PUSEY AND THE CHURCH REVIVAL.
by the Rt Rev Charles Chapman Grafton, DD
Bishop of Fond du Lac
[Milwaukee: The Young Churchman Co., 1902; 76 pp]
transcribed by Mr Alexander Van Ness Munoz
The Church was planted, in Britain in very early times. It met with reverses and almost destruction at the hands of the Saxons and Danes; was strengthened by the coming of the Monk Augustine in 596; became consolidated under the great Archbishop Theodore; was brought in loser connection with the Roman See at the time of the Norman Conquest; came fully under the dominion of the Papacy as its power culminated under Hildebrand and Innocent III.; was aroused by the voice of Wyckliffe to the struggle for its ancient rights; passed through its struggle with the Papacy in the sixteenth century, maintaining the continuity of its organization, its holy orders, and its inherited Catholic Faith; emerged from the contest with Puritanism in the seventeenth century; and then, fortifying its Prayer Book with more emphatic statements of Catholic doctrine in 1662, completed the work of the Reformation.
During all this period we can but note the loving Providence of God, watching over and developing the Church, purifying it by its trials and sufferings and preparing it, freighted as it is with the balanced wisdom of the ages and with all the endowments and ministries of grace, for its development throughout the world, opening now under advancing civilization to Christianity as never before since the days of Constantine.
It will not be uninstructive to review together that remarkable development of spiritual life which took place in the Church of England during the nineteenth century; a movement which has so transformed and vivified her anew with spiritual life as to seem like a revival of those early days when the Church was trembling under the Divine afflatus of her lately received Pentecostal gifts.
In order that we may more fairly estimate this work of God's Holy Spirit in our Communion, we would first call attention to the condition, of the English Church in the century that preceded it. We find the Church in the beginning of the eighteenth century, to quote from the historian, Wakeman, full of vigorous endeavor, secure in her position, bright with hopefulness. Her great theologians, Hooker, Andrewes, Laud, Overall and
Montague, had discriminated and vindicated her position as against Papalism and Puritanism. "The writings of George Herbert, and Donne and Crashaw and Jeremy Taylor had proved that the fairest flowers of devout literature could spring from the garden of her faith. The lives of holy Nicolas Ferrar, and Bishops Juxon, Gunning and Ken show that a special type of restrained devotion, second to none in reality and sacrifice, was attainable by her children. The trials which she had suffered at the hands of Cromwell and of James II. witnessed to her steadfastness and tested her reality." It was at this time the great Christian Society, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, was founded, and her foreign missionary work begun.
But with the accession, in 1714, of George I., and the coming into power of the Whig party, a change came over the Church. Most active measures were taken to cripple the Church's activity.
For eleven centuries the Church had met together for deliberation and legislative action in Convocation. From 1718 to 1850 convocation was practically suspended. The living voice of the Church was thus suppressed. The erection of fifty new churches, voted by Parliament in Queen Anne’s reign, was changed by the action of the King and only twelve were erected. Since the Restoration, most of the practical activity of the Church had been the work of high Churchmen, and the suppression of high Churchmanship practically meant the suppression of religious energy. The plan of appointing four Bishops for the American Colonies was shelved. As the century advanced, the lower condition of the spiritual life is discernible. The saintly line of the Carolinian Bishops had given place to the classical scholars of the Georgian period. The King said all his Bishops were gentlemen and probably they were, but the visitor to the great hall of Christ Church, Oxford, adorned with so many portraits of her distinguished sons, can easily pick out, by their full, rubicund countenances, the appointees of the Hanoverian dynasty from the older divines whose faces wear the purified livery of prayer.
While the clergy as a body lived moral lives, yet the saintly ideal of the Priest's life was lacking. "The patronage lavished upon a worldly-minded clergy stimulated the growth of Latitudinarianism in doctrine and unspirituality in life." They came to regard the Church as merely a human institution. They had little apprehension of the sacredness of their powers or their ministerial priesthood. Their ideas of Eucharistic doctrine differed not materially from that of Zwingli, seldom rose higher than that of Calvin. Thus in this dark age of England's Church, we find, along with Clayton and Hoadley's riotous unbelief, as Dr. Neale has said, "a Blackburne running his career at York, and a Cornwallis dancing away his evenings at Lambeth, till George III. had peremptorily to interfere."
The spirit of the age aided the spiritual paralysis. It was rationalistic. Canon Liddon says: "The eighteenth century was marked by a shallow common sense." Also, the hysterical phenomena at times attending Wesley's preaching, which the good man said he did not know whether to ascribe to God or to the devil, made sedate Churchmen dread what, under general terms, they called enthusiasm. Enthusiasm became synonymous with piety without morality. The Archbishop of Canterbury counseled the famous missionary, Heber, on leaving for his work in India to preach the Gospel and to put down enthusiasm. Moved by this fear of an emotional religion, preachers confined themselves more and more to an inculcation of morality, and consequently got themselves labeled as "formalists," "dry-as-dusts," and "legalists." The received ideal sermon of the period, as described by Robert Hall, was "a discourse upon some moral topic, clear, correct, and argumentative; in the delivery of which the preacher must be free from all suspicion of being moved himself, or of intending to produce any emotions in his hearers." Blackstone, the well known jurist, has given us his experience of the pulpit, when he came to reside in London: "As to its morality, it did not always rise, in his opinion, to that of Plato or Cicero; and as for the religion, it was difficult to say whether the preacher believed in the Koran, Confucius, or the Bible."
The religious decadence expressed itself in the neglect of the Churches. The old Church buildings of England were thoroughly Catholic, and each part of their structure proclaimed some doctrine of the Nicene Faith. The threefold divisional arrangement into sanctuary, chancel, and nave bespoke the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. The cross-form of the Church proclaimed the truth of man's redemption through Christ. The nave was symbolical of the ship of the Church passing through the waves of the world; the font, near the door, of our entrance into the ark of Christ's Church by Baptism. The chancel, filled with the white-robed choristers, spoke of the Church in Paradise. The Altar evidenced the fact that while Christ was reigning in glory. He was yet ever present with His people. All this bad faded from the spiritual sight of the eighteenth century. Symbolism lost its significance. Worship became a lost art.
The late Beresford Hope thus describes the condition as existing far into the last century: "The aisles were utilized by certain family pews or boxes, raised aloft and approached by private doors and staircases. The pulpit stood against a pillar, with a reading desk and clerk's box beneath. There was a decrepit western gallery for the band, and the nave was crammed with cranky pews of every shape. The whitewashed walls, the damp, stone floors, the high, stiff pews, with faded red curtains, allotted to all the principal houses and farms in the parish, the hard benches, without backs, pushed into a corner, or encumbering the aisles, where the poor might sit, spoke eloquently of the two prevailing vices of the time’s apathy and exclusiveness. The grand old fonts were frequently removed to the rectory garden to serve as flower pots, while their place was supplied by a small stone basin standing on a pedestal in some remote corner of the church. In the place where once the Holy Altar stood, vested in fair array, was to be found a mean table with a moth-eaten red cloth upon it." The practice of daily service in town churches was given up. Congregations not infrequently sat through the Psalter as well as through the lessons. In the ordinary parish church, chanting was unknown. Public catechising in the afternoon had ceased. Celebrations of the Holy Eucharist were very infrequent. In most parishes it was celebrated on the three great Festivals only. We read that in St. Paul's Cathedral, on Easter Day, 1800, there were only six communicants, and at the only celebration.
Such was the condition of the Church in the eighteenth century; "Its corporate activity destroyed by suppression of Convocation, its practical energy sacrificed to State policy, its mission spirit evaporated by Latitudinarian leadership, its conscience dulled by the repression of enthusiasm," its very life blood chilled by its decay of faith and its loss of worship. Was it possible for these dry bones to live ? While religious bodies which have lost the Apostolic ministry, the Priesthood, the gifts of Sacramental grace, necessarily, under the strain of never-ceasing conflicts, decay and divide; on the other hand, where the Priesthood and Sacraments are preserved, there, through the abiding Presence of Christ, is an. ever-present resurrection power. The Church might slumber, but she could not die. No weapon formed against her could prosper, the gates of hell could not prevail against her. As in times past, when the Church seemed to be overwhelmed by the tempest, Christ had manifested Himself, so it was now. At the close of the century, moved in part by the tragic Nemesis of the French Revolution and the wars which followed, the spiritual perceptions of Christians were quickened to the discernment, amidst the thunderings and voices and showers of blood, of man's need of divine succor and to call upon the Master who seemed asleep in the Ship.
First, there arose within the Church of England, a body of earnest preachers who came to be known as the Evangelicals. Their spiritual progenitors were Romaine, Henry Venn, law, Harvey, John Newton, Richard Cecil, Charles Simeon. Under their leadership the Religious Tract Society and the Church Missionary Society for the Evangelization of Africa and the East were founded. They awakened England to the evils of the slave trade, which was abolished in 1807. In 1833, largely by the exertions of those known as the Clapham sect, the further act for the emancipation of the slaves was passed. "Under their teaching personal piety revived. The characteristic of their preaching was a vivid presentation of Christ crucified. In contrast with the preceding morality and formalism, the Evangelicals dwelt largely on man's lost condition, his deliverance through the satisfaction made on Calvary, and the need, in order to its individual appropriation, of a living faith. They were somewhat strict in their discipline. They assembled frequently in each others houses for Bible expositions and prayers. "To be religious meant, in the language of the day, to foreswear dancing and the theater, to keep Sunday strictly, to sit under a popular preacher, to be sober in dress and staid in manner, and to be interested in foreign missions."
The Low Church movement, however, was not an especially learned one. It was not necessary that it should be. Theologically, it had to dwell largely on the subjective side of religion. It was of the nature of a St. John Baptist awakening. It preached conversion and pointed to Christ. It rapidly increased throughout the country up to the year 1833. Then political events began to force the Church into the consideration of other portions of her Creed. A supplementary religious movement began, called by various names the Oxford, the Tractarian, the Catholic Movement. I have called it a supplementary movement, for it was supplementary rather than antagonistic to that which had preceded it. By the laws which govern human thought, we are obliged to look at truths both in their subjective and objective aspects; and different minds, according to their temperament, will be drawn to dwell more exclusively upon one than the other. The Evangelical theology was, in its application, essentially subjective; but truth, for its completeness, requires to be supplemented by its objective side. The Evangelicals had earnestly proclaimed the necessity of a living faith in Christ and His sacrifice. They strove to bring men by their preaching under the conviction of sin, to make then an act of submission and trust in Christ's promises, and to find in the peace that ensued an assurance of acceptance. It was an earnest presentation of Christ crucified and the subjective religion in which emotion and feeling played a large part.
The supplementary movement brought out the objective side of religion. Contradicting, denying nothing the Evangelicals asserted, and believing equally with them in the necessity of a true conversion and a living faith, it was shown that Christ's Religion came into the world not merely as a proclamation of pardon, but in the way of an Organization. This organization was something more than a mere aggregation of individual believers. It was not a voluntarily formed one like a human society. It did not take its inception from Roman burial guilds. It had Christ for its Founder, the Apostles for its authorized Ministers, the Sacraments for its means of grace. Yes, it was something different from a divine society. It was more even than an organization. It was an Organism. An Organism is something that has life in Itself and can communicate life. It was a spiritual living Organism, through which Christ, ever present in it, acted. An Organism in which the Holy Ghost dwelt. An Organism by whose Ministry and Sacraments the life and light of Christ was conveyed to individuals. An Organism which was to be eternal and was to be the Bride of Christ.
The two schools of thought thus supplemented each other. But at first this was far from being understood, and only in these latter times is becoming commonly recognized, as high Churchmen and low Churchmen are coming together in more loving accord, agreeing to differ in matters of opinion, members of one common household of faith, divided as the waves, but one as the ocean is one.
It would be profitable, if here we could linger on the fascinatingly interesting period of the inception of this movement, and its rapid progress between the years 1833 and 1845 by means of published tracts and treatises; on the healthful checks it met—"Our checks," said Pusey, "have been our greatest blessings"—on the sad loss of adherents, the trials and bitter assaults its leaders sustained, its widening influence as the century "went on, the gradual acceptance by the larger portion of the Church to-day of the principles for which it stood.
The names of those who are best known as influential leaders in this movement are those of Keble, Pusey, and Newman. Concerning the one whose name is published in connection with this treatise, it is to be said that one distinguishing characteristic of his was that he shrank in every possible way from putting himself forth, or allowing himself to be regarded, as a leader. The Church is full of the history of those who, having gathered followers about themselves, have led them eventually out of the Church into a schismatic and sect condition. A true and loyal son of the Church, ever submissive to her authority, Pusey, in the spirit of deep self-abnegation and humility, shunned what would be called leadership. Indeed, one peculiarity of this movement, which has so revived the Church's life, and brought the long-neglected objective side of truth into prominence, is that it has been under the guidance of no one man. This has saved it from disaster in times when a few prominent persons fell away, and has also protected it from the narrowness of echoing any one man's opinions. God raised up for the blessing of the English Church a body of men learned and devout, conspicuous among whom, for the vastness of his learning, and saintliness, was Pusey. He was a man of gigantic learning, vast acquirements, intense nature, profoundly spiritual; and more remarkable for the sweetness of his nature and his profound humility.
"I had known him well," said Newman, in his Apologia, "since 1837, and had felt for him an enthusiastic admiration. I used to call him 'the Great.' His great learning, his immense diligence, his scholar-like mind, his simple devotion to the cause of religion overcame me."
He was born in the year 1800. At the age of ten years, he could easily have passed examination for entrance into Oxford. When taking his degree, the senior examiner predicted his greatness, and always considered him the man of the greatest ability he had ever examined or known. He had the capacity of studying sixteen hours a day, and the tenacity of his memory was remarkable. He pursued his theological studies in Germany, studying Oriental languages, and attending the lectures of Schleiermacher, Meander, and Hengstenberg. At the early age of twenty-nine, he became Regius Professor of Hebrew, and Canon of Christ Church. One feature of his scholarship was the exhaustiveness of his research on every subject with which he dealt. His mind was unsatisfied until he had examined all that could be known relating to any matter, and all arguments for or against any question he was considering. There was a fixed determination, before arriving at conclusions, to make his investigation thorough and complete. He has been fairly criticised for over-burdening his statements with needlessly accumulative argumentation.
He not only wrote himself, but he set others to work, and the Church is indebted to him for the translations of the Library of the Fathers and the Library of Anglo-Catholic theology. The work he loved most was the interpretation of Holy Scripture; and his Commentary on the Minor Prophets, for its learning and spiritual insight, will always stand in the first rank of Commentaries. He enriched the Church with many devotional boobs, but it would be impossible to enumerate, without tediousness, the number of volumes he gave to the Church on matters of controversy and doctrinal questions. Along with Pearson and Hooker, he will rank as one of the greatest Doctors of the English Church.
Vast as was his learning, he had none of the graces of the pulpit orator. There was no attempt in his composition at literary finish or arrangement. It was little relieved by aught that would strike the fancy. But the neglected, unpolished framework was vivified by his burning devotion to God and souls. "Each sentence," says Liddon, "was instinct with his whole purpose of love as he struggled to bring others into communion with the Person of Him who purified his own soul. It was this attribute of profound reality which characterized his discourse from first to last, and, as it fell on the superficial and somewhat cynical thought of ordinary academical society, at once fascinated and awed the minds of men."
Crowds came to hear him, but his sermons owed nothing to those arts and accomplishments which have been carried to their greatest perfection in the Church of Massillon and Bourdaloue. He had no pliancy of voice, no command over accent or time, or tone. He did not relieve or assist the attention of his audience by changing from fast to slow, or pausing between his paragraphs, by looking off his page; his eye throughout was fixed on the manuscript before him and his utterance was one strong, unbroken, intense, monotonous swing, which went on with something like the vibrations of a deep bell.
As he moved slowly through the vast crowds which came to hear him, his very appearance affected one. We can almost see him as Dean Church has described him. "His perfectly pallid, furrowed, mortified face, looking almost like jagged marble, immovably serene withal, and with eyes fixed in deep humility on the ground," bore the impress of that other world in which he so constantly dwelt. When he stood up in the pulpit, even before he uttered a word, you felt yourself in the presence of a saint.
His theological standpoint was that of a Catholic. He believed in the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. He believed it was the appointed guardian of Holy Writ, of the Faith, and the organ through which Christ proclaimed it to men. All that had been taught and held from the beginning and by all, he implicitly believed. If he was a liberal in politics, he was conservative in religion. Great as was his intellect and profound his learning, before the Church, which he called his "dear Mother," he was as a little child. He submitted himself entirely to her. The writer well remembers having been with him on one occasion after the Doctor had been reading a violent attack on his "Eirenicon," the Doctor, placing his hands behind him, as he was wont, slowly remarked, "The only question is, what has the Church of God said?"
Unlike his dear friend Newman, who was of a speculative mind, and passed through many forms of belief, being an Evangelical, a Whatelyite, a High Churchman, eventually a Roman, Pusey was always stayed on authority. The voice of God came to him through the Church, and this gave grandeur and solidity to his convictions.
But great as he was intellectually, he was greater still in his spirituality. The principles of the Sermon on the Mount he practically made his own.
His life was entirely consecrated to the glory of God and the service of Jesus Christ. He lived most simply. He gave largely and at the expense of his own comfort. He built a Church at his own expense at Leeds; the only inscription referring to the donor was that it came "from a penitent." He gave most generously to the building of Churches in the east of London. His bodily discipline was excessive. He would have taken the discipline every night with the fifty-first Psalm, only his confessor would not let him. He has been known not to break his fast after his Maundy Thursday communion till Easter.
He rose daily at six, commending himself to God. He used a hard seat by day and a hard bed at night. He would never wear gloves nor protect his hands. He traveled poorly as possible in third-class carriages, excepting when health, or pressure of time, or duty to his mother obliged him to do otherwise. He ate his food slowly and penitentially, making a secret confession of unworthiness to use God's creature before each meal. He abstained from wine and beer unless obliged to use them by order of the physician. He mortified his curiosity; he asked himself before reading anything if it was God's will he should read it. He never set aside solid work to read news-papers or letters. "His rules about the use of speech," said his biographer, "will explain to those who remember it the peculiarity of his conversation; its profound seriousness, its unexpected pauses and silences, its grave and charitable protests. He determined not to speak of himself or his work whenever he could help doing go; to blame another only after asking himself the question, Would my lord have me say it? And to accompany the blame with an act of self-humiliation; he softened, if possible, any unfavorable judgment of others that he heard. He resolved always to give way in argument whenever it was not a duty to maintain his opinion; to interrupt no one else when speaking; to stop if interrupted; never to complain of anything which happened either to himself or to the Church, since his own sins were the cause of the one and might contribute to the other; not to mention bodily pain except as an explanation of silence which might be misunderstood; to address every one, especially his inferiors in rank, as his superiors in the sight of God."
He did nothing by halves. He brought all his devotions and ministerial work under the domain of penitential rule. If you ask, Why did he do this? Had he ever been an unbelieving worldly-minded man? Was he like an Augustine, repenting of the sins of his youth? the answer is "No." He had grown up almost like a Samuel. He had a most profound, awful, supernatural sense of the holiness of God, and the pitiable, weakened, and unspiritual condition of the English Church. God had such great designs for her. How feebly she was realizing it! As the Saints of old had mourned for their people, and the prophets had girded themselves with sackcloth, so did Pusey gird himself with the robe of penitence. "He would join in intercessions as 'unfit to be heard for any one;' in the Gloria Patri, and Pater Noster as 'unworthy to take on my lips the Name I have so dishonored;' in profession of duty in the Psalms as 'what I would do, but the contrary of what I have done;' in the responses after the Commandments as to 'pray for the conversion of the worst sinners—myself chief;' in thanksgiving 'to thank God I am not in hell;' and in my Absolutions that the devil did not enter into me altogether as he did into Judas."
He prayed God to enable him to pray before each break in the service, at the beginning of Psalms, Canticles, before the Creed, the Lessons, three times in the Litany, immediately after any distraction, and then to try to throw his whole soul into the prayers. He would repeat the penitential Psalms when walking alone; he prayed for some grace at every Communion, and to be watchful to treasure it, and first of all for humble penitential love. He prayed God daily if good for him, to give him sharp bodily pain, and His grace in it.
The same spirit was carried into his ministerial work. He did everything in the spirit of a penitent. He would aim with commencing every ministerial act with confession that he was so unfit to be a minister of God. Another rule was, "Always in taking his place in the Cathedral, or on going to the Altar, to make an act of humiliation, as one who ought to be shut out from it "the first should be last. Another rule was, "To hear all the very worst confessions, very penitentially, as worse myself." "In undertaking any plan to pray that it be not marred through my sins; to aim to offer all acts to God and to pray for His grace in them before commencing them—as conversations, while people are coming into the room, or before I enter a room, each separate letter which I write, each course of study, and in the course of each if continued long."
It would be a great mistake to suppose that what he imposed upon himself he thought wise for others. The Elijahs, John Baptists, the Chrysostoms, a Basil, an Ambrose, a St. Francis Assissi, a Bernard, a St. Vincent de Paul, the Kens, the Wilsons, the Andrewes and Puseys have laws of their own.
"All the world cannot and should not," says Liddon, "wear a hermit's garb and live austerely; but the example of the Baptist is not therefore less valuable, as a reformer of society no less than as a saint of God, for men of all nations and of all times."
What a life he led! What trials he underwent! What heart-breaking sorrows he endured! Early he lost his wife. His saintly daughter was taken from him at the time he looked to her to found a Religious house and work of mercy. His son was deformed. Slander never ceased to assail him. He was called a Jesuit, a Romanizer, disloyal to his Church, the teacher of soul-destroying heresies. The hatred of theological opponents obtained an unjust and illegal censure on one of his sermons, and he was suspended from preaching in the University pulpit for three years. He quietly submitted. The doctrines he taught were misrepresented. All the inbred hatred and unreasoning prejudice against Rome, latent in the English mind, was stirred up against him. In the strange panics which would ensue. Bishops fulminated charges against doctrines which were Catholic and enshrined in the Book of Common Prayer. Men got discouraged. Newman's mournful apostrophe as he left found an echo in many hearts: "O my mother, whence is this unto thee, that thou hast good things poured upon thee and canst not keep them, and bearest children, yet darest not own them." The heart of Pusey was again and again saddened by the defection of friends. No wonder that in dark hours, under injustices and condemnations' some despondent ones fell away. Not least among all the pain and bitter heartache of Pusey's penitential life, wag the loss of one whom he loved as David loved Jonathan. But through all these multiplied trials, like some great rock, abiding unmoved amidst the hurtling storms and maddening waves, Pusey never wavered in his loyalty and trust in the Anglican Church. He knew God was with her and in her. God had not deserted her in her days of neglect and coldness; and He would not give her up, he said, now that she was on her knees. His unchangeableness, his constancy, unconquerable faith, his intense loyalty to the English Church as a branch of the one Catholic Body, steadied the hearts of men in troublous times and saved the Anglican Communion.
Thus, the doctrine of the Incarnation and the Church as the extension of It became the foundation of the revival. As a consequence the revelation which God has made to man was placed upon a more secure and logical foundation. It had been customary for all the sectarian bodies to base their teaching exclusively upon a book. Their foundation principle was that the revelation which God had made of Himself to man was the Bible. This Book, they claimed, was written by its various authors under the direct inspiration of God. Many held that the writers were mere mechanical instruments for recording the words given them by the Almighty. This system was embarrassed with the difficulty of giving any satisfactory reason, without calling upon the authority of the Church, for the acceptance of the several books of which the Bible is composed. It was a greater logical difficulty to demonstrate the inspiration of it. And when it came to its interpretation, the divergent opinions of a hundred sects proved the futility of independent individual interpretation. Modern discoveries and critical examinations of authorship and text are fast sapping the foundation of the theory of the "Bible and the Bible only." Now, in contrast with this discredited system, which bases its belief on a Book, the Church teaches us that God has revealed Himself to us in a Person. In contrast with the Protestantism which makes religion rest on a book, the Church makes it rest upon the Person of Christ. It is true that the revelation, which God has made of Himself to man, and of man's duties and responsibilities has been made through various channels and in many ways, and adapted from the beginning to the degree of man's intelligence, and has been gradual and progressive. It has been made through man's intelligence, understanding, imagination, conscience, spiritual nature. It has been made through thinkers, philosophers, poets, prophets, seers, in all nations and all times. It has been made with clearer illumination, greater certitude, far-reaching spiritual vision, through the Hebrew race. It is, however, all one revelation of God; made through nature to man and in man himself, until at last the revelation became consummated and perfected in Jesus Christ. In the fulness of time, the Eternal Word or Reason of God wrapped round Himself our human nature, and the Divine Light and life shone forth through Him on the sons of men. It is thus on Christ, not on a book our religion is based. First and foremost the Tractarians made Christ their basis and Christ was their all-in-all.
The next distinguishing principle of the Revival was its Rule of Faith.
We mean, by that, the rule or way by which all the followers of Christ are to know what is essential for them to believe and do. Now it is obvious that, if Christ is the revelation of God to man, He must have left some one way by which, with reason able certainty, those who desire to be His disciples should know what they were to do and believe. Distracted as many are in their pursuit of religious truth by the babel of conflicting sects, they must admit, if they could but discern Christ's method of solving the problems which concern their; immortal destiny, such a method must be the best, and the wisest and the safest one to follow.
What then was the method Christ established for our knowing His truth? For the last three centuries sectarianism has proclaimed that the true way of learning Christ's religion was by the study of the Bible. The formula which they were never tired of repeating was, "The Bible and the Bible only the religion of Protestants." Every truth seeker was to prayerfully peruse its pages, and by the covenanted aid of the Holy Spirit, he would arrive at the truth. The babel of conflicting voices on matters essential has proved, however, the futility of this rule and made men heart sick. Moreover, it is evident, it is not the way established by Christ. If He had wished that by such means His truth was to be made known, it would have been as easy for Him by His Almighty power to have paper and printing invented in the first century as in the fifteenth. The fact that He did not do so shows that it was not by the individual study of the Bible each person was to come by himself to the knowledge of Christian truth.
What Christ did was to establish a Church whose duty it was to preserve and, in His Name, teach the truths God made known to man through Him. The Church teaches, the Bible confirms. By the abiding gift of His Holy Spirit, that Church was to preserve the truth from age to age, defining its dogmas as heresies arose, and by her united utterance throughout the ages proving her faithfulness to her trust. She speaks with paternal authority to the illuminated reason and conscience of her children. Thus, against an individual interpretation of the Scripture and the supremacy of private judgment, the Tractarian upheld the truth that Christ had made the Church the Keeper, Guardian, and Proclaimer of His Gospel.
In reply to the speculative and rationalistic spirit which pointed to the progress made everywhere in arts, literature, learning and science, and declared that religion must also advance in order to keep in touch with the spirit of the age, it was replied that a vast chasm separated the revealed from all other kinds of truth. It was obvious that the apprehension of all other kinds of truth, depending as they do upon observation and experiment, must, as the ages go on, increase and develop to the better well-being of man. But the revelation which God made to us in Christ was made once and once for all. It was not man's discovery, nor did it depend on his observation or experiment, bat it was the gift of God. It was given in and through Christ, once for all and for all time and for all mankind. To His Apostles Christ gave His Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth, bringing to their remembrance all they had heard from Him. The Apostles declared that "they had not shunned" to declare to those who succeeded them in office "the whole counsel of God." The faith thus delivered by them has under the Spirit's guidance been summed up in the Creeds, set forth in action by the Sacraments, embalmed by the churches in her liturgies, and declared by the common utterance of united Christendom. While therefore, it is no objection in every other department of knowledge that a thing is new, because as the ages go on man must make progress, yet in religion, seeing it is revealed by Christ primarily and once for all, any proposed truth, which has not the marks of antiquity, universality, and consent upon it, could not have come from the Master, and is necessarily false. While error may thus be detected, the truth, revealed by the Holy Spirit speaking authoritatively through the Church to the illuminated reason and spiritual understanding of its members, is confirmed by its results. They come not only to believe in a Creed but in God, and not only to believe in Him but to know Him Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for He dwells in them and they in Him. Thus the Tractarians' principle was that the Church, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is the living organ of the revelation of the Light and Life made by God in Christ to man.
Another feature of the Tractarian teaching had regard to the ministry. It startled an Erastian age bent on degrading the Church to a mere State establishment by proclaiming its true spiritual character. It was not from man or by man the authority and power of the clergy came. They were ambassadors of Christ, clothed with His authority. They were something more than preachers of righteousness, but stewards entrusted with divine mysteries or sacraments. The commission that clothed them with authority to speak and act in Christ's Name could be historically traced to the Apostles and so to Him. The power that made them "able ministers of the Word," was "the same Holy Spirit that had descended at Pentecost and had never left the Church.
Naturally opposition was aroused from the Erastian quarter and from the Puritan one. Within the Church there was also much theological controversy as to the origin of the Christian ministry and its powers, and the mode of their transmission. But to-day, as the result of unfettered discussion together with a growing desire for the sake of the common cause for a better understanding, a great reproachment if not concord has been effected. No one can read Dr. Moberly's Ministerial Priesthood without recognizing its moderation and balanced wisdom, or wonder that Professor Sanday, a representative of a different school should profess himself satisfied with it. It argues well for that unity so much to be desired when men so eminent find themselves at one.
It has been helpful in this matter to note more discriminately than formerly how Christ commissioned the ministry that was to represent Him. The process was a long one. It had reference to His own life and ministry. His ministerial life was divided in three parts. There was His public life when He was in an especial manner exercising His prophetical office. Then followed the period when as Priest and Victim He offered Himself up on Calvary. Finally, during the great forty days He as Victor over death and hell manifests His Kingly power.
Now in each of these periods He began to associate the Apostles with His special office and commission them. When He was exercising His prophetical office as the teacher of the world, He clothed them in a degree with it and said, Go and teach.
When He was entering on His great high priestly function, after the significant inauguration into their office by the feet washing, He authorized them to offer the Eucharistic sacrifice as a Memorial of His death, saying: "Do this in remembrance of Me." Having won His victory as a King, He gives them jurisdiction in all nations and bids them gather disciples into the Kingdom, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. As it belongs to sovereignty to pardon as well as to grant citizenship, it was at this time, breathing on them, He said: "Whosesoever sins ye remit they are remitted, and whosesoever sins ye retain they are retained."
Thus were the Apostles gathered into fellowship with Christ's three offices of Prophet, Priest, and King. But as yet they were only parts of a structure not yet vivified, of a Temple not yet Spirit-endowed, of a body not yet quickened with life. On Pentecost the Holy Spirit that filled and sanctified the whole Body, making it a Ministerial one and all its members Kings and Priests unto God, consecrated and empowered the Apostles for their special functions in that Body. They were then made "able ministers of the Word," i.e., enabled to do those things which Christ bad commissioned them. In this way the Apostolic Order or College was founded. Thus the Church came into being complete with Christ as its Head and the Holy Ghost as its Indweller, and the Apostolic Order as its Ministry. But it had no written constitution. It was, however, a living Organism and must grow. Some might assign its growth to mere natural causes, others might refer it to the laws of evolution and correspondence to environment. Others would say that as the Holy Spirit dwelt within the Church and Divine Providence orders all things, it was by the Divine action the three Orders were formed. First, as need arose the Order of Deacons was created, then that of the Presbyters, finally as the Church extended and troubles arose and the Apostles were passing, the higher Order of Bishops. So it was that pressed by external circumstances and guided by the Spirit within, the Apostles gathered, by laying on of hands and prayer, others into different degrees of fellowship with themselves, and so sharers with themselves in the Triple offices of Christ. And as thus guided, we find at Jerusalem the local Church possessed of its resident and permanent Apostle with its presbyters and deacons, so as the Church extended into all lands it gradually conformed itself to the type given by God in the Mother Church.
What Pusey brought out was the divine character and authorization of the Christian ministry in its threefold orders. While the validity of any other than an episcopal ordained ministry is open to serious objection (and our Church recognizes no other), yet it might be charitably admitted that a prophetical office, if this is all that sectarians seriously claim, might be exercised by license and not by ordination. However this may be, yet apart from technical questions all Churchmen can loyally and lovingly meet together in the belief that an apostolic ordination is needful for our being gathered into union with their fellowship and so with the commissioned powers given to the Apostles by Christ.
Another principle of the Tractarians was the value of the Sacraments. The initial sacrament is Baptism. This first engaged their attention. The teaching of Holy Scripture and the Prayer Book was thought to be quite plain that Baptism conveyed a gift. It took men out of their old relation to God and made them members of the Body of Christ, faith and repentance were the necessary conditions for a beneficial reception on the part of an adult. Infants were fit recipients, for as they had committed no sin there were no sins to be repented of, and as they had not raised their wills against God, there was no need by an act of submission and faith to take them down. The infant was in a passive state and thus capable of receiving a gift as Christ had showed by taking them up in His Arms and blessing them. The adult by faith and repentance becomes a fit recipient by thereby putting himself in the position of the little child. We must become like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
In contrast with the Baptism of John, the Church teaches that Christian Baptism conveys a spiritual gift. The Baptism of the forerunner was not Christian Baptism. It was not in the name of the Blessed Trinity, for that same had not then been revealed. It conveyed no spiritual gift for the Spirit had not then been given. It was only an outward sign of repentance on the part of those who received it. It was called "the Baptism of repentance." The Christian sacrament on the other hand is said to convey a gift from Him who gave the sacrament and it is called from the gift it conveys, a Baptism "for the remission of sins."
This is strikingly brought out in the case of St. Paul. He was powerfully converted on his way to Damascus. But were his sins remitted when he was converted? The Scripture says they were not. For after he had come to Damascus the prophet Ananias came to him and said, "Brother Saul, arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins." It thus appears that his sins were not forgiven at his conversion but by his subsequent Baptism.
However clear this and numerous other passages in Holy Scripture are, and in Sadler's Church Doctrine Bible Truth, they are well set forth, great commotion was raised by this teaching.
It was said that the lives of many of the baptised did not show that any change had taken place for the better, and that this doctrine of baptismal regeneration was a soul destroying one and productive of false peace. And so we believe it is if persons rest their hope of final acceptance on the mere fact that they have been baptized or confirmed or taken the Sacrament.
In respect of Baptism it must be ever kept in mind that unless we are truly converted and become "new creatures" by the power of the Holy Ghost no outward observances will be of any avail. The Tractarians therefore most earnestly preached faith, repentance, and conversion.
The truth seems to be this: that an adult coming to Baptism must, like St. Paul, be converted first and so coming the acceptance and peace he had will be sealed to him, he will also receive the remission of sins, and be made "a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of heaven." The case of infancy is this: the infant does not need faith or repentance to enable it to receive a gift. It can be grafted into the body of Christ's Church, and receive a seed principle of that new nature that Christ imparts. For in the spiritual order as in the natural one life precedes consciousness. The gift implanted if neglected comes to naught. The gift becomes active and there is a conscious birth of the spirit when the necessary subsequent conversion, which may be gradual or otherwise, takes place.
Sectarians had looked upon the Sacraments chiefly as symbols or signs—symbols of what Christ had done for them, or signs and pledges of His mercy and love. They were not, in their view, as the Church has ever taught channels of grace. They were only badges of a Christian man's profession, a doctrine our Articles deny. Baptism conveyed nothing to the recipient, a theory our Baptismal service repudiates. Baptism was only a proclamation of what the child was by birth, or a mere proclamation of God's favor. His favorite illustration was the coronation of a king, who is a King before he is crowned, a view which fails to recognize the difference between our state by nature and that by grace. Holy Communion was only a touching remembrance of the death of Christ. The Christian Sacraments were thus placed on the low level of Jewish ordinances. They were signs, not sacraments.
No wonder, so regarded, they fell into neglect, and persons argued that if this was all they were, they could be as good Christians without as with them. But Pusey and those with him showed how this was to degrade and empty Christianity of its high purpose, which was, not only to forgive man, but to restore, re-create, transform his nature, and, inoculating it with Christ's own Humanity, elevate it into a new union with God. This was, as we have said, the grand purpose and object of the Incarnation. Christ came not to be a mere teacher, illuminator, example-giver, sin and death destroyer, but the Head of a New Creation, into whom we being incorporated and "made partakers of the Divine Nature," were finally to be further united in glory with God.
The Sacraments, therefore, were not mere empty signs, but "effectual" ones, as our Articles declare. That is, they effect in those who devoutly and rightly receive them what they signify. By Baptism, our sins are remitted and we receive the seed-principle of a new nature, become "members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven." By Absolution, pardon for our post-baptismal sins is assured to us, and. the soul fortified by renewing grace. By the gift in Confirmation, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, and receive the anointing of the Lord which makes all in their degree, kings and priests unto Him. In the Holy Eucharist, Christ Himself: His true Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity are verily and indeed present and He gives Himself to the faithful recipients.
Thus in contrast with those systems which looked upon Christ as a mere historic Person, whose Life we were to read about, words treasure, example follow, and death believe in,—the Church's system brings us into union with a living and present Lord. He still abides with us, and, through the agencies of His Church, is in the world extending the loving acts of His visible ministry to the poor and needy; enlightening the blinded spirits; curing the fevered hearts; restoring the withered lives; cleansing the leprous souls; raising the dead in trespasses and sin. In contrast, then, with what we may call the sectarian system, which bids men look back to a dying Christ, the Church presents us with an. abiding and living Lord enshrined in His Church and still going about doing good. He speaks through His priests and acts through His Sacraments. His Word faithfully preached has a convicting and converting power by the accompanying aid of the Holy Ghost. Would that all preachers were alive to the sacramental character of their preaching and so, subordinately to the Gospel and Holy Spirit, delivered the Word! So also the sacraments are the Word in action and communicate to the penitent and faithful Light and Life. Just as the believer in the supernatural believes in God and comes to find and know Him in himself, so the sacraments demonstrate to the faithful the reality of the Life and Presence of Christ they communicate. As the existence of God has no fuller proof than this double proof of testimony and experience, we must either, as believers in the supernatural, accept the testimony of the millions of Catholic Christians as to the efficiency of the sacraments, and the gifts they convey, or deny the supernatural and so God altogether. Miserable end to which rationalism within and without the Church invariably leads.
In this connection we must dwell on two prominent doctrines which, at the time and since, have provoked controversy. One was the Real Objective Presence of Christ in the Eucharist the other Confession. We should not be doing justice to the memory of these men or Dr. Pusey if we omitted to set forth their views on these subjects.
First, as to Christ's Presence in the Eucharist The basic idea of this view is that our Blessed Lord, the God-Man, is ever present in the spiritual body which is His Church. He is the centre of it just as the sun is the centre of our solar system. By virtue of the union with the Divine Nature, which is everywhere, He can make His Humanity manifest, wherever He will. He does not have to move from one place to another in order to do this. St. Stephen saw the heaven opened and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. St. Paul saw and conversed with Him on the Damascus road. At the Consecration of the Sacred Elements, Christ, invisibly present with His people, does now through His Priests, who are His agents, what He did when visibly present with His Apostles at the Institution of the Sacrament. Then, taking the Elements into His hands. He said of one. "This is My Body," and of the other, "This is the New Testament in My Blood." He gathered them by that act of His out of the realm of the natural order into union with Himself. He did not, you notice, naming two things, contrast them, saying, "This bread is My Body: This wine is My Blood." If He had so spoken then we might have argued that the bread only represented the Body, and the wine represented the Blood. Again, He did not say "This is not Bread but is My Body." Then the Bread would have ceased to exist save to sense, and His Body taken its place. What He did was simply to name that which He took and held in His hands. He named it from that it became by His engifting. He said, "This," which he held, "is My Body, This is My Blood." Now when God names anything it is different from man's naming a thing. When man names a thing he simply pastes a label on it, he only puts it in a category of other like things. But when God names a thing, His naming is a creative act. He makes it what His word declares it to be. Thus, the Church holds that the elements are not empty signs or symbols but, by virtue of Christ's word, are the Sacrament of His very Body and Blood.
What, it has been asked, is the difference between this teaching and that of the Roman Church? One and essential difference is this: The Roman Communion has defined, according to the terms of the Aristotelian philosophy, how the bread is changed into the Body of Christ, and how the wine is changed into His Blood, and makes this definition of the manner an essential of the faith, while the Catholic Church states the fact but leaves the manner a mystery.
But is not this Presence, it is sometimes asked, a spiritual Presence? Certainly it is. The whole transaction from first to last is one effected, not in the material universe, but in the spiritual universe, in the Mystical Body of Christ. It is wrought, not by any known law of nature, but by the spiritual power of the Holy Ghost. In this sense, everything concerning the Sacrament is spiritual. The glorified Body of our Lord which is Present, true and real as it is, is a Spiritual Body; as He Himself declared when He said that the things that I have been talking to you about, namely, My Body and My Blood "they are spirit and they are life" (St. John vi. 63). The sphere in which this Presence is manifested, being the Body of Christ, is a spiritual body. The power by which the Body of Christ is manifested in any part of the Church is a Divine or spiritual power. The persons to whom Christ is thus manifested are Christians who have been gathered out of the natural order into the spiritual order, and are in the mystical Body. While the Church thus declares that That which is present, and the sphere of His Presence, and the power by which the Presence is effected, and the persons to whom the Presence is made known are all spiritual, she does not thereby deny that the Body and Blood of our Lord present is a real body, and is not in consequence of the Consecration objectively present to the faithful.
Those who have grasped the idea that the Church is a spiritual organism, and Christ has not to move in order to present Himself in any portion of it, can then have no difficulty in believing that Christ may verily and indeed be present in the Eucharist. And those who take our Lord's words in their natural and literal significance have no question but they effect what they signify. The point the controversy has turned upon is whether Christ is simply present in the heart of the faithful recipient, or whether He is present by virtue of the act of Consecration. The two difficulties to man's reason, the one of His presence, the other, of that presence depending on a human agency, belong to both views. It is just as difficult to believe Him present in the heart of the believer as to believe Him present in the Sacrament. Just as difficult to believe Him present by the act of the believer's faith as by the priest's act of consecration. It would seem, however, more in accordance with His dignity that Christ's presence in the Eucharist should be dependent upon His own ordained action through His authorized agents, than upon the uncertain, varying degrees of faith of the receiver. It certainly is of more comfort and assurance to the humble or disturbed or distracted or faint-hearted. It is moreover as seemingly illogical to say that God is present in nature to those who believe Him to be there and not by His own act of immanence, as to say that Christ is present in the Eucharist by the faith of the receiver and not by the act of Consecration. These varying views of the Eucharist were prevalent in the English Church during the progress of her Reformation, but finally the Church solemnly pronounced between the conflicting schools by adding in 1604 to the Catechism the portion relating to this Sacrament. There she declared, in conformity with the universal teaching of the Catholic Church throughout the world, that, while there was "the outward visible sign," the inward part was "the Body and Blood of Christ" which was not only received but "taken and received by the faithful." She has thus put her seal upon the doctrine of the real objective presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
The other doctrinal question with which Dr. Pusey's name is so closely associated is that of Confession. This, probably, aroused more antagonism than even the doctrine of the Real Presence. It is a subject on which fanaticism and passion may easily be aroused, and they have been skilfully excited by opponents to the utmost degree.
What! it has been asked, can a man forgive sins? The idea is impious. God only can forgive. What! shall we put the human soul again under the bondage of designing priestcraft? Shall we run the risk of having the minds of our sons and daughters and relatives contaminated by evil suggestions of low-minded priests? Is it not far better for the soul's moral growth to be left free than to depend upon the direction of fallible, and it may be designing, directors? Denunciations, such as these and many other of like kind, the product of inflamed party spirit, were incessantly hurled at Dr. Pusey and those who sympathized with him. It is one thing, as our Lord found, to meet argument which appeals to reason and Scripture, another, to cope with passion and prejudice.
But in Christ's dear Name and for His sake, let us try. Confession is at times a bitter medicine. While the Roman Church has enforced it upon all her members as a matter of discipline, the Anglican Church has left it to the free, voluntary action of her children. Until one is a true penitent and possessed with a generous desire to make reparation to his Lord, he will not use it. There is little likelihood in our day that it will ever become widely prevalent. It is indifference not over-devotion we have to meet.
It is certainly beyond dispute that God only can forgive sins. It is equally beyond dispute that this power was committed to Jesus Christ and exercised by Him. For when His unbelieving opponents taunted Him with the question, "Who can forgive sins but God only?" the Divine master, working a miracle that they might know it, declared that "the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins." He then gathered the Apostles into union with His own office and commanded them as His agents to act in His Name. Breathing upon them, with whom and their successors He promised to be to the end of the world, He said, "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained." True it is, then, no man or priest can by his own power forgive sins; but may he not be the commissioned agent of conveying Christ's pardon to penitents? It is our Lord and our Lord only who forgives, and the priest is but the telephonic instrument through whom His voice is transmitted. To the impenitent it conveys naught—to the penitent it conveys the assurance of forgiveness and healing and strength. After our lord had forgiven the penitent He had healed, He gave a further blessing, saying: "Go in peace, thy faith hath made thee whole."
There will always be those so satisfied with their own spiritual condition as not to feel the need, or have the desire, for the personal assurance of pardon which the priestly Absolution brings, but there will always be those drawn now, as penitents were of old, to His feet, who long to have His word spoken individually to themselves: son or daughter, "Thy sins be forgiven thee; go in peace." True it is that it might be enfeebling to character to put oneself under the direction of another mind in the duties and business of life. But Dr. Pusey and those with him have pointed out the great difference between a confessor and a director of souls. What we are speaking of confession, not direction. And concerning confession the Church of England has delivered us from those evils which may arise in a system which makes confession compulsory.
It has sometimes been asked, Why does not it suffice for me to make my confession privately to God alone? Why do it in the presence of His priest? One reason is this, and it rests on the fact of the Incarnation; Before the Incarnation, my sins were acts done against the invisible God. Since the Incarnation and the gift of the Spirit, they are acts done against my Incarnate Lord. By our sins we now repeat the tragedy of Calvary, and crucify that Lord afresh. Men rightly feel that had they lived before the Incarnation, they might have made their act of acknowledgment privately and hiddenly. But now, since the Incarnation, that spirit of honor in men which demands that they make their acknowledgment according to the nature of their offense is not satisfied by a confession to the Invisible God. It is against the Man, Christ Jesus, they have sinned, and they must go to those who represent Him. Thus they fulfil the promptings of honor and love. They go also for strength. For the grace of Absolution not only seals pardon, but cleanses the soul, removes the stains of sin, repairs the injuries done, fills one with confidence and trust, fortifies the soul against future temptation. This is the testimony of those who have used this means of grace. In comparison with their testimony what are the criticisms and carpings and insinuations of those who have not tried it worth?
And yet a higher reason for its use is to be found in the Person of Christ. He loves to forgive. He is never tired of forgiving. He loves to forgive more and more. He bought the right at the cost of His Passion. He rejoices in every exercise of it. Every act of new trust gladdens His heart. Every fresh Absolution more and more cleanses, beautifies, adorns the soul. While the world hates confession, and Satan fears it, the Divine heart rejoices with every fresh application of His absolving grace. It was this Pusey preached. It is the teaching of the Prayer Book. The teaching of our Church is this: The power of Absolution is inherent in every Priest; the privilege of using that gift is the right of every penitent soul.
Having thus spoken of the theological principles of the Movement, let us conclude with treating of its spirit. These words will declare it to us: Union, Work, Holiness, Worship.
Pusey felt most deeply that Christianity's greatest weakness lay in a divided Christendom. It was this that laid needless burdens on the laity in support of Christianity. We can but feel this in our own country where, in small towns, are to be found a number of rival bodies, few capable of financially maintaining themselves. We can but feel it acutely when Christianity in its divided aspect presents itself to the heathen world. We all know that these rents in Christendom in-list be painful to the heart of Christ. We must know that the effective operation of the Holy Ghost is checked and baffled by Christian divisions.
While we all believe that every baptized person is a member of the Church, nevertheless we must grieve that this inward unity is not expressed in outward form. Oh, how the Church of God would go forward if we were united as one great army I How would not the Holy Ghost's power manifest itself through a body that was all of one heart and one mind! The great heart of Pusey long struggled and prayed for union. His object was to show how all could be gathered into an outer oneness and a united effort.
Surely it must be wrong for us to allow our prejudices, or party spirit, or contentedness, or personal opinions to hinder union. Why should anything more be required for Church membership than belief in the essentials expressed in the ancient Creeds? Why not accept such form of Church government, which, while preserving the ancient historical ministry, recognizes the priesthood and kingship of all members of the body and secures, in all diocesan and parish organizations, the rights of the laity? Under the impulse of this desire for re-union, the Anglican Church has made approaches both to the Roman and the great Greek and Russian Church on the one side; and to her children, the Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists, who have gone out from her, on the other. She makes them with full recognition of her own shortcomings, and the acknowledgment that, while she has much to give, she has also much to receive from them.
O! Christian friends, whose hearts must have been sometimes touched with the melancholy aspect of our divided Christianity, shall we not hear the pleadings of our Divine Master, praying with agonized entreaty that all may be outwardly, as they are inwardly, one; and, laying aside prejudice and cultivating charity, endeavor with all our hearts to further the Divine purpose?
The next watchword of the Movement was Work. The old Evangelicals had chiefly been religious exhorters, bidding men to flee from the wrath to come. They sought to save men's souls and secure to them an eternal felicity. The Movement, of which Dr. Pusey was the centre, sought the elevation of mankind and, filled with the love of God, it glowed with an enthusiasm for humanity. It declared that all men were equal before God, and strove to make the sittings in the churches free. It called upon the clergy to live higher and more self-sacrificing lives. Parish houses, workingmen's clubs, schools of all kinds night and industrial Church homes, penitentiaries, refuges, guilds, religious orders, deaconesses, sisterhoods, all the machinery of the modern parish came into existence. More churches were restored and built during this century than since the time of Queen Elizabeth, lives, talents, position, wealth have been consecrated in home and foreign missionary work with such self-sacrifice and abandonment as recalls the fervor of Pentecostal days. The Church is all aglow with enterprises ameliorating the condition of labor, making all classes, rich and poor, feel their interdependence, and their duties one to another. This great Movement has been especially, not only a clerical, but a layman's work; and England's great statesmen like Gladstone and Northcote, her great lawyers like Selborne and Anderson, her noted merchants like Hubbard and Glenn, men of high social rank like the President of the English Church Union, and laymen of humbler position, heads of societies, guilds and workingmen's clubs, have all been filled with the enthusiasm of work. Let us go out of ourselves and live for other men.
O! Christian friends and brothers, as we read the lives of these great devoted Churchmen and servants of Christ, shall not our hearts be stirred afresh within us to do something more for the Master's sake, and press on the Kingdom?
The third element of the Tractarian spirit was the inculcation of Holiness. From the beginning, the Tractarians illustrated in their own lives the spirit of sanctity. They preached repentance, dedication to duty, consecration to the Master's service. They taught men by their own example how to lead more holy and interior lives. Men have been drawn under other systems to the Cross of Christ and by a penitential trust have found peace in Him. But there are higher gifts of the Gospel than those of acceptance, assurance of salvation, and its peace. There are other gifts of the Holy Ghost than those which accompany acceptance. There is a union with the Incarnate Lord and an extension within His members, of the very virtues which possessed His soul. Christian meekness, humility, spirit of prayer, fortitude, zeal, unselfishness, self-sacrifice may be the extension. in us of the same activities which were in our lord. Transforming union, which, while we go about our daily tasks, sheds upon us the Light of Heaven, which lifts us into union with the Divine!
O, Christian friends and brothers and souls, dear to our lord, shall we rest satisfied with our present attainments? Hungering and thirsting after righteousness, for the fuller, higher, richer Christian life, shall we fail to use any means of grace the Master has left us for our profit? Shall old-time associations keep us from entering into the full spiritual privileges which belong to us as Christians and which the Church enshrines?
O, if there be any noble feeling of dissatisfaction within any of you, if you feel that your present religious environment has done for you all it can, if, like followers of some teacher who like St. John Baptist, led yon to Christ, you feel you need something more for your soul's health, will you not make all Christ's gifts your own?
Lastly, Worship. Worship is the highest act of man's nature. It is no idle indulgence of feeling or emotion. It calls on all the energies of his being, his intellect, heart, and will; and in it is to be found man's greatest joy, for it is communion with God Himself. How bleak and desolate and barren was the worship of the Church as the Puritan and Protestant left it! He defaced God's Dwelling place, and in his iconoclastic zeal, broke down the images and sacred places with axes and hammers. Through fear of idolatry, he banished everything of beauty in the worship of God. He made the Sunday service consist chiefly in listening to a sermon or providing, when it became stale, some Sunday evening entertainment. But man, a religious being and formed for worship, requires some richer and nobler form to express his homage to the Almighty. All that God has endowed him with, skill of architecture, beauty of color and painting, carved work of figure and statue, the harmonies and glories of music, all must be brought into requisition that man may express His praise. For not alone does man enter into the sacred Temple, but with the eye of faith he realizes that the living and the dead make one communion. The Angels and Saints are round about him, and so with Angels and Archangels, he must utter his Trisagion and cry, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts."
Sometimes, one, drawn to love the stately dignity of the Church's worship, asks in a humble state of inquiry, "Where do you find the authority for it? True, God ordered such a worship in the Old Dispensation, and nothing has ever exceeded the glory of the Temple worship; but in the Gospels I only see the humble carpenter of Nazareth clothed in a garb of poverty, going about preaching from hillside or tossing boat, and so breaking the bread of life to the famishing multitude. Where do you find your authority for your vestments, and lights, and incense, and glorious music, and pomp, and splendor of your services?"
The answer the Church makes is simple and, to the humble and devout mind, a satisfactory one. As, after-God had delivered Israel from Egypt, He took Moses up into the Mount and showed him the pattern of the Heavenly Worship, and it became the directory of the Jewish Church, so, after the True Moses had, as is recorded in the Gospel, prepared the way and led His people out from Judaism, then, after His Ascension, God took St. John up into Heaven and showed again the pattern of the Heavenly Worship and it became again the Church's directory for all time. There upon the Altar Throne filled with living light, arched by the protecting bow of the Covenant, radiant with all the colors of His Attributes, St. John beheld the lamb as It had been slain. He saw the High Priest standing in the midst of the golden candle-sticks, clothed with His priestly vestments and girt about with a golden girdle. There, too, was the angel of the Covenant offering the golden censer with much incense in front of the Altar, before the great white Throne, where the seven lamps of sacred fire, even in the presence of the dazzling splendor issuing from the Incarnate God, burn in the eternal noonday. He saw the crowned elders of the Heavenly hierarchy prostrate themselves, and cast their crowns in mystic adoration, midst the harpings and hymnings of the white- robed choir, as, standing on the sea of mingled glass and flame, they antiphonally responded one to another, and accompanied the Divine liturgy with their hallelujah anthem and credo and thrice-holy hymn.
O dear Christian souls, let us in these days of struggle with the malific forces of unbelief, close up our divided ranks. Let me return to the ancient ways of Church government and Catholic Faith. Let us live lives more wholly consecrated to the service of Jesus Christ, and by a worship formed after the pattern of the heavenly worship, offer to God something more worthy of His Divine Majesty, and become more fit to take part in that worship of heaven, where He is worshipped in Spirit and in Truth.
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