STEPHEN BERRY, PRINTER.
My Brethren of the Clergy:
It is rather to comply with a canonical recommendation, the propriety of which makes it nearly equivalent to a requirement, than because of a recognized need on your part, or an impelling desire on my own, that I now address myself especially to you.
Many questions of grave import do indeed present themselves to our thoughts, as we contemplate the present state of the Church and of the world, of which, if any one holding a place of high responsibility, has, or thinks he has, the true solution, he ought to declare it on fitting occasion. But unless he is thus prepared, or can at least deem himself qualified to speak with more wisdom, and from a fuller knowledge than characterizes the discussion of those questions in documents accessible to all, he will better consult the interests of truth and peace by remaining silent. I shall, therefore, instead of casting myself into the arena of existing controversies, or attempting the determination of any perplexing problem, ask your attention to a few suggestions upon a strictly practical theme.
What is for us, as ministers of Christ, Success, and what are its conditions, is the theme that I propose to myself; and though it is quite too broad an one to be handled fully in a single discourse, we may hope to reach some important conclusions upon it without exceeding a moderate range of inquiry. Success is a relative term, and must be interpreted by its correlative. To succeed is to attain the particular end which one proposes to himself, or which [3/4] is set before him as the object of Ids efforts; and no other attainment can deserve that name. He who seeks happiness and finds only wealth or place, must confess himself to have failed unless these be the equivalent of happiness. So for us to gain popularity or applause, cannot be success, unless these be at least among the objects to which we may legitimately aspire as ministers of Christ. It is evident, therefore, that the end proposed to the Christian Ministry must first be declared, before we can understand what is implied by success in it. Now the work assigned tons, in our collective capacity, is doubtless none other than that for which the only begotten Son of God humbled Himself to our estate, for which he laboured and suffered, and died, and is still prosecuting through His Spirit, and by His own perpetual intercession; namely, the conversion of sinners, the edification of the Church, the promotion of the glory of God in the salvation of men. This is the end for which the Christian Ministry was established, and this end it must accomplish, instrumentally, or it fails. But does it follow, then, that the true measure of the success of an individual Minister is the number of sinners converted, the degree in which the building up of the Church has been promoted, the number of souls saved through his instrumentality? I think not. For, thus measured, the personal work on earth of our Lord Himself was comparatively a failure. Few were they who gladly heard the voice of the Chief Shepherd, coming to seek and save that which was lost, and returned at His bidding to the heavenly fold. Thus judged, the work of thousands of the most able and faithful ambassadors of Christ has been a failure. The messenger of Christ must go where he is sent. The sphere and circumstances of his labours may be favourable or wholly unfavourable for the accomplishment of decisive and visible results. And besides, it must be remembered that God alone is the efficient agent in breaking down the strongholds of Satan, and in building up the spiritual temple. It is ours to plant and to water, but it is He alone that giveth the increase. That faith to which alone we can appeal effectively in our preaching is His gift, and no degree of zeal or ability on our part can of itself gain a lodgment for the good seed in even a single heart.
 Nor is the abiding presence of Christ, or the co-operation of the Holy Spirit so pledged to us, that results will always be granted, notwithstanding our weakness, in proportion to our faithfulness. Christ will indeed abide with us, individually, if we are faithful to Him, and His Spirit will enable us to accomplish whatever is required of us to do, if His aid is continually and humbly sought. But this divine power which is pledged to give effect to our ministrations, in no case acts irresistibly upon the wills of those to whom we are sent; and therefore the number of those who may heed our message is always indefinite and indeterminable. Sometimes it will be found, as by S. Paul at Corinth, that God "hath much people in this city;" at others, as by our Lord Himself at Capernaum, that a stubborn unbelief wholly obstructs, so far as we can discern, the gracious work that might otherwise be done to the everlasting benefit of those to whom we are sent.
In other words, the same efforts on our part, the same faithfulness and earnestness in our work, will not accomplish or ensure the same spiritual results in one community as in another; and that, not merely because we may not be so well qualified by our personal characters, or intellectual training and habits, to gain access to those to whom we are sent, or to acquire influence with them, in the one case as in the other, but because the soil upon which the good seed is cast has not the same receptivity.
What then? Is the watchman who faithfully warns the wicked of the error and danger of his ways to be accounted to have failed as a watchman, because his warning has not been heeded? Evidently not; for the work assigned him was fully accomplished when he had borne the message of warning to those to whom he was sent, and no man fails who accomplishes what he undertakes. Does the messenger of Christ fail whenever his message is received with indifference? Nay; for that were to make him responsible for a work which is not within the scope of his mission, and which is not within the power of any man, however gifted, or devoted, to accomplish. The apparent degree, therefore, in which the individual minister succeeds in accomplishing that which the Church is designed and empowered to accomplish, is not to be taken as the just and real measure of his own success. Results [5/6] are wrought out, according to His own will, by Him, to Whom belongs the honour of whatever salutary effects may follow from our labours. What, then, is the end which we individually must attain in order to success in our vocation? It is this, and simply this: We must so labour, as the Ministers of Christ, that He will account us faithful. Faithfulness in our work is the sole condition of success in it. Whoever of us can, at the last, without self-deception, take those words of S. Paul upon his lips, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith," has won the crown of success, though he may by no means be able to say that "by the grace of God he has laboured more abundantly" than all those who have laboured at his side. Take this assurance to your hearts, my brethren, and thank God for the comfort, the cheer, the contentment, it will minister unto you. It is a trying thing to find ours regarded as a mere secular calling, and ourselves as actuated by mere worldly motives in undertaking and prosecuting it. But it is still more trying for us to work on patiently and contentedly in an isolated parish or mission, deprived, it may be, of many of those associations and advantages which are as dear and valuable to us as to other men, laying foundations under ground, as it were, and perfectly aware that it must needs be long before the walls of the spiritual temple shall even begin to appear, as the evidence before the world that we have not laboured in vain. He must be a good man, full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, who can do this. But such men we ought to be; for these spiritual endowments are as necessary a qualification now, as at the first, for the work of even the lowest order of the Christian Ministry. We ought to be able to find our supreme and abundant satisfaction in our work itself, without regard to the conditions under which we labour. And this we can do if, moved by the single desire to serve Christ, and to do His will, we remember that, so devoting ourselves to Him, we can never fail.
What matters it whether it be ours to labour where previous and faithful tillage has brought the soil into high condition, and where, with abundant natural resources, and aided by many willing hands, we have only to carry forward a work already prosperous: or whether it be our lot to do the first clearing and breaking up [6/7] and planting, of a field hard and stony, and overgrown with noxious herbage? It matters much, doubtless, to our present ease and comfort. It matters much if our object be self-aggrandizement, or the praise of men. It matters much to our success, if immediate and visible results be the gauge of success. But for the accomplishment of that whereunto we are called, and for the attainment of which alone we may worthily aspire, these conditions have not the slightest weight or significance--save in this, that ho who gladly accepts the sterner, rougher work, and patiently strives to make the wilderness blossom as the rose, and falters not though his returns be scanty, and though hardships and loneliness be his present portion, shall most assuredly attain a higher development of his own spiritual manhood here, and a brighter crown hereafter. Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
II. But if we may thus define ministerial success, and cheer ourselves under difficulties and discouragements by the reflection that it is attainable here, and by all of us, as readily as elsewhere, and by others, we must be the more careful not to lower for ourselves the standard of ministerial faithfulness. If all the conditions of success may be summed up in the one word faithfulness, we should the more attentively consider the particular elements of that comprehensive term. Your thoughts have many times and in many ways been directed to the contemplation of these. They are suggested by the word of the Apostolic Commission; they are presented with great fullness in the Ordinal; they were the theme of your former instructors, when seeking to impress upon your hearts a sense of the high responsibilities which you were about to assume; they have been separately and distinctly presented to you, as you have attentively studied the character and career of the great and good Shepherd; and they have been, I trust, the subject of your often and prayerful meditation, through the whole course of your ministry. And yet it cannot be unprofitable for us first to recall together some of the more general features of ministerial fidelity, and then to search for some which are not so frequently observed or described.
 1. We, of course, cannot but know that for us to be faithful to Christ, and to approve ourselves to Him, involves more than would the attainment of that end by the members of His flock in general. We hold an official position, we have special and peculiar functions. We are ambassadors for Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God; and while we thus fill places of distinction and dignity in the Church, we have also corresponding responsibilities. New duties were imposed upon us by the character and authority which we received, when we were inducted into our high and holy office. And we must be faithful, not merely as disciples, but in all that pertains to the trust and functions of ambassadors of Christ, and ministers of His word and sacraments, if we would commend ourselves to Him in well doing. Not that in the performance of our official duties, any more than in the discharge of those which pertain to us in common with all His servants, we shall be required to attain unto perfection, in order to receive the commendation of our Master; nor that it is possible for us to purchase by our own merits a reward for our services: for at the best we shall be but unprofitable servants. But this must be our aspiration, to fulfill to the utmost our official responsibilities, and the charge of unfaithfulness in our stewardship must have no place against, us, or we shall be disowned at the last. A steward may be more or less wise, more or less efficient, perform his duties with more or less satisfaction to him from whom he has received his trust, and still be held excusable, if not praiseworthy, notwithstanding his short comings; but for willful neglect of aught that pertains to his stewardship there is no excuse. It is required of stewards that a man be found faithful.
2. This proposition, also, will obtain your ready assent. That as we have received our commission not directly from Christ, but through the Church, which is the Keeper and Witness of those truths which we are to proclaim, and our own divinely appointed teacher and guide, as well in our official as in our private relations, faithfulness to Christ implies a willing submission in our teachings and ministrations to that authority which exists for our government within the Church. We, individually, are not the chief depositaries, nor the ultimate interpreters of that truth which we are [8/9] commissioned to publish and expound; nor may we venture to prefer our own judgment in expositions of doctrine, or in the exercise of discipline, to the voice and the law of the Church. Otherwise we offer to the souls of men, not the salutary food of most certain truths, but the husks of mere individual opinion; and we apply for the relief of the burdened conscience that which cannot but be utterly inefficacious to such an end.
When men come to us inquiring what they must do to be saved, they are entitled to receive something more, by way of answer, than a copy of the Bible, although the sufficient and authoritative answer is contained therein, could they read it aright; and something more trustworthy, by way of an interpretation of the word of Holy Scripture, than an opinion based upon our own insight or attainments, be we never so gifted or learned. For we have something better than this to give them, as the representatives of that Church which has been empowered and enabled to direct the anxious, the ignorant, and the doubting, into the true and heavenly way; and whose definitions on the fundamentals of revealed truth, are expressly for the guidance of the individual teacher. We are unfaithful as ambassadors so commissioned, and as the stewards of such a trust, if, whore the Universal Church has spoken, we give not the questioner her authoritative answer, or if, in the exercise of discipline, we dare to bind where she has not bound, or loose where she has not loosed.
3. But again, we have received our commission from a particular branch of the Church. And although, on the one hand, a commission so received should entitle us to recognition as Priests of the Church of God everywhere, and on the other, the world should hear the same doctrine from the lips of the duly authorized Christian teacher, from whatever branch of the Church he may have received his commission,--as of old it would, whether at Rome, or Ephesus, or Carthage, or Canterbury--yet unhappily such is not the case. There is neither unity of organization, nor uniformity of teaching, even where a historical and transmitted authority still exists. Schism has rent the body of Christ, and it is long since a truly Ecumenical Council could be assembled. We have and hold the Catholic symbols, and we acknowledge the [9/10] authority and accept the decrees of the General Councils, so far as their authority was originally acknowledged, and their decrees were accepted by the whole Church. But yet the Church of Rome refuses to recognize our Priestly authority, and demands our submission to the Papacy, and our acceptance of whatever dogmas may have been sanctioned, and whatever decrees may have been promulgated by her single authority. On the other hand, our own Church refuses to permit the Priest of Rome to minister at her altars, unless and until he shall have renounced those novel definitions of Rome which are contrary to Scriptural and primitive doctrine, and that usurped authority which overthrows the ancient order and discipline. But this is what I would now say: That whatever may be the difficulties or the merits of the controversy between our own and the Roman Church, or however the differences between our own and the Greek Church may be regarded, or whatever views we may hold respecting the relations of our own Church with other Christian bodies; in a word, whatever be, in our own view, or in that of others, the position of our own branch of the Church in Christendom, the Priest who has received his commission at her hands owes allegiance to her, if for no other reason than because he has pledged such allegiance in the very act of seeking and receiving that commission. He is a Minister of this Church, and strictly amenable to this branch of the Church Catholic. He has undertaken to represent this Church in his teachings and ministrations, "giving faithful diligence always so to minister the doctrine and 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," and under no pretext whatsoever can he prefer another superior or guide to her, in any of his official acts, while holding the commission granted on condition of submitting to her authority, without disloyalty, not only to her but to Christ. Strange indeed, is it, that any man can imagine that he is approving himself to Christ, or even to any honest minded fellow man, when repudiating, under whatever plea, an obligation he has voluntarily assumed, and disregarding a law ho has voluntarily pledged himself to obey.
4. But to pass now to another and less frequently discussed [10/11] requirement of ministerial faithfulness. It is demanded of us not only that we shall faithfully deliver the message with which we have been entrusted, according to the instructions of that authority whereby it has been entrusted to us, but that we shall use all diligence and employ all proper and available means to procure its acceptance by those to whom we are sent. We come to our fellow men in the name and by the authority of Him who Himself came to seek and to save that which was lost. We come to tell them of His love for them, of the price He has paid for their redemption, of the way He hath opened for their restoration to the favour of an offended but a still loving Father, of the remedies He has provided for their spiritual diseases, of the home that Ho hath gone to prepare for all who will follow Him. It is to be looked for in the representatives of such an One, and the bearers of such a message, (themselves equally concerned with others in the work done by the Son of God in man's behalf, and equally indebted to it for their own hope of salvation,) that their own hearts should be filled with that love which prompted the humiliation of their Master, and should glow with an intense and eager desire to bring all men to a participation in those benefits which He hath procured for them. And can we worthily represent that merciful and compassionate High Priest who offered Himself for the sins of the world, and who hath entered into the Holy of Holies, not with the blood of bulls and of goats, but with His own blood, there to make perpetual intercession for those unto whom, meanwhile, we are sent to pray them in His stead to be reconciled to God; can we worthily represent Him, if our hearts be devoid of His love, and if we share not largely in His unceasing solicitude for the accomplishment of the number of His elect?
But if with such affections and such a desire we have entered upon our work, we will be impelled, as ambassadors, to deliver our message, not merely with a scrupulous regard to its essential truth, plainly, and accurately, and fully; but with a due and studious regard to the conditions on which it can be rendered effective. The superiority of the living teacher over the mere book or formula in any department of instruction, is chiefly in these two points: First, in that he can, in his presentation of the truth, [11/12] arrange, divide, illustrate, and thus adapt it to the mental peculiarities, or the previous knowledge of the individual pupil; and secondly, that his own personal interest in the subject inspires and enables him to awaken a corresponding interest in the mind of the disciple. This superiority of the living teacher holds quite as well in the communication of sacred as of secular truths, and our Lord availed Himself of it in appointing and in providing for the perpetuation of a living ministry. This ministry can never be superseded, nor its value essentially diminished, by other agencies. But its peculiar efficiency depends much upon the degree with which each teacher recognizes his advantages, and seeks to avail himself of them. I hardly need say to you that faithfulness on your part requires you to pray for your people as well as to preach to them, and that your instructions and exhortations must be not only those which you address to your congregation in general from the pulpit, but (if you are to fulfill your ordination vow, and the requirements of a good shepherd) must extend also to the particular members of your flock, and to the sick as well as to the whole within your cure. But let me remind you of this, that no one of those over whom you are placed may be overlooked or neglected in this care.
Among those to whom it is your duty to minister, as their instructor and their spiritual physician, are many who will not, of their own accord, come to you for special instruction or counsel. And yet, if you are to profit them, it is most needful that you should know their particular trials, difficulties, doubts and infirmities. Your public instructions, though lacking neither in clearness nor in unction, have failed perhaps hitherto to move them, because you have not addressed yourself intelligently, and with sufficient explicitness to their wants. Now it is easy for us to go where we know that we shall be welcomed as the Minister of Christ, even though we come with the word of warning or reproof. It is easy for us to lead on those who have already expressly placed themselves under our guidance. But are we not prone, not only to shrink from, but to quite neglect approaching those who have never encouraged our approaches? This should not be, and I venture to assure you, my brethren, that in the [12/13] majority of cases where the faithful Priest has, in obedience to the demand of duty, overcome his reluctance to approach such persons, and with a due regard to the personal characteristics of the individual, and to fitness of manner and opportunity, has frankly and lovingly made the needful inquiry and spoken the needful word, he has been met with a response that rebuked his timidity, and won for himself not only the reward of an approving conscience, but the gratitude and the fuller confidence and respect of his parishioner. He has gained, moreover, a manifest step towards the attainment of that complete knowledge and influence that in due time, by God's blessing, may enable him to accomplish his yearning desire for the soul of his brother. And though he have not received this greeting and this encouragement, he has nevertheless performed a duty plainly incumbent upon him; he has exhibited his Master's all-reaching charity, and he has gained his Master's approval.
5. But more than this:--It is demanded of us also that we shall not only seek to know the spiritual wants of the individual members of our own flock, but that we should study the traits, and modes of thought and feeling, and especially the peculiar religious views, habitudes, and condition of the community in which we labour. For a knowledge of these, and a readiness of adaptation to them in our public and private ministrations, is most important to the effectiveness of our endeavors to extend our influence. Preaching is often unattractive and uninteresting, and therefore vain, because the preacher, either in his choice of topics, or in his mode of presenting them, is altogether out of relation with his hearers. A thousand misconceptions also of the doctrines and worship of the Church, and stubborn prejudices against them, are often traceable to a lack of knowledge or consideration in this respect on the part of the teacher. For example, he may base his whole argument upon the authority of the Church, before he has furnished a definition of the Church, or exhibited the grounds of her authority; or he may earnestly labour to prove the concurrence of Regeneration with Baptism, while he still loaves his hearers, wholly unfamiliar with our terminology, to confound Regeneration with Conversion; or he may insist upon a more [13/14] regular and devout observance of ecclesiastical usages and appointments, before he has made evident to those trained up in an atmosphere of individualism, the intimate relation of the spiritual life of the individual with the organic life of the Church, and therefore the practical wisdom and value of such appointments. And thus, either from beginning at a point far in advance of the theological attainments of his audience, or from the use of terms, understood by them in quite another sense from that intended by himself, or from exhorting to action, before supplying the motives to action, he fails to enlighten, creates or strengthens feelings of aversion or opposition, blocks up before himself the avenues to the intellect and the heart, and, at the best, but sews new cloth into old garments, and produces a motley patch-work of right beliefs and misbeliefs, which is profitable for nothing. If our failure to acquire influence, to maintain a hold upon our congregations, to produce the results for which we labour, be attributable to any such misdirection of effort, or heedlessness of the circumstances of our position, can we, notwithstanding it, expect that approval of our Master which is the reward of faithfulness, and the crown of success?
It would no doubt help to correct any tendency to overlook or disregard those conditions of success to which I have just referred, if the alternative which is continually before our clergy of abandoning, at will, any particular field of labour were withdrawn from them. But surely, my brethren, every Minister of Christ should labour at the post which he at any time occupies, as if he were fixed there for life. He should bring his best ability, his most thoughtful care to the benefit of his flock, however insignificant may appear the charge for the time entrusted to him. It has oftentimes been the case that a very small parish numerically, has become a more illustrious centre of spiritual influence, has sent more young men into the ministry, has shed forth a light which has redounded more to the glory of God than many larger ones, simply because its faithful and earnest pastor, working with the advantage of having but a few sheep to look after, has devoted himself to them with unusual and pains-taking assiduity. On the other hand, nothing can be hoped for anywhere from a [14/15] listless or half-hearted service, and under no circumstances can such a service be acceptable to Him to whom we must give an account.
6. Finally, my brethren, I cannot but think that a greater stability and steadfastness than is general on the part of the clergy in their local relations, is an important element of ministerial fidelity, as it is certainly an essential condition of the accomplishment of the work of the Church. The frequency of local changes among the clergy is, I am satisfied, one of the chief impediments to the growth of the Church in our country, and especially in the younger and feebler Dioceses, where such changes are, from various circumstances, more frequent than elsewhere. It is, in fact, an enormous evil, which all who are interested in the prosperity of the Church should set themselves to remedy. It has appeared only in very modern times, and almost exclusively in our own land. The apostles were indeed itinerants by vocation, but the elders, whom they "ordained in every city," remained permanently fixed in the charge to which they were originally assigned; and even St. Paul himself, with "the care of all the churches upon him", retained the personal supervision of some of them longer than the average rectorship of not a few of our Presbyters. The Nicene Canons expressly forbade the removal of Presbyters and Deacons, or their reception into another Diocese than their own; and both the laws and the sentiment of the Church, in subsequent ages, have tended to promote the stability of the pastoral relation. Nearly everywhere but among ourselves, provision is made in the mode of appointment and induction of the Clergy to their cures, and in the measures adopted for their maintenance, to ensure the permanence of the settlement. And certainly this permanency is as needful here as elsewhere to the steady and healthful growth of the Church.
The usefulness of the pastor is largely the outgrowth of those intimate relations with his flock, which can be established only after long intercourse. At first he is merely the official head of the parish, respected more or less for the sake of his office, according to the existing views of the people concerning his office, and esteemed according to the acceptableness of his public [15/16] ministrations. By the vigour of his preaching, or the organizing power which he exhibits in the work of the parish, he may make a distinct and favourable impression, and sow seed, which, by God's grace, shall bring forth fruits for the heavenly garner. But all his peculiar qualities in these respects soon cease to be novelties, and to produce those sensible stimulating effects which they at first produced. Then comes the crisis when, according to the views of those who conceive that the whole work of God within the soul of man is wrought summarily, and under the influence of strong excitement, a change ought to be made in the pastoral relations. It is also the time of greatest trial to the pastor himself, and when the temptations will be strongest to seek another field. Perhaps he may hear expressions or note symptoms of dissatisfaction or disappointment, among his people, many of whom, knowing little and thinking loss, concerning the means, processes and conditions of spiritual growth, look for fruits before the time of harvest, and would resort to now stimulants, when only regular nourishment and patient culture arc required. And, moreover, those strong ties of natural confidence and personal affection, knitted in the hours when the struggles of deep emotion break down the barriers, and open the heart to the sympathizing and faithful minister of Christ's compassion and tenderness, are not yet formed.
When, therefore, just at this juncture, a call comes to him from another parish, proffering advantages and making representations which, though they may never be realized, seem to promise a degree of relief, and an easier field, the prematurely disheartened pastor is apt to forsake his work just when he has fairly entered upon it; and that, too often, without compunction and without reluctance. I say that he is prematurely disheartened; for, although it must often be the case in our work, that one man soweth and another reapeth, and although it oftentimes seems to be the peculiar province of some to sow and of others to water and cultivate, yet we at least should know that in the spiritual, as in the natural world, time is required for growth, and therefore, that as the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it until he receive the early and the [16/17] latter rain", so such patient waiting is required of us, and it is unreasonable for us to expect a harvest in the spring-time. We may indeed enter into other men's labours and reap speedily where the sowing was long since done; but if we would see the fruits of seed sown by ourselves, we must patiently wait while the process of germination and of development is going on by the operation of a power above our own, and long invisibly to ourselves. And I say, again, that the disheartened Pastor in the case which I have described, abandons his work when he has but just fairly entered upon it. For the period of patient waiting is not a period of mere passive waiting. There is much to be done by the husbandman after the sowing, if he would expect fruits, although it is God alone that giveth the increase. And as I have already shown, what remains to be done by the spiritual husbandman, can be well done only by him who has become thoroughly familiar with the peculiarities of his particular field.
In urging upon your attention this steadfastness to your post as a condition of faithfulness, I of course do not intend, my brethren, to designate it as such any farther than its maintenance is within your own control. I am well aware that the responsibility for the frequent changes which occur in the pastoral relation rests much less upon you than upon the laity, and upon the system which makes the clergy so largely dependent upon their particular congregations. It is far less often from choice than from an urgent necessity that the parochial clergy leave their place. But it must be evident to us all, that the work of the Church cannot be done, as it should be done, until, by some means, greater stability in this relation shall have been secured. And because that work is pre-eminently your work, I call upon you to recognize this condition of success in it, and so far as in you lies, to fulfill it as you seek the approval of your Lord. Though results be not the true gauge of success, we must see to it that the lack of them is not attributable to our unfaithfulness, and when persistency in standing to our post is necessary to the accomplishment of what might be accomplished there, it becomes a manifest duty.
I leave my subject here, brethren, though I have entered upon [17/18] it only just far enough to give some conception of its magnitude. I have said nothing about particular methods of work, I have recommended no particular measures. Your work is that which the Church has to do, and faithfulness requires you to seek to do that work in the Church's way. Of the details beyond that I may not dictate, and need not direct. In parochial work, what you have not already learned from books must be chiefly learned from experience. I add only the expression of my hearty belief that a full appreciation of the distinctive doctrinal and practical system of the Church, and a full and open presentation of it, is as necessary for the building up of the Kingdom of Christ here, as they are incumbent upon you, her Ministers, and that it would be a mistake in policy, as well as a breach of duty, to either ignore or hold in slight esteem in your ministrations the peculiar features of that system. If it be expedient for us at times to expressly exhibit the fact that we hold and teach much in common with other religious teachers, it is quite as important, not only for the truth's sake, but for the edification of the Church, to point out, explain and indicate the distinctive features of our own theological system.
If justice and charity demand of us to recognize and admit the good that is done through the agency of other religious bodies, no considerations can require of us to ignore the fundamental defects of their teaching or organization--and there is nothing to be gained by it. But, nevertheless, it is chiefly by a faithful adherence to the rules prescribed for our guidance in our ministrations, by bringing our teaching from the pulpit into a strict and full accord with that of the Liturgy, both in its substance, and in the order of presentation, and by exhibiting in our pastoral work and in our ordinary conversation among men the spirit of those who seek not their own "but the things which are Jesus Christ's," without frequent allusion to the features of other systems, and without much regard to cries of agitators, within or without the Church, that we can best fulfill our mission and serve the cause to which we are pledged. "In quietness and confidence shall be your strength."