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These are very natural sentiments for those Bishops to express. We cannot but respect the feelings that prompt them, and we can very well understand why the people should be ready to welcome such instructions from their chief pastors, and to act upon them to the utmost extent of their ability. But the question is, if such delicacy and reserve are, under the circumstances, not unnatural in them, what is the course of conduct which will be most proper and most becoming in us? Surely there is not a heart that hears me, that will hesitate as to the answer: Be delicate, be considerate in your modes of action ; but just in proportion as they shrink from speaking, do you be forward to minister! Wait not to be entreated; but try to find out where good can be done, and then, with all tenderness and respect, beg to be allowed to do it! There are no nobler men in the House of Bishops—I speak as if the last four years were an absolute blank, and made no part of our history, and I speak without fear of being misunderstood, for my sentiments on national unity and anthority have been very well known-I say, there are no nobler men in the House of Bishops than several of those to whom I now refer; and whatever may be their feelings of delicacy, or of allowable pride, they will not desire to see ruins perpetuated, or only tardily and imperfectly repaired, which might be more speedily and more effectually restored with the aid of friendly hearts and hands. Again, then, I say, let us be prompt to avail ourselves of every opening to do good. Let us be forward to search out channels through which, not in a proud, patronizing spirit, but with a modest, loving, Christian sympathy, we may pour out the offerings which will help not only to rebuild the waste places in material things, but also to repair and renew whatsoever may have been decayed in the hearts of our brethren.
I turn now to the record of Episcopal Acts for the past year, and to those matters which are more exclusively of Diocesan interest. On the Sunday immediately succeeding
the Convention of last year, I commenced a new course of duty, by preaching, administering the holy rite of Confirmation to 13 persons, admitting one person, an alumnus of the General Theological Seminary, to the Diaconate, and advancing two Deacons, also alumni of the General Seminary, to the Priesthood; and a few days ago I concluded the public labors of the Conventional year in a service, in which I confirmed 6 persons (in a second and special Confirmation in the Parish during the year), consecrated a new and beautiful edifice to the service of Almighty God, and, at the request of the Right Reverend the Bishop of Ohio, advanced to the Priesthood a Deacon of that Diocese, who is about to dedicate himself to the work of the ministry among the heathen, in connection with the mission to China. My visitations were continued through the entire summer, and nearly a month later than usual. These, with the necessary preparations for this Convention, and for the approaching General Convention, have brought me to the present hour, and left me with the feeling that I need a little rest and refreshment. In the midst of my visitation, tidings reached me which naturally created a desire for more quiet and seclusion than are to be found in daily travel and public services and social gatherings, however agreeable and useful these last may be in ordinary times. But to postpone a long series of appointments would be to occasion great disappointment, inconvenience, and loss. It was therefore an obvious duty to proceed without delay, and to proceed with Christian cheerfulness, with a real interest in the concerns of the several parishes, and in the labors of the faithful and devoted pastors; and if perseverance in duty in such times requires a severe effort at first, yet it is an effort which usually finds a reward in the mental relief gained, and in the outward sympathy and support met with. For the deli. cate and considerate kindness which surrounded me everywhere, I can never cease to cherish a grateful remembrance.
During the last Conventional year the public services
at first, yen relief gaine. For the
officially attended were upwards of 250; the public Confirmations were over 200, and upwards of three thousand two hundred and fifty persons have been confirmed. The number would have been upwards of thirty-three hundred, but for the necessity forced upon me of postponing a few Confirmations until after the Convention; and owing to this unusual circumstance, one or two parishes, which are accustomed to an annual Confirmation, appear without any. They will be visited speedily. Twenty-three Candidates for Holy Orders have been admitted to the Diaconate-one of them, at my request, by the Right Reverend the Bishop of Connecticut. Twenty-six Deacons of this Diocese have been advanced to the Priesthood—one of them, at my request, by the Right Reverend the Bishop of Kentucky. The ordinations to the Priesthood have been twelve more than those of the previous year. As already stated, one Deacon, in addition, from Ohio, I advanced to the Priesthood, at the request of the Bishop of that Diocese, and one from Massachusetts, at the request of the Bishop of that Diocese. Of churches and chapels, five have been consecrated, and another will soon be ready. Two rectors have been instituted. Three corner-stones have been laid by me, and others by Presbyters at my request. Eight convocations of the Clergy have been attended in different parts of the Diocese; one hundred and seventy sermons have been preached ; many Confirmations have been administered in private. The aggregate of the Confirmations for three years, soon to be reported to the General Convention, will be nine thousand five hundred and fifty, exceeding the report of the previous three years by some 1,700.
It is to be regretted that the failure of several Parishes to send in the usual Parochial Report, required by Canon, makes it impossible to render an accurate return of the number of communicants in the Diocese.
During the past year two candidates for Holy Orders, 6 Deacons, and 19 Priests have been transferred by Letters Dimissory to other Dioceses; and three Deacons and twenty Priests have been received into this Diocese on Letters Dimissory from other Dioceses. Thirty-two Clergymen of the Diocese have resigned their cures during the past year, and forty have been certified as duly appointed to cures during the same time. Nineteen applicants have been admitted candidates for Holy Orders. The name of one has been erased at his own request, making the present number forty-four.
This record of the changes in the Diocese during the past year must be closed, as usual, with the names of faithful and beloved brethren who have put off the burden of the flesh, and departed hence in the Lord. They are :
The Rev. WILLIAM CREIGHTON, D. D.,
The Rev. Edwin R. T. Cook. That dear face, so beaming, so full of dignity, and so full of sweetness, so long seen and admired in the place which I now occupy, has done with these busy scenes has passed away forever from this world of shadows! That face will cheer us no more! It sometimes happens, my brethren (not very often), that a character appears in the world, so peculiar, so distinguished from the multitude by form and dispositions, by manners and habits, by a style of life entirely his own, that we feel at once, when he is taken from us, that no one can supply his place—there is an image gone, which cannot be reproduced in another. Such was the Rev. Dr. William Creighton, for so many years President of this Convention, fourteen years ago the beloved Bishop elect of this Diocese, during three sessions of the General Convention the revered President of the House of Clerical and Lay Delegates—his place being filled by another only when he became, through growing infirmities, incapable of attending-and, finally, rector for nearly a quarter of a century of Christ Church, Tarrytown—a beloved charge, to which he continued to give his cares and affections, so long as he could give care and affection to any thing earthly. What a lovely Christian gentleman he was ! What an admirable presiding officer! How courteous, and, when necessary, how firm! His genial presence seemed to shed a cheerful light over the most troublous scenes. Many years ago he retired from parochial life in this city, to what he no doubt looked forward to as a life of serene repose and undisturbed domestic duty in the country; but he at once began to officiate in places adjacent to his residence; and these small beginnings grew and developed with the increase of the population and through careful nurture, until now several Parishes have been organized within the limits of his early labors. One beautiful church he erected largely at his own expense; and there, most fitly, his mortal remains have found their last calm resting-place. It was a sad trial to me that I was denied the privilege at last of mingling my tears with the tears of friends and relatives, and of doing what I could by my presence at his grave to show what I had ever endeavored to make manifest in his lifetime-how much I loved and honored him. When he was chosen to the office of Bishop, I wrote to him, earnestly entreating him to accept, and from that day to the day of his death I never thought of him but with the most affectionate regard. Long will that home of gentle Christian cheerfulness, of hospitality as warm as it. was elegant, be remembered with tenderness by the many who had the privilege of knowing it! Long will that face and form remain, as a dear, familiar picture, in the memory of the heart, helping us to be serene, and pure, and gentle, and kind, and steadfast, and elevated by the remembrance of his benignant virtues !