Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.
London: Longmans, 1894
Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
DR. HAMPDEN ON SUBSCRIPTION--THE DOGMATIC
PRINCIPLE--PUSEY'S DEFENCE OF SUBSCRIPTION--A DE–CLARATION PROPOSED--MR. GLADSTONE'S VIEWS-- THE PROVOST OF
ORIEL'S PAMPHLET--PUSEY'S REPLY--
BLANCO WHITE, A SOCINIAN--CORRESPONDENCE.
PUSEY returned from Ramsgate on St. Luke's Day, 1834, to preach before the University on the next morning. Of this sermon no certain trace survives. During the Term which followed, his interests were divided between the burden of his own work at Oxford and his eldest brother's canvass of Berkshire. Mr. Pusey issued an address to the electors, part of which concerned the Church, and provoked unfavourable criticism at the hands of his brother Edward, who feared that he was paying homage to the destructive tendencies of the time. Mr. Pusey 'thought it very important to call attention to the difference between the object of the Church, and the form of its constitution or legal archi–tecture.' He was also anxious to promote the 'recon–version of Dissenters,' and with this view to substitute Milman's hymns for Sternhold and Hopkins in the Church Services. Edward Pusey's sympathies--odd as it appears to us, odd as it would have seemed to himself in later life-- were warmly enlisted on the side of Sternhold and Hopkins. He certainly attributed to them an authority which they would not appear to have possessed. This claim his brother warmly disputed; he was himself deeply engaged partly in compiling, and partly in composing a new hymn–book of his own. And it was at this time that he composed the well-known 'Hymn of the Church Militant' (as he called it), beginning with the words 'Lord of our life, and God of our salvation,' familiar to thousands of Churchmen, who little suspect its authorship. 'It refers,' he writes to his brother, 'to the state of the Church'--that is to say of the Church of England in 1834--assailed from without, enfeebled and distracted within, but on the eve of a great awakening.
But another subject more immediately affecting the deepest interests of the Church made the autumn of 1834 an anxious and busy time for Pusey. The debate in Parliament on the Bill for the admission of Dissenters to the Universities had brought before men's minds the question of undergraduate subscription to the Articles. An impetus in the direction of change was given by the appearance of a pamphlet by Dr. Hampden, who already filled an in–fluential position in the University. He was Principal of St. Mary Hall, and had been elected to the Chair of Moral Philosophy, in the preceding March, although Newman had been a candidate. Hampden had been Bampton Lecturer in I832, and if his lectures had not been 'listened to' or as yet 'read' he had nevertheless become in this way a kind of theological authority. He was steadily pushed into prominence by his far abler friend, Dr. Hawkins, the Provost of Oriel; who was indebted to him for coming to the rescue when Oriel had been deprived of its three most brilliant tutors by an act of arbitrary indiscretion, which would now find no defenders in any quarter. Hampden's pamphlet, entitled 'Observations on Religious Dissent,' was an essential extract of his Bampton Lectures; and it was, if not an abler, yet a more attractive, as well as a shorter production; since time had allowed the lecturer's thoughts to run clear, or at least comparatively clear. Its central position is that moral and theological truths are things dis–tinct from religion; that no 'inferences' ought to be drawn from the text of Scripture; that the language of the Creeds themselves was thus a mistake, even although they ex–press only what is taught by Holy Scripture. To the obvious objections to these positions which Holy Scripture itself furnishes, the writer scarcely attempts a reply, if indeed he is aware of their strength and urgency. But his pamphlet put the question of relaxing subscription on a new basis. Subscription was deprecated not only as inex–pedient for very young men, but as involving a recognition of the value of Church formularies which appeared to the writer exaggerated. His conclusion of course went much further than the subsequent proposal put forward by the Heads of Houses. 'I do not scruple to avow myself favourable to a removal of all tests, so far as they are employed as securities of orthodoxy among our members at large.
Here is the true key to Pusey's line in this controversy. Had the claim of dogmatic faith upon the conscience been recognized as a general principle, Pusey and his friends might have felt themselves better able to consider how far subscription to such a formulary as the Thirty-nine Articles on the part of very young men was the best means open to a Christian University of guarding the faith of the Church. The question was at least arguable; but the practice had at any rate been consecrated by the usage of two centuries and a half having been introduced by Elizabeth's Puritan favourite, the Earl of Leicester. But this lesser question of religious expediency was overshadowed by the far larger question of dogmatic truth, which Pusey and Newman saw coming, year by year, more clearly into view. In their eyes' the threatened change was dictated less by the academical policy of Hawkins than by the theological bias of Hampden.
The general principle in which they were entirely agreed was stated, with his own inimitable clearness, by Newman, when writing some months afterwards to Perceval:--
'January 11, I836.
'The advantage of subscription (to my mind) is its witnessing to the principle that religion is to be approached with a submission of the understanding. Nothing is so common, as you must know, as for young men to approach serious subjects, as judges--to study them, as mere sciences. Aristotle and Butler are treated as teachers of a system, not as if there was more truth in them than in Jeremy Bentham. The study of the " Evidences" now popular (such as Paley's) encourages this evil frame of mind--the learner is supposed external to the system--our Lord is " a young Galilean peasantä--His Apostles, " honest men, trustworthy witnesses," and the like. Milman's " Jews" exhibits the same character of mind in another department. Abraham is a Sheik, &c., &c. In all these eases the student is supposed to look upon the system from without, and to have to choose it by an act of reason before he submits to it,--whereas the great lesson of the Gospel is faith, an obeying prior to reason, and proving its reasonableness by making experiment of it--a casting of heart and mind into the system, and investigating the truth by practice. I should say the same of a person in a Mahometan country or under any system which was not plainly and purely diabolical--the religion in occupation is at least a representative of the truth; it is to him the witness of the Unseen God, and may claim, instead of scepticism and suspicion, a prompt and frank submission in the first instance, though of course the issue of the experiment would not be one of confident conviction, but of doubt, or of discrimination between one part of the system and another.
'In an age, then, when this great principle is scouted, Subscription to the Articles is a memento and protest--and again actually does, I believe, impress upon the minds of young men the teachable and subdued temper expected of them. They are not to reason, but to obey; and this quite independently of the degree of accuracy, the wisdom, &c., of the Articles themselves. I am no great friend of them--and should rejoice to be able to substitute the Creeds for them, were it not for the Romanists, who might be excluded by the plan you suggest of demanding certificates of Baptism and Confirmation :--still as it is even, we effect what seems to me a great point, which the mere sub–stitution of certificates would not secure.'
The Heads of Houses as a body would have been far from agreeing with Dr. Hampden's principles. But they had before their eyes the fear of public criticism and parliamentary action, and they were anxious to do some–thing. On November 10, they passed a resolution adverse to the continuance of subscription to the Articles by undergraduates at their matriculation.
On the evening of this day, Pusey writes to Newman:--
'You will have heard that the Heads of Houses have decided by a majority of one to displace the Articles from undergraduate subscription. I will gladly join in any measures which can be adopted to fight the battle efficiently in Convocation.'
Newman himself three days afterwards, describes the situation, in a letter to Perceval :--
'November 13, 1834.
'We are in considerable anxiety here, the Heads of Houses having come to a resolution by a majority of one to introduce into Convoca–tion some measure for " simplifying" the test at matriculation, i.e. substituting a Declaration of Conformity, &c., for Subscription to the Articles. Though directly accomplishing in this manner the avowed wish of Lord Brougham, &c., who say this is all they want, these strangely infatuated persons protest they mean to make no alteration, but merely place the University in a more defensible position as regards attacks in Parliament. They pretend the Duke has advised it. The chief movers in the business are the Provost of Oriel, the Principal of St. Mary Hall, Burton, and Denison of Merton. On the other side, Pusey and Sewell are firm and strong. This as regards Sewell is a very agreeable circumstance--one is glad to see him coming so right. About Pusey no intimate friend of his could ever doubt that he would be found on the right side, in any time of peril.'
In a letter to Hampden a fortnight later, Newman again expressed his sense of Hampden's position:--
'November 28, 1835.
'The kindness which has led to your presenting me with your pamphlet encourages me to hope that you will forgive me if I take the opportunity it affords to express to you my very sincere and deep regret that it has been published. Such an opportunity I could not let slip without being unfaithful to my own serious thoughts on the subject;--while I respect the- tone of piety in which the pamphlet is written, I feel an aversion to the principles it professes, as (in my opinion) legitimately tending to formal Socinianism.
'And also I lament that, by its appearance, the first step has been taken towards an interruption of that peace and mutual good under–standing which has prevailed so long in this place; and which, if ever seriously disturbed, will be succeeded by dissensions the more intractable, because' justified in the minds of those who resist in–novations, by a feeling of imperative duty'.
Pusey at once set to work. It was difficult to attack the resolution of the Heads of Houses directly. But it was easy to set men thinking about it. The plan of getting people to think before talking or acting had been the method of Socrates ; and was eminently the method of the Oriel School. It had, indeed, been adopted with great success, sixty years before at Oxford, in relation to this very question of subscription. In 1773 a proposal to explain subscription by statute, as meaning only a general adherence to the teaching of the Church of England, was dissipated by a paper of nine questions.
Accordingly Pusey issued a fly-leaf of twenty-three questions, which appears to have been drawn up by himself originally, and then enlarged and corrected by Newman. The purpose of these questions is to set men thinking on the topics which were ignored or overlooked by the proposed innovation. They suggested the value of long prescription; the danger of playing into the hands of those who wished for larger changes; the importance of explaining rather than changing existing regulations, whenever possible; the religious advantages of subscription, as compared with those of a declaration, the former being exact and stimulating, the latter tending to religious indifference and laxity; the duties of the Univer–sity, considered as a religious teacher, towards the young; and, especially, the danger of complying with the outcry that 'persons ought not to be required to sign that of whose truth they have not convinced themselves,' the fear lest they should 'strengthen the faulty notions of the day, which make private judgment everything, authority and the Church doctrine nothing.' These are, perhaps, the most important topics with which the questions deal: but they give no idea Of the capacity of such a paper for setting people thinking upon subjects which were at that date, comparatively speaking, unconsidered. At the close of the week appeared a powerful pamphlet, 'Thoughts on Sub–scription,' by Rev. W. Sewell. Before however this could be circulated, the effect of the questions had become apparent. On Nov. 17, the Heads of Houses rescinded the resolution of the previous week.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
November 17, 1834.
We have now, I suppose, peace for a time, which is a great blessing. I conclude, namely, although I have heard nothing from authority, that the idea of substituting a declaration is at an end: the queries, especially one of yours, seem to have done their work. K., I suppose, will not want any copies now? Is he in 0., and where?
Ever your affectionate friend,
E. B. P.
The subject was in fact disposed of for that Term; but the forces at work on the side of change were too numerous and too powerful to have been formally laid to rest. A new impulse was given to the controversy on March 6th, 1835, when the Earl of Radnor, who had taken charge of the Bill which had been rejected in the previous August, moved in the House of Lords for copies and translations of the oaths required of members of the University at matriculation, and when graduating as Bachelors or Masters of Arts. This motion roused opposition in other quarters at Oxford, besides those which were committed to a defence of the existing system. Eight days afterwards there appeared a 'Letter to the Earl of Radnor, by a resi–dent Member of Convocation,' whose clear, cold, and incisive style of writing betrayed, at least to all resident Oxford, the pen of the Provost of Oriel. The Provost vigorously defends against Lord Radnor's criticisms the principle and practice of the University in dispensing with oaths in certain important cases; and he indignantly and successfully rebuts the constructive charge of perjury which Lord Radnor had brought against the University. But on the question of subscription to the Articles at matriculation, he is in agreement with his correspondent; and in this part of his letter he clearly has his eye on what had been recently urged by defenders of the existing practice, and in particular on Pusey's queries. 'The first persons,' he says, 'who find leisure to write upon such questions, may be those who have the greatest talent, but the least experience'. The cause of the abolition of subscription was, he tells Lord Radnor, gaining ground in Oxford: if the University could be let alone, it would do the work better for itself.
This last remark provoked a rejoinder in the shape of a Declaration, to the effect that eighty members of Con–vocation now in Oxford deprecated any substitution of a Declaration for subscription to the Articles as 'pernicious in itself, and of dangerous precedent.' This Declaration was signed by Pusey, Newman, and Keble; by Copeland, Moberly, and Sewell; but also by Dr Faussett, the Mar–garet Professor of Divinity; by the Rev. W. W. Champneys and Rev. H. B. Whitaker Churton, Fellows of Brasenose; by Rev. John Hill, Vice-Principal of St. Edmund Hall. Yet four days afterwards a notice appeared, signed by the Vice-Chancellor, giving the form of a Declaration which would be proposed to Convocation, in the ensuing Term, to take the place of subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles. The terms of the Declaration were as follows:--
'I, A. B., declare that I do, so far as my knowledge extends, assent to the doctrines of the United Church of England and Ireland as set forth in her Thirty-nine Articles; that I will conform to her Liturgy and discipline, and that I am ready and willing to be in–structed in her Articles of Religion, as required by the Statutes of this University.'
It was moulded on a similar form which had approved itself to some of the Heads of Houses in the preceding November; the changes were intended to conciliate religious opponents, so far as possible.
But its appearance was the signal for the renewal of the struggle. The notice was dated April 1. On April 3 Pusey again appeared on the scene with a new set of twenty-seven Questions. They are based upon his earlier set; but modifications, compressions, and additions have made them very different. They insist that a Declaration involves a radical change in the religious discipline of the University; that it is, whatever men may say, a relaxation of the bonds which are implied in subscription; that the terms of the Declaration involve absurdity, since young men who are presumed to be too ignorant to understand the formularies are made to assent to the doctrines of the Church, so far as their 'knowledge' extends. The Declara–tion is contrasted with Subscription as bringing self into greater prominence; and as making the recognition of truth an act of compliance rather than a duty. The University being regarded as a body of Churchmen en–trusted with the duty of propagating religious truth, the proposed change, in Pusey's eyes, involves at least a weakened recognition of that duty, while it foreshadows, not indistinctly, its eventual abandonment.
These 'Questions' were sent generally to members of Convocation. In acknowledging them, Mr. Gladstone wrote as follows:--
W. E. GLADSTONE, ESQ., TO E. B. P.
Hillingdon, Uxbridge, April 21, 1835.
MY DEAR SIR,
When I had the pleasure of seeing you, before the expiry of my short tenure at the Colonial Office, I forgot, in the hurry of our interview, to advert to the question referred to in your printed circular which reached me some time back.
What I have to say is little, and I write it with great diffidence; its sum is compressed in this, that I should feel inclined to vote against the proposed alteration, but not upon the same grounds as yourself to the full extent, though to a very considerable one. When your brother sent me, some time before, your sheet of queries, I endeavoured to explain the view of the subject which had approved itself to my mind.
The first sine qua non with me would be, that the University should not be vexed by the interposition of Parliament. This upon every ground and not acting peculiarly as a member of the University. Next to this (in importance however first) and acting in this character, the most essential object seems to be, the maintenance of a Church of England education, and not only its maintenance as at present, but its consummation and perfection in your system. This being secured--fully and certainly secured, by whatever measures, and whatever degree of exclusiveness may be necessary to give this guarantee--it would give me pleasure to see Dissenters avail themselves, permis–sively, but to the utmost practicable extent, of our Church education, and therefore to see removed, if it be the pleasure of the University and especially of its resident members, any subscription at entrance which is likely to form an absolute and insuperable bar to their becoming students in the University, at a period of life when they are probably little prejudiced in favour of Dissent, and therefore hopeful for the Church, but yet upon the other hand not prepared to make an absolute renunciation of it [Dissent] by a formal subscription.
I have said more of this than I intended, but it will enable me t despatch briefly the residue of the subject.
The Declaration now proposed would, it seems to me, be objection–able, as you urge, in sanctioning the principle now operative in a vicious excess, of lowering the tone of institutions to that of society, instead of the reverse process. And if we are to have a preliminary subscription I do not enter into the popular objections against the adoption of the Articles for that purpose.
But further, it seems to me that the change now projected would have the effect of rendering entrance into the University more difficult to Dissenters than it is at present. Many persons might subscribe the Articles without perhaps giving so much of a general sanction to the principles of the Church of England as would be implied in the Declaration. As I understand its terms, there is a general promise to conform to the Liturgy and discipline of the Church; this is not required at present, but only conformity within and for the purposes of the University. A Presbyterian for example signs our Articles, but would he with equal ease be able to make the promise just mentioned? The same would hold good of some classes of Dissenters in England.
I am sorry to have intruded upon you even to this length, but I could not suffer an application from you on such a subject to remain without notice.
Shall we be apprised of the day when the question will come on in Convocation?
Pray remember me to Mrs. Pusey, who I trust is well, and believe me,
My dear Sir,
Very sincerely yours,
Rev. E. B. Pusey. W. E. GLADSTONE.
Convocation was to meet on May 20; and Pusey accompanied the announcement with a reply to Mr. Glad–stone's letter:--
E. B. P. TO W. E. GLADSTONE, ESQ., M.P.
[Christ Church], May 5, 1835.
MY DEAR GLADSTONE,
I have pleasure in believing that I agree in the abstract with you, thus far at least, that if the Church (i.e. pupils as well as instructors) were in a sound state, I should rejoice that those who were not of the Church should come as Catechumens to her, without any pledge on their part, except what was expressed by the act of coming to a place of education. As far as Dissenters are affected by the present question (and it has been to me throughout but a subordinate part of it), my objection is not founded on any abstract unfitness of educating such persons together, but on the temper of the times, and of the Dis–senters themselves. For the Dissenters profess to wish to come, solely for the sake of our civil education, setting themselves against our religious instruction, and with such an animus, you would feel that they could not be taught: again, the tendency of the age is to in–differentism, and that would be promoted by such a measure; but neither do I think the Church yet in a state to receive such pupils with safety to herself; with lax notions about the Church, vague and low and inadequate notions about the Sacraments, and sometimes very poor instruction in the great truths of Christianity, our pupils, as they are sent to us, could not be, with any regard to their safety, mixed up with Baptists, Socinians, or Roman Catholics, nor are we in a condition to carry on the controversy with the R.C.'s with advantage. I doubt not that the effect of the establishment of a R.C. College here would be a very considerable defection, especially among the Low Church. The aspect of the Church is, by God's grace, daily improving, but we are as yet in a very unsound, unsettled state.
But I have never thought of this question as with relation to Dis–senters, nor should I have thought the Bill of last year, in any degree, so intolerable an evil, had it not prohibited the subscription even of the members of the Church. That subscription, in these days, I look upon as a decided benefit to the Church by promoting both a dutiful and teachable frame of mind, and an earlier knowledge of definite religious truth. Our schools are improving in the kind and degree of their religious instruction under this system; there is every promise of far more improvement, and though things are yet far from being what one should wish them, the solid improvement of Oxford within man's memory is said to be far greater than that of the rest of our country, and we have, I trust, every ground to look for far richer increase, unless in impatience at some remaining evil, we break up the system, instead of endeavouring to act up to it.
Ever yours very truly,
E. B. PUSEY.
Will you allow the inclosed to go with your second post letters?
I think that we trusted to you to inform (I believe your father) T. Gladstone, Esq., M.A., of the things now agitated here, and which (though one magnifies what one is one's-self concerned in, still) as being a question of principle, will I think much affect the country ultimately.
Mr. Gladstone replied:--
MY DEAR SIR, Albany, May 14, .
I am very happy to be the depositary of any of your sentiments on the interesting question now to be agitated in Convocation, and yet more so to find that they are in such material points concurrent, if I do not presume in saying so, with my own. I advert particularly to that consideration which seems to be very prominent in your mind, of the great importance of subscription to the members of the Church; for I do feel most strongly the necessity of putting forward the Articles as a definite basis of teaching and of belief, and of keeping the religious instruction of the University in a fixed form, as the only effectual means of preserving its unity and substance.
So far however as regards evil or danger to be apprehended from the contact of the Dissenters, I fear that if we are to wait until the whole body of Churchmen is in such a state that all will be individually as well as collectively secure against labefaction, the prospect of relaxing the entrance will be indefinitely removed. May it not be a question--whether the study of Church principles, as well as the progress of religion in the great body of individuals professing adherence to the Church, would not be rather quickened by the jealousy for her ensuing upon the apprehended proximity of Dissenters?
I have mentioned to my brother the day of your vote in Convocation. Whether we may be able to go down I do not know, and I hope you will not attribute it to lukewarmness if, in the present state of public affairs and also in the prospect of your having votes to spare, I do not send you a decisive answer at the present moment.
Pray remember me to Mrs. Pusey, and believe me,
My dear Sir,
Very sincerely yours,
Rev. E. B. Pusey. W. E. GLADSTONE.
The 'Questions' were sent among others to the Provost of Oriel, who 'reprinted them with a few brief hints,' as to the sort of answers which, in his opinion, might properly be given to them. These 'hints' are, it need hardly be said, very good reading; they sparkle with the dry and clear acuteness characteristic of the writer. But they do not really grapple with the serious thoughts which Pusey had at heart. They resolutely put out of sight the history and the real drift of the new proposal, the influences which had led to it, the large and far-reaching effects which it might be expected to have. The Provost especially attempted to make capital out of the 'many and various senses put upon the present subscription' by its defenders. Upon this criticism Newman observed:--
'May , 1835.
'As to H.'s objection in the notes that explanations of subscription given by its defenders are so various, even if the quotations bore him out, it would seem to me very shallow. His business (to be fair) would be to see if there was not some one essential deep argument running through them. No two individuals give the same ground of conviction for the most acknowledged truths. Ask a dozen educated persons their respective reasons for the belief in a God ;--or again their mode of reconciling St. James and St. Paul; or again to analyze the peculiar beauty of a certain passage in Shakespeare or to criticize the character of Hamlet,--how triumphantly might one show them up to ridicule! show that St. Paul was diametrically opposed to St. James, and that Hamlet's character was a mere extravagance!'
Pusey in his turn dealt with the Provost as the Provost had dealt with him. He reprinted his own Questions and the Provost's replies, and now added notes of his own on those replies.
The difference between his way of looking at the matter and that of the Provost appears in the titles of their respective pamphlets, which not merely deal with the same subject but contain to a large extent the same words. The Provost's title is 'Oxford Matriculation Statutes'; Pusey's 'Subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles.' Pusey's first thought was for the Faith of the Church; the Provost's for the improved system of the University.
The leading point which Pusey makes in his notes is that the Provost does admit the Declaration to mean less than Subscription meant, and that the proposed change is therefore a relaxation. And such a relaxation is, he concludes, a menace and a snare. It is a snare for tender consciences,--an opinion which in later years he expressed in the same terms of the new formula of clerical subscrip–tion,--and it is a menace of future and more disastrous change in the direction of abandoning all allegiance to the teaching of the Church.
A more personal matter connected with Pusey's share in this controversy had a deeper significance, and was not without its bearings on important events which shortly after followed. In his 'Questions,' Pusey had stated that Dr. Hampden was 'the first advocate of the proposed measure'; that he was favourable to much wider changes beyond; that, although 'himself a Christian,' he 'put the Unitarian on the same footing precisely of earnest religious zeal and love for the Lord Jesus Christ, as any other Christian.' In the letter already quoted the Provost goes on to say that 'as to Hampden, he had nothing what–ever to do with suggesting, or moving, or preparing the present Declaration.' 'It is true,' he adds however, 'that I have had a great deal to do with the present Declaration; you are wrong in supposing that it is properly mine.' Pusey, of course, was not concerned only or mainly with the precise words of 'the present Declaration,' but with the substitution of any Declaration at all for the ancient practice of Subscription; and Hampden was certainly the first member of the Board of Heads of Houses, which then was the initiative body in the University, who had raised the discussion which resulted in the present proposal.
Upon the theological question the Provost felt more warmly. He complained that Hampden's name should have been introduced at all. The passages concerning the Unitarians had been misapprehended. Hampden had complained that the Unitarians were 'egregious dogmatists.' For his part, too, the Provost thought some of Hampden's opinions on 'Tests, Creeds, and Articles,'--'dangerous and unsound.' Pusey insisted on the significance of Hampden's statement about Unitarians. How could a Unitarian feel 'precisely the same religious zeal and love for our Lord Jesus Christ,' as those who believe that He is GOD, and that His Death is an atonement for human sin? It was a question of religious belief; not of theological dogmatism.
Here the matter rested until May 20, when Convocation threw out the proposal of a Declaration by a decisive majority--459 votes against the change, and 57 for it. The defeated party were much irritated. Pusey's later Ques–tions had, it was plain, been not less influential with Con–vocation in May than his earlier Questions had been with the Hebdomadal Board in the preceding November: and the Questions which had had most influence with voters were those which pointed to a connexion between the proposal and Hampden's pamphlet. Not that Pusey was alone in connecting Hampden's name with the academical question. Two other pamphlets, at least, had done the same thing but they were by persons of less prominence in the University.
On the day upon which Convocation recorded its decision Hampden wrote to Pusey: 'Having heard them [the Questions] generally imputed to you in the course of this morning, I feel myself called upon to make the enquiry of you whether you are the author of them or not?' The use of his name, he urges, had been 'very impertinent and unfair.' He could no longer regard in the light of a friend or acquaintance, one who under the cover of an anonymous signature could throw out such 'unwarranted scandals' against him.
Pusey replied that he had signed all the copies of 'Questions' which he had sent out; that if he had not printed his name, it was because he did not desire to dictate to the University; and that he could not understand how quotations from Dr. Hampden's public language could be 'unwarranted scandals.' Hampden replied in very angry terms. Pusey's letter was dictated by vain pre–tension: his Questions were 'nonsense'; his excuse for not printing his name on them was ridiculous. He advised Pusey to examine himself more before venturing to fling imputations of religious unsoundness on others. The flattery of a party, he added, was not a fair criterion of a claim to orthodoxy.
Pusey was distressed by Hampden' s annoyance, and he seems to have asked the Provost of Oriel, as a friend of both, to bring about a better understanding. But nothing that Pusey could honestly say would appear adequate even to the Provost: although the Provost, with characteristic candour, remarks to Pusey:--
'One thing I am certainly bound to give you full credit for, which is your patient endeavour after repeated trials to make some reparation of what I considered an injury, though you could not see it to be so yourself.'
In truth, behind the question of academical discipline there lurked a far more serious issue which the course of events would bring to the front, and that within the next few months. But for the present the controversy on academical subscription was settled. Lord Radnor introduced another bill into the House of Lords which came to nothing. The existing system of subscription, even at matriculation, lasted on for twenty years, until it was finally abolished at the first great instalment of change in 1854.
During the later phase of the controversy on subscription, an event had taken place, of tragical interest in itself, and intimately present to the mind of the leading controver–sialists at Oxford. The Rev. J. Blanco White became a Socinian at the close of January, 1835. His residence in Oxford, from 1826 to 1832, had placed him on terms of affectionate intimacy with Newman and Pusey on one side, and with Hawkins, Hampden, and Whately on the other. They all admired his moral courage and dis–interestedness, as well as the strength and acuteness of his understanding. In the earlier days of his Oxford residence, he had taught Pusey, Wilberforce, and Froude the order of the Breviary. But his mind was setting steadily in a latitudinarian direction; and although in the election of 1829 he had sided with Pusey, it was a political rather than a theological alliance, and he was opposing Newman and Keble. His true mental kinship was with the latitudinarians. He was generally believed to have inspired Hampden with the main ideas of his Bampton Lectures. He had a particular attraction for the most moderate member of the school, .the Provost of Oriel: and since 1832 he had been an inmate of Archbishop Whately's household at Redesdale, near Dublin; he was in part tutor to the Archbishop's son. Great was the consternation, and sincere the distress when, in the beginning of 1835, this gifted man announced his con–version to Socinianism, and, in fact, deliberately attended the Socinian service for the first time on January 25th. The Archbishop and Hawkins, Newman and Pusey, all wrote to him. Archbishop Whately apparently persuaded himself that Blanco White's mind had been affected by his bodily health; Blanco White's letters do not sustain this impression. The Provost of Oriel advised him to consult Whately and Copleston. In a reply of marked ability, he tells the Provost that 'his present theological convictions were of very long standing; that his note-books attested the long and frequently resisted process by which he had gradually rejected the doctrines of the Trinity and the Atonement, in the sense of vicarious suffering and original sin; that with respect to the Divinity of Christ he had during the greatest part of his residence in Ireland silenced his conscience by means of those verbal evasions which afford a shelter to some really conscientious, but doubting, persons in the Church.' He would save his friend the Archbishop 'all perplexity between affection to himself and official deference to the intolerance of orthodoxy.' He left Dublin.
Pusey appears to have written to him again some three months after, in the hope that a return to faith was still possible; but Blanco White's replies completely dissipated any such expectation.
Blanco White had no followers; but the indirect results of his act were very great indeed. It seemed to be a living illustration of the logical outcome of Hampden's anti-patristic teaching. It strengthened the resistance to any attack on the principle of Subscription. It gave a new impulse to the theological Movement which was at the bottom of that resistance, by demonstrating, in the case of a man of great power and accomplishments, the difficulty of maintaining an intermediate position between the Creed of the Church and the repudiation of the essential features of God's Revelation in Christ. Its influence, great if in–direct, is traceable in not a little of the literature and in more than one career which was identified with the Tractarian movement.
Far different from these exciting discussions are the fol–lowing letters written in the midst of them. On sending a print of Sir J. Reynolds' picture of 'The Infant Samuel' to his god-daughter, he writes a letter which shows how a scholar and a controversialist may understand and help very young children.
E. B. P. TO HIS NIECE, EDITH PUSEY, DAUGHTER OF PH. PUSEY.
Christ Church, Saturday evening, March 21, 1835.
MY DEAR NIECE,
I love very much the picture which I sent you by your papa, and I love you very much, and so I sent it to you. The little child, whose picture it is, lived a long while ago; he loved God more than anything else, and God made him a very good and a very great man, and praised him in His own book, the Bible, so that all good people now love and honour little Samuel. His mother gave him to God, when he was a very little child, and as he grew older, he was very willing to learn of God, and to do all which God told him, so God told him more and more: and God does so now to us. The more any one does what God bids, so much the more does God teach them, and it is a very happy thing to be taught by God. You see little Samuel is now on his knees, praying to God; God in those times showed where He was, by a great light: you see the little boy is looking straight at it; he is not looking about him, or thinking about other things, but while he prays to God he is thinking about God only. That little boy is now in heaven, where God is, to Whom he prayed, and he is very happy; your papa and mama gave you to God, when you were much less than that little child: God made you His own child, and Jesus Christ loves you, for He became a little child like you, and died, in order that you might be God's child. If you pray to God always as this little child did, God will always love you; now while God loves you, He will not let any one do you any real harm, but He will keep you quite safe, and by-and-by, He will take you, where He is Himself and where you will never cry, but be always happy. I always pray to God for you every night and morning, that you may be a good child, and love God more and more, and then you will be very happy.
God bless you, my dear Edith, prays your loving uncle,
EDWARD B. PUSEY.
As I am very busy, your aunt Maria printed this for you; she would have done it sooner, only God thought it best for her that she should be ill, so she could not do it.
Another child--in the family of Dr. Wootten--died two days before the struggle in Convocation on the question of Subscription. Pusey describes her last illness in a letter to his brother William:--
E. B. P. TO W. B. PUSEY, ESQ.
May 18, 1835.
I have kept this letter a day or two, but besides Lectures, &c. I have been finishing Notes on the Provost's Answers to my Queries. Maria (now better) has not been well; and, expecting Tholuck's visit, I have been more anxious to give additional time to my little charges. One of them, the youngest, Alice, fell asleep this morning: anything more beautiful than everything which I have seen in her for these three weeks, I cannot imagine; it was a privilege to be with her; every action and word seemed to proceed from some principle of duty and love; with full and deep consciousness of past sin, and full and entire dependence upon her Saviour, she yet was for some time past kept free from sin: about a week or ten days ago, I recommended to her the prayer of our Church, 'Keep us this day without sin,' as what we might hope should be fulfilled, if we asked in faith. She was truth itself and knew herself, and so I could dare to ask her whether she thought that God had so preserved her, and she answered, Yes. And I do believe that since she received the Blessed Sacrament, perhaps during all this illness, she had been kept free from sin even here, and was already a holy angel, before she parted from among us. It was beautiful to see how faith and humility were blended in her: it was a realizing of the words, 'I can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth me.' She felt herself nothing, and yet believed that God could do all in her, and for her, and by her. I reminded her but yesterday, that active life had many more temptations than her sick bed, and asked what she should do, if God placed her again in the midst of it. She said (with the deepest humility) that she thought that God could keep her in the midst of these trials also. However tired of other things, she had always been animated and refreshed when spoken to of the things of God. And now her warfare is accomplished, and she with her Saviour and her God. May God grant, for His Son's sake, that those we love may die with the same faith, humility, obedience.
At a somewhat earlier date, during the Easter vacation, but when the air of Oxford was full of controversy, he answers a request of Rev. B. Harrison that he would criticize a sermon, the sketch of which was enclosed:--
E. B. P. TO THE REV. B. HARRISON.
Christ Church, April 16, 1835.
I like the sketch of your sermon, although I have little more time than to tell you so, and I think it is a subject which our age and its theology both in its depths and its shallows needs to have brought before it. You, however (as far as your sketch extends), have only addressed yourself to one part of its shallows, the commonplace matter-of-fact philosophy, whereas, I think, with your congregation, you ought to take in two other classes of the Low Church, who appear to me generally to carry their ideas of corrupt human nature too much into the new man, and to think that, because we are by nature infected with evil, and have ourselves gone yet further astray, therefore we are incapable of rising to any great height of holiness (though it be by God's free gift, and not of ourselves). They seem almost to look upon it as derogatory to Christ's Atonement, if we are represented as any other than weak, miserable, sinning creatures, who are to go on sinning and polluted unto our lives' end: forgetting that since it is not ourselves, but God Who maketh us holy, all boasting and all self-righteousness is excluded by the very conditions, so that I suspect that there lies, unknown to these good persons, a stronger idea of human agency than they themselves are aware of, that they depreciate human actions because they think too much of it as human. However, the result I think is, a miserably low standard of human attainment, or rather a want of faith as to what God can and has and does work in man, if he gives himself up to Him; they think principally of God united with man for our Redemption, or of Christ's being at the Right Hand of God to make intercession for us, but they do not think of that almost more stupendous mystery, man united with God, our human nature (which has not been vouch–safed to angels) united with our God, and all the high inconceivable privileges thence ensuing. So that I think the Ascension well calcu–lated to correct in this way the faulty theology of the day. (2) The other class, to whom I think it might well be applied, though carefully, would be to young men, and in fact to most of us, as a motive for shaking off this drowsy, sleepy state in which men live on, more or less immersed in the things of this life, as if they belonged to this world, were a part of it, whereas their nature is now united with its and their Creator. The dignity of our nature, not as it is in us, but as it is united with Christ, and consequently in us also as His. members, is a frequent theme with the ancient Fathers, and must be again with us, if we would bring men (I do not mean those wilfully blind, but the half-awake) to consider in good earnest what is the hope of their calling. On the present system, we shall never build up Christians. In short, I would make the conclusion apply to our deficient practice, as well as to the unchristian theories prevalent among us. The rest I like.
Keenly as Pusey from time to time engaged in con–troversy, it never made him forgetful of the claims of personal religion whether in others or himself. His motive was a belief that the honour and will of God, as distinct from any selfish purpose, made it necessary. Accordingly it did not disturb that calm and assured sphere of spiritual interests which lies beneath the outward activities of a good man's life, nor obscure the sight of those eternal verities of which all theology is the formal expression.