Book Second: The Office and Work of a Bishop in the Church of God Being an Argument for the Division of the Diocese of Western New York, Addressed to the Right Reverend William David Walker, D.D., LL.D., D.C.L., Bishop of Said Diocese, and Here Published and Addressed to the Church Throughout the World as a Plea for the Restoration of the Primitive Episcopate.
A reissue of this tract having been called for, I publish it in this volume without material change. Some have thought that it might be better to take away its local color and make it a more abstract and general argument.
But this I find myself unable to do. The argument took force and form in my own mind from the local circumstances which called it forth. It argues what the lawyers would call a case. The principles illustrated and enforced in this particular case apply to all like cases, and it seems to me are the stronger and more telling because they are particular and not general and abstract.
The argument has commended itself to some of the best minds in the Church, and there is a feeling abroad that it is in this direction of organization that the Church must live and work for some time to come.
THE OFFICE AND WORK OF A BISHOP IN THE CHURCH OF GOD.
Being an Argument for the Division of the Diocese of Western New York, Addressed to the Right Rev. William David Walker, D.D., LL.D., D.C.L., Bishop of said Diocese.
Right Reverend and Dear Bishop:
At the special council of the Diocese of Western New York, held in the city of Buffalo on the 6th of October last, at which council you were happily elected to the Bishopric of the Diocese, I submitted a series of resolutions calling for a division of the Diocese in 1898, and providing for a postponement of the election of a Bishop until such division was consummated.
These resolutions the council did not deem it wise to consider, the majority being of the opinion that the interests of the church demanded the immediate presence and oversight of a Bishop. In that opinion of the council I cheerfully acquiesced, although I then thought, and still think, that a full and free discussion of the conditions of the Diocese might well have preceded an election of its Bishop.
But we must and do believe that the action of the council was overruled by the Spirit of God, and that it is His will that you should come to us as our spiritual head.
 Assuring you of my own entire loyalty and devotion, and of my purpose in all things to submit to your authority, and of my intention to do all I can to further the peace and prosperity of the Church of God, I beg to lay before you, as before a court of appeal, my reasons for believing a division of the Diocese of Western New York necessary to the well-being of the church in this part of the world.
ARGUMENT FROM EXPEDIENCY.
I base my argument for this measure first upon expediency and then upon principle, and I think we shall find that the expediency arises out of the nature of the principle. I deem it wise and expedient that the Diocese should be divided, because it contains two important and distinct centers of life. At the western end of the diocese lies the city of Buffalo, the third city in the State of New York, and one of the larger cities of the country and of the world. It lies at the foot of the great lakes, and is the receiving port of the commerce that is shipped over those vast inland waters. Its shipping interest alone secures for it a permanent and ever-increasing prosperity. But besides this it has a vast system of railroads, carrying its people and its goods to and from all parts of the world. It is now, and is destined always to be, a city of factories and shops, as well as a city of stores, warehouses and elevators. It is already one of the larger manufacturing centers of the country, and the recent introduction of the almost unlimited electrical power that is generated by the Niagara river must give it an advantage that will attract to it industries from every part of the globe.
It is safe to say that in twenty years there will be living in and about the city of Buffalo, within a radius of twenty-five miles of its city hall, a [99/100] population of not less than seven hundred thousand souls. This population will come from every land. on the face of the earth, and will present problems for solution to both church and state that will tax the wisest statesmanship, and the most devoted churchmanship.
The city of Buffalo is already a great center of wealth, culture, learning and religion. Its public and private buildings vie in dignity and beauty with the public and private buildings of the world. It has hundreds of churches and schools. Our great civilization has done and is doing all that it can to make this one of the most attractive places to live in in this country.
Now every argument from expediency marks out this city as a center of church life and work. Here, if anywhere in the wide world, a Bishop should have his seat, and exercise all the power and influence of his sacred office. And he will find in this city alone work enough to fill all his time and take all his strength, and problems sufficient to occupy all his thoughts. He will not need to pass beyond the bounds of the city of Buffalo to find a place for the employment of every power he possesses, and every hour he can give to the administration of the affairs of the church.
So when we elected a Bishop at the recent council, we really and necessarily elected a Bishop of Buffalo. That city must of necessity be the residence of the Bishop, and must occupy the greater portion of his time and thought. If he does a real [100/101] and great work there, he will have but little of himself to give to the country districts, and to the outlying towns. It is for this reason that the division of the Diocese is a matter of such immediate and paramount importance.
It was because I recognized the vast possibilities of church work in the city of Buffalo, because I recognized that that city demanded and ought to have all that the wisest, holiest Bishop could give it, that I went to the convention, carrying my resolutions in my hand.
I went to plead for another city, a city in which I have lived and worked for eighteen years; a city which I love as a man loves his own. I went to the council in the great city of Buffalo prepared to pray that it would consider not only its own interest, but also the interests of the other important city subject to its jurisdiction.
For the Diocese of Western New York has not only the third, but also the fourth city of the State of New York.
The city of Rochester, lying at the head of the Genesee Valley, is the largest inland city in the world. It is a city of nearly two hundred thousand people, and it is increasing in population every day. Being, as it is, the county seat of the second richest county in the United States,--having as its tributary country the garden spot of the world, it is now, and always will be, a most attractive place of residence. It is known the world over for its fruits and its flowers, and it has already a leading place [101/102] in some of the most important industrial pursuits. It sends its shoes to London and Melbourne, and its manufactured clothing to every state in the Union.
This city of two hundred thousand people has its university, its theological seminaries, Protestant and Catholic, its schools, public and private, its hospitals and homes, its hundred and more churches of every denomination, and surpasses any city of its size in the country, in the extent and beneficence of its charitable work.
Now, on the face of it, it would seem the sheerest folly to treat this city, an independent center of life, wealth, culture and religion, as if it were a mere outlying town of the city of Buffalo. It would seem to any reasonable person that the church should be organized in this city to the utmost limit of its power of organization. That there should be here a resident Bishop, making this city his home, and giving it the chief place in his thought and his prayer. It seems to me and to others to be the very spirit of unwisdom to ask a man to rule the church, in its present formative state, in both of these large cities. Neither of them can receive from him that close attention which its needs demand.
The Protestant Episcopal church is the only ecclesiastical body that is not organized to the full limit of its organizing power in Rochester. The Roman church has its Bishop here, whose residence has made that church a power in this [102/102] community. No man has ever accomplished more in any place than has Bishop McQuaid in the city of Rochester, in the twenty-five years of his episcopate.
The Methodist Society makes this city the center of one of its conferences. The Presbyterian body makes it the home of a fully organized presbytery. Only that church which calls itself the American Church, the church that has in its keeping the devotional and spiritual treasures of the English-speaking peoples, neglects this important and growing city; gives it the church organization not of a city, but of a village, and condemns it to a barren Congregationalism, which its priests have vainly endeavored to mitigate by a ghastly attempt at Presbyterianism.
I claim that the Episcopal church, in pursuing this course of action, has violated the fundamental principles of its own constitution, and is reaping the consequences of that violation in disorganization and disaster.
That the church in this city is disorganized, I assert upon no less an authority than that of the late Bishop of the Diocese. When he wrote to me on my acceptance of the Rectorship of St. Andrew's church, he said to me: "You will find the church in that city sadly disorganized." The Bishop was kind enough to add that he hoped my coming might lead to a better state of affairs.
On coming to this city I found the Bishop's words sadly true; and he, alas, because of my sins [103/104] and infirmities, found his hopes as sadly disappointed. I have, indeed, by the grace of God, succeeded in organizing the life of the church to a certain degree in my own parish and around about my own house, but I fear that in the church at large in the city I have been only another element of disorganization.
But in this I claim I am not wholly to blame. I, a priest of the church, was never in the Divine economy intended to be the center and source of unity to the church. And any attempt on the part of any priest to make himself the center of unity, must result in abject failure. He. is trying to usurp a function that does not belong to him.
And this state of affairs has necessarily resulted in disaster. Within the last five years, at least twenty thousand dollars of church property has been swept out of existence. One parish, the foundations of which were laid wisely, by pious and devoted men and women, has, by mismanagement, become extinct, its property sold under the hammer, and the memorials sacred to the dead, and altar vessels consecrated to God, sacrificed to pay the debts of the corporation. In another case the black flag of revolt floated over a church building to the great grief and shame of every churchman, and the work, which had existed for twenty-five years, has been given up and the building sold, which building is now occupied by another body of Christian workers not in communion with the church.
 I do not revive the memory of these sad disasters to the church, which are matters of public history, for any other purpose than to show that there is some wrong in our system of church polity which demands a remedy. I have given a great deal of study and thought to this subject, lying as it does very near my heart, and to my mind both the wrong and the remedy are plain. The church in this case has been violating a fundamental principle of her own constitution. This fundamental principle of primitive and catholic law, is that the church shall be organized up to the limit of its organizing power in every considerable center of life.
The church in every city is, by the constitution of the catholic church, an independent organic body, having in itself all that is necessary to the full life of the church. The church in every city has a right to its Bishop, its college of Presbyters, its staff of deacons, and its congregation of faithful people. If the church is lacking in any of these elements, it is lacking in some essential principle of its life, and must suffer in consequence.
This perfect local organization and comparative independence of the church in every city, is the most important fact in the history of primitive Christianity, and was one of the chief of the secondary reasons for the triumph of our holy religion. [Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter xv.]
And this primitive order is the one thing that the Protestant Episcopal Church has in its [105/106] keeping to maintain and perpetuate. The only reason for our existence is that we maintain the primitive polity of the church as it was before the great Roman domination.
Now we cannot do violence to the constitution of our own body without suffering. There is no more reason why the church in Rochester should be subject to the church in Buffalo, than there is that the church in New York should be subject to the church in Rome.
The evils that have afflicted us are the evils that come from our neglect of the laws of our own life. That law is a Bishop for every city, and a city for every Bishop. In order to prove this, I shall have to briefly traverse the origin, history and nature of the Episcopal office, and show its relation to the general life of the church.
THE ORIGIN OF THE EPISCOPAL OFFICE.
The office of a Bishop in the church of God derives its paramount importance from the fact that it had its origin in no less an event than the coming into this world of the Eternal Son of God. The episcopal office had its beginning in the person of Jesus Christ. He was the first "Shepherd and Bishop of our souls." [S. Peter i, ii, 25.] From him all other Bishops succeed, and derive from Him all the powers and privileges of their office. In the person and life of Jesus Christ we have the norm of the Episcopal life in the church. The heart of the Great God and Father of men was moved with compassion because His people were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. The shepherds whom He had appointed over the sheep were not true shepherds. The kings, the priests, the scribes, the natural leaders and overseers of the people, fed themselves: they did not feed the flock. God's anger was upon His shepherds; His pity was for the flock. And He sent his own Son, born of Mary, that He might shepherd His people Israel. He sent Him to look after the sheep, saying: "Behold I, even I, will both search My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out My sheep, and will [107/108] deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day." [Ezekiel xxxiv, 11, 12.]
Jesus came to see His people and give to each of them according to his need. He came to see John the son of Zebedee in his purity, and to give to him the power of His inspiring love; He came to see the woman that was a sinner, and to give to her the comfort of His cleansing word; He came to see blind Bartimeus by the wayside of Jericho, and to give to him the glory of sight. Our Lord went through the towns of Galilee, first to see, and then to do. And at last He saw that what the people needed most of all was that He should give Himself. And He went down to Jerusalem and offered Himself with prayers and groanings that cannot be uttered; when on the cross He had called for the last time to His wandering people; when from the cross He had stretched out His holy hands in blessing; when He bowed His head and gave up the ghost, then the Episcopal office, a new creation of God, was perfected, and entered upon its long history of salvation and of blessing. When the Lord God brought again from the dead the Great Shepherd of the sheep, then that Shepherd gave to men whom He had chosen the Shepherd's staff, bidding them to feed His lambs and to tend His sheep. [S. John xxi, 15, etc., Revised version.] When our Lord breathed upon his apostles and said unto them: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," [S. John xx, 22.] He gave to them, in all the plenitude of its power and grace, the office which He by His life and death had created. The apostles were the immediate and direct successors of Jesus Christ.
The duty of their office was to go into all the world to seek out the people of God, to bring them into the fold of His church, and to feed them with the bread of life.
For a long time the apostles hesitated to go out upon their great mission. They seemed to fear that awful heathen world which they were sent to convert. They kept close together, going no farther from Jerusalem than Samaria and Antioch.
But this time of hesitation was not wasted time. The church in Jerusalem was organized. James the Just was made its chief pastor, and that church became the pattern of all churches. And beside this, a common Christian tradition became the possession of all of the apostles, and that form of sound words which has kept forever, "the truth as it is in Jesus," was put into shape by their combined wisdom and authority to be the eternal heritage of the church. [Ephesians, iv, 21.] But the Lord Jesus, apparently impatient of delay, came down once more out of heaven, and by violence seized upon Saul of Tarsus, and made of the persecutor an apostle, compelling him as a chosen vessel of His grace to bear His name far hence to the Gentiles.
With the conversion of S. Paul a new era begins for the Gospel of Jesus. The apostles leave Jerusalem and go each in his own way upon his own [109/110] mission. And, as they feared, the heathen world swallowed them up. They were lost in it. Of the new apostle Paul we hear much for a little while, but of the rest nothing. Faint rumors came to us of their life and their death, but of their history and of their fate we know nothing certain. Like some rash Arctic explorer, they are lost forever to the knowledge of mankind in the darkness and coldness of an unbelieving world.
And S. Paul also soon disappeared from history. To my thinking there are no more dramatic words in human writing than these: "And he abode two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that went in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness; no man forbidding him." [Book of the Acts of the Apostles, xxviii, 30, 31.]
These few simple words close the apostles' history, and from henceforth these men go about their work in all the silence and secrecy of nature, and their lives "are hid with Christ in God." [Colossians iii, 3.]
CHAPTER III. THE HISTORY OF THE EPISCOPATE.
For nearly a century nothing is heard of the apostles. "We wot not what is become of them." [Exodus xxxii, 1.] Secular history has never known of them, and sacred history is silent concerning them, and as we search for them in that age we cry, Where are the Apostles?
But in the course of time the darkness slowly lifts, and in the gray light of the new morning we see a sight which leads us to exclaim, "Where are not the apostles?" for we see them everywhere.
In every city and town of the Roman Empire is a new, a strange and wonderful society, that owes its existence to the presence and work of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This society had in its keeping the secret of a new life for man. Its members no longer consider themselves as citizens of the kingdom of this world; they are citizens of the Kingdom of God. When a member of this society was asked to give an account of himself, he answered, "I am a Christian." "For this he confessed, instead of his name, his city, his race, and instead of everything."[Eusebius. Bohn: Geo Bell & Sons, 1879. Page 160.]
There is not in the history of the world any movement that can be compared with that [111/112] movement, which, originating in Upper Galilee in the person of Jesus Christ, and by Him committed to the hands of the twelve men whom He had chosen, resulted in the creation of that new order of existence known as the Church.
Living, as we do, in the Church, familiar with the thoughts and ways of the Church, we fail to appreciate the wonder of its creation. It came without observation. In the first century it had no existence; in the fourth century it ruled the world. It was a great moral revolution that carried humanity from one base of existence to another. Before Christ, the human order rested upon physical force; after Christ, it has rested upon moral force. Before Christ, it was strength of arm; after Christ, it is strength of heart.
This new life was in the keeping of this new society. The Christian Church was and is organized moral and spiritual force. As we study the inner life of these societies, they reveal to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. [Epistle to Diognetus, Apostolic Fathers. Edinburgh.: T. & T. Clark, 1873. Page 307.] Found in every part of the Roman Empire, and passing the imperial boundaries, into Persia on the east, they have everywhere a common origin, a common form of government, a common doctrine and a common life.
Presiding over each of these societies was an officer called episkopoV, which word is defined by the [112/113] Greek dictionary to mean an overseer, a watcher, a guardian. This word has been corrupted in our language into the shortened form of Bishop. [Justin Martyr. Edinburgh, 1873: T. & T. Clark. Page 301. Bishop called President of the Brethren.]
Now, the wonderful fact is that each of these Bishops, wherever we find him, claimed to be a successor of the Apostles of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It was from them that he received his authority to tend and feed the flock of Christ; he derived from them his doctrine and his mode of life. He was himself an Apostle, though called by another name.
In the Episcopate we have a marvelous example of the conservation of spiritual energy. Christ disappears in His own person, and reappears in the person of the Apostles; the Apostles disappear in their own persons and reappear in the person of the Bishop. The same force is in each of these, simply changing its mode of operation. Christ brings salvation, the Apostles publish it, the Bishops keep it.
And this is what we mean by Apostolic succession. It is that Christ our Lord brought; the Apostles organized, and the Bishops perpetuate the power of God for the salvation of man. [Man is saved by becoming and continuing a member of the moral and spiritual order of being. The spiritual and moral order is the Church of God.]
The Bishops of the church became in a short time a powerful and influential body of men. They were soon recognized as the heads of the moral and spiritual order in the ancient world. [113/114] They attracted to themselves all who wished to escape from the brutal, miserable life that men were then living. The weary and the heavy laden came to them for rest, the poor came to them for bread, the oppressed for protection, the sinful for pardon, the pure in heart for safety. Within three centuries the Christian church had gathered to itself the moral worth of the Roman Empire, and its triumph was a foregone conclusion.
During the first and formative period of Christian history the Bishops rested in and made use of moral and spiritual forces only, for the defence of the church, and the maintenance and upbuilding of Christian truth and life. As a class they were men of the common people, without wealth or social position or political influence. They did their work without might, violence or persuasion. The revolution which they inaugurated and carried to a successful conclusion was stained by no blood but their own.
They practiced that doctrine of passive resistance which our Lord laid down as the corner-stone of the new life of God. When Roman authority commanded them to deny God and worship idols, they neither submitted nor rebelled; they simply refused and died. They pitted moral force against physical force, and in the nature of things moral force was the stronger and prevailed.
When Christianity became the established religion of the empire, as it did in the fourth century, the character of that religion suffered from the [114/115] change. It became worldly and popular. Its own great distinctive doctrines were taught, but no longer practiced, by the great mass of professing Christians.
And this change was manifested in the life and character of the Bishops. They became at once men of great social and political importance; they acquired earthly dignity and earthly power and wealth. They became the equals and companions of emperors and kings, and the seat of the bishop was placed beside the throne of the prince.
In the Eastern or Greek church this acquisition of worldly power and greatness was followed very quickly by an almost total loss of spiritual and moral force.
That great order of men who in the second, third and fourth centuries withstood the whole power of the Roman empire, compelling that empire at last to accept them as its spiritual pastors and masters, at the end of the fifth century had fallen so fast and so far as to become the sycophants of that pedant Justinian, and the playthings of that harlot Theodora, and that pusillanimity has marked the life of the Eastern episcopate down to the present day, when it finds itself the slave of the Sultan and the Tzar. [See Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.]
In the Western or Latin church the history of the Episcopal order was widely different from the history of the same order in the Eastern church. In the break up of the Roman empire, in the [115/116] absence of the Emperor, it found itself not in subjection to, but in control of, the forces o f the physical and temporal world. And the temptation of the Episcopal order in the west was to seize upon these forces and use them for its own aggrandizement. It saw the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and strove to make that kingdom and glory its own. The great sin of the Western Episcopate has been pride and arrogance. It has striven for worldly power and wealth; has built for itself palaces and acquired large revenues. [See Milman, Latin Christianity.]
The Bishops aspired to be not only the equals but the superiors of earthly kings and princes. The claim of the Bishop of Rome to absolute temporal and spiritual dominion, is the central and controlling fact of Western church history, and to that claim and its failure we owe the present feebleness and confusion of Western Christendom.
But that fact, while central and controlling, is not an isolated fact. The whole western Episcopate has shared in this sin of arrogance and ambition, and we associate that office in our minds with titles of honor, with wealth, dignity and social importance.
But it must be evident to every observant person that we are entering upon a new era of development in Christian history. The permanent loss of temporal power by the Bishop of Rome is only one of the many signs of the times showing that the days of the prince-bishop are numbered. We [116/117] may expect in the not distant future to see the separation of Church and State brought to pass in every Christian country, and the Church return to its primitive condition as simply a moral and spiritual force in the community.
Such is the condition of the Church in this country. Whatever social prestige may still cling to it, the episcopate in this country has no political influence or importance. For the first time since Constantine, we have a Church and an Episcopate entirely free from any control by or complication with the State. The only power which the Bishop has or can exercise is the power which belongs to him as the successor of the Apostles and of our Ivord and Saviour Jesus Christ, a power spiritual and moral, unaided by any forces other than those which belong to the Kingdom of God.
It is well for us, if we can, to separate the episcopal office from any adventitious circumstances which may have surrounded it, from the wealth, the dignity, the social and political importance which it has attained in the days of its earthly greatness and earthly decadence, and see it, if we can, in its first estate, when it exercised its greatest influence and accomplished its most permanent work.
When we see the Bishop as he was in the days of his primitive simplicity, before he became a prince and a prelate, we learn that he exercised the duty of oversight; exerted the power of personal influence, and was the center of unity to the Church.
 These are the three great elements in the episcopal character as it was in the days of its purity, and these three elements will always be the elements in which it will find its greatest strength.
And as it is this elementary character of the episcopate that really lies at the basis of my argument for the division of the Diocese of Western New York, I will beg your attention while we consider each of these elements separately, and try to show their bearing upon the question under consideration.
CHAPTER IV. THE DUTY OF OVERSIGHT.
The episcopate, as its name implies, had for its great duty the oversight of the Church. EpiskopoV, Cardinal Pelliccia tells us, "was the name of that commissioner among the Athenians who used to travel every year through the subject cities of Attica, that at his leisure he might hold a visitation and administer justice in them. And this was the official name, therefore, which the Church transferred to those who in the republic of Christians have authority over others, and who are the inspectors of their morals and of their manner of life. This inspector was first in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and to him both deacons and laymen and presbyters were subject, while he himself was subject to Christ." ["The Polity of the Christian Church." Cardinal Pelliccia. Eng. trans.: J. Masters & Co., London, 1882. Page 74. NOTE.--I beg to call the reader's attention to this Roman authority, conceding, as it does, the independence of the Episcopate and its direct subjection to Christ. But I beg to differ from the learned Cardinal in his estimate of the episcopal office. His mind was colored by the dignity, wealth and authority which accrued to the Episcopate after the conversion of Constantine. But the primitive character of the Episcopate was far more simple, having less authority and more direct influence.]
This duty of oversight was not an oversight of institutions and general work, but an oversight of souls. We are told in the Apostolic Constitutions, which give us a view of the Church as it was in [119/120] the third century, that the Bishop is to see to the general temporal and spiritual welfare of the whole body of the Church under his care. "Do you, therefore, O bishops, be solicitous about their maintenance, being in nothing wanting to them; exhibiting to orphans the care of parents; to widows the care of husbands; to those of suitable age, marriage; to the artificer, work; to the unable, commiseration; to the strangers, an house; to the hungry, food; to the thirsty, drink; to the naked, clothing; to the sick, visitation; to the prisoners, assistance. Besides these, have a greater care of the orphan, that nothing may be wanting to them; and that as to the maiden, till she arrives at the age of marriage, and ye give her in marriage to a brother; to the young man assistance, that he may learn a trade," etc. [Apostolic Constitutions, Book IV: T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh. Page 108.]
When one reads this account of the daily duty of the Bishop, he does not wonder at the triumph of the Church. Like the Lord, she made the human heart the seat of her empire, and she won that heart by hourly acts of mercy and kindness. She won the gratitude, the love and the veneration of those who in these days are called "the masses," and who are so great a perplexity to this same Church to-day. She won them by not looking upon them as masses, but as individual men and women, each having some special need, each knowing the bitterness of his and her own heart, to each [120/121] of these the Church came with its special ministration; and the center of this system of ministration was the Bishop. He was to see and know the condition of every member of the flock of which God had made him the overseer.
When one reads this account of an episcopal life as it was in the days of its purity, with its vast variety of action and its intense human interest, a life which touched humanity at every point, one does not wonder that the men who held and exercised this office were called angels. [Revelations of S. John, Chapters ii-iii.]
And when one thinks of the modern Bishop, condemned as he too often is to a barren ecclesiastical routine, to a wearisome round of social functions, and to a vexatious official administration, there rises in the heart a feeling of pity for him.
A prelate of the church, holding high official position, was sitting in the midst of the luxury which his office forced upon him, and he turned wearily and said to the present writer, "This is a cold and melancholy grandeur." So cold and melancholy must be the grandeur of any Bishop, wherever he may live, who by the extent of his jurisdiction, by the dignity of his office, the wealth of his surroundings, is separated from the great common life of men, who cannot see, feel, and in a measure provide for those wants and wishes which go to make up the sorrows and joys of human existence.
 And on the other hand, when one thinks of the modern multitude, scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd, hidden in by streets and lanes and cross-country roads, blindly beating against the hard fate that makes them poor and obscure, and often wretched and miserable, seeking everywhere, except in the Christian church, for hope and help, one is almost ready to envy for them the state of the Roman slave and the Syrian peasant, for these had the inspiring hope of Christian truth and the careful oversight of a Christian Bishop.
If we are ever to win back the people again as a whole to the worship and service of Christ, we must go out and look for them, as Christ our Lord went out, and his blessed apostles and his holy Bishops. And in this work we look to our Bishops to take the lead.
We should always remember that the jurisdiction of a Bishop by divine appointment is not over territory nor over institutions, nor over parishes, but over souls. And hence, a Bishop's jurisdiction should never be so great as to forbid his having any but a most superficial and general knowledge of his people. In a city like Rochester even, a Bishop will have all he can do to see or know his people. And without sight there can be no knowledge, and without knowledge no wise or righteous action.
CHAPTER V. THE POWER OF PERSONAL INFLUENCE.
The only power which the primitive Bishop had in the early church was the power of personal influence. He ruled the church, not by reason of what he had, or what he did, but by reason of what he was. He came in contact with men one by one, and so gained their hearts and guided their actions.
This power of personal influence is the strongest power in the world. So strong is it that God based His kingdom upon it. Our Lord spent the greater part of His active ministerial life simply in gaining an influence over the hearts and minds of His apostles. He kept them with Him day and night, talked with them, walked with them, eat with them, and so made his way into their hearts that He never came out again. [See Pastor Pastorum, Henry Latham. Jas. Pott & Co., New York, 1891.]
The nature of the Bishop's authority was most beautifully expressed by the name of his jurisdiction. It is called in the Apostolic Constitutions his Paroikia, that is "round about his house." [From which our word Parish and the Parish priest has succeeded to some of the most blessed powers of the ancient bishop.] His jurisdiction lay as far as his personal power and influence could reach, and no farther. The Bishop's house was the center from which radiated the forces that ruled the church.
 Some plain dwelling, unmarked and unnoted, was known by the faithful to be the abiding-place of Christian truth and Christian charity, and the threshold of that house was worn smooth by the feet of those who came to give and to receive; to that house the wealthy Christian came to leave his offering, and there the poor went to receive of the treasures of the church.
It was an ancient maxim that the Bishop should be given to hospitality. His house was every man's. This conception of a Bishop, of the transforming power of his personal influence, is set before us in that wonderful picture of a true Bishop in the person of M. Myriel, with which Victor Hugo opens his wonderful story "Les Miserables," and especially in that scene where the convict, Jean Val Jean, with his ticket-of-leave, driven from the great inn down the street, and from the little inn up the street, wandering cold and despairing from the fields back into the dark, forbidding town, meets a woman who, pointing to a low stone house says, "knock there;" he knocks, the door opens, and he finds not only a welcome, but he finds also his God and his own soul.
So in every city and town in the old Roman empire there was a house at which distress could knock and find a welcome. And the rich and the poor came at last to bow down before this incarnation of human pity and human purity.
But when the Bishops become princes, when they began to rule over a wide extent of territory, they [124/125] lost in a measure this power of personal influence. Their authority became magisterial, their administration bureaucratic. An hundred lesser officials, as vicars and archdeacons, came between them and their people, and the charm and the simplicity of their rule was in a measure lost.
It is the trend of modern church life to give the Bishop his old place in the world, to take from him his grandeur, and give to him his simplicity and his personal power and influence. And surely this is a change which all should welcome, and most of all the Bishops themselves. It is better to be near to the people, to feel them throng and press, if so we can heal one woman of an issue of blood. It was from the person of Christ that the influence of healing went forth. And if we seek for a Bishop for our city, it is because we need just that power of personal influence to restore the health of the church. We want to know our Bishop, and to know him intimately, so that we can love him, and because we love him follow him with a glad obedience.
CHAPTER VI. THE CENTER OF UNITY.
IT is a fact universally admitted that in the earl y days of our holy religion the Bishop was the source and center of unity to the people of God. This principle was laid down by ancient writers as essential to the very being of the Church. S. Ignatius, in his letters, cries over and over again, "Do nothing without the Bishop." [S. Ignatius, Apostolic Fathers: T. & T. Clark, Edinburgh, 1873.] The people were to look to him in all matters that concerned the welfare of the Kingdom of God.
He was to them in this regard instead of Christ. As the Lord Jesus Christ was head over all to the Church, as all things were built up in Him, as into the head, so it was with each particular Bishop; he was the center toward which all church life converged, and from which it radiated.
But this function of his did not give him absolute and autocratic authority over the individual members of the Church. Nor did it give him the right to control, by the exercise of his own independent and individual will, the action of the Church as a body. His power to unify was the simple outcome of his character as a man, and of the place which he held in the economy of the Church. He was the center of unity to the Church, just as the sun is the center of unity to the solar system. He attracted men to himself by [126/127] the power of love that was in him. In this way, and in this way only, was our Lord the center of union to His Apostles. They gathered round Him because they found in Him a purity that won their souls and a love that subdued their hearts. Our Lord never exercised any external authority over His followers. He left them free to go or come as they chose. It was His to call and theirs to follow. But when once they had come under the spell of His power they could not free themselves from it. Their own hearts kept them faithful to their Lord. He was not some distant king whose command they obeyed, because they were subject to his law, but He was their dear Lord and Master, around whom they gathered because they loved Him and could not live without Him.
Now the Bishop had the same power as that exercised by our blessed Lord and Saviour. He was the representative on earth of that Man who had drawn men to Him with the cords of love.
The nature of authority in the church is altogether different from the nature of authority as it is found in the world. Authority in the world is outward and formal; it rests upon force. A king or governor commands the obedience of his subjects under stress of law and fear of punishment.
But in the Church, authority is inward and real; it is authority over the wishes and impulses of the heart. A Bishop could not command, he had to win obedience; and this was the secret of his marvelous power. The Bishops of the early Church [127/128] exercised a power greater than that of the prince or magistrate. The property and the lives of the people were at their service. The reason of this was that the people loved the Bishop, and loved the cause which he represented, and were glad to make for it any sacrifice, even the sacrifice of property and of life.
It is the forgetfulness of the nature of spiritual authority which has been the fruitful cause of all the disorders in the Church. When, in the course of time, Bishops began to lord it over God's heritage; when they began to arrogate to themselves the power of the prince and the magistrate, and to issue their decrees and their commands, then the people rebelled against them, and the Church fell into confusion.
The Bishops, instead of being the principle of union in the Church, became the cause of discord and disunion.
It has been said that the great sin of the Church has been that the Bishops have desired power rather than light. [Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies.]
It is a comparatively easy thing to rule by force; it requires great patience to rule by love. It follows that if a Bishop is to rule the Church over which he is placed, his jurisdiction must not be so large as to make his administration an outward and formal one. He must be in intimate association with all his people all the time.
In the ancient Church he was the president of [128/129] the college of presbyters. He met with them every week; they worshipped together and worked together, and this was the reason of his power over them. It was the power of habit and association. This continual association resulted in perfect union of life and action, and in that union was the life and strength of the Church.
And in the Early Church, as in the Catholic Church, always and everywhere, the jurisdiction of the Bishop was the unit of organization. It was his parish, his diocese, his church. In the diocese, however large, there was really only one congregation, one great body of people moving and acting together.
It is the violation of this principle which is the weakness of the Church in this country. With us, it is not the jurisdiction of the Bishop, but the jurisdiction of the presbyter, which is the unit of organization. In all the essentials of its life the parish is now an independent body. Except for the matter of confirmation, there is no reason why a Bishop should ever visit it or know anything about it.
But this unit of organization is too small to be effective. It results in the establishment in every city and large town of competing, and even rival, organizations, that struggle for the building up of the parish rather than the building up of the Kingdom of God. It is this fact of rivalry and competition which is the cause of the alienation of the clergy and of that heart-break that comes of isolation and misjudgment. This is the one evil [129/130] which, more than any other, hinders the work of the Church to-day, and until some remedy is found for it, the Church can never enter upon that life and work which belongs to her as a church of the living God.
And one remedy for this is the smaller diocese, where the Bishop can bring his personal influence to bear constantly upon all the clergy and all the people; where he can unify them in himself by his constant care for them and oversight of them.
It will take a long time to bring about a change so radical as that which is demanded by the change from the parochial to the episcopal system, and it can only come by having once more the parochial episcopate, the Bishop whose jurisdiction shall be, indeed, Paroikia, round about his house.
But every step taken in that direction is a step toward the unity of Christendom, for which we all are praying. The Church will never unite in any system of doctrine, nor in any outward form of government; it will unite in work and worship, under the guidance of a person.
And that is one of the controlling facts in the present problem. The Protestant Episcopal Church has in its keeping two chief factors of church unity; it is the custodian of the primitive Episcopate and of catholic worship. From all sides the people are looking to that church with hope and expectation. In the Prayer Book we have the liturgical treasures of the English-speaking race, and that book is becoming every day [130/131] more and more the devotional handbook of the English people; they use it for marriages and for burials; in the gladdest and saddest hours of life it speaks to them out of its precious pages.
The best minds in the various Christian bodies are beginning to see that if the lost art of worship is to be recovered, it can best and most easily be done by the use of that form of public devotion which has the authority of ages to recommend it.
A saintly Presbyterian pastor once said to the present writer, "Sooner or later we must have a liturgy, and when we come to it," taking a prayer book out of his pocket, "here it is."
We must remember then that in organizing our Church we are not legislating for the Protestant Episcopal Church only, but for the whole of reformed Christianity. We can, if we will, become the center of unity for the now shattered and discordant members of the body of Christ.
And the restoration of the primitive episcopate will be one of the most powerful means to accomplish this blessed result.
If in every considerable center of life we place a man of godly character: such a man as we have chosen as Bishop of Western New York: and if that man gives his life to that city; if he aims to be simply and lovingly not Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Rochester or Buffalo, but the Bishop of Rochester or Buffalo; if he has a care for all its moral and spiritual interests; if he knows its poor and its rich; if he is able, in his own person, to [131/123] bring these two classes together in loving service for Christ; if, because of his guidance and service, his word is a word of power in that community, then without argument, without observation, without might, violence or persuasion, he will become what he claims to be, the Bishop of that city, and he will be the center of unity, because men will be united in their love and reverence for him.
Nor is this altogether a dream of the fancy. Already the Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church are acquiring in the great centers of life in this country an influence and a power far out of proportion to the numbers, influence and power of the particular communion over which they preside.
The Bishop of the Church in New York is the Bishop of New York. His sacred office, his devoted life and commanding personality, all combine to give him an influence such as no other man exerts in that city.
And may we not look forward to the time when the English and American Episcopate shall again have oversight of the English and American peoples, when they shall again be the recognized heads and centers of the spiritual and moral forces of Anglo-Saxon civilization? No other Christian body has anything like our equipment for this work of guidance and unification. If we fail, it will be because we cannot see the signs of the times and do not know the day of our visitation.
And may we not look on further and see English Christianity, at peace with itself, strong in the forces that it has gathered in the thousand [132/133] years of its life, facing that other great form of organized Christianity, which is in communion with the See of Rome, and facing it, not that it may make war upon that venerable and ancient body, which God forbid, no, not that it may make war, but that it may make peace on equal terms.
I plead, then, for a Bishop in Rochester, because I think a Bishop would be a center of unity here, not only to the Protestant Episcopal church, which sadly needs unification, but the center of unity also to the whole people of God. It is to my thought only a part of a great and general movement toward the better organization of the moral and spiritual life of man in this world, which can find its perfection only in that church which was founded upon the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone, and which is guided by the Holy Ghost into all truth.
It may seem as if I were speaking foolishly in thus connecting the thought of the better organization of the church in Rochester with the better organization of the church throughout the world; but it is the one and self-same tide that beats with its mighty waves against the shore, and sends the water running in every little inlet. A perfect organization of the church in Rochester will lead to a perfect organization everywhere.
We ask then for a Bishop in Rochester, because we need his constant, careful oversight to guide us, his loving, personal influence to comfort us, and his presence in our midst to unite us in a common life and work.
CHAPTER VII. THE AMERICAN EPISCOPATE.
In asking for a division of the Diocese of Western New York, I am only asking that we shall follow the lines of organic development which the Church has pursued from the time of its organization in this country down to the present day.
The history of the American Episcopate is, with some variations, very like the history of the primitive Episcopate. It begins in an apostolate, and gradually changes into an episcopate. The early Bishops of this country, Seabury, Hobart, Kemper and Chase, were not so much Bishops as Apostles. Their task was that of founding churches rather than of supervising congregations. They had assigned to them vast territories, the whole of the State of New York, the whole of New England, the vast regions of the Northwest.
To read of the missionary journey of the saintly Kemper is like reading over again the missionary journeys of S. Paul; the same hardships, the same persecutions, the same undying faith, the same burning zeal, the same unfaltering love. No one reads the story of Kemper, of Clarkson, of Whipple without feeling that he is in the presence of a new race of apostles; men sent of God to lay anew the foundations of His Church.
But the consequence of this necessary chapter in [134/135] our early history was that men associated the jurisdiction of the Bishop with the idea of territory rather than with the idea of souls. The first thought was that the diocese of the Bishop must be commensurate with the boundaries of the State; for each State a Bishop, and for each Bishop a State. This would give him great importance and dignity; he would rival the Governor; his visit to any city or town would be a rare and remarkable event; villages could hardly expect ever to see him. Such undoubtedly was the conception of the Episcopal office that was in the minds of many of the statesmen who were influential in organizing the Church in this land.
It was an erroneous conception, and had much to do with hindering the growth of the Church. As Bishop Littlejohn once said, "It was a fundamental error of the American Church, to consider the jurisdiction of the Bishop as a jurisdiction over territory and not over souls." [Quoted from memory. Not the very words of the Bishop.]
It is curious to watch the gradual change of this conception, until the notion of the Bishop, as the Bishop in his see or seat, a Bishop living in one place and influencing the Church from that place, has almost displaced the idea of a Bishop over a State, having no center of work and life, being a visiting rather than a resident official.
The first step in this new direction was taken when the State of New York was divided into the two dioceses of New York and Western New York, [135/136] these territorial names showing that the territorial idea still ruled the minds of churchmen.
The first canon for the division of a diocese, or the formation of a new diocese, required " that no such diocese shall be formed which shall contain less than eight thousand square miles in one body, and thirty presbyters who had been for one year canonically resident within the bounds of such new diocese." [Hoffman's Law of the Church: Stanford & Swords, New York, 1850. Page 160.]
Compare this with the present law, which provides that no "new diocese shall be formed which contains less than six parishes and six presbyters" and which says nothing whatever about square miles, providing only that no city shall form more than one diocese, and we see how far the Church has traveled toward the notion of Episcopal jurisdiction, which was the notion which prevailed in the primitive and catholic church. [Appendix, Journal of Gen. Con., 1890. Page 8.]
This change of idea is seen in the new manner of naming new dioceses. When the great State of Illinois was subdivided into three dioceses we were spared the distressing names, North Illinois, Middle Illinois, South Illinois. The see principle was adopted, and we have Chicago, Springfield and Quincy, with the suffragan Bishop of Cairo as the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of that province in the Church known as the Province of Illinois; and since then the general tendency has been to give [136/137] every diocese its see city, and to call it after the name of that city.
And may we not hope in the near future to see the great State of New York organize itself upon primitive and catholic lines, and assume primitive and catholic names? As it is now, one of our Bishops has jurisdiction over a geographical region (Western New York), and one over a mathematical point (Central New York). May we not hope to see this speedily changed; to have a line of Bishops reaching from the lake to the sea; to have the Church organized in every city on the Central railroad; to have one Bishop at Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany, Poughkeepsie and New York, with a Bishop for the southern tier in Elmira, and a Bishop for the northern region in Troy or Ogdensburg?
And the first and greatest need is that we shall have a Bishop in Rochester.
In all this I am simply indicating what are the logical lines of church development.
It is evident to every one that the problem of the Church in the present time is the problem of organization. We no longer need to spend our strength in the assertion of our fundamental principles. The historic episcopate is conceded to us by all fair-minded thinkers. Our liturgical worship has justified itself, and is gradually becoming the worship of all English-speaking people. We have asserted catholic truth, and have established our right to catholic ritual. All these matters are [137/138] in a measure, at least, out of court. They are settled.
The questions that now confront us are practical. How shall we make the claim of our Church not only a claim, but a fact? How shall we become, not only de jure but de facto, the church of the American people? How shall we bring the people into the Church? How shall we carry the Church to the people? How shall we give the Bishops oversight of the people?
These are some of the questions that demand an answer, and in answering them we shall need all our strength and all our wisdom.
That a great change has come over the mind of the Church is clear to all. Little or no interest can now be excited in any question of doctrine or any point of ritual; not because the Church has become indifferent to these, but because she has settled them. She has asserted her unfaltering faith in the catholic creeds. She has made good her claim to all that is essential to catholic worship.
These things are to her mind no longer matters for discussion. The Church cannot be forever talking about the same thing. She always has an end of controversy.
Leaving, then, the principles of the doctrine of Christ, she goes on to perfection. [Hebrews vi, i.] Her work in the next generation will not be the assertion of principle, but the application of principle.
The new life of the Church is seen in the Parish [138/139] House, which is making the Church a center of charitable activity in every place where there is a priest and an altar.
And it is this new phase of the Church's existence which will bring new duties to the Episcopate as well as to the priesthood.
A Bishop of a small diocese now has more to do, more care and responsibility, than the Bishop of the largest State had fifty years ago.
For this reason, also, I desire the division of Western New York. It is in the line of progress which Divine Providence has marked for this Church from the beginning of its history, and because the necessities of the age demand it.
You, Right Reverend Father, are changing your jurisdiction from an Apostolate to an Episcopate. Coming, as you do, from the wide spaces of North Dakota to the few counties of Western New York, you will, I am sure, think of your new jurisdiction as a very little thing in comparison with the field you have left. You will need no cathedral car in it; but I am sure you will find in a short time that the crowded spaces of this little land will bring you ten times the work of the empty spaces of that greater land. Where you had one question to settle there, you will have twenty here. Your cares will be in inverse ratio to the extent of your territorial jurisdiction.
When I think of the life of the simplest parish priest, how full it is of care, of difficulty, of temptation, of labor; how he must rise early in the [139/140] morning, while it is yet dark, and say hastily his morning prayer and celebrate quickly the Blessed Sacrament of the Precious Blood; how he gives a little time to his family cares; how he visits his schools for a moment, gives a hasty glance at his parish works, reads and writes a letter or two of business or of friendship, goes out and makes a call here and there upon the sick and the well; struggles in the midst of all this hurry for the spirit of recollection; how he falls into and must recover himself over and over again from the sins of sloth; how he has hardly time to glance into a book, ancient or modern; how he must prepare himself almost without breath for preaching and instruction. When I think of my own life, I pity my own soul. It has so little care. The day is not sufficient for its needs.
Much more must we pity the soul of the Bishop of the great diocese; having the care of all the churches; hurried from place to place; having no altar of his own where he can stand still and pray; receiving in every hour letters that demand immediate answer; called upon to take part in a multitude of ecclesiastical, educational and social functions; confirming and preaching three times a day; making addresses here, there, and everywhere. Wherever he goes it is an occasion; excitement the law of his life. When we think of this we should think of it with the greatest tenderness and consideration for the Bishop; all harsh judgments should die away in the thought that the Bishop [140/141] cannot do the things that he would; he has no time.
But it should lead us to provide, as far as we can, for the Bishop's leisure; to give him space for prayer, for study, and for thought.
We need the small diocese in order that we may have the great Bishop. It was Augustine, of the little city of Hippo, that laid the spell of his theological genius upon the Western Church, and Wilson of the little diocese of Sodor and Man who gathered and bequeathed to us his treasures of devotion.
It is not the great diocese that gives dignity to the Bishop, it is the great Bishop that gives dignity to the diocese.
One of the objections to the division of the diocese of Western New York is that lessening the territory will detract from the dignity of the Episcopate. I answer to this that the proposed diocese of Rochester is a little larger than the regions of Upper and Lower Galilee, which formed the Episcopal jurisdiction of the Lord Jesus during all the years of his ministry; and surely what is good enough for the Master is good enough for any servant of the Master.
The work of the Church just now needs deepening rather than extending; and in this work of deepening, the Episcopate and the priesthood will have to spend time and strength for years to come.
CHAPTER VIII. PASTOR PASTORUM.
Another reason that demands a Bishop for such a city as Rochester is the pressing need of the clergy and their family for pastoral care and oversight. As things are now, the clergyman is the only member of the church without a pastor. He and his family can never look for a friendly, informal, pastoral call, such as he is daily making to his people. There is no minister of God who takes interest in him and his children.
He cannot for evident reasons be his own pastor, nor is it well for him to be the only pastor for his wife and children. They need other influence than his, other care and thought than his, to make the church real to them.
They need the loving care of the Bishop. If he comes in, not only on confirmation day, when all is hurry and confusion, but on some other day, when he has no other purpose than to cheer and to comfort the heart of the wife of the minister and to bless his children, he would help greatly to form their spiritual life.
And the priest himself, above all men, needs this care and interest; all the time he is giving and never receiving. "Virtue goes out of him," and he has no time to go "apart into a desert place and rest awhile." The loving care of our blessed [142/143] Lord and Saviour for the twelve is one of the most beautiful things in all His beautiful life. He taught them the duties of the pastoral office by being to them the most perfect of pastors.
If we could read their hearts--yes, if they could read their own hearts--we should find that this loving pastoral care is the one thing the ministers of the church are craving, and for lack of which their souls are growing dry and hard.
And the Bishops should meet the clergy in conference and retreat and preach to them as they preach to their people.
But to do this work requires time, and time is the one thing a Bishop never has.
If a Bishop had but fifty clergy to look after, he would find his hands and his heart full of care, anxiety and work. If he gave each of them three days in a year (and surely if confidence is to grow between clergy and Bishop they each need that much of his time), then half his year can be spent in the simple pastoral care of the pastors.
And that is what the Church in this diocese had in mind when it elected its Bishop. We chose the man we did choose because we thought he would be kind, thoughtful and tender of his clergy. He had been in our families and we had learned to love him, because we saw in him a heart to love us.
And if, when he comes into this large diocese, with its burden of care, with its multitude of duties, he has no time for this intimate care for his clergy, [143/144] both he and we will suffer the pain and loss of disappointment.
So I beg of him and of the people to consent to that division of jurisdiction which shall enable him to do this necessary and blessed work.
CHAPTER IX. ENDOWMENT.
The one reason why the resolutions for the division of the diocese were not considered was the financial reason. One layman said to me: "This is a mere business matter. If you can show me where the money is to come from I am with you in this movement."
And from the first agitation of this question down to the present this has been the one lion in the way. There is not a man, cleric or lay, with whom I have conferred who has not conceded the wisdom of an immediate division of the diocese of Western New York.
Every sensible business man outside the church expected us to take such action at the last council. The late Bishop of the diocese, in an address which he made at a meeting of the Archdeaconry of Rochester, spoke of this division as a thing which must come to pass.
The one reason why we halt and hesitate is because we say, "We cannot afford it." We find it hard work to support one Bishop; how can we take care of two?
Now, let us look at this matter from the plain, practical business side first.
The cost of Episcopal administration need not be more than eight thousand five hundred dollars per year. This will pay the salary of the Bishop, [145/146] give him his house to live in, and provide for the expenses of the diocesan council.
Now it does seem to the onlooker as though the church in the cities of Buffalo and Rochester, with the outlying towns and county, could provide such a sum as this for Episcopal oversight.
There are at least fifty thousand adults in the diocese of Western New York who are either members of or are interested in the welfare of the diocese. These, if they could be reached and interested, would provide for the maintenance of the Episcopate without the least trouble or self-sacrifice. [The total of contributions for the Diocese of Western New York in the past year were $301,765.43, Five per cent, of this would amply provide for the Episcopate in Buffalo and Rochester. Would it not be well for the Church to give herself proper Episcopal oversight and economize somewhere else? Let us spend $16,000 for an Episcopate and $285,165.43 for other purposes.]
I may be asked, then, why it is so difficult to raise the means necessary to support the Episcopate as it is?
One reason why it is difficult to secure the means of support for the Episcopate is because the Episcopate does not come near enough to the people to touch their hearts and gain their affections. The Bishop comes to the parish as a visitor; he performs one function; he is not otherwise felt by the people in the life and work of the church.
When he does come, he comes not as a man, but as an official, a dignitary; and while the people come to see him and to hear him, they do not see [146/147] him often enough to love him and to feel him a necessity in their lives, and hence their coldness in giving to him.
And this brings us to the last and chief reason of our failure to properly provide for our episcopate and for our failure to divide our diocese, when its life requires division. And this reason is that, in putting the money question in the foreground, in saying that we cannot divide the diocese until we have at least one hundred thousand dollars, WE ARE GUILTY OF THE GREAT APOSTACY. We are departing from the fundamental principles of the kingdom of God. We are looking upon that kingdom as if it were simply a business of this world.
If I had stood up in the late Diocesan Council and said: "Gentlemen, I hold in my hand one hundred thousand dollars for the endowment of the diocese of Rochester, every man would have pricked up his ears and the division would have been an accomplished fact. But, if I had said that the diocese of Rochester had now, and always has had, the only endowment which God has ever appointed for the support of his Bishops--WHICH ENDOWMENT IS THE LOVE OF GOD WORKING IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE--then I would have been laughed to scorn.
Yet this is verily the case. This is the only endowment which God gave His own Son when He sent Him to be the Shepherd of the sheep. When He came into the world, there was no talk [147/148] of an hundred thousand dollars endowment for Him. He might have been born an heir to all the wealth of this world. He was born an heir only to its poverty. He went forth on His mission with a single staff in His hand, with only one coat and one pair of shoes. He was compelled to look to His Father daily for His daily bread. God's love worked on the hearts of some poor women of Galilee and they ministered to Him of their substance. Now, what was good enough for Jesus Christ, is good enough for any successor of Jesus Christ. And, I think, we will all agree in this: That the nearer a Bishop can come to living the life of Jesus Christ on earth, the greater will be the Bishop.
There is nothing said in the Books of the Acts of the Apostles about endowments. The Apostles, on the Day of Pentecost, did not say: "Assure us of our support, and we will preach you the Gospel of our Lord." They preached the Gospel, and their support was assured. Endowment came to them with the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, when the love of God burning, like a fire, in the hearts of the converted peoples, caused them that had lands or possessions to sell them and lay the price at the Apostles' feet. [Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Chapters ii-iii.]
I do not say that endowments are in themselves evil; they may be the source of great and lasting blessing. It is a beautiful thing for a man to give of his goods in perpetuity to God and the poor; [148/149] who, when he goes out of the world, departs with a God-like beneficence and leaves an eternal blessing behind him.
Such endowments of churches, schools and charities are a part of that treasury of the Saints which we enjoy to-day, and which makes our lives easier.
But like all the blessings of God, endowment is the source of great peril to the Church; the greatest peril indeed that has beset her in her history. The Church has never suffered from her poverty. She has suffered grievously from her riches.
Whenever an endowment is considered as a good of and by itself; apart from the love of God; when men rest in it, and do not use it to do new work for God, then it becomes the greatest curse that can afflict the life of the Church.
Never, in the history of Christendom, was there a Church more richly endowed with worldly wealth than was the French Church at the close of the last century. The ecclesiastical bodies owned nearly one-third of the landed property of the country.
Bishops were endowed with the revenues of princes; they had their episcopal palaces in their dioceses and their episcopal hotels in Paris. The purple monsigneur vied with the plum-colored courtier in the extravagant luxury of his living.
But when they lost the love of God working on the hearts of the people, all their endowments could not save them. They were hunted out of their palaces like rats out of their holes. And the [149/150] church organization over which they presided was swept out of existence, never to be restored. [The old Gallican Church was one of the first institutions to perish in the revolution. The National Assembly confiscated the Church lands, rearranged the Bishoprics, and made the Church a department of the State. The Legislative Assembly abolished Christianity as a religion altogether. The Catholic religion was restored by Napoleon, but it was not the old Church with its rights; it was the new Church of the revolution. See Thiers' French Revolution.]
So it was with the Church of God, and so it always will be when she trusts in wealth rather than in love.
So, although I have said that fifteen thousand dollars will pay the diocesan expenses of the two dioceses of Buffalo and Rochester, yet that is not necessary. Nothing is necessary but a self-devoted Bishop. He who can trust in God, and God alone, will be for us the greatest of all Bishops. Let him go forth with his staff only into the streets and lanes of the city, into the highways and byways of the country. Let him seek the people and compel them to come into the kingdom of God, and then he need not fear for his own support; the people will support him.
We hear a great deal about a support commensurate with the dignity of the episcopal office. The episcopal office reached the perfection of its dignity when it was naked on the cross.
It is not necessary that a Bishop should live like a gentleman, much less like a prince; it is only necessary that he should live like a saint.
CHAPTER X. THE PRACTICAL PLAN.
If my view had or could prevail, I would propose to the Church this practical plan of operation: I would organize a campaign of education. I would preach in every city, town and hamlet of Western New York the doctrine of the episcopate as it is laid down in this argument. I would, if possible, rouse an enthusiasm for the Church as a divine institution, divinely organized. I would show the people the place of the bishop in that divine economy. I would secure from the people a gift for the episcopate, such as each man was able to give.
And having secured sufficient to protect the episcopate from absolute poverty, would give him his staff and send him forth to his work and to his labor until the evening, feeling perfectly sure that if he labored he would have his reward.
I would have this work begin now so that the division could be made at the General Convention of the Church, which meets in Washington in 1898. Then the Church in the State of New York completes a rhythmical period. The first division of the State of New York was made in 1838, the second division in 1868: may we not look for the third in 1898?
The first division gave to the episcopate the saintly DeLancey; the second gave to it the [151/152] theological learning of Littlejohn, the wide, far-reaching statesmanship of Doane, the sanctity and scholarship of Huntington. Every division has brought increased life to the Church, increased power to the episcopate. No call has ever been made on the love and devotion of the Church and the Church has not responded.
I do not lay this argument before the Bishop of the diocese to complicate in any way the beginning of a new administration of ecclesiastical affairs. But I do lay it before him with the firm conviction that it should receive his careful consideration, and that the reorganization of the Church should have his early attention.
I believe that the principles of this argument apply not only to this diocese, but to the Church throughout the country.
The great work of the Church in the next period of her existence must be the work of organization. Not the assertion of principles, but the application of principles. She must endeavor to be in reality what she claims to be in theory.
The Episcopal Church in this country makes an awful claim. She claims to be the only true Church of God in this land. This claim separates us from the communion of the ancient Church of Rome on the right hand and from the modern communions of Protestantism on the left.
 A Church making such a claim must justify its claim before God and before man. It must be what it says it is. If we are what we say we are, then the reconstruction and readjustment of Christianity must be largely our work.
We have a divinely ordered ministry, a divinely settled creed, a divinely constructed worship. Our ministry is from Christ, our creed from the Holy Ghost, our worship from the Church. Our Church is not man's church, be he pope or doctor; not Wesley's nor Calvin's, nor Leo's. It is the Church of God. So we say and so we believe.
But what an awful claim this is, and what awful responsibilities it lays upon us. If we do nothing to sustain it, it is and will be the most hideous of unrealities: an unreality that will be crushed in the crash of realities that are rushing together in the modern world. Therefore it is that I pray God that we may make good our title, that we may in deed, as well as in word, be the Church of the Living God.
The writer would not have it inferred from anything that he has said in this book, that he faults the personal life or character of any member of the Anglo-American Episcopate. Such a faulting would, on his part, be an act of insolence, the like of which he trusts he could never be guilty. He sees in the Anglo-American Episcopate many of the noblest men whom God has ever raised up for the edification of His Church; he sees in that Episcopate one of the great hopes of Christendom,
What the writer does fault is that conception of the Episcopal Office which looks upon it as an office of earthly dignity and importance. And what the writer does believe with all his heart and what it is the main purpose of this book to maintain, is that the struggle of the Bishops of the Western world for political and social leadership has lost to them the spiritual leadership of mankind.
That for which the writer prays is that the Bishops may be once more what their name implies, overseers; having oversight of the English people.