27 JULY 1850, Page 14


" Poen " is a term that needs a wide construction as applied to Joseph Brown's annual excursion into the country. " Poor " is he that lacks the good things of this world; still poorer he that lacks faith to use his good things to his own perfect enjoyment—that having his bread, dares not cast it on the waters, but must keep the bare loaf in his fevered hand and try to live on bread alone. For the excellent pastor has this year extended his invitation beyond the poor of his parish ; induced thereto, no doubt, by the different character of his parishioners.

Soon after we recounted the "Poor Man's Picnic" at Havering atte Bower, Mr. Brown was removed from the parish of St. Peter's Bethnal Green to that of Christchurch Blackfriars,—a move con- siderably better in a worldly point of view, and one which has been attended, we believe, with a general gain. If we touch upon the personal .part of the matter, it is because the personal in- cidents are inextricably mixed up with the moral of our dory. About the same time, the desolate condition of orphans suddenly thrown upon the world by the ravages of the cholera at-

traded his attention ; and, with the aid of the benevolent

Morgan, he was enabled to establish a hospital for the reception of orphans at Hain, just beyond Richmond. But the good philan- thropist, whose growing infirmities cannot fetter his mindfulness for others, stole a march upon the busy pastor, and in establishing the orphan asylum contrived that its management should involve a residence for the manager ; so that the new Rector of Black- friars has a residence at each end of the Richmond Railway. And the effect of busy labour in that sickly parish of Bethnal Green, which had visited his home with a fatal blow and had ex- sited fears for his own endurance, has been corrected by the MID- try air : with the soul of a martyr, Joseph Brown is spared the fate ; and the pastor's wife grows young again amid the flowers of her garden.

Christchurch parish was somewhat peculiarly situated, spiritually,. The Church of England sustained a waning popularity, and the parishioners had been estranged from its somewhat exclusive minis- tration. Joseph Brown is not a mere pulpit clergyman, nor one whose zeal is limited to the formal duties of the clergyman's rounds. He is a plain unassuming man, strong in faith,—" Evan- gelical," we believe, technically, but truly catholic in spirit ; as widely charitable in his kindness : to whatever persuasion he be- longs, he appeals to instincts and sentiments wider than sect. His parishioners begin to know him.

Mr. Brown had been a year in his parish on Monday last. It is not so poor a parish as that of St. Peter's Bethnal Green, in the way of money poverty ; its paupers are not so large a section, its quasi- paupers not the bulk of its population. The pastor, therefore, in leading forth his flock to rejoice, collectively, in the open air and open sun of nature, was less exclusive in his invitations : besides the exode which we described last year—a vast railway exode of poor and lowly—a further contingent of parishioners started late in the day, travelling partly on the silver Thames in the golden ease of a state barge ; all united under the aisles of the Ham avenues ; and while the poorer multitude, not unfriended nor melancholy, but ever slow, wended its way back by return train—the state barge carrying back the aged—the later visiters finished the day with a. sort of the a la fourchette in the pastor's gardens.

Never perhaps has a festival been more gay than that homely and temperate banquet; never has the unfailing appeal to the com- mon affections of man for man been more eloquently tested than by that cheerful intercourse. The pastor of an unpopular church in a divided parish appeared there as the father of an united family in the enjoyment of a domestic festival, on the birthday of his pas- toral care. The plain "man in black" had gone among them ; and they, even the "middle class," whose sympathies are wont to suffer the closest collapse, knew their brother. He spoke in the plain heartfelt language of his Master, and they answered. They met to share his companionship with the lowly and the dejected They took their supper off plain deal board, covered with the de- cent cloth, which might vie with the board of the earliest Chris- tians in plainness and in the harmony around it. There you saw the pastor, the churchwarden, the parishioner—the apostle, the publican, and the sinner—at the unpretending board. There was no sanctimonious restraint, nor was restraint of any kind needed. The spirit of the presiding genius thoroughly possessed every one present, according to his faculties. Joseph Brown had brought his parishioners together effectually—the richer with the poorer; all were brought in contact with the primary feelings of their common nature, as with the common elements by which thy Eye. He has won the estranged parish and conquered its divisions. So we augur from more than the formal declarations to that effect by those who ought to know.

Now this, we say, is a chapter in the history of a true working clergyman, such as the Church of England needs to reunite her with her body—the people. More such men as this, and we should hear less of doctrinal dissensions : for though he might he ill qualified to cope with casuists—while more subtile intellectual- ists are convincing the hard heads of the few, or ailing in the at- tempt to convince—he is convincing the hearts of the many.. We are glad to add, that even Bethnal Green has not lost all that Blackfriars has gained; for we learn that his successor is following in his footsteps. May the race multiply !