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but surely he was not amenable to the congregations he called into existence, nor to the presbyters and other ministers he placed over them. These congregations were not separate units. They were not sources of power. They were one in their head. In the Episcopate was their unity. In the Bishop and in the counsellors and helpers he called around him and intrusted with their functions were the powers of legislating, governing, feeding, ruling the congregations over which he held jurisdiction.
The true theory cannot be in conflict with the facts of apostolic times and apostolic and primitive history. Looking at the matter historically, taking facts as they have been from the beginning to the time of the founding of our American Church, no one would venture to say that the unit was the congregation or what we now call the Parish. Christianity did not spread throughout the world on that theory. In no part of the world were missions conducted by presbyters or laymen first gathering congregations and constituting what we call Parishes, and then organizing these into Dioceses. There is no See in England that is not older than the Parishes it contains. Every Diocese, whether growing out of the mission of St. Augustine or that of Lindisfarne or of the Holy Isle, antedated the congregations and was for the purpose of forming congregations and build. ing them up in the Faith. Even in the exceptional cases, where new missionary work had been begun by presbyters or by laymen, where the brethren “scattered abroad” preached the Word as was their privilege, or where priests or evangelists went forth to preach and to baptize, the people gathered into the fold did not organize the Diocese and elect their Bishop. The organic Church life and conciliar or synodical action only began with the constituting of the See and the placing it in charge of the Bishop. The general rule in the early Church, in the early Middle Ages, and in all the great missionary periods, undoubtedly was, for the Bishop to go forth with his missionaries, as the apostles were originally sent to evangelize the world,
invested with the same apostolic commission, to call, teach, and send other ministers and assign them their work, to gather congregations, to establish schools and other Christian institutions, to organize the Church, to constitute the Diocese, to give it all things essential to its integrity, life, health, and growth. Even Gibbon admitted that as a matter of fact in the primitive times there was no Church without its Bishop. So in all ages the maxim “nulla Ecclesia sine episcopo" has been true.
A different system was followed in planting the Church in the Colonies of America in the last century, and its disastrous results are apparent to this day. Presbyters were sent out as missionaries by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, to minister chiefly to the colonists and to establish parishes. In theory they were but extending the great Diocese of London, for they were under the nominal jurisdiction of the Bishop of London. But as he could never visit them, they were practically an Episcopal Church without the Episcopacy. With the revival of the missionary spirit in the present century, the Church of England took warning from her former mistakes and failures, and, somewhat blindly it is true, sought to return to the method of the apostles and the primitive Church, by which England herself had been Christianized. Her great missionary societies have been first in every field. But presbyters sent as the first pioneers have not been considered as rendering Missionary Bishops unnecessary.
It was not these, but the Bishops sent forth from the Mother Church, that have organized missionary Dioceses and Provinces in every part of the British Empire. Middleton was not elected Bishop by Christian colonists in Calcutta ; not so did Selwyn go to New Zealand, nor Monntain to Quebec, nor Strachan to Toronto. They were sent. They went with anthority. Missions, parishes, schools, and other institutions sprang into existence under their inspiration, prompting, labors and oversight. Whatever may have been done previously by the great missionary societies, whatever
success had attended the labors of individual missionaries, however numerous they may have become and however extensive their work, they have not been permitted to organize themselves into Dioceses and elect their Bishop and undertake church legislation. The Society at home has been the governing power, the unit and source of administration. The development of local church organization has begun only when the See was constituted, the endowment secured, and the Bishop appointed, consecrated and sent. It is his work from his See as a centre, from the church which he adopts or builds as his cathedral, to form the Diocese, with such powers of synodical action as may be expedient. The fact that an endowment for the support of the episcopate must be secured before the See is constituted may sometimes unduly postpone the sending of the Bishop; but it has at least this one all-important advantage, of making the See permanent, and the Bishop's tenure of office perpetual. He can indeed resign or be transferred to another sphere of labor, but he cannot be superseded. While he lives and is in charge, no other can be elected and substituted in his place.
The Church, when instinct with missionary life, and active and zealous in her great work of evangelization, will always, though it be but gradually and perbaps blunderingly, fall back from defective or erroneous, upon right principles, and instinctively adopt right methods; and these principles and methods are primitive and catholic. The instinct that prompts and guides is the Holy Spirit working and energizing in the Body. So striving in the most effective manner to do her work, she returns to the old paths, even though not consciously seeking them, that she may walk therein.
It was the poverty of our Church, as well as an erroneous theory, that led to the sending forth of Missionary Bishops with no Sees and no provision for support but the salary pledged by the Board of Missions. In one view this was right. It was acting to a certain extent on right principles. It was recognizing the Bishop as the head and organizer of missionary work. It was sending him forth into the wilderness of uncared-for souls, as the apostles were sent at the first, to lay the foundations, and to gather the helpers and the means to build up the superstructure of the Church. So went forth Kemper in 1835 to organize and build up parishes and dioceses in the great Northwest, the proof and witness of the new era of revived missionary life in the Episcopal Church in this country. But he had no See till he had made one. It is at least conceivable that he might have been superseded by others being successively elected as Bishops of the several dioceses which he was the instrument of creating. It is true that in no instance of the forming of a diocese out of a missionary jurisdiction has this result followed, nor is it likely to follow in the future. But the possibility is an anomaly in our system. It should be removed as soon as possible.
The movement for diocesan organization should come from the Missionary Bishop. Every consideration should impel him to this step as soon as practicable. But he may well hesitate when he must put his future in the hands of a Diocesan Convention, though of his own creation, and face the possibility of being set aside as he is but beginning his work and learning how to do it most effectively. It has been said that “all Bishops are unpopular.” A distinguished presbyter lately reinarked that “there are few Bishops in the Church who could be re-elected if they were subjected anew to this ordeal and the election were to be free and without moral constraint." These are extreme opinions, with but small foundation of truth, and yet it is impossible to foresee what fatal results might not follow from mere restlessness, instability, and love of change or ambition. The very faithfulness and efficiency of the Missionary Bishop might in some cases make his position insecure.
The duties of a Missionary Bishop are arduous and not seldom painful in the performance. He must be for a time, of necessity, the chief executive of most of the work, even in
detail. His helpers will not always be the most loyal. He finds by sad experience that he cannot trust everybody. He learns that to be sure a thing will be done he must do it himself. He is to set things in order and supply what things are wanting ; to correct what is wrong; to discipline offenders. He will in doing this be very likely to set himself against things and persons that are popular, and thus incur reproach. An ambitious presbyter might easily take advantage of these things, and by shrewdly laying his plans, by the acts of the demagogue-for such acts are sometimes practiced even in the Church-gain for himself the suffrages of the majority; or some unsuspecting and misguided clergyman might be urged into the position of successful candidacy. The spirit of independence, easily degenerating into lawlessness in a remote or new territory or country, is liable so to pervade the whole social atmosphere as to invade the Church and to infect and influence the clergy. But each cannot be allowed to do what is right in his own eyes. The Bishop is the only one who has the authority and the responsibility for checking abuses and restraining such evils. Bishop Otey used to say that in the early years of his episcopate he deposed more clergy than he ordained. Other Missionary Bishops have had a like experience. Some missionary jurisdictions have at some time in their history been called, justly or unjustly, the “Botany Bay” of unworthy ministers, who had found it convenient to leave the East. These men have their friends, and the calling them to account involves peril. The present Missionary Bishops have all learned to exercise the greatest care in the selection of their clergy. Probably the missionaries now laboring in the great missionary districts west of the Missouri are not surpassed by any equal number in ability and earnestness, and true, loyal, and successful work. If remaining long at their posts, they become superior to most others, as their work among western people with their more intense life and greater general intelligence, calls for and develops higher qualities of character. And yet the evils spoken of will