chapter  8
RESCUING
Pages 18

The awakening of evangelical enthusiasm that Cochrane experienced in 1852 became an increasingly common occurrence in that decade and the following one. Up to that point, he, like other optimistic humanitarians of the early Victorian period, sought to remove the physical, social, and political impediments which prevented poor people of every description and religious persuasion from living happy and self-directed lives. He would free the disadvantaged in the burgeoning cities so that they might follow their natural inclinations to improve themselves. To this end he demonstrated and agitated. But toward the close of his life he seems to have abandoned utility for salvationism. By making this shift he provides us with a convenient bridge to another era of reform, one that led large numbers of men and, now on a significant scale, women into the streets of London to minister to the poor. The faith that sustained this new vanguard of reborn Protestants did not rest on the expectation that fallen humanity would choose the good if given a chance to do so but on the conviction that personal salvation obliged those who sensed it to bring the good news to all sinners who could be reached. As one evangelist remarked, "Why do we not gather where the fish are?"! Hence many missionaries of this second Evangelical Awakening-burned with zeal to obey Christ's command to "Go out quickly into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled" (Luke XIV, 23).