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A Victorian Curate

David Yeandle

Appendix. Documents and Press Quotations

Texte intégral

Fig 5. Eliza Hunt’s copy of Clergymen Made Scarce, courtesy of the Norris Museum, St Ives.

[3] Letter, & c.1

  • 1 The original, occasionally old-fashioned, spelling and punctuation have been preserved in this tran (...)

1My Lord,

2Lucius Apuleius the Getulian, as your lordship knows, wrote the fable of the Golden Ass. He wished to show that wisdom might sometimes exist even under an asinine exterior, and that there might be observing eyes where people did not expect to find them. Were I to call myself the Golden Curate, it would seem self-laudatory if not egotistical, I shall therefore keep in check the spirit which has suggested the comparison.

3I mean to write my experience of five years as a Curate in the Diocese of London. After the example of St. Augustine, Rousseau, and other holy and unholy men, I might call it my ‘Confessions, ’ but I prefer the term experience. In the last century, this was the favourite word with the English Methodists and the Scotch Metaphysicians, it is still the watchword of all the true friends of religion, science, and progress. He that does not build on experience builds on an unstable foundation. Goethe says: —

‘Grey, dear Friend, is all theory,
But green is the golden tree of life.’

4But why should I trouble the world with my experience? I answer because I represent an oppressed race—a race that is fast dying out because of oppression. Curates are men who rarely speak for themselves. It is dangerous for every oppressed class to speak, but for them most dangerous of all. Their policy is in silence and submission. In the marvellous unfolding of events, a singular opportunity has presented itself to me to set before your lordship some of the difficulties that beset every Curate who is really in earnest to fulfil the duties of his calling as a Minister of Christ—an opportunity apparently so providential that I believe I now write under a divine impulse, and that with such facts as are in my possession, were I to be silent I should be wanting in what is due both to God and man.

5A few words concerning myself before I came to London will help to explain what follows. From my earliest youth theology has been the study of my life. I never had a thought of any calling but the one I have followed. I was educated in a Presbyterian sect, and matriculated at a Scotch University. Difficulties as to some doctrines of the Westminster Confession, which always appeared to me without a foundation in the Holy Scriptures, presented a barrier to my admission to any of the orthodox communities in Scotland. I came to England full of one doctrine, compared with which every other seemed [4] of small importance, —this doctrine was that ‘Christ had tasted death for every man.’ I found the Prayer Book full of this momentous truth, and waiving all other considerations I united myself to the Church of England.

  • 2 W H Bulmer. Bishops wearmouth Sunderland (William Henry Philip Bulmer, Deptford St Andrew’s, Bishop (...)

6The late Bishop Maltby admitted me to Holy Orders. His examining Chaplain said that I had passed the best examination of all the Candidates, though there were present men who had stood well at Oxford and Cambridge. The curacy to which I was ordained was a Parish in the suburbs of a large town in the North of England. The Parishioners numbered 10,000. They were entirely of the working class—ship carpenters, bottle makers, glass makers, keel-men, and colliers. It was a curacy that men had generally taken for the sake of a title, and left as soon as they obtained priest’s orders, and often before that time. The Incumbent2 was in ill-health, so that almost the entire management and working of the Parish devolved on me. It was just the work I had coveted, and I felt that with such freedom as I enjoyed, if something were not done the fault would be mine alone. By means of Lectures, Reading Rooms, Schools, & c., I won the confidence of the working men, and, by assiduous visiting, the affections of the whole parish. The apparent prosperity of my work was a wonder to all the Clergy in the neighbourhood. I did not leave when I was made priest, I remained four years with no interest at heart but that of this Parish. With the Incumbent I lived on the best terms. He was a Calvinist of the extreme evangelical school, I a devout believer in Arminius and Wesley; but this never interrupted our harmony, beyond an occasional disputation, in which we always tried to remember that we were Christian Ministers. During the four years I remained here many changes took place in the Episcopal Bench. Among them your lordship came to the Diocese of London. The whole nation soon heard what the new Bishop of London was doing. It seemed to put into us a yet newer life. We studied his plans and tried to imitate them. One of his Diocesan Missionaries preached one summer evening at our Church gate, and made a deep impression on many of the working people. Why, we asked, did no Bishop think of this before? I looked back on the four years which I had spent here with no counsel and but little experience. I thought if I could only be under the Bishop of London what an amount of good I might be able to do. I would cry aloud in the streets. I would assemble the multitudes in the public places. I would feel and make it felt that times of refreshing had indeed come upon the land. It could not be long before I would have a Church and District to myself. A vision passed before me like what the prophets must have seen when they foretold the ingathering of nations, and the final reward of ‘the teachers who are to shine as the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever.’ I thought I was called to London, and to London I came. I preached my ‘farewell’ sermon as the custom is in the country. The congregation wept audibly each time I repeated the words of my text. ‘And now, brethren, I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things which shall befall me there.’ Indeed I did not know them and could not know them, nor could [5] I by any possibility conceive them. I knew indeed that I was to be a Curate, but as yet I knew nothing of a Curate’s trials.

  • 3 James Sutherland Arlington Square Islington (St Philip the Evangelist’s, Arlington Square, Islingto (...)

7My first Metropolitan Curacy was in the north of London. For convenience sake, I shall call the Incumbent the Rev. Simon Arlington.3 He was a man advanced in life, and had been a Curate until within a very few years of the time when I first knew him. This, one would have expected, might have made him have sympathy for Curates, but, no, on the certain principle that the persecuted are in their turn the greatest persecutors, this Incumbent was about the worst into whose hands I could have fallen. He was a man of meagre abilities, but of considerable craft. He bustled about among the people, was expert in gossip, and supremely in his element in the management of soup tickets. The Church was new. It was his first Incumbency; I was his first Curate, and he displayed the senile vanity of an old man just elevated into position. He called on me as soon as I arrived, and we took stock of each other. I agreed to read prayers in the morning and preach in the evening the following Sunday. This was by way of trial, for we had not yet concluded any engagement. He called on Monday, to say that he and the congregation were well satisfied, and that he wished to offer me the curacy. I recommended my remaining a month on trial, but he thought that quite unnecessary, I had better get licensed at once.

  • 4 ‘Neander!] Neander!

8The poor people among whom I had laboured in the north collected about £20, to present me with an expression of their gratitude for my four years’ ministrations. They asked me to decide how the money should be expended. My greatest want was a few more books, and it was agreed that the money should be spent in books. I selected 35 volumes, chiefly in theology. Among them were the complete works of Archer Butler, Neander’s Church History, some volumes by Mr. Maurice, and Kingsley’s Sermons. I had just arranged them on a table, when Mr. Arlington called. They were handsomely bound, and garlanded with a profusion of ribbons in the shape of book marks, with crosses suspended, the work of such young ladies as were in the congregation. They caught Mr. Arlington’s eye, and I told him the history of the trophy now before him. ‘Very gratifying, ’ he said, ‘very gratifying!’ Looking closer, he read ‘Maurice’s Theological Essays, ’ and exclaimed, ‘Maurice! Neology!’ He looked at another volume, ‘Kingsley! Neology!’ at a third, ‘Neander !4 Neology again! ’ I said I had not read them, which was quite true, and this seemed to remove all suspicion.

9I accepted the Curacy. My next business was to see the Bishop. It is always interesting to see a man of whom you have heard much, especially a man that will probably be spoken of in the middle of the next century, and it is more interesting if there is a probability of your own name being mentioned incidentally in his biography. I went to London House anxious to let the Bishop know that a zealous Evangelist had come to the Diocese. I really considered my coming to London an event of importance, and expected a conversation with the Bishop on the subject of the work I had undertaken. In my rustic [6] simplicity, I had supposed Rome to be like Mantua. It did not enter my head that a man who is Bishop of almost half a world, could not have time for such conversations as I expected. I was introduced with six other curates. We took some oaths, kissed a book, signed a paper, and departed. The Bishop’s lawyer exacted a sovereign out of my small funds for a bit of paper, which he called a licence. I suppose it was of some use, though I have not yet had time to enquire into the necessity of this expenditure of Curates’ money. I had seen the Bishop, and left with the curious sensation that the sight of him had cost me a sovereign.

  • 5 won’t] wont

10Next day my new Incumbent called, to arrange as he said about the work of the Parish. I was to read the prayers morning and evening, and begin an afternoon service, and he added, ‘Sometimes you may have the privilege of preaching in the evening.’ Privilege of preaching! I said to myself. Is not preaching to be the work of my life? Is it not the work for which I was ordained and for which I have just been licensed? And is it now to be a privilege only occasionally granted by this man! I added mentally, I won’t5 be long here, that I know. However, I was licensed, and in ordinary fairness I ought to stay a year. I said to Mr. Arlington ‘I am a believer in systematic Pastoral Visitation; I shall begin at once and go over the congregation.’ ‘Oh, no, ’ he answered, ‘the congregation is mine, not yours, I will visit the congregation.’ A District was assigned to me, which consisted of Misery Lane, Poverty Corner, Starvation Street, and a few similar streets, terraces, and even parades, for so they called them. The population of my district was reckoned at 4000. I was to labour in these streets without a room of any kind in which I could hold a meeting. My work was simply that of a district visitor. I could not invite these poor people to Church, for even if they had been willing to come, we had not pews for people who could not pay pew rents, and if I had taken pews for them and got them to come, even in the best clothes they had, the officers at the Church would have warned them off. It was not a rich congregation, but what it wanted in wealth it had abundantly in pride. After a few weeks, Mr. Arlington asked me to take a Sunday Evening Lecture in a City Church for a friend of his who was unable for his work. This was a very interesting service. The congregation consisted of the Beadle, Organist, and Pew-openers, with a few big boys and girls who played at ‘Hide and Seek’ in the organ gallery. I preached to the pews of this Church for four Sundays, but as I did not like being sent away from my own Parish, I intimated to Mr. Arlington that as his friend had a salary for the Lectureship he might pay a substitute. Mr. Arlington said sharply, that I could have the money if I liked. I reminded him that the society which payed my salary as his Curate, did not allow me to take money for preaching in other churches, but that I would be satisfied if the money were given to the funds of that society. The business was settled by sending a cheque for £1.1s. to the ‘Pastoral Aid’ and declining any further service from me as Substitute City Lecturer. [7]

  • 6 came] come
  • 7 that.] that

11During four months I had preached in our own Church about four times, and this Mr. Arlington granted as a favour, mingled perhaps with a feeling that I should not be idle on Sundays. He had been a non-preaching Curate for nearly twenty years, and now that he had got a Church and congregation to himself he could not endure that another should share the public ministrations with him. It was evident that I was in his way. He manifested this sometimes by taking the whole service himself, and leaving me to sit in a pew. He had an idea which afflicts many vain preachers, that the congregation were not satisfied to see any but himself, either in the pulpit or the desk. I endured this, intending to complete my year’s service. But one Saturday Mr. Arlington entered my lodgings. He had a face which betokened that he had something to say, and he began with those conciliatory phrases which are the sure indication that something disagreeable is to follow. I wondered what it could be. I thought of all the sins I had committed since I came6 to London, and I tried to remember if there was one really cognisable as a public offence, ‘I am very sorry, and it is a matter of great trouble to me’ he proceeded to say, ‘but a deputation from the congregation waited on me yesterday to state that your reading is so bad, that they will not endure it longer.’ He added, that there was no objection to my preaching, only to my reading. The natural amendment which suggested itself to me, was, that he should read and I would do the preaching. I remarked that the information he brought me was very strange. I had come one Sunday on trial, and had offered to stay a month in the same condition that they might all be perfectly satisfied. I proposed to resign the Curacy, but he would not hear of that.7 He wished that I should confine my labours to visiting the poor, and on Sundays I could sit in the communion and read the Epistle. The novelty of the proposition made me smile. He wished to confer upon me the dignity of a Bishop or a Dean, to sit enthroned, so that the congregation might behold me—and strange infatuation! I refused the honour. My absence from Church was a subject of inquiry. I told the story in a good humoured manner, shielding Mr. Arlington as well as I could, but the result was an excitement in the parish. Pews were threatened to be given up, hard words were spoken, and the people asked indignantly who were the deputation that waited on Mr. Arlington. When pressed he denied the deputation. It was finally reduced to the Churchwarden’s wife and one or two old ladies, Mr. Arlington’s special admirers.

12The complaint was that I read with a Scotch accent. I had often heard Scotch preachers in England, and wondered that they had not rid themselves of this very uninteresting mark of the country of their birth; but I was not aware that I had retained a trace of it. We are never supposed to know the breadth of our own speech. I have heard two Irish Curates retort on each other in the wildest Hibernian, that they were far too Irish for this Country, and each say for himself that he was not a bit Irish at all. I mentioned Mr. Arlington’s visit to a Scotch lady, a member of our congregation, expecting she would enter [8] a protest against the ‘Deputation’ ladies, but instead of that she answered my remarks by exclaiming with the most execrable Aberdeen intonation, ‘That aboa-minible Scootch awksent, I was six years in London myself before I could get quit of it.’ The most curious of all was, that Mr. Arlington was himself a north countryman, and with a voice that might have frightened Bushmen or Andemaners.

13As the excitement increased, Mr. Arlington became more distant. I felt it was desirable both for him and myself that I should get another curacy. How to set about that I did not well know, but I had a faint idea that curates and curacies should be in the Bishop’s hands, or at least in the hands of some authorized person or body. I thought the Bishop might know what vacancies were in the diocese. Accordingly, I repaired to London House. I waited here from 11 o’clock till 2. A multitude of Rectors and Vicars had come by appointment to see the Bishop. When they had finished, his lordship came and asked if I wanted to see him, adding that he had no time, as he had to address a meeting in St. James’ Hall at half-past two. He looked tired, and I felt that to inflict upon him any account of my paltry grievances would have been cruelty. When he learned who I was, he said that he had lately had a visit from my Incumbent, and that he was just about to write to me. He asked what was the matter, and I answered that the matter was too contemptible to be mentioned. I wished to leave as soon as possible. ‘Very well, ’ he said, ‘get another cure, ’ and in the agitation of the moment I omitted to ask the question for which I had come. Next day I was served with a legal notice, countersigned by the Bishop, to leave at the end of six months. I was sorry the Bishop had been a party to this, for I had given notice to leave at the end of three months, so that this notice was a studied insult on the part of Mr. Arlington.

  • 8 Lissom Grove. Name forgotten (James Keeling, St Paul’s, Lisson Grove)
  • 9 Maurice?’] Maurice?

14This was in the month of July, about the time when the Clergy begin to be scarce in London. I had now my first experience in the way of looking out for a Curacy. I advertised in the Record, and had a multitude of answers. The incumbent of a Church in the8 North West asked me to come and preach on trial. I selected what I considered at the time my best sermon. The subject was the craving of man for an object of worship. The whole sermon was a commentary on the words of St. Augustine, ‘Thou, O God, hast made us for Thyself, and our souls are restless till they find rest in Thee.’ I had scarcely got into the vestry, when the Incumbent thanked me for the ‘very remarkable sermon’ as he was pleased to call it. A young man just from Oxford read prayers, he was pleased to say that he had learned more from this sermon than from anything he had ever heard at Oxford. It was about settled that I was to take this Curacy. We adjourned to the Parsonage and entered into further conversation about the subject of the sermon. One sentiment was quoted as being very striking. I inadvertently remarked that Mr. Maurice had expressed some fine thoughts on that point in one of his Theological Essays, —‘Mr. Maurice!’ said the Incumbent, ‘Do you agree with Mr. Maurice?’9 ‘On that point, ’ I answered, ‘I certainly do.’ This [9] effaced the good impression I had made, for a Curate to agree with Mr. Maurice, even when Mr. Maurice is right, is at least suspicious.

15Another application was from a Vicar in the South West. He wanted Temporary Duty taken in a School Room. Some factories had risen in the Parish, and brought an increase of working people. I offered to take permanent charge of the District. It was just what I was looking out for. ‘They are all infidels’ said the Vicar. I remembered that I had read all the Sceptical books that had been written for the last 200 years, both in France and in England. I remembered, too, that I knew the thoughts that were troubling working men’s minds, and the causes of these thoughts, and I felt in myself that this was just such a District as I ought to have. ‘We never know, ’ he continued, ‘where we are to find infidelity now, ’ and, as I thought, changing the subject, he asked if I had read Robertson’s Sermons. I quickly answered that I had, and that they were wonderful sermons: ‘Infidelity’ he replied, ‘nothing else. A lady came to me yesterday with a volume of them, wanting me to read a passage which she said was very beautiful, but I soon showed her the error that was in it.’ ‘What do you think of Kingsley?’ he continued. I said that Kingsley was a very eloquent writer, I did not much admire his sermons, at the same time mentioning some that were really worthy of Kingsley, a very original sermon on the Trinity, another on the 104th Psalm, and one of rare beauty on the Transfiguration. He is, I said a man that seems to know everything, and to know it well. He has taught some great lessons in his novels. ‘A young puppy, ’ said the Vicar ‘nothing but a young puppy. I knew him when he was a boy and his father before him.’

  • 10 Jenkins Battersea (John Simon Jenkinson, St Mary’s, Battersea)

16With a Vicar who could not appreciate Frederick Robertson’s Sermons, I could have no sympathy in the world. Long before the conversation ended, it was evident there was to be no engagement. He10 asked me to take some luncheon. In the dining room I met his wife and his bevy of daughters. There was plenty on the table, but I had great difficulty in getting any of it. The young ladies were about to have a drive. They gabbled and helped each other, but paid no attention to me. Why should they? I was only an ‘Arab’ Preacher come to beg a month’s employment from their Papa. The ‘Evangelical’ Clergy when they have the means, are generally as ‘worldly’ in spirit as those who have fewer pretensions. Charlotte Bronté records that the Principal of the School at which Jane Eyre was educated, used to address the daughters of the poor clergy on the sin of dress, accompanied by his own blooming girls, flounting [sic] in all the finery of fashion. The sin of dress, if there is such a sin, must be a very venial one, and there can be no sin in young ladies having a drive, but I thought a man who wished to convert working men from infidelity, should teach his family to bridge the distance between the grades of society, especially that between a Clergyman who has a benefice and one who has not.

  • 11 William Garrat Walham Green (William Garratt, St John’s, Walham Green, Fulham)

17The third application was also from the South West. As it resulted in an engagement I shall give the Incumbent a name, —the Rev. Peter11 [10] Walham. He came to my lodgings in a cab late one Wednesday night. We had some pleasant conversation; I greatly liked the man, perhaps because he was such a contrast from Mr. Arlington. He gave a good account of his Parish, and said I should make a profitable exchange in leaving this densely populated part, to come and live in his semi-rural Parish in the West. He intimated that there were a few good families in the neighbourhood, humorously adding that there were also some unmarried ladies; but he would not raise my hopes in that way, as I might be disappointed. It was agreed that I should preach next Sunday morning. The day following, he wrote that he and his congregation were well pleased with my sermon, and that the Curacy was at my service; but as the salary was paid by the Pastoral Aid Society, he could not conclude an engagement till he had placed my name before their Committee. As however he wanted to leave Town immediately, he would make a temporary engagement for four or five months. Having been in the service of the Pastoral Aid Society ever since I was ordained, I did not for a moment anticipate any difficulty in that quarter. Mr. Walham was unusually generous. Though about to leave me in sole charge of his Parish, he asked no references. It was quite enough that I was licensed in the Diocese, and that he and his congregation had heard me read and preach. I told Mr. Arlington that I had got another Curacy, and I would be glad to know when he would release me. He was not disposed to give me permission to leave for the next three months; but he said at last, that he would be satisfied if I found a substitute. With some trouble I found a substitute; but Mr. Arlington, of course, would not have him. However, I was free. Mr. Arlington was chagrined at my success in getting a Curacy so soon, and specially annoyed that no reference had been made to him. I did not know which to admire most, my own dexterity, or Mr. Walham’s good-nature. Next Sunday I was in my new Parish. A man has a strange joy when he feels he has escaped from an enemy. Time will never efface the memory of those mellow autumn days when I took up my residence in Mr. Walham’s Parish. Never was the sun so beautiful to my eyes, nor the blue sky above me so radiant of promise. But my hopes were short lived. The Pastoral Aid Society demanded a reference to my last Incumbent. I wrote to the Secretary, that there had been some unpleasantness between us, and it would be desirable not to refer to him. My letter was never even acknowledged. I called at the office and saw the lay secretary. I wished the reference to be made to the Incumbent with whom I had been four years in the North. The lay secretary, who spoke to me with an air of authority, answered, that nothing would do but a reference to my last Incumbent. Mr. Walham then wrote to Mr. Arlington. He gave me a testimonial which was on the whole satisfactory. He certified among other things that I was an ‘able preacher and a diligent student;’ but the cunning man knew the crotchets of this Society, and added not on his own authority, but that some one had said that my sermons were not thoroughly ‘Evangelical.’ This was enough, with such a Society, to settle the matter against me. Mr. Walham remonstrated with Mr. Arlington, that he must know what would be the effect of such words as [11] these, and asked him to write a testimonial without adding remarks that would defeat the object. Several letters passed; and at last Mr. Walham wrote to me from Brighton that the Society had confirmed my appointment to the Curacy. My opinion of Mr. Walham was now at its height. He had taken high ground, and fought my battle manfully. This cloud had been dispersed, and I began to work earnestly in the Parish. I was in sole charge and free to do almost whatever I wished. I began classes and lectures of different kinds; I visited the schools and the homes of the poor, while on Sundays the congregation visibly increased. All went on smooth for about two months, when, one morning, I had a letter from Mr. Walham, saying, that the Pastoral Aid Society had confirmed my appointment only for three months! and that he would give me three months’ notice from the date of his letter. We have heard a great deal in England about Jesuits. I began now to think if there was not something in the very nature of things which made Jesuit morality a necessity in the very existence of the Clergy, and societies constituted by the Clergy. I had to leave this Curacy. I could not help myself. A thousand voices will ask, Where was the Bishop? Why did you not apply to him? I could not, I had never been licensed. It was a manœuvre of Mr. Walham’s never to have licensed Curates. My predecessor had been there four years, and had never been licensed. I indeed wished that I could have told the matter to the Bishop. I often walked among the trees around Fulham Palace, and by the foss along the river’s side, and thought it sad that I could not speak to him. As Bishop there was perhaps no case to demand his interference. If with a licence in my former Curacy he could only help the Incumbent to insult me, what could I expect here without a licence? I had no access to him in any way. He did not know me when I met him—he did not even know my name. One day he preached at our Church, and spoke kindly to me in the vestry—asked if I had been out of Town for a holiday in the summer, supposing I was the Curate that had been there for years. Mr. Walham took care not to inform him that I had just come, and that I was to be under the Episcopacy of the Pastoral Aid Society. As the time approached for me to leave, the parishioners became anxious. Three different gentlemen called to ask if I would sanction a Petition being got up and presented to Mr. Walham for me to remain. I refused to move in anything of that kind, and told them the matter did not rest with Mr. Walham, but with a Society which paid the Curate’s salary. The Parishioners never knew where the Curate’s salary came from. The Church was unendowed. Mr. Walham was a man of property, and for that reason had been appointed. It had always been supposed that he paid the salary himself. It was then agreed to raise the salary in the Parish, and dismiss the Society; but that was an amount of lay interference not to be tolerated. The Churchwardens were deputed to ask if Mr. Walham would receive a petition of the kind proposed. He not only peremptorily refused, but immediately accused me of raising a disturbance in his Parish. No charge could have been more unjust. I vindicated myself, and we remained apparently friends till the close of my time there.

  • 12 predilections”.’] predilections.’

18In my efforts to find another Curacy, Mr. Walham allowed me to [12] refer to him. Indeed, I had no other to whom I could refer. I believe he wrote fairly. One of his letters I happened to see. It stated honestly that my ministrations had been highly appreciated by the Parishioners. It gave as the reason that my style of preaching was figurative, and that the sermons were full of illustrations. And it added as a further explanation, that the appreciation was in some measure due to ‘Scotch predilections on the part of some.’ In allusion to this, I said to him pleasantly one day, ‘I did not know, Mr. Walham, that your Parishioners were troubled with “Scotch predilections”.’12 He made an apology, and said he would not put that in again.

  • 13 The word is underlined, possibly in a different hand, but without elucidation.

19In this Parish I had made some genuine13 friends, whose friendship remains till this hour. Defeated in their efforts to retain me among them, they manifested anxiety to do what they could for me in any other way. Some, who had Indian connections, suggested that an Indian chaplaincy might be easily obtained. On inquiry, it was found that an Indian chaplaincy was not to be had; but it was said at the War Office that I might easily get an appointment in our own army. Military life had never presented any attractions for me; but I remembered that soldiers were men; and when it was mentioned that earnest Clergymen were much needed in the army, it appeared that I might have a field of usefulness even there. I applied to Lord Herbert, who referred me to the Chaplain-General. This gentleman offered to put my name on the list; but he added that it was quite useless, as I could not get an appointment during this century. He would be a long time in his grave before they came to the last man now on the list, for an army chaplaincy. Among other applications, I wrote to the Secretary of the Colonial and Continental Society, asking employment on the Continent of Europe. I mentioned, perhaps inadvisedly, that I had thoroughly studied the Roman Catholic Church, both on its good and its bad sides; that I was well acquainted with German Theology, from the Wolfenbüttel Fragments to the latest development; that I knew Kant and all the ramifications from Kant. These I then thought, and still think, are the proper qualifications for an English Clergyman on the Continent; but I had an immediate answer as pompous (the writer is now an ‘Evangelical‘ Bishop) as it was prompt, to the effect that there was no vacancy in their Society that would suit me. A well known Bishop has said in a book, called ‘Dangers and Safeguards, ’ & c., ‘A very general impression seems to prevail, that the very fact of a writer’s showing any acquaintance with the Theology of Germany, may be taken as an a priori indication of unsoundness.’

  • 14 Rutlandshire John Jones
  • 15 George Finch

20About this time I had an unusual adventure in the country, in answer to an advertisement in the Record. I had a letter from a Clergyman in14 ______shire; he wanted me to take charge of his Parish for three months. He asked me to come at once and see the place. I might put two sermons in my pocket, and preach on the Sunday. It was a rural village, ten miles from a Railway Station. After a long ride, on a cold January day, I found the Vicar’s coachman waiting [13] with a conveyance to drive me from the Station to the Village. We got into a familiar conversation on the road, when he told me among other things that his master was ‘the finest gentleman in England, ’ and ‘the missus too was as nice a lady as ever breathed;’ and after a little time he whispered, ‘Let me give you a bit of advice—Sir, tomorrow morning you must not begin the service until the squire15 comes in; some Clergymen as I bring this way go wrong there, and the squire does not like it.’ ‘A squire! ’ I said, ‘you have a squire too, have you?’ We arrived at the Vicarage in time for dinner. I found the Vicar and his wife such as the coachman had described them. We passed the evening in agreeable and profitable religious conversation. Next morning we went to Church. I had forgot all about the squire; but I believe he arrived a few seconds before I began to read ‘When the wicked man, ’ & c. I had brought two sermons with me: one on the ‘Rich man that pulled down his barns to build greater, ’ and another on the ‘Barren Fig Tree.’ I had selected these as most likely to suit a congregation of simple farmers, I did not know when I wrote them that this squire was in existence. The first was preached in the morning. I drew a picture, in the introduction, of a man who had managed his estates well—a man who was a pattern to all his neighbours for prudence and foresight in the business of life, but who was yet so imprudent that he neglected the life to come. Yea, he was not half so prudent as his neighbours gave him credit for. He had never made a will—he had never once supposed the possibility of his two loving sons disputing about the inheritance after he was gone. I had unwittingly drawn the portrait of the squire. There he sat in his pew, and his two sons beside him, just the careful prudent man I had described. As I went on, the farmers looked to me and then to the squire, to the squire and then to me, as much as to say ‘That’s the thing for him—Give him some more of it.’ As we walked back to the Vicarage after Service, the old Vicar said, ‘I fear the squire and his lady will not like your sermon, this morning. Lady Louisa knows the truth. They like the ‘Gospel, ’ and not sermons against covetousness.’ I said that Christ’s own parables surely contained the Gospel. I had taught what the parable taught, nothing more nor less. The afternoon sermon pleased him better, as the intercession of the vine dresser gave me an opportunity to speak of the atonement and the mediation of Christ. Next morning I engaged to take the duty for three months. I wished to return to London immediately; so we had an early dinner, and completed all arrangements for my residence in the Parish. The carriage was at the door. The footman had my carpet bag in his hand. I had said ‘Good bye’ to the Vicar’s lady. At this moment, the squire was announced. I will not be surprised, I said to myself if a change should come over the spirit of this dream. The vicar withdrew for about ten minutes; then he came into the dining room with a £5 note in his hand, trembling from head to foot. ‘My dear friend, ’ he began, ‘here is five pounds for you; the squire did not like your sermon yesterday morning. I am very sorry, very sorry; but I hope [14] you will get a better Parish than mine.’ It happened that I preferred the five pounds to the engagement, so that my sorrow was greatly mitigated. I expressed the usual regrets, and departed with an ineffaceable remembrance of the squire and his lady, who liked the ‘Gospel, ’ but hated sermons against covetousness.

  • 16 Fund.’] Fund’

21It seemed to my friends that I was doomed to misfortunes. They could not understand how a preacher who had pleased them so well, was not accepted wherever he offered himself. They were sound Church of England people; but they began to think there must be something wrong in a Church, which made it difficult for such as me to get employment. They proposed building a Dissenting Chapel. There was an unusually good opening in the Parish; but I was not disposed to become a Dissenter. I had been brought up a Dissenter, and though I had no priestly notions about the divine institution of Bishops, or the sin of schism, yet I had taken to the Church of England advisedly with a full consciousness of its short comings. I suggested that before long, a new Church would be wanted in the Parish. The population was rapidly increasing. It would be better, I said, for us, as Churchmen, to apply to the Bishop, and see if any funds were available for such an object. Three gentlemen made an appointment with his lordship. Considerable sums had been promised, but the whole expense was greater than they could undertake at once. The Bishop however did not lose the opportunity; a site was secured, and there is now a probability of its being built with the aid of the ‘Bishop of London’s Fund.’16

  • 17 Edmonton (probably All Saints’, Edmonton)
  • 18 John Goodwin

22Before this scheme of a new Church was matured I had left Mr. Walham, to take charge of a Parish17 six miles north of London. We apparently maintained our friendship to the end. On the last day, he called with a petition for me to sign. It was the Clerical protest against the ‘Essays and Reviews.’ He asked me, to sign it as a matter of course— all the Clergy were doing it. He had not read the book, but that was no matter. He was surprised to find that I had read it six months since, before there was any noise about it. I looked over the names on the petition, and pushed it from me with a smile politely contemptuous, remarking that it was not at all in my way to sign papers of that kind, and Mr. Walham was confirmed in his suspicion, that my gospel was not the soundest in England. The charge which I had now undertaken came in answer to an advertisement in the Record. The Vicar wrote on a Friday for me to come and take his duty on the Sunday. Next day he wrote that his congregation were so well pleased with my sermons, that he wished I would take charge of his Parish for six months, expressing a regret that he had engaged a permanent Curate and could not therefore offer me his Curacy. I seemed to be on my feet once more. For three months everything went on well. The congregation was very large—every seat occupied. It was remarked that during my time there, the masculine side of humanity was better represented than it had ever been before. The Parish was a favorite residence of gentlemen whose business lay in the city. There were here, as might be expected, many [15] reading intelligent people. The ‘Essay and Review’ mania had reached its height. The book was in the hands of many. It was the subject of conversation in every party, and especially if either of the Curates was present. I expressed my judgment of it freely, taking each Essay by itself, showing what I approved and what I did not approve. I alluded to the subject in a sermon, taking a considerably more favourable view of the ‘Essays, ’ than the Bishops had done. I was not aware that violent feeling existed on the subject. I had weighed the book calmly, and wished others to do the same. There was truth in it that we needed—truth, some of it unpalatable indeed, but it was necessary for truth’s own sake that it should come out. My remarks brought me anonymous letters, expressing amazement and disappointment, that one whose ministrations they so much esteemed, should see any good in such a book. The Vicar too wrote that I must leave at once. The other Curate,18 an ignorant man from St. Bees, next Sunday denounced the ‘Essays and Reviews’ as the most atrociously infidel book that had ever been published. The Vicar came home, and he preached ‘Essays and Reviews’ till every servant girl in the Parish was reading ‘Essays and Reviews.’ The Curate of course had never read the book, and the Vicar made a vow he never would read it; but if his congregation wanted to go to hell, that, he said, was the book for them to read. It gave me great pain that I had been in any sense the cause of all this raving. I felt I had made a mistake, but it was done in innocence. I never could realize that religious people could be angry about a religious inquiry; least of all that Clergymen, the science of whose profession is theology, should be angry about theological Essays, displaying such ability and learning, as ought to make the Church glad that such gifts are still consecrated to her service.

  • 19 Steventon Paddington (Edwin Henry Steventon, All Saints’ Church, Norfolk Square, Paddington)

23I had not a licence in this Parish, and for the same reason as before, I could not appeal to the Bishop. I was again afloat in search of a Curacy. Mounting my Rosinante (the Record), I set out in quest of new adventures. My first application was from a Clergyman19 in the neighbourhood of Oxford Street West. I had an interview with him, and after some preliminary conversation, he asked, ‘What do you think of Mr. Maurice?’ I looked at him with eyes that said ‘You impertinent vagabond, ’ and answered that ‘I knew nothing against Mr. Maurice.’ ‘But I mean, what do you think of his doctrines?’ ‘Which?’ I said. ‘Well, any of them.—He has written a book against Mr. Mansel.’ I went on to say that on that subject, Mr. Maurice was certainly in the right. Mr. Mansel’s doctrine makes religion impossible. Besides, he does not prove his own thesis. The Lectures are full of learning, much of the reasoning is sound, until he comes to the point he undertakes to establish. There he fails signally. It is true we cannot comprehend the Infinite, but it does not therefore follow that we cannot know God, or that justice with God can be different from justice with men. I further compared Mr. Mansel’s Lectures to Bishop Warburton’s ‘Divine Legation, ’ an immense display of reading and a clear intellect at work, but breaking down at the very point where [16] strength was most required. I scarcely knew if this pleased him or confounded him. He went on to ask what I thought of Mr. Maurice’s view of the Atonement. I said I was not quite sure what it was. I had to complain of Mr. Maurice as an obscure writer; but if he did not differ from Robertson or Kingsley on that subject, I would agree with him. At the mention of Kingsley, the Incumbent was a little agitated, and hastily seizing a volume of his sermons from a book shelf, read a passage about the popular view of the Atonement, denouncing it as a gross misrepresentation. I admitted that the picture was overdrawn. In the popular theology there was a great deal of phraseology which seemed to represent that the Father had to be appeased by the Son, but it was merely in the phraseology, which we should remember was figurative as language taken from things human and applied to things divine must be. If some of the expressions used by St. Paul were to be pressed literally, he might be accused of misrepresenting the Father. I did not believe that such expressions as price, propitiation, and penalty were used by orthodox divines in that literal sense, which Mr Kingsley seemed to suppose. It might be with some very extreme men, but not with all, —not even generally. I quoted as an instance Dr. Guthrie, who distinctly says that ‘God did not love us because Christ died for us, but that Christ died for us because God loved us. The tree of Calvary had its roots in the love of God.’ I believe Kingsley was himself right on the Atonement, but not right in his estimate of other people’s views of it. The Incumbent then went on to ‘Essays and Reviews, ’ which he seemed to have read; but it was evident from the beginning that we were not to make any engagement.

  • 20 Snape Old Kent Road (Alfred William Snape, St Mary Magdalen, Old Kent Road, Bermondsey)

24I had another application20 from the South East. The letter carried the motto Timere vel mutare sperno. I had an interview, and was asked to read Prayers next Sunday. As I had not left my other Parish I could not do this without giving up my emolument for the Parish I was now in; so it was agreed that I should have two guineas for my work. If my testimonials were found satisfactory I was to engage for three months. Before Sunday came I had another letter, saying that my referees had been written to, and I would not be wanted on Sunday. I wrote back that as I had made a bona fide engagement, and had given up another in consequence, I must therefore insist on coming. At the end of my letter I wrote in large characters Timere vel mutare sperno. I suspect that Mr. Walham informed him of my refusing to sign the petition. His morning sermon seemed specially written for my benefit. The subject was the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The preacher maintained that the Spirit never taught, except through the Bible. We had just prayed in the Communion that our hearts might be cleansed through the inspiration of that Spirit, and now we were taught that inspiration was confined to a printed book. Why this difference between the Pulpit and the Communion? The book itself gives no authority for this bibliolatry. I had been so used to hear nonsense from the Pulpit, that I had ceased to be angry at anything I heard there, yet I wished we had enjoyed the freedom of a Jewish Synagogue, in the old time, that I might [17] have cried out in the words of Theodore Parker, ‘My Brother Men, God is not dead.’ But this would have been a mistake, for the congregation only consisted of women with a sprinkling of feminine men.

  • 21 Garrat Little Queen Street (Samuel Garratt, Trinity Church, St Giles-in-the-Fields)
  • 22 Krus St. Judes, Lambeth or Southwark (Francis Cruse, St Jude’s, Saint George’s Road, Southwark)
  • 23 Robinson Chelsea (William Woolhouse Robinson, Christ Church, Chelsea)
  • 24 H.L.] H.L

25As the three months’ engagement was to depend on my testimonials, and I knew that Mr. Walham had done me justice until I refused to sign the ‘Essay and Review’ protest, I trusted him still, and reckoning that this engagement was certain, I resigned my other Parish at once, where I could have stayed a week or two longer; and in consequence was thrown out of employment altogether. Three months were spent in advertising, corresponding, having interviews, and preaching trial sermons. I generally advertised in the Record twice a week, and had about a dozen answers to each advertisement. The working of the Curate system was revealed to me during these three months as I hope it never was to another before me, and I trust for the sake of the Church of England, it will never be so revealed in the experience of another after me. In most cases the Curacies were filled up before a second letter was written; and often, after long correspondence, some unexpected friend had turned up to take the Curacy. I was often in doubt if the men really wanted Curates, or if they were only answering my letters for the sake of increasing the Post-office revenue. One man21 sent for me in great haste, wishing his duty taken at once. I found him in his school room holding a prayer meeting, at the end of which I presented myself. He happened to be a relation of Mr. Walham’s, but they were not on terms of friendship, and when I mentioned the name it was enough. Another had me to preach—kept me a week in suspense, and then said he had changed his mind as to having a Curate at all. A third22 said, he did not understand my sermon on the craving of the soul for God, and pronounced it ‘lacking in the fulness of Evangelical truth.’ Many of the letters were great curiosities. One man wished ‘A Curate willing to spend and be spent for Christ, for there was no salary.’ Another who only gave the letters H. L.,23 to be left at a Publisher’s in Paternoster Row, asked twelve questions, numbered by so many figures; besides the usual interrogations as to my age, university, if my blessedness was single or double, I was to certify whether or not I was ‘Anti-Puseyite, Anti-Rationalist, and a Teetotaler.’ I was to hear again if my answers were satisfactory. The letter ended ‘Yours truly in Jesus, H.L.’ I answered ‘X.Y. is of opinion that H.L. is half-cracked, and would recommend him if he is in Jesus, to walk in the light and not in the darkness.’ In the course of my long experience in Curacy hunting, I met H.L.24 again, and with his true name. It happened that a member of Mr. Walham’s congregation, whom I never knew, but who had been one of my devoted disciples, migrated to H.L.’s parish. She gave him such an account of my ‘gifts and graces’ as a gospel preacher, that H.L. was persuaded he had at last discovered the man he had been long seeking. He wrote to me, but I had just entered on a Curacy, and could not accept his offer. He wished, however, as he had heard so much about me, that I would come and preach for him. I gratified him thus far, and in return he [18] volunteered a criticism on my sermon. The doctrine was all sound, but I had omitted to mention the Holy Spirit until near the end. Now, Charles Simeon had taught him at Cambridge forty years ago that a sermon should consist of an exordium, then a prayer to the Holy Spirit, three heads, and an application.

  • 25 Hugh Allen (Hugh Allen, St George the Martyr, Southwark)

26During the first few weeks of my advertising, I was introduced to the Rector25 of a large Parish, not far from London Bridge. This Rector was a kind of an Ishmael among the Clergy. I found him a somewhat vehement, but withal a clear headed sincere man. He often invited me to his house, and we had long conversations on all subjects relating to theology. Starting as I had done from Arminian ground, he understood me better than any of the Clergy I had met in London. We differed entirely in our judgment of certain writers and certain books, but he considered that my own views were sound, and offered me a Curacy under him. The salary of this Curacy was also paid by the ‘Pastoral Aid.’ I had taken the precaution to call at the office of this society; to know if they had really rejected me; and the Secretary said that they would confirm my appointment to one of their Curacies, if Mr. Walham gave a satisfactory testimonial. As I had that in my possession, I trusted the Secretary, and the Society. My name was placed before the Committee. I was objected to because I was reported to have said to some one in Mr. Walham’s Parish, that the world was not made in six days out of nothing. The Rector told them bluntly that they were a set of fools to object to any man in the present day because of his mode of interpreting the first chapter of Genesis. Every child knew the facts which geology had revealed concerning the making of the world. The case was deferred for a week, and I believe would have been passed, but meantime I had visited the Parish of the ‘Essay and Review’ mania, and stayed a night with the Curate to whom I mentioned in the most friendly and confiding way, what was pending in Fleet Street. He told the Vicar; and between them they sent a dispatch to the Society that I was one of the rising infidels, who were to be crushed by every possible means.

  • 26 Thomas Green Church Missionary College Islington

27About this time I chanced to call one day with a friend on the Principal26 of an important ‘Evangelical’ Institution. My friend had been studying some of the Eastern Languages, and their conversation turned on this subject. The Principal, whom I had never seen before, addressing himself to me, asked if I too was a linguist. I said I had not yet had time to give much attention to oriental literature; but that I had lately been greatly interested in the study of the Hindu Philosophies. From this we quickly passed to Philosophy in general, and the Principal asked what I thought of Mr. Mansel. I answered that I thought very highly of Mr. Mansel, but I did not agree with the subject of his Bampton Lectures, for we certainly could know God. ‘Only through the book, ’ said the Principal. ‘God has revealed Himself only in the book.’ ‘The revelation in the book, ’ I answered, supposes in man the capacity which Mr. Mansel denies. The highest revelation of God is in the spirit of a man—‘The inspiration of the Almighty gives him understanding.’ ‘But, ’ said the Principal, ‘the heathen did not [19] know God. St. Paul condemns Greek Philosophy as insufficient for this knowledge.’ I said that the heathen had this knowledge, and St. Paul testifies that ‘When they knew God they glorified Him not as God.’ We were here in danger of confounding knowing with comprehending, and to clear up this ground I went on to say that in the sense of comprehending we could not know God. The Infinite must ever be beyond us—in the words of Fichte, ‘After thousands upon thousands of spirit lives, we shall know Him as little as we now do in this house of clay.’ In this sense, God is as much unknown to us as to the old Greeks. We may still inscribe on our temples and our altars, ‘To the unknown God!’ At these words the Principal started from his seat, his form agitated with passion, he exclaimed, ‘You are an Atheist! and I order you at once to leave these premises, that they be not polluted by your presence.’ I wished him to remember that we were Christian Ministers, and that we ought, above all things, to keep our tempers. I wished to show him in what sense we could know God; and if I could have got an opportunity, I would also have shown, that as a follower of Mr. Mansel, he was pledged to the words for which he had called me an Atheist.

28This conversation, combined with what had taken place at the Pastoral Aid Society, brought me into great mental trouble. I asked myself if I was really honest in advertising in the Record, as Evangelical. I re-examined the leading doctrines of Christianity as set forth in our standards, and I was convinced that I had departed from none of them. I had rejected many religious phrases which were continually in the lips of ‘Evangelical’ preachers, and I did not speak about inspiration as they did. But the last was no new thing with me. I had rejected the popular view of inspiration as untenable by any educated man, as soon as I knew the history of the formation of the Canon of Scripture. I concluded, however, that the word ‘Evangelical’ had come to be used conventionally in an improper sense, and I therefore ceased to use it in that sense.

  • 27 Courtney St. James Pentonville An Irishman (Anthony Lefroy Courtenay, DD, St James, Pentonville)
  • 28 Henry Kelly Christs Church (Henry Plimley Kelly, Christ Church, Hoxton)

29As most of the Curacies that came through the Record were under the Pastoral Aid Society, I was advised to try the Guardian, and also the Curates’ Registry at Whitehall. It is scarcely possible, one would think, for a Clergyman to be in a more humiliating position than that of advertising, or hanging on at a Registry Office for employment. I never forget the feeling of degradation that came over me when I was first reduced to these expedients. It appears, however, that as yet the Bishops have been able to devise nothing better for Curates and Curacies than a Registry Office. This at Whitehall boasts the sanction of Canterbury, York, London, & c. No complaint can be made against this institution in itself, but it is necessarily subject to all the evils of every Registry Office. The Incumbents who are always in want of Curates, because they do not know how to use them, have their names there from year to year, and are continually supplied with fresh Curates. The Curates who fall into the hands of these men in the natural order of things lose caste with the Bishop and the beneficed Clergy. They get the reputation of dangerous men. In [20] most instances the Curacies entered here are filled up before the entry is a week old. One Incumbent,27 whose name I took from this Registry, refused to see me, and sent an angry message that he had ordered the Secretary to take his name off these books two months ago. This is just possibly true, but generally Incumbents do not seem to trouble themselves about informing the Secretary that they have got what they wanted. In the Guardian, I was introduced to an entirely new class of men. I had hitherto conscientiously avoided this class, as I had always looked on High Churchmen as a generation of simpletons. They had built Churches and kept them clean. They had abolished square pews in prominent places for the rich, and free benches in obscure corners for the poor. This exhausted the catalogue of their merits. My first Guardian Advertisement brought me 36 answers. The variety was infinite, but most of them had small salaries. High Church has no ‘Pastoral Aid’ to raise the salary to the orthodox sum of £100 per annum. The worshippers of the Bible have been more zealous, than the worshippers of the Prayer Book. One man offered the charge of his Parish and Rectory, with the use of the domestics, on the condition that I boarded them. I was to take his duty and pay his household out of my private income. Another offered the use of an unfurnished room, a garden, and a cow. Some of them were very genial, reminding you of the jovial times the Clergy had in the last century, when such as Sterne could retire to one of his favourite livings to play his fiddle, and finish Tristram Shandy. One offered ‘good shooting, capital boating, and bathing.’ He added that he wanted a man of a good moral character, as the last Curate had disgraced the parish. With one I entered into correspondence, and was finally refused, because I had not graduated at an English University. This indeed was the case with some of the most desirable Curacies that turned up. I felt this too as a hardship, it was not fair that I should be classed either with the ‘literates, ’ or the ‘illiterates, ’ of the Church. I was not an ignorant man, and I knew I was not. I had sat at the feet of Sir David Brewster, I had learned Metaphysics from Ferrier, and other sciences from other great doctors eminent in their day. It was too bad that I should be classed with men from the Clerical Colleges—institutions whose very existence is one of the greatest scandals of the Church. I had an interview with one Incumbent28 who would have nothing but a University man for his Curate. He was an M.A. of Cambridge. It was about the time of the Prince of Wales’ marriage. He was very wroth that it should be permitted in Lent. I asked if he knew the custom of the Catholic Church before the Reformation as to marriages in Lent. ‘Reformation, ’ he said, ‘was there any Lent before the Reformation?’ I was thankful for once that I was not an M.A. of Cambridge.

  • 29 Thomas Jackson Stoke Newington

30One Guardian application was from a High Church Rector29 in a fashionable part of London. He asked that I might preach on trial, as the congregation paid and selected the curate. ‘High Churchism for ever.’ I said, ‘if this is to be the practice.’ It was some miles from my lodgings, but I was there in time on Sunday morning. The [21] Church was one of the finest in London, the congregation perhaps one of the wealthiest. The Rector was absent. I did my best; but when I had finished there was no guinea, no dinner, not even a glass of wine. The Rector’s wife passed through the vestry, and bowed as she passed. Outside, the gay congregation rolled away in their carriages. It began to rain, and like Cowper’s nightingale,

‘That all day long
Had cheered the village with its song, ’

31I began to feel ‘the keen demands of appetite.’ A Curate friend, also in misfortune, was with me. We journeyed on through the wet and remembered what ‘David did, and they that were with him, when he was an hungred, how he entered into the temple and did eat the shew bread, which was not lawful for him to eat.’ We, having concealed the badges of our profession, went into a temple of another kind, and there did eat such things as could be obtained; this we did in the company of some cabmen and omnibus drivers, for no other room was available. I never heard from the Rector again. Long after I was told, on good authority, the whole affair was a swindle, no Curate was wanted. The Rector for certain reasons had to be out of the way, and by this device he got his duty taken without expense, for two months. This Rector once preached a charity sermon at a Church where I was taking duty, in a poor neighbourhood, about a mile and a-half from his own parish. His subject was the luxuriousness of the Greeks to whom the Apostles preached. The inhabitants of Pergamos he described as having been very luxurious. In his youth he might have been eloquent, but his speech was now impeded by the amount of adipose tissue that had collected in the vicinity of the submaxillary, and the os hyoides. Like a swimming pig about to commit involuntary suicide he kept screaming out ‘Lux-u-rious inhabitants of Pergamos.’ About £5 was collected from these very poor people. Next day an innkeeper presented the Churchwardens with an account for 10s. 6d.—the fly fare for conveying the obese Rector from his Rectory and back to it again.

  • 30 ‘No, ’] ‘No, ’

32I will conclude my curacy hunting adventures with one that got into the newspapers at the time and which I have omitted in its proper place. It was in the days of my Record advertisements. I had given the address, ‘A.B. to be left at the Record Office.’ One evening, about a week after it appeared, I was sitting in a friend’s house in Lambeth. I had left orders at my lodgings that the letters were to be sent to me. The Curate who accompanied me in my last adventure was engaged at a chess table. I had more congenial employment in discoursing with an old lady, a follower of Edward Irving, on unfulfilled prophecy. A letter was put into my hand which ran thus: —‘Mr.________, Abbey Road, St. John’s Wood, wishes to see A.B. at five o’clock this evening.’ It was now past seven. I told my chess friend that I had had an answer to my advertisement and must leave immediately. He put aside his ‘kings’ and ‘bishops.’ I postponed the discussion of Ezekiel’s [22] ‘wheels’ and Daniel’s ‘little horn.’ We mounted an omnibus and passed over Westminster Bridge towards Regent Street, into Edgware Road, thence to St. John’s Wood. I sent in my card, and was shown into a sitting room. A gentleman entered, to whom I rose and bowed. He was followed by his wife, a grave lady, to whom I also bowed with all the politeness I am possessed of. They seated themselves, so did I. The gentleman taking his pen in hand began his interrogations. ‘Are you an Englishman?’ he said. ‘No, ’30 I answered, telling him to what country I did belong. The lady muttered, ‘My dear it is of no use.’ ‘No, it is not, but let us ask a question or two.’ ‘Where were you last?’ ‘In the parish of E______, ’ I replied readily. The lady again mysteriously interposed, ‘My dear, it is of no use, he does not know his place.’ Rather perplexed, and my sensitiveness a little wounded, I said, ‘I beg your pardon, but I do not understand you.’ ‘Why, ’ said the lady, ‘you don’t know your place as a servant, you sit down without being asked.’ The tide of my indignation was swelling fast, I thought of all the insults I had of late received, but this seemed to crown them all. During the two months I had been in search of a Curacy I had got a good many knocks on the head from unfeeling and fickle Incumbents that wanted Curates, but now I thought surely I have come to the last step of degradation, anything after this. And then these Incumbents’ wives! What mischief do they not make! If this gentleman is the Rector of a parish, evidently his wife is the Di-Rector. Shall not I as a Curate protest against this monstrous government of women? Shall I not assert the equality of all members of the priesthood? Whilst these thoughts were overwhelming my mind, taking up the lady’s word servant, ’ I exclaimed almost with vehemence, servant! servant! I am a clergyman.’ ‘Clergyman, ’ cried the lady, ‘clergyman!’ said the gentleman. ‘There must be a mistake somewhere. Pray sir, what did you advertise for?’ ‘For employment in the duties of my profession, ’ I replied. ‘Oh!’ he rejoined, ‘my letter was in answer to a footman’s advertisement, a thorough indoor servant.’ Here it is in the Record. ‘Address A.B.’ Suddenly the lady’s gravity and the gentleman’s perplexity, and the floods of my wrath all yielded and gave place to mutual apologies, not unmingled with merriment at the odd mistake that had brought us together.

  • 31 Christ Church Hoxton
  • 32 Baker Fulham (Robert George Baker, All Saints, Fulham)

33After long toil and great waste of money I obtained a Curacy. It was in the Parish31 adjoining Mr. Arlington’s. The Incumbent took me without references, because he knew that I had been in the next parish. But a new difficulty arose, I had none to sign my testimonials for a licence. I applied to Mr. Walham and the Vicar of the old Parish out of which Mr. Walham’s was originally formed. This Vicar32 was a sensible man and had always been friendly to me. He was ready to sign if Mr. Walham signed, but Mr. Walham returned the testimonials saying that the Bishop would require some account of me for the nine months I had been in London before I came to him. That surely was not his business. I sent his letter to the Bishop, and his lordship generously gave me a licence without troubling any of them. My [23] new Parish had great disadvantages. At one time the Church had been in the hands of an extreme High Churchman, and was made a kind of rendezvous for the High Church people in the surrounding Parishes. The ceremonies which attracted these people, drove away all the parishioners, who took their revenge by building a Wesleyan, and an Independent Chapel in the vicinity of the Church. That Incumbent was removed, and all the fantastical High Church people left with him, so that the new Incumbent had no congregation. The first morning I preached, we had not thirty people. After a time we got a tolerable evening congregation, but the difficulties in this parish were too many and too great for a Curate to overcome. One of these was the prejudice created by the former Incumbent. The boys watched at the church doors and cried, even after me, ‘Pusey, Pusey, Pusey! ’ and mewed like cats and kittens. I began my work with a course of lectures to working men; they were well attended, and at the first lecture I announced that I was to hold two Bible lectures every week, inviting the people to come. I had not been many minutes in my lodgings when the Churchwarden came to prohibit the lectures being held in that school room. I told him, as Churchwarden, he had nothing to do with the school. It did not matter, he would prohibit the lectures. The Incumbent would not fight for me, and so I had to yield. I remained in this Parish two years, and of my own account left it to take another.

  • 33 St Botolphs Aldgate
  • 34 Hon. Freemantle (William H. Fremantle, Chaplain to the Bishop of London)
  • 35 Joseph Bardsley (Joseph Bardsley, Secretary of the London Diocesan Home Mission)
  • 36 David King
  • 37 1864 ‘Curates made scarce’ ‘Times’ leader. The Anatomist Curate’ & c. (The first reference is possi (...)
  • 38 James Roberton (James Matthew Roberton, St. Botolph’s without Aldgate)

34It was some time in September 1863, when I entered on my duties as Curate of one of the City33 churches. The parishioners were ‘Jews, Infidels, Turks, Heretics, ’ and other Dissenters. Those who attended the Church were a few shopkeepers and their families. Those who were of the Church, but did not attend it, were a multitude of paupers. As an old City parish it had immense charities, and as it consisted of many small tradesmen, it abounded in men eager for public offices. I took an inventory of the Parish, and drew up my plans for work. A Curate who has plans generally requires considerable tact to persuade his Incumbent to sanction them. I thought I could succeed, and began warily by proposing lectures for the working men. It was objected, that there were no working men in the Parish except day labourers. There was besides a more serious objection, no school room was available. We had five schools in the Parish, but it happened that they were managed by committees of shopkeepers, who excluded the Incumbent, or admitted him only as one of themselves. I saw at once that my work here was to be limited to visiting the sick and relieving the poor. For the last I had but small means, as these shopkeepers had seized on the management of all the Parish charities. After I had been there about nine months, I wrote to the Bishop asking Missionary employment. I began to be sad when I thought of my life passing away—so much to be done—so much that I could do—and no prospect of realizing the object for which I had come to London. I was certain the Bishop could put me in the way of getting the care of one or two streets in some wretched locality, where I could work without the interference of any paltry Incumbent. The Bishop’s Chaplain34 [24] referred me to the Secretaries of two societies. One of them had nothing to give. With the other I had a long correspondence. Before offering my services to this society, I wished distinctly to understand their work. I had believed that it consisted chiefly in street preaching. I did not object to preach in the streets, but I had not cultivated the style of preaching generally practised by street missionaries, and was disposed not to press my application. The Secretary however informed me, that after this the Society’s agents would be settled in parishes and not migratory as they had been before, and on this information my application was renewed. I had to preach a sermon in the East End, by way of trial. It was a dark night in the beginning of October. The wind was high and the weather cold, but a considerable number of men gathered in the light of a gin palace window and listened attentively while I discoursed of the joys of religion. Next day the Secretary35 informed me that the members of the Subcommittee were of opinion that my voice was not strong enough for preaching out of doors. It was also intimated that what I had said, though very excellent in itself, and very suitable in a church, was not exactly what they wanted for a street audience. About this time the Ecclesiastical Commissioners cut off the half of our Parish to form a new District. In consequence of this, the Incumbent did not require me any longer, and wished me to look out for something else before the expiration of six months. A fortnight after, he reduced the six to three. This mattered nothing, so long as I had him to refer to as last Incumbent, ready, and even anxious, to help me in getting another charge. The Bishop was in Scotland, and I was anxiously waiting his return, to let him know the result of my application to the two societies. Meanwhile an event occurred which changed all our relations. During these years I had been in London, as I could not do all I wished, either in Preaching or in Parish work, I did not lose the advantages which London offers in the way of books and lectures. As a Clergyman coming continually in contact with the poor, the sick, the depraved; and as a student of theology, seeing that nearly all theological questions impinged on the question of nature, I felt it my duty to include among my studies, anatomy and physiology. I attended Lectures at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, and cultivated the acquaintance of all the medical men in our Parish. I kept these studies as secret as I could, till a Churchwarden,36 one of the officious small tradesmen of the parish dragged them to light. A coroner’s jury, consisting of sixteen of these small shopkeepers, condemned my studies, and brought down on themselves and the whole of the Parish authorities, the ridicule of the public press, including the sarcasms of Punch.37 No sensible person could find any fault with anything I had done, but the Incumbent inhibited me from acting as Curate of the Parish. I appealed to the Bishop for protection. I had heard it mentioned as one of the Bishop of London’s failings, that he never took the side of a Curate, but I did not believe it. His lordship judged the matter with considerable impartiality. He had no power to overrule the Incumbent’s inhibition, but he exacted from the In- [25] cumbent38 a promise that he would be my referee as heretofore, and that he would say nothing of any cause of difference between us, unless asked, and then he was to refer to me for an explanation. The Incumbent took the first opportunity of breaking the promise. Unasked, he alluded mysteriously to something which I would explain. I was once more helpless, and but for the voluntary service of a neighbouring Rector, I would have had difficulty in getting a Curacy either in London or any other place. The decision in Bishop Colenso’s case has demonstrated to the world that the Church of England is an ecclesiastical body without Church Government. The case of every Curate in the kingdom would prove the same thing. Every rightminded man will rejoice that the state has protected Bishop Colenso from the arbitrary persecution of the Metropolitan of the Cape; but that state which shields Bishops and Incumbents, leaves Curates unprotected. The law only enables the Incumbent to kick the Curate, and gives the Bishop the power to help the Incumbent to do it more effectually.

35I made but one effort more to obtain a Curacy in London. It reached the stage of an interview, and is too good to be omitted. The Clergyman was an ‘Evangelical‘ Rector of the purest species. ‘What are your views?’ he asked almost as soon as I was seated. My answer was, ‘I agree with the Bishop of London.’ ‘Bishop of London! Have you read his address at the Philosophical Institution in Edinburgh?’ ‘Yes, ’ I said; ‘and it is the best thing the Bishop of London has written.’ ‘I don’t understand it, ’ rejoined the Rector. ‘I don’t know what the Bishop means. What have we got to do with science? When I was ordained, the Bishops were content to know the road to heaven. Jesus Christ knew nothing about Science.’ The naiveness of the last sentence was really charming. I told the Rector that M. Renan had said the same thing, and that Jesus’ idea of the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them was derived from some insipid Rue de Rivoli, built by the Romans in Cæsarea Philippi. The Rector said he had never read Renan, but he was delighted to hear that he had been quite as original as the eloquent Frenchman.

36After this eventful experience—this battling simply to be allowed ‘to spend and be spent for Christ, ’ I speak seriously, many will ask if I am not sick of the Church, and of religion, too? Most men would have renounced both, I have renounced neither. My words, like those of the Abbé Lamennais are still Les paroles d’un Croyant. Frederick Robertson marks it as one of the characteristics of Jesus that He never despaired of humanity, though no man suffered more than He from the baseness and the hypocrisy of men. And Mr. Renan has a grand thought. He supposes that when Jesus came to Calvary, and His great soul was clouded with sorrow, a half repentant feeling may have crossed His mind that He was suffering too much for such a worthless race. Such a feeling may indeed have crossed the mind of Jesus, but it could only have been a momentary temptation. The true spirit has within it a perennial spring of faith. We that do live, live by faith. [26] We walk by faith. In faith we follow the ‘Noble Initiateur.’ In the beginning I likened myself to the priest of Isis, but I checked the comparison. I again check it in the end. Apuleius wrote a fable, I have written the truth. Apuleius was at last delivered from his ass-hood; my curate-hood remains.

I am, my Lord,
Your Lordship’s obedient Servant,


37There is no special reason why this Postscript should be addressed to the Bishop of London. The events it records took place in another diocese. The facts, however, concern the whole Church and therefore every Bishop in the Church. What concerns all Bishops must be of special interest to the Bishop of the Metropolis.

38Notwithstanding the apparent egotism of this letter, nothing but a deep sense of duty would ever have allowed the writer to publish it, and nothing but the same sense impels him to write again. We do not make all the circumstances of our lives; most of them are made for us. It is our business to use them as best we can, so to serve our day and generation, that when the night cometh, wherein no man can work, we may lay our heads down to sleep with the peaceful assurance that we have not lived in vain.

39It is difficult, indeed, to determine how far we are the children of destiny, and how far our own character and acts create the circumstances of our lives. We seem carried on to do certain things by an impulse apparently irresistible, and when they are done we wonder what end they can serve. And yet how often after years have passed away do we see the necessity that these things should have been done, yea that they should have been done by us, and that they were worth our doing even if we had spent ourselves in the performance of them. There is a Wisdom teaching and guiding us all, shaping our ends, and making us the servants of a Divine Will in adversity as well as in prosperity.

40After immortalizing the Churchwarden and the Coroner’s Jury of the City Parish, I was compelled for a time to leave London. It is necessary always that a Curate be a man of whom not much can be said. It is with Curates as it is with young ladies, the more unknowing they are the more likely it is that some Rector will give them employment. I again had recourse to that valuable periodical the Record, and I should say here that it is the best medium for Curates and Incumbents to make known their wants. It is cheaper than the Guardian and the people in the office are vastly more civil.

  • 39 Swallow near Caster (Caistor)

41Before leaving London I had difficulty in deciding between two Incumbents, both of whom were anxious to secure my services. A man’s destiny seems to hang on a very slender thread. Both these Incumbents were in urgent want of temporary assistance, and both concluded an engagement by the same post. I chose the one with whom I was first in correspondence. How different the course of events had I decided on [27] the other! In December 1864, I was in the wolds39 of Lincolnshire. I saw in the farmers’ houses newspapers in which were copied Punch’s articles concerning the Rev. ________ who had been dismissed his curacy for studying anatomy. Knowing the public prejudice against dealing in bones, and being unwilling that these simple people should know why I was temporarily banished from London, I borrowed all the papers with the intention of never returning them. There was nothing remarkable in this Parish, except that the people were nearly all Methodists. The population was very small. The church stood much in need of repair. Religion seemed to have left the old fabric and taken up with the chapel. I do not know if the original chalice and patten were lost, but I had to administer the sacramental bread from a cheese plate of very ordinary earthenware. Here I enjoyed myself on a farm for six weeks, among the ducks, the geese, and the sparrows. Here I meditated on the past, and formed plans for the future, and here I wrote the letter of which I now publish a second edition.

  • 40 in the world] in world

42I again advertised, and again came in contact with two Incumbents, not knowing which of the two to choose. One was an ‘Evangelical.’ He wrote so smoothly; his letters were so full of religion, of prayers and blessings, that much as I distrusted men who put religion in their letters, I thought he was sincere, and decided for him. Some men have such a gift of using religious phrases, that they can deceive the very elect. After the engagement was about concluded, he wished me to meet him in London. A journey from the wolds of Lincolnshire and back again, implied an expenditure not only of time, but of about £2 10s. in money. Now, the most ‘Evangelical‘ being in the world40 must know that £2 10s. is a very large sum for a man who lives on £100 a year, and that before expending the £2 10s., he will naturally wish to be sure that for the next year he is to realise the £l00. I wished to know who was to bear the expense of my coming to London? This settled the business suddenly. The Incumbent had recourse to the usual excuse—the very night he arrived in London, he had met an old friend who was willing to take his curacy.

43The other application came through the Guardian. The letter was short; it simply said that a clergyman was wanted, to take the duty for a few Sundays in the Parish Church of ________, the remuneration £1 1s a week, and live in the house with Mr. and Mrs. ________. The letter seemed written by a female hand. There was no Christian name, only the initials, so that I was in doubt about prefixing Reverend.

  • 41 St. Ives Hunts.
  • 42 Yate Fosbroke

44It was some days before I had a letter again, but one came by the same post which brought the final letter from the other correspondent. The scope of it was that the writer, who turned out to be the Curate, was leaving for another curacy, and must find some one to take his place for the next six weeks. If I chose I might enter at once on the duty. My new parish I shall call the parish of Ousebank.41 The Vicar, with the greatest respect for his memory, for he has now ‘crossed that bourne whence no traveller returns, ’ I shall call the Rev. Mr. Coldstream.42 I left the wolds about four o’clock in the morning, and arrived at Ousebank about five in the evening. During this long journey I filled my imagination with conjectures about my new parish. What like is it? What kind of people are the parishioners? What new friends shall I make? How shall I get on with the Vicar? What sort of a man is he? These and many such questions were asked by the way. I was coming to this Parish with an accumulation of experiences. I knew all the rocks on which I had split before. I resolved to say but little, and when I did speak to speak to some purpose. I was to hold my mouth, as it were, with a bridle. I resolved to be familiar with only a very few people, if with any; to avoid controversy, to show no acquaintance with the [28] writings of heretics, especially the Rationalists, to let no one know that I knew more than other people; but to do my work as a clergyman, both in the pulpit and in visiting the people, humbly, reverently, and honestly, not as seeking the praise of man, but the approbation of a good conscience, and the joy of doing good.

45At the hour already mentioned, an omnibus landed me at the Vicarage of Ousebank. The Vicar and his lady gave me a hearty welcome. Before many minutes I was quite at home with them. I was a stranger indeed, but one or two clergymen in London had written high testimonials. ‘Very flattering indeed, ’ said Mr. Coldstream, ‘very flattering.’ I remembered what Erasmus once said ‘You have many ignorant theologians now-a-days, but the like of me you do not meet in the course of ages.’ I remembered, too, that Sleiden boasted ‘there was more learning in one hair of his head than in all the Universities;’ and I recalled the story of Richard Bentley when Master of Trinity. Some one told him of the prodigious learning of Mr. Walse. ‘Yes, ’ said Bentley, ‘a very learned man, he will be the most learned man in England when I am dead!’ I cannot deny that at the time I had the spirit of these great men, but I kept silent.

46Next morning we went to Church. The Church was a beautiful building and had been recently restored. It had eight or nine richly stained windows. The spire was the very perfection of symmetry. Mr. Coldstream was proud of his Church, and proud that it had been restored during his Incumbency. Do you preach ‘extempore or do you read?’ he said, when we got into the Vestry. ‘I am doctor of both laws, ’ I answered, ‘and will do which ever you wish.’ This was rather boastful as I had only begun to preach without the M.S., and was doubtful of my success. I made a running exposition of a Psalm. At the end I alluded to my coming to Ousebank, concluding with the words, that whether my stay there was to be long or short, I was determined to know nothing among them but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. They were words sincerely spoken. Christ as ‘very God, ’ the incarnation of the Divine Word or Wisdom; Christ as ‘very man, ’ the human manifestation of the God-head—uniting humanity to Divinity—was to be the theme of all my sermons. I kept my resolution perhaps better than most resolutions are kept. ‘Will you preach again in the evening?’ said Mr. Coldstream, after dinner, ‘and I should like it extempore again!’ I willingly complied with his request. In the evening the congregation was much larger than it had been in the morning, and I preached what I considered one of my great sermons. Mr. Coldstream was delighted. He could scarcely express his joy. He wished me to take the preaching entirely, and he would read the prayers. Did I not think myself a happy man? The lines had fallen unto me in pleasant places. I praised that wonderful Providence which by so many apparent accidents had brought me to such a Goshen as this. Next day Mr. Coldstream called upon several of the parishioners, and after dinner he opened the subject again. ‘There is a great opinion of your talents abroad in the town!’ he said, suddenly, ‘Your sermons, yesterday, are the subject of conversation everywhere. It is not a large salary that I am able to give, but the people speak of adding something to it, if you will take the Curacy permanently.’ He said also, that as he had been in ill health for some time, he would be glad if I staid. I answered that ‘I would think of it seriously and give him an answer before long.’

  • 43 Mutton (Frederick Mutton ‘Money lender & news vendor’, 1861 England Census Class: RG 9; Piece: 979; (...)

47The Parish of Ousebank had many attractions, but it had also some disadvantages. It was a quiet old-fashioned country town. It had no gentry, but the tradespeople were well-disposed, simple, industrious, and, perhaps I may say, with some qualifications, [29] intelligent. There was an honest independence about them, —I might call it pride, but that word would express more than I mean. There were many efforts after caste—everybody tried to be above everybody, and nobody seemed good enough for nobody. Excepting the representatives of the professions, they were all people in business, so that one or two trying to form a class above the others, could not succeed. ‘We are all tinkers and tailors, ’ said the richest man43 in Ousebank, to me, one day, ‘and there is no use of any one trying to set himself above another.’ But Ousebank had another disadvantage. It was emphatically a Dissenting town. There was but one Church, while there were seven or eight meeting houses, and the meeting houses were not small places which held only a few people, but large buildings, with congregations numbering three, four, and five hundred. One of them, indeed, was called the Free Church, a fine Gothic building, with a tall spire, and stained-glass windows, erected at an expense of £5000, and dedicated by local wit to the gentleman who was the chief contributor, whom they canonised on the occasion of the dedication. Ousebank was England in miniature—Young England. To study the great empire in all its political and religious bearings, it was only necessary to examine this interesting microcosm. You might walk from the one end of it to the other in seven minutes. At the west-end stood our beautiful Church, surrounded by the churchyard, which was washed by a wandering branch of the stream. Towards the east stood the new fabric. These two Churches represented the two opposing forces in the English nation, not merely Church and Dissent, not merely Conservativism and Liberalism, but the landed interest and the interests of trade. The estates had been divided and subdivided, till the present owners of the land were all, for their position, poor. The trading class, on the other hand, were comparatively rich. The new aristocracy was stronger than the old, or, to speak more correctly, the mealocracy—for the richest men were millers—was too powerful a rival for the landocracy. The schism between them was wide and deep. There were but few Church people in the town—that is, people who went to Church from principle. The intelligence and wealth of the town, such as they were, were nearly all on the side of the Dissenters.

  • 44 Father-in-law (Joseph Pain)

48Mr. Coldstream had been Vicar of Ousebank for nearly thirty years. He was an old-fashioned clergyman, and was proud of his office, not so much for the office itself, but because an English clergyman was equivalent to an English gentleman. A clergyman of the Church of England and an old English gentleman were to him nearly the same, and each was the ideal pre-eminently of all that was great, good, and desirable in this mortal life. His ancestors had been clergymen since the days of Charles I. They had stood by the Stuarts in adversity as well as in prosperity. His father was an eminent scholar, but Mr. Coldstream himself had no pretensions to learning. It was enough for him to be a ‘gentleman.’ He was not without talents. But after his ordination he abandoned study of every kind, and devoted himself to enjoying the world. Like Sydney Smith he could boast of invitations ‘to brilliant dinners out while but a curate.’ Not that he was guilty of possessing any of Sydney Smith’s abilities, but he was an agreeable, fair spoken man, of handsome exterior, and as Diderot said of Madame Guyon ‘formed for the world.’ Fellow curate forty years ago with Mr. Close at Cheltenham, while Mr. Close preached against the vanities of the fashionable world, Mr. Coldstream was the delight of the ball-room. He had on the whole been prosperous in life, though his early hopes of preferment were never realised. He had promises of livings from Lords and Dukes, and Bishops, but none of them were ever fulfilled. Once he had almost grasped a rich piece of Crown pre- [30] ferment, but the Whigs coming into office his hopes were blighted. Weary of trusting men who forgot their promises as soon as they were made, he resolved to be independent. One day he stepped into the office of a London trader in Church benefices. The next presentation to the Vicarage of Ousebank was put up to auction. It was knocked down for £600. He was the bidder, a friend was the buyer.44 Thirteen months after the purchase the living was vacant. Mr. Coldstream was as little fitted to be Vicar in a Dissenting town as a man could well be. He had bought the temporalities and the spiritualities of Ousebank. Dissenters were interfering with his rights. They were his Parishioners, and it was their duty to submit to him in all things. His first movement was to embroil the Parish in a Church rate contest. He was beaten ignominiously. The Dissenters celebrated their triumph with a banquet, and Mr. Coldstream was made to feel that Dissent was the presiding genius of the town. This was all old when I went to Ousebank, but the memory of it still lived. Mr. Coldstream hated the Dissenters heartily, and had but little sympathy with the Parishioners in general. He was a ‘gentleman, ’ ‘born a gentleman, ’ and had always ‘associated with gentlemen.’ The Parishioners were only tradespeople, or, to use his favourite word (not, however, applied to them), s—bs. Into these two great classes he divided mankind. There was no doubt in his own mind to which of them he belonged. How often in the town and gown riots, when he was a student, had he given it to the s—bs.

49Mr. Coldstream and I worked together for nine or ten months with great harmony. He was genial, kind-hearted, and good-natured. He was also arbitrary and self-willed, but his good qualities went a long way to atone for his failings. Where he took a dislike he could hate with a fearful hatred. He delighted to be on good terms with everybody, and it was a joy to him to do a kind act or say a kind word to any one. At first he used to express himself in amazement at my abilities. He looked upon me with a kind of awe. Every Sunday night he thanked me for the good I had done to his people. He spoke of my sermons as containing emphatically ‘the Gospel.’ This admiration met an answer among the Parishioners, some of whom said, that till I came to Ousebank the ‘Gospel’ had not been preached in the Parish Church since the time of the Reformation; no compliment, by the way, to Mr. Coldstream.

50A kind of puzzle after a time arose in the Parish as to what party in the Church I belonged. I gave them no clue. I had preached practical religion. Mr. Coldstream began to be not entirely satisfied, because I did not sometimes preach what he called ‘Church doctrines.’ He saw my favourite authors lying about, but their names were all unknown to him. One Sunday morning he found me in the garden absorbed in ‘Stanley’s Lectures on the Jewish Church.’He expressed surprise that I should read the works of ‘that infidel, ’ especially on Sunday. He had read of Stanley in some Church paper and knew that he was no good. He told me of some Dissenting lady who was always speaking with approbation of sermons by a Mr. Robertson, of Brighton, and how earnestly he had warned her to take care what she read. I answered him that Robertson sermons were very orthodox, and promised that some day he should read them. I asked if he remembered my preaching on a certain text. He answered ‘Yes, and it was one of the best sermons you have preached in Ousebank. Many persons have mentioned how much it has been blessed to them.’ ‘Between you and me, ’ I said, ‘that sermon was Frederick Robertson’s, I sometimes preach other people’s sermons just to see how my own stand beside them.’ ‘I don’t care whose it was, ’ said Mr. Coldstream, ‘it was a good gospel sermon.’ [31]

51Nearly a year had passed without anything but the most agreeable words passing and the most friendly feelings existing between Mr. Coldstream and myself. A time, however, came, when he was convinced that I was not ‘a sound Churchman.’ He could detect heresy, even under my orthodox phrases. I did not believe the Bible. He was not sure that I was quite sound on the Divinity of Jesus Christ. I explained away the atonement, original sin, and everlasting punishment. He did not quite understand it all himself, but he had read that these were the errors of Stanley, Colenso, and the like of them, and of course they must be my errors too. The beginning and the end of Mr. Coldstream’s theology was Apostolical Succession and Baptismal Regeneration. He questioned me very closely on these two points, and of course I believed them with all my might in my own way. It was only in his own way that Mr. Coldstream believed them too, for though he cut out the Dissenting ministers from apostolical grace, he allowed it to the Presbyterians, especially those of the Established Church of Scotland, because they belonged to a State Church, and were a respectable kind of men. He did not attach any definite idea to Baptismal Regeneration, but he knew that it was the doctrine of all good Churchmen.

  • 45 Smith (Rev. Thomas Smith, d. 1802)

52I scarcely know where Mr. Coldstream got his first suspicion of my heterodoxy. I cannot conjecture any other source but the monthly meetings of a Clerical Dinner Society. These little meetings of the Clergy are always dangerous to a Curate, if he has any doctrine different from his Vicar’s. He is not allowed the same freedom of speech as an Incumbent. His words are marked, and they are canvassed all the more freely because he is a Curate. I would say to all Curates, if they are not mere puppets, ‘Keep away from clerical meetings.’ The Clergy in the neighbourhood of Ousebank were estimable men. It was a pleasure to meet them. They were mostly, as to doctrine, of the ‘Evangelical‘ school, but not extreme—not narrow in their views. One or two were decidedly High Churchmen, and one at least was an avowed disciple of Mr. Maurice. I was always listened to with attention, except when I took the side opposed to Mr. Coldstream. Once or twice he rudely interrupted me, and spoiled the harmony of our meeting by peevishly showing his authority, but I overlooked it. He was an old man, in feeble health, and I calmed him, as I often had to do, with smooth words. The questions discussed at these meetings brought out a man’s sentiments, if he had any. On one occasion the subject was, ‘How to deal with Dissenters in our parishes.’ It was a pressing parochial question, because the Dissenters in most of these parishes were more numerous than the Churchgoers. We were nearly all agreed that the Dissenters had done their work more zealously than the Clergy, and that was the reason why they were more numerous. And we also agreed with the conclusion, that those who had done most work ought to have most success. Some who were present told stories of the irregular lives of the past Rectors and Vicars of some of these parishes. Mr. Coldstream, who always defended the past generation, stood up bravely for the memory of their predecessors in office. He could prove that they were all ‘perfect gentlemen, ’ with the exception of a former Vicar45 of Ousebank, who was said to have frequented taverns and indulged in beer and tobacco. As to the Dissenters, they were dishonest, worthless people, whom no one could trust. They had no religion—they were nothing but conceited politicians—opponents of the Established Church for love of faction— haters of order, and despisers of that which is good. On another occasion, the subject was—‘What is the Gospel?’ Some defined the Gospel to be the Church, and preaching the Gospel setting forth the Church system through her ministers and sacraments. Mr. Coldstream could not go in for this. He thought that preaching the [32] Gospel was preaching the Bible—setting forth the inspiration and infallibility of the sacred writings, and the necessity of human reason bowing to their teaching. When it came to my turn to speak, I explained preaching the Gospel as declaring the good news of God to man, telling men that God is their Father, and that He sent His son to manifest His infinite and everlasting love. I was interrupted with questions about the wrath of God, the reconciliation, and the atonement. I explained wrath as referring to justice, not to any passion in God, for He is without passions. By the very constitution of things, the wrong doer suffers; and from this fact we, by personification, ascribe wrath to God. Reconciliation and atonement must be understood in the same way. They proceed originally from God, and not from another coming between God and man. St. John says expressly, ‘God so loved the world, that He gave his son.’

  • 46 Brown. (Possibly Thomas Brown, curate of Hemingford Abbots)

53A year had passed away. I had ceased to attend the Clerical meetings. I avoided coming in collision with Mr. Coldstream on theological questions. When he did drag me into discussion I spoke mildly. If he railed or tried to be sarcastic, which he sometimes did, I never returned railing nor tried to be sarcastic with him. I would sometimes suffer myself to be beaten, or would answer by saying Good Night, promising, goodnaturedly, to renew the subject some other time. Then he would put away his peevishness and answer with equal good nature, ‘I wish you were a better Churchman.’ By the end of the year, that is about the beginning of 1866, the Parishioners, who had intimated to Mr. Coldstream that if I staid in the Parish they would do something equivalent to adding to my salary, resolved on fulfilling their promise. Several of them met together and agreed as to what they should do and how they were to do it. I soon heard of what was going on. In a small town nothing is long a secret. Mr. Coldstream heard too and he busied himself about it in his own way. At dinner, there was present the Curate46 of a neighbouring Parish. Whether he was asked to open the subject or whether he did it of his own simple innocence, I have no chance of ever knowing. But before the soup plates were half empty, ‘I hear, ’ he said, addressing me, by name, ’ there is to be a grand testimonial presented to you.’ ‘Indeed, ’ I exclaimed, ‘I am glad to hear it.’ ‘No doubt you are, ’ said Mr. Coldstream, sarcastically. ‘A purse of gold!’ said the guileless Curate. ‘Very sensible people, ’ said I, ‘I did not give the Parishioners of Ousebank so much credit for good sense.’ ‘After being only a year in the Parish, ’ said the Curate, simpering, with a sinister look, ‘and some of us have been working here for many years, without a sixpence beyond our salaries, and these not large.’ There are moments when a man ought to say things and there are other moments when it is dignified to be silent. The latter appeared to me most becoming. I tried to change the conversation by remarking ‘that on former occasions when presentations had been made to me, I had objected to taking money. But that I had found the things purchased of so little use afterwards, that I had now resolved always to accept a money presentation when the people were pleased to offer it.’ I soon learned that Mr. Coldstream had been through the Parish in the morning, showing his indignation that his Parishioners should interfere with his Curate or anything in his Parish. He had been to the very persons who first spoke of it on my coming to Ousebank. He gave them to understand that if they went on with the presentation they were no longer in his favour. He told the Churchwardens that their office was being usurped; and moreover he told everybody that his Curate had a large salary—larger than he had ever given before, and larger than any Curate in the County. One or two of the first movers were frightened, and I persuaded the others to defer it till some future time. The large salary was nominally £120 a year [33]—actually £1 1s. a week, and live in the Vicarage. I was nearly as well off as the young priest in the Book of Judges, who had ten shekels of silver by the year and his victuals, with an annual suit of clothes, and I felt as keenly as he did how much better it would have been to be priest to a whole tribe than to the house of one man.

  • 47 Thomas Longman

54For several years I had been engaged in writing a work which required wide reading and deep study. It was the prosecution of this work which called forth the unequalled wisdom of the coroner’s jury, who pronounced the study of human bodies inconsistent with the study of divine laws. I explained in a letter to one of the morning papers that this was the object for which I had studied anatomy, and remarked incidentally that no publisher would look at my work; to which the Editor47 of the Publishers’ Circular had the impertinence to reply that there was enterprise enough in Paternoster Row to publish any work worth publishing, either in science or theology, or both combined. I had written to all the large publishers in London. With only one could I get an interview. When I explained to him the object of the work, he looked at me as if he had found a curiosity. Reading my name on my card he said, ‘You may be a very great man, but I really never heard of you before.’ He told me plainly that a book on such a subject by a man without a name, would not pay its own expenses, however great its merits. I was determined that the book should be published, and at Ousebank, I began to collect the names of subscribers. Mr. Coldstream took a great interest in the publication, and persuaded many of his friends to add their names. Several of the parishioners did the same. And with the help of Archbishops and Bishops, Deans and Archdeacons, Masters of Colleges, and Professors of Theology, it was at last published. From January 1865 to July 1866. I sat in my arm chair in the attic at the top of the vicarage with but little interruption, musing on many things. The window looked over an expanse of fields. An old fir tree stretched its branches almost to the panes. The sparrows had built their nests and hatched their young ones under my eyes for two springs in succession. I was surrounded by books and pictures, botanical specimens, stiffened insects, and skeletons of bats, birds, and mice. My studies in anatomy were confined to the lower animals. I never touched human bones, except in the churchyard.

55When Mr. Coldstream was convinced of my heresies, he was doubtful not only about the book, but about the man altogether. In fact, he would not have minded had I quietly left the parish. It did not suit me to do this, and had he taken any steps to bring it about, the Parishioners would have been up in arms. On my first coming to Ousebank, Mr. Coldstream used to marvel at the multitudes of people who came to Church. I do not know that the congregation decreased much. In the evening, it was always large from my first Sunday to my last. The people said that the increase was entirely in my time. Mr. Coldstream now began to say, that the same congregations had frequented the Church since it had been restored. He took latterly to preaching in the mornings, that he might be sure there was some ‘Church doctrine’ taught to the people. His sermons were generally denunciations of reason. He railed against the pride of the human intellect. He did not quite understand ‘Catholic truth, ’ nor ‘the universal consent of the Fathers.’ When he preached on the Bible he was ‘evangelical, ’ when he preached on the Church, he was ‘a good Churchman.’ In his zeal for the ‘Church’ and the Bible, he enunciated some curious doctrines which I hope were peculiarly his own. While the cattle plague was raging, the most stringent resources were adopted to check it, or as some said, ‘to stamp it out.’ ‘Stamp it out, ’ Mr. Coldstream would say emphatically, ‘poor human reason talks of stamping out Almighty God when He visits us for our sins. Then I would tell him how many diseases science had expelled and how the physician’s [34] daily life was a warfare with disease. But did not science imply reason, is not the use of reason Rationalism? I could not deny it. In the ‘good Churchman’ department Mr. Coldstream was once sold. He preached on the wreck of the London, and praised the mysterious Providence which had provided a duly appointed minister to exhort and pray with the passengers in their last hours. They were not left to the care of a schismatical teacher. They had the consolations of one properly ordained by the successors of the Apostles. On Monday, after dinner, the usual time for our conversations, I said, ‘You referred yesterday morning in your sermon to Mr. Draper, I suppose?’ ‘Yes, ’ said Mr. Coldstream, ‘it was very providential that he was on board.’ ‘And do you reckon Mr. Draper among the duly appointed? He was a Wesleyan minister.’ ‘No, he was a Church Clergyman.’ ‘You are certainly wrong, ’ I said, ‘he was the representative of the Australian Methodists sent over to the English Conference.’ I then told him that Dr. Wooley was a properly ordained Clergyman, and that like a true successor of the Apostles, he encouraged the people to work the pumps, not, I suppose, that he objected to praying, but he saw that the vessel was sinking through having too much water in it, and the appointed way of diminishing the water was by means of the pumps. There was something in that truly Apostolic.

56My last theological conversation with Mr. Coldstream originated from a report of a Chairman’s speech at a meeting of the Congregationalist Churches in the County. The Dissenters will persist in using learned words whether they understand them or not. If they have not learning substantially, they are determined to have it at least phenomenally. The Chairman of the Meeting wished to show that he had made some progress in Bible Criticism, and at the same time that he was as orthodox concerning the Bible as his innocent ancestors had been. So he said that the Bible was the very word or Logos of God, ‘notwithstanding the imperfections of the containing volume.’ The concluding part of the sentence, it is to be hoped, was made for him by the newspaper reporter. Mr. Coldstream and I were both immensely amused at this display of learning and liberalism exhibited by our Congregationalist neighbours. ‘The Bible, ’ said Mr. Coldstream, ‘is not the Logos, it is the Rema of God.’ I said it was neither the one nor the other. The Word of God in the New Testament is a phrase generally applied to Jesus Christ. Mr. Coldstream took this for a challenge and undertook to prove that the Bible calls itself the word of God. ‘Never, ’ I replied, ‘I’ll prove it from Cruden’s Concordance, ’ said Mr. Coldstream. ‘He is a Dissenter, ’ said I, ‘I’ll prove it from Dr. Angus’s Bible Handbook, ’ said Mr. Coldstream. ‘Another Dissenter, ’ said I. ‘It does not matter, ’ said Mr. Coldstream, ‘what he is, he proves that the Bible calls itself the word of God.’ I told him that the thing was simply impossible. None of the writers of the books in the Bible seem to have known that they were all to be collected into one volume, so that they could not speak of them as a whole under any name whatever. The passages which Mr. Coldstream quoted, had, of course, no reference to the subject. At last he said, ‘Now I have you.’ There is a verse which says, so mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed.’ ‘Yes, certainly, ’ I said, ‘I had quite forgotten that passage. It undoubtedly refers to the growth of the Bible—what orthodox theologians call the formation of the canon.’

57Mr. Coldstream’s health began considerably to improve. The physicians had told him unanimously, that he had a disease of the heart, which might cut him off any hour. He was warned by them not to continue to preach, because the excitement was dangerous. He would not follow their advice. He did not believe he was so ill as they said he was. About the middle of May when the chesnut trees were in blossom, [35] he celebrated his birthday. I drank his health after dinner; an honour which always pleased him. I wished him many returns, and he thanked me in the kindest manner. He said he intended to live some time yet, and he added ‘I’ll make the value of the next presentation to this living fall in the market.’ This was in allusion to something which had greatly annoyed him ever since his last illness. The patrons had been advertising the sale of the living. Several persons had applied to him for information as to its value, but he always declined to tell them. A clergyman who had just returned from India had written that very week offering £1,000 for immediate possession. Mr. Coldstream answered, that he had taken a new lease of life, and that the Vicarage of Ousebank would not be vacant with his consent for some years to come. ‘Make money out of this poor living, ’ he would often say and forgetting that he had once bought it himself, he would reflect on the patrons for not giving it up to the Bishop to appoint a man who would teach ‘Church’ doctrines as he had done. It might be bought by some ‘wretched Evangelical‘ who would fraternize with the Dissenters and call their ministers his ‘reverend brethren.’ It might fall into the hands of some Rationalist or worse still, some one might buy it who was not a ‘gentleman‘ and who might associate with people in business, that is s—bs.

58Our Bishop had given notice of a confirmation. Mr. Coldstream duly exhorted all godfathers and godmothers to think of their spiritual children. He also invited all persons wishing to be confirmed to come to him at the Vicarage, and he would give them the necessary instruction. From forty to fifty young persons applied, and were formed into classes. Mr. Coldstream taught them assiduously two or three nights in the week. I noticed that he looked sullenly at me as if he meant that he was doing something which I ought to be doing. At last it came out. He reproached me with not having a class of candidates for confirmation. I answered that he had not given me one, and, as he had asked the young people to come to the Vicarage to him, it was altogether unlikely that they should ask for me. But Mr. Coldstream answered that I ought to go through the Parish and beat up candidates for the Confirmation. ‘Beat up candidates for Confirmation’ I exclaimed ‘I do not know what that means, I never did such a thing, and I never will. We should present to the Bishop such persons as we know are prepared to receive confirmation, and not go through the parish to beat them up a few weeks before the Bishop comes.’ This conversation made the subject disagreeable. We never either of us alluded to it again.

59The excitement connected with the preparation for the Confirmation made Mr. Coldstream ill. He preached the second Sunday before it took place. Next Sunday he was unable to be at Church. The physicians said positively he must never preach again. I met Mr. Coldstream daily at dinner, and saw that he was getting worse. After a time he ceased being with us at dinner, and refused to see visitors. The physicians told him plainly to be ready for the worst—he would never survive this attack. He might rally for a week or two, but his end was certainly near. He never gave signs of even a temporary recovery. ‘How is the Vicar?’ was a question I had to answer a dozen times in a morning, if I walked into the town. ‘No better, ’ was the invariable reply. Then would follow, in an undertone, ‘Is the living sold?’ Nobody knew. ‘Sad thing that the souls of men should be bought and sold, ’ people would say—‘Whoever bids the highest for the presentation will be thrust upon us, whether we are willing or not.’ One or two of the parishioners had offered a year ago to pay the patrons the sum required for the living that it might be given to me, but the offer was refused on the ground that I had no private income. A friend of mine in London would have bought it the week before Mr. Coldstream died, but my whole being recoiled at the thought of buying the presentation while Mr. Coldstream [36] lay on his death-bed. The charge of the souls of a parish is responsibility enough in itself, without adopting underhand ways of procuring it. I reflected that after a few short years I should be as Mr. Coldstream is now, and if my work was not successful, how bitterly would I repent of having obtained a living in a way that certainly God never intended livings should be obtained. ‘No, ’ I said, ‘I will take my chance of preferment. When it comes by merit, it shall be doubly pleasant; and if I do my work with a clear conscience, it will bring peace at the last.’ It was now the beginning of July, and the sun was burning in his fiery chariot. The trees were laden with their most luxuriant foliage. The flowers which shared Mr. Coldstream’s chief care were arrayed in their gayest robes. Two longbills had built their nest in the corner of the portico above the stone pillar. The birds sat on two iron chairs in the garden. Mr. Coldstream, who had a real love of nature, sat watching them for many days, leaning on his stick with the silver head. ‘For seven and twenty summers, ’ he said to me, ‘ever since I came to this vicarage, a pair of longbills have built their nest and reared their young in this garden.’ When he was unable to be with us, I daily watched the longbills till I saw the little heads rising above the nest eager for their food. Every day Mr. Coldstream was getting worse; every day the little longbills were growing in wisdom and stature. I had reckoned that Mr. Coldstream’s spirit would depart just about the time when the longbills would be able to fly. ‘A very bad night—as bad as it could well be, ’ was the answer to my inquiry concerning him, one morning. ‘He cannot get over the day, ’ was the answer next morning. ‘He is still alive, and that is all we can say, ’ was the answer the third morning. All that day the Messenger was expected, but he did not come. Next day, about one o’clock, Mr. Coldstream took leave of his friends—asked the doctor at what time he should go—was told it could not be long, and, in five minutes more, the great change had come. The servant came to my study, her eyes suffused with tears, and told me that ‘Master was gone.’ After an hour or so, I walked into the garden, full of those solemn feelings which all thoughtful men have when one we have known well has left this world for ever. I looked up to the corner of the portico, but I could see no heads rising—no mouths open for the insect morsel— they were mute and still. The poor little longbills were all dead in their nest! The angel of death had spread his wings over our dwelling. He had breathed as he passed, and his breath was cold and chill. Four days after, we followed in the solemn procession, and laid Mr. Coldstream in the vault by the river side. On the day of the funeral there was a great cricket match between the local players and the eleven of England. The shops were all shut, that the people might go to the cricket-field. The closing of the shops served both objects. It was in some respects as Mr. Coldstream would have ordered it. He never deeply sympathised with his parishioners, and he would not have wished them to come and mourn for him unless they really regretted the loss of him. He would have said, ‘My day is past; I was a happy man while I lived. It is your day now. Enjoy yourselves while life and health and strength endure, and leave the terrors of the land of darkness to me.’

60The week of Mr. Coldstream’s death was a week of deaths in the Parish. The mortality was greater than it had ever been any week before in my time. There was the feeble old man with whom I used to have a friendly talk at the Churchyard gate; he took ill at night and was dead next morning. There was the young man who inherited disease from his profligate parents; after weeks of suffering, his frail emaciated body at length yielded to the destroyer. There was the poor boy in the workhouse, whose history no one knew; and who was unable, even with the assistance of the Board of Guardians to make good his claims to a longer existence. And then there was old [37] Sally, who for nearly half a century, kept a ‘public’ in the back lane. She could not read, and yet she was intelligent. How eagerly did she drink in the words of Jesus which I read to her from the gospels, especially from St. John’s! How deeply she felt the blessedness of that ‘peace which the world can neither give nor take away.’ ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation.’ ‘That, ’ she said, ‘I know is true, but He has also promised ‘In Me ye shall have peace, ’ and He has said ‘Be of good cheer I have overcome the world.’ The day after Mr. Coldstream’s funeral, a very old woman was announced as wishing to speak with me. I went to the kitchen door. She intimated that she had something to say which she wished no one to hear. I walked with her under the chestnut tree in the back garden. With that peculiar delicacy which is sometimes found in the poorest and most uneducated people, old Sally had charged her that no one should hear the message but myself. ‘It was her last wish, ’ said the old woman, ‘that I should come and tell you, she said, sir, the last thing she said, sir, before she died, ’ and the tears trickled down the old woman’s withered cheeks, ‘Tell him I died happy, and I bless the Lord he ever came to my house.’

  • 48 Mc Gee Holywell (Robert James McGhee, Holywell)

61‘Did Mr. Coldstream say anything about religion?’ a poor man asked me the week after he was buried. ‘Not to my knowledge, ’ I answered. ‘When he knew that his last hour was come he felt that then his business was to die.’ What he had written he had written. A high profession of religion, anything beyond what he felt was repugnant to him. He often told me, that in his former illness, a zealous Evangelical clergyman48 in the neighbourhood wished to pray with him, but he declined on the ground that he was Parish Priest in his own Parish. He vindicated this doctrine under divers forms. Towards a fragmentary High Churchism his leanings were decided.

  • 49 Honeybun (Martin Hunnybun, solicitor, High St, Huntingdon)
  • 50 son-in-law] son-in law

62No sooner had we laid Mr. Coldstream in his last resting place than the whole parish was on the qui vive about his successor. ‘Is the living sold?’ was everybody’s question. The answers were various, as they generally are when nobody knows the right answer. It was the general wish of the town that the presentation might lapse to the Bishop. All believed that the Bishop would appoint a man suitable for the place. ‘It is sold, ’ said a gentleman to me knowingly, as I walked into the town one morning, sold at the eleventh hour. The bargain indeed was not completed a few hours before Mr. Coldstream’s death. Even yet all the legal documents may not be drawn up, but it is settled, I have it on the best authority.’ ‘And who is the buyer?’ was my question. ‘Mr. Sweetbread the lawyer, ’49 whispered the gentleman, ‘he has bought it for his nephew.’ This was told me as a secret, but like all secrets in Ousebank, every body in the town had it as a secret. At first Mr. Sweetbread had bought it for his nephew, then for his son-in-law,50 and last of all for his son, so report ran in its labyrinthine maze. Mr. Sweetbread’s son was Curate of All Saints, Margaret Street, London. The town was petrified with horror. Men’s faces turned pale, and even women shuddered at the approaching spiritual calamity. Then there were visions of priests clothed in albs and copes and chasubles; visions of incense and altars, acolytes and thurifers, lighted candles, holy water, rood lofts, altar screens, crosses, crucifixes, and mimic Virgin Marys. Their fears were soon allayed by a report that Mr. Sweetbread would not give the amount required by the patrons, so that the ante mortem negotiations could not be completed by post mortem arrangements.

  • 51 Wise (Alderman Richard Relton Wise, Bank Manager)

63One of the Churchwardens was appointed Sequestrator.51 He was a very worthy man—could afford to keep a conscience and, when he liked, to have a will of his own. By the advice of his lawyer he took possession of all the Registers in violation of the Act passed in the reign of her present majesty, that they are to be in the keeping of ‘the Vicar, Curate, or officiating minister.’They were, perhaps, as safe in his keeping as [38] in mine, and I was glad to be free from the responsibility. The office either of Churchwarden or Sequestrator, is a thankless one, and not without its cares and troubles. The Sequestrating Churchwarden of Ousebank performed his duties with such a solemn sense of right, and such unwearied assiduity as to be a pattern for all succeeding Churchwardens and Sequestrators. He looked after the Curate, the Clerk, and the Sexton, the Church, and the Churchyard. He was careful about the fees and the expenditure, and all matters relating to the incoming and the outgoing. Everything was so managed that the new Vicar, whoever he might be, would walk comfortably into his Church and find everything in proper order. A few weeks before Mr. Coldstream’s death, I had pressed upon him to persuade the Churchwardens to provide me with a respectable surplice, as the one I wore was really disreputable. He prevailed, but instead of giving it to me he wore it himself. After his death, Mr. Sequestrator ordered it to be removed from the Vestry, as the Parish could not afford that the Curate should wear the New Surplice! It must be preserved for the New Vicar. No expectant mother ever provided so assiduously for her coming child, as the Sequestrator of Ousebank Vicarage for the Vicar that was to be.

64By every law of equity and propriety the living of Ousebank should have been given to me. This was the all but universal wish of the people. The patrons had already refused it, though the £1200 was offered them. They wished it to be sold to someone who could spend something upon it. There was a measure of wisdom in this wish. The value of the living was not over £500 a year, and there were three Churches which involved the necessity of keeping two Curates. Moreover, two of the Churches were in a sad state of dilapidation, and the inhabitants of the hamlets in which they were placed, even the farmers and owners of the land were all Dissenters. The schools also were too small for the town, and moreover the restoration of the Parish Church had been left incomplete for want of funds. It is true, that there was willingness and wealth among the tradespeople, but they required humouring, and it was not becoming that the support of the Church should be left to them. A Vicar who could do what was wanted without their help would be independent of them. How common this notion is in the Church I need not say. How injurious it is I need not prove. When the Church resolves to be independent of the trading community, it resolves to be independent of the nation.

  • 52 Mrs. Theed (possibly Elizabeth, wife of William Vipan Theed, gentleman farmer in Hilton, a village (...)

65Several weeks passed with no prospect of the vicarage of Ousebank being filled up. It was said that the patrons could not agree among themselves. A few days after Mr. Coldstream’s death, clergymen were frequent visitors to the town, looking over the church and the churchyard, like ravens in search of food. One came with authority to look at the vicarage. He also attended the service on Sunday. ‘I saw him, ’ said one. ‘I saw him, ’ said another; ‘he is the man; the living has been offered to him.’ ‘Offered!’ exclaimed an astute lady,52 sub rosa, which means under the rose. Nobody comes into this living who does not satisfy the patrons with the wherewithal.’ I rebuked her for being so scandalous. That gentleman declined the living. The reason why is unknown to me and to most other people.

66‘I have been introduced to the new vicar, ’ shouted a tradesman with great glee, as I passed through the chief street in Ousebank, the week following that in which I rebuked the scandalous lady. ‘Don’t tell me that, ’ I said, ‘till you are sure about it. I have heard of new Vicars till I am sick of hearing of them.’ In truth, I did not want to hear of a new Vicar. I shared the general hope, desire, and prayer of the whole parish, that the patrons might quarrel till the six months of vacancy passed, and so the presentation might fall to the Bishop. We all had faith in the Bishop. He was a man of prudence and discretion. Whether his own views were ‘high, ’ or ‘low, ’ or ‘broad, ’ [39] no one could tell. In fact, he was a mixture of all the three. He had been claimed by each party, and again sneered at by them all as a most inconsistent man. He had been educated in a very narrow school of High Churchism. His mind was great enough to see the weakness of it, but not strong enough thoroughly to break away from it. He was a great harmoniser of discordant views, but he harmonised to the satisfaction of nobody. He was, however, a good working Bishop, and had the esteem and confidence of the whole diocese. The new Vicar, of whom the tradesman spoke, was said to have a private income of £2000 a year, and a public outgoing of two-and-twenty children. The Primitive Methodist butcher and the particular Baptist grocer, had their ledgers already filled with expectations. Even the heart of the barber, who shaved all the week in the back street, and preached the word in the outlying hamlets on the Sunday, leaped for joy at the thought of such an importation of gentry into the town. Both the income and the family had been greatly augmented by the fertile imaginations of the Ousebankians. No writer, either on the sublime or the ridiculous, could reduce to systematic rules the principle on which the people of Ousebank invented a story—Given at the west end of the town a penny, in half an hour’s time at the east end, it is a pound. Sir Walter Scott, Cervantes, or even the author of the ‘Arabian Nights, ’ could not surpass them in raising a ‘baseless fabric, ’ and sometimes, it must be admitted, a base fabrication. The new Vicar, as yet, was a myth, and the stories of his appearing at intervals in the town were like the legends of angels’ visits. He gave away sovereigns as if they were sixpences. He had thrown some gold to the sexton to put the churchyard in order before he was inducted. He was to rebuild the schools and the dilapidated churches. He was to double the salaries of all the officials in the parish. He was to buy up all the Dissenters and their meeting houses, to banish heresy and schism, and to establish the Church of England in Ousebank on a foundation that should never be moved. With the advent of the Rev. Mr. Goldwing, the golden age was to begin. Expectation was on its tiptoe. It was the consulship of Pollio—the birth of the long-expected was at hand, when even the very cradle should bud and blossom.

  • 53 Goldie (Charles Dashwood Goldie)

67But these hopes were suddenly cast down. Mr. Goldwing53 also declined the living. This amazed, confounded, perplexed everybody. Had he not agreed to accept it? Had he not been introduced by one of the patrons to several of the parishioners as their future Vicar? How and why does he now decline? We did not know, we could not even conjecture. A century ago, perhaps, the living of Ousebank was in the gift of the owner of the estates. As the estates came to be subdivided among the different branches of the family, the living had to be sold that the claims of each might be satisfied. The patrons at the present time were three in number. The first was our squire, a man of great integrity—a man who would not have sinned one jot against his conscience for all the wealth in the world. He wished heartily that a law were passed to prevent the sale of livings under any circumstances. The second patron was a wine merchant in London. He declared without any reserve that his sole wish was to turn his right into money. His share in the living of Ousebank was a part of his ancestral inheritance. That inheritance was now but small, and he could not afford to lose any of it. The third patron was of the ‘female persuasion.’ She was the acting partner in the firm. Through her astute wisdom the living had been offered to Mr. Goldwing. She knew what she wanted, and where to apply for it. She wrote to Sam. Oxon, and Sam. sent his favourite man. Her plans were greatly disconcerted by Mr. Goldwing’s declining. It was said that the wine merchant would not forego his right, that if the living was to be given away, he thought it should be given to an old man, so that the presentation might be sold immediately after. [40]

68A few days later the news came that Mr. Goldwing had consented at last to take the living. The only barrier had been the wine merchant’s objection, and that could only amount to £400. On Saturday evening the bells were ringing. It was the new Vicar taking possession. There were rumours afloat that he was a high Churchman—very high. ‘It will never do in Ousebank‘ was the unanimous remark. Next morning the congregation were breathless to see Mr. Goldwing. He walked into the desk. Instead of reading the usual sentences, he shouted at the pitch of his voice the name of a woman who had come to be churched. The people were bewildered, and the woman’s nerves if they were like other womens’ must have had a shake. Mr. Goldwing went through the morning service part reading and part intoning. He had a rich musical voice of great compass, and sometimes it was really solemn. At other times, especially in the Litany, it degenerated into an effeminate whine like the cry of a sick girl. In the evening he preached on the good Shepherd knowing his sheep. Everybody felt that whatever his peculiar views might be, he had come there with head, heart, and hand, ready for work. We had always passed in Ousebank for being a little high Church. But Mr. Goldwing surprised us all. He was no Jesuit introducing things by stealth. He was no man of half measures. He had a determined will and an unbounded confidence in his own ability to execute that will. He restored neglected rubrics and when there was no rubric he made one. The gown in the pulpit he discarded at once as illegal and unbecoming the priest in his ministrations to the people. He placed the women who came to be churched on a form before the desk—received the offering himself—carried it to the ‘Altar, ’ and there presented it to Jesus Christ, ever present in the Holy Place. Before the act of baptizing he filled the font with pure water. The choristers and some other people laughed when they heard the splashing in the font. He carried the children into the centre of the Church to sign them with the sign of the cross, and to receive them into the body of the congregation. No matter how loud they screamed. No matter, though the whole congregation twittered, and put their hands on their faces to hide the excitability of the facial nerves. Mr. Goldwing had his duty to perform. He had a rubric, real or imaginary, to keep. When the children were baptized, he said they had received a new nature, pure as that of the angels, and he appealed to parents if they had not seen how the seeds of grace bore fruit in the baptized children, and how much more gentle and good and holy they were than the unbaptized.

69During the first week of Mr. Goldwing’s Incumbency I received from him the following letter:

‘My dear Mr. ________
‘I enclose a notice to you in the usual form, which I should at any rate have sent in order that I might enter into fresh arrangements with you— as a matter of form. But I cannot but feel that this must be an actual notice and not a form. I have been honoured by the reception of two sermons preached by you in the Church of ________ since the late Vicar’s death, and, according to my view, they are in points so lamentably deficient in the full statement of truth, and in some points so erroneous, that I feel it my duty either personally or by deputy, to supply your place in the pulpit during the next six weeks. I shall be glad to have your assistance in the reading desk and otherwise.
‘I am the more sorry to say this, because I cannot but own the undoubted power the Sermons show; and I should be glad if the opportunity offers, to have some conversation with you, and to aid you (if it is not presumption in me to say this) in finding out the point, where, as it seems to me, you diverge from Catholic truth, [41]
‘I hope that the fact of my acting thus will not in any way destroy our friendly converse during the short remainder of our connection.
‘Ever yours truly,

70The sermons referred to were two sermons on the two sacraments. They were as innocent as two sermons could well be. They had been written half a dozen years before, preached one afternoon to a few servant girls in the north of London, and laid aside as not worthy to be preached again. I immediately wrote to Mr. Goldwing:

‘My dear Sir,
‘I have received your letter and the notice, the latter of which I have expected daily since Sunday. Indeed, I had no wish to remain in the Parish after seeing how distinctly you identified yourself with a party in the Church with whose peculiar views I have no sympathy in the world. No one will blame you for wishing to have a Curate of your own way of thinking, but to inhibit me from the pulpit is an arbitrary and uncalled for exercise of power, likely, I fear, to recoil upon yourself. This Parish has been virtually in my hands for nearly two years. I have been feeding the flock. I know the sheep and they know me. Not to allow me to preach a final sermon is to make me a martyr when I do not wish to be one. As to the sermons I did not cause them to be sent to you. I believe them to be so thoroughly in accordance with the doctrines of the Protestant Church of England, that I cannot well understand your objections. I had a letter yesterday morning from a friend of mine, a minister of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, and reckoned a High Churchman, who says, ‘Without accepting, perhaps, all points in them. I certainly think you have put in clear and forcible terms some important views of your subject.’ I should be glad to have a friendly conversation with you on the doctrine of the sermons. I should like to hear what a sensible man (and I believe you are a sensible man) has to say about what you call ‘Catholic truth.’ There is no such thing in the sense in which you seem to use the words. There are Catholic lies in abundance, Catholic errors and Catholic superstitions, which must be swept away with the besom of destruction. There are, I know, many earnest men who believe in what they call Catholic truth, but the religious sentiment is wild in its wanderings, and ought to be governed and restrained by reason. I have had much experience among men of all kinds of opinion and I have learnt to be tolerant towards all.
‘I will duly consider whatever you wish to say to me, and I shall promise that, on my part, nothing will arise, if I can help it, to promote anything but the most friendly understanding between us.’
‘Yours very truly,

71As I had only six weeks more to be in the Parish and was really so exhausted by long and incessant work as not to care about preaching much, this inhibition seemed to show a want of ordinary discretion. The Bishop was vexed about it. The newspapers paraded it, and as a consequence the people bought the sermons by hundreds.

72Mr. Goldwing was determined to do what he thought right. He first did everything his own way, and then he made calls and wrote letters to appease those who were offended. He ignored the existence of the Churchwardens. The Sequestrator never had the joy of presenting the new surplice. A sad fate awaited him. He was numbered with ‘persons excommunicated, unbaptized, and who have laid violent hands on themselves.’ Many years ago he had committed the fearful sin of marrying his deceased wife’s sister, and Mr. Goldwing denied him the benefit of those sacraments which are universally necessary to salvation. The parish of Ousebank was soon in a ferment. The people could do nothing but growl. The walls were placarded with No Popery; and letters of all kinds, wise and foolish, filled the columns of the local paper. One morning I was sitting at my window which looked into the marketplace. I heard the stentorian voice of the town crier, ‘This is to give notice, ’ he exclaimed in his lofty monitone [sic], ‘that whoever enters a Dissenting place of worship commits an offence against God. These are the words spoken in the Parish Church of Ousebank on Sunday morning last, and he who said them is a liar and a fool.’

73I left Ousebank in the midst of the excitement. It was announced to me that the long-intended presentation was at last to be made and it was intimated that the occasion would be a proper one for a parting address. Mr. Goldwing had the prudence to suspend his inhibition, and asked me to preach once more in the Church, which of course I was eager to do. There was not much wrong with Mr. Goldwing, except the [42] poison of the ‘pernicious nonsense.’ Sacerdotal blood flowed in his arteries, and filled his veins to repletion. On the Friday evening a great multitude assembled in the town-hall. Thirty guineas were presented to me in a long purse with dangling tassels. The Chairman made a flaming speech, he spoke of the ‘talented preacher, ’ the ‘great scholar, ’ and the respect which the inhabitants of Ousebank had for ‘all that was great and good.’ He quoted Shakespere, of course, and, in allusion to the Ritualists, the lines of Milton, beginning—

‘Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves.’

74I accepted the presentation and said, —‘Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlemen, ‘I am proud to receive the testimonial which you have been pleased to present. In looking over the list of subscribers, I find, with but few exceptions, the names of all the principal Church going people of the town, and also those of several Dissenters. It is true that some of the subscriptions are small, but since I knew that the testimonial was in contemplation, it has been my wish that it should be made up of many small sums rather than of a few large ones. It is more gratifying to me to find that my services have been appreciated by the whole Parish than only by a few persons in the Parish. Indeed, I expressed a wish that no one might be allowed to give more than 2s 6d, but this was overruled by those who had the management of the testimonial. It is at my own request that it is presented in money rather than as something which would be merely an ornament. Not that I am in want of money, but because money is one of the most useful things in the world. I shall not tell you how it is to be spent. It shall be kept till some great occasion requires it, that I may, with greater gratitude, remember your gift.

75‘I cannot let this opportunity pass without speaking of the propriety of such gifts to Curates when they do their work satisfactorily in a Parish. The earnest curate, who has nothing but his own merits to depend on, has but few chances of promotion in the Church. This, it is well known, is one of the greatest evils of the Church, and one which deprives it of the services of many able men. Indeed, it has come to this, that the Bishops cannot find a sufficient number of educated men in England to supply the ranks of the Clergy. A man who has passed creditably at his university, can reckon upon success, or at least a competency in any other profession, but unless he inherits a family living, or speculates in the purchase of a presentation he has not the same chance in the service of the Church. If he has preaching talents, he may get a competency as a Dissenting minister, but in the Church the chances are, that he spends the best part of his life as the stipendiary servant of some beneficed clergyman. To devise remedies for this must be left with those who have the government of the Church, but, in the meantime, it is the duty of the people to do what they can to lessen the evil. They should not wait till the vicar of a parish encourages a presentation to the curate, nor should they leave it to those well-disposed gentlemen, the churchwardens, who have generally such a large development of the phrenological conformation, which is supposed to be connected with the quality of caution, that but for this as a good heavy ballast, they would never be able to move through life at all. The gods, according to a Pagan poet, gave different qualities to different kinds of men, and, I suppose, when all these qualities were disposed of, they came at last to churchwardens, and told them that their safety lay in fear, for the gods had nothing else to give them. The people should do what they can when they think it is right, without consulting officials. It would be well if in every parish, where there is a Curate, the parishioners would unite to provide his salary, and claim in return a voice in his election. If you cannot choose both your ministers, it would be some satisfaction to be able to choose one. The clergy of the Established Church will know before long that if they are to keep their position, they must pay more attention to the will of the people. They must cease to come into their parishes as hierarchical autocrats. By the constitution of the Church of England, they are the servants of the people. The churches do not belong to them, nor even to the patrons of the livings. They are the property of the nation, and therefore the property of the inhabitants of the parish.

  • 54 I had been] I been

76‘In regard to this testimonial, I distinctly understand that it is presented to me without reference to any other person. Some, I know, have been deterred from subscribing, lest a wrong construction should be put upon it, or a wrong use made of it. This was a groundless fear, and one that would never have been entertained, had they known as much about it as I know. When I came to Ousebank, it was to take the duty for six Sundays. During that time your late Vicar frequently urged me to take the curacy [43] permanently. It was a great joy to him to find a man of some experience, on whom he could rely, while he felt his own infirmities increasing upon him. The salary he had to give, though larger than is generally given to Curates, was not so large as I could have had in London. He told me that it would be generally agreeable to the parishioners if I did stay, and intimated that it was the intention of some of them to do something equivalent to adding to the salary. I saw that there was work to be done, and that, salary or no salary, my staying among you was a duty. The testimonial was talked of at the end of the year, with a view to secure my remaining in the Parish, but when I found it was likely to cause differences, and knowing that it would not effect the object intended, I wished it to be deferred. The promoters were resolved that I should not leave the Parish without the presentation being made. It is made to-night. I will never regret having spent nearly two years in Ousebank, and I trust you will never regret the graceful and becoming act which you have now performed. I could have wished that I had been54 able to do more for you, but the completion of a work of which you have all heard, and of which, judging from letters which I am daily receiving from eminent men, you are likely to hear more, has deprived me of much of the time which should have been spent in pastoral duties.

77‘Allusion has been made to what is now going on in your Parish Church. That subject is between you and your Vicar. It is not my business to enter into it. I must leave you to fight your own battles, or make the best truce you can. Several have come to me earnestly imploring advice, and the only advice which I have thought it my duty to give is, “Whatever you do, do as Christians and as gentlemen.” It is well known that the Vicar publicly condemned my doctrine, by silencing me in the pulpit as soon as he had taken possession of the living. I have defended myself firmly. He has followed a decided course, but there has been no approach to any misunderstanding or unchristian feeling between us. I trust the time is come when men can discuss theological subjects with calmness but with firmness, without reference to temporal interests, and without exciting angry passions. We have set you the example in Ousebank. I hope you will all follow it. Whatever differences you may have with your Vicar, you will always find him ready to reason with you. Do not be outdone by him in Christian feeling. Give him credit for right motives and whatever practical good he does. Jesus has taught us, in the beautiful parable of the man who fell among thieves, that it was the Samaritan with the erroneous creed who showed mercy, while the orthodox Jew passed by on the other side. Christian charity is better than orthodoxy. There are good men of all creeds; yet their goodness need not blind us to the falseness of their creeds. Their hearts are better than their heads—their lives better than their doctrines.

78‘It is due to you, and, I believe, many of you expect, that I will say something that may help you to understand the cause of the present excitement in the Church. I claim a special right to speak on this subject, for I have seen my way to clear Church of England principles, in which all that is really good in what is called the “Catholic Revival” may be retained, and all that is pernicious, which by the way is much the greater proportion, may be put away. There are many of the forms to which, considered in themselves, I do not object. Some of them are old Church of England forms, which may be restored or suffered to rest in oblivion, as people may fancy. There is no harm, for instance, in preaching in a surplice, though to my taste the academical gown is the more appropriate dress when the minister appears as the instructor of the people. It is, moreover, I believe, the vestment appointed by law to be worn in the pulpit. For some time after the Reformation, many of the priests in the country parishes retained, against the law, the old Roman Catholic vestments. The prejudice in the public mind against the surplice in the pulpit is connected with a dread of the restoration of these vestments—a prejudice which, I must say, as a Protestant, I very highly respect. There are some things on which I cannot pass a judgment. Not being a musician, I cannot speak of what relates to music. Intoning the prayers is distasteful to me, because it seems unnatural. But there are others to whom it may appear devotional. There is a point at which prayer passes into praise. I am not to be the judge for those who differ from me. But in all these matters regard should be had to the wishes and the tastes of the worshippers.

79‘Many things are real improvements, such as the restoration of Churches to their original architectural beauty—the abolition of the aristocratic square pews in which ladies and gentlemen used to show their position in the parish, and the substitution of seats that are alike for all classes, in that place where we should all appear as humble worshippers, and as equal in the sight of God. Beautiful Churches, like music and [44] painting, may be made conducive to sacred feelings. A German philosopher calls Architecture “a petrified psalmody.” Every time I walk through the solemn aisles of a cathedral, I feel as if the very stones were singing psalms to God—they seem to speak of worship as the birds and the flowers speak of the spring time, or the dropping leaves of the sombre autumn. It is sad that the indulgence of this feeling is checked not only by the fact that in past times it was associated with superstition, but that in these days of light, as we are wont to call them, there is danger of this superstition returning.

  • 55 This note is Hunt’s, signalled by an asterisk in the original text.
    I am told that the greatest Chur (...)

80‘I do not object to turning to the east in some parts of the service, but I do not know that there is any authority for it, except that some of the Fathers speak of worshipping towards the east. It is a traditional custom of the Church.55 The Jews prayed towards the Holy Temple. The western nations, after their conversion to Christianity, may have worshipped towards Palestine, but the origin of the custom was probably Pagan. It may be traced to Bactria and India—the birth places of the oldest Aryan religions. In ancient Persia the chief deity was the Sun. The people worshipped towards it. Temples were consecrated to it; and white robed priests singing holy songs knelt before the vestal flame. They had litanies to the Sun; and when the glorious king of day crowned with the diadem of light, glittering with the pearls of the morning, and bringing joy and gladness to the world, rose above the horizon, the priests began the daily service with the solemn invitation “Let us worship Mithras.” Among the deities of Rome the Sun had still its worshippers. The profligate Heliogabalus, before he was made Emperor, was priest in the temple of the Sun, and Julian the Apostate tried to restore the worship of the Sun as a substitute for Christianity. His biographer says that he met it every morning with offerings of blood. Worshipping towards the east is a beautiful superstition. If we can give a reason for it, the beauty may be preserved when the superstition is gone.

81‘The “Catholic Revival” is to be distinguished from all forms of High-Churchism that have gone before it. It is the legitimate and logical tendency of them all, yet different from them all. There is the High-Churchism of the elevated ecclesiastic, who fills with dignity the chair of office. There is the High-Churchism of the mortified vicar, whose parish is so full of Dissenters that he cannot get everything his own way. There is the High-Churchism of the raw curate, who puts on the stiffened white neck-cloth and the long-tailed coat, whose lips are full of heresy, dissent, and schism, beginning and ending all things with “The Church, my Brethren.” These are but incipient or transient forms of High-Churchism. The wearers of albs and copes and chasubles, who light candles and burn incense, accompanied by acolytes and thurifers, and their other manifold attendants, may also be excepted, but on other grounds. They are the indiscreet men who damage the cause by too much haste. The “Catholic Revival” is more inviting than any of these. When thinking men, who know with what dullness and want of life the Church service used to be performed, see the clergy doing their work as if they were in earnest about it, the first feeling is a thrill of joy. The old fabric lives once more. The holy fire burns in the sacred fane. A revival, we say, has come at last. But we examine it further, and the disappointment is bitter. One day last summer, I found a sparrow lying dead under the chesnut trees in the Vicarage garden. Wishing to preserve the skeleton, I placed it in the ivy for the ants to clean its bones. Three days after I went to examine it. Its breast heaved beautifully, like the heaving of a maiden’s breast in sleep. It lived, but alas! it was a life worse than death. It was the life which follows death, the life of corruption. Such, I fear, is the boasted “Catholic Revival.”

82‘We are better able, at the present time, to pronounce judgment upon the “Revival,” than we have hitherto been. The leader of it has published a book called “Eirenicon,” in which he proposes to make peace between the Church of England and the Church of Rome. The old divines of the Church of England, Bishop Hall for instance, delighted in such titles for their controversial pamphlets, as the motto of Hannibal and the Carthaginians when the Romans invaded their country Nulla pax cum Roma, no peace with Rome. There was something in this of the true Protestant spirit of the Church of England, but now her divines write Eirenicons, or how to make peace with Rome. I have just read the “Eirenicon,” and the judgment which I passed upon it the other day [45] in a letter to a friend, was, that “there is as much nonsense in this book as would make even the Virgin Mary weep.” The ridicule which it has called forth among the French Catholics has given an unusual interest to their current literature. Recent articles in the Revue du Monde Catholique, sparkle with the wit of the Jesuits, plentifully lavished at the expense of Dr. Pusey. Archbishop Manning is only restrained by his position from saying that Pusey is insane, or something worse, and it would be difficult for any member of the Church of England, in his right senses, to pronounce any other judgment.

83‘Dr. Pusey’s reconciliation between the two Churches is to be accomplished by showing that the Church of England is not a Protestant Church, and that the Church of Rome is not infallible, in other words is not the Catholic Church. The word “Catholic” is one of those words, that from the variety of its meanings, requires definition every time it is used. The only lawful meanings which it has in the formularies of the Church of England are, where it refers to the Church visible, as in the “Prayer for all sorts and conditions of men,” in which it is plainly defined to consist of “all who profess and call themselves Christians;” and, where, as in the Creed, it refers to the Church invisible—the mystical body of Christ, which is, to use the words of Archbishop Usher, ‘the whole universal company of the elect, that ever were, are, or shall be gathered into one body’—that Church which, as Hooker says, “is Christ’s mystical body, and consisteth of none but only true Israelites, true sons of Abraham, true servants and saints of God.” In conventional language the word Catholic is applied to the Church of Rome; and all who are in communion with that Church are called Catholics. As the word Catholic properly means universal, that is obviously a wrong use of it, for not more than the half of the Christian world is in communion with the see of Rome. Dr. Pusey’s Catholic Church consists of the Church of England, the Church of Rome, and the Greek Church. It is Catholic because of the universal acceptance of the three creeds of the ancient Church, and the continuance of the Episcopal succession from Apostolic times. All others who profess and call themselves Christians do not belong to the “Catholic Church,” though the Prayer-book expressly says that they do. Dr. Pusey’s “Catholic Church” is universal, but it is not “one.” It consists of three Churches which anathematize each other— three Churches which hold no communion with each other—Churches of which the priests of the one cannot minister at the altars of the others. The word Protestant is not so various in its meanings, but it is sometimes misinterpreted. It does not mean that we protest against the Catholic Church in either of the senses in which it is used in the Prayer-book, but only that we protest against the errors of the Church of Rome. The word Protestant is in this sense a precious word. We should ever be proud of it. It is the watchword of free enquiry, free thought, and free speech. It comes to us laden with the history of the struggles of our forefathers, when they fought for the right, and shared in the glorious battle of freedom—that battle which

  • 56 ‘Once begun, ] Once begun,

“Once begun,56
Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son, Though baffled oft, is ever won.”

84It is a word pregnant with great things for the future—a word we must never abandon. When you speak of the Church of England, you may call it, if you like, a branch of the Church Catholic, but never forget that it is our Protestant Church of England.

85‘Dr. Pusey wishes to explain away the Protestantism of the Church of England. He wishes to say that our Reformers protested not so much against the doctrines of the Church of Rome, as against the abuses of these doctrines, which abuses were, in a great measure, corrected by the Council of Trent. He lingers over the many points on which the two Churches agree, and speaks of those on which they differ as unimportant. Were Dr. Pusey to go to Professor Huxley, that gentleman would show him that the points on which a man and a chimpanzee are the same, are very numerous, and those on which they are unlike very unimportant. Professor Huxley would show that the chimpanzee is the complete analogue of the man—that it has the same skull, the same bones in the skull, the same brains beneath the skull, the same conformation throughout, even to the posterior lobe and hippo-campus minor—the same cervicals, dorsals, lumbars, sternum, clavicles; and all the other bones, which some of the doctors present know better than I do. He will even prove that a chimpanzee is not an animal with four hands as we used to suppose, but that it has two hands and two feet like any human being. And yet we all know that a chimpanzee is not a man, neither is the Church of Rome the same as the Church of England. [46]

86‘Dr. Pusey’s method of showing the relationship, is to explain away nearly all distinctively Protestant doctrine. We say, for instance, that the sacraments are generally necessary to salvation. By this our best divines understand that it is the duty of Christians to use the sacraments when they may be had; but it is never said that men may not be saved without them. Yet Dr. Pusey interprets “generally” as meaning universally; so that we are to read “the sacraments are universally necessary to salvation.” This may do for the Church of Rome, but we know better in the Church of England. Again in the article, which says that “transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions,” it is explained that this was directed against the doctrine of the schoolmen, which was not adopted by the Council of Trent. That Council declared that the “accidents” of bread and wine remained, and this is equivalent to our word “substance.” It is very dexterous in Dr. Pusey to throw us back upon metaphysical terms, which sometimes have entirely opposite meanings in the lips of different men. But the Reformers who wrote our Articles were not metaphysicians. They were plain men, who used words carefully, and with the ordinary meanings. They said plainly that the change of the substance, which with them meant what it now does in common language, the essence of bread and wine overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions. In the Article which denies that the Eucharist is a sacrifice, and where it is said very decidedly that the sacrifices of masses are blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits, Dr. Pusey finds that the Reformers did not mean the sacrifice of the mass, but only the buying of masses, which then prevailed in the Church, but which was afterwards corrected by the Council of Trent. I suppose it is due to Dr. Pusey to have been the first to discover the meaning of this article. I do not know that any divine of the Church of England ever so explained it before. The great Bishop Bull understood it of what he called “the monstrous sacrifice of the mass taught in the Church of Rome.”

87‘I have given you some specimens of the mode in which Dr. Pusey wishes to eliminate the Protestantism of the Church of England. His ingenuity is very great. A life spent in the study of the fathers and the schoolmen makes a man very acute, and if not held accountable to reason it will make him, it appears, a noted divine, even in the Church of England. But after Dr. Pusey has ground our Articles to Catholic powder, and left us nothing to admire in the Reformation but the folly of the Reformers, there still remains an impassable gulf between the Church of England and the Church of Rome. And for proof of this we need not go further than to the “Eirenicon.” Here it is that all men who have their eyes open, both Catholics and Protestants, see the weakness of Dr. Pusey’s cause. The account which he gives of the character and extent of the worship of Mary in the Church of Rome seems to have astonished, not only the Protestants of this country, but even the Roman Catholics themselves. I always had a suspicion that the Church of Rome could give a reasonable explanation of the worship of Mary, and that the accounts we generally had were only the exaggerated statements of Protestant writers, but on any subject connected with the Church of Rome, Dr. Pusey is not likely to exaggerate. He has consulted the best sources, and thrown down a challenge to the whole Roman Catholic world. We have often heard English Catholics say that prayers addressed to the Virgin were simply prayers that she would intercede for them. Dr. Pusey shows that this is not correct—that Catholics pray to Mary to have remission of sins, to be led into the way of truth, to have grace, life, and glory. Catholicism, it is said, does not flourish in England, because English Catholics do not give sufficient worship to Mary. “Here in England,” says a pious Roman Catholic writer, “Mary is not half enough preached, devotion to her is low and thin. It is frightened out of its wits by the sneers of heresy. It is always inviting human respect and carnal prudence, wishing to make Mary so little of a Mary that Protestants may feel at ease about her. Jesus is obscured, because Mary is kept in the background. Thousands of souls perish because Mary is withheld from them.” Catholic priests in Italy have lamented by the death beds of their English converts that they are but half converted, for when dying they put their trust in Jesus, and never pray to Mary. Dr. Pusey has often been told that before he can expect to be converted, he must learn to pray to Mary. In the Church of Rome, Mary is all in all. She is called “The Queen of Heaven and the Mistress of the world,” “the Great One Herself,” “the Holy Mother of God,” “Companion of the Redeemer,” “Co-Redemptress,” “Authoress of eternal salvation.” “The Destroyer of heresies throughout the world,” “The Ring in the chain of creatures,” “The Mediatress not of men only but of angels,” “The Complement of the [47] Trinity. One Catholic writer says that in the Eucharist they eat and drink not only the flesh and blood of Christ, but the flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary, and that there is present in the sacrament, not only the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also the Virgin milk! of his Virgin mother! Another writer says, that the regenerate are born not of flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God and Mary.

88This is the Church with which Dr. Pusey wishes to unite the Church of England! Of course he wishes it to lay aside its mariolatry, and to renounce its last and most favourite dogma, the immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin. He asks an “infallible Church” to say that it is fallible. He might as well ask the Pope to say that he is not the Pope. For the Church of Rome to retract any of its dogmas would be suicide. It must bear its own burdens with which it is self-burdened. It is committed irretrievably to idolatry, to the worship of the Virgin Mother. It stands condemned in the light of scripture and in the eyes of reason. Let it sink under the weight of its errors. Let the chain of infallibility drag it downwards. It is caught in its own craftiness. It has woven destruction for itself.

89‘Dr. Pusey’s scheme is to bring back the Church of England, the Church of Rome, and the Greek Church to the position in which they stood before the separation of the Eastern and Western Churches. And here the futility of his plan is manifest to all men. He supposes the Church to have been infallible up to the time of the great schism between the east and the west, but after that, the decrees of the Church of Rome, not being the decrees of the whole Church, were fallible. If the three Churches could be again united, it is expected, I suppose, that infallibility would return. A man who has spent his life in study, as Dr. Pusey has done, ought surely to have learned that if infallibility had belonged to the “Catholic Church,” it would never have been divided into Greek, Roman, and Anglican.

  • 57 ‘ “A] “A

90‘ “A57 return to the Catholic Church—restoration of Catholic truth,” is the cry of Dr. Pusey and his disciples. When we ask them what they mean they do not know. They are like unto men that dream. A vague something which they call “Catholic” has possessed their minds. They follow it as bewildered travellers follow the phosphoric light, that leads them to the bogs and the swamps and sinks them they know not where. I do not like to call ill names, I do not like to ascribe bad motives to those who differ from me. I believe Dr. Pusey and his disciples are sincere. They excite our compassion rather than our hatred. It is a pity to see so much earnestness lost, to see men erecting a scaffolding which is sure to fall. The Church of Rome is the inevitable goal of all their efforts. This is proved by the soundest arguments, and alas! ratified by experience. The best and most consistent men in the original Oxford movement are all in the Church of Rome. Their friends, as Dr. Newman testifies, saw where they were going, but they did not believe it themselves, till they had gone too far to be able to return.

91‘This vague “Catholic” Church is called the Church of the Fathers, especially of St. Augustine. Alas! how easily are men deceived with great names. No one can read the story of St. Augustine’s life without being affected by it. He has told it himself with all the ingenuousness of a truly great man, how he wallowed in sin, how his mother followed him with her prayers, how at last he came with his friend Alypius, and his gifted boy Adeodatus, to the waters of Baptism; and there was plunged in the flood to signify that now he was dead to sin and that henceforth he would live to righteousness. The conversion of St. Augustine was a great event for the Church, his powerful mind impressed itself on its history, its dogmas, its destiny. Let us give to St. Augustine all that is due, but why should we go back to his theology? God has given us light which was withheld from him. In the knowledge revealed to us by the patient study of science—in the better understanding which we have of the spirit of Christianity—in our more worthy conceptions of the Divine Being, and His relations to the universe, we leave St. Augustine far behind. Indeed, it is with the two great errors of his theology that we have yet mainly to contend; the doctrine that God only wills some men to be saved, and the belief that unbaptized infants must everlastingly perish—two of the darkest heresies that ever found shelter in the Christian Church.

92‘The present movement in the Church of England is an anxious question to all thinking men, and especially to all sincere Protestants. Quiet church going people are driven away from their parish Churches by doctrines and practices to which they are unaccustomed. In past times when the Parish Church did not please the people they built a meeting house. The same course is open still. But does this serve the end? Are the people to go on building Dissenting chapels, and leave the Churches and Church property in possession of that party which is the most opposed to the judgment and [48] common sense of the people? If the national Church ceases to represent, at least, the majority of the nation, is it likely that the nation will suffer it to stand? What, then, are Dr. Pusey’s disciples doing? Professing to build up the Church; in reality pulling it down. But, my friends, do not be alarmed. This is only a temporary madness. Dr. Pusey, by the publication of his “Eirenicon,” has inflicted a blow on his cause which it cannot survive. Every one who is capable of putting two ideas along side of each other, will see that he and his disciples have not an inch of ground on which to stand. The cause why so favourable a reception is given by many of the clergy to what is called “Catholic” doctrine is doubtless to be found in the vantage ground which they seem to have through their connection with the episcopal succession over the Dissenters. It is not my business to take the side of the Dissenters. But no national Church can exist in England which does not acknowledge as branches of the Church Catholic the great bodies of nonconformists. The future of the Church of England depends on which of the two parties in the Church shall finally prevail—those who follow scripture, and reason, or those who follow scripture and tradition. If the latter, its existence as the national Church is doomed. If the former, it may work the well being of the nation, and be the great bulwark of sound religion and the enemy of superstition throughout the world. Let the clergy be properly educated in theology as a science. Let the temporalities of the Church be so distributed, that there may be some connection between merit and reward, so that men capable of guiding the intellect of the nation may be induced to come into her service. And then in a higher sense than the prophet intended shall be fulfilled the prophecy—The kings of Tarshish, and of the Isles shall bring presents unto Him, and the Queen of Sheba shall offer gifts. Then shall be found among the Church’s worshippers, not merely emotional women and confiding children, but men whose minds have battled with all the problems of life. Then the merchant-man weary with the toils of business shall find religion a reasonable service. Then the man of science shall come with the fruits of his study as an offering to God, acknowledging that in Christianity he has found that which satisfies his reason, commends itself to his conscience, banishes fear, and gives peace to his anxious mind. ‘It has been a great pleasure to me that I have been able to speak some plain words, among you. I have tried to make you think for yourselves. I have tried to persuade you to love righteousness for its own sake. I have lived at peace among you and have done my best to promote peace and good will between man and man. And now my last desire and prayer for you all is, that God may be with you now and evermore.’

93The address was loudly applauded. I had spoken the sentiments of the Ousebankians, and of the intelligent laity of the Church throughout the land. I tried to check all ebullition of the feelings usual at such partings, but it could not be done entirely. The last exclamation I heard was from a poor woman—‘Good bye, sir, good bye!’ she cried, ‘May you be as well respected, wherever you go, as you have been here.’

94The Church is troubled. All its teachers are perplexed, from the Bishop who rides in his carriage, to the Curate who rideth on the top of an omnibus. We do not know whether or not we are sacrificing priests! One half of the clergy are surprised to hear that it is even supposed; the other astounded that everybody does not know it. Wisdom may be crying aloud in the streets, but it is in another sense that she is crying in the Church. Like Rachel, she laments there for her children, because they are not. Can we expect it otherwise, when no encouragement is given to men able and willing to do the Church’s work; when, of the material that is available for the ministry, it is impossible to make anything better than innocent Evangelicals, or brainless Ritualists—preachers of platitudes, or performers of attitudes. Shall it ever be that in religion, as in other things, men will listen to the solemn voice of Reason?


95Clergymen Made Scarce, Second Edition (London: Hall, 1867), With the Annotations of Mrs Eliza Hunt.


1 The original, occasionally old-fashioned, spelling and punctuation have been preserved in this transcription except in the case of obvious errors, which are indicated in footnotes, with a square bracket after the emendation, followed by the original, e.g., fn. 3: ‘Neander!] Neander! Extra space before punctuation marks has been removed. Inverted commas, which are inconsistent in the original, have been standardized. The original pagination is marked in square brackets. The manuscript annotations of Mrs Eliza Hunt are contained in footnotes relating to the words that she underlined. A few annotations are not easily legible. Her spelling and punctuation have been preserved. Brief elucidations and corrections are given in round brackets. The annotations were made with an ink pen. The ink, which may originally have been black, now appears brownish. The title page is annotated ‘Rev Dr. John Hunt’ beneath ‘A Presbyter’, and at the bottom of the page ‘Very Scarce’ has been written. These would appear to be also in Mrs Hunt’s hand. The annotation ‘Very scarce’ may refer to the rarity of the booklet and also be a pun on the scarcity of clergymen. I am grateful to Ian Dobson for this suggestion.

2 W H Bulmer. Bishops wearmouth Sunderland (William Henry Philip Bulmer, Deptford St Andrew’s, Bishopwearmouth)

3 James Sutherland Arlington Square Islington (St Philip the Evangelist’s, Arlington Square, Islington)

4 ‘Neander!] Neander!

5 won’t] wont

6 came] come

7 that.] that

8 Lissom Grove. Name forgotten (James Keeling, St Paul’s, Lisson Grove)

9 Maurice?’] Maurice?

10 Jenkins Battersea (John Simon Jenkinson, St Mary’s, Battersea)

11 William Garrat Walham Green (William Garratt, St John’s, Walham Green, Fulham)

12 predilections”.’] predilections.’

13 The word is underlined, possibly in a different hand, but without elucidation.

14 Rutlandshire John Jones

15 George Finch

16 Fund.’] Fund’

17 Edmonton (probably All Saints’, Edmonton)

18 John Goodwin

19 Steventon Paddington (Edwin Henry Steventon, All Saints’ Church, Norfolk Square, Paddington)

20 Snape Old Kent Road (Alfred William Snape, St Mary Magdalen, Old Kent Road, Bermondsey)

21 Garrat Little Queen Street (Samuel Garratt, Trinity Church, St Giles-in-the-Fields)

22 Krus St. Judes, Lambeth or Southwark (Francis Cruse, St Jude’s, Saint George’s Road, Southwark)

23 Robinson Chelsea (William Woolhouse Robinson, Christ Church, Chelsea)

24 H.L.] H.L

25 Hugh Allen (Hugh Allen, St George the Martyr, Southwark)

26 Thomas Green Church Missionary College Islington

27 Courtney St. James Pentonville An Irishman (Anthony Lefroy Courtenay, DD, St James, Pentonville)

28 Henry Kelly Christs Church (Henry Plimley Kelly, Christ Church, Hoxton)

29 Thomas Jackson Stoke Newington

30 ‘No, ’] ‘No, ’

31 Christ Church Hoxton

32 Baker Fulham (Robert George Baker, All Saints, Fulham)

33 St Botolphs Aldgate

34 Hon. Freemantle (William H. Fremantle, Chaplain to the Bishop of London)

35 Joseph Bardsley (Joseph Bardsley, Secretary of the London Diocesan Home Mission)

36 David King

37 1864 ‘Curates made scarce’ ‘Times’ leader. The Anatomist Curate’ & c. (The first reference is possibly a misremembering of the title of the Punch article, entitled ‘Clergymen Made Scarce’, of 17 December 1864, p. 25. The second may refer to any of several leaders in The Times in 1864, in which the supply and situation of curates are discussed. The reference to The Anatomist Curate probably relates to the Spectator article of 19 November 1864, pp. 1324f.; see 14.3, p. 181.)

38 James Roberton (James Matthew Roberton, St. Botolph’s without Aldgate)

39 Swallow near Caster (Caistor)

40 in the world] in world

41 St. Ives Hunts.

42 Yate Fosbroke

43 Mutton (Frederick Mutton ‘Money lender & news vendor’, 1861 England Census Class: RG 9; Piece: 979; Folio: 23; Page: 5; GSU roll: 542731; He left c. £12,000 in 1872, approx. £1,387,680 in 2020.)

44 Father-in-law (Joseph Pain)

45 Smith (Rev. Thomas Smith, d. 1802)

46 Brown. (Possibly Thomas Brown, curate of Hemingford Abbots)

47 Thomas Longman

48 Mc Gee Holywell (Robert James McGhee, Holywell)

49 Honeybun (Martin Hunnybun, solicitor, High St, Huntingdon)

50 son-in-law] son-in law

51 Wise (Alderman Richard Relton Wise, Bank Manager)

52 Mrs. Theed (possibly Elizabeth, wife of William Vipan Theed, gentleman farmer in Hilton, a village close to St Ives; cf. 1861 England Census, Class: RG 9; Piece: 980; Folio: 52; Page: 2; GSU roll: 542731.

53 Goldie (Charles Dashwood Goldie)

54 I had been] I been

55 This note is Hunt’s, signalled by an asterisk in the original text.
I am told that the greatest Church in the world, St. Peter’s at Rome, has the chancel in the west. Socrates, the Ecclesiastical historian, says that the Church of Antioch, probably the first Christian Church ever erected, had its chancel in the west. St. Botolph’s, Aldgate, in the City of London, has the chancel in the north. It is a very poetical idea to think of all the people of London, when they say their prayers, looking towards Whitechapel and Bethnal Green.

56 ‘Once begun, ] Once begun,

57 ‘ “A] “A

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig 5. Eliza Hunt’s copy of Clergymen Made Scarce, courtesy of the Norris Museum, St Ives.
Fichier image/jpeg, 93k
Fichier image/jpeg, 583 octets


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