To the Rt. Rev. the House of Bishops,
the Reverend the Presbyters, and the faithful Laity
of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America,
Preached before the General Convention Assembled in New-York
at the Consecration of the
Bishops of South Carolina and North Carolina,
is Dedicated with the Deepest Respect, and with Fraternal Love,
by their obliged and faithful servant,
"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy i.; 6,7.
WE are apt to dwell so frequently on St. Paul's noble championship of justification by faith, that we forget the manifold graces which dwelt in this wonderful man. Yet it is good to point out reach trait of nobleness; his burning love, his surprising wisdom, his unexampled tenderness, his untiring perseverance, his ready self-sacrifice; his accuracy in the choice of words, his masterly arrangement of his subject, his judicious commendations, his no less weighty censures, his indifference to stripes, to imprisonment, and to death. Thus viewing his character on every side, let us exclaim, with reverence and humility, what hath God wrought! In such a spirit let us approach the text, and endeavour to learn from it the lessons proper to the Clergy, and fraught with instruction to us all. And may God give his blessing!
It seems to have been one part of St. Paul's peculiar trial, that he stood nearly alone, when he most required support. He entered the proud and imperial city of Rome, a forlorn and aged man; in chains, and [5/6] needing sympathy; weak in body, worn with toil; borne down by clamorous injustice: yet "at my first answer no man stood with me," one departed one way, one another. The trial was for life or death, and the judge was Nero. The spirit of fear seized some, the spirit of worldliness infected others. Men dealt with the Apostle as they sometimes deal with his successors: they see them struggling for life in water and promise to succor them: and when they have reached the shore, they flock to them and "encumber them with help." When St. Paul was at Rome and wanted aid, they ran away and left him to shift for himself. Probably, if he had got safe back to Asia, he would have received abundance of support, when he did not want it. It is quite as sore a trial to a man's patience to be offered help after the difficulty is over, as it is to be refused aid when the stream is at its height: yet such is the way of the world.
Now one fancies that one sees through the veil of that fatherly kindness with which St. Paul addresses Timothy, an apprehension that this good and holy man might be a little timorous and yielding. He bids him often to remember his ordination vows and graces; he charges him "before God and the Lord Jesus Christ," he urges him "not to be ashamed of his testimony," to "endure hardness," "to hold fast the form of sound words," he glances at Onesiphorus, as one that had "sought him out diligently in Rome," and as one "not ashamed of his chain," he exhorts him to endure afflictions, "to fight the good fight of faith;" [6/7] and this in such a way as renders it probable that Timothy found the trial almost beyond endurance. It is no disparagement to Timothy to suppose that he might be less firm and courageous than St. Paul. Who is not? Perhaps we are not so courageous as Timothy.
The text before us may be divided into three parts. First, The duty which we should discharge,--stir up the gift of God. Secondly, The infirmity which we ought to shun; the spirit of fear, deiliaV, of cowardice, or as one reading has it, douleiaV, of base, servile fear. Thirdly, The graces which we should seek, the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind; and we are not to seek them as though they were new to us, but we are anazwpurein, to rekindle those already given, and given at a peculiar time, and in a peculiar manner, "by the putting on of my hands."
Though none present doubt the fact, we cannot too often insist upon it that all moral and religious qualities are the gift of God. Whether it be courage, love, or wisdom, all is GRACE. From the corrupt fountain of the natural heart no good thing flows. "He prevents us, that we may have a good will:" He works in us, when we have that will: pardoning, sanctifying, persevering grace, all is His, for His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. And if this be so in the case of ordinary Christians, how much more forcibly must it apply to those who are appointed to teach others; to feed, to premonish the Lord's family, to seek out Christ's sheep out of this naughty world, to nurse, to govern and guide the Church. Every qualification [7/8] of which they stand in need is to be found out of themselves: it is to be sought as His gift, His special gift, who alone can qualify them for their work, and make them successful in it. And the apostle plainly declares that there is a special gift granted to faithful and believing Clergymen at the time of their ordination, and to be expected by them in answer to prayer. Stir up the gift of God. It is evident I think that he is not speaking of miraculous gifts solely or principally; the qualities which he names appertain to Christ's Ministers in all ages, and are wholly independent of miraculous power.
In the directions of the Apostle to Timothy throughout the Epistle there is little of a limited, temporary nature, but for the most part what is lasting and necessary. And the gift here spoken of is one which all men need, daily, and at all times, and none more than the Bishops of the Church, whose work is so difficult and so dangerous. And the right exercise of the gifts imparted at ordination is not confined to the Apostles. For if it were confined to them how could Christianity be a lasting Institution? To what end did our Lord promise to be with the Apostles "alway, even to the end of the world," if, on the death of the last surviving Apostle, He withdrew those gifts, which the sins and necessities of men perpetually require?
Let us remember that the denial of the continuance of spiritual gifts beyond the days of the Apostles is a part of that system of rationalism which refuses to believe whatever it cannot see, and which explains away [8/9] the miracles of the Lord Himself. If there be difficulties connected with the transmission of spiritual gifts, there are also difficulties connected with demoniacal possession, difficulties connected with the Incarnation, the Sacraments, the Personality of the Holy Ghost. Each Mystery of the Faith is suggestive of grave doubts; but if the text of Revelation be insufficient to settle the question, nothing else will settle it. We shall have to give it up altogether. As believers in the doctrines of our Church, we are more nearly concerned with this question. For in the form of Consecration the officiating minister recites the words of Christ to his Apostles, applies them to the case of the Priest who is to be ordained, or the Bishop who is to be consecrated; and, to prevent misconstruction, expressly says, not that the work of a Bishop is "committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands," but "stir up the grace of God which is given thee by this imposition of our hands." Now, no man, who believes the promoters of our Reformation to have been men of piety and judgment, can suppose that they would have retained such words in the Prayer Book, believing them to be a remnant of superstition, which they were desirous, but unable, to get rid of. Such a supposition would deprive them of all title to our respect, and would lead us to consider them as persons who not only used words without meaning, but who provided for a succession of persons who should use words without meaning, and who would become triflers and equivocators in the House and in the presence of God, by pretending, in [9/10] the most solemn act of their lives, to receive what they did not believe could be given. But the dying testimony of these holy men assures us that their words are not "cunningly-devised fables," but sober, sound, yet most awful truth.
Let us consider how carefully the Church guards herself against various errors by her choice of such words, "Stir up the grace of God which is given thee by this imposition of our hands."
1. It is the grace of God. We do not arrogate to ourselves the power of bestowing it. It is not our gift, nor the gift of our hands, nor the work of our hands. It is given thee of God.
2. Nevertheless, it is given by the laying on of our hands, because the Apostle says so; and we lay claim to the possession of all the ordinary gifts to which the Apostles laid claim.
If, as Bishops of the Church, we may not lay claim to such gifts as the Apostles claimed, by what right do our brethren, the Laity of the Church, lay claim to the heritage possessed by the faithful in the primitive ages? Both must stand or fail together. But if Christ "ascended, that he might give gifts unto men;" if the purpose of these gifts was to make "some, Apostles; and some, Prophets; and some, Evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:" if we be still a part of that body, we may lawfully claim the possession of those gifts. If it should be objected that the Apostolic gifts were evidently [10/11] miraculous, plenary, and confined to the Apostles; we reply, that the gifts alluded to in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus are none of them apparently of an extraordinary kind; and if they be so considered, the Epistles themselves are mere records of the past, and no guides whatever to the present living Church.
It may possibly be further objected, if you connect the possession and transmission of spiritual gifts with Holy Orders, are you not in danger of making Orders a Sacrament? Here is the outward sign, "laying on of hands;" the inward grace, "the Holy Ghost given" by that imposition of hands; the appointment by Christ Himself; according to the acknowledgment of the Church; and it is given, according to this statement, "as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof."
Two things are, however, wanting, which are of the essence of a Sacrament.
1. The vis sacramenti, the proper matter. The sign of a Sacrament must not be an action, but a thing. The vis sacramenti in Baptism is not the sign of the Cross, which the Church bids us make, but the water, which Christ commanded us to use.
2. The injunction upon all men to make use of the sign is wanting. Holy Orders are a gift bestowed by Christ upon some men to qualify them to save the souls of others. They are not a gift bestowed on all men to help them to save their own.
Though, therefore, Ordination is accompanied with spiritual gifts, it is not commanded as generally necessary to salvation; it has no matter properly appertaining [11/12] to a Sacrament, though it is an action significative of grace, and blessed by God to the obtaining of it in certain cases.
But, further, the Church guards us against another error, by her choice of the words used; the error of the "opus operatum," as it is called; of supposing that by the mere act of consecration or ordination, consequent on the right intention of the giver, and independent of the will of the receiver, such gifts are bestowed. "Stir up the gift." Though these words relate to a past gift, they must, on every fresh action, be conditionally understood. For by some connection of our free-agency with the power and grace of God, which no man can explain, the possession and continuance of grace, in an adult, depends on our having the will to ask for it, and on our exerting that will with an earnest, hearty desire for its vouchsafement.
We arrive then at these two conclusions. First, that the Church, in all honesty, could never teach her children to pray for what she did not expect would be vouchsafed: it were a blasphemous mockery to do so. No! the principle runs through all Scripture: Believe, and it shall be given you; according to your faith it shall be granted. A Clergyman who comes with a contrite, believing heart, desirous to do his great Master's will, looking out of himself for divine wisdom and strength, knowing the great work he has to do, the awful account he has to give, and believing that there is a special gift laid up for him, will not be sent away empty. The Most High will visit him. The Lord and Shepherd of souls will answer his prayers.
 And, secondly, we see that the Clergy are to stir up the gift that is in them, to rekindle the flame,--so the word signifies. Just as the air (says Theodoret on the place) renders the flame of a lamp brighter, so our diligence draws on, though not meritoriously, the grace of the Most Holy Spirit.
All God's gifts are, in a mysterious manner, made dependent on our use and improvement of them. He provides the vessel, but we toil in rowing. He sends the favourable or adverse wind, but our efforts bring the vessel to shore. And though we cannot bestow the gift, it may be improved by cultivation. Timothy was miraculously assisted, which we are not; yet he was bid to give attendance to "reading and meditation:" he was bid to give himself "wholly to these things," and to draw all his cares and studies this way.
This renders it so important that the Clergy should improve and cultivate their minds, not only before ordination but after ordination, that they should not be mere men of routine, discharging duties which require no effort of mind, no concentrated thought, but that each man should cultivate his own particular gift to the utmost, and make the most of it, and take care that, above all, he does not degenerate into slothfulness.
What we are to "stir up" then is of two kinds:--
First, Administrative Gifts; and, secondly, Personal Graces. The first of these is intended to promote the good of others and their salvation. The second is vouchsafed to make us to be ensamples to the flock and to ensure our own salvation.
 Now, I am persuaded that a want of a clear under standing of the difference between these two branches of the same grace of God lies at the bottom of half our controversies on Church-subjects, and is one reason why so many pious persons are loose and irregular Churchmen. It behooves us, therefore, to endeavour to state the matter distinctly.
Administrative Gifts are qualifications, which it pleases God to bestow on the Ministers of the Church, to enable them to execute their office duly; that is, with a proper regard to order, reverence, continuity and transmission, and to prevent the overthrow of the distinctive truths of the Christian religion.
These Administrative Gifts are in their nature irrespective of the Personal Graces of the heart which every Minister ought to possess, which God will vouch safe in answer to prayer, which are, commonly speaking, necessary for the conversion of souls, and without which, whether the Clergyman save others or no, it is clear he cannot save himself.
But Personal Graces, let them be ever so great, do not of themselves imply the possession of Administrative Gifts, though this is often taken for granted. Every one, on the other hand, will admit that no station or authority in the Church will secure holiness of heart. By this, how ever, we may understand how it is that God is often pleased to bless with signal success in the conversion of sinners, those who, strictly speaking, are not duly called to the work of the Ministry, and have no lawful administrative power; and, further, why those [14/15] who possess this latter gift in its fulness are frequently entirely unsuccessful for want of personal holiness. Their usefulness only enables them to transmit and continue the ordinances of the Church.
I understand then by Administrative Gifts, the powers with which it has pleased God to endow his visible body, the Church, and which I believe to be inherent in the Ministers of the Church, that is, in some or in all of them as the case may be; some belonging to Deacons, Priests and Bishops, some to Priests and Bishops only, some only to the Episcopal Order.
1. The power to proclaim Christ's Gospel with authority is the first of these. All believers have a Christian right to win souls to Christ, to teach and premonish, to warn and comfort privately, but not to teach and proclaim publicly and with authority. This duty is administered by the Clergy.
2. They have the power to absolve, that is, to pronounce and declare, authoritatively, God's pardon to the penitent and believing, and to assure them of it in His Name; and when their consciences are troubled with any weighty matter, to endeavour to remove it by a fresh and distinct assurance of God's mercy intended for them, on sufficient evidence of their faith and repentance.
3. They have the power to administer the Sacraments, which are to be supplied by lawful Ministers, and according to Christ's institution. Although, as regards Baptism, the Western Church has generally acted on the maxim, as regards lay Baptism, "Fieri non debet, factum valet."
 4. They have the power, agreeably to the institution of the Apostles recorded in the Acts, to Confirm, and by their Confirmation new grace is granted to the faithful.
5. They have the power to Ordain, and send labourers into the Lord's Vineyard, or to refuse ordination.
6. And, finally, they have the power, solemnly and emphatically committed to them, "to bind and to loose, to remit or to retain sin;" that is, as is commonly understood, to admit to the Sacraments, or to exclude from them unworthy partakers; and, after due examination and trial, to absolve or condemn by public judicial sentence and exclude from Church-offices and Church-privileges; as has been lately done by the House of Bishops in this Church in the presence of the whole Council in Christ's Name duly assembled.
These are the Administrative Gifts of the Church, which contribute to its order and well-being; which secure the Mysteries of religion against irreverence; which enable us to transmit to posterity the deposit of the faith; which assure our children of a covenant right to the promises of God; which provide special comfort for the troubled in mind; which continue a succession of witnesses to the truth of Christianity; which preserve vital truth in the Church as a whole; and which protect us against the heresy and traitorous attacks of unworthy members, and authorize us, in certain cases, to expel them from our body. We "stir up" these gifts when we exercise them with the fidelity, the reverence, the integrity, the uncompromising firmness which is their due, according to the order [16/17] which the Church has prescribed; and when, if any thing be corrupt or lacking, we endeavour to return to the order of the Church. And such return is not innovation, but fidelity.
Yet these gifts are only administrative; they belong to our order, not to our personal character. And this latter branch of the subject is all-important, if we would save ourselves, or if we would save souls.
We come now to consider the Personal Graces which we should seek for and "stir up" within ourselves. They are three--courage, love and wisdom.
The present age is peculiarly favourable for the development of cowardice. It is not a fierce, chivalrous, persecuting age. We know, thank God, little of bodily persecution; but interest, not conscience, makes cowards of us all. Great men support forms of religion which they dislike or despise, because they are afraid of losing votes. Legislators dare not say a word in behalf of their own Church, because they are afraid of losing seats. Men of business dare not support an unpopular usage, because they are afraid of losing customers. And it is not likely that the Clergy will escape the general snare. Nay, from the force of circumstances, they are, above all others, exposed to it. Few men like to live in disfavour with those over whom they are set. Small vexatious and petty annoyance wear a man's spirit down, and he gives way on points on which his conscience dictates a different course, because he is, by slow degrees, worn out. A Clergyman is often dependent on the people for a living. Worldly and licentious [17/18] men always use this lever to support themselves in their sins. If the Clergyman say or do what is displeasing to them, they talk of conscience, and withdraw their subscription. It cannot be wondered at that the spirit of slavish fear takes possession of men's minds under such circumstances, and that some shrink from their duty, some run away from their duty, some stand still, and do no duty. And yet, if a Clergyman would fairly look his difficulties in the face, not in the spirit of those hollow, mean-spirited advisers who would fain persuade him that all is lost, but in the spirit of a soldier of the Cross, he would see that the path of honest boldness is, in the long run, the safest course. Every coward is a slave; and the slave is an object of contempt. Men do not learn to respect those who flatter their prejudices and echo their opinions. Who, after all, should be bolder than the Ambassador of Christ to guilty men His commission is given him from above? The Word he preaches is not his own, but his Lord's. His message is not delivered to him orally, but is written in a book, and that book a Revelation to which no man may add, and from which no man may take away. And though he is not qualified infallibly to interpret that message, yet, as long as he honestly adheres to the interpretation which the Church has given him, and does his duty earnestly, faithfully and affectionately, he need fear no man living: he may look up to his Master for support in the trials and perplexities of his station.
There are, no doubt, many difficulties in the way. [18/19] But what then? Shall the successors of those men who went forth, like Gideon's trusty band to overthrow the overspreading idolatry of Imperial Rome, and succeeded in overthrowing it, shrink from difficulties in a time of peace? Shall the descendants of those men, who, when the Church in this land was at its lowest ebb, surrounded by a hostile majority, smarting from recent wounds, alien to our faith, dared to breast the current, faced the popular clamour, and laid the foundations of this Church and of this Council of the Church broad and deep,--shall the descendants of such men be afraid?
If courage be a virtue of your citizens, it must, we would hope, be the natural inheritance of your Clergy.
But the second qualification named by the Apostle is equally needed,--a loving, tender, affectionate spirit. What is more wonderful in the character of our Lord than the union of hatred of sin with love for the sinner? Now we find Him, with stern severity of manner, scourging the merchandisers out of the Temple, denouncing the Scribes as whited sepulchres, "looking round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts," and even saying to St. Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou art an offence unto me;" and again we hear Him sweetly inviting weary sinners to their rest, drying the tears of the weeping penitent, praying for His murderers, and owning the repentant thief as His companion in Paradise.
The great Apostle of the Gentiles has shown us, in [19/20] a single sentence, how faithfully he had copied the spirit of his Master. "I will," says he, "gladly spend and be spent for you, though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved." "St. Paul," says Bishop Andrewes, in one of his remarkable sermons, "first spent on the Corinthians; then he spent himself out, or bestowed himself on them for their souls' good. He strained this to the highest degree 'most gladly,' and he stretched it to those that least deserved his love, 'though the more abundantly I love you, the less I beloved.' Like the poor labouring ox, to which he alludes in the ninth chapter, spending his time in earing the ground for the corn, putting in the corn, treading out the corn, his neck yoked, his mouth muzzled, and in the end, when all is done, offered on the altar too, and made a sacrifice of. It was St Paul's case; and thither he came at last."
This is the love which we seek, that it may be joined with courage. Courage without love is harsh and forbidding. It loves to wound, rather than to heal. It speaks not only severely, but unkindly. It sees all the evil in men, and acknowledges none of the good. It is bold in denunciation of sin, but makes no allowance for the infirmities of the sinner. It might be a want of love that made St. Peter's boldness degenerate into cowardice. Therefore, seek to unite boldness and affection. Sternly oppose sin; firmly uphold the principles of the Cross; but seek to win souls also. Learn to distinguish between the ignorant and vicious; the ill-instructed and the obstinate sinner. An unquenchable [20/21] love for the immortal soul, "like a lively flame and burning torch, will force its way upwards, and securely carry you through all." [Thomas à Kempis]
The Apostle names a third grace--a sound mind. The word imports rather a combination of good qualities than any single grace; sobriety, discretion, temperance, chastity, and general good sense. Thus, in the Psalmist's description of the truly charitable man, the good man is not only "merciful and lendeth," but "he will guide his affairs with discretion."
Men of the world are much more prone to admire a man of business than a saint. Practical business habits they can understand: but more exalted virtues appear to their eyes visionary and enthusiastic. In order, therefore, that the Ambassador of Christ may by all means save some, he must cultivate a sound and sober view of life. He must take care that none of his objects are fairly open to the accusation of being unreal and unpractical. Not that he will ever really agree with the man of the world. He does not take the same view of life nor of eternity. But he will be able to show the man who understands the management of the business of the world, that his views of eternity have not deprived him of that discretion which is necessary for the conduct of affairs.
It may be that, after all, he may be subject to the imputation usually brought against Clergymen, that they are not good men of business: but, at all events, he will endeavour to avoid the charge of recklessness; [21/22] which, besides exposing him to contempt and bringing disgrace on his Order, is inconsistent with Christian frugality and self-denial. Above all, he will seek to rein in those greedy and passionate desires of our animal nature, which unfit us for communion with God, and which degrade us to a level with the beasts that perish. His sobriety will be the result, not of his prudence only, but of his holiness; his temperance will spring not from the fear of public censure, but from the imitation of Christ and of his Saints; and his discretion will lead him to avoid those irregularities and frivolous dissipations, which in Laymen may be pardonable, but in the Clergy, and in their families, are at all times unseasonable and injurious.
O, thrice happy souls, in whom this threefold cord is bound, of steadfast courage, pure and fervent love, and dove-like wisdom: who, with humble zeal, present their homage to their Lord, pour out the precious spikenard on His head, and bedew His feet with tears: who, in their weakness, call to Him for strength, in their guilt, ask Him for pardon: who, conscious of their inability for so weighty a work, long for His fulness to be imparted to their needy souls: who come without doubt, distrust, or dissembling, to do the work to which He calls them, entrusting all to His safe keeping: who are not deterred from duty by contagious fear, or more pernicious praise: who love the Church, not for its emoluments, but its graces; not for the temporal good they can get out of it, but for the spiritual good they can bring into it: who are "the [22/23] salt of the earth, the light of the world," in whom Christ is glorified. Seek we, then, with redoubled earnestness, this "more excellent way!"
The stream of time flows fast, and carries in its eddying tide eternal interests, never-dying souls! Onward they roll into the deep, dark gulf without thought, without prayer, without due preparation for Eternity! One and another rises to the surface and is saved. But around the Cross of Jesus stand, as of old, in crowded band, the thoughtless and the unbelieving, the drunkard and the extortioner, the covetous and the jester; in the very House of God they make mockery of the mysteries of God, and defy God Himself in the place where His great Name forever dwells. Pray for them. Pray for yourselves. Pray for this whole Church and Nation. Too frequent your prayers cannot be, if they be made in earnest.
And now, my dear and honoured Brethren, whom I am permitted to address on this most solemn occasion, what can I, a feeble, sinful Brother, say to you, worthy of the dignity of the subject, worthy of the occasion which has called us together? My heart is full: full of sympathy and affection for you all; for you especially, Brethren, who are this day to receive this most awful, this most blessed gift. May you be filled with all the fulness of God!
O that the prayers here offered in godly unity and concord may descend on both branches of our Anglican Church, in rich abundance of blessing! May the mass of ignorance, heathenism and crime which [23/24] surrounds us, fall before the victorious banner of the Cross! May the blessed truths recovered at our Reformation penetrate every bosom, and reach to other shores and other Churches! May our Liturgy, preserved through many fiery trials, form a link for Communion with the Churches of the East, and of Northern Europe! Through the several branches of this body may a full primitive Communion be henceforth established, to the advancement of all the objects of social and religious life, and the beating down the strongholds of sin! May we become less bitter, suspicious, and irritable; less vain-glorious in our speech and action, esteeming the praise of men less, and the praise of God more!
And, as for you, honoured Brethren in the Lord, who are this day to be called to the arduous work of the Episcopate, may a double portion of the gifts mentioned in this text be poured upon you! May you be men of high, unflinching courage! Never may you betray the interests of the Church which you have sworn to defend! Never may you court popularity by the surrender of the truths entrusted to you! Ever may you bear in mind that the end is not yet, and that we know not what we are until our work is ended! May unquenchable love for the souls for which Christ died urge you on continually, nerve you with patience for the conflict, and bless you with increasing success! May every year behold your Dioceses enlarged by the accession of converts, by the ordination of pastors, by the godly unity, order and devotion of [24/25] your flocks! May a crucified Saviour be both your hope and pattern, the subject of your discourses, "your worship and the lifter up of your heads," the joy of your hearts and your exceeding great reward! May you have a sound and discriminating judgment tempering an Apostolic zeal! And may every grace be crowned with perseverance! Never, O never, may your Episcopate be branded with the shame of defection, never may you turn from the holy commandment this day delivered unto you! But, as life wears silently away, as the hands now laid upon you grow feeble, and the tongues that cheer you in your high course lie silent in the tomb: may other eyes behold you with undiminished energy, and increasing love and wisdom, pressing firmly on; and may our arms be permitted to embrace you in the Eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen and Amen.