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A Martyred Bishop

JAMES HANNINGTON, B.A., Bishop and Martyr,
     born in Hurstpierpont, Sussex, in 1847, made a few
tours abroad, entered Oxford, was ordained in 1874,
yet in these early days of his ministry Hannington was
conscientious and absolutely sincere in all that he did;

but not even yet could it be said of him that he knew what
it was to live in the knowledge that Jesus Christ was his
personal Saviour.   His time, his talents, his money he
gave freely and ungrudgingly in the service of the people
amongst whom he ministered; but he could not tell them
from his own experience of the transforming power of the
Holy Spirit of God in the human heart.   He was conscious
of something lacking in his ministry, and at times he
became unhappy and depressed, because he felt that he
had not the power he ought to have had in his work for
God.   But light and knowledge came to him--vouchsafed
through the reading of a single chapter in a little book
that his friend Mr. Dawson had sent to him.
   The story of what may be called James Hannington's
conversion is one of the most remarkable of its kind that
has ever been recorded.   Thirteen months before the
light came to him, when he was preparing for ordination,
he had written to his friend, bewailing his unworthiness;
and in his reply Mr. Dawson had related the story of his
own spiritual experience, and urged him to give himself
up in full and complete surrender to God.   For more than
a year that letter remained unanswered; and then, in his
distress at his failure to realise the full meaning of per-
sonal salvation, he wrote again to his friend, begging
him to come and help him.   Mr. Dawson was at the time
unable to leave his own work and journey into Devonshire;
but he wrote a letter that he hoped would be helpful, and
with it he enclosed a little book--"Grace and Truth," by
Dr. Mackay, of Hull.   This book Hannington commenced
to read; but he got no further than the preface, where he
found what he too hastily concluded to be an error in
scholarship on the part of the author.   This was enough
for him.   He straightway threw the book aside.
   For long the book remained neglected and forgotten;
and then, when he was preparing for a journey, at the end
of which he expected to meet his friend, he suddenly
remembered it, and it occurred to him that he would
probably be asked whether he had read it.   Rather from
a desire to be able to give an affirmative answer to that
question than from any particular wish to know what the
book contained, he put it into his portmanteau, and at the
first opportunity he read the first chapter.

   He found it so little to his taste that he made up his
mind that not even for his friend's sake would he read
any more of it; and his feeling of disapproval was so
vigorous that he flung the offending volume across the
room.   Ultimately he put it back in his portmanteau,
where it remained until his next visit to Hurstpierpoint.
There he came across it again; and resolving for his
friend's sake to make one more effort to overcome his
prejudice, he started for the third time to read it.   He
read straight on for three chapters, and came at length to
one entitled, "Do you feel your sins forgiven?" and by
means of this his eyes were opened.   "I was in bed at the
time reading,"
he says; "I sprang out of bed and leaped
about the room, rejoicing and praising God that Jesus
died for me.   From that day to this I have lived under the
shadow of His wings in the assurance of faith that I am
His and He is mine."

   His transition from the darkness of doubt and un-
certainly to the marvellous light and peace of the Gospel
was a fact for which he seemed never able sufficiently
to express his thankfulness and gratitude.

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