Abbildungen der Seite


what he has just learned of the needs of the parish, instruction and exhortation on some important point of doctrine and discipline; or on some practical Diocesan work that he knows ougbt to be pushed-in short, a sermon fitted for the occasion–differing somewhat from ordinary parish preaching

“ Feed my lambs,” said our Lord. Oh, let the afternoon be given to the children, that they may feel the Bishop cares for them; that they may grow up to love him and look forward to his .visits with joy, and long for the time when their pastor can say, 'ycu are now duly prepared, come, that I may present you for the laying op of the hands of your Bishop.' Oh, what influence for good a Bishop may have who loves children. Well do I remember how the children in a former parish, looked forward to, and prepared by study, for the visit of Bishop Doane; who, to his honor be it said, however hurried, never neglected to catechise the children, and well he did it.

The evening service would be for confirmation. The sermon more general in character, yet instructive in Church doctrine and gospel truth ; with a special loving word of encouragement to the confirmed, and of exhortation to others, thus fitly rounding out the service. Nor need the Bishop hasten away at the earliest possible moment, but, guided by the wish of the rector, sometimes remain for other services, for missionary exploration of the neighborhood, or for any other work, public or private.

To some, all this may appear utopian, and some rectors would object to such investigation. Of course, great discretion is to be used, nor, as already said, need all this be done at every visit. But who does not feel that such a visit as this, prudently carried on, would stir up minister and people and leave an impression for good which would be felt through long time, wonld not only help the parish, but also give the Bishop an intimate knowledge of the wants of his Diocese; where and how to work. But, oh, who is sufficient for these things! What zeal, what selfdenial, what earnest piety, what prudence, what study, what prayer, to fit for this. No novice, no busy-body, no worldly-minded, no weak-hearted, no cold blooded man could attempt this. It needs one filled with the Divine Spirit of love, one “wise as serpents and harmless as doves." These are the qualities needed in a Bishop.

But besides the visitations to organized parishes, the Bishop is also to be the chief missionary of his Diocese. It is his to seek for Christ's sheep which are scattered abroad. Where there are no parishes, there is especially the Bishop's parish. I do not mean that he himself is always to go first to such places and inaugurate services, he might not have time for this. But he is to have care for them, to send out those in whom he has confidence, to explore and report; he should know thoroughly, the condition, wants and capabilities of such places, and thus be able to avoid mistakes, wastes of men and money. For this purpose he should have a band of assistants, young men, ministers and candidates for orders, whom he could send where found most needed, through whom he could work—his military family, so to speak-supported from a Diocesan Fund, associated together as a band of workers. And here we have the true idea of the cathedral as a practical thing, the centre of the Diocese—whence the Bishop

'I am glad to be able to quote the opinion of a distinguished layman of this Diocese, Cortlandt Parker, Esq., to the same effect. “So far as regards unoccupied territory this power and duty of actively promoting Church extension belong by necessary implication to the Bishop. He is the chief Pastor, charged with the duty of looking over the entire field, and of gathering in the wandering, unfolded sheep. All baptised into the Church and residents within his Diocese belong to his charge, and cannot separate themselves from it.

To the Bishop of each Diocese, therefore, belongs ex necessitate rei the duty of establishing Churches, Congregations and Parishes where now there are none.

As human nature is, some one should havo the right of determining when a given population demands or will justify a new Church. And that person should be the Bishop, unless indeed that great office is only to be regarded as a convenience for ordination and confirmation."Opinion, etc.




works its missions, with its clergy-house, schools, libraries and charities, clustering around the Bishop's seat. The church-building a part of the system, not the whole, wherein from time to tiine he may gather the clergy for conference, and also either himself or by learned deputy, perform that other important duty of driving away from the Church all unsound doctrine and of teaching the truth in its fullness.

And this again brings into prominence another qualification of a Bishop; a sufficiency of sound learning and a steadfastness in the faith. These are times of shifting opinions and changing faiths. The Church is set as a light in the world. To extinguish this light of Divine truth she is assailed on the one side by oppositions of science falsely so called,” which would take from her all that is of faiththe very spiritual life--and leave her in the darkness of a cold materialism ; and on the other, a spurious catholicity would take from her all exercise of the reasoning powers, and envelop her in the mists of superstition. An important duty of a Bishop is to warn his Church of these dangers and see that her light be kept burning clear and strong. This requires in him a cultured mind, exercised not only in theological, but also in a certain degree of general learning; and above all, a steadfastness of faith, based upon a knowledge of Church history, and especially on an intimate acquaintance with God's Holy Word, so that "his testimony of Christ shall be not yea and nay, but yea." A Bishop must have faith in his Divine commission ; must believe in the Church as a Divine institution, as sure to succeed.

And then there is the iufluence the Bishop may exercise in leading young men to the ininistry and aiding them to a fit preparation—but I must pause—the theme is far from exbausted-time fails. Enough has been said to show the vast importance and wide scope of the office and work of a Bishop, and how careful we should be to make choice of a fit person to serve in this sacred ministry. Who, indeed, would dare undertake such a position were it not for the strengthening promise, “Lo, I am with you alway.” No one ought to accept it who cannot feel “not I, but the grace of God.

Having said so much regarding the duties of a Bishop to his diocese, it seems proper to close by reversing the picture and saying a few words—and they can be but few-of our duty as clergy and laity towards the Bishop. An apostolic injunction says: “obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account; that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for yon.” They are noye uoves, leaders in God's army, of Divine, not human appointment, as such, they have a right to our obedience, under the laws of the Head of the Church by which we are all governed. “They watch for our souls,” a weighty responsibility for which they deserve our sympathy and filial love. Their office demands our respect, their work claims and requires our hearty co-operation. We choose our own superior officer, he has thus an additional claim upon us for obedience, sympathy and help. However good and earnest a Bishop may be, unless his clergy and laity work with him, he can do but little. The work is beavy upon him, and as Aaron and Hur held up Moses' hands in the fight against the Amalekites, so let the clergy on the one side, and the laity on the other, hold up our Bishop's hands in the Church's fight against God's enemies. And let us remember that however divine the office, the officer is human, therefore liable to err; we must not expect perfection; we must be ready to allow for infirmi. ties, for mistakes. If compelled to differ, let us do it kindly. Let us remember our vow to “ follow with a glad mind and will his godly admonitions, and to submit ourselves to his godly judgments;" aud even if we think him wrong, or going a little beyond his powers, it is better, for peace sake, unless some great principle be involved, to yield, than by opposition to stir up strife. Let us aid in

carrying ont his plans for the growth of the Church, to the utmost of our ability. Not as is too often the case, requiring him to make brick without straw-withholding men and money, and then blaming him becanse more is not done. And above all, let us give heed to the entreaty so often uttered by the great Apostle, “ brethren pray for us." If he so felt the need of the help of the intercessions of his people, surely every Bishop must require it. Yes, let us constantly pray for God's blessing upon our Bishop and his work.

I believe that we all have come here this day with a sincere desire to perform our duty in the fear of God, to His honor and glory, and for the edifying of His Church. We may have, as is natural and proper, our personal preferences and views, but we must not let them stand in the way of duty. We are to sign our names to a declaration that we believe in our conscience the man we elect “to be of such sufficiency in good learning, such soundness in the faith, and of such virtuous and pure manners, and godly conversation, that he is apt and meet to exercise the office of a Bishop to the honor of God, and the edifying of His Church, and to be a wholesome example of the flock of Christ.” May the Holy Spirit so preside in this our Council and so guide our choice, that we may all be able, with good will, to declare and to feel that this is the one He hath chosen.


One of the most important subjects which will engage the atten. tion of the next General Convention, will be the proposed division of the American Church into Provinces. It is not at all probable that any positive legislation will be effected at this session; a matter of so much importance will require very careful deliberation. But something must undoubtedly be done by way of preparation; the necessities of the case require it. There is almost universal

« ZurückWeiter »