My brethren, if I have been true to my ideal of the proper function of the pulpit, during the 33 of the 50 years, of the life of this parish (that I have been your rector), then the results are not uncertain. Men will have learned to love this place as ‘none other than the house of God, the gate of heaven;’ weary, troubled spirits have longed for it, as thirsty desert travelers, long for still, refreshing springs. Perplexed and doubting minds, sore wearied with trying to know, have found rest and peace here, in the cheering faith, that the good and gracious Father accepts a man not for what he knows but for what he is and does.
God grant it may be so. May these walls grow more and more sacred to you with revolving years. May holy vows be made here, which shall be translated in the busy world into holy deeds.
May strong men find more strength here against the day of strong temptation, and gentler spirits find help and courage in the hour of their need.
May the young learn to love this place, and consecrate their early affections, and pure, unsullied lives an offering to Christ. And while the sinner is rescued from his guilt, and the wretched from despair, may the little children taught to venerate and love this sacred place, for the Good Shepherd's sake, who loves them and blesses them as in days of old.
Thus shall you possess, and fully ‘occupy the land that remaineth;’ and build-up, and adorn in coming years, a true and successful church; a church wherein wisdom shall dwell with devotion; learning consort with piety; and reverence and love make the work complete. A church of quietness and peace, wherein shall come no more the maxims and passions of the world, delivered forever from the strife of tongues.