Project Canterbury






S E R M O N ,



JUNE 15, 1852.


The Third Jubilee










By Request.






EZRA iii., 11-23.

"And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people."

MANY difficulties had been overcome, and a great work had been in great measure accomplished, when these blended shouts of joy and sobs of weeping were heard amongst the Jews. In exact accordance with the word of prophecy, but beyond all human expectation, they had returned from the distant banishment of their captivity to the inheritance of their fathers. They had exchanged the dull plain of the Euphrates with its sluggish streams, and its mournful willows, for the vines and fig-trees of their own beloved land "of fountains and depths that sprang out of valleys and hills," [Deut. viii. 7.] and instead of the vast emblems and hateful instruments of the Heathen's idolatry, their glad eyes now looked again upon the altar of the God of [3/4] Abraham set firmly on its basis. Manifestly one great stage in the work of their restoration had been happily accomplished; and they paused, as men naturally will at such a crisis, to look back upon the way which God had led them, and to look around on the station they had reached. Widely different were the emotions which the sight awoke in different hearts. The old men, as became their age, remembered sadly former glories and earlier anticipations, and dwelt, with feelings in which thankfulness broke forth into sobs and weeping, rather on the imperfections than on the glories of their work; whilst to the younger men the present, unstained by these recollections of the past, was bright with all the golden hues of joyful expectation. It is well worth noticing, that whilst the old men's grateful tears honored their God as really as the young men's shouts of praise, yet that these last were after all the truest to the fact; for that whilst to "the eyes of those who had seen that house in her past glory this house was in comparison as nothing," yet that to the opened glance of God's prophet it was even now revealed, that "the glory of this latter house should be greater than that of the former." [Haggai iii. 9.] But by both God was glorified. For these must ever be the mingled feelings of those who work really for Him, when at any period of their work they pause and look around on what He has enabled them to do. At such a time pure exultation and absolute dejection are alike out of place. Shouts of joy which pass into sobs, and tears which tell of humbled but grateful recollection, are the meetest temper in which such as we can offer to our God such services as we can render.

[5] Such then, my brethren, should be our temper to-day in the services of this beautiful and glorious temple of our God. For we are at one of these crises of our work; we close to-day our Third Jubilee; we meet together to offer up to God with a contrite thankfulness the services of these three, half centuries, and the special efforts of this year of Jubilee; we pause to see whither God has led us; and for us too, as we look upon our work, upon its poverty and imperfections, and yet on its extent, reality, and blessing, tears and sobs may well mingle with songs of praise, and through all should be breathed out the earnest prayer,-Only may He accomplish all the parallel, and in crease upon us in the latter end, in ways beyond our understanding, the presence of His glory, exalting and accomplishing our work.

If, then, this be the right temper for our minds, it must be a proper time for us to mark some of the chief imperfections which have hindered our service, as well as some of those brighter features which may at once fill our hearts with hope, and help to direct us in our further course.

First, then, for some of the leading imperfections of our work.

Now in entering upon this subject of the imperfections of our services, I may say at once, in the first place, that a work which is, so much as this is, the coming forth of the Church's inner spiritual life, must, by the inevitable laws of the kingdom of grace, bear about it marks of the sins and infirmities which at that time weaken, the spiritual life of the Church. We shall therefore surely find repeated in this our work the transcript of our own beset ting sins: our secularity, our love of ease, our want of self-denial, our low estimate or unbelief of the spiritual [5/6] character and power of Christ's Church, our indistinct apprehensions of her distinctive doctrines, our low sense of the power of the Cross of Christ, and of the indwelling of God the Holy Ghost in His regenerate people, our want of love to Christ, our feeble impress of His Cross and passion, our weak faith, our fainting love to our brethren, our narrowed and restrained gifts of God's Holy Spirit, our too great self-love, and too little readiness to spend and be spent for Christ's sake;--each of these will stamp its own impress on our work marring and blemishing what we offer to our God. But to use this truth most practically, let us endeavor to see in detail some of the special forms of weakness in which our own spiritual evils have in fact made themselves manifest.

And first of these, how scanty has our work been when weighed against our opportunities! If we set ourselves in thought amongst those holy men to whom three centuries ago God gave grace through the voice of his Holy Word and the fires of their own martyrdom to restore the faith of purer times to the then corrupted Church of this nation, and if we could have foretold them that in the next three hundred years their children should people the continent of North America, filling all its wide extent with the language, manners, and institutions of England; that they should own the islands of the sea; should occupy the distant Cape of Southern Africa; should rule over the vast peninsula of India, and possess the isles and continents of Australasia; that the winds of heaven which had just scattered on their shores the Invincible Armada, should waft daily into every haven of the sea, the ships of their merchant princes; and that the sobbing breath of every evening breeze should carry round the earth the [6/7] drum-beat of their soldiers; what would they have undoubtedly expected at the consummation of so wonderful a vision? Surely they would have said, "Doubtless God has freed us from the corruptions which had overspread Western Christendom, and given us back His word in our own tongue, and His faith in its primitive simplicity, that through this wonderful increase and dominion, our beloved Church may become the mightiest instrument in His hands for spreading His truth throughout the world."

How reasonable! Alas! how frustrated an expectation For, compared with such anticipations, how scanty has our work been! Where are nations born through us into the faith? where is there not the same sight?-a little work done; feeble and divided efforts blest far above their deserving; but still effecting little against the mass of evil; the struggling for the most part of separate saints, some times, indeed, doing mightily, but still, each as with a single sword, not the onset of the Church's host marching with the ark of God before it to take possession of the land of promise. So much then for this first imperfection, which may lead our thoughts to others as its cause.

For next, how LATE was our service! In this, as in so many other matters, the curse wherewith popery had cursed us, even after we had cast off its direct tyranny, lay long and heavy on our Church and nation. For FIRST, our enforced severance from Western Christendom, tended grievously to foster our insular exclusiveness, and to turn our thoughts from foreign labours. THEN we had to strive for our own existence as a Church against our vigilant bitter Roman foe. And THEN AGAIN the rebellious spirit aroused amongst ourselves by the natural revulsion, which [7/8] followed on the overthrow of that long tyranny, never ceased to haunt us until it subverted for a while out altar and our throne; and brake, as dishonored instruments, the rod of guidance, and the censer of intercession. Nor to this day has all this evil been removed; for even when of God's goodness our altars were rebuilt, there was left around them a separated multitude, which still weakens all our efforts. Any great and united efforts of our people, as a people, are still made impossible by the wide prevalence around us of dissent and unbelief--Rome's two-fold legacy of evil to our Church and Nation, the suffering it inflicted on us when the evil spirit of the papacy, "bruising us, hardly departed from us." [Luke ix. 39.] And then, further; even when three half centuries ago we did, through this Society, begin this too-long retarded work, how incomplete, and, therefore, how faithless were our efforts! If the organization of the Church be not a preferable accident, but a divine condition, it follows of course that all her missionary labors, to be en titled to that full success which waits on God's blessing, must be carried on by that organization in its perfectness. There must be no choosing by us which part of Christ's appointments we will select for use: no deeming that Bishops may be needful at home, but that presbyters will suffice for foreign work. There must be a perception that for this great attempt, the very best of all instruments of service are required. Now they who acted thoroughly on this principle would have sent out to evangelize the world, not only chosen saints, but those chosen saints in the perfectness of the Divine order. The Apostolic office would have been felt to be every whit as heedful as Apostolic gifts or graces. But what did we do? To our colonies we sent, thank [8/9] God, many faithful pastors, who labored in the evil day as men set singly to the work could labor; whose names are prized, whose memories are honored, whose graves are visited in the far off lands in which they labored; but who, one by one, entered on their rest, not having founded a truly native Church, because we so faithlessly refused, (let America bear witness,) even to the most earnest longings and entreaties, the Episcopate appointed by our Lord. And whilst we thus treated our colonial brethren, for the heathen we supported teachers of another blood, whom we did not even seek to strengthen with the grace of rightfully transmitted orders. Thus, we preached Christianity as a philosophy, instead of planting it as a Church; the fruit of which has been, that, in some districts, as in Southern India, for example, we have seen it, like any other merely human philosophy, wither and fade away with the life or influence of its earliest teachers, instead of reproducing it self when they were taken to their rest, in the next gene ration, by its own inherent vitality and gifts of living Grace. Whilst this has been the effect in some districts, in others, when at last we have sent out pastors, clothed with the Apostolic office, our Bishops (through the evil tradition we had so long established) are and have been sorely harassed in their efforts to teach their wandering flocks, that to be 1 to Christ's Church is not merely to entertain certain opinions, but to live indeed faithfully in a divinely constituted body, wherein the inner spiritual life of their own souls is quickened and maintained by gifts of God's Grace, which are conveyed to them in their use of outward instruments of His appointment, and which do truly join all its faithful members to each other and to Him.

And then, to note but one more mark of imperfection and [9/10] instrument of weakness, how have our services lacked, alas! how do they still lack, that grace of unity, with which, more perhaps than with any other, both in the word of God and in the experience of the Church, any great success in the evangelization of the world has always been connected! See, brethren, how marked is the connection. For is it not written in the word of God, "That they all may be one, as thou Father art in Me, and I in THEE, that they also may be ONE in us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me?"-and again: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another?"-and again: was it not "when they were all with one accord in one place" that "the Holy Ghost fell upon them?" And was not the Apostle's rule for our success, "That ye stand fast in one Spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel?" And how has the Church's history been the fulfilment of such words as these? What nations, as nations, have yielded to the faith, since the visible unity of the Church has been for its sins permitted to be well nigh lost? And at this day, what so weakens all our own efforts, what so hinders our success, as our miserable divisions? Surely, without stopping here for a single moment to apportion the sin which they must needs imply to this party or that, we must with shame and grief confess this truth. We have earnestness enough to make some real sacrifice; we have gifts enough to do some great work towards the spreading of the heavenly kingdom, if we were not too divided to combine and conquer. If the sects did not too often watch us and each other with a jealousy keener than their zeal [10/11] against a common foe; if, alas! within our own body, section did not carp at section, and even good men lose sight of the cause of Christ, in their zeal for the prosperity of their favored society, what might we not effect for God and for our brethren? Who can estimate the measure in which these our sinful strifes banish from us the indwelling strength of the ever-blessed Spirit of unity? Who can limit the success which might accompany His working, even by our feeble hands, if there were but restored to us the gift of a true brotherly union and concord. Surely, then, this day, when we once more review our past steps, and estimate our present state, it must be our especial duty to bewail before our merciful God these imperfections of our services. Surely, when we call to mind what was that earlier temple of the Apostolic Church, how large in its in-gathering of souls, how prompt in its beginnings, how perfect in its order, how vigorous in its faith, how unbroken in its unity, we too, like the ancients of the restored captivity, may weep with a loud voice, even on our day of Jubilee, at such a sight as this of our degenerate building.

And yet with that sound of weeping should there not be for us also voices of men that shout for joy?-Yes, blessed be God, there should be, and there are. For too scanty as our work is, compared with what it should be, yet is it in itself great, real, and increasing. Late as we began it, yet for three half centuries has God received from us its thankful offering. It is no little thing to have been enabled to plant the Church of Christ throughout North America. It is no light blessing to have been permitted to accompany every where throughout the world England's too irreligious colonization with the blessed seed of the Church's life. So that even for the extent of our work, with all its scantiness, [11/12] we may indeed bless God. And then, further, long as it was before we strove to plant any where the Church in her perfectness, yet now, thank God, we have through our colonial bishoprics begun indeed to do His work, in His own way. The earth, which is girdled by our colonies, is beginning to be gemmed by our colonial sees. This year of Jubilee has brought its own blessing; our work has been more supported, and aided largely by parishes as parishes. For this, too, let us this day bless God: and that not so much for the £1000 a week of added resources, which He has poured into our coffers, as that by means of this increase we have, we trust, already been enabled to add three new sees to our colonial episcopate, and to aid in founding various colleges from whence may issue forth through all lands that only true means of converting nations, a native clergy to minister amongst their brethren. And for our last and greatest imperfection, for our own separations, many as are still, alas our divisions, yet are marks of unity appearing and increasing with us. How full of hope and humble joy is this day's new and glorious sight! Oh, that the blessed Spirit of our God would open and enlarge our hearts to feel and know all its blessedness For is it not the wiping off of one stain on our beloved Church at which the finger of triumphant scorn has all too often pointed? Surely, to-day "The Lord hath looked on" us, "to take away our reproach amongst men. Surely, to-day, "the barren hath borne seven." Surely, it is written for us to-day, "Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband." For this has often been made our reproach, that [12/13] after all we are but the so-called Church of a single nation, having no community of life with any other part of Christendom, and wanting, therefore, altogether, that capital mark of our acceptance that we have direct communion with the "Holy Church which throughout all the world doth acknowledge Christ." Now, false as this may undoubtedly be shown to be on other grounds also, how is it sufficiently and visibly confuted by the goodly sight of this day! For around this our altar of thanksgiving are heard to-day the voices of Bishops from every quarter of the globe, blending with ours in these our solemn services. Here are gathered with us the chief pastors of that long persecuted branch of Christ's Holy Church, which ministers His Word and Sacraments to the chosen company which God has kept to the Apostles' fellowship in our own northern Britain. [The Bishops of Edinburgh, Argyll, Glasgow, and Moray.] Here are two of our brethren, who, having spent freely their health and strength in God's service in that far land, have returned from setting up and ruling over the Church at Bombay and Madras, to witness to us of God's work in distant India. [The Bishops Carr and Spencer, late of Bombay and Madras.] Here, to-day, near us in body, with us in spirit, though kept at the last moment from actual presence by the exhausting effects of his rarely equalled services, is one whose apostolic chair and apostolic labours have been set up, and owned by our Lord, in the farthest distance of extremest Africa. [The Lord Bishop of Cape Town.] Here, too, from the other side of the Atlantic, of our own blood, and in fall communion with ourselves, minister with us before the Lord, Bishops and Presbyters of that daughter [13/14] Church, which having spread her rule through all the wide extent of North America, is gathering there her sons on every side, and thrusting forth her apostolic laborers even to Africa and China. [The Bishops of Michigan and Western New-York. The Rev. Dr. Wainwright and others.] Surely, God has looked upon us to take away our too-long-endured reproach of spiritual barrenness. Surely, in this prosperity of our daughter Church, there is special comfort for us in our sad but necessary separation from the company of Christ's people in so many lands. For is not this our parting from others, and our breaking forth into this western progeny, a visible fulfilment of the Psalmist's words, "Instead of thy fathers thou shalt have children, whom thou mayest make princes in all lands?" Have we not, since we were so rudely parted by papal violence from older fellowships, been given by God this abundant offspring whom we see to-day made by His grace the spiritual princes of His Holy Church in all distant lands?

But then, once more, my brethren, there is here matter for our future guidance, as well as for our present joy. Such gifts of God as those which are this day poured out upon us must not only be received with thankfulness, they must also be used with diligence. They are cheering mercies, but they are also stirring calls to duty. Does not this day's gathering repeat to us as a body spiritual, from the very mouth of God, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it?" Does it not call us, that is to say, to more abundant labors in this work of God, so manifestly committed to us? And again: does it not call us to labor more directly as a Church, with all the distinctive doctrines, instruments and ordinances, and [14/15] appointments of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church? For see how God has blessed us in all such labors. Never have our hands been allowed to plant the seed of Christian truth abroad, as they have been since we sought to plant it by those who could stand up in the Apostles' place, with the Apostles' office. Surely it is half our gladness this day that in ministering thus with our brethren from India, from South Africa, and the far distant West, those early times of which we have so often read with longing hearts, in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, seem to be again dawning on us, when "men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" come back again to our "Jerusalem, and are received of the Church, and of the Apostles and elders," and declare to us "all things that God hath done with them." [See the two deeply interesting Visitation Tours of the Lord Bishop of Cape Town, published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.]

Never did we succeed in spreading the truth throughout America, till we gave to it that sacred order which has sent back two of its now goodly number to mingle their thanksgivings with ours on this our day of Jubilee. Let us learn, then, this our lesson:--that if we would do God's work successfully, we must do it in His way; that it is when the broken efforts of individuals and societies have run most truly up into the Church's action, that most has been, and will be effected; that there is the greatest danger lest man's inventions should first clog and then supersede the acting of that body, with which alone is the promised presence and mighty working of God the Holy Ghost; that the path of Faith is the only path of victory; and that whether men approve or hi a-me, Faith must lead us to [15/16] attempt the pulling down of the strongholds of heathendom, in a simple reliance on His blessing for the issue, by the instruments, and in the manner appointed by the Lord.

Again, let us learn this lesson: first, that we long and pray more earnestly for the restoration of a visible unity to Christ's Church throughout the world; and next, that we seek to increase, by every lawful means, such unity between ourselves and all other branches of Christ's Church, which do not make its visible perfectness impossible, by requiring as the terms of communion that we admit as His truth, what God's word and the primitive Church condemn with us as errors and corruptions. This day's united service, brethren, is a promise of such unity. But we have much to do for its perfection. There are still legal and external hindrances [See Appendix.] to unity-the lingering badges of past jealousy and separation-which, according to our power, we should diligently labor to remove. Above all, there is around us and within ourselves the accursed leaven of self-exaltation, strife, jealousy, and sullen separation. Against these, then, let us resolve in all lawful ways to strive. For deep is the mischief which these, unchecked, must work: first in our own souls, then in our own branch of the Christian community, and then more widely still, in injuring or retarding the spread of Christ's kingdom. For it has beer through such channels that the greatest past schisms and corruptions have entered, divided, and defiled the Church. The self-exaltation of imperial and metropolitan cities, like some dire infection, tainted the Church within them, and led first to the [16/17] division of the East and West, and then to the unchecked up-growth of Papal corruption, and thus to the darkness and division which now, on every side, perplexes Christendom. And what branch of Christ's Church can be in such danger of copying this example of self-exaltation as that of this rich imperial and metropolitan nation? Watchful eyes may see even now already working in some of our distant missions the beginnings of such evil. Already there is danger of self-assumption claiming as our own other Churches' fields of labor, and thrusting ourselves into their portion of the mighty harvest-field. Close behind such self-assumption are the fertile brood of arrogant divisions, and then corruptions of the Faith, and a candle stick removed. Let us watch, then, against these evils. Surely God has brought us thus together, from every end of the earth, to help us against this temptation; to make us feel how much we have to learn from each other; how greatly we may direct each other's labors, supply each other's wants, kindle each other's zeal, and quicken each other's love. Surely, He has assembled us together in this Church to-day to help us in this blessed work. Oh! beloved brethren, for one strong voice of united prayer in this our Holy Eucharist, to cleave the heaven above us, and, through the intercession of our Lord, to draw down on us the outpouring of the Eternal Spirit, in all His gifts of might, and unity, and love. Oh that every soul amongst us may win this day some deliverance and freedom from the narrowness and weakness of self, and party, and earthliness! Oh that each one may be strengthened to cast away some besetting sin, to conquer some lingering infirmity! Oh that on each one may be more deeply stamped his [17/18] Master's cross; that each one may drink in larger draughts of faith, and love, and zeal, and nobleness, and brotherly affection, which may help, refresh, and strengthen him hereafter for many a day of arduous solitary service! Oh that from this glorious temple, as from that "upper room" of old, faithful witnesses may go forth, as from a second Pentecostal gathering, filled with the Holy Ghost, east and west, and north and south, to America and Scotland, to Canada, Madras, and Africa, and China, bearing to men of every tongue of divided humanity, Christ's communion in its certainty, Christ's message in its simplicity, Christ's Sacraments in their purity, Christ's Church in its integrity! Then may we hope that with us, as with those who wept and shouted with a shout together, over the foundations of their second temple, the latter end shall be more glorious than was the beginning; that the Lord may say again:

"The glory of the latter house shall be greater than of the former; and in this place will I give peace; [Hagg. ii 9.] that our labors may hasten on, and usher in Messiah's long expected coming; that Pentecost itself with all its glories, may be surpassed by Advent-the Lord's departure by His glad return; that on His waiting Church, purified and gathered into one, it may be through the terrors of the last and mightiest persecution, the light of His revealed Presence shall at last dawn, drawing to Himself every soul which He hath saved; and gathering all, (oh! that it might be so with every soul now worshipping within this house of prayer!) for ever, into the unbroken unity, unsallied holiness, and uninterrupted blessedness of the Eternal City, where "the nations of them which are saved [18/19] shall walk in the light;" where "there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face: and his name shall be in their foreheads: and they shall reign for ever and ever." [Rev. xxi. 24. Rev. xxii. 3-5.]


"There are still legal and external hindrances to unity." Such the present legal impediments to the services of Clergy, both of Scotch and American ordination, in our Church, undoubtedly must be considered. The evils against which these restrictions were meant to guard might easily be prevented, without the present breach of unity, by requiring the license of the Archbishop of the province and the Bishop of the diocese, before any Clergyman, in Scotch or American Orders, should hold cure of souls in our own Church. The present state of the law, as affecting Clergymen of Scotch ordination, is sketched out in the following extract from a communication, made to me, by a member of that Church:

"The Episcopal Church of Scotland is the daughter, so far as Orders are concerned, of the Church of England, having received her present line of Bishops from Archbishop Leighton and his colleagues, consecrated at Lambeth in 1661.

"Until the Revolution of 1688, when the Scottish Church was disestablished, the connection between the Episcopal Churches of the two countries seems to have been without impediment. Many penal acts were passed affecting the Episcopal Church, in consequence of her attachment in Scotland to the House of Stuart; but none of these bore reference to the relations of the Episcopal Church there to that of England, so far as I am aware.

"But in 1792, an Act was passed removing many penalties under which the Church of the North labored, which affected her connection with her sister in the South; especially in the provision that Clergy ordained by any other than an English Bishop, should not be eligible to the cure of souls in that country. The perfect connection of the two Churches was thus broken, and a step taken which led to confusion; of great detriment to the Church in Scotland. The [21/22] provisions of this Act do not seem to have extended to the Church of Ireland. In 1840, a Bill was passed for re-establishing connection between the Church of England and the Episcopal Church of Scotland, by permitting the Clergy of Scotland to officiate, under certain restrictions, in England. It has not, however, had the effect of uniting and identifying the interests of the two Churches, from the imperfect extent of its operations. And, although quite unintentionally, it has had the effect of embarrassing the relations of the Episcopal Church of Scotland with that of Ireland, before unaffected by civil legislation inasmuch as while leaving open the power of a Scottish Clergyman to hold cure of souls in Ireland, and to be instituted to preferment there it forbids their officiating save under a limited time.

"The Act of 1840 cannot, therefore, be looked upon as a final measure. It is very desirable that means should be taken, which, preventing an improper influx of Scottish Clergy, should yet restore the communion of the Churches to that Catholic original which received a priest in the one as a priest in the other, enabled to exercise in either branch of the parent stock his holy functions."

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