IT is very difficult to portray the character of a person whom one may have known for a great number of years most intimately, to present him in a book as he really was, to those who have never known, perhaps never seen him. Some regard the subject of this Memoir as an ecclesiastical firebrand; others, as a great student; others, again, as an unapproachable ascetic. He was really none of these. He was, it is true, mixed up with many controversies, in some taking the lead; but he hated prominence and disputes, and loved unity and peace. The keenness which he manifested when what he believed to be the true doctrines and practices of the Church of England were assailed, and forbidden by Courts which, in his opinion, were not invested with any spiritual authority, arose from his vivid realization of Divine things. Position, place, honour, gain, ease, are objects which would not have a feather's weight with him, when in the opposite scale some doctrine or ceremonial of the Catholic Church was assailed. The following letter, which is characteristic and bears no date, but appears to refer to the disturbance caused by the Bath Judgment, was written to Butler of Wantage, with whom Carter of Clewer, half a century ago, worked heartily, especially in those early days, in defence of the Faith.
"I have given my name. It is with diffidence, and with the reverence I feel for our bishop, that I differ from his view, though I hardly see how he could have said otherwise. But (1) I do not see that it is another article, it seems to me only an assertion of truth we have held. It pained me more than I can tell you to act as an individual in such a matter; but how else can we act?--not in Synod, diocesan or provincial, in such a matter. Our bishops cannot act except individually. (2) I cannot feel that our pulpits meet the case of a public wrong. We have a double charge, one a pastoral sphere, and one ecclesiastical. This comes under the latter. If we cannot speak regularly in this, what is left but to do it irregularly? Spain was driven to guerilla warfare against the French, and we seem in a like case. Individual protest has always been the refuge in extreme cases according to Catholic custom. We are in extremis, I feel, in this respect. (3) It does furnish the list of a few names, and the enemy may cut us down piecemeal. But this seems to me better than remaining perfectly silent about it and leaving them to say, 'You accept it, and you dare not speak out.' Our strength would be in united action; but this is now impossible, and the next ground of strength appears to me in bearing witness, and transmitting our witness now; it may tell for us one day, if not now. Prayer is, indeed, the great strength, and I trust that on this protest will be founded a brotherhood for revival of the truth about the Blessed Sacrament. [This was done by the Founder of the C.B.S. many years after.]
"But I do not see what strength there is in not speaking, for in the Courts of Law, etc., the enemy have it their own way, and in a few years the popular mind succumbs to the legal decisions.
"Of the time I know not: It may be premature; but at last we cannot do otherwise, and then we have already protested against the Court of Appeal, and cannot recognize it; and what we protest against now is no less a matter than a heretical sentence of the Metropolitan, and this, I suppose, is sufficient cause.
"If the cause were quashed on technical grounds, there still remains the archbishop's sentence, and this needs some set-off against it; and in the appeal, what are we to expect? I cannot hope that a Committee, formed by the present Government, and backed by the popular voice, will overrule a judgment of the archbishop. I should like to know what the bishop means by saying, 'It will stand greatly in our way! What is in his mind to do? or what can even he do? What has he done to remedy the Gorham matter? This is a far more difficult matter, and with less of sympathy.
"I do not write as if I were shaky. I have no temptation to be so, thank God! I am resolved to die at my post, or, if driven from it, die anyhow where Andrews, Ken, Wilson, etc., have left their bones. *
"But I feel I cannot be where I am without clearing my own conscience, toy asserting that what one of our brethren is deprived for, I hold; and I see no help but in this clearing of individual consciences.
"I do not write as seeking to persuade you who can judge much better, and have this strong witness of our bishop with you; but only to clear myself in your eyes, and to show that it has not been heedlessly done, that I have resolved on what I felt could not but be opposed to his view, and an individual acting, but could not do otherwise--salvo, conscientia. God bless you ever and all your work.
"Your ever affectionate friend,
"T. T. CARTER."
The fervour and courage which are breathed in this letter, and the restful faith in the Anglican Communion, were marks of Canon Carter's spirit throughout his life. He never doubted the triumph of the cause; he was too convinced that he had truth on his side and magnet, est veritas, et praevalebit. The calm courage, the dignity of bearing, and lovable smile, all combined with wonderful humility, were evidences of a great personality. Those who knew him almost throughout his clerical life, speak of his marvellous industry and self-sacrifice on behalf of what he conceived to be the best interests of the Church of England--her spiritual well-being; and thus he was drawn into controversy by the encroachments of Erastianism. We find in a published letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressed with a force and clearness which had great effect, the grounds upon which he lamented the declension of spiritual power in the Established Church, and the interference of Parliament with Church Courts. We will make a quotation: "When we come to the latter period of the Georgian era, there is a constant interference. The cause of this striking difference is obvious. During the former period, at least its greater part, Convocation was in the full exercise of its functions; and the mutual action between Church and State was preserved with more or less of comparative fairness and mutual recognition of each other's rights. The terms of the compact were ordinarily, at least, observed. It was during the spiritual condition of the Georgian era, after Convocation had been suppressed, that the new order commenced, and the Church being practically silenced, the State intruded itself more and more into the spiritual demesne. Some corrective power doubtless was needed, and the torpid Church, past feeling any wrong to its spiritual life, acquiesced." Canon Carter protested strongly against that "darkest and most degraded period" being quoted as "our normal state," in order to bolster up "a prescriptive right of interference," and to make it appear as though a degenerate state of things was "the proper and intended relation between Church and State." The author here gives a succinct history of the facts, "the history of what has passed since the Reformation as to the regulation of procedure in our Ecclesiastical Courts," which, so far as we are aware, has not been called in question. In all this, on the other side he most clearly lays down that" all coercive jurisdiction proceeds from the Crown; that Canons in conflict with statutes of the realm are ipso facto void; and that Canons require the sanction of the Crown." He does not uphold one power by making inroads on the other; his argument does not extend to pre-Reformation times, he only clearly traces the decadence of a great constitutional principle, the Church's jurisdiction, as collateral with that of the State, each in its proper sphere; and a wrong done to the Church's jurisdiction was a "wrong done to its spiritual side."
We have gone a little into this point because it explains many of Mr. Carter's incursions into the arena of controversy, which have made him to be regarded, by those who did not know him, as an "ecclesiastical firebrand."
His historical capacity was of no mean order. His keen eye quickly seized upon any incursion of civil into spiritual jurisdiction, and whilst strongly in favour of Establishment, he clearly saw the fans jurisdictionis was different in the temporal and spiritual powers, and the sphere and object of their respective exercise. His "Letters "to the Archbishop of Canterbury on "A True Phase of Anglo-Catholic Principles," "A Further Plea for Constitutional Liberty and Constitutional Order," "The Rightful Claim of the Church of England," were in dignity, substance, and tone all that could be desired. We remember what a calming effect these publications had at the time upon those who had been disturbed by recent events. In one of these he traces the encroachments of the secular upon the spiritual jurisdiction. These "Letters "were not merely called forth by the immediate exigencies of controversy, but were evidently the result of long brooding upon the question of jurisdiction, and of accurate acquaintance with the history of the Church of England and of the Prayer-book, which is bound up with that history, since the Reformation. Canon Carter had a great hatred of Erastianism, as the enemy of spiritual jurisdiction and spiritual life.
The following letter is one of the numberless testimonies we have to the sweetness of his disposition and absence of acrimony in dealing with controversies:--
"REV. AND DEAR SIR,
"The enclosed cutting from a paper about ten years ago (1890) reproduces a communication which I received from the late Canon Carter. I trust the same may be of use to you. I think it valuable, because we have therein his own words upon the subject of his resignation (1880). I knew the writer for about twenty-five years, and was, I believe, of some use to him in furnishing him with some statistics, for which he so kindly mentions my services in reports extending over many years.
"He asked me to call at his house, which I did from time to time by appointment. I was exceedingly impressed by his conciliatory disposition. He perceived and valued all that was good, and was ever 'on the look-out' for points of agreement. The standpoint he maintained whenever principle was involved did not prevent overflowing charity and perfect gentleness. His virtues are well known to you. Indeed he was the most' lovable' of men.
"F. F. B."
He was not naturally a particularly fluent speaker; he needed a little time to get into his subject, and to he deeply stirred with it; like the Psalmist, "the fire kindled, and at the last I spake with my tongue." The hearer felt that he was in the presence of mind, not merely words. The present operations of the mind found an outlet through the tongue. But when suddenly called upon "to say a few words" when a spiritual theme was being discussed, even in a vast assembly like a Church Congress, he would rivet the attention, and dispel all acrimony from the debate. We heard it said when he sat down, "It flowed out of his mouth like honey."
Then Canon Carter was regarded as a great student. Those who knew him best would not say this. His time was too much taken up with spiritual affairs to admit of his being a book-worm. He would give unstinted time to strangers who sought his help when tempted or troubled, and long hours were spent daily in spiritual work in reconciling sinners or ministering to the Saints. Here, too, must be noticed the enormous correspondence which occupied much of his valuable time--ungrudgingly given. Persons in all parts, who had not the slightest claim upon his time and attention, applied to him for guidance and help in every kind of difficulty and sorrow. This continuous occupation of his time and his pen brought about those cryptic characters, almost undecipherable, with which so many are familiar, who during advancing years corresponded with him. In early life he wrote a beautiful hand. We print a specimen of his writing at the age of twenty and at the age of ninety, which will be sufficient proof of this statement.
"The art of judging of the character of persons by their writing," says Disraeli, "may become an instrument guided by and indicative of the natural dispositions." "Assuredly Nature would prompt every individual to have a distinct sort of writing, as she has given a countenance, a voice, and a manner." Perhaps this is only a general rule, and writing may be reduced to a mechanical process. But with authors the rule that writing and style reveal character especially holds good, and "the handwriting bears an analogy to the character of the writer, as all voluntary actions are characteristic of the individual." No doubt, in the case of Canon Carter, the amount which he wrote, and the swiftness of his composition, had much to do with the form his handwriting ultimately assumed.
Of human nature he was a student; that book he knew well, disfigured with sin or transfigured by grace. He was not a student in the sense of a man who spent hours daily upon theological treatises, the writings of the Fathers and Schoolmen, or modern divinity; yet he loved books, and was often found to be acquainted with those just published, which he would read when journeying, and occasionally get so absorbed in thought as to step at a junction into a wrong train. He was a daily reader of the Times, and often at night after dinner would read aloud to his daughters.
In his later days ho often wrote kneeling on one knee, and without sufficient hold on the paper, so that the writing twisted about, and perhaps ended in a corner of the page. The obscurity of his writing often led to curious mistakes. A bishop received a letter from him which he was unable to decipher, and looking for the name of the writer at the end, misread it as "A. Tartar," and was only reassured that it was not from some rude assailant by his chaplain informing him that the signature was "T. T. Carter," of Clewer. On another occasion a letter marked "private "was received by a clergyman during breakfast in London, who being unable to read it, passed it round the table, with the result that it still remained "private," though each guest had essayed to read it. One more instance of this difficulty. A clergyman arrived at Clewer from Bristol to preach a Lenten sermon at the parish church, and when in the vestry he suddenly discovered that he had forgotten his manuscript, so he said he could not preach. Mr. Carter quieted his feelings by saying he would lend him one of his sermons, with which document the stranger ascended the pulpit, only to discover that he could not decipher a line. He said afterwards the handwriting was as if some small bird had dipped his claws in ink and walked across the page. It was an open secret that a special man was kept for reading his "copy "at a printing-house in London. Still, though it must be admitted that it was difficult to read his writing, it was not carelessly written, but every sentence was formed and word written with an accuracy which, when the writing was deciphered (if examined with a glass), left no stroke or twist unemployed in constructing the words. But familiarity with his mode of expression, as well as with his letters, was a necessity, especially in his later days. Writing is, no doubt, truly said to be a revelation of character, and in the case of Canon Carter, though the burden of a great correspondence may have had something to do with the form which his hand ultimately assumed, his writing certainly also bore witness to something unique in character, and was an evidence of strength.
His sermons, especially in the later years of his life, unless on exceptional occasions, were not written. They bore the marks of earnest prayer and the knowledge of souls rather than of profound study--in fact, they were spiritual effusions; but there was a logical substratum to them, which held the parts firmly together. They were never sentimental or emotional, but calm and thoughtful. Whilst we should not attribute to him great oratorical powers, there was in his preaching the evidence of deep personal conviction; intense, though restrained, earnestness; spiritual insight; unvarying refinement; and intellectual grasp of the subject in hand; manifest love of God and of human souls,--qualities sufficient to draw the wicked and depraved from a life of sin, and the faithful to a life of absolute self-oblation. His voice, though not strong, was clear and sweet and penetrating, high-toned, and evidently responsive to the movements of his soul. Besides all this, he had a fine presence, the stature and physique of a Guardsman, and the face of a Saint. His eyes seemed to quicken and glow with fire when he became animated, and when he returned into the vestry after preaching, the clergy have noticed this strange look of fervour.
Mr. Carter was a quick reader, and seemed able to extract the pith of a treatise (as reviewers do) without pausing long on introductory matter or subsidiary thought, and with equal rapidity he would express a judgment upon the work or its tendency. In many letters these traits are conspicuous. E.g.: "You see how M. follows G. in putting aside the Fathers and working on the Scripture independently." "M. has had in America a rather sharp censure." "It is a sad tendency of our time." "I was reading last night Creighton on the Papacy. "What an interesting and reliable book it is!" "I have been going carefully into M.'s book. I have thought it will lower Baptism. He has evidently expended an immense amount of labour upon it; it will raise Confirmation, which is a good thing. But can you attach any definite idea to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, beyond an increase of the gift of the Holy Ghost? Does not indwelling imply a personal possession of a peculiar kind, so as to make one His instrument, or otherwise only gifted?" "I read G.'s sermons last night, and saw the great deficiencies as to the Atonement, of which the Bishop of 0. had told me. I suppose him to mean a passive, inactive state of the Divine Personality, leaving the whole virtue to the Manhood. He seems to set the value of the Sacrifice on the Cross to the perfectness of the obedience of the Man, not to the underlying power of the Divine Personality, imparting to the suffering of the Manhood an Atoning Power." "I am also reading Ryle's work on the Canon of the Old Testament. What a dead set there is against Pusey's view of Daniel!" "I am reading Pusey's 'Daniel' a second time, as a refreshment after D.'s book. Surely Pusey's view will rise again and prevail! I cannot but feel that the New Criticism will have its day and pass. I am very glad of the line which Chapter II. took. I regret the line of G." "The Bishop of G-. and B., in the Times, approves of the Declaration," i.e. on "Inspiration."
It is hardly necessary here to enter upon the question, What was Mr. Carter's attitude towards what is termed the "Higher Criticism?" The Declaration, printed in another part of this book, sufficiently reveals that. Mr. Carter had an intense reverence for Holy Scripture, and he feared the new mode of dealing with the contents of the Old Testament might weaken the faith of English people, who very often built their convictions on the letter of Holy Scripture, and very often have but a faint realization of the authority of the Church. Mr. Carter viewed things from within; and if he found that the "Higher Criticism" had done damage to souls or injured faith, that would be one ground of opposition. It is not enough to point to the atmosphere of his early life at Oxford, and his associations, and his "length of days," to account for his posture towards the new teaching. He assimilated much new truth in his time, and had an "open mind," and showed a readiness for assimilation of all that was true and good; but he thought the new teaching an untrustworthy guide, with no definite ultimatum. Moreover, his reverence for our Lord's use of the Old Testament he thought involved the traditional view; and that, to disparage His reference, e.g., to Noah, the Flood, etc., involved a belief in the limitation of his knowledge or truth, which he, with so many, regarded as inconsistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church on the Incarnation. Mr. Carter regarded the Holy Scriptures as "the daily food of the people." In a letter, printed elsewhere, will be found that this meditation on the Word of God he thought supplied our people with food which the Church of Borne sought to provide by modern devotions of a sentimental character. This was his view, and therefore any tampering with the inspired Scriptures touched, in his mind, the constant food of our people. Moreover, he was thrown back when he attempted to apprize the value of the Higher Criticism by the extravagances of some higher critics, and the tone of irreverence in some of the lecture-rooms in Germany, or such statements as that of St. George Mivart, that what theologians have taught for centuries "may not have a shadow of foundation in fact." Such views may indeed unsettle minds, especially amongst ourselves, who have not "the formal decrees of the Sovereign Pontiff teaching the whole Church ex cathedra as to faith and morals "to turn to, when the "trustworthiness" of Holy Scripture seems to be sinking under our feet.
"MY DEAREST ------,
"I am sending you the Review of L.'s book. I am afraid it is too long. The chief lack of the book seems to me to be devotional. One would have wished some unction in it. We have had a pleasant ramble on the coasts of Cornwall, Lizard, Land's End, Tintagel, Bude, etc.; one main point, we were delighted with Truro Cathedral. Cornish-coast air is really quite bracing. The churches are all interesting, generally restored, ritual good, early celebrations everywhere; but the Church is very weak, alas! I should resign that position, only one feels one must stand against the rigorist and extreme party. It seems to me a clear duty. There are certain who are determined on enforcing fasting communion, or leaving the Society.
"I have enjoyed my time very much at Beer, on the side of a hill, the house just overlooking a beautiful cove; and, as I sat and wrote, I could see all that passed--all alive with fishermen and bathers; and just above a wide range of moorland, delightful to walk, and on to the highest point of the cliff we could see from Portland to------, very beautiful; and several expeditious around my old friend Woodcock's, within about twelve miles just beyond Axminster. A good church and priest at Beer. You may know him--C. H., son of a Devonshire man, once Inspector of Schools, Diocesan. The sale of 'Catholic Religion' is a good sign, at least, of interest in Church matters. My friend A. has been working at 'Anglo-Saxon Saints,' and has a whole series. The new appointments appear to be good. Bishop Temple seems to me able to deal with the present educational matters well. All seem to welcome the Bishop of Peterborough. I only trust this appointment will not put off the next volume of his 'History of the Papacy during the English Deformation.' "We have a large parochial mission going on--Illingworth giving lectures to the upper set, Bickersteth doing excellently; and Ives and Cowie at St. Stephen's, and Buxton at Dedworth. Errington had well laid the preparations. I was at two of Illingworth's lectures. They were simple, on the graces of the spiritual life.
"Your ever affectionate
"T. T. C."
"We are nicely placed for a while on the south rock at T. Sun all day, and the water at high tide washing the very base of the low cliff beneath our windows. The weather fine, except one shower last night. There are many interesting places near--old churches and castles. Miss M. has stirred up friends to invite, and we go to stay a day with the Dean of St. D. next week. To-morrow we go for a drive to some places beyond Pembroke. I have a note from H., asking me to preach, or rather,' say a few words,' at the evening service. It is an enormous congregation, and I declined; but he nailed me for a harvest thanksgiving oil Thursday. It is a fine church, a bright service; at the early celebration linen vestments and lights. There is a C. B. S. ward. Do you want that notice of Bishop W. now? I am sorry to say that I have delayed writing. I have been busy with B.'s Preface, and rather occupied with another volume of 'Spiritual Instructions'--rather venturesome. I am surprised at that article to which you called my attention. It was more wanting than I could have conceived possible from him in a view of the unseen state--rather an extinguisher of it. I am reading De L.'s letter a second time, and carefully. It struck me at first as fair, but, in its result, confirming the old view. Whether man will be influenced by its rather archaic line, I am questioning to myself. I had a talk with the Bishop of------; he seemed to hope that the bishops will come as our Deus in machina, and I wrote to the Bishop of------at his request, and another who is hampered by his connection with P. H., and has three of his chaplains among the 'Lux M.' set. I will see about that other article to-night. I am glad Sadler filled up the gap."
These extracts are given as affording further illustrations of Canon Carter in two lights--his intense love of nature, and his literary tastes and powers. It was as natural to him to write as to speak, and the industry of the man comes out, that even during a time of rest and change his pen was not idle. Canon Carter, it is needless to say, had great literary powers, not only in the way of rapid composition, but also (which may be a surprise to some), like Dr. Pusey, in the business part of the transaction. We do not mean as to any monetary advantage (which he never considered), but in regard to type, correction of proofs, publication, etc. Some authors will not correct their proofs, but get others to do this for them. Mr. Carter, on the contrary, would bestow the greatest care upon correcting and revising his proofs, often desiring a "revise" of the proof. He thought himself that he did not possess the fitting qualities for a reviewer, but one who had been a reviewer for many years, and might from experience be capable of taking an estimate, regarded Canon Carter as especially qualified for that kind of literary work. His critical judgment, his love of truth, his theological knowledge, his refined taste, his fairness, his courage, his character--elevated above all that is mean or self-seeking or truckling--all seemed to fit him for reviewing religious writings. In this, as in much else, his humility was sometimes an inconvenient virtue, causing him to undervalue his powers, whilst he was apt to magnify those of others. But few could equal him in those fields of thought with which he was familiar, as, e.g., in the writings of the Caroline Divines and of the early Tractarians.
The third mistake in estimating the character of Thomas Thellusson Carter is that which makes him an unapproachable ascetic. Whilst self-sacrifice was the root-principle of his life, those who knew him well will bear witness to the intense brightness and joyousness of his spirit. Indeed, this has been, on the other side, exaggerated, so that the way he was able to bear his sorrows, his wonderful self-command, has been misinterpreted to mean an absence of natural affection. We who know him best have seen this calm demeanour in the midst of bereavement and trouble, but we have also seen him turn aside and weep. He was intensely affectionate. His spiritual letters as well as family letters bear witness to the warmth of his affections. But in all troubles he was like Israel of old, who had light in their dwellings. No doubt that it was a very remarkable feature of his character, his perpetual brightness. Looked at from a natural standpoint, men are said to be naturally optimists or pessimists. Canon Carter, like Bishop Westcott, was doubtless an optimist; it was natural to him to look on the sunny side. We mention Bishop Westcott because there are several points of likeness between these two great men. They were both born optimists, and this type of character seems to us the disposition out of which Saints are mostly made. They never can believe that evil will be dominant in the end. Dark clouds are passing things, the sun behind them ever shines. Troubles, sorrows, losses, bereavements, are passing things, the ever and all pervading Love Divine will shine out when these have become things of the past. Canon Carter was, we admit, an optimist. To have seen him in the presence of death, to have seen him by the graveside, to have watched him when his dearest was being committed to the earth, was to have witnessed the tenderest human love, but never the sorrow which is without hope.
We earnestly desire in this Memoir to paint him as he really was, and to dissipate entirely any mistaken notion that he was like some sour ascetic who condemned innocent pleasures and never took part in them. He could delight in the simplest and most innocent forms of amusement. We have heard his voice lifted above the rest when the patients at St. Andrew's Hospital had their Christmas entertainment, and the men were singing some innocent song which he seemed quite to enjoy as he joined in the chorus. When the shadows of some trial darkened his home he would feel it most keenly, and bear everything with uncomplaining patience; but his delicate sense of humour never forsook him, even in the hour of deep trial. He could take in a situation of strange contrast in a moment, and, if you knew him well, you would see by a look of the eye or a curl of the lip that though his heart was torn with sorrow, he saw the incongruity; and this sense of humour--a mark of the Saints--would seem for a moment to relieve the strain. In one thing he was particular, which was, not to overshadow others with any personal cloud of his own. In a time of most bitter trial he had to leave his home for the performance of some spiritual work for the bishop before ordination, and those with him wondered how he would act, whether, under the painful circumstances, he would go and fulfil the engagement or not. He went, and gave the addresses, and Canon F. said, "He never mentioned any trouble, and was really as bright as usual." It was this marvellous self-command which hid from others the pangs which he was suffering in his loving heart.
The following letter contains a true image of the man:--
"I recall a walk through the street at Ilfracombe one evening after dark with him, and our passing by a brightly lighted place where a cheap-jack was selling his wares; the crowd and the scene delighted him, and he joined it and stood watching and listening with the greatest interest, as a child might have done, and joining in the laughter."
In the same letter we have other remembrances of a different kind. The writer says--
"His appreciation of the sea and the rolling waves one stormy day is also vividly in my memory. One thing which impressed me in early days was the manner in which he went to read the Lessons, his unaffected reverence. ... It is a great blessing to have known such a real Saint."
Canon Carter was most beloved, it might be imagined, in the House of Mercy, Clewer, by the Sisters, also by the Penitents, and especially by the Magdalens. In the old days, we speak of more than thirty years ago, the Magdalens had a sort of festivity at Christmas, when they were allowed to give pleasure to other people. They had a Christmas tree in their sitting-room. To enliven the proceedings, mottoes were tried, though perhaps not very successfully. They presented Mr. Carter, as the Warden, with a pretty dress for his grandchild S. The gift was accompanied with the following lines, no doubt composed by the Sister-in-charge, or adapted to the occasion:--
"There was an Abbot of Aberbrothock
Who put a bell on the Inchcape Rock,
But our good Abbot of Aberbrothock
Shall place on Sybella a white cape frock."
Mr. Carter was not present, but before the evening was over he sent hack the answer, with great delight; it shows his quickness and interest in everything. Answer--
"The Inchcape bell shall still ring on,
And so shall the thanks for the gift of love,
While the beautiful robe the grandchild shall don,
Shall speak of the glories of heaven above."
The last line is a key to explain that continuous brightness which so puzzled people whose eyes were fixed on the earth--it was a reflection!
Whilst Mr. Carter was in no sense a morbid ascetic, and entered with gusto into all innocent joys, it may be necessary also to show that though religious interests were ever supreme with him, he was not what has been styled "a man with one stop." He took deep interest in all that was passing around him, and was generally "up-to-date "with the political questions of the day--a Conservative in politics, but not narrow in his sympathies. The following letter will be an evidence of the estimate we are taking of the late Warden of Clewer's political sentiments--it is addressed to his son:--
"MY DEAREST J.,
"I do indeed think that letter of Gladstone's to the Hyde Park mob a great mistake, inflammatory and Tin-warranted in his position. But I view it as an outburst of an impressible, passionate, enthusiastic temperament. To such a mind as his, Dizzy's temper must be positively hateful and riling, often to past endurance; and even Lord Derby's, though better, is yet as cold as a north-easter; and G.'s feeling is that of distrust of the Government doing anything adequate to the occasion, nor, whatever Lord Derby's wonderful strong language said, was he likely to put a screw on the Turks firmly enough in act to set free those poor victims of their horrible Government. The Government (ours I mean) would, I verily believe, hush up any thing if they could, and go on with their diplomacy and satisfied with promises which have been a hundred times falsified, for the Turk cannot free Christian subjects without ceasing to be a Turk. I cannot but think that we have lost a noble opportunity of freeing these poor Christians if we had taken a bolder line--what Russia is now doing. The Saturday seems to me to be taking a very low line, ascribing Russia's action wholly to ambition, as if to rescue members of their own race and their own Communion might not be imagined as a motive; and also calling Gladstone unpatriotic, meaning evidently thereby that he disregards the material interests of England in comparison with the claim of humanity and of Christianity. Even the old Pagan could say, 'Quicquid est humanum, &c.' No doubt Russia never has her eye off Constantinople, and the desire must ever be present, lest the passion which has evidently stirred the Russian people seems enough to account for the movement. And it is scarcely to be supposed, that, even if Austria were weak enough to allow it, Bismarck would ever permit Russia to get hold of the countries bordering the Danube, and so command all its course. Some day, no doubt, Russia will have a great share in Greece; I hope will possess Constantinople. But not yet. One's conversation sometimes reaches boiling-point. But Dizzy is enough to turn any sober man crazy.
"I am going to get back to where I began, for the late letters of Gladstone have damaged himself and his cause, but I think he laid hold of the real truth as to the necessity of getting rid of Turkish rule by strong measures, as the only hope of freeing these poor people from an intolerable and shameful tyranny. I am hoping that things will settle down, though a blaze might readily spring up. G. has a hope of sketching. We have occasional sunshine and pleasant walks. I hope all are well. With love to all.
"Ever your affectionate
"T. T. C."
This letter is especially valuable, not only as expressing Mr. Carter's views on political questions of the day, but because it is one of the very few letters we possess of that long period, over two years, when he had to sojourn abroad for the recovery of his strength after an illness which nearly proved fatal. We may give one more instance of Canon Carter's lighter vein, and the real happiness which he experienced in the happiness of others. At the age of eighty-four he travelled to the North of England to marry a daughter of an old friend, and the journey he accomplished seemingly without fatigue, giving an address at the conclusion of the marriage service in a crowded church. He entered with his usual keen interest into all the ceremonies and amusements which are common at Northern weddings, especially the footraces. Fearing he might take cold, as the air was fresh, he was wrapped in a large shawl, to fasten which a lady lent him a brooch, which he had the misfortune to lose. It was afterwards found. But in the mean time he purchased another to make good the loss, and sent it with the following lines:--
"Let me repair
The lack of care
That happy day,
When all was gay
Except the hurry
And the flurry,
And the regret
At the sad forget
As to where was set,
When unable to find
What had been so kind
A loan to keep out
The cold from without,
And prolong the delight
Of that joyous night,
When all were bent
With affections true
In that great event,
Long planned before,
Of June 13, 1894.
T. T. C."
These lines are inserted here, because they contain a revelation of Canon Carter's simple affectionate character and the joy which he experienced in the joy of others.
Those who knew Mr. Carter's habits well, will all bear witness to--as a marked feature of his character--his industry. His use of time, and sense of its value, were very noticeable. No trouble or pains ever seemed to be too great for him in doing good. Whilst we have said that he was not a student, perhaps "bookworm "would have been the better term. He read quickly, and took in what he read as quickly; and his mind approved or rejected with the same rapidity. He was sharp in detecting a flaw of inaccuracy; and if an argument, in seeing when it was carried too far. He had, too, that mark of genius in being dissatisfied with his own productions. He was ready to take or give a hint, with a smile which would disarm an opponent. Things which would provoke ordinary men would often with him call out laughter, he had such an unfailing fund of humour. He could be very business-like, though business was not his forte, and in such matters he was sometimes too trustful, sometimes to his great loss. On one occasion he engaged a curate without having seen him or inquiring his age; and when he arrived he was found to be quite an old man. The effect of this surprise, which would have vexed many a rector, was a merry outburst of laughter, and turning to a friend, he said, "Why, he is older than I am," and then again the merry peal. But to go back to his diligence. Until he was a very old man he rose early and celebrated the Blessed Sacrament before taking any food; but a cup of tea was brought to him immediately after the service. To see him walk, with his long strides and rapid movements, was an indication of his physical energy. With the exception of the two severe illnesses, he always enjoyed excellent health. This blessing, sanctified by grace, was, we believe, at the root of all. No invalid or weak person could have accomplished half what he did. He laboured from morning till night, and sometimes late into the night. No pains were too great to achieve anything for God. An instance occurs to us, quite in his earlier days. He had written an address upon some important subject, which he was to deliver the next day to the clergy (we think, but we are not sure) at Salisbury. At night he feared what he had prepared was not quite what was wanted, and so he set to work to write another paper; this took him far into the night, or rather morning, when some one, finding he had not gone to bed, came in search of him, and found him writing, and sheets of paper covering the table and part of the floor, the fruits of the midnight toil. This was but an instance of his persevering diligence. The same trait of character was manifest in his travels. In the examination of some ancient building, or a picture, or a document, he would not be content until he had seen everything. He would go down on his knees to decipher the inscriptions, and imperil the catching of a train in this eagerness for research. He had great capacities for enjoyment, and a wondrous way of shutting off anxieties and trials, especially when in the midst of beautiful scenery. At a time when his troubles about the resignation of his parish were nearly at a climax, he went off to Scotland and refreshed himself with the sight of the Scotch mountains, about which he wrote with great delight, which few could have done in the midst of so much anxiety. In all, he never seemed to be without the thought of God, and of spiritual things; seeing quickly at any turn some spiritual lesson which would suggest itself. When he was driving through a Yorkshire lane, the plough was making furrows across the fields by the side, and as the earth was turned up, great birds followed the plough in eager pursuit of worms. As he watched them with their keen eyes and long sharp bills, ever absorbed in seeking food, he said, "See their eagerness! see their eagerness!" that was all, except the look he gave, which showed his mind was occupied with the lesson these creatures taught us, of eagerness for the Supreme Good. On the moors he displayed the same delight, and though he was lame through a varicose vein from which he suffered in his leg, he wanted to walk across the expanse to get a fuller view of this natural grandeur, and it was with some difficulty he was persuaded to get back into the carriage. He was delighted with Lastingham, and went down into the crypt. On his return, he rather complained that they would not let him go into the moors. He was then eighty-eight. He was also greatly interested with the old Gilbertine Church at Old Malton. He was no musician, yet he was very fond of hearing good music, especially the Passion music, and enjoyed going to St. Paul's. At the back of all this was the same trait of industry which seemed to know no limits, but orare et laborare ever went together.
His devotional powers seemed to be unlimited, and found expression sometimes in a plain and practical level, at other times in ecstatic language; and so he was able to provide food for the humblest matter-of-fact Christian, and for the souls of those who were climbing high the mountain-side and were capable of rapturous petition. Here is an instance of the latter, written in 1862--
"Thou givest me the sorest cross, I would that Thou shouldst not let me shrink from it. O let my real gladness, my real sorrow, be only for what draws me near to Thee, or drawa me back from Thee. Dearest Jesu, fill up every void, satisfy every longing, be Thy Fulness felt in every loss. Thy loss for me be a perpetual gain, gain to me. Be Thou sweetness to my taste, brightness to my eyes, fervour to my heart, purity in my senses, rest in my weariness, perpetual music in my soul, supplying every loss.
"Let nothing depress me, if not forsaken of Thee, my secret joy, and nothing elate me, if Thou, my only true Life, are not with me. Hush all my complainings, dearest Lord, in the Bosom of Thy sweet Will, and enfold my being in Thy everlasting Arms. Give me to desire only what is in Thy Heart, and the grace to wait the fulness of my bliss.
"Keep Thou perfect stillness in my soul, that I lose no sound of Thy inward Voice, no breathing of Thy Spirit. Amen.
"O Jesus, Life of my life, Soul of my soul, move within me, inspiring every thought, directing every purpose.
"Spirit of light, Whose abode is within me, illuminate my understanding with Divine wisdom, and preserve in me a calm, clear vision of Thy revelation to my soul.
"I have chosen Thee, O my God, as my End. I would choose every means that best will bring me unto Thee.
"Clothe me with virtues; Fill me with devotion; Animate me with love; Give me, O God, a tender heart, inflaming me with love and holy desire; Restrain every movement; Still my heart, hush me to rest in Thy Bosom, O my God. Spirit of sanctity, Creator of all good, breathe into me humility and patience, calm recollectedness, meekness, unselfishness, holy joy, and charity that faileth not."
In a Time of Great Trial
"I have just received your husband's letter, and look forward to meeting you on Monday in Paris. He tells me you have been expecting to hear. I believe I wrote after that special letter. It was certainly in my mind to do so. I am very sorry if there has been any mistake. I am afraid you have had a very trying time. But I have an inward conviction that you are through tribulation secretly being brought to the Heart of God; through these pangs, after dreariness and a taste of spiritual desolation, the soul is thus prepared for Divine gifts; this without Sacraments, God Himself working His own work. I have looked to this discipline of trial, unconsciously to yourself, being the instrument that God will thus use; and hereafter you will, perhaps, know more, as already you have seen how much you owe to trial and earthly loss. Your experience has led you many ways, beside the more direct sacramental mysteries. You have tasted of God and invisible things, through the faces of the mountains, their greatness and loveliness and stillness of earthly beauty; and we have seen more of God and felt more of the nearness of unseen worlds in your husband's pale face and anxious looks; and you know of the deep things of God as they come out in the conflict of feeling, in struggling with trials that come so dose home in such searching intercourse. But all is well and leading onward to the blessed end, and the day will at last break and reveal all in the holiest light, and your soul's joy will break out in untold raptures, and the conscious Presence of God will bear you into the very Heart, there to be hushed in unutterable sweetness and joy. May He hasten the time and prepare you for it. His blessing rest on you ever. With Mrs. C.'s, M.'s, and G.'s love.
"T. T. C."
The Thought of Self.
"I am sorry to have been so long replying to your question. I need hardly say that what you describe clings to one's being beyond all else. It is the sense of one's self coming into everything. What we look to hereafter, when one is in God for ever, self will be lost, and the mere sense of what is true, holy, and good felt, all being ascribed to God, as the cause and end of all. Now we turn to self-praise what ought all to be for the praise of God. What we should seek for is to do the right, to do our best, and not to let the thought run on the idea 'that did it.'
"The following means in the way of self-discipline help to this:--
"(1) To keep before the mind the truth, that it is not of myself, but of God in myself and through myself that does the good and exercises powers; that one is purely the creature, and how miserable a thing it is to take to one's self what He is pleased to give and work in one's self; it is like a servant acting for his master, and taking to himself the credit of his master's act. If one really saw the truth, it is a very sad vanity. You would see this in the case of a pretty person, magnifying herself for a pretty face. Is it not the same if the gift is of the mind and intellect?
"(2) To keep before me the thought of others who are greater, and who with the greatest gifts have been most modest, most self-forgetting, greater in this abstinence from any self-praise. How the greatest men have been the most humble, because they have seen something greater than themselves.
"(3) To recognize other people's greatness in one's own way or in other ways--greatness and goodness in any, and to give all credit, all honour, simply, if only to rejoice in others' gifts. True sympathy is to 'rejoice with those that do rejoice, and weep with those that weep.'
"(4) To accept gladly any disregard of one's self, any disrespect, any words of praise for others, any sense of failure, any word that questions what we have done or thought, anything in some degree humiliating; to feel it a real gain, and thank God for it. I hope these few thoughts may help you. I know the difficulty, but it can be overcome. With all best wishes.
"Very sincerely yours,
"T. T. C."
"Except three, at the least, communicate with the Priest."
"MY DEAR ------,
"I do not think that under such circumstances you need scruple to continue to celebrate, and take the chance of less than those being present. We have, I think, to bear in mind the principle on which our rubrics were framed, now that we are hindered from any change being made in them.
"There is no doubt that the object of the rubric was to prevent solitary Masses as a system. Such a cause as yours has no such character as was desired to be corrected, and there was no wish for the restoration of services which might have difficulties such as you experience. In such case, I should surely say you are in harmony with the spirit that animated the reforming movement.
"May God bless your endeavours.
"Very sincerely yours,
"T. T. C."
This letter is of value, as many have felt this difficulty of the rubric. Mr. Carter takes in the whole position, and acts upon the spirit rather than the letter. This well comes in the chapter upon "Character." He acted on the mutatis mutandis principle often, and a rigid and blind obedience to the letter whilst the purpose was lost sight of, would not commend itself to his mind.
A singular instance of goodness and self-denial was brought before Canon Carter for his opinion as to purely subjective religion. The following letter is the answer. We ought to say that we have only a copy of his letter before us, and that evidently written by some one who had not altogether mastered his hand.
"MY DEAR ------,
"There have always been minds which have been influenced by purely subjective realization of God. We cannot limit the Holy Spirit's work, and such persons may be quite true and possessed with the belief of their God's work in them. But history has shown the extreme danger of such purely internal and subjective communion with God and heavenly things, and of the sad effects that may arise from such a view of religion. Some may be preternaturally guarded from such effects, while many have been seen to fall into them, self-confidence and self-conceit being the very least among such effects. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and He knows that we need an objective system of Sacraments for external use, or He would not have ordained them. Nothing can be clearer than the ordinances of Baptism, Absolution, Holy Communion, and of the necessity of membership with an organized body, and of the gifts of grace and peace being associated with such sacramental ordinances and fellowship. The same God Who by His Spirit speaks directly to the soul, gave us this system, as not only a channel of His grace, but also a witness and a guard, uniting the outward and the inward; and this undoubtedly is the Catholic order of Communion between our souls and Himself and Christian life.
"Without, then, wishing to judge these good people, we may safely say that it would be presumptuous to regard their state otherwise than an exceptional condition in the general order of God's dealing. Wesley and brother did a good deal to promote subjective religion and personal assurance; but he was at sixty years a strong 'vert (?) to Church system and Sacraments.
"T. T. CARTER."
The gentle charity which pervades this letter shows Mr. Carter's character in its true light--his courtesy, whilst at the same time his firmness in asserting what he regarded as the truth. Though there were many in early days who did not understand or were incapable of appreciating his great powers as a master of the spiritual life, there were some who foretold what he would become to the Church. The following letter from a great bishop, "Henry of Exeter," only expresses what was beginning to be felt in 1865, which we are permitted to transcribe.
"24, Park Street, W., April 1, 1863.
"If you knew the gratification, and, I hope, edification, which I have derived from your sermons and lectures, you would not be surprised at my requesting you to give me an opportunity, whenever you may come to London, of expressing to you in person my sense of the deep obligation the Church owes to you.
"At the close of a long life, I look with humble confidence in God's mercy to that Church, in raising up you to be one of its lights.
"May the Spirit of Christ rest upon you! "Believe me,
"Your very faithful brother in Christ,
"Rev. T. T. Carter."
In the chapter upon "Character "the following touching letter, from the pen of the doctor who attended Canon Carter in his latter years, may fitly find a place.
"MY DEAR -------,
"In writing of Canon Carter it is difficult for me to express in words all I feel, for he was a man only met once in a lifetime. I saw much of him during the later years of his life, for when he saw my hat in the hall he very often carried it into his study. [That is, when the doctor was visiting a sick relative.--ED.] I always went into that room with thankfulness and pleasure. Everything there was peaceful, and he was the embodiment of all that was gentle and holy. I always felt nearer to God whilst with him. His ever bright and fresh intellect made him delightful as a conversationalist and most instructive, and his broad and most tolerant views made him to be beloved and revered by all classes of Christians. His chief characteristics seemed to me, as a rather Low Churchman, to be his personal holiness, and he instilled into my mind the fact as being far before ceremonial. I remember soon after the Round Table Conferences at Lambeth Palace, when it was decided that incense used ceremonially and candles carried in procession were illegal, I asked him one morning whether he had received a letter from the bishop on the matter. He answered in the negative in his usual gentle way. 'I do not think he will write to me,' he continued. But I said, 'Suppose he does, will you obey him?' 'Oh, certainly,' he said. 'I should carry out his wishes.' It always struck me in conversation with him, that he never looked upon extreme ritual as necessary, but that to some it was helpful, and as a High Churchman he preferred it.
"I do not know whether his quiet unostentatious way of giving to charities has been mentioned, but he usually gave to me, unasked, in charities I was interested in, and made no inquiry, trusting fully in the person or object in which I was interested. As his doctor, I was most anxious always to preserve his brain and his body in its wonted activity. At the early services he refused the early cup of tea and piece of bread and butter until, for health's sake, I begged him to take it. At the services he knelt until his knees refused further to bear the pressure. His Sunday work, after he was ninety years of age, was an example for many a young man. The last few months of his life he gave up work almost entirely, and when I tried to urge him, his answer was, 'I am getting an old man. I am weak, but I will do what you wish.' How could I urge further? I felt he required no urging; that his fine constitution and his indomitable will, and his great love for all, made him work until his powers failed him, and he painlessly laid himself down and passed away.
"At the interview, when he said he was getting old, I said how I would that he could be made young again, and I told him the story of Faust, which he did not seem to remember. He said he never went to the opera as a young man, and very seldom to the theatre, that he worked very hard at Christ Church after leaving Eton, and then after getting a First Class, he immediately entered the ministry. His work and his life show how clearly he had one object in view, personal holiness as his great object in life, and what an example to every one who came in his way; and how it really influenced every one is told in the following story, an interesting conclusion to a most painful subject.
"Some time after Mr. Carter resigned the charge of Clewer Church, due entirely to the litigation of Dr. Julius, Mr. Garter and Dr. Julius accidentally met at Mrs. Bridgman s house at Clewer Hill. Dr. Julius was in the drawing-room, talking to Mrs. Bridgman, when Mr. Carter was announced in the dining-room. Dr. Julius became deathly white, and said how bitterly he regretted that he had ever allowed himself to be drawn into the prosecution, that, had he known Mr. Carter, nothing would have ever induced him to take it up, but he, a perfect stranger, was out-persuaded by others in and near the parish. Mrs. Bridgman then said, 'Well, would you like to see Mr. Carter?' He said, 'I should.' Mrs. Bridgman then went down to see Mr. Carter, and told him who was upstairs and would like to see him. Mr. Carter said, 'Oh yes, I should like to see him, if he would like to see me, but I could not go up to him.' Dr. Julius then came down, and they shook hands, sat down, and talked pleasantly for some time, and parted friends--a happy ending to the most painful trial which never ought to have been started.
I do not know whether you propose to mention about his last summer holiday, and the last offices which were done by the Sisters, and I and his two grandsons when we placed his remains in their last resting-place. Pleased to use that exactly as you like. I only write it in love for him.
"Ever yours sincerely,
It will be seen from these pages that the existence of the Sisterhood of St. John the Baptist, Clewer, was owing to the needs for the supervision of penitents, and that is still the chief work. Mr. Carter had been stirred by God's grace to try to seek and save the lost, a conspicuous need in the neighbourhood of a garrison town, and it is a matter of experience that only by Sisters can such institutions be successfully worked. Mr. Carter and Bishop Armstrong were pioneers of better and more successful methods of penitentiary work. Mr. Carter is commonly said to have had the spirit of the Apostle of Love, St. John; but he had also something of the spirit of the Baptist. The Community was named after Christ's Forerunner, and had as a motto, "Illum oportet crescere, me autem minui."
Canon Carter, the most gentle of creatures, had the firmness of a rock, and an indomitable will, when he came forth to defend the Church. In this way he was mixed up in, and took a leading part, and became a champion, when some truth or ceremony of the Faith was assailed; but, like Michael, he was "all for God."
His love for God seemed to quicken his natural sensibilities, and in his home life, and in his dealings with the parents of the Sisters, will be found all the tenderest movements of natural affection. Never would he allow any disparagement of domestic and family life, or one vocation to vie with another. He would say, "There are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit." His allegiance to the Church of England held him back from the extremist line.
To give an instance of this, much has been spoken and written of late with regard to the Invocation of Saints, and Mr. Carter's opinion (as previously Dr. Pusey's) has been sought on the subject. As a rule, we have said, he would not allow direct addresses to the Saints, but only prayer to God for their intercession. Thus, in the "Treasury of Devotion," a well-known manual, carefully edited by him, we find at page 10, "May all the Saints and elect of God pray for me." This is "comprecation." This he allowed and encouraged, but not, I repeat, direct intercession. Mr. Carter defended the "Treasury of Devotion "in the Times as "compiled with the careful desire of preserving Catholic devotional doctrine and phraseology clear of anything distinctively Roman." I am quite aware that direct intercession is not "distinctively Roman," for it is enjoined and practised in the East; nor am I ignorant of the witness in the catacombs and some expressions in the Fathers about direct intercession privately used; but I believe I am right in saying that it formed no part of the public authorized services of the Early Church--which the Church of England makes her standard. I have here, however, not to deal with the subject in itself, but simply with Mr. Carter's view concerning it, and as a rule he objected to direct invocation. And here I say, as a rule, because my attention has been called to an exception, which is quite characteristic of him, so unnatural it was for him to be a rigorist and to stick without a single exception, especially to a ruling which had, at any rate, the Latin and Greek Church not in favour of it.
A copy of a letter has been sent to me with regard to an inscription upon a new bell for the Manor House Chapel at Oxford, in which Canon Carter says, "It is quite well to do as you propose, for the inscription to be 'Ave Maria, ora pro nobis.'" The bell was cast with that inscription, hung, and episcopally blessed. It is only fair to insert this; but I am confident that neither Canon Carter himself, nor those whom he guided, used, under his authority, direct addresses to the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Saints. He would fear lest the office of the "One Mediator "should be obscured. In saying this, I am judging no man, and giving no opinion, but only trying to set forth the true convictions of Canon Carter, and to paint the manner of man he was.
Canon Carter saw clearly the need of Community life, something more than individual self-oblation to the work of Christ. He said, in the history of the Religious Life there appears to have been two different aims: one, the perfection of the individual; the other, the perfection of the community. Canon Carter seemed to aim at both. He had a constructive genius which manifested itself in organization. On the one hand he sought to lead individual Sisters in the ways of holiness; on the other, he saw the permanency of the work depended upon the existence and careful building up of Community life. He said--
"Sister Dora achieved her wonderful work alone. She has passed away and left nothing behind her. If the full results of such great gifts as God vouchsafes from time to time to His Church are to be preserved, they must be embodied in organized societies."
Hence the need of Sisterhoods, and not only of personal self-oblation. Sisterhoods remain; individual devotion passes. His mind seemed to me like two minds rolled into one. It is rare to find the mastery of great principles and attention to minute details in the same person. These capacities coexisted in him. He had a clear conception of what the constitution of a Sisterhood ought to be in the Church of England, its relations with the bishop of the diocese, with parochial clergy where they worked, and the value of a council, half-lay, to Sisterhoods in external matters. His ideal was not that of Bishop Webb, a "Diocesan Institution," but he thought Bishop Webb's principle might work well in Bloemfontein. Nor could he agree with the late Bishop of Lincoln as to the age of dedication, "three score years old," but showed in his "Vows and the Religious Life "that St. Paul's restriction referred to "widows," and that in 1 Cor. vii. 37 he had dealt with "virgins." Canon Carter's sense of humour was rather excited by the idea of the Sisters only undertaking their arduous duties after sixty!
It has been thought by some who knew Canon Carter's mind best, that the following extract from the Nineteenth Century, which the editor has kindly allowed to be taken, throws much light upon the posture of Mr. Carter's mind with regard to the bishops and the Church. He has elsewhere expressed the same thoughts, though more briefly and less forcibly. He is here dealing with a particular subject--confession--upon which his treatise sufficiently expresses his opinions. The article from which we are about to quote had for its purpose the correction of some unguarded statements of Canon Teignmouth Shore, respecting confession, and at the close of the article, having adduced passages from Jeremy Taylor, Patrick, etc., the author passes to some general principles to account for the temporary desuetude of the practice.
Canon Carter writes:--
"It may appear strange, if these things are so, that confession to a priest, together with other sacramental ordinances, which have been of late so freely taught (this was written in 1895) amongst us, should appear to many as a mere accretion upon our proper and legitimate system, the invention of the Oxford Movement. This was actually said lately in a leading article of the Times. It would seem from Mr. Shore's article that this idea has also entered into his view of the present condition of our Church life, and to many there may be need of some explanation: how it could be, if the views above stated are correct as to such doctrines leavening the Church up to the end of the seventeenth century and beyond it, as acknowledged and accepted principles in active operation, they should have fallen into such oblivion that their assertion now appears to be a novelty, and awakes in many such strenuous opposition. I cannot myself doubt as to the cause. There supervened upon the Revolution the secession of the non-jurors, and this comprehended no less than four hundred priests and eight bishops, including the Primate. The men who clung to the belief of the Divine right of kings, and to whom their oath to the exiled family was a part of their religion, were also the main upholders of the higher view of the Church's system. They were succeeded by men of a different stamp, and with these came in a lower view of Church life. There is no mistaking the difference between those who seceded in consequence of their reverence for their oath, and those who were able to accommodate themselves to the new order of things and the new principles of government. The consequences of such a change extended throughout the Church as well as throughout the State. There were families who retained the old usages. These were individual witnesses to the forgotten truths among the clergy, but they were comparatively like angels' visits, few and far between, as voces clamantium in deserto. The Oxford Movement was, as it were, the rising up again to the surface for the first time, after more than a century, of the stream which had so long been hidden underground, bringing with it the treasures of Catholic truth, held in abeyance during the interval. The Oxford Movement was the rising to the surface of the teaching and uses of the days of Andrews, and Jeremy Taylor, and George Herbert, and Cosin, and Ken. We see a difference in the attitude of the men who led the Oxford Movement, a difference arising from their antecedents. Keble and Pusey were both brought up from childhood in families which had inherited the old ideas common to the non-jurors. Newman had no such advantage. Newman during the struggle, said, 'I look to the bishops.' Pusey said, 'I look to the Church.' A whole world of difference lay between the two sayings, marking the immense diversity between the two men in their bringing up, and their grounds of belief. To Keble and Pusey the attacks which reached them from all quarters were of no account. They were conscious of the solid groundwork of the system they had inherited. They remained calm and tranquil through all the turmoil. Newman had no such stability, for he had had no such early teaching, and when attacked, he had no standing ground, and despaired de republica. The strength of those who held firm, and still taught, and have prevailed, arose from their clearly seeing that the Tractarian theology was nothing new in the Church of England; was simply a recovery through faithful witnesses of the good old system for which a long line of our forefathers prayed and suffered, before the Revolution in Church and State led to the decline and torpor of the last century." [Nineteenth Century, February, 1895, p. 288.]
This is the true explanation of the contrast between the last century and the present, which so many view with surprise and suspicion. The Evangelical Movement led the way out of the "slough of despond; "the Oxford Movement completed the recovery.
In the year 1882 some of Canon Carter's friends united together to present him with his portrait as "a mark of their esteem," and it was painted by Mr. F. Holl, K.A. Lord Beauchamp was asked to make the presentation, but was unfortunately prevented from discharging this "agreeable duty" in person. He, however, wrote to Mr. Carter in the kindest terms, expressing the pleasure which the contributors received from joining in the gift, and the hope that it would be treasured by his family, and be an enduring record of the countenance of one who had done so much for the revival of the Religious Life in the English Church. [The frontispiece of this volume is from the picture thus presented.]
Canon Carter replied --
"I can hardly adequately express to your lordship my grateful sense of the great kindness which has dictated this very gratifying and valuable gift. It really impresses me with the thought of so much generous and nattering regard, when one seems only to be doing what has come to one simply in the way of duty to do. Nothing could have been more grateful to me than this, with which my family are so delighted, which has been so generously designed and beautifully carried out, for all greatly admire Mr. Holl's work. Your lordship's very kind expressions have added greatly to what in itself I have every reason to be grateful for, though I hardly like to take to myself what you have been good enough to say.
"Believe me, my Lord Beauchamp,
"T. T. C."
Dr. Pusey had, I understand, some objection to likenesses, and wished to explain why his name was not on the list of contributors, A regret was expressed that Dr. Pusey had not seen his way clear to afford his friends the same pleasure which Mr. Carter had given to his in this respect.
We have received the following letter, which brings out strikingly two features of Canon Carter's character--his love of travel and sight-seeing, and his attractiveness to children:--
"We were staying in Florence, and some of us being a little tired of sight-seeing, a drive into the country was proposed. Mr. Carter consented, but added, 'You must remember that we have sixteen more things to see.' He liked to explore a place thoroughly, and, having done this, to go on at once somewhere else. Another point is, young people always took to him, and liked to come and tell him about their affairs. His grandchildren used to love to run into his study."