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ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH

CONFIRMATION SERVICE

BISHOP JULIUS'S ANNUAL VISIT.

Yesterday, the first Sunday m Lent, the Right Reverend Bishop Julius, of ,the Diocese of Christchurch, p"ai& J)is annual pastoral visit to St. Stephen's Church. In the- morning 31 candidates (13 males and 18 females), including a small contingent from the Fail-field congregation, were presented by the Vicar'(the .Rev. J. 8.-Burgin) to his ■■■Lordship'for ■.confirmation, and were thus received iato full membership ,of the church. Subsequent to the confirmation ceremony the Bishop delivered an address, and he also preached at the special service for men in the afternoon and at the evening service. There were very large'congregations .and appropriate hymns were sung. Morning Service. In the morning, after the Litany i had been said and those who were i about to be confirmed had "in the 1 presence of God and •of the qongrega--1 tion renewed the solemn promise and vow made in their name at their bap.iism,',' ;they each - knelt 1, before , the, Bishop, who ■repeated 1 the;, confirmation prayer over to each one separately, whilst his hands rested on each candidate's head. The Bishop chose as his text the words: " I know both how to be abased, arid I know how to abound: Everywhere and in all things T am instructed both to be full and be hungry, .both to abound- and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me" (Philippians iv., 12 and 13). After expressing approval of the Defence Act, which he said was never a portion of the early history of any coiintry, because part'of the upbringing of the pioneers of any settlement was to be ready for anything, the preacher went.on to say that so it was with the season of Lent. In the early days of the history of old mother church Lent was not needed, but it had subsequently been proved that a season for spiritual discipline was 'necessary to the life of a Christian. If it was right for a nation to call her people into camp for training and preparation, not one whit less had the church the right to authorise her people to go into spiritual preparation for a time. Lerjt was a time for -self-, examination, self-discipline, self-know-ledge, arid self-consecration. It was the time when they should do some heart-searching and when strong efforts should be made tc get the mastery over bad habits. Sneeially addressing himself to those newly confirmed,, the BisliOD said s that from-now onward they should consecrate their lives for service in the world for the glorification of their Master. Their life was reaching out before them, and the worth of those years ahead of them remained to be proved. , Service to Men. At thei men's service, the Bishop gave an admirable" and 1 a ■ convincing discourse oh the words contained in Hebrews ,'iii;, 19, —"Bo ivo' see that they could not enter in because of unbolief." The preacher first of all described the wanderings of the children ■of Israel, and said that the Jews of "Christ's Day were sent to be the missionaries of' the world. They had had tho glorious .opportunity' of acclaiming this God-sent priviledge when Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate, but they had failed and their failure had been' when they cried: " Crucify Him!" They could not enter into their inheritance because of their unbelief. The Jews had failed because of, firstly, their want of horizon and, secondly, because *of their consequent' loss of sense of sacrifice. As it was with the Jews, ;so it was with nations to-day. Some said that England was decaying, but the speaker said he did not believe m the decay of a nation, except in the case of its inability to look ahead towards the horizon. He could not help thinking that God "was bringing the British nation, as He did Israel, to some new enterprise. The Romans had been the' law-givers, the Greeks had been art-givers, but Britain had given political commonsense. She had a eommonsense which enabled her-to help nations which could not help themselves. The world was face to face with changes, which called either for good or terrible trouble. The world was confronted with a great spirit of social unrest and the preacher said he believed that Britain was raising herself to find a remedy for that unrest. But the question was, was a higher Christian principle being evolved out of the chaos? Everyone was fighting for better conditions, but it was doubtful if higher principles were being fought for at the same time. Materialism had got hold of most'of us. A better equalisation of property might be the result of the fight, but they were not getting nearer heaven in the struggle. What was true of the nation and the church was true of the individual. A lot of people were very near to living ' a Christian life, but there was a sin of one kind or another that could not quite be overcome. The, two signal words for a■.■. Christian were can and must. They should say .1.."■• can " gain the mastery; and I "must" if I am' to inherit eternal life . The Evening Service. The text for the evening sermon was chosen from Romans i.,16—" For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ." The Bishop said that the Gospel of Jesus Christ came from a country and a people despised and unhonoured. After the death of the Saviour the Gospel was' preached by men who were outcasts from their own race and people. It was represented by no recognised thinkers of the nation. It was simply the gospel of a crucified and condemned Jew, and in St. Paul's day, perhaps, there might ha.ye been some justification for being ashamed of it. The text was a statement of St. Paul's, 'who'had.'traversed over the whole of Asia Minor preaching the gospel,'and he now wanted to proclaim it in every corner of the then known globo. With tho spread of the gospel the old religions had become paganism, and at the present day the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ was supreme. The old apostles would have said that Jesus Christ would have made his second coming long before the lapse of 2000 years, yet the Masterwas content to take the leaven and cast it in the meal and there it had worked and was working, still During the last century or so, however, Christianity had .changed. It had become; apologetic, and so-called Christians had got the habit of apologising for, the faith that was in them. That was not the .attitude that was proper to tho religion of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was not the religion that St. Paul was willing to give his life for.- ... An apologetic Christian-j ity would never conquer the world. ' Any man or woman who was not

ashamed of his or her religion slibuld make it an aggressive religion. The world should not need to go to the Bible to know what religion was, but it should go to the man or woman who outwardly professed Christianity. They should be witnesses of) the Word, and if their lives were not what they should be, they had a perfect right to be ashamed of the gospel. The religion of Jesus Christ was too good to be shut up in one's own heart. They should let the world know of it, and try to make the world a better place because Qi it. .- ',

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG19140302.2.59

Bibliographic details

ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8807, 2 March 1914

Word Count
1,245

ST. STEPHEN'S CHURCH Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8807, 2 March 1914

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