Wisdom from Part IV: A generous zeal for education

This week’s excerpt from Charlotte Mason’s book Formation of Character is found on pages 427-428, and is from a tribute to Thomas Godolphin Rooper, a longtime friend of Charlotte Mason and the P.N.E.U.

For their part, the students held their Inspector in great reverence as well as cordial regard: they saw that he knew and that he cared. Once or twice, in his generous zeal for education, he came to us, I believe at great inconvenience, to give lessons before the students on subjects in which he knew he could help them…

It is difficult to speak of Mr. Rooper’s delightful and stimulating conversation, and of his genial interest in everything. We have lost a great man, and at a moment apparently when his achievements, his gifts and his knowledge should have been of special value to the nation he served. “To me personally the loss is irreparable,” writes one of his many friends; and perhaps seldom have such sorrowful words found a wider echo. His extraordinary devotion as a brother is known to many. But to all who mourn him he has left, not only the legacy of his life amongst us, but of three sayings, spoken when he was very near the end: “hope”; then, after a long interval, “press forward”; and later, “help from Him.” Whether spoken consciously, to his sisters, or unconsciously, the messages are those of his life. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. May we all “hope,” “press forward,” and look for “help from Him.”

I cannot close this inadequate notice of a great, good man better than by quoting a few phrases from an essay on The Grammarian’s Funeral––with the motto “Great Men do mean what they say,” by Mr. Rooper:––

“His whole life was a long ascent, in the course of which there was no level ground.”
“He lived to magnify the mind.”
“Left play for work, grappled with the world, bent on escaping the common life.” 
“He had laid out his plan for his lifetime.”
“A great work will require a lifetime, and its payment will never be received this side the grave.”

So let us––

          “Leave him still loftier than the world suspects, Living and dying.”

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