Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.
London: Longmans, 1894
Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
THE LIBRARY OF THE FATHERS.
THE Hampden controversy had many consequences; but its most important literary result was the creation of 'The Library of the Fathers.' Pusey's mind had been directed in some measure towards the Fathers almost from boyhood. The copy of St. Chrysostom's works which his own father had given him in the year 1824, before he took Holy Orders, had guided and fed his veneration for those great teachers; and even during the years when German theology and the Hebrew and Arabic languages had largely absorbed his time he had never altogether lost sight of them. In his early life, however, the Fathers stood, in his estimation, only on a level with, if not below, modern divines, and he has left on record an account of the considerations by which he was led to recognize their true relative greatness. In spite of the article on 'The Oxford Malignants,' Dr. Arnold, while preparing his two sermons on Prophecy, begged Mr. W. A. Greenhill to ask Pusey's advice as to the books he should consult in order to understand the patristic view of the subject. Although compelled to pay a high tribute to the character of Pusey himself, whose assistance he was seeking, Dr. Arnold does not think it inappropriate at the same time to inveigh with his old rancour against 'some of the Newmanites' with whom Pusey was by this time thoroughly identified.
'I really shall be anxious,' wrote Arnold, 'to get Pusey's answer; and though I do not expect to agree entirely with any of the books which he may name, yet I should probably agree with them more than he imagines, and I should certainly read them with no purpose or feeling of controversy. .
'One thing I know, that the doctrines of some of the Newmanites are not inconsistent with, but rather are grounded upon, the wildest scepticism; and that scepticism is a yet worse evil when it is allied with fanaticism--a union which I have known to exist among Roman Catholics, and which appears to me to be one of the most fearful combinations of disease into which the human mind and soul can fall. .
'From Pusey you will learn, I am sure, nothing virulent, or proud, or false, but self-denial in its true form, combined with humility and honesty'.
Pusey's answer to this appeal has an interest, both personal and in relation to the true claims of the Fathers, which justifies its reproduction at length. It will be observed that he deals with the Fathers only as interpreters of Holy Scripture.
E. B. P. TO W. A. GREENHILL, ESQ.
Christ Church, Oxford, June 6, 1838.
It is very difficult to answer your question in a way which may not be, even naturally, misunderstood. For if one values anything and feels that one has grounds for so doing, one must think that another who does not value it is wrong, and for some reason fails to appreciate it. One cannot be firmly persuaded of anything, without being as firmly persuaded of the erroneousness of the contrary, whatever degree of importance one may attach to that erroneousness, which is altogether another matter. And yet if one attaches a value to anything, one would not willingly see or help another to disparage it, or look at it in the point of view from which he could not fail to disparage it. And yet all this care for another, if he be one's superior in talent, seems the more to be assuming a superiority of some other sort.
To apply all this preface. Of course I must think those wrong somehow who disparage the Fathers: since also (whatever may be the case as to individual statements) I think they have altogether a deeper way of viewing things than moderns, deeper and truer thoughts, I must think that those who think lightly of them have, for some reason or other, failed to see their true character; and attaching value as I do to them, I should be sorry to aggravate this. But then I have no question about Dr. A[rnold's] talents being far greater than mine; and yet I am not only assuming that I am in the right, and he in the wrong, but I am actually unwilling to aid him in a course of study (if indeed I could) because I think it would only prejudice him further against what I believe to be truth.
All this is very embarrassing, because one cannot but seem to him to be assuming unduly; and yet I am unwilling without some protest of this sort to say anything about a study which would only revolt a person the more from what I value, and about whose value and the consequences of its disparagement my convictions are very strong.
The truth is, Dr. Arnold measures Christian antiquity by a modem standard; so do many in these days: so did I, in the very question of prophecy, once. But the two systems are altogether different and at variance: consequently, whichever you take as the standard, the other must be faulty; to the moderns, the ancients must appear misty and fanciful; to those who hold the ancients to be in the right, the moderns will seem shallow. I myself have, on this subject of prophecy, gone through both these stages. What led me back gradually to the ancients -was, as I have said to you, (1) that I found that many, perhaps the majority, of quotations of the Old Testament in the New laboured under difficulties in the modern system, from which they were free in the ancient: whence it seemed that the ancient system was most like that of inspired Scripture. (2) I found that the most ancient Jewish interpretations were, in general principles, accordant with the ancient Christian; whereas ours were derived from a modern philosophical-grammatical Jewish school, which also was an unbelieving one, since it arose in opposition to the Gospel. (Calvin's system of interpretation, which is a basis of most modern, comes, as a fact, from the later Jews; so a number of the early Protestant commentators on the Old Testament are translations from the later Jews.) (3) I was struck by finding the same interpretations in very distinct parts of the Church, and so independent of each other, and coming apparently from some common origin. (4) I was struck (as Mr. Osborne, the modern anti-patristic, is) with their great combination of Scripture, and with the beauty and apparent truth of things which I first rejected as fanciful. (5) The Fathers' views seemed to me to be much more penetrated with a consciousness of the mysterious depth of every work and way of God; according to it (and, this is a very first principle implied in it) nothing in God's creation is accidental, but everything has a meaning, if we could but read it. According to a striking saying of the son of Sirach, 'All things are made double one against another, and He hath made nothing imperfect,' Ecclesiasticus xlii. 24; and xxxiii. 15, 'So look upon all the works of the Most High, and there are two and two, one against another.'
On some such grounds as these, and perhaps others, I have arrived after some time 'at the position in which I now am, not looking at the modern view as untrue, but as a small portion of the truth only, and wrong when it assumes to be all, and for the most part miserably shallow. At the same time, neither do I see my way through all the details of ancient interpretation: I have not studied enough for it: I am only satisfied that the principles of their system are right, and that much which one should reject at first sight as fanciful, is true.
But then, I know that this has been a long and gradual process with me, and I feel quite assured, without ascribing to Dr. A[rnold] any prejudice (more than I think moderns lie under to their own view), I feel morally certain beforehand that the result would be a still further depreciation of the Fathers. To one with modern views they must and do appear fanciful: a person would be repelled at every step: it would seem a mere labyrinth of arbitrary notions. Besides details, which may in a degree be erroneous, as proceeding from a faulty translation, the whole substratum almost of principles is different.
The prophetical expositions then of the Fathers is the very last part upon which I should wish a modern to enter: one who has found them wanting in his balance in other respects, will still more find them so here. So it is with Mr. Osborne and the rest.
After all this preface my answer to your question will be a very meagre one, and would tell nothing but what Dr. A[rnold] knows before. The books which I know are only common books: Augustine de Civ. Dei contains many, to me, valuable principles; so also I have found much to me valuable in Irenaeus, [in] Theodoret's, and Augustine's Commentaries. Theodoret would perhaps be the least offensive to a modern. Then there is Orig. c. Cels., Justin M. dial. c. Tryph., Eusebius Praep. Evang., Cyril Jerus. Cat. Lectures, Cyril Alex. Commentaries, Lactantius Instit. L. 4, Hippolytus de anti-Xto. I recollect also being struck some years back with some extracts from Primasius, Victorinus, Arethas in Prof. Lee's App. to his Sermons (on the Apocalypse). What I know myself of the Fathers on prophecy is, for the most part, less from systematic reading than from endeavouring to ascertain their views on particular points, prophecies, types, and whether there was agreement among them in detail. Newman or Keble know a great deal more, as, indeed, some of these books are on Newman's recommendation.
Of our early (post-reformation) English exposition of prophecy, if we had any, I know nothing: the later was against the deists, and so fell into the error of looking for rigid proof; or rather, looking to such prophecy only as admitted of rigid proof; and so became a mere confined study of insulated texts.
This is the best I can do towards answering your question, and I hope that it will not be misunderstood if I express strongly my conviction that any attempt to engraft the Fathers into a modern system can only end in disappointment and disgust; and that I should desire strongly to dissuade from the study any one imbued with modern principles. I should think he could get no good and would rather get harm from them.
I may add, that the chief repertoria of ancient Jewish interpretation are Martini Pugio fidei, and Schoettgen Horae Hebr. T. 2 de Messia; but this would be still less intelligible than the Fathers. Hulsii Theol. Jud. is also a good book.
I am afraid that you have but a thankless office: I really wish, however, not to give pain or offence, as far as I can consistently with honesty.
With every good wish,
Ever yours most truly,
E. B. PUSEY.
For some years Pusey, it will have been seen, knew the Fathers mainly by extracts, reading passages to which his attention was called by the copious Benedictine indices: he had not time, as yet, for more. Even the tract on Baptism appears to represent this earlier and meagre sort of knowledge of them, at least very largely--a knowledge which differed altogether from that of ten years later, when he read treatise after treatise over and over again; when, to use his own favourite phrase, he 'lived in St. Augustine,' so that his whole thought became saturated with that of the great African father. Still, in 1835-1836, he knew enough of the Fathers to know how much the Church of England had missed by so largely losing sight of them. In the seventeenth century her divines were as conversant with them as any theologians in Europe, but the Fathers were gradually forgotten as the eighteenth century advanced. This lamentable result was due partly to their identification, in the eyes of the Hanoverian bishops, with the troublesome learning of the Non-jurors; partly to the exigencies of the Deistic controversy, in which they could not be appealed to as in any sense authorities which both sides would recognize; and partly to the shallowness which was characteristic of the time, and which only too readily persuaded itself that a large and exacting study was, after all, needless and unfruitful. Now and then men cast their eyes back upon the fields which had been so dear to their predecessors; Waterland could not controvert the assailants of the Godhead of the Son and of the Spirit without an appeal to antiquity; but his timid and apologetic tone when discussing the use and value of ecclesiastical antiquity shows that he felt the temper of the age to be against him. English divines were in fact more influenced by such writers as Mosheim and Daillé than they would have liked to own; and although Milner's 'Church History' gave evidence of a sense of the spiritual beauty of the ancient Church, the theology of its author was too much controlled by a narrow and distorted tradition to enable him to do justice even to St. Augustine.
With the rise of the Oxford Movement, the Fathers naturally assumed what to that generation was a new degree of importance. It was impossible to recall men's minds to the teaching and principles of the Primitive Church of Christ without having recourse to those great writers who were the guides and exponents of its faith. Accordingly, one of the earlier cares of the writers of the 'Tracts for the Times' had been to reprint, under the title of 'Records of the Church,' some of the most characteristic documents of the Ante-Nicene Church, or passages from them. The Epistles of St. Ignatius, the accounts of the Martyrs of Lyons and Vienne, and the Martyrdom of St. Polycarp; St. Irenaeus, and Tertullian on the Rule of Faith; and the latter on Baptism; St. Justin Martyr on Primitive Christian Worship; St. Cyprian on Church Unity; and, among later Writers, Vincent of Lerins on the Tests of Heresy and Error,--these and others furnished papers which had a present and practical, no less than an antiquarian and profoundly religious interest. It was natural for the Tract-writers to honour the Fathers of the Church. It was as natural for writers of the Latitudinarian School to disparage them so far as was consistent with literary taste. Hampden indeed has some interesting remarks upon St.Jerome, St.Ambrose, and St. Augustine, when he is engaged in accounting for 'the ascendency of the Latin clergy over the Greek.'
But interspersed with these observations are expressions which show that he regarded the authority of these august names as not more deserving of respect than that of his own contemporaries: St. Ambrose has 'the practical dexterity of the man of the world'; St. Jerome unites 'dark and solitary abstractedness of mind with dexterous facility in wielding to theoretic views the complex means which human society presents'; St. Augustine's 'shrewdness and versatility' is contrasted unfavourably with 'the freshness and simplicity of the Apostle'. Indeed, it would seem, according to Dr. Hampden, that dexterity, shrewdness, knowledge of the world, and similar qualifications were almost the sole characteristics of the Saints who, beyond any other men, expressed and formed the mind of Western Christendom.
'I cannot refrain,' wrote Pusey, 'from protesting earnestly against the harsh and often bitter and sarcastic language employed by Dr. Hampden towards the Fathers of the Christian Church, and whole classes of God's departed servants. Indeed, the language generally employed towards those of old time, the ironical use of the words "orthodox"and "heretical,"and the whole view of the Latin Church as being governed by a carnal ambitious policy, as well in its stand against Pelagianism as against Arianism, remind one of the language and views of the infidel Gibbon, but one should not have expected them in the work of a Christian theologian.'
But there was another reason for bringing the Fathers prominently before the minds of Church people. As the Fathers had gradually dropped out of view, it had been assumed by Roman Catholics, and too often tacitly conceded by English Churchmen, that in reality they altogether belonged to the former, and that if English writers appealed to them it was only for such purposes as those of framing ad hominem arguments against the Church of Rome. To claim continuity with the Primitive Church and be ignorant of its representative writers was impossible; and yet what if the Fathers did witness for Rome after all? Pusey and Newman alike felt that this apprehension could only be met if people could be made to learn something about them, not by mere extracts, but as parts of a vast literature. Newman's reason for reprinting Archbishop Ussher on 'Prayers for the Dead' is that at the time of doing so 'many persons were in doubt whether they were not driven to an alternative of either giving up the Primitive Fathers or of embracing Popery.' The reason warranted a much more considerable enterprise. If it was good to learn something about the Fathers from Archbishop Ussher, it was better to learn more about them from themselves.
Thus, among the reasons for thinking a 'Library of the Fathers' very desirable, Pusey urges in the Prospectus of that work
'the circumstance that the Anglican branch of the Church Catholic is founded upon Holy Scripture and the agreement of the Universal Church, and that therefore the knowledge of Christian antiquity is necessary in order to understand and maintain her doctrines, and especially her creeds and her liturgy.' He pleads 'the importance at the present crisis of exhibiting the real practical value of Catholic antiquity, which is disparaged by Romanists in order to make way for the later Councils, and by others, in behalf of modem and private interpretations of Holy Scripture.' 'Romanists,' he says, 'are in great danger of lapsing into secret infidelity, not seeing how to escape from the palpable errors of their own Church without falling into the opposite errors of Ultra-Protestants.' And thus 'it appeared an act of special charity to point out to such of them as are dissatisfied with the state of their own Church a body of ancient Catholic truth, free from the errors alike of modern Rome and of Ultra-Protestantism.'
Not that the only or the main reasons for popularizing the more important works of the ancient Fathers were polemical reasons. These works had a substantive value of their own. They satisfied, as modern publications did not satisfy, the increased 'demand for sacred reading'; they gave readers something to think about. They were a valuable corrective to the tendency to narrowness which is observable in separate branches of the Church; they bring the thought of particular Churches into communion with the thought of the Universal Church, when outwardly united. They are a safeguard against modem errors, which they combat while those errors were still in their original form, before men s minds were familiarized with them, and so in danger of partaking of them. Some of the Fathers, too, are especially valuable as commentators on the New Testament, not only from their representative position in the ancient Church, but especially because the language of the New Testament was to them a living language. And thus, in the eyes of a scholar, St. Chrysostom's Homilies on the New Testament, independently of their other merits, have at least, as Pusey often said, the value which attaches to scholia on Aristophanes. But more especially do the Fathers attest the existence of Catholic agreement in a great body of truth in days when the Church of Christ was still visibly one, and still spoke one language; and thus they also bear witness against the fundamentally erroneous assumptions of modern times, that truth is only that which each man troweth, and that the divisions of Christendom are unavoidable and without remedy.
When the first volume of the Library appeared , Pusey, by the advice of the Primate, of which Keble reminded him, prefixed some observations, which are chiefly designed to meet popular misapprehensions on the subject, especially such as were current in Puritan quarters. To the question whether the Church of England attributes any authority to the ancient Fathers of the Church, Pusey replies by pointing to the canon of the Convocation of 1571, which enacts that
'Clergy' shall be careful never to teach anything from the pulpit, to be religiously held and believed by the people, but what is agreeable to the doctrine of the Old or New Testament, and collected out of that same doctrine by the Catholic Fathers and ancient Bishops.'
The Convocation which made this canon also enforced subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles, so that, as Pusey remarks, even when the Church of England was 'fencing herself round as a particular Church, she formally maintained her connexion with the Church Catholic' by the authority which she ascribed to its great teachers. Pusey brushes away the modem Puritan misapprehension that the authority of the Fathers was put forward as co-ordinate with or in rivalry to that of Holy Scripture. Referring to the canon, he points out that
'Scripture is reverenced as paramount: the "doctrine of the Old or New Testament"is the source; the "Catholic Fathers and ancient Bishops"have but the office of "collecting out of that same doctrine”; the Old and New Testaments are the fountain; the Catholic Fathers the channel through which it has flowed down to us. The contrast then in point of authority is not between Holy Scripture and the Fathers, but between the Fathers and us; not between the book interpreted and the interpreters, but between one class of interpreters and another; between ancient Catholic truth and modern private opinions; not between the Word of God and the word of man, but between varying modes of understanding the Word of God.'
To the objection embodied in a popular Puritan phrase, that the recognition of the authority of the Fathers as interpreting the mind of Holy Scripture involved an 'appeal to fallible men,' Pusey replies that the Church's appeal is
'not to the Fathers individually, or as individuals, but as witnesses; not to this or that Father, but to the whole body, and agreement of Catholic Fathers and ancient Bishops.'
Particular Fathers might be under a personal bias, as was St. Augustine with regard to some part of his controversy with the Pelagians. Or they might represent the mind only of particular Churches when it was not in harmony with that of other Churches, or of the Church Catholic. It is when they attest that which had been received 'by all, in all Churches, and. At all times,' that their authority is entitled to the high consideration claimed for it.
It was further urged by popular religionists that if the Fathers were to be authorities they would supersede that of the Church of England. Pusey maintains that there is no more of antagonism between the Fathers and the Church of England than between the Fathers and Holy Scripture. The Fathers interpret the true mind of the Church of England by the light which they throw upon its formularies, which in many cases belong to the ages in which they themselves lived and taught.
'Much doctrine is contained in our collects, much in our Sacramental services, which, as belonging to high antiquity, can only be fully understood by means of that antiquity whence it is derived, and which, so understood, will appear in its real character.'
He goes on to discuss the disagreement which is observable between the Fathers, on certain points of detail, in pages of lasting value. The current phrases about
'the harshness of Tertullian, the predestinarianism Of St. Austin, Origen's speculativeness, Arnobius' deficient acquaintance with the Gospel he defended, are witnesses that there is a tangible distinction between Catholic truth and individual opinion'
as handed down to us in the pages of the Fathers. But the real question is whether our 'received notions 'are always an adequate criterion of the truth or worth of patristic teaching. For instance, the ancient mystical school of interpretation finds scant favour in the modern world, although it has ample warrant in the models of interpretation furnished by the New Testament.
'It is,' urges Pusey, 'a vulgar and commonplace prejudice which would measure everything by its own habits of mind, and condemn that as fanciful to which it is unaccustomed, simply because it, confined and contracted by treading its own matter-of-fact round, cannot expand itself to receive it, or has no power to assimilate it to its own previous notions or adapt them to it. It is the same habit which would laugh at one who came from a foreign clime in a garb which to a peasant-eye is unwonted. "He who laughs first,"says Dr. Johnson, "is the barbarian”.'
He is quite alive to the mistakes which 'ardent minds' might make in this unaccustomed field of interest. There is danger 'in taking up at once what may be no portion of Catholic truth, although it occur in some particular Father whom one with reason venerates.' 'We may not be Augustinians, any more than Calvinists or Lutherans,' for though St. Augustine made no system, but transmitted Catholic truth, we might readily form a system out of St. Augustine. The Fathers are to be studied, not with the object of discovering in them some new truth, but in order the better to appreciate the treasures of doctrine and devotion which are offered us by the Church of England.
Pusey often said that if good people would read the Fathers, instead of talking about them without having read them, there would not be much room for controversy as to their merits. But it was necessary to bring the Fathers within general reach: so long as they were to be approached only in dead languages and expensive folios they would continue to be talked about without being read.
The idea of a Library of the Fathers seems to have taken definite shape during a visit which Newman paid to Pusey at Holton Park on August 24, St. Bartholomew's Day, 1836. Pusey was anxious to bring about a meeting between Newman and Mr. Tyndale, the clergyman of the parish, who held very Low Church opinions; so Newman dined and slept at Holton, returning to Oxford the next morning. The Vicar's opinions would not appear to have been much modified, but the meeting of the two friends was one of the most fruitful in the history of the Movement. The results appear in a letter which Pusey addressed to Newman shortly afterwards, and which is interesting as showing in combination the qualities which made Pusey what he was: his eagerness as a student, his natural aptitude for business, his zeal for theological truth, and his unlimited capacity, for taking trouble.
E. B. P. TO THE REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
[Holton Park, Sept. 1836.]
I send you a sketch of a letter which I propose to send to such coadjutors as might occur to mind. We have a very excellent amanuensis in this house, so if you would alter this copy as would suit you, or write another, you could receive any number of copies, in which the details might be ready written, and you would only have to add what you wished to the individual.
The coadjutors I would write to are Oxnam, Lushington, Bliss, Wood, T. Mozley, Wilson (K.'s curate), Mr. Wodehouse (a High churchman in Girdlestone's neighbourhood and reads the Fathers),. Harrison, Hook, Thornton (my cousin, a good scholar and able person). Many more will occur when we meet in Oxford.
Of St. Augustine's Anti-Pelagian Tracts, my impression is that the 'De Peccatorum Meritis et Remissione' (three books) would do best for translation: it is less predestinarian than some, and has not the personal refutation of others. I have just read through the first book: there is a good deal of close argument from the text of Scripture, no imaginativeness, or patristicalness; but it is plain and straightforward, condensed (though with repetitions, which will bring the subject back again to people's thoughts): he argues also well and convincingly from Scripture against the non-transmission doctrine, so that it will be a good antidote to Dr. Hampden; and the connexion of regeneration and justification by faith with Baptism, and the blessings of the Church as being entrusted with Baptism, are interestingly though incidentally put. One thing will offend people: that he argues the condemnation of the unbaptized, even infants, or those who he supposes would have embraced the Gospel had it been preached to them,--but a note prefixed might disclaim all, wherein Scripture is mercifully silent, and the Church has pronounced nothing, and so give us an opportunity of distinguishing between the sentiments of individual Fathers and Catholic truths. There are some long quotations from Scripture (I suppose because Scripture was scarcer and people could not refer to it) which might be thrown into notes. I suppose we shall have some very brief notes to add, if it is only in the way of the Benedictines, explaining a Father's meaning by other passages, or correcting him, but very briefly.
As you have made a selection from Cyprian, I will confine myself to comparing three tracts with Marshall's translation, to see whether what we print of Cyprian might be reprinted from it, revising it only if necessary.
I have brought over St. Chrysostom on Genesis and St. Augustine on St. John to look at, at my leisure, and I have occasion to read several books of the De Civitate Dei.
Shall I write the letter to Rivington?
Size. I think 8vo. would be best: we may become otherwise so very voluminous. (Girdlestone's Commentary sells.) The (Richmond's) 'Library of the Reformers' is a good-sized 8vo. If we carry on our 'Quinque-articulated' Library (Practical, Doctrinal, Historical, Anti-Heretical, Expository) we should soon have above a hundred little volumes.
Form. I would propose having two title-pages, one like that which I have put down in the circular, and then another title for the particular Father (taking your hint). This would allow us to go on with all at once like the Encyclop. Metrop.
Circulation. Would it not be well to take in Cambridge, or at least Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and chiefly some American booksellers, so as to act upon the two hemispheres at once? It might be a great help to soundness of doctrine there, and so (by the reaction) here also.
I should like to stipulate for a certain number of copies free, that we might be able to make presents to institutions, e. g. Durham, New York, King's College, &c., and that we might have other copies at cost price for presents.
If you think it better to print a circular, I would do it; but that I suppose should be more formally drawn up. Do not on any account spare our amanuensis, for she is very willing, and able not to 'sell,' but to 'give' her time.
Ever your very affectionate friend,
I become more sanguine as the task seems to enlarge; though I do feel the necessity of being as a weaned child, lest I mar our own plan.
Pusey and Newman were not at first entirely of one mind as to the nature of the proposed translations. Pusey was in favour of exactly literal translations: Newman pleaded for freedom and idiomatic renderings. Pusey deprecated diffusiveness.
'I,' writes Newman, 'do not like diffusive translations; unliteralness is no more diffuse than the contrary; I only meant not word for word. "Placet mihi"may be Englished, "it pleases me,"or "I please."Here, what is least literal, whether better or not, is shorter. All I meant was idiomatic translation.'
'I agree with you perfectly,' Pusey replied, 'on the principles of translation; although I think that one may even sacrifice idiom, if one may so call it, to retain an effect of the original, e. g. transposition, which one language will bear, although against its natural genius, in order to keep an emphatic collocation. At the same time I admit that I am too idiomatic.'
Pusey always inclined to the principle here expressed, namely, the sacrifice of the idiom of the language into which he was. translating, to the more exact rendering of the phrases as well as of the words of the original. For many years his adherence to this principle in translations acted unfavourably on his own style as an original writer of English: people said that he wrote like a Father of the fourth century. It was a result of his idea of the sacredness and inviolability of language, especially when used by writers of authority and on sacred subjects; but Newman's jealous anxiety for the purity and vigour of our mother tongue was not without its effect. 'My instruction,' Pusey wrote to Keble, 'to translators is "a clear, nervous, condensed, unparaphrastic style, and thus as free and as like an original, and idiomatic as may be”--conditions more easily prescribed than fulfilled.'
His own practice is best described in his preface to the 'Confessions of St Augustine:--
'The object of all translation must be to present the ideas of the author as clearly as may be, with as little sacrifice as may be of what is peculiar to him: the greatest clearness with the greatest faithfulness... In that reproduction, which is essential to good translation, it is very difficult to avoid introducing some slight shade of meaning which may not be contained in the original. The very variation in the collocation of words may produce this. In the present work the translator desired both to preserve as much as possible the condensed style of St. Augustine, and to make the translation as little as might be of a commentary, that so the reader might be put as far as possible in the position of a student of the Fathers, unmodified and undiluted by the intervention of any foreign notions.'
Apologizing for the 'rigid style' which this theory of translation implies, Pusey expresses a hope
'that the additional pains which might be requisite to understand it would be rewarded by the greater insight into the author's uncommented meaning which that very pains would procure, and by the greater impression made by what has required some thought to understand: and it was an object to let St. Augustine speak as much as possible for, himself, without bringing out by the translation, truths which he wrapped up in the words for those who wished to find them.'
The theory of translation being settled--if it was settled--the financial difficulty presented itself. How could a long series of authors, for whom there was as yet no demand, be published, without involving translators and publishers in ruinous expenses? Pusey began the solution of the difficulty by taking it for granted that, like himself, all the translators could or would do their work for nothing. Newman soon saw that this was practically impossible. At first he had said:--
'Somehow, when I come to think of it, I should not like anything to be said to R[ivington] which seemed to make our plan a speculation. Men in business are ready enough to catch up the idea, that godliness is literally gain: and this would seem to be laying a plan for emolument.'
But by Sept. 8th he writes, 'I feel sure that the translators must be paid: it has grown on me.'
But this was only half the difficulty. Would the 'Fathers' sell even if translated? Messrs. Rivingtons evidently thought this doubtful: they positively declined to undertake the publication unless a body of subscribers would back them up. Thereupon Pusey offered them to risk £1,000, and inquired what the expense of four volumes a year for four years would be, it being understood that the translators should be paid. Messrs. Rivingtons 'took no notice' of the offer, but continued to insist on the list of subscribers. At last Pusey and Newman gave way.
'As we have agreed about the subscription,' writes Pusey to Newman, Oct. 13,' I sent the amended prospectus to Rivington yesterday.... I think it [viz, the plan of a subscription-list] will be good; because we both disliked it, and yet are come into it.'
For some weeks Pusey and Newman acted alone, but it was all along in Pusey's mind to obtain Keble's cooperation.
E. B. P. TO T HE REV. J. KEBLE.
Sept. 22, 1836.
Two days ago I saw the Bishop of Oxford: he is very much pleased with the specimen of your version of the Psalms, and in answer to my question 'whether he would have any objection to license it,' said several times, 'Certainly not.' I repeated the question, hardly daring to believe anything so satisfactory, and he repeated his answer. Newman says 'licensing' is a poetical term: however, there is as much (not to say more) truth in poetry as in prose; so whether it be a 'poetical license' or no, I am more than contented. I should propose then, with your leave, to look over the first fasciculus, and marking [it], if in any respects I think that the Hebrew might be better rendered. You need not speak of trouble, as you once did, for it is all in my way; and I am lecturing on the Psalms, and shall be interested in seeing your version: and when you see this fasciculus you can send me the rest, if you think it worth while.
But, as to trouble, Newman and I have a design upon a quid pro quo from you. For we are proposing to edit a
of Catholic Fathers
of the Holy Church Universal
anterior to the division of the East and West..
• • • • • • •
Translated by Members of the Anglican Church,
with notices of the respective Fathers, and brief notes by the
Editors when required,
The duties of the editors will be to select works for translation; revise translations, at least in the commencement, in order to set the translators in a good way of translating; add the above-named notes; select or write the notices; superintend the formation of indices ;-- in short, superintend the whole, as they make themselves responsible for the whole. How much or how little work this will give I know not: but the benefits of the plan seem to grow upon me much; and all which I hear is very encouraging. Mr. Dodsworth and the Bishop of Oxford both spoke of persons looking out and wishing for something of the sort. We have selected a good deal already, and shall have, I suppose, abundance of hints; so that this part will not be laborious. In order to avoid any charge of 'speculating,' we have proposed to make nothing by it. And so now that there is nothing but disinterested, i.e. unproductive, labour we have thought fit to join your name as editor. I hope to have the prospectus in the British Critic and Magazine of October, and it is now being put in type: so I have actually sent your name as joint editor, waiting only for your formal sanction of it.
I hope that you will not think it very bold; but, you know, 'a treble cord, &c.':' and last year you and Newman left me to write my tracts 'on Holy Baptism' by myself, and to bear all the brunt of the Record so this year I have intertwined yours and Newman's names so fast that I hope they will not easily slip away. In sober earnest, I wish that we could have given you more time to think about it (or rather that I had done so), but the month has slipped away faster than I thought. You shall do as much or as little as you like; only, please, let us join your name with ours.
Let me hear from you (a line or two) as soon as you can, and direct Christ Church. . . . I have written to Rose, about asking the Archbishop of Canterbury to allow it to be dedicated to him.
To this letter the Rev. J. H. Newman added
'You must not think we are hurrying you into a plan of our own. Of course nothing shall be done about your name till we hear from [you ?].'
Two other long letters besides that to Keble were written from Holton Park during the quiet hours of the morning of September 22nd. Mrs. Pusey had driven over with the Tyndales to the consecration of the new church at Littlemore; and in the evening the Bishop of London, Dr. Blomfield, was expected to dine and sleep, and the house would be full of company. Pusey was full of his plan, and in the evening he submitted it to Bishop Blomfield. After everybody had left the drawing-room Pusey remained up, among other reasons to announce the result to Newman:--
'The Bishop of London approves of the plan, and says he shall buy it [the publication] and read as much as he can. He does not like the "St.”: he says that the Apostles ought to have this pre-eminence. If you think it right, would you erase the "St.”? We can still put "Cyprian, Bishop, Saint, and Martyr,"which would do as well. I think I said what I meant the word " Catholic Father' to express; but I suppose it would exclude Tertullian's Montanist tracts. So if you please we can concede it. The Bishop seemed to think it--as most, I suppose, would--tautologous. I like it.'
Newman replies the next day:--
'I write as I read, having "lionesses",at least one, to wait upon.... Your news of the Bishop of London is very good. I would give up the "St."merely because he wishes it. Not that it matters. Also the "Catholic."But not "before the separation, &c.”'
Pusey observes in reply:--
'It is curious how people let in what is most important without perceiving it. The Bishop of London made no objection to the "anterior to the separation of East and West.”'
Accordingly it was intended that 'St.' should be left out as a prefix to the names of the great Fathers. On reflection, Pusey repented.
'October 11, 1836.
'The names "Augustine,"&c. look sadly shorn without their "St.”; and I have some misgiving lest the dropping it should be Ultra-Protestant, and that they are outworks to the "St."of the Holy Apostles (which also Ultra-Protestants drop), as Chapters are to Bishoprics. It does not do to take up as your position only what you really want to defend, for even if you succeed it is very rudely battered about, whereas if you keep the outwork you get rudely assailed, but the citadel is at peace. The Low Church party already talk of Paul and Peter.'
In the end Pusey's misgivings triumphed. The Saints were called Saints; and if the Fathers were not called Catholic, the Church was.
Keble's reply to Pusey's letter was delayed, owing to his absence in the Isle of Wight.
REV. J. KEBLE TO E. B. P.
Hursley, October 4, 1836.
I most sincerely beg your pardon for the inconvenience and delay which I fear I have occasioned in a plan at which I am sincerely rejoiced, and am proud to have my name inserted: at least, should be proud if I were not conscious of my knowledge of the Catholic Fathers being too limited by far to justify such a step had I been [able] to choose for myself. Somehow I got it into my head that you would construe my silence into consent and so did not hurry myself in writing. As it is, I see the plan is after a sort advertized in the British Magazine, so I trust the inconvenience will not be great. As to the Dedication, my objecting to it was a mere speculation of Rogers's; and I do not know that I should have thought of such a thing if he had not put it into my head. As it is, I should suppose it is a proper compliment to the Archbishop, and may make the work a little more useful. But on many accounts I should wish as little as possible to be said in the way of praise or expression of confidence. I certainly do not feel the least of that towards the Archbishop. We are told that be remonstrated privately about Hampden: but what public step has he taken? What has he done that has the least tendency to warn the Church against the results of such teaching? And unless he has been belied in all the newspapers, the whole of his proceedings in Parliament about those Church Bills is only to be accounted for on the notion of his being thoroughly Erastian. Therefore I should like to limit the expression in the dedicatory sentence to 'respect for his high spiritual office': the rather that I think a time is coming when it will be impossible personally to compliment Bishops with a good conscience; and it is questionable whether our doing so at best is not a sort of impertinence. . .
I am content to acquiesce in the subscription plan, and will endeavour to find something to contribute towards it. A list of subscribers is not to me a pleasant thought. Could we not take their money without printing their names? As far as I know, I very much approve the selection you propose. The Apostolical Fathers I imagine you consider to be sufficiently Englished already. But some of Justin Martyr would be desirable, would it not? and all of Irenaeus that is not merely employed with Gnostical technicalities? But no doubt selection will be the least part of our work. I hope we shall not find so very much trouble in finding translators. Wilson seems much to like the notion of it, and there must be many circumstanced about as he is, in capacity, leisure, and industry. I spoke also the other day to Eyre of Salisbury, an old pupil of mine, who appeared to relish it much, and I dare say would do justice to anything that was of tolerably easy construction. Have you thought of Oxnam, Davison's late curate, in Devonshire? He, I dare say, would like to give us some help.
It was a great piece of ungraciousness, my not telling you sooner how much I am obliged to you for your encouragement about the Psalms. I hope you will not spare your remarks, and I will not spare my questions. If I can but succeed in keeping out one irreverent hymn in our Church I should think it worth a good deal of trouble. And the Bishop of Oxford's permission gives one a sort of encouragement which one had quite despaired of.
When Keble had consented to share the editorship, Pusey wrote to ask the Archbishop of Canterbury to allow the 'Library of the Fathers' to be dedicated to him. The reply was cordial.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY TO E. B. P.
Oct. 11, 1836
MY DEAR SIR,
In respect to the undertaking in which you are about to engage, the reasons which in general induce me to decline dedications have no weight. On the contrary, I should not feel myself justified in foregoing the opportunity of expressing my approbation of your design.
It is highly desirable to direct the attention of the clergy to the writings of the pastors and teachers who enjoyed the highest reputation in the early ages of Christianity. Those writers at present are known to few even of the clergy, except by quotations or references on controversial questions, which convey very imperfect notions of their character or opinions.
I hope to have the pleasure of seeing Mr. Keble in the course of a few days, and conversing with him on this interesting and important subject.
I remain, my dear Sir, your faithful servant,
Rev. Dr. Pusey.
The Archbishop met Keble when visiting Sir W. Heathcote at Hursley Park a few days later. 'He pronounced himself afterwards more pleased with his visit there than any other in the course of his tour .' Keble reports his impressions to Pusey:--
REV. J. KEBLE TO E. B. P.
Hursley, Oct. 16, 1836.
I had a long conversation yesterday morning with the Archbishop about our plan. Both he and Rose are of opinion that we ought to have only whole treatises. I am sorry to lose Irenaeus, which I suppose we should by such a limitation. All those parts of him which are hot taken up with Aeonology, appear to be most admirable in themselves, and extremely applicable to the errors of this time. Then his being already so wretchedly translated, and not existing in the original, would quite take away the scruple one might otherwise feel as to the impossibility of giving an adequate representation of the original. The Archbishop is very well pleased at the notion of our doing a good deal of St. Chrysostom's Commentaries, on St. Paul's Epistles especially; and he mentioned what it will be of consequence to bear in mind, the great difference which exists between those Homilies of his which were preached at Antioch, comparatively early, and those preached at Constantinople after he was made Archbishop and had no time to write Sermons.
Again, he wished that 'a very good preface' should be written, pointing out the use and necessity of the work somewhat at large, and especially dwelling on the common-sense view of the subject, that as any one who would give a view (e.g.) of the Stoical philosophy would naturally go back to Zeno and Chrysippus, &c., so must those who wish to understand the nature and progress of Christian theology. Moreover, he wanted to know what number of volumes we proposed to send out in a year. I told him about two.
I have had a great, but I must say on the whole a melancholy, satisfaction in talking with the Archbishop on various subjects, and in watching his beautiful serene expression of countenance. I say melancholy, both because he seemed himself out of spirits, and because one cannot help feeling all the while how sad it is that such a person should in any way unconsciously lend [himself] to the purposes of the enemies of the Church.
The next thing was to go to work, but certain preliminary questions still had to be settled. Which of the Fathers was to be translated first? Pusey thought St. Chrysostom on St. Paul: Newman, St. Augustine's Confessions. Mr. H. W. Wilberforce was set to work at once on a portion of the Confessions. In the event, the Confessions were the first book to appear, and they were edited by Pusey himself. The next to follow was the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, translated by Mr. R. W. Church, B.A., Fellow of Oriel, who was introduced to the scheme 'by the Rev. C. Marriott.
'Mr. Heurtley, of C. C. C.', writes Newman to Pusey, Oct. 13, 'has sent to me through Mozley, to say he will undertake at once any one of St. Austin's works, naming the Psalms. We might set him at once on the St. John. He is said to be a very neat writer. Manning clings to Justin.'
The Rev. F. Oakeley, Fellow of Balliol, began to work on St. Augustine's Anti-Pelagian treatises. Indeed, there was no lack of able men who were ready to lend their assistance.
'You say,' writes Pusey to Newman, 'I never remember anything, and in this case rightly. Scott of Balliol came upon me, and renewed the offer of his services as translator, and asked for something for this vacation. I gave him on the instant, I know not why, St. Chrysostom on 2 Corinthians; and yesterday, when I recollected that he was to have had Theodoret's Compendium of Heresies, I found that he had already done about a Homily as a specimen. He is stopped, waiting to hear from you, for I see Wood was to have had 2 Corinthians. If, however, it would do as well, there are still the Galatians and the two Epistles to the Thessalonians unoccupied. Scott's translation was done very rapidly: there was not much in the Homily to serve as a text; it was rather dry--that is, the translation; but he took hints very well, and would have taken more bad I had wits enough about me to give them, but a cold melts them away.'
Another question was, Should Origen's treatise against Celsus be included in the Library? Greswell had noticed, when the scheme was first mooted and before Keble had joined, that St. Cyprian was the only Ante-Nicene Father on the list of those to be translated. Newman proposed to add Origen against Celsus. Pusey objected that it, was 'apologetic.' Newman replied :--
'September 25, 1836.
'I am sorry that you consider Origen "cont. Celsum"apologetic; the ancients did not write Apologies apologetically.'
I have begun reading"Origen contra Celsum"carefully,' writes Pusey a fortnight later.
'Did you mean to say you knew and liked it? One fear of mine is that Celsus may do harm. I cannot but think that discussions about evidences, and familiarity with the low notions which people venture to have of Him, as Man, practically Socinianizes many.'
'As to Origen, what I read of his "Contra Celsum"seemed to me full of matter for reflection, and very valuable; but the very circumstance of your thinking otherwise would be a fact decisive against its publication.'
The subscription list for the Library had been left in the hands of Messrs. Rivingtons. On the day that the preface to the first volume was written, Pusey expresses his disappointment at the scanty support which the scheme had obtained.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
August 24, 1838.
Baxter has just sent me a list of the subscribers to the Fathers. There are scarce half a dozen names of any note, if so many, besides eight Bishops; seven English--London, Lincoln, Bangor, Exeter, Gloucester, Chichester, Rochester; not Oxford (I know not whether he does not like the expense), nor Salisbury, nor Ripon. I have some wish to apply to these directly or indirectly. It is such a sorry contrast to the French edition, published under the patronage of the 'Episcopat Français.' If not indelicate, I wish one could get the patronage of the main part of the Bishops, without their subscriptions.
He wrote to the same effect to Keble. The Archbishop of Canterbury, he observes, was patron, but not a subscriber. The contrast with the French scheme was so poor, in respect of episcopal patronage. There was one Scotch bishop, 'who does not put his see.'
'Would not Bishop Sumner of Winchester subscribe, on the strength of Mr. Bickersteth an. S. Wilberforce, who had done so?'
'Sept. 8, 1838.
'I have, I hope, set a spring in motion which will touch the other Archbishop on the subject, and I shall try and get our Bishop's name, through James or Dealtry. Cannot Mr. Dodgson get at the Bishop of Ripon, and Mr. Bouverie at the Bishop of Salisbury?'
In the event the two Archbishops appear in the first list as patrons; nine English bishops, and two Scotch, are among the subscribers. It does not seem that Mr. Keble then succeeded either with Bishop Sumner or Bishop Denison.
But the anxious years that followed the foundation of the Library were. marked by a steady increase of the interest in and support accorded to it: neither 1841, nor 1843, nor 1845, nor1850 availed to arrest it by the troubles in which they involved its editors or promoters. In the first list of subscribers, printed in 1838, there were less than 800 names. In the second, which appeared in 1839, after the publication of the first two volumes, there were more than 1,000 subscribers and seventeen bishops. In 1843 there were twenty-five bishops, and nearly 1,800 subscribers. The list for 1851 shows. twenty-nine bishops and nearly 2,500 subscribers; in 1853 two more bishops had joined, and the number of subscribers exceeded 3,700. This last remarkable increase of numbers was due to an earnest appeal and statement which Pusey published on November 17, 1852.
It was originally intended that four volumes of the Library should appear every year. In practice this project could not be adhered to. But from 1848 until 1854 only one year occurred in which no volume appeared: the barrenness of 1846 is to be explained by the lamentable secessions of the preceding autumn. In other years as many volumes were issued as the translators could get ready; in 1843 five volumes appeared.
>From the first, Pusey had taken the lead in this important undertaking. He did not wish to do so. Newman naturally insisted on his writing the preface to the first volume, which was to explain the purpose of the 'Library.'
'What am I,' he writes to Newman, August 9,1838, 'or what business have I to write a preface to our Library of the Fathers, when you and K. know ten times as much about the Fathers as I do? I thought I had something to say when I was in Oxford, and so I wrote what I showed you, joined, as you recollect, to the beginning of a preface to St. Augustine's Confessions. This, since it was written, I have rewritten here; but, since, the impulse has been over. And it has naturally occurred to me how much better a preface you or K. would have written. I send you this, only desiring you to pluck it, and yourself or K. to write another. It was written on the Archbishop's plan of having a sensible preface as to the value of the Fathers, as living in, earlier times, and being witnesses, &c., and to satisfy fear and stop excitement. But I know not whether it is good to begin our work with an apology. And not being satisfied with my performance, I feel that no one else will be. So please do you or K. execute it.'
Newman somewhat dryly replied :--
'As to the preface, I think it very likely to be useful, and I hope you will finish it, and send it at once to press.'
He rightly thought that the question of the use and authority of the Fathers had better be dealt with by more minds than one, and in view of the objections which would inevitably be put forward as the publication proceeded. He himself discussed the subject with his wonted clearness and power in the preface to the second volume of the series, Mr. Church's translation of the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem.
That the 'Library of the Fathers' exerted no little influence on the Oxford Movement is probably less apparent to the world at large than to those who were, in whatever sense, behind the scenes. It was at once an encouraging and a steadying influence: it made thoughtful adherents of the Movement feel that the Fathers were behind them, and with the Fathers that ancient undivided Church whom the Fathers represented. But it also kept before their minds the fact that the Fathers were, in several respects, unlike the moderns, not only in the English Church, but also in the Church of Rome. And, above all, it reminded men of a type of life and thought which all good men, in their best moments, would have been glad to make their own.
The effort to popularize the Fathers was by no means likely to be generally welcome fifty years ago. In the view of mere scholars the Fathers shared the reproach of the New Testament: they were written by men who cared less for literature than for truth, and in a style which had far declined from the standard of classical purity, and thus they were concerned with subjects which had little attraction for those whose thoughts were mainly conversant. with the Pagan world of Greece and Rome. 'Showing Christ Church library one day to a visitor, Gaisford walked rapidly past all the Fathers: waving his hand, he said,. "Sad rubbish,"and that was all he had to say.' The Puritan estimate of the Fathers was not seldom equally contemptuous, if not equally indifferent: one clergyman of this school contrasted with the pure streams of the inspired Word the 'stinking puddles of tradition' which the great writers of ancient Christendom were supposed by him to contain. It would be a great injustice, however, to charge this grotesque ignorance upon the higher minds of the school. The publication of the Library was warmly welcomed by a clergyman whose life and labours alike gave him a good title to represent the best side of those with whom he generally sympathized:--
REV. E. BICKERSTETH TO E. B. P.
Watton Rectory, Herts, Nov. 18, 1836.
Though personally unacquainted with you, and differing in some respects from views which, judging from the volumes of the Oxford Tracts, I suppose you hold, I cannot but write a few lines to express the sincere pleasure with which I view your design, in connection with Mr. Keble and Mr. Newman, of publishing a select Library of Fathers. Few things could be more seasonable, or more beneficial to the Church of England, to which, I feel more and more, it is a real privilege, in these days of disunion and division, to be united. And it is my hearty prayer that the Great Head of the Church may very greatly prosper the design for extended good.
It will give me much pleasure personally to be a subscriber, and to use any interest that I may have in the immediate circle of my friends in promoting so valuable a work.
Might it not be advisable to have an introductory address meeting the disparagements of the more recent writer Osborne, and the older works of Whitby, Edwards, Barbeyrac, Daillé, &c., respecting the study of the Fathers, candidly admitting what truth requires, yet showing the real value of their writings? But forgive me the liberty of this suggestion. I trust that you have now engaged in an undertaking which may, through the Divine blessing, be eminently serviceable to the Church of Christ.
I am, with much respect,
[P. S.] In my 'Christian Student,' p. 214 to 226, I have given my own views of the Christian Fathers. Since I published that work, I have from some further acquaintance been led to value them still more, and therefore to rejoice more in your present undertaking.
The publication of the 'Library of the Fathers' extended over forty-seven years, from the appearance of St. Augustine's Confessions in 1838 to that of the latter part of St. Cyril on St. John,--three years after Pusey's death,--in 1885, it comprised forty-eight volumes; the works of thirteen Fathers and ancient writers were thus offered to Englishmen in their own language. This comparatively small number of authors is to be explained by Pusey's sense of the superior value of the great teachers of the fourth century, who spoke consciously in the name of the Universal Church, and who wrote at such great length. Of St. Chrysostom sixteen volumes were published, twelve of St. Augustine, five of St. Athanasius, and four of St. Gregory. The doctrinal treatises are, as a rule, more valuable in their translated form than the exegetical: the latter naturally lose more in the process of translation. The most important contribution to the Library, in view of the prefaces and notes which illustrate it, is Newman's St. Athanasius, which has been virtually completed by Dr. Bright; but of lasting value are Pusey's Confessions of St. Augustine, Dodgson's Tertullian, Church's St. Cyril of Jerusalem, as well as the translations of St. Cyprian and of St. Chrysostom on the Epistles, both of which, in different senses, did much to mould the thought and teaching of the clergy a quarter of a century ago. As a specimen of conscientious and reverent translation, Keble's St. Irenaeus occupies a foremost place. Pusey himself translated very little: he revised an earlier translation of St. Augustine's Confessions, and he revised the works of translators who assisted him. Newman did much more as a translator; but they both devoted themselves more especially to explaining and introducing to the world the work of others by furnishing notes or prefaces. Of prefaces Newman wrote four, Pusey twelve; and no less a number than fourteen, although generally very brief, were written by Marriott during his editorship of the Library from 1844 to 1857. When, in consequence of Newman's withdrawal, so great a burden of other work fell on Pusey, it was obvious that he could not continue this additional task; but throughout his was the guiding and inspiring mind.
Pusey's prefaces to successive volumes of the Library are in themselves remarkable compositions, but unfortunately less known than his other works. They are often a commentary on passing events, and on his own mental attitude wards them, while they offer in a condensed for the ever cumulating fruits of his study and observation in the vast fields of Christian antiquity. The preface to the Confessions of St. Augustine has already been partly noticed. Besides a general vindication of the Fathers against modern forms of depreciation, it contains some pages of great beauty on the moral and spiritual value of the Confessions; his remarks on the refinement and delicacy of a really religious mind like Augustine's are especially characteristic. The preface to Tertullian is perhaps the most interesting of these compositions: it is a psychological account of the probable cause of Tertullian's fall from the Church of Christ into the Montanist heresy. Pusey notes that Tertullian's mind was remarkable for its
'acuteness, power, condensed strength, and energy; his characteristic seems to be the vivid and strong perception of single truths and principles. These he exhausts, bares them of everything extrinsic to them, and then flashes them forth the sharper and more penetrating.'
But single powers of mind, possessed in great perfection, like the vivid apprehension of single truths, may easily destroy the balance of thought, beget narrow-mindedness, one-sidedness, intellectual impatience, and so heresy. Tertullian's great failing was impatience; and. Pusey's way of connecting this with his fall, and the lessons which he draws from it for the Church of our own day, are written with that practical insight into human nature which he possessed in so eminent a degree.
The preface to the Rev. R. G. Macmullen's translation of St. Augustine's Sermons is much shorter, but contains some interesting remarks on the spiritual meaning of numbers which, with Augustine and others, formed a part of religious instruction in the ancient Church. In introducing a translation of the Epistles of St. Cyprian and of the extant works of St. Pacian to English Churchmen, Pusey is greatly occupied with the question of the bearing of St. Cyprian's teaching respecting the unity and organization of the Church Of Christ on the anxieties which were pressing heavily on so many minds in the year that preceded Newman's secession.
'St. Cyprian's writings,' says Pusey, 'present the theory of the Episcopate, which bears out our position on one side and the other' against Rome and against Puritanism. 'St. Cyprian's idea of the Episcopate is manifoldness in unity; many shepherds feeding one flock, yet therefore many that they might act in unity against any who would waste it.'
Pusey dwells on St. Cyprian's test of schism, that a member really divided from the Body of Christ, however it might for a 'time exist through the life which it brought with it from the parent stock, could not continue to have life and growth,' and then he applies this in the language of earnest conviction to tile actual condition of the English Church. In his preface to St. Ephrem the recent secession of the accomplished translator to the Church of Rome obliges him again to glance at a feature of the Roman controversy. The cry 'Domine miserere' with which the preface closes echoes the sorrows of the time. Ten years followed before Pusey wrote a short preface to the sixth volume of a translation of St. Augustine on the Psalms; its chief feature is a touching passage on the character and work of the Rev. C. Marriott, whose health incapacitated him from further work.
The preface to St. Cyril on St. John, written in view of the first conference held at Bonn under Dr. Dollinger in 1874, is partly the work of Mr. P. E. Pusey, although composed under his father's guidance. It deals with the relation of St. Cyril to the doctrine of the double procession, and especially with the objection to the Filioque that it is an addition to the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed. The call for a third edition of St. Chrysostom's Homilies on the Romans made a revision of the translation necessary in consequence of Mr. Field's brilliant recension of the original text, and Pusey calls attention to the Rev. W. H. Simcox' s labour in making the necessary changes. This paragraph and that which is prefixed to the Epistles of St. Ambrose are his briefest compositions of this description. The latter, written when Pusey was already eighty years of age contains an apology for his being prevented through 'overwork' from doing more. Yet later in the same year he discussed the action of the Church with respect to her dogmatic phraseology in an interesting introduction to Dr. Bright's admirable translation of the 'Later Treatises of St. Athanasius'; and on Christmas Eve he completed his last contribution to this labour of forty-five years in the long preface to his son's translation of some of the works of St. Cyril of Alexandria, in which he devotes himself to clearing away misconceptions, as he deems them, which have obscured in the eyes of men the unselfish piety of that great saint.
There were several publications, independent of the 'Library of the Fathers,' yet connected with or resulting from it. Of these the most important was file publication of the original texts of St. Augustine's Confessions, St. Chrysostom's Homilies on the New Testament, and Theodoret. The text of St. Chrysostom, restored by the Rev. F. Field, of Trinity College, Cambridge, was, Pusey held, a 'triumph for English scholarship'; and he constantly lamented the difficulty of interesting a larger number of the clergy in this most important work. Here too should be mentioned the noble labours of Pusey's only son, Mr. P. E. Pusey, to which the seven volumes of the original text of St. Cyril of Alexandria, published at the University Press, bear ample witness. Another offshoot from the Library was the 'Catena Aurea' of St. Thomas Aquinas, translated partly by Rev. Mark Pattison, of Lincoln College, and partly by Rev. J. D. Dalgairns and Mr. T. D. Ryder. This work could not form part of the Library on account of 'the dates of some few authors introduced into it,' but it appeared with the sanction of the editors of the Library between 1841 and 1845. Another project, the 'Anglo-Catholic Library,' was less directly related to the 'Library of the Fathers' ; but between the two works and their promoters there was no lack of sympathy: the Caroline divines, at least in their intentions, were children of the Fathers. With the publication of various works of the Reformation period by the Parker Society the case was largely otherwise; but even this effort was at least a contribution to historical knowledge, and was due to the general movement of religious intelligence which had its origin and impulse at Oxford.
Before the first volume of the Library could be published two points had to be settled, the terms of the dedication to the Archbishop and the frontispiece, which, it was thought, ought to appear in each volume. The care which Pusey bestowed on details, to which shallow observers might ascribe a trifling importance, illustrates his knowledge of human nature. To the mass of men truth is recommended less by the abstract language which most nearly expresses it than by the concrete signs and symbols, the easily remembered phrases, the personal associations which attend its introduction to the mind.
'Now I am about it,' wrote Pusey to Keble, August 22, 1838, 'what do you think of a dedication? When the plan was first started, and we were consulting about dedicating it [the Library] to the Archbishop, I proposed to Newman one much like this:--
To the most Reverend
Father in God
WILLIAM, LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY,
Metropolitan of England,
Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Oxford,
of Archbishops, Bishops, Doctors, and Fathers
of the Holy Catholic Church
is respectfully inscribed
with a deep veneration for his sacred office
and thankful acknowledgment
of his episcopal kindness.'
'The original 'dedication,' Pusey goes on to say, 'had something about "private graces"as opposed to his "office."But N. demurred to that. Altogether that which was written at the moment seemed to me neat; this which is a reminiscence, clumsy. So I wish you and N. would arrange one.'
Upon this Newman and Keble took the dedication in hand. But Keble at once replied to Pusey:--
'I like very much what you have sent. I neither see that it requires much improvement nor see how to improve it. I remember myself objecting to the "private graces,"and I still think it much better to avoid all personal compliments.'
Keble's habitual self-distrust made him at times of less service as an adviser than he might have been. 'If you want to get anything in the way of plain counsel from dear J. K.,' Pusey would say in later years, 'you really must be on your guard against his humility.'
Meanwhile, however, Newman had sent to Keble his revision of Pusey's proposal. 'Newman,' writes Keble to Pusey, 'has sent me the last edition of the dedication to the Archbishop, in which I find very little to alter.' Newman had substituted 'Primate' for 'Metropolitan' of All England; and 'ancient bishops, fathers, doctors, martyrs, confessors,' for 'archbishops,' bishops, doctors, and fathers.' The first change was technically correct: the second made more of the life of the ancient Church, and less of the hierarchical gradations of the modern. Keble's contributions to the dedication were also characteristic. He would say that the Library was inscribed 'by his Grace's permission' to the Archbishop. He would read his 'sacred office,' instead of 'his Grace's high office'--the phrase which occurred in Newman's 'edition.' He would leave out the word 'affectionate': 'it seems,' he said, 'too' familiar', for myself at least.'
Pusey, delighted to get so much of a judgment out of Keble, revised the dedication accordingly.
'N.,' he wrote, 'did not demur to "affectionate,"but did to "episcopal kindness."I had some misgivings about "affectionate,"that is, whether Newman and you would like it; But I thought that "affectionate"would belong to the attachment one felt to a superior in the Church who is our "father in God.""Episcopal kindness"I took from St. Augustine's words of his reception by St. Ambrose, "me satis episcopaliter dilexit."I thought it would teach people. N. thought that if he took it up in the work of an entire stranger, he should think it "affected."So I was for having something else; but then nothing suggested itself. "Condescending"is commonplace; "fatherly,""paternal,"might do. If this last clause expresses our feeling that he is our superior, does not this take off any familiarity of the word "affectionate”? ... But … as you like about this and all things.'
The dedication settled, what was the frontispiece to be? That there was to be a frontispiece was taken for granted from the first; but nothing beyond was settled, until the first volume was nearly ready for publication.
'Have you settled on our frontispiece?' writes Pusey to Newman on August 9, 1838. 'It is not for want of thought,' replies Newman four days afterwards, 'but I cannot think of a frontispiece. I can think of nothing better than a device over a Cross, which is too vague and too bold.' 'I am sorry,' rejoins Pusey, 'that your wits have furnished you with no device, for we must not keep back the Fathers for it. And yet I should be glad to have it for the first [volume]. What think you, in connexion with our motto [" Thy teachers shall not be removed into a corner any more”], of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, or of a temple of which the pillars had fallen down, the pillars being the Fathers; or, if nothing else occurs, why not Keble's simple diptych with the Latin Cross on one side and the Greek on the other, without the names and not made like a book? I only got Rogers to add the names because I saw them in some old copies of diptychs. I think I have seen pictures of the rebuilding of Jerusalem (?in Mant) which might be reduced, and this would have the advantage of exhibiting a number of labourers, lest people should think we meant ourselves only? Or a Gothic or Grecian Church half in ruins, with the stones lying about, ready to be replaced?'
Mr. Parker, the bookseller, called before the letter was finished, and suggested a sketch which Mr. Combe, then just appointed to. the University Press, had been engaged in preparing. It was a restoration of Wells Cathedral, with the niches filled with figures, who might be the Fathers, with labels underneath each. An alternative proposal was a tower, with, four figures of principal Fathers.
'They might,' adds Pusey, 'be of different Churches, Augustine, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Athanasius. This would admit of the figures being larger, so as to preserve something of the traditional likeness.'
'Parker's notion of our availing ourselves of this reviving love of Gothic architecture to connect it with religious objects' evidently attracted Pusey. 'But,' he adds,' after all there seems nothing so simple as the plain hard diptych with the two crosses.'
Later Newman writes:--
'Acland has given me several thoughts for a device for the title-page. First, which will not do, the Coetus Doctorum (Raffaelle's), commonly called the "di Sacramento," I think. Next, Raffaelle's cartoon, "Pasce oves meos."Thirdly, which I like, a lithograph of Jacobson's: a figure of Theology with two children, one reading, the other looking in her face, and doctors on each side. The only fear is the size of them.'
Nothing however was settled, as Pusey had desired, in time to decorate the first volume of the Library. The frontispiece eventually adopted was a figure of St. John the Baptist seated on a rock in the wilderness, and pointing with his left hand to heaven, while his right holds a rude cross, with a pendant scroll inscribed 'Vox clamantis in deserto.' Pusey had proposed to add a Lamb. Newman objected. 'Would not the addition of a Lamb rather complicate the emblem? At present the "vox in deserto" is the idea. Ought we to bring in a second?' The cross seems to have been substituted for the Lamb. The frontispiece finally adopted appears for the first time in the ninth volume of the series,--St. Chrysostom's Homilies on the Statues,--published in 1842; although the rock on which the Baptist is seated is inscribed with the date, Advent, 1836. That earlier date may have been chosen, not only as marking the formation of a settled resolve to embark on an important enterprise, but also as recalling the hopes of a brighter time than 1842. Appearing at this later date the frontispiece has a pathos all its own: 'it expresses the mood of a period when the buoyant hopes of six years before had given way to anxiety lest the Church of England should turn a deaf ear to the great preachers of ancient Christianity. Truth might once more be but a voice crying in the wilderness; but to speak it constantly, to rebuke that which contradicts it boldly, and, if need were, patiently to suffer for its sake, are always and beyond question Christian duties. This Pusey continued to do, as in other ways, so also in this Library of the Fathers, until his last days. Three months before his death he wrote the following letter:--
E. B. P. TO REV. J. JACKSON.
June 14, 1882.
My work for the Library of the Fathers is done. There are yet to come out the 2nd volume of St. Cyril on St. John's Gospel, of which the first was translated by my son; I hope also that a volume of St. Gregory Nazianzen will be revised by my friend Mr. Walford. I have myself no longer any time to revise anything. At nearly eighty-two one cannot increase work. And yet I know by experience that every translation, if ever so careful, does need some revision. St. Jerome's letters are, of course, interesting. Perhaps the Library of the Fathers may come into some hands who would fill up the gaps. But I, you see, cannot do anything.