Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.
London: Longmans, 1894
Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
RETIREMENT FROM SOCIETY -- DEEPENED TONE OF
PREACHING--A NARROW ESCAPE--KEBLE'S PSALMS--
STAY AT BRIGHTON--CRITICISM OF BAPTISMAL TRACT
BY AN EVANGELICAL.
MRS. PUSEY'S death had effects upon her husband's life and career which it is not easy to exaggerate. Perhaps no one but his intimate friend Newman realized what the blow would be to him. Writing to a friend the day after Mrs. Pusey's death, Newman says: 'It is now twenty-one years since Pusey became attached to his late wife when he was a boy. For ten years after he was kept in suspense, and eleven years ago he married her. Thus she has been the one object on earth in which his thoughts have centred for the greater part of his life.' To use his own phrase, from that hour the world became to him a different world.
His intense feeling showed itself even in the use which he made of his own house. During his wife's lifetime they had made great use of the drawing-room, which from its size, its southern aspect, and the view which it commands over the country, is one of the best rooms in Christ Church. After her death he never voluntarily entered it: many years passed without his ever doing so. He would not allow, however, this feeling to interfere with the comfort of his guests. When, after Lady Emily Pusey's death, his widowed brother came to live, and, as it proved, to die at Christ Church, the drawing-room was again brought into use; and Pusey, contrary to his own inclinations, was often in it. But after his brother's death he avoided the use of it as much as possible. 'He told me once,' writes his niece, Mrs. Fletcher, 'not to suggest it to him.'
Although as a young man Pusey had enjoyed general society, even before 1839 the difficulty of finding time for his multifarious work, or of finding money for anything besides his large charities, had made him again and again wish, as has been already said, to withdraw from it. When his wife died he bade farewell to everything of the kind. His sorrow was a call to retire from the world. And, whether rightly or not, he never returned to it. He carried this so far as year after year to decline invitations to dinner in the chapter-house or in the hall, which he might have accepted as resting on a distinct ground from any private entertainments; and by doing this he undoubtedly incurred the censure of more than one of his brother canons. 'One cannot draw lines,' he said; 'if I accepted one invitation I should find it difficult to refuse another without giving offence.' He even had doubts about entertaining the meetings of the Theological Society at his house.
'I shrink at present,' he writes to Newman on August 27, 1839, 'from anything which involves a return to former habits; and opening one's house in the evening would involve all sorts of business, visiting, &c. One could hardly consistently avoid it. On the other hand, it would be good to resume it soon, and that perhaps the rather because I could read my paper on Pelagianism.'
Pusey was not blind to the disadvantages of a life of such complete retirement as his henceforth became. But he took his course for reasons which such considerations did not touch, while, on the other hand, he 'did not wish to condemn others who had not been called out of the world by a great sorrow.' But the crape which he wore on his hat to the end of his life, and the crape scarf which he always used when attending the cathedral service, were symbols of the new mode of life which befitted a sorrow that could only end with death. To all who could understand the higher pathos of human experience, his new habits of complete retirement from the world suggested the appeal of the old saint of patience: 'Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.'
Pusey's sorrow threw him back on himself and on God. His first disposition was to see in his bereavement only a punishment for past sin. Keble and Newman both warned him against this exaggerated feeling, and against regarding his case as exceptional. It led him to review his work in past years more unsparingly than ever before. In the summer of 1839 Blanco White's lapse into complete infidelity was reported in Oxford; and Pusey bitterly reproached himself for the encouragement which his book on German Rationalism might have given to that distinguished but unhappy Spaniard in his downward spiritual career. Later in the summer Newman reported to Pusey: 'Strauss's book is said to be doing harm at Cambridge: the only way to meet it is by your work on Types.' Pusey could only see in this circumstance another reason for recollecting the influence of his own work on German theology.
'It is very shocking,' he writes to Newman, 'that Strauss's book should be doing harm at Cambridge, or that, without any practical end, they should be even reading it. I know nothing, except from general report, about it; so I cannot imagine in what way it is doing harm. For we cannot imagine that any there should not be offended with it as a whole, such as it is described. My lectures on Types are incomplete, even as relates to the Pentateuch: for of all the Types of the Levitical worship I had only got through the chief sacrifices. I should be glad to do something for Cambridge, for I fear my book on Germany did harm there.'
This sad crisis in his life could not but influence also his preaching. From this time forward the nothingness of this world, the disciplinary value as well as the atoning power of the Cross, the awfulness and reality of the Day of Judgment, assume a new prominence in his sermons. His first sermon after his bereavement was preached at Budleigh Salterton: it was on 'The Cross borne for us and in us .' Then at Brighton, on the 13th of October, he preached one of the most remarkable and searching of his sermons--on the Day of Judgment; and on returning to Oxford he preached, before the University, on the real lessons of the Book of Ecclesiastes, so often misunderstood. The text was Eccl. xii. 13. The scene produced by one passage in the sermon has been graphically described by the Rev. J. B. Mozley:--
'Pusey preached last Sunday, the first time in Oxford since his wife's death. When he came to the last sentence of the prayer before the sermon, in which the dead are mentioned, he came to a complete standstill, and I thought would never have gone on. He has very little mastery over his feelings. In the course of the sermon there was a piece of friendly advice given to the Heads of Houses, for which they would not be much obliged to him. He had been talking of increase of luxury amongst the undergraduates of late years, from which he took occasion to say that those in station might do well to live more simply than they did. He dropped his voice at this part, which had the effect of course of giving increased solemnity to the admonition; for there was breathless silence in the church at the time.'
The passage uttered in a low tone runs as follows:--
'It is miserable to think that, amidst much real improvement, luxury in this favoured place has even within these last fifteen years much increased, that it is increasing, and yet that it is selfishness, the path to forgetfulness of God, the special hardener of the heart and the minister to other sin. And (may it be said with real reverence for some yet older than myself, both for their persons and office?) might not those in our station benefit both ourselves and others by returning to the greater simplicity of times not long past, and whose memory is still vivid, and from which we have departed by assimilating ourselves to the world? Can we expect the luxuries which are enervating and injuring our youth to be abandoned until our own habits are simpler?'
Pusey wrote to Dr. Gilbert, the Principal of Brasenose, who was then Vice-Chancellor, about some unimportant misunderstanding respecting the entrance of the procession into church, and he took the occasion to express a hope that his plain speaking had not given offence.
'I cannot conceive any one,' said the Vice-Chancellor, 'taking offence at what you said, in allusion to some habits of expense among ourselves. I believe there are few if any among us who do not agree with you on that point; at least, I can say I have heard the subject several times mentioned, and always with regret at least, if not condemnation of it.'
After his wife's funeral Pusey remained in Oxford in close seclusion, and occupied himself mainly in finishing the second and enlarged edition of the first of his three tracts on Holy Baptism. On July 1st he reached Brighton, his intention being to take his boy Philip by coach from Brighton to Portsmouth, and thence by steamer to Torquay, on their way to Budleigh Salterton. They left Brighton in the early morning of July 2nd, but at Arundel an unfortunate accident occurred: Pusey and his son were very nearly killed by being thrown off the coach. The incident is described by Pusey in a letter to his mother.
E. B. P. TO LADY LUCY PUSEY.
Arundel, July 2, .
There is nothing amiss, although I write from this place. We have had, however, what might have been a very bad accident: I took Philip on my knee to show him Arundel Castle; and I was putting him back on the seat when the coach turned, and we both fell off. We are both feeling not much amiss: he has been talking very briskly, and says he is quite well, and was asking me just now whether when I was well (he meant some stiffness of my neck) I would take him to see the cathedral (having imagined from the milestones that we were at Chichester).
As the surgeon wished to take blood, or at least put leeches on poor Philip, I thought it most satisfactory to write to Dr. Price to ask him or Mr. Taylor (the surgeon and apothecary who has been attending him) to come over. I feel no inconvenience more than the back of my neck being very stiff; we both fell on our heads: I on the top of my head, Philip on his forehead; Philip became insensible for a time; I, not; my hat broke my fall. Altogether it is a very great mercy of God. Had Philip seemed as well as he does now, I might have doubted about sending for Dr. Price; but I am glad I did; it will be more satisfactory. At first the people about told me that 'the child was killed,' and I thought so till I heard him cry a little.
Our further proceedings will, of course, depend upon Dr. Price; we might go back to Brighton, or go on; or should we stay here, I have friends in the neighbourhood.
It is now rather more than three hours since the accident, so that I may say confidently that we are not likely to suffer materially. I will write again, please God, to-morrow.
You will thank God for us, my dear mother.
Kindest love to all.
Ever your very affectionate and dutiful son,
E. B. PUSEY.
Philip sends his duty and love to you: (I told him I was writing) and thanks you for sending him your love.
They remained at Arundel for two days. On the 4th Pusey writes: 'Philip is apparently as if nothing had happened; he himself says that he has no feeling about him different from before.' Pusey himself was much shaken. But on the 5th Dr. Price, their medical adviser allowed them to continue their journey, He added:--
'Truly indeed may you say "by God's great mercy"you and your dear boy have escaped with your lives from such imminent danger.'
At Portsmouth Pusey wrote again to his mother: the anxiety about Philip had passed, and his thoughts resumed what had been their natural course since his sorrow.
E. B. P. TO LADY LUCY PUSEY.
Portsmouth, July 5, 1839.
The journey has been full of associations. At Brighton, and between Brighton and Worthing, I could see her riding as in her days of health, and here our chief stay was when we were returning from the Isle of Wight, where we had been for my health. God grant that I may not lose the fruit of His mercies, whether chastening or sparing.
When they reached Budleigh Salterton, Pusey writes of his children, now for the first time reassembled since their mother's death.
E. B. P. TO REV. W. B. PUSEY.
Budleigh Salterton, July 9, 1839.
Dearest Lucy is quite subdued, patient, gentle, unrepining, unselfish, but completely struck down: she feels and bears her loss just as one three times her age might: she realizes it, and bears it, as God's Hand and in faith in Him. It would seem as if it had been permitted that her dear mind should be thus early developed in order that this dispensation might not pass off, as it would with most of her years, but that it may be blessed to her. She seems to have ceased to be a child, never again to be one; her thoughts, feelings, language, tenderness, her very walk and manner, are no longer that of a child. I find that she is looking forward to Confirmation (this appeared from her asking whether there was anything wrong in looking forward), and this must be very much the working of her own mind. It may be that God is ripening her early, to close her trials soon; it seems most probable: one has no claim to expect anything else; and it will have been an unspeakable mercy to see her so ripened and safe (if I do see it). Dear little Mary seems quite well again; her buoyant Spirits are a great contrast to her sister's subdued frame; but it is all natural in her. Poor Philip is lame as well as deaf; yet he enjoys being drawn in a chair. It is a nice quiet place, with very good air.
Pusey set himself at once to work. He wrote to his brother William, who was acting as curate at Garsington, a long list of enquiries about books and references which would have given a young clergyman plenty of occupation for several mornings. The following letter too would remind him how much there was to be done, if such a reminder bad been necessary.
REV. J. H. NEWMAN TO E. B. P.
MY DEAR PUSEY, Oxford, July 14, 1839.
Your letter was a great comfort to us, and was very kind. Certainly your and Philip's escape has been most marvellous, and we should be very thankful. I will try to say in brief many things. Your Letter (2nd ed.) to the Bishop is nearly out of print, and Parker wants to know about reprinting it. The first editions of St. Augustine and St. Cyril are nearly out of print, and of St. Cyprian will be soon. Parker says you must prepare for a new edition. He is very decided as a matter of business that Keble's half volume should come out. He says the oftener volumes come out the better. It can come out by August 1,--if we wait for 600 pages, not till October 1. He says it is important too for the sale to have smaller volumes than 600 pages, if possible--and volumes all of a size. For myself; I am perfectly sure that we cannot get through four 600 page volumes in a year. We have begun Fleury. I have set Christie upon it. Two volumes are to come out first. I have been much taken with the very graphic and striking character of the Acts of Chalcedon, and think one or two very interesting volumes of the Library might be made from the Four First Councils. You have had sent to you from Wales a translation of Chrysostom's de Sacerdotio: your brother opened it and sent it to me. Ishall acknowledge it. Mr. Jones of Beaumaris is the author. Copeland promises to bring me his translation of the Ephesians in a few days. It shall go to press at once. I bury to-day that poor youth, who has died sooner than I expected. Keble's Psalms have run out heir first edition of 1,000 (in four weeks).
With this metrical version of the Psalter, Pusey had been closely associated from the first. The production of such a version, which might be true to the requirements of poetry, but above all things true to the sacred original, had been or some years an object on which Keble had set his heart.
'If I can but succeed,' he wrote to Pusey, 'in keeping out one irreverent hymn, I should think it worth a good deal of trouble.' He regarded his own efforts as those of a 'very indifferent Hebraist,' and his manuscripts would never have seen the light but for Pusey's importunity and assistance.
At intervals between 1836 and 1838 the Psalms were sent singly or in small fasciculi to Oxford; every expression which was at variance with Pusey's sense of the meaning of the original was ruthlessly sacrificed, at whatever cost to the rhythm or rhyme, and Keble had to assimilate the correction as best he might with his version. The last correction was made on August 22, 1838. The result was a version which, although metrical, was in point of faithfulness to the Hebrew without a rival in the English language. 'Its characteristic is literalness'; through large portions of the Psalms 'it treads step by step with the sacred text'; the author 'is able, simply by a varied disposition of the words, to arrange them in a metrical form, without even paraphrasing them.' Thus, in a most remarkable way, Keble's work is free from the defects which generally attach to a metrical version; indeed, in some respects it is a more accurate rendering of the Hebrew than the Authorized Version itself.
The book was printed early in 1839. On 'St. Philip and St. James' Day' Pusey wrote to Bishop Bagot, asking him to license it. He, without noticing the particular form of the request, allowed the book to be dedicated to him, suggested that Mr. Keble should put his name on the title-page, and gently rebuked Pusey for dating his letter by the Saint's day. Pusey applied to Dr. Bandinel, the Bodleian Librarian, to discover 'whether there was any precedent for a Bishop's licensing books in our Church. He could only find that the Archbishop and the Bishop of London together did.' Keble thereupon suggested two forms of dedication, both of which implied that the Bishop licensed them for use in his diocese; and Pusey transmitted them with the subjoined letter.
E. B. P. TO THE BISHOP OF OXFORD.
MY DEAR LORD, Christ Church, May 13, 1839.
In asking your Lordship to 'license' Mr. Keble's version of the Psalms I find that I was asking more than I can learn to have been practical in our Church since the Reformation, although it certainly belongs to each Bishop to settle what should be sung in the public worship of his diocese. As your Lordship took no notice of the word 'license' in your answer to my letter, I set about ascertaining the fact, which in my first application at Cuddesdon, and again now, I had hastily taken for granted: and I cannot ascertain that Bishops have been in the habit, in these last centuries, of licensing books for the use of their diocese.
' A mere 'dedication by permission,' however, would not remove Mr. Keble's scruples, unless it implied your Lordship's sanction that the version should be used in your Lordship's diocese: otherwise, he would seem to be adding to the number of unauthorized Psalmodies, already too great. To this I understood your Lordship to accede, and I therefore take the liberty of transcribing a title-page, and two forms of dedication which Mr. Keble has sent me. I half feel that I am putting myself too forward in this matter; yet I write, instead of Mr. Keble, because I originally applied for your Lordship's 'license' and (your Lordship not being aware of the sense in which I used the term and so assenting) satisfied his scruples by telling him that I had obtained it.
Your Lordship will not think it undutiful if, dropping the notion of its being called 'The Oxford Psalter' or 'A new Version of- the Psalms for the use of the Diocese of Oxford,' Mr. Keble would still dislike putting his name in the title-page; for indeed they are called 'Merrick's Psalms,' and 'Tate and Brady's Psalms,' and this Mr. Keble would not at all like.
With regard to dating a letter from a saint's day, I would not make a common practice; but until of late the habit of dating from them seems to have been common: one finds it among the Non-jurors, who, I suppose, used it in common with those of their day. We still speak of those days or seasons which we still value, as Christmas rather than the end of December, Easter, Whitsuntide, &c.; our leases dated Michaelmas and Lady Day imply the same. There are some old Hebrew exhibitions at Christ Church which are to be paid on 'the feasts of St. Michael the Archangel' and 'the Blessed Virgin Mary.' I cannot but think that if people thought about the Saints' days it would come natural to them to do common things in reference to them, and so to date from them; and that dating from them, and so on, carries the memory of them into little things which are done. And I think that people have taken offence (as I have been told lately they have done) at the Tracts being dated from them, because it implied a respect for them which they did not feel, and so accidentally blamed them. One would wish to avoid this, and so I would not intentionally so date a letter, unless I thought the individual to whom I wrote would coincide with me: but I may have done so at different times, as it may have seemed to me a sort of being ashamed of my practice to date one letter St. Philip and St. James, and another May 1.
Pray excuse the trouble of this long explanation, And believe me, with much respect,
Your Lordship's obliged and faithful servant,
E. B. PUSEY.
At that date Bishops had not been in the habit of licensing forms of services, lessons, prayers, &c. for use in their own dioceses, a practice now so familiar. Hence this letter was forwarded to Archbishop Howley, who replied as follows:--
THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY TO THE BISHOP OF OXFORD.
MY DEAR LORD, Lambeth, May 16, 1839.
It is said by Wharton that the version of the Psalms by Stemhold and Hopkins never received 'any Royal approbation or Parliamentary sanction.' A version made by King James the First was allowed and recommended by his successor. The version of Tate and Brady was allowed and permitted to be used, &c. by William the Third. Sir Richard Blackmore's version was licensed by George the First, but did not find admission into churches. Dr. Home, Bishop of Norwich, introduced several Psalms from Merrick's version into the Church of St. Mary's, Oxford. A selection of Psalms and Hymns was sanctioned by Bishop Tomline in 1815, and used in Buckden Church and other neighbouring churches. In 1820 a selection of Psalms and Hymns for public worship was sanctioned at York by the Archbishop of that province.
The above information I have collected from the preface to a new version published by the Rev. Basil Wood in 1821. I do not believe that in the eye of the law any Bishop has authority to license the use of any new version in his diocese. In sanctioning the publication by permitting it to be inscribed to him there can be nothing objectionable. When I was Bishop of London I was frequently applied to, and, I think, in some instances of selection allowed of a dedication to myself. A selection by Mr. Home has been inscribed to me since I was Archbishop. To translators who requested me either to give or procure a regular sanction for the use of their versions in churches, I replied that a request of that kind would more properly come under consideration when their work had been for some time before the public, and had obtained general approbation.
In the present instance I do not see why your Lordship. should not accept the dedication with the title as stated by Dr. Pusey, but omitting the clause which states your consent to the use of the version in your diocese. Indeed I think this permission should not be asked of you. It is possible that the version may be excellent, and yet unsuitable to Church Psalmody. At any rate, your sanction in that respect will have greater weight if it accords with the opinion of the public; and it certainly will have little effect if it does not.
I meant to have answered your communication by return of post, as you will see by the date, but I have been prevented by incessant occupation from finishing what I had begun till this morning.
Believe me, my dear Lord,
Most truly yours,
I return Dr. Pusey's letter.
This was forwarded to Pusey on the Sunday before Mrs. Pusey's death; and at this point accordingly the subject passed into Keble's hands. The book was issued in June, 1839, and the first edition was sold in four weeks. It was reviewed by the Rev. Isaac Williams in the British Critic of January, 1840: the article has a high interest of its own; but in the same number of the British Critic there is an appendix to Mr. Williams' article, in which two and thirty pages of small print are devoted by Pusey to illustrating the literal fidelity to the Hebrew text of Keble's metrical version. This elaborate and interesting paper was written during the visit at Budleigh Salterton; as he says, he certainly did not grudge the 'happy hours which are spent apart from the "strife of tongues"in the hidden sanctuary of the Psalms.'
At the same time he was engaged in printing the enlarged edition of his tract on Baptism; Newman enriched it with some patristic references. He was also preparing for the press a volume of translations, by the Rev. F. Oakeley, of St. Augustine's Anti-Pelagian Treatises, with an introduction of his own on the history of Pelagianism, which has never appeared in print, although it was read as two papers at meetings of the Theological Society. The object of this introduction was to combat opposite popular errors which have gathered round the heresy of Pelagius: errors which associate with the heresy much that has no connexion with it; and errors which would apologize for it as only a healthy form of opposition to the theories of St. Augustine.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
Budleigh Salterton, Aug. 2, 1839.
MY DEAR NEWMAN,
* * * * *
I have looked over Oakeley's translation of the de Pecc[atorum Meritis et Remissione], but there are some places (chiefly on Aug.'s translation of certain texts) to which I must add notes at Oxford. He is going on with the rest: I think that he has often turned difficult passages happily, and hope it will read well, as I think it will interest people and do good; but I suppose I shall have imparted some of my hard style to it. I have been reading the de gestis Pelagii, and cannot hope but that P. was very dishonest at the Council of Jerusalem. It is a painful exhibition of the great fall of one who had been held in high repute.
Of Pusey's life at Budleigh Salterton one or two features have been supplied by the clergyman who had the spiritual charge of the place:--
'Dr. Pusey occasionally availed himself of the boat of a retired tradesman. In conversation with him Dr. Pusey found that though in the habit of going to church, he was really a Unitarian, at least defending those principles. I quite remember his speaking to me about this very seriously, and he begged me to lend him "Jones on the Holy Trinity,"a book on the S. P.C. K. list. An old servant who waited on him, and who afterwards lived in my service for some years, used to tell me of the simplicity and self-denial of his daily life, and of the hardness of his bed.'
During his holidays Pusey always endeavoured to ascertain how far Church principles, as restated by the Oxford Tracts, were making their way in the country.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
August 2, 1839.
I saw Medley several times while he was here. He seems a very nice person, and will do good, I hope; he fears about the middling classes: he says the higher, he has found, soon understood us, when we explain ourselves; but that the middle, with their horror of Popery, have a fear also of being priest-ridden. Mr. K. here seems a well-disposed person, though probably too easy, and taking things too easily, but he is young: he had been wishing to introduce the Wednesday and Friday service, but could not, for the chapel is unconsecrated, and Lord Rolle's private property. He has now done it. Mr. Bartholomew, with whom I had one long talk, speaks very encouragingly of the progress of things (as does Oakeley among the lawyers). Mr. B. speaks from his experience as Examining Chaplain. He named one instance in which a person, who had been preaching most strongly on the other side, owned to have been turned quite by the Tracts. Mr. B. himself seems to be one of those who say that there is a great deal of good in the Tracts, but that they do not mean to subscribe to everything in them (why should they ?). The Bishop of Exeter has been praising the Tracts to the clergy, but speaking against 'Reserve.' I endeavoured to give Mr. B. a better impression of it (and through him, I hoped, to the Bishop), but I was afraid to say much, for fear of diluting Williams' 'bitter,' and so making it a more palatable but less beneficial medicine.
The visit to Budleigh Salterton ended on Sept. 2nd. Pusey had wished to return at once to work at Oxford, but his daughter Lucy's health made this unadvisable, and it was arranged that they should all go to Brighton, where he was joined by his mother, and remained until Oct. 16th. His visit brought him into contact with several interesting people; but he went on working as at Budleigh Salterton.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN.
[20 Marine Square, Brighton], Sept. 11, 1839.
I had a very pleasant interview with J. Watson on Saturday; he is staying here. I introduced the subject of Mr. B.'s discourses as a 'feeler'; and I was delighted to find him taking altogether the same views as ourselves, so far; it was quite refreshing to hear an old man speaking the same things, clearly and calmly; it seemed to link us on so visibly with past generations, and that we were teaching no other than had been delivered to us. He asked after you; and, naming 'Keble,' said ' I do not like prefixing the title (Mr.) to his or Newman's or your name.'
I called on R. Anderson, and he has left me a tract in which he has incorporated a good deal from Bishop Jebb; so that he seems to be making progress.
Dr. Wolff seems determined to make an acquaintance with me, whether I will or no. I wish I could fairly get rid of him. However, it will be something if one can in any degree quiet him. I meant to have sent his letter, but kept it back as too heavy. . .
I said nothing about myself; because I know not how I am; sometimes I think myself a little stronger, sometimes it seems as though I were gradually declining. Perhaps both are true. My mother and brother observe that I am much aged in the last year.
God bless you and yours.
Ever your very affectionate and grateful friend,
E. B. PUSEY.
I should not like to date from 20 Marine Square, but that it recalls past acts of kindness.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. H. NEWMAN. -
20 Marine Square, Brighton, Sept. 18, 1839.
Thank you for your full opinion about Tertullian's treatises: I had read the first ad Uxorem, and begun the second, and come to the same conclusion that there was much good in it, and no sufficient reason to omit it. It is singular that we should have been thus led to take a fearless line, just on the point on which Mr. Taylor taunts us with the Ancient Church. The other two treatises I have not yet read: for I had forgotten which they were, and read the de Habitu Muliebri and most of the de Cultu Fem., which I thought likely to have difficulties. They have; but who will say that they are not needed in the present day in the so-called 'world'? I hope they may help also in the crusade against pearls, gold, and costly array, which I have been in some degree engaged in: the jewels of the ladies in London would build all the churches wanted, and endow them too I believe; we must preach them into 'the treasury,' and silver dishes into the smelting-pot, some day, else we shall never get the funds we want, nor the simplicity of Churchmen. However, this may be by-and-by; if you make Churchmen they will melt the silver dishes gladly, and one must not get into the error of the L. C. [Low Church] of going to the branches, instead of the root: yet breaking off jewels, or melting a service of plate, would be a good decided act.
I have read the de Virg. Vel.; I agree with you that the subject and way of treating it make it not worth inserting as a whole; and one is glad to have a come-off; at the same time there are some good things at the beginning, the Apostles' Creed, the statement that things contained in it were not open to correction or amendment; there is also a good saying towards the end about Scriptura, natura, disciplina, even while arguing against tradition: perhaps these might be worked into the preface: otherwise I was thinking whether one might extend your principle of publishing what was useful of Montanistic treatises. I like your principle of selection.
* * * * *
It is very pleasing to see how completely J. W. [Joshua Watson] identifies himself with us: he asked much about you. He says that he thinks the S. P. C. K. would not be indisposed to print tracts, or portions of our Fathers, as a 'Poor Man's Library of the Fathers.' It might be worth trying them.
I have received a very kind letter from the Bishop of L., asking for accounts of myself and my children.
I have looked through the de Exhort. Cast. My misgivings would arise from the peremptoriness with which he speaks against second marriage. Certainly we want to have the tone raised on all the subjects connected with marriage; celibacy, living in marriage, 'skolazein te proseuxe' and on some of them Tertullian would do good service in this very treatise. It would be desirable, too, that people should come to think it a good to abstain from second marriages. People lose what is a good, simply because it never occurs to them to think of it as a good; I should think this argument (§ i. 2), 'habere nos noluit; si enim voluisset, non abstulisset,' would be felt by many; but then there are so many who are involved in second marriages who would be pained; and there are such fearful instances of the ' uri,' that I have misgivings about anything so strong, especially as a beginning. I do not think much of the difficult passages, except that part of § 9 in its more obvious sense would not be true, or is not true at all; his 'duae uxores eundem circumstant maritum, una spitritu, alia carne' is nicely said; and so are many of his principles, if not so peremptory. His interpretation of 'Not I, but the Lord' is not what I have been accustomed to.
The Bishop of Calcutta, I suppose you have seen, makes goodly admissions in behalf of Tradition (Charge, p. 654). They would make a good extract for the British Critic, including the admission of the quod ubique: if people will but go on so we may leave Tradition too in their hands.
The inclosed half sheet is from the Morning Despatch; to judge from this specimen, an insipid ill-conditioned paper. It is inserted as an advertisement only.
J [oshua] W[atson] wants Wood to answer the Government manifesto about education. After all, the sting is in the contest between the 'State' and a 'voluntary society,' p. iv. We seem taught every way to get rid of our 'voluntary societies' as best we may.
Kindest regards and wishes to Bowden.
Ever your very affectionate and grateful friend,
E. B. PUSEY.
In consequence of some strong representations of the Bishop of Calcutta, the Church Missionary Society sent a peremptory order that the missionaries in that diocese should be placed absolutely under the authority of the Bishop, upon which all the Calcutta Committee have resigned. This comes from R. Anderson, who seems to identify himself with Manning and us.
Could you say, without trouble, which are the best tracts against occasional nonconformity? I want them for a servant.
While at Brighton, Pusey saw something of the Rev. H. V. Elliott, and sent him the second edition of his tract on Baptism.
THE REV. H. V. ELLIOTT TO E. B. P.
MY DEAR DR. PUSEY, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 1839.
In returning you my grateful thanks for your second edition of your book on Baptism, I take shame to myself for not having thanked you many times before for your great and persevering kindness in sending me your other works: and not the less so, but the more so, because I am not (as I believe you know) disposed towards the general system of doctrine which you advocate. The reason for my various silences has been the hope to read carefully and accurately the works which you have been so good as to send me; but I am a slow reader, and many avocations, and the reading required by my sermons from week to week, and the accelerated velocity of modern publications, leaves me far behind: one thing I may say, that I do not take my opinions of the theological works which chiefly emanate from Oxford, at second-hand, from any of your bitter adversaries. I read them for themselves, and decline reading the works against them. Neither do I join in hard names, but often protest against the unfounded accusations which I hear. My great fear concerning you all is lest you should introduce an extreme value of forms and rites, to the detriment of spiritual worship, and ultimately of real holiness: lest you should exalt the Church to a par with, or above, the Word of God; and bring religion to be so much identified with the outward reception of the Sacraments as to disparage that private and secret walk with God, without which the Sacraments themselves will lose their power.
While I say this in all candour, speaking I know to equal candour, I must add that I love the fair, gentle, and humble spirit which distinguishes your books from others of the same school, in many of which there is, I am sorry to be obliged to think, abundant bitterness--and what is more, secret bitterness. Again, you speak out: others are often so obscure that they seem to leave a back door open to get out of their own proposition.
I will only add one more thing. Your books have made me pray more than I ever did in my life before for the spirit of truth, unity, and concord in our beloved Church--and the whole Catholic Church.
I am unwilling to say anything of the afflictions with which God has visited you: except that they did not pass without my poor sympathy and remembrance. May God, by such chastisement, make the sufferers more and more partakers of His holiness.
With undiminished affection, and the sincerest respect, believe me, my dear Dr. Pusey,
Most sincerely yours,
H. V. ELLIOTT.
Mrs. Elliott is just now, and ever since you came, in village retirement at Uckfield. Our term will soon end, and then I hope we may have the pleasure of seeing you face to face. I go to her this morning.
On his return to Oxford soon after this, Newman wrote of him as follows:--
Oct. 20, 1839.
'Pusey has returned and in appearance much better. It is no exaggeration to say he is a 'Father' in the face and aspect. He has been preaching to breathless congregations at Exeter and Brighton. Ladies have been sitting on the pulpit steps, and sentimental paragraphs have appeared in the papers--in the Globe! Fancy !'