Bishop of Minnesota:
St. Barnabas' Day, 1862
Printed by Pioneer Printing Company
Brethren in the Lord:--Whether Christian Doctrine, Discipline, or Church Order be the subject of my first charge to you as your spiritual father, the end which I desire to reach is, that you may thoroughly understand the work of a Missionary Church. No subject could be more suitable for this holy day, to teach us, like St. Barnabas, of blessed memory, to be sons of consolation. The Lord Jesus Christ made His Church a Missionary Church when He appointed its ministry, and gave to them the pledge of His presence to the end of the world.
The work of a Missionary Church is the salvation of souls for whom Christ died--no less an object can measure it. Its work is in time, but the results are for eternity. Wherever there are sinful men the Lord has sent it. To all, "the Spirit and the Bride say, come." No age, nor sex, nor rank, nor color, nor race is excepted. To turn aside from any suffering, sinful man, is to substitute man's selfishness in the place of the overflowing love of God; it is to give up grace for nature, to make the Church of Christ a human sect to shelter pride, and so dare to limit the Redemption on the Cross. In the relations of this work to our infant Diocese, the subject naturally divides itself into--[3/4]
1. The nature of the Field which God has entrusted to our care.
2. The means provided of God to carry on His work.
3. And the Way in which His stewards must use His means.
THE FIELD IS THE WORLD. Every department of missionary work has a just claim upon the love and sympathy of Christian hearts. The man who loves the Lord Jesus, must love all who work for Him, and rejoice with them over every trophy of His grace. There must needs be for stewards a special stewardship, for which they will give an account in the Day of Judgment. Our field is Minnesota, where God has sent us as pioneers for His Church. Even here we have entered into the labors of others. With gratitude we remember the fidelity of the first missionary who came here twenty-five years ago, as the chaplain of a border post, and who still lingers with us, like another Jacob worshipping from the top of his staff. I remember the little company who, twelve years ago pitched their tent by St. Paul, and many others who followed them, some of whom have entered into rest. The field is still new for our work is not only to eradicate error, but also occupy the vineyard of the Lord and win the first pioneers and their children that we may mould for Christ the men who are to mold the State.
THE WORK IS DIFFICULT IN ITS PHYSICAL ASPECTS. The vast area of scattered hamlets, the distances to be traversed, the prairies to be crossed, the wilderness to be explored, the heathen red men to be won, and the hardships and poverty of pioneer life, make the work very difficult. It requires no ordinary energy for twenty men to care for a country larger than all England; and unless prepared to endure "hardness, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ,' we shall never, in any respect, leave our mark upon the State.
THE WORK IS DIFFICULT FOR THE WORLDLINESS OF WESTERN LIFE. The love of gold has tempted thousands to adventure in the restlessness of Western life. That daring energy which makes the manliest type of manhood, when guided by holy principle, becomes the meanest selfishness, where this is not. If gold is the only end, it will here be sought by trickery, by falsehood, by extortion, by worldly work, without a day of rest, and by a life without faith in God or hope of heaven.
THE WORK IS DIFFICULT BY INDIFFERENCE. There are thousands of men among us, to whom all truths of religion are mere "questions about words and names." They have been bewildered by the wrangling of sectarian strife, or grew up untaught in holy truth, or having cast off God, were permitted to fall into brutish indifference. [4/5] It is sad that an American citizen should be almost the only man who lives without religion. This utter indifference is often harder to combat than open irreligion and sin. It stands aloof from every influence which could mould the heart. It lives without God, and might write on the portals of its door the old Corinthian motto, "Eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." There is no poetry in this work among indifferent men--there are no outstretched arms of Macedonians, pleading for help. You might even question whether these men knew they had souls to be saved or not.
The heart is dead and cold. For long years they have silenced every angel whisper; they have cast off God, and sin holds them in its unchallenged possession. To reach such men, to break up this ice-bound sea, to lead them out of their benumbed stupor, is a work of difficulty. The only message which can reach such hearts is in the love of Jesus Christ.
THE WORK IS DIFFICULT BY IRRELIGION. The border is always Satan's battle ground. The man who is far removed from home ties and the restraints of religion, becomes neglectful. He reads no Bible. He makes no prayer. He hallows no Lord's Day. He has no church, and so lives without God. Infidelity seeks here a shelter. The unclean infidelity of filthy lies and scoffs, and unmanly sneers--the brazen infidelity which repeats cavils answered a thousand times before, which states lies afresh, which worships Voltaire or Paine, and denies Jesus the Son of God--the infidelity of doubts begotten by sectarian strife, which denies in turn every doctrine of the revelation of God--denying the Christian covenant to little children, denying the existence of the Church of Christ, denying the Bible and the atonement, and even daring to call the Lord of Glory a mere man. Much of this awful record is the fruit of pretended preachers, who never believed in or lived for Christ. I have met upon the border an unbaptised man in almost heathenish darkness, who knew no Bible, Sunday, Church or Saviour, and yet this man came here claiming to be a minister of Christ. There have been others among us who are now leaders of infidelity, who came here professing to be heralds of the Cross.
THE WORK IS DIFFICULT TO WIN THE HEATHEN RED MEN OF OUR STATE TO CHRIST. Wherever heathenism and civilization meet in conflict, either the civilization will become heathenish, or the heathenism must become civilization. You know how sad the record of our border is. The work for these poor heathen wards is [5/6] made more difficult by the shameless wickedness of out own white race and by the robbery and wrongs of our Christian nation, whose broken faith calls for the vengeance of Almighty God. It is hard, very hard, by the unkind opposition and covert enmity of the sworn liegemen of the Cross. It is God's work. They are men for whom Christ died. There is no precedence at the Cross. They are dying men, and though the whole world opposed us we must preach to them the everlasting Gospel.
THE WORK IS DIFFICULT BY THE STRAITNESS OF THESE TROUBLESOME TIMES. We are all of yesterday, and when these blows fall we have nothing to fall back upon. With us everything is to be done--churches to build, schools to found, Bibles to scatter, Prayer Books to distribute, Sunday Schools to plant--all this work to be done in our penury, where often the missionary is at his wit's end to know how he can secure his daily bread. His bread is always like God's manna, of which he lays by nothing for the morrow. To do such work well, where we have neither men nor means to help us, needs the largest faith in God.
The great difficulty, the world-wide difficulty, is in sin, in hearts which are in rebellion against God, which hate whatever stands in their way to warn of death and hell. The field, with all its difficulties, is a hopeful field. The pioneer is generally a man of warm and generous heart. His very isolation gives him longing for companionship. His sense of need and desire to have a teacher, make him give a hearty welcome to the minister of Christ, who seeks him in his home. The rough contact of western life opens avenues which lead straight to the heart. The man is himself a motive power, and if won to Christ he will mould other hearts. There is a self-reliance nurtured in the hardships of a border life, which makes a manly race of men. You know what such have dared to do at other calls of duty, and shall they not be braver soldiers for Jesus Christ, and have the manliness which is godliness. The danger is in superficial work. There are so many cares to choke the seed, so many temptations of Satan to steal it away, so much to force it to an unnatural growth, that we must dig deep, we must nourish it with prayer, we must rely alone upon the work of the Holy Spirit on the heart or our work will all be useless.
THE MEANS PROVIDED OF GOD TO CARRY ON HIS WORK, ARE FIRST THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST. There must be a clear idea of the authority and responsibility of the holy office, or our defective view will surely mar all our work. It is the will of God, that by the [6/7] foolishness of preaching they shall be saved who believe. "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?" "How shall they hear without a preacher?" "How shall they preach except they be sent?" The ministry is sent by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is no appointment of a sect which selects its advocates. It is the Lord's. He bought it with His blood. He sent it to be His ambassador. The minister of the Church must believe this with all his heart, or he has no right to stand beside her altars. If he doubt it, it is mockery for him to claim to be God's ambassador. How can he preach? How can he treat with dying men? How can he pledge to them forgiveness? How dare he claim to admit men to God's covenant, if he is not sure that he has the authority from God? This authority must come from Christ, or it is nothing. There must either be an immediate call from heaven, verified by signs and miracles, as in the prophets, or else a delegated authority, "called of God, as Aaron." It is not enough to claim the necessity of Christian teachers. It is no question of expediency or of fitness. The minister's authority must come from God, or he is not God's ambassador. He must verify his authority either by signs form heaven, or be able to trace its record in history. The claim to an inward call without the outer form, is the plea of every fanatic whose heresies have desolated the earth.
THE MINISTRY MUST PREACH GOD'S MESSAGE IN THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.
There is something very awful in this responsibility of a commissioned servant of the Most High God. There will come the temptation to turn aside for worldly themes. These have no right to enter the Church of Christ. We have only one message for dying sinful men. It is salvation alone by Jesus Christ. We must preach Christ: Christ crucified, Christ risen, Christ ascended, Christ the Mediator, and Christ the Judge. There must be no daubing with untempered mortar, no crying peace where the Son of Peace has not created the heart anew, "for the name of Jesus is the only name given under heaven whereby we can be saved." We must proclaim man's lost estate by nature; the impossibility of all creature merit; or salvation by works alone; the need of grace and pardon, the gift of Christ, the Eternal Son; the Redemption on the Cross; the way to come; the living faith which makes us just in Christ; the life to live; the source of strength; the Church our home--all these great doctrines of the Cross will always be upon our lips and fill our hearts. In preaching these we must be in earnest. [7/8] There must be no dallying at the outposts of the heart, no trifling no trying to make the Gospel better by our tinsel ornaments. We must speak as dying men to dying men, and tell other weary men of Christ, who has been to us a Refuge and a Saviour. There will be in such a Preacher loyalty and love for the Church of Christ. He will lead the wandering sheep to his Saviour's fold. He will make them the Saviour's by adoption in His family through that Saviour's covenant in Holy Baptism. He will teach them to confess Christ's name, and seek for grace in the laying on of hands. He will teach them to draw nigh to the Table of the Lord, to feed, by faith, upon His body and His Blood. The Sacraments and Church can never be to a loyal man mere idle forms. They were clothed upon with life when they were appointed by the Son of God, and so, loving faith will look within, and worship and adore Christ its Lord. In maintaining, as you must maintain, the necessity and grace of Christian sacraments, and the obligation of men to enter the Fold of Christ, His Church, these holy doctrines ought not to be presented to dying men as mere forms for their value by that faith which looks only for safety of the Cross.
One reason for the unhappy controversies which disturb our peace, is the attempt to define what God has not defined--to place limits upon the grace of God, or establish metes and bounds which tell the time, the means, and the precise way, whereby the Holy Spirit moulds the heart anew. There is in this carping cavil of this time, something of the spirit of the Pharisees, who troubled the blind man, that had been healed by our Lord: "Say, how did he open thine eyes?" for, like that poor blind man, we can only say: "I know not. I only know, whereas I was blind, now I see." Men are seldom bewildered by the plain commands of their Saviour. They are not all Naamans, to doubt the appointment of God. If they have faith to ask from the heart, "what shall I do to be saved?" If they have faith to look alone to Christ for safety, they will have faith to obey Christ's words. The great difficulty is in overlading the simplicity of the Cross with the reasonings of party. The safe way is to preach Christ, and work in the ways of His Holy Church. Loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ is loyalty to His Church, and there is no lack of charity in maintaining the oneness of the Church of Christ. I know of only one Church in the New Testament, and it was visibly planted by Apostles, and against it the gates of hell have not prevailed. I know of only one ministry, with its three-fold orders [8/9] in that one Catholic Church of Christ. I only know of one Christian Faith proclaimed by that one Ministry, in that one Catholic and Apostolic Church. I know of only One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism, set forth in the Revelation of God. An Invisible Church is too ethereal for this workday world. It does not fill our longing for human sympathy. It does not realize our need of brotherhood--it does not give effectiveness to organization. It has no guarantee of faith or discipline, and leaves no mark on history.
The moment men deny a visible Church of Christ, they will seek for societies, and lodges, and brotherhoods to take its place. The theory of an invisible Church is not needed for charity to those without its fold. We admit the purity, the faithfulness and piety of many who are not in the Church, and we love them for the love they bear to Christ, and for the grace of God which has been shed abroad in their hearts. But this no more absolves from loyalty to Christ, or apologises for Christian divisions and parties, than morality will excuse an upright liver for neglect of Holy Baptism.
THE WAY TO USE THIS MINISTRY, FAITH, AND WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH, DEMANDS MOST SERIOUS THOUGHT.
Into whatsoever field you enter, you are sent from God to all within your cure. Unless impossible, by reason of obligations already made, the Church ought always to be free. The open door, the ready welcome, and the brotherhood of a Free Church, proclaim, as no other Church can proclaim, a Gospel for all who need a Gospel. The Free Church is built upon that broad Catholic truth, that the hearing of the Gospel must be as free as the invitation is free. If this is true, if we cannot sell so much Gospel for so much money, if the poor, the neglectful, and the wandering, must be constrained to make the Church their home, then it is right, and if it is right it is expedient. It will cost trials, hardships, and self-denials, but the duty once settled must not be questioned. If God say "Go forward," the Pillar of Fire and Pillar of Cloud will lead us to perfect safety.
The larger part of our population are men who have been reared in other communions, and every custom of the Church will be strange to them. You go among them not to be a warring son of Ishmael, with your hand against every man, and every man's hand against you; nor yet to try and teach them your shibboleth, which unbelieving lips cannot speak. You go to be the shepherd of these souls, and must win them to Christ their Saviour. [9/10] As far as in you lies you must be all things to all men; not by flattering pride, nor apologizing for error, nor by countenancing sin, but as a man among men, sharing their infirmities, bearing their trials, and seeking to win them to the truth.
Opposition will beget opposition, and though you may silence the gainsayer, he is not won. He still lurks behind his wall of prejudice; but when you have won his heart he becomes your pupil, and you may lead him wherever you will.
To remove unjust prejudice care should be taken to explain the meaning of every custom of the Church. It should be done as a friend speaking to friends, and the people urged to unite with you in worship, and so avoid that worse than heathen irreverence which sits idly gazing around the room I the hour of prayer. the service is wondrous beautiful, but no man ever knew its beauty, until, on his bended knees, it became the language of his heart.
The preacher must be the pastor. The shepherd must know his sheep, and call them all by name. It is the only way to give to your preaching that directness which will go straight to the people's hearts. In pastoral visits there must be that heartfelt interest in all that concerns the home, which makes the feel that the pastor is their truest friend, and there will always be waiting on the lips those higher Christian truths, a word of counsel, a pointing to the Cross, an invitation to the Church; and wherever it can be, a gathering of the household for prayer. There are homes where none but the pastor will every pray, and nothing so goes to the heart as Christian counsel consecrated by prayer. In pastoral visits, the wanderer and neglectful must never be passed by. They never pray. They never read God's word--they never enter His Church--their hearts are dead, but for all this we are called to save them. They must be constrained to come. At first your invitation will be unheeded--the tongue, long used to scoffs may answer with a sneer. There will come a time when God will speak to them--a wife or child will die--they will stop and think how mad their life has been, and then your words will all come back again. The open door of your Free Church will look like a blessed home, and they will com--they could not stay away, for they have at last found that they need a Christ and Saviour.
Brethren: The day has come when we are called to fulfill the Lord's command to go into the highways and hedges, and compel men to come to the feast of the Gospel.
In all your visits seek to awaken a love for God's holy word. We should all be startled if we knew how little it is read. It is [10/11] scattered everywhere; it is on every shelf; it is in every home, but men no longer treasure it as the voice of God speaking to themselves. We must help men who have lost their household altar to build it anew. There are too many godless homes, and it is something to have helped men to make their home a Bethel.
There must be Tracts and Bibles, and Books of Common Prayer, and Sunday School books scattered broadcast through the land. the door which now lets in so much evil by a depraved literature, must be the door of good to reach men's hearts. The missionary and the Diocese are too poor to provide for these wants, but there are in eastern homes thousands who love Christ's work, and who will aid you when they know what a messenger of mercy one good book is in a pioneer's home.
THERE MUST BE CATECHETICAL TEACHING.
The positive law of the Church is broken by many of the clergy and people, to the peril of children's souls. The law of the Church is that "the Ministers of every parish shall diligently, upon Sundays and holidays, or on some other convenient occasions, openly, in the Church, instruct or examine so many children of his parish sent unto him as he shall think convenient in some part of the Catechism;" and all fathers, mothers, masters and mistresses shall cause their children, servants and apprentices, who have not learned their catechism, to come to the Church at the time appointed, and obediently to hear and to be ordered by the Minister until such time as they have learned all that is here appointed to learn." The curse of irreligion, irreverence and infidelity which is desolation our land, comes form the lack of Christian training for children.
There is a whole library of sound theology in that old Church Catechism which for 300 years has given the sturdy strength to English character. its plain words of duty to God and duty to our neighbor, cover all of a Christian life. These truths planted in a child's heart are never lost. It would be a blessing if the catechism of the children was a regular service, at least once each month, for many of the people would learn out of the mouth of babes truths to make them wise unto salvation. The Sunday school, blessed though it is, cannot supply the catechizing of the Pastor. without it, the child will be very apt to regard the Sunday School as an institution outside of the Church--the one for grown men, and the other for children. This must not be. The child should hear his mother's voice and feel her fostering [11/12] care from the day he becomes God's child, in Holy Baptism. His life should be incorporated with the Church, and it made his home, and he feel himself, from childhood, a candidate for Confirmation and Holy Communion. Then there would be fewer Eli's weeping over apostate sons. These children are Lambs of Christ. they are His by creation, by redemption, by regeneration, and they have a claim on us for our Saviour's sake. In one of our rural districts, where the deepest prejudice assailed the church, we had a faithful friend and defender of the Church in an aged woman of another communion. I learned that in her childhood she had been catechized by Bishop Hobart, in St. Paul's Church, and though her life had been spent in another fold, the Catholic faith had moulded her heart. It is only by such faithful work that we can train up these brave boys to become the heralds of the Cross.
If I am right in these truths, it is a great mistake to attempt to mould these children to be earnest Christians in any school which does not recognize the Christian faith. We have no right to separate what God has joined; the spiritual and the intellectual culture must go hand in hand. It is too great odd to trust to eh work of half an hour on Sunday to undo the neglect of six days' irreligion. The child enters the school at that age when impressions are indelible, and you have saved him from a thousand pitfalls of Satan, if he is trained in a Christian school. I need not speak of those insidious falsehoods which have crept into every walk of letters, which distort the plainest facts of history, which pervert the truths of natural science, and teach a scholarship without God.
One remedy for much of this widespread evil is in the parish school, where a pastor's watchful eye shall guard his Saviour's lambs. It is a work of great difficulty, but one which over pays all toil. There are many laymen who mourn in secret over years spent in irreligion and sin, and what work so blessed as for them to foster a school where many brave-hearted boys may be trained up to be liegemen of the Cross.
THE GREATEST OF ALL PASTORAL WORK IS TO TEACH THE PEOPLE HOW TO WORK.
It is a misfortune to the Church that we have not among us more of those holy guilds of other days, which enabled many holy men and women to devote their lives to works of love and mercy--and until there is a way opened for us to restore instrumentalities for work which were once a glory to the Church; until we have [12/13] a real order of Deacons, serving Christ's flock, and caring for His poor; until we have Christian Deaconesses, who may be Sisters of Mercy to the young, the sick and the poor; until the land can point to its wayside homes of mercy, which may God hasten in his time--the people must be learned to work. As it is, well nigh all of work for God is thrown on a pastor's weary shoulders, while the laity feel too often that every duty has been done if they provide their pastor's bread. A strong individuality has crept into the religion of these latter days, not individuality of work, but of dreams and speculations, until even Christian men seem to feel that their only work is to have a comfortable assurance of a Heaven beyond the grave.
Every baptized man is Christ's soldier, and has a post of duty. The surest way heavenward is to help some one else to go there. The man who has grasped the hand of Christ must reach out his other hand to help someone else. There is no such thing as a selfish Christian. If the love of Christ is in the heart it will glow with love; it will long to do, and will find ways to do. Work brings work and brings gladness.
The Christian laity of the Church, both sons and daughters must long to testify their love for Christ.
There must be a plan, and the parish must look to the plan, and God will bless the work, and it will widen and deepen, to lead other souls to Christ. The work of the laity will be divided into Parochial, Diocesan, and Foreign Missionary work. In the parish there are teachers to be provided for the Sunday School, visitors to care for the sick and poor, lay readers to hold missionary services in the adjoining neighborhoods, and faithful committees to see that their Pastor has his daily bread. Anyone who desires, can find work to do--it is blessed work. There may be, among these lambs of Christ a boy whom you can train to be another Heber, and a life is well spent which could do such a work for God. In yonder cottage--it may be a hovel--your Lord and Master lies a sick, helpless sufferer, and though you see not in that wan face any one besides a poor pauper, the day will come that Jesus shall say: "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these my children, ye did it unto me." There is a dearth of pastors. The heart of every Bishop is faint with hearing men pleading for the bread of life. It makes one's heart ache to see these opening fields and none to send. One would say: "Would God all the people were among the prophets." If our laymen knew the power of Christian laymen--if they would only feel that they were called to [13/14] be fellow-laborers, if they would go out to plant Mission Sunday Schools, to hold, where their pastor required help, occasional lay services, to drop a word of loving invitation, to gently try to lead the wanderer to Christ, we should no longer lament over fields white [ripe?] for the harvest, and no laborers to send. This work ought all be done under a Pastor's eye. Every parish has now some such worker, most often a frail woman, made strong by the grace of God, whose work is worth to the Pastor's heart more than all the flock beside. Why should we not all be workers? It is the only way to vindicate the honor of the Bride of Christ. Too long has a sleepy church been crying, "the temple of God, the temple of God are we."
The glory of the Church is to be a working Church.
In the Diocese there are always new fields to be occupied. Our own Diocese has many such which plead for help. It is all missionary ground. I could name a score of villages which ought to have a clergyman of the Church, where now is the golden hour of opportunity, and if lost the work is marred for a score of years. There is here everything to nerve the heart to venture for God; the seed scattered here will bear fruit an hundred fold. There is here a heathen race, at our door, going down to death without a Saviour. None know what sorrow it has cost my heart to see the Church turn its back on work like this. None know what it has cost me of anguish to meet the coldness and often sneers of men in work for heathen at our door. But none of these things move me. There is love enough in the Cross for them as well as me, and I have to-day single lambs of that poor race that would overpay me an hundred fold for every thorn on which I have trod. Whatever may be your views of the prospect of Indian Missions, there are not two sides as to our duty to redress the shameless wrongs these hapless Red Men have suffered at our hands. Unless faith in God is dead, and so we have no fear of His avenging wrath, unless all sense of shame has fled, unless our hearts have lost all manliness, and we refuse to hear the plea that a Christian nation must keep its honor to its wards, we have all something to do to undo the wicked past, which makes the blackest page of our nation's history.
There must be missionary interest in missionary work. Each parish ought to have its missionary meetings, that the people might know what brave hearts are daring to do for Christ. The stories of such work in East and West, and North and South would make our hearts burn with love, and we should long to take something we called our own, and offer it unto Christ.
 The day has come when we must learn to sacrifice, to give. We did not give largely in days of prosperity, and for this our wealth has been put in a bag of holes. America has spent every week of this year more money in war than all which has been spent for missions since America was discovered. It was a mistake to rob God.
Christians must learn to give as a privilege. They must learn that alms and prayers are always to be blended. The more the people give, the more they will long to give. They will give as unto God, and according to the measure of God's law. The tenth of everything was offered as a free-will offering by the Patriarchs. It was made a part of God's law for the support of His priesthood, under the Elder Covenant, and no Christian dare to say the Gospel is here narrower than the Law. The days when the Church has lengthened her cord and strengthened her stakes, have always been days when the people have brought all the tithes into the storehouse, and then God has opened the windows of heaven, and poured out a blessing, that there was not room to receive it.
Brethren of the Laity, I have the right to speak plainly to you concerning your duty towards those who are over you in the Lord. The clergy tell me their sorrows, and where no word has been spoken, I have seen it with my own eyes. I know of no class on whom these fearful times have fallen with such crushing weight as upon the clergy. Precluded from any other avocation for relief, too sensitive to tell their trials, they have borne them as only brave soldiers of Christ could do. Not one of my missionaries has abandoned his post. Of our four self-supporting parishes only one has left, and he at the call of his country. In patience the clergy have borne their trials, and many a time, from the depths of my heart, I have thanked God that I was rich in such fellow-laborers, and I gave them all I had to give, the love of a Bishop's heart.
But brethren of the laity, have you done all you could do? I know your poverty, how these times press heavily on pioneer shoulders. I have seen on the border poverty equal to any I never met in the lanes of a city. But have you "given gladly of the little?" or have you taken it for granted that because your Pastor lived last week someway, he will get on somehow the next? If you have no money to give you can give some offering in kind, and it will often be of double value, because it tells his aching heart that you love and remember him who is over you in the Lord, and that you have not neglected your Lord's injunction, to [15/16] esteem him very highly for his work's sake. And when you give, remember it is no alms to a religious mendicant, it is simply fulfilling the law of Christ. I trust that none of you ever have or will be guilty of that shameless sin which withholds its bounden duty to God because it could not control the Pastor, or because you differed in some matter of doctrine, or opinion, or discipline. There is something so utterly unmanly in such an attempt to starve out a servant of the Most High God, I pray this meanness and this sin may never lie at any of your doors in the Day of Judgment.
The real practical difficulty is in careless indifference. One thoroughly earnest man can remedy this evil in any parish. He can talk about it--he can devise ways and means to reach other hearts--he can call out the gifts of others--he can plant his feet on simple justice--he can see that whatever his parish does, it does regularly, promptly, and cheerfully. And brethren, I wish no richer reward for such a noble-hearted man, than the blessing of God, which will surely come. There are men among us who would have been hopelessly bankrupt by these times, if God had not rewarded them for work like this. There is no place where your stores are as safe as in the treasury of God.
The Clergy have no right to shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God. No delicacy of sentiment should keep them from declaring, on the testimony of God, that "He has ordained that they who preach the Gospel shall live of the Gospel." And it was of this that it is written: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." An Apostolic Church will never have Apostolic fruit until it works in an Apostolic way. When Christian men shall take away this reproach and cease this robbery of God, we shall no longer hear of vineyards unplanted an impoverished treasury. In all our work, we need a livelier faith, a deeper love, and more perfect consecration of all we have and are to Christ. The Pastor must be to the people none other than the Ambassador for Christ, to whom they look in all things as their shepherd to lead them to the green pastures of Divine truth. The people must be to us as the Lord's dear family, whom He has purchased with His own precious blood. We live too far apart--we do not feel each other's beating hearts. There are too many motes to blind our eyes, and keep us from seeing the image of Christ firmed in each other's hearts. Our very isolation in missionary work tends to strong individuality of character, and is apt to beget jealousy and [16/17] impatience of control. We need, most of all, nearness to Christ. We must gain it by devout prayer, by diligent study of God's Word; by frequent communion, by daily ever renewed consecration unto God. Whenever this shall come to us in Apostolic measure, we shall vindicate the honor of an Apostolic Church by Apostolic fruit. I sum up all of holy work for Christ in these few words: Take your stand as men beside the dying men, and from the needs of your own souls, proclaim man's lost estate by sin, his utter helplessness and need, and when you have caught their ear, point them out of themselves to an Incarnate Saviour. Tell them of His infinite love--that He became their brother--that He redeemed them on the Cross--that He is their Mediator and friend on the right hand of God. Tell them often of the stories of His love, as found in Holy Gospel, and bring these stories home with all the love of one who has found Christ a Saviour. Then when men's eyes are fastened on the Cross, teach them to seek for the Holy Spirit to re-create and renew their fallen nature, until they, poor sinful men, are transformed into likeness of Jesus Christ. And, above all, teach them that religion has to do with this workday world--that it is not alone for sentimental people, or for the sick, the aged, and the dying--it is God's gift for that earnest man whose pulse beats with life at its full tide--it is for that man whose busy hand and head make him a motive power, and who needs, above all other men, faith in God.
Brethren: We need a higher life, a deeper life, a life of faith to do such work well. We are living in one of the most wonderful periods of history, when the world seems to move with a quicker step. It is an age of workers, and the religion that can control such men, must vindicate itself by its fruit, as the gift of God.
Brethren: The end we ought to seek is to win this whole State to Christ. We are not here to make a dignified sect for the worldly, the fashionable, and the wealthy. God sent us here to extend an Apostolic Church. We are all of yesterday, but the Church was planted in Jerusalem. This Diocese is a branch of the vine which the Lord planted. It must either grow, and bud, and bear abundant fruit, or wither and die. Its growth depends alone on work and grace. Its life comes alone from Jesus Christ. Three years of our work have ended. My heart misgives me as I think how little has been done. I feel to-day as if our only place was at the [17/18] foot of the cross. For all your love, which has been like music to my heart, for all your work, your faith, I thank you. You know not how often a Bishop's robes cover an aching heart. You know not what St. Paul meant by the "care of all the Churches." Some things have bee gained. You love each other better. Your hearts are nearer than three years ago, and I trust the day will come when ours shall be a union without a cloud, and our hearts be as the heart of one man in love for each other, and love for Christ.