GEORGE C. FOOT, B. A.,
ALDEN & MARKHAM, PUBLISHERS.
AUBURN, March 20th, 1848.
Rev. JOHN WILLIAMS, D. D.,
DEAR SIR--We respectfully solicit for publication a copy of the very eloquent and impressive Discourse delivered by you in St Peter's Church, yesterday,
And remain very truly,
Your friends and obedient servants,
CHARLES B. PERRY,
S. A. GOODWIN, Wardens.
W. C. BEARDSLEY,
M. S. MYERS,
JAMES H. BOSTWICK,
JOHN H. CHEDELL,
THOMAS Y. HOW, JR.,
R. F. RUSSELL, Vestrymen.
AUBURN, March 20th, 1848.
GENTLEMEN--In replying to your very kind note, requesting a copy of the Sermon preached by me yesterday morning, for publication, I would beg leave to ray, that although it was not prepared with any idea that it would ever be sent to the press, still if its publication can answer any good, I shall not refuse to submit my judgment to your wishes.
I am, gentlemen, very respectfully yours,
To the Wardens and Vestry of St. Peter's, Auburn.
FOR to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom: to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit: to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit: to another the working of miracles: to another prophecy: to another discerning of Spirits: to another divers kinds of tongues: to another, the interpretation of tongues.--1 CORINTHIANS AII. 8, 9, 10.
And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers: after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.--1 CORINTHIANS XII. 29.
THE remarkable correspondence, between these two passages of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, has been often noticed. And although those who have commented upon them, may have differed in regard to minor details, yet in the main, the general view which they have taken, has been singularly marked with agreement. A few words of more general exposition, shall be premised in relation to them, before we proceed to draw from them such especial considerations, as may seem more especially to be demanded by the sacred solemnities of the present occasion.
They teach then, distinctly, in the first place, that as there are diversities of gifts in the Church of God on earth, so are there also differences of administration, and varieties of office. For so the Apostle, elsewhere pointedly asks: "Are all Apostles? Are all Prophets? Are all [7/8] Teachers?" And again he asserts that "there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord." And yet all these various gifts, and all these diverse ministrations, proceed from one, and tend toward one, even God; and as by manifold bonds of union, and channels of life, bind together in one living body the elect of Christ. For, to use the weighty words of an ancient Bishop--"Whence are these so manifold graces, so diverse employments, but from one God: the Father, Lord, Spirit? And wherefore are all these, but that those operations, ministries, gifts, proceeding from one God, Lord, Spirit, may be directed to one, and end as they begun, in a perfect Unity? O marvellous conjunction of divine and human things! O unutterable communion of heaven and earth! wherein is laid forth to us, the entire respects and union of God to himself by consubstantiality; of God to man by munificence; of man to God by thankfulness; of men to each other by the bond of charity; of gifts to ministries; of ministries to operations; of all to all." [Bishop Hall, in his Sermon entitled "Noah's Dove, bringing an Olive of Peace to the tossed Ark of Christ's Church," preached before Convocation Feb. 20, 1623. Translated by his Son.] On their very face, then, the words of the text taken in connexion with the context, set forth to us, the great fact of difference of office in the Church on earth.
But if I mistake not, they do much more than this. They even show us how many of such perpetual differences there are to be; and what gifts are to be looked for and cultivated in all time, as ordinary and needful in the divinely regulated Gospel Ministry. For my Brethren, if you will compare together the two passages which I have read, you [8/9] will find that in the former are enumerated eight several gifts; and in the latter are designated eight several offices. Into the detail of these it cannot be necessary to enter here. What it is important to notice, is, that in regard to the gifts mentioned, the last five are plainly in themselves miraculous; namely, the power of healing, the working of miracles, the gift of prophecy, the discerning of spirits, and the power of speaking and understanding various languages. The other three, however, namely the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and faith, although they may have become miraclous by being bestowed in super-abounding degrees, still in themselves they are not so. They are all ordinary gifts of God; and if they become miraculous, it is on account of the degrees of their bestowment, and not because they are so in themselves. It is fair, therefore to conclude, that as in all other cases so in this, when the miraculous gifts, or the miraculous degrees of the ordinary gifts ended, still the ordinary gifts themselves continued; and thus by laying out of view the five miraculous gifts of the Apostolic enumeration, and considering the other three as without any miraculous degrees of bestowment, we find that the ordinary qualifications of the Gospel Ministry, on which the Apostle insists, are the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and faith.
Nor will it fail to strike a thoughtful reader, that laying aside, also, the five miraculous and therefore temporary offices, which are annexed to the five miraculous gifts, there remain the three offices of Apostles, Prophets, and Teachers, as of perpetual obligation and continuous existence in the church of God. Which offices plainly correspond to the Apostles, elders, and deacons, of the New [9/10] Testament, and to the Bishops, Presbyters, and Deacons of all. succeeding time. I know indeed, that on this passage alone no argument of direct proof can be grounded, for the threefold Ministry. But it is also certain that it does furnish a strong corroborative proof of it; and helps to strengthen the cumulative argument which is gathered from so many quarters. Nay more: I doubt if any satisfactory exposition of this arrangement of gifts and offices can be given, which leaves out of view this great fact, of the threefold ministry in the church: which exists now, as from the Apostles' times it has existed, under whatsoever names: for names are of little moment while we are sure of things.
Leaving then these general expository views, let us proceed to consider somewhat in detail, these three ordinary and perpetual qualifications of the Gospel Ministry: the word of wisdom: the word of knowledge; and faith. Not imagining that one only of the three is apportioned to each order in the ministry, but that all are to share in all, in such degree as God shall grant in individual cases: Now the word of Wisdom seems to imply, "a talent of arguing from the natural principles of reason, for the conviction and conversion of philosophical infidels." The word of Knowledge seems to have been, "the talent of holding learned arguments from the ancient prophecies, and other writings of the Old Testament, to silence the objections of Jewish adversaries." While the qualification of Faith, explains itself, and cannot need to be enlarged upon.
The two former, then, of these qualifications, were bestowed in the Apostolic ages, directly, and in miraculous measures; while to the latter there was also annexed a [10/11] miraculous power. That state of things however has passed away. So that what the Apostles had directly, "a penetrating judgment in abstruse matters, and a ready recollection of written knowledge," we are to acquire in these days "by long and diligent study." While we are also to cultivate and cherish, that earnest living faith, without which, wisdom and knowledge will only gender strife, and turn to the subversion alike of the learner and the teacher. But in regard to the two former qualifications it is clear, "that as the word of wisdom, and the word of knowledge, were to the first preachers instead of learning, so in these later ages, when the Spirit no longer imparts his extraordinary gifts, learning is instead of them." [Bishop Horsley's Sermon, on 1 Corinthians, ii. 2.: from which the preceding quotations are made. I have varied from the Bishop, in the enumeration. He makes nine gifts and nine offices. But there are only eight offices, as his list at the end of the Sermon proves. And therefore, since the two last gifts in the enumeration, are not distinct gifts, but subdivisions of the same gift, I have thought it not only warrantable but even necessary to make eight gifts. Indeed, the Bishop in fact, does the same thing.] Uniting then in this way, under the general term of learning these two qualifications of wisdom and knowledge, and thereby legitimately simplifying our division; we find that the great characteristics of the Christian Ministry, should be that learning which consists both in the cultivation of the natural intellect, and the storing up of acquired knowledge; and that faith, which in this, as in all other cases, in order to be real and worthy, must issue in the life, and work by love. These should be found in every minister of Christ, who will be a good steward of his Blessed Master, and "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed."
Now if there be one word of truth in what I have advanced, how full an answer is hereby furnished to what in [11/12] many quarters--not I am happy to say frequently among ourselves--we hear said as to the small importance of a learned clergy. The argument usually being, that since the Apostles were confessedly unlettered men, therefore study is but a human device, which at the least cannot be needed, and may be even injurious to the spiritual interests. But one knows not which most to wonder at in such an argument; the arrogance of those who make it, or its own utter worthlesness. Because in the Apostolic ages, some persons were restored by a miracle from sickness to health, are we therefore to argue that in no succeeding time, should any one employ the ordinary means of curing the diseases of the body? Because the Holy Ghost vouchsafed at once to bestow on the Apostles the highest intellectual culture, and the most unbounded knowledge, are we to argue, that in no succeeding time, were the ministers of Christ to strive by ordinary means, to attain such culture, and to acquire such knowledge? The truth is, that there never was and never can be so learned a ministry in the Church, as there was in the Apostles' times, unless indeed the Apostolic gifts, should be again vouchsafed. Nor ought such an argument to be adduced, except by one who can show upon his head the cloven tongue of fire which sealed the Apostles at the Pentecostal Feast. No! next to an ungodly ministry, an unlearned one, is the greatest, deepest curse that God can send upon the Church.
Of the two divisions then of the ministerial learning, which we have named, let us proceed now to say something more; viewing them not in reference to the Apostles' times, but to our own.
We have explained as it will be remembered, the word [12/13] of wisdom, as implying the power of grappling with the objections, and meeting the attacks of philosophical infidels. Can we say my Brethren, or do we imagine, that this same thing is not needed in our own age and our own country? If we do, we shall be alike deceivers and deceived. Infidelity is of a Protean character; and as the ages roll along, it assumes various shapes, and appears in different guises, while its principles are still essentially unchanged, and its end and object, whether avowed or not, are always the subversion of our Holy Faith. And never was there need of a more subtle and penetrating search, to detect the falsehood, and bring it out to light, than there is, in our time, and in our country, as well as in other countries of the world. "We know no more prevailing stratagem of Satan, at this present time, than that of persuading infidelity, to pay a sort of homage to God's written word, whereby many well meaning christians are deceived." The struggle now, is not what it was in the last century; it is a more dangerous struggle, more dangerous that is to common minds; the Bible is nominally accepted now: all the varieties of infidelity now support themselves by texts of Scripture, and derive their systems from a perverted and blasphemous interpretation of God's word. It is the acceptance of the Bible, without attaching any distinct meaning to it, or attaching an heretical meaning, which is among the fearful signs of the day. We want no longer a host of evidences for its inspiration: they have done their work: chameleon infidelity has changed its color. It is now the Bible against the Bible; that is, it is the true sense against the false sense; the Catholic verities against infidel interpretations; the right interpretation against the wrong. It [13/14] is now an internal war. Believers and unbelievers meet within Bible ground, both accepting the Sacred Volume as the Revelation of God, but each disputing what that Revelation is, and drawing from precisely the same words an opposite result." [Christian Remembrancer No. LVII. p. 33. Dr. Wordsworth in his Diary in France, mentions, that when Vanini the great Atheist was arrested at Toulouse, the only book in his possession was the Bible!] Would my Brethren, that it could be impressed upon the minds of honest and sincere believers, how widely this most subtle poison spreads, and what danger there is that persons will be led captive by its specious pretences, unawares. It pervades much of the current literature of the day. It characterizes many of its benevolent projects; and every where it wears a mask which hides its real features from the ordinary observer. It speaks of God, but it believes only in some abstract divine principle, destitute of all attributes of personality. It talks of Scripture, but it regards it as a mere collection of instructive fables. It professes Christ, but it means only a model man, the human form of a divine idea. It speaks of the Church, but it means a mere association. [See especially the Last Incarnation, a Translation from the French, and published this year in New York. It is simply as Coleridge says, "the superfoetation of blasphemy." But there are many other things that might be referred to; I only add, however, that Strauss has been reprinted in New York.] It has usurped the sacred phraseology, it appears in the sacred guise; but its words are lies of crafty cunning, and its garments are a base and vile imitation. I cannot but look upon it as Satan's masterpiece. I would fain reverently hope that it is the last developement of Antichrist. [It would almost seem that the Pantheistic Infidelity in Christian lands is the correlative of Buddhism in heathen lands. The latter is an imitation, as it would seem by demoniacal agency of Christianity; and the former is the same. Both too issue in a "chaos of abstractions," which can only end in Atheism. Bee the conclusion of Schlegel's third Lecture on the Philosophy of History, and the Translator's note. We may any of Pantheism, what he says of this religion of Fo: "The similarity observed is not real, but is that caricature resemblance the ape bears to man." He adds, "We may lay it down as a gen. oral principle, that the greater the apparent resemblance which a false religion, utterly and fundamentally different in its spiritual character and moral tendency, externally bears to the true, the more reprehensible will it be in itself, and the greater its hostility to the truth."] Ages of open assault [14/15] have failed. Like waves rolled backward from the everlasting rock, troop after troop of Satan's leagued host have recoiled from that rock of ages, on which stands the sacred citadel of God's unshaken Church, guarding within its heaven-built walls the old deposit of the Apostle's Faith. But now a craftier method is to be attempted. Assault has failed to leave one mark upon the strong foundation; to secure one outpost of the holy fortress; to dislodge one stone from all the gleaming pinnacles. And now there comes the hour of cunning stratagem. As the Sabine troops in the days of ancient Rome, tampered with the maiden, and promised her as she thought costly prizes, so she would open to them the citadel: so these, the adversaries of the Lord, would tamper with the guardians of the Church and of the faith: so do they now hold out fair promises and specious hopes: but let them once be listened to, and it will not be jewelled bracelets that they will place upon our arms, but it will be brazen shields that they will shower upon our heads, and crush us in destruction. Let them then be shunned; or rather I should say let them be sternly thrust away; for "what fellowship hath light with darkness, and what concord has Christ with Belial 7" But surely my Brethren, from this brief view you will not fail to see, that if the "word of wisdom" was needful to meet the infidelity of the Apostles' times, it is needful also now. And that since its miraculous measures are no longer vouchsafed to the ministry of the Church, a double duty is laid upon them carefully to cultivate it, by all means in their power.
 Let us now proceed to say something of the "word of knowledge." It has been explained as meaning, the ability to meet Jewish objections and corruptions, by means of learning. At this period in which we are living this Judaising element, which was so rife in the Apostles' days, is represented by Popery. [See Bishop Whittingham's admirable Sermon, "the Apostle in his Master's House." It is true indeed that both Pantheistic Rationalism, and Popery, judaise. See an excellent Article in the Christian Remembrancer for July 1846. The word Popery is used designedly, and with a deep sense of all that it signifies. For I strongly feel the truth of Coleridge's words: "My fixed principle is; that Christianity without a Church exercising spiritual authority, is vanity and dissolution. And my belief is; that when Popery is rushing in on ns like an inundation, the nation will find it to be so. I say Popery: for this too I hold for a delusion, that Romanism or Roman Catholicism, is separable from Popery. Almost as readily could I suppose a circle without a centre." Aids to Reflection, p. 730, Note, Edit. of Dr. McVickar.] To draw out the proof of this in full detail would occupy far more of time, than can be devoted to it here. But is it not clear, that he who would stand firmly against Popery now, as the Apostles stood against Judaism in their day, must have like them, in his degree at least the word of knowledge? Must be "mighty in the Scriptures," and able to distinguish between what is truth, and what are the mere traditions and ordinances of men? Nor let it be forgotten, for it is most important to observe it, that if on the one side, Popery has come in the place of Judaism;t so on the other, she symbolises with Infidelity. [It is not intended of course to deny that there are many other forms of judaising. Puritanism judaised in a selfish application of the Israelitish History to its own case. The school represented by "Charlotte Elizabeth" judaise in a way that approaches most close1; to the judaism of the Apostolic age. While the latest form of judaising is Mr. D'Israeli's theory of races. Still all these are incidental, and not essential forms, and it is this which constitutes the difference. Since this Sermon was preached, I have read Mr. Keble's Preface to his new volume of Sermons, and would refer to p. xxxvi.]
Like Infidelity she has been perpetually changing the ground of her attacks. Now from one point, and then from another, has she made her continuous assaults. And now--it is the strangest and most portentous sign of the [16/17] times--she has joined hand in hand with Infidelity and Rationalism, which is only Infidelity under a milder name, and has thereby committed herself distinctly to the great Anti-christian movement of the age. [This union I conceive to have been completed, when Popery received and acknowledged the doctrine of Development. That she has done so, Mr. Perceval in his late letter to the Archbishop and Bishops of the Province of Canterbury has proved. Nor can it be regarded as without meaning that the Pope has entered into relations with Mohammedanism, by sending a Nuncio to the Ottoman Porte. It would seem that the cycle is about complete.] I say it is a portentous sign. It is in truth the most startling one of all that are around us. Precisely what it means, exactly whither it points, and where it will issue, it may perhaps be difficult to say. It is a matter on which we cannot speak with too much reverence and anxious care. But neither can we refuse to see that which is going on before our very eyes. Never before our day, has Popery fully and completely committed herself to the principles of Infidelity. But now she has done so. She has cast to the winds, Scriptures, and Fathers alike, the word of God, and the testimony of antiquity; and she now defends her additions to and corruptions of the ancient Faith, on a principle which is identical with that of the latest, and I humbly believe the last form of Infidelity. How needful then for those who cling to the ancient landmarks, to be well furnished against such powerful foes, once separate, but now leagued together, to be well furnished I say, with "the word of wisdom," and "the word of knowledge."
And now my Brethren, it will no doubt appear, that in what has been said, I have been presenting a view of the position and duties of a Christian Minister, which is the least pleasant to look upon; and which if it shall be looked [17/18] upon exclusively, will almost necessarily prevent any lofty realization, or high ideal of the stewardship of the Christian Mysteries. I know full well that it is so. I know full well that there are other views of the duties and labors of the Minister of Christ, on which it is pleasanter far to dwell, than on that one phase of his duty, which consists in "driving away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's word." I know too, that if he merely dwells on this view to the exclusion of other and higher ones, he is likely to degenerate into the mere vulgar and worldly controversialist, and casting away the glorious weapons of his celestial warfare, to betake himself to the carnal weapons which men employ about human policies, and worldly strifes: to forget that his strongest logic is a good example, and his divinest rhetoric a. holy life. Far pleasanter is it, to behold him as the shepherd amid his flock, as the laborer in his master's vineyard, going forth in the morning's coolness, to lead his sheep to quiet resting places and grateful shades, or else to trim, and prune, and tend the growing vines: and at night bringing back his charge to the safe shelter of the fold, or returning with his bountiful load of the blushing fruit, which he has gathered in his day of quiet, wholesome, and contented toil. And yet my Brethren if we look on the Christian Ministry only under these peaceful and pastoral similitudes, we are dreamers! We are such dreamers as children are, who picture the world that lies beyond the peaceful valley which their childish steps have trod, as being all as homelike and as quiet, as their own secluded vale. We are such dreamers, as the boy is, who fancies [18/19] an untried, untempted manhood to himself. in which the flowers and just formed fruit of early youth, shall grow untouched with hail or rain, unshaken by the wind, into the ripe maturity of full perfection. But we may not thus delude ourselves. We must not thus be dreamers. The Christian Minister who discharges all his duty must not be the shepherd only, but the soldier also: must not be apt to teach alone, but also valiant for the truth; must not only be the Pastor in the fold, gathering round him, all the numerous and holy Pastoral ties, and holding them as it were in the hand of his heart, but he must be the watchman too on the sheepfold's walls: and if while he dreams of peace, and dwells upon the gentler picture, and is all absorbed in the holy duties of the inner fold, he forgets his outer watch, and loses half his character, then the blood of those who were committed to his trust, and were lost by his forgetfulness, must rest with all its deep and damning stain, on his undying soul. And in our day least of all, can the faithful Minister of Christ forget that he is set for the truth's defence in Christ. Not that he ever should be a brawling, noisy controversialist: not that he ever should forget that the best mode of destroying error, is to displace it by bringing in the truth; and so that his work will be done best here, both for himself and for his hearers, by distinct statements of the true, rather than by directly and merely combating the false: not that above all, he should ever lose from his sight the other and manifold duties of his holy calling, for that he is a defender of the truth, and a builder of the Church beside. And so if with the one hand he must hold the spiritual sword of his high warfare, still with the other he must build the walls of Zion.
 And this my brethren, seems to me, to bring us directly to the third of the enumerated gifts, the gift, of Faith! For now that we have observed whitherward the use in our day of the "word of wisdom," and the "word of knowledge" looks, and seen that it presents to us the Christian Minister under the aspect of a combatant against two great forms of evil, once apparently antagonistic to each other, but now, perhaps unconsciously, conjoined in the work of destruction; now that we have seen this, and at the same time have recalled to mind the fact, that this is but one view of his position and his duties, and so gained as it may be hoped, a partial glimpse of all the wide extent over which those duties reach, and of the manifold bearings of that position: now that we have done thus much, it would seem that several questions must naturally occur to us. [Dr. Wordsworth's Letters to M. Condon, on the Destructive Policy of the Roman Church, is a work which these words naturally suggest, and which cannot be too highly spoken of Mr. Palmer's Answer to Newman on Development, and the masterly reply to the same Essay, in the Christian Remembrancer for January 1847, may be profitably consulted.] For sorely we cannot but enquire, how is any man to be sustained amid these multifarious duties, and responsibilities? How are these two gifts, the word of wisdom, and the word of knowledge to be prevented from degenerating into mere worldly things, and becoming not the sources of high and self-forgetting labors for the truth, but of vain glory, and self-exaltation? What shall accomplish this? I answer, that third gift of which the Apostle spoke, the glorious gift of Faith. Not a Faith which is a mere intellectual assent, not a Faith which ends itself in words, but a Faith which is full formed in charity, which being [20/21] living is the root of holiness, and by which we mean the complex of the Christian character. [Luther denounced the expression "Fides formata in Charitate;" but Bishop Bull, England's Athanasius, used and defended it. While the expression "the complex of Christianity" is Bishop Burnet's, who in this, exactly agrees with Bull's Harmonia Apostolica.]
It is this Faith my Brethren, which crowns, as with a diadem of heavenly glory, the "word of wisdom," and the "word of knowledge." It is this Faith which upbears the minister of Christ in every age--whether an age of fire and blood, or of scoff and sneer, of deadly enmity, or cold indifference--along the weary way of his vocation. It is this in which he trains and disciplines himself, striving for "the mastery," and seeking, "while he preaches unto others, not to be himself a cast-away?' It is this which enables him in his degree, to realize in himself, the wonderful words of the great Apostle of the Gentiles: "as deceivers and yet true; as unknown and yet well known; as dying and behold we live; as chastened and not killed; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." But more especially would I speak of it now as it stands connected with those two other gifts, on which we have been dwelling; as being that which gives them all their value, and the absence of which leaves them but lifeless forms, and outside shows; as being also that, which as it stands directly connected with the third order in the ministry, though certainly not so connected, as if it were severed from the others, may well seem to be enjoined upon that order with more of earnestness, that so they "may purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith." It stands to these other gifts in the Christian [21/22] Minister, in just the same relation in which it stands to all the evangelic graces in each Christian man. It is the lifeblood of their existence. It is the oil of their holy consecration. It is the fire from Heaven which lights their incense in the censers of the intellect, and makes a fragrant cloud arise from them, acceptable to God. Without it, wisdom ends in the "vain oppositions" of false named science; and knowledge runs out in "old wives fables," and "endless genealogies;" and this vain strife of words is made in pride, and haughtiness, which love division so that they may be exalted, and would rather "rule in hell, than serve in heaven." But with it, wisdom pours the full persuasive tide of heavenly truth; uttered it may be in the very simplest words, and without one grace or ornament, and yet poured out even in that simplicity, with a sublimer eloquence than art can give, or any thing short of God's own truth awake: and knowledge also, brings her treasured lore, the spoils of the world's Egypt consecrate to God. And both in truth are brought to the service and the adoration of the Lord. The "word of wisdom," and the "word of knowledge" sanctified by Faith; these Brethren, are glorious gifts: and man can offer to his God but one sacrifice better than the service of a sanctified and cultivated intellect; and that, is the offering of a childlike, loving, and obedient heart.
MY BRETHREN CANDIDATES FOR THE DIACONATE:
I fain would hope that I have led your thoughts to subjects not inappropriate to this day and service so memorable to each one of you. It is the Lenten Ordination season of the Church from earliest days. For the last week, [22/23] from hearts that you know not, and that never in this world will know you, from hearts that beat in all the lands of earth, prayer has been made to God in your behalf. From the high Cathedrals of the Mother land, from among the palms of the Eastern Indies, from the far off islands of the ocean, from the ice-bound regions of the north, from the wide prairies and deep forests of our western world, one mighty, wrestling prayer has been sent up to God, for His blessing upon those who are this day to be ordained to holy functions in His Church. And now, almost before this solemn sound has died upon your ears, you stand here, to receive at the hands of a successor of Apostles, the first warrant of your high commission, handed on in one unbroken line from Jesus Christ himself. And here where one honored and godly PRELATE laid down the Pastoral staff, which now--in that the spiritual line of the Christian Levi never dies--another bears, of whom I well Might speak to you, but that the presence of the living forbids the tribute which the memory of the dead permits; here I say, amid such memories, such thoughts, you are to take those awful and unchanging vows, which you can render up in safety to none but God, and with your dying breath! You will go forth from these walls sworn to God's service, and with the weary, though not uncheerful way of your vocation stretching out before your spirit's eye. Can we ask for you better gifts to aid you on your way, and make you [23/24] meet to the discharge of all your duties, than the "word of wisdom," the "word, of knowledge;" and the gift of Faith? Can we give you a more solemn charge, than that you should always cultivate them with earnest care, and with unceasing prayer? No, Brethren, we cannot. For in all time you will find in them the great weapons of your warfare; and if in lonely silent hours, when at the sight of its responsibilities and its infirmities the soul grows faint; when the searching trial comes, and all looks dark around, and conscience perhaps whispers of neglect and sinfulness, then if the first two fail as fail they will, Faith will come in with Holy Discipline, a strengthening angel to the soul; and bid you to bear up, and forbid you to despair. No! we need ask for you little beyond all these. God grant then that they may all be yours; and that they may so go with you through your earthly ministry, as that when the end draws on; and wisdom and knowledge, which are but in part on earth, give place to that which is consummated and perfected in heaven, and faith is changed to sight then you may find all gifts, all powers, all graces, of your earthly being, and all the strivings of your earthly labor, issuing and settling, in the calm, unbounded, everlasting love of GOD!
[Who could preach an Ordination Sermon in Auburn, and not remember HOBART?
["So bright the march of that ontdazzling star,
Which shed its kindling beams so wide and far,
That pilgrims press, where still they latest rest,
And kiss thy sod, SWEET AUBURN of THE WEST."
[I quote from memory and may therefore not have done full justice to these sweet lines.]