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A Plea for an Endowment for St. Stephen's College.

















This sermon was preached in Trinity Church, New York, in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Brooklyn, and in a number of other churches named on a future page. From all these churches liberal donations were received, which aided in erecting a college building, and in meeting the annual expenses. But the wants of the College to-day are greater than they were four years ago when the sermon was first preached. There are more young men for whom we have to provide temporary accommodations. The number of students has been limited the past five years by the number of rooms at our command. There are also more instructors to be maintained. The work demanded of us increases each year. The author now sends forth his sermon in a different form in the hope that it may still find a response, and that the grace of God may influence the hearts of his servants to connect their name with the College in some memorial gift.

R. B. F.

ANNANDALE, December 31, 1870.


Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest--ST. MATTHEW, ch. 9: vet. 3S.

Our blessed Lord makes use of the instrumentality of men in the economy of grace. He does not come to operate directly, without the intervention of means, on the hearts of men. He does not carry on the work of grace, any more than the work of nature, by the direct exertion of his power. It is a gradual work which is going on in the laboratory of nature. There is first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. So it is in grace. The work is gradual. It is performed by the instrumentality of means. God makes use of man in carrying on his divine operations. This is why he says, "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest." This is the means by which he has ordained that the truth shall be exhibited to the world, that men shall be brought to a knowledge of the truth, that they shall receive his grace, and shall be enabled to grow therein. He does not speak in an audible [5/6] voice from heaven. He has committed the truth to his Church as its witness and keeper. He has ordained men to go forth in his name, and by his authority to be the instruments in the forgiveness of sins.

Let us look at some of the reasons why we should be deeply interested in the ministry, and in calling men into the field to labor in the holy office.

The ministry is divinely ordained. The calling is of God. He appoints the method of dealing with those for whom his precious blood was shed on Calvary. It is not an invention of man. It is an ordinance of God. It is not a human expedient for keeping alive the truth, and an interest in the truth. It is God's method. They are the "stewards of the mysteries of God." You appeal therefore to God that he would send the influence of his spirit into the mind, that he would touch the heart and excite the affections for the holy work of calling and gathering men into his fold, of feeding them with spiritual food, and of preparing them for the life of peace and joy. It is God's work and God's method, and you therefore appeal to him that he would send them forth.

The ministry is removed from the influences of human ambition. There are not the same inducements laid before it, that are laid before other [6/7] callings. Wealth, and position, and fame, and glory are great inducements for men to labor, to make risks, to embark in great enterprises. They look for valuable returns. In this enterprising country how many are the avenues which lead to those desirable results. The multitude are pressing on, animated by the success of those who have gone before. How can it be otherwise in view of the vast fortunes which are amassed in this country, in view of the positions of distinction to which ability and perseverance lead? Who wonders at the labor, and strife, and competition of our young men? When have the incitements of ambition been greater, or more numerous? But these appeals to the natural desires of men do not find a place in the ministry. It does not hold out wealth, or ease, or fame. The only real inducement, which you can place before a young man, to enter on a course of preparation for holy orders, is that of obeying God, and of being useful to his fellow men. It is an appeal, not to human desires, but to faith and love. To induce a young man to enter the ministry, in view of the sacrifices required, of the toil which must be undergone, of the poverty which must be endured, the heart must be touched by the grace of God. It is the love of Christ which must constrain us. There must predominate the desire to [7/8] see men bowing the knee to that Name which is above every name. We do not therefore appeal to human desires to induce men to study for holy orders, but we pray the Lord of the harvest that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.

The ministry is the appointed medium for the moral and spiritual welfare of men. I have said that God has ordained the instrumentality of men in the economy of grace. It is thus that he is operating on our moral and spiritual nature. The ministry are the stewards of his mysteries. They are to some the savor of life unto life, and to others the savor of death unto death. They are ordained for men in things pertaining to God. Through them we are brought into connection with eternal verities. Our spiritual nature, our destiny for eternity, the life everlasting with God in heaven, are depending on the work for which they are ordained. The great work of grace God carries on through them in the administration of his sacrament. He calls men to the spiritual life through the truth which they are to hold up to the world. They are the great aids to virtue and a holy life. They direct the faith of the departing disciple to the Intercessor before the throne of God.

The ordinary work of the ministry does not strike us because it is ordinary. It is necessary to arrest [8/9] the attention, and look at the work which they are doing, and which by their removal must cease. It is not a work which arrests the attention of the world when a pastor catechizes the children of a parish. But what truths is he then sowing. What principles is he then planting in the human heart. What impressions is lie then making which will be carried through life and into eternity. The men of virtue, of integrity, of holiness, the men that make the world better, have received their impressions in the quiet, silent work of the pastoral office. Look at the influence which comes from the faithful works of the pastor among his flock. You may not know that he watches you, prays for you, puts in your way influences to direct you, drops a word in season, encourages you, consoles you in trouble, administers to you in want, rescues you from temptation, and that he will be at your bed-side, when you are dying, to point you to the only stay of your soul. When you recall these facts, when you remember that all this work is going on in thousands and thousands of places, week after week and year after year, and that it is thus that God is raising men up to the higher life, that this is the great source of the blessings which are descending upon the world, you will feel how incumbent it is upon you to pray the Lord of the [9/10] harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.

Look at the public ministrations in church on a Sunday. The preaching may not be startling. But look at the ordinary course of sermons, which are delivered from the numerous pulpits of the Church, and you will see that they are characterized for their good sense. They put thoughts before you, which furnish you with mental food. They set before you precepts which guide your life. A layman, devoted to literature, has written as follows concerning the pulpit. He says: "I suppose you do not often consider the fact that the greatest amount of genuine thinking done in the world is done by preachers. I suppose you may never have reflected that in the midst of all the din of business and clashing of various interests, in the midst of the clamors and horrors of war, the universal pursuit of amusements, and the vanities and inanities of fashion, and the indulgence of multitudinous vices, there is a class of self-denying men, of the best education and the best talents and habits, who in their quiet rooms, are thinking and writing upon the purest and noblest themes which can engage any mind. The working man who shuns the pulpit voluntarily relinquishes the only regularly available intellectual [10/11] nourishment of his life. Philosophy, casuistry, history, metaphysics, science, poetry, these are all at home in the pulpit. All high moralities are taught there. All sweet charities are inculcated there; you must go to church on Sunday and hear the preaching, or be an intellectual starveling." And this layman says only what almost every layman on reflection will say. Thus the world is brought up to a higher standard. It is made better. It is more humane, more kind. The way is open for the spiritual life. And this is through the ministry which God has ordained. And therefore it is that he bids us pray the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.

Thus all the highest interests of man, spiritual, moral, and intellectual, are connected with the ministry. You can form no conception of our state without it. To leave it out of view would be to conceive of a new order of things. It is therefore a great duty devolving upon us to supply the ministry with new recruits--to have those ready to take the place of the departing who have finished their course--and to enlarge the number to meet the new demands, so that the growth of the church may be provided for, that the work may extend, and that daily new conquests may be made for Christ.

[12] You have little conception of the difficulty in providing for this supply. It is not difficult for a parish of importance to find a pastor. It is right that it should be so. Its importance makes it the more necessary to supply it. And it is an inducement for a pastor to cultivate his gifts. The putting him into a more important position causes him to cultivate his talents. But the difficulty which a Bishop experiences in furnishing clergymen is one of which you can have no conception. You cannot estimate the anxiety which it costs him. It is among the great difficulties of his office. The majority of the parishes of the Diocese appeal to him when they are in want. To provide for this supply, to take care that others are coming forward to fill the places left vacant, is an important function of his office.

But each of us can labor only in his own sphere. A Bishop is powerless unless he has devoted clergy and faithful laity. He is but one. The performance of his functions depends upon others. The Church is not any more in the clergy than in the laity. It is in both united in the performance of their functions. The good of man, the salvation of souls, the glory of the Lord's name no more depends upon me a clergyman, than upon you the laity. I can only perform my functions because you [12/13] perform yours. We are parts of one body. If the clergyman devotes his time and his talents, it devolves also upon the laity to devote their time and their talents. He devotes his time in the pastoral work. You devote your money to sustain him. Your money is just as necessary as his time and labours. When you give your money you are performing a function just as necessary as when the clergyman is doing the especial work which devolves upon him. The Lord does not call us all to be priests, but he has ordained some to provide for the priesthood.

The honor and the glory of the work are just as much yours as they are ours. All the work which is going on for the regeneration of the world, to make men better, to bring them up to a high standard of virtue and holiness, is due to the faithful laity as well as to the laborious clergy. We rejoice together in the work as a joint operation. We shall together reap the reward which the Lord and Master will give to his faithful servants.

I have come this morning to tell you of one way in which you can aid your chief pastor in supplying candidates for the ministry, and that is in aiding the college which has been founded at Annandale, for the education and training of young men who will devote themselves to this work. The Church [13/14] has been compelled to learn a lesson from the state. The nation has not found it safe to depend upon the general education and, training, which young men receive at an ordinary college, for a supply of officers for the army. She has her West Point where the army is the great object which is prominent above all others. The defence, and honor, and glory of the country are the thoughts which fill the mind of the cadet. It is the esprit de corps which is thus created--the military education under which the cadet is trained for four years, that have given the country some of the best men that we have. You could get no such body of officers in any other way. The nation adopts the young man, makes his appointment an object of honorable ambition, provides for him, educates him, and then in ripe manhood she claims the influence of his high character, and his skill and ability, for her defence and protection. Now the Church is doing the same. She is founding a college which is to educate and train candidates for the sacred ministry. The present Bishop of New York first brought the subject prominently before the Church. At his suggestion the College was founded in 1858, at Annandale, a hundred miles up the Hudson. It began in a most humble way, with provision for only six students. The only shelter that it could [14/15] afford them was the janitor's cottage. The work however has made progress every year, as the church demanded more of us, and has given us the means to accomplish more. We have taken no step forward until the means have been put into our hands. We have to-day an estate of twenty-three acres. We have a beautiful chapel the gift of a noble hearted layman. We have a College building which will accommodate thirty-four students, built by the contributions of a few laymen of the diocese. We have a hall, now erecting, the gift of two members of Trinity church. The Society for the Promotion of Religion and Learning comes to our aid and nobly sustains us. [Note] But we are not [15/16] able to receive all the young men whom the Church sends to us. I have for the past year been compelled nearly every week to refuse those who wish to join us. We have no accommodations for them. Our great want at the present time is an additional college building, and two houses for professors.

I have said that we are trying to make St. Stephen's College for the Church the same that West [16/17] Point is for the nation. The Church, through the Society for the Promotion of Religion and Learning, will adopt young men of piety and ability, and make their appointment an object of honorable ambition. She will sustain them and educate them, and then in ripe manhood she will claim their influence and their labors for God and for the welfare of men. She will thus, like the state, send out genuine, sterling men, who shall be high-minded, examples of pious devotion, models of zeal and holiness. And she will do it as the state [17/18] proposes to do it, by keeping before the mind the object of their life, the glory of God and the good of man. The objects which shall be prominent are those which pertain to the Church's work--the regeneration of the world, the salvation of men, the glory of our Divine Redeemer. The training in languages and mathematics, and philosophy, in St. Stephen's College, shall be the means, under God, of making able ministers, men fully alive to their work, and capable of meeting the demands which are to be made of them. The very atmosphere of [18/19] the place shall be filled with the influence of their calling and their work.

The young men whom the Church will take are those who exhibit devotion, and piety, and ability, men who would stand prominent in secular callings if they should devote themselves to the projects of ambition, those who would be among the honorable merchant princes of this great city in the next generation, if they should devote themselves to mercantile pursuits. It is the men whose hearts have been touched by the grace of God, as was the heart of St. Paul, that the Church will claim for herself--whom she will educate and train for the service of our Lord and Saviour--whom she will school and discipline, by the aid of his grace, until they shall be examples to guide the world in the way of righteousness.

We are praying to-day that "the ministers and stewards of God's mysteries may so prepare and make ready his way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that, at his second coming to judge the world, we may be found an acceptable people in his sight." It is also the Ember week. We are therefore praying that "the Bishops and Pastors of the flock, may faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons, to serve in the sacred ministry of the Church." What avail our [19/20] prayers if they are not joined with our efforts? Will God work miracles to supply the ministry? Will we permit the ministry to be filled with an inferior order of men, who have not the ability for a secular calling? Will the laity for a moment endure the thought, that their teachers and pastors are to be inferior men, of imperfect education, and of defective character? Or will they not provide that they shall be men of the first ability, of genuine integrity, of thorough education, and of piety and devotion?

St. Stephen's College has been established as an important instrument in providing for the filling of the ranks of the ministry. It has already shown its ability to call out young men, and to do the work which is expected. [The favor with which the work at Annandale had been received is manifest from the annual increase in the number of students. There were 12 in 1862, the next year 18, the next 28, the next 39, the next 43, the next 63, the next 69, the next 71, and the present 73. Each year some have been refused for the want of accommodation. The college very manifestly meets a demand which the Church has made. Bishop Potter had evidently not mistaken the wants of the Church when he asked for it in 1856. He said "one urgent want of the diocese is a Church training school to take charge of hopeful youth from a very early age, and, by faithful intellectual and religious culture to prepare them for the work of the holy ministry."] But the means to furnish the ability are with the laity. Will not the faithful laity come to the work, and aid in carrying on this [20/21] noble enterprise? Already names of devoted sons and daughters of the Church, are connected with it, which will go down in honorable distinction, leaving an example and a memory which will prove a blessing to the world. Is it not a holy ambition, worthy of the believing and pious heart, to connect one's name with works which shall go down to posterity as centres of light, and life, and grace? Look at Oxford. There are names living there to-day as familiar as household words, founders of colleges and halls, donors of endowments for professorships, scholarships, and prizes. Here is an example to the world of consecrated riches. Dead, yet they speak of Christ and his work. They sustain to-day the men who are centres of learning and influence. The immortal poet of England has made the fall of Wolsey a familiar tale to you all. But the magnificent College of Christ Church which he founded has been sending out for three hundred years its ripe scholars for the service of the Church and the service of the Country. It redeems his name and holds him up as a benefactor of his race. In that city of colleges there is no noble piece of architecture, no hall of learning, no foundation for sustaining a scholar, no great library, which does not speak of a Merton, or a Wykeham, or a Wadham, or a Radcliffe, or a Bodley. These [21/22] men dead? Not while Oxford lives to send forth her yearly supply of Christian scholars, who give tone to thought wherever the English tongue is spoken.

Why shall it not be so in the Church in New York? Why at Annandale on the Hudson, in the midst of scenery unrivalled for beauty and for grandeur, shall there not be halls founded, and professorships endowed, and scholarships established? [The Rev. John McVickar, D.D., of New York, bequeathed to the College 1,000 dollars for the endowment of a prize, to be awarded to the member of the graduating class, intending to study for the ministry of the Church, who shall excel in elocution: and also 2,000 dollars for the endowment of a scholarship, which the Trustees of the College have named THE MCVICKAR SCHOLARSHIP.] Why shall we not have a centre from which shall go forth learning and devotion, under the influence of the Church, to regenerate the world? What nobler monument can you erect to your memory, than to connect your name with some hall or endowment, which shall proclaim to future generations your devotion to our Lord and Saviour? Is it not worthy of your consideration when disposing of your wealth, whether you may not consecrate some portion of it to the culture of religion and learning in connection with St. Stephen's at Annandale? We do not for a moment allow ourselves [22/23] to suppose that the laity of the Church are not prepared to do their part. We know that their hearts are touched by the grace of God, quite as much as those who give themselves more directly to the work. They will rejoice equally with us in seeing the work prosper. I do not allow myself to believe that anything more is necessary, than to show the laity what the work is, and that it is demanded by the Church.

May I then ask you to take into consideration the points which I have set before you. Look at the ministry as the institution of God--as appointed for the cultivation of the spiritual and moral interests of man. Remember that the command, to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, comes to the laity as well as the clergy--that the command can be obeyed only by the joint work of us both--only by the blessing of God descending on clergy and laity. Let every man, therefore, as he has received the gift, even so remember the same as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.


1. When it was proposed to establish St. Stephen's College at Annandale, Mr. John Bard gave a number of acres of laud adjoining his estate, which cost about 10,000 dollars: he also gave a church, which he had built as a house of worship for the neighborhood, for a college chapel. It cost about 34,000 dollars. There are on the land which was given a school house and a janitor's house valued at 6,000 dollars. The grounds have been graded and cultivated under the direction of Mr. Bard, and chiefly at his expense.

2: A college building was erected in 1861, by contributions from Messrs. John Bard, John L. Aspinwall, W. H. Aspinwall, H. B. Minturn, John V. L. Pruyn, W. B. Astor, W. Chamberlin, Henry W. Sargent, W. A. Davies, John Campbell, Homer Ramsdale, Cyrus Curtiss, T. It. Wetmore, A. B. Sands, B. H. Field, J. A. Seymour, J. W. Coddington, John Caswell, A. Norrie, Cr. T. Strong, ThomasMcMullen, J. F. DePeyster, C. E. Bill, C. R. Tracy, Jonas C. Heartt, Jos. M. Warren, E. A. Robinson, J. M. Dunbar, J. J. Cisco, Mrs. W. Bard, Mrs. Langdon, Mrs. G. P. Phenix, Mrs. Knill, the Rt. Rev. Bishop Potter, the Rev. Dr. S. H. Turner, the Rev. Dr. Tucker, and the Rev. Dr. H. De Koven. The building cost 17,000 dollars. It was furnished at an expense of 2,000 dollars by Mr. John Bard and Mr. J. L. Aspinwall.

3. The Ludlow and Willink Hall was completed in 1870. It was built by Miss Elizabeth Ludlow and her sister Mrs. Cornelia Ann Willink, by advice of the Rev. Dr. Francis Vinton. They asked permission of the Trustees to erect the hall in the following letter addressed to Mr. John Bard:

BLOEMEN HEUVEL, July 1st, 1865.

Dear Sir:

We have learned through our pastor and from an interview with you of the great need of a hall for the official meetings of the Trustees and Faculty of St. Stephen's College, and of a house for the Wardens and Professors.

The houses for the professors we understand are to be built by the offerings of devout churchmen who would aid you and the Trustees in your exemplary efforts in establishing a training school and college for theological students of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

We are desirous of erecting the house for the use of the Warden, which shall also contain a hall for the official meetings above referred to.

And to this end we ask you to obtain the assent of the Trustees of St. Stephen's College, giving us full authority to erect such a building, according to the designs and plans of Richard Upjohn, Esq., and under his supervision, on such location on the grounds of the College as he shall select with your approval.

We make this offering in testimony of our love for the Church, and our thanks to God for his mercies, and of our admiration of the objects of St. Stephen's College.

We desire that our names for the present shall be withheld from the public. With much respect,

Very truly yours,


The hall was begun a few months after the death of Mrs. Willink, and was not completed until more than a year after the death of Miss Ludlow. It is a substantial building of stone, with an elegant hall. It cost above 53,000 dollars. These two worthy churchwomen now lie buried in Trinity church-yard, New York.

4. A new college building was erected in the long vacation of 1868. The money was obtained chiefly by the Warden by collections made after preaching the sermon in Grace Church, Brooklyn, Zion Church, Wappinger's Falls, St. Mark's Church, Williamsburgh, St. John's Church, Yonkers, St. Philip's Church in the Highlands, St. George's Church, Newburgh, Christ Church and St. Paul's, Poughkeepsie, Christ Church, Hudson, St. Peter's, Albany, Church of the Holy Cross, Troy, Grace Church, Waterford, and Christ Church, Ballston, and by personal application to Messrs. Thomas H. Newbold, J. L. Aspinwall, C. E. Bill, John C. Cruder, John Alstyne, Cyrus Curtiss, J. W. Mitchell, J. F. De Peyster, J. V. L. Pruyn, Mrs. R. B. Roberts, the Rev. Dr. Montgomery, Grace Chapel, New York, through the Rev. Walter Delafield.

5. The salaries of the professors have been paid from the beginning by the annual subscriptions of Mr. John Bard and Mr. J. L. Aspinwall, and the Society for the Promotion of Religion and Learning. For the last two years an addition has been necessary on account of a larger number of instructors being required, and an increased amount being paid. It has been furnished by subscriptions from Mr. S. P. Nash, Mr. Jos. Harrod, Mr. W. H. Aspinwall, the Rev. C. T. Olmsted, Mr. A. G. Fay; from Grace Church through the Rev. Dr. Potter; from the Church of the Holy Trinity, Brooklyn, through the Rev. Dr. Hall; and also from Trinity Church, New York.

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