Chapter XVI. Sermons preached in England--Lambeth Conference'--Episcopal Ring--Address and Reply--Notes from the Annals
PREVIOUSLY to the Bishop's appointment to the See of Fredericton, or about that time, a volume of his sermons was published in England. This book has been very generally circulated in the Diocese. Those who have read it cannot fail to appreciate its value.
The Sunday after his consecration, the Bishop preached at Exeter Cathedral. The subject of his sermon is "Alone, yet not alone." The sermon itself is worthy of permanent record, and the following portions will be read with deep interest, especially the reference to the great work he had undertaken in connection with his episcopal office. The text was Psalm cxxxix. 9, 10:
No sentiment seems more profoundly true, or more deeply affecting, than that which was uttered by the great Pascal--"I shall die alone." This loneliness, which is peculiarly felt in the hour of death, when all human help is worthless, and even human sympathy is weak, is, in fact, a part, and a most important part, of man's moral nature.
We are born into the world alone--we live in many respects alone--we love in some degree alone--we rejoice and sorrow often alone. But live as we may, we must die alone.
Whatever station we may have occupied in society, by whatever ties we may have been surrounded, by whatever joys or sorrows encompassed, whatever of human sympathy may have been ministered to us, in that hour we must break off all, and, single-handed, surrender ourselves to the grasp of our last enemy.
But this sentiment of the great Pascal is applicable to many other states of human life, and is also connected with another great truth, which I design to dwell upon at this time in connection with the passage now before us. For the loneliness of man was foreseen from the first, and provided for. "It is not good that the man should be alone," said the Creator. The form of expression, should be alone, if it be well considered, involves, as all words of God must involve, great mysteries of our nature. But if considered without reference to any other truth, the loneliness of man would be most appalling to our minds, and would lead us to despair. For the thought of dying alone may well shake the stoutest heart....
What I design, then, to show at this time is, the fact of man's being a creature made in some sense alone; what evils flow from this part of his nature, if not balanced by any other truth; and how God has provided for us under all the trying circumstances of our lives, this very compensation which, when united with the former principle, enables us to live happily here, and unites us with all the faithful in a world where separation and anguish are no more.
This loneliness of man seems the principle uppermost in the Psalmist's mind, when he thus begins the Psalm: "O Lord, them hast searched me and known me; thou knowest my down sitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, Thou art there." How deep and mysterious is the hidden world of thought within the human breast--only to be fathomed by its Maker--only to be comprehended by its God. Were it not so indeed, there could be no separate virtue, and so no separate and enjoyable reward; but that it is so, is as evident as that no two faces of mankind exactly resemble each other. ........
And old age is proverbial for loneliness. The old man finds his early companions gone or going, or taking a different course: the busy work of life is somewhat past, but the love of life remains; and even this makes him lonely, until in the closing hour he comes to be alone with God.
Now though it is necessary to our separate trial, probation, and reward, and to our enjoyment of that reward, that we should be thus alone, yet we must feel that without some balancing principle it would be a fearful part of our moral nature; and, corrupt as we are, it becomes a most evil part--loneliness is of itself distressing. How severely do we all feel this, if we are called to part with valued friends, who have been staying with us, to whom we have imparted all our common thoughts, joys, and griefs! When they are gone, we turn back again to our house with a feeling of desolation: we are alone in the world. Much more is this the case if our separation be by death; for then our loneliness is more certain and more lasting; we turn to our accustomed home, but home it feels no longer; we visit our old haunts, but their former charm is gone: nature herself seems clothed in dreariness, and the busiest crowd presents the emptiest void.
And even in our studies and pursuits, in which we find a common interest, the solitary student feels a sadness creeping over him which he seeks to dispel by contact with others, yet from thence returns again to loneliness.
One only Being then remains who knows us all, and all of us, and altogether; and yet is accessible to each one single heart--to-search its inmost depths--to feel its utmost wants--to hear its separate prayer--to be to it, both now and at all times, its fountain (if thought, and life, and hope, and peace--its fullness--its blessedness without end, all in one, and that one is God. In ourselves we are alone; in Him only have we full communion, or as our Lord expresses it--"ye shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." This principle, then, of divine incorporation is that which meets the wants of the human heart, and when we have learned our own part in it, we are then, and then only, truly useful, and truly happy. Then though "we take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea"--though we be carried to far distant shores, or separated from those we love, or tossed about by the opposing waves of conflict--even there also, where no friendly hand may aid us, where accustomed sympathy is denied us, when our heart would sink, and our strength fail us, there will our great Shepherd, master, and guardian dwell; there his supporting hand shall lead us, his strong right hand hold us up, till, as death's gates close upon us, the gates of paradise open before us, and we are admitted to the presence of our Redeemer and our God.
But we shall see this more clearly by endeavouring to point out the evils which arise from the loneliness of man in itself, apart from this blessed divine society, and then the happiness, and peace, and usefulness, which spring from the latter source.
Now, if man dwell upon the loneliness itself, he becomes a selfish being. Because he is alone, his hopes and wishes terminate in self--he sets up no other standard but that of worldly comfort. To obtain this he will sacrifice much; he will rise early, and late take rest, he will toil on the greater part of his short life; but he looks no higher than the world. He holds no communion with his God--he knows not the value of prayer--he esteems riches as the great good--yet, though he lives alone, he never loves to be alone, because then the sense of separation from God depresses him, and he finds how poor and miserable he is......
Such being the evils which flow from the consideration of man's lonely estate, apart from that gracious heavenly society to which God, his Maker, has called him; let us now see what blessings flow from this holy and divine incorporation.
First, then, as regards our own eternal welfare, when we are one with God our Father, by faith in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the sanctifying grace of His Holy Spirit daily renewing us to a holy obedience; then, though we are alone, we are still always present with God. He is with us--He is in us--He is about us on every side. To Him we every day repair with child-like confidence, with humble submission, with meek faith. We ask His pardon, we obtain His strength, we commit all our ways to Him; whether we are still, or in a journey, in the chamber, or in the field--in the solitary place, or in the crowded street--in the Church, or in the haunts of men--we are His. He orders all our life--He sustains our going forth--He hears our prayers--He vouchsafes our answer--He directs, governs, chastises, or rewards us--He is our hope, our life, our morning star, our resurrection day. Though we "dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea," why should we fear? He who made the waves--He who walked on the waves--He who controls the waves--He who said, "peace be still," is here; we cannot see Him, yet we believe in His power; we know His goodness, we have tasted of His mercy, we will trust him to the end. Though we are weak and sinful, he will not leave us, for he hath said "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." So that we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
To part from all that England has of historic recollection, of ancient fame, of noble architecture, of Christian sympathy, of the great and glorious wast; to be severed from this Cathedral Church, this holy, peaceful, common home, with other nearer ties, is indeed painful, but what then? What is apparent separation if we be verily members incorporate in the mystical body of Christ? What is a wide rolling sea, a far-off shore, a new and stranger land? The morning hour of prayer shall find us together, not in bodily society, but in true Christian fellowship. The sunlight of our Saviour's countenance shines full on us together in the duties and pursuits of life; the evening stars look out on us assembling at the common hour of prayer; the Sabbath bell still cheers our accustomed hearts; the same Liturgy, unaltered and uninjured, strengthens our union; and, above all, the Holy Eucharist, that most sweet and heavenly food, sustains, cheers, and renovates our hearts. One conscious spirit of fellowship pervades us all. Though our bodies are disunited, though the strains of earthly music be not equally harmonious, it is the Lord's song that we sing, and that song may be sung in every land, by every tongue.
Let us go forth, then, full of hope, and on the wings of prayer let us implore you who remain behind to send your prayers after us, and to continue praying, and as far as your ability lies to assist us in our labours. There are many difficulties, and many adversaries, though "an effectual door is open." There is need of a strong heart and mind, faith and patience.
But if His right hand hold us who sends us forth, and has given us our authority, and our work, we shall do well. Come what will--opposition, affliction, a life prolonged or shortened--all will be well if He be ours and we are His. Brethren in the Lord, members of one common Head, members of this Cathedral Church, we bless you in the name of the Lord.
Twenty-three years had passed. The same preacher stood in the same pulpit at Exeter Cathedral. Tie was somewhat worn and aged by these years of constant devotion to his Master's service. He had passed through many trials with unabated zeal and trust. It was the anniversary celebration of those great societies, both of which had extended fostering care for many years towards the Colonial Church. We give the concluding portion of the Bishop's sermon from Philippians ii. 4:
The Church has been, therefore, constantly "looking on the things of others" by educating her members. She has brought the unconscious babe to the Lord's feet, mindful of His precept not to forbid them. She has provided schools for orphans, and for little outcast wanderers; schools of instruction on the Lord's Day to supply the defects of parents; schools for their training in all the great walks of life; schools for the poorer, the middle, and tin-richer classes; schools of science and art; and our two famous universities, where so many of England's sons have received their highest inspirations, and have won their first great honours in the world. And when I say the Church is educating, I gladly recognize the efforts of all Christians ill this holy work. For our controversies and our convictions must not blind our eyes to the fact that there are other Christians equally sincere with ourselves, many in the field before us, many who have come in after us, and all eager to fulfil the Apostle's precept, though some not in so excellent a way as, according to our judgment, might be desired. Secondly, all Church restoration and Church building, when it is attempted on sound principles, is a fulfilment of the same duty. We have lived to see a great work achieved by the Church in our own days.
The noble temples built by the piety of our ancestors have been rescued from the decay and degradation into which they had fallen. The spirit of catholicity has arisen, like that of the man whose lifeless form started into vigour when he touched the bones of Elisha. It has been seen and felt, and everywhere proclaimed, that Christ's Church, both material and spiritual, is not for bishops only, and peers of parliament, and learned judges, and wealthy commoners, and escutcheoned squires, but for all; for the meanest, and the feeblest, and the richest, and the wisest, and for the dregs of poverty; and that there should kneel in one temple, yea, often side by side together, the beggar and the rich man, the learned and the fool, and that in God's most holy shrine we should "forbear to judge" according to the judgment of men, "for we are sinners all." And our merchant princes in these days rejoice not to look only to the monuments of their own industry and skill, but to raise many a lofty spire heavenwards, where the blind may receive inward light, the lame may walk, and the mourners may be comforted, and where many a poor fatherless child, who knows no words but "mother" and "home," may learn dearer words than those in "Father" and "Heaven." And the Church has learned another lesson from Him who went about healing all that were "oppressed of the devil, and attending on all manner of sickness and disease among the people." She has taught the dwellers in the free homes of her Western sons that it is not woman's mission upon earth to grow up in a refined and idolizing selfishness, surrounded with every luxury that money can purchase, and surveying, as from a queenly throne, with half-averted eyes, the squalid sufferings of the poor; doling out crumbs of comfort to needy supplicants without sympathy, without personal interest, without house-to-house visitation, and ready succour of their woes. We have, blessed be God, heard, we have seen those sisters of mercy and charity--whether they be clothed in one garb or another can signify little in His sight, to whom all hearts are naked and open, and to whose favour not the clothing, but the heart of the visitor gains access--scorn them not, speak not ill of any of them, my brethren, however they may differ from your own mode of action, whose purpose is real, and whose charity is full to overflowing. Rather rejoice to see the well-born and well-nurtured daughters of our land prompt to every call of woe, entering the haunts of darkness and misery, where filth and fever lurk in ambush for the lives of men, passing even into the dwellings of sin and shame, without fear, with the Cross of Christ before them, and the love of Christ, like a lamp, gilding the dark passages, and illuminating the squalid rooms. Who does not recognize in that figure kneeling beside the fever-stricken couch the fulfilment of these calm and glorious words, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others?" And the Church has learned a yet harder lesson for the benefit of fallen women--sisters, we must still call them, in spite of their most wretched and degraded fall; children they still remain of one all-pitying Father, members, if they knew it, though decayed members, of the Lord of Glory--heirs, if not in hope, yet once in gift, and still not altogether barred of hope, of the bright realms of purity and peace. To recall such hearts, "where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep," to lasting, life-long penitence, must needs be one of the hardest tasks we can perform: yet not an altogether hopeless task. For where was one such woman found, but at the feet of Him, whose precious blood was shed for every sinner and for every sin? If you have happily walked in the path of virtue, turn not away with scorn from such a sight as a fallen woman weeping for mercy. Recognize, loathe, and repent of the like sin in your own bosoms in its seed, which has blossomed and borne apples of Sodom in their bitter fruit. And if there be those who have played with vice, and have put the world's mean gilding upon loathsome crimes, how fearfully does the curse of broken hearts rest upon them! Surely, if Zacchaeus could say, "If I have done wrong to any man, I restore four-fold," then not four, nor forty, nor four hundred-fold would be too great a restitution for him who has robbed a soul of its eternal peace, and has sent out into the world a false light which has lured many more to their never-ending ruin. Well, then, may we look pityingly on the sins of others, "pulling them out of the fire," and repeating the noble intercessor's prayer, "Behold, now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes; peradventure ten should be found there." You know the answer. Imitate the loving importunity! Enrich yourselves by the glorious example!
Amidst so many tasks of love and duty, the rivers of mercy that fertilize and bless our land, I am asked to remind you particularly, that the Church has not forgotten her "banished ones." "Other sheep she has, which are not of this fold: them also she must bring, and they must hear her voice"--dwellers in the plains of India, and the forests of Borneo, in the vast continent of Australia, and the many-peopled isles of the Pacific, under burning suns, and by frozen rivers. Her mission is a grand one, if her children would acknowledge it to be such, and practically act up to their duty.
You live, my brethren, in the ancient and luxurious homes of religion. You have not wisdom to seek; it is brought home to your doors; it knocks daily at your gates; you cannot enter a city, you cannot ascend a hill, you cannot go through a village or street, where the "City of God" is not built, where the Word of God is not preached and maintained; maintained, not always by your own voluntary efforts, but often by the piety and liberality of past ages, of those who built the fanes in which you worship, whose bread you eat, whose sacred songs you hear, whose benefactions you do not scruple to appropriate, though it may be that you scorn their religion. And you are all enriched by the produce of those lands to which England has sent her colonists. Your children make their homes and their fortunes there: the commerce that girdles the world brings home daily to your shores a plentiful abundance of all God's good gifts. Think it not hard, then, if you are asked, and often asked, to help the two great handmaids of the Church in their efforts to maintain and to extend true religion in the regions beyond you. Remember that these societies (with some others) are the only expressions of the love of the Church of England towards her colonists, and towards the heathen. The State teaches no religion in her colonial possessions, and exercises no principle but that of impartial justice. But without a higher principle even than justice between man and man, great and godlike as that principle is, what State can long endure?
In these days of rapid communication and wide-spread intelligence, God calls us loudly by the material gifts he so prodigally bestows. As on the narrow wire, where the little birds sit securely, unconscious that the lightnings play beneath their feet, but fed by the same hand that gives the lightning power, one may listen to a sound of music, flinging its wild notes abroad, and showing that the harmony of God's voice is everywhere; so as we hurry along the great pathway of life, on land or on ocean, by railway or by steam, God still calls to us, sweetly, powerfully calls, Remember for all these gifts you must give account. Remember you are in like manner hurrying to your end. Your gifts are many, your privileges various and great, your opportunities of good are daily becoming fewer, your time has been often misspent, your talents often wasted. Sow, then, the seeds of good, which will spring up when you are dead; sow them plentifully, scatter them widely, sow them beside all waters; say not, "I have much goods laid up for many years," my skill, my industry, my might, has gotten me my wealth. None is thine own, all is God's; thy very soul is God's; thine only enduring wealth is the good thou leavest behind thee for mankind.
I must not enlarge on the whole field of Missions which these two Societies occupy, one by its Missionaries, and the other by its versions of the Scriptures, and its religious books. It will be more convenient as to your time, and more suitable to my powers of observation, that I should speak of the narrower field of duty which I occupy; for a narrower view, if it be the view of one who speaks from experience, is often felt to be more convincing, than the fuller tale of one who has never been an eye-witness. I speak, then, with only four years' less experience than the prelate who last year addressed you. I can tell you from twenty-three years' eye-witness, that the life and soul of the Church in North America is owing to God's blessing on these two Societies; that the one has fostered and assisted every mission in the whole country, till we have learned (and in all the towns we have already learned) to sustain our own Church by our own unaided exertions; and that the other Society has assisted with small sums of money most of the churches built in the infancy of the colony, thereby calling forth contributions to a much larger amount from churchmen in their several parishes, those contributions being often ten, and even twenty times the amount contributed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
You have, then, before you to-day the experience of twenty three years on the part of one Bishop, who has been concerned in the planting or supporting of every mission in his Diocese; who has visited and confirmed in nearly every church; who has been consulted about every new mission, and every new building; who has lived to see his clergy doubled, and his churches or stations more than doubled; who has the happiness of seeing the laity of his Church contribute four-fold what they once did; and whose Cathedral Church, consecrated fifteen years since, is maintained entirely by its own resources. That this is matter of boasting, God forbid we should say or think. That this is owing to the exertions of the Bishop only, he would be the last to affirm. That this is matter of blessing, why should we deny? That there are no drawbacks, no dross mingled with the gold, no divisions, no tokens of man's infirmity or sin--Alas, my brethren, are you free from these evils yourselves? Would you have God's precious gifts with-holden from you, because you have not always used them all aright? Then withhold them not from us.
One admonition more, and I have done. I return, after twenty-three years, to the accustomed place where, in due course, I once occupied this pulpit, but the whole is changed. The venerable Bishop is not here. The Dean and Chapter are numbered with the dead. I listen in vain for one clear, silvery voice which rang out the accustomed tones, or mingled in the harmony. I ask for the faithful, who once listened to my instructions, but many of them are "gone into the world of light, and I alone sit lingering here." And while I muse on these things, a sad voice is wafted over the waves of the Atlantic that another son of Devon, another prelate, is no more. Only a few months since he was among you, rejoicing in the memories of his youth, and full of that grace and strength which distinguished him above his fellows. And is not this a hand let down from heaven, a sure and manifest token to warn you, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest?" Did you ever regret that you had done too much. given too much, suffered too much, for the Lord Jesus? So now give to Him. Give in the spirit which St. Paul recommends, "with simplicity," with a single eye, and a generous heart; "with cheerfulness," not in a hard, ungracious way, as if you grasped the gift tightly while you gave it; not as if you were doing a favour to the recipient of your bounty; but in the gracious spirit of that mercy which is "twice blessed," after the pattern of that love which gave Itself for us all. Ask Him to bless your gifts, and you cannot give meanly, unlovingly, unfaithfully. Now may God bless you all. Amen.
It was ten years after the period referred to. The Bishop was in England in attendance at the Lambeth Conference. Again, at the anniversaries of the two great Societies, he preached at the Cathedral, at Exeter. This sermon was published and widely circulated at the time, under the title "Other Little Ships." The text was from St. Mark iv. 36.
Passing by the introductory portion of the sermon, the Bishop continues as follows:
The physical sleep of the Lord's body is not a symbol of His indifference. It is a lesson to us not to imagine that He is careless of our danger, because for the moment He takes no notice of it. How small and contracted is the view which poor sufferers have of their temptations and their trials, of the motive which prompts their Master to permit them, of the wise and tender love which every moment cares for them whilst they suffer, and because they suffer! And if He seems to sleep, it is to make them more vigilant, that they may cry aloud for succour, and may learn, as fresh troubles arise in the Church, or in their own life, not to be "so fearful," and to have more faith in Him.
And is our own vessel the only ship for which He cares? Are there not with Him also "other little ships?" Are there not many souls of whom the world takes no account, unnamed in history, uncounted in the chronicles of fame--poor, suffering, tempted souls, for whom few human beings care, who live in toil, and want, and penury, and suffer unknown agonies of dreary doubt, and fear of what may happen, and their little boat is always tossing, no sooner mounted on the crest of a wave than it sweeps wildly down into the trough of the sea, and every one is too busy about his own dangers to attend to the solitary craft? But does the Master forget that in the "little ships" there are lives and souls as precious as those of the Apostles themselves? Cares He not for those little ships? Will not they also hear the consoling word, "Why are ye so fearful?" Will they not share in the rebuke of the tempest, and in the "great calm?"
Surely this is a lesson to all classes of minds, and all ranks of society. It is not for the poor to think, Christ careth not for me. It is not for the rich to imagine, I am one of the great pillars of the Church, or of the State--one of the few who deserve consideration. It is not for the laity to say, it is well for you, the bishops and clergy, to possess the saintly character; we do not dream of ascending to such heights. The saintly character belongs to the Christian man and woman everywhere, not to the clergy as a class. For when they receive the Holy Ghost at their ordination, it is in fulfilment of their Master's promise, to sanctify the word they preach, to make valid the sacraments they minister, to render their whole office valuable to the flock, and effectual for the purposes for which it was designed, not to stamp them as the greatest saints before the world. It is to strengthen them and comfort them by the belief that this is not a sham of man's devising, but a real truth of God's ordaining, which, rightly interpreted, and modestly and reasonably set forth, is the strength and comfort both of the shepherd and of the flock: of the shepherd when he knows that not only high and glorious intellects, profoundly learned masters in Israel, are the Redeemer's care, but the "little ships" also, plain ordinary men, whose hope lies not in brilliancy, but in rugged perseverance; in that simplicity and godly sincerity which an Apostle gloried in, and which they may share with that great Apostle.
And so it is our comfort, brethren beloved in the Lord, when we come to England for a little season, we gaze on the magnificent shrines which ancient piety reared, and which your reverence and liberality have restored, but only restored (remember), for your hands built not these walls, your genius did not originate this mighty plan, your souls were not first inspired with these lofty thoughts; but when our joyful eyes behold it, we thank God and you for the sight, and see everything to admire in it, and nothing to find fault with. We know that in our colonial Sees we are but "little ships." Yet, whatsoever we are, we are in the great Master's fleet. It was His voice that called us to embark; it is His hand that beckons us to the shore; it is His arm on which we lean in the midst of the tempest; it is His compass by which we steer; it is His great salvation which we hope to share with you. You worship (it is true) in a church of more than common stateliness and beauty, and you have a history on which the mind loves to dwell. You can look back to the days when these ancient towers were built by Norman hands, when daring and successful builders pierced their mighty walls, when the great designer of the choir first opened out the vista, and the still mightier Grandison completed the o'er-arching nave and aisles, and when the whole structure assumed somewhat of its present form and comeliness. Beneath the shadow of these walls generations of illustrious dead repose, the echoes of the Civil War have here died away, the trump of God has sounded to awake a sleeping church, and through all changes of the State or of the Church the glorious walls remain, as if built for eternity, and scarce to be destroyed by time; and in a thousand churches England recalls the struggles and glories of the past. We have no history but that which we make ourselves. But we will never despair. Sons of the Church, we will build with the sword of the Spirit in one hand, and the trowel in the other, bent upon reproducing in such ways as God shall lead us, and as the varying conditions of our life permit, England's Church, and England's faith, and England's loyalty, and above all the truth of God's most Holy Word committed to our charge. We are a body Catholic, because not merely Roman, separated, but not by our own desire; ever praying to be reunited on primitive and Apostolic foundations, in true, substantial, visible union with the several parts of our Church in many lands, but holding to "one Lord, one baptism, one God and Father of us all," and "contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints." And when we have met together in conference, all ill communion with each other, surely it is not too much to say, that while there has been free and friendly discussion, there has been substantial unity. No article of the faith has been denied, no venerable creed has been surrendered, no ward of the living God has been thrust aside. Every Bishop has desired to build up the old primitive foundations of the Catholic and undivided Church. Surely this conference, if it did no more, would be a sufficient answer to those who unworthily represent us as one of many discordant sects, as a body rent by endless divisions, without foundation, without coherence, without orders, without sacraments, without unity in itself. Whereas by our marvellous increase throughout the world, and our union in all the verities of the Christian faith, we are "compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part," and, we are (we trust) "growing unto a holy temple in the Lord."
"Growing." Not till one hundred and fifty years after the Reformation did England begin to realize the blessing of growth. The "plantations" (so called) were feeble, struggling communities, without a native episcopacy, divided in religious belief, and unconscious of their destiny. Now we behold a church, vast in extent, considerable in numbers, with sixty Bishops, some of them missionary Bishops, with more than four thousand clergy, with multitudes of highly educated men who have passed into her fold, converts from all sides, a church thoroughly organized and synodically compacted. Rent from us by a political revolution, in all the great foundations of the faith, in all man's highest interest and hopes, in love for England's Church, the Episcopal Church of the United States is entirely one with our own in Great Britain and her colonies.
"Growing." Once in India Christianity made its appearance as an alien, feebly halting on forbidden ground. Yet such has been God's blessing that ten thousand native converts came to welcome the arrival of our Sovereign's son, and now, under the care of Bishops lately consecrated, eighteen thousand natives have requested to he enrolled in the Church by Holy Baptism.
"Growing." About a century since, one Bishop was authorized as a state official to have nominal rule over the whole of the provinces of Canada, Newfoundland, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. So little notion had the statesmen of that day of the spiritual needs of churchmen and the duties of a Bishop. Now we have two Church Provinces, and fourteen Bishops in those vast and populous regions, presiding over their several Synods, who have each as much work to do as any man can reasonably desire. The same remarkable growth has been shown in Australia and in Southern Africa.
And what need to speak of New Zealand, when the memory of two loved and honoured names is fresh in your hearts, and placed before your eyes? Surely the love we bear them should stir us, as their best memorial, to greater energy and self-sacrifice, and nobler gifts. And as we have wept together for the father, let our prayers now ascend together for the son. Oh, that the fire of suffering through which he has passed may be to him the fire of strength, of patience, and of love. In the love of the convert, in the steadfastness of the native pastor, in the deepening convictions of the island race, that he, the old Bishop's son, is their true and lasting friend, may he find his rich reward. So may he land in safety where the meek Patteson fell, and the fronds of the palm branch, once the tokens of a wild and savage justice, become the peaceful heralds of the kingdom of the Prince of Peace. Thus from those five blest wounds there shall stream forth fountains of salvation, and the fair and the dark races shall kneel before one altar, and become as one in the love of that Redeemer who has bought them with His precious blood.
"Growing." In the island of Madagascar, one whom I remember as a boy, the worthy son of a most worthy father, prebendary with myself of this cathedral, was lately confirming seventy-four native converts, and ordaining a native pastor, on the same Whit-sun-day that I was ordaining the son of the old Pitcairn missionary to the children of the mutineers in the Bounty, and likewise was ordaining a Danish teacher to minister to a body of emigrants from Copenhagen. Truly the Gospel of Christ supplies a gracious Nemesis. The memory of old deeds of hate is repaid by new deeds of love. Mutiny is changed to bounty; and ravages of fire and sword are repaid by sending to the descendants of the Danes the tokens of a fresh and lasting peace. For when in that emigrant room in the wilderness, adorned with boughs, and fresh flowers-gathered from the forest, I confirmed the children of the Danes, the first names announced to me were Canute, Eric, and Olaf. We sang the old Danish hymns; we offered our Litany in the Danish, and responded in the English tongue; and the little band, now members of our own Church of England, knelt around one altar, over which the cross of the Danish flag formed its simple but appropriate ornament. "For He has made us one by the blood of His cross." The history of missions is indeed a mingled record of toil and journeyings, peril and constant service, of disappointments, of contentions, of shortcomings and fallings away, of many prayers and many tears; but sum them all up, gather them from every age and every land, and they are not so precious as one drop of the blood of our Lord Jesus, the Prophet who teaches us, the Priest who offers for us, the King who dwells in us, the Intercessor and the Saviour of us all.
But, turning back for a moment to human agency, we may say, without any exaggeration, that much of the growth and extension of our Church is, under God, owing to the two handmaids of the Church, whose anniversary we celebrate to-day; and to whose strength and increase it is the duty of every churchman, of every class, to contribute according to his ability. Make their cause, my brethren, your own. Throw yourselves heartily into this work, as if you believed in it and loved it. We want from you the same kind of work which you very reasonably require of us; strong, hearty, continued work, not the work of dilettanti bishops and halting Christians, but the work of men; of those who know that there is dignity in labour, and that honest labour goes on till sundown, and does not cease when the sun is high. Let every Bishop speak for himself. I come here to-day to bear my testimony, that ray Diocese owes a debt, which we can never repay, to those two venerable institutions; and that our greatest obligation is that of having called forth our own exertions, and enabled us to make some sacrifices for our religion. Certainly I hold it to be an Articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae, that we not only believe, but that we do the will of God. And where is the Apostle who, travelling in a foreign land, found, as I have found, two noble and liberal institutions ready to his hand; helping to support his missionaries, and to build his churches, and never failing him in time of need? Then are we Apostles, when we toil in rowing: when we toil all the night, even if we have caught nothing, hoping to find when the blest morning comes.
And if my voice could be heard, and were of any worth without these walls, it would be raised on behalf of our never undertaking Colonial work which we were not prepared to live and die for. If the greatness of England is not an insular but a maritime greatness; if her fleets go forth, not only to protect her harbours, but to extend her commerce; if her power is felt in the little flag of the fisher-boat, as well as in the mightiest of her ironclads; if her sons carry with them to all lands the proud trophy of her laws and of her freedom, much more may Christian Bishops glory in continuing to "sow beside all waters," and in holding the land where they have sown and laboured as their own.
Permit me, in conclusion, to remind you all of your own duty to the Church, which is your mother, and to those institutions which are the handmaids of the Church. That you are known at all as Christians, beyond the shores of England, is, in great part, the work of these two institutions. Your eternal glory will not be that you restored cathedrals, or that you made treaties, or that you abounded in riches, or that you conquered nations, but that you conquered sin. The living stones of the Redeemer's temple will be your coronet; the gathering in your own half heathen masses, the seeking out the lost, the strengthening the weak, the raising the fallen in this and in every land. Look you at this glorious Church, and fancy that your work is done. These dead stones, instinct with life, tell in your ears what living stones should be. The harmonies that daily wake within these walls are but the prelude to the nobler anthem of souls-won to the love of Christ by your own efforts. Not to the clergy only, but to the Church at large, is committed this divine, this difficult, this unceasing care. Never for one moment is the cry unheard amidst the storm, Christian, "carest thou not that we perish?"
Unholy soul, what hast thou done for Christ? Selfish, indolent? careless, self-satisfied soul, what hast thou done for Christ? Bitter, vindictive, harsh-judging soul, biting and devouring thy brethren, what art thou doing for Christ? And as the last word I may, perhaps, he ever permitted to speak within these dear and holy walls, I say to you all, Work more for Christ.
Work on, work humbly, and the truth will dawn upon you. Work on, and peace will return to you. Work on, and sorrow and sighing will not burden you. Work on, and the tempter will flee from you. Work on, for this is life's business, this is death's happiness, this is eternity's reward: "I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do." Amen.
We come now to the last visit to England in 1888. The duties connected with the Lambeth Conference, attendance at public meetings, and other calls upon his time and attention, were somewhat of a strain upon the Bishop's strength, now in his advancing years. Before his return to his Diocese he was taking a few days rest in the quiet and retirement of the home of his son, Rev. John B. Medley.
We have been favoured with a copy of his sermon on that occasion. Taking for his text the words from the Apostles' Creed, "And the life of the world to come," his lordship, said:
This, my brethren, is the conclusion of one of the most solemn parts of our service, when, in the presence of God, we set forth those things which are to be believed and acted upon. What is this life of the world to come which we all look for? Some persons, from a misapprehension of the passage in the Book of Revelation, think we shall have nothing to do in the next world but to praise God unceasingly as we sing His praises here. That seems to be a great mistake. But what is the life of the world to come; and of what does it consist? It is life; that life of the world to come is the only true life, and in what does its happiness consist? In the resurrection of the body? We all know how imperfect our bodies are in the flesh; how often they get wearied; how often they become clogs to the spirits in worshipping God. But we read in St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians that Christ will raise our vile bodies--the bodies of our humiliation, our humble bodies--that they may be made like unto His Glorious Body. What a marvellous thing is this! That these poor bodies--the slaves to evil feelings, evil thoughts and words, shall be made like Christ's Glorious Body. This is an important part of the life of the world to come. We know nothing of the new life when the soul shall cling to this new found partner--the body freed from all stain of sin. Made like Christ's Glorious Body! We almost tremble when we hear of such a thing. That resurrection of the body, when our bodies shall no longer be the weak and imperfect things they are here but like Christ's Glorious Body, if we are found true and faithful to Him in this world. The life of the world to come is increased and made blessed by the perfect unity which exists amongst all true followers of Christ. You know how difficult it is here to be absolutely one with people; what crooked tempers there are; what distempered views of things are taken; what difficulties there are in the way of making ourselves one. The Psalmist says, what a blessed thing it is to dwell together in unity. Yet what terrible divisions, what deplorable dissensions one with another there are now. So when we are made like Christ's Glorious Body all will be as one. You and I may hear of such things, we may speak of them, and try to realize them, but after all it is but little we know. The life of the world to come consists in work as well as in praise. When we look at the multitude of children who are called away, and think that far more children than adults depart this life, what becomes of those dear little babes? They must have something to do. In the world to come there must be a kind of growth. We know not. Do the Angels teach them what we might have taught them. There will be work to do, but we know not what it is. God is always working; never idle; never at rest. So the life of the world to come must consist, in some way, of wonderful work which God has for us to do. It is rest from sin and sinful pleasures, but such a rest which consists of perpetual and unceasing work, of great and glorious work of what we know not. How earnestly we should strive after this life; strive to be one with Christ; one with each other; strive against sin; so that the life of the world to come may be working in us, for when God sends affliction and distress, God is perfecting us for that life. There is one thing which I may notice--that when people think of the life of the world to come they think of it as rest. They know it is a troublesome and a toilsome life here, and so they think that the life of the world to come is rest; to sit down, as it were, and do nothing. That is not exactly the view that I wish you to take; it is perfect rest, joy, pleasure, happiness, oneness, and unity one with another in that life. Oh that you and I, separated by great oceans, separated but united in the Church and in Christ, may seek to know more and more of the life of the world to come; that God may work in us all that is necessary to fit us for it--whether we have few years, or whether God spares us, whether our children are taken away or grow up; however God deals with us that this glorious life, that world which shall bear true fruit in itself and in us, shall be begun, continued and ended in Him. Knowing the uncertainty of all life, and the difficulty of saying we will do this or that, I can only say that I hope to again speak to you from this place before I leave England, but now I entreat you as members of the Catholic Church of Christ to seek more and more, by God's grace, to become perfect for the life of the world to come.
The Bishop did not attend the meeting of the first Lambeth Conference in 1868. To this matter he makes the following allusion in his charge to the clergy, delivered on the 30th June of that year:
You may, naturally, expect something from me on the subject of the Lambeth Conference, and on the reasons which prevented my attendance at that great assembly. I may say, therefore, first, that had His Grace the Archbishop required my presence as a matter of dutiful obedience, I should, without delay, have complied with his command. The matter coming before me, however, through his kindness and consideration, in another form, it was left to me to judge whether I deemed it desirable to attend or not. At the time fixed for the Conference, I had issued notices for many confirmations, and the clergy had prepared their candidates; and I was unwilling, without very strong reasons, to postpone such confirmations, as I must have done, for a whole year. Further, with the utmost deference to the wiser judgment of the Bishops who urged His Grace to summon that assembly, it appeared to me that in consideration of the vast distance from England of many of the Colonial Dioceses, and the grave importance of the step contemplated, a longer time should have been allowed to give the matters selected for deliberation full consideration, and to obtain, if possible, the judgment of the Colonial Bishops generally, and of their clergy (and indeed of the laity also, if the decrees of that council were intended to carry with them the force of general consent) on the subjects calling for the judgment of so august an assembly.
Looking back to the first great council of the Church, I see it stated in the Inspired Word, that in a time of great anxiety and much discussion on points partly ceremonial, and partly doctrinal, not the Apostles only, but "the apostles and elders came together to consider of this matter;" so that the second order in the ministry was not excluded from the deliberation. What part the laity took in the matter is not clear; but it is certain that the final decree was adopted with their consent, being issued in the name of the "apostles, elders, and brethren," and that "the whole multitude" were listeners to the addresses of the Apostles. I am well aware that what was perfectly practicable at that early period, when the members of the Church were few, may at the present time be practically impossible. But I see no insuperable difficulty in collecting within a reasonable time the judgments of the Colonial Dioceses on any given subject, before proceeding to a more full discussion of it by the general assembly. Above all, it appeared to me unwise to gather together from the ends of the earth Bishops of the Anglican communion, some belonging to an established church, some to a church partially-connected with the State, or in a very anomalous position, and some to a church wholly unconnected with the State, without distinctly stating the purpose for which we were called together, and the subjects to be considered. Grave reasons, the force of which I do not presume to impugn, may have prevented this course from being adopted; but I am obliged frankly to confess to you (with the possibility that some of you may think me mistaken) that when no subject whatever was named for discussion, and when only three days were allotted for deliberation, according to the notice first given, I deemed it impossible that in so short a time a large body could come to a satisfactory conclusion on points with regard to which the members of our Church throughout the world might well look for wise counsel from the whole assembled episcopate.
The Bishop lived to see the difficulties and dangers he anticipated overruled, and at a later day he readily admitted the vast advantage to the whole Anglican communion arising from the deliberations at Lambeth.
The second meeting of the Lambeth Conference was held in 1878. On this occasion the Bishop was present. No prelate from afar was received with more respect and regard at that great assemblage. It was the first occasion of the Bishop's absence at the annual meetings of the Diocesan Church Society and Synod. In his letter addressed to the Synod, he said:
I greatly regret to be absent from the meeting of the Synod, where I have so often enjoyed your kind co-operation and support. Having been requested by His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury to be present at the Lambeth Conference, which is to be held early in July, my absence is unavoidable. I shall, however, be very thankful to return to my work as soon as circumstances permit.
An interesting incident occurred on the eve of the Bishop's departure. Some time previously, the clergy had most gladly and readily contributed towards the purchase of an episcopal seal ring, as a mark of their affection and respect. There was no want of funds. The work was admirably done in Boston, under the direction of a kind and valued friend of the writer. It was completed just in time for presentation before the Bishop left for England. He was greatly pleased, more by the affectionate love of the clergy than by the beauty and value of the gift. On his return, he spoke of the ring as being greatly admired by his friends in England for its beauty and workmanship.
May 3rd, 1878. The Bishop received an address from the clergy and lay delegates of the Synod on his approaching visit to England and attendance at the Lambeth Conference, and the Rev. Canon DeVeber, in the name of the clergy of the Diocese, presented him with a handsome episcopal ring--an amethyst, with arms of the See, and the Bishop's arms engraved on it, and the mitre.
In his reply the Bishop says:
I have found among you a home which is very dear tome, and warm and faithful friends. And as long as ray Heavenly Father is pleased to spare my life and strength, I hope to labour with you in the good cause of Christ's Holy Catholic Church, and to prove myself not wholly undeserving of the confidence you repose in me.
...As unity must necessarily be of slow growth, and absolute uniformity is not to be expected, perhaps not to be desired, we must not be disappointed if less should be done at the approaching Conference than we expect. But we should put forth all our strength in the education of our members in the principles of our faith, and in those practical measures which will enable us to contend with present difficulties and dangers; and will afford the best guarantee that the Church in this Province will live after us, undiminished in power and efficacy, and fruitful in every good work which our Heavenly Master has commanded us to do.
It is my earnest wish and determination to spend my remaining days, so long as God shall give me strength to be of any use at all, among you, and the happiest day of my journey will be when I set my foot on board the steamer which will bring me back to your shores.
The Bishop left Quebec in the Sarmatian on the 11th May, accompanied by the Rev. Canon DeVeber, and landed at Liverpool on the 21st.
On the 1st July he went to London, when the Bishop of Chichester (Dr. Dunford) kindly invited him to take up his abode at the Lollard's Tower, to which place Bishop Selwyn had given him an invitation. The Bishop was lodged in Bishop Selwyn's rooms. There he remained during the sitting of the Lambeth Conference.
The Conference met on Tuesday, the 2nd of July, and all the Bishops present received holy communion together in Lambeth chapel. The sittings were held in the Archbishop's library.
The Bishop was appointed to serve on the committee on union, and was invited with the other members to stay at Farnham Castle by the Bishop of Winchester. The meetings were singularly pleasant and harmonious.
The Bishop, after visiting many dear friends, on Friday, the 22nd July, returned to Lambeth. This week, until 26th, was occupied with receiving the reports of the committees, and on Friday evening, the Conference broke up. Thursday being St. James' day, all the Bishops received holy communion in the Archbishop's chapel.
On the 11th August, the Bishop preached twice at Ottery, St. Mary, while staying beneath the roof where he had often visited his honoured friend, Sir J. T. Coleridge. Monday he stayed with Lord Devon, and on Tuesday, the 13th, he preached at the Cathedral, Exeter, now happily restored.
Shortly before the time of the assembling of the Lambeth Conference in 1878, the Church in England had been deeply moved by the prosecutions instituted under the provisions of what was known as the Public Worship Act, against certain of the clergy and laity of the Church, who desired services of an ornate character with advanced ritual. The majority of the English Bishops were strongly disposed to uphold the law as laid down in the Act referred to, but as the question was a burning one, and one in which the entire Anglican communion was interested, the Archbishop, at one of the meetings of the Conference, invited discussion on the part of the American and Colonial Bishops, and indicated that as one of the seniors, he would like to have the opinion of the venerable Bishop of Fredericton.
Bishop Medley, being thus unexpectedly called upon, arose, and said in his quiet and dignified way:
I had not thought that my opinion in this matter was likely to have very much weight, but since your Grace has requested it, I freely give it. My opinion is that the Church of England will never enjoy any real peace until the Public Worship Act is repealed!
The utterance of these words immediately aroused a perfect storm of disapprobation on the part of the friends of the Public Worship Act. Cries of "Chair! chair!" were heard on either hand.
The attempt to call the Bishop down, however, failed, as all who are familiar with his courage and determination will readily imagine. He simply stood and quietly waited until the confusion had subsided, and then, stimulated by the opposition, proceeded to express his views with wonderful force and ability. The speech created a profound impression at the Conference. The American Bishops and the majority of the Colonial Bishops strongly supported the position assumed by Bishop Medley, and although they were in a minority in the Lambeth Conference at the time referred to, the memorable debate attracted marked attention on the part of the religious and secular press, and was not without its effect in bringing about that spirit of mutual toleration which now so happily prevails.
The Bishop left Liverpool on the 29th August, accompanied by Canon DeVeber, and reached Quebec on the 8th September. On his arrival at St. John, on Wednesday, the 11th, he was presented with a most kind and affectionate address, and a similar welcome was extended to him at Fredericton, on Thursday, 12th September.
Notwithstanding all the fatigue of his extended visit, and frequent sermons and addresses, we find in the Annals notes of an extended confirmation tour in the autumn, with the following note at the close of the year:
Confirmed three hundred and seventy-five; consecrated three churches; ordained two priests and one deacon; travelled about ten thousand three hundred and thirty-five miles. All praise be to God.
At the meeting of the Synod in 1879, the following address was presented to the Bishop:
We, the clergy and lay delegates of the Diocese of Fredericton, in Synod assembled, take this the earliest opportunity to express our warmest welcome to your lordship on your return from attendance at the late meeting of the Bishops of the Anglican communion in the Lambeth Conference.
We feel assured that the high attainments of your lordship in theology, as well as your long experience in the work of the Colonial Church, aided much in the deliberations and beneficial results of that important meeting.
It is also our wish to congratulate your lordship, most sincerely, on your recent appointment to the high office of Metropolitan of the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada--an appointment which we believe is justly appreciated by the Church throughout this Dominion.
That your lordship may long be spared to us under the well-remembered title of Bishop of Fredericton, and that your wise rule and counsels may ever be blessed as Metropolitan of Canada, is our earnest wish and prayer.
G. M ARMSTRONG, Chairman.
FRANCIS PARTRIDGE, Secretary
Your unanimous and most kind address is as gratifying as it is unexpected. I most heartily thank you for it, as an evidence of the warm feeling and affection which you entertain towards your Bishop, and which, I humbly trust, will continue to cheer me in my efforts to serve you, as long as it pleases God to spare my life.
In regard to the Lambeth Conference, I can claim no distinction beyond that of a peace-maker, and of an earnest endeavour to extend toleration to all who honestly subscribe to the Formularies, and endeavour to carry into effect what they deem to be the plain rules of our Church.
I thank you for your congratulations on my election by the House of Bishops to be the Metropolitan of Canada. I shall do all in my power to show myself not undeserving of so high an honour, and of your good opinion of me. But honourable as that title is, the name of the Bishop of Fredericton is dearer to me. It reminds me of many a trial, of constant labour in your service, of willing support, and faithful affection; of many a beloved fellow-labourer, now called to his rest; of a Cathedral Church, where, for many years, the faithful have offered a daily sacrifice, and where a body of earnest young men have received the grace of Holy Orders; of "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" wafted to the throne of God, and chanted, as we hope, with fresh purity by those who have "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
My tongue must indeed "cleave to the roof of my mouth," if I forget the title which I never sought, but which continually reminds me, amidst the "troubles and adversities which God has shewed me," that He was pleased to "bring me to great honour, and to comfort me on every side."
I remain, my dear brethren,
Your affectionate friend and Bishop,
JOHN FREDERICTON, Metropolitan.