Project Canterbury

From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton (Volume 1),
edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914, pp.

Christian and Catholic

Introduction to the Cathedral Edition

It has been a very great privilege to be allowed to collect the writings of Bishop Grafton.

The spiritual opportunity in so humble an occupation as reading the proof for this edition has been to take a course in theology, and to learn the deep spiritual convictions of a long life that was consecrated with unswerving consistency to the service of Jesus Christ for the extension of His Kingdom in the hearts and lives of his fellow-men by the bonds of the life-giving sacraments of the Holy Catholic Church.

We have undertaken to gather Bishop Grafton’s literary remains in a uniform edition of eight volumes that includes a volume of his Sermons and Letters. A volume of miscellanies could be increased to two or three, but in writing for so many different occasions the same teaching was often repeated in altered form. In order to avoid repetition it was necessary to omit much that might otherwise have been included, but it has been our aim to preserve all that the Bishop taught in his writings without diminution or alteration.

The value of his writings is largely due to the representative character of his life. It was representative, in a broad and large way, of the Church’s work. It illustrates for the individual and the Church the results of loyalty to our Catholic heritage. He would be the first to deny any originality in his writings. He ever sought to be loyal and bear faithful witness to "the Faith once for all delivered to the Saints."

The value of the personal equation was his ability to translate that teaching into the terms of modern thought, and to indicate the manner of its application to the life and problems of to-day.

In his autobiography, so aptly called, "A Journey Godward," he indicates his early environment as Puritan and Calvinistic. From this he revolted in early manhood and, as is often the case, he gave his allegiance to that form of Church teaching and service that emphasizes the Church’s differences from Protestantism rather than Her resemblance to the modern religious bodies and movements about Her.

It was always his contention that the Church held a stronger position and was more likely to succeed by showing that she had something to give those outside Her Communion. He thought that it was more statesmanlike as well as loyal to Her standard to uphold Her Catholic heritage and privileges rather than to represent Her as one of many denominations.

After ten years of devoted service in Maryland he went to England and threw himself into the second stage of the Oxford movement that inaugurated Parochial Missions and founded Religious Communities. For seven years he took the training and experience that an active part in this work gave him.

It was always a satisfaction to him to have known Dr. Pusey, and to have assisted him in services, so that he was able to answer those who raised the question, that Dr. Pusey not only loyally set forth the Catholic faith and teaching of the Church, but also used all the traditional ceremonial that accompanied and illustrated that teaching, as lights, incense, vestments and acts of adoration.

He returned to Boston in 1872 and for sixteen years proved himself a past master in the art and generalship of organizing and developing a great city parish. Opposition from within and without led to the development of two strong parishes where one weak one had been before. Both may be counted as monuments to his zeal and devotion and Christian forbearance. The Church throughout New England was stronger and better for his wise leadership.

Then for twenty-three years he served his Master as Bishop of Fond du Lac. We are still under the spell of his influence, and it is impossible to estimate the value of that on the American Church. That he remade a diocese and set an example that many seek to emulate, that his influence on legislation was statesmanlike, that the Canons on Provinces, Religious Orders, and many others were his drafting, and that he warded off much adverse legislation is well known. His writings during the later years of his episcopate circulated throughout the Anglican Communion. That he will rank as one of the great leaders we cannot doubt. He was the first Monk to be made a Bishop since the Reformation, and he earnestly strove to restore all spiritual privileges in the Church.

In his published works the Bishop aimed at the practical and useful rather than the scholarly.

Volume one of this edition, "Christian and Catholic," is most valuable because it is a well adapted work in Apologetics. It aims to meet the present need for a readable book on the grounds of Religion, the Christian Religion, and the Catholic Religion distinguished on the one hand from Protestantism and on the other from Romanism. So well adapted for present needs has it proved that one Bishop wrote from Australia that he was giving it to his Lay readers to use in place of sermons.

Volume two, "The Lineage of the American Catholic Church," is intended as an exposition of the essential marks of the Church, and the turning points in Her history that seemed most important to stress at this time. It has been eagerly read, and especially by those outside Her Communion. Her historical continuity, essential Catholicity, and national peculiarities have been treated with clearness and loyalty.

Volume three, "A Catholic Atlas," is a theological prompter and analysis of the entire field of theology. It is well called an Atlas and is like a geographical and topographical Chart of Christian Dogma. It has proved most valuable to theological students, and to parochial clergy in preparing outlines for courses of Instruction, Lectures, and Sermons

Volume four, "A Journey Godward," is the revelation of a long life dedicated to the service of Christ and His Church in early manhood, and consistently true to that gift of Himself to the closing hours of life and his viaticum.

With all the enthusiasm of youth he gave himself to the Religious life and kept the threefold vows to the end. He founded a number of Communities, though contrary to his own desires deprived at least by circumstances beyond his control of the held and companionship of Community life.

His consistency and singleness of purpose was indicated by the fact that friends of his early days loyally supported his efforts to the end.

Volume five gathers up his teaching on the Religious life.

Volume six, his practice as a priest at the Altar and his Missionary pamphlets known as the Fond du Lac Tracts.

Volume seven contains selections from his Correspondence. It begins with an essay on the Slavery Question, his earliest extant writing includes his letters from Oxford at the time of the founding of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, at Cowley St. John, Oxford, and covers his association with Dr. Pusey, Dr. Neale, and Canon Liddon. His later letters were filled with Church teaching and a love for souls. This volume concludes with a letter to his Indians.

Volume eight contains Sermons, Addresses, and Meditations.

Let us here acknowledge the debt of sincere gratitude that we owe to the Hon. Elbridge T. Gerry, LL.D., whose generous devotion has made this work possible. It is eminently fitting that this name should be associated with this enterprise. As a layman he has stood before the world as an uncompromising Catholic, and has crystallized his faith in permanent foundations, and a life of service for the welfare of others, especially in arousing the American Conscience as to its duty toward Children. It was he who made possible the manifestation of Catholic worship throughout an entire diocese, and laid enduring foundations that give promise of perpetuating the faith and service of Bishop Grafton for many generations.

The proceeds from the sale of this edition will help to perpetuate the Bishop's work in the cause of Religion.

Devout souls north, south, east, and west looked to him as a spiritual leader who never failed them, nor swerved from the narrow way. For their sakes this uniform edition of his writings is compiled. May their faith and loyalty be further strengthened. And may we who knew and loved him, and those who come to know him by his works, have the Grace of final perseverance.

Whitsuntide, 1914.

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