Project Canterbury















Feb. 24, 1861.











Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Retired Bishop of Malaita, 2008










WE, GEORGE AUGUSTUS, by Divine Providence, Bishop and Metropolitan of New Zealand, send greeting.

WHEREAS in a Valedictory Letter written by the late William, by Divine Providence, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, on the part of the Committee of Bishops appointed to manage the Funds for the Endowment of Bishoprics in the Colonies, and bearing date on the thirtieth day of November, one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, We were directed not to confine our views within the limits of the New Zealand Islands, but to regard the See of New Zealand as the central point of a system extending its influence in all directions over the Islands and Coasts of the Pacific:

AND WHEREAS Divers of the Western Islands of the South Pacific Ocean have been visited by us, and for some years past certain young people of the Aboriginal Inhabitants have been brought away to the Islands of New Zealand for Education, whereby the Christian Faith is beginning to be known among them:

AND WHEREAS Lands have been bought in these Islands, by means of Funds contributed in England, for the Endowment of the MELANESIAN MISSION, and a School-house and [3/4] other requisite Buildings have been erected in the Neighbourhood of Auckland:

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS that WE the said GEORGE AUGUSTUS, Bishop and Metropolitan, by and with the Advice of our Suffragans, judging it expedient for the more effectual prosecution of the aforesaid Mission, that it should be placed under the charge of a BISHOP specially appointed to this work; and having ascertained, that no Licence or Mandate of our Gracious Sovereign would be needed for the Consecration of a Bishop for the spiritual oversight of Countries out of her Majesty's dominions, did admit on Sunday, February 24th, 1861, our beloved in Christ JOHN COLERIDGE PATTESON, Clerk, Master of Arts, Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and heretofore our Missionary Chaplain, of whose Sufficiency in Learning, Soundness in the Faith, and Purity of Manners, we were well assured, to the Office of BISHOP, and did Canonically Consecrate him publicly in the Church of St. Paul, Auckland, according to the Manner prescribed by the Church of England, the Royal Mandate only being excepted.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF we have caused our Episcopal Seal to be affixed to these Presents.

Given at Auckland, New Zealand, on the second day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and the twentieth year of our Consecration.

Bishop of New Zealand, and Metropolitan.

WE, CHARLES JOHN, Bishop of Wellington, and EDMUND, Bishop of Nelson, were present and assisting at the Consecration above mentioned.


Which I attest, having been present,

Notary Public.

[5] ACTS I, 24.

And they prayed, and said: Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two Thou hast chosen.

If a reason be asked for the peculiar character of this congregation, it is given in the first words of the text,


On other occasions the House of God is as free as the air of heaven. The sojourner, the wayfaring man, the friendless, the rich, the poor, the old, the young, the full Communicant, and the proselyte of the gate, all may enter freely through its open doors, for the Church is the House of Prayer for all people, where every one may come, to cast down his own burden, and to pour out his soul before the Lord.

But this is a season of special prayer, and of that most solemn act of prayer which is offered up in the Holy Communion. And therefore the invitation has gone forth far and wide to all who have partaken of the blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, to meet the Bishops and Pastors of our Church at the Lord's Table, and to pray with us and for us.

We ask for these special prayers in a season of special need, for the solemnity in which we are engaged is one of fearful responsibility. We have not come here in a spirit of boasting, but of fear and trembling. We have not met together to exalt ourselves above our brethren in Christ, because we are Bishops or Presbyters or Communicants of the Church: for the day reminds all Pastors of the Church, of him of whom Christ said: "Have not I chosen you twelve and one of you is a Devil?" and the place reminds us, that it was from that Holy Table that the first Communicants rose up, one to betray His Lord one to deny Him, all to forsake Him.

Was not that a season of fear and trembling, when the eleven Apostles met in that upper room, in which they all abode after the Ascension, and continued with one accord in prayer and supplication? Prayer was their comfort even then, [5/6] though the Holy Ghost was not yet given. We can well understand why they prayed. The Bridegroom had departed from them. They were a hand of mourners. There was Mary the mother of Jesus weeping for her Son. And there was Mary Magdalene weeping for her Saviour: and Peter mourning for his denial of his Lord: and Thomas mourning for his faithlessness: all mourning for the brother who had fallen from his Bishopric and gone to his own place.

A book was unrolled before them, in which were written lamentations and mournings and woe. The dark word of prophecy had been then fulfilled. The Shepherd had been smitten, and the sheep of the flock had been scattered abroad. One habitation was desolate, and no man to dwell therein. Each in his own degree had been offended because of Christ; even that Apostle who said "Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended." Judas, Peter, all the Apostles, had stumbled at that stumbling stone: and all this had been foretold by prophecy as foreordained by God: and yet they could not excuse themselves, by alleging God's foreknowledge. Their Lord had said "It must needs be that offences come, but woe be to that man by whom the offence cometh."

And now to this sorrow for the past was to be added fear for the future: for this word also of prophecy was to be fulfilled: "His Bishopric let another take." Another Soldier of the Cross was to step at once into the place in which he had seen his comrade fall. There was no special guidance of the Holy Ghost, as when Paul and Barnabas were separated for the work whereunto God had called them. All the past was full of bitter proofs of their own unfitness for their Master's service. They had not known their own hearts. They had fancied themselves ready to go up to Jerusalem, to die with Him: they promised to go with Him to prison and to death; yet they had denied and forsaken him. They had not known their own deceitful hearts: how should they know the hearts of other men? One source of comfort and of light had been opened to them by their Divine Master, and to that they resorted. They prayed and said

"Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two Thou hast chosen."

They did not pray alone. The same Blessed Saviour who had borne their griefs and carried their sorrows, who had prayed for them in His Agony, while they were sleeping, would not forsake them in their act of prayer. He knew that Satan had desired to have them that he might sift them as wheat: and He prayed for them, that their strength might not fail.

In the power of that intercession Peter stood up in the [6/7] midst of the disciples; Peter foremost in the blessing, "Blessed art thon Simon Barjona," and foremost also in the offence, "Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offence unto me." Had he forgotten his own bitter tears for his threefold denial; or his grief at his Lord's threefold exhortation to him to feed His sheep? Was his bearing that of the primate of the Apostolic brotherhood, proud of his own office, and confident in his own strength? If he had been righteous in his own eyes, he would have brought a railing accusation against his brother. But his words are not of condemnation, but of sorrow. He speaks of Judas not as a traitor, but as the guide of them that took Jesus. He does not deny that Judas was an Apostle, but puts it forward as a sorrowful fact, that he was numbered with them, and had obtained part of their ministry. In fear and sorrow he recognised the fulfilment of prophesy in his brother's fall; in fear and hope, he called upon his brethren to fulfil the same Word of God by appointing another to take part of that ministry and Apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell.

I have endeavoured to explain the feelings with which the Apostles must have offered up those fervent prayers at the election of Matthias, as some guide to our own thoughts and feelings on the present occasion.

We too must come to this work in a spirit of prayer, because it is to us a work even of greater fear.

I speak first of the consecrating Bishops.

We are called upon to execute this office of the Apostles, in an age when the Bridegroom has been taken away, and when all outward gifts and guidances of the Spirit of God have been withdrawn. We are not like those Holy Men, who were with the Lord Jesus "all the time that He went in and out among them, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the same day that he was taken up." We cannot choose from men who have enjoyed the like privileges as eye-witnesses and ministers of the word. We are inferior to them both in respect to the power to choose, and of the field of choice. Compared with them, we are but "blind leaders of the blind."

And yet the office of the Apostles is laid upon us. They have long gone to their rest: but the commandment still remains in force "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." God neither gave immortality to the Apostles, nor a sudden spirit of conversion to the world. It is seen then to be the will of God, that the fulfilment of prophecy, and of our Blessed Lord's Commandment, should be a gradual work, to be carried on by successive generations of the Christian Ministry.

Through a hundred steps of spiritual lineage that Apostolic [7/8] Ministry has been brought down to us. At this distance from the source of blessing, we fear lest we be found wanting. We are called upon to exercise the office of Apostles, but without the special gifts and graces of the Apostolic age. What are we that we should have power to carry on the Lord's word in obedience to His commandment?

When we look to the side of prophecy, the thought is no less fearful. The whole volume of Holy Scripture seems to be unrolled before us with its warning of woe. "Woe be to me, if I preach not the Gospel." Is the promise yet fulfilled, that in Abraham and his Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed? Has Christ already received all the heathen for His inheritance and all the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession? Is there no wilderness which has still to blossom as the rose? No Islands that still wait for the Lord? No kingdoms that must become His? Are all idols utterly abolished? Are there no Gentiles yet to come to His light; no doves to come back to the windows of his ark; no sons to come from far; no daughters to be brought to be nursed at his side? Has His Church been established in the top of the mountains as a city set upon a hill?

The vastness of the scope of the prophetic visions at once humbles and enlarges the mind. "Thy heart shall fear and be enlarged" is God's promise through Isaiah. However little our work may be, it is part of that purpose of God which can never fail. We pray for our little one in fear and humility, and while we pray it becomes a thousand. It is but a drop in the Ocean, but that Ocean is the fulness of God.

But when we thus recognize the work as of God alone, ordained by His determinate counsel and foreknowledge, a new cause of fear arises, and brings with it a new motive to prayer. In this work of God, belonging to all eternity, and to the Holy Catholic Church, are we influenced by any private feelings, or any personal regard? The charge which St. Paul gives to Timothy in words of awful solemnity "to lay hands suddenly on no man" may well cause much searching of heart. "I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things, without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality." Does our own partial love deceive us in this choice? We were all trained in the same place of education; united in the same circle of friends; in boyhood, in youth, in manhood, we have shared the same sorrows, and joys, and hopes, and fears. I received this my son in the Ministry of Christ Jesus from the hands of a father of whose old age he was the comfort: he sent him forth without a murmur, nay rather with joy and thankfulness, to these distant parts of the earth. He never asked even [8/9] to see him again; but gave him up without reserve to the Lord's work. Pray, dear brethren, for your Bishops, that our partial love may not deceive us in this choice, for we cannot so strive against natural affection, as to be quite impartial.

And yet, as standing in the "presence of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the elect angels," we solemnly declare that we are not laying hands suddenly on this dear friend and brother: so far as we can search our own hearts, and judge of our own motives, we are doing nothing by partiality. In frequent conference, and in solemn Communion we have spread the matter before the Lord; and, we have received at least this satisfaction, that no one single whisper of the voice of conscience within has warned us to forbear. We have risen from our prayers more and more resolved to go forward in the name of God, and in the full belief that this is indeed His work, and that this is His chosen servant.

Here again was the need of prayer, that we were left to our own unassisted judgment. It is true that I had received Commission, now nearly twenty years ago, from the Primate of the English Church, to regard New Zealand as a fountain to diffuse the streams of salvation over the Coasts and Islands of the Pacific Ocean: and that supplies have been furnished by the Church at Home with no sparing hand to enable me to begin the work. But in this special act of the Consecration of a Missionary Bishop the authorities in Church and State at Home have advisedly left us to exercise our own inherent powers: with the kindest expressions of sympathy with our undertaking, but with no division of responsibility. And yet we do not stand alone in the work, for at this very time, the Sister Church in the Cape Colony, with the active support of a former Governor of New Zealand, is sending out a Missionary Bishop to Central Africa. We too have received the same encouragement from the Officers of the Crown in New Zealand, their attestation of the fitness of the person whom we have chosen, and their assurance of the lawfulness of our act. We have called upon the Laity in all our Churches to come forward, if they know of any just cause or impediment. The general consent of Church and State, of the Clergy and Laity, both here and at home, seems to justify our act. I have not heard of one dissentient voice. We humbly trust, that we may go on with this our work, with a conscience void of offence, toward God, and toward men.

Having asked your prayers for us the Consecrating Bishops, I now ask them for him who is to be consecrated. And these are the reasons.

Because, like all others of his brethren, he will have care of many Churches: the stewardship of the Mysteries of Christ: the guardianship of the purity of His Word: the administration [9/10] of godly discipline: the oversight of the flock, which the Son of God has purchased with His own blood.

But, especially, because he will go forth to sow beside many waters, to cultivate an unknown field, to range from Island to Island, himself unknown, and coming in the Name of an unknown God. He will have to land alone and unarmed among Heathen tribes, where every man's hand is against his neighbour; and bid them lay down their spears and arrows, and meet him as the messenger of peace. He will have to persuade them by the language of signs to give up their children to his care: and while he teaches them the simplest elements which are taught in our Infant Schools, to learn from them a new language for every new Island. Surely then, dear brethren, we must pray earnestly that this our brother may have a large measure of the Apostolic gifts; a power to acquire divers languages; and also boldness with fervent zeal constantly to preach the Gospel to all the nations now to be committed to his charge. Already sixty Islands will come under his care, and at least one hundred others, stretching westward as far as New Guinea, are among the number of the Islands which are waiting for the Lord. I can but indicate the outlines of this great work: your own minds fill up the details, by that lively Faith, which springs from a hearty acceptance of all the prophecies and of all the promises of the Bible. It may be, that your prayers will be more earnest for objects which you see as through a glass darkly; like those solemn prayers which faithful men offer up in the darkness of the night, to the God who seeth in secret.

One duty yet remains: to command our dear brother to the work to which we believe God has called him.

It was the privilege of the Apostles to elect Matthias out of the number of those "who had companied with them all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among them, beginning from the baptism of John unto the same day that He was taken up." Our privilege though different in degree may be the same in kind; for faith supplies what is denied to sight.

So may every step of thy life dear brother, be in company with the Lord Jesus.

May the baptism of John be in thee, to fill thee with that godly sorrow which worketh repentance not to be repented of: a foretaste of that comfort which will be given to them that mourn, by the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire.

May Christ be with thee, as a light to lighten the Gentiles; may He work out in thee His spiritual miracles: may He through thee give sight to the blind, to see the glories of the God invisible: and open the ears of the deaf to hear and receive the preaching of His Word: and loose the tongues of the dumb, to sing His praise; and raise to new life the dead in trespasses and sins.

[11] May Christ be with you when you go forth in His Name and for His sake "to those poor and needy people; to those strangers destitute of help"; to those mingled races, who still shew forth the curse of Babel, and wait for the coming of another Pentecost; poor alike in all worldly and spiritual goods, naked to be clothed, prisoners to be loosed, lepers to be cleansed. To you is committed Christ's own Ministry, to seek for His sheep that are dispersed abroad; to hold up the weak, to heal the sick, to bind up the broken, to bring again the outcasts, to seek the lost. Your office is, in the widest sense, to preach the Gospel to the poor.

May Christ be ever with you; may you feel his presence in the lonely wilderness, on the mountain top, on the troubled sea, May He go before you, with His fan in His hand, to purge His floor. He will not stay His hand, till the Idols are utterly abolished.

May Christ be ever with thee, to give thee utterance to open thy mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the Gospel. Dwelling in the midst of a people of unclean lips, you will feel Him present with you to touch thy lips with a live coal from His own altar, that many strangers of every race may hear in their own tongues the wonderful works of God.

May Christ be ever with you: may you sorrow with Him in His agony and be crucified with Him in His death, be buried with Him in His grave, rise with Him to newness of life, and ascend with Him in heart to the same place whither He has gone before, and feel that He ever liveth to make intercession for thee, "that thy strength fail not."--Amen.

Project Canterbury