DEARLY BELOVED BRETHREN:
I REGRET that I cannot meet you in person, but must only do it in spirit. As you know, I send you my grateful welcome and prayer that your deliberations may tend to the Glory of God, and the good of the Diocese. We have much to be thankful for as we look back, and much of hope as we look forward. The Diocese has never been in any better financial and spiritual condition, and there is a bright promise opening for the future.
The only practical point of interest I would direct your attention and that of the clergy to is the work of the Sunday School. The Sunday School is the basis of parochial work. Clergymen cannot waste time in the study of its methods, and preparation for its exercises. The clergy should so study as to instruct the children in the fundamentals of the Faith.
Our Church people should be so instructed as not only to believe, but be able to instruct others in the Christian belief. We fear that a number of our Church people are only nominal adherents to the Church. It is partly owing to the incapacity of the clergy in the art of instruction. The need of our people to be instructed churchmen and evangelical Christians is great. One way to develop church enthusiasm is to preach about missions, the progress and effort of the Church in foreign fields. Another way is to preach on the lives of the great Anglican divines and missionaries, men who have illuminated the Church by their sanctity, and labored for the revival of the Catholic cause.
No political cause should be so dear and interesting to us as the great revival which has so stirred to its depths the Anglican Communion. Every churchman should feel the inspiration and take part in the progress. Thank God so much has been done in our Diocese that its influence is being felt throughout the Church. Let us at every council renew our devotion, and seek to press forward the Kingdom. We are living, dear brethren, in the latter times.
While there are great manifestations of unbelief on the one hand, there are marked signs of renewed impulses toward the Christian Faith on the other. The marvelous opening in China should be an inspiration to every Christian heart. The Commission appointed on Faith and Order in our own Church should have an earnest portion in our prayers.
I do not expect ever to see a corporate union established between divided Christendom. But we may come under God's leading to a recognized Christian fellowship, and this is especially hoped for between the Eastern Church, the Old Catholics, and ourselves. We are practically one in doctrine, and union would bring to all a spiritual blessing. May God hasten the day when this union may be consummated! What a glorious day it would be if a service of recognition could be offered in the great churches of St. Saviour, Moscow; Sancta Sophia, Constantinople; St. Peter's, Rome; the great Cathedrals of Milan and Cologne; St. Mark's, Venice; St. Paul's, London; and the completed Cathedral of St. John's, New York. The united heart of Christendom would surely bring down a pentecostal blessing on the Church of Christ.
I am unable to be with you in person, but you know my earnest desire is for the spiritual growth of the Diocese. God has indeed blessed us financially, but we need to build up the spiritual kingdom. I wish sometimes that the various parishes might have parochial missions. What we cannot have too much of is personal holiness. There has been, I believe, a growing spirituality, especially amongst the men. It is by more earnest devotion to the Blessed Sacrament it can be increased. May I lovingly urge you, my dear brethren, to greater belief, trust, and love of our dear Lord in that wonderful mystery. Do not argue about it, but believe in it. Honor our Lord's Presence there by music, lights, flowers, and incense. He will honor those who love Him. He dwells in His Church. He veils His Presence, but will unveil it in Glory. So belief in His Presence is a test of true Faith.