I AM told that some of my parishioners, obliged to be absent from the service when this sermon was preached, desire to read it, and that others wish to keep a copy of it. It is but a slight sketch, being of the nature of a condensed report, purposely avoiding, as far as possible, appeals to personal feelings and all other unnecessary matter, and familiar in the manner. The Wardens and Vestry ask me to put it into print; and it is not a time for me to refuse any request they may make.
F. D. H.
MARCH 24, 1869.
St. Luke xvii. 10:--"WE ARE UNPROFITABLE SERVANTS: WE HAVE DONE THAT WHICH WAS OUR DUTY TO DO."
THIS Parish had its organization early in April, in the year 1860. Of the few men that took part in that measure, one, who manifested his interest in it, as he did the whole of his evenly-balanced character, with a remarkable harmony of earnestness and gentleness, always illustrating a decided religious faith through genial manners, Mr. HENRY TIMMINS, passed from the works and worship of this world at the beginning of the autumn of 1863. He was buried, on the 7th of September, from Emmanuel Church. I write that name, "Emmanuel," in connection with his own, because I can recall the warmth of devotional expression and the animated look with which he seized and dwelt upon it, when it was proposed for our parochial title. The last time I remember speaking with him was after one of our morning services in June, just before he left his home for the Summer, when he remained to confer about the building of the Chapel, then just contemplated. The Parish owes much, as I do, to his efficiency and liberality. He seemed to me to unite [3/4] some of the best traits of the nation of his birth with those that belong to the land of his adoption; and he loved his Church better than either. He counted it a part of his privilege and his loyalty to God to be in his place as a worshipper not only on Sundays but on the other days of prayer in the week; and it is one of the precious things in this sanctuary that a permanent memorial of him makes a portion of the structure.
Simultaneously with the formation of the Parish, and even earlier I think, an informal engagement was made with me to take the charge. A definite invitation to the Rectorship was given me and accepted at the following Easter. Meantime, our services had begun, being held for the first time in a hall of the Mechanics' Charitable Association, at the corner of Bedford and Chauncy Streets, on the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, the sixteenth day of September. There we continued till the completion of this Church, which seven years of common praises and prayers have since made exceedingly 'dear, and where we first offered our thanksgivings to Him who had indeed been, and has ever been up to this hour, "God with us," on the 15th of December, 1861. Nothing but extraordinary vigilance and energy on the part of the building committee and the architect, combining with a protracted term of weather exceptionally favorable to out-of-door mechanical employments, could account for the rapidity with which the work was done. The corner-stone had been laid, with fit ceremonies, only on the 17th of the preceding June, just six months before our occupying; a degree of despatch, with no sacrifice of thoroughness or finish, not paralleled, I presume, in any ecclesiastical edifice, of the same materials [4/5] and dimensions, in this community, if anywhere. The consecration-service was conducted by the Right Reverend the Bishop of the Diocese, the Rev. Dr. Muhlenberg, of St. Luke's Hospital, N.Y., preaching the sermon, on the twenty-fourth day of the April following; it being noticeable that the official events in our parish history have been apt to transpire just at this present season of the year.
The want of a convenient sacred place for our occasional social worship, and for the Christian instruction of both the younger and older classes of people, was supplied in the erection of the satisfactory Chapel-building immediately connected with the Church, two years later. That enterprise was initiated and carried through by the energy of a few public-spirited men, and chiefly by the personal attention of a silent officer of the Parish, whose deeds and gifts have been a signal proof, here and elsewhere, of his love of the habitations where God's honor dwelleth. [W. R. Lawrence.] The suitable and tasteful furnishing of the interior was due to the women of the congregation. Our obligations ought to be especially acknowledged to those of either sex, who have faithfully contributed their endeavors there, week by week, to teach the children of these families the best knowledge any of them can ever get. Public Christianity has its roots, for the most part, in a familiar, rudimentary indoctrination. No Parish life is complete, or very vigorous, without some system of accessory tuition and impression, accompanying its statelier forms; and it is apt to be found that the advantages drawn from the regular and higher ordinances are pretty nearly in proportion to [5/6] the care and pains expended on these elementary and intermediate ministrations of the week-day, the confirmation-class, and the Sunday school. It is plain to me, and I have reason to think it is so to some of you, that an opening of the spiritual biography of a good many souls among us would show that to this set of agencies, acting chiefly in the little Chapel, might be traced a considerable share not only of their liveliest religious impressions but of their clearest convictions of the truth, and their most positive and practical principles.
During the season next after, the limited assembly that first gathered having been gradually enlarged with the increasing population of the neighborhood, and the high cost of sittings prohibiting many from attending that desired to be with us, on the rector's request, at the guaranty of several subscribers for the new pews, and with the consent of the Parish, the transept was added to the main building, providing, in all, room for very nearly a thousand worshippers. This was in 1864.
The next extension of our accommodations began in 1867, when the Rector's Aid Society, a voluntary association of young men, undertook to give shape and fulfilment to a long-cherished and often-uttered wish of their minister, to remedy an inherent imperfection in our appointments,--one that necessarily attaches to every congregation in a pewed church and consisting chiefly of people of the wealthier condition,--by putting up a second sanctuary, open and free to all God's children, with a free-will offering of the worshippers at every regular service, but drawing the remainder of its support from the older branch of the Parish. This, we felt, would conform our entire plan more fairly to the [6/7] New-Testament teaching, to the primitive pattern of church-operation, to the ideal vision of open churches everywhere, which haunts persistently many earnest minds, and which will, beyond doubt, spread and grow more and more; and, in fact, to the unselfish instincts of humanity and the genius of a republican civilization. Responding cordially again to this new call upon your ability, ready as before to bless yourselves by blessing your less-favored neighbors in the charity and faith of the Gospel, you gave the needed amount of money; and, on the second day of April last,--marking another period in our line of anniversaries,--the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, Christ-like in its design, favorable in its situation, and the joy of many a grateful and happy heart, was separated from all unhallowed and common uses and solemnly made a free offering to Him who gave his life for the sheep. At the same time, the Rector's Aid Society, under whose hand the noble result was attained, secured, without debt, a piece of land adjoining, for a further benefit to the same class, in the form of wholesome, comfortable, and, at the same time, cheap tenements for their residence. This important part of the original plan now awaits its execution, and the beginning of a fund for it has already been created. Within the Chapel itself, a reverential and diversified ministry of Christian faith and Christian works has been going successfully on. I have been constantly aided there not only by a strong body of lay-workers but by excellent clerical assistants. [Rev. W. R. Huntington, Rev. C. H. Learoyd, Rev. George Denham, Rev. W. A. Holbrook, Rev. S. F. Holmes, Rev. T. E. Pattison.] The singing is by the congregation, led by a choir of [7/8] children. In the course of the present week, it is expected that the opening of a well-voiced organ, in the organ-chamber, will enrich these "services of praise," for the Easter festival,--leaving scarcely any thing, in the holy instrumentalities of the Lord's house, to be desired.
You have thus, my dear friends, a short sketch of one, and the most external, of the aspects of our Parish history,--its outward provisions and appointments. Our God having so made us, however, that, in this world, there must always be an interplaying and mutual influence between the spirit within and the form without, these events are not without their spiritual meaning,--both in the religious progress which, I trust, they indicate on your part, and in the reflex blessing they have brought, and will further bring, to you. Unless you should be moved, hereafter, to give greater architectural symmetry and convenience to your parish establishment, by a bell-tower and rectory, or to build other Free Chapels in parts of the city where the Saviour certainly wants them, your material tabernacle may be said to be finished.
There is, my beloved People, a second history. It is written in the pages of my Parish Record: it is written in far deeper letters--perhaps in letters of fire--on your own breasts; it is written in the Book of Remembrance, where all our dealings with God are stamped, and where, though much may be forgiven, through penitence and propitiation, nothing is ever put in by wrong, or left out by accident or oversight. It is in His keeping who counts our tears, sets the solitary in families, pours the waters of baptism, sheds the gifts of the [8/9] Holy Spirit on those that enter and are sealed under His covenants, and weighs the value of our gifts by the weight of the motives that prompt them. So it is the record of burials, marriages, baptisms, confirmations, charities.
In both branches of the Parish, three hundred and fifty-eight children have received, at the Font of Heavenly Grace in the first sacrament, the baptism of water and the Holy Ghost, to the mystical washing away of sin, with the signs of repentance and faith. By the same act, one hundred and eleven grown persons have, in their own behalf, been translated into the visible kingdom of God's dear Son, and have put on Christ in the face of the world. You that have so received Christ Jesus, walk ye in Him, rooted in his charity, 'built up in His most holy faith! Vows thus taken and sealed, and the heavenly helps thus graciously obtained, have been re-affirmed and replenished, at the laying on of hands, for fresh supplies from the Unseen Hand that feeds us all the wilderness through, by three hundred and fifty-five souls, confirmed. You that have so begun a good work, go forward in it, renewing your strength with that food, watching unto prayer, fighting unto death! The benediction granted at Cana, in Galilee,--Christ's blessing on the sanctity of Christian wedlock, with the Church's strict charge as to its inviolability,--has been pronounced one hundred and twenty-seven times. One hundred and ninety-two times, as the bodies of our brothers and sisters--of fathers and mothers, of little children, of soldiers borne home with heroic honors from battle-fields--have been committed to Him who is the Resurrection and the Life, we have offered the burial [9/10] prayers that treat us all alike, dismissing each one alone to the judgment of Christ. You have given, in all, for charitable purposes, within the Parish and without, for all departments of Christian missions, education of ministers, mercies to men's bodies and souls, within my knowledge, so that I could register it, $151,715.12. If you do not feel poorer to-day for this returning of a part of what God has lent you into His own treasury for His own uses, you will not reckon it to yourselves as a sacrifice: if you do feel poorer, you will call it a sacrifice of cheerfulness and obedience; in either case, you will not be weary of such well-doing, or stint it in the least in the time to come. You will say with me, however the figures sound, It is not very much. We have done' only what it was our duty to do, and less. We have not been, to God, very profitable or very perfect servants.
No, my dear brethren, not very profitable, not very perfect. Yet, as between you and me, it is right, and it is very delightful for me, to make mention of another department of this eight years' history, which is a history of a united and steady effort, through a system of diverse and yet related activities, to give practical embodiment to the power of that Faith of the Church which works by love,--a history of parish charities. What has actually been done and expended, and in what ways, so far as human eyes could see it, has been made known through annual reports. Through five or six channels, we have sought to convey to our brethren in the social family, less provided than we are, the gifts and grace of God's providence and Gospel, at the same time proclaiming our belief that the direct business of [10/11] the Bride of Christ, as such, in the world, is to be always fulfilling her office as a minister of every kind of benefaction and help to the children of men, her hands always stretched out, in blessing, her eyes always looking tenderly on misery, the law of kindness always on her lips, while in her creed she testifies explicitly for Jesus. We began on this conviction. The devotional and the humane functions of the Church have gone on, not as efficiently as they might in better hands, but, in theory and in fact, in parallel lines, side by side, from the very beginning, as all life grows by taking in and giving out If we have accomplished no signal reformations we have, at least, made a confession of what we think the Church of Christ needs to do to give it its natural attraction to the people, and its right power over the world. My object here, however, is rather to thank those of you--they are no inconsiderable proportion of your whole number--who have so cheerfully entered into my plans, promoting them by your personal exertions, furthering them by your offerings, and, as I believe, holding them up most of all by your prayers. Not a little has been done by the men, in visiting, in superintending and teaching in the Sunday Schools, in leading the devotional music, in building, and in keeping accounts. But, as usual, the greater share of these sacred honors has been borne by the successors of those women named in the New Testament who followed Jesus and ministered to him out of their affection, nearly a hundred of them being generally in some measure connected with those services at once. Four or five have consecrated to them the larger part of their time and strength, ranking in reality, if not in the name, with the deaconesses [11/12] that the Apostles admitted to the eminence of a special station in the Church.
It would be an inexcusably superficial treatment of the occasion, if we were to leave it out of sight that there is another history still. It is that which lies altogether underneath the range of our busiest doings, or even our human sympathies. It is that in which every true minister of Christ has his deepest concern and will find his heaviest responsibility. It is that for which, as we shall all see at last, churches are built, a ministry is commissioned, and the Saviour came. It is that which could be described only in an answer to the unanswerable questions, How many souls have been actually reached in their inmost life by the renewing and sanctifying power of the Spirit of God? How many have passed, spiritually, from death to life? How many have conquered and renounced themselves, to become faithful soldiers and servants to their life's end? How many--by prayers and arguments and appeals, by instruction and intercession, by private entreaty and public fidelity, by courage and humility in speech, and by single-mindedness of living, and by all the discipline and intercourse we have had in common--have been awakened out of sleep? How many have been trained up, step by step, into the attainable likeness to the Son of Man? How many have been ripened in their sainthood, and established in the faith unto the end? You can easily imagine, I suppose, with what kind of feelings I now inquire thus with myself, and what solemnity it must give to these days of my passing over from one principal division of my ministerial life to another. Have not the same questions to you also a great deal of meaning? Are you likely to [12/13] overrate what depends upon. them? Should you think it strange if I must feel that in almost every remaining breath given me while I am with you, I ought to be filling out, if I can, what is yet lacking in my awful ambassadorship to you, and keep repeating only, "I beseech you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God"?
No mortal hand can uncover the secrets of that record. We must leave it,--till the other Book is opened, where the names are written, or where they will not be found written. Eight years make a not very long period. But it will prove to have been long enough to determine, one way or another, for many here, the grand issue of the soul,--life for ever with God, or death in self and sin.
There can be no denying that, at different epochs, in different states of society and fashions of thought and drifts of intellectual speculation, an administration of the Gospel and the Church, to be of much account, or to meet effectively the wants it pretends to answer, must vary its methods,--suiting the operation to the attitude of the public mind. For the most part, the religious progress of the Race, under its supernatural direction, but encountering the shifting and fickle elements of human nature in a great diversity of conditions, runs in an irregular path. It is a jerking motion, consisting largely of one-sided impulses and the working out of particular ideas, with more or less disproportion, extravagance, or defect, leaving it for a large cycle to restore the balance and to complete the symmetry. The apostle Paul seems to admit this when he counsels a right dividing of the Word of Truth, as well as in his own wonderfully adaptive and diversified practice,--insisting only [13/14] on an unalterable adherence to the eternal sameness of one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. What is called "preaching to the age" becomes false and dangerous only when it tampers with the eternal verities, either in substance or in spirit, for the sake of immediate and showy results. Looking back, if I were to try to fix on the special points of Christian truth--the special doctrines, if you please--that I have felt most urged to put conspicuously forward, I should say they have been the doctrine of the direct and living intercourse of Jesus Christ our Saviour with His people, in the communication of Himself to their hearts, by the Holy Spirit and through holy ordinances, in contradistinction from that of an absent or merely remembered Lord, and a mere past or future salvation; the doctrine of the Cross, as resting on the fact of an actual Sacrifice of redemption, once for all, for sin, but including the necessity of a personal bearing of the cross, on the believer's part, in all common life; the doctrine that Christian duty is more of privilege than of constraint, as to its richest fruits and strongest attraction; the doctrine of incessant training and continual growth in all that pertains to holiness and eternal life, rather than of paroxysm or sentiment; and the doctrine that salvation is secure in proportion as it comes by a vital and active principle of faith wrought into the soul, working outwardly, rather than an arrangement made outside of us. It would tempt me too far into the region of ordinary discourse, for the time afforded us, if I were to do any thing more respecting these chief way-marks of my pulpit undertakings among you, than simply to record them.
In ecclesiastical matters, I have studiously preferred [14/15] those ways of rendering the Church's service which are usual and familiar, to any innovations upon them, not so much because I would restrict any safe liberty, as because I consider any distraction of the people's mind in worship a grave evil. Against all partisanship within our Catholic brotherhood I need not tell you I have offered frequent warnings and a steady resistance. It is the ruin of all peace, a poison to all piety, and a flagrant reproach to Him who breathed the prayer written in the 17th of St. John. If you knew the attempts that have been sometimes made, on either side, but not, I thank God, among you, to push me into a party position, I suspect you would admit that the maintaining of this independence (held, doubtless, by a great majority in our Church) has not been the least onerous of my undertakings. I have never been in a Convention of our Church where I have not voted for men of each of the two principal "parties," always finding a plenty of men, in both, that deserved confidence. I have always helped to support missionaries standing on the right and the left, if they stood clear of censure before the authorities, and were devoted to their work, for the sake of comprehension. I have never seen any reason to separate myself from the general, broad, benevolent agencies of the Church, which were faithfully doing her work when I joined her Communion. I believe most of you have agreed with me in this judgment. It will be easy enough for you, at any time, to be swayed from it, hither or thither; for there are men, excellent in every other respect, who identify their own school of opinion exclusively with the great and deep Gospel of our Lord. It is little to say that it will be a day of changed [15/16] character with you, when you yield to such temptations: it will be a day of disaster, because of division, and the beginning of death. The Holy Spirit, with all His gracious eagerness to enter men's hearts to make them holy, can hardly force His way in upon those that are suspecting and misjudging one another, instead of striving together against the great enemy that confronts them all alike,--the antichrist of unbelief and sin.
It is not unusual, I believe, for clergymen, laying down a pastorship, to make some profession of the motives and temper that have actuated them. I can only say, for one, that I should recoil, with inexpressible aversion, from any avouchment of that sort, partly because I suspect we can seldom give a more correct account of ourselves than those we have lived with might give of us; partly because, if these eight years of observation have not acquainted you with my purposes, it is too late to do it now with words; but more than all, I am sure, because I am far more conscious of what has been deficient, weak, and poor, than of any thing satisfactory. St. Paul, inspired and immortal, with the elders at Miletus, might claim to have kept back nothing that was profitable, and, in his old age, might challenge the young Bishop of Ephesus to bear witness that he had fought a good fight all along. I can venture on no margin of such assertions, and am only amazed when I hear his majestic words so applied. The one constantly renewed surprise of my public ministry has been the degree of willingness men have seemed to feel in extending their favor to it. You have not been in the habit of telling me of my faults, or of making me feel them much in other ways: [16/17] I am not going to dwell upon them now; but have always known that you could name them if you would. The affecting terms used in the resolutions adopted by the proprietors, on the 4th of February, I have left purposely unacknowledged till this moment, that I might do it, with all the gratitude of which I am capable, in the presence of the whole congregation, for which they purport to speak. Partial as such testimonials almost always are, these are certainly a much more accurate token of your friendly disposition than of my deservings. I shall preserve them, carefully and affectionately, with those of the Wardens and Vestry, as long as I live; but, be assured, I have another tablet besides these of paper and parchment, and on that I shall carry with me the signature of your good-will wherever I go.
It was my strong desire, when I was first called away, to find time to visit you all once more in your houses, before my consecration; and it was with pain that I saw myself obliged to relinquish this act of pastoral and personal friendship. At another season of the year, when imperative public duties were less urgent, I might possibly have accomplished it. But these, together with a burdensome correspondence, of late largely increased, and some incidental public engagements, have put it completely out of my power. Allow me to say that, in all the official as well as personal relations we have had together, I can remember nothing on your part but what is honorable and generous; and this I think of with great confidence and pleasure, as a pledge to my successor, whoever he may be. The Parish has had, thus far, only [17/18] four Wardens. [E. S. Rand, W. R. Lawrence, B. T. Reed, E. R. Mudge.] I pray God to bless each of them for their good words and good deeds,--not omitting a special allusion to one of their number, eminently serviceable while he held office, by his professional accuracy and his prompt action, now seeking the restoration of impaired health in foreign travel. [E. S. Rand.] It has always had reasonable vestrymen. It has enjoyed and appreciated, during most of the years, the accomplished and obliging assistance, in the worship, of a leader of the Church music who has known how to harmonize the most wonderful and beautiful of the arts with the lessons of religious Faith; [S. A. Bancroft.] and of choirs under his direction whose conduct has not contradicted their song. It has been indebted, too, in a good measure, for the decorum and order of God's temple, to a reverential and churchly sexton, [James Haynes.] who, in his care for the worshippers, has never forgotten for an instant the presence of that Divine Master of the place, who is worshipped. I doubt whether there has been anywhere a ministry of the same duration so entirely undisturbed by any expressed differences or annoyances, so unshadowed by misfortunes, or with more mutual agreement among the parishioners. It is owing, I like to believe, as much to you as to me; and therefore it would be singular if it should not continue to be so when another messenger and director takes my place. Not only your implied contract of fair judgment, but your pecuniary offers,--for they were always offers, not stipulations,--have been punctually and more than punctually fulfilled. Of late, my [18/19] income, taken together, has been more, I suppose, than that of any other minister in New England. This being so, I take some satisfaction, on account of my less compensated brethren,--some of whom live I really cannot conceive how,--in adding the remark that I still lay down my office here with no more of this world's goods in possession than I had when I came among you. The costliness of seats in the Church has always troubled me, as operating either to exclude or to inconvenience a class of worshippers as desirable as any. Apart from my hire, I have received too many other marks of your care for my comfort, and that of my family, to make it easy for me to pass the subject by untouched.
My dearly beloved brethren, friends, and fellow-worshippers, ever since I had notice, through the voice of the Church, that the Master had another post for me, and especially during all this solemn, leave-taking Lent, when, I have occasionally turned my thoughts from the absorbing occupations here to the untried office assigned me, I have wondered how I could spare all the intimate and tender attachments which are possible to a minister and his family only in pastoral relations. After the air has been so warmed for us, all our lives, by affections strengthening every day, our hearts will be likely to find almost any other climate less genial and less comforting. We have endeavored to subordinate what is personal to the claims of the Kingdom of God. Less worthy influences may have stolen in unawares; and, at any rate, I have no idea of setting up a claim for the merits of a great sacrifice. I only ask that you will hold in occasional recollection my dependence on the Spirit of God, my inexperience in the way I am to take, and my need to be kept, [19/20] through the power of your Christian intercessions, a wakeful watchman, a wise builder, a diligent missionary, a patient and impartial pastor of a large and vigorous Flock, led hitherto by master-shepherds; and though I do not now and shall never dare to appropriate to myself the grand Apostle's self-vindications in his consciousness of a blameless apostleship, I may take up--instead of bidding you farewell--a few of his tender words, as fit and weighty here as to the churches of the East: Only let your conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel. Continue in the faith, grounded and settled; and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel. We pray always for you, that God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil the work of faith with power. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men,--to the end he may establish your hearts unblamably in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, with all his saints!"
To the Wardens and Vestry of the Parish of Emmanuel Church.
DEAR FRIENDS,--As appears by the enclosed despatch from Bishop Coxe, Dr. Beach, and Judge Comstock, a committee of the late Convention of the Diocese of Central New York, I have been elected to the Episcopate of that Diocese. A more formal communication of the same fact, I am told, is on its way, by the hands of the same committee. This solemn call to a high and sacred office, attended by indications from which God does not seem to have withholden the favor of His own providence, has been, I need hardly assure you, carefully weighed, with anxious prayers for Divine direction. Among other considerations leading me to an acceptance of the invitation, are the following:--
1. The office itself has been made, by the Divine appointment, and by the practice and spirit of the Church from the beginning, to be of commanding importance. Without agreeing with those who regard an election to it as obligatory, I cannot fail to see that it invests the officer with an influence for good, gives him advantages for both action and authority, and opens to him opportunities for religious usefulness, far beyond those within the reach of any parish clergyman, however favorably situated.
2. The Diocese that has chosen me is shown to be eminently desirable by the large and ripe field it presents for Church extension and missionary labor, by its present condition, and especially by the harmony and mutual confidence prevailing among its clergy and laity. They assure me of their eagerness to be led to systematic and determined work for Christ.
3. The Parish of Emmanuel Church, always dear to me by a thousand attachments and kindnesses, has never been in a better condition for being deprived of a rector and pastor, I believe, than now. With its sittings all in use, with entire internal unity of feeling and action; with its free chapel built, out of debt, and in full operation, and ample resources of every kind, [21/22] it must be confessed to be one of the very strongest and most desirable parishes in the land.
4. If my personal welfare is worthy to be taken into the account at all,--it is of much less moment than the reasons I have named,--while I am fully sensible of the sore sacrifices to be made in parting from you, and from all that makes my present position delightful, yet I am assured, by competent advisers, that, after twenty-six years of unremitted professional work in this community, there may reasonably be expected to be a husbanding of health, and a wise economy of the materials both of physical and intellectual life, in the change of occupation and of cares which this transfer would probably bring, and that, too, without loss to the good cause and the great harvest.
I therefore decide, with deep respect and cordial affection and gratitude towards you all, to lay down in your hands the trust committed to me eight years ago, when our parish was organized, and to resign its ministerial charge and direction. I desire that this resignation should take effect next Easter.
This is not a time or place for the expression of feelings. But you will let me say that, always and everywhere, it will be accounted the best honor and the dearest public satisfaction of my life thus far, to have been the first Rector of Emmanuel Church.
I am, dear brethren, very faithfully and affectionately yours in the Gospel,
(Signed) F. D. HUNTINGTON.
BOSTON, Jan. 18, 1869.
On the same day that this communication was received by the Wardens and Vestry, a committee of their number, consisting of B. T. Reed, Esq., E. R. Mudge, Esq., Judge Abbott, and Elias Merwin, Esq., waited upon their Rector, presenting to him every consideration calculated to induce him to remain in his present charge, and urging him to consider further the question of a separation. Dr. Huntington readily assented to this latter suggestion, but without seeing reason afterwards to change his decision.
At a meeting of the Wardens and Vestry of Emmanuel Church, held on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 1869, the following resolutions were offered by Mr. Merwin, and unanimously adopted:--
Resolved, That we receive the resignation of the Rev. Frederick D. Huntington, D.D., as Rector of Emmanuel Parish, with the deep emotion which the dissolution of a relation so sacred and cordial, and which to us has been [22/23] so invaluable and blessed, cannot fail to awaken. We regretfully surrender our beloved Rector and friend, in obedience to a higher and more imperative demand of the Great Head of the Church.
We cannot do so, however, without expressing, though very inadequately, our most grateful appreciation of the unfailing sympathy as a friend, the fidelity as a pastor, the wisdom, pathos, and eloquence as a preacher, the soundness, learning, and charity as a Churchman, the pacific counsels, the unceasing labors, and the entire devotion to the cause of Christ in His Church, which have rendered signal the eight years of Rev. Dr: Huntington's Rectorship in this parish, and which, under the blessing of Heaven, have been rewarded with such rich and extraordinary fruits.
We tender him our respectful congratulations upon his elevation to the high and sacred office of Bishop in the Church of God.
We desire, also, to assure him of our most affectionate and devout wishes that the usefulness and success which make his loss so great to us, may, in still larger measure, crown his labors in the wider and more commanding position to which he is called.
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be communicated to the Rev. Dr. Huntington, and also that they be entered upon the records of the Wardens and Vestry.
BENJAMIN T. REED, Senior Warden.
E. R. MUDGE, Junior Warden.
J. G. ABBOTT. ELIAS MERWIN.
BENJ. F. NOURSE. CHAS. P. GARDINER.
THOS. D. TOWNSEND. ALEXANDER H. RICE.
GEO. P. DENNY. C. O. WHITMORE.
SAML. T. DANA. WM. FAXON.
S. J. M. HOMER.
BOSTON, Feb. 2, 1869.
Rev. F. D. Huntington, D.D.
DEAR SIR,--At a special meeting of the proprietors of Emmanuel Church, held last evening, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:--
Resolved, That the proprietors of Emmanuel Church have received the announcement of the resignation by the Rev. Dr. Huntington of his charge as Rector of this parish, with emotions of peculiar, and more than ordinary regret.
We are well aware that language is inadequate to express the universal sorrow thus occasioned, but we cannot part with our beloved Rector and pastor without placing upon our records, as far as it is possible to do so, our sense of this severe and, as it seems to us, irreparable loss to our parish, to our community, and to the Church in New England.
 To us, who have been so fortunate in being his parishioners, profiting by the wisdom of his counsels, encouraged by his sympathy, stirred by his eloquence, urged by his zeal, blessed by his Christian example, and happy under his faithful and affectionate pastoral care, the separation is indeed severe; but it is peculiarly so, when we remember that our flock has known no other shepherd, and that, gathering around our beloved pastor, now leaving us, and drawn together by him, we first associated ourselves in the organization of this church.
In the Church in New England his place can hardly be filled. It owes much, under God, to his enterprising zeal, his sound discretion, his high standard of professional duty, his pacific counsels, and, above all, to his noble and manly stand, without fear of reproach, in the cause of his Great Master, in behalf of the great doctrines of our faith.
Resolved, That, in accepting the resignation of our pastor and Rector, we are fully satisfied with the reasons which he has so kindly submitted to us, and are assured that, in his decision, he has sought only the glory of God and the welfare of His holy Church.
We offer him our warmest congratulations and sympathy, in view of the sacred office to which he is called, and fervently invoke the blessing of Heaven that his life and strength may be graciously spared for yet greater usefulness in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Wardens are requested to communicate these resolutions to the Rev. Dr. Huntington.
Very respectfully your obedient servant,
B. T. REED, Senior Warden.