A SERMON ON ACTS XX. 28.,
UBI ENIM ECCLESIA, IBI ET SPIRITUS DEI.
ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND.
PREACHED IN THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND,
ON GOOD FRIDAY, 1842,
BY AUBREY GEORGE,
LORD BISHOP OF NEWFOUNDLAND.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY J.W. MCCOUBREY.
UBI ENIM ECCLESIA, IBI ET SPIRITUS DEI.
ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND.
In compliance with the unanimous request of a large meeting of the Parishioners of the Church of St. John's, I could not hesitate to commit the following discourse to the Press. -- The cause which it was more immediately intended to advocate is indicated in the first and last parts of the Sermon; but the general subject of which it treats is one of great importance, and under the peculiar aspect of the times, requires, in my judgement, to be prominently brought forward, and copiously explained. To those who call themselves Christians, the constitution, privileges, and the duties of the visible Church of Christ, can never be considered as a topic of inferior interest; but pressed as the Anglican branch of that Church is, at the present period, by the unwarrantable pretensions of Rome, on the one hand, and by the loose notions of Latitudinarian Seceders, on the other, it becomes the urgent duty of her Ministers to occupy their proper station and "stand between the Porch and the Altar," and not only to pray for the peace of their Jerusalem, but to proclaim, fearlessly and hopefully, the glorious things which are written of that city of God.
It will be well for the reader of this discourse to bear in mind, that the words CHURCH and ELECT are used by the Apostles, sometimes in the comprehensive sense which includes, under either term, all persons who have been called and brought to a profession of the Gospel, although many of that number may incidentally so depart from grace given, as at "last to become castaway;" and sometimes, in the more restricted sense, which /4/ contemplates those whose abiding faith, obedience, and continuance in well doing, God, in the exercise of his foreknowledge, has predetermined, for Christ's sake, to recompense with the glory, honour, and happiness of eternal life. -- "The laver of REGENERATION" is the seal of our Christian profession, and introduces us into the Church of Christ, but the RENEWAL of the Holy Ghost, the new creation of the Soul in Righteousness, and true Holiness, and a retention, even unto the end, of that conformity to the image of Christ, are unquestionably necessary to maintain our position among "THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND [word is obscure] OF THE FIRST BORN, WHOSE NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN HEAVEN," AND "FROM WHOM, AS ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED, [wording is obscure] SHALL TAKE THEIR CROWN."
In a Sermon [wording is obscure] the Catholic Church I could hardly avoid some allusion to a certain party in the Anglican Church, whose writings, however characterized by an ardent piety, a depth of learning, and a fervour of Charity, which I could wish to see more generally adopted, have, at least in one late publication, tended to a reconnection with some of the equivocal usages of the Church of Rome. Associated as we are in this country with a population attached to the Roman Communion, which is numerically equal to our own, I apprehend that it is no superfluous task to state, in reply, on this occasion, the principal doctrines which are held by the Roman, and protested against by the English Church: --
I. AN EXTENDED CANON OF SCRIPTURE, AND THE CO-EQUAL
AUTHORITY OF TRADITION IN THE CHURCH.
II. THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
III. THE SUPREMACY OF THE POPE OF ROME.
IV. THE TRANSUBSTANTIATION OF THE SACRAMENTAL ELEMENTS OF THE LORD'S SUPPER INTO THE VERY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST.
V. THE DENIAL OF THE CUP OF THE HOLY COMMUNION TO THE LAITY.
VI. THE PROPITIATORY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS, THE ADORATION OF THE VIRGIN MARY, AND THE REVERENCE OF IMAGES.
VII. THE DOCTRINE OF PURGATORY.
VIII. THE MULTIPLICATION OF THE SACRAMENTS.
IX. THE ASCRIPTION OF MERIT TO GOOD WORKS, IN OPPOSITION TO THE EVANGELICAL DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE IN THE MERITS OF JESUS CHRIST.
On all these, and on several minor points, Rome, in her Tridentine Council, has ventured to anathematize those who hold a different doctrine. Let us not imitate her example. Let us hope that the principles which are esteemed the fundamentals of a true Church are, notwithstanding all these corruptions, still within her possession. Let us pray that she may "be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die;" and, at all events, let us believe, with the faith of charity, that there are "A FEW NAMES, EVEN IN SARDIS, WHICH HAVE NOT DEFILED THEIR GARMENTS, WHO SHALL WALK WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD IN WHITE, FOR THEY ARE WORTHY."
"FEED THE CHURCH OF GOD, WHICH HE PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD." -- XX. CH. ACTS, 28TH V.
Whether I consider the particular circumstances which have led me to the discussion of the subject implied in the text, the numerous assembly collected within these failing walls, or the effects which have followed the endeavours of my respected brother and myself to stimulate your liberality in a holy cause, I cannot but regard this congregation with more than ordinary interest.
From the dim and dilapidated building in which I now address you, I look forward with confidence to a nobler structure, which shall be raised by your generous exertions to the service of God, and, I trust, to the inestimable advantage of yourselves and your posterity. While I look on the amount of the offerings already laid on the shrine of piety, and know the actual labour and privation to which some of you must submit in the fulfilment of your obligations, I cannot fail to acknowledge your furtherance of this good work, with the cordial satisfaction of Pastoral feeding. I hail these liberal donations as an earnest of the sincere desire which Divine grace has kindled in your hearts to propagate /7/ among yourselves, your children, and your dependents, the saving truths of the Gospel, and to aid your ministers with all your power in the execution of the awful charge which they have received, to "FEED THE CHURCH OF GOD WHICH HE PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD."
These words constitute a most important part of the memorable address of the great Gentile Apostle to the Ephesian presbyters, whom he had summoned to Miletus, previous to his departure for Jerusalem, whither he was induced by the constraining influence of the Spirit, unknowing indeed of the details of his fearful destiny, but upheld by an invisible arm for the encounter, and prepared, to use his own patient but triumphant expression, "not to be bound only, but to die also for the name of the Lord Jesus."
Without further reference to the context which embraces a variety of subjects, I shall endeavour to render that clause of the verse which I have adopted for my text as clear and practical to my present purpose as the limited time in which I may claim your attention shall permit, by considering, first, the nature and constitution of "THE CHURCH" in which "GOD," manifest in the flesh, "PURCHASED WITH HIS BLOOD;" -- and, secondly, the duty and ability of all the members, as well as the overseers, of the Church, to sustain and feed the holy society to which they belong, and in which it is the merciful intention of God that they should be saved.
/8/ And, first, I am to consider what is the evangelical definition and description of "THE CHURCH," in order that I may exhibit aright its true nature and constitution. The 19th Article of our own branch of that Church defines it thus: -- "The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments be duly administered, according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same." And this is the definition of a Church built upon "the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." You may trace the prediction of her foundation in Zion in the prophecies of Isaiah and his inspired brethren, until the confession of St. Peter was recognized by Christ himself as "the rock on which he would build a Church against which the gates of hell should never prevail." -- The Holy and Catholic character which our Liturgies ascribe to her are borne out by every figure under which she is introduced in the Scriptures; -- and though this character be compatible with occasional failure in her militant, and occasional error in her didactic, state, it can never be thoroughly lost, but the Church must continue, till the world shall come to an end, "the heritage of God," "the fold of Christ," "the ark of salvation," "the pillar and ground of the truth." -- The branches of this Church may so err as to be /9/ cut off from the parent stem, the stem itself may be cankered, but the germ of perpetuity is in the root, and a remnant must survive. The candlestick may be removed from Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, or Rome; the faith as well as the ceremonies of a particular Church may be wrong, and "the light may go out in the temple where the ark of the Lord WAS;" but so long as there is any blessed company of faithful people -- so long as God's word is in the earth, the promise of Christ will be realized; there will remain a visible Society of baptized Christians, contemplating to enclose within its fold all nations; and there will be ministers apostolically ordained to teach them to observe all things whatsoever Christ hath commanded them; and with that Society Christ himself will be present -- present in His Spirit -- present in His Sacraments -- present in his sustaining power, even unto the end of the world.
It was for this visible Church, however divided may be its component parts by time or locality, that Christ, having offered himself thro' the Eternal Spirit a victim without spot or blemish, obtained the remission of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. It was to this Church, at its primitive constitution, that St. Peter converted by one sermon, delivered under a demonstration of the Spirit and with power, three thousand souls; and to which the Lord subsequently added, and continues daily to add, such as /10/ shall be saved. It is with this Church that God's covenant is established, and through her ordinances that God's grace is dispensed. Through ages of darkness she has retained the lamp of truth -- through the fires of persecution she has passed immortal, and brought down to the present generation the words of eternal life. When I bid you pray for Christ's Holy Catholic Church, THIS is the sacred "Ark of the Testament" for which I invite your prayers. When you assert your belief in the "Holy Catholic Church," you affirm the existence of a body of which "Christ is the Head," and of which, if you be saved at all, you must be living and united members. If it be "the blood of Christ alone which cleanseth from all sin," -- that blood was the purchase-money of His Church. If it be by faith in that blood that sinners must be justified, faith, which is the gift of God, is restricted to His Church. If it be by the communication of God's spirit that holiness is to be obtained, that sanctifying influence is the property of His Church. If it be "by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever," that men "are born again not of corruptible seed but incorruptible," with the Church are the oracles of God. -- "Let him that hath an ear, hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches!"
Dissociation from this Holy Temple, with which Christ is identified, must, if there be any truth in revelation, be a most dangerous calamity -- "without /11/ are dogs," -- in the Church are believers, in the world are infidels. -- "Lord! We believe, help thou our unbelief." "Lord, increase our faith;" not that it may endow us with the gift of working miracles, and of doing the signs and wonders which the disciples in their blindness coveted; but that it may obtain for us the victory which overcometh the world, and convince us that expatriation is less misfortune than excommunication -- that "it is better to be a doorkeeper in the house of our God than to dwell in the tents of ungodliness."
Brethren! What God hath joined together let no man put asunder. There is a mystical union betwixt Christ and His Church, mercifully designed for the redemption of fallen man; and to this union we must be indebted for every means of grace and hope of glory. Is this to preach a religion of forms and ordinances, in disparagement of the spirit and life of the Gospel? No; -- I tell you that the whole goodly fabric of an Apostolic Church will be profitless to you if you dissociate from the form -- the power of Godliness. "Unless you be born again of water and of the Holy Ghost," and unless you sustain that regenerate character by a life of holiness, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven -- ye shall not see God. The Apostles could scarcely be called formalists and promoters of a lifeless dispensation, when they applied their illuminated minds to preserve unity, to rebuke schism, to put all things in decency and /12/ order, to propagate the form of sound words, to edify and build up the Church, so that through it, "by Christ Jesus, there should be glory to God, throughout all ages, world without end."
I rejoice to be in the smallest degree accessary to the extension of this glory. While I know and confess the sinfulness of my own nature, the insufficiency of my own works, the weakness of my own prayers, the utter inutility of my own poor efforts to advance me one step of proximity towards God, I learn, with admiration and gratitude, of the adequacy of Christ's atonement, the infusion of His spirit, and the imputation of His righteousness for the salvation of the believer. And I know of these gracious properties devised to me in common with a world of sinners, in the blood of the New Testament, the Church is the executrix and the legatee -- I know that before I can plead any title to the heritage, I must prove my communion with the Society to whom it is conveyed. I speak not now of the National Church with which we are associated, and which, whatever may be our conviction of its excellence, had no being as a distinct Society at the period of the Apostolic injunction. I speak (and I beg that I may be distinctly understood on this point) of the HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH, in her universal character, as the Bride of Christ. I speak of that spiritual Jerusalem, of whom most excellent things are written, as the City of God, and which in this /13/ Holy alliance, is "the Mother of us all." Informed of the essential truth that there is no other access to God than through the Son, I find no means of acquiring the passport of the Son but through the Church which he has espoused and ordained. Amidst the general darkness that veils eternity from my view, even "a darkness that may be felt," I have seen within her sanctuary "a burning and a shining light." Like the Pentecostal effusion of the Spirit, the eleven tongues of fire, the hallowing graces of religion rest on them, who "WITH ONE ACCORD ARE IN ONE PLACE." The flame on her altars may occasionally be suppressed, but can never be extinguished. It may burn according to the indolence or activity of its human guardians, with a dimmer or a brighter lustre, but the period shall arrive when its splendour shall be perfected, and all people shall rejoice in its illumination. It was for this purpose of ineffable benevolence that Christ paid the awful price of his own immaculate blood for the purchase of His Church, when "He loved it and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water by the word, and present it to himself, when He should revisit the earth, as a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish."
Taking with us this comprehensive, and, I trust, not unprecise or indistinct, view of the whole Church of Christ, a few words will suffice for my /14/ present purpose, to describe that pure and Apostolic portion of it which claims our allegiance, and whose claims have lately been urged from this pulpit with much fidelity and eloquence. The Church of England is a Reformed and Protestant branch of the Catholic Church of Christ, and possesses all the marks that can be required to avouch her authenticity. She is an integral part of that "blessed company of faithful people," who are subject unto "Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and earth are named." This Society consists of an ordained ministry and baptized members: -- the one derived, in its trifold offices of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, direct from the Apostles, -- the other day by day received into her communion by the rite which Christ has instituted, and appointed His commissioned servants to retain. "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
We live, my brethren, in critical times -- in times in which, on the one hand, Satan seems to be mustering all his forces, and contriving all his frauds, and recollecting all his wiles, in order that he may direct them in concentrated energy against the Church; while, on the other hand, her children, awakened from a long continued lethargy, are alive to a sense of peril, and are preparing themselves, though with weapons of very different temper, for the inevitable conflict. In such a contest /15/ it well becomes us to beware that "the weapons of our warfare be not carnal." The natural strength of the man may prevail over enemies of flesh and blood, and that but in a partial sense, whilst against the hostility of the Principalities and Powers, the spiritual wickedness that are opposed to him, they will be utterly unavailing. Our great danger is from within. It is that the Prince of Darkness may enter the citadel as an Angel of Light. It is that he may sow dissensions among our defenders, and tamper with the instruments of our protection and safety. Alas! While our soldiers are marching around our ramparts they forget that they are brethren, and they "fall out by the way." Thus it is that men deeply endued with the spirituality of religion, in their anxiety to escape from formalism, are led to renounce the very ordinances which God has instituted for the vehicles of His spirit, and to undervalue the efficacy of sacraments which Christ hath commanded to be received. In their solicitude to preach nothing but Christ and Him crucified, they forget that preaching would be itself but foolishness were it not for the accompanying grace which God has annexed to it, and that the Church and her sacramental observances, "in the breaking of bread and in prayers," claim for their sufficiency the same unquestioned authority. Opposed to those low views of Apostolical order and discipline held by his portion of our Zion, has arisen another /16/ party, consisting of persons eminent alike for their learning and their piety, but who, in an overweening fear of a general secession from "God's way in the sanctuary," have sought to revive the habits of discipline by a return to obsolete usages; many of which have no foundation in scripture, and have too near an alliance with those corruptions of the gospel which the fathers and martyrs of the reformation shed their blood to repudiate and condemn. To the one of these parties CATHOLICISM and ROMANISM are synonymous terms; to the other the genius of Protestantism is an evil spirit to be anathematized and cast out. And yet, my brethren, the plain truth beyond all controversy is, that our beloved Church assumes to be in name and in spirit both CATHOLIC and PROTESTANT. CATHOLIC in her communion of faith with the general assembly and Church of the first born which are written in heaven; and PROTESTANT in her first and continued protest against those errors and delusions which the Roman ritual enjoins, which no antiquity can hallow, and from which we believe that an especial interference of Christ, in the vindication of His Church, has made us free.
While the love of many has waxed cold, so cold as to deny the Lord that brought them, and others, "swerving from the law of charity, have turned aside unto vain janglings," the Church of England has "continued steadfast in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship," and retained in her scriptural /17/ liturgies, and illustrated in her decent ceremonies, THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS. In her walk through successive generations of a world deeply stained with pollutions, she may occasionally manifest the defects of her human constitution, for nothing temporal can be perfect, and she may, like Peter, require washing, "at least her feet." She may again have to pass through the furnace of persecution, but she will abide the trial, and come forth from the ordeal purified, nay purified like the precious metal in the refiner's fire. However dense may be the smoke that would obscure her beauty, "the King's daughter is all glorious within, and her clothing," (her sacred ordinances) will stand the assay, for it is "of wrought gold." Accompanied by the Churches which she has planted in the East and in the West, she shall approach, at the last day, the presence of her Lord; when the appointed time is come, and the bride shall have herself made ready, "she shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needle-work; the virgins that be her fellows shall bear her company," and with joy and gladness shall she enter on her home.
And this is the Church which, according to the third and concluding topic of my discourse, it is the duty and within the ability of all her members to sustain and feed.
Undoubtedly this is a duty which devolves mainly and especially on the pastors and overseers /18/ of the flock of Christ. The ministration of the sacraments of grace -- the preaching of "the word which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all those which are sanctified," belong exclusively to the Ministers whom the Holy Ghost has ordained, and constitute an office which cannot be invaded without guilt. But that ministry must look to you, of the laity, in a large measure, for encouragement, for maintenance, for support. Pledged as they are to lay aside the study of the world, and to omit its gainful occupations, that they may minister to you in all spiritual things, it is surely right that they should sometimes reap your worldly, and not to be left to a state of poverty which may paralyse their influence and utility. Whatever be the straitness of their pecuniary circumstances, they may resort to no secular employment to amend and better them. The bank and the counting-house; "the tables of the money changers" are proscribed to them. They may watch the clouds of adversity looming darker and darker over their beloved homes; they may see the desire of their eyes and the joy of their hearts sinking under the pressure of calamity which no prudence could avert; they may see the olive branches round their tables withering in the sickly atmosphere of poverty and want; and yet the hand which has been solemnly and in perpetuity devoted to the plough of the Gospel may not be stretched out in any worldly husbandry for /19/ their relief. No, though the sickness be at their heart, and the iron enter into their soul, they must retain the calm aspect and composed demeanour which befit the messengers of the Gospel of Peace: -- they must go forth among the children whom Christ has consigned to their care, determined to speak and to illustrate the message "of that love, stronger than death, which many waters cannot quench," and to suggest the hope which is full of immortality, and to tell of comfort and quietness which exist beyond the grave, and to "FEED" with zeal and fidelity, unabated by personal affliction, their peculiar portion of "THE CHURCH OF GOD WHICH HE PURCHASED WITH HIS BLOOD." Nor have you, my brethren, been unmindful of your duty in this matter. I have the happiness to know that you have "given not grudgingly, or of necessity, but as cheerful givers," to provide for the Pastor whom you revere, and who, I pray, may long be continued to watch over you in the Lord.
In conclusion, I would revert to the necessity of erecting a new and more commodious Parish Church within this town, and of vesting it with the Cathedral character which our ecclesiastical position seems now to require.
From the day in which I first addressed you on this subject up to the present hour, I have had the satisfaction of knowing that many imaginary impediments to our undertaking have gradually been /20/ abandoned, and some real ones surmounted; and I believe that the work will now be carried on with a zeal and liberality proportioned to its acknowledged importance, and which will fully vindicate the Christian character of this community. Forgive me, too, if I confess my hope, that not only will the members of the religion of our forefathers and our common country evince their attachment to our cause by a generosity of which I have already a sufficient earnest, but that many of the inhabitants of this parish, whose religious tenets differ in some respects from our own, will not be restrained by a contrariety of opinions in matters which, though important, they do not deem essential to salvation, from contributing, unasked, to the erection of a Church designed to admit the greater part of the parishioners within its walls; in which all may occasionally "take sweet counsel together and walk in the House of God as friends." I appeal then on these principles to all who now hear me for such assistance as it may be in their power, respectively, to afford. I appeal to those who, whether strangers or parishioners, are solicitous to advance the Kingdom of Christ and the extension of His Church on earth. I invite them to rejoice in an opportunity of contributing to the building of a Temple to be devoted to the pure and evangelical worship of their God and Saviour -- a Temple which, I trust, will in many a trying hour afford to its future congregations the lessons of Divine wisdom and the consolations of the Gospel /21/ of Truth -- a Temple, in which the rich will be admonished, the poor comforted, the afflicted supported, and the spiritual life of all will be sustained by the unadulterated doctrine and prevailing prayers of that true and apostolic Church which has now taken root in this land, and which may well be described as a vine which "the Lord's right hand hath planted, and the branch which He hath made so strong for His own self."
My brethren! I have done, and may God, in the fulness of his mercy, grant that, when you and I and every contributor to this work of piety shall long have mouldered in the grave, your children and your children's children may have cause to bless the memory of their ancestors, and may never want within the walls which we shall rear to God the labours of a faithful ministry, to "FEED THE CHURCH OF CHRIST which," on the awful occasion that we now commemorate, "HE PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD."
MY CHRISTIAN BRETHREN,
> As Bishop of this Diocese and Ordinary Pastor of this portion of the flock of Christ, it became my duty, on being called by the Providence of God to so responsible an office, to ascertain the spiritual deficiencies of the people under my charge, with a view to such remedial measures as I might find means and opportunity to administer.
At the earliest period of my connexion with you I could not fail to perceive the dilapidated state of the Parish Church in this town, and its total unfitness for the metropolitan Church of a populous and extensive See.
The condition of this Church was indeed so deplorable as to divest the service of religion of much of the veneration and dignity which rightly belong to it, and to impress me with a mournful sense of the small proportion of our worldly substance which had been bestowed on the sanctuary of God. I am aware of many of the considerations which combined to deter the congregation of St. John's from any additional expenditure on the decayed fabric of their Church -- I am aware of the hope which they entertained of substituting a new and more commodious building for that which was evidently passing away; and it was to revive that hope and to assist them in realizing it, that I addressed my first pastoral letter to you, and my communication to the Society for the Propagation /24/ of the Gospel, which, together with the present Prospectus, will afford a sufficient development of my project for erecting a Cathedral Church in the town of St. John's.
In the plan which I submit to you as describing the best basis which, on mature consideration, I could devise for the building and constitution of a new Church, I trust that there will be found no stipulation which does not contemplate the general good of the Parishioners, though it may be too much to hope that its provisions will satisfy the scruples of every objector.
Among some minor impediments which the candor and good sense of the community may easily surmount, it must be confessed that the question of site for the intended building is still clouded with difficulties of a very embarrassing nature, and which it will require great caution and temper to approach.
Although the time has not yet arrived for the full discussion of this topic, yet in soliciting pecuniary aid it was clearly requisite so far to indicate the intended position of the Church as to satisfy the congregation of St. John's that the position should be centrical to the town, and chosen with direct reference to their comfort and accommodation. I have the fullest assurance from Her Majesty's government of their disposition to afford me every facility in this respect. No crown land, however, has hitherto been found that would exactly supply the location which is desired by the great bulk of the people whose interests are concerned. If, therefore, the present Church-yard may be legally available to this purpose, and may be so used without rudely disturbing the ashes of the dead, or violating the feelings of the living, I know of no site that is less objectionable, or /25/ affords a more promising position for a Parish Church.
It is my opinion -- it is the opinion of my legal adviser, that this Church-yard is in law and equity the property of the Church of England. It is my opinion, too, that the foundations of the Church may be so opened as to shock no moral or religious feeling, which it is alike my duty and my inclination to respect. -- Still as you will perceive by the Prospectus, this remains an open question, and I only pray that it may be discussed in the spirit of moderation and Christian love.
Though we are not loosely to surrender the just rights of our Church, or omit the seasonable opportunity for consolidating her interests, we are bound, "to live, IF IT BE POSSIBLE, as much as lieth in us peaceably with all men." Even just rights, pursued to extremes, may become wrongs, by the invasion of that spirit of Charity which is, in truth, "the very bond of peace and of all virtue."
It is with deep gratitude to the Almighty, who has hitherto "prospered the work of our hands upon us," that I announce to you the results of my application to the two great Societies of our Church, and of my Chaplain's visit to England, in your behalf.
By the Societies for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Promoting of Christian Knowledge the sum of ONE THOUSAND POUNDS has been placed at my disposal; the Queen Dowager, the Archbishop and Bishops, have replied to my appeal by contributions amounting to two or three hundred pounds; and several hundreds more have been collected by your indefatigable Rector, after sermons preached by him in various Churches of the Realm.
/26/ To His Excellency Sir JOHN HARVEY I would also record my thanks, for his liberal donation of ONE HUNDRED POUNDS, and adding to these sums ONE HUNDRED POUNDS, as my own contribution, I have now only to commend the matter to your liberality and your prayers.
In the name of HIM "whose we are and whom we serve," -- in the
name, and by the authority, of the great "Shepherd and Bishop of
our souls," I charge you, my beloved brethren, to lay aside all
animosities, to abandon or reconcile all trifling differences of
opinion, and unite as men confessing one Faith, one Lord, one
Baptism, in building up "the Lord's House and the place where His
Honor dwelleth." -- I implore you to coalesce in this important
work with calm tempers, but with fervent spirits. I exhort you
never to be deterred by hostility from without, nor to be
distracted by dissensions within, from erecting the walls of our
Zion, or from concentrating your exertions in the Holy cause of
transmitting an enlarged and improved sanctuary to your
ST. JOHN'S, MARCH 4TH, 1842.
The Cathedral to be the Parish Church of St. John's, and to be erected either within the present Church-yard, or on some site which may be procured within the distance of one furlong at farthest from the present Church.
If the erection be within the Church-yard, a new burial-ground will be obtained from Her Majesty's government, conveniently situated for such purpose.
The property of the Church to be vested in the Bishop of the Diocese, in trust for the members of the Church of England and Ireland resident in the town of St. John's.
One third of the Church to be appropriated to free sittings; the remainder to be occupied by pews, which shall be let at an annual rent to the highest bidder at public auction, above a certain price to be named by the Vestry, under the sanction of the Diocesan. The Proprietors of pews in the Old Church, becoming pew- holders in the Cathedral, will be allowed a certain reduction of their rent for seven years, the amount of such reduction to be determined by the Vestry and Church-wardens, with reference to the estimated value of the pews which they may have resigned. Pew- holders in the Cathedral may have their pews for one year, or during the life of such pew-holders; provided always, that no pew shall be given up without a year's previous notice to the Church- wardens; and that no profit rent or valuable consideration shall be received by any pew-holder for the transfer of his interest in a pew, or any part thereof, under pain of forfeiture of the same. -- The fact of such consideration having been paid to be ascertained by the Vestry.
The Church to be built and fitted up according to a plan proposed or approved by the Bishop, under the direction of a Committee which shall consist of eleven members, of whom three shall be the Rector and Church-wardens of the Parish; five shall be elected by the local contributors, who shall have severally contributed the sum of Ten Pounds at least; and three shall be nominated by the Bishop or his Commissary. The sum of 500 Pounds granted by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge is directed to be put at interest, and the gross amount will be disbursed only for the actual completion of the Church.
On the completion of the Church, one Church-warden shall be nominated by the Rector and one elected by the pew-holders. Such Church-wardens shall hold their respective Offices, having been first qualified, for one year -- after which they shall be eligible to be re-elected.
The Vestry to consist of twelve persons, to be chosen annually from the pew-holders of the Church, provided always the Rector be ex-officio chairman, and the Church-wardens members of the Vestry.
Local contributions for the erection of the Church may be paid in five annual instalments.
The Church funds to be expended by the Vestry, with the sanction of the Diocesan, on the following objects: 1st -- The payment of a certain salary to the Rector, Clerk and Sexton. -- The amount of the Rector's salary to be fixed by the Bishop. 2d -- The repair and improvement of the Church.