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pleted the organization of the Eastern diocese, in May, 1810, he was chosen Bishop. This election took him entirely by surprise; and such was his modest estimate of himself that it was with great difficulty that he was induced to accept the office. He was ordained Bishop the 29th of May, 1811. The following account of this ordination is quoted from his autobiography, written after he had become by the death of Bishop White, and the previous death of Bisbop Hobart, the senior on the Episcopal bench.
“My consecration was at New York in 1811; Why the ordination of a bishop should be so called, more than that of a deacon or presbyter, I do not know. The Rev. Dr. Hobart was ordained at the same time. Though he was several years younger than myself, was elected nearly a year after my election, and was chosen to be but an assistant bishop, still he was registered as my senior, and uniformly had the precedence. The purpose of this partiality was that he, rather than I, should, in the probable course of events, be the presiding bishop. I would to God it might so have been. Through all my life, I have delighted most in retirement. To appear in any public or conspicuous station, has ever been unpleasant; and, as far as duty would admit, I have avoided it. It was with great reluctance that I afterwards consented to preside in the house of bishops. It was much more painful to me, from my knowing that such measures, had been taken to prevent it. The whole business has been much blessed to me in the subduing of a proud heart.”—pp. 165, 100.
The reason assigned by Bishop White, for this strange act of giving precedence to Dr. Hobart in these circumstances, was that Mr. Hobart was a Doctor in Divinity, and therefore, according to English custom, should have precedence of Mr. Griswold, who was not.
“That Bishop White,” Dr. Stone remarks, “with his familiar knowledge of English customs, and with his attachment to English precedents, should have given the assigned reason undue weight, it is easy to conceive: but it is not easy to conceive that, under the very peculiar circumstances of the case, he would have given that reason a governing weight, had not his mind, unconsciously
to itself without doubt, felt the pressure of a strong feeling, in action about him, and moving him in the direction which the service of consecration took.”—p. 167.
Of the precise nature of this “pressure of a strong feeling in action about him,” Dr. Stone does not inform us. But we well know that it may be analyzed into two parts, (1.) The feeling that Mr. Griswold was too much like a Puritan, was too evangelical in sentiment, not sufficiently staunch in his churchmanship, not sufficiently a stickler for the distinctive principles of Episcopacy, to be presiding bishop. And (2.) A feeling founded on the opinion that Dr. Hobart was so far the intellectual superior of Mr. Griswold, that he would much more honor the presidency of the Episcopal bench. This opinion we deem entirely unfounded. In evangelical piety, in clear perception and statement of truth, in perspicuous and chaste style of writing, in every thing except a popular eloquence, so florid and sophomoric as would have made Quinctilian “nervous,” Mr. Griswold was decidedly superior to Dr. Hobart. Bishop Griswold after his consecration still continued his pastoral care of the church in Bristol, to which he assiduously devoted himself, except when necessarily employed in the duties of his episcopate. These duties were very ar. duous, for his diocese was composed of parishes scattered here and there through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. In the year 1829, he removed from Bristol, and took the pastoral charge of a church in Salem. In 1835, standing on the verge of threescore and ten, he relinquished the charge of a parish, and devoted himself wholly to the care of his diocese; having been a laborious parish minister for forty years, twenty-four of which were occupied with the double duties of the parish and the diocese. He immediately removed to Boston, where he spent the remainder of his days. In 1836, by the decease of Bishop White, he became senior bishop and president of the house of bishops. In 1842, the State Convention of Massachusetts, at the request of Bishop Griswold, elected an assistant bishop, Rev. Dr. Eastburn, who was consecrated on the 29th of December of that year. Though thus relieved greatly as to his anxieties and duties by the ordination of an assistant in the vigor of life, the aged Bishop did not cease from active labor. “His favorite scriptural motto,” says his biographer, “‘we will give ourselves continually to prayer and the ministry of the word;’ together with his emphatic quotation from Jewel, ‘A bishop shall die preaching, still governed his actions; and he went about as usual, doing the work of an evangelist and strengthening the churches, insomuch that in little or nothing were his customary activities diminished.”
The close of his life is thus appropriately and beautifully recorded.
“In the closing incidents of his life, there was something exceedingly peculiar. On Saturday, the 11th of February, 1843, the aged bishop closes his essays on the Reformation; the last sentence of which contains these words of weight to every Protestant Episcopalian : “To the law and the testimony;' use “the liberty where with Christ hath made you free ;' “Search the Scriptures,' and pray God so to enlighten your minds, that you may truly understand them.” . This done, he lays down his pen, and proceeds to a neighboring town to meet an official appointment. The morning of Wednesday, the 15th, however, finds him at home again, and girding himself for further work. At his usual early hour, he gathers his family around him, and reads the sacred page. The chapter in course is the first in the Epistle to the Philippians, —in which the ło, passage arrests a special attention : “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But, if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor; yet what I shall choose, I wot not; for I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.' Closing the book, he now commends his “His early preaching,” says his biographer, “like that which generally prevailed in our church at that time, was rather moral than evangelical : that is, devoted more to the illustration and enforcement of the moral precepts and virtues of Christianity, than to the development and application of the spiritual truths and doctrines of the gospel. He was, indeed, neither ignorant nor regardless of the latter; still, his religious views had not then so clearly unfolded themselves as to bring these latter out into unconcealable prominence, and make them seen every where, as the all-pervading, vital soul of the former. He never seems, like Chalmers in his early ministry, to have been opposed to the humbling doctrines of the cross, to have designedly and deliberately placed his dependence for making men better on the inculcation of mere morality; but, like many other good men before him in the o and American Episcopal churches, his whole body of divinity had been cast rather into that shape, which gave the morality of the gospel chief prominence, with a sort of occasional pointing inwards, or downwards, to something spiritual as its source, or its foundation; than into that order which shows the spiritual truths and doctrines of the cross as the very fountainhead of pure and living morality, pouring forth incessant streams of virtue and godliness over all the life; and as that divinely laid foundation in the soul, which, alone, can support a solid and an unfailing fabric of moral virtues in the character. In short, he, at that time, rather orerlooked than disliked what are termed “the doctrines of grace;” he preached what was practical, though without prejudice against what was spiritual; and he entered the pulpit controversies of the day against Calrinism, though without the slightest feeling of aversion of the gospel of the Calvinists.”—pp, 78,79.
household, in morning prayer, to their Father in heaven; listens to the music of a favorite air, whose pensive strain is in harmony with his spirit; and then enters on the customary duties of the day. As it wears towards its close, one of those duties calls him to the residence of Bishop Eastburn. Thither, therefore, he sets forth; and, with his usual firm step, he approaches the house. Here, however, he finds himself, in an instant, amidst the scenes, which blend eternity with time. The last sand in the glass of his life drops. His step falters, and he falls; —rises again, and reaches the door. It was the limit of his race. With his last step he bows his head to the threshold and—dies. In the presence of his son in the church, he rests at once from his labors; and without a sigh or a groan, feels “mortality swallowed up of life.’ “So God willed. And thus, long warned, yet at last unwarned,—this faithful serwant closed his toils and laid down his commission, yielded his ready spirit, and dropped his rich mantle, at the very feet of him, who had been sent to stand up in his stead, to carry forward his work and to ripen into his graces.”—pp. 546, 547. Having given this summary account of the life of Bishop Griswold, we will dwell briefly on such features of his character as have interested us, and will probably interest our readers. Bishop Griswold was truly evangelical in his theology and preaching. He fully believed that man is by nature a guilty being, and, as guilty, condemned of God, and beyond self-recovery lost, needing a propitiation for sin, and a radical change of character. He believed, that the only and sufficient ground of pardon is the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ; that the condition of pardon is an entire change of moral character by repentance and faith in Christ; and that this change is effected by the blessing of the Holy Spirit, on the dispensation of the truth, chiefly as it is declared and enforced by the preaching of the Word. He believed in justification, not by sacraments, but by faith alone. His earlier ministrations, however, though never erroneous, were more full of the precepts than of the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel, from which those precepts derive their life.
But soon after leaving Connecticut, he adopted a more thoroughly evangelical mode of preaching. In his autobiography he remarks—
“I carried with me to Bristol too much of the prejudice and bigotry, which I had imbibed in Connecticut. There was still remaining among Episcopalians not a little of that proud contempt of the Puritans, and of what was termed fanaticism, which belonged to the so called “Old School,' whose origin may be said to date in the reign of the second Charles of England. Adopting the practice of my brethren, whom I thought wiser than myself, my preaching had been far too much on sectarian distinctions, and topics of controversy, especially against high Calvinism and schismatics; and quite too frequently
in defense of the distinctive principles of the Protestant Episcopal church, to the too great neglect of the essential doctrines of Christ, and of the necessary duties of Christians. This manner of preaching among our clergy very much strengthened the belief among other denominations that churchmen, as we were then called, were but formalists and bigots; regarding the church more than religion, and the Prayer-book more than the Bible; deMarting from their own articles and homilies, and destitute of true piety and renovation of heart. And much mortified, f." and humbled have I formerly een, that these things should be so much said, and I so little able to refute them. ‘Pudet hac opprobria nobis, Et dici potuisse, et non potuisse, refelli.'
To God's praise, not ours, be it said, that at the present time a far better state of things among us prevails.
“And not only are things in a better state now, but even then, this bigotry and sectarian spirit were, I have reason to believe, more prevalent in Connecticut than in other portions of our church. This was owing, no doubt, to their peculiar circumstances and trials, as well as to the character of a State formerly so noted for controversy and litigation. Certainly in Rhode Island I found a materially different condition of things. Those of my sermons, which, in Connecticut, had appeared to be most acceptable and were most applauded, gave offense in Bristol, Providence and Newport; and I soon found that, by continuing the controversial style of preaching, some of the most pious of her members would be driven from the church. This was particularly true of those called Methodists.” —pp, 119, 120.
Dr. Stone adds—
“When he wrote the last extract, at the age of seventy-four, he was far from being, religiously, the same man as when he kept the Methodists from uniting under his ministry by a style of ..". which has, no doubt, in numberless other instances, been the means of shutting out from our church her best materials for growth, and even of expelling from her veins some of her own best #. Experience has, I apprehend, demonstrated that the best way of extending the institutions of our Episcopacy is not found in asserting for them erclusire claims; in the dogma, “no bishop, no church;’ or in a course, which shows that there is more heart, more zeal, and more ability in preaching church government and church polity, than in preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified.”—pp. 120, 121.
This type of Episcopacy in Connecticut, which seems to have had such an unfavorable influence on Mr. Griswold's early ministrations, has not, we fear, improved very greatly since that time, if we may judge from such effusions as “The Errors of the Times,” and “Revivalism and the Church.”
In a sermon which he delivered when Bishop elect, before the first Convention of the Eastern diocese in 1810, he says—
“This then is the word which we are to preach ; that Jesus Christ is the Lord our righteousness, who died for our sins, and rose again for our justification, and that ...i salvation is to be obtained through faith in his merits. This was the subject of St. Paul's preaching, who “testified, both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.' Such should be the theme of our discourses. Whatever we teach and however good in itself, which has no respect to the Redeemer, nor our salvation through him, is not his gospel, nor is it the word, in the Apostle's sense. We must preach the doctrines of the Savior's cross; such as the sinful, fallen state of man; the redemption, which is through his blood ; the necessity of a conversion from sin, and renovation of the heart, through the sanctifying influence of the Divine spirit, with the insufficiency of our best deeds and merit, and of our natural strength to attain acceptance with God and eternal life. We must preach “repentance toward God,' as the necessary preparation for his heavenly kingdom, and the comforts of the gospel. We must set forth “faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,’ as the condition of salvation through his blood ; as the element of Christianity; as the life and soul of moral goodness."— pp. 583,584.
In a charge to the clergy of his diocese in 1814, he thus addresses them :
“It is certain, that thousands, and tens of thousands are led to believe, that we neglect the essentials of religion; that we do not teach the depravity of human nature; the necessity of conversion; the renewal of the heart by the Holy Spirit; and that we are justified, not by our works, but by our faith in the merits and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Our articles, you will say, may teach them the contrary. True: but they may not read our articles; or they may think, that we do
Vol. III. 30
not read them. Let us teach them the contrary. Let the true doctrines of our church, on these points, be clearly and often taught, according to their importance. Add line upon line, and fo. upon precept, till prejudice shall give place to conviction. In teaching our flocks, let us carefully endeavor to lay the foundation of repentance, faith, and sincere piety. To instruct them in moral righteousness, without this foundation, is like building a house upon the sand."— p. 619. The importance of preaching those essential truths of the Gospel which are the common faith of all evangelical Christians, and the danger of giving undue prominence to the peculiarities of Episcopacy, seemed to press upon his mind with great weight, and with increasing weight as his vision was more and more clarified by his nearness to the final goal and the light of heaven. In an annual address delivered in 1839, towards the close of his life, we find this affecting sentence. “I am not without fears that I may have devoted too much of my time to reaching the Church rather than Christ. The doctrines of his cross are the most effectual in converting the heart and saving the soul. The fallen state of man, redemption by Jesus Christ, and justification through faith in his sacrifice for our sins, should be the main subjects of our
public sermons, and of our teaching from house to house.”—p. 415.
Dr. Stone pertinently and pungently adds—
“Alas! if he had such fears of bestowing a disproportionate attention upon the building, to the neglect of its living occupant, albeit the great burthen of his long ministry had been “Jesus Christ and him crucified;’ what must be the sad retrospect of some, when, from a death-bed, or at the judgment day, they are called to review their ministerial lives, and to see with what heated toils they have all along been working on the church, and with what lack of zeal they have urged the gospel of Him, who is Lord of the church.”—p. 415.
The evangelical principles and spirit of Bishop Griswold are seen not only in his sermons and addresses, but in the measures which he adopted for the promotion of vital piety in the ministry and the churches. Those measures which were practiced with success by other denominations for this purpose, he fully adopted in his own denomination. In his autobiography he writes:
“So far as I know, I was, of our clergy in New England, the first to hold evening lectures. Though this is now a thing so common, yet it was then by many of our good, people exceedingly disliked. Our Bishop in Connecticut once observed in my hearing, ‘night preachin and pulpit praying are two things which I abhor.” But other denominations practiced both ; and soon after my settlement in Bristol I found that many of my parishioners attended their meetings; and it was, at first, from fear of the result of their straying away among those, who appeared to have more zeal, that I proposed to our vestry, and with difficulty obtained their leave, to open my church for a third service on Sunday evenings. I have had reason to believe that this was the most fruitful part of my ministry, because more people attended at the third service, than at the other two, not a few of whom attended our service at no other time. I continued the practice of three services every Sunday for thirty years; so long indeed as I had a parish particularly under my pastoral care."—pp. 121, 122.
He also held evening meetings of a more familiar and social character. We quote the following account of one from Dr. Tyng, who was at the time referred to, a student of theology with the Bishop.
“When I had been in Bristol about a week, the Bishop observed to me one day, ‘I wish you to attend a meeting with me in the country this evening, and I will call for you after tea.’. He came accordingly; and we walked about a mile to a neighborhood, called “The Neck; where the rooms of a farm-house were entirely filled with people, waiting his arrival. He sat down among them at a little table, and, after singing and prayer, expounded to them a chapter in the Epistle to the Romans, in that familiar and simple manner, in which he so much excelled, and in which all, who listened to him, were deeply interested. I can not describe the impressions which this whole occasion made upon me. The condescension and meekness, with which he thus familiarly walked out with a youth
* Here we see again the Connecticut type of Episcopacy.
like me; the perfectly unassuming manner, in which he appeared among the rustic congregation, assembled to meet him; the simplicity and tenderness of his discourse; the tremulous sweetness of his voice, as he raised the tune in singing; were all such new and striking facts to me, that I was surprised as well as delighted with the whole occasion. It immediately obviated all the objections, which I could have imagined against meetings of this kind; while it interested my heart in them as an important means of spiritual good. The Hj. opened this service with a selection of prayers from the Liturgy, and closed it with an extemporaneous prayer, in which duty he excelled almost all, whom I have ever heard.”—pp. 512,513.
His weekly meetings, Dr. Tyng informs us, were usually of this social and private character.
Bishop Griswold also encouraged and zealously promoted meetings for social prayer, among his people and in his diocese. “He was extremely fond,” says Dr. Tyng, “ of social religious meetings among his people, and had a high opinion of their value and influence.” His biographer informs us that these prayer-meetings originated as early as the year 1812, and were the attendants or fruits of a remarkable revival of religion in the Bishop's parish. But such a Puritan and unrubrical measure, though very “primitive” and “apostolical,” could not escape opposition. Some very sound churchmen, terrified at the danger with which these prayermeetings threatened sound churchmanship, attacked them and their patrons, in a sermon published in the Gospel Advocate, an Episcopal journal issued in Boston. The attack was kept up both by the editor and his correspondents. Bishop Griswold, though exceedingly averse to controversy, felt impelled, by a sense of duty, to prepare a series of articles in defense of prayer-meetings. But the paper which had contained the attack refused to publish the Bishop's defense. Excluded thus from the columns of a journal issued in the heart of his dio