Old Meeting House Congregational Church (1643)

The Best Hidden Church in Norwich

The making of a man

To match pearls so that they may be strung together to make a perfect necklace is the work of a specialist. To bestow spiritual qualities so that they form a balanced personality is the work of God Himself, but it is the inevitable outcome of a divinely-possessed soul. In the book of Galatians we read that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. This is surely an excellent description of a complete person, and a faithful disciple of Jesus.

The writings of John Buchan made famous by his novel The 39 Steps, his son Alistair said: “From this spiritual restraint…sprang a force so warm and positive that it changed the air around him. This lack of jealousy and anger, springing not form indifference but form conviction, so pervaded that climate of his mind and of his conversation, that in his company one forgot the cheap jibe and the vindictive comment.” Such a personality is not created by the mere application of psychological principles; indeed, it is not in the last analysis a human creation at all. The beginnings of the growth of so perfectly poised a character are to be found, most probably, in the manse where, as a boy he offered a boy’s loyalty to the Eternal. In the soldier and statesman and author of later years there was the blossom and fruit of the divine Spirit.

In the crypt of the now famous St. George’s Church in Leeds, a man stood, half shyly, and asked a question. “Excuse me,” he said to one of the helpers in that work of mercy carried on by the late Don Robin in the fiercest days of World War II, “Excuse me, is this the place you come to when you are in trouble?” It was!  In 10 years more than 13,000 people, homeless and despairing, slept peacefully in that strange shelter. Ex-convicts, the destitute and the prostitute, the flotsam and jetsam of a distracted world, found their way wistfully, not merely to a refuge but to a shrine of hope. The doors had been opened by Don Robin, at one time a distinguished airman, but later a man who gave his all to the people he loved for the sake of One who first loved him and them. “The tasks are enormous,” said he, “but the strength of those who trust in God is unlimited.” From him, as from John Buchan and from every consecrated soul, there springs a force which, by the grace of God, changes the spiritual climate and brings new hope and new life to those who were dying in despair.


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