She has formed a little, modest, unknown, and I think nameless guild for personal religion. She desires that nothing of its work should get into the press and that it should not add to its numbers. She wishes it to remain a sacred confraternity of her private life, as it were the lady chapel of her cathedral services to mankind, or as a retreat for her exhausted soul.
Some months ago she asked a clergyman who has succeeded in turning into a house of living prayer a London church which before his coming was like a tomb, whether he would allow the members of this guild, all of whom are not members of the Church of England, to come to the Eucharist. He received this request with the most generous sympathy, saying that he would give them a private celebration, and one morning, soon after dawn, the guild met in this church to make its first communion. No one else was present.
Miss Royden has told me that it was an unforgettable experience. Here was a man, she said, who has no reputation as a great scholar, and no popularity as an orator; he is loved simply for his devotion to Christ and his sympathy with the sorrows of mankind. Yet that man, as no other man had done before, brought the Presence of God into the hearts of that little kneeling guild. It was as if, Miss Royden tells me, God was there at the altar, shining upon them and blessing them. Never before had she been more certain of God as a Person.
It is from experiences of this nature that she draws fresh power to make men and women believe that the Christian religion is a true philosophy of reality, and a true science of healing. She is, I mean, a mystic. But she differs from a mystic like Dean Inge in this, that she is a mystic impelled by human sympathy to use her mysticism as her sole evangel.
CANON E.W. BARNES
BARNES, Rev. ERNEST WILLIAM, M.A., Sc.D., F.R.S., F.R.A.S.; Canon of Westminster since 1918; b. 1 April, 1874; e.s. of John Starkie Barnes; m. 1916, Adelaide Caroline Theresa, o.d. of Sir Adolphus W. Ward; two s. Educ.: King Edward’s School, Birmingham; Trinity College, Cambridge (Scholar). Bracketed 2d Wrangler, 1896; President of the Union, 1897; First Class First Division of the Mathematical Tripos, Part ii., 1897; first Smith’s Prizeman, 1898; Fellow of Trinity College, 1898-1916; M.A., 1900; Ordained, 1902; Assistant Lecturer Trinity Coll., 1902; Junior Dean, 1906-8; Tutor, 1908-15; Master of the Temple, 1915-19; Examining Chaplain to Bishop of Llandaff, 1906-20: a Governor of King Edward’s School, Birmingham, 1907; F.R.S., 1909; Select Preacher, Cambridge, 1906, etc., and Oxford, 1914-16; Fellow of King’s College, London, 1919.
[Illustration: CANON E.W. BARNES]
CANON E.W. BARNES
True religion takes
up that place in the mind which superstition
would usurp, and so leaves little room for it; and likewise lays us
under the strongest obligations to oppose it.—BISHOP BUTLER.