ON OCCASION OF THE DEATH OF THE
REV. LEWIS P. BAYARD, D. D.
RECTOR OF ST. CLEMENT'S CHURCH, NEW-YORK;
PREACHED IN SAID CHURCH, ON THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS,
JANUARY THIRD, 1841,
BY BENJAMIN T. ONDERDONK D. D.
BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF NEW-YORK,
PREACHED AND PUBLISHED BY BEQUEST OF THE WARDENS
In proceeding, beloved brethren, to the melancholy office asked of me, on this occasion, by the wardens and vestrymen of this parish, my mind is absorbed with emotions of the most solemn and peculiar character. To do justice to the deceased is the obvious dictate of duty, and of an affection around which cluster reminiscences, both personal and official, to which every day, and almost every hour, make additions of the deepest interest to my heart. Your late pastor was known and loved by very many, and indeed known only to be loved. Certainly, however, there are but few, probably not any, present, whose recollections of him are anterior to those of him who now addresses you. There can be none whose recollections embrace events of such sacred interest as do mine. It is now some six and thirty years since, as school-fellows, we enjoyed together the benefit of the instructions of a beloved and honoured minister of CHRIST, [Rev. Edmund D. Barry D.D.] who, numbering among the Bishops and Clergy of our church, no small portion of those who have the privilege of looking back to his instructions as an important part of the foundation on which, by GOD'S blessing, were raised whatever of qualification for their holy functions they may have been allowed to exercise, is still with us, active and useful among the people whose privilege it is to have him as a pastor, and the youths who wait on the instructions, and are favoured with the counsels and monitions, of a faithful, devoted, and conscientious teacher; and respected and beloved by the brethren and friends who appreciate the perpetually strengthening claims of worth and excellence which length of time serves but the more fully to illustrate.
 But the holiest and most interesting of the reminiscences of my departed brother, are furnished by the facts that there were completed, during the last summer, twenty-eight years since, kneeling side by side, and within a few days of the same age, we were together admitted, by the great and good Hobart, to the order of Deacons; and twenty-five years since, also together, we were raised by the same venerated hands, to the Priesthood. [Dr. Bayard and the author were ordained Deacons in Grace Church, New York, Aug. 2, 1812, and Priests in Trinity Church, Newark, New Jersey, July 26, 1815, Dr. Bayard being then the minister of that church, and Bishop Hobart—the diocese of New Jersey being vacant—acting by request of the standing committee thereof.] It will not, therefore be surprising that my feelings on this occasion, should be peculiarly solemn and interesting. And the peculiarity thus imparted to them has been rendered still more heartfelt, by the perpetually recurring claims upon my personal affections, and official love, respect, and confidence, which have marked our long series of personal, and official intercourse. And now that it has pleased GOD that that intercourse should be known no more on earth, that my brother is taken, and I am left to mourn his loss, and turn my mind back on the melancholy recollection of his virtues and his worth, and am come to speak to the beloved portion of my flock which constituted his parochial charge, as our common bereavement, and I trust mutual sympathy, may lead me to speak, I ask myself how it were best for me to speak. My mind fastens at once on that genuine christian disinterestedness which was among the most prominent evidences that he was a christian indeed, an experienced christian, a man whose piety was of the most vital stamp. Where he had one thought for himself, he had many benevolent plans, intentions, and desires for others. For one purpose that he formed having for its object aught of his own, present or future, his mind was filled with many, and all for good, towards the cause of CHRIST and the Church, his parish, his family, his friends, and indeed all who sustained to him the relation of fellow christian and fellow man. And when I ask myself, How shall I speak on this mournful occasion? How shall I most do justice to his memory? methinks I hear a voice from the holy happy rest of paradise, which says, Say not much of me: think rather of my people and my friends: give them words of consolation, and O give them words that may profit: seek what was ever nearest to my heart, their spiritual [4/5] good: strive to make my death, through God's blessing, subservient to the great object for which I laboured and prayed among them. O I would not that one of them should be wanting in the number of my companions in this blessed state of joy and hope, or in the heavenly inheritance that will succeed it, when our SAVIOUR will call the blessed of His Father to the kingdom prepared for them from the beginning of the world.
Brethren, I must listen to this voice, and ceasing for a while to speak of my beloved friend and brother who has been torn from us, and humbly beseeching GOD to direct and bless the undertaking, call you to thoughts which may tend to the proper improvement of this heavy day of sadness and of sorrowing.
But sadness and mourning though there are, in the very core of our hearts, it is not the sadness and mourning of those without hope. O no, there is a hope, a blessed hope, which chastens all sorrow, and overcomes all fear. I would not be so ungrateful to the Father of mercies, and GOD of all consolation, as to be insensible of it. There is much to cheer, much to animate, much to bring indeed joy and gladness to our hearts, that penetrates even to the very depth of our affliction. I would be governed by this blessed consideration in selecting the portion of Holy Writ from which to invite you now to draw your reflections. I know of none that more richly embodies the various considerations that may be considered proper to this mournful occasion, than the following portion of the first chapter of the first Epistle general of St. Peter.
Blessed be the GOD and Father of our Lord JESUS CHRIST, which, according to His abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of JESUS CHRIST from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of GOD, through faith, unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time: wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations; that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of JESUS CHRIST; whom having not seen, ye love; in [5/6] whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. [1 St. Peter, I: 3-9.]
Be this eloquent and impressive strain of address now the subject of our solemn consideration. It is fraught with those essential principles of christian faith, those pure motives of christian holiness, those rich sources of evangelical consolation, and as a just consequent from these, that wholesome warning to the thoughtless, the ungodly, and the unprepared to die, which your late pastor, were he on earth, would desire to enlist in the improvement of such a providence.
The passage is perfectly characteristic of its author. Great zeal and earnestness were ever St. Peter's ruling emotions. Instances, indeed there were, in which—the influence of religion being, for the time, cast off—these emotions produced rash impetuosity, and even boldness and hardihood of offence. More generally, however, they signalized him as a devoted and zealous apostle. In the discharge of his high functions, he addressed an epistle "to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia," who had been converted to the faith of CHRIST.
After the usual apostolical salutation, he enters, with an abruptness indicative of his zealous interest in the theme, on the ascription of glory to GOD for the inestimable blessings connected with the resurrection of CHRIST, and the brilliant exhibition of them afforded in the text.
In considering this passage, we are first led to reflect on the greatness of the mercy which it celebrates—"Which hath begotten us again"—hath regenerated—hath created us anew—"to a lively hope."
All the purity, holiness, and happiness, attached to human nature, as it first proceeded from its Maker's hands, were lost by the fall. That, removing the perfection that characterised our species, removed it from the state of favor with GOD, into which He, as an infinitely pure and holy Being, could not admit creatures sinful and corrupt. Alienation from GOD, despair of His mercy, and exposure to His wrath, which himself could not [6/7] change, became the state of man. Dying to his pristine purity, innocence, and happiness, he could attain again to the spiritual life, only by the interposition of that power and love, which first brought him from the dust of the earth to the capability of enjoying the delights of paradise. That power and love were thus exercised. The latter prompted, and the former was engaged to execute, a stupendous plan, whereby the justice and holiness of GOD were to be satisfied, so that His mercy, consistently with His infinite perfections, might be extended to man.
According to this plan, the Second Person in the Trinity, GOD the SON, took the human nature, that by sufferings and death, rendered, by His divinity, infinitely meritorious, He might make atonement for that first transgression, and for the unnumbered sins that must be its inevitable consequence, if the race was suffered to remain, which could thus inherit but a depraved and corrupt nature. By the merit of this gracious atonement, man is again admitted into that covenant with GOD from which he wilfully withdrew. From that loss of spiritual, and forfeiture of eternal life, which were the dread anathema pronounced on the sacrifice of his primeval innocence, and thus from death to all his spiritual privileges and hopes, he is "begotten again"—not to the joys of an earthly paradise; for GOD, in His justice and wisdom, is pleased to order that man's earthly pilgrimage still bear dreadful testimony against the heinousness of sin, and exhibit mournful revelation of the wrath of Heaven against all unrighteousness of men; nor to the pristine purity and perfection of his nature here—but "unto a lively hope" of "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven."
Through the "abundant mercy" of "GOD," manifested in the redemption that is in "our LORD JESUS CHRIST," the faithful christian is rescued from spiritual and eternal death, and "begotten again unto a lively hope" that after this frail, sinful, and suffering life, "an inheritance" awaits him which is "incorruptible"—unlike the riches of the world, which moth and rust corrupt, which are tarnished by possession, and which perish in the using; "undefiled"—ministering nothing to impure and unholy affections, nor tending to the baneful consequences [7/8] of excess and abuse; "and that fadeth not away"—unlike the mere temporary durability of earthly good, so often, with mournful suddenness, and heart-rending disappointment, blasting earthly hopes, eternal, for ever yielding unabated joys.
The "hope" of this is sealed to the faithful christian "by the resurrection of JESUS CHRIST from the dead." For that great event is incontestable proof of the justice of His claim to be the Mediator between GOD and man; and of His possessing that divinity which fitted Him to be an all-sufficient SAVIOUR; is an evidence of the FATHER'S acceptance of His atonement; and therefore encourages us to hope for the pardon and favour purchased by that atonement. It brings good tidings of great joy from the grave, and the world unseen, and is a pledge and earnest of our deliverance from the hands of death, and the custody of hell.
The contemplation of this "abundant mercy", begetting "us again unto" this "lively hope," displays an infinite condescension of divine grace in behalf of man, which, if ought else could have availed, we cannot suppose would have been manifested; and which stamps with the character of the hardiest presumption a claim to that hope on the ground of our own merit, or as of our own procuring—a claim, not more hostile to evangelical doctrine, than to a dispassionate view of our own hearts and characters.
The glorious "inheritance," to the hope of which we are begotten by the resurrection of CHRIST, is "reserved in heaven for" those "who are kept by the power of GOD, through faith, unto salvation;" not by their own power, or their own righteousness, but by the power of God—by that almighty grace which is promised to those who are humbly sensible of their need of it, who diligently seek it and who faithfully improve it; and "who are kept by the power of GOD, through faith"—faith in a divine SAVIOUR, the Mediator between GOD and man, our Advocate with the FATHER—a true and living faith, placing all hope on His merits, as the only procuring cause, and working by love, in diligently applying to the duties which are the conditions, of our justification. To this faith is annexed the promise of that "power of GOD" which will keep its subject "unto salvation," support him under trials, deliver him from [8/9] difficulties and dangers, strengthen him against temptation, comfort him in the hour of death, raise him up at the last day, enable him to stand before the SON of man in judgment, and bear him to the inheritance of the saints in light. "Unto" this "salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time"—the close of the dispensation which places man in trial for eternity,—the power of GOD will keep His faithful people.
In this, brethren, "ye" who are GOD'S faithful people, should "greatly rejoice, though now, for a season, (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations"—though, in your mortal pilgrimage, trials press heavily upon you. For they are the chastenings of a FATHER'S hand, inflicted only "if need be"—if He sees them to be necessary for your good. They are but "for a season," as "the trial of your faith" and of the sincerity and perseverance of your allegiance to your GOD. Let them draw you closer to Him, and produce that holy superiority to a disappointing world, that sincere devotion to the only Source of unmixed and permanent delight, that disrelish for the corrupt and corrupting ways of sin, that removal from scenes of temptation, and that holy longing for another and a better world, whereby "the trial, of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire," may be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of JESUS CHRIST."
Filled with the lively hope, and cheered by the unspeakable consolations, of your religion, the SAVIOUR who procured them for you, though "having not seen, ye love. In" Him, "though now ye see Him not, yet believing"—believing Him to have made peace by the blood of his cross, overcome the sharpness of death, opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers, and thus provided rest from all their toil, and remuneration for all their sufferings, "ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." For what can harm you? Let temptation assault, or afflictions come, "you are kept by the power of GOD." "Your faith" is undergoing a "trial," which, if it endure, will "be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of JESUS CHRIST." Steady, then, in your perseverance, again I say, Rejoice. Ye shall receive "the end of your faith, even the [9/10] salvation of your souls." At last to attain to this, for what trials, sufferings, and exertions, is it not an abundant recompense?
My brethren, we who would be among the happy number to whom may be addressed the words of the apostle that have now been considered, must remember, that in order to this, we must have that "faith" to which is annexed the promise of the preserving "power of GOD." This comprises an acknowledgment of JESUS as our divine Redeemer, who, in the human nature, taken into union with His divinity, shed His blood to atone for our sins, and intercedes for us at the right hand of GOD; and without whose mediation, we could have no hope of pardon, or of the divine favour. This faith, therefore, is opposed to the idea of our own merit, or our own power to obtain salvation; and supposes undivided trust in the efficacy of His atonement and intercession.
This faith must not stop at the conviction of the understanding, but must warmly and thoroughly interest the heart, producing in it a deep sense of our need of the SAVIOUR, a sincere embracing of Him in all His offices, a living union with Him and a controlling solicitude to experience the blessings of His grace. It should manifest its sincerity by working by love, and drawing us into habitual devotion to His service, and observance of His laws. It should lead to the grateful improvement of those preventing influences of His grace, which, given, by virtue of the universality of His redemption, to every man, to profit withal, by the due direction of his moral agency, enable us to commence the work of a religious life. It should lead us, also, diligently to seek, by the use of the appointed means, and faithfully to improve, that furthering grace, which is the merciful exercise of the power of GOD, essential to keep us unto salvation.
Our faith, too, should be sufficiently strong to lead us to prefer spiritual and eternal, to all mere temporal good; and to make the glory of GOD, and the welfare of our souls, the objects of our chief care, anxiety, and exertion. It should lead us to despise the sneers and ridicule of the profane, and to rise above whatever, in the opinions or practices of the world, is hostile to the spirit of our holy religion. It should direct our view, with convincing clearness, to the hand of GOD, ordering and controlling [10/11] all events, and thus produce willing and cheerful submission to whatever He may suffer to befall us. It should be of that thoroughly practical character, which will bring the whole man under the influence of the religious and moral precepts of the gospel; should lead him in all the commandments and ordinances of the LORD; and should fashion his life after that pattern which would be owned as the genuine work of the Spirit, in the first and purest days of the gospel.
To any character short of this, the word of GOD will not suffer us to address the consolations of religion. But we must warn him to beware, lest, in an hour when he thinks not of it, he be called to answer for his deficiencies to a just and jealous GOD. His is not the inheritance of the saints in light. It must, therefore, be that only other everlasting portion, the heritage of the devil and his angels.
Those who have commenced the walk of the religious life, and are anxiously striving to proceed, feeble and faultering as may be their steps, we would encourage to persevere, to put not their trust in themselves, to rely for help on the power of GOD, and to seek His grace, in faith, by all the appointed means. It will be granted; for He has promised it. He may see fit to try them by delay; but their humble and faithful perseverance will be fully recompensed.
To those who may hope that they are progressing in the divine life, and through the aid of grace going on unto perfection, we would address the voice of sincere congratulation. But we would mingle with it that of friendly warning. Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. Beware of presumption. Beware of spiritual pride. Remember, not unto yourselves, but unto GOD, is due the praise of any advancement which you may have made in the christian course. If he withdraw His grace, you must fall back. And distant, awfully distant, then, will be the probability of a recovery.
And remember, that grace is promised only to the humble, and to those who, in humility and sincerity of heart, faithfully exert themselves. It is a sad abuse of the comfortable and supporting doctrine of spiritual influence, and introduces inconsistency into the gospel scheme, to imagine that therefore human agency is less necessary or important. The offers of divine [11/12] grace are made to direct and aid, not to supersede, our moral agency. And as man slackens his own endeavours, so, proportionably, will GOD withdraw His grace. The power of GOD unto salvation will be exerted in their behalf only who cherish that true and living faith which is manifested by sincere devotion to the great duty of working out their own salvation. Without divine grace, indeed, that work cannot be performed. But it must be attended to, and that with an earnestness, solicitude, and diligence, proportioned to its infinite magnitude and importance; because GOD requires it at our hands, and because He has promised to enable us to do it, and to accept and bless it, when faithfully performed.
Preserving, then, ye who are engaged in this great work, your faith, humility, and diligent and devoted perseverance, you may depend upon being "kept by the power of GOD unto salvation." In all your troubles and difficulties, you will have cause still "greatly" to "rejoice," assured that they are but a Father's kindly "trial of your faith, unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of JESUS CHRIST." And at last, you will receive "the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls;" and be admitted to the eternal vision and enjoyment of Him "whom, having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet, believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." What then must be that joy wherewith they will rejoice who will see Him in the glory which He had with His Father before the world was?
Delightful, my brethren, as it is to hold up, for the encouragement of the faithful, the blessed rewards promised to them in the word of GOD, the painful reflection not unfrequently presents itself, that there is no small danger of this important branch of the ministerial commission being wrested to selfish purposes by those who have in it no part nor lot. It behoves us, therefore, carefully to guard the exhibition of the promises of the Gospel from the abuse which would make them speak peace to those to whom there is no peace, saith our GOD. An utter contempt of the blessings of grace and salvation is not often really felt, however it may be sometimes strongly indicated in the character and conduct. But that light estimation of them which regards them as worthy of but a very small effort, is far from being uncommon. [12/13] A profession of Christianity, a decent compliance with some of its religious duties, a tolerably correct moral deportment, and all in perfect subserviency to main devotion to the world, is the height to which a lamentable proportion of those who name the name of CHRIST, carry their compliance with the principles and precepts of His religion. And yet they presume to think that they may apply to themselves the gracious promises which He makes to His people. This miserable delusion not unfrequently lulls them into fatal security.
If Christians would inform themselves better of the nature and obligations of their religion, this inconsistency would be far less prevalent. But they make religion quite a secondary concern. The pursuits and pleasures of the world occupy much time, care, and exertion, and what remains, after no small abatement for mere indolence and sloth, is given to the infinitely momentous concerns of their souls. Presence, once or twice a week, at the services and instructions of the sanctuary, and then as much attention to them as is perfectly consistent with the convenience and humour of the moment, and an occasional appropriation of a short time to a careless perusal of a portion of the Bible, or some other good book, and this, principally, on parts of the LORD'S day not occupied with business or recreation, or wasted in sloth, are—may I not appeal to the consciences of many of my hearers for the truth?—the amount of the heed which is given by multitudes of Christians to growing in that knowledge which maketh wise unto salvation. And will they—dare they—apply to themselves the blessings of the Gospel? Is this the fulfilment of the demand, My son give Me thy heart? Is this loving GOD with all the heart, all the mind, all the soul, and all the strength? Their intellectual must have become as enfeebled as their spiritual part, if they see not, at once, that this will not do; that they have not the true faith of the Gospel; that they are Christians but in name; and that, deceive fellowmen as they will, and delude themselves as, in thoughtlessness, they may, in the all-searching eye of GOD, that eye which looks into their hearts, and sees their ruling dispositions, affections, and motives, they are still in that miserable state which will fully justify His awful denunciation, Depart from Me, I never knew you. O! may they think of this in time! The time to think [13/14] of it is fast passing by them. Another short, another very short delay, and it may have fled forever.
Beloved brethren, I have done what I know your late pastor would have wished—may I not say more—may I not say has wished—in the state of happiness in which we cannot think it is denied him to have a continued interest in your welfare—should have been done on this occasion—called you to a practical improvement, consoling to the righteous, but full of warning and threatening to the wicked, the worldly, and the inconsiderate, of the solemn occasion in which our hearts now mingle in mournful sympathy. But O how imperfectly! Could my dear brother, with the blessed experience which has now been vouchsafed him, have been by me, how would he have exhorted me to more plainness and more point in endeavouring to draw sinners by the persuasive terrors of the LORD, from the error of their ways! May GOD forgive me wherein I have been remiss, and vouchsafe, in aid of my imperfect endeavours, the effectual workings of his Holy Spirit!
That Divine Author and Giver of all good in man, is pleased to act by His blessing on means and instruments, and on human sympathies, sensibilities, and motives, tending to the purposes and ends of faith, holiness, and virtue.
No appeals are more strongly made in GOD'S word, or from that more beautifully or forcibly transferred to the Liturgy, than to our affectionate recollections of the counsels and examples of the faithful departed. And surely never could such appeal come home to our hearts with greater interest and force than now. Counsels and examples drawn from GOD'S pure word, animated by the vivifying breath of His Blessed Spirit, and fraught with all the practical excellencies of the beauty of evangelical holiness, are now present to your minds, maintaining there an interest warm in the warmth of love, and strong in the strength of conscientious conviction of duty.
To remind you fully, beloved brethren of this parish, of the counsels which you have been wont to receive from this sacred place, would be to present you with the Gospel in detail; the purity and integrity of its faith; the momentous agency assigned to its Church; the divinely established principles and order the subservience to which that agency is to be fulfilled; and the [14/15] practical holiness and virtue of heart and life which, in the cherishing of that faith, and in union and communion with that Church, are appointed means and conditions of the full and eternal benefits of the grace of GOD which bringeth salvation through JESUS CHRIST. O! how have these counsels been heeded? Will it, in the day of final account at the bar of GOD, appear that they have been improved to the blessed everlasting purposes of love and mercy, for which they were imparted, under the high and holy commission of the ministry of GOD? Or—But, brethren, need I put the dreadful alternative? you know full well that the labours of the ministry cannot be without effect. If they tend not to salvation, they must to condemnation, and that for all eternity. You have not seen your pastor for the last time. You are to meet him at the bar of GOD. Shall he there witness for you or against you? If heretofore your characters and conduct have manifested your choice of the latter hard and dreadful alternative, O still be wise in time. Humble yourselves in penitent search for that mercy which still waiteth that it may be gracious. It may yet wait, but a very little while. Your opportunities have been great, and your privileges precious. Proportionably horrible must be the punishment, if you suffer them to have been all in vain.
But those of that good shepherd's flock who, knowing, have heard and heeded his voice, and conscious that its counsels were those in which he had been instructed by the great Inspirer of all truth, have earnestly prayed for the grace of GOD, and diligently and solicitously endeavoured to improve that grace, that they might profit by his holy labours—they derive from those counsels the purest consolation in this their hour of sorrow and of mourning. They have informed their understandings, and interested their affections, in those pure doctrines and holy precepts of the Gospel whence flow the most genuine comfort and the firmest support under all trials and afflictions. O brethren, feel you not now that consolation and support? Though dead, does not your pastor yet speak to you, in words of holy import, to which this sacred desk was long familiarized, and which fond and faithful memory presents as even now sounding in your ears? And gather you not from those words comfort for this hour of trial, which the world can neither give [15/16] nor take away, and a support of strength sufficient to banish all fear, and bring in the blessed influences of that perfect love of GOD, which doubteth not that all is for the best, and even rejoices in full confidence of that far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory which will follow, as their issue, to the true Christian, the sufferings of the present time? Yes: and those counsels, rich in the monitions and instructions of the word of GOD, have treasured up in your hearts principles and precepts which, for your perpetual guidance in the paths of evangelical holiness and virtue, wait, a standing monitor, to guide and warn you in your search for true wisdom's paths—This is the way walk ye in it.
Nor only in this hallowed place of public preaching were those counsels given. They blest you in his visits from house to house. When walking by the way, they made your hearts to burn within you. They have brought comfort to your firesides in hours of distress and mourning; made it good for you to have him in your domestic and friendly circle; and edified and consoled your dying relatives and friends, and yourselves in the loss of them.
And both in public and in private, when the unhallowed ingenuity of man's fallen mind perplexed you by the multitude of shapes and forms in which it has cast what should be the one profession of all the followers of JESUS, and you sought counsel of your pastor how you should judge and determine for yourselves, you found him not unprepared. Meekly submissive to the will of JESUS, he asked what that was, looking for the reply to the inspired pages, and to primitive catholicity as their best interpreter. And as he found it, so he imparted it to you, undisguisedly, uncompromisingly, fully. He knew nought of that pride of human intellect which erects human judgment into a guide where divine determination is to be found. Thither, therefore, he sought to lead you; casting aside all fear of man, and love of man's favour, or applause, and knowing and owning only the authority of CHRIST. And perfectly satisfied, not by force of early training, for that was adverse, but by subsequent deep, deliberate, conscientious, enlightened conviction, that CHRIST'S counsel was embodied in the standards and institutions of the church to whose ministry he was so long devoted, [16/17] he drew from them his counsels to his people, and gave them clearly, unhesitatingly, fearlessly, and faithfully.
And O, see that ye forget not, brethren, any of those counsels of this man of GOD with which you have been blessed. They will doubtless be his also whom GOD, by the due order of His Church, may send you in the place of him whom He has removed. Ever cherish them with faith and prayer; and ever affectionately remembering him who so faithfully spoke unto you those words of life, let none of the opposing influences of this wicked world draw off your care, solicitude, and exertions, from the great end which he ever had in view, the salvation of your souls.
Nor in the prosecution of that end has he left you only those counsels which are uttered by the mouth. His ministry was richly fraught with that nobler and more convincing monition which a good life affords.
But here, my brethren, you among whom he so long went in and out, as a pastor, a neighbour, and a friend, anticipate all that I could say. "Ye are witnesses, and GOD also, how holily, and justly, and unblameably" he "behaved" himself "among you," as well "as how" he "exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of GOD who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory." You felt that in his presence, you were in the presence of a true and consistent christian, and therefore of a faithful friend, and of a man of unflinching integrity, of sound principles, of virtuous affections and sensibilities, of the most expansive benevolence, disinterested almost to a fault, and in whom the love of the truth and of the right yielded to nothing; and were it tried, would show the firmness of adamant, where, as long as principle allowed, kindly sensibility rather showed the ready impressiveness of the yielding wax. You saw, when there was no compromise of christian seriousness, dignity, and purity, with what cheerfulness and hilarity he ministered to the joys of social intercourse; and yet, when danger of such compromise was near, how inflexibly he maintained his christian integrity. You saw how beautifully he illustrated the practical influence of that law of christian sympathy, rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep. Yes, brethren, here you have [17/18] seen among you, under circumstances of peculiar tenderness, the good and faithful christian friend. The poorest and humblest have herein had experience equal to that of any; the happy have found their joys increased in him, and in him the suffering have found every grief alleviated.
Thus, brethren, in holiness, disinterestedness, and love, love to GOD and man, did he manifest the genuineness of his christian faith, the fulness of his christian experience, and the true vital piety which pervaded and formed his character and life. His were a holiness and virtue which it was for others duly to appreciate. They were too sound and too genuine to be much thought of by himself. Their soundness and genuineness included, as they ever will, the cardinal christian grace of humility—thinking not more highly of himself than he ought to think—in lowliness of mind, esteeming other better than himself. This greatest of christian virtues, enlightened in its character, and deepened in its influence, by the true faith of the gospel, marked his intercourse with fellow men, and his waiting upon GOD in the appointed ordinances of His religion. It led him to feel the necessity and appreciate the value of those ordinances, and apply to them as that necessity and value prompted.
Such, dear brethren, was the example by which your pastor enforced the holy counsels which he imparted, and showed you how they should be improved. See you not how great weight of obligation and responsibility is thus laid upon you, and what bearing all this must have on the account that you must render at the bar of GOD?
Brethren, I have condoled with you in this your heavy calamity, and this has been accompanied, in the strictest sense of the term, with sympathetic affection; for mine too has been no common loss. Doctor Bayard was a Presbyter whom any Bishop might rejoice to have, and whose official and general personal qualifications had, in his case, the increased interest of old and faithful friendship. I never knew him false. I never knew him wavering. He had a true Churchman's heart, a thing too rare in these our days. We have many among us who can give in fullest force all arguments in favor of episcopacy and a liturgy, who are as regular as canons and rubrics can require, who would feel wounded were their churchmanship suspected, who are pious [18/19] and exemplary in their characters, and as far as their principles go, honest and duly zealous. But there is a want about them which can better be appreciated than described. It is the want, in all its true bearings, of the churchman's heart—of a quick and lively sensibility to what is right, and a thorough drinking, so to speak, into the very spirit of the church. This my beloved departed brother had. He felt towards the Church as a son towards a mother; nay more, as a devout christian towards the spouse of his LORD and only SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. His first thoughts were ever towards her. His constant fear was, lest in aught he should be untrue to her, and his constant effort to let her in all things be honoured, and her sacred interests in all things promoted. Once convince his understanding—and he was not ashamed that even that should have a bias towards CHRIST and the Church—that her interests and fidelity to her principles, required a certain course; and there you always found him. He felt that he was not his own; and freely gave himself to the cause which was dearer to him than life. Such were his principles in his daily intercourse with brethren and fellow members of the Church; and such the principles which he brought into her counsels, and into the various institutions in aid of her legitimate peculiar work of promoting the cause of her divine LORD and HEAD, in which he so faithfully laboured. We were never at a loss where to find him. None, I believe, were ever disappointed in him. All admired his consistency, though there may have been those who could not in all things sympathise with his principles and views.
Brethren, it is forbidden me to speak of the last days of him whose loss we all deplore. The details for which, be they what they may, affection longs, have not yet reached us; and conjecture would here be obviously out of place. [Up to the time of penning this note (January 8) we are still uninformed of the particulars of this melancholy event. All that we know is, that he died at sea, probably in August last, on board a steamer, on his homeward passage from Beyroot to Malta, about a day before the vessel reached the latter place, and that he was there buried at the Lazaretto.] But with the word of GOD, and our knowledge of the character of the departed for our guide, we may cherish the delightfully consoling assurance, that no matter under what circumstances his last sickness [19/20] was suffered, and his last breath drawn, the end of that man was peace. His life was a life of faith in the Son of GOD—faith pure in its principles and holy in its influences, because in both its principles and influences truly evangelical. Therefore it is that we have no occasion to weep for hurt. His, we doubt not, has been a glorious and a happy change. But for ourselves, there is great cause to mourn; for you the beloved and loving people of his charge; for the Church in this diocese, which has lost a friend, true, honest, and sincere, as friend could be; for the Church at large, whose interest is great in every good and faithful pastor; and for the whole circle who knew him as friend and neighbour. With all I sympathise as one who feels, indeed, that their loss is shared largely by himself. But there are others who sorrow with a grief which none besides can feel. For the widow and the fatherless let our prayers ascend to the Gracious and All-Merciful Protector, who declares in His holy word that He does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men, but punishes them for their own good; and that the afflictions of the present time are graciously designed to be so received and improved as to work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. May the Father of the fatherless, and the Protector of the widow, be their strong consolation and their support!
And let us all, brethren, lay to heart, for our comfort in our present trial, and in all our afflictions, and as our guide in the momentous duty of considering our latter end, and preparing for the great change which awaits us, the message which the beloved divine received in the revelations that were made to him on Patmos, and which the Church so beautifully introduces in the hallowed service for the burial of her dead: —"I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, write, from henceforth blessed are the dead who die in the LORD; even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours."