Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.
London: Longmans, 1894
Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
ON SACRILEGE--ON PRAYER--ON CATHEDRAL REFORM--
OLD TESTAMENT STUDIES --THE MINISTRY OF THE
PRIESTHOOD -- CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES -- CAMBRIDGE
VISITORS--IMPRESSIONS OF OXFORD.
PUSEY was much fatigued by the labours of the Hampden controversy in addition to his daily burden of work and correspondence. He seems to have had an 'attack of numbness' in one of his arms during the Easter Vacation, which occasioned some anxiety to those about him. The vacation--so to call it--had been passed partly at Grosvenor Square and partly at Fairford; and during it, or soon after, a difference of opinion appears to have arisen between himself and his eldest brother on the ecclesiastical questions that were before Parliament.
The Commission appointed by Sir Robert Peel's Administration to enquire into the ecclesiastical condition of the Church of England and into the state of cathedral and collegiate revenues had presented a first Report, and the Archbishop of Canterbury had brought into the House of Lords a Bill to give effect to the recommendations of the commissioners respecting pluralities and non-residence. Besides this, two Bills were introduced into the House of Commons by Lord John Russell; one to remodel the English bishoprics in respect of extent and income, and a second to suppress cathedral and collegiate preferments and sinecure benefices. That these Bills were directed against very real abuses admits of no doubt; but there was a great deal to be said against many of the provisions of the proposed remedy, as well as against the agencies which were providing it. Mr. Philip Pusey, however, deeply impressed with the necessity of reform in respect of the temporalities of the Church, was, at least in the main, supporting Lord John Russell: and this led to a somewhat warm difference of opinion between the brothers. In 1832 Pusey, who had not yet emerged from the political liberalism of his early life, wrote of his elder brother, when a candidate for the representation of Berkshire, as 'a good constitutional Tory.' Now it seemed that they had changed sides. A remonstrance addressed to his brother Philip produced the following reply
PHILIP PUSEY TO E. B. P.
St. John's Wood, June 29, 1836.
I am obliged to you for your full and interesting statement of the theological views which you entertain in common with so many superior men at Oxford. Their practical effect on the mind is shown, I think, excellently in Mr. Dodsworth, whose chapel I have for some time constantly attended. With regard to ecclesiastical politics, I think you are precipitate in your reasoning when you insist upon applying the term of sacrilege to the conduct of those who take a different view of them from yourself. The tenure of the property must be considered surely before we condemn in so unqualified a manner those who say they have a right to dispose of it. If all withdrawal of funds from a sacred purpose be sacrilege, then it was sacrilege in Lord Stanley to withdraw the Irish Church rates from the Church of Ireland, and sacrilege again to withdraw the assistance of the Government from the English missionaries in Canada. The tenure of those funds was different, you will say: they were of a disposable nature, and these are inalienable. That, however, is the whole question between us-- resting on grounds of civil equity as well as on religious considerations. I will not discuss them with you, and there would be no end gained by doing so.
As regards Catholics and Lutherans, I believe there is a preponderance of good over evil in their creeds and practice, and we must be slow, I should say, to condemn them, even where we are sure they are in error.
E. B. P. TO PHILIP PUSEY, ESQ., M.P.
Christ Church, July 1, 1836.
I agree with you that it is useless for us to discuss principles; you have adopted a principle which will carry you further (if you live and are continued in Parliament) than you are yet aware, or than I have happened to hear you avow, even to the destruction of your own Church, as far as man can destroy it. I should not have reverted to the subject but that you seemed to hold it out 'in terrorem' that we should not be allowed to maintain our own spiritual rights unless we gave up to the State our temporal subsistence, or, still more, the patrimony which we have received in trust to use ourselves to the service of Almighty God, and to hand down to our successors to be so used. I think that the more we concede either way the more encroaching the State will be.
I would, however, explain what I mean by sacrilege: 'taking away money which has been consecrated to the service of Almighty God.' If the State pleased now to take away the property of the Church from the Church and to give it to the Romish Church, I should not call this sacrilege, although I should hold it as very displeasing to God; but still it leaves it to a Church, although many of the doctrines of that Church are corrupted. Again, I regard the cessation of the assistance of Government from the propagation of the Gospel in Canada, at this time, ungodly, although it was intended originally to cease whenever the colonies could provide for themselves. I regard it as ungodly because the sum was needed, and it argued a profane spirit to take away this as a saving and then spend far more on a National Gallery of pictures. Still, what had been dedicated to God was given to Him, so there was no sacrilege, any more than if I were to withdraw my subscription from the S. P.C. K., although I should account my doing so, and purchasing a print with the money, an ungodly deed.
Lord Stanley's withdrawal of the Irish Church rates I do regard as sacrilege, although in him it excited no surprise, for at that time he was joined, apparently against his better feelings, with a sacrilegious party. However, the Church rates were abolished to save the money, or rather to put a canker into the money-chests of the Protestant landlords; and for this ten bishoprics, with many parishes, which our forefathers formed, and sacrificed their wealth to form, for God's honour, are confiscated in order to increase the mammon of the men of this day. Let who will have connived at, or not resisted, this measure, it was sacrilege.
But on your plan there could be no such sin as sacrilege. . . . If what we give for the endowment of a Church may be resumed and secularized, so may the ornaments of the Church itself: they might melt down our plate and tell us that the Apostolic Churches doubtless had none (although I would not affirm this); and if it may be resumed by the State, then it would no longer be sacrilege to take it, even while it was left to the Church, since it cannot depend upon the State to make an act a sin or not.
With regard to the Lutherans and Romanists, while Lutheranism existed the good, I trust, preponderated over the bad, although it degenerated and so was destroyed; there is now no, or scarcely any, such thing in Prussia--at least, it is a small proscribed sect, and there is, I believe, but little elsewhere.
I respect Lutheranism for having retained the high doctrine of the Sacraments, although one error therein falsified their theology and so led to its corruption and destruction. As for Romanism, it also has a great deal of truth in its system, but few who believe it; where it is believed I should expect it to survive all mere Protestantism, anything, i.e., but our own Church and Sweden, and I should think that Romanism would probably eat up dissent in the country. In Edinburgh alone there are a hundred proselytes made every year from Presbyterianism; not one in the whole of Scotland from our Church.
I have derived great pleasure lately from a visit from a young German theologian, who speaks of a decided feeling and longing after more of Church principles than they now have. Oh for something like a return to Catholicity among Protestants!
The correspondence did not end here; but the only remaining letter which has yet been found illustrates Pusey's habit of giving a practical religious turn to everything that occurred:--
E. B. P. TO PHILIP PUSEY, ESQ., M.P.
[July 28, 1836.]
I am glad that you have taken my letter, as it was meant, kindly though earnestly. At our age people unhappily but seldom hear truth, and when in consequence of situation a person does hear it, it is generally mixed up with so much bitterness and untruth that it is worse than useless.
My object in writing was to press the use of prayer, or, if you used it for these occasions also, more earnest and more humble use of it; and I would just say a few more words upon it, since this is one of the eternal subjects upon which I would gladly speak.
1. It is often at the outset very perplexing to persons to observe how different persons, whom they suppose equally to make use of prayer, come to opposite results: this has been a temptation to many to neglect prayer altogether, to others to confine it to matters of personal conduct (that one should act from right motives, to the best of one's judgement, honestly, without praying that that judgement should be enlightened). Others, as Scott ('Force of Truth '), have inferred that because they have used prayer, therefore the result to which they have come must be right. In the recent instance, as Sir R. Peel never goes down to the House (certainly on any important question) without praying to God for direction, you have alike used prayer, and come to opposite results. It is not sufficient then to use prayer. To take Scott's case: he was strongly convinced that the doctrine (I think) of final perseverance would be a great blessing to the earnest-minded of his congregation; and so he set himself to examine the New Testament (as he almost acknowledges) with a manifest and strong bias, though with the use of prayer. Now, we should easily see that if he arrived at the conclusion at which he wished, there was no evidence that be was led to it by God; that he did not approach it in a sufficiently teachable spirit; that he wished to be confirmed in his own views, not to learn or be taught of God. And something of this kind most of us probably may have observed in ourselves, viz. that in praying to God we had some sort of mental reservation, and that while we prayed for His guidance there was some feeling lurking at the bottom of our hearts that we were sure that we were right, i.e. in plain terms that we did not want God's guidance any more to lead us into truth, but only to enable us to act rightly in it.
2. Prayer should be persevering indeed, but especially in the beginning of a course of action and of forming a line of opinions, and so accompany us continually. For if we delay it until after we have begun our line of action or taken up our opinions, or until these are any way ripened or formed, then if we use prayer it may be that we are too late. We have been acting wrongly in depending thus far upon ourselves, and it may be that God may think fit to leave us to the punishment of our own presumption, and by not helping us in this case to teach either ourselves or other beings more entire dependence upon Him. At all events (for I do not mean that we should despair of guidance if we have acted thus) it requires a much stronger exertion of faith, much more self-denial--for it may be that we shall be required to give up our plan of action or opinions, which is at all times a hard trial to the flesh--and unless we are ready to give them up, if it be God's will, we are not submitting to God's teaching, or praying in faith, and therefore cannot expect to be heard. Not as if we were always to be praying about first principles or doubting about them: e.g. if I were now to write about the Holy Trinity I should not pray to be guided into truth with regard to the fundamentals of this doctrine, for this I am satisfied that the Universal Church, and so myself already has; but whatever I hold to be matter of enquiry or of doubt, this, I think, ought to be made the subject of prayer from the very moment one first enters upon it, and even then one may often suffer from a wrong bias one has previously received through the former neglect of prayer. And so I should fear that many good men are now suffering from the former neglect of prayer, or rather it is a comfort to think that to this may be owing our miserably low standard in many respects (e.g. duelling, evil-speaking, self-opinion), and that hereafter, by a more earnest and earlier use of prayer, the character of the Christian world may be heightened.
3. It frequently happens that some collateral defect is preventing our being guided into truth, even while we pray for it; i.e. that we are, from other defects against which we have not sufficiently struggled, unworthy of being God's instrument for good, or are opposing the influences which we pray for. We are unconsciously influenced by other motives and principles than those which we put prominently to ourselves, and so are in fact not praying aright--not against the evil dispositions yet remaining in us, which are the hindrances of God's blessing--not completely enough; we are asking for one blessing when we ought to be asking for many: and so it may be that God denies the one which we ask, that, looking why we have it not, we may learn more of ourselves and what we ought to ask for. Take, e.g., Cranmer's vacillations, Laud's arbitrariness: both were holy and good men, both, I doubt not, prayed most earnestly to be directed, both were of eminent service, yet were the benefits of which they might otherwise have been the instruments much diminished and their own characters compromised, probably by want of sufficient watchfulness, not over their general conduct, but over some secret springs which were sending up bitter waters under it. Every age has its peculiar evil tendencies, every individual his own plague; some of those of our age are love of display, of popularity (i.e. the praise of men), self-confidence, expediency, want of sincerity, tolerance of evil, shallow notions about God and His truth, and these probably have their influence in their degree over most of us; we are breathing an infected atmosphere--our own plagues we each of us, I hope, know; and by correcting these more earnestly we are, I trust, in the way of being guided more completely into that truth which as yet is hid from us. I was much struck in yesterday morning's lesson (often as one has read it), by the absoluteness and fullness of the promise, with the earnest of the condition, 'If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you': which modern unbelief, because Christ's words do not abide in them, interprets of miraculous powers only: and so again it is striking how very peremptorily God says that deficiency of faith shall prevent our receiving anything. 'Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.' 'Ye ask and have not, because ye ask amiss.
May God teach us what to ask and how to ask it, and give us His Spirit to ask early and fervently and perseveringly, and take away everything in us which may prevent all our prayers being heard.
On July 20th a meeting of members of the cathedral bodies was held for defensive purposes in the Chapter-house of St. Paul's Cathedral. Mr. Sydney Smith, whose interest in the subject was notorious, was in the chair, as being Canon in residence. Three Deans and twenty-nine Canons were present. Pusey had attended an earlier meeting at St. Paul's on July 8th; he then went to stay at Clapham with the Rev. B. Harrison's father, and there met Dr. Dealtry, who suggested that he should draw up a petition to the House of Lords against Lord John Russell's Bill for suppressing many offices in the cathedrals, and diverting their revenues to other purposes. Pusey drew up a petition of twenty-four paragraphs, in which he repeated the reasons for preserving the cathedrals which he had urged in his work on Cathedral Institutions. If the cathedrals were not as useful to the Church as they might have been, it was because patrons had not been careful to make good appointments to them: they had been, and might be again, the homes of solid learning, which, if less calculated to command public notice, involved more labour than parochial work, and was not less useful to the Church.
This petition, marked by the redundant earnestness and sustained intensity which were his characteristics, Pusey read to the meeting on the 20th. It would be interesting to know what the chairman thought of it: the meeting certainly thought very well of it, and had it lithographed for circulation in the several Chapters of England and Wales. On the 25th of July Lord John Russell announced that the Bill was withdrawn. This was partly due to the Radical opposition, which objected to it as not going far enough. But it was also in part the work of the religious resistance to which Pusey had powerfully contributed. 'The respite,' wrote Archdeacon Hoare to Pusey, 'has been obtained for us, I think, by the stir you enabled us to make towards the close of the last session.
That it was only a respite Pusey knew full well; and indeed he was too little satisfied with the existing state of things in cathedrals not to wish for well-considered changes, devised, not in the interests of political adventurers, but in those of the religion and Church of Christ. He wrote a long letter to Archdeacon Hoare about the principles on which Cathedral Reform should be conducted. Of these principles, the leading one was respect for the regulations of the founders.
'The only case,' he contended, 'in which it has ever been thought right to alter the regulations of the founder is when the purposes he contemplated have ceased to exist.'
If property had been left to a corrupt Church, it still had been left to promote God's service, and it could not be devoted to other purposes without sin. It would indeed be as reasonable to confiscate a Professorship of Astronomy, because the Professor taught differently from the founder who lived when the Ptolemaic system was taken for granted: the founder desired to have astronomy taught. But with such reasonable reserves the principle held good. The will of the founders is a trust, and our necessities do not warrant us in ignoring it. Pusey warns modern Church reformers against taking credit to themselves for anxiety to promote God's kingdom, while sacrificing to Him nothing but that which was not their own. But, premising this, Pusey had many and extensive reforms in cathedrals at heart. All non-residentiaries should reside. If necessary, property within the cathedrals should be redistributed. Parishes in which cathedrals held tithes should be well endowed. Cathedral towns should have ample spiritual provision made for them, and in a degree, and according to circumstances, all parishes in a diocese should have some claim on the cathedral funds; but this claim would necessarily be very limited. Pusey would insist on the integrity of the cathedrals, unless a canonry or canonries had to be sunk to make spiritual provision for places where the cathedral held tithes.
Deaneries and canonries should be devoted to the promotion of sound religious learning. And in any redistribution of property regard should be had to the claims of the diocese or county for which the endowment was originally devised: 'the funds of Devonshire should not be employed for Lancashire, or of Durham for Staffordshire.' The Church would be stronger at this moment in some parts of the country if the Ecclesiastical Commissioners could have kept this. last principle constantly in view.
Reviewing the question some weeks later, Pusey writes to Keble :--
'October 13, 1836.
'Whatever be the cause, I do think that the parochial clergy are much to blame for their silence about these Bills. The Cathedral clergy remained silent too long. But they had the excuse that they appeared to be interested parties. And it has been (rightly or wrongly) the line taken by the clergy to keep silence on subjects which affected their own interests. But the parochial clergy would have appeared as persons acting rather against their interests, inasmuch as some of them might have their share of the spoils. But certainly I did see cases in which they took it for granted that the Chapters were to be despoiled, and only looked for their portion of the prey. Thus even -- applied for their slice of the Windsor property. Now, if the body of parochial clergy are silent, and others are forestalling the slaughter, and the poor Chapters have an ill-name, and the Conservatives are pressing for measures which will strengthen (the Church and) themselves, and people see that there is so much that might be done with their funds and that, on account of the appointments, so little is done with them now,-- it requires firmer minds than the end of the last century or the beginning of this seems to have trained, either in Church or State, to stand apparently alone against all this. And if those who were trained in more nerving days wish the battle not to be lost, they must volunteer and not leave their generals to look about and rally them, or fight without them.'
But Church Reform was only the parergon of Pusey's life during the Long Vacation of 1836. The main work which he set himself to do was to write a set of supplementary lectures for his Hebrew pupils on the types and prophecies of the Old Testament. He worked hard at this during July and August, even though the 'Library of the Fathers' was presenting itself to him as an object with paramount claims upon his time.
'I have not yet got through the types and prophecies of the Pentateuch,' he writes to Harrison on September 15, 'or, rather, I am but just commencing the types of the ritual, so that I hardly suppose that during the vacation I shall get beyond the Pentateuch. And then I shall have, if possible, to prepare lectures for the next term, even if I have enough for this.'
These lectures on types and prophecies were never published; their author, it seems, was never sufficiently well satisfied with them, and they only exist in a fragmentary and imperfect form among his papers. But the labour of writing them was not lost. Some of the thoughts in them survive in his last sermon on Prophecy preached in 1878 before the University; and they enabled Pusey to make the very interesting addition on the types of Holy Baptism which appeared in the second edition of the tract on that subjec. The lectures were not so well attended as Pusey had hoped: twenty-nine seems to have been the total number of listeners at the beginning of term. But they interested older people at a distance.
'I want,' wrote Keble in November, 'to hear your lectures on types and prophecies, and whether Jeffreys is right in saying that you are always against a double sense.' 'I fear,' replied Pusey, 'that I must have misled my former pupils by not having myself adequate notions of types, although what I have been gradually expanding for a good many years. What I think Jeffreys alludes to is my denying any typical basis to such places as Ps. ii, xlv, and to those parts of Is. xl-end which relate to our Lord, contrary to those modern notions which say, This psalm was first fulfilled in David, then in Christ. But I think this was intended to be confined to particular places.... I cannot give any principle in a few words, for I should admit a typical sense in " the seed of the woman," " in thy seed shall all nations, &c.," although not where the dignity of our Lord is plainly spoken of; nor again in Is. liii.'
Side by side with these serious literary undertakings, which more and more deeply engrossed him, and apart from his interest in Church Reform, he carried on already correspondence enough to have exhausted the energies of any ordinary man. A now well-known clergyman, the Rev. J. Fuller Russell, was in the year 1836 an undergraduate at Cambridge, and wrote Pusey a series of questions about subjects which the Church movement was bringing into prominence. Cambridge was supposed to be less open to Church influences than Oxford. The studies of the place were not so wide as they have since become; there was at any rate an absence of that general philosophical training which Oxford men associated with Aristotle's Ethics and the works of Bishop Butler; and there was also the active influence of the Rev. C. Simeon's vigorous personality and sincere, if somewhat narrow, piety. Still, the principles which were now rapidly winning the allegiance of the best intellectual and moral life of Oxford were making way here and there among younger Cambridge men. Mr. Russell's questions illustrate the interest that had been aroused, and Pusey's answer might well have been that of a man who had nothing to do but write letters.
E. B. P. TO J. F. RUSSELL, ESQ.
Christ Church, Dec. 10, 1836.
I take the first moment of leisure to attempt to answer your questions, and can assure you that I am always glad (when I have leisure) to answer, as I can, any practical difficulties which may occur to younger men.
(1) It is certainly a privilege to be confirmed. Confirmation is not simply the taking upon oneself the vows made for one in infancy, but also a channel of grace through the ordinance of God. It, as well as Orders, differs from the two great Sacraments in that these directly unite us with Christ; but both it and Orders are means of grace to the worthy receiver. The ancient Church administered confirmation almost as a part of baptism, to the adult as to the infant, when a Bishop was at hand; otherwise the acts were separated. Our Church at the end of the office for adult baptism says that it 'is expedient that every person, thus baptized, should be confirmed by the Bishop, as soon as conveniently may be.' Our Church also certainly contemplates that persons should be confirmed, even after having been admitted to the Communion, if on any ground they should have been admitted to the Communion before; because confirmation is a privilege from which a person is not to be excluded.
(2) In Absolution, the contrast is not between 'declaratory' and 'ministerial,' but between 'ministerial' and 'judicial.' It is this last which the Church of Rome holds and we do not. It is remarkable that we have in our service the three forms: Declaratory (daily service), Precatory (Communion service), and that which puts the ministerial most prominently (Visitation of the Sick). Yet these are but three several forms of doing the same act. 'It is all one,' says Bishop Sparrow, 'Rationale of Common Prayer,' p. 15, 'as to the remission of sins in the penitent, whether the priest absolves him after this form: " Almighty God, Who hath given me and all priests power to pronounce pardon to the penitent, He pardons you:" or thus, " By virtue of a commission granted to me from God, I absolve you;" or lastly, " God pardon you, viz, by me His servant according to His promise, " Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted." All these are but several expressions of the same thing, and are effectual to the penitent, by virtue of that commission mentioned St. John xx, which commission in two of these forms is expressed, and in the last, viz. that at the Communion, is sufficiently implied and supposed.
The Ministerialness of the act consists in. that it has pleased God that the absolution should be conveyed through a minister, as expressed by the Greek Church (ap. Bp. Sparrow): 'Almighty God, pardon you by me His unworthy servant,' or 'Lord, pardon him, for Thou hast said, " Whose sins, &c." sometimes expressing, always including, God's commission.' But we regard the priest as exercising simply a ministerial, not a judicial act, as the Romanist. Again, the difference of absolution not being a sacrament is very great: to the Romanist it is a second baptism; with us it is an earnest of God's future mercy, in that if we be truly and heartily penitent, He allows us to partake of it, but it is not plenary as in baptism. There are, of course, many other points connected with it wherein we differ from Rome, as the necessity of particular confession, the meaning of satisfaction, &c.
(3) The objection as to the Ordination Service of Edward VI. and all other Objections have been fully answered by Courayer, a French Romanist, in several works: (1) 'Dissertation sur la validité des Ordinations des Anglois,' (2) 'Défense de la Dissertation,' (3) 'Supplément aux deux Ouvrages faits pour la défense,' &c. I think the first has been translated. There is also a good work by Mason (Archdeacon), 'Defence of the English Church'. It is true that in Edward the Sixth's book the name of the office to which the persons were ordained was omitted. The words addressed to the priest ran, 'Receive the Holy Ghost. Whosesoever sins,' &c.; but it is absurd to found any argument upon it. The words were never thought essential, especially since it is not one of the two Sacraments, and so the words are not our Lord's; and it would be ridiculous, if it had not been so miserably dishonest, inasmuch as the Roman form is the very same thus far as that of Edward VI. Other Romanists who have admitted the validity of our Orders are mentioned by Courayer and Mr. Palmer in his 'Origines Liturgicae.'
(4) Our Church receives the four first Councils as being real Universal or Catholic Councils. The Bishops therein assembled bore witness to the faith which they had received from their predecessors, and so from the Apostles. The 'General Councils' to which our Art. XXI. objects are what are popularly so called, and are asserted to be such by the Romanists, but are not so. A real General or Universal Council, we believe, could not err, because of our Lord's promise that He would be always with His Church. The Romanists have erred in applying this promise to particular Councils, or Councils held in conjunction with the Pope. (You may find some useful information in Mr. Perceval's recent book 'On the Roman Schism.') To say that 'we are bound by them because they declare the faith which we acknowledge,' would plainly be to say that we are not bound by them at all; for we should then accept [them] on our own authority, because they fell in with our views. Tradition has been so miserably broken that on many points we could not have a General Council now, yet on any new heresy we might; e. g. were it necessary to declare that 'there are doctrines in Scripture besides facts,' the whole Christian world could give witness that they had so learned from their forefathers, and so on; and this would in itself be valid, inasmuch as it would establish an universal tradition. So again against a modern sect which denies 'a day of judgement'; the Church has always been taught so to interpret Holy Scripture, and since this is universal it must have come from the Apostles. So again 'Baptismal regeneration,' since it can be proved-that the other tradition is recent, reaching up only to Zwingli.
(5) You will find Mr. Keble's opinions very dearly stated at the bottom of p. 301. One thing which he wishes to inculcate is, that our knowledge that Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation is not derived from Holy Scripture itself; nor from the reason of the thing, but from tradition. You will find some valuable observations on the subject of tradition in Bishop Beveridge's 'Introduction to the Canons,' which I quoted in my answer to the 'Pope's Pastoral' (reprinted in 'Tracts for the Times,' at end of preface to vol. 3), and in the edition of Vincentius now coming out.
Having now answered your questions, which I have been glad to do, while I express my satisfaction at the growth of Catholic principles everywhere in our Church, I may add that it is not unmixed with anxiety. Not that I see anything in your letter to cause it, but that as soon as a set of views becomes popular there is danger lest they should be taken up abstractedly, or as a set of notions, or a beautiful theory: not practically. They are a precious deposit, and on that account the warning can never be misplaced, to take heed how we hold it, lest the holding it should prove rather a condemnation. I do trust that God's Holy Spirit, Who is at this time awakening men everywhere so rapidly and so suddenly to a sense of the importance of these truths, will carry on this His work, and that we shall not grieve Him; but for this there is need of much watchfulness, lest we substitute possession of these truths for the use of them. They must be always thought of reverently as a talent of which we must give account; and they are privileges so high that, except by continual thankfulness for them and growth under them, men would come to substitute names for things. Take e.g. 'Apostolic succession' ;--what is this but to say that we have a privilege which scarcely any other body of Christians has in the West, which is freed from the corruptions of Rome. Or, again, if we speak of it with reference to Dissenters, with what real sorrow we ought to feel their loss, and with what humility our own privileges. I do not mean that we should force ourselves to feel this; but if we speak of them we should do it with reverent earnestness, and try not to do so without the consciousness of their greatness. Another corrective is, acting upon them: fasting (as health permits), self-denial, earnest intercessory prayer, when we would gladly follow some other wishes of our own; obedience and respect for authority (even when it goes against out own views, if not against conscience), respectful or not disrespectful mention of those placed in authority,--will help to realize these views to us, and may, we may trust, bring down the blessing of Almighty God, that He may more and more realize them in us.
With every good wish and prayer, I remain,
E. B. PUSEY.
Mr. Russell was already engaged in forming a catena of English Church writers since the Reformation on the subject of Church authority in relation to Holy Scripture. Pusey offered to subscribe to it, although he had to tell Mr. Russell that 'Mr. Newman has a catena almost ready on the same subject.' Mr. Russell soon became a correspondent of Pusey's.
'You will be glad to hear,' he writes, 'that Catholicism is gradually gaining ground at Cambridge, although it meets with a fierce opposition in some quarters of our University. Mr. Cams, who has succeeded Mr. Simeon as the leader of a certain party at Cambridge, has embraced the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, and inculcates it at his parties.'
All, however, was not sunshine. The Christian Advocate had intended to attack Keble's sermon on Primitive Tradition. Mr. Russell's own brother had attacked Newman's tract on 'The Introduction of Rationalistic Principles into Religion,' Newman had headed one of his pages 'The Atonement not a manifestation of God's Justice,' meaning not that it did not exhibit God's justice, but that it did not make the reasons for its being justice perfectly intelligible to man. The phrase was, however, misunderstood, and made the ground of an attack on the writer.
'What Newman says,' writes Pusey to Mr. Russell, 'is so manifestly directed against those who speak as if they understood the whole mystery of man's redemption, and [who] bring [down] not one of its ends, but Its end (!), as they say, to the level of everyday common sense, and talk familiarly of the counsels of God therein, as if it was a matter which lay on the very surface of things, that I cannot acquit your brother of very culpable prejudice or carelessness. It seems to me quite a ground why he should recall his pamphlet; which, however, authors very rarely do. But " Semi-Arianism" is not a word to be bandied about carelessly. I do not object to strong terms: we have been obliged to use them. But I doubt Dr. H[ampden]'s statements being called Socinian, however they might lead to it. With all kind feeling to your brother, I think that he has been grievously wrong in this matter.'
Oxford became a place of pilgrimage in the eyes of young Cambridge Churchmen, and in writing to a friend Mr. Russell has left an account of his own visit to it in the autumn of 1837. He was accompanied by the Rev. W. J. Irons, who was at that time 'boldly proclaiming true principles and securing an overflowing congregation' in Walworth.
J. F. RUSSELL, ESQ., TO A FRIEND.
Nov. 18, 1837.
How you will envy me when you hear that I have just returned from a most delightful visit to Oxford. Irons and I left London at ten o'clock on Monday, and reached the University about five. On Tuesday morning I was dressed by eight, and hastened down to Oriel, which stands in a narrow street, facing great St. Mary's. Having surveyed the great court, I retraced my steps, and finding that great St. Mary's Church, was open, I entered. An open screen, surmounted by the organ, separated the nave from the chancel. I looked through the glass doors and beheld Newman kneeling before the altar with his face towards it. A few people were kneeling with him: this was his regular morning service. I returned to Queen's, where one Pocock (a man of note and worth in the University) met us at breakfast. We soon completed our repast, and Irons and I hastened to Christ Church. I left my card at Linwood's, and Irons was soon closeted with Dr. Pusey. Irons rejoined me about two, and said that Pusey had enquired about me and would see me at three. At three, accordingly, we found ourselves in the innermost cell, the central chamber of the 'Popery of the kingdom.' I should say, first, that we passed through a hall, and a large room well furnished with books, before we entered the sanctuary. This was a large chamber of some height and nearly square. There were two lofty Gothic windows, at one of which was placed a standing-desk. There were also two or three tables, a sofa, and sundry chairs in the room, all more or less laden with books. The Doctor was seated in an armed and cushioned chair, and received us with much kindness. He is a young-looking man, about my height, very pale and careworn, with a slight impediment in his speech. Irons put some erudite questions to him about the Canons of Nice and the celibacy of the clergy, and the Doctor laughed at Irons' plausible argument that, under existing circumstances, it was better for the clergy to marry as fast as possible! Pusey soon alluded to my brother. He said he had received two letters from him, but he thought it useless to argue with him on paper. The question at issue between them was a simple matter of fact. I might tell my brother that Mr. Newman never intended to deny that the Atonement satisfied God's justice; and that the very words of the tract [No. 73] could not be wrenched so as to warrant so grave an accusation as my brother's. I said that he had made up his mind that the words of the heading of the passage--'the Atonement not an exhibition of God's Justice' [p. 29], must be taken as an epitome of the contents of the page. Pusey said that the emphasis ought to be laid on the word 'exhibition,' and that he was sorry that more care had not been taken with the heading so as to avoid its being misunderstood. The bell of Christ Church now struck four, and Pusey put on his surplice, and we followed him into the cathedral. Before we parted he invited us both to dine with him on the following day. Service ended we returned to Queen's, and presently dined at the Fellows' table. Dinner over we adjourned to the 'Common-room,' and sat there until nine. The talk naturally fell upon Pusey, &c. It was allowed that the Doctor and Newman governed the University, and that nothing could withstand the influence of themselves and their friends. Every man of talent who during the last six years has come to Oxford has joined Newman, and when he preaches at St. Mary's (on every Sunday afternoon) all the men of talent in the University come to hear him, although at the loss of their dinner. His triumph over the mental empire of Oxford was said to be complete! Pusey is considered the great benefactor of Oxford; he supports five divinity students in his own house, and his benefactions to the poor are very great. He had preached a sermon (to a crowded congregation) in St. Mary's Church, on the 5th November 2, which had occasioned immense excitement, and he was engaged to preach on the two following Sundays. It was said that he possessed an indirect but great influence Over the whole clergy of Oxford, and that even those who did not openly profess themselves on his side,' were imperceptibly adopting his sentiments.... On Wednesday, after breakfast, Irons and I called on Newman. He was seated at a small desk in a comfortable room, stored with books. He is a dark, middle-aged, middle-sized man, with lanky black hair and large spectacles, thin, gentlemanly, and very insinuating. He received us with the greatest kindness, and said he had been invited to meet us at Pusey's, but had so 'grievous a cold' that he feared he could not come. Irons, however, overruled all objections, and when we left him he gave us to understand that we should meet him. The hour of five found us at Christ Church. When we entered Pusey's sanctum we found him and Harrison [now Archdeacon of Maidstone], Student of Christ Church, by the feeble light of bedchamber-candlestick candle brooding over the last sheet of Pusey's fifth of November sermon. presently an argand lamp threw its mild lustre over the room, and Newman was announced. Pusey seemed delighted to see him. He asked me how I liked Oxford. I discoursed on its superiority over Cambridge, and added that it reminded me of a city of the middle ages. We then had a little talk about sundry old customs which were still observed in the city. Harrison departed with the sermon, and we went into the dining-room. There were two other guests besides ourselves, and we were soon seated at table. Newman was opposite me, Irons at my right, and Pusey at the head of the board. The conversation was chiefly between Irons and Newman (Pusey is a man of few words). It referred to the heresy of Irving and his followers, and Dr. Pusey observed that miracles had [might have] been performed by that party, if always considered as the rewards of personal faith and not as wrought in confirmation of any particular and uncatholic views of doctrine. The question how far we receive the authority of the first four General Councils was also broached. Newman and Pusey seemed to know less about them than Irons. I suggested that we only received their decisions so far as the great verities of the Faith were concerned, and Newman and Pusey agreed with me. Newman suggested that the distinction to be made between matters of doctrine and matters of discipline was this, i.e. that matters of doctrine are those which have been universally received, as are the Trinity, Incarnation, Episcopal Succession, Baptismal Regeneration, and the like. Irons made some observations on the Atonement. He said that every other act of our Saviour's life was, in its own place, of equal value with His last sacrificial one. Newman strongly insisted, on the contrary, that the Atonement alone was the grand procuring and meritorious cause of our pardon, and quoted sundry texts in proof of it. In reference to the text, 'He died for our sins, and rose again for our justification,' he commented on the errors of those who, resting on the first part of it, 'He died for our sins,' think that their salvation is secure without the Church, forgetting and overlooking altogether the latter clause of the verse, 'He rose again for our justification,' that is, He rose that He might send the gift of His Spirit upon His Church, and through her clergy and sacraments, through all ages, dispense the means of grace and justification. Pusey had not gone into the question of the succession, but he thought the only point in it which required guarding was that respecting the consecration of Parker, &c. Auricular confession, he feared, was a grace which had been lost to the Church and could not be restored. Presently, after dinner, Dr. Pusey's children ran into the room. One climbed Newman's knee and hugged him. Newman put his spectacles on him, and next on his sister, and great was the merriment of the Puseyan progeny. Newman, it is said, hates ecclesiastical conversation. He writes so much that when in society he seems always inclined to talk on light, amusing subjects. He told them a story of an old woman who had a broomstick which would go to the well, draw water, and do many other things for her; how the old woman got tired of the broomstick, and wishing to destroy it broke it in twain, and how, to the old woman's great chagrin and disappointment, two live broomsticks grew from the broken parts of the old one! We quitted Christ Church about nine, highly delighted with our visit. It was esteemed the highest honour which could have been paid us. We left Oxford about half-past twelve on Wednesday night, by the mail, and reached Oxford Street at about five on Thursday morning. Pusey sent Irons a copy of his sermon before he left, so we were the first persons in the kingdom not immediately connected with the Doctor who had it in our possession!
This picture brings before us the weakness as well as the strength of the Movement in those early days. The anxiety to recover forgotten truths and to enable Christianity to encounter its opponents with new courage, which was the animating principle of Newman and Pusey, was naturally, in the case of younger men, mixed up with other interests and feelings. They were fascinated by the Movement itself apart from its objects; by the intellectual enterprise which had created it, and the warm adhesion which it commanded; by the opposition which it provoked, and the skill, courage, and determination with which opponents were encountered. But this could not last. As time goes on work and war become monotonous, and reverses are inevitable in the history of all human effort. Mr. Russell and Mr. Irons were both loyal to the Church movement to the end; but such loyalty is tested when a cause is no longer aided by brilliant powers, or able to command conspicuous success.