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A Few Days at Nashotah
by Bishop William Ingraham Kip

[Albany, NY: J. Munsell, 1849. 31 pp pamphlet.]


Letter III
The Daily Routine.

[pp 17-25]

At Nashotah the history of a single day will convey a correct idea of the routine of the year. I return therefore to our narrative, at the beginning of the second day. At 5 A.M. I was awakened by the bell, which hung from a lofty oak tree. at this house the students are expected to rise. At six, another ringing of the bell called to prayers at the Chapel. In accordance with the notice given the evening before, the Holy Communion was administered, and only the Communion Service used at this time. They began the custom of having the Holy Communion on Thursday mornings, at at time when the members of the Mission were generally scattered through the country on Sundays. Since the ordination of the last class, however, a number of the stations where lay readers were employed have been filled by clergymen, and the students are now more at home than formerly. They continue, however, to have the Communion every Sunday, Thursday, on all Saints, Days and Holy Days, and the days after the prominent festivals, for which a Preface has been appointed. The members of the Mission, however, are left at liberty as to the frequency of receiving. On this occasion, when the Offertory was read, some bank bills were placed in the plate by one of the students. This I was informed was a donation they had lately received. All such are offered at the altar previously to being used.

The Morning Prayer was said at 9. This takes place at this hour on Thursday alone, in consequence of the Morning Communion. On all the other days, the Morning Prayer is at 6 A.M.

At 12 each week day a Litany is said. For these occasions, except on Wednesday and Friday, when the Litany of the Church is used, special services have been prepared, which have been approved by the Bishop. The attendance on this service is voluntary, but the members of the Seminary are divided into three courses, who attend by turns, so that each one is present twice a week. These Services, which are simply domestic prayers, seem to be composed in the spirit of early and better times, and imbued with the deepest spirit of devotion. As a specimen, we copy a part of that for Monday" "A Litany to the Holy and Undivided Trinity [1]"to show in how affecting a manner it brings in review before the mind every portion of our Lord's life:

"For Thy miraculous conception by the Holy Ghost, and Thy humble birth from the Virgin Mary:
Response. Our souls do magnify Thee, O Lord.

For Thy meek subjection to Thy parents in the meanest offices of private life: and for Thy condescension to the form of a servant, though Thou wert Lord of all:
R. Our souls do magnify Thee, O Lord.

For Thy fasting and retirement in the desert; for Thy mildness and benignity in conversation; for Thy heavenly doctrine and glorious miracles:
R. Our souls do magnify Thee, O Lord.

For the compassionate tears which Thou sheddest over Jerusalem; for the humble washing of Thy disciples, feet, and for the glorious institution of the blessed Eucharist:
R. Our souls do magnify Thee, O Lord.

For Thine agony and bloody sweat in the garden of Gethsemane; for thine entire self-denial and absolute submission, not only to the will of Thy Father, but even to that of Thine enemies:
R. Our souls do magnify Thee, O Lord.

For Thine incomparable patience in the violence and outrages of Thy persecutors against Thy Sacred Person; for Thy wonderful silence whilst they falsely accused and unjustly condemned Thy innocence:
R. Our souls do magnify Thee, O Lord.

For Thy perfect resignation whilst they shamefully stripped Thee and cruelly scourged Thee; for Thy admirable meekness whilst they crowned Thee with thorns and forced Thee to carry Thy Cross; which was laden with the sins of the world;
R. Our souls do magnify Thee, O Lord.

For the infinite compassion and forbearance of Thy spirit in excusing their sin and praying Thy Father to forgive them, even in the extremity of Thy tortures;
R. Our souls do magnify Thee, O Lord.

For Thy glorious resurrection from the grave, and triumphant Ascension into Heaven; for sending Thy Holy Ghost to abide with Thy Church forever, and promising to be with us Thyself to the end to the world:
R. Our souls do magnify Thee, O Lord.

At 5 P.M. we again assembled for Evening Prayer. To my mind there was a solemnity in the Service greater than I have often felt beneath the lofty arches and fretted roof of some magnificent Cathedral. Without all was stillness. Scarcely a ripple disturbed the lake, or a breeze stirred the leaves of the old oak trees above us. The only sound heard was the swell of the organ, and the anthem raised by manly voices, as it was borne over the old Indian grave, and gloated through the glades of the forest. Around me were kneeling together, Americans, English, Irish, Swedes, a Dane, a Norwegian, a converted Israelite, and the dusky sons of our own forests. Of the latter there are now three at the Mission, two of whom on this occasion, were members of the choir. They came scarcely acquainted at all with our language, which had to be learned before they could commence their studies. One of them has been four years connected with the Institution and is expected in about four years more to be ready for Orders, and thus able to return a teacher to his tribe. This is the principle of the Institution"to let each one on leaving it return to his own countrymen in the territory. [2]

These Indians are Oneidas from the Mission of Mr. Davis on Duck Creek, where a flourishing Church has been formed, and a system of discipline adopted as strict, as that introduced by the Jesuits, and far more efficient. The Indians, in their own figurative language, have bestowed upon Bishop Kemper a name signifying The Keeper of the Word, and on Mr. Davis that of The Clear Sky. When the late Convention of our Church was held at Milwaukie, four Lay Delegates from the Oneidas appeared and took their seats. They walked the whole distance from the Mission, the last day travelling forty-five miles. On the evening that the Convention closed, a resolution was passed expressing the gratification of its members at the presence of their Indian brethren; which being explained to the Chief, he rose with the interpreter, and replied in his own tongue in a short speech, which even when heard as a translation, showed the point and sense which has always marked the addresses of our Indians. We believe, however, that it is the first time the voice of one of our aborigines has been heard in the Councils of the Church.

But to return to the routine at Nashotah. At 9 P.M. they meet again for family prayers, though attendance on this service, like that at noon, is voluntary. Thus it is that they continue "instant in prayer, endeavoring to sanctify each portion of the day, and in this distant wilderness, which a few years ago the foot of the white man had scarcely trodden, to keep the fire perpetually burning on the altar.

On Sunday at 6 A.M. is a special service which has been prepared with the consent of the Bishop, and adapted to the wants of the members of the Mission. For the public worship during the rest of the day, the regular services of the Church are of course used. On this day the Chapel is filled with the settlers from the neighborhood, and exclusive of the members of the Mission, has 45 communicants. This building, however, is not to be used much longer for a Parish Church. About half a mile distant, a portion of ground has been purchased, on which one is to be erected. The rest of the ground has been solemnly consecrated by the Bishop as a burial place for the members of the Church. No one indeed can travel through the far West without seeing the necessity of something of this kind to impress upon the inhabitants a respect for the mortal remains of their friends. We see graves scattered by the way-side and in the fields, where in a few years there will be no record that any are awaiting the resurrection. They need something to remind them, that precious in the sight of the Lord are even the bodies of His saints.

During the last year the members of the Mission had 17 stations for preaching and lay reading, within a circuit of thirty miles. Several of these have since been permanently filled by the last class ordained. Among the Norwegians, (of whom there are 19,000 in the territory,) I believe there are two parishes and nine stations, and it is hoped that before long arrangements will be made by which this entire body of Christians will conform to the Church. The students act as lay-readers and catechists. When, from the scattered situations of the settlers, they cannot form Sunday Schools, they go from one log cabin to another, every where catechising the young, sowing the good seed of the word, and thus "seeking for Christ,s sheep that are dispersed abroad, and for his children who are in the midst of this naughty world, that they may be saved through Christ forever. It is in this way that they are enabling the Church to pre-occupy the territory.

On Saturday afternoon those who are thus employed, disperse to their posts, walking often the distance of sixteen miles, and returning on Sunday evening or Monday morning. The President has at times walked thirty miles, to the extremity of their mission. Formerly he was accustomed every summer to depart with his assistants on a tour for a month, carrying their tent and encamping at night, that he might thus visit every portion of the field allotted them. The multiplication of clergy, however, now renders this unnecessary. Their journeys are shorter, taken with their knapsacks on their backs, while the filling up of the country with settlers, ensures them some place of rest at night.

Meals."At 7 they assemble for breakfast"at a quarter past 12 for dinner"and at 7 P.M. for tea. Formerly the cooking was obliged to be done by those connected with the Mission. This necessity, however, has now ceased; a regular cook (a colored man,) has been employed, by whom the duties of this department (baking excepted,) are discharged.

Hours of Study and Labor."In winter time the hours of study and recitation are from 7 A.M. to 12, and from 7 P.M. to 10 P.M. In the afternoon they labor from 1 1/2 to 5 1/2. In January and February the hours of labor are reduced to two. In vacation, (from the middle of June to the middle of August,) when their studies are suspended, they labor eight hours a day. During August, leave of absence is granted to one-half the students for a week, and then, on their return, to the other half for the same length of time. By this arrangement a sufficient number are retained at the Mission to carry on its labors.

Each has his separate room, where the utmost cleanliness and neatness are seen. Candidates for Holy Orders study in their own rooms; the others mostly in the school room, under the direction and in the presence of the Rev. Professor, that he may render them assistance when necessary.

I have been thus particular in giving, as far as possible, a correct and minute account of the arrangements of the Mission, because it is a new feature in our Church, and one which is daily exciting more interest at the East. As is the case with every new enterprise, mistakes have been made, which the officers of the Institution are endeavoring gradually to rectify. They feel that every year they are gaining experience, and rendering the Mission more efficient.

What then has the Mission already accomplished? It has been a centre of influence which has been felt over the whole territory. Through its instrumentality, congregations have been gathered in many places, and in this diocese alone is the Church doing any thing to keep up with the population"to afford its offices to our brethren from other lands, before they have wandered into the numerous sects which are peculiarly rife in a new country. It is for this reason that Wisconsin is now"in the very year in which its Primary Convention is held"actually stronger in Church influence than most of the dioceses of the West, which have been organized for years. The very first class which left Nashotah during the last spring, furnished seven Clergymen to the Diocese. Two of them, Messrs. Keene and Ingraham, are laboring with zeal and success to build up two new Parishes in the rapidly growing city of Milwaukie. Another has a Parish formed from our people who have emigrated from the East. Another has gathered an interesting Parish of English settlers. Another has taken the place of Mr. Davis, among the Oneidas, as his health required for a time, change of climate. Another, Gustaf Unonius, a Swede, is now laboring among his own Scandinavian brethren at Pine Lake, where has a thousand persons under his charge, among whom are two hundred and fifty communicants. Another, Dr. Johnstone, has three stations at which he officiates.

These, too, were all men fitted for the West--"trained to endure hardness"--and for years familiar with the field in which they have entered. [3] "You can not"said a laymen of the Diocese to me" "you can not exaggerate the self-denial of the Nashotah Clergy. And so, if the Church supports this Institution, will it be year after year. Such will be the sons she will ever send forth.

WHAT DOES NASHOTAH MOST NEED?

I. Scholarships."Seventy-five dollars per annum will support a student. And how many are there among the wealthy laymen of our Church who could easily pledge this sum for a stipulated period? Thus, in a few years they would be the means of introducing another Clergyman into the Church, and feel that through their instrumentality, Sunday after Sunday, the Gospel is preached in the far West, and hundreds hear it who but for them might have gone down to eternal death. There is no reason why in a few years this Institution should not have 150 students instead of 25. Its influence might be ten-fold inceased, if the Church would give the means. There are hundreds of young men in humble life scattered through our land, who can not go to our other Seminaries, but here might be trained for the ministry, because here they can begin with the very rudiments of education.

II. A Library."The Library now contains only 1060 volumes. They need theology, reference books and particularly text books. Of the latter there are not enough for the use of the students. Had not some been procured from the Library of the Bishop, the last class could scarcely have completed its studies. And how many volumes of the Greek Testament, Burnet, Pearson, &c., are lying idle at the East, which here would be most diligently used? They need books of ordinary religious reading to lend through the neighborhood. They need, too, books of general literature. of these there are scarcely any in the Mission. It must be evident, too, that most of the young men come here totally uninformed on literary subjects, while they find no means of supplying this want"no books to read for the culture of the mind or relaxation. The donation, by a few families at the East, of the volumes they have read and then thrown aside as useless, would remedy this evil. Philosophical apparatus too is absolutely necessary at this time to enable the Professors to carry on the scientific education of the students.

III. Funds for Building."It will be seen from the account given in the first of these letters, that the buildings now erected are only temporary and would soon be insufficient. The officers of the Institution, too, are well aware that they must build for the future. Every plan therefore adopted has permanency in view. And such is the object they will have in the construction of their buildings. Dr. Muhlenbergh has kindly consented to procure a proper plan from an architect in new York, and in conformity with this they will build as soon as they have the means. Everything will be substantial, and in its architecture conformed to the purpose for which it will be used. They expect it to be the work of years"perhaps of generations"yet they will build on, like the successive architects of those grand cathedral abroad, remembering that they are toiling for coming ages, and keeping one great plan always in view, so that when the whole is at last finished, all will be marked by unity.

Will not the friends of the Institution then aid this design? Let contributions be given expressly to form a "Building Fund, and then as years go on, we shall see gradually rising on the banks of this beautiful lake, a noble structure whose very architecture will tell of the Church. What a monument would it be for many of our wealthy men, should they erect a portion of these buildings, so that centuries hence, when they have been long sleeping in the dust "their works should follow them, and from the hall which they reared, men each year come forth to preach the doctrines of our Holy Church!

But we must close this article which has already extended beyond our intentions. Yet we have written fully and earnestly, from the feeling that Nashotah is the hope of the Church at the North West, and as such deserves to be thoroughly understood. It is a model, too, from which other institutions will be copied. We mean not in their outward arrangements alone, for this would be vain, unless they imbibe also the spirit of self-denial which forms the life and soul of Nashotah. It pervades every department, and is evident even to the casual visitor. "While I was there"said one of them to me" "I felt that, after all, there is another world.

Will the Church support it and enable it to extend still further its influence, or shall we excuse ourselves by criticising its arrangements? It is easy to find fault"easy for those who are living at the East in comfort, to carp at the efforts of their brethren who for Christ,s sake and for the Church are enduring hardness"easy to detect flaws in the manner in which they accomplish their work, who are placed on the outposts of the Church, easier far than to imitate their self-denial. Yet is this the Christian spirit? Suppose that every minute point is not exactly as we should wish it, are we to look with a jaundiced eye upon these, or fix our attention on the great whole? Are we to sacrifice the interests of the Church at the West to trifles? Time is passing on, and the working days of life are going by, yet when its evening comes, would we not rather have the retrospect of those who now at Nashotah are sacrificing everything to this cause, than that of many at the East who hold back their hand from aiding them, because every thing is not precisely conformed to their views? Which will receive the noblest reward, when the test is" "They who have suffered with me shall also reign with me?"


NOTES

[1] From Dr. Berrian,s excellent Manual, "Enter into Thy Closet, p. 56.

[2] During the past year a Welsh student has also been received into the seminary to be educated for the Welsh population, already numerous in Wisconsin.

[3] One of the most common charges against the Institution is, that the doctrine of the celibacy of the Clergy is inculcated. We take, therefore, this opportunity to deny it. Such is not the case. The only foundation for the story is, that a student upon joining the Institution, pledges himself not to form any engagement with reference to matrimony during his union with it. The moment he is ordained, he is of course left free to do as he pleases. We believe there is no one acquainted with the state of things in some other Seminaries of our Church, but must feel that it would be better for the students if they were under the restriction of this rule. If there was less visiting, there would be more theology.


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