CHRISTIAN BRETHREN AND FRIENDS:--
When, two weeks ago, I stated to the Convention of the Diocese that, during the past year, no death had occurred among our clergy, my thoughts could not but tarn to the sick-bed of the venerated brother whose funeral service has gathered us here to-day. The thoughts of many others, I am certain, sadly went with mine; and we all felt that, ere many days should pass, a pastor's place would become vacant, and an honored name would disappear from the roll on which it had so long stood. And now, all that we then thought of and shrunk from has cone to pass; and it is my duty, to-day, to bear my testimony to my departed brother, and to try to say something befitting the occasion to his sorrowing people.
May God be with us all, mourners together as we are, and make it good for us that we have stood beside "the house appointed for all living."
Thirty-eight years ago--next Sunday, June 30th, will be the anniversary--a youthful minister of Christ, then in the twenty-fourth summer of his life, was advanced to the Holy Order of the Priesthood, receiving therein the "good degree" which he had "purchased to himself;" and, by the office of Institution, was put in charge and trust as the Rector of this parish.
The service was held in that old church which many of you must well remember. Few, if any, who witnessed it, can be here to-day. The cure to which the youthful Priest was sent comprised, not this parish only, but the adjacent cures of Greenwich, New Canaan and Darien.
 The thirty-eight years have passed; a generation has gathered to its fathers; the youthful priest has become the venerated pastor of more than threescore years; the stewardship has been ended; the pastor has been called home; and to-day we write the closing words of his history; he "gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered to his people."
A pastorship, then, in one cure, of thirty-eight years, and a ministry of more than forty--for he was ordained to the Diaconate by the lamented Hobart, in the summer of 1820--these, in brief, comprise the history of our brother's life, and are his lasting and worthy witnesses.
How brief the record is, and yet how much it embraces! How humble, if you measure it by the world's standard; and yet how grand, if you consider it as it is connected with the highest interests of time and eternity! How calm, retired and uneventful such a life, as men count of action and result; and yet how marked with true heroism and great achievement! For, just so contradictory, according to the aspects under which you view it, is, always, the vocation of the minister of Christ. St. Paul described not merely his own life, nor yet the lives of his fellow-labourers of the Apostolic age, but the life of every sharer in the one ministry till the end of time, when he wrote those meaning words, "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!"
For, in very truth--and surely, if we never felt it before, we might at least, feel it here--there is, about the humblest life of the humblest minister of the New Covenant, something that you scarcely find elsewhere. I do not mean, because of the great truths and unearthly services with which he is put in trust. I do not mean, because of the privileges and responsibility which he has, of bringing the message and ministry of reconciliation to lost and dying sinners. But I [4/5] mean what, I fear, the people think of far too little--what I would bring to your thoughts beside this honored dust--because of the real, continuous, daily sacrifices which the ministry involves. Ah, brethren I have we always felt this? Have we felt that there are such things as a sense of duty, a wish for the highest good of man--that can overmaster all self-seeking and self-love? that it is possible for one to believe that the very richest man in all the world is he who dares to be poor for the sake of Christ? that there is a Christian heroism which can lead the hearts of young and old to feel that they can give up fair earthly prospects to live and labor, and in laboring to die, for I-him who died that their souls might live? Alas! for an age which should be unable to comprehend this Alas! for an age, in which calculation and reckoning of this world's goods should have so eaten out the core of the truest manhood that it had lost the knowledge of those noblest of all words--duty, devotion and self-sacrifice! So that, when it hears them, it is fain to say, "All, Lord God, cloth he not speak parables?" But, my brethren, here is the secret, after all, why men ever take up the wearing, anxious life of the ministry. Rule out all the exceptions you please--and, of course, there are exceptions--and yet here is the secret. Nothing can explain it but the fact that God's grace gives an element of character truly heroic, which loves denial, and rejoices in sacrifice, and finds pleasure in hardness and endurance. This, in spite of all exceptions--this fills up the ranks of the soldiers and servants of the Lord Jesus. And, as I have said, to one who rightly estimates it, what a spectacle does this present As on some great battle-field, the serried line moves on. Here and there, in quick succession, a soldier falls; but another takes his place, and the ranks keep full. There is small time to mourn the dead, for the need is instant, and the contest presses, and they are left upon the field, while still the line moves on--on, as for eighteen centuries--so for all time to come--on, through storm and sunshine, through success and failure, [5/6] through life and death--on, to the day when minister and people shall stand before the Throne to receive their everlasting dooms
This ministry, with its trials and its cheer, our brother exercised faithfully through more than twice a score of years, and--what is specially remarkable in these days of change--for almost the entire period in a single cure. And he was permitted to live to sec great fruits spring from these long-continued and faithful labors. What was the one cure thirty-eight years ago, forms to-day five parishes, with seven churches and chapels duly consecrated, served--till he himself was removed--by seven clergymen.
In this immediate parish, the humble edifice that in the beginning more than served its needs, has given place to this in which we meet to-day; and this has been once enlarged itself, and there is added to it now another house of God. Thirty-six years ago, the number of those who gathered to the Lord's table, in all the cure, was ninety; to-day, the roll comprises the names of near five hundred.
These are some tangible and visible results, whose testimony comes before us to-day, and whose witness is laid up on high. But, brethren, how much more is there which is not written, which cannot be written here--which man's eye can never see, of which man's lip can never speak, and which, after all, is the true and living history of this, as of every other faithful pastorship! The unwritten story of the spiritual lives of the generation of this people that has passed away; the sermons preached; the baptisms and eucharists administered; the young trained and led on to confirmation; the sick visited and prepared for death; sinners pointed and brought to the blood of Jesus; the pastoral counsels, the priestly labors, the ministrations to the poor and the afflicted, the public service, and the work from house to house--what a history do all these make up--what a testimony do they bear! Think of them, beloved, as you share in the solemn ceremonial of this day, and as you stand beside your pastor's grave.
 With different parts of this great pastoral work, the barest outlines of which I have just touched, most, perhaps all of you, have been brought in contact. In God's house or in your own, in sickness or in health, in your prosperity or your trials--somewhere and in some time, and probably very often, there have been words, invitations, warnings, counsels, for you. This must have been so under any pastorship--it certainly has been so in this.
It may be--in God's mercy- and by the Spirit's grace--it may be, that all this has met in you a willing mind, and done its proper work, and brought you within, or called you back to, or kept you in the fold, leading you to the source of pardon, grace and life. It may be, too, that none of these results have followed. Whether they have or not, think of these things now Recall them in the solemn presence of the dead, and amid the memories of a stewardship closed and sealed up against the final reckoning. Remember, I beseech you, that this same God who has given his ministers the awful warning that, if one is taken away in his iniquity, his blood will be required at the watchman's hand, has also said, in words not less awful, of those to whom the watchman ministers--"If thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it, if he do not turn him from his way, he shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul."
A lengthened ministry of near twice a score of years, and that in one cure, is a rare thing now, in this changing age and land. Its very length, in such a condition of things as that in which we live, is proof of its faithfulness. And O! how much we lose, in losing all the influences and associations that cluster around such a pastorship! As years go by, the pastoral bond grows stronger and holier; interest and affection take deeper root; the gray head becomes in truth a crown of glory; words of warning, counsel, exhortation, fall with greater power; every service wakens memories of others; points of contact multiply, and the pastor is a part, not of the parish only, but of each family within his [7/8] charge--of the Church that is, or should be, in every house. Such a pastorship comes to be like the well-loved homestead where generations have dwelt together. That may not have all the finish and new life it once had--its walls may come to be a little weather-beaten and moss-grown, and not exactly, it may be, like what one sees elsewhere; but all is so mellowed and hallowed by the touch of time, and made so sacred by the uses and influences which have lived in it and around it, that it becomes the best and dearest place in all the world, and the point to which, everywhere, the soul turns with all its deepest yearnings. And even so is it with a faithful pastorship which has grown more reverend with passing years, and whose latest hold upon men's hearts is its strongest and its best.
It is my privilege to-day, standing among his people and in his Master's house, to bear witness to my honored brother, that such a ministry he exercised among you--a ministry the record of which is laid up on high. For the last time on earth, you stand around your pastor: when next you meet him, it will be before the throne of God Do you not remember, that the last time he was with you here in life was on the glorious Festival of the Resurrection, when he broke to you the bread of heaven? Solemn anticipation was that service--though not then felt, perhaps, as it should be now--of that last great Easter Day when pastor and people shall meet again. God grant, that it may be to sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
My brethren of the clergy, this service bids us to remember that, as years roll over us, and one brother after another falls by our side, so our day of labor is drawing to its close, and the story of our stewardship is being written out. We, almost all of us, have our own thoughts and memories today, which we share together, but on which I need not dwell. But among them all, I am sure, is the conviction that, better than all else on which a minister of Christ can look back, is a faithful pastorship. Let us be moved, then, to redeem the [8/9] time, for, indeed, the time is evil, and, to most of us, it must be short; and yet long enough for all of us, if we are free from the blood of souls--if we have brought such to the cross--if, as we fold the hands and close the eyes, we can feel that one soul even, can rise up and. call us blessed!
There are those here to whom I fain would speak all that is in my heart, but the sacredness of private sorrow must seal my lips. God give them the fullness of the promise--"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted!"
Brethren, we do not mourn, God be praised! as they that have no hope; "for if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also that sleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him." Let that great thought be in our hearts, those wonderful words upon our lips, as we lay the pastor, the brother, the friend, down to his rest among his people, to await, as we fully believe and hope, the resurrection of the just!
BY REV. WALTER MITCHELL.
I HAVE FOUGHT A GOOD FIGHT, I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH:
HENCEFORTH THERE IS LAID UP FOR ME A CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, WHICH THE LORD, THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGE, SHALL GIVE ME AT THAT DAY: AND NOT TO ME ONLY, BUT UNTO ALL THEM ALSO THAT LOVE HIS APPEARING.--2 Timothy iv, 7, 8.
THESE words form a part of one of St. Paul's personal epistles, addressed to a dear friend and disciple. As we dwell upon them, the first thought may be of their daring character. It is much for any man, even for a commissioned Apostle of God, to say. And it contrasts very strongly with what, upon other occasions, St. Paul did say of himself. Yet we must be guided by the point of view and the circumstances in which these words were written. They occur in a private epistle to a most intimate friend. Though since made a part of that great Christian treasury of faith, the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, St. Paul was far from expecting, I am well persuaded, any such use. For he, in common with the other Apostles, had a thorough belief in the immediate end of the world. He was working for posterity, but with no thought of the future. While understanding, as did no other, the true conditions of a Christian and Catholic Church, he yet did not foresee in the least the tremendous tests to which his building up of its broad foundations should be subjected. Hence he wrote, as I believe, for the eye of his young friend alone--not weighing his words, but speaking out of the fullness of the heart.
And once more: as is very plain, he wrote under the near shadow of death--the death of the martyr. And so writing, [10/11] his words are spoken, as it were, from the hour of death, when the soul has calmly reviewed its past, and speaks with that absence of self-consciousness it would have toward another and an indifferent person. Nor should we forget that to die the martyr's death was then regarded as the proof of a sore acceptance, as the seal of a faithful ministry. It is lot boasting. It is not pride. None knew so well the sole ground of human hope. No man had ever so fearlessly and frankly flung from him all vain defences of a ritual fidelity --had so pledged himself to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, glorying, if there were need of glory, only n the cross of Christ--to the Jews a stumbling-block., to the Greeks foolishness. So sure is he of this, that he does not need, as might another, to pick and choose amid safe and compromising terms, but speaks boldly of his own works, as knowing that, to his friend's mind as to his own, his words could bear but one meaning, needless to be expressed--that all his labors were but to God's glory, all his faith but in the Saviour's mercy.
Yet, humanly speaking, to our imperfect vision, how true these words are! He had fought a good fight. It was a literal truth. In words more powerful than any earthly arms--against perils as deadly, both to soul and body, as man ever dared--he had borne, single-handed, the weight of battle. Detraction, persecution, dogged his every footstep. His own nation, refusing to believe, turned against him with that hound-like malice of pursuit, that slow, untiring hate, that burning wrath of fanatic zeal, which has marked the Jew ever since David was hunted like a partridge on the mountains, and fled to their caverns before the face of Saul. Nor, when the doors of the synagogue closed behind him, and he went forth into the Gentile world, to carry the good news of Christ to the peoples sitting in darkness, did he find more rest. Scarce were his churches planted, and he himself turned to new conflicts, when the treacherous emissaries of the Judaizing party--not uncountenanced, it is to be feared, by [11/12] the head of the Church at Jerusalem--were busy among his spiritual children. We can read for ourselves, in the indignant outbursts of his own epistles, with what calumnies they assailed him. They mocked at his person; they charged him with dishonesty, even in the sacred trusts of the Church's charities; they strove to undermine his teachings, and to lay the weight of Pharisaic bondage upon these babes in Christ, to whom he had painfully unfolded the truth that maketh free. A lesser man would have compromised his cause and bought peace by concession; a weaker man would have been crushed; a less whole-souled man would have given up in despair or disdain. It was, indeed, a good fight which he fought--brave, heroic in itself as ever was shown upon a stricken field; great and glorious in its results as ever was numbered among the world's decisive conflicts.
How different does it seem to be with the Christian ministry to-day! We call them pastors, as those who have the care of gentle and docile flocks, leading them in green pastures beside the still waters. We call them laborers in the Lords vineyard, as toiling yet peaceful husbandmen, watching the plant unfold and the vintage redden, with none to molest or make them afraid. So, in outward seeming, it may be; so, in much of bodily circumstance, it is. The priest no longer looks to the burning flames of martyrdom as the Lord's release of his ordination vows. His need not be the weary wandering of the Apostle, through perils by land and sea- God permits him to say, with no sense of shunned or neglected duty--" For I dwell among mine own people." Love, not hate--praise, not calumny--follow his footsteps. Yet, as the other night, in the course of the appointed lessons, I read to you these words of our text, my thoughts turned at once to that still chamber where, in patient submission, one was waiting for the Master's call. There is yet room for the good fight to be fought ; and the Christian priest--yea, the Christian man--is still what at the font of baptism he was sworn to be--" Christ's faithful soldier and [12/13] servant to his life's end." For there are lurking as well as threatening dangers which beset the pastor's path. Each must do battle now, as in the days of Paul, with sin and the temptation to sin. While the blood of Adam runs in our veins, the taint of Adam's sin is provoking the never-ceasing war. And while without are fightings, within are fears. The Christian pastor's work is never done. For not only does the course of time give new souls continually into his care, but he is compelled to sec all about him the encompassing hosts of unbelief, of error and of worldliness. It is not enough that he preach the gospel--he must live the gospel. St. Paul says herein, not "I have preached," but "I have kept the faith."
And this, perhaps, is the more difficult now, because the limits are no longer sharply drawn, as between hostile nations; but, as in civil strifes, none can surely tell who is friend and who is foe, nor when he may be straying within an enemy's outposts, nor whether treachery is not creeping in to his central intrenchments. The man of God must, indeed, shun the very appearance of evil--must beware lest his very purity of purpose may work the harm he dreads. The Christian soldier's battle to-day is in patient endurance, keeping firm ranks, and fixed submission to discipline, rather than in fiery valor, dashing on to conquest.
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." When I read these words, they bore my thoughts to him who is no more with us. Permit me to speak to you a while of him whom we mourn, and to bear a son's testimony to a father's worth.
Just at the close of the last century, on the 6th of December, 1798, was born AMBROSE SEYMOUR TODD, late Rector of this Parish--within a few months of the day when its first Rector closed his long and valuable incumbency of fifty-one years.
The son of a clergyman of high standing, and zealously devoted to the Church, it became Dr. Todd's purpose, almost [13/14] from the first, to enter the ministry. He has said that he could hardly remember when such was not his desire and purpose. Circumstances soon put it to a decided test. His father was cut off, in the midst of his usefulness, by a rapid decline of scarcely six weeks' duration, leaving his firmly but illy prepared to bear the expenses of educating two sons, and withdrawing them from active exertion. So great was the pressure, that another employment was Mound for the lad, and he was induced to enter upon it. A brief trial showed, both to himself and to his friends, where his heart was fixed, and he was suffered to enter the Cheshire Academy, then under the charge of the Rev. Tillotson Bronson, D. D.
There is no one to whom I can turn for the story of his early days: his old companions have passed before him. There remain only- the diploma, which attests his honorable graduation, and the degree of M. A. which, after he had passed the required examination, he received from Yale College, his father's Alma Mater. He closed his collegiate studies in 1819, and soon after, while a candidate for orders, was transferred to the diocese of New-York. While there, having just attained his majority, he was admitted to the Holy Order of Deacons by the late Bishop HEBART, in the church at Milton, Saratoga county, N. Y., and was almost immediately re-transferred to Connecticut, to take charge of the associated cures of Reading and Danbury. When this Parish became vacant, by the removal of the Rev. Jonathan Judd, Mr. Todd was called to assume its charge, and accepted the call.
Thirty-eight years are this day completed since he knelt before the same altar where, thirty-six years before that, his father had knelt, to receive, at the hands of Bishop SEABURY, the commission to preach and to baptize. Thirty-eight years are this day fulfilled, during which his life has been all your own. Its story is better known to you than to me; for what I have but heard, you--at least many of you--have seen and felt. Yet I may allude to facts, long since [14/15] occurred, which may have passed from your memories. At the time of his coming, the parish of New Canaan was within the same charge, and for one or two years it was his constant custom to mount his horse, at the close of the second service here, and to ride over roads far less easy of' travel than at present, to repeat his ministrations at that distant station. In addition to this, his cure extended over what is now Darien on the east and Greenwich on the west. And that was then no nominal labor. As I have gone with him upon his more distant visitings, there would be scarcely a house at which he had not at some time held services. For every funeral, almost every occasion at which believers were called together, was then held to be a fit time and place for the pastoral voice to be heard. Through the whole extent of this and the neighboring townships--a territory as wide as the See of many a primitive Bishop--there is hardly a place not associated with his labors.
Of course, such constant, self-denying, zealous work could not fail of its results. The old parish church wherein he and his father had received the laying on of hands was filled until the need of enlargement was imperatively felt. To build anew, upon such a scale as in his prudent foresight was necessary, seemed a rash undertaking. Some of you must remember how, against doubt and all disheartening counsels, his vigorous perseverance and untiring zeal carried the day, and gave to you this edifice, which, for its date, and the abilities of the Parish as then made up, is indeed an honor to the Churchmen of Connecticut, a beautiful and fit temple of the Lord. You remember, too, how, when further addition was necessary, he fought again the same battle, looking to the future, condemning and treading under foot the temporizing, petty expediency. For that was his eminent characteristic--the broad, liberal, far-seeing view which, from an assured faith and a settled conviction of duty, looks to the remote yet certain result. It was not his ease which he studied; it was the Church's good and the salvation of souls.
 But why do I attempt to tell you, my friends, of what you know so well? The stranger cannot teach the children aught of their father's worth. Let me not forget that I speak to those who have known no other pastoral care than his through so large a part of the chances and changes of this mortal life. His hand laid the baptismal waters upon your infant brows; he led you to the altar's rail to make and receive the confirming vow and seal; he has blessed you at the bridal; has been with you in sickness and bereavement; his words have unconsciously shaped for you the heavenward course of your lives, or held you back from the ways of evil. What can I tell you of him? His life is written in your lives.
Yet bear with me a little longer, while I venture to speak of him, For, brief as my acquaintanceship has been, compared with yours, it has had some special advantages. For it is a part, and perhaps no light one, of our trials as clergymen, that in a certain degree we stand alone. There is a constraint which many think they must feel toward a minister--partly, perhaps, out of a fitting reverence for his sacred office--which begets a corresponding constraint in him. Only to one another can we of the clergy altogether unbosom ourselves without fear of being misunderstood. When I came here to take the place of an assistant, three years ago, there were many reasons which might have made my duty a difficult one. For it could not but be painful to him --conscious, as he must have been, of full vigor of mind and of unabated zeal and love for his work--to be thus reminded, by the presence of a helper, that his physical powers were on the wane. As he had never spared himself; or let the infirmity of the flesh keep him back, when he could help it, from the due and punctual performance of any duty, he might well have been pardoned if; in the infirmity of our poor human nature, he had felt indisposed to acknowledge his own failing strength. There is reason to believe that the work of that cruel malady which has taken him from us [16/17] was already begun; and I know of nothing more difficult to meet with fortitude than the secret premonitions of such a danger. As I look back to that time--to the fatherly welcome he gave me--to the perfect absence of every shadow of wounded feeling--(where such might so pardonably have been shown)--to the tender solicitude with which he guided a young man's first experiences in the ministry--I feel that I, too, have a right to speak his praise, to claim the adoption of a son, and to remember with a filial affection that care and counsel. In the happy and endearing relation in which we stood, I have had ample opportunities of knowing how: thoroughly and entirely his heart was with his people. His was. no using of the ministry as a stepping-stone to public applause and, literary notoriety. No man could estimate him lower than he did himself. His distrust of his own powers, I think, stood often in the way of his fame. Yet no one could be more simply and touchingly gratified at finding that his efforts had been successful--that his words had roused the proper mood and worked the right result. And yet, even when referring to those instances which, to a pastor, are the most cherished of his memories, it was never to speak of his share in the matter, but to tell how much their--his parishioners'--course had gratified him. The thought was ever uppermost in his mind, that this or that one had come to the knowledge of the truth--not that he had brought them to it.
During the period of his ministry, he preached more than four thousand five hundred times, exclusive of extempore addresses and funeral discourses; performed over four hundred funeral services; baptized over five hundred infants and more than one hundred adults, and presented for confirmation three hundred and twenty-six persons. He also fulfilled the duties of Trustee of the General Theological Seminary and of the Berkeley Divinity School, at Middletown, of this diocese, and represented the diocese as a delegate to [17/18] the eventful General Convention of 1844. The degree of Doctor in Divinity was the sane year conferred on him by Columbia College. He was the first to propose and to organize the county meetings of the clergy of Fairfield county, and to his efficient aid and counsel they owed, for many years, their success.
Of the manner of his public ministrations I need hardly speak. The tender tones of that beloved voice are still in our ears, as, with faltering accents, which seemed to gain strength and firmness as he went on, he broke for us the Bread of Life, and poured the Cup of Salvation, on that blessed Easter Day when he last was with us. Few among you, brethren, knew how great the effort, how terrible the battle between the determined soul and the reluctant body--you only saw how complete the victory which love and duty gained when for the last time he stood before the altar, and when, as we looked upon him through the mists of our tears, it seemed as if we might say, with no irreverent using of the words of Scripture, "they that looked upon him beheld his face as it were the thee of an angel."
Yet one word upon these I must be permitted. The secret of his impressiveness lay in the fact, that what he did he felt to be real. No artificial and artistic study of an effective reading of the service could ever come up to that simple magic of his which is told in one sentence--"Into what he did here he put his heart." The burden of his ordination vows was ever upon him. He stood before you ministering in the sight of God. Hence, it was not formal; never, to the last, though those services must have been as familiar to him as the unconscious drawing of the breath--never, to the last, did they seem to be carelessly or mechanically entered into. It was then the same delight to him to minister as it had been during the whole forty years of his clerical life. For between him and you, those services were a constant and loving tie. What he did for you he did not as for strangers, [18/19] but as for children and friends. I remember once saying to him, as we rode together before the dead, along that pathway to where so many of his parish sleep around him--I remember saying that he must have preceded up that street a larger congregation than he now saw in life. "Yes," he said; "and I must soon pass the same way. I only pray hat I may meet them again--these, and those who remain--in heaven." And in these closing days of his illness, when, for the last time, I saw him, after the senses had refused to obey the controlling will, the final articulate words I heard him utter bore reference to his people. Speaking to himself and of himself--as, in the wanderings of illness we often come to regard ourselves as a stranger--speaking to himself, he repeated, "They loved him--yes, they loved him." And I felt in my heart then, as now recalling it, the assurance that his thought was, even in the dying weakness of his frame, craving after the answering love of his dear people--seeking comfort in the conviction that it was his.
It was my privilege--God be thanked for it--to see him almost daily during his long and often painful illness. And those of you who shared that privilege will bear your witness to me, when I say that it was, indeed, a blessed privilege, and a new and valuable addition to the lessons of the chamber of sickness. The patient sweetness, the constant thought of others, the lively sympathy with all around, never left him till the power of expression failed, till the silver cord was loosed, and the golden bowl broken. When the doors of his church were closed behind him, and his place here knew him no more, he made of his sick-chamber his church, and went with us in heart and voice, though unseen and unheard by us, in the succession of our services here. Fit ending for fit life!
In that persuasion, I ask, in conclusion, your attention, for a moment, to the latter part of the text: "Henceforth there is laid tip for me a crown of righteousness, which the [19/20] Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Beloved, that was--how often, none but the Father, who seeth in secret, knows--his prayer. By the love you bore him, I entreat you not to make it vain. As we may not doubt, so far as that belief can be assured to us in our mortal short-sightedness, but that it is even now given to him to enter into the rest of those whom Jesus loves, we, if we expect to meet him again, must be found among those who love the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Vain are our professions of friendship--vain, indeed, if they cannot endure to the giving up of one darling sin, to one steadfast and manly effort to follow our dear father departed in the way he so faithfully trod. It is of little moment that we utter our praises of his worth, if his example teach us not how to live and to die. The best appreciation of his steadfast toil will be shown in our hearkening to the message he constantly and fearlessly proclaimed: "When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive." His prayer was, that he might meet with us in the reunion of the forgiven and accepted in Christ. Let us not, by our perseverance in evil, make that prayer of none effect. Faithful as has been his ministry, it can but in Christ's mercy free him from the blood of all men--it can make no atonement for our sins and shortcomings. I look upon those whom he has warned and counseled many years--to whom his life, even more than his lips, has preached the gospel of the cross. I pray you, let it not be, let it not be in vain. When you come, dear friends, to lie upon that bed of weary anguish from which so often went up his prayers for you, or to meet with sudden surprise the shock of death unprepared for, can you say that there is laid up for you the crown of righteousness ? Have you that hope which looks to the Lord's "appearing at the [20/21] Last Day?" The way you know--it is not for lack of patient and faithful preaching that such knowledge is hid from you: what is wanting, if aught, is the will to own the loving Saviour's rule.
I have spoken to you in the name of one like ourselves--in the tender, beloved memory of one who, even as we, owned the need of a Mediator and Redeemer, and of the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. If that memory can move you--and who that hears me can think of it unmoved?--what must be the love that is daily soliciting our stubborn hearts? If we prize so much the human affection, what can we say to the Divine tenderness to which we owe this great gift of a pastor's, a friend's and a father's love? The servant is not greater than his lord.
My brethren! it is yet in our power to erect a monument to our departed friend, such as indeed he would have chosen. We can lay upon his fresh grave memorials more lovely even than those beautiful tokens of a people's affection which now meet the passing gaze. We can bear testimony to his worth and to our sense of his services even more fully than any outward demonstration will evidence. Noble and beautiful it was, indeed, when, through streets in which the busy movement of traffic was silenced--to the chiming of bells which spoke the approval, not of this parish only, but of the whole community, to the loveliness of his life--noble and beautiful it was, when his mortal remains were borne, through the silent sorrow of a mourning town, to their resting-place. But far more noble and beautiful, and according to his desire, will it be, when his people shall show, not by their lips only, but in their lives, that his life and ministry have not been in vain. As an accusing witness or as a welcoming friend we must see him, when next we meet. For, be his failures what they may--and no man but has many failures to record--be has spoken to our ears enough to make us verily guilty of the blood of our own souls, if we fail to [21/22] heed. For he, being dead, yet speaketh. Within these walls his presence can never be wanting while any remain of those who knew his pastoral care. And as we gather here, whatever shall be preached to you, God grant, beloved, that you forget not the lessons he taught, but treasure them as the words of wisdom and truth, for the bringing forth of the fruits of a sober, righteous and godly life. Then, indeed, in the Last Day, will there be for him that more than regal crown, that unfailing wreath of glory, in the presence of the souls redeemed by his care and washed in the blood of that Saviour to whose feet he led them.
May that Saviour, in his infinite mercy, grant to all of us that we shall be numbered in that faithful company and fellowship!
At a meeting of the Assistant Ministers, Wardens and Vestry of St. John's Church, Stamford, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted:--
Whereas it has pleased Almighty God, in His wise providence, to remove from this life the Rev. AMBROSE S. TODD, D. D.; therefore
Resolved, That while we accept with resignation this dispensation from our Heavenly Father, we deeply mourn the loss of a faithful and devoted Pastor and dear friend.
Resolved, That we desire to return thanks to Almighty God that He has been pleased so long to bless the ministry of our departed friend, to whom, under God, this parish owes its past and present prosperity; and while we mourn our exceeding loss, we rejoice in the hope of the acceptance of a faithful laborer in his Master's vineyard into that rest which lie prepares for His well-beloved.
Resolved, That we tender our sincere condolence to the family of the deceased, with our wishes and prayers that this affliction may be sanctified to them and to us by the grace of the Holy Spirit of Consolation.
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the family of the departed, and also be published in the Calendar, Church Journal, and Stamford Advocate.
GEORGE L. BROWN, Clerk.
At a meeting of the Assistant Bishop of Connecticut, and clergy attendant at the funeral of Rev. Ambrose S. Todd, D. D., late Rector of St. John's Church, Stamford, held in St. Andrew's Chapel, Stamford, June 25th, 1861, the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted:--
Whereas it has pleased God in His wise Providence to take out of this world the soul of our deceased brother, the Rev. Ambrose S. Todd, D. D., Rector of St. John's Church in this place; therefore,
Resolved, That, in the life and ministry of our departed brother, we recognize an example of patient continuance in well-doing, of humble, cheerful, diligent, conscientious fidelity, as manifested in his protracted pastorship, for thirty-eight years, of a single parish, and the eminent success which crowned his quiet and unassuming labors, worthy to be held up to the admiration and imitation of the Church in this restless and changeful age.
Resolved, That we sincerely condole with the family and parish of the deceased, and that a copy of these resolutions be sent to the family, and Wardens and Vestrymen of the parish, and that they be published in the Calendar, Church Journal, and Stamford Advocate.