Project Canterbury


Responsibilities and Duties of the Clergy














Published at the request of the Rt. Rev. the Bishop, and of the Rector,
Wardens and Vestry of Christ Church, Hartford.




Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2007

ON the occasion upon which this discourse was delivered, the following persons, Alumni of the General Theological Seminary, were admitted to the order of Deacons: viz. Alfred B. Beach, James J. Bowden, Cornelius R. Duffie, George N. Slack, James Stephenson, Baylies P. Talbot, Joseph M. Wait, William H. Clark, George J. Geer and Abel Ogden. The first seven were candidates who had been recently transferred to the Diocese of Connecticut by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New York; and were presented for orders by the preacher. The remaining three were originally of the Diocese of Connecticut, and were presented by the Rector of the Church in which the ordination took place.

No, 3 Waverly Building


Right Reverend and Dear Sir:--

You are aware of the various duties that pressed upon me when I received your request to deliver the following exhortation, and therefore of the haste with which it was necessarily prepared. But as you, with others of my friends in Hartford, have kindly expressed a favorable opinion of it, and have asked me to consent to its publication, I feel constrained to set aside my own doubts as to the expediency of doing so.

Allow me to inscribe it to you,--not as being worthy in itself of such a distinction, but as a slight testimony of the sincere respect and affection I have ever entertained for you, in both your official and personal character.

I am, Right Reverend and Dear Sir,
Very truly
Your friend and son in the ministry,
NEW YORK, July, 1845.


For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves
your servants for Jesus' sake.

A season of great excitement has recently passed over the Church, and its more violent agitations are beginning to subside. But that its effects and results should also soon disappear and be forgotten is not to be expected, nor is it indeed to be desired. The development of some of the best faculties of individual man, the progress of social improvement, and the elucidation and dissemination of the great principles of moral and religious truth, are made, in the order of God's Providential government of the world, to depend greatly upon the conflict of human opinions. And if at any time, during the hottest periods of this inevitable warfare, by reason of the infirmities, the errors, or the passions of those who are appointed to carry it on, the destruction, rather than the advancement of the sacred cause for which they contend, should seem to be threatened, we need not be discouraged, remembering the inspired promise--"Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." [* Psalm lxxvi. 10.] The good effects and results we must hail with gratitude, and endeavor to retain with a strong and unrelaxing hold. If they do [5/6] not at once make themselves manifest, we are to wait in faith and patience, for sooner or later they will be revealed. The evil consequences of such dissentions, which always to a greater or less extent are combined with the good, we must try to discern, to guard against, and as far as possible to remove.

From the recent controversy which we have all witnessed, and in which there is hardly a member of the Church who has not taken a lively interest, there has proceeded one result, to which my thoughts have been forcibly directed, and which to my view bears a dark and ominous aspect. I refer to the attempts which have been made, and which are still making in certain quarters, to draw a line of separation between the Laity and the Clergy, to marshal them in opposing ranks, and to produce the impression that on the part of the latter there is a growing ambition for power and influence; which, if successful, will invade the rights of the former, work the destruction of religious and perhaps even of civil liberty, and at last, in its arrogant and unscrupulous career, demolish the bulwarks of our Protestant Church, and throw open our sacred citadel to the incursions, and give it up to the control of the Romish Hierarchy.

Now this grave and appalling charge against the Clergy, whether suggested, as I doubt not it is, in most instances, by an honest though mistaken fear; or prompted, occasionally, as I am compelled to believe, by a more dangerous sentiment, which aims at religion through the Clergy and the Church, this charge, from whatever source it originates, should be fairly met. If indeed it can be substantiated, the Church is in a perilous state, its worst foes are those of its own household, traitors have possession of its inmost defences, and it behooves every true follower of Jesus Christ to band against them, and never lay down the weapons of a holy warfare till they be discomfited and driven out. [6/7] But if the charge is unfounded, are not the Clergy called upon by every motive which should animate those who are set for "the defence of the Gospel," [* Philippians i. 17] each as opportunity may offer, to rise up and repel it with honest indignation, and use every effort to neutralize its injurious consequences?

Now it seems to me that if one cause of the unhappy state of feeling to which I have alluded, has been indiscretion or error on the part of some of the Clergy in reviving and advocating principles and practices not clearly taught in Scripture, and not enjoined by ecclesiastical authority, but which they without doubt conscientiously deemed to be of importance to the prosperity of the Church of Christ; another, and not less prominent one is the want of a more thorough appreciation of the relative position and the mutual obligations of the Laity and Clergy. This is a subject eminently worthy the serious consideration of every sincere friend of the Church. But to discuss it thoroughly by an examination of the great principles involved in it, would require more time than this occasion affords, and a fuller preparation than I have been able to make amidst the numerous and pressing engagements by which I was surrounded when I received the invitation to discharge my present duty. Upon one of the topics suggested by it, however, as affording an appropriate introduction to the exhortation which my young brethren, the candidates for Holy Orders, await from me, I shall proceed to offer some general observations. [*This introduction and a few other passages were omitted in the delivery, in consequence of the length of the services, but I have been advised to retain them in print.]

The distinction between the Clergy and Laity is one which it is absolutely necessary to keep up; and it could not be annulled without destroying the organization of the Church of Christ, and thus undermining "the pillar and ground" of all our religion. [7/8] To set apart therefore an order of men with peculiar duties, responsibilities and privileges in sacred things, is not an arrangement of expediency, but is sustained on a far broader principle, which finds its sanction in the highest authority, the revealed will of God. Under the ancient Covenant no man could "take this honour unto himself." Though "taken from among men, and ordained for men in things pertaining to God," it was essential that the Priest should first be "called of God," by being regularly descended from the tribe of Levi. [* Hebrews v. 1, 4] Under the new Covenant, which was to embrace in its widely extended and unfettered arms the whole race of man, and confer upon Gentiles, of every name and kindred, the privileges which had before been restricted to the Jews, a freer policy was established. Hereditary rights were done away with, but still the Priesthood was to be maintained in its integrity, and no one could assume its authority under the impulse of his own wishes, or by the choice alone and designation of any number of his fellow mortals.

To Christ, as the Great Head of the Church, all power was given by the Eternal Father; and when he had accomplished the purposes of his incarnation, and was about to reassume his heavenly glory, he delegated to those who were to represent him, all the authority that was essential to the permanency of his kingdom on earth. This authority was not conferred upon all his disciples indiscriminately, nor was it left in such a manner as to be the occasion of strife for its possession, nor yet to be transmitted through uncertain hands. The eleven Apostles were called, and to them Jesus spake, saying, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore 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 [8/9] have commanded you." [* Matthew xxviii. 18, 19, 20] And then to show that this authority was not personal, and to terminate with their lives, but to be transmitted from them to their successors, he added, "And lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Thus then a distinct order of men was established by Christ himself, and established in perpetuity.

The arduous duties and awful responsibilities of this order of men, are clearly to be inferred from the names which Scripture in various places assigns to them. They are called "ministers," [* I. Cor. iii. 5 and iv. 1.] or servants of God, implying that the work which, by his authority and under his direction, they are employed to carry forward in the Church, is laborious. They are particularly styled "labourers" [* Matt. ix. 37 I. Cor. iii. 9] in God's husbandry and vineyard. As the husband man, therefore, who earns his bread by his daily labour, must exert himself diligently and constantly, rise early and toil late, commence his work with the opening year, and continue it till its close; so the Christian husbandman must make it his daily employment, his business for life, to promote the religious instruction, and advance the salvation, of those entrusted to his care. To this work he must apply himself with diligence and perseverance; it will return upon him unceasingly, and can never end but with life itself. "Watchmen," [* Ezek. iii. 17.] also, are the Clergy called, in allusion to the employment of those who in ancient times were placed in towers around the city, to attend day and night, and be always ready to sound the alarm at the least approach of danger. The Christian watchman then must be alert and vigilant; for if he be found slumbering on his post, or if, through his carelessness, the city be surprised and taken, how shall he answer it to the people whose safety he has disregarded, or to the sovereign whose interest he has betrayed? [9/10] The name of "soldier," [* II. Tim. ii. 3.] also, is given to us, to teach us that we must feel that we are enlisted in the service of Christ, "the Captain of our salvation," and in his cause must be ready to encounter difficulty, fatigue and peril, and even sacrifice life itself. These, and other metaphors equally significant, do the Scriptures apply to the clerical office, all expressive of the heavy weight of responsibility attached to it.

But observe, all these duties we discharge, all these responsibilities which are laid upon us, have reference to others, and are not designed to promote our worldly interests, nor yet our personal interests in any sense, except as the faithful discharge of duty is accepted and graciously rewarded by him whose commission we bear. If we are ministers or servants, we do not minister unto or serve ourselves; as the text declares, we are "your servants." "We preach not ourselves;" that is, we have no doctrine of our own invention to establish; we have not, or should not have, in view, our own reputation or influence, by our ministrations; "we preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord;" we are only "your servants," and that "for Jesus' sake." Again, if we are husbandmen, the fields we till, and the vines we prune and tend, are not our own, nor can we gather unto ourselves the fruits thereof. "Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building;" [* I. Cor. iii. 9.] and therefore, all the increase of virtue and holiness which there may be, is to be gathered in to his praise and glory, and laid up in heavenly, and not in earthly garners.

And as we labor under our master's direction, it is his wages we receive, and our accountability is to him. If you are made the channel through which our temporal necessities are supplied, it is because he honours you by appointing you his stewards in worldly things. If you withhold them, the chief wrong is done [10/11] to God, and not to us; should you refuse to disburse that which he hath put into your hands, in part for the support of those whom he hath made your servants, your accountability is to him and not to us. Again, if we are watchmen, for whose safety are we charged to keep guard day and night? is it not for yours? and who will punish us for our negligence? Hear the words of the prophet. "The word of the Lord came unto me, saying; so thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand." [* Ezek. xxxiii. 7, 8] And if we are soldiers, under whose banners are we enlisted? not under yours. We hold no spiritual authority from you, and cannot in the exercise of our spiritual functions be subject unto your commands. But then if we march forth under Christ, our heavenly leader, whose we are and whom we obey, it is your enemies whom we contend with, and for your safety we are marshaled, and "endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ;" [* II. Tim. ii. 3]. and if victory is obtained, ye are the chief sharers in the triumph. Thus by terms implying labour, hard-ship, and danger, is the clerical office principally designated, and the Laity are the great objects of all this effort and exposure.

But if the scriptural delineation of the duties of our office, as thus far considered, be such as to teach us humility, and to keep constantly before our eyes our dependent and humble station, we cannot, we must not forget, that names of honour are also applied to us. We are entrusted with an high and glorious mission; we bear the most solemn and important message which man can communicate to man; and our credentials are more honourable, and [11/12] intrinsically of greater authority, than any which mighty republics, or kings, or emperors of the widest sway could confer. We are "ambassadors," [* II. Cor. v. 20.] and we come as from the glorious King of Heaven to those who have rebelled against his authority, to offer them terms of pardon and reconciliation. In this view of our office we stand upon elevated ground, and speak with the voice of authority. And it matters not who are our hearers, the mightiest, the most renowned of the sons of men, those endowed with the highest powers of intellect, and who themselves can sway multitudes of subject minds,--it matters not, to us they are all reduced to one common level, they are sinners, their transgressions we must condemn, and we must reprove, rebuke, and warn with all authority. And if in the discharge of this duty we are despised, the despisers draw down upon themselves an awful condemnation, for they despise not men, but God. [* Luke x. 16.]

But if we thus magnify our office, far be from us the unworthy and wicked desire to exalt ourselves. Ever let us remember that "we have this treasure of the Gospel in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." [* II. Cor. iv. 7.] It is indeed a wonderful dispensation of God, that the ministry of reconciliation should be committed to frail and fallible beings, who need its merciful interposition equally with those to whom they are appointed to proclaim the terms of acceptance with God. And it should fill those who are called to the sacred office with the deepest gratitude, that so distinguished a favor is conferred upon them, as that they may stand in the house of the Lord and serve at his holy altar; and it should impress them also with a solemn and enduring sense of their responsibilities. In contemplation of our duties, trials, temptations, and dangers, often and often are we compelled to exclaim with the Apostle, "Who is sufficient for [12/13] these things"? [* II. Cor. ii. 16] Who? not we; God forbid that we should be so presumptuous. Alas! we feel our weakness, we daily experience our fallibility. Under a serious view of the difficulties and dangers of the clerical office, our souls might sink within us, but we remember that "our sufficiency is of God," [* II. Cor. iii. 5] and that, as it is his work we have to perform, so must it be done in his strength, and not in our own. We take sacred vows upon us, knowing that of ourselves we are nothing. Clothed with the authority of Christ, and speaking in his sacred name, we go forth, relying upon his Almighty power to strengthen what is weak in us, and to supply what is wanting, that the cause of righteousness may not suffer through our ignorance or inability.

But while thus relying supremely upon aid from above, and looking above for our chief reward, we are far from despising your approbation or making ourselves independent of your assistance. Upon you, brethren, depends much, not only of the success, but of the comfort and happiness of our ministry. While we are the ambassadors of God, we are willing, we are anxious, to be accounted as your servants. To promote your best, your eternal interests, we feel, should be the object of our daily studies, of our constant exertions, of our anxious solicitude, of our unceasing prayers. Is it asking too much, then, that you give us in return your sympathies, and your respect; and that you remember we are "men of like passions with yourselves," [* Acts xiv. 15.] and therefore bear our weaknesses and pardon our deficiencies? It has not,--we must acknowledge it with gratitude,--it has not been the fault of our time and of this community, to treat the ministers of the Gospel with unkindness or contempt. Still, I will venture to say that we are often exposed to unjust censure, and to severe rebuke, without sufficient cause. Our motives are sometimes [13/14] unreasonably called in question, and their purity unkindly distrusted. This is an evil to which we are, perhaps, more exposed than any other class of men, because a more disinterested course of conduct is expected from us; and expected not unreasonably.

But have we the presumption then to demand that our conduct shall escape censure, and that our motives shall never be examined or called in question? Surely not. We only deprecate a hasty judgment; we only pray that a candid allowance for human frailty be thrown into the scale which weighs our actions. My brethren, we claim nothing like an exemption from the charge of failings, or even of errors. Look at our profession,--its large and important requisitions, and the difficulties and dangers to which we are exposed in its exercise, and then remember that the sacred office is committed to men, to men merely, constituted just as you are yourselves, embodying the same infirmities, and surrounded by similar temptations.

A frequent consideration of the mutual obligations of the Clergy and Laity would produce upon both the happiest influence, and have a powerful tendency to maintain between them that respect, confidence, and affection, which are so essential to their common happiness, and, what is far more important, to their common spiritual interests. Have they divided interests? have they different objects in view? can the depression and humiliation of one body produce any desirable elevation for the other? Suppose the Clergy, by wicked machinations and ungodly combinations, were to succeed in riveting the fetters of spiritual thraldom upon the Laity, who perceives not,--who so ignorant of the history of past ages as not to know,--that hateful corruptions must again encrust the Church, and mar its splendour, and involve the ministers of the altar, and those who surround it, in one condemnation [14/15] of ignorance, superstition, and spiritual lethargy? And who perceives not, on the other hand, that if the Laity were to succeed in imposing upon the Clergy the shackles of a worldly restraint, and making them painfully feel their dependence upon them for name, and station, and liberty to move, and means to satisfy their daily wants, that soon the Clergy would become an inefficient and contemptible body, destitute of all high and honourable feelings, and that none but "the lowest of the people" [* Kings xii. 31.] would enter the Priest's office, and then only from the unworthy motive of gaining "a piece of silver and a morsel of bread?" [* I. Sam. ii. 36.]

No, brethren; our interests are so involved and interwoven, that they cannot be separated. He that seeks to divide them would rend as it were the seamless garment of Christ. Let us encourage in one another, indeed, a godly solicitude to fulfil our respective duties; let us be mutually watchful against the temptations and dangers, to which, as distinct bodies of men, we may be exposed; let us fearlessly but affectionately disclose to each other the faults to which, as men, we are liable. But oh! let us remember that we are "one in Christ Jesus," and "let there be no schism in the body." [* I. Cor. xii. 25.] For myself, if ever I advocate doctrine or sentiment, or sustain measures or movements in the Church, which shall tend to bring back upon us the corruptions and superstitions of Romish degeneracy, or to check the moving wave of civil and religious liberty which shall one day spread itself over the earth, as the waters cover the sea, "let this right hand forget its cunning, and this tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth." Nor let me be shielded from the same doom, if on the other hand, through the fear of man, or to propitiate his favour, I ever disguise, or keep back what I esteem to be the truth of God's Holy Word, or if I ever shrink from defending the sacred authority, the just rights, and [15/16] holy influence of the Church of Christ, and those who bear his Divine Commission.

My dear brethren, the Candidates for Holy Orders. You have come here to receive your commission as Ministers of Christ, at a period when the sacred office lays upon those who bear it an unusual weight of responsibility, and demands a more than ordinary degree of zeal, fidelity and discretion for the successful discharge of its duties. A. season of great excitement, as I have said, has passed over the Church; and through the overruling care of its Divine Head, the fears and apprehensions with which all thoughtful members of our communion awaited the meeting of our last General Convention, have been to a great extent dissipated; and when its deliberations were ended, we stood together, and still stand, as united, and in proportion to our numbers, as efficient a body for carrying on the work entrusted to us, as any portion of the Church Catholic. True indeed, we have since been visited with other causes of apprehension, and the hearts of many of us have been sorely grieved and humiliated. But I firmly believe that this cloud also, dark and portentous as it has been, will ere long pass away and leave to us serene and favouring heavens.

I must warn you, however, that the future peace and prosperity of the Church, and the extension of her borders depends, under God, upon those who are entrusted with her ministrations. If they are faithful, humble, self-denying, laborious; and if they are "like minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus," [* Romans xv. 5.] and thus exhibit in their intercourse with each other and with their people the fulfilment of their Master's prayer, "that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us;" [* John xvii. 21] then will the world believe that God hath sent [16/17] them even as he sent Jesus Christ. But if on the other hand they who serve at the altar are cold of heart, worldly minded, selfish, undevout, "hateful and hating one another," it cannot be but that the Church will languish, and her Laity will become indifferent to her interests, or will abandon her communion for associations where zeal, and faith that works by love, are more manifested. It matters not that we profess "the faith which was once delivered to the saints," [* Jude, 3.] and are marshaled under a system whose elements are the same with those of the discipline and worship of the Primitive Church, and that our commission has descended to us in unbroken succession from the Apostles; these, though essential requisites of a Christian ministry, cannot of themselves give to that ministry life and power, nor to the Church which we serve any lasting hold upon the respect and the affections of the people. In this connexion, I wish to present to you for your serious consideration, some observations addressed by the admirable Archdeacon Manning, in a charge to a portion of the clergy of our parent Church in England, which have struck my own mind very forcibly, as exceedingly appropriate to our present condition. "It seems then," says he, "to be absolutely necessary that we should make the Church felt to be not a name, a paper system, a theory of hierarchical government, but a living, earnest, beneficent reality. The people with whom we have to do are a real and earnest people. The wants and cravings of their intellectual and spiritual natures are also real; they abhor forms without life, and usages without a meaning. Claims of authority, without a warrant of perceptible powers to justify and explain them, merely challenge their rebellion: dogmatic formularies, without an energetic realization in practice, simply provoke their unbelief. Of all things the least likely to win the hearts of such a people, is a Church [17/18] without the energies of charity and the cross. It is not by controversies, nor by sermons, or disputed claims, but by love and self-denial, that we must expound the meaning of Christ's Gospel and the duty of visible unity. We must be the thing we preach, before they will believe us. What men want is a reality which will solve their own perplexed being, guide their repentance, bring them into fellowship with Christ our Redeemer, console them in sorrow, stay them up in the season of temptation, in the hour of death, in the day of judgment. If we will but give such a Church to them, they will defend it by the earnest practical controversy of loving and obeying it." [* The Venerable Henry Edward Manning, Archdeacon of Chichester. Charge delivered July, 1843.]

Now, that there is such a Church, so perfectly adapted to supply all the spiritual wants of fallen man, you are fully persuaded. Of this Church you are now members, and are about to be introduced into its ministry. If, as we hope and trust, it has been a reality to you, and while regenerated in its baptismal waters, and enjoying its spiritual privileges, and submitting to its godly discipline, and partaking constantly of its sacramental food, you are "renewed in the spirit of your minds," [* Ephesians iv. 23.] and your interior life answers to your outward profession, or rather prompts and directs it, then are you prepared to offer this Church also as a reality to those to whom you shall be appointed to minister. You have without doubt seriously considered within yourselves, the full import of that solemn catechizing to which you are about to be subjected by the Bishop; and especially I would hope that you have weighed over and over that momentous question with which it begins--"Do you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon you this office and ministry, to serve God for [18/19] the promoting of his glory and the edifying of his people?" [* The Form and Manner of making Deacons] If with a decided though humble conviction, and a full belief that God will aid you by his Holy Spirit to execute this office, you cannot reply as you are required to do, "I trust so," even now drawback, and do not incur the awful punishment that inevitably awaits those who despise and dishonor holy things.

But if you engage in this ministry, be solicitous to do it in a consistent as well as a devout temper of mind; and remember that while it is the office of a Deacon in the Church of God which is to be committed to you now, and when in due time you shall be promoted to a higher order, it will be that of a Priest in the Church of God, that nevertheless in both cases you solemnly declare your belief that you are "truly called according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and according to the Canons of this Church to the Ministry of the same." While then you are a Deacon or a Priest in the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the same everywhere and at all times, yet in the exercise of this ministry you vow conformity with the discipline of this branch of the Church Catholic, which is "THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA."

As a decided and consistent EPISCOPALIAN therefore, and an equally decided and consistent PROTESTANT, we trust that you will each go forth to the discharge of your holy functions, never in your doctrinal teaching, or in your ministerial actions, compromising your character in either of these relations. As an Episcopalian you are each pledged on all occasions to sustain that fundamental doctrine that the Episcopacy, or the ministry in three orders with the power of ordaining and ruling in the Church restricted to the first order, and this power transmitted from the Apostles' days in regular succession to the present time, and so [19/20] to be transmitted to the end of time, is the essential constitution of the Church of Christ. This principle assented to and conscientiously embraced, it follows, that you must be restrained from holding Church-communion with those who do not put themselves under the same godly discipline. But if your conduct is regulated, as I trust it will be, by humility and charity, you will never keep yourselves apart from others in the pharisaical spirit which says, "stand by thyself; come not near to me, for I am holier than thou;" [* Isaiah lxv. 3.] nor in the arrogant spirit which assumes the right to judge others, forgetting the admonition, "who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth;" [* Romans xiv. 4.] nor in the narrow spirit of bigotry, which refuses to see and to acknowledge that there may be those through whose agency the Almighty may be pleased to "cast out devils though they follow not us;" [* Mark ix. 38.] nor yet in the spirit of a hateful proselytism, which strives to bring others into our way, only because it is our way, and not from an earnest and single-minded love of the truth as it is in Jesus, and a sincere desire to bring all men to the knowledge of this truth.

It is certainly a painful, and oftentimes an exceedingly trying situation in which we are placed, when we see around us those whose holiness of life affords convincing evidence that their conduct is regulated by a lively faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and with whom we are gladly, and to our great comfort, united in all social relations, in whom too we see the most efficient examples to "provoke unto love and good works," but with whom we can contract no Church alliances; because we believe in our consciences that their systems of ecclesiastical polity discard the great principle which made the Church ONE under Christ its Head, and by and through which its unity shall again be made manifest. [20/21] Were the Episcopacy sustained on the ground of expediency, or upon that of its being the earliest well authenticated form of Church government, and at every subsequent period the most universal,--these, though powerful arguments in its favor, would not to my mind present an insuperable barrier to contracting alliances with those who reject it, but yet in all other respects adhere to "the faith once delivered to the saints." It is because I believe it to be an institution of Divine appointment, and that Jesus Christ made it the channel for conveying to all future time ministerial authority and valid sacraments, and made it also the keeper of the faith and the witness of the truth, that I cannot relinquish it, and dare not refrain from bearing in its favor my firm and uniform testimony. If you are under the same conviction, and upon all occasions regulate your conduct in consistency with this conviction, you will probably be often exposed to the charge of narrow-mindedness and bigotry. But have the moral courage to bear this cross, and never for the sake of gaining that reputation which Christ pronounces to be a "woe," "when all men shall speak well of you," [* Luke vi. 26.] sacrifice, or even in your ministrations lose sight of the distinctive principles of the Church. In carrying out these principles, however, while building up those who shall be entrusted to your pastoral care, in our most holy faith, or while seeking to draw our separated brethren into the fold, never for a moment suppose that you will be doing God service, or adding to the real strength of the Church, by making Episcopalians, unless as such, they are humble, devout followers of Jesus Christ, and give proof by "walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless," [* Luke i. 6.] that they have been "renewed in the spirit of their mind; and have put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." [* Eph. iv. 23,24]

[22] But while thus by a firm and consistent, and at the same time meek and charitable course of conduct in all your ministrations, vindicating your past title to the name of Churchman, remember that as you are ordained for the service of a Protestant Church, you are under the most solemn vows to be Protestant Churchmen. For this word Protestant, in the abstract, I have no particular liking, and should rejoice from the heart to see the day when it can safely be laid aside. But that will be only when the Church of Rome has given up her false doctrines, her superstitions and idolatrous practices, and laid down her arrogant and unfounded claim of the Papal supremacy; or else, when in the sure progress of truth that consummation, so devoutly prayed for by holy men, shall take place, and long-lost unity be restored to the Church. Until that time shall arrive, while I would maintain with most jealous care the true distinctive principles of a Protestant, I feel no disposition to give up the name. With Dr. Hook, the distinguished Vicar of Leeds, I agree in judgment, that "it is well to have a term by which we may always declare, that while we hold in common with the Church of Rome all which she has that is Catholic, Scriptural, and pure, we protest forever against her multiplied corruptions." [* Note to the sermon, 'A Call to Union,' &c. page 61.] And with the present Bishop of London, I feel that it is not only in the highest degree inexpedient, but utterly inconsistent with the spirit of the vow taken by every minister of our Church, "that he will banish and drive away from the Church all erroneous and strange doctrines, contrary to God's word," to extenuate the essential differences between the two Churches, or in any manner to bring back into our Church, anyone of those false opinions or superstitious practices which she has once solemnly repudiated. "What real good," says he, "is to be effected by any attempts to make our Reformed Church appear [22/23] to symbolize with that from which she has been separated, in some of the very points which formed the ground of that separation, I am at a loss to imagine. Desirable as is the unity of the Catholic Church, lamentable as have been in some directions the consequences of its interruption, earnestly as we ought to labour and pray for its restoration, we can never consent to reinstate it by embracing any one of the errors which we have renounced." [* Charge, 1842]

Against these errors, or any approach to them, ever be on your guard. What they are it would take up too much time to mention in detail. Nor can there be any need of this for the information of those who have faithfully studied the revealed word of God, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, and under the guidance of the Book of Common Prayer. This admirable volume is at the same time the formulary of our devotions, the guide of our faith, and our protector against the encroachment of error in doctrine or superstition in practice. While designed to be the exponent of Catholic truth, while speaking in the spirit, and for the most part in the language of Scripture, and of the earliest and purest ages of antiquity, and having been drawn up, and afterwards revised, for the very purpose of marking the distinction between primitive truth and practice and Romish error, we shall be safe if we put ourselves under its guidance. He who professes that his faith is taught, and his worship regulated by the Book of Common Prayer, if he discovers that he has approached in any degree towards what is Romanism, in contradistinction from Catholicism or primitive Christianity, may feel assured that he has not been learning from his appointed guide in an honest and intelligent spirit of mind.

I have thought it incumbent upon me, my dear young brethren, to make to you these suggestions. Standing here at the request [23/24] of the beloved and respected Father in God who is about to admit you to the sacred ministry, to deliver to you the appointed exhortation, I felt that I could not discharge my duty, in that spirit which requires us never to "shun to declare the whole counsel of God," if I did not solemnly warn you against what seem to me the errors and dangers of the times. We live in an age when Catholic truth has two subtle and powerful enemies to contend with; enemies too which seem now to be more than ever inveterate, and to attack us with great wrath, as if knowing that they had but a short time. The one would break down, and forever obliterate all the distinctive principles of the Church of Christ, and leave to ministry, sacraments and ordinances, if even a name, nothing but a name, no vital power; the other would elevate a frail, sinful and erring man in the place of Christ as head of the Church, and make the ministry an organized spiritual tyranny, and the sacraments, added to by unscriptural authority, deceitful and superstitious rites. By the infinite mercy of God, we have a safe and happy position between these extremes. Let us not be either driven or seduced from it. Let us stand in it firm and unyielding. We are upon a rock; let us meekly rejoice in our privilege, and know and value our safety. And by all that is strong and loving and holy in brotherhood, let us not be foolishly disputing as to who stands higher and who lower upon this rock--if our foothold be safe and sure, that is sufficient. While contending amongst ourselves we are in constant danger of being swept away; but if we firmly cling together, the higher holding down the hand with a loving anxiety to sustain the lower, and the lower being ready, as occasion offers, to prop up the higher, we may then not only keep ourselves in our happy and secure position, but also draw multitudes of others to us from the disturbed and angry sea of polemical strife.

[25] Oh be this our daily effort and the subject of our unceasing prayers. United in the bands of a holy love, as we profess to be in those of a Scriptural faith and an Apostolic Ministry, "let us all follow after the things which make for peace, and the things wherewith one may edify another." [* Romans xiv. 19.] This it is that we need in the Church to enable it more effectually to do its appropriate and appointed work of winning souls to Christ--this it is we need--PEACE, the result of mutual confidence and love.

To promote this, therefore, let us all, Clergy and Laity, henceforth combine. We have had enough of controversy. We have talked and written enough, and more than enough, about our divisions. We have principles of union sufficiently comprehensive, and defined with sufficient clearness. They are embodied in our Book of Common Prayer. Let us not fall short of its requisitions, and let us not presumptuously go beyond them. Here are scriptural doctrine, godly discipline, and the forms of saintly worship, equally removed from both Romish and Puritan novelties. Let this, and this alone, be the ground on which we rally in defence of "the faith once delivered to the saints"; and then, as a firm and united phalanx, we shall be prepared to go forth and fight the battles of the Lord against the mighty.

In conclusion, let us all, by self-denial, self-examination, watchfulness, and prayer, first endeavour to chasten our own hearts, and keep them humble and devout; and then by visible holiness, brotherly love amongst ourselves, unchangeable kindness in word and deed towards our separated brethren, and daily intercession for them with ourselves at the throne of God, let us seek to promote the unity and prosperity of Christ's Holy Church, encouraged by the Divine promise, "they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever." [* Daniel xii. 3.]

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