Project Canterbury


The Centenary of the British Colonial




Preached in S. Paul's Cathedral, London


Wednesday, June 22, 1887


186th Anniversary of the Society for the Propaga-
tion of the Gospel in Foreign Parts











THE text, whether we consider the occasion of its original utterance, or its use as giving us the key-note of our service to-day, calls not so much for exegesis as for praise. The bidding is to prayer. The promise has cheered the longing hearts of many generations. Its fulfilment,--as, in the mighty workings of GOD'S Spirit, the heathen are converted and the utmost parts of the earth are possessed for CHRIST,--excites our reverent and adoring thanksgiving, and demands our willing public recognition. David's words are far-reaching in their meaning and application. They imply [5/6] that the intensity of our desire is the measure of the gift of GOD. The Church's longing for the coming of the Kingdom,--the spirit of prayer inciting us to labor and love,--will be the precursors of the ingathering of the heathen;--the possession of the ends of the earth.

The application of these words of promise to our reformed Catholic Church can not be questioned;--appropriateness to this occasion, calling us from afar to recite the wonders GOD has wrought through the instrumentality of this Society--venerable for its years and labors; crowned with glorious successes,--is apparent to all men. We have only to re member that this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith"--the faith of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. We have only to recall the story of past triumphs and review the present prospects of speedy success, to feel the deepening of our trust, the intensifying of our longing for the full and final coming of the Kingdom of our dear Lord. If, then, our words to-day are historical, they are extracts from the pages of the annals of redemption. If we seem to dwell too much on the story of successes achieved, it is met by the full confession all the while that "not unto us, not unto us is the praise," that we thank GOD for what he has wrought for us and take courage. If we attempt to recount the history of a century of development and distinguished advances, it is alone that the desire for the promised [6/7] inheritance may be ours, and we ourselves incited to willing work and ceaseless prayer for the accomplishment of this great end.

The King whom we serve came to seek and to save the lost. The Kingdom He set up was designed to bring under its sway all the nations of the earth. The citizens of this Kingdom were to be the heralds of its aim and being to those who knew not its King JESUS and owned not His sway. The prayer of the Kingdom was the petition for its coming in every heart, in all the world. The Church--the Kingdom,---was therefore committed by its Founder, its purpose, its charter, its very existence, to measures for its extension on every side. Its leaders, the apostles of the glad tidings, heard and obeyed the call to go forward. Its humblest members went every where proclaiming the word of life. Ere the earliest champions of the Kingdom, after life-long trials and toil, entered upon their rest, the earth was filled with this new doctrine that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. In their tireless efforts to accomplish their mi they had reached the utmost parts of the then known world. With an enthusiasm necessarily aggressive, and a purpose brooking no defeat, the setting up of the Kingdom of our Lord was at length accomplished in this favored land, and the history of the Church of England is a striking commentary on the bidding and the conditional promise of our text. When the desire for the [7/8] extension of the Kingdom has been deep and controlling, the heathen have been converted. When this longing and labor for souls has been lost sight of, the wheels of the Church's triumphal chariot have been taken off;--her progress has been stayed. The missionary spirit is proved to be the measure of the Church's life and success. The aggressive Church is reciprocally a praying and a working Church, and the prayers are both the evidence, the incentive, the measure of the work and its triumph. History bears out this statement. In those early days, when from this very land apostolic men went every where preaching the word of life, and administering the Sacraments to those dying in their sins, England was the land of the Saints, and the desire of the Church for the promised inheritance and possession of souls was gratified. GOD give these days of desire and labor, these ingatherings of souls again!

In the new life and zeal accompanying the return to Catholicity and primitive practice and belief in the sixteenth century, the desire for the conversion of the nations, which had slumbered since those earlier days when England sought to bring the surrounding nations to CHRIST, revived. The voyages of discovery and colonization in the western world, marking the early years of the reformed Church of Eng land, were acts of faith. The extension of CHRIST'S kingdom and the conversion of the heathen were first and foremost among the reasons [8/9] moving some of the noblest spirits and holiest men the world has ever seen to under take the conquest and settlement of the western continent. The Church and State of Eng land went hand in hand in this mission for mutual advantage. And thus it was that the first Englishmen who trod the soil now possessed by the United States of America had with them a priest of English orders, and Francis Fletcher, chaplain of Sir Francis Drake's expedition Anno Domini in 1579, ministered for six weeks to the aborigines as well as to the crew of "The Golden Hind," on the shores of San Francisco Bay, years before the Spaniards had discovered the land of gold.

Thus is was that "Master Wolfall," who ac companied Frobisher in his expedition to the north-west, about the same time, by daily mattins and evensong, and by solemn Sacraments, in the ice-bound "Meta Incognita" of the Hudson's Bay Territory, took possession of this utmost part" of the North American continent, for England's Church. Thus it was that the baptism of Manteo, the first Indian convert to the Church of CHRIST, and that of Virginia Dare, the first English child born on American soil, at Raleigh's ill-starred colony at Roanoke on the North Carolina shore, in 1587, were the first Sacraments redeeming to CHRIST and CHRIST'S Church the North Atlantic coast. Thus it was that the cross raised by Waymouth on the coast of Maine in 1602, and the services [9/10] of the Rev. Richard Seymour in the little church erected in Fort St. George at the mouth of the Sagadahoc in 1607, consecrated to CHRIST the New England shores thirteen years before the landing of the Puritans on Plymouth Rock. The desire for souls impelling men to do and dare these things was no empty wish. It was rather an ardent longing, leading priests and laymen to peril life itself in their efforts to win the heathen to CHRIST and His Church.

The work once undertaken knew no cessation. More than two thousand English priests, whose names have been preserved, lived and labored on the American continent, and the islands adjacent, prior to the separation of the American Colonies from the Mother land; and the promised return for the desire so fully proclaimed by the lives and deeds of this noble band of missioners, who gave themselves to life long privations and self-denying toil among the aborigines as well as the English immigrants, is seen in the Church of the United States, which, with its seventy Bishops and its four thousand clergy, rises up to call "its dear Mother," the Church of England, "blessed," and gratefully acknowledges in the Preface to her Book of Common Prayer the long continuance of "nursing care" rendered chiefly through the agency of that Venerable Society in whose behalf I plead to-day. We may indeed regret that the Church, thus founded through the prayerful desire and pains-taking efforts of the [10/11] best and holiest of England's nobles, clergy and commoners, lacked completeness, and that for two centuries the Episcopate was wanting to a Church by the very law of its being Episcopal. It was not that the best of England's Bishops, priests and laymen did not seek to remedy this defect; it was not for lack of unceasing effort on the part of the representatives of this Venerable Society, that the gifts and graces of the Episcopate were so long withheld. Political complications, the ceaseless opposition of dissenters at home and abroad, and the apprehension in many minds that the introduction of Bishops would be followed by the establishment in the colonies of the whole hierarchy of the English Church, hindered the accomplishment of this desire of the colonists and the wish of the Church at home. It was not until the United States of America had been recognized as independent of the mother land that the struggle for the Episcopate was ended;--ended by a simple service on the fourteenth of November, 1784, when, in an "upper room" at Aberdeen, the prelates of the "Catholic remainder" of the Church in Scotland consecrated as Bishop of Connecticut, and first Bishop of the American Church, the Apostolic Seabury. Graceful, and most grateful to the hearts of American Churchmen, was the noble recognition of this act of a few almost unknown Scottish prelates in giving the Apostolical succession to the American Church, by his Grace [11/12] of Canterbury in this grand Cathedral on the Centenary of Seabury's consecration. It was a tribute of willing praise on the part of the Primate of all England and of the Dean and Chapter of this Cathedral Church, to the sister Church in Scotland;--now, thank GOD, arising in majesty to possess her ancient heritage; and in this gracious act thousands and tens of thousands of Churchmen across the sea rejoiced.

It was a generous deed, done in the true spirit of self-forgetfulness, that gave to the long-deferred applicants for the Episcopate from the revolted colonies, the Apostolical succession, ere this boon was bestowed upon the loyalist refugees and settlers of that portion of the British possessions in North America that had remained faithful to the crown. On the fourth of February, A. D. 1787, William White and Samuel Provoost were consecrated, at Lambeth, Bishops of Pennsylvania and New York; and in the recent recognition of the Centenary of this gift of the Episcopate in the English line to the Church in the United States, on the spot where the deed was done, the hearts of Churchmen throughout the length and breadth of America were bound afresh in loving thoughts and memories with the Mother Church of England, and a new obligation was added to the many debts of gratitude due from American Churchmen to the present revered and beloved occupant of S. Augustine's chair.

[13] The step once taken there was no looking back. On the twelfth of August, A. D. 1787, the wise, loyal, and devout Charles Inglis,--first a missionary of this Venerable Society to the settlers in Delaware, then catechist to the negroes in New York and assistant minister of Trinity in that city, then the rector of this important American parish, and holding his post with fidelity and success in troublous times,--was consecrated at Lambeth Chapel the first British Colonial Bishop. In this act of faith the Church of England pleaded before GOD its desire for the promised inheritance. To-day, we may recite the proofs of the fulfilment of GOD'S gracious pledge. Bear with me as I glance at the map of the world--GOD'S world, and yet to be redeemed to Him--and note the redemption of the promise given in our text. The heathen are already becoming the Church's inheritance; the utmost parts of the earth are daily more and more received as her possession. We need only recall the names of the sees of the Church of England, in her colonies and mission fields, founded within the present century and mainly within the fifty years of the reign of Victoria the Good, to see the inheritance secured already for CHRIST and His Church. America, from the see of Mackenzie River in the ice-fields of the north, to the Falkland Isles at the very antipodes, is the meeting ground of the English and American Churches, each laboring to bring men of all nationalities [13/14] within reach to CHRIST. India, with its teeming millions, with its half-a-dozen sees stretching from Lahore on the north to Colombo and Rangoon on the south, numbers its converts by thousands and tens of thousands. China, with its sees of North and Mid-China, and Japan, are fields where the mother and the daughter Churches, English and American, are working side by side for their common Lord. Africa, from the Niger to the Cape; Australia, an island continent with a dozen sees; New Zealand, with its evidences of Apostolic labors and Apostolic success; the islands of the ocean, the utmost parts of the earth;--all attest GOD'S gracious fulfilment of his promise, and give pledges of the coming conquest of the world itself to CHRIST. We need not dwell on names so familiar, we may rather recall the apostles of the ever widening missionary field,--men who have not shunned to declare far and near the whole counsel of GOD;--men who have hazarded their lives for the Lord JESUS. They are men who, by their sublime self-sacrifice, have enkindled afresh the Church's enthusiasm in the work of winning souls to CHRIST, and have been in word and work fitting leaders in that aggressive movement of the Church of GOD which, having its first beginnings, so far as modern times are concerned, in the organization of this Venerable Society, has made itself felt to the ends of the world. The Christian Church is richer to-day for the faith, the labors, [14/15] the lives of these worthies. The annals which record the roll of our confessors in the roll of living light, bear the names of Patteson and Hannington, leaders of the sacramental host of GOD'S elect,--who, with many a priest and deacon, have sealed their testimony for JESUS with their blood. Nor are these martyred ones who were faithful unto death, all who have witnessed a good confession. Beginning with the earnest and impassioned Inglis, who administered with singular fidelity and success a see stretching across a continent, almost illimitable in extent, the list of England's missionary apostles numbers among its historic sainted names, Middleton, the first of England's Indian prelates, whose imparting of the gift of the HOLY GHOST in confirmation has its memorial in storied marble in yonder aisle; Heber, the sweet and saintly singer of our Israel, whose missionary hymn will never lose its animating power till the utmost parts of the earth are redeemed to CHRIST; Wilson, the tireless worker and the evangelical preacher of the word of GOD; and Cotton, the scholar and statesman like prelate, whose praise is in all the Churches of GOD, these are India's contribution to the galaxy of greatness;--men who having turned many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever. Turning to the "dark continent," we note the names of Robert Gray, the undaunted confessor of the faith; of Armstrong, all too soon removed from his patient toil of [15/16] laying foundations on which others should build to GOD'S glory and man's eternal good; of Charles Frederic Mackenzie, the faithful martyr whose life was long in that it nobly answered life's great end; and of l-Hannington, of whom the world was not worthy. These and others whose names will yet be read with those of these saints of the Most High GOD when they too have entered into that rest, are Africa's apostles, whose reward shall come when the Morian's land stretches forth her hands to GOD. Looking across the Atlantic, we remember the varied gifts and graces of the far-seeing and faithful Strachan, of Toronto; the devoted Mountain, of Quebec, faithful amidst the pestilence and faithful unto the end; the patient Feild, whose life was freely spent in ministering to the fishermen of New Foundland; the saintly Addington Venables, who in bodily weakness and acquainted with grief toiled so persistently for his poor negro flock in the Bahamas, giving his life for his sheep; the excel lent Coleridge, the friend of Keble, who exchanged his work in the Barbados for the charge of that great seminary of missioners, S. Augustine's, Canterbury; the calm and thoughtful Fulford, raised up of Con to guide the disestablished churches of his metropolitical see in to self-government; the true-hearted missionary McLean, sinking at last under the burden of overwork, whom no distance wearied, no danger daunted, no toil repelled; and Binney, [16/17] good, scholarly and true, who, after many years of wise and continued effort, in a hard soil and amidst difficulties known to but few, was just beginning to see of the travail of his soul when so lately called to his reward--these are among the American apostles whose toils and triumphs form bright chapters in the Church's annals of the faith. We might go on to tell of Broughton, whose life work was the founding of a province; of Barker, who so wisely and patiently carried on the work transmitted to him by his predecessor and then laid down the staff to have it taken up by one whose praise is in all the Churches; of Tyrrell, s hose self-sacrifice was singularly noteworthy even where each of his peers has vied in acts of personal forgetfulness; of the great-hearted Selwyn, the Apostle of New Zealand, whose life recalls the days of primitive devotion and primitive success; one, in all respects a man of GOD, and in nothing more fortunate than in the son who bears the mantle of his father as he ministers in his father's spirit to the islands of the sea; and of Poole, dying far from home and friends with the note of triumph on his lips. But time fails to recount the names of these men illustrious for their faith, their works, their undying zeal.

We have spoken of the dead alone, and we remember reverently and lovingly "how grows in Paradise our store." The living--the living apostles of the Church abroad are showing forth the praise of GOD in lives and deeds that [17/18] do not shame their predecessors who have entered into their rest. To some of these leaders of the Church's advance a new Pentecost has been vouchsafed. We number among the missionary Bishops of England's Indian Empire, those who have brought thousands in to the faith and Church of CHRIST,--those who have seen almost a nation of unbelievers born unto GOD in a day. And these men have la bored without the spirit of party, with no thought of self,--living lives modelled on the life of the Son of GOD, instinct with the religious system found in the Church's formularies of prayer.

It is through the labors of these men and those associated with them, that in all parts of the world a great company has been gathered into communion with England's Catholic and reformed Church. The old taunt of the Church of Rome, that the English Church makes no converts abroad, has been fully refuted. There are names on the list we have given whose labors rival those of any saints of the Church of GOD,--whose successes recall the promise that the heathen shall be the Church's possession, and the utmost parts of the earth become the heritage of the people of GOD.

To-day, mindful of that solemn service of commemoration just passed, I would as an American, an American Churchman, an American [18/19] Bishop, venture to lay my tribute at the feet of her on whose Jubilee the English-speaking race rejoiced even to the utmost parts of the earth. [The Queen's Jubilee was observed on the day preceding the delivery of this discourse.] The gracious girlhood, the pure and perfect maidenhood, the loving exhibition of all wifely virtues, the happy, holy maternity, the wise, intelligent and Christian rule which has made the Victorian reign England's golden age, needs no eulogium. The annals of the world's progress in morals, letters, arts, science, intelligence, in public and private virtues, and in Christianity, record the glories of this ideal reign and will bear its story to the latest years of man. She who from the day of her investiture with her high dignity, has added to her youthful beauty of person, the graces of a highly cultivated mind and the possession of true goodness of heart; and, as years have been given her, has grown in favor with GOD and man, has ruled the people committed to her wisely and well. Recognizing GOD'S truth that righteousness exalteth a nation, this pure and lovely maiden of eighteen years inaugurated by example and precept a new code of morals, a new respect for religion, a new era of ennobling, refining thought. The old abuses, the current scandals, the long established license of the court, flew before the exhibition of Queenly modesty and heavenly purity. And of these fifty beautiful years just closed no higher praise can be given than that they have been passed in the fear and love of GOD. In [19/20] our reference to the desire bidden of GOD, in our recognition of GOD'S fulfilment of His pledge, we may not forget the wonderful story of the expansion of the Church on every side during the reign of her Gracious Majesty, Victoria the Good. Of the growth we so grate fully acknowledge to-day, and in the development of which this Venerable Society has borne so prominent a part, sixty-six bishoprics have been founded and converts unnumbered and numberless have been made. GOD give to her who, we may not doubt, recognizes in the Christianizing of the nations and in the con quest to the Church of CHRIST of the utmost parts of the world, the truest, greatest triumphs of her benificent reign, many years to come in which these successes shall be continued, till the desire of the Church has been accomplished and the earth, ransomed and renewed, owns the sway of its rightful King.

It has been my privilege, and my pleasure as well, during my ministry to live and labor in two parishes founded one nearly a century and a half ago, and the other but little short of this term of years, and each ministered to, till the war of the revolution, the missionaries of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign parts. These parishes, and hundreds besides, attest the faithful work done in its earliest years by the representatives of this Venerable Society. The whole American Church, stretching from sea to sea and from [20/21] the north to the south, owns its debt of gratitude for this care so generously extended and this labor so faithfully done. It is not too much to say that but for the work of this Venerable Society, the Church in the United States would have to-day only a name to live, if even it lived at all.

in the broad territory over which I have been. placed to serve as a Bishop in the Church of GOD; larger in extent than all of this fair England, so beautiful in my eyes, we can claim but a half century of civilized life for even the oldest of our cities and towns. Before the beginning of that gracious reign whose Jubilee England, America, and the world itself unite to celebrate, the aborigines possessed all of this great state of Iowa lying between the Mississippi and the Missouri and well styled by the Indians themselves "the beautiful land." Here, with scanty means wholly inadequate to meet the demands arising on every side, the Church has been planted in all the chief centers of its two millions: of people. With the Church, there has grown up the College, the Schools, the Hospitals, the charities that enable the Church to do the Master's triple work of ministering to body, spirit, soul. In the ten years of my Episcopate, I have consecrated thirty three Churches, and on my visitations have travelled upwards of one hundred and fifty thousand miles within the limits of my see, preaching, administering the Sacraments, [21/22] confirming, ordaining, ministering in every form and way to those who need. Such is the work going on in each of the United States of America; --such is the work done year after year in the Dominion of Canada, in the mission fields at the north and south, all over the world. The desire is thus finding its promised accomplishment. Prayer inspiring labor;--prayer and toil united bring GOD'S gift of success.

Fathers and brethren: It is GOD who speaks, "Desire of Me, and shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the world for thy possession." To prayer, then, and to labor, let us betake ourselves, with deeper faith, with a quickened zeal. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man, we are told, availeth much. Our labor, done for GOD, shall not be in vain in the Lord.

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