A WORKING CLERGYMAN.
IF the greatest dangers that beset the Church of England consist in the discords and untoward ambitions of her own servants, her greatest strength also lies within herself. The faults and dangers are on the surface : her Bishops are sustaining, at this moment, a defence partially successful and wholly unbecoming, of the im- mense funds which are conventionally their due ; Puseyite and Gorhamith are squabbling about doctrine, whilst the highest au- thorities are sedulous in evading authoritative decisions ; here and there a scandal flares before the world : but if we look into the bosom of the Church, we shall find in its humbler paths and un- pretending homesteads many a man working in his appointed task. Yes, even in these unreal and anarchical days, even amid the formalisms and technicalities of the most " established" church in. existence, there are men working, not to effect an encroachment or dash off a controversial victory with the helpless aid Of the Privy Council, but to realize the idea of a living church; and it is well to turn the regard on these quieter if not humbler scenes, in order that the Church may know where her real strength and. opportu- nity lie.
We have a right to adduce an instance which happens to fall within our own observation, because it has received, as it were, the stamp of authority. We have before mentioned, as an example of a working clergyman, the Reverend Joseph Brown, who first be-
unoserfetilnhtoaedsstihnaedtepseudhbelffibi ceeelnadt se; lbalerigittede fofrori,h:oisn ee Green xoefrtthi owen sneinwaaBdoeilsthnaltir:oit churches in that parish because he had been tried in a similar fiGcaemenildenofk tunity at once arduous and conspicuous. Ifa-. Brown made self remarkable in that parish, not only for zeal in his clerical ministrations, or even in his attention to the temporal welfare of the poor, but still more for an unfailing charity, which taught him to deal tenderly with error as well as misfortune and infirmity; for a painstaking assiduity, which enabled him to enter into the minutest interests of his parishioners, to give advice or to keep ac- counts for them, even in matters so humble that pence became an essential element in the balance ; and most of all, for his regard to their feelings, to their griefs, their consolations, yea and their pleasures. Hence the design of the pauper pic-nic which we de- scribed two years ago—a yearly recreation, in which he led his poor parishioners forth from their dreary homes for a day in the fields. With all this busy work, Mr. Brown is distinguished by punctuality and diligence in his professional duties ; and although classed, we believe, in the Evangelical section of the Church, he is generally admitted to be a sound divine.
Such is the man whom the Bishop of Winchester selected, just two years ago, for appointment as Rector of Christchurch, Southwark. Christchurch is a parish by no means exhibiting the same unbroken poverty as Bethnal Green, but comprising never- theless a large proportion of poor. It had been torn by parish dis- cords, spiritual and temporal; under favour of which the poor were comparatively neglected, and the attendance at the parish-church was fast falling off. Such was the parish. When Mr. Brown en- tered it, we are not aware that he continued the animated contro- versies of the pulpit ; but he did enter into the controversy which he had so successfully waged in. Bethnal Green—the claims of poverty and helplessness upon the wealthier and more comfortable classes. In short,. he set himself to the labour of reducing the precepts of Christianity to practice in daily life, and, what is more, in parish life. The effect has been striking; not the less so, per- haps, because it is exactly what might have been expected. Mr. Brown's practical controversy has proved eminently intelligible and convincing. His annual excursion to Ham, this week, was attended not only by seventeen hundred of his poorer parishioners, but by a large number of those who might claim to be inscribed on the parish libro d'oro ; and in the pleasant after-dinner speechmaking which closed the day, the parish mind was spoken with a fulness of satisfaction unmistakeable. Christchurch is united : where dog- matic controversy has failed, the practical controversy has suc- ceeded in converting the parish to its own duties ; so complete has the conversion been, as a parish dignitary declared, that this year their Rector has actually obtained a church-rate without opposi- tion!
Our readers can work out the commentary suggested by that pregnant fact.