OCTOBER 22, 1872.
You will remember that two years ago a large number of you presented me with a Memorial, asking me to hold a Visitation or Visitations of the Clergy of the Diocese. Hitherto I was unable to accede to your wishes, but I am glad that the time has come when I can meet you for counsel and brotherly intercourse in things Spiritual. The delay in requesting your attendance at a Visitation, was not caused by any reluctance on my part to revive such meetings, nor from any distrust of their utility; on the contrary, time has made it clear to me, that the Diocesan Synod needed to be supplemented by Visitations. The Synod is a legal Incorporation whose powers are definitely limited, and touch almost wholly the temporalities of the Church. The atmosphere of such a body is secular; business of Finance, Estate, Discipline and Church extension occupy the time, and our Lay Brethren, whose presence is so necessary, are naturally anxious that the proceedings shall be as brief as is consistent with safety. The result is, that our Sessions are so hurried, that it is impossible to keep a majority of members in attendance for more than two days. We have no time to meet for Prayer, and the discussion of such subjects as will be presented to us at this Visitation, and therefore I determined to make trial how far our meeting together for Communion and Prayer, and the interchange of opinions touching the Spiritualities of the Diocese, may with God's blessing conduce to the edification of the Church; and I feel much strengthened in my determination, by the belief that you share my views. I would add that I should not have summoned you together were it not for the request which was wholly spontaneous on your part, because I should have been very reluctant to impose on the Clergy the additional expense of travelling a second time in the same year. It will assuredly be useful to take a review of the Church work of the ten years that have passed since the [3/4] Diocese was organized. It ought to fill us with gratitude and courage. Our labours for Christ and His Church have met oftentimes with opposition, yet we have to record steady progress. I have had my own share of anxiety and misrepresentation, but I hope that I am the better for it all. Our thanks are then due in an especial manner to Almighty God our Heavenly Father for the success He has vouchsafed us, and our gratitude, if it deserves the name, should nerve us for the toils still before us. The Diocese of Ontario was at its formation far the feeblest of the three into which the old Diocese of Toronto was divided. Even now it cannot compare with the others in population or wealth, and I am not therefore surprised that many things which have since been accomplished, were at first entertained coldly, by reason of our supposed inability to effect them. But we have had a happy illustration of the strength of Unity. I trace, under God, any advancement of Church principles, or extension of Church work which we behold, to that union of sentiment in all matters of moment, which has characterized the Clergy of this Diocese.
The retrospect of the past ten years enables me to lay before you a few facts which are so encouraging as to stimulate us anew "to love and to good works." In the cause of domestic missions (a cause which has always been first in my thoughts and prayers) our means have grown from nothing to an income this year of $8,000. The Sustentation Fund which I began eight years ago, as a means of providing against any curtailment of Missionary work when the small grant made by the S. P. G. should cease, has reached the satisfactory sum of $26,048.15 of Invested Capital, besides unpaid subscriptions. Our Widows' and Orphans' Fund, and the Fund for assisting students in Divinity, though not yet as large as we desire, have hitherto sufficed to meet the demands upon them, so that no financial difficulty has arisen. The Commutation Fund, which has been a source of great anxiety to me, has at length been placed on a sure and solid basis, and no one rejoices more than myself that our younger Brethren have now a reasonable prospect of reaping advantage from that Fund, which amounts to $275,000 of Invested Capital.
 The Rectory lands question is in process of successful solution, and the improved incomes of the Rectors, which the sales as yet made have effected, is a source of great gratification. The Invested Capital of lands already sold is $76,276.17.
The number of the Clergy has increased from fifty-four in 1862 to eighty in 1872. In the same period fifty-two *new [*This enumeration does not include old Churches which have been superseded by larger and more expensive ones, such as the Churches at Cornwall, Prescott, Perth Ottawa, &c, nor old Parsonages which have been rebuilt on a larger scale.] Churches, of which twenty-one have been consecrated, and twenty-three new Parsonage houses have been built, and ten Cemetries consecrated. I have ordained thirty-five Priests and thirty-two Deacons, and admitted from other Dioceses forty-three Clergy. I have confirmed 9,287 persons, of whom 7,463 became Communicants on the occasion of their Confirmation, and I must allude to a remarkable feature in these Confirmations, that 2,000 of those confirmed were adults, and about 1,500 were converts from various religious denominations.
And I must take this opportunity of bearing my testimony to the marked improvement which has with few exceptions taken place in the mode of conducting Divine service, in the increased reverence of our congregations, in the heartiness of the singing, and in the general attention paid to the arrangements for public worship; the increased zeal and accuracy with which candidates have been prepared for Confirmation, and the now almost uniform custom to partake of the Holy Communion at the time of their Confirmation, prove that you, my Brethren, have not been unfaithful in your arduous duties.
But I turn from the affairs of our own Diocese to those of the Church at large. We shall have opportunities for considering the best means of promoting the spiritual welfare of those committed to our charge, during the remainder of the week. Let me occupy your attention this evening while I take a survey of some of those movements in the Church which have attracted universal attention, and concerning which I have often been asked for an opinion by the Clergy of the Diocese.
It has been our lot to live in a period of intense activity in [5/6] religious matters. It needed no great foresight to see that such a time must eventually come as a reaction from the unbelieving indifference of the preceding age. Now it is the natural tendency of reactions to go too far in an opposite direction. This law holds good in all movements of the human mind. A reaction against political tyranny or abuse, propels reform into revolution or Communism. The reaction against Papal tyranny and abuses hurried the Continental Reformers into the enormities of the Ana-Baptists, and culminated in England in the triumph of political Puritanism. We should not therefore be surprised that many sagacious persons dreaded the force of the reaction from irreverence and pernicious disregard of decency in public worship. Hence the excitement and bad feeling which have existed side by side with the attempts made to Re-form the mode of performing public worship, to form it back again as it once was, on its old basis. Now it is almost impossible at such a time to avoid being drawn away into partizanship. It needs the calmness of a well balanced mind to decline association with either obstructive fanatics or "Ritualistic acrobats." To intensify the difficulty, there is the prevailing sin of Individualism, or the unrestricted exercise of unfettered private judgment. The man who acts on the belief that what he gathers from Scripture by the exercise of his judgment (such as it is), must be the true meaning, irrespective altogether of the authority of the Church, and the man "who, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely doth break the tradition and ceremonies of the Church," are pupils of the same school. The English Reformation was not justified by its promoters on the plea that they were led to the changes then made by their private judgment. On the contrary, it was a principle of that Reformation, that the Church of England did not mean to deviate from the Romish Church any farther than the Roman had deviated from the Primitive Church. Another principle was, that Scripture was not to be interpreted so as to be at variance with the meaning attached to it by the Primitive Doctors and the undisputed general Councils. It appears to me that these principles have been ignored [6/7] in the acrimonious discussion of several prominent points of Ritual. Granting that such practises as Incense at Holy Communion, and lights during the Celebration, and vestments for the Celebrant, are symbolically instructive, which maybe doubted, or legal, which they are declared not to be, yet surely, it should reconcile us to their loss, to remember that the Primitive Church did not employ them as accessories of the Eucharist. Nay further, not one of the most ardent advocates of them regards them as absolutely essential, since what is termed Low Celebration is equally valid for all purposes of grace as High Celebration. All that I can learn to be urged in favor of these accompaniments of the Eucharist, amounts to this, that they elevate men's minds, and are impressive by reason of their symbolism. But while I admit that we cannot have too much reverence and Godly fear in the Celebration of Holy Communion, I think it possible to have a great deal too much symbolism. And the evil becomes greater when we find that the symbolism to which so much importance is attached is altogether false. They who hold the very strongest opinions regarding the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist, cannot satisfactorily explain the use of Incense. There is not a particle of evidence that it was ever used in the Primitive Church, and the only thing symbolized by it, is the ascent of Prayer to the Throne of Grace. The restriction of its use to the Eucharist is therefore a clear misuse of symbolism; and the same may be said of the use of Lights on the Altar, which may have a significance if lighted during the reading of the Gospel to symbolize that Christ is the light of the World; but which have really no force or effect whatever as pertaining to a sacrificial rite. Again, it may be an open question whether it be desirable that the Celebrant should wear a special vestment, and since the Cope has been declared by the Judicial Committee to be the legal vestment for the Bishops when Celebrating on certain High Festivals, it may be thought becoming that the Chansable should be assigned to Priests, still, in as much as we know from the best Archaeologists that there is no trace decernible of such a vestment in use in the Primitive Church, we should be contented with the Surplice which is the nearest approach to the vestment worn by the officiating Priest in Primitive times.
 I am aware that an appeal to the discipline of the Primitive Church is distasteful in some quarters. We hear of the objection that Christ has promised to be with His Church in every age, and that therefore the Primitive Church has no claim to special authority, and that "the Church hath power to decree rites and ceremonies" and "that they may be changed according to the diversities of times, countries, and men's manners." This may be all true, and yet the conviction may remain, that the appeal to Primitive antiquity is the best safe-guard against the errors of the nineteenth century; as it most assuredly proved itself against the errors of the sixteenth century. As a Church we should have been more blessed, if the time and energies expended upon such points of Ritual as we have been considering, had been directed to a restoration of the Godly discipline which our Commination Service tells us existed in the Primitive Church, when "they who were convicted of notorious sin were put to open penance that their souls might be saved in the day of the Lord."
In consequence of the late decision of the Judicial Committee in the case of "Hibbert v. Purchas," I have been requested by some of the Clergy to give instructions regarding the position of the Priest while consecrating the elements.
My own practice for over twenty years was to read the Prayer of Consecration at the north end of the Holy Table. But when the learned Judge of the Court of Arches, Sir Robert Phillimore, giving judgment in the case of "Hibbert v. Purchas," declared that this question had been settled by the Privy Council in the case of "Martin and Machonochie," since their Lordships had ruled that the words "standing before the Table" apply to the whole sentence, I considered myself bound to conform to the Law as interpreted by the highest Ecclesiastical Court, and I consecrated standing before the Table. The case was however carried on appeal to the Privy Council, who declared that Sir Robert Phillimore had mis-interpreted their language. They said that the question of the position of the Celebrant had not been before the Court at all. That the point they had before them was posture or attitude, that is, whether the Consecration Prayer should be read while the Priest was standing, or whether kneeling was [8/9] allowable during any part of the Prayer. Or in other words, that they meant that the word standing applied to the whole sentence, but that the words "before the Table," did not.
It is a pity that their Lordships did not say plainly what they meant, for indeed it is no reproach to Sir R. Phillimore's sagacity that he did not interpret aright their Lordships' language. The Law is, however, now explicit enough, and the legal position of the Celebrant is standing at the north end. To this Law I have myself conformed. My reasons are these: I cannot by any possibility make the subject a matter of conscience. My belief concerning the Eucharist is entirely unaffected by the position of the Celebrant. My views touching the nature and effect of Holy Communion were quite as decided during the many years in which I consecrated at the North end, as during the few years that I consecrated "Standing before the table." Moreover, were the position of the Celebrant left to my private judgment, which God forbid, I should stand behind and not before the Holy Table, with my face to the people. That was, I believe, the position in the Primitive Church, and it enabled the people to see more fully one of the most beautifully symbolical acts in the whole service, the fracture of the Bread, an act of so much significance, that in the Primitive Church the Holy Sacrament took its name from it, and was called" The breaking of Bread."
Again, in matters of Ritual, there must be some limit, and I know of no other limit than Law, and I cannot forget that when I was promoted to the Priesthood, I promised "to minister the Sacraments as this Church and Realm hath received the same."
I am well aware that the considerations I have urged will not appear equally forcible to all minds, while there are some curious features in the decision of the Privy Council and in its results, which must not be overlooked. In the first place, the judgment was rendered in an undefended suit. The Lord Chancellor said that "the Committee had not the assistance of the argument of Counsel on behalf of the Defendant," and the fact that he attached much weight to this consideration, appears from his remarks in the recent Bennett case. His Lordship said that "The Court has [9/10] not had that assistance from the argument of Counsel in his behalf, which is especially desirable in cases like the present, where the Committee are called upon to advise Her Majesty on matters of grave importance, as a tribunal of ultimate appeal." It is therefore just possible that the judgment in the Purchas case may be reversed on the next hearing of a similar one, should the Respondent employ Counsel, and different members of the Judicial Committee be selected to form the tribunal.
Whatever be the cause, there seems to be no disposition on the part of the Bishops, or even aggrieved Parishioners, to put the Law in force. It is ignored by many of the Clergy, and the Bishop of London declined to gratify two of the Canons of St. Paul's Cathedral, who declared their intention of ignoring the judgment, and requested a prosecution. These considerations may have served to make many hesitate before changing their position at the Holy Table, but I confess that they have little weight with me. There is, however, one point on which I think we are all agreed, that the Constitution of the Tribunal of ultimate appeal in Ecclesiastical cases, is thoroughly unsatisfactory.
The amendment of the Act of Uniformity will, I am confident, prove a blessing to the Church. What we have so long needed is not change or revision of the prayer book, but flexibility in the use of it, and I earnestly hope that the Provincial Synod may at its next session adopt the provisions of the amended act:--
First--In legalizing the shortened order for morning and evening prayer to be used on any day except Sunday, Christmas Day, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Ascension Day, in lieu of the present order for Morning and Evening Service. The effect of this will be, I trust, the introduction of Daily Prayer in our Churches wherever it be possible.
Secondly--In giving permission on any special occasion to be approved by the Ordinary, to use a special form of Service, also to be approved by the Ordinary, so that there be not introduced into such service anything except hymns, which does dot form part of the Bible or Prayer Book.
The effect of this will, I anticipate, be the adoption of more [10/11] efficacious and suitable Services for Mission Stations, or for special Missionary operations.
Thirdly--In permitting a third or additional form of Service for Sunday, under necessary restrictions. This will prove a great boon to our Missionaries who at present have often to repeat evensong, when serving at three stations on Sunday. It is also worth remarking that what many of us have been so long contending for, has been decided by the amended act, namely that the Order for Morning Prayer, the Litany and the Order for Holy Communion are separate Services and may be used as such.
I take this opportunity of stating that I shall be glad to authorize the use of the shortened Service for Morning and Evening Prayer, except on Sundays, and the Holidays already mentioned; and should I be requested by any of the Clergy to authorize the use of a third or additional Service on Sundays, I shall give my sanction to that form, which has received the approval of the Bishops of London, Winchester and Rochester.
Coincidently with this wise flexibility in the manner of using the Book of Common Prayer, there has arisen an agitation for the revision of the Book itself. In the Irish Church the proposed revision, happily not yet consummated, amounts to revolution. In England, the Creed, commonly called that of St. Athanasius, has been selected as the point of attack. Seven thousand persons have petitioned the Primates of the English Church that some relief should be given to the consciences of those who dislike or disbelieve that Creed. I read the reply of the Archbishops with amazement. It amounts to this: that their Lordships promise to do what they can to find a solution of the difficulty, and the reason assigned for their promised exertions is that the damnatory clauses give great offence to many faithful members of the Church. They "anticipate that they shall be able to devise some plan which shall meet the wishes of that large body of persons who object to the solemn use of words which they regard as unauthorized in their most obvious sense either by the letter or the spirit of the Holy Scriptures." There are, therefore, two classes of people holding opposite opinions regarding this Creed; the petitioners, [11/12] amounting to 7000 Laymen, who believe that the language of the Creed in its most obvious sense to be unauthorized either by the letter or the spirit of Scripture; and on the other side, the whole body of the Clergy of the Church of England, the Archbishops included, who, at their Ordination solemnly accepted that Creed, and subscribed to the 8th article of religion, which says that the Creed "ought thoroughly to be received and believed, for it may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture," or as the Latin text has it, "Nam firmissimis Scripturarum Testimoniis probari possunt." It is to reconcile these opinions which are as widely separated as light and darkness, that the Archbishops have set themselves. "Pergunt pugnantia secum Frontibus adversis componere." But granting that relief could be given to the consciences of the Petitioners in some milder method than the exercise of a high-handed parliamentary interference, and the necessary result--disruption, I would ask what is to be gained if the stumbling block which has been removed out of the path of 7,000 or 70,000 be rolled across the path of millions? Multitudes, if this Confession of Faith be silenced, will ask the reason, why? Is it because it is untrue? No; but because it gives offence. But the Cross of Christ was not only an offence but foolishness, and yet St. Paul gloried in it. There must be not only offences but heresies, that they that are approved may be made manifest amongst us, and I take it as nothing, but certain fact, that more than 7,000 persons can be found in England to see an offence in any given dogma of the Catholic Church. The Petitioners may have more than ordinary intelligence in theological matters, of which, however, we have no proof, but if they have, then I suppose they take the damnatory or minatory clauses of the Creed in the same sense and with the same limitations as they take the damnatory sentences of the Holy Scripture. If Scripture gives them no offence, neither need the Creed in its condemnations. But I suspect that the damnatory clauses have very little to do with the great offence taken. What is at stake is dogmatic theology of any kind. It is the right belief in the Incarnation which the Creed embodies, and the terms "Person," and "Begotten," [12/13] and "Substance," and "Taking the manhood into God," which are in reality the rock of offence. This is the rock on which so many heresies have been dashed to pieces, and it seems therefore desirable to remove it out of the way or relegate it to some dark spot. But how long could the Nicene survive this treatment of the Athanasian Creed? The three Creeds must stand or fall together, for they may be one and all proved by most certain warrants of Holy Writ. The Athanasian Creed is the only one which tells us what God is. It is the noblest song to the God made known by Christianity the Church possesses, and as it has braved the battle and the tempest of heresy for 1000 years, we should contend for the faith enshrined in its words find hand it down to our children's children. A revision of the text, so as to bring it into greater harmony with the original Latin, seems necessary, and will doubtless be effected; but it seems to me that what is still more essential is a change in the mode of repeating it. The alternate reading of the verses by Minister and people is unnatural in a Creed, and has, I believe, no other authority than that of usage. Better far would be the repeating of it as the Nicene Creed is repeated by the people after the Minister, or, better still, the chanting of it by the Choir and Congregation. Not a little of the opposition to this creed would have been avoided were it sung as a Hymn rather than read as a Creed; indeed the intention of the Church is plain, for the Creed is pointed for the express purpose of its being sung.
But it remains for me to take notice of the charge levelled at this Creed--its want of charity. This we can by no means admit, if, as was before observed, the threats and denunciations of the Creed be taken with the same qualifications and limitations as the damnatory passages of Holy Scripture. The Creed deals out monitions and denunciations against Arianism and Appollinarianism, but as has been well said,* [*Vide Letter to Rt. Hon. W. E. Gladstone, by Rev. Mr. MacCo1l.] we do not on that account express any opinion on the final destiny Arius and Appollinarius. It is against Arianism and Appollinarianism as such that we direct our words. The Law under which we are saved is laid down in [13/14] the Creed, but the application of the Law to individuals is known only to Omniscience. St. Paul lays it down as an axiom of the Christian Religion that "no whoremonger nor covetous man who is an idolater hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God." Yet who would think of applying this axiom to any given idolater unless he knew (which is impossible), all the extenuating circumstances of each case. It is here that true charity comes in. It is a grace whose counterfeit is false liberality. Liberality is the fashion of the age we are living in; it is a passing phase of public opinion in religion and politics. They who are most Conservative in religious matters love to be thought Liberal Conservatives. And it would all be well if this liberality were extended with fairness and uniformity to the supporters as well as to the despisers of the Creed. But alas! this liberality expands itself in trying to prove that all the want of Charity "which beareth all things, believeth all things and hopeth all things," is to be laid to the charge of them who believe this Creed to contain a true revelation of the nature of God. This vaunted liberalism will be proved on examination to be exhibited only towards those who run in its own groove and direction. The attention of the whole Anglican Church has been lately drawn to what is known as the Westminster Scandal, when the Dean of Westminster invited a denier of the Godhead of Christ to Holy Communion in the Abbey, with the other members of the Committee of Revision. This was an instance of the liberality I speak of. But a few years ago there was another Westminster Scandal, when the same Dean who extended a cordial invitation to an Unitarian, refused the request of seventy-six Bishops who wished, before separating, it might be forever, to receive together the Holy Communion in the same Abbey. Who does not see that liberality in such an one is simply guided by his likings or dislikings. He liked the idea of a Revision of the Scriptures, though an Unitarian was the Reviser, and he disliked the Lambeth Conference. He had no other way of showing this liking for the one and disliking for the other in any overt act but by spurious liberality to the Reviser, and genuine illiberality to the Conference. I should scarcely have felt [14/15] justified in taking my illustration from a living Ecclesiastic, were it not that in the debates in Convocation the champion in the assault on the Athanasian Creed was the same Dean of Westminster.
Religionists of our day besides wishing to be thought liberal, wish to be thought practical as well. The Athanasian Creed is, they say, too metaphysical and, therefore, unpractical. But although the technicalities and definitions of the Creed are not now the theme of the bitter controversies that raged in former times, yet surely we may expect that in the cycle of events they will again be subjects of discussion. And if this Creed be expunged or mutilated we, or our children, shall be deprived of the armour that once proved so powerful. It will be too late to fall back upon this Creed when it has lost its place in the Prayer Book. The value of the Creed now may seem small because it is said to be unpractical. But it was very practical once and may, and will be so again, as old heresies recur, and any one can see with how much greater force it can be appealed to as an honored document holding its present place in our Liturgy, than if it be referred to as a symbol which the Anglican Church deliberately expunged or retained simply as an interesting historical relic. If the rubric ordering Daily Prayer and the Offertory and public Baptism had been tampered with when these things were disused because considered unpractical, it would have been much more difficult than it has been to revive them when they came to be thought practical. For these reasons let not any inaction on our part aid in robbing us of that glorious symbol of the Faith which is our heritage, and not ours only, but that of the Catholic Church.
It has come to my knowledge that some of the Clergy have refrained from using the new Lectionary until I had called upon them to do so. It is true that I did not make known my wishes on the subject, because I thought it unnecessary, the Provincial Synod having by resolution adopted the new Table of Lessons. Permit me now, however, to request that the new Lectionary be used in all the Churches of this Diocese. We are of course [15/16] all bound by the action of the Provincial Synod, but nevertheless, it will be of use to dwell for a short time on the advantages expected from the change. In the first place, we are at last relieved from the insensate practice of reading Chapters simply because they are Chapters, and as if the Bible had been Chaptered with any tolerable regard to the sense. Cardinal Hugo is said to have been the first publisher of the whole Scriptures in Chapters, and Robert Stephens the arbitrary inventor of our present verses, A. D. 1550. This arbitrary distribution of the Sacred text was adopted for the purpose of facilitating reference from concordances which Hugo and Stephens were then engaged in perfecting, but without the smallest intention of assisting the reader to understand the sense. It is as absurd to suppose the chaptering and versification of the Scriptures to be an aid to the hearer or reader, as it would be to imagine that the division of the Country into Concessions and Lots was made to facilitate travelling and not for convenience of ownership and description. In the public reading of God's word we are now free from this tyranny which often compelled us to read at the end of a Chapter, a genealogy or episode which had nothing to do with the main narrative, and which was thrown into the Chapter because no other place could be found for it.
There are many other advantages in the new Lectionary. The old was drawn up on the supposition that the Congregations attended the Daily Service, but in as much as they do not, systematic instruction was lost. The new is drawn up chiefly with a view to the edification of those who do not go to Church except on Sunday. Again it is a great gain that the Gospels are now read during a portion of the year in the Evening, and the Epistles in the Morning. A large proportion of those who attend Church in the Evening only, especially in towns and cities are much more likely to be edified by lessons derived from the life and teaching of our Lord, than by having their religious instruction confined to the abstruse theology of the Epistles. Many books of the Old Testament are now for the first time read for Sunday Lessons, such as five of the minor Prophets, and Job, Ecclesiastes and the [16/17] Revelation of St. John. "*The [*From the London Times.] new Table is more comprehensive, more historical more biographical, more doctrinal, more Messianic and Evangelical." What is also very important, we have the introduction of a great number of passages referred to in the New Testament, often quoted in sermons, and familiar to the readers of devotional books, but seldom heard in their original context in the Old Testament, as for example "Comfort ye, Comfort ye, my People," which will now be heard in full and with its proper surroundings.
Now, for the first time, will be read on Sundays the opening vision of the Apocalypse, Alpha and Omega, the Seven Churches and "the song of the Lamb."
Another gain is the provision made for three Sunday Services, giving a choice of Lessons and the power of varying them from year to year where there is but one afternoon Service. But I think that I have said enough to show some of the improvements manifest in the New Lectionary, and to justify the adoption of it by the Provincial Synod.
In this stirring age of Church activity, so many points suggest themselves as worth noticing, that I can only glance at a few, while I omit others altogether. But as I have been touching on the New Lectionary, I would say a few words on the Revision of the Bible which is now being attempted. All religionists are taking a deep interest in the undertaking, and looking forward with anxiety to the result. Two misconceptions have rather prejudiced the minds of many devout persons against the work. First, that the English Bible is being re-translated instead of being as it is in reality, revised: and, Secondly, that the value of the revision will be affected by the fact that one of the Company is an Unitarian. Regarding the first misconception it should be borne in mind that a correction of a mis-translation here and there is not a re-translation of the whole, and that as the authorized version is itself a revision of a previous translation and was never thought to be a finality, so the new Revision will bear the same relation to the authorized version, [17/18] that the authorized version does to those that preceded it. There is not the least danger of the language being modernized, except so far as the reform of words wholly obsolete is concerned, and as to the unsettling of mens' minds, which some dread, all I can say is, that the minds of many are already, and that the minds of others ought to be unsettled. All competent scholars know that there are inaccuracies, and blemishes, and interpolations in the A. V., and if the Church be true to her mission as "the witness and keeper of Holy Writ," she should correct them. Not only the Clergy from the pulpit, but writers of infidel tendencies are constantly exposing these blemishes, and it is therefore no wonder that men's minds are unsettled, while the minds of those who are so far given to Bibliolatry as to think the A. V. absolutely infallible, ought to be unsettled and their ideas corrected. The Church of England has never formally as a Church vouched for the A. V. as the Church of Rome did for the Vulgate at the Council of Trent, and that she does not exclusively reverence the A. V, is proved by the fact that the Canticles, the Psalms, the Offertory sentences, the comfortable words in the Communion office, and even the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments are all, as given in the book of Common Prayer, taken from versions of earlier date than the A. V. It is however feared by some that the Protestant world, and especially America, will not accept the revised book. They certainly will if the revised book deserves it. And even should the American Church continue to use the A. V. there need be no abatement of inter-communion or fellowship. They revised our Prayer Book to a great degree: yet holding to our respective Prayer Books does not destroy cordiality. Even so will it be if the Revision does not meet with acceptance in the American Church. But I hope and pray that the Revision will be worthy of acceptation. The desire for it is much more universal than is generally supposed. Sects and individuals have tried their hand on revisions and translations, and have wholly failed and sometimes covered themselves with ridicule. It may be God's will that the Church which has maintained the principle of giving the Bible to the people in the vulgar tongue, should have the honor [18/19] of perfecting the work. His providence has raised up scholars equal to the occasion, and has led to discoveries which point out the duty of using them, so timely and important do they seem. The newly revised book will not of course be set forth as the Bible of the Church. It will have to be submitted to the keen scrutiny of public opinion, and its merits decided by an appeal to the critical scholarship of Europe and America. And if, as I pray, the work may be brought to a successful issue, then, at the right time, the new version will gradually supersede the present one, and with the general good will of English speaking Christians, become the household word of God.
Regarding the prejudice raised against Revision by the admission of an Unitarian into the Company of Revisers, it ought to be enough to reply that the real scandal was in admitting to the Holy Communion one who could not repeat the Nicene Creed ex animo. If he be a man of great scholarship I can see no great harm in making use of him, no more than of using a Lexicon of value compiled by an Infidel. In the present state of scholarship, and in the publicity and keenness with which the version will be scrutinized, it is I think impossible that the work can be done in the interest of anything but truth, and we should remember that the persons who are responsible to the whole Church for the new version, are the Convocation of Canterbury, and not one or more of those employed by them for the important work.
You are, perhaps, aware that the two great Missionary Agencies of the Church of England, the S. P. G. and C. M. S. have united in asking all friends of missions to set apart Friday, Dec. 20th next, as a day of intercession for an increased supply of Missionaries throughout the world. The proposal has been sanctioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and I trust that the day may be universally observed, as it is the first time in which the Church of England has consecrated a day for prayer on behalf of Missions. I exhort you; my Reverend Brethren, to unite with the Church throughout the world in a due observance of the day by prayer and Holy Communion, and while offering up your prayers that God would send labourers into the harvest everywhere, do not [19/20] forget our own Diocese. We too need men of a true missionary character, and one of my greatest anxieties has been the difficulty of keeping up the supply of such Missionaries. The disproportion between the supply and demand for duly qualified missionaries throughout the Colonial Empire is not, I believe, to be traced altogether to want of life and energy in the Church. The causes are many and various. The extraordinary multiplication of parishes in England, and the great increase in the number of colonial dioceses have absorbed a vast number of candidates for holy orders, while the qualifications of missionary priests able to encounter the old religions and civilizations of the heathendom must necessarily be maintained. There is also a greater reluctance to assume the vows of the priesthood, which is in itself a blessing so far as it springs from a higher ideal standard of its obligations and responsibilities. There is less than ever a disposition to seek the ministerial office simply as a profession, but rather as a dedication of ourselves, our souls and bodies to our Master's service. And to speak of our own ecclesiastical province, while we deeply feel and acknowledge our shortcomings in labouring in God's vineyard, yet it is something to be grateful for when we reflect that during the ministerial life of one who has but lately left us, the number of clergy has increased from eight to nearly 500. We should not then feel discouraged at the want of men to labour in the mission field, but set ourselves resolutely to remedy it, and as a preliminary join with the whole Anglican communion in praying on the appointed day for an increased supply of missionaries. Let us not in despondency attribute the lack of men to work for God, wholly to the spirit of irreligion. That, indeed, if true, would be a just ground of despondency, but when I regard that mission field with which I am best acquainted, I must say that at no previous period have our missionaries laboured more assiduously or given better proof of their ministry, so far as I can judge from the outward indications of zeal and reverence and growth. That such labour will bring forth fruit in stimulating others to devote themselves to the work of missions when we have passed away, I have not the least doubt, and let us [20/21] pray that the time may be hastened when good men and full of the H ply Ghost and of faith may, as missionaries of Christ, turn much people to the Lord. Amen.