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cese, he was obliged to defer the publication of his defense of prayermeetings for two years, when it appeared in the Episcopal Register, a journal started at that time in WerIn Ont.
“The influence,” says Dr. Stone, “ of this publication was powerfully felt, as well it might be ; sor, it is believed, that no one, with a Christian spirit in his heart, whatever may have been his previous Prejudices against Episcopal É. inss, can read it without feeling, with its author, that “If, after due consideration, our sober and most candid judgment is unfavorable to these meetings, “the safor way is to let them alone. We can not be too careful not to be found fighting against God.”
“The spirit, in which he defended the meetings and those who joined in them, may be judged from a sentence, which I find in the 5th chapter of the work. ‘If it be admitted,' he says, “that the meetings are according to the will of God, and that His Spirit will and does bless those, who unite in fervent supplication, it must, according to the Scriptures, be expected that men will oppose them. They, who cry earnestly to their Savior for mercy ard grace, may be rebuked that they should had their peace; but, in such case, they will do well, like some in the Gospel, to try the more; ‘Have mercy on us, O Lørd, thou son of David.'"—pp. 331, 332.
“The book,” adds the biographer, “ought to be reprinted, and read by every member of our church.” We wish, but can hardly hope, that it may be.
Let us now contrast with the course of Bishop Griswold respecting prayer-meetings, the course on the same subject of Bishop Hobart, who was preferred before him, not because he was before him, but because his churchmanship was larger in proportion to his Christianity.
In a sermon published by Bishop Hobart in 1810, he speaks thus:
** Our church has thus made the most ampie provision for the devotions of her members assembled in the congregation, under their authorized ministers. Priwate associations for this purpose she dare act countenance. Among other commurities of Christians, for * she knows, they may be harmless; t ey may prove edifying. But experience, raising a warning voice in the sad pages of her history,
p. that within her bosom, they have een the nurseries of enthusiasm and spiritual pride; the engines by which ambition, cloaked under the mantle of extraordinary sanctity, has excited against her sober order the rage of ignorant fanaticism, and whelmed in ruin her fairest forms.”—Chr. Mag. p. 453,
* We can not forbear to quote the criticisms of the Christian's Magazine upon the spirit of the above paragraph, and also upon its style, since we have spoken of the sophomoric eloquence of the bishop. It is from the pen, we suppose, of the late Dr. Mason.—See Chr. Mag. pp. 453-455.
“We stop for breath. This is a frightful picture. Never did we behold such a group of living creatures in so narrow a space. The scene resembles what is fancied by a man in a violent fever. The disordered brain covers the curtains of the sick-bed with living angry forms; and the patient is terrified at the creatures of his own frenzy.
“This is a specimen of the eloquence of Dr. Hobart; very unlike the eloquence, however, which the Roman orator recom. mends.” t
“In one sentence, Dr. Hobart presents to our view experience personified, raising a warning voice; pages of history personified, sad and weeping; the Church personified, as a matron, within her bosom— and a capacious bosom this dame must have, for it contains whole nurseries— nurseries swarming with very unruly children; within her bosom they have been the nurseries of enthusiasm and spiritual pride. These too are in their turn endowed with life, and committed to the Nursery : but they are speedily deprived of animation, and converted into engines. Ambition is personified, in order to employ these engines, and appears cloaked, but not with a cloak, or yet a surplice, but under a mantle, a mantle too of singular contexture—extraordinary sanctity. The order of the church is personified, sober order. Fanaticism is personified, it is ignorant, and angry with this sober order. THE two UN RULY child REN, spiritual pride and enthusiasm, which were first converted into an engine, and again simplified into stimuli, to produce excitement, are afterwards speedily transformed into an overflowing #. which, “horribile dictu !' whelms in ruin the church's fairest forms ' And all these personifications and transmutations take place in one short sentence.
“Every thing comes alive from the pen of Dr. Hobart.”
“The reader will ask, What hath roused the indignation of the preacher, that he thus speaks 2 Be not surprised, gentle reader; the terrible object which has thus distracted the preacher's soul, is a praying
Another measure long practiced in other denominations, and adopted by Bishop Griswold, is that of clerical associations, or voluntary ministers' meetings, for the purpose of mutual improvement in Christian knowledge and piety. Such an association was formed under his direction in Rhode Island, the influence of which was very happy, in uniting and improving the ministers of the Episcopal denomination in that State. Another, by his advice and influence, was formed in Massachusetts, though for a long time its formation was prevented, and its existence afterwards was troubled, by opposition from those of his clergy who were specially zealous for churchmanship. His biographer speaks of these associations as “the Bishop's favorite measure for the increase of active piety and zeal throughout his diocese.”
Here, too, Bishop Griswold stands in honorable contrast with the man who was unjustly preferred before him. We have before us a pastoral letter addressed by Bishop Hobart to the clergy and laity of his diocese in
people. Private associations for devotion she (the church) dare not countenance. A praying people ! What churchman can contemplate them without horror! Such associations in other Christian churches “may be harmless,” may even “prove edifying;” but in the Episcopal church : kick them out! kick them out!!”
* “The following anecdote of the very eccentric but eminently pious John Ryland, may show that praying people are supposed to be disliked by other personages besides Dr. Hobart.
“Mrs. Ryland, on her death-bed, was greatly distressed about her future state, and, under the power of that temptation, was deaf to the voice of consolation. She seized a watch lying near her, and throwing it on the floor, exclaimed, in her anguish, “I shall be lost, as sure as that watch-glass is broken" Her husband, taking up the watch, which happened not to be injured, said, in his truly unique manner, “You go to hell ! Humph! And what would you do there? Why, you would begin to cry, Lord, have mercy on me! Lord, have mercy on me! And the devil would come and say, What's all this 7 Whom have we got here 7 Why, this is Bet Ryland, the Methodist. Kick her out ! kick her out! kick her out! we'll have no praying people here!'"
1829, about the time of the formation of the clerical association in Rhode Island, and of a thwarted attempt to form one in Massachusetts— a special pastoral letter. Its author says, “Of the many harassing events of a trying episcopate of eighteen years, none has given me more pain than the one which, in my conscientious judgment, has rendered necessary this letter.” What was it that so harassed the Right Reverend prelate, and laid on his conscience the burden of this duty It was the formation of a “Protestant Episcopal Clerical Association, in the city of New York, for the promotion of the personal piety and the official usefulness of its members, by devotional exercises and by conversation on missionary and such other subjects as may conduce to mutual edification.” The whole document is a very curious one, to have proceeded from a successor of the Apostles, a spiritual guide and ruler of a numerous body of the ministers of Christ. We will quote a single sentence as a specimen. “As in these associations eccitement is the object, a more than ordinary glow of religious feeling, begin, as they may, in a well ordered prescribed form of devotion, the excited fervor of some at least will soon require conversations more impassioned, and devotions more ardent. The heats of enthusiasm will soon inflame religious conversation; and extempore prayers, stirring up the animal passions, displace the dull routine of prescribed formularies.” . This would indeed have been the climax of iniquity. An association of educated ministers of Christ praying without “a well ordered prescribed form of devotion.” Horrible ! As bad as a praying people. The bare anticipation that some of his “inferior clergy” should be kindled into such fervor of pious feeling, in an association for the promotion of piety, as to fall to extempore praying, might well have “harassed” and “painedo the Right Reverend Father and apostolic leader. Paul or Peter would doubtless have been exceedingly troubled by “any such doings” among the brethren of the ministry in their day. Thus, while Bishop Griswold was endeavoring to institute and prosper clerical meetings, for the increase of active piety, against the opposition of the more-churchmen-than-Christians of his diocese, Bishop Hobart, in his diocese, was putting down such meetings, by the fulminations of Episcopal authority. We make these contrasts because it is due to Bishop Griswold to show against what influences he contended in his efforts to promote vital religion, and that he was foremost in his own denomination in the adoption of evangelical measures. We make them, that the relative justice, which, on account of his modesty and humility, was withheld from him when living, may be accorded to him when dead. We might also make these contrasts as an example of the unity of which the Church so loudly boasts.
The evangelical character of Bishop Griswold was manifested also in his just appreciation and advocacy of revivals of religion. Soon after his ordination as bishop, there was a remarkable revival of religion in his parish, the following account of which we abridge from that given by himself.
“In the year 1812, there was in Bristol an awakened attention to the subject of religion, which was very wonderful, and the like of which I had never before witnessed. It commenced among the members of my parish, when no such thing was looked for, nor indeed thought of No unusual efforts had been made with any view to such an excitement. My administering of confirmation in the parish a few months previously had not improbably some effect. My recent ordination to the episcopate was the means of awakening my own mind to more serious thoughts of duty as a minister of Christ; and in consequence I had, no doubt, with more earnest zeal preached “Jesus Christ and him crucified.' The change, which
I first noticed was the appearance of increased seriousness in | congregation; especially on leaving the church after service. There was little or no laughing, or merry salutation among the people; neither talking of worldly things. After the benediction, and a minute of private rayer, they retired silent and lo. ome soon began to express a religious concern respecting their spiritual state, and were anxious to know ‘what they should do to be saved.’” “In consequence of this awakened and increasing inquiry, I began to meet with them one or two evenings in the week, not only that we might unite in praying that they might be led into the way of truth, and enjoy the comforts of hope, and of peace in believing, but that I might save time to myself and them, by conversing at the same time with a number who were in the same state of mind. I soon found that the number of such inquirers had increased to about thirty; and in a very short time the awakening was general through the town, and very wonderful.”—pp. 178, 179.
The result was, that a hundred were added to his church. “These facts,” says Dr. Stone, “were among the best credentials which he ever received, that God had indeed commissioned him to a specially good and great work in His church.” Another extraordinary awakening occurred under his labors in the year 1820.
“An alarming declension from religious life, was found spreading through his flock. . The weekly evening meetings were thinly attended. And aged Christians were mourning over the manifest decay, and longing for the return of days when the Divine Spirit, in rich demonstrations of his power had been known to rest on the ministration of the word and ordinances of God's house.”—p. 518.
The Bishop had been very anxious and depressed on this account, and had appointed for this reason an extra meeting.
“So keenly did anxiety for his people pierce and wound his heart, that it evidently became, if not the sole, yet the aggravating cause of the calamity, which speedily befell him. On the succeeding
Wednesday evening, his congregation assembled for a continuance of his new series of lectures. He went through the services as usual ;-but, in the midst of his discourse, he was suddenly seized
with an illness, which compelled him to stop, leave his pulpit, and retire to his chamber, where for weeks his life hung in imminent peril.”
“The public services were of course closed, the moment he left his pulpit. But the congregation were deeply affected by the event, which had interrupted them. It proved the most powerful sermon that God ever sent them by his servant. The affliction, which they felt, and their consciousness that their own lukewarmness was aggravating the sufferings of their beloved pastor, were made the means of an immediate and extensive spiritual awakening. In various parts of the church, religious anxiety and alarm were instantly manifest. Little knots of people were seen gathered, here and there, round those who were before becoming interested in the subject of religion, and who were now awakened to mourn for sin. The voice of social prayer was heard among them; especially that of aged Christians, who, after suitable conversation with them, were earnestly commending their case to God. It was a late hour before the people were content to retire; and when they did so, it was with a very different mind from that, in which they had assembled. Subsequent evidence showed that the awakening in the parish was universal, even among those, who did not attend the lecture that evening.”
“From this time, for many weeks, the subject of religion, the salvation of their souls, engrossed the thoughts of all.”
“As in the former case, in 1812, the work was not confined to his own parish. The other congregations in the town were largely, perhaps equally, blessed.” —pp. 518–521.
Here too Bishop Griswold stands in honorable contrast with the man who, owing to “the pressure of a strong feeling” in the Episcopal community, was preferred before him.
In a sermon at the consecration of Henry U. Onderdonk, D. D., assistant bishop of Pennsylvania, in 1828, entitled, “The Christian Bishop approving himself unto God, in reference to the present state of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States,” Bishop Hobart makes this declaration: “It is against these popular religious excitements, to which the term of ‘revivals of religion' is usually applied, that the bishop of our church must, in duty to the highest interests of rational and fervent piety, bear his testimo
ny.” “Evils, sad evils ore they, bearing devastation and desolation in their course—in the spiritual world, sweeping before them the courtesies of society, the affections of domestic life, the fair forms of rational and sober piety, and leaving, at last, the waste of disorder, misrule and fanaticism, where the human passions riot, over which the friends of genuine religion mourn, and the scoffer raises the laugh of scorn.”! Had Bishop Hobart, instead of warning Bishop H. U. Onderdonk to avoid the “popular religious excitements termed revivals of religion,” exhorted him, by engaging in the temperance reformation, to avoid the excitement caused by drinking wine and brandy, that unhappy prelate might not have come to an end so disgraceful to himself, and so mortifying to the Episcopal church. And had Bishop Hobart, instead of opposing, by his powerful official influence in his own diocese, “the popular religious excitements termed revivals of religion,” exerted that same influence in favoring the temperance reformation, and thus opposing the excitement of wine and brandy drinking, his successor, Bishop B. T. Onder. donk, might not have “swept before” him “the courtesies of society and the affections of domestic life,” and come to an end of official duty “ over which the friends of genuine religion mourn, and the scoffer raises the laugh of scorn.” The evangelical character of Bishop Griswold is, moreover, illustrated by the fact, that he was the friend, and in the Episcopal church among the earliest friends of missions to the destitute at home and to the heathen. He lamented the comparative apathy which prevailed on this subject in the Episcopal church. In his charge in 1814, he remarks:
“In America, and in England, there are missionary societies, which have manifested a zeal for propagating the Gospel, becoming those who profess it;
becoming those who feel its blessings, and are actuated by its heavenly principles. . But the harvest is immensely great, and the laborers yet but very few. With sorrow too and with shame must we add, that our church has taken but little part in this good work.”—p. 609. In the year 1815, the Rev. Josiah Pratt, the secretary of “the Church Missionary Society” of London, addressed a circular letter to several of the leading members of the Episcopal church in the United States, with the design of awakening attention to the work of missions. This letter and its subject were noticed favorably and at length, in Bishop Griswold's charge of that year. The letter was also answered by him with becoming Christian zeal. This answer was favorably noticed, and a considerable portion of his pastoral letter and charge pertaining to missions was published in the “Missionary Register” for 1816, at which time his was the only answer to Mr. Pratt's circular letter that had been received. Against much opposition, Bishop Griswold steadfastly endeavored to bring the subject of missions into favor. In his address in 1818 he notices “his correspondence with the secretary of the Church Missionary Society in England; the steps which had been taken to encourage the formation in this country of an Episcopal Foreign Missionary Society; and the fact that its formation at that time had been deemed by our bishops and clergy ‘inexpedient and even impracticable.” He also says, “another and more serious difficulty under which we labor, is the almost total want of missionary funds. It is to be feared, or rather it can not be denied, that no other body of Christians in the United States is so inattentive to this important thing as ourselves.” Having seen that Bishop Griswold was truly evangelical, we should expect to find that he was thoroughly Protestant. He was so. He held firmly the Protestant principle—the
Bible the sole and sufficient rule of faith and practice. He never nullified that rule by the qualification, “as interpreted by the church during the first two centuries.” He rejected altogether the dogma of Churchinterpretation. His rule for all men was, “search the Scriptures.” He believed that the Bible was to be interpreted by individuals, with the help of human learning indeed, but chiefly by its own light and the illumination and guidance of the Holy Spirit. His biographer remarks,—
“He was far from agreeing with those, who consider the ordination of a bishop as investing him, by a sort of miraculous or mysterious transmission, with the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, or with the marvelous power of continuing
an alleged perpetual incarnation of Christ in the visible body of his church.”—p. 168.
He was exceedingly averse to controversy. But when the great principles and doctrines of the Protestant reformation were endangered, he was firm and energetic. The following passage will illustrate the mode in which he rebuked the incipient developments of “Oxfordism” or semi-Romanism within his own diocese. Speaking on the subject of the construction of churches, and of a particular church in P 2 he observes:
“I was pained in noticing the uncouth and inconvenient arrangement of the chancel. I trust that none in this convention need to be reminded of the absurdity of going back to the dark ages of Christianity for the models of our churches, or for the manner of worshiping in them; or of adopting any of the fooleries of ignorance and superstition. God requires us to act as rational beings, not as idolatrous heathen. All the services should be performed in a place and manner the most commodious to the minister and the people. Whether he preaches, or rays, or administers the ordinances of Christ, he should be in the view of each and of all the congregation present. And in prayer, it is quite as fitting that he should face them, as that they should face him. To turn from them to the communion table, implies the supposition that God is particularly present there, and sanctions the abominable doctrine of Transubstan