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WED. EVE. AUGUST 5th, 1835,










WED. EVE. OCTOBER 14th, 1835








Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York 2009

Extract from the Journal of the Annual Convention of the Diocese of Connecticut, held at Middletown from the 13th to the 15th of October, 1835.
"Thursday, Oct. 15th, 1835.

"RESOLVED, That the thanks of this Convention be returned to the Rev. Dr. JARVIS, for his sermon delivered last evening before the adjourned meeting of the 'Church Scholarship Society,' and that a copy of the same be requested for publication."




ST. JOHN IV. 35.


THE occasion, my Brethren, on which these words were uttered, will best explain their meaning. Our blessed Saviour, faint and weary with the toils of midday travel, was reposing on the well of Samaria, while his disciples were gone into the city to buy food. And during this interval, occurred the remarkable conversation with a woman who had come out to draw water, which terminated in his express declaration, and in her conviction, that he was the Christ, whom the Samaritans, as well as the Jews, expected. The disciples having returned, she hastened to the city to spread the joyful tidings, while they offered to their master the food they had brought. But his mind was now so occupied as to forget the cravings of exhausted nature. His meat was "to do the will of Him that sent [5/6] him, and to finish his work." He had sown the seed in one heart, which was about to ripen and produce an abundant harvest. To his all-seeing view, the consequences of this single event were present and distinct, in all their magnitude. He saw the immediate approach of many of the Samaritans to convince themselves by sight, of the truth of the woman's testimony. He saw the effect of his own two days' sojourn and preaching in their city, and that many more would believe and know, (because they heard him themselves) that this was indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. He saw, what was then future, the foundation of his Church,--the dispersion of his disciples every where preaching the word,--the visit of Philip the Deacon,--the mission of Peter and John,--the conversion of the whole city of Samaria,--and the joy with which they would embrace the gospel.--With all this in his view, he exclaimed in the beautiful imagery of the text, "Say not ye there are yet four months and then cometh harvest?" It was a proverbial saying, that between the end of seed time and the beginning of harvest, four months must intervene. But "Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest." I have sown a seed which is already beginning to fructify, and you, my disciples, will soon be called to reap,--to receive the reward of my labour,--to gather fruit unto life eternal, that both I who sow, and you who reap, may rejoice together. [* V. 36-38]

My Brethren, what the Saviour said to his first disciples, is equally applicable to his Church at every period, and especially so at those seasons, in which the [6/7] attention of men is particularly awakened to the immense value of their souls. The field is the world,--the seed, the word of God. The sowers are the divinely commissioned ministers of Jesus Christ,--the harvest, the precious souls of men. When the sower hath committed the divine seed to the earth, he waits, in faith and patience, for the harvest which is to reward his industry, remembering the promise that "we shall reap if we faint not." He is not to be discouraged, even if obliged to wait the full period which must intervene between seed-time and harvest. But it is often the case, that "one soweth and another reapeth,"--that many are "sent to reap that whereon they bestowed no labour,"--that "other men laboured" and they "are entered into their labours."

This, if I mistake not, Brethren, is our own case. If ye will look up, ye will see that the fields are already white with the full-ripened and bending grain. It is time to put in the sickle; and you have this advantage, that the seed is already sown by other hands, and you are now sent to reap where you have not laboured. Allow me then on the present occasion, to direct your attention to four points:





May that Divine Spirit, "from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed," [7/8] shed abundantly upon us the dew of his grace, that I may be enabled to preach, and your hearts may be opened to receive, the truth as it is in Jesus!

I. I call you first, Brethren, to consider THE IMMENSE VALUE OF THE HARVEST.

Of the thousand millions who inhabit this earth, every soul from the first instant of its creation, is mortal. It passes through the probationary state of this world, for at most, seventy, or, in a few instances, of ninety or a hundred years, and then is ushered into the final and immutable state, either of eternal beatitude in the light of God's countenance, or of eternal banishment from the source of every joy. It joins the holy and the happy company of God's elect, or, like the hapless son of the morning, it falls into the abode of the unrighteous, the unholy, and the impure.

Who is there in this assembly who knows not the value of his own soul? Who knows not that it is the pearl of great price, and that it must be bought, at the sacrifice, if need be, of every other treasure? Who knows not that there is no barter which can equal its worth, and that in comparison with its weight, all the things of this world are but as the dust of the balance? Then to your own sense of your own value, I appeal, and I ask you, whether, in the sight of God, all souls are not equal,--whether Christ did not die for all,--and whether all are not to come unto God through him, and only through him?

As it is with you, Brethren, so is it with millions and millions of your fellow-creatures; and if you feel the value of your own souls, will you not also feel the [8/9] value of theirs? In compassion to human infirmity, God hath been pleased to divide men into families, and kindreds, and nations; so that every man becomes the centre of numerous concentric circles of affection. As the sun shines on the planets near his centre with intenser radiance, and on those more remote with a fainter light and heat, so must our love extend through the whole system of human nature. God only can feel an equal love for all his creatures. But in proportion as we rise on the scale of Christian virtue,--in proportion as we advance towards the perfection of our Father in heaven,--the more ardent and the more extensive do our affections become towards our fellow creatures.

While the dispensations which preceded the coming of our Saviour were gradually narrowed, because of transgressions, to a single nation--the Christian dispensation, on the contrary, hath been, and will continue to be, enlarged till the fulness of the nations hath come in. The field then, that we may recur to the metaphor of the text, is the world, and the souls of men its precious harvest. The more we feel the value of our own souls, the more sensible shall we become to the value of the souls of others; and in proportion as our Christian love increases, the greater interest shall we feel in the enlargement of the promised harvest. I proceed then to shew

II. That in the language of the text, THE FIELDS ARE WHITE ALREADY TO HARVEST.

And on this point, Brethren, I do not think it necessary to dwell on the truth of the proposition in general, as it respects other nations and other portions of [9/10] the Holy Catholic Church, but I wish more particularly to confine your attention to our own Nation, and our own Church. And I ask you, when was there a time more favourable for us? When were the obstacles to our own successful exertions so much diminished? Brethren, may I be permitted to give vent to my own feelings, without incurring the charge of egotism? And will you pardon me the allusion to my own case, that I may point your attention to that which habit may have rendered familiar to you, but which hath appeared to my mind with all the freshness of novelty?

I have been absent from the Church which I love and venerate, and from the Country of my birth and best affections, for many years. And I return to both, with the deep and firm conviction, that no Church, and no Nation under heaven, have greater cause for devout gratitude to God, than our own.

A somewhat extended view of the religious state of Europe, from the Papacy, in all its external splendour and internal deformity, to the naked simplicity, and weakness, and deadness of Protestant Geneva, has convinced me, that all connexion with temporal power and worldly policy, is injurious to the spirituality of the Redeemer's kingdom. I am thankful, therefore, that our Church is permitted to exhibit to the world, the example of pure and primitive Christianity, relying for her maintenance only on her divine Head, and claiming to be received, only for her inherent excellence. I do not deny that human establishments may have many advantages, so long as they uphold a pure faith, and a form of sound words. But they are like the elephants [10/11] of ancient warfare. They may for a while lead the embattled forces of God's people to glory and to victory; but if they turn their unwieldy strength back-ward, they spread consternation and ruin among the ranks they were destined to protect. It is well for us, then, that we are permitted to act, as Christians and as Churchmen, without any entangling connexions. If we survey our own history, we shall perceive that the union of our parent Church with the civil government of England, was one of the greatest obstacles to our growth in this country; that the supposed tendency of that Church towards monarchy and feudal institutions, led many to embrace presbyterianism, as more favourable to a republican government; that the political struggle between the mother country and her colonies, and the part taken in that contest by many Americans, from their affection to the Church of England, tended to foster these prejudices; that the animosities of the Puritans towards the Church, rendered inveterate from the sufferings inflicted on them by the state, were carefully nurtured and cherished here; and consequently, that the revolution, by which all these arbitrary associations were severed, was as great a blessing to our Church, as it was to the nation itself.

Still, from all these concurrent causes, it remained, even at the period to which I have now alluded, a feeble though somewhat increasing body. The colleges, and other places of education, were conducted, with scarcely an exception, by persons avowedly hostile to all our institutions. Our youth were therefore in perpetual danger of being alienated from our communion, or at least, rendered indifferent to our distinctive principles. Our clergy were indebted only to private [11/12] and individual exertions for the scanty amount they could obtain of Theological learning. Our parishes were small, and with the exception of New York, unaided in the burden of supporting their ministers.

Such was the condition of our Church less than ten years ago. What, on my return, do I now find it? Blessed be God for the change, which He, and He alone, hath wrought! To Him be ascribed the kingdom, the power, and the glory! I find, among those estimable and pious men, who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, but who, from the various causes I have described, had nourished a feeling of enmity towards us,--I find among many such men, an entire change of feeling, which we hail with gratitude to that blessed Spirit, by whose influence alone it has been wrought. The sober-minded are beginning to feel the fatal effects of division and intestine commotion, from which they see us to be comparatively free,--as free perhaps, as the infirmities of our nature, in this militant state, will permit. They who opposed us from political motives, see that the kingdom of Christ, being designed by her divine founder to be universal, may be easily adapted to every form of civil government, while it properly amalgamates with none. They see that the ark of God, even when it totters, needs no support from the hand of unauthorized power; [*2 Samuel, vi. 6, 7.] that the Church, when restored to her original independence on state governments, has, within herself, the vitality and strength and simplicity, which fit her to be the efficient instrument of counteracting the evil of a worldly spirit; that [12/13] the government of Bishops, and the use of a scriptural liturgy, will save her, even in the worst of times, and under every discouragement.

Another circumstance which operates in favour of our church, is the alarm excited by the efforts of the Church of Rome. As the division among Protestants operated from the very first, as a diversion in favour of the Papacy, of which that subtle adversary was not slow in taking advantage, so it begins to be seen, that unity of effort must be resorted to in America to check the progress of Romanism. But what unity can there be, unless they go back to that state of the Church which existed before popery had any being? Here, then, is another preparation from without, by which our progress will be accelerated.

The prospect from within, is still more cheering. I find Colleges flourishing, which, when I went away, were struggling for existence. I find our Theological Seminary, which then seemed unlikely to be extensively useful, now filled with ardent, pious, and well educated youth. I find the fathers of our Church, the successors to the Apostolic office, increased in number, and already planting the cross in those regions, which, but a few years ago, were a natural or a moral wilderness.--And, Brethren, since this discourse was written, I have seen our Church taking the glorious stand of sending forth a Missionary Bishop into her waste and perishing borders.--I find a body of young clergy, who are beginning to exhibit the fruits of our Collegiate and Theological courses of learning. I find our laity, arising with animation to this great work, and, with a liberal hand, pouring into the Church, their munificent offerings of time, and money, [13/14] and intellectual and moral efforts. I find parishes, formerly weak and dispirited, now numerous, and in the enjoyment of all the means of grace, and blessed with all the hopes of glory. I find our clergy generally united, in doctrine and affection, going forth to their labour with consenting hearts, and mainly anxious for the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom. I find my Church, once the feeble offspring of missionary labour, now, in her turn, extending the blessings of the gospel to heathen lands, and repaying to another member of Christ's body, a portion of that aid which she herself formerly received. I find my Country, advanced in prosperity, to a degree unimaginable and inconceivable, by any who have not seen it with their own eyes. I find a life, and activity, and enterprize, a youthful ardour and vigour, arising from the freedom of our institutions, and our peculiar position, which elsewhere it would be in vain to look for. And from this united view of my Church and my Country, I am constrained to ask, who are better situated than ourselves to become the heralds of the cross? This life, and activity, and enterprize, and ardour, and vigour, which is the characteristic of our countrymen, needs only to be directed into right channels. In proportion as a lively sense of the unsearchable riches of Christ is diffused through our nation, in the same proportion will these energies be properly and successfully directed. In proportion as our Church is extended and strengthened in our own country, will the share be increased in which Christian America will act for the conversion of the world. And for this reason that we hold the pure and primitive form of Christianity, unfettered by any ties of human policy; that we can speak to [14/15] the nations with authority as ambassadors of God; that we can excite no jealousies among our fellow Christians, which do not arise from their own defects or corruptions; that we, holding the same episcopacy with the Greek and Eastern Christians, and having correct views ourselves of the nature of the Christian Church, shall neither wish to interfere, nor be suspected of interfering, with their inherent rights. All that we shall strive to effect, will be, to render anew to them, that learning, of which they were the original source; to diffuse among them that spirit of ardent zeal, of which, a long night of slavery, and the chilling and withering hand of despotism, hath deprived them; and thus, under the divine blessing, to brighten anew their dimmed and tarnished lustre.

Thus far, Brethren, was I enabled to speak in the beginning of the month of August. Since then, the session of the General Convention has taken place; and it is needless for me to enumerate its joyful issues. If the prospect was cheering before that event, what is it now, when the whole Church hath avowed to the world, her solemn determination to go forth in the power of the Lord, to the ingathering of this mighty harvest.

III. We have bound ourselves by a new and most solemn pledge; and the fields,--and especially our field,--are white and ready for the sickle. But at the moment, Brethren, when we exult in the holy resolution, the question presents itself with greater force, WHERE ARE THE LABOURERS?

No one can for an instant imagine, that there will ever be a superfluous number of hands for this great [15/16] work. When our Saviour said to his disciples, "The harvest truly is plenteous but the labourers are few," think ye that his omniscient view was bounded to Judaea and the time which then was? Or did he not rather have respect to the wants of his Church till the consummation of all things? And did he not, in directing them to "pray the Lord of the harvest," direct his Church also, in every age, to "pray that the Lord will send forth labourers into his harvest?" [* St. Matt, ix. 37, 38.]

If proof were needed of this truth, I might direct your attention, Brethren, to the incessant declarations of our Bishops, the appointed stewards of the Lord of the harvest, whose especial duty it is to send forth labourers in his name. I might spew you that there is not a Bishop, who does not dwell, with increasing earnestness, in every annual address, on the wants of the Lord's people. I might shew you that even in this diocese, which is, perhaps, better supplied than any other, we have increasing demands for labourers. I might point your view to the immense crowds which are now pushing westward beyond the reach of any settled ministry. I might point to the benighted regions of the world, where the Arabian impostor erected his throne on the foundation of a corrupt, and sensual, and barren faith, or where the horrid and bloody rites of pagan idolatry are still practised. I might ask you, if all this harvest must be left unreaped,--if the souls, the immortal souls, of so many of our fellow creatures must be left to perish?--But I content myself with urging the simple command and declaration of our Saviour, "Go ye into all the world. Preach the Gospel to every creature. The harvest is [16/17] plenteous but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." [* St. Mark, xvi. 15. St. Matt. ix. 37, 38.] Where there are prayers there must be alms, which are the wings of prayer. "Thy prayers and thine alms," said the angel to Cornelius, "are come up for a memorial before God." [*Acts x. 4] And as we have and must have the poor always with us, to exercise our benevolence, so we must have a perpetual harvest to be reaped, that we may shew our devotion to our divine Master, by providing for the wants of that Church, which he hath purchased with his own most precious blood. I leave this part of the subject, because I am convinced, that barely to state it to you, my Brethren, is sufficient. Every mind can grasp the thought, and every Christian mind will feel its importance. The labourers required are infinitely beyond our present number. Let me then hasten to consider in the last place,


As the unskillful sower of the word of God may sow that which is not good grain, and as we can expect to reap only that which we have sowed,--is it not important that they who go forth into the Lord's field, should be well prepared, and furnished with skill for their work?

The Apostles were purposely chosen from the lower ranks of life, and were unlearned and ignorant men, that the "excellency of the power," might at once be seen to "be of God, and not of them," [* 2 Cor. iv. 7.] and "that no flesh should glory in his presence." [* 1 Cor. i. 29.] But they enjoyed for three years the perpetual presence and instruction of their Master, and the Holy Ghost descended upon them to bring all things to their remembrance, whatsoever he had spoken unto them. Even the apostle Paul, learned as he was in all that Jewish or Grecian schools could furnish, had continual revelations from the Lord Jesus during the three years of retirement which succeeded his conversion. [* Compare Gal. i. 16-18, ii. 2. 2 Cor. xii. 1-4.] The knowledge of languages to which we now attain so imperfectly and with so much toil, the Holy Spirit communicated to the first disciples of our Lord on the day of Pentecost. Who, Brethren, hath ever since enjoyed such teachers or what College or Theological Seminary, or what individual, through the compass of a whole life, spent with untiring diligence in the pursuit of knowledge, can arrive at the perfection of Christ and the Spirit's teaching? Let not, therefore, the example of the Apostles be ever quoted in favour of ignorance; nor let me waste the time which already begins to fail me, in addressing such an audience as the present on the advantage and necessity of learning to qualify men for the ministry. Your assent will readily be given to the assertion which I am bold to make, that there is no profession in which the aids of learning are so extensively and multifariously useful, as in the clerical.

The knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, rightly to understand the Scriptures; an acquaintance with Ecclesiastical History and the early writers of the Church, to guard against the encroachments of the [18/19] papacy, the attacks of schism and heresy, or the leveling spirit of the age; the influence which the clergy have, and always ought to have, in diffusing a sound education through the community, and the consequent necessity of being themselves well informed; the instructions of the pulpit, in which they are obliged to give, within a little time, to their hearers, the results of knowledge, which it has required much time and much study to gain;--these are all the particulars that need be enumerated, in order to convince any man, that it is no light and easy matter to become rightly instructed to divide the word of truth.

All, indeed, cannot be equally learned; but it is important that the learning should exist somewhere, and that all should be as thoroughly furnished as their local advantages will permit, for the great purposes I have mentioned. Blessed be God, that through the zeal of our Bishops, clergy, and laity, and the munificence of many benefactors, the foundations have been broadly laid in our land, of Colleges and Theological Seminaries. Still much remains to be done. All these institutions require increased funds, and we trust that God will put it into the hearts of his faithful people, as hath been done already in many signal instances, to supply their wants. My object at present, however, though it coincides and harmonizes with the appeals to your benevolence, which these institutions make, is for a more specific and limited purpose. I wish to impress upon your minds the great importance of the CHURCH SCHOLARSHIP SOCIETY, an association formed for the purpose of aiding young men who have not the present ability to pay for their [19/20] education, but who wish to devote themselves to the service of God and his Church.

It is happy, my Brethren, for the purity and the spirituality of our Church, that there are few or no worldly motives to enter her ministry. Our large cities alone give any thing like an ample support for a family, and even there the clergyman can lay up little or nothing for the future. At his death, therefore, his children must be left in poverty, and the education of any among them, who may wish to devote themselves to the ministry, has a claim on the benevolence of Christians, paramount to every other of a similar nature.

But even in our cities, any one who has tried the experiment, knows, that the clerical life, to all who have a conscientious view of its awful responsibilities, is one of perpetual labour,--and of a kind of labour too, which will not admit of learned indulgence or literary leisure. Can we then expect young men of fortune, or the sons of wealthy parents, bred in the lap of luxury and ease, to forego all worldly advantages, and undertake an office, the hopes and the rewards of which, though indeed an anchor to the soul, both sure and stedfast, can enter and fasten themselves no where but WITHIN THE VAIL?

God forbid that we should seek to exclude or discourage such from becoming labourers for the harvest of the Lord. When the Holy Spirit puts it into the hearts of such young men to devote themselves to God, we receive them with open arms, rejoicing for the influence of their example. But all such cases form the exception, not the rule. Experience teaches us that we [20/21] must look to that class of young men for our principal supply, who have not the means of providing for their own education.

These can endure privations, for they have already endured them. These can labour, for they are accustomed to labour. These can visit and console the poor and needy, for they have known what it is to suffer want and adversity. These can go whithersoever they are called in the service of the Lord, for they have been already disciplined to endure hardness. It will be found, I believe, upon examination, and the remark will apply to other countries beside our own, that most of those who have adorned the clerical profession, have risen from the middle ranks of life, and that a great number of them have been indebted for their first advancement to a benevolence like that for which I am now pleading.

You will observe,--and it is important that I should call your attention to this distinguishing feature in the bounty,--that the aid of the Society is LENT, not given. The persons who receive our aid are not charity scholars. There is no place here, to inflict shame, or to gratify a low cupidity. The sum necessary for their support is loaned without interest, and is to be repaid as soon as possible after the completion of their studies. And observe further, that no undue motive is held out to them to enter the ministry. They are free at any moment to relinquish their design, on refunding to the Society, the sum they have received.

We cannot but think, therefore, Brethren, that such a plan of benevolence deserves, and will receive, your [21/22] heart-felt co-operation. We cannot but think, whether we address you as Christians, that you will feel most deeply the necessity of providing for the furtherance of the Gospel; whether we address you as members of our apostolic Church, that you will feel the importance of increasing the number of its labourers; whether we address you as Americans, that you will feel how sacred a duty it is, that the energies of a nation so signally blessed by God, should be devoted to the promotion of his glory, in that great field for human labour, where "he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal."


ART. I. The object of this Society is, to educate pious young men for the ministry in the Protestant Episcopal Church.

ART. II. It shall be composed of the members of the Convention for the time being; together with those persons who pay two dollars annually, or who shall pay, or have paid, twenty dollars or more at one time; all of whom shall be entitled to vote at the stated meetings. The payment of fifty dollars, whether before or after the adoption of this amended Constitution, shall constitute an honorary member of the Board of Education; and the payment of one hundred dollars, a Vice President for life.

ART. III. The Society shall meet annually at such time and place as the Convention shall appoint, when they shall choose, on nomination by a committee, seven persons, who, with the Secretary and Treasurer, shall constitute a Board of Education, of which, the Bishop of the Diocese, shall be, ex officio, President, as he shall also be President of the Society. They shall also choose a Secretary [23/24] and Treasurer, who shall continue in office till another election. Every meeting of the Society shall be opened with prayer.

ART. IV. The Board shall have power to appoint the time and place of its own meetings, and any five members shall constitute a quorum. It shall be the duty of the Board to provide for the increase of the funds, by agencies or otherwise; they shall have the power of appropriating all monies for the support of beneficiaries; of examining and admitting candidates, and of appointing committees to examine and recommend applicants for patronage; and generally, of transacting all business necessary to the promotion of the objects for which they were appointed. They shall keep a record of their proceedings, and make an annual report thereof to the Society. It shall also be their duty to prepare and submit to the Society for their approval, such rules and regulations as they may deem necessary to be adopted.

ART. V. Candidates may be aided in each stage of education; but, unless in very peculiar cases, no applicant shall be received, who does not produce unequivocal testimonials of piety, promising talents, and necessitous circumstances. The mode of rendering assistance, shall be, in all cases, by loans without interest, to be repaid, within a reasonable time, after the beneficiary shall have completed his education.

ART. VI. The Treasurer shall vest the funds of the Society in the safest and most productive manner; make payments and advances of money agreeably to the orders of the Board; and render annually to the Society, a written account of all receipts and expenditures since the last meeting, with a statement of the funds in the Treasury; which account shall have been previously examined and approved in writing by a committee of the Board.

ART. VII. No alteration shall be made in this Constitution, except on recommendation of the Board, and by a vote of two thirds of the members present.

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