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Extract from: ‘Richard Hobson of Liverpool – The Autobiography of a Faithful Pastor’.

First published as What Hath God Wrought, 1903

Republished by Banner of Truth, 2003

“One day [in 1865] Dr. Blakeney asked me to have a walk with him, as he had something special to say; it was this: ‘What do you think? I believe the time has come for the formation of an association in the Church of England to maintain its doctrine and discipline against the inroads of semi-Romanism now being made by that disloyal body the “English Church Union.” I propose writing a letter to the Record, suggesting such, and to wait three months to see if anyone will take it up.’ He wrote, but no one took the hint. Later on he came to me, saying that he had been much in prayer as to his letter to the Record, and that he had decided to write a hundred letters to as many well-known clergyman and laymen, inviting them to meet him in London for conference on the subject. He did so, and over eighty attended. After prayer and conference, it was unanimously decided to form a society as suggested, to be called ‘the Church Association,’ appointing the convener honorary secretary pro tem. I have been a member of that organization from the beginning.

The Council subsequently accepted, and hung on its office wall, No. 14, Buckingham Street, Strand, London, Dr. Blakeney’s life-size portrait, presented by the late John Hope, Esq., of Edinburgh, bearing the following inscription: R. P. Blakeney, D.D., LL.D., Founder of the Church Association.’

The history of that association, as to its aims, methods and achievements, is well known. I shall therefore only say that if its findings in test cases set forth by the Privy Council, had been enforced by the Bishops as a body, the English Church Union would not to-day be able to print and publish to the world, in ‘The Tourists’ Guide,’ the names and addresses of over nine thousand clergymen more or less advanced on the way to Rome. What the end of it all will be who can tell? Of this we may be sure: ‘The Lord reigneth.’ His ‘counsel shall stand.’ He will do all His pleasure. Meantime He tells His faithful ones, ‘Ye are my witnesses.’ Oh, to be found amongst the ‘called and chosen and faithful’!"

Canon Richard Paul Blakeney (1820-1884) was vicar of Christ Church, Claughton, nr Birkenhead (Chester Diocese)

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