« PreviousContinue »
deemed probable, and which the Protestant Missionary Societies of England may well keep in view, as perhaps at present the grand object to which providence seems to challenge the attention of this Christian country. We have allowed ourselves to digress much beyond our intention, with the view of touching on this point: for we enter fully into the views of the Church Missionary Society on this subject, and are only surprised that there has not been made a more express and direct appeal to its friends at large, with reference to the late accession of territory in the Punjaub, and the hopeful prospects which thus open before us. We are persuaded, that a large thank-offering might have been obtained in answer to an appeal made on this ground, and having had this subject before us, we have thus far deviated from our immediate line of remark.
To return, however—let us not forget that, “ The field is the world.” Nor let the Church be unmindful of her commission“Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature"-or of the sealing promise—" And, lo, I am with you alway.” This is our charter—and never did the day-spring from on high seem to smile with such benignant aspect upon the nations of the earth as at this present. Wherever we turn, “the field seems white to the harvest,” which, to adopt the words of the Bishop of Calcutta, seems literally to “ languish for the want of reapers ”—and hence the sincere joy we have felt in every extension of our Church's influence-in none more than the seasonable establishment of the Colonial Episcopate, and the consequent organization of our Church in her foreign dependencies. “CHURCH AND STATE ” is our established motto. It applies equally, we conceive, to our colonial and domestic empire-nor can we doubt, but that if the principle which it implies is abandoned, the vast empire which now stretches over a seventh part of the earth's surface, will as such crumble into ruin. The fabric will fall-and if so, how great will be the fall of it! Who can tell the consequences to the whole civilized and heathen world ? The decadence of this great Protestant empire, would, for a season at least, be as a universal eclipse : an awful pause in the history of our race. Hence, we repeat, the sincere joy we have felt in every extension of the legitimate influence of our Established Church-in every symptom of a revived national Christianity, affording us the hope that Great Britain was yet to stand out “ as the privileged nation from whom the streams of life should flow to a fallen worldto furthest India and the east, to our colonies, west, north, and south, and, through them, to the countless tribes and nations who seem by the providence of God for this very purpose to be 1846.
the Bishop and be
brought within our reach and influence. We would not confine ourselves to one spot, but grasp within our arms the whole habitable globe. We will not dissemble, therefore, that we hailed the scheme for a colonial episcopate as one of the most cheering signs of the times; nor can we regard it as otherwise than a fair and lovely sight-a national aspect of things peculiarly becoming,that the Church is at length presented in almost every part of our colonial empire in her just proportions, and recognized as the handmaid of the state in blessing the nations now subject to our rule. We are aware, indeed, that this is but in part the doing of the state : that it is more properly a self-development of the Church-an Ecclesiastical movement, rather voluntary and impulsive, than owning a national origin, or deriving any high support from the supreme civil power. Still it is something, especially after so long a conflict, and in such times as these, to have compelled the highest sanction of the state and that we have now a co-ordinate civil and ecclesiastical polity organized throughout the empire, and exercising its blended influence in almost every territory of our wide-spread dominions. “We cannot conclude this chapter,” says Mr. Hawkins, tracing the struggle for the colonial episcopate,“ without a remark on the wonderful growth and expansion of both mother and daughter Church in the half-century, which has elapsed since the planting of the Episcopate in America. The Church in the colonies, at the period of their independence, was indeed “in a great strait.” Unorganized and imperfect, it was little able to meet and triumph over the persecution to which on all sides it was exposed: for while “without were fightings, within were fears." Yet these troubles, threatening as they seemed, were overruled by a merciful Providence, for the ultimate benefit of the Church, and were perhaps even necessary for its restoration. At the time when it seemed almost in danger of dissolution, it was providentially empowered to renew its strength and mount up. The Church which, in 1784, ran the risk of being betrayed into some modification of Presbyterianism, now numbers twenty-six bishops, and 1231 clergymen, within its proper borders. Two bishops have been consecrated for the direction of foreign missions : one, namely, for China, and one for Turkey. Nor has the Mother Church of England, which transmitted the gift of Episcopacy to America, exhibited fewer tokens of life during the same period. Seventeen bishoprics have been founded in the different colonies and dependencies of the British Crown : and, with a view of marking the increased ratio of progress of late, it may be stated, that fourteen of them have
been the work of the last ten years.” We need not remind our readers, that since the date of Mr. Hawkins's “Notices,” there have been other advances in the same direction.?
“ All this, we agree with Mr. H., "is cause, not of boasting, but of thankfulness.” It would seem incredible, as Archdeacon Manning has observed, “that Great Britain should have been a colonial power for 200 years before the Episcopate of the English Church set a foot upon its foreign shores. It will scarcely be believed, that at a time when one seventh of the habitable earth obeyed its rule,
| Historical Notices of the Missions of the Church of England in the North American Colonies, &c. (pp. 411, 412.).
2“ The Queen has given her royal consent to the immediate subdivision of the diocese of Australia into three distinct bishopries, by the establishment of one see at Morpeth for the northern division of New South Wales, and of another at Melbourne, for the district of Port Philip.
“ These new sees, which could not have been constituted but for a generous sacrifice of private interests on the part of the Bishop of Australia, will derive a considerable portion of their endowment from the Colonial Bishoprics Fund.
“ Thus, then, within the space of five years, which have elapsed since the ‘ Declaration of Archbishops and Bishops' was signed at Lambeth, nine new sees have been erected. Of these, two--namely, Gibraltar and Fredericton-derive their endowments almost exclusively from the fund placed at the disposal of the episcopal trustees; and four others-namely, New Zealand, Tasmania, Melbourne, and Morpeth-receive important assistance from the same source. The remaining three-namely, Antigua, Guiana, and Columbo-have been endowed by means of a different distribution of the funds at the disposal of the imperial or colonial government for ecclesiastical purposes.
“No less a sum than £15,000 has been contributed towards the endowment of a bishopric (not originally contemplated) within the British possessions in the Chinese Seas.
“ Of this endowment fund, the sum of £5,000 has been most liberally given by two individuals (over and above their donation of an equal sum for the erection of a college); £6,000 was raised by congregational collections in the diocese of London, under the authority of the bishop's pastoral letter; a grant of £2,000 was voted by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and about an equal amount has been remitted to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel by individual contributors. But a considerable additional sum will yet be required, and a special committee has been named to collect such further funds as may be necessary to make a permanent provision for the see,
“Of the colonies still remaining without episcopal superintendence, the Cape of Good Hope and South Australia have been mentioned as presenting the strongest claims; and it would have been the duty of the committee, on the present occasion, to renew the appeal on their behalf, had it not pleased God to put it into the heart of an individual member of the Church, by an exercise of almost unexampled liberality, to guarantee endowments for a bishopric in each of those colonies.
“ It is well known that the Bishop of Calcutta is using the most strenuous efforts to obtain a subdivision of his own enormous diocese, by the erection of a bishopric at Agra, for the north-western provinces. Such an arrangement is imperatively requisite for the welfare and extension of the Church of England in north India; while the recent wonderful spread of Christianity in the southern provinces of Tanjore and Tinevelly must, ere long, force attention to the importance of sending forth a chief pastor for the special oversight of those infant churches.
“ The committee, before concluding their report, consider it a duty incumbent upon them to specify those other possessions of the crown which, from their importance, as well as their distance from any existing see, appear to require resident bishops. They are principally Sierra Leone, Western Australia, the Mauritius, and Prince Rupert's Land.
“ But it is obvious that a further subdivision will, ere long, be required in many of the existing dioceses; and even at present, the rapidly-increasing population of Canada, taken in connexion with its vast territorial extent, demands for the efficient administration of the Church within that province an addition of at least two bishops.—(Third Report of Colonial Bishoprics Committee.)
thered-wide dimensilly co-operation in ou
there was not one organized Church or diocese throughout its world-wide dimensions." The altered aspect of things, brought about by the friendly co-operation of our civil and ecclesiastical rulers, must have a sensible effect in our foreign dependencieswe have already reaped no little benefit from this extended organization of our Church and should the measure of advantage which it affords be estimated according to a Scriptural standard ; and our national character, as exhibited through the medium of a religious establishment, stand out in its fair proportions before the eyes of the heathen, we may confidently, with God's blessing, anticipate a speedy crowning of our Christian labours for their conversion to the faith. On these grounds, we both “ do rejoice and will rejoice” in the concurrent movements which mark our times. Still we are not without grave fears that trial may await us in connection with the very point to which we have now a second time adverted with a real and unfeigned interest—we mean, the colonial Episcopate and the various measures connected with it. We can at present but briefly note the nature and grounds of those fears. Should necessity require, however, we may from time to time enlarge these hints, unless an abler pen take up the subject. At the same time, we would earnestly hope to be spared the task of animadversion, and that it may please God so to unite all who are labouring in the common field of missionary enterprise, that they may be truly of one heart and of one mind, striving together" for the furtherance of the gospel.
1. Many of the advocates of the colonial Episcopate appear to us to attach to it an undue and dangerous importanee. We cannot, with Mr. Hawkins, regard this one movement, viewed abstractedly, as “the most important in the Church of England since the era of the Reformation.” We do not think with Archdeacons Manning, Grant, and others, that “the principle of our missions is in the Episcopate of the Church,” otherwise than it has all along been recognised to be by all sober Catholic Churchmen : nor can we, with unqualified eulogy, speak of it as the first-named Archdeacon did the other day at the Mansion House, a little contradicting, we must think, one of his favourite positions—"that whatever has been done, or is likely to be done, in the way of Christianizing our colonies upon any lasting principle, has been, and will be, the work of the Church alone..... That neither worldly interest, nor Christian civilization, nor enlightened policy, have ever excited the British Government to attempt the systematic extension of Christianity in the colonies of this empire : nor to base the social and political order of our foreign dependencies on any surer foundation than that of secular measures and experiments.” Language like this appears to us un'measured, and a little inconsistent with the passage which we quote from the document, No. 2, on our list.
“ I listened,” said the Archdeacon, “with great joy to the high political philosophy which fell from the noble lord who preceded me, remembering as I do, that he stands before you this day clothed with the responsibilities of a representative of this great commercial city, and also that to his hands, in time past, has been entrusted the administration of our colonial empire. I listened with delight, when I heard him lay down, with statesman-like precision, that emigration and colonization are two things distinct; that even the heathen understood the sacredness of colonies. It is the law of nature that organised life shall reproduce the germ of its own organization-trees that are mature do not return to propagate their original wildness. It is not enough that we send forth the arts of life, and the order of the civil state, if we fail to consecrate them by the charities of home and the sanctities of religion. I never doubted that such were the deep convictions of that noble lord ; for I do not need to be reminded that it was during the time when the destinies of our colonial Empire were committed to his trust, that the great scheme for making the colonial Episcopate co-extensive with the British Empire was conceived and put in action. That wise and necessary scheme, which is the charter of our missions, the radical principle of perpetuity to the Churches planted by us abroad, met, I believe I may affirm, with the full sanction of the noble lord. Sharing at that time the authority of the imperial government, and the counsels of her Majesty, whose public servant he then was, he gave to that undertaking his entire assent and support.”(pp. 24, 25.)
Whatever may be the relative claims of Church and State in this matter-admitting that the institution of a colonial Episcopate was a “wise and necessary measure,”—we must yet question, whether it is to be regarded as “the charter of our missions, the radical principle of perpetuity to the Churches planted by us abroad :" nor can we feel so confident as the Bishop of London appears to have done when this great measure was mooted, that the Church of England by thus bestirring herself ....“will in due time cause the reformed Episcopal Church to be recognised, by all the nations of the earth, as the stronghold of pure religion, and the legitimate dispenser of its means of grace: and will be a chosen instrument in the hands of God for purifying and restoring the other branches of Christ's Holy Catholic Church, and of connecting them with herself, as members of the same mystical body, in the way of truth, in the unity of the Spirit, and in the bond of peace.” We heartily pray that it may be so, and that our beloved mother may prove the healer of the Church, as well as of the nations. But we know how often episcopacy has failed. Alas, it may fail again. We must have other “charters,” other “principles of perpetuity” than this : and we know not whether this full tide of Episcopal prosperity has not come full soon enough to try our utmost humility, faith, and dependence. A