ONE of the first, if not the first, of Mr. Carter's writings was his memoir of "John Armstrong, D.D.," at one time Bishop of Grahamstown. To this book Bishop Samuel Wilberforce contributed a preface, in which he refers to a special feature of Mr. Armstrong's labours, in the following eloquent language:--
"He, above all, awakened through God's blessing those efforts on behalf of the most miserable class of outcast women, which have led to the exercise of so much of that skilful and affectionate care for such penitents, which surely ought especially to mark the followers of Him Who, in spite of the jeers of the Pharisee, suffered the woman 'who had been a sinner' to 'wash His feet with her tears, and to wipe them with the hairs of her head!'"
It is impossible to read this memoir without seeing that Canon Carter and Bishop Armstrong were kindred spirits. The former, writing in 1857, says of penitentiary work, that he regarded it as "one of the greatest and most hopeful efforts of the century, and one calculated far more than can now be estimated to influence the penitential discipline and practical condition of the Church." What T. T. Carter says of J. Armstrong might well be transferred to himself. "The secret source of his untiring ardour in this cause was the exceeding warmth and depth of his love for any object that excited his compassion." Mr. Carter became a pioneer in penitentiary work; that is to say, effective penitentiary work. There had been previous efforts, but these on the whole were weak and defective. These were well meant, but the cure seemed chiefly to be sought in the change of external surroundings--separation from the "occasions "of sin; not enough in the inward change of heart and cleansing of the conscience. Mr. Carter, with his quick insight, saw the impotency of such efforts. Dr. Liddon, too, at once grasped the difference. "The one," he said, "is weeding a garden with your hands, and leaving the roots in the soil; the other, extirpating them with the proper implements." The future Warden of the House of Mercy, Clewer, threw himself heart and soul into this cause, with a zeal and self-devotion which were requisite for overcoming various hindrances. There are never wanting those who attempt to throw cold water upon the flame of charity, especially if connected with personal outlay. It was urged that penitentiaries only increased the evil; that it was a question of supply and demand; and that by lessening the number of these wretched beings the gaps would be filled by the seduction of fresh and innocent souls. Again, the evil was pronounced incurable, and St. Paul's doctrine that "where sin abounded grace might much more abound" denied or distrusted. In fact, the Penitentiary cause was represented as either hurtful or impotent, but the cause prospered. An appeal for funds appeared in March, 1849, and "in June the House of Mercy at Clewer was commenced," and other similar institutions were built, where penitents were received, and not only separated from their past evil life, but brought into a new and pure atmosphere, and gradually transformed by the operation of Divine Grace, and restored to communion with God.
In Canon Carter's great attraction towards Penitentiary work one grand feature of his character may be traced--his inexhaustible sympathy. This may be regarded on two sides--the Divine and the human. In the former, his devotion to Christ, as the Good Shepherd, prompted him to seek and save the lost; in the latter, his keen realization of human misery and helplessness. A perusal of two sermons preached in 1856, and published by Masters, together with an appeal for the completion of the House of Mercy, would at once indicate this estimate of the character of the Founder of "Clewer." In the first discourse, upon the words, "He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. v. 21), he touchingly describes our Blessed Lord's dealings with sinners. He loved to trace how human sin and infirmity were allowed to cast their shadows upon our Lord's parentage.
"When the first Evangelist traces the lineage of the Messiah, he is careful to note--as facts important to recall, though but for such a cause our better feelings ever seek to veil the dishonour of our parentage--the more than ordinary stains of sin that marked some members of the chosen family. Recording how 'Juda begat Pharez and Zara,' he states specially that it was 'of Thamar.' Recording how 'Salmon begat Boaz,' he adds 'of Rahab,' elsewhere known as 'the harlot.' And mentioning one of the choicest names of the sacred line, 'David the king,' he reminds us how he 'begat Solomon of her who had been the wife of Urias.' "
And the preacher goes on to show how Christ submitted to circumcision --the "sinner's mark"--and how "His Blessed Mother was purified," as though she had contracted defilement from the bringing forth of the Sinless One! In the same way the "Temptation," the eating with publicans and sinners, "the breathing the peace of His healing absolution "into the soul of the fallen woman, and rebuking her, not guiltless, accusers, show his love for the lost ones of His fold.
Then Mr. Carter's sympathy was excited by the circumstances of the poor and suffering outcast.
"It should, moreover," he says, "move us to think that all this misery may have arisen from causes to which the poor alone are subject. For their children suffer, in a manner unknown to others, from exposure, from too close contact in cottages, with insufficient space to separate the sexes and preserve the veil even of common decency; from too great familiarity in the times of labour, in the field, where all ages and both sexes mingle without restraint; or in the way homewards, unguarded amid the contaminations of the hamlet, or along the crowded street, etc."
At the close of the discourse he revealed his intense pity for the fallen woman, "often much more sinned against than sinning." Later in life, and from a larger experience, he was led to modify in a degree this estimate of relative guilt. A study of these two sermons, from the former of which we have made extracts, will clearly show the thoughts and feelings which lay at the root of that sympathy for the fallen which was ever a characteristic of the Warden of Clewer.
He felt the Church had failed to extend her ministry to those sinful and degraded beings, and that the world's estimate of the degradation was one-sided.
"Certainly the hard distinctions which the conventionalities of society have drawn can have no place here. As there can be no limit to the sympathy with which 'Christ's' Sacred Heart yearned towards the fallen, or to His power of restoring them, there can be no ground for excluding from the range of our compassion, or the possibilities of complete renovation, any even of the deadliest sins.
"Yet such exclusion has been made in the case which we are now especially considering; for though fallen woman has not sinned alone, how entirely in the world's eye has the undivided burden of guilt fallen upon her! While the partners of her sin pass in and out among us, unnoticed, save by the sleepless Eye of God, on her has lain the blight of a hopeless excommunication. Even the Church has failed in its love towards her. The ministerings of the Son of Man have through us been straitened in her case. This is said deliberately; for though some penitentiaries have long since been established amongst us, it has not been by the direct action of the Church, nor has the love and self-devotedness of the Gospel in their highest forms animated the work."
Canon Carter's name will ever be intimately connected with the rise and progress of penitentiary work in the English Church, and with the infusion of new life into it.
In the memoir of Bishop Armstrong (which was dedicated to "Robert Gray, Lord Bishop of Capetown, who planted the English Episcopate in South Africa"), Mr. Carter devotes more than fifty pages to the history of the rise and progress of the "Church Penitentiary Cause," and to the part which Bishop Armstrong took in it. This book was his earliest effort at portraiture, and it seems to have been written in accordance with those comments upon biography with which Bishop Samuel "Wilberforce begins his preface to the memoir, and which we think well worth quoting. He says--
"Biography depends for its interest and usefulness upon that answering of heart to heart which makes one man, in so far as he is thoroughly human, an exponent to another of his own inward being. It is not, therefore, in depicting singularity of character, or in relating strange adventure, that the highest merit of biography consists. Such narratives as these can at best but move the mind to wonder, or excite it to a passing interest. But the revelation of the depths of the heart and spirit of another, even though the outward incidents of his life be in themselves ordinary and commonplace, may be full of the highest dramatic interest for one exercised by the same inward trials, and engaged in a like outward struggle."
The great bishop requires in the biographer, first, the capacity of understanding the character he is to draw; and secondly, truthfulness in his narrative; and in the subject, "thoroughly human traits of character;" of course, in a spiritual biography, those "human traits of character," purified, illuminated, and transformed by the Spirit of God.
Mr. Armstrong had already observed, in a volume of sermons which were preached at Exeter, the shallowness of repentance, in the methods of recovery at that time adopted; when notorious sinners were subjected to no penitential discipline, in order to deepen their sorrow for sin, and to form humility by any course of humiliation, with the result that spiritual disease was not eradicated, and relapse was but a natural consequence of such laxness. Though without any experience of such necessities at the time, he saw, for such an evil to be grappled with and overcome, the need of relieving the burdened conscience from the load of past transgressions, and of absolution through the precious Blood of Christ, before drawing near to the Altar of God. Mr. Carter--" from private intercourse with Mr. Armstrong" upon this godly discipline, the restoration of which, was annually said," is much to be wished," [Commination Service] though there the momentous matter rested--knew Mr. Armstrong's mind. They both perceived the great difficulties of penitentiary work, which experience has since confirmed. But Mr. Carter had practical experience of the subject. If Mr. Armstrong is unquestionably to be regarded as the originator of the Church Penitentiary movement, and if the sermon preached by the "then Archdeacon Manning," entitled "Saints and Penitents," also gave an impulse to it,--Mr. Carter carried out into practice on a large scale the penitentiary system. In fact, in point of time, he was already occupied with it, for "the works," he says, "at Clewer and Wantage arose independently of those plans and consultations "referred to in the memoir; they were "remarkable instances of a concurrent quickening of many hearts, without mutual communication, which is one mark of Divine influence." It has been written,--" It is remarkable how seldom, if ever, the works of God spring from one Fountain."
Mr. Armstrong was an enthusiast. When the "Church Penitentiary Association "was formed in the Metropolis--a Society which from that day to this has been doing excellent work in this great cause--and there was a service and meeting, he was almost overpowered with joy. He says," Glorious interview with the Bishop of London; he has given his hearty consent; promises to bring it before the Archbishops and Bishops. The matter is clenched, thank God. My joy is tremendous." All will delight in the naturalness and charm of such a character. Mr. Carter's joy would be quite as great, and deep and calm, if less demonstrative. He knew more of the work by actual experience of its difficulties, and of the need of hopefulness in those who would build anew "the walls of Jerusalem," when they had been reduced to ruins.
There were, it seems to us, three features of Mr. Carter's teaching which marked off this new era in penitentiary work from those "well meant" attempts for the recovery of the fallen which had preceded it. One of these relates more especially to the past; another, to the present; and a third, to the future. First, confession he certainly regarded as almost a necessity in such cases for the restoration to purity. It was about this time he brought out his treatise on "The Doctrine of Confession in the Church of England," and there can be little doubt that his experiences in penitentiary work had forced the subject especially upon his attention. The book, of course, excited much criticism, but the criticism was unable to controvert any doctrinal or historical position which the author had taken up. Moreover, he turned the edge of the opposition by the gentle reminder in his preface to a second edition, that "confession, not being a purely doctrinal matter, forms no exception to the axiom of modern philosophy; that in order to arrive at a reliable judgment on a practical question, some personal acquaintance with its actual working is requisite. Such adverse criticisms are not advanced by those who use confession." Mr. Carter's advocacy was of voluntary, not compulsory, confession. He regarded this as a "vital distinction." But he did feel that a Penitentiary could not cure those extreme cases without this medicine. Yet even in such an Institution there was no rule to enforce this ministry of reconciliation. No such rule would be necessary. The Warden of Clewer felt that an absolute rule might "tend to produce a formal and forced use of what especially requires the full surrender of the renewed will, in order to be a living and acceptable service." In this, we may note a feature of Mr. Carter's character, frequently recurring, his dislike of hard and fast rules. He says, "At the time of the Reformation the compulsory system of confession had been fairly tested by a long experience. It is but fair to attribute considerable weight to the practical judgment of those who had witnessed its operation, and decided against it apparently with general consent." Further, he does not regard our later experience of its working in foreign Churches "as calculated to create a desire to return to the compulsory law binding every one alike." He thinks, too, a compulsory rule may "drive the heart into resistance," and so justifies the Church of England in her preference for an unforced confession, even at "the risk of a relaxed rule." That the relaxed rule does not deter people from seeking this help may be evidenced by Mr. Carter's words in his preface to the second edition of his work. He says--
"The rapid increase of the practice of confession during the last four or five years, among persons of all ages and classes, and both sexes, notwithstanding all attempts to discountenance it, is a sufficient proof that this prolonged and anxious controversy has at length found its solution in the happiest and surest way--in the witness of souls innumerable, comforted, guided, strengthened, in the paths of Christian faith and virtue. Those who have been the objects of attack and suspicion, because of their advocacy of confession, have no need to retaliate. They have already their sufficient revenge in the gratitude of the great multitude, whether in heaven or on earth, ascribing to their ministry, under God, the peace and joy into which they have entered, if not the very salvation of their souls."
The second step in advance in penitentiary work was the forming of a Sisterhood for the care of penitents. This was the first purpose of the Sisterhood of St. John the Baptist. Clewer was a good place in which to begin such a work. It "embraced within its limits one of those sin-stricken spots too often found in the purlieus of our populous towns and the neighbourhood of barracks." "It pleased God," writes Mr. Carter, "that within sight of this haunt of vice our first Church Penitentiary should arise." Through the influence of the widow of a clergyman, Mrs. Tennant, and the zeal of Mr. Johnson (afterwards Archdeacon Furse), a few fallen women had been drawn to give up evil ways, and, through her great kindness, found a temporary abode in Mrs. Tennant's house. These formed a nucleus, and then others gathered round them, and so began the penitentiary work at Clewer. From this loving work of Mrs. Tennant, the idea of working this Rescue Home by means of a Sisterhood began. We will leave Mr. Carter to relate this touching story himself. In a pamphlet entitled "The First Ten Years of the House of Mercy, Clewer," he says--
"Our first intention was only to house these women for a while, till they could be transferred to a London Penitentiary. But as the numbers increased, and they became fondly attached to their benefactress, and she urgently desired to devote herself to their care, the idea arose of forming an institution, to be carried on in the same spirit in which the work had been commenced, by women devoting themselves for the love of God, as Mrs. Tennant had done.
"It was an anxious question. We were entirely inexperienced in penitentiary work. No precedent in the Church of England was known to us of a Penitentiary of the kind proposed. Strong popular prejudice would certainly have to be met. The prospect of finding persons able and ready to devote themselves was wholly uncertain, and without such 'fellow-helpers the design was impracticable. In the present day, when the hearts of so many have been stirred to such works, it is not easy to realize the doubts which then suggested themselves as to the probability of such a spirit arising. Moreover, the mere cost of founding and maintaining such an institution could not but be very great, and we had no fund to which we could look to meet our expenses from day to day."
The Clewer House of Mercy was founded in 1849, and "indissolubly connected with the Church of England," and by its constitution the bishop of the diocese is appointed the Visitor, if he will act. A Council, clerical and lay, in equal proportion, held, and still holds, an important place in the organization, whose duty it is, not to interfere in the internal arrangements or management of the House, but control expenditure, attend to the finances, and to take such matters into consideration as may be rightly brought under their notice. In all this Mr. Carter exhibited certain practical qualities which are not commonly combined with a meditative or contemplative turn of mind. There are not wanting those who would have left the whole working of such an institution in the hands of Sisters, but the plan of the founder of Clewer was a wise one. It is not meant that there are no Sisters who can keep accounts. There are some who would be a credit to any finance committee, or place of business, but perhaps they are "few and far between." Still, such are needed (even where there is a finance committee) to keep accounts, and prepare the balance-sheet for the meetings. It is wished here to call attention to this feature of the organization, which emanated from the brain of Mr. Carter, who, although he was often absorbed and absent, yet could be very practical. Bishop Samuel Wilberforce used to say of him, "He is often upstairs;" and so he was, but he was not "in the clouds," he was beyond them! And he could quickly come down and transact business with a clear head, and a strong grasp of the subject.
The demands of penitentiary work led to the formation of the Community of St. John the Baptist, Clewer. The Sisterhood was founded in 1852, three years after the House of Mercy was founded; it was not only post hoc, but propter hoc. The few women gathered in by Mrs. Tennant's labours, it was found difficult to manage. There are three ways of trying to manage a body of so-called penitents--by the paid services of a matron and staff, by the oversight of ladies who gratuitously give their time and labours, and by Sisters of Mercy. Mr. Carter quickly saw, though, we believe, without previous experience, which of the three was the best. We have experience of all three methods of working a Penitentiary tried upon the same class of women; and the two former failed, whilst the latter succeeded. The trained Sister, simply by her influence, aided by her habit, soon brought order out of chaos. New forces seemed to be at work, and the same women became orderly and restful. The Work in question was raised from the moral to the spiritual sphere; and the Sister was sent to it by Mr. Carter.
This, perhaps, requires some explanation. Two reasons may be suggested as helping to bring about this change. It is a common idea that the women who are admitted within the walls of a penitentiary are penitents, as they are called. Those who have any practical experience of this work know that this is a fallacy. They are often removed thither by the strong influence of relatives, or of the clergy of the parish. Many of them have not tasted the misery of sin. Even those who are weary of an evil life have often little penitence when they come and ring at the gate and ask for admission. Penitence has to be formed after they are admitted in a very great number of cases, and Sisters--trained Sisters--become experts in teaching and training these inmates in the path of penitence, and in preparing to lay down the burden of their sins at the foot of the Cross. Mr. Carter saw with quick eye the advantage over the old Penitentiaries in "the employment of self-devoted women, serving for Christ's sake, instead of paid matrons." "Sisterhoods," he says, "arose out of the Church Penitentiary movement from the very necessities of the case." But when these ideas were at first ventilated, they were considered more than quixotic. The idea, it was thought, would be enough to deter young ladies from offering themselves for Sisters, and families from allowing them to enter Sisterhoods, where such a work was carried on. It aroused a complex objection, first to Sisterhood life in itself, and then to the work for which Sisterhoods were being formed.
But Mr. Carter's idea went further than this. He did commit the teaching and training of the penitents to the Sisters. So strong was he on this point that the clergy had little communication with the penitents, except of a sacramental character. They were usually in training for a year, before they were prepared for Communion. Nothing was "rushed" or hurried at Clewer. And it was to the Sisters' influence that Mr. Carter looked as a transforming power. The Clewer Sisters have under their training now more than three hundred and thirty penitents; of these about one hundred and twenty are at Clewer. It was not merely the individual influence of a pure and refined lady upon the poor degraded soul, but the atmosphere, which a number of such devout ladies generated . It was a counterpoise to the atmosphere of evil which a gathering of degraded women is apt to produce. A well-known fellow-worker in the same field, rather given to make use of trenchant terms, when asked how many penitents he had in his House of Mercy, replied, "So many, and I would not have more if I could;" and when asked to give the reason for this, he replied, "It would make the devil too strong." There was common sense in this, and so it was a part of Mr. Carter's idea in creating a Sisterhood, whose primary work should be penitentiary, to counterbalance the power of evil by a collection of pure, devout, dedicated souls, from whom would emanate a victorious power for good. Such, then, was the second difference between the old and the new penitentiary work, by the employment of "regulars "to overthrow a terrible and established social evil. A third difference may be found in the enlargement of the possible vista which now opens up before a penitent, that of a devoted life after the course of penitence is ended, the life of a Magdalen. There are instances in every penitentiary of the truth of St. Paul's words, "where sin abounded grace did much more abound," where souls have not only the grace of repentance, but have drawings to a higher and holier life--wonderful formations of virtue, which derive some of their strength from the memories of past and forgiven sin. Those who seem capable by God's grace of rising to a dedicated life, have at Clewer the opportunity of making the attempt. There is a foundation, and, we believe, endowment, for a certain number of Magdalens, who enter upon a course of training for a higher life than that only of the penitent. And these, when faithful, are of the greatest service in a large penitentiary, by good advice and high example, bringing by their self-dedication and separateness from the world, hope and encouragement to those who shared their sins, but have not yet quite overcome, and risen out of, the past. It has been said that in the new education system, any poor boy in town or village, if he has a gift, will be able to use it and to rise to some position of rank and honour; so in this comparatively new penitentiary system any soul, however degraded in the past, may, if persevering, still recover some genius for holiness, rise to the demands of a dedicated life, a dedication in a different form from that of the Sister of Mercy, yet having a beauty of its own, as a rose differs from a lily.
Besides this, Mr. Carter saw the necessity of widening the social area of repentance. "One crying want is a separate department for penitents of a higher grade." Of old, only those who came from what is called "the lower classes" entered the Penitentiaries; now a part of the Clewer building is used for the reception of "lady penitents" who are altogether separated from the rougher elements, and put under rule--quite as necessary in their case as with those who had not the same privileges and safeguards.
Inebriates also are received, whose cure is a most difficult work. Mr. Carter did not hold any extreme views upon the temperance question. The subject was naturally very much in the air at Windsor, where the honoured Founder of the "Church of England Temperance Society "resided. In early days teetotalism, in its absolute form, was very much insisted upon, and Mr. Carter, seeing how much drunkenness was to be found in his parish and in the neighbourhood, wishing to be an example--and always ready to take up with anything which was designed to ameliorate the condition of the masses--became a total abstainer, and persisted in this course until a breakdown in health obliged him to yield to medical advice. But although he practised teetotalism for a time, he was never a convinced teetotaler. A hard-and-fast line in this, as in other things, did not commend itself to him. He was amused about a doctor recommending total abstinence, "when he employed rectified spirits in making his tinctures." In the early days of penitentiary work it was found impossible to cut off all stimulants at once, when many of the women had been for years very heavy drinkers, some almost upon the verge of delirium tremens when they were admitted into the Penitentiary; and, perhaps, had hard work in the laundry at once to do, with which they may not have been previously familiar. Yet Mr. Carter would be fully alive to the importance of, and even necessity for, total abstinence to effect a cure, if possible, in many chronic cases of inebriety, but he could never regard teetotalism as the aim of all people, whether tempted to excess or not. After a while, too, in the neighbourhood more moderate views were current, and rash utterances in the early zeal for the temperance cause were no longer heard; and the dual basis of the Church of England Temperance Society became a more recognized part of the movement. We might venture to say, that one prominent feature in Mr. Carter's mental equipment was a well-balanced mind. This is not always to be found, as in his case, combined with intense eagerness and ardour for moral and spiritual reforms. He was quick to detect anything extravagant or one-sided; and this combination of zeal and wisdom (amongst other qualities) made him to be regarded as a leader of the Church movement. In the matter we have under consideration, he would feel a want of balance in some of the temperance advocacy of the day. He would know that from the days of St. Gregory, four virtues have been called "cardinal"--prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude; and he would regard as unbalanced the teaching which centred only upon one of these. Further, he would know that temperance must be exercised not only in checking excess in drink, but applies also to food, and generally to the delights of the senses. Mr. Carter was no great student of the Schoolmen, but he would probably know what Aquinas has said in the "Summa "on the question, "Whether the use of wine is totally illicit?" And Mr. Carter would certainly have come into contact in his spiritual work with those who declined the use of the chalice, on the ground of extreme teetotal views. And above all this, our Lord's institution of the Blessed Sacrament, the first miracle in Cana, and St. Paul's advice to Timothy, [1 Tim. v. 23] would to his mind be Scriptural grounds for a moderate judgment upon this topic, and for a sensible line in dealing with this evil in penitentiary work.
Whilst zeal for the recovery of the lost had been stirred in the hearts of Armstrong and Carter by mutual intercourse, the prevalence of the sins of lust and intemperance was continually impressed upon Canon Carter by the sights in his own parish and district. This was also a moving cause of the creation of the Clewer House of Mercy.
"There is," says the late Rector of Clewer, ["Mercy for the Fallen," p. 21.] "the continued sight of such misery close to our own homes, and in the sphere of my pastoral care, that has led me to form a retreat where penitents coming forth from those depths of debasement may share, if it be possible, the merits and virtues of the all-sufficient Sacrifice of the Cross, which is our only hope, and is surely theirs also. There is a haunt within my parish, such as, alas! is not uncommonly found in the suburbs of our towns, whither, as to a sink of shame, flow in from all the villages around, and from the great city, the outcasts of many a saddened home. They stray away from the scenes of their childhood, and are lost amidst the crowd which wanders through our lanes and courts. My frequent walk is among sights of degraded womanhood, which, God grant, may never darken the hearth of any one of you."
To such as these,--but delivered from the thraldom of Satan,--besides the Sisters, Canon Carter ministered to the very end of his protracted life, for a period of more than fifty years. He preached on Sunday nights to such a gathering as this, first in the old chapel, and afterwards in the present large and beautiful structure. It might be thought by many that his depth of thought and meditative style, and long sentences, would be far beyond the reach of mind and of devotion of these fallen women, and be only appreciated by the Sisters. It may be admitted that occasionally the length of the sermon would try some of them. But on the whole, the sight of his face, its radiant look at times, and the sweet gentleness of his delivery--likened, by one who heard him often, to the dropping of honey from his lips--could sustain their attention, and their great reverence for him would preserve their patience, when his thoughts were gone up beyond their reach. It is a mistake, however, to imagine that a congregation of women called penitents is necessarily an obtuse audience. There would be in a large penitentiary such as Clewer a considerable variety of grade, capacity, and education, a few familiar with other countries and quickwitted, most of them intelligent. Here is a brief outline of a sermon preached before this assembly on November 25, 1866, by the Warden.
Text--St. Luke v. 31: "They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick," etc.
(i.) What was the difference between St. Matthew and the Pharisees? One just healed; the other not feeling need of healing.
(ii.) The felt need of healing, a mark of God's elect. All Sacraments a purpose of healing--Baptism, Absolution, Holy Eucharist.
I. Four different states--
(i.) Some never on a bed of sickness--unfallen angels.
(ii.) Some healed or being cleansed for God's Presence--the Holy Dead.
(iii.) Some on earth being healed, wrestling against their faults and using all remedies.
(iv.) Some being perfectly healed, not only coming to the physician in a great emergency, but again and again, to be healed of the faults that arise, seeking perfect health.
II. The great Physician--
(i.) comes when you call Him--need of prayer.
(ii.) The more you call Him, the more He comes.
(iii.) The doctor bears his cases in mind, studies the causes, remedies, treatment; the great Physician bears each one in His Heart.
(iv.) The earthly physician has limited powers; the Heavenly, infinite--no case so bad He cannot cure.
Lessons: cultivate the sense of need--prayer; cure always possible.
It will be seen from this outline that there are several points eminently suited to excite contrition and call forth hope in sin-laden souls, and to remind dedicated souls of the need of going on to perfection by the avoidance of the least sins.
The following is a sermon which was preached on the Second Sunday after Easter, by the Rev. Canon Carter, when in his ninety-third year--his last Easter sermon. It is said to have been taken down verbatim by one who heard it.
"Text--Eph. iv. 14, 15: 'That we be no more children, tossed to and fro. . . . but speaking the truth in love, may grow up unto Him in all things.'
"Speaking the truth--that is to say, become 'true children,' not 'tossed to and fro'--implies we should become steady--growing on.
"Characteristics of childhood, instability. . . . Our Lord came to give us a standard life, and we are not right, if the desire is not within us, to rise higher! He gave us a high example, and the Holy Spirit works within us to carry out this high example.
"He came to raise us above ourselves, and our life should be passed in the thought of Him. ... I would leave with you two thoughts--
"1. Our Lord, as our Head and as our great Example.
"2. Our own growth towards it.
"1. His example. His Spirit within us raises us to it.
"'I am come, that they may have life.' We may have different aims and many varied examples set before us; but our Lord's is the truest example set before us, and He likens us to it, if we keep Him ever in mind, and lose not His Presence with us.
"2. Our soul is formed to grow, and we have a sense of power in God raising us.
"'Speaking the truth in love.' Try to combine these two graces--else truth may be too stern. Many of us are quick of speech, and fail to measure our words, and by our words may quickly fall or rise. Our Lord would have us connect these two virtues, truth and love, and so daily rise, overcoming our faults in the daily use and daily exercise of them, daily remembering our Lord's Example and the Presence of the Blessed Spirit--that in our consciousness of His Son, we may rise more perfectly above the faults we so often commit. . . .
"We grow more faithful, as we keep our Lord's Pattern and Example in our mind. The aim we take governs us, a high aim raises us, a high sense of our Lord's Presence is important, and should regulate our tempers and conversations.
"The higher aim we have, the truer we become, and our whole beings are regulated by it.
"And in this we have God's Blessing. So may His Grace ever be with us, raising us ever more and more as we seek to rise, and grow after the Pattern He has set before us."
Canon Carter preached for the last time in his life in the House of Mercy Chapel, at Evensong, on Sunday, August 18, 1901. During all those years his zeal for the salvation of souls had an attractive force, and the numbers of the fallen who sought admission to the House of Mercy soon exceeded the capacities of the building, so that soon another wing had to be added to the Penitentiary. The Warden's zeal also stirred up others in the neighbourhood, and the Provost and several Fellows of Eton became members of the council. The buildings for penitents were completed in 1855, and opened by the Bishop of Oxford. "The pressure," writes Mr. Carter, "for admittance was overpowering." It was found that more than half the applications came from London, which led to the establishment of "reception "houses, or refuges, in the metropolis, which supply a test and a preparation for entrance into the Penitentiaries. To show how this beneficent movement, which owes so much to Canon Carter, has extended, it may be mentioned, that according to the "Guide "of the Church Penitentiary Association, just published, there are now two hundred and thirty-eight Penitentiaries, Preventive Homes, and Kefuges in London and country, besides a "Continuation Home "and "Central House "for the training of rescue workers. Of course, we do not intend to attribute this vast movement to the solitary influence of Mr. Carter; but he certainly took a leading part in the movement, and without an equal in length of years; and "Clewer "alone at the present time is in charge of more than one hundred penitents at the Mother House; thirteen at the Refuge, Pimlico, and "higher class "penitents, four; about fifty at the Manor House, Oxford; ninety at Bovey Tracey, Devon; about sixty at the House of Mercy, Highgate; thirty, St. Michael's Home, Leamington; thirty at St. Mary's Home, Salisbury; fifty at the House of Mercy, Maplestead; and in addition to these institutions, there are several "Preventive" Homes, one "for children under eleven," where fifty-five have been received. We give these numbers to show the width of the penitentiary work under the rules of Clewer, and so immediately connected with Canon Carter and animated by his spirit. Whilst treating in this chapter of the Warden of Clewer as the head of a great network of organized efforts to save the lost, those who know the "inner life "of these institutions will bear witness to the wonderful change which the discipline and atmosphere of devotion, by the grace of God, bring about in those who had led lives of sin. All that was coarse and degrading seems, as a rule, to be dispelled by the genius loci. Of course, there are exceptions, which are usually to be found in the case of those who have not tasted the bitter fruits of sin, but have been sent into such Homes by parents and clergy, with little or no penitence in their hearts. Perhaps we may venture, in order to have directly Canon Carter's thoughts in dealing with penitents, to quote some portions of "offices" composed by him for use on special occasions in the Chapel. In the book are "offices "for "the reception of a penitent," for "a blessing" on her departure, for "the admission of a Magdalen on probation," for "the consecration of a penitent." Here is a prayer "for a penitent about to be received "--
"O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst suffer the woman from the city to kneel at Thy feet, and wash them with her tears; look favourably upon Thy servant, that being restored to the Ordinances of Thy Sanctuary, she may persevere in the ways of true repentance, may obtain of Thee peace and a renewed life, and being cleansed from all her sins, may abide steadfast to the end, through Thy merits, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest for ever. Amen."
Here is the final prayer said at the Service of Dismissal, which is still more touching; as in the form of Admission it is a stranger, but in that of Departure one well-known in the House. The penitents are all assembled in the chapel, whilst the one who is leaving stands before the altar. The hymn, "Jesu, grant me this, I pray, ever in Thy Heart to stay," is sung, after which the priest is instructed to pray as follows:--
"O Almighty God, Who orderest all our ways, we beseech Thee to watch over this Thy child with Thy special and increasing love. Show her the way wherein she ought to go, and keep her steadfast therein, even to the end. Uphold her, Blessed Lord, with Thy mighty arm in all her temptations and weakness, lest she sink into the deep waters. Give her grace to bear her cross, and remove from her all evil thoughts and desires. May she carry in her heart the image of Jesus crucified. Teach her to love Thee, O God; to be thankful and contented in all Thy appointments for her; to endure all things meekly; and may she be preserved pure and blameless in body, soul, and spirit, and, all her sins being blotted out in the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant, may she be saved for ever in the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
We would call attention to Mr. Carter's reference to the Atonement--" All her sins being blotted out in the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant." His strong grasp of this doctrine was a marked feature in his belief, to which we shall have occasion to refer presently in another connection.
Two extracts from the solemn office "for the consecration of a penitent" as a Magdalen must suffice.
The Warden is thus instructed to address her:--
"My child, we trust that you are called by Almighty God to make the choice to which your long preparations have been leading you, and that He has given you courage and a good will to devote yourself wholly, your body and your soul, to His service," etc.
Then she makes her promise in the presence of God "to pass a life separated from the world, in penitence, obedience, and quietness," to accept the penitential rule, and faithfully serve God, "after the example of St. Mary Magdalen, the chief of penitents, by whose name I am called. Amen."
Mr. Carter, with the Western Church, identified St. Mary Magdalene with the unnamed sinner mentioned by St. Luke. [Ch. vii. 47. See Hutchings, "Sermon Sketches" (Longmans), second series, p. 175.] A quotation from a published sermon will show this. Preaching on the words, "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene," he says--
"There is yet a fourth, standing by the cross, near as the others, Mary Magdalene. She had been known in early life by a far different course from that of her companions, by a notoriety which has clung to her name through all ages. She is known as 'the sinner from the city;' so unclean that seven devils had entered into her. But she had learnt to loathe her sin, and had knelt at the feet of Jesus, washing them with her tears, and wiping them with the hairs of her head, once the snares of accursed love, but now offered to Him Who in mercy had drawn her to Himself, to love Him only. She had heard Him pronounce her forgiveness, and from that hour had cleaved to Him as the life and joy of her soul, and followed, ministering to Him of her substance. She is the pattern of all those who, having fallen and become dead in trespasses and sins, have heard in the depths of their souls the voice of God calling them, and have torn themselves from their entanglements in which they were bound, and sought a perfect cleansing through His redeeming love in following His holy ways, giving themselves, and all they have, to Him."
The work which Canon Carter began in the House of Mercy, Clewer, for penitents, did not end there. The Sisters now numbered hundreds, and their work has extended into many parts, both in England and abroad, and is of different kinds to meet different needs. The following list will give some idea of the extent of their beneficent operations, and the perpetuation of their founder's influence:--
ST. JOHN'S HOME, Clewer. Established in 1885. A Home and Industrial School for girls of respectable parentage, accommodating 68 children.
ST. ANDREW'S CONVALESCENT HOME, Clewer. Established in 1861, with beds for 85 men, women, and children.
ST. ANDREW'S ALMSHOUSES. Opened in 1868, for poor ladies.
ST. STEPHEN'S COLLEGE, Clewer St. Stephen. Established in 1867. A Private Boarding-school for the daughters of gentlemen.
ST. STEPHEN'S HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS. Begun 1881. A boarding-house is attached.
ST. STEPHEN'S MISSION, Clewer St. Stephen. Comprises National School for boys, girls and infants, and an Intermediate School for girls; and mission work is extensively carried on.
ST. AUGUSTINE'S HOME FOR BOYS, Clewer.
ST. JOHN BAPTIST'S SCHOOL, 105, King Henry's Road, South Hampstead, for daughters of gentlemen.
ST. BARNABAS' ORPHANAGE AND INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL, 6, 7, and 8, Bloomfield Place, Pimlico, S.W; with branch at Chislehurst, for 70 orphans to be trained for service.
ST. BARNABAS' MISSION, 17, Pimlico Road, Pimlico, S.W. Mission work among the poor, Sunday-schools, Guilds, etc.
THE REFUGE, 21, Commercial Road, Pimlico, S.W., for the reception of fallen women; and at 23, Commercial Road, for higher-class penitents.
HOME OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD, Leytonstone. Established 1861. For 65 girls and children to be trained for service.
ALL SAINTS' HOME, Hawley, Blackwater, Hants. Opened 1881. Same as last-named.
SCHOOL FOR CHURCH EMBROIDERY, 72, Gower St., W.C. A Home for girls who earn their living by Church embroidery.
THE HOUSE OF CHARITY, Greek St., Soho, W. Established 1864. For the temporary relief of the homeless.
ST. ALBANS' MISSION, 26, Gray's Inn Road, Holborn, W.C. Work among the poor and sick, night Schools, Bible Classes, Guilds, etc., etc.
ALL HALLOW'S MISSION, 127, Union St., Borough, S.E. Work commenced in 1875 amongst the poorest in London. Similar to the one above.
THE HOME FOR WORKING GIRLS, 47, 48, 49, Nelson Square, Blackfriars Road, S.E. Begun 1880. Accommodates 70 girls.
ST. FRIDESWIDE'S MISSION HOUSE, Lodore St., Poplar, E. Mission work begun in connection with the Christ Church Mission, Oxford, in 1882.
ST. MARY'S, 35, Vincent Square, "Westminster. Mission work amongst the poor, begun in 1890. Bible Classes, Girls' Clubs, Sunday-schools, Band of Hope, etc. In 1893 the Sisters working here at the request of the Major-General of the Home district undertook the visiting of "Married Quarters," Brigade of Guards at Chelsea, Wellington, the Tower, Windsor Barracks, and Caterham.
HOUSE OF MERCY, North Hill, Highgate, N. Penitentiary for fallen women. Undertaken in 1901.
THE OXFORD PENITENTIARY, Manor House, Holywell, Oxford. Carried on under the same rule as at Clewer.
HOUSE OF MEKCY, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot, Devon. Founded in 1863. A home for fallen women to accommodate 90 penitents to be trained for domestic service.
MISSION HOUSE, Bovey Tracey, Newton Abbot, Devon, where the Sisters carry on work among the poor. A mission house was built in 1879, and a branch mission was opened at Bovey Heathfield in 1889.
ST. RAPHAEL'S HOME, Torquay. Established 1866. A Convalescent Home for Women.
ST. LUKE'S HOME, Torquay. Established in 1883, for men patients.
ST. BARNABAS' HOME, Torquay. Established in 1892, for incurable and permanent patients, men and women.
CYPRUS, a small addition to the above for patients not so helpless.
ST. LUCY'S HOME OF CHARITY, Hare Lane, Gloucester. Girls are here trained for service. There is also an incurable ward for women and children.
NEWARK HOUSE, Hempstead. A training home for girls exposed to evil influences.
ST. LUCY'S FREE HOSPITAL for Children of the Poor, Gloucester.
ST. ANDREW'S CONVALESCENT HOME, East Cliff, Folkestone. Established in 1875, for 130 patients.
ST. EANSWYTHE'S MISSION, Folkestone, where, since 1875, the Sisters have carried on various mission works under the clergy of the parish.
ST. SAVIOUR'S MISSION, Folkestone. Work amongst exclusively poor people in a large parish.
ST. JOHN BAPTIST MISSION, Newport, Mon. Begun in 1877. Guilds, Bible Classes, Sunday Schools, Mothers' Meetings, Clothing Depot, and Dispensary.
A RESCUE HOME, opened 1881. 55 girls can be accommodated.
ST. MICHAEL'S HOME, Leamington. A diocesan penitentiary, of which the Sisters took charge in 1884.
ST. MARY'S HOME, Salisbury (the same as the above). Work commenced here in 1889. Accommodation for 30 penitents.
MISSION WORK in the parish of St. Mary and St. John, 16, Magdalen Road, Cowley St. John, Oxford. Undertaken in 1890.
HOUSE OF MERCY, Great Maplestead, Halstead, Essex. The Sister undertook the care of this in 1892. 50 penitents.
WORKS IN INDIA, in the Diocese of Calcutta, begun in 1881.
THE LADY CANNING HOME. Headquarters of the Calcutta Hospital Nurses' Institution.
THE PEATT MEMORIAL SCHOOL for 80 boarders, chiefly Eurasians, besides day scholars.
THE EUROPEAN ORPHANAGE, where 60 orphans of European parentage are admitted.
THE DIOCESAN MISSION HOUSE, Ballygunge. A boarding-school for 80 native Christian girls; a day school for Hindu girls; Mission work and a Hindu day school for boys and girls in another district; visiting of 35 village schools; examinations, etc.
DIOCESAN GIRLS' SCHOOL, Darjeeling, for children of Anglo-Indian parents. In 1897 there were 70 boarders, besides day scholars. Works in America.
THE ST. JOHN BAPTIST HOUSE, 233, East 17 Street, New York, is the Mother House of the Community in America, and there are several branch Houses.