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sons are pursuing studies with a view to holy orders.
The next day, for the first time, I had the pleasure of meeting with a respectable number of Episcopalians, in Bethel, who have been too much neglected. I had not, before that visit, supposed that the number of those attached, or at least, favourable, to our communion in that place, was so considerable. Though the rains fell abundantly, a large congregation assembled, and appeared to be much interested in all the services. The number confirmed was much greater than I had expected. They appeared to be thankful for the sermon, and refreshed by the visitation; and it was a subject of no small regret (to myself certainly) that previous appointments for Windsor and other places, made it necessary to leave them soon and pursue our journey.
The parish in Windsor continues to merit the "praise of all the churches." They were building a new and elegant house for divine service, which is now nearly finished, and is soon to be consecrated. Considering that the parish is but small, their pious liberality, prudent conduct, and united zeal in this noble work, are deserving of the highest praise. Long may the house remain to them and their children, through remote generations, a happy Bethel.
On the morning of the 23d, we crossed the Connecticut river into New Hampshire, and had services in Cornish. There I first learned, that the parish in Claremont, having enlarged their old church,and put it in complete repair, requested that it might, that day, be consecrated. With some little difficulty, and the utmost diligence in making the best use of our scanty time, this was done in the afternoon. The services being ended, we proceeded three miles farther to the village, where the parish have purchased and put in good repair, a large, new, and convenient church. In it, was a handsome pair of chandeliers, generously presented to the church by a gentleman in Boston.
Our services the next day, (Sunday, the 24th, being also St. John's day) were well attended. In consequence of a polite invitation, our third exercises were held in the congregational meeting house. At Drewsville, the next day, the congregation was small, and the people appeared to be disheartened.
On Wednesday, the 27th, I met with the convention of Vermont, at Bellows' Falls. It was well attended: so many clergymen of our order had never before been together in that state. After the exercises usual on such occasions, the business of the convention was conducted and finished with great unanimity, and much to the satisfaction of the members. Nothing was transacted of more importance, than the forming of a missionary society, which it is hoped may prove to be highly beneficial.
By travelling expeditiously, we reached Guilford in season for services in the meeting house on the 28th. the morning of the day following we met in the church, distant four miles; and in the afternoon pursued our journey to Greenfield. And thus was finished the tour through Vermont, having, in the course of it, visited every church or Episcopal society in the state. Those of Sandgate met us in Arlington; and the few of our communion in Pawlett and Wells have the benefit of the visitations of the bishop of New York. In every parish I preached once; in several twice, and in some three times. in almost every one I confirmed and gave the communion. In this journey, which almost compassed the whole state, I noticed, with awakened attention and great pleasure, much improvement, which, in the last few years, has taken place. pears certainly to be an increasing respect for the doctrines of Christ and the worship of God. Pious, regular, orthodox, and well educated ministers, of the gospel are more respected, and better received; and those of a contrary character, less countenanced and
supported. This, as we may of course suppose, is attended with improvement in morals; and accordingly there appears less of idleness and dissipation; and the consumption of ardent spirits is evidently diminished. In agriculture, more neatness, order, and industry are visible. "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is." What reason and the word of God teach, does experience confirm, that a due regard for religious institutions, and especially for the regular and decent worship of almighty God, is productive, not of good morals only, but of good economy, and of all the blessings of civil and social life.
The church in Greenfield continues, as from the first it has been, united, faithful, and uniformly increasing. Under God, we are much indebted for its prosperity, to the disinterested fidelity of its pastor, who, from a sense of duty, and affection for his flock, has steadfastly continued with them, though better offers of interest and honour have invited his removal.
On Monday, July 2, in company with the reverend Mr. Strong, I visited for the first time, a new parish in Ashfield, Massachusetts. The reverend Mr. Humphrey, from Lanesborough, and the reverend Mr. Baury, from Guilford, met us there. Though the weather was unfavourable, a large congregation assembled; of whom, nineteen presented themselves for confirmation. One of the baptist societies kindly obliged us with the use of their meeting house; and, by attending our services, and in other ways, manifested a liberal and friendly disposition. Those who had attached themselves to the church, appeared to be serious, pious people, actuated by religious conscientious motives, and their attention seemed to be engaged in searching for the good old way. We scarcely need add, that such a people are likely to become stable Episcopalians; and that
Ashfield is one of our most eligible stations for a missionary.
On the 26th of August, in the same year, there was a confirmation in Newport, Rhode Island; and one in North Providence, on the 9th of September.
October 2, I commenced another journey, in which I visited Concord, Holderness, Hopkinton, Bradford, and Claremont, again, in New Hampshire. The state of religious feeling in Concord seemed at a low ebb. The small parish there, however, had fitted up a hall convenient for publick worship, and appeared to be increasing. The parish in Ho:derness continued steadfast; they seemed highly to appreciate the favour of Episcopal visitations; to be very grateful for the favour and comfort of the Saviour's ordinances, and they evidently deemed it not a burden, but a privilege and blessing, and it was particularly their desire to attend divine services twice on the 9th. Some of the people remarked, that it was the happiest day they had ever seen. They who thus delight in the blessings of the sanctuary; who prize above worldly pleasures, the words of life, and the ministrations of mercy and grace, cannot be "far from the kingdom of God." There must be many in this sinful world who love their Saviour, when the most unworthy of his ministers are, for his sake, so kindly received, and so much respected; when the sacred memorials of redeeming love give greater satisfaction than the fascinating allurements of time and sense. The same day I licensed Mr. George Richardson,(since received as a candidate for holy orders,) to read prayers in New Hampton, a town adjoining Holderness.
In Hopkinton, is a respectable, though a small society, and the Lord has there some faithful souls. Their readiness to "receive a prophet in the name of a prophet," is a pleasing assurance that "a prophet's reward" shall be their portion. Often have they given more than "a cup of water
to one of the least of the Lord's disciples;" may the Lord "remember them for good." The reverend Mr. Blake resides in Concord, and has officiated there and in Hopkinton about two years; and his labours, we have good reason to believe, are not in vain. A respectable gentleman of Hillsborough, about thirty miles from Hopkinton, was so generous and kind as to meet me at the latter place, and convey me in his carriage to Bradford; and very politely offered to help me on my way even to Claremont: May the Lord reward him.
Sunday, the 14th, I passed in Claremont; preached three times to very large and unusually attentive congregations, and administered baptism and confirmation. In the eleven years of my ministry in this office, I have held confirmation in Claremont nine times, and have administered the rite in that parish to two hundred and sixty-seven persons. In no place, perhaps, are the ministers of Christ more cordially received; nor treated with affection more truly Christian.
On my way into Vermont, I preached at Bellows' Falls; on the evening of the 16th, arrived at Manchester: and on the 17th, assisted by my reverend brethren Bronson, Beach, Chase, Humphrey, and Baury, consecrated the new church in Manchester, called "Zion church." The house was much crowded through all the services, by people who listened as those who have "ears to hear." They remained during the communion service; and, with the exception of one denomination, all the communicants of various churches present, including several congregational ministers, received with us the Lord's supper. It seemed as a pleas ing foretaste of that happy time, when "all the faithful people of God" shall unite in his adoration and praise. May "his kingdom come;" and that we may be prepared for its unspeakable joys, "his will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
Zion church is neat and commo. dious; and though small, its erection was a noble work for a still smaller parish. On this occasion my thoughts were led to some serious reflections, whether it might not be chiefly my own fault that the church in this diocese, most inconvenient and least worthy of the abilities and the generous spirit of those who worship in it, is that of my own parish in Bristol.
On the 18th, we had services in Arlington, where a few were confirmed; and Jordan Gray was admitted to the order of deacons. On my way from thence to the general convention in Philadelphia, I had leisure to remain a few days in Troy, in the diocese of New York; which, both on account of my then declining health, and the politeness and very kind attentions I there received, proved a providential blessing.
The general convention in October last, as is well known, was specially called on the business of the theological seminary. The result was happier than perhaps any of the members, under existing circumstances, had dared to hope. To avoid the dreadful evils of strife and litigation, it was wisely judged expedient to yield, almost wholly, to the high claims of the diocese of New York. The constitu tion adopted, gives the general convention some control in the concerns of the seminary: but in its operation it will no doubt be managed chiefly by that diocese. It is not my intention, however, to insinuate that the management is placed in improper hands. Its location in the most populous, commercial, and frequented city of our country, will necessarily exclude a large part of our theological students from the school; and is, in my judg ment, on other accounts, injudicious.
In the month of March, in this present year, I attended the adjourned convention of Massachusetts, in Salem; and in the same journey again visited the churches in the eastern part of
that state, with the exception of Newburyport, which I reserved for this present tour, and was accordingly there on Sunday last, in my way hither. The church in Salem, in consequence of some unhappy events, is not so prosperous as in times past. That in Marblehead, continues in a low state, but there is reason to hope it may yet be revived. The churches in Boston are all thriving and doing well. That in Hopkinton continues vacant, and we may well fear is in some degree discouraged. The parish in Newton have in no degree fallen off from their former steadfastness and united zeal. The reverend Mr. Baury has removed thither, and Guilford, in Vermont, is now vacant. I have much pleasure in adding, that the reverend Mr. Boyle, under very favourable circumstances, is established in Dedham. He received priest's orders, March the 23d, and was soon after instituted.
In Quincy, the prospects are more encouraging, than at any former period since my acquaintance there. On Thursday last, Benjamin C. Cutler was in that place ordained deacon, and has taken charge of the parish. On the day preceding, confirmation was administered in St. Matthew's church, in the city of Boston.
The Massachusetts Episcopal missionary society have recently inade very considerable efforts, and not without success, to increase the number of their members, and to obtain funds. From the interest taken in the object, and the liberal spirit already manifested, there is reason to hope that this society may soon become the instrument of great good. Measures are taking to employ missionaries, with due regard to economy, and to the utmost extent of our yet very scanty means. In Salem, also, a missionary society has been formed, and something liberal has been subscribed; but to what amount, I am unable to state.
The churches in Rhode Island continue in a prosperous state, and without any material alteration. The reverend Mr. Taft officiates in North Providence. The convention of our churches in that state met on the first Tuesday of June last, in North Kingston, when confirmation was, for the first time, administered in that place. There is some reason to hope that the church there will gradually emerge from its very low condition.
A part of the members of my parish in Bristol, have associated as a mission ary society; and though their means are small, they have contributed with liberality and zeal which do credit to their piety, and will add something to our little fund.
A lady of the same parish has made a donation to the general missionary society.
During the two last years, every parish in this diocese (except some very recently organized,) has been visited. In almost all of them confirmation has been once administered; and in many of them twice. The whole number confirmed is six hundred and fifty-two: a number certainly not large for so many churches. But it should be considered, that the greater part of our parishes are yet very small; and also that I bave not thought it my duty to encourage any to make that solemn profession of their belief and devotion to God, except they are sufficiently instructed in Christianity, and receive the ordinance from pious, conscientious motives. The practice, which we may well fear has not been uncommon, of admitting to confirmation, and even urging to be confirmed, those who have no serious sense of religion, nor real intention to devote themselves to God, through Christ, is injurious to Christianity, and to our church in particular: it has caused confirmation to be lightly esteemed, and much neglected. And we may add, as a further reason, why there are in this diocese
so few confirmations, that a great proportion of our largest parishes are on the sea-board; in which, it is painful to state, there are fewer males who receive the Christian ordinances. In a visitation to one of our principal churches, there were fifty females confirmed, and not one male. In our country churches the men are little enough attentive to spiritual things; but they are still less so in commercial towns. If "one goes his way to his farm," rather than his Saviour; still more frequently does "another to his merchandise."
To the list of candidates have been added, Seneca White, William T. Potter, Benjamin C. Cutler, Lot Jones, Charles H. Alden, George Griswold, and George Richardson. The number is small, as is also that of the ordinations. Alfred L. Baury, John J. Robinson, Samuel B. Shaw, Silas Blaisdale, Stephen H. Tyng, Jordan Gray, Charles H. Alden, Alexander Jones, junior, and Benjamin C. Cutler, have been received to the order of deacons; the reverend Isaac Boyle only has been ordained a presbyter.
Mr. Shaw and Mr. Tyng have had letters dimissory to the southern states. As an apology for the length of this report, you will please to remember that it contains the transactions of two years. And as it is the duty of the diocesan occasionally to give instructions to the clergy and people of his pastoral care, and no occasion can be more convenient for the purpose, than these addresses to the conventions of the clergy and laity; together with a brief narrative of the more material part of my official performances, I have intermingled some suggestions of more practical nature; and will venture yet further to tax your patience, by commending two or three things to your present consideration.
There is one subject, which, in every address, and on every occasion, "in season and out of season," I think
it my duty to keep constantly in view, and which I scarcely need add, is that of assisting our small poor parishes. In addition to what, "at sundry times, and in divers manners,' I have said upon this point, permit me to call your attention to the hard case of those who, from a conscientious preference for the doctrines, worship, and discipline of the protestant Episcopal church, have withdrawn, from other denominations, with whom, and from whom, they have been accustomed to receive much attention, and enjoy great privileges, and have formed themselves into societies, according to our order and discipline; and now find themselves, in a great degree, or altogether, neglected. They have none to encourage, none to instruct them: they rarely, if ever, hear the words of life from the lips of our ministers; they become at length disheartened, and discontinue their efforts. Were they suitably and in season cherished, others would be encouraged to follow their example. But as the case is, the contrary is the effect; many whose faith and hearts are with us, are deterred from making an effort so hopeless.
Another subject, demanding the deliberate consideration of this convention, is a more competent provision for the episcopate. It is a subject on which delicacy has heretofore constrained me to be silent. But the time, perhaps, has now arrived, when, without imputation of interested motives, I may and ought to remind you, that the stability of our church, and its prosperity, under God, very much depend on the decent support of all its ministrations, of which you well know the episcopate is among the most essential. We have great reason to bless God for the pious liberality of a few individuals in the metropolis, and some other parts of this diocese. Without this providential supply, in all human probability, our efforts must have been wholly paralyzed. We,