Imatges de pÓgina
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WINTER OF 1841.

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children of Adam. It is clear, both from Scripture and experience, that baptism, whatever else it imparts, does not give spiritual vitality.

St. Peter's testimony is this, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted with Him" (Acts x. 34, 35). Accepted to be saved, not because there is any merit in his works, but because God sees that there is real sincerity in his living up to the light he has. The heathen who know there is a God, and do not worship Him as God, are given over to idolatry (Rom. i.); but, on the other hand, those who do worship Him, and give Him thanks, are taken in hand to be guided into life and truth. Therefore are we justified in hoping that earnest and religious men, though they be dead, if their religion is really towards God, will be brought to spiritual life.

It was a happy winter to me, however, notwithstanding my spiritual deficiencies; and the recollection of it still abides in my memory. I had now no desire for the world and its pleasures. My mind had quite gone from such empty amusements and frivolities; even the taste I used to have for these things was completely taken away.

I was happier now than ever I had been before, so that I am convinced from personal experience that even a religious life may be one of joy, though by no means so satisfying and abiding as a truly spiritual one. I was happy, as I have already said, and longed for the time when I could be ordained, and devote my energies to work for God in the ministry.

CHAPTER III.

Ordination and First Parish.

1842.

N the returning spring, as I was feeling so much stronger, and altogether better, I thought I would go and see the physician who had sounded me some months before. He, after a careful examination, still adhered to his previous opinion, and gave very little hope of my recovery, but suggested that if I went to the north coast of Cornwall there might be a chance for me.

On my return home, I took up an "Ecclesiastical Gazette," though it was three months old, and looked over the advertisements. There I observed one which invited a curate for a church in that very neighbourhood. It was a sole charge; but, strange to say, a title for holy orders was offered also. In reply to this I wrote a letter, asking for particulars, in which I stated my Church views, and that I was ordered to that part of the country for the benefit of my health.

The Vicar, who resided in another parish, thirty miles off, was so eager to get help for this one, that he wrote back to say he had sent my letter to the Bishop, with one from himself, and that I should hear from his lordship in a few days.

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I was surprised at this precipitation of affairs, and all the more so when I received a note from the Bishop of Exeter (Phillpotts), bidding me come to him immediately, that I might be in time for the Lent ordination.

Accordingly, I started westward, and having passed my examination, I was sent with letters dimissory to the Bishop of Salisbury (Denison), to whom I was also sent, a year afterwards, for priest's orders. I was very weak, and much exhausted with travelling, but still went on, though I know not how.

ORDINATION.

The long-desired day at length arrived, and I was duly ordained; but instead of being full of joy, I became much depressed in mind and body, and could not rouse myself from dwelling upon the Bishop's address, which was very solemn. He told us that we were going to take charge of the souls of our parishioners, and that God would require them at our hands; we must take heed how we tended the Lord's flock. Altogether, it was more than I had calculated upon; and feeling very ill that afternoon, I thought that I had undertaken a burden which would certainly be my ruin. "What could I do with souls ?" My idea of ordination was to be a clergyman, read the prayers, preach sermons, and do all I could to bring people to church; but how could I answer for souls which had to live for ever? and what was I to do with them?

In the evening, I so far roused myself as to go amongst the other candidates, to sound them, and ascertain what were their feelings with regard to the Bishop's solemn address! They merely thought that it was very beautiful, and that he was a holy man; and then some of them proposed that we should all go in a riding party, to see Stonehenge, the next day. It was especially thought that a drive on the Wiltshire plains would do me a great deal of good, if I did not feel strong enough to ride on horseback. I

agreed to this, and went with them to see this famous temple of Druidical worship; and after that set off for Plymouth, on my way to the far west. But, alas! the charm of ordination had fled, and I was more than half sorry that I had undertaken so much. It had been done so precipitately too, for even now it was only ten days since I had seen the physician.

After resting a day, I proceeded to Truro, and then took a post-chaise and drove out to my first parish, called Perranzabuloe, which was situated about eight miles from Truro, on the north coast of Cornwall. I alighted at an old manor house, where I was to have apartments with a farmer and his family. Being much fatigued, I soon retired to bed, anything but happy, or pleased with the bleak and rough-looking place to which I had come.

I slept well however, and the next morning felt considerably better, and was revived in spirits. After making many inquiries about things in general, I obtained the keys, and made my way to the parish church, which was about ten minutes' walk from the house. Here, again, I was greatly grieved and disappointed to see such a neglected churchyard and dilapidated church; and when I went inside, my heart sank, for I had never seen a place of worship in such a miserable condition. Moreover, I was told that the parish was seven miles long, and that its large population of three thousand souls was scattered on all sides, excepting round the church.

I had left my friends a long way off, and was alone in a strange place, with an amount of work and responsibility for which I knew I was thoroughly unprepared and unfit. However, I sauntered back to my lodgings, and began to ruminate as to what was to be done.

I had now sole charge of this extensive parish, for the duties of which I was to receive the very moderate stipend

MY FIRST SUNDAY.

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of forty pounds a year; but of this I did not complain, for my board and lodging, with washing, and the keep of a horse included, was only twelve shillings a week, leaving me a margin of nearly ten pounds for my personal expenses. The questions that troubled me were--what was I to do with three thousand people? and how was I to reach them?

In due course Sunday morning arrived, and with the help of a neighbouring clergyman, who kindly came over, as he said, "to put me in the way," I got through the service (being the only one for the day at that time), having about a score of listless people, lounging in different parts of the church, for a congregation. This was my first Sunday in my first parish.

Just at this time a book was sent me by a kind friend, entitled "The Bishopric of Souls," which terrified me even more than the Bishop's charge had done; for I felt that, notwithstanding my ardent desire to serve and glorify God, I had not the remotest conception how to do it, as regards winning souls. The author of this book took it for granted that every one who had the office of a pastor, had also the spiritual qualification for it; but experience proves that this is by no means the case. My ordination gave me an ecclesiastical position in the parish; the law maintained me in it; and the people expected me to do the duties of it: but how to carry all this out, except in a dry and formal way, I did not know.

As time went on, my parochial duties increased. I had to baptize the children, marry the young, visit the sick, and bury the dead; but I could not help feeling how different was this in action, to what it was in theory. I had had a kind of dreamland parish in my head, with daily service, beautiful music, and an assembly of worshipping people; but instead of this, I found a small, unsympathizing congregation, who merely looked upon these sacred things as

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