FIRST VISIT TO GERMANY -- EICHHORN, THOLUCK,
SCHLEIERMACHER, NEANDER, AND OTHER PROFESSORS--LITERARY PLANS,
'Macte nova virtute, puer : sic itur ad astra.'
Aen. ix. 641.
On June 5, I 825, Edward Pusey left London for Gùttingen.
He had two main objects in going to Germany. His correspondence with his unbelieving 'friend,' and the inquiries into which it had led him, satisfied him that he had to deal with larger questions than he had supposed. These questions, he thought, could he studied most thoroughly at Universities it which faith and a scarcely disguised unbelief had been in conflict for more than a generation.
Less's apologetic work bad been only partly translated into English; and Pusey had found the translated part useful in his correspondence on the question of faith and he wished to be able to read the remainder. This experience further suggested to him that there was much else worth reading in German literature and thus he gradually formed a purpose of making himself acquainted with the language and theological learning of Germany in Germany itself. He began with a German tutor in his Oxford lodgings; and he describes his first efforts, three years afterwards, as follows:--
'I commended with poetry in preference, because I found that I invariably forgot the first words in a complex German prose sentence before I got to the last, which is often the key to the whole...With all my assiduity I do not believe that I read more than one Gospel, six plays (an odd proportion), and a little prose in the first month. But as I have often said, the vessel glides merrily along when the first labour of launching is over.'
Early in the Summer Term of 1825 Je1f pressed him to visit their common friend Luxmoore at St Asaph: and this obliged him to decide upon the project which had been taking shape in his mind, of spending the Long Vacation in Germany. Jelf thereupon abandoned his plan of visiting North Wales, and pressed Parker to visit Oxford in a letter to which Pusey added the following words:--
'I requested Jelf to bring me this letter that I might add a few lines. Butt he has been expressing his admiration of German verbs to me with such prolixity that he has left me no time. I much regret the loss of my visit to Luxmoore, but having already found the want of German [very inconvenient], and expecting to be still more at fault hereafter, and being so advised, I determined to seize the present moment. I half expect to be able to seduce Jelf to join me. Pray let me see you here. Jelf and Newman are talking so incessantly that I can write no more.'
Parker in reply seems to have rallied him on thee mystery and vagueness in which his plans were veiled. Pusey accordingly, within a fortnight of leaving England expresses himself more explicitly:--
'Oxford, May 25, 1825.
'Though generally I plead guilty to the charge of unintelligibility, in the present instance it was owing neither to wilfulness nor carelessness, but to my entire ignorance on all the points on which you accuse me of obscurity. To what part of Germany I am going, whether to Dresden, Leipzig, Halle, Gùttingen, or all of them, I am yet undecided; and it will depend probably on the introductions which I get, and the time I can spare, and the advance I may make in the language. When I go is yet uncertain, thought since I last wrote I have pretty well determined to do as soon as our private lectures with Lloyd are over. My object in going is neither a parÆticular book, nor a particular part of theology; so that I can only state generally that I hope to derive great assistance from the German literature in all the critical and scientific parts of Divinity; and particularly, if I am ever enabled to write anything on the Evidences, there are some of their works, such as the untranslated parts of Less, which I should wish first to study. I hope this is clear.'
But the strongest motive which led to this his first visit to Germany was Dr Lloyd's advice. Pusey told the present writer long afterwards:--
'People were saying that the new German theology was full of interest. At that time only two persons in Oxford were said to know German, although German introductions to the New Testament, if written in Latin, were read. One day Dr. Lloyd said to me, ‹I wish you would learn something about those German critics.Š In the obedient spirit of those times I set myself at once to learn German, and I went to Gùttingen to study at once the language and the theology. My life turned on that hint of Lloyd's.;