Chapter V. The Office of a Bishop
"Bishops and priests, blessed are ye, if deep
(As yours above all offices is high)
Deep in your hearts the sense of duty lie;
Charged as ye are by Christ to feed and keep
From wolves your portion of his chosen sheep:
Labouring as ever in your Master's sight,
Making your hardest task your best delight."
To appreciate the nature and magnitude of the work which lay before the first Bishop of Christchurch, it will be necessary to ascertain what measure of progress had been made by the Canterbury Settlement during the first six years of its existence. Its social and commercial conditions have been so altered by the railways which now traverse the plains in all directions, that it is not easy to realise how large a part was originally played by natural features which now count but little, or not at all. For, although the Canterbury Plains offered an apparently open field for settlement on every side, yet they were not of so uniform a character as to invite settlers to advance evenly in every direction. Not distance from the base only, nor even the degree of fertility in the soil, sufficed to determine the time when a particular piece of country should receive an influx of population. In the absence of roads and bridges, every small boat harbour through which goods might be sent to Lyttelton was of no slight value, and in a country which was almost bare of timber, every patch of bush was sure to attract attention. On the other hand, the heavy swamps which would one day carry a close agricultural population must lie undrained till capital should have time to accumulate. These general considerations will go far to account for the actual course of the history of the settlement on its outward or material side.
The population of the province at the beginning of the year 1857 was estimated to lie between 6,000 and 6,500. Of this number the oldest element was that formed by the French and German families at Akaroa, and the few settlers in the other bays of Banks Peninsula. There were about a thousand residents in the town of Lyttelton, which was then of much greater relative importance than it is to-day. Far from being merely the port of Christchurch, it could challenge its younger rival in population and dignity. The General Post Office was still there, and the Immigration Barracks, and there the only newspaper was published. In comparison with Christchurch, its people lived closer together, and developed a more vigorous public opinion. The inhabitants of the two towns had (it was noted) "different tastes, different political creeds, and different ideas of geography." Of the remainder of the population the bulk was to be found in and around the capital. Christchurch itself might indeed be described in the terms used of the Jerusalem of Nehemiah's day. "The city was large and wide: but the people were few therein, and the houses were not builded." None the less was it the social and commercial centre of the young community, and was already more remarkable for its thriving trade (chiefly "horse and wool") than for the ecclesiastical and collegiate institutions which were to have been its principal feature. Outside the town belts the land was fenced and cultivated on every side, except on the north east, where the great swamp lay. Especially along the route between the town and the Heathcote ferry was population gathered, for at the two quays on that river all the imports from abroad were landed. Small goods could be put in boats and brought up the Avon to the very confines of the city, hence what is now the suburb of Avonside had already sprung up. The nearest timber for housebuilding was to be found in the Papanui bush, and though most of its pines and totaras had by this time fallen before the axe, a thriving village was in existence.
But the time had now come for an onward movement. Emigration was in progress from the town and its neighbourhood to more distant fields. Its line of march was determined by the causes already indicated. Swamps, over which the cattle still roamed, hindered it from taking a southward direction; to the west the land was too light and stony; but the north offered an easier opening. For there were the boat harbours of Kaiapoi and Saltwater Creek; there, too, were forests whose value was fast being enhanced by the exhaustion of the Papanui supply. Hence at the time of the bishop's arrival, the only agricultural settlements outside of the neighbourhood of Christ-church were those of Kaiapoi and Eangiora and these were attracting population at a rapid rate. Elsewhere settlers were few and far between. Northward from the Ashley River to the boundary of the province; westward from Eiccarton as far as the foot-hills of the great ranges; and southward, throughout the whole of the central and southern districts, there was nothing but the infrequent sheep-station which sent its wool by bullock drays along the tussock tracks to the town or to the coast, and received in return its necessary supplies. Roads stretched from Christchurch for a few miles in different directions, but, owing to the softness of the soil, they were often of little use in rainy weather. Except for a few ferries, the great rivers were only to be crossed by fording, and their sudden floods were often fatal to the impatient and venturous traveller.
Besides what may be called Canterbury proper, there was the wooded district of Banks Peninsula, which was the first to receive settlers, and still lived a life of its own. Akaroa harbour was much frequented by French and American whalers whose custom made it almost independent of trade with Lyttelton. The few inhabitants of the other bays lived an isolated life. "Very little sympathy exists" (wrote an observer in 1857) "between the settlers in this locality and those on the plains. Besides the foreign element introduced by the original settlement from France, few of the inhabitants are led by business or pleasure to the open country, and those who come thence to Akaroa are not bound on business. Consequently, Banks Peninsula might as well be an island, far out at sea, and its population men of another race and language." An illustration of this isolation is afforded by the fact that when the clergy presented an address of welcome to the bishop on December 31st--a whole week after his arrival--they had not been able to obtain the signature of the Incumbent of Akaroa.
To the westward of the plains rose the Alpine ranges. No one as yet knew what might be hidden within or beyond their unexplored valleys. Though sheep-runs were advancing every year along their base, the mountain passes and the West Coast district were quite unknown. One half of the whole province was still a terra incognita.
In matters political much activity was manifested. Representative institutions had been granted to New Zealand in 1852, and these had been framed upon a provincial rather than upon a national basis. Under them Canterbury (like the other provinces) enjoyed virtual self-government. Its council of twenty-four members received a constantly increasing land fund, and spent the money in forming the necessary roads and in bridging the smaller rivers. Canterbury men favoured in theory a stronger central authority; but it was noticed at this time that in practice they were beginning to change their politics. So fast did the change proceed that in 1861 it could be said "as far as Canterbury is concerned the General Government is nothing, and the Provincial Government is everything." A future chapter will show the ecclesiastical importance of this fact. From a police point of view, the settlement could not boast of any greater immunity from crime than the rest of New Zealand. It is only fair to note, however, that the occupants of Lyttelton Gaol were rarely of the number of the pilgrims; either they were time-expired or escaped convicts from Australia, or else they were sailors who had deserted from the ships in the harbour. On the whole, there was solid prosperity, and things looked well.
In sharp contrast, however, with this material advance was the backward condition of things ecclesiastical and educational. Whatever may have been the cause, the melancholy fact must be confessed that the two main objects of the original founders of the settlement were exactly those in which least progress had been made. A future chapter will deal with the subject of education: attention must now be given to that of religion. And here it must be admitted that the picture presented by the Church in Canterbury at the beginning of the year 1857 is not a cheerful one. A state of apathy and inertness everywhere appears. Doubtless the loss of Mr. Godley had been severely felt. As long as he remained he urged on the work and set an example by attending the daily services at Lyttelton. Now those services could hardly be kept up. Clergy and laity alike show little power of initiative, and not much missionary zeal. Many of the clergy who came out in the Association's ships had not chosen to make their home in the settlement, but ten still remained--enough, it would seem, to have supplied its needs. The population of the province, in spite of all the intermingling which had taken place, was still predominantly Anglican--seventy-five per cent, of the people being estimated to belong to the Church of England. Yet the greatest difficulty was experienced in getting together funds even for the building of churches, or for the payment of clerical stipends. Five small churches had, indeed, been erected, but these were of so poor a character that none of them was deemed worthy of consecration, while the only one of them (that at Lyttelton) which had any architectural pretensions was already in such a dangerous condition that the congregation had abandoned it in terror and were worshipping in one of the original barracks. The clergy were miserably paid, and nearly all of them had to find some supplementary source of income. One was giving his time to tuition, and the rest were driven to engage in farming. That this state of things, though capable of explanation, was not inevitable, is shown by the fact that amongst the small minority of settlers of other per suasions, the Wesleyans had built two chapels (one of them in a conspicuous position in the centre of Christchurch) and were supporting a regular minister, while the Presbyterians, besides giving a fair stipend to their minister, were building a kirk in Christchurch which was of a far more solid and dignified character than any other ecclesiastical building there, and when opened a few weeks after the bishop's arrival, quite put to shame his little pro-cathedral of St. Michael's.
Much may indeed be urged in extenuation of this failure on the part of churchmen as contrasted with their fellow Christians belonging to what are now known as the Free Churches. The Wesleyans had, of course, been thoroughly educated from the time of Wesley himself in the principle and practice of self-help. The Free Church of Scotland had entered enthusiastically upon the same course at the time of its disruption from the Established Kirk. The Church of England, on the other hand, by its very constitution depended on the leadership of its bishops. By its long connection with the State it had been shut out from all chance of self-government, and by the liberality of past generations it had been relieved from the need of self-support. The Canterbury colonists in particular had (as we have seen) been led to expect a reproduction of the system which obtained in the Old Country, and having at the outset paid a high price for their land, set out with the understanding that no further pecuniary sacrifices would be demanded of them. Hence disappointment, irritation, backwardness, and apathy. As regards the clergy, the pressure of poverty in some cases, and in others the care of their landed property cooperated in quenching enthusiasm and hindering missionary activity. Even work close at hand was sometimes inefficiently done. The present colonial system of large districts in which one priest, assisted by lay-readers, provides services for many different congregations, does not seem to have been thought of. Each parish priest was content to keep up the old English tradition of two services a Sunday in the one building near which he resided, without attempting to extend his regular labours farther afield. Indeed, even this minimum was not always attained. When the grants from the Church property came to be made in 1857, we find that £50 was allotted to each cure in which two services were held each week, while to others only £30 was given, on the ground that no more than one service was performed!
This being so, we are prepared to find what looks like an entire absence of the missionary spirit. With the exception of one clergyman in the town of Akaroa, and of one who had taken up land in the new northern district of Woodend, all the clergy were clustered in and around Christchurch. The great plains with their scattered sheep or cattle stations were altogether neglected. This may have been inevitable for it would be unfair to expect great things from men who were harassed by the rebus angustis domi, but it was none the less a melancholy fact. Here then was the chief feature in the situation. A bishop was needed who should be not merely an overseer of work done by others, but above all a pioneer, a missionary, an apostle.
The need was at once realised by Bishop Harper. His long missionary tours are, indeed, the outstanding feature of the first years of his episcopate. In spite, however, of their importance--or, rather, because of their importance--they must be left for other chapters, and the remainder of this must be given to his efforts to set in order things that were wanting in the already existing parishes, and his endeavours to quicken the languid energies and strengthen the weak hands of their discouraged labourers.
The prospect was not really so hopeless as the preceding sketch might seem to indicate. After all the proportion of churchmen was unusually high for a colonial community, and there were many who were quite ready to respond to the call for action when addressed to them by one who had the right and the power to utter it. The foresight of Godley and his assistants had provided sites in abundance for churches, schools, and parsonages. In the very midst of Christchurch lay an open space which had been set apart for the future cathedral, and in each quarter of the four-square city an ample section of land for a parish church. Sites had been provided also for churches and schools in such suburbs and country villages as had then sprung into existence. The general trust estate, though as yet producing little, was becoming more productive every year. Best of all, there were a few clergy who were much in earnest, and a splendid body of educated and attached laymen prepared to support the bishop in his efforts after good, and to form the backbone of the developing diocese.
His attention was given first to the need of better maintenance for the clergy. Six weeks had barely elapsed from the time of his arrival when on February 5th he started on foot for Akaroa with Archdeacon Mathias. At a meeting on the llth he succeeded in putting the Church finances on a stable basis, and after visiting the other bays returned to the parishes nearer home. In these also meetings were held, and the bishop urged upon the laity the importance of regular contributions to the stipends of their own pastors. The conservative English temper of course raised many objections. How was the money to be raised? Seat rents were for the most part disapproved of. Voluntary contributions were admirable in theory, but had been found wanting in actual practice. At last the offertory or church collection was agreed to by all, and it was to be held monthly. Realising the missionary needs of his diocese and the claims of the heathen in the South Sea Islands, the bishop laid down the rule (which has ever since been observed in the diocese) that the offertories on four Sundays in the year should go to a central diocesan fund, and that of one other Sunday to foreign missions. The other seven--supplemented from such other sources as might be available--were to provide the stipend for the local minister. After a time the collection was extended to every Sunday in the year, but the system worked well from the first, and the clergy were soon in receipt of something like £250 a year.
.The next need was that of better church buildings. A meeting was at once held in Lyttelton, which resulted in a vigorous effort being set on foot for the building of a more solid and more durable house of God. On February 24th, 1857, came the first consecration of a church in Canterbury. This was at Avon-side, near the spot at which the boats discharged their cargoes. Much interest was shown in the proceedings. The day was fine and the attendance large. This church is described in the newspaper of the day as "the first substantial building erected to God's service, of materials that may endure for ages," and other parishes are exhorted to "go and do likewise." Yet the building was only formed of "well-tempered cob," and though it undoubtedly lasted longer than its contemporaries, it has now been swept away to make room for a building of solid stone.
The impression created by the bishop's first visits was uniformly favourable. Men soon found that they could trust him, and that he always took the highest view and acted from the highest motives. His courtesy and calm temper overcame most obstacles. For instance, after the meeting at Kaiapoi on January 29th, the remark was made, "We may look for a more prosperous state of the Church, now that we have a bishop among us whose sole desire seems to be to promote the well-being of the Church, and whose conciliatory manners will tend to soften down the angry feelings which have hitherto caused so much heart-burning."
But in spite of favourable impressions, the people of Canterbury were slow to wake from their lethargy. The bishop's appeals for more and better buildings did not meet with a very ready response. It is true that in the year 1858 (April 6th) one new church was consecrated in the neighbourhood of Christchurch, viz.: that of St. Peter's Biccarton--the wooden nucleus of a church which has since been replaced by a stone structure. But this was far from meeting the necessities of the case. The population of the city was growing fast, and the church accommodation was utterly inadequate. Yet it seemed as though the parishioners would be content to go on indefinitely with their one small and insecure building. The bishop's first move for a new church met with much discouragement. In his diary of September 27th, 1858, he writes: "Saw Mr. Miles respecting the new church. Mr. M. gave it as his opinion that it was impossible to commence the building unless further subscriptions could be obtained, of which he saw no probability." Patiently and perseveringly, however, he worked on, and a month later (October 25th) had the intense satisfaction of presiding at a large and representative meeting of church members, at which a really comprehensive scheme was carried through. Those present were not all of one mind when they met, but all at last agreed to three important resolutions. The first, moved by His Honour the Superintendent, was to the effect that the present (St. Michael's) church should be strengthened and enlarged so as to provide accommodation for one hundred additional worshippers. The second, moved by Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Hall, affirmed that a district church should be commenced; while the third, moved by Mr. Justice Gresson, pledged the meeting to the erection of a central church or cathedral as soon as a sum of not less than £2,000 should have been raised. The bishop in conclusion urged that the three objects should be taken in hand in the order of the resolutions themselves. Parish and district churches first, and the cathedral afterwards--this was his policy. The townspeople must build their own churches, then the country would come forward and help in the erection of one central sanctuary which should belong to all, and where all should feel at home.
This meeting had the happiest results. The enlargement of St. Michael's was taken in hand at once, and the church was consecrated on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels in the following year (1859). On the very next day the bishop chose the site for the second church (St. Luke's) in Manchester Street north; on October 18th (St. Luke's Day) its foundation stone was laid; and on December 30th, 1860, the church was consecrated. A month later the Cathedral Commission commenced its sittings, and the foundation stone was laid on December 16th, 1864, the fourteenth anniversary of the foundation of the settlement.
But the effects of the meeting of 1858 were by no means confined to the town of Christ-church. The impulse which it set in motion reached far and wide. In the month following (on November 10th) a letter from "A Pilgrim" appeared in the Lyttelton Times advocating a grant of no less than £10,000 from Provincial funds towards the building of churches in place of the "barns and rude sheds" hitherto made to serve in the settlement. On December 1st, the bold policy thus outlined was actually carried through the Council. On that day Mr. Packer moved, "That whereas under existing circumstances it is expedient to assist certain Christian denominations in building or enlargement of places for public worship within the Province of Canterbury, be it resolved--
"That this Council will sanction the payment of £10,000 for the above-named purpose, out of the Public Revenues of the Province.
"That the said sum of £10,000 shall be paid to the several persons and in the several proportions undermentioned, respectively:--
For the Bishop of Christchurch, £7,800.
For the Acting Head of the Wesleyan Body, £800.
For the Acting Head of the Presbyterian Body, £1000.
For the Acting Head of the Roman Catholic Body, £400."
The motion met with some opposition, but after several amendments had been negatived it was carried by thirteen votes to two. [A second sum of £10,000 was voted by the Council on November 20th, 1862. This was given to the various denominations on the pound for pound principle.] The help thus afforded was most timely. Settlement was proceeding fast all over the country, and the prospect of a grant in aid stimulated the people of rural townships and rising suburbs to put forth all their energies. Churches sprang up in all directions. They were usually built of timber, but they were well-constructed, fairly durable, and thoroughly church-like in design and appearance.
When the bishop left his diocese in 1867, he had the happiness of knowing that, though many pastoral districts were still in the missionary stage, the more settled parts of Canterbury were studded with buildings large enough for the immediate wants of the settlers and sufficiently church-like in their architecture and appointments to keep in the minds of young and old some thoughts of unseen and eternal realities.
But the provision of suitable places of worship was very far from occupying the chief place in the bishop's mind. As he himself declared in his charge to the Synod of 1864,--
"We may have spacious churches, built of substantial materials, furnished and adorned to the best of our ability, as all buildings should be which are set apart for Him who is perfect in all His works, and I trust that every effort will be made by us to erect such buildings; and these buildings, and the services in them, may attract large congregations, and so satisfy the expectations of those who do not look below the surface of things; but the work of the Church cannot be accomplished in our churches alone, necessary and important as they are. Our chief work is outside these buildings, in the homes and in the hearts of men,--a work, the progress and extent of which is necessarily hidden in a great degree from the eye of man, and will not be known until the day when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed. And for this we require living agents living in districts in which they may be able to hold personal communication with the several members of their flocks."
Remembering the high ideal put before himself by the bishop when curate of Eton, it may easily be imagined how greatly he would be dissatisfied with anything but a high standard among the clergy of his diocese. Their deficiencies were, indeed, a source of constant pain and trouble to him in the early years of his episcopate. Many of the Canterbury clergy had come out more as colonists than as pastors or missionaries. And very excellent colonists they generally were, but in other respects (as we have already seen) they were too often lacking. The six years during which they had lived without the stimulus of a resident bishop, and isolated from the more intense life of the Home land, had not tended to foster spirituality or zeal. The bishop's diaries show his constant efforts to raise the tone of clerical life and to infuse earnestness into the backward and lukewarm. Very few of the first clergy of the settlement escaped reproof and even censure from their new diocesan. In some cases he went to the length of withdrawing their licenses altogether--sometimes restoring them upon promise of amendment. But all this exercise of discipline was carried out with great tact, and was known to few beyond the persons immediately affected. Sometimes a clergyman was deprived of a pastoral charge under the guise of preferment to another position, which brought perhaps greater dignity, but fewer opportunities of helping--or hindering--the real work of ministering to souls. The grounds upon which the bishop acted were generally those of negligence and inactivity. In some cases the accused admitted his want of aptitude for pastoral duties; in others resentment was doubtless felt, at least for a time. But discipline was so justly and considerately administered that it seldom produced lasting bitterness, and the bishop was supported throughout by the best of the laity, who did not fail to recognise the high aims and pure motives of their chief pastor. The subject is necessarily a delicate one to treat, and more need not be said about it here. But it is necessary not to overlook this feature of the bishop's administration. In his old age everyone was so much impressed with his amiability and general popularity, that the fear was sometimes expressed whether he might escape the woe upon those "of whom all men spoke well." The severity and the conflicts of his earlier episcopate should dissipate any such apprehension. They are now known to few, and they need not be dwelt upon here in any detail, but a truthful account of his life and work demands that at least a general idea of their nature should be given.
More hopeful, as well as more pleasant, than the exercise of discipline towards the faulty, was the endeavour to introduce fresh labourers of a more satisfactory type. On December 20th, 1857 (just a year after his arrival), the bishop held his first ordination. On this occasion three young men were admitted to the diaconate--all of them destined to hold important positions in the future--viz: his own eldest son, the Rev. H. W. Harper (now Archdeacon of Timaru and Westland), the Rev. F. Knowles (now Diocesan Registrar and Canon of the Cathedral), and the Rev. C. Bowen (afterwards Archdeacon of Christchurch). The first-named was at once sent out to take charge of a large missionary district, consisting of the whole tract of country between the "Waimakariri and Bakaia rivers. Mr. Knowles was stationed in the Bays of the Peninsula, where he had already been labouring as a catechist. But the man on whom the bishop depended most during these years was the Rev. C. Alabaster, who had come from England in an apparently dying state. The change of climate restored his health for a time, and he was appointed to assist in the parish of Christchurch itself. He is described by Dean Jacobs in his History as "a young man of strikingly interesting character and appearance who, with an acute and logical mind, combined deep piety, intense earnestness, and fervent eloquence."
Not all the clergy, however, who found their way to Canterbury were of Mr. Alabaster's type, and even those who were selected and sent out from England by the bishop's commissary not infrequently belied the expectations which had been formed of their fitness for colonial work. Quality was hard to secure, and even quantity was apt to fail. New districts were constantly crying out for men, and the bishop knew not where to turn. The Canterbury Association had found no "dearth of clergy," eager or willing to accompany the first colonists with a prospect of good pay and open careers for sons and daughters. But the glamour had long since faded away, and colonial service meant hard work. A scheme which seemed at one time to promise well was that of ordaining the most promising of the country schoolmasters--at least to the diaconate. In one case this was actually done, and in several others the teachers entered upon the necessary course of preliminary study. The result was highly satisfactory. Not only were more opportunities of public worship supplied to out-of-the-way districts, but "the cause of general education was advanced to a very high degree." Such at least was the judgment of the bishop in 1863, as expressed by him in his address to Synod. Such, however, was not the opinion of the Educational Commissioners. To them the time given to theological study and Church work meant so much time taken from their proper business: to the bishop it meant so much additional character and earnestness thrown into their proper business. But the Commissioners had their way. The schoolmasters continued to do much excellent work as laymen, but laymen they remained to the end.
Baffled in his hopes of supplying the ranks of the clergy from what had always been regarded as the kindred profession of the teacher, the bishop felt that he must have recourse to other sources without too scrupulous an insistence on intellectual qualifications. His remarks to the Synod of 1865 are strikingly in keeping with his earlier convictions as recorded in his Eton days. "None but fanatics will undervalue the high intellectual training which in England generally precedes the more especial preparation for the ministry; but we may attach too much importance to such intellectual training, which, separated from godliness, is too often a snare to its possessor, and injurious to the best interests of society. Most unquestionably there is work to be done in the Church, as well as out of it, which, under God's blessing, may be successfully done by those who have not had the full advantages of an English home education, provided only they are humble and earnest-minded men--men who have experienced in themselves the living power of the truths of Christianity, and who are ready to order themselves by the rules of the Church, and to comply with the godly suggestions of those who are placed in authority over them." The last sentence implies that the bishop contemplated a rather long diaconate for those thus ordained without a university training. This was no doubt the case, though the practical exigencies or the diocese generally prevented so desirable an arrangement. But the bishop steadily set his face against what has been called "the permanent diaconate." He would never permit any clergyman--priest or deacon--to supplement his income by any secular employment. The scheme of deacon schoolmasters was not really an exception to this rule, for "in no case has the clergyman or lay-reader received from the educational grant more than has been assigned to other similar schools. Indeed, they have received less, and have been content with less, as might have been expected in men serving from the purest motives and for the highest purposes." With reference to a candidate (not a schoolmaster) who had called upon him, his diary of 1866 records--"Approved of his devoting one year in preparing for Holy Orders--if his means would admit of his doing so--but distinctly told him that I could not pledge myself to admit him to Holy Orders at the expiration of that period nor even at any time, however well prepared he might be, unless I saw the way to some clerical appointment in which he might secure the means of living apart from secular occupation."
Such an attitude cannot fail to arouse some surprise in those who remember that Bishop Harper himself, when at Mortimer, devoted a very large portion of his time to the teaching of his pupils, and derived a large part of his income from their fees. Is there not an inconsistency here? Undoubtedly there does appear to be. He would not allow even his own sons to do what he had regularly done himself. What is the explanation? There must be one, and it can only be found in the experience he had had with the Canterbury clergy. Ideally there is much, very much, to be said for a self-supporting ministry like that of St. Paul. Unfortunately, the system often breaks down in practice. Men are not all like St. Paul, nor are they all like Bishop Harper. The money-making pursuit too often takes the first place, the spiritual duties are left far behind. The bishop had to lay down a rule for the average man, not for the exceptions. His mind may be understood from a passage in his charge of 1863. "I have no wish, and I feel sure that it is not the wish of my brethren in the ministry, that our position in this country should be one of wealth. It would be a matter of regret indeed if it could be said of any of us with any semblance of truth that we either sought or undertook 'the feeding of the flock of God which is among us for filthy lucre and not of a ready mind.' But at the same time, it may be reasonably required that some suitable provision should be made for the maintenance of the clergy, such as would place them above all anxious cares and allow of their givng their thoughts and time, without interruption, to the duties of their calling." Rightly regarded, the apparent inconsistency of the bishop's action disappears entirely. Circumstances alter cases, and the circumstances of a colonial Church are enough to alter cases of even greater importance than this.
Thus in different ways--by importations from England or other countries and by the ordination of the most fit among the local candidates who offered themselves--the staff of the diocese was recruited, and in 1867 Bishop Harper left twenty-five men at work in Canterbury, besides eight in Otago.
But the bishop was by no means content with zealous endeavours to multiply clergy and to render them more efficient. He found time in those early years to do an immense amount of direct pastoral work himself. Whenever a parish in Christchurch or its neighbourhood was temporarily vacant he himself stepped in and acted as its incumbent. For weeks together he would perform all the ordinary duties in the church and sedulously visit the parishioners in their homes. Especially did he throw himself into the work of preparing candidates for confirmation. He first developed this feature of his ministry at Avonside in 1860. For four whole days before the confirmation he was visiting the different candidates in their homes. On the day itself he gave them the heads of his address beforehand. His own record of the service is worth quoting, as indicating what was afterwards his regular method.
"Question read once, and each candidate when called upon by name to answer separately. Reason--that their individual responsibility and what they were about to do might be more deeply felt. There is always danger of our shifting our responsibility in religious matters to others, but if there is a time when religion must be felt as a personal matter between God and your own soul, it is at such a time as this when you, 'before God and your fellow Christians openly declare that you hold yourself bound to believe and do all that was promised for you in your baptism.'"
This visiting of the candidates in their homes became from this time his regular practice whenever they were near enough for him to reach them. Several days were often spent thus, and in this way the ordinary parochial preparation was supplemented and deepened.
So zealously did the bishop work in vacant parishes that he practically took pastoral charge of the whole of Christchurch for several months in the year 1860. With the help of Mr. Alabaster, he carried on the services at St. Michael's and also a Sunday evening service in the Masonic Hall, which then stood in Cathedral Square. So well satisfied were the parishioners with this arrangement that the nominators proposed to forego their rights, and actually went so far as to nominate the bishop as their incumbent! This proposal could not be accepted, but the bishop allowed the nomination to be suspended for six months, and proceeded to carry on the work during that time. In fact, no labour came amiss to him. Was the hospital without a chaplain? Or the orphan asylum (an institution by the way, which he had taken the chief part in founding)? The bishop would take the burden upon his own shoulders, and devote Sundays and week days to the sick or the homeless. He had, indeed, learnt the master lesson, "He that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger, and he that is chief, as he that doth serve."
In this chapter attention has been confined to one department in a life of manifold activity. But it must not be forgotten that at the same time the bishop was busily engaged in other directions. As regarded the Church schools of the settlement, he was himself Board of education and general secretary; he spent much time in attending general synods in which the constitution of the young colonial Church was being shaped into working order; above all, he spent months of each year in missionary tours to the thinly peopled portions of his vast diocese. These wider labours must now be more fully described.