Imatges de pÓgina
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to wear for several years, though I was frequently laughed at, and often pursued by boys, which was not agreeable to flesh and blood; but it helped to separate me from the world, and to make me feel that I was set apart as a priest to offer sacrifice for the people.

In course of time I began to make preparations for my permanent church. I drew the designs for it, passed them, and obtained money enough to begin to build. There was a grand ceremony at the stone-laying, and a long procession. We had banners, chanting, and a number of surpliced clergy, besides a large congregation.

The Earl of Falmouth, who laid the stone, contributed a thousand pounds towards the edifice; his mother gave three hundred pounds for a peal of bells; and others of the gentry who were present contributed; so that upwards of eighteen hundred pounds was promised that day. Just twelve months after, July 20, 1848, the same company, with many others, and the Bishop of Exeter (Phillpotts) came to consecrate the "beautiful church."

In the meantime, between the stone-laying and the consecration, the Parsonage house had been built, and, more than that, it was even papered, furnished, and inhabited ! Besides all this, there was a garden made, and a doorway, after an ecclesiastical mode, leading into the churchyard, with this inscription over it :—

"Be true to Church,

Be kind to poor,
O minister, for evermore."

In this church there were super-altar, candles, triptych, and also a painted window; organ, choir, and six bells; so that for those days it was considered a very complete thing.

The priest of Baldhu," with his cassock and square cap, was quite a character in his small way. He preached in a

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A CHURCH GUILD.

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surplice, of course, and propounded Church tactics, firmly contending for Church teaching. The Wesleyans and others had their distinctive tenets, the Church must have hers; they had their members enrolled, the Church must have hers; therefore he would have a "guild," with the view of keeping his people together. Outwardly there was an esprit de corps, and the parishioners came to church, and took an interest in the proceedings; but it was easy to see that their hearts were elsewhere. Still I went on, hoping against hope, "building from the top" without any foundation, teaching people to live before they were born!

CHAPTER VI.

The Awakening.

1848-51.

HE more earnestly I wrought among the people, and the better I knew them, the more I saw that the mere attachment to the Church, and punctual attendance at the services or frequency of Communion, was not sufficient. I wanted something deeper. I wanted to reach their hearts in order to do them good.

Whether this desire sprang up in the ordinary progress by which God was imperceptibly leading me, or from a story I heard at a clerical meeting, I know not—perhaps from both. My mind was evidently as ground prepared to receive the warning. The story was about a dream a clergyman had. He thought the judgment-day was come, and that there was, as it were, a great visitation-greater than the Bishop's. The clergy were mustering, and appeared in their gowns, but instead of being alone, they had part of their congregations with them. Some had a few followers, others had more, and some a great many; and all these received a gracious smile from the Judge when their names were called. The clergyman who dreamed was waiting, as he supposed, with a large number of people at his back.

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CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION.

When his turn came he went forward; but as he approached, he saw that the Judge's countenance was sad and dark. In a sudden impulse of suspicion he looked back; and lo! there was no one behind him. He stopped, not daring to go any further, and turning to look at the Judge, saw that His countenance was full of wrath. This dream had such an effect upon him that he began to attend to his parish and care for the souls of his people.

I also was beginning to see that I ought to care for the souls of my people—at least, as much as I did for the services of the Church. As a priest, I had the power (so I thought) to give them absolution: and yet none, alas! availed themselves of the opportunity. How could they have forgiveness if they did not come to me? This absolution I believed to be needful before coming to Holy Communion, and that it was, indeed, the true preparation for that sacred ordinance. I used to speak privately to the members of the Church Guild about this, and persuaded some of them to come to me for confession and absolution; but I was restless, and felt that I was doing good by stealth. Besides this, those whom I thus absolved were not satisfied, for they said they could not rejoice in the forgiveness of their sins as the Methodists did, or say that they were pardoned. In this respect I was working upon most tender ground, but I did not know what else to do.

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I used to spend hours and hours in my church alone in meditation and prayer; and, while thinking, employed my hands in writing texts over the windows and on the walls, and in painting ornamental borders above the arches. I remember writing over the chancel arch, with much interest and exultation, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ" (Rev. xii. 10).

I imagined, in my sanguine hope, that the kingdom of

Christ was come, and that the "accuser of the brethren " was cast down. I thought I saw, in the power of Christ given to His priests, such victory that nothing could stand against it. So much for dwelling on a theory, right or wrong, till it fills the mind. Yet I cannot say that all this was without prayer. I did wait upon God, and thought my answers were from Him; but I see now that I went to the Lord with an idol in my heart, and that He answered me according to it (Ezek. xiv. 3).

One day I saw a picture in a friend's house which attracted me during the time I was waiting for him. It was nothing artistic, nor was it over well drawn, but still it engaged my attention in a way for which I could not account. When my friend came down, we talked about other things; but even after I left the house this picture haunted me. At night I lay awake thinking about it—so much so, that I rose early the next morning, and went to a bookseller's shop, where I bought a large sheet of tracingpaper and pencil, and sent them out by the postman, with a note to my friend, begging him to give me a tracing of the picture in question.

I had to wait for more than a fortnight before it arrived, and then how great was my joy! I remember spreading a white cloth on my table, and opening out the tracing-paper upon it; and there was the veritable picture of the Good Shepherd! His countenance was loving and kind. With one hand He was pushing aside the branch of a tree, though a great thorn went right through it; and with the other He was extricating a sheep which was entangled in the thorns. The poor thing was looking up in helplessness, all spotted over with marks of its own blood, for it was wounded in struggling to escape. Another thing which struck me in this picture was that the tree was growing on the edge of a precipice, and had it not been for it (the tree), with all the

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