Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, MAY 20, 1890. OUR NEW BISHOP.
Bishop Julius has come and gone, leaving behind him, in the hearts of all, a profound conviction that he is the right man in the right place. In i this pushing, hurrying, struggling, I practical, questioning, and even sceptical age, the Church needs strong, able, and enthusiastic leaders, who will neither let religion be crowded out of life, nor sneered down, and who are capable of delivering the message of God's evangel in a form which will arrest attention, and .with an earnestness and faith that must win their way to the hearts of the people. And in our new Bishop, thank God! we have just such a man. It is not alone the eloquence and force of his diction which constitute the secret of the influence which he wields over all that hear him—albeit these are such that it is a pleasure of no common kind to listen to him, whether in the pulpit where he speaks with the unfettered freedom and power of one who needs no written words, or even notes, to direct his utterances ; or whether at the reading desk, when the text of Holy Writ and the glorious liturgy of the Church, as read by a master of elocution, fall upon the ear with a force and beauty which some of his hearers appreciate almost for the first time at their true value, —it is more than this, it is the firm conviction, that is at once established in the minds of all who are privileged to listen to him, that he that speaks and reads is no mere professor of the Christian religion, but one who is a profound believer in the faith which he professes, one whose heart is in all that he preaches, and who has himself a firm hold of that Cross which he uplifts as the sign of salvation to the world. It cannot but be that in these days of free-thought, and even educated infidelity,—be it avowed or disavowed, — there are some, perhaps many, in the vast congregations which assemble everywhere to hear the new Bishop, who go to church rather for the intellectual treat provided than from any belief that the listening to the preaching of God's Word-is the way to derive spiritual benefit or folessing; but we venture to say that, deep down perhaps, in the hearts of even the most sceptical upon that point, there are chords which will vibrate to appeals such j^s. his, ajid that there are none who hear him but will feel a conviction that there are great verities in that religion which he preaches with such heartfelt earnestness and power. More, were all or even most of those who are called to the episcopate such as he, the doctrine of Apostolical succession would be in a fair way to general acceptance; while, had the clergy of the Anglican church generally anything like his qualifications the healing of the divisions of Christendom, and the gathering of all the Churches into one fold, would be a possibility the realisation of which would be within metisureable distance. There is another thought which will suggest itself to all Euglish churchmen, and that is the splendid vindication of the wisdom of tho £ramers of the constitution of the !tSTew Zealand Church which the choice of Bishop Julius affords. Thanks to their foresight and sound judgment, the Church has the right of selection of her own chief pastors without reference to the Crown—which is to say the Ministry of the day—and as this, it seeni3 to us, is the more Scriptural method, so also is it evidently the more successful. "Thank God for our new Bishop!" is the aspiration not only of every devout English churchman, but of Christians of all denomina? tions, nay, of all lovers of the Colony, of all well-wishers of New Zealand, and heartily indeed is he welcomed as a power for good among us by men of all creeds, and even of no creed at all. Let us hope that he will be enabled to fulfil the high anticipations that are entertained of him, and that he will have strength vouchsafed him for the heavy and arduous work which lies J before him. As a preacher his success j is assured, but it yet remains to be seen what are his capabilities as an organiser and administrator. Firm he undoubtedly will be, and if only he be wise as he will be firm, then will his career as Bishop be exempt from that friction with those over whom he is called to rule which is the danger that lies in the patlrof the administration of all strong-minded men. That the great Head of the Church will vouchsafe to him that wisdom, and that his episcopate may be one long period of peace, prosperity, and progress is the earnest prayer of all the j faithful in his diocese. J