--JOHN XX. 21.
WE are engaged this morning in an act which carries us back through the intervening centuries and gives our Church her title to historical continuity with Christ and His Apostles.
These Bishops of our Province have come together to Consecrate one to their own Order, that through them, as the Apostles' successors, he might receive that self-contained gift which belongs to the highest Order of the Ministry, and become in himself a Fount of Apostolic Ministry and grace to others.
And this is no new-born theory to give our Church preeminence to the disparagement of other ministries--it is the simple and natural outcome of what we believe to be the mind of Christ in choosing, and ordaining, the twelve Apostles in view of perpetuating His Own ministerial power and authority.
It is upon this belief that the Church has continuously acted through all these centuries of Christianity. It has acted on no other. It is this historical fact that has made such a strong appeal for acceptance in an approach toward Reunion, and made the episcopate a hopeful basis for bringing it about. And if it could only be accepted free from all the political associations and barren controversies of times gone by, and accepted in all the fullness of its spiritual significance through which the Church has attained her triumphs in the past, what infinite possibilities for good might it bring to a divided and distracted world.
And this belief in a God-given commission is no presumptuous claim to emphasise a superiority on the part of the Church's ministers, for it is this alone that makes it possible for man's acceptance.
 It is the natural refuge of man's self-consciousness in the light of his utter unworthiness and weakness which tells us that, although we are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, our sufficiency is of God. It is this external Commission supporting the internal sense of vocation which makes it possible for man to accept God's call to the ministry with its unfailing accompaniment of trials and difficulties and disappointments; especially is it so when called be a Father in God with its exacting responsibilities in oversight and leadership. It was the assurance of the Divine call, and the external Commission, which filled St. Paul with such buoyant hopefulness in the most hopeless situations. It was this inspiring thought that he passed on to Timothy amid all the depressing and degrading surroundings of a pagan city, and bade him stir up the Divine gift within him which was given by the laying on of the Apostle's own hands.
But in the nature of things we must expect to find in the carrying out of this outward Commission a qualifying principle if the Divine purpose is to be effective and fruitful. There must of necessity be a correspondence of man's heart and will to the Divine intention. The grace of Ordination and Consecration serves no mere mechanical purpose in delivering and carrying out God's mission. It demands the self-consecration of man's whole being, as far as it can possibly be made, impelled and sustained by the love of God and the earnest desire for service that comes with it. It means the consecration of those natural gifts and graces which contribute so largely to personality--of those attainments gained by training, education and experience, and subjecting them to the inspiring and sobering discipline of the Holy Spirit in both the ministerial and personal life.
We know how in so many ways the man and his message stand or fall together--how God's work is dependent on man's work--that just as man is faithful or unfaithful, God's cause is advanced, or retarded, in the world. We know, too, how the Church's history bears witness to the fact that when not only the Church's ministers are faithful, but when the Church's members are faithful, when the Church in her corporate capacity is faithful, God's cause prevails. It is then that the self-imposed restriction of God's Almighty power is lifted, and comes into play, and men become effective instruments in fulfilling God's purpose. It is here, then, my friends, that you must recognise your part in this service. We must not leave our brother the Bishop-elect in splendid isolation to take on himself this overwhelming responsibility. As representing with her Bishops and Clergy the Church corporate, you are not merely spectators--your presence here must be an earnest [3/4] of the sympathy, and prayerful, and practical support, that he will receive from the New Zealand Church.
He comes to us at the instance of our own Bishops with the goodwill and high commendation of the Church in the Homeland.
He comes to us with a wide experience of human nature and a gift for leadership which has been tested and tried by an exceptional war service. He brings to us all the varied and sobering experience which belongs to the oversight of a large industrial parish.
This morning he openly avows himself, consecrates himself, his gifts, his qualities for service and sacrifice; accepts the Divine Commission with its God-given grace of Consecration, and takes on himself a difficult and exacting work that primarily belongs to the New Zealand Church.
He has received from the Church people in the Homeland many heartening tokens of their unfailing interest and support. The gift of the new ill-fated ship commanded our greatest admiration and gratitude for its munificence. We deeply sympathise with them at the appalling disaster which has overtaken their noble generosity, and we share with them the sorrow and disappointment which her loss has entailed, relieved only by the fortunate immunity from loss of life. I am sure we, with the whole Church, sincerely sympathise with the Bishop-elect having to start his work at a great disadvantage, but we cannot help but be deeply moved by the prompt and generous decision of the Home people to replace the lost ship. This still means that the future ship will no longer be based on Auckland, but in the Islands, and will thus sever a visible link between the Mission and New Zealand which has, no doubt, helped in the past to maintain a lively interest in the Mission's work.
But, in spite of this severance, we can reasonably hope that Melanesia is so firmly established in the affections of the New Zealand Church people, that the parting of this visible tie, or even the constitutional tie, should in no way affect the spiritual affinity that exists between them. Melanesia is the child of the New Zealand Church. Can she possibly forget her own offspring? Surely not; for the Mission was her own spiritual venture, and the care and nurture of her offspring has reacted on and enriched her own spiritual life and experience, and given her the proud position of being among the first pioneers in evangelising the Pacific.
It has reacted, too, with honour to herself with a far-reaching influence on the whole Church.
 It was the stirring appeal of New Zealand's first Bishop in England, made through his work in New Zealand and Melanesia, which gained MacKenzie for Central Africa's first Bishop; when Selwyn took his stand on this far distant Colony and challenged the Home Church to fill in the gaps. It was the life and martyrdom of Patteson that stirred the imagination of English Church people, and gave such an impetus to Missionary effort.
Can Auckland ever forget those early associations with the Mission's past so closely interwoven with her early history? Surely not, for with the Auckland Church people it has become a settled tradition to honour their names and their work.
With these thoughts, our minds naturally go back to New Zealand's first Missionaries--to Marsden, to Henry and William Williams and those with them whose self-sacrificing and courageous work became an incentive to Melanesian adventure, and gave a bias for Missionary work to the New Zealand Church.
With such memories and with such traditions, forgetfulness of Melanesia is unthinkable. Rather than forget, should the New Zealand Church say, in the words of the Psalmist, "Let my right hand forget her cunning." But, my friends, we cannot expect these inspiring memories and traditions to live on on their own, especially in an age that is becoming more and more forgetful, and in some ways contemptuous, of the past, amid the absorbing preoccupations and pressing claims of the present. And so I trust that you are present here this morning as sponsors for the New Zealand church as a whole for keeping alive these memories and traditions, for the continuance of that prayerful interest and generous support which Melanesia has always claimed. It is the assurance of this that our brother can reasonable and rightfully expect which will give him confidence and encouragement, and become an added inspiration in his exacting and responsible work. It is a work that, notwithstanding present-day advantages, still remains unique in its inherent difficulties. The geographical position of these Islands, with their scattered and far-flung groups--the babel of languages and dialects that possesses them--the Lord's Prayer 25 years ago was printed in 24--the exacting conditions of a tropical and malarial climate--the maintenance and extension of organizations outside the Mission in three countries, which is so closely bound up with the maintenance and extension of the Mission's work.
With the later developments of the Mission's policy, and with the pressure of outward circumstances, new questions [5/6] have arisen, and will still arise, which will demand mature consideration and wise guidance in making far-reaching decisions, especially when it involves departure from past traditions.
It is the call to this difficult and exacting work that our brother has responded, and, as he accepts and receives the Divine Commission for it this morning, you are asked to pray that the fullest gifts and powers of the Holy Sprit may be his. You are asked to follow him with your prayers, to renew your interest in his Mission's work, and to make it more and more your own to cherish and support.
But there is something else--something peculiar to the work itself--which, to our brother, will be both appealing and inspiring, and that is the childlike faith and trustfulness which belong to these child races of the world. Weak, and wayward, and willful, as in many ways they are, yet are they affectionate and trustful, teachable, and responsive to discipline, even to severity when deserved, and are never forgetful of those who have gained their confidence and affection.
It was this that appealed so strongly to Patteson, and made him feel that here were qualities that corresponded so closely to Christ's Own teaching and character, and that thus they were more than worthy of Christ's Own love. And so these trustful and clinging children drew out all the love and tenderness belonging to his own nature. He lived with his scholars as a father, and filled them with his own love and enthusiasm, so that years after his death those of us who came to know these old scholars of his were impressed with their still outstanding personalities.
Bishop John Selwyn, and others with him, often lamented the felt inability of following Patteson's devoted example, but it was the desire and sincere effort to do so which brought to him, and to others who have made the same effort with him, the affection and trust of these childlike natures, and gave inspiration to their work.
There is a sense in which every true workman can become part of his work, when time and application, discomfort and detail, however monotonous and irksome, do not count, for the work carries him along with it.
It must be so in all our work for God; especially must it be so in Missionary work. When this spirit of the true workman prevails, all sense of monotony, discomfort or privation, will disappear, all exaggerated notions of the self-sacrifice we are making will be suppressed, for the spirit of love of the work, for the work's sake will be supreme.
 It is this that will go straight to the hearts of these Melanesian children and win them for Christ.
Most of us are no doubt familiar with the train of thought propounded by one of our great teachers recently departed, viz., that the fulness of Christ's manhood can only be complete when the varying gifts and qualities of all nations and races of the world have contributed to it. Among these he includes the trustful and confiding natures of these child races. It was the qualities of childlike simplicity, of trust and humility, which our Lord emphasised as being necessary for an entrance into His Kingdom. It was these that He exhibited so wonderfully in His Own transcendant personality. And so these child races of the world are very near to the heart of our Lord. He expects them to be won for Him to complete the fullness of His Incarnation and the joy of God's Fatherhood.
Here, then, is the one great impelling motive for all Missionary work which silences all the specious objections that are raised against it.
It claims nothing less than a sincere and whole-hearted love to our Lord, and He expects you, my friends, for the love that you bear Him, to fulfil your part in helping to satisfy the travail of the Saviour's Soul.
Here, then, is the quest upon which our brother is entering, and this is the quest upon which you, as his sponsors, are sending him, and so he claims your sympathy, your prayers, your generous support, that with him you may share the joy of completing the joy of our Lord.
My brother, you have already received many inspiriting tokens of the wonderful devotion of the English Church people to Melanesia. You will soon happily discover for yourself the same warm and generous feeling existing among our own New Zealand people; and I am sure that the thoughts of many warm-hearted friends of the Mission in Australia are with us this morning. I thus feel that I can speak in the name of them all, and assure you of their warm-hearted sympathy and prayers for yourself and your work at this solemn time.
May this assurance of such a concentration of sympathetic interest and prayer uphold you as you consecrate yourself and your gifts for this work and receive the Divine Commission. May it bring an added inspiration to the Grace of Consecration that goes with it. In your exacting and responsible work there will be times of trial and temptation, which will come as a challenge to your faith--to your faith in yourself, to your qualities of leadership--as a challenge [7/8] to your powers for service and sacrifice, to the love and loyalty that you have pledged, when the sense of a God-given commission will give you confidence and courage--will stir up within you a sense of loyalty to our Blessed Lord, Who sends you forth to-day, and keep you true to Him, both in your ministerial and personal life.
My brother, as a leader you will have to deal with problems and difficulties entirely belonging to Melanesia, and therefore entirely new to yourself, which will demand a patient study and a personal and practical experience before you can rightfully expect the Divine guidance for rightful decisions. In dealing with these complex and exceptional questions, may the thought of God's gift to you this day of His Holy Spirit for your office send you to Him for the fullness of His Spiritual gifts, for the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and those other gifts and graces which, working in you and through you, through your own powers of thought and application, will give you a right judgment, and equip you for wise and helpful leadership.
There may be times when a sense of isolation and separation from so much that the heart holds dear, and the spirit longs for, will possess you. At such times may you find cheer and inspiration in the thought of the prayers and intercessions that are being offered up for your from so many friends in so many places, and it will bring you the comfort and strength which comes of a sense of association and fellowship with them.
At such times may you find, too, the compensation belonging to a love of the work for the work's sake, and in the happiness of knowing that you possess the trust and confidence and affection of your spiritual children.
And so we bid you go forth in God's Name, and in the power of His Spirit, assuring you of our fullest confidence, our warmest sympathies, and our most fervent prayers for God's abundant blessing to rest upon yourself and your work.