PLAIN SPEAKING BY A BISHOP
[Extracted from The Church Guardian, vol. 7, no. 49, March 24, 1886, p. 1.]
The Bishop of Truro,* preaching at St. Peter's, Eaton Square, London, on behalf of the repair fund of the church, after some local allusions, said that the condition of that fund, to which the many refused to give while the few did so beyond their means, was a parable of the present state of the Church and realm. Monday had left its mark in London, and not a single land-owner but was impoverished through the prevailing depression. We were passing through a critical period. A nation must have sorrows, and when the old order was giving place to the new, a period of transition was naturally one of pain and peril. There was stealing over men a kind of apathy which need strong words, deeds, sacrifices and prayers to make men awake, such as the monks of St. Bernard employ to rouse men from the deadly torpor of sleep. In spite of desires for good, and philanthropic schemes on all hands, men failed to realize their individual responsibility. The cry of the hungry ones was rising up the ears of God, and it was little wonder that the people were embittered against the upper classes and slandered them when they read of the wicked extravagance in wine and in trousseau, and knew that even among the good living dare part company with their fellows, if after kindly warning, and subsequently the strong voice, they would not give up their wretched self-indulgence which made the lives of women a burden.
* George Wilkinson, bishop from 1883-1891.