MY REVEREND BRETHREN,
BEFORE I enter upon those points peculiarly appertaining to my office, on this my second occasion of publicly counselling and exhorting you, I would offer, together with you, my humble thanks to Almighty God for His providential care of us over the unusually protracted period since we last assembled together. Of those, who were associated with us in our first solemn meeting, two have been summoned to give an account of their stewardship, having departed this life, we humbly trust, in His faith and fear, to be partakers with Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, and Saints, in the kingdom of our heavenly Father. No extraordinary visitation has occurred to cause this diminution of our number; whilst to those to whom it has been permitted to occupy [3/4] the spots in Christ's heritage selected for their labours, a very trifling relaxation from duty has been sufficient, if not to establish, at least to recruit any expenditure of health or strength consequent on the discharge of the arduous duties of their calling. I take the present opportunity of noticing this circumstance, as an impression has gone abroad of the insalubrity of our adopted country; which has, I believe, obtained belief on very slight and insufficient grounds. We have suffered, in this portion of the Lord's vineyard, from the reluctance manifested by many, on this account, to come to our help; a reluctance very naturally participated in by anxious friends and parents. But the impression being erroneous, it is manifestly my duty to endeavour by all lawful means to remove it.
It has usually been the custom of the Church, and, indeed, such is still the practice in settled dioceses, to assemble the Clergy at triennial Visitations; but engaged as we are in a missionary field, I have considered it to be for your own benefit and convenience, and I believe it has been attended with no detriment to the Church, that I should not call you from your separate fields of labour without an urgent necessity. The time has now arrived, however, when I could no longer delay our assembling together; and my prayers have been offered up, I doubt not in unison with your own, that the present occasion may be one of mutual edification, comfort, and support. It may be permitted me to remind my Reverend [4/5] Brethren of the readiness with which I have always associated myself with them in their various labours, and of the constant personal intercourse which I have hitherto maintained with themselves and flocks committed to their charge. Every day reminds me more and more of the solemn responsibility laid upon me. It is expected of me, in the language of the Church, that I should be "ready to spread: abroad the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the glad tidings of reconciliation with One almighty and merciful; and to use the authority given unto me, not to destruction, but to salvation; not to hurt, but to help: so that as a wise and faithful servant, (and who can contemplate such a charge without fear and trembling?) giving to God's family their portion in due season, I may be received into everlasting joy, through Jesus Christ." [Office for the Consecration of Bishops.] It is impossible to disguise from my own mind, and you will participate in my feelings on this subject, the insufficiency of man for this important work. Well, then, may we, in the sublime words of that beautiful hymn used upon the occasion of our being set apart to our respective callings, pray for such a measure of God's Holy Spirit, that He may
"Anoint and cheer our soiled face
With the abundance of His grace."
In my primary Charge, I entered at some length into the question relative to the duties of the Clergy [5/6] in their observance of the Rubrics and Canons of the Church. The result of my own experience is a fuller conviction of the importance of the subject; and therefore I feel constrained to urge it with renewed earnestness on your attention. "The objective unity of doctrine and discipline is a means ordained of God to work out the subjective unity of the Church;" and as this end must or should ever occupy our minds, it is desirable to recur to these topics, though, after my former Charge, a briefer expression of my views may be sufficient. [Manning on the Unity of the Church, p. 271.]
It appears to me that a great mistake is committed, and much violence done to that moral tone of feeling which should guide our actions, if we set aside the rules of the Church, and disregard the solemn obligations of order, discipline, and obedience, voluntarily undertaken at Ordination. The "' following with a glad mind and will the godly admonition of your Ordinary and other chief ministers, unto whom is committed the charge and government over you, and submitting yourselves to their godly judgments," will teach a more impressive lesson to the people over whom you have been set, than the fairest speech, though ever so persuasive and true. [Office for the Ordering of Priests.] Such a compliance would exhibit a truth of which too many are forgetful, but to which the far greater number of my Brethren were solemnly [6/7] pledged, when by each of them was "received the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a Priest in the Church of God, by the imposition of hands." [Office for the Ordering of Priests.] For a full assent to the Ordination Service involves the belief of a ministerial commission, a truth which is boldly questioned by numbers. And the strict adherence to your Ordination vows in every particular, will develop that great truth, the denial of which is at the root of all that antagonism which we have to encounter in our efforts for the promotion of Christ's kingdom in "this evil and naughty world." "The idea of humbly learning God's truth, and patiently receiving sacramental mysteries from the hands of a man like ourselves, of submitting to counsel, reproof, rebuke, correction, at the hands of a fellow-sinner, is a test and probation of our moral habit which, by its searching and salutary virtue, attests itself to be of God." "The same remarks apply in like manner to the fellowship of pastors under their superiors in every subdivision of the Catholic Church." "In this way it is that Christ weighs the spirits of all His servants. The balanced order in which He has disposed them is so delicate and nice, that it will indicate the lightest swaying of the will." [Manning on Unity, pp. 268-270.] Did these considerations influence, as they ought to do, the minds of pastors and flocks, it would be unnecessary to revert to the plain directions of the Church.
 But since cases will occasionally occur which give rise to doubts, and involve a diversity in practice among those, whose object, according to their pledges, should be uniformity, I would remind my Reverend Brethren of the means prescribed by the Church for the settlement of all such questions. "And forasmuch as nothing can be so plainly set forth but doubts may arise in the use and practice of the same, to appease all such diversity (if any arise), and for the resolution of all doubts concerning the manner, how to understand, do, and execute the things contained in this book, the parties that so doubt or diversely take any thing, shall alway resort to the Bishop of the Diocese, who by his discretion shall take order for the quieting and appeasing the same, so that the same order be not contrary to any thing contained in this book; and if the Bishop of the diocese be in doubt, then he may send for the resolution thereof to the Archbishop." [Preface concerning the Service of the Church.--"When a Clergyman is in doubt respecting the meaning of a rubric, the Church refers him to the Ordinary, whose decision is the law in that particular case. The Bishop may refer the matter to the Archbishop; but the decision of either, possessing the force of a rubric, is binding."--Lathbury's History of the Nonjurors, p. 515.] "The absolute irresponsibility of every Catholic Bishop," says one, "so long as he shall administer his church within the rule of canonical order, and keep himself free from pravity of doctrine and heinousness of life, is an axiom self [8/9] evident as the absolute equality of the Apostles." [Manning, p. 269] I would hope that the adherence, by the Church at large, to a greatly neglected principle, has again manifested itself; and that the period of this awakening to better things may be so lasting, that it may be no more heard amid the precincts of our Zion, in imitation of Babel, I am of Paul, I am of Apollos; I take this or that person as my guide, whilst another allegiance is presented to us. I would rather hope that the will may be so trained, that the servants of the sanctuary may, in compliance with their solemn vows, be only "bent on exercising their ministry duly to the honour of God, and the edifying of His Church," in that branch of the Universal Church to which they have been called. [Office for the Ordering of Priests.]
The obligation to comply with the canons of the Church would indeed seem to require a separate consideration; and as my attention has been called to the subject, with a request that I would endeavour to remove the difficulties which present themselves to some of the Clergy, especially in reference to the 29th canon, I hesitate not to comply with that desire, and to give the best opinion I have been able to form for your future guidance. It has been questioned how far the canons of 1603 bind the Clergy and laity of our Church at the present time; and this doubt has arisen from the circumstance that the [9/10] canons were never sanctioned by parliamentary authority. The law appears to stand thus:--The canons do not legally and proprio vigore bind the laity, in consequence of the absence of legislative authority; but "it seems to be universally admitted that all the Clergy are bound by these canons, though confirmed by the king only." [Rogers's Ecclesiastical Law, p. 137; also Preface, p. xxi. Burn's Ecclesiastical Law, by Phillimore.] I have used the word "legally" in reference to the laity, because I conceive that, morally, they are as binding upon them as upon ourselves. Difficulties, however, arise from time to time, from which the conscientious Clergyman would seek relief. At present it is asked, how should he act in reference to the 29th canon? The words of that canon are, "Neither shall any person be admitted godfather or godmother to any child at christening or confirmation before the said person so undertaking hath received the holy communion." I cannot recommend a departure from the plain directions of the canon, not only because I have no authority so to do, but from a conviction that great harm has already accrued to the Church in the gradual removal of those ancient landmarks of discipline so essential to the well-being of a holy society. "To a Christian mind," writes one who has deeply considered the subject of Church discipline, "indeed it is shocking, that while the smallest infringement of social rights is invariably observed, and unrelentingly [10/11] punished, the most open offences against Almighty God should be deemed no derangement of the laws of human society. And, considering how surely vice leads to misery, and that habitual immorality saps the foundation of social security, there seems a want of wisdom in that people which can suffer lust and excess to be indulged 'without restraint or animad version." [Wilberforce on Church Discipline.]
Though this passage refers to a power of discipline which we do not possess, I quote it for the purpose of showing that it would ill become us, even if we were left to our own choice, to disregard any of the canons, especially such as bear upon questions like that involved in the 29th. However, as I have already stated, we have no authority to set aside any canon which relates to our own practice.
[It may be added, that many of the canons are of earlier date than 1604. "It was ruled, in the time of Charles II., in the Ring's Bench, that the canons of 1604 were of force, on the ground of the Statute of the 25th of Henry VIII., provided they did not impugn the common law or the royal prerogative. The old canon law was part of the law of the land; and by the 25th of Henry VIII., all canons were continued except such as were prejudicial to the prerogative or the law of the realm. When, therefore, a canon is within the meaning of the 25th of Henry VIII., it is still a part of the common law. All the canons, therefore, of 1604, which have their foundation in the laws of the land, though not expressly confirmed by any Act of Parliament, are binding on all the Queen's subjects as well as the Clergy, while others bind ecclesiastics only. It may be observed, too, that some of the canons are virtually confirmed by the Act of Uniformity. One of the rubrics in the Communion Service directs that the Ordinary is to proceed in certain cases according to the canon; and the 30th is specified in a rubric in the Baptismal Service as containing the Church's explanation of the use of the sign of the cross."--Lathbury's History of the Convocation," pp. 211, 212. Some of the canons, indeed, "are set aside by special Acts of Parliament; others, too, are superseded by the rubrics."--Ibid. p. 401.]
 At the same time I am not insensible to the burden which the Clergy lay upon themselves in acting up to the letter of the law; and yet I cannot recommend another course than that which is laid down for us by the rules of the Church. I would exhort them, therefore, to take every opportunity of instructing their people in all such duties, reasoning with them in season and out of season with calmness and sobriety, remembering that "the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."
I cannot but think, my Reverend Brethren, that we have ourselves to blame for much of the ignorance which prevails upon this and other kindred subjects. How rarely have they been brought before the people in public or private exhortation, partly from a fear of offending, or, perhaps, from other considerations. That the present state of discipline is unsatisfactory to the Clergy at large may be gathered from the expedients to which many resort in endeavouring to remedy defects, which [12/13] they know to exist, by self-made rules and regulations, intended, I fear, in too many instances, to suit the views of the low and ignorant. But all such contrivances invariably fail of achieving the object at which they aim, and, from being undertaken without that authority which the Church alone can give, cannot obtain the support or countenance of the chief Pastor of the diocese.
Before we quit the subject of discipline, I would remark, that it is much to be regretted, that, when the various Colonial dioceses were founded, due provision was not made for extending to the Colonies the various acts which have passed, and are now passing, through the Imperial Parliament. As the case at present stands, the Bishop knows of no law or authority by which to proceed in certain cases contemplated by the acts in question, save that which is conceded to him in the letters patent constituting the see: and I have felt so much at a loss how to act in some instances, that I have requested the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, with a view to a further reference to those who are competent to decide on such a subject. The difficulty, which I have myself experienced, has, I perceive, been shared by one of my Right Reverend Brethren in the eastern hemisphere; and the same cause which induced him to visit Europe, may also make it desirable to pursue a similar course with respect to this diocese.
Anxious as I am that a remedy for all existing [13/14] evils should be applied by any court which could give it the authority of law, yet would it, I conceive, be more in. accordance with the feelings of the Church at large, that the present incomplete manner of proceeding be abandoned, and that all questions of so grave a nature should first receive the sanction of Convocation,--of that assembly which alone would appear to possess that power which would claim the willing obedience of the Clergy and laity. [To those who may wish to consider this subject more fully, I would recommend the perusal of "A History of the Convocation," by my friend, the Rev. T. Lathbury, M.A. Of course it will be seen, that my remarks, respecting the application of Acts of Parliament to the Colonies, relate only to such matters as are not comprehended in the rubrics and canons. It appeared necessary to make this observation, lest it should have been imagined, that I wish to submit these questions to the consideration of Parliament, a course which I should regard as most injurious to the interests of the Church. Besides, in almost all matters connected with the performance of Divine service, and the administration of sacred offices, the rubrics and canons are clear and explicit; while in the few doubtful cases, the Bishop possesses the authority of a rubric, and his decision is binding on the Clergy.]
It is a source of much gratification, my Reverend Brethren, to notice the almost entire adoption of my wishes with regard to the celebration of Divine service; and with so much, for which I have cause to be thankful, I am anxious to avoid any remarks which may be supposed to convey an opposite [14/15] meaning. Uniformity in the performance of the services; without mutilation or omission, hardly meets with an exception throughout the diocese; and I would fain hope, that so reasonable a request on the part of the Bishop, as that of following one rule in those things that are plain and well understood, will after no lengthened period be universally adopted. In our chief towns the member of the Church is not without the privilege of daily prayer; and especially do I notice, with the highest satisfaction, the entire conformity to my wishes in the full and complete manner in which they have been met in a chapel recently erected in this most important city. The endeavour to place the Church before the people in the efficiency of her strength has already been 'crowned with success in the goodly sight. which presents itself in those who say, "We will go into the house of the Lord:" a sight goodly and refreshing, not only from the increasing. numbers who are there seeking the ordinances of grace, but from the orderly behaviour and devotional habits of the assembled worshippers.
I had hoped, ere I had again called you together, to be able to congratulate you on the appearance of this our metropolitan church, not only in the increased accommodation for the poor, but in the more seemly character which it ought to bear in being styled "A Cathedral Church and Bishop's See." I regret that I cannot point to this edifice, wherein was performed the first act of my episcopacy, as the [15/16] model to which my Reverend Brethren, grid especially the younger Clergy, should look for the effective performance of our services in all their beautiful simplicity and power: but circumstances have combined to prevent the accomplishment of my desire. I have little doubt that the Venerable Pastor, to whom is confided the parochial charge connected with this church, would, were he now present, fully enter into my feelings, and that he will strive to remedy those defects to which I would call your attention. My desire is to see, in due time, an entire observance of the Church's directions, (and I shall never withdraw myself from any responsibility which may attach itself to such a course,) in the free accommodation for the poor; in the removal, when means will permit it, of the present inconvenient pews, by which greater beauty will be secured and more extensive accommodation provided; in the adoption of the weekly offertory; in weekly communion; in greater attention to that most important, though neglected part of our Service, parochial psalmody; in the better adaptation of the chancel to the large number of communicants who assemble on every opportunity; and in the accustomed arrangement of seats for the Bishop and the chief ministers of the diocese.
Connected with this subject is the better observance of the festivals of the Church. Not only is this duty performed in the principal parish church in the other archdeaconry, and in two of the churches, [16/17] including the cathedral, in this our chief town: but I am happy to observe a growing desire to bring these things before the people in the rural districts. I am aware that there are difficulties peculiarly our own, my Reverend Brethren, in a diocese situated as this is, and amongst a people so uninstructed, and incapable, perhaps, in too many instances, of considering aright not only the privileges, but the obligations also of their Christian calling. In acknowledging this, then, it is my duty to propose a remedy which may in due time remove, or at least considerably modify, a regret, which frequently obtrudes itself upon the attention of him who ministereth in the congregation.
It is the pride of our branch of the Catholic Church, that the people are addressed in the familiar accents of their native language; but this inestimable legacy, bequeathed to us by our reformers, is as "a candle hidden under a bushel," unless they also understand what we say, and whereof we affirm. The remedy seems to rest in our adaptation of those rules to religious teaching which are found essential in the attainment of secular knowledge. "Divines may learn to be wise from other professors, who deliver the grounds of their art and science in little breviates, knowing well that the scholar is not capable of deeper discourses, till these grounds be well laid and committed to memory. All knowledge proceeds from simple terms, and so must the knowledge of Christ; it must be taught in the easiest way, and [17/18] learned by the easiest rules." [Nicholson on the Catechism, p. 13.] I need not state, in the presence of my Reverend Brethren, that all this is gathered together in our admirable summary of Christian doctrine, the "Church Catechism." But it is the development of this system that our people lack; and I would suggest, therefore, that, in our rural parishes especially, public catechising be resorted to after the second lesson in the evening service, and continued at least for half an hour. You will always be able to observe what progress your people may have made by the improvement in the answers which are given from time to time.
Catechising, from its brevity, not taxing the memory too much at a time, is, of all other means, best suited to a people who, though ignorant, are yet, I would hope, desirous of being fed with the sincere milk of the word. It will give them habits of thought and inquiry; it will do more than any thing else to enable them to give a reason of the hope that is in them, that "henceforth they be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every kind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." [Eph. iv. 14.]
You have been appointed, my Reverend Brethren, to the office of the ministry of Christ's Church, according to apostolic practice, by those to whom our blessed Saviour committed authority. You, like [18/19] St. Paul, have been sent forth to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ; and you may expect, if you are faithful to your sacred trust, that the Divine blessing will rest upon your labours. Armed with this authority, it has been your privilege to proclaim the great doctrines of the Gospel. It has, I fear, not without reason, been assigned to the age in which we are living, that we are more zealous to propagate our own opinions, than those saving doctrines which the Apostles and teachers of the early Church have so prominently set before us in the Epistles and other writings. The charge has not been altogether unfounded; and I would call your attention to a rule, which, I humbly conceive, may seasonably be followed, namely, that you should pursue the plan of the Church's teaching, as exhibited in her annual course. Were the Clergy to model their discourses more in conformity with the suggestions of the Church in her various services, how much of truth would thus be brought to light! How little obscurity to complain of! How consistently should we be found declaring the whole counsel of God! "Putting (the people) in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceivers, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour [19/20] toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." The Apostle has here exhibited no partial teaching; it is both practical and doctrinal; and I have selected the passage as one only of many which abound throughout the sacred volume.
If I have thus insisted upon the importance of systematic teaching, still more earnestly would I impress upon you the vital importance of fostering, with a holy jealousy, the chief doctrines of the cross.
Whatever latitude may be permitted in the interpretation of certain passages in Scripture,--and many there are confessedly hard and difficult,--I cannot conceive how any member of the Church can entertain, whilst he remains within her pale, unsettled. notions respecting the ministerial commission, and the two Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. To the former subject I have previously directed your attention, and I now request it to a few remarks concerning the latter points.
With respect to the two Sacraments, the Church of England steers a middle course, between the Church of Rome on the one hand, and dissent on [20/21] the other. Baptism is the badge of our Christian profession. It can be properly administered only by a lawfully-ordained minister; and when an individual is baptized, he puts on Christ, makes an open confession of His name, and pledges himself to submit to His laws. This Sacrament is very much abused by the Church of Rome; but then, on the other hand, it is reduced by dissenters to a mere nullity. Undoubtedly the two Sacraments are the most sacred of Christian ordinances; yet the Sacrament of Baptism is less regarded by dissenters than various other means, such as preaching, prayer, and some of those ordinances which they have themselves appointed. The Church declares "that Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christian men are distinguished from others that are not christened, but it is also a sign of regeneration or new birth, whereby, as an instrument, they that receive baptism rightly, are grafted into the Church." [Alluding to our Lord's Baptism, Mede remarks, "I suppose that in that Baptism of His, the mystery of all our baptisms was visibly acted; and that God says to every one truly baptized, as He said to Him (in a proportionable sense), Thou art my Son, in whom I am well pleased."--Mede's Works, p. 62. "And as for the number of them, if they should be considered according to the exact signification of a Sacrament, namely, for the visible signs, expressly commanded in the New Testament, whereunto is annexed the promise of free forgiveness of our sins, and of our holiness and joining in Christ, there be but two, namely, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord."--Homily of Common Prayer and Sacraments. In this passage something more is ascribed to the Sacraments than mere signs.] [21/22] Now dissenters, and, I must say, some of our own Brethren, assert, in direct contradiction of the Article, that Baptism is only a sign. It appears very remarkable that such views should be held by members of our own Church, because they have assented to the Articles, to the Baptismal Services, and to the Catechism; in all of which it is made more than a sign, yea, rather "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace;" and we acknowledge in the Nicene Creed, "one Baptism for the remission of sins." [Hooker's remarks, in the following passage, admirably describe the blessings communicated in both Sacraments. "The grace which we have by the Holy Eucharist doth not begin, but continue life. No man therefore receiveth this Sacrament before Baptism, because no dead thing is capable of nourishment. That which groweth must of necessity first live. If our bodies did not daily waste, food to restore them were a thing superfluous. And it may be that the grace of Baptism would serve to eternal life, were it not that the state of our spiritual being is daily so much hindered and impaired after Baptism. Life being therefore proposed unto all men as their end, they, which by Baptism have attained the first beginning of a new life, have here their nourishment and food prescribed for continuance of life in them. Whereas, therefore, in our infancy we are incorporated into Christ, and by Baptism receive the grace of His Spirit without any sense or feeling of the gift which God bestoweth, in the Eucharist we so receive the gift of God, that we know, by grace, what the grace is which God giveth us."--Ecclesiastical Polity, book v. lxvii. 1.] If Baptism were nothing more than is imagined by such persons, our blessed Lord would certainly not have laid so great a stress upon it when [22/23] commissioning His servants to go forth to preach the everlasting Gospel. It is connected by our blessed Lord with believing; but were it a mere sign, such language would not have been adopted. ["They are not bare signs: it were blasphemy so to say. The grace of God doth always work with His Sacraments: but we are taught not to seek that grace in the sign, but to assure ourselves by receiving the sign, that it is given us by the thing signified."--Jewell on the Sacraments, in his Works, p. 263. "For this cause are infants baptized, because they are born in sin, and cannot become spiritual but by this new birth of the water and the Spirit."--Ibid. p. 265. "By the authorities of thus many ancient Fathers, it is plain that in the Sacrament of Baptism, by the sensible sign of water, the invisible grace of God is given unto us. Baptism is our regeneration or new birth, whereby we are born anew in Christ, and are made the sons of God and heirs of the kingdom of heaven: it is the Sacrament of the remission of sins, and of that washing which we have in the blood of Christ."--Ibid. "If any be not baptized, but lacketh the mark of God's fold, we cannot discern him to be one of the flock. If any take not the seal of regeneration, we cannot say he is born the child of God."--Ibid. p. 267.] I would remind my Reverend Brethren, in the language of a living Father in Christendom, that "the minister of the Church, who has no wish to sacrifice the simple and plain meaning of its public offices to refined speculation and subtle evasions, whilst he yields hearty thanks to God in the prayers of the Church, that it hath pleased Him to regenerate the child that has been baptized "with His Holy Spirit;" and "humbly beseeches Him to grant that he may henceforth crucify the old man, and utterly abolish the [23/24] whole body of sin, should speak the same language and inculcate the same doctrine in his discourses." [Bethel on Baptismal Regeneration, p. 257.] I would also recommend, for the guidance especially of my younger Brethren, "as they desire to have always the testimony of a good conscience, and continuing ever stable and strong in Christ, may so well behave themselves in an inferior office, that they may be found worthy to be admitted unto the higher ministries of God's Church;" that they should honestly endeavour to satisfy their own minds upon such all-important points now in the time of their probation, lest they be found to have "entered not by the door into the sheepfold, but to have climbed up some other way." [Ordination Service. John x.]
The other Sacrament has also been treated in the same manner. By the members of the Church of Rome it has been abused; by the Dissenter, in his dread of Popery, it has been degraded. It ought, perhaps, to be expected, that Dissenters should reduce this Sacrament to a mere commemoration of an event, because they are aware that they have no valid ministry for the consecration of the sacred elements. The reduction of this Sacrament to a merely commemorative act, therefore, was a natural consequence of their rejection of the primitive and Scriptural doctrine respecting the ministry. In order to retain the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper [24/25] at all, they were under the necessity of departing from the Scriptural and primitive rule, because they rejected the appointed ministry, by whom alone the Lord's Supper could be validly administered, and assumed the power of creating and appointing preachers in opposition to the practice of the Church in all ages.
In early times this Sacrament was called the "Eucharist," which name is rejected as popish by modern Dissenters, and yet it was adopted in the Apostolic age. By this expression the Fathers intended an oblation of thanksgiving to the Lord; and the same view is retained by the Anglican Church. The sacred elements are presented to the Lord as an oblation, not in the sense adopted in the Church of Rome, but in that of the primitive Church. It is in this most important point that the wisdom of the Church of England is so conspicuous, pursuing a course between transubstantiation on the one hand, and the notion of a merely commemorative action on the other. The Church of Rome alleges, that the elements are converted into the natural body and blood of Christ; the Dissenter affirms, that no change whatever takes place in the sacred elements; but the Church of England, following the practice of the Apostolic age, asserts, that the body and blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful. ["In that Sacrament God really bestows, and every faithful prepared Christian as really and truly receives, the body and blood of Christ. As truly as the Bishop or Presbyter gives me the sacramental bread and wine, so truly Both God in heaven bestow upon me on earth the body and blood of Christ, i. e., the crucified Saviour, not by local motion, but by real communication, not to our teeth, but to our souls; and consequently exhibits, makes over, reaches out unto us all the benefits thereof, all the advantages that flow from the death of Christ."--Hammond's Works., vol. iv. p. 130. "Is there any thing more expedite, clear, and easy, than that as Christ is termed our life because through Him we obtain life, so the parts of this Sacrament are His body and blood for that they are so to us, who, receiving them, receive that by them which they are termed."--Hooker's Polity, book v. lxvii. 6. "In the receiving of the blessed Sacrament, we are to distinguish between the outward and the inward action of the communicant. In the outward, with our bodily mouth we receive really the visible elements of bread and wine: in the inward, we do by faith really receive the body and blood of our Lord; that is to say, we are truly and indeed made partakers of Christ crucified, to the spiritual strengthening of our inward man."--Usher's Answer to a Jesuit, p. 30. "And to be brief thus much more the faithful see, hear, and know the favourable mercies of God sealed, the satisfaction by Christ towards us confirmed, and the remission of sin established. Here they may feel wrought the tranquillity of conscience, the increase of faith, the strengthening of hope, the large spreading abroad of brotherly kindness, with many other sundry graces of God."--Homily of the Worthy Receiving and Reverend Esteeming of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. "Neither need we to think that such exact knowledge is required of every man, that he be able to discuss all high points in the doctrine thereof: but thus much we must be sure to hold, that in the Supper of the Lord there is no vain ceremony, no bare sign, no untrue figure of a thing absent."--Ibid.] According to the dissenting [25/26] notion, they cannot be received in any sense, and they are only eaten in remembrance of Christ's [26/27] death. What, then, is the meaning of the Church in the use of such language? That she does not mean transubstantiation, nor any thing approaching to a corporal presence, is evident from her own Articles, in which the Romish notion is so pointedly condemned. The ancient Fathers affirmed, that the consecrated elements were changed, and became something different from what they were, but that they retained the same physical properties, being as visible and tangible as ever. ["It is certain that many of the ancient Fathers of the Church conceived very high things of this Sacrament, acknowledged the bread and wine to be changed, and to become other than they were, but not so as to be transubstantiate into the body and blood of Christ, to depart from their own substance, or figure, or form, or to cease to be bread and wine by that change: and that the faithful do receive the body and blood of Christ in the Sacrament (which implies, not any corporal presence of Christ on the table or in the elements, but God communicating the crucified Saviour to us sinners on the earth), but this mystically, and after an ineffable manner."--Hammond's Works, vol. i. p. 126. "We say they are changed, that they have a dignity and preeminence which they had not before: that they are not now common bread or common wine, but the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ; a perfect seal and sufficient warrant of God's promises, whereby God bindeth Himself to us, and we stand likewise bounden unto God."--Jewell on the Sacraments, p. 274. Our Church clearly adopts the same view. She asserts, that the nature of the elements remains subsequent to consecration, [27/28] and, consequently, the change which they undergo is relative, not real,--a change with respect to their use. Before consecration they are ordinary bread and wine, but afterwards, inasmuch as they are offered up to the most high God, and are set apart to a holy purpose, by the power of the Divine institution they become not only signs of Christ's body and presence, but means or seals, by which the benefits of the Saviour are conveyed to those who partake of the holy mysteries in faith. The sacred elements, therefore, though they do not lose their natural properties, serve a new end and purpose.
The design of the Eucharist was to represent the memorial of our Lord's death, and also to bless God, and to offer up a spiritual sacrifice for those great benefits which have been purchased by our Saviour Christ. As Christ offered Himself up a willing sacrifice, and commanded us to represent that great act by the symbols of bread and wine, so our Church makes an oblation of the sacred elements to the Lord. ["For there He is commemorated and received by us for the same end for which He was given and suffered for us; that through Him we receiving forgiveness of our sins, God our Father might accept our service and hear our prayers we make unto Him. What time then so fit and seasonable to commend our devotions unto God, as when the Lamb of God lies slain upon the holy table, and we receive visibly, though mystically, those gracious pledges of His blessed body and blood?" "The body and blood of Christ were not made of common bread and common wine, but of bread and wine first sanctified, by being offered and set before God as a present to agnize Him the Lord and Giver of all."--Mede's Works, p. 357. Alluding to the Fathers, Mede says, "They believed that our blessed Saviour ordained this Sacrament of His body and blood as a rite to bless and invocate His Father by, instead of the manifold and bloody sacrifices of the Law."--Ibid. p. 365.] The bruising of our Lord's [28/29] body on the cross is represented by the breaking of the bread, while the cup represents the shedding of His most precious blood.
It would appear, therefore, that three views are entertained respecting the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The first is the Romish view, which involves a continual presence, including the transubstantiation of the elements into the actual body and blood of Christ. This notion is rejected by the Church of England as unscriptural, as contrary to reason, and also as contrary to the doctrine of the primitive Church. The second view is that of the Anglican Church. She maintains that there is a real presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper, but not a corporal presence: that the elements are changed relatively, but not really or actually; and, consequently, that the body and blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken by the faithful, though only after a spiritual manner. ["As it is in the mysterie of baptisme, so is it also in the mysterie of Christ's bodie. As Christ's blood is invisible, wherewith we are washed, so is Christ's flesh invisible, wherewith we are fed. And as this invisible washing in Christ's blood representeth unto our minds the blood of Christ, that was visibly shed for us, so the flesh of Christ, that is eaten invisibly, representeth unto us that very flesh of Christ that was visiblie, and sensiblie, nailed, and torn upon the cross."--Jewell. Reply to Harding, p. 351.] The third view is that which [29/30] is held by almost all who differ from the Anglican Church, together with many of the reformed churches of the continent of Europe. This makes the Lord's Supper a mere act of commemoration. According to their notions I cannot conceive that any act of celebration is necessary, since they might commemorate the death of our Lord in any common ordinary feast, or at an ordinary meal. Need we then hesitate to affirm, that by our Church alone is this Sacrament rightly understood. She has discarded all those novelties by which Rome has surrounded it, and she has raised it from that fallen state in which mistaken zeal of another kind had placed it.
In dwelling thus at length, my Reverend Brethren, upon these fundamental points, I would merely further state, that I have been led to do so from a belief, that much of the division, which unhappily prevails even amongst ourselves, arises from the want of due consideration of these subjects. If we did but study the mind of the Church, and compare her mind with Holy Scripture, of which she has drank so deeply, much of the difference which now exists would, I cannot but believe, pass away, and, at all events, greater honesty of purpose would be attained. [It will be seen, that the writers, from whom the extracts respecting the Sacraments in the preceding notes are taken, were among the most eminent members of the Anglican Church: and it is allowed on all hands that they thoroughly understood, and also that they have clearly expressed, the sense of our Church on these important questions.]
 On myself and other chief ministers of Christ's Church, rests a heavy responsibility. It is our duty not only to detect and expose insidious error, but to guard the entrance into the fold. The searching question upon the solemn occasion of consecration admits of no hesitating or ambiguous answer, but implies rather a readiness to perform these duties, the Lord being my helper." In the execution of this trust, may I be found faithful in ordaining, sending, or laying hands upon others, not lightly regarding the fundamental truths upon which the Church is built. I have detected no unsoundness in the views of any who have offered themselves for examination. Be the general character of any individual ever so amiable, and be he ever so apt in general learning, not all this, nor much more, can compensate for want of soundness in the distinctive doctrines of our holy religion, which no one can withhold from his people, and yet exercise his ministry duly to the honour of God, and the edifying of our branch of Christ's Church.
It has long been a source of regret in England, that greater facilities do not exist of sending forth a larger number of zealous and useful labourers to seek for Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad, and for His [31/32] children who are in the midst of this naughty world, that they may be saved through Christ for ever. The same difficulties have not presented themselves in the Colonial dioceses generally; and in this diocese you are aware, my Reverend Brethren, that I have not insisted, in all cases, on the same strict rule which has obtained at home with regard to the diaconate: but, in taking this much upon myself; I have endeavoured to fence the approach to the priesthood with the strictest jealousy; and for this purpose I have required, in the majority of cases, that a period of at least three years should elapse from the first entrance into the ministry before' a higher degree be attained. It is my intention so far to change the rule which I have hitherto acted upon, that those, who may present themselves hereafter, under similar circumstances, for Deacon's orders, must not look upon the one order as a necessary step to the other. Our Church imposes no obligation upon the Bishop, leaving it to his own judgment to decide upon the fitness of every individual. The words of the rubric are, that he who has already been admitted to the order of Deacons "may, after being found faithful and diligent, be admitted to the order of priesthood." At the same time, then, that I shall endeavour to observe the direction of the Church, as expressed in her 34th canon, I shall expect that considerable improvement be manifested in those who look for a higher degree, that so to modesty, humility, and a readiness of will to observe all spiritual discipline, there be superadded [32/33] a fuller acquaintance with those languages in which the Holy Scriptures, and writings of the ancient Fathers of the Church, have been transmitted to us.
It has been a source of much gratification to me, as I have passed through the diocese visiting you in your posts of honourable duty, to observe the greatly improved appearance of our churches and chapels. The Legislature has, I think, very wisely placed at the disposal of the rector and vestry, in the several parishes, a sum sufficient, if not to adorn, at least to preserve the material fabric in decent order and repair. I am very thankful for this liberality. It has removed a source of inquietude from the minds of many of my Reverend Brethren, at the same time that it has conveyed a useful public lesson to those, who, living in places remote from the parish church, are now enjoying the benefits vouchsafed them by the erection of houses of prayer for their greater convenience, teaching them the duty of maintaining what has already been undertaken for their benefit. The State, I am well aware, has its duties; but you have doubtless informed the people committed to your charge that they are not to sit down all the day idle, whilst the government of a country makes every provision for their wants. If private liberality and individual responsibility be at all quenched or impaired by any effort of the State, it were better that so seductive a bait be removed from us, and that we be rather found desiring to be delivered from such temptation.
 I rejoice to mention one circumstance which has lately come to my knowledge,--a resolve on the part of one who does not reside amongst us, but nevertheless acknowledges the obligation attached to the tenure of property, wherever it be situated; a resolve to lay aside that portion, which the Almighty has expressly sanctioned, to be devoted to the service of our holy religion. I mention not the name, as I am sure that no other reward is sought but that which arises from rectitude of principle and a well-regulated conscience. I might allude to other instances of individual generosity, and particularly to that support which I have received from many absent proprietors of our soil in the establishment of our collegiate institution; but this one instance is specified chiefly in approval of a principle, which so peculiarly possesses the warranty and sanction of our heavenly Father, "from whom alone all good things do come, and in whom we live, and move, and have our being."
Whilst, then, I congratulate you on such a state of things, so desirable for the healthful exercise of duty in your own more immediate cures, I would ask my Reverend Brethren if they are satisfied with the efforts which have been made to co-operate with the beneficent liberality of pious individuals in the mother land, in sending to the remoter districts of this extensive colony the blessings of the Gospel of Christ. I have upon several occasions notified my wishes on this subject; and I again take this public opportunity of expressing my earnest hope that no [34/35] effort will be left untried to persuade all, rich and poor, young and old, to come forward in the name of the Lord, to fulfil, as far as they may or can, the Divine injunction of sending the Gospel to every creature. I need not remind my Reverend Brethren of the judgment of the Almighty on the sin of lukewarmness: "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." The condition of the once flourishing Church of Laodicea, which, it would appear, suffered more terribly and severely than any other of the Asiatic Churches, fallen as they were and as they continue to this day, warns us as plainly as the handwriting on the wall did the proud king of Babylon. In a Pastoral Letter, which I addressed to you during the past year, I recommended that special collections be made for this purpose at the Ember seasons; and unless any other time or mode be preferred, I would, in repeating my wishes, not only invite attention to the appropriateness of these periods for soliciting the alms of the faithful, but express my desire that you should remind your congregations, that whilst giving of their earthly substance, whereby to send forth more labourers into the harvest, it is their solemn duty to offer up their prayers at those seasons with more than ordinary earnestness, that "God may so [35/36] guide and govern the minds of His servants, the Bishops and Pastors of His flock, that they may lay hands suddenly on no man, but faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons to serve in the sacred ministry of His Church."
Amongst other subjects of congratulation, I must not omit to notice the increase of friendly societies in this diocese; and this congratulation chiefly proceeds from the knowledge, that a very great improvement has taken place in their constitution. There are about eight hundred persons in connexion with them in this city alone; and this goodly array has almost, if not altogether, so far accommodated itself to the godly discipline of the Church (the only secure means of strengthening and binding together the members one to another), as to require that no one shall be permitted to enrol himself as a member, unless he has been admitted to the holy Communion, or be desirous of being admitted thereto. The Clergyman is allowed that due authority and weight so properly appertaining to the pastoral office. A very admirable arrangement has been made by these societies for the securing regular medical attendance throughout the year. Every encouragement is due to persons who thus endeavour, by united exertion and providence in the time of health, to keep themselves and others from being a burden to the community. Connected with one of these institutions is a very excellent parochial or district library. It would be well that such were established in every [36/37] instance; and especially if the selection of books be left to the Clergyman, who would take care that wholesome food be meted out to those entrusted to his care. May the good which has already been so manifest, not give occasion to be evil spoken of.
There are other duties appertaining to the office of a minister in our Church; and though all these cannot be particularized, I would notice one in particular, as some doubt has already been expressed on the subject. I allude to the relation which the rector of a parish bears towards the State in certain offices which he is called upon to perform. It has been imagined that the Clergyman is too secularly employed when presiding at a vestry meeting, or attending to other obligations of the like nature. I cannot coincide in this opinion. The principal duty which devolves upon a Clergyman in this colony in discharging, with his lay brethren, the obligations of citizenship, is the relief of the poor and needy, and looking after the repair of the material fabric of the church; and I think the Legislature has wisely determined that he should bear his proportion of labour in such works. Who so fit to bring to the notice of the lay members of the vestry the wants of his poor parishioners, the sick and needy of the household of faith? Who can so properly estimate the importance of preserving from decay the courts of the Lord's house? Who can so advantageously instruct them in all the kind offices of life? And if he be opposed, as he sometimes may be, even in the [37/38] due discharge of his duty, what may he not expect to spring from the constant evidence of a good example? "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves." The trials which attend, and must attend the sacred exercise of the ministerial functions, are undoubtedly hard to be borne; but the minister of Christ's holy Church must learn to endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus, that he "may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."
The condition of our population, my Reverend Brethren, is in so peculiar a state from the influx to our shores of the heathen from Africa, the hardly less civilized native of the east, and the emigrant from Madeira and the neighbouring isles, that I cannot part with you ere I bring to your notice, and earnestly commend to your attention, a deep consideration of the momentous consequences to our Church and land, should we in any degree be hereafter found to accuse ourselves of due want of diligence in making known to these banished people "the unsearchable riches of Christ." I have, as you are well aware, called your attention to this anxiety on my part, in the interviews which I have from time to time had the pleasure of holding with you.
Difficult as the evangelization of this mixed [38/39] multitude must be, and impracticable without the gracious assistance of God's Holy Spirit, I conceive that your best exertions should be put forth in endeavouring to persuade those who use the labour, which has been brought to our shores for earthly gain, to adopt every legitimate means of persuasion in urging individuals to enter our schools; and if you are so far successful as to influence only a comparatively insignificant number, it is impossible to calculate the measure of success which the Lord of the harvest may hereafter vouchsafe to your diligence and zeal. Consider the small beginnings of the Christian Church. It was like a grain of mustard-seed, "which a man took and sowed in his field." Has it not grown and waxed a great tree? Be not dismayed or cast down by such beginnings and apparently insignificant results. Expect not to see the fruits of your exertions appear in one day, but be content to labour diligently, and to pray that God will give them teachable hearts, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of his word.
Having thus briefly alluded to the importance of our schools, as a means of preparing the understanding for the future reception of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I would still extend my remarks upon the importance of National Education, and on the plans which the Legislature is about to adopt with respect to this important subject. None of my Reverend Brethren can be ignorant of the great excitement [39/40] which has taken place in England upon the subject. In a matter of so great importance, and with every desire to consider the limited means which this colony must naturally possess in comparison with that great country with which it is our privilege and pride to be connected, I appointed a board of three Clergymen, whose duty it was to consider how far the Church of England could co-operate in any scheme which did not altogether fall under her guidance and direction. It was the endeavour of the Clergy, to whom was committed the charge of preparing a report, to keep in view, as nearly as possible, the line which the National Society had marked out for itself, as the only ground upon which assistance could be received; and I may say, that although I have of necessity departed in one instance from the strictness of the rule, by intimating a readiness to co-operate with the inspectors whose duty it will be to report upon the discipline and improvement, not only of our schools, but of those attached to other congregations; yet have I made it a part of the compact, which the members of the Legislature have not been slow in sanctioning,. that no interference shall be permitted in the religious instruction of our people, and that the secular part of education be alone considered as falling under the cognizance of this officer appointed by the Government. The details in carrying out this measure have not yet been considered; but when the time arrives for attending to them, I trust that I shall not be found [40/41] neglectful of your own and the Church's interest. Our object is to train up the people in the good old paths; a people obedient, who will fear God and honour the king; "a people religious without hypocrisy, and loyal without servility." [National Society's Report, 1846.] In our desire to secure so vast an amount of good, we must not on slight and insufficient grounds refuse to co-operate with the Government of a country. It is only when we feel that something is taken from us in the infringement of a vital principle, or required of us in the adoption of a system, which as guardians of the faith once delivered to the saints we cannot with a safe conscience assent unto, that we can safely hesitate to concur in the united wisdom of the rulers of the people.
Brethren beloved, I have, as far as it has appeared necessary, submitted to your notice such things as I have deemed essential for your consideration. Meetings like the present ought not to be dismissed from your minds, but rather, thoughtfully remembered when you again have retired to the ordinary occupation of your arduous calling; arduous indeed to those who contemplate the amount of responsibility which attaches itself to the slightest ministerial action. Let us beware how we give occasion to the enemies of religion to speak evil of our Christianity, taking heed that we employ not ourselves in dwelling upon other thoughts than [41/42] those which concern our own immortal state and that of the thousands committed to our charge. We cannot but believe that much is expected, in the deep excitement which pervades Christendom on religious subjects, from the untiring zeal, patience, and self-denial of the members of our Zion. The whole world seems to be in motion; at one moment in convulsive agony, desiring to throw off the ancient landmarks, and again to grasp them more firmly. In the mighty changes which are hurrying on with significant and rapid strides, our Church and nation have a weighty destiny to fulfil. We have not been placed in the battle-front of nations for our own pleasure and profit, ease and security, but to fulfil the counsels of Almighty God. Let us then be sober, and watchful unto prayer, as faithful stewards of God's mysteries, arraying ourselves in the armour of light now in the time of this mortal life, that in the last day, when the great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls shall come to judge the quick and dead, to each of us may be addressed these blessed words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hest been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." [Matt. xxv. 21.]
NOTE.--The notes have been appended, because, at the time of the delivery of the Charge, it was not possible to quote [42/43] authorities. It appeared desirable to support the statements respecting the Sacraments by extracts from such writers as, on all hands, have ever been allowed to exhibit the mind of the Anglican Church. The views of Jewell, which are perhaps more pointedly expressed than those of the other authorities to whom the references are made, were never questioned by any members of our Church until a comparatively recent period: consequently the opinion, which regards the Sacraments as mere signs, is of very recent origin. Moreover, it is evident that it originated, not in the Articles or in the Formularies of our Church, or in the writings of our great divines, but in the contact with those who separate from our communion. Our views, as members of the Church of England, are fixed and determined, while we are not to be swayed by the conflicting and ever-varying opinions of others. It may be added, that novel doctrines must necessarily be erroneous, because the Gospel is not a subject for new discoveries, but for the exercise of faith. If an opinion on an important and vital point be found, on inquiry, not to have been held by our reformers, we have a strong presumption that it is unsound, and consequently dangerous.