Preached at the Consecration
CHAPEL OF ST. LUKE THE BELOVED PHYSICIAN,
BERKELEY DIVINITY SCHOOL,
MARCH xvi, MDCCCLXI.
BY JOHN WILLIAMS, D.D.,
To the RT. REV. THE DEAN of the Berkeley Divinity School:
DEAR SIR,--The Students of the Berkeley Divinity School earnestly request, for publication, a copy of the Sermon preached by you at the Consecration of the Chapel, this morning.
Very faithfully yours,
Wm. W. Niles,
Geo. S. Mallory,
Francis Goodwin, Committee.
BERKELEY DIVINITY SCHOOL,
March 16th, 1861.
To Messrs. NILES, MCKIM, MALLORY and GOODWIN:
My dear Friends:--
In reply to your note, let me say, that while I feel unwilling to publish the Sermon, for which you have kindly asked me, I can have no objection to its being printed, for private distribution, as a Memorial of the Consecration of our Chapel. If such a course will meet the wishes of the Students, it is very heartily as their disposal:
Very sincerely and affectionately yours,
March 18th, 1861.
MRS. MARY W. A. MÜTTER,
FOUNDER OF THE CHAPEL
St. Luke the Beloved Physician,
THIS MEMORIAL OF ITS CONSECRATION,
WITH THE AUTHOR’S PERMISSION,
BY THE STUDENTS
BERKELEY DIVINITY SCHOOL.
PSALM CXXXIV. 3.
LIFT UP YOUR HANDS IN THE SANCTUARY AND PRAISE THE LORD.
This holy and beautiful House, which has now been solemnly consecrated to the honor and worship of the Blessed and undivided TRINITY, is so connected with sacred memories, present uses and future hopes, that it is difficult to say all which I feel should be said on this occasion, and equally difficult to select any single point for unfolding or enforcement. And yet, I am not sure that these very words, memories of the departed, uses for the present, hopes for the future, are not the truest and best division and arrangement of topics which I could hope to make. Let me, then, give utterance, under these several heads, to some of the many thoughts that are in my heart to day. And if my words are few and simple, let the Service and the Temple, in their uttered or unspoken eloquence, more than supply all that shall be lacking.
Of the Christian munificence which has erected, [5/6] and adorned with unsparing hand, this House of God, I am not permitted to say what I gladly should. Perhaps it does not need that anything should be said. So long as these walls shall stand, they shall chronicle that munificence, they shall urge that example, they shall renew the prayer of Nehemiah, "Remember me O my God for good!” [Nehemiah, xiii. 14, 31.]
Of the special character of this chapel as a Memorial, I may speak: for the memory of the departed allows the tribute, which the presence of the living does not. Two years ago, this day, there entered into life, calmly resting on the Crucified, a servant of the LORD, whose mortal remains await the Resurrection, near this holy place. [Thomas Dent Mütter, M. D., was born March 9th, 1811, in Richmond, Va., and ended his earthly life at Charleston, S. C., March 16th, 1859. His body was "committed to the ground," at Middletown, one week afterwards.] His memory lives in many hearts. His pure and gentle character, his quiet but deep religious life, his love for his Master and his Master's Church, will long remain, "the sweet remembrance of the just." And here, best of all memorials on earth--how far better than "storied urn or animated bust"--his name is associated with the living service of the ever blessed God; with that worship of the Militant Church, [6/7] which, in its fulness, he offers now in Paradise; a worship still one with ours in the Communion of Saints.
He was a "beloved physician," ministering not to the body only, but to the spirit also. And so, from the "beloved physician" of the Scriptures, this chapel takes its name: and that, the rather, because, here, they are to be trained, whose duty it will be, to minister "the wholesome medicines of the doctrines," by which "the diseases of our souls may be healed;" [Collect for St. Luke's Day] even as God once promised to His people, “I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth." [Jeremiah xxxiii. 6.] The memory, then, of this "member of CHRIST and child of God," will here be shrined, in God's own House: and many a ministering servant of the sanctuary who never looked on him with the eye of the body will recall it, when, in the heat and hurry of his work, he turns back, in thought, to the quiet hours of worship which he spent here, before he was summoned to the cares and responsibilities of active service.
And other memorials are here besides, how well adapted to nerve and rouse the hearts of those who are making ready for the life-battle of the ministry, in this and coming time; of that large-hearted [7/8] Prelate, of whom it was hardly hyperbole to say that, to him had been given "every virtue under heaven," and who sang of the “westward" course of "empire's star," the star, not merely of earthly power, but of the cross and kingdom of the LORD; of that brave Bishop who heads the roll of the succession in this western world, and whose first ordination was held near the place where we stand to-day; of his successor, the last Prelate whose own setting apart to the Diaconate and Priesthood connects us, in this Diocese, directly with the mother Church; and of that well learned and godly Doctor in the Church, whose latest labors were in this place, and who here gave up his soul to God. [To commemorate the pious zeal of Bishop Berkeley in the cause of clerical education, and his relations to our early Church in Connecticut, the Divinity School wears his name. Its seal--represented in the western window, presented by Alumni--bears, on a blue ground, a red cross with the star above it. Bishop Seabury held his first Ordination--the first Ordination by any Bishop of our Church in America--in Middletown, August 3d, 1785. A memorial window to him, was presented to the Chapel, by St. James' Church, New London. A memorial window to Bishop Jarvis, and his son the Rev. Samuel Farmar Jarvis, D.D., LL. D., was presented to the Chapel, by the son of the latter.] And all these memorials suggest good and wholesome thoughts to all who shall come here to pray, and specially to those, whose home of worship this Temple is to be; thoughts of the earnest life of labor, lived unflinchingly, [8/9] unweariedly for the LORD'S sake, and then of the hands folded, and the labor done, and the welcome sleep in Jesus. God grant it to us all in His own good time!
But, pleasant as are these thoughts, I must not dwell upon them; things most sacred allow not too familiar touch; and I pass on to speak of present uses, in regard to which, our responsibilities are more personal and immediate.
And first, let me speak of uses for the members of this Divinity School.
The history of the Church in all ages, proves that two especial dangers beset those who are occupied in the study of that Mistress and Queen of Sciences, Theology. Those dangers are, first, a proud spirit of self-reliance, and, secondly, an unrestrained freedom--or it might better be called license--of speculation. Our very constitution leads us to these things. We like to feel ourselves self-poised and self-sustained, dependent on no others, and making all else, even
--"the transcendent universe,
No more than as the mirror which reflects,
To proud self-love her own intelligence."
And then, again, we dislike to own any limits to the ranges of our thought, any restraints to the workings and dictates of our wills. The old passion [9/10] to be "as gods knowing good and evil," still lives and moves within us.
In ordinary life, in our personal relations to God and His Holy Law, these things issue in disobedience and wild transgression; and then must come bitter repentance or else final ruin. In the study of Divine truth, these same things issue in heresies and schisms and all confusion. So it has been from the day when St. Paul warned Timothy not to give heed to “fables and endless genealogies which minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith," down to this very hour, when in the Mother Church--not yet, thank God, in ours--we see men who eat her bread casting her doctrine to the winds in scorn, and even bringing to naught the very word of God. [1 Timothy, i. 4.]
In short, Brethren, take the sad story all along, study out the wearisome and sorrowful details of strife and error that, alas! make up so much of the history of the Church, and what do you find at the root of all? Proud self-reliance, unlicensed speculation, these have done all the mischief. These have perverted loftiest talent, and wasted noblest powers, and sent men to their graves, not only with a fearful load of personal responsibility resting on [10/11] them, but--what is more dreadful still--stained with the souls' blood of others. Oh, better far, the humblest lot, the narrowest range, the most meagre powers; better, a child's ignorance, so there were a child's faith, than such an end as that!
The reason why this danger rises into more vast proportions in Theological studies than elsewhere, is because the higher the truth, the greater the evil that springs from its maltreatment. It is a matter, therefore, of prime moment, to find, and early to apply, some sufficient corrective. What shall it be?
Unquestionably, the habitual remembrance of our own utter nothingness apart from the merits of our crucified Redeemer, the cultivation of a spirit of personal reliance on the aid and grace of the HOLY GHOST, and, as growing out of these two things, habits of restraint and discipline, must form the basis of any corrective process. We must strive for, in a word, here, just what we must strive for in the most ordinary Christian life, only with greater care and diligence.
But, beyond these things, what would be likely to bring a stronger or more living power, than, against haughty self-reliance, a common, regularly recurring worship; and, against unlicensed speculation, the solemn public profession of the unchanging Faith of the Universal Church of God? Surely, the [11/12] one of these ought to help to keep us humble, and the other to keep us firm. Those "Idols of the Den," as the great English philosopher calls them, which so many men love to create for themselves, and then to worship, must be cast "to the moles and to the bats," when we are bowing down before the majesty of Him who shaketh "terribly the earth;" and when we are confessing that, the highest and dearest of all truth is known to us, only as He has graciously revealed it by His Son, or inspired it by His Spirit. At such times and in such employments, we learn, as nowhere else, that we can never "by searching find out God. It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?" [Isaiah, ii. 19, 20. Job, xi. 7, 8.]
Let me not be understood as either undervaluing thorough study in Theology, or overestimating the dangers to which allusion has been made. An unlearned clergy, is one of the sorest evils that Got, allows the Church to impose upon herself. And yet, it is also true that, the declarations of reason and the voice of history unite in warning the best trained clergy against these dangers of self-reliance and speculation. Nor, is it ever the characteristic of a wise man, to overestimate an unreal danger or to underestimate a real one.
 In these regards, then, I would find in this place, for those who are specially to occupy it, special and important uses. And I would the thought of them might always be with us when we gather here to Prayers or to the Holy Sacrament; that we should always remember that, we come, not alone as all must come, as ransomed sinners whose only hope is in the Lord Jesus, but asking special grace for special needs; that when we join in the praises and the prayers, we should think that these acts ought to teach us, more than all others, lessons of self-distrust, humility and self-restraint; that when we join in the profession of our Faith, we should feel that, we do it in no ordinary way, because we are, or are to be, set for its defence as others are not, because we are, or are to be under binding vows, because we are not to run riot in our speculative fancies, but are to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints."
And surely, it seems to me, if we do this, honestly and carefully, day by day, morning by morning, and evening by evening, we shall find that, over and above all other blessings of Christian worship which we share with others, we have gained that within these walls for which we shall bless God all our days; a spirit of humility and a spirit of faith, which shall keep us from many a snare and many a pitfall, and [13/14] guide us into that "peace of God which passeth all understanding."
But there are other uses of which something must be said. The sentence of Consecration designates this Chapel as free forever. It never, indeed, can be, it was never designed to be, a Parish Church. But its doors can never be closed to any who may wish to come here to pray. Especially will those be welcome here, whom the Lord Jesus has made his peculiar representatives, investing them with what our religion has ever regarded, as the sacred dignity of sorrow, suffering, or honest poverty. Here, let such always find a home. It will add a crown, if so it may be, to all else. For what higher commendation is there, than the words "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My Brethren, ye have done it unto Me?" While, then, the work done here, under this aspect of use, can never be precisely parochial, it may be, and I trust will be, largely auxiliary and subsidiary to the work of the Parish Church, in many ways and forms. In any event, this use of which I am speaking, will keep us, here, from isolation, and bring us into a living contact with the living world around us. And if God shall please that, they about whose path of life are few cheerful and pleasant things on which to dwell, they whose homes are brooded over by poverty or trial or desolateness, they whose earthly ties are few because death has [14/15] sundered them, and whose earthly comforts are spare and scanty, shall here find a sheltering home, and ties better than earthly ones, and comforts beyond those of this world, then, all, and more than all, that has been aimed at, will be gained. Surely, no fitter companionship could be found here, than that of those to whom God has appointed the lot of poverty and trial, with those who dare to doom themselves to such a lot, that they may preach to dying men "the unsearchable riches of Christ." Who are Christ's poor, if Christ's Ministers are not?
And now, what shall be said of our hopes for the future? That future is in the hands of Him who has mercifully brought us on thus far, even to this day, in which we have such cause for thankfulness and chastened joy; and there, we may be more than content to leave it. It is now about ten years since that work of training for the Ministry was begun, which, I think, we may now feel has here a home and settled abiding place. It was begun, simply because it was believed that the growing needs of the Church required it, and the leadings of Providence opened the way for it. [The first announcement, formally made, was in a circular in the autumn of 1851.] The results which have been reached, justify, it seems to me, both convictions. There have been many encouragements and some [15/16] discouragements. There have been bright days and dark days; times of hope and times of anxiety and trial. There have been some sacrifices, but many more rewards. There must be more sacrifices and anxieties and trials and discouragements still, before all is done that should, and, by God's blessing, will be done. But, what work of abiding value and real result, was ever accomplished without all these things?
And yet, I say it because it is the simple truth, and not because it should be made matter of boasting--God forbid--there have been results for which we may well be thankful. In the ten years alluded to, we have sent into the field, fifty-five clergymen--and the number will, probably, be soon increased to nearly three score and ten--connected with seventeen Dioceses. Of that number, thirty-four have, in six years, gone out from this place. That is one real result. When we came here in the autumn of 1854, we were, almost literally, without home or shelter; now--thanks to willing and generous hearts and hands--we have this home, with the associations which already begin to cluster round it. [The main building of the Divinity School is the house formerly occupied by the Rev. Dr. Jarvis. It, with the land connected with it, formed a moiety of the generous subscription of Edward S. Hall, Esq. During the past summer, by the benefactions of five friends, whose names, were I permitted, I should gladly record here, an additional building has been erected. The two buildings with the Chapel, form three sides of a quadrangle, the fourth side being open to the street.] For years [16/17] our daily sacrifice of prayer and praise was in a little upper room,--how bare it seemed at first some of us well remember--now, through the unsparing liberality which has reared these walls, we have this seemly Home of Prayer, which will grow more and more into our hearts. And these, also, are real results.
For all, it is right, it is a sacred obligation, that I should here, to-day, offer up thanks to the all-merciful and gracious God! If I may do it without incurring the charge of egotism, let me say that, for nothing in all my life am I more thankful, than that I have been permitted to take some part in a work like this. Nor let me fail to add, what justice and my every feeling alike demand, how very largely these results are owing to the patient labors, the freely given services, the sacrifices and denials, none the less real because quiet and unobtrusive, of those who have labored with me here, and without whom nothing of all this could have been accomplished. God's acceptance of, His blessing on such labors, make the mere thanks of men as insignificant as they are needless.
To God, then,--what a privilege to do it--let us be willing and thankful to leave our future. The true rule of life, is, to "take short views;" to do with the might what the hand finds to do, and leave the rest to God; hoping for the best, laboring for the [17/18] best, but taking all that comes, as sent by Him of whom we are told "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Still, for that future let us pray--and let us mingle with those prayers, prayers for our benefactors, and specially, this day, for one to whom, under God we owe this service--that, here, there may ever be a seat of sanctified learning; a home of apostolic doctrine; a place of the Eternal Spirit's presence; from which, year by year, there may go forth, Pastors, well trained to watch the Fold, to keep the Faith, to lead the worn and weary to the green pastures of God's love, to point the sinner to the Lamb of God and to win souls for Jesus! Let us pray, too, that, as generations pass away, “the pure Word of God may here be "preached, and the sacraments duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance;" and that, morning and evening, there may rise from this place the incense of a true devotion, filling these courts with a glory like that which filled God's House of old, realizing the "vision of peace" the New Jerusalem, anticipating the adoration round about the throne, making us ready for that city wherein there is "no temple," because "the LORD God Almighty and the LAMB are the temple of it."
ST. LUKE'S CHAPEL
Is built of Portland Free Stone, in the decorated style of Gothic architecture of the first half of the 14th century. It is properly divided into chancel, choir, and nave. The choir and nave are twenty-five feet broad, and fifty feet long. They are divided on the exterior by buttresses into five bays, in the central one of which, on the north side, are the porch and belfry. The choir contains sixty-two stalls, for the Bishop of the Diocese, and the Dean, Professors and Students of the Divinity School. The floor is raised slightly above that of the nave, which contains seats for the congregation. The woodwork throughout is of chestnut, oiled. The walls are finished in plaster, the side walls being of a warm buff or cream color, and the ceiling, which is divided into five bays by timber ribs rising from corbels, with rich traceries, being painted in polychrome on a rich blue ground, with gilt figures. The chancel is sixteen feet long, and eighteen feet broad. It is terminated by an apsis of five sides of an octagon. The centre or east side is distinguished by a gable containing a window of three bays, glazed with richly stained glass representing our Savior walking upon the water, with the text "It is I, be not afraid." The two other bays of the window are filled with stained glass in emblems and scrolls. The four other windows--quatrefoils--contain the emblems of the Evangelists. The floor, gained by an ascent from the choir of four steps of stone, is of encaustic tiles laid in mosaic patterns. The ceiling is painted blue and sprinkled with stars. The chancel is separated from the choir by an equilateral arch. At the point of this is inscribed the text, “Be thou faithful unto Death, and I will give thee a Crown of Life." On either side, towards the nave, is a mural tablet, the one with the inscription, “To the glory of God, the blessed and undivided Trinity, and in memory of Thomas Dent [19/20] Mutter, M. D., a faithful servant of Jesus Christ;" the other containing the name of the Chapel, the date of its consecration, and the text, “I will cure them and will reveal unto them abundance of peace and truth." With the exception of the memorials, the windows are glazed with Cathedral glass and stained glass borders, the intention being to fill them hereafter with memorials to the successive Bishops of the Diocese.
The organ is placed in the organ chamber opposite the entrance, between the choir and the nave. A beautiful font, of white Italian marble is placed at the entrance to the choir. The paten and chalice heretofore used by the School, are those formerly used by Bishop Seabury. Mrs. Mütter has added to them an elegant flagon, three chalices and a paten.
The corner stone of St. Luke's Chapel was laid on the 30th of May, 1860, and it was first opened for Divine Service on the Festival of Epiphany, 1861.