MINNESOTA has given eight of her clergy to the Episcopate,--the Rev. E. R. Welles, elected Bishop of Milwaukee, the Rev. D. B. Knickerbacker, Bishop of Indiana, the Rev. M. N. Gilbert, the Coadjutor-Bishop of Minnesota, the Rev. E. S. Thomas, the Coadjutor-Bishop of Kansas, the Rev. A. R. Graves, Missionary Bishop of the Platte, the Rev. W. M. Barker, Bishop of Western Colorado, the Rev. J. H. White, Bishop of Indiana, the Rev. F. R. Millspaugh, Bishop of Kansas.
Three of this number have entered into rest. Bishop David Buell Knickerbacker was for twenty-five years intimately associated with me in my work; he was the foremost missionary in the diocese, and was often my companion on my visits to the Indian country. As chief shepherd of his diocese he was the same untiring servant of his Master.
Of Bishop Thomas I can say that few men have shared more deeply in my love. He came to Minnesota thirty-three years ago and was elected Professor of Exegesis in Seabury Divinity School. After faithful service for some years as teacher he again became a pastor, first of St. Mark's Church, Minneapolis, and then of St. Paul's Church, St. Paul. I never knew to what party in the Church Bishop Thomas belonged. His theology was that learned in the school of his alma mater at the feet of our late primus Bishop Williams.
Bishop Welles was the Holy Herbert of my diocese.
I loved these noble men as my own brothers. They all entered into rest after brief illness; but it was not the sudden death from which in Holy Litany we cry to be delivered. They had gathered the hidden manna for the last journey.
At the time that I entered the House of Bishops party lines were sharply drawn, and it was a simple matter to prophesy the vote of individual bishops. Shortly after my first visits to the Indian country some of the clergy of an Eastern diocese wrote to me urging me to give some Indian missionary addresses in their parishes. I wrote to the bishop as a matter of courtesy, asking his permission, but the fact that I was a High Churchman in my theology developed a feeling of uneasiness in the hearts of some of my brother bishops, and in reply to my letter I received the following:--
My dear Bishop: I have just received your letter of the 28th of September. In regard to my "consent" to your holding a missionary meeting in my diocese I do not suppose that to be necessary, as it is a conceded liberty for every member of our Church, clerical or lay, to advocate everywhere and anywhere any cause in which they feel an interest. As you have been pleased, however, to say that" you would not like to come without my approval," I will be so frank as to say that, for reasons which probably you understand, and into which I need not now enter, I cannot extend to such a meeting my support and sympathy; and, therefore, would rather it should not take place.
I suppose it is not necessary to assure you that these views of mine do not interfere in the least with the personal regard and affection entertained for you by
Yours ever faithfully,
A year later I was visiting the good bishop's house and the conversation turned upon Indian missions. At the end the bishop grasped my hand and exclaimed: "My dear brother, I do wish that you would hold some missionary services in my diocese. I cannot tell you what a pleasure it will be for me to preside." I held the services, and the bishop became one of the warmest friends of my Indian work.
After my return from England in 1865 I was present with Dr. Muhlenberg, Dr. Washburne, Dr. Osgood, Dr. John Cotton Smith, and Dr. Dyer in the study of the Rev. Dr. H. C. Potter, rector of Grace Church. Out of that meeting grew the American Church Congress. Its first session was to be held a week before the opening of the General Convention.
As Bishop Horatio Potter had doubts as to whether it might not lead to strife, some of the bishops advised him to issue a pastoral on the subject, which he did; but the Congress had been extensively advertised, and it was too late to postpone it. I was one of the appointed speakers. Meeting Bishop Potter a few days after, I said:--
"My brother, from your standpoint you did a righteous and brave thing when you wrote that pastoral, and I admire and respect you for it. But from my standpoint I did just as brave a thing when I paid no attention to it and at the Church Congress had my say as a free man in a free Church." The dear bishop, who was ever ready to give all the liberty the Church gives, put his arms around me and said:--
"Minnesota, you are one of the best men in the Church, and I love you!"
A few days after this a member of Dr. Bellows' (Unitarian) congregation said to me:--
"Dr. Bellows has just told me that he believes that the Church Congress may be a great benefit, but that he hopes the old Church will leave its Prayer Book alone, for the witness of an historical Church is needed in these days when men are bewildered by human speculation."
This reminds me of one of the most distinguished Unitarian clergymen of Massachusetts of the Dr. Channing School, who said to me some years ago:--
"Unitarianism was an outgrowth and revolt from the cast-iron Calvinism of New England. It has done its work, and men will desire something better which they will find in the historical Church."
The Puritan delighted to dwell on the Sovereignty of God rather than on the Fatherhood; and when he believed that he was the chosen of God, elected from all Eternity to share in God's favor, it made him strong; but the poor soul who believed that he was not one of the elect was driven to despair. The foundation of the gospel is "God is love." The revelation of God to man is in the person of Jesus Christ, and through Him comes the only perfect knowledge of God.
The disciples were sad when the Lord told them that He was going away and knew not what He meant when He said:--"It is for your sakes that I go to the Father."
Philip said, "Show us the Father." He did not say show us God. "We know you our Master, we do not know the Father."
Jesus said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." Blessed thought that when we are perplexed and weary we can rest on the revelation of God in Jesus Christ! Fatherhood in man and Fatherhood in God are not different, one is finite and the other infinite. This solves many questions.
It gives new light to all the sacraments and appointments of the Church of God when we see them laden with the infinite love of God. They are not hard laws which must be obeyed, but gifts which God our Father in His tender love has given to help us.
Lent, the time when our Mother the Church calls us to self-examination and self-discipline, is not a gloomy season. It is the voice of the Saviour saying to His loved ones, "Come, turn aside and rest awhile." Our Father says," I will allure them into the wilderness and there I will speak very comfortably to them."
Most of the divisions which mar the Church and bring sorrow to our Blessed Lord have come from lack of charity. Even when no open division has come, hearts have been bruised and lives have been marred by the sad record of narrowness and prejudice.
I can remember when Pusey was refused license to preach in Oxford; when Maurice was deposed from King's College; when Hampden was denounced as a heretic and Temple branded as an unbeliever. I have lived to see Pusey revered by all who love devoted lives hid with Christ and to see Maurice beloved by all generous hearts who believe in the brotherhood of men and the Fatherhood of God. I have lived to see the greatest scholar in England do justice to Hampden and to see all men rejoice that the Church could call the great-hearted Temple to be the Archbishop of Canterbury.
I remember when our Church was torn with strife over the ordination of the holy Arthur Carey and when the saintly Muhlenberg was deemed an impracticable enthusiast because of his teaching in relation to free churches and the reunion of all who love Christ.
Many of the most stalwart representatives of party believe that their definitions are the expression of the Catholic faith or of evangelical truth; but in the past it has been the fierce loyalty to the opinions of party which has rent the Church of Christ and deluged the earth with the blood of martyrs. Lati-mer, Ridley, and a host of others died as martyrs for Christ because they could not accept definitions of the Holy Communion which they believed to be idolatrous. The cruelties of our own New England were all for opinion's sake.
There have always been in the Church two classes of men, one magnifying the blessed Orders and Sacraments of the Church because they are the gifts of Christ and His channels of grace, the other magnifying the personal faith of the sinner in Jesus Christ and seeing in sacraments witness of the love of the Saviour. Both hold opposite sides of Divine truth and ought to live together in love as members of one body.
If any man has a passionate devotion to Jesus Christ, if he has a soul hunger for perishing men, if he holds the great truths of Redemption as written in the Creeds, if he preaches Jesus Christ crucified as the hope of salvation, count him as your fellow soldier.
The heaviest sorrows of my heart have come from a lack of love among brothers. When this love shall make men take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus, and compel them to say, "See how these Churchmen love one another," we may be, in God's hands, the instruments to heal these divisions which have rent the seamless robe of Christ. And when I plead for love I plead for love to all who love Christ. Shall we not claim as our kinsmen Carey the English cobbler, who went out as the first missionary to India, and who translated for them the Bible; and Morrison, the first missionary to China; and David Livingston, who died for Christ in heathen Africa; and Father Damien, who gave his life to save lepers; and the Moravians, who offered to be sold as slaves if the King of Denmark would permit them to carry the gospel to the black men? I know of nothing which our Mother the Church teaches that I do not receive with a filial heart, and I long to see every wall of separation broken down so that, according to His will, there shall be but one Fold and one Shepherd.
To a loyal heart to whom Jesus Christ is first and last, there can be no compromise in the Catholic faith; that we must live by and die by. This is not what causes bitterness. Bitterness and strife come of, "I am of Paul, and I of Apollo, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ," and from intensifying and magnifying as tests of Catholicity things which are but customs of human origin. Wise or unwise, they are not the essentials of faith or worship or life.
The saddest result of Christian separation is the stumbling-block which it places in the way of heathen men. An Indian chief said to Enmegahbowh:--
"You say that there is one Great Spirit, one Great Spirit's Book, one Saviour. Why do white men have so many religions?"
Enmegahbowh answered the puzzling question as well as he knew how, telling him about human weakness and individuality, and the chief said:--
"Tell me about the different kinds of religion which the white men have."
Enmegahbowh replied: "One kind has bishops, three orders of ministers, and uses a Prayer Book in worshipping the Great Spirit; another believes that all ministers are equal; another baptizes by immersion, and refuses to baptize children; and another believes that no matter how men live in this world they will all go to heaven."
The chief looked up in surprise at the last statement, and asked:--
"Doesn't the Great Father always send us agents of that kind?"
One often hears from the lips of Christian Indians words which witness to their simple acceptance of the faith. A chief once said to me:--
"I am travelling on a journey to the Home which the Son of the Great Spirit has made for me. I come to places where the clouds are thick and I cannot see. I tell it to the Great Spirit's Son, and he makes the trail plain for my feet, for he has walked in it before me."
In 1871 the cooperation of the bishops of the United States was asked by the Rt. Rev. Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Winchester, in the revision of the Holy Scriptures which had been begun by the Convocation of Canterbury. I sent the following reply:--
FARIBAULT, Feb. 20th, 1871.
Rt. Rev. and dear Brother: It is a grief to me to differ from one whom I love so deeply as I do the Bishop of Winchester. The Synod of Lambeth pledged every branch of the Anglo-Catholic Church to a closer union. I know of nothing in which all English speaking people have a deeper interest than in the common inheritance of the English Bible. If it is to be revised, the work should be done so as to command the undivided love and confidence of every branch of the Anglican Church. To many, doubt will be as fatal as positive error. That your Convocation will endeavor to do this work faithfully I do not doubt; but I do question whether its separate action can command that high degree of confidence which this work would have if it were the joint work of all Convocations of the Church of England, the Irish, the Scotch, the Colonial, and the American Churches. I sincerely pray that God may bless you in your work, and that my fears may be groundless.
With much love,
I am your brother,
H. B. WHIPPLE, Bishop of Minnesota.
TO THE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER.
In February, 1871, the Foreign Committee of the Board of Missions asked me to visit the mission in Hayti. On my arrival in New York I found that the steamer for Port au Prince had left before her advertised date of sailing, and my only hope of another was to go to Havana. On our way out the captain said to me, "Here am I making regular trips to Cuba, but if I should die there I could not have a Christian burial."
On my arrival I found that there was no vessel going to Hayti. I said to myself, God in His providence has brought me to Havana for some wise purpose. There was no Protestant worship in Cuba, and the granddaughter of Bishop White had died during the year without the ministrations of our holy religion. There was a large resident population of English, Germans, and Americans.
I called on the United States Consul and asked permission to hold service at the consulate. He did not think it advisable as relations were strained between the United States and Spain, but suggested my asking the consent of the Captain-General of Cuba. I replied:--
"Certainly not. I have been in Spain and I know that the Spanish Constitution gives permission to foreigners domiciled in Spain or its colonies to worship God according to their accustomed forms of faith. I shall act under this authority, and if any one dares to meddle with me, I think that my country will protect me."
I held service on board the United States man-of-war Swatara, and the following Sunday at the rooms of the British Consul-General, the Hon. John Dunlap. The Hon. Louis Wills, Consul-General of Germany, asked me to perform a marriage service at his consulate, the bride having come from Germany to meet her betrothed from South America. I said that I would perform the ceremony if I were allowed to officiate as an act of international courtesy, but that I would not receive a fee. It was a pleasant wedding; and a few days later I called upon Mr. Wills and asked permission to hold a public service at his consulate, which I did the following Sunday with a large congregation. It was a grand service, and thanks were returned for peace between Germany and France. This was the first Protestant public service held in Havana.
During my visit I administered Holy Communion to communicants of the Church who had not received it for twelve years. I baptized and confirmed a dying Confederate officer, and held several baptismal services. I met many American citizens who were longing for the services of the Church, and many members of the Roman Catholic Church expressed their desire to see the Church established in Cuba.
One of the most prominent residents said to me:--"I am a Roman Catholic, and was educated in the United States. I honor and love the priests whom I knew there, but I will gladly contribute to the support of one of your clergy that the people here may see what a priest of the Church should be."
At this time the House of Bishops did not care to take any responsibility in the establishment of a mission in Cuba; but on the nomination of Bishop Whittingham I sent out the Rev. Edward Kenny as the first resident Protestant clergyman, having secured a subscription of several hundreds of dollars for his support, one of the subscribers being a prominent Roman Catholic. At a subsequent visit I administered Confirmation and preached in the San Carlos Hotel where Mr. Kenny was holding services.
Mr. Kenny did a faithful work for the years that he remained in Havana, but as he was not sent out by any missionary organization the work was one of faith. His health made it necessary for him to return to the United States; but I believe that the good seed sown by him has borne fruit, and has prepared the way for our future work in the island of Cuba. Cuba ought to be a paradise, but lotteries, bull fights, and cock fights have debased the morals, and a corrupt government has oppressed the people.