« PreviousContinue »
The ministry of Hobart may be said to have prepared the way for that of Moore in the city of New York. For notwithstanding their acknowledged differences of opinion on certain points, they were alike animated by sincerity and fervor; the ministry of both was of a stirring and exciting character. They laboured successfully in their dif ferent spheres. The one in his refined and wealthy congregation in the heart of the city; the other with his humbler flock in its suburbs. Both aimed at the same great results -the salvation of souls, and the extension of the Church of God. Whatever might have been the difference in their views and usages, keeping them sundered for a season;— yet in after life, when the mists were dispersed which intercepted and marred their vision of each other's character, there was a perfect harmony of feeling-an exercise of mutual confidence and love. Each regarded the other as a faithful son of the Church whose common altar they served. Let their misconceptions of each other be forgotten, as the fruits of our fallen nature. Let their unity be kept in perpetual remembrance, as a fruit of that Holy Spirit by which we are all baptized into one body.
St. Stephen's, at the time Dr. Moore accepted the rectorship, offered but few attractions. It presented a forbidding and unpromising field to all except a man of God, exercising full reliance upon the promises of him who is able from stones to raise up children unto Abraham,—and has declared that the word which proceedeth out of his mouth shall not return unto him void, but shall accomplish that which he doth please, and shall prosper in the thing whereto he hath sent it. There were not more than thirty families connected with the congregation, and out of these there were but about twenty who knelt as communicants at the Lord's Table. So discouraging were the circum
stances under which Dr. Moore entered upon his new charge. But he "despised not the day of small things;" and the Lord, who had placed him there, gave him such favour in the eyes of the people, that his congregation rapidly increased, and his whole ministerial career in New York was one of uninterrupted prosperity and success.
Soon after his settlement in St. Stephen's, a body of seventy communicants from one of the sister Churches transferred themselves to his pastoral care. These were pious and devoted followers of Jesus Christ, who were influenced to the adoption of this plan of colonization, not more by a desire for their own spiritual improvement and comfort than by an earnest wish to be employed as colabourers with him in the edification and enlargement of the Church of God. At the head of this band of communicants was the late GEORGE WARNER, Esq. He was a man of liberal fortune and easy circumstances. Highly esteemed for his good sense and integrity, he often held a place in the common council of New York, and more than once was a representative of the city in the general assembly of the state. He had a wide circle of acquaintances in which his influence was great, and he was disposed to exert that influence to the utmost in favour of truth and godliness. A Christian above the ordinary grade, he was not content with adorning his profession by a decent life of exemplary virtue, but freely devoted his wealth, and influence, and personal labours to the cause of piety and the Church. His religious zeal, bordering upon enthusiasm, perhaps, in some instances, leapt over its appropriate limits, and was not duly tempered with discretion. He was not only fond of extemporaneous prayer in social meetings, but occasionally, in singing a hymn, would supply the defects of memory by composing a verse or line under the impulse of the
moment. This good man was never more in his element than when conducting a prayer meeting; and in addition to his activity in visiting the sick and afflicted, there was scarcely a day in the week when he did not lead the devotions of a praying circle in some section of the city. All these "society meetings" as they were called, proved so many fountains of spiritual activity and feeling which poured their rills into the reservoir of St. Stephen's. Such a layman, watchful, self-denying, benevolent, burning with zeal and unwearied in labours, is "a host in himself"-and it is probable that the efforts of Mr. Warner proved more efficient, as auxiliary to the work of the rector, than the services of any curate or assistant minister would have been. He attached himself to Dr. Moore with all the intensity of implicit confidence and warm affection. He was ever ready to sustain him under his burdens, to sympathize with him in his trials, to swell the number of attendants on his ministry, and to employ every means in his power to secure for that ministry the greatest amount of efficacy and success.
His affection for his pastor was warmly reciprocated. Often did Dr. Moore speak with admiration and gratitude of the unvarying sympathy, and faithful co-operation of his beloved parishioner, to whose labours and prayers he acknowledged a deep indebtedness for the uncommon success of his ministry in St. Stephen's. The delightful intercourse of their kindred minds was often renewed during the Bishop's annual visits to New York, and ceased not, till his old friend "rested from his labours by dying in the Lord." On hearing of this event, Bishop Moore addressed the following letter to Mrs. Warner, in which he declares his high estimate of the character and services of her departed husband.
TO MRS. GEORGE WARNER.
January 21st, 1825.
I have seen in the public prints that it hath pleased the Almighty to remove from the Church militant, to the Church triumphant in heaven, my much beloved friend, Mr. Warner. To you, my afflicted friend, and to the religious community to which he belonged, the loss of his society and conversation must be inexpressibly great. Much however as he was beloved by us, we must not suffer his removal to excite in our minds an unkind thought of Deity; the good qualities we discovered in him, his devotedness to the God we love, his unwearied efforts to promote the good of souls, should convince us of his fitness for the change through which he has passed: and influence us to prepare for the same solemn and momentous event. There are few individuals in society who knew Mr. Warner more perfectly than myself. For five years he was my affectionate companion and kind parishioner. We took sweet counsel together, and went into the house of God as friends. I can say with truth that our intimacy never for one moment experienced interruption. And while I live I shall remember him with affection, and thank God for the encouragement he gave me in the work of the ministry. I have always thought that much of the success which attended my labours at St. Stephen's, was owing to the efforts of my departed friend. His prayers and his influence were united with my exertions; our hearts were fixed upon the same object, the good of Zion, and the Lord prospered the work of our hands upon us. He has reaped, I trust and believe, that rich reward promised to the faithful, and may God in infinite mercy in his own time invest us also with the crown
of eternal life. In the course of five years the number of
Believe me in truth, your sincere friend,
Thoroughly grounded in the affections of his parishioners, favoured with the confidence of the Christian community in New York, and as a preacher, attractive to many of the strangers who resorted to the city, Dr. Moore, "through evil as well as through good report," pursued the even tenor of his way, as a faithful ambassador of the cross, and was diligently engaged," in season and out of season," in labour