I HAVE reserved Lefroy's letters on these subjects for one chapter, concentrating them in order that their cumulative effect may indicate his character and standpoint. Of course, I have only been able to make a mere selection. What will strike the reader, I think, is the steady level of his own spiritual life which they indicate. The letters cover some fifteen years of his life, partly at Delhi and partly at Lahore.
The first two that I print are specially sacred, and are precious as showing the delicacy with which Lefroy approached the deepest subjects. Obviously I have given no indication as to the person addressed.
"There is no need for me to tell you how very deeply I felt the other trouble which ------ told me of as accompanying the physical one, or how earnestly I sympathise with and pray for you in it, that you may be delivered altogether from the power of the evil one. It was not, of course, altogether a surprise to me, for you have often used words to me which were, I think, more than half intended to convey something of the sort, and I have often wondered whether I ought to ask you directly what you meant, or whether you would care to tell me anything more. I could not, however, be sure whether you wished to be understood as referring altogether to the past, and I never felt quite justified in seeming to force a confidence which you did not on the whole think it quite desirable to give. If I have been to blame, or if it would have made it easier for you to speak if I had so spoken, or if you half expected this of me, you must forgive me. It is no easy thing to know just when harm may come of speaking and when good. After all, however, the sadness of the news was not so great as the comfort of knowing what------could say, also that you were unmistakably conscious of progress made in the overcoming of temptation and breaking off the habit of sin before this last breakdown came. To be among 'them that are overcoming' is a high privilege. And one does feel very much that while there is, we must believe that there is, one kind of strength which comes from freedom from, or ignorance of, any special form of sin, yet there is another kind of strength which those only can have who have themselves wrestled with the devil, and even in the midst of defeat found the power of victory which lies in the name of Jesus. The struggle, as they see it in others and long to assist, must have a reality which must give an immense power of sympathy, and the actual experience of victory must be of untold value. I read some words the other day which seemed to me helpful in this, and I copied them out. You may like to see them. 'It is sad to look back on our life sometimes and see what we might have been and what we are. To see the great rents and seams which disfigure our life, which mark where sin has made its ravages and raised a living protest against our broken vows. To see how want of faith has altered the symmetry and fullness of our life, and want of obedience has brought us into the snare. But just as a clever artist can beautify the careless daub or the faulty stroke by fresh conception or design, harmonising all in the completed work, so God even where we spoil His plan and mar His designs works out our very mistakes into an altered but harmonious whole.' I think it is helpful, and it does seem a distinctively Gospel message beyond all words.
"May you be given the grace to be able even directly after a fall to look the sin in the face and say the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin. The genuine conviction of forgiveness in spite of the worst shame or sin and the blotting out of the past must, I suppose, be the greatest of all powers in recovery. You may be glad to think that if on the one hand you have inherited terrible evil, yet it lies with you to cut off the entail, and this is the fight in which you are not fighting alone, for the Spirit of purity is fighting for you and with you and claiming you bit by bit. A text has been a great help to me through these last weeks, which have been to me, as you know, a time of very great sorrow and difficulty, and in some ways more than you know, and I should like to give it to you. 'My God shall fulfil every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.' May it strengthen us both for the coming year. Please do exactly as you like in the matter of writing at all, or ever in future alluding in speaking, to this matter. We are together in prayer and struggle, and the consciousness of that may well suffice unless you think you could in any way be helped by speaking."
A second letter to the same.
"This is not exactly an answer to yours, for I had just started it the day before yours came but then let it lie by as there was no further need of getting an answer to it, and I had plenty of others to write which did need answering. As you may easily imagine, I should not have left the country without sending you something: it would have been strange if I had, considering you have been on the whole more in my thoughts than any one else. Thank God for the measure of triumph of which you are able to tell, in spite of the terrible strain which still lasts. You know that few things could put me on my way with as clear a heart as the knowing of this. And that the day will come, in spite of the awful present pain, when you will be able to praise His name for His goodness through it all, I have not the shadow of a doubt. The measure of the pain is the measure of the depth to which the cancer, largely without your knowing it, had eaten into you, and He Whose love for you is too perfect to willingly leave any trace of it behind, is now probing you to the exact depth that is necessary to get it all out, not one hundredth part of an inch deeper. Only hold on, ever tighter and tighter to Him. It was part of the great disappointment which it was to me to have to make up my mind to leave India (on furlough), that I should not be able to be with you and fight out this fight to the end side by side: I would fain have had it so. But I have no doubt that He sees this is one of the ways that He saw my absence for a time was best, that you should go straight to Him, and only to Him. Only as April draws nearer hold tighter and tighter, for be quite sure that before the end does come, there will be some moment of terrible temptation, probably coming in a perfectly unexpected form, when nothing will stand you in stead but the habit of resting in the Rock of our might. To him that overcometh. If I may have one last word with you, it would be to let these words, with all their warning and high stimulus, ring in your ears throughout this Lent."
"C.M.D.: May 20, 1890.
"On Sunday I was at an out-station taking the services and staying with a young fellow who had heard two or three days before of his father's death by telegram. He was in great sorrow and had been absolutely alone, with not a soul to talk to, and let his sorrow out. This, of course, had made it worse. Do you remember a beautiful saying of Phillips Brooks, that every great experience we pass through in life puts into our hands, if we will but take it and use it, a key 'sometimes golden, sometimes iron,' by which we may unlock for others the gates of similar experiences and lead them through into brighter light beyond? I think that has been partly true with me now. I think I was able to be a real comfort in some degree, and even perhaps to help him to lay hold more firmly on the unseen world and God than he had ever done before, for he was one of those who has been through many doubts and difficulties. I do hope he may see light in God's light A. is going to spend next Sunday with him, and that is sure to be a help. I have had a great joy this week, but it is almost too late and I am too tired to tell you of it. I have been so longing, latterly especially, to get into closer touch with the people, and feeling so much the gulf which cuts us off from them. I seemed to have scarcely any outside the College on whom one could really bring any influence to bear."
To the Rev. B. K. Cunningham on his Ordination.
"If I do not share your surprise at the result I can none the less enter very fully into your feelings of awe and half shrinking. Awe there must and should be, but shrinking there need not be if we only keep clearly in mind at each point that we have not chosen Him but He has chosen us and sent us, and therefore He is pledged to give what we need for carrying out the Commission He has entrusted. Only let it grow year by year deeper into our souls that we have nothing 'which we have not received,' and then no gift of His can surprise or elate us but only fill us with a fresh sense of awe and of responsibility for only answering to so great a trust."
To the Rev. C. Mayhew, on Confirmation.
"February 2, 1900.
"It occurs to me to add a line on another subject arising out of a letter I received yesterday from F., which I enclose. Day told me some time ago that W. was coming to work there and was not confirmed, and asked about his reception to the Holy Communion. I replied that I knew of no reason why, in a case like this, where 'religious privileges' have abounded from childhood, the plain rule of the Church of England should be waived, but I said that if Mr. W. wished to make any special representation on the subject, he might do so to me and I would give the matter careful consideration. I do not see how I can act in any other way. The laxity on the subject amongst many of our native brethren is appalling, and if I sanction laxity in the case of an Englishman like this, what can I say to the others? At the same time I am content to leave to the individual clergyman a certain amount of discretion in applying the rule, if any special circumstances seem to warrant it."
To the same, on Joint Meetings.
"April 1, 1900.
"You will doubtless have heard, or hear, from Bateson what he and I settled upon as a working policy for the A.P.A., viz., not to attempt to keep all the men who take the pledge together in a very close association, as this brings in the religious difficulty, it being impossible to deal with them effectively on one religious basis, while it is essential that the sin should be fought directly trusting to the grace of God. It seems better, therefore, for the Chaplains of each denomination to deal separately with his own men, striking out such line as seems best to himself for helping them and keeping them together. It might still be possible--and well--to have an occasional meeting, say one or two in the year, of all the members of the Association, e.g. when any good speaker is prepared to address them, or as the Chaplains see fit.
"I shall be very much obliged if in the course of a few months you will make me a report of the lines on which you are working the thing, the difficulties you experience, and the possibilities you see."
To the same, on the Use of Churches.
"May 18, 1900.
"With regard to the use of the Cherat church, I am ready to treat it on exactly the same footing as the others which are known as Government churches, and if Mr. Scott wishes it for a Parade service I will sanction its use. I should not wish to introduce any new departure--or further concession--by lending it for other than parade services. If it does come to his asking for it, it might be well for him to recognise in his letter that it does stand on a distinct footing, so that he asks it purely and simply as a favour with not even that sort of claim which the custom that has been set up may be considered to give in the case of the others."
To the same, on Evening Communion.
"October 8, 1900.
"I am much interested in what you say about the Celebration in the evening. I have no doubt you were right in having it then, or under similar wholly exceptional circumstances. The Sabbath is made for man, not vice versd.
"But I should not myself think that on the whole the gain to individuals would compensate for the departure from such very ancient custom and the other drawbacks associated with evening Communions except under such special circumstances."
To Deaconess Alice Matthew.
"Bishopsbourne, Lahore: March 5, 1900.
"Besides fairly regular prayer for you since you first told me, I have made your admission all last week the subject of my Eucharistic intercession. I believe that it means a great deal for the work of the Diocese, and for the extending of the Deaconess movement, of which your brother--and not he alone--hoped such great things."
To the Rev. S. W. Key, on Sponsors.
"June 28, 1900.
"I am very sorry that I feel obliged to decline the request you make to me to be godparent to your little one. The family argument appeals to me very much. Perhaps just because I have been for almost all my life so cut off from my kith and kin I feel the family tie very much indeed. But deeper still is the feeling which I have always maintained as to the nature of the godparental relation. I feel sure it ought to be a very real and deep and true one, and I try to make it such between myself and all my godchildren. But this has necessarily led me, conversely, to decline the relationship in those cases in which I thought this condition could not be satisfied. In the case of your child I could not hope to have that acquaintance with him or with the circumstances of his home and life without which it is for me almost impossible to feel that responsibility or interest which I consider to belong to the relation of godparent."
To Miss Barnard, at Delhi.
"I have just heard from Mr. Allnutt that you have been elected Head, and I want to lose no time in sending you a word of sympathy and of cheer. I know how very far from your natural inclination any such a position would be, and also how sorry you will be to leave Karnal--and what poor Deaconess Mary will do I do not know! But your loyalty will support you, and you will remember that it is not for us to choose our place--a low one any more than a high one--according to our own tastes, but to obey God's call, and throw our whole heart and soul into doing as well as we can any piece of work with which He may entrust us.
"And then there is always something of a stimulus in the very fact that those who have worked with us do think well of us, and are willing, as in the case of the Community at present, to accept our leadership and direction. One must respond in some measure to such trust and long not wholly to disappoint it. And so I know that you will enter on this new stage of your life in quiet real dependence on God, trying to feel Him very near you--trying greatly to grow in this inexpressibly helpful and bracing sense of His Presence, and glad of any fresh opportunity of serving Him.
"You and your position flashed into my mind as I heard the Epistle read this morning, and I know not what better wish I can have for you, or what better prayer to make, than that you may be 'strengthened with all power, according to the might of His glory, unto all patience and long-suffering with joy; giving thanks unto the Father.' So that is what I will pray for you."
To the same, on Confession.
"March 3, 1899.
"In speaking of your entire freedom in the matter of Confession during holidays I was not at all thinking of the furlough which comes only at such long intervals, but of the annual holiday. I wanted to leave you entirely free except as regards a quite systematic use of it in the mission itself. You will, I am sure, understand also that this quite permits (what I believe neither I nor any other clergyman would have the slightest right to refuse) the asking to be received to Confession at any time when special need arises in the mission itself. Rightly or wrongly, I seem to see a broad line of distinction between the systematic use of the ordinance as a regular part of the ordering of one's religious life, even at infrequent intervals, and the resort to it in exceptional trouble when a distinct longing for it and its help is felt. And at present it is the latter position that seems to me most truly in accord with the spirit and teaching of our branch of the Church Catholic. I recognise, however, increasingly the great difficulty of drawing hard and fast lines on the subject, especially in view of the many holy men of our Communion who do use it in the other way, and I feel less and less inclined to dogmatise on it."
To the same.
"Easter Eve, 1900.
"I want to send to you, and through you to all the members of the Community in Delhi, one word of heartiest Easter greeting.
"Things sometimes look dark and difficult and discouraging for us in our work out here, but never so dark and discouraging as everything looked to the disciples on the day of the Crucifixion; and yet it was through the Crucifixion that the way lay to all the joy and brightness of the Easter Victory. May we have grace always to bear this well in mind, and 'for the joy that is set before us' to despise the shame, and go working on steadily and strongly--knowing that despondency and faint-heartedness is impossible for a Christian--till our Master in His own good time grants the harvest. May the Peace which our blessed Lord gave His disciples on Easter evening be yours abundantly."
To the same.
"Christmas Eve, 1900.
"One line of most hearty greeting to you and the other members of the Community who are in Delhi. May God's Holy Spirit indeed be with you to-morrow, and open the eyes of your understanding so that you may see deeper than ever before into the meaning and power and inspiration of the marvellous truth of 'The Word became flesh.'
"Certainly 'all things are possible to him that believeth' from his heart this wonderful coming of the life of God into our life. It seems as though there was no difficulty too great to be faced and overcome in the strength of that great conviction, and I pray for you, and the other members of the Community, that in the power of it they may be able to move forward continually into a higher, stronger, more united life."
A letter home.
"Fort Sandeman, Baluchistan: Sunday, Feb. 23, 1902. "It is very unlikely that I shall ever address to you again from this out-of-the-way place. One would hardly get here twice in an Episcopate. But it is pleasant getting to these places once, and the people seem to like it very much and give me a most hearty welcome. This morning the whole community turned up to service, except two or three of the young officers, and I am assured they will be there this evening! There were twenty, and two or three children. After service a nice young officer came up to me and said rather sadly that he and one or two other young fellows had not liked to stop for the Celebration, as they were not confirmed, and believed they ought not to be present without that. I do so wish they had had a word with me before; I would most gladly have admitted them. In these sort of places, where religious ministrations are almost nil (the last clergyman's visit was in April last!), one has, I think, to be vague about rubrics. I ask little more than the desire for spiritual food and to be helped."
To the Rev. C. A. Gillmore, on Confession.
"Bishopsbourne, Lahore: May 7, 1906.
"The position you indicate in the matter of Confession is exactly my own. I do not believe that it is the intention of the Church of England that it should be habitual, and in the case of any who came regularly under my influence or within the sphere of my teaching, I should discourage such habitual use. On the other hand, the Prayer-book direction is far from precise, and may be taken by different people in considerably varying senses, and as I know that many of our best and holiest men at home do now encourage a more or less regular use, I do not feel able to refuse those who ask this ministry of me, who are accustomed to it, and believe they get help from it. As to hints of a practical kind, I fear I can give you very few. I have tried to study the subject a little, and inter alia have got a somewhat large book by Dr. Pusey, 'Advice as to Hearing of Confessions.' It ought to be just what one wants, but somehow I did not get much from it myself. I can send it you if you would care to see it. I have never received any definite instructions on the subject, and as I do not use Confession myself I do not know how other priests do in detail. If, therefore, I tell you how I manage you will understand that I claim no authority whatever for it.
"I need not say that I hear Confessions only in church. I think you saw at Quetta how I had a chair put for myself. That arrangement or any similar one is, I think, convenient. I believe a priest ought to be habited in cassock, surplice, and stole.
"I kneel down, and after a moment of private prayer say the Versides, Lord's Prayer, and Collect for Purity from Holy Communion Office.
"Then I resume my chair, and the person makes his confession. I give such counsel as I can; I attach as much importance myself to this counsel as to any part of this ministry. Of course, one does often get a look into the inner workings of the life which is not at other times easily got, and we may be able to give real help. I think the chief thing is to be quite natural. Give counsel just as you would if any one came to you in your study and asked for help. Then I try to name something in the way of Penance. This I rarely do with much satisfaction to myself. Not infrequently I take a psalm--appropriate to what has seemed on the whole the person's leading weakness--and ask them to learn it by heart and use daily for a month, or the like. If you can get other advice on this point I strongly advise you to do so.
"I then kneel and say (omitting from 'preserve' to 'expedient for him') the prayer which follows Absolution in Visitation of the Sick, then rise and give the Absolution, and conclude perhaps with another Collect and the Benediction, as given in that Service, or in some other form.
"Let me know if I can give you any further help."
"The Virgin Birth," written to a friend.
"First, I assume that you do not raise the question as to God's power to call into life a child in the mother's womb without the intervention of a man. In the Creed we speak of the Holy Ghost as distinctly the 'Lord and Life giver,' and any view which can be taken of God, if it is not to reduce Him to a cipher, recognises that the mystery and the gift of life proceeds only from Him, and can be produced with or without intermediate means, or human intervention of any kind whatever. I do not doubt that you recognise this, and that your difficulty is as to the suitability of God's acting in such a way. Still, it is just as well to be perfectly clear on the first point, for I very often find that at the back of objections to some particular miracle (the Resurrection, the Raising of Lazarus, etc., etc.) lies an à priori view of the impossibility of miracles in themselves, which really makes all discussion of the particular miracle impossible and useless. "I imagine your feelings to be that this method of introducing a life into the world would be open to endless misconceptions, and therefore it is impossible that God would or did have resort to it.
"Second, to settle this point, let us clearly understand the purpose for which Christ came into the world. Not merely, or chiefly, to be a perfect example of a merely human life, but to introduce a definitely fresh power into the world, to make a fresh start of humanity. For this purpose we believe, not that a pure child was born of human parents in the ordinary way, but that the Eternal Word (or Son) of God took human nature upon Him. (See St. John i. 1-18.) Here I would say, if you do not accept this, if you do not believe in the Incarnation as a real coming into the world in some--however mysterious--sense of God, please tell me, for the idea of the Virgin Birth is perfectly unintelligible on any other basis.
"But supposing we do hold this belief, viz. that this Life was to come into the world--a truly human life--and yet effecting a really fresh start by cutting off the evil entail of sin, that taint which so rests on every human life born in the ordinary way into the world, does it not seem as though the Birth from a Virgin, the life being quickened in the womb by a direct exercise of Divine power (Luke i. 35), exactly meets this position? The fact that the Child so born was the child of a real human mother secures that He was of true human nature, while the fact that He was so born without the intervention of a man, by the direct exercise of Divine power, seems to express the cutting off of the evil entail of sin, or the making of a fresh start for the human race in about the most intelligible way possible.
"So, at least, it seems to me.
"Thirdly, you say the story thus told must give rise to countless misunderstandings and unpleasant thoughts. Is not the following fact a proof that such a statement is wholly false? Nothing in the history of Christianity is more certain than that one of its most conspicuous achievements has been the raising, in a quite immeasurable degree:
"(a) Of the whole position of women, conferring on them an honour and dignity which they still wholly lack in unchristian countries;
"(b) As a consequence of this, of the whole tone and sanctity of family life; and
"(c) Of the standard of purity of life in individuals and communities.
"This is not any question of doctrine or Christian belief. All historians, those who are not themselves Christians, as well as those who are, recognise as a simple historical fact that this has been one of the chief achievements of Christianity. But is it conceivable that the religion would have had this enormous power, have produced this splendid result, if, at the heart of it, lay a story which involved, or even in the remotest degree suggested, the dishonour of a woman?
"I am absolutely certain that any one who thinks quietly and calmly of the matter will answer that question with an emphatic negative. But that means that the story as it stands in our Bible does not in itself convey in the slightest any such misapprehension as that you speak of, however much it may have been suggested to you and many others in this twentieth century by those who, as I believe, emphatically do not approach the question with minds to which all things are pure, and to whom in their dealing with this question I think the best answer is, 'Honi soit qui mal y pense.'
"I am myself convinced that this very thought, as it comes before us in the New Testament, of a virgin womb being an intensely pure thing, meet for and capable of being touched into life by God Himself, and of the birth of a child also being in itself an absolutely and supremely pure process, has acted most powerfully against all those lower and baser instincts and thoughts which it is so terribly easy for the human mind to associate with those processes, and has acted with irrepressible power in the direction of purity in all directions.
"But just one other thought. Are you quite clear and firm as to our Lord's Resurrection from the dead? And if so, does it seem to you à priori likely that a life which was so wholly unlike every other human life, both in its course on earth, and also in its way of passing from the earth (the Resurrection and Ascension), yet was brought into the world merely by the laws and processes which govern every other human life? To me it seems almost a logical demand that a life so wholly unique in its course and in its ending (so far as one can speak of an ending) should be also unique in its commencement."
Co-operation in Religious Instruction with Other Denominations
The following correspondence is of real importance in presenting clearly Bishop Lefroy's attitude towards cooperation with other Christian Missions in religious teaching. There has long been a Baptist Mission in Delhi, a noble Mission staffed by missionaries of the highest character, between whom and the members of our own Mission there has always been close friendship. Perhaps one may select Mr. Young of that Mission as the greatest and most valued friend, and with justice. Those who have had actual experience of Mission work in a non-Christian land will understand how warm such friendships may grow, and how great the desire to co-operate with men and women of such character who yet are not in communion with us. During 1911 supporters of the S.P.G. read in the Delhi Mission Magazine that the Baptist missionaries were assisting in religious instruction in the Cambridge-S.P.G. Delhi Missions, and also were taking a prominent part in the hostel arrangements connected with St Stephen's College. Bishop Lefroy was in England at the time, and the S.P.G. Standing Committee placed the facts before him for his adjudication, the Bishop himself informing the S.P.G. that he had not been made aware of the steps that had been taken. In November, 1911, the Bishop arrived in Delhi, and in due time gave his decision. The Bishop's letter, given below, supplies information.
On January 13, 1912, Bishop Lefroy wrote to the Rev. S. S. Allnutt, head of the Delhi Mission. In this letter he says:
"I entirely endorse the widely held view that in many respects we in the Mission Field are more favourably situated for movement in this direction than the Church at home. It is no less obvious that very definite limits to such movement are imposed by two considerations, out of several that might be mentioned, viz. that we believe that the Church of England holds in trust, on behalf of the whole Church, certain very important sides of truth, which have been in considerable measure, or altogether, lost sight of by other Protestant bodies, and that it is our bounden duty to maintain them intact, and also that we are only a part of a world-wide Communion, which has been called in God's Providence to a position of extraordinary influence and responsibility in the Christian Church, and that we must do nothing--for the sake of apparent gain in our own corner of the field--which would seriously imperil the unity of the Communion as a whole. As general principles these positions would, I suppose, be acquiesced in by all our men at Delhi, but I have to add that I think due respect has not been had to them in all the particular arrangements that have been effected in Delhi, in the department of work with which I am now dealing, during the last two or three years, and that in consequence a certain amount of modification of those arrangements is necessary. I have also to express the very strong sense which I entertain that it is unfortunate, and not in accordance with the best traditions of the Delhi Mission, that in dealing with a question avowedly of so much delicacy and difficulty, and before taking the steps referred to, much more definite recourse was not had to the Bishop of the Diocese, and his counsel and direction sought I will deal now with the specific points that have been raised.
"The Christian Boys' Boarding House.--In connection with this, two points I believe came up. (i) The part taken in the everyday teaching of the school, including Scripture, by a Baptist master. This appears to me unsatisfactory, on grounds into which I will not now enter. The defence is, in large measure, that in any case the teaching of Scripture in this primary school is so exceedingly elementary, consisting for the most part simply of Bible stories, in connection with which difference of doctrinal teaching can scarcely emerge, that no harm is done by the fact that the teaching is given by a Baptist. The answer appears to me wholly inadequate, because I find it hard to understand why the standard of teaching should remain at such an exceedingly elementary level. It is not the case in the primary classes of our European schools out here, where, in addition to the Bible stories, parts of the Catechism are learnt by heart, as well as Collects, etc.; nor, I imagine, is it the case even in the lowest standards of any well-managed Church school at home. It seems to me, therefore, very desirable that there should be improvement in this respect, and I hope not to lose sight of the matter. At the same time I know quite well that there are various practical difficulties in the way of the improvement I desire, and that this may not come at once. As, therefore, the presence of the Baptist teacher does not seem injurious on the basis of the teaching at present given in the school, and as to insist on his withdrawal would probably mean the break-up of the arrangement by which the boys of the two Missions are taught together--an arrangement in which I am sure there is much of gain--I do not press for such withdrawal at present, though I hope the considerations which I have urged in this connection will not be lost sight of by the member of the Mission in charge of the Boys' Hostel, and that, if opportunity should occur for improvement in the direction I desiderate, the presence of the Baptist may not be allowed to prevent it.
"2. The weekly address.--I am not perfectly certain of my facts--there was not, I think, entire agreement in the accounts given of them at our Delhi meeting--but I understand that a religious address is given weekly to the school, and this is taken, either alternately with our own men or at longer intervals, by a Baptist missionary, and that there is an understanding that, in view of the circumstances of the school, our men should not in this address base their teaching or their appeal on the fact of the Baptism of the children. If this is the case, I have to ask quite definitely that any such understanding should be explicitly repudiated, and that absolute freedom be reserved to our men to base, at all times, their teaching on the fact that in Baptism the boys of our Mission whom they address have been made 'Members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven.' I will say nothing in support of this request, for its reasonableness seems to me obvious. The fact that you have yourself stated, to me and to others, the difficulty and constraint under which you were conscious of labouring when taking one of these addresses, owing to the existence of this understanding, is ample evidence for my purpose.
"It would scarcely be fair to the Baptist missionaries, or to the hoys whom they send to our school, many of whom, I presume, are unbaptised, to ask them to be present when teaching of the kind I have indicated is given, so it will be best for these weekly addresses to the whole school to be discontinued altogether. If it is thought desirable, arrangements can easily be made by which an address of the same kind can be given to our own boys once a week just before the regular school hours, or at some other time of the day; but this is a detail the arrangement of which I leave in the hands of the superintendent of the school.
"The College.--Here, also, I think two points come up.
"I. The relation to the College of the Hostel originally financed, I believe, by Sharp, and now by the Baptists. To that relation as defined, or implied, in some passages of the Mission Report for 1910 very legitimate objection might be taken. I understand, however, that that position no longer obtains, but that the Baptists have taken over entire control of the Hostel, subject only to such supervision on the part of the Principal as is required by the University Statutes, and that it is a purely Baptist Mission venture, and not in any way an integral part of the organisation of our own College. To this position, of course, no objection can possibly be taken; on the contrary, a cordial welcome can be given to such a Hostel. It is, however, important that in future Reports this position should be made quite clear, and no language employed with regard to this Hostel which could confuse the minds of our friends and supporters at home as to the position which it actually occupies.
"2. Mr. ------'s position as Scripture teacher in the College. Very real, and to me at least, very obvious difficulties attach to this position. I stated these in detail in our meeting at Delhi, and I will not now repeat them. I have, however, come quite definitely to the opinion that, in spite of those difficulties, and having regard to all the circumstances of the College, and of our own staff at the present time, it would not be right to ask that such teachings should cease. Those who stand closest to Mr. ------ feel most strongly as to the great gain of the personal influence which he exercises in the College on behalf of Christianity, and of the depth and power of his Scripture teaching, while they are also perfectly certain that he scrupulously keeps clear of any ground that might in any way conflict with the teaching of our Church on Baptism, or on other points which may be involved in questions between his body and our own. It seems certain also that, at present, if Mr. ------ were to be asked to resign, his place could not be taken in a remotely adequate degree by any member of our own staff. That this should be the case is to me very lamentable. The College is a quite definitely Church of England institution, not an undenominational or an interdenominational one, and this being so it is quite certain that normally its Scripture teachers should be members of our Church. For the present, however, on the grounds I have briefly indicated, I am content to waive this, and to welcome the very valuable help which I believe Mr. ------ to be giving. At the same time it should be clearly recognised that I, as Bishop, to say nothing of our committee and other supporters at home, view the position as by no means altogether satisfactory, and that the consent I give to its continuance is meant to apply simply to Mr. ------ himself, and in the position which he at presen occupies. In the event of his withdrawing from the work, either temporarily or permanently, no other Baptist should be introduced in his place without specific reference being made on the point to the Bishop of the Diocese. I myself, if Bishop at such time as such reference might be made, should probably not settle the matter simply by my own authority, but would consult the Cambridge Committee upon it. Care should also be taken that Mr.------'s present sphere of work in the College should not be extended, or his status in it be in any way made firmer, without reference to the Bishop.
"I do not think I need say more. I have not referred to the question of how far it is necessary that you should communicate to the Baptist missionaries any portion of this letter, or of the difficulties that have been felt in various quarters with regard to the questions with which it deals. On one point, indeed, some communication seems imperative, viz. as to ray request that the joint weekly addresses should cease. This, I think, it will be best for you to convey to them as from me. But for the rest I leave it entirely to your discretion to communicate with them on the general question with which I have dealt in this letter, or to say nothing further to them about it. May the Holy Spirit of unity, counsel, and ghostly strength be with all of us in dealing with this large and difficult question, and guide all our endeavours to the promotion of the glory of God and the attainment of our Blessed Saviour's prayer for the Unity of His Church.
"G. A. Lahore."
The Bishop's decision was, of course, loyally accepted.
The Change of the Capital from Calcutta to Delhi
It is needless to say that so momentous a step as that taken by the King-Emperor at the great Delhi Durbar seriously occupied the attention of Lefroy, more especially as the change coincided with his departure from the Punjab to become Metropolitan. Evidently the Bishop wrote to AHnutt on the subject, and the following letter is of value.
From Canon Allnutt.
"S.P.G. and Cambridge Mission, Delhi: Jan. 23, 1912.
"My dear Bishop,
"I have little, I fear, if anything to suggest in regard to the possible ecclesiastical changes that may be thought of, or dreamed of, as opportune in view of the one momentous change in the political development of the country. One sees from the trend of Andrews' bold programme how easy it is to exaggerate the significance of the latter, as if it meant a bouleversement of the whole Government of India, whereas the change of capital will not, so far as I can foresee, be likely to produce in the immediate future, at any rate, any far-reaching results as affecting the whole of India. It will affect Calcutta for a time, but as is already seen that city has potentialities of its own that will enable it before so very long to recover from the loss now involved (as the King told them there), and pursue its course of development perhaps in some ways more successfully than when it was to a great extent overshadowed by the Government of India, which did not after all really belong to it. It will affect Delhi in ways we cannot at all now discern the extent or significance of. Hence I cannot, myself, admit that the occasion demands any such colossal scheme as that propounded by C. F. A. (though it is always a gain to have a man who can weave such schemes as easily as a spider does its web). I should say the Bishops' conference will be well advised to confine itself to the smaller but enormously important and difficult enough problem of how to deal with the new situation created by the Durbar announcement. That problem presents itself to me thus: is it not desirable that the Metropolitical See of India should be so far as possible non-territorial, so that its occupant should be in the main devoted to the government and development of the Church of India as a whole? On the other hand, it would, I believe, be contrary to the true ideal of the episcopate that he should have little or no pastoral cure of souls--a Bishop is always in his essential idea, I should suppose, a Chief Pastor. Hence the principality of Delhi (if this is to be the political peculium of the Government of India) would not seem to offer a sphere of spiritual pastorship for an Archbishop. Could it, therefore, be enlarged by incorporating the Western Section of the Lucknow Diocese, including, say, Agra and Meerut, and the adjacent parts of the United Provinces? The aim would be still to make it quite a small and easily manageable diocese, so that the Metropolitan would have leisure to devote to what would be recognised as the equally, if not most, important part of his sphere of duties, those, viz., of Metropolitan as distinct from ordinary episcopal duties. If the result of your deliberation at Calcutta is the inception of a Synod for all India, that, however small and comparatively limited its operations would be in its initial stages, would be the nucleus of what would be in time, as a Provincial Synod when the Church is free and self-governing, the centre of the Church life of India, and it would require for its development all the energies and abilities of the Metropolitan, together with regular and extensive tours over the whole Province during the cold weather each year.
"I only just adumbrate the idea. It may be there are decisive objections, but it would not be liable to the Bishop of Bombay's criticisms in para. 12. It is, I suppose, more or less what Andrews proposes in his (5). But the M. would still be a Bishop in the full sense of the word, and his authority would not be in essence different from what it is now: only that he would be able to make a reality of what is now, and I suppose always has been (except, perhaps, in Bishop Cotton's time), mainly a nominal jurisdiction.
"Bomford's suggestion reminds me of one I long ago made to Bishop Matthew when he told me what difficulty he had in supplying Simla with a really A1 man. I said that as Simla draws Government officials of the highest ability from all parts of India, it ought surely to be allowed that the ablest Chaplain in the whole of the Province should be chosen as its Pastor. I cannot recall what objection he raised to it, but clearly it has not commended itself hitherto to any occupant of the See. I still, however, incline to think that it is a possible way out of the difficulty, which I know you have still to face again and again--that the Lahore Diocese often does not provide a really capable man for that important cure. Now, though I agree with the Bishop of Bombay that Bomford's suggestion of calling out a Chaplain ad hoc from home for Simla is open to obvious objection, I nevertheless think my modification of it is worth considering.
"I would, in view of the longer residence of the Government of India in its cold weather capital, suggest further whether the Chaplain of Delhi on the cathedral staff should not go to Simla with the Government of India, a junior Chaplain in each place being left to take charge of the parish, during the absence of the Government. I suppose the circumstances are quite unique in their way, and need special procedure to cope with the situation brought about by the dual residence of the Government. Such Chaplain would still, in my view, be selected by the Metropolitan from the whole Province, and not from a single Diocese.
"I see, of course, how difficult, perhaps insuperably so, such a project must be. But you invite suggestions, so I have ventured to put down the very attenuated ones that occur to me. We are all praying earnestly that the Spirit of Wisdom and Judgment may be vouched to our Fathers in God in their very important and critical conference next month.
"Ever your affectionately,
"S. S. Allnutt."
In 1911 Bishop Lefroy began to take seriously his growing physical weakness, a tragic complaint for one whose greatest pleasure consisted in long walks. He was suffering from arthritis in the hip joints. He came home, consulted the experts, and went to Aix-les-Bains, but with no permanent results. In November of that year he was again in the Punjab, but for the rest of his life he was frequently in pain. Movement was often physical anguish, yet he was informed that he must keep the joints exercised if he was not to become a confirmed invalid. All who read of the rest of his life work must bear in mind under what conditions he did it. Never was there a more gallant fight, never a more cheery spirit up to the end.
Holidays at Home
I here insert the story in outline of George Lefroy's home-life during his furloughs, written by his brother, the Rev. Frederick Lefroy.
"My sister and I feel it both a privilege and pleasure to be allowed to contribute some very brief account of some of these his home activities.
"Even before his ordination my brother and I, with knapsacks on our backs, had enjoyed walks both in the extreme north of Ireland and in Switzerland, but it was in 1879, between the time of his ordination and his start for India, that we undertook the first of these excursions that may be worth mentioning here. In July, Oswald Browne, a Cambridge friend (afterwards a well-known and much-loved London physician), George, and I spent some weeks in the fascinating Dolomite country. At Cortina we met F. M. Balfour, younger brother of the Right Hon. A. Balfour, holding then, I think, a Research Fellowship at Cambridge, and together they took some walks, including the ascent of the Marmolato.
"Thence we made our way to Pontresina, and I have a vivid recollection of his lying at full length on his back on the summit of the Pitz Languard, on a perfect summer morning, and reading to me the Hymn for the 9th Sunday after Trinity from the 'Christian Year.'
"It was in 1886, shortly after our father's death, that he took his first furlough, after seven years of such life in Delhi as has been described, and spent a few months with relations and friends in England and Ireland, delighting them, as he always did, both by his enthusiasm for his Delhi work and by his schoolboy enjoyment of a well-earned but too short holiday.
"His next home visit was in 1889, and during that summer, speaking both at Killiney, in Dublin, Bristol, and probably in other places, he began to show that remarkable power of inspiring enthusiasm for the cause of overseas missions which steadily increased during all the later years of his life.
"In 1896 he was obliged to take the long rest to which allusion has already been made, but we have knowledge of certain missionary organisations in Ireland which came into being under his influence, and are still giving valuable help to the Delhi Mission.
"In 1899, after his appointment to the Bishopric of Lahore, in 1904, and in 1908 there were again home visits marked by the same fruitful activities; but it would give a very imperfect idea- of the delight which these visits gave to all who knew and loved him if the impression were given that missionary sermons and addresses absorbed the greater part of his time. He enjoyed to the full and caused others to enjoy every hour of his holidays; and whether it was excursions in Scotland or Norway, or amidst the choicest scenery of the Island of Saints, if he could only secure the companionship, as he generally did, of some of his younger friends or relations, it would be difficult to exaggerate the bubbling over of his boyish spirits, the infection of his delicious laughter, or the delight which all the young ones took in his society.
"In 1908, after the Pan-Anglican Conference, our cousin, Bernard Wilson, then Vicar of Portsea, accompanied us to the Austrian Tyrol, where we did a little climbing, and finished up at Arolla, where on one, to me memorable, occasion B. Wilson and the Bishop, climbing under the guidance of a mountaineering friend, were overtaken by darkness, and only got home, with the help of a small search-party, at 1.30 a.tn. This was probably the last occasion on which he was able, to do long walks unhampered by approaching infirmities.
"I cannot close this necessarily most imperfect account of some of the happiest days that we ever spent together without mentioning his last home furlough in 1914. He had intended, after his time at Aix-les-Bains, to spend a short time in Switzerland, but the sudden declaration of war caused him to hurry home, and to our great delight he spent nearly a month with us at Ilkley, in Yorkshire. In spite of decided lameness he walked nearly every morning to the higher parts of the moor, and there, sitting surrounded by a sea of heather and the loud calling of the grouse, he read to me in the Times of the first terrible advance of the Germans on Paris, only checked by the battle of the Marne. No need to say that his absolute confidence in the final victory of Right never failed for an instant. He greatly valued the daily Celebrations at St. Margaret's, where he was delighted to find in the vicar an old Marlborough friend, and where we listened with great interest and appreciation to several sermons by Dr. McNeile (now Regius Professor of Divinity in Trinity- College, Dublin), and he once or twice gave addresses to communicants. It was, I think, a special pleasure to him that a young Indian friend, studying for his degree at Leeds University, came and spent several days with us. In spite of suffering at times and the dark overhanging war-cloud, his buoyancy of spirits and his delight in the companionship of his young nieces never failed.
"I saw him for the last time when he left us to spend the closing days of his furlough with my sisters in Ireland, and I shall always look back to that time at Ilkley as one of the very happiest of our many happy holidays together."
In 1912, the Metropolitan, Bishop Copleston, resigned his office, and most men felt that Lefroy must succeed him if he were physically able. The Government as well as the Church looked to the Bishop of Lahore to take the leading place. There is the oft-quoted letter of Lord Morley, Secretary of State for India, to Lord Minto, the Viceroy, which gives the impression Lefroy produced upon the leaders:
"Yesterday the Bishop of Lahore (Lefroy) called--one of the most attractive men I ever met. In the midst of a rather heavy day he not only interested but excited me, and carried me for a while into the upper ether. Why did you not recommend him to be Lieutenant-Governor of the Panjdb? There's an experiment for you! His ideas delighted me."
I print a few letters written in 1912.
"Bishopsbourne, Lahore: March 28, 1912.
"I spent the Sunday in a large Christian village. The congregation was reported to me--with much exactitude, men, women and children, separately--as 1400: there may have been from 900 to 1000 there. Things had been going very badly for some time, with internal quarrels, law suits, etc., and I spoke with a plainness not very customary in the pulpit, saying that I much hoped four or five would be in jail before long, or have their tails really well and effectively twisted in some way, and that they had all 'made my face black.' I was able, however, to add that I was thankful to hear that recently there has been some attempt at improvement, and I made a heart-rending appeal to them to keep it up. After the service a deputation of the head men (not including those I had referred to as destined for the Government hospitality--the individuals intended were quite well known) waited on me, said they had been greatly helped and encouraged by my sermon, and wanted to thank me for it. So perhaps one has found the line to take in order to really win attention, and get some thoughts to penetrate. Perhaps it will be well not to encourage the cathedral congregation quite the same way!"
The following letter reveals the ever-present humour, the delightful appreciation of jokes, and the light-hearted manner in which Lefroy could throw off work and enjoy fun.
"Harvington, Simla: August I, 1912.
"Irishman goes into a boot shop in London. 'I want a pair of boots.' 'Certainly, sir. What number, sir?' 'Ah two to be sure. D'ye think I'm a centipaed.'
"'Pat, go down and bring up a pair of boots.' 'Which pair, your honour?' 'Ah, it doesn't matter, either pair will do.' Up comes Pat with one lace boot and one button and pats them down. 'Pat, you donkey, what on earth do you mean by bringing me up these--did you ever see a pair of boots looking like that before?' 'Deed, I did, your honour: the pair downstairs looks just the same.'
"'Mary, did you put the matches by my bed, as I told you?' 'I did, mam, I put wan.' 'One, Mary: what's the good of that? I may want more, or it may not strike.' 'Ah, it will, mam: I tried it meself.' With such tales, and dozens more--all in the broadest Irish--were members of a learned Educational Conference summoned from all over India by the Government of India, to consider problems connected with the education of the 'Domiciled Community' (Anglican, poor whites and Eurasians), regaled during a semi-state dinner given to the members, by H. Pakenham Walsh--a very devoted missionary--till half of them were nearer rolling off their chairs with laughter than being in a fit state to eat their dinner. And the best of it was that Lady Butler--wife of Member for Education, our host--whom I had taken in had said to me just before, referring to H. P. W., who sat opposite us with a rather cadaverous face, 'I have heard that he is a most ascetic man,' and altogether spoke of him in a rather awed voice, then within about ten minutes these stories began, and before the evening was over I think she felt a good deal mixed about her ascetic, and not quite able to 'place him.'"
The project of an Anglican cathedral upon the site of New Delhi was much in Lefroy's thoughts. At present, though the site is secure, no further step has been taken.
"Harvington, Simla: June 13, 1912.
"I am tackling a great big problem--that of a church, or cathedral, in New Delhi. I am in an extraordinarily difficult position over it. Everybody--Viceroy, Lieutenant-Governor, Town-planning Committee, as well as the general public--seem to be looking to me to take the lead in the matter, but, as I point out to them--for one thing--if it is because Delhi is in the Lahore Diocese, then I certainly cannot ask for a cathedral (which every one in a kind of way thinks it ought to be) as no Bishop has two cathedrals: if it is to be a cathedral that means that a new See is to be created, in which case the matter no longer concerns me. Meantime it seems impossible to get forwarder in deciding whether there should be a new See or not. Calcutta won't move in the matter; and there is no one else who can move. And things being thus, the Town-planning Committee ask me to meet them, show me a splendid site which they say they are willing and would like to reserve for a fine cathedral or church if I can guarantee that money will be forthcoming for the building of something really worthy; failing which something totally different--theatre for ought I know!--will be put there. And they say they must have an answer in six months' time or so, as the plans for the city must go forward! A pleasant predicament! At first I thought I simply could do nothing, but I am coming to feet that for the honour of the Church--and not to lose so splendid an opportunity--if no one else will move in the matter I must, and as the only possible path of success that I can see, I am drafting a letter for the Times, meaning to send it first to the Archbishop of Canterbury and ask him to take it to the King and get, if possible, both a donation to head the list and some kind of imprimatur that can be printed, I am asking for £100,000! First of all, I shall have to secure that Calcutta will not actually oppose--I don't think he will--and then go to the Viceroy and see what he would suggest as to details. Altogether it's a pretty big kettle-of-fish and gives one something to think of, as you may imagine. Don't talk much of this at present--my letter may be much modified before it goes off, and may possibly never come to the birth at all, but that's what I am working for at present simply because, as I say, I see no other possible way in which I can prevent the offer of the site slipping from us."
We all remember the attempted assassination of the Viceroy, Lord Hardinge, at his entrance into Delhi, and the splendid courage of himself and Lady Hardinge.
"Bishopsbourne, Lahore: Christinas Eve, 1912.
"As to yesterday's tragic occurrence. There is no good trying to write about it. I have nothing really to add to what you will know long before this. I am so intensely grieved that it was done in dear old Delhi, though doubtless the miscreant was from outside. I fear the wound is really serious. Last night we got quite a bad report, but I am somewhat reassured by a note I have just had. I was to have lunched with H. E. to-day to talk over matters connected with Lahore and Calcutta and my successor, etc. This morning I sent a line to the Private Sec. saying it was doubtless off, and have this moment had a reply that Her E. would like me still to come. I do not for a moment imagine this means that he can talk business, but I hope it does mean that things are not very bad. I will add a line. It will be pretty difficult to know what line to take in preaching tomorrow--the Christmas Message and our grief--joy at escape--anxiety still. ... I hope something may be given me.
"I had a wonderfully interesting luncheon, Lady Hardinge telling me every incident and every word that passed between them; then we went into his bedroom, and I offered thanks. To-day she came to service, and I preached on it, exhorting the English not to exaggerate or think it represented Indian attitude, and on Xmas. I had a nice wire from home some days ago. 'Thanksgiving, Benediction. Cantuar.'
"Off to Calcutta to-night."
His letter on accepting Calcutta.
"Bishopsbourne, Lahore: Dec. 12, 1912.
"The long debated issue has come at last. On Tuesday I got back at five o'clock from an all-day conference, took up the paper in the verandah and read the announcement of the Metropolitan's resignation, came into my study and found a letter from the Viceroy offering me the succession. They don't lose much time nowadays. I wired, asking for a few days' delay in order to take medical advice, and a board of three doctors is coming here in about an hour's time to advise me. I think it unlikely, on the facts I shall put before them, that they will at all bar my going, and if not I shall just let three more days pass and wire on Monday; or probably, unless the doctors are very encouraging, not wire, but write to say I should like Lord Crewe to know, before the thing is finally settled, of this element of uncertainty, but otherwise accepting. I have hardly argued it with myself at all, but I have asked much for guidance, and as soon as the offer came I found my thoughts acting steadily in the direction of going, and I have felt quite happy about it at Celebrations and such times, so I think this is what is meant for me. You know as well as any one what a wrench it will be to me to leave the Punjab, but the call is a great one; these next five years ought to be very formative ones in the life of the Church out here, and if it really is God's will--as it certainly seems to be the wish of a good many people--that I should be at the helm for them, one has no right to refuse even if one wanted to. I will put in a line, if there is time, as to the M.D.'s opinion before this goes.
"6.30 p.m. They have come and gone, after talking me well over for an hour. On the whole, the view is that Calcutta is likely to be better for me than Lahore. So I shall accept May God enable me."