"So still the guileless man is blest,
To him all crooked paths are straight."
THE allusion in the last chapter to Mr. Walter's speech and paper, points to a circumstance which, coincident as it was with an unfriendly article in the Edinburgh Review on the Colonial Episcopate, was regarded by the bishop (to quote his own expression) as "a heavy blow and great discouragement." Mr. Walter, M.P. for Berks, at a meeting in Beading of the friends of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, had availed himself of an invitation to speak on its behalf, and used the opportunity thus afforded to him to deliver what he called a "charity sermon," but which was in reality an attack on the Society on more grounds than one, the chief and foremost indictment being that the Colonial Churches were supported at the sacrifice of missionary work among the Heathen. The speech of the member for Berkshire was backed up by an article in the Times on the following day: that this should have been so is not surprising to any who know the connection that existed between the Berkshire squire and the proprietors of the Times newspaper. Neither was the subject an unfair one for discussion and criticism. The proportion in which a given sum of money should be divided between those who are already of the household of faith but likely, nay certain, but for timely help to sink into that most hopeless form of heathenism which is the condition of the lapsed Christian, and those who with their forefathers have lived in the bondage of heathenism, will ever be a legitimate matter for calm discussion. Sentiment, whether influenced by, or free from, the Calvinistic theories about that favourite subject of platform declamation "the lost heathen," will generally be found on the side of aggressive evangelistic work: common sense, to say nothing of Christian feeling, will recognise the wisdom as well as the necessity of making our fellow-Christians the first objects of our bounty and care. But indiscriminate charity is the extremest cruelty, and it is possible to err in one's munificence. No doubt there are instances in which the Church has been demoralized by having its path made too easy, whether by endowments or annual subsidies; in such cases a double wrong is done: the funds, so misapplied, both injure the recipients and defraud those whose necessity is urgent, whether they be heathen or Christians perishing for lack of aid; but the Bishop of Newfoundland felt that in the case of his diocese such strictures were unjust, and that the very suggestion of misappropriated bounty was a grievous injury to his poor flock. "I will only remark," he said, "with the helpless tortured insect, 'It may be sport to you, but it is death to us.'"
But he did more than this: he wrote an exhaustive "Plea for Colonial Dioceses," in which he turned the tables against his accusers in a very happy and effective manner. He contended, by the way, that the argument of a colony being able (but perhaps not willing) to maintain its own clergy, and therefore bound as a matter of honesty to give up all assistance from other sources, might legitimately be carried out to a conclusion hardly foreseen by those who advanced it.
"When such dioceses are asked to relinquish their claims on the Society, and when it is urged, ad verecundiam, that the colonists have so long enjoyed this extraneous aid, does it never occur to the members of the Church in England that the same argument might be addressed with greater force, in both its aspects, to them? It will not be denied, I presume, that the members of our Church in England are well able to maintain their clergy--are they then prepared to say to the English clergy, 'You have long received and lived upon the tithes given and granted by kings and other benefactors; now let them go for the conversion of the heathen, and depend upon us for your maintenance'? Yet this is in effect what the colonists are asked to do, in relinquishing their claims upon the Society, and taking upon themselves the support of their Church and clergy. I do not, of course, suppose that any such transfer is possible, or that, if possible, it would be just or expedient. Neither have I forgotten that it is due to the endowment of the Church in England that the Church in the colonies receives such liberal support through the Society. I only intend to answer, on behalf of the poor colonists, this appeal ad verecundiam. Should the justice of this parallel be denied, I may refer to the means commonly adopted in the new districts and poor populous parishes in England for the support of their clergy; which, I think it will be admitted, in great measure explains our condition and justifies our plea. What is the practice in those cases? Is the incumbent, or additional curate, told to rely upon the contributions of the people, who are seldom so poor but that their combined payments, if they could be procured, would furnish a colonial clergyman's stipend? Not so--they are referred, and refer, to the Pastoral Aid, or the Additional Curates' Society; and I never heard that shame or blame attached to any clergyman for procuring aid from those quarters; though, if the people could and would (as in most cases assuredly they could) provide his small salary by their contributions, it is obvious that the funds of those Societies might, to that extent, be applied to the conversion of the heathen."
The bishop was not dealing with a subject with which he was unacquainted: in his own diocese he had experience of two systems. He wrote:--
"In the southern colony of my diocese (the Bermudas), the clergy are provided for by the legislature, with many happy and beneficial results. The clergy there receive quarterly stipends partly from the colonial treasury and partly from the vestries of their parishes--a fixed sum in either case. The other officers of the churches are paid, and the buildings themselves, with their furniture, &c., maintained, by pew-rents and assessments. Thus the clergy are assured of their stipends regularly, a circumstance which compensates, to a great extent, for the small amount of them. They and their families are at least secured from want; they are spared the pain and shame of parading their difficulties and distresses; they are not responsible for their churches falling into decay; they hear no complaints about tithes or rates. Still they are not independent, as the legislative grants may be, at least after a certain term of years, reduced, or withdrawn."
He foresaw that Government subsidies of this kind could not last, and therefore he did not stay to discuss the many other disadvantages which attend on such grants: he acknowledged that, where no endowments had been acquired, as in the case of Toronto by the sale of the clergy reserves, the voluntary system was the only resource. The evils and temptations of that system he knew thoroughly, but his experience had taught him how to anticipate them and to make them harmless.
"The only right and righteous system, under our circumstances,--to make a contribution, or promise of contribution, obligatory, where the means of payment exist, and, until such promise is given, to withhold every occasional or special service;--this system--the only right and righteous one, as regards the individuals themselves and the Church community at large--appears to English churchmen, who can claim these services as their birthright (because they have been already purchased and paid for), both unjust and injurious. I have incurred no small obloquy for pressing this system, but it is clearly recognised and allowed, if I may not say insisted on, both by the Law and Gospel, and cannot therefore be unjust or injurious. But I return--there is no remedy--to the Voluntary system. And here it is asked, Why should not the Church of England in the colonies attain to that standing which, it is said, Roman Catholics and other religious denominations have attained to,--of being independent of external aid for the maintenance of their clergy? But it will not, I trust, be thought impertinent to remind our English friends, that the Roman Catholics and other denominations at home do, in. like manner, support their clergy and ministers without tithes or endowments; and that it may be asked (I believe is sometimes asked), Why do you not also support your churches and clergy without the aid of rates and tithes and endowments, so long enjoyed, and allow these emoluments to be transferred to the Church Missionary, or Gospel Propagation Society, for the conversion of the heathen? I have no intention of insisting upon this parallel (which, no doubt, in its practical application, would be pronounced unjust and suicidal) except to show that this argument, ad hominem, ought not to be addressed only to poor colonists. I am more concerned to prove that the supposed self-supporting systems of Roman Catholics and Methodists will not apply in our case. I say supposed, because I believe few persons out of their communion, and not all within, know to what extent their clergy and ministers are supported without external aid. I am quite ready, however, to admit that they are so to a great extent, far more so than our clergy. The Presbyterians and Congregationalists, I believe,--all honour to them--guarantee their ministers a certain fixed salary, and do not suffer personal feelings to interfere with the just fulfilment of their compact. The comparison therefore is between ourselves with the Roman Catholics and Methodists. Now, without intending to speak disrespectfully or disparagingly of their clergy or ministers, I may be permitted to remark that their manner of life respectively, which tends to keep up their influence over, or with, their people, is not such, in either case, as could, or I might say should, be adopted by the clergy of the Church of England. The priests of the Roman Catholic Church are unmarried--they mix little with their people--never, I believe, visiting ministerially, except in cases of extreme sickness, when, by the Sacraments of the Church, the poor sinner is prepared for death, and dies in peace. This notion of the priest's power, and of their duty to him and the Church, in which all Roman Catholics are educated, inspires such reverence and fear, that the demand for Church dues is very rarely disobeyed. It is not, I presume, expected that we should copy the Roman Catholic priests either in their manner of life or ministry, in order to obtain their standing. The Wesleyans adopt a directly opposite method; and their ministers, by frequent and familiar intercourse with their people, and by occasionally indulging them with the intoxicating excitement of a Revival (in which the younger ministers appear particularly expert), work upon their feelings in a manner and degree which the clergy of the Church of England are not likely, I trust, to emulate. It is certain, however, that many of their ministers are not, and cannot be, supported by their congregations, and, unless assisted by some extraneous fund, must be in a very uncomfortable state of dependence. I suspect also, that there is something in the public worship of both Roman Catholics and Methodists (though as widely different as their private and personal ministrations), presenting attractions of a certain sort, which the more sober, intelligent, and devotional worship of the Church of England (the mean in this, as in most other points, between the two extremes) never did, and it may be hoped never will, present. For what man, knowing what is in man (i.e. in the large majority), supposes that a mean presents such attractions as one or other of the extremes; or that the more excellent way will ever obtain the largest number of followers? These are some of the reasons why the Church of England cannot, or does not, attain the standing which the Roman Catholics and other religious bodies have, it is said, attained in the colonies, and at home."
Being challenged to justify his position and that of his diocese, the bishop was compelled to show what had been the result of the assistance which he had received: this involved in fact his giving an account of those many schemes which but for his own self-denial must have fallen to the ground, and which owed their very existence to his wisdom and statesmanlike prudence; bat even here.-where the record may have justified some measure of satisfaction, he wrote in terms, the sincerity of which no one who knew the man could for a moment doubt, deprecating the idea that he was in any way magnifying or displaying his own labours or services. Indeed he added, "Looking at the progress of the Church in New Zealand, or South Africa, or Canada, I can well believe that the zeal and piety of a Selwyn, a Gray, or a Mountain, would have secured better provision, and, it may be, supervision, for the many still desolate places and scattered sheep of this poor diocese."
He insisted further, that in all that he had done he was but building on the foundations laid by his predecessor: still, there was the diocese, the abiding witness of his patient efforts for twenty years, and he was bound in self-defence, when thus challenged, to give the following resume of his episcopate:--
"When I arrived in Newfoundland (July 4th, 1844) there were in all that part of the diocese twenty-four clergymen (including the chaplain who accompanied me), all stipendiaries of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; thirteen receiving 200l. sterling per annum; five, in subordinate stations, receiving 150l. or 100l.; and six deacon schoolmasters, partly paid by S.P.G. (50l. sterling) and partly by the Newfoundland School Society. The stipends of these twenty-four, from the Society, amounted to 3,550l. In Bermuda three or four clergymen were receiving together from the Society, 230l.
Bishop Spencer had not been able to extend his visits farther to the north than Twillingate, in Notre Dame Bay, about 200 miles from S. John's, the capital, or than Harbour Buffet, in Placentia Bay, nearly the same distance to the south. In these visits he consecrated nine or ten new churches, but several of them in an unfinished and unfurnished state; a circumstance which need not be regretted, as the preference for pews, and galleries, and pulpits in the centre of the building, was then very strong. In many of the churches the pulpit was against the east wall, the prayer-desk and the clerk's-desk on either side, a small table under the pulpit in front, with a semicircular enclosure, just allowing room for one clergyman within the rail. The parish or Mother Church of the capital, taken and used as the cathedral, was an old wooden building, of the early Newfoundland style. Considerable subscriptions had however been raised, previous to my arrival, to replace it with a more comely structure of stone, but the drawings furnished did not give much promise of improvement in design or arrangement. There was no font of stone in the whole island, and, I believe, in only three churches vessels of silver for the Holy Communion. [One set of the three was presented by his late Majesty (when serving in the fleet), to a church in Placentia, where his ship had been stationed during the war with France.] A second wooden church had been built in S. John's a short time before, Bishop Spencer arrived, and was consecrated by him, but the arrangements were similar to those already described. There was in S. John's one cemetery or grave-yard common to all denominations, in which Roman Catholic priests had leave to officiate; but other persons, of whatever denomination, were buried, if any funeral service was used, by the Rector of S. John's. In several districts there were buildings for public worship (not consecrated) used by the clergy of the Church and other Protestant ministers; or, as the people expressed it,' by any good man that came along;' his goodness and other qualifications being, I believe, determined by his own representations, and his ability to 'hold prayers.' The whole number of consecrated churches in Newfoundland on my arrival was forty-three; all, with the exception of eleven or twelve before mentioned, consecrated by Bishop Inglis, in one or other of his two Visitations of this portion of his enormous diocese.
A Church Society had been established three or four years previously, but the income, after the first year, appears not to have exceeded 212l. No part of the collections had been appropriated to the extension of the church, and, except in S. John's, very little, if any, aid was given to the clergy by their congregations. An idea was very commonly entertained, and sometimes, I fear, by those who might, if they had pleased, have known otherwise, that the clergy in Newfoundland were maintained by the Government in England.
The Theological College, or Institution as it was then designated, had its origin in the provision obtained by Bishop Spencer from the Society, for the education and maintenance of a few candidates for the ministry. The Society allowed the bishop to draw 50l. per annum for each of six students, and made a grant for the erection of a lecture-room. But this allowance was the whole endowment and income of the Institution, part of which (nearly one-third) was paid to the clergyman of the new church for meeting and instructing the students in the lecture-room, the remainder to a widow lady, a dissenter, in whose house they lodged and boarded, who presided at their meals and had the oversight of their behaviour.
There was no Depository for the sale of Bibles and Prayer-books, and other publications of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge--no fund for the widows and orphans of the clergy--no Asylum for the widows and orphans of the Church's poor--no School for the education of the boys or girls of the upper classes, under the direction or supervision of the bishop and clergy, for members exclusively of the Church of England.
It cannot be necessary, I conceive, to insist upon the importance of every one of these institutions in connection with the Church, in a colonial diocese. I have shown how this diocese was provided or circumstanced in respect of them twenty years ago; and will now proceed to describe our present condition, taking them in the reverse order.
One of my first objects, after my appointment, before I left England, was to procure an efficient master for a superior boys' school, having been informed of the want of such a school in the colony. I was fortunate enough to secure the services of a graduate of Oxford. I hired a house for him in S. John's, and opened the Collegiate School. This was done entirely at my own risk and expense. It appeared to me of great importance to establish such a school, and I had reason to be thankful that I undertook it, for I know that besides supplying a sound and useful education, it was the means of attaching several young men, now rising in life, to myself and the Church. After some two or three years, the legislature of the colony established a General Academy, of which the master of my Collegiate School was appointed the first and head master. Not approving of the mixed education given in this new Academy, I continued my school under a clergyman, with increased usefulness in some respects, though, of course, not without difficulty by the side of a well-endowed Institution, to which boys were admitted at a trifling charge; until, through the zealous and disinterested efforts of the head master, the General Academy was divided into three different branches, or separate schools, one of which was, and is, the 'Church of England Academy,' under the direction of the bishop and four lay members of the Church. We have erected excellent buildings of brick, with accommodation for fifteen or sixteen boarders. We have two masters, one an A.M. of Trinity College, Cambridge, the other of S. Mark's Training College, both clergymen; and between thirty and forty scholars.
I found a like want of, and like desire for, a superior school for young ladies, and that also, in like manner, I provided and established, giving up for it my own residence, until the legislature made me a grant towards the erection, or purchase, of a brick or stone house--my own residence being of wood. I am thankful to say that this establishment has been from its commencement, and still continues to be, very popular, and of great benefit to those for whom it was specially designed. And having purchased for it a substantial and convenient house of brick, I am now relieved of all expense attending it, beyond that of keeping the house in repair, for which I intend to leave to my successor a small endowment.
These schools are open to children from the out-harbours as boarders, and I hoped might be of special benefit to the clergy for the education of their children; but I regret to say that, although the terms are lowered in their case, scarcely any have been able to profit by them on account of the expense.
The 'Church of England Asylum for Widows and Orphans' was established by subscription, after an appeal I addressed to the parishioners on the cessation of the cholera, and has been liberally supported, and efficiently managed, from the time the present buildings, which are of brick and stone, were erected. The first house, which I procured for temporary use, was burned down in one of the many fires, which formerly were so frequent and so destructive in S. John's. The Asylum is near to my residence, and to the cathedral, and all the children who are old enough, attend Divine Service every morning at eight o'clock. The whole management of, and provision for, the inmates of the Asylum are superintended by a lady, who, with that object in view, has built her house close to the Asylum, intending to leave it. to be always so occupied and used (by some person who will in like manner charitably superintend the institution), and to endow it with a sufficient sum to pay the ground-rent and repairs in perpetuity.
The 'Fund for the relief of the Widows and Orphans of the Clergy' was commenced in 1857, three clergymen in the previous year (1856) having been cut off in the prime of life; two of them by typhus fever, the third perished in a snow-drift. The first donation (75l.) was by the widow of one of these clergymen, another friend gave 100l, the Church Society contributed 500l.; and, by means of other donations, and the annual subscriptions and collections, the fund now amounts to upwards of 2,000l. and may, with the payments of the clergy, be considered safe.
At present, by the good providence of God, there is only one pensioner.
A 'Depository for the sale of Bibles and Prayer-books, and other publications of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,' I established soon after my arrival, and maintained for several years; but, within the last three years, the Church Society, by a grant of 300l., purchased and enlarged the stock, and entrusted the management to a sub-committee. It is in a nourishing condition.
To make the operations of our 'Church Society 'understood and appreciated, it would be necessary almost to transcribe the last annual report, presented at the anniversary meeting in June. It may suffice, however, to mention, that while half the clergy (twenty-three out of forty-six) made no return, and while all who did make a return retained three-fourths of the amount collected in their respective missions, the actual net income of the Society for last year exceeded 1,000l. Taking the average of the amounts returned, omitting S. John's, the largest, and Quidi Vidi, the smallest (both exceptional cases), it appears that, if all the clergy had made returns, the sum placed at the disposal of the committee would have been (besides, and in addition to, the collections in S. John's and Quidi Vidi) 4551.; representing, with the three-fourths retained by the clergy, the sum of 1.820l.; or, with the collections in S. John's, about 2,530l.; an amount fully 2,000l. in excess of all collected by and for the clergy twenty years ago.
The change and improvement in the 'Theological College,' or Institution, may next be noticed. I was enabled to purchase a very convenient piece of land, with a neat cottage upon it, to which I added a hall and dormitories for the students. I have placed the whole establishment under a clergyman, as vice-principal, who resides in the house, takes his meals with the students, lectures and instructs them, prays with them in the house morning and evening, meets them at the neighbouring church every morning, and at the cathedral every evening, and in every way guides and counsels them in preparation for the work of the ministry in Newfoundland. The archdeacon, or incumbent of the cathedral,, is principal, and gives lectures also. The present vice-principal is an A.M. of Pembroke College, Oxford.
The number of 'New Churches 'since my arrival is very large; many of them are in entirely new localities (five on the Labrador), but the majority replace smaller and less sightly buildings of the primitive style. There are now in this portion of the diocese (Newfoundland and Labrador) eighty churches, consecrated and in use, seven ready for consecration, and eight others in progress. Of those already in use, I have been privileged to consecrate fifty-two, nearly all of which are of much improved construction; and, in the majority, there is a font of stone, with silver vessels for the celebration and administration of the Holy Communion. Our 'Cathedral,' built after the great fire, chiefly from the collections made in England by a Queen's Letter, in which the restoration of the cathedral and parish church was specially mentioned (it happened that our church was the only place of public worship destroyed in that fire), was consecrated in 1850. It was designed by Gilbert Scott, and, as far as it is finished, is well and faithfully executed, and is admired by all who have seen it. The furniture is of oak, the seats open and entirely free. All the windows on the sides, and at the west ends, of the aisles, are filled with painted glass. "We have a good font of stone, a plain silver set, and a splendid double silver-gilt set, of vessels for the Holy Communion, of exquisite workmanship. They were procured by the joint contributions of many friends, through the kind and effective instrumentality of the Rev. E. Coleridge. Since the consecration of the cathedral another stone church has been built in S. John's, equally correct in arrangement, and complete in furniture, with open benches too, though unhappily the principal part of the clergyman's stipend, with the other expenses of the church, can only be provided by letting the seats.
The old churchyard having been closed, and interments in it prohibited by the Legislature, we have now a beautiful 'Cemetery,' conveniently situated, solely for members of the Church of England. An appropriate chapel has been erected in it, by the pious generosity of an individual, which I had the privilege of consecrating on the last day of 1859.
There are twenty-nine 'Parsonage-houses'--two on the Labrador, and twenty-seven (including my own residence) in Newfoundland--finished and occupied, an increase of seventeen since 1844; three others have been commenced, but, in consequence of the failure of the fishery, are advancing, if advancing at all, very slowly. All (one in S. John's excepted) are of wood, my own residence among the rest, which was built for, and still is, or is called, the Rectory-house, though, in fact, there is neither rectory nor parish in Newfoundland. (In this respect Newfoundland is merely a Missionary Station.) I have obtained by purchase comfortable houses (one of stone) for the incumbents of the other two churches in S. John's. The land attached to the parsonage-houses serves, in. general, only for a poor garden; in a few cases, seven or eight, there is sufficient pasturage for a cow or a few sheep in summer. Beyond this the glebes are of no value.
I come at last to the number and maintenance of the 'Clergy.' But before entering directly upon that part of the subject, I may be permitted, or rather am in duty bound, as one of the stipendiaries of the Society, to state that I have been enabled in my little Church ship, the munificent gift of my friend the present Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, to perform, myself, no inconsiderable amount of missionary work; having many times visited almost every harbour and inhabited island in and around Newfoundland and on the Labrador, to the distance of 500 miles from S. John's. In these voyages I have ministered in many settlements never before visited by any clergyman of our Church, and to people who had never seen a clergyman or place of public worship. I have celebrated on board (besides the Order of Morning and Evening Prayer with Sermons) all the holy offices of the Church--Baptisms, Confirmations, Holy Communions, and Marriages--and many times gone in procession with a congregation in boats from the Church ship to consecrate grave-yards, &c. In consequence of the great expense of these voyages, for which no special provision is made, I cannot accomplish one more frequently than every second year; and I desire distinctly to state, and pray that it may be remembered, that without the aid of the Society, which I receive as part of my yearly stipend, I never could have used my Church ship at all, and none of the Messed results (if I may venture so to speak) of my Visitations would have been attained. In the intermediate years I journey to Bermuda via Halifax (1,300 miles), and occasionally the Hawk has come to carry me back to Newfoundland. Having been, like myself, employed in less important service for several years, before being presented for the work of the Church in Newfoundland, my ship begins, with the skipper, to feel and show the effects of wear and tear, and of encounters, not unfrequent, with rocks and shoals, and ice. It is a wonder of mercy that both are yet preserved, and prepared, or preparing, if it please God, for further service. But it may be well to mention that no endowment or allowance has been provided for the good Church ship; and with a less income, or larger expenses, than mine (for while my income is ample, my personal expenses, being unmarried, are few), my successor will find it very difficult to prosecute these voyages of Visitation.
There are at the present time (September, 1864) in Newfoundland and Labrador forty-six clergymen, holding my licence, two of whom are wholly, and two partially, engaged in tuition. Of these forty-six only one is supported by, or receives assistance from, any Society but that for the Propagation of the Gospel. Of the remaining forty-five, thirty only are on the Society's list, and the aggregate amount of their salaries is 3,321l. In Bermuda, only one remains in connection with the Society, receiving 60£. It appears then that, while the number of clergy in Newfoundland has increased from twenty on the Society's list (in 1844) or, including deacon-schoolmasters, from twenty-four to forty-six, the payments by the Society have diminished from 3,550l. to 3,321l., and in Bermuda from 230l. to 60l. It is to be hoped that this increase of clergy with the reduction of payments will suffice to show that considerable exertions have been made, with commensurate success, to obtain contributions, for the support of the clergy, from the members of the Church in this diocese, and to lessen the demands upon the Society. But the average of payments to the thirty missionaries (about 111l.) does not by any means exhibit the progress and extent of the reduction of the Society's allowance to the missionaries. There are sixteen clergymen in Newfoundland receiving no allowance or assistance from the Society. Of the thirty still assisted, four remain of those for whom Bishop Spencer obtained 2001. per annum, and two for whom he obtained 1501.; but, since 1844 no missionary has been appointed with more than 100l., one receives 75l., and two only 50l."
It was not, as was mentioned in the last chapter, until the month of March in the year 1864 that the bishop was enabled to reach Bermuda, where he was much engaged in pastoral, as well as distinctly episcopal, work. He was yet again to cross swords with an assailant in England; but on this occasion he occupied different ground altogether from that on which he had before taken his stand. A young man writing to a London newspaper under the nom de plume of "A Town Clergyman," had exaggerated the hardships of Newfoundland, and largely understated the amount of assistance and sympathy which the Church and colony had received from England. The exaggerated accounts of the sufferings and privations of a particular clergyman revealed the author as the son of the worthy man whose woes he had pathetically depicted. Exaggeration was always hateful to the bishop, rigidly, sternly truthful as he was in thought as well as word: and although he had himself been highly extolled by the anonymous writer, he expressed his shame--his pain--at "the indecent reflections "of "this young man." He refused to have his own life described as "one of unremitting self-denial," and declared that he had every comfort which an unmarried man, without family, could desire, "more, I can truly say, than I either desire or deserve," while in respect of health and strength he avowed that no country in the world was more favoured than much-misrepresented Newfoundland.
He arranged to leave Bermuda on April 16, hoping to reach Halifax on the 20th, and thence to Newfoundland in time for the Trinity Ordination. "Men! men! men!" was his earnest cry just now; and on March 18 he wrote to England:--"A good clergyman, or a kind letter, or what is better still, both together, sent by the Canard steamer, on the 10th of April, addressed to me at Halifax, Nova Scotia, would, please Clod, meet me there on my way to S. John's, and make my return more comfortable to myself and more acceptable to my friends."
The "good clergyman "came in this year, although not so early as was desired: this was the Rev. J. B. Kelly, who having been for nine years the coadjutor-bishop, has now succeeded to the labours of his saintly predecessor. This was one of the bright spots in a very trying year--a year of bad fisheries, of unusual storms, and consequently of excessive poverty: another was found in the report of the Rev. R Temple, who had commenced his labours in White Bay. It has already been stated that the offer of this young missionary to attempt to plant a station on so dreary a coast had afforded the bishop much satisfaction, and that feeling must have been heightened when he could gather from Mr. Temple's diary the patient spirit in which he was setting about his work among a people who, but for his self-sacrifice, would have continued to be without any religious teaching. Thus it was that Mr. Temple commenced his work:--
"Sunday, July 10.
"First day of real ministerial work at White Bay. Early in the morning I had a Sunday school of eleven young persons. I explained the lesson in the simplest manner possible; for everything must be done here 'precept upon precept, line upon line;' and this, not only with the children, but with the grown-up people also. At eleven, we went to church--that is, we placed a table on one side of the kitchen, and on one side of this I stood to conduct the service. But how was I to have the Church-prayers with a congregation unable to read, and ignorant when to stand, sit, or kneel? However, I believe there are few difficulties which patience and time will not surmount: so for the present I was contented to say, 'stand up,' or 'sit down;' and, happily, I found one woman able to read a little, and accustomed to attend church sometimes. All joined in what they could--the Confession, Lord's Prayer, Creed, and Amens. The sermons, if not elaborate, if spoken as the thoughts came, in the easiest words, yet found their way, I hope, to the hearts and understandings of the hearers. In the afternoon I had two baptisms."
Nor was this a singular instance of devout zeal on the part of the clergy, who were either trained by the bishop for their work or attracted to the diocese by the example of his own apostolic labours. At the meeting of the Newfoundland Church Society in this year the bishop had the satisfaction of presenting the following account of the labours of another of his clergy at Moreton's Harbour. The report was dated April 14, 1864: probably there is nothing exceptional in its contents, but it serves to bring before us the conditions under which pastoral labour is conducted in this diocese:--
"I was appointed to this mission in June last. Upon my arrival I was anxious to visit the remoter stations, which can only be visited during the summer months, but there appeared then not the slightest chance of my doing so. In consequence of the immense quantity of ice floating about, navigation was suspended until nearly the middle of July. One morning I discovered the tall masts of a man-of-war lying at anchor in our little harbour. I found that it was the steamship "Vesuvius, and that her captain had taken refuge, being unable to proceed north-ward, in this haven. Having expressed my wishes to Captain Hamilton to visit the Gape Shore, the northern part of the Bay, he very kindly offered to touch at Shoe Cove and land me. This I thankfully and gratefully accepted. On Saturday the 10th, after several delays through fog and ice, I was landed at Cape John, six miles from Shoe Cove, whence the coastguard kindly conveyed me to my destination. I arrived there just in time to let the good people know that there would be Divine Service in their new church on the morrow.
A few words about Shoe Cove and its people. First as to the former. It presents a barren and inhospitable appearance. Huge rocks rise almost perpendicularly out of the deep green waters, and tower to the height of six or seven hundred feet above the level of the sea. The sea dashes and roars at the base of these rocks. Ashore we find nothing which speaks a good word for it. Here and there is a rough potato garden, or perhaps an apology for one. It seems a wonder that people can be content to live in such a place. Yet, notwithstanding the want of all natural attractions, the place has its attractions both for the inhabitants and the clergyman. To the former those deep waters oftentimes yield a rich harvest. This is the incentive to live there. Every available spot of ground is now occupied by fishermen. To the clergyman the attractiveness of Shoe Cove is that the people have generous hearts, and right gladly welcome the messenger of good tidings. Without any foreign aid they have erected a church at a cost of nearly 300l., and a lay-reader holding the bishop's licence officiates during my absence. There are no people in the mission more desirous and willing to contribute to their clergyman's support, and also to subscribe to the local charities, than these. During my two sojourns here I was highly gratified by observing the quiet and attentive demeanour of the people in church, and the great reverence they paid to the service. I held two full services in the church, and in the evening baptized privately two infants. On the following day (Monday) I visited the daily school, and found the children progressing favourably. Several were able to read with tolerable accuracy portions of the New Testament, and had some knowledge of the Church Catechism. Low as this standard of education appears to be, it is far more advanced than it was two years ago, when scarcely one (and, alas, perhaps not one) of the rising generation could discern between A and B. There is work--hard work--to be done here; rough ground to be harrowed, ere the 'word' can be sown with any success.
At noon I left Shoe Cove, two stout lads taking me in a boat, for Round Harbour, calling at Beaver and Tilt Cove, where I said prayers and baptized two infants. As we rowed into Round Harbour, Mr. Coombs, an old Englishman and a very zealous churchman, came down to the wharf and most cordially greeted, and at once took me to his house, where I was very hospitably entertained. Next morning at nine I held full service in his kitchen, which was crowded to excess. We then proceeded, after service, to Snook's Arm, a distance of three miles, where I again held divine service--baptized three infants separately, and visited two sick persons. We returned to Round Harbour, and at 7 A.M. found a large congregation assembled, awaiting prayers. Having again joined in public worship, and baptized another infant, my services were required by a couple desirous of being joined together in Holy Matrimony. After performing this ceremony I concluded the services of the day by family prayer. I was tired and worn out. Next morning I found it impossible to get away before I had again held service; and when at last I did leave, it was with the most pressing invitation to return as speedily as possible and remain longer.
The same welcome greeted me at Indian Burying Place. I held service here in the loft of a fish-store. The odour of the fish, the heat of the place, combined with the mosquito bites, rendered it anything but pleasant for people or minister. I baptized several infants, and celebrated divine service thrice. From Indian Burying Place I proceeded to Nipper's Harbour (so called, and not undeservedly, from the numbers of mosquitoes which infest the place). This place makes some pretensions to a very snug little harbour, where vessels of a small tonnage will find a secure haven. There is also a small church, which has just been completed. But, alas! the building is far too small. The result is, it is crowded to excess, and some get no admittance, but are obliged to stand outside, exposed to the scorching rays of the sun. I held five full services and baptized several infants, and also did a good deal of pastoral visiting. On the following day (Monday) I contrived to visit Rogue's Harbour, where I held service, and in the evening Stocking Harbour, hoping to be put on to the next station the same evening. And here such a sense of loneliness, nay wretchedness, came over me as I had never before experienced. Missionary life appeared to me then in some of its sterner realities. I was on a desolate shore, with only two or three wretched tilts, and they more than a mile apart, and a few women and children, all the men save two having gone out fishing for the night. However, I held service again. In one of these tilts I was doomed to sleep; but sleep--that was out of the question. The mosquitoes grievously tormented me, so that with the grey dawn I rose from my hard bed and wandered out in the cool and refreshing morning breeze. At 6 A.M., I baptized an infant, and a man and a boy put me across to King's Cove. Here I held service and baptized an infant. I hurried on to Three Arms Island, and the chief planter did all in his power to further my views by giving up, and preparing, the best room he had in his house, which was soon crowded to excess. I did not baptize any infants during this service. Wednesday came, and with it a bright day, and (as I waited till the boats came in from sea) I had a good congregation. Several infants were baptized, and I proceeded immediately after service to baptize one privately. Early on Thursday morning I was roused by my host, who came to inform me that the True Slue schooner was coming up the harbour, and had sent a boat ashore for me. I was soon ready to join them, and the schooner having 'shortened her canvas,' we got alongside and safely on board. Immediately the sails were spread again, and away we went at the rate of ten knots before a splendid breeze. Little more than an hour had elapsed and we were safe in Ward's Harbour. Most of the men had left the day before for the Labrador, where they prosecute the cod-fisheries with much success. As the men in the harbour were very much engaged the day I arrived, I deemed it better to defer holding any service in the church until the next day, employing the time that intervened in visiting. Friday came, bringing with it glorious weather, and consequently my congregation was very much larger than I had anticipated. Morning and afternoon service--at the latter several infants were baptized, and there would have been many more had the parents been at home. At 4 A.M. I left in a large boat for Leading Tickles (a distance of fourteen miles), and arrived at noon, tired and hungry, having had a short night's rest and no breakfast before I started. Held service at 5 P.M. the same day (Festival of S. James) in the church, and twice the following day, with several baptisms and one churching.
Monday I was not well, but the following day pushed on to New Bay Head, where I had service and some more baptisms. So much exposure, little rest, hard duty and oftentimes want of proper nourishment, tell on us. Early the next morning my slumber was disturbed by the announcement 'Crew ready, Sir.' A row of twelve miles is again before me, but it is soon accomplished, and I am once more safely landed at Exploit's Burnt Island. I held service in the church at 6 P.M., and on the following day at 11 A.M., when I had two baptisms, and at 6 P.M. called at Black Island, held service and baptized one infant. A crew put me on to Moreton's Harbour, and after an absence of more than three weeks I was restored in safety to my own home.
A recruit of three weeks was all that I took, and seizing the opportunity afforded me by a schooner in the bay, I determined to visit my flock without any delay. I was eight weeks accomplishing this second Visitation. This arose from the fact that I was not, as before, set down at the extreme point of my mission, but had to get there as best I could, and partly because my visit in each place was longer, and because I found out several places where I ought to have called before; and lastly, because the weather was more boisterous (for the season was somewhat advanced when I returned).
At present the prospect appears miserable. The whole of Notre Dame Bay at this moment presents the most gloomy scene. Miles and miles of ice--nowhere a drop of water to be seen--and a fleet of a hundred and fifty vessels--some burning--others thrown out on the ice--many more disabled--is all that meets the eye. Crew after crew are constantly arriving, having abandoned their vessels, seeking an asylum ashore. From what I am told, I fear this spring is likely to be the most disastrous ever known. No seals have been caught! The number of wrecks far exceeds that of 1862."
The mention in the last paragraph of this report of the utter failure of the fisheries is confirmed by the bishop, who wrote in much grief, at this time, of the misery and privation entailed on the people, especially in the out-harbours. The steamers which had recently taken the place of sailing vessels in the seal-fishery came in very late, but without any seals: they had been blocked in the ice until the crews were nearly starved, and their wives and families on shore were in a corresponding condition.
The manner of life which prevails among the fishermen is fatal to thrift and prudence. The prevalence of what is known in England as the "truck system," must keep the people always in debt. The system, however, has been described by a writer who has been quoted more than once in these pages, and this is what Colonel Macrae says of it:--
"The merchant is really no merchant here; that is, no fair speculator; he is simply a great commercial gambler. The planter or middleman imitates his superior on a smaller scale, and the ignorant fisherman follows suit as a matter of course. This system of trade, between the supplier and supplied, began in the first days of the settlement as a fishing colony, when goods, only to be procured from a few rich merchants at the summer stations, were necessarily taken in advance by the fishermen; and unhappily, the same plan of barter still exists, to the detriment of the morality and prosperity of the community. In short, the workman eats his bread before it is earned by the sweat of his brow, and it is not difficult to arrive at the result of such a plan. ... In the spring, before the seal-fishery commences--in May, when the cod are coming in--in November, no matter whether the season has been favourable or not--the fisherman must have supplies for his family: his children must be fed. The merchant once embarked in such a business, has no choice but to continue, or to lose all. He must therefore charge awful profits to remunerate himself against such an awful risk."
A clergyman in the diocese writes:--"The risk of not being paid is so great, that the merchant charges enormous rates for his articles; if he collects two-thirds, or even half, he does remarkably well. Thus one man pays up his account full rates, and another man pays nothing; one man pays two-thirds, another one-third; so that, to use a familiar Newfoundland expression, 'The honest man pays for the rogue.' "
Those of the steamers which escaped came into harbour in June, but the bishop wrote:--"One had been lying on a pan of ice for weeks, the crew in her, or rather with her, as for a considerable part of the time she was lying on her side, and when they got her off she was 100 miles from shore. Of the vessels destroyed, some were crushed, it is said, under the men's feet, others were rafted over by the ice and submerged bodily. The men in some cases had to walk several miles across the ice to join other vessels."
How distressing these events were to the bishop and clergy who desired to make their own the calamities which befell their flocks, may well be imagined: and at the close of the year the Governor appointed a day of fasting and humiliation, in which to implore the Almighty to relieve the famine (for it amounted to famine) which afflicted the land. It serves to show the succession of calamities under which the land lay if it is mentioned that this was the second occasion in two years on which such a day had been observed by the joint authority of the civil and the ecclesiastical authorities.
As early in 1865 as it was possible to attempt navigation another clergyman was sent to the mission at Forteau on the Labrador which for a long winter had been vacant; and at his wonted time the bishop himself set sail, this year intending to visit the north-cast coast, specially the newly founded mission of White Bay and the Labrador. His experiences afloat and ashore are given with much more simplicity in his own language, than could be attained by a summary made by another hand. The following letter was written when the Hawk was homeward-bound:--
"THE CHURCH SHIP, WHITE BAY, 1865.
"Mr. Temple's people are all fishermen, and most of them of the very poorest class, very much owing to their ignorance and want of forethought. They are scattered in different and distant harbours, two, three, or four families in each, along one hundred and twenty miles of coast. Nearly all are professed members of our Church. Generally for four months, and frequently for five or six months, the bays are full of ice. Mr. Temple visits, as he can, each harbour in succession, and remains a week or ten days in each, content with such lodging and fare as the fisherman's hut can supply, and during his stay instructing both old and young in 'the first principles of the doctrine of Christ.' I joined Mr. Temple the first week in July, and with him on board my Church ship visited every harbour in his mission, and had the pleasure of finding four graveyards in different parts of the mission decently fenced and prepared for consecration, and in two harbours well-ordered candidates for Confirmation (eight in one and eighteen in the other). Mr. Temple is now thinking of extending his visit to Quirpon (the extreme northern point of Newfoundland), about sixty or seventy miles more of coast, containing many inhabited harbours, equally destitute of spiritual supervision and supply. His chief aim and object are to make these poor neglected people in some degree acquainted with the truths of the Gospel, and the things which every Christian ought to know and believe for his soul's health, until some better, i.e. more constant, provision can be made, which is much to be desired. . . .
Mr. Rule has only this year gone to his mission. He will have in some respects a more difficult work than Mr. Temple's, as many of his flock are Presbyterians (Free Kirk), and there are also in the Bay of Islands many Roman Catholics. A kind lady in Jersey, who has largely assisted the clergy and their flocks on the Labrador, has put into my hands money for the erection of a church in the Bay of Islands.
Since visiting White Bay, I have been along the whole coast of Labrador in the Battle Harbour and Forteau Missions, and celebrated divine service in sixteen different harbours. In Battle Harbour I consecrated a new church and held Confirmation."
The voyage ended October 15th, having extended to the Labrador and north-east coast of Newfoundland. Six churches and eleven graveyards were consecrated, and Confirmation was administered in thirty-two settlements. "With the winter of 1865-6, the bishop was again due at Bermuda, and the present visit was one of unusual importance. The following letter to the Rev. Canon Seymour will show how keen was the interest which he took in the affairs of the Church at home, and how intelligent his criticisms on the literature and doings of the period:--
"BERMUDA, Feb. 7, 1866.
"My dear Friend,--In the remote Bermudas (which Her Majesty's mails reach only once a month) I generally find, or make leisure, for discharging some arrears of correspondence. Not that I have nothing or little to do, in this smallest and most quiet of colonies (in which there are only nine parishes and ten churches, five rectors, and in all eight clergymen), but the work is not so pressing or the interruptions so frequent, as in the larger and more unsettled part of the diocese; and the longer interval between the arrival of the foreign mail lessens another occasion of anxious and laborious employment. It is now just a year since I received the last of your kind and acceptable communications, which I can assure you (however appearances may be against me) I always hail with pleasure and thankfulness on many accounts, not the least important of which is the additional interest they give to your addresses and speeches in Convocation, as reported in the Guardian. I feel that it is very specially kind in you, while you have so many important subjects and objects which you are so zealously and usefully discussing and promoting in and for the Church at home, to bestow any thought, and much more any time and labour, on me and my small work. And I am always thankful for the information and instruction I derive from your reports and remarks. Among the last of your public speeches, which I have seen, was that on utilizing the cathedrals, which entirely, I think, agrees with my views of what should be done, where the cathedral staff is capable and the bishop has the necessary means and powers. But a still greater desideratum, as it appears to me (though perhaps I shall be accused of thinking too much of my own order) is an increase of the episcopate. If I, in my small (though in one respect very wide) sphere, find it impossible to give that attention to the clergy and their congregations (for the people are my chief care and concern) which they desire and deserve, how can bishops with 800 or 1,000 clergy, and nearly twice as many congregations, not sink under the care and responsibility; or how can they but expect that false apostles, deceitful workers, will arise to draw away disciples after them, even though they might give such an account of their labours and sufferings, as we read in the Epistle of last Sunday morning? for even the holy Apostle's 'more abundant labours' with prayers and fastings could not prevent the interference and intrusion, and the consequent separation and opposition. I do not know what the case is in England (I should very much like to know); but I believe in all the colonies, certainly in the North American, the Methodists increase more rapidly than the Church people. The Congregationalists decline and diminish. The Presbyterians dc not proselytize (though I believe the Free Kirk prey upon the Established Church much as the Methodists do on us, with the same profession of no difference). The Romanists gain only by marriage, and the influence of wives upon their husbands, or husbands upon their wives; but what they gain they keep, and generally the children go with the Roman Catholic parent, whether father or mother, merely, I believe, because the zeal in spirit is on that side. The Baptists in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are very powerful, but happily there are none, or at least no congregation of them, in my diocese--a wonderful circumstance, and no less wonderful comfort. I read with anxiety and alarm the proceedings (as reported or exhibited in the Guardian) of the ritualist and anti-ritualist parties; and my friend Chancellor Massingberd gives me in a letter a description of what he saw in a church in London, at which I hardly knew whether to laugh or cry. Yet much more do I deplore--because the error (as it seems to me) is in itself so much greater, though perhaps in its effects not so injurious--the teaching of the Professor of Ecclesiastical History and those who sympathize with him, who tells us (or, what is worse, his disciples) that 'the fact that the whole Christian world has altered the creed of Nicaea and broken the decree of Ephesus' (both which assertions are incorrect) is a decisive proof that common sense after all is the supreme arbiter and corrective, even of Oecumenical Councils. Here again if the matter were not so grave and sacred, one would be inclined to laugh at the combination of ignorance and conceit. There can, of course, be no question but the Professor, 'after all' considers his own common sense the supreme arbiter and corrective of Oecumenical Councils! Quorsum haec tamputida tendunt?
How long will it be before common sense is made the arbiter and corrective of Holy Scripture--if it be not so reputed already? Can Colenso's discoveries be more sad or strange? I must confess that I have not read a line of his now (I believe) voluminous works, having neither time nor inclination to examine them carefully; and thinking it worse than useless to fill my mind with doubts and difficulties, which it might require more time and learning than I command to remove or resolve, though it is very easy to discover or create them. I must believe that they have been sufficiently answered, as far as necessary, or practicable, considering the antiquity of the record, and the impossibility of comparing it with any contemporary testimony or composition.
These circumstances--I mean the strange novelties in practice, and the bold innovations in doctrine--make me shrink from a much desired visit to my Fatherland and Mother Church, even more than the repulsive reflections upon colonial bishops, who, for the sake of their flocks, far more than for their own pleasure, seek comfort and counsel of or among their kinsmen after the flesh and brethren in the faith."
On Easter Tuesday the bishop delivered his Charge to the Bermuda clergy, not concealing his opinion that the condition of the Church was neither gratifying nor encouraging. The possible action of the Legislature on whom the continuance of the clerical incomes depended, the temptation of the clergy to falter in their testimony and to emasculate their teaching--the growth of Wesleyanism, in no degree lightening the burden of the clergy, while its very increase testified to the insufficiency of their numbers--the position of the coloured population, the state of the Sunday Schools--the lax customs prevailing in regard to the celebration of marriages--which were celebrated in private houses, at uncanonical hours and by the licence of the Governor, weighed heavily on the bishop's heart and led him to ask, "Is all Church feeling to die out in Bermuda?" Leaving matters of strictly local interest, the bishop alluded to the recently condemned works of Dr. Colenso, and "the kindred production" known as Essays and Reviews; but while warning the clergy against the denial, he bade them still more to guard themselves against the neglect, of the Revelation of God. "I should hardly know how to congratulate you on the absence of doubt and denial, if they are prevented only by neglect and indifference."
Scarcely less than the sin of creating doubts and difficulties in respect of the authenticity and authority of Holy Scripture seemed to the bishop the sin of "depreciating the decrees of Councils and Synods by which the Catholic Faith has been cleared and maintained." He then alludes to what had formed part of the letter given above, and writes:--
"With sorrow and shame I confess it, this error prevails in the writings and teachings of some, I cannot say learned, but, much admired professors of my own University. Thus writes Professor Stanley in his Lectures on the Eastern Church, 'the fact (?) that the whole Christian world has altered the creed of Nicaea and broken the decree of Ephesus, without ceasing to be Catholic or Christian, is a decisive proof that common sense is, after all, the supreme arbiter and corrector even of General Councils.' Common sense, it is sometimes said, is the most uncommon sense: but inasmuch as every man, or surely every professor, is supposed to possess it, it is easy to see what would become of our creeds and canons, if the decrees of Councils and Synods were subject to such correctives. To the same Professor we are indebted for the information that the 'Savoy was the cradle of the English Liturgy.' Those who remember the declaration of the Divines assembled at the Savoy, on their separating, re infecta, will acknowledge that a cradle rocked by such nurses would have been a very uneasy one, and that our Book of Common Prayer would have had small chance of coming out of it! I am persuaded that this laxity and latitudinarianism, grounded, as they commonly are, upon ignorance, are offences but one degree less injurious, while they are far more likely to be entertained, than the depreciation or disbelief of Holy Scripture, and it behoves us to be on our guard accordingly."
Returning to local matters, the bishop reprehended the diverse and irregular ways and hours in which baptism was administered--the neglect of pastoral visitation "from house to house and from cabin to cabin"--the lack of Church accommodation in consequence of seats being frequently sold--the absence of decorum in the conduct of divine service, the condition of the office-books in some of the churches, and other shortcomings. "I do not profess," he said, "to sympathize with that fear of giving offence, specially in those whose duty it is to reprove and rebuke, which passes by faults and failings, or extenuates them with an affectation of charity, where charity has no place. I venture to think, and to say, that this fear of giving offence, or, as I would call it, want of moral courage, is one of the evils of this colony, which it is your duty both by precept and example to correct."
Truly on this, as on all other occasions, the courageous prelate was consistent with himself: for having thus spoken plainly unpleasant truths, he concludes his Charge in the following words:--
"I end as I began: I am not sanguine: I entertain but little hope that all, or anything that I have said, will be of use. I wish I could have spoken better, and to better purpose. Perhaps it would have been better if I had spoken less, or less plainly; but when the heart is full the mouth will speak--and mine, at least, will speak out. I have not refrained, and never will refrain, from telling you your duties and dangers, your failings and shortcomings, openly or privately, as the occasion may require and justify; and if in return I receive no thanks, but, as it may be, the reverse, I have the testimony of my conscience that, next to my care and concern for your people, and, let me add, not the least for the poor men of colour, I have no greater desire than to be useful and acceptable to you. In a few days (if it so please God) I shall have left you; and I never left you with greater pain and reluctance; not for any comfort or gratification I have had, or should expect to have, more than usual (God knoweth), but because I perceive and feel, more than ever before, your need of succour and sympathy, of help, direction, and superintendence."
These were friendly smitings indeed, but the known consistency of the speaker gained for them an acceptance which a bishop less courageous, less outspoken, whose ideal was lower, and whose practice was in keeping with such ideal, would have looked for in vain.
In this year (1866), spite of the depressed condition of the colony and diocese, the bishop commenced an Endowment Fund for the Theological College, which from his first arrival in S. John's had been a favourite project. On it he had spent much of his own means, and still more of his time and labours; for many months at a time he had acted as vice-principal when the office was vacant or the holder of it absent in England. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel had annually given the bishop 300?. for the maintenance of this institution, and with this sum he had wholly maintained six students, giving them food, lodging, and tuition, but always, it may be supposed, contributing something considerable from his own means; the college had now earned for itself the respect and esteem of the diocese; each student as he went forth from its walls well trained under the bishop's eye for the work of the ministry, was an additional testimony to its value; and of the present clergy of the island, no small proportion had been educated in this modest college. In spite then of the inauspicious circumstances under which the appeal was made, the answer that was given by the laity was unmistakeable and hearty; the start having been made in Newfoundland, the bishop came in the autumn to England to interest the friends who, after an absence of seven years, still remained to him. In time a total of 7,500l.. was raised, which has placed the institution on a basis as firm as an endowment can afford; as long as it honestly does its work, there is no reason to doubt the permanence of its revenue from this source; and when an institution fails by its use of its funds to justify its possession of them, it is well and righteous that the power vested in all civil governments should relieve it of resources which are not producing their legitimate results.
In this year too he delivered his most famous Charge at S. John's. Although written so soon after the delivery of his Charge at Bermuda, and dealing, as was natural, with the same events of interest to the whole Church, there is only one instance of repetition, and that evidently by design; and in this later utterance, the commanding ability, the practical wisdom, and tolerant spirit with which he dealt with questions that at home almost rent the Church in twain, must lead all to regret that the document was not more widely known in England. The whole address is so very characteristic of the bishop's character and genius that any memoir of his episcopate would be very incomplete which did not notice it at some length.
He began by expressing regret, that while the subjects which should engage the attention of such an assembly as a bishop and clergy in Visitation were now more numerous and of greater interest than formerly, his own opportunities of studying and stating them had been fewer, while the manifold engagements of the clergy in their secluded but extensive missions had given them little leisure for mastering the various questions of the day. Describing the details of his labours on the Visitation of the previous year, the bishop alluded with satisfaction to the number of graveyards which he had consecrated, no fewer than four in one mission; he regarded "the desire to set apart a place for Christian burial as an approach to reverence for holy things, and to an appreciation, or at least apprehension, of the great doctrine of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come; it is perhaps the first step to be taken in outward things in every new mission." The incursions of Wesleyans, who, ashamed of the position of a sect, affected, as other sects have done within the last few years, the title of "Church," was alluded to with regret, but not without an exposure of the worthlessness and presumption of the claims of this body to divinely-appointed orders and ordinances. For the avowal of separation now made, but for long desired, the bishop was thankful, "both on. account of their congregations and our own;--on account of theirs, because there is more hope that the difference, being perceived and understood, may convince some of their error and danger; and of ours, because none can any longer doubt of the character and pretensions of modern Wesleyanism, or fail to perceive how unreal revivals are but efforts to recruit or sustain an unreal Church; and our duty in regard of both Wesleyans and our own congregations now is not to prove that there is a difference--for that is admitted or cannot be denied--but to show what the difference is, and wherein consists the error and danger of the separation." On this ground he bids the clergy study the principles and teaching of John Wesley, and acquaint themselves with the several degrees of departure from his injunctions, by which his nominal followers have grown into "The Wesleyan Church!"
For the support of the majority of the clergy in m's diocese the bishop mentioned (and the painful fact suppressed in his mind any feelings of congratulation at their numerical increase) that they were dependent "upon the shillings and pence of artizans and labourers in England, collected by persons on whom we have no claim, and whose work and labour of love is performed in our behalf on the supposition that our congregations cannot in truth provide for us--that is, for themselves. How far that supposition is correct is a question which ought to be asked and answered, if we are to maintain our standing and prosper in our work."
In regard to schools the bishop said, that with the exception of Sunday schools, as members of the Church of England they had none. Large legislative grants were made to the Colonial and Continental Church Society year after year for the support of their schools, "on the supposition that they are ordered and directed according to the rules and principles of the Church of England." How far that supposition was justified the bishop showed by his own experience. "I visited, as permitted by the rules of the Society, a school of girls; was kindly and respectfully received by the mistress, and was invited by her to examine a class; but when I would have gone forward for that purpose (and there are few duties in which I take greater pleasure), the mistress informed me, very properly, that the teacher of that class belonged to the Wesleyan Church! What could I do or say? Should I offend her feelings and convictions, or forget my own character and office? I thought it kinder to her and to her pupils, and better and safer for myself, to retire. I might, indeed, have asked some questions in grammar or arithmetic, or have propounded some general Bible truths; but how could I or any clergyman, in such circumstances, have sustained the character or discharged the obligations of a minister of the Church of England?"
On the question, so much debated since the bishop's Charge was delivered, of the position of the celebrant at the time of consecration of the Holy Eucharist, the bishop's views were singular. He had no sort of doubt that what is known as the "eastward position "was the proper one, but he laid great stress on the people being able to see the manual acts of the priest. He said: "The action prescribed is one of sacred significance, and the people may desire and, I think, require to see it done." His custom from the commencement of his ministerial life was to stand facing east, but to turn towards the people during the actions of breaking the bread, coram populo, and of taking the cup into his hands.
[The bishop maintained his views with much ability in a correspondence in the Guardian. Probably his practice was in this respect singular, and it seems strange that one who was in all things so full of reverence should have thought it well to allow, and even to encourage, people to gaze on the manual acts of the priest at this most solemn function. It is interesting to compare with this the opinion of the late Bishop of Bombay, who dealt some years later (1874) with the same question:--
["I believe that the 'eastward position,' like the use of a special vestment, is at once in accordance with the Rubric and the most suitable expression of the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, the priest, who thus stands representing the relations which he holds as the leader and representative of the people, going on as if in front of them into God's presence, and carrying them, in union with Christ, the sole High Priest, up to the very throne of God. And as for the common objection involved in the phrase 'turning his back upon the people,' it is enough to remind objectors, that colonels at the head of their regiments cast no insult on their soldiers when they go before them, nor those who head a charge, when they show the way to those who follow after."]
The judgments given in England in the Colenso case, which declared the Letters Patent creating dioceses, or appointing bishops with ecclesiastical jurisdiction in colonies possessing independent legislatures, to be ultra vires, caused much consternation both at home and abroad. To the Bishop of Newfoundland they gave no alarm nor disquietude. The less a man understands or realizes the divine character of the episcopate and the priesthood, the more prone he is to seek for the support and the bondage of civil legislation; happily the abolition of letters patent, now accomplished, will tend to lead such persons to higher studies. How vain is all secular legislation when it enters into the province of ecclesiastical matters, the contradictions and absurdities, and even the scandals of so-called judgments, contradictory to each other and in defiance of the plain meaning of words, abundantly prove; only in what is known as consensual jurisdiction can we hope to find the discipline and subordination necessary for the well-being of the Church. Bishop Feild was quite content with this, and conceived that he had it. "On arriving in Newfoundland," he said, "I was owned and accepted by the clergy as their bishop; they submitting to me their Licences and Letters of Orders, and renewing the promise of canonical obedience; this, of itself, was and is sufficient; I wanted, and want, no other authority. As for the title, the coercive jurisdiction, as it is called, and other matters of that nature, said to be improperly granted by the letters patent, I require them not, being well persuaded that considerations of this kind did not enter your mind in making before God and the congregation that solemn declaration and promise, the Lord being your Helper, reverently to obey your Ordinary."
But after an episcopate of twenty-two years, the bishop looked to other bonds which in his case bound the clergy to himself, and with true feeling he added, "If I might venture in this much lower sense and application to adopt the words of an Apostle, I would say, 'If I be not a bishop unto others, yet doubtless I am to you.' To the large majority of you the office and work of a priest in the Church of God were committed by my hands. From me you received authority to preach the Word of God, and to minister the Holy Sacraments in the congregation; and you cannot, I conceive, claim and maintain your authority, or exercise your office, without a due acknowledgment of the source from which they were derived, both your office and authority--or without a like acknowledgment of your obligations, I mean, of canonical obedience and submission. It would be very grievous to me to think that I am now addressing you as any officer of state; or that you receive my admonitions and advice only in that light and on that ground, or that we require or desire any other bond of union than that of our spiritual relationship."
Descending to lesser matters, the bishop enjoined the clergy to notify, as directed by the Rubric, the Fasting days as well as the Festivals to be observed in the week following, and expressed a hope, that, as a few years previously Holy-days, now so generally observed, were unnoticed, so in time Fast-days would be as diligently kept; for "surely none can suppose that any branches or members of Christ's Church on earth are entitled, and in a condition to keep Holy-days with feast and festival, without some corresponding seasons of fast and humiliation."
On the subject of Confession, the bishop's words were very plain and definite. He reminded the clergy of the invitation which they were instructed to make when giving warning of the celebration of the Holy Communion, and "I need scarcely add," he said, "we are equally bound to hear and consider the grief of all who come in answer to that invitation. It is not with you a question of opinion, or of choice, but of duty; and shame to that minister who through ignorance or indifference shrinks from or neglects it. Does anyone who has received the authority and commission hesitate in misconceived humility--thinking rather of himself than his Master, or of his own ability or inability rather than of the gift and grace of God,--does any minister of Jesus Christ hesitate, in his Master's name, to absolve the penitent?--and does he think nothing of pronouncing over the child conceived and born in sin, 'I baptize thee, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost'? Is it so much more presumptuous, when the same Lord has given us the commission to say, 'I absolve thee'? Did not the same Lord who said to his Apostles, 'Go ye and make disciples of all nations baptizing them,' say also to them, the same Apostles, 'Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them'?"
With regard to the "Ornaments of the Church, and of the Ministers thereof," the bishop was clearly of opinion that it was "the intention, or rather perhaps the wish, of those who undertook the last revision of the Prayer-book to restore the symbolical ornaments of the church, and appropriate habits of the clergy, specially in the chancel and ministration of the Holy Communion." On this vexed question, to which he ascribed much less importance than has been assigned to it in this country, the bishop commended the counsels of him "whose white stole now hangs--shall I say mourns?--over his vacant stall in the, church which he built by the proceeds of that book, from which thousands have learnt, and thousands in generations to come shall learn, to value and honour more and more all our Services for the Christian year. Hear his words, among the last which he wrote and published,--'On these and all like matters we shall perhaps do well to accept the counsel of our Church in her first reformed Liturgy concerning another main point of Christian discipline: Such as are satisfied with the more modern and plainer ritual not to be offended with them that adopt the more ornate and symbolical requirements of the Rubric; they, on the other hand, who find comfort and edification in the ceremonies, to bear with their brethren, who, for various reasons, think best to dispense with them for the present.'"
As has been already mentioned, late in the year 1866 the bishop came to England. He was a passenger on board the Great Eastern steamer., which had laid the Telegraphic Cable of 1866, and recovered and completed the cable of 1865. He preached a sermon on board, which he dedicated to Sir Daniel Gooch and the other directors of the Telegraph Company, the subject being The. dangers of man's wisdom and knowledge. His days in this country were incessantly occupied with travelling and correspondence; for although it was hateful to him to stand on a platform, and he much preferred preaching in a village church, or talking to a few people in a schoolroom, yet in this instance the interests of his diocese were concerned, and he refused no possible invitations; he did not shrink from preaching in cathedrals and large churches, with the pecuniary results already mentioned, and much sympathy was thus evoked for the diocese in which he had laboured so continuously.
In December of this year he held an Ordination for the Diocese of Exeter, at the request of the aged Bishop Phillpotts.