REV. E. B. PUSEY, D.D.
REGIUS PROFESSOR OF HEBREW, CANON OF CHRIST CHURCH,
JOHN HENRY & JAMES PARKER,
Glorious things are spoken of thee, O City of God. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon with them that know Me: behold Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her, and the Highest Himself shall establish her. [with, i. e. amongst, as being amongst them, them that know Me.]
FEW probably, in these days, but are familiar with many, at least, of the glorious announcements of the Gospel in the Old Testament. We hear or read them currently repeated, whenever the attempt is made to call forth fresh interest in any of the various endeavours to convert the heathen; few breasts but have at some time glowed with them; and in that glow of spirit, it is natural that people should not weigh very accurately the words which they hear or repeat; they take them by a sort of tradition, as they have been wont to hear them applied; they see that they relate to the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom; they know or think that Missionaries, and the circulation of the word of God, are means to this end; and the Word of God is to them His written word, as they have it printed in their Bibles, and Missionaries they know to be "persons sent out;" and so it never occurs to them, but that persons sent out any how, or the Bible any how dispersed, are the means of which Scripture speaks; and so habituated are they to associate these means with the Prophetic promises, that they would not think of examining or doubting about it. The received notions are assumed as certain truths.
This is very natural; for persons almost always understand Holy Scripture according to notions previously received, and were intended so to do, provided they be derived from the right source. It is very natural, but it may be very pernicious; for men may thus be claiming to themselves the promises of God in behalf of a system, to which God has promised no blessing: nay, they may, by this random employment of God's word, be encouraging themselves in a system contrary to that, which that word really prescribes. This is of much moment; for faithfulness to God requires, not only that we should do what we know to be His will, but that we should be at cost and pains to know it. "The servant who knew not His Lord's will," was also "beaten." It is also irreverence to God's word to take it in this careless way, contenting ourselves with just a portion of what lies upon the surface, and just that portion which suits our own views and encourages us in our own ways. The least result which we can expect from such a course, is to be left to our ways, and to eat of the fruit of our own devices; that "building hay, straw, stubble," though upon the right "foundation," our "work shall be burned," and we ourselves "suffer loss." Well will it be, if we be not found marring His work, and," gathering not with Him," be found to be "scattering."
I would then, by God's assistance, trace (now and this afternoon, in what degree the occasion permits) the plan of promoting the extension of our Lord's kingdom furnished by Holy Scripture, and acted upon by the Church in old times and by our own. For the Society, in behalf of which I have to appeal to your Christian bountifulness, and which (with the Christian Knowledge Society, whose missions it now incorporates) was for 100 years the only Missionary Society in this nation, has been of late less supported than others, for its very excellence, that it is not, like those recently set up, popular in its constitution, does not give persons control over it, simply because they contribute to its funds, but remains under the direction of those, who are set over us in the Lord; the Bishops of the Church, and those called in by them to their aid; as the Apostles, whose successors they were ever known to be, called in the seven Deacons.
First then, the way whereby our Lord's kingdom is to be enlarged, plainly is by Missionaries, not, as has been extensively tried of late, by the simple circulation of the word of God. It were indeed almost incredible to us, (but that we live in times when people are daily and systematically acting upon the supposition,) that any could have maintained, that the mere circulation of the printed Bible would convert the heathen; that it was but necessary to persuade men to accept the Bible, and that the reading it, without any previous knowledge of its contents, or any one to explain it, that the written word without a preacher, would turn men from Satan to God. So contrary is it to the way adopted by Almighty God! "Precious," we know, "in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints; "precious (and glorious) is their blood in His sight." Yet sheweth He His value of it, not by sparing it, but by honouring it, when "poured out like water;" not by hindering the sacrifice, as neither did He that of His Son, but by accepting it in that all sufficient Sacrifice, as a sacrifice well-pleasing to Himself. He shewed His love to His saints, by making them thus far like His Son, that "for Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter," that they "died daily," that the office of an "Apostle" was to be "set forth as a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men, as those appointed unto death," (lying continually under sentence of death,) as "always being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in their mortal bodies;" that living the life of their Lord, in that they were ever "ready to be offered," their own Lord might be their life, that He by His Spirit might already give life to their bodies, which were for His sake as dead, as He shall be the life of all His Saints in glory; yea, that His life might thereby be made manifest in the world, in that His Divine Life alone could give life to those whom men had thus sentenced to death. So should the fulness and superabundance of His life be shewn, in that, in all quarters of the world, He upheld these, in themselves earthen, but in His sight chosen and precious, vessels. And yet after all, they, for the most part, drank of His cup and were baptized with His Baptism of blood, and then His power was manifested in their deaths as before in their lives, and, like Samson, they whom at their deaths they slew to their former earthly selves, and Avon to live in Christ, were more than those whom they won in their life.
Yet this profusion of suffering and blood, with which God allowed His infant Church to be planted and watered, must seem a needless expenditure of the lives of His Saints, on the theory which maintains that the written word alone is sufficient to convert mankind. But no! a different history for His Church was traced by the finger of God at Calvary. As is the Head, such must the members be. It is not by the easy unsacrificing multiplication of copies of the written word, but by self-sacrificing labour; it is not by the written word only, but through the Word of God, living in and quickening His chosen temples, sanctifying them, and testifying His own presence by the holy awe of the habitation wherein He dwells, that so great a work must be accomplished. No promise has He ever made to His written word alone, but the contrary. "Faith," saith St. Paul, "cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." But it is the word of God preached by them whom He had sent; for he says a few verses before, "How shall they believe in Him, of Whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent?" And as there is no promise, but the contrary, so neither is there any instance of success. Churches were established well-nigh throughout the world from this then benighted isle to India, before it had pleased God, that the whole of the New Testament should be written; "many barbarous nations" were afterwards converted to the true faith, (we are told by an ancient Bishop)who had never seen the Holy Scriptures, "who believe in Christ, having salvation written in their hearts 'without ink and pen' by the Spirit, and guarding diligently the ancient faith delivered unto them. This faith they who have believed without letters, are, as to our language, barbarians, but as to doctrine and manner of life and conversation, are, for their faith, most wise and well-pleasing to God, walking in all righteousness and purity and wisdom. These, if any were in their language to tell them what heretics have thereto added, would shut their ears and flee, not enduring even to hear the blasphemous speech." [S. Irenaeus] Of these barbarians were we, and although as many of us as are living according to the rules of the Bible, have reason to thank God for this His additional gift, yet we have reason to thank God also, that our wiser, because more simple-minded, though barbarian forefathers were, without the written word, by the zeal of those who "forsook all and followed" Christ, converted unto God. On the other hand, it were difficult to find even an individual, who had been converted from Heathenism solely by the written word. The Bereans but examined the Scriptures, in which they already believed, to see whether the new revelation brought to them by St. Paul, agreed with "the promise made to their fathers," and that, in conjunction with, and in consequence of, St. Paul's preaching. To the Ethiopian Eunuch who was diligently studying the sacred volume, Philip was sent. There is not a syllable of Scripture, whether of the Old or New Testament, which was not written for persons already orally instructed, and actually provided with living teachers. On what ground then should we be emboldened to assume that it is itself to be the teacher? or how dare we employ it to an end for which God has given us no proof that He designed it? how dare we risk its profanation, by exposing it to Heathen, from whom Satan has not yet been cast out? how should we not rather expect that the Evil spirit will delight to scoff at and blaspheme what we have watched over with so little jealousy? And this has been so. Those who have presumed, upon a theory of a few years' standing, in this unauthorized way, to commit the Bible to the Heathen, have, besides wasting vast sums entrusted to them, (which were comparatively a trifle,) brought upon the Holy Book much profanation, such as befals the most worthless of human books, of which in this place one had rather not speak.
But this is not the only novel or faulty plan pursued in this day. That theory is also defective, which regards the qualities of the individual Missionary, his zeal, his fervent devotion to his Redeemer, his love for the souls of men, his readiness to spend and be spent in the high employment in which he is engaged, and whatever besides of Christian gifts and graces may be bestowed upon him, as all that are necessary. Doubtless one in whom these high qualities are found, will be a blessing during his individual life. But nothing which depends upon individuals has that permanency, which can supply the needs of successive generations. These, like David, "serve God in their own generations," and then "fall asleep;" and then "who can tell what shall be after"" them? No! For the wants of mankind, an institution is needed, unvarying in its main character, independent of man, and not subject to his caprice or changing will, supported by God, abiding in God, and having His permanency imparted to it. Such an institution He has given us in His Church, against which "the gates of Hell shall not prevail." The Church is, in prophecy as in history and fact, the preacher of the Gospel and the converter of the heathen; and individuals, not in themselves, but as her members and organs, as her feet and hands and tongue, bearing the message with which she is entrusted. By themselves they were useless, as hands, feet, or tongue, which, excellent as they may have been, become, so soon as they are severed from the body, powerless, lifeless, worthless.
Societies, in themselves, would change, and have changed essentially. The Church has a principle of perpetuity imparted to it through His promise, Who is her Head and Lord. Her succession of Bishops mounts up, by a golden chain, link by link, to the Apostles, with whom and with their successors Christ promised to be "alway even to the end of the world" and to His second Coming; and through them, "as joints and bands, the whole body, having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God." And therefore has this Society the more claim upon all the members of the Church, and the greater hope of permanency, in that it is the most closely bound up with this ordinance of Christ. Others have more or less of hopefulness, as they approach more or less to it: and hence it will appear, how faulty is that modern principle, and how little promise of blessing it has, which would maintain, that the Gospel is to be propagated by the efforts of individual Missionaries; and that any who may unite together to furnish the means of supporting them, are entitled, be they who they may, clergy or laymen, churchmen or sectarians, or both kinds mixed together, to direct those thus sent. The desultory way in which Missionaries are sent out, not responsible, or, in the best cases, scarcely responsible, to Bishops, under no control except of such as have no right to any control over them, departs as widely from the Apostolic and Scriptural plan of converting the heathen, as that of circulating the Scriptures only; and is likely in the end to produce mischievous effects, as the other to fail of any. And yet, through some strange laxity in the present day, the largest funds have been devoted to these institutions, often by churchmen to societies which have severed themselves from the Church, while they have neglected that most closely blended with it.
The Missionary Society set forth in the Prophets, by our Lord and by His Apostles, is the Church. So, whereas our natural state, after Adam's fall, was alienation from God, and disunion among ourselves, would He restore "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good-will towards men," by binding us up in one holy fellowship, and making the continuance of His blessings dependent upon that unity, which He imparted and preserves.
To adduce the whole proof for this, would be to go through the whole Old Testament; for the Old Testament, in direct prophecy or type, is one large prophecy of the Redeemer and His kingdom or Church. No sooner had disunion multiplied with the multiplying of man, but, in the second generation from Adam, He formed union through a Church, and "men began to call upon the name of the Lord," i. e. they began to unite in worshipping the Lord, and, amid the growing corruption, religion was no longer entrusted to the insulated care of single families, but concentrated in a Church. When, after the flood, one righteous man was called out of the fast-corrupting world, unity was preserved, in that one only was called, but in that one a Church was founded. For this was the reason assigned by God Himself," all the nations of the world shall be blessed in him, for I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord." "God called Abraham alone, and blessed, and increased him," and formed the Jewish Church out of him, that, however largely it might spread, it might be bound in one by its origin of one. He gave it also outward marks and signs between Him and it, which, by severing it from others, might keep it one in itself. The temporal people had their union through a temporal birth of one, and outward signs; the Christian Church has its unity by a spiritual birth and inward graces, through the power deposited in her to give spiritual birth, so that, through one mother, we are all born of one Father, God, and amongst ourselves are brethren, by being members of One, our ever-blessed Lord.
This unity of the Christian Church and her office of gathering all nations unto the Lord, are set forth, in many ways, in prophecy. Thus, in our Psalm, (which I have the rather chosen to explain, because the Psalms are so large a portion of our daily devotions, yet this Psalm is rather obscure,) Zion is set forth as the special object of God's love, as having (in language which anticipates the Gospel) been "founded" by Him "on the holy mountains," the "city of God," whereof "glorious things are spoken." ["His foundation is" Bib. Vers., i.e. the place whereon He (the Lord, v. 2,) hath founded her, is on the holy mountains.] And what are these? That she should be the spiritual birthplace of all nations. It is not merely said, as in other places, that they should "come to her," should "flow into her," but that they should be "born in her." "Of Zion it shall be said, 'This and that man (i.e. all, one by one) was born in her;'" and whence? All the nations of the earth, Rahab or Egypt, Babylon, Tyre, Ethiopia, Philistia, the most learned, the most powerful, the wealthiest, the furthest, and her nearest oldest and bitterest enemy Philistia, all, being already born after the flesh, as Egyptians, Babylonians, Ethiopians, Tyrians, Philistines, should be "born in her," and by being "born there," should become children of God, citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, written by God in the roll of His book. "The Lord shall count, when He writeth up the people, that this man was born there;" He should account them as His being re-born in His Church.
In like manner, with regard to every prophecy, whereat men's hearts beat, as an encouragement to Missionary labours. Throughout, it is the Lord and Saviour of the Church, or the Church itself, filled with His Spirit, and restored and enlarged and widening herself by His favour, and gathering His people into herself, His fold. It is the Church, which is bid, in words which we have doubtless often heard exultingly repeated, "enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left." For the Church is "the barren which did not bear," the Church which had been long outcast, and "desolate," but which, now being knit together in one, of us with the Jews, should have many more children than in her former married state. The children or converts are the children of the Church; her "husband," Scripture says, "is her Maker, the Lord of Hosts," which is scarcely varied in expression in the ancient saying, "God is our Father and the Church our mother," whence follows that other awful truth, "Whoso hath not the Church for his mother, has not God for his Father." And so with regard to all the other glad sayings, with which the heart must needs thrill whenever they are repeated, they are addressed to our mother the Church, in whom we were born to God, who has brought down the stream of life to us, without whom we had never been in Christ at all, in whom "purified and presented by Christ unto Himself as a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle," we hope to have our lot in the last day. Thus it is the Church to whom it is said, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee; thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed by thy side;" the Church, who is bid, "Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city;" the Church, Zion herself, who is to be the "bearer of good tidings, who is to say unto the cities of Judah, behold your God;" it is the Church, in the persons of the Apostles, to whom it is said, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation." It was first the Apostles bearing Christ's message to the Ancient Church, then also it is the Church carrying on the message which she had received. The prevailing sense in our own Church on these pasages may be gathered from the headings allowed to be affixed to these chapters, such as, "The glory of the Church on the abundant access of the Gentiles." "God comforteth the Church with His promises." "The ample restoration of the Church." "The Gentiles shall have an holy Church." "The prophet, for the comfort of the Gentiles, promiseth the amplitude of their Church."
Throughout prophecy, there are two subjects spoken of, the Lord of the Church, and the Church; the Temple, and He who filleth the Temple; the Bride and her King and Husband; the City of God and its King; the one fold and its Shepherd; and individuals have their interest in Him, as sheep in that fold, as citizens of that heavenly city, as children of that kingdom, as living stones built up in that "spiritual temple, for an habitation of God through the Spirit." It is by the ministry of that bride, that "the Virgins, her fellows," or the daughter-Churches, "are brought into the King's Palace." "The mountain of the house of the Lord is established on the top of the mountains," and so "all nations shall flow into it." God "raiseth up the Tabernacle of David that is fallen down, and build-eth it as in the days of old, that they may possess --all the heathen which are called by My Name, saith the Lord that doeth this." It is "from under the threshold of the House" of the Lord, that the "waters" in Ezekiel's vision "issue," which swell gradually, first reaching "to the ancles," then "to the knees," "to the loins," at last, "waters to swim in, a river which could not be passed over;"--that healing river, which, "whithersoever it should come, everything should live." It is the "people of the God of Abraham, unto whom the princes of the people should be gathered." The bounds of God's people are so to be extended as to include all nations; "He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth." It is by the expansion of the bounds of the existing kingdom, that all other nations were to be admitted to its blessings; they were to be not independent but received within it. It is to Him, before the place of His Presence in His Church, that all nations and people were to come. "All the families of the nations shall worship before Him;" "all nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord;" wherein, and the like, not simply the worship of God, but the worship before Him in His Church, the being gathered unto that Church, is plainly declared in the language of His ancient ritual, whereby His people, three times a year, were bound to present themselves before the Lord in His temple. God's kingdom in His Church is "the stone cut out of the mountain without hands," which was enlarged until it "became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth,--a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, but shall break in pieces and consume all the kingdoms; and it shall stand for ever."
The Church, and that along the whole course of time from its foundation until it shall be glorified in Him, is the centre of His enlarged and continually expanding mercies. His mercies to her are the means of the coming in of the heathen. When "His servants take pleasure in her stones," or grieve for her low estate, then, says the Psalmist, "is the set time for the Lord to have mercy upon her;" "so," he adds, "shall the heathen fear the Name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Thy glory;" and "When the Lord shall build up Zion, He shall appear in His glory." So then, our love for the Church calls down God's mercy, and God's mercy upon her is the shewing forth of His glory, and the manifestation of His glory brings in the heathen. It is, again, not religion, in our vague way of speaking, nor the knowledge or worship of God (after ways of our own), but the Church, as God's instrument for conveying these blessings, to whom kings and queens shall minister, as we see this day. Kings and queens should be attendants upon the Church, in whose blessings they themselves share, and wherein God has placed them in an eminent post, to provide for her welfare, and to seek their own and their people's in it. "Kings shall be," saith God, "thy nursing-fathers, and thy queens thy nursing-mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their faces toward the earth, and shall lick the dust of thy feet,"--not in any way of fleshly humiliation, or that the Church should be exalted to fleshly pride, since the Church is not of flesh and blood, but by the spirit of our God, but--the princes of this world shall reverence the Church, and shall find their glory and their joy in ministering to her necessities. And so in the closing book of Revelation, in the holy city which St. John saw, "the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof, and the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it,--and they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it."
The same character of the Gospel is declared by our Blessed Lord, in most of His parables. The Church is the one mustard-seed which groweth up into a great tree, wherein the birds of the air lodge and are at rest. It is the one mass of leaven, gradually spreading through the meal, and converting it into one substance, conformable with itself. It is the one net, cast into the sea, inclosing within itself those who will be gathered and burst not through it, and landing the good on the blessed shore of everlasting life. The Apostles were fishers of men, in that they, and all the successors in their office, have this one commission, to gather people into this one net. The Church is the one vineyard; the one marriage-feast, into which all are brought; the one candle giving light to all that enter in. Nay, the title of kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven, which our Lord every where gives to the Church, is in itself a parable, expressing the same truth, that it shall be one well-ordered Government, not broken down into many kingdoms, but absorbing all other kingdoms into herself, and enlarging herself so as to enfold them all, having God for its ruler, its Redeemer, and for its Head, and heaven for its end; and so, under its One Head, duly governed and ordered by His inferior ministers, and blessed with the union and harmony of heaven, and the peace and order of the blessed angels.
And when our Lord, in His Divine Prayer which is the model of all our prayer, teaches us to pray for the spreading of His Gospel, He does so in no other way than in those large and full words, "Thy kingdom come."
Such then is the system, pointed out by prophecy and by our Lord. How it has been realized in His Church, as seen in the New Testament, and in ancient history, and our own Church by means of this Society, I would, as far as the occasion permits, set before you this afternoon. Adherence to that system forms, as I said, a chief recommendation of this ancient Society; and I would gladly have set it forth to you now. Yet you will, I trust, place full confidence in a Society, which your Sovereign, and the Archbishop of this province, the highest temporal and spiritual authorities in our Church, and your own Bishop, have this day commended to your Christian love; and which your Bishop recommends also to your effectual and permanent support. ["In transmitting to you the Queen's Letter, I cannot confine myself to the formal expression of my hope, that you will endeavour to give full effect to Her Majesty's pious intentions by earnest exhortation from the pulpit; but I embrace this opportunity of requesting you to consider in what mode an effectual permanent increase may be made to the funds of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, so that it may be enabled to enlarge the sphere of its action in some degree in proportion to the increasing demands upon it. There is no doubt that this end would be far more effectually attained by the quiet and continuous agency of parochial collections, than by raising large sums at uncertain intervals in any other way." Bp. of Salisbury's Circular Letter.] This Society comes to you recommended, not by my judgment, or by any number of private individuals; it comes to you in the names of those in Church and State to whom you owe obedience; it comes to you in the name of all the Bishops of this land, and of all whom God, for near a century and a half, has placed as its chief Pastors; it comes to you in the name of near a century and a half of laborious usefulness.
But on this I would speak this afternoon; what I would now urge upon you, and a most momentous subject it is, is this; since the Church is the great instrument of God for conveying salvation to all mankind, what special responsibilities are those of this nation! To this petty island, once a nation of savages, separated from the whole world, esteemed the extremity of the world, and scarce belonging to it, and held in foreign dominion, He has given might and dominion and power and strength and glory, far beyond what once seemed the Empire of the World the heathen Rome whom we once served, far beyond any which were before us. He has "set our hand in the sea, and our right hand in the rivers." The sun (it was said some time past) never sets upon our dominions. He has given us possessions in every quarter of the globe, in America, Africa, Asia, as well as Europe; and, as though this had been too little for us, He has in Australia discovered a new Continent, and given it into our hands. In Asia He has made us rulers over an empire of 100, 000, 000 of human beings. He has also increased our wealth like Tyre. He has made us "a merchant of the nations for many isles;" He has "replenished us and made us very glorious in the midst of the seas;" He has made our "merchants princes, and our traffickers the honourable of the earth;" He has made us "a mart of nations"; and even where He has not given us dominion, He has carried our name and our people, and filled the whole earth with our name. And to what end? That we, like Tyre, should exult in our wisdom, that "with our wisdom and our understanding we have gotten us riches," and that "our heart should be lifted up because of our riches," and that we should say, "we sit in the seat of God in the midst of the seas?" Oh no! the end of our wealth and of our empire is pointed out by another prophet, who saith of Tyrus, "her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord; it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord." It seems not in vain, that to us, to whom He has given this power and influence, He has given a pure Church; He has kept us a pure branch of the Church Catholic. And surely thereby He points out to us a high destiny, that wherever His good Providence has, (not for our righteousness, for we have therein often dealt very wickedly, but wherever He in His mercy has) prospered us, there we should plant branches of that Catholic Church, wherein He has grafted us, that as our "dominion is from sea to sea," so, "she should send out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river."
My brethren, every privilege is an aweful gift; a blessing, if used; if neglected, a curse. ["If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto My Name, saith the Lord of Hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart." Mal. ii. 2.] Tyre of old abused hers. "She was lifted up in heart," boasted herself of her "wisdom," trusted in herself, her arts, her inventions, her merchandise, and her wealth, and, in deed, forgat the God of Heaven who gave her all these. [This is alluded to, as one of the peculiar sins of Tyre, Zech. ix. 2, as well as Ezekiel xxviii. 3-6. 12. 17. Especially Ezekiel xxvii.] And where is she? The waves (as the prophet foretold her when in her glory) break over the place where she stood; He has "made her like the top of a rock;" the "crowning city" is "a place to spread nets upon in the midst of the sea;" she, who before was "very glorious in the midst of the sea," now is "broken in the midst of the seal," and "never," is her threefold closing doom, "shall she be any more." [It closes each of Ezekiel's prophecies against Tyre, Ezek. xxvi. 21; xxvii. 36; xxviii. 19.]
But prophecy speaks also of a Christian Tyre; and it is for this generation, probably, to choose for our land which of these two shall be her portion. All our wealth, our dominion, our glory, our new inventions, unless the first fruits thereof be consecrated to God, are but lifting us up to "cast us down," that we may fall more desperately. So has Satan done with many nations before us; he has spread before them riches and glory and might; the god of this world gave the world into their hands, until the time of retribution came, and then when God dashed them, like their tempter, to the earth, he mocked at their misery. Our being near the pinnacle of glory and wealth, is a fearful and alarming thought, not a subject of boasting and of pride.
What our future portion may be, God only knoweth. The past has been all mercy on His part, and, it must be sorrowfully said, as a nation, neglect on ours. A bright future, glorious as the days of heaven, seems open to us, in which we may, in every land where God hath set the sole of our feet, plant Churches, where God shall be worshipped "in spirit and in truth," and their members be formed for everlasting glory, and their Churches send forth other branches, and ourselves be a chosen vessel to carry our Redeemer's Name before nations and kings. "Constraint is laid upon us, and woe is us," if we, as a nation, by our Churches and our deeds, "preach not the Gospel." And to this end, this Society is a chief instrument; for its sphere of action is commensurate with our Empire. But it is, I must repeat, a subduing and terrifying thought, to recal to mind what treasures are accumulated upon us; what influence, what wealth, and empire, as means of conveying the Gospel through the world, and the bright light of a pure Gospel to convey. Should we neglect our office, it seems as though, if we fell, it were an Apostle's fall; that we must be eminent servants of Christ, or--Anti-Christ. And we may take to ourselves the words of Him who shall be our Judge, "if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." But, then, if we be not zealous and repent, there follows that aweful saying, "I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you."
But whatever be the portion of our land, (whom God in His mercy protect!) while we aid in her preservation, we may save ourselves, and obtain for ourselves everlasting rewards. We too, as individuals, have larger resources bestowed upon us, than those in our several situations in other nations; the wealth, which God has given to the whole, He has diffused, though not equally, yet generally among us. And this He has entrusted us with, not that we may consume it upon our pleasures, following every device of our own hearts, and gathering around us every thing which our eye desires, not for costly meats, or drinks, or equipages, or outward adornings of gold and silver, or luxuries; still less for dissipation; nor, again, to "lay it up where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal;" but He gave it us, that "sowing bountifully" we might "reap bountifully" a harvest of eternal joy; He gave it us, that "with our sacrifices God might be well-pleased;" He gave it us, that we might "lend it to Him;" He gave it to us, that being "skilled in giving, glad to distribute," we might "treasure up for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come, and attain eternal life." [2 Cor. ix. See the Sentences at the beginning of the Offertory in the Communion Service.] He gave it us that, "being merciful," we might in that great and terrible day "obtain mercy;" that "giving of those things which we have," "all" might become "clean unto us," and our past sins be blotted out by His mercy, Who accounts what we "do to the least of His brethren as done to Him." Whoso accounteth nothing of heavenly treasure, let him "sow sparingly;" whoso longs not to hear "Well done, good and faithful servant," let him not "put out his money to usury" by lending to His Lord and Judge through giving to the poor; whoso needeth not a merciful judgment, let him abstain from "shewing mercy;" whoso has no past sins, which grieve his inmost soul, let him not "break off his sins by righteousness, and his iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor;" but whoso looketh for pardon, glory, honour, immortality, let him, while he strives after a more inward holiness, give now and henceforth, more bountifully, with self-denial and humility, and God hath said, "it shall be paid him again," paid him in "the joy of his Lord," paid him in everlasting peace; and "in the" great "day of trouble the Lord shall deliver him."
Ye are called upon to assist in the salvation of men's souls; ye are called upon in their behalf for whom with you Christ died. All, and more than all that you can give is fearfully needed, needed by those who with you have been made members of Christ, or who have been subjected to this Christian empire, that by you they might be gathered into the one fold; and what you give, you give unto your Lord and Judge, Who hath told you this day, "whoso shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." To Him you give it, from Him again to receive it. [Matt. x. 12. Second Lesson for the Morning.
"Now to Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end." Amen.
O merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that Thou hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of Thy word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to Thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth, with Thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen. [Third Collect for Good Friday, used by the Society at their Meetings.]
And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.
I ENDEAVOURED this morning in some degree to shew how the Church was set forth, both in the prophecies of the Old Testament and by our Blessed Lord Himself, as the instrument for the conversion of the world. I would now proceed to shew, (though it must be, in comparison, yet more briefly,) how those principles were realized. The main principle which I pointed out was this; "that it was not by the desultory efforts of individuals or self-constituted bodies, but by the Church as a whole, and by individuals, as subordinate to her and her instruments, that the world was to be converted;" and this would comprise these three points, the unity of the Church, the subordination of individuals, the agency of the Church as a whole.
The unity of the Church was exhibited in the actual Church, in that, as it had One Head, even Christ, so (though with no eminence of authority, still) both Jews and Gentiles were called into this one Church by one, St. Peter; and to this one "Church, such as should be saved, were added;" which is the same as is elsewhere expressed, "added to the Lord." As, again, on the other hand, "the Churches" are related, "walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, to have been multiplied." Thus, in the one case, individuals are added to the one body; in the other, the body is enlarged by the accession of individuals to it; in both, the body, and not individuals, is prominently spoken of, which is just what modern principles reverse. Again, those thus added to the Church, professed not only faith in One Lord, Jesus, as individuals, but, having been baptized into one Body, they adhered stedfastly, we are told, not to the doctrine only of the Apostles, but "to the fellowship" into which they had been brought. This same subordination of individuals to the Church is seen therein also, that in so many ways Holy Scripture speaks of the Church, where people now-a-days would speak of individuals. On the death of Ananias "fear fell upon the Church;" a "persecution was raised against the Church," Paul and Barnabas were "brought on their way," not by pious individuals, but "by the Church." Again, the object of teaching is, that "the Church may receive edifying." The Church is the instrument of the Glory of God; "through the Church" is "His Wisdom made known to principalities and powers in heavenly places." Not to multiply more of this sort, the Church is the object of Christ's love, and individuals in the Church; for the Church Christ died; "as Christ loved the Church," says St. Paul, "and gave Himself for it;" this Church He "sanctifies and cleanses, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church," and us only as in it; "the Church is His body, the fulness of Him, that filleth all in all."
There remain, however, two points to he observed in the Scriptural history of the planting of the Church, bearing still more directly upon our subject. 1. The great observance of order in sending forth those who were to preach the Gospel: and 2. The great and instant care in preserving a regular ministerial system in the Church thus formed. From the first, the Apostles, even after they had received their commission from our Lord, were enjoined by Him to tarry at Jerusalem, until they should "receive power from on high," and a visible mission in the sight of the whole Church. St. Paul, though expressly called by our Lord from heaven, as "a chosen vessel to bear His Name before the Gentiles, and kings," still went not forth to his mission, until they, whom the Holy Ghost appointed, had "separated him and Barnabas for the work whereunto the Lord had called them, and laid their hands on them, and sent them away;" and this was their first commission, for he and Barnabas, having been separated for the work, afterwards fulfilled their Apostolic office by their own Apostolic authority. Even St. Peter and St. John, chief among the Apostles, went not of themselves to those who had been baptized by Philip, but, "when the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John." In like manner, when at Antioch "a great number believed and turned unto the Lord:" "then tidings thereof came unto the ears of the Church, which was at Jerusalem, and they sent forth Barnabas that he should go as far as Antioch;" so that not only was an Apostle (i. e. by the very force of the word, one whom Jesus Christ had already sent) sent anew on a definite mission, but the place of his mission was in the first instance limited. So, again, when a question was raised about circumcision, Paul and Barnabas went up to give an account of their missions to the Apostles and elders at Jerusalem: and St. Paul, "after many years," returning to Jerusalem, "went in unto James," who was then its Bishop, to give an account to him, in presence of "the elders," of the "things which God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry." And with this corresponds an ancient and credible tradition, that when the Apostles finally dispersed, leaving St. James alone, as Bishop of Jerusalem, they went not of their own accord, but divided the world among them by lot.
These were Apostles; men to whom Jesus Christ Himself had given authority, and the whole world as their diocese and field of their labours; "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel unto every creature." And yet they exercised the liberty which Christ had given them, within certain strict bounds of order, that Christians afterwards might by their examples learn, how much God is a God "not of confusion, but of peace, in all the Churches of the saints." They, acting under the direct and immediate guidance of God, taught us in deed as well as in words that the Church, as being an image of heaven, should resemble the order which reigns among the. blessed spirits, who, in the heavenly hierarchy, are "the ministers of God, and do His pleasure," each knowing and executing his own office and mission, not jarring with or impeding one another's. Apostles taught us by their own conduct that if we would claim to ourselves an Apostolic spirit, or look for an Apostolic blessing upon our labours, we must labour in an Apostolic order, not taking upon ourselves to do, as seems to us, severally, "right in our own eyes," but restricting ourselves, each to the office assigned by the Lord of the vineyard.
The second point I remarked, was the provision made for a full and settled regular ministry in the Churches thus formed, and the stress laid upon it, at which many, in these days, if they attended to it at all, would he much surprised.
The Apostles, indeed, unless they stayed long in one place, did not appoint Presbyters at once, (for it was an Apostolic rule, "not to ordain novices," or new-baptized persons, as St. Paul enjoins,) and in such case, they either left behind some Presbyters of their own company, (as St. Paul left Silas at Berea,) or committed their converts to the care and rule of persons, raised up among them by God with extraordinary powers, "set over them in the Lord, "having the rule over them," whom they were to obey, or they left them to the visits of others whose office it was to go round and water those who had been planted. But shortly, if possible, they revisited them, and then they "ordained them Presbyters in every Church with prayer and fasting," (the model of our ordinations to this day,) as St. Paul did in Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. And this is mentioned as just as essential a part of the Apostolic visit, as "confirming the souls of the disciples," or as exhortations from an Apostle to "continue in the faith;" for so was their continuance in the faith best secured. St. Paul tells the first Bishop of Crete St. Titus, that he left him there "to set in order, complete, and perfect the things which were wanting," and then he names as chief, to "ordain Presbyters in every city," and proceeds to instruct him at length what sort of persons to appoint.
But besides these three Epistles to the Bishops, St. Timothy and St. Titus, St. Paul, in three other several Epistles, dwells on the well-ordered and manifold diversity of offices in the Christian ministry, as gifts of the Spirit, as the means of enlarging and perfecting the Church, and even as the most conspicuous proof of the presence of the Holy Ghost in the Church. Thus, in the passage read to you as the text, after St. Paul had insisted on the oneness, which pervades the whole Christian dispensation, "one body (the Church), one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all," "but unto every one of us," he adds, "is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ "(dwrea). And of this gift he goes on to speak, as seen in the gifts (domata) of the Holy Ghost, the fruit of the Ascension of our incarnate Lord. "He gave gifts unto men." And what gifts? The gifts of the Holy Ghost in a well-ordered ministry. "He, yea, He, gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers," i.e. under the Apostles, (whose successors are the Bishops,) there were "prophets," whose office was to go round to those places where the Apostles had preached, before the ministry was finally settled; "evangelists," to extend Christ's kingdom among the Heathen; and "pastors and teachers," to cultivate and secure the ground thus taken into the vineyard. And these were placed in their several stations "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," i. e. that it might be built up stone by stone as one building, "until," he says, "we come all of us unto the unity of faith in and knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," i.e. until all be built up into one faith and knowledge in its fulness, all become one perfect body, and so, by the perfecting of all in one, the fulness of Christ might at length attain its completion, all His members be gathered unto Him, without whom He graciously speaks of Himself as still lacking, and we with them have our full consummation in Him. And this ministry, he goes on to say, is essential to the growth of the Church, both in order to avoid heretical error, "that we be not tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine--by the cunning deceitfulness of men," and to convey nourishment to the body from the head, these ministers being so many "joints and bands," connecting them with the Head, from Whom, through their ministration, each in their several places, the whole body being supplied, "should increase with the increase of God." So then this well-ordered ministry is essential, 1. To the growth of the body. 2. To its unity. 3. To its connection with its Head; and (which follows) its internal well-being, the avoiding of error and the growth of our faith and knowledge, and the supply of graces from Him, 4. To the completion of His kingdom. Doubtless St. Paul had much to say of "the love of God shed abroad in their hearts through the Holy Ghost which had been given them," of the "fruits of the Spirit," of their "abounding in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost," but he prefers speaking of that harmonious order, which God had by His Spirit set in the Church, and which He had made the channel of spiritual blessings to the whole body. And whereas those who have separated from the Church look upon the Church as secondary, and individuals as the chief, St. Paul speaks of individuals only as in the Church; and whereas they speak of individual illumination alone, St. Paul speaks of the gifts of the Spirit descending to all through the ordinances of God.
St. Paul enforces the same doctrine on the Corinthian and Colossian Churches; to the Colossians as the means whereby the church receives increase, to the Corinthians, who were in a disordered state, as a reason why they should not interfere with each other's office: to the Corinthians, moreover, when enumerating other spiritual gifts and powers, as "miracles, gifts of healing, and of tongues," he places before miraculous powers the ordinary offices of the Church; not "Apostles" only who had all these powers, but, "secondarily, prophets, thirdly, teachers, after that, miracles." Then, also, he speaks of them, as not of man's wisdom, but God's gift; "God hath placed;" and a gift actually given to His whole Church, "God hath set in His Church."
In the Revelations, again, the seven Churches addressed are but specimens of the system generally ordained; they were probably not the only cities, even in that region, so circumstanced; but were rather selected as types of different conditions of the Church, the mystical number, seven, here as elsewhere, denoting completeness, that they were together images of the whole Church. Yet these Churches, though formed in cities, not all very far apart, each had their Angel, (the word would mean the same as Apostle, only that it expresses more distinctly, that he is a minister sent from God,) i.e. the Bishop or messenger and representative of Christ, even in the lifetime of St. John, who still exercised in this circle the Apostolic office, but had instituted these to take his place at his now approaching departure.
We have then gained these principles from Holy Scripture as to the extension of the Gospel. 1. That it is to take place by an expansion of the one Body, founded by Christ. 2. (Which is an obvious consequence,) That it should take place through the Church, as a whole, acting through the organs which God has given her. 3. That in these organs an order should reign; and that those who go forth to convert the Heathen, should not only be ordained, but sent, (as the very term missionary implies,) by those who have authority in the Church, or by the Church collectively. 4. That there should be provision made, not only for planting Churches, but for maintaining them when planted, by means of Bishops, as successors of the Apostles, carrying on their commission, and appointing what is needful for the Church.
This order in propagating the gospel is observable in primitive times after the Apostles were withdrawn. At first, and indeed for a long time, (so widely had the Apostles preached,) the efforts of the Christian Church were chiefly employed in expanding itself from the several centres which the Apostles had fixed, gathering into her bosom such of the scattered sheep around her, as would be brought into the one fold. Each several Church was placed as "a city upon a hill," amid a surrounding country of heathenism; each was "leaven" amid a mass as yet unleavened; each was gradually carrying on its missionary office, by spreading itself "to the right and the left" from the post where it had been placed, and gradually absorbing and converting into itself and to its Lord the heathenism with which it was encompassed. The noiseless way in which she sprung up, figured by the building of the ancient temple, "wherein neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the house while it was building," is sadly contrasted with our restless and noisy but unsteady endeavours. Still from time to time God raised up many to carry His Son's Name into lands yet wholly benighted; and in these we may see how the primitive Christians understood and followed the Apostolic practice.
The detail would be too long for this time; but both the principles of the Church, and the fourfold division of the Ministry of the Church, in St. Paul, are remarkably illustrated by an account of the general practice, about the beginning of the second century, given incidentally by an ancient Bishop and historian. [Eusebius iii. 37.] Having named some who were best known in the prophetic office, he says, "And many more, besides these, in the same period, were well known, occupying the first rank of the succession from the Apostles; who, as being divine disciples of such men, every where built up the foundations before laid by the 'Apostles,' enlarging the preaching of the Gospel, and sowing, over the breadth of the whole world, the saving seeds of the kingdom of heaven. For most of the then disciples, struck to the soul by the Divine Word with an intense love of the true Wisdom, first carried into effect the Divine command, distributing their substance to the poor; and then going on distant journeys, fulfilled the work of 'evangelists,' out of zeal to preach Christ to such as had never heard of the word of faith, and to deliver to them the writing of the Divine Gospels. And these having laid the foundations only of the faith in places hitherto unknown, and having appointed others as 'pastors,' and delivering to them the cultivation of those freshly brought in, themselves went on to other countries and nations, with the grace and cooperation of God. For through the Divine Spirit even then very many wonderful miracles were wrought through them, so that, at the very first hearing, whole tribes, man by man, with eagerness received into their very souls the holy doctrine of God the Creator of all." So, then, gifted with the Apostolic power of working miracles, they adhered stedfastly to the Apostolic order of the ministry.
In a word, it was the uniform practice of the Church, that when God stirred up the spirit of any to wish to preach the Gospel to the heathen, the Bishop of that country sent him forth, and then or subsequently ordained him Bishop of the place or country whither he went, that so he might not only convert individuals, but found a Church, imparting to the nation the full blessings and privileges of the Christian Church. And this the Bishops did, either by their own authority, which they inherited individually from the Apostles, or, more solemnly, and for the prevention of individual infirmity, the whole Bishops of the province met in council, and formed a new Episcopate. Thus, a little later than the time just spoken of, about the middle of the second century, Pantaenus (afterwards a blessed Martyr) "shewed," says Eusebius, "so much zeal for the Divine word, that"--he went out (in our modern phrase) as a Missionary to India?--No! but that "he was appointed as a preacher of the Gospel of Christ to the nations in the East, being sent as far as India"; and says S. Jerome, "he was so skilled and learned both in Divine Scripture and in secular literature, that being asked for by an embassage from the country, he was sent even to India by Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria." Again; "Among the Indians was S. Frumentius, the Bishop, who was there first as a captive, then, ordained Bishop by Athanasius, preached the Gospel in that province." So of Armenia, one of the most important of Christian Churches, it is related, "The great Gregory, (he was called "the Enlightener,") the Bishop of the greater Armenia, was brought out of that fearful den, and arrived at the king, and the whole of Armenia was converted to the faith in Christ" "and the Persians likewise, (it is added,) under Simeon the Bishop." And so as to other Churches. Church history is full of accounts of holy men, who were sent forth as Bishops, and were Apostles of the nations to whom they were sent, and founded Churches, and converted great nations. But there is not one account of persons going out of their own will, or establishing a Church without Bishops, or without having received a commission so to do from those who had inherited the power to give it, the Bishops of the Church.
The maxim of the Apostolic age, "do nothing without the Bishop," was then acted upon, and the conversion of great and powerful nations, civilized and barbarian, proud of their might or their civilization, who bowed their necks under the humble yoke of Christ, attests God's blessing; compared with which, all modern efforts have been as nothing. And in later times, after many efforts had been made (in vain, because insulated) to convert the Germans, God raised up a countryman of our own Winifred, (known by the name of Boniface, "the good doer," and since called the Apostle of the Germans,) who was sent forth as her Bishop. He lived to found there eight Bishoprics, received the crown of Martyrdom in carrying the Gospel to a remoter tribe, and is still recognized as the "father in Christ," of those, who since, in Germany, have lived and died in His faith and fear.
There is another branch of the subject, on which I cannot here enter into details, but which appears from an early period to have been the practice of the Church, and which had been especially an instrument of God in the establishment of Christianity among ourselves, the foundations which were every where formed, as seminaries for a future body of Clergy. Such was the origin of our Cathedrals; they were the early homes of the Gospel in our land, and the means of its continuance.
The later efforts of our Church for propagating the Gospel have been, till within these few years, through this Society, and the Society for promoting Christian knowledge, whose missions it now embraces. Their history, both prosperous and adverse, much illustrates these principles. Both alike furnish encouragement to us, in that their success was owing to God's blessing upon zeal and love for souls, directed according to those principles, their failure was owing to hindrances from without, which have now happily been removed. The Society commenced amid circumstances the most unfavourable. It was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1701, at the petition of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, to provide (as is said in the Charter) for the "plantations, colonies, factories, many of which were wholly unprovided of a maintenance for Ministers, and the public worship of God; and, for lack thereof, wanted the administration of God's Word and Sacraments, and seemed to be abandoned to atheism and infidelity." Fearfully was this so. In large provinces all children were unbaptized, the Lord's day was set apart for lewd diversions, the dead were buried, as they had lived, without Christian service. Yet this permission to gather together what aid she might from the children of the Church was all which the State did for her. So far from the society being supported by the State, which some have made their excuse for neglecting to aid her, for 112 years she received no aid from it, but her plans were hindered by it. Our Bishops, from the first, saw the necessity of sending forth, after primitive practice, Bishops among the Clergy of our colonies. They could not but feel the strange anomaly of a Church without the presence of her chief pastors, her members without the blessing of confirmation, her Clergy, not the children of the soil, educated within herself, but scantily supplied from a distant land, and left to their own discretion, without the advice, or control, or correction of the representative of the chief "Shepherd and Bishop of their souls." They remonstrated, but in vain. An inconceivable panic, the panic of worldly and ungodly men, had possession of this land. They feared to bestow Bishops upon the colonies, lest their "craft should be in jeopardy," and the dependence of the colonies on the mother-country endangered. They learnt, too late, that the Church which they feared, was the strongest band (as how should not one united Church be?) between their colonies and themselves, and that, having impaired her strength, their own strength became weakness. Far different might the relations of that our great colony of the United States have been; she might even now have been a source of strength, instead of being watched with misgiving and doubt, as one ever ready to take advantage of our difficulties, and enlarge her border at our expense, had our State then known their duties to her colonies or to the Church.
A power, to which the Church, for fear of worse evils, submitted, constrained her to plant the Church in the United States, in a way in which, since the Episcopate is an ordinance of God, it could not flourish. Crippled however and maimed as it was, this Society, year by year, for 82 years, amid much discouragement, sowed the seed, which, now, after that the land, where she toiled, had been for half a century severed from us, is yielding an abundant harvest. It was indeed harrowed in by afflictions. "The plowers plowed upon her back, and made long furrows." In the unnatural contest between our colony and ourself, people speaking the same language, children against their parents, the hurricane could not but lie heavy upon our Church there. Her branches were cut off and her trunk hewed down, and she was held in detestation, for loving us and wishing that dreadful strife to cease. Her endowments were torn from her, and given to others; her holy vessels were taken by the spoiler and profaned; her chalices were employed for Belshazzar's feasts; her fonts were made into watering troughs; her altars were overthrown, and lay amid the rank grass. It seemed as though the wish of her enemies were accomplished, "let us cut them off, that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance." Yet though our Empire fell, through neglecting the Church, the Church, although weakened by it and laid low by her adversaries, survived. She has arisen out of the dust, and has raised up other altars and other temples, and this temporary prostration or almost extinction, has been but like the "dying" of the "corn of wheat," which no longer "abideth alone, but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Now she is seen to be a choice vine, for which God has "prepared room," and "caused it to take deep root," and it is "filling the land." She is "covering the hills" of the Alleghanies "with her shadow," and literally "sending out her boughs unto the sea and her branches unto the river," passing far beyond the bounds of the provinces, which were our immediate colonies. She is multiplying her Bishoprics continually; and, from these several centres, providing in a degree for that tide of emigration, which we continually pour out into her; forming Churches of God, where some years past was literally a wilderness, "making the wilderness to blossom as a rose." Gradually she is absorbing into herself the members of those less favoured communities, the separatists of our own land, until, by God's mercy, all His scattered sheep shall be gathered together, and "there shall be one fold and One Shepherd." Nor is she only a witness of the fulness of Divine truth, a light amidst its twilight, "neither day nor night," but a harbinger of that "evening time," when "it shall be light." And again, she is now not spreading only in her own soil, but, as a Church, sending forth her Missionaries into heathen lands.
Such is the principle of life imparted by God to His Church; such the usury yielded by these works of piety and mercy, which, at most, bud only during the lives of their blessed authors, but bear their full fruit long after they are at rest, with their God. Their full fruit they shall bear, long after we are at rest too; their full fruit shall he seen, at the judgment-day, when they shall be seen who have thus been "gathered into the garners of the Lord."
Such then is the fruit, such the promise of the early efforts of our Society, where her hand has long since been cast aside; encouraging to us, in that God has blessed what, amid many disadvantages, our Church essayed to do; encouraging also, in that we are no longer impeded by the jealousies which then hindered her.
Every where she was thwarted; and we owe her thankfulness that, amid all opposition, she persevered and handed down to us the principles upon which we should act, and an example to follow. From the first she applied herself to a three-fold end, the maintenance of Christian worship among our own people, the conversion of the negroes, who, as slaves, were sojourners among us, and of the heathen who stood in any relation to us. And these three objects are, obviously, best carried on together. For, what call have we to invite others into the fold, while we neglect those already brought in? or how should our own Church prosper, if we neglect our own families, whereof the slaves were a portion? It is interesting to see how our Church, as a Church, "considered the instruction and conversion of Negroes, as a principal branch of her care/' and would have made them "free indeed," long before the unhealthy excitement, which has recently prevailed, since these subjects have fallen into the hands of individuals. In all, however, her operations were thwarted; among the North American Indians, by French Jesuits, more anxious to prevent their becoming members of our Church, and so attached to us, than that they should any how believe in Christ. The conversion of slaves was prevented, in many cases, by the ungodly jealousy of their masters, who, careless about their own souls, doubted whether the negroes had souls. Worst of all, our missions in the East Indies were systematically hindered by those, who practically governed it.
It were almost incredible, (but that it is too sadly known,) that our government should have feared that to acknowledge publicly that we had a God, should be construed into an attempt to force our faith upon the natives. While Mohammedans propagated their belief in the false prophet, we, boasting ourselves a reformed branch of Christ's Catholic Church, were ashamed of the true Redeemer. The crescent of the followers of Mohammed was seen aloft; the disciples of the Crucified feared to avow the Cross. Magnificent were the mosques and minarets of Mohammed; the worship of this wealthy and civilized people, drawing proverbial riches from India, was hid--would it had been by persecution in dens and caves of the earth--but no! it was buried by un-Christian cowardice and parsimony in riding-schools or messrooms, or, at best, in the civil court, wherein Christian worship and litigation reigned alternately.
Even in 1694, a learned and pious Dean had pointed out our duties to India, when we had but factories upon its coasts, and the ill effects of our un-Christian neglect of our duties towards our own settlers and the neighbouring heathen. He formed the plan which has since been realized, of ultimately "settling Bishops and seminaries in those countries where ministers may be had and ordained on the spot." Yet not until about twenty-five years past, did our state venture out of its hiding-places, and timidly grant one bishopric amid a population of 100,000,000 spread over twenty degrees of latitude and ten of longitude. Meanwhile, our missions had had several Apostolic men; one singularly so, entitled, like those of old, the Apostle of India. His toil of half a century was blessed beyond most modern efforts. Yet bereft of that support from the system of the Church, which former Apostolic men had enjoyed, and of that Apostolic succession, with which Christ has promised to be present, only 17 years after his death, his missions were found in a state of decay, his converts, instead of enlarging, had shrunk. Dreadful as it is to name, instead of gaining the Heathen to Christ, our own people had been first neglected, virtually excommunicated, then they apostatized. Those who had borne the Name of Christ became Heathen.
This history, though miserable, is encouraging as well as instructive. It exhibits our Church thwarted from without, yet every where and long labouring to fulfil her office of extending the Redeemer's kingdom. It exhibits also a portion of the fruits of those labours. In those ways she has still trod. She has planted Christian Churches in the Canadas, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward's Island, New Brunswick, the West Indies, the Cape, Australia. Wherever God hath given the British name a footing, she has carried the name of His Christ. Those deficiencies also, which she formerly lamented, have been supplied. Bishoprics, through her remonstrances, have been founded, not indeed in proportion to the needs of our countrymen, but still as so many centres in most of the different places of her operations. Colleges built in connection with her, in the dioceses of Nova Scotia, Barbados, Calcutta and Madras, although disproportioned to her requirements, still furnish the basis of that other great requisite, a native Clergy. Especially that noble College of Calcutta, designed by her first Bishop, which those who with sorrowful rapidity have succeeded him, however varying in their habits of mind, have all praised as the great engine for the conversion of India, is the fruit of such a collection as that which is being now made by the Bishops under the authority of the Crown.
An organization, then, is provided every where, in kind though not in degree, such as has been, in every age, the instrument of God in extending the kingdom of His Dear Son. This Society is the accredited organ of the whole Episcopacy of our branch of the Church Catholic. It has all along addressed itself peculiarly to those duties, which lie upon us as a nation, those relating to our own colonies and dependencies. It has ever gladly submitted itself to our Bishops abroad, and placed its missionaries at their disposal. It has in connection with it, in East and West and North, seminaries for the education of native missionaries. I would speak freely, though kindly, as to other institutions; but I would say, that however little this Society may in many places be known, because it has preferred to do, rather than to speak of its doings, it is at present the institution in this country, eminently entitled to the support of those who would wish in a wise, orderly, self-denying, lasting way, to propagate the Gospel of their God and Saviour. One would, of course, rejoice, that Christ was made known to those who otherwise would not have heard of Him, even though "the truth as it is in Him," should be, at first, imperfectly set forth. We may be glad if in China, or some of the thousand isles of the Southern Ocean, the Roman Church, or any of the maimed communities of Christians in our own land, may have borne His Name. Little promise of durability as the efforts of those bodies, which have severed themselves from the Church, already appear to hold out, we should be glad that they had, even for a time, shone like a light in a dark place, and should hope that the day-star may at length arise. Had they confined their efforts to such places, imperfect as we must deem their teaching, we might have "wished them God speed." But we may not, in a matter of practical duty, look upon one side only. Since these Societies have taken as their province, not only places where Christ is not preached, but those where our Church has been planted, we must (painful as it may be) bring home to ourselves that while they are Missionaries in the one place, in the other they are schismatics, i.e. dividers of the Church, which He willed to be one. And thus, of some Societies which, though not connected with our Church, have received large support from the irregular and self-chosen liberality of its members, it is to be feared that they will rather retard the progress of the Gospel, by distracting and diminishing the Church, than enlarge it by the converts to their own imperfect forms. Our first and Apostolic Indian Bishop had to complain that they were more anxious to gain proselytes than converts; that they fixed themselves among the Europeans rather than the natives, gaining rather to themselves and their sect than to Christ.
This want of unity is a most serious impediment to the extension of the Gospel. The first great hindrance in India, was the belief that we had no religion; the second, that we have not one but many. "They should think better of Christianity," they uniformly say, "if there were not quite so many different kinds of it." And they say rightly. Our Lord left one Church, and made the unity of His Church the groundwork of its success. "I pray," said our Lord, as with Himself He presented His future Church throughout all ages unto His Father, "not for these alone [the first Apostles], but for them also, which shall believe on Me through their word, that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one [one thing, one body] in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me." Holiness, Unity, Catholicity, are the attributes of His Church. Therefore is the belief in the Holy Catholic Church placed next to that of the Holy Ghost, since He, the Giver of life, present in the whole body, and proceeding from the Father and the Son, unites, and sanctifies, and knits in one its several members throughout the world. But where is Apostolic oneness, when men teach not the same doctrines, communicate not at the same Altar, receive not together that One Bread, which unites all into one body? Or what a lamentable spectacle for the heathen to see Christians at variance, saying, Lo, here is Christ, and Lo, there! or, which were more lamentable yet, agreeing to give up the truths, which He has bestowed upon the Church, as a secondary thing. Truth must lose either way; and though it will be often a painful effort, the only sound principle for a member of the Church, is to support those institutions which have the sanction of the collective Bishops of the Church, leaving the responsibility to those whom God has set as Fathers over us, and whom we entitle our "Fathers in God," and abstaining from joining those in religious undertakings, who profess to be unable for conscience sake to join with us in the worship of our God.
I have said, that we have in connection with this Society an organization, such as God has hitherto elsewhere blessed with success; not a dead organization, but a band of soldiers and servants of Christ, each occupying his allotted post, in those harmonious relations of authority and willing obedience, of guidance and submission, such as were ever seen in the "willing armies" of our God. It is needed only, that we should supply the treasure for this holy warfare, that our alms as well as our prayers should ascend up as a memorial before God, that so His blessing may descend upon them and us. The State contributions, which, for twenty years of this century, furnished a considerable proportion of what was clone through this Society for our North American colonies, although insufficient, have been since 1833 diminished, and gradually withdrawn; and that, on the ground that land had been reserved for the clergy, (in lieu of tithes, which there were not,) and that that land should now become available for their support. That land had been granted, pledged, pledged in Canada to those who had been faithful to their Mother-land during the American war, who would have restored peace, if they might, and at last abandoned their new homes and their all, rather than abandon the band which bound them to this country. It was pledged to them; but modern views have changed all this;. those lands are kept in abeyance or alienated; and the pastors of our countrymen abroad are now mainly dependent upon the love of the Church, since the State has cast them off.
The French, when they had possession of Lower Canada, amply provided for their Church, and we have secured them this property, and granted them more. Our State was for a time kindled with a holy jealousy, and then first bethought herself of making religious provision for her colonies. But liberalism has checked liberality, and the stream is dried. And yet, year by year, the inhabitants of our towns and villages are systematically tempted to pour themselves in shoals upon the Canadas. They are invited to go by accounts of increased wages, by the fertility of the soil, by worldly prosperity. They are invited to go to relieve our burthens; but they are not reminded that they have souls to be saved, nor is any provision made for securing them within Christ's fold. Rather they are exported as oxen or sheep for the slaughter, where death is death eternal. They have been accustomed at home to find, every where, one set over them, who should care for their souls. If, in health, some may not have availed themselves of these blessings as they ought, yet all doubtless in a measure felt them. They had them, at least, to fall back upon; and who has uniformly used and valued them as he ought? They knew of no other state of things; they knew not that this pictured paradise of abundance and plenty, was a wilderness, a land of drought of the word of God, a desert land, but where God was not present in the cloud to overshadow them, nor did the Rock, which was Christ, yield the water of Baptism for their children, nor the manna descend for themselves. They knew not, that they were being lured to purchase the nourishment of their bodies by parting with the food of their souls; to go to the "dry places" where Satan dwells, where they and their children may be excommunicated from Christ's blessed Sacraments, from every sound of the word of God, no one to support them in their trials while living, or to arm them for their struggle with their last enemy, Death; or in that last trying hour to point to their Saviour's Cross, and impart to them the pledges of Life Eternal, His Body and His Blood. Yet in the year that this aid was taken away, above 80,000 of our countrymen were tempted to migrate to Canada; up to 1837, 215,000 had left our Christian land, to a land of death. Shall we then, for our supposed benefit, to relieve us, continue to tempt those, who with us have been made members of Christ, to leave the home of their fathers, and their fathers' graves, their village church, their homes, their pastors, their altars, and all those bands, which the laws and habits and institutions of a Christian land, and the memories of childhood weave around us, and place them in new scenes of trial which we are spared, and not accompany them on those trials with such aid as we can give them, little compared to what they enjoyed here, yet a mitigation of their needs? God forbid that we should act the part of tempters, that we should be Satans!
Again, year by year, 6000 persons are forced into exile for crimes, to which, it must be said, our neglect in providing pastors for our great towns has led many. For our safety, they are transported; that we may sleep, walk, at ease; that our property may be secure. While confined in this land, they have means of grace. Every prison, by the law of this land, has its chaplain. We acknowledge the principle, that we have no right to cut them off from the means of restoration. "For a temporal crime," said an excellent Judge lately, "we have a right only to inflict a temporal punishment." [Mr. Justice Coleridge.] Spiritual punishments are with God and His Church. But what else is it than to inflict eternal, when we separate these unhappy persons from all the good and from all good, when we congregate them together, so that the contagion should become ten-fold through their exclusive intercourse with one another; when we sever those not yet hardened from calls to repentance, plunge them in renewed and worse temptations, until the stink of their ill-deeds produce a moral pestilence, and go up to Heaven to bring down vengeance on them, as "on the cities which God overthrew," until He destroy both them and us? Is this the country that boasts itself of her Christian exertions, of her zeal for saving men's souls, of her sympathy for the Heathen, of her translating into all languages the word of God, when they read it to so little purpose themselves? "If they be the children of men," says David, "who have stirred thee up against me, cursed be they of the Lord, for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the Lord, saying, Go serve other gods. Now, therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the Lord." Our brethren's blood will not fall to the earth, unheeded of the Lord, but will "cry unto Him from the ground." Their blood will be required of our hands.
For boasting then we should rather put on shame. "Neglect," it has been said with sad truth, "neglect,"--would one must not in many cases say rather, hostility to the extension of our faith among our colonies--"has been the distinguishing policy of our Government;" and the two Societies, whereby our Bishops would Have remedied their neglect, were feebly supported. But let us not cast exclusively upon the ministers of our rulers the blame which our fore-fathers and ourselves share. Had we but felt that sympathy for our absent brethren, which one member of Christ's Church should for another, we should have relieved them more adequately ourselves, or obtained that relief from the State. We are not too little, but too much busied about the measures of the State; there is not too little, but too much of clamour about things in which people think their interests concerned; but when we might (and even now might we) obtain for our expatriated countrymen the blessings of the Gospel, people were content to be ignorant of their needs or the remedy.
A mighty effort is now, we trust, being made for the great ends, whereof I now have set before you some hints. The plan, which has in the Queen's letter been set before you, is worthy of a branch of the Church Catholic, in that it embraces all whom God's Providence has any way connected with us, in each continent, or in the far isles of the sea; Blacks or Whites; free-born, or those lately entrusted with the perilous gift of unaccustomed freedom, or those who by their crimes have lost their freedom; our own countrymen or foreigners; the hundred million of India, or the scattered populations of Canada; from the ice-bound Northern Newfoundland, to the Southern Cape or Australia, it aims at relieving all, strengthening all, binding all together in the one band of Christian brotherhood, the one invisible, Divine, mighty bond, which through One Spirit unites in one body all the members of Christ. Such is the plan, if our efforts do but correspond. To you the appeal has from circumstances been made earlier than to many others. You therefore have the privilege of "provoking very many by your zeal," as by coldness you might chill many. So may you, by bounteous giving, draw down a blessing upon your country, your Church. By bounteous charity you may increase your substance, for Scripture says, "there is that scattereth, and yet increaseth, and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth only to poverty;" you may bring down God's blessing upon your families; for Scripture saith, "the righteous is ever merciful and lendeth, and his seed is blessed;" you may obtain, through Christ's love for you, a merciful judgment for your past sins: for Scripture saith, "He shall have judgment without mercy that hath shewed no mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against judgment;" you may obtain to yourselves everlasting rewards, for Scripture saith, "God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed towards His Name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and yet do minister."
And while the richer, I trust, will give liberally, do not ye, my poorer brethren, think yourselves excluded. For Scripture saith again, "if thou hast much, give plenteously; if thou hast little, do thy diligence gladly to give of that little, for so gatherest thou thyself a good reward in the day of necessity." [Tobit iv. 8, 9. "The same lesson doth the Holy Ghost also teach in sundry places of the Scripture, saying, [Tobit iv. 10] 'Mercifulness and almsgiving purgeth from all sins and delivereth from death, and suffereth not the soul to come into darkness.'" Homilies, The Second Part of the Sermon of Alms-deeds.] Poor if any of you be, these late your countrymen are still far poorer; for the means of grace which have been provided for you by the piety of our forefathers, they have not. Bring home to yourselves what your feelings would be, were you doomed to watch by the deathbeds of children dying unbaptized, and so (whatever mercies God may have in store for them) as heathen, and no minister to baptize them; were ye sick, and none to minister to you; were the Lord's day to come in its weekly round, and no house of God be open to you, no warning voice reach you; had you on your dying beds a load of grief on your souls, and none to receive it; would you once more at your parting moment be committed to God's mercy and none to speak it; would you desire to come before the Judgment seat of Christ, hallowed by His Body and Blood, and no one to give It you, or would you around the grave of your nearest friends, or the "wife of thy bosom," hear the words, "I am the Resurrection and the life," and there be "none to make mention of the Name of the Lord." [Am. vi. 10. "I attended a funeral this day; only those who live here, and have an opportunity of witnessing the destitution of this country, can fully know or feel how bitter a thing it is to be obliged to cover up their dead, without the solemn rites and attendance of a Christian Minister." Stewart Missions, p. 189 (ap. Brit. Crit. No. 48. p. 406.)] As thou wouldest then wish to be done to you, so now do thou likewise; and as thou doest, so shall it be done unto thee. As thou hast refreshed them, so in that awful day shalt thou be refreshed; and, Christ saith to thee, "thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." "The Lord grant you, that you may find mercy of the Lord in that day!"
Almighty God and heavenly Father, Who, of Thine infinite love and goodness towards us, hast given to us Thy only and most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ to be our Redeemer, and the Author of everlasting life: Who, after He had made perfect our redemption by His death, and was ascended into heaven, sent abroad into the .world His Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Doctors, and Pastors; by whose labour and ministry He gathered together a great flock in all the parts of the world, to set forth the eternal praise of Thy holy Name: For these so great benefits of Thy eternal goodness, we render unto Thee most hearty thanks, we praise and worship Thee; and we humbly beseech Thee, by the same Thy blessed Son, to grant unto all, which either here or elsewhere call upon Thy holy Name, that we may continue to shew ourselves thankful unto Thee for these and all other Thy benefits; and that we may daily increase and go forwards in the knowledge and faith of Thee and Thy Son, by the Holy Spirit. So that as well by those Thy Ministers, as by them over whom they are appointed Thy Ministers, Thy holy Name may be for ever glorified, and Thy blessed kingdom enlarged; through the same Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen. [Taken from a Prayer in the Service for the Ordering of Priests.]