• $4.99

Publisher Description

The life of George Augustus Selwyn has many lessons to teach us. In the position which he was called upon to fill, there were exceptional opportunities which his own natural gifts enabled him to meet in an exceptional way. He showed himself to be not only a devoted missionary and a capable organizer, but a statesman, able to grasp a big situation and to lay wise foundations for the future. As a missionary bishop, he had the care of a specially virile and promising race in the Maoris, and of the other very varied races that inhabited the countless islands of the Pacific. But he had also to provide for the spiritual needs of the colonists who came to his diocese in ever growing numbers, attracted by the rich promise of New Zealand. The claims made upon his time and thought by the colonists, the Maoris and the islanders had all to be met and adjusted, and in the midst of all the urgent demands for the pressing work of each moment, he had to be building up the church of the future. He could not think only of the native Church. His call was not only to be a missionary, to bring the heathen to Christ, but also to lay the foundations of a Church which was to witness to Christ in a land destined for a great future, as part of the British Empire. He had to consider how black and white could be welded into one nation, and into one Church. His could not be the simple straightforward task of the teacher or the evangelist. Yet he was ever at heart a missionary, animated by a true sense of vocation. There are those whose own life of devotion and service is their chief witness for Christ, their great gift to His Church; but Selwyn was called to do more than witness for Christ by his life and his individual work. His work as an organizer was inspired by a desire for efficiency, for making the best use in God’s service of the men and the money entrusted to his care. But more than this, he had ever before him a vision of what the Church in New Zealand should be in the future. He saw it a Church, founded on the best traditions of the past, able to grow and expand to meet all the needs of the future, in communion with the Anglican Church throughout the world, that Church which he believed by its origin and history to be the branch of the Catholic Church best fitted to the genius of the Anglo-Saxon people. Rooted in the past, throbbing with the active life of the present, ready to meet the great possibilities of the future, the Church was the inspiration of all his efforts. But in his devotion to the whole, he never lost sight of the individual. It is the combination of far reaching views with tender care for each individual soul which gives him his special charm and makes him so valuable an example for others. Organization was never to him an object in itself. In the midst of big schemes, struggling with big plans, there was no service however menial that he was not eager to render to any sufferer however humble, there was no task however arduous that he was not ready to undertake. He lived intensely, and though life was to him a constant act of self-surrender, he could rejoice in it and in all that it brought to him of beauty, interest and affection.

Biographies & Memoirs
23 November
Library of Alexandria
The Library of Alexandria