AMERICAN CHURCH PRESS CO., 4 ST. MARK'S PLACE.
THE Consecration of the Rev. Theodore Benedict Lyman, D.D., elected as Assistant Bishop of North Carolina, took place in Christ Church, Raleigh, on Thursday, the 11th day of December, 1873. The Bishops present and officiating, were the Rt. Rev. William Rollinson Whittingham, D. D. LL. D., Bishop of Maryland, the Rt. Rev. Thomas Atkinson, D.D. LL.D., Bishop of North Carolina, and the Rt. Rev. Henry Champlin Lay, D.D. LL.D., Bishop of Easton. There were thirty Clergy in attendance, and a large congregation which completely filled the church.
At the appointed hour, the procession of Bishops and Clergy moved from the rectory to the door of the church, and entering in reverse order, led by the Bishop of Maryland, advanced to the chancel, as the old hundredth Psalm was sung to its own tune. The Bishops took their places within the railing, and the Clergy were arranged in the stall seats on either side of the chancel. The Bishop elect sat in front, between his attending Presbyters, the Rev. Dr. Mason and the Rev. D. H. Buel.
Morning Prayer was said by the Rev. R. B. Sutton and the Rev. N. C. Hughes the Rev. J. C. Huske reading the First Lesson, Is. xxxv, and the Rev. James A. Buck, of Maryland, reading the Second Lesson, St. John xvii. After the singing of the Fourth Selection of Psalms, the Bishop of North Carolina said the Ante-Communion Service, Bishop Lay reading the Epistle, i. Tim. iii. and Bishop Whittingham the Gospel, St. John xx: 1-15. After the singing of the 104th Hymn, the Bishop of Easton preached the sermon.
The Bishop elect was presented by the Bishop of North Carolina, and the Bishop of Easton. Testimonials being demanded, the Certificate of the election, and the Testimonials of the Diocese, and of [3/4] the Standing Committees were read by the Rev. Dr. Cheshire; and the Certificate of the assent of the Bishops, by the Rev. Dr. Smedes. The Litany was said by Bishop Atkinson; then followed the solemn scrutiny by the Presiding Bishop, and, after the Bishop elect was duly robed, the Hymn,
"Come, HOLY GHOST, Eternal GOD."
The venerable Bishop of Maryland, presiding on this occasion, assisted by the Bishops of North Carolina and Easton, consecrated.
The Communion Service proceeded, and the Holy Communion was administered to the Bishops and Clergy, and a large number of the faithful laity.
After the Services, the procession of Bishops and Clergy returned to the rectory.
It was much regretted that, owing to the unavoidable shortness of notice of the Consecration, several Bishops, whose presence was greatly desired and who had hoped to be present, were unable to attend.
But all who participated in these Services were most deeply impressed with their solemnity and beauty. All felt that this was a day full of hope and promise for the Church in North Carolina, and rejoiced that her admirable and beloved Bishop was to be strengthened in his holy work by a worthy coadjutor.
HOLY FATHER, keep through Thine own Name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are--St. JOHN XVII. 11.
SOME hours there are in the life of every saintly man, Right Reverend Fathers, Reverend Brethren, and Brethren Beloved in the LORD, when the conviction of sin fastens mightily upon him, and constrains the cry, "GOD be merciful to me the sinner!"--hours when he so realizes the grace and pity of his LORD, that he has no words adequate to express his gratitude to "the SON of GOD who loved me and gave Himself for me."
And it has been asked, in such better hours as these--hours of genuine self-searching and abasement, hours of humble access and holy joy in GOD--What becomes of all your questions of words and names and law? How frivolous at such a time do seem the controversies of the day! Amid the plaintive strains of the De Profundis, or the sweet melody of the Nunc Dimittis, what is it but a vexation and a discord to make mention of the Divine constitution of the Church, of the grace conveyed by its holy Sacraments, or of visible unity as the normal condition of the great army of the elect? Who that is earnestly, lovingly struggling (thus it has been said) to bring back a lost man to GOD, finds time to think about the pattern of the Ministry? Who that seriously grapples with the drunkenness, the lewdness, the dishonesty that, all about us, are dragging men down to hell, has the patience to give a thought to matters of mere form and organism? And so the Gallios of the press, the lecture-room and the platform, would drive such enquirers from the judgment-seat, and bid us heed the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith.
Nor can it be denied that men have discussed these questions ecclesiastical too lightly, too bitterly, with an easy indifference, or with narrow-minded partyism, divorcing them from the great spiritual truths which underlie them, and to which they owe their real importance.
But for all that, we may not reduce evangelical piety to an egotism [5/6] or an abstraction. David shall teach us, as we make his penitential Psalm our own, that though we had need to ask pardon for blood-guiltiness itself we may not rise from our knees without a petition for the Church. The fifty-first Psalm begins "Have mercy upon m, O GOD!"--but it concludes: "Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion."
Our utmost pattern, however, is not David, but David's LORD. Let us plant ourselves by His side at the most critical hour of all His life, when the heart was just broken by treason, when the fragrance of the Eucharistic feast filled all the room, when work was almost ended and death was waiting at the door. Listen to the High-Priestly Prayer wherein He gave utterance to the very travail of His Soul. The burden of it is, that they whom the FATHER had given Him--nor only they, but all they who should believe on Him through their word--might be ONE.
Presently, in the garden, He thrice deprecated the cup of sorrow but here He five times renews the prayer for the unity of His ransomed flock. And the unity for which He prayed was nothing less than that sympathy and unbroken fellowship, that oneness in will and work and purpose, which belonged to the FATHER and the SON "as Thou, FATHER, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us." Can we, without irreverence, expound this unity as being aught else than the very closest intimacy of which men are capable the perfect joining together of the Saints in one mind and one judgment: the unbroken integrity of a body whose members continue steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and prayers?
I do not propose, on this occasion, to discuss the general subject to which the text invites us, but rather to consider one special phase of it. Assembled as we are, to perpetuate the Episcopal succession recognizing as we do in the Episcopate a centre of unity solemnized as we are by the thought that besides imparting to a Diocese needed guidance and supervision, we are supplying the ligament by which it is to maintain its living connection with the Catholic Church of history, it may be not inappropriate to the occasion to consider our own position in a divided Christendom.
The mind and temper of the Anglican Communion, in the matter of Christian unity, is the theme we propose to you. We American Churchmen may be content ourselves to be comprehended [6/7] under the general term I have used. For, thanks be to GOD all of us--Britons, Americans, Colonists--are here of like mind and were permitted not very long since at Lambeth, to formulate our concord in words few, but weighty, and not soon to be forgotten.
This survey of the general drift of thought in our Communion concerning Christian unity may be useful to ourselves for it at once reminds us of the great awakening in the Church after a mournful season of dulness and inertia; an awakening which, however intermittent, and diversified in its manifestations, has steadily progressed throughout a century. The yearning after unity has grown out of the new baptism of love and zeal wherewith the HOLY GHOST has blessed us. And should our words catch the ear of the stranger who, in no malice and with no thought to bear false witness, has. written us down as self-complacent, arrogant, with a Jewish bitterness of soul against the Samaritan who refuses to accept our formula, the stranger may be persuaded that it is haste and misunderstanding which have painted the Anglican Church in this repellant attitude towards the rest of Christendom.
I know that this drift of thought, this mind, this hqoV of the Church in a given age, is a subtle thing, not easy to be defined. But it is ever betraying itself by signs recognized by thoughtful men. Now it suggests the themes whereon great living Doctors descant in the audience of the learned now it finds vent in some generous utterance on the rare occasions when one has access to brethren who have been estranged. Again we recognize it, teaching men in controversy to change words that impugn motive, to words not less strong but far more peaceable, which affirm the right. But most of all, in the fraternal gatherings of the Clergy, in the informal consultations of the Bishops, when occasion has brought them together, we may see in the subjects that rise spontaneously to the surface, in the thoughtfulness and fairness which characterize their talk, how much the Church's heart is possessed with the desire for reconciliation, and how earnestly she strives to divest herself of pride and prejudice, as she confronts the divisions of these latter days.
And now proceeding to the theme before us, we observe:
I. That the Anglican Communion is pervaded by a deep sense of the wickedness and mischief of division.
 In the enthusiasm of the English Reformation, it was not easy for the most prudent to foresee the consequences of innovations which were even then deplored, but which seemed to find a ready apology in the necessities of the case: innovations not designed or deliberately proposed, but growing out of the mighty convulsions and throes of religious thought on the continent of Europe, and the absence of Episcopal sympathy and guidance.
No wonder that the Anglican leaders had largest sympathies with those Continental Churches. They had striven together to throw off a yoke of usurpation: they rejoiced together in hearing the living words of the Evangelists, so long prisoners in the obscure dungeon of a dead tongue; and in beholding the blessed Gospel in its simplicity, rescued from the fables that had overlaid and obscured it. I see not how Cranmer could ignore Melanchthon, or how, in like circumstances, any of us could refuse sympathy to men so earnest, or decline consultation with men so learned.
As one traverses the crypts of Canterbury Cathedral, the past becomes real and life-like. He sees the Huguenots fleeing from the horrors of the massacre of St. Bartholomew they come across the sea, with little else save their lives and the instruments of their craft, and knock at the door of the Mother Church of England. She could not encamp them in her solemn nave, nor divide with them her sacred choir. But she gathered them under her wings, and lent them shelter and Christian kindness. Their silk-looms are set up in her spacious vaults, and at even-song the murmur of their Gallic Prayers and Hymns steals into the strain of the white-robed choir above. Nor when the emergency was passed, would she drive them forth again and after the lapse of centuries, still gather in that ancient chamber a remnant who worship GOD in the language and after the tradition of their fathers. Thus did it then appear that Catholic principles can co-exist with Christian Love.
But before an argument can be drawn from the familiarity of intercourse which for a time prevailed between Anglicans and other Protestants against Rome, let us remember that as yet none loved division for its own sake. Men hoped to have in France, in Germany, in Switzerland, a national Church. The conception of the Church as a mere congeries of denominations, whose type in nature is the Polyp, capable of infinite division, and each separated member presently acquiring all the functions of the whole, was strange and [8/9] new. It was long before Churchmen understood that this was comprehended in the claim for Christian liberty.
Three hundred years have well sufficed to exhibit the results of division in the Church of GOD. The Church of Rome was slow to set up a rival altar in England, and deferred it until Elizabeth had been long on her throne: and separated from us, she has more than ever erected new opinions into doctrines, and these doctrines into articles of faith, appalling us by the very wantonness with which she makes conditions of communion, whereof the early martyrs and fathers never heard so much as the dim report.
For three hundred years Denominationalism has pursued its way not without its triumphs, not without illustrious examples, and a martyr-roll which the Church might be proud to claim. But certain results have inevitably followed. When we study the history of those communities who followed Luther, Calvin, Zwingle, or of the English Puritans, we see that the Faith has not been kept, the heart of orthodoxy has died within them, and often the very shell and appearance of it is discarded. Which of us but was deeply moved when that deputation of German Clergymen sought permission to enter the House of Bishops, that they might tell us of the decay of orthodoxy which threatened their people here in our midst, unless some element of authority and Catholic consent could be brought in to fortify them?
We have learned that division is a most serious obstacle in the prosecution of Missionary work. We find that resources which, most heedfully economized, are not more than adequate to work at home, are frittered away by division or lost by contrariety. We are painfully conscious that in the effort to seize strategic points and to occupy all the ground, teachers are hastily multiplied and ill-sustained: teachers whose qualifications do not meet the requirements of the age, and who cannot resolve the doubts and difficulties of intelligent minds.
We have seen more and more a tendency to make of religion an opinion rather than a devotion, or an enthusiasm rather than a holy life: a disposition to deny the worth of authority and precedent, so highly valued in all other departments of life so that, forgetful of the true story of the Holy Books, as written at divers times and in divers manners, forgetful of the authority which collected these various writings, segregating the apocryphal from the true, [9/10] witnessing, guarding, transmitting them many a poor soul prides himself on taking his Bible, as though, in its English version, an angel had brought it direct to him from heaven, and making his private interpretation of it the expression of the mind of GOD.
Of late years there has been a growth among us in the doctrine of the Sacraments. Not that the great body of the Church has changed its belief concerning them, and found new formulas necessary to describe their nature. No; we have rather learned to realize that they are what we always believed them truly to be, the very instruments of the HOLY GHOST: we no longer obtrude them timidly or use them charily.
Now it is in the very nature of division to substitute intellectual disputation or passionate enthusiasm for devotion pure and calm, occasional high-wrought effort for patient waiting upon GOD in ordinances and Sacraments. We cannot shut our eyes to the fact, that in proportion as Church, and Liturgy, and Sacraments are depreciated, the HOLY GHOST, who is the present LORD of the Church and the COMFORTER next at hand, fades out of men's thoughts in the reality of His person and offices, and becomes to many but a force or an influence, a name or an epithet.
We are variously affected by one or another of such evils, according to our mental constitution or our individual circumstances. But the evil of a divided Christendom, yea and of a divided Protestantism, we unite bitterly to deplore. In one sense only is Protestantism a failure. So far as with holy courage it challenged errors and superstitions that had overspread the Church, although not yet crystallized into decree and symbol, the martyr-soul was in it, and the name might honorably be preserved, as great Captains have borrowed a surname from their victories. But when, having denied the false, it fails to affirm the true; when, having rejected the usurpation, it ceases to uphold lawful rule; when it seeks to feed the soul with negations, and permits Israel to be scattered upon the hills as sheep that have not a shepherd, thus far has Protestantism failed, because it has ceased to be Catholic.
Many were the wrongs inflicted by violent men upon the pure Body of our LORD. They bruised and lacerated it they rended His members and pierced His side. But it was written, and it was so fulfilled, "not a bone of Him shall be broken." GOD guarded the integrity of that holy form, so that there should be no schism in that sacred Body.
 Thus it is with the Church, His mystical body. It may be lashed with the scourge of this world's scorn; buffeted in its malice, wounded by its persecutions; but no enemy can break its bones or sunder its integrity. That dishonor to the LORD of life, is one that Christian hands alone can render. The Bishops at Lambeth did but give expression to a universal grief when they declared so simply and yet so sadly, "We desire to express the deep sorrow with which we view the divided condition of the flock of CHRIST throughout the world, ardently longing for the fulfillment of the prayer of our LORD that all may be One."
2. Along with the desire for unity, I think we may recognize in the Church a growing distrust of all plans of comprehension which are in anywise disingenuous.
We seem to be united in the conviction that a godly unity must be that which our LORD entreated of the FATHER. It must be a unity spontaneous, genuine, visible; a unity in charity and doctrine, in order and fellowship; a unity in affirmation, not in negation. It is not a unity of indifference, of violence, or of sentiment and artifice.
And here the examples of those who, in striving variously to realize their ideal of comprehensiveness, have broken off from our fellowship and Communion, come to illustrate the several theories of unity which the sober judgment of the Anglican Church rejects as false and illusive.
If we take the period within which our honored Father in GOD has presided over the Diocese which now summons a co-adjutor to divide with him its cares--the beginning of that period, awl each succeeding decade, 1853, 1863, and 1873, have been marked by the separation, voluntary or involuntary, of a Bishop from the Anglican Communion. [Levi Silliman Ives, Bishop of North Carolina, consecrated Sept. 22, 1831. Deposed Oct. 14, 1853. John William Colenso, Bishop of Natal, Consecrated 1853, Deposed 1863. George David Cummins, Bishop-Assistant of Kentucky, consecrated Nov. 15, 1866, Abandoned the Church 1873.]
You, brethren of the Diocese of North Carolina, have not forgotten the shock and the pain when your gifted Bishop, who, for more than twenty years, had gone in and out before you, so closely allied with Hobart, that stalwart champion of old Anglican theology--after tossing many days upon the sea of doubt, emerged only to hang up [11/12] his Episcopal signet as a votive offering in the temple of one who claims to be the universal Pontiff.
He departed, but without a following, and the Diocese rallied from the blow, and to its honor gave its undiminished confidence to his successor in that deserted chair. None has a word or thought of bitterness as he thinks of the stranger grave where now repose the relics of one whom North Carolina would once have dutifully enshrined; the bones of the man of GOD still honored for many a "saying which he cried in the word of the LORD," in his best days, against sin and folly. We respect "the trials of a mind," disordered, we know not how much, in its hidden machinery. We forgive the attempted injury, and his good we bury not with his bones.
But how plainly does it seem, in view of subsequent events, that the unity which he sought was but a phantom. He thought to find the peace and unity of an unchanging Creed. But among the early lessons of the convert was a new article: that being, by hypothesis, now necessary to salvation, which was not necessary twenty years ago. Nor only he we may add the names of others in less exalted position, who forsook their mother--living men, although we almost think of them as dead.
What generous pity possesses us as we mention Newman, the pure and saintly victim to the excess of his sensibilities and the very subtlety of his logic! We see in his Apologia the struggle of an honest soul enwrapped in the meshes of a system which is built on falsehood we see him still kept in the background because too honest to be trusted, painfully forcing himself to acquiesce in a decree which, with strange inconsistency, he deemed it unwise for an infallible authority to promulgate. And we follow him tenderly with our sympathies and prayers until the time shall come for him to pass away, singing his own sad, sweet song
"Lead, kindly light! Amid th' encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!"
And if we turn to another, once a master in Israel among us, and on whom Rome has laden her utmost honors--oh, how terrible seems the sacrifice when Manning accepts as inspiration the dreams of a crazy nun, and a knight, once almost without a peer, limps sorely off the field where an unknown champion has proven heresy against him, leaving to his armour-bearer professedly the honor, but in truth the shame!
 Rome would indeed give unity by violently forcing her own absolute rule upon us. Would she meet us in the open day, it is hard to tell with what indulgence we would listen to her explanations and what concessions of respect we might in high courtesy render to her venerable See. But to her ultimatum offered in despite of the interpretation of Catholic Fathers, re-affirmed in despite of the thorough exposure by her own great Doctors of the forgeries on which it rests, that in the living voice of the Pope speaks out the SPIRIT of GOD, we have no choice but to reply that we cannot accept the subtlety of Newman by which assent is divorced from evidence and argument, and that in point of fact and history her statement is untrue. That is no unity which rests on falsehood.
That same year in which was lost to us a Bishop from North Carolina, witnessed also the Consecration of one to the See of Natal in Southern Africa. And after ten years had elapsed, he was deposed by his Metropolitan, the faithful Bishop of Capetown. The Bishops of our own Church accepted the sentence and renounced communion with one who has ceased to be of us, although the civil law confirms him in his title and his See.
And Colenso too would claim to be the Apostle of Unity! He too would work out his ideal of genuine catholicity, and give us an all-comprehending Church of the future, a Church without a Creed.
Some there are, not many we trust, who sympathize with him, at least to the extent of revolt against dogma, the demand for the privilege of absolute free thought, the avowed purpose to recast theology so as to square it with modern civilization. A dangerous school it is, and the more dangerous because it is insidious. It wears no bright-colored badge, and flaunts no gay banner before our eyes to excite our passions and to rouse our animosity. It rather steals, in its cold livery of grey, into the study and into the pulpit. It entertains the intellect and benumbs the heart. It wastes its little hour of public teaching in warning men not to believe too much and sends them away with a dim apprehension that however the old, old story must needs be true and is a very lovely song as well, there is much that may be said against it. It may be that those who come after us shall have their chief conflict with an enemy who already, by night and almost unsuspected, is scattering the tares of distrust, if not of unbelief.
 Such men would tell us, there is a unity to be had in the recognition of genuine Christianity--not as a Creed or a corporation, but instead, as a sublime philosophy and the purest of moralities. They carry somewhat farther the arguments of the orthodox who decry the need of a visible unity. So long as the world stands, they tell us, men will not think alike, nor the juries of the learned render the same verdict upon statements of fact laid before them. Why rest your cause upon the accuracy of ancient documents which will continually be challenged, and the truth of miracles which great thinkers will not so much as notice because they are a priori impossible? The alchemy of modern science has learned to extract from almost every material thing its hidden virtue, and to cast the fibre away. We are but dullards and behind the age who, instead of dissecting the Gospel and enshrining in our hearts its sweet essence of spiritual beauty, still walk about it lovingly, and would not profane its least significant feature by a question too bold or a touch too rude. They would not bar us, they say, from old formulas and accustomed modes of speech; only we must utter them in the spirit rather than in the letter.
And so it may be, on this very day, one who still claims to be a Bishop of the Church may stand up and say, I believe in Him who was conceived by the HOLY GHOST and born of the Virgin Mary, while he deems it but a myth that the SON of GOD despised not the Virgin's womb, and would strike out the mystery of the Incarnation from the necessary faith of a Christian man.
So utterly repulsive to the Church's mind is this unity in unbelief; and so heartily did the Episcopate put away from among themselves that wicked person, that I need not enter into the argument. As in the debate with Rome, we make up an issue of fact, and will not draw off thence our forces to fight the battle upon the uncertain field of speculation.
Our Creed is a recitation not of opinions, but of facts which can he proven. We point to the opened sepulchre and say defiantly, Here is the key to our position--could you take that, there is nothing left worth fighting for. We throw down our gage of battle, "The LORD is risen indeed," "declared to be the SON of GOD, with power by the resurrection from the dead." If CHRIST be not risen, in the very truth and letter of the story, we are yet in our sins: too miserable, too heart-broken to give even a thought to the philosophy [14/15] which would ask that place in our hearts which we had given to a SAVIOUR and a COMFORTER.
Thus one and another of the chief shepherds of the flock have invited us to the unity of absolutism and of indifference. The gate has closed behind them: and we draw farther away from their selected paths, knowing that there is no unity without truth; and they have not chosen the way of truth.
And now, after another ten years, we are offered another solution of the problem. A unity may he had without uniformity of any sort--a unity of sentiment, of compromise of ingenious artifice. Perhaps we are mistaken after all, it is said, when we have spoken of the divisions of Protestantism. Protestantism is not divided. Its heart is right; it is but the tongue that cannot frame to pronounce the watchword right. True, it is that the unity proposed is partial, and an anathema against ancient Churches is of the essence of its scheme; but it were a great step, they say, in the way of unity, if by concordat and fraternal intercourse; if by filing away the sharp angles of individual disciplines; if by a decomposition of existing forms and systems and the ingenious manipulation of them by skilful workmen, some centre of reconciliation shall he found, which, if not the first choice of any, shall yet be offensive to none.
The eyes of the Church are turned calmly, yet sadly, upon the retreating form of one of her Bishops who has formally abandoned her Communion. Were I tempted, as indeed I am not, to utter one word of personal disparagement, to use any language save that of sorrow and of mournful pity, I should indeed abuse the privilege of this occasion and do displeasure to my Right Reverend Brethren, who are indisposed by any word or act to exceed the just limits of their official duty.
The utter disfavor with which any such plan of comprehension has been regarded by the Church, is patent to all. Will Protestants rally around a moderate Episcopacy? We can conceive no shade of moderation in the Presidency of religious bodies which has not already characterised some one Christian community. Nay, so moderate are its powers among us that it is said a Bishop cannot with good conscience abide where he must endure teaching subversive of the pure Gospel, while he is not armed with the authority to censure or to expel it.
Shall we mend matters by imparting an Episcopate to all who [15/16] will accept it as a mere regimen, while we waive its true character as the centre and conservator of unity? Shall we hope to bring believers, heterogeneous as before, into conformity here, while the Church of history shall still be regarded as of no authority, and division still be maintained as the legitimate condition of GOD'S chosen people?
I do not wonder at the impatience with which men listen to us when we argue the bare question of three orders against two, or of Diocesan Episcopacy against a less settled superintendance, while we keep back the one grand spiritual conviction which underlies all polity worth disputing about, viz: that the Church of CHRIST, while it is by positive institution Episcopal and Diocesan, is in its very nature and essence, One and Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
Or again, can we revise the Liturgy and define the ceremonial so as to shut out all false teachers, and to conciliate all evangelical Christians?
Confessedly, the Prayer Book as it stands is a marvellous compilation. Long centuries have contributed the material, and in the sifting of controversy and trial the chaff has been winnowed away. And yet, nor that Book, nor any other, is of itself sufficient to preserve the Church from formalism, as witness the dying out of living faith in the Georgian era. Can another volume accomplish that result?
Is it true that Semi-Romanism is likely to overmaster our church and that it may be resisted more successfully under a new organization?
We will unite to deny the unbelieving proverb, "Error is impotent for mischief so long as reason is left free to combat it." But we may give it a Christian paraphrase, and so adopt it. Error is impotent to usurp dominion in the Church, when that Church is instinct with devout affection and abundant in good works and alms-deeds.
When, since the days of the early martyrs, has there been seen a Church more alive than ours, in her several branches, to her high responsibilities? When have the Holy Scriptures been searched more profoundly and devoutly? When has there been a more earnest outreach into the highways and hedges, to bring the very beggars to the feast? When, a more earnest aspiration of individual souls to attain a higher spirituality? Error may trouble, but it cannot cast [16/17] down a Church that lives and works in earnest. Error cannot long survive in the pure atmosphere of practical godliness.
Human policy would indeed lend its aid to holy truth, as Saul proffered his armor to David. Take these weapons and defences, it says. Purchase advowsons, subsidize Missionaries and poor Priests, add conditions to your charities, hold your secret consultations but the faithful warrior has no experience of them all, and is content to risk the contest upon the right of his cause and the protection of his GOD.
Or, again, shall Christian unity be promoted by taking away from the Holy Communion all its ornaments and its safeguards? You may discard the surplice and the Priest, but strife is re-opened just so soon as you draw any line of distinction, and require any authority of any sort in him who presides for the notion of a priestly caste in any sense, however modified, is offensive to many who call themselves Bible Christians.
Remove the successive steps by which we now ascend so gradually to the height of Eucharistic praise the enunciation of the Law, the Exhortation, the Confession, the Ter Sanctus, the Prayer of Humble Access, and what have you left?
The late Dean of Canterbury has described in an instance now notable, the reality of what we have imagined.
"It had been announced that on Sunday, September 13th, at nine, the English Christians present at Berlin to attend the Conference, would receive the Holy Communion together, how or at what hands was not stated.
"I and my family went as recipients, and as such I had taken my place. . . After a few minutes, some one whom I did not then know, asked whether I would assist in distributing the elements, adding that it was intended merely to read 2 Cor. xi: 23-26, and distribute the bread and wine in silence, such being the only ground on which all could meet in the celebration."
Ah! if such be indeed the only ground on which men can stand together; if even in showing forth the LORD's death, men must with rigid compression of the lip repress the cry of penitence, the declaration of absolving love, the song of gratitude--if this be all the flame that united piety can kindle, there is no hope that the family of GOD will gather around a hearth so cold.
Our departed or departing brethren have thrown no light upon [17/18] the solution of the great problem of unity. We believe, with one, that true unity is to be found in organic form, under the restraints of a kingdom, visible and wearing the badges of authority but we deny that in the See of Rome is concentrated the universal Episcopate.
We consent, with another, that the Church must not bar out light from whatever quarter it may come, and that we must yield large indulgence to diversities of intelligence and of judgment but we will not, even for unity, yield one iota of the Faith once delivered to the Saints.
We yield to none in our reverence for saintly men, our admiration of heroic deeds, the ready response of our hearts to the music they bring from harps not attuned as ours. But we dare not forsake the ark of GOD'S own fashioning, nor hope that any new combination of its materials will make it a more inviting refuge to the anxious souls around us.
Do we then coldly frown upon all the generous impulses which move Christian men to propose terms of conciliation, while we have nothing of our own to offer? Let me reserve for the present the answer to this question; for it is necessary here to invite attention to the fact that
3. Nothing is more characteristic of the Anglican Communion at the present day than the Eirenic tone which pervades her controversial books and her official utterances.
It was the sad fortune of the Church of England for a long period after the Reformation to be unwillingly a combatant. She had need to contend for her very life against Romanist and Puritan and Independent and Deist. Her greatest and gentlest divines were men of war. But as her position has become assured, it is seen that thoughts of peace are most congenial to her gentle heart.
Her conferences with Eastern ecclesiastics, and the fairness with which she meets the question of the Filioque, show that she is ready to yield to those ancient Churches all the respect they may rightly ask.
A marked change has come over her controversy with the Church of Rome; and to the most inexorable of her adversaries, her most learned theologian tenders an Eirenicon. I presume none of us endorse the most notable of these overtures, nor view with favour the [18/19] proposition to reconcile the decrees of Trent and the Thirty-nine Articles by mutual explanations. And yet, hopeless as seems any accommodation, more hopeless now than ever by an action which the author of the Eirenicon could not bring himself to believe was in the range of possibility, who among us but sympathizes with the spirit that would find, even in Rome, instances in which the practical superstition has far outrun the formal teaching which is supposed to authorize it? Stoutly as we maintain our stand against her errors, and re-affirm our protest against her every article of faith which is not in the ancient Creeds, yet how have we risen above the narrowness of denouncing everything that is of Rome because it is Roman! How conscious are we of a fairness and a charity which make us glad to praise her every work of love and mercy in this sorrowful world!
But especially has the heart of the Church yearned over the children who once called her mother, and most honestly does she strive to judge righteous judgment, rather than to blame and to criminate them.
When William Archer Butler, thirty years ago, wrought out his noble sermon, "Church principles not inconsistent with Christian charity," the Church was moved and the echo of his words stirred many a Christian soul. Not that he persuaded us of anything that we did not hold before, but that he gave dear and forcible express ion to the very thought which less gifted men knew not how to frame in sentences exact and clear.
It would be no hard task to give a catena of authorities from that day to this, including our most illustrious names, extracts from Episcopal charges and books of controversy, debates in the Convocation, the Church Congress and the General Convention, Bampton Lectures and occasional sermons, all to the same effect all declaring that, in their unswerving attachment to a Church of history, so far from their hearts being hardened against other Christian people, they rejoiced to see so often among them the loveliest graces of the SPIRIT, and would deem the treasury of the Church enriched could it win to itself the wealth of mind and learning, of eloquence and zeal, of saintly deeds and tempers which belong to those who walk not with us, and who even imagine that we doubt them and avoid them. I would that the time allowed me to illustrate the truth of this statement, to quote the generous words of Samuel Wilberforce to the [19/20] descendants of the Puritans, the various tributes to the Wesleys and to the Nonconformists who preceded them, the outspoken yet kindly address of the Bishop of St. Andrews to the Presbyterians of Scotland. Surely the time must come when Christian men will see that their best friends are not those who force an unnatural intimacy, but those who, although too honest to lay aside a conviction for a courtesy, recognize with manly frankness and fraternal love all the good that GOD hath wrought in them and by them.
How fairly do we seem now to review the controversies of the past! How honestly do we recognize the great blame that has lain upon us, the mistakes in policy, the defect of patience that caused us to drive out, or to suffer to depart unhindered, not a few who, if more gently and prudently treated, might have lent their zeal to kindle a brighter flame upon an altar that had waxed cold! How have we come to interpret the providences of GOD as in part a condemnation of our own supineness seeing that He permitted others to take out of our hands the work which we had done slackly and negligently
Yes, we see everywhere in the Church the gentle movement of a considerate charity--not the spurious counterfeit which teaches the indifference of modes of faith, but the manlier grace which rejoices not in error, and hides not its tears at the rent in the vestment which was not framed to be divided; while yet it has a longing for the return of those in separation, and a blessing for all them that love our LORD JESUS CHRIST in sincerity.
Truth and candor require us to avow that there is such a sin as schism, and to tell men whom we greatly love and value, that they are in separation from the Catholic Church. But then how slow are we to charge upon any the material guilt of schism We realize that it is the influence of education, the power of tradition, the reverence for the best examples available, which oftenest determine the ecclesiastical relation of men who would be the very last to revolt against the ordinance of their LORD. We seem, as we trace the golden thread of the Church's continuity from its beginning, to find it no hard matter to follow it through all the perplexities of the past and we sympathize profoundly with the upright man, who, having no such clue, surveying only a confused and tangled web of doctrines and of methods, despairs of extricating the exact truth from its disorders, and so lays hold upon that filament which is most [20/21] commended to him by early association, or best pleases his sense of spiritual beauty.
If we cannot concede that others possess gifts which we claim for ourselves, we are far from disparaging the worth of what they do possess. We have, to the point of weariness, repelled the charge that we deny the existence of grace outside the limits of the duly organized Church. We may affirm, as Haddan in his Apostolical Succession "not censoriously or boastingly, but with an humble recognition of GOD'S goodness, that the broad history of each community of Christians is actually marked by a degree and purity of belief; and by a tone and depth of spirituality, proportioned to its nearness to, or distance from the full possession of GOD'S truth and order." But for all that, we recognize in communities who have much diverged, the presence of the SPIRIT Who illumines and convinces, Who regenerates and sanctifies. In the words of the same author, "there are earnest Christian men in every sect that cling to the broad foundations of Gospel truth. And the Churchman may often feel, that he himself must watch and labor and pray if he would rival many a Dissenter in spirituality or in holiness."
I might add that this Eirenic temper shows itself in the cheerful recognition of the wisdom and ingenuity exhibited by many a sect in adapting its methods to present needs. For methods are not of Divine prescription, and the Church in every age has need to vary her expedients. We would not, if we could, abridge a just liberty, or forbid the experiments for good, not inconsistent with adherence to great principles, which experience has shown to be effective for the promulgation of truth and the edifying of believers.
The Anglican Communion does not desire, as some suppose, to force her own exact type upon the whole Christian world. Witness how she has forborne to embarrass the Old Catholics with officious help, and how general the conviction, often expressed, that the Reformation they have inaugurated should be, not a servile copy of our own, but a discreet and gradual restoration of their own ancient German Church.
And as for the absorption bodily of large Protestant communions, an ambition imputed to us, the suggestion of which is so offensive to those who claim to be our equals or our superiors in number we may answer, Judge nothing before the time.
Whenever a blessed truce of GOD shall be proclaimed; whenever [21/22] the leading denominations of Protestantism shall agree with us in the brief protocol, Division must be exchanged for Unity, and Unity must be sought upon the basis of TRUTH AND FACT, does any believe we shall meet them by a preliminary demand to accept articles and rubrics and mere Anglican interpretations? No. If the Church of that day is minded as that of the present, she will meet them on terms the most consistent with their self-respect. She will consent to go back with them to periods which antedate the modern strife, and to drink with them the pure waters of truth nearest to the fountain-spring. The things clearly ordained of GOD and stamped with the seal of universal acceptance for a thousand years, she may not yield without disloyalty. She will calmly and honestly go into the inquiry what these are. And outside of these, in all that is doubtful, in all that is of mere human expediency, I verily believe she would exercise her utmost ingenuity, her largest tenderness, to comprehend all and to humiliate none.
Let it not be thought that the Church is content to look coldly on all efforts to promote concord, as well-meant but abortive: let it not be supposed that because she has not yet seen the auspicious moment for proposing a detailed scheme of unity, that she surrenders the problem as insoluble. Far from it and thus we come to observe
4. That the Anglican Communion has not lost faith in the possibility of unity, and that she has her own distinct conception of the means by which it can be promoted.
And here, brethren, I rejoice to fall back upon the authoritative, I may even say the unanimous declaration of the living Episcopate--"ARDENTLY LONGING," they said at Lambeth, "for the fulfillment of the prayer of our Loan that they all may be One." Unity is not a lovely dream, a cloud-picture in the sky. It may be, and it must be, a blessed reality in GOD's good time. That which is impossible with men is possible with GOD. He maketh men to be of one mind in an house. It was as hard eighteen centuries ago as it is now for men to think alike and work together.
The world was no less divided then than now in its beliefs and speculations; and yet by the mighty power of GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT, all were won to the same confession and brought into the same Communion--yes, all, in spite of their antagonisms of taste and opinion. Pharisees who looked for a resurrection, and Sadducees who [22/23] believed not angel or spirit; Jews who had overlaid the law with vain traditions, and Samaritans who rejected all Scripture save the Pentateuch; dreamy Asiatics, subtle Greeks, self-reliant Romans, wild Barbarians, with all their vain deceits of Polytheism and Pantheism and superstition. The early Missionaries of the Cross, like ourselves, "ardently longed for" unity, and oh! how far more desperate was the outlook to them than to ourselves.
We have seen, too, how ephemeral are controversies the most virulent. We can scarce realize that there ever was a time when men were violently excited over a Cross-sign on a baby's brow, a ring upon the finger of a bride, or the choice between black and red in a Bishop's robe. The battle between Calvinism and Arminianism whose roar once almost deafened Protestant communities, has already sunk into a harmless fusilade, and could be relegated into the domain of mere theological opinion if there were no other bar to unity.
And even in our own brief day, we see the questions of instrumental music and church architecture, of festival days, of forms of devotion and attitudes in prayer, fast losing their interest and their significance. And who can tell how soon men will weary of experiments in church-making, and by some strong reaction begin to ask why was ever thrown aside an order confessedly ancient, if not authoritative, to which no Reformer raised exception save in its abuses, and which has served as nothing else has served, as a centre of unity for all CHRIST-loving people?
"We solemnly record our conviction," said the Bishops in that same Conference, "that unity will be most effectually promoted by maintaining the Faith in its purity and integrity, as taught in the Holy Scriptures, held by the Primitive Church, summed up in the Creeds, and affirmed by the undisputed General Councils; and by drawing each of us closer to our common LORD, by giving ourselves to much prayer and intercession, by the cultivation of a spirit of charity, and a love of the LORD's appearing."
And the world exclaimed, Oh lame and impotent conclusion! Were ye borne in mighty ships, O ye Bishops! from every quarter of the globe, leaving each his few sheep in the wilderness, and did you come forth from your high consultation to tell us this only, that e promote unity we must hold the Faith, and give ourselves to prayer and cultivate brotherly love and watch for the LORD's coming? Will [23/24] the giant of discord yield to these trite pebbles from the brook, so void of points and angles?
Such taunts disturb us not. It is not by might not by power, but by My SPIRIT, saith the LORD. To win back Pentecostal unity we need not human wit, but only the Pentecostal flame; and truth has not grown decrepid by reason of age, nor faith rusted by long use, nor has love lost its holy art to purify and weld together, nor the cry "Behold I come quickly," its power to draw men upwards above the lower air of strife.
Other experiments have been tried, have failed, and have been renewed again. So sweet is the vision of unity that in gatherings of anxious men, when the spiritual aspiration rose above the stern limitations of sect, they seemed to see the dear phantom taking to itself material form and substance: and they have cried in an ecstacy, "We have been vainly seeking for what was never lost we were always one, and are, only we knew it not." But alas I the gray dawn showed only a secret rift beneath the calm; another disintegration begun in that hour of harmony; and the blessed vision of peace, it was even "as when an hungry man dreameth and behold he eateth, but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or as when a thirsty man dreameth and behold lie drinketh, but he awaketh and behold he is faint and his soul hath appetite.
Yes, the day will surely come when this Anglican experiment, despised because of its very wisdom, shall be weighed and acted upon. I see godly men assembled here and there, with the books open in their midst--the books which alone contain the revelation of GOD'S truth to man, the living oracles, and besides them the records of early Councils, the scroll of the world-wide Creed, the writings of holy Bishops and Martyrs. I see them searching patiently therein, not to confirm a private opinion, but to ascertain the truth original. Mindful of their lack of wisdom, the "Veni CREATOR SPIRITUS" is often on their lips; with patient charity each man tarries for him who is dull in sight and s1ow of heart. And ever and anon they say one to another, "Make haste, my brother." The MASTER is almost come, and calling to us. Shame thrice shame upon us, should He not find the Israel of GOD in martial array, the ark of GOD in the midst, and each tribe in its place: an array so orderly and so beautiful that the very angels shall say, Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity."
 Or if there shall never he any such concourse, if unity shall come by acclamation, by the rapid drawing of Christian souls together when suddenly the last link of pride and prejudice is sundered, still may each one of us best labor for it in honest study and in prayer, in a life of holy striving, and in hopeful expectation of the advent of Him who can, if He will, turn the hearts of His people back again.
In this discussion, my brethren, I have had need to make mention of individual men, for it is individuals who guide religious movements; and indeed the Episcopate is but an illustration of that which everywhere meets us in the history of the race and of the Church, the wonderful significance for evil or for good of individual men.
As we stand in this chancel, the eye is naturally attracted to the tablet which bears the honored name of Ravenscroft. And the most impressive line in the inscription is that which tells the period of his service. Seven years only did its first Bishop preside over this Diocese and yet how broad and ineffaceable upon the whole Church is the impress of that brief Episcopate! How is the likeness of that rugged, indomitable, courageous old man, with his great loving heart, and his contempt for all sham and artifice, stamped upon his work!
Nor can we fail to bethink us, Right Reverend Brethren, as we confer our high office upon another, of him who so graced it in Our Mother Church of England, who never failed to give to an American Bishop the warm greeting of a brother.
For in him whom we knew as Samuel of Oxford, there fell a great man and a Prince in Israel. A great man in that he filled out so grandly the measure of his office; a Prince, and a Poet too, in the loftiest meaning of the word, in that he invented and framed for himself, for his contemporaries and for those who come after, so lofty an ideal, so elevated a conception of what a Bishop may be among English-speaking people in this nineteenth century. For while our office is the same in all its essential features, everywhere and at all times, there is room for utmost wisdom and skill in the development of its functions, and the adaptation of them to the society in which we minister.
In the American Church we have need not only to make full proof of our Episcopate, but to perfect its ideal. As we call over the roll of the living and the dead, and the many various types of [25/26] their administration; if we confine our enumeration even to those who in the Southern States were most intimately thrown together--Polk, the enthusiast in behalf of sound learning under the Church's holy guidance, so generous and noble in his aims, even if he erred in his judgment; Otey, the faithful Missionary, simple-hearted as a child; Elliott, the gentle scholar and persuasive preacher; Cobbs, the faithful pleader from house to house, who made every man's grief his own--howbeit we may not mechanically imitate any of them, we realize that the Episcopate is not without its patterns and examples, from which we may derive instruction, as we strive in our turn wisely to feed the Church of GOD, over which the HOLY GHOST has made us overseers.
To this high office, you, my brother, bring the culture of years, the maturity of a ripened experience, the large observation of one who has ministered where either ocean washes this continent, while your residence and service in foreign countries have taught you to look upon the things of others, and to know the Church in the breadth of its Catholicity, and in all the variety of its administrations.
And the work to which you are now called is worthy of the utmost exercise of all your talents. It is a goodly flock the oversight of which you are called to share, yet needing now more than ever, in its comparative poverty, the inspiration of hopeful leaders and the encouragement of a sympathizing Bishop.
Much of your work must be what the world would call commonplace and uninviting. For North Carolina is still a Missionary Diocese, equal in its Missionary demands to such as claim the attention of the Church, yet lacking in the romance of a new country, and without the material aid which new territories in the very nature of things must chiefly claim.
You are now to identify yourself with your people, to live with them and for them, to be their frequent guest, their unwearied teacher. You are to win their reverence and their love, or rather to secure a confidence and an affection which they unite to pledge you in advance. You will be mighty in your influence among them in proportion as you are strong in loving, patient sympathy for them, and diligent in labors in their behalf.
We bid you welcome to a share in the responsibilities and the high privileges of this sacred trust. May the HOLY GHOST, as He [26/27] imparts to you the official gift, increase in you as well the spirit of power and love and of a sound mind! May you follow worthily in the steps of the illustrious men who, in long line from early days, have ruled the flock prudently, with all their power! May your Episcopate reflect even more than that of those who have preceded you, the likeness of that GOOD SHEPHERD who gave His life for the sheep!