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


CHAPTER XII.

 

THE EARLY TRACTS--PUSEY'S FIRST TRACT, ON FASTING-- ARNOLD'S CRITICISMS -- ILLNESS -- CONTROVERSY ABOUT SUBSCRIPTION--THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON CHANCELLOR

--PROPOSED HEBREW NEW TESTAMENT.

 

1833--1834.

 

DURING the early part of the eventful Long Vacation of 1833, Pusey was chiefly at Christ Church, and mainly occupied with the Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts. He spent a great deal of time in selecting and superintending the beautiful specimens of Arabic lithography which form the first nine pages of the great work. The printers at' the Clarendon Press made unusual demands on him when correcting the proofs, and he found the work at times very wearying. 'As week after week disappears,' he wrote, 'the sheets of the Catalogue advance; and so, I suppose, I am nearer the end. Yet I do so little that I marvel how in Term time I do anything.' Twelve days later he hopes that the Catalogue 'will have made good progress before we meet.' 'Would,' he adds, 'I could hope that it will be altogether printed by Christmas; but land seems nearer.'

He spent the latter part of the vacation, from August 3rd to October 16th, at Holton Park, near Wheatley, with his wife and children, on a visit to his mother, Lady Lucy Pusey, who had taken the place on a lease. The old moated manor-house had been the headquarters of Fairfax during the siege of Oxford in 1646, and the scene of the marriage of Bridget, daughter of Oliver Cromwell, to Fairfax's Commissary-General, Henry Ireton, on the 15th of June in that year. But this historic house had been pulled down and replaced by the more modern edifice which still exists. Pusey was very fond of the place: he preached frequently in the little parish church; and in particular on September 29th in this year, on the Ministry of Angels. But he did not relax his literary work. Every morning in the week he rode into Oxford, reaching the Bodleian Library at nine o'clock, and working there until it closed, when he rode out again to Holton. Late in life he would often refer to these early morning rides, in which the fresh air of 'Shotover made it so easy to praise Almighty God,' as one of the happy memories of his earlier years.

The laborious monotony--not that he thought it such--of his life was interrupted by one or more short visits to friends. Towards the end of the vacation, while on a visit at Longford Castle, Pusey preached, on behalf of the Salisbury Infirmary, a sermon of which one of the best laymen in Salisbury, Mr. Hussey, used to say, that he 'never heard anything like it: all later sermons on the subject seemed by comparison shallow and pointless.' The point mainly insisted on is the value of self-denial, not only with a view to works of mercy, but as an instrument of moral and spiritual improvement: it is the first expression of the line of thought which is the main feature of Pusey's first contribution to the 'Tracts for the Times.'

Pusey had been in Oxford when incidents occurred which have already become historical, but of the full importance of which neither those who took part in them, nor those who witnessed them, were as yet conscious. Newman returned from his Mediterranean tour on July 9th. On the following Sunday, July 14th, Keble preached that Assize sermon on National Apostasy which Newman held to be 'the start of the religious movement of 1833.' It is possible that Pusey heard this sermon; but no record of his sense of the importance of this manifesto survives. The copy of the published sermon which was sent him 'from the author' is still uncut. Though he was not as yet definitely and consciously associated with Newman and Keble in any distinct theological enterprise, still Pusey seems to have been in some degree connected with the Movement from the first, so far as it was a movement in Oxford. If Mr. Rose did not invite him to the Hadleigh meeting, this omission may be accounted for by their earlier relation to each other. But as soon as the 'Tracts for the Times' appeared, Pusey, as has been said, interested himself in their circulation.

Of this remarkable series of publications the beginnings were sufficiently humble. 'A tract,' wrote Newman to Perceval, 'would be long enough if it filled four octavo pages.' Again, 'We hope to publish tracts for hawkers' baskets in time. Are you disposed to draw up a series of translations from Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History? Or what do you think of such a measure? I mean for instance the account of St. John and the robber, whom he had had baptized in youth, the martyrs of Lyons, the account of the persecution at Alexandria given by Dionysius, &c. These are popular in their nature, and to the people we must come.'

The first Tracts are dated at the beginning of September. They were generally short, several keeping well within the suggested limit of four pages; and they were chiefly concerned with the constitution, ordinances, and services of the Church. Their first object was to restore and strengthen faith in those portions of the Divine Will which relate to the nature and organization of the Body of Christ, and which had been denied or forgotten by the popular religionism of the day. Of the first seventeen Tracts, nine were in part or altogether written by Newman, and they all deal with subjects belonging to this great truth. Of the remaining eight, John Keble had contributed two, one on the Apostolic Succession, and one on the Sunday Lessons; his brother, Thomas Keble, Hurrell Froude, J. W. Bowden and Alfred Menzies, both of Trinity College, and B. Harrison, Student of Christ Church, furnished the remainder. The last three writers were still very young men. Three of the Tracts are explanations of, or comments upon, Church Lessons or Church Services; but these topics are chiefly discussed in view either of threatened alterations in or existing neglect of the Church's system and order. Newman's own account of this first set of Tracts is given in the following extract from a letter to Perceval, written on July 2O, 1834:--

'As to the first tracts, every one has his own taste. You object to some things, another to others--if we altered to please every one the effect would be spoiled. They were not intended as symbols ex cathedrČ, --but as the expressions of individual minds ; -- and individuals, feeling strong, while on the one hand they are incidentally faulty in mode or language, are still peculiarly effective. No great work was done by a system--whereas systems rise out of individual exertions. Luther was an individual. The very faults of an individual excite attention--he loses, but his cause (if good, and he powerful-minded) gains--this is the way of things, we promote truth by a self-sacrifice. There are many things in Keble's tract on 'Adherence to the Apostolical Succession' which I could have wished said otherwise for one reason or other--but the whole was to my mind admirable, most persuasive and striking. So that a man corrects carefully upon his own standard, we must allow him his own standard. A critic must not attempt to mend a poem, or a connoisseur a painting. This is my apology for some of my tracts-- as for others I plead the Spectator's " If I am at any time particularly dull, consider I have a reason for it." The pruning-hook would perhaps have removed some tracts altogether--but they are parts of a whole.'

With the general drift of the earlier Tracts, Pusey was in full sympathy. Thus he writes to his brother William on an early criticism of the Tracts which appeared in the Christian Observer:--

'It has wholly mistaken the object of the so-called Oxford Tracts, which are directed wholly to things spiritual, and concern themselves not at all with anything which can be called the temporals of the Church. . . . I expect that there will be much resistance, and much obloquy, because the views of this age are eminently compromising, rationalist, and low; self-extolling and impatient of authority. People, in consequence, cannot even understand right views of the Sacraments or the commission of the clergy.'

At first, indeed, he had formed a less favourable judgment. Referring to the early Tracts, he said in later life that

'those on the Apostolic Succession produced a great effect. I thought the subject dry, and not likely to interest people, but it was not so. The claim had been so entirely forgotten as to be practically new. One person, a dissenter in the Isle of Wight, said that she must go to church to see these successors of the Apostles. She went and remained. On the other hand the claim made people angry. They felt its force.'

Pusey himself only contributed eight Tracts to the entire series of ninety. Of these the first was on Fasting. The subject had been much in his thoughts for some time. On its appearance he wrote to his brother:--

'You will recognize it by the initials if not by the style. My object was to induce others to think on what I had thought on myself, or rather, since I had come to a result by long and careful thinking, and that, in conformity with the admonitions of our Church, I thought it my duty to state it. I feel some hope that, by God's blessing, it may have some tendency to promote a more humble, submissive, acquiescing frame of mind towards God, in these days of tumult, self-confidence, and excitement.'

An interesting account of the occasion of the Tract is given by Isaac Williams in his 'Autobiography':--

'Pusey's presence always checked Newman's lighter and unrestrained mood; and I was myself silenced by so awful a person. Yet I always found in him something most congenial to myself; a nameless something which was wanting even in Newman, and I might perhaps add even in Keble himself. But Pusey was at this time not one of us, and I have some recollection of a conversation which was the occasion of his joining us. He said, smiling to Newman, wrapping his gown round him as he used to do, " I think you are too hard on the Peculiars, as you call them. You should conciliate them; I am thinking of writing a letter myself with that purpose." " Well!" said Newman, " suppose you let us have it for one of the Tracts!" " Oh, no," said Pusey, " I will not be one of you!" This was said in a playful manner; and before we parted Newman said, " Suppose you let us have that letter of yours which you intend writing, and attach your name or signature to it. You would then not be mixed up with us, nor in any way responsible for the Tracts!" " Well," Pusey said at last, " if you will let me do that, I will." It was this circumstance of Pusey attaching his initials to that tract, which furnished the Record and the Low Church party with his name, which they at once attached to us all.'

The value of Pusey's assistance and of the Tract itself was immediately recognized by Newman. He wrote to Froude on December 15: 'T. Keble, Harrison, Menzies, Perceval, and a more important friend who at present is nameless [N.B. this meant Pusey], have written for us.' And four days later, he says to Rogers: 'I have a most admirable Tract from Pusey, but his name must not yet be mentioned'.

The Tract is dated St. Thomas' Day, 1833, and does not appear to have been in circulation before the beginning of January. It is longer than any of its predecessors; partly because the writer could not easily express himself otherwise than at length, but partly also because it covers more ground, and more nearly exchanges the character of a fugitive composition for that of a theological treatise. It assumes, as not requiring proof, the duty of fasting on the part of Christians: as Pusey used to say, our Lord has settled that point for us in the Sermon on the Mount. But at the time of its appearance this feature of the Tract was made the ground of unfavourable criticism; and in fact Newman wrote a later Tract to supply the presumed deficiency. On the appearance of this 'younger brother' to his own work, to use Pusey's own phrase, he wrote to Newman:--

                                                                                                               'Jan. 19,1834.

'I was not prepared for people questioning, even in the abstract, the duty of fasting; I thought serious-minded persons at least supposed they practised fasting in some way or other. I assumed the duty to be acknowledged, and thought it only undervalued.'

In this, his first Tract for the Times, Pusey places himself in the position of a person unaccustomed to 'observe any stated fasts,' and who finds in the rules laid down by the Prayer-book on the subject the double character of practical wisdom, and a burdensomeness inconsistent with Christian liberty. The reasonableness of this last apprehension must, he says, be settled by experience: he will give his own. Fasting at times enjoined by the Church is a protection against the slothful and worldly habits of life which are so agreeable to our natural selfishness. He compares this moral advantage of regularity in fasting with that of regularity in Church attendance and in reading the daily lessons ordered by the Church. Fasting, again, is closely connected with retirement and prayer, which are so necessary for 'real insight into the recesses of our nature, or for deep aspirations after God.' It thus enables us to resist the dissipating effect of an age of incessant activity; while it also suggests and makes easy the practice of a more self-denying extensive charity than is usual with modern Christians. Once more, fasting is a witness to the reality of spiritual things: 'he who suffers hardship for an unseen reward at least gives evidence to the world of the sincerity and rootedness of his own conviction.' The Friday abstinence has a special value, as impressing upon the mind, week by week, the memory of our Saviour's sufferings. Of Lent, the Ember-days, and the Vigils, he says much less; the restoration of the Friday observance being at the moment the most practical object.

It is impossible to read this tract without being profoundly impressed with the reality of the writer--of his religious convictions and life as the mainspring and warrant of his teaching. Indeed, this tract differs from its predecessors in the degree of emphasis which it lays on personal and experimental considerations. The earlier Tracts had insisted largely, and indeed necessarily, on the authority of the Church as a providential fact which, of itself, ought to govern the life of the soul. Pusey too recommends the rule of the Church, but less on grounds of authority than of experimental conviction. It is noticeable too that in this Tract he quotes both Richard Cecil and Goethe, names which do not suggest the tendencies or the truths upon which the Tract-writers were generally insisting; and in some of his sentences we may still feel the influence of Arndt, and even Spener.

Pusey sent copies of the Tract to his friends; it was variously acknowledged. The aged scholar, Bishop Burgess of Salisbury, welcomed it as 'a very interesting paper.' 'It has been read to me,' he added, 'and I heard it certainly with great pleasure, concurring most cordially with its sentiments.'

Arnold, of course, looking at the subject from another point of view, wrote very differently; but he evidently had still a more cordial feeling for Pusey than for Newman, and even than for his old friend Keble. Pusey was only in alliance with deadly error; the others were its prophets. The writer's estimate of the value of the ancient Church is not more correct than his prediction of the results of the movement that was going on at Oxford: and the whole letter prepares us for the bitter animosity of his later article on those 'Oxford Malignants' whom he found constantly in the way of his own revolutionary methods.

DR. ARNOLD TO E. B. P.

                                                                                                      Rugby, February 18, 1834.

MY DEAR PUSEY,       

I consider it very kind in you to send me the little tract which I received through Barker. It is very delightful to me to receive such a mark of your remembrance, and it would give me great pleasure to see you again either here or in Oxford. I am sure that there must be many points of unison still between us, without ascending to the highest of all: though by the form in which your tract appears I fear you are lending your co-operation to a party second to none in the tendency of their principles to overthrow the truth of the Gospel. Your own tract is perfectly free from their intolerance as well as from their folly: yet I cannot sympathize with its object, which has always appeared to me to belong to the Antiquarianism of Christianity,--not to its profitable history. . . . The admiration of Christian Antiquity seems to me to be the natural parent of Puritanism, which calls all that is ancient Popery. The history and writings of the early ages of the Church have their use,--but it is an indirect not a direct one,-- like the use of some of the historical parts of the Old Testament; that is, it will not furnish examples or precedents to be applied in the lump to present things: but it is a part of the great view of human and Christian nature, most rich in wisdom, like the individual experience of common life, to those who can draw the true conclusion from its manifold premisses,--but as a source for direct reference to common persons, often dangerous. I stand amazed at some apparent efforts in this Protestant Church to set up the idol of Tradition: that is, to render Gibbon's conclusion against Christianity valid, by taking like him the Fathers and the second and subsequent periods of the Christian History as a fair specimen of the Apostles and of the true doctrines of Christ. But Ignatius will far sooner sink the authority of St. Paul and St. John than they communicate any portion of theirs to him.

The system pursued in Oxford seems to be leading to a revival of the Nonjurors, a party far too mischievous and too foolish ever to be revived with success. But it may be revived enough to do harm,--to cause the ruin of the Church of England first,--and so far as human folly and corruption can, to obstruct the progress of the Church of Christ. And it does grieve me to see any whom I respect and regard connecting themselves in any way with such a party--the more so that they can never really be united with it; for every man who has sense and honesty enough to love Truth and to follow it for its own sake, will always be really hateful to the fanatical and superstitious, however they may be glad for a time to raise themselves on his shoulders.

Forgive this long dissertation, but your kindness in sending me your tract encouraged me to deliver my testimony, and I look to you as possessing qualifications too rare in England, the learning and independence of the Germans together with that spirit without which learning is nought.

                                       Ever believe me, very sincerely yours,

                                                                                       T. ARNOLD.

It was not likely that Pusey would be influenced by such criticisms. He returned to the subject of this first Tract after the interval of a year and a half. A letter, signed 'Clericus,' appeared in the British Magazine, in which several questions were asked in connexion with the subject of Pusey's Tract. Some of these questions were certainly practical, arising naturally out of a serious effort to live according to the rule of the Prayer-book. Pusey felt that they deserved an answer. It appeared, first of all in the shape of a letter to the British Magazine, and shortly after in an enlarged form as Tract 66. As Tract 18 deals with the principle of fasting according to the Church's rule, Tract 66 discusses, in a very practical and moderate spirit, the details of the duty. It is impossible, Pusey pointed out, to treat the Wednesday fast as obligatory in the English Church; it might be, for private persons, on occasion, edifying. Fasts and feasts may be observed on the same day; the one by the body, the other by the spirit. Rogation days were of value as preparing for the great festival of the Ascension. Publicity in respect of fasting, as savouring of ostentation, was condemned by our Lord: but it was necessary at times to own His claims in this as in other ways, although it might not always be possible to decline the invitation of an elderly clergyman to dinner, and there need be nothing in the intercourse of an invitation dinner inconsistent with the abstemiousness of a fast-day. The other points raised are discussed in the same spirit; and the Tract closes with a review of some prevailing prejudices against fasting, which shows that these prejudices, when thrown into a logical form, go much further than persons entertaining them would desire. In this way he disposes of the objections that fasting is not explicitly enjoined in the New Testament, that it is 'legal,' and that it is 'Popish.' Such a treatment of the subject was a symptom of a growing sense of the logical demands of Church principles.

In spite of the fact that Pusey considered himself at this moment independent of the other Tract writers, it is clear that Newman was already convinced that his sympathies were entirely with them. The appearance of the first volume of Newman's 'Parochial Sermons,' in March, 1834, constituted an epoch in the Movement; and that volume was dedicated to Pusey, 'in affectionate acknowledgment of the blessing of his long friendship and example.' The original dedication had been much more eulogistic, but, before publishing anything, Newman submitted it to Pusey, who returned it, altered, with the subjoined note:--

E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.

                                                                                                                [Early in 1834.]

MY DEAR FRIEND,

To the grammar of the enclosed I have nothing to say; but I hope that you will approve of the alteration which I have made in the matter. I have allowed more to stand than I am entitled to; for I have been learning, and trust, if it please God, all my life to learn of you (for through you I have learnt of our common Master), and I know not what you can have learnt of me. However since you have written it, it must have been so, and God must have taught you something through me: I hope He may realize it in me. Still I prefer what I have written; it implies sufficiently what you wished to convey, without appearing to ascribe a superiority to me, which would be painful. I thank you heartily for this and all your other friendship...

                                                                      Ever your affectionate friend,

                                                                                                      E. B. PUSEY.

A letter to his friend Jelf early in 1834 shows with what keen interest and clear apprehension of principles he was watching the anxious position of the Church:--

E. B. P. TO THE REV. R. W. JELF.

                                                                                                  Ch. Ch., Feb. 16, 1834.

You will probably have thought the speech put into the King's mouth very trimming and contrived to leave ministers at full liberty to feel their way and shape their course accordingly. Such, from private accounts, appears to have been the case. Lord Bexley writes, 'I have some reason to believe that the Government, alarmed on the one side by the apparent rallying of the friends of the Church, and on the other, by the undisguised violence of some of the Dissenters, have for the present postponed their plan of Church reform, and mean to feel the pulse of Parliament, before anything is proposed, except some measure for the commutation of tithes.' Another account says that Lord Grey told the Dean of Chichester, Dr. Chandler, 'that the Dissenters had humbugged him; that they told him that they wanted the reformation of the Church, and that he found that they wanted its destruction.' Strange that any one should have kept his eyes so long closed, or with so many indications for some time past of the real objects of the Dissenters, should have thought that their only motive was the wish for the purity of a church to which they did not belong. But although one is glad that their eyes are opened, and is very thankful for this respite, one can have but little hope from politicians who know so little either of the Church's needs or of the mode of relieving them. We may however thank God that we have been for a while at least rescued from the destruction which seemed to hang over us: a strong expression of love for the Church has been called forth by the violence of her enemies; a great union of parties among the clergy; numbers have withdrawn from the religious societies in which they used to act with Dissenters; and now that the Branch for Foreign Bibles is being formed within the Christian Knowledge Society, I trust that this occasion of confounding Churchmen with Dissenters and disuniting the Church will be removed. There is a magnificent opening if, by God's mercy, there be temperance, prudence, humility, earnestness, self-command; but I have great fears (as perhaps I have expressed) lest our union be but apparent only, and those who have joined together against innovation from without, may separate if the question come what shall the Church herself do. Girdlestone, I regret, has committed himself by a very injudicious pamphlet on the comprehension of the Dissenters. He proposes alterations of things in themselves (1) advisable abstractedly, (2) indifferent, (3) such as we think better, but would give up for union. Among the first he places diminution of translations of Bishops, &c. (which I think it not becoming in Presbyters to discuss), the revision of some few passages in our Articles, in those especially (!) which concern the State, the omission of the Apocrypha and of the Athanasian Creed. I have given you the bad only. If ever the question of the Athanasian Creed came to be really agitated, I should now do what I might be enabled towards its retention; for whatever might have been the case at the Reformation (and I suppose it was even then necessary) it could not, I think, now be given up without great danger of our becoming gradually a Socinian and ultimately a rationalizing Church. Although I should abstractedly have expressed the warning clauses otherwise, I do not think now that they could [be] omitted, probably scarcely altered, without giving countenance to the miserable indifferentism of the day, and creating in the minds of those who lean on the Church's judgement a doubt as to the degree of importance which she attaches to a right unspeculating faith in the Blessed Trinity. The object of G.'s pamphlet is good: he is in a mining district, surrounded by Dissenters, who have taken up the ground which the Church in the days of her supineness left waste--in the midst of people who, but for the Dissenters, would never have heard the name of their Redeemer; and now he has the painful task of telling these persons that they are acting wrongly if they keep separate from the Church. I hope yet some means may be devised by which the Wesleyans at least may be reunited to the Church.

Burton has also just published a pamphlet, in which he gives up Church Rates (which in my mind is giving up an established Church), but in which [he] speaks out very honestly and boldly against the system of Dissenters, R. C.'s, &c., legislating for our Church, or determining, as in the Irish Bill, the number of our Bishops.

I wish I could write more, but even this I have written at the interval of some days (my head being too tired to finish it by return of post), and I am now too fatigued to go on. Dr. W. talks of our going to the sea next week, and I hope that we shall both return strong against next term.

Lord Grey said that he had no idea that the attachment to the Church was so strong. The lay Declaration is being very well signed.

Pusey's health was in fact again breaking down through the labour involved in the construction of the Arabic Catalogue. He was far from well when the Michaelmas Term of 1833 opened. 'Edward,' wrote Mrs. Pusey, 'would be in a bad plight, even were it the end of term instead of the beginning.' His lectures, however, began on October 24th, and, with the intermission of a week, he was able to deliver them regularly until his pupils went down. At Holton Park, however, where he spent Christmas with his mother, matters became more serious. He returned to Oxford on January 18th, and was to have preached at Christ Church on the 19th. He was unequal to the duty; his sermon was read for him by Archdeacon Clerke. It was, perhaps, inevitable that the Provost of Oriel, who had just been reading Pusey's Tract, should observe that Pusey 'must have been fasting too much.'

In the following week, he was peremptorily forbidden to lecture; and the prohibition was soon extended to the whole Term. His cough, which was sometimes violent, was the chief symptom of ill health. He was compelled to remain upstairs, and to refuse to see even Newman. He himself made light of the cough; it was 'of very little discomfort, except that it interferes with lecturing.' Ill as he really was, he nevertheless seems to have been busily occupied up to the day of his leaving for the Isle of Wight. He worked on steadily at the Arabic Catalogue. He saw no one, and read only a weekly newspaper; he thus had plenty of time at his disposal. He projected a 'tract on not keeping company with notorious sinners'; but had been too unwell to set about it. The day before leaving Oxford he wrote to Newman :--

                                                                                                     'Feb. 24, 1834..

'I wished much to talk to you about many things, specially about the Sacrament of Baptism. Men need to be taught that it is a sacrament, and that a sacrament is not merely an outward badge of a Christian man's profession. And all union must I think be hollow which does not involve agreement in principles at least as to the Sacraments. Great good also would be done by showing the true doctrine of Baptism in its warmth and life: whereas the Low Church think it essentially cold. Could not this be done, avoiding all technical terms? I know nothing or little as to the reception such a tract would meet with, but you have to decide whether holding back is Christian prudence or compromise.'

Here, clearly, we have the germ of the famous Tracts on Holy Baptism.

On February 25th, Dr. Wootten sent him to the Isle of Wight, where he remained until the middle of April. They first settled at Ventnor. 'But,' writes Mrs. Pusey, 'the distance from churches, and the difficulty of getting seats, induced us to emigrate.' They exchanged the noise and publicity of the small lodgings at Ventnor for a 'retired house, with five acres of pleasure ground,' belonging to Mr. Johnson, near Niton. The day was chiefly spent in the open air: Pusey delighting in the sea breezes, and his wife reading Silvio Pellico to herself, and Boswell's life to him,--'not very admirable, perhaps, as a piece of biography, but his meditations and prayers are strikingly good.'

Pusey, to the end of his life, delighted in the presence of God, manifested in nature: the sea shore, the Malvern hills, the pines of Ascot, were all for him full of spiritual as well as physical enjoyment.

He describes his rest in the Isle of Wight to Mr. Benjamin Harrison, mentioned above, afterwards Archdeacon of Maidstone, who was at the time giving lectures for him in Elementary Hebrew, in a letter which also displays his early interest in the Eastern Church:--

E. B. P. TO REV. B. HARRISON.

                                                                              Hotel Anglesea, near Gosport, April 8, 1834.

∑We have been passing our time in most delightful seclusion at Ventnor, and near Niton in the S. of the Isle of Wight, scarcely hearing an echo, every now and then, of what is going on in the world. And it is to me far more satisfactory, to hear at once on a large scale what is going on or meditated, instead of the daily irritating process of hearing sentiments, projects, theories, all more or less unchristian.... It is delightful to be freed from the daily vexation of hearing all the ill which is meditated, and to be able to contemplate at a distance, what God seems to purpose, amid all the raging of the heathen or the vain imaginations of the peoples. To me the apparent progress of Russia is a source of great delight: not that I have much hopes from an individual who prints the Koran for his Mohammedan subjects. He doubtless, in his heart, 'thinketh not so,' and I suppose is pursuing a course of mere human aggrandisement, but in the present dissolved and unenergetic state of civilized Europe, or energetic only about selfish and petty ends, or self-idolatry, I cannot but trust that the semi-barbarian power of Russia will render the same service in renovating our exhausted powers and spurious civilization, which the Goths did of old. Perhaps it may please God, that the Greek, including the Russian, Church may be purified by its contact with the Reformed Churches of the West, and that ours may recover some of its primitive power.

During his holiday Pusey had time to read those earlier publications of Newman which have for many years been classics. His remarks about them will be read with interest.

   E. B. P. TO THE REV. J. H. NEWMAN.

                                                                                                          Friday evening.

          MY DEAR NEWMAN,                                Anglesea Villa, Gosport, April 11, 1834.

I have delayed writing, at first because I had nothing decided to say of myself; then, in expectation of your Sermons; and lastly, until I should have read them: and now I expect to return so shortly that it seems hardly worth while to write, except that one can speak mote of one's-self in writing. You will be kindly glad to hear that during the last ten days my health seems to have been making more progress than it had during the rest of my absence from Oxford, so that I should be almost ashamed to be here but for rather a discouraging letter from Dr. Wootten, founded on former reports. On this day week, however, I hope to return home, and in the next I trust to be permitted in some measure to resume my duties. This renewed illness and weakness makes me at times think that God does not intend me to do anything actively on a large scale (such as a large theological work) for His Church; and that since I have been over-fond of activity, i.e. intellectual activity, while I thought that His glory was more my object than it was, so now my chastisement will be that I shall [be] allowed to do nothing. Be it so: I only trust that my feeling of resignation is not the result of compelled idleness, or of a state of health, but that it really arises from the conviction that if I am to do nothing which appears lasting it is because, as things are, it must be better for the Church that I should not. With this feeling I shall at least proceed under the task of editing the Catalogue with a calmer mind; since, at present, at least, it must be God's will that I should go on with it, and therefore He can have nothing of any moment now for me to do for the Church, i.e. nothing which in my sight might seem so. Meanwhile, it is delightful to see Harrison making progress--fungar vice cotis: it seems almost to one's-self a fitting lot for inordinate and boastful energy to be allowed only to be active through others, and it is a mercy, far more than one deserves, if this is allowed to one. Enough, however, of self: one would not open so much of one's mind, except to one who I know makes mention of me in his prayers, and so I would gladly that he should know what to ask for.

I need not say that we have read your Sermons with deep interest. I should trust that to many a human being, they would open some of the secret places of his own heart, and tend, by God's blessing, to make him wise unto salvation. I have borne in mind while reading them that you referred me to them to see whether I should still press you to write the tract upon Baptism. Of your Sermons which I have read, that on 'God's Commandments not grievous' bears most upon it; but in truth I did not need any fresh knowledge of your views of Baptism: it was because I knew them, and had heard them formerly in conversation with you, that I wished you to write; and your mode of communicating instruction in these Sermons, which appears to me better calculated for reading than for hearing, certainly makes me wish the more that you would undertake it. On the Sermons I have nothing to remark, i.e. nothing to wish otherwise; some things I knew, the rest I felt, to be true; nor did it occur to me that there was anything which persons could misunderstand, even if they might, as I suppose many readers will, fail of understanding all: so I will only thank you for your affectionate feeling, which prompted the dedication, and for the volume itself, which we shall repeatedly study.

The Arians, I regret to say, remain where they were, i.e. I remain in them where I was: I had meant to analyze them for a periodical of Tholuck's, but I had some hope that he would become acquainted with them through Bunsen, who is going to Germany, so [I] desisted. My only objection was in point of style--that I thought here and there (yet only seldom) you had become Gibbonic; if I light upon a passage I will instance it to you. Your observations on the Judaizing Antiochian School might be illustrated by the Judaizing interpretation of Theodorus, &c.; the Antiochian interpretations appear to be the predecessors of the modern Rationalists and are those of the Jews: it is so strange and insulated a phenomenon in Christian antiquity, and so contrary to the general habits of mind of those times, that one seems entitled to infer a direct influence of the Jews (for instances vid. Rosenmuller): on looking at them again of late, I was startled by their presumption, although I had known them before. One judgement I should probably have passed more mildly--that on the Western Bishops who condemned Athanasius: it is easy for us to see that he was the champion of sound faith ; but to a Latin, to whom, as you remark, it was so difficult to convey a right idea of the very subject of the controversy, to whose habits of mind Athanasius, as far as he knew him, might very probably appear over-speculative, to whom, from the distance of the scene, his firmness might so easily be represented as refractoriness, or at the first, youthful excitement, or stickling about questions which to the mind of the Latin had never occurred as doubts;--these might be perplexities of which we, who have seen the issue of events, and that the uncompromising line of conduct was the only healthful one, perhaps can form no conception. I only name this for you to consider--not having studied the subject in the original sources I can form a very imperfect judgement: one cannot probably acquit them from having acted in a manner which whether it were right they doubted, and this of itself were sin. It is, after all, perhaps only a question of degrees of guilt; yet I think I should rather have insisted on the guilt of any compromise, or taken occasion to show how fatal and guilty a compromise might be, for which yet at the time there seems such plausible ground, not have represented their compromise as so great. As, however, I said before, I do not feel myself competent to speak on this subject. You will, I hope, go on with Church History.

We hear here rumours of preparations for war: I trust God will avert it. I am inclined to anticipate good from the growth of the enormous power of Russia: whether it is to be employed as the means of chastisement to Christian nations, or whether it is to break down the barriers of Mohammedanism, and so afford a readier entrance to the Gospel, or whether, which one feels to be certain, it is to serve purposes, of many kinds, and all unknown to us; in the rise of so gigantic a power one can hardly help anticipating a new era for the Church, and so one looks with thankful expectation to it. Of course, one feels assured, that if we war against it, our wars will serve God's ends either by hastening its progress if we are defeated, or by chastening its pride if successful. Yet I cannot help looking to her as an instrument of good, and therefore, besides the general miseries of war, I should hope on this ground that God would give to all nations, unity, peace, and concord.

William, who is with us, thanks you very much for remembering him in your kind present of your volume of Sermons: he would have thanked you himself had he known how; but he did not like to trouble you with a mere dry note of thanks, and yet he naturally would not take upon himself to make any observations upon your sermons. He has therefore begged me to express his very grateful thanks to you.

On Friday next I hope again to be amongst you: it seems so short a time after this long absence that one can scarcely believe that one is going to be restored to one's active duties so soon.

Maria begs her kind remembrances.

                                                   Ever, my dear Newman,

                                                              Your very affectionate friend,

                                                                                                E. B. PUSEY.

On April 15th Pusey returned to Oxford, and, in addition to his professorial and literary engagements, he found ready to his hands work of a kind in which much of his time was to be spent in after years. On March 21st Earl Grey had presented in the House of Lords a petition from certain members of the Senate of the University of Cambridge, praying for the abolition of every religious test exacted from members of the University before they proceed to degrees. It was signed by sixty-three residents. On the 24th of March the same petition was presented to the House of Commons by Mr. Spring-Rice. This petition was made the ground of a Bill, brought into the House of Commons by Mr. Wood, one of the members for Lancashire. When the House reassembled after the Easter holidays, both Universities petitioned against the Bill, but Oxford did a great deal more than send petitions to Parliament. First of all there appeared on April 24th a Declaration on the part of members of the University immediately connected with its instruction and discipline. It insisted that religion is the foundation of all education. Religion could not be taught on the vague and comprehensive principle of admitting persons of every creed. By religion was meant the doctrines of the Gospel as revealed in the Bible, and as maintained by the Church of Christ in its best and purest times, and, in these days, by the Church of England. Uniformity of faith on essential points was absolutely necessary for a Christian education, and the admission of persons dissenting from the Church would lead to unsettlement of younger minds, to controversy, and to the eventual enfeeblement or overthrow of all religion.

This Declaration was followed on the next day by a second Declaration of approval and concurrence, signed by members of Convocation and Bachelors of Civil Law not engaged in academical work. It comprised a great number of names who were a few years later to be ranged on opposite sides, but who now combined in defence of the existing system of the University. Then came a second concurrent Declaration which was largely signed by the parents and guardians of resident students; while petitions of a more general character were sent by members of the Church of England from various centres about the country. In promoting these expressions of opinion Pusey was not only associated with Newman and William Sewell, of Exeter College; but also with Dr. Symons, Warden of Wadham, and with Dr. Faussett, Margaret Professor of Divinity.

To the first of these Declarations Pusey refers in the subjoined letter:--

E. B. P. TO W. E. GLADSTONE, ESQ., M.P.

                                                                                                       Oxford, April 25, 1834

MY DEAR GLADSTONE,           

The enclosed, if you have not seen it, will interest you. The list comprises the names of the Theological Professors, and all the tutors except six. It has been followed up by another declaration of members of Convocation expressive of their full agreement with it: 150 signed it in 24 hours; among them other professors, who did not think that they could sign ours, as not being engaged in theological education or discipline; I name this in case it should be remarked on. The Heads of Houses were reserved also for the petition, and not invited to sign.

The chief point to be insisted upon appears to me the interference with the education of our own members in consequence of the proposed admission of Dissenters. We are to have no tests of the right faith of those who professedly belong to our Church in order that others may be admitted among us. Again, we are to have no public examination of their religious knowledge; for, if ALL are to take a degree without a religious test, it would be mere evasion to put that test in the shape of the preparatory education. It should be known also that sons of Dissenters are actually admitted among us as conformists, i.e. such as can sign the Articles in the sense which the Bishop of Exeter has explained, and which is the sense in which they are signed; and in this way, some have become valuable members of our Church. But the case will be wholly different if those are to be admitted who do actually dissent, and who come to be instructed in science or language, but in the only real Science come to dispute. Neither can the Bill stop where it is; it is perfectly nugatory to abolish tests, while each individual college has the power of rejecting whom it will: the Dissenters will renew their application with redoubled force when the principle has been admitted: the first Dissenter whose son should be rejected from every college in Oxford, as assuredly he would, would come before Parliament to urge them to realize their grant. This step taken, whatever persons may now think, they can never stop short of opening our Fellowships to Socinians, or dissolving. I trust that we shall be destroyed rather than corrupted.

                                                                      Ever yours very sincerely,

                                                                                                     E. B. PUSEY.

People appeal to Cambridge: I think it is strong evidence against them. I know, and I suppose almost every one has known, the case of individuals of unsound faith who, wishing to come to Oxford, have now gone to Cambridge, because they could not sign the Articles; and the effect of their influence has shown itself doubtless in the tone of the clever Undergraduate Society, e.g. the Debating Society.

Pusey carried on a wide correspondence on the subject. Dean Ireland 'would act just as Pusey might suppose to be best for the credit of the University'. Sir Thomas Acland agreed with the general sense of the Declaration, but hesitated to sign it, on the ground that Dissenters had better be admitted as students of the University, on the understanding that they would conform to the discipline, and accept the religious instruction placed before them. The great majority of the replies would appear to have been in warm sympathy with the Declarationists.

The Bill passed the House of Commons by large majorities, of 147 on the second reading, and 89 on the third, the latter division being taken on July 28th. The debate which preceded the division had closed in a scene of wild excitement and uproar. The Bill was at once introduced into the House of Lords by Pusey's own relation, the Earl of Radnor. Lord Radnor contended that subscription on the part of an undergraduate 'was a lie, a positive lie.' Lord Carnarvon made the most effective speech against the Bill, which was also opposed by the Chancellors of the two Universities, the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Wellington; and although it was supported by the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, and by Lord Brougham, then Lord Chancellor, it was rejected by a majority of 102 on the second reading.

Pusey had watched the Bill throughout with anxiety. In the House of Commons, Mr. Stanley had expressed a hope that it would receive emendations in Committee. It was really adopted as a whole by the House on the Second reading. Referring to this, Pusey wrote:--

'I am very glad that there is to be no tampering about the Bill. In this as in other matters, whatever God pleases to allow evil men to do with us, must be for the Church's good; and I can view it calmly (not perhaps without a struggle between faith and sight), but if the Church countenances ill for the sake of preventing greater ill, we are destroying ourselves. The first, second, and third principle which I should be glad to see in every one's conduct and heart now is, No Compromise, or, in other words, Loyalty to GOD come what will from man, or those spirits whose instruments bad men are.'

The great event at Oxford in the summer of 1834 was the installation of the Duke of Wellington as Chancellor. No such assembly of distinguished men had been welcomed by the University within her walls since the visit of the Allied Sovereigns in 1815. At the head of a long line of noblemen, and of eleven bishops, was the King's brother, the Duke of Cumberland. His Royal Highness was the guest of Dr. Jelf, who had been for so long his son's tutor and who was now Canon of Christ Church. It had been at first proposed that the Duke should stay with Pusey, who was relieved when another arrangement was made, yet 'feared that it might look like ingratitude.' Pusey however had other guests, amongst whom were Sir Thomas Acland, and his cousin Lord Ashley, afterwards the well-known Lord Shaftesbury. The Installation Ode had of course a special recommendation for Pusey and his friends. It was composed by Keble, as Professor of Poetry.

Although Pusey was still in a very precarious state of health, he was obliged to remain in Oxford until the beginning of August in order to finish his Catalogue of the Arabic MSS. in the Bodleian Library. The description of the last manuscript was completed to his great satisfaction on July 24. But his health was a matter of no little anxiety to his relatives. His mother observed that he 'continued to lose in weight; and he could not afford to do this, being only 8 stone 9 lbs. as it was.'

He was to have spent the remainder of the vacation at Holton Park, but he was in fact sent to Ramsgate, in August. Just before leaving Oxford, he writes to Harrison on the prospects of the Church under the existing political situation:--

'I hear that J. Watson and others are very gloomy. There is an ominous silence in the new Government. It may be wrong to say so, but I cannot feel any fear about what the devil or man worketh against us. What I do feel gloomy about, is self-congratulation, self-panegyric, self-indulgences on the part of the clergy, or the self-styled defenders of the Church; and that with so much over which to mourn or for which to be humbled.'

Again, on the controversy with Rationalism in Germany, he writes to Tholuck, who had been passing through a stormy time in Halle, which had been converted some years before by the teaching of the Rationalistic professors, Gesenius and Wegscheider.

E. B. P. TO PROFESSOR THOLUCK.

                                                                                                Christ Church, Aug. 4, 1834.

My brother tells me that you are disheartened at the state of the Church among you: there is very much, which one hopes that God may yet purify and exalt; and I dread certainly the influence of the 'juste milieu' among you: it seems to me essentially a cold, self-conceited, and withal Rationalistic party: yet I cannot but hope that it may be a means of inviting over from Rationalism many, who when they shall have been brought thus far, will find no rest for the sole of their foot in it, and at last, betake themselves from the weary waste to the Ark, which is still open to receive them. It is not of course from them that one looks for the main increase of the right faith among you: yet I cannot but hope that here also, as in the heresies of the early Church, it may not be the only object of heresies, 'that they who are approved, might be made manifest among you,' 1 Cor. xi. 19. Perhaps also the victory over Rationalism might have been too easy - and so have led to vainglory or some other defect, had there not been this severe disappointment and trial. But, however it be, it is God's world, and we must allow Him to govern it, and not be downcast, if He give not His own cause so speedy a victory, as we should have hoped and prayed for.

In the same letter he shows keen interest in a proposal of the S.P.C.K. to translate the New Testament into Hebrew, and writes as follows:--

'My questions with regard to the Jews are:--

'(1) With regard to the expediency of a good Hebrew translation of the N. T. I was inclined to think that a publication of the translation " in their own tongue wherein they were born," and in their own character, would be best; that a Hebrew translation was rather a compliance with conceit and pride; and would not be wished for by those who were really disposed to seek the truth. An eminent Jewish convert (Herschell) whose judgement I am disposed to value, thinks that a good Hebrew translation would have a certain, although limited, use. My ground was that no Jews think in Hebrew.

'(2) How would it be best to circulate the O.T. among them? By a circulation of Luther's translation, with the original interleaved (as has been tried, I understand, in Hesse and the Rhine country), in order to facilitate the quotations of missionaries; or to reprint their own approved versions, such as are mentioned by Wolf, Biblioth. Hebr.?

'(3) How far would a Hebraeo-Arabic Bible be likely to be of use in the East? About this I have some misgivings, for I cannot but think that the most likely mode of conversion will be by means of the Christian lives of those with whom they live, that where there are Christians, the residents of each country are the best missionaries; that their light, shining before men, will be the best means of leading men to glorify their Father, which is in Heaven; and that without this, any attempt to circulate the Bible will be of little use.'

Vacations were with Pusey always great seasons for letter-writing: his mind, released from the strain of exhausting work, largely mechanical, fell back upon subjects and principles which increasingly occupied and swayed it.

 

 


Project Canterbury