Chapter V. 1862-1863.
St. Alban's, Holborn--Position of the parish--Character of the population--Circumstances of Mr. Mackonochie's appointment--The Greville Street Mission--Beginnings of parochial work--Consecration of the church--Founder's letter to the parishioners.
LORD Leigh and the Hon. J. G. Hubbard were the two benefactors to whom St. Alban's, Holborn, owed its existence; the former being the donor of the site, and the latter of the church and 5,000l. in Three per Cents, as endowment. In addition to this munificent gift he gave a house for the use of the clergy, and for some time 100l. a year for each of the two curates.
In his letter to the inhabitants at the completion of the building, he states that he had 'been seeking a site on which to erect a church for God's service in a destitute part of the metropolis.' He had not far to seek.
At no great distance from the fashionable parts of London, in the immense parish of St. Andrew's, Holborn, there was a district to which Mr. Hubbard's attention had been especially directed. It was bounded on the east by Leather Lane, on the west by Gray's Inn Road, on the south by Holborn, and on the north by Liquorpond Street, now called Clerkenwell Road. Brooke Street, in which the church now stands, is not without historical associations. It takes its name from Lord Brooke, whose stately mansion, Brooke House, once occupied the site of the present church. This worthy nobleman has left further record of his name in the parish in Beauchamp Street--the Beauchamps were kin of his--and in Greville Street, his first name being Fulke Greville. The Lord Brooke of the times of Queen Elizabeth was an excellent patron of authors, and himself an author. Sir Philip Sidney was an intimate friend of his, and often found his way to Brooke House. It was in Brooke Street that in 1770 poor Chatterton died by his own hand.
Close to the great thoroughfares along which the wealth of the richest city in the world passes in a continuous flow to minister to the luxury of its inhabitants, there was within the narrow area of 500 by 200 yards, in dark courts and high tenement buildings, a population of about 8,000. The locality is described by Mr. Spiller, who was the first churchwarden and had known the place for thirty years, as full of the poorest people and a rallying point for the worst characters, and a very notorious thieves' kitchen once stood where the church now stands. The inhabitants were for the most part vendors of fish and vegetables, a few very poor shopkeepers, and many foreigners. Their earnings were very precarious, and seasons of reckless expenditure alternated with times of direst poverty. The streets were thronged every day, but on Sunday mornings they were, and still are, a perfect fair, though many of the old filthy, ruinous houses have since been pulled down, and their places taken by large factories and model lodging-houses.
The population was incessantly shifting. This has always added very considerably to the difficulties of the work, making it one continuous series of fresh beginnings with little to show. For these crowded populations close to the borders of the City have a character which is altogether distinct from those at the East End proper. It is not here, as a rule, that you find the hopeless down-trodden respectable poverty of the artisan class, who, by no fault of their own, have fallen upon evil days. The people who crowd into these low courts shut in by huge warehouses are people who would not go farther east and spend money upon trams and railway fares in order to secure more space and fresh air and bring up their children in a more decent neighbourhood. They have all their lives been used to the noise and glare of the narrow streets. They spend a great deal of time at the street corners by the ever-swinging doors of the gin-palace. They have many quarrels and many rough jests amongst themselves. They are often very wretched, but as long as they are young they are merry enough, and when they grow old they have no heart to look for anything better. They live in a crowd. The women do their marketing, jostling one another about the street stalls, where people take as much interest in their neighbours' purchases as in their own; the girls go to work in bands, and all day long stand shoulder to shoulder in the great factories; the rough lads herd together gambling in dark corners; the men are more independent of one another, but after all there is no such thing as privacy in anybody's life. There are four or six families passing constantly up and down the one dirty staircase; father and mother, big sons and daughters and little children, all live and eat and sleep in the one room, where there is little or no attempt at decency or comfort. For there is a great love of display, but such homely virtues as cleanliness and thrift are almost unknown. Yet, though drunkenness and vice of all kinds abound, there are general evidences of valuable qualities not so often found in better neighbourhoods: an open-handed generosity, a disposition to take the losing side, and an affection readily offered in return for any kindness, often altogether disproportioned to the benefit received. Times of trouble or sickness draw forth unsuspected virtues; their self-sacrificing kindness to a sick or sorrowful neighbour knows no limit. Their many trials have not hardened their hearts against those even less fortunate than themselves. They have many crosses, and, as has been said, few Victoria ones. They are very poor, and must always remain so, since any money earned or received would be as quickly squandered. They have an insatiable love of finery and cheap purchases of all kinds, and, like children, will buy fruit or sweets when in need of a wholesome meal. They amaze the reasonable philanthropist by evincing more gratification at the present of a gilt Christmas card than they show on the bestowal of a coal ticket. The present is all in all to them. It is not only that they do not believe in the far-off future, but they do not even look on to the next month. They have few fears and fewer hopes, and the pressing needs of their physical existence have all but crushed out their religious instincts. The supernatural has no terrors, and the joys of the next world but little attraction.
There was a large proportion of such people, men and women, girls and swarming child-life, in the courts lying between the coster market in Leather Lane and the wider Gray's Inn Road; and these, with some admixture of the artisan or shopkeeper class, were the parishioners upon whom the influence of the new church was to be brought to bear.
The vast extent and the dense population of the parish of St. Andrew's had made it impossible for the clergy of that parish to look much after individuals. Some work had been done, however, and good work was being done by an excellent school conducted under the auspices and with the personal help of a Mr. Martin, of whom, later on, we are to hear more. This school was in touch with the London City Mission, who had two agents engaged in preaching in the neighbourhood. A very small Roman Catholic Chapel stood in the midst of a maze of courts and alleys, but this was given up and pulled down a few years later.
Mr. Hubbard had chosen his ground well. It only remained to find a priest fitted by past experience to grapple with the difficulties which must always attend the establishment of a new church and mission.
He had long watched with sympathetic interest the work going on against such overwhelming odds at St. George's. There is an heroic element in some failures which appeals more forcibly to a generous spirit than success, and the attitude of the St. George's clergy, quiet and determined, had gained for them, together with an unenviable notoriety, the respect of those who differed from them most widely. The work they were doing was well known, whether for good or evil; the principles by which they were actuated had been publicly discussed, misconstrued, or approved. Owing to the vicar's unavoidable and frequent absences, Mr. Mackonochie, at the time of the riots, had taken (as we have seen) a more prominent part than would naturally have fallen to one of his age and position. The lines upon which he had been working for nearly five years were perfectly well known.
Mr. Hubbard was justly anxious for a personal knowledge of the first vicar of his church, upon whose character and capabilities much would necessarily depend. He was not likely to make a rash choice, and upon January 15, 1862, he wrote as follows to the Bishop of London:
My dear Lord,--I have offered the incumbency of the new church of St. Alban's to Mr. Mackonochie, who has accepted it, and will doubtless before very long wait upon your lordship to say so.
Mr. Mackonochie has been by every one who knew him approved to me as a man of zeal, energy, and piety, and admirably qualified for missionary labour, and I have every confidence that he will fulfil my anxious desire and expectation by carrying on this work in the same spirit with which I commit it to his charge. He knows that it is my desire that the work at St. Alban's should be carried out with a hearty allegiance to the Church of England--neglecting none of the means of edification which she supplies either in doctrine or in ritual, but using the large liberty which she allows with loyalty and discretion--remembering that the one great object for which the church is founded is the salvation of souls. He could not blame himself for any precipitancy in the matter, and in spite of the ample information which he had had, it is clear, from his own words, that when he made the offer of the incumbency he had no misgivings. But Mr. Mackonochie was not prepared at once to accept so serious a responsibility.
He delayed some time before giving a definite answer, consulted various friends, and finally wrote the following letter to his late vicar, Dr. Butler of Wantage:
Mission House, Wellclose Square, E., March 1, 1860.
My very dear Vicar,--I have just received the answer of the Bishop of Oxford. I am very sorry to say that he expresses no doubt that I ought to accept the offer if it be made to me by Mr. Hutbbard.
It therefore becomes necessary for me to write to you about Mr. Hubbard's letter. I have read over again carefully all but the second page.
It certainly makes me feel a little doubtful about the matter.
In the first place I feel that a priest must accept such a position unfettered or not at all. I could not enter upon it feeling that Mr. Hubbard looked upon me as pledged to do this or not to do that. If upon enquiry he thinks that he can offer it to me with perfect confidence and leave me absolutely free to carry out the work of the church, &c, I should feel bound to accept. I think Mr. Hubbard would take the same view of the priest's position, but I doubt if he would entrust that position to me. The founder completes his work and offers it to Christ, exercising his right of founder in the nomination of a priest. The church then belongs to our Lord, and the priest holds it from Him, not from the founder. This might work in fairly well if it were only a question of money; but Mr. Hubbard's name will always be associated with the church; and if any of my views or acts came to be clamoured at (as they almost certainly would) it might seriously affect his political position. Many considerations might weigh with a political man which a priest would be sinning by entertaining for an instant. This has always seemed to me one of the great moral difficulties of a founder. The question of money may possibly also complicate the difficulty. I do not know to what extent the continued support of choir, schools, organist, &c, will depend upon Mr. Hubbard. I suppose he will hardly like to endow everything. If, however, he is to be called upon for a continued outlay of money it would make the relative position of himself and the priest additionally difficult. He might be reduced to the choice of either crippling the work by withholding funds, or supporting work which he conscientiously disliked while the priest as conscientiously held it to be necessary.
To enable the founder and the priest to begin with a reasonable hope of going on smoothly, it seems to me that they must cither be entirely and essentially of one mind, or else the founder must feel content to defer absolutely to the judgment of the priest. I doubt if cither hypothesis would bring Mr. Hubbard and me together. Of course the latter would not. As regards the former, I imagine his mind gravitates continually towards compromise, while mine as continually tends the other way. I have, I think, sufficiently protested against anything which I say in this or any other letter being understood as a pledge, and may therefore go on to the particular points on which you desire information. It will be seen that I should not be prepared to have such statements produced against me hereafter, if my ways in any degree seem to depart from them.
There are four points about which you ask--The sign of the cross, bowings, vestments, Purchas's book; besides these four you make an allusion to the doctrine of the Blessed Eucharist.'
1. I cannot too strongly express my conviction of the rightness and edification of the sign of the cross used at meal times. Its known origin in the very earliest ages of the Church alone would establish this. It is also (I believe) most undoubtedly a post-Reformation practice. I have, I think, used it invariably for the last eight years. ... I have also felt that our principle was to be very open in all such things; as helping to impress on ourselves and others the tone which we desire to cultivate. I speak this last as my own personal feeling, not as a recognised view at the Mission.
2. It is difficult to criticise one's own manner of celebrating. If Mr. Hubbard wishes to know what my custom is in all these points his best way would be to come down some Sunday morning and stay all day. Of course in a new sphere I should not feel bound to conform my practice in all points to what it is here, but he would be able to form an idea. I believe our Ritual is very much that of All Saints' shorn of its magnificence.
3. In one sense I do most undoubtedly believe that a priest ought to introduce the Eucharistic vestments. Whether they should be exactly the shape delineated by Mr. Purchas I cannot say: and colour and material I hold to be comparatively immaterial, but in some form they ought, I think, to be the point of ritual aimed at. When they are to be introduced, and whether even by this generation, is another question. A good painter, I believe, draws his skeleton first, then clothes it with flesh, and finally puts on the garments. I imagine this to be not very unlike the process of the spiritual things of God's house. Neither the priest nor the painter would rest contented with the skeleton or the flesh.
4. I cannot say that I regard Purchases book as inspired or an infallible guide. At the same time 1 think he deserves some credit for the industry with which he has hunted out old rubrics and customs, which help us to understand the mind of our own Church in her office. I believe, however, that he is often wrong even according to the old Ritual, and certainly in one case shows an ignorance of the modern rubrics. So far as I have used it at all, it has been to read what is said and decide for myself what is best to be done. I may say generally that I think the Ritual of the Altar is the thing to be striven after. In comparison with this circumstances of his appointment any amount of dignity connected with Matins and Evensong is valueless. I should like in a perfect state to arrive at both, but the former seems to be immeasurably superior. As to that ritual I believe the essentials which must be had at starting are candles lit at the Celebration, the position of the celebrant in front of the altar, the use of some veils, and the cleansing of the vessels before leaving the altar. I believe I have now done with Ritual and may go on to Doctrine.
I believe the two statements of Archdeacon Denison to be necessary inferences from the Doctrine of the Real Presence, and most important. Still 1 do not deny to others a right to clothe their faith in other words. My own teaching runs very much in the Archdeacon's line. Now I think I have said quite enough to frighten any member of the House of Commons from having anything to do with me, so may hope to rest here in peace again. If Mr. Hubbard should think it worth while to say definitely that such a profession of faith will not do, I should just like to know that the matter has passed over.
I ought to thank you very much for your interest about it. Even if all these points were arranged I still feel very strongly my unfitness for the work--mentally, morally, spiritually.
Though little accustomed to write about himself, there are in later years several very explicit references to his feelings at this time, and to the circumstances of his appointment. In a letter to the Bishop of London, dated July 23. 1875, he says:
I was much against my own will placed in this church, the very grandeur of which called for a corresponding dignity in the conduct of the services. I was avowedly a man of extreme views as to ritual, and of deep convictions as to the essential connection of a sound faith and the ritual expression of it. I refused to think of accepting the charge of this parish unless I could do so unconditionally, without any sort of agreement to be guided by the wishes of the founder as to the management of the church or its services, beyond a general desire to consider those wishes so far as my duty to God, to His Church, and to my people would allow. I thus deferred for ten months my being nominated to it, during the whole of which time and ever since I have stood firm to this resolution.
In an address to his parishioners and congregation on St. Alban's Day, 1874, he states:
I was never a candidate for, or sought in any way, the position which I now hold; indeed I have always thought it wrong for a priest to seek after any particular cure of souls. ... So far was I from recommending myself, that I strongly urged all the objections which seemed likely to arise in Mr. Hubbard's mind against me; so that on the day on which Mr. Hubbard resolved to offer me the incumbency a friend writes from his house to me: 'I pray you for the love of our dear Lord to raise no further difficulties. None need be raised. Mr. Hubbard has had put before him, honestly, by myself, all that may be in you different from what he might wish.' . . . Being asked by a friend of Mr. Hubbard's as to the principles of doctrine and worship on which I should desire to work here, I stated exactly those which have come to be called Ritualistic, and said that I did not believe that any M.P. would give me a 'living' on the terms I stated. This letter was sent on to Mr. Hubbard. ... I know (he adds towards the end of the address) Mr. Hubbard would be the last man to wish to impugn any of these facts; but as others have misinterpreted his words and otherwise dealt with them in ways for which he is not responsible, I feel obliged to say thus much. . . . That in any way the work done here should be a sorrow to a man who deserves so well of this parish and of the Church of England at large as does Mr. Hubbard, must always be a grief to me. It was the fear of this which made me so reluctant to be appointed priest in this place, and compelled me to make it plain from the first that I could not accept the responsibility of such a parish, except on the basis that my duty to God and to the souls of His people, according to the best judgment I could form of it, would have to be paramount over every other consideration. The point I kept before myself and, as forcibly as I could, pressed upon others was that when once a priest was licensed to the parish and the church consecrated, the work would be neither his nor Mr. Hubbard's, but God's. With the priest as God's steward would rest the responsibility, and therefore with him alone, after such security for sound judgment as he might be able to take, must rest the decision for which he alone would answer at the judgment.
Such were the feelings, clearly defined and expressed, with which he entered upon his new charge; and it is only right that, in view of the unhappy differences which afterwards arose between the incumbent and patron of St. Alban's, the facts of the case should be clearly stated. Mr. Hubbard had indeed agreed with Mr. Mackonochie's premisses; but he was utterly unable to accept his conclusions, or to understand that his actions were the natural and logical outcome of his belief. His views of a patron's authority were wholly incompatible with freedom of action on the part of an incumbent; and it was soon evident that they differed entirely from Mr. Mackonochie's. He objected to flowers on the altar, to the presence of non-communicants at the Eucharist, to the crucifix in the Clergy-House oratory, to the cassock worn in the house, to the sign of the cross at saying grace, and even to the hats and cloaks of the clergy! Moreover, there were fundamental differences between him and Mr. Mackonochie which made concessions in indifferent matters of no avail. He had spent his money with lavish liberality, and the result was a grief and disappointment to him. He thought that he had made a mistake, and found that it could not be rectified.
Hence there arose disagreements which in the future cast a cloud over the friendly relations which would naturally have existed between him and Mr. Mackonochie when on each side there was so much mutual appreciation, together with the strong bond of a common interest and a common cause. As yet, however, all was full of hope, and no divergence of opinion had arisen to mar the happiness with which the little band of Christian workers set forth upon their mission of evangelisation in this dark and crowded corner of the great city.
The first service was held on May 11, 1862, in a room over a fish-shop in Baldwin's Gardens. Soon after part of a house was secured in Greville Street, and it was in the cellar of this house that the first Christmas was kept. Here, notwithstanding the difficulties of confined space, the choir were in surplices, there were altar lights; linen vestments were used (with black stole and black maniple), and the clergy vested in a cupboard. A member of that first choir is still one of the choirmen at St. Alban's, and Mr. Stanton (who first worked in the parish as a layman and then received his title for Holy Orders from Mr. Mackonochie) here preached his first sermon, the boys outside all the time yelling through the grating.
Mr. Mackonochie had at once begun to organise operations in the parish. It was divided into districts, and one assigned to each of the clerical staff, which at first consisted of the Vicar, Mr. Walker, Mr. Doran, Mr. Ibbotson (who remained only six months), and Mr. Stanton, who came into residence as soon as his ordination had taken place. Every house was visited, every name inscribed. Mr. Mackonochie's attention to detail, and his love of system, gradually bringing order out of chaos, whilst his unwearying activity made itself felt in the most insignificant parts of the work. Two ladies (Miss Millner, who still works in the parish, and Miss Dowson) offered their services. A mothers' meeting and a girls' class were started; a little room was rented, and a school held on week-days as well as Sundays.
It is interesting to note that one of the children who belonged to this first little attempt at school, is now a valued Sunday-school teacher at St. Alban's, thus affording another instance, amongst many, of the permanent hold which the church has had upon its workers.
Mr. Mackonochie was always present both at the girls and women's classes to interest or instruct the members; and every evening the doors of the Clergy House were open to all who came, and the clergy personally investigated cases of distress and distributed relief.
None of the workers met with the slightest rudeness in their visits to the people; but it was uphill work. The small congregations gathered in were restless and curious. The clergy were objects of fluctuating interest not unmixed with good-humoured ridicule, and there was as yet little disposition to accept any religious ministrations. The staircase leading up to the mission room was dark and rickety, which was a great disadvantage in affording opportunities for 'rowdyism,' and these undisciplined children of the streets were not easily subdued or impressed. There were frequent interruptions to the peaceable conduct of the services, whilst the best disposed of the worshippers could not always be expected to resist the importunities of their friends outside.
In the character of these town populations the clement of reverence is, as a rule, entirely wanting. Except when their passions are aroused they are exceptionally good-humoured and friendly; but accustomed all their lives to bargain and barter, they are not the least disposed to accept any one upon their own valuation. Open hostility to religion has for the most part died out, and in many instances the lives of the clergy have won their affectionate regard; but the natural order of things is reversed; respect may follow upon personal affection, but rarely precedes it, whilst in regard to higher things it would seem as if the love of God entered in before there was any fear to be cast out. The claims of religion are disregarded on account of their paramount nature; for life is too short to be spent upon any one thing; and the pleasure or excitement of the moment is all in all.
Gradually, very gradually, out of those who came to see and to wonder, there was gathered together a small band of people with some desire for better things. Diligent visiting amongst the courts and tenement-houses brought to light melancholy cases of sin and sickness and destitution; the personal kindness and the individual sympathy shown could be appreciated even when words of spiritual comfort or admonition fell all unheeded. A desire was awakened to make some return; and if the clergy were so singular as to Prefer some regard paid to religion to anything else, well they would make some little effort to please them. 'You see, it's this way. George likes it,' as a working man was overheard to say to one of his companions when asked why he went to church, in friendly reference to the Rev. George ------, the vicar of his parish. A poor motive no doubt, yet not altogether unworthy, since it held within it an clement of gratitude and affection. So as time went on, one by one, individuals were gathered in, warned, encouraged, and instructed, and the work grew and prospered.
In the meantime the fabric of the church had reached completion. On August 20, 1862, Mr. Mackonochie wrote to his mother. 'Did I tell you the bishop inspected the church on Thursday, and proposed to have the consecration on October 30. He seemed amiable.' There were, however, various delays, and the consecration did not actually take place until February 21 in the following year, when the work had been already carried on for nine months in Greville Street. So far, in spite of many disappointments and trials, it had been singularly blessed. There had been the happiest unanimity in the little band of workers, and they had steadily increased in numbers. Zeal is contagious, and the influence of Mr. Mackonochie's restrained ardour was making itself more and more felt. But to a sincerely humble nature nothing is so humbling as success. Confident in his beliefs he was full of a sense of his own shortcomings. In answer to congratulations upon his birthday in August 1862, he writes:
Another year has gone with its blessings, its mistakes, its carelessness, and its sins. God grant that His grace may have saved me from being, where my own self would have left me, a year further from Him. ... I have as yet received nothing from my incumbency, and much is going out, so that I have some trouble as to how both ends will meet at the end of the year. I am in very safe hands as to the future, but my head will not go through prospective calculations.
There is no expression of pleasure at finding himself at the head of a work which already promised to assume considerable proportions; little even of natural delight in the beautiful church rising up before his eyes. Life is still, as it has ever been to him, too serious a thing to allow of any by-play; he is absolutely indifferent to worldly interests or personal triumphs. In another letter he says:
I must not do more than write a very few lines to congratulate you on your birthday. I suppose I use the word congratulate in a different sense than others. There are two senses in which I suppose it may be used; one is congratulation that another year of preparation has been vouchsafed for the rooting out of vices and faults, and the implanting of all heavenly graces; the other sense is that one more year of exile is over and we are so much nearer our home.
The words would be commonplace enough but for the circumstances under which they were written, in a letter of rare intimacy to a near relation. He was upon the eve of the consecration of the church; standing in full health and vigour upon the threshold of a life to which he had looked forward from his earliest boyhood; a life of absorbing interest, and one to which he had felt himself called by all the strongest inclinations of his energetic nature; and yet in his own thoughts it is but a step nearer to the end.
The first foundation-stone as it were of the spiritual structure of St. Alban's had been laid in the Greville Street Mission. The consecration of the church itself did not take place till February 21, 1863.
From the first linen vestments were used and there were lights on the altar. Bishop Tait preached in the morning, and Mr. Mackonochie in the evening; the Bishop of Ripon upon the following Sunday. The church was densely crowded, not only by people from a distance, but by the parishioners, bonnetless women and ragged children pressing in; some already won to some appreciation of a religious service, many others from mere curiosity.
It was on this day that the founder addressed the following letter (from which we have already given extracts) to the inhabitants of the district.
To the Inhabitants of the District of St. Alban's, Holborn.
My Friends,--When I was seeking, a few years since, a site on which I might erect a church for God's service in some destitute portion of the metropolis, it was intimated to me by Mr. Toogood, then rector of St. Andrew's, Holborn, that Lord Leigh, hearing of my enquiry, and anxious to promote the spiritual welfare of the neighbourhood in which you dwell, offered a site upon his own property, if I would build the church there. To this proposal I willingly agreed.
In fulfilling his offer Lord Leigh met with serious obstacles. He found that only on extravagant terms could he obtain possession of some of the tenements he desired to remove, but which were let on lease; and I felt bound to restrain his liberality, and accept a diminished site, rather than subject him to an unreasonable outlay in effecting the larger gift he generously desired to make.
The site, at much trouble and cost, was at last cleared, and conveyed to me by Lord Leigh; and upon the site so given now stands the church, consecrated to-day by the bishop of this diocese, and which, dedicated to St. Alban, commemorates the earliest English martyr recorded in the Calendar of our Church.
St. Alban's church is free. It has been built especially for the sake of the poor; but, rich or poor, all alike may enter it without fee or payment, and may find in it a place where they may kneel to pray and stand to praise God, and where they may sit to hear the good tidings of the Gospel. Rich and poor may often meet in that church; but as rich and poor are alike in the sight of God, so in that House of God they will meet with no distinctions. But although the church is free, and you will not be permitted to pay for entering it, you will not be debarred from the privilege of making your own free offerings to God. The clergy will be provided for without your aid; but there will be many purposes immediately connected with God's honour, in the maintenance of the church and of its services, to which your alms can be applied. Your district is far from being wealthy--many among you live very hardly upon wages hardly earned; but there are few among you who, if so minded, will not be able to contribute to the offertory, and none who will not find that the habit of giving for Clod's service tends to their own happiness, and even promotes their wealth, by providing a motive for industry in their calling and for temperance in their living.
It is now acknowledged that the English have as much ability and taste for singing as any other people; and you will do well to apply your voices to their noblest use, by singing heartily in your parish church. An organ has been provided to assist and guide your voices, and means will be found to instruct those who desire more perfectly to enjoy together the delightful religious duty of praising God with the voice of melody.
The necessity of raising the windows of the church to a great height, and of making the east end a solid wall, has given occasion to paint the east wall with representations of the chief events connected with our Redeemer's Life and Mission, as they are recited in our Litany. It is hoped that these pictures will assist the young especially, in realising the petitions which they offer, by impressing on their minds the Humility, the Love, the Sufferings, the Power, and the Majesty of their Divine Lord.
The district of St. Alban's, as now constituted, contains more than 6,000 souls. Its existing schools, admirably directed by excellent men, are quite insufficient to receive all the children needing religious instruction, and we must look forward to the erection of other schools, which may commence the religious training to be continued at St. Alban's church, and assist the efforts of its clergy.
I desire that the church, the building of which is now, by God's help, completed, may serve as an expression of my loyal and dutiful allegiance to the Church of England, and I heartily pray that it may be the channel of many spiritual blessings to you my friends. It will not, I feel sure, fail of its object from any lack of self-denying zeal on the part of him whom the bishop has set over you. I have the strongest assurance for my confidence that Mr. Mackonochie, as a true and faithful priest of the Church of England, will affectionately teach and discreetly guide the souls committed to his charge.
To the residents in Baldwin's Gardens is especially commended the care of a fountain provided for their convenience, and erected close to their own dwellings. The church and the fountain they will protect as their own property--for they are theirs--given to them that they may, without money and without price, draw at the fountain pure water for the refreshment of their bodies, and at the church pure Gospel truth for the refreshment of their souls.
He whom God has favoured by making him, in the bestowal of these gifts, the steward of His own abundant bounty, earnestly entreats your prayers, that he may become less unworthy of the signal honour he has enjoyed in being privileged to raise an house to God's Holy Name--an honour which he would humbly and gratefully record in the words of the pious King David--'Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty . . . both riches and honour come of Thee and Thou reignest over all: in Thine hand is power and might 'and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all Now, therefore, our God, I thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious Name. But what am I, that I should be able to offer so willing after this sort; for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have I given Thee.'
I remain, my friends, your faithful servant,
J. G. HUBBARD.
Birchin Lane, February 21, 1863.