At the first general meeting of this Corporation in 1820, his Lordship presided; a circumstance, which may well be considered an era in the history of the Church of Upper Canada.
In this Epistle, the Apostle seeks, with great earnestness, to confirm the Christian converts in the belief of that Gospel, which he had so faithfully preached.
With the requests of some he complied, and has published a discourse, delivered before the Society for recovering drowned persons, which may be justly pronounced one of the most beautiful and interesting sermons in the English language.
In regard to education, something has been done by the Provincial Legislature; but to build churches, and to place clergymen is a work of greater difficulty.
Convinced that the attachment of colonies to the metropolis, depends infinitely more upon moral and religious feeling, than political arrangement, or even commercial advantage, I cannot but lament that more is not done to instill it into the minds of the people.
As a preacher of the Gospel, our late venerable Bishop must have been heard, to form an adequate conception of his superior excellence and commanding eloquence.
Is it not evident that the Canadas, as well as the other colonies, have been left in a great measure to grope their way as they could through the darkness which surrounds them, almost totally unaided by the parent state?
In the scattered settlements of this Diocese, schools and Churches are of necessity for many years few in number, and multitudes of both sexes are growing up in great ignorance.
When the late Bishop was appointed, about thirty-two years ago, to diffuse the light of the Gospel through this extensive portion of His Majesty’s dominions, it was even a greater spiritual, than a natural wilderness.
In applying this subject to the melancholy event, which has deprived this Diocese of its venerable Bishop, we presume not to compare him with the blessed Apostle, of whom we have been speaking.
The Saviour reigned in all their hearts, and they successfully copied the pattern of meekness and gentleness, which he had left them.
Rather than allow themselves to be separated from the love of Christ, they submitted cheerfully to every privation, to contumely and disgrace, and to death itself.
The nations were awakened from the sleep of death, as the words of eternal life flowed from the Apostles’ lips, – the temples of superstition were shut or destroyed, and churches were planted in every part of the civilized world.
The tortures of present death disturb him not, but the recollection of his fall, fills him with a holy sorrow.
The name of Jesus, like a secret charm, awakened similar emotions in the hearts of all the converts, and called immediately into action every feeling of moral loveliness, and every desire of dutiful obedience, which constitute Christian purity.
When we contemplate the heroes of Christianity, and compare our feeble efforts with their astonishing performance and self devotion, we should fall into despair, were there not a few softening features, by which they are brought back to the ranks of humanity.
St. Peter announced the glad tidings of the Gospel to the people on the day of Pentecost, and converted, by the first Christian sermon, ever preached, three thousand – which formed the primitive Church.
Whenever the names of the disciples are enumerated in the New Testament, St. Peter’s stands at their head.
Trusting in Christ, we may boldly join in the combat, and enlist ourselves among that disinterested band, who fight not for human ambition, or human praise, but for the honour of our Saviour, and the salvation of men.
The Legislature of Lower Canada, consisting chiefly of Roman Catholics, could hardly be expected to support a church which they were taught to consider heretical, and in Upper Canada the scanty means at the disposal of the Government, precluded all hope.
In vain shall Great Britain confer upon her colonies the free government and liberal principles of legislation, for which she is distinguished, if she do not carry with her the revelations of God.