THE Oxford Movement was a revival of the life of the Church of England which began in 1833. It was necessary because the eighteenth century and the early nineteenth had very nearly brought the Church's life to an end. The Movement was primarily brought about by a group of young men in Oxford of whom John Keble was the first leader.
It was a revival of faith and loyalty to the great doctrines of our religion--such doctrines as the Incarnation, the Atonement, Baptism and the Holy Communion--reinforced by a restored faith in the Church of England as a vital and necessary part of the Holy Catholic Church.
The founders of the Oxford Movement were concerned with the truths of religion and the Christian life as lived in conformity with those truths. They were not concerned with the externals of religion. Their followers in later generations found that a new attention to the seemliness and beauty of outward Church worship naturally followed from a clear and reverent faith in the central truths which worship is designed to express.
To this extent the beautifying of churches and the enrichment of services is a result of the Oxford Movement. But the Oxford Movement itself was not concerned with this or with ceremonial.
The chief method by which the founders of the Oxford Movement spread their views was the writing [5/6] of the "Tracts for the Times." So they became known as the Tractarians. The tracts were directed chiefly to the clergy, urging them to teach the full faith without doubt or hesitation. They were extremely successful at first, and they produced a great revival and deepening of the religious life wherever their influence spread.
Their influence inevitably led to opposition. The Liberals, or Modernists, like Dr. Arnold, resented the emphasis on doctrine because they were afraid that it would widen the gulf between the Church and the various nonconformist sects with whom they desired the Church to unite. The old-fashioned clergy frankly disliked being disturbed by new ideals.
Then there were the Parliamentarians, who thought that the Church depended for its existence upon Act of Parliament--that there should be no limit to the control exercised by Parliament. A Church "ordained by Christ himself," as the Tractarians emphasized, could only be subject to Parliament within the limits set by its Divine origin. There thus grew up the idea that the Tractarian doctrines were dangerous and that they tended towards Rome.
The opposition grew in intensity and finally centred in a bitter and crudely expressed attack on Newman's Tract 90 on the Thirty-nine Articles. Newman was inhibited from preaching in Oxford and the Bishop ordered that the Tracts should cease. At that moment a superficial and unfortunate scheme for setting up a joint Lutheran and Anglican Bishopric in Jerusalem seemed to Newman the last straw to his waning allegiance. With a breaking heart he left the English Church, and in 1845 he joined the Church of Rome. Since then the accusation of tending towards Rome has never ceased to be brought against the Tractarian Movement. But of the fourteen writers of Tracts only one seceded to Rome, and the great majority of their followers remained deeply loyal to the English Church.
 The first Tract was called "Thoughts on the Ministerial Commission respectfully addressed to the Clergy," and it and the two next were written by Newman. Others followed in rapid succession, until all the doctrines which the Tractarians wished to recall to the minds of English Churchmen had been covered and reaffirmed, and given the same place in the minds of the Church which most Churchmen would now assign to them.
There were ninety Tracts, and the names of the writers were John Newman, Hurrell Froude, John Keble, Thomas Keble, Arthur Perceval, John Bowden, Isaac Williams, Edward Pusey, Benjamin Harrison, William Palmer, Thomas Mozley, Sir John Prevost, Antony Buller and Richard Wilson.
After Dr. Newman's secession the Oxford Movement took on a new phase.
Those who opposed the Movement now regarded it as inevitably tending towards Rome, and this caused the Evangelicals to join the opposition. The fear of Roman Catholicism made them harsh and unsympathetic to the Tractarians in their misfortune, and this attitude led others to follow Newman to Rome, which in turn increased the suspicion and ill-feeling of those in authority.
Dr. Pusey was in 1843 forbidden to preach in Oxford for two years because of a sermon which he had preached on the "Holy Communion as a consolation to penitent souls." A series of extreme Evangelical appointments to Bishoprics increased the lack of sympathy between the Tractarians and their critics. Their supporters and their critics began to range themselves into two camps. The Gorham Judgment in 1850 widened the breach.
This was the first of a series of decisions on points of doctrine in which an appeal was made from the Ecclesiastical Courts to the Privy Council, which was a secular court answerable only to Parliament.
 The Privy Council naturally did not deal very wisely with the Gorham case, which concerned the doctrine of Regeneration in Baptism. The court was incompetent and admitted that it was so, but the decision against Baptismal Regeneration gave such scandal that fourteen clergy left the Church of England and joined the Church of Rome.
As a matter of fact the Church's doctrine as to Baptism does not depend on what the Privy Council chooses to say about it, and it is quite clearly defined in the Service of Baptism.
Pusey and Keble remained firm, and so did Marriott and the other Tractarians, who had to work harder than ever to prove their faith and loyalty to the English Church.
Two more doctrine trials followed, both on the subject of Holy Communion, the Denison trial in 1854 and the Bennett Judgment in 1872.
Since then there has been no attempt to decide in a Court of Law the nature of the Anglican doctrine of Holy Communion. Whether the Privy Council decides wrongly as in the Gorham Judgment or rightly as in the Bennett case, it makes no difference to those who believe in the doctrine of the Church as the Tractarians taught it, for the Church, being a Divine Society of Apostolic Origin, could not possibly be affected in its teaching about the doctrines of religion by what a group of English lawyers say it does or does not believe.
In 1871 the Privy Council had declared that it was illegal to celebrate the Holy Communion unless the clergyman faced the congregation, but it steadily refused to take action against those in the Church who denied the doctrines of our Lord's Incarnation and the Resurrection.
In 1874 the Public Worship Act was passed by the influence of Queen Victoria and Archbishop Tait "to put down ritual." In five years, four clergymen were [8/9] imprisoned under this Act for refusing to obey the recent decisions of the Privy Council. They were all imprisoned for breaking the law in respect of one or more of the six points. These six points forbade:
1. Facing the Altar while celebrating Holy Communion.
2. Wearing vestments at Holy Communion.
3. Altar lights.
4. Mixed water with the wine in Holy Communion.
5. Using unleavened bread instead of ordinary household bread; and
6. The use of incense.
Those who went to prison did so to establish the freedom of the Church in matters of doctrine from Parliamentary control rather than for the actual ceremonial attacked.
The Public Worship Act had been the work of the Church Association, a society formed in 1865 to put down ritual, and still in existence.
Its first points of attack were customs which are now the ordinary practices of our village churches--flowers on the Altar, the singing of the Te Deum, boy choirs in surplices, and--for some reason--walking in two and two, and the practice of giving the Holy Communion to the choir before the people. All these things were made the occasion of rioting at St. Barnabas, Pimlico, and St. Saviour's, Leeds. The English Church Union was formed as a society to defend those who were attacked.
The spirit which animated these riots has nearly died out of ecclesiastical affairs, and in a few years we may surely hope that Christians will realize the futility and unreason of violence and persecution as a means of expressing their convictions.
The Oxford Movement after 1850 merges into the Anglo-Catholic Movement, but at every step its influence is to be traced, not only in the Anglo-Catholic [9/10] direction, but much more widely in the development of English Church life as a whole. If in the account which follows I do not distinguish very clearly between the two currents of influence, it is because I want to leave it undefined, and I hope that it will be found impossible to do otherwise.
A SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHY
DEAN CHURCH. The Oxford Movement: Twelve Years. (1891.)
CLIFTON KELWAY. The Story of the Catholic Revival. (1915.)
T. DILWORTH-HARRISON. Everyman's History of the Oxford Movement. (1932.)
W. J. SPARROW SIMPSON. The History of the Anglo-Catholic Revival. (1932.)
S. L. OLLARD: A Short History of the Oxford Movement. (1915.)
W. L. Knox: The Catholic Movement in the Church of England. (1923.)
H. F. B. MACKAY: Saints and Leaders. (1928.)
THE ORIGIN OF THE MOVEMENT AND
ITS FIRST LEADERS 1833-1845
WE have been asked by the Archbishops and most of the Bishops of our Church to join this year in helping to keep the centenary of the Oxford Movement. I think we must frankly admit that we are all rather tired of centenaries. Even anniversaries seem to have lost their meaning in an age which is so full of present problems that it hardly seems to have time to look back. And to look back 100 years is to look into a world so unlike our own that it is only with an effort that we can picture its problems, and even when we make that effort we are inclined to question whether it is worth while to recall struggles now happily ended and controversies which have passed into history. For of course it is true that the Oxford Movement has passed into history.
But I want to try to persuade you that it is living history and not a dead past--that the problems which confront us to-day can be approached more intelligently and more hopefully if we can rightly understand what it was that the Tractarians tried to do and how they succeeded in doing it. It is possible to approach the story with every shade of preconceived opinion and with many varying degrees of sympathy or the reverse for the cause. We cannot avoid a certain measure of partisanship, just because the issue is still so vital, and because we must carry our prejudices with us, whether we will or no, even when we travel back 100 years or more. Our inheritance in the Church of England has bequeathed to us the right to differ as to the value of [11/12] the Tractarian teachings. But there are two considerations which should make it possible for everyone who loves and values our Church to join in thanking God for the Oxford Movement. The first is that it undoubtedly saved the Church of England at a moment when it came very near to shipwreck. Another is that there never was a group of men of greater nobility of purpose or of a holier standard of living than the founders of that Movement whose lives we commemorate in this centenary. Whatever our views may be about the value of the doctrines which they lived to proclaim--whether we call ourselves Anglo-Catholics, or whether we are irritated by that word--we shall all, I think, be prepared to join in honouring the tragic greatness of Dr. Newman, the zeal and learning of Dr. Pusey, and above all the quiet saintliness of John Keble. It is in this sense also that I should like to convey to you, if I could, the atmosphere which lingers in all the places where the footsteps of the Tractarians can be traced. It is an atmosphere so authentically Christ-like that, for one who has submitted to its influence, it is hard to think of the Kingdom of Heaven in terms of other experience.
It was the conviction of the founders of the Oxford Movement that it was never the intention of the Church of England, even at the time of the Reformation, to surrender its Catholic character, and that in fact it never has done so. They believed that when we say in the Creed "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church," we are claiming the whole heritage of Catholic Christianity in its two aspects of historical continuity and doctrinal integrity. What exactly that means has been very well expressed by a modern historian of the Oxford Movement, the Rector of St. Bartholomew's, Brighton.
"The Church of England is the local part of that visible Catholic Church which was founded by our [12/13] Lord and endowed with the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost about the year 30. Just as a Roman Catholic would claim that the fact of rival popes in the fourteenth century for a generation, the moral crimes of the papal court at different times of history, the cruelties of the Inquisition, and the toleration from time to time of heresies in the Roman Church have not deprived her of her title to Catholicism, so the Church of England claims that the rejection of the papacy, the alterations in the Liturgy, the abuses which followed the Reformation, the lack of ideals in the eighteenth century, and the conflict of ideals at the present day have not deprived her of her claim to Catholicism.
The word Catholic means the 'whole.' It is a religion intended by our Lord to be--
1. Offered to the whole world.
2. Suited for the whole of time.
3. Able to supply the needs of the whole of our nature: body, mind, and spirit.
The Anglican Communion throughout the world accepts as the basis of Catholicism--
(a) The Catholic Creeds--the Apostles' and the Nicene--as the terms of membership.
(b) The Catholic Ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons, which have been 'from the Apostles' time.'
(c) The Catholic Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, finally authorized by the Church in the fourth century.
(d) The Sacraments ordained by Christ Himself, that is, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord, together with those authorized in the New Testament, the outward sign of which was not specifically ordained by Christ, namely, Confirmation, Penance (or Absolution), Holy Orders, and Holy Matrimony, [13/14] for all of which specific provision is made in the Book of Common Prayer. The Anointing with Holy Oil has ever been the practice in the coronation of sovereigns, and the Sacrament of Unction for the purpose of healing, which has been widely restored, has been under consideration at the Lambeth Conference of all the bishops of the Church in 1908, 1920, and 1930.
When, therefore, Churchmen talk about the 'continuity' of the Church, they do not mean mere continuity of possession (i.e., the possession of cathedrals, churches, titles; the continuity of endowments, customs), but the continuity of essential Catholic doctrines, namely, the Creed, Ministry, Scriptures, and Sacraments.
It was therefore the belief of the Tractarians that, in spite of all that was lifeless and dead in English religion in the early nineteenth century, the Church had never meant to lose or to forego any essential part of the Catholic Faith. In the Prayer Book it is affirmed and defined. In the heat of conflict certain individual reformers had expressed themselves violently in antagonism to some features, mainly external, of Catholic worship, and sometimes the flowers had been uprooted with the weeds. Where so much was being destroyed, it is all the more significant that the essentials of the old faith were so carefully guarded.
But the Prayer Book is not the only evidence of the continuity of the Church's faith in its own identity. Still more remarkable is the evidence of the lives of the great Churchmen--from the time of Henry VIII. down to the revival in 1833--who had kept the light shining through the mists of error and the storms of fanaticism which swept across the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I need only remind you here of the poems of the saintly George Herbert and the prayers of Bishop [14/15] Andrewes. The tender love-songs which George Herbert sang to God 300 years ago are still used by us as hymns, but even in our holiest hours we feel hardly worthy to repeat them. The prayers of Bishop Andrewes have been used as private devotions by generations of English Churchmen, from Bishop Ken in 1630 to modern times, including such widely different people as Dr. Newman and Archbishop Tait. Many of the prayers which we know and love best, and which are to be found in private books of devotion which we all use, are founded upon the Private Prayers of Lancelot Andrewes, whose whole life was built upon the Sacraments of the Church, and yet of whom a Puritan could write that "to name him was enough praise."
I do not want to illustrate the argument of the Tractarians as to the catholicity of the spirit of the English Church after the Reformation from the writings of saints like George Herbert and Lancelot Andrewes alone. I should rather quote the little rhyme of Queen Elizabeth--that most baffling mixed character, who is at times so outstandingly English in her ways with the Church. Her fidelity to the Sacraments was not allowed to suffer on account of her quarrel with the Pope, and to the people who bothered her as to whether she did or did not accept the explanation of Holy Communion known as Transubstantiation she answered in the spirit of the Church of England as it seems that God meant it to be, and as certainly the Tractarians afterwards conceived it:
"His was the Word that spake it,
He took the Bread and brake it,
And what that Word doth make It,
That I believe and take It."
This same spirit--simple, definite, and sincere, and most truly and loyally Catholic--led King Charles to lay [15/16] down his life as a martyr to the cause of the English Church. In gratitude to him for the sublime charity of his death, his people have forgotten the mistakes and weaknesses of his kingship and remember only that:
"He nothing common did nor mean
Upon that memorable scene."
This is one side of the picture of English Church history, and I have recalled it to your attention because it is a sample from the treasury out of which the Oxford Movement drew its wealth of historical argument for a cause which in 1833 must have seemed almost lost. Between that great flowering of the faith in the seventeenth century and the revival of religion in the nineteenth stretched like a desert waste the so-called century of the Enlightenment--the eighteenth. What happened to the world to put men's souls to sleep and to deaden their hearts in that dazzling daylight of intelligence? This is an interesting inquiry which I want to leave on one side--not because it has no answer, but because it is not vital to our subject to do more than point to the actual fact. We all know the picture which is given in the literature of later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries of the religion of England--the picture given by Addison in the Spectator, and by the other essayists of the day. It shows us the squires like Sir Roger de Coverley, slumbering in their high-backed pews; the fierce beadle terrorizing with his rod the children, who were herded together in the galleries, where nothing could be seen except the tall three-decker pulpit. The pulpit hid the chancel, but this did not much matter, for the Altar was often not fit to be seen, being a little wooden table with a shabby cloth on it. The sexton would probably throw his hat and stick upon it, except on "Communion Sunday," which occurred perhaps three times in the year, and then things might be tidied up a little.
 But of course ugliness and untidiness are not necessarily signs of the absence of faith. The early Christians had no grand church furnishings, and I have seen little Red Indian churches in New Mexico which were far from tidy or even clean, but where the presence of faith could almost be felt and seen. We have all known churches which have little or no outward dignity or beauty, but in which a sense of worship is most truly to be found.
But I don't think that the ugliness of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century churches was redeemed by any such feeling as this, for their outward neglect was a symptom of a far more disastrous internal decay. This is how Miss Hannah More, an evangelical lady of the period, described the church in her district:
"The vicarage of Cheddar is in the gift of the Dean of Wells. The incumbent is Mr. R., who has something to do, but I cannot find out what, in the University of Oxford where he resides. The curate lives at Wells, twelve miles distant. They have only a service once a week, and there is scarcely an instance of a poor person being visited or prayed with. The living of Axbridge--annual value about £50, Mr. G. is intoxicated about six times a week, and very frequently is prevented from preaching by two black eyes, honestly earned by fighting. We have, in this neighbourhood, thirteen adjoining parishes without even so much as a resident curate. No clergyman has resided in this parish for forty years. One rode over once a Sunday to preach from Wells, but no weekly duty was done, nor sick person visited, and children were often buried without any funeral service." (Quoted in Dilworth Harrison's "Everyman.")
On the other hand, the salaries of the Bishops were enormous, the Bishop of Winchester had £50,000 a [17/18] year, the Bishop of Durham £20,000--and this in a time of direst and most extreme national poverty, the time of the Chartist riots and all the worst sufferings which resulted from the Industrial Revolution. Many of the Bishops lived outside their dioceses, and as a normal practice they gave all the richest livings to their own relations. The Archbishop of Canterbury of 1805 presented seven of his relations to sixteen benefices in addition to other Cathedral dignities. Another Bishop of that day boasted in writing that he "was much unconcerned about the opinions of Councils, Fathers, Churches, and Bishops, and other men as little inspired as himself." We sometimes hear this opinion, expressed differently, and not usually by Bishops, among our contemporaries. People say it doesn't matter what you think so long as you act rightly. Well, it doesn't, perhaps, at first. We are not a logical people, and we can go on behaving in accordance with approved standards which have been set before us much longer than most other people in the world, and Englishmen have a way of doing good deeds from what appears to be no motive at all. Such sayings as, "It isn't cricket," or "It isn't done," seem to uphold the view that right thinking is not necessary to right doing.
But this, of course, is only in appearance. Somebody has done the good thinking on which the good action rests, and if we are "much unconcerned" for too long at a time to think out what we really do believe, we shall find one day, as some are finding now to their cost, that the root is withered, that right action will not indefinitely be produced by wrong thinking or by no thinking at all.
But the heart moves faster than the brain, and the way of revival began, as it was natural that it should, in an appeal to the heart.
By what we may truly discern as a miracle--if by that we mean God's direct dealing with his world--[18/19] the eighteenth-century Church could and did produce her saints. One of the greatest of these was John Wesley. No further proof is needed that the Church of England in those days was unworthy of her calling than the fact that she could not keep her saints within her fold. The loss of John Wesley was one of those tragedies which, humanly speaking, need never have happened. We cannot wonder that the Evangelical Movement, which followed a little later, showed too little regard for the old forms of worship and the inherited traditions of the Church that had failed to keep John Wesley.
The Evangelical Movement of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries turned many individual souls to God, and led to certain great achievements in the history of Christianity in England. The overthrow of the Slave Trade by Wilberforce and the influence of Elizabeth Fry in the prisons were golden instances of what converted souls could do in an unconverted world. So was the foundation of the C.M.S. There were also shining examples of devotion to our Lord in the lives of individual Christians, who were able to live outside the main stream of the Church's influence in the power of the converted life.
But the limitations of the Evangelical Movement were that it did not touch the Church as a whole, and that it did not cater for failures. When the converted life lapsed there was no means of restoring it to the fold. Moreover, that sudden access of emotional enthusiasm which it was the object of Evangelicalism to produce is not always psychologically possible. Conversion is just as often a gradual opening of the soul to the eternal reality of preconceived truths, and for such experience as this the Evangelical revival had no scope. Having no place for the sacramental element in religion and caring little for dogma, it relied on Bible texts as its only authority. The criticism of the Bible had given [19/20] an altered validity to certain texts, and opinions fluctuated round the meaning and authenticity of certain passages in Scripture. This was a cause of deep distress to the Evangelicals, and their blind opposition to all inquiry and criticism limited the sphere of their influence.
So, although the wind bloweth where it listeth, and individual Evangelicals were undoubtedly born of the spirit, the Evangelical Movement left the English Church as high and dry as it had found it, and the English nation, as a whole, nearer to utter godlessness than any of us have ever known it, even in these strangely perplexed but deeply searching days in which we are now living.
"The Church as it now stands no human power can save," wrote Dr. Arnold in 1832. No human power did save it. If we believe that it was God's will that the English Church should survive, we must believe that he led the young leaders of the Oxford Movement into their great adventure.
In 1833 John Keble preached a sermon in the Oxford University Church which roused a little group of his friends to action. Four young clergymen met in a country rectory in Suffolk, and decided to save the Church. They were not ordinary young men, as you may imagine. They were brilliant and courageous and heart-whole enthusiasts. The chairman was Hugh James Rose, who was the Rector of the parish and the host of the house-party. He was a Fellow of Cambridge, a man of considerable authority and learning, and for six years he seemed likely to become one of the leaders of the Movement, but his early death in 1839 prevented this. The second was William Palmer, an original and slightly eccentric young Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. The third man in the party was A. P. Perceval, the Rector of East Horsley, who was a Fellow of All Souls', Chaplain to the King, and as the [20/21] son of a peer he was in touch with London society of that day. The fourth was Richard Hurrell Froude, "that bright and beautiful Froude," as Dean Church calls him, of whom we shall have more to say later.
These four, with two greater than they behind them, John Keble and John Henry Newman, launched out into the ocean of indifference and pessimism which surrounded them, and drew their generation of Churchmen after them on the full tide of faith and revived enthusiasm. Roused by the appeal drawn up at the Hadleigh house-party, 7,000 clergymen signed a petition to the Archbishop and 30,000 heads of families signed another. The first "Tracts for the Times" appeared--beautifully worded little leaflets which they sold for Id. They are described as "clear, brief, stern appeals to conscience and to reason--like short, sharp, rapid utterances of men in pain and danger and pressing emergency."
The object of it all was to rouse the Church to a sense of her own divine mission, and her sons to loyalty and allegiance to her doctrines. It was no sudden impulse on the part of the Tractarians, and no one who knew John Keble, from whom the inspiration came, could doubt the character of its origin. He was a saint and a scholar with no touch of worldliness in his disposition. He was one of the two sons of a High Church clergyman. He went to Oxford when he was only fourteen, and the list of his academic successes and the honours and prizes which he won in his teens is almost staggering to a modern mother.
But he was meek and lowly of heart, and he withdrew himself in his youth from the rewards with which Oxford delighted to honour him, and from the friends and pupils who loved him almost to the point of veneration. He worked as curate to his own father in a Cotswold village parish, having his pupils to stay with him on reading parties from time to time, and toiling [21/22] faithfully and self-effacingly at his pastoral duties until he was thirty-five, when his father died, and he changed his village curacy for a country rectory in Hampshire. Here, at Hursley, he lived for thirty-one years until his death, and it was said of his parish by someone who visited it that his parishioners seemed as if they were for ever singing, "Holy, Holy, Holy."
Such was the leader of the Oxford Movement--one of those holy and humble men of heart that our Church has never failed to find in her service from the days of Chaucer to our own times. Who is there who has not known one at least of that long line of hero-priests, walking their unassuming ways in remote country villages or in the slums of great cities, with no time or thought to spare for themselves or their own sacrifices? Like Chaucer's "poor parson," of whom he tells us:
"That first he wrought and afterwards he taught.
Out of the Gospel he those wordes caught.
And this good figure added he thereto,
That if gold rust, then what should iron do?
And Christes law and his Apostles Twelve
He taught, but first he followed it himself."
Severe with himself and ascetic in his own way of life, John Keble gave a full measure of love to his own village people, and in his poems, well-known to most of our parents if not to ourselves in the pages of "The Christian Year" and "Lyra Innocentium," we find that love of simple country things, of home life and children and flowers and animals, which completes the picture of an ideal English shepherd of souls.
Anyone with a love of history knows that there is such a thing as creative friendship. Perhaps most of the great Movements which have changed the world have drawn their origin from some relationship of deep affection between two minds which were so profoundly [22/23] complementary that they could act as one. At any rate this is true of the Oxford Movement. It was rooted and grounded in friendship. About the year 1828, in the Senior Common Room of Oriel College there were two young dons in their late twenties who, across a barrier of great differences of temperament and of early training, achieved one of those remarkable intimacies which are more productive than a relationship between two more easily blended personalities. John Henry Newman was in these days a young Evangelical clergyman, the son of a London banker. He was drawn within the orbit of Richard Hurrell Froude a little bit as a moth is drawn to a candle. It was rather difficult at first for them to like one another. Newman prayed a good deal about it, and whereas on the one hand he was repelled by the "dash" and brilliance of the incorrigible, paradoxical, and mischief-loving Froude, he was at the same time irresistibly attracted by the swift current of vitality and charm which played round him. He was probably attracted unconsciously, too, by something which he could not understand and at this time could not guess--that under that shining surface lay a character formed by severest self-discipline, and drawing its strength from hidden sources of penitence and prayer. What bubbled up to the surface in Froude was the effervescence of a profoundly serious nature. Also--as I think we should recognize nowadays--the swift changes of mood, the sudden irritation and equally sudden responsiveness, of a sufferer from tuberculosis.
But nobody ever conceded less to ill-health, and many a long life has been far less fruitful than that of "the bright and beautiful Froude," who lit the spark which now still burns, after 100 years, in a bright and steady flame.
Through Froude, Newman began to absorb the Tractarian teaching, and also through him to love and [23/24] honour John Keble. In 1831 the three were together at the house of Keble's father. Together they studied the early sources of the Prayer Book and tracked its language back to the Latin originals in the Hour Books, Breviaries and Missals of the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Their studies linked the lovely words of the English prayers with the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, of St. Thomas Aquinas, and with the golden age of the Church which built the great Cathedrals. They rejoiced without misgivings at the proofs which they accumulated of the theory which they had so long held, that the compilers of the Prayer Book had intentionally preserved not only the Catholic doctrines of the purest ages of the mediaeval Church, but the very words in which those doctrines had been enshrined.
Towards the end of his short life, and knowing the end to be in sight, Froude said one day, "You know the story of the murderer who had done one good deed in his life. Well, if I was asked what good deed I had done, I should say that I had brought Keble and Newman to understand each other."
Newman and Froude were eight and nine years younger than their guide and friend, and Newman has said that Froude thought of Keble as his father and of Newman as a soldier thinks of his comrade-in-arms.
Of Froude himself Dean Church says: "They thought of him as the young Achilles, with his noble form and eagle eye, made for such great things and so soon to die." When he was at Eton he devoured life almost like some of our modern young things. He loved to live dangerously--to ride hard across country, and to sail a boat in bad weather. He was interested in machinery, in astronomy, in hydraulics, in architecture, in anything and everything, and he loved to get a "rise" out of his elders.
But Keble's goodness and purity subdued him and called out the depths which were hidden beneath the [24/25] excitement of the surface. Above all he gave him a cause. Froude was made of the stuff of which martyrs are made, but it was easier for him to die bravely than to live discreetly. Keble saw that nothing but the supreme heights were good enough for Froude, and he therefore demanded everything of him. He warned him of the dangers of intellectualism, taught him to refrain his soul and keep it low, and aspire, as he said, to be humdrum. He led him along the ways of simple piety and heavenly-mindedness.
Once, when they were waiting by the roadside for the coach which was to take Froude back to Oxford, Keble said to him, "Froude, you said you thought Law's 'Serious Call' was a clever book. It seemed to me as if you had said that the Day of Judgment will be a pretty sight."
Out of the friendship of these three grew the Oxford Movement. Others joined them, linking themselves on to the chain at various points. We have already spoken of the Hadleigh party which planned the campaign. What is so remarkable is the quality of the men who made up the Tractarian group. There was Mozley, the historian, whose famous essays are still read at Oxford as masterpieces of historical writing; Isaac Williams, the poet--undoubtedly the best poet in Oxford of his generation, and still remembered by us all as the author of two much-loved hymns, "Be thou my Guardian and my Guide" and the Lent hymn "Lord, in this thy Mercy's Day."
But in many ways the most important reinforcement to the Oxford Movement in its early phase was Dr. Pusey, who definitely joined the Tractarians in 1834. He was older than most of them and more weighty than any of them, "a man of large designs," the Regius Professor of Hebrew, and a person of supreme importance in the University--probably the most learned Englishman of
his generation. He had spent years in Germany, and [25/26] was well known as a scholar in Europe. "When he came on the scene everything began to look different." The Tracts had already won their way as the earnest utterances of a group of brilliant young men. Three new Tracts now appeared under the initials E. B. P. on the subject of Baptism, and Dean Church says: "It was like the advance of a battery of heavy artillery on a field where the battle had been hitherto carried on by skirmishes and musketry."
The importance of Dr. Pusey to the work of the Movement from within can hardly be exaggerated. But his external importance can be deduced from the curious little fact that in its second phase the Movement derived from him its nickname. The second generation of Tractarians were known as "Puseyites," and the name travelled round the world. In 1867, when Lady Frederick Cavendish had an audience with Pope Pius IX. in Rome, the question which he is reported to have asked her was: "Mr. Gladstone--il est Pousseiste, n'est-ce-pas?"
Is anyone still wondering what it was all about? Well, primarily, faith. Faith--bold enough to reaffirm those great historic truths of our Religion which then, as much as, if not more than, now, were questioned and on the point of being bargained away. The Tractarians said, "Come and live the Christian--the Catholic--life, and you will no longer find that you have to explain away the Catholic Faith. Trust your great inheritance in the Church of England. There is life in it and there is hope, for it is the true Vine of Christ, defective perhaps and languishing, but not more defective, not more languishing, than the other branches, the Latin and Eastern Churches. It has stood worse shocks before than those which are threatening it now, and it will stand, even against the indifference, the sloth, the lazy-mindedness of the clergy you see round you. The great truths which we call upon you to [26/27] defend, and which the Creeds express, are true for all time and will stand for ever. Science may challenge them, but science has its own world. It cannot touch the Kingdom of Heaven! Philosophy may doubt them--that is our fault for misrepresenting God's Wisdom by our finite conception of it."
Perhaps the words of Richard Hurrell Froude may explain in part why it is that if this is true we so often seem to fail. He said that the sin of the clergy in all ages had been in making out that Christians were many, whereas really they were few. That is possibly a depressing thought. But we have to remember that the Faith to which the Oxford Movement recalls us is a faith in Supernatural Religion. This means that God meets us on our way. "O taste and see how gracious the Lord is!"
There have been times since 1833 when it must have seemed that there was in the Oxford Movement something of "the high that proved too high, the heroic for earth too hard." How could it be otherwise with such men and such aims? But "since the beginning its opponents have prophesied its speedy failure," says Father Wilfred Knox. "Several times that failure has seemed imminent: yet it has never come to pass.
"If this Counsel and this Work be of men it will come to nought: but if it be of God ye cannot overthrow it lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."
I WANT now to leave the history of controversy and to follow the results of the Oxford Movement as it affects us all in our contemporary Church life, trying to see in it the story of heroic endeavour for the conquest of God's kingdom, and of a noble and desperate striving for a goal which is our common aim.
May I recall once more to your minds the tragic picture of indifference and degradation to which the spiritual life of our Church had been reduced before the Oxford Movement breathed new life in her? Where--except in Oxford--was there any other remedy, any other way out of the slough of despond? The only other remedy which had been suggested was the plan proposed by Dr. Arnold of Rugby and his friends.
That great man, in his despair, saw the only elements of good in the nation scattered and disunited in various sects of widely differing belief outside the Church altogether. He and his friends brought forward the proposal to abolish the Creeds in public worship, to take out of the Prayer Book all mention of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, to remove the doctrines of Baptism and of Absolution, and so to widen the conception of the Christian religion in our Church as to include all men of goodwill. Thus it might be possible, by throwing over all distinctive doctrine, to reclaim every element of moral value which the Church had lost by her inability to teach the Christian faith.
Of course, if you have an empty garden in which the flowers have been allowed to die, one way to restore it [29/30] would be to throw down the walls and open all the gates, let in the wilderness, and call the result a garden.
The ideal contemplated by Dr. Arnold and the so-called Liberal school was a sort of ethical Church, in which those who accepted our Lord as a teacher on the same or similar terms as they would accept the Buddha or Socrates would share their worship and their ethical ideals with those who might hold the full Christian faith. Those Erastians (as they are called) who believed that the Church of England was created by an Act of Parliament in Queen Elizabeth's reign, and looked on it as a society for good Englishmen to protect their morality and their national ideal, saw little or no drawback in Dr. Arnold's plan, and no limit to the possibilities of comprehension which it opened up. There are no doubt some people who share their view to-day. The appeal to be tolerant and to agree to differ is so attractive on the surface and looks so much like unity, but when it is applied to the foundations of faith it is really the most tragic of delusions. It is not the apostle of unity--the truly tolerant man--but the Latitudinarian whom the Psalmist condemns in the words "neither doth he abhor anything that is evil."
Against these views the founders of the Oxford Movement brought forward the almost forgotten faith that "The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord." Our Lord did not found an ethical society. Our Lord did not endow a political body with divine wisdom, still less did he entrust his Church to the British House of Commons. He bequeathed it to the Apostles, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit its identity is guarded by their successors. Through the Sacrament of his love he endows it with his own Perpetual Presence: "Lo, I am with you alway."
William Blake has said that "Truth has bounds," and One greater than Blake has said: "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way." The way, of course, is the [30/31] way of holiness and not the way of reason alone. But the way of holiness is identical with faith in him who walked the way of holiness in his Incarnate life.
So in appealing for support in the thanksgiving for the Oxford Movement this year I appeal first in the name of the Creeds. If you attach any value to the fact that our Church is committed to the assertion "I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord," and the other doctrines which are the extension of that Holy Incarnation, remember that the Tractarians sprang to arms to defend them when they were on the point of being overthrown, and humanly speaking they were the instruments by which they were saved.
"If I thought we could stand for ten or fifteen years as we are, I should have little fear," said Hugh James Rose, and Dr. Newman wrote years after in his "Apologia": "I felt dismay at the Church's prospects, anger and scorn at her do-nothing perplexity. I thought that if Liberalism once got a footing within her it was sure of victory in the event. I saw that Reformation principles were powerless to rescue her. As to leaving her, the thought never crossed my imagination: still I ever kept before me that there was something greater than the Established Church, and that that was the Church Catholic and Apostolic set up from the beginning, of which she (the Church of England) was but the local presence and organ. . . . There was need of a second Reformation."
It was not, of course, the Creeds themselves as formularies, but the great doctrines enshrined in them, which the Tractarians were concerned to defend. After the Tracts had done their work the Movement spread even more effectively by the influence of the clergy and their parishioners, who were showing in their lives the direct bearing of the restored Catholic doctrine on the
Christian life. A new standard of village life was set in those country parishes like John Keble's, where the [31/32] church bell rang for daily services and where visiting began to take on a new and pastoral character. The dawn of Christian hope began to lighten the darkness of the great slums of East London. Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham were touched by it, and later Portsmouth, Brighton, and Swindon and countless others. The beginning of the revival of ritual and ceremonial arose in these churches in the slums, where Religious Truth was taught in the picture language of the beauty of worship.
But above all the restoration of the Sacraments to the place intended for them by the Church made a link between earth and Heaven which the negations of the Reformation had unwittingly broken. Baptism was restored to its importance as "a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness," and the Gorham case in 1850 had at least one good result in showing the world that something more than a mere ceremony was at stake if men like Manning and Wilberforce could feel obliged to separate from the Anglican Communion rather than admit the repudiation of the doctrine of New Birth. Those who remained in the English Church in spite of the Gorham Judgment did so in complete confidence that, whatever the courts might say, the service of Baptism is perfectly clear in its assertion of the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration--"Seeing that this Child is regenerate."
It is to the Oxford Movement that we owe the restoration of the Sacrament of Holy Communion to that supreme place in the Christian life which it holds without question to-day. It is difficult to understand in the light of our present-day feelings how it was possible that the Blessed Sacrament, with its unquestionable scriptural authority, could have been allowed to hold so casual and insignificant a place in the Church's life as it had become the custom to assign to it. Two ladies were talking to me about Suffolk the other day. [32/33] Their family had lived in a certain village for many generations. One of them told me that before the Oxford Movement had affected that district there was only one celebration of Holy Communion in three years. The other lady said that that was nothing exceptional. All the other villages round about were just the same. In St. Paul's Cathedral on the first Easter Day of the nineteenth century there were six communicants at the only celebration of Holy Communion held at that season.
Compare that with the proportionate number of communicants in any parish in England now. A Rural Dean tells me that in his country deanery even the smallest parish has not less than 100 communicants on Easter Day. Whatever our views may be as to the precise degree in which we share the teaching of the Tractarians as to Holy Communion, we may surely be thankful for the renewal of sacramental life in our nation which the Oxford Movement has brought about.
I do not want to discuss the controversies which inevitably followed the teaching and practice of the Tractarians and their followers about the nature of the Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It was inevitable that these controversies should arise as an echo from the past, but the Denison case and the Bennett Judgment of 1872 have no greater importance now than the Gorham Judgment, although as a matter of fact the courts decided favourably to the Tractarian view in the Bennett case.
The doctrine of the Real Presence as taught by the followers of the Oxford Movement is now established among us as a belief acceptable throughout the Anglican Church. It is not, of course, a matter of agreement between all the individual members of the Church, but in the English way we like to leave it to the sense of reverence of the individual Christian to explain the mystery of the Eucharistic Presence to himself in [33/34] accordance with his own spiritual experience. It will be admitted, I think, that the increased and ever-growing reverence in England for this central act of Christian worship has been the result of the sacramental teaching of the Oxford Movement. Dr. Pusey's book on the Real Presence, Bishop Hamilton of Salisbury's Charge to his clergy in 1867, the trial of Bishop King in Lincoln in 1889, and the successive imprisonments of the Anglo-Catholics since then are milestones in the history of a controversy which has centred round this--the heart of all religion.
Controversies, like those which arose lately in connection with the new Prayer Book, cannot fail to give pain to all who in any sense "discern the Lord's Body." But when argument dies down, the stillness of conscience restores a sense of charitable understanding. May we not claim that there can be no very sharp dividing line between the devout evangelical, who fears to make too frequent a use of the Holy Mysteries from a sense of his own unworthiness, and the Catholic-minded Anglican who for much the same reason cannot keep away from so great a gift?
Two currents flow together in that one stream of influences which issues from the Tractarian source. If at present they cannot mingle, can we not recognize that they are fed from the same spring? That great English gentleman Dr. Johnson was asked by Boswell to express his condemnation of Roman Catholics for what he called the idolatry of the Mass.
"Sir," said Dr. Johnson, "there is no idolatry in the Mass. They believe God to be there, and they adore him."
Dr. Johnson was of course far from being a Roman Catholic, and he lived at a time when the fear of Rome was rife in the minds of English people. The present Bishop of Winchester wrote in the Southwark Diocesan Gazette in much the same spirit two years ago about the [34/35] Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. If, he said, anyone should desire to say his prayers in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament rather than in some other place, he himself could see no possible reason why anyone else should wish to prevent him. The tolerant mind, the reverent heart--this is of the very essence of Christ's teaching.
As with the two greater Sacraments, so it was with the lesser ones not "necessary to salvation," as the Catechism says, which the restored faith in the Church gave back to the Anglican Communion. The descriptions of Confirmation before the Oxford Movement would be hardly believable but for the amount of the evidence. There was a Bishop's wife who regularly gave a Confirmation Ball at the Palace on the evening after--"For," she said, "it was a pity that so many young people should be brought together without some use being made of it."
Another typical story is told of Bishop King. One day, when he was a boy, his father, the Archdeacon of Rochester, had a sudden thought, and sending for his little boy he asked him:
"I suppose you know your Catechism ?"
"Oh yes, father!"
"Oh yes, quite well, father."
"I supposed so. Well, my boy, I want you to take out your pony and ride over to Foots Cray. The Archbishop is holding a Confirmation there, and we had better take this opportunity of getting you confirmed."
Compare this with the way our children are now prepared for Confirmation, even in the humblest or the busiest of parishes in any part of England.
Of course it was natural that if the Church was shown to be a Divine Society, depending on its Ministry for its identity with its Apostolic foundation, the Sacrament of Ordination should take on quite another significance. [35/36] Instead of an honourable profession for younger sons, Holy Orders became a matter of vocation, and the priestly office came to mean a dedication of the whole personality to the service of the Master. The first theological colleges were the direct result of the Oxford Movement, and at first they seemed strange and unnecessary institutions. "They didn't unpack for a fortnight," Bishop King says of his first students at Cuddesdon.
Looking at the world to-day, it would seem almost absurd to claim that the Sacrament of Marriage had gained in solemnity since the days of the Oxford Movement. Here other influences have been at work, and the Church seems to be fighting with her back to the wall against all the forces of social disruption. But what the Oxford leaders claimed for the other Sacraments they claimed for Marriage, and if there is any hesitation or any tendency to default in the Church of England in regard to the holy tie of Marriage or in respect of the preservation of Christian home life, it is not to be found among those who follow in the footsteps of the Tractarians.
It is sometimes suggested that Christian Marriage makes too high a claim for human nature, and puts too great a strain on modern youth. But Marriage cannot wholly fail where it is regarded as part of the sanctified life, and supported by all the "givenness " of sacramental grace. Our danger lies rather in the lowness of our aims, and the modified faith in which we embark on
"That high mysterious union
Which nought on earth can break."
The Church has never called the young in vain when she has called them to be "valiant 'gainst all disaster." In this she is surely following the leadership of him [36/37] who calls them to the Cross itself with the words, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light."
The Sacramental system, which the Oxford leaders and their successors restored to our Church, meets our human life at every point on its road and crowns our joys and heals our sorrows with the gift of grace. It takes the dawn of life and claims it for God in Baptism. Then at the threshold of the opening day it meets the boy and girl before the bigger battles of life begin and arms them with the seven-fold gift. It takes our joy in earthly love and carries it up to Heaven. The Sacrament of Extreme Unction consecrates physical pain and suffering, and the sorrow of penitence finds its healing in the gift of Absolution.
The Sacrament of Penance--or Sacramental Confession--had almost, but not quite, ceased to be known in our branch of the Church before the Oxford Movement. The non-jurors and their successors had apparently frequented this Sacrament, and in Jacobite circles in the Scottish Church its occasional use seems to have survived. But the prejudice against it was very strong, and not without reason, for it was associated by tradition with some of the worst abuses of authority by the Church in its unreformed days.
In 1846 Dr. Pusey preached a sermon at Oxford referring to priestly absolution, and it was this which really led to his being forbidden to preach in the University for two years. Twenty years later Dr. Pusey wrote these words: "The use of Confession among us, priest and people, is very large. It pervades every rank from the peer to the artisan or peasant. In the course of this quarter of a century (to instance my own experience, which I must know) I have been applied to to receive Confession from persons in every rank of life, of every age, old as well as young, in every profession, even those which you would think least accessible to it--in the army, the navy, medicine, and law."
 Confession being an integral part of the Church's discipline from earliest times, for which our English Prayer Book makes provision, it answers a need of the spiritual life which has to be met. It is a need not universally felt, and therefore the remedy is not compulsorily enjoined. Without it something in human nature would be left out of account for which some other provision would have to be made. Group-sharing in the Buchman Group Movement and Psychoanalysis in the realm of medicine are illustrations of the prevalence of this need. But those who seek Absolution through Sacramental Confession in the Church of England do so for reasons of discipline, and above all for the experience of grace which comes by this means.
Those who do not make use of this Sacrament no longer, I think, speak against it as they used to do, for the growth of kindliness and true tolerance in modern life and the raising of the standard of culture and education among Christians has certainly led to a mutual understanding and trust in which differences of opinion and practice in such a matter as Sacramental Confession simply melt away. The confidence which exists between clergy and people, and our knowledge of varieties of religious experience, have gone far to remove the lingering prejudices against the Confessional which at one time prevailed. But I think I am right in saying that it was the fear of the prevalence of Sacramental Confession which lay behind those distressing outbreaks of hostility and unchristian violence in the eighteen sixties and seventies which are known as the Ritual Riots.
Remember that those frightful scenes at St. Barnabas, Pimlico, from 1854 onwards, at St. George's-in-the-East in 1859, and wherever the teaching of the Oxford Movement had led to new ways of seemly worship, in Leeds and Liverpool and in isolated parishes up and down the country, were not contentions about the kind [38/39] of service which you now see in what are known as Anglo-Catholic Churches. It was a struggle to secure the ordinary reverence and decency of the average village church as we now know it, with choirboys in surplices, flowers on the Altar, perhaps a Cross over the Altar, and simple coloured hangings of the plainest possible description. As you know, Dr. Pusey and his successors cared nothing whatever about ritual or vestments or ceremonies of any kind, and indeed made very little use of them.
But the desire to express the sense of worship in terms of beauty was a natural flowering of the tree of faith after a winter of ugliness and gloom. Just as the Evangelicals had dispelled the Puritan gloom with popular hymns and the gospel of joy in Redemption, so the influence of the Oxford Movement brought back the beauty of worship as an expression of the glory of the Gospel truth. We cannot wholly blame the London crowds of Victorian days for pelting the Altar and insulting the Cross, for to them these things had lost their meaning. Meaningless ritual and empty ceremonies are less than nothing, and the rioters "knew not what they did." If the emblem of faith had become an object of derision and fear, it was a sign that the memory of dead mediaeval controversies had for the time eclipsed the creed of the Christian.
After a few years--hard and bitter years for those who were to bear the brunt of them--the struggle for the revival of the expression of worship was won. It was not won by obstinacy or fighting back. It was won by the lives of those who preached the restored faith and the power of the truths they taught.
The story of the ritual riots and the resistance to the Public Worship Act of 1874 is a story which can be told so as to perpetuate the inflammatory feelings of those days. It is indeed a tragic account of misunderstanding and fear and bigotry on the part of those who [39/40] thought they did God's service. But I would rather tell you one story--a borrowed one--which illustrates the influence of the Oxford Movement in its positive rather than its negative aspect, and since it links on to my own experience I feel that I am testifying to that which I have seen.
In 1840, we are told, there was a young man in Oxford called Charles Lowder. In that year he heard Dr. Newman preach a sermon which he never afterwards forgot, on the dangers of the religious revival. The Oxford Movement was at the height of its popularity and the University Church was crowded. "A danger of the present time," said Dr. Newman, "arises out of what may be called the luxury of religion. None can rejoice more than the preacher at the increased regard to ecclesiastical architecture and music, and to the ornamenting of our churches. But it must be reflected that these require to be accompanied by personal holiness, and even the spirit of devotion may be little better than a luxurious pleasure unless we maintain a spirit of self-denial in it and remind ourselves that even devotion must not be so much a gratification to ourselves as a sacrifice to God."
Years afterwards these words must have rung in the ears of Charles Lowder, but at the time they enlisted him among the undergraduate followers of the Tractarian Movement. When he left Oxford he was ordained to a curacy in Somerset, and being a missionary at heart he devoted himself to the local workhouse. He was remembered by the poor years afterwards as "the kind young gentleman who used to come and see us very often and who said the prayers in church every day all by himself." After five more years in another country curacy in the Cotswolds he went to help the clergy at St. Barnabas, Pimlico, where the ritual riots had been going on for some time. He had a passionate love of flowers and of children, and he must have missed them [40/41] both in the terrible life of the slums of Ebury Square, which were apparently worse than anything else in London in those days.
The Bishop of London had ordered the Cross and the flowers to be taken off the Altar. "I will have that Cross removed if it costs me my see," he said; but it was not removed, and the unseemly fights went on. Complaints against the young curate Lowder led to his being suspended by the Bishop for six weeks. I'm afraid he may have deserved it this time. He was very young and very fiery, and his career as an Oxford "blue" was not far behind him. There was a riot, and the choirboys of St. Barnabas pelted a hostile notice board with rotten eggs, and the young curate had not restrained them. The Bishop was told that he had paid the for the eggs, and for six weeks he went away to repent. His brother says that he was brokenhearted at having caused a scandal.
While he was away he read about St. Vincent de Paul and his work among the poor, and he made up his mind to follow in the footsteps of that great shepherd of souls. He went down to the East End of London and worked in the parish of St. George's-in-the-East, through which the Ratcliff Highway ran. The church stood in a little block of 735 houses, of which 40 were public-houses and 154 were houses of ill-fame. A clergyman called Bryan King was the Rector, and reinforced by Charles Lowder and two or three other priests, an open-air Mission in the slum courtyards was begun. They were attacked by wild Irish Roman Catholics, who stoned them with pieces of broken china, and only a few respectable old women ever listened to what they tried to say. No wonder the young missioners got tired of it and began to give it up. "Will you also go away?" said Bryan King to Lowder. "On the contrary, I shall come and stay," he said, and so he did--for ten years, gathering a group of companion [41/42] priests about him, in a terrible old house in the most appalling surroundings which it is possible to conceive.
At the end of ten years St. Peter's, London Docks, was built, and anyone who has ever seen it will tell you what a miracle has been wrought from that oasis--year in, year out--for nearly seventy years.
After the first five years the ritual riots broke out in St. George's-in-the-East. The owners of the bad houses and the disorderly public-house keepers heard of the Protestant rioters in West London, and called them to the rescue. They pelted the Altar with bread-and-butter and orange peel, the clergy were kicked and spat upon, and Lowder was only saved by his friends at the eleventh hour from being thrown into the London Docks from the dock bridge.
Then the tide turned. The rioters grew tired of rioting, and those who had at first defended him from a sense of fair play stayed to hear what he had to say and began to listen to his message. He could always count on the children, for he had always known how to win them, and the characteristic picture of him shows him sheltering a crowd of them with his priest's cloak like a hen gathering in her chickens. They say he was not a good preacher, as good preaching was understood in those days. But he knew how to tell funny stories, and with these he could always win the boys and the girls.
How he won their elders is another story. In 1866 the terrible attack of cholera devastated the East End. Asiatic cholera is a terrifying complaint, and panic spread with it wherever it went. Lowder and his fellow clergy went in and out nursing the victims, and it is said that "in the cholera plague the Anglo-Catholics won their spurs." Each morning they met for Communion in the new St. Peter's, joined by their friends who came to help them--among them Dr. Pusey and Lord Halifax; among them also some of the [42/43] first brave Sisters of Mercy. Of course they were risking their lives and they knew it, and were glad of the opportunity to do it. When the cholera was over, Lowder had won the London Docks for Christ. In the words of Father Mackay:
"As he was seen carrying some cholera-stricken child in his arms to the hospital, the people began to call him 'Father.' Thus was the title 'Father' won for the secular clergy of the Anglo-Catholic movement: it is a title which they will only retain as long as they are true to this ideal. . .
"There came a night, fourteen years after, which had a significance unrecognized at the time. It was school-treat day, and in the evening nineteen large vans crammed within and without with happy, cheering children came home from Epping Forest, and rolled over the dock bridge, Father Lowder in the midst with a baby on each knee.
"To their complete surprise they found the whole parish en fete, banners and coloured lights decorated all the windows, cheering crowds filled the streets, and the parish band played the Father home.
"Six weeks afterwards the over-strain found him out, and he died suddenly on his holiday in the Austrian Tyrol." [* I am indebted to Father Mackay's "Saints and Leaders " both for the story of Father Lowder and for the quotation.]
When I was twelve years old I began to go down to St. Peter's, London Docks, to be prepared for Confirmation by one of the clergy who had worked with Father Lowder. I did not know this story then. I only knew that here among the poorest people I had ever seen (the streets were full of children and not one with a pair of shoes) there was some hidden treasure in the heart of poverty itself, some great thrill in life where life seemed outwardly not worth living, and the source of it all--discernible even to a child, as I was then--was that [43/44] great, beautiful church, where the door was always open and the poor went in and out all day to pray.
From St. Peter's, London Docks, to the dreaming towers of Oxford is a long way, but if the Oxford Movement is the dream, Christ in the slums is the dream come true.
What Lowder did for East London Dolling did for the slums of Portsmouth, where Baptist ministers and Winchester boys combined to defend this ardent champion of the faith against those who would have thwarted him.
Machonochie and Stanton in the thieves' kitchens of Holborn, the Pollock brothers at Birmingham, and countless others, carried the revival into remoter fields, and rooted it deeply in the hearts of the poor.
In this they were helped by the Sisters of Charity, who have won their way through popular prejudice to a place of established honour in the English Church by the unanswerable argument of lives wholly devoted to God's service. The first Sister, Miss Marion Hughes, to give herself to this life did so under Dr. Pusey's guidance in 1845.
In 1909 there were 1,300 Sisters of Mercy in the English Church--that is, nearly twice as many as there were at the time of the destructions of monasteries and convents in the Reformation. There are also, as you know, many Religious Orders for men, some consisting of priests, like the Cowley Fathers and the Community of the Resurrection, who combine the life under the three-fold monastic vows with the active vocation of Missioners, and others, like the Benedictines of Nashdom, who devote themselves wholly to the work of prayer and the life of dedication in the cloister.
In 1889 Archdeacon Farrar, the much-loved Evangelical author of the "Life of Christ," paid a tribute in Convocation to "that excellent Father Benson and the work he has done at Cowley." Since then, in spite [44/45] of the protests of the Church Association, the work of monasteries and convents has now become an established part of the life of the Church of England.
In this modern age of specialization I think we must all recognize that what is known in law as "differentiation of function" should have its place in Religion as in other spheres. That is, after all, the secular aspect of Vocation. The ordinary parish priest cannot do more than he is capable of doing. He is generally the first to admit that his work requires supplementing. Haven't you noticed how often the parish clergy of all schools of thought are glad to call upon the clergy who have been trained in Religious Orders for the special work of parish Missions? And not only that, but, as the last Superior of Cowley has said: "Many of our best thinkers are quite unfitted for the routine work of parish priests, but can consecrate their great gifts to the service of God in the cloister."
Moments of loneliness in the watches of the night--of anxiety and fear for our children, or for the larger troubles of the wider world--come to us all from time to time. The knowledge that we are never praying alone, that here on earth our fellow men and women are perpetually praying, night and day, in the chapels of the Religious Orders, brings a sense of companionship and strength which in itself, apart from larger issues, should make us recognize our debt to the so-called Enclosed Orders of the English Church.
I am afraid you may be thinking that I have carried you beyond the Oxford Movement into the realms of Anglo-Catholicism, and perhaps that in so doing I have disproved the thesis which I set out to uphold--that all schools of thought in our Church, and not one only, have reason to thank God for the Oxford Movement. I do think that there is nothing which Anglo-Catholics teach today that is not an honest and natural extension of the doctrine taught by the Tractarians a hundred years ago.
 That does not mean that the Tractarians did or taught all that is now done or taught at All Saints', Margaret Street, or St. Mary's, Graham Street. To say that would be to disregard a hundred years of history.
But if Anglo-Catholicism finds its warrant in the Oxford Movement, so may the Central Churchmen who uphold the Creed of the Christian, and so may the Evangelicals who love the Person of our Lord and Master. For what the Oxford Movement did in 1833 the whole Church of England must in honour give thanks. For what it has led to in 1933 we are not all bound to agree in the measure of our praise.
But if we cannot agree in the expression of our worship, it is only a matter of degree as to the principles which lie behind it. One cure for our differences of opinion is to read the story of the lives of those who have striven, particularly those whom we do not wholly agree with, and--
"If there be any virtue,
If there be any praise,
Think on these things."