Project Canterbury

Early Days of My Episcopate
by the Right Rev. William Ingraham Kip, D.D.

New York: T. Whittaker, 1892.

Chapter II. Consecration

WHEN I look back to the election and consecration, everything seems to me like a dream. The consecration was over before I had recovered from the first effects of the surprise produced by the election.

When I reached New York, I found the House of Bishops on the point of adjourning. They had been in session about three weeks and each one was impatient to get home to his Diocese. They insisted, therefore, on the consecration at once taking place. In fact, so hurried was this matter, that I never received any official notice of my election nor did I in any way send an acceptance. The Bishops talked to me as if my going were taken for granted, and they acted accordingly.

Our Presiding Bishop,--Brownell of Connecticut,--from his age and growing infirmities, was too much exhausted by the long sitting of the House to officiate at the consecration. As I was to be the first Missionary Bishop sent to the Pacific, he appointed to act as consecrator in his place, Bishop Kemper, the first Missionary Bishop ever elected in our Church. It was an arrangement very agreeable to my own views and feelings, as Bishop Kemper had always been a strong friend of mine; but it was attended with one disadvantage. As the senior Bishop present must consecrate, it prevented all those who were above Bishop Kemper on the list from being present. Bishop Hopkins (Vermont), Doane (New Jersey), and Otey (Tennessee), with a number of others, were obliged to absent themselves, though in the city.

The consecration was appointed to take place in Trinity Church, New York, the next week, on October 28th, the Festival of St. Simon and St. Jude. The Bishops who took part in the services were, Kemper (Wisconsin), A. Lee (Delaware), Boone (Foreign Missionary Bishop to China), Freeman (Arkansas), Burgess (Maine), Upfold (Indiana), Whitehouse (Illinois), and Wainwright (New York). Besides these, two clergymen were present from our mother Church of England, and read the lessons. These were the Venerable Archdeacon Trew, of Nassau, West Indies, and Edmund Hobhouse, Fellow of Morton College, Oxford, since appointed Bishop of Nelson in New Zealand. The presentation of the candidate was to have been made by my old friends, Bishops Whittingham and Wainwright. The former, however, was too ill to leave his room, and Bishop Upfold was substituted. Bishop Brownell appointed, to deliver the sermon, my brother-in-law, Bishop Burgess of Maine. His discourse was from I Thess. i. 5--"For our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance, as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake." From this eloquent production I must make two extracts. The first is his description of California:--

"In this foremost temple of the great mart and metropolis of this new western world, we are assembled for a work which cannot be without fruit in distant regions. From this spot, and from the act which we are now to accomplish, the course, if Providence favors it, is straight to the Golden Gate which opens towards eastern Asia. lie who shall enter there as the first Protestant Bishop, will see before him the land "which is the treasure house of this Republic. Behind it are the vales and rivers and snowy mountains, which are to our far west the farther west, and amidst them lie the seats of that abominable and sensual impiety,[the cry of which goes up to heaven, like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, from the valley of the Dead Salt Sea Still beyond spread the deserts which divide, but will not long divide, the Christians of this continent. Upon the edge of this vast field he will stand when he shall place his foot on the shore of the Pacific. There he is to labor, and there, in the common course of Providence, are to be his lifelong abode and his grave. There ho is to be occupied in laying the foundations of a Church which must be a pillar and ground of the truth for wide lands and for unborn millions. While it retains and upholds the doctrine and the discipline of the Apostles, it must pre-eminently shine as a city set on an hill, and as a light of the world. Few of the issues can he live to witness. But, in the years to come, if years are given him, ho must recall the prospects which opened upon him in this hour, and again when ho saw the coast of that "Western Ocean."

The other is the conclusion,--the address to the candidate--which draws a picture of the difficulties to be encountered, which each year has since realized:--

"And now, my dear brother, now, more than ever before, this work is to be made yours, with the highest responsibilities, the largest sphere, the most various tasks, and I will not refrain from adding, the most peculiar perils. It is not the Episcopate alone, nor the Missionary Episcopate alone. It is an Episcopate to be exercised where fellow laborers are still to be gathered; where seminaries are yet to be founded; where congregations are mostly to be begun. There is no past on which you can lean; and it is more than possible that around you will be little of that support which we need and find among the incitements and encouragements of well-established Christian communities. The minister of Christ whose charge is remote and lonely, must walk with God, or sink into spiritual slumber; for no mortal aid will fan continually the flame upon his inward altar. You go where thirst for gold, impatience of restraint, the vices of adventurers, and all the ills of unavoidable lawlessness, have been before you; where the softening and instructive influences of old age and of childhood, can, as yet, be little known, and where female piety throws but a small measure of its familiar light over the surface and the heart of society. A lover of the world, a pleaser of men, a reed shaken by the wind, has nowhere his place among the standard bearers of Christ; but least of all, on such an outpost, beleaguered by such temptations,

But of the scene of your labors you will soon know much more than any of us now understand from afar. There is one armor, and but one, which will prepare you both to defend your own soul, and to carry forward the banner of Christ and of His Church. Many prayers ascend for you in this house; they can ask for you nothing so needful and so precious as an humble, steadfast, upright heart in every change; for simplicity and godly sincerity will bear you through all safe and successful. Of all things which are at war with these, I say to you, in the name of the Church which sends you, and in the words of the Apostle to an ancient Bishop,--'O man of God, nee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, and before Jesus Christ, that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.' We shall part at the table of our Saviour, we who are assembled here from such various and distant portions of His vineyard. My dear brother, when the whole length and breadth of our vast country shall lie between you and some who are nearest to your heart; when it shall seem to you almost as if the grave had separated you from those to whom you have so long ministered; feel that you are beloved; feel that you are remembered in daily and nightly prayers; feel that the whole Church accompanies you with its eager hopes; and be strong and watch over your deeds and words and thoughts; that through the grace of the Holy Spirit, you may be blameless and faithful to the end, and that the word of God may have free course and be glorified. And when all saints shall be gathered at last, to sit down with Apostles and with patriarchs in the Kingdom of Heaven, may we and many for whom we labor, be numbered among those who shall come thither from the east and from the west!"

The day opened with a driving rain storm, which continued through the morning. At noon, however, it cleared and the sun came out brightly. The Church Journal gave the following beautiful account of this change:--

"The weather was exceedingly unpleasant during the early part of the morning, but after the consecration of the Bishop, and as the Communion office was proceeding, the clouds broke away, and a gleam of tinted sunshine fell upon the altar and lighted up the sanctuary. This was beautifully illustrative of the history of the Church in. California. The beginnings have long been overcast with storms and clouds, overhung with darkness and gloom. But now that a Bishop has been consecrated for her, and clergy will flock with him to labor in the desolate places of that spiritual wilderness, we doubt not that the clouds will ere long break, and roll away, and the All-glorious Sun of Righteousness will shine cheeringly upon a land abundantly bringing forth her increase."

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