RECTOR OF TRINITY CHURCH, UTICA.
PRINTED AT THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL PRESS.
IN CONVENTION OF THE DIOCESE OF NEW-YORK,
October 7, 1830.
"Resolved, That the thanks of this Convention be presented to the Rev. Benjamin Dorr,
for his sermon preached this day; and that he be requested to furnish a copy for publication."
A true extract from the minutes.
Attest: BENJAMIN T. ONDERDONK, Secretary.
PSALM cxxii. 8, 9.
"For my Brethren and Companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
"Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good."
THE solicitude of David for the welfare and prosperity of his beloved Zion is often beautifully expressed in his inspired Psalms; but no where has he uttered his feelings of love and veneration for the Church of his fathers, and his fervent wishes for her happiness, in language so inimitably pathetic, as in the Hymn before us. "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, peace be within thee. Because of the house of the LORD our GOD I will seek thy good."
 Sentiments and feelings such as these, no doubt, animate all our breasts, on the interesting--and now, alas! most mournful--occasion, which has brought us together at this time. Whose heart does not respond the fervent ejaculations of the son of Jesse?--"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. Because of the house of the LORD our GOD I will seek thy good."
Assembled once more, through the undeserved mercies of GOD'S protecting providence, to deliberate on the affairs of this large and flourishing Diocese, with feelings chastened and sobered by the many afflictive bereavements which this Church has sustained, and more especially by that late solemn dispensation which has deprived us of him, who has so long presided in our councils, and to whom we always looked as our father and our friend, we shall enter, I doubt not, on the duties before us, "as those who must give an account."
Our chief care will be, "that all things be so ordered and settled by our endeavours," that peace, happiness, and prosperity may continue to prevail throughout our borders that our spiritual Jerusalem may be "a city at unity in itself," [6/7] and every where may be written, in bright and golden characters, upon her walls SALVATION, and upon her gates PRAISE.
This is the great subject which is now to occupy our thoughts and to direct our deliberations; and you will grant me your indulgence while I endeavour to set before you some of those methods by which the prosperity of our much-loved Zion may be best promoted. I am not so presumptuous as to think to instruct those from whom I ought to receive instruction; but in fulfilling my appointment to address you, I may be permitted to "stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance," and exhibit to you duties of the first importance, although fully sensible that you "already know these things, and are persuaded of them."
You will all adopt the language of the text, and say, "Because of the house of the LORD our GOD"--the Church which he hath purchased with his own blood--the Church founded on the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST himself being the chief corner stone--the Church in which souls are to be nourished up to immortal felicity and glory--we "will seek her good."
 Her good is to be sought--her prosperity to be promoted--
By the zeal and fidelity of her Ministers.
By an active interest in all her great Benevolent Institutions.
By a firm adherence to her distinctive principles; and
By unity and harmony among all her members.
I. The prosperity of the Church is to be promoted, in the first place, by the zeal and fidelity of her Ministers, in all their official duties; but time will not permit me to enlarge on these, and I would only notice, particularly, that single branch of duty, which demands great faithfulness and zeal in the Minister of CHRIST, his public preaching. Undoubtedly he is to enforce with diligence, and in private, from house to house, the saving truths of religion. His whole life must correspond with his holy profession; and he must be a bright example to others of the power of godliness--of the transforming effects of the Gospel on the human heart--or his preaching will be in vain. These things supposed, what will be the sum and [8/9] substance of his public instructions? They are comprehended in few words:--"JESUS CHRIST and him crucified." Follow this text out in all its consequences and bearings, and you have the great and leading truths of the Gospel--all that Paul determined to know--all that any Christian Minister ever need know or teach. The knowledge of CHRIST crucified implies a knowledge of the divinity of his person--the greatness of his humiliation and sufferings--the merits and efficacy of his atonement--the excellency of his example, and the necessity of making it the subject of our imitation.
All these essential truths the faithful minister will fearlessly proclaim to a lost and ruined world. He will not shun to declare unto his hearers the whole counsel of GOD--remembering always, that at GOD's tribunal he is to give an account of his stewardship. While he lays open the corruptions of the human heart, and exposes that moral leprosy which sin has spread over the soul, and with which every child of Adam is infected, he will point to the fountain of CHRIST's blood, which Divine Mercy has opened, and invite every sinner to wash and be clean. He will show the absolute, indispensable necessity of a change of heart--of our being born again, not of water only, but [9/10] of the HOLY GHOST, in order to the attainment of that holiness without which no man shall see the LORD. Bearing ever in mind that the great object of preaching is the salvation of souls impressed with a sense of their priceless value, and of the fearful responsibilities which rest upon him, he will labour with untiring zeal and unshaken fidelity to arouse sinners to a sense of their danger--to persuade them to flee for refuge to the cross of CHRIST, that they may escape the wrath to come, and lay hold of eternal life. It is in this way, and this alone, that we can hope to be the humble instruments, under GOD, of daily "adding unto the Church such as shall be saved."
The present age, although much of the wildness of fanaticism prevails, is distinguished for the faithful and earnest manner in which the pure word of GOD is preached, and we believe by none more faithfully and earnestly than the ministers of our own Church. Mankind will not now be contented with dull moral essays--the essays of mere human wisdom--where they have a right to expect the evangelical truths of the everlasting Gospel. Dry dissertations on abstruse subjects will not satisfy those who are hungering after the bread of life, and would fain quench their thirst at the fountain of living waters.
 The morality of the Gospel is to be set forth with such sanctions as CHRIST himself and his apostles taught it; and a sound faith is ever to be held up as inseparable from a holy life. Representing faith in the Redeemer as the condition of salvation, and always insisting that "we are accounted righteous before GOD, only for the merits of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST, by faith; and not for our own works or deservings; [* Article XI] we are at the same time to keep in mind the apostle's precept, "that they which have believed in GOD, might be careful to maintain good works."
When such is the character of our preaching, enforced by blameless lives and a good conversation in CHRIST, the Church must grow and flourish--the adversaries who falsely accuse her will be ashamed--the attachment of her friends will be strengthened--true godliness will be promoted; for we shall realize, in our own case, that cheering promise of JEHOVAH himself:--"I will give you Pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."
II. The prosperity of the Church is also to be [11/12] promoted by an active interest in all her great benevolent institutions.
Never, in any age, have there been such efforts made as are now making for evangelizing the world. The duty of churchmen is so to apply their combined exertions as to raise the Church to an elevation which she has never yet attained, and where she shall indeed appear as a city set on an hill that cannot be hid; when her sons and her daughters shall delight to "walk about Zion, and go round about her; to tell the towers thereof; to mark well her bulwarks; to consider her palaces; that they may tell it to the generation following."
1. Of all the benevolent institutions which are the distinguishing glory of the present age, we would assign the first place to Sunday Schools. --They have peculiar claims, on many accounts, to the encouragement and support of churchmen--and chiefly because they are so excellently calculated to afford that instruction to the young in the doctrines, the ministry, and the worship of the Church, which we deem so important.
Sunday School instruction is not now an experiment--it has been fairly tested, and the result has [12/13] been more gratifying than the most zealous friends of the measure could have foreseen. After a trial of so many years, and when its incalculable advantages have been again and again so fully demonstrated, shall there be found within our diocese a single parish, however poor or small, without its Sunday School! Let them generally prevail--and, blessed be GOD, they are daily and rapidly multiplying--and we shall soon realize that bright and beautiful scene, which the Evangelical Prophet has predicted as among the glories of the Church in these latter days, when "all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children."
2. Next in importance to Sunday Schools, as a means of promoting the prosperity of the Church, I would rank Missions.
I am not now to discuss the relative claims which Domestic and Foreign missions may have upon our support. On this great point, although my own preference would be for the former, there may be an honest difference of opinion; but all who view the subject in its proper light will agree that the missionary spirit must exist, or the interests of religion will languish and die. Whether we are to confine our operations at home, until the [13/14] wants of our own household are fully supplied, or whether we may not give of our abundance to some of the famishing heathen of distant lands, each individual must judge for himself. But there must be an anxious desire to extend the Redeemer's kingdom--a willingness to do all in our power to aid the heralds of the cross in proclaiming the glad tidings of salvation; and while the field is the world, let each one choose in what part of that field he will labour. "The harvest truly is plenteous," and the labourers are yet so very few, that none need interfere with another's work.
When I say that the missionary spirit must exist wherever the Church flourishes, it is because I verily believe that such a spirit is the best evidence of the power of religion on the heart. He who has tasted the rich blessings of pardoning grace and redeeming love, will feel an ardent wish to spread it in the world. I believe, too, that the spirit of missions is the true spirit of the Gospel--that spirit which disposed our Divine Redeemer, the first Great Missionary, to come down to this our earth to "proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;" that spirit which prompted the apostles of CHRIST to go forth, bearing the light of the everlasting Gospel to nations who "sat in darkness and in the [14/15] region and shadow of death;" that spirit which animated Martyn, and Middleton, and Heber to sacrifice the attachments of home and kindred, and not to count their lives dear unto themselves, that they might carry the blessed tidings into heathen lands; that spirit, which burned in the hearts of those Christian missionaries, who first crossed the broad Atlantic, under the patronage of our mother Church, in order to make these solitary places glad for them, and this western wilderness to rejoice and blossom as the rose. May this spirit grow daily more and more active! May it continue to burn bright and free! May it never be quenched, until "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, and in every place incense shall be offered unto his name, and a pure offering;" until "all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our LORD and of his CHRIST, and he shall reign for ever and ever."
3. The next subject, among the benevolent institutions of the age, which claims the active and vigorous support of churchmen, is Theological education.
Surely I need not press the importance of Theological learning on this enlightened assembly; it would be an affront to your understandings [15/16] to suppose, for a moment, that you did not fully appreciate its value. Other qualifications, it is true, besides learning, are all-important; for without piety, and humility, and charity, knowledge only puffeth up; but unless the Christian minister is himself well taught in the word, he cannot profitably minister to others in all good things. Much less can he successfully defend the great truths of religion against the heretic and infidel. Nor will mere human learning be considered an unimportant auxiliary to the minister of CHRIST, when it is remembered that Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and that Paul was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel.
As the means of qualifying our pious young men for the high and responsible duties of the clerical profession, our General Theological Seminary claims our united and vigorous support. Nor can we hope to see it flourish as it ought, until a more general and lively interest is felt in its concerns. Let churchmen but rouse themselves to a sense of its importance--let them feel it their solemn duty not only to obtain the funds for educating young men, but to bring forward and encourage young men who are willing to be educated, and we shall soon see this nursery of religion [16/17] and learning sending forth annually many "burning and shining lights," which will shed their bright beams over the walls of our Zion, and enlighten and gladden the hearts of her children.
4. Another most efficient means of promoting the prosperity of the Church, and one to which all churchmen should gladly give their aid, is, the Protestant Episcopal Press, and, as connected with it, our Bible and Prayer Book and Tract Societies.
This, in fact, is the mighty machine which is to give efficiency to all the other benevolent institutions of the Church. By means of this, our Sunday Schools are to be supplied with elementary books of instruction, and suitable books for their libraries; by this, our missionaries are to be furnished with Bibles, and Prayer-Books, and Tracts, to scatter over the moral wastes, to enlighten and cheer the emigrant in the loneliness of his dreary solitude. By this, too, our Theological students are to be supplied with the necessary books of instruction--the libraries of our country parishes, and of most of our clergymen, are to be furnished with all that is truly valuable in Theology, and at an expense which brings them within the means of almost the poorest person in our [17/18] communion. Already have we seen the beneficial effects of this institution, in the number, elegance, and excellence of the works which it has sent forth the past year; and these first fruits do indeed give promise of a rich, an abundant harvest.
These, brethren, are among the most important Benevolent Institutions, by the encouragement and support of which, the welfare of the Church is to be advanced.
III. Her good is also to be sought--her prosperity promoted--by a firm adherence to her distinctive principles.
Experience has, we think, abundantly shown that the interests of true religion are best advanced, when each denomination of Christians manages its own religious concerns in its own way; at least it seems perfectly evident that whenever the Church, in the spirit of conciliation, has surrendered any of her distinctive principles, she has always been the loser. Convinced, as we are, of the importance of those principles, we feel it a solemn duty to enforce and defend them on all proper occasions, "with boldness, yet in love," and with a suitable respect for the honest opinions and feelings of those who differ from us. [19/20] The time was, when those who fearlessly and firmly maintained what are commonly termed High Church notions, were denounced as enemies of evangelical zeal, and as holding sentiments incompatible with evangelical preaching; but that time, GOD be praised, has now gone by.
To convince any unprejudiced mind that a firm, undeviating adherence to our distinctive principles is consistent with the most enlarged and liberal charity, with an ardent love for the gospel of CHRIST, and a burning, an unquenchable zeal for spreading it in the world, we have only to point to him "whose praise is in all the Churches," the incomparable HEBER. And whoever doubts that an uncompromising maintenance of such principles is compatible with the most fervent piety, with the most animated, earnest, evangelical preaching, need but be reminded of our own lamented RAVENSCROFT.--And, Oh! that I am compelled to add a name, even dearer than these--one whose memory is embalmed in our hearts, and for whose death our tears have not yet ceased to flow--our revered, our much-loved DIOCESAN! In defence of principles which we deem correct, we may feel proud to be associated with such names! Oh! that our faith, and humility, and zeal, might equal theirs! Oh! that we might be [19/20] permitted to sit at the feet of such men to learn wisdom! You will pardon me, my brethren, if I seem to press this subject with too much earnestness; but to me it appears to be a matter of the very first importance, that all our religious operations be confined within the pale of our own Church--not for narrow party purposes, but as the best means of promoting the glory of GOD and the salvation of men. Systems of amalgamation may be more agreeable to the spirit of other denominations, and they may well encourage them, for of them such sacrifices of principle are not required; but for us, one plain, unvarying course is to be pursued--to build up the walls of our own Zion in strength and beauty--to avoid those who would "weaken our hands from the work,"--and to reject the unseasonable interference of those who would, under pretence of assisting, only serve to retard its progress;--who come to us and say, as did the adversaries of Judah of old, "Let us build with you; for we seek your GOD as ye do." Our Temple needs no foreign aid. Let it rise on its own foundation, for better it cannot have--"the foundation of the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST himself being the chief corner stone." Let it rise in its simple strength and beauty, until all who behold it shall say, "The hill of Zion is a fair place, the joy of the whole earth. Beautiful for [20/21] situation is Mount Zion: GOD is known in her palaces for a sure refuge!" But I stop not to dwell longer on these subjects, interesting as they are--I must hasten to one, always important, but now rendered immeasurably more so by that late most awfully solemn and afflicting dispensation which has filled our Church with mourning.--It was proposed, as the fourth head of my discourse, and as the means of promoting the prosperity of our Zion--
IV. That there be unity and harmony among her members.
Brethren! there never was a period in the history of the Church in this diocese, when there was more urgent need of pressing on our hearts this all-important truth! And Oh! from my inmost soul do I now utter the fervent ejaculation of the Psalmist, "Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee." Differences of opinion there will be, there must be, even among those who anxiously aim, with singleness of heart, to promote the prosperity of the Church; but these ought not surely to interfere with "that most excellent gift of Charity, which is the very bond of peace and of [21/22] all virtues." "Let brotherly love continue!" Let harmony and peace be preserved among ourselves, and our spiritual "Jerusalem will not only be as a city at unity in itself," but "no weapon formed against her can prosper." She has already attained a lofty eminence; she is more prosperous and flourishing than her most ardent friends could have anticipated but a few years ago.
And here I may be permitted to digress a little, if, indeed, it can be called a digression, to speak of ONE who, under GOD, has been the favoured instrument of raising the Church in this State to her present elevated rank. The time, the place, the occasion, these insignia of woe, [* The church was hung in mourning] this large assembly, gathered from every part of this extensive diocese, all remind me that something more is due--that something more will be expected, than a mere passing notice, to the memory of our beloved, revered, and ever to be lamented Father. Would to GOD that I could do ample justice to the memory of the deceased; but I shall not attempt a full delineation of his character. Whoever does this should be gifted with talents as peculiar, and with a mind vast and comprehensive as his own. But [22/23] as the Head of this extensive and flourishing diocese--as one who has done more than any other individual to promote its greatness and prosperity--as one every way entitled to the distinguishing appellation of GREAT--he surely merits this public expression of our gratitude, our veneration, and our love. I would give utterance to my own feelings, and express, imperfectly and feebly express, what I doubt not are the feelings of all who hear me.
He was an extraordinary man!--His vast and comprehensive mind was cast in no common mould. We cannot, indeed, contemplate his character with that clear, unclouded vision with which after generations shall regard it; but we trust that the future historian will do ample justice to his memory. His exalted talents, his illustrious virtues, would have enlightened and adorned any age or country. Long, very long, shall America mourn the loss of one of her brightest luminaries; and Zion shall weep the death of one of her favourite sons.
Without attempting to delineate his character, I may be permitted to touch briefly on some of its most striking traits: and I would notice particularly, his uncommon sagacity and foresight--[23/24] his open and manly defence of what he deemed correct principles--his uncompromising fearlessness--his unshrinking firmness--his unwearied assiduity in the cause in which he laboured--his urbanity and kindness--his ardent, unostentatious piety. Time will not permit me to give more than a hasty glance at each of these, although they would admit of very great enlargement.
1. His uncommon sagacity and foresight was perhaps the most striking trait in his character. The conclusions which others arrived at by patient thought, and laborious investigation, his quick and penetrating mind seized upon at once. He seemed to discern, at a single glance, the consequences and effects of every scheme, whether proposed by himself, or originating with others. He saw, as if by intuition, what must necessarily be the result of this or that course; and immediately, and without hesitation, took his stand accordingly. While a mind, less quick in its perceptions, would be hesitating and balancing probabilities, his plans were laid, matured, and in full operation. An ordinary intellect, not being able to look forward as far as he did, would be startled at the boldness of some of his measures, but seldom was it found that he had erred in judgment. Time almost invariably brought about the results [24/25] which, with an almost prophetic spirit, he had anticipated.
2. Another distinguishing trait in his character was his open and manly defence of what he deemed correct principles. Those who knew him at all, must know that no man was more frank and candid than he. There was with him no cunning sophistry, no vain quibbling, no mean equivocation. He always spoke out, and to the point. Without condemning the motives of those who differed from him, or unworthily suspecting their sincerity, he hesitated not to advance his own deliberate convictions, with the utmost freedom; for it seems to have been a ruling principle with him always to use great plainness of speech. Those who most powerfully opposed his opinions or his plans, if they possessed one particle of his liberal spirit, were ready to acknowledge that they had an antagonist to deal with, fair, noble, and magnanimous--one who would use no concealed weapons--who would aim no secret thrusts at private character--who would avail himself of no unworthy means to gain a victory. His noble and generous mind scorned all such petty arts. He had adopted principles which he conscientiously believed were agreeable to the word of GOD, and [25/26] he thought it unnecessary to use any concealment in advancing and maintaining them. He saw his own way clear, and he meant to pursue a right onward course. He had put his hand to the work--a work which he deemed, and justly deemed, of eternal importance--and he meant to do it, and he did do it, "openly as in the day."
3. His uncompromising fearlessness was as conspicuous as his frankness and candour. When fully persuaded that the cause he espoused was a just one--that the measures he advocated were best calculated to advance the interests of pure and undefiled religion, the glory of GOD, and the salvation of souls--he "opened his mouth boldly, and spake as he ought to speak." Had he done otherwise, he might have gained more popular favour; but principle, unwavering principle, was all-powerful with him: and no one, who has marked his course, will ever say that he sought the applause of men; he looked for approbation to a higher power.
4. To uncompromising fearlessness, he added unshrinking firmness. In all cases, where he considered it necessary to take a decided stand, he was not easily intimidated; nor could he be driven from his ground by scoffs, nor reproaches, [26/27] nor threats, nor even "the madness of the people." The most cruel calumnies were often circulated against him, the most virulent abuse was often poured upon him: but he stood firm; for he remembered that even Paul was called a "babbler," and "a setter forth of strange gods;" and that a greater than Paul was denounced as "a glutton and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners." Those arrows which had fallen harmless at his feet, his enemies would gather up, and shoot them again: but they made no impression on his well-tried armour; for he had taken "the breast-plate of righteousness, and the shield of faith, wherewith he was able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." But he has no enemies now! Every feeling, except of love and veneration, is buried in the grave. All hearts delight to do him reverence, and every pen is employed in eulogizing his virtues. Throughout the whole of this vast republic, among Christians of every name, there is one universal burst of sorrow, "a grievous mourning, a great and very sore lamentation."
5. Of his unwearied assiduity in the cause in which he laboured, I need say but little. He was never idle. Whatever, or whenever, occasion, connected with professional duties, called for his [27/28] exertions, he was ready to apply all the energies of body and mind to the work. Difficulties never appeared to him insurmountable; labours never seemed too arduous, where the interests of religion were concerned: To him literally belonged, and that "daily, the care of all the churches." He was never from his post. The journals of each convention bear ample testimony to his untiring industry and zeal. Wherever duty called, there he was to be found, in whatever part of his extensive diocese it might be. And when the summons came to give an account of his stewardship, it found him faithfully and actively employed in discharging its high and holy duties. He died, as a Christian soldier would wish to die, "fighting the good fight of faith," not with weapons of carnal warfare, but with "the sword of the SPIRIT, which is the Word of GOD."
6. His urbanity and kindness were among the most conspicuous traits (and they were most lovely traits) of his excellent character. No person who had ever been in his society, but must admit (and it is no small praise) that he was a perfect Christian gentleman; open, generous, kind-hearted, affable to all; his animated and instructive conversation rendered him the life and delight of the social circle. To the clergy [28/29] of his diocese he was more than affable, as all who hear me can testify. He was a kind and affectionate father; and they repaid his affection with the duty and gratitude of sons. With the varied talents which he possessed, he could accommodate himself to the capacities and feelings of the highest and the lowest; he could please alike the philosopher and the child. But would you know the pure simplicity of his character, and discern all those lovely traits, which so endeared him to his friends, you must have seen him (as most of you doubtless have) as I have often done, in his own fire-side circle, with his happy family around him. It was there that the hospitable, warm-hearted friend, the kind husband, the fond father, were exhibited in all their perfection.
7. His ardent unostentatious piety is the last trait in his character which I shall notice, and it is that which gave perfection to all the others. Of this he has left abundant and gratifying evidence by the whole tenor of his exemplary and consistent life, and by a happy and triumphant death. Never, to all human appearance, did a Christian minister more faithfully "study to approve himself unto GOD." None ever laboured more earnestly and zealously, and with greater [29/30] singleness of purpose, to promote the diffusion of Christianity, in connexion with that Church which he conscientiously believed to be the purest and the best. For this sacred cause he was willing to spend and be spent. To its advancement he bent all the energies of his mighty mind, and sacrificed his ease, his comfort, and eventually his life. He has now, we doubt not, gone to render a good account of the talents committed to his trust, and to receive the reward of those who turn many to righteousness."
I have thus very briefly, and I am conscious how imperfectly, touched upon some of the many excellencies of that distinguished individual whose loss we deplore. Of the Church in this diocese he was emphatically THE HEAD; directing and governing, as the head ought, the movements of the various members; for all had the fullest confidence in his superior wisdom and discretion, and cheerfully submitted to his mild control. Hence that union and harmony for
which this Church has been so long distinguished, (long may it maintain the proud distinction!) and which, by GOD'S blessing, has raised her to her present elevated rank. Surely I need not ask this assembly, what system of measures has contributed, under GOD, to [30/31] render the Church, in this state, flourishing and prosperous beyond any former period? With whom did those measures originate? and who pressed them with the greatest energy and zeal? Who stood first and foremost in the good cause, ready to give his time, his talents, and to sacrifice his life, if need required? Who did, alas! sacrifice that valuable life, for the advancement of true religion, and, inseparably connected with it, the welfare and prosperity of our beloved Zion? You can all answer these inquiries.
It is now less than twenty years since our lamented Bishop was called to the episcopate; and in that time, we may say, without a metaphor, "a little one has become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation." In May, 1811, in the convention which elected him, there were only twenty-six clergymen in the whole diocese entitled to seats, and twenty-four of those attended. At our last annual convention it was reported that there were in this state one hundred and thirty-three clergymen, and one hundred and sixty-five congregations. Need I ask, then, what system of measures has contributed to this wonderful increase? Was it any half-way, temporizing, amalgamating policy, which our respected Diocesan pursued? Far, very far from it!--[31/32] Hear his own fearless declaration on this point: "Could I send my voice," he says, "into every part of our Zion, I would send with it the holy watchword, THE CHURCH in her faith, her ministry, her order, her worship, in all her great distinctive principles--maintain her at all hazards. For amidst the agitations and tumults of error and enthusiasm, she is the asylum of the wise and good; amidst the conflicts of heresy and schism, she is the safeguard of the truth as it is in JESUS, of all that he and his apostles ordained to advance the salvation of a lost world." [Sermon at the consecration of Bishop Onderdonk]
GOD grant that these words may never be forgotten! that these principles may never be lost sight of! The harmony and prosperity of this great diocese is a triumphant example that this is the true policy to be pursued; that fair and open dealing, unwavering firmness, undeviating adherence to what we conscientiously believe are sound principles, sanctioned by the word of GOD, is the true expediency. "Truth is mighty and will prevail." Only let her not be disguised nor disfigured; let her fair form be exhibited in all its just proportions, without addition, or mutilation, or concealment; then Truth must prevail. [32/33] "Though an host of men should encamp against her, yet would not her heart be afraid; and though there rose up war against her, yet would she be confident!"
These, my brethren, we humbly conceive, are the true methods by which the borders of our Zion are to be enlarged, her prosperity promoted, her stability secured. Let her ministers be zealous and faithful in their labours; let her members unite in supporting, within their own communion, those benevolent institutions which are the glory and blessing of the present age; let them adhere firmly to the distinctive principles of the Church; let them cultivate and maintain harmony among themselves; let them unfold the broad banner of the cross, and let there be inscribed upon its ample folds, in letters of living light, EVANGELICAL TRUTH--APOSTOLIC ORDER. [* My banner is, Evangelical Truth--Apostolic Order.--Bishop Hobart's Apology, p. 272] Let this be the holy watch-word, and who can tell how rapid will be the progress of our beloved Zion? Who shall presume to assign limits to her extent? She has no limits but the boundary of man's habitation. She must spread far and wide, until the splendid vision of the prophet shall be [33/34] fully realized; when, "from the rising to the setting sun, GOD'S name shall be great among the Gentiles; and, in every place, incense shall be offered unto his name, and a pure offering." This time must come; "the way of the LORD shall be known upon earth, and his saving health among all nations;" it is even now hastening onward, and it should be esteemed our greatest happiness, our most invaluable privilege, that we are permitted to contribute to its advancement.
But whatever we do we must do quickly; our time is short! With what a fearful emphasis has this truth been recently proclaimed in our ears! It is a tremendous summons! It speaks "like angels trumpet-tongued," calling upon every man living, "Be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh." We, my brethren of the ministry--Oh! we have had many solemn warnings given us. Death has made some fearful breaches in our little number, since we last met together! We look in vain for several "burning and shining lights," on which we then so fondly gazed! [* Since the meeting of the Convention in October, 1829, the following clergymen, then among its members, have died:--Rt. Rev. Bp. HOBART; Rev. William Harris, D. D., President of Columbia College, New-York ; Rev. Isaac Wilkins, D. D., Rector of St. Peter's Church, Westchester; Rev. Daniel M'Donald, D. D., Professor in Geneva College; Rev. John Sellon; Rev. William Thompson, Rector of Christ Church, Rye; and the Rev. Edmund D. Griffin, Deacon, supplying the place of the absent Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres in Columbia College.] We look in vain for him, who was [34/35] our father, counsellor and friend! Alas! we shall see his face no more! Oh could the sound of that loved voice be again heard, as it has been often heard, within these sacred walls, how fervently would it breathe forth the sentiment of our text, "For my brethren and companions' sakes I will now say Peace be within thee!" But being dead he yet speaketh! Listen to the voice which comes from the tomb, and which he now sends into our hearts!--"Be ye all of one mind!" "Let brotherly love continue!"
O thou Bountiful Giver of all good things, "pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, which is the very bond of peace and of all virtues;" "that so our only strife may be, who shall show forth with most humble and holy fervour, the praises of Him who hath loved us, and made us kings and priests unto GOD." Grant this our humble petition, O merciful LORD, for the sake of JESUS CHRIST, our Mediator and Redeemer. AMEN.
 NOTE--After Bishop HOBART had made his appointments for visiting the Parishes in the western part of the State, he was induced to change his arrangements in consequence of receiving a letter from the Rev. Dr. Rudd, of Auburn, intimating that some very good reasons existed for an episcopal visit at that place, where, according to the common rule, he need not have been. By this alteration in his appointments was the Bishop thrown into the family of his old friend, for his last sickness. The Bishop remarked this, in some of his last days, as a mercy of that wise Providence to whom he most humbly resigned himself.