Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

In her many

done in heathen countries by Church agents, was the recognition that convinced many sceptical, of the good of missions, and encouraged subscribers to greater contributions and sacrifices to the missionary cause. solitary wanderings in strange, far-off countries, Mrs. Bishop had seen and heard things few Europeans had seen and heard; she had seen and heard things also that no man—traveller or native—could ever see or hear. No argument in favour of medical missions for the women of India and China was ever, perhaps, as telling as that provided by the assertion of Mrs. Bishop that--as a medicine-womanshe had frequently been asked by Purdah ladies to give them drugs wherewith to destroy their rivals. Her great faith in the good being effected by the Women's Medical Mission of the S.P.G. was exemplified by her gifts of her money and her interest to an unusual degree, to different activities and establishments of the Medical Mission.

“ If any one wishes to realize what the need is abroad, let him read Mrs. Bishop's books and addresses, or the delightful biography of her lately published,” said Mr. Eugene Stock in a lecture to a conference of ladies at the Church Missionary House in January 1907.

In spite of the aberration of intelligence and faith in which she presented herself for baptism by Mr. Spurgeon, although with no intention of joining Mr. Spurgeon's sect, it is impossible to call such a supporter as she of the work of three great Church societies, by any other name than that of Churchwoman. Words that were almost the last Mrs. Bishop uttered, seem to indicate a sense of having been constantly baulked in the search for some new thing. In the end she found that there is nothing new for any of us-only " the old, old story."

“ There are very few," she murmured, “who manage their life on Evangelical lines for Evangelical destinies. I have tried, but it is very difficult. There can be nothing new for any of us; all has been revealed, all done, all written.” She died on Monday, October 10, 1904; her cousin, the Rev. James Grant Bird, the Rector of Staleybridge, with her friend, Canon Cowley Brown, read her funeral service. She was laid in Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh, and over her grave some members of the Medical Mission (S.P.G.) sang the hymn Now the labourer's task is o'er.

Among other women of a separate distinction, whose interest in and help towards missionary work has been remarkable, is Mrs. Ashley Carus-Wilson (Isabella Petrie), B.A., London, the foundress and president of the College by Post, which boasts six thousand members. Not alone by her memoir of Irene Petrie, the missionary to Kashmir of ever holy memory, but by her writings, such as Clews to Holy Writ and Unseal the Book, and by her eloquent and picturesque missionary addresses, Mrs. Ashley CarusWilson has proved herself a true missionary in spirit.

All true missionary work is educational, and no people more clearly than English Churchwomen, have shown how fallacious is the very general idea that missions to the heathen are only undertaken by persons of narrow mind and limited intelligence. On the contrary, no women are more alive to the necessity of missionizing by the method of education than the most highly educated women; and none see more clearly than the devout missionary the need of instructing in a higher learning than that of the three r's,” the converts to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

CHAPTER XI

INITIATORS OF REFORM, FOUNDERS OF INSTITUTES, LEADERS OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, PHILANTHROPISTS

SARAH MARTIN, ELIZABETH GILBERT, MRS. DANIELL, DR.

WESTON, VISCOUNTESS CANNING, LOUISA MARCHIONESS
OF WATERFORD, MRS. WIGHTMAN, LADY HENRY SOMERSET,
MRS. NASSAU SENIOR, BARONESS BURDETT-COUTTS, LADY
WIMBORNE, MRS. JOSEPHINE BUTLER, THE HON, MAUD
STANLEY, MISS CARLILE, MRS. BARNETT

QUEEN VICTORIA, QUEEN ALEXANDRA, THE ROYAL PRINCESSES

Could I canonize Sarah Martin, I would," were words spoken by the Bishop (Stanley) of Norwich in 1843.

The question springs : Who was Sarah Martin ?

She was a poor dressmaker of Yarmouth, who did what she could in intervals of carrying on her humble trade. A stained-glass window is erected to her memory in Yarmouth Church. She rests from her labours, but her works do follow her. These works were teaching a Sundayschool class in Yarmouth Church, teaching a Monday evening school of workhouse children, teaching a factory girls' school in the vestry of Yarmouth Church, and—this the crown of her labours—visiting and teaching in Yarmouth gaol.

It was as visitor of the gaol that she displayed her peculiar saintliness-a saintliness after the heart of Bishop Stanley, who was ever eager for reality in religion. Not only did Sarah Martin instruct and pray with the roughest and most degraded prisoners, but she kept a careful record of their names, ages and employments, and—so far as she was able-followed them up in after life. She had an instinctive sense of the value of statistics in endeavours such as that of reforming criminals and improving the prison system. Her work was all spontaneous, though carried on in loyal devotion to her Church. She does not appear consciously to have followed Mrs. Fry's lead, but simply to have gone where it was shown her that need was for a Christian worker. Many years she spent over her task, and when she died she left a sermon to be read to the prisoners she had so greatly yearned over, on “ the first Lord's Day she should spend in the Courts above," when to those she addressed, though not to herself, there yet remained “opportunity of improvement of the truths received."

The records of the lives of the Churchwomen of recent times are full of the names of women who, in spite of severest handicaps of station or of health, have done valuable work.

Elizabeth Gilbert, who was the third child of Dr. Gilbert, Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford, was born in 1826, and while but a few months old was described as a “fine, handsome child, with flashing black eyes. Before she was three years old those flashing eyes had, through an attack of scarlet-fever, become sightless. By the wise resolve of her father and mother, little blind Bessie was brought up exactly like her sisters, of whom she had seven. She grew up with a keenly retentive memory and much love and talent for music. When she was about sixteen her father was preferred to the see of Chichester, and the family went to live in the bishop's palace at that cathedral town. She was always a sufferer from attacks of severe headache, at which times music was as an acute a pain as, at other times, it was a pleasure. Her faith and her piety were supports of a naturally bright nature, and there was ever in her an impulse of self-devotion. This impulse led to a resolve to do something for her thousands of blind brothers and sisters, for whom, at the time, there existed hardly any organized help. She made a humble start by renting a cellar in Holborn and establishing there a blind man called Levy, already a teacher of the sightless, as manager of a shop for which seven similarly afflicted people were to make baskets. This small beginning developed in the following year into the first depôt of the Association for Promoting the Welfare of the Blind. In 1856 the Queen sent a donation of £50, and in 1859 Her Majesty became the association's patron. The progress of the work cannot be traced in detail. But although the business of this association grew far beyond the compass of Miss Gilbert's powers of management, she—the originator of the scheme-maintained an ever-active interest in the work and in the individual sightless ones for whom the work existed. She wrote letters pleading for help, interest and orders, in her patent frame for writing; gave instructions in reading on the different systems in which she was an expert; provided a museum for the blind to enable them to become acquainted by touch with many things with which they would not otherwise have opportunity of growing familiar, and was the life and soul of the association until the day of her death, in 1884. Six years later H.R.H. Princess Christian opened the present premises of the association in Tottenham Court Road, for building of which the sum of nearly £11,000 had been subscribed. The life of Elizabeth Gilbert is an encouragement and an incentive to all afflicted Churchwomen. What may not be effected by the humblest, weakest, most maimed and most burdened of women who touches in faith and devotion the hem of her Saviour's garment ?

Miss Anne Ray, an invalid lady crippled by rheumatism so that she could rarely rise from her sofa, began to work for the Additional Curates Society, which she had read was in need of funds. She made her object the raising of £50. This she accomplished with great effort, but having gone so far, determined to go on. In 1867 she adopted a regular system of work, in which making and collecting articles for sale and writing of letters of appeal took the chief place. The £50 grew to £1,000 before very long. Then she sold her jewellery, family china, presentation plate and some books left her by a suitor of her youth whose death had been an irrecoverable physical shock, though God's

« НазадПродовжити »