MY REVEREND BRETHREN Another year has passed away since we were last assembled in Synod, and we are now once more gathered together in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, under His protection, and hoping for His Presence and His Blessing. May the Holy Spirit, Whom He has sent unto us from the Father, that Holy Spirit in Whose honour this our Cathedral Church has been founded and dedicated, be with us, to cleanse the thoughts of our hearts, and to enlighten us with His Divine Light!
No events of exceptional importance have occurred in this Diocese during the past year, and yet I hope through the Grace of God, His work has made steady progress among as.
The beautiful Church at Portree, erected as a memorial to our late revered Bishop, has been opened for Divine Worship, and, though not yet consecrated, is already in constant use, and is becoming more and more important as a centre of Church work throughout a wide district.
That the able and energetic Priest by whom, and under whose direction that work has been carried on, seems likely soon to leave us is, from our Diocesan point of view, a matter for deep regret. At the same time, we must feel that the call Canon Maclean has received from the Archbishop of Canterbury to superintend another, and an even wider, sphere of work in the East, is one which he could not have disregarded. An earnest and like-minded successor, to carry on what he has so well begun, is what we must hope and pray for, if past labour is not to be lost.
At S. Finan's Kinlochmoidart, a new Incumbent has been appointed. The church there, however, unfortunately stands [3/4] in need of considerable repairs, to complete which, an appeal has been made in order that local effort may be supplemented. In the meanwhile several beautiful memorial windows have been inserted, including one to Mr Robertson Macdonald and his wife, the founders.
At S. Mary's, Strontian, moreover, a very beautiful memorial reredos and a stained glass window have been erected in memory of Sir Thomas Riddell, whose zeal and care for the maintenance of God's worship we must never forget.
At Fort-William, during the past year, a handsome Baptistery with a mosaic floor has been finished and dedicated. This costly offering now completes an edifice begun and ended for the glory of God, one which has been, we may humbly hope, accepted by Him, as was of old, the alabaster box of precious ointment.
At S. Adamnan's, Duror, considerable improvements have been effected, including a reredos and altar-cross of carved oak. I may add too, that in order to provide for our dayschool lately commenced in connection with this charge, it is hoped that a school-room will soon be added in close proximity to the church.
At Ballachulish, a new school-house and a residence for the teacher were formally opened, and taken into use last Candlemas Day.
At Portnacrois, the old church has been entirely remodelled, its new altar having been consecrated last September; and in Glencreran, additions have been made to the parsonage, which adjoins S. Mary's, Fasnacloich.
In the Island of Mull, I regret to say that the two charges of Lochbuy and Salen are vacant, yet through the aid and zealous exertions of Colonel Gardyne of Glenforsa, frequent services both in Gaelic and English have been held at the latter place.
At the Bunawe Granite Quarries, in which a considerable number of Churchpeople are employed, a day-school has been opened, and the success that has followed this [4/5] undertaking warrants the hope that a new and permanent centre of Christian education may be formed there.
At Cullipool, notwithstanding the temporary suspension of work in the Slate Quarry, our Church School which has been hitherto attended by about fifty children, promises to continue as useful as ever.
At Inveraray, through the goodness of God, a new prospect of increased usefulness seems to be opening before us. An earnest and zealous priest, the Rev. J. F. Scholfield, (late Missionary Priest of Cumbrae), has been appointed, and has been working with success since last January, his labours laving included the pastoral care of a number of our Churchpeople in the neighbouring quarries on Lochfyneside. A site has been granted in the Town Avenue of Inveraray, and plans have been prepared for a permanent church, to take the place of the present temporarykbuilding which, during a considerable period, has done such good service. Toward the building fund a considerable sum has been promised locally, but without external aid it would be impossible to carry out the proposed scheme. An appeal, therefore, has been made, which I trust will meet with a liberal response.
Our Church at Campbeltown has also enjoyed, we have reason to hope, God's special blessing during the past year, and more particularly since the institution of the present Incumbent, the Rev. Charles Wakeham. Unity and zeal seem to have been granted there in answer to many prayers that have been offered. The congregation of S. Kiaran's are exerting themselves to the utmost to build a suitable residence for their Pastor, and when this is completed they hope to provide a church, more worthy to be called the House of God, than is the present structure. But it has been thought desirable to accomplish the smaller undertaking first, in order that the more important work of building the new church may be proceeded with, unhindered by any further considerations.
As at Inveraray, so also at Campbeltown, external help is [5/6] much needed in order that local efforts may be seconded. I would therefore take this opportunity of earnestly commending both these good works to the liberality of all who wish well to our Sion.
I may mention in conclusion that I have, since our last Synod, resigned the immediate pastoral care of the congregations of Ballachulish and Glencoe. For these two very important Gaelic Charges, I have been enabled to provide Pastors who have, indeed, for some years been acting as my deputies, and who, as such, have both of them, earned the respect and confidence of the flocks committed to them. To S. John's, Ballachulish, I have instituted the Rev. Donald Cameron, for whose able assistance in scholastic and other Diocesan matters, I must acknowledge myself much indebted. To S. Mary's, Glencoe, I have instituted the Rev. Robert Macpherson, a former student of this College. Though I still retain the incumbency of S. Bride's, Nether Lochaber, I am dependent for the maintenance of its Gaelic service,. each Sunday, upon the able assistance of the Rev. Dugald Mackenzie the Incumbent of Duror. With thankfulness to God for continuing to us the benefits of a Gaelic-speaking priesthood, I rejoice to record that in the three adjoining Charges of which S. John's, Ballachulish is the Mother Church, there were last Easter nearly three hundred communicants, of whom all, with the exception of a small proportion, chiefly consisting of aged and infirm persons, received the Blessed Sacrament early in the morning. In the same neighbourhood, both at Duror and Fort William, there are also Gaelic-speaking congregations, efficiently ministered to by Gaelic-speaking Clergy. The flock committed to the cart of Canon MacColl, though scattered over a wide area, is faithfully and earnestly cared for.
The foregoing is the report I have to give of Church progress in this Diocese during the past year, in addition to the usual statistical returns, which will be laid before this Synod [6/7] in the course of its proceedings. I have alluded, you will see, almost exclusively to external matters. What inward spiritual progress we have made, God only knows. Just as the spiritual life of individuals cannot be estimated by external acts of devotion performed, so the spiritual progress of a Church or Diocese cannot be estimated by outward events and statistics.
Yet I hope and believe that the Holy Ghost is working in our midst, and if so, two results must follow, to which I would draw your attention.
OUR NEED OF HUMILITY AND CHARITY.
In the first place, we must of necessity become more and more humble. In the light of the Spirit of Truth we must learn to recognise not only our own weakness and feebleness, as a portion of Christ's Church--for this is evident enough to all the world--but we must learn also to recognize our own sinfulness and unfaithfulness, our own worldliness and lukewarmness.
This humble estimate of ourselves, if it is genuine, must manifest itself especially in our dealings with those who are not in communion with us. We are surrounded by multitudes of our fellow-countrymen who believe in Our Lord Jesus Christ, who worship Him as God, who rely upon His Atoning Death, who hope for His Return, and yet, who seem to us, not to be following Him fully in the ways of His Church. Let us never venture to lift up ourselves against such in a spirit of self-complacency. We may rejoice in possessing an Apostolic Ministry, and give thanks that the Divine Presence of Jesus in His Holy Sacrament, has not been withdrawn from our altars. But what will these blessings avail us in the Day of Judgment, if in spite of all, we ourselves shall then be weighed in the balances and be found wanting? In that Great Day it is to be feared that there will be many Bishops, Clergy and Churchmen on the Left Hand, who will receive only the sorer condemnation on account of their [7/8] high privileges; while on the Right Hand, it is certain that multitudes will find mercy, who, though by devious paths, have at last attained unto Him in Whom Alone is Eternal Salvation, Jesus Christ the Lord. Let us see to it, then, that, realizing our own shortcomings, we shun all self-sufficient pride or arrogance in thought, word, or deed towards those of our brethren round about us who call upon the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and yet who follow not with us. What have we that we have not received? Shall we dare to boast? Can we show, at any rate in the recent history of our Church, any act of self-sacrificing faith greater than that manifested by the Free Church of Scotland at the time of the Disruption? Can we boast that, according to our professedly high standard and requirements, candidates for Holy Orders amongst us are more carefully selected, and better trained, than are the theological students of the Established Church? Can we point, in all our Charges, to congregations preparing for the reception of the Blessed Sacrament before the Great Festivals, with as much zeal and purpose as are frequently displayed among Presbyterians before their General Communions? Can we boast of a Laity giving, as a general rule, out of their substance more, or even as much, as is given by the Lay members of the two great voluntary bodies of Scotland?
Reflections suggested by such questions as these, must of necessity humble us, and, if we are being led by the Holy Spirit, we shall not only be contrite towards God, but also modest and charitable in all we say and do with regard to our Presbyterian brethren--remembering always that humility and charity are not only consistent with, but should be the necessary outcome of strong conviction, when that conviction s based upon truth.
THE COMING OF THE LORD.
But there is yet one other test by which we should try ourselves, in order to see whether we are, as a Diocese, growing [8/9] in grace and in the knowledge and love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is this--Are we learning more and more to look forward with hope to His Second and Glorious Appearing? Or are we, on the contrary, bounding our anticipations with regard to the Church, by some dream of a hoped-for consummation, to be attained to in this world, as at present constituted?
To set a high standard and bright anticipations before us, even for this world, is no doubt, at times, good and useful. But for the ultimate fulfilment of our hopes, we must look beyond. We may indulge perhaps, now and then, in a fond dream, that some day Scotland may see the Catholic Church restored throughout her borders, in all her purity, beauty and power; that our now ruined Cathedrals may once more resound with the voice of prayer and praise; that deserted cloisters may once more be peopled with holy men and women devoted by the vows of Religion to the service of God; that at countless altars the Christian Sacrifice may be offered up by a holy and devoted priesthood; that all the laity may be faithful to their Mother Church; that all divisions may be healed, and that the ancient Faith of the Catholic Church, neither corrupted nor diminished, may be the only religion of the land.
Upon such a dream as this we may perhaps sometimes dwell, and for such results as these, we are no doubt right in labouring, just as if they were really within our reach. Yet, even so, we must look beyond, to a still brighter and better consummation: even to the Second Coming of Him, who has ascended from us into Heaven: even to the return of our King, Whose right it is to reign.
Our bright dreams for the future of the Church in our beloved Fatherland, may not, and probably never will be, fulfilled in this world. Yet notwithstanding, if in faith and piety our hopes are built upon the return of Our Lord and Master, we shall never be confounded, and He will Himself give us a place in that better and Heavenly Country which he has gone to prepare, and into which He will lead His people, [9/10] after that He has come again to receive them unto Himself, that where He is there they may he also.
Let us then ask ourselves whether as individuals and as a Diocese, we are looking forward with a more realizing faith and hope, towards the Second Coming of Our Lord and only Saviour Jesus Christ. Such will be the case with us, if we are being led by the Holy Spirit, and are following His gracious inspirations.
RETREATS FOR THE CLERGY.
Before leaving the subject of spiritual progress, I must record one fact with special thankfulness, namely, the Retreat that was held last Autumn in this College and Cathedral, under the auspices of our much respected Provost and Dean. It was from the first, I believe, his wish that such a Retreat should take place annually, and I now hope this will be the case henceforward.
The Retreat conducted for us last year by my dear friend and brother in Christ, Mr Mackonochie, was in fact the third that we have had here, and at the conclusion of this Synod we hope to commence a fourth, Mr Wylde the Vicar of S. Saviour's, Leeds, having kindly consented to act as conductor, for the second time in Scotland.
I can hardly overstate the importance of such spiritual Retreats. I think we have only to realize what we are, and what we have to do, in order to see how important, how, I might almost say, essential, they are, for every priest who desires to be a faithful Minister of Jesus Christ, and to save both his oa n soul, and the souls of those who hear him.
For what have we to do? We have not only as priests to offer sacrifice at God's Altar, to administer the Sacraments to His people, and to recite day by day, as in solemn duty bound, our appointed Morning and Evening Offices: we have to fulfil other functions, which must depend very much on our own personal fitness, on our own personal religion. Every priest who exactly follows the directions of the Church [10/11] can in one sense equally well baptise, celebrate the Holy Eucharist, absolve, bless, and administer the other rites committed to him. For, in all these functions, he is acting rather in his official character as a representative of Christ than as a private individual. But there are many other duties of his ministry in which his own individuality must, of necessity, make itself felt. The Priest must he a teacher. How can he teach if he has not been himself taught of God? And as he must not only instruct the heads of his people, but also reach their hearts, his own heart must have been first enlightened by the Holy Spirit. How can he teach his people to repent and confess their sins, if he does not himself know what it is to have a broken and contrite heart, to have confessed his own sins, and by the Ministry of Reconciliation to have received pardon and peace, through the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ? How again can the pastor of souls lead his people to conversion, if he does not himself know something of that change of heart, so needful for us all (notwithstanding our New and Heavenly Birth in Baptism) --that change of heart, I say, which must be granted to each of us if we are ever to see the Lord, and rejoice in Him.
Such spiritual experiences must be sought for, and, tf granted, must be deepened, by earnest waiting upon God in prayer, by self-examination, by retirement from the bustle of the world, and by seeking to be alone with Jesus. How difficult all this is in ordinary clerical life, we most of us know. On the other hand, I think I may appeal to those here present who have prayerfully followed out the spiritual exercises of our Retreats, to bear witness to the benefits which such seasons bring, through the opportunities they afford for retirement, and for the contemplation of the things of the world to come.
Retreats, in short, are intended to make us religious men --men whose hearts, having been changed from their natural condition by the converting influence of the Holy Spirit, are seeking to follow Jesus, our Great High Priest, in the way of holiness and unworldliness. So long as we all, to a greater [11/12] or less extent, fall short of the standard required by our high calling--still more, so long as there are irreligious men among the ranks of the clergy--so long Retreats will be necessary, both for the perfection of the priestly character in those who are striving to do their Master's work, and also for the conversion of those who, though called to save the souls of others, must know that they have not yet sought in earnest to make their own salvation sure, or who, perhaps, have even lived ungodly lives, in spite of their holy calling.
And O, let us realise the terrible condition of an irreligious priest! If it were ever lawful to indulge in feelings of hatred or contempt towards any of our fellow-creatures and fellbwsinners, such feelings would be lawful with regard to the ungodly or worldly among the clergy. Such men, if any, must be hateful in the sight of Christ our Lord, because they are the murderers of souls for whom He died. Such men must be contemptible also, even judging them by a worldly standard, as being the betrayers of the sacred trust that was committed to them at their Ordination, when they declared their conviction that they were "truly called according to the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Order and Ministry of Priesthood." For such priests, spiritual writers often remind us, in terrible language, a far sorer condemnation is prepared in hell, than will fall to the lot of those who have shunned the responsibilities which they so rashly have taken upon them.
But what have we to do with judging others? Let us look to ourselves. May you, my reverend brethren, and I, though laden with sins, and liable to condemnation on account of many acts of unfaithfulness, seek and find cleansing through the Sacred Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ; and through the Grace of the Holy Spirit, may our hearts be changed, and that more and more. Then year by year, that spiritual growth which Retreats are designed to foster, will manifest itself among us, and real progress will follow--not an outward progress merely, but an advancement in the way of inward and vital religion. In short, men will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus.
 THE SEABURY COMMEMORATION.
But let us now turn away from ourselves and recall the great ecclesiastical event of the past year. I mean the Seabury Commemoration. That event prepared for, (as I know it was) by many earnest prayers for the assistance of the Holy Spirit, has left behind it many blessings.
That the bonds of brotherly union between Scottish and American Churchmen have been drawn closer is manifest, and this could hardly have been otherwise. The loving sympathy of our American brethren with the Church from which in the first instance their Episcopal Succession was derived, and our attempts to reciprocate their warm affection, could not have failed to render us more than ever, of one heart and of one soul.
THE SCOTTISH LITURGY.
But there was another happy result which followed, undesignedly, perhaps, so far as we are concerned, yet doubtless, providentially--I allude to the prominence which the Seabury Commemoration has given to our Scottish Liturgy. The time was, when some of us trembled for its very existence. That time has, I believe, now gone by for ever, and we may feel that though our Church is but a small remnant, and once was smaller still, had she existed for nothing else but to preserve her distinctive Liturgy, and to transmit its main features to America, she would not have existed in vain.
All must admit that the present American Liturgy follows much more closely the Eucharistic models of Christian antiquity, than does the corresponding service in the English Book of Common Prayer. This fact, arising as it does, from the ecclesiastical connexion formed between Scotland and America a hundred years ago, is a cause for much thankfulness, especially when we realize the great future, probably in store for the American Church. And the prominence that was given to our Scottish Liturgy, in the proceedings at [13/14] the Commemoration of Bishop Seabury's consecration is not to be wondered at.
I do not forget that in America certain structural changes were made in its arrangement. I feel also, with many, that the alteration in the wording of the Invocation of the Holy Spirit is much to be regretted. Yet for all this, we cannot but reflect with pleasure that the Liturgy used at every altar, throughout the great American Church, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, is substantially the same as our own.
The words of the Address from the Diocese of Connecticut, to the Bishop of Aberdeen, as representing the Church of Scotland, which accompanied their gift of Altar Vessels, must ever be memorable. "We beg you to accept, to keep, and to transmit to your successors this Chalice and Paten, as a token of our gratitude to you and to God for the two great benefits which through you, in His Providence, have come to us. These benefits are the Episcopate and the Eucharistic office. The former, to use the very words of your own Bishop Kilgour, 'free, valid and purely ecclesiastical,' the latter embodying features which are at once an expression and an earnest of those 'Catholic and Primitive principles' both doctrinal and liturgical, for which the Church of Scotland has long been distinguished, and to which she has pledged the Church in Connecticut." In fact it could hardly fail to strike those who listened to the speeches made last year at Aberdeen, that our American brethren thanked us even more for their Liturgy, than for their Episcopal Succession. The latter they would, as time proved, have obtained eventually from England, but to Scotland alone, they owe their Eucharistic service, and to the Scottish Church, they have most generously and openly acknowledged their debt.
The prevailing sentiment of American Churchmen in their own country was ably expressed in one of their newspapers soon after the Commemoration, in the following words:--
"Bishop Seabury seems by the grace of God to have been an [14/15] Apostle, not for one generation alone, but for countless generations to come. In our American Liturgy millions of American Christians will have to thank him for the incorporation into it of the 'Oblation' and 'Invocation,' two of its most precious and primitive excellences."
It was by the retention of these two Primitive and Catholic features that the American Church in the last century showed how heartily she acquiesced in the sentiments expressed in the celebrated Concordat of 1784 between what was designated "the Catholic Remainder of the Ancient Church of Scotland," and the Church in Connecticut. In that memorable document the mind of the Scottish Bishops was expressed as follows:--
"As the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, or the administration of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, is the principal bond of union among Christians, as well as the most solemn act of worship in the Christian Church, the Bishops aforesaid agree in desiring that there may be as little variance here as possible. And though the Scottish Bishops are very far from prescribing to their brethren in this matter, they cannot help ardently wishing that Bishop Seabury would endeavour all he can, consistently with peace and prudence, to make the celebration of this Venerable Mystery conformable to the most primitive doctrine and practice in that respect, which is the pattern the Church of Scotland has copied in her Communion Office, and which it has been the wish of some of the most eminent divines of the Church of England that she also had more closely followed than she seems to have done, since she gave up her first reformed Liturgy used in the reign of King Edward the Sixth, between which and the form used in the Church of Scotland there is no difference in any point which the Primitive Church reckoned essential to the right ministration of the Holy Eucharist."
REVERENCE TOWARDS THE BLESSED SACRAMENT.
In close connection with what has gone before, I would now desire to add a few words on the subject of the reverence due from us towards that "Venerable Mystery"--the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, for which our Bishops of the last century were so full of pious zeal.
 To them, some of the ritual accessories which have been restored to us, at the present day, were probably unknown. They would perhaps have rejoiced in the anticipation of much that we now possess, but they would doubtless have felt that many of the usages happily common now would have been well nigh impossible, during that dark and depressed period of the Church's history, in which their lot was cast.
And yet I cannot help believing that among those who went before us, there was, in some respects, a more profound reverence for the Holy Mysteries than many now possess. Indeed I think that in the case of some, now-a-days, there is too apparent an absence of the precious gift of Holy Fear.
For I am afraid there are at the present time, many who communicate too rashly, and, to the great peril of the soul, that the old-fashioned and now sometimes despised "Week's Preparation" is set aside in favour of little or no preparation at all.
As a reason for this--I will not call it an excuse, for such it is not--some may perhaps urge the frequency with which the Holy Sacrament is now administered. God be thanked for our frequent Eucharists. It is my prayer, that not only on the Lord's Day, but that on every day in the week, the Holy Euchanst may be offered up at thousands of altars, throughout the length and breadth of our Communion. And towards such a happy consummation each succeeding year seems to be bringing us nearer. For all this, God be thanked!
But because frequent opportunities are thus given for Communion, I cannot see that any excuse is afforded for carelessness in preparation. Our Church makes provision for a Celebration at least on every Sunday and Holy Day. But it is nowhere implied that every Communicant is to communicate at each celebration. Even monthly communicating is not enjoined. At least three times a year is the specified rule. And if we believe that a great and lasting blessing is [16/17] bestowed upon each pious recipient, we dare not say that this is too seldom for the soul's health. Frequent communicating may be a very great blessing, or it may be a very great evil. If each Communion is humbly prepared for, and received with an ever deepening sense of unworthiness, and with an entire trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, then it will be indeed a blessing to the soul. But if frequent communicating leads to formality, and carelessness in preparation, a terrible risk is incurred. Besides, it should be remembered that Sacramental Communion is not the only means by which we may draw near to our Lord Jesus. Surely without orally receiving His Body and Blood we may draw near unto Him in prayer, and by meditation on His Holy Gospel, feed on Him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving. In such exercises there is not that danger of formality and carelessness, which is so apt to arise in the case of those who communicate frequently by the mere force of habit.
I am sure too, that a blessing may be looked for by those communicants, who though unable actually to partake of the Blessed Sacrament every week, yet make it their duty to be present each Lord's Day for worship, during the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and who thus always take some share in that which our old Bishops, before quoted, called "the most solemn act of worship in the Christian Church."
Such mere attendances at the Eucharist are not, of course, of the same value as good Communions actually made. Yet to be present, without communicating, is better than being absent altogether, and much better than receiving the Holy Sacrament carelessly or improperly.
In a word, I think we should teach our people to communicate not oftener, than they can prepare themselves with bumble devotion, and yet to be present as a duty, every Lord's Day, during the Celebration of the Eucharist.
But let us return to the question of the reverence due to our Lord in His Holy Sacrament. I do not think what I have said on this point is needless. For I fear we must [17/18] confess that there is hardly any Church, or considerable body of Christians in the world, in which there is so much laxity as there is among ourselves in this matter. Whether we look abroad to the Church of Rome, or to the Churches of the East, or to our Presbyterian brethren at home--wherever we look we see a stricter or more perfect discipline in this matter of Communion.
To my mind, the spectacle of a crowded Communion at a mid-day service, is rather a cause for anxiety than for rejoicing. Among the many who thus communicate we may well hope that there are not a few who draw near with faith, and who with honest and true, though with humble and penitent, hearts, approach their only Saviour. But do not the circumstances of such communions, at such an hour of the day, suggest a vast amount of carelessness, formality, and want of self-sacrifice? At such services do we not hear of husbands remaining to communicate, in order to please their wives, or of wives communicating to please their husbands? Do we not even sometimes hear of persons receiving the Sacrament who have risen in the morning and have come to church, ignorant of what was before them?
Though, I fear, we stand alone in permitting such laxity, the formularies which belong to us, or which we have adopted, all warn us to the contrary. We are therein reminded that the Holy Communion is dangerous to those who presume to receive it unworthily. We are warned of the "great peril" of so doing. A careful and detailed method is prescribed, consistent with what is called "the dignity of that Holy Mystery." Those who feel their sins rising like a dark cloud between them and their God, are invited to seek Absolution, and finally, all who intend to be partakers of the Holy Communion are enjoined to signify their names to the Curate, at least some time the day before. This last injunction has been so lung neglected that it cannot now be enforced, though, by ascertaining as far as we can beforehand, who are intending to communicate, we may keep it in spirit.
But there is yet another means by which we may protect [18/19] the Blessed Sacrament from profanation, and men's souls from guilt. I mean, by encouraging early, and discouraging late Communions. Of course careless and unprepared persons may approach the Holy Table early as well as late. But I think it is not so likely that they will do so. Those who take the trouble to rise early, and encounter, perhaps, some fatigue and difficulty, give at any rate one proof that they are in earnest, and that they are seeking their Lord with purpose of heart.
And I would suggest yet one more caution. When the Holy Eucharist is celebrated at mid-day, I would advise, as a general rule, that it should be made as much as possible a distinct service, separated from Morning Prayer and Litany by a considerable pause. I see no reason why a sermon should not be preached at the end of the Litany, nor why 'A Collection should not be made after that sermon, as at Evensong. Such a service might be concluded with the short Blessing, just as at night. Then, when all who do not intend to be present at the Eucharist, either for worship or for communion, have left, the Priest might return to the church, and begin the service at the Altar. This would in all probability be attended only by those who, for good reasons, are compelled to postpone their Communions till mid-day, and by those who desire to take part as worshippers at the Eucharistic Sacrifice. I am glad to observe that this order of service is already nearly universal in our Diocese at those churches in which there are late Celebrations. [When these words were addressed to the clergy, in Synod, they were intended to refer to what seems, to me, the best order to be observed in our own Diocese; but I should be sorry to be misunderstood, as if I had meant to lay down that order as absolutely the best that can be observed, in all cases. Wherever the order, which I recommend, is observed, care should be taken, lest it should be abused, so as to give the impression that the celebration of the Holy Eucharist is an act inferior in importance and dignity to the sacred, but less important services of Matins and Litany; e.g., where there are choirs, the services of the singers should be required as strictly for the Eucharistic Celebration, as for the inferior offices; indeed in such a matter the "Sacrifice of Thanksgiving" should have rather the preference.]
And finally, if we are jealous for the honour of our Lord in [19/20] the Blessed Sacrament, we must not only impress upon our flocks the duty of reverence and godly fear, but we must ourselves, as priests, be foremost in setting them an example, in all our dealings with the Holy Mysteries.
For instance, let us see to it that we are all most scrupulous both as to our Preparations before celebrating, and as to our Acts of Thanksgiving, after each Eucharist. And such devotions, I think, should take place, not only at home, but also in the church or sacristy. For is it not unseemly for a priest to go straight, perhaps from ordinary conversation in the vestry, to God's altar? Is it not unfitting that he should return from the Holy Mysteries to some half secular duty, without having first rendered to God thanks for His unspeakable Gift?
Then as to the Blessed Sacrament itself, what reverent care should we not exercise! Can we believe the words of Our Lord Himself--This is My Body, This is My Bloodand yet allow ourselves to be guilty of the very least act of irreverence or of carelessness with regard to that Bread and that Cup? What is true of the Whole is true of every Particle on the Paten, and of every Drop in the Chalice. When, therefore,wethink or speak about taking the ablutions, or about cleansing the Sacred Vessels, let us not allow ourselves to imagine that we are merely considering some minute details of ritual, to be observed only for form's sake, or ancient custom's sake, but let us realise that by doing or not doing our duty in this matter, we are honouring or dishonouring the Sacred Body and the Precious Blood of Our Lord and only Saviour.
From what I have said with regard to the Holy Eucharist, it seems natural to turn to the Sacrament of Baptism. And here too, we may observe that a most solemn obligation rests upon us, to fulfil, with the utmost exactness, the rules of the Church, or rather the commands of Christ Himself, upon compliance with which depends the validity of the act which we are commissioned to perform.
 All know what are the essentials of Holy Baptism, namely, the recitation of the appointed words with the due use of water. That either of these essentials has ever knowingly been set aside among Christians, it is almost impossible to believe. And yet I must confess that on several occasions, both in our own Communion, and also in that of the Church of Rome, I have seen the baptismal water so carelessly or sparingly applied, as to suggest to my mind that it could hardly be regarded as an outward, or at any rate as a visible sign; and to warrant the thought that if God were strict to mark what was done amiss, these baptisms would be at any rate of doubtful validity.
I do not believe that any such carelessness, especially when unintentional, on the part of man, can frustrate the loving-kindness of God: the Goodwill of our Heavenly Father, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, or the Regenerating Power of the Holy Ghost. And yet surely, few things can be more terrible than even the appearance of risking by any carelessness on our part, the promised blessings of Holy Baptism. Can we for a moment realize the benefits of this Sacrament, and yet fail to administer it with fitting care?
The rubrical directions are most plain. In all cases, in which immersion is not practicable, the' priest is directed to pour the water upon the child or person. There is no permission given for sprinkling, or for any other careless or uncertain method of application. And surely "pouring" implies that the element used shall be of sufficient quantity to be visible.
Do I seem here to be magnifying trifles? If such a thought should occur to any, I would reply that Baptism is not a matter of small importance, and that if we would secure its benefits, we are bound to follow, with the utmost exactness the institution of Him Who is both the Author of this Sacrament itself, and the Giver of all the grace that it conveys. The very simplicity of our Lord's requirements makes it all the more important that they should be exactly [21/22] complied with. Could Naaman the Syrian have expected cleansing, had he chosen some other river in preference to Jordan, or had he neglected to wash himself therein the appointed seven times, enjoined by the Man of God?
God, in the distribution of His gifts of grace, is not tied to any outward means, nor even to the due administration of His Sacraments. Of this fact we have abundant evidence in our own country. Yet, notwithstanding this, we are bound to the use of the means of grace, especially with regard to the matter we have in hand.
Surely, then, in baptising we should be most careful, though exempted from the primitive method of immersion, to use plentifully and visibly, that outward sign, Water, which was appointed by Christ Himself, and without which the Sacrament of Regeneration cannot be Administered with any effect.
Before leaving the subject of Baptism, I am anxious to add a few more words of advice and suggestion. I have made the matter to which I desire now to call attention a special study during the whole of my ministerial life. I would beg, therefore, that what I state may be accepted, not as the mere result of my own conclusions, but as a certain fact. It is this. That a very large proportion of the inhabitants, both of Scotland and of England, have never been baptized at all, and that, of those who think that they have been baptized, a considerable number have no sufficient ground for their supposition. In some Highland and country districts, almost all the people have been baptized, though even in such localities this is by no means universally the case. On the other hand, in most of our large towns the proportion of the unbaptized would astonish those who have hitherto trusted merely to common report, and who have not taken the trouble, personally, to investigate the matter, as I have done, and to verify statements carelessly made, and passed from mouth to mouth. I know, of course, that there are many who think Baptism a mere outward form, and, though edifying and [22/23] scriptural, a matter of very secondary importance. But I am not now addressing myself to such. I am speaking to my fellow-Churchmen and brother Priests who have learnt themselves, and who teach to others, that Baptism is a Sacrament generally necessary to salvation. To such I would say that, under no circumstances, in no rank of life, and in no part of Britain, is it safe to take Baptism as a matter of course. Many a time have I had to administer Baptism to dying persons of mature age, as well as to candidates for Confirmation. Only lately I came across the notes of a Confirmation in Edinburgh, from which I observe that nearly half the candidates, whom I prepared, had to be baptized before they were presented to the Bishop.
Moreover, from an old record of work in the last century, I see that out of about 260 persons confirmed by Bishop Forbes at Ballachulish on the 8th July, 1762, he baptized no fewer than 76. Of these some, probably, were baptized conditionally, according to the form prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer, and at present embodied in the 4th section of our XXXIVth Canon--a section, by the way, to which I wish more general attention were paid. But whatever may have been the circumstances, in the particular instance which I have just quoted, the unhappy fact exists that. multitudes of our fellow-countrymen are either certainly or probably unbaptized.
The practical lesson which I would deduce from all this is, that in the case of those who come to us for Confirmation or for admission to any of the other means of grace in the Church, and, above all, in the case of sick and dying persons, we have no right to assume that Baptism has been previously received. On the contrary, it is much safer to assume that it is otherwise, and to make use of the conditional form already referred to and provided for us in the English Prayer Book, and in our Scottish Canons.
 CONVERSION OF HEART.
Having felt it my duty to say so much about Holy Baptism, I am bound to add a few words in conclusion to guard myself against being misunderstood.
We all, of course, must believe that in Baptism we are born again of water and of the Holy Ghost, and that we are thereby made members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of Heaven. These are certain truths, that have been taught from the beginning. Yet in our teaching we must be most careful to make it plain to all, that Baptism is but the beginning of the Christian life. To be born again, is not the same as to attain to Christian manhood; to be regenerate, is not the same as to be converted; to be grafted into the True Vine, is not the same as to become a fruitful branch; to enter into the Church or Kingdom of God, on earth, is not the same as to enter into the Kingdom of God in Heaven. Baptism makes men members of Christ, but it does not of necessity insure their perseverance unto the end. Baptism makes men children of God, yet not all children are good children--some are prodigals. Baptism makes men inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven, yet not all inheritors succeed to the hoped-for possession.
Surely then we must make it clearly understood, by those who come to us for instruction, that something more is needed than a merely passive reception of Holy Baptism and of the other Sacraments. There must be correspondence with God's grace, a change of heart, and a renewed life. And indeed this change of nature (gradual as it may be, and usually is,) is as real and supernatural a work of the Holy Ghost as is the change of state, effected by the same Divine Person through the waters of Baptism.
All this must be preached, if we would deliver our souls, and not fall into the condemnation of those who are unfaithful shepherds. And what we set before our flocks, let us seek for ourselves. S. Paul's words warn us that, though we preach to others, there is the danger lest we ourselves should [24/25] become castaways. We have been baptized into Christ, we have been sealed with His Holy Spirit in Confirmation, we have been called to God's Altar. Let us see to it, that we walk worthy of our high vocation.
Especially let us beware of spiritual slumber. From this may we all be awakened by the power of the Holy Spirit. And may He not only awaken us, but also change and renew our hearts, by His converting grace. We are naturally cold, but He can enkindle us with love towards Jesus Christ, and towards the brethren, for Jesus' sake. We are naturally doubters, but He can enable us to believe all that has been revealed by His Word to His Church. We are naturally proud and self-sufficient, but He can make us lowly, and enable us humbly to confess our sins and seek pardon through the Blood of the Lamb. We are naturally selfish and self-seeking, but He can enable us to care more for Christ and the interests of His Church than for our own advancement. We are naturally slothful in the way of duty, but He can enable us to be constant in thinking, speaking, and working for the increase of our Redeemer's kingdom. We are naturally ready to turn aside into the ways that lead to death, but He can enable us to "run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith."
Let us then seek for ourselves this converting and renewing grace of the Holy Spirit, and then from blessed experience, and out of the abundance of our hearts, we shall be able more and more to teach our people what it is, not only to be born again, but to be renewed in the spirit of our minds by the power of the Holy Ghost.