Catherine Marsh – Loving the Unloved


Catherine Marsh by Lionel Grimston Fawkes 

By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth:

In 1853, thousands of men arrived on the quiet Sydenham hills to build an ambitious structure: the Crystal Palace, where Charles Spurgeon later preached to a crowd of 23,654 people. Building such a capable compound, surrounded by gardens and fountains, took an enormous effort.

Most of the builders were a group known as “navvies” (short for “navigators,” since they had built the first navigation canals in the 18th century). Given their reputation for fighting, cursing, and hard drinking, they were typically shunned by the respectable Victorians who had worked hard to keep a quiet neighborhood. A local paper described the navvies as “reckless, desperate, violent characters, who are restrained by no principle from the commission of crime.”[1]

The famous essayist Thomas Carlyle expressed common feelings of disgust when he wrote, “The country is in a great state of derangement. . . and all the roads and lanes overrun with drunken navies. . . I have not in my travels seen anything uglier than that disorganic mass of labourers, sunk three-fold deeper in brutality by the three-fold wages they are getting.”

But when Catherine Marsh looked at the navvies, she saw people in need of Christ.


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