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Emily Bathurst; or, at Home and Abroad

Chapter IV

page 68

Chapter IV.

Emily determined during her uncle's absence to ascertain what that Society was, whose exertions had effected so much good in the country which interested her so deeply; but she felt rather diffident in making inquiries of those whom she believed would be able to inform her on the point she had so much at heart. A favourable opportunity seemed to occur when she was walking with her mother in the park a few mornings after her uncle's departure. They were met by Dr. James, and Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, of whom they saw much in the country, and who were always welcome visitors. Mr. Wilson was the kind-hearted, well-informed, benevolent clergyman of the parish of——, who, with his wife, took great interest in the schools of the place; visited his people when they were ill, and supplied the poor liberally with coals, blankets, &c, at Christmas. Dr. James was page 69advanced in years, and the Fellow of College, Cambridge. He officiated as curate during the summer months for an old friend whose parish adjoined Mr. Wilson's. He was somewhat pompous in manner, but a man of considerable learning, and of much weight in the University. Mrs. Bathurst was much pleased to see Mrs. Wilson, and extended her walk in order to accompany her in the direction in which she was going; and Emily was left to the care of the two clergymen. She took this opportunity for seeking to obtain the information she desired, and when a pause occurred in the conversation, she ventured to ask Mr. Wilson to tell her the origin and object of the Church Missionary Society.

Mr. W.

The Church Missionary Society! Really, Miss Bathurst, I am sorry to say I am unable to answer your inquiry. I was not aware of the existence of a Church Missionary Society. I know there are such things among Dissenters45, but are you sure you page 70are not mistaken as to a Church Missionary Society?


No, indeed. My uncle has told me several things respecting its labours which have interested me exceedingly.

Mr. W.

Dr. James, can you help Miss Bathurst?

Dr. J.

No, Mr. Wilson, it is not in my power. I like the two old Church Societies, "the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge," and that for "the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts." These are quite enough for me; good old Church Societies, Miss Bathurst, worth a hundred new inventions of these modern days. No good can ever arise from mixing up Church and Dissent, Mr. Wilson.

"But," Emily ventured to remark, "my uncle said that the Committee and Officers of this Society were all members of the Church of England."

Dr. J.

I should like to save them their trouble.

page 71 E.

In what way, may I ask?

Dr. J.

If they want to do good, let them join the two old Societies.

"But," Emily modestly observed, "are the objects of the Societies the same? Does not the Gospel Propagation Society confine itself to our colonies?"

Dr. J.

That may be. But our colonies require all the assistance we can give them, and more too. There are thousands of our own countryme who need churches and ministers and have not got them.


But the Church Missionary Society provides ministers and churches for the heathen.

Dr. J.

Very likely, Miss Bathurst. But let them join the good old Society, and supply our own people first; and when they have done this, they could extend their operations to the inhabitants of countries who cannot need help as much as our own fellow-countrymen do. By the by, Mr. Wilson, have you subscribed to the new Consumption Hospital in Brompton46? A beautiful building it is, and an admirable Institution. I have page 72lately placed a young woman there who has been ill down at T— for some months, and she has already benefited by the air and the treatment.

Mr. W.

I have not subscribed to that. I subscribe to St. George's, St. Bartholomew's, the Hospital for Diseases of the Eye, the Lying-in47, and several more.

Dr. J.

Ah, but the Consumption Hospital is for quite a different class of persons. They have not the means at the other hospitals for taking in consumptive cases; indeed, they will not receive such when they are confirmed cases; and we all know that consumptive cases are too often fatal, and show marks of being so at a very early stage. The Consumption Hospital is built for these, and it provides alleviations and comforts for many a deathbed; and, better still, is often the means of prolonging life.

Mr. Wilson professed his intention of subscribing to so excellent an Institution. Emily ventured no further observations, but as she quietly walked along by the side of page 73Mr. Wilson, such thoughts as the following occupied her mind. I wonder why they do not apply the same reasoning to the hospitals that they did to the Church Missionary Society. Because they support the excellent Society which seeks to supply the spiritual necessities of our colonies, they will not support the Church Missionary, which wishes to do the same for a totally different class of persons. Why should one Society be considered to interfere with the other, any more than the Consumption Hospital interferes with St. George's? They do not say, "I will not subscribe to the Consumption Hospital because I do subscribe to St. George's." I am sure the Propagation Society has no more means of "taking in" the heathen, than St. George's has of "taking in" consumptive cases. Why does not Dr. James propose that they should enlarge St. George's to take in the consumptive cases, when they have cured all the other diseases, as he did to enlarge the Gospel Propagation Society, when its present objects have been gained? page 74leaving, meanwhile, the poor heathen to remain in degradation and misery, and thousands dying daily without the knowledge of that Saviour who alone can make a death-bed happy.

45 Refers to a member of a religious body who has separated from the established church.

46 An historic area of London.

47 The term given to European forms of postpartum confinement