The History of Trinity is the History of St. John

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The History of Trinity is the History of St. John
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THE HISTORY OF TRINITY IS THE HISTORY OF THE CITY OF ST. JOHN. The Old Church Celebrates Its Centennial Anniversary-Crowded to the Doors — A Beautiful Service —Rev. Canon Brigstocke’s Sermon — The Music. The annals of Trinity church represent to such a great degree the history of St. John, that the celebration of its l00th anniversary yesterday aroused much more than the ordinary interest felt in affairs of that kind. The special service was begun at 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Every seat was occupied, and many people were turned away. The interior of the church was most beautiful decorated, the trimmings and mottoes being described in Thursday s TELEGRAPH. The service, which was largely choral, lasted nearly two hours. The music was of a character long to be remembered, and reflected the greatest credit upon Mr. R. P.Strand, Trinity’s organist, who arranged it, and acted as conductor. Air. A. M. F. Custance, organist of St. John Baptist church, took the organ and gave marked satisfaction. His offertory voluntary, the pastoral symphony from the Messiah, was especially noteworthy. The choir, numbering about 100 voices, included members from all the Episcopal choirs of the city. An innovation, and a most pleasing one, was the introduction of an orchestra of 20 pieces under the leadership of Prof. White. It was composed as follows: 1st violins—Messrs. J. M. White and A. Watson and Misses A. Sutherland and M. Maclaren; 2d violins—Messrs. W. C. Bowden, R S. Ewing and H. Turner, and Alias M. Gibbs; violas—Messrs. R. F. Strand and V. Pedersen: violoncello—Miss F. Bowden and Mr. G R Ewing; double bassos— Messrs. W. A. Ewing and G. N. Hevenor; flutes—Messrs. Hammond and G. Calkin; clarionets— Messrs. Fred Jones and W. G. Stratton; cornets—Mr. J. Phair and Miss A. L. Chipman; tymphani— Mr. John Woodland. The orchestra received great praise, especially for its rendition of Mendelssohn’s War March, the concluding voluntary. The whole music was given in Thursday s TELEGRAPH. The lieutenant governor, mayor, and common council were present by invitation. The clergy within the rail were the rector, Rev. Canon Brigstocke, Rev. Canon DeVeber, Rev. R. Mathers, Rev. B. F. Cooley, Rev J. de Soyres, Rev. L. G. Stevens, Rev. W. O. Raymond, Rev. Mr Geare, Rev. R. W. Hudgell and Rev. W. Eatough. The prayers were read by Rev. Messrs, de Soyres and Raymond. Rev. Canon DeVeber read the first lesson, 1st Kings viii, 1-31. Rev. L. G. Stevens read the second lesson, Hebrews xi, 1-17. Rev. Canon Brigstocke preached the sermon from the text: “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations.”—Deuteronomy xxxii, 7. He said: “One hundred years ago—Christmas day, 1791—a faithful band of men and women, faithful alike to God and king, assembled together for the first time for public worship on this sacred spot, in the church which they had just completed and which was the first erected in this city. It requires no effort of the imagination to realize the bright anticipations of that Christmas day, nor the joy and enthusiasm with which they sung their Christmas hymns—the same we sing still—and said one to another, 'O go your way into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and speak good of His name; for the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting, and His truth endureth from generation to generation.' It was for them an important and memorable occasion. It formed an epoch in their history. The commemoration of events which have been turning points in the history of a people and nation is both a duty and a privilege. “We are bidden to remember the days of old, and the years of many generations;” and nothing is more marked in the inspired history of the nation of Israel, than the frequent reference to past events, as affording instruction and guidance for the present. It is therefore right and meet that we should, after the lapse of a century, assemble on this sacred spot, to commemorate the work of those who were here before ns, and into whose labors we have so largely entered. “Returning back to the pages of their history I cannot refrain from telling in brief, the tale of their heroic self-sacrifice, which though it had been often told, will bear being placed on record once more. “Upwards then of a century ago, through a policy of the British government towards its colonies on this continent which proved most disastrous, a fierce spirit of rebellion broke out, and a most terrible interference strife ensued. It was natural that many preferred to remain subjects of the British crown, and took their stand accordingly. In the progress of events it ensued that the colonies were being formed into the independent republic, and that those who would not pin in that movement could not remain in the country. The choice lay between casting in their lot with those who at that time were rebels against the throne of the kingdom and retaining their allegiance to the British crown, at the sacrifice of their country, their homes and all their temporal possessions. Thousands of them did not hesitate as to their course of action. They sacrificed all their worldly interests—their country their homes and property—they severed, we may be sure, many dear ties of friendship to remain an integral portion of the British nation. With the men and women of whom we are speaking, loyalty to the throne was a religious principle, and with them religious principle had a living power. They found inscribed in the Bible, on the same page and in the same verse, 'Fear God, and Honor the king' I. Pet., ii. 17); and, regarding both precepts as divine, they resolved to respect them both. “The changes which have been wrought by the lapse of years and progress of human events may seem to pass an un favorable judgment on the conduct of the Loyalists, as they are honorably termed, and show them to have been only actuated by fanatical enthusiasm. But it is not so. The fact that the war of Independence was the first throes of a new nation—a nation of enormous power and prosperity, and which is ruled by a Republican form of government, casts no slur or taint of reproach on the Loyalists, whose course of action was guided by sincere religious convictions. No political changes that have taken place within the last century have done anything to tarnish the luster of their noble example of Christian patriotism and heroic self-sacrifice, which is without a parallel in English history. “It is well to recall the tact that when the Loyalists landed here in 1783, they were greeted by barren rocks and wooded cliffs. Here and there may have been seen the wigwam of the native Indian, or some humble dwelling of an enterprising immigrant, but to those who had left a flourishing country, happy homes, cultivated farms, and all the appliances of civilized life, it was a desolate wilderness. The prospect was a dreary one, and enough to have appalled the stoutest heart, but for one thing, namely, that they acted for Christian principle. Christian principle will uphold amidst the most untoward external circumstances. Happiness is not dependent on material wealth, the country we live in, or the dwelling we occupy, but in the fear and love of God. Carrying these graces within us, the desolate wilderness rejoices as the rose. Never did Jacob sleep more calmly than when the earth was his bed and stones formed his pillow. It looked dreary and desolate, but all was transfigured by the presence of his Maker, and the place whereon he lay became the house of God, and the gate of heaven. “And while enterprising, skillful, and energetic in their temporal affairs, the Loyalists did not forget the Divine injunction, Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Their first care was to build a church. As Christian men they knew that the public interests were at stake without an appointed place for public worship, so they set to work, and the desire of their hearts was accomplished. Through their own generous exertions, and much aid from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which has been the honored instrument of God, for planting the Historic Church of England on this continent, they erected Trinity church on this noble site—the gift of three of their number. They thus bore testimony to the importance and value of Divine worship, and the institution of the church as the divine instrumentality for blessing all life. They knew the words of the Psalmist, ‘How amiable are My dwellings Thou Son of Hosts; My soul hath a desire and longing to enter into the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.” ‘For one day in My courts, is better than a thousand.’ How does their conduct rebuke much prevailing indifference in respect of public worship, and reprove those who so sadly neglect it to their serious injury, and loss. It is as true now, as old, ‘Them that honor Me, I will honor; and those that despise Me, shall be lightly esteemed.’ “Thus did the Loyalists a noble work for this city in building a church, and leave a rich heritage to those who should come after them. And though in the providence of God the venerable building they erected was swept away, in the great conflagration of June 1877, yet their works still follow them, as the noble edifice we were enabled to build on this sacred site in place the old, and which is ours today, is very largely the fruit of their gifts of property which they consecrated to the service of God. “Omitting now, through want of time, further details respecting the Loyalists, I pass on to make mention of those servants of God, the bishops and pastors of the flock that gathered here for worship. “At the date of the arrival of the Loyalists, all around was little better than a dreary waste, in respect of the Christian ministry. Missionary labor was not, indeed, unknown in New Brunswick, for as early as 1769 a missionary arrived in the harbor of St. John, and field service for the English that were then here. But there was no organized church, no bishop to counsel or guide, to confirm or ordain. The colonial episcopate was not founded, and the great Atlantic lay between the flocks and their chief pastor, if indeed they had one. This was 30,000 miles removed. On the 12th day of August, 1787, four years after the Loyalists arrived, the Rev. Chas. Inglis was consecrated bishop in Lambeth, England, and given as his diocese British North America. As rector of Trinity Church, New York, where he was when the Revolutionary war broke out, he showed himself by his devotions to his God and his sovereign to be facile princeps among the Loyalists. In the words of our beloved metropolitan, That one strong man was faithful in his day. When a hundred soldiers, with muskets loaded and with bayonets fixed, came to disturb him at his prayers, he only raised his voice the louder, and beheld them with no trembling glance, that everyone might bear and see that prayers are borne on angels’ wings to the throne of the Most High, and that whoever else shook with fear. that man was not Chas. Inglis.’ One year after his consecration Bishop Inglis visited St. John when, on August 20th, 1788, he laid the corner stone of Trinity church, delivered a charge to the clergy, and administered the rite of confirmation. He paid St. John a second visit in 1792 when, on August 19th, he consecrated Trinity church, and held an ordination, admitting the Rev. Frederick Dibblee, of Stamford, Connecticut, to the order of priesthood, and Mr. Oliver Arnold to that of deacon. His successor in the episcopate was Bishop Stanzler, who finding himself, through want of health, unable to carry on his work, soon resigned the see. He was succeeded by Bishop John Inglis who, on several occasions, visited St. John for the performance of episcopal functions. His first visit was in 1826, when he consecrated St. John’s church. In 1840, he consecrated St. Luke’s church, and paid his last visit in 1841, when he held an ordination in Trinity church, and delivered a charge to the clergy. Bishop John Inglis did much for the organization of the church, and visited this province, now formed into one archmaconry, about every three years. “But the most memorable day for the church in these parts was the 4th day of May, 1845, when the Rev. John Medley was consecrated bishop of Fredericton, and this province was created into a diocese. The grain of, mustard seed had become a tree and many were now gathered under its shelter. Of the life, the work and the character of the present beloved bishop of this diocese, I forbear to speak as I cannot enter into such treatment as they deserve. An episcopate of over 45 eventful years cannot be compressed into a few brief sentences. I will only now say that the devotion of Bishop Medley to the work of his episcopate, his ripe and extensive learning, his abundant labors, his kindly generosity, and above all, his simplicity of life and unaffected piety, are not only an example to his clergy and laity, but to the people of this province at large. Long since has he, in the providence of God, Missed the meridian of his life’s work: may its sunset be calm and glorious! “Of the clergy who have ministered to the flock who assembled here, what shall I say? for time would fail me to tell of the labors of Bisset, Byles, Pidgeon, Willis, B. G. Gray, J. W. D. Gray and Hill, who have successively been rector of this parish during the century. Special interest will always belong to the ministry of Dr. Byles, who was the best rector of the church on this site, and that of Dr. J. W. D. Gray who was connected with this church for forty-two years; fourteen as curate, and twenty-eight as rector. As the parish of St. John was co-extensive with the limits of the present city, its various rectors, with the aid of the laity, made provision from time to time for further church accommodation as it was required. During the Rector-ship of Dr. Byles, a chapel was built in Carleton in 1804, and which bore the name of St. John’s chapel. In , 1822 when more accommodation was needed, St. George’s church was built during the Rector-ship of Dr. Willis. In 1822 steps were taken to build St. John’s church, which was opened for divine service in 1825 In 1829 a first church was opened in Portland; and in 1851, St. James’ church was consecrated for divine worship. Since then the church has extended her borders by its subdivision of St. George's parish, St. Luke's parish, and St. Mark’s parish. Thus in every part of the city has spiritual provision been made for the members of our church. We now enter into the labors of those who have preceded us, and have the solemn responsibility resting on us, that we be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God. If material buildings are not now required, there is a heavy demand for spiritual labor to build living stones into the spiritual temple “Once more. In our commemoration today of the founders of this church we must not forget that they were also the founders of this city. We meet here as fellow citizens and gladly welcome the members of our city government as the representatives of the citizens generally. In our city we have a goodly heritage. But how striking the contrast to the scene which presented itself to our forefathers a century ago! In the words of a late rector of this church (Dr. Gray in Trinity Church and its Founders), The spruce tree has yielded to the woodman’s axe, the rock has submitted to the hammer, the log hut is exchanged for the stately dwelling, the silence of the forest for the hum of trade and commerce.’ Instead of a single church we now have nine within the city, and various places of worship belonging to other religious bodies. We have also several benevolent institutions, crowned, as they have been during the past week, with a home for nurses in connexion with the general public hospital. But while the scene is changed, while we are surrounded with all the luxuries of modern life, let us not forget Him who is the giver of all. This city was founded on Christian principles, see to it, that they are maintained. ‘Fear God, and honor the king,’ must still be our watchwords if we would be a happy, contented and prosperous people, The character of the city depends on the character of its habitants. Each one is making it better or worse by the life that is lived. Beautiful as it is for situation, let it be our ambition to make it a city of righteousness. Adorned as it is with material wealth and beauty, let it be our endeavor that it be also adorned, with Christian men and Christian women; men and women who are ready, and not ashamed to be faithful soldiers and servants of Jesus Christ. “Today as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, who for us men, and for our salvation came down from heaven, are we specially called to think of Him, and of our duties to each other. He came to form one vast brotherhood of the human family. As yet the ideal is not reached, but look to it that as we linger on this scene, we do all in our power to promote mutual love and good-will, and thus show that we have not heard in vain the angel’s song, first sung in Bethlehem’s plains, Glory to God in the Highest, on earth peace good will toward men.’