PHILIPPIANS, IV. 7. THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING, SHALL KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS.
THERE is a peculiar pathos and solemnity associated with the word Benediction. The prayer of blessing, with which St. Paul closes his Epistles, forms a most appropriate cadence to his earnest strain of exhortation. Sometimes he repeats the benediction, varying its form, again and again; lingering affectionately over his parting farewell. Whatever be the style and substance of his address, whether it be counsel, reproof, instruction or consolation, "grace, mercy and peace" always are the burden of his salutation and his valedictory.
I have selected for consideration to-day, those words of the Apostle which have been incorporated into the form of blessing, that concludes our morning and evening services of prayer. "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
What are we to understand in this connection by "the peace of God?"
I do not know that the full meaning can be reached by any formal definition. If it passes human [3/4] understanding, that is, can not be compassed by the logical faculties of the mind, if it can be known only by experience,--can be comprehended only through the feelings,--this shows that it does not come within the range of intellectual analysis. It is the concrete of all which belongs to the Christian life and hope; it is the perfect peace which springs from the consciousness that we are reconciled to the Father, that our sins are washed away, and our names written in the book of life. It is the peace which comes of the sure and certain hope of immortal blessedness,--the faith which triumphs over death, and looks down into the great abyss of eternity without a fear. This is the peace of God,--a condition of mind which only He can give; a peace that is shed abroad in the soul, just in the degree that we live near to God and are partakers of His nature. It supposes all our inward faculties to be moving in harmony, every discordant passion subdued, every rebellious volition broken, and every selfish feeling subordinated to the good of society and the glory of God.
What images of repose and sober bliss steal over the mind, at the mention of this word, peace! We seem to hear the chime of Sabbath bells, calling the neighboring villagers to prayer; we see vine-clad cottages slumbering in the summer twilight; merry harvest songs greet the moon over the hill; the air is filled with flowery perfume; and all nature is vocal with praise. These pictures are a symbol, not only of the rest which remaineth for the people of God hereafter, but also of the calm repose into which they enter, even in their earthly pilgrimage.
 "Peace, was the word our Saviour breathed,
When from our world his steps withdrew;
The gift he to his friends bequeathed,
With Calvary and the cross in view:--
Redeemer! with adoring love
Our spirits take thy rich bequest,
The watchword of the host above,
The passport to their realm of rest."
This peace of God, the Apostle tells the Christians of Philippi, shall keep their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus; it will have the power to shield both their intellectual and moral natures from all harm.
This heavenly peace is an effectual safeguard against the assaults of skepticism. Unbelief comes of the unrest of the soul; it implies dissatisfaction, disturbance, confusion. When one is stayed upon God, faith is easy and natural. Away from him, it is impossible. The faith which has brought peace to the mind, quieted its fears, hushed its discords, and purified all its secret chambers, is not to be shaken by the wily arts of sophistry. I know that it is no delusion, when it has turned night into day, disinfected the very atmosphere which I breathe, clarified my vision, braced my feeble will, changed the whole current of my desires, implanted new motives in my breast, given me a new object to live for, opened to my sight new worlds, and revealed a kingdom of eternal glory! When Christ has once become to us a reality, so that we have actually felt his power working in us,--when his cross has once been graven on our hearts,--when his blood has been transfused into our veins, quickening us to new life,--what do we care for argument? We know what we have believed; we have the inward witness of the Spirit; and have entered into our spiritual rest.
 And again, this perfect peace will keep us from falling into any fundamental error. Our faith will not only remain firm, but clear, discriminating and pure. We have a test, by which to try the spirits, whether they be of God. We can judge of the doctrine by the practical effect which it has upon the heart and life. Our religion is not a theory, but a living principle; arid we "measure it by heart-throbs." There is a moral instinct in our nature, which instantly detects poison. We are secured against essential error, because we can discriminate between that which is fundamental and that which is only accidental; between the drapery of truth and the truth itself. We have been brought into contact with the living reality; we know what that is, and that it abideth forever, let the outward garb, the clothing in which the doctrine is arrayed, change as it may. A sound heart is our only effectual protection against the heresies of an unsound head. He that is of God, heareth God's words, and they are authenticated to him through his spiritual intuitions. He does not believe, because others tell him that he ought to believe; he does not believe, because his fathers have believed before him; but he believes, because the words of God are to him spirit and life. He has done God's will, and so God has made him know of the doctrine. His soul is in a fit condition to take the impress of truth. The surface of a ruffled lake reflects the surrounding scenery in false and distorted shapes; but when the elements are all at peace, every downy feather of the scarlet bird that skims above the waters is distinctly mirrored there. And so, when the peace of God has reduced all our mental and moral powers to perfect harmony, and the surface of [6/7] the soul is pure and polished, it reflects with unerring accuracy the scenery of heaven.
Brethren, in a world of error like this, you are not safe, if you rely upon the acuteness of your critical insight,--you are not safe, if you lean upon your own understanding; the things of God, if seen at all, must be spiritually discerned. You may analyze earthly compounds, and measure earthly forces, even without believing in a God; but you can not solve the simplest problem of the soul, you can not analyze the doctrines of revelation, or penetrate the mysteries of redemption, unless the Spirit of God dwell in you. Therefore, if you would hold fast to the truth as it is in Jesus, let the peace of God ever rule in your heart. Keep yourselves pure and undefiled. If the canker of corruption eat into your soul, it can not reflect the truth. You may profess to believe in the soundest formulas, you may say with your lips the holiest creed that was ever penned,--still you do not really believe, for the very principle of faith is wanting.
Again, the peace of God, the consciousness that we are reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ, and the consequent hope of immortal glory, will also keep you from all evil habits and shameful subjection to the tyranny of sin. A true assurance of faith will never make its subject careless and presumptuous. If any man continue in sin, because grace abounds, it only shows that he has no grace in his own heart. The perfect love, which casteth out fear, also destroys all that could give just occasion for fear. You will not be likely to sail carelessly, because you can see over the waters, in the distant horizon, the clear and steady light which shows where the heavenly harbor lies, and assures you that your bark is moving in the right direction.
 The absolute repose of faith is essential to the highest development of Christian character. All things are possible to him that believeth. Only hold fast your integrity, and through the help of God, you can leap over any obstructions. You may find your way out of the most intricate labyrinth; you may walk with a firm step, when the earth is surging all around you; you may enter the dark valley, fearing no evil;
"In patience, then, possess thy soul,
Stand still!--for while the thunders roll,
Thy Saviour sees thee through the gloom,
And will to thy assistance come;
His love and mercy will be shown
To those who trust in Him alone."
These, then, are in brief the simple thoughts suggested by the solemn and fervent benediction of the Apostle. I can not now dwell any longer upon them, as I have a few words to say that relate to the peculiar circumstances under which I address you to-day. Just four years ago, I came at your call to take the spiritual oversight of this congregation. It seems as though it were but yesterday, that Sunday morning in March, when I first ascended this pulpit to address you as your pastor. I then supposed that I came to pass the remainder of my days with you; and you may be assured that no ordinary call would have induced me to sunder the tie which has connected us. Nothing was farther from my thoughts in the beginning of the last autumn than the possibility that when the next spring opened, I should be called to enter upon a new field, and find myself encompassed with the peculiar responsibilities of the Episcopate. You [8/9] know that my election to the charge of a neighboring Diocese was altogether unsought and unexpected by me; and that I yielded to the necessity which obliged me to leave this place, slowly and reluctantly. For the demonstrations of confidence and regard, which at that time I received from this congregation, from the students of Trinity College, and informally from the citizens of Hartford, I would now desire to return my most grateful thanks. I could only wish that I had done more to deserve these assurances of warm affection for which I stand indebted.
I have the great satisfaction of knowing that I leave this parish, at least in all temporal respects, so strong and vigorous. By one noble effort, you have freed yourselves from all pecuniary encumbrances; and with a reasonable exercise of prudence, this church will never again be in danger of becoming burdened with a debt. The current income of this parish is probably exceeded by that of no other church in the state; and there are few congregations in any city, that are more constant and faithful in their attendance upon the services of the sanctuary.
The average of the Monthly Missionary Collections is not very large, when we consider the amount of wealth in the church; the aggregate sum contributed during the last four years, is $3,173, on fifty-three different occasions, which is about sixty dollars at each collection. This does not, indeed, comprehend all that is done for missionary objects in the parish; but it is all for which the parish as such is credited. I would take this opportunity to commend to your special consideration the claims of the Christian Knowledge Society, which has in charge the missions of the diocese. According to the assessment of the [9/10] Convention, which is levied at the rate of one half-dollar for each communicant, this parish is expected to contribute $238 per annum for State missions; I trust that this church will not be reported among the delinquents.
I would also venture to express the hope that your interest in the Episcopal City Mission, an enterprise which is entirely dependent upon you for all its extrinsic support, will not abate. I question whether the full value and importance of this mission are adequately appreciated. It ought to stand in the very fore-front of our Christian charities. It would be a strange inconsistency, if while we are sending the gospel to the heathen, we allowed the destitute to perish at our own doors, either for lack of knowledge, or for lack of bread. Will you not see to it that this Free Church is liberally sustained? Will you not all do something to support it, give it your hearty sympathy and prayers, as well as your money?
I would commend all the missionary and benevolent operations of the church to your careful and conscientious consideration. Take some pains to inform yourselves as to their character and claims; and remember that Christ has left this sinning and suffering world in charge to his disciples. They represent Him on earth, and it is their business to carry on to its completion that great work which He began in agony and tears.
During the time that I have been with you, there have been one hundred admitted into the fold of the church, through the sacrament of baptism, of which number twenty-one were adults. One hundred and two persons have received the imposition of hands in the rite of confirmation; and it is estimated that [10/11] there are now about four hundred and seventy-five individuals enrolled as communicants.
The Sunday School is in a healthy and flourishing condition; the number of teachers and scholars having greatly increased during the past year. The children and youth of the congregation are openly catechised in the church once in every month, and their prompt recitation does great credit to the Superintendent and teachers, through whose arduous labors this proficiency has been obtained.
The reputation which our music has attained is wide-spread and most creditable to the organist and choir, who have certainly spared no time or effort to render this important part of our service interesting and effective. Many have been drawn to this church by the attraction of sweet sounds, some of whom, we trust, have had their hearts lifted heavenward by the prayers and praises of the sanctuary.
Neither 'would I fail to notice the valuable services of one, whose office it is to sit at the gate of the temple, and upon whose punctuality, faithfulness and ready zeal, the comfort of the worshippers is so dependent. A sexton, who never shrinks from his duty, never forgets an appointment, is never weary and never morose, who always keeps the Lord's house well-conditioned and in seemly order, deserves honorable mention from the pulpit. Such an officer you have, and may he be long spared to you.
How many tender and solemn associations cluster around the history of the half-century during which this church has opened its doors to the weary and heavy-laden! Some of you can recall the ministry of the ardent and energetic Bishop Chase; and perhaps you now remember that wintry afternoon, when [11/12] he preached his farewell sermon, while the snow was beating against the windows in the plain, old wooden building where you then went up to worship. You may have seen him starting the next morning in the storm, as he went forth relinquishing the comforts and refinements of the place where, he declares, he passed the sunniest portion of his eventful life, to discharge the rough work of a pioneer of the church in what was then a western wilderness. He has left his mark in the region whither he went, and Kenyon and Jubilee Colleges will stand as the monuments of his pious toil for many generations.
A larger number of you were familiar with the services of the courteous and eloquent Bishop Wainwright, who here commenced that life of Christian zeal, which grew brighter and brighter to the closing hour, when his sun passed so beautifully and resplendently below the horizon.
Another prelate still lives, whose whole ministerial life was passed with you, until the time came, when the imperative call of one of our eastern dioceses obliged him to sunder a tie, which for years had bound him to you, and you to him by the strongest cords of Christian love. I well know that Bishop Burgess keeps his hold upon your hearts, and when from time to time he comes amongst you, and sits down by your fire-sides, as he was wont to do of old, you feel as if a brother or a father had come home to visit you, and the parlor seems more radiant and holy for his presence.
And others linger near you, who once stood in this pulpit, and before this altar broke to you the bread of life. One of your former pastors, still in full vigor of body and mind, is often seen within this chancel, [12/13] always ready to render those services which are so acceptable to you all, and retaining the same interest in this church which once made him so useful as your Rector. "If you would see his monument, look around you:" for he was the Architect of the beautiful temple, in which he fashioned your souls for heaven.
And, thank God, there also yet abides with us, going in and out as one of the congregation, the revered and beloved Presiding Bishop of the Church, who for a season ministered to you in holy things. I can not express in this place and at this time, all that is in my heart, of personal gratitude and filial affection toward him. Neither can I hope to utter all that I know you would have me say in your own behalf. I can only pray to God, that the church may long continue to be blessed with his wise counsels, and with the example of his blameless life; and that he may pass by gentle stages up to that seat which is reserved for him in the mansions of eternal rest.
Amongst those whose removal from earth we have recently had cause to mourn, there are two names so identified with the welfare of this parish that there is a manifest propriety in making mention of them on the present occasion. You already know that I have in mind Cyprian Nichols and Charles Sigourney. Both of them were for a long period most useful and active officers of the church; both lived to fill up the full measure of their days with an unsullied reputation; both were men whom the whole community delighted to honor; and I doubt not that they are now glorifying God together in the nobler services of the celestial city. I can seem to see their venerable forms moving up these aisles, and to hear their familiar [13/14] voices joining in the response of prayer and praise. But they will enter no more with us into the earthly court; God grant that we may be prepared to meet them in a holier temple on high! There are a few yet lingering with us, to whom this church has been a home, ever since these walls were consecrated to the service of Jehovah. And now the evening twilight begins to gather about you, your sun has touched the western horizon, the labor of a weary day is over, and the night cometh. I trust that as the shadows deepen, and the busy sounds of earth grow faint and feeble, you can see in the heavens that bright star, which is the token of a more glorious and an eternal day. I trust that, whenever the Master calleth for you, you can answer with a cheerful voice, "I am ready to be offered, I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith."
During the last four years, sixty-five of our number have been removed to the land of spirits. Amongst these, one has passed from us within a few days, whose death must seem to many of you as though one of your own household circle had been taken away. Who ever heard a word of reproach cast upon the name of Dr. George Sumner? Who ever heard of his making a man his enemy? Who ever heard him utter an unkind thought or insinuate an uncharitable judgment? Was there ever a gentler hand laid upon the throbbing brow, or a kindlier tone heard in the chamber of sickness? How often, when your heartstrings have ached with agony, as you watched by the bed-side of one whose love was your life, have you felt the pressure loosen about your soul, at the sound of his placid voice, inspiring you with courage, and cheering you with hope! How often have you felt [14/15] his sympathetic presence to be "medicine to the mind diseased!" And when the skill of man could do no more, when it was too clearly evident that the loved one must pass away to the home of the angels, can you ever forget that low, tremulous, hesitating tone in which he whispered to you, that you must be prepared to give back the precious one to God! 0, it was a. dreary hour, when you heard him close the door, and knew too well that he deemed it useless to return again. And now he has gone to join a larger circle of friends in the bright realms above, than he has left on earth below; and while they are welcoming his reunion with them, does it become us to bid him farewell only with sighs and tears? His work here was done, and well done; why should we wish to detain him from his rest? Christ has a nobler service for him in a nobler field.
An hour like this, brethren, reopens many wounds, which the hand of time had begun to heal. As I cast my eye down the Parish Records, I read there the names of your fathers and mothers,--some of them marked as buried long ago, and others as it were but yesterday. In each individual case, it is a very brief entry,--a date, a name, and the age,--that is all; but then how much may be suggested by these few words! How many joyous recollections of childhood,--what thoughts of a mother's tender care, or of a father's anxious solicitude,--what thoughts of Sabbath evening hymns, of nursery rhymes and tales, of school-days with their pains and pleasures,--of the gradual passing from childhood into youth, from youth to maturity,--of the whitening locks of the parent, grown old, we hardly know when or how,--of the weakness and decay, slowly shattering the form that [15/16] was so strong when we were feeble,--and finally, of the gentle passage of the spirit away from the worn-out tabernacle, upward to its immortal home! But I also find upon this record the names of others, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, who were taken from you, in the very bloom and vigor of their days,--some, whose sun had not fairly reached its meridian. Very precious is the memory of many of these departed friends, and sorely do we miss them still in the household, in the walks of charity, and in the church of God; when they left us, we would have coined our blood to have redeemed them from the grave, and we went sorrowing as those who had no comforter; but we have now, I trust, learned to feel that in these, as in all His dispensations, God hath done all things well. It is possible that they may do more for us, now they are gone, by moving upon our souls with holy influences, checking our waywardness, and inspiring us with noble aims, than they could have done, if they had been spared longer to us in the flesh. And whatever we have lost on earth, is so much added to our store in heaven. It will be all the easier for us to leave the world, whenever our summons comes, now that these cords are broken. And, on this Parish Record, I also find our children's names,--little flowers, reaped for the granary of the Lord, transplanted into the gardens of Paradise,some of them, before the bud had opened a single leaf on earth, and others, just as the rose was breaking into full bloom. They lived to fill no space on earth,--they just opened their eyes upon these mortal scenes,--perhaps they had begun to prepare themselves a little for the work which seemed to lay before them; but they never entered upon that work, an [16/17] early frost came, which they had not strength to endure, and the tender stalk bent and broke. Others have well-nigh forgotten that child; it left no mark that should cause it to be widely remembered; but it was your child, and it is your child still, and it keeps its own little place in the sanctuary of your heart as truly its own, as when, years ago, it nestled in your lap, and slept with its soft cheek upon your shoulder. It has never died to you, it never will die: you have still the sense of its spiritual presence, and it spiritualizes your soul; you have learned to be thankful that your impassioned prayers did not bar it out of heaven; and it is more grateful to you, now that the shadows of life are beginning to fall eastward, to think that your child will be waiting for you on the door-way of Paradise, than to feel that when you go hence, you must leave him behind in this world of sorrow and sin.
"Thus ever in the steps of grief,
Are sown the precious seeds of joy;
Each fount of Marah hath a leaf,
Whose healing balm we may employ.
Then, 'mid life's fitful, fleeting day,
Look up! the sky is bright above!
Kind voices cheer thee on thy way!
Faint spirit! trust the God of Love!"
"I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord: Yea, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors, and their works do follow them."
"Night dews fall not more calmly on the ground,
Nor weary, worn-out winds expire so soft."
Before I close, you must allow me to express my warmest thanks for the kindness and consideration, [17/18] which I have uniformly received at your hands. You have permitted me to utter, whatever my conscience has prompted me to say, without, so far as my knowledge extends, one word of captious criticism. You have borne very patiently with all my infirmities; and I have the great satisfaction of feeling that I shall leave this parish, with no shadow of coldness or distrust lying between me and any one of you.
May the present unity and harmony of the congregation continue through all coming time! May this church ever be a living centre of holy influences: a light, radiating the rich blessing of the gospel of peace over this whole community! To multitudes of souls, may this temple be as the very gate of heaven! May the simple truth as it is in Jesus be proclaimed here in all its glorious fullness! May that truth be truly received and truly followed, to the breaking down of the strong holds of sin, Satan, and death! As far as possible, may you live peaceably with all men! May you be a peculiar people, zealous of good works! May the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus!
And may I not ask, in behalf of my successor, whoever he may be, that you will receive him with the same cordiality that has made my ministry here so grateful and pleasant. Will you be as charitable in your judgment of him, and allow him the same freedom of utterance? Remember that every one has his own peculiar modes of action, that his thoughts must run in the grooves which they channel out for themselves; and that he must be himself, and not the mere imitator of another, in order to succeed in any real work. So that he only preach the truth, [18/19] and preach it sincerely, out of a full heart,--do not be over critical as to the garb in which he clothes his words. Hold up his hands, when the battle with sin and error waxes hot; and hold them up with prayer.
And remember also in general, that the secret of unity is agreement in essentials, mutual liberty to differ in non-essentials. If every one looks to have his own way in all things, none can be suited. Let the young be considerate of the feelings of the aged; and let the aged allow for the impulses of the young. Do not expect or desire to stand still, while all the world is moving around you; and on the other hand, do not rush blindly with the multitude into every new path that opens before you. Be at once bold and prudent.
And never allow yourselves to be satisfied with a mere outward prosperity; for, even in the church, that prosperity may become a snare. You may lengthen your walls and strengthen your stakes; and still God not be glorified in you. You may be zealous; without being wise unto salvation. The church is strong, when her individual members are strengthened with might by God's Spirit.
Some of you, who are most constant in attendance upon the courts of the Lord, have never yet entered into the inner sanctuary, where you might see your God face to face, and through the great Mediator, be reconciled to Him. You have looked upon the cross afar off, you have revered the solemn sacrifice offered there, you have often veiled your eyes before the awful splendor that encircles Calvary, your understanding fully acknowledges the glory of the gospel; but you have never gone to Jesus in penitence and [19/20] faith, and asked to share the cross with Him. You have not yet put yourselves under His control, making His life the law of your life, identifying yourselves in all things with His cause, and willing to be crucified with Him, if so be you may also be glorified with Him.
May I ask, if, believing what you do of Christ, and allowing the debt of gratitude which you owe to Him, you do not also feel that it is incumbent upon you to consecrate to His blessed service, the best and strongest energies with which God has endowed you? And if so, why will you wait, till old age or sickness has paralyzed your arm,--why will you wait, till you have drunk your fill of the world's contaminated pleasures, and reaped every sheaf which her fields can bear,--meaning when the earthly harvest is all garnered, and the dreary days of winter draw near, and there is nothing else to occupy you, and nothing else to hope for, to turn your thoughts heavenward! Is this dealing justly with God? Is it dealing wisely with yourself? Do you forget that every seed, which you sow along the pathway of life, from childhood to the grave, will germinate and bring forth fruit, bitter or sweet, and that you must eat the fruit of your own devices, after you have passed from this stage of discipline, on to the goal of recompense? Do you forget, that the very vibration which you give the chord of destiny to-day, will be heard sounding in a mournful or a joyous key, far down the track of eternity? As then you value your salvation, whatever your hand finds to do for God and the truth, do it instantly, and do it with all your might! The time is very short, and great issues are at stake.
 "Up! 'tis no dreaming time! Awake! Awake!
For He who sits on the high Judge's seat,
Doth in His record mark each wasted hour,
Each idle word. Take heed thy shrinking soul
Find not their weight too heavy, when it stands
At that dread bar from which is no appeal.
Lo, while you trifle, the light sand steals on,
Leaving the hour-glass empty, and thy life
Glideth away;--stamp wisdom on its hours."
I have lingered long, and touched on various themes, because I would defer the moment when I must go down from this pulpit, to enter it no more but as a visitor--I will not say, a stranger. The very walls of the building where we have so often prayed together, where our minds and hearts have gone up in hallowed unison to heaven, where we have welcomed the new-born immortal to the fold of Jesus at the baptismal font, where we have knelt at the altar and taken the eucharistic bread in memory of the bleeding Lamb, and where we have sung the funeral anthem over the cold remains of our fathers, our brethren, and our children,--these very walls seem to press upon us, as though they would not let us leave them. The tones of the old bell, which morning and evening, have summoned us to prayer, hold us with a reproachful spell, and ring out a sad farewell. The graves of the dead bind the living together, and seem to whisper to us, "Abide in your place, till you are called to join us here."
We listen tenderly to these voices, and gladly would we yield to their entreaty, but different paths are marked out for us, and we must follow, where our Master leads the way. These paths may, for a season, diverge more and more widely, so that it would seem as though we must be separated finally and [21/22] forever; but, as we draw near the end of our pilgrimage, they will begin to come nearer and nearer again, if we have only heaven's gate in view. Our earthly wanderings over, we will meet once more at the golden door of the celestial city. Then we will resume our songs of praise, closer to the throne than we can get in these earthly courts. And in the celestial strain, there shall be heard again familiar voices, that are silent now. We shall find our dead again, clothed with immortality.
"There smiles the mother we have wept! there bloom
Again the buds asleep within the tomb;
There o'er bright gates, inscribed 'No more to part,'
Soul springs to soul, and heart unites to heart! "
"And now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
"O God, Sanctifier of the Faithful, visit, we pray thee, this Congregation with thy love and favor; enlighten their minds more and more with the light of the everlasting Gospel; graft in their hearts a love of the truth; increase in them true religion; nourish them with all goodness; and of thy great mercy, keep them in the same forever.
"Give thy grace, we beseech thee to thy servant, to whom the charge of this congregation may hereafter be committed; and so replenish him with the truth of thy doctrine and endue him with innocency of life, that he may faithfully serve before Thee, to the glory of thy great name, and the benefit of Thy holy Church.
"O Almighty God, who hast knit together Thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow Thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may all come to those unspeakable joys, which Thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."