Project Canterbury

Pastoral Letter of the House of Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 1883.

no place: no publisher, 1883.

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


Our General Convention closes with signal tokens of the favor of God. His mercies have not been prevented by the "manifold infirmities" of its members or any waste of His grace. We go to our several posts of service grateful that our bonds of brotherhood in Christ have been confirmed, the extent and power of our missions enlarged beyond precedent, and our hopes of a lasting future unity in Christendom encouraged. We shall all count it a religious gain if something has been done to add richness and majesty to the public worship of the Most High.

While mourning the absence of revered Fathers and Brothers resting in Paradise, and while regretting that some of our number have been kept away from our counsels by bodily weakness, we remember with devout thankfulness those who, having been constant to the end, have departed in God's faith and fear, and we affectionately commend the sick, the aged, and the bereaved to His tender compassion.

No record of the past holds, out a promise of a perfect balance, in ecclesiastical legislation, between loyalty to Unalterable Truth and a due regard to what is variable but none the less actual in the needs of society. To the law-maker, the theologian and the pastor alike it must always cost an effort to adjust in a satisfying harmony the contending claims of old with new, uncompromising creeds with honest movements of religious thought, the constitution and verities of a kingdom which can never change with those inferences from fixed standards which, must inevitably shift with periods and degrees of knowledge, within the wide limits of the mind of a Race made by the All-wise and visited by the Holy Ghost. Many of the most perplexing problems before us centre in this conflict. Not a few of the most serious perils that threaten both the faith and the life of the Church arise from it; for the life can never be separated from the faith.

Set in this strife, we cannot do better than to plant our feet in fresh confidence on that foundation which is subject to no mutations of time, or climate, or social circumstance, or scientific discovery, or philosophic speculation. We have a Church-charter, thanks be to God, as intelligible as it is indisputable.

We stand on the fundamental and all-including truth revealed as throughout the Scriptures so especially at the beginning of the Gospel of the Blessed Evangelist St. John. Central in the mysteries of the Faith, central in the order of Divine disclosures, central in the body of Doctrine forever to be taught to men as the only guide to their salvation, is the Fact of the Word made Flesh and coming to dwell among us. In it abides all that is old; out of it must come all that is new. Declared at first in the face of intellectual subtleties singularly keen and delusive, it still opposes to the negations and vanities of modern disbelief the only effectual barrier, in a three-fold form--in Scriptural authority, in the highest and purest reason, in the deepest spiritual intuitions of the soul. There are involved in it the primal elements of all Divine knowledge--the Fatherhood of God, the moral necessity of redemption, the perpetual energy of the Divine Life forthgoing into all the generations and peoples of mankind. What man wanted was reconciliation with the Infinite goodness, wisdom and justice above him. It was not to be found, as rationalism irrationally imagines, among the abstractions of his own mind, or the works of his own hand--a one-sided atonement, a mediation without a daysman, elevation with no lifting power. The Incarnation includes Atonement as it includes every Article of the Creeds, every ministration of grace, all the forces and functions of the living Body of Christ. Out of it proceed the only infallible rule of personal duty, the only absolute morality, the only unification and completeness of society, all liturgies, all orders of service, all healing charities. When these are seen flowing from the unity of the single but two-fold person of the Son of God and Son of Man, bringing down from on High in a heavenly manner to all believers unspeakable and yet most practical gifts, in mystical sacraments, in holy offices, in common worship, with ordered work wrought by consecrated women and men, the Kingdom of Heaven will be recognized as the refuge of the world. The universal heart is deceitful; but it was made for God. When prodigals of the senses, or prodigals of the mind, come to themselves, they come to Him; and they expect to find Him in His House. As we watch the drift of the best thinking among brethren differing from us, and from one another, we see, in a clear apprehension among them of this fontal truth the promise of a rectification of much disproportioned theology.

Were there no better language it might be said that the Church-Catholic, with all that belongs to it, is the logic of events; the sure deduction of history from the birth of the Eternally Begotten of the womb of the Virgin. Better language there is. We are not in the sphere of dialectics. The Gospel is not a philosophy. The Church is not discovered at the end of a line of argument any more than by a telescope or a crucible. Personal power rules in the realm of spiritual things, as in institutions and reformations on the earth. Not in airy generalities, reactions from a virtual tri-theism, any more than by ancient heresies and half-heresies, can the truth of the tri-unity of God be preached, but only by the clear affirmations in the old symbols, setting before both the mind and the heart of man PERSONS to be loved and adored--the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Not by misty conceptions of a mere Messiah of humanity will penitents obtain pardon and peace, or the world; the flesh and the devil be subdued, but only by the cross of Christ standing where our Good Friday and our Eucharist and our Articles behold it. Not by ingenious intermixtures of uncertified miracles, nineteenth century creeds, and a concordat of evangelical volunteers will orthodoxy and liberty, law and love, the old things and the new things of the instructed scribe be maintained together, but by loyalty to the one Prophet, Priest and King. "Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am." The Lord knew. The Master then is the Master still; the Lord of Israel is the Lord of America; for He and the Father are One. Let His Ministers be not afraid to proclaim the Incarnate God, or kneeling congregations be ashamed to adore Him. Superficial thinkers meaning to be progressive decry doctrine. That will be wise only when men cease to live in the long run as they believe, when a good or a bad life is not the expression of the man, and character everywhere the fruit of a faith.

Apart from the doctrine of the Divine Sonship of the Son of Man there is no tenable doctrine of the authority of the Scriptures. In the spiritual order, that first chapter of St. John is the beginning of the Bible, and we read the Bible both ways from that august opening. An arrangement broadly chronological is a convenience; the one we have by the Canon is sufficiently sanctioned; but the real object of Revelation places us first where we learn that God manifest in the flesh was in the beginning with God and was God. As the living Word was in the beginning, so the beginning of the written Word is in the sacred lessens of the Nativity. Bewilderment and fatuity about inspiration are not in the least surprising in minds that are bewildered about Him who is the Seed of the woman, before all worlds, the Omega as well as the Alpha. They come to the whole matter from without. Vision and belief are for those who come to it from within, and who see, as the Church sees, that the several portions of the wondrous Book have both their authority and their value in belonging to one whole. The oneness of that whole is in Him for whom and of whom it was originally recorded, whose mediatorial person and ministry are at once the theme of Genesis and the Apocalypse, of Prophets, Psalms and Chronicles, of Evangelists and Epistles, God's Christly Providence having brought and bound the several writings together out of distant centuries and countries, by their interior unity, just as He has made creation one, and the Church one, each a kind of universe in itself, stamping the whole as one Bible by making it, before and after, the story of the Bridegroom and the Bride. In that vast conception a thousand trivial difficulties, literal and critical, are harmonized or vanish. Who finds it a fault in a Cathedral that there is a block or brace somewhere in it, of which his untaught eye does not see the relation to the main arch or to the altar? Who carps and sneers at nature because she hides in her great chambers little things or strange things whereof science itself cannot divine the use, or any artist expound the fitness or the beauty? Are you afraid of "the letter that killeth?" There are two ways of dealing with that. One is to kill the letter or tear it out--the way of the savage. The other is to seek the life within, which took the letter for its body--the way of the disciple. A reverent scrutiny of documents and a searching criticism of what is human in grammar, arithmetic or version, are a part of the Church's proper business, and belong to her scholars. But it is now a seasonable time to mind the difference between using scholarship lawfully, and being used by those outlaw scholars who hunt after unnatural interpretations to support foregone conclusions. Cut the Old Testament and New apart if you will; it will be easy afterwards to cut the Old or the New to pieces, and scatter the pieces on the winds; but the New still lies latent in the Old, and the Old patent in the New, as a greater student of these "lively oracles" than we are likely to meet in our thoroughfares long ago declared, and neither one, the Old or the New, would you ever have had without the other. Modern heterodoxy, whatever be the special defection, goes along with a reckless handling of Scriptural testimony. The old heretics tried to live with the Bible by outwitting its fair interpreters, but were beaten. Our Anglican Fathers knew what they did when they placed the Article of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation next after the Articles of the Trinity; and they did not mean that the rule whereby all doctrines are to be "infallibly proved" is itself fallible, or is yet to be proved. Men misunderstand and then discredit Scripture because they never understood the Witness, the Keeper, the Church, and the Church's teachableness to her Lord. He opens the Heavens; the Bible holds them open to our eyes; the Church keeps the channels open whereby gifts and messages come and go. Over the pastures of the Patriarchs, and before the Seer at Patmos alike theophanies break through the sky; angels of all the covenants ascend and descend upon the Son of Man, seen of those angels, justified in the Spirit, believed on in the world, preached unto the Gentiles, received up into glory.

See then how three great certainties in our Religion are fixed, beyond all novelties of development, popular expectations of "progress," or risks of revolution. Once for all, in the second Adam, the life of God descended in the fulness of a new creation into the life of mankind. The canon of prophetic and evangelic Scriptures, divinely inspired and attested, is closed. The constitution of the Body of Christ, vitally endowed at Pentecost, and visibly completed through Apostles, admits no amendment.

And yet we here, Christians of this day, in this late year of our Lord, not having to go or to wait for salvation, not having to re-write Bible or Creed, to make a Sacrament, or commission a Ministry, are yet in the midst of moving-scenes. We are on a field of restless forces, under orders to watch and march and contend. From the fulness in Christ we are to draw further supplies of grace. Out of fathomless depths of light in His revealed Word we are to expect fresh illuminations. In the great harvest which He has sown we are to labor, reap and gather for Him, with tools not cast after any stereotyped pattern. Let us be reminded that in the first Christian Council, nearest to Pentecost, the question was strictly a question of "the times;" the first conciliar legislation touched a matter non-essential to the Faith, but essential to enlargement, peace and unity; the first conciliar decrees, drawn up under the breath of the Holy Ghost and the seal of Apostles, threw open by baptism and ordination to large companies of men of very unlike antecedents the door of a cordial comprehension. We will remember this, if, in the hopeful possibilities of these eventful days, any serious society of our fellow-men anywhere having already evangelic truth should ask of us the blessing of Apostolic Order. To take men and things as they are, in order to make them what they ought to be, is the statesmanship of common sense. To ignore facts or be dainty in accommodation, in order to revel in a theory, is the insanity of the doctrinaire. The Head of the Church permits us the comfort of observing cheering signs, as that, all over the country when thoughtful minds now pass out of their own religious belongings, on a revision of their claims, they pass far less frequently from one to another of these voluntary societies than from all of them to our Household; as that lately, more than ever before, one feature after another in the Apostolic system, with the logical coherency of them all, is found acceptable to our lately jealous neighbors. Will it not be reasonable also for us candidly to acknowledge that there is among them a zeal for God, a fervor of piety, a quick sagacity to discern religious opportunities, a consecration of property, at once estimable and imitable? We had better confess, for instance, that on the score of theological education, in ample libraries, in strong endowments, in multiplying branches of research, in an even pace with the best students abroad, we have no boasts whatever to make before one, if not two or three, of the Christian bodies working and worshipping at our side; in fact, nothing at all worthy of our superior heritage and traditions.

Under the same double law, of permanence and movement, the Church finds the motive and the joy of her missionary action. "As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you." Foreign Missions, Home Missions, missions to men of any tongue or color, are but the unfolding and spreading of the power of the one Incarnate Life. That is universal, and so must our missions be. That is endless, and so must the travels of our missionaries be. There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek. Humanity dead or dying in sin is always the "foreign" land. All souls covenanted and nourished in the Church are at "home" with the Elder Brother. At the Convention now closing, unprecedented reports of evangelizing toil have stirred our hearts. Strong voices have told us of bold enterprises. Openings, so vast that our weak faith hardly knows whether they must arouse or discourage us, have been exposed all over the earth. If results are out of all proportion to the Lord's commission, and our sacrifices to the glory set before us, may it not be partly because we let the charity of Christ be covered up under secondary reasons closer to our own interests? May it not be partly because we regard numbers and dimensions, social security, trophies of our own "net and drag," more than the Saviour's honor; put forward our cause as being ours, and forget to weigh the incalculable difference between a soul saved and a soul lost? Must there not be some such illusion to account for the shameful selfishness and the wicked disobedience, which in hundreds of whole Parishes and tens of thousands of baptized persons hold back offerings from Christ, for the conversion of those for whom He died? The reproach of it is guilty enough to make men wonder that God does not remove the nameless candlestick out of its place. Animate the enthusiasm of our assemblies as you please, by large figures or jubilant bulletins, there have been no great aggressive movements, no saintly leaders of them, east or west, north or south, save as the patient, pathetic love of Christ constrained them.

Within twenty years, and never more conspicuously than since our last Triennial meeting, this Church has been awakened to increased practical sympathy with the weaker and suffering classes; victims of social wrong, of unequal laws, of intemperance in drinks and an unscrupulous traffic in them, and sometimes of merciless wealth. There is such a thing as a spirit of the age; and under its sway cruelty to men's bodies and public violations of their rights in civilized nations have yielded to a gentler code. A study of this popular philanthropy, however, discovers in its liberal operation some ingredients of weakness--secularism, self-will, irreverence, intolerance, a bitter partisanship. It is the office of the Church, led by a supernatural direction, venerating law, heeding the due equipoise between emotion and principle, to raise natural benevolence into Divine charity. To call those generous reformations Christless would be unfair; the love of Christ is in them. What they lack is what Christ has offered to provide through the ordinances and offices of the Heavenly Kingdom He has set up, and the orderly streams of sweet and saving life in His organic Body, so that the members shall never be separated from the Head. Conceive this to be done throughout all the crude combinations that are started every day to better our kind, and what hallowed dignity and grace would invest them! Then, faith would indeed be seen working by love; the outcast and alien and captive, the over-tasked and underpaid, would learn to love and bless the Ministry which they have cursed, hated or misconceived; capital and labor might worship side by side; jealous and destructive schemes of communism might find in the New Testament and in the equal blessings of the altar, for themselves and their families a fraternity better than that which has haunted their feverish dreams. Whether by Religious Societies, devoted Brotherhoods, Sisterhoods, Leagues and Guilds, Hospitals and Asylums, under lawful guidance, or in individual care for the infirm and poor, the One Life that is the Great Light of men would shine on the faces of those who have sat in the shadow of death. By the ennobling pity in Christ His servants are taught not to aggravate poverty by indiscriminate indulgence, not to foster an independence which thinks itself independent of God, not to promote crime by petting the criminal, not to inflate ignorance or discontent by flattery, but rather to offer to the children of real misfortune, because their dignity is that of sons and daughters of the Almighty, such help as is manly and godly, creating character more than comfort, and citizenship in the kingdom of God rather than any political privilege. In the action of this Convention, taking measures to provide a Christian care for the immense mass of European emigrants daily arriving at our sea-ports and lake-ports, and distributed over the Continent; there is pointed out a line of usefulness peculiar to our condition, open to clergy and laity alike. For the success of many safe schemes of sanitary relief and reform we have a comfortable guaranty in humane tendencies that have become popular. A dreary conservatism it would be that would take off our hands from helping them, in any nervous fear. We may better covet the honor of being foremost in them. Their principle is not modern. "Fair humanities," bloomed and bore fruit in "old religion." Jesus of Nazareth was thoughtful for the bodily hunger of the multitude on the mountain-side while He was feeding their souls with meat that they had known not of. He loosened the bandages from the body of Lazarus, while the people were marvelling at the miracle that raised him from the dead.

In every class the springs of all morality are tainted by the desecration of marriage-vows. To defile the homes of a nation is to barbarize it. The purity of family life and thence of social life subsisting only in the sanctity of wedlock, the true obligations of that covenant are found only in the teaching which presents the rule of its nature in the mystical union between Christ and His Church. Whatever may be accomplished by secular alarm or policy in checking divorce, there must be a more searching remedy. It must be a profounder force that regulates the passions and judgment in forming and protecting the marital tie itself, chastening not only its form but its spirit. Wretched households and broken matrimonial pledges come of flighty engagements, an absence of all seriousness from the most solemn of all human steps, immodest publicity in the lives of boys and girls in streets and public houses, the abnegation of parental control, or the rejection of it by juvenile insubordination. In nearly all our cities and large towns the sidewalks after nightfall are alive with gay but ominous presages of social degeneration. There can hardly fail to be before long a general effort to supplant with pure but entertaining reading the ruinous publications that are poisoning readers of all ranks--a literature of divorce, of seduction, of adultery, of moral death. The pulpit has its responsibility; special combinations may do something; but far more is to be done by breeding pure manners and guarded thoughts in young children through the instructions of mothers and fathers in dwellings where daily domestic prayers quicken the conscience and cleanse the heart.

Frightful statistics have lately shown how carefully the public school system needs to be watched, how utterly inefficient a mere book knowledge is to forestall vice or crime. Loose notions of doctrine and duty may creep into the air as well by untaught teachers in a Sunday School, where the Rector has abandoned the trust of his ordination to well-meaning incompetence, as by the sophistries of some audacious author or preacher who publishes his destructive fancies in a romance or a sermon. In these primary Seminaries of the Church there is room not only for more definite tuition and a stricter attention from the Clergy, but for a personal participation in them on the part of learned laymen, of standing however high, of business however urgent, men of affairs and professions, Christian gentlemen without shamefacedness or self-indulgence; such as may be seen now and then in some parish in old England, where the Minister of religion has for his lay reader and catechist a Minister of State. Service for Christ to the young, like that, lends robustness to the manhood of the manliest of men. At best, however, one hour of the seven days can never suffice for the education of a Christian child. Parish School, academy, college, university,--our whole educational system, cry out for invigoration. If we mean to keep our children in Church Schools and Colleges, the direct way is to build schools and colleges of such incomparable intellectual resources that our most aspiring students cannot afford to turn away from them. We advise that public and secret prayers be statedly offered for their officers and pupils. Great respect is due to men and women of wealth who found or endow such seats of superior learning in any grade.

With Americans, foremost among all passions, not sensual, is the passion for knowledge, knowledge of certain kinds. If we are wise-hearted as well as wise-minded, we shall seize on that ambition and convert it to Christianity, to Christ. Already time has brought a reasonable end to that factitious quarrel between science and faith, which only a little while ago disturbed so many minds, the reconciliation of these foolishly alienated creatures of God consisting in so simple a remedy as the discrimination of their spheres.

Thinking and studying men who are also believers are everywhere looking for grounds of Christian unity. It is a glorious hope of our time. We hold that the vantage ground, is with us, because experience, Christ's words and right reason affirm together that unity must appear if at all by growth from a historic root, not by a construction or welding of platforms. Recently, as a fit prelude to broader affiliations, the fellowship between the Mother Church and ourselves has been made more vital and more conscious than ever before, notably by the welcome visits of beloved Brethren of the English Bench to our councils, and our homes. For three early centuries and more the organs of the one Body and one Life acted under the Divine law without the corruption of a formal political alliance. Now, after fourteen hundred years of more or less complication, here, on this soil, the same Church, retaining its identity, lives and breathes, worships and works, with independent force and in a free air. Not a Church of the State, we are coeval and in signal agreement with the life of the Republic. A century of prosperous existence is almost rounded out, with a record too favorable to leave us thankless, too scanty in triumphs of holiness to allow a syllable of self-praise. The figures are familiar. The Committee on the State of the Church reports them. The Centennial Festival has been worthily celebrated. This Convention, with its two full Houses, certifies nobly to what God has wrought with His own hands. A Church below and Militant must always look for re-assurence less to her deeds than to her credentials. Looking there, why should she not move forward with unprecedented confidence? We have stated as clearly as we could the unifying principle. What body of Christian people can produce one that is stronger, older, wider, more evangelical? Certainly not the whole procession of Latin princes and captains. Certainly not any association since the reign of Constantine, or bearing any mortal name. Surely the very best sign we have of a coming harmony among disciples, in belief or practical religion, is an intensified interest on the part of nearly every denomination, in the Person, Christ, in His character and biography, in His humanity, in his spiritual leadership and supremacy among mankind. So far the true point of universal attraction is determined. Can it be denied that the seething ingredients of American society require something in religion more positive, binding, concrete, reverential and majestic than all modern inventions furnish? Should these convictions seem presumptuous, they are on trial; if they are vain they must perish. If they shall be followed, however gradually, by that Catholic oneness for which the Redeemer prayed in His sacrificial intercession, then, "Not unto us, not unto us, but unto by name, O Lord, give glory!"

Against these powers of Light we are obliged to see rising on every side two terrible adversaries. One is a fashion of skepticism, not disbelief perhaps, not formulated infidelity or coarse profanity, a fashion of humanizing things Divine instead of taking them in their superhuman title and splendor, and using them just as Revelation presents them; a disposition to regard religion as a human husbandry, not a descending gift from God; the soul as a germinating plant, self-planted; the Church as a rather loosely formed sodality, having only optional and voluntary exercises; worship as a fine art; faith as what is left in man after the brain, mammon and luxury have taken what they want; Christian theology as a science of nine or ten comparative religions, grouping Christianity in a species with the rest; and our Lord as the most remarkable spiritual genius hitherto, a wondrous child of the ages. You are all confronted by dazed apostles of a belated "Gospel of to-day," a gospel without an angelic hymn, without a Messiah from Heaven, without miracles of grace, without a Gethsemane, a cross, precious blood or the resurrection; and by empty prophets of a "Church of the future" which no Heavenly wisdom shapes, into which no Eternal Advocate breathes His Life; as if any Church of the future must not be the Church of the past, because the Church of Him who does not live in time, but in whom time, the ages and all worlds are forever held.

The other foe is a self-satisfied, engrossing worldliness. There need be no vagueness about the meaning of that name--the world. There are two kingdoms, only two, and this is the kingdom that is not Christ's. On His lips "the world " means neither the world of outward nature, which God created, nor the world of common men, whom He so loves that He gave His Son to save them--neither business pursuits nor rational recreation--neither honest property nor artistic beauty. Let, there be no quibble. We are at our Master's feet, and Him the world crucified. In the world itself it is a stupid affectation that pretends not to know what worldliness is in the life of man or woman. If it tried and failed to beguile, secularize and overcome its King, it will try here and everywhere to beguile and secularize and overcome His Church. Wherever the Church is true to Him, the world will fail still. To be true to Him in the midst of the world is precisely, always, everywhere, the Church's calling. The world has not altered a whit. Its temper, tyranny, meanness, lying, are now just what they were then, no matter what changes there have been in the houses it lives in, the clothes it wears, the language it speaks in, the dishes it cooks or the wines it drinks. Caesar and Herod and their queens do not make the world; the world makes them, and it makes them over and over again wherever it can spread its seductions or work the charm of its sorcery. The Demas who becomes a bad Christian to-day, who cares more for his social position than for Heaven, who goes more eagerly to a frolic or a theatre than to a sacrament, who worships the God who made him less heartily than he does the fortune he has made, and gives fifty times as much to his amusements as to his Saviour, is the same man that forsook St. Paul and departed to Thessalonica "having loved this present world." Materialism is of many kinds, gross with gross natures, but keen, calculating, polished, in men of fine sensibilities and exquisite tastes. While certain loftier attributes of humanity, like magnanimity, charity, self-sacrifice, wonder, faith, are dwarfed by it, it is yet splendidly hospitable; it invites science and wit, kings of commerce and captains of industry, to its table, and they all sit down to meat together, saving no grace. It is beautiful as the leopard and as cruel, and while it remains materialism it does not change its spots. The conclusion follows that if nowadays the Church itself gets worldly, if Churchmen when they are outside of Church buildings are of very much the same sort as the world's people, or if they bring in very much the same ways of thinking, feeling, judging, managing; in other words, if worldliness itself not only comes to Church, but takes possession of it, making the Father's House a house of merchandise--if the Church's affairs are conducted, its pews held, its finances controlled on worldly principles, with worldly ambitions, by worldly men, or if its preaching condescends from being a message of God's prophets to be a pious echo of the world's opinions or a solemn sanction of the world's popularities, then plainly the two kingdoms are mixed and confounded. The common eye is puzzled to tell which is which. One of them is betrayed, and the skeptics will tell you which one it is. Plainly the work of disenchanting society of its low delusions, of elevating and spiritualizing it, is to begin as the old prophets did, at the House of God. Let the world come in there by all means to listen, to learn, to confess and pray, to be baptized, converted and sanctified, but not to vulgarize, to desecrate, or to rule. Let "the Prince of this world," when "he cometh," find nothing there of his own, as he found nothing of his own in the heart of Christ.

Suffer, dear Brethren of the Flock, finally, the word of loving exhortation. Resist without delay or scruple all secular intrusion into the hallowed economy of parishes. Forbid a spiritual stewardship to be administered by godless stewards. Banish unreality from all the holy business of your Lord's estate,--unreality, the beginning of well-nigh the only sin which He unsparingly upbraided, the disgust of clear-sighted lookers on, the death of manly power. Seeing that we are threatened with a decline of numbers in the Ministry, do what you can to win brave young men to seek with self-denial the service of Deacons and Evangelists, Pastors and Priests. We urge you, conscious of the privilege of your adoption, never to wander far from the Fountain-head of all our life, the "Fountain-light of all our seeing," the Fulness in Him who filleth all in all. Prize equally your heritage of order and your heritage of liberty, for both are of Christ. Rejoice in your expectation of a Liturgy better suited to our composite nationality than our national infancy could provide, yet gathering into it treasures of devotion older than any European voyage westward; and prove your sense of that enrichment by waiting for the steps of law to make it your right, mindful always that the object of prayers and praises is not the comeliness of a function but homage to Him who, in Jerusalem or Gerizim or beyond the Rocky Mountains, is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. We entreat you to care very honestly and reverently for His honor and His only, in the things of the sanctuary, in acts of Ritual, in changes that may endanger brotherly love. Tolerate no restriction at the doors, by pride or tax, which can bar out any child of the Father, so that the very gates may be named Praise. Count all souls precious, because all souls may be saints. Preach peace. to men that are far off no less than to them that are nigh, till the Israel of adoption shall cry to all the sons of aliens, "Now then ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the Household of God," "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole Family in Heaven and Earth is named." "Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end! Amen."

In the common Faith of fellow-servants, we are also your loving Fathers, the Bishops of the Episcopal House of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-three.

Project Canterbury