Project Canterbury


The Church, the Fulness of Christ:

















Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2009

"--And come he has; and been received by the Bishops, the Clergy, and the Laity of the Church of England in a manner for which his heart will ever be thankful. He has heard it stated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, that he thinks the connection between the two Churches will be the surest means of promoting peace between the two countries. (Hear, and cheers.) You have heard how he has been received by our beloved Metropolitan; and you yourselves, I know, will gladly thank him for the kind service he has rendered us; and will delight to second, what his Grace, the Archbishop of York, has commissioned me to propose, that the Right Rev. Prelate, the Bishop of New Jersey, be requested to publish the Consecration Sermon. (Loud cheers.) On Saturday next, he sails for his native land. We wish him a good voyage; and say to him, and to his Church, God speed!"--DR. HOOK.


Vicarage, Leeds, September 2, 1841.

"Let others then make their boast of their new-devised inventions, and aim at heaven by a private and untried way. We must stand upon the old and well-worn way, by which our forefathers, by which the primitive fathers of the Church, the Apostles, and all true Christians, have finished their course, and attained to eternal glory. And this way the English Church has disclosed, and clearly displayed to us. If in all things we follow this, turning aside neither to the right hand nor to the left, we shall proceed right onward to the celestial paradise. The end of others is a question which concerns not us: let them look to it themselves."--BISHOP BEVERIDGE.


EPHESIANS i, 22-23.

THE sacred Scriptures suffer great injustice from the prevailing use of isolated texts. No other book has ever been exposed to such unfairness. No other would be expected to endure it. And yet, to what other, whether the source, the subjects, or the composition be regarded, could its application be so dangerous? It was not so at the beginning. Neither St. Peter nor St. Paul dealt so with the old Scriptures. The earliest preachers were expositors of Holy Writ, and not declaimers from mere insulated words. Like the Apostle, in his Roman lodgings, "they expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the Law of Moses and, out of the Prophets;" [* Acts xxviii. 23.] even as the Divine Instructor, walking with the two disciples, on the evening of the day on which He rose, "beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." [* St. Luke xxiv. 27.] This was a natural and practical proceeding. "The truth as it is in Jesus" was set forth [5/6] thus in due connection. The analogy of faith preserved its just proportion. The word of God was rightly divided; and every one received his portion in his season.

Upon the use of isolated texts has grown the reception of isolated doctrines. Men lay the sacred platform out in triangles and parallelograms, and take their stand on this or that, as taste or fancy shall direct. That sentence of St. Paul, "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable," [* 2 Timothy iii. 16.] comes to be lightly regarded. Men have their favorite writers, and their favorite books of Scripture. One claims to hold with one, the other with another, of the Apostles. With one school, this is the great doctrine; that, with another. One is extolled as fundamental. Others dwindle into nonessentials. A single truth is set up as the test of a standing or a falling church: while integral portions of the same "faith, once delivered to the saints," serve but to breed suspicion of their advocates; and bring, on those who dare not separate "what God has joined together," the name of bigots and of formalists.

It was not so that the Apostle had learned Christ, or that he taught and preached Him. Take as an illustration the passage whence the text is drawn. Observe how carefully he knits together in one the gracious truths which, in the Gospel, are revealed. So perfect the intermixture of the whole that you [6/7] know not where to begin, or where to leave off. So accurate the adjustment of the parts, that the omission of any one destroys the harmony of the whole. The text and context so complete in their connexion, that they involve the sum and substance of all Christian teaching. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"--it is so that the majestic strain begins--"who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ," "in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Quickening you, he afterwards explains, but, in the same connexion, "who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past ye walked," "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as others," "according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love :" "that" so, "in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him." Nor does he leave the subject, even with this full and graphic outline: man's dire necessity, as "dead in trespasses and sins," and so the child and heir of everlasting wrath; the riches of God's mercy, "for His great love wherewith He loved us," accepting us in His beloved Son, "in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins;" its due and dutiful results, "that we should be holy, and without blame before Him in love;" its great and gracious end, "that, in the dispensation of the fulness [7/8] of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ." He dwells on it, enamoured of its beauty. He presents it in new forms. He groups its elements in new combinations. He insists again and again on our helplessness; and again and again admonishes us that all is of grace: "by grace ye are saved;" "by grace ye are saved through faith;" "according to the riches of His grace;" "the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe." He mounts up into heaven with Christ, whom God, for His self-sacrificing love, raised from the dead, and set at His own right hand, in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and hath put all things under His feet." And then, the crowning glory of the whole, he adds, and so concludes his glowing argument, "and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all."

These words, presented thus in their connexion, declare, as isolated passage never could, the functions of the Church, in carrying on that greatest work of God, salvation through the Cross of Jesus Christ, to its entire completion. They teach us how, from first to last, in all the stages of its progress, He has wrought, works, and still will work, by means. In His most gracious purposes, the Lamb of God, St. John informs us, was slain from the foundation of the world; [* Revelation iii. 8.] that so, even to the first transgressors, [8/9] the Bruiser of the serpent's head might mercifully be revealed. When the full time had come, the meek and holy Sufferer hung in bleeding agony upon the Cross, making atonement, in His suffering human nature, for all the sins of all mankind. And till the world shall end, and He who suffered then shall come again to reign for ever, it is in and through His body--that Church which he has purchased with His blood, to which He in heaven is "head over all things," which is "the fulness" even "of Him that filleth all in all"--that pardon, sanctification, and salvation are proclaimed and offered; and must be sought and found by all who are to reign with Him, when He cometh in his glorious kingdom. It is in Him that "we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace?" It is, we are expressly taught, that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth." Hath He "quickened us together with Christ," "when we were dead in sins?" The assurance of the very next words is, "(by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Is "the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe" to be proclaimed? The Apostle finds the height of that great argument in this, that He, who, in his glorified humanity, is set "far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come, and, hath put all things under [9/10] His feet," is still, in gracious condescension to the world, which He came down to save, "head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all."

"Head over all things to the Church which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all." These are amazing words. There is a solemn and mysterious awe about them, which we do not willingly approach. We feel that they must baffle every human grasp; and shrink from them with an instinctive dread. Yet, they were "written for our learning." They are part of that "Scripture," of which "all" "is profitable." They are inwoven, we have seen, with all that comes most closely home to us, as sinners before God; and breathes with most benign encouragement of sins forgiven, and of acceptance through the Cross. Divine and Holy Spirit, who hast promised thy instruction to the meek, chastise our spirits into meekness! Reveal to us, as our dull sight may bear, the radiance of thy truth! And make the blessed vision, through the light that beams for ever from the face of Jesus Christ, peaceful and hopeful to us here, and the assured earnest of the light of everlasting life!


I. The Church is the body of Christ. So St. Paul, in many places. "He is the head of the body, the Church." [* Colossians i. 18.] "For his body's sake, which is the [10/11] Church." [* Colossians i. 24] "Christ is the head of the Church, and he is the Saviour of the body." [* Ephesians v. 24] Doubtless, this is a mystery. The Apostle calls it "a great mystery." But so is death a mystery. And life itself a greater mystery. And before all mysteries is this, that we, who bear about a dying life, should yet, through the atonement of the Son of God, have hope and. pledge of immortality. "Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh." [* 1 Timothy iii. 16] But though the incarnation be a mystery, it is a fact, no less; and we receive it, on unquestionable testimony. Though the Cross of our Redeemer be a mystery, it is a fact, no less; and we embrace it with prevailing faith, as our sole rescue from eternal death. Though the ascension of the glorified humanity of Jesus be a mystery, it is a fact, no less; and we rejoice with joy unspeakable, that even in heaven we have a merciful High Priest, tempted once as we are, that He might sympathize with our infirmities, and succour us when we are tempted. Blessed and comfortable mystery, that the Church is the body of Christ! That when the eternal Son for our sakes became man, He not only humbled Himself to us, but raised us up to Him. That if He emptied Himself of His divinity, it was that He might take us into His humanity. That He loved us with such love, that not to be our friend, not even to be our brother, could suffice Him; but to be one with us, and make us one with Him: He, [11/12] one with us in infirmity, that we might be one with Him in power; He, one with us in suffering, that we might be one with Him in happiness; He, one with us in death, that we might be one with Him in life; He, one with us in every thing but sin, that, through the offering for us of Him who did no sin, we might be one with Him in righteousness and holiness. Blessed be His name, that though the relation be a mystery, the entrance into it, the continuance in it, the glorious issue of it, is no mystery at all; but simple, even to the level of that little child, in which He taught us to behold ourselves, as He would have us be. "Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ." [Acts ii. 38] "As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." [Galatians iii. 27] "We, being many, are one bread and one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread." [1 Corinthians x. 17] "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." [1 John iv. 16] "There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." [Ephesians iv. 4-6] "And He gave some, Apostles; and some, Prophets; and some, Evangelists; and some, Pastors and Teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the [12/13] Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness of them that lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love may grow up into Him in all things which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love." [Ephesians iv. 11-16] "Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." [Hebrews xii. 22-24]

II. As the Church is the body of Christ, so is He its "head over all things." The figure which makes the Church a living body implies of course a living head. That head, the Scriptures cited teach, is Christ. Head, as He is the source to it of life; living, not only, but life giving. Head, as He governs and controls it by His sovereign will. Head, as He sympathizes with it in all its joys and all its sorrows: sees of the travail of His soul, and is satisfied, [13/14] when men come into it by penitence and faith, and walk uprightly in its ways of peace and holiness; and, when its members suffer, or do wrong, is persecuted in their persecution, or crucified afresh by their unfaithfulness. "Head over all things" to His Church, by His Almighty power: ruling in heaven above, and on the earth beneath; and ordering all things, if its members have but faith in Him, for its advancement and the increase of its glory. "Head over all things" to His Church, by His abounding grace: anointing His ministers with holy oil; keeping for ever bright the golden chain let down from heaven of their perpetual priesthood; blessing their ministry with sinners, so that whosesoever sins they remit, they are remitted; filling continually with the pure water of eternal life the laver of the new creation; pleading for ever for us, at the throne, the merits of that sacrifice for sins, by whose prevailing virtue the bread and wine become the "meat indeed," and "drink indeed," by which believing souls are nurtured for immortality; and giving to His "faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve" Him "with a quiet mind." [Collect for twenty-first Sunday after Trinity.]

III. The Church, which is the body of the Lord Jesus, and He its Head, is, finally, "the fulness of Him who filleth all in all." In other words of the same Scripture, it is "complete in Him." From Him, as from its living and life-giving Head, flows [14/15] down perpetually the succours of that grace which makes it what it is, and what it ought to be. It has no power but of His gift, no virtue but in His merit. His is the light which makes its word of truth effectual. His is "the spirit of supplications," without which all its prayers fall, like spent arrows, long before they reach the throne: His is the grace from which alone its sacraments derive their efficacy, and all its gifts their worth. But, though, without Him, the Church has nothing, and is nothing; with Him, and in Him, she possesseth all things. "As it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell," [Colossians i. 9] as "in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily;" [ii. 9] so is the Church, as His body, "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all:" the fulness of His wisdom, guiding her by His gracious Spirit into all saving knowledge, that she may be, through all the changes of the world, as she has been, the ground and pillar of the truth; the fulness of His power, that weak as she may be, and small, and little thought of by the world, the gates of hell may never, as they never did, prevail against her; the fulness of His grace, that she may nurture His dear children at her bosom, sustain, against the conflicts of the world, the devil and the flesh, the men and women who take refuge at her altar, smooth the declining path of tottering age that courts the shelter of her peaceful shadow, and lighten, through the grave, the souls that in her sweet communion [15/16] fall asleep in Jesus. What but His fulness, who fills all in all, made fishermen and publicans, and tent-makers mighty to break down strongholds, and to overthrow high places, and to bring low every thought to the obedience of Christ? What but His fulness gave the victory to that small company of poor despised and persecuted Nazarenes against the might and majesty of all-controlling Rome; and made of one who came, like the Apostle Paul, in weakness, and in trembling, and in fear, more than an overmatch for Athens, and her proud philosophy? What but His fulness has sustained the pure, life-giving stream against the opposing currents of the world and hell; and makes its track still visible, in every land, by the fresh emerald verdure of its piety and charity? What but His fulness can supply one sinner that repenteth with the peace which passeth understanding; or strengthen one believer to achieve that noblest of all victories, the conquest of himself; or sustain one dying saint against that over-mastering fear with which mortality shrinks back, instinctive, at the thought of dissolution, and enable him to say, with the Apostle, in his noble rapture, "Oh death, where is thy sting; oh grave, where is thy victory!" These are the trophies which make good the Church's claim to be His fulness, who fills all in all. The least of them is its sufficient proof. One life reformed, one soul converted, one mourner comforted, transcends all human skill, all human might. He only who fills all in all, who made the heart, who knows its frame, who skills to wield it at His will, is equal to these things. Her hoarded saints, her [16/17] glorious martyrs, her missionaries that go forth with their hearts naked in their hands, her faithful children who deny themselves, and take their cross and follow Christ, live to themselves no more but unto Him, and shine, in the reflection of His brightness, as lights in a dark place, the blessing and the glory of their age, the salt that keeps the world from dissolution--these are her marks, that she has been with Jesus; these the living and immortal fruits of that divine and glorious fulness which fills all in all. The tracks of human conquerors are forgotten, while the blood is yet upon their feet. The science, that could rear the Pyramids, could not perpetuate the name of their projectors. The marble moulders, and the brass corrodes, in utter mockery of man's attempts at immortality. But, like the memory of the box of ointment, which was poured upon the Saviour's feet, the humblest act of faith and piety shall never die; and when the heavens are shrivelled and the earth dissolved, the record that is written in the book laid up before the Lamb, shall still outshine, as it outlasts, the stars. "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels." [Malachi iii. 16,17]

It is in this great and glorious cause, the greatest [17/18] and most glorious that can engage the interest and actuate the energies of men, that we, beloved brethren, have been gathered here to-day. Deeply and fervently does every pulse of mine,--dear friend of many years, [The Rev. Dr. Hook, Vicar of Leeds, by whose request the preacher came to England, for this service.] by whose suggestion I stand here, partaker of your joy,--beat in accordance with your own. This noble structure, projected in such deep, far-reaching wisdom, pursued to its completion with such fidelity, munificence and perseverance, and now given up to God, and taken, in His name, by His ambassador, is His own testimony to the truth and power of His own word, the fulfilment of His own promise to be with and to bless His Church. Long may it stand, the witness of the faith delivered once to the old saints; the birth-place and the home of thousands and of myriads that shall unite their spirits here, in piety and prayer, to join before the throne their songs of ceaseless praise. Here, through long ages, may the daily service lift its steaming incense from true penitent and faithful hearts, accepted, through the blood of Jesus, at the mercy seat of heaven; and bring, like dews that fell before on Hermon's favoured hill, showers of immortal blessings. Here, through long ages, may the testimony of that truth be held which "holy men of old" received from the anointed lips of the incarnate Word, and at their life's cost bore about for the instruction and conversion of a guilty and rebellious world; and, having sealed the message with their blood, committed it to [18/19] other "faithful men," who should come after them, and they again, in an unbroken line, to us. Here, through long ages, may that sacred font pour, in perennial stream, its pure regenerating wave; that holy altar minister, in never stinted, never disregarded, plenty, its spiritual and immortal banquet; "the means of grace," through which, to penitent and faithful hearts, the purchase of the Cross assures the "hope of glory." Here, may the promise be fulfilled, "lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world:" and may there never fail from out these courts a priesthood, in the line which takes commission from the day of the Ascension, on that mount in Galilee, clothed in the righteousness of their triumphant Head, and burning with His love for human souls; nor yet a people, waiting on their ministry with joyful hearts, shewing forth the praises of Him that calls them from the world, and hastening on, in faith, and penitence, and charity, and prayer, the coming of His glorious kingdom! "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

Most reverend brother, and right reverend brethren, [*Allusion is here made to the presence of his Grace the Lord Archbishop of York, the Metropolitan, the Lord Bishop of Ripon, the Diocesan, and the Lord Bishop of Ross and Argyle.] it is no ordinary providence of God that brings us here together. In other days, solemnities like this were the occasion when the Bishops of Christ's Church were wont to come together from distant provinces, for the confirmation of the faith, and the increase of charity, and to renew their solemn vows [19/20] to God, and pledge themselves, each to the other, to new service, and, if need should be, new sufferings, in his name. Is it not so again? Shall it not be so now? From the far-distant West, a Bishop of that Church, which, as the youngest daughter of the Saviour's household, has so much to acknowledge, and so gratefully acknowledges it, of "first foundation," "under God," and "long continuance of nursing care and protection," [* See the Preface to the Book of Common Prayer of the American Church.] I come, to pay my vows here, in my fathers' Church, and to my fathers' God. Just on the eve of my departure, the Convention of my Diocese, with other marks of faithful love,

[* "Resolved,--That this Convention have heard with mingled feelings of gratification and regret, that the bishop of this diocese is about to separate himself from it by a brief absence; gratification, that the intercourse between the Church in England and that in America, so long interrupted by restrictions of state policy, will be renewed, by his visit, in strict accordance with catholic principles and ancient usage; regret, that even in such a cause, and with such an object, the diocese is to be deprived for a time of his labours and example--labours and example directed by a mind so enlightened, a heart so sound, and a zeal and an ability so pre-eminent and successful.

"Resolved,--That we humbly and confidently trust that the renewal of friendly intercourse between the branches of the Church Catholic in England and America, under auspices like the present, will contribute, by the Divine blessing, to strengthen and extend the holy influence of 'evangelical truth and apostolical order' in their purity and integrity; and to revive that spirit in both Churches which, in by-gone days, made our venerable mother the glory of Christendom, the 'bulwark of the Reformation.'

"Resolved,--That we hereby assure our Right Rev. Father in God, of our affectionate interest in his safety and welfare during his proposed voyage and visit; and that our prayers shall ascend to Him in whose hands are all the corners of the earth, that he will be pleased to guide and guard him in his absence, and to restore him speedily to the flock over which the Chief Shepherd hath set him, to the comfort and joy of us all.]

which live for ever in my heart of hearts, placed in my [20/21] hands such words as these:--"Resolved, that we humbly and confidently trust, that the renewal of friendly intercourse between the branches of the Church Catholic in England, and America, under auspices like the present, will contribute, by the divine blessing, to extend and strengthen the holy influence of evangelical truth and apostolical order, in their purity and integrity, and to revive that spirit in both Churches which, in by-gone days, made our venerable mother the glory of Christendom, the bulwark of the Reformation." At every point of my delightful pilgrimage, from the time-honoured towers of Lambeth, and from that venerable prelate, whose spirit of meek wisdom and of ancient piety sits on them, as a crowning charm, through all the orders of the Clergy, and all the Laity, these sentiments have met a prompt and full response. And I am now here, with my loins girt [* In two days, the preacher embarked for America.] for my long voyage, to join, with hand and heart, in this most interesting service, with the most reverend Metropolitan, and the right reverend Diocesan, and a right reverend Bishop of the sister Church in Scotland, that so I may take back to my own altars the golden cord, three-stranded, of our Catholic communion. Warmly will they receive it, who work with me there, as fellow-helpers of the Gospel, and fondly cherish it. Their hearts will soften, and their eyes will swell, as I describe the glories of this day, at the remembrance of the days of other years. They will think of the [21/22] homes which their forefathers left, the happy homes of England. They will think of the love that followed them, to furnish them with spiritual pastors, [* But, alas! not with bishops.] and to help them to set up their humble folds. They will recount the acts and offices of bounty which refreshed the fathers' heart, and still refresh the children's. Above all, they will remember how, when fervent Seabury [* Consecrated in Scotland, Nov. 1784.] set out on his adventure for the Cross, the bishops of the Church of Scotland heard his prayer, and sent him back, with the authority and grace of the Episcopate, to be the first Apostle of the West: and, turning then to Lambeth, to that simple chapel, where the patriarchal White [* Consecrated, with Dr. Provoost, at Lambeth, Feb. 4, 1787, by Archbishop Moore.] received that office of a bishop, which, with divine permission, he conveyed to twenty-six, they will thank God, as I do, with an overflowing heart, that one, in whom these noble lines are blended, [* In a late conversation with the venerable President of Magdalen, Dr. Routh, he spoke of ours as "the Scoto-Anglican succession."] was permitted, in His providence, to stand to-day at their twin source, and to re-combine them in this animating service; the clearest and most powerful demonstration [* Such I must regard the presence of Bishops of three branches of the Catholic Church, with the venerable Archbishop of York, surrounded by more than three hundred Clergymen, in the midst of a congregation of four thousand.] which this age has shown, that Christ's Church everywhere is one, and Catholic truth and Catholic love, still, as in other days, the bond of Christian hearts.

[23] Brethren, right reverend, reverend and beloved, it is written in the elder records of our faith, that when the ark of God was on its progress towards the hill of Sion, it rested once, for three months, in the house of Obed-edom: and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household. [* 2 Samuel vi. 10-12] "And it was told king David, saying, The Lord hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God." As I have gone from scene to scene of highest interest and rarest beauty in this most favoured land of all the world; contemplated its arts, its industry, its wealth; enjoyed its comforts and refinements; and shared, with a full heart the peace and happiness of its dear Christian homes; as I have thought of its attainments in science and in letters; as I have recounted its feats of arms and fields of victory; as I have followed through every ocean and through every sea its cross-emblazoned flag; and seen that on the circuit of its empire the sun never sets; I have asked myself, instinctively, whence, to so small a speck on the world's map, a sea-beleagured island, sterile in soil; and stern in climate, Britain, cut off, in ancient judgment, from the world [* Britannos orbe divisos.]--such wealth, such glory, and such power? And the instinctive answer has returned spontaneous to my heart, "the Lord hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God." Yes, from my heart, I say, the strength of England is the [23/24] Church of England. Your wealth, your glory, and your power, is but God's blessing on your kingdom, as the home and shelter of His Church. Here, in the very days of the Apostles, it took root. Here, in the earliest ages, it was tended by true pastors, and enriched with martyrs' blood, poured out, like water, on a thousand fields. Here, ancient piety and ancient charity lavished their treasures, to endow it, and sent up their hearts in prayers for blessings on their deed. Here, kings have been the nursing fathers, and queens the nursing mothers of the Church; and here, the State, with truest wisdom, has allied itself to her, and, in the shelter of her shadow, sought for favor and protection, on itself, and on the people of its care. Here, when the force and fraud of fallen and corrupted Rome had piled its mountain mass of worldliness and pride, true hearts took strength from God, to heave it from its tottering centre; and true hands embraced the burning stake, and kindled with it such a fire upon its altars as never shall go out, but burn and blaze for ever, as the beacon-light of Christian liberty and Christian truth. Here, never have been wanting bishops, that would brave the dungeon, or endure the rack, for Christ's sake, and His Church. Here, never have been wanting faithful pastors, feeding Christian flocks, upon a thousand hills, and in a thousand vallies, in the green pastures of the Gospel, in simplicity, and purity, and peace. Here, from the schools and universities, endowed by Christian bounty, and controlled by Christian wisdom, and imbued with Christian piety, a never-failing stream of godly and [24/25] well-learned men have still gone out, to serve the Church, and to adorn the State. Here, from ten thousand altars prayers have constantly ascended from devout and faithful hearts, for blessings upon England and have fallen in showers of mercy on the land and on its quiet homes. These are your arts, my friends, these are your arms. The strength of England is in Christian hearts. The sunlight of its splendor is the radiance which is reflected upon its Christian spires. The anchors that have moored your island, and preserved it immoveable, are the deep roots of old Cathedrals. And the armament that keeps its virgin shore unsullied is the squadron than conveys to distant lands your missionary enterprise. Be these your arts, my friends, be these your arms! Cling to your fathers' Church, cling to your fathers' God! Increase your folds! Multiply your pastors! Gather in your scattered sheep! Compass the earth with your Colonial bishoprics! This is the strength which will procure no enmity. This is the glory which will provoke no war. It is the strength in which humanity itself shall be made strong. It is the glory which shall overflow, and bless the world. The strife shall then be, not for personal aggrandizement, but for new empires to the Cross. The end and aim of such an emulation, the bringing on of that most blessed day, when all the kingdoms of the world shall be "the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ."

In this most gracious and most glorious work it is your privilege, my brethren, to unite, this day. This noblest trophy of our age to the great cause [25/26] of Catholic truth and love is reared by individual efforts. Private hearts have planned, and private hands have reared, this temple, to the worship, in your fathers' faith, and through your fathers' prayers, of your own fathers' God. They have done so in that lofty faith, which, when it sees the end, trusts that the means will come. It is from your hearts and through your hands that God this day will vindicate, to them who trust in Him, His own most gracious word. Open wide your bosoms to the sway of that most gracious Spirit, of whose countless gifts the best and most illustrious is charity. Prove that the fathers' blood still circles in the children's veins. Prove that the fathers' spirit still inspires the children's hearts. Prove, by your free and liberal contributions, that you are not of those who would desire to serve the Lord with that which costs you nothing; but that, having given up, first, your own selves to the Lord, your chief delight and highest glory is, to heap His altar with your treasures, and to pour your hearts out at His cross.

Brethren, beloved in the Lord, this is the first, this is the last, time of my ministry among you. Shortly, a thousand leagues of sea will roll between us. Blessed be God, the circle of the whole earth cannot divide the faithful hearts which have been knit in Christian love. Blessed be God, the communion of saints takes in both worlds; and, joining each to every other, joins all to God. Never, while a pulse shall sway the native currents in my breast, shall this day be forgotten. Often, as I shall sit among the loved ones of my house, or shall go in and [26/27] out among the flocks, of which the Holy Ghost has made me overseer, this solemn scene--the holy temple, the mighty congregation, the company of white-robed priests, [* The attending Clergy were all in surplices.] those bishops, venerable and beloved, the sacred services, the unearthly music, every incident and circumstance, and every deepest feeling that was touched and stirred--shall rise before the vision of my soul. Never, without the heartfelt prayer: "Peace be within thy walls, and plenteousness within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sake, I will wish thee prosperity. Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek to do thee good." Grant it, God of our salvation, for thy mercy's sake in Jesus Christ: and to Thee, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, shall be ascribed the glory and the praise, now and forevermore. Amen.


[28] The Episcopate is one; it is a whole, in which each enjoy full possession. The Church is likewise one, though she be spread abroad, and multiplies with the increase of her progeny: even as the Sun has rays many, yet one light; and the tree boughs many, yet its strength is one, seated in the deep-lodged root; and as, when many streams flow down from one source, though a multiplicity of waters seems to be diffused from the bountifulness of the overflowing abundance, unity is preserved in the source itself. Part a ray of the Sun from its orb, and its unity forbids this division of light; break a branch from the tree, once broken, it can bud no more; cut the stream from its fountain, the remnant will be dried up. Thus the Church, flooded with the light of the Lord, puts forth her rays through the whole world, with yet one light, which is spread upon all places, while its unity is not infringed. She stretches forth her branches over the universal earth, in the robes of plenty, and pours abroad her bountiful and onward streams; yet is there one head, one source, one Mother, abundant in the results of her fruitfulness.--ST. CYPRIAN, translated by the Rev. Charles Thornton, in the Library of the Fathers, Oxford, MDCCCXXXIX.

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