The Brethren who will give me a hearing, will not expect to find, in this Discourse, a full detail of the operations of the Guild, but only such an imperfect sketch as the time allowed. My object in publishing it is, first, to comply with the request of my Brethren of the Guild; and, secondly, to show to others a specimen of the results of parochial labor by means of associated effort. This is not done in any vain-glorious spirit, but with the hope that it may afford some useful hints to the working Clergy and Laity, and may induce others to add their contributions also, to the stock of knowledge upon a subject which seems to me to involve the great problem of the day: How shall the Church be prepared to meet the growing and various necessities of the age? I hope, moreover, that some who read, may be willing to send to me a note of the results of their own efforts in the same direction. I am sure that the Guild would thankfully receive any suggestions that might improve their plan. We are conscious of no attachment to our particular mode, farther than it is effective to the end in view.
I would, also, affectionately warn my clerical Brethren that they are not to expect perpetual sunshine in such a work as this. They may, for a time, have to deal with inefficient instruments, great ignorance and little sympathy. Some of the Poor will try them by the exhibition of qualities which ought to be expected where there has been no settled religious training, but which suffice to discourage the sensitive and those of feeble faith. Some, whose principles should make them the foremost in the work, may look upon it with indifference; some may not understand it; and some may feel that their duty towards it is fulfilled in the cheap and easy task of criticism. But the Pastor will soon learn to appreciate the value of a few warm hearts and ready hands. He will see gathering around him a body of faithful lay-workmen, whose sympathy and co-operation will be his highest earthly comfort; and, in due time, the fruits of their united labors will ripen to the harvest, if they faint not. I have with me more than eighty of these co-workers. They are, under God, the chief strength and solace of my ministry. I owe to them already more than words can calculate; and though, in such a Parish as that to which I have the honor to minister, all might be expected to join in the work, I can truly say that we have met with no hindrances which were not such as are common to every holy labor, or which did not arise from inexperience in systematized modes of charity. We have, all of us, yet to learn how to make our modern instrumentalities attain an object which has ever been regarded as a part of the Mission of the Church of Christ, but which has been prosecuted, in different ages, by adaptations of means to ends as various as have been the characteristics of the successive times. This learning can be gained only by trial and experience. I commend this humble attempt to the charitable and kindly consideration of my Brethren, with the hope that they will see in it an honest endeavor to do the work which, we all acknowledge, forms an important part of our "vocation and ministry."
Boston, January 1, 1855.
[The first Part of the Discourse of which the following is a portion, was preached on the Morning of the First Sunday in Advent. That related to the history of the Parish during the preceding ten years. In the Evening, the Guild celebrated its Second Anniversary, when the second Part of the Discourse was delivered. After alluding to the other labors of the Parish during the year, the Preacher proceeded as follows:]
This is a brief abstract of the work which forms the established routine of the Parish; which differs not, excepting in amount, from the ordinary labors of a City Parish; but which conveys no just idea of what is most distinguishing and peculiar in the character of the Church of the Advent. It was among the first objects of the founders of the Parish, to exhibit here a prominent feature of the primitive life of the Church. It was at once perceived that, in a Free Church, claiming, in this respect, some resemblance to the ancient model, there should not only be a restoration of Daily Worship and frequent Communion, but a liberal and fraternal provision for the wants of the poor, The freedom of seats secured to them the liberty, as their right was undoubted, of worshipping God as members with others, on an equal footing before Him who is the common Lord and Saviour of us all. But this was only a part of their unquestionable privilege; and by it only a portion of the Church's duty to them was performed. It was also necessary, under the olden rule, according to the original practice, and in conformity with the great truth of the unity of the members of the Christian Brotherhood, that they, the needy and the destitute, should receive of the abundance of their richer brethren, so that no one should lack, or suffer want. (Acts iv: 34.) It was, therefore, one of the earliest and most cherished objects of this Parish, to supply the temporal necessities of its poorer members, as being of the same household of faith; and I need not detail to you how largely this work of love engaged the sympathy, exercised the thoughts, and fulfilled the labors of my beloved predecessor. His record is written, not only on the pages of the paternal Memorial, not only on your Parochial annals, but on the memory of all who knew him, in the dwellings and on the hearts of the poor, and, without a doubt, we believe, in the books out of which all men shall be judged, in the day when both small and great shall stand before God. (Rev. xx: 12.) He who now addresses you, remembers well, when he entered into the labors of his departed brother, how thoughtfully and carefully this feature of the former ministry of the Parish was explained to him; and how strongly the hope was expressed that the future might be as the past. He received the responsible heritage of a Pastor's work, with this enterprise of brotherly love as a prominent and principal part of it. He entered upon it in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling; yet with an entire approbation of the system, and with some acquaintance with it, as practised still, after the ancient method, in the oppressed and struggling Churches of the East. He did expect, he had a right fo expect, that those who had been the leaders in this enterprise of mercy, and all who should voluntarily associate themselves with them, would keep this grand design of their union in view, as the polar-star of their onward movement in the manifestation of the Church's life. He has not been, he may now say with gratitude, wholly disappointed. The work was one of great and arduous labor,--labor which had helped to wear his predecessor to the grave,--when he undertook it. It rapidly increased in extent and difficulty. During the first year, about 200 parishioners were added to his pastoral charge;  and of these a fair proportion was from among the poor. He saw, he felt, that the labor was growing excessive, and that his own skill and strength were fast becoming unequal to it. In this emergency, but two courses were left to him. Either the enterprise must be abandoned, this brightest, and best feature of the Parish struck out, or he must have help in his work from those whose minister and servant, for Christ's sake, he was.
It was at this point, now a year and a half agone, that I called upon the men of the Parish, to assemble, for the purpose of organizing some systematic method by which the charities of the Church might be carried on efficiently and successfully. It was a call to all hands to come on deck, when stress of weather threatened to wreck the bark which bore our fortunes. A goodly number responded to the call. I did not tell them of danger. That is not a word to be spoken when men may be appalled by it. But the danger was clearly in my own eye; and my mind was predetermined, that if the effort failed, the ship must be abandoned, or her course changed. I told those who came, simply of the work to be done, and of the need of assistance. They set to work heartily, like men. This was an encouragement, a ray of propitious light upon the dark and lowering horizon. It was committed to a body of faithful Brothers, with their Rector at their head, to draw up a form of organized service, by which every man in the Parish might be enabled to render such aid as was in his power, to his Pastor. How many evenings of anxious and careful deliberation were spent upon this momentous task; how much of free, yet cautious, discussion it evoked; with what wary and measured steps they approached their con-elusions; how often they turned back to revise and alter their earlier determinations; with what patience they fashioned into shape the nascent form in which their deliberations finally manifested themselves; they, my earnest co-workers, thrice loved in the Lord for this their faithful labor of love, will more vividly remember than my tongue is equal to describe. The result was accepted by those who had commissioned them, after a protracted and critical sifting of every part, during several successive sessions. Some points were amended by the votes of the whole body, and the work at last assumed the form which it still bears, unaltered, in the CANONS AND PRAYERS OF THE HOLY GUILD OF THE CHURCH OF THE ADVENT.
From first to last, I have heard but two objections to the scheme, or its issue in our present organization. The first is to its name. Of this it may be enough to say, that the word "Guild" was used as being in acceptance in the Mother Church of England, and especially as avoiding the term "Brotherhood," or other word equivalent, which might seem like the substitution of our organization for the one universal Fraternity of the Church. We were associated, not to make a new Church, not to add any thing to the Constitution of the Church^ not to erect a Brotherhood aside from her, but simply to elaborate a plan by which we might do our duty as her members, in a certain particular. The word "Holy" was inserted to denote the sacred character of our object, which the word "Guild" alone does not. A Guild is an Association of men of the same craft or profession, for the purpose of protecting and furthering the common interests of their calling. A "Holy," or "Church," Guild is one which associates Churchmen, as men of the same profession, for the purpose of promoting unitedly the interests of the Church. Our main object is, as our First Canon describes, to extend to those who need them, the charities which God has enjoined upon His people. The same Canon adds a sufficient explanation of the term "Holy." The Guild "is holy only on account of its object, and not on account of any worthiness, or merit of its members, or their acts." 
The second objection is, that our Association displaces the Church, and assumes her work and functions. It sometimes happens, among fallible mortals, that the most acute and clear-sighted fall into the greatest blunders. One would think that the meaning of our work is too obvious upon the face of it, to allow such a misinterpretation as this among things that are possible. Taking the Church's place! assuming the Church's functions! Who and what are we? We are Brethren in the Communion of the Church, bound by the most solemn vows of profession and Sacrament, to do the Church's work, and especially to help each other, and to do good to the household of faith. How shall the work be done without concert, without cooperation, without a mutual understanding? Evidently, its execution is impossible. We meet, therefore. We assemble, as members of the Church, recognizing our obligations. We inquire how our duty, as brethren to the poor and needy, shall be performed. It is the very Brotherhood of the Church which brings us together. It is this Brotherhood which creates our obligations. They are the duties of this Brotherhood which we are intent on fulfilling. We devise a mode for the purpose. We arrange a simple machinery, by which we may do our prescribed and acknowledged work: and this machinery, this organization for Church purposes, this systematized mode of performing what is our duty as members of the Church, which cannot be performed without system, is called, in the superior wisdom of our critics, who acknowledge the same obligations, and finish with talking about them, "taking the Church's place," "usurping her functions,"--as if her work were to be done otherwise than "decently and in order," as if united duties could be performed without some method in which we may co-operate, under rule, systematically, unitedly, and with the efficiency of associated power. The objection is less than reasonable; it approaches absurdity. It is unworthy alike of good sense and sound Church principle.
But, Brethren, our true defence must be found in our works themselves. If they stand the test of a thorough examination, we have little to fear from criticisms upon names and forms. I am willing to present to you the results of a year,--the hardest year of all, since the greatest difficulties of most enterprises are in the beginning of them,--I am willing to present to you the results of our first complete year of labor, as showing, beyond controversy, both the necessity and the utility of our work. We began a little time previous to our last Anniversary, to set our machine in motion;--and what do we see now? I cannot dwell minutely upon the details of our operations. They would already fill a volume. I will seize and comment upon the prominent and salient points, as they occur to me upon recollection, without reference to notes or records.
The first act of our united labor was to procure a Guild House. This we obtained in the immediate vicinity of the Church. The Church and the Guild House stand side by side, even as the labors which the one represents, run parallel with, and are auxiliary to the ministrations of the other. Will you recollect, for a moment, what has grown out of this successful effort? First, your Rector is provided with a convenient Room, where his Parishioners may find him at set hours, and, especially, whither the poor may resort at all hours, to present their claims and to seek relief. Not a day has passed since that Room was opened, that it has not been the scene of blessings conferred on the needy. You may remember, some of you, the long delays which we used to have in the Church in the mornings, where I was sometimes detained till twelve o'clock, in conversation with those who came to see me, and in attending to the wants of the Poor. All that is now transferred, most appropriately, to the Rector's Room in the Guild House. Secondly, we have a Sexton, whose whole time is devoted to the service of the Church. Do you remember how this appointment grew out of the procuring of the Guild House, because that there we were able to provide apartments for a sexton and his family? And do you reflect that the almost incalculable benefits of this change, by which not only is the Church thoroughly attended to, but the Rector can, at any moment, communicate with his Parishioners in any part of the city, and the whole business of the Parish that requires out-of-door work is promptly and efficiently performed, are due, fairly and justly, to the operations of the Guild? Thirdly, in the same house we have a Working Room for the Women of the Guild, where clothing for the Poor is received, distributed, and, when necessary, made up, and where the wardrobe for this purpose is kept, having been removed from the damp and chilly basement of the Church, which was, most of the time, uninhabitable.
The second act of the Guild for the year, has been the establishment of a Parish School, which was talked of when I came among you, as one of the objects had in view in the Parish from the beginning. Under a respected and judicious matron, whose services have been given gratuitously to the work, aided by two excellent teachers, it has now continued several months; and the signs and marks of improvement have been all that we could expect, in so new an enterprise, within so short a time, and among scholars, many of whom were uninitiated into the earliest rudiments of moral training. Religious instruction is given in the School daily, by the Clergy of the Parish. Daily the children are taught in Church Music. Those who are competent, are under training for the Choir; so that the main hope of having and sustaining in the Church a double choir of boys, which all desire, rests upon the labors of the Guild. Many of the children are clothed by us. Their habits of cleanliness, self-respect and decorum have, in almost every instance, improved; while they have been taught, in secular learing, all at least, more, probably, than most of these children--as they were never regular attendants at other Schools-- would have learned elsewhere. In fine, they are trained, thoroughly, as Church children ought to be. 
But I must hasten on to other points. The introduction of women into membership in the Guild, having the same rights and privileges, in case of illness, with the male members, but wholly distinct in action, is an event which I wish particularly to signalize, because it has led to a result which has proved one of the greatest blessings that has befallen the Parish during the term of my Rectorship. Formerly, the work of visiting and ministering to the Poor was a chaos of details, without end, without order, vexatious, wearisome, and badly performed at the best. Now, thanks to you, my Brothers, who have strengthened my hands, and cheered my heart by the timely reform which your Guild has effected in this respect, and to you, my Sisters, whose diligent care has executed the plan, our work among the Poor is a perfect system, accomplishing, at least, three times as much as formerly, and accomplishing it incomparably better. The Women of the Guild, or rather those of them who choose to devote themselves, more or less, to works of charity, (for there is no obligation, be it remembered, on any member of the Guild, to perform such labors beyond what his time and ability permit,) meet the Rector every Wednesday morning in the Guild House, when those who have attended to cases among the Poor, which have been assigned to them, make their Reports, new cases are presented and assigned to those who are present, a distribution of monies is made to regular pensioners, each one of whom is under the care of some Sister of the Guild, and the whole work of visitation and ministration to those dependent upon us, is ordered and regulated with exactness of system and facility, promptness and energy of execution unknown before.  To the Poor themselves, and to the whole Parish, our new mode is a blessing which cannot be calculated; and if I could carry you, Brethren, through the details of the operations which result from it; if I could show you, one by one, the instances, almost innumerable, in which broken hearts have been healed, pinching want has been relieved, decaying hope has been revived, penitence has found a refuge and a friend, the aged have been comforted, children clothed, and the widow's heart made to sing for joy, you would say that, for one year at least, your Guild has not lived in vain.
Nor is this all. Besides these individual ministrations, which are worthy of the profession, if not of the name, of Sisters of Mercy, there are, among the Women of the Guild, several Standing Committees, whose work deserves a passing notice;--one for superintending the clothing of the children, of the Parish School, whose work is a large and important one;  another, that has the care of the Wardrobe of the Poor, whose duty it is to receive all articles that are sent in, see that they are properly preserved, and attend to the distribution of them when called for; another, that has charge, under the Rector, of the Church Linen, such as Surplices, Bands, the Communion Linen, the Palls for Burials, Napkins, Baptismal Maniples, &c. This Committee has always supplied me with new Surplices and Bands whenever I have needed them; while it has kept our Vestments in better order than formerly, without my being compelled, as formerly, to perform the duty of attending to the Laundress. 
Another Committee has in charge the work of teaching Sewing to children of the Parish, and any other children who may come to them for instruction. This Committee has just been instituted, and promises to be greatly useful. It is worth the mentioning, that the appointment of this Committee was suggested by the fact that several of our children were seeking to be taught sewing out of the Parish, in one of the Schools for the purpose, established by the efficient City Mission of the Unitarians, whose labors in behalf of the Poor in Boston are worthy of all praise.
Among the Men, we have the Parish School Committee, which has the whole charge of the Parish School, visiting it thrice weekly; the Library Committee, which has the care of the Library of the Guild; and the Committee of the House for Widows and Aged People. Each of these Committees has the Rector for its Head, while the Lay-Brothers associated with him save him from the necessity of attending to the details of management. The Library has been instituted during the year. We have just now obtained a place for it in the Guild House, and are ready to enter upon the work of increasing it. It is intended to be exclusively a Church Library, the Committee judging that secular and general religious literature are sufficiently provided for by the numerous and excellent Libraries in the City, while a Church Library is a thing unknown. You can imagine, nay, you can hardly imagine, what an invaluable treasure in the Parish will be a well-selected Library of standard Church.
We are just beginning the work; but this and, with God's blessing, we shall accomplish it.
The House for Widows and Aged Persons sprang from a want that has long been felt. Many of our Parishioners, who are Communicants in the Church, and every way worthy, humanly speaking, of a better lot, though poor in this world's goods, have been compelled to seek lodgings where they could find the cheapest, in lanes and alleys where they "were surrounded by a vicious neighborhood, of people differing from them in religion, from whose prejudices they often suffered; and we have been accustomed to pay the rents of such, when they were unable to pay themselves, at prices which, the character of the rooms considered, must have been profitable to the landlord, but were exorbitant in themselves, and burdensome to us. We have now hired a house near the Church, have put it into good order, and are beginning to receive occupants. We shall, probably, confine it to poor widows and aged persons, as these demand our first care,--to such, also, for the present, as are Communicants. The House will accommodate ten families; and we hope, in due time, to enlarge our premises, by taking the adjoining house in the same block, as the present one can receive only a small portion of those of our fellow-parishioners who need this relief. The enterprise is really one of economy, since the rents that we have hitherto paid for these persons, to landlords who expected, and had a right, to make a profit from them, will be devoted to the lease of the Church House; while the benefit to the occupants, in being in decent lodgings, in a good neighborhood, whence they can easily get to Church, and where they can be easily visited and cared for, are well nigh incalculable.
I might tell of other things,--of Brethren who have been appointed by the Rector to look after lapsed persons who have fallen into the habit of intemperance, and need sympathy, counsel and support, to ensure their reformation; of labors done by Physicians, members of the Guild, in gratuitous services to the poor, and sometimes to the outcast;  of precious souls, as we humbly hope, saved from present and eternal ruin by a little timely aid and succor; of women, daughters of the Church in their early Baptism, arrested in a downward course, and saved,--cases that have been managed with all the delicacy, prudence and secresy that their peculiar nature requires, by the elder Sisters of the Guild; of the labors of Lawyers who are among our number, whenever the rights of the poor or the work of the Guild craved their assistance; of Brethren of the Guild itself, helped in hours of need, attended in sickness, comforted in sorrow; of appropriations made for the relief of strangers of our Communion, who were visited here by misfortune; and of a long array of special services, rendered by individual Brothers, at the call of the Rector. In truth, the Guild has been a Body of Assistants to the Rector, enabling him to carry on the work of the Parish, in that large view of it which has marked the design of the Church of the Advent from the beginning, with some good degree of efficiency, and, he will hope, of success.
Two or three points of a practical character remain to be stated, in explanation of some of the features of the Guild, and with them I shall conclude.
The first is that just now alluded to. The Guild, in its main purpose, is a Body of Assistants to the Rector. He is, ex-officio, the Master. He appoints Committees, and is usually the Chairman of those of a permanent character. He is always consulted on all points of our various operations; while he is saved from that minute attention to details which formerly consumed his time with little things. He is now, in some measure, what he ought to be, the Rector, having the leading direction and superintendence, with a Body of faithful men and women to act under him, in the practical execution of plans. It is not too much to say, that the work now performed in the Parish in three months, equals what used to be done in a year, and is, at the same time, much better done.
Secondly, the Guild does not contemplate that every one who joins it will be an active workman, Some have not the time, some have not the health, that is requisite; but all do, by their union with us, declare their interest in the work, and their desire to hold up their Pastor's hands; while, by the payment of their fees, they help to sustain our operations.  If I might but have the names of all who are interested in works of Christian charity, with the very small contribution that our rules require from each, and had no more than our present corps of regular workmen, I should be well supplied. Why should I not have them? I ask it, not for myself, but for your own work, to which you stand pledged from the very foundation of your Parish.
Finally, the interests of the Parish will be best promoted by an engagement in those active Charities which the Guild is designed to develope. While you have thus been doing good to others, every department of Parochial effort has improved. Your Offerings have never been so large as during the past year. The Alms Chest has increased its receipts by 100 dollars over the previous year.  The Offerings for the Building Fund are the double of what they were the year before. God has given you the ability, or, more probably, the willing mind, to accomplish larger results for His glory and the welfare of the Church. You have illustrated and proved the noble rule that he who watereth others shall be watered also himself.
The experience of the Guild is teaching us the lessons that we need to know before we are permitted to build a Church. I am glad of it; for I can now see that a year ago we could not have compassed the objects which a Church Building for such a Parish as this should comprise. We now know better what we need; and we have still something to learn. When you come up to the measure of your duty, in the knowledge, slowly acquired and hardly won, which the greater works of charity demand, you will1 be allowed to build a Church suited to the original and traditional theory of your Parish.
To you, my Brothers and my Sisters of the Guild,--yet my children, all--what shall I say? You have cheered my heart; you have encouraged my plans; you have seconded my efforts. I bid you all-hail on this our Second Anniversary. If it is any thing to you to have relieved the labors and strengthened the hands of your Pastor, you have that consolation,--and with it, my Beloved, take, also, my fervent blessing. If it is more to you, and, I trust, it is more, to have comforted distress, to have assisted want, to have guided the wandering, to have encouraged the doubtful and the weary, to have shed around you blossoms of peace and love more fair than the flowers of Eden, you have that consolation, also. Only, do you increase and abound, more and more, in every good work; looking for your reward, not here, oh, not here, but in that better world where he who shall have made of his five talents other five, or of his two other two, or even of his one another one, shall hear the approving welcome of his Lord, 'Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into my joy.'
And do you all, my Brethren, by your Offerings tonight, show that you appreciate such a work as this, which has none higher, none nobler, on the earth,--the doing good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the Household of Faith.
 The number has since largely increased, 428 names in all having been added to the Parish Rolls during the present Rectorship, To God be the glory!
 If any clerical Brother should like the word "Guild" for a parochial Association, but dislike the word "Holy," I would suggest "The Church Guild of the Parish of --------" for a substitute. It is unwise to injure a good cause for an unessential term,
 The same objection is equally applicable to every other Association for Church purposes. The Bible and Prayer Book Society, the Sunday School Union, and the Tract Society, for example, noble masts, as they are, in aiding the good ship's progress, must all go by the board if this objection holds.
 We do not present our School in opposition to any other, certainly not in rivalry with the excellent secular Schools of the City; but only as a place of instruction for children of the Parish, especially those who are poor and uncared for. We have about 50 children in the School, all that our present room will accommodate; and of these, 10 are the children of colored Parishioners!
 Reports are also made, and instructions received, at any time during the week, according as any person having work in hand may need farther directions. The Rector is ordinarily in his Room from 10 to 12, in the morning.
 All Committees make an Annual Report to the Guild. A few items from the Report of the Committee for the clothing of the children of the Parish School, some 40 of whom need such help, will illustrate the character of these Reports. Articles received: 3 pieces of Cotton, 2 pieces of Calico, 2 pieces of Woollen Cloth, and other materials in smaller quantities; a large amount of second-hand Clothing, in good order, and 150 pocket handkerchiefs. Materials for Clothing, to the amount of eleven dollars and ninety-eight cents, have been purchased, and also 17 pairs of Shoes and one pair of Boots, Articles distributed: 15 new suits of boy's Clothes, 12 suits of second-hand Clothes, 40 Aprons, 18 Shirts, 17 pairs of Shoes, one pair of Boots, 50 pocket handkerchiefs. Six dollars have been paid to poor women for sewing done for the Parish School.
 From the Report of this Committee I extract as follows:--'There have been added to the Vestments of the Clergy, two new Surplices, one of them given by the Women of the Guild, two Scarfs, two pairs of Silk Sleeves, and eight pairs of Bands. There are now five Surplices in the Church. Two Napkins have been made for the Font. One Surplice with a Scarf has been presented to the Church of --------, and one Scarf to the Rev. Mr. ----------, for the Church in -----------. A beautifully embroidered Chalice-Veil was presented last Easter, by one of the Women of the Guild.'
 The Guild has a Credit with three Apothecaries, in different parts of the City; and the Physicians of the Guild are at liberty to have prescriptions charged to it at either of these places, when they administer to the poor. This has many of the advantages of a Dispensary. One of the Physicians has just mentioned to me that the number of his visits for the year, as a Medical Brother of the Guild, is seventy.
 One great advantage of the Guild is, that those who are not ordinarily active members, may be called upon by the Rector for any special service which they are able to perform. Such service has always been rendered cheerfully and heartily.
 The Offerings through the Alms Chest are devoted, as formerly, to the current expenditure for the Poor of the Parish. The Guild has added the advantage, that these Alms are more effectually and more economically dispensed than before; while special cases, and cases out of the Parish, are provided for from the Treasury of the Guild.