Project Canterbury






Right Rev. HENY CODMAN POTTER, D.D., LL.D., Cantab.,



Commemorative Service of Praise and Thanksgiving






Pastoral staff presented to the Bishop of Western New York, by the Clergy of His Diocese


The occasion which assembles us is both interesting and unusual.

It is interesting, because it marks a quarter of a century in our ecclesiastical history, and because it associates that period with a noteworthy personality. History, whether secular or ecclesiastical, includes always two elements, since it is simply the story of persons, and of events. Its highest office is, indeed, to record the unfolding of a Divine Providence, and the movement and triumph of great ideas. But, just as ideas become intelligible to the ordinary mind only as they find expression in the lives and on the lips of men, so events have, forever, their chief interest and charm to the average student of history as they are incarnated in the words and acts of those who have embodied them in a career at once sufficiently distinctive and sufficiently commanding to constrain the attention and kindle the emotions of their fellows. A book of dates, a table of dynasties, a succession of kings, or popes, or presidents—these, in one aspect of them, are history. But if they are to attract, or impress, or enduringly to influence us, behind these dry bones of the historian’s cabinet, there must glow and palpitate the living lineaments of a man. It is such an element which, on such an anniversary as this, gives to it its pre-eminent power to interest us.

The occasion is, however, not only interesting, but unusual. In the succession of American Bishops the Bishop of this Diocese is the seventy-fourth, and of these only about one third have survived the twenty-fifth anniversary of their consecration—the average length of an Episcopate in this country being still lower. It is not surprising that it should be so; though the specialists in such matters, actuaries of insurance companies, statisticians of mortality, and the like, tell us that the longevity of the clergy, as a class, is somewhat in excess of that of many other professions and occupations. Yet the most favorable conditions under which the duties—various, incessant, distracting, lonely, and increasingly anxious and perplexing—of a Bishop are discharged, are not favorable to that repose of mind, that regularity of habit, and that equilibrium of strain and rest upon which, ordinarily, long life is supposed to depend. It is, then, a memorable occasion when a Bishop who has borne burdens so weighty and incessant, in an age when the demands upon his office grow daily more various and more exacting, comes, as this evening, to the twenty-fifth anniversary of his consecration, not only unbroken, but unbent, “his eye,” thank God, “not dim, nor his natural force abated.” Certainly, this has not been because he has spared his sympathies, or his strength. And even more surely it has not been because he has “cushioned his cares” in official pomp and luxury. In those delightful sketches of “Twelve Good Men,” by the late Dean of Chichester, the learned Dr. Burgon, he quotes a senior member of the University of Oxford as saying of Dr. Samuel Wilberforce: “I recollect when a Bishop of Oxford never drove into Oxford without four horses and two powdered footmen. And what does Sam do? He gets upon a horse without so much as a groom behind him, and rides off to a visitation before breakfast. I met him, myself, this very morning.” I am not aware that the Bishop of this Diocese has a habit so wholesome and so invigorating as this, but of journeyings often, in painfulness and weariness,” his [7/8] Episcopate has been, like those of many of his brethren, largely made up. And yet to-day it is your privilege to have him presiding over you with a vigor and ardor which must needs be at once the envy and the admiration of many younger men.

Under such circumstances, it is fitting that we should mark an anniversary so doubly noteworthy. The years which it reckons up have been among the most eventful, both in our national and ecclesiastical history. When they began, the country was still involved in a civil war, the grave effects of which the Church has not yet ceased to feel. During their progress, the remarkable awakening in the Church’s manifold activities, and her closer adjustment to the problems with which she has had to deal, have largely transpired. The new era of organic aggressiveness, for so much of which we have to thank God, has dawned and greatened. And new questions, old indeed in one aspect of them, but new to this generation and this Church, which touch both doctrine and ritual, both agencies and methods, the life and duty both of the clergy and the laity, have largely come to the fore. This is the period,. stirring, pregnant, and anxious, through which your Bishop has lived and wrought, and on which, in so many ways, he has left the strong impress of his marked personality, and many and exceptional gifts. Surely it is appropriate that such a quarter of a century should be commemorated.

But when I come to do so, I am met by a difficulty which I may as well frankly confess, and which, though it may easily be that you will not sympathize with me, you can at least understand. What is that commemoration of such a term of service as that which we recall this evening, which is at once most adequate and most appropriate? There are multitudes of people, and especially of our American people, who would be in no doubt about the answer to that question. The usage of our contemporaneous literature, and that usage especially as it affects men in public station, is all of one kind and in one direction. We no longer wait until men are dead to eulogize them, nor to build their monuments. We no longer demand that juster perspective which distance gives to us, in delineating the portraits of our heroes or our helpers. We can do it, to-day, we say, and we do it, to-day, oftener than otherwise, in terms at once fulsome and extravagant. I know not how it may be with others, but for myself I confess that the custom, in our modern literature, of making the pages to which men of literary, or scientific, or military, or civic eminence, contribute the pages in which are published, side by side, sometimes with their own- contributions, biographic gushes by some kinsman of the pen, in which the portraiture is always colossal, and in which, usually, the colors are laid on with a white-wash brush, is one of the most curious and significant features of an age whose egotism is in danger of becoming a deformity, and whose sensitiveness to anything whatever but praise is a very morbid and a very dangerous disease. Let me say, in all candor, that I have not come here to accentuate any such national or ecclesiastical malady. If love and reverence and grateful homage for noble gifts, nobly employed, are a sufficient inspiration for the task you have assigned to me, I venture to think that I may claim to be qualified for it. But I am not come to bury Cesar nor to praise him, and even if the solemn and searching memories of this hour did not make such an undertaking most distasteful to him whom it chiefly concerns, neither my own sense of duty, nor yours of fitness, would permit me to attempt it.

But, though a proper reverence for this Holy place, and this solemn hour, did not forbid such a use of them, there is a line of reflection which you will own, I think, to be not inappropriate, and which to all of us, clergy and laity, may be both helpful and inspiring.

The thing that keeps common life from becoming more than common—sordid, mean, and narrow—is undoubtedly the possession of a high ideal. It is no other truth which is recognized [8/9] by Christ himself when he says: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” “Impossible, precept,” cries the discouraged heart, weary with its failures and conscious of its shame, “why was it given to torment me? “But there are other hours when we are glad that it was given, if only to tell us of that possible nobleness to which the meanest of us may aspire. For there are hours, when, looking away from ourselves to some loftier type of virtue or of service, we cry out, “There! there! there is something, a saintliness of living, a nobleness of thinking, like which, I fain would be—even though conscious that I am not!” And yet, again, there are hours, when, taking leave of the actual and the immediate, we rise into the realm of the possible and the conceivable, and when we love to picture an ideal character, for this or that task or place in life, and to fit him from the storehouse of our imagination with all imaginable excellencies and graces.

And so, this evening. The Episcopate, upon any estimate of it, is an office of grave responsibility, of large opportunities, and of no insignificant dignity. What, now, are those attributes which we should wish to see adorn it? If, like the German naturalist, we were constructing a Bishop out of our own consciousness, what are the characteristics which we should wish to see him possess?

(a.) I name as first among them the instinct, the vision, and the habit, of righteousness. It is the misfortune of place, whether it be great or small, and alas, as too much of church history painfully reminds us, of ecclesiastical as well as civic place, that it conspires, somehow, to blur the lines that mark and emphasize essential moral distinctions. To love power rather than purity, to seek peace, to change the phrase of that clever Israelite who was not always “without guile,” and who, as prime minister ruled England so long and ably—whether “with” or without “honor;”—to value expediency rather than absolute rectitude, this is an infirmity from which rulers have never been free, whether they have been rulers in Church- or in State. Indeed, there is so much to excuse such a policy in the possible injustice of its opposite, in the wholesome dread of arrogance or intolerance, that it is not strange that it has so often come to be the characteristic of men invested with authority of whatever kind. And therefore it is that, like the breath of a strong west wind, these come to us from time to time, the currents of some fearless life, that not only has the courage of its opinions, but the candor of them—that in all great moral issues “sees straight,”—that in the face of lawlessness, of crafty ecclesiastical aggressions, of social decadence, lifts its voice like a trumpet, and makes men know that there is a man of God in the land who can discern between good and evil, and who will not hesitate to warn the people, “whether they will hear or whether they will forbear.” If, I say, you and I were called to name the elements necessary to make a truly great Episcopate, this I venture to think we would place foremost among them.

(b.) And then—what I may call the paternal quality. The greatest Bishop whom I ever knew was, for the largest part of his life, a teacher. When he came to his Episcopal duties it was said of him that he had the manners of a school-master. But, as one of his clergy wrote when he was borne to his rest, “He quickly unlearned them for those of a true father—loving, patient, and “of untiring sympathy.” Such a quality, I think you will agree with me, belongs to a shepherd of shepherds. The ecclesiastical family is not unlike others in that there are some wayward sheep in it, and my brethren in priests’ and deacons’ orders will not upbraid me if I venture meekly to suggest that the conviction of infallibility in one’s earlier ministry is not an absolutely unfamiliar characteristic of the modern Church, nor without some rather startling illustrations. To bear [9/10] with these, to deal gently and patiently with them, not to cry out to them, in the words of the psalter, “I said unto the fools, deal not so madly. * * * Set not up your horn!” *—this requires much self-command, a large love, an almost infinite courage of faith and forbearance and hope. And when we see it in one of strong convictions and decided opinions,—above all, when we see this paternal quality illustrating itself actively in words of loving counsel, in deeds of unsparing self-sacrifice, in a delicate thoughtfulness for others’ feelings, in that yearning heart of fatherhood which desires the best good of its children, and seeks it by every means; here again, I think you will agree with me we have a true note of a true Episcopate—one more quality such as one would long to see in his ideal Bishop.

(c.) And another, which I think one might no less desire, is learning. The Church has her tests of knowledge which she applies to those who are to be admitted to the diaconate and the priesthood, but surely it is not unreasonable that something more than these should be looked for in those who are themselves to be the teachers of teachers. In a very remarkable volume, my own possession of which I owe to that beloved prelate of our Mother Church of England, the present Bishop of Lichfield, by whom it was introduced to English and American readers—I mean the “Life of Nicolas Pavillon,” the saintly and heroic Bishop of Alet, true Gallican, and true son of Gallican rather than Roman traditions, there is a very graphic record of the training by the Bishop of Alet, of his clergy, and of his own deliverance from earlier prejudices and misconceptions by means of studies resumed and prosecuted after he had passed middle life, and during a lonely and laborious Episcopate. This glorious man was of such a temper that when his pampered clergy, in an age of great luxury and self-indulgence, refused to visit the sick and dying, the poor went straight to the door of the palace and appealed to the Bishop himself. It was on one such occasion, as his biographer relates, that waking out of his sleep, and hearing that a dying woman had sent for a Vicar, who would not go to her, the Bishop rose, and on a dark and tempestuous night, over miry mountain roads, went on foot to minister to this neglected member of his flock with his own hands. Such an unresting Episcopate would have seemed to offer little time for study; and yet the same indefatigable chief pastor found time in middle life to resume anew his studies in his great master St. Augustine, and to pursue them with such exhaustive patience and thoroughness as to lead him to re-construct the whole system of his theological teaching on two most important subjects, and to lay down principles of theological study which may be said to be at once essential and fundamental. We read of such things, nowadays, some of us, with emotions in which despair and admiration are equally mingled. Whence shall come the calm, the leisure, the helpful sympathy that makes possible such studies to-day? Our fevered life, our clamorous public, our ceaseless routine of official duties, the demons of the press and of the post (these last I think having their forerunner in that father of them all at whom Luther appropriately hurled his ink-stand)—where shall a modern prelate, beset by these, find the time to feed anew the sources of his mind, and to enrich himself with the treasures of learning and scholarship? And yet there have been, nay there are, men, who have done, and are doing this—whose pens have adorned the pages of the Fathers by their annotated wisdom, whose published courses of lectures are among the Church’s truest treasures, and who, touching nothing that they do not adorn, leave us both humbled and delighted by the various stores of their learning. Surely, if it were yours or mine to image our ideal Bishop he should be one, I think you will agree with me, with a characteristic such as this.

[11] (d.) And once more. The traits which I have named are not ordinary, and they have, alas! rarely been united in even very eminent men. And yet there is one other, which, were they without, I think that most of us would own them sadly maimed and incomplete. A devout and lofty rectitude, a paternal tenderness, sound learning—what is that we instinctively crave to touch these with the glow of that fine light that “never was on land or sea,” but the glow of a poetic soul? When Jean Valjean, criminal, fugitive, and outlaw, in that matchless portraiture of Victor Hugo’s, robs the Bishop who has received the fleeing wretch into his own palace, and has hidden and sheltered him, the Bishop, who, you will remember, finds him in the act of making off with the Episcopal plate, says to him gently, “Nay, my son, but you have forgotten the candlesticks: do you not remember, I gave them to you also! “What is it, now, besides the nobleness of the love that flashes through this speech that so moves and touches us? Ah, it is so utterly unprosaic! It redeems the vulgarity of the whole shameless scene by importing into it a new and higher element. This, men and brethren, is the true mission of the poet.

“Well, we have no use for him now,” we say. “This is a practical age, and we want practical priests, and practical preachers, and practical statesmen, and practical Bishops! “Truly, we seem to be getting very much what we want,—and all the finer and rarer qualities in literature, in the pulpit, in the daily ministrations of the parish priest, in the world of art and in the arena of statesmanship, seem likely to get the go-by for the essentially vulgar gift of “making things go!”

And yet, as one turns and looks upon the impress left upon the page of English ecclesiastical history by such an one as Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and author of those incomparable Morning and Evening hymns, he must needs ask himself whether the gift which has left its luminous and lifting mark on millions of grateful souls may not be worth coveting and worth honoring? To be able to touch the sordid issues of the week-day world with a wand that shall transmute their commonness into glory—to be able to twine with one’s holiest memories the rhythm and melody that with the lark soars straight to heaven’s gate,—to turn the Church’s year into a stairway of celestial song that climbs ever toward the allelujahs of the ransomed throng of heaven, here surely is a gift which if one might covet it for some ideal Bishop and Shepherd of God’s flock, he would not be slow to desire!

For it is the incomparable charm of such a gift that it enriches every other. Whether it be in the pulpit, where a reverent and chastened imagination uses its poetic insight in illuminating holy scripture, or in some dry and prosaic debate where, as one at least can remember, the arid monotony of discussions in some august body, taxing the most long-suffering patience almost beyond endurance, has, once, and again, and again, been dissipated by some splendid flash of poetic fire that turned the dullness of the moment into the glory of a Venetian sunset,—no matter when, or where,—this is the one gift that redeems the commonplace, that widens the narrowest horizon, that transmutes the world itself! Happy the home, happy the Church, happy the Diocese that has it.

And thus, I might run on, and on. Doubtless there are other traits than these, which, no less than any of them, we might wish to see incarnated in the ideal Bishop. But, if there be anywhere, one who embodies these, surely the flock to whom they are given is richly and nobly dowered.

And if I were one of them,—if it were my happy lot, as presbyter or deacon, or layman, to be among such a flock,—I do not think I should come haltingly to such a Feast as this. I am not here, again I say it, to bury Caesar nor to praise him. But surely one who feels how much he, as [11/12] the least of his brethren, owes to one whose clarion voice has never given forth a false or treacherous note, and whose lofty and beautiful life has been a daily inspiration to every highest duty, may here thank God with you, for that which we are here to-night to hold in grateful memory. The years come and go: Men arise, move through their little span, and disappear. But, in this Diocese, Hobart and De Lancey will never be forgotten,—nay, nor, thank God, another!

And so, fathers and brethren, grateful for the inspirations of our past we turn our faces hopefully toward the future! We sit to-day amid the inheritance of great names which have made the Church immortal; and sometimes we are minded to cry whence are to come their successors? Tait, and Wilberforce, and Lightfoot—each a type, each great in his own way, each leaving his own mark upon his own generation—where shall we match these? And so of those in our American Church who have left their strong impress upon its history. Who is there who shall re-produce to us their lineaments, repeat their labors and their triumphs, perpetuate the inspiration of their example? In one sense, no one; but in another every one who, touched by their nobility, seeks to ennoble his own life by ascending to the plane of their virtues. And so to-night we bless God for “all those who have been the choice vessels of His grace,” whether they be at rest in the Lord, or, thanks to His loving kindness, still with us in the flesh. And for one of these we pray “Lord! thou hast promised, He shall call upon me, and I will hear him; yea I am with him in trouble; I will deliver him and bring him to honor.” With long life do thou satisfy him and show him thy salvation!


On Tuesday, September 17th, A. D. 1889, the Fifty-second Annual Council of the Diocese of Western New York was held in Christ Church, Rochester. In the afternoon of that day, the Right Reverend the Bishop of the Diocese read his Annual Address. After referring to the losses by death during the past year of both clergy and laity, the Bishop said:

"So many touching and striking instances of mortality impress me with special force, at this moment, when I remind you that it is just five-and-twenty years since you elected me to the Episcopate as Coadjutor to my venerated predecessor. A quarter of a century—how speedily it has passed; what changes it has wrought. In three short months after he ordained me to my order and consecrated me to office, Bishop De Lancey fell asleep. Since then, year after year, in what rapid succession the elder clergy have followed him; how many names of our faithful laity have disappeared from our rolls. How imperfectly my duties have been discharged, even an adversary cannot, in his severest censures, feel as I do. Wordsworth has expressed my feelings in verse: "The best of all we do and are, just God, forgive." But I feel it the more when I reflect that in a few months I shall have served you, if my life be spared so long, through a period in the number of years equal to those of the first Episcopate of the diocese. I was startled, in preparing this address, to discover, what had never occurred to me before, that I am already four years older than Bishop De Lancey was when he departed this life, full of labours, and—I then imagined—full of years."

Upon the conclusion of the Address, and almost against the Bishop's will, the Council determined that this anniversary, so important to the Diocese, should be properly observed.

On motion of the Rev. Dr. Van Dyck, it was ordered that so much of the Bishop's Address as refers to the approaching twenty-fifth anniversary of his Consecration be referred to a Committee of four Clergymen and four Laymen, to make arrangements for a suitable commemoration of the occasion, in the City of Buffalo.

The motion was put by the Secretary, and-adopted unanimously by a rising vote. The following were nominated and chosen as members of this Committee:

The Rev. Wm. D'ORVILLE DOTY, D. D.,
The Rev. H. W. NELSON, JR., D. D.,

On Friday, September 27th, at the Parish House of Christ Church, Rochester, the Committee met and organized by the choice of Rev. Dr. Lobdell as Chairman, and the Rev. Dr. Doty as Secretary. Arrangements were then made for commemorative services, which were held in St. Paul's Church, Buffalo, on Friday evening, January 3d, and Saturday morning, January 4th, A. D. 1890—the latter date being the anniversary of the Bishop's Consecration.

The vested choirs of St. Paul's, Trinity, Ascension, St. Luke's, St. Mary's, St. Andrew's, All Saints', and the Good Shepherd, all of Buffalo, and consisting of some two hundred and fifty voices, each choir led by a crucifer, passed from the crypt to the west door of the church, singing, “The Son of God goes forth to war," to the tune “Old St. Ann's." The clergy, vested in cassock, surplice, and white stoles, and many, by request of the Bishop, wearing the coloured hoods indicative of their academic degrees, followed, and opening ranks upon reaching the choir, the Bishops and elder clergy passed into the sanctuary. Evensong was then impressively rendered, and the following special prayers, set forth by the Bishop of the Diocese, were said:

BLESSED LORD, who hast not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities: We render unto Thee high laud and worthy thanks, as for all Thy mercies which we celebrate this day, so especially for all Thou hast wrought for us through choice vessels of Thy grace who have shone as lights of the world in their several generations, and who do now rest from their labours. Accept, we pray Thee, our grateful commemorations, as we remember before Thee our venerable Fathers in Christ, Benjamin, John Henry, Bishops of New York, as also William Heathcote, their son and disciple in the Faith, our first Bishop, by whom Thou hast planted and watered- this our inheritance, and taught us to know the right ways of the Lord, and to walk in the old paths. And we beseech Thee evermore to keep us in the same; to show Thy servants Thy work, and their children Thy glory. And may the glorious majesty of the Lord our God be upon us; O prosper Thou our handiwork. All which we beg through the merits and intercession of Jesus Christ Thy Son, our adorable Lord and Saviour, unto whom, with Thee, O Father, and Thee, O Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, henceforth and forevermore. Amen.

BLESSED be Thy name, O God, as for all Thy goodness, so especially that Thou didst bless us with such increase that when, in due time, all things were ready, we were made two bands. Accept our prayer, this day, for the Diocese formed out of our earlier and larger heritage, and so bless Thy servant Frederick Dan, its Bishop, and all its clergy and people, that they may continue to bring forth fruit to Thy glory and the increase of Thy Kingdom, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

MOST MERCIFUL FATHER we beseech Thee to accept our thanks and praise, this day, for Thy blessings continued to this Diocese these five and twenty years, under Thy servant, its second Bishop. Send down upon him Thy heavenly blessing, that he may dwell in thine house all the days of his life, to behold the fair beauty of the Lord and to visit His temple. Still guide him by Thy counsel, that, afterwards, Thou mayest receive him with glory. May he render Thee his account with joy, and not with grief, in the time of Thy coming. Endue him with the truth of Thy doctrine and with innocency of life; so that, faithfully fulfilling his course, at the latter day, he may receive the crown of righteousness, laid up by the Lord, the righteous Judge, who liveth and reigneth, one God, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.

At the close of Evening Prayer, the Rev. Dr. Rankine, Rector of De Lancey Divinity School, and of St. Peter's Church, Geneva, being one of the oldest [17/18] priests in the Diocese, was delegated by the Committee to deliver a congratulatory address to the Bishop.



By the blessing of Divine Providence your Diocese is enabled joyfully to keep at this time the twenty-fifth anniversary of your consecration as a Bishop in the Church of God. In view of a quarter-century's work in your high office, so faithfully and ably accomplished, your clergy wish to offer you their profound acknowledgments for themselves, and as far as it may be right for them to do so, for our whole Church. In the fulness of affectionate gratitude they desire to mark this happy occasion with some permanent token of their loyalty to your office and regard for your person, which may remain in the Diocese a memento of its marked progress under your supervision, and a transmitted bond in its future history. They have therefore laid upon me,—your attending priest, still surviving—the grateful duty of now communicating to you, taking advantage of these solemnities, that they have determined to make you the recipient of a Pastoral Staff for the Diocese of Western New York, to be delivered on the near approaching anniversary of your ceasing to be a Coadjutor, by the death of your revered predecessor, and of your entering upon the full responsibilities of Episcopal jurisdiction. In behalf of all whom I have the honour and privilege to represent, I am sure, I may say, that this emblem of your Office is given both in loving recognition of its divine rights and of our corresponding duties, and also as a testimonial of our sincere appreciation of your superabounding labours as a shepherd of the flock of Christ,—"so merciful that you have not been too remiss, and so ministering discipline that you have not forgotten mercy": and that our prayer shall ever be, that "when the Chief Shepherd shall appear you may receive the never-fading crown of glory through Jesus Christ our Lord."


I have still another duty to discharge. In behalf of the Educational Institutions at Geneva, Hobart College and the De Lancey Divinity School, I am directed to present to you at this time, as a token of regard and admiration of your distinguished gifts, a copy of a rare book,—the Book of Common Prayer in many languages, English, German, French, Spanish, Latin, and others. It has this peculiar fitness for the object intended,—a significant suggestiveness of your life-long, fearless, and eloquent advocacy of a pure Catholic worship for every land in the language understood by the people.



This tribute from the De Lancey Divinity School and from Hobart College, and the very kind expressions with which you have offered it to me, find me quite unprepared with fitting terms of acknowledgment. This was not on the programme, and I cannot speak from forethought, in thanking you and the President of Hobart, for thus recognizing the profound interest with which the twin foundations over which you and Dr. Potter preside have ever impressed me. In some degree they have shaped the efforts of my life' in the Episcopate, receiving them, as I did, at a critical period in their history, from my revered predecessors. Would that the circumstances and conditions of Western New York had been less unfavourable to my desires to build them up; to [18/19] save them was the best I could achieve; to others must be left the more gratifying task of doing what is now all ready to be done, for the development, to which your labours and those of the brilliant Faculty of Hobart, have prepared so well. Say to President Potter that the gift of this Prayer Book in many tongues, doubly valuable as having once belonged to his venerated father, is very highly appreciated and shall be transmitted to my successors. It is a book worthy of being translated into many languages, as enabling many kindreds and peoples, with one mind and one heart to worship the Father, in the fold of the one Shepherd. Next to the Holy Scriptures, it is the Book of books. What it has been to me from my childhood unto these days of my hoary hairs, is more than my tongue can tell, and I receive your gift with the greatest satisfaction, because its "sound words," by God's blessing, are such as may enable me if not to "go from strength to strength" through my remaining pilgrimage, yet perhaps to "run and not be weary, to walk and not faint."

On a former occasion I declined the offer of a pastoral staff from my beloved brethren, the presbytery and the diaconate of my Diocese. I felt their great kindness in proposing the gift, but I did not see that the time had come when I could properly accept it. In their judgment, it would seem, the time will have come, should I be spared to the date in Easter-week of this year, of my accession to the jurisdiction of the Diocese. It is not for me to say that they are mistaken, and I will receive it with pleasure, under the conditions which make it not personally mine, but also a token to my successors of your forethought for them. May it ever remind me of those words which my revered predecessor pronounced when he consecrated me to my office; those touching words of the Ordinal, borrowed from the example of the Master himself: "Be to the flock of Christ a Shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not; hold up the weak, heal the sick; bind up the broken, bring again the outcasts, seek the lost; that when the Chief Shepherd shall appear you may receive the never-fading crown of glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

At the conclusion of the Bishop's address the Hon. James M. Smith, LL. D., Chancellor of the Diocese, came forward from the congregation and presented the Bishop with a purse, the gift of laymen of the Diocese.



It is my great privilege and honour to stand in this presence this evening for a brief time as the representative of the Laity of your Diocese. Deeply sensible of their abundant and ever recurring obligations to their Bishop they could not permit this most interesting and memorable occasion to pass without testifying in some appropriate manner their affection for your person, their profound admiration of your character and their deep reverence for your high and holy office. Could they have known what material gift would have been most acceptable to you and most prized by you as a memorial of their high regard, I am sure they would not have failed to obtain it and present it here. But as they could not certainly determine what choice might be most grateful to you and most worthy of their purpose, they beg to oiler as their testimonial this simple pecuniary gift which I now present you, confident that in your hands it will be as the arch-enchanter's wand whose magic touch shall make the gift all that you or we could wish.



This, also, was not in the programme, and I am embarrassed by so great a surprise. It is difficult for me to acknowledge it in appropriate terms, but, as the spontaneous kindness of my brethren of the Laity, I accept it with gratitude, with the understanding, however, that it is not to be wholly mine. I must share it in good degree with others, and the tithe belongs to God. I must thank you for the absolute reticence with which this liberality of the Laity has been called out, for any appeal to my Diocese, in such a matter, would have given me pain. In the Lesson read this evening, which was special and borrowed from the office for the consecration of a bishop, you may have noted the language of the apostle in his farewell to the Presbytery at Ephesus—"I have coveted no man's silver or gold." I trust I can adopt these words, but they do not forbid me to be grateful to you and to others, who have chosen to bear so generous a part in this day's observances. And as you have surprised me, Mr. Chancellor, you must not complain if, in return, I inflict a surprise upon you. I am glad of an opportunity to acknowledge, in this Cathedral Church, and before this large congregation, how large have been my obligations to you, and to your unrequited labours in and for the Diocese, for the five-and-twenty years we are now commemorating. During all that time, I have rarely ventured in any critical case, such as is always arising in the administration of diocesan affairs, to act without reference to your judgment, and deference to your opinions as a jurist, ripened as they have been by your experience at the bar, and on the bench of one of the highest courts of this State. If I have been so happy as to make my own decisions weighty and to command the general support of my Diocese, in all important cases, I avail myself of this opportunity, to say, publicly, that I am sensible of the great measure in which I owe my success to you. I owe you far more than I can ever repay. May God grant you here and hereafter his unspeakably great reward.

After the singing of Hymn 281, the Right Reverend the Bishop of New York delivered an Address.

The offering which was then received was devoted to the relief from debt of St. Philip's Church for coloured people in Buffalo.

After appropriate collects had been said, the Bishop of the Diocese gave the Blessing of Peace. With the Recessional Hymn, “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord," the choirs and clergy passed into the crypt, where the Bishop spoke touchingly to the choirs, thanking them for their part in the services of the evening.

At ten o'clock, on the morning of Saturday, January 4th, divers of the clergy and laity assembled in St. Paul's Church for the solemn celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The sermon was by the Bishop, in whose honour this large number of clergy and laity were gathered from all parts of the Diocese.

[21] The Holy Communion was then celebrated by the Bishop of the Diocese, assisted by the Bishop of New York, the Rev. William A. Hitchcock, D.D., and the Rev. Francis Lobdell, D.D.

Thus closed a service of great solemnity, and one long to be remembered by the grateful flock of a noble, wise, and loving Chief Pastor.

FRANCIS LOBDELL, Chairman of the Committee.

WM. D’ORVILLE DOTY, Secretary.




The following Sermon, though prepared with forethought, was not written but preached on the inspiration of the moment, as to words and phrases. It is here reproduced, with slight alterations from the report of the Sermon which appeared in the Buffalo Express.


For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus, the Lord; and ourselves, your servants, for Jesus’ sake. II. Cor. iv, 5.

This closing scene of our solemnities, my brethren, is one singularly withdrawn from any appeal to the world outside. We are commanded to “let our light shine so that men may see our good works; “and demonstrations of the Church’s power and dignity, and of the beautiful order of her services, of her incomparable system and methods of instruction, are proper in their place. They speak to men’s minds, affect their imaginations, and lead by the blessing of God to the exercise of nobler faculties than that of the imagination—to the discovery of spiritual instincts that must be satisfied and to a thirst after righteousness. The solemnities of this morning are of necessity widely different from those which attracted general interest last evening. I speak to my reverend brethren, to my faithful co-pastors in the work of this Diocese, to the representatives of many whose hearts are with us though they have been unable to be present on this last day of the week, not a few detained by the epidemic, and others by their pastoral duties. I speak to you, my reverend brethren, as the clergy of my Diocese, representing the absent, yes, and the dead, also; for to you, and to a noble band of brethren who have fallen asleep; to your labours and theirs, and your common fidelity, self-denial, and devotion must be attributed in chief whatever of growth or strength has been acquired during a quarter of a century.

If there has been growth and spiritual increase, you, reverend pastors you, devoted missionaries; you who penetrate into the houses, the homes, the hovels of the inhabitants; you who identify yourselves with humanity in its most grievous wants; you who go to the sick-bed; you whose [25/26] care of souls associates you so largely with the Master; you are those to whom, under the Lord, praise should be given. In different orders we have different duties, but the work is one. Woe to the presbyter who sympathizes not with his Bishop; woe, multiplied woe, to the Bishop who does not sympathize with the humblest of his brethren. “God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you,” said Samuel of old. Here, then, we are, a company of pastors this morning—with representatives of the faithful laity disposed to continue their prayers with us—dwelling for a few minutes on a subject that must be suited to such an occasion, our common ministry, and its great responsibilities.

I do not propose to enter upon the subject with that degree of analysis and detail which it so largely demands. Much was necessarily suggested to you in this line by what was said last evening by my Right Reverend and beloved brother; because though he sketched designedly what should be the aim and desire of a chief-pastor, yet was the high standard he placed before us a law for our common vocation. While, as yet, the successors of the Apostles were called “apostles “or “angels of the churches,” presbyters were called “bishops,” as well; though to the chief pastors, the name finally adhered, by way of eminence, when the primitive title in a spirit of reverence and humility was made peculiar to the Apostolic age. You are bishops over your local flocks, your father in Christ is a bishop of many flocks and of pastors besides. Nothing is more clearly recognized by the Church than this principle, that we have an episcopate in common. Yours more restricted, mine “the care of all the churches” of my diocese. The pastor of pastors has indeed a high dignity, but is clothed with responsibility that may well make any man tremble.

It is thus that the blessed St. Peter identified himself with his brethren. This glorious Apostle in many things the primate of the original band of Apostles (but who claimed no authority over them), instead of “lording it over God’s heritage,” delights to claim his unity with the presbytery; “the elders that are among you, I exhort, who am also an elder.” It is in this spirit that I call your attention, reverend brethren, to the text on which no doubt you may have pondered, far more than I have; a text that ought to be engraven upon our souls and spirits whenever we ascend the pulpit, whenever we speak to men. Oh, what a rebuke to anything like ostentation, self-seeking, or thirst for human applause! Here is, indeed, the great temptation of the ministers of Jesus Christ, and it has always been recognized as such. We are tempted upon the pinnacle. The Evil One calls us to cast ourselves down, as we always do if we imitate him in that sin by which he fell; if in anything forgetting our work we preach ourselves, display ourselves, or covet popular applause. We ought often to recite an old collect of the Church of England, which I am sorry is not in our prayer-book, for it prays that the lips of the speaker may be touched by the live coal that cleansed even the hallowed lips of Isaiah when he said: “Here am I, send me.” It prays for lips burning with zeal for Christ and for the truth alone, in which poor, little, absolutely annihilated self does not rise for a moment to the surface even of a thought. Are we all equal to this? “Fame,” says a great poet, “is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise; “the love of fame, of approbation. But, how suggestively he adds—”That last infirmity of noble minds “an infirmity it is which we should get rid of. Let us change the language of the poet into this:

“FAITH is the spur which the clear spirit doth raise
To scorn delights and live laborious days.”

When love of approbation becomes the master of conduct, it does not elevate the noble mind, but degrades it. It does not raise, it depresses it. It degenerates into an ignoble thirst for notoriety; it mistakes the shout of the multitude, as in a theatre, for the reputation which clings [26/27] to character and is inseparable from achievement. Hear the same great poet, while as yet he was true to the institutions that nurtured him, and could speak as with the tongues of angels unseduced, and of men unsoured by faction;

“Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glistering foil
Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies;
But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes
And perfect witness of all-judging Christ.
As He pronounceth lastly on each deed,
Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed.”

We preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus. We are bound to preach Christ Jesus in two ways, by our examples, shining as lights in the world far more than by our words. It is easy for any superficial man to utter words, but how seldom does the happy result follow words of preaching that are not made emphatic by a preaching life; by a life separated from the world in following the great humility of the Lord Jesus. Can we preach Him if we are in any degree lifted up with carnal pride? If we forget His marvellous humility? When the text teaches us to say—addressing the people, “ourselves, your servants”—can we forget Him who washed his disciples’ feet? Can we forget that we are the followers of one who was crowned with thorns, who gave His back to the smiters and His cheek to those who buffeted Him? Brethren, make it your constant prayer, as I trust you do, especially in the four seasons of intercession for pastors and for those about to be ordained, to ask God that your Bishop and all the reverend clergy may like their Master be clothed with humility; with that which alone makes men feel that they are servants; with the singleness of motive that cannot be mistaken, servants of souls for Jesus’ sake.

You may say unto me, in the words of the old proverb, “physician, heal thyself.” My dear brethren, one of the most trying things in a Bishop’s duties is to speak to the clergy as a counsellor while one feels that he himself is encompassed with infirmities, and in many things fails to be a pattern to the flock. Nevertheless, though it condemn me, I must speak to you as you would have me speak; as being set in that position which is defined in the epistles to Timothy and Titus. The Bishop is held responsible for a character to which I am sure I have never attained; and not only in those epistles, but in the messages of the Master Himself to the Seven Churches—it is the Bishop whom he holds responsible. If Laodicea is nauseous to Him, it is the Bishop of Laodicea to whom He sends a rebuke. If Sardis has “a name to live and is dead”—it is to the Bishop of Sardis that the Master says, “I have not found thy works perfect before God.” Such is the rebuke of Him whose eyes are as a flame of fire searching the secrets of the heart, to purify and to cleanse.

Time forbids me to enlarge upon a topic which I thank God it is only necessary for me to suggest to you, here, as you are arrayed before me, clothed in the vestments of your ministry. I call up your manifold studies of the subject and the deepest feelings of your hearts as you spread them before God when you intercede for your flocks; when you ask God to make you patterns to those whose souls are committed to your care; when you confess before the altar dutifully, as I have no doubt you do, how far you fail to realize in the sight of the heart-searching God, what nevertheless, before men, I joyfully believe you maintain in your priestly character. On a day like this you will release me from any attempt to do more than to speak these tender words and to [27/28] leave the rest with you. Unstudied expression and great simplicity become my office, and are appropriate to the occasion. But may I make one compact with you, my brethren, for the residue of the time, be it long or short, during which God may possibly spare me to be your pastor in chief; may I know that you will at all times ask God to bless your Bishop? You may be sure that your Bishop is praying for you. Looking often over your names as they are inscribed upon the list of the Diocese, I think of your cares and trials, recalling, perhaps, some faults (they may be very slight faults compared with my own), but also thinking of the varied excellencies of which God avails Himself in a little company like this, to do a great work. Magnify your office, by reflecting what fruits it bears, on earth as well as in heaven, after the good pastor has ceased to minister. Western New York owes its existence as a planted church chiefly and first of all to the piety of a single presbyter, Davenport Phelps. You are often tried. Reflect how much more he was tried, coming to these frontier regions when there was no church to open its doors to him, ministering in schoolrooms and in barns and in the open air; going into houses, distributing Bibles and good books, baptizing children, taking them upon his knees, speaking to many for the first time of the Ten Commandments, teaching children and the mothers of children the Lord’s Prayer, sowing the good seed and going his way. See what has sprung up in the furrows he plowed, and where he broke the fallow-ground, harrowing the soil while he was himself harrowed in spirit, every day.

Nor can I forbear to name, with gratitude to God, his compeer, “Father Nash,” as he was called, who laboured near by, and often within the borders of the original Diocese of Western New York. He was a next neighbour of ours in the beautiful region of the Susquehanna, going to and fro amid the picturesque and romantic scenes endeared to American literature by the writings of one who was a churchman, whose works are chronicles of our primitive days, and who has told the story of the hardy “Pioneers.” In one of his stories he introduces a portrait of Father Nash, well worth recalling, for it will remain as a memorial to future ages of the way in which the American church grew up with the country, created its civilization, and imbued new settlements with the principles of a pure and primitive religion. Let me trust that you are strengthening yourselves as presbyters by his example to enter into a work like his, going into “the next towns,” and evangelizing neglected places nearest to those where your immediate duties lie, as many of you do already. And let me be perfectly sure that every Sunday morning, you recite with me, that incomparable prayer of the Institution Office—”Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof, yet Thou hast honoured me to stand in Thy house and minister at Thy Holy altar.”

I must pass from these beautiful and inspiring topics to something more personal, and I do so with one remark. The office of the episcopate was set before you last night in many attractive forms, to teach us all how highly the Church rates her Apostolic order, and how we should feel the humbling thought that while he who aims high will rise higher than he otherwise could, he must yet fall—oh, how far beneath the mark! The thought occurs to me that I am speaking to some, one or two—perhaps more—I do not think of any names—God forbid I should—who in after years may themselves be called to the episcopate. Brethren, your knowledge of literature will remind you of the appeal to “fling away ambition “that comes to us not from the man of God/ but from the dramatist; “by that sin fell the angels.” When you were ordained to the sacred ministry you said you believed you were “called of the Holy Ghost to take upon yourselves this ministry.” If you were, I do not ask you to be fatalists, nor in an fatalistic sense predestinarians; but I ask you to reflect that if you were called of God into the ministry, He had a place for you, [28/29] and if you continue in diligent service where you are, not looking beyond it, nor in any way affected by worldly ambition, He will set you in your place. He never called you into the ministry unless He meant to give you work, and if there is a place for you He will find you by His Spirit and put you into it. Remember, you are simply to be faithful where you are and leave the rest to Him. The Pentecostal fire scorches to the bone the hand that would pluck it from heaven. The mitre burns the brow, the forehead of him who wears it as if it were a personal adornment. Said a Bishop who lived two centuries ago, preaching on ecclesiastical ambition: “If you are to be admitted to such a position, let God be the shaper of your future, let Him who has made you His minister lead you to your place, and when this comes about, be able to respond—` I am called and I will obey; I have not promoted myself.’” We are persuaded that such is your spirit, dear brethren, but to speak to a body of the priesthood in this way is to elevate the whole tone of the clerical character, and to apply the medicine to my own poor soul as well.

You will expect from me some reference to that memorable day, five and twenty years ago; and believe, if I speak of myself, it is only to remind the younger generation of matters worthy of being handed down as traditions to those who are yet to come. The traditions of a nation, of a family, of a race, are an ennobling inheritance, if based upon the virtues of their predecessors and transmitted with truthfulness. Maintain the traditions of your Diocese and they will perpetuate the virtues of its founders. When I rose from my knees, after my venerated father-in-God, whom I had been called to assist, had made me a Bishop, the clergy of Western New York pressed up to the chancel to clasp my hand, to wish me Godspeed, and to assure me of welcome. It was a dark winter day. Oh, how different from this that now shines upon us by the favour of God! The snow lay heavy upon the roads so that one Bishop who designed to attend, and started on his journey, could not reach the spot, and beloved friends of my own were unable to accompany me. But I was accompanied by my own Bishop, Dr. Potter of New York, who, though he was not my consecrator, was determined to be one of the presbytery of Bishops, who assisted in the laying on of hands. I shall ever be grateful for this act of kindness. It influenced me to visit New York when his twenty-fifth anniversary was celebrated; and, again, when I took part in the solemnity of his funeral and read the impressive words that committed his venerable remains to the dust.

I speak of Bishop Potter, in the presence of his eminent kinsman and successor, and I beg him to remember that though it was sometimes my misfortune to differ with that prelate, I was ever influenced, by grateful recollections, in permitting no estrangement to arise between our dioceses, much less between our personal relations, which were of long standing, and had been made sacred by mutual confidences. And now the six bishops who were united in placing me where I am have all gone to God, and strong is my feeling that I cannot long survive. One of the clergy who invested me with the robes, which I wear at this moment, is here; my dear brother the rector of the De Lancey School and of St. Peter’s Church. Of the other who kindly attended me, for that ceremony, I shall speak, very soon. I believe a few others are here who were also present and aided me with their prayers. The secretary of the council that elected me, and who sent me the first information of that event, is also before me, the Rev. Dr. Hayes, our diocesan secretary at this time. But one incident which is worthy of mention is this: When my reverend brethren crowded around me and pressed my hand, and when I saw brethren more wise and more holy than myself, saluting me as bishop, my heart sank within me. But particularly was it so when one came forward whom I had looked up to in my youth as one of the most eloquent clergymen of the church. When one so much my superior, with infinite humility, came and took my hand [29/30] and looked into my face and called me his bishop I remember what a lesson it was to me—to be humble indeed. I speak of the beloved Ingersoll. When such a man as Ingersoll saluted me his younger brother as his bishop, and wished me Godspeed out of a loving heart, the Lord knoweth I was humbled. I seem to see, even now, his beautiful expression, his tender and loving eyes. Never a thought of ambition troubled the calm of his peaceful bosom, I am sure. I need not mention my venerated friend, Dr. Shelton, as one whom I loved. He at that time was not present. He had given me his prayers and blessing and was then travelling in the Holy Land. But the other presbyter who assisted me that day was President Jackson of Hobart College. He had been my friend when he was a deacon, while I was yet a student and a candidate for orders. A burning and shining light, indeed, he was, who adorned Hobart College and laboured for its interests till he was coveted, not unlawfully, by Trinity College, and called back as its president, to the scenes of our earliest friendship. You cannot accuse me of any selfish motives in thus indulging my heart in tributes to such men. I wish I could name many others. They seem to come, one by one, before me to-day as I think of that solemn hour; I trust not without prompting my spirit more fully to redeem the hopes and prayers which they poured forth in my behalf.

I hold before your eyes the sacred book which Bishop De Lancey put into my hands according to the rubric, charging me to meditate upon the things contained in this book, and to preach them to the people. I retain, in its first pages, the formula which owing to his failing eyesight he caused to be especially printed for the occasion, in large letters; the formula of consecration, as follows: “Receive the Holy Ghost, for the office and work of Bishop in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” And the words that follow he has underlined. “And remember that thou stir up the grace of God which is given thee by this imposition of our hands, for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of soberness.” And then followed the Tradition of the Holy Scriptures. It is not putting the Bible into the young bishop’s hands as if it were a mere act of ceremony; it is the tradition of the Scriptures, from generation to generation, from the hands of the Apostles. Think with what language it is handed down. Let me rehearse that incomparable charge. I read it again from Bishop De Lancey’s copy, printed to catch his eye, and used on that occasion: “Give heed unto reading, exhortation, and doctrine: Think upon the things contained in this Book. Be diligent in them, that the increase coming thereby may be manifest unto all men; for by so doing thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee. Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd—not a wolf; feed them, devour them not. Hold up the weak, heal the sick, bind up the broken, bring again the outcasts, seek the lost. Be so merciful, that you be not too remiss; so minister discipline, that you forget not mercy: that when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you may receive the never-fading crown of glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen.

Great God! how can one to whom such words have been spoken be other than brokenhearted and humbled all his days, if, in looking back over a quarter of a century, he sees how imperfectly he has fulfilled that charge! I leave a concluding appeal with you, my brethren, with the sincere assurance that everything that pertains to your work and ministry is constantly in the heart of your Bishop. For the residue of my days, let us be more tenderly intimate in our common duties by the new ties and affections that ought to spring out of this blessed commemoration. It will be blessed indeed if it has been directed to such a holy purpose, originating as it did entirely with you, and stimulated, I believe, by motives most worthy, most generous, and most [30/31] acceptable to God. Bear witness that I remonstrated, that I asked to be relieved from the burden of such a solemnity lest it should degenerate into a mere festivity, or become secularized by the overflow of sentiment, without the “fear and trembling” with which all such rejoicings should be mingled. This scruple animated my remonstrance, but I yielded when one of your number, rising in his place, reminded me that the Church has a possession in its Bishop and has a right to propose to him what his brethren desire, as likely to further the interests of the Church. So pure a motive could not fail to command consent. And if by the blessing of God the results of these solemn days shall be undefiled by any proud spirit, by any other uplifting than that of prayers to God, then will God mark our doings with His favour. The people and the clergy of the Diocese will have occasion to recall these days as the means of a great increment of strength; for on such unity of spirit as this, the Lord has commanded His blessing, “Even life forevermore.” Amen.

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