Change, Steady Growth, and Valuable Acquisition.
"Hide me, O GOD, from the gathering together of the froward, and from the insurrection of wicked doers."
THIS was of old the antiphon of the feast of St. Mark the Evangelist; a prayer of the righteous man beset by enemies, and desiring to be hidden from their hitter provocation by the presence of the Lotto. And well was it chosen for that purpose; since he, whose name we honor to-day, came to the crown of martyrdom suddenly and through the insurrection and onset of the froward and the wicked; he died, not as some of the LORD'S apostles, in process of trial and judgment, and under sentence of tribunals which respected the forms of the civil code, but through brute violence and mob-law, and in the centre of a storm of heathen fanaticism and blind rage of the ungodly. For, as the old history narrates the facts, it was Easter-tide, and he was celebrating the Holy Mysteries, when they rushed in upon him, with yells and clinched fists; they tore him from the very altar; they dragged him through the streets, and over rugged places; they cast him, wounded and bleeding, into prison; and thence, on the morrow, did they dismiss him, after fresh tortures, to his glorious reward beyond the " grave and gate of death." Such were the acts of that martyrdom, so beautifully commemorated in the antiphon, "Hide me, O GOD, from the gathering. together of the froward, and from the insurrection of wicked doers." [3/4] The prayer was heard and answered by slim who hideth His saints privily in His tabernacle from the provocation of the uncharitable and from the strife of tongues.
Thus there is a special fitness in the arrival of the Feast-day within the octave of Easter; since it was, as appears, at Easter that the holy Evangelist suffered. It is also well that, on this day, the first festival of our parish choirs should be held. In the year of our LORD 590, there was instituted, by Gregory the Great, in the city of Rome, on occasion of severe public trials and distresses, a very solemn and imposing rite, in deprecation of the judgments of Almighty GOD. Seven processions, setting forth from different parts of the city, met in the principal church, and held there, in unity of prayer, a devout service; beseeching the LORD for mercies especially needed at the time; and thus the feast of Saint Mark became noted for the assembling together of the people for unusual acts of religious performance. With great propriety, therefore, has this day been chosen for the first festival of the choirs; the first of a regular annual sequence, as we hope. It has long been my desire that the choirs of the several churches of this parish could be so constituted and exercised, as that they might be brought together, whenever it should be thought desirable or deemed expedient; so that, on a small scale, at least, we might enjoy such feasts of choral song as are often set forth before our more highly-favored brethren in England. There, at the great Choir Unions, when large districts of country send their singing men and boys to some cathedral for a holy solemnity, it is not unusual to hear many hundreds of practised voices massed together and uniting in the praise of GOD; and this for the mere joy of such a work, for the love of the choral service, and for the cultivation of a high and true taste among the people. Our parish festival of to-day is but a step in that direction; hereafter, as the quartet-choir system dies out, and as a better thing takes its place, we may, perhaps, be able to bring together, not the choirs of one parish only, but those of many parishes, and to have choral festivals worthy of the name.
 In reflecting upon a subject on which to speak to you this morning, it occurred to me that it would be neither uninteresting nor unprofitable to remark upon the changes which have taken place among us in sundry things ecclesiastical within the last quarter or half of a century. They illustrate some principles which we, as American Churchmen, would do well to fix in our minds. Progress is the law in a living church. And we cannot be thankful enough that at the critical moment in which the connection between the Church of England and the scattered congregations in the American colonies, just recognized as a nation, was severed, there was no legislation on matters non-essential, of such a nature as to prevent the growth and development of the infant Church. What would have been the consequence if the usages of that inchoate period had been made a law for all future time? We can imagine what it might have been, by reviewing the alterations and improvements of the intervening years, in all of which there is observable a successful effort at adorning, embellishing, and glorifying the Church, in order to make her a more able teacher of divine truth and to give her the appliances needful for attracting, drawing to herself; and keeping in her fold the wandering children of this miscellaneous society which surrounds us. Such a review will also serve to correct the idea, if it be entertained, that there have been usages, on the several points under consideration, so fixed and so long settled that they ought now to be regarded as having the force of law. The history of the past, so far as externals are concerned, is one of continual change; there cannot be a greater fallacy than that which lies in the statement, if it should be made, that in respect to our churches, their arrangement, their ornaments, and the necessaries of divine worship, there has been any usage so prevalent and so well established as to have acquired that authority which comes of long and ancient prescription.
To speak, first, of the structure of our churches. The style of ecclesiastical architecture has been continually varying. During the past fifty yews, we have had the manner of Sir [5/6] Christopher Wren; then a sort of carpenter's Gothic, as it has been not unaptly called; and also a Grecian-temple mode; all of which styles have been varied according to the fancy and caprice of builders or of building committees. The first work on Gothic, architecture ever published in this country was printed at Burlington, Vt., A. D. 1836. Its author was Bishop Hopkins: it is a quarto, of some fifty pages, entitled "An Essay on Gothic Architecture, with various Plans and Drawings for Churches: designed chiefly for the use of the Clergy," and the full-page illustrations, which are numerous, were all drawn on stone by' the good Bishop himself. The appearance of this work was followed by a careful study of the principles of that glorious art of which it treated; until an era of revival came, in which Mr. Richard Upjohn, the architect of this noble parish church, bore an honorable and distinguished place. The erection of Trinity Church and its consecration, A. D. 1846, gave signal proof of the growth of right ideas and sound learning. Then, two years afterward, some ardent amateurs founded the "Ecclesiological Society," which, by its boldness and breadth of tone, gave the final strong push to a movement which has been proceeding ever since with accelerated force.
In the English Prayer-Book there is a rubric to this effect, that "the chancels shall remain as they have done in times past." Were such a law to be enacted for us, say by the next General Convention, we should go distracted in the effort to settle how that was. For in nothing has there been greater change than in the interior arrangements of the churches. Seventy years ago, two modes were in vogue, one of which was usual in the large churches with galleries, the other in smaller churches in the rural districts. In churches of the former class there was a recessed chancel, with a large and imposing altar, in front of which, and at the head of the middle alley, was a huge structure consisting of the pulpit, reading-pew, and clerk's desk. The only remaining church of that type in New York is St. Paul's Chapel; there may still be seen the chancel "as in times [6/7] past," the very large altar, solid to the floor, and the immense pulpit, out in the nave, overshadowed by its heavy sounding-board; the clerk's desk, however, has long since disappeared, and the present reading desk, easily accessible, and open on both sides, is all that remains of that cumbrous enclosure, with great brass hinges and handles, in which the officiating clergyman used formerly to be shut up. In churches of the second class named above, the chancel was at the east end, and the pulpit, reading-desk, and clerk's desk were either at the west end, or on the south side, about half way down the church: such was the arrangement in the old parish church at Newtown, L. I., and such, I think, is still the arrangement in St. Peter's Church, Philadelphia. In Bishop Hobart's day a great change occurred; the recessed chancels were destroyed, and there succeeded what is historically known as the "Alpine," or "Three-Decker" arrangement. A massive pulpit was set up, or rather piled up, against the east wall, access being afforded by a door in the rear; at some distance below a reading-desk bulged out; while the LORD'S Table, much reduced in size, was set below the desk, and enclosed by a small railing. Such was the arrangement in St. John's Chapel, as I remember it some ten years ago; that chapel had, originally, a recessed chancel like St. Paul's, but it was destroyed and replaced by what I have described. In those days, also, they had enormous cushions, as well upon the altar as upon the pulpit and reading desk, heavy with bullion, and hung with huge tassels, and inviting the officiating clergyman to luxurious repose. What a wonderful sight it was! and what a symbolism was there! It seemed to say, that a sermon is the highest, the most exalted, and the best of all Gospel privileges; that prayers and services are good in their way, but of secondary importance; but sacraments hardly worth considering. By and by another change occurred, and there was a return to a better style, of which the Church of the Ascension afforded the first specimen; it presented a shallow recessed chancel, outside of which, and near the galleries, separated from each other by [7/8] the whole width of the recess, stood the pulpit on one hand and the reading-desk on the other. Shortly afterward a modification of the idea was exhibited, an elevated platform taking the place of the recess, and two lecterns, precisely alike, being substituted for the pulpit and reading-desk. Then, some twenty years ago, we came to deep chancels, with the sacrarium at the farther end, and stalls on either side facing each other, for the clergy, and for the surpliced choirs, foreseen by the "Ecclesiological Society" long before their actual appearance; we knew that they would come, and so we made arrangements for them. Quite recently, we have seen the introduction of apsidal chancels, with the altar advanced, and the bishop's chair behind it; and yet another style, in which a kind of elevated deck runs across the eastern end of the church, in the centre of which the pulpit is reared, like a wheel-house on the side of a steamer, while the Holy Table is hidden away somewhere in behind. Of this last arrangement, and of two or three others introduced within a very few years, it is not necessary to speak particularly, further than to say that they are peculiar and without precedent, and not unworthy to dispute the palm of oddity with some of the outlandish styles of ancient days, such as was that in St. Peter's, Albany, in 1842, where two mahogany boxes, precisely alike, and looking like cutters or sleigh-fronts, pushed boldly forth through the wall, one on either side of the Holy Table.
Until the deep chancels were introduced, the clergyman, in reading the service, was always required to face the people. Even here, in Trinity, there was, as a part of the furniture of the new church, an extraordinary reading-desk, just yonder where the lectern now stands, outside the chancel; and there the service was. said. The people took it as an affront if the clergyman looked anywhere but toward them; they seemed to consider, if he turned toward the LORD'S Table, that he did so through disrespect for them or in derision of them; they deemed it more important that their minister should be respectful to [8/9] them than reverential to the LORD. At length this idle notion was given up; and the great reading-desk was removed; and the clergyman took his proper place in the chancel and said the prayers at the faldstool as now.
There was a time, not long ago, when the cross was all but unknown among us as a symbol of our faith and an ornament of our holy places. It was left to the Romanists; by our permission they enjoyed a monopoly of it, as is still the case with other useful and excellent things. I can remember the day when a cross on an Episcopal church was hardly to be seen: the first one that I ever saw in such a position was on the Church of the Ascension of this city; T beheld it, and wondered, and rejoiced secretly, as not quite sure whether it was right or wrong: Strange to say, there was a long and heated debate in the Vestry of Trinity Church, when this church was built, as to whether there should be a cross on the spire; and when the vote was taken, there was, it is said, a majority of but one in favor of the glorious old symbol as against the arrow, fish, pineapple, or pumpkin. It seems almost incredible; but the prejudice was terribly strong, even so short a time ago.
To pass, secondly, to the manner of performing divine service, we shall find there the same want of settled usage. There was a time when no music was tolerated, except the singing of a psalm or hymn in metre. Chanting was unknown; when first introduced it was denounced as a Popish custom, and strenuous efforts were made to proscribe its use. A few learned and judicious men fought the battle for the privilege to sing the Gloria Patri, Venite, etc. The Rev. William Smith, D. D., author of our "Office of Institution," wrote and published, A. D. 1814, a volume of 300 pages, to prove that it is lawful to chant, and that people should be allowed to sing something else besides metrical psalms and hymns. A copy of this very remarkable volume is before me; and as it illustrates the general tone of thought and feeling in those days, I shall remark somewhat at length upon its contents.
The author inscribes his work to "the Right Reverend the Bishops and the Reverend the Clergy of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America." He begins by stating that "from numerous and credible testimonies it appears that the usage of chanting the psalms and hymns of public worship obtained in the times of the apostles and continued to be common to all Christian nations until about two hundred and sixty years since, when it was, in several parts of Europe, more or less interrupted by the struggles of the Reformation." He then goes on to show that the psalmody of the Jewish Church, itself divinely inspired, was continued "in cathedral establishments throughout the Christian world." He proceeds to invoke the testimony of Holy Scripture and the practice of the Primitive Church in proof of the lawfulness of chanting; and then considers seriatim the objections which were rife in his day. I shall transcribe this list in full, as a rare illustration of the kind of opposition which may always be looked for by those who would improve existing customs, remarking, in advance, that if for the word "chanting," there should be substituted the words "intoning," and "choral service," this book would be quite applicable to the questions agitated in our day. The good Doctor thus classifies the cavils which he, in turn, replies to with great good sense and strong logic:
"Objection I. Chanting is an innovation, and no novelties ought to be admitted into public worship. We can do well enough without chanting.
"Objection II. Chanting is a Popish custom, and therefore it ought not to be admitted into our churches.
"Objection III. The rubrics are more favorable to metre psalmody than they are to chanting.
"Objection IV. We have a sufficient quantity of praise in our churches without chanting.
"Objection V. Chanting takes up too much time.
"Objection VI. So great is the difference between metre psalmody and chanting, that my ears can never be reconciled to it.
"Objection VII. As I have neither voice nor ear for Music, if chanting be admitted into our churches, I shall be deprived of the benefit which I derive from responsive reading.
 "Objection VIII. I am too old, and it is too much trouble to learn to chant.
"Objection IX. Let chanting be omitted during our lifetime (say some aged persons), and when we are gone hence let our posterity accept or reject it as they please.
"Objection X. Chanting is a hindrance to devotion.
"Objection XI. Prosaic psalmody is not so edifying as metre psalmody.
"Objection XII. Chanting is not so animating as metre psalmody.
"Objection XIII. It is inexpedient to use chanting, as there is no internal evidence in the prosaic subjects themselves that they ought to be sung.
"Objection XIV. The English language is not sufficiently harmonious to admit of being sung in prose; and therefore, as poetry renders it more flowing and vocal, verse is better adapted to musical purposes.
"Objection XV. Chanting cannot be introduced into a church without the aid of a choir, and choirs generally monopolize the singing.
"Objection XVI. It is sufficient to chant one hymn at Morning, and another at Evening Prayer.
"Objection XVII. No prayers ought to be sung; and therefore, as chanting embraces precatory subjects, it is improper to be admitted into the Church."
Such were the objections to chanting, which were raised fifty years ago, when the attempt was first made to introduce it among us. The list seems to be exhaustive and complete; and it will serve very well to-day, mutatis mutandis, for those who seek arguments against the choral service; although they should remember that, in spite of all this array, chanting was introduced and did commend itself to universal esteem. But, at first, violent demonstrations were made against it, by way of support to those cogent and convincing arguments exhibited by the opponents of "innovations." When, for the first time, in one of the parish churches of this city the choir sang the "Gloria Patri" at the conclusion of the psalms, a delegation from among the persons present repaired to the Bishop, in hot wrath calling on him to arise and interpose, his Episcopal authority against this abominable Popish innovation.
Let me call your attention, thirdly, to certain points in connection with the administration of the Holy Sacraments. It is [11/12] only within some twenty or twenty-five years, that Holy Baptism has been ordinarily administered in the churches. The children of well-to-do persons were, as a general rule, christened at home. In old Trinity Church there was not even a decent or proper font, until one was presented by a vestryman lately deceased; and the font, such as it was, stood in what was called the " Christening Pew " near the door, being occasionally used, after service, for the baptism of some poor person's child, and becoming in the intervals grimy with dust. Meanwhile, the children of the rich and prosperous were christened at home, in parlors, before the eyes of a gay company of invited guests, for whom the Caudle; and other refreshments were provided in an adjoining room.
In those times, the Ante-Communion Service was always read in the desk, unless when there was an administration of the Lord's Supper. No one thought of going into the chancel to say the Altar-service; and doubtless it was regarded as a dangerous innovation when such a change of place was made, and they who read the Ante-Communion at the Lord's Table were called by names which corresponded to the "Puseyite," "Tractarian," and "Romanizer," so often heard in our day. As for the celebration of the Holy Communion, it occurred, in this parish about eight times in the course of the year, that is to say, on Christmas, Easter, and Whit-Sunday, and about four or five other Sundays. After the sermon, which was preached in a black gown-that emblem of sin and death-the congregation was dismissed with a collect, and the minor benediction pronounced from the pulpit, or, in some cases, at the close of the offertory, which was said in a black gown at the altar. The clergyman then left the church, and went into the vestry-room, while almost all the congregation withdrew. By and by he reappeared, and the service proceeded, without one note of music, except the metre hymn, which was generally started by some courageous sister in the congregation; the first attempt to sing the Tersanctus and Gloria in Excelsis met with the severest [12/13] reprehension on the part of the faithful. These sparse and cold communions, six or eight-a year, were all that remained of the grand, glorious, and distinctive act of worship in the Catholic Church. GOD be praised for the change that has come since that day!
But the time would fail to tell of all the strange customs of a period from which we arc divided by but a few years. Thus, for instance, in Bishop Hobart's time, the clergy, in going to or from church, and in visitation of the sick, were expected to appear in cassock, gown, bands, scarf, and white silk gloves. When a funeral scarf of linen was presented to a clergyman, he was always expected to wear it in the pulpit the following Sunday. Dr. Wainwright was the first to depart from the custom of wearing gloves with the fore-finger of the right hand glove slit or cut off so as to enable the clergyman to turn over the leaves of the prayer-book and the sheets of his sermon.
I will conclude this portion of my remarks by reference to the subject of floral decoration. You know how wide-spread is the use of flowers at Easter, how we all love them, and in what profusion we employ them; but, perhaps, you do not know with what alarm and horror their first introduction among us was viewed. As an illustration of this, let me refer to a case which happened before my own eyes. It must have been about fifteen years ago, that, on an Easter morning, the font of one of the churches of this parish, a very modest, shallow vessel, was filled with flowers. The discovery of this phenomenon excited the congregation to a wondrous degree; they arose and stormed. The clergyman quailed before the tempest, even at the blasting of the breath of their displeasure; and no sooner was the service over, than he gave a peremptory order that the offending vegetation should be instantly removed from the font, and from the precincts of the church. The order was obeyed, and the wrath of the people subsided, while the poor flowers were brought down hither to Trinity, where they had a qualified and dubious reception, but were allowed to remain in a corner for the rest of the [13/14] day. Such was the history of one of the first appearances of those delicious emblems of the Resurrection in a parish whose churches now vie with each other in the loveliness of their Easter dress; while in the very chapel in which the little handful of violets and heart's-ease in the font produced so terrible a commotion, you may see, any Easter, not only font but altar splendid with the pride of the greenhouse, nay more, the stately floral cross full six feet high set up above the Holy Table.
Enough has now been said to illustrate the changes in things ecclesiastical which have occurred among us during the last half century, and to demonstrate that the history of that period has been one of steady development and beneficial and valuable acquisition. And now let me add, that in comparing the past and the present, as has been done, the idea of speaking disrespectfully of our fathers or their customs has been as remote as it could be from my thoughts. On the contrary, the hearts of their children turn to them with reverence and affection, while at the same time we cannot help perceiving that we have made progress since those days. The growth has been steady, it has also been inevitable. They did not foresee what this city was to be, nor what this nation was to be. They walked after their own light in their day; and, to tell the truth, were not conceited like some of their descendants who think themselves competent to regulate matters for all time to come. We do not find fault with the Churchmen of fifty, or seventy-five, or one hundred years ago, for not having things just as we have them, any more than with the good people of this city for not using in those days horse-cars, steam-ferries, or omnibuses. There was a time when a stage-coach used to run between New York city and Greenwich village. It set out from the Tontine Coffee-House, at or near the corner of Broadway and Liberty Street, and jogged on quietly till it arrived at Richmond Hill, about the corner of Varick and Charlton-Streets. There the horses were watered, and the passengers, if so disposed, took lunch. It then proceeded toward its destination through the smiling country, as far [14/15] as what is now Tenth Avenue and Twentieth Street or thereabout. Of these laborious trips some three or four were made in a day. That was sufficient for the wants of the times; it would scarcely answer now. The introduction of modern appliances and accommodations, as we require them, involves no slur on our ancestors; it shows that times have changed, and that the ways and wants of 1867 are not the same as those of 1767. But there are some who seem to think that the Church alone must neither develop in ritual nor avail herself of useful appliances; that she alone must show no signs of growth; that every thing ought to be done now just as it was half or three-quarters of a century ago. There is as much wisdom in this as there would be in a proposition to remodel the architecture of the city, after the style of the old frame-houses and Dutch gables which once lined these streets, or to constrain and limit the travelling public by arrangements based on the system of the old stage-coaches to Greenwich village.
There is a moral in every history; and the one which we have been considering, so curious and so instructive, must surely be able to convey a salutary lesson; nor ought it to be disregarded by those in high places, whose duty it is to direct great movements instead of vainly endeavoring to repress them. Let me throw into the form of questions the thoughts which are awakened while we consider what was and what is.
First, then, we ask, Who of us would go back to the old state of things? Who would venture the suggestion that we should return to usages which, by slow and healthy progress, we have long since outgrown? Who, for instance, would vote to have a wall built across that chancel; to rear against it the lumbering pile of table, desk, and pulpit; to stop the choral service and the chanting, and to suffer no music here but a psalm in metre; to have a celebration six times a year; to see no proper font in church and to witness no baptisms; to have only one or two clergymen to officiate, and to listen to sermons made awful by the paraphernalia of black gown and- lavender kid gloves; to [15/16] behold no flowers nor lights; to hear neither carol nor processional hymn? Who, I say, would dream of suggesting that we should turn round and walk backward to any point twenty-five, fifty, or seventy-five years ago; and remodel every thing after the pattern exhibited to us in those days? It would be a very funny proposition; one could not think it to be seriously made.
For, secondly, the question would arise, How could we so go back? How could we, if we would? Has not this growth onward and upward been of the LORD? has it not been the mere working out, in the Church, of the law of her existence? To say that all this has conic of the will of man, is to assert what cannot be proved if this Church of ours, which we so dearly love, were a sect, we might argue about her and think of her as men talk and judge of sects. But she is no sect; she is a branch of the Holy Catholic Church. Her sympathies are with the great body whose organic life she shares. Let her alone, and she will assert her lineage. It would not be possible to undo what the Lord has done in her; and nothing would prove the truth of this assertion more readily than to make the attempt. The hand of Almighty GOD has been with us from the first, through all the work of restoration. For these are not innovations; they are reconstructions. What belongs to us, we have been recovering; that is the whole story. We would not retrograde; we could not if we would. The common-sense, the common desire of the Church would protest against it.
Then, thirdly, the question arises, Whether the work of restoration and reconstruction should be regarded as complete at its present point, or whether it may be carried still further with advantage to the Church? That is a question which the future will answer; we cannot answer it, because we are not able to look into the future. Still there are one or two things to be said about it, and the first is this: that there ought to be no legislation which can impede the free and healthy growth of the Church according to that law which holds in every part of the visible, historic Catholic system. 1867 is no better able to [16/17] legislate for 1967 upon minute details of rite and ceremony, of practice and usage, than 1767 was for 1867. Moreover, such legislation would be useless, for it could not be enforced by any ordinary agency. Who can imagine the General Convention, for example, - taking up each mooted point in vestments, postures, attitudes, etc., and settling by decree whether men shall or shall not bow at the Sacred Name, and how low we may bow our heads, if permitted to bow at all; and whether we shall face east or west, and how we must hold our hands and place our feet; and whether we may or may not wear cassocks; and in case we may wear them, whether they shall button in front with many buttons or at the side with few; also whether our surplices shall be as long as our cassocks, or whether they may stop before they reach the ground; and, if so, how many inches from it? It is not probable that the General Council of the Church will resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on tailoring, millinery, candelabra and gas standards, nor that we shall have from that source a minute directorium on flowers and lights, altar cloths and symbols, positions and attitudes, on the cut of vestments, the embroidery of linen cloths, or the color of a stole. But until this be done, we are free to move about, and live, and gain, and grow; and, therefore, it can hardly be doubted that we shall improve every year as we study and learn and become more wise and more earnest. This cannot be doubted, unless, indeed, it should be thought by any that we have reached the acme of perfection in this day, and that an infallibility attaches to things as they are at present. I do not know how others may feel, but there are few, if any, here who entertain such an idea. Some have thought, or seem to think, that about the time of the American Revolution the usages and customs of the Church were settled forever by men endowed with a wisdom little less than supernatural, in such a manner as to admit of no improvement and require no alteration to the end of time. Others have thought, or seem to think, that perfection was reached about twenty-five years ago, so that all that has been done since that time has [17/18] been ill done, and that we ought to go back a quarter of a century in order to regain a faultless condition. Such ideas are probably held by few; here, and elsewhere, and generally through the Church, a different view is taken. Men talk of growth as opposed to stagnation, of perfectibility rather than of perfection, of liberty instead of bondage, of beauty as distinguished from ugliness, and of Catholicism as compared with Sectarianism. The wider, broader, and fuller ideas will, in all probability, win a victory over those which are narrow, straitened, and imperfect. We look for great results in the future, because we notice what has been the order of progress in the past. And, although the same opposition may be hereafter encountered, which has been met with heretofore on the introduction of improvements in divine service, we are confident that those things will ultimately be approved which prejudice may at first oppose and condemn. We are confident of this, because persuaded that the intention of those who have labored in the work of restoration has been to set forth with sincerity, and in simplicity, yet forcibly and distinctly, only such truths as are scriptural, apostolic, primitive, and Catholic. Looking about this church, we challenge any one to point out so much as one smallest object which symbolizes Roman doctrine or Roman error. We disclaim, distinctly and earnestly, any sympathy with the peculiar views, practices, or teachings of Rome. It is not toward them that we move; but toward that happy position, if it can be found, and it must be somewhere, at which all true Catholics may meet in unity of doctrine, discipline, and worship, and where no edict, whether it be promulgated from one extreme or the other, shall have power to vex and distress GOD'S children.
Finally, brethren, let me add, that while speaking of outward things, the inward spirit and life have not been forgotten. What, indeed, are rites and ceremonies, customs and practices, but so many indications and expressions of hidden life? Let growth in beauty, grace, and dignity be ever so great, it were nothing and worse than nothing if unaccompanied by spiritual [18/19] development. With joy and thankfulness is the conviction declared, that these two processes have been going on amongst us side by side. We have been gaining all those things of which I spoke-beautiful churches, noble and richly-adorned altars, massive fonts, spacious chancels, choral services, better and comelier vestments, Easter flowers, spire, gable, and altar crosses, litany faldstools, eagle, lecterns, polychrome decorations, surpliced choirs, processionals, and many like things. But along with these we have been also gaining, what is better far, a higher view of the position of our branch of the Church toward the rest of Christendom; a knowledge of her history; a love for those holy traditions which reach far back, across the stormy waters of the Reformation, into the era of the Six General Councils and the First Age of the Church; a deepening reverence for her blessed sacraments; a more correct appreciation of the life to which we are called in her; a clearer view of our duty to ourselves, to men, and to GOD. I can bear witness that I have never seen so plainly as within the past few years the working of GOD'S grace in the consciences of individuals; that I have never seen so much as lately of deep longing after holiness, of settled purpose to make His glory the end of existence, of' earnest repentance for sin, of energizing faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And, behold, how on every side the Church is putting forth her strength in active charities, in missions at home and abroad, in enterprises for the succor of the orphan, the poor, and the lost, in efforts to win the masses, the laboring folk, and those who are living without GOD in the world! This growth of Christian love, fervor, zeal, and devotion, evenly with development in the outward expression of reverence toward Almighty GOD and with belief in the articles of the Catholic faith, gives assurance that the work is the LORD'S, and that it cannot be overthrown. What we have done has been done to charity. Who are the agitators in the Church? Not they who form the school of restoration and progress; these men seek their end in prayer and faith, resolved to give back no harsh word, but to work on in [19/20] quietness, and, if it be possible, to live peaceably with all. There are agitators amongst us; men who cause divisions, who sow the seeds of dissension, and call names; but they are not of us, or at least we desire no such agencies to be employed on our side. We labor for peace. We do but ask that this branch of the Catholic Church may have her rights and be permitted to obey the law of her existence. We are not afraid of public opinion: at first it may be against us; it always comes out right, if you will give it time, and that which was our foe ends in being our strongest ally. It is not a thing to be courted; it is not to be dreaded; it is only an aggregate of human opinions, and of how little consequence is human opinion in questions touching divine, truth! Ye who have at heart the glory of GOD, the welfare of men, and the salvation of the ungodly, be not afraid, nor impatient. Answer no man railing for railing; watch and pray, stand fast and trust in the LORD; assured that the same Hand which has led us on thus far will continue to guide us toward higher, better, and holier things in our vocation.