Project Canterbury

Mahlon Norris Gilbert: Bishop Coadjutor of Minnesota 1886-1900.

By Francis Leseure Palmer
with an Introduction by Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, Presiding Bishop of the American Church.

Milwaukee: The Young Churchman, 1912.
London: Mowbray, 1912.

Chapter VIII. Christ Church, St. Paul

THE REMOVAL from Montana to Minnesota was a great change--from the mountains to the plain; from a mining town of 4,000 inhabitants to a mercantile city of 40,000; from a jurisdiction with five or six clergymen to a strong diocese with seventy clergymen in active service. For over twenty years Henry Benjamin Whipple, great bishop and great leader, had carried on his wonderful work, extending the Church's activities and influence, planting strong institutions, defending the Red Man from oppression and wrong; twenty years of service yet remained before him.

The population of Minnesota was already 800,000, and was increasing rapidly. St. Paul and Minneapolis, the "Twin Cities," were just entering upon their period of phenomenal growth; in the coming ten years St. Paul was to increase from 41,000 to 133,000, while Minneapolis was to grow from 46,000 to 164,000--a marvelous percentage. It was a time for wise planning and energetic work, and Mahlon Gilbert saw that a large opportunity was before him.

Christ Church, St. Paul, is often called the Mother Church of Minnesota, for it is the oldest organized parish, and from it, or from the labor of its ministers, have come several churches, in St. Paul and the vicinity.

The very beginnings of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota are traced to Fort Snelling, which adjoins St. Paul. There, before the coming of a clergyman, Mrs. Josiah Snelling, wife of the commandant, and Mrs. Nathan Clark, also a resident in the garrison, gathered what was probably the first Sunday school in the Northwest. These two faithful women also used to hold "a service with the aid of the Episcopal Prayer Book, both of them being devout members of that branch of the Church." This was in 1821, or soon after. It is a page of our local Church history which is too little known. [See Early Episcopal Churches and Missions in Minnesota, by the Rev. George C. Tanner, in Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, Vol. X., Part I., p. 203.]

In 1839, there came to Fort Snelling as chaplain a noble priest of the Episcopal Church, Ezekiel Gilbert Gear, affectionately remembered as "Father Gear." Every Sunday he officiated at the Fort, and conducted a Sunday school, but, as occasion offered, he held services in the small settlements near by. His first recorded service at St. Paul was on the day before Christmas in 1845, but he had probably officiated there several times before.

In June, 1850, there arrived at Fort Snelling the "Associate Mission," consisting of James Lloyd Breck, Timothy Wilcoxson, and J. Austin Merrick. They received a hearty welcome from Father Gear, and he gladly committed to them the work in the vicinity of the Fort. St. Paul was chosen as their headquarters, and from this center an active work was carried on. In August, 1850, the parish in St. Paul was duly organized, and was named Christ Church, after the historic parish in Philadelphia, which had shown much interest in Dr. Breck's endeavors. That same year a wooden church was built, "in the Early Minnesota pointed style," and the first service was held in it on the Second Sunday in Advent.

When Mahlon Gilbert became rector, a little over thirty years had passed since the founding of Christ Church, and already it had an admirable record of work accomplished. The succession of rectors had been as follows:

1850-1852 Rev. James Lloyd Breck, D.D.
1852-1854 Rev. Timothy Wilcoxson.
1854-1861 Rev. John Visger Van Ingen, D.D.
1862-1875 Rev. Stirling Yancey McMasters, D.D.
1876-1880 Rev. William Pray Ten Broeck, D.D.

These were all men of high ability, honored leaders in the Diocese.

At this time there were in St. Paul only three Episcopal churches. St. Paul's Church, organized in 1856, was a direct colony of Christ Church, and from its favorable location had outgrown the mother church. It now had over four hundred communicants, and its rector, Elisha Smith Thomas, was a leader of rare ability. The parish of the Good Shepherd was founded in 1868 as a free church by the stalwart Churchman, William Cox Pope, who remains its rector unto this day (1912).

Christ Church occupied then, as now, the Gothic structure of gray stone at the corner of Fourth and Franklin Streets. This substantial church was built during Dr. McMaster's rectorship, and accommodates six hundred people. Being near the heart of the city, it has been used for many general gatherings--diocesan councils, missionary meetings, institutes, lectures, and the like--taking almost the place of a pro-cathedral. The parish numbered at this time 160 families and 280 communicants; it had good traditions, loyal workers, and was ready to go forward.

On January 16, 1881, the Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Mahlon Gilbert held his first service as rector of Christ Church. The St. Paul Pioneer Press of the following day gives an interesting report. The new clergyman is described as "rather tall in stature, light-complexioned, with slightly aquiline features"; his age is given correctly as thirty-two. The text of the morning sermon was II. Corinthians, v. 14: "For the love of Christ constraineth us."

The central idea of the sermon was the love of Christ as illustrated in the life of the Apostle St. Paul, which seemed to men to be a mere abstraction, utterly unpractical. . . . The love of Christ as a motive did not convince, it only dazed the people. It was an unselfish idea. We know how grandly this principle governed the life of St. Paul. Everything in his life was counted but dross, that he might win the love of Christ. This is the central power of Christianity. The ethics of Christianity are all wrapped up in that grand principle of Christ's love, striving within the human heart to win a responsive love. You cannot go beyond the power unfolded in that thought.

The outline is short, but it indicates well the spirit which came more and more to animate the man. His life was singularly free from selfishness, and his ministry was a constant commentary upon his text, "The love of Christ constraineth us."

Another sermon, preached a few weeks later, further illustrates this ruling principle of Mahlon Gilbert's theology. His text was St. Luke xix. 10: "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."

No more striking exemplifications of the religion of fatalism and the religion of Providence can be found than in two grand productions of Pagan genius and Christian art, the Sphinx of Egyptian sands and the Madonna of San Sisto. One combines wisdom and power; the other wisdom and love. . . . God does not attract men to him unless he is brought near to them in genuine sympathy, in an intense Fatherhood.

What is meant by the atonement? It means such a striking revelation of the love of God toward fallen man, that man is drawn upward by the very potency of the influence. If God loves me, as the coming of his Son would indicate, then I can once more return to him, and be at one with him.

It is, I know, a common theory that the sacrifice of Christ is a revelation of the wrath of God toward sinners; that God inflicted upon an innocent man the punishment which was due the guilty. But I do not so read the Scriptures. I do not so regard the wonderful, touching mission of redemption. It meant, I am sure, love; a love which could sacrifice the dearest object of its affection for the salvation of the world; that man, seeing God as he really is, might have confidence to return to him."

Thirty years ago such preaching was less common than it is to-day, and it is no wonder that those who heard it, and who saw it exemplified in the preacher's earnest and 'unselfish life, were drawn to him with confidence and affection which the years have never marred.

The Minnesota Missionary of November, 1881, gives some interesting first impressions. After describing various improvements in the chancel and elsewhere, the correspondent adds:

Mr. Gilbert informs us that he feels much encouraged in his work, as his people are regular at church and Holy Communion, and devout and attentive in the service.

A friend who was at Christ Church not long since tells us that he was much impressed with the heartiness of the service and of the music. . . . Present indications lead us to believe that Christ Church, St. Paul, has entered upon a new era in its existence.

Mr. William H. Lightner, for many years chancellor of the diocese, has given his recollections of first meeting Mr. Gilbert:

I was then a young man in St. Paul, and there were eight of us who had bachelor quarters together. Several of us attended Christ Church. We had been told that there was a new rector coming, and that we should like him, but we had not thought much more about it. One evening, only two weeks or so after Mr. Gilbert's coming, we were told that a gentleman had called to see us, a Mr. Gilbert. We went down, and it proved to be the new rector. We had not thought of seeing him. He sat down and talked with us, and smoked with us, and we felt acquainted with him. He promised to come again, and he did. It was a new experience for us.

Christ Church began to pick up. Men liked him, and came again to hear him. He set to work to do things, and he set others to work.

After a few months he formed a young men's club which grew and prospered. When the rectory was built, he came to us young men and asked us to raise a certain sum for the rectory debt, and gave us the names of certain persons whom he wished us to see. He wanted us to raise in all $625. We had never been asked to do anything like that before, but we did it.

He soon got the finances of the parish in such condition that we no longer needed the Easter offering for current expenses. One year our offering at Easter was $3,500 for building the church at Merriam Park; another year it was for St. Stephen's Chapel.

The congregations grew so large that we got a quantity of chairs, which we used to put in the aisles and in every vacant space, in order to accomodate those that came.

He was not what is called a scholarly man, nor a profound thinker. He did not appeal as Phillips Brooks did by the power of his intellect, but he did hold the attention of men, and they came to hear him as often as they could.

Of his power as a speaker a remarkable instance was once given at the "Informal Club," of which he was an active member. This club includes prominent men of many walks in life, and each one is given perfect liberty to express his own opinion. The one in charge for the evening reads his essay or delivers his address, and then calls on others, and they speak in agreement or disagreement, with perfect good feeling. On one evening, when unfortunately I was absent, the leader had presented a line of thought that was decidedly opposed to the Christian Faith. When it came Bishop Gilbert's turn to speak (for he was Bishop at this time), with perfect courtesy and kindness he made a statement of his own faith, with his reasons for the same. Those who heard it said it was the most masterly defence of the Faith they ever heard.

His earnestness and his kindness of heart won men to him. He never criticised others, unless they were absolutely oblivious of their shortcomings. He knew how, as a rule, to make people feel their sins without telling them of them. He made them want to be better.

More than anyone I have ever known, Bishop Gilbert exemplified the three Christian virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity; his faith was unbounded; his hope was unwavering; he was always overflowing with kindness and love.

In private life he was the best of company. There was no one with whom I would rather go fishing or hunting, or do anything that was right, than with him. For nearly twenty years we were near neighbors, and his death was the greatest personal loss I ever had.

The coming years are in part anticipated by this estimate, but for the light it throws on Mahlon Gilbert's character, it is quoted here. One spirit, one purpose, binds the years together.

Along the lines described by Mr. Lightner, Christ Church went steadily forward. Land adjoining the church was soon purchased, and a rectory of brick was completed in the spring of 1883. Every department of Church life flourished; the Sunday school became large and enthusiastic, having among its officers and teachers many men of ability; the Young Men's Club was full of interest and purpose; the guilds and other parochial societies were active and united; large classes were presented for confirmation, and the number of communicants increased rapidly.

In all the work there was a spirit of confidence and love. Many who look back at Mahlon Gilbert think of him as the embodiment of chivalry, a modern Galahad, losing himself in generous devotion to others. And as the ancient knight realized the Saviour's saying, and in "losing his life, found his life," so the modern knight, "without a selfish thought," gained what is better than reputation or riches, the love of his fellow-men.

One parishioner has said of him, "He was more like a father confessor to me than any clergyman I ever knew. I do not mean in the technical sense of hearing formal confessions, but that he seemed to know one's very spirit, and to draw out one's confidence. One could tell him anything, and was sure of help."

On the evening of Ascension Day, May 26, 1881, Mr. Gilbert made the first annual address before the Breck Missionary Society of Seabury Divinity School. His theme was "Workers together with God." The purpose of the Society was interpreted by two words, Knowledge, and Sympathy; knowledge of "the outreaching missionary field of the Church"; sympathy with the workers, showing itself in genuine interest and helpful service. He closed with a description of the Church's leaders in their heroic labors. Only six years before, though he made no reference to it, the speaker had gone from Seabury to one of these difficult missionary fields, and those who heard him were deeply moved by his earnest words and his sincere example. [See the Minnesota Missionary, July 1881.]

At the Annual Council of the Diocese of Minnesota, held in June, 1881, at Stillwater, Mr. Gilbert, though a newcomer, was honored with two positions of responsibility. Bishop Whipple appointed him to be one of his Examining Chaplains, and he was also elected a member of the Diocesan Board of Missions. This Board then consisted of seven clergymen and four laymen. Mr. Gilbert was chosen secretary of the Board, and served energetically in that office until his election to the episcopate.

Mr. Gilbert's missionary spirit was shown in his efforts to extend the Church in the city of St. Paul. As already noted, two mission churches mark his rectorship. St. Stephen's Mission on Randolph Street was begun in 1884, its "very neat frame church with open roof," being completed the following summer. The first service at Merriam Park was held by Mr. Gilbert in July, 1885, and the work was organized and carried forward so vigorously that St. Mary's Church was built the following year. St. Stephen's remains a mission, but St. Mary's long since became an independent parish. For four years Mr. Gilbert was also in charge of the little Church of St. John in the Wilderness at White Bear Lake, several miles away. He bore the title of rector, and held service twice a month, besides maintaining a Sunday school. To all these undertakings the Mother Church gave hearty support. Thus, at Christmas, 1885, Christ Church provided for each of these three stations a Christmas tree and service, in addition to their own parish festival.

For some years Mr. Gilbert had no regular clerical assistant in this wide field, but he writes with strong appreciation of "the two lay readers, Messrs. Horn and Bend," who had aided him in services at Fort Snelling, St. Luke's Hospital, and elsewhere. This Mr. William B. Bend, afterwards General of the Minnesota National Guards, was later president for several years of the diocesan Lay Readers' League. During Holy Week, 1885, "the rector was assisted most acceptably by Mr. Sydney G. Jeffords of Seabury Divinity School," and in June, after his ordination to the diaconate, the Rev. Mr. Jeffords became "Assistant Minister" at Christ Church. St. Stephen's Mission was placed in his special charge and prospered.

Another good work, dear to Christ Church, is St. Luke's Hospital. This was founded by an early rector, Dr. Van Ingen, and for many years the members of its board were drawn so largely from Christ Church that the hospital was listed as a parish institution. With large-hearted devotion, both as rector and Bishop, Mahlon Gilbert aided and guided the development of St. Luke's.

In these days, most clergymen (and their parishioners, too, for that matter), claim to be exceedingly busy men. Many are too busy to make calls; too busy to learn modern methods of Sunday school work; too busy to prepare their sermons properly. It is a condition into which many of our clergy have drifted almost unconsciously, and with which they are deeply dissatisfied. In spite of the admonition of the Apostles they find themselves "leaving the word of God, and serving tables." This condition has come through the high endeavor to meet modern social problems. Parish machinery has been multiplied, and the chief machinist is the one who should be the parish priest. Mr. Gilbert's rectorship at Christ Church came at the beginning of this modern development in parish life. He himself organized more than one society which has maintained a vigorous and useful existence ever since. A recent Year Book gives the following account of the chief organization:

The Woman's Association of Christ Church had its inception early in the rectorate of Bishop Gilbert in the spring of 1881. It was duly organized with constitution and by-laws which were printed and sent to every person in the parish. The original rules are still, for the most part, adhered to, though with the changes incident to the growth of the city and shifting of localities, some of the work has been abandoned.

As now organized, there are seven instead of eight committees, viz: The Parish Aid, the Altar Guild, the Woman's Auxiliary, the Junior Auxiliary, St. Mary's Guild (organized by Dr. Andrews), and the Industrial School (a recent development), all actively engaged during the autumn and winter months, and the Choir-Mothers throughout the year."

Over twenty-five years have passed since the close of Mr. Gilbert's rectorship. That this Association was well planned and well organized is evident from this report. It is strong testimony to the wisdom and efficiency of a great rector. It is of value also as showing that parochial administration need not utterly absorb the time and energy of the rector of a large and active parish.

As a parish priest, Mahlon Gilbert knew how to use time wonderfully. An aged parishioner says that "he would accomplish more in ten minutes than many clergymen do in an hour. His rule was to call frequently and to stay but a short time. He would get at once to the heart of a matter, whether in a meeting of the vestry or of a parish guild, or in an ordinary parochial call. Where he was well acquainted, he would often run in for a meal, and soon after he would go, but with no sense of hurry." It is this "sense of hurry" which mars so much of life to-day.

Some features of parish life at this time may conveniently be grouped here. The ritual at Christ Church, as in Minnesota generally, was of a simple character. Bishop Whipple wisely opposed extreme Churchmanship of either school. Party strife he abhorred. His one aim was that "the comfortable Gospel of Christ" might be "truly preached, truly received, and truly followed, in all places." There have been some changes in outward forms since 1881 but few in the diocesan spirit.

At that time the weekly Eucharist was not yet the rule even in the large parishes. At Christ Church it was first made a custom in Lent, and afterwards became the rule for all the year. The gift of a white stole to Mr. Gilbert was such a novelty that a neighboring rector borrowed it for a wedding, and thus had the first use of it. Altar lights were not yet introduced. The first vested choir at Christ Church was formed by Mr. Gilbert's successor. Contemporary accounts, however, show that the service at Christ Church was well rendered, and that the music was of a high order. In the Sunday school a choral service was in common use. It is of interest to know that the offerings of the Sunday school, which sometimes amounted to three hundred dollars a year, were entirely devoted to missionary and charitable purposes.

"On Ash-Wednesday," says a former parishioner, "Mr. Gilbert used to lay down the law, and told us just what he expected of us. We were not to go to the theatre, or card parties, or anything like that. He made it perfectly plain, and we always had good Lenten services. There were large congregations, and a fine observance of Lent."

The Lenten Card of 1882 shows his endeavor to teach as well as to preach. These cards were mailed to every member of the congregation to make sure of reaching them all. The "Subjects for Special Sermons and Lectures for Sunday Evenings at 7: 30" were as follows: "The Church and the Holy Scriptures; The Church and Papal Supremacy; The Church and the Reformation; The Church, Her Sacraments and Doctrines; The Church and other Christian Bodies; The Church and the Age." On Friday evenings there were "Lectures on the Beatitudes," and on Wednesday afternoons "Ten Minute Talks on Church Duties." Through Holy Week there was daily service at 11 A. M. and 7: 30 p. M The morning topic was "The Last Days of the Saviour," and the subject for the evening was "The Last Words of the Saviour." On Good Friday there was simply the morning and evening service provided in the Prayer Book. Many Lenten cards to-day seem planned for women only; the hours of many of Mr. Gilbert's services were arranged so as to permit the men of the congregation to attend. He was not "a man's man" in the sense that his real interest was in the men only; he was rather of that type of shepherd that cares for every member of the flock.

Men's clubs have become a common feature of parish life, but the Young Men's Club which Mr. Gilbert founded, on coming to the parish, filled a special place in a growing city full of young men. Many of its members, in becoming friends with him and with each other, learned also to love the Church.

A pleasant custom, observed in several of the older parishes in Minnesota, is an annual Epiphany Party. This ancient usage appealed to the heart of Dr. Breck, and was introduced by him at Faribault, where it is still maintained. In some parishes which have adopted the custom the Epiphany Party is limited to the rector, wardens, and vestry, and their wives; in others it is a parochial gathering. Its chief feature is a grand Epiphany Cake in which is hidden the Epiphany Ring. Amid much excitement the cake is divided, and the one who finds the ring in his portion is hailed as the Epiphany King or Queen. During the year the ring remains in this monarch's keeping, and it his pleasant duty to preside at the party on the next Epiphany. Mr. Gilbert had become familiar with the custom at Faribault, and now introduced it at Christ Church, where, with some changes, it is still maintained as a cheerful parish tradition.

An event of unusual character during Mr. Gilbert's rectorship was the visit of "an English Lord Bishop" to the Diocese of Minnesota. On Sunday, August 24, 1884, the Eight Reverend Anthony Wilson Thorold, Bishop of Rochester, spoke three times in the city of St. Paul. His evening address on Temperance was at Christ Church, with Mr. Gilbert and other clergymen in the chancel. It was probably the first visit of an English Bishop to Minnesota, and the newspapers show much interest in the man and his message.

Christ Church has had from the beginning a large number of men of ability and prominence, who have served it faithfully. On Mr. Gilbert's coming, the wardens were James Gilfillan, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Minnesota, and John Quincy Adams. The vestrymen were Reuben Warner, Charles Proal, T. D. Barton, Major J. P. Pond, U. S. A., John P. Larkin, W. J. Footner, and C. C. Elfelt. Others who served on the vestry during Mr. Gilbert's rectorship were J. B. Tarbox, W. H. Hubbard, J. H. Ames, H. P. Hoppin, A. H. Cathcart, S. R. McMasters, and E. C. Allis. These and many others, with faithful and devoted women too many to name, gave themselves, their time, and their substance to this parish. With many of them the supreme thing in life was devotion to Christ and to his Church. Those who remain to this present speak with one accord of their strong personal affection for Mahlon Gilbert as rector, as bishop, and as friend. He, for his part, trusted them and loved them. In after years as bishop his home was still among them, and their friendship and love never failed.

Through the five years of his rectorship, Mr. Gilbert was recognized in the city and in the diocese as a growing man. In 1883 he was a member of the House of Deputies of the General Convention which met in Philadelphia in October, taking the place of the Rev. Dr. Knickerbacker, who was consecrated Bishop of Indiana. At the annual Council of the Diocese of Minnesota, which met on St. Barnabas' Day, June 11, 1884, at the Cathedral in Faribault, Mr. Gilbert preached the opening sermon. His subject was, "Steadfastness in the Faith, the antidote of Doubt," the text being I. Corinthians, xvi: 13, "Stand fast in the faith." At the request of the Council the sermon was printed in pamphlet form. A few characteristic sentences are here given:

If we know Christ, we know the faith. . . . St. Paul realized this thought in all its fulness. In this faith he was rooted and grounded. A knowledge of it, springing out of a wonderful experience, was the inspiration of his life. He preached it, he taught it, he lived it, 'mid every people, 'neath every sky. Within the white walls of Damascus where his eyes first saw its light; in Jerusalem 'mid storms of ridicule and threatenings; under the porticoes of the Ephesian Diana's temple; along the altar-lined highway of Mars Hill; to the sybarites of Corinth, and before Roman Senators; in short wherever men were to be saved-- the faith was his text, his tower, his labarum.

After a life spent for Christ, after glorious triumphs for the faith, after weariness and watchings, fastings and persecutions, the one thought upon which he dwelt most proudly, and which he set over against all else, was the thought embodied in almost his dying words, "I have kept the Faith." . . .

You know, my friends, as well as I, that the attempt, so common now, to make the Christian religion a kind of elevated moral philosophy, resting upon the same plane as Positivism and Rationalism, is in its immediate tendency a danger threatening the very heart of the faith. The attempt to explain away the supernatural in Christianity, to call the Scriptures simply noble literature, to make Christ only a sublime moral teacher, is practically to take Christ and a personal God out of the world. It is eliminating all these divine elements from the faith, which have ever served to keep it higher than men's lives, and which have always been the "certain assurance of a hope which maketh not ashamed." . . .

The man who is steadfast in the faith is not the man who is ever ready to chain his thoughts to the chariot wheels of a fallible leader and so be led away a willing captive into new and untried and practically unknown abiding places. Once having utterly absorbed the truth within the innermost recesses of his heart, it becomes a masterful power to control him, and he stands by it, defends it, as he would his own life. . . . There is a supreme loyalty to his convictions which does not waver. . . . The Church to him is his home. He finds therein space for the fresh and grandest development of his character. He is satisfied and at rest. The only agitation within him results from the pains of a growth into "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." In a sermon preached to his own congregation soon after his coming he took this line of argument:

Have you ever observed this fact, my friends, that in all of the popular infidel attacks upon the Bible and Christianity, the character and life and teaching of Jesus Christ are never touched? . . . Until that life is punctured, that character destroyed, that divine man argued out of existence, Christianity from the very nature of things can not be overturned. [The St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 7, 1881.]

During the first week of Advent, 1885, a notable mission was held in Christ Church. It was conducted by Bishop Whipple, Rev. E. S. Thomas, and the rector, assisted by the Rev. Charles A. Poole of Duluth, and the Rev. W. H. Knowlton, then of Galena, Illinois. The daily services were as follows: 7 A.M., Holy Communion; 10: 30 A. M., Bible Reading; 4 P. M., Instruction; 7:30 P.M., Mission Service and Preaching, followed by an After-service. One of those who took part, the Rev. Dr. Poole, recalls vividly the impression of that time. At the evening services the church was filled to the door, and Mr. Gilbert in particular spoke with a power and persuasion which he never surpassed. In wonderful stillness the great congregation followed his burning words, looking upon him as truly "a man sent from God." The after effect of the mission was strong, and showed itself in many helpful ways in the spiritual life of the parish.

A chapter could easily be written on the patriotism of Mahlon Gilbert. As a child he had listened eagerly to stories of Colonial and Revolutionary days and of the heroic part played by his own ancestors in those stirring times. Too young to take part in the Civil War, his brother has recorded the militant enthusiasm of young Mahlon as he watched the "Boys in Blue" marching to the front. In due time he became an active member of the Society of Colonial Wars, and of the Sons of the Revolution, and he was never happier than when sharing in some patriotic observance. In 1883 he was made Chaplain of the First Regiment of the Minnesota .National Guards, and served ably in the office till after his election to the episcopate. When General Grant died in the summer of 1885, there was a spontaneous recognition throughout the country of his services to the nation. On Saturday, August 8, the day of the great General's funeral, impressive services were held in St. Paul. In spite of rain, thousands gathered in the open space by the state capitol and listened to tributes by well-known speakers. Of the four addresses, that of Mr. Gilbert is reported at greatest length, and seems best to sum up the character of the nation's hero and the feelings of the men of the nation in their time of loss.

The steady growth of the parish is shown by a summary of the five years. During this time 235 were baptized and 175 were confirmed; in the year 1885 Mr. Gilbert officiated personally at 35 marriages and 35 funerals, while several other services of each kind were taken by his curate or other assisting clergyman. At his coming the number of communicants was 280; at the close of his rector ate there were 513. The number of families had increased to 315, thus making Christ Church once more the largest parish in the city. The congregations were always large, the church being filled at each service, often to overflowing.

Through these busy years Mr. Gilbert's health was usually good, though he was never regarded as robust. The energy with which he threw himself into any serious undertaking made his friends fear that he would soon wear himself out. After Lent in 1884 he was for sonic time in poor health, and in August he wisely went to Montana, to recover his strength in the open air. On his return he resumed his work with his usual vigor and good cheer.

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