Project Canterbury

Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.

London: Longmans, 1894
volume one

Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
AD 2002










THE great movement of religious thought and life named after the Tracts, which were its earliest product and very largely its directing influence, first began in Oxford during the summer of 1833. It may be a material help to trace here some of its many antecedents. To no small degree it was a result of the reaction from the encyclopaedist or negative temper which had preceded and created the great French Revolution, and had been felt in every country in Europe. When the floodgates of human passion had been opened on a gigantic scale in the horrors of war and anarchy, men felt that religion and a clear, strong, positive religious creed was necessary, if civilization was to be saved from ruin. This conviction inspired writers like Chateaubriand and Frayssinous in France; and it was the soul of the struggle against the older Rationalism in Protestant Germany. It acquired a new intensity in the eventful months which followed on the death of George IV. The three days of July 1830 in Paris, and the wide popular agitations in this country, culminating in the Bristol riots, which preceded the passing of the first Reform Bill, appeared to contemporaries to threaten a renewal, perhaps on another scene, of the Days of the Terror, and revived and deepened the convictions with which religious Englishmen like Burke or Bishop Home had regarded the work of Marat and Robespierre.

Of this reaction one element was a new interest in the middle ages, which the literary men of the eighteenth century had agreed to denounce with a violence which was only greater than their ignorance. The middle ages were not perfect: they had evils all their own; but they were very unlike what they appeared to the gloomy imagination of a French theophilanthropist Of the new interest in the middle ages, the pioneer in this century was Sir Walter Scott; his indirect relation to the Oxford movement was often dwelt upon by Pusey in private conversation. That relation consisted not only in the high moral tone which characterized Scott's writings and which marked them off so sharply from the contemporary popular writers of fiction, but also and especially in the interest which he aroused on behalf of ages and persons who had been buried out of sight to an extent that to our generation would appear incredible.

Another influence, very unlike Scott's, yet distinctly contributory to the Tractarian movement, was that of S. T. Coleridge, the philosopher of Highgate. Coleridge was the author less of a philosophy than of a method: bet spent his life in asking questions which were not answered and in projecting schemes which were never carried out. But he was a great force in making men dissatisfied with the superficiality so common a hundred years ago in religion as in other matters; and in this, if in no other way, he prepared the English mind to listen to the Oxford teachers.

Viewed on another side, however, the Oxford move–ment was a completion of the earlier revival of religion known as Evangelical. That revival was provoked by the prevalence of a latitudinarian theology in the last century, and by a dry and cold preaching of morality, often only of natural morality, which left out of view, or, at least, failed to assign its rightful place to the Person and Work of our Divine Redeemer. This failure led to the movement which outside the Church became Wesley–anism, and within it Evangelicalism. In its earlier days the Evangelical movement was mainly if not exclusively interested in maintaining a certain body of positive truth. The great doctrines which alone make 'repentance towards God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ' seriously possible were its constant theme. The world to come, with its boundless issues of life and death, the infinite value of the one Atonement, the regenerating, purifying, guiding action of God the Holy Spirit in respect of the Christian soul, were preached to our grandfathers with a force and earnestness which are beyond controversy. The deepest and most fervid religion in England during the first three decades of this century was that of the Evangelicals; and, to the last day of his life, Pusey re–tained that 'love of the Evangelicals' to which he often adverted, and which was roused by their efforts to make religion a living power in a cold and gloomy age.

But the Evangelical movement, partly in virtue of its very intensity, was, in respect of its advocacy of religious truth, an imperfect and one-sided movement. It laid stress only on such doctrines of Divine Revelation as appeared to its promoters to be calculated to produce a converting or sanctifying effect upon the souls of men. Its interpretation of the New Testament,--little as its leaders ever suspected this,--was guided by a traditional assumption as arbitrary and as groundless as any tradition which it ever denounced. The real sources of its 'Gospel' were limited to a few chapters in St. Paul's Epistles, perhaps in two of them, understood in a manner which left much else in Holy Scripture out of account; and thus the Old Testament history, and even the Life of our Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded by the Evangelists, were thrown, comparatively, into the background. The needs and salvation of the believer, rather than the whole revealed Will of Him in Whom we believe, was the governing consideration. As a consequence, those entire departments of the Christian revelation which deal with the corporate union of Christians with Christ in His Church and with the Sacraments, which by His appointment are the channels of His grace. to the end of time, were not so much forgotten as unrecognized. The days had not yet come when Evangelicals would think it possible to promote their Redeemer's honour by depre–ciating His own Church and Sacraments; but the omission to teach the whole body of revealed truth exposed the Evangelical revival to obvious dangers. Truths which they neglected rested on authority just as cogent as that which warranted the truths which they taught; and when, in an age of critical inquiry, this was once perceived, the Evan–gelical position became untenable. If men combined to reject, with open eyes, the truths which the Evangelicals omitted to teach, they would go on to reject the truths on which the Evangelicals insisted. If, on the other hand, they made the most of the truths insisted on by the Evangelical teachers, they would learn to accept, as resting on the same authority, connected truths beyond. The perception of this necessity, at once intellectual and spiritual, was one great contributory influence which--as especially in the case of Newman and the Wilberforces--produced the Oxford movement.

Side by side with Evangelicalism there were also con–victions which had been handed down across the dreary in–terval of the eighteenth century, and which here and there found expression in the lives of holy men, who taught a generation of Latitudinarians and Methodists how the great men of the Caroline age in the Church of England had believed and lived and died. Such men as Jones of Nayland, and Dr. Sikes of Guilsborough, and, at a somewhat later period, Mr. Norris of Hackney, and Mr. Joshua Watson, were of this company. The first two were theologians, inheriting and contemplating truths on which the Non-jurors had laid stress, and living in com–munion of thought and sympathy with the ancient Church. The 'Society for the Reformation of Principles' and the 'Scholar Armed,' which marked the last decade of the. eighteenth century, bore ~witness to the traditional belief in the revealed doctrine of the Church and the Sacraments which had never died out in the Church of England.

Dr. T. Sikes was especially regarded by Pusey as a precursor of the Oxford movement. He had graduated at Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1788; but his earlier University life had been passed at St. Edmund Hall, which was already at that date a home of Evangelicalism. Its earnest but defective teaching made a deep though not a wholly satisfying impression on the thoughtful undergraduate; and when he turned from the lectures which he heard in the Hall to the weight and learn–ing of a really great divine like Thorndike, his religious future was determined. He lived a life of retirement in his little country parish in Northamptonshire; but men, young and old, came to him for the sake of his thoughtful and stimulating conversation, to which vigour of intellect, extensive reading, a disciplined sense of humour, and a piety of an ancient rather than a modern type, contributed the chief features. One of his conversations, which took place so late as in 1833, and was at the time reported to Pusey, was often referred to by him as having a sort of prophetical value. Dr. Sikes died in December, 1834; and the conversation in question was quoted eight years afterwards by Pusey, in his letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, deprecating the inequitable estimate of the Oxford Movement which was then already prevalent. Pusey's informant told him:--

'I well remember the very countenance, gesture, attitude, and tone of good Mr. Sikes, and give you, as near as may be, what he said.

" 'I seem to think I can tell you something which you who are young may probably live to see, but which I, who shall soon be called away off the stage, shall not. Wherever I go all about the country I see amongst the clergy a number of very amiable and estimable men, many of them much in earnest, and wishing to do good. But I have observed one universal want in their teaching: the uniform suppression of one great truth. There is no account given anywhere, so far as I see, of the one Holy Catholic Church. I think that the causes of this suppression have been mainly two. The Church has been kept out of sight, partly in consequence of the civil establishment of the branch of it which is in this country, and partly out of false charity to Dissent. Now this great truth is an article of the Creed; and if so, to teach the rest of the Creed to its exclusion must be to destroy 'the analogy or proportion of the faith,' thn analogian thv pistewv. This cannot be done without the most serious consequences. The doctrine is of the last importance, and the principles it involves of immense power; and some day, not far distant, it will judicially have its reprisals. And whereas the other articles of the Creed seem now to have thrown it into the shade, it will seem, when it is brought forward, to swallow up the rest. We now hear not a breath about the Church; by and bye those who live to see it will hear of nothing else; and, just in proportion perhaps to its present suppression, will be its future de–velopment. Our confusion nowadays is chiefly owing to the want of it; and there will be yet more confusion attending its revival. The effects of it I even dread to contemplate, especially if it come suddenly. And woe betide those, whoever they are, who shall, in the course of Providence, have to bring it forward. It ought especially of all others to be matter of catechetical teaching and training. The doctrine of the Church Catholic and the privileges of Church mem–bership cannot be explained from pulpits; and those who will have to explain it will hardly know where they are, or which way they are to turn themselves. They will be endlessly misunderstood and misin–terpreted. There will be one great outcry of Popery from one end of the country to the other. It will be thrust upon minds unprepared, and on an uncatechized Church. Some will take it up and admire it as a beautiful picture, others will be frightened and run away and reject it; and all will want a guidance which one hardly knows where they shall find. How the doctrine may be first thrown forward we know not; but the powers of the world may any day turn their backs upon us, and this will probably lead to those effects I have describedä'.

Of the Hackney School, to which Pusey used often to refer, the chief figure was the Rev. H. H. Norris, Rector of Hackney. Norris was a younger friend of Dr. Sikes of Guilsborough. He took holy orders against his father's wishes, but in a spirit of resolute devotion to the Christian cause, imperilled, as it seemed, by the triumphs of revolution and unbelief at the close of the last century. With him was associated his life-long friend Mr. Joshua Watson, born, like himself, in 1771. Mr. Watson belonged to that type of layman, pious, prac–tical, energetic, resolutely loyal to the great truths of religion, of which Robert Nelson, Thomas Stevens, John Bowdler were examples, and which the Church of England, perhaps more than any other portion of the Church of Christ, has constantly produced. Mr. Norris and Mr. Watson were deeply impressed with the necessity for making unusual efforts to maintain and propagate Christian faith and life in their day and generation. They were neither of them deficient in theological interests or accomplishments; but it may perhaps be thought that, in conse–quence of his intimacy with men like Bishop Lloyd and Van Mildert, Mr. Watson was at times credited by others with a ripe theological judgment which he did not in fact possess, and which he would have disclaimed for himself. The real and lasting title of Mr. Norris and Mr. Joshua Watson to our respect lies in their eager advocacy of all efforts for the promotion of Christianity. With Mr. Bowles, they were joint founders of the National Society for the Edu–cation of the Poor. For many years they were intimately associated in raising the tone and widening the usefulness of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. They gave a new impulse to the work of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel; and indeed it would be difficult to name any good work of a public character in connexion with the Church of England in which Mr. Joshua Watson had no share. They both spent their lives in recognition of the truth that the Church of Christ is worth the best thought and toil that a Christian, be he layman or priest, can give it; and this conviction, implanted in many minds by their words and their example, made ready the way for the labours of the Tractarians. As Pusey said shortly before his own death, these men 'must have prepared the ground for the Tracts.. .The Tracts found an echo everywhere. Friends started up like armed men from the ground. I only dreaded our being too popular. It was like the men from the heath in " The Lady of the Lake.ä'

But Pusey was accustomed to speak of Mr. Joshua Watson as a witness to the sounder faith of an earlier generation. Writing to Newman from Brighton, on Sept. 11, 1839, he says:--

'I had a very pleasant interview with J. Watson on Saturday; he is staying here: I introduced the subject of Mr. Benson's discourses as a feeler; and I was delighted to find him taking altogether the same views as ourselves, so far. It was quite refreshing to hear an old man speaking the same things, clearly and calmly; it seemed to link us on so visibly with past generations, and that we were teaching no other than had been delivered to us. He asked after you; and naming " Keble," said, " I do not like prefixing the title 'Mr.' to his or New–man's or your nameä'.

Mr. Watson's position was acknowledged by the unsanc–tioned dedication in 1840 of the fifth volume of Newman's Parochial Sermons to him, as 'the benefactor of all his brethren, by his long and dutiful ministry, and patient service, to his and their common Mother.' But he did not continue to sympathize with the Movement in the troubled times that followed.

Another layman of that generation has been referred to as a precursor of the Oxford movement, although in a different sense from that of Mr. Joshua Watson. Mr. Alexander Knox was a man of great ability whose earlier interest in politics had been overpowered by a stronger interest in religion. As a boy he was intimate with and admired by Wesley. As a man, he was a great reader, a great talker, and a great letter-writer. In his earlier life, schemes for reforming the Prayer-book in the interests of comprehension were rife, and were even sanctioned by men who rose to be Bishops: Percy of Dromore, Yorke of Ely, Porteus of London. Mr. Knox's governing enthusiasm,-- and it was a very reasoned enthusiasm,.--was for the Prayer-book as it is. To him the Prayer-book was virtually the transcript of what the Church has said in its converse with God from the earliest period: it was verbatim what she has been repeating without alteration from the sixth century; it was a standard of doctrine as well as of devotion; it con–tained everything essential to Catholic theology; it was the golden chain which binds us to the great mystical Body of Christ; the pledge of our continuity as a Church; the stimulus and nursery of missionary enterprise; the one safeguard against the vacillations of sectarianism. Recog–nizing as he did the services of the Evangelicals in the field of experimental religion, he held that they taught a type of piety which, without their intending it, promoted Dissent; they 'diffused doctrines which cannot cordially coalesce with our different services'; they had, in the language of the Epistle to the Hebrews, fed on milk only, and systematically rejected strong meats. A point of great value, on which he constantly insists in his correspondence, is the moral character of justifying faith: the notion of a purely forensic justification had not been taught by any writer previous to the Reformation. His language about the Eucharist, if here and there slightly inaccurate, is as a whole very remarkable, considering the age in which he lived. The Eucharist, he says, 'is the connecting link between earth and heaven: the point where our Redeemer is vitally accessible, " the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.ä' The Greek Church of the early ages commanded his warmest sympathies: it was 'the noblest portion of ancient Christianity': it was from the earliest times the trustee of the doctrine of holiness: its work was nearly done when it had produced St. Chrysostom. Not that his estimates of the Fathers were always accurate, or, indeed, deferential and modest. He did not look upon antiquity as having an authority distinct in kind from that of any section of modern and divided Christendom; he criticizes St. Au–gustine as though he were equally in error with Calvin.

'Surely,' wrote Mr. Keble, 'it is rather an arrogant position in which Mr. Knox delighted to imagine himself, as one on the top of a high hill, seeing which way different schools tend (the school of Primitive Antiquity being but one among many) and passing judgement upon each, how far it is right, and how well it suited its time--himself superior to all, exercising a royal right of eclecticism over all .'

This estimate of Mr. Knox's writings will partly explain the slight use which was made of them by the Oxford School. The Tractarians felt that they could not claim him as a whole; and they certainly were not indebted to him for anything that they knew of Catholic antiquity or Catholic truth . But they did occasionally use him as being a witness, in dark times, to portions of the truth which they were reasserting; and in this sense he may be described as a precursor of the Oxford revival. He died, two years before its birth, on Jan. 17, 1831.

Another pioneer of the Movement, of a different kind, was the Rev. John Miller: his relation to it is chiefly observable in the influence which he exerted over Mr. Keble. They were nearly contemporaries, and in point of habit and character had much in common with each other. Miller was a divine of the school of Bishop Butler, and to the end of his life Mr. Keble constantly recommended his Bampton Lectures to younger friends.

'What a book his is!' he writes: 'the more I go on pondering it, the more light it seems to throw on every subject; and hardly anything else that I take up does not put me in mind of it .'

One of Miller's contributions to Tractarianism was that high estimate of the value of moral arguments which was one of its leading characteristics. Mr. Keble was fond of quoting a saying of Miller's to the effect that the time had now come in which 'scoundrels must be called scoundrels'. But, intimate as he was with Keble, he stood somewhat aloof from the Movement in his later years, if indeed he ever threw himself heartily into it. He died, after a short illness, in 1858.

The more immediate preparation, however, was the work of four men, differing widely in character and capacity, but united by a strong desire to do what they might in perilous times for the cause of the Church and Religion.

Of these the best known was Hugh James Rose, Pusey's old antagonist: his wide reading, great practical ability, entire disinterestedness, and fervent zeal have already been mentioned. Rose was indefatigable in insisting, both through the press and in conversation, on the necessity of combined action of some kind to resist the dangers which threatened the Church. In 1832 he undertook, from a sheer sense of duty, the editorship of the British Magazine.

'A few months ago only,' he wrote to Perceval, 'I could not have believed that I should ever have anything to do with what I hate so cordially as I do periodical literature. . . . But still ours are no common circumstances; and whatever can be done without sacrifice of principles must be done, if it promises to be of service. A journal where men who do not agree in minor points, but do agree in love for the Church, in thinking that an Establishment, a Ritual, a Confes–sion of Faith, Episcopacy, and so on, are precious things to us and those who will come after us, seemed to me likely to be of such service. It would excite what is wanting, namely, a spirit of resistance to wrong; it would give what is wanting, namely, information; and it would supply a point of union.'

The British Magazine, besides discharging the duties incident to a magazine, anticipated in not a few respects the 'Tracts for the Times.' Besides articles and reviews of books, it contained tracts on particular subjects of theo–logical interest, translations from the Fathers, and even from the Breviary, and poems which were the first expres–sion of the earnest faith and keen feelings of the Oxford party, and which were afterwards collected in the volume known as the 'Lyra Apostolica.' Nowhere else may the state of mind which preceded and fostered the revival be studied more accurately than in the British Magazine: indeed, much in it was at first written by more than one of the authors of the 'Tracts for the Times,' although, as a Cambridge man, its editor could not in turn contribute to a publication which, like the Tracts, professed to be written 'by members of the University of Oxford.'

With Mr. Rose was associated the Rev. William (afterwards Sir William) Palmer, of Worcester College, Oxford. He had been educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and had come to Oxford in 1828 in order to read in the libraries, with a view to completing his work on the Antiquities of the English Ritual. This work, enriched by notes of Bishop Lloyd, was published at the Oxford University Press in 1832, under the title of 'Origines Liturgicae'. Insisting as it did upon the almost forgotten fact that the Prayer-book is mainly a translation from earlier office-books, and so represents the descent of the Reformed Church of England from the Church of earlier days, this book powerfully contributed to increase that devotion to the traditions of the Church which characterized the Tracts. Moreover, the author was a man of marked ability, with the intellectual habits of a theologian, and at the same time a man of practical interests and warm religious feeling. Mr. Palmer's book, wrote Keble to Perceval, 'is first-rate. And when you meet him he is the mildest and most un–pretending of men; just the man to write on the Prayer-book.'

Another whose practical experience led him to welcome the Oxford Tracts was Walter Farquhar Hook, who had now been for ten years engaged in parochial work with an energy and success which has left its mark on the Church of England. And the social centre of the group was the Hon. and Rev. A. P. Perceval, Vicar of East Horsley, Surrey. His character was such as to inspire warm affec–tion; and ever since 1821 he had corresponded intimately with Keble on all kinds of religious and political subjects. He was now engaged on a Catechism on Church Doctrine, which commanded general approval among his Church friends. Palmer could find nothing in it that needed altera–tion. Hook was delighted, but suggested at least one substantial improvement. Newman, writing on behalf of the Association of Friends of the Church, asked for two hundred copies of it, with a view to general circulation 'as a specimen of what we mean to do.'

It was indeed high time that the friends of the Church should be taking some vigorous defensive action; there were abundant reasons for the very gravest anxiety. Lord Henley's crude proposals for dealing with the cathedrals were the language of wisdom and friendship when com–pared with other projects that were in the air. Outside the Church of England there were, first, the unbelievers of the school of Tom Paine, who were for sweeping away the Christian religion altogether. Next, there were the political Dissenters, whose hostility to the Church of England rendered them practically insensible to all considerations save that of how to do the Church such mischief as they could. But the state of thought within the Church was the cause of even more serious alarm. Not only was it said that some Bishops were favourable to changes in the Prayer-book, but also widely-circulated pamphlets recommended the abolition of the Creeds, at least in public worship; and, of course, they especially attacked the Creed of Athanasius. The doctrines of Baptismal Regeneration and of Absolution, even the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, were vehemently assailed.

And these revolutionary proposals as regards the faith were finding practical support from the followers of Arnold and Maltby, who were anxious to retain the outer shell of the Church as a national establishment, but to destroy its office as a witness for those parts of Divine Revelation which were not accepted by Protestant bodies outside it. In his pamphlet on 'The Principles of Church Reform' Dr. Arnold proposed to identify Church and State by the simple expedient of including all denominations within the lines of the Church.

'Such,' says Sir William Palmer, 'was the disorganization of the public mind, that Dr. Arnold of Rugby ventured to propose that all sects should be united by Act of Parliament with the Church of England, on the principle of retaining all their distinctive errors and absurdities.'

Before the Reform Bill of 1832 became law, the feeling amongst earnest Churchmen was uneasiness; afterwards, it was chronic alarm. With the new Parliament, it seemed, anything was possible. Keble writes in October, 1832:--

'I have been considering as well as I could what line it becomes the clergy to take with a view to the possible proceedings of the first revolutionary Parliament when it assembles, and I have made up my mind that we can hardly be too passive until something really illegal, and contrary to our oaths and engagements, is pressed on us: such as I conceive it would be, were we to admit alterations in the Liturgy, or Articles, on less authority than that by which they were sanctioned; or to be aiding in any compromise which should transfer corporate property to other people, on any pretence of equalization or the like. The only measure of the latter kind which I can think of with any sort of toleration would be the annexation of the great tithes, by the several Chapters and Colleges, to the livings from which they arise, wherever such annexation is desirable: and this I own appears to me not only expedient but a matter of absolute religious duty.... What I say is, let us be attacked from without, if it be God's will, sooner than begin alterations within, with a set of presumptuous workers who cannot agree.... Everything looks like a sweeping storm at hand.'

The cry of the day was for universal reform, but for reform proceeding on no clearly defined principles; any change, in whatever direction, was welcomed as better than leaving things as they were.

'Things go on at such a rate,' Keble writes again, 'that one is quite giddy.... Anything, humanly speaking, will be better than for the Church to go on in union with such a State; and I think, as far as I can judge, that this is becoming, every day, a more general feeling among Churchmen.'

But the more immediate incitement to action was the introduction into Parliament in February, 1833, of Lord Stanley's Irish Church Temporalities Bill, suppressing one-half of the Irish Episcopate. This measure appeared to justify the gloomiest anticipations respecting the conduct of the Reformed Parliament when dealing with the interests of religion. To some minds, indeed, it presented itself as only the natural consequence of the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, in 1828, of the passing of the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829, and of the great Reform Bill of 1831. For others, who recognized in those previous measures a political and social justice which could not be really, hostile to the safety of the Church of Christ, this last proposal of Lord Stanley seemed a new departure in an irreligious direction. All men who had the spiritual interests of the Church primarily at heart were substantially agreed in deploring it; they could not but see in it the presage of worse measures that might follow. To suppress, at a blow, ten Dioceses, which had existed for more than as many centuries, was to exhibit with cynical frankness the estimate in which the modern State held the sanctions as well as the possessions of the Christian Church; and the spectacle roused in her sons a deep feeling into which anger, and grief, and a desire to do something that might vindicate her outraged rights, were combined as important ingredients.

This feeling was expressed when Newman complained to Whately that 'half the candlesticks of the Irish Church were extinguished, without ecclesiastical sanction' and when Keble wrote, that unless Churchmen described the 'profane intrusion' of the State as it deserved, our children's children would say, 'There was once here a glorious Church; but it was betrayed into the hands of libertines, for the real or affected love of a little temporary peace and good order'.

On the 30th of July, 1833, the third reading of the Bill was carried in the House of Lords by a majority of 135 votes to 81.

The first step in the way of associated resistance to the evils dreaded by Churchmen was taken by Mr. Rose. He invited a party of friends, more or less like-minded, to spend some days with him at Hadleigh, just after Mid–summer, 1833. Palmer, Perceval, Copeland, Lebas, Hurrell Froude, Keble, and Newman were invited. Of these Keble and Newman were not present: it afterwards appeared, said Palmer, that they 'had no confidence in meetings or committees.' The conference continued for nearly a week. It was concluded 'without arriving at any definite resolutions. But it had the effect of deepening a sense of the necessity of combined action, and especially of issuing publications which might deepen attachment to the Church.

Closely following upon the Hadleigh Conference, but distinct from it, were the meetings at Oriel College, Oxford, which led to the formation of 'The Association of Friends of the Church'. At Oriel, Newman and Keble came upon the scene: Hurrell Froude, as well as Palmer, was a connecting link between Hadleigh and Oriel. At Oriel a distinct effort was made to agree upon a basis of co–operation and resistance; and with this view two papers were drawn up, chiefly by Keble, which were afterwards superseded by a third, the work of the Rev. W. Palmer. In this last document the objects of the Association were said to be twofold. It was 'to maintain pure and inviolate the doctrines, the services, and the discipline of the' Church,' and thus it was to

'withstand all change involving the denial or suppression of doctrine, a departure from primitive practice in religious offices, or innovation upon the Apostolical prerogatives, order, and commission of bishops, priests, and deacons;'

and it was to afford Churchmen an opportunity of ex–changing sentiments, and of co-operating on a large scale.

Of these meetings in Oxford one result was a series of similar meetings throughout the country. Mr. Palmer went as a 'deputation' to London, Winchester, and Coventry, with a view to rousing clerical feeling; his efforts were attended with considerable success. Another result was an address to the Archbishop of Canterbury, assuring him of the adherence of the signatories to the doctrine, polity, and Prayer-book of the Church. In the event this address was signed by nearly 7,000 clergy, and was presented in February 1834 to the Archbishop by an influential deputation. It was followed by a second address from the laity, which received 230,000 signatures, and which also was presented to the Archbishop in the following May.

In this work of promoting general organization and addresses which might rouse and give force to Church opinion, Mr. Palmer took a leading part. He made it possible to place before the country and the Government so imposing a declaration of adherence to the existing system, teaching, and polity of the Church, as to prevent any seriously revolutionary proposals. This was, in the circumstances, a great gain: it procured a respite during which other and more lasting work might be done. The vivid apprehension and exposition of the only principles by which the Church of Christ is really defensible as an institution among men was the work of other and deeper minds than Palmer's. Keble and Newman were at this time in intimate and hearty cooperation with him. But it lay in the nature of things that his idea of what was required by the emergency could not, in the long run, entirely coincide with theirs. In the earliest days of the Association, before any public action was taken; serious discussion arose as to the means by which 'the friends of the Church' should approach their fellow Churchmen. Palmer, Rose, and others desired calculated and combined action. Newman, on the other hand, with the heartiest support of Keble and Froude, claimed personal liberty. He had little faith in the laboured appeals of Committees out of which all the sting had been extracted. His plan was to arouse by Tracts; short, full of nerve, intentionally alarming in tone, 'as a man might give notice of a fire or inundation,' transparently clear in statement, and setting forth the truths on which the Church rested with uncompromising simplicity. This method was rejected: the Association would not own Newman's earliest tracts, and Newman and his friends would not give them up. Thus the small band of Oxford 'Tractarians' diverged from the main body of those with whom they sympathized, to pursue a path of their own by which, with whatever losses, their common object certainly was attained. 'Naked statements,' as Newman afterwards said of the early tracts, 'which offend the accurate and cautious, are necessary upon occasions to infuse seriousness into the indifferent'.

The real originators of this Oxford movement were undoubtedly Keble and Newman: Pusey was not at present publicly associated with them. It is however difficult to say in what exact sense or proportion the leadership should be assigned to each of these two men. Undoubtedly to the world at large Newman, at any rate at first, was the principal figure in the Revival. But it may be questioned whether he did not himself derive from Keble his first impulse as well as many of his underlying principles. Newman himself speaks of Keble as 'the true and primary author of the movement.' 'I compared myself with Keble,' he says, 'and felt that I was merely developing his, not my, convictions'. Keble was invested from his Oxford days with the prestige of a very distin–guished University career. He was a great scholar in days when scholarship was really appreciated. His age made him the natural guide and adviser of his colleagues. And in him the authority of years was reinforced and illuminated by an intellect, strong, patient, penetrating, equitable, and still more by a character of exquisite delicacy and sensitiveness which exerted an irresistible fascination over all who came near it, and who had any appreciation of moral beauty. Cardinal Newman has expressed himself in the 'Apologia' as follows:--

'As far as I know, he who turned the tide, and brought the talent of the University round to the side of the old theology, and against what was familiarly called " march-of-mind," was Mr. Keble. In and from Keble the mental activity of Oxford took that contrary direction which issued in what was called Tractarianism.'

Pusey also always held that the real source of the Oxford Movement was to be found in 'The Christian Year,' which had been published in 1827. And this was not only Pusey's opinion. When in 1844 Newman was living at Littlemore, an incident occurred to which Pusey often referred in conversation.

'I was in the waiting-room,' said Pusey, 'at Littlemore with Newman, and some one came in and said that a certain book had been burnt, not publicly, but as the " fons et origo mali." What was it? While I was pondering, Newman at once answered, " The Christian Year, I suppose.ä'

The instinct at any rate of the opponents of Tractarianism to distrust the widespread influence of the 'Christian Year' was true; for independently of its spiritual elevation, it prepared the way for the Movement by the emphasis which it laid upon the Sacramental principle, and upon the deeper meaning of Holy Scripture. Still, more than this was needed. It was essential that men's minds should be roused to a sense of the Church's danger and of their own duty, if any effort was to be made serious and systematic enough to influence the convictions of the great mass of Church people, and to modify the course of events. And this too was mainly the work of Mr. Keble, through his memorable sermon on National Apostasy, preached in Oxford on July 14, 1833. 'I have,' says Cardinal Newman, 'ever considered and kept the day as the start of the religious movement of 1833.'

The fact is that Keble, unlike Newman, had been a High Churchman all his life. His powerfully constructive mind grasped from the beginning the strength of the Anglican position as opposed to Protestantism and Rationalism, as well as to the yet unappreciated power of Romanism. He saw, as he stated in one of the earliest tracts, that the Apostolical Succession was the essential bond, recognized by sixteenth and seventeenth century divines, associating the English Church through Reformation and Papal dominion with that Primitive Catholicism in which Anglicans laid their foundations and to which they had always appealed. He was never conscious of being an innovator. And with this firmness of conviction and principle he was able, in spite of his retiring disposition, not only to strike heavy blows in controversy, but on occasion to head protests and even agitations.

In the first moments, however, of the Revival, some gifts differing from these were required to stir the minds of Churchmen in general, and to lift them to a higher plane of thought and action. The needed qualities were contributed by Newman. With an unrivalled command of logic and pathos, he combined a singularly subtle beauty of style; and this combination caused his writings to bring home to his contemporaries the realities of spiritual things never before appreciated. The Parochial Sermons at St. Mary's struck a note which seemed new when it sounded first, and which, even yet, has not ceased to vibrate. And the majority of the Tracts, the earliest, and the most important, were the work of Newman. It was his power of speech and writing, combined with his enthusiasm, practical energy, and at–tractive personality, which could alone supply the necessary impetus at the start.

Pusey, as has been said, came into the Movement, not at the outset, but when it had been already created and shaped by others. He had indeed been dealing with some of the evils which called it into existence, in his own way and according to his opportunities. Even in his book on German Theology he had opposed Mr. Rose, not for his defence of orthodoxy, but as being a champion who might, as he thought, damage their common cause by mistaking at least some friends for foes. In his work on Cathedral Institutions he had endeavoured to arrest the assaults on the outer fabric of the Church by proposing an improved use of an important part of her endowments. In private he had been labouring for the same ends; but when the Tractarian movement began he did not join it. He was not invited to Hadleigh, nor to the meetings at Oriel.

'As yet,' says Palmer, 'we knew nothing of Pusey: he was supposed to be favourable to the Innovating party: did not join the Association; and only became connected with the cause when Newman had taken the place of leader,. and the movement had become Tractarian'

He undoubtedly felt the gravity of the crisis; it was early in 1833 that he wrote to Mr. Gladstone, who had just left Christ Church and entered Parliament, with reference to the debate on the Irish Church Temporalities Bill, 'The appearances of things are very formidable, if a Christian might fear.' It is, however, characteristic of his mind at this moment, that his objection to the manner in which it was proposed to deal with the Church was that 'the Irish sees might at all events render much aid to Episcopal government'. Still, though he had not joined the Movement he very soon began to circulate the Tracts, the first of which was published on September 9th 1833; in November he signed the address to the Archbishop; on December 21st, Tract No. 18 was issued with his initials.

Cardinal Newman thus describes the importance of Pusey's adhesion to the Movement:--

'I had known him well,· and felt for him an enthusiastic admiration. I used to call him " o[  megav.

'His great learning, his immense diligence, his scholarlike mind, his simple devotion to the cause of religion, overcame me; and great of course was my joy, when in the last days of 1833 he showed a disposition to make common cause with us....

'He at once gave to us a position and a name. Without him we should have had little chance, especially at the early date of 1834, of making any serious resistance to the Liberal aggression. But Dr. Pusey was a Professor and Canon of Christ Church; he had a vast influence in consequence of his deep religious seriousness, the munifi–cence of his charities, his Professorship, his family connexions, and his easy relations with University authorities. He was to the move–ment all that Mr. Rose might have been, with that indispensable addition, which was wanting to Mr. Rose, the intimate friendship and the familiar daily society of the persons who had commenced it. And he had that special claim on their attachment which lies in the living presence of a faithful and loyal affectionateness·

'Dr. Pusey was, to use the common expression, a host in himself; he was able to give a name, a form, and a personality, to what was without him a sort of mob; and when various parties had to meet together in order to resist the liberal acts of the Government, we of the movement took our place by right among them....

'He was a man of large designs; he had a hopeful, sanguine mind; he had no fear of others; he was haunted by no intellectual perplexities'.

In the sequel it appeared that Pusey was something more than is conveyed even by these words of his generous and affectionate friend. When that friend was no longer able to retain the great place to which his character and his genius alike pointed, it was the special gifts of Pusey, and his unfaltering confidence in the Divine mission of the English Church, supported of course throughout by the sympathy and strength of Keble, which, at a supremely critical moment, saved their common work from utter dis–solution.


Project Canterbury