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grappled with this subject; but I could not, by searching, find out anything, for I was in the dark, and knew not as yet that I was blind, and needed the power of the Holy Spirit to awaken and bring me to see myself a lost sinner. My soul was now all astir on this subject; but, as far as I can remember, I wanted the information-not for myself; but because I thought I should then get hold of the secret by which the Wesleyans and others caught and kept their people, or rather my people.
Soon after, my gardener, a good Churchman, and duly despised by his neighbours for attaching himself to me and my teaching, fell seriously ill. I sent him at once to the doctor, who pronounced him to be in a miner's consumption, and gave no hope of his recovery. No sooner did he realize his position, and see eternity before him, than all the Church teaching I had given him failed to console or satisfy, and his heart sank within him at the near prospect of death. In his distress of mind, he did not send for me to come and pray with him, but actually sent for a converted man, who lived in the next row of cottages. This man, instead of building him up as I had done, went to work in the opposite direction-to break him down; that was, to show my servant that he was a lost sinner, and needed to come to Jesus just as he was, for pardon and salvation. He was brought under deep conviction of sin, and eventually found peace through the precious blood of Jesus.
Immediately it spread all over the parish that "the parson's servant was converted." The news soon reached me, but, instead of giving joy, brought the most bitter disappointment and sorrow to my heart. Such was the profound ignorance I was in !
The poor man sent for me several times, but I could not make up my mind to go near him. I felt far too much hurt to think that after all I had taught him against schism, he
THE HAPPY GARDENER.
should fall into so great an error. However, he sent again and again, till at last his entreaties prevailed, and I went. Instead of lying on his bed, a dying man, as I expected to find him, he was walking about the room in a most joyful and ecstatic state. "Oh, dear master!" he exclaimed, “I am glad you are come! I am so happy! My soul is saved, glory be to God!" "Come, John," I said, "sit down and be quiet, and I will have a talk with you, and tell you what I think." But John knew my thoughts quite well enough, so he burst out, "Oh, master! I am sure you do not know about this, or you would have told me. I am quite sure you love me, and I love you—that I do! but, dear master, you do not know this-I am praying for the Lord to show it to you. I mean to pray till I die, and after that if I can, till you are converted." He looked at me so lovingly, and seemed so truly happy, that it was more than I could stand. Almost involuntarily, I made for the door, and escaped before he could stop me.
I went home greatly disturbed in my mind-altogether disappointed and disgusted with my work among these Cornish people. "It is no use; they will never be Churchmen!" I was as hopeless and miserable as I could be. I felt that my superior teaching and practice had failed, and that the inferior and, as I believed, unscriptural dogmas had prevailed. My favourite and most promising Churchman had fallen, and was happy in his fall; more than that, he was actually praying that I might fall too!
I was very jealous for the Church, and therefore felt deeply the conversion of my gardener. Like the elder brother of the Prodigal Son, I was grieved, and even angry, because he was restored to favour and joy. The remonstrance of the father prevailed nothing to mollify his feelings; in like manner, nothing seemed to give me any rest in this crisis of my parochial work. I thought I would give
up my parish and church, and go and work in some more congenial soil; or else that I would preach a set of sermons on the subject of schism, for perhaps I had not sufficiently taught my people the danger of this great sin!
Every parishioner I passed seemed to look at me as if he said, "So much for your teaching! You will never convince us!"
HIS was a time of great disappointment and discouragement. Everything had turned out so different to the expectation I had formed and cherished on first coming to this place. I was then full of hope, and intended to carry all before me with great success, and I thought I did; but, alas! there was a mistake somewhere, something was wrong.
In those days, when I was building my new church, and talking about the tower and spire we were going to erect, an elderly Christian lady who was sitting in her wheel-chair, calmly listening to our conversation, said, "Will you begin to build your spire from the top?"* It was a strange question, but she evidently meant something, and looked for an answer. I gave it, saying, "No, madam, not from the top, but from the foundation." She replied, "That is right-that is right," and went on with her knitting.
This question was not asked in jest or in ignorance; it was like a riddle. What did she mean? In a few years this lady passed away, but her enigmatic words remained.
* See Tract," Building from the Top," by Rev. W. Haslam,
No doubt she thought to herself that I was beginning at the wrong end, while I went on talking of the choir, organ, happy worship, and all the things we were going to attempt in the new church; that I was aiming at sanctification, without justification; intending to teach people to be holy before they were saved and pardoned. This is exactly what I was doing. I had planted the boards of my tabernacle of worship, not in silver sockets (the silver of which had been paid for redemption), but in the sand of the wilderness. In other words, I was teaching people to worship God, who is a Spirit, not for love of Him who gave His Son to die for them, but in the fervour and enthusiasm of human nature. My superstructure was built on sand; and hence the continual disappointment, and that last discouraging overthrow. No wonder that my life was a failure, and my labours ineffectual, inasmuch as my efforts were not put forth in faith. My work was not done as a thank-offering, but rather as a meritorious effort to obtain favour from God.
Repentance towards God, however earnest and sincere, without faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, is not complete or satisfying. There may be a change of mind and will, producing a change of actions, which are done in order to pacify conscience, and to obtain God's favour in return; but this is not enough. It is like preparing the ground without sowing seed, and then being disappointed that there is no harvest. A garden is not complete or successful unless the ground has been properly prepared, nor unless flourishing plants are growing in it.
REPENTANCE with FAITH, the two together, constitute the fulness of God's religion. We have to believe, not in the fact that we have given ourselves—we know this in our own consciousness-but in the fact that God, who is more willing to take than we to give, has accepted us. We rejoice and work, not as persons who have surrendered our