Archive for the ‘January 31’ Category

Feast of Menno Simons (January 31)   Leave a comment

menno-simons

Above:  Menno Simons

Image in the Public Domain

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MENNO SIMONS (1496-JANUARY 31, 1561)

Mennonite Leader

Konrad Grebel (circa 1498-1526), an erstwhile disciple of Ulrich Zwingli, founded the Swiss Brethren and the Anabaptist movement on January 21, 1525.  Swiss authorities persecuted and all but eradicated the Swiss Brethren; Zwingli was among the persecutors.  Felix Manz became the first Anabaptist martyr on January 5, 1527, when his punishment for rebaptizing people was drowning.  The Anabaptist movement spread into The Netherlands.  The movement also fragmented into four major sects and lacked coherent theological and ethical standards.  It was coming apart at the seams.

Menno Simons provided the standards and stability the Anabaptist movement needed to survive and thrive.  He had been a Dutch Roman Catholic priest in the village of Pingium, starting in 1524.  He began to experience major theological doubts, though.  Was Transubstantiation true?  And was infant baptism valid?  So the priest studied the Bible and the writings of Martin Luther for answers.  (Luther defended the validity of infant baptism.  If it were invalid, he argued, there had not been any Christians in Europe for about 1000 years.  I find that argument convincing.)  Simons became an Anabaptist in January 1536 and a preacher the following year.  His writings became foundational for the Anabaptist movement.  He was so vital to the movement that many Anabaptists adopted the label “Mennonite.”

Simons, an active missioner, moved around much, starting in 1541.  He died at Wustenfield, Holstein, on January 31, 1561.  He was 64 or 65 years old.

I disagree with our saint on many theological points.  I am, in fact, an Episcopalian with strong Lutheran and Roman Catholic tendencies.  Both Transubstantiation and infant baptism make sense to me.  Furthermore, I recognize no need to rebaptize anyone baptized in the Trinitarian formula.  None of these facts prevents me from honoring Menno Simons, however.  He was, I conclude, a servant of God who had a vital witness to Jesus Christ in the world.  That witness continues via the Anabaptist movement, which he stabilized.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 25, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HILEY BATHHURST, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JAMES OTIS SARGENT HUNTINGTON, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF THE HOLY CROSS

THE FEAST OF PETRUS NIGIDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN EDUCATOR AND COMPOSER; AND GEORG NIGIDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN COMPOSER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SQUANTO, COMPASSIONATE HUMAN BEING

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Menno Simons,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2016), page 60

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Feast of Henry Twells (January 31)   1 comment

08032v

Above:  Bournemouth, England, from the Sea, Between 1890 and 1900

Published by Detroit Publishing Company, 1905

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-08032

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HENRY TWELLS (MARCH 23, 1823-JANUARY 19, 1900)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

Henry Twells, born in Birmingham, England, attended King Edward’s School there.

KES_Free_Grammar_School_original_without_towerAbove:  King Edward’s School from 1731 to 1834

(Image in the Public Domain)

Among his classmates were:

  • Joseph Barber Lightfoot (1828-1889), Bishop of Durham from 1879 to 1889;
  • Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901), Bishop of Durham from 1890 to 1901; and
  • Edward White Benson (1829-1896), Archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 to 1896.

Our saint graduated from St. Peter’s College, Cambridge.  Then he took Holy Orders in 1849.  He served a series of congregations (none of which I feel like naming) and led two schools (none of which I feel like naming) before, from 1873 to 1877, being Select Preacher at Cambridge.

4a28400vAbove:  Peterborough Cathedral, Between 1890 and 1910

Publisher and Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Company

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-D428-913

He, made an Honorary Canon of Peterborough Cathedral in 1884, retired for health reasons to Bournemouth in 1890.  There he established and endowed partially a new congregation, St. Augustine’s, which he served until he died.

Twells had three great interests which concern me today:  benevolence, missions, and worship.  He devoted himself to helping the less fortunate and to extending the church.  And he not only wrote hymns, but served on the committee for Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) and its 1889 Appendix.  I have posted one of his hymns to my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

Henry Twells served God and his fellow human beings’ needs faithfully, for divine glory and human benefit.  That as a fine way to spend a life.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS VINCENTIA GEROSA AND BARTHOLOMEA CAPITANIO, COFOUNDERS OF THE SISTERS OF CHARITY OF LOVERE

THE FEAST OF ISAIAH, BIBLICAL PROPHET

THE FEAST OF JAN HUS, PROTO-PROTESTANT MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PALLADIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant Henry Twells,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 718

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Feast of Mary Lundie Duncan (January 31)   1 comment

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Above:  Ruins of Roxburgh Castle, Kelso, Scotland, Between 1890 and 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-07621

Published by Detroit Publishing Company, 1905

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MARY LUNDIE DUNCAN (APRIL 26, 1814-JANUARY 5, 1840)

Scottish Presbyterian Hymn Writer

Mary Lundie, born in Kelso, Scotland,was a daughter of the Reverend Robert Lundie, a Church of Scotland minister.  Her sister married Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), a great hymn writer.  Our saint married the Reverend William Wallace Lundie (died in 1864), a Church of Scotland minster at Cleish, in 1836.  Their marriage was brief, for she died in January 1840, after a chill turned into a fever.  Our saint died a few months before her twenty-sixth birthday, leaving two young children behind.

The 1935 companion volume to the 1933 Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Hymnal says of our saint:

Mary Duncan was a most remarkable character.  Her contemporaries compared her brilliant mind, overflowing personality, and devout spirit to those of Madame Guyon, the “evangelist of quietism.”

–pages 461-462

And Robert Guy McCutchan, in his 1937 companion volume t the 1935 Methodist Hymnal, wrote:

She was a beautiful woman with a beautiful character.

Here is an image of Mary Lundie Duncan I found at http://www.hymntime.com/tch/bio/d/u/n/duncan_ml.htm:

duncan_ml

And here is a public domain image of Madame Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717):

Jeanne_Marie_Bouvier_de_la_Motte_Guyon_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_13778

For more about Quietism, follow this link.

Our saint wrote hymns for her children from July to December 1839.  Her mother had them published posthumously.  Among those hymns was  “Jesus, Tender Shepherd, Hear Me.”

Our saint’s widower participated in the 1843 Disruption which formed the Free Church of Scotland, which reunited with the Church of Scotland in 1929.

Mary Lundie Duncan lived well during the short span of her life.  She devoted her life to God and loved her family.  Fortunately for us, that legacy survives in hymnals.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS VINCENTIA GEROSA AND BARTHOLOMEA CAPITANIO, COFOUNDERS OF THE SISTERS OF CHARITY OF LOVERE

THE FEAST OF ISAIAH, BIBLICAL PROPHET

THE FEAST OF JAN HUS, PROTO-PROTESTANT MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PALLADIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Mary Lundie Duncan and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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Revised on November 21, 2016

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for January   Leave a comment

Snow in January

Image in the Public Domain

1 (EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS:  HOLY NAME OF JESUS)

  • World Day of Peace

2 (NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe, Bavarian Lutheran Minister and Coordinator of Domestic and Foreign Missions)

  • Narcissus, Argeus, and Marcellinus of Tomi, Roman Martyrs
  • Odilo of Cluny, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Sabine Baring-Gould, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

3 (TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: William Alfred Passavant, Sr., U.S. Lutheran Minister, Humanitarian, and Evangelist)

  • Edward Caswall, Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Perronet, British Methodist Preacher
  • Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China and Taiwan

4 (ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: Felix Manz, First Anabaptist Martyr)

  • Elizabeth Ann Seton, Foundress of the American Sisters of Charity
  • Gregory of Langres, Terticus of Langres, Gallus of Clermont, Gregory of Tours, Avitus I of Clermont, Magnericus of Trier, and Gaugericus, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • Johann Ludwig Freydt, German Moravian Composer and Educator

5 (TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: John Nepomucene Neumann, Roman Catholic Bishop of Philadelphia)

  • Antonio Lotti, Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Genoveva Torres Morales, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Angels
  • Margaret Mackay, Scottish Hymn Writer

6 (EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST)

7 (François Fénelon, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cambrai)

  • Aldric of Le Mans, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Angelia of Foligno, Penitent and Humanitarian
  • Lucian of Antioch, Roman Catholic Martyr

8 (Thorfinn of Hamar, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • Archangelo Corelli, Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Harriet Bedell, Episcopal Deaconess and Missionary
  • Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, Scientists

9 (Pepin of Landen, Itta of Metz, Their Relations, Amand, Austregisilus, and Sulpicius II of Bourges, Faithful Christians Across Generational Lines)

  • Anthony Mary Pucci, Roman Catholic Priest
  • Julia Chester Emery, Upholder of Missions
  • Philip II of Moscow, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, and Martyr

10 (Theodosius the Cenobiarch, Roman Catholic Monk)

  • Charles William Everest, Episcopal Priest and Hymn Writer
  • John the Good, Roman Catholic Bishop of Milan
  • William Gay Ballantine, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Educator, Scholar, Poet, and Hymn Writer

11 (Mary Slessor, Scottish Presbyterian Missionary in West Africa)

  • George Fox, Founder of the Religious Society of Friends
  • Miep Gies, Righteous Gentile
  • Paulinus of Aquileia, Roman Catholic Patriarch

12 (Benedict Biscop, Roman Catholic Abbot of Wearmouth)

  • Aelred of Hexham, Roman Catholic Abbot of Rievaulx
  • Henry Alford, Dean of Canterbury
  • Samuel Preiswerk, Swiss Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer

13 (Hilary of Poitiers, Roman Catholic Bishop of Poitiers, “Athanasius of the West,” and Hymn Writer; mentor of Martin of Tours, Roman Catholic Bishop of Tours)

  • Christian Keimann, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Kentigern (Mungo), Roman Catholic Bishop of Glasgow
  • Marguerite Bourgeoys, Foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame

14 (Macrina the Elder, Her Family, and Gregory of Nanzianzus the Younger)

  • Christian Keimann, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Civil Rights Martyrs and Activists
  • Kristen Kvamme, Norwegian-American Hymn Writer and Translator

15 (MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER AND MARTYR)

16 (Pachomius the Great, Founder of Christian Communal Monasticism)

  • Greville Phillimore, English Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Richard Meux Benson, Anglican Priest and Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Evangelist; Charles Chapman Grafton, Episcopal Priest, Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and Bishop of Fond du Lac; and Charles Gore, Anglican Bishop of Worcester, Birmingham, and Oxford; Founder of the Community of the Resurrection; Theologian; and Advocate for Social Justice and World Peace
  • Roberto de Nobili, Roman Catholic Missionary in India

17 (Antony of Egypt, Roman Catholic Abbot and Father of Western Monasticism)

  • Berard and His Companions, Roman Catholic Martyrs in Morocco
  • Edmund Hamilton Sears, Unitarian Pastor and Hymn Writer
  • Rutherford Birchard Hayes, President of the United States of America

18-25 (WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY)

18 (CONFESSION OF ST. PETER, APOSTLE)

19 (Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Humanitarians)

  • Caesarius of Arles, Roman Catholic Bishop, and Caesaria of Arles, Roman Catholic Abbess
  • Henry Augustine Collins, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Richard Rolle, English Roman Catholic Spiritual Writer

20 (Fabian, Bishop of Rome and Martyr)

  • Deicola and Gall, Roman Catholic Monks, and Othmar, Roman Catholic Abbot at St. Gallen
  • Euthymius the Great and Theoctistus, Roman Catholic Abbots
  • Harriet Auber, Anglican Hymn Writer

21 (Mirocles of Milan and Epiphanius of Pavia, Roman Catholic Bishops)

  • Alban Roe and Thomas Reynolds, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs
  • Gaspar del Bufalo, Founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood
  • John Yi Yon-on, Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr in Korea

22 (Syncletica of Alexandria, Desert Mother)

  • Adelard of Corbie, Roman Catholic Monk
  • John Julian, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymnologist
  • Vincent Pallotti, Founder of the Pallotines

23 (John the Almsgiver, Roman Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria)

  • Caspar Neumann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Phillips Brooks, Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts
  • Thomas A. Dooley, Physician and Humanitarian

24 (Ordination of Florence Li-Tim-Oi, First Female Priest in the Anglican Communion)

  • Angela Merici, Founder of the Company of St. Ursula
  • Martyrs of Podlasie, 1874
  • Suranus of Sora, Roman Catholic Abbot and Martyr

25 (CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL, APOSTLE)

26 (TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND SILAS, COWORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL)

27 (Allen William Chatfield, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Translator)

  • Jerome, Paula of Rome, Eustochium, Blaesilla, Marcella, and Lea of Rome
  • John Cosin, Anglican Bishop of Cosin
  • William Jones, Anglican Priest and Musician

28 (Albert the Great and his pupil, Thomas Aquinas, Roman Catholic Theologians)

  • Charles Kingsley, Anglican Priest, Novelist, and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph Barnby, Anglican Church Musician and Composer
  • Richard Frederick Littledale, Anglican Priest and Translator of Hymns

29 (LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL)

30 (Lesslie Newbigin, Missionary and Theologian)

  • Bathildas, Queen of France
  • Frederick Oakeley, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest
  • Genesius I of Clermont and Praejectus of Clermont, Roman Catholic Bishops, and Amarin, Roman Catholic Abbot

31 (Charles Frederick Mackenzie, Anglican Bishop of Central Africa)

  • Henry Twells, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Mary Lundie Duncan, Scottish Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • Menno Simons, Mennonite Leader


Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.

Feast of Charles Frederick Mackenzie (January 31)   Leave a comment

Above:  Map of British Central Africa and Nyasaland, 1908

Image in the Public Domain

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CHARLES FREDERICK MACKENZIE (1825-JANUARY 31, 1862)

Charles Frederick Mackenzie, born in Scotland in 1825, received his postsecondary education at St. John’s College, Cambridge, and Caius College, Cambridge.

In 1855 Mackenzie became Archdeacon in the Natal, under Bishop William Calenso.  Six years later, at St. John’s Cathedral, Cape Town, Mackenzie became bishop for Nyasaland (now Malawi).  As bishop, he opposed the slave trade.  Mackenzie’s episcopal tenure was short, for he died of Blackwater Fever in 1862 on a trip to deliver medical supplies to combat malaria.  He could not use the medications because the boat had sunk in an accident.

KRT

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The text of Mackenzie’s 1859 All Saints’ Day sermon, delivered at Cambridge:

HEBREWS xii. 1, 2.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.”

THIS day, my brethren, is set apart by the Church for the commemoration of the saints who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, out of weakness were made strong, and are now waiting for the consummation of all things, God having provided some better things for us, that they, without us, should not be made perfect.

And this commemoration of the members of the Church triumphant surely ought not, and need not, lead us into any errors. Surely we may remember with respect and thankfulness those who have gone before us, the great heroes of the Christian army, and all who have died in the faith and fear of God, without risk of idolatry. Surely the ministers of Christ may draw the attention of their hearers to the history of individual saints, or to the remembrance of the general assembly and church of the first-born, without fear of that memory and respect turning into worship or adoration.

But this danger, if there be any, will be the less if we keep in mind the right objects of such commemorations as this.

[393] One good effect of this day upon our minds should be, that we more distinctly and more thankfully honour God for them. We are accustomed to thank God for His mercies vouchsafed to us–for all the means of grace; and why not also for the examples He has afforded us in the lives of faith, and deaths of constancy and peace, of His servants in past times?

We are more indebted to this support of our faith and love than many of us think, or than, perhaps, we are very willing to admit. Surely the fact that so many men, women, and children have lived in the faith of Christ, and died in hope, is an evidence of the truth of our religion, and one that appeals not only to our intellects, but to our hearts, drawing us, by the gentle force of sympathy, to be joined to the whole body of those who love the Lord. If we have, as we all certainly have, received encouragement or correction from the examples of any of the saints that have entered into their rest, should we not thankfully remember this benefit, and honour God, from whom these graces have proceeded?

For though we have a great and perfect example in the life of our blessed Lord, yet has He been pleased to cause lesser lights also to shine, that we may be encouraged by the examples of those who were, like us, compassed with infirmities. To be made like unto our Lord should be our highest aim; and by His example we are taught the duty and happiness of faith and charity, of constancy in prayer, and even of humility.

But for examples of contrition, of repentance, and humiliation after sin, of confidence in His fatherly love and willingness to forgive, we must look to those who, like ourselves, have fallen and been raised up again. And if any of us have been so encouraged by the restoration of David or of Peter, we may well thank God for the assistance, and magnify that mighty power which strengthens such as do stand, and raises up them that fall.

Then, too, what strength is added to our hopes of heaven by the knowledge of the present reality, that some who were once engaged in the fight in which we are now striving have been made more than conquerors through Him! How much more vivid would be our conception of the state of rest to which we all look forward, if we dwelt more consciously on the fact that some have entered that rest! How much more bright would our prospect seem if we thought of the meeting, not only with the Lord, with Him who is the chiefest among ten thousand, but with all those who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb! [393/394] If the greatest solace and happiness to a Christian be the communion of heart and soul with the faithful upon the earth, who shall conceive the bliss of meeting with those of whom we have heard and read–with Abraham and Joseph, with Moses and Elias, with David and Josiah, or with those who were greater than they, St Peter, St John, or St Paul! Should we not thank God for them that are gone before, not only for their sakes, because they have come out of great tribulation, and arrived safe at the haven where they would be, but also for ourselves, because we hope, when the strife is over, and our work on earth is finished, to be admitted to that heavenly society, and to know them also, even as we are known?

Then, again, should not the commemoration of the saints stimulate our desire of holiness? Sin is the great origin of discord and disunion. Holiness is the great bond which draws men to each other and to God. The memory of the saints leads us to hope for that blessed day when we shall be joined to them; not that, like cowards, we sigh for the time when we may escape from the pains, or even the perils of this life, but that, like faithful servants, we long for the time when, our work being done, we shall be admitted into the presence of the Lord, and to the glorious company of the apostles, and the goodly fellowship of the prophets, and the noble army of martyrs. But are we fit to join so holy a body, and to present our praises in the high courts of heaven?

My brethren, the work that is now to be done consists not only in our exertions for the good of others, but even more of the work of the Holy Spirit within us, and our co-operating with Him in our sanctification. How shall we, stained as we all are by the commission of so many evil deeds, and polluted by the germs of the very worst offences–how shall we hope to enter into or enjoy the kingdom of righteousness in which God ruleth over His saints? Only by the blood of Christ can those stains be washed away, and only by the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit can those germs of sin be rooted out. Oh that the memory of the forgiveness of those who have gone before may encourage us to come to the same fountain! Oh that the holy lives which they led, and the perfect holiness to which they have now attained, may stimulate us to grow in grace, and to cultivate every holy thought and habit!

But, again, the commemoration of departed saints, and the hope of living with them in the light of God’s presence for ever, should move us to closer and more hearty communion with the saints on earth, who have this prospect in common with us, and whom we [394/395] hope to meet, if we are accounted worthy to obtain that world. And I think there are cases where outward manner or some trifling circumstance causes a want of sympathy, and where this might be renewed by the thought of the saints in light, in whose ranks we and they hope to appear. Such practical lessons seem to flow naturally from this day’s commemoration of saints, viz., the duty of honouring God in His saints, of setting them before us as examples, of quickening our hopes of heaven, by the thought of those who have endured to the end, of stimulating our desires of holiness and of closer communion with each other. There is one other lesson most suitable for this day, the duty of doing what in us lies to propagate the gospel, and so to perform our part in the mighty work which Christ came from heaven to achieve, the building up a spiritual house of lively stones, chosen of God and precious. The thought of the innumerable host that will one day stand around the throne of God to celebrate the praises of the Lamb that was slain, may well induce us to look round, and see if there be none now ignorant of Him, to whom we ought to carry the news of His love and mercy, that they may be prepared on earth to join in His praises above.

In every quarter of the globe there are those who are to become saints through the preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified; and with what inconsistency do we act if we speak and think of the glory that is to be revealed at the coming of the Son of God, while we take no steps to swell the number of those who shall rise with us to meet the Lord in the air. How shall we endure to look forward to a meeting with the saints above, if we are sowing the seeds of the remorseful thought that, so far as the number has depended upon our exertions, not one of them has to thank us for any share in bringing him to the Saviour; and, to look at the other side of the picture, not even those who have seen the expression of thankfulness turned towards them for benefits conferred on this earth, can conceive of the joy of that meeting, when each will be blessing not only the Lamb in whom they have trusted, but those also who have been allowed to be instrumental in their salvation.

St Paul looked forward to a meeting with those who would be his joy and crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord. And so, in our degree, may we anticipate the joy of meeting with those who will say, “by your personal exertions, or by your contributions of funds, or by your prayers, you did in God’s providence aid in bringing me here.” Such motives may and should nerve us to exertions greater than we have yet made for the sending the Gospel to those [395/396] who have not received it, whether they be in the centre of our large towns, or in the central deserts of a large continent.

And I would now occupy the short time that remains, in enforcing upon you, my brethren, the duty which, as it seems to me, lies upon us–the Universities–to send out men to preach in foreign lands. No doubt, the first claim upon us is for our own people, for the building churches, the providing additional clergy for our over-crowded populations at home.

But the performance of one duty does not exonerate us from another, and there is a special reason to be urged upon every single person, why he should offer himself for the foreign branch of the Church’s work–viz., that it is the part which it is found most difficult to supply. There is no lack of men to supply our home parishes with rectors and vicars, nor any great difficulty in finding curates to assist them where their cure is large. But there is great difficulty in finding men willing and able to leave this country for work abroad.

Our Church militia is comparatively well supplied, our standing army ready for foreign service is miserably small; and surely it is not from want of manly, noble spirits, that you, the members of these ancient seats of learning and do not come forward to take the most dangerous or least inviting posts. I can well remember how in this very town in days gone by, when a fire broke out and water was wanted to quench it, how ready a response was made to the call for help–how men would form a line, and stand in discomfort for hours in some dark passage, satisfied with the consciousness that they were doing their part, however humble and uninteresting it was, in endeavoring to extinguish the flames, and save property from destruction. And surely the same spirit needs only to be directed into a right channel. The object is gloriously great, to follow in the footsteps of St Paul, who wished to stretch forward to regions beyond, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to his hand; to be occupied in doing the part allowed to us, in adding to the members of the Church triumphant; to be training moral beings for the society of angels; to be privileged to set before them the highest motives–to strengthen them in acting on their good resolutions; to be assisting in bringing about a favourable answer to the question of our Lord, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” and to be setting forth the glorious character of our Master, whom we ourselves adore, to be loved, and worshipped, and served by those who never heard of Him. Are not these reasons why every one that can should come [396/397] and preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men know the mystery of God’s mercy, long hid, but now revealed in Christ, that they may be able to comprehend and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that they may be filled with all the fulness of God?

To you, my younger brethren, we look for the supply of the ranks of our missionary army, for men to go out as pioneers in our new expeditions, for men to be sent on no forlorn hope, but with the certainty of success, whether that success appear in our own lifetime or not.

To you we look for men such as a missionary should be–“men who are prepared to walk by faith, to labour to instil new ideas into untrained minds, and new motives among uncurbed passions”–men who believe that the work shall prosper, and that the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, and yet are prepared to see little or no fruits of their labours in their own day–men who, like their Master, love the sheep they tend, and seek that which is lost till they find it–men who, knowing the plague of their own heart, can have compassion on the ignorant and on them that are out of the way, for that they themselves also are compassed with infirmity, and can yet hold unflinching, uncompromising war with sin–whose faith can stand firm in the Saviour’s promise, that He is with us always, even to the end of the world, while they see around them on every side the proofs of Satan’s power and malignity. For these things we shall be made able by the power of God, which worketh in you mightily.

To you we look for men, and we look with confidence, because we constantly pray for a blessing on our Universities, that there may never be wanting a supply of persons duly qualified to serve God both in Church and State. And to you, my brethren in the ministry, I would say, let us not be content with praying for these results, while we sit by and make no effort to bring them about.

If this place is to send out men fit for a parish, or for a mission to the heathen, and willing to undertake such work, it must be due, under God, mainly to the tone you give to the society of your respective colleges, and to the example you set. Is there none among you willing himself to give up the comforts, and ease, the usefulness of his present life, for the discomforts of a colonial or missionary life, with the assurance that he is ministering to the needs of those who, but for him, must want? Every accession to our ranks abroad is a far greater gain to us than it is a loss to the Church at home–places [397/398] are soon filled up at home. And let not the Universities grudge to give us of their best. Were not Paul and Barnabas sent forth by the church at Antioch, on that first missionary tour in Asia Minor? Be not, then, faint-hearted. Ask in the spirit of that prayer to the Lord of the harvest, that He would thrust forth labourers into His harvest. Remember the faith and patience of the saints of old, and, seeing ye are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, run ye with patience the race that is set before you, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith.

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God of grace and glory, we praise you for your servant Charles Frederick Mackenzie, who made the good news known in Africa.  Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds of the gospel, so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of your love, and be drawn to worship you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and God, now and forever.  Amen.

Isaiah 62:1-7

Psalm 48

Romans 10:11-17

Luke 24:44-53

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006)

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Revised on November 21, 2016

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