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you fulfil the part of the minister (good old beautiful Christian word), and be “the life o' the building *** “Presumption 1 Are not the prayers everything?” “At least not till you get people to pray them.” “You make too much of the priest.” “Leave him for God, and the true priest has all the seal of his priesthood that he wants.” At least, so thought Mr. Fuller. “What is the priest ?” he asked, going on with the same catechism. “Just a man to be among men what the Sunday is among the work days of the week—a man to remind you that there is a life within this life, or beyond and about it, if you like that mode better—for extremes meet in the truest figures—that care is not of God, that faith and confidence are truer, simpler, more of cominon sense than balances at bankers or preference shares. He is a protest against the money-heaping tendencies of men, against the desire of rank or estimation or any kind of social distinction. With him all men are equal, as in the Church all have equal rights, and rank ceases on the threshold of the same, overpowered by the presence of the Son of Mary, who was married to a carpenter— overpowered by the presence of the God of the whole earth, who wrote the music for the great organ of the spheres, after he had created them to play the same.” Such was the calling of the clergyman, as Mr. Fuller saw it. Rather a lofty one, and simply a true one. If the clergyman cannot rouse men to seek his God and their God, if he can only rest in his office, which becomes false the moment he rests in it, being itself for a higher end ; if he has no message from the infinite to quicken the thoughts that cleave to the dust, the sooner he takes to gravedigging or any other honest labour, the sooner will he get into the kingdom of heaven, and the higher will he stand in it. But now came the question—from the confluence of all these considerations,—“Why should the church be for Sundays only P And of all places in the world, what place wanted a week-day reminder of truth, of honesty, of the kingdom of heaven more than London P Why should the churches be closed all the week, to the exclusion of the passers-by, and open on the Sunday to the weariness of those who entered f Might there not be too much of a good thing on the Sunday, and too little of it on a week-day ?” . Again Mr. Fuller said to himself, “What is a parson P’ and once more he answered himself, that he was a man to keep the windows of heaven clean, that its light might shine through upon men below. What use, then, once more, could he make of the church of St. Amos ? And again, why should the use of any church be limited to the Sunday? Men needed religious help a great deal more on the week-day than on the Sunday. On the Sunday, surrounded by his family, his flowers, his tame animals, his friends, a man necessarily, to say the least of it, thinks less of making great gains, is more inclined to the family view of things generally; whereas upon the week-day, he is in the midst of the struggle and the fight; it is catch who can, then, through all the holes and corners, highways and lanes of the busy city : what would it not be then if he could strike a five minutes'—yea, even a one minute's—ssience into the heart of the uploar 2 if he could entice one vessel to sail from the troubled sea of the streets, shops, counting-houses, into the quiet haven of the church, the doors of whose harbour stood ever open 2 There the wind of the world would be quiet behind them. His heart swelled within him as he thought of sitting there keeping open door of refuge for the storm-tossed, the noise-deafened, the crushed, the hopeless. He would not trouble them with many words. There should be no long prayers. “But,” thought he, “as often as one came in, I would read the collect for the day; I would soothe him with comfort out of Handel or Mendelssohn, I would speak words of healing for the space of three minutes. I would sit at the receipt of such custom. I would fish for men—not to make churchmen of them—not to get them under my thumb"—(for Mr. Fuller used such homely phrases sometimes that certain fledgeling divines feared he was vulgar)—“not to get them under the Church's thumb, but to get them out of the hold of the devil, to lead them into the presence of Him who is the Truth, and so can make them free.” Therefore he said to himself that his church, instead of accumulating a weary length of service on one day, should be open every day, and that there he would be ready for any soul upon which a flash of silence had burst through the clouds that ever rise from the city life and envelope those that have their walk therein. It was not long before his cogitations came to the point of action ; for with men of Mr. Fuller's kind, all their meditations have action for their result: he opened his church—set the door to the wall, and got a youth to whom he had been of service, and who was an enthusiast in music, to play about one o'clock, when those who dined in the City began to go in search of their food, such music as might o waken the desire to see what was going on in the church. or he said to himself that the beil was of no use now, for no one would heed it; but that the organ might fulfil the spirit of the direction that “the curate that ministereth in every parish church shall say the morning and evening prayer—where he ministereth, and shall cause a bell to be toiled thereunto a convcnient time before he begin, that the people may come to hear God’s word, and to pray with him.” Over the crowded street, over the roar of omnibuses, carts, waggons, cabs, and all kinds of noises, rose the ordered sounds of consort. Day after day, day aster day, arose the sounds of hope and prayer; and not a soul in the streets around took notice of the same. Why should they The clergy had lost their hold of them, They believed that the clergy were given to gain and pleasure just as much as they were themselves. Those even of the passers-by who were ready to acknowledge worth where they saw it, were yet not ready to acknowledge the probability of finding it in the priesthood; for their experience, and possibly some of their prejudices, were against it. They were wrong ; but who was to blame for it 2 The clergy of the eighteenth century, because so many of them were neither Christians nor gentlemen; and the clergy of the present century, because so many of them are nothing but gentlemen—men ignorant of life, ignorant of human needs, ignorant of human temptations, yea, ignorant of human aspirations; because in the city-pulpits their voice is not uplifted against city vices—against speculation, against falsehood, against money-loving, against dishonesty, against selfishness; because elsewhere their voices are not uplifted against the worship of money, and rank, and equipage; against false shows in dress and economy; against buying and not paying; against envy and emulation; against effeminacy and mannishness; against a morality which consists in discretion. Oh for the voice of a St. Paul, or a St. John But it would be of little use : such men would have small chance of being heard. They would find the one half of Christendom so intent upon saving souls instead of doing its duty, that the other half thought it all humbug. The organ sounded on from day to day, and no one heeded. But Mr. Fuller had the support of knowing that there were clergymen east and west who felt with him ; men who, however much he might differ from them in the details of belief, yet worshipped the Lord Christ, and believed him to be the King of men, and the Saviour of men whose sins were of the same sort as their own, though they had learned them in the slums and not at Oxford or Uambridge. He knew that there were greater men, and better workers than himself among the London clergy; and he knew that he must work like them, after his own measure and fashion, and not follow the multitude. And the organ went on playing—I had written Żraying—for I was thinking of what our Lord said, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint. At last one day, about a quarter past one o'clock, a man came into the church. Mr. Fuller, who sat in the reading desk, listening to the music and praying to God, lifted up his eyes and saw Mr. Kitely. The bookseller had been passing, and, having heard the organ, thought he would just look in and see what was doing in the church. For this church was a sort of link between him and his daughter now that she was away. The moment he entered Mr. Fuller rose, and knelt, and began to read the collect for the day, in order that Mr. Kitely might pray with him. As soon as his voice arose, the organ, which was then playing very softly, ceased ; Mr. Kitely knelt, partly, it must be allowed, out of regard for Mr. Fuller; the organist came down and knelt beside him ; and Mr. Fuller went on with the second and third collects. After this he read the Epistle and the Gospel for the foregoing Sunday, and then he opened his mouth and spoke—for not more than three minutes, and only to enforce the lesson. Then he kneeled and let his congregation depart with a blessing. Mr. Kitely rose and left the chapel, and the organist went back to his organ.
Now all this was out of order. But was it as much out of order as the omission of prayer altogether, which the Church enjoins shall be daily P Times had changed : with them the order of prayer might possibly be changed without offence. At least Mr. Fuller was not such a slave to the letter as to believe that not to pray at all was better than to alter the form by choice of parts. And although in the use of prayers the Church had made great changes upon what had been first instituted, he did not care to leave present custom for the sake merely of reverting to that which was older.
He had no hope of getting business men to join in a full morning service—even such as it was at first—upon any week-day.
Mr. Kitely dropped in again before long, and again Mr. Fuller read the collect and went through the same form of worship. Thus he did every time any one appeared in the church, which was very seldom for the first month or so. But he had some friends scattered about the City, and when they knew of his custom they would think of it as they passed his church, until at length there were very few days indeed upon which two or three persons did not drop in and join in the collects, Epistle, and Gospel. To these he always spoke for a few minutes, and then dismissed them with the blessing.
“CouldN’t you get a holiday on Saturday, Tom P” said Mr. Worboise. “I mean to have one, and I should like to take you with me.” “I don't know, father,” answered Tom, who did not regard the roposal as involving any great probability of enjoyment; “my F. is coming so soon that I should not like to ask for it, especially as Mr. Stopper—” “What about Mr. Stopper ? Not over friendly, eh? He is not a o: fellow, though, is Stopper. I’ll ask for you, if you like that etter.” “I would much rather you wouldn't, father.” “Pooh, pooh! nonsense, man | It's quite a different thing if I ask, you know.”
Thomas made no further objection, for he had nothing at hand upon which to ground a fresh one ; nor, indeed, could he well have persisted in opposing what seemed a kind wish of his father. It was not, however, merely because they had little to talk about, and that Thomas always felt a considerable restraint in his father's presence—a feeling not very uncommon to young men—but he lived in constant dread of something coming to light about Lucy. He feared his father much more than he loved him ; not that he had ever been hardly treated by him; not that he had ever seen him in a passion, for Mr. Wolpoise had a very fair command of his temper: it was the hardness and inflexibility read upon his face from earliest childhood, that caused fear thus to overlay love. If a father finds that from any cause such is the case, he ought at once to change his system, and to require very little of any sort from his child till a new crop has begun to appear on the ill-farmed ground of that child's heart.
Now the meaning of the holiday was this : Mr. Worboise had a city-client—a carpet-knight—by name Sir Jonathan Hubbard, a decent man, as the Scotch would say,o; companionable, with a husky laugh, and friendly unfinished countenance in which the colour was of more weight than the drawing—for, to quote Chaucer of the Franklin, “a better envined man,” either in regard of body or cellar, “was nowhere none :” upon Sir Jonathan's sociability Mr. Worboise had founded the scheme of the holiday. Not that he intended to risk any intrusion—Mr. Worboise was far too knowing a man for that. The fact was that he had appointed to wait upon his client at his house near Bickley on that day—at such an hour, however, as would afford cover to his pretence of having brought his son out with him for a holiday in the country. It was most probable that Sir Jonathan would invite them to stay to dinner, and so to spend their holiday with him. There was no Lady Hubbard alive, but there was a Miss Hubbard at the head of the house; and hence Mr. Worboise's strategy. Nor had he reckoned without his host, for if Sir Jonathan was anything he was hospitable: things fell out as the lawyer had forehoped, if not foreseen. Sir Jonathan was pleased with the young fellow, would not allow him to wait companionless in the drawing-room till business was over —sent, on the contrary, for his daughter, and insisted on the two staying to dinner. He was one of those eaters and drinkers who have the redeeming merit of enjoying good things a great deal more in good company. Sir Jonathan's best port would seem to him to have something the matter with it if he had no one to share it. If, however, it had come to the question of a half-bottle or no companion, I would not answer for Sir Jonathan. But his cellar would stand a heavy siege.
Thomas was seated in the drawing-room, which looked cold and rather cheerless; for no company was expected, and I presume