Project Canterbury








D.D., LL.D.


JANUARY 26, 1904





Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Diocese of New York, 2010

No man who is set here to-day, to speak a man's word, out of a man's heart, could fail to give utterance first to the expression of a common sorrow which adds, not a shadow, but a hallowing solemnness to this service. Hands that were to be laid with ours upon the head of the bishop-elect are folded in the serene stillness of a laborer whose earthly task is done, and the soul of a great bishop, with us, I doubt not, here, in close and conscious sympathy, is set free for a larger and fuller service than the limitations of the flesh allow to us. Bishop Dudley's eye was not dimmed nor his natural force abated, when, like Moses, himself also the servant of the Lord, he died, as the old Targum phrases it, from a kiss from the mouth of Jehovah. Now is he numbered among the children of God, and his lot is among the saints.

[3] I have set myself to-day the task neither of argument for the episcopate nor of instruction to my brother, but only of drawing, however imperfectly, the portraiture of what a bishop means to be and to do, an ideal whose realizing must be our aim. Inadequate and insufficient, nevertheless the outline waits its filling up in the life and service to which we are called, and the first and fittest word that speaks of this is in the twenty-fifth verse of the second chapter to St. Peter: "The Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."

Not the least wonderful, not the least merciful, not the least helpful of the aspects of the Incarnation of our Lord, is the completeness of the contact of the Godhead with humanity. He was made man, [3/4] not "by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into God." He tabernacled in us, all of us, entire humanity. "We have learned and declared," Justin Martyr said, "that Christ, the first-begotten Son of God, is the Logos, of which the whole human race has a share." Passing through every stage, from his miraculous conception by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the ever-virgin Mary, He touched babyhood and boyhood and manhood and a sort of premature old age (they took Him for fifty years old when He was barely thirty); He touched also toils and temptations, joys and sorrows, the marriage feast and the house of mourning, bereavement and pain, city and country, inland people and the seafaring men, doctors and lawyers, scribes and Pharisees, rich men and poor men, the pureness of one Mary and the penitence of another, the quick and the dead. So comprehensive was the God-manhood of Jesus Christ.

It is to our infinite comfort to add, and it seems a fitting subject of thought and of thankfulness in to-day's service, that He was chosen to assume, or to accept from inspired language, not only the religious acts [4/5] and ordinances, comparable certainly to our most sacred institutions, baptism, confirmation, in the twelve-year-old presentation in the Temple, the Holy Eucharist on the night of its institution, and perhaps at Emmaus—not only these, but also all the varied phases and functions of the threefold Christian ministry, the diaconate, as He came dtaconhsai, to minister; the priesthood, as He only is the priest in our sacerdotal office, "the Priest forever," and now here, in the Church's accepted description of its highest office (intolerable and impossible except as He makes it and fills it with Himself), the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. It is the fullest definition of the office—the overseership and the pastorship of souls.

There are, of course, the more official, external, and, to a degree, material functions, involving labor and time and travel, of vital value because of the gifts conveyed through them, and of intense happiness in the personal relations they establish between us and our people. And there is the hard and high responsibility of rule in the maintenance of order and the ministry of discipline. They are part of the overseeing and part of the [5/6] shepherding. What is within them and what is beside them is the cure of souls.

I shall not be misunderstood as undervaluing the relation of any minister of Jesus Christ in high or low degree to the physical and social and civic interests of man. The Church is not an esoteric, self-centered, spiritual entity, musing about mysteries and walled in by dogmas; she is the yeast of the world, to be stirred into all the three measures of humanity—spiritual, intellectual, physical. She is its salt to save it from corruption, and its lamp to delve into its deepest mines and penetrate its darkest recesses of suffering and sin. She is not our Master’s body if she does not bring the virtue of His body to leper and outcast and sinner; and she is not using the grace of His headship of her, if she is not in the thick of the intellectual activities in the age in which she is. And it must be through her that His hands take healing in Christian hospitals, and help in houses of mercy, and hope to the prisoner, and clothing to the naked, and food to the hungry. Through her it is still possible that the feet which trod the streets and lanes, the fields and mountain-tops of the Holy Land are still set to seek, until they [6/7] find those who, in whatever way of straying, at whatever distance of wandering, are lost.

But her mission in the world is the cure of souls. Her use of all this other ministry is, as the Master’s was, who lifted the paralytic from his physical bondage to show that the Son of Man had power on earth to forgive sins; and who fed the multitude in the wilderness that He might teach them by that enacted parable that He was the Bread of Life. The aim and purpose of all this service in its varied forms is the overseeing and the shepherding of souls, and only as we have this in mind can we be ready when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, to give account for our care of our portion of His flock.

It must be a very small and subordinate office all whose duties can be personally discharged by the incumbent of it. When one slips glibly off his tongue the old phrase, “qui facit par alium per se,” as if it merely meant that we are able to discharge our duties by proxy, he forgets how much harder and heavier it makes the office that much of its duties must be done, under direction, by others. The easy labor is the work one does one’s self, and no small part of the hardness [7/8] and heaviness of a bishop's responsibility lies here, that with all and beside all of his own work, he must be held accountable for the work that others do for him. This is the oversight of the episcopate. That he must watch over the work and the workmen and those for whom they are working, often with little choice of the workmen, often with little authority beyond that of influence to control them, often with longing that he might do the work himself. But the responsibility cannot be shifted and may not be shirked. The promise to be faithful in ordaining, sending and laying hands on others, and the other promise, to be ready with all faithful diligence to banish and drive away from the Church erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God’s Word, bind themselves upon his soul, to be discharged not in the spirit of fear, but of power tempered by love and toned by soberness. Congregations are committed to the charge of the bishops and other clergy, and the charge of the clergy is added to the bishop’s duties, and this makes his cure of souls. More and more we are finding and feeling, for the very relief of the pastoral instinct—which no priest can lay aside because he has [8/9] been made a bishop as well,—the special opportunity of personal touch with part of his flock at least, through the establishment of the cathedral, in its worship and in its teaching. But out beyond this, here and there in the decayed parishes and the little country congregations and the scattered missions, are the souls committed to our oversight and care, and we have the right and the duty to see to it, and they have the right and the duty to look to us to see to it, that this "good pasture shall not be trodden down" nor its "deep waters fouled by the feet" of false teachers and unfaithful shepherds. It is wise and well, I believe, to avoid the scandals of trials for heresy and prosecutions in courts ecclesiastical or civil; for breach of ritual law. Patience and persuasiveness are wiser resorts than  prosecutions and penalties. But unless overlooking means ignoring, unless oversight means the Nelsonian method of looking at signals through a blind eye, I honestly think that we have come far short in the past of discharging our duty as overlookers and overseers, in failing to exert influence and assert authority when the faith is denied or diluted or distorted by individual caprice; and then, when influence [9/10] and authority both fail, we have failed in not letting the Church know that we are neither blind nor dumb.

I turn for a moment to suggest what seem to me the notes which the Good Shepherd Himself has taught us of a faithful pastorate of souls. "I know my sheep and am known of mine." It is the thought of a personal relation, individual intimacy and nearness of contact between a bishop and his people, difficult, I know, but not impossible, costing much time and effort, but abundantly repaying both. It must be infinitely less than has been possible between pastor and people in parochial life, partly because of the wide circle through which it must reach out, and partly because of the large increase of duties and demands. We have lost all trace of likeness, in our English translation of the words, of any unit of thought between a parish and a diocese. But we may not forget that they have their common root in the substantive word; with only a variety in the preposition—that they both mean good housekeeping, whether the house be larger or smaller, and that the bishoprics for three centuries bore the parochial name, which does not mean that the bishops [10/11] were merely presbyters; but does mean that the diocese, as it took its name later from the lesser Roman provinces, is the bishop's parish; and so the pastoral tie and the parochial thought remain unchanged. What has been hard, but not impossible, in this great city parish, with its enormous congregations, its many missions, its varied organizations, will be harder, but still not impossible, in the wider field, to the spirit of what I may call perhaps accessibility, and the strong, pervading sympathetic power of personality.

In and out among the parsonages and the homes of the people, year after year, the bishop comes and goes. The children whom he has confirmed recall him, people who have been his hosts remember him. In between his visitations some great events have come into the families, of sorrow or of joy. It is not artificialness, it is not affectation that he should make effort to know all such events, to seek out and recognize the people who remember him. Written upon the breastplate of the high priest in the old dispensation were the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, always there, and especially emphasized when he went up toward the mercy seat. So we may write [11/12] upon our hearts, that we may make intercession for them from time to time, the names of those to whom and among whom we minister in our higher office. The cold aloofness of the old idea of prelacy has thawed and melted and disappeared in the true thought of the bishop's place among men as father and brother, not in a caste, not in a class, but only as fellow and friend. "I know my sheep and am known of mine." Quite beside the personal happiness, is the official value of such a relation, lifelong, very close and tender, a sort of "enabling act" which puts new power of influence and service into our hands. Indeed, I believe that it is only out of this kind of knowledge that the real value of ecclesiastical administration can grow. Strangely varied and curious to a degree are the appeals for advice and interference that come to us, not possible to deal with at arm’s length or upon any application of general principles; questions into which must enter the individual and personal element of discretion and discrimination; questions that lie altogether outside the mere red tape of canons and law, and belong in the higher sphere of courtesy and love. And that precious power of sympathy, the entering [12/13]  into and the sharing of the feelings of others, is absolutely impossible unless the shepherd knows his sheep and is known of them.

The next note is the giving, the laying down of life for the sheep. These two words in the Authorized Version have only the one representative in the original, and yet it is a word with these two shades of meaning: not to lay down life only, but to live; not to give up in the one supreme act of sacrifice, but to keep on giving in continuous consecration, as the dear Lord said of Himself in the great high-priestly prayer, "I sanctify myself, I consecrate myself." This is too deep a matter for many words. This is not the first time that the thought and purpose have come to my brother here. Somehow, it seems to me that by an ascending progress of continuous growth this thought deepens and heightens from the baptismal dedication through the two preceding ordinations until it comes to what the Ordinal gives in its title "ordaining or consecrating," but calls in the body of the office "the ordaining and consecrating of a bishop."

It is not easy in the pressure and presence [13/14] of routine work to keep this thought first and freshest in the soul. But it is the only thought that can make tolerable the burden of the routine of the bishop's life. Clogged and stifled the spiritual life becomes, as a spring whose outflow is choked with the dead leaves of autumn or with the gathering of the winter's ice. Clogged and stifled with the deadliness of the monotonous routine or the chill of mere mechanical service without this sense of a life given up, given over, given out, consecrated, set apart and sanctified by God for others. It was the fear of this that rang from St. Paul that bursting utterance, "lest when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." It was the sense of the danger of this that St. Augustine meant when he cried out about the difficulty of the salvation of a priest. And it is this thought that overruns the urgent entreaties of Bishop Wilson's "Sacra Privata" with such utterances as these:

"That neither through fear, favor, interest, or negligence I may have promoted any person to the sacred charge of Christ's flock; that the blood of those that perish may not be required at my hands through any neglect of [14/15] mine; that no unworthiness in me may hinder Thy gifts and graces from descending upon those whom I shall ordain to Thy service."

And beside this there is no minute act of work or service which the sense of this consecration does not lift to dignity and importance. As dear John Keble sings it in our morning hymn:

                        "The trivial round, the common task,
                        Will furnish all we need to ask,
                        Room to deny ourselves, a road
                        To bring us daily nearer God."

This last note is the deepest and tenderest of all—the love and longing for the other sheep, the overpowering must which compels and constrains the heart of the good shepherd, like that intense description of God in the apocryphal book, "Thou mastering Thyself." The spirit of the true service under this compulsion must be along three lines: the fellowship of mutual understanding, the furtherance of a more real unity, and the carrying of the message and the means and the ministry of the Gospel in the Church to others to whom, as yet, they have not come. For one, I welcome with all my heart, and all my hopes, the [15/16] growing spirit in the Church to-day of reconciliation and of recognition. If I may quote myself from an utterance before the Missionary Council last October, "broken though it be in functional ways, the organic unity of the Church is more and more asserting itself, and the way to the reconciliation which shall some day make us one, with the unity that shall win the world, is the recognition of the common purpose of all those who are baptized into the one body and believe and preach the one Gospel, and serve in sincerity the one Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The day is past and gone, it seems to me, when men cannot be sure that they are asserting truth unless they do it in the way of denying and denouncing error, or when the only satisfactory assurance of what one possesses himself is found in declaring and delighting in the fact that some one else does not possess it. In the illuminated border of the folio edition of the Prayer-book of Edward VII there is a suggestion of this comprehensiveness which I venture to say could not have been in the first Book of Edward VI. Now there are grouped together in it, among others, the figures of John Wesley and Bishop Butler, of Simeon [16/17] and Pusey, of Newman and Charles Kingsley. And the larger spirit proves its presence, not on the distant horizon, but along the sky-line of a nearer vision in the coming together to take counsel about great questions, social, moral, and religious, of men who respect each other all the more for their fidelity to ecclesiastical standards about which they disagree.

"Not content with this, except as a step toward a fuller unity, there ought to be the constraining sense of duty to do all that in us lies to get back the visible communion of Christians with one another and with God. It is true that our Lord's words here are 'there shall be one flock and one shepherd,' and also true that in that one flock to-day there are many folds. I cannot believe that this is after the Master's heart. To be one, as He and the Father are one is the entreaty of His sacrificial prayer, means something closer than has been vouchsafed to His Church in the last seventeen centuries. But the attempt to accomplish this by the domination of even the most splendid system of sheer authority over conscience and intelligence and history, or the attempt to accomplish it by the denunciation of points of difference rather than by the detection [17/18] of points of agreement, has been, and must always be, a lamentable failure. For this separation is a stone of stumbling which cannot be consumed in the fire of persecution. It is a knot that will not be cut by the sword of contemptuous self-assertion; it is a substantive thing, that will not be dissolved in the acrid liquid of controversy. When unity is won it will be, not by pride in apostolic succession, but by the humbleness of the apostolic spirit; not by insistence upon catholicity, as meaning merely—what it does in part—an unbroken hold upon the authority of the past, but meaning still more the universalness of full sympathy with the age in which we live, and a larger outlook upon the wide future of the wide world; not by the denial of grace in sacraments not ministered by men episcopally ordained, but by manifestation of the holiness which the grace of these sacraments breeds in ourselves. This is the way to use, to believe, and to live our confession of belief in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."

And the last line along which, with restless and resistless urgency, this necessity must constrain and compel "every member of the Church in his vocation and ministry" is "missions," [18/19] because missions is the vocation of every member of the Church. Really and truly, it is no more a bishop's business than it is any other man's, except that a bishop is a man plus his episcopate. Responsibility is cumulative. It grows with opportunity and power of service; and so the duty and privilege of pushing the Gospel and the Church into every place where they have not as yet come, are eminently episcopal.

There is no missionary in the Christian world, in farthest foreign places or remotest region of the earth, in whom the presence of this note of shepherdship has been more dominant than in the person and the priesthood of my dear and reverend brother on whom our hands are to be laid to-day. St. Bartholomew's parish might well have claimed exemption from the payments of contributions to our general mission work, instead of standing in the forefront of its supporters. With a persistent ingenuity which has invented avenues for the discharge of a most catholic service, not only in various devices, but in divers directions, the workers in this parish and their leader have ministered to Swedes and Chinese and Germans; Armenians, Persians, Syrians [19/20] and Turks; to the richest and the poorest, to the sick in body and the sick in soul, seeking to bring those who were strangers and foreigners to be fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God. And the hand which has been upon the lever of this manifold machinery—of savings-bank and loan-association and hospital and lecture bureau and mission chapel, of club and kindergarten and holiday house and industrial school—has been held so close in the hand of God, that, like the vision in Ezekiel’s prophecy, the spirit of the living creature has been in the wheels. No one can doubt that the call to the higher, but hardly the larger, service of the episcopate will find in the new bishop, whose parish has been really a diocese both in the foreign and domestic fields, the same constraining sense of necessity to bring still more of those other sheep, Christ’s sheep they are, bought, although not yet brought into that flock which God purchased with His own blood. Splendid the thought, not of dignity and honor and high office, but of more consecration, more compulsion, even, than before, to become shepherd and bishop of more souls. Words cannot express, because the mind cannot conceive [20/21] the magnificent outlook of service and the magnificent accomplishment of service in this great cosmopolitan city. Itself a diocese larger in number of clergy and communicants than a good many other dioceses of the Church put together; containing in kaleidoscopic combination all the nations of the earth; central, commercially, financially, ecclesiastically; a focal point of the American Church, which has advanced during the years of Bishop Potter’s episcopate to a prominence of power more than indicated, really expressed, by the fact that at either end of its great artery of movement ring out the bells and stand the overshadowing spires of two of its great parishes; surely this presents to the inspired imagination, to the eager ambition for service, such an opportunity as certainly no other field of work in the American Church possesses.

You will forgive me, my dear brother, if aught that I have said of you appear unseemly. I am but speaking for the bishop, for the diocese, for this great parish, and speaking with due restraint, because I am speaking in your presence and in your Master's and mine. For the rest all that I have spoken has been for you, as expressing what I know to be the [21/22] sacred purpose and the secret power of all your ministry. Coming into this great diocese, with its complete organization to lift the burden, in part, of an administration which is distinguished for its wisdom, its ability, and its power throughout the American Church, there is no sign lacking of promise or of possibility in the future to which God beckons you to-day. To you I have but this to say, that with a sense of intense satisfaction I bid you welcome to-day out of the closeness of the true love and sympathy which has held me to you now for many years, into the brotherhood of the episcopate, with the personal tie made stronger and the bond still closer in the blessed burden of our common office.

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