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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 27

The Inaugural Address

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The Inaugural Address.

The Bishop of Melbourne delivered his inaugural address, in which he said: —The Diocese of Sydney is now engaged in a most solemn and important duty. It is selecting the persons who are to be submitted first to the Bishops of New South Wales, and then to the Bishops of Australia, as those from whom our future primate is to be elected. You will, I am sure, join with me in the earnest prayer that all who are concerned in this great duty may be led to perform their part in it with a simple desire to promote the welfare of the Church and the glory of God. May God grant that the future Primate of Australia may be not less faithful to his Master and not less zealous in his office than the beloved and lamented Frederic Barker. I recently received from Mrs. Barker a printed account of the last days of her departed husband, and I am sure I need not apologise for repeating here one or two sentences of that touching and impressive statement. At a religious meeting which Bishop Barker attended a few weeks before his death, the verse, "To die is gain," was thus read, "To have died is gain." "The Bishop thanked the reader for reminding them of the true rendering, adding, Yes, to have died; death itself is no gain, it is the wages of sin; but to have died, to have passed through the grave and gate of death into the presence of Christ, that will be great gain." This firm confidence in the love and power of his Saviour accompanied him to the end. "After the last paralysing shock to his nervous system, he said, 41 think this shows I must not go back to Australia. I am perfectly composed. I am resting on the Rock—the Rock of Ages. As I have had a second attack, there is no reason why I should not have a third—Ebenezer! It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait.'" This was the prevailing frame of his mind to the end. His last audible word was "Ebenezer!" There is a divine store of help, he seemed to say, and hitherto, even up to the drawing of the last breath, "The Lord hath helped me." That is his parting testimony to us whom he loved, and remembered to the last. "Our men die well," said John Wesley. And that is no small thing; for no man can well be false when he is consciously passing into the presence of Eternal Truth. May God enable each of us to keep the like unswerving faith, and to deliver the like parting testimony. "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." I desire at the very beginning of this address to thank many generous laymen, and especially Mr. Ormond, whose noble offer gave us all so powerful a stimulus, for their liberal donations to our Cathedral Fund. The building, as you see, is rapidly progressing, and is already developing a chaste grandeur of form and a balanced fitness of details, which few of us had realised from an inspection of the rough plans which were at first laid before us. It is not, however, for the beauty and harmony of its design that we shall principally value it, but rather for those great spiritual uses to which we hope to make it subservient. As a school of preaching, of divinity, of sacred song, and as the natural centre of our Diocesan Services, Societies, and Organisation, it will supply a felt want, and stimulate, we trust, a larger and more effective activity. The mention of the Cathedral naturally suggests Trinity College, and the generous benefaction of Mr. Joseph Clarke, which has enabled us to proceed to the erection of much-needed additions to the building. Plans have been prepared on a comprehensive scale by Mr. Blackett, of Sydney. These, I believe, have given general satisfaction, and it is the first portion of this large design which we are now beginning to carry out. More and more, as I realise the work to be done in this colony, I become convinced that we must train our own clergy. Colonial youths understand the life of our people, and not only more readily conform to its conditions, but also more easily resist its temptations. It is to be confessed, however, that at present candidates for our theological scholarships are neither so numerous nor so well-prepared as we could desire. There must be page 2 many young men in Melbourne employed in various ways—as clerks especially—who, if they could procure efficient tuition without leaving their ordinary work, would gladly give themselves to the great work of the Ministry. The Warden of Trinity College and I held recently a consultation on this subject, and he has kindly promised to give such facilities as those to which I have referred, to any who may desire to enter upon preliminary study for holy orders. Mr. Leeper informs me that almost all the subjects of the Arts course are taught in the College, and that as the whole of the lecturing is done at night, men who are precluded by the nature of their occupation from attending University lectures, would receive all the assistance they need in preparing for examination. "The whole of the expense incurred in following such a course would be £20 a year, as Mr. Leeper generously offers to admit non-resident theological students to the College lectures at one-third of the ordinary charges. This £20 a year would cover University fees, College fees, and the cost of books, and would enable a young man to obtain a degree at the University without further expense. Mr. Leeper only stipulates that such students should show at a preliminary examination that they have knowledge and ability enough to make it probable that they will be able to obtain a degree. Of course the abler and better prepared of these students would gain our theological scholarships as they fell vacant, and so passing into residence would obtain the full advantage of College society and discipline. The offer of these great advantages is now made to the pious young churchmen of this diocese, and many, I trust, will be found to claim them at once. The terms are easy, and it is not impossible that promising students, who are too poor to bear even these light charges, may obtain some slight help from church funds. We have just held our Annual Meeting in connection with the Bishop of Melbourne's Fund, and I will only now remind you shortly of certain facts which were there set forth in detail. This is the only general fund of the diocese. If, therefore, any churchman fail to contribute to its support, he is practically ignoring his churchmanship, and acting simply as if he were a member of a small congregation. Again the contributions to this fund are all voluntary, so that if they be suffered to fail or fall short in any single year, the effect must be either a total abandonment of some of our work or a reduction of the stipends of 48 of our country clergy, and of 40—that is of the whole body—of our readers; a reduction, that is to say, of the stipends of those who can barely live and pay their way as matters now are. I have to congratulate you on the large increase to this fund which was exhibited by our last year's Report, and to beseech you to be unremitting in your endeavours to sustain, and, if possible, to augment that increase. This is far the most important of the funds in connection with our church, for any serious failure here would inflict a paralysing blow on the efficiency of our whole organisation. We have heard much of late about the doings at Home of the Salvation Army, and much, in spite of what may be good in that organisation, to cause sober Christians pain, and to make them anxious about its possible future. Doctrines are being taught which we cannot regard as scriptural. Excitement is being encouraged which is not healthy, which may lead to excess, and which must lead to re-action. Wild dances and wilder cries are permitted, which border on profanity. Midnight meetings of both sexes are encouraged, which must be fraught with danger. On all these accounts we cannot view the movement without the gravest misgivings. But when we remember the millions of working men and their families who are living in secular animalism, without God in the world, it is impossible to say to earnest men give up your agitation, or even to condemn unconditionally measures which have attained some degree of success where we have failed. One thing, however, I can see plainly—that the ways of the Salvation Army are not our ways; that between the sweet, sober piety of the English Church and the unbridled excitement of the jumping, shouting crowds of converted roughs and "Hallelujah lasses," there is a great gulf fixed. We may pray God to help and guide them, and to deliver them from their too obvious dangers, but imitate them we cannot. At the same time, it is surely lawful and necessary to learn from them. Do they not teach us such lessons as these? The value of popular and emotional forms of address, of outward symbols and watchwords, of closer organisation and fellowship, of enlisting every individual in aggressive work; above all, of the power of prayer and praise, and of the holy enthusiasm kindled by these to touch with contagious force the torpid souls of the indifferent? Let us lay these lessons to heart, my brethren, and ask God to show us how we may best turn them to account within the limits of our own more sober, and, as I believe, more scriptural system. Bishop Thorold used page 3 words in his last charge as wise as they are stirring. "If we would not see the mass of the working people," he said, "hopelessly surrendered either to a gross animalism or a dismal unbelief, we must throw our prejudices to the winds, and organise a brotherhood of Christian workers, which, with simple creed, resolute purpose, real sacrifice, and fervent devotion, shall march under the church's banner, and preach her gospel for the salvation of souls to Christ." These words point to comprehensive organisation, and indicate, I believe, one of the great wants of our church. I would say to each parish clergyman—aim at supplying all the wants, and enlisting all the workers of your parish. The more works you start, the more workers you will want, and the more you will get. How often I have heard it said by energetic laymen—there is nothing for me to do in the Church of England. Why? Because nothing needs to be done. Ask your own conscience, my brethren. At the taking of the last census nearly 300,000 people—more than a third of our whole population—set themselves down as belonging to the Church of England. For the supply of the spiritual wants of these we are clearly responsible. But is there one of us who thinks that we are approaching to an efficient discharge of this duty? Let each parish clergyman say to himself—One-third of the people here (such is the average) declare that they belong to me. What are their wants, then, for body and soul? What are the needs of parents, of children, of young men, of young women? How can I supply to all these classes relief in distress, institutions for the promotion of temperance and economy, amusement for their leisure, instruction for their intellect, food for their heart? By so much as I fall short of doing this I fall short of doing my duty. I do not like to speak of my own experience, brethren; but I may mention, for the encouragement of others, that when I was incumbent of St. John's, Fitzroy-square, with a population of 14,000 poor people, and without either parsonage or endowment, I found it possible to organise societies for all the objects I have named, and it was my experience that as I multiplied works, I increased workers, and stimulated zeal and confidence. What indeed can resist a body of men, warmed by mutual sympathy, encouraged by the sense of support, and animated by the feeling that they have got a grip of their whole task, and are by God's blessing mastering it? Let me just transcribe for you the account of what has been done by such comprehensive organisation at St. Alphege's, Southwark. Eight years ago the mission was started in one of the most abjectly destitute parts of London, and in five years it had collected a congregation of more than 1000 souls, with from 300 to 400 communicants. The incumbent describes his work as follows:—" Every hour of the day, from 6 in the morning till 11 at night, is either taken up in cheering the hearts of weary workers or in seeking the careless, or in consoling, encouraging, and rebuking such as have been brought to God. There is the daily supervision of our Training College, our College Schools, National Schools, Boys' Home, Children's Kitchen, Creche, District Visitors' Work, Clubs, Bible Classes—(I have between 300 and 400 men and women attending my two classes),—accounts of moneys received and paid, &c. Yet in the spiritual work there is happiness, and encouragement and pleasure in the temporal." So much may be done by comprehensive organisation. Amongst the various institutions for the organisation of lay help, guilds in many parishes are taking a prominent place. Some of our old friends here may possibly have to get over a natural prejudice against the word "guild." It has a mediaeval sound, which seems to connect it in some way with the Roman Church. The association, however, is misleading. It comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning "to pay;" because the original Saxon guilds of 10 families contributed to a common guarantee fund intended to pay the legal fines which might be incurred by any of their criminous, members. Hence merchant guilds, with their guild-halls; and hence, too, ecclesiastical guilds. The word is better than "club," which would carry misleading associations, but it is not far from being the ecclesiastical equivalent of that word. A parochial guild has this great advantage—it gathers into a felt and recognised unity, with all the concomitant advantages of sympathy, close friendship, and the inspiration of members, persons who, engaged in separate parochial labours, might never get beyond individualism, with its isolation, caprices, and tendency to ebbing energy and interest. Again, it finds a home and furnishes direction to young people who have few, if any, friends to encourage them in holy living and working. Its bond of union is commonly the promise to lead a godly life, and to seek help to this end in regular worship and attendance at Holy Communion. Its work embraces choir duties, night schools, Sunday page 4 schools, youths' clubs, sewing classes, mothers' meetings, Bible classes, and visiting those who stand in need of visitation, as the sick and needy, the parents of school children, the unconfirmed, those lately confirmed, families visited by death, hospitals, gaols, workhouses, and penitentiaries. Members of guilds also employ themselves in getting up concerts and readings for the poor, in managing burial clubs, clothing clubs, book clubs, and penny banks; as also in organising meetings for the promotion of good works, and in attending and speaking at such meetings, and last, not least, in endeavouring to procure work for fellow-guildsmen, for penitent women, and for godly people who have fallen into distress. I have been thus particular in specifying various kinds of work, because I have found that people in these colonies have been deterred from forming guilds by ignorance of their possible objects. A word upon amusements is naturally suggested by such an enumeration of good works as that which I have just made. The question of popular amusements seems to me, in the presence of our continually increasing larrikinism, one of the greatest urgency. It is not to be solved by silly declamation and furious puritanical abuse of every one who tries to make our amusements a little more reasonable and elevating. I have formerly expressed the opinion that our people devote far too much of their time and money to the pursuit of pleasure, and I have seen no reason since then, I am sorry to say, to alter my opinion. But we shall not improve the people's amusement by simply cursing them, and passing by on the other side. "The question is," says Karl Hillebrand," how to employ the leisure hours of uneducated and half-educated people who must always remain such." It is clearly a difficult question, and one which, with the shortening of the hours of labour, is becoming more difficult every day. We may possibly attract the elite of our workmen into Working Men's Colleges, Church Guilds, and Christian Young Men's Societies. But what of the great mass who can find pleasure neither in reading nor thinking, and what, moreover, of the large number of married workmen who cannot satisfy themselves with the pure and quiet pleasures of home? Karl Hillebrand suggests "some kind of secondary employment, which shall bring in some small profit, and shall not be fatiguing." In Sheffield, in my early days, large numbers of workmen were kept from the public-houses, and greatly improved both in health and pocket, by renting and cultivating small garden-plots on which they raised vegetables for household use, and grew the simple flowers of country gardens. I fear that Australians might object to the work which this healthy and humanising amusement might cost them, and that they will be found to prefer the spectacle of a game of cricket or football. Could they, however, get over their first disinclination, I am persuaded that they would find both health and pleasure in garden work. Music is attractive to the population of a sunny land like ours, and I would suggest to the clergy that young men who care nothing for study are often found to take pleasure in concerted music, and readily join brass bands, string bands, or drum and fife bands, which meet for practice in school buildings. Mr. Gosman recently suggested that a volunteer cadet corps might be organised in different neighbourhoods for rifle practice and drill, and I certainly cannot see why the rifle-butts and the drill-ground should not prove as attractive in our time as did the archery-butts on the village green in the days of our forefathers. There is use as well as amusement in such exercises as these, and young men would be sensible of this, and find in it a stimulus to perseverance. Again, for older men, parochial clubs are often found to be useful. I once furnished some rooms for such a purpose, which included billiard-rooms, refreshment bar for coffee and tea, large reading-hall, and rooms for the meetings of sick and benefit societies. Smoking was allowed, and we soon nearly emptied some of the drinking places, and were heartily thanked by the wives of working men for preserving the health and substance of their husbands, and for sending them home in their right mind, and with their wages in their pocket. The mention of my own club reminds me of the care taken to promote harmless amusements in the parish of St. Peter's, London Docks. You will remember, perhaps, what a wonderful work was done there, how all the people were made to love the church, how 500 communicants were gathered from amongst one of the lowest populations in London, and how the clergy could say at last of a district which had been a sink of impurity, "not only has open professional sin been swept away from the streets of St. Peter's; but, besides, there is not one known house of ill-fame in the whole parish "—though such places swarmed round all its borders. It is interesting to ask how men who achieve such results dealt with the question of amusement. Here is their account of it:—" In the evening page 5 the men fill the new schoolroom, smoking, reading, playing bagatelle (there are two good tables) or skittles, or racing in the running-ground outside. On Wednesday evenings the desks are cleared, and the neighbours pour in for the weekly concert, which once a month resolves itself into a ball. The drum and fife band practices twice a week, as also the stringed-instrument band. In the winter there are all sorts of things going on—theatricals, nigger entertainments; anything to keep them out of the public-houses and out of the streets." The lads' club, which devoted itself principally to athletics, was under the superintendence of a paid officer, known as the "chucker out," and, says the author of the account from which I am quoting, "No boys' club in the east of London can possibly exist without such a functionary." There is one passage more in connection with these entertainments which I must transcribe for you, lest any one should imagine that the conduct of such amusements is easy or without sore trials:—" Those who have had to do with this sort of thing will know something of the disappointments, rebellions, discouragements, ingratitude, and failures, that have to be patiently borne with and triumphed over. . . Perseverance is the secret of success in such work, of course, under the blessing of God. We hear much of the success of the modern church movement in England; but do we consider enough the price paid for it—the energy, courage, patience, and dogged determination required in order to secure it? That is the way, depend upon it, and the only way, to conquer Melbourne larrikinism and to sanctify the overwhelming wild energy, which boils over in its excesses. Who has greatness of heart enough to try it on a large scale? I turn next to the subject of Sunday-schools. The clergy, especially in country districts, can very seldom teach in the Sunday-schools. If, therefore, they fail to give instruction to the teachers, their influence of a didactic kind can scarcely be said to reach the minds of the children at all. For this and other reasons I say unhesitatingly, that there should be no parish in the diocese without a Sunday-school teachers' class, conducted by the clergyman. Many indirect advantages are secured by the holding of such a class. Opportunity is afforded to the clergyman for answering questions, for discussing difficulties of practical management, for deepening sympathy between himself and his fellow-labourers, and for drawing closer the bond of brotherly feeling between those who are actively labouring for the spread of Christ's kingdom. I observe (from returns made to the Sunday-school Association) that in some cases teachers' classes have been started, and then abandoned for lack of attendance. Was care always taken, I wonder, in these cases to make the class interesting? Nothing can succeed which is allowed to drop into a monotonous uniformity. I would suggest, then, that the ordinary routine of Scriptural exposition might, with advantage, be interrupted from time to time by a social meeting, where, with the help of music, bright talk, and perhaps with one or two short pithy addresses, the teachers might spend a pleasant evening, and realise the fact that Christian brotherhood meant something more than mere community of labour. Again, if I may judge from my own early experience, it would add greatly both to the interest of such meetings, and to the love of their members for the church of their fathers, if from time to time the clergyman would give a short course of lessons on the church's manual of devotion, the Book of Common Prayer. I believe there is not one churchman in a hundred who has carefully considered either the history or the composition of those prayers and praises which he takes into his lips every Sunday. Unconsciously, perhaps, we feel the elevation of their thought, and the charm of their exquisite language, but how little do we ordinarily realise of the variety, the profundity, the comprehensiveness of their petitions, of the dominant purpose of worship which determines their arrangement, or of the solemn and tender associations which cluster round their origin and history. From Freeman and Palmer and Proctor, all this might be easily learnt, and be made, with care and pains, both a means of profit and a source of the deepest interest. A respected clergyman of this diocese, whose name were I at liberty to mention it would lend great weight to his judgment, stated recently "that eight out of ten male scholars leave school about 15, unconfirmed, and never go any more, either to church or Sunday-school." Such an experience as this can scarcely be general; but if even it be not uncommon, is it not one of the most terrible facts with which we could be confronted? Does it not mean that the church is largely losing her young men, and that she ought to stick at no sacrifice and no toil to stop so fatal a leakage? To some of the subjects of a Bishop's address you might be disposed, perhaps, to give but a perfunctory attention, but the man who fails to give his best page 6 thought to a fact of this gravity, proves himself, ipso facto, to have no real case either for the Master whom he serves, or the church to which he belongs. Why, then, let us ask, do so many of our boys drift away from church on leaving school? This is a wide question, and one which may not admit of a simple answer, seeing that the causes in operation are many and diverse. People point to the prevailing scepticism, the precocity of our youths, their spurious independence arising from defect of home influence, and the attractions of outdoor life in a genial climate. No doubt each of these causes has its influence. But surely we cannot say that a youth is specially sceptical who has for years attended a Sunday-school class, where he has received intelligent instruction. Surely, again, if he resisted the snares of spurious independence till he was 15 years of age, we are not to suppose a sudden access of that infirmity in all cases. What, then, is the last straw which breaks the camel's back? Suppose it to be granted that a youth has been tugging for some time at the elastic band of mingled duty and affection which bound him to the church, what stimulates those final desperate efforts by which he breaks it? More than one thing, perhaps, again. Still, let us try to discover those circumstances which are likely to have had most influence, With growing years there is in every boy a double development—of will and of intellect. The expanding intellect demands enlargement and satisfaction. New questions are arising in the soul, and a quickening curiosity to explore unknown realms of thought and knowledge. Is provision generally made in our Sunday-schools to meet this need? We talk about wanting employment for our laity. Well let me ask this, and let me ask it of my lay brethren who are just as much bound to extend the kingdom of Christ, according to their opportunities, as I am:—Are our most intelligent laymen ready, first, either to build separate class rooms for adult scholars, or to take classes of such to their own houses for instruction? and secondly, are such laymen ready, nay anxious, to make such a book as Farrar's History of St. Paul, the basis of study for advanced lessons, or to give such instruction in the wonders of God's works as shall naturally lead the mind of an intelligent youth to the Divine Creator of all that is good and beautiful, supplementing such lessons, as occasion shall serve, by trips of a semi-scientific character to the habitat of a plant, or the exposure of a geologic formation? No one can conceive the blessedness and the blessing of such work as this, unless he has attempted it. But besides the growth of understanding in boys, there is, as I have said, a development of will, of the sense of self-dependence and personal dignity, which must to a certain extent be respected. Now, how does the church try to meet this? I believe that as a rule it does not try at all, and so necessarily does harm. Young men, like young nations, are very sensitive. They suspect that their youth may be despised, and are constantly on the watch for signs which may justify such a suspicion. Hence, the necessity for great and even tender consideration on the part of their elders. Now, there are many boys in the senior classes of our Sunday-schools, whose parents do not attend church. Consequently they have no seats provided for them, apart from the school, even if they desire to continue their attendance. They have grown too old to relish the company of little boys, and if they separate themselves from the school they find themselves thrust into corners, and treated as if they were of small account—the very thing which provokes their developing manhood to dislike and resistance. You may say, perhaps, that this is a necessary result of our pew system, and that on the whole it is not desirable to abandon that system. I am certainly not prepared to advise its abandonment at present, but this I do say most emphatically, that if we keep the pew system, free pews should be reserved in a good place—pews just like the others in appearance, for the elder scholars of our Sunday-schools. Vestrymen, I know, sometimes talk about loss of funds, but even on this low ground—and it is so low as to be almost beneath consideration, when regard is had to the interests involved—can it be good policy to drive away from church, at the most susceptible period of their life, those who, if loved and cared for, would become our best and most valuable supporters? I do hope that at least in this respect we shall endeavour to reform our treatment of elder scholars. In connection with this subject, I would just repeat the suggestion which I have offered once before, that a very strenuous effort be made to keep together, by classes, occasional services, or other means, those who have recently been confirmed. The season of confirmation I always found to be the parish priest's best opportunity. Hearts are then tender, minds have been recently exercised upon subjects of sacred interest, and if only the good intentions of that time can be developed into fixed page 7 and steady purpose, I believe that hundreds of souls now suffered to drift away into worldliness, might be secured for Christ and for heaven. I have suggested what I think to be best in regard to the elder scholars. It would seem, however, to be very desirable in town parishes where effective lay-assistance is procurable, and where church accommodation is scanty, to endeavour to organise special services for the younger of the Sunday-school children. In my last London parish there was a service of this kind every Sunday morning. It offers special advantages. The service can be shorter, and it can be brightened with hymns specially suitable for children, and sung at shorter intervals than would be desirable in the ordinary service. The addresses, to, might be specially adapted to the wants and capacity of the young hearers, might be largely interspersed with appropriate anecdotes, and above all be made short and telling. Should the clergyman, perhaps, feel that in this way be was shut out from the opportunity of giving Sunday instruction to the younger members of his flock, he can easily remedy this, by catechising the children in church once a month at an afternoon service. I believe that he would thus give them more effective instruction than by taking them to church every Sunday to listen to sermons wholly unsuitable to their age and capacity. Laymen would of course naturally take the ordinary children's services. And I must say that the circumstances of the present day seem to call, in general, for a considerable extension of the prophetic office in the church. A Bishop of Manchester observed, in his sermon before the Church Congress at Newcastle, "Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers—these are the needs of the church to-day. Priests, possibly, for quiet ordinary times, but prophets for crises. And if anyone cannot see that the church is passing through a crisis now—fiercer, sharper, more intense than any which has tried her for generations—he cannot read the most obvious signs of this time. But now whence are we to obtain any great access of prophetic power to deal with that great crisis which is upon us? Partly, I cannot doubt, from an extension of lay preaching. In order to prevent misunderstanding, I beg you to observe that in what follows I refer to the work of lay preachers who shall not receive any regular stipend, who shall not leave their ordinary secular calling, and who, although appointed to a distinct position in the church, may at any time retire from it. There can be little doubt, I think, that the prophetic ministry was more frequently exercised by laymen in the early church than it has been in later days. Most of you are perhaps aware that Origen, a layman, was invited by two Bishops to preach at Cæsarea, and that although what was done was objected to by Demetrius of Alexandria, it was not on the ground that a layman could not preach, but only because he should not have been asked to do so in the presence of Bishops. Even this was not granted by the two inculpated prelates, who affirm in answering the charge, that "wheresoever there are found those qualified to benefit the brethren, these are exhorted by the holy Bishops to address the people." This testimony is confirmed by the apostolical constitutions, which enact (viii., 22), "Let him that teaches, although he be one of the laity, yet if he be skilful in the word and grave in his manners, teach, for they shall all be taught of God." Such was the custom early in the third century. Subsequently this liberty of prophesying was somewhat restricted, but still, as late as the 5th century, we find among the canons of the fourth council of Carthage, canons subscribed by St. Augustine, the following:—" Laicus proesentibus clericis, nisi ipsis jubentibus, docere not audeat We may clearly infer from this, that the laity might teach when the clergy were absent; and, with their consent, even when they were present. It is perhaps worthy of notice also, that the same council admit by implication that women might teach, not members of their own sex only, but men also, so long as they did not teach in the public assemblies. The words are "Mulier, quamvis docta et sancta, viros in conventu docere non prcesumat." Such teaching as that of Miss Marsh, and, indeed, of most of our female evangelists, would fall within the lines which are marked as permitted by this canon. The only authoritative utterance of our own church on the subject of lay preaching is to be found in the 23rd article. These two points are to be noted. We observe, first, that the prohibition of the article extends only to ministering in the congregation; that is, in the parish church. To this prohibition, the Puritans objected at the Hampton-court Conference that it was not rigid enough, implying, as it plainly did, the lawfulness of lay ministration and preaching when it was not in the congregation. We notice in the second place, that even in the congregation the prohibition extends only to those who are not "chosen and called to the work by men who have public authority given unto them in the congregation to call and send ministers page 8 into the Lord's vineyard." Thus it is clear that any Bishop may, if he pleases, as Bishop Perry did, give authority to laymen to preach in the congregation in the absence of the parish clergyman. Hitherto that authority has been given only in the form of a license, brobably because no service has been provided by the church for the setting apart of such lay ministers. This would seem, however, to have been rather by oversight than by intention, for the Act 3, Edward VI., provides that "the ordination services to be drawn up by six prelates and six other men of this realm, shall include Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, and other ministers of the church." Having regard, I suppose, to this intention, definite steps have been taken by some Bishops in England towards supplying this want. In 1805 the Lower House of Convocation passed the following resolution:—" That this house, recognising the importance of encouraging lay agency, is of opinion that the spiritual wants of the church would be most effectually met by the constitution of a distinct office such as that of sub-deacon or reader, as auxiliary to the sacred ministry of the church." In the following year (1866) the Bishops of both provinces, at a meeting held under the Presidency of Archbishop Langley on Ascension Day, "passed a series of most important resolutions, sanctioning and encouraging the employment of duly appointed lay-readers." I do not possess a copy of those resolutions, but upon the question of commission and formal setting apart, I find that last year Archbishop Tait recommended, in accordance with the resolutions of 1866, "that when suitable men have come forward and been approved, they should receive, as in London, a formal commission from the Bishop, with such religious service as may deepen in their minds a sense of the responsibility of the position on which they are entering, and may be the instrument of calling down God's blessing on their labours." Such a commission exists in the diocese of London, and one has recently been issued in the diocese of Durham. You will observe that in the passage quoted above, the Archbishop uses the words "when a man has been approved." He explains his meaning in a subsequent part of the same letter thus—" There seems to be nothing to prevent each Bishop from requiring a test of fitness, and arranging for those who can avail themselves of it some suitable course of instruction, by which busy men may be assisted in preparation for such work without an undue interference with the claims of their ordinary secular callings." Courses of instruction have already been provided for such lay candidates both at St. Paul's Cathedral, London, and at Keble College, Oxford. I am sure that amongst the canons of our own Cathedral there are those who would be as willing as they are able to deliver courses of lectures to candidates for the lay commission on such subjects as the following:—"Biblical Exposition", "Dogmatic Theology," "Homiletics and Pastoral Theology." Such lectures would not necessarily require in the student the knowledge of any language but English, and would be followed by an examination. I do not think that the time is ripe for the consideration of a change in the designation of such lay ministers. The title of sub-deacon has been proposed, but to this there are several objections. The ancient sub-deacons were rather vergers and sacristans than teachers, and their orders were indelible. The title "reader" has been appropriated in this diocese to laymen, who having left their ordinary calling, receive a stipend, and practically perform the office of pastor as well as teacher in their several charges. I incline myself to the apostolical title, "Teacher." This word would exactly describe the function to be performed on its prophetical side, and would mark the fact that it did not include the pastoral office. Such a title would no more exclude the reading of the service than does the title "reader" the preaching of sermons. This question, however, must be dealt with, I think, by the General Synod. It is enough for the present to use the title "Honorary Reader." And after all, it is not so much the name, as the thing, which is of highest importance. We must all recognise the fact that the number is increasing of pious laymen, whose general education is at least equal to that of the clergy, who are often good and practised speakers, and who are admirably qualified by their zeal and ability to supplement the work of the clergy in preaching the gospel. The church needs their help, and I now give notice that I shall be ready to set apart to their office with a solemn service, and to issue an appropriate commission to all honorary readers who, being nominated by a clergyman, shall pass the elementary examination to which I have before referred. I will here barely mention, what nevertheless I deeply feel, that we have done scarcely anything yet in this diocese to organise the spiritual work of women. I was delighted to assist recently at the inauguration of the Girls' Friendly Society, page 9 and I would earnestly commend its work to the support of my brethren the clergy. It has had a wonderful success in England, and only needs loving and prayerful attention to attain a similar measure of influence among ourselves. At the same time, I think we need something more than societies for the help of the friendless. We need some organisation for workers, especially for such as feel a disposition to consecrate their whole time to Christian labours. A deaconess' institution, which should secure to ladies who feel that they have a vocation for spiritual work, shelter, companionship, and direction, could, I believe, secure to us valuable help which is now lost. In such institutions much might be done to deepen and develope that power of direct, simple, religious appeal which is peculiar to women, and has given to some of them such wonderful influence as teachers. There can be no doubt, however, that for the exercise of her prophetic function the church must depend principally upon the preaching of her clergy. And, my reverend brethren, how should the knowledge of this fact quicken our desires and our efforts to meet that terrible crisis of which the Bishop of Manchester has warned us by the best energy of our heart and intellect. During the past year a rather remarkable criticism of modern preaching was published by one who wishes us well—Professor Mahaffy. We may learn much, no doubt, from so thoughtful a book, but its chief effect upon me, I confess, was to reveal the great difficulty of the question, even on its intellectual side. The preacher, we are told, should have abundant intellectual culture to give variety to his thoughts, and yet should be careful not to launch out into critical or scientific topics in his sermons. He should not be too logical, and he should not be too emotional. He should be strongly and healthily dogmatic, and yet he should avoid dogmatism on points where public opinion will not sustain him, as on such subjects as eternal punishment and divine decrees. He is to study variety of matter and form, and yet is to avoid all excess of variety. "If he employs anecdotes, and descends to particulars in order to give colour to his sermons, he is thought familiar; if he keeps to dogma only, he is thought too dry." "Nothing," we are told, "displeases our people more than having their traditional religion questioned." There is a powerful society, we are reminded, which cares not to be disturbed, which hates to be alarmed, and which desires little more from the pulpit than a confirmation of its prejudices. And yet, on the other hand, it is not to be forgotten that "no man will be great as a teacher who is felt to be avoiding the burning topics of the day," or who, "keeping within the bounds set him by the theological public, takes no lead in the march of opinion." Nothing is more certain than that "the so-called safe men in a church are among the surest causes of its decay." One rises from the perusal of such a criticism with an almost comic sense of the hopelessness of getting any practical direction from it. One thing only is very clear, that if the critic changed places with the preacher, and gave no more certain sound than his book gives, he would soon be left to preach to empty benches. It can be surely matter of little astonishment to find that the book ends with a recommendation that preaching should be a luxury seldom indulged in, and then principally by men of special aptitude, who by constant itineration can safely preach over and over again the few good sermons which are alone worth delivering. I do not wish to find fault with much that is excellently said in this essay, and I think that we all may get valuable bints from it. At the same time I venture to say that it will be a bad day for the Christian church when the majority of her ministers give up preaching the everlasting gospel. It may be well to have an authoritative selection of the very best sermons for the use of those who have little talent and less time for this sort of effort. But I am sure that the use of such sermons should be the exception and not the rule, unless indeed the minister is to sink into a mere machine, and to lose touch of the spiritual life of his people. No doubt it is very desirable that we should all seek to improve our sermons. And if I were asked what I think to be principally lacking in them, I should say painstaking. What we all need is more soul-travail, more prayer to God for the patience and industry, which by large reading and close examination of God's word and the heart of man, can climb at last to so lofty a point of view—so towering a Darien-peak—that we can catch the vision of broad oceans of truth, and feel the quickening breath of new islands of hope, not too far off in the distance. It is only the delight of such visions of truth which can quicken within us the longing to tell others what we have found, and can wing our words with something like life and eloquence. You cannot manufacture true eloquence. Rhetoric, with a bright glitter in it which shall dazzle thoughtless eyes, you may page 10 manufacture. But it will be good for nothing if it cover only dry secularity or vacant platitudes. It will stir no one, shame no one, open no hearts, alter no lives. Truth with life in it, truth seen and grasped and loved as something above one, as a light from the Eternal, destined to throw its healing beams into the darkness of lost lives; that is the only thing which can inspire true eloquence. Again, suffer me to remind you, my reverend brethern, that if we would make our sermons effective, we must take as much pains in the expression of truth as in the pursuit thereof. Give me something to say, cries the fluent man, and I want no more. Yes you do !—you want self-control enough to set limits to your fluency, which, if it be suffered to run over, will so dilute the truth with mere flux of words as to rob it of all smiting force. We must try to preserve to the thought all its native keenness of edge; for it is only by hurling it thus against the woolly indifference of the worldly mind that you can cut a way for it through this all but impenetrable medium. Long talking is not a praise but a reproach to a man, unless the subject of his thoughts be such that with all his efforts he cannot get his thoughts said adequately in fewer words. Yes, infinite painstaking; mental toil that shall tire us worse than a manual labourer ever could be tired, that is what we need. Is any of us thinking perhaps of throwing away his manuscript? That is a perilous thing for a young man to do, unless indeed he be sent to minister to very ignorant people. But if you will throw away your manuscript, then prepare for intenser toil than when you had it. For unless you would fail, you must be just as accurate, just as concise, just as careful to put nothing but fresh natural colouring into your metaphors, as when you had your book. I have dwelt on this matter at length because there are so many mistakes about it. Some men, who ought to know better, refuse to reveal all the pains they take in order to get the empty praise of superior powers, as if their painstaking were not infinitely more to their credit than powers of any sort could be. Others, again, talk about trusting to the guidance of the Spirit, as if the Spirit could ever guide a man into idleness or into neglect of the uttermost improvement of both thought and vehicle of which he was capable. If some of those people who talk about trusting to the Spirit could only hear themselves; could only realise the feebleness, confusion, and insupportable tediousness which make up the result, they would scarcely be impious enough to attribute such causes to the Spirit of God. If, my brethern, when we have done our best and uttermost, we consciously fail, as alas ! too often we do, then it may well be that there was lacking to us that hearty prayer to God, to lift up our spirit into enthusiastic love of souls, and desire to glorify our Redeemer, which can alone give the tongue of fire to the most careful preparation. Within the last year a new movement has been set on foot to secure Bible reading in state schools. It is entirely a layman's movement. It began in South Australia, and has there obtained a wonderful success. Gradually it spread across our western border to Warrnambool and Geelong; and the other day some members of the committees of those western towns called together the ministers of Protestant denominations in Melbourne, to listen to several proposals. It seems not unlikely that this agitation among our pious laity may spread. It is very little that I can say about this new league at present. But in view of possible discussions I desire to set down here some conclusions which have been already established, and some principles which are, I believe, as certain as death. First, it has been proved that at least 100,000 children in Victoria never enter a Sunday-school. It follows, from the mere fact, that these are amongst the worst or the worst-guided of our children. Those who keep away from our Sunday-schools need them most. Secondly, it has been shown to be impossible for the ministers of religion to undertake the task of religious teaching in state schools. Taken together, they number 703, while the number of instructors in public schools is 4 130. Of the 703 ministers, 172 are stationed in Melbourne and the suburbs, leaving the rest to do the hard, incessant work of the country districts. How can this small body of men, overworked already, add to their labour the tuition in sacred knowledge of children who require more than 1000 teachers? Thirdly, if the clergy could do the work, the conditions imposed by our act would insure failure. It requires a compulsory law to get our children into the day schools. And you ask us to induce children to remain voluntarily to be taught religion when they have been tired by the labours of the day. As things are, it would no doubt make little difference if even we were permitted to teach before school, but to require us to teach after school, is to make a demand which is simply ridiculous. At a recent meeting of the Public Teachers' Association at Adelaide, page 11 "the president stated that 1 e had given notice three times in the West Adelaide school to the effect that he would read the Bible half an hour before school hours, but not a single child attended. He had also tried the experiment in the evening with the same result." Seldom, indeed, has such an effort proved even moderately successful, and it is absurd to put it gravely forward as a practicable measure. What is to be done, then, you will ask? Well, my friends, I will say at once that I believe we shall never have peace, either in the political world or in our own consciences, until some kind of elementary religious instruction is given in the state school by the teacher. I say this because I believe that it is impossible there should be any effective morality which is not based upon religion. I would ask any sober Theist who may doubt this to read and carefully study Professor Seeley's remarkable work on Natural Religion. The book takes as its motto Wordsworth's words, "We live by admiration," and it shows that nothing good ever was done, or can be done, in poetry, in art, or in ethics, except by men who fix their eyes on something greater, nobler, and more beautiful than themselves. Try to make an artist by teaching him the rules of art. A pedant you may make in that way, but an artist, never. If he is to get the tenderness, the life, and the inspiration which appeal to human souls, which touch them, sweeten them, ennoble them, he must have his own spirit kindled and uplifted by a beauty, grandeur, a solemnity in nature which he feels to be infinitely admirable, and infinitely beyond and above him. It is so in morals. Try to form a good or great character by teaching rules of morality. You may create a Pharisee or a Philistine by that method—a man "who is pure, as the dead dry 6and is pure "—but a large, noble, affluent, influential soul, never. Men can only be lifted into higher moods and motives by in tensest worship of what is seen to be infinitely good, and infinitely beyond and above them—in a word, by religion. The enlightened Theist must be just as certain of this as the most devoted Christian. To try to form character or improve conduct (the great end of life) without religion, is the wildest and stupidest dream which ever misled the fantic or the visionary. There are some things in education of which I am doubtful. Of this I am as certain as I am of my own existence. Miss Francis Power Cobbe is at least no bigot, and what does she say of the future of a life without God? "I honestly think," she observes, "that the process of making atheists, trained as such into philanthropists, will be but rarely achieved. And I venture to propound the question to those who point to admirable living examples of Atheistic or Comtist philanthropy, how many of these have passed through the earlier stage of morality as believers in God, and with all the aid which prayer and faith and hope could give them? That they remain actively benevolent, having advanced so far, is (as I have shown) to be anticipated. But will their children stand where they stand now? We are vet obeying the great impetus of religion, and running along the rails laid down by our forefathers. Shall we continue in the same course when that impetus has stopped, and we have left the rails altogether? I fear me not. In brief, I think the outlook of atheism, as a moral educator, as black as need be." "If," says Professor Naviile, "there is a man on earth who ought to fall on both knees and shed burning tears of gratitude, it is the man who believes himself an atheist, and who has received from Providence so keen a taste for what is noble and pure, and so strong an aversion for evil, that his sense of duty remains firm even when it has lost all its supports." Now secularism is practical atheism. The man who never thinks of God lives really without Him. And what, then, is likely to be the future of those 100,000 children, nearly the half of our children of school age, who never hear about God at all? We know what their homes are. The mere fact of their absence from Sunday-school tells us this. You know what are the special temptations of youth, and you know, I suppose, that some of the most attractive and sensational literature of the day is little else than a Satanic irritation of the strongest and most destructive passions of our nature. Well, then, here is a child, who has never been taught to think of any obligations to God, turned loose in the midst of this literature to choose for himself. Tell me, as an honest man, whether you think the power to read under these circumstances a blessing or a curse. For my part, I say at once, that to call our present reading, writing, and arithmetic business an education is nothing better than a cruel jest. So strongly do I feel this, that at times when I see the fresh young creatures swarming out of the doors of our schools, a dull heavy pain settles over my heart which I can hardly master. I want to help them, and I cannot. I see them launched upon the down-hill road to selfishness and misery, and I cannot stop them. So far as words are concerned page 12 I have done my best for them, and done it vainly. I cannot persuade their parents that they are passing them through the fire to the Moloch of immorality, and I can only pray that laymen who see clearly what I see may be more successful. Do you believe these things, my friends? If you do, the question is as good as settled, for then you will meet others with the determination to arrive at an agreement, and to get religious morality taught in some form in our state schools. If, however, you do not believe what I have said—if you think that to teach our children to read and form letters is education, and that you can make men moral by telling them to be so, or by leaving them to the chance influences of life—then it is useless to attempt anything, for excuses are as plentiful as blackberries, and difficulties bristle round us at every step. In that case, things must be left to go on yet longer in the old bad way. More children must be sent into the world without a glimmering of religious principles, more bitter conflicts must be waged between politicians and churches, until at length, in the midst of a swelling tide of evils, men may be scared into trying to raise religious embankments when perhaps it is too late. Beware, however, I would say to politicians, how you arouse and exasperate conscience. It can shatter your parties as if they were egg-shells, and sweep aside your poor bickerings about "the meal-tub" (as Carlyle calls it), as if they were the disputes of children. For "the meal-tub "is a poor thing at the best, and 60 long as man the immortal dreams dreams of the infinite, of that which, under any name is more real to him than his own soul, you can never force him to give up his eternal birthright for a mess of pottage. Shame on him, death to him if you could—for the only sure foundation of order and happiness, in these days of royal assassination, reckless suicide, and cynical materialism, is to be found in that brotherhood of Christ which rests on the fatherhood of God.