Twenty-five years ago, in this place, though not in the church in which we are to-day assembled, I was elected to the "office and work of a Bishop in the Church of God." As I look back upon that day it seems but as yesterday, though between it and the present there lies the lengthened period of a quarter of a century. I felt the strong desire to call you together on this anniversary in the same place where the Convention sat on a day so memorable to me; and the thoughtful kindness of my honored brethren, the rector and vestry of this parish, has enabled me to carry out my purpose--a purpose, I venture to hope, not out of accord with your own wishes.
The first thing that presses on my thoughts is the change in this Convention from that of 1851. The venerable and well-beloved Prelate who presided in that body has, after his long and fruitful Episcopate, been called to the rest of Paradise. Of the eighty-nine Clergy who sat in it, thirty-eight have rested from their labors, while twenty-two have gone to other fields of duty, leaving only thirty on our list of those who took part in the deliberations and action of that day. Of the Lay Delegates who were present, only a minority are now among the living; the large majority are numbered among the dead.
The very church in which the Convention met is among the things of the past. As it replaced the humbler structure in [1/2] which the fathers worshipped, so it has been replaced by this new and nobler edifice, the gift to God's service of a parish which, by its generous benefactions in all lines of Christian work, has won for itself the right to worship in such a temple. It is not often that a single rectorship witnesses the building of two such churches, even though it be extended, as that of the honored rector of this parish has been, to its fortieth year.
How all these changes, as one looks back upon them, deepen the sense which grows with gathering years of "the changes and chances," "the shortness and uncertainty of human life!" How they seem to echo and reecho the solemn words of our Blessed Lord, "I must work the works of Him that sent Me while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work."
It seems proper that I should lay before you, somewhat in detail, some account of the advance of the Diocese, and the work accomplished in it during the last twenty-five years. I am not, I confess, fond of overmuch in the way of statistics. I know that growth in numbers is, by no means, a sure indication of growth in real strength. I know that if a numbering of the people is undertaken in the spirit in which David undertook to number Israel, nothing but evil can result from it. It can only be true and safe, when, from the heart as well as with the lip, we say, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy Name give the praise; for Thy loving mercy and for Thy truth's sake." It is in this spirit, with a deeper sense than words can utter of my own shortcomings, that I desire to speak. Nor would I forget to add the prayer of Moses for God's people: "The Lord God of your fathers make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as He hath promised you."
Should the total of baptisms for the present year not fall short of that of last year (and I have every reason to believe it will exceed it), the whole number of infants and adults baptized, during the period under review, will be somewhat in excess of 39,000; that is about one fourteenth of the entire population of the State, as given by the last census.
The considerable number of adult baptisms reported from year to year might, at first sight, lead to the conclusion that there was among us a growing neglect of the baptism of infants. Were such a conclusion legitimate, it would indicate a state of things deeply to be deplored. But I do not believe it is. It is [2/3] accounted for almost, if not quite entirely, by the fact that so many of those who come to us in mature life have never been the recipients of that Holy Sacrament. So that it is no failure of our own which we are called upon to remedy. Still, amidst the neglect of Christian institutions which is becoming so alarmingly prevalent throughout the land, and especially in the loosening of family ties and the decline of household religion, which is such an evil sign of our day, I must beg the clergy to be instant and outspoken in urging upon parents the duty of making no delay in bringing their children to Holy Baptism; and I must solemn& press upon the recollection of all the members of my flock, the clear declaration of the XXVIIth Article of Religion: "The baptism of young children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ."
Of those admitted to the Church by Baptism, 23,258 have received the laying on of hands in confirmation. Our growth, in this respect, has been very equable and regular. In the ten years from 180 to 1860, 7,489 persons were confirmed; in the next ten years, 8,956; while in the last seven years, beginning with 1870, I have confirmed 7,843 persons.
I desire to express, most warmly, my thankfulness for the great and growing care with which candidates for Confirmation have been prepared for that holy rite. This is indicated in more ways than I have time to dwell upon here and now. Notably it is indicated by the fact that the admissions to the Holy Communion keep such even pace with the confirmations. I venture to repeat here what I said several years ago: "While it cannot be laid down, as an unalterable rule, that no one shall be received to Confirmation, unless on the condition of immediately coming to the Lord's Table, yet, surely, all who are presented for that holy rite should be affectionately admonished that they ought to come with the honest purpose of 'going on' from 'Baptism and the laying on of hands,' to those 'Holy Mysteries' by which we are 'assured of God's favor and goodness toward us, and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of His Son.'"
As to the number of communicants in the Diocese, I cannot, course, speak as definitely now as I can when the Parochial Reports of the present year have been summed up. While, however, I cannot give the exact number, I can come near enough [3/4] to it to say that it has very nearly, if not quite, doubled during the period under review. And this is a gain on the increase of population in the State; for had that population doubled since 1851, it would to-day amount to more than 700,000 souls; whereas (allowing an equal rate of increase for the years since 1870 that the ten preceding years exhibit), it falls short of 600,000.
In thus speaking, dear Brethren, of the Baptisms, Confirmations, and admissions to the Holy Communion during the last twenty-five years, I speak of things which are directly connected with pastoral labors and instruction in all their forms. You will hardly, therefore, count it a digression in something which is not exactly an address, nor yet precisely a charge, if I pause here to say something concerning pastoral instruction and the cure of souls.
I am afraid we are all of us in danger of not giving enough of time, thought, and labor to inculcating and inculcating the elementary principles of Christian Faith and Practice. All men are liable to take up the notion that what is perfectly familiar to themselves is equally familiar to all other persons. When this notion is acted on in ordinary life, the results may not be especially disastrous. But it is far otherwise in matters pertaining to our holy religion. There, if first principles are not thoroughly inculcated and enforced, we are building without foundations, and permitting people to grow up to be "children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine." We may fret and grow impatient under it, but we may rely upon it that the only rule that will stand the test of trial and experience is God's own rule: "Precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little." Certainly we are not to forget that Holy Scripture exhorts us, "Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection, not laying again the foundation." But on the other hand, we must not forget that the "principles" must be held, and the "foundation" must be laid, before we can "go on" to any purpose.
Especially does this work become important in the doing, for a Church which has the duty laid upon it that rests on ours. We are constantly receiving those into our communion who possess no definite faith, and are not grounded in the rule and [4/5] law of the Christian life. The vaguest of all possible views concerning the fundamental verities of the one Faith, the most unsettled ideas--rather one might say the utter absence of any idea--concerning the Christian life, as a gradual growth under settled law, rule, and institutions--these things are everywhere about us; they thrust themselves upon us; they come within the pale of our communion, and unless these deficiencies are supplied, evil follows for the individual, and even sorer evil for the Church. First principles, then, must never be lost sight of. They will not be lost sight of, if those who are charged with the cure of souls will give the heed which their vows bind them to give to that wise Canon which provides that they "shall not only be diligent in instructing the children in the Catechism, but shall also, by stated catechetical lectures and instruction, be diligent in informing the youth and others in the Doctrine, Constitution, and Liturgy of the Church."
In an age, too, when scientific and philosophic Infidelity is attacking .on all sides the Faith and the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, such teaching as I am urging is more than ever needful. A firm grasp of elementary truth steadies minds in these conflicts of opinions, to an extent that could not beforehand be imagined. And many a shipwreck of belief; and with it of life and character, might have been avoided, bad the victims of such dire mischance been taught "the first principles of the oracles of God," and thus been prepared "to discern both good and evil."
As I speak of these things, my thoughts pass on to another subject closely connected with them, to which I venture to ask your attention. A great deal is said and written just now--and, assuredly, too much cannot be said or written--concerning the best methods of reawakening and reviving spiritual life in the Church. No subject more vital to all the best interests of man in time and eternity can be imagined. For godliness here and glory hereafter cover the purposes of our Heavenly Father in the institution of His Church, with all its means of grace.
Now, my Brethren, I do greatly fear that in the prevalent looseness as to doctrine, and in the anxiety to secure immediate results, which characterize our age, and especially our country, some great first principles are in danger of being forgotten or at least passed by. I firmly believe that no efforts in this direction [5/6] will reach any but the most ephemeral results, unless they are grounded on, and accompanied by, the careful inculcation of certain indisputable and fundamental truths of Holy Scripture.
The first of these truths is the momentous one that when the Redeemer of mankind left the world and was received into heaven "till the restitution of all things," the Holy Ghost was sent by the Father and the Son, to "effectuate Christ's mediation," and to carry on in the Church the oeconomy of redemption; so that "thenceforward the Holy Ghost dwelt in the Church of Christ, dwelling in the separate souls of Christian people." You may call this a simple truth if you will; great truths are always, in this sense, simple. But if it be said that it is a familiar truth, I must reply that I fear it is not practically half as familiar as it should be.
The second fundamental truth is the Personality of the Holy Ghost as the Third Person in the Adorable Trinity. From various causes, which I can only allude to here--such as the relegating of the doctrine of the Trinity to the category of mere abstract speculation, the long continued preaching about metaphysical to the exclusion of religious questions, and the intensely subjective character of the religion of this part of the world--from these and other causes it has come to pass that the belief in the Personality of the Holy Spirit has been largely lost all around us. Instead of this clear doctrine of God's Word, there has been substituted a vague notion that this mighty Being is only the virtue or the power of God the Father--an influence, not a Person. We might have hoped that the ancient Creeds would have entirely preserved us from this great error. Largely, I trust and believe, they have. Still it may well be feared that too many in our own communion are lamentably deficient in a practical belief of this ital point of our holy religion.
The third truth is that this Person in the Blessed Trinity, thus sent to administer the oeconomy of grace in the Church of God, has been from the great day of Pentecost, and will be till the Lord Jesus shall return, ever and continuously with the Church. Now when men decline from belief in a Person to that mere vague notice of an influence just spoken of, then instead of a perpetual and continuous personal presence in the Church, there comes in the idea of the intermitted, spasmodic, uncertain exercise of an impersonal influence. Nor does the evil stop here. For this utterly unscriptural view works itself out into two other [6/7] false positions, closely connected with each other, and both together inducing most disastrous results to the Church and to individuals
The first of these positions touches the character of the Christian life. It destroys all idea of that life as a regular and orderly growth in grace, wherein an individual is built up in the faith, the knowledge, and the mind of our Blessed Lord. Under its false teaching the Christian life becomes a fitful, spasmodic thing, concerning itself largely with emotions, sentiments, and feelings, and dealing, if at all, only superficially with conscience, principle, and duty. Such a character must lack everything like stamina, vigor, and robustness. It is weak and flabby, ill-jointed and badly developed, and ends usually and almost of necessity in a sort of religious sentimentalism, which, were it not so fearfully mischievous, would be simply ludicrous.
With this is joined another equally false and untenable position, which touches the Church and the regular and appointed means of grace established in it. For an uncertain influence, there can be no permanent and abiding home. For an impersonal power, there can be no regular and continuous means of operation. And thus the Church of the Living God, instead of being the home and household where souls are trained for the heavenly kingdom, becomes a sort of association into which they who have been otherwise and elsewhere established in the Christian life, come, not to be established, but because they are already so established; and the means of grace, and more especially the Sacraments, instead of being means of grace, are made what our XXVth Article, following Holy Scripture, declare them not to be; "only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession." In this way the ordinances and commands of God are overridden and made void by the traditions of men; and the Divine plan and ordering for man's renewal, sanctification and salvation, is perverted and brought to naught.
These things, my Brethren, these doctrinal and ethical truths, and these practical workings and results, all move along together, connected by a law which may be forgotten; but can never be destroyed.
Wherefore I dread and deprecate any and all plans for awakening and rousing spiritual life in the Church which even border on these--I cannot otherwise regard them--most erroneous [7/8] views; which substitute in place of the Personal Holy Spirit the idea of an influence or a power; which forget the continuous, abiding presence of that Holy Spirit in the Church as the Paraclete and the Administrator of the new covenant in Christ Jesus; which replace the regular, continued, faithful use of God's appointed means of grace by schemes and plans of man's origination; and which thus, with whatever fair promise of the morning's rapid growth, end in withering and decay before the sunset--with whatever apparent freshness of a bursting Spring-tide, exhibit only barren and blackened fields before the harvest-time draws on. I trust we shall never be taken captive by them, come they from where they may, be they pressed upon us by whom they may, wear they what form they may. The sign-seeking spirit of the Jews of our Lord's time, the error of the Corinthians, which made more of "speaking with tongues" than it did of "prophesying," are not things to be commended. As in the world of nature the grandest and most beneficent results are wrought out by the steady, continuous, and mostly silent operations of a mighty, unseen life, so in the world of grace our Lord himself has told us that "the kingdom of God cometh not with observation."
But it is time for me to come back from this line of thought, in which I have been led on much further than was purposed, to the summaries of our twenty-five years' work.
Turning to the lists of ordinations, it appears that 224 candidates for Holy Orders have been ordained to the Diaconate, and 110 deacons advanced to the Priesthood. The number of those ordained deacons amounts to about one fifteenth of the whole number of our clergy in the United States. During this period forty-three of the clergy have died, and 332 Letters Dimissory have been issued; while, on the other hand, 250 Letters Dimissory have been presented and accepted. It must be added that it has been my painful duty to depose one Presbyter and one Deacon from the Ministry. Still, while so many more Letters been given than have been received, the number of clergy has been steadily increasing, till it has advanced from 110 in 1851 to nearly 200 in 1876.
I am glad to be able to say that, for the last ten years, the number of clergy received has more nearly equalled the number dismissed than was the case in previous years. Still, this record [8/9] of perpetual change is not a satisfactory one; and when there are added to it the changes of pastoral charge brought about by transfer of cures within the Diocese, occasion is certainly given for not a little anxiety and apprehension.
No doubt the inadequate support of the clergy has something, perhaps much, to do with these constant changes. No doubt the enormous restlessness of a restless age, operating on pastors as well as people, has its share of responsibility. No doubt the feeling, natural in a country like ours, and, I fear, increasing among us, that aggressive work is the only work that it is worth while to do; that to win new fields is all that what is now called "a live man" ought to strive for; and that to "hold fast that which" has been won, is but a useless weariness, works to the same end. Still, after these things, and many others which need not be named, have been taken into account, the startling fact remains that we have drifted into a condition of pastoral charge and relationship far different from that which the Church ever intended or now sanctions, and injurious to the best interests both of clergy and people.
If our Ministry is really to become an itinerant one, it would be better that the itinerancy should be regulated by law, rather than left in its present hap-hazard and unsettled shape. If, on the other hand, permanent pastorships are to be the rule, as the Church clearly designed they should be, and as--for so the history of every cure in which they have obtained proves--are best and most fruitful of good, for all the work of winning, training, and saving souls; then something which we have not now, is necessary to make such a rule more than a theory on paper.
Many methods are proposed for the removal of the present difficulties, and the introduction of a batter state of things. Their variety and utterly discordant character, however, only prove that it is a great deal easier to discover evils than to devise adequate remedies for them; for, should all the methods that have been proposed--and, so far as I can see, proposed with full confidence in their sufficiency--should all these be tried together, the Church would be plunged into a state of chaos from which nothing but a miracle could rescue her. It is not likely that any one sweeping measure, any one "root and branch" method, will accomplish what is needed.
 I am not ashamed to say that I have no such measure to propose; that I never expect to have; and that I do not believe any one act of canonical legislation can, in this regard, meet all the needs of all the parts of a Church spread over such an extent of country as ours is, and dealing with people moulded by such differing physical, social, and domestic influences, as are those with whom we have to do.
One thing, however, I do firmly believe that we, in this Diocese, are bound, by every obligation of Christian principle, to see to. And that is to take some effective measures to regulate the membership of our parishes, I will not say in accordance with Church law, but with Christian order and propriety. Parish membership is not so regulated, so long as persons who do not even profess a belief in the Christian Faith, may, by becoming members of a legal corporation, have the same voice and the same vote in controlling all parochial action, which any and all others have. That we have drifted into this condition under a system of civil law which barely and grudgingly recognized our mere existence, may not be our fault. But it will be our fault if we willingly continue in it, after it is fairly brought to light.
Meantime let us all remember that it is never worth the while so to brood over existing difficulties, or so to ponder on ideals of what might be, as to be drawn off from the patient and vigorous discharge of immediate duty. Patient effort and patient endurance must always, in the Christian vocation, go together, if any great good is to be attained.
You have accomplished, my brethren, a great deal in the way of church building in these twenty-five years. I find, from my register, that seventy-one new churches and chapels have been consecrated, and fourteen opened with some appropriate services, but without consecration; so that eighty-five new churches and chapels have been built. This number does not, however, include those that are now in different stages of advancement, nor, I am inclined to think, some two or three which have had no formal opening. Besides these, forty churches have been reopened after restoration, and, usually, enlargement. So that one hundred and twenty-five churches and chapels have been built or restored.
This is a record which I rejoice to lay before you. It is a [10/11] work accomplished for long, long years to come, since very many of these churches are built for centuries, not years. The work is one which has drawn largely upon your willingness to give of your substance to the Lord. It has involved many sacrifices, prayers, and labors. But I do not believe that one of you will ever regret any sacrifice or any offering made "for the house of God, and for the offices thereof."
With deep thankfulness to God, I add to this record the fact that seven of these churches or chapels have been wholly--or so nearly wholly as to warrant the statement--individual offerings to the glory of the Triune God.
Connected with church building, the multiplication of rectory-houses has been a very substantial gain. At the last General Convention the number of these reported was eighty-one, and some have been added since.
Christian education is a subject which eagerly engaged the attention of this Diocese, and for which large ventures have, from time to time, been made. These ventures began to take shape in the Convention of 1794, when the first actual steps were taken for the establishment of the "Episcopal Academy." It must, however, have been in the thoughts of Churchmen, and especially of the Bishop of the Diocese, long before. In a MS. Journal of Bishop Seabury--a copy of which has been most kindly sent me by his great-grandson, who keeps that honored name on our clergy list for the fifth successive generation--I find, under date of June 4, 1794, the following entry concerning this Convention:
"Among other things, the subject of an Episcopal Academy was canvassed, and measures were directed for the opening one at Stratford, under the direction of the Rev. Mr. John Bowden. A son of the Rev. Mr. Bostwick, deceased, of Great Barrington, was ordered to be placed at this Academy to be bred for the Church at the charge of the clergy--for his expences I became accountable, Mr. Bowden kindly offering to bestow his tuition gratuitously." From this humble beginning--a beginning, let it be remembered, made in Faith, Hope, and Charity have grown up within little more than eighty years, the different educational institutions of the Diocese.
I cannot, to-day, go into any history of these long-continued efforts in one of the noblest and most blessed departments of [11/12] Church work, for I am limited to the last quarter of a century. Nor need I. The careful historian of the Diocese has told us of the successful venture of our first Bishop in establishing our Diocesan Academy; and of the grander venture of our third Bishop in founding the College round which gather so many memories and so many hopes, and for which are offered so many loving prayers; and where he has reaped and gathered there is very little left to glean.
I have been permitted, in my time, to see the Academy enlarged by the addition of three noble buildings, among which still stands the humbler edifice in which it began its course; to see the College in process of removal to a statelier home, where the work begun in the lowlier one may be advanced and elevated to the point we aim at; to see the Divinity School fully established in 1854, and numbering to-day 207 Alumni; and to witness, last year, the establishment in this good city of the Diocesan School for Girls, by which the educational equipment of the Diocese appears to be completed.
When I use the word "completed," I beg you not to understand me as meaning that no more need be done for these four Institutions of the Diocese and the Church. They still need, they will, I am sure, always need, remembrance. Gifts from the living hand, bequests from those who are, as in God's sight, winding up their earthly stewardships--these must not be stinted, if a truly great and efficient future is to be realized. For many such noble gifts--I would that I might mention them!--I must thank the living here today. For many such generous bequests I must bless the memory of the departed! Let them not, dear brethren, I beseech you, cease. Rather let them be increased and multiplied. What you give now and henceforth will not be given to the bare possibilities of an uncertain future, but to a future which a well-secured present makes as certain as anything in this world can be.
Do not forget that the little act of Christian charity, the record of which I read, to you from the Journal of our first Bishop, was a striking prophecy for the then long future. The education of those to whom God has not given the means to secure one for themselves, has always been, is to-day, and must be in time to come, a characteristic feature of all our institutions. I pray you increase that power for good; make it [12/13] possible for us to educate not those alone who are to enter into the Christian Ministry, but all who will, as laymen, in any of the various walks of life, "adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour, in all things." God grant that these great interests may be ever cherished and remembered by the people of this Diocese! God grant that he who must, ere long, bear to you the relation that I bear now, may have them in his heart' and in his prayers, and so be able to build upon the foundations which have been laid, till these different homes of the varied training, learning, life that make up a Christian education, shall be all that we can ask, more than we dare to hope!
In one great department of Church work less has been accomplished in these years than I wish had been. The large drafts which our educational and other undertakings have made on you, in part, I know, account for this deficiency. Still it is a deficiency--one to be amended; one for which, so far as the responsibility lies at my door, I humble myself to-day, and pray God and you to forgive me. I refer, as you will have anticipated, to Church Homes, Hospitals, and Orphanages.
Something has indeed been done, very quietly but very efficiently, in several of the parishes; and we have the Widows' Home, in Hartford; St. Luke's Home for Aged and Destitute Women, in Middletown; the Home for the Aged, with its beautiful chapel and other buildings, in New Haven; and in part, the Huntington Home, in Norwich. Within a few months, also, a movement has been begun in Hartford by the rector of the church of the Good Shepherd, which promises the most satisfactory success. This movement has in view the establishment, by joint action on the part of the members of the different parishes, of a Church Charity Foundation, which, beginning with ministering to immediate necessities, shall be capable of indefinite expansion as time goes on. And I also know of other and similar plans in other places.
The accomplishment of so much as has been accomplished in church building, ought to enable us now to turn our attention more earnestly to this blessed work. I hope the movements of which I have spoken with the deepest thankfulness, may be the beginnings of large labors in these ever-ripening fields of Christian sympathy and love. These homes for the poor and suffering members of Christ and for the destitute lambs of the flock, are needed now as they were not needed in the days of the simpler [13/14] life and the less complicated civilization of the republic. The need for them, too, must increase in all the future. I commend, my dear brethren, this whole subject for your careful consideration and earnest prayers.
One thing in the working of the Diocese weighs upon me continually, as I think hardly anything else does. I mean our Diocesan Missionary work. For some reason or other, I know not what, it neither awakens the interest nor receives the support to which it is entitled. I feel disheartened and discouraged, when I see missionaries unpaid, who have proved themselves "laborers worthy of their hire," and fields untouched, which would abundantly repay all the care that we can give them. I will not enlarge upon this subject here, but I do trust we may all agree to take this important duty vigorously in hand.
There are many things, beloved, of which I should be glad to say something to-day, did time permit; the agitations among the nations of the world so great and so portentous that "men's hearts are failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth"; the movements among the long-separated parts of the Body of the Lord, some of them so full of hope, others so suggestive of "'such tribulation as hath never been before,' and of 'the apostasy,' an apostasy so great that former apostasies shall not deserve the name, and such 'deceivableness of Satan' that 'if possible they should deceive the very elect;'" and then, our own Centennial year, with its memories of the past, and its hopes--mingled, alas! with dark forebodings--for the future. It has seemed right, however, that I should rather speak, here and now, of those things which more immediately relate to that portion of the Church of God with which we are put in charge. And this subject has led me on until it is time that I should close what has already, I fear, been protracted to unreasonable length.
As I look back, dear Brethren, on all these years in which I have gone in and out among you till every nook and corner of the Diocese is, as it were, a part of my very home, I have no words to express my gratitude to God whose undeserved "mercy and goodness" have followed "me all the days of my life," that He has caused the "lines to fall to me in these pleasant places," and given me "this goodly" spiritual "heritage." For all the unwearied kindness with which you have borne with my shortcomings [14/15] and mistakes, and cheered and helped me on my way; for all the favorable estimation which has made you always think too well of any measure of faithfulness which I may have been enabled to attain; for the loving confidence in which you have taken me to your homes and households, till I, whom am a man in some sense without a home or family, have found a home in my Diocese and a family in my people; for all your words and deeds and prayers, I offer you to-day my thanks out of the very fullness of my heart. As these things brighten all my past, so they strengthen me as I look onward to the future. "Yea, though I be poured out on the sacrifice of your faith, I joy and rejoice with you all."
Almost above all else I blessed God for the general peace and harmony, the not often interrupted freedom from strife and contention, which have marked our diocesan counsels. I remember that in one of his later addresses my venerated predecessor uttered these striking words: "Let us pray that soundness in the Faith, moderation in counsel, harmony in action, and zeal for the cause of Christ, may characterize the Diocese of Connecticut when the voice of him who now addresses you shall be hushed in the silence of the grave." In large measure has that prayer been answered. With unutterable thankfulness to God that He has so answered it, I renew it on this anniversary--which I can never expect to see repeated, and would pray, if so I might, that I may not--and make its words my own. So shall we "stand in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the Faith of the Gospel."
"And now, Brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified," through Jesus Christ our Lord.