THERE is one thing that I have especially on my mind and heart to say to you, and that I want to say at this time to all whom my voice can reach. We all know to-day that the supreme need of the world, and of all of us, is Religion. We need now the help of Religion in all its Divine Reality, in all its Supernatural Truth and Power. A Religion of vague humanitarianism, or of mere subjective emotionalism, or of semi-rationalistic intellectualism, has no real power in the lives of men. This merely humanitarian religion has been fully tried and has failed utterly. We need now not a mere intellectualism but faith, faith in God and in Christ and in the great Divine Realities declared to us and to all the world in the Scriptures, in the Christian Creed, and in the Teaching through all the ages of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
And it is this Religion in its majesty, its simplicity, and its power, which is given to us in our Prayer Book.
The Prayer Book gives us in form for our actual use--in Prayer, and Creed, and Sacrament, and Worship--the Gospel of the New Testament, the Gospel of Christ and of His Church.
What we need in this Church to-day more than improved organization, or promotional campaigns, or any new devices, is a great call to our people to realize more truly, to practise more faithfully, and to believe more fully, the Religion of the Prayer Book.
If we, the Bishops and Clergy of the Church, will help our people to do this, if we will help them to know the Prayer Book, to understand it intelligently, to believe it fully, to live by its mighty truths and teachings, the Church will be a reality to them, the Sacraments will be a reality to them, Christ Himself will be a reality to them, and their Religion will be real to them.
Brethren, my word to you as your Bishop is--Be true to the Divinely-Given Truths and Teachings of the Prayer Book.
A greater or less degree of ritual is unimportant, but the Principles of the Prayer Book are the Principles of Christ's Religion. Never imagine that you can help the Cause of Religion, or of true Christian Unity, by doing that which is inconsistent with, or disloyal to, the Faith and Order of the Church as the Prayer Book gives this to us.
Hold fast to the Prayer Book because of the majesty, the spiritual truth, the reverence, of its prayers and its worship.
Hold fast to the Prayer Book because it gives us the Faith and the Principles for which the Episcopal Church in this land has stood through its whole life and history.
Hold fast to the Prayer Book because in the splendid words of the greatest of our Bishops of this Diocese, John Henry Hobart, it stands for "Evangelical Truth and Apostolic Order."
Hold fast to the Prayer Book because we hold this Prayer Book in common with the whole Anglican Communion and it holds us in fellowship with our Mother Church of England and with the Churches of the Anglican Communion throughout the world.
Hold fast to the Prayer Book because it gives us the Faith, the Sacraments, and the Apostolic Ministry as these have come down through all the continuous life of the Holy Catholic Church in this world from the Apostles' time.
Hold fast to the Prayer Book because it gives us the Priesthood and the Sacraments and gives to the Sacraments their great essential place, the place which they hold, and must hold, in the Christian Religion because in the Sacraments Christ Himself gives us His grace and help.
Hold Fast to the Prayer Book because its Truths and Teachings, its holy Worship, its Divinely-Given Means of Grace, bring us face to face with Christ and with God.
Brethren--In this day of moral and spiritual crisis, in this day of deep, unmeasured, spiritual need, I call upon our whole Diocese and, as one of the older Bishops, I call upon our whole Church to be true to the Faith and Order of Christ's Church as this is given to us in the Book of Common Prayer.