The Weekly Offertory

THE church of Morwenstow was restored by Mr. Hawker in 1849; that is to
say, he removed the pews that had been built about the old carved oak
benches, pulled down the gallery, and put up a new pulpit, and made
sundry other changes in the church.

The roof was covered with oak shingle in the most deplorable condition
of decay. According to the description of a mason who went up the tower
to survey it, “it looked, for all the world, like a wrecked ship thrown
up on the shore.”

Mr. Hawker was very anxious to have the roof reshingled, and this
question was before the vestry during several years. The parish offered
to give the church a roofing of the best Delabole slate, but the vicar
stood out for shingle. The rate-payers protested against wasting their
money on such a perishable material, but the vicar would not yield.

Vestry meeting after vestry meeting was called on this matter; one of
the landowners remonstrated, but all in vain: Mr. Hawker remained
unmoved; a shingle roof he would have, or none at all. A gentleman wrote
to him, quoting a passage from Parker’s _Glossary of Architecture_ to
show that anciently shingle roofs were put on only because more durable
material was not available, and were removed when lead, slate or tiles
were to be had. But Mr. Hawker remained unconvinced. “Our parson du
stick to his maygaims,” said the people shrugging their shoulders. He
was very angry with the opposition to his shingle roof, and quarrelled
with several of his parishioners about it.

He managed to collect money among his friends, and re-roofed the church,
bit by bit, with oak shingle. But old shingle was made from heart of oak
cut down in winter: the shingle he obtained was from oak cut in spring
for barking, and therefore full of sap. The consequence was, that in a
very few years it rotted, and let the water in as through a colander.

Enough money was thrown away on this roof to have put the whole church
in thorough repair.

I pointed out to the vicar some years ago, when he was talking of
repairing his church, that the stones in the arches and in the walls
were of various sorts—some good building-stones, some rotten, some dark,
some light—giving a patchwork appearance to the interior. I advised the
removal of the poorer stones, and the insertion of better ones for the
sake of uniformity. “No, never!” he answered. “The Church is built up of
good and bad, of the feeble and the strong, the rich and the poor, the
durable and the perishable. The material Church is a type of the
Catholic Church, not the type of a sect.”

In many ways Mr. Hawker was before his time, as in other ways he was
centuries behind it.

He was the first to reinstitute ruridecanal synods which had fallen into
disuse in Cornwall; and, when he was rural dean in 1844, he issued the
following citation to all the clergy of the deanery of Trigg-Major:—

In obedience to the desire of many of the clergy, and with the full
sanction of our Right Reverend Father in God, the lord bishop of
this diocese, I propose, in these anxious days of the ecclesiate, to
restore the ancient usage of rural synods in the deanery of
Trigg-Major. I accordingly convene you to appear, in your surplice,
in my church of Morwenstow on the fifth day of March next ensuing,
at eleven o’clock in the forenoon, then and there, after divine
service, to deliberate with your brethren in chapter assembled. I
remain, reverend sir, your faithful servant,

R. S. HAWKER,

_The Rural Dean_.

FEBRUARY, 1844.

Accordingly on 5th March, the clergy assembled in the vicarage, and
walked in procession thence to the church in their surplices. The church
was filled with the laity; the clergy were seated in the chancel. The
altar was adorned with flowers and lighted candles. After service the
laity withdrew, and the doors of the church were closed. The clergy then
assembled in the nave, and the rural dean read them an elaborate and
able statement of the case of rural chapters, after which they proceeded
to business. His paper on Rural Synods was afterwards published by
Edwards & Hughes, Ave Maria Lane, 1844.

It is remarkable that synods, which are now everywhere revived
throughout the Church of England, meeting sometimes in vestries,
sometimes in dining-rooms, were first restored, after the desuetude of
three centuries, in the church of Morwenstow, and with so much gravity
and dignity, over fifty years ago.

The importance of the weekly offertory is another thing now recognised.
The Church seems to be preparing herself against possible
disestablishment and disendowment, by reviving her organic life in
synods, and by impressing on her people the necessity of giving towards
the support of the services and the ministry. But the weekly offertory
is quite a novelty in most places still. Almost the first incumbent in
England to establish it was the vicar of Morwenstow, before 1843.

He entered into controversy on the subject of the offertory with Mr.
Walter of _The Times_.

When the Poor Law Amendment Bill passed in 1834, and was amended in 1836
and 1838, it was thought by many that the need for an offertory in
church was done away with, and that the giving of alms to the poor was
an interference with the working of the Poor Law.

Mr. Hawker published a statement of what he did in this matter in _The
English Churchman_, for 1844. Mr. Walter made this statement the basis
of an attack on the system, and especially on Mr. Hawker, in a letter to
_The Times_.

Mr. Hawker replied to this:—

SIR,—I regret to discover that you have permitted yourself to invade
the tranquillity of my parish, and to endeavour to interrupt the
harmony between myself and my parishioners, in a letter which I have
just read in a recent number of _The Times_. You have done so by a
garbled copy of a statement which appeared in _The English
Churchman_, of the reception and disposal of the offertory alms in
the parish church of Morwenstow.

I say “garbled” because, while you have adduced just so much of the
document as suited your purpose, you have suppressed such parts of
it as might have tended to alleviate the hostility which many
persons entertain to this part of the service of the Church.

With reference to our choice, as the recipients of Church money, of
labourers whose “wages are seven shillings a week,” and “who have a
wife and four children to maintain thereon,” you say, “Here is an
excuse for the employer to give deficient wages!”

In reply to this, I beg to inform you that the wages in this
neighbourhood never fluctuate: they have continued at this fixed
amount during the ten years of my incumbency…. Your argument, as
applied to my parishioners, is this: Because they have scanty wages
in that county, therefore they should have no alms; because these
labourers of Morwenstow are restricted by the law from any relief
from the rate, therefore they shall have no charity from the Church;
because they have little, therefore they shall have no more. You
insinuate that I, a Christian minister, think eight shillings a week
sufficient for six persons during a winter’s week, as though I were
desirous to limit the resources of my poor parishioners to that sum.
May God forgive you your miserable supposition! I have all my life
sincerely, and not to serve any party purpose, been an advocate of
the cause of the poor. I, for many long years, have honestly, and
not to promote political ends, denounced the unholy and cruel
enactments of the New Poor Law….

Let me now proceed to correct some transcendent misconceptions of
yourself and others as to the nature and intent of the offertory in
church. The ancient and modern division of all religious life was,
and is, threefold—into devotion, self-denial and alms. No sacred
practice, no Christian service, was or is complete without the union
of these three. They were all alike and equally enjoined by the
Saviour of man. The collection of alms was therefore incorporated in
the Book of Common Prayer. But it was never held to be established
among the services of the Church for the benefit of the poor alone:
it was to enable the rich to enjoy the blessedness of almsgiving for
their Redeemer’s sake: it was to afford to every giver fixed and
solemn opportunity to fulfil the remembrance, that whatsoever they
did to the poor they did unto Him, and that the least of such their
kindness would not be forgotten at the last day. “Let us wash,” they
said, “our Saviour’s feet by alms”…. But this practice of alms,
whereunto the heavenly Head of the Church annexed a specific
reward—this necessity, we are told, is become obsolete. A Christian
duty become, by desuetude, obsolete! As well might a man infer that
any other religious excellence ceased to be obligatory because it
had been disused. The virtue of humility, for example, which has
been so long in abeyance among certain of the laity, shall no
longer, therefore, be a Christian grace! The blessing on the meek
shall cease in 1844! … Voluntary kindness and alms have been
rendered unnecessary by the compulsory payments enacted by the New
Poor Law! As though the twenty-fifth chapter of St. Matthew had been
repealed by Sir James Graham! As if one of the three conditions of
our Christian covenant was to expire during the administration of
Sir Robert Peel!…

And now, sir, I conclude with one or two parting admonitions to
yourself. You are, I am told, an elderly man, fast approaching the
end of all things, and, ere many years have passed, about to stand a
separated soul among the awful mysteries of the spiritual world. I
counsel you to beware, lest the remembrance of these attempts to
diminish the pence of the poor, and to impede the charitable duties
of the rich, should assuage your happiness in that abode where the
strifes and the triumphs of controversy are unknown, “Because thou
hast done this thing, and because thou hadst no pity”. And lastly, I
advise you not again to assail our rural parishes with such
publications, to harass and unsettle the minds of our faithful
people. We, the Cornish clergy, are a humble and undistinguished
race; but we are apt, when unjustly assailed, to defend ourselves in
straightforward language, and to utter plain admonitions, such as,
on this occasion, I have thought it my duty to address to yourself;
and I remain your obedient servant,

R. S. HAWKER.

NOV. 27, 1844.

Now there is scarcely a church in England in which a harvest
thanksgiving service is not held. But probably the first to institute
such a festival in the Anglican Church was the vicar of Morwenstow in
1843.

In that year he issued a notice to his parishioners to draw their
attention to the duty of thanking God for the harvest, and of announcing
that he would set apart a Sunday for such a purpose.

TO THE PARISHIONERS OF MORWENSTOW.

When the sacred Psalmist inquired what he should render unto the
Lord for all the benefits that He had done unto him, he made answer
to himself, and said: “I will receive the cup of salvation, and call
upon the name of the Lord”. Brethren, God has been very merciful to
us this year also. He hath filled our garners with increase, and
satisfied our poor with bread. He opened His hand, and filled all
things living with plenteousness. Let us offer a sacrifice of
thanksgiving among such as keep Holy Day. Let us gather together in
the chancel of our church on the first Sunday of the next month, and
there receive, in the bread of the new corn,[38] that blessed
sacrament which was ordained to strengthen and refresh our souls. As
it is written, “He rained down manna also upon them for to eat, and
gave them food from heaven.” And again, “In the hand of the Lord
there is a cup, and the wine is red.” Furthermore, let us remember,
that, as a multitude of grains of wheat are mingled into one loaf,
so we, being many, are intended to be joined together into one, in
that holy sacrament of the Church of Jesus Christ. Brethren, on the
first morning of October call to mind the word, that, wheresoever
the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. “Let the
people praise thee, O God, yea, let all the people praise thee! Then
shall the earth bring forth her increase, and God, even our own God,
shall give us His blessing. God shall bless us, and all the ends of
the earth shall fear Him.”

THE VICAR.

THE VICARAGE, MORWENSTOW, Sept. 13, 1843.

At much expense to himself he built and maintained a school in a central
position in the parish. He called it St. Mark’s School. It stands on a
very exposed spot, and the site can hardly be considered as judiciously
chosen. It is unnecessary here, it could hardly prove interesting, to
quote numberless letters which I have before me, recounting his
struggles to keep this school open, and obtain an efficient master for
it. It was a great tax on his means, lightened, however, by the
donations and subscriptions of landowners in the parish and personal
friends towards the close of his life.

But in 1857 he wrote a letter to a friend, who has sent the letter to
_The Rock_, from which I extract it.

It is said that Mr. Hawker is a very “eccentric” man. Now, I know
not in what sense they may have intended the phrase, nor, in fact,
what they wish to insinuate; so that I can hardly reply. If they
mean to convey the ordinary force of the term, namely, a person out
of the common, I am again at a loss. I wear a cassock, instead of a
broadcloth coat, which is, I know, eccentric; but then, I have paid
my parish school expenses for many years out of the difference
between the usual clergyman’s tailor’s bill and my own cost in
apparel; so that I do not, as they may have meant, feel ashamed or
blush at such eccentricity. My mode of life, again, does differ from
that of most of my clerical neighbours; for while they belong, some
to one party in the Church and some to another, I have always lived
aloof from them all, whether High or Low. And although there exist
clerical clubs of both extremes in this deanery, and I have been
invited to join by each, I never yet was present at a club meeting,
dinner or a local synod. The time would fail me to recount the many
modes and manners wherein I do differ from usual men. Be it enough
that I am neither ashamed nor sorry for any domestic or parochial
habit of life.

In 1845 he issued the following curious notice in reference to his daily
prayer and his school:—

TAKE NOTICE.

The vicar will say Divine service henceforward every morning at ten
and every evening at four. “Praised be the Lord _daily_, even the
God that helpeth us, and poureth His benefits upon us” (Ps. lxviii.
19).

The vicar will attend at St. Mark’s schoolroom every Friday at three
o’clock, to catechise the scholars, and at the Sunday school at the
usual hour. He will not from henceforth show the same kindness to
those who keep back their children from school as he will to those
who send them. “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk”
(Exod. xxiii. 19).

Mr. Hawker was a High Churchman, but one of an original type, wholly
distinct from the Tractarian of the first period, and the Ritualist of
the second period, of the Catholic revival in the English Church. He
never associated himself with any party. He did not read the
controversial literature of his day, or interest himself in the persons
of the ecclesiastical movement in the Anglican communion.

In November, 1861, he wrote:—

Dr. Bloxham was an ancient friend of mine (at Oxford). One of a
large body of good and learned men, all now gone, and he only left.
How I recollect their faces and words! Newman, Pusey, Ward,
Marriott—they used to be all in the common-room every evening,
discussing, talking, reading. I remember the one to whom I did not
take was Dr. Pusey. He never seemed simple in thought or speech;
obscure and involved. He was the last in all that set—as I now look
back and think—to have followers called by his name.

Mr. Hawker turned his eyes far more towards the Eastern Church than
towards Rome. His mind was fired by Mr. Collins-Trelawney’s
_Peranzabuloe or the Lost Church Found_, the fourth edition of which
appeared in 1839. It was an account of the ancient British chapel and
cell of St. Piran, which had been swallowed up by the sands, but which
was exhumed, and the bones of the saint, some ancient crosses, and early
rude sculpture found. The author of the book drew a picture of the
ancient British Church independent of Rome, having its own local
peculiarities with regard to the observance of Easter, and the tonsure,
etc., and argued that this church, which held aloof from St. Augustine,
was of Oriental origin. He misunderstood the paschal question
altogether, and his argument on that head falls to the ground when
examined by the light which can be brought to bear on it from Irish
sources. The ancient British, Scottish and Irish churches did not follow
the Oriental rule with regard to the observance of Easter; but their
calendar had got out of gear, and they objected to its revision.

However, the book convinced Mr. Hawker that he must look to the East for
the ancestors of the Cornish Church, and not Rome-wards; and this view
of the case lasted through his life, and coloured his opinions.

When Dr. J. Mason Neale’s _History of the Holy Eastern Church_ came out,
he was intensely interested in it; and his Oriental fever reached its
climax, and manifested itself in the adoption of a pink brimless hat,
after the Eastern type. This Eastern craze also probably induced him,
when he adopted a vestment, to put on a cope for the celebration of the
holy communion; that vestment being used by the Armenian Church for the
Divine Mysteries, whereas it is _never_ so used in the Roman Church.

His theology assumed an Oriental tinge, and he expressed his views more
as an Eastern than as a son of the West.

A few of his short notes of exposition on Holy Scripture have come into
my hands, and I insert one or two of them as specimens of the poetical
fancy which played round Gospel truths.

Ὁ μεσίτης. A mediator is not one who prays. Christ’s manhood is the
intermediate thing which stands between the Trinity and man, to link
and blend the natures human and Divine. It is the bridge between the
place of exile and our native land. The presence of God the Son,
standing with his wounds on the right hand of God the Father _is_,
and constitutes, mediation.

His idea is that mediation is not intercession, but the serving as a
channel of intercommunion between God and man. Thus there can be but one
mediator, but every one may intercede for another. There can be no doubt
that he was right.

His views with regard to baptism were peculiar. He seems to have
retained a little of his grandfather’s Calvinistic leaven in his soul,
much as St. Augustine’s early Manichæism clung to him, and discoloured
his later orthodoxy. The Catholic doctrine of the Fall is, that, by the
first transgression of Adam, a discord entered into his constitution, so
that thenceforth, soul and mind and body, instead of desiring what is
good and salutary, are distracted by conflicting wishes, the flesh
lusting against the spirit, and the mind approving that which is
repugnant to the body. The object of the Incarnation is to restore
harmony to the nature of man; and in baptism is infused into man a
supernatural element of power for conciliating the three constituents of
man. Fallen man is, according to Tridentine doctrine, a beautiful
instrument whose strings are in discord; a chime

Of sweet bells jangled, out of tune.

But he is provided with the Conciliator, with One whose note is so clear
and true that he can raise the pitch of all his strings by that, and
thus restore the lost music of the world.

Lutheran and Calvinistic teaching, however, are the reverse of this.
According to the language of the “Formulary of Concord,” man by the Fall
has lost every element of good, even the smallest capacity and aptitude
and power in spiritual things; he has lost the faculty of knowing God,
and the will to do anything that is good; he can no more lead a good
life than a stock or a stone; everything good in him is utterly
obliterated. There is also a positive ingredient of sin infused into the
veins of every man. Sin is, according to Luther, of the essence of man,
Original sin is not, as the Church teaches, the loss of supernatural
grace co-ordinating man’s faculties, and their consequent disorder; it
is something born of the father and mother. The clay of which we are
formed is damnable; the fœtus in the mother’s womb is sin; man, with his
whole nature and essence, is not only a sinner, but sin. Such are the
expressions of Luther, indorsed by Carlstadt. Man, according to Catholic
theology, still bears in him the image of God, but blurred. According to
Melancthon, this image is wholly obliterated by an “intimate, most evil,
most profound, inscrutable, ineffable corruption of our whole nature.”
Calvin clinches the matter by observing that from man’s corrupted nature
comes only what is damnable. “Man,” says he, “has been so banished from
the kingdom of God, that all in him that bears reference to the blessed
life of the soul is extinct.”[39] And if men have glimpses of better
things, it is only that God may take from them every excuse when he
damns them.[40]

Mr. Hawker by no means adopted the Catholic view of the Fall: the
Protestant doctrine of the utter corruption and ruin of man’s nature had
been so deeply driven into his mind by his grandfather, that it never
wholly worked itself out, and he never attained to the healthier view of
human nature as a compound of good elements temporarily thrown in
disarray.

This view of his appears in papers which are under my eye, as I write,
and in his ballad for a cottage-wall, on Baptism.

Ah! woe is me! for I have no grace
Nor goodness as I ought:
I never shall go to the happy place,
And ’tis all my parents’ fault.

His teaching on the Eucharist he embodied in a ballad entitled
“Ephphatha”. An old blind man sits in a hall at Morwenstow, that of
Tonacombe probably.

He asks, and bread of wheat they bring;
He thirsts for water from the spring
Which flowed of old, and still flows on,
With name and memory of St. John.

Bread and water are given him; and, through the stained windows,
glorious rainbow tints fall over what is set before him. A page looking
on him pities the old man, because—

He eats, but sees not on that bread
What glorious radiance there is shed;
He drinks from out that chalice fair,
Nor marks the sunlight glancing there.

Watch! gentle Ronald, watch and pray!
And hear once more an old man’s lay:
I cannot see the morning poured
Ruddy and rich on this gay board;
I may not trace the noonday light
Wherewith my bread and bowl are bright;
But thou, whose words are sooth, hast said
That brightness falls on this fair bread;
Thou sayest, and thy tones are true,
This cup is tinged with heaven’s own hue:
I trust thy voice, I know from thee
That which I cannot hear nor see.

The application of the parable is palpable. Mr. Hawker appended to the
ballad the following note:—

I have sought in these verses to suggest a shadow of that beautiful
instruction to Christian men, the actual and spiritual presence of
our Lord in the second Sacrament of His Church; a primal and
perpetual doctrine in the faith once delivered to the saints. How
sadly the simplicity of this hath and has been distorted and
disturbed by the gross and sensuous notion of a carnal presence,
introduced by the Romish innovation of the eleventh century![41]

The following passage occurs in one of his sermons:—

If there be anything in all the earth to which our Lord did join a
blessing, and that for evermore, it was the bread and the cup.
Surely of this Sacrament, which the apostles served, it may be said,
He that receiveth you receiveth Me. Now, nothing can be more certain
than that our Lord and Master, before He suffered death, called into
His presence the twelve men, the _equal_ founders of His future
Church. He stood alone with the twelve. There was nobody else there
but those ministers and their Lord. Nothing is more manifest than
that He took bread of corn, and showed the apostles in what manner
and with what words to bless and to break it. Equally clear is it,
that their Lord took into His hands, with remarkable gesture and
deed, the cup, and taught the twelve also the blessing of the wine.
Accordingly, after the Son of man went up, we read that the apostles
took bread, and blessed, and gave it to the Church. Likewise also
they took the cup.

And, although the Romish Dissenters keep it back to this day, the
apostles gave the wine also to the people. St. Paul, who was not one
of the twelve, but a bishop afterwards ordained, writes: “We have an
altar”. He speaks of the bread which he breaks, and the cup he was
accustomed to bless. So we trace from those old apostolic days, down
to our own, an altar-table of wood in remembrance of the wooden
cross, fine white bread, good and wholesome wine, a ministry
descended from the apostles, to be in all ages and in every land the
outward and visible signs of a great event—the eternal sacrifice of
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now, nothing can be more plain than that these things, so seen, and
handled, and felt, and eaten, and drunk, were delivered to the
Church to contain and to convey a deep blessing, an actual grace.
They were ordained for this end by Christ Himself: He said of the
bread, This is My body; _i.e._, not a part of My flesh, but a
portion of My spiritual presence, a share of that which is Divine.

Again, Jesus said about the cup, This is My blood; _i.e._, not that
which gushed upon the soldier’s spear, but the life-blood of My
heavenly heart, that which shall be shed on you from on high with
the fruit of the vine—the produce of the everlasting veins of Him
who is on the right hand of God.

So was it understood, so is it explained, by apostolic words. Thus
said St. Paul, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the
communion—the common reception, that is—the communication to
faithful lips of the blood of Christ?”

So we say in our Catechism, that the body and blood of Christ are
verily and indeed taken and received. We confess that our souls are
strengthened and refreshed in the Sacrament of the body and blood of
Christ: we call the bread and wine in our service heavenly food. We
acknowledge that we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink
His blood. We declare that in that Sacrament we join Him, and He us,
as drops of water that mingle in the sea, and that we are, in that
awful hour, very members incorporate in the mystical body of the Son
of God,—words well-nigh too deep to apprehend or to explain.

Mr. Hawker, holding, as has been shown, that mediation was distinct from
intercession, admitted that the dead in Christ could pray for their
brethren struggling in the warfare of life, as really and more
effectually than they could when living. If the souls under the altar
seen by St. John could cry out for vengeance on those upon earth, surely
they could also ask for mercy to be shown them.

He thought that all the baptised had six sponsors, the three on earth
and three in heaven. Those in heaven were the guardian angel of the
child, the saint whose name the child bore, and the saint to whom the
church was dedicated in which the baptism took place; and that, as it
was the duty of earthly sponsors to look after and pray for their
godchildren, so it was the privilege and pleasure of their heavenly
patrons to watch and intercede for their welfare.

He did not see why Christians should not ask the prayers of those in
bliss, as well as the prayers of those in contest; and he contended that
this was a very different matter from Romish invocation of saints, that
invested the blessed ones with all but Divine attributes, and which he
utterly repudiated. He quoted Latimer, Bishop Montague, Thorndike,
Bishop Forbes, in the seventeenth century; and Dean Field, and Morton,
Bishop of Durham, etc., as holding precisely the same view as himself.

Of course his doctrines to some seem to be perilously high. But in the
English Church there are various shades of dogmatism, and the faintest
tinge to one whose views are colourless is a great advance. The slug at
the bottom of the cabbage-stalk thinks the slug an inch up the stalk
very high, and the slug on the stalk regards the slug on the leaf as
perilously advanced, whilst the slug on the leaf considers the snail on
the leaf-end as occupying an equivocal position.

Catholicism and Popery have really nothing necessarily in common. The
first is a system of belief founded on the Incarnation, the advantages
of which it applies to man through a sacramental system; while the
latter is a system of ecclesiastical organisation, which has only
accidentally been linked with Catholicism, but which is equally at home
in the steppes of Tartary with Buddhism.

Popery is a centralisation in matter of Church government: it is
autocracy. A man may be theoretically an Ultramontane without being even
a Christian, for he may believe in a despotism. And a man may be a
Catholic in all his views, without having the smallest sympathy with
Popery. As a matter of fact, the most advanced men in the English Church
are radically liberal in their views of Church government; and if they
strive with one hand to restore forgotten doctrines, and reinstate
public worship, with the other they do battle for the introduction of
Constitutionalism into the organisation of the Church of England, the
element of all others most opposed to Popery.

It is quite possible to distinguish Catholicism from Romanism. Romanism
has developed a system—a miserable system of indulgences and
dispensations on one side, and restraints on the other—all issuing from
the throne of St. Peter, as an impure flood from a corrupt fountain, and
which has sadly injured Christian morals. A student of history cannot
fail to notice that the Papacy has been a blight on Christianity,
robbing it of its regenerating and reforming power, a parasitic growth
draining it of its life-blood. He may love, with every fibre of his
soul, the great sacramental system, the glorious Catholic verities,
common to Constantinople and Rome, to Jerusalem and Moscow; but it is
only to make him bitterly regret that they have been used as a vehicle
for Romish cupidity, so as to make them odious in the eyes of
Protestants. Holding Catholic doctrines, and enjoying Catholic
practices, an English Churchman may be as far removed in temper of soul
from Rome as any Irish Orangeman.

Mr. Hawker held the Blessed Virgin in great reverence. The ideal of
womanhood touched his poetical instincts. Yet he checked his exuberant
fancy, when dealing with this theme, by his conscience of what was right
and fitting. He says, in a sermon on the text: “He stretched forth His
hand towards His disciples, and said, Behold My mother and My brethren;
for whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother and
sister and mother:” “His mother also, whom the angel had pronounced
blessed among women, because on her knees the future Christ should lie,
sought to usurp the influence of nature over the Son Divine. But to
teach that although in the earth He was not all of the earth, and aware
of the blind idolatry which future men would yield unto her who bare
Him, and those to whom His Incarnation in their family gave superior
name, Jesus publicly renounced all domestic claim to His particular
regard. More than once did He remind Mary, His mother, that in His
miraculous nature she did not partake; that in the functions of His
Godhead she had nothing to do with him.”

The Rev. W. Valentine, rector of Whixley, perhaps the most intimate
friend Mr. Hawker had, writes to me of him thus:—

During the first six months of my residence at Chapel House,
Morwenstow, September, 1863, to April, 1864, I and he invariably
spent our evenings together; and although for ten weeks of that
period I took the Sunday morning and evening duties at Stratton
Church, during the illness of the vicar, I always rode round by
Morwenstow vicarage on Sundays to spend an hour with him, at his
urgent request, though it took me some miles out of my way over
Stowe Hill and by Combe. I thus got to know Mr. Hawker thoroughly,
more intimately perhaps, as to character and social habits, than any
other friend ever did; and on two important points no one will ever
shake my testimony, _viz._ (_a_) his desire to be buried by me
beneath the shadow of his own beloved church, “That grey fane, the
beacon of the Eternal Land”; and (_b_) his constant allusions to the
Roman Catholics as “Romish Dissenters”.

But Mr. Hawker was not a theologian, nor was he careful in the
expression of his opinions. He spoke as he thought at the moment, and he
thought as the impulse swayed him. Many of his most intimate friends,
who met him constantly during the last years of his life, and to whom he
opened his heart most fully, are firm in their conviction that he was a
sincere member of the Church of England, believing thoroughly in her
Divine mission and authority. But it is quite possible, that, in moments
of excitement and disappointment, to others he may have expressed
himself otherwise. He was the creature of impulse; and his mind was
never very evenly balanced, nor did his judgment always reign paramount
over his fancies.

Mr. Valentine writes in another letter to me:—

I have only one sermon to send you, but to _me_ it is a deeply
interesting one, as it was delivered more than once just over the
spot where he told me so often to lay him; and I feel assured that
whenever he preached it, his thoughts would wander onward to that
coming day when he himself, as he contemplated, would form one of
that last and vast assemblage which will be gathered in Morwenstow
churchyard and church. Ever since I knew dear old Hawker, and for
years before, he preached _extempore_. His habit was to take a
prayer-book into the pulpit, and expound the Gospel for the day. He
would read a verse or two, and then with a common lead pencil, which
was ever suspended by a string from one of his coat-buttons, mark
his resting-point. Having expounded the passage, he would read
further, mark again, and expound. His clear, full voice was most
mellifluous; and his language, whilst plain and homely, was highly
poetical, and quite enchanting to listen to. He riveted one’s whole
attention. His pulpit MSS. are very rare, because, just before
taking to _extempore_ preaching, “basketsful” of his sermons were
destroyed under the following circumstances, as he used to relate it
to me: A celebrated firm of seedsmen advertised something remarkable
in the way of carrots; and Mr. Hawker, who had long made this root
his especial study, sent for some seed. He was recommended to sow it
with some of the best ashes he could procure, and therefore brought
out all his sermons one morning on to the vicarage lawn, set fire to
the pile, and carefully collected the precious remains. The crop was
an utter failure; but the cause thereof, on reflection was most
palpable. He remembered that a few of old Dr. Hawker’s sermons were
lying amongst his own; and the conclusion forced upon him was, that
his grandfather’s heterodoxy had lost him his crop of carrots.

He refers to this destruction in another letter to Mr. Carnsew:—

DEC. 6, 1857. _My dear Sir_,—To-morrow I send for my last load of
materials for building, the close of a long run of outlay extending
through nearly thirty years. Bude, Whitstone, Trebarrow, Morwenstow,
have been the scenes of my architecture. Anderson writes that he has
bought a cottage of yours. I am glad of it for his wife’s sake. I
wrote to him offering a young pig of mine, and twelve MS. sermons,
for a young boar of the same age; and, do you know, he has taken me
at my word. So I am to send him my MSS. and to fetch the boar. Did I
ever tell you that I once dressed a drill of turnips for experiment
with sermon ashes (I had been burning a large lot), and it was a
complete failure? Barren, all barren, like most modern discourses;
not even posthumous energy.

The sermon that is spoken of by Mr. Valentine was on the general
resurrection, and was preached at the “Revel,” Midsummer Day.

The Revel or Village Feast is—in some places was—a great institution in
Cornwall and West Devon, held on the day of the Saint to whom the church
is dedicated.

One of his sermons which is remembered to this day was on the text, Gen.
xxii. 5: “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder
and worship, and come again to you.”

He pointed out in this sermon how that in Morwenstow and many other
villages, the church is situated at some distance from the congregation.
At Okehampton the church is on a hill, and the town lies below it in the
valley. At Brent-tor it is planted on the apex of a volcanic cone,
rising out of a high table-land; and the cottages of which it is the
parish church lie in combes far away, skirting the moor. At Morwenstow
it stands above the sea, without a house near it save the vicarage and
one little farm. This, said he, was no bit of mismanagement, but was
done purposely, that those who went up to Jerusalem to worship might
have time to compose their thoughts, and frame their souls aright for
the holy services in which they were about to engage.

Is it a trouble to go so far? Does it cost many paces? Yea! but an angel
counts the paces that lead to the house of God and records them all in
heaven.

“Abide ye here with the ass,” away from the hill of the Lord, from the
place of sacrifice; tarry, dumb ass and hireling, whilst the son goes on
under the guidance of his father. The poor hireling, not one of the
family; the unbaptised, no son; and the coarse, brutal nature, the
ass—they stay away; they have no inclination, no call to go up to the
house of God. “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go
yonder and worship.”

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