« PoprzedniaDalej »
BRETHREN OF THE CLERGY: In obedience to the direction of the Canon which declares it to be proper that every bishop of this Church shall deliver, at least once in three years, a charge to the clergy of his diocese, unless hindered by reasonable cause, I have to request your attention to a few observations offered in diffidence and reluctance.
At any time, and under any circumstances, I would rather be taught of you than undertake to teach ; but at this time especially, and in the present circumstances of the Church, it would be greatly more agreeable to me to listen in silence to your mutual conference, and to gather for my guidance your joint opinion, than to sit here as one having authority, and by the prescription of the Church constrained to use that authority as a teacher.
Nevertheless, although but too painfully sensible how much need I have to set a watch on the door of my lips, as one who speaks in times of dissension and mistrust, when even brethren are moved by the prevalent discord to regard each other with suspicion; I shall venture to
you, as beloved fellow helpers in the work of the Lord, on the nature and requirements of the work in which we are engaged, with reference to the
difficulties to which I have been alluding.
It is not possible to conceal from ourselves, were we even desirous so to do, that ours is emphatically “a day
of rebuke"-a season in which great swelling words of reproach and contumely hurtle "like iron shower of arrowy sleet' in the darkened atmosphere of Christendom, and men seem to consider it necessary for the establishment of their own claim to the reward of faithful service, to have proved that all around them are a faithless and perverse generation of hypocrites and misbelievers. The simple multitudes, among whom the jewels of our SAviour's crown shall at the last day be for the most part found, are well nigh distraught by the noisy accusations and astounding charges of all manner of shades of crime that whirl around them in a ceaseless vortex. They know not whom to believe, nor whom to trust. To them it seems that “all the foundations of the earth are out of course;" and naturally enough, they ask, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do ?”. That “the Lord is in His holy Temple,” is, indeed, the sufficient consolation of those who are blessed with faith to "continue steadfast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the LORD;" but faith itself sickens and dies in the poisonous shade of bitter strife and variance, and in proportion to our need of the support to be obtained for faithful labor in the work given us to do, is our danger of relinquishing that work in the hurry and confusion of the battles that surround us. If we mistake the controversies of men for “ the Lord's controversy,” and join in them in the false persuasion that thereby we are doing our bounden service to Him who calls us to be on His part, we risk not only our reward, but the life of our own souls; there is imminent peril, lest we not merely suffer