HENRY FARROW & CO., Printers.
This remarkable Title occurs in a Vision, which, intended for a present consolation to the despondent remnant of the Captivity, covers truth deeper than human intellect can fathom, and issues which sweep unexhausted for Eternity.
It is photographed for us in the word picture of the Spirit.
"And he showed me Joshua the High Priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And then I said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee; is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
"Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the Angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying: Take away the filthy garments from him! And unto him he said: Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said: Let them set a fair mitre upon his head: So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the Angel of the Lord stood by."
Among the individuals who returned from Babylon was the grandson of Josedech, the High Priest, filling now the same office which his sire's hands ministered during the troublous era of the Destruction.
The old men had wept at the inferiority of the new Edifice to the beautiful prototype; and the younger generation, discouraged by the contrast, and seduced by selfish claims, had conducted the erection with slackened hand. The Prophets had cheered the discouragement by a vision of glory, when that Temple should contain the Incarnate Lord, and the reality of the Divine Presence, full of grace and truth, should far more than replace the glittering breastplate of the High Priest, or the secluded Shechinah of the Holiest.
 But besides the deficiency in stones and cedar, where workmen failed to elaborate the detail of beauty, there were deficiencies more marked in the retinue of the sacred officers, and the unholy apathy with which the functions were ministered. Probably but few of the Priestly and Levitical line had returned; and among those who had there were reasons existing of serious rebuke from God, which Prophets uttered in His name. The headship had been lowered in its mystical authority. The priesthood had been debased by viciousness and insubordination. The ritual had depreciated in the respect of the worshippers; and the insight of the faithful few saw disgrace and ruin.
It was a time of condescending sympathy from the Lord of Hosts; and each message or vocal emblem was sent with the aim of animating the despondent, and rousing the laggard, through pledged and boundless success.
Hence not only the rebuilding of the Temple is the burthen of the visions, but the progress of the Church to the latest day. Not the City, which Roman exasperation should grind to powder, but the developed polity of the Kingdom of Christ. Not the secluded ritual, which dimly shadowed a purer worship, but the spiritual altar, priesthood and sacrifices of the Gospel economy, setting forth the one completed sacrifice, the perfect remission, the heavenly Headship, and a kingly reign for ever and ever.
But in the existent state of things opportunity was fairly given to the adversary to strike high; and the Priesthood itself became the subject of Satan's impeachment. The High Priest "and his fellows"--whether in lineal equality through the ordained succession, or in the ministrant band under his authority,--were the recognized agents for the whole work. They were personally involved in the success of the Temple, the gifts of the Altar, and the reverence of the people. The influence of their order and personal wealth, the show that glittered outwardly and the deeper ambition of the inward nature depended on the splendor of the Edifice and the richness of the equipments. Full ground this, for the accuser to implead their motives and ability, to hold up their intrinsic vileness, to press their incompetency, and alienate from their official pretensions the reverence and [6/7] sympathy of the people. The sweeping charge or subtle sneer might be flung among the anxieties and conflicts of the hidden nature, where the humbled soul, bewildered by the human aspect of official assumption, bowed under its cares and wrestling in the cloud of confused responsibility, scarce dares to deny before its own consciousness the imputed shame. It droops before the exposure and the apperception. The objective fact of calumny it could throw back in dignity--but it may not hush the moaning voices in the "chambers of imagery, of unworthiness of the trust, and the miserable failures of its daily ministration. Poor Joshua, Man of wonder! stand with thy squalid garments and uncovered head, robes which thy conscious poverty has worn to shreds, and thy flesh has spotted through and through. Satan is now as an Angel of Light. His flashing mien is as the "prince of this world." No hope for thee, unhappy man! Jehovah and His Angels witness thy degradation. Satan brings back from thine own dreary heart an echo of the reproach, which the whole seeming justifies. Ever thus resisting the Church, and assoiling God's anointed by the flesh stains of infirmity, and the moral results of sin, which his own devices have tempted, and his subtle malignity flaunts.
The verdict of justice is clear, and in awed silence the assembly waits the sentence of the Lord. But not so. There is no condemnation. The charges are disallowed. The malignant accuser is rebuked. The electing grace of God interposes; and He, who hath chosen Jerusalem in the freeness of His love, reprimands the adversary of her ordered means, and rescues "the offscouring of human judgment, but the chosen in Divine wisdom, even as "a brand plucked out of the fire." In such an issue Satan must be rebuked. The Priesthood stands in dishonored form. It is before God no better adorned than it seems to be to the eye of the caviling people. But the Lord honors the Office. He invests with meetness, grace and dignity. He separates its "bright succession" from all others, and appropriates it by insignia of invested authority. He pledges to its dying, but perpetuating rank, vindication and success. "Thou shalt judge my house; thou shalt keep my courts, and I will give thee [7/8] places to walk in among these that stand by." When God would order the people He does it through them in mystical title of trust and rule; and bids all observe that it is done with significant intent. "Hear now, O Joshua, the High Priest, thou and thy fellows that it before thee, for they are men wondered at." Men conspicuous and honorable, set as a sign, whom though the accuser may revile as "men of wonder," whose authority he despises, and whose mystical calling he can slur, He that hath chosen Jerusalem, will sustain, and "the gates of hell shall not prevail against them." The High Priesthood cleansed and crowned, in this evangelic vision, we need hardly to "transfer in a figure" to the Apostolic Episcopate, so directly does its scope and fulfillment conduct thitherward our thoughts and realization.
Its judicial humiliation belongs to this day and hour when another is set forth in human weakness on the amphitheatre, "a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men."
Its vindication belongs to this day and hour when another is solemnly crowned among "the princes in all lands"--the succession of eighteen centuries, which alone, in earth's lines of rank, has never snapped nor worn, and shall never want a man to stand before God forever.
Its admonition to the people assures of the Divine Constitution and inward life and sacramental power of the Church; no natural weakness in the Episcopate or failures from its human side; no seemingly drawn issues of modern civilization, in which it has bravely stood against Corinthian factions,--sectarian life indulging its own speculation and passions, and absorbed in the conceit of its own greatness and dignity; or against "wild beasts of Ephesus," licentious liberty, which spurns authority, deifies self, and persecutes from its lawlessness; no barrenness of results or poverty of means; no perpetual contradiction between its ideal and the actual; no meanness of ritual or desolation of the ruined shrine; no unceasing vastness of expectation, while all things seem to remain as they were from the beginning; none of such things must dishearten, intimidate or seduce. Through all such inherent contradictions, or ever springing disasters, God's People must trust the Divine vindication which sustains the settled economy for earth and heaven.
 But through all the vision Christ is set forth as the only salvation; without whose grace and pardon the High Priest was filthy and polluted, the Temple dishonored, the Priesthood a useless appointment, the ritual services formalism, and the sacramental "damnation."
THE APOSTOLIC EPISCOPATE,--ITS REPROACH AND ITS VINDICATION thus furnishes the theme for our imperfect thoughts. Our glance may be cast on the Primitive, the Historical and the Existent.
But what means the APOSTOLIC EPISCOPATE?
It is that Divine Order known through all Christian History as Bishops, to which the ever-present but invisible Head of the Church has committed the perpetuation of His Kingdom, the Government of His People, the conservation of the heavenly mysteries. Power of Order, and power of Jurisdiction, not only as Hooker defines, "mandatory, judicial and coercive," but with the special gift of the Holy Ghost, and the potential deposit of the Apostolic Oneness, Faith, Love and Peace, to seek and save by the Gospel of Salvation, preached to every creature. It is that unbroken Order to whom Christ said: "As my Father hath sent me, so send I you;" and which was verified, so that no part of the world was without a Church, and no Church without a Bishop. Which was perpetuated, so that from the first authentic record to Calvin's time there never was any settled part of the Church without Episcopacy, nor for fifteen centuries did the whole Church falter in her unquestioned succession from the Apostles by the laying on of hands and prayer, consecrating to an infrangible line.
That same Order whom the Lord sent: "Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." The sovereignty in the Church thus given by the ascending Lord to His Apostles, and by them multiplied and perpetuated in its own inherent authority, the perennial source of the whole visible being and order of the Gospel Church. Cyprian's words are an axiom: "The outward being of a [9/10] Church is in having Bishops." But still more is it generative of the inner life of Ministerial Brotherhood, in the threefold bond of Evangelic mission. This unity comprehends and blends the whole ministry in the same mystical authority, the same life of suffering and honor. In the figure of Ignatius, (Epist. to Ephes.) "the justly renowned Presbytery is fitted to the Bishop as the strings are to the harp." The ternary ministry becomes "one instrument of concord and harmonious love, taking up the Song of God in unison," whether in reproach or vindication: whether swept by the hand of rudeness in the crash of violated harmonies, or made vocal with the enduring strain of witness and appeal in the conscious heart of one and the same calling.
"All Bishops," as Jerome says, "are the Apostles' successors." They have an equality of order owing to that lineal derivation, so that he who fills the oldest see is not higher in office than the incumbent of the meanest. The Bishop of Rome, if he be true Bishop and successor of the Apostles, can assume, on Catholic rule, no inherent office greater than he, who to-day, in your presence, enters this mystical line.
By an Apostolic Episcopate we understand then, that the Apostles embodied that element in Church Government which has ever since been represented by Episcopacy. That the Episcopacy of the Church Catholic, while it has itself continued unbroken, has brought down through consecration, and transmitted by ordination of the ministry--the Apostolical succession. In the Apostolate as a temporary estate there were powers and gifts which were incidental to the formative period of the Church. A world-wide breadth of labor with a pledged success; inspiration to make the moral and religious teaching infallibly true; supernatural gifts to supplement the personal influence and give attestation to the unfolding economy. To such "Charismata," whether as the investiture of Apostles, or descending as they did on the heads of the lower ministry and laymen, dying out as dawn streaks into the confirmed morning, no after age has laid claim; and the name of "APOSTLE" was separated in honor, to indicate the peculiarity in the administration of the unchanging trust.. But the Commission became the Church's precious gift, which she has kept and [10/11] propagated among the universals of her Catholic unity. She has measured its honor, gaged its responsibility and vindicated its authority by every passage of awful commission and tender pledge, addressed to the Apostles as a federal Headship. All history attests the fact of the Universal Episcopate. The individual Churches preserve the sacred Successions. The Laws and Discipline, the Councils and the persecutions, reverence and tyranny point to the same shining mark. Round the world and down its ages the sacred College has led the great Society of Christendom with Headship unquestioned for fifteen centuries, and to-day it groups, in representative solemnity to "set the fair mitre" on another downcast head; and clasp in the same Brotherhood, another "servant of all" in the strange "foolishness" and "weakness" of an Angel Overseer of the Church of God.
Not more uniform has been the honorable Office in succession and duty, than it has been in reproach and trials. Each true-hearted and laboring Bishop, down in this nineteenth century, finds himself in fellowship indescribable with Paul, the suffering Missionary Bishop, however he may shrink from personal comparison with holy Paul the Great Apostle. The comparison is not crude, nor are the, resemblances merely general. They are alike "men of wonder" in brotherhood of order and individual experiences. Face answereth to face with weird reflection as they line along the bank of this stream from the mount. They see it in the Apostles, and hear it in their manly plaints, while each heart quivers in mysterious affinity,
Brother to Brother binding,
Binding all the closer to the "Prince of all."
Satan buffeting, and the madness of the people; the adversary beguiling through partizan strifes and sectarian jealousies; personal defects, and jealous suspicions; heartless neglect of maintenance and charities; false doctrines and schisms; questions of ritual and sacrament; fightings with out and fears within; misconstrued teachings and offence for a word; dishonored discipline and broken vows, and wreck ed lives, in the "care of all the churches." Rude violence in Alexander the Coppersmith; covetousness in Demas; false [11/12] doctrines in Hermogenes and Philetus; envious competition in Diotrephes; irreligious trade unions in Demetrius and the silversmiths; woman's jealousies in Euodia and Syntyche; popular buzzing and stinging through "households of faith," I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and. I of Kephas, and I Evangelical. There is scarcely a grief, or taunt, or hardship, that the inspired College of the first Bishops did not experience; and while they freely utter the life-long story, they sum it in absolute paradox. The consciousness throughout is mystical and supernatural, not common griefs and instinctive tears; not the hardships of soldierly fights a wild campaigns met and mastered in heroism and the laurel crown, not weary journies of mercantile hazards, in which wealth is the loot of the enterprize, not common humiliations from poverty or sickness, or disappointments, because vanity or the inward sense measures deserts larger than society will acknowledge. The place of suffering is indeed the quivering flesh, and harrassed mind, and anguished soul. But the estimate is official and transcendental. The "men of wonder" act and speak,--brace themselves and tremble in "deep places." Out of the deep, they not only cry unto the Lord, but they bring the Lord down as partaker with them. They talk strange language as they do strange things. "We are fools for Christ's sake." "I fill up the sufferings of Christ in my flesh for His Body's sake, which is the Church." "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." "I will rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me." "Earthen vessels." "Weakness of God." "Foolishness of preaching," "Beside myself," "None of these things move me." Then out of all this confusion of human accidents--this bemeaning, worrying, litigious and persecuted condition, all surmounted by endurance and transformed by the Christly alchemy into precious joy and triumph,--out of it all comes the unearthly cry of these men of wonder, fro heights that eye of the flesh cannot climb, and depths which no experience of manhood may plumb. "Who is sufficient for these things!"
In the Epistle to the Corinthians there is contained striking impersonation of all this, among elements of society, types of human nature, and trials of Christianity, which are [12/13] singularly reproduced in our own day. The New Corinth shared in the proverbial luxury and prodigality which famed the Old before the heel of the "Iron Kingdom" crushed it. But it was in alliance with keen activities and enterprize. Commerce freighted its gifts and its corruptions. Many nations talked in her streets and thronged her amphi-theatre. Industry plied extensive manufactures. The culture and vices which distinguished the old city, had been largely inherited. But in addition, as to a place fresh and created by imperial will, there was confluent the sciolism, degenerate philosophy and conflicting ingredients of decomposing heathen society, with wandering Judaism, eastern myths and Grecian traditions--material, rationalistic, Epicurean, disputatious and fanatical--with wealth to gratify desire, and with taste polished to cast over all seductive charm. [Vid. Stanley on Cor.]
There went Paul, and there entered the Gospel with its divine power, to arrest and convert, and the Christian Church stood on the arena of this motley, enterprising, flippant, vicious and passionate throng. We have no place here for detail of what three years developed. But we all know that party spirit, and partisan affinities--the bane of the present ecclesiastical condition, find there the earliest record; while disorders which affected discipline and doc trine, vital morals, and the sacramental of the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood, twined with jealousies and personal slanders of the Apostles themselves. Into this scene of faction and worldliness came the depreciated Apostle weightily by his Letters, and we have on that starting line of the Church's course, clearly delineated the reproach and the vindication of the Apostolic Episcopate. Perhaps to no Letter can we better apply, from the divine and human side, the bold figure of Luther: "The words of Paul are not dead words, they are living creatures and have hands and feet."
The Apostle takes all these confusions and spiritual perils into his own individual life; but, as commissioned minister-- the "Man of Wonder." His personality embraces the other Apostles, (for the Episcopate produces in its unity a fusion [13/14] of natures,) but still dashes on, with its wonderful egoism stirred to its depths. He is administrator of a trust--the mysteries of Christ. He must be faithful to an inflexible standard however unpopular. Human judgment cannot determine the right or the wrong. It belongs not to "man's day," and though even in his own conscience he may be strong in right, this cannot justify. [I Cor. IV. 3. anqrwpinhV hmeraV--mannes day, Wickliffe.] He and the Sent Brotherhood are officially the authoritative source of the gifts, and their godly judgments are imperative. They are the governing dispensers. It was a trust awful and indefinite before the Great "Bishop of Souls," but not subject to man's choice or preference. It must be received and obeyed, not compared, blamed or flattered. They bore commission as a College and Institution, and the Body of the Faithful grew outside and around them. They had the power of Fatherhood and the gifts of government.
With irony the Apostle strips the pretensions of conceited individualism, and humiliates the Teachers and People who, pampered with the gifts, gloried as if they had not received them. With almost sarcasm he parades the tinsel assumption, "Now are ye full, now are ye rich, now ye have reigned as kings without us?
But I deem, that when he had dictated this passionate burst, glorying in the commission of the Apostolic Episcopate, magnifying his office, and cut to the heart by the over throw of his labors, and impending dishonor of the Gospel,--we may feel, that suddenly he choked in the dictation, as the ghastly reality of weakness, shame, toil and anguish closed in upon him. He utters those words of almost horror, as the Amphitheatre, and the Band of Gladiators brought in last for death, and the throng of unpitying spectators piled on the seats to the blue sky line rose in vision on his dazed heart--"I think that God hath set forth us "the Apostles last, as it were appointed to death, for we are made a spectacle to the world and to angels and to men." Then we hear the big tears of this doom and reproach successively fall. "Fools," "weak," "hunger," "no home," "persecuted, "blasphemed," "the refuse of the kennel."
 But at last, that trust which never admitted failure for the Gospel, that humbleness which never attainted his office, that mingled tenderness of the "man of wonder" and the "brand plucked out of the mastered the vision of tortured humanity. The supernal Fatherhood regains its sway, and gently speaks, "I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn." For though ye have ten thousand pedagogues in Christ--servants and tutors who lead you to the schools--ye have not many Fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel. Wherefore I beseech you be followers, Mimhtai--imitators of me.
The appeal to his Apostleship, which really forms the basis of the whole settlement of the disordered Church of Corinth, was influential. In spite of all the contradictions and reproach, they submitted to the admonitions, restrained the factions, estimated aright the disturbing teachers, and drew back from the separation into different Churches, towards which, thus early, the partisanship tended. It vindicated the Prophet pledge, that God's chosen Priesthood should judge His House and keep his Courts and have place of influence among them that stand by.
But official authority and personal feeling had a single point in which all culminated--the salvation of the soul. Before that immeasurable issue--the restoration of the inward nature to the divine image by the redeeming Love, all stand tribute-bearing,--the earthly and the heavenly. There con verge all commissions, there are deposited all gifts. That vastness of life and capacity holds all, assimilates all, and there the noble Apostles stand beseeching, as they read the rent roll of the Eternal Estate: "All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours,--(thine, dear soul, to whom Jesus has sent Apostles and Pastors to seek and save,) "for ye are Christ's and Christ is God's!"
The antagonist phases of shame and weakness, imputed faults and Godward humiliation, authority supernatural, and headship of divine commission, the squalid garments and the fair mitre--the "men of wonder," and the "brands [15/16] plucked from the fire"--the whole disproportion between the agents and the issue were fully appreciated and confessed in the planting of the Gospel Church. The tendency is natural for us now to sequester that planting and training from the later history or the present. We exaggerate the influence of its supernatural gifts, and diminish unduly the confidence in the Spirit's agency and means in the ordinary course of the Church's endowments. The weak, debased and inefficient in the present men and means press upon us as disturbing realities. They dog us so close that the spiritual mind has hard escape to a region of trust; and the wise of the world and the unlearned alike may doubt our claims as myths, or brand them as pretensions. But we of God's House cannot, dare not abate the claims: or believe that any rift so sharp and deep, separates the Apostolic Episcopate of James, Peter and Paul; Timothy Titus and Epaphroditus; Ignatius, Polycarp and Clement; Eborus, Restitutus and Adelphius; Augustine and his four score and ten successors in Canterbury, from each other or the lineal College which now leads the Historic and witnessing Anglo-Catholic Church in these United States. Each of these Bishops named would be in brotherhood with us of the Anglican communion this day, in faith, office and qualities. An old Bishop of the early centuries, East, West, Britain, Spain, or Gaul, might come back and take his place among us, and lay on hands, almost and altogether such as we are. His mind would dwell in peace with his childhood's creed, and his manhood's rank, and the encircling band of the priestly and the faithful. "The one Lord, one Faith, the continuing in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship."
So far as personal qualifications are involved, we deserve your pity, when constrained to bring them, even incidentally, into the light and grandeur of a divine office. We admit all the natural weakness, exposure and sin. We stand in "filthy garments," and must expect that the expo sure will be enhanced, and pleaded before a prejudiced tribunal; the official claim caricatured, and the office resented as a superannuate tyranny by the exaggerated right of private judgment.
But beyond the personal defects in the incumbent there [16/17] would seem to be Inevitable decay and change in the order itself, humanly analyzed. From its nature the Episcopate has been exposed to dissolution. The official calling might become obsolete, and waste in decadence. In the con of Religion it might be dropped, as partially has been in Sectarianism, or be debased as by assumed Supremacy in Romanism. How natural in social changes, that Bishops should fall into arrogance or evil living, and in consequence be repudiated and abolished; or left to die out for want of support and public confidence. Thus estimated--and it would be fair on all social or religious analogies, Episcopacy must long ago have perished. No natural combinations could preserve its identity, and assure its representative influence. It would slip out of sight beggared; be overturned by revolution; cast aside to rot in contempt and uselessness; or be absorbed in the intense individualism of a modern day.
But the reverse has been the reality. In face of every human probability, in defiance of all violence, incorruptible under all human corrodings, unwasted by constitutional decay, throned unchangeable among the wrecks and dust of all human thrones--the lone succession unbroken among all human heirships and associations--this Fatherhood has never died nor become "past age" in the sons and daughters of saintship. This Brotherhood with linked hands have clasped in net work and chain unbroken down the ages. These Apostles have travelled on with the Creeds and thee Bible and girdled the earth. These Fishermen have pulled through the night on the waters, storm tossed or calm, and "cast the drag net of the kingdom." These Workmen have wrought with their hands tent-coverings, under which the lowly and the simple have found God's free House, and abiding Presence, instruction and Holy Sacrament from generation to generation. They have reared Cathedrals, cutting in stone effigies of the Gospel; and the very legendary of their old forms and lofted worship has treasured historic verities, and guarded (sometimes even ignorant of the franchize) the Church's faith, dignity and freedom. They have built Parish Churches round which have been laid the dead of centuries, and sapling oaks have become gnarled and rotten. These undying Voices have chaunted [17/18] continuously the old "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," and prayed in Litany and Collects, and ministered in Sacramental Liturgies, jewelled Caskets of the Faith, while none remembered the human hand that chiselled them. This "Principality throned in the kingdom of souls," as Greek and Latin Fathers alike term it--is, from its nature effective defence against ecclesiastical Imperialism; for only by subordinating the Bishops has the oppression of churchly despotism or spiritual tyranny, either from the hierarchal or the popular side been able to enthrall. These Rulers and Governors have sustained hereditary order and discipline, and bequeathed the jurisprudence of the Kingdom of Christ. These Keepers and Witnesses seal and certify the visible reality and glorious ideal of the "One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church." And when need has been of resisting unto blood, the Apostolic offering has been renewed, and many a Bishop from Ignatius to Latimer,--from heathendom to Smithfield, has been ready to be offered,
The stern self sacrifice of souls afire
For perilled Altars and for hearths profaned.
No matter what they may have been in personal honor or in shame. No matter how low in drudgery or gaudy in baronial pomp. Saints and Martyrs, or religious reprobates: leaving marks on theft age of learning and grace, with names that never die, or finding grave in northern forest with savage .hordes, and epitaph read only by the Angels,--the solemn procession has marched on with the pledge of Christ, "judging His House, keeping His Courts, and with place to walk in among angels and men."
I know that this may be called the outward and formal, and men may set against it, as in derision, the great simple Christian Faith, the ideal of the heart, and the conscious ness of the personal life. I know that in the proud impulse of self-governing liberty, it is natural to chafe against power which comes from above, naked of earthly appliances, and still challenging such anomalous control. God forbid that the Episcopate should ever be found distinguished from the "Ministry of Reconciliation." God forbid, that the gift of the Holy Ghost of the "fair mitre" on the head should be ever without the life and, love of the true Evangelist. They [18/19] should neither be contrasted nor severed. There is harmony between the defined economy, and the profound of an inner and spiritual life.
The "Men of Wonder" who have filed out from the Headship hidden in the clouds of Olivet,--who have no human generation, of which no research has fixed a fair conjectural origin, nor been able to prove defeasance at a single spot in its chain of Title, the validity of whose succession is guaranteed by a geometrical cumulation of probabilities, that it is a mathematical wrong to question, while the incumbent to each seat in the ramified succession has had all motive to secure his own right, and a thousand interests and ambitions might be jealous to scrutinize it this order, after all, justifies its position, and vindicates its divine original, because it has sustained, and still finds effective mission for the salvation of souls. However in eras or individuals this mission has been unheeded or distorted, the order has always reverted towards this inward type, and the Churches have raised up and honored Bishops who live and act this devout Pastorship.
The Order with all its, vicissitudes has been influential for Catholic Faith, discipline and worship. Christendom, dismantled of its successions of Bishops, would be confused and shapeless. Our conception cannot arrange in imagination the undigested mass. Expunge their name and record and the privation would be irreparable from its achievements and saintship, its certitude of witness, and its phalanx of aggressions. It has furnished leaders and heroes in its days of persecution, a "cloud of witnesses" in its days of Heresy. They have been brave guardians of freedom and civilization in days of feudalism and lawlessness, while peasants' children in its principality have vindicated human equality through rank higher than knightly spur or castle birth:
A generous chivalry which shields the weak,
And dares the oppressor's worst--love guarding love
Conservators of Learning, Founders of Colleges, Patrons of Art, laborious Scholars, bequeathing their gifts to our libraries, and to our closet and families devout example and voices of devotional life; men, roughened perhaps and [19/20] misshapen sometimes by the faults of their time, but wielding its best capacities, and mollifying its seventies. But beyond all that we can possibly catalogue; that which we feel more than we can define, Bishops as an Order have permeated Christian History with an inner life of influence, broad cast and common, from which no interest of the living could entirely escape, and public faith and feeling could hardly disallow. Representative men of "To-day--yesterday and forever."
By this interior and sensational power, alike affective and representative, may at last be won back the fervent, energetic denominational life, which has quarrelled with Prelacy, or been tempted to counterfeit Its superintendence. As that sectarian life struggles back with unconscious steps among old forms and hereditary tastes, or as the smaller portions disintegrate; as Religionism finds itself confronted by history falsified into Papacy, and a system, with that headship strong enough to threaten civil liberties, as well as endanger the whole fabric of a subjective faith; then there may come a calmer insight of this divine, adaptive order, the visible headship of the body, which is "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all." It certainly may not spring from what they see in living Bishops, or be acknowledged as an expediency from our immediate success. I fear indeed not thus. The way may not be cut for its admission by sharp argument and Patristic catenae. But it may come, nevertheless, as the yearning for Catholic unity softens prejudices and the eye gazes more wistfully back, to find where these slackened strands, which will not bear the drift, lost their hold--then may arise a consciousness, like the internal evidence from the Gospel itself in its nature and endurance, of the need and reality of this mystical Order, as what the American Church must claim, and claiming, wield in its divine and adaptive commission. In the ancestry of the soul, the loving Spirit may evoke from orphaned hearts the cry and wit ness of the Puritans, leaving England--"Our Dear Mother! Such hope and part as we have in the common salvation we have received in her bosom, and sucked it from her breasts." May God help us to adorn and commend it by our love and works; and may God move our Brethren to retrieve their [20/21] share in the old estate, that we may employ with generous harmony the Family treasures in the peculiar struggle of our Land and Day.
The reality of the Apostolic Episcopate is not in the domain of History. The solution of its mysteries and the harmony of its contradictions are not to be leaned in the light of this world. Its life is not of human generation, nor its power the gift of the people. Its government is not created by civil or churchly law; nor is its work to be defined merely in social progress. Its reality of life is "hidden with Christ in God," to keep and serve in all its fulness the Gospel of Salvation. All we say of the Apostolic Episcopate is low unless we realize it in the domain of the spiritual. Its object to guard the truth and distribute spiritual gifts; to perpetuate a new and real life; to testify by its collegiate and personal energies to the unfailing grace and love of God our Saviour, and lodge them among the experiences and hopes of men.
The vision of the Prophet will be the life-long experience, Satan accusing, and the Blessed One relieving. Shame on the one hand and honor on the other. Stained garments of the flesh under the robe of office, but the uncovered head shielded in the day of battle. Functions with impossible responsibilities, and yet cheered with precious promises "to irradiate their watchings, and their warfare and their woe." Loneliness which seems to be attainted from sympathy, and the Angel of the Lord standing by beckoning sweet fellow. ships from heavenly places. Burthens heaped to crushing on the "servant of all;" and still the fainting heart made cheerful, and the weary arm upheld. An Embassy whose credentials may be mocked as forgery, and taunted as pretence; and yet consciously verified by the Great Seal of the Ascending Lord. A Stewardship, in spite of mistakes and dishonor, vindicated by the "Lord of Lords," to judge His House and keep His Courts.
And at last, when all these strange things are exhausted below, and the Man of Wonder has fulfilled his course, the robe of office been laid on another shoulder, and the mitre on successive head, and when the soul stands in the high judicial, naked of human merit,--then may we--dear [21/22] Brothers of this wonderful fellowship ourselves, through the electing grace of a loving Saviour, with our sins pardoned, our misdeeds cancelled, our foolishness lost in the unseen wisdom, and our dying nature transformed into the undying. Even on the lowest step of the Throne of the Great Bishop of souls, there may be for us an Angel robe and the star-lit crown, and a place for the poor Bishop of Earth, cleansed and crowned, to walk in forever among those that stand by.
And now I turn to you, Brother, trembling on the verge which scarce separates you from this trust of prodigy and weakness. At this its earthly source you will step in a moment over the head-spring which will flow on and widen until it may irrigate waste land for fruitfulness, and freight riches on its bosom. Its course meandering, dropping in sudden foam, gathering turbid inlets, or with "deep answering to deep," will bear on the current of your unknown until it sweeps into eternity. Strange greeting for you, Brother beloved, may be much that has been said, so portentous of trial, so mysterious in orgasm, when you are thus suddenly flung out an uprooted life to feel for root again among un tried conditions of a new home and fellowships, unwonted trusts and the bewildering anomalies of spiritual headship. But not unfeeling for you and our brotherhood, have been the thoughts which, in feeble expression, have found vent. I could not escape from them in the night hours of preparation for this responsible duty, with the undertone as the booming of ocean surf; of the won Bishop with his scarred experiences, and the fresh Apostle whom the Spirit Ordered Church has elected to oversee her undeveloped heritage.
Nothing in my poor speech has been irrelative to you, my Brother, because I have you in my heart, and know enough of the depth and sturdiness of your nature, to be assured, that the tone to which it will best respond for strength, resolve and holy kindling is in this very contradiction of the sacramental and the foolish, the unearthly and the weak, in a superhuman calling.
The Congregation of Christ is not to you a shallow system of voluntary expedients. The mysteries of God are not [22/23] merely conventional ordinance. The ministry is not man made, and his creature to set up or cast down. The Holy Catholic Church is not a vision of dream-land, real only so far as the individual nature feels it. I know you far better than this, and therefore have boldly put before you for the unfailing inspiration of vigor and humility, manliness and sympathy, quick tenderness and steady judgment, for the victory of work and faith, the Reproach and the Vindication of the Apostolic Episcopate; the "filthy garments" and the fair mitre; the smouldered brand and the Man of Wonder judging God's House.
Relatively brief has been the intermingling of our personal lives, but enough on both sides, I think, to bring out in strength and weaknesses a mutual confidence. Enough to realize a harmony of trust in the Historic Church and our relations to it, to make us flow together, whether I "magnify" the divine in office, or bewail the human in our infirmities, and tremblings, and sins.
I have found you faithful and real; outspoken in wise assertion and thoughtful in weighing words and ways. The experience and scholarship of many well spent years are bearing matured fruits, and the branches that bear them spread for larger shelter. Parochial and diocesan confidence follows you with earnest tribute; while the councils of the General Church respect your intellect and judgment. Tender friendships and love from the young are thinking fondly of this day and scene in the East and the West, in Texas as well as among the many kind hearts in this church and city. There is pledge in your past and present to which the Church is willing to trust the future.
You need no counsel or warning of mine. You mean, God being your Helper, to do your duty, and press on in silent strength. It is for us only to welcome and cheer you. Give you God speed in hearts of prayer; and commit your way, as our own, in humbleness of soul, and the fervency of paradox in the Man of Wonder--"not worthy to be called an Apostle,"--"I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me."