AND THEY WENT OUT, AND PREACHED THAT MEN SHOULD REPENT.
St. Mark. Chap. vi. 12.
OUR holy religion, the gospel of Jesus Christ, is, in its nature and design, diffusive and progressive. Unlike the dispensation which preceded it, it is not confined to .one nation, and one country, hut embraces, in its merciful purpose, all nations and countries, and tongues, and people. It is the revelation of grace, mercy, and peace from God to universal man. The field is the world.
The gospel, thus universally comprehensive in its gracious purpose, contains within itself the motive and the instrumental means of diffusion and progress, in the great practical principle, which the Church commends to our especial attention, to day, charity, "without which," as we are taught, "all our doings are nothing worth." This "most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues; without which, whosoever liveth is counted dead before God;" is the prompting motive of that missionary enterprise, which aims to meet and accomplish the merciful design of our Father and our Redeemer," in the propagation of "the gospel of his grace;" and this, in its practical exercise, is the reliance of the Church, in carrying into effect this all important part of her mission, received from her glorious Head. "Freely ye have received; freely give." "As every man hath received the gift, even so [5/6] minister the same, one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." "Do ye not know, that they who minister about holy things, live of the sacrifice? and they who wait at the altar, are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they who preach the gospel, should live of the gospel." Such is the law of our spiritual life relative to the diffusion of the light, and truth, and spiritual privileges we possess, among those who possess them not, or possess them as is the case in many parts of this Christian land, imperfectly and insecurely. And thus it is, in obedience of this law, that, whilst the actual work is to be done, and is done, by that" ministry of reconciliation," to whom it is specially committed by Divine appointment, all the members of Christ's visible body on the earth, the Church, may, and, according to their several ability and opportunity, are bound to participate in the work, meet their obvious and baptismal responsibility, practically exercise the charity which is binding equally on all, and be instrumental in fulfilling the great and glorious end of the "dispensation of grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ," under which, and in the enjoyment of which, they are privileged to live.
It was in dependence upon such practical charity, my brethren, that the "twelve" were sent out at first by our blessed Lord, "by two and two;" as we have read in the second lesson this morning. He "commanded that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: but be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. And he said unto them, in what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet, for a testimony against them. Verily, I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.
They to whom "the twelve" were sent to minister,--may we not infer?--were expected to sustain them in their mission, and contribute to their maintenance and support; and thus discharge their share of the common obligation to diffuse the spiritual blessings they themselves received and possessed. Thus was shadowed forth, at the first, the great motive and means of propagating the gospel, in the practical exercise of the Christian law of love, the grace of mutual active charity. The circumstances, indeed, were different from what they afterwards became, when the gospel, embodied in the ministry, worship, and ordinances of the Church, was established in the world; and widely different from what they are now, and with us. But the principle was the same, and has been, and ever will be the same. The recipients of the grace of God were expected to sustain the messengers of that grace, in their work of faith and labor of love; in their discharge of the commission of their Lord and Master; in their efforts to preach "the gospel of the kingdom," and bring men into the visible fold of Christ. In this expectation and dependence, counting on the practical charity of those to whom they bore the glad tidings, and the gracious offer of salvation, and the "words of eternal life," it was, that "the twelve," on the occasion mentioned in the context, "went out," as the text records, "and preached that men should repent." And in like expectation and dependence, it was, that they subsequently pursued their high and holy enterprize, and acted on their final commission with promise, from the great Head of the Church, "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Thus it was that they wrought that wonderful moral revolution, which prostrated idolatry in its strong holds, and Judaism entrenched in its selfish exclusiveness and indomitable pride, and [7/8] brought Gentiles and Jews in countless thousands, as humble suppliants to the cross of Christ, and on the ruins of the religious systems of both, built up the universal church of God, claiming in behalf of its. Divine Head, "the heathen for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession." Acting on the great distinguishing principle of the gospel, the grace of charity, as a motive to their arduous work, enjoining its exercise on all the converts to the Truth, in the command, "let him that it is taught in the word minister unto him that teacheth, in all good things," and depending on its practical manifestation by the followers of Christ, to sustain them on their mission, the Apostles of our Lord went forth, as messengers of the Divine mercy, lifting up the Lord of life and glory as an "ensign to the people, and the hope of all the ends of the earth." "They went out, and preached that men should repent." Waving an examination of the subject matter of the Apostle's preaching, and the many things, of doctrine and precept, comprehended in the term "repent," which is foreign to my present purpose; I would, in the farther prosecution of this discourse, direct your attention to the progress and results of the preaching of the original heralds of the cross, and apply the actuating principle of their mission, as I have already briefly hinted at, to the object which I desire to commend to your favorable and charitable consideration, this morning, the Missionary Enterprise of that branch of the Church Catholic to which we belong, in what is called the Domestic field, and the necessities and claims of the laborious and faithful missionaries employed in its care and culture.
"They went out, and preached that men should repent." And with what results? Results, my brethren, at the time, most encouraging, and bright in promise and hope; and subsequently, considering the feebleness of the efforts, contrasted with the immensity and difficulties of the work, wonderful; clearly indicating the wisdom and power of God, in direction, [8/9] control and furtherance of the glorious enterprise. The ministry of the Apostles at the outset, before they had received their full and final commission, and were especially endowed with "power from on high," in the miraculous outpouring of the promised Comforter upon them on the day of Pentecost, produced the germination of that "grain of mustard seed," and the beginning of the working of that "hidden leaven," to which our Lord compared the progress and expansion of his kingdom visible on the earth, and the secret, but sure and permanent influence of his religion over the minds and in the hearts of men! And when the time came for the full exercise of their ministry, and "beginning at Jerusalem," they went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming their words with signs following," then, the germinating "seed" rapidly developed itself into the stately tree, firmly rooting itself in the ground, and putting forth great branches far and wide, and the "leaven" silently but surely diffused itself, speedily leavening the whole mass.
Thus, my brethren, did our holy faith extend itself at the first, has continued to extend itself ever since, and will go on extending itself until "all the kingdoms of this world shall have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ." It is the revealed purpose of God, his sure promise, his appointed way, and he will bring it to pass. Man may doubt, man may refuse or neglect to aid, man may oppose, but the glorious work will go on, until from one end of the earth to the other is heard the loud, exulting shout, "Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ," Hallelujah! the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
The two comparisons of the kingdom of God, alluded to, may be regarded as predictions of our blessed Lord, of the progress and extension of his spiritual dominion, predictions fulfilled, fulfilling, and to be fulfilled unto the consummation of all things. And affording, as they do, a beautiful and impressive illustration of the nature and operation of the instrumental means of [9/10] propagating the faith, and building up his Church, which he himself has ordained as perpetual means for the accomplishment of that glorious end,--"the ministry of reconciliation"--and thus showing the good we may hope to do, by the exercise of our practical charity in sustaining this instrumental means, within the sphere which Divine Providence is opening to us in our vast and widely extending empire, deserve to be considered a little more in detail. This more detailed consideration is important also, from its exhibition of the results of this agency of Divine appointment, and the incidental, and for that reason, the stronger evidence, which these results afford, of the Divine origin of the religion of the Cross, of the necessary interposition of God in the work, and of his manifold presence with and blessing on the labors of the original "twelve" and their associates in the inferior grades of the ministry, and their successors in office with their coadjutors, without which, at first and afterwards, the glorious enterprise must have come to nought.
The propagation of the gospel, embodied in the ministry worship and ordinances of the visible Church of the Redeemer, was a work of small beginning; and, to the eye of man, of exceedingly feeble promise and hope. Our holy religion at the start, was truly and emphatically "the least of all seeds;"--the most inconsiderable of all the religious systems then subsisting in the world. It was an enterprise of fearful odds, so to speak. It was the religion of one known and almost universally regarded as a crucified malefactor in conflict with the apparently invincible array of "principalities, and powers, and rulers of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places." It was a seemingly hopeless attempt, which the Christian law of love, learned from their Divine Master, and accompanied by his command, devolved upon the apostles, and other original heralds of the Cross--hopeless relatively to them as instrumental agents, "poor fishermen of Galilee," as they were known to be, men without wealth, influence, and power of the earth, [10/11] earthly; and especially hopeless from their recognition as the followers, the supposed deluded followers, of a man whose professed mission had apparently terminated in an ignominious death. It was an attempt, moreover, to overturn systems deeply rooted in the universal mind and habits of the world, entrenched behind the strong bulwarks of pride, and prejudice, and sensuality, and sin. The "seed was the least of all seeds," truly, and every thing seemed to forbid its development and expansion. On the eventful day of Pentecost, when the effort to cause it to spring forth was first made, all the number of the names of the disciples together," we read, "were about one hundred and twenty." They were a "little flock,"--and though the promise was, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom;" there seemed but faint prospect of the promise being soon fulfilled,--for that little flock was opposed by a world at enmity, buckling on its armor for relentless and destructive war. It was a mere "grain of mustard seed." But feeling then the mighty vivifying power of God, it put forth its shoots numerously and vigorously, advanced rapidly towards maturity, and rose into greatness and strength; so that ere those who first planted and nourished the seed were taken away from its culture, it had spread its branches into all lands, "so mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." And ever since, and now, "by the exertion of its own vigorous principle of vitality," the practical charity of Christians, it has become a mighty overshadowing tree, and "all the creatures of those lands who did fly from religion to religion, and from philosopher to philosopher, and, like the dove which was sent forth from the ark of Noah, could find no place of certainty for their souls to rest in, save the Church which the Almighty had built, have now come and lodged their weakness in the branches thereof, and are sheltered by its shade from all the storms of ungodliness." The truth of the comparison is already seen, and has been visible now for more than [11/12] eighteen hundred years, and as a prediction, it has received and is receiving its accomplishment daily. And when those latter days shall come, to which the splendid imagery of the ancient prophets point as the consummation of the visions of glory, concerning Christ and his kingdom, which they foresaw and foretold, Christianity shall, in its full and final triumph, become the "greatest among" religions, the sole, all pervading, universal faith, the one glorious and inspiring hope of intelligent, accountable, and immortal man.
Equally graphic as an illustration of the growth and progress of the religion of the cross, is the other comparison of "the leaven which was hidden in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened;" and as a prediction it has ever received, and is now receiving, a signal fulfilment daily. It sets forth with great accuracy and force, the silent but sure diffusion of the faith, through the instrumentality of Christ's own appointment, the personal ministry of the Apostles, and of those who have succeeded them as the accredited "ambassadors for Christ, ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God," sustained, according to the appointment of their Master, by the practical charity of those to whom "they minister in all good things." It exhibits the power of moral suasion in combination with the working of the indwelling Spirit of promise. It shows how noislessly, how unostentatiously, yet how surely and efficiently, Christianity made its way into the hearts of men; and how effectually, as a "still small voice," it "preached that men should repent." "What words, indeed," as has been well and eloquently observed, "could more accurately detail the nature and the mode of the gospel's operation and influence? It came not forth, like Mahometism, with the strength of armies, and the sword of victory, and the noise of the trumpet, and the pomps, and vanities, and splendors of royalty. It was so hidden at first, that in its earliest infancy we discover but few traces of its progress in the general history of the world. Its [12/13] name is unknown, its nature misrepresented; but it soon begins gradually to develope its energies upon individuals and things. It creeps into houses and palaces; into cities and provinces. Kingdom after kingdom is leavened by its healing juices, until at last it seats itself upon the throne of Constantine. Barbarians invade the empire, and are vanquished and leavened by the religion of the subject land. A new world is discovered beyond the limits of the ocean; and thither, too, Christianity makes its way with the spirit of adventure, and leavens the people of an unknown shore. And there shall be a day--for, from experience of the past, we have solid hope of the future--when not a clime or nation shall be untouched, uninfluenced, unleavened by its power.
And the comparison holds good, not only in relation to the instrumental agency of propagating the gospel, but also, and especially in relation to its gradual progress, and ita adapting and assimilating nature and operation. Its purpose is conservative, and so have ever been its efforts. It is and ever has been, truly and emphatically, an adapting and assimilating religion. "It has not risen," observes the author just quoted, "upon the ruins of political institutions, and ancient manners, and national character, subverting every thing established to make way for some peculiar form of civil society or government, under which alone it can exist. But it has mingled itself with what it found, and insinuating its renovated views of God and man into the hearts of those with whom it has come in contact, has given new color to their laws, and softened their nature, and improved their genius. The Koran has everywhere banished liberty and literature from the heads and hearts of its victims, and changed the person of the-governor, and the nature of the government; but the Gospel has united itself with both, and encouraged, improved, and extended their blessings. It has been the established religion of consuls and emperors, as well as kings [13/14] in other countries, and of a Cromwell as well as a Charles in our own, (England.) Change a monarchy into a republic, as in America; (this country) change a republic into a monarchy, as in the states of Italy; divide a whole land amongst its spoilers, as in Poland; and still Christianity remains the authorized religion of the state, and the only religion of the people. It can leaven any form of government, and subsist under all." Yes, without in any respect compromising its integrity as a revelation from God, it adapts itself to all the varied governments of men; and all it improves, subserves, and sustains. Having its origin in God, coming down from heaven freighted with spiritual blessings, and manifesting itself to be the wisdom and power of God, it waits in all readiness of subjection and active instrumentality, on God's providential ordering of states and kingdoms, lending its helping hand in conservation of the changes He brings to pass in the circumstances and affairs of the nations of the earth. It assimilates itself with every form of social organization, adapts itself to every phase and mutation of earthly governments, and throws around each political fabric that recognizes, honors, and protects it, a rampart of adamantine strength. Yet, in doing this, it parts with none of its intrinsic purity and influence, "keeps itself unspotted from the world," in itself and in its authority is extraneous to all governments, and is, in all respects, as its Divine Author pronounced--"a kingdom not of this world."
"They went out, and preached that men should repent."
That, my brethren, was the work, and its gracious, compassionate, and hallowed purpose, committed to the immediate ministers of Christ, by their Divine Master; and we have seen, in a brief and general glance, its glorious results. And it is by the same efficient agency, the personal instruction and services of the "ministry of reconciliation," preaching the same comprehensive doctrine of repentance, and aiming, in the same [14/15] spirit of expansive charity, to turn those to God, who, in ignorance or blindness, in carelessness or wilfulness, are wanderers from him, "living without hope and without God in the world," and bring them into the only ark of safety and hope, the only pasture of true spiritual nurture and sustenance, that the gospel is, by God's appointment, still to be promulgated, and his Church established, and sustained. And the ministry of the living teacher, this personal appeal to the hearts and consciences of men, this nourishing the sheep as they are gathered into the field, with the word, and worship, and sacraments of the gospel--it is God's will and God's appointment--is to be supported and extended, directly or indirectly, by the exercise of the practical charity of those who are ministered unto, of those who are taught. And it is to endeavor to move you, my brethren, to the exercise of this practical charity, as God hath blessed you, and given you ability to contribute, in sustaining the faithful missionaries who are laboring, amid many privations, in what is called the Domestic field of our Church, that I appeal to you this morning.
There are now in the employ of the Church, ministering in the Domestic Field, embracing the Western, North-western, Southwestern, and remote Southern States, something like one hundred missionaries; and last week, a missionary sailed for California--now, though so far off, a portion of the same field,--and others are preparing to follow, to introduce there, amid the worldliness, and wickedness, and social disorganization, which is said to prevail in that newly acquired territory, the good "leaven" of the gospel, and impart to the crowds of adventurers more precious treasure than "the gold that perisheth." There is already in the same department of our missions, a flourishing mission in Wisconsin, among the Indians of the Oneida tribe; and applications have been made to extend the ministrations of the Church to the Chickasaws and other tribes, on the western border of Arkansas, which is [15/16] deferred solely from the want of funds. The same cause has, I believe, prevented the extension of our services to the miners who have been accustomed to them, on the southern shore of Lake Superior, whence so much wealth is now derived by many of our citizens here, and in other parts of the country,
The field is vast, and every where is "white unto the harvest." But "the laborers are few," because the limited support, the mere pittance they expect, and without which they cannot labor, is wanting, is not forth coming. They are willing to live and labor on very little, but they cannot live and labor on nothing. Men are not wanting, zealous, devoted, intelligent, and efficient men; but they need and must have, food and raiment, and shelter. And for these indispensable things, the stipend which those who are already in the field receive at the farthest when it is paid with regularity, which of late it has not been, from a sad deficiency of practical charity among those who are justly counted on to contribute, is barely sufficient. They are accustomed to hardships, and privations, and discomforts; they counted on these before they entered on their work; but they cannot well endure starvation, or what is next to it. Many, if not most of them, have families, and they, too, must eat and drink, and be clothed. And the salaries paid to each--when it is paid--with the most rigid economy, and much and rigorous self-denial, barely suffices for this under ordinary circumstances. What must it be, then, when disease intrudes and claims them for its victims--and lays the father, or the mother, or the children--and sometimes all at once--on a bed of sickness, perhaps for weeks and months together? This is not at all of unfrequent occurence; nay, in some parts of our new settlements, it is of annual occurrence. I have witnessed such scenes myself; I have heard of others. One of the kind fell under my observation a few years ago, on the Upper Mississippi, which made an impression which will not be readily effaced, so deeply pained was I at the distress and [16/17] anguish of my sick and suffering brother, as he lay in a close, contracted apartment, amid discomforts and privations, which to me seemed almost unendurable. I witnessed another case on the Lower Ohio. The sufferer, barely convalescent from a protracted illness, in his anxiety about his work and his flock, was preparing to go to church and officiate, when, in one of my occasional wanderings, I providentially arrived, knowing nothing of his indisposition, and relieved him from a duty, in which, had he attempted it, in his then feebleness, he must inevitably have failed. From some appearances I conjectured that his family was not well provided with the necessaries of life, and on inquiring I found my conjecture was right. He made no complaint in words. He asked no relief. But in the course of conversation, the truth came out, that his funds were exhausted, and he had barely money enough to provide food for a day or two more. I counselled him to trust in Providence, who often, in an unexpected way, supplied our wants. On my return to the steam boat, I mentioned the case to some of my fellow travellers--some of you, my brethren, were among them--who generously contributed, and enabled me, through a clerical friend, to prove to my poor afflicted brother, that Providence was as good, as unexpectedly good, as I had suggested for his comfort and encouragement, on taking my leave of him. Other cases, I have said, I have heard of. Yes, brethren, frequently I hear of them, and that too, at times, in the way of personal applications for assistance. And I cannot hear of them in any way without pain; without having my tenderest pity excited; without wishing myself the man of wealth I am not, and never expect to be. I cannot but feel for my suffering brethren, whose necessities, whose privations, I know, and to whose fidelity and efficiency in their "work of faith and labor of love," I am free to testify. And this must be my excuse for any undue urgency, with which I may seem to press their claims on your attention, and appeal to you for aid.
 The work, my brethren, is the work of God. It must be done, for it is His command. It must be done by the agency of the living teacher, in personal ministrations, for that is His appointment. The laborers are in the field, zealously engaged in their work, but they need, and they are "worthy of their hire." Others are ready, and prepared to enter on the work; but they cannot work without wages. Where are these to come from? From you, and such as you, who possess in all their fulness and abundance the spiritual privileges, which they to whom our missionaries minister, imperfectly or insecurely possess, or are altogether deprived of. From you, and such as you, who, through the bounty of a beneficent Providence, have the ability to aid in the glorious enterprize, and whom the Christian law of love obliges, and I trust will induce, to give liberally, as God hath blessed you, of your competence or your abundance. The cause is the cause of God. The necessities you are asked to meet and satisfy, are real and urgent. They appeal to sensibilities, which I should be loath for a moment to suppose you did not possess. Having the ability to respond to this appeal, will you refuse? Will you with affected sympathy, and in soft and silvery accents, pity the distress in words, and yet, in a spirit of selfishness, worldliness, avariciousness, or cold neglect, harshly repel it in deed? Will you tantalize these suppliants with professions of interest and commisseration, contenting yourselves with saying--"Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body?" Will you lavish your money--your possession, but God's gift, remember!--will you lavish this, on your persons, your dress, your houses, your equipage, your pleasures, your amusements, on mere superfluities and luxuries, on things which perish in the using, and withhold it, or impart it reluctantly, sparingly, parsimoniously, in promoting the glory of God, the cause of religion and the Church, and the spiritual good of your destitute, suffering brethren?
 But why do I ask these questions? You know your duty in the premises, and you are too deeply imbued with the spirit of charity and kindness, I trust, to refuse or evade its full discharge. Believing this to be your disposition, and knowing your ability, I leave the matter to your decision anticipating--may I not?--a favorable response, an answer which will gladden many a sorrowing, fainting, depressed heart, and stimulate to renewed zeal and perseverance many a discouraged, anxious laborer in the vineyard of the Lord.
Yes, I leave the matter to your decision, in the hope and trust that you will so decide as to acquit your consciences in the sight of God, and do credit to yourselves as a Christian congregation; that you will weigh well your ability, and your correspondent responsibility; that if in the estimate of this ability, severally, any of you should err, the error will be on the side of charity and mercy; and that should you, in your present contribution, somewhat exceed your means, and your strict duty, the mistake will neither impoverish nor embarass you, will neither drain your cup of blessings, nor materially abridge your temporal comforts. May God, with whom are the hearts and affections of men, dispose you to devise and render to his cause, liberal things; "pour into your hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues," and induce its abundant practical exercise; and for your bounty bestowed to day, return to each bosom that blessing "which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow." AMEN.
THE following letter, addressed to the children of our Sunday School, by the Rev. James L. Breck, the superintendant of the missionary seminary at Nashotah, Wisconsin, was, in compliance with the request of its author, read to them by your Rector. It contains a brief account of the origin and progress of that successful missionary enterprise of our Church, which, its author, with two associates, commenced in 1841, in what was then literally a wilderness; and to which, for a considerable portion of the time almost single-handed, he has continued to devote himself with untiring zeal and assiduity, ever since After reading the letter, a wish was expressed that it should be printed and circulated among the congregation, with a view to give more extended publicity to its interesting details, and thus promote the object of its author in this simple, truthful and affecting appeal to our sympathy and liberality. The letter is printed in accordance with this request; and in the hope of deepening your interest in this "school of the prophets," and in the missionary enterprise connected therewith, a brief statement of the present condition, and urgent necessities of this particular mission, is appended, derived from information received from Mr. Breck, and from the report of the diocese of Wisconsin, in the Journal of the General Convention of 1847. From these sources will be perceived, not only the admirable practical working of the [21/22] plan devised and so perseveringly pursued by this faithful missionary, in ministerial labor among the emigrants who have crowded into Wisconsin, during eight years past, but also the value and importance of this missionary seminary, and. the great and salutary influence it has exerted, and if sustained, as it deserves, by the liberality of churchmen in the older settlements of the country, it promises to continue to exert, in the successful cultivation of that distant portion of our domestic missionary field.
A LETTER TO THE CHILDREN OF THE SUNDAY SCHOOL OF TRINITY CHURCH, PITTSBURGH.
Nashotah, Wisconsin, Dec. 1848.
MY DEAR CHILDREN:
I wish to impart to you some information concerning the missionary life in this far off west. We entered upon our labors in this region of country, in 1841, which was then a wilderness. Our mode of life necessarily conformed, in many particulars, to that of the settlers among whom we were cast. Let me ask you to go back with me to the year that we came to Wisconsin. At that time we had no regularly laid out roads. In all our journeys we had to follow the settler's circuitous tracks, or the deeply trodden Indian trail. Fences were unknown, except around the log-cabin, and those were often made of brush wood, rudely strewn together. Streams to be crossed, had to be forded. And instead of the domestic bark of the dog, our ears were then entertained with the howlings of the wolf, or the gobbling of the sand-hill crane, or, when approaching the shores of our beautiful lakes, with the shrill shriek of the loon. In the Autumn or in the Spring, when our pathway lay across the prairies, or through the oak-openings, not unfrequently we had to encounter the Indian fires, which travelled with remarkable rapidity, the length and breadth of the whole country. These fires have not yet left us, and often damage the labors of the husbandman; burning up stacks of grain and hay, and thousands of rails as they are built in fences.
In 1841, there were but few settlers back of the Lake towns, [22/23] and those few were grouped together here and there, for mutual preservation and advantage. These people had come to the West to benefit themselves and their children in temporal possessions. Spiritual advantages had not entered their minds, when bidding farewell to the scenes of childhood. Nevertheless, I can truly say to you, my children, that the missionary of the cross of Christ is no unwelcome guest at their firesides. The huge blazing log fire has room enough about it to afford a place for the messenger of "peace and good-will." Warmth comes to him, not from the fire alone, but from the hearts of the woodsman and the woodsman's wife; and their children, in affectionate confidence, climb up upon his knees, and all listen with interest to his words. I have experienced this, dear children, a thousand times, and each time it has been a reward, full of happiness, for all my labors. After walking the entire day, the happy group of the evening always made me forget the toil of so many hours spent amidst the lonely woods, or the yet more lonely prairie. I had always two valuable companions to guide me through unfrequented parts; these were the pocket compass, and the pocket Prayer Book. Had it not been for the first, the east would have often been mistaken for the west, the left hand track for the less beaten right hand. The second was a blessed companion on the way, effectually relieving the monotony undisturbed by the presence of man. The beautiful lakes, varying from two to five and seven miles in length, diversify the face of the country, and remind the Christian of those of Galilee which once bore up our Lord, indifferently, whether in the "little boat," or on foot, as upon dry land. Many sweet thoughts were suggested to my mind by these circumstances, and I soon found fitting places along the shore, beneath the overhanging trees, for the sweet anthem and prayer. These soon became the stated resting places on my journey; and I cannot tell which afforded me greater delight, to greet the retired spot, or after a short rest, rise with renewed strength in soul and body, to continue my onward way.
But, dear children, Wisconsin is no longer as it was then. The white man has come in and taken possession of all. The very land has become tamed by being subdued to the plough. The Indian trail is no longer the settlers' highway; roads, fenced in at right angles, are met with everywhere. The very wolf is forgotten along with the red man. The gentler birds have taken the place of those of prey. Instead of the thinly scattered population, the country itself has become full of people--people of all nations--English, Irish, Scotch, Welch, Swedes, Norwegians, Danes and Germans, besides others. The Americans are found everywhere, and are at the head of every enterprise; whilst the [23/24] foreigners are, for the most part, settled in communities, according to the language or national habits of each.
And herein it was, dear children, that Nashotah did so much, with God's blessing, during the first five years of its establishment. The Church was the first upon the ground in many places; and hence had, in this respect a great advantage over those which came in later to present their claims. The members of the Church rejoiced in hearing the voice of their own shepherd, and with glad hearts, followed at the bidding of Christ, through him. It was truly enthusiastic to hear the two or three of Christ's flock, responding in the midst of the crowded log-house, at the time of public service. I cannot tell you, dear children, which was most glad under these circumstances, the sheep at being found, or the shepherd at finding the sheep. But these were occasions of mutual rejoicings, and many have been the scenes which I have experienced of this nature. These were some of the rewards of the back-wood's missionary. The plain fare and its rude chamber were all in excellent keeping; and in cold winter I have often awaked in the morning, and found a coverlet of snow over me. These are called the hardships of missionary life, but, dear children, I have never yet known any hardships, if these are counted such.
The advantage of an early arrival within the Territory (now one of the States of the Union) was observant, not only upon the churchmen, but also upon the entire community, in some point or other. Many became churchmen, and all respected the Church, if for no other reason, for this--that she was the first upon the ground. Consider, dear children, with what delight, on the first Christmas that I passed in the ministry, as well as in the West, I administered holy Baptism to a father and nine children. This was at a station thirty miles from our central post. It was soon after organized into a parish, by the name of "St. John's in the Wilderness." One of the children whom I baptized on the occasion just mentioned, has been with us more than five years, preparing for the holy ministry, and is one of the most promising of our lay brothers. At length, young brethren began to gather around us as a nucleus, and finding the duties of the house increasing so fast as to incapacitate us for so much missionary work, and having established stations with some degree of permanency in various parts, we succeeded in obtaining licenses from the Bishop for lay-readers. Accordingly, we sent them forth statedly, assigning to each some particular point; and it was a most happy sight at the first ordination of Deacons that had as yet ever taken place west of the great Lakes, to behold three of the seven then ordained, becoming the pastors of [24/25] the very people, to whom, as candidates for holy orders, they had been lay-readers. One of these stations was an English settlement, at the distance of twelve miles from us, to and from which, the Rev. Mr. Armstrong, as a candidate and lay-reader, walked each week for two years and a half. He had also a Sunday School, which he statedly taught. This parish is "St. Albans," Waukesha county; and was organized by the Missionary Bishop in a room, the only structure of the settlement, at that time, sufficiently commodious to hold the congregation. Since then the parishioners have built a very neat frame church, and they contribute according to their means to support their clergyman. On the above occasion, there was present a young Englishman, that sat unobserved in the crowd, who became so much interested in the services, as shortly after to apply for admission into our brotherhood. He has since been ordained, and has succeeded in his ministerial labors much to the satisfaction of all. This was the Rev. Richard Keene, who upon graduating, took charge of entirely missionary ground in the city of Milwaukie, and is now Rector of one of the three parishes already organized there, each of which has its own distinct church edifice and rector. Another station, at which there was lay reading, lay in the heart of a thick forest to our north, and was composed of English dissenters. The lay reader sent to these people, himself an Englishman, was a man of some years and experience. His success has exceeded our most sanguine expectations. This lay reader, since his ordination, has become their pastor, and the people are building "All Saints Church," which is the title of the parish that he organized amongst them.
There are two parishes organized amongst the Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes. These foreigners came into the Territory shortly after the mission was begun, and settled within the limits of Nashotah; consequently, by means of the striking resemblances in the most important points, between their Liturgy and our own, a door of access was thereby at once opened, of which we were forward to avail ourselves; and, much to our gratification, we found they were themselves fully as ready to enter ours, opening into the American Church, as we were to enter theirs, opening into their hearts. The entire body, consisting of about two hundred communicants, soon sought admission into this branch of the Church Catholic, and at the same time petitioned that one of their number, a well educated Swede, who had hitherto acted as my interpreter, might be admitted into Nashotah, and prepare for the ministry. This was assented to by the missionary Bishop, and accordingly, he soon entered our House, and, after faithful study, was ordained, in the presence of his [25/26] countrymen, their minister. During his candidateship, he acted in the two-fold capacity of lay reader and catechist. I continued to hold services amongst them, until the ordination of their candidate, and, during that interval, was aided by him as interpreter. I can never forget the many touching services that I have participated in, with these simple minded, pious people. The Rev. Gustaff Unonius, the candidate spoken of, upon his ordination, took their entire charge until June last, when the Rev. M. F. Sorenson, another graduate of Nashotah, and a Dane, succeeded him. The Rev. Mr. Unonius is now ministering to Americans and Norwegians, in another part of the State. The two parishes that I organized amongst the Norse people, viz: the Scandinavians at Pine Lake, (Lake Pickagon in Indian) and St. Olaff's, Ashippum river, are both flourishing, and each one is building for itself a church. Soon after the settlement was begun at Pine Lake, I was officiating in a service, held especially for the purpose of baptizing a Jewess, the wife of a Swedish military officer, who had taken up his residence amongst his own people; and whilst in the midst of the service, I was very forcibly struck with the appearance of a youth of a remarkably fine countenance, which led me the next day into their settlement to search for him. Guided by God's hand, I found him, and took him, with his parents' consent, into the Church's service, and here he has been for nearly five years, a pious youth, pursuing the preparatory studies for the sacred office.
It would weary you, my dear children, to enter with further minuteness into our labors; as, for example, those amongst the Welch, and other people from Northern Europe. Here, therefore, I must close, after making a few remarks on the Indians, amongst whom another of our graduates, the Rev. F. R. Haff, has gone, purposing to devote himself for life to their spiritual good. These Red men occupy the Oneida reserve, one hundred miles to the north of us, and are for the most part christianised. They have a commodious frame church built, surmounted by a cupola that holds a bell, which, at the cost of sixty dollars, was presented by the head chief. The church service is said in their own tongue, which is the Mohawk, and nothing scarcely can exceed the beauty and the devotion of their native chants. It was here that the Rev. William Adams and myself were admitted to Priest's orders in 1842. The women retain the Indian attire, which, at the time of public worship, gives an air of great simplicity and earnestness to the service. Most especially are they devout at the celebration of the holy communion. These people are very anxious to hold those who serve at their altar in just esteem, particularly the Bishop, whom they escort into their [26/27] settlement with great joy, sometimes sixty of their warriors going forth on horseback to meet him. One of the three Indian youths, whom we received from this tribe, into our House to educate, after remaining with us four years, has returned to aid the missionary in the Indian parish school, where the Mohawk alone is taught.
You must now, my dear children, be tired, indeed, and I will close with a few remarks relative to our House, whereat those young brethren with us, who are preparing for holy orders are gathered together. This "field is white unto the harvest," and the only practicable means, whereby laborers may be furnished, is to train up young brethren upon the missionary ground itself, to do the work lying undone all about them. By your alms to Missions you are aiding in this blessed work. God Almighty has been very gracious unto us, in that He has raised us up friends to aid our weak endeavors. He has likewise sent us young brethren, of good hearts and minds, who are proving themselves, with Divine assistance, capable of receiving the true discipline of our Holy Apostolic Church. Those who have already gone forth from this Brotherhood as heralds of the Cross, have remained in the West, and are again proving themselves, through God's help, to be capable of enduring hardness for Christ. But not only have young brethren been sent to us; devoted clergymen have also been raised up to assist me in the training and education of this House. All this cometh of the Lord. And now, dear children, let me exhort you to labor diligently on the good work of missions, to which your teachers, among other things, I trust, will incline your hearts, and encourage your efforts. I was once, as you are now, a Sunday School scholar, and at a very early age my heart was consecrated to this very scene of my present labors. One of my own Sunday School scholars at the East, has also joined me at Nashotah, and is now proving himself of great value to me in the affairs of this House. If I learn that your interest in missions has been heightened by this Letter, be assured that it will afford me much pleasure to write to you again. With much affection I remain your unworthy missionary of the Cross of Christ.
JAMES L. BRECK.
EXTRACT FROM THE REPORT OF THE DIOCESE OF WISCONSIN TO THE GENERAL CONVENTION OF 1847.
"The church in this Diocese, as recently organized, June, 1847,) commences her high career, under the favoring and [27/28] prospering hand of her Divine Head. With 'a few small loaves and fishes,' and a few widely scattered preachers to administer them, very many 'ready to perish,' have been fed and revived unto spiritual life and action. The harvest has been great, the laborers few, and the increase manifold."
In 1841, according to the list of clergy in Sword's Almanac, there were only seven clergymen, with not more than two or three church edifices. In 1847, says the Report, "we organize, as a Diocese, with 22 settled and working clergymen; with 25 organized parishes; and 2744 individuals enrolled on parish registers; with 969 communicants; with 407 children under catechetical instruction. You will further perceive that 1,123 persons, including infants and adults, have been baptized; that 393 have been confirmed; that $1,614 have been contributed for charitable purposes; and that $28,400 have been expended in the erection of places for public worship.
Constituted now a Diocese, and entering upon a glorious career, with a Bishop elect, the choice of all, the happiest results are anticipated.
In the important view of the present condition of the Diocese, the Nashotah Mission is regarded with much confidence and hope. It has an important bearing on the character and salutary increase of the Church in this Diocese, and has already contributed greatly to the increase of her ministry, and the extension of her borders. Seven of the missionaries who are laboring in this Territory (now State) have been educated in this School of the Prophets. Their untiring efforts in the cause of our Master; their self-devotion, zeal, and perseverance, under impoverished circumstances, prove them to have been taught, that uncomplaining self-denial, is one of the first duties of a Christian minister; while their presenting the Church as she is in her Liturgy, is an evidence of the soundness of their faith. There are at present thirty students in this Mission, all of whom are looking forward to the ministry of the Church, five of whom are candidates for Holy orders.
The Scandinavian Post, is believed to be in a high state of spiritual prosperity, justifying in itself all the prayers, and labor, and expense which have been bestowed on the whole Territorial Mission, and presenting a ground of thanksgiving to God, and rejoicing before him. This Post is composed of emigrants from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark--the ancient kingdom of Scandinavia. In A. D. 1843, they asked to be admitted into communion with the Protestant Episcopal Church in this country, as will be seen by the report of the Rev. Gustaf Unonius, on the Journal of the Primary Convention of the Diocese of Wisconsin, [28/29] there were thus added to the Church sixty-two families, containing an aggregate of two hundred and eighty-one individuals, among whom are one hundred and seventy-seven communicants. The Oneida Mission is in a highly prosperous state, and presents at once a subject both of humiliation and rejoicing. From the wasting leaves of the forest an evergreen has been preserved, which, it is trusted, will know no withering nor decay. This is believed to have been the only successful effort to civilize and christianize the aborigines of our country. The Journal of the Diocese of Wisconsin shows that out of the eight hundred souls under the charge of the Rev. Solomon Davis, one hundred and sixty-nine are communicants. The Oneida Indians have erected a neat Gothic Church, at a cost of $3,800, as also a Parsonage and a School House, without any foreign aid. And what is well worthy to be noticed Hobart Church, in the Oneida nation, was the first Protestant Episcopal Church erected in the Territory (now State) of Wisconsin. [So called after the late lamented Bishop Hobart of New York, who ever manifested a deep interest in the spiritual welfare of the tribe, whilst under his Episcopal supervision, before their removal from that diocese, and whose memory is held by them in grateful veneration.]
The Mission School at Nashotah, which has grown up so noiselessly and unostentatiously, making no importunate appeals to the Church abroad, aiming not at greatness, but only at usefulness; pursuing the even tenor of its way in the exercise of faith and prayer, and persevering efforts on the part of the earnest and devoted men who commenced and are carrying on the enterprise; and depending on such succors as God in his good Providence might from time to time afford, through the practical charity of churchmen in more favored parts of the country; it will be perceived by the foregoing Report, is regarded by those most competent to judge, as an important agent in the work of missions in that portion of the Domestic field. And who can doubt the advantage of educating ministers on the field they are intended to occupy, many of them sons of the soil, and all accustomed through the entire course of their preparatory studies, to the self denial and privations they are destined to [29/30] encounter in the faithful discharge of their office as missionaries in a new and recently settled country? The Institution, by the adoption of a rigid system of economy, has been, from the start, and is now, pretty much self-supporting. The students, or as they are called "the brotherhood," by industry and a skilful division of labor, have done almost everything by and within themselves, even to the necessary domestic work of the house. They have at the same time cultivated a small farm connected with and owned by the Mission; and being, most of them, accustomed to agricultural pursuits, have made it quite productive, and a considerable source of supply of their immediate wants.
Few, if any, of the missionaries this school has educated and sent forth, derive any support from the General Missionary Society of the Church, but are sustained in other ways. Our parish has paid the small salary of one of its missionaries for two years past, which it is desirable to continue, extending the same assistance to one other also, if not to more.
But the most urgent wants of the Institution at present, are suitable buildings for the accommodation of its constantly increasing number of students. One such building it is very desirable, nay indispensable, to erect during the coming summer; but it will not be commenced until the funds for its erection are in hand; for it is the inflexible rule of the Institution to incur no debt. On this subject the following statement of the superintendent, the Rev. Mr. Breck, addressed to your Rector, will show the urgency of the want, and exhibit the plan for meeting it.
After stating that the Legislature of Wisconsin had given the Institution "an admirable Act of Incorporation," he says, "We have at present (September, 1848,) twenty-eight students upon the ground, and others, besides two candidates for Holy Orders, are expected to join them this winter. In all, we may have thirty-five young brethren preparing for the sacred ministry. Had we the room for more, I think we might safely calculate [30/31] upon fifty within one year. * * All these are subjected to a daily and constant discipline, and at no time of the year are absent from us over two weeks at one time, and those not candidates or teachers, over one week. Study is dropped in the summer, but the labor is increased. So that fifty or one hundred could be governed and supported as readily, perhaps, as our present number. These young brethren aid in teaching not only some of their own body, but they conduct (four of them three hours per day each) a parish school, numbering sixty pupils, in an admirable manner; so much so, that youth are sent us from the towns on Lake Michigan, and are boarded under my supervision, in families living upon the mission grounds, in order to enjoy its advantages. There are sixteen of these boarders at present. I am training them as a nucleus for an academical department, which will occupy buildings situated apart from these, (our Theological students,) but under our constant supervision day and night; thereby opening an admirable training school to occupy several of these divinity students. No labor is connected with the parish school, and will not be allowed in the academical or collegiate departments, when formed--only in the divinity. The others pay for their tuition and so forth, fully, so that they will become useful as a support; but most important as church schools for the rising generation in the West.
To erect one building for the divinity students, and another, if possible, for the academical pupils, I will propose to you what I intend doing to several others interested in Nashotah. It is to endeavor to procure for me ten dollar offerings for a permanent building, thereby enabling us for one hundred such, to erect one building, to be a part of a series, costing each one thousand dollars."
The plan proposed has approved itself to some individuals to whom it has been communicated in other places, and a portion of the amount required for one building has been subscribed. Will not some be found among ourselves, disposed to contribute, [31/32] each, this small sum? And shall we not also give of our several ability to the general purposes of this interesting and useful mission? Not only contributions in money, but donations of building materials, of domestic utensils, of articles of clothing for the use of the divinity students, will be of use, and very acceptable.
But while we commend this Mission in particular, it becomes us not to be unmindful of the other Missions of the Church. These require and demand the exercise of our practical charity. And this charity, to be most effectual, ought to be systematic. All our blessings are from God, and a portion ought to be appropriated to promote His cause among the destitute. This is the true principle of action. Some fixed portion of our income, large or small, should be set apart, annually, semi annually, or weekly, for this particular purpose. All can give something; and this something, however inconsiderable in itself, will amount in the aggregate to a sum, which will enable us as a congregation to do much and extensive good.
The objects commended to your benevolence, in addition to that which has been particularly mentioned, are the support of missionaries in the employ of the General Missionary Society of the Church, in the Domestic field; and the "Society for the advancement of Christianity in Pennsylvania," our Diocesan Missionary Association, whence the feeble congregations in our immediate midst, are supplied with the ministrations which they could not otherwise obtain. Contributions or donations to any or all of these objects will be received by the Rector, the Church Wardens, or Treasurer of the Vestry, and appropriated as the contributors or donors may severally direct.
Charity, the practical exercise of the Christian law of love, a duty at all times of the first importance, is peculiarly consonant with the spirit and purpose of the present annual season of humiliation, penitence, and prayer. The self denial and abstinence which enter into the due observance of the Lenten Fast, [32/33] causing us to abridge ourselves, among other things, of superfluities involving expense, will leave us the more "to give to him that needeth." And in the application of this saving in aid of such objects as have just been brought to our notice, we shall be enabled to succor effectually the destitute of that "family for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross," which on the great day of the Fast, we especially "beseech Almighty God graciously to behold;" and help "to fetch home to the flock of our blessed Lord," the wanderers in the paths of error and of sin, on whom we implore "our merciful God, who hast made all men, and who hatest nothing that he hast made, nor desirest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live, to have mercy, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord."
Commending these several objects of Christian benevolence, cordially and with confidence, to your attention and patronage, we are, in all faithfulness and respect, your friends and servants in the Church,
GEORGE UPFOLD, RECTOR,
JOHN D. DAVIS,
JOHN H. SHOENBERGER,
Pittsburgh, March 1, 1849.