Chapter I. Childhood
Chapter II. Early Days and Harrow
Chapter III. Cambridge days
Chapter IV. Dr. Vaughan and Curacies
Chapter V. Kennington days
Chapter VI. Tasmania
Chapter VII. Tasmania: Home life
Chapter VIII. The Call home and eighteen years' work for the S.P.G.
Chapter IX. S.P.G. life
Chapter X. The Order of St. Michael and St. George
Chapter XI. Three Lambeth Conferences
Chapter XII. The Bishop as traveller
Chapter XIII. Travels (continued)
Chapter XIV. Retirement and Old age
This book is a sketch of the life and work of one of the most delightful and lovable of men. As it is based largely on his own recollections, expressed in his own terse and vivid style, it gives a picture of the man himself as well as of his work. This is well, for Bishop Montgomery's greatest gift to the Church in his generation was not only his work, valuable as it was, but chiefly his own personality. Indeed, what gave value to his work was the spirit which he put into it. The impression of that personality no lapse of time can ever efface from the memory of his friends and fellow-workers. How can we ever forget the radiant brightness of his faith, his unfailing charity and cheerfulness, his abounding sense of humour and gaiety of laughter, his possession of the joyful gladness given to the true of heart? He seemed always to bear about with him the spirit of the spring.
It was this spirit which, after twelve years of valiant labour as Bishop of Tasmania, he brought to his long service of the venerable "S.P.G." He made the old Society young again, gave it new eagerness, courage, hope, and energy. It was always spring when he was in his office, in the board room, or in the chapel. Yet with all this brightness and cheerful good sense, he had within him the depth, the spiritual insight and imagination, of the mystic. It always seemed to me that, like the seer of Patmos, he viewed the events of the Church and of the world with which he had to deal sub specie aeternitatis--as episodes in a great spiritual drama which is being unfolded in the eternal world, whose crisis is, as it were, the Cross of Jesus Christ. It was against this background that he saw the chequered story of the missionary enterprise of the Church. Hence his quiet, confident optimism. Whatever the fortunes of this or that mission at this or that time may be, God is reigning and his Kingdom moves on to its destined end. "God is working his purpose out.'' Hence too his deep unfaltering faith in the power of prayer. He would lift the anxieties of the individual missionary or the problem of the particular Church overseas with which he was at the moment concerned into this eternal sphere, and summon the aid of "the powers of the world to come."
So too when he became, to his great delight, Prelate of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, he seemed to think of each of his fellow-members, living or departed, as having a place of his own in the working out of the divine purpose for the British Empire throughout the world. He was wont to spend hours in praying for each of them by name.
He was happy in his old age, when he retired from his work in London to his own place and his own people in Ireland. He shared the troubles, but he also rejoiced in the humours, of his Irish neighbours. He carried on unceasingly his ministry of prayer. Thankful for all the blessings which his eighty-five years of life had brought him, it was still, and with wondering anticipation, to the eternal world that he betook himself in thought and prayer. I cannot do better than close this imperfect tribute to the memory of my old friend than by quoting the last words of his charming little book, Old Age, for in their so moving simplicity and sincerity they disclose the inner nature and strength of his long life--
"One last word, with bowed head. The thoughts, the anticipations of Christ's people are manifold. So many have passed on whom we long to meet again, for love's sake, out of gratitude. Many of our own generation, and of our best loved; a greater number probably of those whose written words have been beacon lights for us; a great company. It fills that future beyond the door with bright hopes. But all that pales before the deepest of all longings. 'One there is beyond all others.' It is not unreal language on the part of the aged to long for the vision of Him, to ask when they may hope to see Him to Whom they owe everything upon earth, Whose names, as revealed in Scripture, they repeat with growing intensity--their best, dearest, truest, life-long Friend, Support, Comforter; the revealer of the Father, the sender of the spirit. To see Him face to face, to fall down before Him--If the messenger's advent means that, and it surely ought, then he is an angel. Then the departure from this earth of ours is but to enter the home for which we have been being prepared all through the years. Farewell, farewell."
Of this joyous and great-hearted knight of God's chivalry we may rest assured that he indeed fares well.
February 13th, 1933.