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landscape, her blue skies, her rich history ; and out of her soil
came the men who made her what she is. But I am no Massa-
chusetts bigot. I am ready to welcome the newcomers among
us. The Episcopal Church in Massachusetts must work in the
line of Massachusetts people and the Massachusetts character. It
must become a part of the New England life and make that life
nobler, — so noble that we shall dare to say that there is nothing
nobler in all the world, if only it may be touched with some finer
radiance from this dear old Church of ours.

These were a few of the sentences, as reported in the Bos-
ton " Herald," of a speech which in its entirety has not been
preserved. Of this speech, one of the laymen present, Mr.
A. J. C. Sowdon, writes : —

The sweep, the breadth of religious statesmanship evinced, the
manner in which he magnified his office and its possibilities, and
VOL. ni

466 PHILLIPS BROOKS [1891-92

took in the whole problem, the fervent patriotism in which he
spoke of the Commonwealth he so loved, and the passionate lan-
guage, the graphic picture he drew of what one Church could and
ought to do for the Commonwealth, — all these made us who
were present feel that we had literally heard his very best and
o-reatest effort. The pity of it is that there was only an ordinary
newspaper report of the speech.

From this time Phillips Brooks plunged into the multi-
plicity of duties and engagements which appertain to a
bishop's office. He was addressed by a clergyman of large
experience, Rev. Edward Everett Hale : —

I am older than you, can advise you. Begin slowly. Let
things present themselves in order, and do not try to make an
order for them. After you have thus accepted for a little, what
is, — you will be able to raise everything and see what may be.

But he does not seem to have heeded the advice : other
words were ringing in his ears, " Work while the day lasts ;
the night cometh when no man can work." That from the
first there was a tendency to overtax his strength, now, alas,
no longer what it was, or what at his age it should have been,
might be inferred from the following letter, after he had
been in his new office but two weeks : —

233 Clarendon Street, Boston, November 2, 1891.
Dear Mrs. Paine, — You do not know how grateful I am for
your kind token that I am not forgotten. Life is so terribly
convulsed and changed that it seems incredible that the old friends
are there and are caring for me still.

But I know you do and always will. By and by, some day,
I shall see you again. Till then, and always, you will all know
how I am,

Affectionately and gratefully.

Your friend, Phillips Brooks.

On November 3 he went to the annual matriculation of the
Episcopal Theological School. As he spoke to the students,
his own experience in the seminary at Alexandria must have
inspired him.

Here, in the seminary life. Christian truth and faith come into
relation. There is no struggle between thought and work. Some
abandon work for thought; others abandon thought for work.

^T. 55-56] THE BISHOP 467

Never look upon your work as a refuge from thought, but express
your thought in your work. Shrink from nothing God shall
reveal to you. Trust yourself to Him wherever He shall lead
you. He watches over mind and soul. He does not separate
them and make them weak concessions of one to the other. Your
seminary life is a going aside for three years with Christ, to
drink in His spirit and to commune with Him. As you open
your New Testament He says to you, "This is who I am."
When you study church history, He says, "This is but a history
of me." In psychology He says to you, "I saved this humanity
by wearing it."

One of the first incidents in his new life was the call to
preside as bishop at the Church Congress to be held in Wash-
ington in November, where he should make the Communion
Address at its formal opening. It was now suggested to him
that he should avail himself of the opportunity to declare, as
he might most germanely, his belief in the " miraculous In-
carnation and real resurrection of our Lord." If he would
consent it would do much, so he was told, to " convince the
gainsayers." Those high in station and whose opinion he
valued, urged him strongly to this course. Scriptural prece-
dent was adduced, — the apostle bids us comfort the feeble-
minded. It was another incentive brought to bear upon him
that he owed something to the chivalric friendship of his
brethren in the episcopate, who differed so widely from him,
yet had made sacrifices to insure his confirmation ; the sacri-
fices should not be all on one side. Bishop Clark, who was
the go-between of those who wished to approach Phillips
Brooks, wrote urging that he should follow this advice. But
he firmly and even vehemently refused. As we know Phil-
lips Brooks, it was impossible that he should do otherwise.
To take the occasion of a Communion Address in order to
speak, as it were, " to the galleries," and be setting right his
own reputation, was abhorrent. That he should be asked
to take so solemn a moment for such a statement was bad
enough ; that he should acquiesce and make the statement
would have been a blunder. It would have neutralized the
value of his silence while the question of his election was
pending. It would also have been a failure in its object, and

468 PHILLIPS BROOKS [1891-92

would have quieted no one. What was really wanted from
him was an apology for his association in religious services
with Unitarians, and his promise to offend no more. That,
as we shall see, he consistently refused to make. So Bishop
Clark found his protege refractory. Several times had his
good offers been declined. He had gently suggested to Phil-
lips Brooks that as a bishop it might be more becoming if he
adopted the conventional dress of the clergy. To this appeal
Phillips Brooks had replied, " Now, Mr. Clark, you know
very well it was Henry Potter who put you up to giving me
that advice." The following letter of Bishop Clark shows at
least he was not offended by the rejection of his good offices : —

Pkovidence, November 4, 1891.

Mt dear Brother Brooks, — I am a little bit sorry that
you found my letter; not that it contains anything that I would
revoke, for I still think it would be right and proper for you to
say at the Church Congress the words you would be most natu-
rally inclined to say, even if they did tend to allay the anxieties
of certain good people, whose minds have been prejudiced by a
persistent series of misrepresentations. As I intimated in my
last letter, I was afraid that you would reply just as you have
done, because I knew that you stand upon a very lofty moral
pedestal and have a special aversion to all shams and pretences.
As I happen to occupy a lower plane, jjerhaps I might be willing
to do what you would decline doing.

The vehemence of your first letter I admired very much; it
was one of the chief attractions of the epistle. The lion always
appears at his best when he is in a righteous rage. One lesson,
however, I have learned, and that is to abstain from any fm'ther
interference, and let other people roast their own chestnuts.

And so, henceforth, beloved Brother, go thine own way. I
will disturb thee no more. Prudent or imprudent, silent or out-
spoken, deliberate or not, thou art likely to come out all right in
the end. I assume no longer the post of guide, philosopher, and
friend, confining myself entirely to the latter function. But if,
in thy comet-like sweep through the heavens, thou shouldest ever
find thyself in a tight place among the suns, and the stars, and
the planets, and the little ecclesiastical moons, I shall always be
at thy service.

Just as affectionately yours as ever, and a little more so,

Thomas M. Clark.

^T. 55-56] THE BISHOP 469

He prepared his address for the Church Congress, there-
fore, without any, the slightest, allusion that could be con-
strued as explanatory or apologetic. He still felt about
church congresses as in his earlier years. In writing to Rev.
Arthur Brooks about the arrangement for trains, he adds : —

But the Congress is the great thing. Let us cast dull care
away and go in for enjoyment. For the Church needs us radical
old fellows to keep the conservatism of its young men from rot-
ting, and we must take good care of our health.

The city of Washington was moved at his coming. In
the large edifice, Epiphany Church, crowded to the doors,
there was no standing room. Not even the drizzling rain
deterred the people from waiting an hour before the doors
were opened. The address was beautiful in its simplicity
and adaptedness: "Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick
of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee."

Phillips Brooks entered upon his work as a bishop with
enthusiasm and in a spirit of entire self-consecration. It was
the culmination of that phase in his life, beginning after his
return from India, when ne resolved to " abase " himself in
order to " abound." He believed that the best part of his
work as a Christian minister would be conserved in the epis-
copate. So he had wi'itten to his friends. The unanimity
of all his friends, or at least the great majority of them, and
the voice also of all the people, confirmed him in the convic-
tion that he was right in accepting the office. The letters of
congratulation continued to come in for many weeks after his
consecration. From India and Japan and China, from France
and Switzerland, his friends were writing in a tone of jubi-
lation, in the expectancy of greater things that he would do.
This was also the uniform conviction of the host of his friends
in England. They sympathized in the change, as if it brought
to the whole Anglican Church a higher prospect of useful-
ness. Thus his friend Professor James Bryce, who saw in his
growing influence some special significance for the future of
American life, writes him how all his " English friends feel
greater confidence in the future of the American Episcopal

470 PHILLIPS BROOKS [1891-92

Church now that he will be officially connected with its
o-uides." But Mr. Bryce adds also a caution : —

I hope the duties of an active kind may not, as happens with
bishops here, trench too heavily on the time you have hitherto
given to reading and thinking; for even the authority the office
gives to guide church deliberations might be ill purchased by the
loss of quiet times.

Bishop Brooks needed the encouragement that his friends
could now give him by letter or otherwise. He was a man
without personal conceit, of entire humbleness of heart, — the
heart of a simple child, though accompanied with the con-
sciousness of power. He took up his new work, therefore, in
joy and gladness. Never had he been happier in his life
than now. The serenity of his spirit was manifest. He had
learned the lesson of Christ, how when he was reviled to
revile not ajrain. He was determined that all should be his
friends among clergy and laity, and to allow no opening for
enmities. His happiness showed itself in many ways, — in his
note-books, where he begins again, as in his youth, to record
his thoughts, as if life were opening anew before him. Then,
too, it was a vast relief, and he alone best appreciated it, that
he was free at last from the burden of the parish minister,
which had simply become greater than he could bear. The
task of preaching might now be reduced within limits that
would no longer exhaust his physical vitality. It seemed at
first, despite the multiplicity of engagements, that he had
more time at his disposal than before for reading and quiet
thinking. He carried books with him as he went on his epis-
copal visitations. He loved to travel, it must be admitted,
to go into new towns and places, to become acquainted with
people, to visit a hundred homes where he had the privilege
of being admitted as guest. It all seemed very delightful.
He could not believe that his work would ever become per-
functory. When he was told that the recitation of the bish-
op's formula in the confirmation office tended to formality,
he would not believe that he could ever be unsympathetic at
the sound of those little words, " I do," coming from young
hearts at a great moment in their lives.

Phillips Brooks

jy/ef. 3.5

&T. 55-56] THE BISHOP 471

He now showed that he possessed a capacity for the admin-
istration of affairs which some had doubted. It is the testi-
mony of Bishop Lawrence, than whom no one is more com-
petent to speak, that he excelled in executive ability. He
soon mastered the details of the office, carrying them with
ease in his capacious mind. There was some latent power
in him in this respect, needing only the quick call of duty
and the responsibility of his position for its development. A
business man in Philadelphia, one of his parishioners, had
once said of him that he was capable of taking charge of the
largest business corporations in the country, and that if he
gave his mind to such work he could not be excelled in effi-
ciency. Nor did these affairs of the diocese, numerous and
perplexing as they were, harass him or vex his peace of mind.
But one thing would be true of him, that he would slight or
neglect nothing, or relax his disposition to aid by any means
in his power those who appealed to him. There came at once
hundreds of appeals from clergymen for admission to the
diocese ; he was called upon to adjust difficulties in parishes ;
to offer advice upon every conceivable subject. There were
many drains upon his sympathy. The church must have
looked very differently to him in this nearer view from what
it had done when he gazed at it from the pulpit and saw only
the crowds of eager listeners to his words.

He showed a tendency, also says Bishop Lawrence, to be
a strict, even a rigid canonist. There was no laxity in him,
no inclination to leave things at loose ends. This disposition
was plainly manifested in his dealings with Candidates for
Orders. He wished it to be understood that they were to
go, when ordered deacons, where he should send them. There
would be no relaxation of this rule. " I pity them, but they
have got to go." He believed in government in church or
state, and that government was a divine ordering, not the ar-
rangement of a committee. In an address to the students of
the Theological School in Cambridge, he was very practical
in his suggestions. The first point he made was in regard to
legibility of handwriting. " Small causes lead to great fail-
ures." But he soon sailed out on the ocean of principles :

472 PHILLIPS BROOKS [1891-92

" Promptness must come from fulness. Get everything

He talked, said Mr. Kobert Treat Paine, " as if he had
some large plans in contemplation for the extension of the
church's work and usefulness, and was not going into it
vaguely." He sent to the State House for " any books or
documents which would give information as to the population,
and the character of the population, in the various towns and
cities of our Commonwealth." He was studying the State of
Massachusetts in its relation to the Episcopal Church, the
causes which had hindered its growth, the motive of its
strongest appeal. Of his three immediate predecessors in the
episcopal office, not one had been a Massachusetts man by
birth or education. That was his advantage, and he well un-
derstood it. He honored and he loved Massachusetts, know-
ing how to draw a response from its inmost soul, or to place
his finger on its pulse and read the beatings of its heart. By
natural descent he was a Puritan of the Puritans, and all this
was in him still, yet joined with other forces and tendencies
which came of the distinctive training from his childhood in
the Book of Common Prayer. He was asking himself as to
the place of the Episcopal Church, what message it brought,
and how that message should be presented to a common

He was scrupulous at first to follow the usages of his pre-
decessor. Wherever he went he found that Bishop Paddock
had left a sacred and healing influence behind. To do what
he was wanted to do, and to do it in the way to which people
had become accustomed, was his rule. When he visited a
town, he went to the Episcoj)al Church, although the towns-
people were expecting that the largest edifice would attract
him, or some large hall where all might hear him. But he
wended his way, as in duty bound, to the small " Gothic
cathedrals," as the Episcopal churches were called, tucked
away sometimes in a side street.

He was now forced to overcome his habit of silence, or of
talking only when he chose to talk, or had something special
to say when others' talk aroused him. Now he was expected

^T. 55-56] THE BISHOP 473

to entertain his hosts, or the assembled company in rural
parsonages ; for no one would talk when the bishop was pre-
sent, and at first Bishop Brooks overawed those who met
him. He had one resource, by which he could escape if
necessary, and that was by giving himself up to the children.
This was also amusement and pure recreation. Beautiful
accounts were written of his entrance into a household and
establishing at once with the children a familiar footing, so
that he and all in the family were completely at home. " Why
do you not talk to us as Bishop Brooks did ? " was a question
from the children that met Bishop Lawrence as he made his
first visitations in the diocese.

His modesty was always conspicuous on his visitations [writes
Mr. A. J. C. Sowdon]. One day he was met at the station in

Fall River by Rev. Mr. S , who turned to help him with his

valise. But he refused, saying he was able to carry it liimself.

As they came to a carriage Mr. S asked him to step in, but

he stood back and said, "Get in yourself first, S , never

mind me." He had a way of refusing carriages. Once when he
had been out to a service in a suburban town, and was leaving

the church, Mr. C said, "Bishop, there is a carriage for you

at the door." "I sent it away," he answered. "It would have

gratified our people if you had used it," said Mr. C . "I

preferred not to do so. I can go into town just as well in the
horse cars."

I was taking him in to dinner [continues Mr. Sowdon] the
first day of his convention, the only convention he attended as
bishop. There was an unusual crowd at the Hotel Brunswick,
and it was almost impossible to get through the entry. As I
asked the clergy to make way a little, he rebuked me ; but there
seemed no other way of getting to the dining-room. The clergy
did open ranks, and some clapped their hands as we passed through
the lines. This dreadfully annoyed him, and he insisted earnestly
to me that it must never occur again. He was greatly provoked ;
but after dinner he came to me and expressed deep regret that
he had been so quick with me. I told him it was no fault of
mine; but he said very sweetly and earnestly, "Well, you must
see that it (the clapping and open ranks) never occurs again."

A few days after he was made bishop, when the conversation

turned upon the office, he said to Rev. Mr. L , "If it ever

seems to you that my head gets turned, you must tell me of it."

474 PHILLIPS BROOKS [1891-92

Once he discovered that the person in charge of the Church
Rooms had employed a poor clergyman to carry a note for him ;
and he never forgot the person or the action, and was terribly
exercised about the indignity put upon his brother clergyman.

Then I must mention his absolute indifference as to whether
or not his friends had voted for him as Bishop. Too much can-
not be said of his entire freedom from revenge or soreness. He
nobly respected their judgment and the pluck it took to vote
against him.

In January Bishop Brooks was seriously ill with an at-
tack of the grippe. From the despondency which accompa-
nies the disease he was some time in recovering, and indeed he
never quite recovered from the effects of that lamentable ill-
ness. To a friend who called upon him, he remarked that
there had been one bishop of Massachusetts who never per-
formed an episcopal function, and he was afraid there would
be a second of whom the same would be said. To another
friend he said in answer to some request that the only thing
he could not give him was cheerfulness.

233 Clarendon Street, Boston, January 21, 1892.

Dear Arthur, — How strange it all is, this being sick ! I
am not out yet except for necessary duties, when I go in car-
riages, wrapped up like a mummy and actually afraid of draughts,
like an old woman. I hope it is most over, but the weather is
beastly, and the doctor is so cautious and the legs so weak that I
don't feel very sure of anything. Fortunately the doctor smiles
on my going to Philadelphia next week, and thinks the change
will do me good. Unfortunately, however, he insists that I
must go through and back in a closed car, shut in at Boston and
leaving the car only at Philadelphia. Such a car goes now via
the Shore Line and the steamer around New York. This loses
my chance of a night with you, for which I am very sorry, though
indeed, unless the coming week makes a great difference, a night
of my society could be of small delight to anybody. Still I dare
to think that you and L would be glad to see me.

And you shall I On Friday, the 19th of February, I am com-
ing on to the dinner of the New York Harvard Club, and I shall
count on you to take me in over night. I never saw a big New
York dinner, and I expect to be delighted and dazzled in my
provincial eyes.

And you must send me the seal as soon as it is done. I am

^T. 55-56] THE BISHOP 475

impatient for it, — not that I have suffered at all by the delay,
but I want to get possession of the gem of the episcopate, and to

show and that I have the finest seal of the lot.

I hope that the winter goes on well with you. Don't get sick
any more, and let 's be grateful for all the fine long years of

But the thought of a visit to Philadelphia had its usual
effect, and he writes to Mr. Cooper, January 22, 1892 : " I
may trust to you and McVickar for something to wear
on Sunday, surplice or gown. I shan't bring any episcopal
robes. You don't know what a good time I mean to have."

To the Eev. W. N. McVickar : —

233 Clarendon Street, Boston, February 3, 1892.

My dear William, — The visit was very pleasant, but it was
not the real thing. I missed you all the time, and the sense of
why you were not there, and the sorrow which had fallen on you,
kept us all the time from the absolute cheeriness which belongs
to a visit to the dear old town. Cooper was very kind, and the
dinner went off very well, and the people at the church were hospi-
tality itself, but you were not there, and all the time I was think-
ing of you sitting by your father, and remembering all the past
which you had lived with him. What an awful thing it is when
one's father dies I I think that one grows less and less afraid of his
own death, and more and more afraid of the death of his friends.
And here there is this endless complication of life with strangers,
these countless tiresome little bits of business with strangers, with
people that never have been and never can be one's friends, while
the folks one really cares for you see only once a year, and by
and by they die. Let 's change it all I Let 's get the half-dozen
people who are really worth while, and go off to Cathay or some-
where, and really see them while life lasts.

But what a joy it must be to you, dear William, to have seen
so much of your father, and to have put so much of happiness as
you must have out into his life. It is one of the things that is
most comforting to think of, I am sure.

And how little it makes life seem ; and how great ; and God
how near, and our own ambitions so small ; and every chance to
be good and to do good so great and so precious!

God bless you, my dear fellow,

Your old friend, P. B.

On February 11 a meeting was held in Boston, where the

476 PHILLIPS BROOKS [1891-92

laity, who had been invited to meet the city clergy, were
present in large numbers. The object of the meeting as
stated in the bishop's circular letter, and more fully in his
address, was to rouse the laity to individual and also con-
certed effort in order to meet people in sections of the city
devoid of religious or moral influence who could not be
reached by organized parochial work. This was the first
step taken on a large scale by the bishop to carry out some
more comprehensive plan for increasing the efficiency of the
Episcopal Church. There was much enthusiasm evoked by

Online LibraryAlexander V. G. (Alexander Viets Griswold) AllenLife and letters of Phillips Brooks (Volume 3) → online text (page 45 of 52)