Project Canterbury








The Protestant Episcopal Church













Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2008


NEARLY nineteen years have now elapsed since the institution whose business has assembled us, was founded. Rising under the auspices of the General Convention of our Church, it was not to be apprehended that it would fail to accomplish great and important benefit to its interest, in the increased numbers, and enlarged and strengthened character, of its ministry. The expectations of those, who gave their feeling and exertion to the enterprise, in its beginning, have in a happy degree, been accomplished; and the institution, inadequate as it yet is, in its means and operations, to the necessity which it is expected in its further progress to supply, is already the reasonable pride of our Church, [* The liberal endowments, by bequest, which the Seminary has received, are a happy evidence of the interest which is taken in its prosperity; and the munificence of such living friends as Mr. Moore and Mr. Stuyvesant, should be a subject of gratitude with every member of our Church.] and is ministering most happily to its growth and reputation. One hundred and fifty persons have, in different degrees, availed themselves of its advantages, in becoming qualified for the exercise of our ministry. Of these, ninety have passed through its whole course of study, and are variously pursuing the usefulness for which they had, under its [3/4] conduct, been prepared. To their number twenty-eight are now to be added. We look with an interest which no language could convey, upon the evidence which the occasion affords of the increasing success of the institution; and see in it, a subject of congratulation to the members generally of our Church, dispersed throughout the widely extended limits of our country.

To you, my friends, to whom I advert, as those who are to-day to be added to the Alumni of the Seminary, we would cordially tender our sympathy, in the various emotions which the occasion cannot but induce. You are to separate from the venerated and beloved instructers, at whose feet you have so happily sat; and whose example of Christian excellence has cherished the pious purpose which made you their pupils, while their learning, various and profound, wisely, judiciously, and blandly applied to the demand of your minds, has secured them your deeply-felt respect and gratitude. You are to be separated from each other; the interesting association of kindred studies and sympathetic devotions broken up, to go wherever the call of Providence shall bid, in the fulfilment of the vow to be taken upon you, to minister to the necessities of the Redeemer's kingdom; not, perhaps, more to meet, until the work he has given you to do being ended, through various scenes of toil, and trial, and sorrow, you shall be received to the glory that shall recompense it. You are to surrender yourselves, with the degree of qualification you shall [4/5] have attained, however insufficient you may feel it to be, to the momentous business to which you are devoted; content to meet the disposals of Him "by whom the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified;" and wherever "the lines may fall to you," whether at home or abroad, whether within the sphere of all the cheering influences of civilization, refinement, and literary and Christian intercourse, or in the moral wilderness, making so much of our own territory and of the earth, yet remaining to be subdued,--bound to be "faithful unto death."

Your elder brethren cannot be insensible to the emotions which, from these considerations, occupy you; nor, while they are preparing "to put off the harness," consider, without anxiety and prayer, the case of those thus about to "put it on." Accept the assurance of our heartfelt solicitude for your honorable accomplishment of the purpose with which, having been approved and successful pupils of this institution, you are now going forth from it, into that world, which the command of the Saviour has made the field of your appointed labor.

It is expected that some advice from the department of the Board of Trustees, with which it has happened to me to be connected, should accompany the expression of our interest in your future professional character and fortunes. From the various topics of reflection suitable for an address required on this occasion, which, notwithstanding the many already taken up by those who have preceded me, [5/6] remain, it has not been easy to select one with which I could hope, either usefully or agreeably, for a little while to detain you. Some few remarks, however, of a very obvious kind, shall be submitted on the peculiarity of the circumstances of the ministry in the United States, and the character which they imperiously demand.

It is not to be supposed, my friends, that in contemplating the Christian ministry for your calling, you have not adverted to its condition in reference to the governments under which we live. The question is not here to be touched, whether in its provisions, where religion is concerned, the constitution of the United States has been settled in the best and wisest manner that it could have been, as to an interest universally admitted to be vitally important to the civil state; nor whether in reference to that interest, the silence of the constitutions, in particular of the States, best consists with sound and wholesome policy. It is enough for us to avail ourselves of the freedom of action to which we are left, for the advancement of that interest, according to our impression of the principles of which it consists; and rejoice in any degree and manner in which we may see it minister to the happiness and welfare of our country. The question, indeed, of the wisdom and benefit of civil legislation, in reference to religion, to any extent further than that which gives protection to its operations, and security to its institutions, is one on which the wisest and most experienced in human [6/7] affairs, may be expected very widely to differ; nor are we, perhaps, yet in possession of any results of legislation on the subject, sufficient for the satisfactory determination of the mind, given the most anxiously and laboriously to its investigation. [* In the case even of the Church of England, civil legislation, is little more than that which is for the security of endowments and privileges, derived from royal or individual munificence. With the exception of the Church rates, which, in a comparatively small proportion, are applicable to the support of the ministry, provision by parliamentary statute is rather for the co-operation with, than for the maintenance of, the Church. It is as the long honored and valuable ally of the State, and not its creature and dependant, that we have been accustomed to contemplate its character and condition. In the case of the Gallic Church, revolutionized and subverted as to its temporal estate, we yet see nothing that can throw light upon the question. The public mind, accustomed to the gorgeous power of the hierarchy, which the revolution prostrated and humbled, would not easily be rallied by the closely restricted provisions of the policy which ensued, in favor of institutions which it had been taught to identify with the overwhelming evil of the age. Of the effect, indeed, of the direct and immediate aid and support of the civil power upon the character and interest of Christian institutions, we are without any example that may safely guide our judgment, unless we should find it in that of our own New-England States; where such aid and support were, perhaps, long enough the law of the land to make it apparent, whether it was so for good or evil. Yet, even here, the question becomes perplexed by the measures of repeal, which, in these States, have obtained the assent of the majority of the people, and the experiment essayed of that system, by which, as according to the constitution of our general government, religious interests are left to their own resources, with no pledge from government, but for their common protection and security, in the condition in which it finds them.] With the question, however, we neither have nor desire to have any thing to do.

The voluntary system, as among the technicalities of the day, the independence of religion and its claims on the civil power, has been named, is unchangeably the destination of Christian institutions [7/8] in the United States. We at least must be quietly contented that it is so. You are aware of the favor with which this state of things, among us, has been regarded by those, whom the spirit of the age, characterized as much by enterprises of evil as of good, of folly as of wisdom, of destruction as of reform, of fanaticism as of zeal, has arrayed against the Church, in the discussions by which, in Britain, the public mind is agitated. You cannot but be equally aware, that the views of those who there are the advocates of this system, have been much modified by the prejudices of political party, of religious dissent, or of infidel insensibility to any merits of truth or good which the question might involve. It will also be easily conceived, that in the opposition to its claims, argument has been greatly colored by influences of present and particular interest and utility, leading the mind aside from such as might be more remote and general; and that in no inconsiderable degree, the imperfect results of the system, in the case of the religion of the United States, have, on the one hand, been magnified into demonstrations of its success, or, on the other, been distorted into signs and forebodings of its utter failure. We are, certainly, yet not in possession of facts, of our own experience, sufficient to warrant either party to adhere to its side of the question with a confidence requiring no qualification. [* Until the independence of the States, the benefit of other than individual voluntary contributions, in support of religious offices, was largely experienced. [8/9] A liberal endowment laid the temporal foundation of our Church, where we now contemplate with gratitude and joy, its chief prosperity and strength. In most of the Colonies, it had the aid liberally extended to it, of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; and in several, especially Virginia, Maryland, and South Carolina, besides this advantage, it had those of a legal establishment, with provision for the maintenance of the ministry, made from time to time, or statedly, by legislative enactments. So various, and so considerable, in short, was the help which, until the independence was declared, was extended to the institutions, not of our Church only, but of Christianity, under other denominations in the Colonies, that from this cause, together with constitutional provision for the support of the ministers of Protestant Christianity, {* The language of the Constitution of Massachusetts until recently.} continuing until within a short period in some of the States, such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, unrepealed, and many individual endowments, materially aiding it, the effect of their dependence on gratuitous arrangements as the necessity at large of religious institutions, cannot yet conclusively be estimated.] The character and condition of the ministry among us, had, to a great extent, been formed under other circumstances than those of the system in question; and the influence of these circumstances, whether for good or evil, has been continued to be experienced. Many years have not yet elapsed, since our Church in particular, has spread itself from our older cities, and the most populous and otherwise favored places, throughout our immense, recently peopled, interior and remoter territory. We are not, indeed, forbidden by the evidence thus far afforded of its effect, to entertain the animated hope, that the friends and advocates of this system, will not be found to have been mistaken in the estimate they have formed of it: but we are forbidden, by any present evidences of its sufficiency, to contemplate with contented confidence, [9/10] the future progress of its influence. We cannot disguise from ourselves the melancholy fact, of its tendency to make the numbers comparatively small of those who will give themselves to the work of the ministry. It matters not, that it forbids encouragement to seek in the Church, the repose of indolence or the gains of avarice. It matters not, that it admits of no temporal splendor, pomp, or power, as the temptation to even honorable exertion in its service. We want for our clergy neither the couch of sinecure indulgence, nor the pampering of secular solicitudes. But we do want for them, provision, now inadequately and too precariously had, for the necessities of individual and domestic life. We do want the means of defraying, even with a grudging and sparing economy, the expenses of as many as might be willing, could they see such means securely provided, to give themselves to this business. We do want such support, now not afforded, as will enable the ministers of religion, with something of an exemplary influence, to perform that cardinal duty of religion, the giving to them that need. We do want that degree, at least, of certain provision against penury and mendicancy, which might have some effect, in turning our young men back from the crowded paths of secular adventure and political ambition, to take up this calling, hallowed in their eyes, however despised and neglected of men. It is not overflowing coffers of consecrated wealth that are necessary to these uses. They require [10/11] but the little that will sustain the strength necessary to this appointed work of GOD, and that will exempt those who do it, from the personal neglect and contempt, which, in the pride of wealth, becoming so much a prevailing feature of American character, will attach to poverty and dependence.

We cannot be insensible to this sad reality of our condition; that, as I have said, for want of more adequate provision for its sustenance, [* Perhaps we may see perfect evidence of the advantage of certain, however moderate, provision for the support of the ministry, in the fact, that numbers adequate to the existing need of ministers have been never wanting, where such provision has been made, and have been always so where it has not. Reference might be made to the case of the national Church of England, and of the Congregational Church of New England, as it was.] the office of the minister of the house of GOD is sought by far fewer than its service needs. Every where, in the more and more widely extending borders of the vineyard of the divine householder, many are required for its labor, where scarcely one can be had. It is, and must be, vain for us to look to our seminaries to send forth the numbers called for. What are they whom we are to-day to dismiss from this Seminary, in reference to the actually existing moral necessity of the country? A due sensibility to this necessity, we have trusted, would be the result of the well-devised measures of our General Convention, in reference to its missionary obligations. And of the abounding prosperity of that portion of our population, to which we should look for the supply of the means required, [11/12] we are not yet to fear, that less will be so applied, than we sanguinely have hoped. We can conceive of no species of munificence, next to that which will complete the necessary endowments of this valued institution, more important, or more certainly conducive to the interest of religion and the Church, and in it the best interest of the country, than that which would make our missionary funds adequate to the demands which we must hope will be made on them. Hitherto they are greatly inadequate to the reasonable and well-regulated necessity of their object; and until the most favored of heaven, in their earthly lot, will, in the spirit of the Gospel, gladly dedicate to its Bestower, in these funds, some generous proportion of what he gives, and thus evince the high importance of the interest in whose behalf they exert such liberality, we shall hope in vain to see many of our youth reverentially adverting to this interest, as that, to the promotion of which they would dedicate their talents and their lives.

While, then, from what is yet our experience of it, uncertainty, at least, thus hangs upon the course into which, in relation to our Christian institutions, things have been set, we can reasonably enter with but a restrained interest into the good or evil anticipations which have been indulged on the subject of it. Whatever may have been vauntingly asserted on the one hand, or on the other as vauntingly denied, of the excellency of its success, already attained, all such boasting, oneither side alike, I am [12/13] persuaded, is vain. If auspicious beginnings have authorized us to hope for the complete efficacy of the system, yet to be manifested to the Christian world, still we are not to overlook the reality of its present imperfection; nor waive the call of our attentive concern to any thing, which may tend to render this unalterable lot of our institutions, their pride, bespeaking the gratulations, or to prevent its proving their depression and misery, alike our sorrow, and that of all who name the name of CHRIST.

To you, my friends, who are about to give yourselves to the ministry, as your calling, it will belong to do all you can, to vindicate and justify the good, and put at fault, all evil anticipations in reference to the peculiar circumstances which mark its condition in America. Under this impression, you will see at once the high importance attaching to the inquiry, which has for its object, to ascertain the characteristics, chiefly essential to the ministry you are to exercise. It is impossible for you to be indifferent to the inquiry. You are to enter, you know, on a field of most arduous service. We need not say, that it is because no other provision, in reference to religion, is made by our governments--for there are other causes, manifest enough, to which to attribute it--but it is certain, that, together with a proud, confident, and not ill-taught infidelity, a worldly insensibility to religious truth and interest, and error, ignorance, and delusion with respect to them, prevail and abound, in a degree sufficient to [13/14] try the strength and exercise to the utmost the ablest and most faithful ministry.

Intellectually, spiritually, and practically, the peculiarity of our condition calls for no other character of ministry, however comparatively small the number who may be induced to enter it, than we now see circumstances fully permit to be acquired: no other than under the influence of circumstances as they are, we see, in progressive excellence, adorning, in all things, the Church to which it belongs. Whatever may have been the necessity to which they, in general, who aspired to this calling in times preceding yours, were subject, the day is past, you are aware, in which a moderate improvement of small advantages of preparation for its work would satisfy the public mind, and bespeak it reverence and attention. The prescriptive respect which it brought with it from other periods and other countries was long the source of an indulgence and favor, now not on that principle to be looked for. Another day has come, bringing with it far other requisitions. The veneration and indulgence extended to ministers of religion for their order's sake, and the inestimable interest committed to them, have given place to a spirit of rigid and even capricious exaction, whose demands must, to the utmost possible extent, be met.

The success of this valued institution is in nothing more strikingly the blessing of the Church than in its providing such as now become candidates for its ministry, with the fulness of intellectual qualification, [14/15] which their work so peculiarly requires. We should, indeed, greatly err if we should suppose the best attainments which are made in the classes of the Seminary to constitute more than the elements of the knowledge necessary for the full and prolonged course of ministerial action. The fulness of intellectual qualification, of which I speak, consists in a broad and well laid foundation, capable of receiving a superstructure, ample in its dimensions, complete in its proportions, and firm as the rock of ages, on which, as the chief corner-stone of its foundation, it is given to rest. It is the intellectual training and discipline, fitting for every necessary exertion and enterprise which the sacred service may require. It is the familiarity obtained with all the sources of necessary information, and the depositories of the materials and implements of the warfare, in which you are for life to be enlisted.

While, therefore, you consider yourselves, as we trust you do, generally well prepared for the exercise of skill and knowledge in the defence of sacred truth against all the old and long-prevailing cavils and objections of infidelity, as well as against what the Church holds to be the heresy, whether of older or later times, and to maintain yourselves and those who shall be committed to your charge, in the profession of the faith, as, in its scriptural and primitive soundness and integrity the Church of which you are members has received and kept it, you will, we are sure, be sensible that you have attained only the beginnings of the acquirement which circumstances [15/16] may call for in your future course. The inventive ingenuity of evil has found new objections against Christianity in the place of old ones exploded and abandoned. From every quarter you will find the religion you are to teach assailed, and from the exhaustless armory of truth you will be expected to be ready to be equipped for the conflict of its defence. It will be expected that no science, in whose intricacies the adversary may affect safely to be involved, should be unexplored; no walk of inquiry, in which he would think to escape you, untrodden--that the principle of infidel objection or skeptical difficulty should, in every instance, be thoroughly known and understood, that it may as thoroughly be refuted or solved. We need not think of our day, that it is, among such as refuse the yoke of CHRIST, peculiarly, in comparison with preceding ones, a day of accurate, extended, and profound inquiry and information. The skill and learning of the age of infidelity, which in England followed so close upon the Restoration, and was extended through the first half, at least, of the eighteenth century, and of that, so nearly simultaneous, which preceded the mighty moral and political Revolution of France, were greater than there would seem now to be patience enough of intellectual labor to acquire. But the spirit of infidelity we cannot and we ought not to affect to be unaware, is now more bold and enterprising; and has found its way among other ranks and descriptions of men than it once possessed. With a confidence, justified, perhaps, [16/17] by the unwise security of the friends of religious truth, seen in the total surrender of their solicitudes to other evils, it assails it with new weapons of its more recent invention, or with such as, long laid aside, may now more successfully be wielded. It avails itself of the universal absorption with which men are devoted to interests of gain and pride, in whose pursuit they are willing to be set loose, more and more, from moral restraints; and counts, with a too well warranted confidence, on the readiness with which a plausible argument will do its work, or a doubt, ingeniously suggested, set many minds free from the troublesome shackles of belief.

This worldliness of temper, the so prevalent result of the manner in which the immense natural resources of our country are becoming developed to the spirit of adventure and of gain, you will find, perhaps, a more formidable obstacle in the path of your professional life, than almost any other. Into every quarter, especially of that portion of our territory which must, to most of you, be the ground of action, this spirit is carrying men of ardent and not ill-informed minds, with whom the objects of temporal solicitude are the all in all of life, and the example and influence of whose sentiments and conduct, if not had on the side of religion, will be seriously injurious to its interest, and embarrassing to your measures and efforts for its promotion. If, under these circumstances, the respect of men for religion must be had, and a serious and inquiring [17/18] hearing given to its truths, it is obvious that this cannot be, with only a little of intellectual power put before them, in the ministry.

But infidelity and worldliness are not all that will make it necessary for you to be thoroughly furnished to your work. You will, every where, have to encounter the novelties and errors with which the latitudinarianism of the age, especially under civil circumstances such as ours, is continually every day harassing the gospel kingdom. You will find religious opinion, so called, which your knowledge of the Scriptures and of primitive Christianity has shown you to be false, in a thousand shapes, waiting to challenge you to its refutation. You will find fanaticism and imposture in every absurd and monstrous form, plausibly vindicating their claims, and seducing men to admit them, to the scandal of all that in the name of the GOD of truth and holiness, can assert itself to be religion.

In a day and scene thus variously marked, you will see, my friends, that it is not a little of the qualification that comes by study and inquiry and reflection, that will serve the purpose of your calling and how peculiarly the scribe must be here, not only well, but better and better instructed into the kingdom of heaven. It is a mistake to suppose, that in any part of our territory, our canonically requisite qualifications indulgently estimated, will be sufficient. It is necessary, in the case of every one, that they be taken with the largest and most comprehensive construction. Circumstances must, [18/19] indeed, indicate to every individual the subjects which most urgently will demand his attention. In general, however, it may not be unsuitable to remark, whatever may be requisite for each, will in a greater or less degree, be necessary for all.

We are not unduly to magnify the preacher's office, and insist on a degree of accomplishment in its exercise, which many with the most valuable attainments of sacred and other kindred and necessary science, cannot attain. Knowledge, ability, and character, will carry with them, in the cases of many to whom it is denied to excel in this office, an influence of inestimable value. Still, nowhere, perhaps, in modern ages, has the province of sacred eloquence been of more importance than it is, under the circumstances which mark the condition of religious institutions, in America. It results from the structure of our government, that public opinion is invested with an authority which all must recognise and honor. The ministers of religion are accordingly exposed to a competition, not easy to be sustained, with the assertors and advocates of various interests, which if not directly hostile, hold no amity or affinity to it, and for which they claim a paramount and absorbing regard. They can, with this competition in view, scarcely overrate the importance attaching in many instances to their duty as preachers of the word of truth. By the best exertions they can make of an enlightened, sound, discreet, and judicious eloquence, they must seek to gain a comparatively respectful and effectual [19/20] hearing, for the message with which they are charged. They to whom they are to bear that message, are in general such as must be influenced, not by the merely popular preaching which addresses itself to the imaginative and the weak, thronging to it to admire and applaud they know not what, but through their understanding fairly addressed, and their solicitudes and sensibilities rationally moved. To rouse the moral affections, from the depth in which they have been permitted to slumber, into salutary alarm; to gain over to the side of religious faith and practice those who had been indifferent or insensible to them, through the evil influences of education and the world; to arrest the votary of ambition or fortune in his reckless career, and turn his anxieties back from pursuits ruinously absorbing them, to the neglected subjects of GOD and eternity; to change the current, not of individual only, but of social feeling and action in favor of religion and its concerns; to detect and expose to the clear apprehension of men the errors of opinion and conduct into which, with respect to religion, they had been misled: these things, and less than these cannot be the objects of your ministry, imply that in the character of your preaching, from which none will turn superciliously away; which the pride of intellect and of the world cannot affect to despise. They imply the utmost exertion in it, of well furnished, accomplished, and well disciplined minds.

The essentials of the eloquence, which the [20/21] circumstances of your professional course will make it desirable that you should employ, it is no more necessary than competent for me to undertake, on this occasion, to review. They have been familiar to you, as pupils of able and experienced instructers in them; and in reference to them you have nothing but practice to acquire. I shall presume no further, than to say, that if the requisition of the old institutions of the Church of GOD, which bade "the priest's lips to keep knowledge," admits of an application to you, it will be obvious for you to receive from it the admonition, that no knowledge necessary to give dignity and effect to your office should be neglected in your preparation for it. The professional uses of your knowledge are not, indeed, to be considered those only to which, as preachers, youmay apply it; and the character of learning, in the pulpit, you will consider it worse than idle to affect. Still, you cannot reasonably be too anxious, that your preaching should be from an abundance of divine and human knowledge, ready and sufficient for any exigency of the service in which you may be engaged. If, for the accomplished orator of the Roman senate and forum, the celebrated master of those scenes of eloquence, forbade any kind of knowledge to be unnecessary, we cannot reasonably, in the interest of sacred things, admit less to be required, or be insensible to the necessity that bids us "come behind in no gift," by which the attention of men may be gained to the cause we [21/22] have in hand, or their feeling awakened to the devotion which it claims.

I have detained you longer with this topic than was necessary, or than I had desired.

To the best intellectual qualification they can attain, let me proceed hastily to remark, how imperious is the necessity which the circumstances of our ministry indispensably bring with them, that they who come to it join the excellence of spiritual qualification, which consists essentially in their being actuated by that great principle of "their calling of GOD, in CHRIST"--the love of GOD and man, sincere, fervent, self-devoting; making them willing "to spend and be spent" in the service of the Gospel, and determined to "know nothing," as the motive or the end of their work and service, "save JESUS CHRIST and him crucified."

It is not difficult to conceive circumstances, under which, far other motives may determine the minds of some at least, in favor of the ministry; nor is it impossible that there should be even among us, those whom nothing may move to seek admission to it, but the unworthy, insufficient, and sinful consideration, of its having posts of more or less temporal advantage and distinction, which by the combined influence of talents and friends, may be secured. We deprecate the existence among you, my friends, of any such ignoble and unsanctified inducements to the undertaking you have in contemplation; and would cherish, as it is [22/23] reasonable we should, the persuasion, that there is no other known to the bosom of any one, but such as "He who looketh on the heart" must approve and bless. Could we suppose the case of any one to be otherwise, we would, even now, earnestly beseech him to pause, desist from and renounce his unhallowed purpose, and repenting, "entreat that the thought of his heart might be forgiven him;" and in the virtuous devotion of himself to some other of the various pursuits of life, seek to be at peace with himself and GOD. In this, there could be no peace for him with either.

The principle of which I have spoken, actuating you, my friends, must give to your ministry an influence and success, which no advantages of condition, of education, or talent, could, without it, possibly bring with them. Perhaps no combination whatever, of outward advantages, could give you half the power to be useful, which will attend this principle, manifest in all your temper, acts, and life. To be invested with honor by the civil power, might give you a confidence which you would otherwise too little have. It is equally probable, that by the support of the civil power extended to you, a confidence might be induced inconsistent alike with a becoming meekness of spirit, and with that pious dependence on the help of the LORD, without which your work could not succeed. Be these suppositions as they may, you are placed in circumstances in which no help from human power can attend you, and in which your strength must be [23/24] "the LORD, and the power of his might," giving efficacy through your holiness of purpose, to no other advantages than those of the best ability you may naturally have, and the best knowledge and wisdom you may acquire.

Seeing, then, the high importance attaching to the spirit in which you enter on the ministry, the tests by which you are to judge whether that which alone is proper to it be in you, ought in season to be looked to. It cannot be, if you are not anxiously resolved, that the world shall see in you as little as possible, of itself--of the tempers, solicitudes, propensities, which its "enmity with GOD," and the service of its kingdom, as opposed to that of CHRIST, require. It cannot be, if any of the remediable infirmities of the human character, and its littlenesses, are to go with you into the ministry. These, if any of them have been permitted to grow with you, must be left behind, in that world which for it you are to renounce. We do not say, they must be disguised and kept unseen. This cannot be. If ministers of the Gospel are possessed with the little passions of jealousy and envy, or with an inordinate love and pride of self; if they indulge a sensitive and irritable concern for the distinctions and gains of office, and for the sake of these seek the favor, and care not for the peace of men; or if, yielding to the temptation of the dependence which is so much their lot of life, they descend to any of the arts and dealings of that most degraded of characters, the reverend parasite, it will be vain for [24/25] them to expect to conceal the real aspect of their case; or, instead of the honor and success which they affect, avoid the contempt which they merit, as their reward.

The spirit is not in you, which the true honor and success of your calling will require, it is obvious further to say to you, if you are not resolved and prepared to hold yourselves above, and away from, all the agitations, strifes, intrigues, animosities, bickerings, slanderings and "evil surmisings," of political, social, or religious party--no more is it, if, while you mingle with cheerfulness and facility, as you may and should, in as much of the general intercourse of life as propriety and decorum do not forbid, you are not determined to be studious, that no indiscretion or carelessness of conversation or manners, shall show you ever forgetful of the sacredness of your calling, or leave you open to the assault which the infidel or scoffer, would, in your persons, make upon the cause with which you are identified.

The spirit proper for the sacred function you have in view, exhibiting you thus raised above all that can make you despised of men, and marked, on the other hand, with a pure magnanimity which must bespeak their respect, must be felt also in the readiness, with which it will move you, to go to the work appointed you, careless of personal considerations and claims--tenacious, in no degree, of a right to choose for yourselves, the station or manner of your service--humbled to any demand, [25/26] which Providence may make on you; and desiring only that which your need may indispensably require, supremely intent on the results of the work you shall have in hand, in the moral happiness and good of men.

Lastly, the evidence of your spiritual qualification for the work you are contemplating, must be looked for in the entireness of the surrender you are prepared to make of yourselves to it--of your life, and all its time; your mind and all its faculties and powers; your heart, with the chief strength of its sensibilities and affections; keeping back no part of either, for interests and pursuits, to which, whether by poverty on the one hand, or the high promise of advantage on the other, you may be tempted.

The apostles of our LORD, have, in full and frequent precepts and exhortations, which I need not stop to cite to you, set before you this pure integrity of the devotedness required, to the work of his ministry. The Church demands it of you, and, at your ordination, takes your solemn pledge and promise of it. The world itself, however it may flatter and applaud and falsely honor you, will not, without it, receive from you the message which you carry to it; and the final Judge will know not, nor own for his, those, whom the love of him and of their fellow-men for his sake, had not supremely actuated. "Ye are the salt of the earth," said he, "but, if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing, [26/27] but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men." There are words of even a heathen moralist, so happily applicable to this completeness, with which the spirit of your office will be seen, where it is really had, and which may be considered at once so beautifully and forcibly to describe it, that, averse as we all alike should be to such quotations on such an occasion and in such place, I cannot forbear to recall them to your memories;--Nulla vitae pars neque publicis, neque privatis, neque forensibus, neque domesticis in rebus; neque si tecum agas quid; neque cum altero contrahas, vacare officio potest: in eoque colendo, sita vitae est honestas omnis, et in negligendo, turpitudo." [* Cicero de Officiis.]

I will detain you but a little longer, for the sake of remarking, thirdly, in the most cursory manner, on the practical qualification, which the circumstances in which our ministry is placed, imperiously call for. The distinctness of the topic will be seen, when I refer to that spirit of enterprise, without which, in a field of service of so great extent, in proportion to the number, at most, to be employed in it, and where so many difficulties and trials must await you, you can do little good. Our parent Church, in the conduct of some of her choicest and most favored sons, has furnished us with an example of this enterprise, which we should be glad to follow. The names of Stewart, [27/28] Buchanan, Middleton, James, Corrie, Heber, Inglis, Coleridge, Lipscombe, Wilson, Parry, Wix, and others, will occur to you, as those of men, who having gone out into the most exposed and laborious stations of her service, have hazarded their lives for the Gospel; and, first a living sacrifice, in perils oft and variously, for its sake, have cheerfully, in some instances, surrendered themselves to death; martyrs in its name, of humanity and faith. Our Church must send out, under the influence of a similar spirit of holy enterprise, the greater number of those she trains; or she can do nothing for the honor of her LORD, where the borders of his kingdom, are, here, stretched out about her. Vast is the region here opening to her sons; severe the work to which they are individually bidden; great, beyond any possible estimation, the demand that must be made on their individual and personal sensibilities and predilections. The hardest lot of foreign missionary service, among pagan idolaters, and savage heathen, can scarcely imply more of toil and anxiety, privation and self-denial, than that of many, if they go at the bidding of the Church, where what may be esteemed her proper service needs, and the interest of humanity among ourselves, solicits them. The spirit which led the primitive missionary forth, loosed from the bonds of consanguinity and home, could scarcely have bidden him to a service more trying to the resources of his nature, than that which there awaits many of your little number. It is well for you to be aware of [28/29] this; and, not discouraged, by prayer, and contemplation, and the study of all the requisites of the peculiar character of labor to which you may in any instances be destined, be prepared and ready for whatever it may require. Your time will not permit it now to be described to you. The pious and faithful men, who, at every sacrifice of self, have essayed the higher and other functions of our ministry, in the circumstances alluded to, will be your best authority as to the scenes for which you are expected to prepare. We only suggest, the spirit of enterprise for GOD and his Church, the truth as it is in JESUS, and the salvation of men through it, must take full possession of your minds, disposing you for all the possible exigencies and severities to which it may subject you. They will be found to need all the intellectual and spiritual qualification, which you can carry to them.

While, however, the particulars to which the best energies of your character, as ministers of CHRIST, are to be applied, must be left to your own inquiry, there is one object of the enterprise proper for you, on which I cannot forbear to speak. The interest of education will have claims upon you, to which you cannot give too much of your solicitude and exertion. It is now the deeply felt misfortune of our Church, that she has so long, perhaps too long for an effectual reparation of her error, neglected it. The first great object, demanding the combined sensibility and action of the members of our Communion, after it became organized into a [29/30] state of ecclesiastical independence, was the education of its youth, under auspices suited to secure them at once against the powerful influences of dissent from its principles, and those of a philosophical infidelity, which circumstances, not necessary to be specifically adverted to, were investing with a proud importance. They saw or regarded not adequately the necessity: and now we have reason to look with a sorrowing and vain inquiry, for the numbers, whom schools and colleges of our own, if we had had them, might have given us, at once to supply the ranks of our ministry, and to care for its support. The sentiment remains unchanged in the mind of him who is addressing you, which, before the excellent and important institution, whose business now engages us, was set on foot, was anxiously conceived, that seminaries of theological education would provide very imperfectly and inadequately for the necessities of our Church, until we should have seminaries of elementary education, in which our youth might be trained and disposed for their studies. A distinguished brother of his ministry, the urn of whose holy, beloved, memory, is amongst you here, is well known to have hesitated, at first, to act with those whose piety and wisdom he honored, in setting this institution up, only because he saw a primary more urgent necessity of education, long overlooked, not yet provided for. It still, alas, is overlooked and not yet provided for! Some of my honored brethren [30/31] in the episcopacy [* The enterprise of the Bishop of Connecticut, to which we are indebted for Washington College at Hartford, entitles him to distinguished consideration. If he has been less sustained by the Church than had been desired and expected, the fault, it is believed, is not in him, nor his measures and arrangements. The Episcopal Academy of North Carolina is another enterprise not more honorable to its founders than promising for the interests of our Church, and entitled to a lively interest in our feelings. Nor should we be insensible, on the same accounts, to the claims of Bristol College and the Flushing Institute.] have indeed nobly put themselves forward before the Church in its behalf. For GOD'S sake, and the Church's, we must wish them success. The colleges and academies which have taken their rise, in their wise and pious zeal, will be their monuments to future generations of their brethren, deeply and abidingly inscribed with their claims to be long had in grateful remembrance.

I know, my friends, how unpopular it is to insist on any such necessity of the Church--and that we shall best bespeak for ourselves the approbation of the liberal spirit, so called, of the age, when we concern ourselves with no questions, as to the circumstances under which our youth are educated, but such as have reference merely to the scholarship, science, and general good morals of their instructers. I know, too, that we shall be desired to surrender our concern for their education, according to our own principles of doctrinal truth and ecclesiastical order, to the demands of the misnamed catholic spirit, which would make every thing indifferent, except the general fact that believing and pious men are its conductors. I, equally [31/32] know, that in yielding to considerations of this plausible kind, often, we must be aware, urged and acted upon by members of our Communion, deservedly entitled to our esteem, we have seen our institutions deprived of half their strength, the wealth and feeling of those on whom, under Providence, they had been thrown for their support, alike denied to their necessities, and alienated in favor of any interest but theirs. Under such impressions, my friends, at least honestly and strongly entertained, I cannot but consider education, wheresoever your lot may fall, to be an interest of religion and of the Church that may worthily and most rightfully engage your enterprise. With respect to it, it will be in your power to exert an important influence; and no sacrifice or exertion will be too great for you to make, that you may preserve it free from the polluting influences of irreligion and infidelity, and subsidiary to the interest of the Church, and all its sound Christianity.

The subject of ministerial enterpise, thus transiently adverted to, may bring with it, perhaps, to your thoughts, the question of the degree in which you will be warranted, in going out from the Church, of which you are members, to meet the claims of prejudice opposed to its discipline and worship--and accommodate its requirements to the demands of Christian union. To the importance of union among the believing and professing followers of the Son of GOD none honestly and intelligently calling himself by his name can be insensible, and he who [32/33] has not wept over the so various and extensive interruptions of it, is perhaps none of his. I cannot, however, but remark to you, (and I shall speak in what I say, I am confident, the sentiments of all my brethren of our episcopacy who are present,) there can be nothing gained by you for this union, by any license or accommodation, which the rules you will have been solemnly pledged to follow, honestly understood, will not allow; that in the faithful execution of the duties of your ministry, according to the requisitions of the Church, you will have all the opportunity of real usefulness you can desire; that, as to any plans and projects of Christian union, which may mark our infinitely planning and projecting day, the Church of which you are members, must, with her decisions, precede any which you can, with propriety, or even with moral integrity, adopt; and that into any such schemes, whatever charity may desire, wisdom will be slow to enter, lest in seeking more, the Church put at hazard the peace and unity she has both in herself and with others, and exhibit CHRIST more deeply wounded in the house of friends; not content, in the spirit of evangelical love, to differ with agreement.

My friends, I have, I know, detained your attention too long, not to have wearied it. My apology must be the want of opportunity and time to prepare to say less. In the qualifications essential to the ministry of CHRIST, and where you are to be [33/34] called to exercise it, there is, I perfectly know, a theme on which, in far less space, you might have had much more addressed to you, than on this occasion has been. Gladly would I have had some other perform the duty, which, it seemed to me, that I could not waive. Especially, could I have rejoiced, if the venerable and holy man to whom it has always been desirable to assign the duty of uttering the counsel proper for this occasion, could have been permitted once more, from the abundance of his unexampled wisdom and experience, to have left upon your memory the inestimable lessons he has been wont to deliver. The infirmity of almost fourscore years and ten, may well demand our acquiescence in the necessity of his absence from us, and in his probable inability to instruct the Church, in this place, any more for ever. Never, however, will he cease to instruct her, through the recorded counsels he has given her, and the memory of an example than which, since the last of the apostles, none wiser, purer, holier has been known. Look, my friends, to this greatest and best earthly exemplar, to which we can point you. Study his counsels, and emulate his faithfulness, his purity, his singleness of heart, his religious magnanimity, his unweariedness in doing good, his charity toward all men. Intellectually, spiritually, practically, we can bid you advert to none more worthy of your fond and admiring imitation. And, Brethren in the ministry of our household of apostolic faith, from [34/35] the highest to the lowest, whatever our degree or rank in its service, may we all "remember him, who so long has had rule over us, and has spoken to us the word of GOD, following his faith, and considering the end of his conversation, JESUS CHRIST, the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

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