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Price Threepence


Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2007


IT is simply an act of justice to put on record a few facts connected with the endowment of this sermon.

In the year 1847, the necessary means for securing the annual delivery of a sermon, in full term, at St. Mary's, on the "Extension of the Church in the Colonies and Dependencies" were placed at the disposal of J. H. MARKLAND, Esq., of Bath, for seventeen years Treasurer, and throughout his whole life a warm supporter, of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. A similar endowment, at the suggestion of the same excellent Churchman, was subsequently obtained for the University of Cambridge.

The benevolent founder was a steady supporter of the same Society--an aged lady, "full of good works and alms-deeds," who added to them, as one of the last, the endowment of this sermon--naturally and appropriately called after her name, the "RAMSDEN Sermon."


"I am a debtor to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise....I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."--ROM. i. 14-16.

THE love of God which comes from heaven makes the world akin. We cannot grasp the hand of the Saviour and not reach out the other hand to help someone else. We cannot out of the depth of our own hearts say "Our Father," and not remember wandering brothers whom we may lead to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. It is a pleasure for a kinsman of a sister church on this glad feast of Whitsunday to tell of the triumphs of Jesus Christ, our King, in the labours of the Church of English-speaking people. I have no tale of the hardships of missionary life. The life of a messenger of Jesus Christ is the happiest life God ever gave to man. Our Master lays no heavier burdens upon His servants than many of the children of this world take upon their shoulders for their selfish ends. It is no harder to go to Africa to die for Christ than it is for a soldier to die for his country.

There never has been a time since our Lord ascended into heaven when a Christian should be so glad that he can live and work: no period when so many heathen folk have found manhood and freedom in the fold of Jesus Christ. In our day the Providence of God has broken down impenetrable barriers--the doors of hermit nations have been opened--secrets hid in the storehouse of God's bounty from the morning of Creation have been revealed for the use of man. Man has created nothing. Invenio--he has found. All these have prepared "a highway for our God."

I reverently believe that as the Greek language and [3/4] Roman civilization prepared the way for the first preaching of the Gospel, so God designs that the Church of English-speaking people shall lead in the work which is to be done in the eventide of the world. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth there were two persons who spoke the Spanish language to one who spoke the English tongue. To-day one hundred and fifty millions speak English, and nearly one-third of the population of the world is under English-speaking governments. It is a marvel of history that the continent of America was unoccupied by civilization for thousands of years--that after Spain, Holland and France had claimed it for a possession, God gave it to the Anglo-Saxon, and ordained that this race should receive into itself the people of divers races and kindreds, and give to them its religion, its customs, and its laws. I believe it is because the Church of the Anglo-Saxon carries in her hands an open Bible and her condition of Christian fellowship is faith in the Incarnate Son of God as taught in the Apostolic creeds. Since the nobles of England, under the lead of Bishop Stephen Langton, wrung from King John the Magna Charta, this race has taught loyalty to government as a delegated trust from God who alone has the right to govern, and has declared the sacredness of the rights of the individual, the truths on which rests the possibility of constitutional government.

The first record of Christian worship on the Continent of America was that of the celebration of the Holy Communion in 1578, by Master Wolfal, Chaplain to Martin Frobisher on the shores of Hudson Bay. About the same time the Rev. Martin Fletcher celebrated the Holy Communion in the Bay of San Francisco, which fact is commemorated by a cross erected by George W. Childs of Philadelphia. In 1583 Divine Service was held in the Bay of St. John's, Newfoundland, by the Chaplain of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. The mantle of Gilbert fell on Sir Walter Raleigh, who was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth to bear the Evangel of God's love to the New World. The faith of these adventurers was seen in a woodcut of Raleigh's vessel at anchor with the cross at the masthead and a clergyman standing on the prow with an open Bible. The Seal of the Colony [4/5] of Massachusetts had the figure of an Indian with outstretched arms, and the motto "Come and help us." To those who pity these brown children of our Father, it is a blessed incident that the first baptism on the Continent of America was that of an Indian Chief Manteo. Missionary services were not unlike those of pioneer Bishops--"We did hang an awning to the trees to shield us from the sun. Our walls were rails of wood, our seats were unhewn trees, and our pulpit a bar of wood." In this Church the Rev. Robert Hunt celebrated the Holy Communion, June 21, 1607. The missionary spirit of the times was seen when Lord Delaware and his associates went in procession to the Temple Church to receive the Holy Communion. The Rev. Richard Crashaw said in his sermon: "Go forward in the strength of the Lord. Look not for wealth. You go to win the heathen to Christ. Make the name of Christ honourable. What blessings any nation has had by Christ must be given to all the nations of the earth." Disease and death blighted the Colonies, and immoral adventurers marred the work, and yet men like the saintly Alexander Whittaker, who baptised Pocahontas, rang out the old battle-cry: "God will found the State and build the Church." The first elective assembly of the New World was held in the Church in Jamestown in 1619.

A new life dawned on the Church in America when, in 1701, "The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts " was organised. Princess Anne, afterwards Queen of England, became its patron. The blessed mission to the Mohawks was due to her. She provided costly vessels for the Holy Communion, and gave endowments to the Church. But for her untimely death, we believe that the Episcopate would have been given to America. For two hundred years the Church in America had no bishops: no child of the Church received Confirmation; no one could receive Holy Orders without crossing the Atlantic, where every three in five candidates for Orders died from disease or shipwreck. The Church of England had not learned (in the words of Bishop Selwyn) that "her first missionary to foreign lands should be a bishop, because the bishop, like a tree, having seed within itself, has the power to create a native ministry."

[6] Notwithstanding the neglect of their mother, the Churchmen of America loved the mother land. They were loyal God-fearing Englishmen. The first act of the Continental Congress was to appoint a day of fasting and prayer for reconciliation with the parent country, and it was not until King and Parliament denied them the rights of Englishmen, that the separation came and the colonies became an independent nation. In God's providence, the hour had come for a nation to be born--a nation which we believe will stand side by side with you in the evangelisation of the world.

On the Feast of the Annunciation, 1783, the clergy of Connecticut, most of whom had been missionaries of the venerable society, elected the Rev. Samuel Seabury bishop, and sent him to ask consecration of the bishops of England. Finding the legal difficulties insurmountable, after fourteen months of weary waiting, God led him to the persecuted Church of Scotland, and from her bishops he received his commission as the first Apostle of the New World. On February 4, 1787, the English bishops consecrated the Rev. William White Bishop of Pennsylvania, and the Rev. Samuel Provoost the Bishop of New York. There was not before this time one Bishop of the Anglican Communion outside of Britain. From that day the Church of England has been a nursing mother to the nations. There are 78 bishops in the United States, 22 in Canada and Newfoundland, 9 in the West Indies and Central and South America, 23 in Asia, 18 in Africa, and 22 in Australasia, all representing dioceses and all shepherds of the flock of Christ. Of the Church in the United States I will only say that a Church which at the time of the American Revolution was scattered along the Atlantic Coast is now co-extensive with the Republic. Every state and territory has its bishop. Her voice is heard in the miners' camp, in the school-house on the frontier, in the wigwam of the Indian, and sturdy heralds of the Cross are in the forefront of that mighty movement which will people our lands with millions of souls. It is to the honour of the Church in the United States that she has been the first to propose a plan for the reunion of [6/7] Protestant Christendom. She recognises the validity of all Christian baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The things which separate kinsmen in Christ are not necessary for salvation. The truths in which all Christians agree are contained in the Catholic Creeds. The bishops of the whole Anglican Church have adopted the declaration set forth by the Church in the United States that we will surrender all which is temporary and of human choice for the sake of our kinsmen in Christ. But we cannot give up truths for which the Church is a trustee. These truths are the Bible, the inspired Word of God; the two sacraments appointed by Christ--the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds--as sufficient declaration of the faith, and the three-fold ministry of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.

We may not see it, but these hedges builded in the garden of the Lord will be, yes, are being cast down; "the watchman shall see eye to eye." The prayer of our Lord will be answered "that they all may be one"....that "the world may believe."

The Anglican Church has no record more blessed than that of the bishops and clergy of Canada. The mantle of Bishop Mountain has fallen on his successors. I wish I could tell you the story of Bishop John Horden, who lived forty years amid the solitudes of Hudson Bay, who translated the Bible into the Indian language and won whole heathen tribes to Jesus Christ; of Archbishop Machray, the successor of Bishop Anderson, whose diocese has been divided into eight sees, and who for his ripe scholarship, rare wisdom, and deep piety, has been made "Primate of all Canada"; of Bishop Bompas, whose home is within the Arctic Circle, and who did not attend the last Lambeth Conference because he could not come and return in one year; of the Bishop of Athabasca, who, when I offered to send him books and papers, said, "I have only one mail a year." I cannot tell you the story of the trials and triumphs of these Christian heroes. It is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. Often and often in the dark days of our Indian Missions I have been cheered and helped by their labours of love for heathen folk. The Rev. John [7/8] West was the first Missionary to North West Canada. He gave the Communion to a dying Indian, who, after the Communion, reached out his hand towards heaven, and said, "O Jesus, who died for me, I give Thee my only son to become Thy minister to tell my people of Thy love." He smiled and said, "He has heard my prayer," and died. That boy was then twelve years of age. Bishop Anderson said, "I have no man among my clergy who so moves my heart and blinds my eyes with tears as does that Indian, the Rev. Henry Budd, when he tells of a Saviour's love." Thirty-six years ago, I met a manly young English clergyman on his way to Rupert's Land; I loved him. Six years after I asked his bishop if he heard often from my young friend, McDonald. He said, "Not often, he has only one mail a year." A few years later, McDonald paid me a visit. He was on his way to England to print the Gospel for seven hundred Indians whom he had baptised.

When I was consecrated Bishop of Minnesota, our Indian missions seemed hopeless. The Indians had sunk to a depth of degradation which their heathen fathers had not known. They hated white men. Friends advised me not to undertake Indian missions. I carried it where I take all troubles, and I promised the Saviour, that, He helping me, I would never turn my back on the heathen at my door. For three years we worked hopefully, and then came the awful massacre of 1862. Our western border was a track of blood. Eight hundred of our citizens slept in nameless graves. Our mission houses and Indian churches were destroyed, but when we heard, from the Indian country we were overpaid; the Christian Indians of the Presbyterian and our Church Missions had saved two hundred white women and children from death; we began work again. There are now more Christian Indians in Minnesota than there were white communicants of the Church when I became a bishop. We have seven Indian clergymen and ten Indian churches; one incident I mention to show how God's blessing follows loving work. At my first visit to the Dacotah Indians, Wa-kean-washte, Good Thunder, told me that he had a little daughter whom he wanted to be [8/9] educated like a white woman. I took the child to my home and placed her in our Indian school; she was baptised and named after our gentle poetess, Lydia Sigourney; she became ill; I wrote to Good Thunder, and when he told his Indian friends of Lydia's illness they said: "It is all your fault; you gave your child to the white man, and he placed her in a school with the children of the Ojibways, who are our enemies; they have poisoned her; she will die." Poor Good Thunder came to my home and sadly told me what the Indians had said. When Lydia heard the story she said: "Father, there are no enemies among Christ's children; the Ojibway girls love me as I love them; they bring me flowers and berries every day. We are sisters, father; we love Jesus." Wa-kean-washte desired to take his child home, and knowing the prejudice against Indians, I wrote this letter: "To all white people,--Wa-kean-washte is taking his child home to die; she is a lamb of Jesus; will you not be kind to her for His sake, who said, 'Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it unto Me?'" and signed my name. When I met Good Thunder, he told me with deep feeling how kind white people were to his child. I was permitted to be present at Lydia's death; she told her sorrowing father that she was going to the home of her Saviour, and asked him to become a Christian and meet her there. It won the father to Christ. "A little child shall lead them." Little did I think that this child's death was to make of an heathen man a Christian hero. When the outbreak of 1862 came, he was the protector of helpless women and children when the savage leader boasted that the English in Canada would join in war on the whites. Wa-kean-washte would say, "Why do you not tell the truth? Tell them the English are ruled by a Christian woman, and that she would not touch one of your bloody hands with her little finger." They cried "Shoot him"; he replied, "Shoot me; you cannot make me tell a lie." I have known many brave disciples, but none whom I love more than old Wa-kean-washte, who was the first Dacotah baptised into the Church of our Lord. I wish I could tell you of the glorious work of our Apostolic Bishop Hare, of the many [9/10] hundreds of Dacotahs won to Christ, of his noble band of Indian clergy. When you reach the other home you will meet many of those men of the trembling eye and wandering foot, who will sing with you the song of the redeemed.

At the time the missions of the Church of England were commenced in Virginia, Queen Elizabeth gave a charter to English merchants to trade in India. No provision was made to give the Gospel to those who were brought into subjection to the English Crown. The first missionaries to India were Marshman, Carey and Ward. The motto of Carey was "Attempt great things for God; expect great things from God." Carey translated the Bible and began the work of Christian education in India. The story of Carey's life read in the room of Charles Simeon led Henry Martyn to consecrate his life as a missionary to India. When he asked permission to go there, the Governor of the East India Company said, "The man who would go there on that errand is as mad as a man who would put a torch to a powder magazine." He went to India as a chaplain. He saw little fruit from his labour. He left behind him translations worthy of the first Wrangler of his University, and his first native convert was the first East Indian ordained to the sacred ministry. One of the sons of this venerable University, William Wilberforce, at the renewal of the East Indian charter secured the absolute toleration of the Christian religion and the creation of the Bishopric of Calcutta. The right of the Church to send a bishop to India was grudgingly given. Bishop Middleton was consecrated in private, and the sermon preached at his consecration was suppressed. I cannot tell the story of missions in India. No land has had greater leaders, none have faced greater difficulties. We recognise in all religions the cry of humanity for help, but the only religion which tells how God has reached out His hand to help man is the religion of Jesus Christ. Christianity has given to this down-trodden people the protection of law and personal rights. Well did Keshub Chunder Sen say "Jesus Christ has conquered India." Hard battles are to be fought and weary work is to be done, but there has been no failure--there are more Christians in India than [10/11] there are communicants of the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Adoniram Judson was a confessor for Christ in Burmah. Once, imprisoned in an empty lion's cage, in the anguish of his soul he cried, "My people have forgotten me; O God, do not Thou forget me." In the city of Mandalay where he was imprisoned and where the blood of young girls was poured as a libation to consecrate the new bronze gates of the city, a Church has been consecrated which represents the faith of thousands of native Christians. Out of the labours of Judson the Gospel was carried to the Karens; they out of their poverty not only gave large gifts for missions, but builded a university at the cost of fifty thousand rupees.

Missions in Japan are too recent to estimate their success. Forty years ago one of our American sailors, Commodore Perry, cast anchor in the harbour of Yeddo. He called his officers and crew together for public worship. They sang that old hymn, "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow." It was the first message this hermit nation received from her young sister of the West. There was then a statute in Japan--"If any Christian shall set his foot on the Island of Japan, or if the Christian's God, Jesus, shall come, he shall be beheaded." Japan now has a constitutional government, the Christian calendar, and more than a million of children in schools, many of whom are under Christian teachers. A distinguished citizen of Japan said, "It is well known that our people have lost faith in their old religion. These men of the West tell us that Jesus Christ is behind their civilisation--we ought to hear them and judge what they say." The first Bishop of Japan was our Bishop Williams. A friend said, as he left for China, "You will come home." The Bishop replied, "I shall go home, but I shall not come home." The Japanese feel the need of a life-giving religion. Christianity is tolerated by authority. There are six bishops in Japan, a native ministry has been created, and plans have been made for an independent Japanese Church. Rationalism, falsely so called, has created obstacles to Christian work, but the tidal wave of infidelity with them, as with us, is [11/12] receding. The late war has proved that in loyalty and love of country Christians stand foremost among citizens. The land is open for the ambassador for Christ.

When we remember that China has been compelled at the cannon's mouth to receive that deadly drug which destroys body and soul, that the Chinese have been persecuted in Christian lands, it is a marvel that the country is open to Christian missions. The Bible has been translated into the Mandarin tongue by Bishop Schereschewsky. China has a native ministry. The influence of western civilization upon Japan, the memory of their deliverance by General Gordon, the influence of Christian civilization upon their people in foreign lands, the visit of their late Prime Minister to America may all be means to advance the kingdom of Christ. One of our clergy--a native Chinaman--was present at a meeting called to assail Christianity. The speakers repeated scoffs and jests as old as Celsus. An opportunity was offered for volunteer speakers. The young clergyman came forward and, with a voice trembling with emotion, said. "My countrymen, you have eyes to see--I ask you who have builded hospitals in China? Who have established schools for Chinese children? Have these men (turning to the platform) been busy with works of mercy? Have they had hearts to pity and hands to bind up the wounds of Chinamen? No! orphanages and hospitals have been builded for Jesus Christ by those who love Him and love those for whom He died. Chinamen! Who bring here that deadly drug which is poisoning the life-blood of China? Have the missionaries sold you opium? No! The men who are engaged in that unholy traffic are here--they are those who revile our Saviour Jesus Christ." There is no room for fear--we can say as Morrison said to the English merchant who asked him, "Do you think you can reach the heart of the stolid Chinese?" "No," said Morrison, "but God will."

I turn to that dark continent which has had more anguish and woe than any land on the earth. Forty years ago in a cottage in Scotland, an aged man said to his son, "David, you will have family prayer to-day, for when we part we shall not meet until we meet before the great white [12/13] throne." David Livingstone read the 34th Psalm, the keynote of his wonderful life. He poured out his heart in prayer, and so he went to the Bechuana country in Africa. He was a carpenter, a blacksmith, a physician, but above all a messenger of Jesus Christ. One day, with about as much preparation as I make to go to the north woods of Minnesota, he left for the unknown regions of Central Africa. It was along the route of the slave traders. Again and again he came to a place where some poor woman had fainted in the chain gang, and had been bound to a tree to be stung to death by insects. No marvel that he wrote in his journal and blotted it with his tears, "O God, when will the great sore of the world be healed?" When you remember that the followers of the false Prophet are the only people engaged in the traffic in human flesh, and that to the poor African it means slavery or death, you have the explanation of the progress of Mohammedanism in Africa. One day David Livingstone was found dead in an African hut on his knees in prayer. That life hid with Christ in God had so impressed these poor black men that they did that which is a marvel of history. They wrapped the body in leaves and covered it with pitch. They carried it nine months on their shoulders. They cut their way through thickets, they fought hostile tribes, they swam swollen rivers. At last they stood at the door of the Consul in Zanzibar and said, "We have brought the man of God to be buried with his people," and so David Livingstone sleeps in Westminster Abbey. Stanley took up Livingstone's work. He travelled nine hundred and ninety-nine days, and the thousandth day reached the sea coast. In all that journey he did not meet one person who had heard that Jesus Christ had come into the world. The Universities' Mission was founded in answer to Livingstone's prayer. "I return to Africa and shall die there; I leave it to you to see that the door which I have opened for Christianity shall not be closed." The annals of the Church have no nobler names than the Bishops of Central Africa, Mackenzie, Hannington, Steere, Tozer, Smythies, Tucker, men of whom the world was not worthy. The Church Missionary Society heard the appeal of Stanley. It has never faltered in laying foundations [13/14] for Christianising Africa. Its missionary ranks have been thinned by death and martyrdom. At one time only one teacher was left, the brave Mackay. In 1883 there were only five converts. Now there are more than two hundred places of Christian worship, there is an attendance of over 25,000. Four thousand were baptized in one year. There are over 200 native Evangelists. At one visitation 2,025 were confirmed and one hundred thousand have been brought in contact with the Gospel. Ten thousand copies of the New Testament are in circulation. There are other miracles of missions in Africa. Bishop Gray with the zeal of an Athanasius laid the foundations of the Church in South Africa. In 1821 among the captives taken by the Mohammedan slave hunters was Adjai, a boy of twelve years. He was sold to the Portuguese, rescued by a British cruiser and placed in the school of the Rev. Mr. Weeks at Sierra Leone. He became a teacher, a deacon, a priest, and was the first native African elevated to the episcopate. In the diocese of Sierra Leone there is a native church, a native ministry, and many thousands have been won to Christ. Time forbids me to tell the story of the heroic men and women who have laid down their lives for Christ in Africa. There are sadder things in Africa than missionary graves. The Church in the United States has two African bishops and a noble band of labourers, on whom the mantle of our Hoffman, Paine and Auer has fallen. Surely the old prophecy is being fulfilled, "Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands to God." The first gift which I received for Indian missions came from the converted Africans of Cape Palmas.

I turn to another quarter of the world--Australasia, New Zealand, and Polynesia. When I was a boy there was but one English Settlement there--Botany Bay--and it was the cesspool of civilization. Since our Lord ascended into heaven the Church has had no greater standard-bearers than Marsden, Selwyn, and the martyred Patteson and their successors. Bishop Selwyn, speaking of the labours of Marsden, said, "We see a nation of pagans converted to the faith. People who were once so degraded that there seemed no trace of God's image, are sitting at [14/15] the feet of Jesus clothed and in their right mind." I owe a debt of grateful love to Bishop Selwyn, who visited Minnesota in a dark day of Indian missions to tell the story of the Maoris and plead for the wandering Indians.

In 1838 John Hunt, a Wesleyan Missionary, went to the Fiji Islands. Infanticide, parricide, and cannibalism were everywhere. History has no record of deeper degradation. In 1840 our Commodore Wickes touched at these Islands, and seeing the apparent hopelessness of the work, and pitying the brave missionary and his sick wife, he offered to send them home in one of his ships. They refused this offer. Those Islands have been won to Christ. Out of 110,000 souls, 90,000 are habitual attendants at Christian worship. The story of the missions of Terra del Fuego made Charles Darwin say, "The missionary is the enchanter's wand to redeem humanity." I have not spoken of the Moravian missions, whose motto was Agnus noster vicit si sequimur, "Our Lamb has conquered if we follow Him." Nor of much of the work which is being done by Christians not of our branch of the Church, but thank God they are our kinsfolk. They who have been baptised into Christ, and have received the Holy Spirit, however separated by the hedges of man's making, are one in Jesus Christ. There will be no strangers in that company who sing the song of the redeemed. Shall we not recognise there as our brother David Livingstone the Presbyterian, who gave his life for Africa, and Father Damien, the Roman Catholic, who became a leper that he might tell other lepers of Jesus Christ, and the Baptist Carey, the first missionary of India? There will be no walls of separation over there. Shall we not work and pray and wait? Shall we not rejoice as do the angels in heaven over every soul won to Christ? It is with some of us towards evening. We are nearer home. When we reach there, next to seeing the Saviour, next to having the old ties reunited, will be the joy of meeting those whom our alms, our prayers, and our labour have led home.

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