from being at Church. I trust I have not urged
the necessity of communicating unwisely upon them.
I preach on it once a month, as you know, and in
almost every sermon allude to it, and where occasion
offers, speak about it to individuals at home ; but
I try to put before them the great awfulness of it as
well as the danger of neglecting it, and I warn them
against coming without feeling really satisfied from
what I read to them, and they read in the Bible
concerning it. Six came yesterday for the first
time . . . Old William (seventy-five years of age),
who has never been a Communicant, volunteered
on Thursday to come, if I thought it right. He is,
and always has been (I am told), a thoroughly respec-
table, sober, industrious man, regular at Church once
a day; and I went to his cottage with a ticket in my
pocket to urge him to consider the danger of going
on as if content with what he did and without
striving to press onwards, &c. But, after a long
conversation on other matters, he said : "I should
like. Sir, to come to the Sacrament, if you have no
objection ;" and very happy and thankful I felt, for I
had prayed very earnestly that this old man might
be led thither by God's grace, and now it was done
without any urging on my part, beyond what he
heard in Church and what I had said to his daughter
The next of his letters is occupied with the pecuniary
1854.] Effects of Hard Work 165
affairs of his lodging- house for farm boys, and the
obtaining of ground where they might grow vegetables
for their own use.
In February his family returned home, and his
sister Fanny thus speaks of him to a friend : â€”
' He does not look well ; and at first we were quite un-
easy, for his eyes were heavy and puffed, but he is
much better, and confesses that dinners and evenings
here do him good, though he quite denies the starv-
ing, and Mrs. Knowles also. She says he gets over
anxious in mind, and was completely chilled the
week he sat in the hall. No doubt his house is still
both cold and damp, and the Church the same, and
therefore the labour of reading and preaching is
very great. We are by degrees interesting him in
our winter life, having heard all his performances
and plans ; and he is very glad to have us back,
though much too busy to have missed us when we
were away. Now he has daily morning service,
with a lecture ; and if it lasts, the impression he has
made is really extraordinary. We may well pray
that he should not be vain of his works. There are
men whose whole lives seem changed, if I am to
believe what I hear.'
One more letter of this period we give, to his cousin
Arthur : â€”
Feniton : Thursday, 5.30 P.M.
My dear Arthur, â€” I write you see from Feniton,
whither I have been driven by a violent cold caught
on Saturday, and accompanied by partial loss of
voice. I got through the Sunday duty pretty well,
but have not been able to have my daily service
since, and I half fear shall not be able to do much
before next Sunday. So I came home on Wednes-
1 66 Life of John Coleridge Patteson [Ch. v.
day (yesterday) to be looked after, there being no
person requiring my daily attendance now in my
While here I have looked into the ' Correspond-
ence between Bishop J ebb and A. Knox, Esq.'
Read it if it comes in your way : it is very light, easy
reading, though dealing with important subjects,
give much matter for subsequent reflection without
making your head ache at the time, and is I think
particularly useful to clergymen. It would be a
great happiness to me if I could save you in any
way the labour and loss of time incurred in going
over much ground that I have needlessly laboured
along. You can I know always consult Fred, and
his experience is much greater than mine ; but I will
only put before you the actual result of my own
experience, and leave you to judge for yourself. I
have unquestionably lost very much time in desultory
reading in letting my eye pass over pages without
exercising my mmd, in substituting the conviction
of others (expressed in Commentaries, Sermons, &c.)
for the process of thinking out a matter myself.
There is nothing, I really think nothing, gained by
this ; and the mind from not being employed loses its
power, while one is deceived into the notion that
real work is going on.
I think that by calmly considering the two or three
great questions which lie at the bottom of every
parochial difficulty, and thinking deeply and con-
tinuously upon them, with the aid of books and
writing, so long only as they are made by thought
part of oneself, more real good will be done and
more peace of mind ensured (humanly speaking)
tlian l)y any amount of discursive reading; but I am
satisfied that unless one's own heart and life form
1854] Theory and Practice 167
the key to the understanding, the mystery of sin,
the case of the sinner, the power of the Gospel, &c.,
our preaching cannot be effective and our knowledge
of the Bible will be little more than intellectual.
Now this Correspondence is, I think, suggestive, just
what I imagine is desirable for people at our age ; it
does not save us the trouble of thought, it does not
come recommended by a name which we are so
familiar with as to command respect at once, e.g.
Pusey, Newman, Mill, Keble, &c. so that we criticise
it fairly upon its own merits, and can gather up or
cast aside the hints it gives as we think fit. If you
don't mind my coolly advising you, I would add that,
of all things I have found writing out short Essays
upon various questions is the most profitable, and I
think many abstract questions of divinity become
easier to us when reduced to practice, e.g. instead of
taking the theoretical ground about Dissent, imagine
yourself discussing the question with a moderately
well informed Dissenter, realise his position, account
for circumstances of education, defective working of
Church system, &c. ; or again, in thinking upon
Justification, it may be an help to think what was the
viodtis operandi and the status of the palsied man,
or many as after the words passed : ' Thy sins are
It would be a very great delight to me to walk
and talk thus some day ; things become so real when
they have to be applied, not to abstractions of the
mind, but to persons. Good-bye, old fellow, and let
me hear from time to time how you go on. My
cold has inflicted this upon you.
J. C. P.
1 68 Lije of John Coleridge Pattesofi [Ch. v.
Such was the young Deacon's early success. With
an affectionate brother close at hand, and friends within
easy reach, his Fellowship preserving his connection
with Oxford, his father's and brother's profession with
London, in fact, all England could offer ; and he would
easily have it in his power to take fresh holidays on the
Continent and enjoy those delights of scenery, archi-
tecture, art and music, which he loved with an apprecia-
tion and enthusiasm that could easily have become an
absorbing passion. Who could have a smoother,
easier, pleasanter career open to him than the Rev.
John Coleridge Patteson at six and twenty ?
Yet even then, the wish breathed to his mother, at
fourteen, that he might devote himself to the cause of
the heathen, lay deep in his heart ; although for the
present, he was, as it were, waiting to see what God
would have him do, whether his duty to his Father
required him to remain at hand, or whether he might
be called to minister in some great English manufac-
Early in 1854, it became known that the Bishop of
New Zealand and Mrs. Selwyn were about to spend
a year in England. Coley's aspirations to mission
work were renewed. The thoughts excited by the
sermons he had heard at Eton twelve years previously
grew in force. He remembered his mother's promise
of her blessing, and seriously considered of offering
himself to assist in the work in the Southern Hemi-
sphere. He discussed the matter seriously with his
friend, Mr, Gardiner, who was strongly of opinion that
tlie scheme ought not to be entertained during his
father's lifetime. He acquiesced ; but if his heart and
mind were convinced, his soul and spirit were not, and
the yearnings ior tlic forefront of the battle were not
quenched, tliough there was no slackening of zeal over
1854-] Bishop Sehvyn s Visit "169
the present little flock, to make them suspect that he
had a thought beyond.
Old ties of friendship already mentioned made the
Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn promise to spend a few days
at Feniton ; and on the i8th of August, the New Zea-
land guests arrived at Feniton. After joining in the
family welcome, Coley went apart, and gave way to a
great burst of tears, due, perhaps, not so much to disap-
pointed ardour, as to the fervent emotion excited by
the actual presence of a hero of the Church Militant,
who had so long been the object of deep silent
enthusiasm. The next morning, Coley walked from
Alfington to breakfast at home, and afterwards went
into the garden with the Bishop, who led him to talk
freely of his present work in all its details. By and
by the question arose, Did it satisfy him ?
Yes, the being near his father satisfied him that it
was right for the present, but at some future time, he
hoped to do more, go perhaps to some great manufac-
turing town, or, as he could not help going on to say,
what he should like would be to go out as a missionary,
only the thought of his father withheld him.
' But,' replied the Bishop, ' if you think about doing
a thing of that sort, it should not be put off till you are
getting on in life. It should be done with your full
strength and vigour.'
Then followed an endeavour on both sides to ascer-
tain whether the inclination was a real earnest desire,
or only fancy for the romance of mission work. The
test might be whether he were willing to go wherever
he might be sent, or only where he was most interested.
Coley replied, that he was willing to work anywhere,
adding that his sister Fanny could testify whether his
desire were a real one of long standing or the mere
outcome of a fit of enthusiasm.
I/O Life of yohii Coleridge Patteson [Ch. v.
Therewith they separated, and Coley, going straight
to Fanny, told her what had passed : ' I could not
help it,' he said : â€” ' I told the Bishop of my wish.'
* You ought to put it to my father, that he may
decide it,' she answered ; ' he is so great a man that
he ought not to be deprived of the crown of the
sacrifice if he be willing to make it'
So Coley repaired to his father, and confessed his
long cherished wish, and how it had come forth to the
Bishop. Sir John was manifestly startled ; but at once
said : ' You have done quite right to speak to me, and
not to wait. It is my first impulse to say No, but that
would be very selfish.'
Coley explained that he was ' driven to speak ; ' he
declared himself not dissatisfied with his present posi-
tion, nor he hoped, impatient. If his staying at home
were decided upon, he would cheerfully work on
there without disappointment or imagining his wishes
thwarted. He would leave the decision entirely in the
hands of his father and the Bishop.
Luncheon brought the whole family together ; and
Sir John, making room for his 3'ounger daughter beside
him, said, * Fan, did you know this about Coley ? '
She answered that she had some idea, but no more
could pass till the meal was ended ; when her father
went into another room, and she followed him. The
great grief broke out in the exclamation : ' I can't let
him go;' but even as the words were uttered, they
were caught back, as it were, with â€” ' God forbid I
should stop him.'
The subject could not ho. pursued, for the Bishop
was public property among the frientls and neiglibours,
and tlic rest of the day was bestowed upon them. He
preached on the Sunday at Alfington, where the people
thronged to hear him, WvvV: thinking of the consequences
of his visit.
1854.] ' Bishop Selwyns Visit I'ji
Not till afterwards were the Bishop and the father
alone together, when Sir John brought the subject
forward. The Bishop has since said that what struck
him most was the calm balancing of arguments, like a
true Christian Judge. Sir John spoke of the great
comfort he had in this son, cut off as he was by his
infirmity from so much of society, and enjoying the
young man's coming in to talk about his work. He
dwelt on all with entire absence of excitement, and
added : ' But there, what right have I to stand in his
way ? How do I know that I may live another year ? '
And as the conversation ended, ' Mind,' he said ; ' I
give him wholly, not with any thought of seeing him
again. I will not have him thinking he must come
home again to see me.'
That resolution was the cause of much peace of
mind to both father and son.
After family prayers that Sunday night, when all
the rest had gone upstairs, the Bishop detained the
young man, and told him the result of the conversation,
then added : ' Now, my dear Coley, having ascertained
your own state of mind and having spoken at length
to your father and your family, I can no longer
hesitate, as far as you recognise any power to call on
my part, to invite you most distinctly to the work.'
The reply was full acceptance.
Then taking his hand, the Bishop said, *God bless
you, my dear Coley ! It is a great comfort to me to
have you for a friend and companion.'
Such was the outward and such the inward vocation
to the Deacon now within the month of the Priesthood.
Was it not an evident call from Him by whom the
whole Church is governed and sanctified ? And surely
the noble old man who forced himself not to withhold
172 Life of yohn Coleridge Patteson [Ch. v.
' his son, his firstborn son ' received his crown from
Him who said : ' With blessing I will bless thee.'
And he wrote to his brother :
My dear old Jem, â€” I have news for you of an unex-
pected and startling kind ; about myself : and I am
afraid that it will cause you some pain to hear what
I am to tell you. You must know that for years
I have felt a strong leaning toward missionary work,
and though my proceedings at Alfington and even
the fact of going thither might seem to militate
against such a notion, yet the feeling has been con-
tinually present to me, and constantly exercising an
increasing influence over me. I trust I have not
taken an enthusiastic or romantic view of things ;
my own firm hope and trust is that I have decided
upon calm deliberate conviction, and it is some proof
of this, that Fanny and Joan have already guessed
my state of mind, and months ago anticipated what
has now taken place. . . . And so, clear Jem, you must
help them all to bear what will of course be a great
trial. This is my trial also ; for it is hard to bear
the thought that I may be giving unnecessary pain
and causing distress without really having considered
sufficiently the whole matter. But then I think
God does not call now by an open vision ; this
thought has been for years working in my mind : it
was His Providence that brought me into contact
witli the ])ishop in times past, and has led me to
speak now. I cannot doubt tliis. I feel sure that if
I was alone in the world I should go ; the only
question that nMiiains is, ' am I bound to stay for
my dear I'athcr's sake, or for tlie sake of you all ?'
and tlu's has l)ecn answered for me by Father and
\?)54-] Aimouncement to James Patieson 173
the Bishop. And now, my dear Jem, think well
over my character, sift it thoroughly, and try to see
what there is which may have induced me to act
wrongly in a matter of so much consequence. This
is the kindest thing you can do ; for we ought to
take every precaution not to make a mistake before
it is too late. Speak out quite plainly ; do tell me
distinctly as far as you can see them my prevailing
faults, what they were in boyhood, at Eton, and
at College. It may help me to contemplate more
clearly and truly the prospect before me. We shall
have many opportunities, I trust, of discussing all
this by and bye. I shall tell Uncle John, because
some arrangements must be made about Alfington
as soon as may be. My tutor knows something
about it already ; it will soon be known to more.
But do not suppose that I imagine myself better
qualified for this work than hundreds of others more
earnest, and infinitely more unselfish, and practically
good ; but I have received an invitation to a peculiar
work, which is not offered to many others. We
must all look onwards : we must try to think of this
world as but a short moment in our existence ; our
real life and home is beyond the grave. On
September 24th I hope to be ordained Priest ;
think of me and pray for me. my dear old fellow, that
God will give me more of your own unselfishness
and care and interest for others, and teach me to
act not according to my own will and pleasure, but
solely with a view to His honour and glory. God
bless you, my dear old Jem, my dear, dear brother.
Your most loving brother,
J. C. P.
From that moment the matter was treated as fixed ;
174 Life of John Coleridge Patteson [Ch. V.
and only three days later, the intention was announced
to the relations at Thorverton.
This is the letter to the little fatherless cousin,
Paulina Martyn, who had always been devoted to
Coley, and whom he loved with a triple portion of the
affection children always gained from him. She was
only eight years old, but had the precocity of solitary
children much attended to by their elders.
Feniton : August 24, 1854.
My darling Pena, â€” I am going to tell you a secret, and
I am afraid it is one which will make you feel very
sorry for a little while. Do you remember my
talking to you one day after breakfast rather
gravely, and telling you afterwards it was my first
sermon to you ? Well, my darling, I was trying to
hint to you that you must not expect to go on very
long in this world without troubles and trials, and
that the use of them is to make us think more about
God and about Heaven, and to remember that our
real and unchangeable happiness is not to be found
in this world, but in the next. It was rather strange
for me to say all this to a bright happy good child
like you, and I told you that you ought to be bright
and happy, and to thank God for making you so.
It is never right for us to try to make ourselves
sad and grieve. Good people and good children
ar(,' cheerful and happy, although they may have
plenty of trials and troubles. You see how quietly
and patiently Mamma and Grandpapa and Grand-
mamma take all their trouble about dear Aunty,
that is a good k.'sson for us all. And now, my
darling, I will tell you my secret. I am going to
sail at Christmas, if I live so long, a great way from
England, right to tlie other end of the world, with
1854-] D eat li of Frank Coleridge 175
the good Bishpp of New Zealand. I dare say you
know where to find it on the globe. Clergymen
are wanted out there to make known the Words of
God to the poor ignorant people, and for many
reasons it is thought right that I should go. So
after Christmas you will not see me again for a very
long time, perhaps never in this world ; but I shall
write to you very often, and send you ferns and
seeds, and tell you about the Norfolk Island pines,
and you must write to me, and tell me all about
yourself, and always think of me, and pray for me,
as one who loves you dearly with all his heart, and
will never cease to pray God that the purity and
innocence of your childhood may accompany you all
through your life and make you a blessing (as you
are now, my darling) to your dear mother and all
who know you.
Ever your most affectionate,
J. C. Patteson.
A heavy grief was even now on the family. The
beloved * Uncle Frank,' so often affectionately men-
tioned, had been failing for some time. He had taken
a journey abroad, with one of his daughters, in hopes
of refreshment and invigoration, but the fatigue and
excitement were more than he could bear ; he returned
home, took to his bed, and was rapidly sinking,
' He suffered no pain, and was in a heavenly state of
mind indeed, a most blessed death bed, most supfees-
tive of comfort and peace to all who survive as a
most evident proof of what the close of life may be,
if only that life is spent faithfully in doing our duty
as Patteson wrote to his old friend, Miss Neill.
176 Life of John Coleyidge Pattcsoii [Ch. v.
Truly, the kindly genial presence, and upright, high
principled character of Francis George Coleridge were
not a little missed among his friends. He was laid
close to that Churchyard gate, where he had passed,
every morning, with his children about him, to dedicate
his day's work at the 8 o'clock service in that beautiful
Chuch, in whose renovation and decoration he had
borne no inconsiderable part.
To the child's mother the words are : â€”
' I pray God that I may have chosen aright, and
that if 1 have acted from sudden impulse too much,
from love of display, or from desire to raise some
interest about myself, or from any other selfish and
unholy motive, it may be mercifully forgiven.
Now, at all events, I must pray that with a single
honest desire for God's glory, I may look straight
onwards towards the mark. I must forget what is
behind, I must not lose time in analysing my state of
mind to see how, during years past, this wish has
worked itself out. I trust the wish is from God,
and now I must forget myself, and think only of the
work whereunto I am called. But it is hard to flesh
and blood to think of the pain I am causing my dear
dear Father, and the pain I am causing to others
outside my own circle here. But they are all satis-
fied that I am doing what is right, and it would
surprise you, althougli you know them so well, to
hear the calmness with which we talk about outfits.'
After describing all this to Miss Neill, Patteson
continues : â€”
' And now one word about myself, which at such a
time I shoukl n(jt obtrude upon you, but that the
1854.] Letter to Miss Neill 177
visit of the Bishop of New Zealand made it necessary
for me to speak.
I am going with him to work, if all is well, at the
Antipodes, believing that the growing desire for
missionary work, which for years has been striving
within me, ought no longer to be resisted, and trust-
ing that I am not mistaken in supposing that this
is the line of duty that God has marked out for me.
You may be sure that all this is done with the
full consent and approbation of my dear Father.
He and the Bishop had a great deal of conversation
about it, and I left it entirely for them to determine.
That it will be a great trial to us all at Christmas
when we sail, I cannot conceal from myself, it is so
great a separation that I cannot expect ever to see
my dear Father, perhaps not any of those I love
best, again in this world. But if you all know that
I am doing, or trying to do, what is right, you will
all be happy about me ; and what has just been
taking place at the Manor House teaches us to look
on a little to a blessed meeting in a better place
soon. It is from no dissatisfaction at my present
position, that I am induced to take this step. I
have been very happy at Alfington ; and I hope to
be ordained Priest, on the 24th of September, with
a calm mind. I trust I am not following any
sudden hasty impulse, but obeying a real call to a
real work, and (in the midst of much self-seeking
and other alloy), not wholly without a sincere desire
to labour for the honour and glory of God,'
With this purpose full in view, Coleridge Patteson
received Ordination as a Priest in the ensuinof Ember
Week, again at the hands of Bishop Phillpotts, in Exeter
Cathedral ; where a beautiful marble pulpit is to com-
memorate the fact.
178 Life of yohu Coleridge Pattcsoii [Ch. V.
The wrench from home and friends could not but
be terrible. The sisters, indeed, were so far prepared
that they had been aware from the first of his wish
and his mother's reception of it, and when they told
their Father, he was pleased and comforted ; for truly
he was upheld by the strength of willing sacrifice.
Those were likewise sustained who felt the spirit of
missionary enterprise and sympathy, which was at that
time so strongly infused into the Church ; but the
shock was severe to many, and especially to the
brother who had been devoted to Coley from their
earliest infancy, and among his relations the grief was
As to the district of Alfington, the distress was
extreme. The people had viewed Mr. Patteson as