Project Canterbury

The Last Sermon of the Rt. Rev. D. S. Tuttle, D.D., in St. Mark's Cathedral, Salt Lake City, August 29, 1886,
prior to His Departure to the Diocese of Missouri.

Salt Lake City: The Cathedral Vestry, 1886.

Published by the Cathedral Vestry, and presented to each Communicant in the Missionary Jurisdiction of Utah and Idaho.

"We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." II Cor. V. 20.

STRANGE that men need to be pleaded with to be reconciled to God. In Him we live and move and have our being, He giveth us all things richly to enjoy, He is "Our Father" and gave His own well beloved Son to die for us. One would think, men will turn to God willingly and gladly, out of gratefulness and love. But it is not so. Sin hath entered the world, and entering gives a thirst to the human will, and a stain to the human heart. So we start aside from God like a broken bow. We turn away as rebellious children.

Then his abounding love and mercy set themselves to work to bring us back, to win us home, to bind us to His side.

Look at His works in Nature. The bright colors and sweet fragrance of flowers; the abundant wholesomeness of air and water and warmth and light; the honest pleasure of the senses in lawful and healthful gratification of their desires. These are bountiful gifts of God's goodness, if perchance we will recognize them as from a Father's hand and draw near Him in earnest gratefulness.

These are the strong influences of His gracious Providence, things some men call accidents, others, [1/2] good luck, guidances whereby you and I did that thing instead of the other, took that way instead of another in the days that are past. Thousands of these are voices from our great Benefactor, bidding us observe His kindness, and trust in it and not run away from it, alway.

There is the transcendently great and good gift of His Son upon the Cross. That is the centre Chapter of the blessed Gospel of reconciliation. He loved us unto death. And His dying not only wrought mysterious expiation, but intensified unutterably the call to us to turn back from wilfulness and waywardness and be reconciled to God.

There is the sending of His Holy Spirit, He, the Holy Spirit, through the cleaning waters of Holy Baptism and the broken bread and poured out wine of Holy Communion; in the rousings and directions of human conscience, in the sighs and penitence and prayers and praises of human heart and soul, He is the great active personal worker on earth for the reconciliation of men unto God.

And lastly in importance He has set some men to be themselves pleaders with their fellows to turn away from sin and hate it, and to draw near to God and love him. These men we call ministers. St. Paul calls them ambassadors. "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ," and "we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."

Christ's ministers are made out of the stuff of sinful men, not of unsinning angels. And the sadnesses of a [2/3] felt humility press deep upon us ministers that this is so. What are we that we should stand for God? What are we that we should speak in Christ's stead? Depart from us for we are sinful men, O Lord. And how keenly come home the words about "preaching to others" and being ourselves castaways, and how solemn the thought of the account to be given by them who watch for souls! Knowing our shortcomings and sinfulnesses, how ready and glad we shall be, we feel, to creep into the lowest corner of the heavenly home, poor sinners, blessedly saved by abounding merciful grace. Strange, we humbly cry, for us to be ministers of God, and Christ's ambassadors for it.

Yet, after all, is not God's wisdom in it? If an angel were your minister, could he touch your heart as a fellow sinnner can? Could he know by experience what is in it and what goes out of it into the life as your fellow sinner can? Could he tell you of temptations, some alas! yielded to and some stoutly resisted, and of sin forgiven, and of waywardnesses and wickednesses like your own corrected and purified, as the fellow sinner can? Or, honestly, would he be the better leader, having no part nor lot with you in nature, and pointing the way he need not go, and unfurnished with chords of a living sympathy whereby to draw you unto himself?

No, no next to the Man of Heaven, the blessed Lord Jesus, who knows what is in man, and is himself all man, and so powerfully draws men to Him, the best guides to men in their sins, the best leaders for men out of their sins, the best ministers for reconciliation [3/4] of men unto God, are not angels, nor archangels, nor spirits, but we your poor imperfect sinning fellow men.

If we plead with you to be reconciled to God, we plead with our own rebellious hearts the same. If we pray you to walk in the footsteps of the Master, we strugglingly strive to do the same ourselves. We are never to point the road we do not tread. We command not others, go; but we beckon to them, come. So, at any rate, if we be pastors faithful and true, caring for the sheep, to God be all the praise, if we are. From Him may there come merciful forgiveness where we are not. For the many things done that we ought not to have done; and the more things undone that we ought to have done, what sad searchings of heart must be ours in thought of that coming last day of stewardship. So searching we may sound the depth of strength and sweetness that lies in those words of the dear old creed--I believe in the forgiveness of sins.

How can thoughts other than of the stewardship come over me and you to-day? The Providence of Almighty God hath thrown our paths together for near twenty years. The same Providence severs us now, bidding us part unto diverse ways.

We stand on the divide a little while between the paths whence we have come, and whither we must go, and we may have a pardon for casting a look at each.

On the morning of the 2nd of July, 1867, after near one thousand miles of travel in the stage coach I entered this city, and my brother in the chancel to-day [4/5] was with me. [The Rev. G. D. B. Miller] Two months previous, the Rev. Messrs. Foote and Haskins had come, and had started regular services and had opened St. Mark's school. We found three communicants. [Mrs. J. F. Hamilton, Mrs. T. F. Tracy, Mrs. Oliver Durant] One of them is here to-day. [Mrs. J. F. Hamilton] Not a Sunday has there been, I think, from then till now in which the regular services of the Church have not been maintained. In this Parish twelve ministers have served--G. W. Foote, Haskins, H. L. Foote, Pidsley, Kirby, Turner, Prout, Fowler, Miller, Unsworth, Armstrong, Putnam. Under then 1274 have been baptized and 411 confirmed; and the three communicants have multipled to 324. In my mission field 3809 have been baptized and 1203 confirmed. In St. Mark's School and Rowland Hall, 3186 boys and girls have been taught. In St. Mark's Hospital 4776 patients have been cared for. The Parish, since it began to be, has given for Church and charity purposes $271,045.63.

In my visitations of the jurisdiction I have travelled by stage coach 43,000 miles, by cars 19,000, horseback 1,000, steamboat 500. Total, 63,500 miles.

These are figures and facts, who shall estimate spiritual meaning, and moral force underlying and overtopping them? I am proud and thankful for the faithful work of all the pastors and teachers, and for the faithful coöperation likewise of the men and women and children of the Parish.

I cannot undertake to say all my thanks, words would fail, manly strength would go out of my voice.

[6] The wardens and vestry men! if man ever find brothers in men, I have found them brothers indeed to me, clear headed, warm hearted, strong helping. Truer brothers I never expect to find in the life that is left to me.

The ministers who have come and gone! three of them stand forth conspicuous. The founders, Foote and Haskins, and the dearly loved pastor Kirby. Two have been called from work to rest. [Rev. Morelle Fowler, Rev. Henry Prout]

Teachers in the schools! there have been scores of them--I can myself remember the names of 54, and other scores on scores of S. S. teachers. What a blessed work all theirs has been. Two other kinds of work only are ahead of theirs in doing good--the Holy Spirit's and Parent's.

The physicians in our Hospital! we count too little what real benefactors real medical men are. Ah! how in the hard stress of disease your heart turns lovingly and trustingly to them. Let us not ungratefully forget how in the Hospital ward, and serving the sick poor without earthly poor they are followers in fact (would God they all were followers in heart) in the footsteps of the Great Physician, merciful to help and to heal.

The singers who have done duty in this Church! My heart is full of loving gratefulness to them. The praises in holy worship; God asks for them and owns them as much as the prayers. Ye have been right loyal helpers. Your leader, when I go, will be the only [6/7] one left to link the past of the Parish, in all its course, to the future. [Mrs. J. F. Hamilton] If unwearied fidelity bring, like virtue, its own reward, then for her there's sunshine to come and at evening time it shall be light.

The mantle falls, the work is done, the change has come. The roll of stewardship for twenty years is closed up, God's mercy and forgiveness be upon it. Turn we from the past.

The Master, through voices I dare not disobey, by His Church has bidden me go to take another bishopric. With a heart rent with sorrow, yet filled in all its rents and crevices with loving gratitude for multiplied kindnesses received at your hands, I go.

Now, there are some bright things about the going. Let's think of them.

No bitternesses are left behind. No grudges, disaffections, hates, nor, so far as I know, any dislikes, or things needing explanation or adjustment. Are we not glad for this? And is it not a good deal to be glad for? And the better gladness shall have no stain nor flaw in it, when we get together again (God grant it) in the home above.

The organizations and machineries are to be left in good hands, they could not be in better. Chiefs long tried, faithful and true will look after them. If untiring industry and gentle sympathy and wise Churchmanship and devoted zeal fit one to be the guide and carer for things here till the new Bishop arrive, then you and I well know the fitness is forthcoming in my brother the pastor of this Congregation, and yonder Chapel and Hospital, [7/8] and the Schools; [The Rev. N. F. Putnam] there's to be no let or hindrance to their good work under the two clergymen who have hitherto cared for them so well. [The Rev. G. D. B. Miller, the Rev. C. M. Armstrong]

So the Parish in the delightful harmony and confessed strength of all its activities is to go straight on. Is not that something to be warmly thankful for?

In October, at Chicago, your new Bishop will be chosen. You are going to welcome him cordially, you are going to hold up his hand steadily, you are going to cheer his heart and help on his work generously. How do you know, does any one ask? We judge of the future by the past, and so I know its.

Is it not a bright outlook? He guiding you; you sustaining him; loving each other and helping each other in the ways of the church and unto the fullness of reconciliation with God in Christ?

I go to be the Bishop of an important Diocese. There's much hard work to be done in it. Had there not been I honestly say I should not have left you. Do you not rejoice that God has given me strength, and has allowed me to weave into the framework of that strength the rich experience of twenty years, that I may lay good hold of the work that is to be done?

Missouri has 114 counties in it, and the sixth largest city in the Union. And near three millions of population. It is the largest Diocese in number of souls in all America. Is it not permitted to you to be glad or proud that in this shut away missionary region of the far western mountains, by the kindness you have [8/9] shown him warming his heart, by the help you have given him, invigorating his spirit, by the need you have discovered to him evoking his growth, and by the spur and friction you have pressed upon him putting him to his mettle, you have fitted and trained the man to be called to this important post?

I may fail. God knoweth the trembling anxiety that lies shut within. But if, ere comes the day of death, I do succeed in doing, a little as He would have me, some of the great work that lies before, the success will be largely due to what you have done for me and have done in me during my dear home-life and my loved Bishop-life of these twenty years.

Then let's say a cheery good-bye. Cheery, because of deep and long-to-be-remembered thanks with which our hearts are full this day. Cheery, because there’s great good work to be done yet by you and me for God, if He spare our lives. Cheery, because if ever a people ought with abiding trust in God’s Providence, we ought now to thank God and take courage.

We will do it. Thank God, and take courage.

Dear brethren, so long valued and loved, I beseech you, let us kneel once more together in the Holy Communion of our blessed Lord, and pray Him "not weighing our merits but pardoning our offences" to keep us in His ways, and hold us in His hands, and save us in His love, that we be together again with Him, bye-and-bye.

"God of our fathers! by whose hand
Thy people still are blest;
[10] Be with us thro' our pilgrimage,
Conduct us to our rest.

O, spread Thy sheltering wings around
Till all our wanderings cease;
And at our Father's loved abode
Our souls arrive in peace."

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