Occasional Papers eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Occasional Papers.
in the distinctness of his purposes and the intensity of his convictions, he was an example of high statesmanship common in no age of the Church, and in no branch of it.  And all this rested on the most profound personal religion as its foundation, a religion which became in time one of very definite doctrinal preferences, but of wide sympathies, and which was always of very exacting claims for the undivided work and efforts of a lifetime.

When he became Bishop he very soon revolutionised the old notion of a Bishop’s duties.  He threw himself without any regard to increasing trouble and labour on the great power of personal influence.  In every corner of his diocese he made himself known and felt; in all that interested its clergy or its people he took his part more and more.  He went forth to meet men; he made himself their guest and companion as well as their guide and chief; he was more often to be found moving about his diocese than he was to be found at his own home at Cuddesdon.  The whole tone of communication between Bishop and people rose at once in freedom and in spiritual elevation and earnestness; it was at once less formal and more solemnly practical.  He never spared his personal presence; always ready to show himself, always ready to bring the rarer and more impressive rites of the Church, such as Ordination, within the view of people at a distance from his Palace or Cathedral, he was never more at his ease than in a crowd of new faces, and never exhausted and worn out in what he had to say to fresh listeners.  Gathering men about him at one time; turning them to account, assigning them tasks, pressing the willing, shaming the indolent or the reluctant, at another; travelling about with the rapidity and system of an officer inspecting his positions, he infused into the diocese a spirit and zeal which nothing but such labour and sympathy could give, and bound it together by the bands of a strong and wise organisation.

What he did was but a very obvious carrying out of the idea of the Episcopal office; but it had not seemed necessary once, and his merit was that he saw both that it was necessary and practicable.  It is he who set the standard of what is now expected, and is more or less familiar, in all Bishops.  And as he began so he went on to the last.  He never flagged, he never grew tired of the continual and varied intercourse which he kept up with his clergy and people.  To the last he worked his diocese as much as possible not from a distance, but from local points which brought him into closer communication with his flock.  London, with its great interests and its great attractions, social and political, never kept away one who was so keenly alive to them, and so prominent in all that was eventful in his time, from attending to the necessities and claims of his rural parishes.  What his work was to the very last, how much there was in him of unabated force, of far-seeing judgment, of noble boldness and earnestness, of power over the souls and minds of men in many ways divided, a letter from Dr. Monsell[25] in our columns shows.

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Occasional Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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