"The idea of thy life shall sweetly creep
Into my study of imagination."
LOUIS SANDFORD SCHUYLER, son of the Rev'd Montgomery Schuyler, D. D., and Lydia E. Schuyler, was born into this world in the city of Buffalo, in New York, on the 2nd day of March, A. D. 1852.
His remote ancestor, Philip Pieterse Van Schuyler, came to this country soon after the Dutch occupation from a town of Holland which in still more distant time had either taken or given the family name, and settled himself where is now the city of Albany. "The Flats" first occupied by him is still in the possession of the family, and must be one of the oldest homesteads in the country. There he married (Dec. 12th, 1650) Margaretta Van Slechtenhorst, and after the fashion of those days begat sons and daughters in multitude.
Their third son, Arent, married (Nov. 26, 1684) Jannetie Teller, and removed to the city of New York, having a country-seat on the Passaic River, in New Jersey, near to the village of Belleville. The mansion, commanding one of the loveliest reaches of this charming river, still remains, though greatly changed by succeeding owners.
Casparus, the second son of Arent, who dropped the distinctive particle and gave its present form to the family name, settled at or near Burlington, N. J., where, in 1723, he married Mary Schuyler. He died in Burlington, His only son, Arent, passed his life in Burlington, where (May 19th, 1748) he married Jannetie Van Wagenen. Their eldest son, Arent, had large estates at Pompton, N. J., and married (Oct. 18, 1785) Hester Dey, only daughter of a gentleman whose seat was near to the present city of Paterson. At this gentleman's house General Washington was a frequent visitor, and her living descendants have often heard their grandmother speak of a dinner there, at which she presided, as the only lady present, with General Washington at her right.
The eldest son of this marriage, Anthony Dey, was born at a place then and now called Point Pleasant, on the Delaware, a little above Burlington. He married Sarah Ridge (Oct. 25th, 1810). He engaged in business in Burlington and afterward in New York, but before the year 1820 was settled upon an estate on the bank of Seneca Lake, in the neighbourhood of Geneva, N. Y.
His second son, Montgomery, was born in the city of New York. He entered Geneva (now Hobart) College, but was graduated at Union College, Schenectady. He married (Oct. 10, 1843) Lydia E., daughter of Nicholas J. Roosevelt, of Skaneateles, N. Y.
Many lines of collateral descent have been equally enduring, and the family record of public and private virtue and manly service to society and the State is known of all men.
Probably no man living cared less about mere social distinctions than the subject of this Memoir. Earthly attractions seemed not to touch him. He made himself poor for Christ's sake, and was a companion of the poor. Yet, while he completely performed the duty exacted of all men by Chinese law--that by their own deeds they should ennoble the ancestors from whom they sprung--it is probable that he had a just esteem of ancestral worth, and took it for an inheritance in trust to him.
Whether this be so, or not, the effect of much accumulated virtue showed in him, and it may have been a necessary preparation of him for the work he had to do, that other men should have wrought well. Perhaps many past deeds of modest, brave achievement matured his perfect courage, and long-forgotten self-denials occultly aided his sacrifice of himself. For though the ways of Almighty Power as observed by men seem sometimes devious, yet even the grace of GOD, ordinarily, follows the "line of least resistance."
At the time of Louis Schuyler's birth his father was Rector of St. John's Church, Buffalo, and in that church Louis was baptized by the Rev'd Dr. Shelton, of Buffalo, April 4th, 1852. His mother died in October of the same year, and within a month after her death he suffered a very severe illness, from which he was almost miraculously restored; a kind lady of St. John's Parish watching him with a mother's care. But for some time after this he was a delicate child.
In the month of September, 1854, his father resigned St. John's, and, having been married a short time before, removed to St. Louis, Mo., where he took charge of Christ Church on the first day of October in that year.
At the age of six years Louis was sent to a private school taught by a lady of the Parish. She has given her reminiscences of him as a bright, affectionate child, like all of that restless age at times mischievous, yet remarkably conscientious. It was her custom to give the children a lesson in the Catechism, to be recited on Fridays, and Louis never failed to remind her of this lesson, and was always prepared. Once after she had reproved him for some mischief she requested him to take a note to his father containing the quarterly school-bill. Louis at once frankly declared that he would not carry it if it said anything about his naughtiness. Even at that childish age he used to talk to her about his wish to be a Priest, and as he grew older the feeling only deepened, and it was his abiding thought that there could be no other choice for him.
These faint early traits are intensely characteristic--the sweet brightness, the transparent truthfulness, the passionate desire of holy things, the "hunger and thirst after righteousness." These, too, abided and deepened.
Louis was confirmed by Bishop Hawks on Palm-Sunday, March 30th, 1866, when he had just passed the fourteenth anniversary of his birth-day, and he received his first Communion on Easter-Day, April 6th.
His preparation for college was out of the usual course. Though but little over fourteen years of age, instead of doing as little work as possible, like many boys in that thoughtless time of life, no one could be more studious and diligent. To save his father as much expense as possible he took entire charge of his horse and carriage, and drove him on his round of Parochial visits; but under the seat of the carriage was always laid some book, which Louis eagerly studied while his father was making his visit. For an hour each day he attended an old Professor, and conducted the recitation himself by asking the teacher questions on all the points which he could not master, allowing no part of his studies to pass until he had searched it to the bottom.
He entered the Freshman Class in Hobart College in the Autumn of 1867. He left college to return to his home at the close of the first term of the Senior year. While remaining at home he continued his studies, and was enabled to pass the closing examination, and to be graduated with his class.
The following letter belongs to this period:
"SKANEATELES, May 21, 1871.
"MY DEAR FATHER: * * * I am very much better, so much so that the Doctor says he can see no reason for my not returning to college and graduating if I will not work too hard, but take things easy. I feel and look very much better. I am much stronger since I came to Skaneateles, not two weeks ago. I have gained in that time twelve pounds. When I left St. Louis I was not at all strong, and very nervous. When I reached Geneva I was much weaker and still more nervous, on account of the long, tedious journey. I might, however, have improved by rest, but I went hard to work, and the circumstances were not pleasant or encouraging. The first night I went to my room I turned out the gas and went to bed. * * * * The gas is turned off whenever the screw, or whatever it is called, is turned half-way--there is nothing to stop it. I turned it till it stopped, as is the case with all our fixtures at home, and in doing so turned on a full flood of gas, and slept in the room all night with that escaping. Had not the thought struck me (and it must have been dictated by GOD, as I had not the slightest idea that the gas was escaping) of opening the window, I should have been a corpse in the morning. Dr. E. said that that weakened my nervous system very much.
"Though I only came here two weeks ago, you would not suppose I was the same person, so much fleshier, stronger and healthier. To-morrow I intend to go back. P-- has kindly offered to take me into his room till Commencement. If I can I shall go and see R-- before Commencement, and afterwards start immediately for St. Louis, unless you have changed your mind and decided to leave for the Summer. * * * * * The Doctor says I must not take a position where I shall be kept in-doors all day. I think that Nashotah, if I can get the position, is altogether the best place for me, as after recitations are over I can take a good deal of exercise. To go on a farm would be all nonsense. I take no interest in farming, and finding nothing congenial in it, would be unhappy. The Faculty have been very kind to me. They will give me my degree if I am not able to work hard. Father, my sickness has done me a world of good, and I thank GOD for it. It proved to me how little we can depend upon ourselves; for I thought I was well, and had arranged all my studies, so I could have no difficulty in passing my examinations. When I thought I was strongest, then I was truly weak. I can now see how weak and frail I am; but I also see, the more I depend upon GOD, the stronger I am. I shall make a much better clergyman. I could not read much while I was sick, but I read the Bible when I could read at all. I received such consolation, nothing could have done me more good. I opened first at the XII. chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and again at the II. chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. What chapters could have been more consoling? 'Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth;' 'And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;' 'For by Grace are ye saved through Faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.' 'But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.' The chapters are full of consolation, and it almost seemed as if they were picked out for me, as I did not look for them.
"I did not know how I loved all at home until I was sick. Rev. Dr. R. called on me once and read prayers for me, and from that time I got better. My sickness has been better for me than years of health. I feel how dependent I am upon a Higher Power, and with GOD'S help always intend to acknowledge that dependence, and live in accordance with such acknowledgment. I can appreciate the truth of Tennyson's idea of a clergyman, and of the good he can accomplish, when, in the New Year's Eve, he says--
"'He taught me all the mercy,
For He showed me all my sin.'
"I shall expect to hear from you soon. Give my love to mother and all the children. Write to me at Geneva, as I expect to go there to-morrow.
"Believe me ever, dear father,
"Your affectionate son,
Of Louis' college days the Rev'd Dr. James Rankine says:
"He was in the college here during my incumbency as President, and I was very much interested in him, both on his father's account and on his own. I had some correspondence with him in regard to his completing his college course and his devoting himself to the sacred calling, but his letters have perished. Several times I had serious conferences with him in regard to the call to the Ministry--the obligations and the self-denial involved in so doing. The effect upon myself was a deep impression of his sincerity, conscientiousness, and generosity and nobility of heart."
What is said by Louis' intimate companions in college attests the accuracy of Dr. Rankine's judgment, and may be contained in the words of one of them, who writes:
"He was chiefly remarkable for one thing (a very unusual thing among students)--he faithfully endeavoured to perform every duty incumbent upon him as a student and as a communicant of the Church."
But, fortunately for the purposes of this Memoir, a record, made by a dear friend, full of detail and clear delineation, has been offered to illustrate this history, and will be freely used, here and hereafter. It speaks as follows of the College days, beginning in 1867:--
"When the Fall term began we took rooms together, about a mile from the College. He had entered as a Freshman, and I was then a Sophomore. And at this time he joined the Secret Society of which I was a member--the Theta Delta Chi. He was a quiet, rather reserved person, with occasional flashes of talkativeness. He was decidedly more devotional than are most young men at that age, and I used to consider his evening devotions portentously long. He had very strong home feelings, and one of the subjects of which he never tired talking was his father. And I think he was quite miserable from homesickness a good share of his Freshman Year. He stood more than fairly in all his studies, but his especial favourite was Greek. In that I believe he ranked as high as anyone in his class. But he did not seem to care for College honours, and, I think, never contended for any prize, though all his friends wished him to try for the Greek Essay.
"Though not the kind of man who leads in College politics, he was not devoid of interest in society and class matters, and was chosen Secretary of his class at the first election. At the same time he did not care near as much for College politics as I did, and we had frequent disagreements on the subject. He would accuse some of us of not being quite fair in our methods, and we would retort that he did not care enough about the results. * * * * The chief vices among College students then were, what I suppose they always are, drinking, and what St. Paul calls aiscrologia. From both these Louis was free, and in his freedom he was exceptional, for it was complete. There was nothing priggish about him on these points. He sang his song and drank his glass at our little suppers, but I never knew of his even verging upon excess, and his talk was always clean and pure. And in this he exerted a wholesome influence.
"At the beginning of Louis' second and my third year we took different rooms in one of the College buildings. I think that Louis enjoyed his College life much better after Freshman Year. His interest in all the matters of our little world increased, and while he lost none of his conscientiousness, he got rid of a certain primness, and was less disposed than at first to make things indifferent matters of conscience. I find in the 'Echo of the Seneca' (our College Publication) for that year the following:
" 'WHIST QUARTETTE.
"''70 ag't '71.
" 'M-- et S---- vs. S-- et C--.'
And it reminds me of many a pleasant evening. I find Louis' name also in the 'Theta Delta Chi Quintette,' and in the 'Sophomore Glee Club.' And this suggests his love for music. How much musical ability he had I am not competent to say, but I know that he worked hard at his music. It was either this year or the next that he used to practice on the pianoforte several hours a day. And it was partly because he wanted his spare time for music that he made no attempt to win College honours. He cared little for the common out-door sports, except sailing. That he greatly liked.
"In the Fall term of 1869 Louis and I took the same rooms in the College, and became chums. I look back on that year with much pleasure. We got along very harmoniously, and laid the foundations of a lasting friendship. We were both looking forward to the Holy Ministry, and our talk often took a theological turn. But as neither of us knew much theology, our arguments, for we held different views, resulted in agreeing to disagree. And after awhile we concluded not to talk much upon religious matters. Louis' position then was what would be called High Churchmanship, with a leaning toward Ritualism. I recollect that he got hold of Dr. Ewer's 'Failure of Protestantism' and rejoiced in it.
"In literature our tastes were congenial. We agreed in reckoning Thackeray the greatest of novelists, and 'The Newcomes' his finest work. Louis also set a very high value upon 'Esmond,' which I rated much lower than 'Pendennis' or 'Vanity Fair,' and we had many animated discussions over our preferences. But not all Louis' reverence for Thackeray could induce him to grant any honour to Fielding, whom we both began to read on the credit of Thackeray's praises. Louis never finished his first volume. I used sometimes to tease him by reading aloud Thackeray's praises of Fielding; but he never wavered, and regarded Thackeray's criticism on this point as one looks at the sole frailty of a dear master. I remember well the triumph with which he read to me one day what Charlotte Bronte wrote on this matter:--'They say he is like Fielding. * * * He resembles Fielding as an eagle does a vulture; Fielding could stoop on carrion, but Thackeray never does.'--Louis' favourite poet in those days was Shelley, and next to him came Tennyson, of whose 'St. Agnes' Eve' he was specially fond. But Thackeray was for him the great name in literature. And in this he never changed, for I remember discussing 'The Newcomes' with him, in our old fashion, a few days after he came back from England."--
Here ends for the present this just, discriminating comment, and free reminiscence, so
--"moving delicate, and full of life."
In the Fall of 1871 Louis became a teacher in St. Paul's College, Palmyra, Mo., and remained in that position for a period of about two years, while preparing for Holy Orders. He was an indefatigable student, and had a critical and extensive knowledge of Latin and Greek, which languages he continued to study with unabated vigour after he left college, that he might read the Fathers and Holy Scripture in the original tongues. Following this purpose, he began the study of Hebrew, and, as his teacher bears witness, made such remarkable progress in this study that in a short time he was able to continue without instruction.
He was admitted a Candidate for Holy Orders Sept. 18th, 1871, just after he began his duties as Teacher. These duties he most faithfully performed, and while it was the desire of his heart to be engrossed in theological study, he never slighted preparation for his classes, nor failed to take his full share of the necessary care of the students out of study-hours. But late at night and early in the morning he was devoting himself to the preparation for his life-work.
His whole course of study was pursued under these disadvantages. Yet when he came to be examined for Deacon's Orders he passed the three examinations for the Priesthood, and it was the testimony of the Examiners that in accuracy and breadth of knowledge of the various subjects required by the Canon, he surpassed every Candidate who had ever been before them.
Of Louis' life at St. Paul's there is extant a judgment of high authority. The Revd Dr. J. A. Wainright, President of St. Paul's, has fixed the portrait of that time with firm and delicate touch--in calm and sober, but in glowing, tints. Dr. Wainright says:
"I remember well my first impressions of him. He manifested that peculiar kind of enthusiasm which belongs only to men of highest endeavour, and which gives evidence of a character of no ordinary stamp--brave, manly, resolute, and of delicate refinement. His connection with St. Paul's College extended over two consecutive years, during all of which time his devotion to the routine duties of the institution, and to his studies preparatory to his future profession was marked by a singular zeal and exactitude which, for the most part only distinguishes minds far more mature than was his, and urged on by far greater experience.
"While it is doubtless well to study men in general for the purpose of arriving at principles which underlie universal human action, yet it is only in the fewest number of characters presented for our investigation that we come into contact with that attractive power or element, that peculiar symmetry and beauty, which impels study of the man himself, not in search of general principles, but as the living example of a more perfect human realization. The mere presence of a lofty character stirs the being. We feel ourselves to be under the influence of a power which of itself generates character, and from the study of which we do not simply gather material for the better management of the practical machinery of life, but at the same time catch a divine inspiration which does its holy work in the higher consciousness. My two years' intimate acquaintance and professional association with young Schuyler served but to impress upon my mind the conviction that his was a character thus suited for a model for study in and by itself, not because of any one trait, but because of its symmetrical whole.
"Conscientiousness was one great secret of his manhood. His faith in the Master was deep and fervent, and against everything which seemed to threaten it, or that practical life which only is its true exponent, he guarded himself with the most earnest scrupulosity. This spirit grew up with him, and strengthened as it grew. It attended him in the school-room no less than in the Church, at his devotions, and in all his social relations--everywhere.
"In the two years during which we were associated together I never knew man, or boy, or servant, ever to think of him as intentionally capable of a fault. He was known and felt by all to be an extraordinary--a pattern character. It was no one particular trait by which they were held, but by the whole beautiful and symmetrical manhood. He was noble in his thoughts--noble in his aspirations--noble in his ways and work. Taken all in all, as he appeared to me he was one of the best models--perhaps the best model, in a young man, of all that is good and noble and virtuous, that it has been my fortune to meet. I treasure his memory as I would treasure anything hallowing on my own personal character."
Louis' strenuous labour done at St. Paul's was often in illness and weakness, greatly due to the over-work, and his correspondence of that time reflects periods of great nervous depression. Or, to speak truly, does not reflect them--it gives note of them--speaks of them, frankly, in the freedom of domestic confidences--but the natural cry of weariness and gloom is tempered with a constant sweet note of patience and holy resignation. At one of these seasons he says--"I often look at that black clerical coat of mine and nearly cry, as I hardly expect to be ever able to be a clergyman. My life now looks altogether dark before me. I know not what I can do. I feel, though from an altogether different cause, as Newman must have felt when he wrote those beautiful lines--
"'Lead, Kindly Light,' &c.
It may be I am to be tried by not being allowed to see my hopes realized--not being allowed to enter the Ministry--and yet it seems strange that our LORD would keep one away, when His Church stands so much in need of Ministers. Pray for me. Your prayers, joined with father's and mine, may enable me to say 'Thy will be done.' And yet it is my duty to use such means to recover my health as GOD places near me. If Dr. C. sees no hope then I must be resigned."
This letter illustrates the whole development and transition period--the time of waiting and preparation. Even the careless eye may discern in it something far removed' from the confused and irrational impatience of the ordinary boy of twenty, disturbed not more by the opening pageant of life than by his own unfoldings of body and of mind--by turns frightened and confident, flushed with foretastes of impossible triumphs, suffused with potential virtues not to be, plunged in abysmal woe by failures never to be begun, centred in self.
With the early maturity of his spiritual sense Louis had already found a centre outside of himself. "My life now looks altogether dark before me,"--yet, "'Lead, Kindly Light!'" "It may be that I am to be tried,"--yet, "Pray for me!" it "may enable me to say, 'Thy will be done.'"
But the letter has a peculiar, deep and awful interest now, for we know it is the Leitmotiv announcing itself--the "leading-motive" of a noble Tragedy sounding in the Overture--the first intimation of heroic action, obscure and unrelated, then, but now significant beyond expression. And in the climax of it what solemn presaging of melodious grief--"It seems strange that our Lord would keep one away"!
The school-life ended with its second year, and Louis was ordained Deacon by Bishop Robertson, in Christ Church, St. Louis, on St. Matthew's Day, Sept. 21, 1873, his father presenting him. It is still remembered that, as he knelt in snowy surplice, just at the moment when the Bishop laid his hands upon the bowed head, a broad beam of soft yellow light came through the coloured windows and rested like a halo upon it. On this day Louis preached his first Sermon.
By the Bishop's appointment he was immediately assigned the care of two small Parishes, at Elleardsville, and Oak Hill, in the suburbs of St. Louis. The churches are about four miles distant from each other and he walked to and fro, serving alternately morning and evening. His first service at Holy Innocents, Oak Hill, was on the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, Sept. 28th. His note is "Present 8 adults and 12 children." His first service at St. James', Elleardsville, was on the succeeding Sunday, Oct. 5th, and the note in this case is "15 persons present." Precisely two months before his ordination Louis had been offered the Rectorship of a church in another city. The letter of invitation was flattering, and the simplicity of the refusal is characteristic. It runs as follows--
"I must acknowledge that I feel greatly complimented by the contents of your letter. As you say, the influence of your Rector would be felt through the whole State, and it is on this very account that you should be particular in the clergyman you secure, and hence it is that feeling my own inability to properly perform the duties that would devolve upon your Rector, I respectfully decline to undertake the work. This result has been arrived at not only from my own idea but also from the advice of friends who are older and have had more experience than myself."
In the care of his two Parishes Louis laboured indefatigably, spending days at each place, in visiting from house to house, gathering together people who had never known each other, and enlisting them in the work of the Church. At the close of the year at Elleardsville he had filled the church and presented a large class for Confirmation. His private notes of the services, which are continuous and minute, show the rapid growth in attendance on his ministrations, until in the latter half of the year the note is almost always "Large," or "Very large," or "Exceedingly large congregation."
He had not been so successful at Oak Hill. The population there was in large part of miners, who were very careless in matters of religion, and time was required to win their confidence and to impress them with the conviction of his sincerity and earnestness in seeking their good. At this time he wrote--
"I have made up my mind to give up Oak Hill when my year is out. I have done nothing here; and a year ought to prove my ability or inability to improve matters. If Elleardsville is not able to support me alone I shall take whatever place in the Diocese the Bishop may assign me. I cannot live in this way; in fact unless our Church can reach the poor and the ignorant I hardly think it has the right ring about it." The people of Oak Hill thought differently, and the few men of means there determined to call him to take the charge of their Parish solely. This exact reversal of his own plan occurred. On Sept. 29th, 1874, he received the call to the Rectorship of Holy Innocents, Oak Hill, and on the following 14th Deer, he resigned St. James', Elleardsville.
A playful letter to his little sister, seven years old, who was his special favourite, and of whom he often spoke as his "little housekeeper," reflects his life at Oak Hill at this time. The date is Sept. 4th, 1874.
"It seems ever so long since I saw you last, and father tells me that you have not grown fat. I thought that while you were away from the city you would eat all the time, and come home red-cheeked and weigh ever so many pounds. I have been disappointed in this, but you are well, I hope. You ask me what kind of a time I had in S--------. I had a splendid time, and although I was only gone three weeks I gained eleven pounds. I got home in the hottest week of the season, and the heat took off a good deal of my flesh. Father got home last Saturday morning and preached in his Church Sunday morning. After I got through with my service at Elleardsville I drove down to his Church after him and brought him out to my house. Father preached for me in the evening and stayed all night with me in my little house. Last Wednesday and yesterday I was at home with him, but shall not see him again for nearly a week. If the weather gets very hot I shall go in for him, and make him stay with me in the country for awhile. I wish the people would get him an Assistant, so he could build a house out here and live in the country. Don't you? Then we could see each other every day. I thought I would leave Oak Hill, but the people do not want me to go. I guess I will stay. When you get home you must ride out to see the old Monk."
Though the salary at Oak Hill was small he could live upon it, and he was willing to make the trial of another year. He occupied a little cottage of two rooms, and there, by himself, with his books; with his hours for retirement, devotion, and study; and a full allowance of time given to visiting among the poor, the irreligious, and the ignorant, he was happy; for he soon began to see that his work was telling for good. He had his Bible-class for young and old, and the young men, in particular, began to gather about him, seeing that they had a friend who could sympathize with them and knew how to meet their doubts, and give them the instruction they needed.
In the Autumn of 1874 typhoid fever prevailed among the poorer classes of his parishioners and he was unsparing in his devotion to the sick--not unfrequently watching by sick-beds through the whole night to administer medicines when relatives and friends, from fear of contagion, had deserted the sufferer. A lady of the Parish relates the story of a child which Louis found lying sick in the room of a cabin in which its father had died. He felt assured of its death if it were confined in that poisonous atmosphere.
He applied to several of the neighbours to have the sufferer removed to their houses--but for some time without avail. At last he found a poor woman who was willing to open her house, but she had no bed-- spreading a coverlet upon chairs as the most comfortable provision that could be made. Louis could not consent to this, and went to one of his wealthy parishioners to secure a mattress and proper covering. The request was readily granted, but the man-servant could not be found. Louis procured a wheelbarrow and with his own hands conveyed the bed and bedding to the cabin, where the poor sufferer was comfortably provided for, and in due time was restored to health.
The power of devotion like this could not fail, and the poor people began to flock around him, and the Church was filled. From this time his private notes of the Services and attendance, attest the success of his labours. From the humble beginning of "8 adults and 12 children," the record is "Most excellent congregation"--"Crowded"--"Not room for one more"--"Large number of men"--"Church full, several not able to enter"--"Twenty or more outside"--"32 received the Holy Communion"--"35 received"--"52 received," -- &c., &c. The young men and boys took an interest in the music, and every week met for practice. Very soon they had hearty, plain, music, in which the whole congregation could join. The next year Louis presented for Confirmation the largest class in the Diocese. The Bishop in his Address to the Diocese thus speaks--"I might have expected more results in some places, but in others the returns have been surprisingly large. Of these I may instance St. James' Church, Macon City, and the Church of the Holy Innocents, Oak Hill."
The following extract is from a newspaper of the time:
"On Sunday, April 25th, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Robertson confirmed thirty-two persons in the missionary parish at Oak Hill, where but a few years ago church-going was the exception, not the rule, and where yet there is ample room for improvement.
"On the following Sunday the Rev. Dr. Schuyler, of Christ Church, administered the Holy Communion to fifty-seven persons.
"This result speaks volumes for the efforts of the young Rector of this Church, the Rev. Louis Schuyler, who by his earnestness, conscientious attention to the duties of his charge, and truly Christian character, has won the confidence, respect and esteem of the entire community."
This story of successful work, with its apparent free play of native and acquired powers in a chosen field, its pure pleasure of effort, and just reward of well-earned praise, pictures achieved content and peaceful, happy days.
And though so many outward seemings of men's lives belie the inward part, yet in this life, it would be thought, the outward visible sign and appearance, and the thing really to be signified, must be in strict accord. Yet during these days of steady diligence, in which he was so helpful and comforting to others,
Louis was himself sorely in need of help and comfort. In his College days he struggled with bodily weakness; at St. Paul's, mental depression increased the burden; and here, at Oak Hill, the sensitive spirit suffered in unison with mind and body. He conceived the gravest doubts touching the things which, of all other things, were dearest and most important to him, and it is quite certain that any possible form of affliction would have been counted light by him, as compared with the distress attending his perplexity over the vital question--"What is Truth?" Being a Teacher, not to know what to teach---not to know that he had not already taught wrongly--not to be sure that he had any right to teach--to think it possible that his service was hostility, his obedience, revolt--to feel that his eyes might be "holden" not to know JESUS even in the Breaking of Bread, yet to fancy that he knew Him--not to be sure of the grace of any Sacrament--not to know that his own Offices were not impieties--to tremble over souls which he had won--let any man who has something of Schuyler in him say what all this means. No other can,--not the most flexible and sympathetic mind.
Louis' own treatment of himself displayed the essential robustness of his nature. Doubtless it would have been often easier to give over the battle, and to rest on either side in assumed conviction and content, but his course was stern inquiry, joined to manful diligence in what he had to do. The one day's duty, at least, lay straight before him, always. That he wrought out, utterly, and worked a double task therein. For after many days thus spent in trial and endeavour it pleased Almighty GOD to give His servant consolation, and on the heights of duty light came to him, and rest, and peace.
Of this trial the Rev. Dr. Wainright says:
--"The things that enter in to disturb the faith of many never came before him as difficulties. His faith in the Master as his Master seemed always to be hid away beyond the reach of difficulties. His perplexities arose in regard to the how and the where his faith might best be realized. Those who plunge into things of the Spirit as most often plunge into things of the ordinary life where less hangs on the direction of mind and hand than on the impelling enthusiasm--such can hardly appreciate the difficulties which spring up in the mind of the more sensitive soul when it asks itself the question where does the Master bid me work--under what banner am I to fight, so that I may neither hinder nor mar the victory? It is not the getting of religion with which the lofty soul concerns itself. In the possession of the germs of faith its only question is where is the appointed school for its proper development? In other words, where is the Church, and what are the proper limits of its Authority? These, and like questions never trouble men of mere surface convictions--but into the higher order of soul-culture they enter as the warp or the woof. It does make a difference with every such soul what it believes and it does make a difference with it where it believes. Herein, religiously, lay young Schuyler's only trouble and how earnestly he struggled to find his rightful position all who knew him have long since learned".
Another of Louis' friends says--"At one period of his early manhood he had a somewhat narrow and sectarian view of the Church, as a local and individual entity, practically limited to the Anglican Communion, and bound as to doctrine and worship by the late traditions of the reformation-period, or the still later and more corrupt precedents of the Georgian era. He was wont to identify many ancient Catholic doctrines with Romanism, and inclined to accept the judgment of those who sternly censured aught seemingly tending toward a higher esteem of the Church, her Ministry, Sacraments, and Worship.
"But study and thought soon overcame this tendency. The reading of the Fathers opened his eyes to the truth that many doctrines and practices which he had before assumed to be identified with Romanism had been, on the contrary, for ages, the undisputed possessions of the Christian Church. The revulsion of feeling attendant upon the acceptance of these convictions was radical. The ground of his early opinions seemed to be slipping from beneath his feet. Reviewing the history of his convictions, seeing that he had now to reject as inevitably false many things which he had held certainly true, the suggestion presented itself to him that perhaps, after all, the Roman Communion, which he perceived held many of the ancient doctrines, might be the true Church of Christ. The historic associations of the Roman Church, its arrogant claim to be the Mother and Mistress of Churches, its impressive external unity, the devotion of many of its spiritual writers, the self-denial and personal holiness of its Religious, the conciseness of its theology, all combined to impel a devoted spirit, ready to sacrifice itself upon the altar of duty, to break every tie and bond, and give itself in perfect submission to that authority which is ever waiting to claim and utilize the devotion of ardent souls. Even the faithful Church teaching which his wise father, a learned Presbyter, had given, was inadequate wholly to counteract the tide which bore him onward.
"The strongest reactionary influence of all was the attitude of many in his own Communion. He was shocked at the constant denials of truths which had been for ages accepted by the universal Church of GOD, at hearing the sacred Ministry depreciated, the Sacraments degraded to empty forms, barren of grace and life, and those Clergy who would fain conform to the Primitive rule of doctrine and worship stigmatized as disloyal, before a multitude too ill-instructed to distinguish Catholic truth and practice from Roman superstition and error.
"The Revd. Dr. Schuyler, though deeply grieved at the condition of his son's mind, rightly judged that a full and wide discussion of the issues would be sufficient to make clear the path of duty to one anxious only for the truth, and with this conviction he advised his son to visit Racine College and confer with the accomplished theologian who presided at that seat of learning. This advice was immediately followed. In this conference it soon began to appear to Mr. Schuyler that all the doctrines of the undivided Church are maintained and defended by the ablest theologians of the Anglican Communion, and are parts of that deposit of faith which that Communion holds in common with the rest of Christ's Church. The issue was Mr. Schuyler's entire conviction of the truly Catholic position of his own Church, and his resolution to maintain the unchanged and unchangeable Faith within her borders. In this acceptance and action he felt that he was holding inexpugnable ground, and from the stand thus taken, though often saddened and discouraged by contact with sectarianism in the Church, he never afterward varied."
Of his conference with Louis the Revd. Dr. De Koven kindly made full notes for this Memoir, in the preparation of which he felt deep interest; and they are given entire, precisely as he wrote them. They are almost the very last work which GOD permitted him to do in health and strength; and some of his subsequent correspondence on the subject was feebly written in pencil from his bed of suffering.
Humanly speaking, it was his salutary influence, joined to the wise paternal advice, that preserved Louis to the Church whose dear possession he is today. For the human assistance in this time of trial was by no means general or manifold. On the contrary, some of his own household of faith had assured Louis that things which he knew to be marks of the Church of GOD were not to be found in the Communion to which he and they belonged. Fortunately it cannot be known how much of this method would have sufficed to convince him that the Church of his Baptism is a pretense, for the rude prescription of amputation as a remedy of all disorders found no favour with the better-accomplished and more humane physicians, and the malady which lack of attention, or of insight, or of knowledge, had dangerously heightened, yielded, as it could only yield, to the gentle appliances of their rational and tender skill.
Dr. De Koven says--
"In February of 1875 he came to see me on serious and important business. The time is more vividly impressed upon my mind, because at that time in every Standing Committee, clergymen and laymen were discussing the soundness of my doctrinal views and in many cases condemning me unheard. It seemed like a curious comment upon the agitation and talk, the ignorance and prejudice which prevailed, that in the midst of it all, he should have come to me to help him in his great doubt and perplexity with regard to the claims of the Church of Rome.
"I found him at once gentle and firm, devout, simple-minded, full of earnest purpose, and bent only on following GOD'S will, and in accepting the truth, even though it involved the sundering of many ties.
"He had fallen into an error, which in matters of controversy is often the error of the generous heart. He was by far too ready to accept the statements made by clever controversialists on the Roman side, because they were against the cause to which his heart and affections were bound. He was afraid perhaps lest the love he bore his father, the ties of childhood, the education he had received in the Church, might make him too partial a judge; and so some matters which would not bear the test of history, or of Catholic testimony, seemed to him as more powerful arguments than they really were.
"He felt too, that which has driven many a devout soul before now to the Church of Rome, namely, that while he believed with all his heart what he knew to be the doctrine of the Catholic Church in all ages--
(I) The necessity of submitting the individual will to the Authority of the Church; (2) the Sacramental life of the Church, and in especial the blessed doctrine of the Real Presence of our dear LORD in the Holy Eucharist; (3) the power and work of the Priesthood; (4) the necessity of a life of deep penitence, self-surrender and sacrifice; (5) the Communion which exists between living and dead in the Body of Christ; he nevertheless had heard much of that talk, which says, 'if you believe such doctrines, you have no place in the Episcopal Church, you are Roman Catholic at heart, you ought to go where such things are allowed, not forbidden.'
"I do not mean that this had been his peculiar misfortune, on the contrary from those nearest to him few ever had a more loving sympathy, but it was the talk of the day, the burden of Church newspapers, and just at that time especially prevalent.
"Thus in his case as in that of many others, his very loyalty and honour and sincerity, and absence of guile, were made use of, to drive him away from the Church of his Baptism. It has been an argument alas too prevalent, and many a soul has been wounded thereby in the 'house of his friends.'
"Besides meeting these two difficulties, there were two arguments which I felt it useful to mention to him: 1. The question between the Church of England and Rome if at all entered into is a difficult one. It involves many questions requiring the careful study of history, the investigation of ecclesiastical antiquity, the decisions of Councils, the testimony of the Fathers and similar points. A person by Baptism a member of the Church of England, or the American branch of it, by education and Providential guidance belonging to it, a Minister at its Altars, (he was at that time a Deacon), could not conscientiously abandon the Church, unless the case were clearly proved against her. The presumption ought to be wholly in favour of the Church GOD had placed him in, and the case against her should be proved beyond a peradventure to make a son abandon his Mother. Mere difficulties should only be an incentive to fuller study, more earnest effort, and greater patience. I pointed out to him that as some one has said 'ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.' Oftentimes the difficulties that one sees in regard to the position of the Church of England when duly considered, only strengthen her claims, and are an argument in her favour, and not against her. I therefore pressed upon him the duty of faithful obedience to the Church of which he was a Minister, until he had ceased to doubt, because he was certain the Church was wrong. In other words a man Providentially a member of our Church could not honestly abandon her, so long as he was in doubt about her. 2. I urged upon him what I believe to be a profound moral law, which to neglect, is to do damage to anyone's character; namely, that it is not right to abandon a Church of which one is a member, until one has wholly tried her spiritual privileges, honestly sought to live up to them, and found them lacking. To abandon any Church without having done this, would be in most cases to have followed not the leading of duty, but the influence of the neglect of it. People always undervalue what they neglect. I especially urged this reason because in deeper realization of what the Church is, in the fuller understanding of her doctrine and practice, in the appreciation of her in her Catholic affirmations, rather than in her protest against Roman error, men are in this country in various stages. Some, too many I am sure, have never been able to live up to the Catholic life the Church bids us live, because the opportunity has not been given; and others who have had the opportunity have neglected it. In the former case Rome has sometimes carried captive the noblest souls because they have thought that Catholic practice was only to be found in her; and in the other, the poor and the feeble, and the unspiritual, have taken refuge in her because they have failed to serve GOD and to love Him, and to lead the Catholic life they might have led.
"Hence two sorts of converts to Rome, those whom we ought never to lose, and those whom we lose only because they are no loss.
"I felt from his account that he had never as yet fully lived up to the Catholic life of the Church, because he had not been able to embrace it fully, perhaps through no fault of his own. In some such arguments as these the day he spent with me was passed.
"He was, I believe, greatly impressed by the considerations presented to him."
The following letter from Louis to his Bishop is like him in its frank confessions and calm disavowal of any hidden apostasy.
It is dated "Oak Hill, Feby. 24th, 1875"--a few days after the interview recounted by Dr. De Koven--and completes the record of this period of doubt and grief:
"RT. REV. AND DEAR BISHOP: Having heard that many false rumors are in circulation concerning myself, and knowing that some of them must have reached you, it seems but right for me to inform you of the truth. Of course any such notion as that I have been baptized in a Roman Catholic Church, or am a Roman Catholic is false. How any such story could have arisen is to me a mystery. You know, however, that I have been in doubt as to the claims of that Church, and of the honesty of my remaining in our Church with my belief concerning the Holy Communion.
"Perhaps I might never have thought of the Papal claims, had I not discovered that my convictions of the Sacraments were in accordance (or nearly so) with what is authoritatively taught by the Roman Church. I found that the Greek Church in the Council of Bethlehem, A.D. 1672, had taken precisely the same view as the Roman Church. The Church of England, and our own Church, only, disputed the truth of their interpretation. Could I believe that GOD would allow two hundred and eighty millions of the three hundred and fifty millions to be in the wrong, especially when the seventy millions were not at one, and had no definite doctrine on this subject. And it occurred to my mind that both the Roman and the Greek Communions were admitted by my Church to be part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which we profess to believe in. Had my Church any claim to be the whole Church, or could it be asserted that it was without corruption? There are some with whom the fact that there was a disagreement concerning the Sacraments would have but little weight. It may be my misfortune to lay too much stress upon our faith in this respect. However, that is neither here nor there. The knowledge that the Roman Church taught what appeared to me the truth on this point had too much weight with me. I seemed to forget the late dogma of infallibility in my anxiety to be among those who might sympathize with me. I seemed to argue in this wise--and the fallacy is now apparent to myself--the Roman Church, even with the dogma of infallibility, is more Catholic than our Church. I forgot for the time the Greek Church, without this Papal infallibility. I forgot also that it would hardly be right for me to leave a Church that I thought to be in the wrong to join another Church which I also believed to be at fault. This unreasonableness, however, I endeavored to do away with by bringing myself to believe also in the infallibility of the Pope. All the Church History I had ever read went to favor its utter untruth. But the doctrine of development came to my aid. By forgetting the discordance evident in the interpretations of the Fathers--my mind being full of the idea that a verse might be entirely changed in meaning by the superior wisdom of the interpreters of to-day, i.e., the developed wisdom--I almost argued myself into a belief in Papal infallibility from the verses--'Thou art Peter,' &c.-- 'Feed my sheep.'--'I have prayed for thee.' For the moment I did not perceive that such a development did away with tradition. The strength of arguments afforded by the stand of the Greek Church from the beginning was also lost sight of for the time being. Then again in my hopes of finding certainty of doctrine I lost sight of the fact that such development would be the foundation-stone of the greatest certainty--for what may not be made a dogma, to-morrow, inasmuch as the right of making such dogma is now placed in the hand of one man? I had believed in the infallibility of the Church, represented by a General Council, but now in the Roman Church such infallibility has been placed in the Pope.
"It seems utterly impossible to make such an idea agree with the history of the past. From these few pages,--though the sentences may only bring to light in an obscure manner the motive which first induced me to think of becoming a Roman Catholic, and the reason which now offers an unconquerable barrier to my going,--you may judge of my present position, viz., that I expect to remain in the Church in which I was born, and in which through the Providence of GOD I have been called to the office of Deacon. I do this willingly, and believe I can work heartily because I have been convinced that I need not attempt to destroy my faith in the Sacrament, such a view being lawful. This note may show the working of--you may say--a weak mind, but you must confess of an honest mind. I suppose that I shall be judged, not by what may appear to be the truth to others, but what appears to be the truth to ourselves. I cannot help thinking that I have come to a right decision--at all events I could have come to no other in the knowledge I now have. Undoubtedly the love I bear my father prevented my acting at a time when perhaps otherwise I might have acted, but may not all this have happened in the Providence of GOD?
"I solemnly promise to confer with you--as my Bishop--if any doubt again troubles me, and such conference will of course take place before I allow such doubt to induce me to take any step."
A letter to an intimate friend says--
"The Roman Catholic gossip had some foundation. The only trouble was that they counted their chicken before he was hatched. Honestly, if Dr. De Koven's school of thought were not allowable in our Church I should have to leave, for I cannot believe otherwise. My mind is becoming more and more convinced that the old Catholic Faith is the only one that will supply, or claims to supply, what we expect from the Saviour."
For more than a year from this time no unusual circumstance disturbed the steady labour at Oak Hill, excepting only an invitation to a field of wider importance and greater outward consequence. The answer to this was as follows: (The date is "Aug. 31, 1875")
"Your telegram reached me last evening and I take this--the first--opportunity of writing to you. I cannot be with you next Sunday, for the same reason that I declined last Sunday. I judge from your letter to me that my preaching would be considered upon 'trial' and that by officiating I should put myself among the number of those who might be called seekers for the Rectorship. It may be prejudice on my part, but I could not make up my mind to do such a thing. I know that your intentions in asking this of me were of the kindest character and I thank you heartily for your kindness. When I received your letter the idea that there was a possibility of my obtaining a good Parish was so pleasant that for the time being I forgot my own unfitness for such a position and telegraphed an answer which would imply anything but dislike of the idea. But second sober thought and convictions of duty would incline me to change my mind completely. I do not feel as if I could take any step toward causing a favourable opinion of myself in your Parish, both because I know my own unfitness and also because the work I have under my charge at present is doing so well as to make me think it my duty to remain for some time with my little Parish. I am younger, I suppose, than you imagine, and have had but two years' experience in the Ministry, and even that experience has been gained in my present Parish among the very poor, and would be of but little assistance to me in such a Parish as yours. I cannot help feeling pleased by the thought that anyone should think so highly of me as to mention my name to you."
On the First Sunday in Lent, March 5th, 1876, Louis was advanced to the Priesthood by the Bishop of Missouri, in Christ Church, St. Louis. His father presented him and the sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. De Koven. He remained at Oak Hill through Lent, when, on account of impaired health arising from overwork--and suffering also from malarial fever--he relinquished his Parish and left for the East, having been invited by Bishop Doane to a post in the Cathedral at Albany.
His resignation of the Oak Hill charge was the occasion of the following letter:
"PARISH OF HOLY INNOCENTS, "
"LOUIS S. SCHUYLER.
"Rev'd & Dear Sir: The Committee of the Vestry to whom your letter of resignation was referred with the request to express to you in its acceptance the pain and deep regret of the entire Parish at the sundering of the relation of Minister and people enforced by the condition of your health, really feel their inability to properly set it forth. You came to us nearly three years ago and found the Parish without a Rector, and those best able to take an interest in its welfare living temporarily elsewhere. The attendance upon the Services of the Church had almost ceased. Struggling against this condition of affairs, and part of the time in ill-health, you persevered steadily, winning the respect, esteem, and love of all your people. Your presentations for Confirmation have exceeded the aggregate of all before in the life of the Parish.
"Your influence upon the younger people in the Parish for good has been most extended and its effects will be felt long after you have passed away.
"Upon the older people no young man ever gained and held to such an extent their respect and affection growing, increasing, and continuing, during your stay.
"Upon the occasion of your last service the spectacle was presented of a Pastor and his people in tears. You go from us with an earnest wish in every heart for your health, happiness, and success, wherever you may be called, and the hope that the time may come again when the Parish of Holy Innocents may be under your charge.
G. W. PARKER,
His last service at Oak Hill was on Easter-Day, April 16th, 1876.
He served in All Saints' Cathedral Chapel, at Albany, during May and June. The months of July and August were apparently spent in vacation. At least there was a change of scene--for his private notes show services in Christ Church, Pompton, and St. Paul's Church, Edgewater, (New Jersey) during July, and he was, in August, at Watkins, at Kinder-hook, and at Skaneateles (New York).
The following note gives body and form to one of these visits:
"For us both it was very pleasant. We strolled about the hills or boated on the Lake during the day or talked over our old topics in the evenings. Louis seemed to me to be growing more and more of a Medievalist in his theological views, but he had grown very gentle in asserting them. I gave him a copy of Keble's Sermons on the Baptismal Office, and also a volume of Newman's Sermons, and in return he gave me Aquinas' Sacrament of the Altar, of which he spoke highly as a devotional work."
His health continued delicate. A letter to his mother dated August 2d, after mentioning illness, says:
"I am better, now, however, than I have been for a long time, and in this climate expect to become stronger and healthier all the while. I do not think it would be right for me to return to St. Louis for a year or two; perhaps then I may. I want to get settled and have a little home and try to help father. I try to be patient. Both my ill-health and my Churchmanship have been against me thus far, and perhaps they will prevent my ever succeeding well. I would not worry so much if I thought father could afford to count me as dead in so far as financial aid is concerned; but I do not believe he can, and I feel that he has a right to expect me to repay some of what he has paid out for me in the way of education."
At the end of August Louis returned to Albany, and was assigned to duty at some neighbouring stations of which he gives an account in a letter dated Octo. 15th, as follows:
"You will notice from the heading that I am at Fonda, a little village on the New York Central R. R., about forty miles from Albany. It is a lovely place in the most beautiful part of the Mohawk Valley. I can reach Albany in about an hour and can thus attend to my Canonical duties. My services, however, are not only in Fonda, but also at two Mission Stations,--Canajoharie and Fort Plain. They run in the following order: One Sunday, morning and evening at Fonda. The next Sunday, morning at Fonda-- afternoon, Canajoharie--evening, Fort Plain--three services and a journey of thirty miles. Pretty hard work, is it not? You must also take into consideration the fact that I have to return to Fonda that night, and am not able to retire till the 'small hours' of Monday morning."
In November of this year his father paid a short visit to Louis. He found his health in great measure restored and soon learned from conversation with him that his heart still clung fondly to his people at Oak Hill; and that he was receiving letters from all classes of his old Parishioners, begging him to return to them.
The result of this given in the following letter, addressed to the same dear friend to whom the letter describing his work in the Mohawk Valley was written. The date is Nov. 22d, 1876:
"I have received a call to return to my old work at Oak Hill--and have accepted. * * * I feel so happy to think of again undertaking and being able to carry on my old work among the poor. Beside, my work there has unfitted me for parish work anywhere else. * * * I shall have to fight against two things, i.e., I am so sensitive that I shall imagine two things--first, that in the West the people will think I return because I did not obtain sufficiently pleasant work in the East, and second, that the people here will think that I have acted in a trifling manner in leaving so soon. But I have simply Missionary work, and no parochial ties."
In another letter of almost the same date he says:
"My old Parish has called me back again. * * * Bishop Doane has written me that he does not want me on any account to leave his Diocese. I have lived so long in the West, however,--and as I can go back to my old Parish and old friends, and carry on the work begun there, I hardly think that I shall hesitate for a moment when the question of health may be decided."
Bishop Doane's own characterization of Louis is that he was "a man of single-hearted devotion."
On the First Sunday after the Epiphany, Jany. 7th, 1877, Louis began again his work at Holy Innocents', Oak Hill.
In a familiar letter dated on the 22nd of that month he excuses delay in writing and says--
"I have called upon seventy families, beside writing sermons and having the regular Services. The people seem very glad to see me back and show their good will by regular attendance upon the Church Services and by coming in large numbers."
Louis took up his duty with all his wonted energy and devotion.
The Female Hospital, under the charge of the City Authorities, was about two miles from his house, and had no Chaplain, nor any regular religious ministrations. Louis therefore had a Service and preached there on Sunday afternoons, and Fridays he devoted to visiting the sick in the wards after the Litany and a Lecture. He did a good work there, and his visits were looked-for with the deepest interest. At the same time he had Evening Prayer with Sermon during the week at St. Luke's Hospital, in the city, and, not content with a perfunctory service, he sought out individual cases, and was instrumental in engaging many of the patients in religious things. The Sisters at St. Luke's have the most affectionate and grateful remembrance of him. That his own people did not suffer, meanwhile, is clear from his diary and notes of official acts. His Lenten Services for 1877, for instance, are noted as follows--
Cottage Lectures Tuesday evenings, Litany and Matins Wednesday mornings, Lecture Wednesday evenings, Evensong and Lecture Thursday evenings, Litany and Evensong Friday afternoons, Confirmation-class Friday evenings, Evensong on Saturdays. In the Holy-Week, two daily Services, with Celebration on Maundy-Thursday, and the Three Hours' Agony preached on Good Friday.
The following letter of May 20th, 1877, finds place here. It was written to a dear familiar friend:
"This morning (Whitsun-Day) I shall offer the Holy Sacrifice and shall have you and your consecration to the Priesthood specially in mind. I say consecration--for what is an Ordination but a consecration of our whole selves to GOD? Next Sunday, at the time of your Ordination I shall also remember you. Neither shall there be any forgetfulness when the Ember-Day prayers are said. I know that the knowledge that these Eucharists are to be specially for you will bring great consolation.
"Whatever else I might say would be rightly but of little consequence. GOD bless you!"
On the Second Sunday after Trinity, June 10th, 1877, Louis was at the Church of The Ascension in Chicago, in which Church a Mission was then preached by Brothers of the Order of St. John Evangelist. It has been thought that here he first conceived the idea of joining that Order, but it seems more probable that he had for some time nourished this purpose, and that his meeting of the Cowley Fathers simply hastened his conclusion, for it was but two days later when he wrote the following letter, addressed to the friend whose record of their College days has been quoted in an earlier part of this Memoir:
"Your kindest of letters was duly received by me. * * * * Since my return I have had an exceedingly pleasant time. The people seemed delighted to have me back and have shown their satisfaction by filling our little Church continually. Moreover they have borne very well several new notions (i.e. they seem new to them) on my part,--the wearing of alb and chasuble--weekly Celebration, early, and lighted candles. There was a Confirmation-class of seven adults, three of them lately baptized and all heads of families, presented a short time ago. * * * Nevertheless I expect to leave in the Fall, and go to England for two or three years of study and retirement, and then, if found worthy, become one of the Order of the Evangelist Fathers. All my thoughts have been tending that way and my theological opinions will find sympathy among them. Their life is my ideal and I know that I should follow it. Now do not write me the most discouraging, lecturing sort of a letter imaginable. Either write me a congratulatory letter, or let the subject alone."
(His correspondent says that he did write a letter of congratulation and received a cheerful answer, which cannot now be found).
It is certain that Louis gave to this subject long and prayerful deliberation. He consulted his father, who would greatly have preferred his remaining in a Parish, as he had shown himself admirably fitted for Parish work, and was most beloved by his people. But Louis seemed so fully convinced that the LORD had called him to a strictly religious life, and that he could thereby more fully consecrate himself to his beloved Master's service, having truly but one thought or purpose--to give himself wholly to his dear LORD --and though loving his parents, brothers, sisters and friends, yet willing to leave them all for the work to which he felt that he had been called--it was not in his father's heart to withhold his consent or refuse his blessing. Louis spent the Summer diligently in his Parish, remaining until after the close of the Diocesan Convention. His last Service at Oak Hill was on the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, Sept. 23d, 1877. Upon Louis' second departure from Oak Hill his people again addressed him in the following tender letter of farewell:
"PARISH OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS,
"LOUIS S. SCHUYLER.
"Rev'd and Dear Sir: For the second time it devolves upon me, as Chairman of the Committee to whom was referred your letter of resignation, to express to you in its acceptance the profound regret of the Parish at having again to part with you,--their beloved and esteemed Rector--after so short a reunion. This time, fortunately, it is not ill-health that causes this severance of the relations of Pastor and People, but that at the call of what you believe to be a sacred duty you go forth to a wider and different field of labour. That your ministrations will be productive of great good in the future as they have been in our midst in the past is our earnest wish, and with prayers for your welfare and happiness wherever you may go, we bid you farewell.
"Very truly yours,
"G. W. PARKER,
The night on which he left his home for the last time can never be forgotten. Just as he was leaving the house he turned and said--" Father, I cannot go without your blessing"--and reverently knelt while that blessing, with choked utterance, was given.
He sailed for England in the month of October. His early letters home were cheerful and restful, and he seemed to feel as if he had found his vocation.
But after a brief space his health began to fail, and he went for a time to the Clergy House of Rest, at Malvern. The following letter is from there, and no excuse will be offered for presenting the whole of its vivid detail. The date is Dec. 15, 1877:
"My Dearest Mother: You will notice from the heading of this letter that I am not at present at Cowley. The Father-Superior insisted on my taking a three weeks' rest. You can see from my handwriting that my ordinarily bad chirography has become something abominable. The damp weather has had a very singular effect upon me. My right hand is so numb at times that I can scarcely use three of the fingers at all. You will have as much trouble in deciphering this note as you would a schoolboy's of eleven, but I want you to hear from me, and I am going to write to-day, though I only promised to write once in two weeks; and last Sunday I wrote to father. I am at lovely Malvern, staying at the Clergy House of Rest. I am the only invalid at present, however, and can have perfect quiet and rest. The clergyman in charge of the House is a delightful gentleman. Though away from Cowley, I am under obligations to say all the Offices for the hours, and also have a line of study mapped out for me; so I cannot be said to be loafing, and the only advantage in the change is that of the climate. The air here is clear and bracing, while at Oxford it is heavy and very moist.
My day's work is as follows:
5:30 A. M., Rise.
8 A. M., Celebration of B. Sacrament.
9 A. M, Breakfast.
9:30-10:15, Matins and Terce.
10:15-11:15, St. Augustine's Confessions.
11:15-12:15, St. Chrysostom in Hebrew.
1:30 P. M., Dinner.
7:30, Tea--when I have time for study or general reading.
9 P. M., Compline.
"Every day is the same, and I love the very sameness. I am within a ten minutes' walk of the most beautiful Church in the world, St. Leonard's, at Newland. Unless I am quite wrong it seems to me I can remember you speaking to me of this Church, and saying that Miss P. had been there. I remember your speaking of the fact that there was but one Sister there who composed the whole Order of S. Somebody or other. There is but one Sister here, but she belongs to a large and influential Order, the St. Margaret Sisterhood of East Grinstead. There is only need of one Sister in the work, or there would be more. I have had the delightful pleasure of Celebrating there three mornings of this week. I can not describe the Church to you, but will only tell you some of the features in it that especially charm me.
"In the first place, and rightly mentioned first because nearest the Altar, upon the Re-table, there is a large figure of our dear Crucified Saviour, with other figures representing those present at the Crucifixion. The work is perfect, and the representation perfect. Our Saviour's figure is almost life-size. Just before entering the choir, on one side, is a memorial of the Blessed Virgin's obedience, and on the other, Eve's disobedience. There are many other striking things in the Church. You may be sure you are remembered at the times I Celebrate, or attend the Holy Sacrifice. On my way down I stopped over a train at Worcester and saw the Cathedral. I spent two hours in the building, and walking around the Cloisters, and wished I had a whole day to devote to it. I shall not attempt to describe it. It is simply magnificent, though not considered by Englishmen one of the most beautiful of their Cathedrals. I shall probably be sent the last few days in Advent and for Christmas-Tide to preach and assist a Priest living in a village some little distance from here, and to reach his place, I shall pass through Hereford, and see the most beautiful of all Cathedrals.
"The ivy-leaf I enclose is for father, and was picked by me from one of the walls of the Cathedral at Worcester. I forgot to say that the Crucifixion in Newland is not a painting but a piece of carved workmanship. To-day (Dec. 15) the roses are in full bloom, not only in greenhouses but out of doors in the garden. I can open the windows of the room in which I am sitting, and pluck any number of beautiful roses. Other flowers are also in bloom. The holly is perfectly charming. I can not attempt to give you any idea of the beauty of this place. In the morning after Celebrating in this heavenly Church, having offered the Holy Sacrifice and having partaken of the Divine Humanity of our Saviour, walking towards the house I lift up my eyes, and find the Malvern Hills bathed in a light that must borrow some of its tints from Heaven, for its very brightness melts me almost to tears, and I think of the True Light. My life is very happy. I seem to be very near our JESUS; though how He can approach me, so sinful as I am, or how He can call me to follow Him, I often wonder.
"In the afternoon I wander over the hills, but on account of my weakness I have not yet reached their tops. I want to tell Gertie and Sophie and Pat, what I saw the other day. Walking along the street I looked up, and there was trotting along near me a little donkey--there are ever so many of them here. I never remember seeing any in America except perhaps at a circus. Well, the donkey was not all I saw. A nurse was leading the little fellow, and in some way two baskets were fastened on his back, one hanging over one side, and the other hanging over the other side, and in the baskets were two little babies, one dressed with a blue cap and cloak, and the other with red cap and cloak. The whole affair was quite picturesque. I know if Phil, were walking with me I should have some trouble in keeping him from fighting battles for me. Not only children laugh at my habit, but even grown people show their disgust and hatred. But they do not know what it means, and there is One ever near, whose opinion I care more for than for theirs. While wandering over the hills I picked some ferns, which I shall enclose either in this letter, or in my next--also some flowers picked in the garden (not hot-house, but in the open air) only a day or two ago. These will let you know that I think of you very often. How I do wish that you and father might come over for a time. I am so very happy in my life and so glad I had the strength to. bear the terrible wrench that it cost me to leave my home and friends, and give myself up to the Religious Life. In my cell I still retain the little picture you gave me, also Rodriguez, and my Prayer Book, that you and father gave me at my Confirmation.
"Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.
"Aff'tly and devotedly your
Though rest and change of air brought some refreshment and renewed strength, it became apparent to Louis and to Father Benson, on whose judgment and the matured opinion of a competent Physician Louis implicitly relied, that his cherished plan of life must be given up.
There is no record and no suspicion that his sweet patience failed in this sore trial of it. The following letter from on board the "Batavia," coming on shore is a clear reflection of his mind. The date is Jany. 23d, 1878:
"Dear, darling Father: To-morrow we shall reach New York. Father Benson advises me to give up all thought of the religious life for the present at any rate. I gave way entirely in the Retreat and for several days was quite broken down. The life is very severe, and the climate of England did not agree with me.
"I have the satisfaction of knowing that at the time Christ called me to give up all and follow Him, I did leave my friends and home and all. Now He calls me still to follow Him, but to work for His poor.
"Father, I do not expect I shall live long, and would like to give up the remainder of my life to Christ's poor. I expect to live an unmarried life--indeed I have bound myself for a time to the unmarried state, and it was only because I was advised not to do so that I was kept from making it a life-vow. When I get perfectly strong and well I shall take a vow in your Church where I was ordained both Deacon and Priest. GOD indeed grants me consolation at this time (when I am about to give up that life to which I had thought myself called) by again allowing me to work near you and the dear ones at home.
GOD is ever merciful to me and blesses me more than I deserve. I feel especially near Him and our Saviour JESUS. I know that in whatever way my life is mapped out for me it will be in accordance with GOD'S will. It has occurred to me to try and form a Society of young American Priests to be called "The Society of the Sons of JESUS" but whether GOD will give me strength to carry out this intention I know not. I have gained wonderfully by this sea-voyage. I feel quite a different man from the one who came aboard ship at Liverpool. I shall soon be able to be at work again, though I have the belief that it will not be for a long time.
"May we meet very, very soon. GOD bless you all.
"Your most aff't. son
The following letter of the Rev. Arthur C. A. Hall aptly sums up the history of Louis' connection with the Brotherhood of St. John Evangelist:
"I first met Louis Schuyler in June, 1877. Father Maturin and I were preaching a Mission at Chicago, in the Church of The Ascension. Schuyler came from St. Louis, where he had a small parochial charge, and spent the greater part of the twelve days with us. He had long been desirous, from a boy I think, to give himself up to a life of entire dedication to our LORD and His Church, in a closer and stricter way, I mean, than is necessarily involved in the Sacred Ministry. It was, I think, chiefly on account of this desire that the Roman Church, with its numerous Religious Orders, had presented great attractions to him. He had not thought of a life of Religious dedication, in obedience to our LORD'S Counsels of Perfection, as being practicable for him in our Communion.
He yearned, too, for more freedom and elasticity in teaching and working, than our Parochial system ordinarily allows. In a Brotherhood of Mission-Priests he thought he would find (and had his health been stronger I doubt not he would have found) a sphere at once for the realization of his spiritual aspirations and for the exercise of his Missionary zeal. So strongly did he feel impressed with this vocation that at the end of the Mission he resolved to offer himself as a Postulant to our Society as soon as the way should be open to him. The way was opened sooner than he had ventured to expect, by his father's pious and trustful consent to his plans. The sacrifice of parting from his father was keenly felt by Louis, and nothing, I am sure, but a clear conviction that he was acting in obedience to a higher than any earthly claim would have induced him to face the separation. But he would not offer to the LORD of that which cost him nothing. The same spirit of reality in self-sacrifice was shown in his preparations for going to England, when he parted with all but what was necessary, in order to meet his travelling expenses. In September he went to England, to the Mother-House of our Society, at Cowley St. John, Oxford, with the hope of being admitted to the Noviciate after a short time. But it proved that his health was not strong enough. In fact the sword was too keen for the scabbard; and the scabbard had not been properly cared for. Before he came to us, while he was working alone and trying to work out things by himself, he had, I fancy, been indiscreet in ascetic practices, which had overtaxed his physical and nervous strength; so that he was really unequal to the exercises of Community-Life. The disappointment of being obliged to return to this country after a few months must have been severe.
It pleased Almighty GOD to accept the offering of his life in a different manner.
"But the lesson remains for the Church, wisely to make provision for such ardent souls; neither to repel them by indifference, nor in fear or jealousy to cramp them with fetters or restraints; but lovingly to welcome and guide their enthusiasm and devotion. They would be Apostolic in life as well as in doctrine. The Church surely has need of their prayers and labours, and they of her guidance and sympathy."
When Louis reached his brother's house in New York his brother was shocked at his appearance--so thin, and worn, and wan, and feeble in his step. He remained for two months at his brother's house, the object of the tenderest care and devotion, watched in his diet and his exercise, and comforted with unfailing love. The following letter reports the consequence of this affectionate solicitude. The date is March 27th, 1878:
"The two months that I have been in New York have done me worlds of good. In fact everybody tells me that I do not look like the same person. I have passed through a great deal and thank GOD very heartily for the trial, though it seemed hard indeed to bear. The Rev. Mr. S. of Hoboken has told me very plainly that I had better not attempt to work there unless I am perfectly strong and well. He can't afford to have a half-well man, neither will the work to be done there admit of a sick man's attempting it. I am therefore looking for lighter work, but cannot yet tell whether I shall find it here or not. * * * Last Monday (the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary) was a specially joyous day to me, as that Festival, to my mind, is one possessing the very loveliest charms. I offered the Holy Sacrifice that morning at St. Mary's, a Hospital under the charge of the Sisters of St. Mary. To-day I attended a service very touching indeed--"The Stations of the Cross." Next Monday I shall again Celebrate at the Hospital. The Feast of the Annunciation is one which should be kept with great joy, and the Octave too, but it hardly seems consistent with the character of the Lenten Season to take eight days away from the forty which should be given to fasting. This does not seem altogether like Lent to me, as Father B. has strictly forbidden my fasting--his words in a letter were, " do absolutely nothing in the way of fasting." On Saturdays I Celebrate at another Chapel of the Sisters of St. Mary. * * * My very best love to all.
"Your very aff't son,
The reference to "the Rev'd Mr. S. of Hoboken" shows how soon Louis was wanted for fresh labours, and how little of rest and recreation he purposed for himself. The Rev'd John Sword writes--
"I asked Louis to come here immediately after his return from England, early in February, I think. He thought he would be well enough by May ist. But when May ist came his coming was indefinitely postponed, though not abandoned. It was thought he had better first take some lighter work. I told him I would try to spare him all I could, but he would be sure to find more work than the strongest of men could do, and finding it to be done I feared he would try to do it.
"When he was asked to go to The House of Prayer it was agreed that he should try his strength there, and after a month report to me. In August it was definitely settled that he should come on September 1st."
There is in existence a very gentle, loving, beautiful letter, relating to this time, written by a lady to the Rev'd Dr. Schuyler, and by him now dearly treasured. All of it that concerns this Memoir is here given:
"After his return from England we first met Louis at his brother's house in New York, where he welcomed us most cordially and made an appointment to visit us and talk with me on some theological subjects. He came at an early hour. * * * We entered upon a conversation which became a part of my soul-life and which I shall carry with me through the earthly pilgrimage, into the Beyond. He talked of GOD'S love to us and our love for our Heavenly Father,--of the partaking of the Blessed Sacrament, and the preparation to be made before presuming 'to eat of that Bread and drink of that Cup'. He spoke of his life in England, and gave several incidents that had occurred there. Of his entire faith in GOD'S goodness and his longing to live the highest, truest life for GOD and his fellow-beings. Of his determination to deny himself all but the necessaries of life, in order to devote his salary to the good and comfort of others. He spoke most lovingly of the home-circle and expressed his earnest desire to visit them all, but said he must wait and have patience--as he felt that the proper time for doing so had not yet come and he must not allow his inclinations to guide his judgment. He asked after various members of his family, and said that his reverence and deep appreciation of his father's goodness and Christian life were such that he considered him one of the best of men, so that he longed always to do what he thought right. He mentioned the little ones at home several times with tenderest affection, and spoke of his wish to deny himself every luxury in order that he might personally advance their pleasure and improvement. He referred to the great kindness and attention he had received from his brother and sister (in whose house he was then staying) in words of earnest appreciation.
"He spoke, too, of the deep things of the Gospel, of religion, and unquestioning faith, of the beauty and satisfaction of an inner life of holiness, of the necessity of obedience to GOD'S laws, and of the peace of such self-surrender,--until I looked upon his rapt countenance with awe and amazement, for the light upon his face seemed inspiration.
"Those hours of spiritual converse and instruction were golden hours to me. He remained to luncheon, and said it was like a visit home again. Later we asked him for some music, and for more than an hour he spoke to us in Beethoven's Sonatas and Mendelssohn's ' Songs without Words'. Upon our asking for a repetition each time we valued the interpretation more. A Largo of Handel he seemed especially to enjoy, and this led to a conversation on organ-music which was very interesting to us. He seemed to be able to read classical composition at sight, and on my expressing my surprise at not having known before that he possessed so rare a gift, he answered, with the humility of a little child--'Did you not know? I do not pretend to anything especial in music, but it is a great pleasure to me to hear it, and to play, if I can give pleasure to others.' He gave us an exquisite rendering of Mendelssohn's 'Consolation,' and I can never again listen to those strains of melody, so full of pathos, without recalling to my mind the picture of that day.
"He spoke of his pleasure in anticipating his work which awaited him in the Church of The Holy Innocents in Hoboken, and seemed eager to renew his priestly labours. Before he left us he travelled in memory over past years, even to his childhood, and said it seemed so strange that he should have counsel sought from him by those who had known him in his infancy. I told him of my first impressions of him when his curly head could scarcely be seen above the pew of Christ Church, he was so young a worshipper. Yet he had remained always perfectly quiet and his great, earnest, questioning eyes were always riveted on your countenance when you were ministering at the Altar, while the spiritual face of the tiny child was not more strongly indicative of the 'pure in heart' than was the holy countenance of the young Priest of GOD when I looked upon it for the last time on this earth, as we spoke our words of farewell.
"Truly that was a 'white day' in my memory, and when I thought on the gentleness, the strength, the unselfishness, the goodness, the entire uplifting of soul, the living in the very presence of our LORD, the wisdom and the bravery, the purity and the humility of the life it had been my blessed privilege to know, I felt that all the world was better, and that I had truly been with one of GOD'S Saints--a man in the world, but not of it--a servant of JESUS CHRIST and filled with the HOLY GHOST.' "
The reference to Louis' musical accomplishment makes it proper to say that many persons who knew him well were ignorant of it--so great was his reserve touching any talent or acquirement of his own. A gentleman who was much with him,--who is, himself, ardently fond of good music, and likely to know if his friends are so,--affirms that until he read the foregoing letter he had never fancied that Louis knew anything whatever of music.
At Easter Louis was considering a request to take temporary charge of the Parish at South Amboy, N. J., but the Rector of The House of Prayer, in Newark, being compelled to seek recruitment of impaired health in another climate, urgently desired him to occupy that place during the Summer, and Louis, considering only where he might most be needed and be of the greatest service, accepted the latter charge, at considerable pecuniary loss. Meantime, as the departure of the Rev. Mr. Goodwin was delayed until June 18th, Louis served in Grace Church, in Newark, during a brief absence of the Rector thereof, from the 20th of May until about the middle of June, when he took charge of the Parish of The House of Prayer.
What he was to that Parish, and to individual souls in it, will never be wholly known until the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed. Something of it will appear, here and hereafter, during the course of this Memoir.
The following letter places him at the beginning of his work there:
"RECTORY OF THE HOUSE OF PRAYER,"
"NEWARK, June 21st, 1878.
"My dear Father: I have been quite busily occupied and it did not seem possible that so long a time had elapsed since I wrote to you. For three weeks I was at Grace Church, while Dr. Harison was away, but now I have come to The House of Prayer for two or three months.
"Mr. Goodwin has gone to England, and will not probably be back before September. Should he come sooner I should be very glad, for I have accepted permanent work, and shall go to it just as soon as I am free from my engagement here.
"I shall not have more than I can live upon, but until you have absolute need of my assistance I feel that I must obey GOD'S call and give my strength and time to work amongst His poor.
"I shall be an assistant in the Parish of The Holy Innocents, Hoboken.
"My best love to all.
"Your aff't son,
The following letter shows him looking forward to his permanent work and anxious for its sake. This anxiety is tempered, too, with sweet human affection and innocent desires of friendship--the whole so ruled by a sober and devout will that it is a dear likeness of the man. The letter was written to a familiar friend, in Holy Orders. The date is July 5th:
"My very dear Brother: I was very happy indeed to receive your letter, for it gives me hopes of your coming. It is not well, however, to urge personal feelings of friendship, because we should judge according to what is plainly our duty. Do not, however, choose a work simply because it seems to be the least pleasant in its surroundings, for GOD gives us plenty of opportunities to deny ourselves even when we expect greater comforts. St. Thomas A Kempis says that we cannot go anywhere where there will not be a cross for us to bear. Please, therefore, do not allow anything to keep you from us if you find it possible to think that GOD allows you to come. I know it would be the life you long for, and on that account am I principally afraid you will not come--because you might think that you should not gratify this longing, and should choose work less congenial. * * * I know, however, that you will alone be guided by what your conscience dictates, and shall pray that, if possible, GOD will make it plain (if it be His will) that you may be of great service in carrying out the work at Holy Innocents. ***** And if you come bring with you the banner--or one like it--we all so admired--the work of one of your sisters--the banner of the Holy Innocents' Class. * * * Tell your mother that you will be well cared for at Hoboken, because we are going to use judgment in regard to our living. Do come. I pray that it may be GOD'S will.
"Ever your afft Brother,
"Louis S. SCHUYLER."
The following letter is the sequel. The reference, in both, to a certain banner, is preserved for reasons which will appear to a careful reader:
"RECTORY OF THE HOUSE OF PRAYER,"
"NEWARK, July 28th, 1878.
"My dear Brother: Your letter was duly received. I had not allowed myself to count too much upon your coming, but tried to commit the whole matter into GOD'S Hand. Therefore I was not sadly disappointed as I should have been if I had allowed my natural feelings to guide me. You have decided under good advisers and after prayerful thought, and I know GOD has been with you. Who may be the third man at Holy Innocents I do not know. * * * The hope has been cherished by me that the thought that you imagined your sister had in mind may be realized, for that banner was so very, very appropriate in its conception and so very beautiful in its finish. Mr. Betts was with me last Sunday evening. He will be over some time next month to stay a day or two. Remember me kindly to all at your father's when you write to them. We may find our lot cast in the same work (D. V.) some day.
"Believe me ever
"Your very aff 't Brother,
"LOUIS S. SCHUYLER."
Louis' Sermons were quiet, simple, meditative. They were very real and direct, because he never spoke for any effect not proceeding from some true and efficient cause. He saw with the inward eye of Faith, and well discerned, therefore, evidence of things otherwise unseen. The following portion of a Sermon is a fit illustration of his preaching. It is upon "The Communion of Saints"--from St. Luke xv. 7--"I say unto you that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth:"
Speaking of the "Dead in Christ," he asks--" How then have they gone from us? Are they ignorant of our welfare? Have they, by the change caused by death, lost their love for us, and their anxiety for our reaching that Eternal Life of Peace? Oh, should we not rather think, that as they have now a truer knowledge of that Glory that is to be given for the holy--as they know more surely the SON of GOD--so they would be more sincerely and intensely moved by their love for us, and pray for us the more earnestly? The Word of GOD has revealed to us the fact that the dead are not unconscious, that they still remember the living, that they pray for them. What is Death? It is the separation of soul and body. But this does not affect the ties that bound together the members of CHRIST'S Body. The Communion of Saints is something spiritual; and that which makes its effect enduring is the fact that CHRIST sustains it--in His Humanity is this alone to be found--'As when one member of the Body suffers, all suffer, so when one member is honoured, will all the members rejoice with it'--'Ye are the Body of Christ and members in particular.' The Body is united and Grace conveyed from one member to another and from the Head of the Body to those in Heaven and to those upon earth, by the HOLY SPIRIT. The Communion of Saints is that life which they in common derive from CHRIST. This life is manifested by Love, intercessory prayers, giving of our own, that others may be benefitted, aiding in all ways, those whom we can aid, laying down our life for the brethren--these duties concern our fellows--and towards GOD, devotion, praise, offering the Sacrifice, glorifying Him by the love we bear the brethren, seen, in our praying for them and doing what we can to aid them in attaining eternal life. The holy do not receive grace for themselves alone; it is given them that they may sacrifice themselves the more for the welfare of the struggling members of CHRIST.
"Now this blessed devotion to GOD'S interests and those of others, comes from CHRIST. That many are joined together in heart and mind because of the same devotion arises from the fact that CHRIST receives into His Holy Humanity, all who are baptized, and partake the sustenance necessary for continuing that Divine life, in the Holy Communion. He, therefore, is the source of all Grace, the link which binds all together, the Body which contains all. This Communion, therefore, is spiritual, deriving its strength and endurance from CHRIST. Can death destroy the spiritual life? No. Neither does death destroy that Communion which is the blessed privilege of the Christian Church. The spirit is but taken nearer GOD, is gifted with higher graces, is filled with clearer and brighter light. That true love for our soul's welfare does not die; but as the soul is enlightened by a truer knowledge of GOD and of the precious reward He has for us, there will be greater love of GOD, and therefore a greater love of us: the prayer for our soul's salvation will be only the more importunate.
"And if we love our brethren, knowing that if they have died in a state of grace they will finally be saved, though now they may not have received the unspeakable joy that GOD will award them; we shall be moved by the same love that induces others to pray for us, and we shall pray for them, that GOD'S light may shine upon them, more and more brightly unto the perfect day."
What careful thinking-out for his hearers of all the mystical structure and wondrous working of "the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth," making "increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love"! What love in himself, burning, for all souls! What plainness of speech, reaching after the simplest understandings with this great "prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus"! And what august unconscious prophecy--"This life is manifested by Love * * * laying down our life for the brethren. * * * The holy do not receive grace for themselves alone; it is given them that they may sacrifice themselves the more for the welfare of the struggling members of CHRIST"!
Thus he preached, and thus lived, and so his living was a preaching, also. The gravest and most serious things of this world--poverty, sin, pain, remorse, grief, --were daily known to him, and so were daily about him, and with him, the concerns of the future world, all of which are serious and grave to a man walking in earthly sunlight--yet he was the farthest removed from gloom--the cheeriest and merriest heart imaginable, full of quick brightness and honest fun; patient of a weak joke, even, and when a really good one caught him, it seized and shook him with inextinguishable laughter.
But the whole man was so attuned by Grace that there were no discords in him; though this very time of returning health and new freshness of body and spirit--when every prospect pleased--dates the following witness to his inner life.
That remarkable book, the Biography of Henri Perreyve, by Pere A. Gratry, is filled by Louis with pencillings, and one passage to which he would especially direct his own attention is marked by his hand with the Sign of the Cross,--and these are the words-- speaking of the Priesthood--"But the essential, the Sacerdotal purpose to which it should be used, is to die. Such death must be begun in chastity, continued in mortification, consummated in actual death, which is the Priest's final oblation, his last sacrifice." And again--"What if they (Thy Priests) fear it, shun it? If they dread its foreshadowing, its far-off sound, as though it were a fearful, intolerable vision? What if, instead of counting death as the most solemn of our festivals, the most worthy sacrifice of our whole life, we fear it?" And again--"And thus, Lord, I presume to ask of Thee grace to love death, and since it is not well to be taken by surprise, by the unforeseen approach of the grim shadow, I pray Thee that Thou would'st fill my mind with a continual, incessant meditation upon death."
The following Resolutions were written-out in August, 1878, while Louis was in charge at the House of Prayer:
(1.) Before reading,
(2.) Before speaking on religious topics,
(3.) Before instructing,
(4.) Before any Office or religious Service,
(5.) Before visiting the sick, or,
(6.) Before going to talk with one on the subject of conversion--and pray that I may go and work in the strength of the Name of the LORD JESUS--forget myself, and do all for GOD.
"To be very cautious and careful in handling the Holy Vessels at all times, especially during the Celebration and after the Consecration."
And the subjoined list is given (with many blanks) to show how minute and careful was his personal and pastoral prayer:
"Those for whom I should intercede.--Father's family--Relations at Skaneateles--Staten Island-- New York--Buffalo--Marshall--Miami--Green Bay--Sister -------- -------- -------- ------ --Sisters of Good Shepherd--Sisters of Holy Child JESUS--Sisters of St. Mary--The Bishops of---- and ----. The Priests of those Dioceses, also of the whole Catholic Church, but especially -------- -------- -------- ----------Penitents -------- _____ -------- -------- --The sick in Female Hospital (especially --------) and St. Luke's Hospital--For one inclined to embrace the Faith, Mr. -------- --For the poor, especially for those of -------- also in that Parish the rich--The mourning ,_____ ____, ____ ._____ ____ ----Those baptized by me--Those presented by me for Confirmation--Those who have been fed by me with the Bread of Life--My godchildren -------- -------- -------- especially at Sext pray for ---- and ---- that they may be conquered by the power of CHRIST'S love."
"With continuing good health and, indeed, increasing strength and brightness, Louis passed the heats of Summer in the ceaseless labours of Minister-in-charge at the House of Prayer. Late in August (on Tuesday, the 27th) he left that Parish, followed by the love and respect of every person in it, and attended by the tearful farewells and blessings of his poor. It will long be remembered how the poor people of the Parish, in particular, mournfully beset the Rectory on the day of his departure. Those in whose house he lived while in Newark are used to men of godly ways, and they say that their witness of him may be summed up in the single expression--That he was the holiest man they ever knew.
He made a very brief visit to some kindred, and at the end of the week was at his post in Hoboken. On Sunday, Sept. 1st, he began his service in the Church of the Holy Innocents there. The following letter was written on the next day and reveals the new mise en scene--
"Yesterday was my first day as a Missionary in the parish of The Holy Innocents. The same name, you will notice, as that of my Parish at Oak Hill. The services were very delightful, indeed. Of course I have been here several times before; but the services never seemed quite so pleasant as yesterday. The Parish is for the poor, and is in a part of the town where the poor live. There will be three of us-- Priests--and we are to live together just across the street from the Church. The rooms are quite comfortable, though of course quite plainly furnished. There will be plenty of work, and yet we shall not be overworked. What is of special advantage is that I shall not have the responsibility, as I am not in charge, but an Assistant.
"There will be some souls, however, over whom I shall have special care. The salary is not large--$300 above the expenses of board. We have the two upper stories of a house--the lower is a store. The rooms are (on the second floor) kitchen, dining-room, bedroom for servant, general reception-room, oratory; on the third floor, three small bedrooms, library, common-room, part of which is to be screened-off and a bed placed for any visiting brother Priest. There are no carpets, and the furniture is very plain, nevertheless the home will be extremely pleasant. We go to our rooms to-day, and shall begin to live there immediately. The third member of our little company has not yet come, but is expected the middle of this month. This work among the poor is the work to which I have always felt myself called, and am so happy in finding that others' opinion agrees with mine. I shall never lament my going to England, but shall ever be thankful for it, and for the illness also that followed. I have the greatest confidence in Father Benson's judgment and would be willing to do what he advises. In a letter which I received from him a week ago he says: 'I have no doubt that your calling is to be a secular Priest.' He therefore, does not advise my looking forward to the Religious Life, but to active work in a parish. I have received this as a sure expression of GOD'S will concerning me, and shall therefore devote my life to our LORD as a parish Priest.
"If GOD should hereafter clearly indicate any calling of me to a life of greater denial and self-abnegation I should by His Grace follow His Guidance. This is enough about myself, but I feel assured that you and mother and all will be glad to learn how happily my work has been ordered by our Lord for me. You don't know how worried I am about the yellow-fever. If it reaches St. Louis please write for me and I will come and assist you for a time. I am sure that I can obtain the time (for I have already spoken of it) and there is no use of your overworking yourself.
"I should like to have my copy of St. Ignatius' Meditations which I left at the house. I will continue to lend you my Bishop Andrewes' Devotions, for I know that you must like them exceedingly and when I do have the work again it will be so pleasant--so lovingly sweet--to know that you have offered praises in the words I may then use.
"I hope, dear father, that you will remember my offer of assistance in case the pestilence reaches St. Louis and as I am in excellent condition, and anxious to work, the few weeks I might be in St. Louis would only be blessed for my good and (D. V ) for the good of others. I mention 'my own good' first lest you should hesitate to send for me thinking that the injury to myself would be greater than the good I might do to others. But besides I fear that there was that longing for personal holiness by acts of this kind that made me forgetful for the moment of what should have been uppermost--the good of others. Tell M---- that on St. Augustine's Day I Celebrated, and that she was in my mind and heart as she always is when I Celebrate--but I know that her prayers and those of others have been already answered, for there has been a great deepening in my religious life and in the consciousness of the blessedness of being a Catholic Priest.
"I cannot after writing so long a letter speak of all separately but they are all ever in my heart--never more really or sincerely than when at the Altar."
On the day after the date of this letter, that is, on Tuesday, Sept. 3d, Louis went in the evening to Peekskill, N. Y., to supply for a few days the place of the Priest serving at the Altar of the Mother-House of the Sisters of St. Mary, at that place. He Celebrated in the Sisters' Chapel at seven o'clock on the morning of the following day (Wednesday, the 4th). Soon after, at about half-past eight o'clock, the Mother-Superior received a telegram from the Sisters of St. Mary at Memphis, Tenn., saying--"The Rev'd Dr. Harris is dangerously ill, the Rev'd C. C. Parsons is just attacked by yellow-fever, and there is no other Priest of the Church in Memphis." The Mother-Superior took the telegram to Louis. He said--"Perhaps I can go to the Sisters. Mr. Sword has spoken of going--he ought not to go, but I think I might." The Mother-Superior expressed a wish for the advice of the Rev'd Dr. Houghton, and Louis then proposed to go, himself, at once to New York, bearing the dispatch. This being agreed to, he departed by the 9:45 A. M. train.
He went directly to the Rev'd Dr. Houghton, with whom at that time was the Bishop of Tennessee, and begged to be instantly sent to Memphis. Dr. Houghton says--"His heart seemed thoroughly stirred within him. He came to me with the determination to set off as soon as possible. Obstacles were put in his way. He was detained against his will twenty-four hours. The yielding to his wish here was not until he said he felt he must go."
Bishop Quintard says--"When he presented himself at the Rectory of The Church of The Transfiguration, and offered his services to me, he wished very much to go to Memphis--to take up the work of Mr. Parsons. Very many Priests tendered their services--Father Grafton, of Boston, Mr. Wilson, of Michigan, Mr. Milner Jones, of South Carolina, Mr. Jardine, of St. Louis and some thirty others--but I did not think any unacclimated person should venture, while it was possible to secure the services of Clergymen who were acclimated. Mr. Schuyler, however, had made up his mind to go to Memphis. He had evidently consecrated himself to the work before him and was impatient of delay."
There is not the least doubt that upon reading the telegram at Peekskill Louis formed his unshaken purpose to go to Memphis if no person physically more fit should volunteer. None who knew him well--perhaps none who read this simple story of his life--can believe that any other determination could be possible for him. It is enough on this head to recall the circumstances of the time--Priests of the Church failing and dying, without comfort from any brother; Sisters, who had ministered unto death, with no Ministry of the Church at the last hour; those of them who yet lived, working endlessly in scenes of frightful anguish and desolation without the Sacramental Food which is their daily nourishment and strength; hundreds of all classes suffering and dying without any Offices of Religion. Clearly this was enough to determine such a man, whose profession was Sacrifice, and his business the cure of souls.
At noon of Wednesday Louis returned to Hoboken to prepare for his departure, that evening, in case the situation should remain unchanged. The Rev'd Mr. Sword says--
"He came into this house about noon and startled me with the statement, made in the most quiet and simple way, that he was going to Memphis. I begged that time should be taken to consider whether some one could not be found to whom the undertaking would involve less peril--but he was sure there was no one. We had luncheon. I assisted him in packing. Very little was said. I went with him to the ferry and bade him good-bye with a very sad heart. He was going to Dr. Houghton's to learn whether any word had come from Memphis and to get his passes, expecting to start at six that evening."
It is a most moving and pathetic instance of Louis' devotion to others that, in the hurried hours above-mentioned--a time when, if ever, a man might be pardoned for thinking of himself, and for excitement and mental distraction--Louis was tranquilly employed with the concerns of another person, in whom he had a deep interest. The following letter tells its own story--it is copied from the original MS.:
"HOBOKEN, Sept. 4th, '78.
Dear --------: I leave this evening for Memphis. There is great need of me there. I make a very special request of you. Will you put this letter in --------'s hands? It must not be spoken-of, as it regards her spiritual welfare. I trust you.
"Aff'tly yours, ("GOD bless you.")
"L. S. SCHUYLER."
Louis learned in New York that there was some prospect that another Priest, used to the fever, might be had at Memphis, and upon this account and by other reasons he was dissuaded from starting that evening, and returned to Hoboken. The Revd. Mr. Sword says--
"At six I was astonished by his coming in. Louis still thought he had better go, but would wait until the next day, hoping in the meantime to hear from the Sisters. I begged him to use the greatest caution about entering upon this task, as I was certain he would be wrong in going without the gravest necessity. We talked over the matter all that evening and late into the night. What struck me most of all was the humility he showed. He did not seem to think he was about to do any great thing but simply was following a call of duty. His great anxiety was that there should be no self-will in his action. He wanted to go, not because it was a heroic action, not because his enthusiasm was aroused, but simply because GOD seemed to call him. The next morning he Celebrated in the Church at six o'clock. I served him. After he had vested and said the prayer in the Sacristy, just before entering the Sanctuary, he turned to me and said--'Let it be our special intention at this Celebration that whatever in this matter is of self may come to naught, and whatever is of GOD may be prospered.' So with that intention we offered the Holy Sacrifice, and received together the Bread of Life."
Shortly after this Service Louis went to New York, again prepared to go South. The natural fear and urgency of his kindred had not prevailed with him, and on the night before they had therefore seen Bishop Quintard, who telegraphed to the Revd. Dr. Schuyler at St. Louis asking if he would consent to Louis' going to Memphis. Louis found that no answer to this message had arrived, nor to the message which had been sent to the Sisters at Memphis announcing his readiness to go on and requesting information. He waited all day in vain for these answers, and at evening left for Memphis on the six o'clock train, (Thursday, Sept. 5th).
Bishop Quintard says of this day--"What struck me was his devout collectedness--his concentration of purpose. I am sure that he had consecrated himself to this special mission at the Altar. Once, while talking with him, my attention was arrested by his evidently losing himself in prayer. When he replied to some question which I addressed to him he bowed very meekly and signed himself with the Sign of the Cross."
Just after Louis had left, a dispatch arrived from the Sisters at Memphis deprecating his coming, and also one from the Revd. Dr. Schuyler of St. Louis withholding his consent. Bishop Quintard thereupon telegraphed to the Revd. Dr. Tschiffely, at Louisville, requesting him to stop Louis at that city, and detain him there for further instructions. This telegram was received by Dr. Tschiffely on the 6th, and in consequence of it Louis spent Saturday, the 7th Sept., in Louisville. Of this day Dr. Tschiffely says--
"He came to see me in the morning and inquired about the dispatch, which I showed him. He then asked for the privilege of Celebrating the Holy Communion in the Church, and I made all things ready for him. After breakfast he went to the Telegraph Office and forwarded messages to Memphis and elsewhere. He was much of the day in prayer. He seemed to be completely possessed with the idea that his duty lay in going to the plague-stricken city, and all that could be done by others and myself seemed powerless to move him from what he considered highest duty. In the afternoon he received a telegram from his father imploring him to come home and not to go to Memphis. But so firm were his convictions that he wrote a letter to his father in language so reverent and beautiful that when he read it to me I was moved to withdraw further opposition and advance him on his journey with all convenient speed. Immediately after this letter had been mailed he received a telegram from Sister Hughetta, and, about an hour after, I had the following telegram from Bishop Quintard, in New York--'Mr. Parsons is dead, let Mr. Schuyler go on.' He left this city at midnight of the 7th. When I bade him good-bye I felt very sorry--but he said to me, ' Why do you feel so? I never felt better in my life, and the way seems perfectly clear before me. I feel confident no harm will come to me.' I have never met any one who seemed to be so thoroughly absorbed in the idea of duty and devotion to his Master and LORD, Whose servant he was, and he who gave himself for others is beloved of Him. May his soul rest in peace, and perpetual light shine upon him !"
The telegrams to and from Memphis mentioned by Dr. TschifFely are given by Sister Hughetta, who says:--
"From Louisville he telegraphed to me, 'I am here, awaiting orders. May I come?' I did not dare to take the responsibility of saying 'Come.' Yet so great was our need that I could not refuse his offered ministrations. I therefore wrote--'The Sister-Superior and Sister Thecla hopelessly ill. The Revd. C. C. Parsons is dying. We have no Priest.' I cannot remember that he sent an answer to my dispatch, but on Sunday afternoon he arrived at St. Mary's."
The letter written from Louisville in reply to his father's telegram has been preserved, and is given here:
"LOUISVILLE, Sept. 7th, 1878.
"My dearest Father: Your dispatch was just received. I am truly sorry that you sent it, because I firmly believe that I am only doing right in going to Memphis, in case I am needed. When I offered my services, I was certain that, so far as I could judge, I was only doing what GOD demands of me. I started from New York fully intending to go directly to Memphis. A telegram however was put in my hand before I reached Louisville, informing me that Bishop Quintard wishes me to wait here for news from Memphis. I am now waiting. I shall not be called upon until I am needed. If there be need, I feel assured that I am only doing my duty, and in accordance with GOD'S will, if I go. It will be very painful to act in opposition to your command, and nothing but the conviction that I must obey GOD would at all satisfy my mind in not heeding your command. GOD'S will cannot be but right. I have not been ordered by any one to go South, but my services have been accepted. GOD'S blessing will therefore go with me. I am not going rashly, but if there be need GOD will have permitted the need, and then He will only bless me in filling up the ranks He has allowed to be thinned.
"Therefore, dearest father, I think I am only receiving the words of the Lord JESUS; 'Whosoever loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me,' in obeying His call to do the work of a Priest in Memphis, if He puts it into the hearts of His servants there to call upon me for assistance. GOD may not ask me to go. He may call me to that duty and preserve me. But, if He calls me and I go and die it is not a self-willed act, but an act of obedience to GOD.
"Love to all.
"Ever your dear son,
Here is the motive of sacrifice--full-sounding, and climbing to its utmost height of expression--" if He calls me and I go and die it is not a self-willed act, but an act of obedience to GOD." Strange if in his mind were any remembrance of the earlier letter-- " It seems strange that our LORD would keep one away when His Church stands so much in need of Ministers"! That had been the ruling thought of his life. It was the only thought or feeling of his mind and heart and soul, this day. The letters lie together, now, commenting each on each, with deep, mute eloquence; and he who wrote them has learned (with what rapture of exquisite bliss and grateful adoration) that he was in no manner kept away.
As soon as his father received the letter of the 7th, he answered--"You have my full consent, and my blessing". This reached Louis at Memphis, and it is told of him that his countenance was radiant, as he read it.
When Louis reached Memphis he was much fatigued with his journey, but went straight to the Sisters' House, ready for any labour. There he was urged to take a thorough rest before beginning any work. He said--"I do not care to rest. I want to do my utmost." He was not taken up to the Sisters' rooms on that (Sunday) evening, for both Sisters and Miss Gray had received the Blessed Sacrament that morning, the Revd Dr. Dalzell having arrived from Louisiana on the day before. But he exacted a promise that they would send for him in the night if he were needed. As he left the Sisters' House he met the Rev'd Dr. Dalzell.
Dr. Dalzell says:
"That day I shall never forget. The Sister Constance lay dying, and Sister Thecla hopelessly ill, in St. Mary's House, while another member of the household was just rallying from a severe attack of the fever. After hours of labour in different portions of the city, and witnessing scenes that filled me with horror, and made me realize that we were breathing an atmosphere of the most deadly poison, I had gone to the Sisters' House to pay a last visit there for the day. It was near seven o'clock, when, as I stepped from my buggy, a young Clergyman came hurriedly from the residence of Dr. Harris, and, with a very gentle manner and winning smile, extended his hand, with the words, ' This is Dr. Dalzell?' ' Yes,' I said; 'and, my dear young brother, who are you, and where have you come from?' His reply, given in a low tone, while his lip trembled with emotion, was, ' My name is Schuyler; I am from New Jersey, and have come to render such assistance as I can in this dreadful time; I have seen Dr. Harris, and he tells me to see you, and do what you say.' I asked him if he was related to my friend, Dr. Schuyler, of St. Louis. 'He is my father,' he replied, and a tear started to his eye as he gave the answer, 'and I am so glad that you and he are friends, as it will be a comfort to him to know that I am with you.' I then asked him if he had ever seen Yellow-Fever, and if he realized the risk he ran in coming to Memphis. To my dismay I found that he was utterly unacclimated, and that he had come, not as many others had come, with the hope, if not assurance, that he should escape, but as the brave soldier leads the forlorn-hope, knowing that all the chances were against him, but with a burning desire to help the suffering, to work while his strength lasted, and then give his life cheerfully for CHRIST'S sake and the Church. This, my first conversation with him, impressed me with the conviction that he had come to die, and that he knew it; but had come in a spirit of the noblest self-devotion, counting the cost, and cheerfully willing to pay it. He seemed to be filled with a holy enthusiasm; an ardent desire to begin his work at once; and a readiness to endure all that the situation called for. Especially was he exercised about the Sisters, and anxious to minister to them.
"As he was fatigued by his journey, and required rest, I insisted that he should undertake no duty that night, but get refreshing sleep and be ready for such work as might present itself next morning. His reply was characteristic--'But you are more tired than I am, and you ought to let me help you to-night.' Mr. Parsons had been buried the day before, from Dr. Harris' house; the Dr. himself was still confined to his bed after a very severe attack of the fever; and Major Mickle was in the house in the first stage of the disease. It was, therefore, thought advisable that he should take quarters with me at the Peabody Hotel. But he begged so earnestly to be allowed to remain near the Church and the Sisters, that a small bed was prepared for him in the parlour. Before leaving for the night, I told him that he must be satisfied for a few days to minister to the Sisters alone, and that I could not consent to his visiting the Infirmaries, or going into the more deadly portions of the city, until his system had become measurably accustomed to the poison of the atmosphere. The next morning, however, I found that after an early Celebration he had answered several calls to houses conspicuous for the number of cases of fever in them; and in the afternoon he went into the very thick of the pestilence, in the lower portions of the city, and to one of the largest and most densely-filled Infirmaries. I saw it was useless to attempt any restraint upon his zeal; that he had come to work, and would work at all cost; and that I could then only advise how to work, what precautions to observe, and to be careful in the matter of getting some sleep every night."
After Celebrating the Holy Communion at seven o'clock in St. Mary's Cathedral on this day (Sept. 9th) Louis wrote to his father a letter, from which the following sentences are taken:
"I am so very glad that I came, for I can be of good assistance. It was GOD'S will, and He will keep me. Do rot worry about me, for I am in GOD'S hands.
* * * I believe I was obeying GOD speaking through the Bishop and the Sister who telegraphed me after Mr. Parsons' death. I shall exercise all prudence. GOD will only allow what is best for me to happen."
He also wrote the following letter on the same day:
MEMPHIS, Sept. 9th, '78.
"Your letter reached me at a time when my mind was anxiously engaged, first in getting settled in my work at Hoboken, and then in getting ready to come South. I remember with the greatest pleasure my short time of work in Newark; and your kindness in calling to say good-bye to me I shall not soon forget. I am very glad to receive your photograph.
"You can imagine how anxious my mind is now, but for a day or two I shall not be allowed to do much running about in doing general work. Therefore I have time to spare for these few lines. I shall bear you in mind. Please remember me in your prayers.
"Believe me ever
"Yours, very truly,
"L. S. SCHUYLER."
During the night of Sunday, a few hours after greeting Louis, Sister Hughetta was stricken with the fever. She says:
"Mr. Schuyler came to my bedside on Sunday morning, said prayers for me and gave me the Church's Absolution. During the days that followed I saw him but once, when he assisted in the Celebration of Holy Communion on Thursday morning in our Chapel, bringing the Cup to Sister Thecla (then dying) and to me. Dr. Dalzell had taken charge of my case both as physician and Priest, and thought it safest to have me kept perfectly quiet and unexcited. Mr. Schuyler sent me a kind message every day, and I learned from my nurse how untiring he was in his work. Among those to whom he ministered was a gentleman, a friend of the Sisters, a patron of our School, but an infidel. Mr. Schuyler converted and baptized this man, whose death was followed by the death of his three children, leaving the widow inconsolable in her loss but for the comforting thought of her husband's salvation."
The Rev. Dr. Dalzell relates this fact in his narrative of the succeeding days. Dr. Dalzell says--
"From Monday afternoon to Wednesday morning the weather was very bad, raining incessantly and very raw, and the streets were in a frightful condition, while the number of deaths was greater than at any other time during the epidemic, and the calls upon the Clergy incessant.
"I very well remember that as we were on the way to the Cemetery with the remains of Sister Constance, he in one buggy and I in another, the rain pouring down, a request came to us to visit a sick man, and he ran on until he overtook me and excused himself from further attendance at the funeral, as he wished specially to visit this case, having already seen and had some conversation with the sick man, besides ministering to several sick children in the same house. That man had long been known as an infidel, one who gloried in his infidelity. He died the day our brother was taken sick, and died humbly penitent, brought to a sense of his sin and danger by dear Schuyler's ministrations, and being baptized by him. During those three dreadful days his labours were abundant, and I was struck with his cheerfulness, and the hope he began to express that after all he might escape and continue to be of service.
"I saw him on Thursday morning and he seemed to be quite well, and spoke of his intention to visit several of the Infirmaries that day. He did so. In the afternoon, about four o'clock, I again met him in Dr. Harris' room, and instantly discovered that something was wrong. In fact, he then had high fever, with other symptoms of the prevailing epidemic. Dr. Green, one of the resident physicians, who had come in about the same time with myself, agreeing with me in this opinion, I told him that he had Yellow-Fever. Then, and then only, did his spirit waver; and then it was evident that the burst of emotion that overcame him was occasioned by regret that he must stop work. ' I had so hoped that I should be spared long enough to do some good for the Church, something for the glory of CHRIST.' When we had taken him down stairs, he begged me not to misconstrue his emotion; assured me it was not for himself he wept, and that after a little while he would be calm, and show that he was resigned to GOD'S will, which had put a stop to his labours, and had probably called him to die. Here his work ended. In less than four days from the time he reached the plague-stricken city he was lying in the throes of the deadly disease. But they were days of glorious work for CHRIST and the Church: visiting the sick, praying with, instructing and directing them, administering the Holy Sacraments to the dying, burying the dead, and ministering hope and consolation to the bereaved.
"He was ill from Thursday to the following Tuesday, from the first hopelessly so, as I thought. But, most mercifully, his brain was not affected until within two or three hours of his death. So I am enabled to say, that his death was no less glorious than his short term of labour. He was naturally of nervous temperament, and the excitement of the fever made him inclined to talk, which, of course, had to be checked. But he would not be restrained from speaking of his dear ones in his father's home at St. Louis, of the comfort he felt in the possession of a letter from his father, received after he reached Memphis, consenting to his coming, and giving him his blessing; and of the most comforting reflection that he was being remembered by many, brother-Priests and others, at the Altar and in secret. Several times a day I ministered to him, every day Communicating him, and each day more and more impressed by the unspeakably noble motive of self-sacrifice that had brought him to this end. The Christian heroism that at first found utterance in those few quiet words spoken to a brother Priest, 'I am going to Memphis,' never forsook him. He showed not the slightest sense of fear, or apprehension for his personal safety; never alluded to it, indeed; and was eager to go to the bedside of cases that would make even the experienced physician shudder. If there ever lived a Christian hero, Louis Schuyler was one. If ever Priest of the Church gave his life, and gave it cheerfully, for CHRIST'S sake, and the suffering members of His Body, Louis Schuyler gave his, and gave it cheerfully. I shall always hold him in sacred memory as a Martyr in will and in deed."
Dr. Dalzell omits saying that he and Dr. Green gained admission for Louis into the Infirmary opened only the day before for the exclusive use of physicians and nurses. Dr. Dalzell himself took him there, and remained with him most of that night, notwithstanding there were in attendance a resident physician, and a special nurse who gave all of her time to Louis.
It seems a peculiar mercy that Louis' brain continued clear almost unto the end, since, in the words of one of the Sisters who survives, "the disease is so rapid in its course, so prostrating from the first hour of its attack, that the patient seldom speaks, or shows any interest in aught."
The Good LORD delivered Louis from this "sudden death," and granted him the priceless blessing of clear sense and thought through days and nights of solemn preparation.
He knew that he could not recover, and begged that his Cross, which he always wore, might be buried with him. He desired that his ring might be given to his sister; and his Prayer-book, which had been the gift of his parents at the time of his Confirmation and first Communion, he left to his beloved mother, in dear remembrance of many years of tender confidence and affection. "He prayed much during his illness, frequently making the Sign of the Cross."
Shortly before his death his mind wandered. He began speaking in a high voice, as though delivering a Sermon. His nurse quieted him gently. Then he said to her--"Please tell me whether I am in Memphis, or whether I am in my little Church at Hoboken." "You are in Memphis. I was afraid you would disturb the others who are ill," she answered. "Gentlemen, forgive me, if I disturbed you," he said sweetly. Then, with this gleam of his old, exquisite courtesy in his last-recorded words, he composed himself; and at half-past two o'clock, in the morning of Tuesday, the seventeenth of September, A.D. 1878, he joined the Church Expectant, and his soul was with the Saints.