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Full text of "Matson Meier-Smith. Memories of his life and work .."

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MATSON MEIER-SMITH. 



MATSON MEIER-SMITH. 



MEMORIES OF HIS LIFE AND WORK. 



"To-day the warfare of the Cross! 
To-morrow the Crown ! Righteous- 
ness, peace, and glory for evermore!' 1 '' 



PRINTED FOR PRIVATE DISTRIBUTION. 



NEW YORK: 

ANSON D. F. RANDOLPH & CO. 
1891. 



Copyright, 1891, 
BY ANSON D. F. RANDOLPH & Co. 



tilir.tif rsttu 
JOHN WILSON AND SON, CAMBRIDGE. 



mg Belobrtr Cfjttoren, 



SHARERS WITH ME IN THE INHERITANCE OF PRECIOUS 
MEMORIES, 

THIS VOLUME IS TENDERLY INSCRIBED. 

M. S. M-S. 



20124C4 



' But still I wait with ear and eye 

For something gone which should be nigh, 

A loss in all familiar things. 

In flower that blooms, and bird that sings. 

And yet, dear heart ! remembering thee, 

Am I not richer than of old? 
Safe in thy immortality, 

What change can reach the wealth I hold ? 

What chance can mar the pearl and gold 
Thy love hath left in trust with me 1 
And while in life's late afternoon, 

Where cool and long the shadows grow, 
I walk to meet the night that soon 

Shall shape and shadow overflow, 
I cannot feel that thou art far, 
Since near at need the angels are; 
And when the sunset gates unbar, 

Shall I not see thee waiting stand, 
And, white against the evening star, 

The welcome of thy beckoning handl" 



PEEFACE. 



THIS Memorial of MATSON MEIER-SMITH is mainly a 
transcript of the sacred recollections of those who 
stood toward him in relations of intimacy. Were it pro- 
posed to prepare a more extensive and complete memoir, 
with a view to publication, it would be forbidden by the 
knowledge of Dr. Meier-Smith's strong conviction, often 
expressed, that unless a life had been distinctively public 
and prominent, any written record of its events should be 
reserved for those whose personal affection would give it 
a peculiar and tender interest. 

Penned therefore as are these memories only for loving 
friends, among whom, it is believed, may be numbered 
many of his brethren of the clergy, of his former parish- 
ioners, and of his late pupils in the Philadelphia Divinity 
School, a freedom of expression is permitted upon the fol- 
lowing pages that would be otherwise forbidden. 

It would have been gratifying could there have been 
included in them more from Dr. Meier-Smith's own pen, 
but a large proportion of such of his letters as are acces- 
sible are of a personal and private character which forbids 
extensive use of their contents. 

It is a compensation for such necessary omission that 
this volume has been prepared by the one who stood 
toward its subject in the nearest and most sacred earthly 
relationship, and who bej-ond all others knew his spirit, 
his aims, and his manner of life. Thus its recitals are 



viii PREFACE. 

peculiarly dear and grateful to those who stood within 
the wide family circle so long blessed by his presence, 
and who, in his departure, felt that they had lost the most 
generous of friends, the wisest of counsellors, and the most 
tender and loving of brothers. 

They, in common with all who came within his influence, 
recognized the fascination of his manner, the dignity of his 
bearing, the breadth and liberality of his thinking, his un- 
selfish devotion to the service of his fellow-men and his 
loyalty to his divine Master ; but they also knew, as others 
could not, the joy and the strength which his presence im- 
parted to those upon whom, as standing nearest to him, 
was freely lavished the wealth of his rich affection. 

Too well they know that from their lives a radiance has 
vanished never to be rekindled until the day break and the 
shadows flee away. 

E. N. W. 
MARCH, 1891. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

I. ANCESTRAL NOTES 1 

II. EARLY YEARS. 1826-1839 12 

III. COLLEGE AND THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY. 1839- 

1846 26 

IV. PROFESSIONAL WORK BEFORE ORDINATION. 

1847-1849 35 

V. ORDINATION AND MARRIAGE. THE FIRST 

PARISH. 1849-1850 46 

VI. BROOKLINE DAYS. 1851-1854 56 

VII. BROOKLINE DAYS. 1855-1859 74 

VIII. LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 1859-1863 85 

IX. LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 1863-1865 95 

X. ORDAINED DEACON AND PRIEST IN THE EPISCO- 
PAL CHURCH. 1866 114 

XI. THE FIRST RECTORSHIP; TRINITY CHURCH, 

NEWARK. 1866-1868 124 

XII. THE FIRST RECTORSHIP; TRINITY CHURCH, 

NEWARK. 1868-1871 135 

XIII. LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 1871 152 

XIV. WORK RESUMED. ST. LUKE'S, PHILADELPHIA. 

ST. GEORGE'S, NEW YORK. 1872 .... 185 



x CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

XV. RECTORSHIP OF ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HART- 
FORD. 1872-1876 189 

XVI. LIFE AND WORK IN PHILADELPHIA. 1876- 

1887. THE DIVINITY SCHOOL 213 

XVII. CHURCH WORK AND CLERICAL ASSOCIATIONS 231 

XVIII. HOME LIFE 241 

XIX. EVENTIDE. 1887 268 

LETTERS FROM FRIENDS 289 

TRIBUTES 297 

SERMONS. 

UNITY AMID DIVERSITY 308 

CAST CARE UPON GOD 320 

THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH .... 327 

THE HOLY COMMUNION 338 

THE MANY MANSIONS 347 

VICTORY THROUGH TEMPTATION 358 



JHemories of life anti Mork, 



I. 

ANCESTRAL NOTES. 

MATSON MEIER-SMITH came of an honored 
lineage. The blood of Puritan forefathers, from 
typical New England families, mingled equally in his 
veins with that of German ancestors of names revered 
in the Fatherland, and in their adopted country. 

To this heritage he was loyal, believing in the bless- 
ings received from an intelligent and godly ancestry. 
The ties of blood and kindred were very strong in him, 
and his response to their claims always kindly and 
hearty. Physically and intellectually the influence of 
heredity was distinctly marked in him, and no portrait- 
ure of him could be life-like which did not recognize 
this fact. 

Some notice of those from whom he was descended 
seems therefore especially fitting ; and happily, several 
sketches can be given from his own pen, as he had 
prepared extended genealogical notes for his children. 
He writes respecting those from whom he received his 
time -honored and homely patronymic, "So far as can 
be ascertained, the Smiths were always a most respect- 
able family, with no aristocratic pretensions, or quasi 
patents of nobility. They were thrifty and much re- 
spected freeholders and landowners of New England. 
The first ancestor of whom we have record was Rich- 
ard Smith, who settled in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1652, 
His descendants in direct line remained on the old 
1 



2 ANCESTRAL NOTES. 

homestead, prominent men in the community, and re- 
spected citizens. Joseph, the fifth in succession, mar- 
ried Mary Matson, of Lyme." 

From this well-known Connecticut family came Dr. 
Meier-Smith's Christian name. Among men of note, 
of kin in the Matson line, were the late Hon. William 
A. Buckingham, Connecticut's "War-Governor," and 
the Hon. Morison R Waite, late Chief- Justice of the 
United States. 

Through the Mather family are collateral connec- 
tions with many New England families of this historic 
name. They are descended from Eev. Eichard Mather, 
born in Lowton, England, in 1596. Educated at the 
University of Oxford, he became a clergyman of the 
Church of England ; but was suspended for non-con- 
formity, and came to this country in 1635, settling in 
Boston. He was the first of the family of Congrega- 
tional ministers known as the " Mather dynasty," and 
was the father of Increase and the grandfather of Cotton 
Mather. He was selected to answer the thirty-two 
questions in regard to Church government, propounded 
to the New England ministers by the Magistrates, in 
1639, and was the chief designer of the "Cambridge 
Platform," adopted by the New England Synod of 
1648. He had six sons, all but one of whom were 
clergymen. Timothy, his second son, was the ances- 
tor of Dr. Samuel Mather, of Lyme, who was the last 
of seven in succession, all of whom were clergymen 
or physicians. Dr. Mather was a man of much dis- 
tinction in his profession. 

Matson Smith, the son of Joseph Smith and Mary 
Matson, was born in Lyme, Connecticut, Feb. 9, 1767. 
He studied medicine with Dr. Mather, whose daughter 
Sarah he married. They were Dr. Meier-Smith's pa- 



ANCESTRAL NOTES. 3 

ternal grandparents. Of this grandfather he writes: 
" Dr. Matson Smith settled in New Eochelle, New York, 
about the year 1788. He was a man of strong person- 
ality, of tall and powerful frame, with marked features 
and commanding presence, and of grave and dignified 
manner. He possessed the physician's instinct and the 
surgeon's instinct, in equal balance. He was the lead- 
ing man in his neighborhood, and prominent among the 
physicians of Westchester County. His home was a 
most hospitable one, a favorite resort of friends and 
clergymen from New England and New York. He was 
thoroughly well read, and always abreast of the time 
in the literature of his profession. He was a student 
of the Bible and theology, and quite eminent among 
laymen for his knowledge in this direction, as well as 
for his religious character. In 1830 he received an 
honorary M. D. from the Eegents of the University of 
the State of New York. His chosen home, New 
Rochelle, one of the early Huguenot settlements, be- 
came very dear to him in all its interests. He was 
one of the founders of the Presbyterian Church there, 
a ruling elder, and frequently a delegate to the General 
Assembly. In all matters of public interest he was very 
influential, and contributed liberally to everything for 
the prosperity of the place. He died March 17, 1845. 

" Dr. Matson Smith had a large family ; seven chil- 
dren survived him. His eldest son, Joseph Mather 
Smith, M. D., was a distinguished physician, practis- 
ing in New York for many years, and Professor of 
the Theory and Practice of Medicine in the College 
of Physicians and Surgeons. Afterward, under the 
University organization of Columbia College, he be- 
came Professor of Materia Medica. He died in the 
year 1866, in the seventy-eighth year of his age." 



4 ANCESTRAL NOTES. 

Dr. Meier-Smith's maternal ancestry was purely 
German. His grandfather's family, from whom came 
his second Christian name, used in all his later years 
as a prefix to his surname, is traced in unbroken line 
from about the year 1490. It has been to the present 
generation honorable in the annals of the free city of 
Bremen. Dr. Meier-Smith's grandfather was Caspar 
Meier, son of Diederich Meier, "Doctor and Burgo- 
master " in Bremen. He was born in Bremen, Sept. 20, 
1774, and came to New York about the year 1800. 
He was Consul of the Bremen Eepublic, and founded 
the business house of Caspar Meier & Co. His place 
of business for many years was in Broad Street, New 
York. The successors of this house are the well-known 
firm of Oelrichs & Co., in which, to-day, some of the 
leading partners are his grandson and great-grandsons. 

Mr. Meier's family mansion was beautifully situated 
on the high bank of the Hudson at Bloomingdale, com- 
manding a noble view of the river. He was a man of 
gentle and unobtrusive manner, and much sweetness 
of character. His grandson remembered him with pe- 
culiar affection, his home life being singularly attractive. 
He entertained extensively, though unostentatiously ; 
and as a Christian man, and upright citizen, he was held 
in high regard in the community. In many traits of 
character his grandson strongly resembled him. Brought 
up in the German Reformed Communion, he became 
an elder in the Dutch Reformed Church at Manhattan- 
ville. He married, in 1801, Eliza Katharine, daughter 
of the Rev. Dr. Kunze. They had eight children, of 
whom only four reached maturity. Mr. Meier died 
Feb. 2, 1839. 

Through his grandmother, Dr. Meier-Smith was de- 
scended from the Patriarch of the Lutheran Church 



ANCESTRAL NOTES. 5 

in America, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, who was 
born in Einbeck, Germany, Sept. 6, 1711, came to 
this country in 1742, and died at New Providence, 
Pennsylvania, in 1787. The one hundredth anniver- 
sary of his death was celebrated in Philadelphia in 
commemoration of his great services to the Lutheran 
Church. "Dr. Muhlenberg's great energy and execu- 
tive ability were combined with extensive learning. 
He was a finished scholar in Hebrew and Greek, almost 
as familiar with Latin as with German, and fluent in 
the English, Dutch, French, Bohemian, and Swedish 
tongues. He was a fine musician, and performed upon 
the organ, harp, guitar, and violin. He travelled ex- 
tensively in the advancement and oversight of his 
Church, founding and strengthening the Lutheran con- 
gregations. He resided in the city of Philadelphia. 
He married, in 1745, Anna Maria, daughter of Conrad 
Weiser, mentioned frequently in our Colonial annals as 
an Indian interpreter, agent, magistrate," etc. Dr. Muh- 
lenberg was the father of eleven children. The three 
sons who survived him were all men of distinction in 
Church and State, honorable among the many hon- 
ored names connected with the days of the Revolution, 
and the founding of the Republic. John Peter Gabriel, 
the eldest, took orders in both the Lutheran and the 
English churches, and was pastor of several mission 
congregations in the valley of the Blue Ridge in Vir- 
ginia. The story is told of him, that after having 
received a colonel's commission in the Revolutionary 
army, lie conducted services in his church; and during 
the sermon, at the close of a patriotic appeal, threw 
off his gown and bands and appeared in full uniform, 
ordering the drum to beat for recruits at the church 
door. Three hundred hardy frontiersmen enlisted 



6 ANCESTRAL NOTES. 

under his banner that day. He was a distinguished 
officer throughout the war, rising to the rank of Major- 
General, and afterward served in both houses of the 
Federal Congress. 

The second son, Frederick Augustus, also a clergy- 
man, was a member of the first Continental Congress, 
and Speaker of the House in the first, second, and 
third Federal Congresses. 

Dr. Muhlenberg's daughter, Margaretta Henrietta, 
was born in 1751, and in 1771 was married to Rev. 
Dr. John Christopher Kunze, who was born in Mans- 
feld, Saxony, Aug. 5, 1744, and died in New York, 
July 24, 1807. He came to Philadelphia in 1770, and 
became pastor of St. Michael's and Zion Churches, 
Philadelphia. He was also a Professor in the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania, but in 1784 removed to New 
York. He was a Regent of the University of the 
State of New York, and one of its founders, and also 
Professor of Oriental Languages in King's (afterward 
Columbia) College. Dr. Meier-Smith writes of his 
great-grandfather: "Dr. Kunze was regarded as one 
of the most learned men of his age. He was the 
leading Oriental scholar in America, a man of much 
mathematical proficiency, and an astronomer. In the- 
ology he was pietistic and supra-naturalistic. Dr. 
Kunze was quite a numismatologist, and his valuable 
collection of coins was presented, after his death, to 
the New York Historical Society. Among my own 
papers are some manuscript letters and parts of lec- 
tures to students, in Hebrew. An old diary, kept in 
Latin, has some amusing and pathetic entries illustra- 
tive of his simple piety and domestic sweetness." He 
had seven children. Mrs. Kunze, conspicuous among 
the many women in whom the stirring times developed 



ANCESTRAL NOTES. 7 

vigorous and superior traits of character, was a leader 
in social and religious circles in New York. Her great- 
grandson writes: "Mrs. Kunze I remember distinctly 
as a very remarkable woman, even in old age, and one 
particularly attractive to my childish fancy." 

" Eliza Katharine, the eldest daughter of Dr. Kunze, 
was born Oct. 9, 1776, and became the wife of Caspar 
Meier. She was an intellectual woman of elegant pres- 
ence, a gentlewoman of the old school. For the last 
thirty years of her life, she bore with great sweetness 
and courage the affliction of total blindness. She sur- 
vived her husband many years, and died Jan. 29, 1863, 
at the residence of her son-in-law, Dr. Albert Smith." 

From the biographical notes left by Dr. Meier-Smith 
are given the following sketches of his parents. " My 
father, Albert Smith, M. D., was born at New Kochelle, 
Westchester County, New York, March 28, 1798. He 
was born on the place where he died in advanced years, 
and probably within a few feet of the spot where his bed 
of death stood. He was educated at the well known 
Academy of Colchester, Connecticut. He studied med- 
icine with his brother, Dr. Joseph Mather Smith, and 
at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, 
where he graduated Doctor of Medicine in 1820. He 
began at once to practise medicine in Manhattanville, 
in the upper part of the city limits, on the North Eiver 
side of Manhattan Island. He was resident physician 
of the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum for about two years. 
Here he instituted reforms and amelioration in the treat- 
ment of the insane, novel then, though generally accepted 
now. 

"The residence of Caspar Meier, Esq., was nearly 
opposite, and on one occasion a party of ladies from his 
house visited the asylum, and under the guidance of the 



8 ANCESTRAL NOTES. 

young doctor ascended to the cupola to enjoy the view. 
Here my father was first introduced to my mother. 
Thereafter he was a frequent guest at Mr. Meier's hos- 
pitable home, and married his daughter, Emily Maria, 
May 3, 1825. 

" After his marriage he removed to the ' Bradish Man- 
sion,' on the east side of Manhattan Island, and com- 
menced general practice in Harlem. In 1830 he went to 
New York, living in Bleecker Street for ten years, and 
then in Green Street, near Clinton Place. In 1846, after 
the death of his father, he purchased the family home- 
stead and farm at New Kochelle, and removed thither, 
building a new house on the site of the old one, which 
was moved a few rods, and is still standing. He relin- 
quished a large and successful family practice by this 
change, the reasons for making it being a somewhat pre- 
carious state of health, and the cares and responsibilities 
thrown upon him as surviving executor for the estates of 
his father-in-law, Mr. Meier, and his brother-in-law, Mr. 
von Post. He continued to aid his professional breth- 
ren in consultation, and gave his services to those who 
were unable to pay for medical attendance. Some old 
families and personal friends insisted more or less upon 
his supervision until his extreme old age. He was a 
man of great activity, and interested himself extensively 
in public affairs, especially as a member of the Board of 
Education at New Eochella He gave a large piece of 
fine woodland for a rural cemetery, and expended upon 
it much time, thought, and money. He took great inter- 
est in the erection of a stone edifice for the Presbyterian 
Church, bought and removed the old frame building 
which his father had helped to build, and altered it 
into a comfortable parsonage, which he presented to the 
church. He erected a transept to the church at his own 



ANCESTRAL NOTES. 9 

expense, and by his gifts and much secular superinten- 
dence attested his liberal spirit and enlightened percep- 
tion of religious duty. For several years he passed the 
winter months at the home of his daughter, the wife of 
Robert Jaffray, Esq., in the city of New York ; but for 
the last two years of his life he remained entirely at his 
home at New Rochelle. He suffered much from malarial 
dyspepsia and weakness of the heart for several years 
before his death, and during his last days was greatly 
dependent upon the devoted care of his friend, the over- 
seer of his farm, Mr. John G. Eoss, who watched and 
nursed him with almost filial care. He died Feb. 19, 
1884, in the eighty-seventh year of his age. 

"My father was an example of great liberality, as 
well as of great economy and thrift. He began his pro- 
fessional life in entire dependence upon his own indus- 
try for bread and butter. His practice in New York 
was modestly remunerative, though a very extended 
work. It was the day when from one to three dollars 
were the ordinary and extreme charges for medical visits. 
His generous delicacy forbade any pressure upon those 
who found it difficult to pay him, or even upon such as 
were simply careless. Though entirely unused to finan- 
cial responsibility, the executorship of the estates before 
referred to threw upon him a heavy burden of study 
and work. He rose to the business finely, and managed 
with such discretion and fidelity, that, at the expiration 
of his trust, the estates were largely increased in value, 
in spite of losses by fire and general commercial disas- 
ters. He lived simply and without ostentation. He 
gave freely to his children, and to friends in needy cir- 
cumstances. His gifts in these directions and to various 
benevolent purposes, as well as to the church, amounted 
to a very large sum in the later years of his life. He 



10 ANCESTRAL NOTES. 

was a man of great modesty and reticence in regard to 
his religious life, but of humble and devout piety, and 
his diaries and letters for many years before his death 
evince deep religious feeling and consecration. Upon 
the monument erected by his descendants in Beech wood 
Cemetery are the words which his son thought pecu- 
liarly expressive of his experience during the last years 
of his weakness and seclusion from old age, ' Looking 
for that blessed hope.' 

" My mother, Emily Maria, the third child of Caspar 
Meier and Eliza Katharine Kunze, was born in New 
York, April 20, 1806. She received an excellent edu- 
cation in the French school of Madame Chegary, dear 
to the memories of many of the daughters of old New 
York. She was married at the age of nineteen. My 
mother was a woman of superior education for the day, 
possessed of keen mind, well read iu history and choice 
literature, and thoroughly at home in the French lan- 
guage, in which she read and spoke fluently throughout 
her life. It was an unheard-of thing that she could 
make a grammatical mistake in either English or French. 
She was in youth and health very attractive in personal 
appearance. Her resemblance to some of the best- 
known Madonnas of the German School of painting was 
often remarked. She was a woman of great religiosity. 
Under mediaeval environment she would have been a 
saint. A saintly beauty became her well. Trained by 
her Lutheran mother, in her childhood she attended 
either the Episcopal or Dutch Church; but after her 
marriage she became a Presbyterian, as my father was. 
In the winter of 1831-32, a great religious interest per- 
vaded the Presbyterian Communion in New York. The 
preaching was of a character to alarm the careless, and, 
what was less desirable, to excite the most conscien- 



ANCESTRAL NOTES. 11 

tious and delicately balanced minds beyond proper 
bounds. From this cause it was, I presume, that my 
mother became almost morbid in her religious experi- 
ence, and suffered much disturbance for two or three 
years. A few years later, while I was in college, she 
suffered for some months from a most painful depres- 
sion, which my father traced to physical causes. After 
her recovery from this experience, she had no further 
recurrence of the trouble. Her Christian life was 
thereafter bright and happy. She was a devout wor- 
shipper in church, a devout woman in private prayer, 
and a great student of the Bible. ' A perfect concord- 
ance,' was the family saying, significant of her constant 
study and extensive memory of the Scriptures. She 
was devoted to every good word and work, her only 
limitations being her health and strength. She suffered 
greatly from malarial headaches for many years of her 
life. A few years before her death she fell in her bed- 
room and broke her hip, remaining a cripple for the rest 
of her life. Though entirely secluded from this cause, 
she in some manner contracted varioloid at a time when 
small-pox was prevalent in New York, and fell a victim 
to the disease after only two days' illness. She died 
March 21, 1872." Dr. Meier-Smith believed that he 
owed a great deal to the influence of his mother's strong 
and beautiful character, and he gave her in return the 
most filial and affectionate devotion. 



II. 

EARLY YEARS. 

1826-1839. 

OUR converging lines have now brought us to the 
subject of this memoir. The city of New York 
was his birthplace. There are some now living who 
can recall the New York of sixty years ago, and who 
dwell with some fondness upon the picture. We may 
linger over it a moment as he loved to do. Those were 
days when it was but an easy walk to reach the rural 
suburbs from the heart of the city ; when Union Square 
was almost "out of town"; when the broad houses of 
the wealthier citizens surrounded the Bowling Green 
and St. John's Park ; when the Battery was a favorite 
promenade and the safe resort of nurses and children ; 
and when one might meet, of a summer afternoon on 
the hills of Hoboken, the well-to-do house-father and 
his family. "Rapid transit" was secured to the satis- 
faction of the younger business men who had ventured 
to make their homes as far " up town " as Bond Street, 
by an hourly omnibus from Wall Street to Bleecker 
Street! Though the metropolitan policeman was un- 
known, peace and security were ensured to the belated 
wayfarer when he met the sturdy watchman in triple- 
caped overcoat going his rounds with the hourly " All 's 
well." The last of those good primitive days passed 
with the early boyhood of Matson Meier-Smith. Before 



EARLY YEARS. 13 

he was ten years old, his native city began to take to 
herself metropolitan airs ; but Dr. Meier-Smith loved to 
tell his children that he could remember when New 
York was scarcely more than a "big village." 

The banks of the Hudson, and of the East River 
above Thirtieth Street, were lined with the country 
seats of those who were able to remove from their city 
residences in the summer, or who preferred to make the 
beautiful suburbs their homes for the entire year. In 
Harlem, then a fast growing and attractive village, very 
near the river stood the Bradish Mansion, a fine old 
villa, rented in the absence of its owners ; and here, on 
the 4th of April, 1826, Matson Meier, the first child and 
only son of Dr. Albert Smith and Emily Maria Meier, 
was born. 

The introduction to Dr. Meier-Smith's book of gene- 
alogical records, from which we have made extracts, 
contains these words : " This book is for my children. 
Two God has given me. With a father's love I shall 
give or bequeath these pages to them, containing in 
various forms records of family affairs, observations, 
thoughts, and hints. It is not a journal, and yet may 
subserve the purpose of one in some respects. It is 
not an autobiography, yet I shall give a little sketch 
of my life so far, and not fail to chronicle any grave 
changes which may hereafter occur. It is intended to 
be a book of familiar conversation with you, my dar- 
lings, undertaken in the hope that the Covenant God, 
whose you are, may spare you to mature life in this 
world, and in the persuasion that the jottings down of 
experiences and incidents may prove not valueless, even 
when the hand that penned them is mouldering in the 
grave. I do not approve of the style of journalism so 
often exhibited, in which the inmost heart is laid open, 



14 EARLY YEARS. 

and most sacred experiences paraded before the public 
eye. But my children may be admitted at times within 
a circle whither the world may not tread ; and should 
they in these pages find themselves occasionally intro- 
duced within such a precinct, they will appreciate the 
spirit in which they are welcomed thither. 

" This book is undertaken in the days of your infancy, 
my darlings, while you are my little lambs, and I am 
scarcely more than a stripling. It might be wiser for 
me to wait until mature age brought me greater wis- 
dom before indulging in an experiment like this. But 
length of days may not be mine; and lest I be re- 
moved early, I will not tarry, but one tribute at least 
of your father's love you shall have. Some things, too, 
perhaps I can better say while in the vigor of my 
youth, and with a strong and lively sympathy with 
you in your childhood and your incipient youth." 

From this loving introduction it is seen that the 
writer intended to record reminiscences of his early life, 
after the ancestral sketches which immediately follow. 
The fulfilment of this good purpose was constantly 
postponed, and of his own story nothing is recorded. 
That it remained a purpose, and would have been ful- 
filled but for the pressure of work and the failing 
strength of the last few years, is certain, for he often 
referred to it, and with the promise that in a year or 
two more, if he did not feel more vigorous, he would lay 
aside other writing and study, and record the story of 
his own life for his descendants. 

The childhood of Dr. Meier-Smith was uneventful. 
Life was more monotonous then, even for the children, 
than in our own fast moving day, when the little folk 
share in the excitements of their elders, and find it 
equally hard to live without them. "My boyhood 



EARLY YEARS. 15 

seems to me a jog-trot," he said, "compared to the gal- 
lop of the boy of the period." He was a vigorous child, 
with bright, quick perceptions, gifted with a keen sense 
of humor, affectionate and generous, and very sensitive 
to praise or blame. Though baptized in the Dutch 
Church, he was early familiar with the Book of Com- 
mon Prayer, always dear to his mother; and at her knee 
he learned the Church Catechism and to read well in the 
Bible before he was four years old. The fear of stimu- 
lating the brain by early pressure seems hardly to have 
occurred to parents or teachers then, and in the little 
Matson's case, as in many others of his generation, we 
are startled to know that at five years of age he was 
studying English and French grammar, and that before 
he was eight he commenced Latin. When expressing 
his strong disapproval of giving such tasks to children 
so young, he would add : " So far as I can see, how- 
ever, one little boy was none the worse for it." 

When Matson was four years old his parents removed 
to the city, and lived for five years on Bleecker Street, 
east of, and within two blocks of Broadway. A little 
later his school life commenced at the Washington In- 
stitute, under the care of Rev. J. D. Wickharn. 1 The 
school held two sessions, but he, with many little boys, 
remained through the recess, the distance being so great 
from their homes. A luncheon table crowned with a 
pudding was spread for the " good boys," and a breacl- 
and-water table for those in disgrace. At the latter, 
the mischief-loving propensities of the little boy caused 
him not unfrequently to be found never, he averred, 
for faulty lessons, for he was quick to learn, and had such 
a retentive memory that he was easily first in his classes. 

1 The Rev. J. D. Wickham is living at this date, and is the oldest 
living graduate of Yale College. 



16 EARLY YEARS. 

Among the older boys then at this school was one to 
whom by marriage Dr. Meier-Smith became kinsman, 
and who, as the beloved Bishop of Western New York, 
was ever a dear and honored friend. A few years ago 
Bishop Coxe was a guest at Dr. Meier-Smith's table, and 
as recollections of school-days were revived, the incident 
was recalled of an ambitious attempt of the older boys 
to produce the play of " Hamlet." The more important 
part in which the brilliant young senior appeared had 
been fojgotten by his admiring junior, but the awe- 
inspiring appearance he presented as the "ghost" was 
vividly depicted to the amusement of host and guest. 

When a little older, Matson attended another pri- 
vate school, conducted by Mr. Nash and Mr. Mann, 
where he received from an Irishman (who was a genius 
in his way) an admirable drilling in the rudiments of 
Latin, for which he was always grateful. He also com- 
menced Greek here at the age of ten. Later, he went 
to the University Grammar School, and there was fitted 
for college. 

The chief enjoyments of his childhood were found in 
his visits to his grandparents. The beautiful home of 
his grandfather Meier was very dear to him. Probably 
the happiest days of his boyhood were passed there, 
where his frequent companion was his cousin, Hermann 
von Post, who was a little younger than himself. His 
grandfather was very fond of him, and proud of his bright 
and ready intelligence. He often made him his com- 
panion in his daily journeys to and from Bloomingdale 
to his office, with the fast horse he loved to drive ; and 
we can readily believe that these drives with the genial 
German grandfather were a great delight to the boy. 

The river was an endless source of amusement, and 
here Matson learned to row, swim, and skate. His 



EARLY YEARS. 17 

grandfather gave him a donkey-cart ; and among his 
reminiscences was the pride he felt when he persuaded 
a venerable lady, the widow of General Alexander Ham- 
ilton, to seat herself in his cart, and allow him to drive 
her up the hill which led to her mansion. 

A great treat, now and then, was a visit to one of 
the vessels consigned to his grandfather's firm, when 
the boy was made much of by the kindly German offi- 
cers, and treated to the best the steward could offer, 
with sometimes a glass of beer or a sip of wine in which 
to toast the Fatherland. 

Christmas was a time of great joy and of happiness 
such as boys and girls hardly know now, when a wealth 
of books, and toys, and luxuries are scattered through- 
out the year, and Christmas is only a little " merrier " 
than other holidays. But it was the one day in the 
year for the children in the families where it was ob- 
served, though they were a minority in New York ; for 
between those of New England descent, who knew no 
Christmas, but to whom Thanksgiving Day was sacred, 
and the old Knickerbocker families who kept high fes- 
tival on New Year's Day, Christmas had small chance 
of honor. To households of French and German de- 
scent, and to those brought up in the Eoman Catholic 
and Episcopal communions it was very dear, and cher- 
ished with the more devotion because of its non-observ- 
ance generally. The prizes dreamed of for a year, and 
the longings of the little hearts for a twelvemonth, 
came into the little hands under the tree on Christmas 
Eve, and every one, young and old, joined in the fes- 
tivity which commenced then. All went to church on 
Christmas morning, and all the family gathered around 
the table for the Christmas dinner. Many quaint old 
customs were kept up in Mr. Meier's household, and 



18 EARLY YEARS. 

the memory of those early Holy Days was always fresh 
and green to the grandchildren. 

Very different, yet very attractive in its way, was the 
other ancestral home at New Eochelle. Here, under 
the care of his grandfather, Dr. Matson Smith, and the 
good maiden aunts who mingled admiring petting with 
some wholesome New England discipline, parts of many 
happy summers were passed. It was a taste of genuine 
farm life, after the good old Connecticut pattern. Mat- 
son was very much at home there, and had many a story 
to tell of fun and mischief, often to the dismay of the 
" good aunts." The dignified grandfather, in long black 
coat and high white neckcloth, the embodiment of the 
old-school doctor, often took him in his " sulky," with 
the little hair-covered trunk of medicines and surgical 
instruments at their feet, on his visits to his patients. 

With the farm-hands he was a favorite ; for, utterly 
devoid of all pretence, he had from earliest years the 
warm, frank manner and sunny smile which won him 
a welcome in every home, and among parishioners of 
all social grades in later years. So the city-bred boy 
learned something of genuine farm-life. 

A fine tract of woods on the farm gave a chance for 
lessons in shooting ; but this sport soon lost its charm, 
as the boy was too tender-hearted, and always felt a 
qualm when he brought down a bird or a squirrel. It 
ended on this wise. Having taken aim at a "chip- 
munk," the little creature jumped upon a stone and 
looked at him, as he declared, with such pleading eyes 
that he put down his gun and never cared to use it 
again. 

The earliest letter of the little Matson which has 
been preserved dates from New Kochelle, and was writ-, 
ten when he was six years old, during the first of those 



EARLY YEARS. 19 

gloomy seasons known as the " Cholera Summers," of 
1832 and 1834. The writing is very firm and distinct, 
and the spelling always a strong point with the boy 
faultless. Happy as he was in this kind household, 
a little homesickness peeps out toward the end of the 

letter. 

NEW ROCHELLE, Aug. 31, 1832. 

MY DEAR FATHER, I received your letter by my 
grandfather, who brought it from the postoffice to me. 
It gave me a great deal of pleasure. I broke the seal 
myself, and read it myself, but a few words my grand- 
father told me. I sat on my grandfather's knee when 
I read it. I have had company; their names were 
Lydia and Deborah C. After tea they went home, and 

I went to Mr. P 's, where I heard some ladies play 

on the piano. 

My dear father, you wished me to write a full sheet, 
and I have not enough news to fill a sheet, and hope 
you will excuse me. I have been a little feverish lately, 
but grandpapa gave me some medicine, and now I am 
better. I hope you will not think I am imprudent, for 
I do not eat any fruit. 

I am your affectionate son, MATSON. 

September 1. 

I left off writing yesterday because I was tired. This 
part is to my mother, and the first to my father. 

MY DEAR MOTHER, Aunt Eliza had an owl fly at 
her window one night, and she hallooed, " Oh, oh, it 
is monstrous ! " And I would like you, father, to come 
up here to bring me home. The whole family send 
their love to you, and I send my love to you and my 
father and my sister and Katy. September 1, 1832. 
I am your affectionate son, 

MATSON MEIER-SMITH, New Rochelle. 



20 EARLY YEARS. 

An only surviving aunt, the sister of his mother, 
writes thus of his early boyhood : " Matson was so re- 
markably bright that he read fluently at three years of 
age ; and when he began to attend school, he had been 
so well taught by his mother, that he was in advance 
of all children of his age. He had a bright, happy dis- 
position, brimming over with mirth and fun. He and 
his cousin Hermann delighted to imitate their fathers. 
Matson would ask to feel the pulse, if he heard any 
one complaining; while Hermann would look to see if 
the wind were in the right quarter for the incoming 
ships. 

"Their grandfather Meier had a room in the attic 
made expressly for these boys, where he loved to watch 
them at play. Matson was a great mimic, imitating 
the sounds of all animals, somewhat to the injury of 
his throat He was so bright and full of humor that 
he was always excellent company, a happy child, 
and a blessing to all about him." 

Two anecdotes illustrate the instinct of tender help- 
fulness, conspicuous throughout his life. The first of 
these his aunt recalls : " When seven years old, seeing 
his mother's grief over the death of a young sister, he 
told her that he would read something to comfort her ; 
and opening his Bible, he read the story of the raising 
of Lazarus, in the llth chapter of St. John's Gospel." 
About a year later, during one of the seasons of depres- 
sion from which his mother suffered, he inferred from 
observation the cause of her sadness, and overheard a 
friend advising her to read a book by a Scotch writer. 
His heart was filled with the desire to do something 
for her relief, but he shrunk from going alone, having 
suffered from the usual experience of the small boy 
who essays to make purchases by himself ; and he ex- 



EARLY YEARS. 21 

pected to encounter especial contempt in his quest for 
a " grown-up " religious book. But his busy father had 
no time to accompany him, so, summoning up his cour- 
age, and taking the little purse with its slender stock of 
silver, he entered one of the principal book-shops, and 
boldly asked for " Colloquion [Colquhoun] on Spiritual 
Consolation." No doubt it was with surprised amuse- 
ment that the ponderous title was heard from the lips 
of the eight-year-old boy, but Matson gratefully re- 
membered the kindly young man who, instead of laugh- 
ing at him, assured him that though that book was not 
to be had, his slender means would purchase another, 
and sent him home happy in the hope that " Johnson's 
Easselas " might be equally helpful ! Surely the mother 
received some uplifting from the loving effort of the 
boy. 

A child born and nurtured in such homes, and amid 
such associations, could hardly have been otherwise 
than thoughtful, and susceptible to religious impres- 
sions, from very early years. 

The social circle in which Matson's parents moved, 
after their removal to the city, was a religious one. 
They were members of the Bleecker-Street Presbyte- 
rian Church, of which Dr. Erskine Mason was pastor. 
He was the son of the distinguished clergyman, Dr. 
John M. Mason, and inherited much of his father's 
intellectual ability and his power as a preacher. His 
congregation numbered many of the leading professional 
men of the city, and his sermons were among the finest 
of the type which thoughtful Christians of the day ex- 
pected from their religious teachers. The children were 
trained to listen to sermons, and " tell what they could 
remember" at home. The little Matson, listening so 
often with poor success for something which he could 



22 EARLY YEARS. 

report, decided that " Dr. Mason did not know how to 
preach," and brought his mother to confusion on one 
occasion during a pastoral call of the clergyman. " I 
saw you in church, my little boy, last Sunday, and you 
seemed to be paying great attention. What did you 
think about the sermon?" The unexpected reply came 
quickly, " I thought that when I was a minister I would 
preach so that little boys could understand, and have 
something to tell about afterward." The good minister 
took no offence, but was charmed with the frankness of 
the reply. When, however, he was of an age to appre- 
ciate the strength and beauty of Dr. Mason's sermons, 
he enjoyed them extremely, and always felt that he 
owed much of his own power as a preacher to the ad- 
mirable models under which he was trained during these 
forming years. Dr. Mason became a dear and honored 
friend, and Matson was on terms of intimacy with his 
family, who were near neighbors. 

While his parents resided in Bleecker Street, there 
lived, nearly opposite, the family of Mr. Norman White, 
which became as his own a few years later. Matson 
first met when he was five years old a baby girl who 
has no memory of a time when she did not know him. 
The parents were dear friends, and Dr. Smith was the 
beloved physician of Mr. White's household. The 
mothers told each other proudly of the achievements of 
their eldest born. Matson's sister was a playmate of 
the little girl whom God was keeping for him, and thus 
constant knowledge of each other grew with the years 
of these children, though she was so much his junior 
that he seemed to her a " big boy," of whom she stood 
in some awe. 

During his school and college days they met often, 
and she recalls compositions prose and rhyme and 



EARLY YEARS. 23 

caricature drawings which Matson's sister proudly ex- 
hibited to her, each confident that the writer and artist 
was a genius, destined to dazzle the world in the near 
future. 

As related in his biographical sketch of his mother, 
he was a very little boy when the religious circles of 
New York were deeply stirred by an awakening under 
the preaching of the evangelist, Charles C. Finney. 
Matson was too young to attend the meetings, but his 
mother and many of her friends were greatly engrossed 
by them, and he, a very observant child, heard much 
conversation which deeply impressed him. He was re- 
quired to commit hymns to memory, and they were 
often of a type of theology calculated to alarm and 
excite a sensitive child ; so that he recalled much real 
suffering from the conviction that he was under con- 
demnation for his sins, and this before he was five 
years old. In the religious training of the day, under 
Calvinistic influences, fear overbalanced love, and the 
timid child hardly knew what it was to look up to a 
Father. The Eighteous Judge filled the imagination, 
and the tender Saviour was almost shut out. The little 
ones of Christ's Kingdom felt themselves outcasts, and 
in distress and perplexity, looked in a vague way for 
the " conversion " to come to them of which their elders 
talked, while the bright side of the religious life was 
almost obscured by clouds of mystery and fear. Thus, 
certainly, this little boy suffered, and debated the ques- 
tion from year to year, conscientious child that he was, 
" whether he was a Christian." He belonged to a 
" Little Boys' Prayer-Meeting," and was often a leader ; 
because, as one of the other boys said, " Matson could 
talk and pray easier than the rest." So he could, for 
expression was easy and natural to him, but his con- 



24 EARLY YEARS. 

science troubled him lest he did not "feel his prayers." 
It is not to be understood that he was other than a 
natural and light-hearted child, or that there was any 
more of a morbid element in his serious thought than 
was inevitable under his surroundings, and was more 
or less the condition of all children similarly taught. 

While his mirth-loving propensities could not be re- 
strained, there was an under-current of struggling unrest. 
He wondered if he loved God, wished that he did, and 
longed to be sure that he was one of the chosen. So 
he struggled upward ; always a pure, obedient, truthful 
child, he was steadily moving toward the outward 
Christian stand. There remain no memoranda to ver- 
ify the impression, but it is believed that he was thirteen 
years old when he resolved to assume his baptismal 
vows ; which he did, in accordance with the usage of the 
Presbyterian Church, by public confession of his faith, 
when he received the Holy Communion for the first 
time. But he was not yet free from doubt and trouble, 
though clearer light was coming to him. 

Matson's most intimate friends among boys and 
youth have, with but few exceptions, gone before him. 
His cousin before referred to, Mr. Hermann C. von 
Post, his brother-in-law, Mr. Eobert Jaffray, the Eev. 
Dr. Thomas S. Hastings, Isaac Lewis Peet, LL. D., and 
his cousin, Dr. Gouverneur M. Smith, are among the 
number of early friends who remain. Some of them 
he knew well from early boyhood, others a few years 
later ; but with all he had memories of happy association 
which it was always a pleasure to revive. 

The features of character which were conspicuous in 
later years marked his boyhood and youth. He was 
mirthful, sunny-tempered, unselfish, and affectionate, of 
quick sympathies, and gifted with ready tact. Some- 



EARLY YEARS. 25 

what ease-loving, though when roused, working quickly, 
he was not one of the untiring workers of incessant 
activity. He was retiring in general society, not self- 
asserting, and inclined then, as afterward, to await 
recognition rather than to assume it. He was not 
easily daunted, and would never be patronized. When 
once he held a position he was bold, and on occasions 
defiant, and by no means disposed to submit to any 
but constitutional authority. He was very sensitive to 
ridicule, but could face it bravely if occasion demanded. 
At college he bore not a little, for, young as he was, he 
took a decided stand with the few whose views of life 
were serious and religious, while the prevailing tone 
was quite the reverse. 

As a scholar Matson was both quick and thoughtful ; 
and though he was wont to call himself lazy, and declared 
that he only did such work as was necessary, it would 
seem that he hardly did himself justice, for he was 
throughout his school years in advance of boys of his 
age. It is remembered that his father was heard to 
say of him to a friend, " What shall I do with my boy ? 
He is not thirteen years old, but he has gone through 
the course of the preparatory schools ; he is too young 
for college, and they don't want him any longer at the 
grammar school." 

The standard of scholarship was then much lower 
than at present; and a boy could pass the necessary 
examinations to enter most of the colleges, with per- 
haps two years less preparation than is now required. 



III. 

COLLEGE AND THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY. 
1839-1846. 

IN 1839, when less than fourteen years of age, Matson 
Meier-Smith entered Columbia College, New York, 
and was the youngest member of his class. 

In his own retrospect, college days had but little fas- 
cination for him. Living at home, he lost the experience 
of good fellowship, and failed to form the close friend- 
ships which are often so pleasant a feature of college 
life. He had but little liking for the fashionable society 
he might have entered, through the acquaintance formed 
at Columbia, and his growing religious character led him 
out of such associations into those which more directly 
met his higher aspirations. 

There is but a brief record of his college life. He 
was a good Latin and Greek scholar ; and to Dr. Charles 
Anthon, Professor of Greek and Latin, he felt under 
much obligation for thorough discipline, and the awak- 
ening of real interest in classical study. Henry James 
Andrews, LL. D., Professor of Mathematics, he always 
remembered with gratitude. He thought himself defi- 
cient in mathematical ability, and this impression dis- 
couraged him, and caused him to lose much that he 
might have gained from Professor Andrews's valuable 
instruction. Matson maintained a good, though not a 
brilliant standard of scholarship throughout his course, 



COLLEGE AND SEMINARY LIFE. 27 

graduating third or fourth in his class. The theme of 
his graduating oration was " Consecrated Talent." He 
received his degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1843, when 
he was a little more than seventeen years of age. One 
who was in college at the same time, but a year in ad- 
vance of him, writes : " He impressed me by the same 
traits of light-heartedness and unselfishness which he 
exhibited in all his after life." 

During his college course, another season of great re- 
ligious interest occurred in the Presbyterian Church, in 
connection with the evangelistic work of the Eev. Dr. 
Kirk, which enlisted all his heart. Dr. Kirk's preaching 
and work were radiant with the light of a full and free 
gospel. He was a man of persuasive eloquence, of a 
fine and winning presence, gifted with the richest and 
most melodious of voices, and a magnetic power which 
compelled the attention and moved the heart. Few 
who remember Edward Norris Kirk in his prime, will 
admit that any later evangelist has equalled him in his 
power over an intelligent audience. He encouraged the 
most timid with his tender, pastoral counsel ; and there 
must be many now living who owe to him their eman- 
cipation from the doubts which overshadowed their 
youth, through mistaken early instruction. 

Among the number who received such help was the 
subject of these pages. He called Dr. Kirk his spiritual 
father, and never mentioned him but with loving grati- 
tude. It was through his instruction that he came to 
the light, and consecrated himself heartily to the service 
of a Saviour whose love he had hitherto but imperfectly 
understood. 

Apparently no diminution of religious purpose and 
consecration was caused by college associations, and 
Matson began to consider the claims upon him of the 



2S COLLEGE AND SEMINARY LIFE. 

sacred ministry, as he approached his graduation. His 
mother's heart longed to see her boy in that high call- 
ing, but she conscientiously refrained from pressing her 
wishes upon him. A flattering position in the business- 
house of his grandfather was offered to him. To decline 
it, as he did, involved worldly sacrifice. At this time he 
had strong leanings toward the hereditary profession of 
medicine. Indeed, throughout his life he felt an inter- 
est, only second to that in his own calling, in this hon- 
ored profession, and numbered many physicians among 
his most valued friends. 

While debating a final decision, Matson decided to 
spend a year in medical study, and entering the office 
of his uncle, Dr. Joseph Mather Smith, he attended sev- 
eral courses of lectures at the College of Physicians and 
Surgeons. He pursued these studies with much enthu- 
siasm, and always felt the benefit of them. There was 
that in his temperament, and in his intellectual traits, 
which doubtless would have made him successful as a 
physician, had he not been impelled irresistibly to the 
ministry. During these years he was actively engaged 
in Sunday-school and Mission work in the Bleecker- 
Street Church. He had also many social connections 
with the Mercer-Street Church, and greatly admired 
the preaching of its distinguished pastor, the Eev. Dr. 
Thomas H. Skinner. There are seldom found in one 
congregation so many cultivated and influential laymen 
as were there associated. Intellectually and religiously 
he found much stimulus in the meetings of such men 
for conference and worship. Dr. Meier-Smith recalled 
them as the " palmy days of the prayer-meeting," and 
said that he " belonged to Bleecker-Street Church and 
to Mercer-Street Prayer-Meeting." After such a model 
he tried to mould the social services in the congregations 



COLLEGE AND SEMINARY LIFE. 29 

to which he ministered. But the material was often 
wanting. His high ideal made him impatient of the 
formalism and dull mediocrity which so often kill the 
prayer-meeting, and in his maturer years he was far 
less confident of its benefits than were many of his 
brethren. 

When asked, after he became rector of an Episcopal 
parish, "Do you not miss the prayer-meeting?" his 
answer was, " I should if it meant such a service as we 
had in old ' Mercer-Street ' days, but alas ! it don't." 

As many of his relatives were members of the Epis- 
copal Church, he often attended the services of that 
Church, and was much attracted by them. The Prayer- 
Book, as a study of devotion, he prized, and its phrase- 
ology strongly impressed itself on his mind. Probably it 
was to this cause that he owed what was sometimes 
spoken of as his " gift of prayer." Reverent and Scriptu- 
ral language, and orderly arrangement of thought, with 
maturity of expression, were characteristic of his efforts 
to lead his congregation in worship from his earliest 
ministry. Matson was strongly influenced to take Or- 
ders in the Episcopal Church ; and his father, a man 
of unsectarian tendencies, would not have objected, but 
at this time he was an ardent young Presbyterian, and 
felt himself able to combat successfully the claims of 
historic Episcopacy. Certainly he did it to his own 
satisfaction, for in the autumn of 1844 he entered the 
Union Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church. 
The course of three years' study he found very interest- 
ing, awakening in him the first genuine enthusiasm for 
study. 

Dr. Henry White, Professor of Theology, and Dr. 
Edward Eobinson, Professor of Sacred Literature, were 
admirable teachers, and inspired enthusiasm in their 



30 COLLEGE AND SEMINARY LIFE. 

students. Dr. Robinson's eminent scholarship made 
his instructions especially valuable. Dr. Meier-Smith 
remembered them gratefully, as well as the personal 
interest the distinguished scholar took in his young 
student, who was permitted to enjoy a warm friend- 
ship with him, and his cultivated and literary family. 

These years were happy ones. Much religious fer- 
vor pervaded the seminary, aud there was especially 
an awakening of the missionary spirit. The claims of 
foreign missions were strongly presented, and a number 
of Matson's classmates consecrated themselves to this 
work. His own heart was greatly stirred, and at one 
time his decision was almost made to give himself to 
the work of Christ in heathen lands. It kindled his 
imagination and appealed to the spirit of self-sacrifice, 
which appeared to him as the foundation of all success- 
ful work in his sacred calling. Throughout his ministry 
he was a thorough believer in " Foreign Missions." The 
Lord's command, " Go ye into all the world," he con- 
sidered an all-sufficient justification for all sacrifice of 
labor or wealth, apart from any results. " Had I not 
honestly decided, and at much pain to myself, guided by 
the counsels of trusted advisers, that my duty lay in 
my own land, I would have gone to India," he wrote, 
adding, " Yes, it was a sacrifice to give it up." Some of 
the most eloquent platform addresses Dr. Meier-Smith 
ever made were in behalf of this work. In later years, 
during his professorship in the Divinity School, he pre- 
pared a thorough course of lectures on Foreign Missions, 
giving historical sketches of the work, as carried on by 
various Christian bodies. 

During his seminary course he gave much attention 
to extemporaneous speaking and the cultivation of 
oratorical power. He had a rich and musical voice, 



COLLEGE AND SEMINARY LIFE. 31 

and was recognized as one of the best speakers of his 
class. The students were not then allowed to preach 
until regularly licensed, but he gave informal lectures 
now and then in New York and at New Rochelle. 

Toward the close of his theological course a friend- 
ship began which was of much benefit to him, and was 
affectionately cherished until death interrupted it a few 
years since. The Rev. Charles Hawley, D. D., for many 
years pastor of a church in Auburn, New York, was 
then a young man, a few years Matson's senior, and 
minister of the Presbyterian Church at New Rochelle. 
Dr. Smith's family had removed thither, and Matson 
was often with them. Mr. Hawley was a remark- 
ably attractive man, possessing a charm of unaffected 
sweetness much like Matson's own, and very unusual 
gifts as a preacher. He won his young brother's love 
and admiration, and returned it cordially. In every 
regard this friendship was helpful and stimulating. 
Together they spent hours in walks over the beautiful 
country, planning the full lives they believed were be- 
fore them, and together they prayed for the blessing of 
the great Head of the Church, to whose service they 
had consecrated themselves. A deeper and more fer- 
vent religious life was kindled by this brotherly com- 
munion. A promise was then made, that when their 
work should separate them, correspondence should be 
frequent ; but in the pressure of busy lives, this pur- 
pose was not carried out. Only now and then did 
letters pass between them, but the old love remained 
to the last. 

While in the Theological Seminary he had two regu- 
lar correspondents ; but the letters of his friends, which 
gave much detail of these years, were lost in the transi- 
tion from one parish to another, and his own cannot 



32 COLLEGE AND SEMINARY LIFE. 

be found, as those to whom they were written are not 
living. 

Some warm friendships were formed in the Seminary. 
The two friends with whom he was most intimate were 
the Rev. Edwin A. Bulkley and the Rev. James Kim- 
ball Mr. Kimball died a few months after entering 
upon his ministry. Dr. Bulkley, a lifelong friend and 
his kinsman by marriage, has contributed to these pages 
the following affectionate reminiscences of those early 
days : 

"... In quick and pleasant recollection, my mind runs back 
to the September days of '44, when my ever-constant friend, 
Matson Meier-Smith, started, side by side with myself, upon 
the curriculum in the Union Theological Seminary of JSfew 
York City. We came together by mutual attraction, without 
previous acquaintance. We were the juniors in a large class, 
ourselves still lacking more than two years of our major- 
ity ; and the considerable interval between us and our older 
and more mature classmates was one link in our association. 
This was strengthened into habitual companionship and 
close intimacy, and still further into a relationship through 
a marriage. In all the variations of our lives and diver- 
gence of our paths which lessened communication, this friend- 
ship was never broken till the one went on in advance of 
the other across the river. He was as strong as a man and 
tender as a woman in his attachments ; and in his last days 
he sought to revive the early experiences of Christian fel- 
lowship in an expressed purpose and plan for more frequent 
intercourse. 

" His temperament was very bxioyant ; cheerfulness sel- 
dom forsook him. With a keen sense of humor and a sharp 
wit, his merriment found constant play, and animated others, 
while he was not without seriousness and dignity. To this 
spirit he owed much in times of trial, and the heartiness of his 
greeting and laugh was a medicine to many a depressed friend. 



COLLEGE AND SEMINARY LIFE. 33 

With a very confiding nature, he sought a close Christian 
intimacy with some of his fellows, evidently aiming to help 
them, but more to advance his own spiritual life. So always, 
with his proven friends and brethren in the ministry, he 
loved to give and receive confidence. 

" After our seminary days we passed to active work in the 
same part of the country ; and so in all our pastorates, though 
not very near neighbors, we were never very far apart. The 
time is pleasantly recalled, when, in a suburb of Boston, he 
was just coming into that distinction in the pulpit which he 
more and more acquired as he continued to preach. His 
friends rejoiced in his usefulness and honor, and he in turn 
never failed to express his gratification when they had similar 
recognition in the Church. 

" In his change of denominational relations, his catholicity 
of spirit was not at all abated. Those whom he could not 
persuade to accompany him into another church fellowship 
were still held by him in warm-hearted fraternity. Clear and 
firm in his new-found convictions, he always rejoiced in the 
greater communion of saints, and loved no less his former 
and cherished associates. 

" It was a startling surprise when the news of his death 
was flashed to us ; but we knew that all was well with him. 
We looked with gratitude on the calmness of his face in 
death ; and we sang with thanksgiving his funeral hymn." 

The Rev. Professor Dwinell thus wrote after the 
death of Dr. Meier-Smith : 

PACIFIC THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, 

OAKLAND, CAL., Nov. 10, 1887. 

... I was in Union Seminary, N. Y. f at the same time that 
he was, and knew him very well. A perfectly distinct image 
of him comes up to my mind at this time. I can believe 
every word of the testimonials to his memory, and believe 
them faint by the side of his excellencies aud the reality. 
3 



34 COLLEGE AND SEMINARY LIFE. 

Excuse me for obtruding on your attention, but the 
pleasantness of early associations and memories impels me to 
give this tribute to his worth as I knew him when a young 



Dr. I. L. Peet, President of the New York Institution 
for the Deaf and Dumb, wrote under date of August 9, 
1887 : 

"... Your late husband was one of the most beloved 
companions of my boyhood, as he was one of the brightest. 
He was, in every respect, far in advance of other boys of his 
age ; and when he graduated from college at a period of life 
when most young men enter, and after the usual course of 
preparation, entered upon the duties of the Christian minis- 
try, I found that the promise of his youth was fulfilled in his 
manhood. Ever since then I have watched his career with 
interest, and when I learned that in the midst of his useful 
and honorable labors in Philadelphia, he was so suddenly 
called to go up higher to be forever with the Lord, I mourned 
his departure, not on his own account, but on my own 
account and that of others. ..." 



IV. 

PROFESSIONAL WORK BEFORE ORDINATION. 
1847-1849. 

HERE on the threshold of his future life-work, the 
familiar name of boyhood may be dropped. 

A word of explanation may perhaps be needed for 
some who knew him only in the early years of his life 
and ministry. The adoption of his middle name as a 
prefix to his surname did not become general until the 
last twenty years of his life, though always more or less 
in use. As there was no descendant of his maternal 
grandfather to bear his honored name, he sympathized 
with his mother's wish to make it prominent, and the 
double name was always his signature. So completely 
is it now identified with him, that to speak of him as he 
was generally addressed in earlier years, would be unfa- 
miliar to nearly all who may read these pages; and 
therefore the name by which they knew him will be 
used throughout the volume. 

After passing the necessary examinations, Mr. Meier- 
Smith was licensed to preach by the Fourth Presbytery 
of New York, April 9, 1847. In accordance with the 
regulation of the Presbyterian Church, ordination was 
deferred until a pastorate or other settled work should 
be assumed. He preached his first sermons on the fol- 
lowing Sunday, in the old church at New Rochelle, his 
parents and sister being among his hearers. The texts 



36 WORK BEFORE ORDINATIOX. 

of these sermons he has recorded: the first, from the 
second Epistle to the Corinthians (ii, 15, 16), " For we 
are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are 
saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are 
the savour of death unto death, and to the other the 
savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for 
these things?" 

The second sermon was from the eighth chapter of 
the Epistle to the Bomans. The text was the eloquent 
passage commencing " He that spared not his own Son," 
and ending, " In all these things we are more than con- 
querors through him that loved us." Looking back 
over the forty years of his ministry, it would seem that 
in these his introductory sermons he struck the key- 
note of all his future preaching. The first one glowed 
with his lofty ideal of his calling, while with touching 
humility he expressed his own sense of his unworthi- 
ness. The second one was inspired by the one great 
theme ever dearest to his heart, the love of God as 
manifested in the life and work of our blessed Lord. 
The serious earnestness of his style and manner in the 
pulpit, free from all trifling and levity, and the straight- 
forward march of vigorous thought were the natural 
outgrowth of the truths underlying the first sermon ; 
while the fervor and unction which gave his preach- 
ing its power could hardly have been wanting where 
the ever prominent theme was Christ crucified, risen, 
glorified. 

Mr. Meier-Smith had but just completed his twenty- 
first year as he commenced his work, and he was much 
oppressed by a sense of youth and immaturity. He 
resolved not to seek a parochial charge at once, but to 
spend a year or two in further preparation, and in ac- 
quiring greater facility in writing and speaking, giving 



WORK BEFORE ORDINATION. 37 

himself the while to the occasional assistance of other 
clergymen, or to temporary work in vacant parishes. 
He had at this time an offer to spend a year in Europe. 
This he declined from a conscientious apprehension that 
there might be, from foreign study and travel, a loss of 
interest in his work, and a lowering of the tone of re- 
ligious life which would outweigh the advantages that 
might be gained. Such a view of European travel and 
study was more common forty years ago than at the 
present day. He felt afterwards that he was probably 
mistaken in this, and that the broader views and more 
thorough preparation he might have acquired would 
have been of great benefit to him in his life-work. 

He had a modest appreciation of his own ability, and 
was genuinely surprised when he found himself in de- 
mand and his services acceptable. The encouragement 
was good for him. His sensitive temperament needed 
it. From the record kept of his public ministrations it 
appears that he was at work almost every Sunday from 
the time of his licensure. His home at this time was 
with his parents at New Eochelle, and he officiated 
there frequently, his friend, Mr. Hawley, suffering 
from a long illness. Often, also, his former pastor, Dr. 
Mason, called for his help, and he was welcomed in the 
church of his nurture with a cordiality which proved 
that a young prophet was not always " without honor 
in his own country " and among his kinsfolk. His first 
experience at a distance from New York City was at 
Mount Morris in Western New York, where he sup- 
plied the place of a friend for a few weeks, and made 
some warm friendships, among others that of a noble 
Christian woman who henceforth watched his course 
with loving interest, and predicted for him a faithful 
and successful ministry. A letter received from her 



38 WORK BEFORE ORDINATION. 

since his earthly work has ended speaks tenderly of 
the impression he made in that community, in spite of 
youth and untried powers. 

The next winter Mr. Meier-Smith was at home, and 
at work quite steadily ; and in the spring of 1848 he 
was invited to visit Western New York. Friends who 
were settled in parishes in that part of the State wished 
to have him near them, and he filled vacancies for some 
months, first in Perry Centre and afterward in Le 
Boy. The former place was in the midst of a farming 
community, and the people were a little afraid of the 
young minister from the great city. He wrote home, 
" I am the biggest man in the place, judging from the 
respect with which I am treated." He gave them sim- 
ple sermons and familiar talks, and so won their interest 
and favor that they proposed to give him a call. But 
he now received an invitation from a more important 
and prominent church, and one which he felt he could 
serve more successfully. Le Roy was an attractive and 
enterprising town, with many intelligent people, and the 
work there looked inviting to a young and enthusiastic 
man. At the close of a three months' engagement, he 
was earnestly desired to remain permanently ; but he 
found an obstacle in the shape of a minority who from 
some unlucky past experiences, though anxious to re- 
tain him, were opposed to having any permanent pastor, 
and desired to engage him from year to year. This he 
thought bad policy and poor Presbyterianism, and de- 
clined to stay unless regularly called, and with entire 
unanimity. It is certain that it was with great regret 
that the most of the large congregation parted with 
him, and for some months he was in correspondence 
with them, many efforts being made to shake his de- 
cision. He was firm, however, and felt assured that he 



WORK BEFORE ORDINATION. 39 

was withheld for some good reason from the pleasant 
settlement in prospect. 

Toward the close of the year 1848 he became engaged 
to Mary Stuart, daughter of Norman White of New 
York. The acquaintance from childhood blossomed 
suddenly into the close union which was to be so 
blessed for almost forty years. 

This new tie strengthened the now earnest desire for 
a settled field of labor. Yet it appeared to be duty 
to remain at New Rochelle for a few months, as his 
friend, Mr. Hawley, pastor of the church, had just re- 
signed his charge, and the congregation depended upon 
Mr. Meier-Smith's services. During the winter he was 
invited to take an old and much enfeebled church in 
New York ; but his friends advised against it, thinking 
it beyond hope of resuscitation. That he now felt more 
deeply than ever a spirit of consecration and willing- 
ness to go wherever God should send him, the following 
extracts from letters to Miss White will show : 

NEW ROCHELLE, December, 1848. 

. . . For myself, I live anew. The kindness of God to 
me, in bestowing such a gift upon me, has led me to a 
renewed, unreserved self-consecration. May He direct 
us to a place where we may together labor for the sal- 
vation of precious spirits and the triumph of our risen 
Lord. If he spare us to advanced life, may we be al- 
ways fruitful in His vineyard. If our days be few, let 
our labors be abundant, that we may sleep sweetly till 
the Resurrection morning. . . . 

After preaching twice : 

December, 1848. 

. . . Let me give you some of my own experience to- 
day. I have found to-day, for the thousandth time, 



40 WORK BEFORE ORDINATION. 

that " God worketh in us after His own pleasure." I 
wanted to mount to a high position, to get far above 
the dust and din of earth, and into the focus of eternal 
realities. I wanted so to feel their power and influence 
as to become a different man ; to get such a view of 
things unutterable, that I might tell upon my fellow- 
men; to get so high and receive impressions of such 
tremendous strength, that Satan could no more wound 
me with the arrows of infidelity. But God has suffered 
me to feel the clog, the weight, the drag of a depressed 
nature; and to realize my absolute dependence upon 
His Spirit's aid for strength to mount, aye, for any 
life at all. . . . 

In answer to questions as to reasons for conflict with 
doubt : 

January, 1849. 

. . . Suffer me to obtrude a leaf from my own experi- 
ence. Last spring I was in a strange state of mind. 
It seemed as if a whole regiment from hell was let 
loose upon my spirit, to assail me in every part with all 
the shafts and shots of infidelity. My creed was shaken 
to the very foundation, and the most vigorous use of 
syllogism upon syllogism, and prayer upon prayer, did 
no more than just keep me from complete destruction 
beneath their violence. It was just as much as I could 
do to hold fast and say, " I believe." Why this conten- 
tion with " principalities " and " spiritual wickedness," 
I knew not, but have since seen in a measure. It just 
enabled me to meet the case of a Christian brother at 
Perry, and again to stop the mouths and gain assent 
to the truth of Christian doctrine from some young 
men at Le Roy. The experience taught me more of the 
nature of infidelity, and the way to meet it, than I 
could have learned in a year from books or lectures. . . . 



WORK BEFORE ORDINATION. 41 

. . . Looking forward to some of the trials which you 
seem to dread, this thought may be given. Afflictions 
will come, in whatever position of life we are placed. 
They are as certainly the portion of the children of ease 
as of those of a less brilliant fortune. And since they 
must come, and will come, how delightful to have them 
all in the way of Christ's service. We shall find them 
in the ministry, but they will perhaps be of a different 
kind from what we should have experienced in some 
other calling. Let us go forward with stout hearts, 
ready to encounter anything. Storms will make us 
cling closer to each other and to the Lord. Still, don't 
dwell on melancholy forebodings, nor " die a thousand 
deaths in dreading one." . . . 

January, 1849. 

. . . Let me say a word to animate you in the 
prospect of a life in the great work. Does it seem a 
life of toil and sorrow to you, my Mary ? See its cer- 
tain success predicted by the " Voice which rolls the 
stars along." "Glorious things are spoken of thee, 
O city of God!" Is it an employ unhonored and 
unsung by worldly-wise men ? Lo, God's estimate of 
those engaged therein. " How beautiful upon the 
mountains are the feet of those who bring good tid- 
ings ! " Let us go hand in hand rejoicing. We have 
a blessed business before us. The Forerunner has ac- 
complished His portion, delightful assurance that He 
will aid us in our part. Encircled in the arms of cove- 
nant love, sustained, made effective by power from 
on high, we may go forth bearing precious seed, 
presently to return with sheaves ripe and golden for 
Immanuel's garner. . . . 



42 WORK BEFORE ORDINATION. 

February, 1849. 

... I am now ready to begin the work of the 
ministry in earnest. My eighteen months of licen- 
sure have been taken up with preparation more ex- 
tended than I had in the Seminary. I have learned 
many lessons, some of them bitter. The path of duty 
is beginning to be more clear, away from home, but in 
what direction I know not I wish to resolve myself 
away from self and pleasure, and claims of flesh and 
blood, and say to the great Bishop of the Church, 
" Lord, send me where Thou wilt. At the first beck of 
Thy finger will I go; no longer fastidious about the 
place, I will labor there until Thou send me elsewhere, 
if it be until the coming of the great day." And by 
anywhere and where Thou wilt, I mean it all. To 
China or Cape Horn, to Illinois or Eome, to Tahiti or 
London, to the Western Wilderness or New York City, 
or even to New Eochelle, of which I don't see the 
slightest probability. 

I speak of being " fastidious." I do not mean that 
I regret my past decisions, for I have not felt ready for 
settlement, either intellectually or socially. Now, hav- 
ing a small stock of sermons in hand, and having dis- 
covered a capacity for extemporizing, of which I before 
was ignorant, and being socially provided for better 
than I ever thought possible before, I am ready and 
feel it a solemn duty to get to work permanently, as 
soon as possible. In this consecration may I not ask 
my dearest Mary to unite ? Aye, let us join 

"... The Solemn Vow, 
The Vow we dare not break, 
That long as life itself shall last 
Ourselves to Christ we yield ; 
Nor from His cause will we depart, 
Nor ever quit the field." 



WORK BEFORE ORDINATION. 43 

April, 1849. 

. . . You remember I came home with the inten- 
tion of devoting the week to hard intellectual exertion. 
But not a bit of headwork have I done, save what was 
subsidiary to something more important. I have found 
plenty of heart work to do, and I think you have been 
praying especially for me. The past of my Christian 
course fills me with shame and repentance, and I long 
with unwonted desire to perceive more of the glory of 
Christ, to have Him ever before me, and to be present 
in spirit with Him, the ineffably glorious Son of God 
Incarnate. I want to realize His personality His 
real present existence to have it more of a fact to 
my soul. My desire is to get such views of His trans- 
cendent excellence as shall set me above all danger 
of preaching myself or anything but Christ. . . . 

In May, 1849, he was asked to go to Geneva, where 
his friend and kinsman, Rev. Mr. Bulkley, was now 
pastor, with a view to settlement in one or other of the 
vacant parishes in the vicinity. He visited two or 
three, and accepted an invitation to take charge for 
three months of the church in Ovid, Seneca County. 
The result of his work there was an unanimous call 
which he decided to accept. The church was in the 
county town, the centre of a large and wealthy farming 
community. He writes to Miss White with reference 
to his future field of labor : 

OVID, June, 1849. 

. . . My situation here appears more and more pleas- 
ant to me, certainly as far as externals are concerned ; 
yet I can hardly see the evidence of permanence. 
There is a large and attentive congregation, many 



44 WORK BEFORE ORDINATION. 

young people, and an average amount of intelligence ; 
but all over this region there is a mischievous growth 
of dislike to settled pastorates. The querulousness of 
some when talking of the work of the late " Dominie," 
as the parson is called here, leads me to believe that 
they demand of one man more than a cohort of angels 
could do. I have induced the people to change the 
hour of afternoon service. This followed the morning 
services, with barely half an hour's intermission. Some 
are dissatisfied, and wish to return to the old plan. 
Should this be done, I doubt if I can remain ; for, to 
say nothing of the slow slaughter of the parson, the 
cramming and packing of a spiritual dinner close upon 
a spiritual breakfast is enough to make a congregation 
of spiritual dyspeptics. And I desire no such bad work 
for my hands. . . . 

During this temporary sojourn in Ovid, an acquaint- 
ance was formed which resulted in one of the closest 
friendships of his life. The Rev. Heman Dyer, D. D., 
was then staying in Ovid at the home of his wife's 
father. He took a kindly interest in the young minis- 
ter, an interest none the less cordial, that one was 
an honored presbyter of the Episcopal Church, and the 
other a mere novice in another branch of the Church 
Catholic. This friendship, ever inspiring and invigor- 
ating, ripened as years went on into perfect trust and 
harmony, and was counted by Dr. Meier-Smith as one 
of the blessings of his life. There was never a break 
or jar in it, until he, so much the younger, was called 
to the rest of Paradise; while in strength of soul, 
though in bodily weakness, his revered friend and 
counsellor awaits his summons in the holy calm of 
the "land of Beulah." 



WORK BEFORE ORDINATION. 45 

After accepting the call to Ovid, Mr. Meier-Smith 
was in New York for a few weeks, and in the first 
letter to Miss White, after his return he writes: 

OVID, October 16th. 

... I reached our destination on Saturday, safe and 
sound and happy. Upon landing, I felt blue and 
dreary ; but reaching the village and getting in sight 
of the church, the clouds were blown away, and the 
consciousness that I was in the right place, and that 
our prayers were answered, gave me great peace and 
satisfaction. I was warmly and affectionately received, 
and have reason every hour to be grateful for friendly 
words and looks. My kind friend, Mr. Joy, took me 
to his own house, where everything is done to make 
it pleasant for me. Mr. Joy could not do more for 
me if I were his own son. On Sunday I preached 
with great pleasure and comfort in my own church, 
to my own people. The congregations were good and 
attentive. 

To Miss White. 

OVID, October 18th. 

. . . My ordination will probably take place on the 
23d inst. Oh how much I shall need your prayers 
and sympathies, my dearest one, on that day ! To think 
that I, a sinner, so weak, so prone to err, so inexperi- 
enced, should be invested with such high office in the 
church of Christ ! What am I, or what is my father's 
house ? Oh that on that day I may experience a hither- 
to unknown baptism of the Holy Ghost, and go forth 
in new strength and grace to make full proof of my 
ministry ! 



V. 

ORDINATION AND MAEEIAGE. 
THE FIRST PARISH. 1849-1850. 

ON the 23d of October, 1849, Matson Meier-Smith 
was ordained to the work of the Ministry by the 
Presbytery of Geneva, and installed pastor of the con- 
gregation in Ovid. The sermon was preached by his 
friend, the Rev. E. A. Bulkley. 

He wrote of this service to Miss White, 

OVID, October 25, 1849. 

The service was in my own church, the congregation 
was large, and a deep solemnity pervaded the assembly. 
May God send his perpetual blessing upon the delight- 
ful, yet fearful relation now consummated ! Your last 
received gave me great cause for thankfulness. I bless 
God the Spirit for whatever love to Christ and consecra- 
tion He has implanted in your soul ! . . . I know that 
it will be a trial to my dear one to leave that precious 
home, and go to the land of the stranger. I have found 
it a severe one for myself, and can sympathize deeply 
with you. Often will tears fill your eyes at the thought 
that you are absent from the circle of your affections 
and early attachments ; often will the musical voice 
of mother or father wake you from blissful dreams to 
the consciousness that they are far away, but you will 
find yourself amply repaid for every sacrifice in the con- 



ORDINATION AND MARRIAGE. 47 

sciousness of being in the place of Christ's appointment, 
in the moral elevation attained by those who sunder 
tender ties for Christ's work, and in the more rapid 
development of character and usefulness as Christian 
woman and wife. And you may be sure of this, that 
if the attentions and affection of a devoted husband, 
to the utmost consistent with his duties to his Master, 
can palliate any pain of soul, you will never know 
unmitigated sorrow. 

How this loving promise was fulfilled, let the long 
years that followed bear witness, with their lights and 
shadows, their abundance of labors, and their full weight 
of care, anxiety, and sorrow. 

To Miss White. 

OVID, November 1. 

I contemplate the future with much satisfaction. 
There will undoubtedly be many things among others, 
homesickness often annoying; but many other things, 
new and strange to you, will be sources of amusement to 
our very philosophical minds. There will be inconven- 
iences, but I shall trust you to shorten up some very 
natural long-facedness, and take them as good jokes as 
I have learned to do ; and the wants in view of which 
they arise, as merely citified, artificial, imaginary wants. 
The life of a minister's wife you will possibly find, when 
common-sense analyzes and compares it with other sta- 
tions, not the worst life in the world. I feel happy as 
a pastor. I know not what circumstances may arise, 
or what kind of consideration there may be among my 
people, but independently of this, " I magnify my office." 
Oh, dearest Mary, may we have grace to be faithful and 
efficient ! May we ever be to each other what we may 



48 ORDINATION AND MARRIAGE. 

be ! May the God of our fathers establish His covenant 
with us and with ours forever ! And if it be His will, 
may we, oh may we be spared long to each other on the 
earth! 

On the 14th of November, 1849, Matson Meier-Smith 
and Mary Stuart White were married, the grand-uncle 
of the bride, Rev. Samuel Hanson Cox, D. D , who, 
twenty-one years before, had married her parents, being 
the officiating clergyman. 

Early in December they went to their new home. 
To these young people, accustomed to the refinements 
of city life, and leaving delightful family and social ties, 
this remote field of labor four times as far from New 
York forty years ago as it is now seemed almost like 
a foreign mission. 

The town of Ovid is situated on a high ridge over- 
looking the beautiful lakes Seneca and Cayuga. The 
first impressions of the arrival at the future home are 
vividly recalled. The young minister and his wife came 
by steamboat through Seneca Lake, landing on a cold 
and dreary day. Three miles in the distance, the vil- 
lage crowned the hill. A long pier ran out into the 
lake ; and when the travellers landed, they found great 
difficulty in keeping a foothold on the ice-covered dock. 
A solitary vehicle with its driver was the only sign of 
life. As they seated themselves for the long drive up 
the hill, was it strange if some heart-sinking, in view 
of the happy past and the untried future, was felt, 
while yet strong purpose and united hands nerved them 
to the work before them ? 

The people gave a cordial welcome to their young 
" Dominie " (the local name for the pastor) and his wife. 
A semi-housekeeping was set up in three small rooms 



ORDINATION AND MARRIAGE. 49 

which were made attractive by the display of the wed- 
ding gifts. The winter months, though the weather 
was dreary and severe, were not without their simple 
pleasures. Mr. Meier-Smith's work here comprised 
the oversight of a large and somewhat scattered parish, 
with two and sometimes three services on Sundays, and 
lectures upon two evenings in the week. The con- 
gregations increased rapidly, and much attention and 
seriousness appeared. There were many young people 
in the place, and they gathered around their young 
pastor with enthusiasm. The home letters were full 
of interest in the work, though it was not without its 
discouragements. The sober, elderly, farming folk were 
somewhat distrustful of a young city-bred clergyman, 
and any new methods ; and from them not much co- 
operation could be hoped for. 

The village was embodied quietness during much of 
the winter. The Lecture Lyceum had then hardly 
established itself in the more remote country towns, 
and Ovid was not enlivened by anything of the kind. 
The social entertainments were of no more exhilarating 
a nature than now and then a sleighing party, or a 
gathering of a dozen to tea to meet the minister and his 
wife, when it seemed to be expected that the social en- 
tertainment of the evening would be furnished almost 
entirely by the honored guests. 

Many things afforded much amusement to those to 
whom such an experience was so novel; and loving, 
prayerful work to raise the tone of religious life in the 
church and community kept the hearts warm and the 
heads busy. But physical discomfort was very consid- 
erable. The extremely cold weather, and the entire 
unfitness of the domestic arrangements to insure even 
a moderate degree of comfort, told seriously upon the 



50 ORDINATION AND MARRIAGE. 

health of the young wife, and it was soon apparent that 
this first parish could hardly become a settlement. 

During the winter much religious interest followed 
sermons and services of peculiar solemnity, and a num- 
ber, especially among the young people, were added to the 
communion of the church. The pastor was encouraged, 
and found his time and sympathies fully taxed with 
his pulpit preparation and pastoral visitation. One 
written and one extemporaneous sermon was usually 
preached on each Sunday; and the verdict was, as given 
by one of his hearers, "When our minister writes his 
sermons, we say we wish he would always write them ; 
and then when he preaches without any notes, we say 
we hope he will never use them again," which para- 
doxical approbation was not at all unsatisfactory to its 
subject. 

The buoyancy and mirthfulness which belonged to Mr. 
Meier-Smith's nature were a great help to him and to 
his wife during the somewhat rough experiences of this 
year. When the insufficient fare provided had to be 
supplemented by a supper in their own rooms, and 
very privately, for fear of giving offence, a merry 
picnic was improvised, with oysters cooked in the little 
stove, and French coffee which had to be covered 
tightly as it steamed, lest its fragrant aroma should 
tell the tale. If the flavor of oysters almost a week old 
was not improved by the smoke of the wood "air- 
tight," the coffee was irreproachable, and no schoolboy 
and girl ever made a merrier feast in secret. 

When summer came there was much enjoyment from 
the beautiful scenery and surroundings of the town, 
which afforded charming drives, commanding views of 
the two lakes, between which rose the high ridge upon 
which the village was built, or through forests with 



ORDINATION AND MARRIAGE. 51 

trees of such age and height that the small wagon 
could be easily driven under their branches. 

The church was filled by attentive congregations, and 
continued religious interest prevailed. It was with re- 
luctance that the decision was reached to resign this first 
pastorate, already endeared by promise of success and 
usefulness, and accept work in New York. The severity 
of the winter climate was a principal reason, the slow- 
ness of the parish to provide a suitable home for the 
minister was another. There was no parsonage, and the 
parish, though wealthy, was indisposed to secure one, 
and no house was available for renting. During the 
summer Mr. Meier-Smith declined proposals from a 
church in Syracuse, New York, from the conviction 
that, could he venture another winter in that part of 
the State, he ought not to leave Ovid. The positive 
advice of physicians with regard to the danger to his 
throat, which threatened loss of voice, and the man- 
ifest inability of his wife to bear the harsh winds of 
the winter, brought about the dissolution of his pastorate 
in September, 1850. The protests and letters received 
from all classes of his parishioners, treasured affection- 
ately by him throughout his life, express strongly the 
general regret at the parting. A letter received more 
than thirty years afterward commences, " My dear and 
honored pastor of the olden time." From it an extract 
is taken testifying to the unusual impression this young 
pastor made upon his people during the year he minis- 
tered to them : 

" Time has not effaced from our memories your labors of 
love while here, and you still hold a warm place in the hearts 
you left. Among those was my departed brother. He re- 
membered every sermon you preached, the chapters in the 
Bible you read ; and in looking through the hymn-book in 



52 ORDINATION AND MARRIAGE. 

his last illness, he would often say, ' Here is one of Mr. 
Meier-Smith's hymns.' Have you forgotten the class that 
met in your study on Monday afternoons] Only two are 
left, and but few of the choir that so loved you, but to 
them the memory is very precious of those days. Our place 
and people have greatly changed. We have had nine clergy- 
men since you left, but you would find hearts yet warm and 
true, if you would come and see us. Come and spend a 
Sunday with us, and bring a sermon." 

Fifteen months' work in this first field was enough to 
make the parting hard, especially with those who had 
been brought into the Church through his ministry. 

The stage-coach which bore away the young pastor 
and his wife passed through a long line of vehicles from 
all parts of the town, containing parishioners young 
and old who had gathered to say a word of loving fare- 
welL It was nearly twenty years before he revisited 
Ovid. In spite of the great changes, there were not a 
few to grasp his hand in affectionate recognition, and 
refer to some word or act of his which had been an 
influence for good through all these years. 

The winter of 1850 and 1851 were passed in New 
York. In the month of October came the joy of re- 
ceiving the first-born child, a son, born in the house of 
his grandfather whose name he received. Mr. Meier- 
Smith was invited to take temporary charge of the 
Sixth-Street Presbyterian Church, pending an engage- 
ment to consolidate it with another church. The grand- 
father of his wife, Mr. David L. Dodge, and her uncle, 
Mr. William E. Dodge, were elders of this church, and 
their friendship and help were greatly prized by their 
young minister. Mr. Dodge, senior, was a remarkable 
man, of much intellectual vigor, and well versed in 
Bible study. He was an active and devout worker in 



ORDINATION AND MARRIAGE. 53 

the church, and prominent during a long life among 
Christian laymen. He was a ready writer upon theo- 
logical and ethical subjects, a man of original and inflex- 
ible opinions, and in all respects a marked character. A 
warm attachment sprang up between the venerable elder 
and his young kinsman pastor, which continued until the 
death of Mr. Dodge a few years later. At the request 
of his family, Mr. Meier-Smith edited his autobiography 
and some of his theological and prophetical studies. 

The memory of William E. Dodge is yet so fresh and 
precious to all who knew him, that to name him is a 
sufficient suggestion of what his friendship and help 
must have been to any one associated with him in re- 
ligious or church work. Then in the prime of middle 
age, he realized the ideal of lay support to a clergyman. 
His untiring activity and zeal were tempered with such 
beautiful warmth and simplicity of manner, that he 
gave no offence to those who differed with him, and his 
leadership was willingly followed. He had already won 
the position he held so long among influential citizens 
and Christians. His friendship was prominent among 
the circumstances which made this winter in New York 
a restful and refreshing season. 

The work in this church proved helpful and stimu- 
lating just at this time, as the intellectual character of 
the congregation encouraged thoughtful study and ser- 
mon making; and in the spring the young minister 
found himself better equipped for a permanent field of 
labor than he could have hoped a year before. 

Two little incidents of this winter he often related. 
Once, when an appeal was to be made for some good 
cause, as the pulpit of the little church did not afford 
room for two, Mr. Meier-Smith took his seat in Mr. 
William E. Dodge's pew, leaving the field for his visit- 



54 ORDINATION AND MARRIAGE. 

ing brother. Before the speaker commenced, Mr. Dodge 
took a small piece of paper and wrote his contribution 
upon it. In the course of the address, as the urgent 
needs were forcibly stated, Mr. Dodge, evidently moved 
with emotion, took the paper which lay folded before 
him and added one stroke of the pencil. Afterward, 
assisting to count the collection, the minister saw that 
the original sum in the tens had been raised to hun- 
dreds by the addition of a cipher. 

The other incident was the presence one Sunday morn- 
ing among his hearers of the celebrated singer, Jenny 
Lind. She was then in the height of her first triumphs 
in America ; and her fine character, as well as her won- 
derful voice, called out more enthusiasm from all classes 
than has been exhibited for any of her successors ; while 
her refusal then to sing in opera made her the especial 
favorite of the religious part of the community. She 
sought this little church on this occasion, having heard 
that her friend, the Eev. Dr. Baird, was to preach. He, 
however, was unable to fulfil his engagement, and she 
listened instead to a simple exposition from the young 
and unknown minister in charge, thanking him after- 
ward for the sermon with a winning grace very gratify- 
ing to the preacher, who may be forgiven for confessing 
that he did not altogether forget, while delivering it, 
the bright and changing face of his famous hearer. 

Several prospective openings came before him in the 
spring of 1851, and in May he accepted a call to the 
Harvard Congregational Church, in Brookline, a suburb 
of Boston. It was not without hesitation that this 
change of ecclesiastical position was made ; but he was 
assured that he could assume charge of the church to 
which he was called, without professing a preference 
for the Congregational form of government over that of 



ORDINATION AND MARRIAGE. 55 

the Presbyterian in which he had been educated. As 
the invitation was cordial and unanimous, and the work 
prospectively just what he desired, he accepted the call, 
inspired with hope, and grateful for the promise of 
enlarged usefulness. 



VI. 

BKOOKLINE DAYS. 

1851-1854. 

ON the 5th of June, 1851, Mr. Meier-Smith was in- 
stalled pastor of the Harvard Congregational 
Church in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

The Rev. R. S. Storrs, of Brooklyn, a former pastor 
of the church, preached the sermon, and the young 
minister's "spiritual father," the beloved Dr. Kirk, of 
Boston, gave the personal charge. 

The fact that the candidate was an ordained minister 
in a church closely affiliated in doctrine to the Ortho- 
dox Congregational Communion of New England, did 
not exempt him from a searching examination in the- 
ology and church polity by the Council called for the 
installation. 

He discerned at this early stage of his new experi- 
ence the influence of Unitarianism upon those profess- 
ing to hold the Orthodox standards in regard to church 
government and the sacraments ; and planting himself 
on those standards, he sustained the examination with a 
firmness and decision which elicited strong expressions 
of approval from many present, among whom were the 
leading members of his new charge. Ingenious efforts 
were made, especially by some lay members of the 
Council, to call out an expression of preference for, or 
at least entire satisfaction with, Congregational Church 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 57 

Government. This effort was met by appeals to Scrip- 
ture and church history, so aptly and sometimes so 
humorously presented as to silence his questioners 
without offending them. A prominent Congregation- 
alist present, when asked what was the young minis- 
ter's position on this point, replied, " It was summed up 
in his telling us that he did not think either the New 
Testament or church history was written to propagate 
Congregationalism." Nevertheless, as he then under- 
stood the system, he believed he could conscientiously 
work under it. Thus, with flying colors and with zeal 
and hopefulness, he entered upon his work, the first 
he had essayed which promised permanence. 

Socially, the field was very inviting. As a place of 
residence, Brookline was one of the most attractive of 
the suburbs of Boston. A pretty parsonage awaited 
the young family ; and kind attentions, flowing in upon 
them without stint, testified to the heartiness with 
which the new pastor was welcomed. Culture and 
refinement were on every side; and the community 
was a thoughtful and religious one, free from the 
excitements of fashionable city life. 

The mistress of the parsonage, with youthful enthu- 
siasm, wrote to the home circle within the first month : 
" You know enough of my mind and my taste to im- 
agine how things look when I tell you that place, 
church, parsonage, and people, each in their way, are 
the realization of my beau ideal. We feel happy in 
the prospect of remaining here a lifetime, if Providence 
so orders our way, and this is what we hardly had 
grace enough to feel at Ovid. We could be ivilling, 
but not with heart-pleasure." She remembers the 
fervor of the prayer so often uplifted by her husband, 
that the delightful outward circumstances might not 



58 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

so fill the vision that the great and serious purpose 
of the life before them should be obscured. 

Some of the most active intellectual work of Mr. 
Meier-Smith's life now commenced. The necessity for 
meeting the needs of a thoughtful and educated con- 
gregation, three or four times every week, stimulated 
earnest and conscientious study; and the parish was 
not large enough to need too great an expenditure of 
time and strength in parochial care. Clerical society 
was congenial and helpful, vigorous young men being 
in charge of parishes contiguous ; and in Boston there 
were older brethren to call upon for advice and assist- 
ance. It was not his nature to rush precipitately into 
changes, or improvements upon the past. He rather 
surveyed the ground quietly, and planned new lines 
of work slowly ; and by causing the need of them to 
be felt, carried his points. His bright and cheerful 
disposition, warm hand-clasp, and ready smile, were 
almost irresistible ; and when his mind was made up 
to any course, it was not often that he met with serious 
opposition. 

Among the first things which engaged his attention, 
was the " Confession of Faith," peculiar to the Harvard 
Church, and to which assent was required of those 
seeking admission to its communion and fellowship. 
It seemed to him most ill-judged and unfitting, that 
when receiving persons for the first time to the Holy 
Communion, they must stand before him in the pres- 
ence of the congregation, while, to use his own lan- 
guage, he "read at them a long statement expressing 
profound belief in Adam, and very little in Christ." 
Certain Calvinistic doctrines, expressed in language now 
almost obsolete, were quite beyond the comprehension 
of many candidates. Members of the church admitted 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 59 

that " no one believed them,", and that it was a mere 
form adhered to for old association's sake. An element 
of absurdity was not wanting, sometimes, as when on 
one occasion, the candidates were two lads of fourteen 
years of age, who were not only required to signify 
assent to theological statements, but to promise to 
" order their households religiously, and bring up their 
children in the same faith ! " The pastor was much 
gratified when, after some months of study and discus- 
sion, the church consented to lay aside the old and 
clumsy " Confession," and to substitute a simple state- 
ment of evangelical faith drawn up by himself. His 
preference would have been to limit the confession to 
the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, but this was too radi- 
cal a change. 

His thorough and exhaustive investigation of this 
subject he regarded as the laying of one of the foun- 
dation stones for the change in his church position 
made so many years afterward. From this time he 
took strong ground against demanding any extra-Scrip- 
tural conditions for admission to the Lord's Table, or 
other privileges of his church. 

During the first three years of his pastorate, Brook- 
line was rapidly growing ; and he had the satisfaction 
of watching increasing congregations, and seeing the 
vigor of new life in his little church as it gradually 
gathered to itself many of the best of the new resi- 
dents. He was personally attractive to strangers, as 
his ever cordial manner and ready welcome made them 
feel themselves at home at once. This was before the 
days of numerous parish organizations, guilds, clubs, 
and the like ; but he drew to himself the younger part 
of his people, and urged upon them united effort 
in various directions, guiding them personally, both 



60 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

religiously and socially. A class of ladies met at the 
parsonage for the study of the evidences of Christian- 
ity; and a course of lectures on early church history, 
illustrated by charts of his own drawing, was kept up 
vigorously for two years. 

Once a month a catechetical instruction for children 
was given, and a short sermon preached. This was 
an innovation, such services for children being then un- 
usual The Sunday-school which he found connected 
with his church was of a character quite new to him, 
peculiar as it was to New England, and especially to 
Massachusetts. More than half of the classes consisted 
of adult members of the congregation, gathered around 
one of their number whom they elected as leader ; and 
they pursued Bible study in any direction they fan- 
cied, sometimes, the pastor thought, on lines more 
unique than instructive. The " pillars of the church," 
including the deacons, were gathered in these classes ; 
and it seemed as if the little ones were almost forgot- 
ten. In fact, not much effort was made for the class 
for whom the Sunday-school was originally intended. 

The lambs of the flock were always near to the lov- 
ing heart of him whom we are trying to portray in 
these pages. He could not rest until through earnest 
effort, seconded by some devoted young helpers, he 
filled all the empty spaces of the Sunday-school room 
with children, many of whom came from families not 
connected with any church, and inclined to avoid 
Harvard Church, from an impression that its congre- 
gation was select and aristocratic. The first Christmas 
festival the Sunday-school had ever celebrated, took 
place in the parsonage in the first year of his residence. 
This festival was yet something of an exotic, having 
scarcely taken root in New England. 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 61 

Another effort was in the direction of enlivening 
the social services for conference and prayer. Before 
many months his lecture-room was crowded on Sun- 
day evenings, in consequence of a plan he adopted for 
answering questions and discussing topics of interest. 
A box was placed in the vestibule, and inquiries on 
religious subjects of personal or general interest were 
dropped therein. On the following Sunday evening 
the questions were read, short answers given to such 
as could be quickly disposed of, and one or two were 
taken as a theme for a more careful discussion or fa- 
miliar lecture. The ready grasp he had of a subject, 
the power of getting at the kernel, so to speak, 
came out forcibly in these popular services for instruc- 
tion. Among those who attended, were members of 
the Episcopal and Unitarian congregations of Brook- 
line, and not a few from Boston churches. 

At this time Mr. Meier-Smith was of slight figure, 
active in movement, and sanguine in temperament. 
He had a laughing blue eye and a merry smile which 
was contagious as it lighted up his entire face. No 
one knew it if he was ever ruffled in spirit, for his 
bright amiability never deserted him, even when he 
met opposition. So much of the " charity which think- 
eth no evil " filled his heart that though sensitive and 
sympathetic in an unusual degree, he was slow to take 
offence, and invariably saw the best in a man. If so 
much perverseness prevailed that he failed to find the 
good points, he still declared that they were there, and 
he turned the edge of many a sharp or ill-tempered 
remark with a ready and humorous retort, born of a 
capacity for seeing the ludicrous side of almost every- 
thing disagreeable. 

Without an element of sensationalism in manner 



62 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

or style, he was popular as a preacher, and was wel- 
comed in neighboring pulpits when exchanging with 
his brethren. His sermons were thoroughly prepared ; 
his well-informed congregation would not have rel- 
ished any others, and he was always a conscientious 
workman. Looking over his record of sermons writ- 
ten and preached during the first three years in Brook- 
line, there appears a marked absence of any " tricks " 
to catch attention, such as unusual texts, or ad cap- 
tandum themes. Evangelical, in the true sense of the 
much-abused word, applies to nearly all his sermons. 
Repentance, faith, Christian fidelity, the great facts of 
the incarnation and life of our Lord, these were pre- 
sented in varying forms, but never with uncertain ring. 

Nothing could be more cordial than the relations 
of pastor and people. To his wife he once said, 
"Such smooth sailing cannot last. Let us take it as 
a time of preparation for some other discipline that 
must surely come to us. We must grow strong in 
the sunshine, that we may not succumb to the storm." 

Mr. Meier-Smith took a leading position in Brookline 
in matters affecting the public interest. The old New 
England custom of placing clergymen in the front, espe- 
cially in educational interests, still prevailed in Massa- 
chusetts. He was an active member of the school 
board, and zealous in promoting reforms and raising 
the standard of education. During his term of service 
he urged the erection of new school buildings with 
modern improvements, and had the satisfaction of see- 
ing the substantial results of enlarged financial appro- 
priations, and of much devotion of time and thought 
to the work. 

Among letters to his parents written during this 
period is one to his mother dated Jail. 29, 1852 : 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 63 

... A letter was received from you this morning, 
and was most welcome, as are all your letters. I had 
no idea that my dear father had been so seriously ill. 
I trust that he is now better, as the indications were. 

The frail tenure we have upon life in this world is 
a subject often before my mind, and when it is most 
realized, then how full of meaning those words of the 
great Eesurrection and the Life, " He that believeth in 
Me shall never die." I interpret this passage not with 
reference to eternal death solely, but with reference to 
temporal; at least there is a thought suggested which 
is most precious to the spirit. So far as death is an 
idea containing elements of horror, so far the man 
whose faith is full in Jesus shall not experience it. 
So far as it is an act of passing from one sphere of 
activity to another, so far it shall be realized. 

But the cross and the risen Saviour, and the life 
and immortality brought to light, have displaced the 
gloomy elements, and filling the soul with assurance 
and triumph, they make what to Nature is the awful 
passage, only a stepping-stone from one place to an- 
other, from ship to shore, from earth to where 
God can be served with perfect service and elevated 
powers ; and as such not to be dreaded in itself more 
than the transit from any one spot to any other on 
the earth. To present the thought in another light, 
religion or the service of Christ is to the Christian 
an end in itself, not simply a means to an end. We 
delight in it, and make it the main business of life, 
loving it for its own sake and because it is right, not 
chiefly because we think it is necessary for future 
happiness. 

When one embarks in this service it is for eternity, 
and the idea is, serve God now and ever, here or else- 



64 BROOKLIXE DAYS. 

where, and make this service the whole business forever. 
Death is not even an interruption to this service, it is 
only the door which opens to a higher station. So I 
try to view the subject. As a Christian I chose the 
service of Christ, not caring much whether He called 
me to the service of the merchant, the lawyer, or doc- 
tor. When invested with the ministry, the question of 
place was the most unimportant one, and the one I tried 
to leave in His hands. 

He sent me to Ovid, and then removed me to Brook- 
line. I stay here until he summons me elsewhere. In 
my right senses and frame, I care not when or whither. 
If to New York, or to Philadelphia, or to heaven, 
whether a mission to China, or a mission of a thousand 
years to distant Saturn to tell of redemption in this 
world, it matters not to me. The railway would be 
the means of getting to New York, the ship to China, 
the putting off this mortal is the passageway to a supe- 
rior sphere. " He that believeth in Me shall never die." 
Saint Paul says, " Mortality is swallowed up of life" 

Precious to me is the blessing of such views, and if 
not unfamiliar to my parents, they will be ever new 
and refreshing, as often as contemplated. 

With very much love to all, I am 

Your MATSON. 

In the parsonage, the family at the close of the year 
1852 numbered four, as a little daughter came bringing 
new brightness into the home. To a friend he said, 
when this event occurred, "A man is proud when he is 
the father of a son, but he is happy when he is the father 
of a daughter." When this little one was but a few 
days old, there occurred great cause for thankfulness 
in a narrow escape from the terrors of fire. Mr. Meier- 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 65 

Smith sat late in his study one night, and was about 
retiring, when a slight sound attracted his attention to 
the kitchen. On opening the door he found a vigorous 
fire in progress, commencing with some garments hang- 
ing to dry, but already reaching to the ceiling and 
woodwork of the room. A few pails of water, always 
standing ready for such an emergency, extinguished the 
flames without the sleeping family's knowledge of their 
danger. But had he not gone to the room at the time, 
the small frame building must certainly have been de- 
stroyed, for it was a cold and blowing winter night, and 
the village had no efficient fire department. 

There are few letters accessible written during these 
years. His friend, Dr. Dyer, with whom his intimacy 
increased, was often called to Boston, and was then a 
frequent guest at Harvard Parsonage. Letters full of 
life and humor passed between them, and of these the 
following is an example. It was written in the spring 
of 1852, on the occasion of a proposed visit of Dr. Dyer 
to Europe, with the offer of a letter of introduction to 
the Hon. William B. Kinney, United States Minister at 
the Court of Sardinia, whose accomplished wife, the 
mother of Edmund Clarence Stedman, was the aunt of 
Mrs. Meier-Smith. War clouds were already darken- 
ing the horizon, and the mutterings of the storm which 
two years later descended, involving Russia, England, 
France, and Italy, were heard in the distance. This 
explains allusions in the letter: 

. . . We both hope you will get to Turin and see our 
distinguished relatives. I am sure you will enjoy the 
interview with Mr. and Mrs. Kinney very much. He is 
the Coleridge of America for conversational powers and 
fascination ; she, one of the most classic of our female 
5 



66 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

poets, with the usual woman's heart in all seasons, 
whether under the " Inspiration " or not. . . . And you 
are really going to see the menagerie, are you ? Take 
care that the old Bull (which his name is John) don't 
get into fits while you are there, because the frog-eater 
tries to mount his back and gallop to the universal 
domi-nation. And do keep out of the way in case there 
should be a hugging match between the old " Bear/' 
the " Duke," and the rest of the beasts. I might give 
you a letter to Dr. , as you are going to Switzer- 
land, only he don't know me, and I doubt the utility 

of any such missive. Eev. R B and his family 

are in London now. They might introduce you to Her 
Majesty. They know all about her and her ancestors, 
having taught school so long. . . . 

Well, God preserve and bless you both, " Mizpah ! " 
and may His wing shadow your children while you 
are absent, through our Lord and Saviour. 
Affectionately yours, 

MATSON MEIER-SMITH, 

" Episcopus." 

A cordial friendship existed between the pastor of 
Harvard Church and the Rev. Dr. John S. Stone, at 
that time rector of St. Paul's Church, Brookline. Dr. 
Stone was a distinguished writer and preacher, and a 
man of a lovely catholic spirit that knew no bounds of 
ecclesiasticism. He was lively and playful in social in- 
tercourse, and was wont to address his young brother 
as " My Bishop," in humorous allusion to Presbyterian 
claims. 

Dr. Dyer and Dr. Stone were intimate friends, and 
on one occasion Mr. Meier-Smith, entering the rectory 
library, found these two eminent churchmen engaged 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 67 

in a literal wrestling match with all the vigor of a pair of 
school-boys. Recovering from his surprise he entered 
the fray himself, and declared that though but a militia 
man, in their view, he had brought these officers of the 
regular army to speedy discomfiture. 

A letter to his wife, during her absence from home, 
gives an intimation of a method of answering questions 
upon ethical subjects always characteristic of him. 

BBOOKLIN-E, April 26, 1852. 

... I had yesterday a delightful Lord's Day ; it was 
one of the days " the Lord hath made." Congregations 
good. My morning sermon upon the "New Creature 
in Christ," appeared to be liked. In the afternoon I 
preached from Proverbs v. 11, 12. It was a little in 
" Dream Life " style. I Ve half a mind to write a religious 
"Dream Life." Do you think my genius adequate? 
In the evening I talked about the Sabbath and keeping 
it. In answer to the very common question, " Is this 
breaking the Sabbath, the holy day ? Can I do this 
or that, and not sin ? " I advanced the doctrine that to 
holy beings duty and privilege are intimately related, in- 
deed are synonymous terms. God's law tells the Chris- 
tian his privilege and honor, that is, what he may do, 
and is not to be construed as must do, though it im- 
plies the latter. "We should be so delighted with the 
privilege of being holy and serving God, and so grateful 
that we are not left to hopeless spiritual death, or sin's 
bondage, that we should esteem God's commands as our 
charter of liberties, and not as a set of restrictions. 

After service until midnight, I had a grand chat with 
our friends in Linden Place upon heavenly things, and 
some of the mysteries of redemption. We talked also 
upon the inspiration of the Bible. I declare I think 



68 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

that however wonderful may seem the idea of the Bible 
being from above, if we view it otherwise and deny its 
divine origin, it is a greater wonder yet. 

To his Wife. 

BROOKLINE, April 11, 1852. 

... I wish my little wife would not reproach herself 
for any fancied or real shortcomings. Love is in spite 
of failings, if not strengthened by them. Certainly it 
is strengthened by commiseration and sympathy when 
the failings occur in the midst of a sincere conflict 
against them and all sin. And if you have faith in 
God's assured forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, 
for any unwilling sin, you should, dearest, honor God by 
acquiescing in his forgiveness, and gratefully press on 
with smiles shining above the tears which memory brings, 
unto more and more perfect service. You ask me to 
bear patiently with your failings. Do you think I fancy 
myself in no need of your patience and forgiveness ? 
Good-by, dearest, 

Your MATSON. 

Throughout the years of the Brookline ministry there 
was a growing excitement upon great national ques- 
tions. The Anti-slavery agitation increased rapidly, and 
there were many, who, anticipating a desperate strug- 
gle, yet hoped it might be averted through the wisdom 
of conservative leaders, while themselves in sympathy 
with the progressive element. It was characteristic of 
Mr. Meier-Smith to move slowly toward a new posi- 
tion. The next letters show this cautious treading; 
but, three years later, he was prepared to be among 
the first and the firmest in a steady march toward the 
high stand on the great moral questions involved, 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 69 

which was reached by a large proportion of Chris- 
tian men of the North before the commencement of 
the Civil War. 

To his Father. 

BROOKLINE, April, 1852. 

. . . Last evening Mr. E. D was at Mr. T 's, 

and we had a regular tilt upon the " higher law " ques- 
tion. I believe his principles are sound in the abstract, 
and that he would act righteously in a real case, but his 
conclusions logical seem to me to be ^logical from his 
strong attachment to the Webster-Whig school. Mr. 

T 's views were developed too, and I find he is no 

more an Abolitionist than I am, holding almost the 
identical position I do, with the exception that he votes 
the Free Soil ticket certainly, while, just at present, 
I feel inclined to vote for Mr. Webster. It was the 
briskest fight I've had for three years! 

To his Parents. 

BROOKLINE, June, 1852. 

. . . The first subject of conversation here has been 
as everywhere else the nominations at Baltimore. Mr. 
Webster seems to have been entirely distanced. As a 
matter of national vanity I had some desire for his nom- 
ination and election, but it is doubtless best that he is 
so thoroughly rejected. Magnificent as are his mental 
powers, his principles are so defective that he ought 
never to be President ; and if ever a man righteously 
deserved defeat for truckling to Southern principles as 
to slavery, with New England blood coursing through 
his veins, and New England's stern lessons of justice 
ringing in his ears, he has deserved it. The grand po- 
litical game started about three years ago of which 



70 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

the Fugitive Slave Law and the other Compromise 
Measures, and the many speeches and sermons in favor 
thereof, and the wolf-cry of " danger to the Union," " no 
higher law," etc., were parts has been a deep game and 
a desperate one, but the chief players have all burned 
their own fingers. It is righteous retribution. What 
is in the future we know not, but if such events will 
produce more manliness in our statesmen, they will do 
good. And if, as I trust, the agitation of the last two 
years will only swell the grand shout in favor of Free- 
dom and Free-soil and Anti-slavery to the detriment 
of the leading parties, I shall think that our prayers are 
beginning to be answered on behalf of our country, in 
earnest. I am not an Abolitionist in the ordinary use 
of the word, but I am every day growing stronger in my 
Anti-slavery sentiment, and this not merely as disapprov- 
ing of slavery as I disapprove of Hindooism, but in the 
conviction of the increasingly pressing duty of Christian 
men to begin to act, and give no countenance to the 
system, nor be longer wheedled into a dead conservatism 
by unprincipled politicians and worse stock-jobbers ! 

Allusion has been made to the pleasant ministerial 
associations of this period of Mr. Meier-Smith's life. 
He was one of a select number who organized the Win- 
throp Club, vigorous yet in the maturity of more than 
thirty years of life. Now and then during the many 
years that have passed since he met with his brethren, 
messages of fraternal friendship and good cheer have 
gone from his pen in answer to invitations to their 
meetings. No clerical social gatherings were ever more 
prized and enjoyed by him. From the Rev. Dr. Dexter, 
of Boston, editor of the " Congregationalist," who was 
at that time pastor of the Pine-Street Church, Boston, 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 71 

a letter was received after Dr. Meier-Smith's death, giv- 
ing the impression he made upon his associates during 
those years : 

BOSTON, April 8, 1887. 

. . . The sad news of your dear husband's death was a 
great shock to me, as I had hardly thought of him as growing 
old. Indeed, he struck me as being perennially young. I 
can remember exactly how he looked when I knew him so 
pleasantly and well, and how like a sunbeam he went every- 
where. I find it very difficult to realize that he is withdrawn 
from all the service of earth, and that we shall see his face 
no more. 

It cannot but please you to know that at the meeting of 
the Winthrop Club on Monday last, he was the subject of 
affectionate remembrance, and such passages from the early 
records as recalled him were read by the Secretary. 

I can assure you that there was not one drop of bitterness 
generated by his changing his position from our denomina- 
tion ; his own genial and charitable soul gave all too good a 
guarantee of his sincerity and of his catholicity for that. . . . 
His bright face is distinctly before me as I write, with that 
rich and genial smile, just ready to break forth into some 
glad or merry word, making his presence always cheering and 
delightful. 

From the Eev. Dr. Furber, of Newton Centre, Mas- 
sachusetts, one of the first members of the Winthrop 
Club and the present Secretary : 

November 2, 1887. 

. . . Mention was made in our Club of the death of your 
dear husband, our very highly esteemed former associate. It 
is nearly thirty years since I saw him, but I remember him 
with the greatest distinctness. I exchanged with him five 
times. He told me that once while preaching in my pulpit, 
it suddenly occurred to him that he had preached that very 
sermon to my people before ; " but," said he, " I determined 



72 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

to brass it out and make the best of it," which he wisely did, 
and probably no one in the house thought the sermon an old 
one. In proposing an exchange to ine he said, " Please bring 
plain spoken sermons, for we have some religious interest." 
I remember once hearing him preach in his own church. In 
the pulpit he was stately and dignified. In social intercourse, 
though he was never undignified, he was genial, sympathetic, 
and vivacious, and his conversation was enlivened with 
pleasantry. One of his brethren came to him on Saturday 
morning in distress for an exchange. Your husband could 
not accommodate him. "What am I going to do?" said 

Mr. . "Go home and write a sermon," was the answer ; 

" that 's what I 'm trying to do ! " 

These reminiscences of early friends illustrate a side 
of his personality which was as marked thirty years 
later, as in the days of his youth. In this aspect he 
never grew old. 

Beginning with the year 1854, some of the shadows 
which he had predicted as likely to fall over his smooth 
pathway began to be discerned. 

First among them was the loss of two faithful men, 
John Dane and Nathaniel Dana. Harvard Church and 
its pastor were rich in the possession of such office- 
bearers. Mr. Dane died in the prime of life, in July, 
1854, after a very short illness. Mr. Dana, venerable 
in years, slowly passed to his rest, in January, 1856. 
Both of these men were such as a pastor may lean 
upon in confidence. A warm love was mutually felt, 
and each in his way was a valued counsellor. Mr. 
Dane's bright and sunny nature was much like his 
young pastor's, and they were always in sympathy. 
He was an untiring friend and helper, and one with 
whom Mr. Meier-Smith could freely unbend. He was 
a faithful, loving Christian, and his death was a loss 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 73 

never made up to the church or its pastor. Mr. Dana's 
lovely piety and large Christian experience were an 
example and stimulus to the clergyman whom he took 
to his heart in his youth and inexperience, and who 
mourned for him with almost a filial affection. These 
losses were also felt by him as withdrawing strong in- 
fluences for the spiritual prosperity of his congregation. 



vn. 

BROOKLINE DAYS. 
1855-1859. 

LIKE golden threads running through all the web 
of Mr. Meier-Smith's early ministry, and here 
and there shining out as light fell upon them, were 
the influences which were leading him to a stronger 
churchly position. The position of children in the 
Church, as indicated in the usages growing more and 
more prevalent in New England, was a perplexity to 
him. Infant baptism appeared to have become only 
a pleasant custom, justified by use but not otherwise 
to be strongly maintained. 

The Eucharist was regarded only as a Memorial 
Feast. Not such was his view of the sacraments, or 
of the place of the children in the Kingdom. Old Con- 
gregational standards he found taking ground with 
Presbyterian formulas, but modern practice and in- 
struction were widely different. Investigating the 
subject of what the fathers of the New England 
churches called "Infant Church Membership," he had 
a discussion of some length in the Boston " Congrega- 
tionalist," with its editor, at the close of which it was 
courteously admitted that he had the weight of testi- 
mony on his side of the argument. He ended the dis- 
cussion by the following inferences : 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 75 

" 1. That baptized children of believing parents are 
members of the Church, unequivocally. They stand as 
young trees in the orchard, rather than as young trees 
in the nursery, which are hereafter to be transplanted. 
There is no more indefiuiteness in this statement than 
in the statement that a minor or infant in law is a 
citizen. The fact of being under age does not render 
the term improper. The law of one State says, ' Every 
free white able-bodied citizen who has attained the 
age of eighteen years is liable to military duty.' Yet 
these infant citizens cannot vote, and in some cases 
cannot hold property. Is it then absurd to speak of 
infant citizenship in Christ's kingdom ? 

"2. Infant members are entitled to such privileges 
and subject to such responsibilities as their capacities 
will admit, and these only. Those six months old have 
fewer than those sixteen years old. They are not en- 
titled, for example, to the Lord's Supper, until they 
can discern the Lord's body and will come forward with 
right hearts. On the other hand their position creates 
an obligation to receive the Lord's Supper with right 
hearts, as soon as they are old enough and wise enough 
to discern the Lord's body. 

" 3. This doctrine does not conflict with the right 
of a church to prescribe its own terms of communion 
and fellowship for infant members who seek for privi- 
leges, and it may require profession of faith. 

"This profession is not 'joining the Church,' but 
simply a profession. They were joined to the Church, 
according to this theory, in infancy." 

It will of course be understood that these conclusions 
express the shape the subject took in his own mind 
in that forming period, and do not, except as they fore- 
shadow them, present the full views of his maturity. 



76 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

As a source of disquietude there appeared a weak- 
ness of throat and voice which at times threatened 
entire disability. The east winds of the winters and 
springs were always severe, and a harassing cough be- 
came chronic during the cold weather. 

He was compelled to take several short rests and 
to keep under constant local treatment for his throat. 
On one occasion, while preaching an especially solemn 
sermon to a crowded congregation at a union service, 
while in the midst of an earnest appeal, his voice grew 
thinner and weaker until it was almost a whisper. 
The audience grew proportionally still, watching the 
speaker with strained attention. He did not stop to 
explain, and closed his sermon with a benediction, pro- 
nounced in a whisper, which deeply moved his hearers 
with the fear that the faithful servant might be deliv- 
ering his last message. It was some time before he 
spoke aloud again. 

This throat weakness improved during the next year, 
and he regained and held for many years nearly his 
former strength and ease in speaking. In 1856, and 
in the following year, financial disasters spread over the 
country to such an extent that a general gloom pre- 
vailed. Among his own people there were some who 
suffered greatly. This was followed by a remarkable 
season of religious reviving, or awakening as he called 
it, giving the old name he preferred to revival. 

Such serious interests now engrossed the attention 
of thoughtful Christians, that his preaching changed in 
a marked degree. He felt that the times called the 
" watchmen on the walls " to exhort the people to deep 
self-communing and repentance. 

He endeavored to arouse his own flock and to enlist 
their interest in the work of the Holy Spirit as he saw it 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 77 

manifested in the communities about him. He carried 
many of his people with him, but some of his most 
respected friends, upon whom he relied for sympathy 
and support, differed from him, and freely criticised the 
" advanced " views and methods, as they regarded them, 
of their pastor. This wounded him, and an entering 
wedge of separation appeared. Among his advisers at 
this time was his friend the Eev. Dr. Kirk. He was in 
full sympathy with the spirit which stirred the soul of 
his " dear son in the Gospel," and that his course won 
Dr. Kirk's approval was the compensation for some 
heart-aches. 

While the unusual services of this time of religious 
interest were in progress, Dr. Kirk sent an invitation 
to him, inspired by tender thoughtfulness. Being uni- 
versally revered and beloved he knew that such an 
open indorsement would strengthen his young brother's 
hands, and wrote to him in these words : 

MY DEAR SON IN THE GOSPEL, Will you stand by your 
father in his advancing age 1 I have to preach on Tuesday 
morning and evening, on Wednesday morning, and Thursday 
morning and evening. My nervous energy is almost ex- 
hausted, but God can supply my wants and he may employ 
you in doing it, a service from which I know you will not 
shrink. Can you be with me to pray for the people on Tues- 
day morning, and to preach on Tuesday evening 1 Come and 
stay with me. 

Mr. Meier-Smith's preaching at this time was more 
doctrinal in subject and more personal in style than 
hitherto. Upon certain subjects he had not felt con- 
strained to preach before. Death, judgment, retribu- 
tion, sin, conscience, and responsibility for great moral 
decisions are among the topics of sermons written at 



78 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

this period. In his review of this time, some years 
afterward, he believed that some who stood aloof were 
conscientious in differing with him, and he recognized 
also that this was a time of expansion in his own reli- 
gious life, and of a more entire consecration to Christ, 
resulting from the discovery that he must not rely too 
much on the most trusted human help and sympathy. 

In January, 1857, the death of Mrs. Meier-Smith's 
mother brought great sorrow into Harvard parsonage. 

From his early boyhood the loveliness of Mrs. White's 
person and character had inspired an admiration in her 
future son-in-law, which grew into filial love when he 
came into close relationship with her. Years of great 
suffering preceded her release, and throughout them 
her beautiful character ripened until in the eyes of her 
family she seemed a saint. " I love her scarcely less 
than my own mother," Mr. Meier-Smith often said, and 
when she was removed from the husband and children 
whose lives she had blessed so richly, he who had been 
adopted into their circle was one of the most sincere 
mourners. 

In the year 1857, he received an honorary degree of 
Master of Arts from Williams College, Massachusetts. 
Within two years he declined overtures from several 
churches, among them one hi the city of New York. It 
was not until he felt that a change was imperative from 
a sense of overwork, that he consented to consider a 
call elsewhere. The disturbed feeling of which we 
have spoken had then disappeared completely, and 
entire harmony prevailed. The church had doubled in 
size and strength during his pastorate, and the outlook 
was promising; but the intellectual strain had been 
steady, and he desired an opportunity to reach other 
classes of people for the sake of development in certain 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 79 

lines of work. A change of climate, also, was advised 
for the tendency to throat trouble. 

In the autumn of 1858, he received, simultaneously, 
calls to the Presbyterian Church in Bloomfield, New 
Jersey, and the First Congregational Church of Bridge- 
port, Connecticut. While absent from home, visiting 
these parishes, and while yet undecided in regard to 
leaving Brookline, he wrote to his wife : 

I am on my way to Bloomfield, of which I cannot 
say more than that I am entirely ready to go thither, 
unless I can be more useful in either of the other Bees ! 
The Bridgeport people are very pressing. Is this of 
the Lord or no ? I am only solicitous to be directed 
by the great Head of the Church. . . . 

What is the Lord ordering for us ? I do not see a 
boat's length ahead. The Great Pilot does see however ' 
He ruleth ' Be of good courage, my love. Whether 
there lies before us an ample and congenial work, or a 
faith-trying disappointment, we shall find out. If I 
know my own heart I only want to be guided by His 
Will. . . . Their father's warmest love to his boy and 
girl. Ever, dearest, your 

MATSON. 

The call to Bridgeport was accepted, several reasons 
contributing to the decision. Probably stronger than 
Mr. Meier-Smith knew at the time, was the drift of his 
thought in certain directions, which made him doubtful 
of returning to the Presbyterian Church, lest he should 
feel himself more trammelled in following out his incli- 
nations than he would be under the independent system 
of Congregationalism. He was being led by a way 
which he knew not. Had he returned to the Pres- 
byterian Communion, he might have remained there, 



80 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

for he would have missed an experience which had its 
influence in strengthening latent convictions as yet not 
fully recognized by himself. 

On Sunday, Nov. 14, 1858, Mr. Meier-Smith read his 
resignation to his people, from which this extract is 
made: "My decision has not been reached without 
prayerful deliberation, and unfeigned sorrow at the 
thought of parting with those whom I greatly love, 
with this church to which I came in its feeble youth 
and in mine, and which under divine favor has at- 
tained maturity and masculine vigor. I am under the 
painful necessity, in order to enter upon the field which 
opens before me, of tendering the resignation of my 
office as pastor and teacher, and I ask you to unite 
with me in calling a Council to dissolve the relation- 
ship existing between us." 

The resolutions passed by the church in reply were 
as follows : 

"Resolved, That this church views with profound sorrow 
and regret the event which has thus in divine Providence 
been brought upon them. That, understanding that it will 
be acceptable to our pastor as a proof of our confidence in 
him and our love for him, and that it will be received, not 
as evidence of our willingness to part with him, but of our 
readiness in a spirit of self-sacrifice to defer to his desires, 
it is therefore 

"Resolved, That this church accepts the resignation as 
tendered by their pastor. 

"Resolved, That in accepting the request of their beloved 
pastor this church desires to present to him their Christian 
love, their warmest thanks in remembrance of his past faith- 
ful labors, and their prayers to our common Lord and Master 
for his future happiness and usefulness." 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 81 

From the Minutes of the Council called to sever the 
relation : 

" The Council cannot part with one whom they have known 
so long and well, and in whose pleasant and fraternal fellow- 
ship, and hearty co-operation in all departments of Christian 
and ministerial activity, they have had so much comfort and 
strengthening, without bearing witness to the tenderness of 
the relationship that has existed between them, and their 
deep regret that this beloved brother is to be removed from 
their immediate neighborhood. 

" Their prayers and their sincerest wishes for his prosperity 
and success in his work will follow him hence to the new field 
of labor understood to lie before him. And to those with 
whom he may hereafter be associated in any function of his 
calling, we heartily commend him as a faithful, earnest, and 
wise minister of the Lord Jesus Christ." 

With universal expressions of sorrow at the parting, 
and very many substantial tokens of love and appre- 
ciation, the farewells were said, and the Brookline life 
ended with the closing year. 

A letter from Mrs. Edward A. Strong, of Boston, 
finds an appropriate place here, bearing its loving trib- 
ute to this early ministry. The writer and her husband 
having been for more than thirty years among the dear- 
est friends of Dr. and Mrs. Meier-Smith, there was ample 
opportunity in this long and close intimacy to verify the 
impressions formed in Brookline, of the character and 
influence of her young pastor. 

"... Ever since you wrote to me, asking that I would 
try to recall some of my impressions of your dear husband's 
life and pastorate in Brookline, I have been searching the 
depths of my memory to find something which might aid 
you in your labor of love. But you will realize that thirty 
6 



82 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

years ago is a long way back, and in this lapse of time many 
things which might throw a valuable light on the story of 
those days have quite dropped out of memory's grasp. 

" I have always felt that my long and close friendship for 
Matson was colored by the peculiar circumstances of its be- 
ginning. It was under the very shadow of death that I first 
knew and loved him. 

" He came to Brookline, as pastor of the Harvard Church, 
when I, a girl of seventeen, lay low with typhoid fever in the 
very next house to the parsonage. 

"My first impression of him is dim and shadowy. I knew 
that he came daily and sat by my bed, speaking words of 
sympathy and comfort to my mother, repeating Scripture 
promises to me, and praying for me, until soon there came 
a night when he bade me good-by, as he thought, forever, 
never thinking to see me in life again. 

" How often in after years he spoke of that solemn fare- 
well ! But, when I was raised up to life again, all through 
my convalescence, how faithful and tender he was to me. 
How gently he encouraged my feeble faith, and strength- 
ened my new resolve to come out on the Lord's side and 
join myself to his people. 

"When the time came for me to meet the examining 
committee of the church, and I naturally shrank from the 
ordeal of their questions, I remember how his wise and 
kindly words gave me courage. 

" I wonder if you have any remembrance of that Novem- 
ber Sunday of dreary storm, when I, the only one to 'join 
the church,' sat by your side in the front pew of Harvard 
Church and took the solemn vows upon me. You, as the 
pastor's wife, young as you were then, were never behind him 
in your sweet helpful devotion to his sacred work. You held 
up his hands and encouraged his heart. You lightened not 
only his burdens but those of his people, by your cordial 
tact and always ready sympathy. What Matson was to me 
as pastor, I know he must have been to others. His whole 



BROOKLINE DAYS. 83 

heart was in his chosen work of preaching faithfully the gos- 
pel, and ministering in all ways to his people, and I know 
they dearly loved him. 

" His sermons seem to me to have been strong, sound, and 
fearless. I wish my memory would serve me to recall any of 
them in subject or treatment ; these have vanished, and only 
the impression remains of the influence they had upon me 
and on others. I recollect how earnestly, at one time, he 
persisted, even at the risk of unpopularity, in preaching some 
truths which he felt sure that this particular flock needed to 
hear. But I believe he always spoke the truth in love, who 
that ever knew him could doubt it? Who can ever forget the 
warmth of the cordial greeting he always gave one, the hearty 
grasp of his hand, the welcome in his eye 1 ? 'Great-heart' 
indeed he was. You could never do him a greater favor than 
to allow him to do one for you. One rested on his absolutely 
true, strong friendship as on a rock, and knew it would never 
fail one. 

" How vividly comes back to me your life in that Brook- 
line parsonage, dear home that it was for you both, in spite 
of its deficiencies. But how cheerily you and your husband 
made light of them all ! My mother was never tired of prais- 
ing you for the patience and cheerfulness with which you 
bore the discomforts of small and few rooms, poor servants, 
and a hundred petty inconveniences. 

" I recall so many pleasant things about that early Brook- 
line life, and my associations with you and Matson. They 
have been for all these thirty years bright pictures hung up 
on memory's walls. 

"I love to think that he was with me in two of the su- 
preme moments of my life. One I have already spoken of, 
where I seemed to be just stepping out of life into eternity ; 
the other, seven years later, when he performed my marriage 
service. 

"As fully and heartily as he had always given me his 
friendship, so now he gave it to my husband, taking him 



84 BROOKLINE DAYS. 

into his heart once for all ; and to us both this world will 
always seem a sadder and a lonelier place, now that this noble 
soul has gone out of it. Such unselfish, great-hearted ones 
are rare, and when our Father calls them upward, we who 
remain behind must forever mourn over their unfilled places. 
" I know that Matson was greatly valued and beloved by 
the circle of clergymen in and around Boston, with whom he 
came much in contact during his life in Brookline. After all 
these years, one of them, with whom he must have differed 
widely in theological views, remembered him so tenderly as 
to write for the Boston Congregationalist,' at the time of his 
death, an appreciative and affectionate tribute. Many of that 
circle have passed on before him, some are in distant parishes, 
others linger on in the old places, but are weakened by dis- 
ease and burdened with infirmities; but I am sure that all 
would bear glad testimony to the nobility and sweetness of 
nature, and the manly sincerity and courage of this dear 
friend." 



VIII. 

LIFE IN BKIDGEPOKT. 
1859-1863. 

IN the first week of January, 1859, Mr. Meier-Smith 
was installed pastor of the First Congregational 
Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut. A very heavy 
snow-storm was in progress, and many who were in- 
vited as members of the Council for installation were 
prevented thereby from attending. The sermon was 
preached by his friend the late Rev. Dr. Roswell D. 
Hitchcock, of New York. 

The new home and work contrasted strongly with 
the life in Brookline. Bridgeport was a busy and thriv- 
ing city, its population largely engaged in manufactures, 
and it presented elements of variety in social and reli- 
gious aspects, as heterogeneous as those of Brookline 
were homogeneous. 

An extract from a letter written by the pastor's wife, 
after the first Sunday, gives the early impressions : 
" Matson had crowded houses on Sunday, and in the 
evening the Sunday-school concert met in the church. 
The school seemed large and animated. We feel that 
we have indeed commenced a new life. Such engross- 
ing labor as Matson sees before him is just what he has 
longed and prayed for, and I shall try not to give a sigh 
now and then to the life which lies behind us, and with 
it a great deal of our domestic quiet and home enjoy- 



86 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

ment. But if my dear husband can only have strength 
of body and mind, and warmth of soul, for all his 
labors, we shall both rejoice that he has been counted 
worthy of a more arduous and extensive field." 

Mr. Meier-Smith was at this time three and thirty 
years of age, youthful and vigorous in appearance, and 
full of ardor at the prospect of work which would call 
out all his energies. He was gifted with a charm of 
manner which few could resist, and his frank greetings 
naturally met a cordial response. It was often said of 
him that he went a great deal more than half way to 
meet every one. The geniality which made him so ap- 
proachable was perhaps the more felt in his pastoral 
work, as in his public ministrations he was unusually 
dignified, never, even under the excitement of a popular 
address, forgetting for a moment the sacredness of his 
high office. All who recall him as friend and pastor 
will appreciate what has been said. But only those 
who were admitted into the nearest circle of friendship, 
or the intimacy of his home, can understand the place 
he held there. He was a born care-taker, a burden - 
bearer by nature as well as from a sense of duty. The 
little thoughtful attentions, the patient fulfilment of 
small domestic duties, so irksome to many men, and 
so impossible to some from their temperament or edu- 
cation, seemed entirely natural to him. He was sin- 
gularly frank and open with those whom he loved and 
trusted, and there were no secrets at his own fireside. 
He talked freely of his cares and responsibilities to his 
wife, and to his children as they matured, and recognized 
their right to share his burdens, while he entered with 
readiest sympathy into theirs, no matter how trivial. 
Prompt response to any appeal for his sympathy or help 
was a marked characteristic. He never had to apolo- 



LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 87 

gize for forgetfulness when his help was sought, for he 
allowed no time to pass before giving the request his 
attention. If assistance could be given, it was always 
in a manner that seemed to lessen the obligation ; if it 
must be refused, it was shown that it was real pain to 
him so to answer. 

The attempt has been made to give such an impres- 
sion of him as his new parishioners must have received, 
but the sketch is very imperfect. 

In contrast to Brookline, Bridgeport offered a more 
hopeful field to the pastor who desired to be the in- 
timate friend and guide of all his people. In this 
busy working community, living in comfort but without 
pretension, the good New England traditions of social 
equality were generally observed. 

The congregations were usually large. In addition 
to the regular people of his charge, a fair share of the 
floating population were drawn by the attractive church, 
the excellent music, and the style and manner of the 
new pastor. All this was very stimulating to one who 
could say, as he so often said, " I do love to preach." 

After his removal to Bridgeport, Mr. Meier-Smith 
cultivated more freedom as a speaker, being resolved to 
gain in force and animation at the risk of loss in rhetori- 
cal finish. He was more distinctively a popular preacher 
during his Bridgeport pastorate than in any other period 
of his ministry, for his sympathetic temperament re- 
sponded to the stirring events which marked these 
years. Although he never became a careless or slovenly 
writer, he now wrote currente calamo, and usually fin- 
ished a sermon in two sittings. But his preparation was 
thorough, his notes very full, and the language more or 
less chosen before he put pen to paper. His manuscripts 
are found almost without correction. 



88 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

During the first two years, parochial work occupied 
much of his time, as the parish limits extended over all 
parts of the city and its suburbs. He spent less time 
in his study, and was much among his people, learning 
their needs, and how to adapt his sermons to them. 

Among points which first interested him as he sur- 
veyed his new field, was the aspect of matters ecclesias- 
tical. Connecticut Congregationalism was not altogether 
unlike Presbyterianism, a centralization being obtained 
by a standing council known as Consociation. Perhaps 
this feature gave to the officers of the Church, the 
deacons, some coloring to their assumption of a posi- 
tion not altogether different from that of the ruling 
elders of the Presbyterian Church, while limits to over- 
sight being undefined, more abuse of it was possible. 

This glance at the situation before him seems neces- 
sary, in view of the possible difficulties he foresaw, and 
the influence they were destined to have on his future. 

An incident occurred within the first month of his 
residence, foreshadowing coming events. An old man 
of large frame and striking appearance introduced 
himself as formerly acquainted with Bridgeport and 
its churches, but for a long time resident in the West. 
" Accidentally," he said, he had been present at the 
examination of the newly-called minister, and being 
much interested in some of his replies, he would be 
glad to get his views still more clearly upon certain 
doctrinal points, and upon church government. Ac- 
cepting the statement of his visitor in good faith, Mr. 
Meier-Smith answered his questions, which showed 
much shrewdness and considerable information, with- 
out reserve, and afterward found out that he had been 
catechised by one of the oldest members of the church. 
Some natural indignation was felt when it appeared that 



LITE IN BRIDGEPORT. 89 

an undue advantage had been gained by stratagem, the 
long absence from Bridgeport which his words implied 
having been but for a few months. He had purposely 
refrained from an earlier introduction to his new pastor 
that he might " sound him," as he expressed it, when he 
was entirely " off guard." 

Only brief notes remain of the first years of his pas- 
torate. The " Eecord of Services " indicates that in his 
study and thought, prophetical Scriptures took some 
prominence, and particularly such as refer to the Sec- 
ond Coming of the Lord. 

He became a believer in the Pre-Millennial Advent, 
and testified to the gain in his own spiritual life from 
the study of this subject. Two or three sermons ad- 
vanced these views, and they were often brought out in 
his familiar talks and lectures. 

The younger members of the congregation were 
strongly drawn to their pastor, and his personal influ- 
ence appeared in a steady increase of the number ad- 
mitted, on profession of their faith, to the full communion 
of the church. Not a sacramental celebration occurred 
without accessions to the communion. There were a 
few among the candidates who had been educated as 
Unitarians, and the pastor received some criticism for 
admitting them to the church. As early as the second 
year of Mr. Meier-Smith's work in Bridgeport, his broad 
and catholic views with reference to the privileges of 
the Lord's Table attracted attention and aroused some 
opposition. 

From a few whispered doubts as to the course pur- 
sued, the seed was sown of a persistent conflict, which, 
unable to make much headway during the exciting 
years of the Civil War, appeared in the latter part of 
his ministry in Bridgeport. 



90 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

By earnest personal effort, and a relinquishment of a 
part of his salary for one year, he secured the erection 
of a handsome building for the Sunday-school and for 
general parochial purposes, toward the close of the year 
1860. This chapel was first used at the Christmas 
celebration of the Sunday-school. It is hard to believe 
now that there could have been at that time serious op- 
position from some members of the congregation to 
such an observance of Christmas. 

But so it was, and the pastor, always ready to sacri- 
fice his own wishes where no principle was involved, 
offered to postpone the festival for a few days, if the 
objectors would decide upon another day in the Holiday 
week. They selected the 28th of December. 

On the appointed evening he remarked that it was a 
happy coincidence that his friends who disapproved of 
Christmas celebrations for the children, had selected 
the day observed for centuries by a large part of the 
Church in memory of the Holy Innocents I The dis- 
may of a few, and the amusement of many, may 
be imagined when this view of the situation was 
presented. 

In the spring of 1860, he with his wife and a party 
of friends visited "Washington, and Richmond, Ya. It 
was a period of much repressed excitement. The crisis 
was rapidly approaching which the ensuing presidential 
election precipitated. 

The party were favored with an interview with Pres- 
ident Buchanan in his private study. It was the 
morning after a stormy session of Congress, when the 
President's policy had been rebuked by a strong vote. 
Mr. Buchanan, dressed in morning nSgligS, and stand- 
ing on the hearth before the smouldering embers of a 
wood fire, looked careworn and dispirited. Mr. Meier- 



LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 91 

Smith afterward remarked that " We had seen the 
President literally in ' sackcloth and ashes.' " In Rich- 
mond, they tried to see something of the Southern " In- 
stitution" where it appeared under the most favorable 
light. They were much touched by the conversation 
and songs of the slaves in a large tobacco factory, and 
afterward by the prayers and speeches at a negro Bap- 
tist church having the largest communion of any in the 
Southern States. Everywhere it was plain that the 
deepest unrest prevailed, and that the slaves were look- 
ing forward with terrible anxiety to the result of a 
struggle which all felt sure was impending. 

With his brother-in-law he visited a slave auction, 
and they must have been among the last from the 
Northern States who were allowed to witness this 
feature of slavery, as the estrangement between the 
North and the South became so bitter from this time 
that any visitor from the North was looked upon as a 
spy, and shut out from all confidence. It was indeed 
with much difficulty, and only through the efforts of the 
pastor of the colored church above referred to, that they 
were witnesses of the painful scene. 

A New England clergyman at this time was expected 
to be a guide of public opinion and action, and not 
simply to be carried along by the current. Mr. Meier- 
Smith was not behind others in boldly expressing him- 
self on the exciting topics of public interest. The 
nomination and election of Mr. Lincoln, the threaten- 
ing attitude of the Southern States, and the deep dis- 
approbation of the loyal North at the timid and 
vacillating course of President Buchanan and his Cabi- 
net, overshadowed most other subjects during the re- 
mainder of this year. The pastor of the North Church 
did not feel that it was "preaching politics" to set 



92 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

forth the principles of civil government, considered as a 
trust from the Almighty Rider ; or to rouse the public 
conscience on the important questions involved in the 
unhappy conflict. 

Two or three sermons were preached in the autumn 
of 1860 which attracted much attention, and provoked 
violent criticism from local journals which took the 
other side. Some of these attacks were extremely 
bitter and personal. 

During the winter and spring of 1861, in spite of the 
engrossing public questions, a steady religious interest 
quietly made its way, and the pastor had the happiness 
of welcoming a number of his young people to the 
communion of the church. Good Friday of this year 
being appointed by the Governor of Connecticut as a 
State Fast Day, union services were held by the Con- 
gregational churches. The burden of the prayers and 
addresses was the distracted state of the country. In 
the address made by Mr. Meier-Smith, especial mention 
was made of Good Friday as observed by a large major- 
ity of the Christian Church. Much exception was 
taken to this by a few of his parishioners. On Easter 
Sunday an appropriate sermon was preached; and in 
the Sunday-school, instruction was given regarding the 
great festival, and the hope expressed that at no distant 
day all Christians would keep the Feast of the Resur- 
rection. Open disapproval of this teaching was ex- 
pressed by one individual, who complained tearfully in 
the evening prayer-meeting of the training of the chil- 
dren in such " heathenish customs ! " 

This is not the place to speak at length of the events 
which followed so rapidly the inauguration of Mr. Lin- 
coln. The fall of Fort Sumter, the first call for troops, 
the upspringing loyalty of the nation, the attack in Balti- 



LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 93 

more, the defeat at Bull Run, all that these things 
meant to the loyal people of the Northern States, is yet 
fresh in the memories of those who were on the stage 
at the time, though it can be but slightly appreciated 
by a later generation. 

Mr. Meier-Smith's " Eecord of Services " during these 
years shows a choice of practical subjects. The great 
questions of the day were plainly and solemnly pre- 
sented with increasing vigor of style and rhetoric. 
Sermons on the personal religious life were character- 
ized by much illustration and fervent appeal. The 
influence of the times was seen in the directness of the 
presentation of any truth. The excitement of the period 
influenced expression on every subject, and quiet argu- 
ment would have attracted few listeners. In July, 
1861, Mr. Meier- Smith was appointed to pfeach the 
Concio ad Clerum at New Haven. His subject was 
the Personality and Work of the Holy Spirit. The 
sermon was received with very gratifying commenda- 
tion by the large body of clergymen before whom it 
was preached. In the autumn of this year, he preached 
two sermons on Civil Government ; and on the Fast Day 
appointed by the President, and on Thanksgiving Day, 
his topics were appropriate to the crisis through which 
the nation was passing. 

Some of the members of the North Church, by reason 
of birth or associations, were sympathizers with the 
South, but their pastor's hold upon them was retained 
through all the trying period of the war, as he never 
suffered them to feel that his interest in them was 
lessened, or forgot, in private intercourse, the respect 
due to their opinions, fearlessly as he expressed his 
own on all proper occasions. 

In 1863, Columbia College conferred upon him the 



94 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology. He was espe- 
cially gratified by the kind remembrance of his Alma 
Mater, as it was out of its usual course to confer this 
degree upon non-Episcopal clergymen. A characteris- 
tic remark appears in his diary : " Columbia College has 
given me D.D., which I consent to wear because my 
unfortunately common surname demands all the dis- 
tinctiveness I can get!" 



IX. 

LIFE IN BKIDGEPOKT. 
1863-1865. 

A LLUSION has been made to a small number of 
-~~*- persons who had constituted themselves critics 
of their pastor during the first year of his ministry in 
Bridgeport. They were represented by the old man, 
whose surreptitious introduction of himself to the new 
clergyman has been already mentioned, and by two or 
three others who, jealous of ministerial influence, were 
ambitious to control the spiritual as well as the tem- 
poral affairs of the parish. 

During the latter part of Dr. Meier-Smith's pastorate 
many efforts were made by these men to create extended 
dissatisfaction, but with small success beyond the an- 
noyance of constant friction. The parish generally was 
thoroughly loyal, and, whenever a question of policy 
was fairly presented, always sustained its pastor. The 
grounds of fault finding were that he was " no true Con- 
gregationalist ; " that he was " at heart a Presbyterian ; " 
that he was " half an Episcopalian," witness his re- 
gard for solemn, reverent worship and his wish to 
observe " certain days ; " that he made " too much of 
baptism ; " and, as a crowning offence, that he was 
loose and unguarded in his invitations to the Holy 
Communion, admitting youth whom they considered un- 
prepared, as well as persons of " Unitarian tendencies." 



96 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

Little sympathy was aroused on most of these points, 
but on the last mentioned some anxiety was manifested 
by a few of Dr. Meier-Smith's warmest friends. He 
assured them that his practice was strictly in accord- 
ance with that of the leading churches and ministers 
of the Congregational denomination. Animated and 
sometimes heated discussions upon this point became 
the rule in the evening meetings. Some of these 
discussions were amusing as well as annoying, and 
Dr. Meier-Smith's old friends tell various stories of 
his wise, and . often humorous methods of confuting 
his opponents. The vexed question was settled on the 
pastor's side, by the answers received from distinguished 
authorities in reply to questions as to general New 
England usage. 

Before this finale, however, an incident occurred 
illustrating Dr. Meier-Smith's prompt action where 
a question of principle was involved. By represent- 
ing that the pastor cared little about the matter, and 
would willingly concede the point if he were assured 
of the wishes of a majority, the leading spirits of the 
opposition secured a large number of names to a peti- 
tion requesting him to alter his invitation to the 
Communion, so that only members of Congregational 
churches could be admitted even to occasional partici- 
pation in the Lord's Supper. 

This paper was handed to Dr. Meier-Smith on a 
Friday evening. After reading it, and asking a few 
questions, he saw at once how the names had been 
procured. Handing it back he said, " The Table is 
the Lord's, not mine. All baptized persons who love 
our Lord and wish to obey His command, and who 
have professed their faith in Him, are welcome. I 
will never give a more restricted invitation, and I 



LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 97 

know that many who have signed this without confer- 
ence with me, would never ask me to do anything I 
cannot do without treachery to my principles. If 
every name on this paper is not withdrawn by to- 
morrow night, I shall offer my resignation on Sun- 
day morning." No entreaty from even his most valued 
friends, who represented to him the difficulty of meet- 
ing his ultimatum on such short notice, moved him. 
The result was that the parish was diligently can- 
vassed on Saturday, and late in the evening the paper 
was returned to him with the pen drawn through 
every name upon it but those of the leaders in the 
movement. At the close of the Sunday morning ser- 
vice, Dr. Meier-Smith made a brief allusion to the mat- 
ter, expressing his gratification that his friends whose 
names had been affixed to the paper under a misappre- 
hension had withdrawn them, thereby testifying to 
their confidence in their pastor's fidelity to his convic- 
tions. His peremptory action at this crisis he con- 
sidered justifiable in view of the long contest which 
had preceded it. 

From the " Record of Services " at the close of the 
year 1863 : " The year has been in some respects a 
favored one. There has been much religious interest 
among the young, and I trust twenty-five or thirty 
have given themselves truly to our blessed Lord. In 
other respects it has been a year of trial. Some 
troublesome parishioners, few in number indeed, have 
been very fractious, but they have been entirely unsuc- 
cessful, excepting as drags upon my ministry, in what 
they have undertaken." 

In the early part of the year 1864, much religious 
interest was general in the congregations of the town. 
A well-known evangelist was invited to conduct union 



98 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

services. Some of his methods were of doubtful ex- 
pediency, and though Dr. Meier-Smith consented to 
allow services in his church, he reserved to himself 
the right to guide them. These services resulted in 
the addition of many to the communion of the church, 
whose consistent lives bore witness to the reality of 
their experience. 

The topics chosen for sermons and addresses for this 
year appear from the " Record " to have been of an 
unusually solemn and impressive character, and directly 
addressed to the heart and conscience. 

He speaks of the apparent result of the special evan- 
gelistic work, in a letter to his mother, dated March 
23, 1864: 

As I write this date, I remember that it is my 
father's birthday. Let me begin by offering through 
you my congratulations to the " old gentleman " of 
sixty-six. I could show him some very much older 
men of fifty-six. 

And, by the way, I saw a woman of fifty-four to-day 
who looks beside you more like sixty-four than you do 
like fifty-eight. Ah, dear parents, how more and more 
I pray each year and every time I see you that God may 
give you both a delightful evening of life, a good long 
summer evening, whose twilight shall not be dim until 
the glorious morning absorb it and make the new day, 
the day fadeless and eternal. I do not call you "old 
people " yet, but I hope you will one of these years be 
" old people " always young. . . . 

The results of our time of religious interest, now that 
the extension of the work has ceased, are looking well. 
Twenty -five have been examined and approved for full 
membership, and more are to be. 



LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 99 , 

I have been working very hard since February 1st, 
every day. Next Sunday, Easter, I mean, if possible, 
to be with you. 

Your loving son, MATSON. 

Many anecdotes are told by old friends in Bridgeport 
of Dr. Meier-Smith's ready tact in meeting and conquer- 
ing small obstacles. He seemed to know by intuition 
the methods best suited to those among whom he served, 
as one incident may illustrate. 

During one cold winter he suffered much from the 
many broken panes of glass in the large windows in- 
closing the pulpit recess. The winds whistled about 
his ears, and he called attention in vain to the subject, 
the repairs being constantly neglected. In the middle 
of a sermon one morning, he paused, glancing from win- 
dow to window. Then leaving the desk, he put on his 
heavy overcoat, deliberately fastening each button, and 
drawing up the collar about his neck. Apologizing for 
the interruption, he remarked that he had previously 
counted the broken panes, and found that there were 
over one hundred through which the wind found its 
way. The next morning the glazier was promptly on 
hand. It should be added to the credit of the good 
brethren of the committee in charge of the building, 
that they took in the best of humor the public notice 
of their carelessness, telling the story themselves with 
satisfaction at the bold rebuke of their pastor. " He 
knows men and how to meet them," was the comment 
of a shrewd observer who watched him in Bridgeport 
with not too friendly interest. 

The place has now been reached in the life of the 
subject of this Memoir, when it is necessary to speak of 
the long period of thought and mental conflict which 



100 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

led to his decision to seek Orders in the Protestant 
Episcopal Church. The seeds of this change were 
sown in early youth. His acquaintance with litur- 
gical services from childhood has been already noticed. 
Churchly ideas were always familiar to him. From 
the beginning of his ministry he held high views of 
the Sacraments and of Orders, though not higher than 
those expressed in Presbyterian standards, as he under- 
stood them ; and it is not unlikely that he would have 
remained in the Church of his nurture, had he not been 
called into New England. 

While the excitements of the war-days engrossed 
much of his time, in 1863 and 1864, in the quiet of 
his study, and in the inner life, questions and diffi- 
culties regarding his own future ministry began to 
make themselves heard and felt. 

Reviewing his twelve years' service under the Con- 
gregational system, Dr. Meier-Smith recognized that he 
had not been in full sympathy with the prevailing tone 
of ministers and congregations. 

Many things which seemed to him of first impor- 
tance were lightly regarded both in theory and practice 
among those with whom he was associated. Lay par- 
ticipation in the spiritual oversight of the Church he 
considered unauthorized by either Scriptural rule or 
catholic usage. 

The practice of holding the children of the Church 
at arm's length, requiring assent from them to a doc- 
trinal confession and a profession of a personal expe- 
rience, often impossible for their years, was opposed 
to all his convictions. 

Subscription to the catholic creeds was not enough 
to admit to the communion of the church ; and in the 
Articles of Faith, which were prepared by each con- 



LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 101 

gregation for its own use, he found unbalanced and 
distorted presentations of doctrine, which he could 
not subscribe to himself, or require of others. 

Yet to all this he must conform if he remained 
a Congregatioualist. To oppose was to suffer from 
constant friction. The atmosphere of conflict was 
uncongenial to him, and he knew that in such an 
atmosphere he could never do the work he aspired 
to accomplish. 

The entire subordination of worship to preaching, and 
the absence of reverence in conducting worship, were 
distasteful to him ; yet he always repelled the charge 
that matters of taste, or any superficial considerations, 
bore any appreciable weight in his final decision. 

Studying the doctrine and worship of various Chris- 
tian bodies, he found himself much in sympathy with 
the Anglican Communion. At times, again, he felt 
strongly drawn toward the grand old Presbyterian 
Church where his ministry commenced. Within two 
or three years, however, he was prepared to say that 
in worship and in doctrine, especially regarding sac- 
raments, and in general administrative methods, he 
could more heartily affiliate with the Protestant Epis- 
copal Church than with any other. But here he 



Were these convictions strong enough to warrant so 
great a break and change, a step which must involve so 
much sacrifice and must provoke so much criticism ? 
He was now brought face to face with the claims of 
historic Episcopacy. 

Although the important questions pressing upon 
him were not fully answered until his release from 
his Bridgeport pastorate, he now began to realize 
whither he was being led. 



102 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

In the autumn of 1864, Dr. Meier-Smith was called 
to a Presbyterian church in New York City. Many of 
his friends among the clergy pressed his acceptance of 
this call, and from his growing unrest in Congrega- 
tionalism he was almost ready to accept a position 
which promised relief. 

The possibility however of deepening convictions on 
the side of a still more radical change finally influenced 
him to decline it. The congregation which he visited 
were greatly disappointed. From the letter acknowl- 
edging the receipt of his decision an extract is made. 

" The unanimity of feeling that shadowed our choice, the 
deep and growing interest awakened by your visit to our 
church, and the results that followed it, all seemed to be indi- 
cations of Providence that God would give you to us as a 
spiritual guide. ... I shall never forget Dr. Meier-Smith, of 
Bridgeport, and my heart's desire for you is that your life 
and health may be spared to accomplish the great work for 
which God has fitted and prepared you." 

The year 1865 opened with national events of the 
gravest importance. Everything pointed to the col- 
lapse of the Great Rebellion. The absorbing interest all 
felt in public affairs did not interfere with faithful pas- 
toral work. It is remembered by Dr. Meier-Smith's old 
friends that the last year of his ministry in Bridgeport 
was marked by more than usual fervor and directness 
in preaching. The deep thinking and heart-searching 
concerning his own future doubtless made him espe- 
cially solemn and tender in all his approaches to his 
people. 

He was superintendent of his Sunday-school at this 
time, and saw many happy results from his work among 
the young members of his charge. 



LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 103 

The annoying opposition on the part of the mal-con- 
tents continued, and in the spring of 1865 they were 
evidently preparing for a more open attack. 

On the anniversary of the fall of Fort Sumter the 
stars and stripes again waved over the fortress, and in 
quick succession followed the fall of Eichmond and the 
surrender of Lee. The enthusiasm was at its highest 
pitch, and the roar of the guns celebrating the consum- 
mation had scarcely died on the air, when there came the 
terrible shock of the assassination of President Lincoln. 
While the country, and indeed all civilization, stood 
aghast, while the churches as well as all the dwellings 
were draped in mourning, it occurred to the small com- 
pany who hoped to coerce their pastor, that the time 
had come for a bold stroke. 

On Easter Sunday, the 16th of April, the North 
Church was crowded. The solemn signs of bereave- 
ment were everywhere, and almost every face was that 
of a mourner. After the prayers, the appropriate Scrip- 
tures, and the requiem music, as Dr. Meier-Smith was 
about to commence an address prepared for the oc- 
casion, an interruption was caused by the appearance 
of one of the men who had been conspicuous as an 
opponent. He went into the pulpit and presented 
the pastor with a paper. Dr. Meier-Smith glanced at 
its contents, and found that it was a call for a meeting 
of the church on the next evening, ostensibly for some 
unimportant business. The names appended, no less 
than the time chosen to present the paper, were suffi- 
cient to assure the pastor upon a moment's consideration 
that another purpose was veiled under the innocent re- 
quest. He knew that only those in the secret would 
attend a meeting called for so trivial an object, at a 
time of such great public excitement. The real pur- 



104 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

pose was to assail the pastor, and secure a formal cen- 
sure upon his course with reference to the terms for 
church communion. He read the paper aloud, with 
its signatures, then pausing a moment said, "Another 
subject will also be brought before the meeting which 
I have called at the request of some members of this 
church. The church will be called upon to act upon 
my resignation, which is hereby offered to this church 
and congregation. The reasons which call for this un- 
expected announcement are probably plain to all, and 
will be given in full at a more appropriate season. For 
the apparent want of decorous respect to the august 
occasion which calls a mourning congregation here 
to-day, by the intrusion of personal affairs upon the 
public attention, I offer no apology. The responsibility 
must rest on those who have forced the issue upon me." 
Then throwing aside all appearance of further interest 
in the matter, he delivered an eloquent address upon 
the great calamity that had befallen the nation. The 
congregation were deeply moved. Already strung to a 
high pitch of emotion, the sudden prospect of losing 
the beloved pastor was too much for many to bear with 
calmness. The signers of the paper, realizing the situa- 
tion, retired rapidly at the close of the services, while 
a large number gathered about their pastor, and affec- 
tionately urged him to recede from his position. This he 
firmly declined to do, though he afterward consented to 
remain in charge of the parish until the first of July. 
At the church meetings which followed, Dr. Meier- 
Smith was almost unanimously sustained, although 
his resignation was accepted finally at his peremptory 
request. The resolutions passed by the church were 
all that could be desired, in expressions of regard and 
affection, and of sorrow at the severance of the relation. 



LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 105 

"When this was finally settled, Dr. Meier-Smith gave 
himself entirely to the consideration of the important 
change so long before his mind. Many and anxious 
were the conferences held in his study : sometimes alone 
with his wife, who dared not advise, but stood ever close 
to her husband's side, and ready to go with him wherever 
he was led ; sometimes with dear family friends, nearly 
all of whom were affectionately urging him to take no 
step so radical, and so fraught with peril ; occasionally 
with clergymen of the Episcopal Church, from whom 
he did not receive much encouragement. Beyond kind 
sympathy in his perplexity, and the hope expressed 
that he would be cordially received if he asked admis- 
sion to the Church, no one contributed materially to 
the result. His friend, Dr. Dyer, gave him the in- 
formation needed for intelligent action, and promised 
him such kind introduction as was possible; but he 
plainly set the difficulties before him, and told him 
that it might be long before he could find a work and a 
position equal to that which he was leaving. Dr. Dyer 
wrote : " I wish some post could be offered to you in 
advance, but this seems highly improbable. I think 
you will have to shut your eyes tight and jump; but 
don't jump while providential difficulties deter you." 
The Canon requiring a six months' candidature without 
employment was a great deterrent. It required a 
strong sense of duty and no little faith to "jump" 
into such uncertainties. Dr. Meier-Smith spoke freely 
after this time to his most trusted friends in Bridgeport 
of his probable decision. Many expressed their grief, 
and one dear old man of really catholic spirit retained 
so strongly early Puritan prejudices against the Episco- 
pal Church, that he said with tears in his eyes, " Much 
as I love you, I would rather stand by your grave than 
see you go into the Episcopal Church ! " 



106 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

In the review of this pastorate, Dr. Meier-Smith 
writes, " I have, during the six years of my ministry 
here, admitted one hundred and seventy -six persons to 
the communion of the church, and have preached 
seven hundred and fifty-six times." In speaking of 
these years he said that they seemed to him years of 
peculiarly vigorous life and work. Occurrences inci- 
dental to the war contributed largely to this, in the 
pulpit and out of it. Pastoral visitation often included 
scenes of touching interest, as partings in families were 
constantly occurring, and every great battle brought 
anxiety, and often mourning and desolation into the 
homes of some of his people. Naturally, very tender 
ties were formed between pastor and people, for his 
ready sympathy brought him at once to every one in 
trouble, with the counsel and help needed for the emer- 
gency. To all such, his decision to leave Bridgeport 
brought sincere sorrow ; the more that he seemed to be 
going very far away from them, in leaving the Congre- 
gational denomination. The last two months were 
burdened by the parting in prospect, and the service in 
which he delivered his farewell address on the last 
Sunday in June, was an ordeal he said he would never 
like to pass through again. On the first Sunday of 
July, Dr. Meier-Smith and his family received the Holy 
Communion in Christ Church, Bridgeport, and this was 
the first open intimation of what was now practically 
settled. Yet even then he listened to the remonstrances 
of friends, and prayerfully weighed anything which 
might be an indication of the will of God. 

A delegation from one of the largest cities in Massa- 
chusetts visited him with the plan for an enterprise of 
which they wished him to take the lead. Dissatisfied 
with Congregational doctrine and worship, they pro- 



LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 107 

posed organizing an independent church on the basis of 
the Ancient Creeds, and with a Liturgy largely drawn 
from the Book of Common Prayer. They offered to 
contribute liberally, and to give him the entire direction. 
This was a tempting prospect, but he knew the dangers 
of independency, and had no disposition to lead off in 
another sect, even if it were limited to one congregation. 
He was constrained to decline the offer, though with 
grateful appreciation of the confidence shown him by 
the gentlemen interested. 

By this time his convictions had become settled that 
there was a Church and an Order that could rightly 
claim to be Catholic and Apostolic. 

The long period of anxious thought ended with the 
summer, when the full decision was reached to apply 
for Holy Orders and become a candidate in the Diocese 
of Massachusetts. Some clerical friends desired that 
he should be appointed to a vacant chair in the Divinity 
School of Gambier, Ohio, which position he could take 
before ordination. Bishop Mcllvaine at first responded 
favorably to the wishes of Dr. Meier-Smith's friends, 
but finally decided that it was not wise to pass over the 
claims of others proposed, in favor of one not yet in 
the ministry of the Church. Dr. Meier-Smith was not 
disappointed at this result, as his own preference was 
decidedly for a rectorship. He wrote to his father-in- 
law after his decision, " You may be sure that it is not 
without much pain and solicitude that I make the 
transition. Yet my convictions on the score of useful- 
ness, however greatly I may have erred, have been too 
strong for resistance. The positive Congregationalism 
demanded among Congregationalists, the aggressive 
Congregationalism, I cannot conscientiously main- 
tain. The Presbyterian Church is abundantly supplied. 



108 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

Evangelical Episcopalians need help. I can enter their 
Church on their Catholic ground, and work with them. 
So I have taken the step. I need the prayers and sym- 
pathies of my loving friends that I may be a better and 
more useful minister in my new relations than ever 
before." 

In the " Record of Services," the notes of the ministry 
in Bridgeport close with these words: "Here endeth 
the First Lesson." 

Twenty-one years later, letters were received from 
former parishioners, from some of which passages are 
copied. They give evidence of what Dr. Meier-Smith 
was as friend and pastor while hi Bridgeport, and of 
the abiding nature of his influence, surviving the sepa- 
rations and changes of the long years that had passed 
since he was the beloved guide and helper of the 
writers. 

From Mrs. Eliza Webster Jones. 

BRIDGEPORT, April 5, 1887. 

... I cannot forget the kindness of your husband, his 
swift and dearly prized sympathy in our deep troubles. That 
precious letter is written in my heart ! How it comforted 
me ! Now he is where the mysteries of divine Providence 
are being unfolded before him. What precious memories he 
has left for you, dear Mary, and for your beloved ones. You 
will miss his kindly greetings more and more as years roll on ; 
but more and more you will be able to rejoice in the review 
of his beautiful life, and of his early escape from the troubles 
which are darkly shadowing the people of God, in these days 
when He is trying the faith of those who love Him, as never 
before. I have often said that while here, and so closely as- 
sociated with our family and church, he was always the 
Christian gentleman in feeling, soul, and action, whatever 
provocation sorely tried him. To me he was a model 
man ! . 



LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 109 

I now use your husband's gift, the New Testament in 
large type, in my daily reading, for my old Bible has fallen 
to pieces. When I first took it up after his death was known, 
I involuntarily pressed it to my heart. His words, " In 
memory of Golden Hours," are inscribed within it. 

From Mrs. Eliza B. Wordin. 

BRIDGEPORT, April 9, 1887. 

... I was very glad to hear and to know something of 
Dr. Meier-Smith's last days. I cannot express to you the 
thoughts that come to me as I write these words. I could 
take him up, where I last left him. He had not gone away 
from me, or I rather had not gone out of his life. . . . 

I think it was characteristic of him to throw his interest 
and sympathy so much into the lives of his friends, that they 
must all feel as I do. No words that may be said in his 
praise are enough to express what he was to those Avho were 
so fortunate as to be his friends. 



My heart is divided between pity and tenderness for you, 
and joy and triumph for him. I am so glad that he has 
heard the " Well done, good and faithful servant." I know 
that that was the plaudit which welcomed him, as I think of 
the many who have been cheered and comforted by him, 
of the many who have been led to the Saviour by him, and 
of those whose Christian life has been rekindled by his strong 
encouraging words. How many there are who loved him for 
his earnest help in their time of need ! You are rich in hav- 
ing had such an one for your constant companion, your 
loving helper, your tender sympathizing husband ; you are 
rich now in having him at the Court of the King. 

To me, Dr. Meier-Smith was always a true, helpful friend, 
as I know he was to others. I never had such a love for any 
one as I had for him. I never had such a pastor. I never 
expect to have another, but I thank God that I had him. 



110 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

His going has made a sad spot in my life, for though I saw 
little of him, I was sure I had one friend to whom I could 
turn in any time of need. 

From Miss Mary Clarice. 

BEIDGEPOHT, October, 1887. 

. . . About dear Dr. Meier-Smith, my recollection of him. 
is this, that while very instructive and interesting as a 
preacher, always feeding us spiritually, he was pre-eminently 
beloved as pastor and friend among his people, and a most 
welcome visitor at the bedside of the sick and dying. His 
loving, winning manner, his cheerful presence, the soothing 
Christ-like words from his lips carried comfort and. help, and 
left its impress when he had departed. Often have I con- 
trasted him with others I have known, only to think and say 
what a blessed gift he had for helping sick and weary ones in 
this troublous life, and how willingly and freely he used it. 
As a family we always enjoyed his incoming. Personally as to 
myself, his voice always had wondrous cheer for me ; I can 
hear it now even though he is with the angels, and with 
many whom he has led and helped into our Father's House. 

From Mrs. Frances Lord MacLellan. 

BRIDGEPORT, April 2, 1887. 

. . . Next to being held close in the everlasting arms of 
the loving Saviour, it seems to me your comfort will be the 
memory of him " who is not, for God took him." The re- 
membrance of that great, true, noble life which you have 
shared, the companionship of those blessed years together, 
all the memories that cluster round those years, the loving, 
protecting care that has always been yours, the wifely devo- 
tion which you gave to him, thinking of all these, how 
rich you are, how few who sorrow have such a past ! . . . 

When I think of you without him in the beautiful home 
endeared by his love and life, my heart breaks for you, and I 



LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. Ill 

feel that words are feeble and cannot express my thought. 
Perhaps I ought hardly to touch upon my own sense of loss 
and affliction, so light must it seem in comparison with yours ; 
but, dear friend, you do not know how dear to me you both, 
are. A thrill goes through me as I think perhaps he knows 
now. 

Why you have been such faithful friends to me I never 
could and cannot now discover ; but your loving-kindness to 
me, when I was but a girl, so bound my heart to you both, 
that my love for both has been deeper and truer than for any 
friends in the world beside, save those of my own fireside. 

Oh, how I longed to stand by that casket, and look again 
upon that tender and true face ere it was shut out from my 
sight ! To let my tears mingle with the tears of others who 
loved him ! . . . I shall always be " sorrowing that I shall 
see his face no more." Could I have stood there and laid one 
little flower as a tribute of affection upon his casket, it would 
have been a " forget-me-not," as a token that I could never 
forget what he was to me, he who was pre-eminently my pas- 
tor and friend. He was to me always the " Great-heart " of 
Banyan's allegory. His loving, faithful preaching, his earnest, 
personal appeals always so tender and loving led me to 
my Saviour. My mother's prayers and his words are linked 
together in my heart. I told him once in those days that I 
did not want to be talked to. He ceased talking, but kept 
on praying until my stony heart broke; then he was my 
guide, leading me by still waters and into green pastures. 

Memory has been very busy this past week bringing out 
of her storehouse treasured store of many years. I have re- 
called my pastor of the North Church, our meetings there of 
prayer and praise, of which he was the head and life ; so 
many incidents of those days showing his great, kind heart. 
He is linked in thought with that only brother who filled a 
soldier's grave. Said that brother once to my mother, " Dr. 
Meier-Smith is the only man who seems to care for my 
soul" Once, upon a railway train, meeting that brother, he 



112 LIFE IN BRIDGEPORT. 

engaged him a moment in conversation, then with a hearty 
hand-shake said, " Good-by ; there are folks at home praying 
for you." 

Later, when H was a soldier, he wrote to him urging 

him to be a Christian. It was no wonder, when the soldier 
of the Union became a soldier of the Lord Jesus, that in the 
letter bearing the good news to parents and sister was added 
the message, " Tell Dr. Meier-Smith ; he will be glad." I did 
tell him, and the next morning's mail carried a letter to that 
brother from that faithful friend. Later, when my brother 
was called from the battlefield to heaven, the same beloved 
pastor and friend brought tenderest comfort to our hearts. Oh, 
he is linked with all my life ! I have never had a great joy or 
a great sorrow since I knew him, but his friendship has given 
token of his sympathy. My engagement, marriage, the coming 
of little ones into my home, have all brought me kindly words 
from a great heart of love and sympathy for every event 
in life. 

My visits to you are crowded with pleasant thoughts of his 
kind deeds to make me happy. . . . 

When the letter came breaking to me the sad tidings, as I 
was crying alone, my baby came in, and said, " What makes 
you cry, Mamma ? " I told her a dear friend had gone to 
heaven, and I felt very badly that I was not to see him again 
here. Slipping her little hand in mine, with a surprised look 
and a ring of triumph in her tone, she said, " Why, Mamma, 
he has gone up to our heaven that Jesus made ! Jesus sent 
for him, and it 's nicer than the other home he had here. 
Don't cry ; we are all going ; we '11 see him soon." Is my 
letter long 1 My heart is just as full as when I began. I 
think of you, lonely in your home, although surrounded by 
those who love you, and then of the great, noble life ended 
here, and I do indeed " weep with those who weep." If I, 
only a humble friend, loved and prized him so much, when 
only a little corner of his life touched mine, and his loss 
brings to me such deep grief, what must it be to you all, 



LITE IN BRIDGEPORT. 113 

who filled and dwelt in that heart ? Still with this thought 
comes another. If my little leaf brings so much comfort of 
memories, how the great life-book, all your own, must bring 
numberless pages of comfort, a store never to be exhausted. 
How you must look forward to the blessed reunion by and 
by! 



ORDAINED DEACON AND PEIEST IN THE 
EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 

1866. 

-r>EOM Dr. Meier-Smith's "Kecord of Services": 
JT "On the fourth day of September, 1865, I was 
admitted a candidate for Holy Orders in the Protes- 
tant Episcopal Church, in the Diocese of Massachusetts, 
under the Et. Eev. Manton Eastburn, D.D. It is 
unnecessary to state that this change has been long 
in contemplation, and is the result of much thought. 
With not the smallest disposition to cast aspersion 
upon either my past ministry or my associates there- 
in, I accept Episcopal ordination in full persuasion of 
its Scripturalness, its order, and its expediency ; and 
the Episcopal Church as the most Scriptural in its 
structure of all the Churches in this land. I enter 
it from conviction, and with all my heart, not know- 
ing what is before me, but confident that the Lord 
has work for me to do in it." 

For advice and assistance in reference to entrance 
upon his new work, and for favorable introductions, 
Dr. Meier-Smith was under great obligations to friends 
among the clergy of the Church, some of whom he had 
known for years. First ever in thoughtful kindness 
and wise suggestion was his friend Dr. Dyer, and he 
was also much indebted to his revered kinsman by 
marriage, the late Bishop of Delaware. Eev. Drs. 



ORDINATION IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 115 

Stone, Wharton, and Bancroft were ready to assist him 
in any way, and the present Bishop of Central New 
York, then Kector of Emmanuel Church, Boston, re- 
quested that his ordination take place in that church. 
Eev. Dr. Tyng, of New York, invited him to preach the 
first time after his ordination in St. George's Church. 
The Bishop of Massachusetts was most friendly, and 
the trying time of candidature was relieved by every 
expression of kind hope and encouragement. 

Yet no one dared promise work, and nothing was de- 
finitely in prospect. Friends who could not sympathize 
in the " experiment," mourned over the possible loss of 
position and failure of work. One exception must be 
made. His brother-in-law, Rev. Erskine N. White, al- 
though himself a Presbyterian clergyman, gave him in- 
telligent and hearty sympathy, and encouraged him to 
follow out his conscientious convictions. One dark 
cloud of doubt and trouble came over him as he was 
about to send a letter to Bishop Eastburn, announcing 
his desire to become a candidate for Holy Orders. For 
the moment the fear that the important decision might 
prove a mistake, overpowered him. Had not this dear 
brother, believing that his mind was morbidly excited, 
taken the responsibility of urging him to post his letter 
immediately, a trying delay would have followed. That 
hour was the last of doubt. Thenceforward he never 
wavered, but rested in a calm confidence that the Al- 
mighty Guide had been surely and graciously leading 
him. 

The decision had been reached intelligently, and Dr. 
Meier-Smith went forward with all his heart, finding 
entire peace and satisfaction in all his later ministry. 
Let it be said here that he never allowed himself or 
others to cast any reflections upon his past ministry, 



116 ORDINATION IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 

blessed as it had been of God. Nor did he criticise the 
standing of fellow-laborers from whom he was now sepa- 
rated. It was enough for him to rest assured that for 
himself service under a branch of the ancient and his- 
toric Church was now the only ministry possible. 

In October, Dr. Meier-Smith, with his wife, visited 
Bishop Lee, and on the evening of the Eighteenth Sun- 
day after Trinity, they were confirmed by him in St. 
Andrew's Church, Wilmington. Very fragrant is the 
memory of that visit, and the loving reception and 
wise counsel of that truly Apostolic man, the first 
Bishop of Delaware. Before the service, the Bishop 
called attention to the beautiful portion appointed for 
the Epistle for the day, as expressing exactly what he 
desired to say to the brother whom he was thus admit- 
ting into the Episcopal Church. "I thank my God 
always on your behalf for the grace of God which is 
given you by Jesus Christ ; that in everything ye are 
enriched by Him in all utterance and in all knowledge, 
even as the testimony of Jesus Christ was confirmed in 
you : so that ye come behind in no gift ; waiting for the 
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm 
you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day 
of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 1-4. 

The Bridgeport home, where an eventful seven years 
had been passed, was finally left in November, and the 
family spent most of the winter following at the home- 
stead in New Eochelle, with Dr. Meier-Smith's parents. 

Thoughtful men, and Christians generally, were much 
perplexed at this time by the condition of the negroes 
of the Southern States in their new and untried posi- 
tion as Freedmen. The Episcopal Church, recognizing 
its responsibility toward them, organized a Freedman's 
Aid Commission, under the care of the Board of Mis- 



ORDINATION IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 117 

sions. Through the kindness of friends, especially the 
Eev. Dr. Wharton, Dr. Meier-Smith was appointed to 
present the plan and work of the Commission to the 
Episcopal Churches of New England, during the period 
which must pass before his ordination. In the months 
of January and February, 1866, he was engaged in this 
work. Eectors of prominent parishes invited him to 
deliver addresses, in which the proposed work was laid 
before their congregations. From these visits an ex- 
tended acquaintance was formed with clergymen, and 
some knowledge of Church methods gained. He also 
passed the necessary examinations for Orders. 

During his visit to Boston in January, he wrote to 
his wife : " For a feather in my cap, the Bishop called 
on me yesterday, and asked me to take his place and read 
prayers at a special service wherein he is to preach on 
Sunday evening next, at Tremont Temple, for the Young 
Men's Christian Association. I regret that my prob- 
able absence from the city will prevent my serving him. 
He said I might use the Prayer Book, or extemporize, 
or blend prayers together, infusing Prayer-Book lan- 
guage and Collects as I pleased. He preferred the 
latter, as most certainly do I. On Monday, I heard 
Dr. Nicholson lecture in St. Paul's Church on a chap- 
ter in Eomans. The most refractory Old School Pres- 
byterian could not have been dissatisfied with aught 
said or done." 

To Us Wife. 

BOSTON, January 17, 1866. 

Daylight at last appears. Imprimis, I have survived 
all my examinations for Priest's Orders, the work being 
completed this morning. The examiners were the 
Bishop, Drs. Huntington and Wharton, and Rev. Mr. 



118 ORDINATION IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 

Coolidge. It was a very fair examination, not by any 
means rigid, yet a fulfilment of the Canon, done with 
exemplary fidelity. The Bishop is very courteous and 
keenly humorous. He says he likes me " because I am 
not a Yankee." How glad I am that I shall never 
have to be examined again by any bishop or councils ! 

He writes in his " Record of Services " : " March 6, 
1866. I was ordained by Bishop Eastburn to the Dia- 
conate in Emmanuel Church, Boston, Eev. Dr. F. D. Hun- 
tington, Rector. My presenter was Rev. Mr. Snow. 
During the six months' interval, T have made addresses 
in behalf of the Freedman's Aid Commission. I enter 
with devout thankfulness upon my work again." 

On the evening of the day of Dr. Meier-Smith's ordi- 
nation, he preached in Emmanuel Church on the " One- 
ness of the Church," from the last two verses of the 
eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. On 
the following Sunday, he preached three times in New 
York, for Dr. Tyng of St. George's ; at the Church of 
the Ascension for Dr. John Cotton Smith ; and at Holy 
Trinity, for Rev. S. H. Tyng, Jr. On the next day he 
received the following letter : 

NEW YORK, March 13, 1866. 

MY DEAR BROTHER, I am just starting for Washington, 
and can only write a few lines, but I am unwilling to leave 
without saying to you how gratified I am at the impres- 
sion made by your services on Sunday last ; I hear but one 
opinion expressed. Most devoutly do I thank God for it. 
Though I have said but little, I have nevertheless felt the 
deepest anxiety with regard to your entrance upon our minis- 
try. My prayer has been that God would guide you and give 
you acceptance with our people. Thus far everything is all 
that could be desired. At St. George's and the Ascension 



ORDINATION IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 119 

you will ever be welcomed with the warmest interest. How 
grateful we should be for these things ! 

Tell your wife how much I love her for being present with 
you at these services. No doubt her heart went up to God 
for you. 

In one sense it was no more for you to stand up and preach 
the Gospel as you did last Sunday, than in all the Sundays 
which have gone before ; but in another and very peculiar 
sense it was widely different. You have now entered your 
new relations, and your work is before you. To human view 
the prospect is fair enough, but it is the Lord's work, and His 
will alone should be the guide. He will place you where you 
can best serve Him. Sometimes He disposes for a time of 
His servants very differently from what a human wisdom 
would dictate. But I cannot say more ; you will have my 
warmest sympathy and most earnest prayers, and it will give 
me the greatest pleasure to contribute in any way I can 
to your usefulness and happiness. 

Give my best love to Mrs. Meier-Smith and the children. 
God bless you all. 

Your old affectionate friend and brother, 

H.DYER. 

He officiated constantly during the next six or seven 
weeks, principally in New York, Boston, and Troy. 
Great kindness and many attentions were extended 
to him by both clergymen and laymen, which were 
most gratefully appreciated at this crisis. 

Six weeks later he received Priest's Orders ; and thus 
wrote in his "Record": "On April 20th, I was ordained 
Priest by Bishop Eastburn, acting for Bishop Potter, in 
Holy Trinity Church, New York. Rev. Dr. Dyer pre- 
sented me, and Drs. Dyer, Tyng, and Gallaudet, and 
Rev. Messrs. S. H. Tyng, Jr., H. M. Beare, and others, 
united in the laying on of hands. Bishop Eastburn gave 



120 ORDINATION IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 

an address in place of the sermon. It was very kind, 
courteous, and catholic, making recognition of my past 
ministry, and speaking most hopefully of the future. 
In my last record I wrote, ' I know not what is before 
me.' During the few weeks of my Diaconate, I have 
received calls from St. Matthew's Church, Jersey City, 
St. Michael's Church, Trenton, St. John's Church, Troy, 
and overtures, pressed by Bishops Randall and East- 
burn, to take charge of the Church of the Messiah, 
Boston. These, however, I have declined in favor of a 
call to the rectorship of Trinity Church, Newark, New 
Jersey, and I shall begin my labors in this parish on 
Sunday, May 6th, the fifth after Easter, 1866." 

From a " Memorandum of Events of Especial Interest 
during the year ending April, 1866." "The man to 
whom of all others we feel the most deeply indebted is 
our friend of eighteen years, the Eev. H. Dyer, D.D. 
His counsel freely sought from the first was so free 
from partisanship, so catholic and devout, that it could 
hardly be deemed encouragement. But when the long- 
weighed question was settled, he gave the heartiest of 
welcomes, and has since been unwearying in efforts to 
secure a favorable introduction into the Church." 

Dr. Dyer, who knew all the steps which led to 
his friend's transition into the Episcopal Church, has 
kindly prepared the notes which follow, giving his own 
impressions at the time, which remained unchanged ; 
together with a loving tribute to the long and close 
friendship between himself and Dr. Meier-Smith. 

NEW YORK, February 9, 1887. 

My acquaintance vith Dr. Meier-Smith commenced during 
his early ministry in the Presbyterian Church, and continued 
to his death. Various circumstances brought us by degrees 



ORDINATION IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 121 

into very close relations of friendship and Christian fellow- 
ship. After his removal to Brookline, and settlement in 
charge of the Congregational Church in that beautiful pre- 
cinct of Boston, and during his residence of several years 
there, our associations became very intimate. Having to 
spend much time in Boston on several occasions, I was often 
an inmate of his lovely and attractive family. The same was 
true while for some seven or eight years he had charge of a 
parish in Bridgeport. Frequently, when visiting that city to 
take the Sunday service in one of the Episcopal Churches, I 
was the guest of his family. These intimate associations dur- 
ing a period of nineteen years or more, gave me an exceptional 
opportunity of studying and knowing the man, of under- 
standing the elements, traits, and habits which made up his 
character, as well as the motives and spirit which shaped his 
life and conduct in all the relations of life ; and I can bear the 
strongest testimony to his generous, sympathetic, and noble 
nature. 

He was greatly respected by the -whole community where 
he lived, and deeply loved by all who knew him, and most 
deeply by those who were nearest to him and knew him best. 
He was a charming companion for old and young, full of play- 
ful pleasantries, of unaffected and genuine kindness, yet 
always preserving the dignity of a true Christian gentleman. 
Nowhere did the excellencies of Dr. Meier-Smith's nature 
shine with brighter lustre than in the circle of his own 
family and among his intimate friends. To know him was 
to love him. It was these traits which made him so popular, 
particularly among the young, and so endeared him to his 
people. He was greatly respected and esteemed in the par- 
ishes where he was settled. I do not wonder it was so, 
indeed, I should wonder if this had not been the case. 

I have often been asked why with such surroundings and 
in a career of marked success and promise, he made the great 
change in his Church relations ? As we had not a great deal 
of conversation on this subject, I can only say that Dr. 



122 ORDINATION IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 

Uleier-Smith was a very thoughtful man, not at all given 
to change, never taking up new things because they were 
new, or dropping old things because they were old. On the 
contrary, he was very deliberate in action, never jumping to 
his conclusions, but reaching them after careful and mature 
examination. He always had a reason for what he did. The 
change, therefore, was not the result of any sudden impulse 
or emotion, nor did it proceed from mere taste or preference, 
nor from disappointment in the results and promises of his 
former ministry, nor yet again from unworthy motives of 
ambition. None of these things moved him. In his former 
relations he was very prosperous. He had already reached a 
high position as a preacher and pastor, and as a man of culture 
and progress. Everything was bright and promising. Few 
men could have had a more attractive future. To make the 
change in the face of such an array of circumstances, required 
the deepest convictions and a very high degree of moral 
courage. I would say, therefore, that nothing but convic- 
tions attended by patient thought, careful study and examin- 
ation, earnest prayers for divine guidance, and a solemn sense 
of responsibility, led him to take this important step. To 
doubt the honesty and purity of his motives would, to my 
mind, be simply unmanly and unchristian. 

After he entered the ministry of our Church and during 
his rectorship of Trinity Church, Newark, and St. John's 
Church, Hartford, I saw much of him, and know how much 
he was respected and beloved in those parishes and communi- 
ties. After he became a Professor in the Divinity School, 
Philadelphia, our intimacy continued, but I saw less of him 
than formerly, not because of any diminution of friendship, 
but simply from a change of circumstances. My health be- 
came very infirm, confining me mostly to my house, so that 
we could not often meet ; but my affection for him, and inter- 
est in him and his work continued to the last. When his 
sudden and unexpected death was announced, it was a great 
shock to me, and I felt and said that in the removal of Dr. 



ORDINATION IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH. 123 

Meier-Smith, I had lost a deeply loved brother, and one of 
the truest and best friends I ever had. I can never cease to 
remember with love and gratitude the genial, cordial, and 
whole-souled manner in which I was always received and 
trusted by him and his family. 

Our pleasant and I trust profitable intercourse will be a 
cherished treasure so long as I remain in this world, and I 
trust and hope that death has only interrupted it for a season. 

I should like to say a few words as to the truly catholic and 
Christ-like spirit which Dr. Meier-Smith displayed through- 
out his whole ministry, and the fidelity with which he held 
and preached the simple Gospel of Christ. While he was a 
sincere Churchman, he never felt or spoke unkindly of Chris- 
tians of other names. In leaving the Church in which he 
was educated and where he exercised his early ministry, he 
bore with him the regrets and sincere respect and love of all 
with whom he had been associated; and these feelings he 
fully reciprocated. We mourn when such a man is taken 
away, and yet we rejoice and take courage from the good 
example which he has left us. May we follow him as he 
followed Christ. 



XL 



THE FIKST EECTORSHIP; TRINITY CHURCH, 
NEWARK. 

1866-1868. 

HTRINITY Parish, one of the largest and most im- 
-1- portant in New Jersey, was the Mother Church 
of the city of Newark, and dear to many of the oldest 
and most influential families of the State. It was not 
without anxiety that Dr. Meier-Smith accepted its rec- 
torship, which but for the encouragement of friends he 
would hardly have ventured to do. For one as yet 
unaccustomed to the methods of the Church, it was a 
grave responsibility to accept immediately so prominent 
a position. But the invitation to assume the charge of 
the parish was hearty and unanimous, and the Vestry 
and Wardens, fully understanding the case, promised 
all due forbearance and cordial support in his untried 
work. He accepted their overtures gratefully, not even 
caring to visit the parish first, saying to the committee 
who presented the call, " Gentlemen, you are willing to 
take me on faith, and I take you in the same spirit." 
The family moved into the rectory, opposite the vener- 
able church which stands among the fine old trees of 
the Military Park, and the new life of home and Church 
began under bright auspices. 

The first Sunday is distinctly recalled. The congre- 
gations were large, as was the attendance upon the Holy 
Communion. It was the first time that Dr. Meier-Smith 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 125 

had taken charge of the entire service and of the celebra- 
tion of the Holy Communion, and he felt the solemnity 
of the new experience. The people were hearing their 
chosen Eector for the first time, and many were watch- 
ing with critical eyes, to detect the novice through the 
long and complex service. At the close, a friend whose 
watchfulness was owing to his desire that the new Rector 
should make the best of impressions, remarked, " Every- 
thing was admirably done ; there was but one expres- 
sion in the whole service by which one could detect that 
Dr. Meier-Smith was not to the manner born. He used 
the word house instead of church in giving a notice of ser- 
vices, something no Episcopalian ever does." " Yes," 
responded the Eector, "I recognized my blunder the 
moment the word slipped out, and said to myself, ' my 
friend Mr. P will not allow me to forget that.' " 

The first year of the rectorship in Newark was per- 
haps the happiest in all respects of Dr. Meier-Smith's 
life. The enthusiasm natural to so radical a change, 
made after years of perplexing thought, pervaded all 
his work. He was just forty years of age, and in full 
physical and intellectual vigor. Newark is so near the 
metropolis that it was easy for him to renew old asso- 
ciations with relatives and friends, and to fall into the 
large professional circle of the great city. While the 
prospective life looked very bright, the thought would 
sometimes come as a check, "surely such unalloyed 
happiness cannot last." 

Newark proved to be an attractive place of resi- 
dence from a social point of view. An intelligent and 
refined circle of families enjoyed the informal and inti- 
mate intercourse which results from the traditions of 
two or three generations of friendship. The new 
Rector of Trinity was soon made at home, not only in 



126 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

the households connected with his own parish, but in 
many others. 

He had valued friends of years standing among the 
Presbyterian clergymen, and they, with the Episcopal 
clergy of the city, offered him a cordial welcome, and 
with all these fellow-laborers he enjoyed the pleasant- 
est fraternal intercourse during his residence in Newark. 
Bishop Odenheimer, a man of genial manner and great 
kindness of heart, was always an affectionate friend, 
and Dr. Meier-Smith became sincerely attached to 

him. 

Among the clergy of the Diocese, with whom he be- 
came especially intimate, were Eev. Dr. Clark, of Eliza- 
beth, Eev. Dr. Abercrombie, of Jersey City, and Eev. 
Dr. Gray, then of Bergen Point, and afterward for 
many years Dean of the Divinity School in Cambridge, 
Massachusetts. All of these much loved friends have 
entered into rest. 

Dr. Meier-Smith's hospitality and enjoyment in the 
entertainment of guests at his own fireside and table 
found ample scope for exercise during his residence in 
Newark, as the rectory of Trinity Church was a natural 
rallying point, not only for the clergy of the Diocese of 
New Jersey, but for bishops and clergymen from other 
parts of the country. 

Almost a stranger in the Church, he thought himself 
much favored in occupying a position which gave him 
many opportunities for extending acquaintance, and 
forming friendships which remained unbroken through- 
out his life. 

The increasing congregations of the first year, and 
the hearty assistance given by the parish to the Eector's 
efforts to enlarge the influence of Trinity Church, were 
all that he could have desired. 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 127 

Dr. Meier-Smith entered the Episcopal Church in a 
season of much internal agitation. The lines were 
closely drawn between High and Low Churchmen. 
The traditions of old Trinity were with the latter 
party, though " radicals " were not to be found. The 
Rector identified himself with Low Churchmen, but 
not with extremists, with whom he had no sympathy. 
He had not left Congregationalism to assist in bring- 
ing unchurchly ideas of either order or doctrine into 
the old historic Church. 

One of the vestrymen who had been influential in 
calling him watched him anxiously, fearing that from 
inexperience he might be unsuccessful in a time which 
tried the tact and wisdom of mature sons of the Church. 
At the close of the first month's service he wrote to his 
Rector as follows : 

"... Allow me to thank you for all your sermons so far, 
especially for the very striking discourses of to-day. It was 
evident to me the first Sunday, that we were most fortunate 
in selecting you as our Rector, and that all you needed for 
complete appreciation was to ' get the range ' of the congrega- 
tion. Such sermons as those of to-day, so practical, so close, 
so pungent, show that you have not been long in seeing what 
class of preaching suited us best. I do not know that I ever 
heard sermons I admired more. Do not be afraid of tiring 
us, Give us all of your sermons." 

Church Unity was not then as prominently before 
the minds of Christians as it is to-day, and Episcopalians 
held little fraternal intercourse with other churches. 
The various denominations of Newark, during the 
autumn of 1866, arranged a course of sermons upon this 
subject, and Dr. Meier-Smith was invited to preach one 
of the series as a representative of the Episcopal Church. 



128 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

He was not a little surprised to find some members of 
his Vestry objecting strongly to his appearance in the 
Methodist Church, where the sermons were to be de- 
livered. He, however, accepted the invitation, and 
preached to a crowded congregation, among whom were 
many of his parishioners ; and the expressions of sur- 
prise and gratification with the wisdom and tact of the 
discourse, and with its broad and catholic spirit, were 
significant, as showing that the doctrine taught was sel- 
dom heard in the Church. A friend who had tried to 
dissuade him from preaching the sermon, said afterward, 
"I am not convinced that Dr. Meier-Smith ought to 
have preached at all on that subject, but if it was to 
have been done, mortal man could not have done it 
better." A few days afterward the same gentleman 
wrote to him : 

" Do you ever lend your manuscript 1 And if you do, -will 
you lend me your ' Unity ' sermon of last Sunday evening 1 
I want to read it over. I congratulate you most sincerely on 
that effort ; it could not have been done better by any one, if 
so welL I wish all your congregation had heard it, and 
really think it should be published for the good of everybody. 
No one could object to its spirit, or do aught but admire the 
skill, judgment, and eloquence with which you presented 
boldly moderate Episcopal views. I was exceedingly de- 
lighted, and so was every Episcopalian there ; while ' those of 
the contrary part ' had no cause of complaint, and indeed made 



The text of this sermon was the command of our 
Lord, " Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel 
to every creature," and its main thought was the union 
of various branches of the Church for aggressive work. 
This, he said, might be accomplished before the time 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 129 

was ripe for organic unity. A note was here struck 
which was in accord with the aspirations of many 
Christian hearts, and from time to time its vibrations 
have been heard. To-day there are indications that 
it may prove to be the key-note of a grand marching 
chorus for the "One Army of the One Lord." 

A mission in the south part of the city, previously 
commenced, but for some time suspended, was reopened 
in the autumn, and services were held in a chapel which 
was placed under the care of an assistant minister of 
Trinity Church. 

Its growing work was of much importance in the 
view of the Rector, who was very active in arousing 
interest in it, and in raising the means for its support. 
The first Confirmation under his rectorship took place 
on the Fourth Sunday in Advent, when he presented 
thirty-five candidates to the Bishop. The service was 
naturally one of profound interest to him, and a fitting 
close to a year of such varied and momentous expe- 
riences. With devout thanksgiving he acknowledged 
the gracious guidance which had led him into his pres- 
ent ecclesiastical relations. 

There are very few notes to be found in Dr. Meier- 
Smith's handwriting respecting his Newark rectorship. 
The compiler of these reminiscences has to rely largely 
on her own memory and that of her children. She is 
most thankful that her husband counted her worthy to 
be the sharer of his inmost thoughts and purposes and 
hopes. Slow to speak freely of these to even intimate 
friends, it seemed always a pleasure and relief to him to 
share every interest with the one on whose entire sym- 
pathy he knew he could always rely. Nothing, from 
the sermon he was composing to the weightiest matter 
of general church interest, was withheld from her ; and 
9 



130 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

she will be pardoned for believing that she is a faithful 
witness, as she writes of his views and methods of work. 
Among other expressions of satisfaction with the new 
relations was one frequently heard from his lips. " I 
am astonished that I have so little impression of strange- 
ness. In fact, I feel as if I had come home ! " His posi- 
tion as Hector of one of the largest parishes in the Dio- 
cese impelled him to a prominence he never sought, and 
which he would gladly have avoided while yet a novice 
in the Church. In his own estimation his parish offered 
a sufficient field for all his powers, and he would have 
been well content, had duty permitted him, to give little 
attention to outside matters. In his study, work was 
somewhat changed. Many old sermons were laid aside 
as unsuitable ; others were re-written, and with especial 
enjoyment preparation was made to follow the course 
of the Christian Year. No pulpit work could be more 
congenial to him than that which was called forth 
by the successive seasons of the Church. Preaching 
the Gospel as manifested in the Life that is the Light 
of the World, was a mission which kindled all his 
enthusiasm. 

Early in the year 1867, a mission in East Newark 
was revived, and in all directions parish work was 
enlarged. Earnest personal labor for individuals, and 
sermons with reference to Confirmation marked the 
Lenten season. The Rector's high ideal of the conse- 
crated life was fervently presented in familiar addresses, 
and the effect was seen in the increasing congregations 
at the daily services, and in the number presenting 
themselves for Confirmation. Dr. Meier-Smith's revered 
friends, Bishops Mcllvaine and Lee during this season 
were guests at the rectory, and preached to his people. 
There were sixty communicants added to the church in 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 131 

the first year of Dr. Meier-Smith's rectorship, a second 
Confirmation taking place at Easter. The Diocesan Con- 
vention was the scene of some excitement, parties in 
the Diocese taking opposite sides on the questions which 
were agitating the Church. A memorial was presented 
by Hon. Cortlandt Parker, praying the next General 
Convention to take steps toward legislation to arrest 
the Eitualistic movement. This received many signa- 
tures, but it also met with very strong opposition. Dr. 
Meier-Smith was at this time a member of a club com- 
posed of prominent Low Churchmen, which met at the 
office of the Evangelical Knowledge Society, of which 
Dr. Dyer was secretary. Here were brought forward by 
men of radical Evangelical views, their objections to the 
statements of the standards of the Church regarding 
Orders and Sacraments, and to the " Komanizing germs " 
in the Prayer Book, as they styled various parts of the 
Ritual and Service. Dr. Meier-Smith was often appealed 
to as a new-comer, and sometimes with expressions of 
wonder that he could have chosen to enter a Church 
within whose fold some of her own children found so 
much that was dangerous. Sympathy was expressed for 
the disappointment he must already feel, and on one oc- 
casion he responded to such remarks with the question, 
" Brethren, where would you go if you left the Church ? " 
The answer was given by one, " Perhaps into the good old 
Presbyterian fold, where we would be at least safe from 
Romanizing views of Orders and Sacraments." ''Allow 
me to read you something," he replied, and stepping to 
the book-case he took down a volume, and read state- 
ments of doctrine respecting baptism, the Lord's Sup- 
per, and the ministry. " How does that strike you ? " 
he asked. " Worse than our own standards," said one. 
"Rank Popery," said another. "Where did you get 



132 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

that ? " " From the venerable Westminster Confession 
of Faith on which I was brought up," he replied. " You 
can hardly expect me to find fault with the doctrines of 
the Church of my adoption and my mature choice, when 
assuredly I could never have entered it, had it not been 
essentially the same on these vital points with the 
Church of my nurture." Expressing great astonish- 
ment, these good brethren then declared that there was 
nothing left for them to do but to form a new sect, 
which result some of them not very long afterward 
were prominent in accomplishing. 

The Rev. Charles E. Mcllvaine, a son of the Bishop, 
and a son-in-law of Bishop Lee, was called, during the 
summer of this year, to the charge of one of the chapels. 
A warm attachment grew up between the Rector and 
Mr. Mcllvaine. Their relations were always harmo- 
nious, and Mr. Mcllvaine's work was lovingly appre- 
ciated. Of a singularly frank and affectionate nature, 
he was greatly beloved by all his friends and parishion- 
ers, and most sincerely mourned, when yet in his young 
manhood he was called to a higher service and the rest 
of Paradise. 

In the autumn of 1867, the Evangelical Societies held 
meetings in Philadelphia. Dr. Meier-Smith was one 
of the speakers, and while in sympathy with the object 
of the meetings, he deplored the radical spirit and un- 
charitable criticism displayed by many present Ap- 
proaches toward secession were made by some fiery 
speakers, and near the close of one of the meetings 
the venerable Bishops of Ohio and Delaware entered 
the church, and listened to some of the "Disunion" 
appeals. One after the other, these veteran leaders 
in the cause of Evangelical truth arose, and in language 
of dignified eloquence, sternly rebuked the disturbers 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 133 

of the peace of the Church, amid the profoundest silence 
on the part of the great congregation. The scene was 
one never to be forgotten. The stand taken by these 
honored fathers gave great encouragement to Dr. Meier- 
Smith to maintain firmly his position, which he believed 
a thoroughly consistent one, of non-partisanship in con- 
nection with pronounced Evangelical convictions. 

This year closed with every prospect of increasing 
influence and usefulness, both in Trinity parish and in 
the relations of its Rector to the Church at large. A 
shadow was however falling over the home, as an un- 
expected cause of anxiety appeared, in the failing health 
of his son. This seemed to be owing to overwork in 
preparation for college, and to fatigue and exposure 
connected with a long daily journey to his school in 
New York. Parents and physicians expected a rapid 
improvement from a break in study, and this for a time 
was the case. 

Early in 1863, the cause of solicitude increased, and 
aroused the gravest fears for the future. And here, 
as this record of memories has been prepared for those 
who have known much of the years of anxiety which 
followed, it seems fitting to speak briefly of the trial 
which overshadowed so many years of Dr. Meier-Smith's 
life. The fond hopes for the future of this only son. 
which the bright promise of his early years had awak- 
ened, were from this time gradually resigned, as year 
after year the sad truth was realized that an invalid 
life was to be his portion. The responsive tempera- 
ment of the tender father suffered keenly; and with 
alternations of hope and fear, often with a perfect 
recovery apparently at hand, the hope aroused only 
to be followed by disappointment, his life became 
heavily weighted with care and sorrow. 



134 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

No memorial of him could be complete which failed 
to recognize the effect upon his life and work of the 
experience of these years of anxiety. The strain upon 
his sympathies, and the unremitting effort to find relief 
for the suffering invalid, added much to the sense of 
burden and responsibility which must ever press upon 
a faithful clergyman. Thank God, he was permitted 
to see in his later years such progress toward restora- 
tion as to afford him much relief from care, and the 
comfort of hope. To the brave endurance and Chris- 
tian submission with which an almost life-long trial 
has been borne by the chief sufferer, a word of loving 
tribute may be permitted. The lesson of such a life 
has been felt by all who have come under its influence, 
and his parents have ever borne grateful witness to the 
countless ways in which he has been a help and bless- 
ing during the long years of his disability. 



XII. 

THE FIKST KECTOKSHIP; TKINITY CHUKCH, 
NEWAKK. 

1868-1871. 

THE conflict between the radical men of opposite 
parties in the Church increased in bitterness in 
the early part of the year 1868, and it was difficult to 
maintain a position of moderate and conservative 
Churchmanship. The Eector of Trinity was expected 
by some in his own parish, and by others without, to 
espouse the cause of the discontented Evangelical 
Party. The "Protestant Churchman," of New York, 
a weekly journal, was placed in the hands of an edi- 
torial committee of five, of whom Dr. Meier-Smith was 
one. He understood, when he accepted a place in the 
management, that the paper was to fairly represent 
the views of the Evangelical men of the conservative 
wing, as well as of those who were earnestly advocat- 
ing changes. But this proved to be a mistake, and he 
retained his position but a few months, unwilling to be 
refused the privilege of appearing under his own signa- 
ture, in defence of the policy of consideration and com- 
prehensiveness in which he believed, and which he 
thought best expressed the spirit of the Church. 

During Lent of this year, Bishops Mcllvaine, Lee, 
and Eandall, visited the rectory and preached in Trin- 
ity Church. Their influence, and Bishop Eandall's 
eloquent presentation of the needs of his great mis- 



136 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

sionary jurisdiction, were a help to the Eector in sus- 
taining firmly the work of the Church Boards. While 
he gave his aid and influence to the voluntary societies, 
he thought that loyal Churchmen should support the 
work under the charge of the whole Church, and called 
for the offerings of his parish for the Board of Missions, 
as well as for the other organizations. 

The " Eecord of Services " for this year indicates the 
subjects which engrossed the minds of thoughtful Epis- 
copalians at the time : " What is Baptismal Regenera- 
tion?" "The Scripturalness of the Liturgy," "The 
Church System showing Christ," " The Ritualistic 
Movement" Two sermons and several addresses were 
given to awaken interest in Foreign Missions, a sub- 
ject always near his heart, and one the importance 
of which he thought the Church had failed to keep 
prominently before her members. 

The class of fifty confirmed in Holy Week was one 
of much promise to the Rector. A large proportion 
were young people between fifteen and thirty years 
of age, whose regular attendance at the Confirmation 
classes, and earnest purpose of Christian life, testified 
to the faithful instruction of their pastor. 

His work seemed to himself so free from sensational- 
ism and so unobtrusive, that it was a matter of surprise 
to Dr. Meier-Smith to find that he was watched with 
marked interest by some prominent clergymen and lay- 
men. From some of these friends he received during 
this year a number of letters which greatly strengthened 
him in his position and work. His modesty would not 
permit him to assume any other reasons for these tokens 
of kindly regard than the prominence of his position 
in the Diocese of New Jersey, and the fact of his 
recent entrance into the Church, considerations of 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 137 

some weight in a time of unusual conflict within the 
Church. 

When the time for the summer vacation came, he 
went with his family to Lake George. In the enjoy- 
ment of the pure air and inspiring surroundings, re- 
newed vigor came to the invalid for whom the past 
months had been filled with so much anxiety. Upon 
the return to Newark in September, a complete recovery 
seemed at hand, in view of which a reluctant consent 
was given by his parents to their son's desire to resume 
his studies, but cautiously as this began, it was a fatal 
mistake, as a few weeks' experiment proved. 

In October, 1868, the General Convention met in New 
York. The sessions were of much interest from the 
general excitement upon the subject of Eitualism, and 
from the attitude taken by some of the pronounced 
agitators. The petition praying for legislative action 
before alluded to as prepared for the Diocesan Conven- 
tion of New Jersey, was presented. Though it received 
some support, many who were relied upon to promote 
it, declined to do so, and it was referred to a committee 
and indefinitely postponed. 

Those who recall Dr. Meier-Smith's work during the 
year 1869, speak especially of the influence upon it of 
the domestic sorrow which grew deeper as the winter 
advanced. His sympathetic temperament, strained by 
the solicitude he felt, and the care which fell upon him, 
entered as never before into the sorrows of others. 
Never was the faithful pastor so fully able to minister 
to the various forms of trouble he met in his large par 
ish. Sermons came fresh from a heart learning precious 
lessons through its own experience. " I know how to 
speak to sufferers as never before," he exclaimed to his 
wife. "It seems to me that I must have made a miser- 



138 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

able failure of it before ; I have had so little idea what 
real affliction could be." 

The Lenten days of 1869 were very anxious ones at 
the rectory. Early in March a rally of strength fol- 
lowed a serious prostration in the condition of the in- 
valid, but again, during Holy Week, there occurred a 
sudden failure, the heart being much affected. Good 
Friday was a day of sad watching and earnest prayer, 
as the father and mother realized that they might be 
called upon to resign this only son. 

When Dr. Meier-Smith read, during the Morning 
Service, the passage from the Lesson commencing, 
" Because thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only 
son," the emotion and tenderness with which the words 
were pronounced, touched all present, and many hearts 
were uplifted in the prayer that the young life might be 
given back to those to whom it was so dear. Before 
Easter dawned there was an encouraging change, and 
marked improvement followed. 

The " Eecord of Services" this year shows earnest 
presentation of the subjects of personal repentance and 
faith in Christ. The Eector was cheered by many 
interviews sought by those who were impressed by his 
faithful instruction, and a large Confirmation class 
was the ingathering. After Easter the effect began 
to appear of three years' arduous work in a new field, 
added to the burden of the domestic anxiety of the 
past months. Dr. Meier-Smith suffered much with his 
head and eyes, and with loss of nervous strength. His 
Vestry, unsolicited, voted him a six-months' vacation 
free from all responsibility for the parish, but he de- 
clined to accept more than four months. This vacation, 
commencing after Trinity Sunday, was passed for the 
most part in the White Mountains and at Lake George. 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 139 

He returned much benefited by the long rest, and 
cheered by signs of improvement in the condition of 
his son. 

The parish missions gave much promise at this time, 
and as party feeling had somewhat lulled since the 
General Convention, the Church year opened auspi- 
ciously with the prospect of enlarging work on all 
lines. During Advent, lectures were commenced for 
working people, of whom a large number had some 
nominal connection with the parish, though few came 
to church. After Epiphany, 1870, the lectures given 
were upon historical or scientific subjects, popularly 
treated with illustrations. Through this work Dr. 
Meier-Smith made personal acquaintance among a class 
before unreached, and the fruit was seen in a greatly 
increased attendance upon the Sunday evening services, 
when he preached simple and often extempore sermons. 
The subjects of written sermons, as recorded, indicate 
the thought and experience born of the many months 
of solicitude. The " Resurrection of the Body," " The 
Life after Death," "The Intermediate State," "The 
Eternal Life begun Here," were among the topics of 
sermons preached between Easter and Whitsuntide. 

He wrote to Dr. Dyer, under date of May 1, 1870, 

. . . To-day I complete four years of my rectorship 
in this old parish. 

They have been blessed years, for which I thank God, 
and under God, you, most of all men, my dear friend 
and brother, for the kind introduction which placed me 
here. In my own home there has been great sorrow, 
as the Lord knows. But in my parish work there has 
not been a serious obstacle to encounter. If only I 
could be the instrument of making my dear people 



140 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

know and love the Saviour better, and do more for him, 
I should be the happiest parish minister alive. I 
would n't go back to Congregationalism for a good deal ! 
Good-night Ever affectionately yours, 

MATSON MEIER-SMITH. 

The next letter was written shortly after the well- 
remembered case of " Intrusion," to which it makes 
playful allusion. 

Dr. Dyer had officiated at a marriage in Trinity 
Church, and sent the fee to the Rector. 

TRINITY RECTORY, NEWARK, May 28, 1870. 

DEAR DR. DYER, " Damages " can't be paid under 
the law as I read it. True, the " Courts " decided that 
trampoosing into other parishes and preaching in con- 
venticles was trespass, in re Stubbs & Boggs vs. 
Tyng, but this was not done in conventicle. Cathe- 
drals and those Churches which are Cathedrals ab 
excellentia, by all sound law are not Methodist 
meeting-houses. 

It is therefore not clear that I could have presented 
you even had you preached after climbing in at the 
Chancel window ; the thing being done in Church and 
therefore presumably with the consent of the Rector, 
or his connivance at least. 

A Rector to insure the protection of Canon law in 
the premises must show that the Chancel window in 
that case had wire netting outside (Hoffman, p. 22) ; 
else he does not take ordinary care of his rights and 
cannot recover (Bishop Cardozo, p. 350). 

Now, had you preached in spite of my prohibition, or 
under circumstances which exhibited undue violence of 
determination to effect entry on your part, I might 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 141 

accept the " damages " as a sort of settlement, being 
very unwilling to enter upon litigation, lest, like 
Stubbs, etc., I get my foot in. 

But under present circumstances the case is not so 
clear. You could show that I was absent from my 
post, and therefore could not do the work. You could 
probably show that I was absent with full knowledge 
that the parties wished to be married. Therefore, that 
I would not do the work. 

On the whole I think it safer that you pocket the 
damages, for I won't. 

By the way, though I have heretofore acted on your 
principle and believe it to be a good one, you are the 
first clergyman who has ever proffered me the " fee." 
Give my love to Bishop Potter, and tell him I don't 
mean to give him a chance to reprimand you. I will 
give your love to my Bishop, and tell him that Stubbs- 
town stops before Newark begins. 
Truly yours, 

M. M.-S. 

P. S. I have since writing learned that my church 
has been degraded into a meeting-house, the Rev. 

Dr. j 1 of New York, having speechified in it last 

Monday night! But that was after your officiating 
therein. 

Referring to a probable invitation to a responsible 
post other than that of a parish clergyman, Dr. Meier- 
Smith wrote to Dr. Dyer from Lake George, in the sum- 
mer of this year : " . . . Now, that is the whole of the 
matter. Understand that I am not and do not seek to 
be a candidate for that position. If I were called to it 
or to any other position in the Church on the ground 

1 A distinguished Presbyterian clergyman. 



142 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

of a specific fitness, I should most earnestly and faith- 
fully consider the call. . . . 

"You say truly that I love the parochial work and 
the pulpit. My whole heart is in this. My only am- 
bition is to be successful in this, a wise and faithful 
pastor and rector, a good and influential preacher of 
the everlasting Gospel. While God spares my life and 
strength this alone I covet. When He lays me aside 
from this, then I gratefully take whatever else He per- 
mits me to do." 

The six weeks' rest in summer was chiefly spent at 
Lake George, where there were many of his friends 
and parishioners. At this time his wife's health was 
much affected, and some alarming symptoms caused 
serious fears during the ensuing autumn. He began to 
be apprehensive that without relief from his home 
anxieties, he could not bear much longer his heavy 
public responsibilities. The fear deepened into convic- 
tion, and the year 1871 opened overshadowed by the 
apprehension that he must seek relief from the charge 
so happily entered upon five years before, and which had 
been in all parish aspects so successful. He was in 
doubt whether to ask for a protracted leave of absence, 
or to resign completely, and he conferred freely on the 
subject with friends both in and out of his parish. 

Mrs. Meier-Smith's health did not improve during the 
winter, and medical opinion was decided that for both 
her and their son a radical change was the only hope. 

Early in March, 1871, the Sector's resignation was 
sent to his Vestry. The closing portion of the Letter of 
Eesignation is here given : 

TRINITY RECTORY, March 8, 1871. 

. . . Were I to consult only the promptings of my 
heart, I should frankly and trustfully ask you to grant 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 143 

me a leave of absence for a year, and hope to return 
to friends and a parish I so dearly love, to give you 
thereafter my best services and years. But my judg- 
ment is against my heart in this case, and I find 
myself compelled to act upon the painful conviction of 
duty, and to lay before you my resignation of the 
rectorship, to take effect after Easter, and if you please 
the first Sunday after Easter. Let me, dear friends, 
here record my grateful sense of all your kindness and 
generous affection. Our intercourse, personal and offi- 
cial, has been unmarred by a single disagreement. And 
I cannot conceive of a more cordial and agreeable rela- 
tionship between a Eector and his parish than this 
which it has been my pleasant lot to sustain during the 
five years which will expire near the time of my depar- 
ture. I most devoutly commend you, and all whom 
you represent, to the blessing of our God and Saviour, 
and shall ever be in holiest bonds, 

Your loving friend, 

MATSON MEIER-SMITH. 

Before action was taken upon the resignation, his 
friend Mr. Cortlandt Parker wrote to him : 

" The Vestry are universally and deeply regretful, and will 
only acquiesce because they believe it is a wise decision for 
you to stay away a year or more, and they cannot see their 
way clear to offer so prolonged a leave of absence. Whatever 
men can do to testify their high personal regard and warm 
appreciation of your services, will be done." 

Although convinced of the wisdom of his decision, the 
necessity was hard to meet. Very many of his large 
congregation had become dear personal friends, and the 
unbroken harmony of the years of his rectorship only 
made the wrench the more painful. 

This, his first charge in the Church of his adoption, 



144 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

was ever very near his heart, and to the end of his life 
he felt a deep interest in its welfare. 

When the Vestry accepted the resignation, they ac- 
companied their action upon it by the resolutions which 
follow : 

" Resolved, That the Wardens and Vestry of Trinity Church, 
Newark, and the Parish, part from their Rector, Rev. Dr. 
Meier-Smith, with the greatest personal esteem and regret. 
The five years he has spent among us have been years of per- 
fect peace and unanimity. No dissension exists or has existed 
in the Parish. Its general situation is eminently prosperous. 
He has preached a pure Gospel. He has done it with ability 
of the highest rank. As a theologian, sound, clear, and 
learned ; as a man, genial, kind, and generous ; the imper- 
sonation in his daily life and walk of the gentleman and the 
Christian. He has adopted the plans of the Church with 
hearty approbation, and carried them out with zeal and en- 
thusiasm. We trust that health may soon return to his be- 
loved family, and that he himself, rested and renovated by 
absence from habitual toil, may be hereafter even more suc- 
cessful in preaching that Gospel in which alone he seeks to 
glory. 

"Resolved, That in view of the expenses to which Dr. 
Meier-Smith may be subjected, and as a testimony of the 
regard felt for him by the Vestry and congregation, the sum 
of one thousand dollars be paid him in addition to his salary 
up to the time his resignation takes place." 

Among notices in the religious and secular journals, 
one was peculiarly gratifying as expressive of the kindly 
feeling still cherished for a former associate by some 
Presbyterian friends. 

From the N. T. Evangelist, April, 1871. 

" Some of our readers have very pleasant recollections of 
the Rev, Dr. Meier-Smith, and probably always read his 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 145 

name of late years with the comfortable reflection that the 
Episcopal body really owe us Presbyterians a good turn in 
consideration of the excellent stock of which he comes, and the 
well-furnished condition in which we, or our Congregational 
brethren, handed him over into their preserve, when he signi- 
fied a wish to go. He has been very useful in that Church, 
always preaching an excellent sermon, even in the Presbyte- 
rian sense, and rendering the prayers better than most ' to the 
manner born.' He has been the esteemed and efficient Hec- 
tor of Trinity Church, Newark, for five years past, but has 
recently, for reasons of health, sent in his resignation." 

The resignation was to take effect on the first Sunday 
after Easter, April 16. At the Confirmation which oc- 
curred on the Sunday before Easter, thirty candidates 
were presented. Of the services of the last Sunday his 
wife wrote to a friend : 

" Our last Communion with this dear church ! Matson 
had appointed an extra celebration especially for all who had 
been confirmed during his rectorship. The church was very 
crowded. He preached no sermon, but made a very tender 
and beautiful address, which he found it hard to get through 
with. I did not go out in the evening. I could not bear the 
strain of any more partings." 

At the close of the " Eecord of Services " before enter- 
ing the Episcopal Church, it may be remembered that 
he wrote, " Here endeth the First Lesson." The closing 
^ words concerning his work in Newark are, "Here 
endeth the First Lesson of the Evening Prayer." The 
words seem to imply that while in the very prime of 
mature manhood, he discerned in the near future the 
shadows of even-tide. The first heavy sorrow of his 
life had come to him while in Newark. Nor this alone, 
for he was realizing keenly the suffering of a great pro- 
fessional disappointment. To relinquish, at the end of 
10 



146 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

five years, his first work in the Church of his mature 
choice was a severe trial While his sunny and affec- 
tionate temperament made him yet the stay and com- 
fort of those dependent upon him, life and future work 
had lost already the brilliant colors with which they 
had been invested five years before. The hour for 
" Evening Prayer " had struck, and he heard in the 
distance the tolling of the Vesper bell. 

From the " Record of Services " : " The impaired health 
of my wife and son, and my own need of repose, the re- 
sult of the combined toil and trial for three years past, 
led me to resign my charge as Rector of Trinity Church, 
and to plan a visit to Europe with my family. The re- 
signation was offered March 8, 1871, and accepted, to 
take effect the first Sunday after Easter, April 16. 

" During iny ministry in Newark, I have preached 
and lectured five hundred and twenty-six times. The 
aggregate of preaching has been twice every Sunday for 
five years. 

" I have baptized one hundred children and twenty- 
six adults. 

" I have married fifty-one couples. 

"I have buried eighty-seven persons, and presented 
for Confirmation two hundred and twenty-three persons, 
more than one fourth of those presented in the parish 
for forty years past." 

Extracts from two letters from Bishop Odenheimer 
show the affectionate relations existing between the 
Bishop and Dr. Meier-Smith ; 

March 16, 1870. 

MY LOVING AND BELOVED FRIEND AND REVEREND BROTHER, 

Your good and kind words affect my heart and make me love 
you more than ever. My chief concern is that your noble 
boy's health should be still feeble, but I pray God to have 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 147 

him and all of you in His holy keeping, and to comfort your 
heart and home by the restoration to health of one so dear to 
you, 

BURLINGTON, NBW JERSEY, March 22, 1871. 

DEAREST DOCTOR MEIER-SMITH, Your letter awaited my 
return home from a visitation, and I hasten to express nay very 
sincere regret that I am to lose your most acceptable and 
efficient services, even for a short time, in my Diocese. I 
know that you have good ground for your action, and I can 
only submit, hoping that it will not be long before you will 
return to your country and Diocese, refreshed in strength, 
with your wife and son renewed and invigorated by foreign 
travel. 

I have no personal correspondence abroad, but I give you 
an official letter, which is as full of personal feeling as if I 
were writing to all the clergy and laity, individually. I hope 
the letter may be of some little service. 

Send it, with your card, and if any one to whom it is sent 
cares for the Bishop of New Jersey, he will open his heart to 
one of the best beloved and most honored Presbyters of the 
Diocese. 

God bless you and your wife and children ! 

Ever affectionately your Bishop and friend, 

W. H. ODENHEIMER. 

Many letters of affectionate leave-taking were received 
by Dr. Meier-Smith. A few sentences from one are 
given here : 

. . . And now, my dear Doctor, I have only to add the 
cheap but earnest expression of my highest respect and sin- 
cere love for you in the long relation which we have occupied, 
regarding you as my pastor, my friend, and my most con- 
genial and cultured associate in the world. It has been my 
loss that I have enjoyed so little of a companionship that was 
most grateful and cheering to me. 



148 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

For all your kindness to me and my children how can I 
thank you 1 Especially on their account, for whose sake I 
have so often thanked you in my heart of hearts, that you 
have so considerately given them the advantage of your re- 
fined home atmosphere. 

May God bless you for it all, and may He spare us to meet 
again, when I pray that you may be able to look upon every 
member of your dear family restored to perfect health. I 
thank God for every remembrance of you, and so may He 
have you in His holy keeping. 

Your friend, JAMES S. 



Some months after Dr. Meier- Smith's death the same 
friend wrote as follows : 

"... I thank you very much for your kind remembrance 
in sending to us the copy of official tributes to your dear 
husband. 

" Mrs. MacKie and I read it with loving and tender interest, 
and yet could not feel that, from all the various sources of 
appreciation and love, the beautiful character of your husband 
had been justly portrayed, not from lack of appreciation, 
but simply because he was ' one among ten thousand and 
altogether lovely.' 

" In all my large intercourse with men, I never met one who 
had the elements of human sympathy and attractiveness so 
largely developed as in my dear old Rector. I never met a 
man whose confidence and esteem I so yearned to possess 



The two letters which follow are tributes to the 
memory of their former Eector, from other beloved 
parishioners : 

from Hon. C'ortlandt Parker. 

NEWARK, October, 1889. 

... I was very fond of Dr. Meier-Smith. He was a very 
manly man. He knew how to feel for his fellow-man. He 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 149 

thoroughly loved the right and the truth. He had not a 
mean hair in his head. He was a real Christian, not in word 
or pretension, but in works as well as faith, and he was a very 
able man. He was really great when occasion nerved and 
excited him. One of the finest speeches I ever heard was an 
impromptu from him. I built my conception of what he 
could do by finding then what he did. . . . 

I suppose that he was among the soundest and most learned 
theologians we ever had. He certainly was a deep, strong 
thinker of purest Evangelical doctrine, utterly free from 
cant, charitable to all other Christians, and to all shades of 
true Christian belief. His mental structure was somewhat 
uuexcited. He was never known in his fulness, but when 
something greatly stirred him. I saw him on two or three 
of those occasions, and then he was great. I remember one 

especially, the funeral of Mr. W. E, . No one expected 

an address ; Dr. Meier-Smith did not expect to make one ; but 
as the service ended the spirit moved him, and he poured out 
one of the most touching and tender sermons that any one 
ever heard. His delivery then, too, was eloquent in the ex- 
treme. Episcopal congregations require the clergymen to do 
everything ; those of other denominations rather wish to do 
most things themselves. Dr. Meier-Smith, not broken in to 
the new demand, did not at first make himself fully known to 
his people generally ; but after awhile they found him out : 
they found how tender were his sensibilities, how ready his 
hand, how inexhaustible was his pity and his charity. He 
sometimes did himself injustice by concealment of his inner 
self. 

I remember one incident which affected me deeply. I had 
engaged to accompany him on the errand of administering the 
Communion to a young man, once a student of mine, who 
from being an unbeliever had been brought, largely through 
Dr. Meier-Smith's influence, to faith in the Death and Atone- 
ment of his Lord, and who was dying with consumption. He 
lived a mile or more away from the rectory. "We went ; the 



150 THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 

service was performed ; he gave the poor fellow his blessing ; 
and then as he entered my wagon he said, " Pray, if you please, 
drive home a little fast, I left Mrs. Meier-Smith quite ill when 
I came away." I reproached him for going, but was met by 
the quiet remark, " I did not know how long this poor man 
might have to live." Fortunately, when he got home things 
were better than when he left. 

But I must not spend time in dwelling upon this sadly 
pleasing theme. I will only add that Dr. Meier-Smith was 
a manly, tender-hearted, Christian gentleman of high intellec- 
tual calibre, keeping himself in the back-ground by the avoid- 
ance of all pretensions and by a sort of dislike to self-exhibi- 
tion. Knowingly, he neglected no duty. He was especially 
beloved by the poor to whom he was a faithful pastor and 
friend. 

From Mr. Bloomfidd J. Miller. 

" I desire to write a few lines as a slight tribute to my dear 
old Rector and friend, Dr. Meier-Smith, from one who loved 
and esteemed him for his uniformly kind, gentle, charitable, 
and Christian-like characteristics. To know him was to love 
him. 

" He was one who could be relied upon to rejoice with you 
in prosperity, and sympathize with you in adversity. His ear 
was always open to those in trouble, and his material help 
was always freely extended to those who needed it. 

" In the truest sense of the word he was a Christian gentle- 
man, and when the Great Father called him, every one who 
had had the privilege of his acquaintance felt a deep sense of 
great and irreparable loss. 

" The young and the old alike found in him a friend who 
would inspire them with hope and courage in the dark and 
dreary days, and who would extend the kindliest mantle of 
charity to cover the sins of the past, and a strong right hand 
to lift them up to higher planes." 



THE FIRST RECTORSHIP. 151 

From Rev. Montgomery E. Hooper, an assistant 
minister of Trinity Church, during Dr. Meier-Smith's 
rectorship, the following appreciative letter was 
received : 

"... The death of your dear husband was a great blow to 
me. One more of my old and true friends is gone. Though 
I had not seen Dr. Meier-Smith for nearly twenty years, I 
felt just as sure of him and just as near to him as if I saw him 
daily. 

" His rare qualities of gentleness and kindness and genial 
tolerance impressed me deeply when as a young man I worked 
under him, and now that I have seen more of the world and 
of men, these qualities seem rarer and more valuable than 
ever. 

" I had an entire confidence in your husband, and would 
have confided in him as if he were a brother, and my regard 
and love for him have deepened and strengthened as I have 
learned more of life." 



XIII. 

LETTEES FROM EUROPE. 
1871. 

ON the 22d of April, 1871, Dr. Meier-Smith and his 
family sailed for Southampton, England, in the 
steamship " Rhein." 

Many of his late parishioners came to bid farewell 
and to offer their affectionate wishes. An absence of 
eighteen months was contemplated. The time was a 
memorable one, the Franco-German War having closed 
but three months before. The Commune reigned in Paris, 
and the news of the fall of the Column of the Place 
Vendome was flashed across the channel on the day of 
the arrival at Southampton. 

United Germany, flushed with victory, was at a high 
pitch of enthusiasm, and hardly a more interesting time 
could have been chosen to visit her historic cities. Con- 
tinental travel on some familiar lines was, however, 
impossible, and this party of wanderers accomplished 
what few Americans have attempted, a somewhat ex- 
tended trip in Europe without a sight of Paris, a visit 
to which city is averred to be the highest aspiration of 
some of their compatriots. 

Notes of the ensuing months are given in extracts 
from Dr. Meier-Smith's letters, which were written in 
journal form and in careful detail, for the entertainment 
of his parents. To quote largely from the letters of de- 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 153 

scription would be superfluous in a day of almost uni- 
versal foreign travel, and only such selections are made 
as, from the expression of his impressions or from his 
chosen view-points, appear especially characteristic of 
the writer. 

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND, May 2, 187L 

MY EVER DEAR PARENTS, Never more dear, or quite 
so dear as now that the Atlantic rolls between us ! 
Thanks be to God, we are safely here, landing about 
six o'clock this morning. 

England ! How strange it is to me to think that I 
am so far from home and the dear ones there ! They 
say London was never so fearfully full The French 
troubles and the International Exposition have drawn 
thither immense crowds. I have but a moment to add 
to Mary's letter, and must say good-by, with all its 
meaning. God bless and keep you, and my dear sis- 
ter's family, and us, through our journeyings, and 
how gladly and gratefully shall we meet again ! 
Your loving son, 

M. M.-S. 

SOUTHAMPTON, May 4, 1871. 

MY DEAR PARENTS, Was it your wedding day yes- 
terday ? Oh, those happy years you have had, full of 
blessings, though some of them were sorrows for the 
day ! God grant that the years may be lengthened yet, 
and your golden wedding may be this side the golden 
gate ! It seems as if I had been quite a while in Eng- 
land, but I remember that I only landed two days ago. 
Our cousins, Mr. and Mrs. George N. Dana, of Boston, 
have run down from London to meet us here, and last 
night our brother and sister, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur 
W. Parsons, joined us. They have gone to-day to the 



154 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

Isle of Wight, whither we purpose to follow them. So 
we have felt quite home-like and jolly. To-day we all 
dined in our private parlor, and it was a reminder of old 
times. Emily has sent off a letter to-day telling of our 
visit to the venerable ruins of Netley Abbey. This was 
our first ruin, and we think a great deal of it. 

"THE COTTAGE," BONCHURCH, 
ISLE OF WIGHT, May 8. 

Here we are, a merry family party, at housekeeping 
on the Isle of Wight! We are possessors for a few 
weeks, more or less, of a house on the estate of Lady 
Pringle, sister of the Marquis of Breadalbane. Earl 
Fitz- William was the last tenant Who these big-bugs 
are I do not know, and certainly do not care ; but the 
names are very tremendous, and so I give them. We 
arrived here last evening, and the morning has revealed 
the beauty of the place to our delighted eyes. " The Cot- 
tage," a large house in Old English style, looks out upon 
the Channel, and off toward the horizon and France. 

Lady Pringle's agent furnishes everything, including 
silver and servants. Bonchurch is a delightfully se- 
cluded spot, though very accessibla It is embowered 
amid exuberant foliage, enriched with every variety of 
romantic formation, hill, valley, lofty downs, and deep 
chines. Every inch of ground is under culture ; the 
fields are framed in hawthorn hedges ; the roads, nar- 
row and in perfect order, twist and turn and roll along 
up hill and down, among cottages and little hamlets, 
and the loveliest pictures of rural life that mortal eye 
can desire. Just now I wish I were a poet. Then I 
might sing, and tell you something of that which we 
feel, but which is all beyond pen or pencil, unless to 
him who nascitur non Jit. 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 155 

Yesterday was Sunday. How good it was to have a 
" Sabbath " again ! Those two horrible days on ship- 
board were not Lord's Days. I went with Mary and 
Emily to the parish church of St. Boniface. It was so 
home-like, and we had the Holy Communion service. 
Just as when I was a little boy, ever so wee, I loved to 
catch my dear mother's hand, and felt safe in the dark, or 
when taking a walk, so I love now as a man, and never 
more did I feel it than I did yesterday, in that sacra- 
ment, to take hold of the hand of the unseen Lord, and 
feel its throb and warmth, and know the love that 
sways, and how safe are all interests in Him. In the 
evening I went to an Independent Chapel, and heard 
an earl preach, a layman. Earls do not preach any 
better than other folk. This one kept saying " in our 
midst," which barbarism is enough to condemn any- 
body. This afternoon I visited what must be the small- 
est church in the world, built in the twelfth century. 
It was formerly eleven feet broad and twenty-five feet 
long. It has now been enlarged, and is forty -five feet 
long. It has its little chancel, pews, a Rector, and a 
very full congregation. 

God bless and keep you all. 

LONDON, May 21. 

Strange to me it seems to be in this great historic 
city of the English-speaking people, to look upon the 
palaces, and edifices of less pretence, and the churches 
and cathedrals which have been looked upon by kings 
and common people for so many centuries. 

Before closing the Isle of Wight history, I must tell 
you that we called, with an introduction from Bishop 
Odenheimer, upon Miss Sewell, the author of " Laneton 
Parsonage" and several other works for the young. 
She is a delightful little body, and took us at once 



156 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

into her warm circle. I told her playfully, that one 
thing I did not like in England, namely, that amid 
all the beauties surrounding them, the wealthy people 
appeared to "be selfishly exclusive. Around their ele- 
gant places they erect stone- walls, from six to ten feet 
in height, and so not only wall out the view of their 
own grounds from foot-passengers, but wall off pros- 
pects beyond them. 

I told her that in America, the wealthy man who 
adorned his estates did nothing of this kind, but suf- 
fered his neighbors and all stragglers by the way to 
look upon the beautiful creations of his fancy and 
wealth to their content. And so every man contrib- 
uted to the general elevation who indulged his own 
cultivated taste. She laughed, and said it was their 
national trait to be "John Bull" and exclusive, but 
she would take me behind the walls, and show me 
what was concealed, and how the very formation of 
their island rendered such high walls necessary. And 
she was as good as her word, for showing that some of 
the walls were partly terraces, and partly "ha-ha" 
arrangements, she introduced me to some of the most 
exquisite pictures and beautiful grounds I ever saw. 
Among other things, in one garden a little oaken door 
into what seemed a cavern, opened into a fernery, a 
little grotto, a hot-house full of various ferns, rich, 
luxuriant, making one think of the period when the 
Carboniferous Age was the way of the would. 

The Tower of London. 

LONDON, May 23. 

[After a description of the usual Tower routine, he 
says:] By the time we had gone the "round" our 
guide pointed the way out, and the party which had 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 157 

been led about under his instructions, slowly made 
their exit from the gates. But my little wife was 
not at all satisfied. This would not do. There were 
more things in the Tower of which we had read, and 
we must see them. The warder said it was impossible 
to gain access to them except by special order from 
the governor of the Tower. We must apply to him 
by letter, and possibly he might issue the order for our 
admittance. But the governor was just then away 
from home. I proposed to wait and try again ; but 
Mary asked the ticket master if there were not some 
way of gaining the point, and he directed us to the 
" senior yeoman," or " chief warder of the Tower," 
who was standing at the gate. In very discreet obedi- 
ence to her commands, I applied to this magnificent 
looking individual, and told him that we had come 
thousands of miles to London, and this historic spot, 
and as Americans, could not abandon our hopes and 
desires for a glimpse of those things which are rarely 
shown. 

" You shall see them, sir, I will accompany you 
myself. The governor is absent, and I can take you 
everywhere." 

So down we went beneath the great White Tower, 
into the depths, and saw the fearful dungeons, one 
in particular, dark as a tomb, wherein Sir Thomas 
More, and Fischer, the Lord Bishop of Eochester, had 
been immured, and whence the latter went forth to 
die. There was another room in another part, where 
Fischer was also confined, more comfortable, light, 
and airy, in what is now the governor's house. Our 
guide put us into one of the dungeons, and bolted 
us in, so that we had a momentary taste of darkness, 
powerlessness, and woe. 



158 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

Thence we ascended, and visited the Bloody Tower, 
and entered the room wherein the two young Princes 
were smothered; and near by, the stairway, recently 
discovered and unwalled (to coin a word), down which 
their dead bodies were thrown. In this room other mur- 
ders were committed, persons of historic note. In 
this room Sir Walter Raleigh had quarters for a while 
more comfortable than the dungeon, and here his son, 
Carew Raleigh, was born. From this place we went 
into the Church, "St. Peter's," interesting as the 
place where lie interred many eminent persons, as 
Queens Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, Sir Thomas 
More and Bishop Fischer, Thomas Cromwell, the Earl 
of Essex, Lady Jane Grey and her husband, and many 
more. We stood over some of their graves. And we 
went down into the vaults under the Church, among 
the sleeping places of the illustrious dead. Then our 
guide bade us wait in the courtyard a few moments, 
and presently he conducted us into the governor's 
house. To make a retrospective diversion for a mo- 
ment, I forgot to speak of what interested and 
moved me most in examining the Bloody Tower. 
Near by the chamber of the murdered Princes, we 
were ushered into a beautiful room, nicely furnished 
now, the room wherein those Martyr-Reformers, Cran- 
mer, Latimer, and Ridley, held conference touching 
their course, and their answers which they should 
make to their Popish persecutors. That was a holy 
spot to me. 

But to return to the governor's house. There we 
entered the room wherein Archbishop Laud the 
bigoted, it may be, but sincere High Churchman was 
confined, and the window through which he stretched 
his hands to give his benediction to the Earl of Straf- 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 159 

ford, who preceded him in the march to execiition a 
year or two. Close to this was the apartment which 
the venerable Bishop Fischer had occupied, to which 
I alluded when speaking of the Bloody Tower, and 
whence he wrote to Sir Thomas Cromwell that he was 
in need of more comfort for his advanced age, being 
eighty years old. 

We were then ushered into the room wherein Guy 
Fawkes and his fellow conspirators were tortured and 
examined concerning their infamous plot, by the Lords 
and King James. The event is commemorated by a 
monumental tablet on the wall. 

Here, too, is the room through which Lord Nithes- 
dale escaped after his condemnation, arrayed in the 
garments of his wife, possibly Jeff. Davis had read 
the story, and a shred of the cloak is preserved, as 
well as a fac-simile pattern of it, which the warder 
threw on Emily's shoulders. 

And we saw the death-warrants, the original papers, 
elegantly bound, with others of similar purport, in large 
folio volumes, which consigned to execution many il- 
lustrious persons ; we marked particularly the names 
of Lord Eussell, Algernon Sidney, and the Duke of 
Monmouth. We saw too, and handled, the grim axe 
which was borne, by officers appointed, in front of 
those who were on trial ; its sharp edge turned away 
from them until they were condemned, but toward 
them as soon as death sentence was passed, and which 
was carried in front of them on the way to the block. 

These, you will perceive, were things which the ma- 
jority of travellers do not see. We were greatly favored, 
and 1 gladly made a handsome fee-present to the oblig- 
ing man who gave us this hour and a quarter of atten- 
tion, instruction, and pleasure. 



160 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

It was a memorable day's work indeed, so to move 
among the places where kings and queens, princes and 
nobles, martyrs of the State, and martyrs of Jesus have 
moved in ages past, and to look upon the places where 
they suffered, some of them, and places where others 
mingled in all the splendor of royal magnificence and 
display. To feel that I have stood there, to be able 
to say, "I was in the room where Cranmer, Latimer, 
and Eidley conferred and prayed together in those 
' days of tribulation,' " pays for crossing the seas. 

To his Sister. 

LONDON, June 8. 

London, city of such histories, is a great Babel. 
It is perfectly immense. It has neither beginning, 
middle, nor end. Miles and miles, straight and crooked, 
go in what direction you please, and the same dingy 
and gloomy houses are on either hand, dark gray and 
smoke-begrimed, or blackish brown and smoky. . . . 

Though the signs are English, and the newspapers 
are printed in English, I am not yet sure what lan- 
guage the people speak. I find many words and sen- 
tences which I cannot catch without great effort, and 
some are beyond me altogether. And the difference 
between England and America can be felt in many 
indescribable ways. Take the average middle class 
which make up the bone and sinew, and in fact the 
brain of the nation, more or less, and the man of repub- 
lican institutions is vastly superior to his brother, 
trained beneath aristocracy and sndbbydom. I see no 
middle-class Englishmen who for up-and-down inde- 
pendence and self-conscious manliness are the equals of 
those in similar grades of life with us. I cannot imag- 
ine among Americans, well-dressed men dancing atten- 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 161 

dance on you to open your cab-door, or to look at you 
get into it, or get out of it, and then touch the hat most 
menially, and ask for a gift of a penny or a sixpence. 
Yet here they do just this, and what wonder all 
the street loungers in rags, and dozens of little boys, 
bother you for the same service, or plague rather, 
and similar gifts. The English are a mercenary crowd. 
From the Earl of Warwick, who charges a shilling for 
showing his house and grounds, nominally his house- 
keeper's perquisite, down to the boy who brushes 
your boots, not one John Bull is above taking your 
extended shilling, or happy unless he gets it. Make 
all due allowance and subtraction from this sweeping 
remark, and you will have the fair view of the matter. 

LEAMINGTON, June 26. 

. . . This morning I took a most delightful walk to 
Cubbington (odd name), a rural parish, and called 
upon the clergyman, in company with my brother-in- 
law, Mr. Parsons. The walk was through fields of 
grain, and through private property, yet along a regu- 
lar pathway, laid out and kept in order, with sign- 
boards, and even lighted and neatly railed in some 
parts. This pathway is one of the old pathways of 
England, free from the Roman days, pathways which 
no landholder can close, though they go through his 
premises anywhere and everywhere, whether he will 
or not. The farmers till the ground on either side, but 
infringe not a hair's-breadth upon public rights. The 
passenger may not leave the pathway for the right or 
the left, it may be, without peril of trespass, but he may 
roam the kingdom at will, through fields and parks, if 
only those ancient and sacred ways lead him, safe and 
undisturbed, be he rich or poor, a gipsy or a foreigner. 
11 



162 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

LEAMINGTON, June 27. 

I have taken two more of those delightful English 
walks. This forenoon, in company with Mary and 
Emily, I went to Lillington, my second tramp in that 
direction. We went into a sweet little church-yard, 
and read the inscriptions from the grave-stones. There 
was one quite odd, a pauper's grave, I suppose, but 
evidently a pauper whose very friendlessness is his dis- 
tinction. It ran thus : 

In memory of 

William Treen who died 3 Feb., 1810. 
Aged 77 years. 

" Poorly lived and poorly died, 

Poorly buried and no one cried." 
" Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." l 

This afternoon's ramble was a solitary one. It was 
along a pathway such as I described yesterday, to 
" Guy's Cliff," whereof I gave you some account in the 
previous letter. It was a lovely pathway through 
fields, among cows and sheep, with the greenest of 
grass on either side, and the most fragrant perfumes 
filling the air. The hay-makers were busy, and the 
mown grass was surpassingly sweet. 

" The pathways of the fathers ! " I do not wonder 
that so many good men use this expression, and then 
follow in ecclesiastical matters all the ideas of their 
forefathers, as the people of Old England do. For the 
pathways over their English fields, generations have 
trodden, and no ways could be more direct, more de- 
lightful, or easier for the feet. 

I stood again upon a bridge over the Avon, beside an 
old mill wherein an undershot wheel plashes away, and 
looked at the elegant mansion of My Lady, the widow 

1 This grave is mentioned in Hawthorne's " Our Old Home." 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 163 

of Lord Percy. And from the public road I gazed again, 
through the vista of the trees, whose iiiterlacings make 
a wondrous aisle of Gothic arch, upon another front of 
the great house ; and turning away again to tramp this 
time over a dusty road and through village streets, I 
thought of my dear American land and my loved ones 
and of our free American people and happy homes and 
open-hearted ways, and my thoughts grew warm, and I 
leaped forward in them to the time when travel should 
be over, and I should see those shores again, and once 
more resume the good work of life. 

CHESTER, July 2. 

This day I attended service at the Cathedral. It is a 
venerable old building. Morning service was in the 
choir. The Lord Bishop, Dr. Jacobson, was preacher. 
The sermon was very plain and unpretending, but a 
most delightful one. The music was like all I have 
heard in English churches, simple, fervent, choral ; only, 
as ringing beneath those lofty arches and through the 
aisles, very grand and inspiring. At 6.30 P. M. was what 
is the most popular service among the common people 
of England ; and this, held in the nave, was attended 
by a very large congregation, the preacher being the 
Canon Eesident, the Eev. Charles Kingsley, a preacher 
of great force, fervent, pronounced, vigorous, of Saxon 
words, of sledge-hammer blows, the most of a speaker 
I have heard in England ; one of whom we should say 
he had never written or could write a work of fiction, so 
directly practical is he in thought and expression, were 
not his writings known and his position established. 

EDINBURGH, July 4. 

Of all the cities I have seen, this Edinburgh takes 
the palm. For situation it is unrivalled. Had it the 



164 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

St. Lawrence flowing by its Castle, as that river sweeps 
around the rocks upon which the Citadel of Quebec 
stands, I verily believe nothing could be grander in 
the world or in all time. After a late breakfast and 
some private rambles about the streets, we visited the 
Castle, which stands upon a bold precipitous rock, three 
hundred and eighty feet above the level of the sea. 

. . . Very near the Crown Boom was the room of 
Queen Mary, the bed-chamber, of very small dimen- 
sions, in which she gave birth to her son. In the large 
apartment adjoining was a beautiful portrait of Mary 
at the age of eighteen, when she was Dauphiness of 
France, and most surely after seeing this I can credit 
the family tradition by which my Mary and her mother 
claim descent from the Eoyal House. 

York Minster. 

July 8. 

It is simply impossible to communicate the emotions 
with which I stood in this magnificent temple, and 
gazed upon the grandeur of its arches, its massive 
columns, its exquisite beauty of proportions. It is 
to my mind grander than Westminster. Strength and 
beauty are in Thy Sanctuary, O Lord of Hosts ! We 
stood at the separation between the choir and the nave, 
beneath the lofty opening into the tower, just as the 
great bell of the Minster struck the hour of noon. 
Never have I heard such sublime reverberations, so 
sweet, so awful, in their peerless tone. It was like 
the archangel's trump, and they swelled and rolled 
through the arches. It was worth crossing the ocean 
to hear those twelve strokes. 

One asks what is the use of these cathedrals ? Mod- 
ern churches are infinitely better for the modern use of 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 165 

Christian people, doubtless. It is better, too, to mul- 
tiply now, plainer, smaller, simpler edifices for the ex- 
tension of the Church of God, and to devote more sums 
and skill and strength to the diffusion of the Gospel. 
This I do not doubt. But within these vast piles of 
everlasting rock what histories have been enacted, what 
battles for truth been fought and won, what generations 
of saintly men and women have been trained for Eternal 
Life ! What volumes of prayer have arisen ! What dis- 
plays of God and of Christ have been made ! Yes ; all 
these amid many errors too, showing how even in the 
corrupt ages there has been working the leaven of a 
vital Christianity, showing that in spite of Satan the 
gates of hell shall not prevail. I begin to see new 
meaning in the expression the " One Catholic and 
Apostolic Church," and in that other, " The Com- 
munion of Saints." I grow larger and broader and 
more catholic of spirit every time I tread those an- 
cient floors. 

COLOGNE, July 18. 

As I am writing, quarter past eight, the descend- 
ing sunlight reposes above the turrets of the Cathedral ; 
a little steamer is shooting down the Rhine, which drives 
along so vigorously northward, bearing Alpine snows to 
the sea ; people are leisurely travelling over the bridge of 
boats ; the band of the hotel is discoursing sweet music 
in the garden beneath us ; people are gathering for their 
little treats of coffee or salad or punch or beer. Every- 
thing again, as last night, is so German. And what an 
air these men have ! They salute you so grandly. They 
step so proudly. The helmeted soldiers and the band 
is now playing " America " the sentinels look so aloft. 
The style of the conqueror pleases them and becomes 
them. They are proud of "our Fritz," and proud of 



166 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

Wilhelm, and proud of the German Empire, now a fact 
realized. And so, I confess, is my German blood. 

This morning in the Cathedral, where we went to look 
at the skulls of the wise men, the young priest who was 
our guide began to explain in German. I said, " parlez- 
vous Frangais," to indicate that we could comprehend 
French better than German. He at once with an in- 
effable disdain said, " Do you speak English ? " and then 
proceeded to enlighten us in our native tongue most 
admirably. 

COBLENTZ ON THE RHINE, July 21. 

MY EVER DEAR PARENTS, I am writing this in the 
Giant's Hotel, why so called I know not, seated in a 
cosey parlor, from which the outlook is upon the beau- 
tiful Ehine, the famous bridge of boats being at our 
feet, and opposite aloft, Germany's proud fortress, 
Ehrenbreitstein, the "broad stone of honor." This 
Castle is a magnificent stronghold, reposing on a lofty 
and precipitous hill, defiant of all armies, serene be- 
neath the imperial ensign of the United Germany and 
the "Kaiser und Konig," whom the German people 
almost adore. 

To-day I made an excursion to see a physician, Doc- 
tor Unschuld, at Neuenahr, a small watering-place on 
the Ahr, a few miles from Remageu, which is on the 
Ehine about halfway between Coblentz and Bonn. The 
whole vicinity thus visited in every direction is most 
charming. The hills are clad with vines to the very 
tops. And significantly do the fields utter hygienic 
oracles, for they blossom with wheat which speaks 
labor and wholesome food, and with scarlet poppies 
among the wheat and grain, bidding us repose. You 
would be greatly amused to hear me endeavoring to 
speak in French and in German, particularly the latter. 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 167 

I carry a phrase-book in my bag, and my bag on my 
neck, and so load up and fire away at random. I man- 
age generally to make myself understood, but find my 
match the instant any reply is made, which is always 
utterly and infinitely incomprehensible. My resource 
then is to look for somebody to speak English or 
French, and so interpret for me. 

STRASBCRG, " ALSACE," July 25. 

We left this morning by rail at about 10.30 for Stras- 
burg, the city of the great siege a year ago. Approach- 
ing Strasburg the signs of the war's work are abundantly 
apparent. Marks of shot and shell are visible on all sides. 
Devastation indeed there must have been. Within the 
city many ruins remain. But the old Cathedral rears 
its lofty spire serenely, and we are quietly housed in the 
Hotel de Ville de Paris, where Germans reign and Eng- 
lish is spoken. 

And here God bless and love and keep you, while 
I say, good-night. 

July 26. 

After breakfast I visited the bankers to procure some 
" Napoleons," and then sallied out with Mary and Emily 
to see the famous Cathedral. On the journey we had 
opportunity as yesterday to observe the remaining ef- 
fects of the war, houses broken and dismantled right 
between other houses apparently all unharmed, splendid 
edifices in ruins, shot and shell ornaments for sale, me- 
mentos of the direful days, women and young girls ar- 
rayed in deep black. Although it is said orders were 
given in the beleaguering armies not to injure the Ca- 
thedral, still even this edifice bears many marks of 
rough treatment, though accidental 



168 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

BERNE, SWITZERLAND, July 27. 

The ride from Bale to Berne was the route by Her- 
zogenbusche. I had said before I left home that Switz- 
erland I cared not whether I saw or not. Everybody 
raved about it, but mountains were gloomy to me, and I 
would not like it. So much for contr airiness. I give 
it up. Even this German Switzerland is the most ex- 
quisite country for lovely beauty my eyes have ever 
seen. What the other Suisse will be, I do not venture 
to conceive. 

The road lay along the hills and valleys, rich and ver- 
dant, with the most romantic and peaceful varieties of 
scenery ; strange combination you will say, but the two 
adjectives precisely express it. The lovely little villages 
and hamlets and chalets were at every bend in the road, 
all so simple, so picturelike, so inconvenient for the en- 
joyment of life, I admit ; but all the prettier for this. 
And at last, as we approached Berne, a perfectly superb 
view of the entire chain of the Bernese Alps burst upon 
us. Their lofty peaks shot up into the air like spires of 
icebergs, flashing in a flood of sunlight, as if snow-clad 
and the snow in rifts and furrows, or like brilliant 
clouds piled up along the horizon. And in the play of 
the sunlight they seemed to my eye to dance like the 
flashing of the Northern Aurora. It was like the gor- 
geous dream -pictures of the Pilgrim's Progress, the 
gates of glory and the hills of heaven. It was such a 
vision as might precede a new apocalypse. Had this 
burst upon me a quiet traveller, not whirling amid dins 
by steam, methought I should have waited to see and 
hear things unutterable. But things unutterable they 
were which our eyes did see, and to the ear of our hearts 
the Alp voice spoke in that vision. Mary's eyes filled 
with tears at the strange emotion. It seemed so new, 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 169 

so like the portals of the World-Infinite in the distance, 
golden, silvery, ineffable for grandeur and for glory. 
From my parlor window where I write, mine for a 
few hours in the Bernerhof Hotel, I look upon these 
mountains now while the evening mists gather upon 
them. I know not the names of those sublime Teach- 
ers ; but as they stand there robed before our eyes, guard- 
ing on the horizon one of the loveliest landscapes that 
ever feasted mortal eye, they silently discourse of things 
illimitable and things eternal. They speak of faith and 
of life. They speak of God, and to my ear they speak 
quietly of Him who, mid " mountains and the midnight 
air " taught the world to pray to Him who is unseen. 
Oh, if only you dears at home could look this evening 
with us upon those heights ! In the descending sun- 
light they are sublime. 

But to descend from the everlasting hills, all things 
around us and near at hand are sweetly beautiful. The 
air is vocal with music of birds. The little balconies 
and windows and terraces all around are filled with 
men, women, and children, enjoying the placid evening, 
and looking upon the marvels of glory. 

LAUSANNE, August 6. 

The wind is whistling without as if it were a winter's 
storm, though it is a fine night, and the day has been 
exquisitely beautiful. The Sunday is more regarded 
here than in Germany. The shops are shut. I do not 
know how well people go to church, excepting that at 
the English service this morning there was quite a full 
attendance. In the courts of the Lord I feel at home ; 
everywhere else I feel strange. The familiar prayers 
and the sweet service of the Holy Communion refresh 
me. But in the streets, among crowds, do you remem- 



170 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

her it somewhere in the Acts, that Paul was " in Athens 
[that great City], alone " ? I begin to understand this. 
The Cathedral we visited the other day, cathedrals be- 
ing supposed to be worthy visitation. We had read 
that it was erected about the middle of the thirteenth 
century and consecrated by Gregory X., in the presence 
of Eudolph of Hapsburg. And we saw that it was a 
large Gothic edifice of simple construction. But enter- 
ing it, we found nothing specially worth seeing, except- 
ing the great bareness and general absence of all 
ornament which marks the antagonism of the Swiss 
Eeformers to even the semblance of papal art. Images 
of the Virgin and saints in various lofty niches were 
decapitated and otherwise maimed. Poor Saint Sebas- 
tian, full of his arrow-holes, stood in an ignoble retreat 
behind a pillar in the porch. Altar and screens there 
were none. Pure spirituality was symbolized in the 
complete stripping of the sacred edifice. But when I 
learned that only one service was held there on Sun- 
day, and that at 9 A. M., I feared that the Reformation 
had gone too far, and that probably undevout rationalism 
ruled. 

GENEVA, August 16. 

This afternoon I made a short excursion to Nyon, a 
village an hour distant, going by train and returning by 
boat Upon the dock, while waiting for the boat, I had 
good opportunity, for some twenty minutes, to observe 
Prince Napoleon (" Plonplon ") and his wife Clotilde, 
who accompanied for a " farewell " the brother of the 
Princess Clotilde, Prince Humbert, the heir to the throne 
of Italy, son of Victor Emmanuel. M. Napoleon has 
quite the face of the Buonaparte family, and resembles 
the first Emperor. He is, however, a tall and large 
man, of good figure, dressed very genteelly and looking 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 171 

so clean ! His eye is brilliant, and his manner quite 
fascinating, and when he said good-by to his royal 
brother-in-law, he did it with extraordinary grace. 
Mme. Clotilde is a very plain-looking personage, no 
handsomer than her father in the face, but of course 
better looking by far, inasmuch as she is petite and not 
at all gross. The Crown Prince is a slim and quiet 
young fellow, quite dark, as a true Italian, with a most 
ordinary style of face, lines and eyes quite after the 
fashion of his father's, heavy mustache, and a manner 
entirely unselfconscious, democratic, or republican 
rather, for simplicity. He was attended by a fat fel- 
low who may have been a general or a prime minister 
or a valet. He was so fat and oily that I dubbed him 
" Count Fosco," after Wilkie Collins's character. 

M. Humbert, Victor Emmanuel, Regis Romce, worthy 
even of H Re galantuomo, was trying to travel incog. 
Poor fellow, he could n't do it. I looked at him with 
thoughts of pity, pity for the responsibility which he 
must some day carry on those not broad shoulders ; pity 
for the aches which sometimes must throb away in that 
poor skull of his when he is king, and has to manage 
his ministers, keep his eye on the Jesuits, take care 
of the Pope, lead forward the people, maintain his own 
throne, govern Italy, and keep the peace with Europe, 
or fight as it may be. 

INTERLAKEN, August 19. 

From our balcony in this hotel to-day, we looked out 
and saw through the partings of mountains, in all her 
glory and marvellous beauty, the Jungfrau. The 
clouds rolled away for a little, the sun played upon 
her form, and she stood robed in spotless white, " a 
bride prepared for her husband." Not snow capped, 
but snow clad, a vast summit of mountain, intensely 



172 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

white, a sort of world of snow and ice. And yet 
no thought of iciness, for the Jungfrau is warm and 
lovely. Seen from Geneva, Mont Blanc, at very early 
morning, or just at the sinking of the sun, was a mag- 
nificent grandeur. But it was only a mountain. This 
Jungfrau is not a mere mountain. She seems to live 
and think. One might look up to her and speak to her, 
and verily be amazed if she deigned no notice of his 
address. 

LUZERNE, SWITZERLAND, August 24. 

. . . To-day I saw a diorama of views from the 
neighboring summits of the Rigi and Pilatus. A sign 
was up over a curiosity shop, to the effect that a franc 
and a half would give the grand vision. So in I went. 

" Will you walk into my parlor, said the spider to the fly ? " 

I entered and pop ! downstairs comes Monsieur 
the Showman, and invites me up into his great place of 
observation. I was ushered into a dark room, and the 
door was carefully closed. My showman entered with 
me. He was the lecturer. I was the entire audience. 
The green curtains were mysteriously rolled away, 
before me reposed a panorama of Mt. Pilatus. " Now 
you sail zee de sunset ober de mountains, if you please," 
and shadows fell apace upon the scene, and a dim 
sunset haze made quite an effect. 

The Eigi view came next. " Now, sare, if you vas 
upon the Eigi Culm top zu would valk around to see 
de wue [view]. But as zat is not possible for to do ici, 
ze diorama will go round." Presto, "ze diorama" 
ground its way by slow jerks. The pointings out were 
quite laughable. " Vare you see dat lake wis-a-wis, 
dat is de lake Zug. Und now dat lake wis-a-wis to zu 
is de lake ob four Cantons. Dare, ou you see de leetle 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 173 

vite spots, dat is Luzerne, und ou you see de snow 
mountains, dat is de Jura chain," etc., interminably. 

The picture was, however, remarkably fine, and I was 
as well satisfied as if I had climbed the heights. 

MUNICH, August 28. 

The hotels are crowded, so many persons going to 
see the Drama of the Crucifixion at Ober Ammergau. 
I cannot imagine how Christians from America or 
England can endure such a spectacle. It may be that 
the rite is a religious one, and the result of a solemn 
vow a century or two ago, and that the people enter 
into it as a religious service; but it seems to me horri- 
ble to witness any man personating the Saviour in his 
trial and his woe. 

... I had the effrontery in the course of my pere- 
grinations to call upon that man so famous as the 
leader of the Anti-Infallibility School, Doctor Dollinger. 
I introduced myself as one of thousands in America 
who entertained for his course a profound admiration, 
and for himself great sympathy. He received me with 
the utmost cordiality, and we had quite a chat about 
the Vatican Council, and the Catholic Church, and 
fraternity between true Catholics and Protestants. Dr. 
Dollinger is a spare man, thin and wiry, with long, 
dark-brown hair, wrinkled face, and keen, dark eyes, 
a comical and determined and most intellectual expres- 
sion, homely, piquant, powerful. He is in appearance 
the hard-working professor, not at all the well-con- 
ditioned priest 

NUREMBERG, August 31. 

It was very interesting to observe the evidences of the 
contrast between the Swiss, or Zwinglian and Calvin- 
istic, Reformation and the German, or Lutheran. In 



174 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

the Swiss Cathedrals and Churches, all images and 
ornaments and symbols of the Koman Catholic age had 
been removed or mutilated. You may recall that I 
mentioned the appearance of the Lausanne Cathedral as 
being so destitute of ornament. The one at Geneva was 
almost as much so. The visitor entering the Lutheran 
Churches here in Nuremberg, would have no idea that 
he was not in a Roman Catholic Church, excepting for 
the fact that there are plenty of seats for hearers, and 
plenty of pulpit convenience. 

All altars, pictures, Madonnas, crucifixes, candles, 
images of saints, and shrines of saints remain as they 
were, only they are not used. 

DRESDEX, September 5. 

I have seen that great thing of Dresden, the Sis- 
tine Madonna. Many a time as I have looked upon 
the engraving which depicts it, and then upon what is 
better than any engraving, the beautiful photograph 
from the crayon sketch so familiar to us, I have won- 
dered if I should ever gaze upon the original. And it 
was with peculiar emotion that I stood yesterday in the 
little corner-room of the Eoyal Gallery, and saw it 
face to face. There is singular beauty and purity in 
the conception of the Virgin herself. It appears to me 
that in this, Raphael surpassed all other painters, and 
himself. The child is not more wonderful than the 
mother. 

BERLIN, September 8. 

The walk to the Gardens led me through quite a re- 
markable forest-like park. Just think of thick woods, 
acres in extent, thick as those at Conway in the White 
Mountains, with ride-ways and drive-ways, right in the 
midst of a city. On one side of the street, magnificent 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 175 

residences, and thick shades on the other ; palatial splen- 
dor on the one hand a five minutes' walk, and the 
thick dark hack-woods of the far-back country. 

Even in this brilliant city the German is the German. 
Along this beautiful and fashionable " Unter den Lin- 
den," on piazzas and balconies, men and women sit at 
little tables, and eat and drink and smoke, and scruti- 
nize the passers-by. Germany loves out of doors. 

I have just this day received my dear sister's letter 
of August 25, telling me how poorly our darling 
mother is, but having the postscript pencilled that she 
slept well last night. So I take a crumb of comfort, 
and hope and pray that the Lord will order that we 
meet again ere long, and that I may help gladden my 
dear mother's heart by narrations of travel, and by the 
ministrations of a loving son. 

Van Dyke's pictures of the Saviour impress me very 
much, particularly one I saw to-day of Jesus being 
mocked, having the purple robe, and the reed put in 
his hands ; such weariness and woraness, such dis- 
tress, more, a painter could not put into a human 
face. Another picture of Christ dead, mourned over 
by Mary Magdalen, Saint John, and an angel, was quite 
suggestive. An admirable Eubens of the Resurrec- 
tion of Lazarus was also most worthy of mention, 
Lazarus looking as if he had been dead. 

In a large hall leading to what is called the " New 
Museum," are some fine mural decorations by Kaul- 
bach, splendid frescos. One represents the Con- 
fusion of Babel, with Nimrod as king in the centre, 
and the descendants of Noah's three sons in groups, 
scattered, and indeed confounded, in speech. 

Another impressed me greatly, representing a legend 
in a Battle of the Huns, wherein the combatants were so 



176 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

exasperated that the slain rose in the night, and fought 
in the air. The city of Rome is in the distance ; above, 
borne on a shield, is Attila with a scourge in his hand, 
and opposite him, Theodoric, King of the Visigoths. 

This afternoon I took a carriage, and drove with 
Mary and Emily out to Charlottenberg. 

The Mausoleum, erected for the parents of the Em- 
peror, is a beautiful temple, with its chancel and altar. 
Scripture legends are on the walls. Two white marble 
tombs, with effigies representing the meritorious dead 
in repose, stand in front of the altar. The figure of the 
queen is beautiful. It was a satisfaction, as I looked 
at her lovely face, to think how entirely her imperial 
son had avenged, in the humiliation of the second 
Napoleon, the insolence offered that mother by the 
imperious first Napoleon. Over the crucifix, behind 
the altar, is a beautiful fresco. The Lord our Saviour, 
by whom kings reign, is seated in the centre on a 
throne. On either side of Him kneel in adoration the 
king and queen, casting their crowns at His feet. 
Under it are in German the words, " I am the Lord 
and there is none beside Me." 

I like the strong religiosity which comes out so in 
the German nature, and asserts itself so strongly, what- 
ever must be said of the religious character of the 
nation. 

BERLIN, September 11. 

I write to-day wondering how these lines will find 
you. I am solicitous in the highest degree, from the 
tenor of the last advices from home ; yet I trust, by the 
great favor of our God, before this my dear mother is 
convalescent, and that this will meet you in comfort 
and peace. As the time draws near in which we ex- 
pect to be voyagers again, I have a strange shrinking 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 177 

from the embarkation, since I leave behind me unat- 
tained what I had for my own self most desired, and 
much beside that I wished to see and do. Yet I am 
persuaded that the over-ruling hand of God has moulded 
my plans and disappointed me. I could not endure 
to remain in Europe, with my mother in a failing state, 
and had I not engaged my passage when I did, I should 
see no way of coming until mid-winter. 

BREMEN, September 15. 

This is written from our ancestral city, and the home 
of our relatives, now so few, however. 

Bremen presents a pretty appearance, with many new 
houses in blocks, and many attractive residences de- 
tached. The gardens and little parks are well laid out, 
and the city seemed to give us a home-like welcome. 

Arriving in Bremen, I went to see Cousin Emily 
Pauli. She lives on a street which fronts upon the 
old ramparts, or "Wall," as they call it, but which 
are now simple promenade pleasure-grounds, and very 
attractive. To-morrow I am to drive with her. 

I learn that Mr. John Meier, the old burgomeister, is 
very ill, and therefore I suppose I shall not see him. 
Emily Pauli says he has been talking about my coming, 
and expressing great delight and desire to see " Matson," 
of whom he had heard so much in former years. 

BREMEN, September 17. 
MY EVEE DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER AND ALL OF YOU 

DEAR ONES AT HOME, As I write this date, I perceive 
that it is just one month before our day of sailing. The 
thought fills me with conflicting emotions. What will 
be before that month expires ? What shall be when the 
voyage is over, if God in His kind care bring us safely 

12 



178 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

across the sea ? I hope and pray that we may meet, 
all of us, with thankful hearts, and that our lives 
all spared and health renewed, we may rejoice together. 
But as God wills, who orders all things well. There is 
somewhere a quaint hymn by Eichard Baxter, beginning, 
" Lord, it belongs not to my care whether I live or die," 
in which hymn, I think, are the words, " Christ leads 
us through no darker rooms than He went through be- 
fore." And somehow I like that hymn, though I cannot 
now recall another word or vestige of it. When we are 
able, as we think, to take care of ourselves, by any 
foresight to avoid evil or calamity, to engineer our own 
way, then we feel as if all things belonged to our care, 
and we are sometimes sore troubled and perplexed. But 
when to carry out our plan is impossible, and circum- 
stances are out of our control, then we can throw all 
care and sorrow upon God, and ask His help, and rest 
upon it. I learned this at sea, and I am learning it anew 
almost every day. Tossing on the ocean in a little box 
of wood and iron, one realizes human impotence. 

. . . Yesterday I set out to inspect the ancestral city. 
First, we went to the venerable Rathhaus, or Senatorial 
and City Hall of time immemorial, where the Burgo- 
meisters were wont to meet, and the Senators to rule 
affairs. And in the queer big hall of the assembled 
Wisdom (for the Bremen Senate, or Government Coun- 
cil, is or was called the " Wittheit " or the " Wisdom "), 
hung with pictures of whales, and models of ships upon 
the windows, among the aristocratic names, shields, and 
armorial bearings, I observed the arms and names of 
the Meiers emblazoned for the coming generations to 
reverence. From the Senate house we went to the old 
Cathedral, " the Dom," of which my grandmother used 
to speak, and, by the way, we went to church there this 



LETTEKS FROM EUROPE. 179 

morning, and heard a German sermon, of which I un- 
derstood not a single sentence. In the Dom, which is a 
fine old church, is a curious apartment called the Blei 
Keller, an ancient vault for the dead, which, like three 
or four others in Germany, possesses such quality of air 
that putrefaction does not take place in it. In this vault 
were several corpses lying in open coffins, which, it is 
affirmed, have been there kept for periods from one hun- 
dred to four hundred and thirty years. They were not 
skeletons, but more like mummies, the skin shrivelled 
and tight over the bony frame-work, though bone color, 
and not black, as the Egyptian mummies are. 

. . . From R , on the way back to Bremen, we 

stopped at " Horn," the country-seat of the Burgomeis- 
ter, Mr. John Meier. Mr. Meier, as my last informed 
you, is quite ill, and evidently going his way from 
hence. I found him in his parlor among his family, in 
good thick dressing-robe, and received an exceedingly 
warm and touching welcome. He said he had heard so 
much about the " wonderful grandson of his Uncle Cas- 
par" from my dear grandmother whom he loved so 
warmly, that he longed to see me in Bremen. He in- 
quired about many things, which proved that his inter- 
est in the various members of our family was not a thing 
for effect, and he was tolerably well posted respecting 
us. He asked after my father and mother, and their 
health, and was much moved at the report I was com- 
pelled to make. With messages of great affection, he 
bade me good-by, for the call was necessarily short, 
and expressed many thanks that I had come. He 
was a dear old man, and reminded me so much of my 
mother in the contour of head and face that my heart 
went right out to him. Mrs. Meier took us into a 
parlor to see the family portraits. . . . 



180 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

It really has been a great pleasure to see these rela- 
tives, and to find them so cordial to a stranger, simply 
because he is one of the family. And I am very glad 
that my daughter has had a peep at them too. 

LONDON, October 9. 

... In the afternoon I went to the Royal Chapel in 
the Whitehall Palace, a chapel once the banqueting 
hall of kings, and itself all that remains of the original 
palace. The attraction was the preacher, Prof. F. D. 
Maurice, a famous Broad Churchman of many years, 
one of the most liberal and cultivated divines of Eng- 
land, a writer of great beauty and wide charity. He is 
a very fine-looking old gentleman, with an intellectual 
countenance, much above the average of the English 
clergy. Maurice has a keen dark eye, a face with many 
lines of humor in it, yet under the greatest control, a 
mouth that speaks promptly, and a lip and chin that 
will neither be vacillating nor obstinate. 

I cannot say I am tired of the Old World. I cannot 
say we have gained even all I had hoped to gain. But I 
can say, mortal man could not do much more or better 
under the circumstances than we have done. The in- 
valids, I think, have made some progress. 

For Emily's sake, more than any other, I am sorry 
that our travel has been abridged, and that we do not 
pass the winter in some continental city. But she is 
so good, so charming, so self-forgetful, so great a bless- 
ing and comfort, that I know she will come again some 
day. 

For myself, I can speak when I see you. I was 
not all right when I left home. The relief from the 
parish care and sermon -writing has been of very great 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 181 

benefit. The entire change in ways of life, in the 
mere food and air and exercise, has proved also exceed- 
ingly beneficial. Though the solicitudes have been 
something of a drawback, and have given me two or 
three more gray hairs and crow's-feet, I am better in 
mind and nerve, as well as elsewhere, corporeally. Then 
the mental refreshment for us all Though we have 
not been in either France or Italy, we have made 
thorough acquaintance with English, German, and the 
French and German-Swiss ideas and ways. We have 
seen the life of this metropolis, of British villages, and 
of continental cities. We have been among historic 
places. We have been picking up facts and philoso- 
phizing. We have seen treasures of art. We have 
found the world bigger than it looked before, and have 
learned, I think, to prize more than ever our own land 
with all its defects, our own country with its free in- 
stitutions, and our better type of religion, that I mean 
which is Protestant, Evangelical, earnest, and aggres- 
sive. I, for one, as a clergyman, am glad too to be 
able to hold up my head among others, and to say, " I 
have been there too, and I know what I say and why I 
think." I long again for a Sunday in America. Some- 
how nothing has seemed like our American Christian 
Lord's Day on this side the water. And I long my- 
self again to be about my loved and chosen work, in 
some parish; to do good, and to preach the blessed 
Gospel, and to feel that I am useful, working, blessing 
others, every day and every week. I sometimes think 
I would not have resigned my Newark charge if I could 
have at all foreseen events. But, again, the hand of the 
Lord was in it. It was necessary to have the entire 
break-up. . . . Your devoted son, 

MATSON MEIER-SMITH. 



182 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

To Dr. Dyer. 
COBLENTZ, PRUSSIA, Sunday, July 23, 1871. 

MY EVER DEAR DR. DYER, Your letter to me, as 
well as those to Emily and Mrs. Meier-Smith, came 
speedily to England, and thence followed us to Bonn, 
where it was as cordial and meat and all sorts of genial 
things. It did us good, for I was blue, among these 
chaps who can't speak English, and whose guttural 
Deutsch no well-bred American can be supposed to 
comprehend. But I make out. By my patent-combina- 
tion language of Deutsch-French-English and the 
Symbolik, and that used by the deaf and dumb, I com- 
pel all nations to understand me. I wish I could 
compel myself to understand them in return. 

You have been in Coblentz, I believe. We have 
passed several days in this " Hotel of the Giants," look- 
ing upon the Ehine and up to Ehrenbreitstein opposite. 
By the way, how much this German Fortress looks like 
Edinburgh Castle. I am having my first taste of a 
genuine Continental Sunday. In Brussels, last Sunday 
was not unlike that in any American city. There was 
less racket and hawking of wares than in London. I 
saw no shops open. In this city it is just the week 
day. People are coming and going, buying and selling, 
precisely like yesterday. Yet they go to church too. 
I shall have more faith in the " Sabbath Committee's " 
mission one of these days. 

It is a good work that the English Church does, in 
that she keeps service in these cities. I attended ser- 
vice last Sunday on the Rue Belliard, in Brussels, 
and found a faithful and fervent young man preach- 
ing the Gospel. This morning I have been to the 
English Chapel in the palace of the Prussian Queen 



LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 183 

(or Empress), and found it good, though the preacher 
was more legal than Evangelical, more of John Baptist 
style, than of the preacher of a finished Atonement, 
Adjoining the Church of England chapel in the palace, 
was one for the Lutheran service which her Majesty 
attends. Talk about candles and crosses and ritualism! 
The Lutherans were no iconoclasts. 

After I wrote you, I heard some better preaching. 
For one, I heard Canon Charles Kingsley. He was 
preaching for the times, and against the corrupters of 
the Eeformation Doctrine. From the good old Bishop 
of Chester I heard also a sweet, good sermon, and a fair 
talk from the Archbishop of York, not much of a ser- 
mon, however. 

I do hope there won't be any terrible muss at the Con- 
vention General. What can be gained by a going off? 

I am sorry that the C affair is what it is. But I am 

sure a C would not, mutatis mutandis, be sustained 

in the Presbyterian Church to-day, and I doubt if the 

C himself could be ordained in the Presbyterian 

Church, if he held no more, and knew no more on the 
Baptism question, than he appears to hold and know so 
conscientiously to-day. Give him years, and more time 
for thought and experience, and I am sure he would 
come to the conclusion that the Baptismal ^Regeneration 
of the Prayer Book is Scriptural truth, and practically 
held in every Christian household ; in other words, that 
the germ of the highest and purest Christian life is al- 
ways, in Old Testament and New, in all ages, that which 
springs in infancy, which is then implanted by a Cove- 
nant God and Saviour, and which, nourished, amid 
many vicissitudes alas, indeed, and sometimes it may be 
blasted, brings at last the fulness of manhood in Christ. 
Oh, if only our Evangelical brethren, dear and beloved, 



184 LETTERS FROM EUROPE. 

would spiritualize what is fossilized in the Church, and 
use with power, in God's name, what is exhibited like 
mere crown jewels in a case by too many of our clergy, 
we should never think of separation. Fidelity like this 
I am persuaded would gain the day, and make our 
Church system what it ought to be. 

I say most earnestly, use the Prayer Book as it is ; 
press upon the hearts and consciences of our people 
spiritually, our doctrine of baptism and its obligations, 
of the Lord's Supper and its meaning and requisitions. 
Show the wonderful, the inexhaustible, the illimitable 
love, peace, and resource of our glorious God and Saviour, 
and demand of men a true, devout, and consecrated 
churchliness in view of this, and this will be more to 
the glory of God and the salvation of men, and for 
Christian unity, than all the squabbles about canons 
and liberty any of our brethren get up. 

With my dear love to my brethren, this is what I 
think. 

Do write again when you can. My wife and children 
join me in warmest love. 

Ever and ever yours in Christ, 

MA.TSON MEIER-SMITH. 



XIV. 

WOKK KESUMED. 

ST. LUKE'S, PHILADELPHIA. ST. GEORGE'S, NEW YORK. 
1872. 

r I ^HE homeward voyage was made in October, and 
J- was a tedious one of two weeks' length, with con- 
stant storms and adverse winds. The change of plan 
which shortened the proposed vacation of eighteen months 
to less than half of that time, was principally owing to 
the enfeebled condition of Dr. Meier-Smith's mother, 
who appeared to be rapidly failing, and suffering much 
from the fear that she might never see her children and 
grandchildren again. It was a great disappointment to 
abandon the purpose of a winter in Italy and Southern 
Germany, but there was much cause for gratitude in the 
improved health of the invalids, although all the benefit 
anticipated from the trip was not realized. 

While Dr. Meier-Smith was greatly invigorated by 
the entire change and the relief from professional labor 
and responsibilities, he did not feel ready to assume a 
parochial charge immediately, preferring a temporary 
work for some months to come. 

Amid the kindly welcomes from friends, there were 
many invitations to supply vacancies, and there were 
engagements for every Sunday, much to his satisfaction : 
for, as he remarked, " after six months of fasting he was 
hungry for preaching." 



186 WORK RESUMED. 

Bishop Coxe urged him to come to Buffalo, desiring 
him to take the rectorship of St. John's Church in 
that city, and he visited the parish, and preached there. 
After his return to New York, he received the call, 
which he felt compelled to decline, fearing that the 
climate would be too severe for himself and his family. 

In February, 1872, he accepted an engagement to 
take charge of St. Luke's Church, Philadelphia, until 
after Easter. 

The work in this large and important parish he was 
willing to assume temporarily, while not ready for set- 
tlement, as it gave him an introduction, much valued, 
to social and church life in Philadelphia. 

The winter and spring were overshadowed by an 
epidemic of small-pox, with which Philadelphia was 
visited. There was also some prevalence of the same 
disease in New York ; and in March, his mother, al- 
though an invalid and confined to her room, was at- 
tacked by it, and died after a very short illness. The 
loss of this beloved mother was a severe bereave- 
ment to her devoted son, who, although called to her 
immediately, did not reach her until all was over. Her 
sudden death under such unexpected circumstances 
added painfully to the sorrow of this affliction. 

The engagement at St. Luke's Church included the 
charge of the Lenten services, and the preparation of 
the Confirmation class. It was distinctly understood 
that Dr. Meier-Smith was not to be considered a candi- 
date for the vacant rectorship. There were circum- 
stances which, in his own view, made it undesirable for 
him to take such a position were it offered to him. He 
preferred a less conspicuous work, and one which would 
allow him more time for study and writing. These 
considerations made his work at St. Luke's an indepen- 



WORK RESUMED. 187 

dent one. He made many very warm friends in the 
large congregation, attracted equally by his strong and 
thoughtful preaching, and the frank and kindly man- 
ner which expressed his genuine interest in all to whom 
he ministered. It is often made the occasion for hum- 
orous comment, that the good people of Philadelphia 
are disposed to receive with especial cordiality all who, 
by birth or tradition, are associated with the early his- 
tory of the city. Dr. Meier-Smith's descent from the 
old Lutheran pastors, Drs. Muhlenberg and Kunze, gave 
him a ready entrance to some of the best social circles. 
Before the term of his engagement closed, there were 
many in the parish who were anxious to retain him 
permanently ; but he gave no encouragement, and ac- 
cepted an invitation to fill the place of the Eev. Dr. 
Tyng, Eector of St. George's Church, in New York, dur- 
ing his absence in Europe. 

Bishop Howe, the former Eector of St. Luke's, con- 
firmed a class of nearly fifty at the close of Dr. Meier- 
Smith's work there. 

The duty at St. George's commenced in May. Dr. 
Tyng expected to be absent six months, but returned at 
the close of the summer. The position as assistant 
minister of the parish was retained until November, 
though he officiated in several other places during the 
time. The summer home was with his father, at New 
Eochelle. 

FROM THE "EECORD OF SERVICES." 

November, 1872. 

I desire to put on record in these pages the delight- 
ful and affectionate nature of my intercourse with Dr. 
Tyng, during my association with him as his assistant 
and temporary substitute at St. George's. It has also 



188 WORK RESUMED. 

been a very profitable relationship. The simple minis- 
try of the ever-living Jesus, the Friend, the High 
Priest, the Saviour, and the continual preaching in 
great simplicity the blessed Gospel of faith in Him, 
as the comfort, the salvation, and the inspiration of the 
soul, are blessings which cannot be too highly appre- 
ciated. I have found Dr. Tyng unvaryingly gentle, 
generous, courteous, loving, and worthy my high regard 
and love. The result of observation and of mature age 
is, that I regard preaching as more and more a. practical 
business. It must be made to do something with men. 

May I have wisdom and grace more than ever 
before and the gift to move men for Christ, and 
to do the work of Jesus ! 

During the summer of this year calls were declined 
from St. John's Church, Ithaca, New York, and the 
Church of the Ascension, Staten Island. 



XV. 

KECTOKSHIP OF ST. JOHN'S CHUKCH, 
HAKTFOKD. 

1872-1876. 

IN October, 1872, Dr. Meier-Smith accepted a call to 
the rectorship of St. John's Church, Hartford, Con- 
necticut. This parish had for its first Eector the Rev. 
A. Cleveland Coxe, the present Bishop of Western New 
York; and among other well-known clergymen who 
have held the rectorship, was the Eev. Dr. Washburn, 
so long Eector of Calvary Church, New York. 

St. John's had been a large and influential parish, 
but the policy of multiplication of parishes had pre- 
vailed in Hartford, and it had lost much of its strength. 
Dr. Meier-Smith was strongly urged to attempt the 
work of restoring the church to its former position. 
Though he felt very doubtful of success in this direc- 
tion, Hartford, as a place of residence and as a field of 
labor, presented many attractions. It is a beautiful 
city, and, as the seat of Trinity College, is a centre of 
churchly and literary interest. He looked forward hope- 
fully to opportunities for influence among the students, 
his solicitude for his own son having awakened a strong 
interest in all young men, whom he regarded henceforth 
as having a peculiar claim upon his sympathy. 

Such considerations induced him to accept the call, 
and on the first Sunday in Advent he assumed the rec- 
torship. In consequence of very inclement weather 



190 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

and a heavy snow-storm, the congregations were small, 
and this entry appears in the " Eecord " : "I pray that 
the Lord may give me grace to do a good work to the 
glory of His Name, notwithstanding the somewhat dis- 
couraging aspects of the beginning." 

The members of St. John's parish received their new 
Rector with affectionate welcome, and the friendly 
reception everywhere met counterbalanced the first 
rather chilling impressions. 

Bishop Williams extended a cordial greeting, and 
was ever the kindest of friends. Dr. Meier-Smith 
became warmly attached to him while in Hartford. 
The Bishop's personal attractiveness, force of character, 
and scholarly attainments, strongly impressed him, as 
they must all who come under his influence. 

The winter of 1872-73 was exceptionally cold and 
damp, and Dr. Meier-Smith suffered much from heavy 
colds and weakness of throat The church was often 
imperfectly warmed, with the result of smaller congre- 
gations than the Rector hoped for, and no little dis- 
comfort to himself. He was somewhat disheartened. 
" Clearly," he said, " it is not my forte to bring up a 
'run down* parish!" He was the last man to claim 
gifts suited to all lines of work, and certainly never 
over-estimated his ability in this particular direction. 
The work necessary to rapid success under these cir- 
cumstances was not altogether congenial to him, and he 
doubted whether he possessed the elements necessary 
for it ; yet to be otherwise than faithful and laborious 
in every recognized duty would have been impossible 
for him, and probably he was more successful in the 
eyes of others than in his own. 

When the services of Lent commenced, the attend- 
ance upon them increased so rapidly that the Rector 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 191 

began to look more hopefully upon the future. At the 
daily service from eighty to one hundred were always 
found, a large attendance in proportion to the Sunday 
congregations. The number presented at the first Con- 
firmation gave evidence of faithful work. Among them 
were those who said that the Rector's appeals and in- 
struction had brought them to a decision, weighed for 
years and constantly postponed. The Sunday-school 
had dwindled into almost nothing, but during this rec- 
torship new life was imparted to it by his efforts, aided 
heartily by faithful teachers. A Guild was formed, 
which infused enthusiasm into teachers and scholars, 
and soon quadrupled the number in attendance, as also 
the offerings of the children for missions. The much 
coveted honor of admittance into the " Orders of the Sil- 
ver and the Golden Cross " will never be forgotten by some 
who were then young parishioners of St. John's. The 
members of the Sunday-school were made to feel them- 
selves the helpers of the Rector. The school met before 
the afternoon service, and one object of the Guild was 
to secure the attendance of all present at the Even- 
ing Prayer, which followed. A youthful choir was 
formed, aiding the quartette as a chorus, and the ser- 
mon was short and simple. The older people were 
gratified by the interest of the children, and the result 
was a " live Sunday-school " and a full church in place 
of the hitherto much neglected " Afternoon Service." 

The first Confirmation occurred on Good Friday, when 
seventeen were presented. 

Among topics of sermons written during this year, 
these are noted, " Christian Liberality in Offerings," 
" Gifts as a Part of Worship," and " The Call of God 
for Liberal Response to Church Missions." 

It has been said that Dr. Meier- Smith was an ardent 



192 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

advocate of the work of Foreign Missions. The fol- 
lowing article, written for the " Churchman " while in 
Hartford, gives some of his often-pressed arguments 
for its promotion : 

" That Mr. Max Miiller on the ' Day of Intercession,' 
in Westminster Abbey, should have offered a suggestion 
to the effect that Christian missionaries change their 
tactics, and begin tinkering Buddhism and Mohamme- 
danism into more earnest life, is, to our mind, one of the 
coolest things on record. We wonder that the hoary 
stones within those venerable walls did not 'immedi- 
ately cry out.' The reported sentiment is, unhappily, 
not a new one. It was very far from being one of 
those occasional and solitary flashings of perverse genius 
which are as suddenly extinguished as they suddenly 
blaze forth. Unbelief has said the same thing a great 
many times. And it is to be feared that the sentiment 
is not altogether unfamiliar even at Christian firesides. 
There is certainly a most appalling apathy concerning 
the business of missions to heathen lands. Are we 
wrong in attributing the indifference in part at least to 
just this style of scepticism which cropped out so forci- 
bly without regard to the proprieties of the occasion ? 
The Foreign Missionary enterprise is pronounced by not 
a few a Quixotic scheme. Men who give this as their 
verdict are Christian men. They bring plausible argu- 
ments and stubborn facts to the support of their position. 
They draw the balance-sheet between the expenditures 
and the results. They compute the sacrifice of health 
and wealth, of life and energy, through eighteen Chris- 
tian centuries. They quote the census of Paganism. 
Against the Christians found in heathen lands, they 
offset the pagans dwelling in Christian lands. There 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 193 

are as many Chinese idolaters in the United States to- 
day, we hear, as there are Christian worshippers in 
China, and more perhaps than there are converted 
heathen in China and India together. 

" They review the intellectual warfare between Chris- 
tianity and philosophical Paganism which is going on 
in the world, and tell us that it is as hotly contested in 
Britain and Germany and America, as in India itself. 
In fact, it is made to appear a matter of serious doubt 
whether Christianity or Paganism is making the more 
converts. So far as actual idolatry is concerned, 
which is the worship of the invisible Deity under ma- 
terial forms subsisting, temporarily or permanently, in 
sacred places, it is averred that this is quite as much 
a feature of nominal Christianity as of Buddhism. 

" There may be other explanations of the indifference 
to Foreign Missionary work, and various other excep- 
tions may be taken to the service, and to its methods, 
as the Boards of the Church pursue them. But this 
mode of argument the appeal to results is a sum- 
mary process which the rectors of our parishes have 
to meet with a frequency which is painful, if not 
embarrassing. 

" The Epiphany appeal of the Foreign Committee of 
the Board of Missions suggests one form of judicious 
answer to this practical scepticism. We commend it to 
our readers, without reproducing it here. In this ap- 
peal, testimony of four Indian governors is cited respect- 
ing the results of missionary labor in India. Sir Bartle 
Frere, Governor of Bombay, bears strong witness to the 
moral, social, and political effects of the missionary work 
among the intelligent Hindoos and Mohammedans of 
India. To the temperate language of the appeal, we 
might add some words. We might remind those who 
13 



194 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

criticise and disparage the results of Foreign Missions, 
that they themselves are among those results, albeit, 
possibly, amid slippered ease, and their positive un- 
belief on this question not the ripest nor best-rounded 
fruit thereof. 

" Our ancestors were heathen. Britain was Foreign 
Missionary ground in former days. Nineteen centuries 
ago however insignificant the results reached by these 
sagacious accountants there was not a square foot of 
earth outside Palestine which was not soil of heathenism. 

" But this is not the argument we prefer in urging 
the great duty of carrying the Gospel to the heathen. 
With results of missions, whether past or prospective, 
we have nothing to do. They are entirely apart from 
the question of the Church's duty, or the personal obli- 
gation of every Christian. The problem of the Foreign 
Missionary service is not, in our understanding of it, 
simply to supplant the false religions of the world by 
the introduction of our average modern Christianity, 
with its base alloy of worldliness and unbelief. Nor is 
it even to Christianize heathen nations, in the true sense 
of the term, through the ordinary agencies and instru- 
mentalities familiar in the Church. Doubtless, we are 
to labor and pray as if this were the precise consumma- 
tion to be reached. This is our bounden duty, and the 
only practical method of any service whatever. Above 
all things, we are not to fail of duty in this direction, 
through scepticism about results. "Were it revealed that 
such a consummation, to be gained by present agencies 
and processes, was the ultimate of the Church's ser- 
vice, it would be a sin to have any misgivings about it, 
or to look for an iota less than the perfect and literal 
accomplishment. 

"The problem assigned to the Church, we believe, 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 195 

however, to be an entirely different one from this. It 
is a problem upon which all the light vouchsafed is 
that which radiates from the seasons of Advent and 
Epiphany. We pray, as our Lord taught us to pray, 
' Thy Kingdom come.' That kingdom, as we read His 
holy words, is to be introduced in its glory upon earth, 
with entire and absolute independence of all human 
works, and the times and seasons of human adjust- 
ment. The object of the missionary work, the object 
of the Apostolic Commission itself, for they are one 
and the same, is to prepare the way for this. . The 
Gospel is to be preached among all nations, ' for a wit- 
ness.' From among all nations and tribes an 'elect' 
people is to be gathered, to be a waiting Church, 
waiting for Him who is always 'at hand,' NEAR, and 
whose EPIPHANY shall be for splendor, as for sudden- 
ness, like the lightning from one end of heaven to the 
other. 

" Such work has the Lord Christ given us to do. His 
word is ' Occupy until I come.' This His work must 
be carried on, with or without success, regardless of ex- 
pense, whether of gold or of life, until He Himself, 
coming in the clouds of heaven with holy angels and 
the risen saints, summon His militant Church away 
from the warfare to the ' exceeding great reward.' Do 
we hesitate concerning Foreign Missions ? Are we be- 
lievers in Christ, or are we Infidels ? " 

Among his letters of this period was one to a friend 
who purposed going upon the stage : 

. . . You are making a great venture. Some of your 
friends feel badly about it. I admit that I wish it were 
in some other line, on general principles. But I am free 
to say to you and anybody else, that I have no sympathy 



196 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

with those who consign the stage and its company to a 
wholesale and unmitigated perdition, without even 
Christian burial. I recognize in the drama high educa- 
tional and moral possibilities, as, in the personal char- 
acter of some who make the stage a profession, the 
highest and noblest qualities. And it may be ignorance 
on my part wholly inexcusable, nevertheless I fail to 
see why one may not assume that profession with true 
and laudable purpose, as any other, not merely for 
wealth and fame, but for moral and benevolent ends, 
and be faithful, by God's help, in carrying out this pur- 
pose. I think I know you well enough to say that you 
have not been unmindful of this consideration. And 
yet I foresee for you difficulties and obstacles, neither 
few nor trivial, to the realization of such an ideal. I 
pray that you may have wisdom and grace to surmount 

them. In the good long ago, my dear , when we 

were boys together, we had a Friend and Lord to whom 
we were wont to bring our affairs, and of whom to seek 
the wisdom and grace we needed as little fellows, in 
our boyhood's battles and endeavors. That good Friend 
and Saviour has not deserted us, neither you nor me. 
We have been led in different paths, but with all our 
errors and imperfections and it is with an unfeigned 
hand that I write our, meaning my own He is still 
our unchanged and unchanging Lord and Friend. The 
Man, but such a man ! The " Christus Consolator et 
Adjuvator." Yet more, the God- Man ' As I grow older 
He is more to me, in my increasing manhood and ca- 
pacity and need. May I hope you find Him so to you, 
led around and tried as you have been. And whether 
on the stage, or elsewhere, I pray that the thought to 
serve and honor Him may ever be a controlling thought 
with you, while " to your own Master you stand or 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 197 

fall," however and whatever others may "judge." I 
fervently wish you all success that may be for your 
highest good ; this I pray and trust you will have. I 
want more for you than even our old friendship per- 
haps warrants me in expressing. But anyhow and 
under all circumstances your friend of a lifetime, 
heartily and truly, 

M. M.-S. 

While the period of the Hartford rectorship was a 
quiet and uneventful one so far as his own parish was 
concerned, it was a time of lively interest and vigorous 
discussion in the Church at large. Occurrences in con- 
nection with the meetings of the Evangelical Alliance, 
in New York, in 1873, were the ostensible causes of re- 
newed agitation by radical men of the Evangelical 
school. They had been laboring long to secure conces- 
sions from the Church to their own views, and especially 
to alterations in the Prayer Book. The course taken 
by Bishop Cummins resulted, as some who read these 
pages will recall, in bringing out intense feeling among 
Churchmen of all shades of opinion, and in directing 
the eyes of all Christian people to our Communion. 

The extracts which follow are from a characteristic 
letter to Dr. Dyer. It was written just after the 
" Cummins defection," which resulted in the establish- 
ment of the Eeformed Episcopal Church : 

... I don't feel half as much like "Evangelical 
Alliance" as I did a few weeks ago. . . . 

. . . The tone of much of the sectarian press is any- 
thing but Christian and charitable. They talk sensibly 
enough of " Cumminsism," and its baselessness, but they 
show exhilaration at the chance of poking their fingers 
under our ribs. They know better. They know that 



198 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

Ritualism for doctrine is not our characteristic. They 
know that the Church holds Justification by Faith only, 
not by feeling as with some of them, and that we 
don't talk of " sacrifice," " priest," and " altar " in any 
sense wherein Presbyterians and Congregationalists forty 
years ago would not have indorsed the sentiment ; nor 
in any sense which their average, unaltered standards 
do not now indorse, and yet they assert that we poor 
Episcopalians mean everything in the Romish sense, or 
ought to. ... 

Blessed and dear old Saint Stephen of St. George's. 1 
How grandly he spoke the truth pro Christo et Ec- 
clesia ! I wanted to go down and put my arms around 
his neck, and hug him as a son a father. And what 
an inspiration was Bishop Alfred Lee's open letter to 
George David, 2 and with what golden sentences it 
ended ! Inter nos, I have sent two editorials to the 
" Churchman " lately, " Unity, Unity, Unity," and " In- 
tolerance." I was requested to give something which 
outsiders could comprehend. Criticisms are in or- 
der. . . . Did Cummins talk at random when he made 
the allusion supposed to be to Dr. Muhlenberg? I 
fancy I hear my venerable cousin smack those ex- 
pressive lips of his, and in deep guttural say, " Bah ! " 
The stir-up has done good here. Connecticut men say 
that it brings us all closer, as it shows stronger love 
of Church principles on all sides. I have talked with 
the most conspicuous Baptist, and the most conspicu- 
ous Congregational clergymen here, and find that 
neither have the slightest sympathy with the Cum- 
mins proceeding, from its first fence-jumping to its 
final secession. 

* Dr. Stephen H. Tyng. Bishop Geo. David Cummins. 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 199 

One of the published articles alluded to in the fore- 
going letter is given here, as clearly expressing his 
sentiments on a subject of so much discussion at the 
time. 

UNITY, UNITY, UNITY! 

Now that the various journals, religious and secular, 
have had their " say " about the Evangelical Alliance, 
and as well concerning those whose honest convictions 
were adverse to some of its ideas, we have a fact to 
state which we wish our brethren of various Christian 
affiliations would accept in good faith. We desire this 
as a simple matter of justice and truth. It is a matter 
we wish to have understood, whether it be appreciated 
or not. 

The fact is this. The Protestant Episcopal Church 
entertains an unfeigned and most lively interest in all 
signs of the times which indicate approach to closer 
union among Christian people, and in everything which 
may fitly express the unity pertaining to followers of 
our Blessed Lord. Such, we are well aware, is not the 
popular impression, but precisely the contrary. Yet 
we believe the fact to be as we have stated it. 

Another thing is true. The fact stated is not, as 
some may aver, in spite of the peculiar principles of the 
Church, but a fact which grows out from these princi- 
ples, the very principles which are vulgarly called "ex- 
clusive," and associated, like the phrase " High Church," 
in many minds with narrowness and bigotry. 

We do not propose to argue this point at length just 
now. But for its bearing upon the fact we have stated, 
it is sufficient to say, we are broad enough to recognize 
all the unity which exists, and to thank God for it. We 
believe that the Son of God organized and equipped a 



200 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

society, an Ecclesia, a Church, which organization 
is Scripturally called the Body of Christ. Christ is the 
Head of this Body. In this organization He dwells by 
His Spirit, the Vitalizing Force. He Himself uses the 
figure of the vine and its branches to illustrate His re- 
lation to His people. The life-sap from Him, the True 
Vine, flows in all the branches, imparting life and vigor 
to every twig or tendril, and producing in their full 
rounded beauty the rich and luscious clusters of all 
Christian fruit. In the completeness of this organic 
unity are the Faith, once (and once for all) delivered 
to the Saints ; the Sacraments ; and the Apostolic Min- 
istry, called into being, ordered, sent, in due procession 
by Himself the Head, His accredited agents, their 
duties assigned, their instructions ample, their limita- 
tions definite. 

This organic unity that of the Church, the Body of 
Christ is, moreover, indestructible. 

Now, this statement of doctrine is not an unchurch- 
ing form of words. It is not at all necessary for us to 
say that they who, amid the convulsions of the Reforma- 
tion period, were separated from the Apostolic order, 
yet retained the faith as best they might, were sundered 
by that separation from the Body into which they had 
been baptized. It requires something more than invol- 
untary error to separate from Christ. No more is it 
necessary for us to make such affirmation respecting the 
spiritual progeny of those Continental Protestant disci- 
ples, in whom the life which flows from Christ mani- 
fests itself by abundant fruits of the Spirit. Nor do we 
make any such affirmation. Nor does any conclusion 
to this effect follow from Church principles or premises. 
That all baptized Christians pertain to the substance of 
Christ's body, we unhesitatingly admit and proclaim ; 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 201 

and this is perfectly consistent with the statement that 
the relations of some in this number to the Body in its 
completeness, are similar to the relations subsisting be- 
tween a vine and certain branches which are partially 
detached. Partial detachment is the principal fact of 
sectarianism. The evils of sectarianism are but morbid 
growths from this anomalous relation. 

Now, the claim of the Protestant Episcopal Church 
is not to be exclusively the Body of Christ in this 
laud, but to represent in completeness of organization 
and historical continuity that organic unity which the 
Lord founded when He founded the visible society, the 
Church. This claim, we believe, can be made good 
alike against Rome and the Protestant bodies which are 
destitute of Apostolic orders. 

To preserve the features of this organic unity in their 
completeness, and with them certain benefits not of the 
essence of the unity, for example, such as the sacra- 
mental liturgy, we hold to be our sacred trust. As 
among Christian denominations, we might say that this 
was for the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United 
States a raison d'etre. 

By reason of these principles, accordingly, as we have 
already said, Churchmen must take a lively interest in 
whatever seems to move their separated brethren toward 
the contemplation of organic unity, and the best meth- 
ods whereby to express their conviction of it. We have 
no denominational pride to be considered in the matter ; 
but we have the most entire confidence that, the organic 
unity fairly comprehended, return to the historic Church 
will be only a question of days. It will be a time for 
mutual congratulation when the modern latitudinarian- 
ism, "Ye are of one spirit, no matter of how many 
bodies," shall give place, and the solemn pleading of the 



202 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

Holy Ghost be everywhere heard, urging spiritual unity 
upon the ground, first, of the " one Body." 

An affirmation respecting the temper and tone of our 
clergy and laity in this matter of kindly interest may 
count for what it is worth. We believe there are very 
few who will not subscribe to the spirit of this article. 
We are confident there is neither priest nor layman 
within the comprehension of the Church who would 
fail to recognize, with devout gratitude and Christian 
love, those lineaments of pious life and holy faith which 
mark the Family of our blessed Lord, no matter where 
found or in whom. Our rules of order may be rigid. 
In the popular apprehension we may be exclusive in our 
ways. But there must be rigid rule and exclusiveness 
after a sort, in the faithful custody of any important 
trust But we are not for this the less disposed to say, 
"Grace be with all them who love our Lord Jesus 
Christ." 

And our desire for the unity of all Christians in the 
completeness of Church organization for we have re- 
peatedly expressed our lack of faith in any union less 
than this is unfeigned and absorbing. The very 
extreme attitudes which appear in individual illustra- 
tions, seeking affiliations with non-Episcopalians on the 
one side, and with Rome, or, some will say, Oriental 
Churches, on the other, are but anomalous expressions 
of this consuming fire of catholic love. It is no mere 
formality that on bended knees we say daily unto God, 
" We pray for Thy Holy Church Universal ; that it may 
be so guided and governed by Thy good Spirit, that all 
who profess and call themselves Christians may be led in- 
to the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, 
in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life." 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 203 

The extract which follows is from the latter half of 
the paper on Intolerance : 

" Now, concerning this word intolerance, which is our 
text, there might as well be an understanding. There 
is a vulgar impression that it sums up all ecclesiastical 
villany. It is a very common word, when men wish 
to speak opprobriously respecting something they dis- 
like, but are powerless to change. But we hold that as 
there is such a thing as a ' toleration ' which is consum- 
mate abomination, so is there an ' intolerance ' which 
is highest virtue. There is an intolerance which is the 
strongest safeguard of social purity and peace. There 
is an intolerance without which no man's home or life 
would be secure for a day. Law involves intolerance. 
Government involves intolerance. Law and order pass 
away the instant there is anything less than absolute 
intolerance of all breaches or infractions of the same 
whatsoever, even the least. The Church is in this 
sense intolerant. What is not forbidden by her law, 
she endures, even though it be foreign to her spirit or 
opposite to her tastes. What is forbidden by her law, 
she tolerates not for a moment, though her judg- 
ment be pronounced slowly, and after, it may be, too 
protracted deliberation. 

"Are other denominations of Christians less intolerant 
than the Church ? Or are they prompt to assert their 
denominational principles when occasion may arise ? 
Should the whole House of Bishops propose some time, 
with a charity transcending even the amplitude of the 
Evangelical Alliance, to commune with our Baptist 
friends in expressions of ' love,' would they be ad- 
mitted even to such an affiliative banquet with dry 
vestments and dry-shod ? Our Presbyterian brethren 



204 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

subscribe to a confession of faith which affirms that 
' Neither Baptism nor the Lord's Supper may be dis- 
pensed by any but by a minister of the word lawfully 
ordained.' Are these brethren so far from intolerance 
that they would suffer the Quaker Mrs. Smith or Mrs. 
Smiley to administer a sacrament in their churches, or 
receive one at the fair hands of either of these irre- 
proachable ' Sisters ' from among the ' Friends,' or, 
as some would say, 'The Quaker Church'? 

" The Church we love, and to which, thank God, we 
belong, is intolerant, not of human error, for so was 
not her divine Master ; not of human infirmity or de- 
fect, for the time is not yet when there shall be ' neither 
spot nor wrinkle nor any such thing,' but intolerant 
of every attempt to pervert or impair the order which 
Christ has appointed, and the doctrine of Christ as she 
has received the same. To the Apostolic Ministry in 
continuous succession, and in three Orders of Bishops, 
Presbyters, and Deacons, and to the two Sacraments, 
in all the Scriptural and primitive, as well as Catholic 
richness of their significance, she is irrevocably pledged. 
Touching these, she cannot waver. She may be maligned 
and abused for her fidelity to these. She may be per- 
secuted and accounted the ofi'scouring of all things for 
these. But if she remains upon the earth, she will 
upon this continent welcome the advent of her Lord 
and Head, holding fast these things 'once delivered.' 
This is her intolerance." 

In the same year he wrote to Dr. Dyer : " Hartford 
folk are nice people. So are the clergy. My particular 
folks are aesthetically highish, but they love the simple 
Gospel. So that suits me, and I am having a good 
time." 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 205 

Clergymen of marked culture and ability were pastors 
of non-Episcopal churches in Hartford, and he enjoyed 
their society none the less that he had once belonged to 
their own ranks. 

With the Faculty of Trinity College, especially with 
Professors Johnson and Hart, warm friendships, much 
prized, were formed. With them there was the full 
accord in theological views, and in Church position, 
most desirable at this time, as the contest grew in 
strength and bitterness through the open division in 
Church ranks. The result of all the excitement was to 
bring into deeper sympathy and closer union all who 
loved the Church more than any party in it. Probably 
no better time could have been chosen to institute the 
Church Congress, which was founded during Dr. Meier- 
Smith's residence in Hartford. He was among the num- 
ber who met informally in New Haven, in the spring of 
1874, to confer with reference to such an organization. 
The outcome of this conference was the first Church 
Congress, which met in New York in the ensuing Octo- 
ber. Among the topics of discussion one was, " The 
Eelation of the Church to other Christian Bodies," and 
another was, " Mutual Christian Obligations of Capital 
and Labor." 

The keynote which has never been lost seemed to be 
struck at the outset. The Church Congress has proved 
that Episcopal clergymen are ready to meet the questions 
of the day, in spite of the impression of those who have 
supposed them to be only concerned on matters of Order 
and Ritual. As a centre of union and of powerful in- 
fluence on the thought and progress of the Church, Dr. 
Meier-Smith regarded its annual meetings as of great 
importance, regretting that he was so seldom able to 
attend them, through pressure of engagements. With 



206 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

everything which promoted Christian Union and Church 
Unity, he was in hearty sympathy. Breadth of thought, 
with its full expression, grew more necessary to him 
and characteristic of him, as he advanced in years. 

In February, 1875, he visited Newark, and preached 
two sermons, by special invitation, in Trinity Church. 
Dr. Nicholson, his successor in that rectorship, had 
recently made public his sympathy with the seceding 
brethren, and his intention of joining the new organiza- 
tion. The Baptismal Office and the Ordinal were the 
points upon which he founded his defection. 

A letter from a Vestryman of Trinity, conveying the 
request to preach two sermons in reply to Dr. Nichol- 
son, contains this sentence : 

" I regard you as altogether the best informed and ablest 
theologian who has been with us in Newark. Judicious ex- 
position of theology seemed, me jtidice, to be your forte. I 
remember to have been much struck with your sermon on 
Baptism. Besides, you came from a Calvinistic denomina- 
tion, and are well posted on their views, and on those of 
kindred sects." 

In June of the same year, he preached the Convention 
sermon in New Haven. 

When Dr. Meier-Smith assumed the rectorship of St. 
John's, he was not without hope that the parish might 
regain its former strength and influence. Though this 
hope was but partially realized, he had no reason to 
feel that his work was an unfruitful one, as much ad- 
vance was made on previous years. The standard of 
religious life was raised by his faithful and earnest 
preaching; congregations greatly increased, and large 
Confirmation classes were presented. But he labored 
under many discouragements, especially in regard to 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 207 

the financial matters of the parish, which induced him 
to consider favorably suggestions made to him, in the 
third year of his rectorship, to become a candidate for 
the vacant Chair of Horniletics in the Divinity School 
of Philadelphia. 

Eespecting these propositions he wrote to Dr. Dyer: 
"... The notion about the professorship has been, 
from various sources, dinging at me for some time. 

W suggested it to me first last winter, I think. 

You know he once had an idea of getting me into Gam- 
bier when I was in transitu. I know enough of myself 
to know that I can teach ; and I have found out that I 
can influence young men. And if I were really compe- 
tent for the place, and I could, I think, fit myself for 
it easily, I should enjoy the work most thoroughly." 
There was a growing consciousness in his mind that 
the pastoral work which he loved so dearly, he could 
never again hope to carry on with the vigor and enthu- 
siasm of earlier years. His physical strength had been 
somewhat impaired for several years, during which 
time, his devotion to and sympathy with the invalid 
members of his household had caused a great nerve 
strain. A work free from the excitements and respon- 
sibilities of a rector's life looked inviting to him, es- 
pecially as it was in the line of study he most loved, 
and one which would bring young men under his in- 
fluence. Yet he would not have given the subject any 
serious consideration had he believed that his best loved 
work, preaching the Gospel of our blessed Lord, would 
have to be abandoned. Nor, indeed, had he contem- 
plated less work, upon which point he expressed him- 
self decidedly in a letter to Dr. Dyer : " . . . Don't let 
anybody suppose I seek a ' dignified retirement from ac- 
tive work.' I am not prepared to become a trilobite or 



208 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

any other fossil yet. Let the Lord order. I wish I 
were always as willing in everything to say this ; for 
beyond the question of the most usefulness, I care noth- 
ing personally about this particular thing. If it had 
not been said to me a good many times that I was cut 
out for this sort of business, and that my friends might 
as well find it out, I would not have alluded to the 
vacant professorship." 

To Dr. Dyer, in September, 1875, he wrote : "... This 
is a case in which more than ordinarily I take pleasure 
in thinking that all is in the hands of the Lord who 
knows what is for my good, and for the good of His 
work. The chief personal solicitude I have in the mat- 
ter is on my wife's account. If I could shake the idea 
out of her little pate, of her responsibility for all the 
woman's work in the parish, I should not care half a 
peck about the question. On the other hand, I say as 
frankly that I regard the work of such a teacher as 
among the highest works, and should enter upon it, if 
the way were pointed out clearly, with the strongest 
convictions. I have a letter this morning inclosing one 
from W wherein is this sentence : ' What very ex- 
act theologian can speak of the extent of your friend's 
Broad Church tendencies ? ' He does n't know, neither 
do I. I will trust you to defend me against charges of 
heterodoxy. My ' Broad ' is not Colensoish, nor the 
lack of positive convictions. I say 'Credo' and I 
mean it. While I can keep good temper with those who 
are of the other part, I am in spiritual sympathy with 
the earnest Christian believers and workers who hold 
the faith as Evangelical Protestant Christians hold it, 
and with such only ; and my ' Broad ' lies in two facts, 
first, I don't care two pop-corns whether the chap next 
me spells it shibboleth or sibboleth ; secondly, while I 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 209 

hold very decided views of Church Orders, I like a good 
hand-shake, every now and then, with all who love our 
Lord Jesus Christ, with the entirety of the flock of our 
Blessed Lord. ... By the way, how much it is the 
fact that theological sides taken are as much matters of 
temperament as anything else. I have seen a despon- 
dent, pre-doomed, reprobated Calvinist, of the ultra- 
marinest blue, converted into a light-hearted, loving 
fellow, ready to hug the Arminian brother, within fif- 
teen minutes, the means of conversion being a dish 
of Saddle-Kocks on the half-shell, and a toby of Bass's 
Pale East India. . . . Now my matters I leave with 
the Overseers of the School, and with the Lord, with no 
anxiety about the result. I want to have my work 
and years and record, if the Lord will, among the broad 
and evangelical men in the Church, and not among 
'high and dry/ 'High' and 'Low' are words I care 
not for, if I can see the devout Christian, full of faith 
and good works, and the sympathetic helper in bringing 
men, women, and children to the dear Lord." 

Late in the autumn of 1875, Dr. Meier-Smith was 
elected to the Chair of Homiletics and Pastoral Care 
in the "Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, in Philadelphia." When his name was brought 
before the Boards, objection was made by a member of 
the Board of Overseers, that he had heard that the 
candidate was not orthodox on the doctrine of future 
punishment. Bishop Lee wrote to him telling him of 
the objection, saying, " It is stated that you hold the 
views commonly known as those of the Restorationists." 

The reply was as follows : 

HARTFORD, December 2, 1875. 

MY DEAR BISHOP LEE, ... I don't know whether I 
am orthodox or not, in the opinion of the man who 
H 



210 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

started the nonsense, on this point or any other. I did 
not stop my thinking when I left the Theological Semi- 
nary ; but I certainly have never taught nor do I 
hold either a Restorationist or Universalist theology. 
Nor am I aware that I hold anything inconsistent either 
with the recognized position of our Church on the ques- 
tion of future punishment, or maintain any different 
attitude respecting the fearful facts revealed, from that 
maintained by leading evangelical thinkers among our 
own clergy, and those of other educated denominations. 
I accept, heartily and simply, every word of our Blessed 
Lord and all teaching of Scripture. But I recognize in 
these holy words, heights and depths of mystery and 
meaning unmeasured yet, if not unmeasurable. I am, 
my dear Bishop, with highest regard and loving thanks, 
Faithfully yours, 

MATSON MEIER-SMITH. 

His decision to accept this appointment was com- 
municated to his Vestry, with his resignation of the 
rectorship. The acceptance of his resignation was ac- 
companied with affectionate expressions of regard, and 
of regret in parting with the Rector. The Vestry re- 
quested him to continue in charge of the parish until 
after Easter, which he consented to do, with the under- 
standing that early in the year he should commence, in 
part, his duties in Philadelphia, and must be relieved of 
much of the pastoral work. 

The Christmas Festival of the Sunday-school was 
made the occasion of many warm tributes to the retir- 
ing Rector, who had made for himself a strong place in 
the affections of the younger portion of his congrega- 
tion, and their parents and teachers. " No one has 
ever done so much for our young people," said one and 



ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 211 

another, as they greeted him tenderly. The charm of 
his warm and sympathetic nature made itself as strongly 
felt in these days of his maturer ministry, as in his 
fresh and buoyant youth. The discipline of almost 
thirty years of steady labor with its burdens and re- 
sponsibilities, its rewards and disappointments, had 
mellowed and softened the enthusiasm which, early in 
life, had sometimes led to an over-sanguine trust in 
others. Yet it had not changed his hearty responsive- 
ness and kindly thoughtfulness, or made him less un- 
selfish and unwearied in labors of love for all to whom 
he could minister, either as friend or pastor. Thus in 
Hartford, as in all his former pastorates, he left behind 
him the memory of one whose presence and daily in- 
fluence were cheering and uplifting and in perfect har- 
mony with the spirit of his public ministrations. 

From the Bishop of Connecticut the following note 
was received in reply to Dr. Meier-Smith's request for 
a letter dimissory. 

MY DEAR DOCTOR, I hate to send this ! I hate to lose 
you ! For all the comfort you gave me I thank you, and 
pray God to bless you and yours most abundantly ! 
Affectionately yours, 

J. W. 

From letters of sympathy written by members of St. 
John's parish and other friends in Hartford after the 
death of Dr. Meier-Smith, the extracts are taken which 
close this record of his four years' work in that city. 

From James A. Smith, Esq. 

HARTFORD, April 2, 1887. 

... I loved your husband for his strength and clearness 
of mind, and the warm friendship of his soul, which always 
made me feel stronger and better for meeting him. 



212 ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, HARTFORD. 

The news of his death gave all his old friends in St. 
John's a great shock, and you may feel sure that many 
hearts here, with mine, deeply sympathize with you and 
yours in your great, great loss. 

From Edgar T. Welles, Esq. 

NEW YORK, April 1, 1887. 

It is impossible for me to tell you the shock that the 
news of your great bereavement gave me. 

Your dearly loved husband, loved by all who knew him, 
was one of the reliables, a friend ever and always to be 
depended on, and one whom you would always think of 
as near with a glow of satisfaction. 

And now he has gone forever from us. It is hard, very 
hard to realize, and harder for us as circumstances have 
BO controlled, that we have not been fortunate enough to be 
able to see as much of each other recently as we should 
have done. 

And now that I am able to be here more regularly, he is 
taken away ! 

It is a great personal loss, but to you, my dear friend, it 
is irreparable. To you and yours I tender my warmest, 
deepest sympathy. May God have you in His holy keeping. 

From Rev. Dr Pynchon, then President of Trinity College. 

"... I always regarded him as a gentleman of the best 
type, a sincere and most warm-hearted and hospitable friend, 
a man of a particularly genial temper, and evidently de- 
signed by nature to be one of those whose function it 
should be to sweeten life. 

" If this so appeared to the outside world, to friends, how 
much more must these qualities have endeared him to his 
own family ? I feel that you have all met with a peculiarly 
severe and trying loss." 



XVI. 

LIFE AND WOEK IN PHILADELPHIA. 

1876-1887. 

TN February, 1876, Dr. Meier-Smith commenced his 
*- work in Philadelphia, spending three days in each 
week there, familiarizing himself with his duties, and ar- 
ranging for the full course of lectures to commence in 
the following autumn. Until after the Easter vacation, 
he remained in charge of the pulpit of St. John's, Hart- 
ford. It was not until May that he removed with his 
family to Philadelphia, where he had purchased a 
house. The marriage engagement of his daughter oc- 
curred a few months before leaving Hartford. This 
event was a cause of much happiness, strengthening 
ties of affection between his own family and those of 
honored and much-loved friends. 

The excitement of the great Centennial Exposition 
had already begun, and Philadelphia for the next six 
months could hardly be recognized as her own staid and 
conservative self. Under these circumstances not much 
could be done at the Divinity School but to make ac- 
quaintance with the Faculty and the students, and to 
survey the new field. 

The summer was spent with his family near New 
London, Connecticut, and in September they took pos- 
session of their house. To one of his strong domestic 
tastes there was much satisfaction in a home presenting 



214 PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

a hope of permanence, which was an hitherto unknown 
experience. His complete contentment with his sur- 
roundings at home, and the opening of his new work, 
are well remembered. The life now commenced dif- 
fered essentially from the past. The busy days, full to 
the brim with pastoral duties, pulpit preparation, and 
parochial supervision, were exchanged for days of quiet, 
methodical work, with the regular hours of the lecture 
room and the study. When asked by a friend how he 
liked such a complete change, and if he did not miss 
the more exciting life now over, he replied, " I confess 
to feeling a little like a fish out of water, or rather like 
a boat which has steered out of the current ; but on 
the whole I like it, and I rather think it is going to 
like me. I believe it is the better work for me now." 

If the steady routine and the carefully arranged 
hours made the life in some respects easier, there was 
no less call for the full powers of the man. He was 
not one to content himself with the exact amount 
of labor expected, but conscientiously put the best 
of himself into all that he did, as truly as when a 
parish clergyman. 

His life being now one of so much less variety, and 
moving on in a beaten track, it seems best no longer to 
follow it year by year, but to give reminiscences of the 
ten succeeding years from three points of view, the 
Work in the Divinity School, Church Work and Clerical 
Associations, and the Home Life. 



WORK IN THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

The Philadelphia Divinity School was founded by 
the late Bishop Alonzo Potter. It was ever very dear 
to that venerated prelate, and as he did not propose to 



PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 215 

make it simply a school for the Diocese of Pennsylvania, 
it was placed under the care of Boards composed of cler- 
gymen and laymen from several dioceses, principally 
from Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts. 

Thus, being neither a Diocesan nor a General Church 
Seminary, it has been under disadvantage as to the num- 
ber of students naturally drawn to it. From the same 
reason, it has presented some unusual attractions to 
able and thoughtful young men of no strong party 
predilections, and numbers among its graduates names 
widely known and honored in the Church. At the time 
Dr. Meier-Smith was called to the Chair of Homiletics, 
the Faculty consisted of the Eev. Drs. Goodwin, Butler, 
and Hare, and the Rev. Francis Colton. 

The three elder professors were men of eminent 
scholarship in their respective departments, and men 
of influence in Church councils. Mr. Colton was a 
brilliant Hebrew scholar and a fine teacher. 

Dr. Meier-Smith felt it an honor to be the colleague 
of such men, and during all the years of his intimate 
association with them nothing interrupted the warm 
friendship and the high regard mutually entertained. 
Of the five composing the Faculty after he entered it, 
only the venerable Dr. Hare remains. Mr. Colton was 
early called from a work full of promise. Dr. Goodwin 
and Dr. Butler, both Dr. Meier-Smith's seniors by 
many years, survived him for three years, and passed 
to the rest of Paradise crowned with fulness of days 
and honorable service in the Church. 

The full work of the professorship commenced in the 
autumn of 1876. Dr. Meier-Smith entered upon it with 
enthusiasm, and it grew upon his hands. The prepara- 
tion in his study was work exactly to his mind, and 
the intellectual labor of the past years proved a good 



216 PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

foundation for it. Never a careless student and ser- 
mon-writer, he was not in danger of becoming a super- 
ficial teacher of sermon -making. Never undervaluing 
the great work of preaching, he was well prepared to 
magnify his office, and train young men to the practical 
work of the ministry, and especially to its highest duty 
and honor, the preaching of the Gospel. For several 
years his lectures were in large part freshly written or 
extensively revised, as each year he could see where 
to improve his instruction. He was careful not to 
fall into a rut, or to grow dull and monotonous. To 
keep abreast of the thought and methods of these 
days of ever-widening views and rapid progress was 
his steady aim. 

He left a large number of manuscript volumes, com- 
prising his notes of lectures, more or less fully written 
out. They embrace courses upon Homiletics, Pastoral 
Duties, Parochial Administration, and other subjects 
necessary to the full equipment of the pastor and the 
preacher, and many lectures on Liturgies. There are 
also historical sketches of Foreign Missions, not only 
those of our own Church, but of other branches of the 
Church Catholic. 

They show the same careful study and vigorously ex- 
pressed thought which mark all his written sermons. 
These lectures were seldom read just as written. They 
were used chiefly as notes for free and extemporized in- 
struction, often of the most informal nature. No text- 
book on Homiletics was quite satisfactory to him, and 
he had in mind, in preparing his lectures, a probable 
revision and future publication of his main course of 
instruction. Upon his methods as a teacher, the Dean 
of the Seminary has written with affectionate apprecia- 
tion and with critical impartiality. His tribute, first 



PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 217 

printed in the " Churchman," is appended to this sketch 
of the work in the Divinity School. 

Dr. Meier-Smith's lectures are found written, as were 
all his sermons, in distinct hand, unmarred by erasures 
or abbreviations. Friends of his own profession, look- 
ing over his manuscripts, invariably comment upon the 
neatness and finish of his work. This painstaking 
method of work resulted from the fact that nothing 
in the bine of his duty ever seemed to him unimportant. 
The simplest expository lecture was faithfully studied, 
and, if written out, took its appropriate expression in 
his own mind before he commenced to write. Perhaps 
this careful and conscientious labor hindered, to some 
extent, a showing of his real ability outside of his regular 
work. It was a familiar and playful response with him, 
when asked to write for the press, " Oh, I 'm too lazy 
for such hard work!" It was rather that he had a 
dread of the severe labor he knew it would cost him to 
produce the realization of his high ideal. 

The new work commenced hopefully. The class en- 
tering the school in 1876 was one of unusual promise, 
with a large proportion of able men and good students. 
There seemed at once to be a mutual attraction be- 
tween them and the Professor of Homiletics, and the 
warm friendships commencing then continued, not only 
through the Seminary course, but with several of the 
number during the rest of Dr. Meier- Smith's life. He 
felt that much could be done for his pupils by personal 
influence, and he wished to be their pastor and friend. 
They were frequently guests at his house, and his frank 
and winning manner, and unvarying courtesy, placed 
them at ease with him, and encouraged a free con- 
fidence. There have been ample testimonies to the 
place he held in the hearts of many of his students. 



218 PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

To no one could they go, if in doubt or perplexity, with 
more certainty of a patient and sympathetic hearing, or 
more assurance of wise and judicious counsel. Long 
experience as a pastor, and large intercourse with men, 
well fitted him to understand the needs of these young 
men ; and all who knew him, and who read this record, 
know that to appeal to him for help always meant to 
receive it. If no more practical aid was possible, they 
received the certainty that the need or anxiety had been 
thoroughly appreciated by an elder brother's heart. There 
were some among the many who came under his instruc- 
tion whom he never reached. But in every class, the 
best and strongest men gave him gratifying assurances of 
their obligation to him, as friend and teacher, as well 
out of the class-room as within it. It was his practice to 
seek out the more retiring students, most of whom were 
strangers in the city, and to do what he could to make 
them feel at home in his house, inviting them to his 
table, or for a social evening, and often thus breaking 
the loneliness of a holiday for those who could not go 
to their distant homes. To have found his unrestrained 
cordiality abused, would at any time have caused him 
more pain than many could feel from such a disappoint- 
ment. Naturally trusting and guileless, he expected 
trust in others, and suffered keenly on the few occa- 
sions in his life when he found that his confidence had 
been misplaced. 

At the time Dr. Meier-Smith commenced his work at 
the Divinity School, an old mansion with large grounds, 
in West Philadelphia, was occupied by the Seminary. 
There were many inconveniences resulting from the 
imperfe'ct adaptation of such a building to the needs of 
a divinity school, and after a few years this property 
was sold, and the present location secured. The corner- 



PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 219 

stone of the fine edifice erected upon Woodland Avenue 
and Fiftieth Street, was laid at the Commencement of 
the Seminary, in June, 1881. 

Professor Colton, who was secretary of the Faculty, 
died within the first two years of Dr. Meier-Smith's 
professorship, and he succeeded him in that office. This 
position he retained until the close of his work. He 
found that there was need of some supervision of do- 
mestic matters connected with the comfort of the stu- 
dents who lived at the School, which seemed, in the 
absence of a resident Dean, to be no one's duty ; and 
he volunteered his services for such work, believing 
that he could advance the interests of the Seminary, 
and remove some grounds of dissatisfaction. Such a 
post he held by desire of the Faculty and the Bishop, 
until he was relieved, after the removal to the new build- 
ing and the appointment of Dr. Bartlett as resident 
Dean. Through this position he was brought into close 
relationship to many of the students, and became famil- 
iar with the household economies, to a degree somewhat 
amusing to his family, who knew how little of such care 
had heretofore fallen upon him. He had the satisfac- 
tion of feeling that this service, on which he expended 
much time and thought, was productive of substantial 
good, hardly appreciated at the time. The practical 
knowledge he gained in this experience was of benefit 
in contributing to the conveniences of the new build- 
ing, in the arrangements of which he took a warm 
interest. 

In 1885, Eev. Dr. Edward S. Bartlett, Eev. John P. 
Peters, Ph.D., and Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Garrison were 
added to the Faculty. New vigor in administration 
and a higher standard of scholarship gave an impulse to 
the progress of the Seminary. With these colleagues, 



220 PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

Dr. Meier-Smith was in hearty sympathy, and predicted 
greatly enlarged usefulness in the work of the school 
from these additions to the corps of instructors. 

During all these years Dr. Meier-Smith wrote to his 
friend Dr. Dyer with the frankness of close intimacy. 
To the larger experience and wise counsel of his friend 
he appealed in any perplexity, and many of his letters 
are so characteristic that there is much temptation to 
insert them. But that which constitutes their charm 
precludes their appearance to any extent. Much re- 
lates to very personal matters, and without explanation 
might be misunderstood. Under date of March 1, 
1877, Dr. Meier-Smith writes to Dr. Dyer concerning 
his work at the Divinity School. "... You do my in- 
most heart good, by the kind way you speak of iny suc- 
cess, so far, in the professorship. I was more anxious to 
succeed, for my friends' sake, yours particularly, than 
for any purely personal reasons, I am quite sure. I 
want indeed to be successful for higher reasons. . . . 
The fellows seem to take to me. They don't act as if 
I were stiffness personified, and I enjoy the work im- 
mensely. I only wish for more students, and for more 
who have had superior preparation. Many of the boys 
have enjoyed but limited advantages. I work hard over 
them, and the work grows upon me with its possibili- 
ties and responsibilities. I think we can turn out good 
material. One of these days, if I can get hold of some 
good layman, I should like to get some funds much 
needed now for library uses. In fact, between you 
and me, there are several things that want ' tinkering,' 
for the most effective working of the School. But I 
won't write anything to set you thinking. I only 
want to show you that I am busy thinking outside of 
'chair' limits." 



PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 221 

Referring to the discussion going on respecting the 
" Order of the Holy Cross," and Bishop Lee's letter to 
the Bishop of New York, he wrote to Dr. Dyer, under 
date of Jan. 8, 1884: 

. . . What exciting things are going on ! Such a 
stir here in Philadelphia over the reported new depart- 
ure of Bishop Potter! ... I have so warm a regard 
for the Bishop, and such unbounded faith in his glo- 
rious intentions to go out to the outcast and perish- 
ing, and in his common-sense, and his disdain of both 
the nonsensical and the effete, that I cannot fault him. 
But but is there any grace in an ill-fitting robe, 
and a rope around one's " midst " ! The " crackit " 
however we shall always have with us, and we must 
bear with their infirmities though we cannot " abide " 
them. . . . The Divinity School is on the move. Certainly 
the additions to the Faculty are immensely valuable. 
Dr. Bartlett is admirable in professorship and Deanship. 
He is scholarly as teacher and practical as Dean. Dr. 
Peters does not allow the Hebrew to be a " bugbear," 
and awakens enthusiasm. Dr. Garrison is a very full 
man, with unusual presentation faculty, and is popular 
and successful. Now if the Executive Committee will 
show that they are as progressive as the Faculty, things 
will "rush." The morale of the School seems to be 
excellent. The residence of the Dean is a great help. 
I think now for instruction we have no superior in the 
Church, and excepting in a single department (J), 1 I 
fancy that so far as we go, we are equal to any school in 
the Church. I hope, my dear Doctor, you keep bright 
as ever. You await the revelation of the Lord from 
heaven, and what peace and glory must this be in your 
soul ! Ever affectionately, your brother, M. M.-S. 

1 A modest reference to his own work. 



222 PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

The following extracts, taken from among many let- 
ters received from former pupils since his earthly work 
was ended, bear witness to his influence as friend and 

teacher : 

From Rev. L. W. Burton. 

"... I can echo all that has been so aptly and affection- 
ately said of Dr. Meier-Smith in the published letters and 
resolutions. What position could be a more responsible one 
than that he filled ? 

" I am sure a conscientious realization that he was shaping 
men for the ministry of Christ, to many scattered congrega- 
tions, was always combined with a tender regard for the 
students themselves. I am certainly still feeling his influ- 
ence over my work, and every day's deeper experience of 
life, and understanding of God's Will, are making me appre- 
ciate, more and more, how right he was in his views and 
advice as to our calling." 

From Rev. N. H. Burnham. 

"... For the last twelve years he has been a kind and 
constant friend. As such I owe him more than I can ever 
express. I must add that as my instructor he is equally 
deserving of my lasting gratitude. I seldom write a sermon 
without seeming to feel his genial presence, and to hear his 
voice uttering words of kindly criticism and instruction. I 
cannot realize that my dear friend and wise, kind counsellor 
is gone forever." 

From Rev. J. J. J. Moore. 

"... His unvarying kindness to me during my three 
years' course in the Seminary will ever live in my most 
grateful remembrance. My nervousness and diffidence al- 
ways received at his hands the utmost consideration, and his 
hearty, ready sympathy saved me from much anxiety and 
actual pain. He was one of the few men who can under- 
stand such a temperament, and to whom I would care to go 



PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 223 

in time of perplexity and trouble. Men of his genial nature, 
quick perception, unfailing patience, and sympathetic coun- 
sel, are so scarce in this world that I cannot forbear offering 
this mite of true appreciation, of grateful and lasting 
regard." 

From Rev. George Mcllvaine Du Bois. 

"... For my own part I have always believed that I owe 
more to Dr. Meier-Smith than to any other member of the 
Faculty. His method of teaching his department was excel- 
lent. He made timid men bolder, and gave all his pupils 
self-reliance. He knocked out the sensitiveness or foolish 
pride which stands in the way of usefulness, and taught men 
to be broader, tougher, and more manly. He took a per- 
sonal interest in the young men, and tried to aid them and 
develop them in every way. I know moreover his laborious- 
ness in preparation, though it was also a fact that he depre- 
ciated his own work, though it may have cost him hours of 
study. I am sure the Class of '79 are unanimous in their 
regard for Dr. Meier-Smith, and their appreciation of his 
work." 

From Rev. W. H. Burr. 

"... I can never forget either Dr. Meier-Smith's kindness 
to me, nor the strength of his goodness, he was always 
a man, a true man. I shall never forget many of his words, 
and how deeply they impressed me. They set a thought- 
less, pleasure-loving college boy to thinking, and made him 
seriously ask for the first time, ' What is life?'" 

From Rev. E. G. Richardson. 

"... I wish, while expressing my deep sympathy with you 
and yours, to add a special word of gratitude for valued, helpful 
influence. It is difficult for a pupil to tell precisely what he 
owes to a respected teacher, but I am distinctly conscious of 
being indebted to Dr. Meier-Smith for a germinant enthu- 



224 PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

siasm for the work of the ministry, and also for the beginnings 
of a habit of hopefulness in the midst of its perplexities." 

From Rev. F. S. Ballentine. 

"... How inadequate are words to express the worth of 
such a character J I can't but think, however well others 
may have known him, that I saw some sides of his character 
while with him at the Divinity School, which led me espe- 
cially to know what a noble, manly man he was. He prized a 
manly character above everything. If he found that, he 
cared not for minor differences. And how he did pity one 
who lacked breadth, one who could not see beyond his own 
little rut. I am glad to remember the kindly interest the 
Doctor took in me. The memory of him will always be to 
my life as a sweet-smelling savor." 

From Rev. W. M. Harrison. 

"... My intercourse with Professor Meier-Smith was most 
pleasant all through the Seminary course. His lectures I 
always found interesting and instructive, especially in those 
matters which related to our practical work as pastors and 
preachers. There was no one of the Faculty more interested 
in the personal welfare of the students, as students ; and no 
one more ready to give them the benefit of his wider knowl- 
edge and experience, both when they were under his instruc- 
tion, and when they had left the Seminary. "Well do I 
remember writing to him for advice soon after I had gradu- 
ated, and his reply so full of sympathy and encouragement, 
and so helpful to me at that time." 

From Rev. R. S. Howett. 

"... I cannot express to you the comfort it gave me to 
draft the testimonials of our reverence and affection for the 
friend who has gone to the home he loved so well. Every 
word seemed so merited and so true. I had difficulty in 



PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 225 

restraining myself from expressions, which, though the out- 
come of deep respect and regard, I felt would not have been 
sought by the modest, manly spirit we delighted to honor " 

From Rev. L. H. Schwab. 

"... I think what must have struck most people as they 
came in contact with Dr. Meier-Smith was his great power of 
sympathy. It was what attracted many very strongly to him, 
and this trait of his character leaves the most abiding im- 
pression upon the memory. His kindly smile, the warm and 
hearty grasp of the hand, with which he greeted you, these 
are things which one does not meet every day in the cold 
world, and when you come under the influence of such a 
warm nature the impression is lasting. This sympathy of 
his certainly gave to many a young man, struggling hard, a 
new hope and courage. In his teaching perhaps the chief 
characteristic was the entire absence of red-tape and formal- 
ism. It was his endeavor to teach the men to think, and thus 
to get the best out of them by a natural process of develop- 
ment. His lectures were often very informal and familiar 
talks. His strong sense of humor and lightness of spirit made 
his recitations different from those of other professors, as the 
lesson which he was trying to teach was enforced and illus- 
trated by some pointed anecdote or happy saying, and yet 
underneath it all there was a deep earnestness which every 
now and then would come to the surface in some earnest 
words of serious warning or spiritual advice ; and many 
have carried away the strong impression which such words 
of evangelical fervor made upon them, when the students 
were exhorted above all things to preach ' Christ Crucified,' 
and to preserve the consciousness of the responsibility for 
men's souls to which they were called. 

" This blending of an innocent joyousness with a deep, in- 
tense seriousness was, I think, one of the strong points of 
Dr. Meier-Smith's character. As I write, the recollection of 
him comes up so distinctly before my mind ! What a 
15 



226 PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

blessing that we may look forward to seeing again those 
we have loved so much here ! " 

From Rev. Frederick Burt Awry. 

July 11, 1890. 

... I have tried repeatedly to renew our acquaintance 
and to tell you how much I loved your noble husband. 

Dr. Meier-Smith was a very dear friend to me, from the 
day I received his cordial letter of welcome to the " Divinity 
School," on through the course, and to the time of parish 
work as a priest in the dear Church which he loved and 
taught me to love. For I was not " born and bred " in our 
Church, but had come, as he had, from the Presbyterians. 
This made one of the strands of the strong rope of sympathy 
which seemed to bind us together. He was personally my 
friend, as he tried to be to all the students in many a prac- 
tical way, securing remunerative positions as assistants, visit- 
ing us in our rooms, giving us valuable suggestions as to 
ways and methods of work, study, and recreation. He did 
not forget that the young men were still boys in their home 
feelings, and in this, his wife, always so hospitable and cor- 
dial, enthusiastically seconded his efforts to make us feel at 
home in " De Lancey Place," not only when specially in- 
vited to " splendid suppers," but whenever we might " drop 
around." 

Some of these pleasant memories of course still linger 
to recall those happy days, as they touched the " natural 
man's " sensibilities and affections. Divinity students are 
very human. But while these social amenities marked dear 
Dr. Meier-Smith's relations to the students, they were merely 
incidental to the career of the young men for whom, and with 
whom, he was laboring, in order to make them "workmen 
who need not to be ashamed," well furnished and equipped 
for their life's work. He was a great reader and a hard 
student, a real lover and judge of good books. From his 
researches he gave us " treasures new and old," and did not 



PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 227 

simply confine his lectures to a few " books on homiletics." 
His Churchmanship was not that of a partisan. " Broad " 
in his sympathies, " High " in his ideals of ministerial recti- 
tude, " Lowly " minded, feeling the necessity of meekly obey- 
ing the Master's precepts, yet ever ambitious to excel in every 
good word and deed. While evangelical in his presentment 
of the " faith once delivered to the saints," he believed 
thoroughly in institutional religion and the authority vested 
in the Divine Orders of the Visible Church of Christ. 

His criticisms of our sermonic efforts, and our delivery of 
the same, while at times severe, were always just, discrim- 
inating, and kind. He knew how to " speak the truth in 
love." While he taught us to be very loyal to the Church's 
standards, and was a thorough Rubrician, he interlaced the 
offices of the Prayer Book with the " Rubric of Common- 
sense." In this latter gift he excelled, and frequently, with 
a forceful incident of his own experience, or by a most prac- 
tical illustration, presented the profoundest of truths, fasten- 
ing them as nails in a sure place in our memories, from which 
they can never be obliterated. 

I might add many more reminiscences of our beloved pre- 
ceptor in Pastoral Theology, and then still fail to do justice 
to the memory of one who was more than a teacher, a 
friend and pastor to those whom he tried to make realize 
their high calling as under-shepherds of the divine Master. 

He made a deep impression upon my own life. 

May our Heavenly Father grant me the privilege of the 
blessed reunion with him and the saints gone before, in the 
Paradise of the Redeemed and Blessed for evermore ! 

The Rev. Edward T. Bartlett, D.D., Dean of the 
Divinity School, contributed the following to the 
" Churchman," June 18, 1887 : 

" I desire to write a few words in memory of a dear friend 
and fellow-worker whose services to the Church will not soon 



228 PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

be forgotten, but a record of some of them may be still further 
promotive of good. 

" Two months ago the Rev. Matson Meier-Smith, D.D., 
Professor in the Divinity School in Philadelphia, was sud- 
denly called away from his place and work on earth. The 
shock was so sudden, and the loss so great, that it scarcely 
seemed possible to those who had worked side by side with 
him to bear the one or speak of the other with entire calm- 
ness. Now, however, that the mind has become somewhat 
accustomed to the great change caused by his sudden de- 
parture, it may be possible to say a few words that will 
convey some notion of what his work was in the Divinity 
School. 

" Dr. Meier-Smith was peculiarly gifted with a sincere, 
quick sympathy with all sorts and conditions of men. 
Dignified, and commanding respect wherever he went and 
whomsoever he met, he was remarkably free from that 
self-assertiveness which so often accompanies personal dig- 
nity. He knew how to yield and subordinate himself, how 
to practise a genuine, easy, graceful Christian humility, 
without the sacrifice of self-respect or the respect of others. 
There was no appearance of narrowness, dogmatism, or arro- 
gance in him, though he was a man of positive convictions, 
which he was accustomed to express freely whenever there 
was occasion. 

" The professorship he held was that of homiletics and pas- 
toral care. His course of instruction was well planned and 
methodical, but its special characteristics grew out of the 
fact that he endeavored to make his lectures personal con- 
versations between him and his pupils, not the less direct 
and consecutive for being free from formality. The wise, 
loving, charitable, and manly principles that he had learned 
to apply in his own pastorate of twenty-eight years were 
those which, during his eleven years' professorship, he sought 
to implant in those who were preparing for such work. His 
influence tended to strengthen in his scholars traits of man- 



PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 229 

liness, true Christian self-reliance, strength, courage, and 
meekness. He gave principles, not rules, and was extremely 
careful to show those who heard him that men must for 
themselves look at things straightforwardly and clearly, and 
adapt their application of principles to the peculiar and 
ever-varying circumstances with which they would have to 
deal. His own work in the pastorate for many years had 
given him experiences the harvest of which he knew well 
how to gather and store up. Sympathy, and a desire to 
understand and be fair to all men, had enabled him to profit 
by such experiences, and it was evident that he was always 
thinking kindly and carefully of all that he had passed 
through, with a view to learning how it might be turned 
to profit for those whom he instructed. His method thus 
was inductive. He did not deal with preaching and pastoral 
work as a theorizer merely. His theory was reached after a 
careful collation of facts, by a patient, careful, kind-hearted 
consideration of them. He was not only a clergyman and 
a priest of the Church ; he knew laymen, he understood 
them, he showed great ability in working with and not 
merely over them, and no one could attend his classes 
without feeling that with great common-sense and wisdom 
he was exercising such an influence over them as would send 
them out to be good leaders among the laity. 

" His power over his classes was all the greater because of 
the solid, quiet basis from which it worked. It was a genial 
quality which drew his men to him personally while yet it 
left them free from any overwhelming personal influence. 
Wit and humor played a large part in his remarks and criti- 
cisms. He was always ready with a smile, which was good- 
natured and which never hurt the most sensitive feelings, 
yet which performed a most effective work. Satire, severe 
but altogether free from bitterness and perfectly courteous, 
was at hand when needed. But he was an attentive and ap- 
preciative listener, a true critic, looking for the good points 
rather than the bad. Having found the best there was in a 



230 PHILADELPHIA; THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

man, he desired to cultivate that to the full. It was evident 
that he had in mind the difficulties men would have to meet 
through their own limitations, and was trying to under- 
stand each man separately on his own merits, and to assist 
him to that enlargement of character which is the best of 
all safeguards against the peculiar difficulties that are en- 
countered in the ministry. To train a young Christian man 
into being his own best self, and to live in the highest 
regions of his character, that was Professor Meier-Smith's 
great aim in his work in the Divinity School. Strong and 
liberal in his own views, he never attempted to interfere 
with earnest convictions in other men, any more than with 
individuality of character, but only to help them to clear- 
ness, sincerity, and truth. 

"Self-forgetting, unobtrusive, ready with kind feelings and 
kind words, ready to help wherever he could, he is greatly 
missed by his fellow- workers, and his memory will be for- 
ever blessed." 



XVII. 

CHUECH WOKK AND CLERICAL ASSOCIATIONS. 

BEFORE Dr. Meier-Smith accepted the professor- 
ship offered to him in Philadelphia, he expressed 
strongly, to friends, his unwillingness to resign the work 
of a parish clergyman, unless he could find frequent 
opportunities to preach. " The work I love best in the 
world," he said, " is to preach the glorious Gospel of our 
blessed Lord, and I cannot lay it entirely aside. An 
educational post too often means that the preacher is 
shelved." He was assured that he would find no lack 
of occasion to exercise his much-loved calling in so 
large a city, and the experience of the subsequent years 
was in this respect all that he could have desired. 

From the " Eecord of Services " it appears that he 
preached more than five hundred times after his re- 
moval to Philadelphia, which is an average of once each 
Sunday throughout the whole time. 

He came to Philadelphia without any extensive ac- 
quaintance with the clergy of the city. The cordiality 
with which he was welcomed, and the friendships formed 
in various parishes, and with their rectors, made his 
work among them a very happy one. For the first two 
years he was at the service of his friends in various 
parts of the city and its suburbs, and responded cheer- 
fully whenever he could give relief to an overworked 
brother. He assisted in the services and at the Holy 
Communion, frequently gave aid in the Lenten lecture 



232 MINISTERIAL WORK AND ASSOCIATIONS. 

courses, and was often called upon for addresses and 
lectures. During the ten years of Dr. Meier-Smith's 
residence in Philadelphia he became a familiar figure in 
the chancels and pulpits of Holy Trinity, St. James's, 
St. Luke's, and other prominent churches. From the 
large circle of friends made in these parishes, he had 
many kind proofs of his acceptability as a preacher, and 
from the acquaintance thus made much delightful social 
intercourse resulted. When he was so suddenly re- 
moved from his labors, a well-known layman paid 
him this high tribute : " I think there was not, in all 
Philadelphia, a clergyman so beloved in so many of our 
parishes as Dr. Meier-Smith." His own modest esti- 
mate of himself was such that an expression of this 
nature would have overwhelmed him. 

The absence of past heavy responsibilities was a great 
relief ; yet he gave many a loving and half -regretful 
thought to the pastoral work now over. " I do love to 
know to whom I am preaching," he often said. And to 
his sympathetic nature, a blessed work ceased when he 
found it no longer his place to minister consolation in 
hours of suffering, or to guide and help the struggling 
and weary. He missed, also, the regular celebration of 
the Church's great Feast. " I never celebrate the Holy 
Communion," he said to his wife, " without devout 
thanks that I am permitted such an honor ; and I do 
love to administer to my own people," adding with a 
sigh, " that I suppose I am never likely to do again." 

The summer vacations of the Divinity School were 
always passed away from the city, and for several years 
he preached quite constantly during these vacations. 

He was in charge of the Chapel of the Episcopal 
Theological School, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during 
two seasons. One summer he spent in Germantown, 



MINISTERIAL WORK AND ASSOCIATIONS. 233 

and preached for two months at the Church of the 
Transfiguration, in West Philadelphia, of which his son- 
in-law was temporarily in charge. 

During the first three years of Dr. Meier-Smith's pro- 
fessorship he wrote few sermons, as his time for study 
was engrossed by his necessary work for the Divinity 
School. After this, and during his four years' connec- 
tion with the parish of St. James's, he often wrote two 
or three sermons in a month, returning with vigor to his 
old work. 

Kecalling the main features of Dr. Meier-Smith's 
preaching, as remembered by many, and verifying the 
impression by looking over his " Eecord of Services," the 
distinctly evangelical character appears which marked 
all his previous work. The epithet is not used in any 
party sense, for in these late years he seldom wrote or 
preached a strictly theological discourse. The blessed 
Gospel message, in its simplicity and fulness, he loved 
more and more to deliver. Probably he cared less than 
formerly for oratorical effect, and he certainly preached 
more quietly. But in fervor, in pathos, in earnestness, 
and with increasing solemnity, he " preached Christ." 
The Life and Words of the Blessed Lord were his favor- 
ite themes ; mere ethical topics were seldom chosen. In 
the last three years there were many sermons preached 
relating to the Future Life. He read much, and thought 
deeply upon eschatological subjects; and the sermons in- 
spired by this line of study glowed with an enthusiasm 
born of his enlarged and hopeful views. On many points 
he agreed substantially with some of the advanced 
writers in the Anglican Church, and while he was care- 
ful not to speak dogmatically on subjects not of positive 
revelation, he spoke frankly and openly of his growing 
convictions, and his belief in the " Larger Hope." 



234 MINISTERIAL WORK AND ASSOCIATIONS. 

The complete union of the believer with his Lord, 
Christ formed in him, was a favorite theme, with the 
precious truths flowing therefrom for strengthening and 
consolation. The present life, as but the commence- 
ment of the grander stage of being, and that there is 
" no death for the one in Christ," were truths he em- 
phasized in all their phases, as those who heard him 
frequently can testify. Christ, the Second Adam, the 
Head of a Eedeemed Race, was another favorite sub- 
ject, and, inseparable from this, brotherhood in Christ 
for all believers, and the hope of the " Universal 
Brotherhood," the bringing in of the " Fulness of the 
Gentiles." The notes of an increasing spirituality, and 
of a tender sympathy with human needs, witnessing to 
his own deepening inner life, were discerned in all the 
preaching of these years. A sense of failing physical 
strength, of which he was doubtless conscious, probably 
led his thoughts in the directions indicated. The 
shadow of the future, or shall we rather say, the light 
of the setting sun, fell upon him, and his spirit was 
thereby stirred to its inmost depths. 

Never had Dr. Meier-Smith enjoyed such opportuni- 
ties for fraternal intercourse with those of his own pro- 
fession, as during these Philadelphia years. Bishop 
Stevens, a man of model life, wise and tender in all his 
administration, and in bearing a true Christian gentle- 
man, was well beloved by all his clergy. There was 
much that was sympathetic between him and Dr. 
Meier-Smith, who was greatly drawn to him. Discus- 
sion of matters bearing on the interests of the Divinity 
School brought him and the Bishop much together, 
and very affectionate relations existed between them. 
Among the parish clergy some of his most intimate 
friends were the Rev. Drs. Miller, Watson, Currie, and 



MINISTERIAL WORK AND ASSOCIATIONS. 235 

McVickar, with several of the younger rectors, to whom 
he loved to give assistance as they needed it. He was 
freely called upon for help, and as freely responded. 
Scarcely an unemployed Sunday appears in his " Record." 

In 1879, from Epiphany nearly to the close of Lent, 
he officiated regularly at Holy Trinity Memorial Chapel. 
In February, 1881, his connection commenced with St. 
James's Church. For nearly four years it was his par- 
ish church, and he was the Sector's assistant in the 
pulpit, taking part in the service if he did not preach. 
The venerable Dr. Morton, for more than fifty years 
Eector of this parish, and whom he had frequently 
served before this regular engagement, was taken ill in 
February, 1881, while away from Philadelphia, and Dr. 
Meier-Smith became the preacher in charge until Dr. 
Morton's recovery, and continued to assist him every 
Sunday until the summer vacation. He also delivered 
a course of Lent lectures. In the winter of 1882 he 
gave a course of Confirmation lectures at St. James's, 
and conducted a weekly Bible instruction by invitation 
of a number of ladies. 

Between Dr. Morton and himself there grew up a 
loving friendship which continued to the last. When, 
in the year 1890, the venerable Rector of St. James's 
was called to the service of the Upper Temple, he had 
been sixty years in this his only parochial charge, and 
three generations of loving parishioners mourned his 
departure. With the congregation of St. James's the 
pleasantest social relations existed, and Dr. Meier-Smith 
found again a renewal of the work always dear to him, 
when, now and then, he was asked to assist in parochial 
visitation, and to administer consolation and help to 
the afflicted or perplexed, to the inquirer or the 
mourner. 



236 MINISTERIAL WORK AND ASSOCIATIONS. 

The whole term of his service with this parish was 
one of unbroken satisfaction. He could have had no 
position more thoroughly to his mind, and it was a 
cause of gratitude, that he could in this way supple- 
ment the work of his professorship, without any inter- 
ference with its duties. 

Among letters received giving impressions of Dr. 
Meier-Smith's preaching, there is copied, by permission, 
one from Miss M. P. McClellan, a lady for whom he 
cherished a warm regard. She thus relates an incident 
of her first acquaintance with him : 

"... I honored and loved Dr. Meier-Smith, and have 
mourned his loss as one whom the world needed, and whom 
the Church could ill afford to spare. I counted it a privilege 
to know him, aud greatly valued his warm friendship. I 
shall never forget the occasion when I first became acquainted 
with him. It was on an Easter evening, 1880, I think, at 
Holy Trinity Memorial Chapel. I had frequently heard Dr. 
Meier-Smith preach before, with great appreciation of his fine 
sermons, but that Easter sermon was so grand that I felt 
impelled to speak to him and thank him for it. I asked a 
friend to introduce me to him, and he received me with such 
a kind and cordial greeting, that he won my confidence im- 
mediately. After a delightful little conversation in which 
he spoke of the joy with which he always pondered and wrote 
about the subject of the resurrection, I turned to pass down 
the aisle, when I heard him call my name repeatedly, until I 
turned and went back to where he stood on the chancel steps 
in his surplice, and well do I remember the earnest, eager 
expression of his bright face, as he said, ' Miss McClellan. 
after awhile we shall know all about these things ! We shall 
know for ourselves !' His manner and the tone in which he 
spoke impressed me greatly. I understood how real, and how 
near, the future life seemed to him. From that time I can 
recall many and many an occasion when Dr. Meier-Smith's 



MINISTERIAL WORK AND ASSOCIATIONS. 237 

valuable instruction as a teacher, and his cheering words 
and ready sympathy, helped and strengthened rne. I once 
received a little note from him which I have prized as show- 
ing how pure and true was his love for the Master whom he 
served. He wrote, 'I must thank you for the beautiful 
Christmas card you sent me, and most particularly for your 
kind words added. And I want to say that more than any 
possible plaudits or honors, do I prize just such expressions 
from members of Christ's flock, telling me that through 
some poor ministry of mine, the dear Lord has come nearer 
to them and blessed them.' When I next met him he 
repeated what he had written, and the tears in his eyes 
proved the sincerity of his words." 

Dr. Meier-Smith was a member of the " Clericus 
Club," and highly prized its meetings. The members 
were men of wide culture and independent thought, 
and their discussions were refreshing and stimulat- 
ing. He compared it often to his old Boston Club, 
the " Winthrop," referred to in the sketch of his life in 
Brookline. 

It has been difficult to choose from among the many 
letters which have been received, testifying to the place 
Dr. Meier-Smith held in the respect and affection of his 
clerical brethren. 

The extracts which follow are typical of nearly all, 
every one of which bore its own message of sympathy 
and consolation. To the hearts so sorely stricken, such 
words of appreciation were grateful beyond expression. 

With the Rev. Dr. D. S. Miller, Dr. Meier-Smith was 
very intimate. The tender words written by Dr. Miller 
a few days after the shock of his friend's sudden death, 
are given here. The last sentence seems prophetic, as 
within a few months he also entered into rest, after a 
Ions life of faithful service in the Church. 



238 MINISTERIAL WORK AND ASSOCIATIONS. 

". . . I must say a word to you about the loss of our 
dear friend. I should have done it before, but 1 have been 
ill and without energy these few days, and somehow I 
did n't feel like writing a letter of condolence to the wife, 
and in formal fashion. For he was so true a man, so 
loyal, so kind, so tender, so much above words himself, 
that only one's heart should speak of him, and mine does. 
I can hardly name a man in the ministry whose loss I shall 
feel so much, as if a light had gone out from our horizon. 
God be thanked, we know it is well with him, and he has 
gone to reap his full reward ! And we who are all getting 
among the shadows of the way must soon join him. The 
Lord comfort you, and give you strength ! " 

From the Rev. Dr. C. G. Currie. 

". . . I honored him not only for his ability, but for his 
noble qualities as a man. He was a man all through, 
incapable of a mean action, or of an uncharitable word con- 
cerning any one. He had the qualities that cant pretends 
to have, but he abhorred the cant." 

From the Rev. Dr. W. F. Paddock. 
"... His memory will be fresh and fragrant, his example 
stimulating and beneficent to his friends, clerical and lay, 
who have been in any way associated with him. It is a 
glorious thing to leave behind such a pure and stainless 
record." 

From the Rev. Professor Peters. 

"... I shall venture to copy and send you the following 
passage from a sermon I preached in New York on Whit- 
sunday: 'On my mantelpiece stands the photograph of a 
late colleague of my own, and every time I look at it the 
memory of certain beautiful traits comes up before me, and 
above all of a peculiar thoughtfulness and consideration of 
the feelings of every one with whom he came in contact ; and 
a spirit is present that bids me seek to acquire that same 



MINISTERIAL WORK AND ASSOCIATIONS. 239 

thoughtfulness, that same consideration for the feelings of 
others, which was in him so lovely. This spirit for their 
help he has bequeathed to those who knew him.' " 

From the Rev. A. H. Vinton. 

"... Every word said of your dear husband is true, 
and much more could be added of his manliness and truth, 
his breadth of mind, his charity, his strength of friendship 
and encouragement of the young minds that were trying to 
find themselves. 

" Rather used to snubbing from my elders in the ministry, 
I shall never forget the kindness shown, over and over, to me 
by the Doctor, and the memory of his friendship shall be 
ever sweet and lasting to me. Something of this I tried to 
say to you, telling you how deeply and truly I sorrowed with 
you, when the sudden news came last spring, but I was in- 
terrupted. I am very glad even at this late day to be able 
to tell you what has been so long in my heart, for I have 
mourned the loss of a noble friend, and, as it seemed, the too 
early death of a son the Church could, in these days of ill- 
balanced minds, little afford to lose." 

From the Rev. J. W. Ashton. 

" . . . I have felt myself unequal to the task of express- 
ing myself in relation to the subject which the memorial 
pamphlet suggests. I say ' task/ but never should I say 
that in relation to anything which concerns, or is associated 
with, the memory of your dear husband ; and yet the ex- 
pression of my feelings on account of his departure from us 
amounts to that ; because I do not know what words to 
employ when speaking of his unselfishness and nobleness of 
character, of his friendliness and sweetness of disposition. 
He was my friend, and in more ways than one I am under 
obligation to him, if one friend can be under obligation to 
another, for words and deeds the recollection of which will 
never fade from my mind. As the season draws on I shall 



240 MINISTERIAL WORK AND ASSOCIATIONS. 

remember again, as I have often done since, how he preached 
for me at Grace Church on a certain Christmas Day when 
my dear mother's death and my father's dangerous illness 
rendered me unfit for the functions of the pulpit. He 
preached for me several times besides then. I used to tell 
him that I never could repay him for his assistance. I re- 
gret that I never was able to do so. Nevertheless, I shall 
leave the payment of that debt to the Lord, who I know 
will repay him tenfold, yes, a hundredfold, for all his kind- 
ness and love, ' And the King shall answer, and say unto 
them, Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it 
unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it 
unto me.' Dr. Meier-Smith was a man whom I knew and 
was associated with, in one way and another, under peculiar 
and diverse circumstances, and I have never known him to 
be anything else than large-hearted and broad-minded. 

" My simple tribute to the value of Dr. Meier-Smith as a 
friend and fellow-minister may not prove to be altogether 
unacceptable. I deeply sympathize with you and your 
family in your great sorrow. 

" I wish to add that the first intelligence of Dr. Meier- 
Smith's death reached me through Bishop Coxe, with whom 
I have enjoyed many pleasant conversations concerning your 
husband. The Bishop cherishes sweet memories of Dr. 
Meier-Smith, and it is agreeable to talk with one who knew 
him so well, and loved him so dearly." 

From the Rt. Rev. 0. W. Wkitaker, D.D., Bishop of 
Pennsylvania. 

"... I write now to tell you how just and true I feel 
that all these loving words which have been written of your 
husband are. They tell only what all who knew him could 
testify, and there is no exaggeration in them. I feel his 
death as a personal loss. He had always been so kind to 
me, that I looked forward with pleasure to the hours I 
hoped we might spend together." 



XVIII. 

HOME LIFE. 

'T'HE chief object of these pages has been to present 
JL a sketch of Dr. Meier-Smith's life as related to 
the work he was permitted to do for Christ and the 
Church, and only incidental reference has been hitherto 
made to the place he filled in his family. 

The curtain must be slightly lifted now, for if the 
sketch is not partially filled in, if some suggestion 
of him in his home is not attempted, it must fail as 
a life likeness. The hand which has held the pen with 
such calm impartiality as it could command, trembles 
now; and the heart which has been bidden to hide 
that which was nearest to itself beats more rapidly, as 
memories of the home life of the last years, so full of 
benediction to his own family, are to be briefly re- 
corded. These later years were marked by more ex- 
clusive enjoyment of his home than any that preceded 
them. When not engaged in his public duties, Dr. 
Meier-Smith had but few of the interruptions to hours 
of quiet and domestic peace which had been inseparable 
from his life as a parish clergyman. To one of his do- 
mestic tastes this gave great satisfaction, and a tendency 
to retirement at his own fireside grew upon him with 
advancing years. He could rarely be induced to seek 
recreation for himself without his family. Now and 
then he yielded to entreaties of friends, and promised to 
join them in some jaunt or excursion ; but ever when 
16 



242 HOME LIFE. 

the time came he found some plausible reason for stay- 
ing at home. So it came to pass that, excepting for a 
night or two at a time when called away on business, 
he never went from home, save during the summer 
vacations, and in company with his wife and children. 

Though the years flowed quietly on, they were not 
without events of deep interest to the family circle. In 
December, 1876, Dr. Meier-Smith's only sister, Mrs. 
Robert Jaffray, died, after long years of suffering borne 
with heroic patience. Beloved for her beautiful Chris- 
tian character, her loss was great to her family and 
friends, and this bereavement was keenly felt by her 
devoted brother. They were much alike in sweetness 
of disposition, in sprightliness and buoyancy, and in 
true unselfishness. 

The marriage of Dr. Meier-Smith's daughter, Emily 
Stuart, to the Rev. Henry Ogden Du Bois took place on 
the sixteenth of May, 1878. The ceremony was per- 
formed in St. Luke's Church, her father officiating, as- 
sisted by the Rector, Rev. Dr. Currie. To part with 
this dear child and only daughter, whose devoted min- 
istrations were made so necessary by the delicate health 
of her mother and brother, would have been a great 
trial. In the kind Providence of God no separation 
was called for, which was a cause of devout gratitude 
to the loving father, to whom his son-in-law became as 
dear as an own son. 

The summers of 1877 and 1878 were passed at Cam- 
bridge, Massachusetts. These summers he greatly en- 
joyed. The influence of the University pervades the 
classic old town. In every direction drives and excur- 
sions are of a delightful character, as all know who are 
familiar with Boston's beautiful suburbs. Boston itself, 
with its memories of his early ministerial work, pos- 



HOME LIFE. 243 

sessed a great attraction for him, and occasionally there 
was the pleasure of meeting the familiar face of some 
dear friend of the long past years. 

The slow progress toward recovery of his son, so 
constantly a tender care to the father, was an abiding 
source of anxiety, and doubtless contributed much to 
his indisposition to join in any but the quietest of home 
pleasures. Yet there was enough gain to inspire hope, 
and he was often able to be a most enjoyable companion 
to his father. By Dr. Meier-Smith's own desire, his study 
was his son's sitting-room. The presence of one who 
bore his heavy cross with almost unvarying sweetness 
and patience was never disturbing to the father when 
studying or resting. Once he said to his wife, "Norman 
does not know how many sermons he has inspired!" 
For years he was his son's companion in the daily walk 
for exercise. Many an invitation or proposed plan was 
cheerfully laid aside to give place to this sacred duty. 

The birth of a granddaughter in March, 1879, brought 
a new joy into the household, and the delight with 
which her grandfather welcomed her grew with her 
lovely infant life. " Did I love my own little ones as 
much, I wonder ? " he often asked. Certainly, in the 
more hurried days of his earlier work, he found less time 
to enjoy them. His comment upon the name given her 
was, " How could it be improved ! Mary Constance ! 
The name of all among women dearest to the Chris- 
tian heart, added to the most characteristic of womanly 
virtues ! " He chronicled every budding gift and grace, 
and was a proud man when the little maiden was old 
enough to be his companion in a walk or drive. Nothing 
was too much to do for this little princess, who repaid 
his affection by her marked preference for him as play- 
mate and obedient attendant. From her infancy it was 



244 HOME LIFE. 

his pleasure to cany her up the two long flights of 
stairs, when the hour for bed came. Whatever he was 
doing, reading or sermon- writing, it was laid aside 
the moment the little voice was heard at the foot of 
the staircase, " Grandpapa, I 'm waiting for my pony ! " 
This was kept up until she was so large a girl that 
every one remonstrated. But not until his own severe 
illness, when she was six years old, interrupted it, would 
the fond grandfather resign this loving service. 

A few weeks in the summer of 1879 were spent in 
the rural seclusion of Crosswicks, New Jersey, and Dr. 
Meier-Smith preached nearly every Sunday for his friend, 
the Rev. Dr. Du Bois, then Rector there. 

The Rev. William R. MacKay, who chanced to hear 
him preach once during that summer, wrote after the 
death of Dr. Meier-Smith of the abiding impression pro- 
duced upon him by the sermon he heard on that occasion 
in the following words : 

"... The closing words of the memorial pamphlet are 
like a picture, and just the picture of his real self which he 
left deeply impressed upon my own mind, as the true self- 
hood of the man. The one sermon which I heard him 
preach was a revelation to me of what true preaching is ; 
it changed my whole idea, and I hope has made me some- 
thing of a real preacher to my fellowmen. 

" I shall always be grateful to him. That sermon is al- 
ways before my mind as a model, so simple, so clear, so full 
of help for man in trouble, and the preacher lost in the mes- 
sage that he had to tell ! ' Grant him Eternal Rest, Lord, 
and let Light Perpetual shine upon him ! ' " 

The vacation in 1880 was passed in Bridgeport. 
There were yet old friends and parishioners remain- 
ing there, and to meet them, and recall the past, was 



HOME LIFE. 245 

very pleasant. He had a remarkable memory for names 
and faces once familiar, and seldom failed to recognize 
both, with his ever-ready cordiality, although years 
might have passed since a meeting. 

The quaint old town of East Hampton, Long Island, 
was the summer resting-place of the family in 1882. 
Nowhere on the Atlantic coast are the changing moods 
of the ocean more invigorating than on the south shore 
of Long Island. It was an inspiring, health-giving sum- 
mer, much needed after a year of especially laborious 
work. 

The next year a cottage was taken at New Eochelle, 
near the old homestead, the choice of this place being 
made in consequence of the failing health of Dr. Meier- 
Smith's father, and also of his father-in-law, who was 
then residing there. Early in June his wife's father en- 
tered into rest, after a long illness. In the city of New 
York, with which his honored name was identified for 
more than fifty years, Norman White will not soon be 
forgotten as a man of marked force and grace of char- 
acter. Fruitful in all good works and prominent in all 
religious circles, he is especially remembered hi connec- 
tion with his service in the Management of the American 
Bible Society, and in that of the Sabbath Committee, of 
which he was one of the founders. Eight children sur- 
vived this revered and beloved father. 

The long life of Dr. Albert Smith, Dr. Meier-Smith's 
father, closed in February, 1884, at the venerable age 
of eighty-five years. Though feeble in health, he re- 
tained his mental vigor to the last. He died at his old 
home at New Eochelle, whither his son made frequent 
pilgrimages for consolation and solace to his loneliness. 
Dr. Meier-Smith parted with his father on the day be- 
fore his death, not knowing that the end was so near, 



246 HOME LIFE. 

and had scarcely returned to Philadelphia before he 
heard of his release. 

Early in this year Dr. Meier-Smith's family observed 
signs which indicated that he was in a less vigorous 
state of health, but his work went on as usual, and it 
was only the anxious eye of love that detected them. 
Sometimes after hearing him preach his wife would say 
to him, " Did you not feel well this morning ? I no- 
ticed that you were very quiet, and that your voice had 
less than its usual power." The answer in a cheerful 
tone was almost invariably, " Is it so ? I was not con- 
scious of it at the time, but now it seems to me that I 
was not quite up to ' concert pitch.' " In his Diary, 
are found frequently recurring remarks that indicate a 
lowered physical tone. " I found myself unusually tired 

after my walk to the Divinity School." " Dr. M 

urged me to go to the Epiphany this morning [regular 
meeting of the Clerical Brotherhood], but knowing I 
was not in trim for the debate, I excused myself." 
Still no one thought him seriously threatened. 

An event which called out his ever-ready sympathy 
occurred in May of this year, when death entered for 
the first time the large circle of brothers and sisters, so 
dear to him by his marriage. A brother-in-law much 
beloved since they were together in England, in 1871, 
entered into rest after three years of great suffering. 
Dr. Meier-Smith was much with him during the early 
part of his illness, doing all that was in his power to 
help and comfort him and his family. 

In the year 1884, a purpose long in mind was car- 
ried out, and Old Lyme in Connecticut, the home of 
his paternal ancestors, was chosen for the summer vaca- 
tion. It is a quaint and picturesque town, beautifully 
situated where the Connecticut River loses itself in 



HOME LIFE. 247 

Long Island Sound. A very pleasant sojourn was 
anticipated, during which researches were to be made 
among the localities sacred to his father's kindred. 

There being a number of Episcopalians in the place 
with no church of their own, Dr. Meier-Smith com- 
menced to hold services in the cottage parlor. But all 
plans were abandoned when, after a few days, an ill- 
ness began which lasted the entire summer. A malig- 
nant carbuncle appeared on the back of his neck, and 
rapidly assumed alarming proportions. Many weeks 
of intense suffering followed, endured with heroic forti- 
tude. Dr. J. H. Packard, his family physician, was 
sent for, and performed an operation that gave some 
relief, but which was followed by great prostration, 
from continued high fever. The surgeon when he left 
him had serious fears as to the result, and undoubt- 
edly Dr. Meier-Smith was for a month in great danger. 
Convalescence began in August, but it was not until 
November that he was able to resume any work. Ap- 
parently he owed his life to the skilful and unwearied 
care of an admirable nurse, whose ministrations he re- 
membered gratefully. As may be supposed, the whole 
summer was one of sad care and anxiety, overshadowed 
with the fear that he had come to the home of his an- 
cestors, which he had never visited before, only to die 
there. But his life was given back to the prayers of 
those who loved him, and it was a life consecrated afresh 
to the service of his Lord and Master. As soon as recov- 
ery seemed assured, a thanksgiving celebration of the 
Holy Communion was held in the parlor of the little 
cottage. At the close of the service he whispered to 
his wife, " I pray that henceforth my life may show 
something of the experience through which I have 
been led. May my life be ' hid in Christ ' ! " In other 



248 HOME LIFE. 

conversations he told her that during the days and 
nights of extreme pain and weakness, when unable to 
speak, he had received views of the glory of God, of 
the love of Christ, and of the power of faith to support 
in the darkest hours, which were well worth all the 
suffering. " Life and death have put on a new mean- 
ing to nie." From this time until he rested from his 
labors, there was a marked change in him, which was 
noticeable to all who saw much of him. He never 
regained his physical vigor, and it is probable that a 
disease was slowly progressing, of which the visitation 
of the summer was a symptom. It is a wonder to his 
family now that they were not more alarmed at the 
increasing signs of enfeeblement. But they were slight 
and subtle, and he made so light of them himself that 
it was easy to put the fears at rest, with the hope that 
the fine constitution which had carried him through so 
much, would certainly rally in time, and that many 
years were to be added to the life now more precious 
than ever to those who had so nearly lost him. The 
six months which passed before Dr. Meier-Smith 
preached again, and the half year spent in Europe, 
make up the one twelve-month which is lacking to 
complete a record of forty years continual service in 
the pulpit. It was two years before he ceased to be 
fettered by the stiffness of neck, and sensitiveness of 
brain, caused by the terrible carbuncle. That he made 
as fair a recovery as he did was a surprise to his physi- 
cians. Often does his wife recall meeting him unex- 
pectedly in the street, and noting from a distance, with 
sinking of heart, the slow step and slight stoop which 
had taken the place of the erect carriage and firm 
tread of former years. "Is he growing old before the 
time ? " she asked herself. Other signs which will be 



HOME LIFE. 249 

spoken of hereafter might have told her that he did 
not expect to see the length of days given to his father 
and to so many of his ancestors. 

In the summer of 1885 the beautiful town of Litch- 
field among the hills of North-western Connecticut 
was selected as the place of rest. It is an old historic 
town, memorable as the birthplace of many whose 
names are identified with the early history of the 
nation. The house occupied by Dr. Meier-Smith's 
family dated from Revolutionary days, and retained 
some old Colonial marks The drives abound with 
charming views of hill and valley, with the mountains 
of Berkshire in the distance. The elevation is high, 
and the air invigorating. For the first time in some 
years Dr. Meier-Smith enjoyed driving himself, and 
many hours precious to memory were passed with his 
wife in exploring this lovely country. Litchfield at- 
tracts to itself a refined and intelligent circle of sum- 
mer residents, Yale University being especially well 
represented. In this congenial society, some friends 
of the old Boston days were met for the first time in 
many years. 

While he made much gain in strength, the elevation 
of Litchfield proved very unfavorable to his wife and 
son. Thus again his solicitude for those dear to him 
clouded the summer, and he failed to realize all the 
anticipated benefit. 

During this vacation he preached a number of times 
at St. Michael's Church. The following remark of a 
lady whom he met in Litchfield gives an intima- 
tion of the impression he made upon strangers. She 
said, " I can never forget that lovely Dr. Meier-Smith. 
I only saw him a few times, but words of his have 
helped me ever since. No one ever came into my life 



250 HOME LIFE. 

for so short a time who did so much for me and left 
such a lasting impression." 

Dr. Meier-Smith was sufficiently acquainted with the 
premonitory symptoms of the disease which was slowly 
sapping his strength, to have detected them ; and, as 
the succeeding months are remembered, the conviction 
grows that he believed his days to be numbered, feared 
that there was no remedy, and was unwilling to seek 
a medical verdict upon his case, because of his deter- 
mination to spare his family, as long as possible, 
the distress of hearing an unfavorable opinion. At 
all events he insisted that he needed no medical aid, 
and was "doing well enough." Indeed he appeared 
brighter and more vigorous during the following win- 
ter, 1885-86, and repeatedly said that study and speak- 
ing were again enjoyed. 

Throughout Dr. Meier-Smith's life in Philadelphia 
his days were very systematic in routine. Correspon- 
dence occupied an hour after breakfast. Then came 
his hours at the Seminary, from which he returned 
about two o'clock. After dinner and the relaxation of 
an hour with book and cigar, the rest of the afternoon 
was given to out-door business and exercise, and some- 
times to social visits. The evening found him almost 
invariably in his study, in the enjoyment of the open 
fire which was a necessity to him. He studied and 
wrote until eleven o'clock. Work was then laid aside, 
and certainly to one of the occupants of the study 
the best hour of the day began. Some book of mutual 
instruction or amusement was read and discussed, and 
conversation was so fresh and animated that when the 
midnight hour struck, the remark was often made, " We 
have been talking as if we had not been together for 
years, and as if it might be years before we met again!" 



HOME LIFE. 251 

Not often was he tempted out of his study in the 
evening, but others of the family were welcomed there, 
and his wife's chair was always ready for her on one 
side of his writing table, no matter how busily he was 
plying the pen. In early years there was seldom a ser- 
mon in progress for which she had not composed the 
audience of one for a private rehearsal Bit by bit, he 
gave it all to her. While this became impossible as 
years went on, she was not often seated near him for 
half an hour while he was writing, without a welcome 
interruption with the question, " What do you think of 
this ? " And then after reading a few sentences to her, 
he would say, " Perhaps I had better go back a few 
pages," until the result was that she heard the whole 
manuscript. For several years she was kept much 
away from church, either from her own weakness, or 
from her attendance upon her son. Yet all that time, 
ah ! with what pleasure does she remember it, never 
was a new sermon to be preached without the question 
being asked a little anxiously, " Shall you be able to go 
out this morning ? " " Why, do you want me ? " was 
the reply. The answer being, " Oh, no, not unless it is 
entirely best for you to go ; but I should rather like to 
have you hear my new sermon ! I think it will please 
you." Now, as she reads, one after another, these ser- 
mons into which he has put so much of himself, con- 
nected with each there is the memory of the comment 
and discussion which so often grew out of the reading, 
and which she sometimes told him was a revised and 
improved edition. 

Those who read these pages will not think that too 
much has been said of the ready sympathy, the kindli- 
ness of manner, the winning smile, and the perfect 
naturalness which gave the charm to Dr. Meier-Smith's 



252 HOME LITE. 

personal presence. But how may we show what this 
meant in the home so dear to him ! The unselfishness 
and simplicity of heart of which these graces were the 
fruits were revealed there continually. He lived only 
for his work and for those he loved. Not that his 
bright humor was never clouded, nor that his words 
were never hasty, for he was naturally impatient and 
out-spoken ; but that the light clouds passed so quickly, 
and the sunshine of his tender and ever ready helpful- 
ness appeared so soon, that the prevailing impression 
was of a presence at once cheering, invigorating, and 
supporting. If he looked on the dark side of passing 
events, it was but a temporary view. He foresaw the 
sure coming of the " better hour or day." He was not 
easily ruffled with small annoyances, nor was he one of 
the bustling, hurrying folk who are so often also the 
worrying folk. He was deliberate about everything, 
willing that time should correct mistakes, and quite 
sure that it would. We have said before that he was a 
born care-taker, helping naturally and easily in domes- 
tic perplexities, and as an ultimate authority in ways 
and means, always satisfactory. He was methodical 
and exact in affairs, and safe and prudent in business 
matters to an extent not always to be found among 
clergymen. Bills and letters received immediate atten- 
tion. No one who worked for him, no tradesman or 
mechanic, ever had to wait for his pay. " Time is 
money to them," he would say, as he paid their bills 
promptly. A wise administration of domestic econo- 
mies taught him the same prudence in expenditures 
when a parish clergyman, so that he was very success- 
ful in financial matters coming under his supervision. 
Such characteristics every family knows go very far to 
make up a personality upon which every one in the 



HOME LIFE. 253 

household must needs depend, and combined with the 
manner which makes friends everywhere, the rough 
places are smoothed in many practical ways. Any one, 
for instance, who had occasion to travel in his company, 
would be struck with the quiet command of circum- 
stances he assumed. The best of everything came to 
him easily, as he knew just what he needed, and how 
to secure it without annoyance to others. In the 
crowded hotel dining-room, his party were usually well 
seated and promptly served. No doubt there was a 
magnetism in the kindly tone and smile with which 
his orders were given, though something of the old-time 
dignity which expects to receive its due was not want- 
ing. How much of life's care and fret and turmoil are 
due to the absence, in many admirable characters, of 
just those traits which were conspicuous in him whose 
loving life we are recalling ! How impossible it seemed 
to take up life's burdens when he was called away who 
had cheerfully lifted so much of their weight ! 

Those who served in Dr. Meier-Smith's household be- 
came truly attached to him, and were glad to remain 
long in his family. They received from him words of 
kind greeting, thoughtful consideration for their comfort, 
and often a playful remark which helped the wheels of 
the domestic machine to run smoothly. In every shop 
where he was known, and where his orders were left, 
he had more than acquaintances, he had friends. He 
was quick to commend when well served, and if occa- 
sion required criticism, it was so free from sharp fault- 
finding, that naturally every one took pains to please 
him. Touching proofs of the affectionate esteem in which 
he was held by such friends came to the knowledge of 
his family after his removal. It was told that when in 
the early morning word was passed from place to place 



254 HOME LIFE. 

in the vicinity, " The Doctor is dying," no one needed to 
ask who was meant. " Every one called Dr. Meier- 
Smith ' the Doctor.' He seemed to belong to us all." 
The shutters were closed in one of these shops, and no 
business was done for several hours. Though he re- 
sided in the neighborhood of a number of medical men, 
and several Doctors of Divinity, he was " the Doctor " 
to these friends. Said one and another, " Every one 
here feels that he has lost a dear friend." A young girl 
who met him daily on her way to school, and perhaps 
never exchanged a word with him beyond the morning 
greeting, would hardly be comforted when she heard the 
news, so strongly had she been attracted to him. Said 
a lady living in the same street, but having only a 
slight acquaintance with him, " The whole day seemed 
brighter when I met Dr. Meier-Smith and received one 
of his smiles and greetings." To the very last the 
words, already quoted, of his early friend Dr. Dexter, 
were almost as apt as in the days of his youth, " Like a 
sunbeam he went everywhere ! " 

His charities were unostentatious. As freely as pos- 
sible he responded to all calls, but especially were his 
sympathies appealed to by those sufferers who were 
silently struggling with adversities of fortune for which 
their education had ill fitted them. With gentle tact 
he discovered their necessities, and in gracious and lov- 
ing manner he relieved them ; making the recipients of 
his gifts feel that he was the debtor by their acceptance 
of them. To many such his death was a blow only 
second to that which fell upon his own family when 
God called him away. 

It has been said that there were other signs than de- 
creasing physical strength which might have raised 
the question whether his earthly work was to be con- 



HOME LIFE. 255 

tinued much longer. Friends outside of his own family, 
who saw him frequently, say that the genial and tender 
traits of his character shone with increasing brightness 
during the last two years of his life. Unlike many who 
as they grow older are easily fretted and oppressed by 
small cares, he became more quiet and restful His 
patience with trying people was now almost unfailing, 
and a kind excuse for their infirmities was ever ready. 
In his class-room his students observed that much of 
the playful satire which had formerly enlivened his in- 
struction was repressed, and that he appeared unwearied 
in his efforts to give help and encouragement, and when 
criticism was necessary, to offer it without wounding. 

Though the attempt to give a true representation of him 
who forms the subject of these pages may have been in 
part successful, his friends will feel that one important 
element of his individuality has been almost left out. 
To portray him in connection with his work was the 
aim proposed, and a natural prominence has been given 
to the characteristics which were most exercised as 
teacher, preacher, and pastor. But in his home, among 
his intimate friends, and when extending the hospitality 
in which he so much delighted, his natural mirthful- 
ness, and the gay sparkle of his humor, made a strong 
impression. When he felt perfectly unrestrained, this 
playfulness was constantly coming to the surface. In 
younger days his tendency to apply original and terse 
epithets, and to see things from the laughable side, if 
there were such a point of view, was almost irresistible. 
Years and cares had their sobering effect, and chastened 
the native buoyancy, but enough remained to identify 
him with the young and merry spirit that did "good 
like medicine," and is so affectionately remembered by 
the friends of those long past years. 



256 HOME LIFE. 

It would be out of place to insert many anecdotes 
concerning Dr. Meier-Smith which are fresh in the 
memory, and which are yet told by his old friends 
and parishioners. 

One writing of him said, "His bright humor made 
him such an essentially live man that 1 cannot think 
of him as having passed out of our earthly life." 

A clergyman about his own age met him one Christ- 
mas morning. Dr. Meier-Smith's "Merry Christmas" 
rang out when some paces distant, his face expressing 
his sympathy with the joyous greeting. His friend, 
being inclined to the dark view of life, solemnly ex- 
claimed : " Have n't you gotten over that sort of thing 
yet ? " " No," was the somewhat indignant reply, " and 
I hope I never shall while the world is full of the bless- 
ings springing from the birth of the Lord Christ ! " 

In these days of rapid communication, any regular 
correspondence beyond the most business-like notes, 
brief and hurried, appears to have become a thing of 
the past. Few letters are kept, and the material which 
has heretofore been the most valued part of a memoir 
is likely to be wanting in the future. Dr. Meier-Smith 
wrote a great many letters, until within the last twelve 
years ; but most of his correspondents are gone, and the 
letters have disappeared. Such of his letters as are in- 
cluded in these pages, his friends will recognize as emi- 
nently characteristic; others at hand are equally so, 
and would be of much interest as expressing his views 
in his own forcible manner, but they are withholden 
because of their purely personal character, or on account 
of their frank reference to events of too recent occur- 
rence to be appropriately introduced. 

With the Rev. Dr. Dyer correspondence was always 
maintained ; although in the last two or three years it 



HOME LIFE. 257 

was much interrupted by the invalid condition of this 
dear friend. Dr. Meier-Smith's professional position 
during his residence in Philadelphia gave him oppor- 
tunities, of which he always availed himself, to use his 
influence in behalf of friends, especially for his younger 
brethren and his pupils. To his responsive heart it was 
a second nature to write a letter, or seek a personal in- 
terview, whenever there was hope of aiding any strug- 
gling or anxious friend. Many such letters, could they 
be printed, would testify, as no other words can, to the 
elements of character which made him so much beloved 
by all who knew him. 

Extracts follow from two letters to Dr. Dyer. 

"... Our dear Dr. Muhlenberg is gone to his rest. 
Every line I read about him impresses me more and 
more with the saintly beauty of his life. How like his 
divine Master ! What an example for imitation ! I 
often think that such a life and work, and to be identi- 
fied with a ' St. Luke's Hospital ' and a ' St. Johnland,' 
is the highest of human honor. ... So the Europe 
plan is postponed. I trust for the best. Are you 
growing stronger again ? I hope so. I cannot express 
the deep and affectionate interest I take in your health 
and comfort. The good Lord keep you through a happy 
and serene evening, by and by melting into the Eternal 
Day ! " 

Referring to Dr. Dyer's " Records of an Active Life," 
he wrote from Southampton, under date of September, 
22, 1886. 

. . . Your book is a good instruction. It shows how 
a man can be most useful, and find distinguished honor 
by simply doing the day's work as God gives it to him 

17 



258 HOME LIFE. 

to do. The best of ordinary legends for the memorial 
brass is that " He served God in his generation and 
then fell on sleep." How blessed and peaceful and 
light is your eventide ! Soon it will brighten into " no 
night there " ! Good-by, dear old friend. 

Ever affectionately yours, 

M. M.-S. 

Dr. Meier-Smith's own family have but few letters 
remaining from these later years. His brief absences 
from home allowed only a hurried note or telegram 
announcing his return. The tender and watchful love 
which shrunk from any separation, they understood so 
well as the cause, that they are consoled for the loss of 
letters that would now be such cherished relics. 

A few extracts are given from letters to members 
of his own family circle on occasions calling for sym- 
pathy. They are types of many, and will serve to 
show why they found so warm a place in the hearts of 
their recipients, and have been affectionately treas- 
ured for years. Such letters were to his friends more 
than characteristic, they were his very self. 

Fancy and humor played about his pen, as in his 
conversation, and the tenderness of his heart found 
ready expression when the sorrows or joys of those 
dear to him called for his notice. 

To a Sister-in-law. 

BRIDGEPORT, December 16, 1862. 

MY DEAR, DARLING, PET JULIA, Stiff hand as I am 
at congratulations, I must drop you a line at least, to 
say how heartily and lovingly I do unite in your new 
found joy. 

But, pens, ink, paper, they are a perfect nuisance 
just now. 



HOME LIFE. 259 

Give my love to C. C. J. Tell him I like him. Tell 
him I, for one, welcome him to just the best circle of 
brotherhood and sisterhood that man ever saw or, if 
this unworthy dust may slip out for the nonce, 
angels ever peeped upon. 

It has a pokerish look when one sees two life cur- 
rents, starting from widely distant hills, come down 
gushing, dashing, bubbling, foaming, surging with impe- 
tuous emotion, suddenly, inevitably, to blend and make 
one stream. 

We shiver a little, and wonder how it is to be with 
them. 

But if God sent the two rills out from their springs 
on purpose to make a river of them, there is nothing to 
be feared. They will make a river, and they will go 
together to the sea, hand in hand, laughing right 
cheerily, dancing right merrily, leaping the rocks right 
joyously, now soberly sweeping with deep and silent 
motion through the sombre chasms, now serenely 
through the plains. 

I believe in fore-ordaining ; I believe in Providence ; 
I believe God looks after His children. 

My dear sister, I long to press you to my heart and 
give you the warmest kiss I ever gave you. 
Your brother, 

MATSON. 

To his wife's youngest sister, whose birthday was the 
same as his own : 

2015 DE LANCET PLACE, April 3, 1884. 

DEAR SISTER GRACE, The almanac reminds me 
that to-morrow, the fourth, is my annual Humiliation 
Day. It is a day also of rejoicing among angels and 
admirers of the beautiful, for you graced this planet 



260 HOME LIFE. 

with your rising beams some twenty odd years ago. It 
was like my effrontery to have chosen for my nativity 
the same day, without consulting the siderial " Ven- 
nors," and finding out who was to come after me ! My 
best atonement for this unblushing behavior is to beg 
your acceptance of the inclosed, as a small compensa- 
tion, and to say that I put a dollar a year for each year 
of manifest, apparent, and undoubted difference of 
age. You are in your bloom ; I am in my decrepitude. 
Twenty-five years hence you will be still in your 
bloom I I shall be in " lean and slippered pantaloon." 
But despite senility on one side, and youth and beauty 
on the other, I am ever, your loving old brother, 

MATSON. 

To his Sister-in-law Helen. 

PHILADELPHIA, December 26, 1881. 

DARLING SISTER NELL, I was still puzzling over 
the conundrum, " Who sent a cup and saucer and plate 
to whom, from Tiffany's ? " when your sweet note came 
explaining all 

Thank you, dear sister, for the gift so choice, and for 
the loving words, more precious still. But let me say 
that my " coffee times " will not be my only times for 
thinking of you ; for you, dear child, you are in my 
heart and thoughts often and again, more than you 
dream, in these your days of so much sadness and 
brave sorrow-bearing. I suppose that in the great 
cycles of Providential movement, cyclones I might 
call them, there are rough and terrible things, which 
like earthquakes and tempests make for good in the 
end. 

God's children can go safely through them, and come 
off more than conquerors, weather-beaten into heroes, 



HOME LIFE. 261 

transfigured through the storms into those who wear 
white with the Lamb, and stand on Mount Ziou. Other 
people get swamped, and somehow reach shore, 
through the life-car, or ropes of the surf-men, and it 
takes them ages to get over the battering and bruising. 
You, dearest sister mine, have hold of God's hand, the 
warm flesh and blood hand of the Only Begotten. God 
grant you, in dear Arthur's convalescence and in your deal 
children, a new year of brighter days and growing joy > 
Your own loving brother, 

MATSON. 

To the Same (after preaching in New York). 

2015 DE LANCET PLACE, February 28, 1882. 

DEAR SISTER NELLIE, The little postal card re- 
ceived this morning was verily a surprise. I had no 
idea that so many or any of my loved ones were in the 
congregation, although I saw in the dim light of the 
church a face which suggested you so strongly that 1 
warmed toward it ; yet it was not distinct enough for 
recognition. And now I am glad to learn that you were 
there ; for when I was writing that sermon some three 
weeks ago, I was thinking of you, and wishing I had 
leisure to put into a letter, just to you, some of the pre- 
cious things as they came to me, and some asides for 
your own ear and the comfort of your dear, stricken, 
and sorrowing heart. 

' The long outlook toward the extreme reaches, and 
the faith-vision which sees the God in Jesus near at 
hand, and hears the voice, " It is I," are the sufficient 
comfort in days when nothing short of the Infinite can 
bring any approach to peace or calm. " There is a rest 
that remaineth," into which we from time to time enter. 
It is a lofty boon if given to our poor nerves and our 



262 HOME LIFE. 

tired spirits to abide in it always. Do any ever reach 
this gift ? I have another text for you, " There hath 
no temptation [that is, trial] taken you, save such as is 
common to man," that is, fitted to our human nature 
and our best development, as well as common in the 
sense that many share it 

You are not an exceptional sufferer, and God's plan 
will work out more than we think for good, " exceed- 
ing abundantly." 

I know by sad experience how hard it is to believe 
this ; but sometimes faith triumphs, and we peer for a 
moment through parting clouds into heaven's fathomless 
blue. 

Give my love to all those whose names you indicated, 
and with my good-night kiss, darling sister, believe me, 
ever your loving brother, 

MATSON. 
To the Same. 

PHILADELPHIA, February 19, 1884. 

DARLING SISTER, That exquisite chair appeared at 
my door this morning. It is a marvel of beauty and a 
wealth of love. Your dear eyes and your deft fingers, 
your nerves and your warm blood, and your sweet sis- 
terliness are all in it. Can I tell you how I thank you, 
how I shall prize it, and how, when my eyes are dim 
with force-abating age, I shall be gladdened by the 
vision of it ? Shall I dare sit in it ? That is the ques- 
tion. I gently deposited myself therein on trial. But 
it seemed a sort of sacrilege to treat the beauty so 
familiarly. 

... I did not think that my dear old father was 
so near his rest when I left him yesterday. But I 
thank God the conflict is finished for him, and in the 
new life and the new brightness of Paradise he awaits 



HOME LIFE. 263 

with Christ's departed the opening of the Gates Eternal. 
" Not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, 
that mortality might be swallowed up of life." Saint 
Paul never wrote brighter words from the human side 
of this thing we call " death " than these. 

And now, again, thank you for the chair ; and good- 
night. And the dear God bless and comfort you always, 
my pet and darling little sister, wishes and prays your 
brother, 

MATSON. 

In the spring of 1886, Dr. Meier-Smith arranged for 
extensive repairs and enlargement to his house. When 
the time came to decide whether the proposed work 
should be carried on, he was asked, " Do you feel 
strong enough to look forward to an extended term of 
work here ? If not, it might be better not to under- 
take this, as in case you feel compelled to retire from 
active duty, we may wish to go back to our early asso- 
ciations, or to live in the country." His answer showed 
that whatever were his fears for himself, he had no 
thought that he was commencing the last twelvemonth 
of his life. 

" I think I am stronger than I have been at any time 
since my illness, and do not see why there may not be 
years of good work yet before me. At any rate, as we 
cannot forecast the future, it is better to arrange to do 
our work as comfortably as possible," adding after a 
pause, "if I break down before my time, I should be 
glad to know that I had provided such a home for my 
family as I want them to have." 

Before the meeting of the Diocesan Convention, 
Bishop Stevens announced his wish to have an assis- 
tant, in view of his increasingly feeble health and 



264 HOME LIFE. 

advanced years. Who should be his helper and suc- 
cessor in this large and important diocese ? This was 
a question of great interest and much discussion. 
Most of Dr. Meier-Smith's friends united upon Dr. 
Phillips Brooks, and while he shared their admiration 
for the distinguished man and preacher, he regretted 
their choice, as he felt sure that Dr. Brooks could not 
be induced to leave his chosen field, and that time 
would be lost, and votes thrown away. Thus it proved ; 
and after Dr. Brooks declined, and remained immova- 
ble in his decision, the Convention adjourned without 
an election, to meet again in June. Dr. Meier-Smith 
was out of town, and was unable to be present. While 
Rector of Trinity Church, Newark, he had formed a 
pleasant acquaintance with the Bishop of Nevada, 
then a parish clergyman in New Jersey, and when he 
became the choice of a majority of the Convention, Dr. 
Meier-Smith sent him a warm letter of congratulation 
and welcome. Bishop Whitaker responded cordially, 
and their relations, after he came to Philadelphia, were 
very friendly. When death so soon interrupted them, 
the Bishop earnestly expressed his sense of personal 
loss, saying that Dr. Meier-Smith was one of the very 
few clergymen of Philadelphia whom he had known 
previously, and that he had " counted upon him as a 
right-hand man and helper." 

In the month of May the circle of Mrs. Meier- 
Smith's brothers and sisters was broken by the death 
of her half-brother, a young man whose unusual gifts 
and fine character gave promise of a brilliant future. 
The blow fell with crushing weight upon the widowed 
mother, now bereaved of her only child, and Dr. Meier- 
Smith's sympathetic heart was greatly moved. 

He often spoke of this bright young life so early 



HOME LIFE. 265 

closed on earth, and of his certainty that he had 
entered upon a greater and nobler work than any he 
could have done here. 

In June he went with his family to spend the sum- 
mer at Southampton, Long Island. The home in De 
Lancey Place was left for six months, that the altera- 
tions decided upon might be made. Very sweet is the 
memory of that last summer, which seemed peculi- 
arly free from the anxieties of other vacations. South- 
ampton, the oldest town in the State of New York, 
combines the attractions of a modern sea-side resort, 
and a venerable New England village ; for it was from 
Massachusetts and Connecticut that its first settlers 
came, and many historic marks remain. The ocean 
view is unbounded, and the breezes unfailing. The 
rush of fashionable life has hardly invaded it, and 
society is refined and intelligent. Many clergymen 
were there, some old acquaintances among them, 
and every one noticed in Dr. Meier-Smith a lightness of 
spirit and enjoyment of society which indicated a sense 
of returning health. He took long walks again, and 
said that he had not enjoyed exercise so much for five 
years. 

The coast of the eastern end of Long Island is 
marked by low sand hills, or "dunes," upon which 
there is some vegetation. They form a soft outline of 
artistic beauty. Upon the dunes at Southampton 
stands a picturesque little chapel, " St. Andrew's 
Dune Church," and here he officiated, preaching every 
Sunday for two months. He enjoyed this work, and 
there were many among the friends he formed while in 
charge of these services who spoke of him afterward 
gratefully and affectionately, and who will long asso- 
ciate the little chapel with his ministrations. 



266 HOME LIFE. 

Late in the autumn the family returned to their 
enlarged and renovated home. Dr. Meier-Smith spared 
no pains to carry out in every detail all that could meet 
the wishes and tastes of those so dear to him, and took 
a loving satisfaction in the attractive result of the 
thought and care he had given to the work. " I am 
thankful," he said, " and my mind is at rest, now that 
I see you just as comfortable as I have desired you 
should be." In his new and beautiful study he took 
great delight. There he and his wife spent much time 
alone together, their son having decided to remain 
through the winter at Southampton. As the year 
drew toward its close, the outlook for the one so soon 
to open seemed unusually bright. Affairs at the 
Divinity School were in an encouraging state, and 
many things combined to promise a happy whiter. 

Just after Christmas, Dr. and Mrs. Meier-Smith vis- 
ited their son in Southampton, and were cheered by 
finding him unusually well and happy. He thought 
his father looking worn and tired, and noticed that he 
was very quiet; but he said nothing to his parents 
of the fears aroused by his appearance. 

The last day of the year will never be forgotten by 
the compiler of these memories. A wild winter storm 
of snow, sleet, and wind was in full sway, a heavy 
surf thundered on the beach, arid from the windows 
could be seen the grand line of white breakers. The 
surroundings added solemnity to the thoughts which 
are natural to serious minds in the last hours of the 
dying year. Thanksgivings for the mercies of the 
months past, and the prayer for a blessing on the new- 
born year, which were offered as the midnight hour 
struck, were tender and fervent. An undefined impres- 
sion was felt that an experience, yet unknown, was in 



HOME LIFE. 267 

the near future. Yet it was with hopeful hearts that 
they returned to their home, grateful for the improve- 
ment apparent in their dear invalid. 

When Dr. Meier-Smith returned to the Divinity 
School, he was surprised to be met by congratulations 
on the benefit his trip had been to him, with the 
remark that he had been looking far from well before 
his absence. 



XIX. 

EVEN-TIDE. 

1887. 
JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH. 

OF the eventful weeks which passed quickly and 
peacefully from the opening of the year 1887 
until the middle of March, there is little to record. 
Dr. Meier-Smith's diary shows a regular fulfilment of 
his duties at the Divinity School, and of pulpit en- 
gagements for nearly every Sunday. He and his wife 
were more constantly together than for many years. 
He seemed to be unwilling to be away from her for 
even a few hours, desiring her company in his walks, 
and laying aside his evening study for conversation 
with her. The peculiar tenderness of his attention she 
attributed to his knowledge that she suffered much in 
the separation from their son, who had been for so 
many years her constant companion. 

Early in the year he commenced to write a new 
course of Homiletical lectures, in which he seemed to 
take much satisfaction, expressing a hope that they 
would fill a need in the plan of instruction which had 
not yet been met. 

Among letters which he wrote was one to Dr. Gou- 
verneur M. Smith, under date of January 18, 1887. 

MY DEAR COUSIN, It was a most pleasant sensa- 
tion, sharpening appetite for breakfast, this morning, 



EVEN-TIDE. 269 

to find some lines from you. And among the curious 
psychological, not to say neurological, things, did you 
ever note family relationships in chirography ? I puz- 
zled a moment over the address of the envelope. Your 
writing suggests your father's very much. There is a 
resemblance to my father's in his stronger days, perhaps 
more than you may notice, in my present writing, al- 
though I can see a trace of it with all the admixtures 
of other elements, careless habits included. Two or 
three times within a few years, I have had a note from 
Chief-Justice Waite, who, you know, is one of our third 
cousins, or thereabouts. The first writing from him 
fairly startled me, so extremely suggestive was it, and 
side by side with one of my father's in his old age, it 
seemed as if the man of sixty and the man of eighty- 
three had written on a match for a prize. Family 
voices in various generations have marked similarities. 
Is it the rule likewise with manuscript ? What is the 
explanation ? Are these facts for some yet unformed 
deduction as to enlarged and multiplex personalities, 
or some new doctrine of blood tides and blood unities ? 
I submit the questions to my medical philosopher- 
kinsman, whose conservative character never allows 
his imagination to run away with him. . . . 

Throughout the months of January and February, 
there was even more than the usual brightness and 
cheerfulness apparent in Dr. Meier-Smith's life at home. 
He was more inclined to mingle in society than for 
some years past, and to the entertainment of friends 
and relatives, extending the hearty welcome and warm 
hospitality always characteristic of him, more lavishly 
than usual. 

Among the latest visitors was his brother-in-law, 



270 EVEN-TIDE. 

Charles Trumbull White, with his wife. With him 
there was an affectionate and sympathetic intimacy, 
the more tender on Dr. Meier-Smith's part, because of 
the failing health of this dear brother. Nearly three 
years later a lingering decline, borne with a Christian 
martyr's heroism, closed a life of rarely beautiful un- 
selfishness and devotion to Christ and His work. 

One of the latest letters to Dr. Dyer was written on 
Ash Wednesday : 

... In regard to the Divinity School and its outlook. 
Certainly the Faculty is doing all it can to elevate 
scholarship and attract students, and there has been a 
respectable addition to the number. But between the 
requisitions of the Faculty, and the oppositions, in a 
polite way, of certain of our brethren of another school 
of thought in the Church, we lose students. If they 
connect themselves with certain parishes, they are apt 
to leave us for New York or Berkeley. 

What is the remedy? Some bishops assume the 
right to control the places of study of their candidates, 
and I think that if our dear and lenient Bishop would 
tell his young men that he has something to say on the 
subject, it would be good for the young fellows them- 
selves. I have noticed many times within forty years, 
that freshmen in theology are wise beyond their years, 
and more learned and orthodox than their instructors. 
It was so in Union Seminary in my day. But I would 
not seem to criticise my Bishop, for doubtless he weighs 
each case, with a knowledge no one else has of the 
special facts. And speaking of Bishop Stevens, how 
beautiful is his endurance and fidelity ! I have learned 
to love him very warmly, and he grows upon my re- 
spectful admiration. I love to go and see him occasion- 



EVEN-TIDE. 271 

ally. He is so sweet and heavenly minded, looking 
forward " to be with Christ." When I talk with him 
and with you, I come away fervently desiring that I 
may know the same glorious hope and peace and quiet 
triumph, if I be spared to your years. How faithful is 
our God and Saviour to His servants ! 

My wife and daughter join me in dear love to you 
and yours. Ever most affectionately, 

MATSON MEIEB-SMITH. 

An interview with Bishop Stevens in February is re- 
ferred to in his diary. The Bishop was very feeble, 
and could talk but little, but Dr. Meier-Smith spoke 
with deep feeling of the tenderness of the meeting, and 
of the sweetness and Christ-likeness of the Bishop. " I 
think I may never see him again. He seems to me 
very nearly ready to depart," he remarked to his wife. 
Nor did they meet here again, but at that time no one 
could have thought that the venerable Bishop would 
survive his friend. 

On the last Sunday in February, he took charge, in 
the absence of the Eector, of both services at Holy 
Trinity Church. The sermon in the morning, though 
but recently written, was one which was more doctrinal 
in subject, and less subdued in style, than was usual in 
the sermons of his later years. The subject as given in 
the title was, " Sin the Ruin, Repentance the Remedy." 
It was somewhat startling to his wife, who was unpre- 
pared for the subject or its treatment. At the close of 
the service a number of persons spoke to him of the 
deep impression produced, remarking that the sermon 
was one of the '*' old-fashioned " kind seldom heard 
now. Walking home with his wife, he said to her, 
" You are very quiet ; I think you did not enjoy my 



272 EVEN-TIDE. 

sermon." Her reply was, " I am afraid I was not in 
tune for it; I wanted something else this morning." 
He seemed a little troubled, and during the walk re- 
verted to the subject, saying, " I wish you would read 
over that sermon, and see if there is anything harsh or 
severe in it. I desire more and more to speak the truth 
in love." Little did she know that she had listened for 
the last time to the beloved husband who had been so 
long her pastor and teacher. How slow would she have 
been, could she have foreseen the near future, to speak 
a critical word to him who always honored her by his 
desire for her approving verdict upon his public work ! 
The two letters which follow are among the last he 
wrote. The first one is to a brother-in-law, and is dated 
Sunday evening, March 6, 1887 : 

MY DEAK CHARLES, My heart is glad as I think of 
you to-day, and I thank God with you, that you have 
been helped to see your way clear to the outward stand 
of the Christian, and to the Table of our Lord. 

That the obstacles which have hindered you in the 
past would sometime be removed, I have not suffered 
myself to doubt, during these many years of our ac- 
quaintance and most agreeable relationship, knowing 
as I did your high principles, and your deep sympathy 
with all that is real and true in religion and in life. 
And at the same time I fully appreciate the many and 
great difficulties which often do stand in the way of just 
such a step, with conscientious men who know them- 
selves, and know other men, and are distrustful regard- 
ing any step which seems to invite observation. 

It is a great point gained when one commits himself 
openly and forever on the side of God and His Son 
Jesus Christ, and lets everybody know that his life in 



EVEN-TIDE. 273 

this world, and his outlook for the future, whatever the 
drawbacks or discounts of our imperfections, are to be 
ruled by, and to depend upon, this determination and 
belief. 

I am sure you will be a happier man, stronger to be, 
and stronger to bear, and stronger to accept all the lot, 
now and hereafter, which the Father ordains. And I 
do most fervently trust that you will find spiritual 
enrichment and peace and joy and more and more of 
that " peace of God which passeth all understanding," 
as you participate freely in all means of grace, and 
especially, from time to time, in the holy and life- 
strengthening Sacrament. 

And I add to my prayer that God relieve your bodily 
infirmities, that you may find length of days and 
stronger health and greater comfort, as you advance to- 
ward the evening, and the blessed to-morrow I 

With love to dear Julia, and assurance of loving re- 
membrance from us all here, I am most affectionately, 
Your brother, 

MATSON MEIER-SMITH. 

To the Rev. B. B. Beardsley. 

PHILADELPHIA, March 8, 1837. 

MY DEAR FRIEND AND BROTHER, I entirely agree 
with your views expressed in your note of yesterday. 
There is only one thing, so far as the point in question 
is concerned, to be preached and declared to men by any 
Christian minister, or any who hold the revelation in 
the Old and New Testaments, and that is, the duty of 
immediate repentance and settlement with God in this 
present life ; and to hold out any hope or chance of 
better things in any life to come, or in any future of 
this life, is to speak without authority, and in violation 
18 



274 EVEN-TIDE. 

of the most solemn responsibility. Nor within the 
range of my acquaintance and reading, do I know of 
any persons claiming allegiance the slightest to the tra- 
ditions or doctrines of a Catholic or Orthodox Christi- 
anity, who would teach otherwise than this. 

Certainly those tinged with the new Orthodoxy of 
Andover, and the suspected missionary candidates, dis- 
claim any such contrary purpose, and avow their adher- 
ence to the rule I have stated. Any " Larger Hope," 
so called, has respect exclusively to those who have not 
had the Gospel preached to them at all, and it pertains 
to none to whom the salvation offer is brought near. 

In lands nominally Christian, it is held by some that 
there are cases of those who have, by painful circum- 
stances, been equally debarred, and whose fault is 
similar to that of the disbarred heathen, the fault of 
Christian negligence. I do not know enough about 
such cases to affirm anything about them. I hope all 
things. I can't say how many or l\ow few I believe of 
the " all things." Hence my charity is not up to the 
Pauline. I think the Andover brethren do not teach 
second probation. They simply conjecture a probation, 
turning upon the acceptance or rejection of Christ for 
those who have had nothing of the kind in this life. It 
is doctrine of equal chances in grace only ; whether 
true or not, that is another question. Farrar's doctrine 
is, so far as it is doctrine, that moral conditions and 
laws are permanent. If a man repents in the next life, 
the unchangeable love of God will receive that man. 
But the if is the great word, and he argues no probabil- 
ity to the effect that such a thing will be. At least 
such is my recollection of the impression I have 
received from him. 

Annihilation is in the views of those who hold it, 



EVEN-TIDE. 275 

the final and eternal punishment. There is no second 
probation with them. I find another writer, a Presby- 
terian, who seems to teach that death is the penalty of 
sin, and therefore all die. But Christ has redeemed 
from death, therefore all will arise. 

The elect Christians arise to life and glory; the 
remainder to a new probation under redemption, after 
which comes the Judgment, with its issues final, and 
possibly annihilation in the second death. 

So speculation runs ad inftnitum. 

. . . Our friend Pettingill has indeed gone. Could 
he come to us, what would he tell us now ? 
Very truly yours, 

MATSON MEIER-SMITH. 

It was in the first week of March that Dr. Meier- 
Smith wrote his last sermon, It was from the Epistle 
of Saint James, the first chapter and the twelfth verse. 

He preached it on Sunday, the 6th of March, at St. 
James's Church, and this was the last time that he 
officiated there. 

Will it be said that the sketch which these pages 
present has been drawn with too partial a pen, and that 
love has woven a veil of silver tissue about its subject, 
that hides deficiencies and reflects a light from itself ? 

Surely no such verdict will be given by those who 
were admitted into the intimacy of Dr. Meier-Smith's 
home, or to whom he came near as pastor and friend. 
But were it so, there could be only gentle criticism for 
her who was blessed, for eight and thirty years, with 
the love of one whose whole life was a ministry of 
unselfish devotion. 

To the children who have the right to know some- 
thing of the inner life of their beloved father, it may 



276 EVEN-TIDE. 

be permitted to speak freely here of the last precious 
days, days which were as an ever-brightening path- 
way by which God was leading him into the per- 
fect day. 

Often in the still hour, just before retiring, sat hand 
in hand by the glowing embers the two whose lives 
had been so long in perfect union, and talked of the 
life in Christ, here in its feebleness ; there, the other 
side of the veil, in all its glorious fulness. These 
sacred cominunings after all was quiet in the house 
began in the days of youth and early love, and were 
never given up. But in these last weeks there was a 
depth of earnestness and a ripeness of thought which 
makes the memory of them precious beyond all that 
had gone before. He who led the thought, allowing 
imagination free play, spoke unreservedly of the future 
life and of the state of the blessed dead before the 
Resurrection. These themes, he said, had been con- 
stantly before his mind since he had been himself in 
the " border land." He had no sympathy with such 
materialistic views as are represented by books like the 
" Gates Ajar." " Yet," he said, " I often think that the 
continuity of our life will seem to us unbroken, when 
we pass through the ' Portal we call Death ; ' and that 
this will be to us a great surprise. ... I expect," he 
said, " that my thought and study and work will go 
on; my love, my service for that love, all this I shall 
find the same, only with infinitely enlarged possibili- 
ties. If I go first, I know I shall often be near you 
and our children. If you go first, I shall believe the 
same of you." Again the talk would be on the hope 
of the complete annihilation of sin, the glorious vic- 
tory over all to be finally achieved through Christ. 
Then it would turn upon the return of the Lord to His 



EVEN-TIDE. 277 

waiting Church. These soul-inspiring communings 
would close with a prayer which revealed the power 
in his own soul of the faith he had preached, a faith 
which the storms of life had never shaken, and which 
was founded upon a rock. And there was a note of 
personal intimacy with, and loving dependence upon 
the Master to whom he spoke, which caused mingled 
joy and pain to the listener. "He is growing away 
from me," she sometimes said to herself. " Is he to 
leave me ? " Eeassuring herself with the thought that 
surely God would not have given him back to her at 
the time when two years before their separation 
had seemed so near unless they were to pass into the 
evening of life together, she suffered her fears to rest. 
But by all this she should have known that the sheaf 
was ripening for the harvest, and was soon to be 
gathered in. 

The notes that follow are a part of those written by 
Mrs. Meier-Smith three months later, recording while 
fresh in her memory the incidents of the next three 
weeks. 

March 6. Matson preached at St. James's Church. 
He also celebrated the Holy Communion. I was suffer- 
ing much, and felt unable to go out. Had I known 
that this was the last opportunity of hearing my be- 
loved husband, and receiving the Holy Communion 
from his dear hands, what could have kept me away ! 
On his return he came to me, and putting his sermon 
in my hands said : " There, little wife, read that ; I 
think you will like it better than the one you heard 
last Sunday." 

This day, the sixth of March, was the twenty-first 
anniversary of his Ordination by Bishop Eastburn. 



278 EVEN-TIDE. 

March 12. We left home to spend a few days with 
Norman, lunching in New York, and arriving at South- 
ampton in the evening. He was well, and delighted 
to welcome us. We found our nephew, Stanley White, 
there, who preached the next day in the Presbyterian 
Church. His uncle went to hear him, and expressed 
much gratification at the bright promise he gave for 
the ministry he was just commencing. Sunday and 
Monday were mild and spring-like days, and walks to 
the beach were much enjoyed. Norman thought his 
father very bright and well, and much improved since 
his visit in December. 

March 15. Very cold, windy, and bleak. The night 
was so severe that it was hard to keep warm, and I felt 
anxious lest my husband, who since his long illness 
had been sensitive to cold, should suffer from such a 
change. I think now that he may have taken a fatal 
chill that night. The next day he assured me that he was 
all right, and he took a long walk, calling on some old 
family friends sojourning at the time in Southampton. 

March 17. This morning early we bade our dear 
Norman good-by, and went to New York. My dear 
husband and I had much pleasant conversation during 
this journey. We talked of our plans for the coming 
summer, and of some entertainments to be given to 
the students and others, after Easter. 

In New York, we made a number of calls. Matson, 
thinking that I looked tired, offered to call a carriage. 
I assured him that it was unnecessary ; but looking at 
him, and observing an expression of weariness in his 
face, and an unusual pallor, I assented to his proposal. 
Never was his manner more tender and loving than 
during this whole day. He was very merry over our 
little supper in the train, and when we arrived in Phil- 



EVEN-TIDE. 279 

adelphia, about ten o'clock, he said, " It is years since 
we have had such a lovely journey together ! " 

March 18. Matson appeared so very tired this morn- 
ing that I urged him not to go to the Divinity School, 
reminding him that he had not expected to return until 
to-day. He thought, however, that he ought to go, as 
he was in the city. The next day he felt better, and in 
the afternoon we had a long walk together. My 
brother Erskine and his wife came to us for a short 
visit. To be with this dear brother was always an 
especial enjoyment to my husband. 

Sunday, March 20. During Saturday night Matson 
suffered considerably with pain, which he thought was 
caused by a slight cold. He had an engagement to 
preach in the evening at the Church of the Incarnation, 
and I proposed that he should telegraph to the Rector, 
Rev. Dr. Newlin, that he was not able to fulfil it. But 
he said he would rest all the morning, and was sure 
that he would be quite himself again in the evening. 

I was suffering much that morning, and decided to go 
to my physician for relief. When I was ready he arose 
from the bed to go with me. He looked so ill that I 
begged him not to accompany me, and after a little 
hesitation he said, " Well, if you are sure you can get 
along without me, perhaps I had better keep still." As 
I left the room a premonition of trouble came over me. 
I said to myself, " He feels more ill than he will allow, 
or he would not let me go without him. It is the first 
time since our marriage that he has permitted me to go 
anywhere alone when I was not well." 

In the afternoon he said he was much relieved, and 
quite able to fulfil his engagement. He had a very 
long ride to take to the Church, and I was anxious 
about the fatigue and exposure. 



280 EVEN-TIDE. 

As he entered the library upon his return, late in 
the evening, I was alarmed at his appearance. His 
face had a gray pallor, and he looked exhausted. I 
exclaimed, " I am so sorry I let you go. It has been 
too much for you." He replied, " Not at all ; I have 
felt well, and much enjoyed preaching." We talked a 
little about the sermon, which was the one he last 
wrote, and which he had preached at St. James's a 
fortnight before. The text was, " Blessed is the man 
that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall 
receive the crown of life." No words could have been 
more fitting with which to close his public ministry, 
than the last sentence of this sermon, spoken on the 
last Lord's Day of his earthly life. " To-day the war- 
fare of the Cross ! To-morrow the Crown ! Right- 
eousness, peace, and glory for evermore!" 

My brother Erskine, my husband, and I sat in the 
library until midnight, and when we retired he said he 
thought that his indisposition was over. 

On Monday morning, however, he came down late to 
breakfast, and finding himself still suffering, remained 
quiet through the day. That evening we sent for our 
physician. The doctor said he did not consider the 
trouble serious, and that a few days of quiet would 
relieve him. 

March 22. At three A. M., I was awakened by Matson, 
who was suffering great pain, which became so intense 
in an hour that I called Emily and her husband. Find- 
ing all our remedies were unavailing, we sent for the 
physician. Not before eight o'clock was there much 
relief, and then he was greatly exhausted. There was 
some fever, and he was very quiet, not disposed to talk, 
and under the influence of anodyne. 

On Wednesday, the 23d, he was much more comfort- 



EVEN-TIDE. 281 

able, and we were encouraged to think of a speedy re- 
covery. About six o'clock the next morning, Thursday, 
he was attacked with another violent paroxysm, which 
lasted some hours. The doctor thought it neuralgic, 
and could not account for the great prostration which 
followed. I wrote in much anxiety, yet guardedly, to 
Norman and to my brothers. I was certainly appre- 
hensive, but not of a fatal result ; rather of a long ill- 
ness, perhaps typhoid fever. 

He said but little, dozed when not in pain, and only 
complained greatly of thirst. 

Friday, March 25. Matson rested well, and seemed 
much more comfortable. His little granddaughter came 
in to see him, and he said to her, " Is not next Monday 
your birthday ? " adding, " I am so sorry I cannot go 
out to get you a present. Ask Mamma to get some- 
thing very nice for you from Grandpapa." 

Dr. Packard brought in another physician in consul- 
tation, and we received an encouraging report after their 
examination. No intimation was given to us that our 
beloved one was in an alarming condition, nor do I feel 
sure that he thought himself dangerously ill. He cer- 
tainly said nothing to me that implied such an impres- 
sion ; indeed he was much of the time sleeping under 
the influence of morphine. The only thing I recall 
which assured me that he was thinking more deeply 
than he was able to express, was a question as to the 
day of the month. When I told him that it was the 
25th, he said, " The Feast of the Annunciation ! The 
day I love." The almost feminine tenderness of his 
spirit had always invested this day with a charm for 
him. He delighted to celebrate the Holy Communion 
on this festival, while he was a rector, and while living 
in Philadelphia always received it, when possible. 



282 EVEN-TIDE. 

When the physician saw him at noon, he said to 
Emily, " You may know that I think your father really 
better, as I shall not come in again until evening." Early 
in the evening another paroxysm of suffering commenced, 
and we sent in haste for the doctor. During the two 
hours that passed before he came, our efforts to relieve 
the distress were fruitless. Though greatly exhausted, 
he surprised us by exclaiming with a strong voice, 
" Send for the doctor, and tell him he must either take 
away this pain, or see me die!' After he was relieved 
and sleeping, we had a full consultation with our physi- 
cian, who said that in his opinion the pain was princi- 
pally nervous, that there was no inflammation, and that 
he could only account for his exhaustion, and the se- 
verity of his suffering, by the evident weakness of his 
nervous system ever since his dangerous illness in 1884. 
At my earnest request, the doctor consented to spend 
the night with us, saying, " I do so, not because I think 
Dr. Meier-Smith needs me, but that I may be a comfort 
to you." He insisted, as a condition, that I should go 
out of the room, leaving Matson entirely to the nurse, as 
he himself was within call. It was not until about two 
A. M. that I went to my room, leaving my dear husband 
sleeping quietly. At four o'clock I went in, and found 
him awake. I kissed him, and he said, " I am getting on 
nicely." He asked me to get something for him, which 
I did, and as he held my hand I said, " I want to stay 
with you, dear." He answered decidedly, " No, darling ; 
you are worn out, and I insist upon your going back to 
bed," which I did. 

Saturday, March 26. Two hours later, I was awak- 
ened by the sound of suppressed voices in my husband's 
room. I found the doctor and the nurse endeavoring 
to administer stimulants to him. He was very pale, 



EVEN-TIDE. 283 

with his eyes closed. In answer to my inquiry, the 
doctor said, " It is a sinking turn." I think it was the 
physician's manner, more than his words, which made 
me know instantly that my beloved one was to leave 
me. I called Emily and her husband, telling them to 
come at once if they would see their father again. 
From that moment all hope left me, yet I remained 
perfectly calm. I suppose all that human skill could 
do was done. Another physician was sent for, and 
hypodermics were given to stimulate the heart, but all 
was in vain, for heart failure had occurred. When 
Emily came in, she kissed her father and asked him 
how he felt. He whispered, " More comfortable." From 
this time there was no further sign of suffering. 

As I remember the succeeding hours I am amazed at 
my self-possession and my ability to give every neces- 
sary order. Surely it was a strength not my own which 
so upheld me that I did not utter a moan, or shed a 
tear. The very gates of Paradise seemed opening be- 
fore me, as I watched my beloved husband, in perfect 
repose, going down into the river without a groan or 
a shudder. They said he was unconscious during the 
hours that followed. I do not think so ; I believe that 
he was half with us, and half away, unable to speak, 
but calmly willing to have it so, and gently resting in 
the arms of his Saviour. When I whispered words of 
support from the Psalms or the Gospels, he pressed my 
hand. I know he heard me. Dean Bartlett was with 
us, and read the Commendatory Prayer. Twice as I 
sat with my arm supporting the beloved head, he 
kissed me in response to my request. I said to him, 
" My darling, you know how gladly I would go with 
you if I could, but I must wait for our children's sake ! 
If you know what I say, kiss me." He pressed my 



284 EVEN-TIDE. 

hand and kissed me, though now very feebly. I said 
" Can you give me any word for our dear Norman ? " 
I saw his lips move, and putting my ear down to them, 
I heard distinctly "Love!" It was fitting that the 
word which so expressed his whole life, should be his 
last on earth ! 

During these waiting hours all was peace and calm- 
ness with him and with us. His eyes opened some- 
times with a far-away gaze, and a few moments before 
the last an expression of wonderful brightness passed 
over his face, as though he had a sight of ineffable 
glory. Then he slowly closed his eyes, as he was gently 
borne over the river. 

When it seemed that he could remain with us but a 
few moments longer, I asked our dear friend Dr. Mills, 
who though not the attending physician, had hastened to 
us in response to our summons, to tell us when the end 
was at hand. He replied that there could be but a few 
more pulsations of the heart. I said to Dean Bartlett, 
" Will you give the blessing I want ? " He divined 
my meaning, and with tender voice and uplifted hand, 
pronounced the benediction in the office for the Visita- 
tion of the Sick, which my beloved husband had used 
so often for the departing spirit. " Unto God's gracious 
mercy and protection we commit thee ! The Lord make 
His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee ! 
The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give 
thee peace both now and evermore!" As kneeling 
around the bed we responded, Amen, Dr. Mills said 
" It is over ! " The spirit had passed to its rest while 
the blessing of peace alone broke the silence! The 
hour was half past eleven. 

Around the bed were Emily and her husband, my 
brothers-in-law, Dr. Lee and Mr. Starin, Dean Bartlett, 



EVEN-TIDE. 285 

Dr. Mills, and our faithful Agnes. It seemed almost 
that our mortal eyes could see the divine Arms which 
upheld him and supported us. What else could have 
enabled us to go through these hours as we did, con- 
scious of no wish to withhold our departing one, but 
only of an overpowering sense of the divine Presence, 
and that we were standing so near the veil which now 
separated us from him that we could almost discern 
the glory of the Paradise into which he had entered. 

Telegrams came to us during the morning from 
Norman, which much comforted me, assuring us that 
he was hastening homeward. He did not arrive until 
late in the evening, and I was able to meet him with 
entire composure. 

In the days that followed we were greatly comforted 
by the testimonials, constantly received, of love and 
esteem for him who had so suddenly been taken 
from his home and work on earth. Eelatives and 
friends, his brethren of the clergy, members of the 
Divinity School, and many others, offered all the con- 
solation that it is possible to receive from human aid 
and sympathy. The Vestry of St. James's offered the 
Church for the last services, expressing the desire that 
they should take place there. We knew that his pref- 
erence would have been for the most quiet and unos- 
tentatious arrangements, but felt that it was due to his 
many friends in that parish to yield to their wishes, 
and that he should be carried to his last resting-place 
from the Chancel where he had so often ministered. 

The funeral services took place on Tuesday, the 
29th, at three o'clock in the afternoon. There was a 
quiet assembling at the house, principally of friends 
from New York. 

My beloved husband was scarcely changed by his 



286 EVEN-TIDE. 

short illness, and was beautiful in the serene majesty 
of Death. Eobed in surplice and stole, he held in his 
hands the little Prayer Book which I gave him at the 
time of his Ordination. On the casket lay Palms and 
Easter lilies. As I kissed him for the last time, I could 
hear his voice with its joyous ring in the text which 
more than any other I associate with him : " Our 
Saviour Jesus Christ hath abolished Death ! " 

The services in St. James's Church were conducted by 
the Eev. Dr. Bartlett, the Dean of the Divinity School. 
Bishop Whitaker presided, the Faculty of the Divinity 
School and other clergymen being in the Chancel. His 
students of the Seminary bore the casket, followed by 
the Vestry of St. James's Church. 

The simple and beautiful service of our Church was 
said. The music, as he would have desired, was grand 
and triumphant, closing with the noble hymn, 

" For all the Saints who from their labors rest, 

Who Thee by faith before the world confessed ; 
Thy Name, Jesus, be forever blessed, 
Alleluia ! " 

Many of the clergy of the diocese, and a large num- 
ber of friends from the various parishes of Philadelphia 
were present, testifying to the general regard and af- 
fection cherished for him in the city where for eleven 
years he had exercised a faithful ministry. 

On the following day all that was mortal of my 
beloved husband was laid at rest in Woodlawn Ceme- 
tery, New York. A granite monument in the form of 
a coped tomb has been placed there, on the top of 
which lies a polished cross. On one end of the stone 
is engraved the text, " Our Saviour Jesus Christ hath 
abolished death ; " and on the other end are the Greek 



EVEN-TIDE. 287 

words, " EIS TON STE&ANON" On the side is 
carved in raised letters, 

MATSON MEIEE-SMITH, S. T. D. 

April 4th, 1826. March 26th, 1887. 

Collect for All Saints' Day. 

Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect 
in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body 
of thy Son Christ our Lord; grant us grace so to fol- 
low thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, 
that we may come to those unspeakable joys which 
thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love 
thee ; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 



LETTERS FROM FRIENDS 

AND OTHEE TKIBUTES. 



19 



letter from 



FROM among the letters of sympathy received by Dr. 
Meier-Smith's family, a few from personal friends 
have been selected from which to make extracts. 

The limits of this volume forbid the introduction of 
many others which bear equally strong witness to the 
affection of the writers for the friend who had been so 
suddenly removed from them. 

32 ST. MARK'S PLACE, NEW YORK, March 27. 

MY VERY DEAR MRS. MEIER-SMITH, How can I express 
in words the grief and sorrow which fill my heart at this 
moment ! 

The sad tidings of dear Dr. Meier-Smith's sudden removal 
by death have so surprised and overwhelmed me, that T can 
do no more at present than to say that you and all the sor- 
rowing ones have my profoundest sympathy and earnest 
prayers that our God and Saviour may be to each and all 
the support and comfort you so much need. I will not 
speak of my own deep sense of personal loss. You know 
what have been our relations for so many years, but of these 
I must not speak now. My thoughts are of you and yours. 
I wish I could say or do something to comfort you. But I 
am utterly powerless. I can only turn to my dear Lord and 
ask Him to be very near to you. He will minister as none 
other can. To Him you may pour out your whole, heart and 
feel assured He will hear every sigh, and count and treasure 
up every tear. I wish I could write more, for my heart is 



292 LETTERS FROM FRIENDS. 

full, but I am too feeble and too much overpowered by my 
emotions to do more than say these few words. God help 
and bless you all, so prays 

Your loving old friend, 



from Edward A. Strong, Esq. 

BOSTON, March 29, 1887. 

. . . You will know that I can in some measure under- 
stand, because I knew Matson, the extremity of the grief to 
you and your children because of his departure, and by love 
and sympathy enter with you into the shadows. But I may 
say out of the fulness of my heart that the world is poorer 
to me since Matson Meier-Smith has left it. I loved him 
truly, much as I could have loved a brother. You and he 
are the earliest friends associated in my mind with my wife. 
He joined our hands in the indissoluble clasp of a true mar- 
riage. He has done me a great deal of good in the years 
gone by, by his Christian cheerfulness, and indeed helping 
me not a little, as I fain believe, to escape the misery of a 
morbid element in my religious life. Contact with him 
was always a tonic of hope and good cheer to me. . . . 

I do not forget your dear children. God bless them ! 
Ah, what a husband, what a father, what a friend ! 

From the Rev. Prof. Martin Kettogg. 

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, November 17, 1887. 
. . . But how much there is which cannot possibly be 
put into type ! All written description and written eulogy 
fails to bring out, to near friends, the warm and vital per- 
sonality of the departed. It is well that the survivors can 
" read between the lines," and put in for themselves all that 
filled up and rounded out the life and presence which have 
ceased on earth. No memorial book is needed for you. His 
whole life is ineffaceably engraven on your heart 



LETTERS FROM FRIENDS. 293 

From Edmund Clarence Stedman, Esq. 

NEW YORK, November 6, 1887. 

... He was, in truth, an ideal exemplar of Christian 
manhood, strong, faithful, intellectual, loyal, devoted. 
Your life has been richly " worth living ; " were you not 
his wife for almost forty years'? 

From the Rev. Prof. Edward A. HincJcs. 

ANDOVER, MASS., November 1, 1887. 

... I am glad to be numbered among those who cherish 
his memory. I recollect most vividly and with affection his 
manly face, pleasant voice (one of the most tunable I have 
ever heard), his kind, helpful words. He was a true friend, 
born to cheer and help others. 

From the Rev. L. C. Baker. 

PHILADELPHIA, March 27, 1887. 

. . . Dr. Meier-Smith's sudden death has come upon us 
like a great shock, and filled us with a common sorrow. His 
Church, the Divinity School, the city, and his neighbors, 
will all greatly miss him. 

I had not known Dr. Meier-Smith long enough to know 
him intimately, and yet a short acquaintance was enough 
to reveal to me his kindly, genial nature, his large-hearted 
Christian spirit, his broadly human sympathies, his neigh- 
borly kindness, his gentleness and courtesy. I had counted 
it as a pleasure in store for me that I should know him 
better. 

From the Rev. Dr. T. H. Hawks. 

SPRINGFIELD, MASS., January 7, 1888. 

... I am very glad to be permitted to join with a great 
company of friends in assuring you that in your sore bereave- 
ment you have the deepest sympathy of all who knew 
him. . . . 



294 LETTERS FROM FRIENDS. 

You rejoice, as we all do, in the noble service he was 
permitted to render in the pulpit and the professor's chair, 
and the testimony of many witnesses that he did a great and 
good work cannot fail to comfort you. 

From, the Rev. W. W. Andrews. 

WETHERSFIELD, CONN., November 8, 1887. 

... I thank you for the Memorial of your dear and 
honored husband, which you have had the kindness to send 
me. It is most valuable for the testimonies to his character 
and worth from those who knew him best in the later years 
of his life, and who could speak with the warmth of personal 
affection. 

But a like testimony could have been borne by very 
many who knew him in earlier life, and when laboring in an- 
other Communion, and whose love for him, and admiration 
of the beauty of his life, was not less, perhaps, than that of 
those with whom he was most closely associated at the last. 

It was my happiness to know him, both before and after 
this religious or (more fittingly) ecclesiastical change, and 
he was beloved by me at every stage of his life. I was 
struck with the heartiness with which he welcomed me to 
his house, when he could no longer invite me to his pulpit ; 
and I honored at once the fidelity with which he stood by 
the laws and ways of the Church, and the Catholic spirit 
which overleaped all barriers of sect and party. It is a 
great joy to think that such a gift of God to His Church, 
and through the Church to all His creatures, is an abiding 
gift, never to be withdrawn. He rests now for a little 
while, but the time of true and blessed activity is still to 
come ; and then all that was most characteristic of him, all 
his noblest powers and qualities, will come forth transfigured 
and glorified. In that day we shall forget all the sorrow of 
his present hiding away in the resting-place of the blessed 
saints who sleep ; for he and we shall then have found our 
true sphere both for work and for Communion, 



LETTERS FROM FRIENDS. 295 

From the Rev. Prof. Peters. 

NEW YORK, March 27, 1887. 

. . . You do not know how good he has been to me, how 
kind and unselfish. It seems to me as though he never met 
me without showing me some kindness, some little word of 
appreciation, some offer of the most friendly and affectionate 
and helpful sort. I have gone to him so often when I was 
fretted and worried and despondent, and he was always 
ready to listen and help me, as though he himself had no 
troubles and nothing to do but bear mine. It seemed to 
come so natural to him that I do not think he knew the 
great value of the services he rendered me. The Father 
will tell him and reward him, and may that Father comfort 
and help you now ! 

From the Rev. Francis Lobdell, D.D. 

BUFFALO, November 9, 1887. 

. . . Please accept my thanks for the pamphlet which 
you so kindly sent me. I have read it with great interest. 
The testimony of those who have known your husband so 
intimately for the last eleven years is none too emphatic. I 
have known him more than twice eleven years. We ended 
our ministry among the Congregationalists in the same city, 
and about the same time. For more than a year we had 
talked frilly together on the subject, and I shall never for- 
get the efffhestness with which he advised me not to hesitate 
to apply for Orders in the Church, saying that if he were as 
young as I he would not delay a minute, but he was afraid 
he was too old to make the change ! And yet three months 
later he was a candidate for Holy Orders ! 

And I think he was never so happy as after the change 
was made. He has done a splendid work in the Church, a 
work which will follow him. 



296 LETTERS FROM FRIENDS. 

From the Bishop of Western New York, 

BUFFALO, March 27, 1887. 

MY DEAREST COUSIN, A Sunday newspaper has just been 
sent in to me, by a friend, in which I read oh, astounding 
news ! that my beloved friend, Dr. Meier-Smith, has gone 
before me, young as he was compared with me. Can it be 
sol Oh, most suddeu and most painful ! I loved him, and 
he lately wrote me one of the best letters I have had from 
anybody for a long time. Daily have I designed to write 
and thank him for it. It did not require an answer, for it 
was an answer to one of mine ; but it deserved one, and I 
was grateful for it. 

Must it be so ? God's holy will be done, and may you be 
able to sustain this fearful blow. Divine Love often calls 
for heroic faith, as when Abraham puts forth his hand to 
slay his son. Let us, with like faith, say only, " It is His 
will. Amen." 

I am going to Church, and will bear you on my heart in 
prayer. 

Little did I imagine that it would ever be my lot to write 
you on such a subject. But God sustain you, my precious 
cousin, you and yours ! 

Affectionately, 

A. CLEVELAND COXE. 



Ctfbuteg, 



THE RECORDED MINUTE OF THE TRUSTEES AND 
OVERSEERS OF THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

AT the joint meeting of the Trustees and Overseers of the 
Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Phila- 
delphia, held June 8, 1887, the following minute was placed 
on record : 

On the 26th day of March last, the Rev. Dr. Matson 
Meier-Smith, Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Care in 
our Divinity School, was removed in the providence of God 
from the cares and duties of the present world to the felicity 
promised to God's people. 

His death came suddenly upon the members of his classes, 
his fellows of the Faculty, and upon his many friends. Only 
a few days before they had seen him in his accustomed 
place ; and scarcely a hint of his illness had reached them, 
when the sad report came that he was dead, and they should 
see his face no more. He was a man to be remembered by 
all with whom he came in contact. Genial, earnest, gener- 
ous almost to a fault, full of kindly purposes, considerate 
even of those with whom he differed, his death left a void 
not only in the immediate circle of the Seminary and the 
Church, but in the large round of the world about him. But 
in all his kindly and frank ways he was faithful to his Church 
and his creed, and to the service of God and man, to which 
he had devoted his life. 



298 TRIBUTES. 

Professor Meier-Smith was born in New York, in 182G. 
His earlier days were passed in the house of his father, a 
prominent physician and a member of the Presbyterian 
Church ; hence he was trained in the religious views of that 
body of Christians. He came, on his mother's side, of the 
race of the Muhlenbergs, and was a descendant of one of 
the most celebrated ministers of that name in the Lutheran 
Church in America. After his graduation at Columbia Col- 
lege, his mind fixing itself upon the sacred ministry, he was 
educated in the Union Theological Seminary, and ordained in 
1849. His career as a minister was attended with great 
success and favor, and in 1863 he received from Columbia 
College the degree of S.T.D. But his thoughts soon after 
were turned toward our own Church ; and after the usual 
hesitations and delays, he was finally ordained to the Diaco- 
nate in this Church, by Bishop Eastburn, of Massachusetts, 
in March, 1866. 

In this new field he held several important charges, and 
wherever he ministered he left behind him a precious 
memory which lingers still. He loved his great work of 
preaching the Gospel, and was seldom happier than when 
enabled to engage in it ; so that in the years in which he 
was at work in the Divinity School he was in the pulpit 
nearly every Sunday. To this position of the Chair of Hom- 
iletics and Pastoral Care he was chosen in 1876, holding it 
for over eleven years. The record of these years is fresh in 
the minds of all the members of this Committee, who know 
with what zeal and fidelity he fulfilled his trust, and more 
need not be said here. He did a good work ; he earned a 
good name ; he has won a good reward from Him who 
knows us as we are. These things cannot be forgotten by 
those who knew him. While, therefore, we resign him to 
his place in our memories, as the Church has already con- 
signed him to the bosom of his Cod, may we all be able to 
say, " Let our last end be like his." 



TRIBUTES. 299 

COMMUNICATION FROM THE FACULTY OF THE 
DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

MY DEAR MRS. MEIER-SMITH, I am directed by the 
Faculty of the Divinity School to convey to you the assur- 
ance of our deep sympathy with you and your stricken 
family, and also to communicate the following notice, which 
was ordered to be entered upon our minutes : 

We wish to place on record our grief at the loss of our 
dear colleague, the Rev. Matson Meier-Smith, D.D., who 
passed hence Saturday, March 26, in the sixty-first year of 
his age. For eleven years he had occupied the Chair of 
Homiletics and Pastoral Care. He was likewise Secretary 
of the Faculty, a position which, without hope of reward, 
he filled year after year with unvarying patience and a faith- 
fulness beyond praise. 

He was dear to us for his unfailing kindliness, courtesy, and 
consideration of the rights, thoughts, and feelings of those 
with whom he was associated. Whatever kind or friendly 
thing could be said of or to any one, he knew how to say. 
His many affectionate services were rendered so unobtru- 
sively that few realized till afterward the value of that 
which he had done for them. 

His own heavy burdens he bore with unselfish cheerful- 
ness, always ready to help bear the burden of another. 

So sudden is his removal that our sense of loss and be- 
reavement can scarcely be measured even by ourselves. 

Yours sincerely, 
April 2, 1887. JOHN P. PETERS, Secretary. 

COMMUNICATION FROM THE STUDENTS' ASSOCIA- 
TION OF THE DIVINITY SCHOOL. 

To MRS. MATSON MEIER-SMITH : 

At a meeting of the Students' Association of the Divinity 
School, a committee was appointed to express to you the 
sympathy of the students in your present sorrow. 



300 TRIBUTES. 

Our acquaintance with Dr. Meier-Smith and our inter- 
course with him in life at the School have heen such that we 
feel as individuals that it is a personal friend who has been 
taken from us. 

Now that his work among us is ended, and we can no 
longer profit by his present instruction, we can only trust 
and believe that his work shall live, and that the seed sown 
in the past shall bear fruit in us ; that, being dead, he shall 
yet speak. 

It is scarcely necessary for us to speak of our sorrow, or of 
the lightening of it that comes from our hope for the dead 
in Christ. Knowing that both he and you shared also in 
that blessed hope, we ask for all those to whom his death 
has brought grief, the peace that comes from Christ our 
common Master. 

Very sincerely, 

L. W. BATTEN, 
LAURENCE B. RIDGELY, 
WILLIAM Du HAMEL, 
March 28, 1887. Committee. 

RESOLUTIONS OF THE ALUMNI OF THE DIVINITY 
SCHOOL. 

WHEREAS, At a meeting of the Alumni Association of the 
Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the 
city of Philadelphia, held on June 8, 1887, a committee 
was appointed to draft resolutions touching the recent de- 
mise of the Rev. Matson Meier-Smith, D.D., Professor of 
Homiletics and Pastoral Care, and Secretary of the Faculty, 
therefore be it 

Resolved, That the death of the Rev. Dr. Meier-Smith has 
deprived the Divinity School of a faithful, zealous friend, the 
Faculty of a distinguished and able member, and the stu- 
dents of a peculiarly sympathetic guide and counsellor. 

Resolved, That during a pastorate covering a period of 
twenty-eight years, the manly principles he taught by his 



TRIBUTES. 301 

life and work were such as to ennoble all with whom he 
came in contact. 

Resolved, That the sad and afflicting dispensation of Provi- 
dence which has removed him from our midst has deprived 
many of a dear personal friend, the community of a good and 
faithful citizen, and the Church of a wise, able, and effective 
laborer. 

Resolved, That we sincerely sympathize with his family in 
their deep affliction for the loss of one who in domestic life 
was the affectionate husband, kind father, and generous 
protector. 

Resolved, That a copy of the above resolutions be con- 
veyed to the family of the deceased as expressive of the deep 
respect and sympathy of the Association. 
Signed, 

E. L. HOWELL, 
MARTIN AIGNER, 
L. W. BATTEN, 
A. D. HEFFEBN, 

F. M. TAITT, 

Committee. 

COMMUNICATION FROM THE CLERICAL BROTHER- 
HOOD. 

An Association representing the Clergy of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. 
MRS. MATSON MEIER-SMITH: 

DEAR MADAM, The brethren in the ministry of your 
late beloved husband, assembled in their Brotherhood-Meet- 
ing this morning, appointed the undersigned to convey to 
you the expression of their deep sympathy with yourself and 
your household in the sad bereavement which has just 
overtaken you. 

In behalf of the Brotherhood they would also express to 
you the high esteem and tender regard in which he was held 
by them, and their sense of the loss which they and the 
Church in this Diocese have sustained by his departure, so 



302 TRIBUTES. 

sudden and unlooked-for by them. They recall with a melan- 
choly satisfaction his ever warm and genial manner, his 
prompt obligingness in service for others, his devotion to 
duty, and his deep interest in all that concerned the cause 
of Christ and His Church. 

That he has been called away from us so soon, we, for our- 
selves, deplore ; that he has been called to a higher life and 
ministry, we have a good hope ; and for that hope we give 
thanks to Him who " by His death overcame death, and by 
His rising to life again brought life and immortality to 
light." 

Praying for the abundance of God's grace to be granted 
you and yours in this the hour of your deep trial, we remain, 
Your friends and brethren in Christ, 

BENJAMIN WATSON, 
ISAAC GIBSON. 
March 28, 1887. H. L. DDHRINQ. 

From the Address delivered at the Diocesan Convention, 
May 3, 1887, by the Bishop of Pennsylvania, the late Rt. 
Rev. William Bacon Stevens, D.D. : 

"We were all greatly startled a few weeks ago when 
we heard of the unexpected death of Rev. Dr. Matson Meier- 
Smith, who departed this life on the morning of the 26th of 
March, in the sixty-first year of his age. 

" A graduate of Columbia College and of the Union Theo- 
logical Seminary, New York, he began his ministry in the 
Presbyterian Church. After eighteen years of service, as 
pastor of Congregational churches, he found himself greatly 
drawn toward our Church, and in 1866 was ordained Deacon, 
by Bishop Eastburn, of Massachusetts. 

" As a clergyman of our Church he became Rector of Trin- 
ity, Newark, New Jersey, and St. John's, Hartford, Conn. 

" In 1876, he was elected Professor of ' Homiletics and 
Pastoral Theology,' in the Philadelphia Divinity School, and 
held that chair at the time of his decease. 



TKIBUTES. 303 

" Dr. Meier-Smith was a man of much loveliness of per- 
sonal character, genial, sympathetic, tender, yet always 
manly and upright. His scholarly abilities were large and 
well cultivated. His pastoral work was ever regarded as 
very acceptable to all classes in his several congregations ; 
his sermons were carefully prepared, and were often of 
marked power ; his home life was beautifully tender and 
sunshiny, and his Christian bearing as a man, as a clergy- 
man, and as a professor very distinctive and true. He might 
almost be said to have died in the harness, for the Sunday 
before his death he preached in the Church of the Incarna- 
tion ; and that very night he was taken ill, and before the 
next Lord's Day dawned he was called to be ' forever with 
the Lord.' It seems almost something more than a coinci- 
dence, and more like one of those unconscious prophetic 
utterances, spoken under impulses which we cannot de- 
scribe, and pointing to a future still behind the veil, that 
the last words of his last sermon in the last week he lived 
should be these : 

" ' To-day the warfare of the Cross ! To-morrow the Crown ! Right- 
eousness, peace, and joy for evermore.' " 



' Death is another life. We bow our heads 
At going out, we think, and enter straight 
Another golden chamber of the King's, 
Larger than this we leave, and lovelier, 
And then in shadowy glimpses, disconnect, 
The story, flower-like, closes thus its leaves, 
The will of God is all in alL" 



SERMONS. 



SERMONS. 



HpHESE sermons, selected from the large number left in 
^ completed form by Dr. Meier-Smith, have not been 
chosen because they surpass many of the others either in 
breadth of thought, originality of treatment, or excellency of 
style. 

His careful choice of topics, his habitual clearness of expres- 
sion, and his conscientious care in preparation insured great 
uniformity in the attractiveness and force of his pulpit utter- 
ances. The selection was determined rather by the fact that 
while these sermons well represent Dr. Meier-Smith's man- 
ner of dealing with themes widely different, and thus are a 
fair illustration of his ordinary preaching, they are also all 
of comparatively recent date, one of them indeed being the 
last either written or preached by him. 

It is hoped that as they are read by those who in memory 
will recall the earnest spirit and tender unction as well as the 
persuasive eloquence and forceful utterance of the preacher, 
these sermons may be endued again with something of the 
interest and power that attended the living voice. 

E. N. W. 



UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 

There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which 
workeih all in all. 1 CORINTHIANS, xii. 6. 

'TWERE is an important sense in which every indi- 
J. vidual of mankind stands purely and entirely 
alone, whatever be in other respects the points of con- 
tact with others, or the relationships of race. In this 
sense each one lives unto God, having a dependence arid 
a responsibility unshared by any other being. In the 
common intercourse of life the fact is recognized. There 
is conscious personality, or selfhood. There are rights 
pertaining to me, and rights pertaining to the other one 
who is not I. There is a circle about my own individ- 
uality which no alien foot may cross, and there is a circle 
around my neighbor within which I cannot intrude. 

Yet, strangely, when Christian people deal with facts 
of the spiritual life, within the domain of what may be 
called personal and individual religious experience, tak- 
ing the term in its common acceptation, this momen- 
tous elemental fact is of tener forgotten than remembered. 
A vast perplexity and much uneasiness, not to say un- 
happiness and consequent cramping of energies and use- 
fulness, is engendered by a readiness to make other 
persons' lives and spiritual records tests and touchstones 
of our own. And not a little Christian charity is sac- 
rificed when, in a similar forgetfulness, we make our 
own knowledge or moral success or private conscience 



UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 309 

the measure and rule whereby we judge others about 
us. Many a one has lived the years of life subject to 
bondage, and never able to rejoice in the liberty of 
Christ, afraid even to come unto the Holy Table and 
receive the sacramental Body and Blood, simply be- 
cause the conscious spiritual life failed to correspond 
with that which was typical in the local community, or 
with the portrayal in the journal of some favorite saint. 
And many another has grieved, amid unuttered sorrows, 
over the apparently hopeless case of souls dear after the 
flesh, who never seemed to be religious in the right way, 
that is, the set way of the books or the sect, and yet 
doubtless were among those who feared God and sought 
to keep His commandments. 

Now, that the great fact of personal individuality is 
not destroyed in the Kingdom of God, or neutralized by 
religion, and that a common-sense recognition of this 
fact is right in matters of the faith, is a truth clearly 
acknowledged by Saint Paul in many places, and espe- 
cially in this chapter and this text. In the Body of 
Christ, the vast Church of His redeemed and baptized 
flock, there are many members of various use and honor, 
and various gifts of spiritual endowment. And in the 
grand arms of Divine charity all are to be comprehended. 
For amid diversities of gifts and operations there is the 
same Spirit, the same Lord, the same God working all 
in all. 

For our present purpose, and in the line of thought I 
have indicated, let us then first apply the principles 
enunciated by the Apostle to the facts of diversity in 
the beginnings of the conscious religious life of the 
Christian believer. 

We may select or call up at random from the Christian 
company under any names, I had almost said a few 



310 UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 

individuals familiar to our acquaintance, say out from 
the present congregation, and question them respecting 
facts in their spiritual history. We may ask one and 
another : When did you begin the Christian life ? Under 
what circumstances did you first recognize yourself as a 
disciple of Christ and a believer in Him ? Or, if the 
person was born outside and far away from the Church 
of Christ : By what steps and through what pathways 
were you guided to her portals and the hopes of her 
children ? And we shall find that the paths by which 
they were led, and the circumstances wherein the con- 
sciousness of faith and holy purpose was reached, and 
the personal acts of faith and devotion which marked the 
occasion, are as different as their names or nationalities 
or complexions ; as markedly individual as their natural 
personal traits. 

With one there is no remembrance of any particular 
time or circumstance suggestive of what in a common 
parlance is called " Conversion." Made in infancy a 
member of Christ, and nurtured in the Church of God, 
there has never been a day wherein there was a thought 
alien to the Christian position. It was always the 
habit to serve God, always the intent and purpose, and 
never has this one doubted the Divine grace or the Di- 
vine provision. Of the convulsed experiences whereof 
some may tell, this one knows nothing at all. 

Another will tell of a life given to selfishness, plea- 
sure, worldliness, a life in which God was forgotten, 
and of some awakening to the sin and peril and shame 
of such a life in a world where God is known and 
wherein the Son of God once lived and died for man's 
redemption. Awakened and a good word is that, for 
men need to be awakened amid their sins and fatal re- 
pose, awakened out of their sleep to see the facts which 



UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 311 

environ them, and the judgment ahead of them, 
awakened was this one to unwonted thought ; awakened 
to inquire who he was, whence he came, whither he is 
going ; awakened to see himself a sinner, defiled greatly 
peradventure, a sinner against law and goodness 
and grace, verily a defiant sinner, defiant because so 
willingly blind and so heartily godless ; awakened to 
see himself, although of good repute among men and a 
very Pharisee as touching the law, a sinner in God's 
sight. And this awakened one will narrate how he 
sought God's face, saying, "Father I have sinned," and 
began thenceforth to live beholding the things unseen 
and eternal. 

One will tell of struggles with temptations, with self- 
will and pride, long and fierce, before, in the spirit of 
the little child, submission was made of intellect and 
heart and life to God, or the proud man bowed to re- 
ceive the holy gift in the Christian Baptism. One will 
tell of dark days of despondency, and of light coming 
slowly, with hope and peace, as the Gospel of Christ 
gradually dawned upon the spirit. To one, there was 
attraction in the pure life and words of Jesus, and the 
heart sought His yoke. To another, the cross riveted 
the thoughts, and the risen Lord lifted the soul ; and 
from all darkness and sin, or from all self-seeking or 
worldly splendor, he turned, enamored of that Prince 
of Life, and sworn in irrevocable fealty to His service 
for life, for death, in this world, and in all worlds 
beyond. 

The like and yet other tales will be told over a wide 
range of the Christian profession, illustrating the same 
great truth of diversity of operation. In all branches 
of the universal Church, and amid all Christendom, on 
the one hand churchly nurture rears in churchly ways, 



312 UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 

within the courts of God, the Samuels, the John Bap- 
tists, the Timothys, faithful soldiers of God and His 
Christ, strangers to marked conversion experiences, but 
who from the womb have been sanctified, and from 
childhood have known the Scriptures. On the other 
hand, within the Church rescued from ignorance and 
sin and trampled grace, from the bondage of wrong in- 
structions and burdened consciences, from heathenism 
there have always been the publicans crying, " God be 
merciful to me a sinner;" the prodigals sick of the 
husks, saying, " I will arise and go to my Father ; " the 
Sauls inquiring suddenly on Damascus roads, " Lord 
what wilt thou have me to do ; " the Augustines, pro- 
fligate children of praying mothers, paralyzed with ter- 
ror at Scripture utterances, the sword of the Spirit 
coming into the soul, and with mighty spasm of the 
frame putting off the old man and putting on the new ; 
the Luthers affrighted at dire strokes of Providence and 
struggling onward in bewilderment until Christ's Light 
is revealed ; those whom some special interpositions of 
mercy bring to God's presence in penitence, like the 
soldier whose Bible stopped the bullet on its way to his 
heart ; or those again who are moved by sudden tides 
of memory and tender thought, like one who, far from 
friends and kindred, was seated beneath the olive trees 
in Gethseinane, and in loneliness began to meditate on 
Him who once bowed in agony there for men, and then 
and there said from overflowing heart, " Jesus, hence- 
forth to Thee and Thy service I do give my poor self, 
joyfully, wholly ! " 

Such are " diversities of operations " in the leadings 
of the Holy Ghost in earlier stages of the conscious 
Christian life. 

For our second point, I ask you to observe that the 



UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 313 

diversity is equally marked in the maturer developments 
of the same life. 

The style of manifestation of the spiritual life and 
character is to a great extent a resultant of education, 
temperament, the prevalent surrounding thought, cli- 
mate, possibly in more degrees than we may suppose, 
and very largely of the ecclesiastical circumstances 
or relationships of the individual. Providence and 
grace work together, and are not at cross purposes. 

It is a familiar fact that different theological systems 
or schools of thought and discipline produce piety in 
correspondingly different types : the strongly Calvinistic, 
and its most opposite, for example ; the high and reveren- 
tial order of traditional Anglicanism on the one hand, and 
the ways of dissent and independency on the other, for 
another example ; while schools of devout mysticism 
bring forth their own delicate fruitage, whether amid 
the retirement of the monastery, or beneath the sunlight 
and amid the freedom of the Eeformation. 

The stern Calvinist Puritan battles for his life among 
Divine Decrees, Predestination, and Free-will Mysteries, 
reposing sometimes with a superhuman equanimity in 
his assured belief, however irreconcilable by human 
logic his positions of faith ; or again, in very depths of 
woe lest his own calling and election be not sure, he 
having peradventure lost the signs thereof. A Chris- 
tian he, dwelling in mountain fastnesses, strong in the 
arm, bold in heart, nimble of foot as the Alpine hunter, 
revelling amid torrents, serene beside the avalanche, 
peaceful and at home where clouds gather blackest and 
tempests howl fiercest, he recks little of the world 
below, its ways or its fate. His thoughts are of Him 
who inhabiteth eternity, and it is for him to crucify all 
human affections and desires, and to submit to the In- 



314 UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 

fiiiite orderings. The stern and the terrible, the wrath- 
ful, the severe, the man-humbling aspects of God, are 
his delight 

There is again another child of God whose ripened 
vision beholds chiefly the other side of the Divine char- 
acter, the loving beauty of the Father's face. He looks 
not so much at the Infinite and Absolute and Unsearch- 
able, the God who overthrows the hosts of Pharaoh in 
the Bed Sea, and whose presence is amid clouds on 
Sinai with thunderings and trumpet sound and earth- 
quakes, as at God manifest in human flesh in the sweet 
face of Jesus. To this man there are no clouds round 
about the Throne which are not resplendent with the 
rainbow which the seer of Patmos saw, nor any frown- 
ing summits of Divine counsel or orderings which are 
not beautiful, tipped with the glory of God's smile. 
This man has sympathy with man, broad as the Gospel 
he receives. He dwells in the sunshine, amid lovely 
valleys, verdurous with perpetual summer, yet ready 
with the other and with all valiant souls to endure, to 
labor, to serve as a soldier in any fight of faith and love, 
to suffer, and to wait as a man of God, obedient to God's 
will, unto God's glory. 

There, again, is the honest face of one of an every-day 
piety, loving God and loving man. His brain is un- 
wearied by discussions of theological parties ; his soul 
is distracted by no spiritual paradoxes. He is addicted 
neither to raptures nor depressions. He cannot speak 
the dialect of camp-meetings, or of more staid prayer- 
meetings. He does not trouble himself about Church 
politics, provided only there are no lights on the altar 
nor innovations in ritual where he worships, and no 
Canons concerning Orders and no Rubrics are broken 
by Low Churchmen. He believes according to the creed, 



UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 315 

and by God's help he endeavors to live in the commu- 
nion of the Catholic Church, in all honesty and sobriety 
among men, doing good as he has opportunity, visiting 
the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and keeping 
himself unspotted from the world. 

And, once more, we meet the Christian of highly ner- 
vous temperament and marked intellectuality, trained 
to earnest and discriminating thought, given to self-in- 
trospection and analysis of motive, and analysis of all 
things whether of man or God, a man whose spiritual 
life is strongly moulded upon the cast-iron lines of the 
sect to which he belongs, radical, positive, sure he is 
right, intolerant of those who differ, yet true to his con- 
victions and -to his God; narrow and intolerant, just 
because he cannot help being so, being unable to make 
himself over again. This man may be a Presbyterian, 
or he may be a Churchman, or he may be a Eoman 
Catholic by profession. He is stiffly ascetic perhaps in 
his nature. His theology may be that of Schoolmen. 
He may be given to fastings and prayers. He may 
submit himself to penance after the mediaeval renais- 
sance style, confessing to his Anglican priest in the 
vestry-room or the study, and receiving absolution and 
direction for penance under cover of relief to his bur- 
dened conscience, almost mourning that there is no im- 
palement or martyr fire to be risked thereby ; or he may 
devoutly conform to all the discipline of the old Papal 
hierarchy, and carry even superstition and bigotry into 
zeal for God's honor till they be almost virtues. 

But in all such men, of various kinds and trainings, 
coming from all points of the theological compass and 
from extremes of spiritual latitude and longitude, we 
recognize the fear of God, the love of God, supreme re- 
gard for conscience, and obedience to Christ their Lord 



316 UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 

as they hear and understand Him, working out these 
cardinal elements of character, all in their different 
manifestations. Then, besides types like these pro- 
duced by education and surroundings, do we not see 
endless sub-varieties, so to speak, in Christian life, re- 
sults of temperament and constitutional idiosyncracy 
perhaps ? Religion, like water, some one has well said, 
has flavor of the soil over which it flows, and whose 
elements, taken up in solution, impregnate it. There 
are sparkling disciples who see all things with joyous 
eyes, and whose utterances always delight us. Nothing 
ever comes amiss to them. There is exhilaration where 
some others of us would find smart and pain. There 
are dull disciples, the stream of whose spiritual life and 
influence runs slowly at dead level, yet it bears weights 
upon its sluggish tide and carries the good brethren 
quietly toward the haven. There are melancholic disci- 
ples, and sanguine, hearty men and women. There are 
rude and sturdy souls good for pioneer service, like 
Samson and Gideon. There are those who, David- 
like, sweep the harp-strings from deepest, tenderest 
penitential plaints up to the jubilant notes of seraphic 
triumph. 

There are those whose lifetime is a mixture of con- 
flict and bondage, fightings within and fightings with- 
out, with passions and propensities and temptations, 
with doubts and unbeliefs and fears of death, so that 
there would be absolute despair but for a poor flickering 
faith that there is somewhere a God and a Saviour. 

There are others, happy souls, to whom from first to 
last life is a bright service of God, its good things His 
gifts, its trials His appointments, the comforts amid 
them His tender caressings ; and who ever say, " I 
know Whom I have believed/' 



UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 317 

But and we are now fully prepared for my last 
point amid these diversities of religious life and 
manifestation, there is the great principle of unity ; 
namely, 

It is the same God who worketh all in all. 

For the principle of regenerate life is obedience to God, 
loving obedience, obedience that believes, obedience 
coming from faith ; and this, being a divinely implanted 
principle, imparts unity to the variety of Christian life 
manifested, and creates the true Christian brotherhood, 
and the family resemblance. Christian people believe 
God, and obey God. This belief and obedience comes 
from His Spirit. God renews, moulds, and sanctifies 
them all. 

This is Saint Paul's teaching and the teaching of our 
Lord, and it is accepted truth in Christian creeds. 

Putting which truth together with the facts which 
so far I have been permitted to recall to you, we may 
gather up two lessons, the first being, 

The right and duty of preserving the independence of 
personality in religious life. 

For since obedience of the heart and life to God is 
the main thing in religion, and the way of the life eter- 
nal ; and since God has made men and endowed them 
so variously, bringing about rich variety of fruit and 
flower in the garden of His grace, it is utterly incon- 
gruous to suppose that we can improve upon the divine 
arrangement, either by toning down the aspect of va- 
riety or by bringing about a monotonous hue and ab- 
solute sameness. He would be adjudged a lunatic of 
the first water who made experiments of this sort in the 
material world, in his garden, for instance ; or as an 
educator, paying no regard to aptitudes and tastes of 
a thousand pupils while superintending their develop- 



318 UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 

ment. To be fretted and despondent of God's mercy, 
and fearfully afraid because, when reading narrations 
of pious folk who have gotten into print, or poring over 
books of devout counsel and procrustean beds for self- 
examination, we cannot, for our very lives, subscribe to 
every feeling put on record, nor to every sentiment, nor 
make satisfactory reply to the probings of thought and 
motive in other words, because we cannot be at once 
the good man or woman we are studying is neither 
reasonable nor at all expedient. As well might one be 
discontented because he cannot fashion his countenance 
anew after an admired model, or add a cubit to the 
stature, or change body with some other. 

Be yourself, and be honest. Be true to yourself. 
God has a place for you just precisely you on the 
earth and in His kingdom of grace. You, with your 
personal characteristics, are not a mistake upon this 
planet nor in His Church, any more than any moun- 
tain or tree or river or lake is a mistake because it 
has its own form, outline, course, or scenic effect, differ- 
ent from all others. So serve Him who has made you 
and redeemed you, and trust Him, in the true and manly 
independence of His creature and His child. 

And our other lesson grows so out of this one that it 
needs but to be named, it being but the common duty 
of Christian charity, into wonderful expansion upon 
which virtue Saint Paul bursts forth immediately after 
the argument whence our text is taken. 

It is the One God working in all Christ's Body, 
though diversity of operation correspond with diver- 
sities of members. 

Then judge not, either your fellow-Christians or your 
fellow-men, or other companies of Christians, denomi- 
nations or sects, or branches of the Catholic Church 



UNITY AMID DIVERSITY. 319 

other than the one to which you are allotted ; judge no 
man by any narrow thoughts or tests of your own 
private stock, or the current tests of your circle or 
sect. Amid diversities of operations are some perad- 
venture neither you nor I can understand ; and possibly 
you and I may be an enigma to some other survey. 

Neither let us despair of any, but thank we God 
for the inworkings of His grace vaster than our ken ; for 
the very vastness of the temple He is building up ; for 
many and various stones that the Master Builder knows 
how to place ; for the glory that shall be made clear 
when the top stone crowns the pile sublime, and the 
Church, made up of our human kind and purged from 
all imperfection, shall stand, without spot or wrinkle 
or any such thing, a Church of Glory. 



CARE CAST UPON GOD. 

Catting all your care upon Him, for He carethfor you. 
1 PETER v. 7. 

HAVING once read or heard words like these can 
we ever forget them? And who having once 
taken in their meaning could be persuaded to give up 
the Christian idea of God and to accept any other 
"first-cause" doctrine in place of it? 

This wonderful universe in which we live! Far 
beyond us, and encompassing us on every side as in vast 
and yet vaster concentric spheres, are the revolutions 
and cycles revealed by our mathematical science sup- 
plementing the splendors of the heavens. There is the 
sublime perfection of motion. The immense and un- 
numbered stars and systems pursue their way ; they 
never fail nor swerve. We can make accurate compu- 
tations concerning them. We can stake all earthly 
interests upon these computations. 

Then upon our own earth, how straightforward the 
march of all things in their order and succession ! 

Summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, cold and 
heat, sunshine and black clouds, day and night, keep up 
their alternations. We keep track of them. Storms 
drive through our atmosphere, their force invisible, 
but on their own paths, some of which we have found 
out. Particles of all kind of material substance, expired, 
exhaled, in comminuted or vapory forms, going off from 



CARE CAST UPON GOD. 321 

our bodies, from lungs and pores, going off from our 
gardens and our waste-heaps, going off in the smoke 
from our chimneys, are as chemistry teaches and ex- 
plains re-gathered, re-distributed, kept in perpetual 
use and in perpetual transmigration : so that the bal- 
ance of organic nature is preserved, and no atom is 
ever lost or extinguished. 

The labor of the hand or of the brain is productive 
so surely and so inevitably. Then there seem to be 
just as fixed regularities and certainties in what we call 
the realm of morals. We speak of rewards to virtue. 
We say, "Murder will out," and we recognize appro- 
priate penal results for moral wrongs. And when we 
survey the social life of man, or the State life, we 
observe the same thing. There is a course of empire. 
The law of the rise and thrift of a nation is as clear as 
the law of a tree's growth. The law of decay and 
ruin is as clear as the process of death in a plant or in 
a man. What is this all ? What is the secret of it ? 
Some men speak of law as if this were the full ex- 
planation. We hear great wisdom in which words like 
" force," " development," " protoplasm " come in quite 
roundly. We have great names of philosophers and 
scientists sounded in our ears, and are puzzled by their 
various " hypotheses," which only mean suppositions 
or theories. 

There are men who do not like to retain God in their 
knowledge ; and who travel a long distance to keep 
that name out of their mouths. 

Everything that science and skill can accomplish 
the navigation of the seas, the prediction of astronomi- 
cal changes, the process of invention and discovery is 
traced to some law or force, but the explanation goes 
no further. 

21 



322 CARE CAST UPON GOD. 

Now, we who are Christians love to put the word 
" God " into our solution of all these marvels. And 
that word " God " means a good and wise and loving 
and almighty Father, a Father of omnipresent power 
and efficiency, and, what is more, of an omnipresent 
heart full of tenderness and comfort. 

Look at Saint Peter's expression in the text. God 
" careth for you." 

Before the little child was born in your bouse, how 
many things were done to give it a comfortable wel- 
come to the world, which would have been such a cold 
place but for the provision. And how you anticipate 
all the wants and needs of the living, breathing babe ! 
You sleep verily waking, lest any harm come through 
too sound a sleep or through any neglect. That is 
care taken for the child. 

Go into the chamber of a sick person. There is a 
a darkened window. There on the table beside the 
bed stand flowers, put there by thoughtful love. There 
are the prescribed medicines. There is a plate with 
bits of cracked ice, and there is a fever-allaying drink ; 
while seated at the bedside is a faithful watcher whom 
not a breath escapes, nor a delirious word, nor a turn 
of the hand, nor a motion of the eye. That is caring 
for the sufferer. So is the thoughtfulness which has 
sent a book for the solace of some sad hour. So is 
the loving look upon the sick bestowed by a friend 
coming in. 

"We take passage and go aboard the ocean steamer. 
We are keenly alive to the perils of the sea at least 
some of us when we step upon the deck. But 
everything, even amid the confusion, wears the air of 
order and discipline. Presently after parting with 
friends we make our inspection. The arrangements 



CARE CAST UPON GOD. 323 

for safety and for a degree of comfort are all we could 
expect. The officers and men are at their various 
posts. The bells strike the hours. By and by we hear 
the rush of the gang of men heaving the log. There 
in that little room is a chart, and the captain makes 
his notes upon it after the " observation " is taken, so 
that he can tell just where we are upon the trackless 
sea. We look about at night as well as in the daytime; 
there is increasing watchfulness. The men are always 
at the wheel. The officers are always on the bridge. 
Down in the engine room, and amid the fires, always 
we find men awake, earnest, intent upon duty. And 
in due time after a certain number of revolutions of 
the screw and a careful following a prescribed route 
marked out in New York or in Liverpool, we find 
ourselves safely landed " where we would be." There 
has been care, to bring us to this happy termination. 

The toil of the plowman and the sower and the 
reaper ; the busy industry in the workshop, behind the 
counter, in the office ; the economical management of 
a household which keeps expenses within income and 
saves a little for laying up, if only a dollar in a year, 
is what we mean when we say that care is taken. 
Care plans and provides. Care sees that there is no 
waste, or as little as possible. Care looks after the ten 
thousand little and, by themselves, insignificant things, 
which are really so vital in their connections, and so 
essential to our preservation and happiness. 

Fruits and flowers spring from care. Public parks 
and private gardens thrive by care. Nothing would 
flourish without it. Hinges would grow rusty, the 
shingles fall from the roof and the clapboards from the 
sides of the house, if nobody took any care. Even 
churches would tumble into ruins, beginning with 



324 CARE CAST UPON GOD. 

some leak which lets in the rain, were there no good 
wardens or faithful people to look after repairs. 

Now, Saint Peter says, " He careth for you." Who 
would strike out, I say again, the Christian idea of God, 
and travel his pathway on earth with the substitution 
which some propose for this ? " God careth for you." 
God is full of care, loving care ; care for individual 
needs ; care for the grass and the lilies and the hairs of 
the head and the sparrows and the cattle, and for 
you and me. Essayists, lecturers, and schoolmasters 
may say what they please, but would your heart give 
up this God ? This God to whom you can say " Our 
Father," and whom you can ask for "daily bread" if 
you need ? 

We may be told that the peace and happiness which 
come from such a faith in God and about God are after 
all only charms resulting from a delusion. Perhaps. 
But it is a sweet intoxication to be able to take such 
an outlook upon the world, yea, over the flood of 
waters upon which we are embarked. If it be only 
an idea, yet it is an idea of wonderful power to sustain 
and strengthen, that so great a heart beats in love, and 
so prescient a vision orders in love, and so ready a hand 
all unseen brings about in love while it upholds and 
protects. If all the truth lies even in the interior soul, 
yet may we say with Addison : 

" How are thy servants blest, Lord ! 

How sure is their defence ! 

Eternal wisdom is their guide ; 

Their help, Omnipotence." 

Upon Him cast all your care, says Saint Peter. 

There is an energetic action about that word " cast." 
It means something of violence. If we believe in 
God, we are to put certain things into His hands, or 



CARE CAST UPON GOD. 325 

upon Him; to throw them off our perplexed and 
wearied minds and upon His great broad, unwearying, 
infinite thought, wisdom, love, and power. 

And, what is important for us to remember, the ad- 
vice is not the tame and quiet exhortation coaxing us to 
trust as much as we can in God's hands, and worry 
ourselves at the same time, nor even that we try more 
and more to trust God, but it is the word of command 
and of action. 

You stand upon God's earth. Plant your foot firmly 
on that earth. Brace yourself, if needs be. Then lift 
up and cast, thrust the whole of your care, all your 
trouble and your life into God's lap and leave it there. 

I say your life, for " all the care " is equivalent to life. 
When we cease from care, we shall cease to be. That 
means that we cast ourselves first into God's hands. 
We have to commit others to those hands. We have 
had to leave our best beloved ones with Him, and all 
their interests. We know these are safe. So may we 
and must we entrust ourselves to Him. You are a 
mystery to yourself, and see only trouble and perplexity 
ahead of you. You compare yourself to a passenger on 
a ship at sea, amid fogs, taking your risk, helpless, 
and calm because helpless. Your calmness is stupidity 
or desperation. Try what Saint Peter commands and 
commends. Cast your care, yourself, upon God. Grasp 
the hand that would help you to this uplifting, even 
the hand of Christ, and throwing yourself and all 
things upon His love, trusting that, be at peace, go your 
ways in peace, do your work in peace. If you succeed 
in your plans, it is well. If you do not succeed in 
them, it is well also. Your care is cast upon God. 
In that venture of faith you have left questions of 
success and failure, after our common ways of thinking, 



326 CARE CAST UPON GOD. 

in God's hands. You have cast yourself upon Him. 
If He breaks your plans and sweeps away your pro- 
jects, He still bears you upon His almighty wing ; and 
you are in the arms, and the hand, of His care and 
love. 

Let me close with these trustful lines of Whittier : 

" I know not what the future hath 

Of marvel or surprise, 
Assured alone that life and death 
His mercy underlies. 



" And so beside the silent sea 

I wait the muffled oar ; 
No harm from Him can come to me 
On ocean or on shore. 

"I know not where His islands lift 

Their fronded palms in air ; 
I only know I cannot drift 
Beyond His love and care. " 



THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EAETH. 

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, . . . And He 
that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things 
new. REVELATION xxi. 1, 5. 

TN these words our thoughts are first carried to the 
-^ sublime vision itself from the record of which they 
are taken. The vision of the Judgment, wherein the 
dead, small and great, stand before God, and the sea 
and death and Hades give up the dead which have been 
in them, that they may be judged out of the books, ac- 
cording to their works, has passed, and the resplendent 
vision of the New Jerusalem appears. The Gity of God 
descends from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride 
adorned for her husband. The tabernacle of God is 
with men, and God doth wipe away the tears from all 
eyes, and there is no more death, neither sorrow nor 
crying, neither shall there be any more pain. The 
former things are passed away. And then the voice 
of the One sitting upon the throne is heard, " Behold, 
I make all things new ! " 

If we study the whole picture, and note carefully the 
language, we see that there is not a process of new cre- 
ation going on, a creation of material, nor even a putting 
chaotic matter into order and beauty, but that it is 
rather the renovation and reconstruction of the old 
material. Both in the material things and the spiritual 
things of the Apocalyptic imagery this seems to be the 
case. The heavens and the earth are new ; yet heavens 



328 THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. 

and earth for substance. The City of God is new ; yet 
it is the New Jerusalem. And they who sing before 
the throne sing a new song, or as it were a new song ; 
one in some senses old and familiar, to which their 
lips were attuned through many processes of sancti- 
fying discipline, yet ever new and fresh in its grander 
meanings and its celestial harmonies. 

The key-note of the revelation here made is renova- 
tion. The Apocalypse whatever the true or rather 
the indiscoverable theory for its interpretation, whether 
it be a prophetic vision of the earlier struggles of the 
Church, closing with the great era of the imperial perse- 
cution and the final destruction of Jerusalem, or a reve- 
lation of the course of conflict, or the general features 
thereof, through which the Church of God is to be led to 
its final glory certainly seems to throw a light upon 
the whole course and trend of Providence and history. 
And these words, " I make all things new," may be 
taken as a summary of the hopeful suggestions of the 
book respecting the course of history and of human ex- 
perience, amid all vicissitudes and upheavals, revolu- 
tions and catastrophes. There is something great and 
good being evolved as age follows age, as destruction 
and revivification seem to alternate. There is One who 
says, " Behold, I make all things new ! " And the end is 
this whereunto the vision of Saint John reaches, the 
consummation of blessedness in the universe of God, and 
in the full revelation of God in the glorification of His 
Son Jesus Christ, and perfect redemption, the restitu- 
tion of all things, the gathering together of all things 
in Him. 

Saint John's keen vision and Saint Paul's inspired ut- 
terances point to the same grand end, the new crea- 
tion and the manifestation of the Son of God, toward 



THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. 329 

which all the weary ways of human life, and all 
the groanings of the old creation are tending, and in 
which shall be at once their justification and their 
recompense. 

The recognition of this ultimate purpose of God and 
of the process wherein it is described, the grand reno- 
vation of all things through the ages, discovers to us a 
principle of unity whereby the solution of some of our 
gravest problems in theology, and the philosophy of 
events, may be greatly aided. 

I will endeavor to indicate in one or two illustrations 
how we may gather the assistance and comfort thus 
afforded. 

1. Let us begin with our own problem: ourselves, 
man ; and the question, what is man's worth and man's 
destiny ? What significance has the making all things 
new for him ? Is man, are we, among the things made 
new ? A foremost truth of Scripture is at once brought 
to mind when we attempt this problem ; namely, the 
regeneration of man himself. And it is a note-worthy 
fact that Saint John, the writer of the Apocalypse, in 
his later work, the fourth Gospel, gives supreme promi- 
nence to this point. The Gospel opens with the Word 
becoming flesh, and with power being given to men to 
become sons of God, " not of blood, nor of the will of 
the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God ; " and the 
great truth receives emphasis again in the narrative of 
the interview between Nicodemus and the Lord. Read- 
ing various scriptures, and putting together what is 
said in the Gospels, and by Saint John and Saint Paul 
in their Epistles, we gather that although the process of 
renovation began indeed close upon the Fall, with the 
first promise of grace, and the provisions of religion, the 
disclosure of the first and fundamental step is not made 



330 THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. 

until Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, appears in 
our human nature. Christ appears in the " fulness of 
time," that is, when the world and humanity and 
God's purposes are ready for the appearing. 

In this incarnation, we are taught, is the revelation 
of the long withholdeu mystery, that is, " The mystery 
of godliness," " God," or "He who was manifested in the 
flesh." Christ is represented as the New Man. He is 
figured to us under the title of the second Man, the 
second Adam. The idea presented is that of race head- 
ship. The first Adam stands in our theological systems, 
gathered from scriptural expression, head of the race 
which sprang from his loins by natural descent. In 
him they, his children, fell. In him they all die. The 
solidarity of the race in Adam is strongly figured, nay, 
more than figured ; and race ruin is the logical conse- 
quence, and the consequence de facto 

The re-creation, or the regeneration of the race, 
comes by its transference to a new head. That new 
head is the second Adam, the Christ. He is the first 
born of the new creation. The manhood He assumed 
and wore, and joined to His divine nature, is the man- 
hood born of the Virgin, and springs from divine over- 
shadowing. Scripture is consistent. There is wonderful 
harmony and exactitude in its revelations of supernat- 
ural and divine facts and doings. This God-Man is 
head of a new race gathered out of the old race, a re- 
constructed and regenerated race. The manhood which 
is joined unto and finds its head in the second Adam, 
the Lord from heaven, is delivered from power of 
death and made heir of the resurrection. As all in 
Adam die, so all in Christ live. The regenerate man- 
hood, and that is the aggregate of the regenerate men ; 
those who by faith and covenant are gathered into 



THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. 331 

Christ and belong to the race of the second Adam, 
these are conformed, by His Spirit dwelling in them, to 
His spiritual character and similitude in their personal 
character, and will be conformed to Him, spiritually 
and bodily, in the unspeakable beauty and purity of 
His glorious Person. It is a wonderful picture of 
hope which faith discerns when she studies the por- 
trayal: "Christ, the hope of glory." What is our 
hope in this vision of the New Man who stands cen- 
tral in creation, and whose renovation is a part of 
that work which He who maketh all things new is 
doing ? 

The first man Adam was lord of Paradise. Even the 
fallen Adam is a wonderful being, a splendid race for 
endowment and power. His deeds of might and deeds 
of good, looked at in our earthly way, are well worthy 
a child of the skies. His deeds of evil, his crimes, are 
a stupendous revelation of the power resident within 
him. And yet again, how close are his limitations! 
" Thus far and no farther," is the law upon him. There 
are bounds which he cannot pass. He is subject to con- 
ditions, to toil, to suffering, to deterioration, decay, and 
death. He cannot escape therefrom. No elixir of life 
is within his compass. He cannot stave off conse- 
quences of sin. No one of them can by any means 
redeem his brother. He is godlike, yet not a god. He 
can accomplish many things. He can weigh the stars 
and map out their motions. He can master potent 
forces of Nature. But he cannot create a ray of 
light or a blade of grass, nor breathe life into any 
nostrils, whether to vivify a statue or to revive a dead 
fish. The very earth brings forth thorns and thistles 
to him. He can eat bread only in the sweat of his 
brow. At the most, he can but temporarily avert or 



332 THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. 

briefly hide from any impending evil or calamity. And 
great as he is, death masters him. Death has reigned 
over him. A whole creation indeed is handicapped by 
its relation to him, and groans in sympathy with his 
estate. 

What hope is there for this creature which is not 
against hope ? What chance for him, except there be 
some unrevealed law or power within him at last to 
burst his bonds and transcend all his known limits ? 
Perhaps Let us not, however, cast aspersion upon 
any human outlook. 

But the New Man, type as well as head of the new 
race, head of a race in which the finite and the infi- 
nite meet and blend, how He doth interpret for us 
what it is to be sons of God ! The New Man is mas- 
ter of all the earth. He is master of human woes and 
of human circumstances, and master of death. There 
seems to be no word "impossible" with Him. The 
matter world and the spirit world are subject to Him. 
The seas subside at His bidding ; He can walk upon 
their crested waves as upon a smooth floor ; the fig-tree 
withers to point His spiritual teaching ; bread mul- 
tiplies in His hand to feed the thousands when He must 
needs feed them ; disease flies at His word, fever, palsy, 
leprosy, blindness, lameness; devils are cast out by 
Him ; the mad-men clothe themselves, and are of right 
mind when He speaks to them ; death and Hades sur- 
render their victims at His command. What a won- 
derful sight was that when the New Man touched the 
bier at the gates of Nain and the young man rose from 
his death sleep ; or yet more, when, calm and assured, 
he went out to Bethany and to the grave of Lazarus, 
and bade the four-days dead come forth, and he came 
forth, bound hand and foot as the corpses were bound 



THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. 333 

for entombment ! Mark it ! He who summoned Laz- 
arus from the grave was the Son of Man. Then again, 
the New Man Himself is superior to death. He dies 
indeed, not because He must die, but He lays down His 
life for a purpose. And then He asserts Himself, the 
dead and buried New Man alive again and alive for- 
evermore. He is now man ; master of old laws and 
of new laws ; master of new forces, and interpreter of 
laws until His revelation all unknown. 

Scripture, we have said, is consistent. The whole 
story of the New Man, the Son of God and Son of Man, 
is a story which befits such a Being, and is essential to 
the conception of such a Being. 

What more have we for light upon our human prob- 
lem ? The New Man revelation culminates in the As- 
cension. From the summit of Olivet He has passed 
into the heavens. It is made known that He will 
appear again, and that He will be the Supreme Power 
upon earth, the reigning king, all things subject to Hirn. 
The visions of the Apocalypse portray the glory of His 
reign. Do we inquire what this means for man ; for 
the race whereof He is head and Prince ? Saint John, 
whose eye discerned the future in those visions, says, 
" When He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we 
shall see Him even as He is." " Ye also shall sit upon 
thrones," said this Son of Man Himself, to His elect rep- 
resentatives of His chosen race and body, when He spoke 
of the full regeneration, the palingenesis of the future. 
The new race is a brotherhood ; the Son of Man is the 
elder brother. The brotherhood, the race redeemed, the 
faithful of Christ, they, by the vision of the Apocalypse, 
shall dwell in the city ; they shall there serve God 
and see His face, and His name shall be upon their 
foreheads. 



334 THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. 

Such is the outlook for man through Christ. By 
faith in Him men become members of His body, being 
baptized into Him. He is the head of the new race, 
the head of the body. To the renovated manhood is 
given power to be sons of God, a dignity which sur- 
passes our present scope of definition or thought. God 
is making all things new, and, central amid the all things, 
a new people, a new creation of man to serve and praise 
Him. 

2. The renovation work again, it appears, is not con- 
fined to the race of man. It is carried on in man's 
surroundings and conditions, so that the re-established 
Man shall find abundant re-endowment, and all circum- 
stances fitting to the glory of the regenerated race. As 
the earth has been carried through successive renova- 
tions in ages past, to the end that man should find his 
place and work in it, and as the shapings of events in 
history, all revolutions and upheavals and successions 
of empire, and all advance in dominant thoughts and 
age ideas, have been manifestly directed for human ad- 
vancement and growth, so the Apocalypse gives us the 
fuller knowledge that the like process goes on definitely 
toward the beatific consummation discerned in the 
vision. The motion of the universe is toward the 
new heaven and the new earth. There is a shaping 
power. That power is His who sits upon the throne. 
His throne is that whence emanates decrees and all 
laws and all changes and all supreme judgment. From 
that throne comes the explanatory voice, the voice in- 
terpreting Providence and history, " I am making all 
things new." The processes of Nature and of history 
may be very intricate, but here is the clew to the most 
labyrinthian problems they present. There is supreme 
purpose. There is a throne and power in it. There is 



THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. 335 

uniform and resistless exercise of purposeful power, 
the renovations, until the time of the perfect restitu- 
tion of all things, when under the new heavens and 
upon the new earth there shall stand the city whereof 
it is written, " the glory of God did lighten it and the 
Lamb is the Light thereof." 

In the recognition of this purpose of a consummation 
in the first revelation of God in His Son, and the per- 
fect estate through the redemption that is in Christ 
Jesus, is, as has been already said in part, the key to 
the solution of history. The consummation is full 
enough and grand enough to be the issue and result, and 
thus the explanation of all that has gone before it, 
the growth and construction of the earth, the sufferings 
and conflicts, the revolutions and renewals of nations 
and individual men. The processes of this world are 
seen to terminate in that which is immortal, spiritual, 
and eternal. May we not rest in this great fact ? Or 
shall we turn to the alternative, the most relentless 
pessimism or agnostic fatalism ? 

To the eye of Christian faith, then, the whole march 
of Providence and history is a transformation work. A 
new heavens and new earth are being evolved before 
the keen eye of our spiritual discernment In our daily 
world the ideas which the New Man by His Incarna- 
tion put into the world are the transforming and reno- 
vating forces. These forces have made the present age 
what it is, in contrast with remote past ages. It is the 
potency of the New Man in human life which makes 
our city, our home, and our life in the world, better, 
purer, safer than the life of old Pompeii or Pagan 
Eome or Corinth or the older Babylon. The wars and 
overtnrnings of empires, amid seas of fire and blood, 
which have brought the nineteenth century to us are 



336 THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. 

but successive steps in the "making all things new." 
Behold, He who says from the throne that He is doing 
it, is verily the world s Saviour in the most worldly and 
material sense, as well as in the higher and spiritual sig- 
nificance 1 He has made earth habitable for us. What 
would this world be to-day for you or me were all the 
Gesta Christi eliminated from the scene of our sur- 
roundings and possessions, and had we nothing left 
which has come from Christ and His Gospel ? When 
the prophecy is fulfilled, the new heavens and the new 
earth will be an abode fitted for the race which is to 
dwell and reign thereon. 

The separation from sin and woe shall be complete 
and permanent. Death and Hades shall have been 
cast into the lake of fire. And there shall be ex- 
cluded forever all that is evil and pollution, and 
whatsoever loveth and maketh a lie. 

Oh, brethren, fellow-members of the race of Adam, 
what august mysteries and capacities of our being re- 
main before us to be tested ! Amid what limitless 
possibilities of life that is eternal shall we be versed 
some day ! Out of the old God is creating the new. 
Are we being made over again into the likeness of His 
Son ? The spiritual renewal and transformation of the 
individual man is the first step in the process of hope 
and life for that man. The new birth by God's grace, 
and the sanctification into the likeness of Christ, are 
not mere dogmas of the Church or of theology. The 
whole hope of man by the Scripture is made to rest 
upon this renewal. The voices of Nature and of his- 
tory echo to the words of the divine Lord, " Ye must 
be born again ! " 

He that maketh all things new must make us all 
anew, that we may inherit with the new-born race, and 



THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH. 337 

the First Born the God-Man the highest blessedness 
of being. 

God grant that so we be made His children by 
adoption and grace, and daily be renewed by His Holy 
Spirit that we may, in the latter day, rise to the life 
Immortal ! 



THE HOLY COMMUNION. 

He gave it to His Disciples. MATT. xxvi. 26. 

r I ^HERE is a familiar poetic, if not entirely philo- 
J- sophical, deduction from a known law of sound, 
to the effect that the atmosphere of earth, or the yet 
vaster medium of surrounding ether, retains in form and 
living motion every sound and note that has ever been 
projected from human lips or from any other source. 
So that fearful thought, in some aspects of it 
words never die. They, once spoken, may strike ears 
for which they were never meant. They may ever 
live and move, though we cannot trace their flight, 
winged benedictions, or winged evils, of measureless 
influences for good or for ill. 

Another familiar and impressive fancy, based upon 
the laws of light and its velocity, startling when first 
conceived, yet altogether within the bounds of reason, is 
that when we look at certain heavenly bodies through 
the telescope, so great is the magnitude of distance, we 
see not the rays which to-day are flashing from them, 
but those which leaped forth from the mighty fires 
thousands, nay, tens of thousands of years ago. And 
so could an observer upon some planet much less dis- 
tant than some of those be endowed with vision keen 
enough for analysis of objects, he might to-day dis- 
cern, as a present scene, almost any of the noted events 
of the past, the day of the crucifixion, for example, 
or, farther back, the floods of Noah's time, or yet 



THE HOLY COMMUNION. 339 

again the freshness and glory of the virgin earth 
when morning stars sang together and sons of God 
shouted for joy, the new verdure and the primeval glow 
of the sunlit paradise ere it had ceased to be a home 
for the human kind. 

In a sense, then, words are ever living and fresh, 
through ages, from the lips that spoke them, and things 
done are ever being done so that time and space almost 
pass out of reckoning, and all things and all words 
dwell eternally in the perpetual and eternal Now. 
May we not bring these conceptions to our aid and 
think of the words of our divine Lord and Saviour as 
fresh words to-day, just falling from His lips, and 
behold as a present and perpetually present scene the 
upper chamber of the Passover in Jerusalem, and the 
ordering of the Feast wherein He purposed to feed and 
refresh His people in all the years thereafter ? 

It is to the Christian faith a living picture, more 
than a picture, an undying group, a transaction never 
vanishing from the view. The Table of the Lord and 
His disciples is ever spread. The Master is seated at 
it still The words giving His body and His blood are 
verily issuing from His lips and fresh upon the air. 
The bread broken and the consecrated chalice are being 
in this very movement still given into the hands of His 
disciples. Let the centuries melt from our thoughts, 
and be as though they were not. The successive gener- 
ations of communicants are but successive ranks of 
the congregation going up to that sacred Table where 
He presides, Master of Assemblies, receiving from Him 
and orderly retiring that others may follow them. 

So to-day, in our turn on earth, we advance to His 
altar. Priests and people, we alike receive from His 
own most blessed hand. Other generations shall fol- 



340 THE HOLY COMMUNION. 

low us. It is one unbroken Eucharistic Feast wherein 
we do eat the same spiritual bread and drink the same 
spiritual cup until all His sacramental host are nur- 
tured and gathered into Paradise, or the hour doth 
come for His glory. In this grand Eucharist, which 
is every day and every hour somewhere upon the earth 
celebrated by faithful souls, there is perpetual presence 
of the Lord with His believing Church, not a cor- 
poreal presence in the bread and wine, nor a transub- 
stantiated presence, nor aught merely metaphysical or 
theoretical, but a presence warm and living as He gives 
still to His disciples. 

1. He gave it to them. 

Let our first thought, after this conception of His 
presence, spring from our emphasis upon the first 
word, " He." 

The lofty estimate which the Church of Christ 
places upon the sacraments is the result of the esteem 
wherein the Master Himself is held. Instituted by 
Him personally, and not mediately through apostles 
as were some other institutions, faith in His divinity 
places them above all other ordinances whatsoever. 
One of these pertains to the production of spiritual 
life. The other pertains to its preservation. We call 
them, in their grand pre-eminence, " Sacraments," and 
by this title distinguish them from all other ordinances 
however primitive, binding, or beautiful. 

Then farther, believing that which the Master taught 
concerning the inflowing of spiritual life from Him 
into His members, even as sap flows from the vine- 
trunk into the branches, and regarding these Sacra- 
ments as channels through which specific streams of 
this life flow down, albeit not all the streams, receiv- 
ing them as conduits from Him, the Church regards 



THE HOLY COMMUNION. 341 

them not as mere tokens or signs of grace which is 
given independently of them as much as within them. 
So she differs, and always has differed, in all her con- 
fessions, and in all her personal faith, from those who 
regard them as mere medals or badges ; from those to 
whom they are simple formalities ; from those to whom 
they are transactions in which man gives to God rather 
than receives from God ; from those who esteem them 
valuable only as certain thoughts are always suggested 
by them ; and most of all from those who, whether 
papist or rationalist, modify them at pleasure or set 
them among the worn-out things which were supposed 
to be helpful in the primitive days of the Christian 
Faith. Because He ordained them Himself, because 
from His lips issued the commandment to baptize, and 
again to bless and break and eat the sacramental bread, 
these two Christian rites stand forever pre-eminent 
above all possible ordinances or rites which, however 
appropriate, faith or love might ever erect. They can- 
not be set aside. They may not be neglected. They 
must not be tampered with. They must remain as He 
gave them, and be preserved and perpetuated according 
to His words. 

2. Let us emphasize the second word, " He gave." 
A sacrament is something wherein the Lord gives, 
not a something in which He receives. Yet, in the 
fickle perverseness of human thought, there is a preval- 
ent notion, let us hope it is not widespread in the 
Church, that man must give. And connected with this 
idea is a fear of sacraments and a great neglect of 
them, on the part of those who know not what to give 
when they come before God, or who are conscious (as 
who must not be) that they can bring no fitness to Him 
wherein they may be baptized, nor any proper degree 



342 THE HOLY COMMUNION. 

of penitential emotion when they must offer up a 
" feeling " suitable to the intellectual process of recall- 
ing the circumstances of the Saviour's death, or the 
theological doctrines which they are taught to arrange 
in clusters around the cross of a Redeemer. Nay, 
brethren, we may indeed give ourselves up anew to 
God's service in the devotional acts accompanying 
every sacramental service, and we ought to do this 
sincerely and earnestly ; but, except in that sense, we 
have nothing to give, we are simply recipients. He 
gives, the gracious giver. He gives the grace in bap- 
tism. We offer not perfection of renewed hearts to 
Him for His acceptance in that service. We cast no 
new honors at His feet when we, in the loftiness of 
manhood, come to His font for the washing of regen- 
eration. We are not bidden wait with coming to those 
waters until we have achieved victory over sin, or until 
we can exhibit a heroic repentance, or something that 
shall entitle us to His regard. We come, as we bring 
the new-born babe, empty of all pretension, and empty 
of all goodness, and empty of all spiritual power. We 
come desirous of blessing from Him, and in receptive 
mood because desirous. We come seeking, and to take, 
as He will give it, that grace which seals acceptance 
with Him, and which is the first instalment of spirit- 
ual mercies unnumbered, of spiritual life, of imparted 
strength and spiritual victory. And, in like manner, 
in the Holy Communion Christ gives and we receive. 
This is the attitude of a true faith in Him. " Nothing 
in my hand I bring" may be sung before that Holy 
Table as nowhere else. 

So let no one who would have Christ's blessing stay 
away from the Eucharistic Feast by reason of the 
sense of want, of emptiness, of unworthy heart and feel- 



THE HOLY COMMUNION. 343 

ing and service. For here is the empty filled and the 
feeble is holpen. 

3. But what is given in this sacrament ? Let us em- 
phasize again, He gave it. He took bread and blessed 
it and brake it, and gave it. And He took the cup and 
gave thanks, and gave it. And as He gave the bread, 
He said, " This is my body." And as He gave the cup, 
He said, " This is my blood of the New Testament 
which is shed for many for the remission of sins." 

His natural body was before their eyes, and with His 
own hand of flesh He gave that bread. His natural 
blood coursed through those veins, and yet He said, 
" This is my body, and this is my blood." Nor did He 
say, This bread when you eat it represents merely this 
body of mine ; nor did He say, It shall suggest this 
body of mine. The holy words of the Institution 
affirm, " This is my body and blood." And yet the 
fleshly body and blood were clearly not that bread and 
wine, clearly not that body and blood which the disci- 
ples then and there ate and drank. 

But previous to this most holy occasion our blessed 
Lord had taught His disciples that there was to be 
special communication of spiritual life from Himself to 
His people, through a process which He was pleased to 
call, " eating the flesh of the Son of Man and drinking 
His blood." At the time, they who heard did not un- 
derstand Him. In these wondrous words of the Holy 
Table, however, the mysterious language was not di- 
vested of mystery, but sufficiently interpreted. He 
gave them the bread and bade them eat, saying, " This 
is my body." and the consecrated wine, saying, " This 
is my blood." In this sacramental act they were to 
receive that spiritual nourishment which our Saviour 
expressed in the terms, eating His flesh and drinking 



344 THE HOLY COMMUNION. 

His blood, that which He meant when He said, " My 
flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed ; " 
" He that eateth Me even he shall live by Me." 

He gave it then to His disciples, and He is giving 
this in all the ages to them, individually, as they come, 
in successive generations in their day upon earth, and 
kneel around His Holy Table, the altar whereof they 
have the right to eat. The great sacramental grace, or 
blessing, the gift, the enrichment, the endowment, the 
help, the strength, the vitality of most precious value, 
whatever it be in its nature or analysis we know not ; 
that supreme blessing which He is pleased to call, " bread 
from heaven," " His own flesh," " His own body and 
blood," and the richness of which, and the sustenance 
of which, the armies of the saints have tested and wit- 
nessed, this, obtainable nowhere but in this sacrament, 
spiritually received, this blessing, supreme and ineffable, 
He gave to His disciples, and gives to them to-day. 

It is a gift, permit me to say again, which we cannot 
analyze or dissect. Nor can we in our own conscious- 
ness separate it or its immediate effects from those ex- 
pressions which are the natural emotions of the devout 
heart ; but by its results we may recognize its value. 
Somehow there is most intimate connection between 
this sacrament and all ghostly strength ; between it and 
elevated Christian peace, stability, and comfort ; between 
it and the growth of individual spiritual life ; between 
its faithful observance and the continuance, the growth, 
the spirituality and power of the whole company of all 
faithful people. Corruptions of this sacrament are his- 
torically associated with corruptions in the Church and 
diminution of spiritual power through them. Detrac- 
tions from this sacrament are associated with deteriora- 
tions in faith and order, and in diminution of spiritual 



THE HOLY COMMUNION. 345 

power on another side. The reverent maintenance 
thereof in its integrity pertains to them in the Catholic 
Communion who most strongly hold the apostolic faith 
and practice, and is their highest means of growth and 
of grace, even as it stands central and most exalted in 
their worship. 

As you come to the Holy Table this morning, dis- 
ciples of the divine Master, remember that it is He 
who gives to you the sacramental food, and the bless- 
ing of spiritual strength pertaining to it. Let all others 
fade from the vision, and receive as from that Master 
alone. Give thanks to Him that as His warm right 
hand might be grasped by those who lived when He 
was in the flesh upon earth, or the " hem of His gar- 
ment," so through this sacrament, coming down through 
the ages, there is contact with Him for believing souls, 
and "virtue" goeth out from Him for the healing of 
their infirmities. Closing the palm upon that bread, 
you take hold of what is as the hand of Jesus, what He 
gives as a sensible proof of His presence, like the lov- 
ing hand extended in the dark to caress and comfort 
and assure the timid child in its cradle. The voice of 
this sacrament is, " Lo, I am with you ! " It whispers 
that the shadows shall flee away and the morning shall 
break. Eeceive. Believe. Feed on Him present, in 
your heart, "by faith with thanksgiving." Do your 
sins trouble you ? In His voice, telling of His own 
sacrifice, can you doubt His forgiveness ? Do clouds 
and darkness fill your day so that you are in perpetual 
sorrow and tribulation? That voice of Jesus says, 
" My body and my blood are given for you." Shall 
not all things be well at the last ? Are not all things 
well now, with this great fact before your eyes, and 



346 THE HOLY COMMUNION. 

He who gave Himself, your King, the Almighty 
Ruler? 

He gave it. He gives this sacramental food to His 
disciples. And do you not receive it ? Then, why ? 
You refuse, beloved, what Christ offers you. You re- 
fuse the sign, and do not respond to it. You refuse in 
this the thing signified, the grace of the eternal life 
which He gives in the sign, that food which except 
you eat it and drink it, you have no life in you. 

Beloved ! beloved ! it is no small thing to refuse the 
Holy Communion of the body and the blood of the Son 
of God, the gift of the infinite love, the means of the 
infinite grace, offered most freely to every sinner who 
would repent him of his sins and humbly receive it. 



THE MANY MANSIONS. 

In my Father's house are many mansions : if it were not 
so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for 
you. JOHN xiv. 2. 

" T F it were not so I would have told you." What 
J- blessed words are these ! The hope of future life 
and conception of that life is cheering to the chastened 
mind, so that the outlook is not cold and dark, but 
home-like, so that the world to come invites the spirit 
rather than affrights or repels it. The conviction is born, 
inborn with the spiritual regeneration, that what God's 
children need and thirst for they shall some day find, 
and shall thirst no more ; that every immortal spirit 
shall have enough and to spare of joy in being and of 
service ; that conceptions may be framed which, although 
to be hereafter corrected in detail, shall nevertheless not 
be disappointed in the fulness and sweetness of the re- 
ality. This hope and this conviction find justification in 
these words of our divine and adorable Master. Were 
they essentially wrong or without foundation, He says, 
" I would have told you." We may look away from 
this our earth into the vast expanse of the starry hea- 
vens, and we may be confident ; many abodes remain, 
and we have grander intervals than those of time and 
sense, and vaster resource than all earthly habitation and 
wealth, although it is not given us here to make inven- 
tory of the things beyond. Let us take the words of 



348 THE MANY MANSIONS. 

the text first in one of the two familiar interpretations 
of them, and 

1. Understand our Lord as referring to the grand 
universe as the Father's house, and the home every- 
where, and that there are in this vast edifice many 
apartments, resting places, abodes, where children and 
guests may dwell in serene peace. This earth is one of 
the abodes or chambers. In the vast palace there are 
countless other chambers. So the Lord comforts His 
disciples in anticipation of the separation presently to 
be realized. I am going away from you, and the daily 
intercourse of eye and ear and hand and mouth will be 
suspended ; but I only pass into another apartment of 
the house. I shall be but the other side of the veil 
which so heavily drapes the hall wherein we are to- 
gether tarrying, and I shall come again to carry you 
with me to the place more sumptuous within. 

From the Christian standpoint it is a good thing to 
live. Whether immortality and an unending conscious 
existence be man's inalienable right, and his law of 
being, or whether it be that this endowment is bestowed 
only in the regeneration, as man is renewed into the 
life and hope of the second Adam, the Lord from 
heaven, may be left to the well-learned controversial- 
ists for solution ; but to the disciples of Christ the pro- 
mise is sure, and his personal immortality and hope of 
glory is matter of revelation. This present estate may 
be whatever he chooses to consider it. So bare the 
walls, and so meagre the furniture of his individual lot, 
and so painful the allotments for his discipline, that he 
may call it a prison cell with scarce more than a rift in 
the cold granite for light and air, or a school of hard 
tutelage and bitter experience. But presently the door 
will open, and there will be a going forth into something 



THE MANY MANSIONS. 349 

better, into another abode, an abode bright to our 
vision, for God's word writes hope upon its front in 
hues of the rainbow. 

Yet let us not call this lifetime a prison, though it 
be a school of discipline. In the light of Christ, let it 
rather be the vestibule wherein we await the unfold- 
ing of portals with expectancy. Beyond is the Paradise, 
the grand hall where the redeemed of all ages are as- 
sembling, not having yet received the promise in its 
fulness ; where, with the consciousness of that pres- 
ence of their Lord which is supreme felicity itself, they 
still await the vision beatific, " the redemption of the 
body," and " the abundant entrance to the everlasting 
kingdom." 

Wondrous comfort this to stricken souls and to those 
whose hearts and hopes are bound up in some of these ! 
That life which seems so fearful a wreck, sorrow and 
suffering having blasted it ; that life wherein the poor 
tenant of a feeble frame has lingered, in the day time 
saying, " Would God it were evening ! " and through 
the night watches, " Would God it were morning ! " 
that life a burden and a paradox, leading the sufferer 
and the sharer of the woe to wonder sometimes whether 
there be a hearer of prayer or a throne of mercy at all, 
behold ! it is not a wreck, but a waiting time. The 
morning cometh. Earth is not the only dwelling place, 
nor is it home ; there is life to come. And to those 
who dwell in bondage through the fear of death, how 
strengthening and how emancipating the words of the 
Master, could they but take them in ! Our " Saviour 
Jesus Christ hath abolished death," and hath brought 
life and immortality to light. Death is but transition. 
" I go and come again." There are apartments more 
than one. To the member of Christ, there is no ex- 



350 THE MANY MANSIONS. 

tinguishment of being. To his consciousness there is 
no interruption, nor is there break in his existence. In- 
deed, there may be no disturbance of his highest plans 
and purposes ; for his plan and purpose is to fulfil God's 
will and to honor his divine Redeemer. This is all 
there is in death to the man of faith or the child of 
God. It is but the passage through an open door, a 
door which Christ hath opened and which no man may 
shut Life is here ; more and better life is there. Ser- 
vice is here, a blessed service, though the service be 
only and that the hardest one to stand and wait. 
Better service, yet more blessed, greater and more tell- 
ing, is beyond. The transition made, that other room 
gained, the vestibule left behind and the soul standing 
amid the innumerable company within the hall of Para- 
dise, what ineffable experiences of joy and gladness 
must they know who enter there! Pain and toil are 
over. Weakness and weariness are of the past. The 
clouds which rested so heavily upon the mind are rolled 
away. Doubt is gone ; fear is gone. When you speak 
to the weary and heavy laden, beloved, point them to 
this comfortable hope. Strengthen the hearts of the 
sorrowing ones with the vision of the Xew Testament 
prophecy. When you revolve the puzzling problem of 
human destiny, and surveying the generations after gen- 
erations who toil in turn upon the surface of the globe, 
loaded with poverty, ignorance, and sin, dull and 
stolid in their lives and their ways, you inquire where- 
fore do they live, or doubt whether it be for more than 
gross and material ends, as to dig and delve and labor 
for the elect few of higher position and happier lot. 
Among your many thoughts concerning them, rejoice 
that there are many mansions in the great house of the 
Father, and that there is another side of the veil for 



THE MANY MANSIONS. 351 

these as well as for their betters in circumstance and 
lot. Speak to them words of brotherly hope, words of 
patience, and words of trust. Speak to them the words of 
Jesus, more full of hope for them than they ask or even 
think. The word for them is, " Onward ! " Let them hear 
from your lips the everlasting Gospel, and, believing it, 
toil in the honest sweat of labor, suffer in calm obe- 
dience, and enter into rest. When you stand by the 
bedside of the dying Christian, speak brave words in 
his ear. Congratulate him as well-nigh conqueror. 
When you weep for those gone before, remember the 
Communion of the Saints, and that between this vesti- 
bule and that Paradise of clear delights and brighter 
hopes there is but a step, but a hand's-breadth, but 
a breath. 

2. Let us take the words of our text in the other 
understanding of them. 

The Lord speaks of preparing a place, a special place, 
for His people. Whatever be the drift or the destiny of the 
nations who pass away, or what some have called the 
" uncovenanted mercies " of the supremely good and gra- 
cious God, there is positive revelation of future blessed- 
ness and glory for the faithful people of God and Christ. 
Christian hope is not undefined hope. The Easter sepul- 
chre is assurance to the Christian believer. It is the 
one positive and material fact upon which in this earthly 
life he can rest. It is the seal supernatural to those 
words, " I go to prepare a place for you." 

Then we have the Scriptural pictures of the "city 
which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is 
God." We behold upon the canvas streets of gold 
and jewelled gates and the nations of the saved, a city 
whereof the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the 
the Light. And here we have mansions in plurality, 



352 THE MANY MANSIONS. 

abodes many, as it were, in the very place our Lord 
prepares for us. 

Whence we gather, leaving the imagination to work 
out its pleasure, that there will be community of in- 
terest and delight, and individual blessedness ; so that 
while in that city of glory the redeemed people dwell 
together, yet in that city shall be all needful separate- 
ness and variety, crowning human expectation, glorify- 
ing human development in its manifold directions, and 
rewarding noble aspirations of whatever kind. There 
are many mansions, abiding places, homes and life and 
work and service and blessing for all and for each one, 
for all varieties of task and pursuit, for all the aptitudes 
of the people gathered there. There is, I think, a feli- 
city in our English word " mansion," with its sugges- 
tion familiar to our minds, as a true rendering ci the 
spirit of the original word, although not precisely the 
most literal significance. For the entire spirit of our 
Lord's hope-inspiring words is opposed to any idea of 
narrowness or restrictedness. The gifts of God are 
generous. In yonder City, the New Jerusalem, they 
shall dwell in mansions of large liberty, not in cramped 
tents of warfare, nor in huts, as if unwelcome citizens. 
There is a glorious liberty of the children of God, an 
enlargement and a freedom giving unlimited scope to 
capacity and energy. And adding to this conception 
the separateness implied in the plurality, we may pic- 
ture to ourselves in that city a citizenship composed of 
all elect souls from earth, of gifts in infinite variety, 
together delighting in God's presence, and blending their 
voices together in the eternal psalm. Plain and un- 
learned men will find place there, ripening, after the 
toil and soil of earthly life, in knowledge and power of 
thought Scholars, philosophers, scientists, will there 



THE MANY MANSIONS. 353 

pursue their lofty aims, in God's light beholding light 
more and more. Genius shall find place there, and 
peradventure the inspirations which on earth reveal 
themselves in highest art shall be amid that glory 
yet more potent, moving to new and loftier construc- 
tions of harmony and beauty. As well the singers as 
the players on instruments shall be there. It must be 
so, else doth the Hand that created destroy some of His 
most precious handiwork, and the Bestower bring to 
nought the gifts He hath most richly imparted. 

" Many mansions ! " And do we err if in this spirit 
interpreting our Master's words we discern a suggestion 
of home life, and a blessedness the full equivalent of 
domestic love and companionship, amid the delights of 
that city ? Though, in most true sense, in the resurrec- 
tion they marry not nor are given in marriage, does it 
follow from this that relationships are broken up for- 
ever, and that there is in the future glory one sweeping 
divorce of all that God in the past hath joined together ? 
Are there not words which speak of brothers and sisters 
an hundred-fold, and houses and lands ? And have 
these words no significance to our human hearts ? Nay, 
with such an utterance as this, " If it were not so I 
would have told you," surely we need surrender neither 
hopes nor conceptions of the home when we contem- 
plate the life that is to be. Peradventure, we may not 
prove our faith to be true to the satisfaction of the dry 
logician whose soul eschews sentiment, and in whose 
veins runs only cold blood. Yet the words of Christ 
inspire us with an assured trust. Before our eyes the 
process of the ingathering is going on. All ages are 
culled for the harvest. The shock of corn, fully ripe, is 
carried in by the reaper. The rich green grass waving 
in the breeze is mown down and borne away. The sweet 



354 THE MANY MANSIONS. 

lilies are plucked from the garden, and tiniest buds are 
carefully lifted and borne in to the banquet to the 
master of the assemblies. 

Dare we say that with the close of the earthly career 
there is absolute incompleteness, and that in any case 
the predestined earthly mission is blasted ? To our 
Christian vision does not the infant of a few days or 
months, or the young man dying in the blush of his 
opening manhood, as truly finish the appointed earthly 
course as the aged Saint Paul ? Has not each one had 
a place, his own place of influence and power, even if 
unconscious of it, during the days allotted to him ? Has 
not the very babe for whom you mourn to-day had its 
mission and its power, with its sweet smiles and joyous 
dances, with its tears and pains and infant innocence, 
to you and to a circle of loving ones around, lifting 
you and purifying you, as it had been a presence from 
heaven lent to you for a time ? What a world would 
this be were there not all the varieties of age in it, as 
well as of temperament and beauty and endowment ! 
What a world, were there no venerable men and women 
in it, to be loved and honored, their hairs white with 
years and their shoulders bent with infirmity, ripened 
souls, in spirit still strong, elastic, and buoyant, looking 
forward to the perpetual life ! And what should earth 
be without the boldness and dash and hot blood of youth, 
or without the gayety and romping of childhood ! 

And is there no outlook upon the life to come whence 
we can discern nothing more than a dead level of age 
and absolute uniformity of feature and tone ? Elimi- 
nate from your conception of age its infirmity, its queru- 
lousness, all the elements which belong purely to bodily 
exhaustion, and preserve the factors of Christian faith 
and Christian graces, mature experience, ripened affec- 



THE MANY MANSIONS. 355 

tions, chastened love, all things that are venerable in its 
spirit and temper, its achieved beauty and honor. From 
middle age and from youth prune away the grosser fea- 
tures and the immaturities and the unbalanced propen- 
sities, and from childhood all mere defect and lack of 
development, so that we discern the childhood and the 
youth and the manhood of Jesus. Transfer your best 
conception of a social state to the bowers of Paradise, and 
again to the city of the eternal homes. Let the tran- 
sition through what we call the grave and gate of death 
be but a crystallization of our various earthly perfections 
and relationships, so that the distinct ages of human life 
as known upon earth shall be preserved in their distinct 
perfections and free from every flaw in the City of God. 
We may then hail those adorned with wisdom and 
honor and righteousness, the scarred veterans from 
lengthened conflict, their hoary heads white as snow, 
yet not symbols of decay, any more than the very head 
and hairs of Him whom the holy Saint John saw in his 
apocalyptic vision, but regal crowns upon regal brows. 
We may hail our brethren and sisters of equal strength 
and knowledge with our own ; we may greet with lov- 
ing hearts other loving hearts, stainless, mature, and 
mellow in that beauty which comes through conflict 
and tribulation ; we may hear voices crying, Hosanna ! 
with all the sweetness and the power of the perpetual 
youth. Doth not star differ from star in that firma- 
ment of glory ? 

" If it were not so, T would have told you." And will 
any man forbid us ? Forbid us, in the face of these 
words ! Forbid us, in the face of that immortal scene 
upon the Transfiguration Mount when a picture of the 
kingdom was given, and Peter and James and John 
looked upon and knew Moses and Elias ! Nay, let us 



356 THE MANY MANSIONS. 

thank our Master for the comforting words. And we, 
bearing upon our shoulders burdens of bereavement 
through life's weary way ; we, wounded, bleeding daily 
from unstanched wounds, travelling along severed 
from those with whom we were bound up in organic 
life, as of one blood and flesh and bone and soul and 
spirit, by God's own hand, let us look forward ; for we 
must, yea, God willing, we must grasp again those pre- 
cious hands, embrace again those glorified loved ones, 
gather together again in circles of love amid the pleasures 
which are at God's right hand. 

Mansions, and many mansions ! Ah, children of God, 
you will find homes in that metropolis of God's elect. 
Fathers and mothers and husbands and wives and sons 
and daughters, all true heart-loves comprehended 
within the circle and company of Christ's redeemed flock, 
whatever the earthly names of them, whatever the puri- 
fication and perfectings of them, surely they will be 
known there. God grant to you and me that the 
circles be unbroken ! 

For, alas ! there is another side to the thought, and 
there is such a thing as a human perverseness in sin 
which verily frustrates much of the goodness of God, 
and thrusts aside and away, ruthlessly, wilfully, madly, 
all the kindness of His provision, all God would give us 
or do for us. And well may every one raise the ques- 
tion, have I a mansion in that city, and do I hasten 
to the beatific vision of the immortal life and to its 
permanent endearments, joys, and service ? 

If life beyond be but expansion of this life, the 
unseen holy but the grand habitation beyond the veil 
which separates the vestibule from it, so that the chil- 
dren of God pass from one into the other as the Master 
hath showed us, then what we are to-day is a fore- 



THE MANY MANSIONS. 357 

shadowing of what we shall be to-morrow, after that 
resurrection dawning. 

What is the trend of the present life ? This is the 
question answer to which may cheer us or alarm us 
according to the terms of the verdict. 

Are we of simple race indeed, but redeemed by 
God's own Son who hath abolished death and brought 
life and immortality to light more and more obe- 
diently walking in God's ways to the everlasting king- 
dom; or are we more and more ripening in sin and 
unbelief, more and more without Christ and without 
God in the world ? 



VICTORY THROUGH TEMPTATION. 1 
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation. JAMES i. 12. 

/ T\EMPTATION means trial. It is the process by 
J- which the goodness or fitness or purity of the 
subject is tested. The incidental results of the pro- 
cess in the case of moral beings are commonly the 
development and growth of the good or the evil, ac- 
cording as the trial is rightly or wrongly used. 

The blessing is pronounced upon the one who en- 
dures. This is the emphatic word. Whether the trial 
be by adversity and severe tribulation, even long con- 
tinued, as was the case in early ages of Christianity 
under persecution, or as in the story of Job, the patient 
man ; or by prosperity and splendid promise addressed 
to pride, ambition, or lust, such as many have had from 
the time when righteous Lot pitched his tent toward 
Sodom, down to the present age of gilded ease and 
pomp, the enduring one finds not only divine appro- 
bation voiced in his own approving conscience, but also 
growth in the energy of goodness. Manliness, forti- 
tude, heroism, faith, godliness, are products of the fire. 
That same fire consumes and melts the dross. The 
fittest survives the ordeal. Man has had the two typal 
experiences. And the typal law is verified in number- 

1 Preached Sunday morning, March 6, 1887 (the twenty-first an- 
niversary of his Ordination), at St. James's Church, Philadelphia, and 
repeated Sunday evening, March 20, at the Church of the Incarnation. 
This sermon was the last one written and the last one preached. 



VICTORY THROUGH TEMPTATION. 359 

less lives. After the manner of the first Adam, men 
yield and fall and are cast out from their remnants of 
Paradise, to feel their discomfiture and the shame of 
their nakedness and frailty, and to suffer afresh the 
pangs of conscience, and to hide away from the voice 
of God in the cool of the day, as did Adam in the 
garden. And again, after the manner of the second 
Adam, the Lord from heaven, and inspired by His 
example, men have been obedient and loyal, have en- 
dured temptation, whether allurement to sin or the 
trial of grievous sufferings, and have come out from the 
fires conquerors, and more than conquerors, being 
conformed unto the likeness of their divine Master 
and Head. 

Now, it is this victory through tribulation or trial 
which is the blessing of which Saint James writes. 
And this morning we will ask two questions concern- 
ing it ; namely, 

1. How is such blessing to be assured to us in our 
manifold temptations ? and 

2. How may we recover ourselves in any case of 
failure ? 

To answer the first of these questions, we have but 
to glance at our familiar laws of habit in the formation 
of character for our starting point. And then, recog- 
nizing that our conflict is one of gravest importance as 
'related to the immortal life, and that among the ele- 
ments against us are our own moral weaknesses and a 
potent spiritual enemy, we are to remember the divine 
strength promised to those who seek it, giving grace 
and power to prevail, even to the weak and fallen. 

The habit law is strong. Every time we do an ac- 
customed thing the more likely we are to do it again, 
and to do it perpetually under the recurring favorable 



360 VICTORY THROUGH TEMPTATION. 

circumstances, and to do it more easily and indeed more 
unconsciously. Men educate their fingers to the most 
delicate and intricate work. Habit outruns volition, 
and the deft workman accomplishes his task scarcely 
knowing himself how, or even that he is doing it. We 
go through many good and wholesome works almost 
mechanically, and without effort, by this law. A thou- 
sand unconscious benedictions radiate from the face 
and the hands of the hospital nurse or the physician, 
electric emanations from the well-stored battery of 
habitual benevolence. Many sinners take no notice of 
their commonest sins. Profane men are often astonished 
to learn that they use profane language freely, indeed 
all the time. They neither notice their own profanities 
nor those of others. The man of prayer prays almost 
as unconsciously. His spirit's voice rises to God along 
the streets and amid his busiest hours, as naturally and 
spontaneously as the chest heaves for breathing. 

So under special trial or repeated temptation, the 
habit of obedience to God's will and to the law of 
conscience grows. Men and women learn to suffer 
and to trust and to say, " Thy will be done, Father ! " 
as easily as they sleep and wake and greet those who 
meet them with loving smiles. And they learn to say, 
" nay," to the tempter, and to bid Satan get away from 
them, whatever be the form or the no form which 
Satan assumes, whether to the enticer in meretricious 
array, or in habiliments of the philosopher, or to the 
unbidden thought of evil, or to the suddenly uprising 
spirit of selfish desire. 

In the conflict between ourselves and temptation, 
everything depends upon the way wherein we meet the 
trial, and our action in each successive assault or expe- 
rience. We may surrender to the enemy. Surrender 



VICTORY THROUGH TEMPTATION. 361 

is likely to be the result of the next encounter, and 
again of the next. No one becomes a violent person, 
a scold or termagant, a destroyer of life or property, at 
a single step. There is growth into malefactorship 
from the simplicity and purity of childhood. The story 
of the forger, or the absconding robber of a trust 
company, is no novel story. The man who hides in 
refuge to-day in Canada, or beyond the seas, began his 
career of fraud in some very insignificant way, and 
awaked to know himself a criminal, only after many a 
compromise with conscience, and many a sleeping 
potion administered to put conscience into lethargy. 
The sinner whose sins lie in the grosser and more sen- 
sual vices fell into the trough of that filthy sea, but 
he was swimming in its smoother waters first for pas- 
time, assured that he would not be carried beyond his 
depth or the lines of safe sport. 

An ethical fallacy may be framed very easily, and it 
requires no great ingenuity of logic to do it. Men 
plead that they are delivered to do their sins, and 
from the natural infirmity or the strength of lawless 
desire construct their syllogisms to neutralize the force 
of moral law. They throw the blame upon their 
Maker, and rush into abominations. It is simply amaz- 
ing how finely the hairs may be split and what exquis- 
ite distinctions may be made, even by minds not the 
keenest, when it becomes convenient or delightsome to 
the eyes to apologize for a sin which has been wrought, 
and so, of consequence, to prepare the way for its repe- 
tition or a greater sin at renewed convenience. This is 
one way of acting under temptation. 

Alas, brethren, how common a way it is among us in 
this evil world ! How many men and women there are 
to-day (and perhaps there are some in this congrega- 



362 VICTORY THROUGH TEMPTATION. 

tion) in high worldly position and social standing, who 
know that they dare not face God's judgment, and 
would not venture to face a keen human inquisition, 
who dare not even examine themselves or scrutinize 
their own lives, yet who live in a sublime contentment 
amid sin, indulging in sin and in gross sin, undisturbed 
by conscience, saying their prayers day and night, and 
not even putting away their sins when coming to the 
Lord's own Table. They love their sins. The pleas- 
ures of sin are keen. The stolen waters are a delight. 
Such is the result and the mastery of habit and of 
yielding to the tempter under the gilded and fascinat- 
ing spell. All this we may do, and being tempted 
we fall 

Or we may resist temptation. And to resist it is to 
endure and remain faithful, and to gain reward of 
grace and strength and virtue. Scripture counsels on 
this subject are gathered up in that word, "resist;" 
Saint Peter uses it, "resist" the devil and he will flee 
from you ! The moral and spiritual muscle grows by 
resisting. The athlete with knotted muscles, lifting 
the load of Atlas, or shouldering the lion while with 
swift steps he crosses the arena, was once a puny strip- 
ling. Self-discipline and resistance of evil solicitation 
renewed determination to bear what burden comes, 
and to honor God in it grows into grander obedience 
and supreme moral elevation. The Joseph who was 
prince of Egypt in that almost fabulous age of civili- 
zation and grandeur was the Joseph who to the con- 
summate artifice of the Egyptian temptress said, " How 
can I do this wickedness and sin against God ! " The 
Moses who stands peerless among the men of the an- 
cient world, and whose ethics and jurisprudence are the 
foundations of all law since his day, was the Moses 



VICTORY THROUGH TEMPTATION. 363 

who refused to be son of Pharaoh's daughter, and chose 
the afflictions of Jehovah's people rather than the treas- 
ures of Egypt, though he was himself learned in all the 
wisdom of the realm, and potent in their priesthood. 

How shall we overcome and find the blessedness of 
them who endure ? Look upon these men of the past. 
And look again upon Him who suffered being tempted, 
and the story of whose first great conflict with the 
tempter comes so freshly to us in the Lent season. 
The temptation came to our Lord, brethren, in some 
respects, as it comes to every man, namely, along the 
lines of His appointed career. And it was addressed to 
His nature in ways so that it is well written, " He was 
tempted like as we are," and was, what we are not 
therein, without sin. He teaches us how to be tempted 
and not sin. 

I say it came to Jesus as to other men, along the 
lines of His life, and in manner adapted to Him, He 
being what He was. The tempter, for surely if we 
had not Scripture for it, we should naturally look for a 
manager of temptation methods, so wonderfully are 
they fitted as individual traps, the tempter never 
makes misfits in the allurements or arguments he 
brings. It is not his way to offer pearls to swine ; for 
he knows that swine prefer other things to pearls. Nor 
does he bring ill-odorous refuse to the nostrils of refine- 
ment and aesthetic culture. There is no more subtle 
perfumer than the devil, and it is well for us that we 
be not ignorant of his devices. Satan tried the supreme 
Man as he tried the first Adam, with appeal to his 
appetite. The first Adam was full to satiety, yet he 
ate the fruit. The second Adam was an hungered 
after His forty days of fasting, and why might He not 
convert those stones into bread and eat for His refresh- 



364 VICTORY THROUGH TEMPTATION. 

ment ? Yea, why not ? To the first Adam the offer 
was made of wondrous new knowledge and potency 
through the gateway of the forbidden. 

To the Son of God in the wilderness, Satan made no 
appeal addressing itself to latent selfishness or desire 
of personal enlargement in any degree whatever. It 
was for His work's sake, for humanity's sake, for redemp- 
tion's sake, for the kingdom's sake, that He might the 
more surely and speedily plant His throne upon the 
earth, and accomplish His great service for Israel and 
for man, that the tempter pretended to advise Him. 
And it required more than an ordinary penetration at 
that day to say why the Son of God might not assuage 
the pangs of hunger by His miracle-working power, or 
why He might not have made easy conquest of the na- 
tion and the world by the adoption of the policy Satan 
proposed amid the strange phantasmagoria wherewith 
he assailed the Lord. But the divine Man and Exam- 
ple resisted. He entered into no arguments. He put 
the word of God against the word of evil policy. He 
said to Satan, "Get thee hence!" and then the devil left 
Him. And this same adhesion to the divine word, and 
obedience to divine will, and conformity to the divine 
plan and end wherewith He had undertaken His earthly 
work, distinguished the career of our Master to the end. 
More than once was He an hungered. More than once 
must His heart have sunk, and His patience been taxed, 
as He saw the unbelief and the hostility it engendered ; 
all the time knowing what power was in Him, and how 
legions of angels were waiting ever, in silent and un- 
seen array, to do His bidding. Yet even through Geth- 
semane He endured, and said, " Not my will, but Thine 
be done ; " and even on the cross, though the cup of the 
soldier He would not drink for relief, yet the cup which 



VICTOEY THROUGH TEMPTATION. 365 

the Father had mixed for Him, that cup He drank to 
its very dregs, triumphant Prince of endurance and of 
suffering, vanquishing the enemy even in that entire life 
of mortal trial. He resisted not. He swerved not. He 
obeyed even unto death. So He overcame, and so 
He bids His people overcome, that they may share His 
throne. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, 
trial When he is tried, when the trial is finished and 
he is approved, he shall receive the crown of life. 

But suppose we fail in our trials, what shall we do, 
and how may we recover ourselves ? 

Eight upon the trial wherein we have been found 
wanting, brethren, there comes another trial, thank God, 
and by His grace, and this trial, instantaneously pre- 
sented, simply asks the question whether we will stay 
prostrate in our fall, and go from bad to worse, or 
whether we will rise up again and act like true men, 
despite our failure, and serve God better for the loss 
and pain we have had. 

A Judas may go and hang himself. It were better 
for that man if he had not been born, who says, I have 
fallen, and I will now go to other sin, and add sin to 
sin. It is madness to revenge oneself on God and man 
in such way. 

David, arrested by the prophet Nathan, poured forth 
his contrition in the immortal Miserere, and was a new 
man, that man after God's own heart, faithful thence- 
forth. Saint Peter fell ; but he who was craven before 
the maiden and the servants and the officers became the 
boldest and the most courageous of men, in his apos- 
tolic zeal unto his own martyrdom ; so mighty the re- 
pentance, the recoil, and the rehabilitation when the 
Lord whom he denied looked upon him, and gave him the 
new chance, whether to abide in Him or to forsake Him. 



366 VICTORY THROUGH TEMPTATION. 

Fallen once, vanquished once, ay twice, ay thrice, 
ay seven times, or seventy times seven, take strong 
stand, and, with your eyes opened to your weakness and 
your sin, break with it, and gird on your sword anew. 
There are two things to be done now. One is to cease 
thinking that you are strong enough yourself to cope 
with your own weakness or your temptation. Wisdom 
begins in modesty nowhere more surely than in moral 
conflict. God's help is our reliance more than self- 
reliance. At any rate, self-reliance without God-reliance 
never gains the upper hand, although it is useful under 
God-reliance for many an achievement beside. Seek, 
then, divine help, and say, " God helping me ! " 

Then put body and soul into the fight ; and let your 
body be servant and not master in the fight. Shut the 
eye and turn away the head by forcible volition from 
the thing that solicits the evil which is in you. Look 
not at the unchaste image. Thrust into the fire the pol- 
luting page. If there slumbers within you the thirst 
for that which robs you of all discretion and of man- 
hood, dash to the ground the cup which the fairest offers 
you. Defy social custom, and, like some brave men, 
turn over your glass upon the table, and suffer not wine 
to come near your lip. Fly away from the man or the 
woman or the open vault that tempts you. There is 
virile and brave courage in that cowardice which is 
afraid of wrong-doing and is not afraid to run away 
from it. If yours be lifelong temptation to self-indul- 
gence and waste, to simple ease and pampering, rush, 
by God's help, into work for good. Make the body 
work, and keep it in subjection. Better be master in 
ascetic life, than the sporting butterfly or the lazy ser- 
pent on this earth amid eternities. He who taught man 
to pray, " Lead us not into temptation," has taught us 



VICTORY THROUGH TEMPTATION. 367 

how to make temptation a stimulus to good, and that in 
the surmounting of it is man's glory. 

Then finally remember for our comfort, brethren, that 
temptation is not itself sin. Else Saint James had not 
written, " Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temp- 
tations." The Lord was tempted, but He sinned not. 
The distinction is real. The question of sin or inno- 
cence turns upon the response we make. The hammer 
strikes the wheels under the railway car, and the ring 
tells whether the wheels are sound or broken. The 
fault lies not in the hammer, nor in him who wields it. 
Those strange and evil suggestions floating into our ears 
sometimes, or mysteriously arising from our disordered 
flesh and nerve centres, are not sins. That they have 
so much power with us, and so catch us unawares, may 
show of what frail substance we are ; but there is no 
sin until we accept and harbor them. The pains of the 
sufferer, and the groanings and the prayer that some 
relief may come, are not sins ; but to curse God is to 
die. To submit and say, " If it be possible let this cup 
pass from me, nevertheless Thy will be done," that is 
to transform them all into gifts of God's love, and to 
triumph as Jesus did. To live smoothly and without 
conflict, as in some favored retreat, or in a convent cell, 
may be, but is not always, serene calm. But it is 
greater and nobler to battle amid the world, and to 
fight one's predestined way under darts of Satan and 
beneath the hail of his batteries, even to be a scarred 
and war-worn veteran, hero of thousands of fights, a 
valiant soldier of God and of Christ ! Endure ! Yield 
not! To-day the warfare of the Cross! To-morrow 
the Crown! Eighteousness, peace, and glory for 
evermore ! 

THE END. 



UC SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY 



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