Moore

Richard Channing Moore
Testamonials to Bishop Moore's Service

 

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Upon the death of Bishop Richard Channing Moore there were many testamonials to the fruits of his years of labor in the diocese.  However, before listing those remembrances of his service we include first, directly below, a statement concerning the state of the Episcopal Church in Virginia before Bishop Moore's consecration and arrival in Richmond.  Following that are some testamonials to the work of Bishop Moore.


 

State of the Church in Virginia, 1814

The committee of the house of clerical and lay deputies, appointed to examine the journals of the different State conventions, Episcopal charges, addresses and pastoral letters, and to draw up a view of the state of the church in their report, made the 21st, May, 1814, thus speak of Virginia:

“From a variety of causes, not necessary and perhaps not proper to detail here, the church in this State has fallen into a deplorable condition; in many cases the ministers have thrown off their sacred profession; her liturgy is either contemned or unknown, and the sanctuaries are desolate.

“It would rend my feeling heart to see spacious temples, venerable even in their dilapidation and ruins, now the habitations of the wild beasts of the forests.

“But amid this gloomy scene a ray of light breaks in upon the prospect, cheering the hearts of the friends of the church.  Her members in Virginia have been taught, by a dreadful experience, the value of their peculiar institutions.  The look back with regret, and sigh when they talk of former days, when they were wont to go with joy into the courts of Zion; they are ready and desirous to return to that fold from which they have wandered so long, and sheep having no shepherd.  They anxiously seek the restoration of their primitive and apostolical form of worship and sound doctrine, and pray that ministers of zeal and piety may come and help them.

“Perhaps no place in the United States presents a more extended field for the faithful laborer.  Here are the best of materials, and here are the noblest inducements of duty, of honor and reward.

“The disposition of the people, and especially of some eminent laymen, who have come forward with interest and zeal, afford pleasing pledges of those good fruits which their active exertions will not fail to produce.

“A magnificent church has sprung up in Richmond from the ashes of the Theatre; is has the patronage and support of men of the greatest talents, and highest rank in Virginia.  They have chosen as their pastor the Rev. Richard Channing Moore, D. D., who is now the bishop of the diocese, and under whose auspices there is reason to hope for the most favorable results.   

“The corner-stone of a large and respectable church has been laid in Fredericksburg, on the site of the old building, which has gone to decay.  For Leesburg also they have obtained a subscription adequate to the expense of erecting a respectable church; and in the counties of Frederick and Spotsylvania, and perhaps in other places, from which reports have not been received, the state of the church is improving, In Alexandria there are two large and respectable congregations.  From the present excitement which is manifest throughout the State, nothing more seems wanting, under the blessing of God, than faithful ministers, to realize the hopes which are entertained of the future prosperity of this important part of our Zion.  Let all who wish her well pray the Lord of harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest.”


 

 

The Rev. Mr. Norwood, than whom few could have enjoyed better opportunities of knowing and appreciating the merits of the lamented bishop in the closing years of his life, prepared a sketch of his life and character, which was extensively published, and has been preserved in the Southern Literary Messenger, Vol. VIII, January, 1842.  The subjoined extract is from that sketch:

“But it is in his parochial character, as rector of the Monumental Church congregation, that he is best known and most beloved in Richmond.

“His pastoral labors here, for twenty-seven years, have exceedingly endeared him to his congregation.  Gentle, aimble, kind and courteous, with a heart full to overflowing with benevolence, with a charity which included in the wide circle of his affection all the lost world for whom the Redeemer died; always under the influence of the most kindly feeling for all men, and the tenderest sympathy for the afflicted, he associated with his people as their spiritual father and guide.

“He delighted in the gospel; Christ crucified was his constant theme, and he loved especially to dwell in his preaching on the bright and cheering topics of Christianity.

“The mercy of God; the tender and kind invitations of the Savior; the soothing consolation of religion, and its glorious hopes, constituted the burthen of his preaching; and when set forth with great animation, the most moving pathos in an eloquent style of composition, aided by a delightful voice and fine manner, gave to his preaching a peculiar charm which all appreciated.

“He dearly loved the liturgy of the church; and as in its eloquent and holy strains he presented to God the prayers and praises of his people he often wept.

“Love to God and love to man dwelt in his bosom and pervaded his conversation and sermons.  He could seldom speak of the dying love of Christ without tears; and like the beloved apostle whom Jesus most loved, and whom he greatly resembled in character, the prevailing sentiment of this aged minister of Christ, during his latter years, was ‘Little children lover one another.

“O that his bereaved people may remember and obey this godly admonition.

“They will love him, and well they may; for there are few of the younger part of them whom he did not receive in those arms now cold and stiff in death, and at the baptismal font dedicated them to God’s service, and admit them into the Church of Christ, and make them heirs of all the precious promises of the Christian Covenant.

“O that they may never forget the obligations then assumed for them, and that they may not, by failure to comply with the conditions of salvation, forfeit that rich inheritance, the title to which was then bestowed upon them.

“Most of those of his flock who now mourn his loss also had their earthly happiness cemented by him in holy matrimony.  The large body of communicants now worshipping in the Monumental Church were all, with very few exceptions, admitted to that sacred means of grace by the imposition of his hands in the apostolic and beautiful rite of confirmation.

“Often have they assembled around that channel before which his venerated remains so lately lay cold in the embrace of death, and seen that much loved orm instinct with life within their kneeling circle, and heard that gentle and dear voice, now silent for ever, invite them in the most affectionate tones to the spiritual feast of their Lord, and receive from his hands the emblems of the crucified body and shed blood of their dying Redeemer.

“Brethren, let the memory of these consecrated scenes of the communion of saints never fade from your minds, and never forget the faithful teaching of this godly old man.

“Few among you who so lately followed the beloved pastor to his last resting-place on earth, have not been led by him to that city of the dead where his dust will lie until summoned on the resurrection morn by the archangels trump to a new and eternal life; you have there seen him commit your loved ones to the grave, in the solemn service of your church, and with the trembling accents of the deepest sympathy and tenderest love.

“Remember, also, those solemn scenes, and O, prepare to follow them to the tomb, and him to the bliss of heaven!

“He loved social and friendly intercourse with his people, and all have enjoyed his sprightly and cheerful conversations, and heard his fatherly advice and spiritual encouragement around their firesides.”

“Bishop Meade, who in conjunction with two or three others had been most active in calling him to Virginia, in a statement quoted by Bishop Johns, expresses himself thus:

“I was not so well pleased with him at first as I expected.  He brought with him more of New York than was to my taste, or the taste of many others.  But his good sense, his amiable disposition, and sincere piety, gradually accommodated him to the clergy and people of Virginia; and we all loved him more and more to his life’s end, and he became more and more one of us every year.”

“Bishop Moore had some fine qualifications for the work of revival.

“His venerable form, his melodious voice, his popular preaching, his evangelical doctrines, his amiable disposition, his fund of anecdote in private, and his love for the church, all contributed to make him popular and successful, so far as he was able to visit and put forth effort.”


 

 

The address of Bishop Meade to the next convention after Bishop Moore's death commences with this reference to the bereavement that the diocese had sustained:

“The great head of the church, who for a long time has continued to the diocese of Virginia the counsel and superintendence of a very beloved father, has, since our last meeting, been pleased very suddenly to take him away.  I hope it will only make us look the more humbly and steadily to Him from whom all good counsels come, that the interests of true religion may not suffer in our hands.

“If there be any of you, my friends, who deeply feel absence of our beloved father, (and which of you does not!) how much more must I, who for so many years had been unitedly and harmoniously laboring as his side, as a son with his father, and who had begun seriously to think that my auxiliary services might probably be over before he should be called to his rest.

“God has otherwise determined, and permitted to devolve on one illy able, either in body or mind, to sustain it, the undivided responsibility of superintending this diocese.

“It is not my intention to undertake either an eulogy or biography of our departed father; that having already been done, and often and well done, by others, both from the pulpit and the press.  And indeed there was something so peculiarly amiable in his character, and so correspondingly interesting and venerable in his form and countenance and manner, that it were worse than useless to attempt a delination of one who has been so recently among us, and who can be so much better remembered than described.

“May God rather give us grace to imitate those traits which endeared him to the heart.  For myself, who of necessity must now take his place, and enter more entirely upon all the anxieties and responsibilities of the Episcopal office, I must ask of you, my brethren both of the clergy and laity, not only great indulgence for infirmities and unfitnesses, of which I am daily more and more sensible, but a very large share in your most earnest entreaties at a throne of grace, that the cause you have entrusted to me may not suffer.  This I ask not in feigned humility, but, as God knows, from the very depth of a heart which feels more of its deficiencies than can be known to any human being.”




The Richmond Whig, edited by Mr. Alexander Moseley, says of him:

Few men have lived who performed all the duties of a good Christian and good citizen with a sweeter grace, and never was pastor more beloved by those entrusted to his care.”


 

 

The Richmond Compiler, edited by Mr. James A. Cowardin, says:

“This event has sorely afflicted his church; the loss of so good, so venerable a minister may well bear heavily upon its members; but the dispensation which so afflicts them imparts sorrow throughout this community, for everybody regarded the aged man of God with no ordinary feelings of veneration and attachment.

“For more than fifty years has he filled the station of a minister in the Episcopal church ,and no prelate ever engrossed a greater share of the love of those whose spiritual welfare he had in charge.  In his intercourse with our citizens, his simplicity, his bland and gentle manners, his kindheartedness, and the unaffected dignity of his deportment, commanded the respect of love of all.  No one could see the aged bishop moving along our streets, with his old-fashioned and becoming dress, his silvery locks streaming over his shoulders, and his countenance beaming with the peace and love that dwelt in his heart, without doing him involuntary homage.

“There was a harmony in his character, a beauty in his life, which gave him great influence and made him beloved.

What citizen is not pained at the reflection, that he will no more see this good man in our streets; that he will not again see him adorning with meek and unaffected grace the same sacred desk, or hear from his lips precepts of virtue and lessons of truth and wisdom?

“With peculiar propriety may we say of him, that he died full of years and full of honors.

“At a ripe old age, after a long term of service, which was faithfully discharged, has he been taken away from his flock and the community that loved him, to rest in the bosom of his God.

“When reflecting upon his death, how appropriately may we exclaim, ‘O that I may die the death of the righteous, and may my last end be like his.”


 

 

Let us hear also what the Richmond Enquirer, edited by Mr. Thos. Ritchie, says:

“Death loves a shining mark!  The rumor which we stated on Friday last, of the convalescence of the Right Rev. Richard C. Moore, was soon succeeded by the most melancholy intelligence, and it grieves us inexpressibly to state that the good bishop is gathered unto his fathers.

“He breathed his last at Lynchburg; and on Saturday night his remains were conveyed to this city in one of the canal boats.

“We have never known so deep a distress produced in Richmond by the loss of any man.

“He had set out on Wednesday, the 3rd inst., on a pastoral visit to Lynchburg.  He preached twice to large crowds in that city Friday, and exhorted on the same night, with an energy and effect which astonished all who heard him; but on that night he was seized with a congestion of the lungs, which baffled all the art of medicine.

“He died as he had lived—a Christian.

“He received the intelligence of his approaching end with an equanimity which had always distinguished his character.  ‘It is well’ said he ‘I hope I am prepared for this world or the next.’  He breathed his last on Thursday morning.

“As soon as the tidings of his death reached us, the bell of the Second Baptist Church, (The Rev. Mr. Maggon’s,) began to toll, and announced the intelligence to a mourning city.

“His body was conveyed to the Monumental Church, on Saturday night, and on the Sabbath the last funeral ceremonies took place.  The town bell was tolled from sunrise to the end of the service.

“The church was filled to overflowing.  The spectacle was affecting beyond description.  Persons of every sect flocked thither to pay their last tribute of respect to one who had been the ornament of human nature.  Six ministers of the Episcopal Church were in the chancel, and two in the pulpit.  The services of the day were most appropriate to the occasion.  Mr. Empie read one of the finest chapters in the Scriptures; and Mr. Norwood preached the funeral sermon from the memorable text in the twenty-first verse of the first chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, ‘For me to die is gain.”

“It was a beautiful and most touching discourse,--frequently interrupted by the tears of the orator, and calling forth from his large congregation the most genial sympathies of human nature.  He gave a striking sketch of the life of Bishop Moore, and pronounced a noble and most just eulogium on the character of the deceased; but (as was well remarked to us by a minister of another congregation,) the best eulogium was the tears of his hearers.

“Every heart sympathized with the last words of the preacher, --‘O that I may die the death of the righteous, and my last end be like his.’  The procession moved on from the church to the city burying ground near the Poorhouse in the following order, under the management of Messrs. James Lyons and Thomas Nelson; officiating clergy, Rev. Dr. Empie and Rev. Mr. Norwood:


The Hearse
Pall-Bearers
Rev. Geo. Woodbridge          Rev. R.B. Croes
    Rev. Mr. Cobbs                    Rev. Mr. Doughan
Rev. Mr. Atkinson                 Rev. Mr. Hart  
 
Other clergy.
Family of deceased.
Other mourners.
Vestry of Monumental Church.
The oldest communicants of the church.
Medical Faculty.
Congregation of the Monumental Church.
Citizens generally.

“We have never seen so long and mournful a procession in this city.  More than sixty carriages attended, and the number of foot-passengers—ladies as well as gentlemen—without distinction, notwithstanding the clouds of dust which enveloped them, was immense.  Peace be to the ashes of this good man!”


 

Quoted from: History and Reminiscences of the Monumental Church, Richmond, VA., From 1814 to 1878; by Geo. D. Fisher; Richmond, Whittet & Shepperson, 1880.


 
"He died as he had lived - a Christian."
The Richmond Inquirer

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