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Title: A Sermon Preached in York Minister, on St. Bartholomew's Day, Friday, - August 24, 1877 - on the Occasion of the Consecration of the Right Rev. Rowley Hill, - Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man
Author: Hoare, Edward N.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Sermon Preached in York Minister, on St. Bartholomew's Day, Friday, - August 24, 1877 - on the Occasion of the Consecration of the Right Rev. Rowley Hill, - Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man" ***

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Transcribed from the [1877] Hatchards edition by David Price, email

                                 A Sermon
                        PREACHED IN YORK MINSTER,
          _St. Bartholomew’s Day_, _Friday_, _August_ 24, 1877,

                       THE RIGHT REV. ROWLEY HILL,
                      LORD BISHOP OF SODOR AND MAN.

                          THE REV. CANON HOARE,

                                * * * * *

                         _PUBLISHED BY REQUEST_.

                                * * * * *

                      LONDON: HATCHARDS, PICCADILLY.
                        SHEFFIELD: P. D. HOPKINS.

                          _Price One Shilling_.

                                * * * * *


THE Consecration of the Bishop of Sodor and Man will long be remembered,
both at York and Sheffield; for no one can have been present on that
occasion without having been profoundly impressed by the sight of the
overwhelming congregation, and the many tokens of deep interest
manifestly taken in the service.  So many of the Sheffield people desired
to be present that two special trains were prepared for their
accommodation, by which there arrived no less than seven hundred persons.
The Dean having heard that they were coming did all in his power to give
them a welcome.  The whole space in front of the Communion-rail was
filled with seats, and in the admission of the crowds who were pressing
into the Cathedral precedence was given to the visitors from Sheffield.
But, notwithstanding all the efforts of the Cathedral authorities, I am
sorry to say that a great many failed to get in.  Before the Sermon I sat
in the stalls, and to avoid the crowd in the choir I was conducted into
the nave, and so outside the choir to the pulpit.  In the course of that
walk I saw hundreds who were unable to obtain admission.  Some were
standing in the nave, and others straining to see and hear through the
glass screen by the side of the choir.  When the door was opened to let
me in I cannot say how I longed to take them all in with me.  But that
was impossible.  The whole place was packed, and every available
standing-ground in the neighbourhood of the pulpit was full.

Nor was it a mere sight-seeing crowd.  I found myself surrounded by
people who were manifestly there for higher ends, and who listened with
as fixed an attention as any preacher could desire.  But the most
remarkable part of the service was the Holy Communion, with which it
closed.  At the end of the Prayer for the Church Militant there was a
pause, in order that those who did not intend to remain for the Lord’s
Supper might retire; but of the great crowd near the rail very few went
away.  At first it seemed a doubtful question whether they understood
that the time was come for them to go; but it soon became evident that
they perfectly understood what they were doing, and that they were
remaining to partake of the Lord’s Supper.  The bread and wine originally
prepared was quite insufficient for such a number of communicants, and it
was necessary to send out for an additional supply.  When once the
service began everything was done that could be done for the comfort of
all that were present; but as the whole space in front of the rail was
filled with seats, all of which were occupied, and there was only one
narrow passage by which the communicants could both approach and retire,
and as there were eight persons administering, it was impossible to
secure that solemn stillness which we sometimes enjoy in our parochial
churches.  But nothing could possibly be more interesting.  There I saw
not only ladies and gentlemen, but many who appeared to me to be
mechanics, and, scattered through the crowd, numbers of young men.

When I looked on that mixed body of communicants, and observed the
earnestness, the seriousness, and the apparently deep devotion with which
they gathered round the Table of their Lord; and when after the service
was over I saw them pressing round their beloved Vicar, and many of them
reaching out their rough hands once more to grasp his with a true,
hearty, loving grasp, and heard them wishing him a blessing, I could not
help giving thanks to the God of all grace who gave that day such a
testimony to the faithful reaching of His Gospel.  For what were the
means employed for the attainment of such a result?  Not music, not form,
not the claim to priestly power, but the plain, simple, loving ministry
of the Gospel of the grace of God.  Between three and four years my dear
friend had been preaching the great doctrines of Scripture—such as
conversion to God, justification by faith, free forgiveness through the
finished atonement, and, new life by the power of the Holy Ghost—and God
had blessed that ministry to the ingathering of a people to His name.
This was the work of which we that day witnessed the fruit, and I trust
the effects on all of us who witnessed it may be that we may work on in
our various spheres of labour more than ever resolved, by God’s help, to
stick fast to great principles, and more than ever encouraged to trust
His promises, and look out for great results.

                                                                     E. H.

            _August_ 29_th_, 1877.


    ‘Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you;
    and ye shall be witnesses unto Me.’—_Acts_, i. 8.

IT is said of the saints of God in the Old Testament, that ‘out of
weakness they were made strong,’ and none of us who are called to God’s
ministry can think for one moment of our work and our weakness without
the deepest sense of our own need of that same gift.  We have a work of
infinite importance.  We are called to be God’s instruments in making
known that which God has wrought at no less a price than the most
precious blood of His well-beloved Son.  We have to encounter the
threefold antagonism of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and we
ourselves are poor weak creatures, so weak that we are quite unable to
stand alone, and so utterly fallen that we cannot preserve ourselves even
for an hour.  It follows, therefore, that we all stand in need of power
from God.  And whatever be our position, whether in the ministry or out
of it, whether laymen, deacons, presbyters, or bishops, we all require to
be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.  If ever the
need of this strength was felt it must be felt now, now that we are
passing through the perilous times of the latter days; and if there be
any office in the whole world which appears to require it more than
another, it is the sacred office to which my dear friend is this day
admitted, the holy office of a Bishop in the Church of God.

But, thanks to God! there is provision made in the Gospel for weakness as
well as for sin; and the result is, that the promise of power was almost
the last promise made by our blessed Lord before He left us, so that just
before His ascension He said, ‘Ye shall receive power, after that the
Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me.’  Now the
Holy Ghost came on the Church at Pentecost, and as there has never been
said one word about His being withdrawn, we are warranted in looking for
that power now, and in spreading out our weakness before His throne, in
full assurance that according to His promise He Himself will give power
for His work.  Let us study, then, two points—1st, the purpose, and
2ndly, the source of the power; and while we study, may we by God’s great
grace be permitted to experience the gift!

I.  The purpose: ‘Ye shall be witnesses unto Me.’  It in clear,
therefore, that the power is a power of testimony, and that its great
object is to enable us to be witnesses unto the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are not, therefore, _judges_.  The witness is never the judge.  His
business is to bear testimony as to what he has seen and heard.  But he
has nothing to do with the sentence.  That rests with the judge alone.
So the witness for Christ is not the judge over his follow-men.  He
cannot sit in the Confessional and pronounce the sentence of life and
death.  That rests with the Lord Himself, and there must be no usurpation
of His sovereign right.

Then, again, the witness is not a _medium_, or connecting link, between
the soul and the Saviour.  He is not like a telegraph wire through which
the electric current is conveyed from one point to another, for in God’s
salvation there is nothing intermediate between the Saviour and the
sinner.  There is no such thing in Scripture as the idea that the grace
of God passes from the Lord Jesus through any men or body of men to the
sinner.  All that is human imagination, pure and simple.  The witness is
not a conductor or communicator, not a channel or a medium.  His business
is to bear such a testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ as shall bring the
soul face to face with Him, and introduce the sinner into direct
communication with God Himself.

Thus it is that he is a witness unto the Lord Jesus Christ, and the more
plainly that he sets Him before the people the more effective is his
testimony.  If we wish to know the leading subject of the witness we
shall find it in Luke, xxiv.  In the forty-eighth verse of that chapter
He told His little Church, as He did in this chapter of the Acts, that
their office was to be witnesses: ‘Ye are witnesses of these things.’
But we may ask, What things?  What were those things to which the Church
were to be witnesses?  The previous verse answers the question: ‘That
repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all
nations.’  Mark, it says ‘preached,’ not communicated; but in His name it
is to be preached fully and freely.  Forgiveness through the finished
atonement is the leading subject of the testimony.  It is the office of
the witness to proclaim the great work which the Lord Jesus Christ has
completed for the propitiation of sin, and to invite men to the free and
full reconciliation which He has promised as the result of that
propitiation.  We are to proclaim from His own word what He is, what He
has done, what He has promised, and what He is doing.  We are to set Him
so clearly, so vividly, before the people, that they may see nothing of
us, but look fixedly on Him.  We are to bear such a testimony to His
work, His word, His mercy, His grace, His all-sufficiency, that those who
know Him not may have their hearts burn to know Him; that those who are
longing after Him may find Him, and have their souls satisfied in His
love; and that those who know Him may be led to such a personal
experience of the unspeakable richness of His abounding mercies that they
may be able to say to us, as her friends did to the woman of Samaria,
‘Now we believe; not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him
ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the
world.’  The best possible result of the testimony of the Christian
witness is, that those who receive it should be brought into such an
independent relationship with the Lord Himself that the witness who has
brought them to it disappears before the fulness of His grace.  And the
very last thing that such a witness would ever desire is, that people
should come to him as an intermediate mediator between them and their
Saviour.  The one object of his life and testimony is that all eyes, and
all thoughts, and all hearts, should be directed exclusively to the Lord
Jesus; and if that blessed end can be accomplished, the true witness is
only too happy and thankful to be himself quite out of sight.

II.  But in order to this testimony there is power required.  There are
cases in which the testimony involves nothing short of martyrdom, as it
did in the case of the first martyr, or witness, Stephen; as it did when
the Huguenots were martyred for the faith on St. Bartholomew’s Day, three
centuries ago; and as lately done in our mission stations in West Africa
and in China.  But in all cases the strongest amongst us must remember
St. Paul’s words, descriptive of his ministry at Corinth: ‘I was with you
in weakness and in fear, and in much trembling.’  We all want a power far
beyond anything that we can discover in our own hearts.  This, then,
leads me to our second subject, the source of the power.

One thing is perfectly plain, viz. that the power does not come from
arbitrary assumption, and high sacerdotal claims to something amounting
to superhuman authority; to such claims as those put forward when the
Bishop’s authority is contrasted with that which is ‘merely human,’ and
the Bishop’s voice is declared to be to the clergyman ‘the voice of God.’
Such assumptions being without the slightest shadow of scriptural
authority are sure, in the long run, only to weaken power.

Nor does the power here promised arise from even the legitimate exercise
of well-established law.  In the Church of England, I am thankful to say,
we are both protected and restrained by law; and the Bishop in the Church
of England is armed with certain legal powers, which are of the utmost
possible importance to the discipline and well-being of our Body.  The
only people who complain of the power of law are those who wish to break
it.  But this is not the power described in the text.  The power here
promised is something which no law can either give or take away.  It is
the direct gift of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself; it is nothing less than
the power of the Holy Ghost.

In this gift there is accompanying power, a power which it is difficult
to describe, but impossible to doubt.  It is not the power of intellect
or eloquence, for it is bestowed sometimes on persons that have neither
one nor the other: but it is a power that cannot be mistaken; for it
softens hard hearts, breaks down the most stubborn wills, and subdues
those who have been previously opponents to truth.  It was such a power
that accompanied the preaching St. Paul at Thessalonica, of which he
said, ‘Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and
in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance’ (1 Thess. i. 5).  But if there
be such a power, both promised and bestowed, shall any of us be satisfied
without the enjoyment of it?  Shall we be content with powerless work?
Shall we think it enough if our ministry is respectable and orthodox, our
churches well attended, and our parochial arrangements complete, while
there is no deep impression on the souls of men, no conviction of sin, no
earnest inquiry, no conversions to God, no evidence of a new life, and no
sign of the mighty power of the Spirit?  Shall we be satisfied to live
on, and to work on, just as we should be living and working if the Lord
had never said, ‘Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come
upon you?’

There is also indwelling power.  We must not look merely at that which
accompanies, for the secret of power is in most cases to be found within.
We have a remarkable illustration of this in the case of Stephen.  He was
accompanied with power, for ‘they were not able to resist the wisdom and
the spirit by which he spake.’  But the mystery was explained in the
secret of his own soul, for in v. 8 of that same chapter we read that he
was a man ‘full of faith and power.’  There was, therefore, a fulness of
power within as well as the accompanying power without, and the secret of
this fulness is explained in v. 5, where it is said he was a man ‘full of
faith and of the Holy Ghost.’  Here, then, was the key to that marvellous
and irresistible power which accompanied his work.  He himself was full
of faith, and being full of faith, he was full of the Holy Ghost.  He was
full of faith, so that he could, as it were, see his Lord at his right
hand, and ‘endure as seeing Him who is invisible.’  And he was full of
the Holy Ghost, so that he was lifted up above mere human nature.  He was
taught by the Holy Ghost; he was led by the Holy Ghost; his thoughts were
prompted by the Holy Ghost; his wisdom was the wisdom of the Holy Ghost;
his words were the words of the Holy Ghost; his mind was governed by the
mind of the Holy Ghost; and so he was full of power, for the simple
reason that he was ‘full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.’  Thus the
outward and the inward were at one.  In his outward activity he was
accompanied by the Holy Ghost; in his inward life he was full of the Holy
Ghost; and in both one and the other he experienced the truth of the
promise, ‘Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me.’

And why should not we be enjoying the same?  Why should not the same
power be given to our brother, this day raised to the episcopate, as was
given to Stephen when he laboured 1800 years ago in the diaconate?  Of
one thing I am perfectly sure, and that is, that it is the one desire of
his heart to be the faithful witness to the Lord Jesus; to bear the same
testimony as a Bishop which he has been enabled to bear as a Presbyter;
to speak from his episcopal chair with the same clear ring of Scriptural
truth as he has hitherto done from his parochial pulpit, and which has so
greatly endeared him to all of you who are come this day from Sheffield.
And our prayer for him this day must be that he may be, in his new
office, like Stephen, ‘full of faith and power,’ that so his ministry may
be accompanied by the power of the Holy Ghost, and his own soul filled by
the Spirit.

But while we pray for him in the high and conspicuous office of a Bishop,
let us not be unmindful of all those faithful men who, hidden from the
eye of the world, and without any prospects of the honours of the world,
are toiling on, some in quiet country parishes, some in the
densely-peopled districts of our large towns, and some in far-distant
missions, in patient perseverance witnessing for Christ.  When our
thoughts are directed to those who by the providence of God are brought
to the top, let us not forget those who are patiently toiling at the
bottom.  Do not they equally need the power?  Or, rather, Do not they
especially need the presence of the indwelling Spirit in their own souls,
and of the accompanying Spirit to give the power of patient perseverance
in their work?  O that God may grant that power to every branch of the
Church of England!  Power to her bishops, power to her presbyters, power
to her deacons, power to her laity!  May He grant such a measure of His
Spirit to fill all our hearts, and accompany all our work, that our dear
old Church may remain, true to her Reformation principles,—a faithful
witness for Christ; that her testimony may never be corrupted, and her
work never be powerless; that so when the Lord appears He may find her
with her lamp burning, without reserve, and without compromise,
maintaining His truth and giving glory to His name!

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

        London; Printed by JOHN STRANGEWAYS, Castle St. Leicester

                                * * * * *

By the same Author.

                       ROME, TURKEY, AND JERUSALEM.
       Fifteenth Thousand.  16mo. cloth, 1_s._ 6_d._; paper, 1_s._

                                * * * * *

                          PALESTINE AND RUSSIA.

 Third Thousand.  16mo. cloth, bevelled, 1_s._ 6_d._; paper cover, 1_s._

                                * * * * *

                          ITS NATURE AND EXTENT.

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                                * * * * *

                         CONFORMITY TO THE WORLD.
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                                * * * * *

                           SERMONS FOR THE DAY.
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                                * * * * *

       4th Edition, revised and enlarged.  Fcap. 8vo. sewed, 6_d._

                                * * * * *

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                                * * * * *


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Sermon Preached in York Minister, on St. Bartholomew's Day, Friday, - August 24, 1877 - on the Occasion of the Consecration of the Right Rev. Rowley Hill, - Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man" ***

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