christmas Day for the first time held in this Church, in which, as a general rule, I hope to continue it. Besides this, we have ordained at Moose and Cumberland. Of the happy season spent at Moose, the recollection cannot soon pass away, and yet it was a picture of the joys and trials of a missionary Bishop, for scarcely had I made the friendship of the two devoted servants of [30/31] God who labour on the Bay, [The Rev. E.A. Watkins and the Rev. J. Horden] and begun to enjoy something of communion and fellowship with them, when I was obliged to bid them farewell, and speedily to retrace my steps with the fear of winter closing upon me. Having ordained Mr. Budd deacon among yourselves at St. Andrews, it was a pleasure to admit him to the higher order of the ministry at Cumberland in the very presence of his brethren, with all around us tending to mark him out as the native evangelist and pastor of the north. Yet of all the ordinations, If I may venture to say it, the one, so lately witnessed by you would possess the deepest interest; an ordination once more of three candidates, as in the winter of 1850, an ordination comprising one native reared and trained among yourselves, an ordination too, held on that joyful day on which angels were, for once, the heralds of salvation to man. [The Rev. James Settee.] During the same intervals of time, our confirmations have been ten, three of them of our first Visitation at spots not previously overtaken; seven of the present Visitation during the late summer. Of these the largest number was at Moose, where 130 were confirmed, 105 of these being Indians; in other quarters the numbers still continue large, yet, as the rite is administered with regularity, they must gradually in some measure decline. For the diligence and care with which the candidates were prepared, I would take this opportunity of thanking you.
 In education, my reverend brethren, we have still almost umxtingled satisfaction. The Schools have certainly risen rapidly during the period of three years, and are still continuing to rise. We can contemplate with pleasure the present state of St. John's Parochial School, and the Model or Training School of St. Andrew's. In these the Instruction afforded is of a superior order, and me improvement made is proportionate. The Collegiate School of St. John's was established in some measure for a different purpose, hut in the open scholarships it would draw its supplies from all, and so stimulate hoth masters and pupils to exertion. It is now fully known and seen by the last election, that talent and promise wherever discovered will he rewarded, and the motive is appreciated and felt. Parents begin to feel the importance of the work, and in three pleasing instances they have come forward during this summer, anxious to build and raise new schoolrooms; two of these are just completed, which will, in addition, afford opportunities of occasional worship. Brethren, in these things I rejoice, and call upon you to rejoice with me, for we can have "no greater joy than to hear that our children walk in the truth;" it is a joy, of which none can deprive, to feel that for more than thirty years our Church has led the way, and carried on practically the work of education in the land. The result of our experience in this department would be, that in teaching anything can be accomplished here: the power of acquisition is great, and the memory [32/33] unusually retentive but the hqoV, the knowledge and experience of life, on which the power of reasoning so much depends, this we cannot give; the sphere is too limited and confined. [I had at first some scruples in using the term, but I felt encouraged by finding it employed by Professor Merivale in his evidence before the Oxford University Commissioners. It expresses what no other single word will. Of two passages of Aristotle I now feel the deep practical wisdom, Ethics, I. chap, 3, sect. 5, and VI. chap, 8, sects, 5,, 6; they form the best commentary on what we find to be the practical difficulty in educating, and above all in forming character in this land.] It is this which still induce us to hold hack, and not as jet found anything of a College on a larger scale, towards which so noble a donation had been offered on my leaving England. But meanwhile we have r done what we could, instead of waiting listlessly for the time when we might do what we would; we have worked with the material afforded, and something, perhaps I ought to say much, has been done, although we often pant and long far more. And if, from the Schools in the settlement, we pass to notice those of the stations, an almost greater advance is perceptible. To see a daily school of eighty at Christ Church, a Sunday-school with ninety-one children--to find, higher up on the English River a Sunday-school with nearly fifty, where the senior class could repeat, almost without error, the opening chapter of St. John in our own language, and in the native tongue; this would surely prove that education is penetrating the land, and producing some impression, and that the darkness is gradually passing away. It is [33/34] surely an era in the history of our country, that we have now the first Gospel in the Cree tongue, printed in clear and bold type, so as to he capable of use in our Schools. The two languages will thus be taught simultaneously in them, and will be brought into contact with each other; the English will still be communicated, or we give up all hope of permanent improvement and civilization, and to this will be added the Indian, for we find the cases not uncommon in which the pupil can read the chapter in our tongue, and yet receive from it but few ideas. By reading it also clothed in their own language, the terms, even when not strictly equivalent, force them to think, to institute comparison, and to reflect, and then something of the fuller meaning of Scripture enters their mind, New ideas, of course exist, and new terms in the translation, or new applications of older terms; these are suggestive to them of deeper thoughts, and thus the saying of the Indians themselves is no more than what we might have expected beforehand, that their language has become much enriched, since used for the purposes of religion. The Bible is doing for their dialects, if we may venture to say so of a ruder tongue, what it did for the Greek language in the days of the Apostles, and for the English language at the period of the Reformation. That the translation is as yet perfect, one cannot imagine; but that it is intelligible--that it conveys the meaning of Scripture, and contains not any serious mistake, I feel convinced. It will be the [34/35] basis of future work--It will attract remark and commentary, and when to this the Gospel of St. John and the Acts (now in progress) shall be added, and the other two Gospels, matters then of little labour, shall be completed, the whole would be ready for a revision, which would leave little more to be desired.
While thus speaking on the subject of translations, I ought not to omit to mention the publication of a large portion of the Prayer-book in the Syllabic character, as printed at home, but prepared at Moose, and since that the establishment of a printing press for the same system, at that station. I was sorry to find, that an impression had been conveyed by my previous Charge, that I had wholly condemned the use of these symbols, and that I would not lend my sanction to any translations made in them. Such was far from being my intention, but even if I had felt more decidedly at the time, I trust that I should always have had sufficient candour to alter any such opinion, if upon experience I ascertained it to be unfounded. I have, I admit, since that time become more familiar with the system, and seen it in active operation at Moose and Albany, and on the Saskatchewan and English Rivers. As a matter of taste and scholarship, I still prater the other for the eye, and would recommend it to any clergyman wishing to understand and speak the language: I still feel that it will be that which will carry us on towards the successful analysis of the tongue, and to the comprehension of its grammatical [35/36] structure. But the ease with which the Indian can both read and write in the Syllabic character,--the rapidity with which he can acquire it,--the little compass into which he can throw a few hymns and leading texts, these practical advantages recommend it to me for the Indian who comes to inquire about Jesus, who has only his few hours to spare, or at most only a few days to spend with the minister. He is at the Fort for but a short time, and then leaves to pass his winter at a distance, and we want to give him something which may rest on his mind, to which he may recur, which he may use on his solitary Sabbaths with his family, or with a tent or two around I him. Our problem is, to turn to best account the little fragment of time during which we see him; and I am sure of this, that your hearts would warm to see parents, some of them declining towards the grave, learning the mysterious signs, and finding delight in connecting syllables, or producing in the boat by the way, the Hymn-book, and reading over and singing from it some of the songs of Zion, It was said by a great orator and statesman of old, that the opportunities of war admit not of delay, and if we are to rescue souls from Satan's grasp, if "the prey is to be taken from the mighty and the lawful captive delivered," [Pericles, polemou oi kairoi ou menetoi. Thuc. I. 142] then must we teach the symbols, and give the Indian the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments and a few texts, which a Christian ought to know and believe for his soul's health,--[36/37] we ought to give him these on a single sheet, as a precious breast-plate, better far than any charm or amulet. It would thus have its especial use, for the adult Indian, and for those far withdrawn from the means of grace: for those living in a more settled parish as at Christ Church, with constant access to the minister of God, or for the young who have years before them in which to be educated, the other would claim pre-eminence. I would only add that in the cognate Sauteux dialect we have more abundant helps; in it, we have the four Gospels and the Prayer-book of Dr. O'Meara's translation, the Ogibwa New Testament, as published in America, and several simpler elementary works, prepared for the American Board of Missions, The task, which would next pre-sent itself, would be to adapt the Syllabic system to the Chippewyan tongue, and beyond that, as always ultimately desirable, to reduce that difficult language, so as to admit of expression in the letters of our own alphabet. [In thus commencing with Syllabic characters, and filling up afterwards with more distinct vowel sounds, we might even claim the analogy of the Hebrew tongue in its several stages. The remarks of a leading authority in Biblical criticism may be quoted in illustration. "The most ancient mode of writing consisted of consonants alone;" and again, "The oldest Hebrew writing was a sort of Syllabic writing." Davidson's Biblical Criticism, vol. I., pp. 37, 38.]
In these varied works, in carrying on what I must call this great enterprise, in endeavouring to teach and train for heaven, and to place the Bible In contact with their hearts, and for this end to [37/38] adapt it to every capacity, let us remember how largely we are indebted to the generosity of others. As the Apostle was ready to boast of the liberality of Macedonia and Achaia, for their readiness to help in the cause of the Lord, so may we often think of those, who by the exercise of much self-denial, are ministering to perishing souls through our hands. Often ought we to pray, "Remember them, O our God, concerning this, and wipe not out their good deeds, that they have done for the house of our God, and for the offices thereof." Noble and large hearted have been the gifts cast into the treasury of the Lord by such benefactors, especially for our Eastern Missions. [I cannot forbear to mention here the munificent donation of a Christian lady, of £1,000 and £100 a year for Islington; and that of £2,000 to the Church Missionary Society for Rupert's Land, by which the Mission at Moose was established.] The Societies too are still nobly aiding us--the Church Missionary Society furnishes, we may say, the endowments of the vast majority of our Churches and Schools; to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel we are indebted for the support of one clergyman, and the kind offer of a salary for a second, which unforeseen circumstances have prevented me from appropriating, while, since I last addressed you, a third society has come to our aid, with one clergyman and promises of additional assistance hereafter. [The Colonial Church and School Society.] But when the clergyman is planted in a new sphere, the work is only then [38/39] begun, and the demands increase and thicken; there is soon the appeal for Church and Schools, then follows in rapid succession the demand for Bibles, Prayer-books, and instructive volumes for the lending library and general distribution. The Christian Knowledge Society here extends her aid in the erection of buildings and grants of books; the Bible Society supplies the Word of Life; the Religious Tract Society the volumes of interest for young and old. Oh! surely we can thus best tell, bow the Church grows by that which every joint supplieth. In tracing the work as we can do here, my reverend Brethren, from the first excavation of the stone in the quarry or the hewing of the timber in the forest, to the completion of the sacred edifices, the Church and School, and, cementing these together, the parsonage, and the settlement of a happy parish around, fully furnished with God's Word, with the means of education and facilities for social arid spiritual improvement, how many have aided and assisted! Surely in extending such blessings and comforts--comforts in time, which may be the foundation of unspeakably happiness throughout eternity,--is the highest exercise of philanthropy.
How godlike the lofty mission of Britain, when viewed in this light! Christianity there is no inoperative system--it is faith working by love. There are the hearts that bleed for others' woes, and hands ready to relieve them. When speaking of the danger arising from our liability to periodical floods in my last Charge, I little anticipated that [39/40] we should ourselves so soon suffer by such a heavy visitation. But the recital of what then passed before our eyes, was not addressed to those devoid of sympathy, and I would here thank the kind friends who were not forgetful of us in our distress. [See "Notes of the Flood." Hatchard, 1852.]
This, however, was only a transient affliction, and after a time we saw the bright light beam from behind the cloud, and the wind passed over and healed us. May God grant, that the effect of the chastisement may not be evanescent, but permanent and abiding. But there are enduring forms of sorrow--classes of suffering and of sufferers, of which examples are never wanting. Each month as it rolls adds to the number of the orphans and the fatherless, and in this desolate land the lot of the unprotected must be cheerless indeed, For these too Christian friends have felt, and a voice familiar to you all has not pleaded for them in vain, and the sighing of the poor Indian orphan has thus come up in memorial before God. [The Rev. R. James, who, on his return to England, suggested the idea and raised subscriptions towards it.] The subscriptions justify the commencement of the building, but the completion of the Orphan Asylum,--its ultimate prosperity will depend much on the spirit in which it is taken up in the country, and especially in this settlement. Commend it, brethren, to your flocks, and ask them to aid by their means and by their prayers. In the zeal of those who undertake it I have the fullest [40/41] confidence, and in the efficiency with which it will be superintended. My hope is that it may combine two objects,--that it may prove an asylum for those, who know not the love and affectionate care of an earthly parent, and also a home for the children of inquiring Indians, who may be consigned to our care to be trained and in time baptized, A fitter monument we cannot have of him who has been taken from us, and who though absent would thus work for us,--let him not be disappointed in looting for our hearty and earnest cooperation--let me be permitted to assure him in your name, that we join in wishing the endeavour God speed.
Having thus rapidly glanced at the condition of the diocese, some reflections on the nature of the work force themselves upon me, when looking upon it as a whole.
Its unity strikes my own mind in a manner which you can scarcely realise. I can thus call up before me Indians, with whom I conversed familiarly, from Rupert's House and Fort George, and place by their side others, with whom I have travelled for days together, from the English River, and they have the same essential features. I see what others around them are who are still in darkness; but, when they have cast away the bonds of superstition, and are now clothed and in their right mind, they exhibit a softness of heart, they are not insensible to kindness, and manifest an affectionate attachment to their benefactors. In examining them for confirmation, and questioning [41/42] them one by one on their immortal interests, there is the same working of grace;--the answers at the one place might almost have been given at the other. I find that the same translations of the Bible and of the Prayer-book are understood in both quarters. Now this gives me the lively confidence, that, if we could advance, the same effects would, through God's mercy, be witnessed. The accounts we receive of the Chippewyans represent them as equally accessible to the Gospel, and our own impression of them would confirm this character: could we, carry the Gospel to the Arctic Sea, the Indians of the Mackenzie River would, we think, present little obstacle but that of language to be overcome, while, in penetrating as far as the flocky Mountains on the Saskatchewan there would not even be this. And, brethren, to this unity our own system gives great power; to think that the same prayers extend over more than two thousand miles and may yet penetrate farther, this would animate us in carrying forward the work; to think that these become their companions in solitude, their manual for the worship of the Sabbath, and their comfort when stretched on the bed of death.
But there is also diversity apparent in the work. No two spheres are exactly the same. The parochial and European sphere differs of course very widely from the purely Missionary sphere, where the ground is broken up for the first time; St. Andrew's, Red River, from Fort George; the more settled Missionary work at the Indian [42/43] village, or at Christ Church, Cumberland, from the earlier stages of the work as at the English River. So too the labour among the Sauteux at Islington would differ much from that among the Crees. Later in giving in their adhesion to the Gospel, more obstinately wedded to their own ways, with more of the pride of soul, they yet manifest some nobler traits of character when brought tinder, the yoke. Of most, if not all, of those who have laboured among them, it is the opinion, that they will in the end make greater progress in the school of Christ. With this diversity of work, few of you probably could to advantage change your position at this hour: those accustomed to the parish and the settlement would not bear transplanting to the solitude of the wilderness; while those habituated to intercourse in the Indian tongue, would not as readily fall into that larger amount of mental toil, necessary in more constant preparation for the pulpit or weekly lecture. And this makes it the more important that the sphere of your labour should be fixed from the first If appointed to an out-station, I would much rather that yon should go to it at once; if to the North, I could wish that henceforward the first winter were spent at Christ Church, to gain facility in speaking the tongue and to see practical work; if to the East, the first winter might profitably be spent at Moose.
While however there is diversity, let us always remember that it is the same doctrinal truth in [43/44] the awakened Indian the same as those of our countrymen. The same Saviour becomes precious alike to all when taught by the Spirit a sense of sin. And, brethren, I have little fear of any of you being led away from the simplicity of the truth. Intercourse with the dying, continual contact with those asking in nature's extremity after the way of salvation, when nothing now conceals their true feelings,--this generally keeps the mind from wandering far into error. The speculations of the closet may lead astray, but the realities of death and eternity keep man to first principles,--they keep us nearer to the Alpha and Omega, the Author and Finisher of our faith. And to be often addressing the spiritually dead, often speaking to the earnest and inquiring heathen, or pressing salvation on the attention of the callous and indifferent,--this would keep before us the leading and fundamental truths of the Gospel the lost and ruined condition of man, his redemption through a Saviour's blood, and his renewal by the work of the Holy Spirit.
But in the application of the truth--in this, my reverend brethren, lies the great difficulty, as on it would depend the measure of ministerial success. On it, as all-important, allow me to interpose a very few remarks, the results of a growing experience and observation in our common work. This application will differ much in the missionary, and, as we may call it, the parochial sphere.
Taking then the former, I would earnestly press [44/45] upon all so engaged the necessity of deep and constant reflection. It is not enough to deliver through an interpreter a passage with which we are familiar. We ought often to ask ourselves, "Are those whom I address familiar with the ideas in which the exhortation is clothed? are there no parts which must fall powerless on the ear, and therefore on the heart, because they can have no corresponding idea in their minds?" Reflection on the processes of our own minds--the method in which truth is acquired--is absolutely indispensable in conveying to another a new body of truth. The work of gathering in souls from Heathenism is very different from anything the parochial minister at home has to encounter; and it is very different from anything which met the Apostle at Athens or Corinth, at Ephesus or at Rome. The ideas existed there--the words were ready to their hand, and they had only to transfer the ideas to higher subjects, and to stamp the words for the use of the sanctuary. But where the mind is a blank intellectually, there is much labour necessary before things spiritual can be entertained. Read, brethren, any one chapter of the Bible, and, closing the book, say how much of previous knowledge was necessary for its comprehension. It dawns upon us from our childhood, and we imbibe it with our mother's milk. God teaches us to walk in this His paradise, leading us by the hand, and we think not how difficult it is when presented to an untaught and untutored mind.
[This expression I owe to an early friend, the Rev. C. Marriott, B.D. In his "Hints on Private Devotion" occurs one from which all, though differing from the author in many points, might profit:--"It is often a good thing to take a book or large portion of Holy Scripture, and to make it a kind of paradise to walk in. This way opens the most wonderful prospects to the mind, and is likely to give to any one who tries it a wholly new conception of the beauty and symmetry of the written Word."]
It requires also much discretion. When there is some stirring of the soul--when they manifest some anxiety to hear, and a willingness to pray--it becomes a matter of Christian prudence to weigh cases. To be so far a good discerner of spirits, if we may use the term, would be high praise, or rather, I would say, a great gift from God;--neither to delay baptism too long, by requiring more than was done in the earliest apostolic times; nor to administer it too readily, and so lower the idea of this holy rite in the eyes of others. [In the Greek language we have a single word for it, and in the Greek poet a passage which portrays the excellence described, if only applied in a spiritual manner, Aesch. Agam. 768. Couple this with Prov. xxvii. 23, and we have the complete picture of what we have, referred to.] Can you not quote eases in illustration of this, when you have felt grief at one being taken to whom you refused baptism, and yet of whom you hoped that the Saviour noticed with approval the desire of the soul, and accepted him? Others again, on the contrary, regarding whom you had made every [46/47] inquiry and examination, and, as you thought, after due caution, you baptized them, and yet, after all, your fondest hopes have been disappointed? It is in such cases that a general role is impossible, and the trial of your very faithfulness and wisdom lies in the treatment of the individual case.
Need I add, that the work requires much patience? Oh! how much of this is necessary, not to lose the fervour ,of our first love, the burning zeal with which we perhaps, felt at the outset that Dagon must fall, if the truth as it is in Jesus, were but clearly and affectionately presented to the mind! But we find, that the strong man armed keepeth the palace, and it requires much faith, and prayer to renew the assault from day to day, remembering that Jericho fell not until it was often compassed, but that, if compassed in the name of the Lord, at the blast of the trumpet, the wall will at last give way. The examples, too, of modern missions may be quoted to lead us to wait God's own time: how long at Kishnagur did the servants of God toil and labour and see little fruit--how long in the earlier history of Greenland!--and yet, when man was almost despairing, the message was blessed, and a plenteous harvest of souls gathered in.
If these are some of the peculiar requisites forced upon us, from the necessity of the case, where the labour is initial labour among the heathen--if we are still only clearing the waste land, and likely to find it true, that such as the country is such will be the religious state of its [47/48] inhabitants, there are also peculiar difficulties which beset those whose sphere is more strictly parochial. On such I would affectionately press what has given my own mind the greatest encouragement, not only here, but throughout the whole course of my ministerial life. [Nowhere is man's power over nature more forcibly seen than in a newly reclaimed country. The French proverb, quoted by Trench, and his remarks upon it, are fall of wisdom, ("Lessons in Proverbs," p. 124.) Take the banks of the Red River, with the forests unfelled, and view them now with productive fields, and studded with the abodes of happiness and comfort, and the two clauses of the verse are seen fulfilled, if anywhere, "the earth yields her increase, and God, even our own God, gives His blessing."]
Consider more frequently the circumstances in which you are placed. Our tendency is, I am sure, to set up a standard drawn from that to which we have been accustomed at home, instead of taking a larger and juster view of the case. Our error is the liability to judge of Christian character and attainment here by what we have witnessed elsewhere. We ought rather to reflect for how short a time the Gospel has been proclaimed here, and moderate our expectations thereby. We cannot thus look for the same results of Christian experience, the same maturity of the divine life, as in parishes favoured with every privilege, and that for many a by-gone year.
Consider, too, how little there is to stimulate to mental and spiritual activity. At home, and in almost every other colonial diocese, there is a large amount of energy around, and some bright Christian [48/49] patterns, there is a mighty cloud of witnesses, of whose hope in death they have heard, all leading onward and upward. But where there is more of monotony and stagnation, and the mind is left to prey on itself, and there is no reaction from without, the spiritual progress must be slower, the change of thought and habits must be very gradual.
And if, from your own experience, you admit the truth of these remarks, then, as the best antidote, labour to make a special adaptation to the cases and character of those who are under your care. Study them as a physician would a patient presented to him, and bring forth out of your treasures the most appropriate medicine. You find in most books of experimental religion, which you might place in their hands, a want of speciality, you find in them much which does not apply to the state of things around, and much omitted in self-examination and appeal to the conscience, which you would wish thrown in and added. Be it your part to supply this want, so that the message proclaimed by you in public, and pressed home in private by repeated pastoral visitation, may be, through God's blessing, the very lever for gradually raising the tone of feeling and the standard of practice among your people.
Nor forget often to trace the actual results which, notwithstanding all this, have been accomplished. Contemplate the general observance of the Lord's-day, the attention to the word of God, the attendance in your day and Sunday-schools, [49/50] and the number of your communicants, and draw, from all these sources matter of thankfulness. Be persuaded that the grateful acknowledgment of the past is the surest way to draw down fresh mercies from the hand of our heavenly Father.
But, brethren, although there are, as we thus see, difficulties and discouragements which may, meet us in duty, whether missionary or parochial, still we do advance. There is a measure of establishment of the truth in the land. The Church of Christ is as a living body among us, its pulses beat, its vitality is felt.
We have had our losses. Since we met together one clergyman has left us, and is now labouring in an adjoining diocese. [The Rev. J. Smithurst, formerly of the Indian settlement, now of Ellora, Toron.] We have lost, too, the services of an earnest and affectionate fellow-labourer, one who was, to human eye, well fitted for usefulness, and who had succeeded in gaining the hearts of his people. [The Rev. Robert James, late of St. Andrews, whose health has prevented Ms return to missionary labour.] From them and from us he is taken in the mysterious providence of God; let us pray that, if life, be spared, he may be a blessing elsewhere to others. We have lost, too, some from our communion. Natural it was that they should long for the Church of their fathers, natural that, when opportunity offered, they should [50/51] seek to join it. [Reference is here made to those who, though originally Presbyterians, were for many years communicants with us, and who have only lately formed themselves into a separate congregation.] One had sometimes hoped that they would have held to the Church of their children's baptism--the Church in which their families had been trained and educated. One had sometimes imagined that they would have continued with us, from seeing that our own Church was, under God, the most likely to overspread and evangelize the land. On these grounds, we had at times cherished the expectation of their remaining with us, but now that the separation has taken place, we can only pray that the grace of God may be with them, and that, though no longer worshipping with us, they may be joined together with us in one common hope, and partakers hereafter in one common inheritance. A temporal loss, too, we have all, in some measure, sustained by the flood. By it all connected with the settlement suffered more or less, and yet it is not a little cheering to see with what elasticity all have recovered from the shock. A more permanent loss has been sustained at Fairford by the winter flood; there it has in some measure blighted their fondest hopes, and the work of forming a station has to proceed afresh. The patience and perseverance which can start anew in cheerful and uncomplaining trust are beyond all praise.
Our gains, however, my reverend brethren, far outweigh our losses. There is the Eastern Mission added to us, almost an independent branch--a youthful branch indeed, but very vigorous and healthy. Between it and ourselves there is the Mission at Islington, which soon may, I trust, [51/52] possess a church, as a light on a hill, meeting the eye of the traveller, and filling him with a refreshment which he only knows, whether on his way up from Albany and the Bay, or shooting down the Winnipeg on his route from the Canadian Lakes. And in this settlement we expand; a fresh station has been opened on the Assiniboine, a clergyman placed there, and the means of grace brought to the very door of the new settlers around. [The Rev. G. O. Corbett, Colonial Church Society.] Nor is this all: each station would multiply and strike new roots. The Indian settlement b as thus Its branch school on the margin of the lake at Broken Head River, while nearer to itself the Sauteux school, unoccupied for some years, has been revived. Christ Church has her branches at Moose Lake and the Nepowewin; Rupert's House and Albany are visited periodically from Moose; and Fort George will extend its care to Little Whale River, and the Eskimos who frequent it. Now this, brethren, if there be meaning in language, would be the very interpretation of the prophet's words, "the breaking forth to the right hand and to the left," which is the charge of the Spirit to the Gentile Church, and if we are thus fulfilling a portion of the chapter, let us take comfort to ourselves from the thought, that some of its glorious promises may, perchance, appertain to us.
The sight, indeed, of Rome--the thought of her late invasion of the liberties and privileges of Britain--the manner in which she sends forth her [52/54] emissaries to every land, may at times sadden the spirit. But if, as we have seen, she is really weakening at the heart, and these are but the convulsive movements at the extremities to conceal this, then may we feel that the coining struggle, though it may be violent, will be short. Is there not, too, discernible at the same time a growing interest, a dawn of light in the East? If Rome seem to give token of decay, do not Babylon and Nineveh appear to rise,, and the children of Jerusalem stand forth more prominently? All seems to carry us back to the land of Abraham, and to force even upon the thoughtless the fulness of the promise made to him, The nations of the East seem expectant,--a highway has been prepared, shall we say by chance, or adventure, or not rather by the signal providence of God, by which Egypt is once more trodden by the feet of many,--the Euphrates and the Red Sea, the very path of the kings of the East. These thiogs, brethren, are now realities, and I would not link them more closely with the prophetic Scriptures. I speak as unto wise men,--to those conversant with the roll of the Book. I only throw this out to stir up your minds, and, if these things be so, to exhort you to stand on your watch-tower, and give heed to the "sure word of prophecy, as unto a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts."
Let this prospect, then, cheer and sustain, you. There may be coming trials, Scripture would assure us, and, if I read aright the course of [53/54] events, intellectual difficulties, a struggle and conflict of the mind may be that to which our children may be exposed. A long period of unbroken peace has trials peculiar to itself, for Satan is never idle. The din of war may be hushed over the earth, and its violence checked, but from within evil may spring up as much to be dreaded and feared, Are there no tokens of such a conflict,--are not the questions of the day questions not so much of international disputes, as questions connected with the mind and its development, with religion and its progress? The mind of man has thus challenged for itself a mighty power, every subject is questioned, and foundations are undermined." [The matter is well stated by Bishop Potter, of Pennsylvania, to whom, on more than one occasion, I have been indebted already. In his Annual Address to his Clergy for 1853, he traces the present danger to the fact that "intellectual activity is in advance of moral earnestness."] Error has as bold a face as truth, and what is advanced with self-confidence is received by many as demonstration, I need not carry out the sketch, nor show the downward process from the starting of the doubt to the arrival at open infidelity. Some have tried the path, intellects high and noble, and they have only lived to exhibit the phases of unbelief, the questionings of a troubled soul, "ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Now in this will be the patience and triumph of the saints. It will be the sifting time for all that dwell on the earth. The weak and the unsteady, [54/55] unable to bear the conflict; unable to test the truth and weigh opposing testimony, they will throw themselves into the arms of a Church which may relieve them of every weight, and profess to do all for them. Rather than investigate, they will, according to the natural bias of man turn to what is ready to their band, and, foregoing all further search, give up their conscience into the keeping of others; but they will not thereby gain peace nor a pillow of down for their weary head. [The well known maxim in Thucyd., epi ta etoima mallon trepontai--Lib. i. 20] The bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it; and the covering narrow than that he can wrap himself in it." They have not the Bible in its fulness, the length and breadth, and depth and height, of that love of Christ which passeth knowledge, on which the weary soul can rest and lack nothing. They have not that robe of spotless righteousness which shall be, on all them that believe, a garment of glory and beauty to cover every deficiency.
But, brethren, for the mind itself consecrated and hallowed to God we have no fears. Only let us arise and be doing, and let it not be found in the day of combat that the Philistines have robbed us of our weapons; that theirs are ready and burnished, and ours unpolished and useless. Let us endeavour to rise more and more to the intellectual demands of the age. There is a growing idolatry of talent, there is a fest increasing intercourse with other portions of the earth. This [55/56] opens, in the providence of God, opportunities of wide spread good, facilities for disseminating the truth, but it brings with it also the knowledge of much evil. Let us pray that God would raise up many prepared and armed at all points to meet the coming danger, the tide of an infidelity more subtle, specious, and refined than that of the last century, which may gradually spread over the earth. For God's true servants there will be the Pella still, for when "the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him."
And in our own sphere of lesser temptation, if I may say it, what need we, brethren, in order that we may withstand in the evil day? We want more of that Spirit, for He alone can dethrone Satan, and make the soul His own temple. We point to what He has already done around by instruments weak and unworthy, and we draw the inevitable inference, "No doubt the kingdom of heaven is come among you." [St. Luke xi. 20. Ara efqasen ef umaV. What other language can thus express the silent introduction of the Gospel into a country or an individual heart, almost before there is the consciousness of its presence?] But to extend that spiritual kingdom, how necessary is a larger measure of the Spirit,--how necessary a far greater conformity to Christ. We want, to use the words of that aged servant of God, with whom this land [56/57] claims a peculiar connexion, "we want to be filled with Christ, to have Christ in our office, Christ in our voice, Christ in our heart, Christ in our act, Christ conspicuous throughout the whole of our intercourse with man-in a ward the missionary zeal that we may effect the missionary purpose." [The Rev. Henry Budd, of White Roothing, Essex, in his admirable sermon before the Church Missionary Society, May, 1827.] If we so went forth, brethren, beseeching men in Christ's stead, would not fewer turn a deaf ear to the message?
We want too more of earnest and fervent prayer for each other and with one another;--for those committed to our charge, and for those still in darkness in the land in which we dwell. The eye becomes too soon accustomed to the sight of the perishing heathen, and the feelings of deep and lively compassion cease to be awakened within us with the same power as before. Well for us, therefore, would it be to recur more frequently to the view of the Redeemer's tears over Jerusalem, His compassion for those who were scattered abroad as sheep without a shepherd. Well to contemplate the Redeemer's intensity of supplication, when He continued whole nights in prayer. Was it thus that, before sending forth His chosen instruments, He spent the night alone on the mount in secret communion with His Father, and shall not we, who are weak and helpless, feel that prayer is that holy violence, by which alone the kingdom is to be taken and souls gained?
And we want to realize more vividly and constantly the end of our ministry. To labour as if we saw the separation taking place, and man [57/58] going to his appointed portion for eternity of happiness or misery. To stand on the confines of the two worlds, and beseech men to flee from the wrath to come;--to stand as it were at the gate of heaven, and pray men to enter into that glory which shall be revealed. To feel the preciousness of single souls by frequent reference to that blood which alone one could be ransomed. To labour thus, in the light of eternity, would give energy to our ministrations, a fulness to our proclamations of pardon, and a subduing tenderness to our words, even when compelled to declare the terrors of a coming judgment.
And, brethren, if I use such words of exhortation, I would seek to address them to myself while speaking to you. If referring to ministerial duties, I would include myself, for in the providence of God I am partaker of them together with you; and, if at times a heavier weight of care may be my portion from growing acquaintance with the land and anxiety for so many spheres, I would affectionately ask a continuance of what you have never withheld, your intercessions at the throne of grace, that, for our work's sake, health and strength and energy might be prolonged to me. Often has the sight of your zeal encouraged and refreshed me; for what the Apostle said to his converts we would say to you, "We live, if ye stand fast in the Lord."
Brethren, when we next meet our flocks, if another Sabbath dawn upon us, it will be the opening day of another year,--a year commencing [58/59] and closing with God's holy day,--a year therefore of peculiar solemnity. May we enter upon it with renewed earnestness, and may God grant a double portion of His Spirit on our work, our people, and our own souls!