Cambridge: Society of St. John the Evangelist, 1930. First edition. Original stiff wrappers (9 inches tall) with yapped edges, both panels decorated in red-and-black. Staples pulling slightly, tiny blemishes and minor wear along protruding yapped edges, tape mark to lower corner, closed tear to upper margin of rear wrapper. Very good indeed. Item #1495
"I WILL LIVE IN CELIBACY, POVERTY AND OBEDIENCE, AS ONE OF THE MISSION PRIESTS OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST UNTO MY LIFE'S END. SO HELP ME GOD"
Scarce first impression of this illustrated history of the Cowley Fathers—printed by the Society of St. John the Evangelist and illustrated with a frontispiece portrait of "Richard Meux Benson, S.S.J.E. / The Father Founder," 12 additional captioned plates, and a folding plate of "The Mother House / Cambridge."
Established in 1866, the Society of St. John the Evangelist is understood to be the first stable community of Anglican priests established since the Reformation. The essay is composed of several sections: Beginnings, The Spirit of the Society, The Congregations, The Daily Life, The Training of Candidates, Laymen in the Society. "Benson's Cowley Fathers...taking the name of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, characterized themselves as Mission Priests" (Geoffrey Rowell) but Benson was content to let the Works of the Society grow slowly.
The outer wrappers are illustrated with the emblem of the Society of St. John the Evangelist (reproduced in black-and-white on the half title) and the inner wrappers list the American, Canadian, and English Congregations, and an advertisement for the Cowley Review. The text concludes with A Prayer for the Society of St. John the Evangelist: "grant unto Thy servants that they may evermore abide in that love and accomplish Thy holy will. Watch over the Society of St. John the Evangelist for good." Additional general information is collected in an Appendix supplemented with the Hours of Services in the Churches served by the Fathers of the Society, a Form of Bequest. Rowell. The Vision Glorious: Themes and Personalities of the Catholic Revival In Anglicanism.