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the invitation to go to Plymouth, the result of the preaching, the unexpected proposal to remove hither, the Bishop's answer, and the remission of the £3,300. "Now," I continued, "what do you say?"
"You must go, my brother," he replied; "for you will never make Catholics of the Cornish people: the Methodist mind is far too deeply rooted in them.”
Our friend's decision was firm; and so there remained nothing for us to do but to follow it. The novelty of the proposition, and the surprising circumstances connected with it were exciting, and took away our thoughts for the time from the place which was to be left. When the decision was given and accepted, then Baldhu seemed to lift up its voice, and urge its claims. Certainly it was a strong tie which bound us to this place; but nevertheless, on our return home, I wrote to the Bishop, and proposed to resign my present incumbency, in order that I might take a district in Plymouth. He replied in due course, that he would accept my resignation. After I was thus pledged, my wife's mind veered from her consent to go; and Mr. Aitken changed his tone also, and said that the text had come to him, "Cast thyself down," and that I was tempting God. Yet all the steps I had taken had been in prayer, and had been even taken reluctantly, for I was much attached to Baldhu.
For nearly three months I was torn with distractions; sometimes hope lifted up the mist from the horizon, and then let it down again. I did not know what to do; the work at home had come to a stand; but there was one thing, my successor was not yet appointed, nor had I signed my resignation; therefore every now and then the thought came over me, that I would stay. Then a letter came from Plymouth, urging me to come away at once, "for the iron was hot for striking." Sometimes people came
in and said, "You had better go;" then others would come and say, "You will do no good if you do go." It was desolating, as well as distracting beyond description.
I had a family of six children and three servants; it was a great expense to move there; and yet, if God was calling, it was quite as easy for Him to move eleven people as one; and I had ten claims upon Him. At last, suspense was over; for my successor was appointed, and the day fixed for our going. I signed my resignation, having to pay four pounds ten shillings for it; then, suspense was changed into unmitigated sorrow.
I had designed and built that church and house, and had seen them rise; had made the garden, and had had many happy and wonderful days in this place. I found it had taken a deep root in my heart, and therefore it was like tearing one up altogether to go away. But it was done now, and the friends who had advised me not to resign, seemed to have their triumph; and those who advised to go, were discouraged and grieved at my sorrowful state. My dear wife cheered up when she saw me down, and rose to the occasion; she began to pack up as if delighted at going, and went about everything most cheerfully.
I told the people that I could not bear a leave-taking, but there would be a service in the church, and Holy Communion, at seven o'clock on the morning we were to leave. Many came, but the majority could not sum up the courage to do so. I put my resignation on the offertory plate, and gave it to God with many tears. A kind neighbour came to officiate for me, so that I did not take any part in the service; being exceedingly dejected and overwhelmed with sorrow. It was chiefly for fear, lest I was doing that which God would not have me do, and taking
my family out from a comfortable home, I knew not whither, or to what discomforts.
One thing I certainly saw plainly enough, that my affections were too deeply rooted in earthly things. I had no idea till then, that that place of my own creation had taken such a hold upon me. It was well to be loose from that, and free for my Master's service.
After breakfast we left the old place; many people stood weeping by the roadsides; some ventured to speak, and others only thrust their hands into the carriage windows for a hearty grasp, without saying a word. It was indeed a sorrowful day, the remembrance of which even now makes my heart sink, though it is more than twenty-five years
In the evening we arrived at the house of some friends, who had kindy invited us to break our journey, and remain the night with them; and in the morning we proceeded on our way to Plymouth. When we reached the house, we found our furniture unpacked, and distributed in the various rooms, and the table spread ready for us to take some refreshment. The word "WELCOME" was done in flowers over the door, besides many other demonstrations of kindness; but I am afraid we were all too sorrowful at the time to show our appreciation of, or to enjoy them.
We never settled in that house, and did not care to unpack anything more than necessary, or hang up the pic
tures or texts.
My work did not prosper here, for I found I was unequally yoked with strangers, and accordingly felt dry and wretched.
I sent my resignation of Baldhu to Bishop Phillpotts, and with it my nomination and other necessary papers, saying that I would wait on his lordship for institution on a certain day.
REFUSAL TO INSTITUTE.
At the appointed time I went to him, when to my great surprise, he very calmly said he could not appoint me to that district. I could not understand this, for as I told him, I had only resigned conditionally, and reminded him that I had asked his permission to resign, for the purpose of taking this district.
"How can I conscientiously appoint or license you to anything in my diocese ?" he said, looking me full in the face, and then in his courteous way he laid his commands on me to stay to luncheon, saying he would be obliged "if I would do him this honour;" he bade me walk in the garden, as he was busy, and would be occupied till luncheon.
I felt that I needed a little quiet and fresh air to get over this climax of my troubles-out of one living, and not into another; and that with a wife, six children, and three servants, with very little to live on. Here was a state of things! I had plenty to occupy my thoughts and prayers. I feared and mourned, above everything, lest God should be angry with me. "Oh, if I could only know this is the will of God, then I should not care a fig for all the bishops on the bench, and would not ask one of them for anything!" ·
I was soon roused from my reverie, by the presence of Miss C. P., the Bishop's daughter, who had come out at her father's request to show me the garden and the view. I had known this lady slightly for several years, and so she was not altogether a stranger to me, or I to her. She talked so cheerfully and pleasantly, that it came to my mind, "Perhaps, after all, the Bishop is only trying me. He will not appoint me to this bare district, because he has something better with which he means to surprise me." This sanguine thought cheered me up greatly. At luncheon he was as kind and happy as if he had neither done anything dishonourable, or had any intention of doing so; so that I felt quite sure something good was coming. I began to wonder at intervals, "What
part of the diocese I was to be sent to?-Where is there a vacancy ?" and so on.
The Bishop was as friendly to me as he used to be in other days. After the repast, he summoned me to his study again. "Now," I thought, "I shall hear where I am to go;" but instead of this, he said that he was "much engaged, and must take leave of me."
I was more than astonished at this, and said, "I can scarcely believe that you refuse to appoint me!"
"I do then, most positively."
"But I have a copy of my letter to your lordship, and your answer."
"Then you may urge your claim by law, if you please." “No, indeed, my lord, I do not think I will do that." And then, after a short pause, I said, “You have done for me what I could not dare do for myself, though I have often been tempted to do it."
"And pray, what is that ?" he inquired.
"To give up parochial ministration, that I may be free to preach wherever I am led.”
"Could you do that?"
"I could not do it conscientiously myself; but now that you have stripped me of harness, I will put on no more."
The Bishop made his bow, and I made mine; and that was the end of our interview.
In my unconverted days I used to be an ardent and enthusiastic admirer of this man; his charges, his speeches, and especially his withering, sarcastic letters to Lord John Russell and others, who came under his tremendous lash, to my mind made him a great hero. His straightforward manner also commanded my respect, for, generally speaking, I had found bishops very smooth and two-sided, or rather both-sided; but in his case there was no mistakę.