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tender a response. The poor give far more than the rich ; and what they give comes with love, and is received in love, for it is severed from all assumption of benignity on the one hand, and all sense of dependence on the other. It may be for this reason that the great Missionary Apostle, although jealously maintaining the right of the ministry to a free support, refused this support himself, and worked at his trade of tentmaking as day-laborer with Aquila and Priscilla. If this was in submission to that profound truth of our common natnre, that labor speaks best to labor, poverty to poverty, it was not only wisdom, but prophecy. The great missionary work of the Church has always been done from the platform of poverty. Francis Xavier owned nothing but his staff and clothes. When John Wesley died, his estate consisted of but six silver spoons. Francis Asbury was the greatest pioneer missionary this country ever knew. For fifty-five years his itinerancy lasted. For thirty years he travelled annually from the Androscoggin to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. During this time he preached thirty thousand sermons. Yet his salary never exceeded sixty-four dollars, though he held the highest station in his communion. He never had a home. Yet out of this narrow support he found something to give to his poor preachers. His watch he once sold to aid them, and at another time his cloak. It may have been this that drew to him in such numbers young men, craving to preach the Gospel under his lead. Many whom splendid endowments, or wealthy parishes, could not have enticed, were impelled by the power of heroism upon heroism to follow this poor itinerant. Of such in the course of his Episcopate he ordained no less than three thousand. They were mostly chivalric and devoted men, whom a chivalric and devoted example, such as his, would be most likely to fire. Nor did the work stop here. He founded the Methodist Book-concern, the largest publishing-house in the world. He laid the basis and sketched the plan of those splendid endowments on which one hundred and thirteen American universities and collegiate institutions now rest.
Now, I am far from saying that ordained clergymen of the
Episcopal Church should not be generously supported, or should be expected in any sense to sustain themselves by secular labor. On the contrary, I think that their income should enable them to receive and retain a culture sufficient to qualify them to TEACH the TEACHERS; to mix freely among the most refined. But still more impressive is the call on us not to reject the agency which can bring into the missionary work that training of poverty, and that element of sympathy in labor, which St. Paul thought it not unworthy of himself to use at Corinth, and which have been found so efficient in the subsequent progress of the Church.
But it may be urged, the scheme is unpracticable. Are you sure? I admit that in a sordid age we will not be likely to find men capable of the work, who will give themselves up to preaching without support, and this in exclusively subordinate and obscure situations, entirely out of the range of ecclesiastical preferment. But such ages have been. It was so at the time of the first missionary extension of Christianity. It was so at the Reformation. It was so at the time of the Methodist revival of 1766. I believe that, to some extent, it is so now. The question is, whether our own communion is to throw herself in the way, and say that she will not accept such labor. My belief is, that, so far from so doing, she should put herself at the head of the movement. There are, I have no doubt, earnest-minded men impelled to undertake this work. They are willing to go forth as teachers to the most distant West. What I ask is, that our Bishops, in discharge of their general supervisory duties, should accept such aid, and use it as a preliminary in the work of Gospel Mission. As to schism, there is much less danger of it in promoting than in repressing this element. The Methodists and Puritans went off, not because they were encouraged, but because they were discouraged. Protection and countenance retained in Rome the Jesuits. It is for us to learn that the best way to produce integrity of essence is to permit variety in mechanism.
But it is further argued that the recognition of lay-preachers will lower the ordained ministry. Let me pause a moment to examine this position. Observe, in the first place, the remarka
ble fact that it is in those communions—for example, the Romish and the Methodist-in which lay-preaching is most common, that ministerial prerogative is the highest. Turn, next, to our own Church, and see how it is that the ministerial office rises or falls as the spiritual functions of the laity are recognized or ignored. Let us take, for instance, the time of Queen Anne and of the first two Georges, when the squire of the parish would cut off the ears of the tinker whom he found exhorting in a barn, and when the frigid establishmentarianism, if not the ecclesiastical rigor of the great body of the clergy, forbid the exercise of any lay religious gifts. How they, the clergy, had a monopoly of the work of spiritual instruction, how it helped them, Lord Macaulay has very vividly told us. But I pass this authority to take up one whose ecclesiastical sympathies, as well as whose personal opportunities, give him peculiar claim to be heard as to a question of fact such as this. Dean Swift (once—and how strange is the question of results, had the appointment been perfected-Bishop-elect of Virginia) writes, in 1719, to a young clergyman lately entered into Holy Orders, “that the clergy were never so scurvily treated” as then. In a contemporaneous essay, on “The Fates of Clergymen,” he proceeds to set forth this position in detail. He tells of a clergyman who, through the intrigues of his sis. ter, “the waiting.woman to a lady,” “was admitted to read prayers in the family twice a day, at ten shillings a month. He had now acquired a low, obsequious, awkward bow, and a talent of gross flattery, both in and out of season; he would shake the butler by the hand; he taught the page his catechism; and was sometimes admitted to dine at the steward's table." By what means this worthy was promoted to a comfortable living, it is not necessary to stop to notice. It is enough to say that the portrait is avowedly one of a class, not of an individual. Of the clergy, at that period, one large fraction was occupied in chaplaincies in private families, where the minister was only a head-servant, and was considered fortunate if permitted to marry the lady's maid. Another fraction was held in thraldom by the squires, who, abundantly High Church and High Tory, found nothing either in their religious or their politi
cal principles to prevent them from thus keeping each his own minister in chains. Those alone who lived in the cities, where there was a circumjacent theological atmosphere not exclusively of the church or of the clerical profession, rose to high social or professional distinction.
Of the honor of the Anglican Church no one was more jealous than Mr. Southey. Of her mission and prerogatives no one took higher views. Yet even Mr. Southey, speaking of this period of high clerical prerogative, but degraded clerical position, tells us : “The clergy had lost that authority which may always command, at least the appearance of respect; and they had lost that respect, also, by which the place of authority may sometimes so much more worthily be supplied. In the great majority of the clergy, zeal was wanting. The excellent Leighton spoke of the Church, as a fair carcass without a spirit. Burnet observes that, in his time, our clergy had less authority, and were under more contempt, than those of any other church in all Europe; for they were much the most remiss in their labors, and the least severe in their lives. It was not that their lives were scandalous—he entirely acquitted them of any such imputation, but they were not exemplary, as it became them to be; and, in the sincerity of a pious and reflecting mind, he pronounced that they would never regain the influence they had lost, till they lived better and labored more.”* This was the period when in the rural districts a "lay preacher” was ducked and pilloried, and when it was declared by the standard and favorite commentator of these very divines, that no one is to “ preach the Gospel" unless he have either miraculous commission from God, or authority “from persons commissioned by Him.”+ How far in the metropolis and universities more enlightened views prevailed, and with what results, will be presently seen.
In our American Church, the exclusion of the laity from the missionary work is likely to produce peculiar mischief. Religious zeal must find some outlet. If we succeed in banking
* Southey's Life of Wesley, chap. ix. + Whitby on Acts, chap. xii. v. 20.
up its natural channel-that of preaching the Gospel-it will force itself into another, in which, likely enough, it will break down hedges, and desolate fields. Now, not only have we closed the natural channel—that of preaching and teachingbut we have opened one which, in one sense at least, is nonnatural—that of Church primacy. The Apostolic Church made the layman an evangelist, but did not make him a pontiff; we make him a pontiff, but refuse to make him an evangelist. In the same way we contrast with the Methodist and Roman Catholic communions. They send the laity forth to preach-humbly, but none the less efficiently; and to visit the sick and poor. We keep our laymen at home to govern our bishops and clergy. I am far from quarrelling with that provision in our Constitution which makes the laity a coördinate power. But let it be observed, they are not merely coördinate. They are, in fact, the controlling element. In the General Convention they have not merely the veto which either of the three estates can exercise, but as contrasted with the bishops, they can exercise this veto without limit or specification, while the bishops are confined as to both. But this is not all. The laity elect the ministers themselves. They are not merely the coördinate power, but they are the constituency. No parish minister can hold his title without their choice. No bishop can be elected without their concurrence. To the laity is given the control over the minister's salary—of cutting it down or taxing it—a power which the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania once declared the State could not exercise, on the ground that a control over subsistence is a control over opinion and life. Now this, I have no doubt, is all right. What I complain of is, not that this channel is open for lay energy, but that that energy should be forced out of its legitimate duties, into those which are, after all, but subsidiary and abnormal, though in our peculiar system proper and necessary. If the laity were kept warm and earnest in the missionary work, I should see no mischief to result from their absorption of ecclesiastical power. But I confess I do see a mischief from a secularized laity being vested with such prime functions. Those whom, in onr exalted notions of the clerical office, we