Episcopal Church. Diocese of Ohio. Bishop (1873-18.

The centenary of the American Episcopate : an address delivered in St. James's Hall, on June 17, 1884 : and a sermon preached in St. Paul's Cathedral, on June 18, 1884, on the occasion of the 183rd an online

. (page 1 of 3)
Online LibraryEpiscopal Church. Diocese of Ohio. Bishop (1873-18The centenary of the American Episcopate : an address delivered in St. James's Hall, on June 17, 1884 : and a sermon preached in St. Paul's Cathedral, on June 18, 1884, on the occasion of the 183rd an → online text (page 1 of 3)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


.^^^> h

^^-^^'^^ ^-



Delivered in ST. JAMES'S HALL,

On JUNE 17, 1884,



On JUNE 18, 188 4,



S^ocietg for tijc ^propagation of ti)r ©ospd in ^iFortign ^arts.



IToniton :




R. Cuw. Sons, and Taycor.



The Bisliop of Ohio, who was very warmly received, said : —
The fraternal congratulations of his Grace, the president of
the venerable Society, to our General Convention at its cen-
tennial meeting, have afforded the occasion of which I am
to take advantage to-day ; for our House of Bishops has
committed to me the honourable privilege of expressing to
the members of the venerable Society that profound gratitude
to the Church of Enghmd with which our Church reviews
the first century of its history. " A little one has become a
a thousand, and a small one a strong nation," It is only a
hundred yeai-s; but the Lord has hastened it in His time.
We do not forget our debt to the Church of England for its
nurture ; nor the gratitude due, under the providence of
God, to the venerable Society in particular. We have
imbedded the fact in the opening sentences of the Preface
to our Book of Common Prayer, and to all generations perpe-
tuate the record, that " to the Church of England the
Protestant Episcopal Church in these States is indebted,
under God, for her first foundation, and a long continuance
of nursing care and protection." And it is quite in accordance
with this tradition that in these later days we have met
distinguished courtesy and consideration from the authorities
of the Church of England in solving problems connected
with our joint missionary affairs. In this recognition I count
it a privilege to include the Church Missionary Society, at

"svliose side we labour iu Missions both in China and Japan.
It has indeed been comparatively easy to adjust the relations
of these sister Churches since the Lambeth Conferences.
The Lambeth Conferences ! They are ever coupled in our
remembrance with recollections of that saint of God, Arch-
bishop Tait, of blessed memory, once Primate of England,
only ; but now Primus as well in all hearts in America that
beat in unison with his pure and single-minded devotion to
the cause of Christ, his grave and patient loving wisdom,
and his unbounded fraternity of sympathy with all fellow-
labourers in the Gospel. His Grace the present Archbishop
among his first official acts completed the jDolicy then out-
lined ; and the venerable Society and the Church Missionary
Society co-operating, our Bishops in foreign lands now pursue
their work in common ; so that, to-day, I am to express our
gratitude to God, not only for favours buried with the dead,
but for living benefactions, that keep fresh and iragrant the
assurance of our brotherhood in Christ.

In approaching the subject with which I am charged, a first
and natural inquiry, and that to which I shall confine myself
to-day, is, to what principle or to what peculiar force of
circumstances is Christianity indebted for that grand deve-
lopment of Missions for which this venerable Society stands
as the eldest sponsor ? When God would accomplish a great
end. He names a grand object and proposes a sufficient
motive. The object is always large enough to fill every
possibility as it may arise ; but, lest men should be dis-
couraged at the outset. He never defines the limits. God's
purposes develop with their fulfilment, and are equally great
at every moment to the end. And the motive is at every
moment sufficient ; but the peculiarity of Divine method
is, that whilst the primary force continues unchanged, the
secondary motives constantly change, becoming fitted to
changing personal conditions, or to changing times. A
hundred illustrations will occur to you in the history of the
propagation of the Gospel. E.g., the Lord said, "Go ye into
all the world and preach the Gospel unto every creature."

if %
, UIUC ^ !

And they went. The fact is utterly unaccountable on
ordinary principles. The Gospel had not been sufficiently
preached at home. Yet they went, north, south, east, west
to the conquest of the world. The object was indeed large
enough to fill the largest ambition ; but that was not the
motive, and they had not taken the measure of their task.
And the object has expanded with every age. For even we
are still struggling with a frozen north, and an inhospitable
Sahara, to discover its limits. The motive was suffi^cient ;
the love of a Saviour in Whom they believed : and that
motive still moves the Church to-day. But it might not
have started those men to their feet had not the command
been ringing in their ears: for men in those times were
accustomed to obey competent authority without always
counting the cost.

When Brennus, the captive British chief, and his grand-
daughter Eigen, heard St. Paul preaching in Rome, and
through the Gospel learned the grace of Christ, the first
impulse of their freedom, as their silver shackles fell, was to
carry the news of a Saviour to their island home. The love
of Christ no doubt constrained them ; but the attractions of
Caesar's court, and the possibility of influence opening to
them in that, the then capital of the world, might have
excused delay : but God had provided the motive that would
not be gainsayed nor delayed, and that was, British love of
home. Luther did not comprehend the fierceness, nor the
force, of the fire he was kindling : but God had made him so,
that he would rather face any foe and spcalc, than be con-
sumed in silence by the intensity of his German love for
truth. So, when this Society was formed in 1701, no doubt
the Convocation which secured its charter thought they
understood what was meant by " the propagation of the
Gospel to foreign parts." Possibly they imagined that they
understood the limits of that term. But the Providence of
God had prepared an object which would expand with each
succeeding year. And the motive, primarily, ardent love for
the Gospel of the Son of God, was undoubtedly affected by


the temjaer of the age, for England was engaged in its
magnificent work of colonisation.

God has given to the Anglo-Saxon nature (and that nature
does not change when it crosses the ocean) never to rest
whilst there is any more land to be possessed. The grace of
God consecrated that spirit of the age, to Himself, in the
hearts of those noble men. It was the reflex of the policy
of the State upon the Church of England. But thenceforth
a noticeable change occurred. Before that date the State
was carrying the Church with it as a secondary part of its
scheme of colonisation. Thenceforth, this grand old Church
moved out for missionary work as an integral part of the
national advance. Illustrating what I mean, the earliest
colonists carried the Church with them. Christian England
never went abroad, leaving its religion behind. And in
some well-known instances, the avowed purpose of colonisa-
tion was the extension of the Church. But until the
establishment of this Society no part of the Church of
England had organised itself, for the distinct purpose of
propagating the Gospel. On St. John's Day, in 1497>
in the ship Matthew, of Bristol, John Cabot discovered
the main land of America in advance of Columbus.
Probably his good ship carried with it an apostle, for, on a
subsequent voyage in 1501, it is recorded that a minister
was jjart of the equipment ; for " an entry in the Priv}^
Purse of King Henry VII. shows that two pounds were
paid to a priest that goeth to the new island." I quote
from the curious researches of De Costa, in his introduc-
tion to the memoirs of Bishop White. During 1527 the
English colonists came into full view, directly in the line of
our thought. For in that year, on one of the ships of Henry
VIII., a canon of the grand old church, St, Paul's of
London, addressed a letter to Cardinal Wolsey from the
harbour of the New-found-land. Only fifty years later began the
pure proclamation of the Gospel in America by the Reformed
Church. Under the enterprising Frobisher in 1578, " Maister
Wolfall, minister and preacher, was charged to serve God

twice a day, with the ordinary service of the Church of
England." That ship's company landed in the Countess of
Warwick's Sound, and " Wolfall preached a godly sermon,
and celebrated also a communion, the first English com-
munion recorded in the history of the New World." This
Maister Wolfall was a true missionary. For the record runs
— " being well seated and settled at home in his own country
with a good and large living, having a good honest woman
to wife, and very towardly children, he refused not to take
in hand this painful voyage for the only care he had to
save souls, and to reform the infidels, if it were possible, to
Christianity, and to this end he spared not to venture his
own life." In 1607, " the first sermon known to have been
delivered in New England was preached by Kev. Richard
Seymour, a minister of the Church of England." May it
please your Grace to note, that this first preaching of the
Gospel in New England was twenty years anterior to the
entrance there of the Puritan colonists. The colonisation
of the Bermudas, close to the southern shore of America,
was undertaken by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops
of Bath and Wells, and Worcester, supported by thirty of the
noblest men and women. The charter of 1606 assigns as a
reason for the grant " that it is a work which, by the provi-
dence of Almighty God, may tend to the glory of His Divine
Majesty, in propagating the Christian religion to such people
as live in ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of
God." It is not to be supposed that such colonisation went
forth without the presence of the Church. And curiously
connecting Fulham, with this history, among the induce-
ments to colonisation in Virginia, is recorded the mildness
of the climate and its suitableness for the cultivation of the
vine; which (emphasis is given to the fact) is to be pro-
pagated by cuttings from the Bishop's garden at Fulham.
But the planting of the True Vine, was the main purpose :
for Hakluyt declares, " the prime object of colonisation is
to plant the Christian religion." So that, as Dr. Hawks records
in his History of the Church in Virginia, Avhen the London


Comj)any was formed in 1606 (that settled Virginia), King
James I., of blessed memory, instructed the " presidents and
council to provide that the true service of God, according to
the doctrine and rites of the Church of England, should
not only be planted and used in the said colonies, but as
much as might be among the savages bordering upon them."
Indeed as far back as 1588, Sir Walter Raleigh, when assign-
ing his patent to Thomas Smith, accompanied it with a
donation of 100/. for the propagation of the Christian religion
in Virginia, And the charter of 1606 assigns as a reason
for the grant, " that it is a work, which, by the Providence
of Almighty God, may tend to the glory of His Divine
Majesty in propagating the Christian religion, to such people
as live in ignorance of the true knowledge and worship of

On board one of the ships of that little company that
landed at Jamestown was one of the most godly, discreet,
and patient clergymen which the Church of England ever
sent forth. His first church was an old sail suspended from
four trees ; and his second was a wooden building set up on
four forked posts, the roof of which was covered with rafts,
sedge, and earth. But here he held daily service, with two
sermons on Sunday, and the Holy Communion once in three
months. This Robert Hunt gave his life for the flock. But
he left a memorial which any Bishop might envy, or, at least
desire to emulate. He saved the colony more than once by
his words of peace, and by his unconquerable courage
amidst general depression ; and twice he reconciled the dis-
cords of angry rulers who were in equal authority, without
being claimed as a partisan hy cither. The religion of that
day was not altogether lovely, but Christian men had faith
in it, and a conscience to enforce what they believed. It
must seem strange to this age, possessed by the insanity of ab-
solute liberty — an age which boasts its freedom both from God
and man ; which sets aside the authority of God's commands
except as sanctioned by human judgment ; and is not to be
controlled even by conscience ; it must seem strange to such


an age that " the Church ever laid men under martial law."
Yet such was the force of the convictions of those stern
strong colonists two hundred years ago that, not only in
New England but in Virginia, a man who refused to listen
to sermons, or encouraged that evil habit in others, or did
not frequent the daily service of God, was punished under
martial law. A man who blasphemed the Holy Name, or
the Creeds, and Articles, was liable to pain of death. And
they who spake against the authority of the Word of God
did it at the risk of life. So firmly were they persuaded of
the truth that they captured heathen men and brought them
as captives back to England, not as slaves, but in order that
they might be converted. And, in some instances, this
singular mode of persuasion met with success. For that
Avas an age of strong convictions, singleness of aim, and
extraordinary force of will.

Now it was under the influence of such times that this
Society was born. And the question is not merely a curious
one as to an outside observer, but, perhaps, a very practical one
to the Society itself; to what secondary causes does it owe its
exceeding great influence in the missionary work, and what
secondary force should it cultivate ? An outside observer,
studying the question merely as an historical inquiry, may
reach a conclusion somewhat different from that which those
will reach who from familiarity with the cause, overlook or
underrate its power. But if there is any instruction in an
uninterrupted series of events for 300 years, such as I have
outlined, then he must be blind who cannot see, the providen-
tial connection between, the colonisations of England, and the
missionary power of the Church of England, as the exponent of
the religion of the nation. A foreigner may not express his
thoughts on some of the aspects of that subject. In a Repubhc
such as ours an Established Church would not only be an
anachronism, but as undesirable as it would be impossible.
But, in a nation of free men, where a Monarchy expresses
the governmental force, an Established Church would seem
to be the natural expression of the moral force of the nation ;


and the two would seem to be bound together in one bundle
of life. But in respect to the missionary aspects of the
question, no Christian is a foreigner ; and, least of all, one
who traces his ecclesiastical lineage through the ancient seat
of St. Augustine of Canterbury.

We are "fellow-citizens," and " of the household."

As we read history, the two great Missionary Societies of
the Church of England stand in the forefront of the Propa-
gation of the Gospel, because England stands in the forefront
of nations as a coloniser.

And therefore, should any events deprive this great Mis-
sionary force of the national prestige, and power, that lie
behind it, the whole Christian Church in every nation may
take up the lamentation, " How are the mighty fallen, and
the weapons of war laid low ! "

It is to be expected that in the present combined attack
of infidelity and lawlessness against the Kingdom of the Son
of Man, this salient point will not be left entirely in peace.

But whilst England's Church continues to realise her
obligations to the world, her shield is the Lord of Hosts ;
and the nation may find shelter under her shadow.

At least the last of the children of the Church of England
to forget their obligations to this Mother of Missions will be
the Dausrhter Church of America.


" He hath set the world in tlieir heart."— Ecclesiastes iii. 11.

If the wise preacher had foreseen the creation of this
Society he could not more accurately have described its

Its origin — the sovereign purposes of God. " He hath
done it." And to Him be the glory for ever.

Its sphere — " the world ; " although the originators of it
had not then taken, and were not able to take, the full
measure of their task.

Its motive — devotion for the Gospel in the Church of
Christ, deep seated " in their heart."

And when I add the comment with which the wise
preacher immediately follows this unconscious prophecy —
" So that no man can find out the work that God maketh,
from the beginning to the end " — we have all the suggestions
which I desire to pursue.

The fraternal congratulations of his grace the president of
this Society to our General Convention at its centennial
meeting has afforded the occasion of which I am to take
advantage. For our House of Bishops has committed to me
the honourable privilege of expressing to the members of the
venerable Society that profound gratitude to the Church of
England with which our Church reviews the first century of
its history, and of renewing the assurance of our brotherhootl
in Christ.

This anniversary of the venerable Society for the Propa-
gation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts revives precious


memories, calls for gratitude to the God of all grace ; and,
from a comparison of the past with the present, suggests
some pregnant truths.

The text infolds this natural line of thought.
It was under the influence of such times as I endeavoured
to characterise yesterday that this Society was born. The
century that had passed since the founding of the American
colonies had ameliorated some of the features of a former
age of stone, but had not one whit diminished the Anglo-
Saxon determination to become masters of the world. And
the founders of this Society determined by God's grace that
His Church should no longer be secondary in this work of
colonisation, but should have, and be known to have, a
primary function in the propagation of the Gospel, " They
builded better than they knew." Although " the world was
set in their hearts," yet, as "no man can find out the work
that God maketh from the beginning to the end," the found-
ations that they laid in the American colonies bear small
proportion to the building that was set thereon. The traces
of their generous labour are found in every colony — churches,
school-houses, parsonages, glebes, gatherings of scattered
members of the flock by the itinerant ministry of their
missionaries, permanent strong parishes established where
cities were being formed and population congregated. Their
influence was felt chiefly in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsyl-
vania, New Jersey, and New York. And these States to
this day are the centres from which the Gospel in the Church
is propagated among us.

In this reminiscence it must never be forgotten that at no
time did the Society lose sight of its missionary vocation, its
grand purpose — the conversion of the savages. One of their
earliest appointments — for Trinity Church in New York —
was a catechist for the Indians, of whom in 1710 there were
1,500 within the limits of that city alone. In 1738 the
reports of their missionary, Barclay, were encouraging. He
tells of a church among the Mohawks numbering 500
Christian Indians, with fifty communicants. Later, specific


mention is made of the progress of the Gospel among the
negroes. And Trinity School in the city of New York was
established by the aid of your Society as a missionary school
for these ignorant classes. Still later, in 1755, your mission-
aries report that on occasion of administering the Lord's
Supper some of their Indians came sixty miles to attend the
sacred feast ; and that in Braddock's war six of the Mohawk
chiefs who fell were communicants, and that their Sachem
Abraham held divine service in the army morning and
evening. We read, with curious reflections to-day, in the
eulogium of one of those grand old missionaries — stationed
near the capital, Albany, on the Hudson River — that he wa^
" placed on the furthest limit of the Messiah's kingdom ! "
for all beyond it westward to the Pacific Ocean was dark and
dismal gloom. In those days a missionary station 150 miles
north of the city of New York was the furthest limit of
the Messiah's kingdom !

Faithful to the last in their mission to those heathen of
the New-found-land, this Society vindicated its right to its
venerable title.

It was indeed, comparatively, a small beginning. A narrow
line of coast stretching along the Atlantic, from the mouth
of the St. Lawrence to the Floridas, extending scarcely a
hundred miles inland at any point south of New York,
hemmed in by wilderness and savages. Yet in 1784, after
the throes of the Revolution, seven of those colonies, then
become States, sent fifteen clerical deputies to the first
Convention, out of which grew the General Convention of
our Church. These were representatives, and although we
have no record of the precise number of clergy at that
period (it is stated at 180) some idea is thereby given of the
influence which had been exerted by the Church of England ;
and chiefly by this Society, then becoming venerable.

But to-day, those seven feeble dioceses have grown to
sixty, including our home missionary jurisdictions. We have
also four dioceses in foreign parts; and the number of the
clergy is thirty-five hundred. We have three hundred and


sixty-five thousand communicants, and a membership, not
over-estimated, at two millions. We have one hundred and
twenty charitable houses, and one hundred and forty institu-
tions of learning, colleges, theological schools, and grammar-

The contributions of our Church in these last three years
for Church work in all its various branches were twenty-nine

Statistics are not always impressive, nor ever interesting,
except to students of great social problems ; yet I have
thought it due to his Grace and the members of this vener-
able Society to show them, as far as figures may, what God
hath graciously wrought in one century on the foundation
which their generosity had laid. Still the purpose of God
seems not to have been fully accomplished. The work is
opening before us every day. The population among whom
we labour is more than fifty millions. The area of the
thirteen colonies which were the sphere of this Society was
about five hundred thousand square miles. The area into
which we are thrown to-day is three and a half millions of
square miles. And the Anglo-Saxon determination to find
and hold the ultima thule has lately added to our field Alaska
and part of the arctic zone, very far beyond " Greenland's icy
mountains," which Heber taught us to sing about, or the
"ice-bound Labrador," which was the limit of Hemans's
gentle vision, and Mexico at the south is being rapidly bound
up in our bundle of life by iron bands.

Within the last three months trains run directly from New
York to the city of the Aztecs. Whether the Isthmus of
Panama is to be a defence against invasion from the north, or
a bridge to invite the Anglo-Saxon towards Cape Horn, is
part of the problem still unwrapped.

For " He hath set the world in their heart," and " no man
can find out the work that God maketh, from the beginning
to the end."

Such a review is crowded Avith instruction. For I must
pass by the fertile and attractive field presented by the


world-wide labours of this venerable Society, and the delight-
ful subject of the motive, deep-seated in their hearts, zeal
for our Lord, and love for our Christ. Other reasons apart,
there is a limit to your patience, and should be to my
sermon ; and the first of these topics has been treated so
ably by Canon Barry (before his consecration), in his address
to the Society in October last, that nothing can be added :
and the second was so fully discussed by my colleague, the
Bishop of Pennsylvania, in his sermon on the 177th anni-
versary of the venerable Society, that no additional words
could deepen the impression.

I desire, right reverend and beloved brethren, to present
for your approval two impressions fixed on my own mind by
the study of this theme.

1. The propagation of the Gospel by us must in all cases

1 3

Online LibraryEpiscopal Church. Diocese of Ohio. Bishop (1873-18The centenary of the American Episcopate : an address delivered in St. James's Hall, on June 17, 1884 : and a sermon preached in St. Paul's Cathedral, on June 18, 1884, on the occasion of the 183rd an → online text (page 1 of 3)