From The Works of the Rt. Rev. Charles C. Grafton (Volume 7),
edited by B. Talbot Rogers, New York: Longmans, Green, 1914, pp. 26-81
THE FOUNDING OF THE ORDER OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST
BOSTON, Tuesday, May, 1865
I HAVE been expecting your letters, but have not received any as yet. I hope they may come in this afternoon, but I do not know whether there is more than one carrier's delivery daily. If any letters arrive here, I shall leave word to have them forwarded to London. My address will be Care Messrs. Baring Bros. & Co., London. Drs. Bolles and Oliver gave the certificates of a few persons. I don't know why it is necessary to send more than the names to G. F. Lee, of the members in this country. But I will take these, however, and hope to receive those you are to send on my arrival in London.
The difficulties at the Advent are at present in no form of solution. I don't think Dr. Bolles will go away. He don't mean to; should he receive a call to a parish of like position and influence, he would consider it, and the state of affairs at the Advent would lead him to do so, but just now he intends to remain. The corporation have not put back his salary to the rate on which he was called, although the general offertory has increased. It seems to me that if the Advent chose to entrust the selection of a clergyman to Dr. Shattuck, it ought not to visit upon unoffending Dr. Bolles the consequence of their own act. If they have not got a man who suits them, whose fault is it? He does his best. He gave up a first-rate parish where he was beloved to come to the Advent, and did so on principle to aid the free-church movement. He is not a great preacher. Is not a ritualist, etc., and has a corporation, and Trustees, and a vestry to work with. It is enough to swamp any one but a saint.
Bishop W. wrote me and offered me the little chapel of St. Matthew, in Baltimore, to begin our fraternity work in. All which of course we can consider, when we return. I think both sides of my family are inclined to do something toward a church. My brother's death has touched them all, and I think they would like to put up a Chancel as a memorial. I see they are all drawing more to it.
Don't pledge yourself to any. We must be very careful of ourselves, and so of any we would associate with us. I am glad you are going to Oxford, I am, and hope it is so determined. We had better, I think, keep out of the way as much as possible and lie hid and wait God's leadings. The great work is with ourselves. The hard thing to do is to be daily faithful to all our duties.
It is for His Sake and in His Name I would write, dear Oliver, to you. You said you thought you saw a way was opening. I won't trouble you again about this matter, but beseech you, command you to take this letter as you would a call to a parish. It is to you an intimation which you must consider, and I feel compelled to write this to you. Either you are called to a religious life or not. If you are, you must correspond to that call and you must decide that question and act upon it now. You ought not to let the matter hang on any longer. It has nothing to do with any openings for work offered you by any parties in the United States.
The question for your soul is whether God has called you to that life. Is it your vocation? That is the whole issue. Have you the desire for it? I do not write to one who is a novice, but your heart is all aglow for it, and you have desired it over and over again. Has God manifested that it was not His Will by putting insuperable hindrances in the way? The dealings of God are the calls to vocation. The trials He sends are the purification of the soul for the rectification of motive. He tests us by difficulties. We must leave our nets and fishes to follow Him.
The only things in your way are first the parish where you are. If God has called you to the religious life, etc., that settles itself. You ought to leave it at once, knowing He will provide for it, and it can support a clergyman, and there are at least several hundred who can do the work there as well as yourself, and some a good deal better.
Second. Family duties. You have settled that matter. It is clear if you give up to your sisters your portion, they are not worse off for your going. What if you had gone some years ago, or had become a Roman Catholic priest? If they have now a part in the sacrifice, it is blessed for them. I have no doubt they will be able to get on without your help. They are excellent managers.
Third. Money to come over and begin. I will be responsible if you do not have it, and if you come out to join us, for your board here for three or four months. I cannot think you have any debts at the present time, and that under the circumstances you would not be justified in taking out of your portion some $400 or $500. You might make over to your sisters all your rights for that sum, and so obtain the present funds. Besides you have your furniture, pictures, etc., which you might give them or sell, with a good many needless books. Possibly your Congregation might make you a purse.
I made my general confession to E. B. P. after two days' preparation.
At present I am staying a few days at All Saints, London. My intention is to attend the retreat under Mr. Carter about the 6th of July. He is the most noted Director in England (with E. B. P. excepted), the best perhaps. He is at least one of the very best. I met him the other day.
Dear Oliver, I think God is raising up saints in England. There is a class of men, of good men, who are pressing matters of ritual, etc., and we hear perhaps more of them; but there are others, who (of course in ritual far ahead of the high and dry and what we see in America and whose acts at the Altar, etc., are all we would ask) are certainly living holy lives.
I went into a little church near Oxford, or in Oxford, and I was more impressed with the sacrifice than ever in my life. It was a low celebration. It was rather slow, but oh, so very, very solemn. No show; no music; nothing could equal the effect. The priest had begun to look like a Saint, and I knew was indeed a very holy man, a man of great humility and sacrifice. The church was in a poor part of the place. A poor little iron-looking affair, without any pretence or show, and yet the service was the most solemn I ever attended in my life.
Send a list, please, as soon as you can, of Secretaries. My sermon is in print. I wrote it at the hotel, and it is a poor representation of America. To help in the Cause, you must import a copy, Second Series. Dr. Littledale is the editor of the Church Times; Rev. G. F. Lee, of the Union Review; T. Chamberlain, of the Ecclesiastic.
Dr. E. B. P. is soon to be out with a new book, occasioned by Manning's letter; and also the Tract 90 is to be republished here, so Durand had better wait and get the preface which will be written on this side. The new book of E. B. P. will be stronger than Tract 90; yet will be strong in some points of the Latin Controversy.
There is a good deal of feeling here in respect to the revival of Religious Orders. A good many, I find, are thinking and working for it. Men are ready to give themselves to it. Before long another movement will be started. I have attended some meetings of subcommittees on that subject.
I still question a good deal about Brother I., whom I have seen and whose sermon in St. Martins Hall I listened to. One thing I am pretty clear about; he is not the model for us to follow. We must not be monks, but a modern order. The ancient spiritual life embodied for work by the wisdom and experience of the church.
With much love to all,
C. C. G.
LONDON, Monday, July 17, 1865.
MY DEAR OLIVER:
It may be a day or two before I finish this—as I am very much pressed indeed by many matters. I received on Saturday the 8th, as I passed through London, two letters from you. One dated the 16th, and the other the 22nd of June. My letters sometimes remain a long time at Barings because I am traveling about and cannot tell where I shall be. I was on my way to East Grinstead where I passed Sunday, and then went to Hurst to the Retreat, after which returned to London, and now have the first opportunity since receiving yours, which I read there in the cab, to answer them. I have read them over carefully now, and am glad to find you in good spirits and well. I will take things as you have mentioned them.
First. Brother Ignatius: Perhaps you have seen there has been a trouble at the monastery and the chaplain, the Rev. G., has left and some of the monks. My own feeling is, that God may be leading Brother Ignatius by these chastisements and trials into a better way. One likes his boldness, etc. But I simply say that the monastery does not present my calling. Nor is Brother Ignatius the one God has pointed out for me to follow in the way of a religious. I saw him in London and I heard him at St. Martin's Hall. To me he is not effective, but tiresome as a preacher, and I don't think likely to attract a multitude to continue to listen to him. The hall was about one half full; there were some four hundred, possibly five hundred, present. He has put down the price of admission, which was one shilling (two and six for reserved seats)—and there may be a greater number present now. How he will turn out I don't know, whether it is at all for the good of the Church of England that he should succeed, I cannot say. That he may damage the cause by his line is possible. But he seems to be acting in a spirit of disobedience to the lawful authorities. Either he is under his Bishop or some Anglican Bishop, or as a monk, he is under the Pope. There must be some one whom he should obey; and the point able and good and thoroughly catholic men make is, what right has he to have public celebrations of the Eucharist in his chapel? The thing is all in a muss. The monks with him are very common persons, and none stay long.
He is not acting under Dr. P's advice. The effect of his sermon at St. Martin's was much injured to me, by a handsome stole which he wore. It seemed incongruous to lecture the women on dress, when he is rather famous for taking that line himself.
I fear more and more all dressing up. Vestments are the last things we should do; what we seek to change, is souls.
My relations with Brother Ignatius are friendly, but I don't think I shall go there again. My experience is the same with that of some others.
Second. I am glad you are not driven into a discussion of the A.P.U C. Let the time of speaking tarry yet a good while. What we want is simply prayers and not discussing of any kind. It is a great deal better to leave the Christian series and all papers unanswered.
I thank you for the suggestion of the Cistercian Monastery, and may get there. Dr. Neale promised me a letter, etc.
About Brother Ignatius, etc., please take me on trust. I know your own opinion would be mine.
I would not make the A.P.U.C. a prominent part of our work. It will be enough for us to be religious, without giving any one a Cry against us. I think it well for such persons to take up one line; to push one thing. Not to mix up his positions, so that while defending one, he is open to a side attack. I mean, that a religious community formed with the chief object of winning the souls of the young men and especially making a holy life their mission, should not be mixed up so prominently with anything else as to be open to the attack. Oh, yes, you may say you are for winning souls and all that, but the real thing you strive for is to bring back popery and put us all under the Pope. The prominent men of the A.P.A. must bear that and can defend that, but I don't want Brotherhoods to be damaged by that cry, or have anything to bear except straightforward attacks. All movements and cases and causes are attacked most effectively by a side thrust, by a cry, by some unfairness, by mixing up things, and though we have gone on in the A.P.U.C., yet I would let others speak and write for it, and just for a while stand a little towards the rear in that matter. At least I think if we are for a brotherhood, then we should make that the chief thing.
Third. I will go to John Phillips, but as you will see from this, the opening of Providence seems a little different than at my last. It is clearer and wider, and I may not be back quite as soon as I then thought and I don't want to buy anything now.
Fourth. I think a low mass set, that is for the celebrant alone, can be got for £5 (quite poor) to £10 a really good set. Will ask what a set for Celebrant deacon and sub-deacon will cost. Deitrich is one of the best makers. Some of the vestments used are imported from Belgium, others are made by the Sisters. If you want Altar Cloths, there is a society at Wantage that works very well indeed. Said to have some of the best and claimed to have one, the best worker in England. The cost is not so much as in the stores, and the profit is given to the Sisters at Wantage. Dr. Neale's Sisters are making me a surplice; a short one for common use. Price fifteen shillings, also they make vestments. I shall be there this week (D.V.) and will ask their price for a set as you describe for Mr. Bishop. I like the idea of their making the vestments. The shops of Mrs. Beard and others do the work very well, but the cost is great and it is shop work and the money of course not given to charity. The English use just now is for the yoke-crossed chasuble. Those at St. Matthew's were made very full, but found inconvenient. Something between the Roman scantiness and the Medieval abundance is preferred. I suppose £20 will get a full set. Whether it is advisable to use them I don't say. It would be bad to commence and be obliged to give up. Is America ripe for them? If there were near a score of people waiting in Church after evensong, as I have seen waiting their turn to go to confession, it would be another matter; yet, even in that case the incumbent has only the Linen vestments as yet. It is a good way to begin, and then to add colored stoles; but there are many here who are anxious the vestment matter should not be pressed, or get into the papers. Let there be a gradual development. Let it creep on in many parishes. Don't make it so prominent. Don't herald it in newspapers. Don't report your services. Don't attract attention, which is unspiritual and devoluting in itself, and may also arouse opposition which will crush the work. The seed that can easily be destroyed when first cast into the ground or when just springing up, is strengthened by the blast, when it has pushed its roots far and wide and got a good hold, and got its growth. The vestment question is booked to come off next spring and then there will be a contest, and my own opinion is, that America had better wait on the movement in England.
Fifth. I should like some of Dix's sermons very much and can distribute them with good effect. How many can you send conveniently? Let me have them if you can send them without much cost.
Sixth. I will send your letter to Editor of Church Times this week.
Seventh. I would let H—— alone, entirely alone, except to pray for him, if I were you. I fear you are only doing yourself great harm and him no good and laying up trouble in store for yourself and for the cause by talking with him. You can't convince him or alter him, and I don't think one should lay themselves out upon such men. All you say may come back some day upon you in a way you little expect. You are only supplying the enemy with the most fatal kind of ammunition, etc.
Eighth. I am not likely to see Brother Ignatius again, but if you desire a pattern will try to get one before I leave. But for what do you want it? I should think you could make one from the prints.
Ninth. I like Dr. N., but it would be only a matter of curiosity to see him. I am going to write a letter to F——, but as I don't know his address, I shall send it to you, which I must ask you to read and send a note to him as you think best, backing it up if you think it ought to be sent, and this leads me to my own goings about.
God is most marvellously working in this portion of His Church.
By a series of wonderful providences, men are being drawn to a religious life, and are being drawn together. It is the most aweful and solemn of anything I ever knew. One feels every moment should be occupied in prayer, lest one may go wrong or thwart His Leadings or mar His Blessed work. The mercy of God has allowed me to know of what has been done, and to see something of it, and, if I am not unworthy, of casting in my lot with it. I send you a prayer which has been said by some in which you will be glad to join. If God will, very quietly indeed in the autumn, some persons will get together and the work be begun.
Some of England's saintliest men will direct by their counsel the work, and some of them will be in it. We did not know there were such men. It is a piety we have read of. Quiet, unobtrusive, everyday looking, unnoticed by the great mass, unknown, unboastful, without display, or controversy, or church party spirit, or the desire of personal success, hidden but deep and true and real and wise. You might think, Mr. Carter for instance, an ordinary Christian. He would hear ones chattering as if there was something in it, but those who know him better, know him to be above what we ordinarily see. God is educating and raising up Saints here. It is very awful. It is with carefulness I use the word. There are men here who are very holy, saintly men. Under the direction and advice of such (and this, all this, is between ourselves, and ourselves only, under all and every consideration, neither to be spoken of in detail or hinted at in the gross) the movement is taking shape.
What you want to do is to keep the Bishops off from questions of doctrine until they have become more Catholic. It is always a blessing when a Convention goes by and they have done nothing. How you can be relieved now is the question. Possibly, before one's death or if occasion required, one might make the statement to the public. The Church public have forgotten the matter, and when the question comes up again, it will be considered de novo. It must grow by practice. Discussion does harm. Very, very little has been said comparatively about confession, but it would be impossible to check it in England, because it has silently become a great reality. If one should be charged with not having kept one's promise, one can say, I did wrong or made a mistake in making it, or did it being told by the Bishops that it has no force elsewhere, or have been dispensed, and what a Bishop can impose, a Bishop can undo. I submitted myself to my Bishop and he accepted my action; of course this is only necessary to be done once. In this way I think the whole matter can be arranged, without running the great risk of making matters worse for the Church in America by forcing the Bishop to take action which probably would, if any doctrine was involved, be unfavorable. If it is a question of jurisdiction and authority and Bishop Eastburn comes before them with an endeavor to get them to enforce his set-at-nought sentence, they will speedily find out that he cannot bind clergy out of his diocese and in their own.
What you say about St. Albans is gratifying. I am glad they are getting on so well. Everything is a gain. Perhaps it is better they have not confession. Are they prepared to receive confessions, do you think? No one should hear a parish who was not in careful practice of the ordinance himself, and I don't think a great many American clergy are fitted to hear them. I hope we shall be very careful, too, of anything looking like a young clergyman's affairs, etc. We have no faculties granted by our Bishops. But it is obvious to any young earnest Catholic priest, that except in necessity it were better for him to wait till his own director should think when, and in what class of cases, he should receive confessions.
When Dr. Pusey returns, I will put your matter to him also, if I get a good opportunity to do so; but I think it will be just the same as it has been given by Neale and Liddon and Benson. It would not require a formal judicial act from a Bishop to dispense one from a promise which was contrary to the practise of the Catholic Church (if contrary to the faith it is void ab initio, so Dr. Neale regarded it). A priest has the power to dispense from rash vows, not all rashly made vows, but vows rash or wrong in themselves—and so I think has in your case. As far as your own conscience is concerned, the action of a Priest is all that is necessary. Bishop Eastburn did not bind you by any exercise of his own Episcopal authority; by authority flowing from the Grace of His office. In such a case a Bishop would be necessary to undo what a Bishop had done. But you bound yourself by a promise. It is the promise that binds you. Now it was not a promise personal. A promise made to, or for the benefit of, Bishop Eastburn. He had nothing to do with it, except to finally receive the certificate. You did not promise Dr. Manton E. that you would abstain, etc. If it was not made to him, during his good pleasure—not a promise to abstain as long as M. E. might think fit. He had no power at all over the certificate. He refused to receive it in any other but the exact words. He was but depositor of it. It was not thus a promise personal.
One has offered himself, whose name in England will command the respect and confidence of all. Mr. Benson is one of the greatest masters in the spiritual life in England. It has made our hearts, viz. Rev. O'Neil, Juke and Mr. Lane, Fox and Wood, etc., leap for joy. Other persons of equal prominence with Mr. Benson are seriously considering the step and seeking Divine Guidance. The Religious houses are praying for the work, and it has been determined to begin.
As soon as we can we (unless the coming in of others should alter the plan, and it is thought they will desire the identical same thing) will meet at a place near Oxford, Mr. Benson's parish, and commence living by Rule and receiving instructions in the spiritual life and rules of a community. One will act as Superior (Mr. Benson probably, but one or two other persons may join, of great prominence in the church and in holy living, and they will settle it among themselves) and direct. The formation of the fuller rule will not be made till after a year. Persons will go on the continent and visit the Religious houses there. Some have already been staying at Mt. Cassino, other orders will soon be examined. The advice and counsel of such persons as E. B. P., and Keble, Carter, Bishop Brechin, Mr. Lidden, and others will be taken. Father Benson is about 42 or 46, and all such a little thing as myself has to do is to obey. He saw some of us on Friday, and all he said was full of humble, sober wisdom. I cannot detail all the various steps that have been taken in this matter which has been going on for some time, ever since I landed, for I heard of it from E. B. P.
Whether I shall go on the continent is doubtful. My one object is to see Religious orders, etc., and learn. But I don't think it is very important now, as these persons know more than I do, so I may go to Mr. Benson very soon, and I shall take no step without his advice.
It is gratifying to know that indirectly the Bishop of London will sanction the formation and also no fear is entertained of the Bishop of Oxford to whom Mr. Benson has prepared a letter.
The Rev. O'Neil and Juke are about my age or a year or so younger, are pious, trained, and very earnest men, who have been praying and preparing themselves for this work for some time. Messrs. Lane, Fox, and Wood are gentlemen of position in English society, and make sacrifices to join us
The society will be based on the three vows, of course. The general line will be rather like that say of the modern orders, the Redemptorist or Jesuit, than the ancient Monastic ones. What our fear is, that they may not be worthy and may by pride or self-will, or want of docility or teachableness, be an injury to the work.
Thus. I may remain some time longer than at the last I proposed. It seems the way God is opening.
I think you can make Mr. Bishop understand that in a work so momentous as that of a brotherhood, requiring so much of discipline, the worst of all mistakes is precipitancy. All of God's people are disciplined by waiting. Remember St. Paul. The world was waiting for his preaching. The conversion of the heathen would seem to hang upon him more than upon any other Apostle; yet, though burning with zeal for souls, first of all he went out three years into the desert. Souls were waiting, were dying, were going to hell; yet his duty was to wait, to go slowly, to build not for a day, but for centuries, and even when he began, God frequently stopped him; kept him in prison; sent no angel, as he did to St. Peter, to deliver him, but kept him there that he might study and read and meditate over his parchments, and so be the better fitted for laying the stones of the temple. All of God's saints go slowly. If Mr. Bishop is desirous of our taking his place, he must be content (if it is at all dependent on me) to wait. I may return in the autumn or winter or spring, but just now do not know when it will be. It will depend on what Mr. Benson should direct, etc. You might of course begin there, but I hope the place will not be compromised with the Church, and we have to assume a quarrel which we alone should not have got into. All that you need say to Mr. B—— is, that I am striving to learn about community life, and it is absolutely essential to the obtaining of a needed competence of information that I should remain abroad, and the work will be done all the better for the delay.
The work is looking forward to a house of training of men for the ministry at Oxford, a west end chapel or church, using the intellectual in London, and chapel humane work, etc., among the poor in a different quarter, and foreign missions perhaps in India, and other branches, etc.
Now this being so, I should like F—— to come out and be trained, if he has a vocation or is drawn to this blessed work and life of sacrifice. Noyes is in delicate health, and the Rule would be too severe for him with his complaint, although sufficient food and sleep is a prominent maxim of Father Benson's. But I don't know whether the routine would be suitable to N., and you say he has also bound himself to another lad, who will require to be supported. I don't know any one who would do, except F——. Moril has his work, and I doubt if he has a vocation for community life, and the discipline of a religious. F—— has some externals which would have to be abandoned entirely, smoking, and drink, but he is not lazy or sharp-spoken or vain or conceited or eccentric or with any deeply engraved spiritual faults.
He has in him the making of a spiritually minded person, if he will try to be such, and put himself under directions. He has his snares as we all have, but might make a religious if he would humbly and prayerfully seek of God the grace and follow the means.
The best thing he can possibly do for his own soul's sake, for the good of the Holy Church, is to come here for a time and start with the others. He will get what he cannot possibly get in America. He will get Holy Men to guide him and train him in the spiritual life. He will learn what cannot be taught by books, but by personal directions. Urge him, dear Oliver, to keep the Rule, to examine himself two or three times a day, to be careful about little things; to read the rules of mental prayer, and to practise meditations first with, and then the same meditation without, the book. He will also gain here access to books and men and pursue his studies in theology in a way my ignorance of languages prevents me from- doing. This we want. E. B. P. wants Catholic truth brought home to intellectual Boston. Some one must come out and study. These great reasons urge the matter.
But the one important, all important consideration is this. Is he drawn by the Holy Spirit? No consideration of self or vanity or pride should influence him. No desire for his cooperation should affect us. Is the Holy Ghost drawing him on. Has he a leaning towards a Religious life? Is he willing to seek of God whether it is his vocation and be willing to follow it? Is he willing for the Love of God and of Jesus our Lord to lose his life in this world? Get him to consider with prayer his needs, circumstances, temptations. His failures and sins need not keep him or any of us back, for the Precious Blood is still open to us. They can be washed away. But is he willing to try for Christ's sake to serve Him in this dark age more fully than he can in any other way? If he will only try, I believe God's grace will surely not fail him. You know him better than I do. He is much abler than I am, and I would like, if it is God's wish, that his ability should be consecrated to Christ. He knows more than I do of some things, and has much better talents, and would be of more use. If you think he may find it his vocation, urge him, dear Oliver, not to trifle with the drawing of Christ, and the pleading of the Holy Ghost, but to covertly seek whether it is so. He had better take no work in America, but come over at once. I don't know who is his Bishop. Bishop P., I suppose. He could probably be induced to let him come for study here, especially if Seabury would recommend it. I think Dr. Seabury would. There would be no more difficulty about Priest's orders on his return than now, etc. He need not say to any one that his purpose is the religious life. In fact he ought not, but that he is going to study, etc.
With much love and all blessing,
C. C. G.
P.S. If you think it will do any good to them, let F—— see the whole of this. He will not feel hurt by anything I say about him. He knows I love him and his soul too well. Please write soon and let me know what you think about this.
Could not F—— pay you a little visit. Use your discretion about sending him my letter, and bring the matter before him. I feel I am taking a great responsibility in offering any one to those here, but it is certainly due to F—— that he should know of the matter, and if he has a vocation, he will find the opportunity held out to embrace it.
With deep love,
C. C. G.
It is too late to copy the prayer.
LONDON, JULY, 18, 1865.
MY DEAR FAY:
I feel as if I knew you very well indeed and yet did not know you as well as I could wish. You have been very much in my thoughts before and since I left America. I desired to have a good long talk with you about yourself and your plans, if you would admit me to your confidence before I left. Perhaps it is as well, for our talking would (crude now) have been cruder then. You know what I have deeply at heart; the revival of the Religious life. That a number of priests bound together by the closest possible ties, would by their love and sympathy support one another and be useful in the saving of souls, we cannot doubt. Other ways are good. Other men may do more. Other men may not need the restraint and discipline which I feel I do. Other men's labor and lives may be crowned with greater tokens of success. So we are neither to criticize nor condemn other men or the secular clergy, but support them. But the Catholic Church has always recognized the religious life as a distinct estate, and that some either because they were weak and could be used in no other way, or for some reason known to the sovereign will, have been called to it. Have you thought over this matter, dear Fay? Have you considered the question? Is the Holy Ghost drawing me to the life of a Religious? What is His will in my regard?
Now in many things you are a better scholar than I am. God has given you certainly a fair measure of ability. You don't need my bringing matters before you, which you can show as well as I at least, and reason and develop probably better. I am not learned and have no pretensions to scholarship; but let me bring these things to your notice, which will of course be between ourselves and ourselves only, for other persons are involved and very great harm may be done by hints even and more by talking. I must desire whatever I may say to be regarded with sacred care.
First. A Brotherhood is about to be begun in England. The Religious life, meaning thereby the life based on the three vows, will be commenced. A novitiate of two years will give opportunity to persons to try their vocation. The rules and statutes will be drawn up under the counsel and advice of those in whom we can have implicit confidence. A temporary rule will be adopted during the formative stage. One of the most spiritually minded men in England has felt called to this work for which he has been preparing for years. Others of note and distinction, or scholars and holy men, are gravely considering the duty of joining it. There are already six who are pledged in, and, unknown to one another, others are seeking of God their vocation. The undercurrent is very deep, and the hearts of a great number are being drawn to the matter. The danger is that the work may grow too fast rather than too slow. It is marvelous to find persons in India, Scotland, England, and America are working to one end, and the providential drawings and wonderful education of each apart is something to make one fear lest by their own self-will, or pride, or ambition, or want of correspondence to grace they may mar in any way the work and design of God.
There is enough to satisfy you in the fact that such persons as E. B. P. and Keble, Bishop Brechin, and Mr. Carter and Liddon are interested in the matter and will give it their advice, counsel, and direction—that and the organization will be such as you can safely, that is, for your own soul's good and the welfare of others, and the good of the church, attach yourself to, if led to the Religious life as your vocation by the Holy Spirit. You and I can trust such persons and safely dismiss all crude plans and ill-digested ideas and find some niche in the work where it will be ours to listen and be taught and learn to obey, and be trained in our calling. Here is the opening.
Then the question which I would ask you to consider is, Has God called me or is He calling me to a life of poverty, obedience, and celibacy? I would be very careful how I suggested this matter to any one; because it involves such consequences to one's self, to the person addressed, and to those with whom he may be associated. There is no more dreadful and galling yoke than a mistaken vocation. The painful, bitter torments of a self-chosen course, whichever way that may be, are most fearful to bear, and make one a most fitting and easily influenced subject to the temptations of the Devil. The low tone of a secularized mind, a blindness to spiritual things, and the result of rejecting the call to a more self-sacrificing life, are only shadows of the external death which is settling on the soul (which may go on doing something, preaching and teaching and eating and drinking in Christ's presence and casting out devils in His Name even), but which has chosen its lot and path for itself and rejected its vocation. And equally humble, more dreadful indeed, is the awful state of those who seek to enter the Religious life uncalled by God; all are not called. The Saints have been some of them married persons. The examples of some of our best priests and those whose ministry God has blest wonderfully have been married men. One can love God as fully in the one state as in the other is the teaching of spiritual science, and the declaration of the Saints. The trial and care and mortification and humiliation and discipline of obedience and poverty, wholesome and purifying as it is, may be found in the secular trials and home duties and domestic afflictions of the married. The lot of a religious, chosen from aught but the single desire to follow the will of God and embrace one's vocation, will be found one of the most tormenting beds of flames a man can select for himself. One may be tempted to it from a party spirit, from pride, possibly vanity. The love of doing something peculiar; a hasty human spirit resolving in its own strength and not in the grace and strength of God, to do things for Him; a strong ambition or spirit of self-will, etc.
What therefore one should seek is the guidance of the Holy Ghost for purification of right motive. What does He call me to? Let me set before myself distinctly the two estates and understand what the Religious life is. It is Poverty, Obedience, and Celibacy. It is not to work joining a society. Draw this out fully, please. Nor do I wish to join other men together, but am I desirous of embracing Poverty, Obedience, Celibacy for their own sake? Exclude also the consideration, How can I do the most good or be the most useful? This is another fatal snare. We shall be most useful in the place and state where God calls and puts us, and for which He has designed us, and towards which all His providences and Love unseen by us have been tending. If we should do nothing but sit still and be silent like the angels watching Christ's grave clothes, we shall be doing more good than if we were rushing about with all the eloquence of Paul and Apollos combined proclaiming the resurrection. Don't let us be so proud as to think we of ourselves can do anything. We are only doing real good when we are standing in our lot and obeying His behest. Very busy we may be and yet be doing more eventual harm than if we were doing apparently nothing. Doing nothing as the world would count it in obedience to Him, is working in the most effectual way we possibly can for His Glory. Keep then to this one consideration: What is My Calling? Does the Holy Ghost, not self, call me, to follow the Master in this more toilsome way of Poverty, Obedience, Celibacy?
I think that is the way the matter should be approached. Represent well its severity and what it is to be poor, obedient to another man, etc.
Because you may find the flesh and the human spirit pleading within you against such a life. Drawing you away from it; arguing against its usefulness; suggesting your past habits of life as unfitting you for it; claiming as it will that you have only a fancy for it, and the desire for it is only a snare of your own devising,—because you find these, don't misapprehend their source. The question is, Is God; Is the Holy Ghost; Is Christ, calling?
The Blessed potter can make His clay as He will, if it only yields itself up entirely, absolutely, with entire abandonment, to His molding. Do not be guided by any mock or mistaken humility, or cover up the real selfishness and niggardliness and sensuality of the human heart by any such deceit as I am not fitted for such a life. Of course you are not. Who is? But if God calls, he can fit, if we only abandon everything, will, understandings, affections, plans, designs, wishes, everything we are or have, or expect, or wish, every thought and motive, to Him. We need not doubt His Power or Grace.
The greatest care should be taken, lest love of care, comfort, position, the natural unwillingness for hardship, and sacrifice do not lead one into the self-deceit of covering up the desires of the flesh and the promptings of the human heart with the specious deception of humility.
Putting before one then the conditions of Poverty, Obedience, and Celibacy in their rigor, ask we of God guidance that we may know His will in our regard and grace to promptly follow it.
Nor is it necessary to decide absolutely whether it is my invention or is God calling me? Is it my duty to stop, seek, examine? Is it not my duty to try if it is so? If the opportunity is providentially opened, shall I not do so?
Do not ask especially the illumination of the Holy Ghost. Say the Veni Creator as part of your offices. Take such a book on the Spiritual Exercises. Pursue the Rules of Mental prayer. Don't pass directly from one meditation to another. If you are obliged to use the book, then make the same meditation the next time without the book, and when you have made two or three, make up one of your own out of them. Grind them into the Soul. Wait for God to speak to you about the matter of vocation. His voice may not come for some time. Remember that the question is not, whether I absolutely have a vocation, but are the leadings of Providence such as to make it my duty to try to undertake a novitiate? Is it my hope that it is my vocation, and is it my desire to do all I can to find it so and to obey at all cost to flesh and spirit?
I would suggest that you would like such subjects as are in the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises: "The End of Man," Sin, Death, Judgment, Hell, etc., and then others sometimes, "The Two Standards."
I know very little about these things, and you must allow for many imperfections in this and for my boldness in putting it before you.
If you would come out here, which will be the only way to begin the life, the cost would not be much, if that is the one object in view. I don't know what your means are. As far as the Religious life is concerned, it is of no account. The expense out would be the passage money, and that you could find out on that side. Then here the cost would not be much. We should live all together with the Superior and I suppose at a certain rate of proportionate expense. The fact is in the Sisterhood, etc. money matters are known to the Superior alone. The Novices make different arrangements according to their means, and no one ever knows whether one is contributing much or nothing to the common support. When one is professed, their whole income goes to the common fund. I suppose twenty or twenty-five shillings a week could amply cover one's share of the expense, but if they had nothing, they would be welcome. We Americans are very sensitive about money matters, sometimes wrongly so. If you will tell me just how you are situated, I will make the arrangements for you with the Superior. I myself am dependent on my relatives, who kindly provide for me. Be assured the means will not be a hindrance.
With my best love and prayers and blessings,
Yours very faithfully,
C. C. G.
It seems to me that it would be a kind of sacrilege to use his name to get money for any other object than one which would really be a memorial of .him (Keble). Now nothing is a memorial of him which does not embody fully his principles or else given to some mere memento like a Monument, etc. That we are not likely to have in America, especially from the hands of the Keble Committee, therefore I hope that you will use what influence you have in directing attention to the advisability of sending the money here. It will form another link between the countries, etc. It is not pronounced and likely to frighten any one.
I don't know when I shall return. It depends on what opening I may find. But I may get back in the autumn. What I want to see is a Religious life founded.—But how few are fitted and how few are willing.—It is something not to be played at. One must have a vocation for obedience, poverty, and celibacy—a faith and trust in the inspiration of the order, its rule, and yield oneselves to it, to be made and fashioned by it in all ways. If the Church is to prevail, it must be in the strength of her martyr-life. Her children must pile the Living Altar with themselves, and the Light to light again the nations must stream up from Nations consumed in contact with that Burning Heart of Jesus. If the Church is to thrill again with His Divine Love, the heart of the Priesthood must be slain and buried in His heart, having lost in holy obedience all will and wish of its own and beating responsively, acting energetically, in union with the sacrificed life of the God Man. Let us pray that the Church may be quickened with this new life.—That Religious orders may arise.—That Christ may again be with us in all His power and that we may preach the Word in the midst of this adulterous worldly generation in demonstration of the spirit and with power and signs following.—Let us pray for the Spirit to be poured out that the young men may be drawn to and held by Our Lord, that if he should come while we are on the earth, He may find us at least making an effort however feeble to do our best to give our all to Him. When Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit they are created and Thou shalt renew the Face of the earth.
I asked Dr. P. about your certificate. He said you should simply ignore it.
1. When a diocesan affair.—That Court could only bind within its own jurisdiction. The sentence affecting the practise elsewhere was void.
2. The certificate was signed under the request of another Bishop for the purpose of effecting a transfer, Bp. E. having declared he could not alter the word of the certificate given by order of the Court. That is, the words in the certificate were beyond the Court's power, but Bp. E. could not alter the words; it could only be done by your signing at the order of another Bishop.
3. Bp. Wh's. official communication, in teaching you that he regarded it as of no force or account whatever, released you and settled the matter. A Bishop can undo, etc.
4. Besides you are now in another diocese and received by your present Bishop without any limitations so expressed in your letter dimissory from Bp. W.
C. C. G.
If you were still bound, he, Bp. Wh., ought to have noted it in your letter dimissory.
Bp. Williams supposed he was receiving a Presbyter capable of exercising all the functions of his Priesthood.
NOVEMBER 3RD, 1865.
I am still waiting to hear from you and know you are proceeding in the best way and will let me know when the time comes. I write to ask you to obtain some pamphlets on the work of laymen in the church written by Mr. Walsh of Philadelphia, a well-known person.
I have neglected this matter for some time and therefore feel anxious about it. I don't know his initials or address or would write myself and not trouble you. Please obtain them as soon as possible and forward by post to William I. Garnett, Esq., Quernmore Park, W. Lancaster, England. He was in Parliament last session, a man of nerve, etc., I think. I promised to get these for him and have delayed writing for some time. I think Mr. Walsh is a member of the General Convention.
And another thing. I am to give a lecture for Mr. Carter (in quite a modest way) on the American Church. Will you not do me the kindness of procuring for me some good account of Nashotah? It is the only very church-like thing I know of. Any facts concerning it. A note to the Principal would do it. I sent him a donation from home last year, and I want to have something about Lloyd Breck, and the Indian Missions; I am asked about these. Anything else that occurs to you to send, do so.
Pamphlets are expensive, if over two ounces in weight. So send them singly. The postage is an English penny for single pamphlets under two ounces. But is sixpence if over. In sending matter, I tear it up to save postage, if it does not hurt.
We are getting on slowly. Provost Kortescue has lectured twice here in Oxford on the Religious life. There will probably be several houses formed in time. The society of the Holy Cross has had an order of Celibates for some years. I preached at All Saints at the first Vespers of the Dedication festival.
With all love in Christ,
C. C. GRAFTON.
To FATHER PRESCOTT
Be careful what you bring out in print, but you must begin to do more in that way. Don't frighten people. Don't say peculiar and startling things. Don't try to win people by making them open their eyes. It is a worldly style of rhetoric, and does more harm than the mere good of attracting attention which is gained thereby. But speak the truth in love, and in the sober-mindedness and sobriety of speech and bring it out. You must not be a friend of your pen. Don't be ambitious; write simple things. But write.
I remember what you said about mortifications in one of your letters. I believe they are useful. Inward ones are far more telling, but the others have a use. If you come out for a couple of months, you can get what things you want here. It is a rule in one of the Sisterhoods, for a sister, if discipline is to be taken, to go to the Mother to get the instrument so that they do not keep one and use it themselves when they will, etc. You can have anything made here, you wish—hair shirts or belts or steel. belts or anything, but it is something one keeps to oneself entirely, and has only a limited range of usefulness. A little something persevered in, is a help.
You spoke of your constitution. I have fallen upon several passages of devout writers holding that God often times gives them over, when persons are in a low state of grace, to draw them on; while from others more advanced he withdraws them. But it requires a good deal of experience, courage, and determination of will to discern between the consolations of the Holy Spirit and those which arise from the natural man (or the human spirit). The devil may also tempt one through the care with which their bodily and spiritual temperament is sensibly affected by devotion. By the way (you know how I hit out) you said in one of yours, that some "thought you were a considerable preacher." Let your preaching and mine take care of itself. Don't let us care what people think. Try not to let your mind rest on the effect of your sermon. Don't imagine how this or that person would take it or how they would regard it, or what they think about it. Whether they would agree with it or not, when it is done, leave it to God and exclude the subject from your mind. We shall have when we get together, if God so will, to be very careful what we say to each other about each other. Let us help one another to leave our work to God by not yielding as I have often done to vainglory and committed a multitude of sins by indirectly talking about myself and my sermons and yours. I am writing as you see without any plan, but this came into my head and illustrates how one's attention is directed to the details of life and speech by weekly confession, such an expression would have to go into my weekly budget of sins, etc.,—so if I looked in the glass—was unrecollected and spoke of self, etc.
I have written to send the inclosed. Clay ton and Bell have some work in Albany for Mr. Prince. They are spoken very highly of. If Dr. H. wants them, he had better write for a design. I should try to have the best style.
With much love,
Yours very faithfully,
C. C. G.
P.S. I should like to know about New York as a place for trying. It would require two or three priests. One to sing, etc. Can you tell me how the old church of the Incarnation stands? Is it for sale?
To FATHER PRESCOTT, 1865-6
He had no more authority over it than any other Bishop after it was made. To whom then was it made? It was made by you in conscientia to God. It was then like any other promise not having a personal relation to the promisee, and it being also not one of the reserved cases requiring a Pope's or a Bishop's dispensation. It remains in the exercise of the ordinary confessor to dispense from it. So it seems to me.
I will write you again about the glass window and get some more information.
Dr. Harwood may not know that the U.S. authorities have lately decided that there is a distinction between ordinary stained or enameled glass and works of art and paintings on glass. Paintings imported in good faith for religious societies incorporated, are free of duty, which in other cases is thirty per cent. The new window in St. Luke's, Baltimore, was consequently admitted free of duty as a work of art. I will write in a few days about this. A window filled with medallions or quarries, would not, I presume, get in free of duty.
If you can procure a copy of the Church Almanac, I want one for the list of American Clergy contained in it.
My sister has written me from New York. I think they are much more anxious to do something in the church way. I think God will order for us.
Do try to come out for two months; it is expensive, but worth it, to go to Dr. Pusey. With much love and many prayers,
Very faithfully in our Lord,
C. C. GRAFTON.
To FATHER PRESCOTT, 1866
I got some good suggestions from Dr. P. The best, that our work should be principally directed to the youths and young men.
We should take a temporary rule for a few years and then form a more permanent one.
The members of the society should be in the habit of confession. No one should be permitted to take vows unless recommended by his spiritual director, and upon his knowing by a general confession his whole life.
He thought we had better begin where we were going to establish ourselves in Boston or New York, and not commence in any other place such as Bridgeport, and he preferred Boston to New York. It would take some time to write his reasons. You will be careful, dear Oliver, not to mention any of these things (to any one, to Mr. Bishop, nor to Noyes, or Fay, or any one living) either that Dr. Pusey has seen me, or said anything on the subject, or what his views are on these matters.
The Doctor's knowledge of parish matters is not so good as any working parish priest (say Morgan Dix), and he knows comparatively little of America. His opinion was based on some things which I told him in answer to his questions. He liked B. on account of the university being near, and our work he wanted to be a work with young men as one of its special objects, or its special object, and he did not like commencing elsewhere, because he did not like moves.
I have seen the Bishop of Brechin, and I think that he prefers a modern to a monkish order. Mr. Chamberlain gave me much information. He is an admirable and practical person. His view was that we want an order like that of the Society of Jesus. This is my own view. They form a body of parish priests. And if one is to do such work, you cannot be confined, as the older orders were, to the repetition of so many offices publicly in choir; but must say them privately, and in proportion as you are obliged to give up something of the severe asceticism of the monk, and wear other clothing and use not so severe fasts, in proportion the inward, mental discipline of obedience must be practised to a more severe and exact extent and the voice of the Superior be to us as the voice of God.
NEW COWLEY, OXFORD, Feb. 7, 1866.
MY DEAR OLIVER:
I have just time for a line. Will you not write me a letter and tell me (1) how you feel about coming out here for a short time. (2) Whether you are still of the same mind about going in together for the formation of a religious order.
Thinking sure your last caused some question to arise in my mind as to whether in anything I had offended you, or whether you had altered your idea about the expediency of going in with me. Mr. Rankin has written me asking me to join him and take charge of the Sisters and to share in the spiritual matters of the parish.
I can't give an answer now, as Father Benson is away, and I know F. B. would also ask me about my own view of the matter, etc., and that depends somewhat on what my good friend O. S. is disposed to do.
I have always trusted you with all my ideas and plans, and never can allow anything to disturb my love for you. I told Dr. Pusey that some, I hoped, would go with me in America, but I could certainly rely on one. He is much interested in the plan.
Being left alone, I have followed what seemed the leadings of God. We have had a sea of troubles, and my life is one of much anxiety. I have been for months engaged in the Roman question with several persons, and doing all I could to keep them to their duty. Our own experience helps us. One (a fine Cambridge scholar and priest), I was much blest in saving, and went down to the Jesuit College after he had gone there, and at last brought him away. But these things take up much time, involve long letters, journeys, and much anxious thought. My life has been one of constant priestly work. Therefore, I am giving a Retreat now for the penitents here in the Oxford house. I shall go to Prestbury to preach a Mission for the first week in Lent. Am having my hands full.
Our Title is: Mission Priests of St. John the Evangelist—for short, The Evangelist Fathers.
I should like to consult you about many matters. I spoke the other evening with Dr. Pusey and Bishop of Brechin. There seems to be little hope just now of doing anything in America, but I trust the Good God will let me be an instrument of His using, for the main of His Glory, before I die.
With much love and waiting for your note with much anxiety.
C. C. G.
Would Dix go in for anything like an order? What is your address? I did not receive any pamphlets from you.
NEW COWLEY, OXFORD, February 21, '66.
Care Rev. R. M. BENSON.
MY DEAR OLIVER:
I have now yours of the 5th. To-morrow I leave here for some twelve days, and send you this brief line now. Your letters were like your own self, and could not but affect me much. My own inner life, that which no one but God saw and knew, was so bad that I used to be in long seasons of dreadful despondency and mental pain. How little indeed we can know of one another. There has seemed to be a double current in my life. My efforts have been increasing, but then when a fit came, it seemed worse. I have been plunged into despair, I have lain down on the floor in Baltimore and wept, and sometimes for months I loathed the sight of a prayer book, and prayer was repulsive to me, and I would give up for days the saying of my prayers, and I thought once I would give up the ministry altogether and live a worldly and sensual life. But it had to come to the same thing; God in His dear goodness would not let me go; somehow He has kept me. I must commence again. God does not give me up. I must humble myself more. I must dig deeper, as the words are of St. Simon "Stylites." I must be "gutted," as the work builders say when they come to restore a house. God meant to make me cry out to Him as one sinking into hell. And now I think I see a filthy, humble, loathsome object in me, and which is me, my old self, ready now to leap out into a filthy, private sin, unstable, angry, petulant, self-conceited, intensely vain, and proud, covering up its hypocrisy and meanness in itself—and now I know, if God does not keep His Strong Hand on me, I shall be just as bad as before. I am simply a dung-hill and cannot help giving forth a stench. I cannot trust in myself or believe in myself at all, and I pray Him to take me out of harm's way; out from my own power and diversion out from myself, to lift me up from the mire; to wash me in His own Blessed Blood and then hide me in His wounds. Take me away from myself and hide me in Thee. I desire His Heart for my chamber where I may dwell and in which I may be sheltered and my cloister where I may walk.
What has helped me more than any previous thing has been Confession. The power of the evil seemed broken since I went to Dr. Pusey. I did not so feel it at the exact time, but it has been so, and I pray and ask you to pray that it may continue unto the end. I have had more comfort and peace and light than ever before, and power. The Dr. is very good. He said, "I am old enough to be your father, yet there is no sin mentioned in the Old or New Testament, I have not heard." Confession has shown me the terrible power of sin, but the more wonderful power and goodness of God. I hope and pray that you have by God's good providence the same blessing.
And, dear Oliver, I would kneel down before you and tell you all my sins, and you must know how long and heavy the catalogue is. It is certainly a struggle with me how to go to Father Benson with my smaller sins. It is as hard to self sometimes to confess a little act as a great one. But I believe God is leading me on, and as the Good Mother at Clewer told me, "The soul God has begun to lead on, He will continue to lead on," and will be still further on, etc. His Heart has depths which time does not fathom. He will reveal more and more of Himself. It will be a continual revelation. He will lead us on and on, whithersoever the Lamb goeth. But the human spirit must first be crushed and broken.
But I should only say what you know, so I go to your letter.
It seems to me a very significant moving, that the door of the Church was shut. Thank God for it. It would have broken my heart, if anything of that kind should happen to you. You have no idea what might in such a state have been the consequences, and if there is one thing I am thankful for, it is that God has kept me from cowardly abandoning my post where He placed me. The sin of going to Rome is now very different from what it was twenty years ago, and I see how great it would have been for me. Archbishop Manning says, "Leave the raft and come into the ark," but it seems to me that the high priest here unconsciously acknowledges what he thinks not of.
If there has been a raft made, it must have been because there has been a shipwreck, and one is safer on the floating raft than in the sinking boat. His illustration is not, I think, a happy one for himself. Our position is a trying one. One may have many waves rushing over him, but it is most blessed and safe. Dear Oliver, we must do all we can for Christ. The time of his coming may be nearer at hand than we imagine. If you have duties to your sisters, and if your lot is to care for and protect them, God will help you to do it and can bless us wherever we are and in what ever part of the vineyard we toil. But if it is not necessary and your duty, come with us. Tell Mary about it. Your sister Mary is too advanced a Christian woman not to be willing to give you a little in this world for the blessedness of an added glory hereafter. I wrote to America saying I thought I should get back this summer. See if you could not come early, before the long vacation begins (the last of May). After that Oxford is empty and Dr. Pusey away. If you could come out in the spring, we could return in the autumn together. Traveling is very expensive, but settling down here in Oxford is not so dear as in New York. I live for one pound a week.
I will consult about the Certificate. In fact, I had thought about it a great deal and some time ago asked Dr. Neale's opinion, putting the case, but not telling the name. He held it was not binding, because contrary to the teaching of the Church. But it is a very complicated question, and wants looking into.
It never occurred to me that you promised not to teach and inculcate that a priest had the power to preach confession I thought it was, not to hear confessions and give absolution.
We none of us can agree, not to teach any part of the faith. We might promise as Priests not to exercise the power of the keys, because of course it is common for the Bishop to license only certain priests to hear confession and give absolution. I think the Bishops will look at the matter now differently. They have given us absolution as well as all other things.
I should think most of what Dr. Pusey said on such a point. He is so up in all common law, etc. Mr. Carter is very, very cautious. His mind turns a matter inside out. He looks at a question from all sides and is so slow. (Has a lovely way I suspect of teaching me, by asking information himself.) He would look at it in its moral and spiritual aspect, and if he thought it might be broken, I should act on his opinion without any hesitation.
Thanks for all you have said. We have here a daily celebration, with which I have devoted almost all my time. Remember me to your sisters, please.
with much love and prayers,
C. C. G.
P.S. I wrote to Mr. Rankin saying it did not seem to me to be in my line of dealing, to go to St. Luke's, as I had begun this work and I could say nothing further until my return.
NEW COWLEY, OXFORD, Wednesday, March 14, 1866.
I have your most welcome and cheery letter, and should like to have time to answer it more fully than a few minutes before the post will let me do. When I return in some ten days, will write again. My Lent has been the most busy one I ever passed. I went to the Bishop of Oxford's Reading Mission, from there to Prestbury, where I spent over ten days; occupied nearly all the time, from thence on to J. Raphaels, Bristol, where on Wednesday I began a Retreat, which lasted till Saturday. It is very exhausting and a great mental and spiritual strain. God has been with me, I feel, and blest the work. On Saturday night I got back here and preached on Sunday. On Monday found myself hoarse, but am rapidly toning up for my work, which commences again to-day. I preach at Littlemore to-night, at Cowley to-morrow. Go to Bumpton on Friday, and on to London Saturday, where I am to be at St. George's Mission for eight days, assisting at a Mission there. Preaching twice a day, etc. In Holy Week, I expect to get back, and have but one appointment as yet. I have no time to write sermons, and until I get back to Cowley very little for anything else. I enclose you a St. Raphael's paper; please keep. "The Meditations on the Way of Sorrows" are the Stations which hang round the Church.
I am glad you wrote to Harrison. It is well to sound persons who seem as if they might be drawn to a religious life. But what, of course, we must look for is, does God draw them? Is it their vocation?
I think one special mark is, a very deep conviction of sin; another, a spiritual perception of what the religious life is. Something desirable in itself is a special means of likeness to and union with Our Lord.
And one should be told of all the trials, humiliations, bores, in a churchly way which will come upon one.
No man can come to me unless my Heavenly Father draw him. I don't wish to hurry or urge persons to come. I don't want any to come on low or secondary considerations. It may be a long time before the light dawns into the heart of the soul. We must wait and pray for it.
Suggest to Harrison to pray more, to pray for the Church and for himself. God must give the enlightening. What he does not now see, he may by the grace of God by and by, and what the will of God is; it is not the question of being an extreme or an advanced man or belonging to an advanced party or views. It is not an intellectual matter, but the work of the Holy Ghost. Personal sanctification should be his great effort. If he will strive for that, long for it, pray for it, watch for it, fast for it, take discipline for it, deny himself for it, put his dear Lord crucified before him as the model of the priest; he will do more for his parish than in any other way. This truth, dear Oliver, seems so little taken in, that if we are priests, we are also likely to be Victims. The terms Priest and Victim cannot be disjoined. The Priest must offer up himself as his Lord did, a whole burnt offering, and expect in every way to be crucified. We are to preach the cross, from the cross. We are to be saved not merely by the Cross; but being on the Cross, the Cross saves us.
I thank you for all you have written. God will also lead you. If he sends you a call to come, He will open the way. When the Master says follow me, He will provide the means. Wait on Him and tarry His leisure. I feel about the call to become, a sister or a religious, that it is a call of God to two parties; the parents to give up and offer their child in sacrifice, and so doing they will be blest beyond what they look for if they do it in that Holy Spirit, and the call to the person to come to the Altar. The sacrifice is to fall on father and son and to be shared in alike, and both to be blest.
If you see Morgan Dix, have a talk with him. I know he is cautious, but not more so rationally than Benson or Mr. Carter, etc. My plans are merely daily ones, and so I live on; if God blesses me here and uses me, His sweet will be done. We have but one life here to live, and I pray him to take mine and do with it what He will.
With much love,
Yours in Deo,
C. C. GRAFTON.
You know we have the daily sacrifice. I have been without it but few days since being here. When I get a good opportunity, I will lay your question of conscience before Father Benson and Dr. Pusey.
NEW COWLEY, OXFORD, April 2, 1866. Easter Monday
MY DEAR OLIVER:
I received your comforting folio of journalizings Easter Even, and it could not but add something to the great joy of the great feast. I shall be so busy to-day and to-morrow that my reply may not extend to your own gracious length and must be magnified in your sight by your good love. The letters have all your own true ring and fire about them. Let us go, dear Oliver, together if the Lord will. He may place us apart in our outward work, but we must run both of us together to find the Body of Our Lord. One cannot find out any new spiritual blessing or receive any new light or power from God, but one desires to share and impart it. To bid others taste and see how good the Lord is. If we commit our way unto the Lord, He will bring it to pass. I want more faith. I hardly realize how utterly wanting in that spirit that leads one to venture on the tossing water, to make ventures involving perils, I am. Father Benson has tried to make me see that one is not to do the Lord's work so much as to utterly give oneself up in a crucified, crushed spirit and complete self-abasement to let the Lord do with one as He will. If we are absolutely surrendered to Him, He will accomplish His will by us and through us and in us to the sanctification of our own and the wills of others. But I must stay my pen and not preach as is so apt to be my wont.
I think I may have told you my decision about Baltimore. When Mr. Norris was here with Mr. Wilmer of Philadelphia, I was asked if I would have St. Mark's if called, but all that kind of work can be done by others and does not fall in with my present line of duty.
About your certificate. I consulted last summer Dr. Neale, who as I wrote said it was not binding because contrary to the faith. No one should promise that he would not teach and inculcate that a Priest has authority to pronounce absolution except in two cases. All resolutions contrary to good morals, etc., all promises against the Church's faith and practise, are void. It is a sin to make them. There may be extenuating circumstances in any individual case. But when one has found out he has done wrong, the only way for dutiful children of the church is to put them aside. It is the reparation for the wrong done.
I do not remember Dr. Neale's words, but he said the resolution was not binding and one ought to break it. He seemed to have no question about it, nor had Liddon. I saw him on the subject the other day. He thought one ought to repudiate and no longer allow one's self to be bound by it. My question to them was, What should one do who had signed such a certificate and desired to be relieved from it? He said: "One should inform his own Bishop that he no longer intended to be bound by it. A person so doing did all he could. The certificate was wrong and illegal in itself and he should violate it and free himself from it." These are not the exact words, but this the meaning. If one has made a promise he no longer can in conscience keep, the course for such a person to pursue is to notify his own present Bishop of that fact and to say he can no longer keep it. He thus submits himself to authority.
Tuesday, May 8th, '66.
MY DEAR OLIVER:
Last week I was very busy with the Retreat which I gave to the All Saints Sisters. I feel that I am learning a good deal myself by thus being brought into actual connection with the work. It is one thing to look at it from without, and to go through a house, and to read their rules, etc., and to come personally into connection with the system as I have been permitted to do. Father Benson would train me for a Mission priest. It has its own dangers and temptations and its own hard work. I did once fear continually lest I should break down in my meditations, which shows how little faith one has in the sustaining power of God and how utterly forgetful of self one should be. I have been in the practise of confession myself every week since August (before that not so often), but I come out from such a Retreat as that I have just gone through feeling that if by God's goodness He has used me in any way as an instrument through which to speak to others, He has also made them to whom I have ministered, lessons to myself. I saw privately a large number of the sisters, and as is customary most took the opportunity of not making the mere ordinary confession, but wanted aid in their spiritual course based upon a somewhat fuller knowledge of themselves than such a manifestation would enable a priest to give. Mr. Carter gives a Retreat this summer, and I pray God to give me grace to humble myself before him.
The All Saints Sisterhood has quite a strict rule, yet the Bishop of London is visitor. It is a stricter rule than that of Clewer in some respects. Each of the leading sisterhoods has its own characteristics. There were several of the Clewer sisters present. If the sisters of one home cannot make their own retreat with their own house, etc., they go to some other; there is a kind feeling between them. You, I suppose, have little idea how careful one of these persons gets about little things, and how recollected and devout many of them are. I have reason to believe the Retreat was a help to them, and hope I may go away the better also. I am now quite at home at All Saints by going and coming so often. I am to be up here on the first Sunday in Trinity and preach the yearly sermon in behalf of the Sisterhood. God seems to have opened a work for me here, and I am busy all the time.
Dr. Neale is not expected to recover—but may last a year or two possibly. The Bishop of Brechin has a mortal disease and can do little comparatively. It has been going on for some years. Liddon is a delicate man, and his health is not very good. Pray for them. Dr. Pusey is well, but felt the loss of Keble very much. The letter to him informing him of Keble's state was four days on its way, and he did not know of the event till it was over, I believe. How beautiful was the statement of Keble's, during the time his mind was wandering. He seemed to be dwelling on the Church and Her future. "Whatever prayer book the whole church puts out, I shall gladly use if I be thought worthy." Why don't you preach a sermon on Keble? Please send me a copy or two of your Benedicite sermons.
I am going down to East Grinstead to the funeral of Dr. Neale. I will try to send you any papers containing an account of him, that you may prepare a sermon. He died on the morning of the Feast of the Transfiguration and is to be buried on St. Lawrence day.
May God keep and guide you and bless you and lead you to the doing of His will at once. With much love,
C. C. G.
P.S. It is no matter about "openings" in the United States. You wrote about some church up the Hudson. I think when I return (D.V.) I shall begin in New York, or God will then show me where. If I only had a room, I should commence in that way and not in any at present organized parish, and I have no fear about the future, if we had the men. If you are called to this life, then you must leave your parish, and all plans, and come out here and do what you are told. What is more easy?
Yours with much love,
C. C. G.
Act on this as a call from God and in obedience to His commands. Let me see you in September if possible.
NEW YORK, Oct. 1st, '67.
MY DEAR OLIVER:
I have just received yours of the 26th, and write lest you should come to town this week. I think it best for me to run down to Long Island to-morrow and see my brother.
My visit to Baltimore resulted in two applications to join the Clewer Sisterhood. One I think will go out next May. The other may possibly go out this trip. One I never knew before, and the other I had not thought of.
I found no one to join the brotherhood. A Mr. T., a student of Theology who was mentioned to me, was away and also Mr. Ward, the assistant of St. Paul's. Ferryman called to see me, but I think he has no wish for the Life. When I think of the state of the clergy, it is very deplorable. Johnston, Styer, Gilson, are married. I had two long conversations with the Bishop. He is much opposed to the present ritualistic movement. The state of things in Maryland I think dreadful. It is a state of spiritual coma. The opinion of all the clergy I talked with was that the church was retrograding. During my visit I went out to Cretonsville, and saw the O. B. U., and to Reisterstown, and saw Dr. Rich. He will, I think, get some of the clergy together next year for a Retreat. I went to the East Shore on Friday night and remained there till Monday evening, when I came on here. Mr. Levin was glad to see me, and I preached all day for him. He has an altar approached by three steps, two lights and a cross on it, and celebrates in an alb and linen chasuble. The Bishop has stopped the lights at St. Luke's, and the colored stoles. I tried to tell him something of the result of the present course of Episcopal action in the Anglican Communion, but could say very little indeed to what I wished to do. My visit to Maryland resulted in this: that while there were not a few who would enter a Sisterhood, there were none who would go along with me. The Bishop's opposition makes me decide to leave Baltimore out of the question for the present.
Do not be troubled about yourself. I hear the confessions of Father Benson and O'Niel, but I think it would be much better for you to go to Father Benson, as I do myself.
If you came back here, you would have enough of me; his direction is too valuable to lose.
As you are already under a vow of celibacy, you have only to live up to it. You cannot go back from that, and entering an order will aid you to keep it. As to your returning; I feel that it will be absolutely useless for me to attempt anything in this country without four persons to begin with. It will be only to begin with a certainty of failure to do anything else. Even then I feel I shall take my life in my hand, and five or six years will finish me, or I shall give up, or succeed. We want strong men and men of prayer and holiness of life. I feel how utterly inefficient I am every way. It is only because the work is impossible that one has any hope about it. It is madness and folly, or it is of God.
I am going to give a Retreat next week to the sisters here. It will commence on Tuesday evening. I hope to get back here Saturday evening, and will preach on Sunday.
I really think it would be better for you to go out to England, and to leave the question as to your return to be settled out there.
Yours very faithfully in our Lord,
C. C. G.
Have you any intelligence from parties connected with the Baptist church? I think it would be admirable.
Dix said that persons must not suppose us poor if we started, etc. That is dependent on them.
Please give me Dr. Forbes' address. I must go to him before the Retreat next week.
To DR. OLIVER (a parishioner)
I happen to have a few moments to write, and so send you these thoughts.
I. As to those who have left our Communion for Rome.
You ask whether the argument we used does not prove too much, and de-christianize that great branch of Christendom?
I think not.
The point we were considering was the validity of Anglican Orders and Her Sacraments. Romans deny we have them. My experience shows me that they who come to the Church from other bodies where according to our belief they do not have (save Baptism) Sacramental Grace, manifestly grow in holiness. They show the same kind of marks which betoken holiness, as those stated by Roman Catholic writers to be the true ones.
Next, I have learnt from the acknowledgments of those who have gone to Rome, by the witness of a large number of persons who have known the lives of such before and after their secession, and by the obvious fact of the falling away on the part of some, that, taken as a whole, those who have left our Communion do not exhibit that great and striking change in sanctity which they ought to do if they had no Sacraments before going to Rome, and have them after. On the contrary, although it is not material to the argument, the mark on the body of the converts seems to be that of a declension.
On our theory that we have Sacraments, all this is easy of explanation.
We do not de-christianize the Roman Church. Those who are born and brought up in her, have the Sacraments and profit by them. Those who have joined Rome from other bodies than our own, come for the first time under the influence of Sacramental Grace, and improve if they use it rightly. Those who come from us had the Sacraments before, and we do not see the great change in holiness in them which we ought to do and which it is incumbent on the Romanist to prove exists, on their theory that they have Sacraments and we have not.
My belief is that having left the place where God's providence put them and where they had the Sacraments which they disowned and denied in leaving, they have sinned against Grace and laid themselves open to temptations, and so, as a body of men, have on the whole declined in Grace. But all that is necessary for our point is this: If the Romanists have the Sacraments and we have not, then those who go over from our Church ought, as a body, to show unmistakably that they have gone into quite another sphere of Christian life, and there ought to be a marked and unmistakable increase in sanctity. And that they do not even claim to be the case.
II. Certainly your reference to Exodus is suggestive. But there is a distinction between the Jewish people while in the wilderness, and the establishment of the Kingdom in Canaan.
The first is like the time when Our Lord was teaching the Jewish people, leading them out and forming the Church; and of Him Moses, Aaron, and Joshua are the types; and the second like the time of the establishment of the Kingdom on the Day of Pentecost.
Moses, Aaron, and Joshua are types of our Blessed Lord as the Head of the Church, respectively—as our Prophet, Priest, and King. When the Kingdom was established, then there was to be no visible head—the Lord was to be their King; and the very sin of Israel was that of desiring to have a visible head. Instead of keeping the Jewish Nation together and being a source of strength and unity, it turned out to be the cause of division. It was an earthly, carnal, worldly principle and power. Such was its result, and Christendom has fallen into the same sin, I believe. It desired a visible head, and the result has been the division of Christendom. Dr. Foulkes, who was a Romanist many years, a very learned historian, has brought out this view in his Divisions of Christendom. He returned some years ago to the Anglican Church.
HI. We will leave the other matter till we meet. But consider this—Is the Pope a "visible" head any more than Christ is? We have never seen him, that is clear. And it is physically impossible that he should be seen by all Christians on earth. And again, if I say to myself—but he teaches—there is this difficulty. How are we to know when he teaches ex cathedra, and when he does not? The Roman Theologians have no common criteria to settle this. There are a dozen views—Newman taking one, Ward and Manning taking another.
C. C. G.
DEAR MR. OLIVER:
I am glad you came just as you did, and asked for what you wanted. It is a mark of courtesy that assumes another would do as you would yourself.
Come at seven on Tuesday. I am nothing of a "controversialist," and I don't want to "proselytize." If I can help any soul to know Our Lord better and be better united to Him, I am willing to do so. My own experience sometimes enables me to do so. But I don't wish to force my own views on others.
What I would advise any one to do is, not to let the mind get worried or over anxious about the matter, and never to act on any impulse or in time of depression.
Your motive is right. God will show you His Truth. In order to recognize it, the important thing is to purify our wills and have humble hearts. We shall then not be led into any mere system or organization, but the apprehension of truth will be one with our union with Christ who is the Truth itself.
I don't think Dollinger would say what you quote—now. Does it not sound like an attempt at explanation which the exigency of his old Roman position demanded?
Yours very sincerely in Christ,
C. C. GRAFTON.
LETTERS RELATING TO THE WITHDRAWAL FROM THE ORDER, 1882
MY DEAR FATHER PRESCOTT:
I have ordered the Living Church to send copies to all the clergy in Philadelphia and New York cities.
Will also send to Mr. D. Will you please give me his full address?
Bishop McLaren writes me to-day a friendly letter. He feels strongly the necessity of Autonomy, etc. I think he may have something to say in print by and by.
Have to-day written clearly to him, stating the principle, how it has practically come up in our society. Father Benson bidding a Rector to resign in order that he may put in an Englishman who would be practically a curate of his, and believe he is able to do this; because if you don't obey, you will be crushed, and no harm can come to him, for Western Bishops will receive the English Clergy who leave, etc. I put it better more terse.
I also wrote Bishop Seymour. Gardner is full of courage. He says as soon as the matter is seen, you will have sympathy.
When you get to New Haven, don't read. Take a good deal of quiet. Take a good deal of quiet outdoor exercise. Get a walk and go to bed very early, and get some fresh air just before going to bed at 8:30. At first you won't sleep, but I think you will by and by. Get to bed early and lie in bed. When you begin to worry, whistle a little. It makes one laugh, and laughing is a Divine Institution, sadly neglected in Religion.
C. C. G.
November 5th, '84.
MY DEAR FATHER PRESCOTT:
I was sorry to hear what I did from Father Gardner. Why cannot you leave Ripon the first of January for six months, and come here and let us start together?
Father Gardner's objection makes me fear that he has rather lost heart in the Life, that strikes me as forcible.
I am willing to trust Bishop P. with the visitorial power he asks for. He ought to have the right to enter any institution in his diocese claiming to be a church institution. If he is to give his official sanction to the society, he ought to approve of the public office books of the society. To say the enforced prayer of the society are private prayers; or this saying of office, by a church society, is like the prayer of a family which has no official character, is a subterfuge. I think the Bishop is right in this respect, and practically it will not alter anything. He is willing to sanction the Day Hours. Go about the House Rule even if we had the S.S.J.E. rule, no Bishop who was not crazy would object to it. All that Bishop Paddock's amendment on this point touches, is the Bishop's power in his own diocese, and the society might have its own Uses in other dioceses.
Father Gardner seems to think we should have to change when any new Bishop came. This is shying at an imaginary shadow. No Bishop would ever demand more than Bishop Paddock, and once started, if one Bishop wanted to withdraw from the council, it would not hurt us, but rather damage him.
The real change proposed by Bishop Paddock's amendments, as I altered them, is to give the society a National character, and put it on a far higher plane than we dared to hope for. We could select our own council of Bishops and have an indorsement such as no other society can have. If we miss this opportunity, it will be a sad loss. It is the grandest opening presented since the Reformation and worth all we have been through to establish it. But we must act at once to secure it. Father Hall is not coming back till the Spring. If we start now and at once, we can do something.
If you could come here for six months, I think we could begin. If God prospers us and means come in, we may see the way in a few years to give up the parishes and find some house in the country, or to our having one house in the East and West. This God will provide for and direct us in, if we follow Him. I am bound to the Life, and in some way mean to have it. We came out from the S. S. J. E. not because we meant to give up our Religious life, but because F. B. would not carry out his agreement. If we fail to come together, the world will have a right to say the accusations against us were true.
I am sorry your letter has gone astray. Perhaps God does not intend you to stay this winter at Ripon, but come here.
I am working very hard. Next week have an address to give the Evangelical ministers of Boston, and the next day go by the Bishop's invitation to Pittsfield for an address. I leave Sunday the i6th for Baltimore for a Mission there with Sword.
On returning shall begin a series of meditations and Bible classes. A little book I have written on Plain Suggestions for a Reverent celebration of the Holy Communion, is in press and will be out next week Wednesday. I have promised a mission at Newport in Epiphany or the Gessimas. Before the year '85 is out, I mean, please God, to place the sisterhood of the Holy Nativity in various cities, and want you to work for it.
With love and prayers (hoping you will put aside all technical objections and come here and practically work out the problem).
Yours ever faithfully,
C. C. G.
I think Benedict wants Gardner to go to Briar Cliff.