The Charge of the Lord Bishop of Bombay, Delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese in S. Thomas' Cathedral, on Tuesday, December 16th, 1884.
By Louis George Mylne.
Bombay: Thacker for The Bombay Diocesan Record, 1884.
The Bombay Diocesan Record;
A QUARTERLY REGISTER OF CHURCH WORK IN THE DIOCESE OF BOMBAY.
THE Right Rev. Dr. Mylne, Bishop of Bombay, delivered his Charge to the Clergy at the Cathedral on Tuesday, the 16th December 1884. There were present:--The Ven. Archdeacon Sharpin (Bombay), Rev. J. H. T. Blunt (Kirkee), Rev. Appajee Bapujee (Bombay), Rev. William Jones (Satara), Rev. Alexander Lee Onslow (Byculla), Rev. W. J. Ffennell (Colaba), Rev. Charles Gilder (Bombay), Rev. J. G. Deimler (Bombay,) Rev. Robert Lay Page (Bombay), Rev. R. W. Evans, D. D. (Bombay), Rev. George Ledgard (Bombay), Rev. William Clark (Poona), Rev. Charles Kirk (Baroda), Rev. P. H. Le Febvre (Deolali,) Rev. Thomas Corfield (Egatpura), Rev. John St. Diago (Bombay), Rev. A. G. Cane (Poona), Rev. J. W. Biscoe ( Bombay), Rev. Nehemiah Goreh (Poona), Rev. G. Gothard ( Bombay), Rev. R. A. Squires ( Bombay), Rev. H. N. Midwinter(Ghorepuri), Rev. C. H. Badham, (Nasirabad), Rev. F. G. Macartney (Nasik), Rev. J. H. Lord (Bombay), Rev. C. S. Rivington (Poona), Rev. J. J. Priestley (Kolhapur), Rev. P. Bruce Horne (Ahmedabad), Rev. J. D. Lord (Poona), Rev. H. F. Lord (Ahmednagar), Rev. G. H. Ellison (Bombay), Rev. E. H. Beale (Bombay), Rev. H. A. Bren (Bombay), Rev. Sorabjee Kharsedji (Poona), Rev. E. S. Burgess (Panchgani), Rev. Charles King (Ahmednagar), and Rev. Narayan Vishnu (Ahmednagar).
His Lordship said: In the Charge which I was permitted to deliver to you now more than three years ago, I invited the attention of my brethren more especially to the dangers and safeguards of individual Church life in this country. It is the natural sequence of that utterance that I should invite you to think chiefly to-day, of the work and position of our Church in this Province and Diocese, as a whole. And I hold it to be the more incumbent on me to do so, because the attention of the bishops of the Province was most prominently called to that subject, when we met for the second time in Calcutta, last year, under the presidency of our revered Metropolitan. The major part of what I am to say to you to-day will be an expansion of certain of the resolutions arrived at in Calcutta, last year, by the unanimous vote of the nine Bishops.
 The first of the resolutions then adopted had reference to the relations of the Church of England with the Civil authorities of this country. Papers subsequently laid before Parliament have shown that the consideration of that question was by no means unnecessary or premature. The attention of Her Majesty's Minister shaving been directed by questions in Parliament to the subject of the Indian Church Establishment, and its proportion to the needs of the country, it was required of the Viceroy in Council, that he should furnish the Secretary of State with the opinion of the Government of India. I lay stress upon the exact order of proceedings, for here if anywhere, should scrupulous accuracy be characteristic of all which is put forward. It was only under pressure from home, and that not exercised only once, that the Viceroy of India in Council took up this question at all. Statements made to the contrary effect have been based on a misapprehension. Unpalatable and humiliating as may be the fact, it is none the less a fact on that account, that the question of the reduction or abolition of ecclesiastical establishments in this country, was not brought before the attention of the nation in consequence of any necessity acknowledged by the rulers of India. It has been treated, and may continue to be treated as a mere episode in the internecine dissensions of political parties at home. In one aspect the fact is humiliating, in another it is highly encouraging. If it is hard that the position of the Church, in the country where we are called upon to serve her, should be treated as a kind of appendix to threatened institutions at home, yet it is cheering to be able to think how factitious is the origin of the outcry by which it has been so unscrupulously assailed. If the voice of the people of India, or of any section of the people of India, had been spontaneously raised against the taxes by which the Establishment is supported; if the Government of India itself had protested against the existence of the Establishment, or taken the lead in the attempt to reduce it, one might have felt that a prima facie case must surely have been made out against it. When one finds that no class in this country has done aught but allow itself to be persuaded that it had a grievance of which it was unaware; that the Viceroy in Council has not stirred, except to reply to a question repeatedly asked him from home; that the present Government did not ask him that question except under pressure in Parliament, from some of the extreme left of its supporters; and finally that when the question was put, an overwhelming majority of the Supreme Council declared against any reduction--when, I say, one considers all this, one feels encouraged to believe that our position cannot be so indefensible, that one need fear that on grounds of justice it is doomed. But I for one could not defend it if I felt that it was unjust in itself, and there could be no sounder argument for its justice, than the fact that it has never been called in question, except in quarters where its abolition or reduction would be looked upon in the light of a party triumph. I proceed then to put forward the grounds on which I hold that we were justified in asserting, as Bishops of the Church of England in India, that "in the interests of all parties concerned, we feel bound to defend, as altogether sound, fair, and [2/3] reasonable, the principle on which the State has hitherto contributed towards supplying spiritual ministrations to all Christians for whose welfare it is responsible."
The question may be approached in two ways. 1st, Can the maintenance of the Ecclesiastical establishment be justified under the actual circumstances, that is to say, does it derive a justification from the fact that every taxpayer in India does contribute directly or indirectly to the support of some creed which he disbelieves? and, 2nd, apart from the immunities which are granted to temples and mosques, is it justifiable that the ministrations of Christianity should be subsidised from the proceeds of taxation, when the bulk of the taxpayers are not Christians?
I take the two questions in reverse order.
Apart from any other consideration, is it right in the rulers of this country to levy taxes on Mahomedans and Hindoos, for the support of a Christian establishment? Factitious considerations apart, this resolves itself into part of a larger question, Is it right that Great Britain as a nation, should govern the people of India and should maintain a staff of servants for the purpose? Grant this, and one thing will surely follow, that the representatives of Great Britain in India must be supplied out of the taxes of this country, with everything which is held by the nation, to be conducive to their ruling it well. It is acknowledged that we hold the country by force, and that the only justification for our doing so is the fact that our application of that force makes for justice, for humanity, for progress. Is force, then, more or less likely to be brought to bear for the promotion of those objects, if the men who are armed with authority, are reminded at the cost of the country that there is a Power which sits above all brute force? We surely cannot be so illogical as to say that the proceeds of taxation are to be devoted to maintaining our rights of conquest, but that not a penny shall be taken from, the conquered, to remind us to use our rights as we ought. If the whole administration of India, legislative, executive, judicial, is to be guided by aliens to the country, on a system which the country did not choose, and of which it would rid itself to-morrow, the only question which can fairly be raised about subsidising the Church of the administrators must surely be, whether Great Britain still holds that a man will be kinder, juster, wiser, for remembering, that the eye of God is upon him. It may safely be asserted, I think, that such is still the deliberate opinion of the nation of Great Britain as a whole, And if so, then subsidies to ministers, even granted directly from taxation, are justifiable on exactly the same grounds as expenditure of every other kind which conduces to the good government of the country. If all this be essentially wrong, then a good deal would have to be swept away besides the Ecclesiastical establishments, and the opponents of those establishments must be asked whether they think it justifiable and fair to apply to an institution which they dislike, a principle which, logically carried out, would sweep away the British rule altogether.
Apart from this larger consideration, I am not sure that a good case could be made out from the analogy of the native endowments. But if the subsidies [3/4] to the ministrations of Christianity, are based on exactly the same ground with all payments for the maintenance of the British dominion, then the analogy of native endowment comes in to strengthen the case. If it be argued that payments for religious purposes must stand on a different footing from any other payments which subjects can be called upon to make, it may be replied that this principle is violated, and will certainly continue to be violated by every tradition of British rule in this country. The whole question of State favour to religion, has been transferred by the traditions of our rule, out of the region of the abstract, into that of political expediency. In dealing with native endowments, in asking whether Hindus and Jains shall be taxed for the immunities of mosques, whether Mussulmans shall be poorer in pocket because the lands of the temples are untaxed, the question which has been asked by British rulers has not been of what they ought, but of what they dared. Why, therefore, should the Christian be told, that though he has been brought to this country to help Government to rule it for its own good, or that although his father served the Queen for small pay, and so left him bound to India for life, it is impossible that any non-Christian shall be taxed to provide him with a minister? To such arguments he may reply with perfect confidence--I pay for the immunities of the temples, and those you do not seek to do away. Why, then, do you turn round upon me with a principle which is impossible of application in the case of any other religion? Were his case not a good one in itself, this argument might go for very little. But if, as I have endeavoured to show, it rests on the very same ground with all arguments in support of the British rule, he may quote the analogous instance of respect for native endowments, to show that subsidies to the ministrations of Christianity are not barred on any grounds of abstract justice.
But the principle which underlies our position may be as fair, as sound, and as reasonable as its most ardent supporters could maintain, and still that position itself might become through our shortcomings or our follies, untenable for practical purposes. It behoves us then to take ourselves to task as a body whose position has been questioned, and to see whether our conception of our responsibilities, and our actual mode of discharging them has been such as our professions demanded. It is on this that our whole future depends. I conceive that if we will rise to our position as a portion of the body of Christ, if we live before the eyes of our contemporaries as an organism instinct with divine life, we shall hold our own as a spiritual force, none the less, perhaps even the more, for the possible loss of State aid. It would not be the first time in Church history that the latent capabilities of Christ's Body had been drawn out with unprecedented fulness by the fact of its being thrown on its own resources. And on the other hand, no favour of the State will save us from becoming effete or extinct, if we are failing to rise to our high calling as a body of Christian men and women united in the person of our Saviour, and permeated with the presence of His Spirit. There are no cataclysms, nowadays at least, in the history of the Catholic Church, sweeping away by a single fell stroke the life of a Christian community still flourishing in the vigour of native [4/5] growth. Where Church life has appeared crushed from without, it has ended by leavening from within; the barbarism by which it seemed to have been extinguished. Wherever it has failed to do this, it has been because the catastrophe from outside did but put the final brand of divine judgment on the failure which was sapping the inner life. If, which God in His mercy forbid! the life of our Church in this country, were ever to become a thing of the past, the real cause of its ultimate extinction would not lie in any change which had taken place in the relations of political parties, or any consequent withdrawal of State aid from the outward ministrations of religion. We must first die out of men's hearts before we shall die away from off the earth. Loss of corporate spiritual life I believe to be the only contingency of which we need feel any fear.
I pass on then to the corporate character of the life of the Church in our midst, its weaknesses, and how to amend them. The actual organisation is there. Our laity are ministered to by the threefold ministry. The nourishment which through the channel of the Sacraments, is conveyed to the Body of Christ, is accessible to each of our members, except where actual distance makes participation impossible. But the Church, where her life is complete, is more than an organisation: she is an organism instinct with life, She is a Body, not simply a society. The essence of her corporate life is something more than the sum and aggregation of a number of individual lives all nourished from one source of sustenance. The life is resident in the whole, not simply in the parts one by one, is present indeed in the parts, because it resides in the whole. Now it is of the essence of a life such as this, that vitality, to be preserved at a high point, must be continuous and homogeneous throughout: no part must be quite out of sympathy with the life of all the rest. The lack of this homogeneous vitality is one of the great elements of anxiety about the future of our Church in this country. Europeans are isolated from Natives, Chaplains from Missionaries, Societies from one another, to a degree that makes me ask myself sometimes, whether the diocese exists as a unit, except in the single fact that one Bishop holds all the Confirmations, and presides over all the Clergy. The Resolution passed at Calcutta:--"That all Christians in this province and in our respective dioceses, connected with that branch of the Holy Catholic Church, commonly called the Church of England, to whatsover race they may belong, are always to be regarded and dealt with as one body," had reference to one specific danger. It pledged the Indian Episcopate to resist by all means in our power, any attempt to create separate hierarchies for European and Native Churches. But the danger which has to be encountered is not confined to the possibility of such attempts. It includes all that is to be brought before us to-morrow on our position as a Church in this country, and the relations which ought to subsist between the different organisations within it. That discussion, if I anticipate aright, will help us to realise afresh how hopeless is the self-condemnation which we pass upon the Church as a whole, if we admit that in her work in this country, there can be life in congregations of Europeans so long as they are indifferent to native Christians, or [5/6] life among Christians at all, so long as they are indifferent to the heathen, or life in any part of the Church body except in so far as it maintains membership with the whole. I rejoice that a presbyter of the Diocese should have undertaken to bring the subject before us. And all that I have to say on it now is meant to strengthen, and not to forestall our common consideration of it to-morrow. The subject is so overwhelmingly important that I conceive I should be failing in my duty were I to confine myself to the less formal enunciation, which is all that I can give to it to-morrow.
I must speak first, then, of the most obvious hindrance to unity of Church life in this country, the way in which our work falls in two when parochial and missionary clergy are not in any sympathy with one another. It is the duty of every clergyman in the Diocese, whatever may be his own special work, to maintain in himself, and to promote in his people, cordial interest in missionary effort.
Not that I hold that it is possible, as a rule, for a chaplain actually to take part in it. For one thing, it is well nigh impossible that he should acquire sufficient knowledge of the vernacular, being as he is the only servant of Government who is required from his first day in the country, to undertake the whole of the duties which he ultimately will have to discharge. And, again, he is liable to be moved before he can have acquired the vernacular in the district where his service has been begun. In some stations he has no leisure time when his duties as a chaplain have been discharged, and he knows that if he entered on any work independent of the duties of his chaplaincy, that work must be ruthlessly sacrificed if it were desirable that he should be moved to another station. What is absolutely incumbent upon him is to remember that he is a unit in a Diocese where strenuous effort for missions forms a part of the corporate life. Active sympathy with missionary enterprise is not to any clergyman here, a duty which, in common with all Christians, he owes to the Church as a whole it is one to which His Master has called him as to something lying nearer to his hand.
Sympathy between Missionary Clergy and those who are ministering to Europeans is necessary for the well-being of both. To those who minister in the service of Europeans, Indian life presents one special temptation, against which I know of no other safeguard than interest in missionary work. I speak of it, my Reverend Brethren of the Establishment, with the frankness, let me add with the affectionateness, which ought to be characteristic of our intercourse, and which the personal friendship of not a few of you has rendered easier of attainment than it might have been. Those who serve on an Establishment like ours have, in common with all faithful pastors, the blessedness of having been called to God's service by a vocation from the Chief Shepherd himself. They can stir up the gift that is in them by constant recurrence to that belief. But they have not, as many Clergy have, the marvellous farther assistance of feeling that the special work they are engaged in is one which by a farther special call, has been assigned them as their life-long task. Work in India, to all servants of Government, is [6/7] something taken up for the time being, bringing with it certain definite emoluments as an inducement to remain for a term of years, in a country which at the best, is one of exile. Let a clergyman be as earnest as he will in the service of the Master Who has called him: let him accept as loyally as he will, the sphere where God's providence has placed him, he will still find that conditions such as these call for very special watchfulness and prayer. The career which lies before him in this country, has nothing distinctive about it, except in its external surroundings. The work which a Chaplain has to do is much the same as might have fallen to his lot in any parish in a diocese in England, only that it is done under less congenial surroundings, cut off from the life and work of other clergy, liable to be broken into at any time by his own or the regiment's removal, interrupted for years at a time by the necessities of furlough or sick-leave, and pointing do to a definite consummation, in the attainment of a pension to retire upon. Exceptional circumstances like these must bring with them exceptional temptations, and our experience tells us all that they do so. The emoluments of the clerical profession are regarded by all the nobler of its members, as a consideration entirely secondary to its work. We all know that just so far as we so regard them, are we worthy to be clergymen at all. Now is this rendered easier or more difficult by the fact of residing for a time, in a country where you would not desire to live, to which few of us would ever have come, had we seen our way to a competency at home, from which every one takes for granted that we shall retire the very day that our pension has been earned? He must be a bold man, my Reverend Brethren, who believes that, under circumstances like these, he does not need the very special grace of God to keep him true to the standard of his high calling. But you may all find a help towards such faithfulness, in throwing yourselves heartily and unreservedly into the life of a missionary Diocese. Invest India with an interest more specific than can belong to it as a sphere of parish work and you will find yourself marvellously helped towards that at which I know that you are aiming, the treatment of work as all important, and the relegation of the rewards of the work to their proper and secondary place.
And your sympathy, my Reverend Brethren, believe me, is that which cannot be dispensed with by those who have been honoured by our Lord with a call to the mission work of the Diocese. Want of interest in missionary work is a canker, widespread and deep-seated, by which the vitals of the Indian Church are being consumed. Fatal and regretable in a layman, it were nothing less than criminal in a clergyman, deeply dishonouring to our Master, sorely discouraging to His servants, fatal to the spread of His kingdom, ominous of our actual extinction as a branch of Christ's Church in this country.
It were idle to conceal from ourselves that there is much, very much, in the present day, to make indifference to missionary effort seem natural and hard to shake off. But if the unsatisfactoriness of much in our missions be put forward as justifying indifference, it is fair as well as obvious to enquire which is cause and which is effect. [7/8] Generation after generation of Anglo-Indians have lived and have held office in this country, and the people of the country know well that the tradition of absolute indifference to the religious belief of the natives, has been scarcely less continuous and less marked than the tradition of scrupulous regard for their moral and physical well-being. They know well that in our personal practice, those Christians are the exception, not the rule, by whom the obligations of religion are not consciously and habitually postponed to the claims of both business and recreation. Worst of all, they see it practically asserted that even those of us who honour our faith by personal conformity to its demands, stand, in far the majority of instances, aloof from evangelization. If the results of the efforts that are made in the face of a tradition such as this, are neither numerous nor altogether satisfactory, I think the reason is not far to seek. A religion which is languidly professed is not likely to be vigorously aggressive--But a Christianity which declines to be aggressive is doomed to become extinct before long. People often cast about among their surroundings, to account for disastrous events by some arbitrarily assumed correspondence between Providence and human deservings. As regards individuals and their destinies, we are specially taught that this is futile. But He who told us that the fall of the tower was not accounted for by any sin in the victims, taught us also that when a Church becomes lukewarm, he rejects it and brings it to an end.
On the difficulties and encouragements of missionaries I shall have something to say in a few minutes. The point to be argued now is the following: It needs no arbitrary interference of special Providence to bring about this removal of the candlestick. A Church which does not rise to its calling is first contemptuously tolerated, and then no less cynically cast out, as failing in the eyes of the world, to prove its right to exist any longer. It dies off the face of society because it has died out of men's hearts. It is not missions which are on trial for their lives. There is piety enough in England, thank God, to secure that those shall not die out. The question which is at stake for us now is, whether European Christianity shall disappear off the face of this country, except where its ministrations are kept alive by the help which can be rendered by missionaries. And this is what will surely come to pass if our indifference to missions be not amended.
But in pleading with my brethren of this Diocese to amend the state of things which I deplore, it is imperative that I should deal fairly with the difficulties by which the subject is unquestionably surrounded. For his were, indeed, a shallow soul which could spend a few years in this country, face to face with the mighty facts of its religions, and not find that all preconceptions of the task of Christianity in relation to them, had simply to be thrown to the winds. With you, my brethren, who, sometimes in isolation and discouragement, are grappling with some part of that task, I desire to express on this occasion, a sympathy profound and respectful, as with men who by toiling at it unchecked, are earning by unromantic obedience the "well done," which shall greet the faithful servant. It is in your name, as claiming sympathy for your labours, that I address myself to the Diocese as a whole.
 To you, my brethren and sisters of the laity, I appeal on behalf of the mission clergy, that you should try to enter into the difficulties under which they struggle on at God's work. We come here impressed with one great idea--how all men in all nations of the earth, are a part of the great heritage of the Master by whose blood we ourselves have been redeemed. We come in inevitable ignorance of the problems with which we have to deal, full it may be of romantic ideas about the accessibility of the heathen to a message so persuasive, so irresistible as we are sure that the Gospel will be in lips that are all aglow to deliver it. And then comes the tremendous disenchantment which has pointed so many bitter jests. We find ourselves a few scattered units up and down the vast continent of India, regarded by the country as a whole, as amiable and crotchety enthusiasts. We look around on European society, and ask, half incredulously at first, if it be possible that it is Christian men and women who are looking thus askance at our undertaking. Then we turn from your half-contemptuous regard, and, all chilled, and a shiver with your indifference--look again at the task which lies before us. The busy current of native life passes us by:--"One more missionary expecting to convert us! Strange man! What inducement brought him here? He will stay out his time, like the rest, and everything will go on as it did before." And so we are stranded for a time. And then there dawn on us by degrees, the giant facts with which we stand face to face--the all-pervadingness of the Hindu religion, the way the whole social system of the country is bound up with religious belief--how eating and drinking and drawing breath are acts directly religious--how the faith which sanctions some horrors of which we scarce allow ourselves to think, is yet the secret of the astonishing virtues which are woven into the very tissue of native life. And standing face to face with these things, we would cry out as the Prophet was fain to cry, "Oh, Lord God, behold, I cannot speak, for I am a child."--"But the Lord said unto me, say not I am a child, for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak." And then there comes back to us once more the consciousness that it was He who touched our mouths. And once more we hear His word in our ears:--"See I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, and to build, and to plant." The whole social system of a country, we may see, must pass away and be reconstructed, if Christianity become the dominant religion. And how the reconstruction will be effected, that we are not permitted to see. Alike the throwing down and the building up seem utterly, hopelessly beyond us. We thought to plant, and we find that first we must root up. And we see that in the moral field which lies before us, it too often proves abundantly possible, in rooting out the tares of false belief to pluck up also the moral virtues which grow with them. All these things, believe me, we see. We are not the mere vulgar enthusiasts which some have supposed that we must be, with no more intelligent appreciation of the problems of life in this country than could be gained at a [9/10] missionary meeting, among people who have never set foot in it. We know too well all the weaknesses of our work, the unsatisfactoriness of many of the results. And in the face of all this we go on. "Necessity is laid upon us," we say, "Woe is unto us if we preach not the Gospel." "Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak." O my brethren, who are called to such speech, speech, it may be, which after years of hard experience shall be wrung from us like drops of our blood--when we are tempted to look back at our first calling, half sighing for the less clear apprehension with which then we faced the problems before us, prone to wish that we could see them as of old with the abruptness of their hardness softened down by the haze of half knowledge through which we saw them, let us remember that the increase of knowledge need not mean the diminution of faith; let us see to it that the current of our life run not with so uncertain a course, that extension of the width of its channel bring with it any shoaling of its depth. As we gaze on the problems of our manhood in the outlook on life as a whole, we think him but a craven-hearted being, who can long that the large seriousness of middle life could make room for the return of a child's brightness springing out of a child's inexperience. Could we separate the sins from the sorrows, the shortcomings from the failures of life, who is there but would bear over again the slow agonies of his darkest days of trial, for the sake of the blessed lessons that they leave, if they are borne as the discipline of the Lord If there be such, let him learn the Apostle's lesson, that "the trial of your faith worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope," and the hope, if it be the hope of the believer, "maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts through Christ Jesus our Lord." Be that love shed abroad in our hearts, as we toil at a too often thankless task, and the sadnesses of unromantic experience will be borne without murmuring or depression, the haunting immensity of mighty problems will be faced without a touch of despair.
It is in this spirit, my brethren of the laity, that, amidst all our failings and shortcomings we are endeavouring to do the work of our Master. I appeal to you, will you leave us as we do it, altogether without the pale of your sympathy? Or will you do what in you lies, to make us feel that you and we are in some way fellow-workers for Christ?
One of the obstacles to sympathy in Christ's work, one of the hindrances to homogeneousness of Church life can be removed in this country, as in England, in one way, and in one way alone, by the exercise of a larger toleration about controverted doctrines and practices. Toleration in the mouths of most men, means liberty to say what I please, to believe what I hold, to practise what I aim at. And when it comes to reciprocating such liberty, it is found that this is not included, Now there is in the Church of England, my brethren, one basis for mutual toleration, upon which we are all forced to fall back whenever we are hard pressed by opponents--I mean the broad basis of her history. Her formulae have often been interpreted in the interests [10/11] of non-comprehensiveness, and that not on one side alone. Her history can be read only in one way, in the sense in which it has recently been interpreted in Mr. Gladstone's noble letter to the Diocesan Conference of St. Asaph, I urge that letter on the attention of all of you, and shall reprint it in the Appendix to this Charge. And meantime, in my own rougher way, let me lay down what appears to me to be the lines on which true comprehensiveness can be secured without any unfaithfulness to conviction. We must each of us be well assured in his own mind, of the true interpretation of the Prayer-Book, each always be honestly persuaded that we deal with it loyally and fairly. But when we find that other men of another school hold another interpretation to be tenable, we need only ask one thing about them. It may be that their reading of their duty in regard to the formulae of the Church is something differing very widely from our own. We need not ask;--Could I read it in that way? should I be honest if, believing as they do, I subscribed to the formula so read? But, as a matter of fact, in the past history of the Church of England, have there been men, honest men, doing God service, who have so believed and so subscribed? Is there room for believing that the history of the Church of England shows that it has always been a part of her intention, to include men of different schools of thought, men, indeed, who differed as widely as I find myself conscientiously differing from others who subscribe to the same formulae, and who read the same prayers with myself? Or does her history come so near showing this, that I may in all charity believe that they hold themselves fairly included within a latitude admitted to be elastic? Apart from invincible prejudice which will not be convinced or give way, I believe that no one can apply such a test without arriving at the charitable conclusion that the bulk of his theological opponents, to whichever of two great schools he belongs, could be included within the pale of the Church of England without any sacrifice of honesty.
And honesty, I believe, to be the one thing which at a crisis in our history Pike the present, we ought not to be prepared to give up. The effect of war to the knife has at least had fair trial among us. Has any man, or any cause, been the better, except by reaction, and indirectly? And now there is a pause in the strife, during which moderate men on all hands have been gradually drawing nearer to one another. Intermediate between two great camps we have seen the growth, I will not say of a party, but of a group which has refused to become a party, or to have anything to say to any party, except so far as sympathy was possible. Is the noble example of that group, of such men as the present Primate of England, and the noble Bishops of Truro and Lichfield, to set the tone of our relations with one another in the future of the Church of England and of this Diocese? I heartily pray God that it may. There is not one of the men whom I have named, to every detail of whose theological position I might wish that the Church should be committed. But what I do earnestly insist upon is the testimony which is borne by their lives to the possibility and the benefits of comprehensiveness.
 When one speaks of toleration and comprehensiveness, to the Church in a Diocese in India, it is a positive duty that one thinks of, not simply that of letting each other alone. Thank God, we have little temptation, and it is doubtful if we have even opportunity, to go tearing each other to pieces in law courts. What I plead for is mutual sympathy, and where that cannot be, mutual charity, for absolute respect for each other's work, for allowances for the difficulties of other missions such as that which each expects for his own. That history which I spoke of just now, does read us one lesson with much plainness--that apart from all wilful dishonesty such as forfeits the blessing of the Most High, there have been in every generation since our formulae came into existence, divines of very different schools who have all felt at liberty to subscribe therein. Now if that has been done in all honesty, one conclusion is to me irresistible--that it is not for any one generation, much less for any one individual, least of all for any association of individuals, to decide that those whom God has joined together, shall for the future be for ever put asunder. Who are we in this single generation, that we should hold that it lies in our hands to remodel the most important conditions under which it has pleased Almighty God that the destiny of the Church of England should be worked out?
I presume that it is not only in the Church, that we find, as we look round upon life, that the conditions under which we have to live it, in the all-wise providence of God, are not exactly what we ourselves would have marked out, if the ordering of them had lain in our hand; that what we actually are obliged to make the best of, is not that impossible ideal crudely welded of incompatible perfections, which we, if our wisdom had been consulted, would have constructed out of materials which never were. It is the shock of rough encounter with the actual, not the smoothness of gliding on through the ideal, by which it has pleased Almighty God that the latent powers of His servants should be drawn out. We must fall back then on our existing Church of England, the Church in which charity must be evinced by bearing with the presence in our midst, of principles widely divergent, so divergent, so mutually exclusive, that if they had not co-existed for centuries, we should have said that one body could not hold them, Let us all be determined so to act, that we do not hand it on to our successors one whit less comprehensive than we found it. There seems to be every hope that we shall succeed. One small and diminishing set, more discredited and more discreditable day by day, still clamours for fratricidal persecution. The clamour must be met in one way, by the quiet, sympathetic drawing together of all who love the peace of Jerusalem.
I pass then to other obstacles to common life, and the means by which to try and surmount them.
In a Diocese so scattered as our own, where the Clergy are in many cases isolated, seeing nothing of the work of their brethren, seldom cheered by meeting I them face to face, some help for such a common Church life might be found in the [12/13] promotion of two ends, mutual knowledge of the work which is going on, and common help to Diocesan institutions. The former we have tried to promote by the publication of the Quarterly Record of the work which is going forward in the Diocese. Being better known to the Clergy than it was, I trust that its circulation may increase. There could be no more discouraging proof of our want of common interests as a Diocese, than to find, as we have been finding so far, that the number of interested readers is not large enough to make it self-supporting. Common help to Diocesan work could be increased to a very great extent, if it were vigourously taken up by the Clergy. The liberality of our countrymen in India, for educational and philanthropical objects, is a very marked feature in our society. I am sure that I should be doing it a wrong were I not to assume, as a matter of course, that help to Diocesan objects might be increased very largely indeed, if all Clergymen brought them before their people as vigorously as some of us do.
First, I believe, that under a wise system, our Offertories might be largely increased, and especially that proportion of the gifts which is contributed for objects not local. We do not take people into our confidence to nearly the extent that we might, do not tell them how much we want to raise for local and for general purposes, do not take pains to let them know every Sunday the exact object for which we ask their alms. Apart from some such system as this, weekly collections are simply a mistake. People get accustomed to having a bag held before them, each time that they take part in public worship, very often without so much as an intimation to what purpose they are asked to contribute. They contribute, it may be, pretty regularly, but they give a conventional offering for sheer want of being encouraged to give more, and because they know that local expenses can be met without any special effort.
I am about to make one or two suggestions by which this state of things may be improved. But first let me give you a few facts about the collections which are made in our Churches. That some suggestions are far from unnecessary, I think that these facts will make plain.
The Offertories collected in the Diocese, in the three years since the last Visitation, have only amounted in all to Rs. 1,31,000, an average of under Rs. 44,000 a year, or less than can be shown, to my knowledge, by some single churches in London. There are two large military stations where they have averaged little over Rs. 300 a year, one purely military Church, where they averaged underRs. 200. Church expenses have been allowed to hang like a millstone round the neck of our people's liberality. Of the total collected in three years, they have absorbed 44 per cent. There are cases where Church expenses alone have come to 65 to 80 per cent. of the moneys collected in Church.
And excluding the Cathedral from the average, as it stands on a footing of its own, the proportion swallowed up by Church expenses would come to 48 per cent. of the total Offertories of the Diocese, while Missions received 11 per cent. and Education 13 per cent. I am convinced that this state of things is not mainly [13/14] the fault of our people, and I beg of you, my brethren of the Clergy, to try whether the following suggestions would not effect something of an alteration:
1st, Give notice that on one Sunday in the month, or on three Sundays in every two months, the Offertories will be given to Church expenses, that those expenses amount to so much, and that you beg they may be met on those Sundays, so that on the others, you may collect for other objects.
2nd, On the other Sundays, have the collections for other objects, whether Church expenses are provided for or not. Then, at the end of the month, or of the quarter, make private and public appeals for the balance required for local needs. You will always succeed in raising that, all the more so for trusting your people by giving away Offertories elsewhere. If you assume that local subscriptions are only to cover local needs, your people will be only too ready to take you on your own low ground. Assume that local needs are met as a matter of course, and that the question is how much you can send elsewhere, and equally they will meet you on your own ground. It were a libel on their generosity to believe otherwise.
3rd, But in all cases you must keep them well informed. Give it out every Sunday of your life;--The Collection last Sunday came to so much--it has been devoted to such and such an object. And add sometimes;--the number of worshippers was so many, and the number of coins or cards was so many. This last item is of the utmost importance, and should not on any account be omitted. Then, in announcing that a collection will be made for any object outside of the station, take care that it is thoroughly understood what is the nature of the object to be supported. You give out:--The Offertory is for the Bombay Education Society, or, the Offertory is for the Diocesan Board of Education. And half the people in an up-country station hardly know what is the meaning of the terms, much less what is the difference between them.
And before I leave the subject of the Offertory, I must say a word on another kindred subject. Collecting books have become such an institution, that the income of many of our charities depends very largely upon them. But nowhere, except in Poona and Bombay, are collecting books made use of as they might be. People give when the book is sent to them, who never would have remembered without it. And I trust that each up-country Chaplain will see that the Diocesan charities do not suffer for want of this reminder.
But I would warn you against the fallaciousness of one statement which is frequently made on this subject. One hears it asserted, when Offertories are small, that we must not expect them to increase, because many Church-people give much in other ways. I have attempted. in a rough kind of way to bring the statement to the test of statistics, and it proves, like many other sweeping statements, to break down when tried in this way. I selected six principal objects which appeal to the liberality of Church-people, and analysed the statistics of their receipts for the years 1881 and 1882, in order to see what proportion of our fellow-churchmen supplemented their donations to the Offertory by support to Diocesan societies. [14/15] The objects selected were as follows:--Two Missionary Societies, S.P.G., and C.M.S.; two great Educational charities, the Byculla and the Indo-British Schools; the Diocesan Board of Education, for subsidising middle-class schools; and the S.P.C.K. The total sum contributed by subscribers, to these six Diocesan objects, in the two years under review, amounted to Rs. 23,622, or an average of Rs. 11,811 per annum. The whole of this money was contributed by 343 donors. But out of the total sum, Rs. 6,070, or about 25 per cent. of the whole, was given by six individuals, whose contributions averaged Rs. 5o6 per annum; and Rs. 8,58o, or about 36 per cent. of the whole, by thirteen persons, including the above, whose contributions averaged Rs. 330 per annum. Out of the whole Diocese, therefore, thirteen persons contributed more than a third of all that was given to the objects in question, three hundred and thirty contributed the remainder, and the rest of the inhabitants in the Presidency contributed nothing at all. Again, out of the three hundred and forty-three persons from whom the income of the societies was derived, there were ten who subscribed to all six, twenty who subscribed to five, ten who subscribed to four. And of the total number of subscribers, one hundred and fifty-nine, or 46 per cent., contributed only to some one. It is true that in the year under review we raised money for certain other church purposes, and also that Church of England Societies do not absorb all the gifts of our fellow-churchmen. But when I look at other reports from which I have not compiled any statistics, I find that, more frequently than not, the members of the Church of England who subscribed to them, are the same who contribute to our own, and that some of the largest subscriptions appear after the very same names which are most frequently found in our own lists.
The inevitable conclusion from all this is that Churchmen who do not give in church, or who make but conventional offerings, cannot, as a rule, make the excuse that they habitually give in other ways. And that those of the wealthier among us who give in proportion to their means, are so few as to be reckoned by units.
To return from this digression about collecting books, to the point which I had specially before me, when the subject of the Offertory was introduced, I trust that aid to Diocesan objects will be kept before clergy and people as a means of making the Diocese itself a less shadowy entity before their eyes. In what sense is the Diocese a reality to the congregation that I spoke of just now, where twelve annas out of every rupee are spent within the walls where they are given. I know that this state of things could be remedied if the clergy took it seriously to heart. So long as people find it expected that this will be the state of affairs, so long they will acquiesce in it themselves, and so long will they fail to recognise that the Diocese as well as the station has claims on their hearts and on their purses.
I must touch upon one other point in the life of clergy and laity. And first, I would speak of one duty which is incumbent on all the clergy to be, each in the measure of his powers, conscientious and regular students.
 A life of intellectual self-culture is a luxury in many professions. In our own it is an imperative duty. Be the system a good or a bad one, about which there is much to be said, it is required by the custom of our Church, that each one of us should do the work of a preacher. People will not excuse us if we would. They may ask why it is that a sermon should be such a matter of course. But we know well that if we did not constantly preach sermons, and sermons of our composition, we should be looked upon as negligent pastors.
And the respect with which our sermons are received, to all outward appearance at least, is something most marked in itself, and is indicative of a great deal which lies beneath. There may be much of conventional courtesy in the silence and the stillness of our churches, but underneath it there is a rooted conviction, not always fully realised perhaps, that we stand before the people whom we serve, as the accredited messengers of heaven. Indeed what else could induce people to sit quiet under some of the sermons which they hear?
But be the motive of their self-command what it may, we know how it avenges itself when the restraint of our presence is removed. Now if there is this extraordinary difference between the way we are listened to at the time, and the way we are criticised afterwards, we are bound to look seriously to it, how far we ourselves are to blame. If the expression on the faces of our hearers be one of courteous endurance, and not one of genuine interest, does the fault lie altogether with them? Does it lie altogether with the convention which forces us to go into the pulpit independently of any readiness of utterance. There may be faults in the system and in the audience. But when Bishop and clergy come together, in the hope that the service of the Master may be rendered more efficient by our meeting, it is our own faults, and not those of others about which I am bound to address you. How many of us then are doing our very best to fit ourselves for our work in the pulpit? To give so many hours every week, to the preparation of a discourse for the Sunday, is not, I must point out, my Reverend Brethren, the whole, or the principal part of what our duties as preachers require. A man must be far gone in sloth who does not try his best during those hours, to prepare what he is to deliver as God's message. But our real preparation for the pulpit lies in preparing for our hours of preparation. There cannot be a few full hours in the middle of an empty week. If all the busy hours of our life are occupied in quite other ways, with details of official correspondence, even with care for the souls and bodies of our people, it is impossible to pass suddenly from those, into an atmosphere of intellectual concentration. And, Reverend Brethren, I should be saying less than the truth did I not add that in some of our cures the busy hours are not exactingly many. When cells and hospitals and schools have been visited, and are done with for the day, when the Executive Engineer has been written to, and the reference from the Commandant has been answered, what is there in many a station to keep the chaplain away from his books? When the rains have made the districts impracticable, when the pundit has paid his visit, and [15/16] been dismissed, when the children in the mission compound have been catechised and handed over to the schoolmaster, there is often nothing to keep the Missionary from remembering that he too, by his sacred vocation, is bound to be a diligent student. The consciences of some of us will tell us how far these opportunities are used.
Let me describe to you the sermon which is preached where opportunities of this kind have been neglected. I assume it to be the work of a good man, who has had the usual educational opportunities. There are faults then which it cannot but avoid, good qualities which belong to it of course. To begin with, it has three points in its favour: it is orthodox, it is reverent, and it is short. It avoids exaggeration and eccentricity, and everything that is aggressively offensive. It is read in an audible voice, and the delivery is conventionally proper. And when you have said thus much in its favour, there is absolutely no more to be said. It does not show that since the preacher left college, he has read a single book for reading's sake. It evinces no sort of appreciation of any of the questions of the day. It might have been preached to any other congregation with exactly the same degree of appropriateness as to that which is actually present. Beyond the reverence for which I have given it credit, there is nothing in its treatment of great truths to show that they are held by the preacher with anything like passionate intensity. It is utterly wanting in the unction which comes from a deep life of devotion, and which can lend to the least gifted of men some power to stir the hearts of his fellows. It is delivered with the monotony of despair, as though the preacher had given up every hope that he could gain more than conventional endurance from an utterly uninterested audience. And yet the preacher comes down from the pulpit, apparently without a suspicion that he has done a grievous wrong to his subject, and has failed of what his audience had a right to, that when acting as the ambassador of JESUS CHRIST, he has behaved as the one man in the community who has the right not to do his very best. I am aware of the difficulties, believe me, the scanty library, the isolation from one's brethren, the languor of Indian days, the want of intellectual stimulus. But I would ask, do we accept these excuses if we believe that the doctor who attends us does not, under similar circumstances, keep pace with the progress of modern surgery. I have heard things said of such men, for neglecting the bodies of their patients, which I should be sorry to hear applied to ourselves to whom the care of men's souls is entrusted. I set up no impossible standard. No pains would make some of us deep students, any more than they would make us brilliant orators. But to preach very differently from this does lie in the power of every one of us. We can all have some book in hand for daily conscientious study. We can all see before us in church, not simply rows of silent hearers who are bound to sit quiet as we speak, but men and women redeemed by Christ's Blood, and capable of illumination by His Spirit. If we remembered to think of them as such, and of ourselves as God's ambassadors to them, intellectual sloth would be banished, and some unction would be attainable by us all.
 And when sermons are uninteresting or inadequate, whether the fault lie in the manner of the preacher, or in some want in him of intellectual grasp, or even in want of something else which it seems that greater diligence would have supplied, I would ask you, my brethren of the laity, for whom we are called to live and work, to remember that in spite of all this sermons come to you as a message from God. He might have sent another and a better preacher, He might have given this preacher greater power. If the preacher have failed to do his best, even that has been permitted by God, and so is part of His providence for you. And out of just the identical sermon which in His providence it has fallen out that you should hear, you can get some help, if you are listening for His voice.
The common life of the Church in the Diocese was the subject which I announced for this Charge. The relation of the State to that common life; the homogeneity of its several parts; the necessity, for the healthfulness of the whole, that no part shall be out of sympathy with the rest; some means of promoting such sympathy, by mutual toleration, by mutual knowledge, and by mutual help; above all, the paramount necessity that life, if it is to be maintain, should be aggressive--by passing these considerations under review I have tried to give some counsel in detail, by which that common life may be promoted.
Be it remembered by all of us alike, what alone is the end of that life. The Church of God with her supernatural life, is different from every other organisation, as much in the end as in the means which characterise her corporate existence. We love her, serve her, work for her, not as for any body politic in which our affections may rest. She is to us but the visible embodiment of that which lies beyond human ken. She is our city of God on the earth, but our ultimate citizenship is in heaven. And she exists but for that one end, that living in her as her members, we may live even now within the veil. We live for her then, because she lives for God. And just so far do we truly live for her, as within the outward fabric of her bulwarks, we discern the Heavenly Temple, with the Lord reigning among us here and now. We are to “mark well her bulwarks, to set up her houses, that we may tell them that come after.” But it is because in her we know that “this God is our God for ever and ever,” that “He will be our Guide even unto death.”