St Martin, Brampton: Good And Faithful Servant

St Martin’s Church at Brampton, Cumbria, was of little historical interest when I called, but possessed much artistic merit. It somehow felt perfectly beautiful and tasteful; attractive, without being gaudy or excessive. Little wonder, for it is considered a splendid example of the work of the Pre-Raphaelites. It is adorned by an exquisite set of stained glass windows designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and manufactured by William Morris, two of the nineteenth-century's most celebrated designers.

For all its elegant décor and well apportioned fittings, it was a particular stained glass window at its rear that caught my eye, or rather the text which was cited from Matthew 25:21:

Well done, thou good and faithful servant

Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Whatever our achievements, artistic taste, business acumen, academic reputation or social prestige, these words of the Lord Jesus are all we ever want to hear upon our reception in heaven: no more, no less.

 I seek and hope to find

  A portion for my soul,

  To heal a feverish mind,

  And make a bankrupt whole;

  A cup of blessing for the poor,

  That’s free, and full, and flowing o’er.

No satisfying rest

  Earth’s fluttering joys impart;

  The portion of a beast

  Will not content my heart;

  The God of spirits only can

  Fill up the vast desires of man.

-John Berridge, Gadsby’s Hymns, No 886