THE MYSTERIES OF GOD.
Dean of the General Theological Seminary, N.Y.
201-213 EAST TWELFTH STREET.
ALFRED STUBBS, PRIEST AND DOCTOR, Born in Turk's Island, W.I., 12 May, A.D. 1815.
Made Deacon, in New York, 30 June, A.D. 1839.
Ordered Priest, in New Brunswick, N.J., 1 May, A.D. 1840.
Rector of Christ Church, New Brunswick, N.J., A.D. 1839-1882.
Senior Presbyter of the Diocese of New Jersey.
Fell asleep in Christ, 12 December, A.D. 1882.
"Faithful unto Death."
"LET A MAN SO ACCOUNT OF US, AS OF THE MINISTERS OF CHRIST, AND STEWARDS OF THE MYSTERIES OF GOD."--I Cor. iv. 14.
THE words of the text are taken from the Epistle for the Sunday after we had committed to the ground all that was mortal of your late beloved pastor. As I listened to them, with my thoughts still lingering on the memory of him, who had stood to me in the varied relations of pastor and teacher, brother and friend, they appeared to describe most truthfully the office which he ever held as his highest honor, and the character for which he most desired to be esteemed. Indeed, I believe if any man had asked him what was the height of his ambition, he would immediately have replied "to be a devoted minister of Christ and a faithful steward of the mysteries of God." They seem, therefore, a fitting theme for the memorial discourse which your Bishop and the Clergy assembled at the funeral have asked me to deliver in your presence to-day.
In the earlier portion of the Epistle from which, the text is taken, the Apostle Paul had been compelled to reprove the Corinthian disciples for the divisions and party contentions which had arisen among them, to the great hindrance of the gospel and the disturbance of the Church. These divisions had been chiefly stirred up, as in all ages of the Church, by a few conceited men, who used their gift of eloquence to bring St. Paul's simple preaching of the gospel, with his lack of personal presence and slowness of utterance, into popular contempt. His letters, they admitted, were weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence, they said, was weak, and his speech contemptible. [2 Cor. x. 10.] As usual, this led to invidious comparisons between their teachers,cwhile those who had popular gifts were unduly magnified, others, who were equally, if not more, faithful in the work of their ministry, were unduly disregarded,cand the disciples began to distinguish themselves by their adherence to this or that teacher under whose ministry they had enrolled themselves, and by whose instruction they thought they were most benefited. In opposition to such carnal distinctions, St. Paul reminds them that he and his fellow-laborers were not like worldly philosophers, ambitious of advancing new doctrines and of founding schools to be called after their own names, but simply the servants of a common Master, stewards of His treasures, and, though endowed with different capacities, yet sent out with the same commission to gather His sheep, which are scattered abroad, into His fold, and each, in his appointed place, to feed the flock of God which He purchased with His blood. "Therefore," the Apostle writes, "let no man glory in men"; but "let every man so account of us," not as the messengers of an earthly master, or as preachers of ourselves, moved by our own personal ends and the desire of vain glory, but as "the ministers or servants of Christ" (or as the word in the original signifies), the under-rowers of the vessel which Christ commands, and as the "stewards of His treasures," dispensing, by His direction, His gifts, "the mysteries of God"cthose mysterious truths made known by His revelation, such as the incarnation of the second Person of the Ever-blessed Trinity, the passion, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, by which we have been redeemed and justified, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who sanctifieth us and all the people of God, and the sacraments of the gospel, which are not only symbols and pledges of Divine blessings,. but means by which God's grace is mysteriously conveyed to fallen man.
In such an office ministers, as the Apostle teaches, are not to be held accountable for lack of worldly skill or popular gifts, which God has not given them, but solely for the faithfulness with which they discharge its duties and make use of the talents entrusted to them. Not for the want of art or ornament or great abilities are we, who are the stewards of God's mysteries, to be called to account; not by the brightness of our parts, the sparkling beauties of our style, the eloquence of our speech, the largeness of our learning, are we, thank God, to be judged; but by the faithfulness with which we have sought to advance God's glory and kingdom among men, by the diligence with which we have watched over our flocks, rightly dividing the word of God to comfort the despondent, to reprove the careless, to convince the sinners of their wickedness, and by the care with which we have dispensed the sacraments to strengthen the faith and to cleanse the souls of those who have been entrusted to our care. In this view of our office, as faithful ministers of Christ, we dare not lay much stress upon the praise or the censure of our fellow men. With us it must be, as the Apostle tells us, "a very small thing," whether the people prefer our or other's mode of teaching; not small indeed in the sense of indifference to their good opinion, but very small in comparison with that great judgment which God, the righteous Judge, shall pass upon us when we shall stand before His tribunal to give an account of our stewardship. Nor can we even judge ourselves; for though we may think that we are free from blame in our ministry, end know nothing against ourselves, yet are we "not hereby justified," for He, "unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid "is alone able to judge intelligently and impartially of the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of those to whom He has entrusted the ministry of His word and the stewardship of His mysteries. Learn then, dear brethren, from the Apostle to hesitate when you are tempted to pass judgment on your teachers. God has reserved that office for Himself. "Who art thou (is His word to us) that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth." [Rom. xiv. 4.] Rather "remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation," [Heb. xiii. 7.] and "esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake," [I Thess. v. 13.] praying always for them, as the Apostle teaches, "that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified,cand that they may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith." [2 Thess. iii. 1, 2.]
Far be it from me, therefore, to-day to sit in judgment on the ministry of the dear friend and brother who has gone to give an account of his stewardship, for that would be intruding into the province which our Lord and Master has reserved to Himself. My purpose shall be simply to gather up, as best I may, some records of his noble life and self-denying ministry, all spent in this ancient parish, and bring home to your hearts and to my own some of the salient points by which he "being dead yet speaketh."
ALFRED STUBBS was born on May 12, 1815. Of his ancestors we have been able to gather but little information. His grand-uncle, Wade Stubbs, came to this country when it was held as a colony of Great Britain, and purchased landed estates in Georgia and Florida. A strict Royalist, he left it at the breaking out of the Revolution, taking with him his slaves and other property, and settled in the Island of Grand Key, the easternmost island of the Bahamas, in the Turk's Island group. Here he was joined by his nephew (the father of your late Rector), Henshall Stubbs, from Cheshire, England, who afterward married Jane Boyer, from the Island of Bermuda. Dr. Stubbs was the youngest of their six children. We know not much of his parents, excepting that he was accustomed to say, that he owed all that was good in him to the influence of his mother. Blessed with large wealth, they sent their children to this country for education, "as England was at that time too distant for a mother's love." Alfred arrived in New York at the age of fourteen, in June, 1829, and was entered in a school kept at Bloomingdale, by a clergyman of the name of Fitch. Afterward he attended a school in Brooklyn, kept by Mr. Theodore Eames, a graduate of Yale College. Under his influence he entered Yale College, from which he was graduated in 1835. With very imperfect preparation for the studies of the college course, they soon became irksome to him, and he spent most of his time in diligently reading the best English literature, and acquiring that pure style of English undefiled which characterized all his sermons and writings.
On his return to his home in the West Indies, where he expected to spend his life, a merciful preservation from shipwreck decided him to study for the ministry. He again sailed for New York, and entered the General Theological Seminary in 1836. His life work thus decided, he devoted himself, with all the earnestness of his ardent temperament, to preparation for it; and under the guidance of the able Faculty, in which were such men as Turner, and Wilson, and Whittingham, and Onderdonk, and Seabury, and Haight, then in the fulness of their powers, he laid the foundation of that intimate knowledge of the works of the soundest and best divines of our Mother Church, for which he was distinguished in his later years. During his Seminary course, though of a delicate, nervous organization, he won the respect of his teachers and classmates as a consistent Christian, a hard student, a good scholar, and a diligent seeker of the Truth,-his frequent questions to the professors, while in class, betraying a thoughtful and enquiring mind. Even at that early day he manifested his true churchmanship and adherence to sound principles, by openly condemning the action of some of his fellow-students, who established a prayer meeting in one of their rooms at the same hour as the chapel service. He was graduated in 1839; made Deacon, with several of his classmates, in the Church of the Annunciation, New York City, by Bishop Benjamin T. Onderdonk, shortly after his graduation (June 30, 1839); and advanced to the Priesthood by Bishop Doane, in Christ Church, New Brunswick, N. J., on the feast of St. Philip and St. James, May 1st, in the following year. [He was presented for ordination to the Priesthood by his warm personal friend, the Rev. Dr. John D. Ogilby, afterward Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the General Theological Seminary, and on whose recommendation he had been elected to the Rectorship. In many traits of character Dr. Ogilby and Dr. Stubbs were very much alike. The mortal remains of both now lie, not far from each other, in the same churchyard, awaiting the resurrection at the last day. By a singular coincidence, the widow of Dr. Ogilby, who survived her husband more than thirty years, fell asleep and was buried but a few hours after Dr. Stubbs.] While performing temporary duty in St. Luke's Church, St. Albans, Vermont, during the absence of its rector, he was unanimously elected, while still a Deacon, on October 29, 1839, as Rector of this ancient parish, to succeed the Rev. John Croes, whose advancing years had induced him to seek relief from the cares of the parish, "to the great sorrow of many of his beloved parishioners and friends." The church edifice, although of stone, was at that time but a small building, in poor repair, and the congregation feeble in comparison with that of to-day. I still retain a vivid recollection of the depressing effect of the cheerless old church, with its time-stained, white-washed walls, broken green blinds, and poor furniture, when, four years later, I first attended its services as a boy, on the removal of my family from New York. But it was then a day of small things for our Church in this country, and the parish held a prominence which its size would scarcely seem to warrant, when young Stubbs, then but twenty-four years of age, was called to its Rectorship.
It was in this church that the first step toward the forming of a collective body of the Episcopal Church in the United States was taken (through the medium of the Rev. Abraham Beach, then its rector), at a meeting of a few clergymen of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, held in it on May 13 and 14, 1784. [Bishop White's Memoirs of the Protestant Episcopal Church, pp. 22 and 78.] And the parish had had, during the course of its history, among its rectors, some of the most eminent men that have adorned the American Church. "Here it was the Apostolic Bishop Seabury commenced his missionary labors; here it was that the zealous, lion-hearted Bishop Hobart ministered in the dawn of his illustrious career; here, one who had sat at his feet and imbibed his spirit, the man of his mould and model, that 'great hearted shepherd' (Bishop George Washington Doane), was chosen to receive his pastoral crook and sceptre, and began here his pastoral Episcopate; and here it was that the faithful Bishop Croes 'finished the work which was given him to do.'" [Among others whose services ought also to be held in worthy remembrance are the first missionary, Mr. Wood, who was afterward distinguished for his labors among the Indians in Nova Scotia; the eminently useful and amiable Mr. MacKean, of whom it was said "a better man was never in the Society's service;" the learned and eloquent Leonard Cutting; the prudent and faithful Abraham Beach, who spent twenty years in active duty here; and lastly, Dr. Chandler, "whose praise is in all the Church," who, while yet a catechist, sustained the services, when the clergy were driven, or fled from their posts of duty.cThe Records of Christ Church, by the Rev. Alfred Stubbs, D.D.]
At the time of Dr. Stubbs's election to the Rectorship, the congregation was not only small in numbers, but, in consequence of being "divided against itself," in a state of great depression, and well nigh "brought to desolation." But he immediately set himself to work to bring about a different state of affairs. He gathered a Bible class, which he met every week, and at once began what was then almost unknown in our churchcservices on all Holy Days, and the public catechizing of the children once a month in the church, in place of the afternoon sermon. [It would be far better for both pastor and people if this public catechizing of the children was the rule in every parish.] In less than six months after entering on his duties, he reports that the congregation had begun to care for the things of the Lord's House, by providing a set of new books, lamps, and surplice for the church, and enlarging and handsomely furnishing the vestry-room.
At the first visitation of Bishop Doane to the parish, after Dr. Stubbs's admission to the Priesthood, he was instituted by the Bishop into the Rectorship, on the Festival of St. Simon and St. Jude, October 28, 1840. It was on this occasion the Bishop preached the remarkable sermon, which was then, by request, first published, and which made so deep an impression, entitled, "The Faith once delivered to the Saints."
The congregation, under the pastoral care of the new Rector, steadily increased in numbers and strength. Nearly every year he was able to report some additional gift to the House of God, and the offices thereof. Mindful of his ordination vow to "maintain and set forward quietness, peace and love among all Christian people, and especially among them committed to his charge," he steadfastly directed his efforts to heal the divisions which were so rife in the parish when he was placed in charge of it. His efforts were blessed with success, and year after year, as though it was ever the one thing on his heart, he alluded to it in his Convention reports, in some such statement as this:c"During the past year the congregation has increased in numbers; and the harmony and peace that prevail encourage the hope that it is also increasing in spirituality;" or, again, "The parish is in a prosperous condition. Peace is within our walls, and the blessing of the God of love and peace is with us."
In 1846, through the liberality of members of the congregation, a valuable house and lot was purchased for a Parsonage.
Yet, even at this period, he was himself from his poverty the chief contributor to its support, like the apostle, "his own hands ministering unto his necessities" and to those of his household, and like his predecessor, the first Bishop of New Jersey, compelled to keep a school, in addition to the care of the parish, to eke out his support. [His family estate had been dissipated by the emancipation of the slaves in the West Indies. Acts xx. 34.] How great a cross this was to him may be best gathered from his own words; and would that parishes which are willing still to starve themselves, by leaving their pastors no other alternative, lay them to heart. "Of all men in this world (he says), the parish Priest is the last man who should be the Teacher of a school. In order to feed the lambs of his flock, as he is expressly commanded to guide and instruct the children of his charge, he must gain their esteem and their affection. If they do not regard him as a Father and a Friend, if they cannot approach him with confidence and love, he can have no influence over them, and can do them little good."
"Now, they will rarely entertain such feelings for the man who sustains toward them the relation of a School-master. In that capacity, to be faithful, the individual must exercise discipline, and sometimes apparent severity. And children will generally regard such a person with dread, if not with aversion. How then can they view him, for whom they entertain such feelings, in the light of a Pastor, whom they should at all times approach with feelings of filial attachment? Thus a clergyman can hardly take a surer means of sacrificing the affection of the younger members of his flock, than by uniting with his clerical functions the duties of the Academy." [The Records of Christ Church, p. 28.]
In 1850, having succeeded in rescuing the parish from its financial embarrassments, and in placing it in a prosperous condition, he expressed a wish to retire from its Rectorship, and proffered his resignation to the Vestry. This the Vestry, to their credit, immediately refused to receive, assuring him through a special committee of the earnest and affectionate feeling which the congregation entertained toward him, and urging him to retain his Rectorship, on the ground that he had "triumphed over past difficulties, and his labors, through the blessing of Heaven, would be crowned with entire success." And subsequent events justified their prediction.
In less than two years the corner-stone of St. John's Church, Somerville, then an outlying district of his parish where he frequently officiated, was laid with appropriate ceremonies; and at the same time his own congregation had so largely increased, that the old church was torn down and the present beautiful edifice erected in its place, at a cost exceeding ten thousand dollars.
But even with this enlarged accommodation the building was soon too small for the steadily growing congregation. In 1860, the corner-stone of the Chapel of St. John the Evangelist, was laid in the southern part of the city, the congregation of which has since become an independent flourishing parish; and in the following year, he began to build St. Paul's Mission Chapel, Bound Brook, to provide a place of worship for his parishioners living in that vicinity.
It was during these years, when his usefulness was at its height, that there fell upon his peaceful Parsonage, "as much the people's as the Rector's Home," that sad bereavement which, for him, "put out its light, and buried its gladness." Emilia Houghton, daughter of Abel Houghton, Esq., of St. Albans, Vermont, to whom he had been married in 1840, and who for seventeen years, as "the good angel of his life," had blessed and graced his home, fell asleep on the morning of Good Friday, 1857, leaving five children, one of whom was an infant of but a week; two had already preceded her to the blessed rest of Paradise.
You will pardon me for a momentary digression, to speak of the personal character of one who had won the hearts of all the Congregation. Remarkably retiring and gentle in her disposition, she was, as all who knew her will bear me witness, an extraordinary woman, and singularly adapted to the position which she was called to fill. As her Bishop took occasion after her death to describe her, in words which, I can testify, do not go a whit too far: "Remarkable for her proficiency in mathematics and in music . . . she had been early taught to be wise, to love her husband, to love her children. She was, emphatically, a keeper at home. She was 'well reported of, for good works'; she had 'brought up children'; she had 'lodged strangers'; she had 'washed the saints' feet'; she had 'relieved the afflicted'; she had 'diligently followed every good work.' She was the very kind of woman who supplied the portrait, to 'King Lemuel,' in the last chapter of the Book of Proverbs. Her diligence, her economy, her skill, her taste, her tact, her gentle lovingness, made the Parsonage one of the most pleasant of all houses, to be at home in. To her husband she was, indeed, a 'helpmeet for him.' And no children were ever blessed with a better mother. She was mistress of that crowning art, the government of the tongue. With the utmost gentleness, she combined the utmost firmness. She was unwearied in the discharge of every domestic duty and relation. And yet, her heart took in the world, for sympathy and charity.
'She was a woman of a steady mind;
Tender and deep, in her excess of love;
Not speaking much; pleased rather with the joy
Of her own thoughts. By some especial care
Her temper had been framed, as if to make
A being, who, by adding love to peace,
Might live on earth a life of happiness.'"
[Bishop G. W. Doane, in the Church Journal, April 15, 1857.]
How much her husband esteemed her meek and quiet spirit, full of faith and good works, will be best told in his own touching words in the "Records" of the Parish: "In the north angle of the ivy-clad tower (he writes), in a sweet nook of ground, by the side of the beds of roses which she planted for her little ones who had fallen asleep before to rest in (where his body now rests beside hers in the blessed hope of a joyful resurrection), lie the sacred relics of the purest shrine that was ever tenanted by an immortal spirit; and the headstone bears the inscription, written by one who knew no words that could fully express the greatness of her worth."
But I must hasten on, lest I weary you with details more familiar, doubtless, to some of you than to myself. As the years passed by, with heavy heart still saddened by his great sorrow, his unwearied labors began to tell upon him, and with the infirmities of age, increased by the nervous shock to his system resulting from a fall on ice-covered steps, Dr. Stubbs found himself growing old, and like others of his brethren, losing, with his failing vigor, some of his former popularity. But never for an instant did he flinch from the performance of his duty, or suffer himself to entertain for a moment the thought of deserting his post, or of throwing off the burden which the Divine Master had laid upon him. When there arose a desire, as in many other parishes where the Rector has grown gray in the service, for a younger priest, and some even of the older members of the flock began to yield to the pressure for a change, a sensitive lay friend, who knew but little of the trials which clergymen are at times called to endure, said to him, "I would rather live in a State prison than suffer such things," he at once replied: "That may all be, my friend, but God has placed me where I am, and there I must stay for better or worse, until He calls me elsewhere." And almost the last time I saw him, I had occasion to remonstrate with him for undertaking, in the heat of summer, without assistance, three services every Sunday, that he might supply a feeble missionary congregation in addition to his own parish. Thus he stood firmly at his post, in cloud as well as in sunshine, cheerfully facing his work, energetic and enterprising to the last, and as earnest as ever to do with his might the work which God had laid upon him to do.
["The ministry of the late Dr. Stubbs has been a very successful one. As a clergyman he was equalled by few, and as a citizen he was as nearly perfect as we shall ever find among mortals. His attitude towards his congregation was such that, while it inspired reverence and love for the man, it also awakened a feeling of the deepest and most affectionate friendship. His death was not unexpected, but nevertheless, his congregation and friends were shocked at it, and time cannot efface the loss they have experienced.
"He was a pure, conscientious Christian, and taught his auditors, not alone by precept, but by the force of a powerful example. To the poor he was a 'friend in need and a friend indeed,' and the various benevolent enterprises to which he gave his aid and counsel will find his loss irreparable. Notwithstanding his physical infirmities, he was an active worker, and till within a week conducted his correspondence as usual."--Editorial in Local Paper.]
And so, like a true soldier of the cross, he died with his armor on. His fatal illness, by a merciful Providence, attacked him while on a visit to his daughter in the lovely parsonage which stands beside our beautiful church at Princeton. As he came out from the last public service in which he took part, the celebration of the united Parish choirs of the diocese in that beautiful church, when the service was chorally rendered, he remarked, almost prophetically, "What a fitting preparation is such a service for the harmonies of heaven!"
Dr. Stubbs was, in the best sense of the word, a scholarly man, one who would have passed in any company for a well-read theologian. Even his ordinary parochial sermons were full of thought, and in style models of good English. Many of the best books in my library were purchased at his suggestion, and no one could be in his society without gathering something from the literary treasures of his well-stored mind. And I often felt that, while his heart was emphatically in the pastoral office, he might have done the church still greater service if he had been called to fill a Divinity Professor's chair.
As I look back upon his character during a friendship covering a period of forty years, there rises up before me the picture of a frank, warmhearted man, of high spiritual attainments, of large humanity, quick to see and appreciate what is truly Catholic in religion, always ardent in its maintenance, and zealous for whatsoever was honest and true and of good report. In his daily work, his heart was constantly on the watch to do some deed of kindness to others, and ever open to sympathize with those in sorrow. There was nothing he would not do, no sacrifice he would not make, to relieve a brother in distress. More than once, when a poor wretch, condemned to death, asked for his spiritual offices, he was at his side at the last awful moment, and contributed, from his own slender resources, to the support of his helpless widow and children. On one occasion, mindful of the apostolic precept, to "remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them," [Heb. xiii. 3.] he spent an entire night in prison with a priest of a foreign communion, to comfort him in what he felt was an unjust imprisonment. No matter how small his own income might be, his parsonage, as more than one could testify, was always open to any clergyman without a home, and poorer than himself. I doubt if there was ever a single applicant for charity turned away coldly from his door, and I do not think that the poor of this place will ever have a more, steadfast or more sympathizing friend.
When the Humane Society of this community was looking for a clergyman to direct its work, they selected him at once, from all the pastors of this city, as best fitted to preside over its deliberations, because of "his large-hearted benevolence, his kind, sympathetic nature, his zeal and interest in the welfare of others," and his admirable "Christian qualities;" his last re-election to that office occurring almost at the very hour when the breath was leaving his body. [See Resolutions passed by the Society after his death, p. 41.]
It goes without the saying that the personal religion of such a man was intensely real. His whole heart revolted from anything like cant or sham in such matters. Beside his Bible and his prayer-book, his daily companions, in his private devotions, were Bishop Andrewes's prayers and Bishop Wilson's Sacra Privata. "If there ever was a godly man (writes his life-long friend, Professor Thatcher, of Yale College), if ever a man waited habitually on God, and looked to be guided by His Providence, it was he.'' We may well believe, he adds, that he "has found God no stranger in the new world."
As in his personal religion, so in his daily life, he was a Catholic churchman of the truest type. His models in this, as in his devotions, were Andrewes and Wilson, whom he often loved to quote. Hence there was no place in his life for anything fantastic in his churchmanship; it was too much absorbed in the stern realities of his daily pastoral work. Yet when the occasion required he could stand, with all his natural sensitiveness of disposition, as firm as a rock, whenever the faith or the order of the Church were assailed. No private feeling or personal pleasure were ever allowed to stand in the way of what he conceived his highest duty. As early as 1841, in a letter to a friend on the occasion of a serious difference with his Vestry, be wrote in defence of the decided stand he felt compelled to take: "Personal considerations I waive altogether. It has been for many years my daily endeavor to make the esteem of men a very subordinate motive in the performance of my dutiescto discharge them faithfully according to my ability, 'not as a man-pleaser, but as continually bearing in mind that I am accountable to the ecclesiastical authority of the Church here, and to the Chief Bishop and Sovereign Judge of all hereafter.' God's grace, I trust, will enable me to bear any kind of reviling or suffering with patience and meekness. But if ever I silently or quietly suffer the solemn office given me by the Holy Ghost, and derived from the head of the Church, to be scorned, or His Holy Temple to be despised and desecrated, either by intent or otherwise, 'May my right hand forget her cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.'"
In all those troubles which fell upon that "greathearted shepherd," the late Bishop Doane, because "he was ahead of the age in which he lived, and was therefore misunderstood and misrepresented," the Bishop had not, in his whole diocese, a firmer or more self-sacrificing supporter. When the popular Rector of one of the largest parishes in the Metropolitan City used his position to injure, if not destroy the work of a poor but faithful missionary in this diocese, Dr. Stubbs unhesitatingly gave his voice in the Standing Committee for his presentation. And when another city Rector wantonly attempted to disturb the peace of his parish by intruding within its canonical limits, utterly unmindful of the popular obloquy which it would, and did, for a time, bring upon him, he immediately remonstrated, and when that was of no avail, brought on the celebrated trial which resulted in settling once for all the question whether the clergy of our Church are bound to obey the laws of the Church whose sworn ministers they are. How much he then suffered because so many of his brethren misunderstood the principles, and could not appreciate the spirit which actuated him, none but his most intimate friends knew. Nothing was further from his disposition than personal malice or intolerance. Firm and uncompromising he always was when the truth was involved, but never uncharitable or loving his brethren less because they were, in like manner, true to their own convictions, and decided in maintaining them. This his neighbors understood better than others, so that when his church was being rebuilt every place of religious worship in this city was offered for his use. And few things did more to brighten and cheer his declining years, than the fact that many of those who took a leading part in opposition to him during the trial of Dr. Tyng, acknowledged their error, and that he could count among his sincerest friends the very brother whom he had presented for trial.
[Above all (writes one prominently engaged in that trial), I regarded him as the true Christian friend who would not save himself from an unpleasant duty when he felt that duty required him to be outspoken. His words, if sometimes painful at the time, will be long and thankfully remembered."
The following letter, written at the time of Dr. Tyng's resignation of his parish, I venture to insert, as equally creditable to the author as to him to whom it was sent.
"RECTOR'S STUDY, CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY,
Madison Avenue and 42d Street, April 11, 1881.
"MY DEAR BROTHER:
''Your letter was not a surprise. I knew well that I should have some kind words from you, when you had heard of my resignation. What a lesson we have had in our friendship! Men sincere and honest may sometimes be placed in apparent hostility because of mutual misunderstandings. How graciously has the Lord interpreted our motives to each other. It is a great comfort in my proposed retirement, that we are not only nominal but actual friends, and can salute one another as brothers without the least consciousness of insincerity.
"Your faithful friend,
"STEPHEN H. TYNG, JR."
"REV. ALFRED STUBBS, D.D."]
It was but natural that such a man should have been entrusted with a prominent place in the councils of the Church. Early honored (in 1856) with the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Columbia College, New York, he was an active member of the Standing Committee of this Diocese for nearly thirty years (1854-82), and after its division annually elected its President; sent to represent the Diocese in seven consecutive General Conventions, covering a period of nearly a quarter of a century; for many years the Treasurer of the Diocesan Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge and Piety; from their foundation a Trustee of Burlington College and St. Mary's Hall; and for thirty-eight years a Trustee of the General Theological Seminary; and in all these trusts his influence was felt for good. He had the satisfaction of presenting about twenty of the young men of his congregation for admission to Holy Orders, and of seeing his children grow up and engaged in honorable work for the Church, two of them in its sacred ministry. [The Rev. Alfred H. Stubbs, Rector of St. Barnabas Church, Greensboro, N. C.; the Rev. Francis H. Stubbs, Rector of St. John's Church, Huntingdon, Md.; Roland H. Stubbs, M.D., Waterford, N. Y.; George E. Stubbs, Organist of the Church of the Heavenly Rest, New York; and Emilia, wife of the Rev. Alfred B. Baker, Rector of Trinity Church, Princeton, N. J.] The parish which he found in such a feeble condition, he has left in greatly increased prosperity. Counting in the congregations which were organized within its original limits during his ministry, the communicants have increased from seventy-one to nearly five hundred, while the offerings, which were less than $500 per annum when he came here, amounted last year to over $ 12,000. He lived to see his church, after years of" patient waiting," rebuilt and filled with devout worshippers, and three other churches built within the original boundaries of the parish; all resting upon one foundation, "the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone," and all animated by one Spirit of Life and Love.
Communicants Offerings. Christ Church, New Brunswick, N.J. 250 $4,455.97 St. John the Evangelist, New Brunswick, N.J. 127 2,378.80 St. John's Church, Somerville 64 1,123.87 St. Paul's Church, Bound Brook 20 308.11 Total 471 $12,267.75
As he writes in his brief Records of the Parish, published in 1865, "of the hundreds admitted into her fold by Holy Baptism, and who have sealed their vows in confirmation and in the sacrament of the altar, many have become teachers and catechists, and in schools and classes on Sunday and week-day, have aided the Rector in instilling those principles of the Creed and the Catechism which must form the basis of thorough Church instruction. Without compromise of these principles, the congregation has grown and flourished, and peace and love maintained with all Christian people. The observation of Seabury, and Beach, and Cutting, a century ago, that all denominations were living here together in a friendly manner, without strife or animosities, holds true at the present day, and the Rector is happy to acknowledge among them some of his most esteemed and excellent friends; meanwhile, no sacrifice has been made or asked, of those distinctive doctrines and services by which the Church is denoted.
"It is on record, that in the times of the Revolution this was the only church in the province in which Divine service was regularly performed, and she has always enjoyed this singular blessing; her doors have never been closed in summer or winter, on the Lord's day, and but seldom on the days in each week which commemorate His betrayal and crucifixion, or the memory of His saints. By this means her children have been trained to worship among that blessed company who serve God day and night in His Temple."
Is there not, beloved brethren, a lesson for you and me, who are called, like our departed brother, to be "ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God"? May we not well take home to ourselves the teaching of his pure and noble life, all devoted, with utter forgetfulness of self, to the cause of Christ and His Church? Ought we not to gather from it at least this, that the Church of the living God can never be built upon any other foundation than her own, "which is JESUS CHRIST," and that her ministers, if they would have their work crowned with success, must do their work in her appointed way and in accordance with her laws? Our lot has fallen upon a time of broken trusts, and therefore, a lawless age. Respect for plighted vows seems at times to be almost a thing of the past. On all sides there are to be found those who seem to take delight in deserting the old paths, and trying new schemes of their own devising. But let us learn from the example of his loyalty to the Church of his fathers, to be guided by her clearly defined laws, and strive to sink everything else in the sole desire to be "found faithful to our trust." This is the one thing which our Divine Master will require when He comes to take an account of our stewardship. He will not ask for, nor will our reward depend upon the number or the variety of our talents, much less upon those things which attract the attention and gain the applause of the world, but simply upon our loyalty to the truth as it is in Jesus, and the faithfulness with which we have discharged the trust which He has laid upon our hearts and hands. We are made "rulers over our Lord's household," not that we may lord it over His heritage, or gain any personal ends, but simply that we may feed the flocks which He has entrusted to our care, and "give them meat in due season." Let us keep always printed on our remembrance, for our warning, that even here "it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful," and for our comfort, amid all the perplexities of our office, the cheering promise of the great Head of the Church: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." [Rev. ii. 10.]
And what shall I say to you, beloved brethren of the congregation, who have been eye-witnesses, "how holily, and justly, and unblamably" he behaved himself among you; for ye well know how that for more than forty years, laboring day and night, in joy and in sorrow, 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 of glory." [I Thess. ii. 10-12.] Whenever you pass the sacred spot where lies all that was mortal of your faithful pastor, to enter this holy house which he loved so well, let it recall the example which he set before you, "in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity," [1 Tim. iv. 12.] and though dead, let him speak to your hearts with living power to draw them away from the world, and sin, and self, toward that serene abode where, as we humbly believe, he patiently waits the welcome summons, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." That it may be so, learn from him to take up the cross daily, to stand fast in the faith, and to walk day by day nearer and nearer to the Divine Master, with whom, in God, our true life is hid. Then shall you learn that this earth is not your home, that the grave is but the resting place of a traveller on his way to another and a better world. Then will you be his glory and crown of rejoicing in that day, when you shall enter with himcthe beloved pastor and faithful peoplecinto the joy of your Lord, and sing, but, Oh, with how much fuller meaning, the triumphant Easter hymn, with which we took leave of his sacred dust, as "devout men carried him," like St. Stephen, "to his burial."
"The strife is o'er, the battle done!
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun.
THE venerable edifice known as Christ Church, was filled on Friday afternoon, January 15, 1883, with a large congregation of people who had assembled to testify their respect to the memory of the late Rector of the Church, who for over forty long years, had worked faithfully and zealously for its welfare. Every available seat was filled long before the impressive services began, and many remained standing until their close. While waiting for the arrival of the remains, the dim religious silence in the body of the Church was noticeable. Every one present seemed to be in sympathy with the solemnities of the sad occasion that had brought the large congregation together. A preliminary service had already been held in Trinity Church, Princeton, at ten o'clock in the morning. This consisted of the celebration of the Holy Communion, by the Right Reverend the Bishop of the diocese, with the Rev. Arthur B. Conger as assistant. After this service, the body was carried from the choir of the church to a special car provided for its conveyance to New Brunswick. The bearers were the four sons of the deceased: the Rev. Alfred H. Stubbs, of Greensboro, N. C., the Rev. Francis H. Stubbs, of Waverly, Md., Dr. Roland H. Stubbs, of Waterford, N. Y., and Mr. George Edward Stubbs, of New York City, with the vestry of Trinity Church as an escort.
On the arrival of the train in New Brunswick, the bearers were met by the wardens and vestrymen of Christ Church, who assisted in carrying the body to the churchyard gate. While on the way, many of the bells of the city were solemnly tolled. On reaching the gate, the body was delivered to six clerical bearers and was met by the Bishop and the Clergy, numbering about fifty, clothed in their vestments, who, after a short delay, formed a procession in the following order:
Surpliced choristers from St. John's Chapel of New York City, Mr. George F. Le Jeune acting as organist, and Mr. James P. Dod as assistant. The Rev. Elisha B. Joyce, assistant minister of Christ Church, master of ceremonies. Vested Clergy from New Jersey and other Dioceses. The body, borne by the following clerical bearers: The Rev. Samuel M. Haskins, D.D., rector of St. Mark's Church, Brooklyn, N. Y.
The Rev. Nathaniel Pettit, rector of Christ Church, Bordentown, N. J.
The Rev. J. Alden Spooner, of Beverly, N. J.
The Rev. Edward B. Boggs, D.D., rector of St. Stephen's Church, Newark, N. J.
The Rev. Elvin K. Smith, rector of St. Andrew's Church, Lambertville, N. J.
The Rev. Eugene A. Hoffman, D. D., dean of the General Theological Seminary.
The family of the deceased.
The vestry of Christ Church.
The Standing Committee of the Diocese.
Trustees of Burlington College.
Humane Society of New Brunswick.
Attending laity and friends.
As the procession moved up the aisle, the choristers sang as a processional hymn, "Brief life is here our portion," and on its arrival at the chancel the coffin was placed in the choir without the rail. The burial anthem was then solemnly chanted, and the lesson was read by the Rev. Charles F. Hoffman, D.D., of New York City. An anthem from "Spohr's Last Judgment" was effectively sung by the well-trained choir. Bishop Scarborough then made a brief address, which appealed strongly to the feelings of those to whom the late pastor had so long ministered. He said in substance:
"Forty years and more carry us back to days of the far past, and more than forty years have been numbered since he whose remains now lie before us had first presented to him candidates for the Holy Communion in this Church. Many and busy years; full of clouds and sunshine, joys and sorrows have been his fortune, but standing through them all a monument of unselfish, unwearied devotion to the Churchca father, a friend and a brother in love. We have come to lay away one who was the oldest living minister in this Diocese, yet, not to lay away, but merely to take leave of for a short time. This concourse of sympathizing friends, who have gathered here, need not be told of his many virtues; his deeds are written in every household of the parish in which he labored so long and so zealously. No one more honored and revered, and we can scarcely command words sufficiently to express the virtues of him who has at last been taken from us; but a sermon, no doubt, will be prepared and delivered in this church, recounting his great services during his long pastorate. Forty years ago, when our brother commenced his labors, the Diocese of New Jersey contained a mere handful of clergymen; less than forty came together to greet their Bishop in convention. Now more than two hundred laborers are ready to assemble to greet him. He, whom we have come to bury, never shrank from duty; never thought of himself; it was the Church, and the Church always. And we thank God to-day that he has found his rest; the rest that he waited for so long, and the reward that he so zealously labored for during his long and useful life. Be ye also ready; keep your lamps burning, that ye, too, may gain the everlasting peace and joy that are now his."
At the close of the address, the Nicene Creed was sung to music composed by Mr. George F. Le Jeune. The Bishop then said several appropriate collects, after which the recessional hymn, "The strife is o'er, the battle done," was begun by the choir, and with this glorious Easter strain, the remains were carried down the aisle to the grave, which is situated near the ivy-clad tower at the west end of the church. The committal was said by the Bishop, and the concluding prayers by the Rev. Dr. Van Rensselaer. The coffin was lowered by the four sons of the late rector, and the earth was cast upon it by the Rev. Charles E. Phelps. The remains of the deceased were thus laid by the side of his wife and children, in the shadow of the church which he had served so long and so well. Oi necroi oi en Kuriw apoqnhskonteV.
The following minute was prepared by the direction of the Bishop of New Jersey and the clergy assembled at the funeral of the Rev. ALFRED STUBBS, D.D., rector of Christ Church, New Brunswick, Friday, December 15, 1882:
"The senior presbyter in New Jersey has been called to his rest after an unbroken rectorship of this church of forty-three years.
"The fine ability and excellent scholarship which distinguished him were intensely devoted to Christ and His Church. The purity of his character, and the consistency of his life, exemplified and enforced his teachings and his labors as a priest and a pastor. The strength and sincerity of his convictions as a Churchman were shown by an unvarying adherence to the Church's rules, and a faithful and undaunted teaching and practice of Catholic and apostolic truth.
"He has left us a precious record and example which ought to be reverently cherished and imitated. The struggles and trials incident to every earnest career are ended for him for ever. He has passed through them with a name unblemished and unscathed, his character purified and exalted by them, and his memory a dear and honored possession to his children, and to the Church of God.
"His monument is in the venerable church which has thriven and grown under his devoted labors; in the souls whom he has won, and taught, and trained, and led to the good Shepherd; in the children whom he devoted and gave to the service of the Church, and in the many young men whom he persuaded and guided into the sacred ministry (among whom are two of his own sons and one son-in-law), who, in various stations, are spreading the godly, righteous, and sober influences of the Church's faith, received through his instructions.
"Devoted and humble, seeking only to do the work given him to do, a stranger to selfish ambition, he has at length reached the reward of 'patient continuance in well-doing.'
"This large and sympathizing assemblage of his brethren, to pay their last tribute to his mortal remains, and the awed and sorrowing throng of parishioners and friends around his grave, bear witness that in the close of his long life and labors, the sterling qualities of his character have survived, and are appreciated and reverenced by those who knew him best, and who would cherish his memory amid the scenes with which his useful and honorable career is most nearly identified.
''We lay him to rest under the ivy-covered walls of the sanctuary he loved so dearly, beside her who was the grace and strength of so many of his years, in the hope of the glorious resurrection through our Lord Jesus Christ; and for them both we give 'thanks unto God who always causeth us to triumph in Christ.'
"To his children we offer the tribute of our sincere condolence and sympathy in the loss of one so dearly loved and so fondly cherished."
S. M. HASKINS, EDWARD B. BOGGS, M. VAN RENSSELAER,
At a meeting of the Vestry of Christ Church, New Brunswick, N. J., held December 18, 1882, the following Memorial was unanimously adopted and entered on its minutes:
Rev. Alfred Stubbs, S.T.D., entered into rest on Tuesday, December 12, 1882. Unanimously chosen Rector of this Church in 1839, for forty-three years he consecrated his life to the interests of this parish and to its advancement. Untiring in his efforts to promote harmony among its members, unwearied in his devotion to its poor, and unselfish in anything which involved either personal sacrifice or effort, the enduring character of his work now ended is best attested by the present prosperity of the parish, the substantial character of the church edifice, the prominence given its rector as President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese, and his repeated election to the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church. While feeble in health, he frequently declined other opportunities for usefulness elsewhere, preferring to continue his labors of love in the first parish of his choice, instead of occupying other positions more lucrative in their character, and presenting greater inducements for personal advancement.
An elegant scholar, a warm-hearted, impulsive, genial gentleman, his social qualities endeared him to those who knew him, while, at the same time, his broad and loving charity disarmed hostility in all who were brought in contact with him. Called in at one time in defence of the canons of the church, to resist an unauthorized intrusion into his parish, his courteous demeanor and manly resistance to a deliberate attempt to overthrow the harmony of the Church endeared him to all lovers of its authority, and won even from the foremost of his opponents the admission of the rectitude of his course.
In his removal the parish has sustained an irretrievable loss, and none will realize this more than its poor, of whom he was the devoted friend, and among whom his labors were most earnest.
In deep submission to the will of Almighty God, who has called his servant to Himself, the vestry have directed the entry of this memorial in the records of the parish, as an imperfect tribute to his memory, and as an inadequate expression of the regard and esteem in which they held him.
At a meeting of the Board of Managers of the Humane Society of the city of New Brunswick, of which society Rev. Alfred Stubbs, S.T.D., late pastor of Christ (Episcopal) Church, was President for nearly a quarter of a century, the following memorial was unanimously adopted, and entered upon the minutes:
Whereas, It has pleased an all-wise Providence to remove from us by death our late President, Rev. Alfred Stubbs; and, whereas, this society being desirous of expressing in a public manner its appreciation of his many Christian qualities, and the loss it has sustained by his death; therefore, be it
Resolved, That because of his death this society has lost a just and able officer, and wise counsellor, and the suffering poor of our city have lost a warm friend and advocate.
That we fully appreciated and recognized his Christian qualities, his large-hearted benevolence, his kind, sympathetic nature, his zeal and interest in the welfare of others, and regarded him truly a friend of humanity. That we offer our sincere sympathies to his family in this their hour of bereavement, and that a copy of these resolutions be printed in the city papers and placed on the minutes of the society.
(Signed.) D. M. VAIL,
P. P. RUNYON,
RESOLUTIONS OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE OF THE DIOCESE OF NEW JERSEY, PASSED AT THEIR MEETING, JANUARY 29, 1883.
Attest, LEVI W. NORTON, Secretary.
Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God, in His wise providence, to take from our midst, December 12, 1882, the Rev. Alfred Stubbs, D.D., the President of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New Jersey, it seems peculiarly fitting, under the shadows of this trial, to put on record our esteem for his character and worth, and the loss we have sustained by his death; therefore
Resolved, That, as President of the Standing Committee, we shall sadly miss one whose ability, promptness, and regularity, as well as his uniform courtesy, rendered him such a worthy head and so able and acceptable a coadjutor.
Resolved, That his forty-three years of service in the holy ministry of the Church, and his untiring faithfulness in the Standing Committee, both before and since the division of the diocese, are hereby recognized and recorded, adorned as they were by deep scholarly attainments, which were only equalled by his firm and unyielding attachment to church principles.
Resolved, That his eminent services in sustaining, at great personal sacrifices, the supremacy of Canon Law, are worthy of the best ages of the Church, and in the conventions of the Church, both diocesan and general, his was the wisdom of the wise counsellor and the safe, sure acting upon earnest convictions of personal duty.
Resolved, That our sincere sympathies are herewith tendered to his family in this their bereavement, and that these resolutions be entered upon the records of the Standing Committee.