Project Canterbury






The Sermon





WEDNESDAY, 13 July, 1842;







Burlington: At the Missionary Press, 1842.


The undersigned had been for twenty years the friend of Dr. Butler. A perfect sympathy of principles and feelings had drawn their hearts together. Among the highest gratifications of his visit to his dear old friends, at Troy, was the anticipated renewal of his intercourse with him. Greatly to his disappointment, he found him very sick, and saw him but twice: the last time, hut an hour before his death. When, on the day before the funeral, the request was made to him to preach the Sermon, he did not hesitate for one moment as to the line of thought to be pursued. What had been the secret of his great success? Whence had he become “mighty, to the breaking down of strong holds?” How had “a little one become a thousand?” By the simple preaching of THE GOSPEL IN THE CHURCH; by the mere dint of honest, unreserving and uncompromising Churchmanship. The thing which Dr. Butler, living, said, was the thing to say of Dr. Butler, dead. If what is said be not the truth, it falls. If it be the truth, what was the preacher, that he should not say it? Who are they, that shall speak of it as “ill-timed?” To such “reserve,” he does not addict himself: nor has he “so learned Christ.”




Riverside, St. James’ Day, 1843.






It certainly is so. The Judge of all the earth, does right. “Righteousness and judgment are the establishment of His throne.”[1] But to know it, to admit it, to assert it, to repose on it, to glory in it; in weakness, in perplexity, in pain, in the time that tries the soul, when flesh and heart are failing, and the flame of life scarce flickers in the worn-out socket: this is not man’s to do, nor comes it of that carnal nature which is ours by birth, which loves its own, and is at “enmity with God.” It is the power of grace. It is the triumph of the Cross. It is the trophy of the Crucified. Therefore, is it theirs to say, as the beloved John hath taught us, who have “gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.”[2] Therefore, is it theirs to sing, who “stand upon the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” Therefore, not Moses, even, with the might of all his miracles—and, more majestic still, the might of all his meekness—when he stood in glory, on the farther shore of that old sea—“servant of God,” although he was—attained to its full height, alone. It is “the song of Moses,” which they sing, “and of THE LAMB,” who say, “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints! Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”[3] “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints!” And so that rare old man, that lamb-like follower of the Lamb, your own octogenarian saint, who has gone in and out among you, as an angel from the Lord, to three generations, once, and again, and yet again, when he recovered for a moment from those fierce convulsions, which shook him from the tree of life, as ripened fruit before autumnal winds, found, in “the song of Moses and the Lamb,” the fittest and the favourite utterance of his faithful heart. “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints!” once, and again, and yet again, was the expression of his simple, trusting piety. Need we ask better earnest, than the serene composure of these saintly words, of his own triumph, through the Gospel, which he preached? What dying testimony could he leave to you, the favoured people of his love and care, more perfectly in keeping with his holy walk, and heavenly frame, and life-long labour for the Cross? And we, my reverend brethren, when the time shall come, that we must take our leave of life, and close our great account for souls, with Him who died for them, what could we hope for better, than the grace, to say, with dying Butler, serene and steadfast, through the conquest of the bleeding Lamb, “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints!”

It is by a strange ordering, that I stand here today. When I behold, on either side, those sacred monuments,[4] and then look down upon that venerable ruin, and then remember that I stand before the children, and the children’s children, and the children of the children’s children, I feel that I am made the providential link, to bind the present with the past. I came here first, just when that venerated layman,[5] whom all agree to designate as patriarch of this household of the faith—than whose no other name of layman is more widely or more honourably known in all the Churches—had entered into rest. The fragrance of his virtues still was fresh as the remembrance of his features; and, as I sat by the hearth, which he had consecrated by his prayers, I almost seemed to sit in the light of his venerable presence. She[6] was still here, the partner of his love and life, that aged woman, in the presence of whose trembling years, strong men confessed the might that is in faith and piety; from whose meek simplicity, the wisest came to learn the better wisdom, that is born, through grace, of an obedient heart; and, to whose cheerful self-denial, prompted by pure benevolence, and guided by the wisest, most enlightened forecast, you are indebted for that Christian School,[7] which is a surer blessing to you than all your wealth and all your enterprise. You were still a single flock, collected in an humble fold:[8] and he, who had grown old among you then, and on whose knees your children were brought up, was in a vigorous and green old age, feeding you with a faithful and true heart, and ruling you prudently with all his power.[9] Year after year, when life was younger, and its loads were less, I came among you, to rejoice my heart in the sweet intercourse of Christian friends, and to refresh my spirit with the converse and companionship of that true pastor: to hear of the stern trials, cheerful sacrifices, and persevering patience of that elder day; and to see the Lord’s work prosper in his hand. Greenest of the green spots, with which a bounteous God has chequered all my path, were these excursions of the heart; and fullest and most perfect in their satisfaction were the tokens which they brought, from year to year, of the triumphant progress of the truth: the constant, steadfast, rapid, unexampled growth of that true fold, which Jesus purchased with His blood; which He has left, with faithful shepherds, of His own appointment, to be fed, until He comes again; where He has stored, for those whom they shall gather from the world, the bread of life and water of salvation; and into which the nations, in His time, shall all be gathered, and made one in Him. And I am now here, by a singular providence, to stand beside the Pastor’s dying couch, to listen to the Pastor’s dying testimony, and to drop, from a full heart, the tears of reverent love, upon the Pastor’s consecrated grave. Great Shepherd of the shepherds, sanctify, to these thy sheep, the toilsome life, and peaceful death, of this, the servant of thy flock; knit their hearts together anew, in holy love, over his dear remains; inspire them with new purposes, and sustain them with new grace, to improve his faithful counsels, to imitate his godly example, to attain to his blessed end; and, for the precious merits of thy painful Cross, grant to us all, that, “with all those who are departed in the true faith of thy holy name,” we may “have our perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, in thy eternal and everlasting glory!”[10]

I do not undertake, dear friends, to draw for you, to-day, a portrait from the life, minute and accurate, of your lamented Pastor; I do not undertake the full delineation of his character, so veil denned in feature, and so exemplary in its “daily beauty;” I do not venture to admit you to the chamber which his death has consecrated, and show you, how he who taught you how to live, hath also taught you how to die. If this were possible for me, it were not proper. There is one[11] here, most worthily his successor, as in the cares and duties of his office, so in your confidence and love, who, “as a son with a father,” has laboured with him in the Gospel; who has been the sharer of the counsels of his life; and whom I myself have seen as watchful, as assiduous, and as tender, by his bed of death, as if the cords of life that then were rending were interknit with his own “most dear heartstrings.” He will relate to you, as he best can, with the minute fidelity of love, each word and action of that solemn hour. He will pourtray before you the scenes and circumstances of that long, laborious, useful and most honourable life And he will draw, from, life and death, the lessons and the counsels which will make them both most wholesome to your hearts; and urge you, with prevailing power, I trust in God, to be the follower of him, who has now gone from you forever, as he was follower of Christ. Let it suffice for me, standing here, through the courtesy of your excellent Rector, at the instance of your partial love, my dear old friends, to throw off, from the heart, a pencil sketch in outline of his character, as it appeared to me; and to give you my solution of its rare formation and of its rare atchievements. I am not here to magnify a man. Here is not the place, this is not the scene, to tempt to such a weakness; nor is mine the office to indulge it. And, if I could profane this sacred place, pervert this solemn scene, and prostitute my holy office, by a use of them so base, it is not over David Butler’s corpse, shielded and sheltered by a child’s simplicity, that I should venture to attempt it. For what is there in man, I pray you; in any man, as man, to magnify? Frailties, infirmities and faults! A fallen nature, which the blood of Jesus must redeem, to save it from the wrath of God! Infection, lingeringr “even in them that are regenerated,”[12] which the Holy Ghost must cleanse and sanctify, to fit it for His presence. But I am here, to magnify the grace of God. I am here, to magnify the grace of God, as vouchsafed in the Cross of Jesus Christ, his Son. I am here, to magnify the grace of God, vouchsafed to sinners only through the Cross, as manifested in the Church of Jesus Christ; and working in it, by its ministry and sacraments, its services and offices—in one word, by the whole Catholic system—“for the perfecting of the saints:” training up pastors, after God’s own heart, “thoroughly furnished unto all good works;” that, through the blessing of the Holy One upon their teaching, their prayers, and their example, the people of their charge may “come, in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto perfect” men, “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” In a word, as, when I stood, not long ago, beside the grave of a young man,[13] who, as a son in the faith, was dear to me as ever son could be to father’s heart; and who was just permitted to show what he might have been to me, as sharer of my toils, and then was taken from my side, I had no higher and no better name to give him, than “a true Catholic Churchman, in his life and in his death,” a sample of the children which the Church, when she can have her way, trains up for Christ; so I now think I see—so I have long thought I saw—in this old saint, who lies before us, girded for the judgment, a sample of the pastors which are formed and ripened in the system of the Church: nor do I hesitate to say, that, whether its rare formation or its rare atchievements be regarded; whatever there was in David Butler’s pastoral life and pastoral character, that was most excellent, was in him as A TRUE CATHOLIC PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST.

Let not my access to the heart of any man that hears me be hindered by my hasty condemnation, as bigotted, exclusive, or uncharitable. I am not bigotted: for I most clearly see, and frankly own, my own faults, and the faults of those who are set with me, as “helpers in the truth;” how short we fall of our great privileges, how unfaithful we are to our great trust, how unworthy we are of our great name. I am not exclusive: for “my heart’s desire and prayer to God” is, night and day, that all may come, and be partakers with us of our heritage in Christ. I am not uncharitable: for I judge no other man, nor venture to condemn His servant, before whom I must stand, naked and helpless, but for the robe of His true righteousness, who died for all. But I do believe, as before God, that, as there is a Word, but one Word; so there is a Church, but one Church, that came down from heaven. I do believe, that, as that word contains all necessary truth, and all its truth is necessary; so that Church has been entrusted with all necessary means of grace, and all its means of grace are necessary. Neither the Word nor the Church, of course, necessary, where it cannot be had.

The rejection or indifferent reception of the one, be it remembered, no more to be regarded as a suitable excuse with God, than the rejection or indifferent reception of the other. Both, from the same Author. Both, valuable, only as they come from Him, and have His blessing. The two, joined together, at the first, by Him—the commission to teach, being also the commission to baptize, “all nations”—and, therefore, not by man to be put asunder. Believing thus, it cannot be uncharitable in me, exclusive, nor yet bigotted, to speak thus: nay, it would be sinful, in the extreme, if I did not. What would excuse the man, who verily believes the Bible to be the Word of God, for ceasing to proclaim it, as such, to the world? Would the rejection of it, by some? Would the indifference to it, of others? Must he not still make proclamation of it, “whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear?” Is he justly charged, in doing so, with bigotry, exclusiveness, or want of charity? Is not the example of the Bereans urged on all; who “searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things are so?”[14] Why should the same allowance not be given to those, who, in those Scriptures, find the Church; who, in those Scriptures, find the unity of the Church, as clearly set forth as the unity of God; who, in those Scriptures, find the Church as clearly marked and certified, in the orders of its ministry, in their due succession from the Apostles, in their authority and office, as any doctrine of the faith: and who, with those Scriptures in their hands, with constant reference to their teaching, and the pattern drawn in them,[15] set forth the Church, and urge it on the acceptance of all who would be saved—“the Church” to which “the Lord daily added,” at the first, “such as should be saved”[16]—as “the pillar and ground of the truth,” the fold of peace and safety, the body of the Lord Jesus Christ?

I return from this digression. Instead of finding, in Dr. Butler’s pastoral character, whether its rare formation be regarded, or its rare achievements, whereof to glory in him, as man; I ascribe all to the Catholic principles which he adopted, to the Catholic training to which he gave himself up, and to the Catholic system, in which he lived, and in which he died, as a true pastor of the Church of Jesus Christ. Let me specify, in two or three particulars.


I. THE TRUE CATHOLIC PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST is careful as to the authority by which he undertakes his ministry. He sees a ruined world. He knows that God is holy. He desires to reconcile the two. He feels that the authority to do this, and the power, can only come from Him, whose holiness they disregard. In vain, his mission, if he be not sent of God.[17] In vain, his message, if it be not blessed by Him.[18] But, God is in heaven, and he is on the earth. Nay, like his fellow mortals, he too is a sinner; and has in himself no access even to the throne of grace. How shall he get authority to act for such a God? In what assurance shall he justify himself with man, as God’s ambassador[19] with them, to bring them into covenant with Him, through Jesus Christ His Son? They cannot send him, if, in their carnal blindness, they desired the errand; for their “iniquities have separated” between them and God. He cannot send himself; for, besides that he is one like them, “a man of unclean lips,” no man may take “this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as Aaron was.”[20] But yet, he finds a ministry on earth. He finds it in existence, for “a time, whereof-the memory of no man runneth to the contrary.” He traces it, through the long line of ancient authors, to the men who lived and laboured with St. John and with St. Paul;[21] and died as martyrs for “the truth as it is in Jesus.” He learns from them, that they received commission from the men whom Christ commissioned: and thus guided upward, to the first fountain of the truth, by the green margin of the stream, that winds its way, unbroken, through the lapse of eighteen centuries, he searches Holy Scripture for the warrant, and he finds it clear and full. “Go ye and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you;”[22] “as my Father sent me even so I send you;”[23] “the things that thou hast heard among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also;”[24] “and lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world:”[25] these Scriptures are irresistible with him. The answer of the word of God suffices to his perfect satisfaction. Every doubt of his mind, every longing of his heart, is met and gratified. He proves the truth of the great problem, by reversing it. As he had run up, so he runs down, the golden chain; and finds its links distinct and perfect. He goes to one, thus certified and verified, as having “public authority” “in the congregation,” to “call and send ministers into the Lord’s vineyard.”[26] He says, “Here am I; send me!”[27]

What have I done, in stating, the true Catholic Pastor’s course, in certifying himself of the authority to minister in holy things, but sketch the course of our departed friend? He was born in Harwinton, Connecticut, in 1762. He was of Congregational parentage. He was not “inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon him the office and work of the ministry,”[28] in his early youth. On the contrary, in a sermon which he preached in his native place, now two years since, he bewails, in language such as David might have used, the errors and the sins of his youthful years. “Near this spot,” says he, “I was born. In the streets and fields here, I sometimes laboured, and sometimes played, with my young companions. And. I now lament, as I have long lamented, that my life was not then, and ever since, as innocent as it was in the simplicity and ignorance of childhood. Vile passions agitated my breast even in my youth, and yet strive to agitate it.” He engaged in secular pursuits. With characteristic ardour, when the war of the revolution broke out, he entered into the service of his country: and his surviving sister well remembers, how, when he left his home, to join the army, he cleared, with a single bound, the fence toward the road. But God’ had better things in store for him, although he knew it not. He was preserved from the engrossing influence of the world. He was preserved through the corruptions of the Camp. Doubtless, there was in him, however it at first was choked, the “good seed,” which had been sowed in infancy, and fallen upon the tender places of his heart. Doubtless, there had been over him the sheltering shadow of a mother’s prayers. In its time, the good seed bore good fruit. His heart was turned to God. The Spirit did not strive in him in vain. He said, with Saul, “Lord what wilt thou have me to do?”[29] By a way which he knew not, God led him. The fervent and devoted Seabury was exercising then the grace of the Apostleship in Connecticut. There was that, in his frank and manly” bearing, in his ardent and unshrinking temperament, in his clear enunciation of evangelic truth, in. connection with his fearless assertion of apostolic order, which might well arrest a kindred spirit, like young Butler’s. However it was, his attention was drawn that way: and though, by his parentage, his education, his associations, and the whole bent and habit of his life, a Congregationalist,[30] he gave himself, with his own simplicity, to the enquiry; he admitted, with his own frankness, its inevitable conclusions; and he devoted himself, with his own disinterestedness and disregard of consequences, to the ministry of that little struggling communion, of which it was then as true, as in the Apostles’ day, “as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.”[31] He was admitted to the holy order of deacons, by Bishop Seabury, in Trinity Church, New Haven, on the tenth day of June, 1792, now more than fifty years ago: and, on the following day, he was licensed by the same Bishop, “to perform the office of a deacon, in the Church of Connecticut, and wherever else he might be lawfully called thereto; and also to preach, on all proper occasions, more particularly at Guilford, South Guilford and Killingworth.”[32] He was ordained Priest, it may as well be added here, by the same Bishop, in Christ Church, Middletown, on the 9th of June, of the following year.[33]

I think it will at once be seen, that one who holds the views of the ministerial office which have been here stated—of its heavenly origin, of its divine authority, of its providential preservation, through all time—must also entertain, if he be at all consistent with himself, the deepest and the highest impressions of its solemnity, its momentous importance, its infinite responsibility. So thought St. Paul, when he exclaimed to himself, “who is sufficient for these things.” So will every true Catholic Pastor think. And such, as you all know, was Dr. Butler’s feeling. If the dead of two generations could rise up, they would testify that he was “faithful in all his house,” abundant in labours, “instant in season and out of season;” never ceasing his labour, his care and diligence, until he had done all that lay in him, according to his bounden duty, to bring all such as were committed to his charge, “unto that agreement in the faith and knowledge of God, and to that ripeness and perfectness of age in Christ, that there should be no place left among them either for error in religion or for viciousness of life.”[34] And when,[35] from the infirmities of more than threescore years and ten, and through the generous justice of his affectionate people—for this example, of what a Christian flock owes to a Christian Pastor, who has worn his life out in their service, “remember them, O my God, for good,” and return it an hundred fold into their bosom!—he was released, at his own instance, from pastoral responsibility, you all know, this whole community all know, how ready and cheerful he was in rendering every service in his power; how he loved to preach; how he delighted in the ministrations of the altar, and counted the necessary absence from them his most severe privation; how, but two weeks before he died, he supplied the pulpit of a neighbouring parish: nay, how his wandering thoughts were all of pastoral duty; the continual anxiety of his death-couch for the offices of God’s house; his last and dying speech, of the ministry, which he had “received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.” Most truly may we say of him, as his heart was in his work, so, while a pulse of it was left to beat, his work was in his heart.


II. Again, THE TRUE CATHOLIC PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST is faithful in the doctrine which he preaches. It was his solemn persuasion, recorded, at his ordination, before God, that “the Holy Scriptures contain all doctrine required as necessary for eternal salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ.”[36] And it was then also written in heaven, as his most firm determination, “out of the said Scriptures to instruct the people committed to his charge, and to teach nothing as necessary to eternal salvation, but that which he should be persuaded might be concluded and proved by the Scriptures.”[37] At the same time, he has no where learned, whether in holy Scripture, or of his own heart, that he himself, or any man, is capable, of his own judgment, to discern and know all necessary truth; and fearful to lean on his own knowledge, or his own wisdom, “in so weighty a work, pertaining to the salvation of man,” he thankfully remembers, that, at the same time, he declared, with equal reference to the God who sees the heart, that he would give his “faithful diligence, so to minister the doctrine,” as well as “the sacraments, and the discipline of Christ, as the Lord hath commanded, and as this Church hath received the same, according to the commandments of God.” Well convinced, that, not the words of Scripture, but the sense of Scripture, is the will of God; aware, too, of the proneness of the human mind, through infirmity, through unbelief, through hardness of heart, through contempt of God’s word and commandment, to wrest even so great a blessing to its own hindrance, and, to use an Apostle’s phrase, its “own destruction;” he constantly rejoices in that gracious Providence, which, in the holy Church, has set and kept the truth upon a grounded Pillar: which has preserved not only the divine and heavenly record, but a never silent witness, that the Bible is that record; which has maintained a ministry unbroken, from the first—we may well say, not so much—to minister the word and sacraments themselves, to their own people, as to hand down, in the time-honoured creeds, and martyr-voiced confessions of the first ages, and in the service of the ancient liturgies, which bear the name of Apostles not only, but breathe forth their very prayers, that first reception of the truth, which we must know was true, because they still were living, when its characters were traced, who had themselves received it, at the mouth of THE INCARNATE WORD. The true Catholic Pastor of the Church of Christ, who thus receives the word of God, with the transmitted witness of the Church; who guides himself, in his instructions of the people, by the Holy Scriptures, not as ho understands them, but as Catholic antiquity received,[38] and Catholic consent has ever kept, their meaning;[39] while he certainly will keep the faith, since God himself has promised that it never shall be lost out of his Church, will be chastised and schooled, by this submission of his judgment to the wise and good of every age, into that childlike spirit, which God especially delights in, and will bless—guiding the meek in judgment, and teaching the meek His way; fulfilling ever, through the illumination of the heavenly Comforter, that gracious promise, “If any man will (is willing to) do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God.”[40]

And such a preacher of the truth, our venerable friend emphatically was. He preached the Gospel; knowing nothing that could cleanse from sin, and justify, and save, but “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” He preached the Cross, as the sole refuge and sole hope of sinners; the blood that flowed from it the sole fountain that could cleanse them from their sins. He testified every where, and to all, “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ,” as the one way of access by which salvation could be had, even at the bleeding Cross. But he declared “the whole counsel of God.” He was saved, by his reception of the truth as the first ages had received it, from that distortion of it, in one feature or another, with which the schools of men, age after age, have marred its perfect beauty;” presenting now one portion of it, now another, as the Gospel of the grace of God. While he proclaimed, therefore, that beside the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, there is no other given by which men may be saved; he preached as earnestly and faithfully the work and office of the gracious Sanctifier of the faithful, without whose inwrought holiness, “no man shall see the Lord.” While he proclaimed the Cross, as that in which alone St. Paul might glory, he was most careful to show, that not the Cross, on which the Saviour died for us, alone would be sufficient, but the Cross on which we die with Him.[41] While he proclaimed, with the Apostle Paul, that, “being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, he was as careful to proclaim, with the Apostle James, “ye see, then, how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only;” “for faith without works is dead.”[42] Laying the foundation deep and strong, in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, he did not stop there, nor go on for ever laying it again; but urged, with all the fervour of his earnest heart, the necessity, in all his hearers, to become living sacrifices, through the renewal of their minds, acceptable to God, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Taught of the Apostle, that Christ “loved the Church, and gave Himself for it;”[43] that He is “the head,”[44] “the Church His body,”[45] all Christians “members in particular;”[46] his first care was to graft them in, by holy baptism, into the living Vine; and then, to keep them there, “by grace, through faith, unto salvation.” To which great end, the greatest that can be proposed to men, he constantly and earnestly set forth the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, as the one “meat indeed and drink indeed,” ordained of Christ, for our immortal growth: exhorting all men, in the words of that inimitable exhortation; “ye who do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commands of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways, draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort.”[47] How far he was from leaving any to rest upon these means, as more than means; how high he was in his requirements of the Christian life; how ho besought you all, whom God, through Jesus Christ His Son, had called to Him, to “add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity;”[48] how plain he was in his reproofs; how earnest he was in his admonitions; how mild and gentle he was in his entreaties; how fervent he was in his prayers; how beautiful he was in the example of his whole walk and conversation; in honesty, in purity, in fidelity, in charity, in piety, you all must know: and, when he comes again to meet you, if you be not found according to his teachings and his pattern, it were better for you that you “never had been born.”—And now, behold the blessing which is given in such a pastor. He came here to three communicants. He leaves three Churches in this city; and, in the parish where he served, three hundred communicants. Nor is this nearly all. For years and years, this town, where he so long stood up, “the only herald of the Gospel in the Church,”[49] has been a light, and given out its light, to the whole country round it. Church after Church has risen, after your example. Minister after Minister has gathered round the ancient standard-bearer; till almost twenty now are numbered in this immediate vicinity, who reap where he had sowed, and who rejoiced in him as their own father, in the Gospel.


III. Again, THE TRUE CATHOLIC PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST is scrupulously obedient to the authority and order of the Church, in which he ministers. The careful diligence with which he satisfied himself of the authority to minister in holy things, the faithfulness with which he holds to the true doctrine of the Gospel, as preserved, age after age, in her, impress on him the duty, which his ordination vows have registered in heaven, to “reverently obey” his “Bishop, and other chief ministers, who, according to the Canons of the Church, may have the charge and government over” him; “following, with a glad mind and will, their godly admonitions, and submitting” himself “to their godly judgments.”[50] He does not look upon the Church as a mere society of men, but as the ordinance of God. He does not consider it merely a well devised police, but as the sacramental medium,[51] by which men are drawn to God. In this view of it, every thing is holy, every thing is precious, every thing is important. It is a “body, fitly joined together and compacted, by that which every joint supplieth.”[52] As in the figure, the derangement of the slightest function causes pain, and often death; so, in the substance, nothing can be disregarded that must not tend to spiritual disadvantage. Instead of considering himself a slave, and striving always to discover what duty he may omit, what” rule he may avoid, what principle or institution he may modify; he feels that he, however unworthy to be partaker of so great a mystery, is an integral part of the divine and perfect whole. His service is thus “perfect freedom.” To minister to men in holy things, and in his ministry to submit himself with cheerfulness to all that are set over him, is but to be to them an angel; nay, is but to emulate the Lord of angels. And his desire and prayer it is, that, by his cheerful service, and his patient waiting, and his reverent obedience, he may fulfil, as near as may be, and lead others to fulfil, that holy prayer, which he was taught of Christ himself, that God’s will may be done on earth, even as it is done in heaven. In this meek and childlike—yea, and, we may add, angelic spirit,—did our departed friend deport himself, in all the duties of his ministry. He was always the advocate of due subordination to authority. He was always the pattern of strict compliance with the order of the Church, even in its most minute particulars. Not because his was a little mind. For it was enlarged and open as the day. But because the vows of God were on him. Because, obedience is the first and most incumbent lesson of them who are themselves set over others. Because in God’s house, as the old Temple taught us, not even the candlesticks or snuffers could be unimportant, but all of pure gold; the very best, and in the very best condition. Thus submitting himself to the Church, and embracing it with his heart, the Church identified herself with him. It was not he that triumphed, but the Gospel in the Church. He strove not single-handed against error, heresy and schism, the world, the flesh, and the devil; but with the holy sacramental host. It was not his ability, his learning,[53] or his industry, that made his way with men; but that the great and glorious fabric, built upon prophets and Apostles, Jesus Christ its corner stone, grew up, by day and night, men knew not how; grew up, in secret, and in silence; spread out its courts; reared high its battlements; and opened its gates wide, to gather in the multitudes that came to it, as doves come to their windows.


IV. THE TRUE CATHOLIC PASTOR, OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST is watchful over the souls of which he has the charge.[54] The very name of Pastor is his constant admonition. If he ever could resist it, he would hear those melting words of Jesus sounding in his ears, and feel their unction in his very heart of hearts, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Feed my sheep”—“lovest thou me more than these? Feed my lambs.” And, lest these should fail to show him what he ought to be, and move him to it, he has continually before him, in the blessed Master whom he serves, the living, breathing, loving picture of that good shepherd, who “calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out;” who knoweth all his sheep, and is known of all of them; who “giveth his life for the sheep.” Most exemplary in all the duties of the pastoral office, as you all know, was our departed father: the guide and counsellor, and friend, of three generations; his feet welcome at every hearth, his cheerful voice and venerable aspect dear to every heart, the companion of old men, the adviser of the middle aged, the play-mate of the youngest child; the very image of a Churchman and a Pastor, of the Apostolic pattern.[55]


V. THE TRUE CATHOLIC PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST is ardently desirous of the salvation of mankind, and habitually charitable in his judgments towards all. The Catholic system comprehends the world. There is nothing like it, to enlarge the heart. Its kindred is with all of human kind; and it contents itself with nothing less than their salvation for whom He died, “who gave Himself a ransom for all.” The effect of such a system is to enlarge the, heart not only, but to soften and to mellow it. It is the school of that true “charity” which “suffereth long,” “is kind,” and “envieth not;” “seeketh not her own,” “is not provoked,” “thinketh no evil;” “beareth,” “believeth,” “hopeth all things.” Most winning, in his daily and habitual loveliness, was our beloved friend. While he knew nothing, and would learn nothing, of what some men talk so much of, and misname expediency,[56] he never could be drawn into a religious controversy.[57] He was no polemic, but the very “son of peace.” Firm in his principles, and consistent in his practice, he lived in perfect charity with all mankind.[58] Self-balanced, in his beautiful simplicity, “an Israelite indeed,” in whom there was no guile, he kept, through his long life, the even tenour of his way. And it was indeed a touching sight, and full of high instruction, if men would only learn, to see this rare old man, as full of wisdom as of years, a father of the fathers of the Church, respected and looked up to, through our whole communion, as a pattern, still sitting at the feet of Jesus, in the meekness of a little child, and daily ripening for heaven; his heart running over with kindness, the law of charity upon his lips, his life all love: the very picture of that last of the Apostles, the beloved John, as he sat among the churches he had planted; and when, for weakness, he could do no more, beseeching them, in his own gracious words, “My little children, love one another!”

It was my privilege to listen to well nigh the last coherent words which were uttered by his venerable lips. On my way to this holy house, on Sunday morning last, I called to see him. Being roused, he recognized my voice, and said, he was glad to see me, that he was always glad to see me. I replied, we have always been “of one mind and of one month.” Yes, he said, “the mind,” I hope, “which was in Christ.” I said, that I was going to the house of God, our heavenly Father. What a blessing, he replied, that we have a Father in heaven; and that we have the Church, to make and keep us one, in Jesus Christ, His Son!—“One in Jesus Christ, His Son!” Behold, dear brethren of this weeping congregation, the last words of him who was so long your guide on earth, and has now gone before you into heaven; and keep them ever in your heart, to be the mould and motive of your life. “One in Jesus Christ, His Son,” through faith which is in Him. “One in Jesus Christ, His Son,” through the constraining love, which nailed Him to the Cross. One with each other, and all one with God. So shall the Cross imprint its saving signature upon your hearts and lives. So shall the fountain opened on the Cross be your refreshment in the hour and agony of death. So, through the purchase of the Cross, its pardoning mercy and its cleansing grace, shall you pass “through the grave and gate of death;” and, from your “joyful resurrection,” go, to “be forever with the Lord.” Grant it, God of our salvation, for thy mercy’s sake, in Jesus Christ: and to Thee, with Him, and the Divine and Holy Spirit, shall be the glory and the praise.




A lawful entrance, upon motives which aim at the glory of God, and the good of souls. An external call and mission, from the apostolic authority of bishops.

The sheep hear his voice; that is, when he speaks to their hearts and to their capacities.

He calleth his sheep by name; that is, he knows them so well as to know all their wants.

He goeth before them, and they follow him. He leads such a life as they may safely follow.

A stranger will they not follow; that is, they ought not to follow such as break catholic unity.

I am the door. It is by Jesus Christ, not by us, that the flock is kept in safety; without Him we can do nothing; neither by our learning, our eloquence or our labours.

The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep; either by spending it in the ministry or suffering, if there be occasion; never sacrificing the flock to his own ease, avarice, or humours.

The hireling careth nut for the sheep. He lords it over them, makes what advantage he can of them, and counts them his own no longer than they are profitable to him. He leaves them; that is, when dangers threaten. Then the good shepherd and the hireling are discovered.

“No man taketh his honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”—Bishop WILSON.


[1] Psalm xcvii. 2,—marginal reading.

[2] See the text and context.

[3] See the text and context.

[4] On the right hand, and on the left, of the pulpit, in St. Paul’s Church, are these monumental inscriptions:


This Tablet is erected by the Vestry,

in memory of


Senior Warden of this Church,

from its organization, in 1804,

until his death.

To his zeal and munificence,

the congregation is indebted, under God,

for its origin and prosperity.

He died, September 4, 1824, Aged 77 years.

Mark the perfect man and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.


This Tablet

is erected by the Vestry, in memory of


relict of Eliakim Warren.

She died, January 17, 1895,

aged 80 years.

A mother in Israel,

for twenty years, she supported and conducted

a Saturday Sewing School, for the children of the poor.

The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon her, and she caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.

[5] Eliakim Warren.

[6] Phebe Warren.

[7] The following history of this school is taken from a sampler, worked by one of the girls, I recently attended an examination; one of the most interesting and delightful exercises I ever witnessed.




founded by Mrs. Phebe Warren,

in the year 1815,

as a Saturday Sewing School, and maintained by her until her death. It was continued by Mrs. Nathan Warren, for five years. In the year 1839, she converted it into an every-day school, for reading, writing, sewing, knitting, marking, quilting, Sunday School lessons, catechism, and Church-music. The number of scholars is 66. The Teachers, Misses Pierce; Music Teacher, Mr. Hopkins.—1843.

[8] The first St. Paul’s Church was a plain brick building. It is now much improved, and occupied by the congregation of St. John’s Church. The new St. Paul’s is a noble edifice, of stone.

[9] Psalm lxviii. 73.

[10] Collect in the order for the Burial of the Dead.

[11] The Rev. Robert B. Van Kleeck.

[12] Article ix.

[13] The Rev. Benjamin D. Winslow, A. M., assistant to me, as Rector of St. Mary’s Church, Burlington, died in 1839. A Memoir of him, with his Remains, has since been published, and is now in press at Oxford.

[14] Acts xvii. t.

[15] See “The Pentecostal Pattern,” the fourth Charge to the Clergy of the diocese of New Jersey; “The Office of a Bishop,” the Sermon at the Consecration of the Bishop of Tennessee; and “The Gospel in the Church,” the Sermon before the Convention of Massachusetts, in 1832.

[16] Acts ii. 47.

[17] How shall they preach except they be sent?—Romans x. 15.

[18] Neither is he that planteth any thing, nor he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.—1 Corinthians iii, 7.

[19] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ.—2 Corinthians v. 20.

[20] Hebrews v. 4.—The force of this passage is greatly increased by the consideration that it is spoken of the Son of God. “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest.”

[21] As Clement, Bishop of Rome, from A. D. 69 to 83, whom St. Paul names among his fellow labourers, “whose names are written in the book of life;” Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, martyred, at an advanced age, in A.D. 147, who related to Irenæus the conversations he had held with 8t. John, and with others who had seen the Lord; and Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, martyred, A.D. 116, who had been a disciple of St. John.

[22] St. Matthew xxviii. 19, 20.

[23] St. John xx. 21.

[24] 2 Timothy ii. 2.

[25] St. Matthew xxviii. 20.

[26] Article xxiii.

[27] Isaiah vi. 6.

[28] Question in the form and manner of making Deacons.

[29] Acts ix. 6.

[30] “He had been brought up according to the views of the Congregationalists in New England; but, from examination and conviction, he entered into the Church; and, through life, maintained for her principles the attachment of intelligence and affection.”—Obituary Notice, in the Troy Daily Whig, by the Rev. Mr. Van Kleeck.

[31] Acts xxviii. 22.

[32] Mr. Van Kleeck’s Obituary Notice.

[33] Mr. Van Kleeck’s Obituary Notice.

[34] Exhortation in the form of ordaining Priests.

[35] “It is now nearly ten years since he resigned the Rectorship of St. Paul’s Church; since which he has rendered occasional services, and has been cherished and sustained by a grateful people, who know what is due to honoured age and faithful services, and who have shown their love for the Church and its privileges, by liberally maintaining its institutions and services, its ministers and servants.”—Mr. Van Kleeck’s Obituary Notice.

[36] Question in the form of ordering Priests.

[37] Question in the form of ordering Priests.

[38] “I profess, and openly confess, that in all my doctrine and preaching, both of the sacraments, and of other my doctrine, whatever it be, not only I mean and judge those things, as the Catholic Church, and the most holy fathers of old, with one accord, have meant and judged, but also I would gladly use the same words that they used.”—Cranmer, Appeal from the Pope to the next General Council.

[39] If any one ask where, I answer, for all practical purposes, in the Book of Common Prayer.

[40] St. John vii. 17.

[41] God forbid that I should glory, save In the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.—Gal. ii. 10.

[42] ii. 24, 26.

[43] Ephesians v. 25.

[44] i. 22.

[45] 23.

[46] 1 Corinthians xii. 27.

[47] In the Communion Service.

[48] Peter i. 5-7.

[49] “From three communicants, and very small beginnings, aided by the pious example, and zealous efforts, of his lay-helpers in the truth, by God’s blessing on his steady perseverance, good example and faithful labours, where there were then three communicants, there are now three Churches, three hundred communicants in his own parish, and a proportionate increase in the others. Where he then stood alone, the only herald of the Gospel in the Church, now in the immediate vicinity, there are gathered round him nearly twenty, who have looked up to him as a father, and will now mourn for him with filial affection and veneration.”—Mr. Van Kleeck’s Obituary Notice.

[50] Question in the Forms of making Deacons and ordering Priests.

[51] “From the view, which we have now taken of the subject, the following conclusions may seem to be established: First, that the Church is a spiritual society, the foundations of which were laid by Jesus Christ Himself, its divine and perpetual Head; its frame and constitution being afterwards constructed and settled by His Apostles, acting with His authority, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Secondly, that its office is to bring sinners to Christ, by furnishing to those who are incorporated into it the means of knowledge and holiness; and that it is therefore not merely instrumental as a teacher, but sacramental, 8.R a medium of the believer’s personal union with his Saviour, conveying and dispensing, grace. Thirdly, that it consists of all those who, having been admitted into it by baptism, hold the faith as it is in Jesus, and who use, Or do not obstinately refuse, their spiritual privileges; and that all local Churches, which can trace their apostolical descent, and teach the pure word, and duly administer the ordinances of Christ, are branches, more or less flourishing, more or less profitable, of the one holy universal Church.”—Three Sermons on the Church, by Charles James, Lord Bishop of London.

[52] Ephesians iv. 16.

[53] Much of the strength of his strong case lies in the fact, that Dr. Butler was of no pre-eminent ability; and had enjoyed, as indeed the times allowed, but small advantages of learning. His conquest was in the Church. His strength was in her divine principles. His skill was in her wise regulations. His attraction was in the beauty of her holiness. It is a most encouraging example. What he did, may be done by others, in his way. It teaches us that men, as men, are but of small importance to the Church. It teaches us that before all arts is single-eyed and simple-minded following of principle. It is according as it is written, “not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.” It is according as it is written, “let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord.”

[54] What comes under this and the following head was either omitted, in the delivery, or merged under the third, for economy of time. In every other respect, the sermon is exactly the same.

[55] The following Resolutions were adopted by the Vestry of St. Paul’s Church:

“Whereas, it has pleased Almighty God, in his wise Providence, to give a happy deliverance out of the troubles and miseries of this sinful world, to our first Pastor, and long our venerable Rector, the Rev. David Butler, D. D.; therefore

“Resolved, That while the Vestry bow in submission to the will of God, and give him hearty thanks for the good example of his faithful servant, who now rests from his labours, they would express their deep sense of the long and faithful services, which from small beginning, have been so greatly blessed of God in laying broad and deep (he foundations of the church in this city and its vicinity, and in building up a firm and enduring superstructure to the praise and glory of the grace of God.

“Resolved, That in the loss of this venerable man, they will cherish the memory of his long and faithful services, his deeply impressive, solemn, and effective manner of performing the various offices of the Church, his clear and strong enforcement of her distinctive principles, his practical and useful preaching, and his kindness, assiduity, prudence and success in discharging the various duties of the pastoral office.

“Resolved, That while this congregation has every reason to lament his loss and do honour to his memory—the vestry believe that his loss will be felt and mourned by the community in which he has resided for nearly forty years, and been so much respected and beloved by the clergy of this vicinity, to whom he has been as a father and friend, and by the Diocese in which he has been so long cherished and honoured, and which he for many years served as a delegate in the general committee of the Church.

“Resolved, That the Vestry deeply sympathize with the afflicted family in their painful bereavement and precious consolations, and would appoint Le Grand Cannon, W. W. Webb, and Charles Dauchy, a committee to take charge of the funeral, with the consent of the bereaved friends, and to make all the arrangements at the expense of the Vestry, under the direction and according to the wishes of the family,

“Resolved, That the Vestry will attend the funeral on Wednesday next, and will wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days, and that the desk and pulpit of the Church be hung in black for the space of three months.

“Resolved, That the Clerk of the Vestry be requested to send a copy of these resolutions to the afflicted family of the venerable deceased.”

[56] That which is wrong can never be expedient. That text of the Apostle, “all things are lawful for me; but all things are not expedient,” is much misunderstood. Doubtless, of things which may be, there are many which had better not be, done. All lawful things are not expedient. Not so with things that should be done. Nothing that is dutiful can be inexpedient. “Ought” settles all questions, with an honest man.

[57] Of many interesting reminiscences, two, which illustrate this point of his character, may be mentioned here. When the new St. Paul’s was in progress, speaking to one, with his characteristic ardour, of the magnificence of the building, he was coldly rebuffed by the remark, “I hope the Gospel will be preached there!” “The very thing,” he said, with an artlessness, above all art, “the very thing we are building it for!”—On another occasion, in a stage-coach, he had been much annoyed by one who was bent on drawing him into a discussion of theology, which he assiduously avoided. At last, his fellow traveller, determined to provoke him, said, “Your Articles, you must allow, are Calvinistic.” “Then you,” he calmly answered, “can find no fault with them!” These are traits worthy of imitation. The good that comes of such disputes is questionable. The evil, sure.

[58] There is a passage, in one of his late discourses, which beautifully expresses his peace-loving spirit. “I am now an old man, and such reflections peculiarly become me. And though, from childhood, I have always been fond of peace and quietness, I find it more necessary to my comfort now. It is at present almost my only earthly wish, to wind off my days, undisturbed by the turmoil of a restless world. I should prefer ‘a dinner of herbs, where love is,’ to ‘a stalled ox, and hatred therewith.’ And therefore, as one who has long been connected with you—which connection is soon approaching its termination, even by death, if nothing else intervenes—I beseech you, by the most endearing motives, by the joy it would give me, but by what, is much more engaging in its influence, the consolation of Christ, and the comfort of love, to continue in peace; to ‘do nothing with strife or vain glory.’“