Produced by Jared Fuller
BY THE RT. REV. H.B. WHIPPLE, D.D., LL.D. BISHOP OF MINNESOTA
My only excuse for printing these sermons is the request of friends who could not secure copies of them. They are printed as delivered, and the repetition of incidents was a part of the historical statement. The Third and Fifth Sermons were preached without notes and reported by a stenographer. H.B.W.
I. SERMON AT THE OPENING SERVICES OF THE GENERAL CONVENTION, OCTOBER 1889
II. SERMON AT THE FARIBAULT CELEBRATION OF THE CENTENNIAL OF THE INAUGURATION OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, 1789-1889 III. SERMON AT THE SECOND ANNUAL MEETING OF THE MISSIONARY COUNCIL IN WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 1888
IV. ADDRESS IN LAMBETH CHAPEL, AT THE FIRST SESSION OF THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE, JULY 3, 1888
V. SERMON AT THE FOURTH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE BROTHERHOOD OF ST. ANDREW, IN CLEVELAND, OHIO, SEPT. 29, 1889
I. SERMON AT THE OPENING SERVICES OF THE GENERAL CONVENTION, OCTOBER 2, 1889.
“We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work Thou didst their days, in the times of old.”–PSALM xliv. I.
Brethren: I shall take it for granted that there is a visible Church; that it was founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, and has His promise that the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. We believe that ours is a pure branch of the apostolic Church; that it has a threefold ministry; that its two sacraments–Baptism and the Supper of the Lord–are of perpetual obligation, and are divine channels of grace; that the faith once delivered to the saints is contained in the Catholic creeds, and has the warrant of Holy Scripture which was written by inspiration of God. On this centennial day I shall speak of the history and mission of this branch of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It was a singular providence that this continent, laden with the bounty of God, was unoccupied by civilization for thousands of years. America was discovered by a devout son of the Latin Church, whose name– Christopher, Christ-bearer, and Columbus, the dove–ought to have been the prophecy that he would bear the Gospel to the New World. It was at a time when Savonarola, with the zeal of a prophet of God and the eloquence of a Chrysostom, was laboring to awaken the Church to a new life. No nation ever had a nobler mission than Spain. That mission was forfeited by unholy greed and untold cruelty. It was lost forever. Other nations claimed the continent for their own. In the providence of God; this last of the nations was founded by the English-speaking race. I reverently believe that it was because they recognize as no other people the two truths which underlie the possibility of constitutional government, i.e., the inalienable rights of the individual citizen, and loyalty to government as a delegated trust from God, who alone has the right to govern. These lessons are intertwined with two thousand years of history. They reach back to the days when the savage Briton came in contact with Roman civilization and Roman law, and have been deepened by centuries of Christian influences which have changed our savage fathers into truth-speaking, liberty-loving Christian men.
More marvellous are the providences intertwined with the history of the Church. It was planted by apostolic men, and numbered heroes like St. Patrick and St. Alban before the missionary Augustine came to Canterbury. Through all of its history it has been the Church of the English-speaking race. The liturgy contains the purest English of any book, except the English Bible, which was translated by her sons. The ritual which Augustine found in England came from the East; and the liturgy which he introduced was, by the advice of Gregory, taken from many national Churches. The Venerable Hooker said: “Our liturgy was must be acknowledged as the singular work of the providence of God.” In its services it represents the Church of the English-speaking race. The exhortation to pray for the child to be baptized, the direction to put pure water into the font at each baptism, the sign of the cross, the words of the reception of the baptized, the joining of hands in holy matrimony, the “dust to dust” of the burial,–are peculiar to the offices of the English-speaking people. In the Holy Communion, the rubric found in all western Churches, commanding the priest, after consecration, to kneel and worship the elements, never found a place in any service-book of the Church of England. The Book of Common Prayer has preserved for us Catholic faith and Catholic worship.
The first English missionary priest in America of whose services we have record was Master Wolfall, who celebrated the Holy Communion in 1578 for the crews of Martin Forbisher on the shores of Hudson Bay, amid whose solitudes Bishop Horden has won whole heathen tribes to Jesus Christ. At about the same time the Rev. Martin Fletcher, the chaplain of Sir Francis Drake, celebrated the Holy Communion in the bay of San Francisco, a prophecy that these distant shores should become our inheritance. A few years later (1583), divine service was held in the bay of St. John’s, Newfoundland, for Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and when his ill-fated ship foundered at sea, the last words of the hero-admiral were, “We are as near heaven by sea as by land.” The mantle of Gilbert fell on Sir Walter Raleigh, who was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth to bear the evangel of God’s love to the New World. The faith behind the adventures of these men is seen in a woodcut of Raleigh’s vessels at anchor; a pinnace, with a man at the mast-head bearing a cross, approaching the shore with the message of the Gospel. To some of us whose hearts have been touched with pity for the red men, its is a beautiful incident that the first baptism on these shores was that of an Indian chief, Mateo, on the banks of the Roanoke. In May, 1607, the first services on the shore of New England were held by the Rev. Richard Seymour. Missionary services in the wilderness were not unlike those of our pioneer bishops. “We did hang an awning to the trees to shield us from the sun, our walls were rails of wood, our seats unhewed trees, our pulpit a bar of wood–this was our ‘church.'” It was in this church that the Rev. Robert Hunt celebrated the first communion in Virginia, June 21, 1607. The missionary spirit of the times is seen when Lord De la Warr and his companions went in procession to the Temple Church in London to receive the Holy Communion. The Rev. Richard Crashaw said in his sermon: “Go forward in the strength of the Lord, look not for wealth, look only for the things of the kingdom of God–you go to win the heathen to the Gospel. Practise it yourselves. Make the name of Christ honorable. What blessings any nation has had by Christ must be given to all the nations of the earth.” The first act of Governor De la Warr, on landing in Virginia, was to kneel in silent prayer, and then, with the whole people, they went to church, where the services were conducted by the Rev. Richard Burke. In 1611 the saintly Alexander Whittaker baptized Pocahontas. Disease and death often blighted the colonies, and yet the old battle cry rang out–“God will found the State and build the Church.” The work was marred by immoral adventurers, and it was not until these were repressed with a strong hand by Sir Thomas Dale that a new life dawned in Virginia.
The first elective assembly of the New World met in 1619. It was opened by prayer. Its first enactment was to protect the Indians from oppression. Its next was to found a university. In the first legislative assembly which met in the choir of the Church in Jamestown, more than one year before the Mayflower left the shores of England, was the foundation of popular government in America. Time would fail me to tell the story inwrought in the lives of men like Rev. William Clayton of Philadelphia, the Rev. Atkin Williamson of South Carolina, and the Rev. John Wesley and the Rev. George Whitefield, also sons of the Church in Georgia.
The Church of England had no rights in the English colony of Massachusetts. The Rev. William Blaxton, the Rev. Richard Gibson, and the Rev. Robert Jordan endured privation and suffering, and were accused “as addicted to the hierarchy of the Church of England,” “guilty of offence against the Commonwealth by baptizing children on the Lord’s Day,” and “the more heinous sin of provoking the people to revolt by questioning the divine right of the New England theocracy.” An new life dawned on the Church in America when, in 1701, there was organized in England “The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.” It awakened a new missionary spirit. Princess Anne, afterward Queen of England, became its lifelong patron. The blessed work among the Mohawks was largely due to her, and when these Indians were removed to Canada and left sheperdless, their chief, Joseph Brant, officiated as lay reader for twenty years. The men sent out by the society–the Rev. Samuel Thomas, the Rev. George Keith, the Rev. Patrick Gordon, the Rev. John Talbot, and others–were Christian heroes. No fact in the history of the colonial Church had so marked influence as the conversion of Timothy Cutler, James Wetmore, Samuel Johnson, and Daniel Brown to the Church. Puritans mourned that the “gold had become dim.” Churchmen rejoiced that some of the foremost scholars in Connecticut had returned to the Church. I pass over the trials of the Church in the eighteenth century, to the meeting of the Continental Congress in 1774. It was proposed to open Congress with prayer. Objections were made on account of the religious differences of the delegates. Old Samuel Adams arose, with his white hair streaming on his shoulders,–the same earnest Puritan who, in 1768, had written to England: “We hope in God that no such establishment as the Protestant episcopate shall ever take place in America,”–and said: “Gentlemen, shall it be said that it is possible that there can be any religious differences which will prevent men from crying to that God who alone can save them? I move that the Rev. Dr. Duche`, minister of Christ Church in this city, be asked to open this Congress with prayer.” John Adams, writing to his wife, said: “Never can I forget that scene. There were twenty Quakers standing by my side, and we were all bathed in tears.” When the Psalms for the day were read, it seemed as if Heaven was pleading for the oppressed: “O Lord, fight thou against them that fight against me.” “Lord, who is like Thee to defend the poor and the needy?” “Avenge thou my cause, my Lord, my God.” On the 4th of July 1776, Congress published to the world that these colonies were, and of right ought to be, free. We believe that a majority of those who signed this declaration were sons of the Church. The American colonists were not rebels; they were loyal, God-fearing men. The first appeal that Congress made to the colonies was “for the whole people to keep one and the same day as a day of fasting and prayer for the restoration of the invaded rights of America, and reconciliation with the parent State.” They stood for their inalienable rights, guaranteed to them by the Magna Charta, which nobles, headed by Bishop Stephen Langton, had wrung from King John. The English clergy had at ordination taken an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. Many who sympathized with their oppressed country felt bound to pray for King George until another government was permanently established. Others, like Dr. Provost, retired to private life. For two hundred years an Episcopal Church had no resident Bishop. No child of the Church received confirmation. No one could take orders without crossing the Atlantic, where one man in five lost his life by disease or shipwreck. At one time the Rev. William White was the only clergyman of the Church in Pennsylvania. Even after we had received the episcopate, the outlook was so hopeless that one of her bishops said, “I am willing to do all I can for the rest of my days, but there will be no such Church when I am gone.” When William Meade told Chief Justice Marshall that he was to take orders in the Episcopal Church, the Chief Justice said, “I thought that this Church had perished in the Revolution.” Of the less than two hundred clergy, many had returned to England or retired to private life. In some of the colonies the endowments of the Church had been confiscated. There was no discipline for clergy or laity, and it did seem as if the vine of the Lord’s planting was to perish out of the land.
On the Feast of the Annunciation, 1783, ten of the clergy of Connecticut met in the glebe house at Woodbury to elect a bishop. They met privately, for the Church was under the ban of civil authority, and they feared the revival of bitter opposition to an American episcopate which might alarm the English bishops and defeat their efforts. They did not come to make a creed, or frame a liturgy, or found a Church. They met to secure that which was lacking for the complete organization of the Church, and thus perpetuate for their country that ministry whose continuity was witnessed through all the ages in a living body, which is the body of Christ. I know of no greater heroism than that which sent Samuel Seabury to ask of the bishops of the Church of England the episcopate for the scattered flock of Christ. You remember the fourteen months’ weary waiting, and when his prayer was refused in England, God led him to the persecuted Church of Scotland. Now go with me to Aberdeen; it is an upper room, a congregation of clergy and laity are present. The bishops and Robert Kilgour, Bishop of Aberdeen, Arthur Petrie, Bishop of Moray, and John Skinner, Coadjutor Bishop of Aberdeen, who preached the sermon. The prayers were ended; Samuel Seabury, a kingly man, kneels for the imposition of apostolic hands, and, according to the godly usage of the Catholic Church, is consecrated bishop, and made the first apostle for the New World. None can tell what, under God, we owe to those venerable men. They signed a concordat binding themselves and successors to use the Prayer of Invocation in the Scottish Communion Office, which sets forth that truth which is inwrought in all the teachings of our blessed Lord and His apostles, that the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ is limited to the worthy receiver of this blessed sacrament. The consecration of Seabury touched the heart of the English Church.
In 1783 the Church of England did not have one bishop beyond its shores. There are to-day fifteen bishops in Africa, six in China and Japan, and twenty-three in Australia and the Pacific Islands, ten in India, seven in the West Indies, and eighty-five in British North America and the United States. Every colony of the British Empire and every State and Territory of the United States has its own bishop, except the Territory of Alaska.
On February 4th, 1787, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Provost, D.D., were consecrated bishops in Lambeth Chapel, by John Moore, Archbishop of Canterbury, William Markham, Archbishop of York, Charles Moss, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and John Hinchcliffe, Bishop of Peterborough. The sermon was preached by the chaplain of the primate. Our minister to England, Hon. John Adams, urged the application of Drs. Provost and White, and in after years wrote: “There is no part of my life I look back with more satisfaction than the part I took–daring and hazardous as it was to myself and mine–in the introduction of episcopacy to America.” Samuel Provost was a devoted patriot and one of the ripest scholars of America. In the convention which elected him Bishop of New York were John Jay, Washington’s chief justice, Marinus Willet, one of Washington’s favorite generals, James Duane, John Alsop, R.R. Livingston, and William Duer, members of the Continental Congress, and David Brooks, commissary-general of the Revolution, and personal friend of Washington. If less prominent in his episcopal administration, Bishop Provost’s name as a patriot was a tower of strength to the infant Church.
Of Bishop White we can say, as John Adams said of Roger Sherman, “He was pure as an angel and firm as Mount Atlas.” He was beloved and reverenced by all Christian people. When Congress declared the colonies independent States in 1776, he at once took the oath of allegiance to the new government. When a friend warned him that he had put his neck in a halter, he replied: “I know the danger; the cause is just; I have put my faith in God.” In 1777 he was elected chaplain of Congress, and held the office (except when Congress met in New York) until the capital was removed to Washington. Francis Hopkinson, a distinguished signer of the Declaration of Independence, and other loyal sons of the country, were among those who elected him Bishop of Pennsylvania.
One hundred years ago today the representatives of the Church in the different States met to adopt a constitution. There had been tentative efforts to effect an organization and adopt a Book of Common Prayer, all of which were overruled by the good providence of God. Many not of our fold desired a liturgy. Benjamin Franklin published at his own expense a revised copy of the English liturgy. The House of Bishops was composed of Bishop Seabury and Bishop White. Bishop Provost was absent. In the House of Clerical and Lay Deputies were the Rev. Abraham Jarvis, the Rev. Robert Smith, and the Rev. Samuel Parker, who became bishops. They met to show the world that the charter of the Church is perpetual, and that the Church has the power to adapt herself to all the conditions of human society. They met to consolidate the scattered fragments of the Church in the thirteen colonies into a national Church, and secure for themselves and children Catholic faith and worship in the Book of Common Prayer. They builded wiser than they knew. They secured for the Church self-government, free from all secular control. They preserved the traditions of the past, and yet every feature of executive, legislative, and judicial administration was in harmony with the Constitution of the Republic. They gave the laity a voice in the council of the Church; they provided that bishops and clergy should be tried by their peers, and that the clergy and laity of each diocese should elect their own bishop subject to the approval of the whole Church. There was the most delightful fraternal intercourse between the two bishops. In the words of our Presiding Bishop, “The blessed results of that convention were due, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to the steadfast gentleness of Bishop White and the gentle steadfast–of Bishop Seabury.” A century has passed. The Church which was then everywhere spoken against is everywhere known and respected; the mantle of Seabury, White, Hobart, Ravenscroft, Eliot, De Lancey, and Kemper has fallen on others, and her sons are in the forefront of that mighty movement which will people this land with millions of souls. While we say with grateful hearts, “What hath God wrought!” we also say, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy Nave give the praise.” Surely, an awful responsibility rests upon a Church whose history is so full of the mercy of God. We are living in the great missionary age of the Church. There is no nation on the earth to whom we may not carry the Gospel. More than eight hundred millions of souls for whom Christ died have not heard that there is a Saviour. One of the hinderances to the speedy evangelization of the world is the division among Christians,–alas! both within and without the Church. Our Saviour said: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Christians have been separated in hostile camps, and often divisions have ripened into hatred. The saddest of all is that the things which separate us are not necessary for salvation. The truths in which we agree are part of the Catholic faith. In the words of Dr. Dollinger, “we can say each to the other as baptized, we are on either side, brothers and sisters in Christ. In the great garden of the Lord, let us shake hands over these confessional hedges, and let us break them down, so as to be able to embrace one another altogether. These hedges are doctrinal divisions about which either we or you are in error. If you are in the wrong, we do not hold you morally culpable; for your education, surroundings, knowledge, and training made the adherence to these doctrines excusable and even right. Let us examine, compare, and investigate the matter together, and we shall discover the precious pearl of peace and unity; and then let us join hands together in cultivating and cleansing the garden of the Lord, which is overgrown with weeds.” There are blessed signs that the Holy Spirit is deepening the spiritual life of widely separated brothers. Historical Churches are feeling the pulsation of a new life from the Incarnate God. All Christian folk see that the Holy Spirit has passed over these human barriers and set His seal to the labors of separated brethren in Christ. The ever-blessed Comforter is quickening in Christian hearts the divine spirit of charity. Christians are learning more and more the theology which centres in the person of Jesus Christ. It is this which worldwide is creating a holy enthusiasm to stay the flood of intemperance, impurity, and sin at home, and gather lost heathen folk into the fold of Christ. In our age every branch of the Church can call over the roll of its confessors and martyr, and so link its history to the purest ages of the Church. We would not rob them of one sheaf they have gathered into the garner of the Lord. We share in every victory and we rejoice in every triumph. There is not one of that great company who have washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb, who is not our kinsman in Christ. Brothers in Christ of every name, shall we not pray for the healing of the wounds of the body of Christ, that the world may believe in him?
We are perplexed by the unbelief and sin of our time. The Christian faith is assailed not only with scoffs of old as Celsus and Julian, but also with the keenest intellectual criticism of Divine revelation, the opposition of alleged scientific facts, and a Corinthian worldliness whose motto is “Eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” In many places Christian homes are dying out. Crime and impurity are coming in as a flood, and anarchy raises its hated form in a land where all men are equal before the law. The lines between the Church and the world are dim. Never did greater problems confront a council of the Church. An Apostolic Church has a graver work than discussion about its name or the amending of its canons and rubrics. I fear that some of this unbelief is a revolt from a caricature of God. These mechanical ideas about the universe are the outcome of a mechanical theology which has lost sight of the Fatherhood of God. There is much honest unbelief. In these yearnings of humanity, in its clubs, brotherhoods, and orders, in their readiness to share all things with their brothers, I see unconscious prophecies of the brotherhood of all men as the children of one God and Father. Denunciation will not silence unbelief. The name infidel has lost its terrors. There in only one remedy. It is in the spirit, the power, and the love of Jesus Christ. Philosophy cannot touch the want. It offers no hand to grasp, no Saviour to trust, no God to save. When men see in us the hand, the heart, and the love of Christ, they will believe in the brotherhood of men and the Fatherhood of God.
There was nothing which impressed your bishops in the late visit to England more than the service in the cathedral at Durham. The church, with its thousand years of history was thronged. The chants were sung by two thousand choristers in surplices. The sermon was preached by the Bishop of Western New York. This grand service was to set apart some Bible readers and lay-preachers to go into the collieries to tell these toilers of the love of Jesus Christ. The same awful problems stare us in the face,–the centralization of swarms of souls in the cities; the wealth of the nation in fewer hands; competition making a life-and-death struggle for bread; the poorest sinking into hopeless despair; and the richest often forgetting that Lazarus at his gate is a child of the same God and Father. We, too, must send our best men and women wherever there is sin, sorrow, and death, to work and suffer, and, if need be, die for Christ.
We are living in the eventide of the world, when all things point toward the second coming of our King. God has placed the English-speaking people in the fore-part of the nations. They number one-tenth of the human family, and I believe God calls them to do the work of the last time. The wealth of the world is largely in Christian hands. There never have been such opportunities for Christian work. Never such a harvest awaited the husbandman.
You may tell me of difficulties and dangers. We have only one answer. Sin, sorrow, and death are not the inventions of a Christian priest. “There is only one Name under heaven whereby any man can be saved.” We have nothing to do with results. It is ours to work and pray, and pray and work and die. So falls the seed into the earth, and so God gives the harvest. When the Church sends out embassies commensurate with the dignity of our King, it will be time to talk of failure. Is the kingdom of Christ the only kingdom which has not the right to lay tribute on its citizens? The only failure is the failure to do God’s work. Was it failure when Dr. Hill of blessed memory laid the foundation for that Christian school which the wisest statesmen say is the chief factor in the regeneration of Greece? Was it failure when James Lloyd Breck, our apostle of the wilderness, carried the Gospel to the Indians? Did Williams, Selwyn, and Patteson fail in Polynesia? Was it failure when Hoffman and Auer died for Christ in Africa? Have your great-hearted sons failed who have followed in the footsteps of the saintly Kemper, and laid with tears and prayers foundations for Christian schools which are the glory of the West? Has the Gospel failed in Japan, where a nation is awakening into the life of Christian civilization? Never has God given His Church more blessed rewards. The century which has passed is only our school of preparation. The voice of God’s Providence says: “Speak to the children of Israel that they go forward.” We have some problems peculiar to ourselves. Twenty-five years ago four millions of slaves received American citizenship. The nation owes them a debt of gratitude. During all the horrors of our civil war they were the protectors of Southern women and children. Knowing the failure of their masters would be the guarantee of the freedom, there was not one act that master or slave might wish to blot. We ought not to forget it, and God will not. To-day there are eight millions. They are here to stay. They will not be disfranchised. Through them Africa can be redeemed. They ought to be our fellow-citizens in the kingdom of God. In a great crisis of missions the Holy Ghost sent Philip on a long journey to preach Christ to one man of Ethiopia. The same blessed Spirit of God calls us in the love of Christ to carry the Gospel in the Church to the millions of colored citizens of the United States.
Brethren, the time is short. Since our last council nine of our noblest bishops have died. Since I was consecrated, fifty-four bishops have entered into the rest if the people of God. It is eventide. A little more work, a few more toils and prayers, and we who have lived and loved and worked together shall have a harvest in heaven.
II. SERMON AT THE FARIBAULT CELEBRATION OF THE CENTENNIAL OF THE INAUGURATION OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, 1789-1889.
“Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Ebeneser, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”– 1 SAMUEL vii. 12.
No words are more fitting on this Centennial day. One hundred years ago George Washington was inaugurated the first President of the United States. Words are powerless to express the grateful thoughts which swell patriot hearts. Save that people whom God led out of Egypt with His pillar of fire and His pillar of cloud, I know of no nation whose history is so full of the bounty of God. This country was settled by Englishmen. They were bound by ties of affection to the mother country. They were not rebels, they were loyal, God-fearing men. The English crown had violated rights which were guaranteed to them by the Magna Charta, which brave barons, headed by Bishop Stephen Langton, had wrung from King John and which under God has made English-speaking people the representatives of constitutional government throughout the world. It was not until every plea for justice had been spurned, their sacred rights trampled upon, and the warnings of the wisest English statesmen unheeded, that the American colonies resolved to be independent and free. On the 5th of September, 1774, fifty-five delegates, from eleven colonies, met in Smith’s tavern, Philadelphia, and at the invitation of the carpenters of that city adjourned to their hall. Questions arose as to the numerical influence of the colonies. Patrick Henry voiced the sentiment of Congress, “I am not a Virginian, I am an American.” John Jay, who represented the conservative element said, “We have not come to make a constitution; the measure of arbitrary power is not full, it must run over before we undertake to frame a government.” It was proposed to open Congress with prayer. Objections were made on account of the religious differences of the delegates. Old Samuel Adams rose, with his long white hair streaming on his shoulders (the same earnest Puritan who in 1768 had written to England, “We hope in God that no such establishment as the Protestant Episcopate shall ever take place in America,”) and said, “Gentlemen, shall it be said that it is possible that there can be any religious difference which will prevent men from crying to that God who alone can save them? Puritan as I am, I move that the Rev. Dr. Duche`, minister of Christ Church in the city, be asked to open this Congress with prayer.” John Adams, writhing to his wife, said, “Never can I forget that scene. There were twenty Quakers standing by my side and we were all bathed in tears. When Psalms for the day were read, it seemed as if Heaven itself was pleading for the oppressed: ‘O Lord, fight thou against them that fight against me. Lord, who is like unto Thee to defend the poor and needy. Avenge Thou my cause, my Lord and my God.'” Although filled with indignation at the blood which had been shed in Boston, Congress nevertheless issued an appeal to the people of England: “You have been told that we are impatient of government and desire independency. These are calumnies. Permit us to be free as you are, and our union with you will be our greatest glory. But if your ministers sport with human rights, if neither the voice of justice, the principles of the constitution, nor humanity will restrain them from shedding human blood in an impious cause, ‘we will never submit.’ We ask peace, liberty and safety, and for this we have laid our prayer at the feet of the king as a loving father.” The battles at Lexington, Concord and Ticonderoga preceded the second meeting of Congress in May, 1775. Their plea for justice had been spurned. The outlook was dark as midnight. These brave men represented no government, they had no power to make laws, they had no officers to execute them, they could not impose customs, they had no army, they did not own a foot of land, they owed the use of their hall to the courtesy of the artisans of Philadelphia. On the 12th of June Congress made its first appeal to the people of twelve colonies, ( Georgia was not represented). It was a solemn call for the whole people to observe one and the same day as a day of fasting and prayer “for the restoration of the invaded rights of America and reconciliation with the parent state.” They who sought the protection of God knew that under God they must protect themselves. All hearts turned to George Washington, a delegate from Virginia, and he was unanimously chosen to be commander-in-chief. When Congress met in July, 1776, the people had been branded as traitors; the slaves of Virginia had been incited to insurrection, the torch and tomahawk of the savage had been let loose on frontier settlements, an army of foreign mercenaries had landed on their shores, their ports were blockaded, an the army under Washington for their defence only numbered 6,749 men. On the second day of July, 1776, without one dissenting colony, the representatives of the thirteen colonies resolved that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved.” Two days later Benjamin Harrison, the great-grandfather of our present president, the chairman of the committee of the whole, reported to Congress the form in which that resolution was to be published to the world, and the reasons by which it was to be justified. It was the work of Thomas Jefferson, then aged thirty-three, and never did graver responsibility rest on a young man than the preparation of that immortal paper, and never was the duty more nobly fulfilled. In the original draft of the declaration there was the allegation that the king “had prostituted his negative by suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce in human beings.” This was struck out, as Mr. Jefferson tells us, in “complaisance to South Carolina and Georgia, not without tenderness to Northern Brethren who held slaves.” Time forbids my calling over the roll of these noble patriots who signed their names to our Magna Charta. There is John Adams, of whom Jefferson said, “He was our Colossus on that floor, and spoke with such power as to move us from our seats.” Benjamin Franklin, printer philosopher and statesman. Roger Sherman, of whom John Adams said, “He is honest as an angel and firm as Mount Atlas.” Charles Carroll, who, when a member said, “Oh, Carroll, you will get off, there are so many Carrolls,” stepped back to the desk and wrote after his name, “of Carrollton.” John Hancock, who, when elected speaker, Benjamin Harrison had playfully seated in the speaker’s chair and said, “We will show Mother Britain how little we care for her, by making a Massachusetts man our president, whom she has by proclamation excluded from pardon.” A friend said to John Hancock, “You have signed your name large.” “Yes,” he replied, “I wish John Bull to read it without spectacles.” Robert Morris, the financier and treasurer of the Revolution. Elbridge Gerry, the youngest member, the friend of Gen. Warren, to whom Warren had said the night before the battle of Bunker Hill, “It is sweet to die for our country.” What a roll of names! the silver-tongued Rutledge, brave Stockton, wise Rush, Lee–fifty-five noble names, not one of whom who did not know that, as one member said, “If we do not hang together, we shall hang separately.” It was not timidity which made any of the delegates hesitate to take the irrevocable step. All the associations of their lives, all the traditions and memories of the past bound them by ties of kindred and affection to the mother country. They were venturing on an unknown sea; there were no charts to guide them, no precedents to follow. The truth was, as Jefferson so tersely said, “The people wait for us to lead the way. The question is not whether by a declaration of independence we shall make ourselves what we are not, but whether we shall declare a fact which exists.” So also John Adams said, “The Revolution was effected before the war commenced.”
I cannot tell the story of the seven year’s war. The articles of confederation were sent to the States in 1778, but the last of the thirteen States, Maryland, did not adopt them until March, 1781. Congress under he confederacy dealt with the States and did not have the confidence or the love of the people. It required nine States to pass any measure of importance. During the war the confederacy was a pitiable failure. It issued bills which no one would take, its certificates of indebtedness and promises to pay were so worthless that it gave rise to the proverb, “Not worth a continental.” Robert Morris, the financier, pleaded hopelessly for help. Alexander Hamilton denounced the confederation as “neither fit for war nor peace.” Even Washington, always hopeful, wrote in 1781: “Our troops are fast approaching nakedness; our hospitals are without medicine; our sick are without meat; our public works are at a standstill; in a word, we are at the end of our tether, and now or never deliverance must come.” At last victory came–thanks to the generous assistance of France, to the heroism of leaders like Lafayette, Baron Steuben, and hosts of others, who gave us their fortunes and hazarded their lives for America, the war was ended by the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. Victor Hugo said, “Napoleon was not defeated at Waterloo by the allied forces. It was God who conquered him.” Who that remembers Trenton, Valley Forge, Saratoga and Yorktown, will not say God fought for our Washington? In 1777 a Quaker had occasion to pass through the woods near the headquarters of the army; hearing a voice, he approached the spot, and saw Washington in prayer. Returning home, he said to his wife: “All’s well! All’s well! Washington will prevail. I have thought that no man can be a soldier and a Christian. George Washington has convinced me of my mistake.” Peace was declared in 1783. I have a water-color of the building used as the Department of State, in which the treaty of peace was signed–it was a building 12 feet by 30.
In May,1787, delegates from all the States, except Rhode Island, met in the state house in Philadelphia, with George Washington as president, to draft a constitution for these United States. All the delegates were convinced of the utter failure of the articles of confederation, all were convinced of the need of a stronger government. Two parties honestly differed and were determined to fight it out to the bitter end. At one time it looked as if the convention must disband without effecting its object. Franklin arose and said: “Mr. President, the small progress we have made after five weeks is a melancholy proof of the imperfection of human understanding–we have gone back to ancient history for models of government–we have viewed modern states–we find none of their constitutions suitable to our circumstances–we are groping in the dark to find political truth, and are scarcely able to distinguish it when presented to us. How has it happened, sir, that we have not once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illumine our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard and they were graciously answered. All of us have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means to establish our nation. Have we forgotten our powerful Friend? Do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live the more convinced I am that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We are told, sir in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this, and I also believe that without His aid we shall succeed in our political building no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little, partial, local interests, our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a byword to future ages. I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven an its blessing on our deliberations be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate.” When the Constitution was adopted, Franklin rose, and pointing to the speaker’s chair, on which was carved a sun half-hid by the horizon, said: “Gentlemen, I have long watched that sun and wondered whether it was a rising or a setting sun–God has heard our prayers, it is a rising sun.” This convention adopted the famous ordinance of 1787, which guaranteed that slavery should never enter the north-west territory, and this, under God, saved the nation in the hour of trial. The Constitution was ratified by eleven of the States in 1788, and the first Wednesday in January, 1789, electors were chosen in all the ratifying States, except New York, where a conflict between the senate and assembly prevented a choice. In Rhode Island and North Carolina no election was held. The person receiving the highest number of votes was to be president, the man receiving the next highest number was to be vice-president.
Washington received the whole number of votes, 69; John Adams received 34. They were elected the first president and vice-president of the United States.
The world has only one Washington. At sixteen he was county surveyor, the support of his widowed mother; at nineteen he was military inspector, with the rank of major; at twenty the governor of Virginia sent him six hundred miles to ask the commander of the French forces “by what authority he had invaded the king’s dominions”; at twenty-two he was colonel in command of a regiment under General Braddock, and in the absence of a chaplain he read prayers daily himself. He saved the remnant of that ill-fated army from annihilation, and fifteen years after an aged Indian chief came to see the man at whom he had fired many times and who was protected by the Great Spirit. At his entrance as a member of the legislature of Virginia, the speaker greeted him with thanks for his military services. Washington arose to reply and blushed and stammered. The speaker said, “Mr. Washington, your modesty only equals your valor.” He was a member of the first Continental Congress of whom Patrick Henry said, “Mr. Rutledge, of South Carolina, is the great orator, but for solid information and sound judgement Col. Washington is unquestionably the greatest man on that floor.” When with one voice Congress chose him to be the commander-in-chief, he said, “I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in this room, that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity that I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with. No pecuniary consideration would tempt me to accept this position. I will keep an exact account of my expenses, those I doubt not you will discharge. I ask no more.” The nation applauded the prudence, the wisdom, the bravery and patriotism of Washington. Frederick the Great said, “His achievements are the most brilliant in military annals.” Napoleon directed that the standard of the French army should be hung with crape at his death. Fox said of him in the British Parliament, “Illustrious man, it has been reserved for him to run the race of glory without the smallest interruption to his course.” But the noblest eulogy ever uttered were the words of Gen. Henry Lee: “First in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” He had hoped to retire to private life, and wrote to Lafayette, “I am a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac, under the shadow of my own vine and fig tree. I have retired from all public employment and tread the walks of private life with heartfelt satisfaction.” The country would not permit it. He had refused to be a candidate for the office of president and accepted the nation’s unanimous call with a heavy heart. His last act before leaving for New York was to visit his aged mother, then eighty-two, and in the last year of her life. We can picture that tender farewell to one to whom he owed under God that beautiful faith which shed glory on his life. The journey to New York was one continued ovation. His Virginia neighbors and friend gave him a God-speed and benediction. Baltimore outdid itself in generous hospitality. Philadelphia crowned him with laurel, the bells rang out their joyous peals, cannons thundered and the people with one voice shouted “Long live the President.” Marvellous as was the enthusiasm of other cities, the people of Trenton, who remembered the cruelties of the Hessian in 1776 and their deliverance by Washington, outdid them all. On a triumphal arch was written “Dec. 26, 1776. The hero who defended the mothers will defend the daughters.” At Elizabeth a committee of Congress met him, and Caesar never had so beautiful a flotilla as that of the sea captains and pilots who bore him to New York on the 23d of April. A week was spent in festivity. It is the 30th of April. In all the churches of New York there have been prayers for the new government and its chosen head. The streets swarm with people as the hour of noon approaches. Every house-top and porch and window near to Federal Hall is packed with a dense mass. The president has been presented to the two houses of Congress. The procession is formed. Washington follows the senators and representatives to the balcony. Around and behind him are his staff and distinguished patriots of the Revolution. Every eye is fixed on the stately, majestic man. A little over six feet high, his form perfect in outline and figure, a florid complexion, dark blue eyes deeply set, his rich brown hair now tinged with gray, firm jaws and broad nostrils, lighted by a benignant expression. Such was the Father of his Country. The brave soldier trembles with emotion as the chancellor of the State of New York reads the oath; the hand of Washington is on the open Bible. Was it a providence that they rested on the words, “His hands were made strong by the mighty God of Israel?” The secretary would have raised the sacred book to the president’s lips. Washington said solemnly, “I swear, so help me God,” and then bowed reverently kissed the book. He went to the senate chamber, and with stammering words, for his heart was almost too full for utterance, he delivered his inaugural address, and then turning to his friends said, “We will go to St. Paul’s Church for prayers.” It had been the habit of his life. His pastor, Rev. Lee Massey, said, “No company ever withheld him from church.”‘ His secretary, Harrison, said, “Whenever the general could be spared from the camp on the Sabbath, he never failed to ride to some neighboring church to join in the worship of God.” He claimed no praise for his matchless victories, but reverently gave all the glory to the blessing and protection of God. He knew, in the words of my friend Robert C. Winthrop, that “There can be no independence of God.” The poet will sing and the orator describe eloquently the pageant of that day, but no incident will so touch the Christian’s heart as the first act of the president of the United States, kneeling reverently with his fellow-citizens in the public worship of God. The service which had been set forth and was this day used in St. Paul’s Church by Bishop Provost, also a patriot of the Revolution, and one who had suffered for his country’s sake, was substantially the same used by us to-day. Washington assumed office in the midst of dangers. Edmund Randolph, one of the foremost members of the constitutional convention, wrote to Washington, “The Constitution would never have been adopted but for the knowledge that you sanctioned it, and the expectation that you would execute it. It is in state of probation. You alone can give it stability.” There was a stormy sea before the new ship of state. The bitter hatreds between Federalist and anti-Federalist were not healed. Two states had not ratified the Constitution–there were tokens in more than one direction of rebellion. Without on dollar in the treasury, we were eighty millions in debt. The pirates of Morocco had destroyed our commerce in the Mediterranean, Spain threatened the valley of the Mississippi. Our relations with England were full of bitter memories; a country larger than Europe was to be protected, and we had a standing army of only 600 men. Washington called around him as advisers Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury; Henry Knox, Secretary of War; Edmund Randolph, Attorney-General, and John Jay, Chief Justice, and by these men, under God, the crumbling confederacy was cemented into one nation. Time forbids my reading you the words of wisdom, “apples of gold in pictures of silver,” of Washington’s inaugural and farewell addresses. I wish I had time to tell how, with a prophet’s eye, he saw the future of the West, and again and again urged the opening of lines of commerce to bind East and West together. After eight years of wise rule, such as befitted “the Father of our Country,” he retired to the shades of Mt. Vernon, to be, as he had been through life, the helper of the helpless, the friend of the needy and the almoner of God. On the 12th of December, 1799, he was exposed to a storm of sleet and rain, the severest form of quinsy set in; two days later, the 14th of December, he died. As friends stood weeping around his death-bed, he said with a smile, “O don’t, don’t; I am dying, but thank God I am not afraid to die.” As the hour of his death drew near he asked to be left alone. They all went out and left him with God. There are lessons for our hearts to-day. Government is a delegated trust from God, who alone has the right to govern. He gives to every nation the right to say in what form this trust shall be clothed. No man has the right to be his brother’s master. Take away the truth that government is a trust which comes from God, and you have left nothing between man and man but cunning and brute force. Burke said, “this sacred trust of government does not arise from our conventions and compacts,” but it gives our conventions and compacts all the force and sanction which they have. I shall be told that the name of God is not found in the Constitution of the United States; it did not need to be when it was written on the people’s hearts.
While we commemorate the noble deeds of our fathers, which under God were this day crowned with success, we gratefully remember that our fathers’ God has guided us through all dangers. What other nation has come out of the horrors of civil war with victors and vanquished vieing with each other in love for one common country? Where has the hand of the assassin bowed the whole people by the leader’s grave? This is no day for boasting or to call over the roll of our great dead.
We have sinned deeply, and deeply have we paid the penalty. No hand but God’s could have over-ruled our mistakes and given us our favored position to-day. We must not forget that no nation has ever survived the loss of its religion. The year which saw Washington inaugurated president, saw in the fair land of Lafayette the beginnings of that holocaust of murder which turned France into a hell. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” No high-sounding words about freedom, no Godless philosophy, no infidel creed, which robs men of homes here and heaven hereafter, can save this nation. “Not unto us, but unto Thy name be the praise,” must be our song, as it was the song of our fathers.
There are clouds and darkness on the horizon for the future. I see it in the impatience of law, in the jealousies between class and class, in the selfishness of the rich, and in the misery of the poor, in bribery and corruption in high places, and in the turbulence of mobs. I see it in the foul monster of intemperance and impurity which stalk unabashed through the land. But I see the greatest danger in that insidious teaching which robs humanity of an eternal standard of right, which makes morality prudence or imprudence, which limits man’s horizon by the grave, and takes from hearts and homes God and Christ and heaven. Yet, I reverently believe that God has set us in the forefront of the nations to be, as our text says, “a beacon on the mountain-top,” to lead on in His work in the last time. It may be that for our sins we shall walk again into the furnace, as we have walked and come out of it purified and fitted for the Master’s use. I sometimes lose faith in men, but I will not lose faith in God. It is ours to work and bide our time; so did our fathers, and so will God give the harvest. I should wrong my heart and yours to-day, if I forgot the daughters of the Revolution. We might have had no Washington but for the lessons he learned at that mother’s knee, that his duty to God was to believe in Him, to fear Him and to love Him with all his heart, with all his mind, with all his soul and with all his strength, to worship Him, to give Him thanks, to put his whole trust in Him, to call on Him, to honor His holy name and His word and to love Him truly all the days of his life; that his duty towards his neighbor–was to love him as himself, and to do to all men as he would have them do unto him, to love, honor and succor his father and mother, to honor and obey the civil authority, to hurt nobody by word or deed, to be true and just in all his dealings, to bear no malice or hatred in his heart, to keep his hands from picking and stealing, and his tongue from evil speaking, lying and slandering, to keep his body in temperance, soberness and chastity. Not to covet or desire other men’s goods, but to learn and labor truly to get his own living and to do his duty in that state of life unto which it should please God to call him. We know this was the rule of his life. The Father of his Country found his solace, inspiration and help, as many of us have found it, in the love of a Christian wife. There are no fairer names in our country’s history than Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, Sally Foster Otis, Alice DeLancy Izard, Jane Ketelas Beekman, and many more, who made up the republican court of Washington; and we do not forget humble names like Mollie Stark, whose lives were consecrated to their country. Wives, mothers, daughters! none have places of greater influence in shaping and moulding our country than you. Your power is the power of a Christian mother, a Christian wife, a Christian daughter. In the darkest hour look to God, believe that your mission is a nobler one than to be a slave of fashion or the leader of a party. Plant your feet on the rock of eternal truth–never speak with uncertain voice of the verities of the Christian faith. For you St. Paul said: “How knowest thou, O Woman, but thou mayest save thy husband and thy child,” and saving them a nation is saved.
III. /SERMON AT THE SECOND ANNUAL MEETING OF THE MISSIONARY COUNCIL IN WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 13, 1888/.
“/The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever/.”–REVELATION xi. 15.
THESE words are God’s surety that the prayers, the trials and the labors of His Church shall be crowned with success.
We are living in the great missionary age of the Church. Impenetrable barriers have been broken down. Fast-closed doors have been opened. There is no country where we may not carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Divine Providence has been fusing the nations of the earth into one common brotherhood. Man has created nothing. The lightening would run its circuit in the Garden of Eden as well as when Morse made it man’s messenger. In the fullness of time God has lifted the veil from human eyes to see the mysteries of His bounty, and so prepare a highway for the coming of our King.
I have no argument about the obligation of missions. It is eighteen hundred years too late for this.
I speak to you to-day of the progress of the Kingdom of Christ. Pray for me that the story may lead us to the foot of the Cross to consecrate all that we have to His blessed service.
At the close of the last century a thoughtful young Englishman asked the governor of the East India Company to go to India to preach the Gospel. The answer was: “The man that would go to India upon that errand is as mad as a man who would put a torch to a powder magazine.”
A few years ago Chunder Sen, the great scholar of India, died. On his death-bed a friend asked him what he thought were the prospects of Christianity in India. He answered: “Jesus Christ has conquered the heart of India.” Not that great battles are not yet to be fought, much weary work to be done, but with more than half a million of Christians in India, which have been won in this century, we are certain that the nation will be won to Christ.
I turn to that dark continent which has had more of human sorrow bound up in its history than any place on earth. Forty years ago in a cottage in the highlands of Scotland an aged man said to his son: “David, you will have family prayer to-day, for when we part we shall never meet again until we meet before the great white throne.” David Livingstone read the thirty-fourth Psalm, the key-note of that wonderful life, and then poured out his heart to God in prayer, threw his arms around his father’s neck and kissed him; they parted never to meet again in this world, and so he went to Africa. He did a wonderful work in the Bechuana country. He was a carpenter, blacksmith, teacher, laborer, physician and minister to these poor souls, but the man’s heart was in the interior of Africa. One day, with about as much preparation as I take when I go to the north woods of Minnesota, he left for the interior of Africa. His route was along the path of slave traders, and every few days he came to some place where a poor woman had fainted in the chain- gang and had been strapped to a tree with her babe at her breast and left to be stung to death by insects. No wonder that he wrote in his Journal, and blotted it with tears: “Oh, God, when will the great sore of the world be healed?”
When you remember that the followers of the false prophet are the only people engaged in this traffic in human flesh, and that to the poor African it means slavery or death, you have the answer to the stories of the progress of Mohammedanism in Africa.
I cannot tell the story of his life. One day he was found dead on his knees in prayer in an African hut. That life had so impressed itself upon the heathen folk that they did what will always be a marvel of history. They wrapped the body in leaves. They covered it with pitch. They carried it nine months on their shoulders. They fought hostile tribes. They swam swollen rivers. They cut their way through impenetrable thickets, and at last stood at the door of a mission house in Zanzibar, and said, “We have brought the man of God to be buried with his people.” And so David Livingstone sleeps in Westminster Abbey.
Our Stanley took up Livingstone’s work, and he laid Africa open to the gaze of the world. He travelled nine hundred and ninety-nine days, and the thousandth day reached the sea-coast. In all that journey he did not meet a single, solitary soul who had heard that Jesus Christ had come into the world. Stanley tells the reason why he went back to Africa. He said:
“When I found Livingstone I cared no more for missions than the veriest atheist in England. I had been a press reporter, and my business was to follow armies and to describe battles; to attend conventions and report speeches, but my heart had not been touched with sympathy for missions. When I found this grand old man I asked: ‘What is he here for? Is he crazy? Is he cracked? I sat at his feet four months and I saw that a power above his will had taken possession of his life, and given him a hunger to lead poor heathen folk out of their darkness.
“I have heard the same voice speaking to my heart, ‘Follow me,’ and I go back to Africa to finish Livingstone’s work.”
This was a few years ago. To-day there are fifteen Christian Bishops of our communion in Africa. Eight were present at the Lambeth Conference. One of them, Bishop Crowther, was captured when a boy ten years of age on a slave ship, placed in a mission school, transferred to a high school, then to the university, graduated with honors, and went back to Africa as a Bishop. As I looked in the face of that black man and thought of his wonderful history, I remembered another man from Africa that carried the cross of my blessed Master up the hill to Calvary, and that this aged servant of Christ was following in his blessed footsteps.
Another of these Bishops was one of the manliest men that I ever looked upon; Bishop Smythies, the picture of manly beauty, honored by his university, beloved by friends, a face gentle and loving as that of St. John. When I thought of this man going on foot in the interior of Africa, perhaps to die for Christ, I could not keep back the tears, and I went to him and said, “My good brother, I cannot tell you how my heart goes out to you in loving sympathy.” He smiled and said, “Bishop, when the Church in Jerusalem had more work than it knew how to do, the Holy Ghost sent one of its ministers upon a long journey to convert one African. Surely it is not much for the Christians of Christian England to send a Christian Bishop to millions who never heard there is a Savior.”
And now I turn to the opposite quarter of the globe–Australasia, New Zealand, and Polynesia. When I was a boy there was but one English settlement, and that was known throughout the world as Botany Bay, the abode of the most abandoned criminals of English civilization. There are to-day twenty-one Bishops in those islands. I wish I could tell the story inwrought in the lives of Selwyn, Patteson, Williams, and a host of others, some of whom have laid down their lives for Christ.
To-day cannibalism is a thing of the past. Human sacrifices, thank God, are to be found nowhere on the earth. There is not one of those islands without its Christian church, and in some of them the last vestige of heathenism has passed away. They have thousands of Christian men and women under their native pastors. Surely this is no time to talk about the failure of Christian missions.
Now I turn to Japan. Less than forty year ago one of our brave American sailors, Commodore Perry, cast anchor on Sunday morning in the harbor of Yeddo. He called his officers and crew together for public worship, and they sang that old hymn of our fathers, “Old Hundred”; and the first sound that this hermit nation heard from her younger sister of the West was that grand old hymn.
Next year Japan will have a constitutional government. It has already adopted the Christian calendar. There are more that a million of children in their public schools. Many of these schools are under the charge of Christian men and women, and it is only a question of a few years when Japan will take her place beside other Christian nations. This is more wonderful when we remember that until recently there was a statute in Japan that, “if any Christian shall set his foot on the Island of Japan, or if the Christian’s God, Jesus, shall come, he shall be beheaded.”
I turn to China. I wonder that its doors are open to Christian missions when I remember that Christian nations at the mouth of the cannon have forced upon that people that deadly drug which drags body and soul to death, that their names have been by-words and hissing in Christian lands. The secret is that God sent to China a young Englishman whose life was hid with Christ in God. Chinese Gordon saved the nation of China, and his name will be a household word forever. Surely a people where the poorest laborer can become the first prince of the realm if he becomes the first scholar, and if his son is a vagabond sinks to the place from which his father came, surely such a people have the elements to receive the Gospel of Christ.
Time would fail me to tell the story of missions in North America; I should begin at Hudson’s Bay, where Bishop John Horden has lived thirty- five years amid its solitudes and won every one of its Indian tribes to Christianity. I should tell you of the Bishop of Athabasca, whose home is within the Arctic circle, who could not attend the Lambeth Conference because he could not go and return the same year. I should tell of my young friend, the Bishop of Mackenzie River, when I knew that he spent nine months each year travelling upon snowshoes and three months in a birch-bark canoe; that the only way that he could carry to them the Gospel was to follow them in the chase, hunt with them, fish with them, lie down in their wigwams in his blanket and always have waiting upon his lips the sweet story of the love of God, our Father. I told him I wished he would give me his post-office address and I would send him books and papers; he said: “Bishop, I am a thousand miles from a post- office and only get one mail a year.”
I should tell you of another, the Bishop of Rupertsland, Dr. Macrae, the only Bishop in Christendom who has a university made up of a Roman Catholic college, a Presbyterian college, and a college of the Church of England; so large-hearted that almost by one consent the people of Manitoba have made him the president of their entire educational system.
If I turn to our own land, it would be to tell you that one hundred years ago the Church was a feeble folk, scattered along the Atlantic coast and known as a people that were everywhere spoken against. Thank God, to-day her voice is heard in the miner’s camp, in the schoolhouse of the border, in the wigwam of the Indians, and sturdy heralds are in the fore-front of that mighty movement which is peopling this land with its millions of souls. Marvellous as is the progress of Christian missions and the work which has been done in this century, it has largely been committed to the English-speaking race. In the providence of God races of men have been selected by Him to do His work. Two hundred years ago the English-speaking people of Europe were less than many of the nations of the Latin races. Spain outnumbered England two to one. To-day there are one hundred and fifty millions of English- speaking people in the world, one-tenth of the entire human family. When we think of the future, that by the close of another century more than five hundred millions will be speaking one language, it leads us to ask, on bended knees, why has this commission been committed to this English-speaking race, and what are the responsibilities that rest upon our branch of the Church of God? I reverently believe that it is because on its civil side it recognizes as no other race that government is a delegated trust from God, who alone has the right to govern. It represents constitutional government, and it has done so since Bishop Stephen Langton, at the head of the nobles of England, wrung the /Magna Charta/ from King John, and henceforth recognized the sacredness of the citizen, who has been clothed with an individuality unlike any being who lives or will live in all the ages of eternity. On its religious side it recognizes the two truths which underlie the possibility of the reunion of Christendom–the validity of all Christian Baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and that the condition of fellowship in the Church of God is faith in the incarnate Son of God as contained in the Old Catholic creeds. Surely we may hold up the olive branch of God’s peace over all strife and divisions among the disciples of Christ, and say “Ye are brethren.”
When we remember that in the providence of God the Greek tongue was spoken throughout the civilized world to prepare a way for the coming of His Son and the preaching of the blessed Gospel, we see in these facts forerunning tokens of his preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
If I had time to-day, I would love to tell you the story that is inwrought in the history of our noble Missionary Bishops; men who have hazarded their lives for the Lord Jesus. I wish I could tell you of their ventures of faith, foundations for Christian schools which they have laid with prayers and watered with tears, and with a prophet’s eye looked forward to a future when the land will swarm with millions of souls, that so by Christian nurture and Christian training the Church may fulfil the Master’s words, “Feed my lambs.” I wish I could tell you of the work, dear to every Bishop’s heart, of the daughters of the Cross; yes, and I would like to bring to this Council some of the tempest-tossed and weary souls who have been led out of their darkness to the rest and peace and gladness of Christian faith. I wish I could bring here some from the northern forests and the prairies of the West, the men of the trembling eye and the wandering foot, that they might thank you for having led them out of their heritage of anguish and sorrow into the light of the children of God.
I may not close without a word of tribute to those who have fallen asleep. Since our last General Convention nine Bishops have crossed the river and are waiting for us on the other shore. Unbidden tears come as I remember the loving Elliot, our St. John; Welles, another holy Herbert; Brown, with his Catholic heart that had room enough to take in all the poor and the sorrowful of his diocese; Harris, every whit a great leader in our Israel; Dunlop, the soldier on the outpost, often debarred brotherly sympathy, who in loneliness and weariness bravely did his work. Others who were patriarchs of the Church of God–Green, Lee, Potter and Stevens–all men who were great leaders in the Church of God, who bravely did their work, whose faces are upon every heart, and who have entered into rest.
Since I entered the House of Bishops, fifty-three Bishops have laid down their shepherd’s staves and entered into rest.
A word, and I have done. Surely in such a day as this it is no time to discuss shibboleths. Its is a time for brotherly sympathy and great- hearted work. With such responsibilities around us there must be no divisions among those who love the same Saviour and look for the same heavenly home. I remember that at a critical period in our missionary work the venerable Doctor Dyer said to me with tears in his eyes, “Strife is an awful price to pay for the best results, but strife among the kinsmen of Christ in the presence of those for whom He died, and when wandering souls are going down to death, is almost an unpardonable sin.” May I not ask you to-day, dear brothers and sisters, what have we done to help on in the great work which is to be done in the eventide of the world? What lonely missionary have we remembered in prayer during the past week? What wanderer have we tried with love to lead to the Saviour? Have we given the cost of the trimmings of a dress? Have we made any sacrifices for Him who gave Himself for us? May I not ask you to-day here beside God’s altar to consecrate all you have and are to His service?
With some of us the eventide draws on. A little while, such a little while, just time enough to do His work, and then the end shall come. And when we reach that other home, next to seeing the Saviour, next to having the old ties re-united, will be the comfort and the blessedness of meeting some one whom we helped heavenward and home.
IV. /ADDRESS IN LAMBETH CHAPEL, AT THE FIRST SESSION OF THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE, JULY 3, 1888/.
Most reverend and right reverend brethren: No assembly is fraught with such awful responsibility to God, as a council of the Bishops of His Church. Since the Holy Spirit presided in the first council of Jerusalem, faithful souls have looked with deep interest to the deliberations of those whom Christ has made the shepherds of His flock, and to whom he gave His promise, “Lo, I am with you always to the end of the world.” The responsibility is greater when division has marred the beauty of the Lamb’s Bride. Our words and acts will surely hasten or (which God forbid) retard the reunion of Christendom. Feeling the grave responsibility which is imposed on me to-day, my heart cries out as did the prophet’s, “I am a child and cannot speak.” Pray for me, venerable brethren, that God may help me to obey His word–“Whatsoever I command, that shalt thou speak.” I would kneel with you at our Master’s feet and pray that “the Holy Spirit may guide us into all truth.” We meet as the representatives of national Churches; each with its own peculiar responsibility to God for the souls intrusted to its care; each with all the rights of a national Church, to adapt itself to the varying conditions of human society; and each bound to preserve the order, the faith, the sacraments, and the worship of the Catholic Church, for which it is a trustee. As we kneel by the table of our common Lord we remember separated brothers. Division has multiplied division until infidelity sneers at Christianity as an effete superstition, and the modern Sadducee, more bold than his Jewish brother, denies the existence of God. Millions for whom Christ died have not so much as heard that there is a Saviour. It will heal no divisions to say, Who is at fault? The sin of schism does not lie at one door. If one has sinned by self- will, the other has sinned as deeply by lack of charity and love. The way to reunion looks difficult. To man it is impossible. No human /eirenicon/ can bridge the gulf of separation. There are unkind words to be taken back, alienations to be healed, and heartburnings to be forgiven. Where we are blind, God can make a way. When “the God of Peace” rules in all Christian hearts, our Lord’s prayer will be answered–“That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they all may be one in Us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” No one branch of the Church is absolutely by itself alone the Catholic Church; all branches need reunion in order to the completeness of the Church. There are blessed signs that the Holy Spirit is quickening Christian hearts to seek for unity. We all know that this divided Christianity cannot conquer the world. At a time when every form of error and sin is banded together to oppose the kingdom of Christ, the world needs the witness of a united Church. Men must hear again the voice which peals through the lapse of centuries bearing witness to the “faith once delivered to the saints,” or else for many souls there will be only rationalism and unbelief–while this sad, weary world, so full of sin and sorrow, is pleading for help, it is a wrong to Christ and to the souls for whom He died that His children should be separated in rival folds. As baptised into Christ we are brothers. Notwithstanding the hedges of human opinions which men have builded in the garden of the Lord, all who look for salvation alone through faith in Jesus Christ do hold the great verities of Divine faith. The opinions which separate us are not necessary to be believed in order to salvation. The truths in which we agree are parts of the Catholic faith. The Holy Spirit has passed over these human barriers, and set his seal to the labors of separated brethren in Christ, and rewarded them in the salvation of many precious souls. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the renewing and sanctifying influences of the Holy Ghost are the same in the peasant in the cottage, and in the emperor on the throne. They share with us in the long line of confessors and martyrs for Christ. We would not rob them of one sheaf which they have gathered in the garner of the Lord. We rejoice that Churches with a like historic lineage with us are seeking reunion. Churches whose faith has been dimmed by coldness or clouded by error are being quickened into new life from the Incarnate Son of God.
Our hearts go out in loving sympathy to the Old Catholics of Europe and America, whose names always will be linked with Selwyn, Wilberforce, and Wordsworth, Whittingham, Kerfoot, and Brown, in defence of the faith. It is with deep sorrow that we remember that the Church of Rome has separated herself from the teaching of the primitive Church by additions to the faith once delivered to the saints, and by claiming for its Bishop prerogatives which belong only to the Divine Head of the Church While we honor the devotion and zeal of her missionary heroes, and rejoice at the good works of multitudes of her children, we lament that lack of charity which anathematizes disciples of Christ who have carried the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
We bless God’s Holy Name for the fraternal work which has been carried on under the guidance of the see of Canterbury, and which we trust will lead ancient Churches to a deeper personal faith in Jesus Christ.
We are sad that some of our kinsmen in Christ, children of one mother, have forsaken her ways. God can over-rule even this sorrow, so that it shall fall out to the furtherance of the Gospel. They must take with them precious memories of the love and the faith of the mother whom they have forsaken, and of the liberty wherewith the truth in Christ has made her children free–under God these may be a link in the chain of His providence to the restoration of unity. It is a singular providence that at this period of the world’s history, when marvellous discoveries have united the people of divers tongues in common interests, He has placed the Anglo-Saxon race in the forefront of the nations. They are carrying civilization to the ends of the earth. They are bringing liberty to the oppressed, elevating the down-trodden, and are giving to all these divers tongues and kindreds their customs, traditions, and laws. I reverently believe that the Anglo-Saxon Church has been preserved by God’s Providence (if her children will accept this Mission) to heal the divisions of Christendom, and lead on in His work to be done in the eventide of the world. She holds the truths which underlie the possibility of reunion, the validity of all Christian baptism in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. She ministers the two sacraments of Christ as of perpetual obligation, and makes faith in Jesus Christ, as contained in the Catholic Creeds, a condition of Christian fellowship. The Anglo-Saxon Church does not perplex men with theories and shibboleths which many a poor Ephraimite cannot speak–she believes in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, three Persons and one God, but she does not weaken faith in the Triune God by human speculations about the Trinity in Unity. She believes that the sacred Scriptures were written by inspiration of God, but she has no theory about inspiration. She holds up the Atonement of Christ as the only hope of a lost world; but she has no philosophy about the Atonement. She teaches that it is through the Holy Ghost that men are united to Christ. She ministers the sacraments appointed by Christ as His channels of grace; but she has no theory to explain the manner of Christ’s presence to penitent believing souls. She does not explain what God has explained, but celebrates these Divine mysteries, as they were held and celebrated for one thousand years after our Lord ascended into heaven, before there was any East or West arrayed against each other in the Church of God. Surely we may and ought to be first to hold up the olive branch of peace over strife, and say, “Sirs, ye are brethren.”
In so grave a matter as the restoration of organic unity, we may not surrender anything which is of Divine authority, or accept terms of communion which are contrary to God’s Word. We cannot recognize any usurpation of the rights and prerogatives of national Churches which have a common ancestry, lest we heal “the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly,” and say “peace, where there is no peace;” but we do say that all which is temporary and of human choice or preference we will forego, from our love to our own kinsmen in Christ.
The Church of the Reconciliation will be an historical and Catholic Church in its ministry, its faith, and its sacraments. It will inherit the promises of its Divine Lord. It will preserve all which is catholic and Divine. It will adopt and use all instrumentalities of any existing organization which will aid it in doing the Lord’s work. It will put away all which is individual, narrow, and sectarian. It will concede to all who hold the faith all the liberty wherewith Christ hath made His children free.
/Missions/.–In the presence of brethren who bear in their bodies the marks of the Lord Jesus, I hardly know how to clothe in words my thoughts as I speak of Missions. The providence of God has broken down impenetrable barriers–the doors of hermit nations have been opened; commerce has bound men in common interests, and so prepared “a highway for our God”–Japan, India, China, Africa, Polynesia, amid the solitudes of icy north, and in the lands of tropic suns, world-wide there are signs of the coming of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The veil which has so long blinded the eyes of the ancient people, our Lord’s kinsmen according to the flesh, is being taken away. We bless God for the good example of martyrs like Patteson, Mackenzie, Parker, Hannington, and others, who have laid down their lives for the Lord Jesus. We rejoice that our branch of the Church has been counted worthy to add to the names of those who “came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” “A great and effectual door is opened.” There is no country on the earth where we may not carry the Gospel. The wealth of the world is largely in Christian hands. The Church only needs faith to grasp the opportunity to do the work.
In the presence of fields so white for the harvest, we must ask, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”
1. There must be unceasing, prevailing intercessory prayer for those whom we send out to heathen lands. The hearts of all Christian nations were turned with anxious solicitude to that brave servant of God and His country in Khartoum. Shall we feel less for the servants of Christ who have given up home and country to suffer and it may be to die for Him? Some of us remember that when Missions were destroyed, when clouds were all around us, and the very ground drifting from under our feet, that we were made brave to work and wait for the salvation of God by the prayers which went up to God for us. When “prayers were made without ceasing of the Church unto God,” the fast-closed doors of the prison were opened for the Apostles. It will be so again.
2. There must be the entire consecration of all unto Christ. The wisdom of Paul and the eloquence of Apollos may plant, but “God alone giveth the increase.” If success comes, if “the rod of the priesthood bud and blossom and bear fruit,” it must be “laid up in the ark of God.” He will not give His glory to another. The work is Christ’s. “We are ambassadors for Him.” “I have chosen you and ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit.”
3. They who would win souls must have a ripe knowledge of the sacred Scriptures. “They were written by inspiration of God. . . . that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Our orders may be unquestioned, our doctrine perfect in every line and feature, but we shall not reach the hearts of men unless we preach Christ out of an experimental knowledge of the truths of Divine Revelation. There is but one Book which can bring light to homes of sorrow, one light to scatter clouds and darkness, one message to lead wandering folk unto God. This blessed Book will be to every soldier and lonely missionary what it was to Livingstone dying alone in Africa, or to Captain Gardiner dead on the desolate shores of Patagonia, whose finger pointed to the words, “The Blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.”
4. We must love all whom Christ loves. We may have the gift of teaching, we may understand all mysteries, we may have all knowledge, we may bestow all our goods to the poor, we may even give our bodies to be burned, but without that love which comes alone from Christ, we shall be “as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.” With St. Paul we must say, “Whereinsoever Christ is preached I do rejoice, and will rejoice.”
5. Above all gifts we need the baptism of the Holy Ghost. When this consecration comes there will be no cry of an empty treasury. We shall no longer be weary with the bleating of lost sheep, to whom we have to say, I have no means and no shepherd to send you.
/Christian Work/–We rejoice at every sign that Christians realize that wealth is a sacred trust, for which they shall give an account. We rejoice more that they are giving that personal service which is a law of His kingdom. Men and women of culture and gentle birth are going into the abodes of sickness and sorrow to comfort stricken homes and lead sinful folk to the Saviour. Brotherhoods, Sisterhoods, and deaconesses are multiplying. Never was there greater need for their holy work. Many of our own baptized children have drifted away from all faith. To thousands God is a name, the Bible a tradition, faith an opinion, and heaven and hell fables. But that which gives us the deepest sadness and makes all Christian work more difficult is that so many of those to whom the people look for example have given up the Bible, the Lord’s Day, the house of God, and Christian faith. Alas! they are telling these weary toilers whose lives are clouded by anxiety and sorrow that there is no hereafter. “They know not what they do.” They are sowing to the wind and will reap the whirlwind. May God show them the danger before if is too late! The loss of faith is the loss of everything; without it morality becomes prudence or imprudence. When the tie which binds man to God is broken all other ties snap asunder. No nation has survived the loss of its religion. We are appalled at the mad cry of anarchy which tramples all which we hold dear for time and eternity under its feet. We cannot look into its face without seeing the lineaments of that man of sin who “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God and worshipped.” Antichrist is he who usurps the place of Christ. “He is antichrist who denieth the Father and the Son.” Our hearts go out in pity for those whose mechanical ideas of the universe may be a revolt from a mechanical theology which has lost sight of the Fatherhood of God. We stand where two ways meet. We shall take care of the people or the people will take care of us. The people are the rulers; the power of the future is in their hands. Limit their horizon to this life, let penury, sickness, and sorrow change the man to a wolf, let him know no God and Father Who hears his cry, no Saviour to help, no brother to bind up his wounds, let there be on the one side wealth and luxury and wanton waste, and on the other side poverty, misery, and despair, and there will be, as there has been, a cry for blood. We wonder why men pass by the Church to found clubs and brotherhoods and orders. They will have them, and they ought to have them, until the Church is in its Divine love what its Founder designed it to be–the brotherhood in Christ of the children of our God and Father. What the world needs to-day is not alms, not hospitals, not homes of mercy alone. It needs the spirit and the power of the love of Christ. It needs the voice, the ear, the hand, and the heart of Christ seen in and working in His children. No powers of government, no /prestige/ of social position, no prerogatives of Churchly authority can meet the issues of this hour; we have waited already too long. Brotherhood men will have, and it will be the brotherhood of the commune, or brotherhood in Christ as the children of our God and Father. Infidelity answers no questions, heals no wounds, fulfils no hopes. The Gospel will do, is doing, to-day what it has done through all the ages: leading men out of sin and darkness and despair to the liberty of sons of God.
In a day of division and unrest there will be many questions which perplex earnest souls. Some will dwell on the subjective side of the faith, others will think most of its manifestations in the life. These questions will affect organization for Christian work, public worship, and find expression in the ritual of the Church. There is no room for differences if Christ be first, Christ be last, and Christ in everything. The ritual of the Church must be the expression of her life. It must symbolize her faith; it must be subject to her authority. As the years go by worship will be more beautiful. The “garments of the king’s daughter may be of wrought gold,” and she “clothed in raiment of needlework,” but “she will have a name that she liveth and is dead,” unless her “fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.” Lastly, to none is this council so dear as to those whose lives are spent in the darkness of heathenism, or who have gone out to new lands to lay foundations for the work of the Church of God. In loneliness, with deferred hope, neglected by brethren, your only refuge to cry as a child to God, it is a joy for you to feel the beating of a brother’s heart, and hear the music of a brother’s voice, and kneel with brothers at the dear old trysting-place, the table of our Lord. Let us consecrate all we have and are to Him, let us remember loved ones far away, let us gather all the work we have so long garnered in our hearts and lay it at his feet. We shall not have met in vain if out of the love learned of Him we give each to the other, and to all fellow-laborers for Him, a brother’s love, a brother’s sympathy, and a brother’s prayers. I do not know how to clothe in words the thronging memories which cluster around us in this holy place, what searchings of heart, what cries to God, what communions with Christ, what consolations of the Holy Spirit have been witnessed in this sacred place. I cannot call over the long roll of saints, confessors, and martyrs, whose “name are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Two names will be remembered to-day by us all. One, that gentle Archbishop Longley, who in the greatness of his love saw with a prophet’s eye the Mission of the Church and planned these conferences that our hearts might beat as one in the battle of the last time. The other, the wisest of counsellors and the most loving of brethren, the great-hearted Archbishop Tait, whose dying legacy to his brethren was “love one another.” They have finished their course and entered into rest. A little more work, a few more trials, and we, too, shall finish our course. We are not two companies, the militant and triumphant are one. We are the advance and rear of one host travelling to the Canaan of God’s rest. God grant that we, too, may so follow Christ that we may have an abundant entrance to His eternal kingdom.
V. /SERMON AT THE FOURTH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE BROTHERHOOD OF ST. ANDREW IN CLEVELAND, OHIO, SEPT. 29, 1889/.
“/God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life/.”–ST. JOHN, iii. 16.
SIN, sorrow and death have not been invented by Christian priests. They are world facts, they belong to every home, and are hid in every man’s heart. There can be no design without a designer, no law without a lawgiver, no creation without a creator. So I say, with the leading scientist of England, “God is a necessity of human thought.” Is this God an inexorable ruler, whose right is His infinite might? or is He an eternal Father, whose might is His infinite right? And so the question comes home to the heart: Does God care for us? The body is cared for. Every invention of man ministers to the life that is between the cradle and the grave. Man has created nothing. The lightning would run its circuit in the Garden of Eden as well as when Morse made it man’s messenger. The veil has been lifted so that man can look into God’s storehouse and read laws as old as creation. But the body is not the man. You ask me how do I know I have a soul? I know it as I know I have a body–by self-consciousness. There is no place in this world where men are not compelled by absolute necessity to recognize the act and the will of a soul within, which directs the act. I ask again, does God care for me? I say it reverently, brother, you cannot conceive of a God who could create a world like this, if He can feel one throb of pity for His children, unless you believe He has provided a remedy for sin, sorrow, and death. The coming of God into the family of man is an absolute necessity of the very being of God. The incarnation is the outcome of the possibility that God can love. I turn then to this record and I ask, is this Jesus the friend that the world has waited for and looked for? No one that has walked this earth could use the words which every day rested upon His lips: “I and the God you worship are one.” “I am the bread that is come down from heaven, and the bread I shall give you is My flesh, and I give it for the life of the world.” “I am the resurrection and the life; if any man shall believe in Me, if he were dead he shall live”–unless he were God incarnate. The miracles of Jesus were not violations of the laws of nature; they were the divine proofs that that God whose hand is behind every law of nature had come into the world to help those who needed help. When He multiplied bread in His hands, He did of His own will that which God does when He multiplies the wheat in the harvest. When He created the wine of Cana, He did that of His own will which He does when He distills the dewdrop in the clusters of the vine. But that which unseals my heart, is the divine compassion, is the tender pity, is the love that never turns from the weary. If man had invented this Gospel, the story of Mary Magdalene would never have been in the record. It is not in the wrecks strewn along the path of life that men would find those they would lift to the bosom of God. It is the Divine eye that pities, it is the Divine hand that is reached out to save. I follow Him to the cross, I follow Him to the grave, where we are going, where our loved ones are sleeping. The third day He came back from the darkness; He showed men, by the marks of the nails in His hands and by the print of the spear in His side, that He was the very Jesus they parted with at the foot of the cross; and He ascended to heaven to be the friend of any aching heart that needs a friend at the right hand of God. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a philosophy, it is not a dogma; it is the story of a Person, a real hand to grasp, a real Saviour to love, a real God to save. Marvelous as is this story that never can grow old and will be the burden of the songs of the redeemed, more wonderful is the Christ of history. Men ask for proof. You do not ask for proof of a sun when the world is bending low with golden harvests The other day there was a gathering of great men, scholars, philosophers. It so happened that one man who had lost his faith, congratulated his fellows that superstition was dying out, that the day was at hand when Christianity would be an effete thing of the past. James Russell Lowell rose, the blood rushing to his cheeks, and quietly said: “Show me twelve miles square in the world in which I live where childhood is cared for, where womanhood is reverenced, where old age is protected, where life and property are absolutely safe, where it is possible for a decent man to live decently–where the Gospel of Jesus Christ has not gone before and made that life possible; and then I will listen to your revilings of my Master.” Can I go nearer your heart? There is a wide difference between men, but there is one side of human nature that is the same; it is that we call the heart–that which loves, that which fears, that which suffers, that which is the same in the poorest laborer that ever handled the spade as in the greatest scholar that ever graced a university. If we can get the rubbish from the heart, the good news of God sounds the same to all.
When Sir Walter Scott was dying, in suffering and agony he turned to Lockhart and said, “Read to me; I am in such agony.” He said, “What book, Sir Walter?” “What book? There is but one book for a dying man; it is the story of the One that passed this way before me, of Jesus the Saviour.” I stood the other day by the death-bed of one who, when I first met him was a savage warrior. He looked up in my face and said, “The Great Spirit has called me. I am going on the last journey. I am not afraid, for Jesus is going with me and I shan’t be lonesome on the road.” Brothers, it is to tell this story that you have banded yourselves together in the service of Him who redeemed you with His precious blood. Your motto must be the words of that sainted apostle whose honored name you bear: “We have found Christ.” For it is only when we have reached out our hand to grasp the hand of Jesus, that, because we cannot help it, we reach out the other hand to help some one else. We cannot from the heart say, “Our Father,” and not remember wandering brothers whom we may lead to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. The story is not for wage-workers alone, not for the poor in the attic and the cellar alone; it is for the man who lives in the marble house, it is for the trafficker in the market, it is for every one away from home and heaven and God. We must find the way to speak as one tempted man has the right to speak to a brother that is battling with temptation. It is not done by assailing sinners as you would besiege a city. We have tried hard words and the have answered us with a curse. It does no good to tell the poor wretch in the ditch, “It is your fault.” We have led men to Mount Sinai, and their hearts would break if we led them to Mount Calvary. It is this that makes the life of an earnest minister of Christ the happiest life that God ever gave to man. I am not here to-day to tell you what to do, but to tell you your Master’s secret, “If you give Him the will, He will find for you the way.” Although you might be the veriest stammerer, if Christ speaks out in all your life, you will be the best talker in the world. We must believe in our work; we cannot make others believe until we first believe ourselves. Our feet must be upon the rock; there is no question of success or failure there. It may be Athanasius against the world, but the Athanasius and the faith of Christ will conquer.
And lastly, brothers, never since man has lived on the earth has there been an hour when a Christian man might be so thankful to God that he can live and that he can work. In all the ages of this world’s history there never have been such marvels before man’s eyes as we see to-day. I speak not only of the wondrous secrets of God’s storehouse, that, for some end in the councils of eternity, have been reserved for the last days. You are living at a time when impenetrable barriers have been broken down; when God is fusing the nations of the earth into a common brotherhood; when there is not a place in the wide world, where, if you will, you may not carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nay, more; you are part of a race that God in His Providence seems to have placed in the forefront of the nations of the earth. I am not speaking of Anglo- Saxons, but I am speaking of the race that God has been fusing out of every tongue, and tie, and kin of the earth; and they having one language, are, I believe, to do God’s work in the last days. One hundred years ago English speaking people numbered less than many of the Latin races of Europe; to-day there are one hundred and fifty millions. And when I remember how God ordered that the Greek tongue should become the tongue of the whole civilized world to prepare for the first preaching of the Gospel; and when I think of all that God’s Providence has done for us, I can believe He calls us to lead on in the work of the last time. In the days when Rome had overrun the world, if some one regiment was to be placed in the jaws of death, and perhaps upon that legion rested the fate of an empire, they came out in front of the assembled host, and kneeling down on one knee they raised their hands to heaven and took an oath to die for Rome; and that was called the sacramental oath. And our Saxon forefathers, when they came to the Lord’s trysting-place of love, thought it was a place for taking the oath anew.
After our Civil War, George Peabody, one of our noblest Americans, gave his fortune for schools in the desolated south. He visited the White Sulphur Springs. No king ever received so heart-felt a welcome. The south laid the homage of grateful hearts at his feet. An aged bishop, now in Paradise–Bishop Wilmer, of Louisiana, came to see him, and said: “Mr. Peabody, I am a southern man, and my heart goes out in love for the man who has been our benefactor. But, Mr. Peabody, if you are saved, it will not be because you gave your fortune to the needy. You will be saved, as the poorest laborer, for your faith in Jesus Christ.” Mr. Peabody said, “I know that. I do believe in Him; I do pray to Him.” “But,” said Bishop Wilmer, “Mr. Peabody, the night before the Saviour died for you, He instituted the sacrament of the Holy Communion, and He left a request for you to come and receive it. He has a gift for you. Have you ever come to His table?” Mr. Peabody said, “I never knew that. No one ever told me. I knew about the Holy Communion, but I thought it was for saints–men who felt sure they were going to heaven. I never knew it was a place to come and receive a gift the Saviour had for me.” That day Mr. Peabody left the White Sulphur Springs. He knew that the Holy Communion was to be celebrated in his mother’s church, at Danvers, the next Sunday. He reached Danvers Saturday, and at once called on the pastor and said, “I am coming to the Holy Communion tomorrow. I did not know it was my duty till a few days ago.” And he did come. That was royal faith. Not faith in water, not faith in bread and wine, not faith in priestly hands, but faith in Christ. Such faith as little children have who take the words just as they read and for all they mean, and then are safe in the everlasting arms.
So let us to-day consecrate every thought and all we have to Him, and giving Him the will go out to do His work. And He will do the rest. We may fall in battle; we may sow the seed and die; but it will fall into the ground and God will give the harvest. When we reach the other home– not a place of bodiless shades; not a confused throng of nameless spirits, but a home of brothers in our Father’s house–next to seeing the Saviour, next to having the old times re-united, will be the comfort of meeting some one that we have helped home.
And now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be all might, majesty, dominion and power, world without end. Amen.