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A History of the English Church in New Zealand

I shall now go back to Auckland light in heart


The

most interesting feature of this gathering was the inauguration of a fifth bishopric--that of Waiapu. In this case the bishop's original plan was carried out in its exactitude, for no one but the "episcopally-minded" William Williams could well be thought of for such a post. The Letters Patent were brought out from England by Bishop Abraham, and the consecration was held, during the course of the session, in the little St. Paul's Church, on Sunday, April 3.[11] A unique feature of the service arose from the fact that the four consecrating bishops were all younger than the veteran upon whom they laid their hands. The new bishop was "one whose age and experience," said Selwyn in his opening address, "has often made me feel ashamed that I should have been preferred before him, and to whom I have long wished to be allowed to make this reparation, by dividing with him the duties and responsibilities of my office." "It was a most delightful day," he afterwards wrote, "and one that I little expected to see when I first came to New Zealand. All seemed to be so thoroughly happy and satisfied with the appointment of the new bishops, as much as if each settlement had chosen its own bishop from personal knowledge.... I shall now go back to Auckland light in heart ... and I hope to be enabled by God's blessing to prosecute the mission work with more vigour in consequence of the cutting off of the southern portions of New Zealand."

[11] It is a matter for

regret that the scene of this first episcopal consecration in New Zealand can no longer be pointed out. The church stood, opposite the Museum, on government land which now forms part of the grounds surrounding the Parliament buildings. But portions of the structure were removed to the Bolton-street cemetery, and still form part of the mortuary chapel there.

This day of happiness marks the end of a distinct epoch in our history. The decade which began in 1850 amidst confusion and disunion, had brought year by year some healing strengthening power, until it closed with a united Church, an increased clergy, and a multiplied episcopate.

Not a day too soon was the constitutional fabric finished. Already the clouds were gathering which heralded the coming storm.

CHAPTER XIII.

TROUBLE AND ANGUISH.

(1859-1862).

Cheerful, with friends, we set forth: Then, on the height, comes the storm! --_M. Arnold._

The period which begins with the year 1860 presents an aspect so desolate that it is hard at first to find a single cheering feature. The prospect which seemed so bright in 1859 is quickly obscured by mist and storm. Guiding-posts are hard to find; the faces of friends seem hostile in the gloom; voices of appeal sound dim and confused amidst the moan of the tempest.

How little did Selwyn think on that autumn day in 1859 when, from his presidential chair, he looked in gladness of heart upon his four new bishops, that at the same hour a bolt was being forged by the Government in Auckland which would shatter the most hopeful of his plans! How little could he expect that, of the bishops before him, one (Williams) would be driven from his home, and another (Hobhouse) harried from his diocese; or that he himself would be mobbed and insulted, turned back on roads which he had been accustomed to travel, fired at by men who had hitherto listened obediently to his words! How little could he foresee the ruined churches, the abandoned missions, the apostacy of the tribes, or the closing of large tracts of country against himself and his clergy! How incredible would have seemed the intelligence that amongst his flock a heresy would arise which should demand the life of a Christian minister as an acceptable sacrifice!


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