Hall, the Divinity School of the Trans-Mississippi
Sees and Jurisdictions,
CATHOLIC REMAINDER OF THE CHURCH IN SCOTLAND,
AT ABERDEEN, NOVEMBER 14TH, A.D. 1784,
TWENTY-SECOND SUNDYA AFTER TRINITY,
NOVEMBER 16TH, A.D. 1884.
HISTORIOGRAPHER OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH.
GLASS & HOOVER, PRINTERS AND BINDERS.
WHAT hath God wrought!
One hundred years have passed since, in an "upper room," in the house of a Bishop of a proscribed and persecuted Church, at Aberdeen, in Scotland, Samuel Seabury was made a Bishop of the Church of God. Will not our thoughts, on this centenary of an event so fraught with blessings to the western world and the Church of our beloved land, go back unbidden to that solemn and momentous scene, and linger lovingly on the details that have come down to us, whereby we may picture to ourselves the dread act of consecration, the men of God who were present and assisting in that awful rite, and all the particulars of that scene, when, as it were, birth was given to an independent Church of the Living God.
The act of faith we now commemorate was not done in one of the Old World's storied minsters, nor was it performed with the accessories of a magnificent ceremonial, or in the sight and with the sympathy of crowds. As of old, the Church of Christ dates its first assemblings, and its very being, to the "upper room" in Jerusalem, so it was in the private chapel of Bishop John Skinner, comprising the two upper rooms of the Bishop's house, situated on a narrow lane--the "Longacre" of Aberdeen--that Seabury received mission as a Bishop of the Church of God. Such was the rigor of the penal laws then existing in Scotland, in consequence of the adherence of Scottish Churchmen to the banished house of Stuart, that the services of the Church could only be held in seclusion, and in the humble homes or private oratories of her ministering priests and Bishops. Proscribed, imprisoned, despoiled, the sport and mockery of their foes, the members and ministers of the Church in Scotland found in the loss of all earthly things a greater gain of heavenly things. [3/4] That which the great and glorious Church of England refused to her children across the sea, this suffering and confessing Church in Scotland freely, fully gave and wherever the annals of the Apostolic Church are known throughout the world, this act of faith, this great gift of all she had to give, shall be gratefully remembered and told for a memorial of her.
The Scottish Church, which in its days of old numbered in its hierarchy two Archbishops and twelve Bishops, and which in its ministry covered the land, under the operation of repressive laws, and with the disadvantage of having espoused and being faithful to a falling and unpopular cause, had dwindled to a college of four prelates, with about two-score clergy ministering in a few feeble, impoverished, scattered cures. It was from this poor, persecuted, despoiled, but still catholic, remainder of the Church in Scotland that the first Apostle to the New World was to be duly commissioned and endued with power from on high. Robert Kilgour, Primus and Bishop of Aberdeen, assisted by Arthur Petrie, Bishop of Moray and Ross, and John Skinner, Jr., Coadjutor Bishop of Aberdeen, three of the four remaining Bishops who made up the Scottish Episcopal College, by the solemn laying on of hands admitted the Rev. Samuel Seabury, D.D., the choice of the clergy of Connecticut as their Bishop, to his high and holy office in the Church of God; and of the one hundred and thirty-five American Bishops who have been called to their apostolic work since that 14th day of November, in the year of grace 1784, each one traces his spiritual lineage through Claggett, the first Bishop consecrated on American soil, to Seabury, and through Seabury back to the Scottish College, and back through these faithful, apostolic men even to the Master, Christ, the chief Shepherd and Bishop of souls.
The solemn rite which thus gave to us our first American Bishop, though performed in comparative seclusion, and without outward circumstance and pomp, was yet done openly, and in the sight of God and man. There were gathered to this ceremonial divers of the faithful clergy and laity--"a considerable number of respectable clergymen and a great number of laity, on which occasion all testified great satisfaction," as witnesseth the original Minute Book of the Synod of the Scottish Church. One of the congregation--a youthful priest, who, in God's providence [4/5] was afterwards to bear the Episcopal office and administration in the Church--the devout and saint-like Alexander Jolly, was then acting as chaplain to the Consecrator, and, more than thirty years later, thus wrote his memories of this momentous scene of Seabury's life: "With a glad and thankful heart I witnessed his consecration, held the Book while the solemn words were pronounced, and received his first Episcopal benediction" The sermon, published at Edinburgh and in London, with a modest veiling of its authorship, as "by a Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Scotland," was delivered by the Rt. Rev. John Skinner, Coadjutor Bishop of Aberdeen, and its appropriate theme was "The Nature and Extent of the Apostolical Commission." It was with these pregnant words that this noble discourse was closed:
"How careful, then, should we be to walk worthy of the advantages we enjoy, and to be fruitful in every good word and work! For 'herein is my Father glorified,' said the blessed Son of God, 'that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye he my disciples.' The bearing much fruit, it seems, is the only way by which we can glorify his Father, and the best, and, indeed, the only, proof of our being really his disciples--of our abiding in Him as branches of the true Vine. It is not enough that we be entered into union with Him, and made members of his Church, in the way prescribed by his commission to the Apostles; we must also 'continue in that holy communion and fellowship, and do all such good works as He has commanded us to walk in.' So shall we insure to ourselves the continuance of that divine presence and protection which He promised to his Apostles and their successors, even to the end of the world. This powerful promise we have the utmost reason to confide in, if we are only thankful to the gracious Author of it, since we have seen it made good, in a very wonderful manner, to that part of his Church to which we have the happiness to belong. Without any of the boasted props of civil establishment--yea, often depressed by the hand of insulting power--it has, nevertheless, firmly stood its ground, supported by its own Almighty Head, and, amidst the corruption of surrounding error, has restored itself to the purity of the primitive standard. May we not suppose that for wise and good reasons it has been thus wonderfully preserved and purified? No doubt to show the all-sufficiency of the divine protection, and, perhaps, to afford, through God's good providence, the means of conveying to others a more liberal share of those spiritual blessings which we enjoy under some restraint. And if such a blessed prospect is now presented to us, by the happy occasion of our assembling here this day, who would not wish success to the means of promoting such an end? who would not earnestly pray that the dispensation of the grace and knowledge of the Gospel, by a valid and truly apostolic ministry, may, like the glorious light of heaven, go out from the east to the [5/6] utmost boundary of the western world, and nothing be hid from its saving influence?"
Following these noble words, the last four verses of the ninetieth Psalm, in the version of Tate and Brady, were sung:
"To satisfy and cheer our souls,
Thy early mercy send;
That we may all lour days to come
In joy and comfort spend.
"Let happy times, with large amends,
Dry up our former tears,
Or equal, at the least, the term
Of our afflicted years.
"To all thy servants, Lord, let this
Thy wondrous work be known,
And to our offspring yet unborn
Thy glorious power be shown.
"Let Thy bright rays upon us shine,
Give Thou our work success;
The glorious work we have on hand,
Do Thou vouchsafe to bless."
The newly-made Bishop preached in the afternoon, in the "upper room" at Aberdeen where he had received the Apostolic office, and by his earnestness of manner and abundant gesticulation made a deep impression upon his hearers, one of whom, years afterwards, recalled the peculiarities of the Bishop's pulpit oratory, then uncommon in Scotland, and noted particularly "that he waved a white handkerchief while he preached." The good prelate himself thus refers to the day we solemnly commemorate: "It was the most solemn day I ever passed; God grant I may never forget it."
On the day following the consecration--Monday, the 15th of November--a concordat betwixt the Episcopal Church in Scotland and that in Connecticut was formed and agreed upon by the Bishops of Scotland and Bishop Seabury, to their mutual satisfaction. This document, meant to be a bond of union between "the catholic remainder of the ancient Church of Scotland and the now rising Church in the state of Connecticut," first records the agreement of the Churches "in thankfully receiving and humbly and heartily embracing the whole doctrine of the Gospel, as revealed and set forth in the Holy Scriptures, and places on record, as the concurrent testimony of both Churches, that "it [6/7] is their earnest and united desire to maintain the analogy of the common faith once delivered to the saints, and happily preserved in the Church of Christ, through his divine power and protection, who promised that the gates of hell should never prevail against it." Secondly, it is asserted that the contracting parties agreed "in believing this Church to be the mystical body of Christ, of which He alone is the Head and Supreme Governor, and that under Him the chief ministers or managers of the affairs of this spiritual society are those called Bishops, whose exercise of their sacred office being independent of all lay powers, it follows, of consequence, that their spiritual authority and jurisdiction cannot be affected by any lay deprivation." The two Churches were further declared to be "in full communion," in the third article; and in the next it was urged that there should be as near a conformity in worship and discipline between the two communions as possible. In this connection, it was sagely suggested that "such prudent generality in their public prayers" should be carefully observed as might enable each "to avoid any bad effect that might otherwise arise from political differences." In the fifth article it was provided that "as the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, or the administration of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, is the principal bond of union among Christians, as well as the most solemn act of worship in the Christian Church, the Bishops aforesaid agree in desiring that there may be as little variance here as possible;" and to this article we owe the primitive character of our Eucharistic office. Li the further articles it was provided that "brotherly fellowship" was to be maintained; and the gift of the Episcopate to Seabury was proclaimed to have been made with "nothing else in view but the glory of God and the good of his Church," and to promote "the cause of Truth and of the common salvation."
It was thus that "the blessings of a free, valid, and purely ecclesiastical Episcopacy" were obtained by the Church in America. It had long been sought, this inestimable boon; it had long been sought in vain.
The discovery and settlement of those portions of the western world now embraced within the boundaries of our own United States had been accomplished by Churchmen, and the first prayers and praises that went up to God in our mother tongue, [7/8] whether on the Atlantic or Pacific coast, were the words of our Book of Common Prayer. The older settlements--Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, and others--as they took shape and form, "established" the Church; and as the labors of the faithful mission-priests gathered, amidst the forest glades or along the water-courses of the Atlantic coast, their little assemblies of worshipers, the cry went up, almost from the very first, for the presence and gifts of an Apostle, who should confirm, ordain, and bless. The far-seeing Archbishop Laud had in mind the supply of this great need; and it is said that on his fall it was proposed to send him to New England, that, at the mercy of the bigots there, he might, like the shorn Sampson, be a sport to his foes. The restoration of the monarchy brought afresh to mind the need of an American Episcopate, and a patent for the appointment of a Bishop for Virginia, lacking only the sign manual and seal of the king, is still extant. The organization of the Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, at the beginning of the last century, gave to the earnest longings of a continent, and to the strong purposes of the Church's rulers at home, a voice and power. The first printed report of the Venerable Society, issued in 1702, gave utterance to this cry for spiritual oversight and help: "There are earnest addresses from divers parts of the Continent and islands adjacent for a suffragan to visit the several churches, ordain some, confirm others, and bless all."
Continuously was the earnest plea urged, and again and again were the efforts of the best and truest members and prelates of the English Church exerted to secure the gift of an American Episcopate. The English Church was not at fault that all these plans and purposes failed. That Church which sent forth to the western world more than two thousand of her Sons in holy orders to minister to voyagers, to colonists, to savages, and to slaves alike, ere the independence of the American Church was secured, could not belittle her apostolic ministry or belie her catholic faith by withholding the highest order of that ministry, or refusing the perfection of that faith once delivered to the saints, to her sons who were afar. It was the state that turned a deaf ear to these entreaties for the dispensing of spiritual gifts, whether the cry came from the needy churches across the sea or was [8/9] urged by petition or personal plea from Bishops, clergy, and laity of the establishment at home. The story of the struggle for the Episcopate is one of the most interesting and instructive chapters of the annals of the American Church; and its revelation of political and partisan dissimulation, chicanery, and fraud resorted to by the Church's foes, on both sides of the ocean, to hinder and prevent the sending of a Bishop to our shores, may well lead us to wonder that, after all, and despite the promise of her Lord, the gates of hell did not prevail against the Church.
Among the causes for our Revolution, as we learn from no less an authority than Samuel Adams, was the apprehension of the masses of dissenters, members of the Presbyterian and Puritan bodies in New England and the Middle States, that Bishops would be forced upon them by the powers at home. Excited by their leaders, the ministers and magistrates of the land, with the fear that in the introduction of Bishops all religious liberty would be lost to them, and persecution and oppression would be legalized and supported by all the power of the mother land, the opposition to an American Episcopate was bitter indeed. The war of words spoken in pulpits, printed in pamphlets, published by the serial press, presented in broadsides, caricatures, and in doggerel verse, was waged for years, and is to-day one of the strangest chapters of our politico-ecclesiastical history.
At length the war between the colonies and the mother land was practically over, and our independence was substantially assured. But before the glad welcoming of peace, in a rude rectory in the town of Woodbury, Connecticut, on the Feast of the Annunciation, A. D. 1783, ten of the fourteen remaining clergy of the Church in Connecticut met together in solemn conclave. There was reason for this almost secret meeting of the Connecticut clergy, and, in their earnest consultations for the welfare and very being of the Church of God, their action was largely influenced by the fear that a mere nominal Episcopacy, sought and sustained on the ground of supposed necessity, might make the very existence of the Church in America a question, if not impossible. The Churchmen of the North had reason to distrust the members and ministers of their own communion in the Middle and Southern States. The Virginia and Maryland clergy had opposed the introduction of an American Episcopate. [9/10] Men like Provoost, of New York, and William Smith, of Pennsylvania, leading clergymen in their respective communities, were thought to be latitudinarian in doctrinal views and unchurchly in sentiment. Still further to the south, even after the war, South Carolina only united in the efforts for organization and the introduction of the Episcopate on the express stipulation that no Bishop should be sent to that state, thus betraying a popular prejudice against the Church's order and discipline hard to understand or believe. The only action taken at Woodbury, other than the choice of a Bishop, was the preparation of a letter to the amiable and excellent William White, who had proposed the temporary resort to a nominal Episcopate on the ground of necessity. This letter earnestly deprecated so uncatholic a measure, and argued with all the power of strong conviction and a quenchless zeal for the Church, against the adoption of a scheme so fatal to the very being of the Church. After earnest prayer and deep searchings of heart, there was begun, on the true primitive pattern, the organization of the American Church as independent of foreign control. This they did, not by framing a "constitution" or by agreeing upon a "declaration of rights," after the fashion of the political world about them; not by revising the familiar words of prayer coming down to them from their dear mother, the Church of England--a work in which they felt a Bishop or Bishops should take the lead; not by tampering with the creeds of Christendom or framing new articles of the faith once delivered to the saints; not by calling to their councils those who had successfully engineered the nation's independence and won for the land the prize of civil liberty; but, after the example of the Apostles when the Kingdom of God was to be set tip upon the earth, by choosing an Apostle to lead and guide them in their work of reviving the Church they loved and lived to labor for. Strange and suggestive is the analogy of that momentous meeting at Woodbury with that assembly in the "upper room" at Jerusalem, when Matthias was chosen to be an Apostle! Shall we recite the inspired record?
"And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
"And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of alt men, show whether of these two Thou hast chosen,
"That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship.
"And they gave forth their the lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles." Acts, i., 23-26.]
In the deliberations of these faithful, simple-minded, unworldly priests of Connecticut, two had been thought of as fit and worthy for the office and work of a Bishop in the Church of God. One of these was the venerable Jeremiah Leaming, who for more than a score of years had been the faithful missionary of the Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel at Norwalk, Connecticut; and as a diligent and devoted priest, an accomplished and logical controversialist, "a tried servant of the Church," and in personal infirmity and weakness and weariness, engendered by labor and suffering in the Church's cause, carrying "about him, in a degree, the marks of a confessor," Leaming was, in every sense, a man of God. The other, upon whom the choice of the Connecticut clergy fell, was the younger and more distinguished Samuel Seabury, already a Doctor in Divinity by the act of the ancient University of Oxford, England. Born in Connecticut, and the son of a faithful missionary there, but exercising his ministry in the neighboring provinces of New Jersey and New York; a brilliant and argumentative writer; a successful and popular parish priest; a man of strength and noble bearing, fitted by nature and by cultivation "to stand before kings," there could be no question as to the one the Great Head of the Church had chosen. To such a man as Seabury the voice of the little band of faithful priests of his native Connecticut came as the voice of God. To hear was to obey. "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." "Here am I; send me," were the responses coming from his very soul.
An incident of his early life illustrates his strength of character and his readiness to do and dare. On one of his missionary tours, when returning to New York by water from his former home in New Jersey, where he had been to minister among his old friends and parishioners in New Brunswick, a sudden gust of wind threatened to upset the little bark. The danger was increased by the obstinacy of the steersman, who would not, or could not, govern the boat. Mr. Seabury submitted in patience as long as it could be done with safety. At last he seized the helm, thrust the man away from it, and guided the vessel to the shore.
 It was in this spirit that he undertook the work of guiding the endangered Church of God into a safe haven and to secure moorings. In a spirit of utter self-forgetfulness, of entire self-consecration, he took up the work to which he had been called of God. Crossing the ocean with the strong testimonials of the clergy of New York, as well as those of Connecticut, attesting his peculiar fitness for the work of a Bishop, as well as the documentary evidence of his choice by the clergy of his native state, he laid before the English Archbishops the action of the Woodbury Convention, and invoked their aid in bestowing upon the American Church the long wished-for Episcopate. There were difficulties in the way, as there had been from the first. The English Archbishops and Bishops were hampered in their action by their connection with the state. The ministry was indifferent; the King was fearful of giving offense to his late revolted subjects; the court was apprehensive that the sending of a Bishop to Connecticut at the request of a few obscure, unknown missionaries, whose action had been taken without the endorsement or consent of the state authorities, and was in direct opposition to the prejudices of the great body of the people, might awaken jealousies in the hearts of the Americans as a covert thrust at their lately-won independence. There were prejudices in the minds of some against the choice of the Connecticut clergy in view of the fact that Seabury had been a loyalist during the war, and was still a stipendiary of the British government, in recognition of past services as an army chaplain. And so the matter dragged along. The summer passed without results; winter came, and no progress was made; another summer followed, and there was still delay. Seabury had offered to withdraw in favor of some other choice, but of this the Connecticut clergy would not hear. Chosen by their "voluntary and united suffrages," in the language of one of the electors, "they could not fix on any other person who they thought was so likely to succeed as he was;" and they judged wisely and well.
At length, wearied by delays and the evident indifference of those in power, Seabury wrote to a friend, "I have been amused, I think deceived," and turned his face toward the north, where, unshackled by political and state connections, "the glory of communicating a Protestant Episcopacy to the United and Independent [12/13] States of America" seemed reserved for the Scotch Bishops. The apostolic Primus of Scotland expressed his 'hearty concurrence in the proposal" made to him by Seabury's friends to admit the Bishop-elect of Connecticut to his high office. He deemed "the motion from and the plan laid under the direction of the Holy Spirit." One of his Episcopal brethren wrote, "The very prospect rejoices me greatly, and, considering the great depositum committed to us, I do not see how we can account to our Lord and Master if we neglect such an opportunity of promoting his Truth and enlarging the borders of his Church." Dignified clergymen of the English Church communicated their hearty approval of the Scotch Bishops in their decision to listen to the plea of the Connecticut clergy. There seemed to be well nigh a universal satisfaction at the step about to be taken, when the first discordant note was raised.
At the very last, objections were urged upon the consideration of the Scotch prelates by a noted American divine--himself a Scotchman, and a graduate of the University of Aberdeen--the erratic Dr. William Smith, later the author of the preface of our Book of Common Prayer, who had been elected to the Bishopric of Maryland shortly after the choice of Seabury had been made, but who failed, finally, to receive the approval of the General Convention of the churches in the Middle and Southern States, and so lost the office he had sought. This objector assumed that the English Archbishops disapproved of the step, and further urged that it was impolitic to consecrate one who had been "actively and deeply engaged against Congress" in the war. It was added, that the laity were not consulted in the election of Seabury, which was made by a few unknown clergymen in Connecticut, who acted without the knowledge of their people or the assent of the state. But these remonstrances, evidently arising from personal prejudice and dislike, were futile, and the "great candor, piety, and good sense," which Seabury notes as characterizing the Scotch Bishops and clergy, prevailed. In fact, these men of God conceived "themselves as called upon, in the course of God's providence, without regard to any human policy, to impart a pure, valid, and free Episcopacy to the western world,' and felt assured "that God, who had begun so good a work, would water the infant Church in Connecticut with his [13/14] heavenly grace, and protect it by his good providence, and make it the glory and pattern of the pure Episcopal Church in the world; and that, as it was freed from all encumbrances arising from connection with civil establishments and human policy, the future splendor of its primitive simplicity and Christian piety would appear to be eminently and entirely the work of God, and not of man." These are Seabury's own words, from his first Episcopal letter, addressed to the clergy of the Connecticut Church, and giving his own account of his consecration.
Shall we quote a paragraph a little further on in this earnest, apostolic epistle? It is this: "My own poverty is one of the greatest discouragements I have. Two years absence from thy family and expensive residence here has more than expended all I had; but in so good a cause, and of such magnitude, something must be risked by somebody. To my lot it has fallen. I have done it cheerfully, and despair not of a happy issue." Brave, noble man! It had been among the hindrances to his success in seeking consecration in England that no provision had been made for his support. No such provision was ever made. Visiting, from his parochial charge in New London, the various sections of Connecticut and Rhode Island, which comprehended his particular charge, he ministered, at great pains and expense, in New York, in Massachusetts, and in New Hampshire--refusing, in fact, none who sought from him, at any time and anywhere, the dispensing of some spiritual gift. I hold in my hand a crumpled and stained memento of this faithful work and its inadequate returns, written by the good Bishop a year and a half before his death. It reads as follows:
"Rece'd of the Episcopal Society of Stratfield the sum of Three pounds 6 shillings by the hand of Sam'l Brinsmaid.
"Pr. me, S., Bp. Connect.
"New Haven, 5 June, 1794."
It was thus that the charges of these long journeys by stage or packet, on horseback or by carriage, were borne; or, rather, it was by these slight returns that the Bishop of Connecticut and Rhode Island was kept from actual loss in the prosecution of his work. The young Seaburian of to-day might feel that his Sunday work of prayers and preaching was poorly paid if it brought to him, after a journey of several days, but sixteen dollars and a [14/15] half--the pittance bestowed on Seabury for his visitation expenses and his Sunday work!
We need not dwell at length on the details of that consecrated life, spent in the Master's service and ended, so far as this world was concerned, on the 25th of February, 1796. It demands a volume for its fitting presentation. Its every detail is well worthy our reverent study and remembrance.
It is with Seabury's share in the union of the churches of New England, under his care, and those of the Middle and Southern States, under the amiable White and the imperious Provoost, Bishops in the English line, that we have next to do. That the application of the convention to the English Bishops, recommending White and Provoost for consecration, met with success was, if we may credit the well-informed Parker, afterward the second Bishop of Massachusetts, largely in consequence of the successful issue of Seabury's consecration by the intrepid Bishops of Scotland. On his return, invested with the Episcopal character, he made overtures to the representatives of the churches in the Middle and Southern States for a general ecclesiastical union. Unforeseen obstacles to the immediate attainment of this result arose. The conventions at the southward were specially desirous of securing the succession from the mother Church of England, and, while measures for obtaining this were in train, deprecated any alliance with Seabury, whose consecration at the north was supposed to have given offense to the English prelates; and when the coveted boon was gained, and White and Provoost had returned to America with the apostolic commission in the English line, the personal dislike manifested by the Bishop of New York, himself an ardent patriot, toward the Bishop of Connecticut as a loyalist, together with his laxity in doctrine and his lack of churchly feeling and Christian courtesy, delayed an amicable comprehension of the churches, which White desired and for which Parker labored until rewarded by success. Seabury's answer to the charge made by Provoost, that he was an enemy to his country, was manly and dignified, as became one who was conscientious in every act of his life. "This may answer for itself: I broke no oaths, nor did I trample on sacred obligations--God be praised for his grace!"
But at length the obstacles in the way of union were overcome. [15/16] The validity of the Episcopate of Seabury, querulously questioned by Provoost and his few followers, was avouched, in clear and unmistakable language, by the General Convention of the churches in the Southern and Middle States. The objections the Bishop of Connecticut himself had justly raised to the ecclesiastical constitution in which he was asked to unite were considered by the framers thereof, and the objectionable features to which he especially excepted were modified and finally removed. The proposed Book of Common Prayer, to which Seabury had objected as depreciating the sacred offices, and thus pandering to an uncatholic and unchurchly teaching and sentiment, was dropped without a murmur, and the revision of the English book as now in use was unanimously adopted. Agreeably to the terms of the concordat between the churches in Scotland and Connecticut, the interesting and primitive features of the Scotch Eucharistic office were incorporated, with some slight modifications, in our communion office, making of our service the nearest reproduction of the earliest offices now in use in the Anglican Communion. By virtue of seniority of consecration, the Bishop of Connecticut became the first Presiding Bishop of the united American Church--an honor and a position unquestionably his due; but as this preeminence among brethren excited the jealousy of Provoost, the good Bishop laid down the appointment, cheerfully acquiescing in the arrangement which gave it to Provoost himself, and adding simply the words, having no wish to dispute who should be first in the kingdom of heaven." Thus the union of the churches north and south was effected, the standard of catholicity in the Church's offices and constitution raised, and the Scotch succession was then communicated to Claggett, the first Bishop consecrated on American soil, by the laying on of Seabury's hands, together with those of Provoost, White, and Madison, Bishops in the English line.
Seabury resumed the work of his see and parish till the end drew near; and he who had never willingly prayed to be delivered from sudden death, by a sharp, short stroke glorified God in his departure hence. He had lived long in the less than three-score years and ten of his earthly course. His checkered, troubled days had been spent for others, not for himself. He had stamped the impress of a commanding intellect, a fearless spirit, [16/17] a consecrated will, a complete devotion, on the Church he loved, and lived and labored for, as well as on the age, which must ever number him among the "few immortal names which were not born to die." As a theologian he was, by study and conviction, a Churchman of the primitive school. Well read in the early fathers and the doctors of the Anglican Church, and carefully discriminating between that which was mutable and that which was the unchanging truth of God strong in his convictions as to doctrine, as well as duty; gifted with a remarkable insight, which comprehended as with eagle glance metaphysical subtleties, as well as men, his was a martyr-like constancy in his adherence to the doctrines he had espoused; his an unswerving, unchanging devotion to the truth of God. Adding to decision of character and strength of convictions a personal magnetism over others, Seabury could not fail to mould and shape public opinion with his own views and direct the legislation of the Church into channels such as he should mark out. It is, therefore, to him that we of to-day owe the recognition of the Episcopate as something more than an instrument by which orders could be conferred and confirmation administered. It is to him that the establishment of the House of Bishops as a coordinate branch of the Church's legislation, and gifted with a veto on the action of the other house, is due. It is to him that the retention of the old form in the ordinal, the use of Christ's own words in imparting the ministry established by Christ, is to be attributed. We have his testimony to the three historic creeds of Christendom; we have his witness to confirmation as the seal of the Holy Ghost; we have his clear recognition of the Eucharist as the central act of worship, and his example, in a day of waning spirituality, as providing frequent communions for the quickening of the spiritual life of his people. Thus did he, by word and example, raise the tone of American Churchmanship; thus did he, by precept and personal effort, protest against any laxity in doctrine and indifference to holy things. It was the study of his character, the examination of his works, the recognition of his place and power as a leader and an example in the Church of God, that shaped the views and moulded the character of John Henry Hobart, third Bishop of New York, and thus gave to the Church the intrepid champion of apostolic order and [17/18] evangelical truth, to whom, under God, the Church in our land has owed so much of her success and wide extension. In fact, we may well and wisely go back to Seabury's life, and Seabury's letters, and Seabury's works, as enshrining for us and for all time the Church's idea, the Church's doctrine, the Church's life.
What hath God wrought!
The little one has become a thousand. Mainly as a result of the attention directed to them by their act of faith in giving the Episcopate to the American Church, the Scotch Bishops and the Church over which they presided found their civil disabilities shortly removed and a new life opening before the catholic remainder of the Church in Scotland." That life has never since died out, it never will; while in the New World the growth and glory of the Church which gratefully records the name of Samuel Seabury as its first Bishop are such as to excite our devoutest gratitude to God for past triumphs and successes, and encourage us with the hope that this glorious Church of Christ shall yet possess the land. Here, in that illimitable West--a terra incognita in Seabury's day--there has sprung up a fitting memorial of him whom we delight to honor, the first Bishop of Connecticut. In recognition of his preeminence as our first American Bishop, and as the Primus inter pares, the first Presiding Bishop of our Church, the Hall of theological Study which has been founded here--and which, as theology is the queen of the sciences and arts, realizes, in no slight measure, the aspirations of Breck and Manney and others, who planned here, on this lovely site, the "Bishop Seabury University" among their high and holy purposes when they brought the Church to Minnesota---and to which has been accorded, in the trans-Mississippi sees, the rank and recognition of a provincial institution, bears the honored name of Seabury, a fitting memorial of the great-hearted Bishop whose life was lived to the glory of God and the good of men. Well may the great West, whither the course of empire, in church as well as state, is taking its way, thus honor him who honored God in his day and generation by sound learning, by a pure and holy character, by a life of true devotion, by apostolic labors, and by a confessor's constancy and faith. Well may our clergy and candidates for Holy Orders find in the very name of their alma mater the ringing echo of the Church's battle-cry of old--[18/19] "For the Church of God!--for the Church of God for which Seabury lived and labored, and of which, in the western world, God made him the first, the truest, the noblest leader of his sacramental host.
Young men of Seabury Hall, you bear an honored name; you have a noble example for your study and following, so far as he followed the Master, Christ. The House of Bishops of the American Church has officially recommended to each student who is preparing to minister at our altars the study of Seabury's Sermons. To this, the requirement of the chief pastors of the Church, let me add the expression of my own conviction, that the life and character, the self-sacrifice and devotion, the loyal Churchmanship and doctrinal soundness of this man of God may well engross your study and excite your imitation. God give us, here and elsewhere throughout the Church, many Seaburys in constancy, in devoutness, in self-abnegation, in the willing offering of high and holy powers on the altar of God! If such are ours--ours at the altar, ours on the Bishop's seat--the future historian of the Church shall cry indeed, as he records the triumph of the Church over all the world, "What hath God wrought!"