Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.
London: Longmans, 1894
Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
'Ubi tu pulsas, ego vapulo tantum.'
JUV. iii. 289.
PAPAL AGGRESSION --BISHOP BLOMFIELD' S CHARGE--LETTER TO BISHOP OF LONDON -- BISHOP WILBER–FORCE' S INHIBITION --INHIBITION WITHDRAWN.
IN the autumn of the year in which the Gorham case was decided, while there was still much widespread un–easiness and distrust, and secessions to Rome were constantly being announced, the public mind in England was roused to a fever of excitement, which now appears quite in excess of the provocation, by a Bull from the Pope establishing a new Roman Catholic episcopate in England. On Sept. 24, 1850, Pius IX. issued the Bull, 'Ad perpetuam rei memo–riam,' by which England was constituted an ecclesiastical province of the Roman Catholic Church, containing one Archbishop and twelve Suffragans. This 'Papal aggres–sion,' as it was termed, made even cool-headed people almost fanatical. Meetings were held all over the country; bishops wrote letters; clergy presented addresses; laymen made speeches; the press discussed the subject with almost ferocious fervour; and at last a Bill entitled the 'Eccle–siastical Titles Bill' was introduced into Parliament, and carried in a moment of controversial excitement, only to become a dead letter from the first, and in a few years to be formally repealed. The public indignation was fed by very varying materials; besides appeals to the memories of the fires of Smithfield, of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and of the Gunpowder Plot, it was stimulated by in–citements to popular prejudice against the Tractarians. The Tractarians were 'down,' and were 'fair game' for any public man desiring to make political capital out of religious prejudices. The letter of Lord John Russell, the Prime Minister, to Pusey' s old tutor, Bishop Maltby of Durham,--in which he denounced the 'mummeries of High Church superstition' and the 'laborious endeavours which are now making to confine the intellect and enslave the soul,' -- helped considerably to fan the name of popular fanaticism.
That Pusey should bear the brunt of so much of this outbreak of popular feeling as was directed against the Oxford party, was inevitable. He was now, beyond ques–tion, the most prominent 'Tractarian,' nay, the most prominent presbyter, in the Church of England; and Mr. Maskell and Mr. Dodsworth had succeeded by their pamphlets in making him more an object of widespread prejudice and suspicion than ever before. Wherever he went, as he told Keble, he had evidence of the feelings with which he was regarded. Not only did the Puritan and the irreligious press combine to assail him with incessant invectives; but old friends were distant, and he met with hard words and cold looks in quarters where a more generous and just estimate might have been looked for. It might have been expected that in the face of the growing excitement, and having in mind the trouble and losses sus–tained by the Church of England through the Gorham decision, the Bishops would have possessed the insight to appreciate the position which Pusey and Keble had taken up, and the statesmanship to control the excitement of unreasoning prejudice. So far from this being the case the Bishops, with one solitary exception, threw the weight of' their authority on the side of popular and shortsighted passion.
On two notable occasions the Houses of Parliament have hastily legislated under the influence of religious excitement. One was the occasion of the 'Papal aggression' ; the other was that of the passing of the ill-judged and inef–fectual Public Worship Regulation Act. Of both panics it may be said that people and Parliament have become thoroughly ashamed. It is melancholy to reflect that in each case the excitement was stimulated, rather than re–strained, by the leading members of the Episcopate.
An excess of timidity has always been thought to be the mark of the Episcopate in the Western Church; and of the Bishops it was said in the middle ages, 'Episcopi in Anglia semper pavidissimi.' History describes many disastrous results of this characteristic. Certainly on the occasion of the issue of the Papal Bull this excessive timidity, issuing in panic fear, can alone account for the singular want of judgment displayed by the Bishops. In their terror of Rome they included in a general denunciation not only the Roman Catholics but also the whole Tractarian party--Pusey and all who in any way sympathized with him. The Bishop of Exeter indeed was a noble but solitary exception. He did his best to encourage and defend one whom he recognized as loyally working for the Church of England.
'Pray,' wrote the Bishop to Pusey, 'do not consider yourself under any restraint in preaching in my diocese. I had forgotten that I had requested you in 1848 to forbear. I by no means ask you to forbear any longer. Pray come to my house freely. I will not submit to the humiliation of not receiving gladly a friend whom I so highly value, because of the unjust clamours which ignorant or malicious persons may raise.'
Undoubtedly the position held by Pusey may have required some explanation. Yet it would hardly have been expected that the Bishop of London, who had known Pusey for a quarter of a century, the Episcopal assessor who had dissented from the Gorham judgment, should have been unequal to forming a true estimate of the justification of Pusey' s attitude. Even he could only intensify the expres–sions of his own 'divergence from Pusey' s doctrine and practice.
On Saturday, November 2, 1850, Bishop Blomfield delivered his sixth Charge in St. Paul' s Cathedral to the clergy of his diocese. The events of the year had led men to look forward to this Charge with unusual interest. Nor did the Bishop disappoint such expectations. The greater part of the Charge is devoted to a review of the Gorham case; and it reasserts, in clear and forcible terms, the Church' s positive acceptance of the doctrine of the regeneration of all infants in the Sacrament of Baptism. After reading this part of the Charge, Keble wrote to Pusey:--
'Do you not think that the Bishop of London has done good service by recalling attention to Brampford Speke in the midst of this storm from Rome? He certainly gets on: I do not despair of his approving primitive monasticism, by-and-by.'
The Charge, as was inevitable, proceeded then to discuss recent secessions to Rome; and the Bishop observed that 'the recent decision of the Judicial Committee might have been the pretext, but could not have been the cause of them.' The way had been paved for them, he thought, at least in some instances, by the growth of opinions and practices at variance, if not with the letter, yet with the spirit of the teaching and ordinances of the Church of England. After some passages about ceremonial observances which did not apply to Pusey, the Bishop went on to describe the teaching which, in his judgment, had led people to Rome. After alluding to Pusey' s adapted books of devotion, he proceeded:--
'A propitiatory virtue is attributed to the Eucharist--the mediation of the saints is spoken of as a probable doctrine--prayer for the dead urged as a positive duty--and a superstitious use of the sign of the Cross is recommended as profitable; add to this the secret practice of auricular confession, the use of crucifixes and rosaries, the administration of what is termed the sacrament of penance, and it is manifest that they who are taught to believe that such things are compatible with the principles of the English Church, must also believe it to be separated from that of Rome by a faint and almost imperceptible line, and be prepared to pass that line without much fear of incurring the guilt of schism.'
This passage was framed upon--it was little else than condensed reproduction of--the paragraph in Mr. Dodsworth' s public Letter to Pusey in which he upbraids Pusey with inconsistency on the score of the moderate line which he had pursued after the Gorham decision; while other phrases of the Bishop' s Charge are evidently taken from the pamphlet which Mr. Maskell had written with a similar object to that of Mr. Dodsworth. Mr. Dodsworth was meditating secession: Mr. Maskell had already gone to Rome, and it was indeed strange that a prelate who had known Pusey so long should have thought it right to judge his real work and motives on the evidence of those who were in such a position. Pusey' s name was not mentioned; but he knew, as all the world knew, who was meant, and what were the authorities on which the Bishop of London' s language was based. Accordingly he wrote to Bishop Blomfield, and received a letter which at least shows that Pusey was not unduly sensitive in thinking that he was the object of the Bishop' s observations.
BISHOP (BLOMFIELD) OF LONDON TO E. B. P.
Cuddesdon, Dec. 3, 1850.
MY DEAR DR. PUSEY,
My time during the last fortnight has been so entirely occupied by matters of importance arising in my own diocese, that I have found it impossible to give to your letter of November 22 the consideration which it required. A visit to the Bishop of Oxford gives me a few hours of comparative leisure, and I make use of it to write to you.
The observations in my late Charge upon excessive ritualism relate entirely to clergymen of my diocese; those which advert to auricular confession and some other points mentioned in connexion with it, have a more general reference; and I will not deny that I had you, amongst others, in my mind, when I wrote those observations; especially with reference to the Books of Devotion which you have adapted from writers of the Church of Rome, and against which I spoke still more strongly in a former [Charge]. It must be, I think, two years, since I laid my injunctions upon Mr. Dodsworth not to permit the circulation of these books in his district; and the use of them in the Sisterhood established in that district is one of my objections to the Institution as at present conducted. Another is, that it should be almost wholly under the spiritual guidance of a clergyman not in any way connected with my diocese. These, however, are not the only grounds upon which I have felt it to be my duty to withhold my approval from the Sisterhood. Its general tone and tendency appeared to me to be towards Rome; and in this opinion I was confirmed by Mr. Dodsworth, who stated to me some months ago that such was his own ap–prehension. Add to this, that two instances at least were reported to me, of young ladies who were admitted into the institution against the earnest wishes of their nearest relations.
It is not necessary for me to enter now upon the subject of Confession, as you have no doubt seen the full statement of my opinion upon that point recently published in the Times newspaper, which renders any further explanation on my part unnecessary, except as to the single question, whether private confession can be properly made to any other clergyman than the lawful Pastor of the penitent. Upon that question my mind is not fully made up. It is of far less importance than that which relates to the nature of the confession allowed by our Church.
I shall be glad to see the explanation which, I understand, you are about to give, of the matters alleged by Mr. Dodsworth, with reference to your private teaching; which, if his statement be correct, appears to me wholly irreconcilable with the teaching of our Church.
I remain, my dear Dr. Pusey,
Your faithful servant,
C. J. LONDON.
P. S. I return to Fulham on Thursday.
Rarely, perhaps, in the course of his life had Pusey so many burdens pressing on him as in the autumn of 1850. He never neglected or sacrificed his duties as Professor of Hebrew to other claims, however pressing. Indeed, it is noteworthy how, amidst all the press of controversy, he was actively engaged in promoting the studies of his chair, and raising the standard of professorial work. But he had also a great mass of daily correspondence relating to spiritual matters; and he had now to deal, indeed he seemed the only person who could deal, with the profound and pathetic troubles of those who were influenced by the secessions to Rome; with anti-Roman protests, like Mr. Palmer' s; with a new and most painful state of things at St. Saviour' s, Leeds; and with an unprecedented relation towards his own Bishop. His letters at this time are full of expres–sions which show how thankful he would have been, as he said in later years, had it pleased God, to be allowed to lie down and die. 'I am almost,' he wrote in one letter to Keble, 'bewildered with distresses.' In another, 'I am sick of London Unions and their quarrels.... It does seem bard work to unite these vested interests. Everybody seems to wish to become first, and everybody to mistrust others.' Again, 'pamphlets come like hailstones, by every post, and from the hands of friends.' Again, 'Mr. Allies has sent me his pamphlet: I have no heart to read it, unless I must.' He asked Keble one day whether he had better not give up all other work, and confine himself to the duties of the Hebrew chair. It would hardly be fair in such circumstances to regard this as simply the language of impatience: it was indeed a cry of sheer weariness resulting from a convergence of tasks which were fairly beyond his physical strength.
It was, however, in such circumstances that he set himself, at such 'scraps of time' as he could call his own, to write the fourth controversial work which the perplexities and controversies of that year wrung from his wearied heart and head. His Letter to the Bishop of London, dated 'the second week in Epiphany, 1851,' is the most complete account and defence that he has given to the world of those features of teaching and practice which are popularly associated with his name, and which had been brought up 'ad invidiam' by Mr. Dodsworth. Step by step he deals with the points which the Bishop had enu–merated in his Charge; adding, however, some others with a view to the completeness of his work. First he notices the use which had been made of the Bishop' s observations by Lord John Russell in his 'Durham letter,' 'in order to turn upon a body of clergy, opposed to his avowed wish to liberalize the Church, the unpopularity of the Papal aggressions which his own acts had certainly fa–voured.' Then he enters upon detail. He had called Absolution a 'sacrament,' but in that lower sense of the word which English divines had constantly recognized. He had termed the Eucharist a propitiatory sacrifice, not as something distinct from the One Sacrifice which alone is of itself propitiatory, but as the appointed action in which the Church on earth pleads its efficacy, as the Great High Priest pleads it in heaven. The objective reality of our Lord' s presence in the Eucharist was, he showed, consistent with belief that His Natural Body is in heaven at the right hand of God; but Christ, wherever present, whether in the Eucharist or elsewhere, was, as Bishop Andrewes had said, 'truly to be adored.' If he adapted Roman Catholic books to the use of the English Church, he was only doing what had been done in every period since the Reformation. The 'rosaries' complained of were simple forms of devotion, and not strings of beads; even Dr. Arnold had abundantly justified the use of the crucifix. The Litany, by its references to our Lord' s 'Agony and Bloody Sweat,' justified the devotions in reference to our Lord' s Five Wounds; and Archbishop Cranmer had used the word 'inebriate,' which Pusey' s critics so greatly objected to, when describing the spiritual joy and forgetfulness of earthly cares and troubles in com–munion with God. As for counsels of perfection, Pusey had not used the expression; but the truth conveyed by it,--that there are higher forms of service and devotion to which all are not called, but which are a source of the highest blessedness and joy,--is the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
The Letter, however, must be read: no summary can give an idea of its theological or spiritual strength, or of the light which it throws on the temper and aims of its author. Pusey states, with absolute freshness, all that in his teaching and practice was made the ground of popular invective; and he claims his right to do and teach all that he avows. He brushes away with a strong but tender decision the mis–representations of fact or of motive which had gathered around his work and life. The concluding pages on this subject are of the highest interest: one or two passages from them may be selected.
'Whatever my sins, of failures, or shortcomings have been, one object I had ever before me, from my earliest memory, to serve God the ministry of this His Church.... I never essayed (as some have said of late) to be a leader of a party, nor to organize a body, nor to act upon a system, nor to direct things or persons to any given end, except the end of all ends, holiness and truth in the fear and love of God. I never sought (it seems to myself strange to have to deny this) to gather persons around me. When I acted, I acted, rather following advice, than giving it. Only on some few great occasions, and those such as called upon others to act, and that chiefly within this University, and concerning it, have I acted in combination with others; and in these cases I was not otherwise prominent, than the station which had been assigned to me necessarily involved.... My name (I have once before said) was on no other ground used in the first instance as a sort of by-word, than because, in order to save a pupil from Dissent, and then, to show how deeply the truth lay in Holy Scriptures, I engaged in the work on the Scriptural Doctrine of Holy Baptism, which grew as I went on, until it became a work instead of a tract. The name became a convenient brand-mark with which to designate principles or truths which those dislike who do not know the truth.... Your Lordship, .I am satisfied, does not allude to myself when you speak of clergymen who put into the hands of members of our Church " books of devotion in which all but Divine honour is paid to the Virgin Mary," because, as I have said above, I have carefully on principle avoided it, both for myself and others.'
Discussing the causes of secessions to Rome, Pusey speci–fies two:--
'The two leading causes, as may be seen from the very statements of those who have left us, have been,--(1) that the Scriptural doctrine of the Unity of the Church did not seem to them to be satisfied by the English belief, that the Church was still one, notwithstanding its distractions and interruption of Communion, or, as it has been said, that " a family may still be one, though its members quarrel”; (2) that since the teachers of our Church seem to be at issue among themselves upon articles of faith, our Church does not perform the office promised, " Thy teachers shall not be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers.”
'These, it must be admitted, my Lord, are difficulties, to which there are counter-difficulties, which may well make us not patient only, but grateful to God for His goodness. I mean, that although there is still enough (as I have often inculcated) in the unity of that Faith which was delivered from the first, in the common Sacraments, in common Apostolic descent, in union in our One Lord, in common prayer, and, I trust, notwithstanding appearances on both sides, in love, we must admit that Unity is not such as it was in St. Augustine' s time. Rome gives an adequate theory of unity, although to that hard theory she sacrifices a great portion of the Church, which " throughout all the world acknowledges" the One Lord of the Church. Again, we must admit, all upon all sides cry out, that there should not be this conflicting teaching. While some of us are anxious to come to a better understanding with one another, others are anxious to cast out those who differ from them.'
One more noble passage follows, which has often been quoted, on the then current proposals to put down Tractari–anism, as suggested by Lord John Russell' s letter:--
'It is worse than idle to talk, as some have done, of putting down " Tractarianism," in order to check secessions to Rome. Such might drive hundreds from the Church for tens; but while that precious jewel the Prayer-book remains, they cannot destroy or weaken " Tractarianism." It was out of Holy Scripture and the Formularies of the Church that Tractarianism arose. It was cherished by our English divines. It was deepened by the Fathers. It was ripened while most of the writers knew scarcely a Roman book, and only controversially. Tractarianism was entirely the birth of the English Church. Its life must be co-existent with the Formularies in which it is embodied. Tractarianism was not beheaded with Laud, nor trampled under foot in the Great Rebellion, nor corrupted by Charles II., nor expelled with the Non-Jurors, nor burnt, together with the Common Prayer-book, in Scotland, nor extinguished by the degradation of the Church through Walpole, nor in America by the long-denied Episcopate. Even the pared and maimed Prayer-book of the Church in the United States still affords it a home; and the sameness of the struggles implies the same principle of life. Tractarianism, as it is called, or, as I believe it to be, the Catholic Faith, will survive in the Church of England while the Scriptures are reverenced, and the Ecumenical Councils received, and the Creeds recited, and the Episcopal Succession continues, and union with Christ her Head is cherished, and she acquiesce not, God forbid! in the denial of any article of the Faith.
'But this is for others. To yourself, my Lord, I may say (and you will forgive me for speaking thus plainly), the remedy for secessions from the Church is her own health and well-being. Sickly trees lose their leaves, and cannot ripen the fruit which they have borne. Whatever strengthens and deepens the life of the Church, binds her children to her' .
Pusey' s Letter to the Bishop of London was answered by Mr. Dodsworth, who was now a Roman Catholic; and this obliged Pusey to write a postscript to his Letter to the Bishop of London, as Mr. Maskell had obliged him to write a postscript to his Letter to Mr. Richards. Mr. Dods–worth complained that the multitude of words employed by Pusey seemed to have drawn off attention from the 'facts' which Pusey had admitted; and Mr. Dodsworth thought it important that these 'facts' should not be lost sight of, and therefore endeavoured to bring them back into prominence in a new pamphlets 'A Few Comments on Dr. Pusey' s Letter.' In the process of doing this, he restates Pusey' s 'admissions' in his own language, and, by doing so, uninten–tionally exaggerates or misrepresents them. So Pusey has to go over the ground again, explaining precisely what he did and did not mean to say: and this gives value to a publication which might else seem to be only the last word of an exhausted controversy. All through this pamphlet and especially at its close, it is easy to see how deeply Pusey felt that the bitter suspicions with which he was now regarded had been created by men who had been associated with him, although in different degrees, as his friends.
The Bishop of Exeter did not endorse everything that Pusey said about Confession. But he sanctioned, very prac–tically, the principle for which Pusey had contended in his Letter to Mr. Richards.
BISHOP (PHILLPOTTS) OF EXETER TO B. B. P.
Bishopstowe, Oct. 20, 1850.
MY DEAR SIR,
It is my intention to address a Pastoral Letter to my clergy very soon, in which it is my intention to treat, inter alia, the matter of auricular Confession as authorized by our Church, and the right of the penitent to use the ministry of any priest whom he may choose, in order to quiet his conscience before the reception of the Holy Communion. I should therefore wish to defer any formal, or authoritative expression of my sentiments on this matter, until I shall so deal with it.
Meanwhile, I cannot have any objection to your saying, that you have been informed (as I doubt not, that you have been informed by Mr. Coghlan) by a clergyman of my diocese, that I had dismissed a complaint against him, not being the parish priest, for admitting a party to special confession in order to quiet her conscience before the Holy Communion, expressly on the ground that the words of the Church in the exhortation to Communion gave a liberty to the party confessing to choose any discreet and learned minister of God' s Word, to whom to make confession.
I shall be very desirous to have more particular communication with you on the matter of special confession, before I publish my letter to my clergy--because I apprehend that I do not altogether assent to your views--and I shall be most desirous previously to know your views more accurately, and to state to you my own.
Yours, my dear Sir, most faithfully,
But the public animadversions of Bishop Blomfield were less serious to Pusey than was a private correspondence at the same time with his own Bishop. It has been seen that the Bishop entered on his work in the diocese with considerable divergences from Pusey' s doctrinal position, and strong feelings of antagonism against his method of dealing with individuals--feelings based on a misappre–hension about his aims and character. The course of events between 1845 and 1850 was not such as to help him to see Pusey in a more favourable light; and the line followed by the Bishop in respect of the Hampden and the Gorham controversies did not help to bring him and Pusey together. With the Bishop of Oxford, as with the Bishop of London, Mr. Dodsworth' s Letter was the immediate occasion of taking any action.
On the day on which Bishop Blomfield delivered his charge, Bishop Wilberforce wrote to Pusey, saying that he had already condemned Pusey' s adaptation of Roman Catholic books of devotion, as 'tending to the spread of Romanism amongst us.' He now condemned the general 'effect of Pusey' s ministry,' which
'did more than the labours of an open enemy to wean from the pure faith and simple ritual of our Church the affections of many of those amongst her children, whose zeal, tenderness, and devotion, would, if properly guided, make them eminent saints, and her special instru–ments in God' s own work in this land.'
'Recent instances of perversion' had combined with 'Mr. Dodsworth' s published letter' to produce this conviction in the Bishop' s mind: and he therefore called on Pusey to give 'some public and distinct answer to Mr. Dodsworth' s charges,' together with
'such an assurance that there shall be such material changes in the practices you encourage, and in the tone of your teaching, as shall satisfy me that they will no longer lead any of the flock committed to roe as chief pastor of this diocese, to the corruptions or the com–munion of the See of Rome' .
The Bishop was fully alive to the importance of this challenge. He kept his letter, after writing it, for some days before he sent it and submitted it to various friends for approval. On receiving it, Pusey replied by return of post, insisting that the most operative reason for the recent secessions to Rome was to be found in the neglect of the Bishops to reaffirm the faith of the Church, after the deci–sion of the Privy Council in the case of Mr. Gorham.
E. B. P. TO THE BISHOP OF OXFORD.
MY DEAR LORD, Christ Church, Nov. 21, 1850.
I was purposing, so soon as I should have finished my answer to Mr. Maskell, to make a printed explanation as to what I believe on the subjects which Mr. Dodsworth has put together; and, in so doing, to compare what I say with the Fathers and our own divines. I have learnt nothing which I teach from the Roman Church. I believed all which I teach when I knew nothing of Roman teaching, except in controversy against it. I was going to make this statement, in conse–quence of the Bishop of London' s Charge. I was preparing to do so as soon as Mr. D.' s letter came out; but he, Mr. Allies, and Mr. Mas–kell, sent me that other letter, and since I knew how very seriously that letter would wound and unhinge tender consciences, if unanswered, I felt it a duty to neglect what seemed to concern myself only. When I had finished the answer which I sent to your Lordship, it seemed too late. I consulted some friends, and they thought it was best to take no notice of it; so I was preparing a book on Baptism.
There are only three doctrines mentioned in that statement; but that of the Eucharistic Sacrifice may take time to illustrate; and, in the midst of lectures, I have scarcely any. I said in the 'Tracts for the Times' (in 1837) that the word 'propitiatory' was accepted or condemned by writers in our Church, according to the sense in which it was understood; whether as something distinct from the Sacrifice of the Cross, as something in itself propitiatory, or whether it was meant, in the language of the Fathers, that we, pleading with the Memorials which our Lord commanded, the merits of the Passion, do thereby obtain graces and favours from the Father. In retaining the word 'propitiatory,' - as I did in two cases, I consulted Mr. Keble, and added by his advice the explanation 'or deprecatory.' I mean nothing but what Bishop Wilson has expressed (not to name others), whom I quoted in an University sermon, the first on Absolution, which I think your Lordship heard and said that you did not disapprove....
He pleads to be allowed to preach at Littlemore, as had been arranged, on the evening of the confirmation of his daughter Mary. Little caring for himself, he was unwilling to increase the alarm that would naturally be felt if it were known he was absolutely inhibited.
Many of those who have left us are very sore with me because I do not as they do, and am, as they think, the great hindrance to others joining the Roman Church. They sometimes almost ironically thank me for having led them where they are. No doubt they per–suade themselves so. Yet I cannot but think that they are glad to think so as a ground of attack against me. Some of them now seem to be making me their chief point of attack. But in one or two cases, in which persons have said it, I have known [it], from my previous knowledge of their history, to be untrue. I hardly know whether in what your Lordship says you were thinking of your own special sorrow: but I may say (for it was a sorrow to me too) that your brother Henry' s mind was formed by Newman, that I did but do what I could for a mind already formed, and that he had passed from me (much as he loved me) under other influences long before he left. This miserable Gorham decision had, I still believe, the chief effect in unhinging him....
Upon one subject, I must ask for more explanation from your Lordship. Your Lordship asks me to give 'such an assurance, that there shall be such material changes in the practices I encourage, and in the tone of my teaching, as shall satisfy you that they will no longer lead any of the nock committed to you as chief pastor of this diocese to the corruptions or communion of the See of Rome.'
I do not know of any peculiar practices at all which I encourage.
Mr. Dodsworth says that he alludes to nothing private in his letter to me. If a person asks me whether there is anything wrong in wearing a small crucifix, in order to keep in mind the thought of our Lord; I have said that I do not think that the crucifix can be any more contrary to the second commandment than the pictures, which are common everywhere: that what is forbidden is to make a likeness in our own mind of Almighty God, not to represent in some way that form which He took, when for our sakes, and for our salvation, He became Man. I have not promoted the use of crucifixes, except in a very few cases, when persons whom I could trust have asked me for them to wear. In my adapted books, I uniformly avoided the use of the word.
In like way, the Rosary is connected in people' s minds with the Ave Maria. Apart from this, as in my books, it is only saying certain prayers repeatedly; and one who knows what severe illness is and great weakness, knows how much easier it is to say one prayer often over, than many. The fewer words and the more concentrated the thought, the better they can pray. A child says to its father, 'do, do, do,' and the earnest repetition of the same words, as our Lord Himself taught us, is often the greatest relief and the most fervent devotion. But I have not been distributing or recommending Rosaries otherwise than, in the Paradise, there are forms of devotions called Rosaries, connected with the Passion of our Blessed Lord; but all which there is peculiar about them is the repetition of the same prayers, which, yet, is no more than the repetition of 'For Thy mercy endureth for ever' in the Psalm.
My preaching (as your Lordship will have seen if you have looked into my sermons) is uniformly doctrinal or practical, but entirely separated from controversial subjects. It is not this that your Lordship wishes altered.
I could give 'an assurance' upon any definite subject; but a vague promise would only be ensnaring. I have done nothing in your Lordship' s diocese, to which your Lordship could in any way object.
I will explain one statement, that your Lordship may not think that I avoid it. I have used the language of the Homilies, 'the Body and Blood of Christ under the form of bread and wine,' because the Homilies use it; but I have not thought in this of anything physical or carnal, and have warned persons against this. I have not changed from what I said in my preface to my sermon on the Holy Eucharist: that my mind had been cast in the teaching of Bishop Andrewes and Archbishop Bramhall, that I received Christ' s words because He spoke them, but the mode of His presence I kept my mind from, as a mystery.
In like way, since St. Augustine says in the name of the Church, 'nemo manducat nisi prius adoraverit,' I have left a statement in one hook. of adoring Christ present. But I have never meant to say anything about a local Presence, much less of the 'corporeal Presence of His natural Body and Blood' ; nor have I meant to encourage anything which could be interpreted into adoration of the Host.
Your Lordship will allow me to say that I think that a very ex–aggerated impression has been given to your Lordship. Everything is against us now. Every one' s faults are visited upon us. Lord John Russell, Presbyterians, all who hate the Church, are stirring up the mob against us; and yet if your Lordship had seen in what stillness I preached at Bristol to a mixed congregation of 2,000 people (many poor) you could have seen that the poor are not alienated from us, nor from the Church by us, God forbid!
But Lord John Russell wishes to screen himself by attacks on us; and the unscrupulous press takes the occasion to express its hatred for us; and yet, if your Lordship looks closely at it, it is not us but the clear doctrines of the Church which it hates.
May I venture to repeat what I ventured to say strongly and to write to some of your Lordship' s brethren on a subject upon which your Lordship felt strongly, the affirmation of the doctrine of Baptism? In such a troubled state of things as the present, everybody is blamed. The Bishops blame the Presbyters; Presbyters, not of one class only, and laymen blame the Bishops. Alas for both!
But may I respectfully say, that with such a Judgment as that of [the] Privy Council, and such a Court of Appeal as the Privy Council, and the not unlikely further peril of the Faith unless this be corrected, and the avowed intention of the Prime Minister 'to liberalize the Church through the Bishops,' --your Lordship cannot, I am sure, attribute much to a set of books, not of very extensive circulation. I know and have seen and heard in many more cases, until I was nearly sick at every letter which I opened, that that unhappy decision and all which it involved, was the turning-point in people' s minds. If the Bishops would but jointly have made a declaration then, such as the Bishop of Bath and Wells put forth, we should not have been in the condition which we are now. I believe that we should have been in a much better condition than we had been before. For such an act would have given confidence as to the teaching of the Church. Your Lordship will perhaps have seen how Dr. Wiseman urged this point and galled people with it. You will be too familiar with the language-- 'If the Church of England does not teach certain truth on this, upon what does she teach it? The Privy Council declares that she does not so teach. And the Church is silent. She allows it to be said in her name and she does not contradict it.' One said what one could, about the difficulty of the Church' s speaking, after having been silenced for 150 years, but one felt that had this been in the time of St. Cyprian or St. Athanasius or St. Augustine, the Church would not have been silent. And now (if I may say so without offence) people draw the contrast the more, and say if the Church had been but as anxious to affirm the truth as to one of the Sacraments, as she is to resist aggression on her Sees, we should not have been in the condition in which we are now.
All I can do, with a safe conscience, I will do, and I trust that when I have time to make a fuller explanation, there will be nothing which your Lordship will be obliged to think contrary to the teaching of the Church of England, in which I desire, with my whole heart, to serve God.
I beg to remain,
Your Lordship' s humble servant,
E. B. PUSEY.
The Bishop appears to have replied in terms which repeated his previous condemnation, and to have inhibited Pusey from preaching in his diocese, except at Pusey, where 'his ministry would be innocent.' Indeed it was a serious crisis, in view of the general unsettlement, that by his inhibition the Bishop should declare Pusey unfit to teach in the Church of England. Pusey at any rate felt it so, and remonstrated against being judged 'upon presumptive evidence' ; and begged the Bishop to return his letter. It was understood that the Bishop' s sentence meant that Pusey was to remain suspended from preaching in the diocese of Oxford unless and until he gave adequate explanation. Meanwhile Mr. Marriott had interfered; he was under an impression that the Bishop' s inhibition had been precipitated by a baseless report that Pusey had been appointed evening lecturer at St. Mary' s, Oxford. The Bishop answered Marriott by stating that the inhibition had extended to 'all public ministrations' ; but he explained that it was, for the present, removed 'as an inhibition' on the under–standing that Pusey would respect his 'wishes.' Apparently he was beginning to understand what serious results might follow from this high-handed and ill-judged action.
At so painful a juncture Pusey naturally fell back on the sympathy and advice of Keble. Keble was especially distressed at Bishop Wilberforce' s attempt to distinguish between Pusey and himself, as though he 'did act and teach within the large licence allowed by our Church,' while Pusey did not. After reading the Bishop' s first letter to Pusey. Keble wrote:--
'Dogmersfield, Nov. 23, 1850.
'This is indeed a distressing letter. It has occasioned me many thoughts, whether I and others may not have drawn or kept back too much, to give him occasion to draw the distinction which he seems to do. I am inclined to think I might, publicly or privately, do something towards mending that. . . . God be with you.'
After receiving Marriott' s report of the real scope of the projected inhibition, Pusey wrote again:--
E. B. P. TO REV. J. KEBLE.
Nov. 25, 1850.
After a long negotiation the Bishop of Oxford yesterday consented to let me preach at Littlemore. So I trust that the bad effects will be prevented. It now remains only, that I know privately that the Bishop does not wish me to preach or do any public act, such as even celebrate or assist at celebration in any parish church, except Pusey. Pusey, he excepted, because he did not wish it to be known, for fear of bad effects...
'Hursley, Nov. 26, 1850.
'I am thankful that, at any rate, this impulse of the Bishop of Oxford is not made public, and the next, by the law of his mind, must be in your favour.'
Pusey' s first difficulty arose from the vagueness of the language in which the Bishop made his charges. 'Influ–ence' and 'tone' may mean anything, until we are told what they are intended to mean. In writing to Marriott, who appears to have pressed the Bishop for explanations, the Bishop explained that he had chiefly in mind Pusey' s 'teaching on confession, his encouragement of persons seeking to establish the relation of director or guide and penitent, as the regular and normal condition; the minute–ness and details of his direction,' stating at some length the Bishop' s own view about Confession. Pusey, he repeated, was conscientiously attached to the Church of England. But he 'had no deep horror of the Popish system' ; he was unintentionally a 'decoy bird' to Rome. Pusey him–self answered the Bishop' s letter to Marriott: since nobody else could have done so. The Bishop, he said, had been very much misinformed as to his private intercourse with penitents. Certainly he never sent away any who asked his advice; he never recommended any penitent to come a second time: if any so came, it was their own doing. The advice he gave was based on experience: he was careful not to interfere with the claims of domestic life, and had never encouraged dependence on himself. If people did depend on him as they did, to keep them from Rome, he could not help it; he could not change their minds. Only a few were technically " under his guidance”: many persons who said they were, or who were supposed to be in this relation with him, were not so in any real sense of the word. If he had to reproach himself it was on the score of being unable to give people who applied to him the spiritual assistance they required. Pusey further asked for an inter–view with the Bishop, begging him to 'speak confidentially' to him; 'tell' him 'facts or supposed facts' .
The Bishop, on November 30, replied, overlooking Pusey' s request for a personal interview, and pointing out what he conceived to be the differences between the Churches of England and Rome in respect of confession, and adding: 'You seem to me to be habitually assuming the place and doing the work of a Roman confessor, and not that of an English clergyman.' Confession, the Bishop held, was allowed in cases of spiritual distress; it was a relief to human nature, but had no sacramental character. The present private inhibition must continue until Pusey' s answer to Mr. Dodsworth was published. Pusey' s reply is little more than a repetition of the argument of the 'Letter' which he was preparing; and he renewed, but in vain, his request for a private interview.
So matters stood until the end of February, 1851, when Pusey had finished the defence for which Bishop Wilberforce had asked, in the form of his Letter to the Bishop of London and its appendix. When sending this publication to the Bishop, Pusey offered to call on him, in order to make any further explanations which the Bishop might require. In a short note, the Bishop declined the proposed interview.
'I fear,' wrote Pusey to Keble on March 1, 1851, 'that this little scrap of the Bishop of Oxford' s is ominous. I fear that nothing would induce him to own me. He was always afraid of me, from the time that I wrote that second Tract on Baptism. The state of things now is that I have leave to preach at Pusey and perform any private ministration, but, at his wish, I abstain from preaching or officiating publicly elsewhere in his diocese. This, I should think, could hardly last. I am sorry not to be allowed to assist at Holy Communion at St. Mary' s; else it does not interfere with me. Within the Cathedral walls I am in a testudo, and may mine as I please. But, of course, it [the practical inhibition] would do great harm if known. And I have been obliged to escape answering as well as I could, if persons asked me why I do not officiate at St. Mary' s.
'But what is to be done, if the Bishop continues this quasi-sus–pension? To wait quiet, until this tyranny be overpast? One may say, " Lord, how long?" I suppose that the line of the Bishops is not to throw us over, for fear too many should go with us, and the Courts might not bear them out; not to own us, for fear of the popular outcry. Is it best for me to go on thus, doing what work God gives me, yet secretly disowned and crippled? What the Bishop of O. could do, would not hinder me, for I have more than enough to do, without preaching at St. M[ary]' s. I am more afraid as to the Bishop of L[ondon], for if he were to prohibit my performing any ministrations in the diocese of London, this would be felt very seriously by many whose confessions I hear.
'I should not be afraid of the Court of Arches as to anything in my Letter. I know not what else they might find in the adapted books. The availableness of the offering of the Holy Eucharist with prayers for the departed, they could hardly condemn.
'But what should I do? Should I press the Bp. of O. to come to some distinct measure, if he thinks it right to desire me not to officiate in his diocese, or should I acquiesce?'
Keble was as ready as ever with warm sympathy and with a proposal to help as best he could.
Hursley Vicarage, Ash Wednesday [March 5], 1851.
Whether we are suspended or no, we must go on in a disowned and crippled state, as far as these State Bishops are concerned. With that one has laid one' s account long ago. If you do not mind not preaching, I should think he would allow the assisting at Holy Communion. It is such an extreme thing to forbid that. I met him on Monday at Mr. Noel' s funeral, and I suppose I should have asked an audience on the subject had I not been fainthearted. Tell me whether it would be a breach of confidence, or plainly inexpedient, for me to write to him.
Ever your very loving
Pusey gratefully accepted Keble' s offer to write to Bishop Wilberforce, especially as a new and dark cloud, big with approaching trouble, was already hanging over St. Saviour' s, Leeds. Keble was able to adopt a different tone and attitude from Pusey' s, when writing to the Bishop. He was not less deferential to a member of what he would call 'the most sacred Order' ; but his greater age--he was Bishop Wilberforce' s senior by thirteen, Pusey only by five, years--warranted him in employing the language of almost fatherly remonstrance. Keble identifies himself unre–servedly with Pusey on the two questions of Confession and the Eucharistic Sacrifice;--they were the salient points of that invidious paragraph in Mr. Dodsworth' s Letter on which the Bishop' s charges were based. He assures the Bishop that the censure on Pusey would equally touch himself, nay, 'all our old and true theologians.' If it were authoritatively adopted by any body of Christians, it would go far to sever that body from the Catholic Church. As to the secession of many of those who had sought Pusey' s advice in their perplexities, Keble points out that this was inevitable, considering that more persons had sought advice from Pusey than from any other, and that they were previously disposed to follow Newman, and were only held back, if at all, by Pusey' s influence.
'Of one thing,' wrote Keble, 'I am quite confident, that if more have passed from his teaching to Rome than from the teaching of any other, more also, by very many, have been positively withheld from Rome by his teaching than have been kept back by any other.'
The Bishop might consider all that Pusey had 'written, done, and suffered in our cause.' Bishops, after all, were very little committed by tacitly allowing persons to officiate in their dioceses; and a refutation, by reason and learning, would meet the requirements of the case better than 'simple authoritative censure.' Why should the Bishop and Pusey be opposed to each other at all? 'I say to myself,' con–tinued Keble, 'here are two persons who really ought to understand one another: and it seems quite a judgment upon us that they cannot act together on our behalf.'
THE BISHOP OF OXFORD TO THE REV. J. KEBLE.
Cuddesdon Palace, March 14, 1851.
MY DEAR MR. KEBLE,
Your letter has reached me in the midst of an Ordination, which must make you excuse a short reply. I assure you that I never could feel any letter from you to be an intrusion. My position with regard to Dr. Pusey is, and has long been, deeply painful to me. I am fully convinced of the loyalty of his own feelings towards the Church of England. I have no suspicion whatever that he will desert her. I believe that a great part of the outcry against him arises from his firmly holding great truths which the Church of England teaches. I revere his devoutness. With such a man I long to be able to work freely, and to share his reproach. With men so far agreeing with him I have worked in my own diocese, and have rejoiced in the late storm to stand by them, shelter them, and bear many of the blows aimed at them. I mean such men as Butler of Wantage, Stephen Hawtrey, &c. Indeed, that no fear of reproach keeps me apart from Dr. Pusey, I think my silence as to our relations, when one word would have stilled the storm raised against me of late, may show.' But here is my difficulty:--
1. I believe that Dr. Pusey' s 'Adaptations' have grievously injured our Church. Dr. Pusey knows and has known my mind on this matter, and yet has published more.
2. I believe that the tone of Dr. Pusey' s spiritual directions, and even of many of his own publications, tends not to uphold amongst us Catholic truth, but to create and foster a tendency to Rome. To answer Dr. Pusey' s writings as you suggest, seems to me the duty of those who have leisure for theological writing. My call is to action. I see a great danger of a very peculiar form, if young men, some very slightly instructed, some struggling out of gross sin, some loving novelty and excitement, were brought under his spiritual guidance. What, in such a case, can I do, though sore at heart at saying so, but say that I do not wish him to exercise his ministry in my diocese? I believe that his influence tends as directly contrary to Prevost' s (whom you name) as possible.'
What seems to me my duty now is this: to study thoroughly his recently published statements of his own position and doctrine (in this I am far advanced); to consider the bearing of them on his adaptations, and then to give him distinctly and in writing my conclusion. This I will do as soon as the press of business allows; and in the meantime I think that matters ought to remain in statu quo.
I am, my dear Mr. Keble, affectionately yours,
The Bishop' s conclusion took the form of a printed letter, or, as Bishop Denison described it, a volume, addressed to Pusey, which was designed for publication. While the Bishop was writing, the renewed troubles at St. Saviour' s appeared to justify some of his grave suspicions about Pusey; he did not, of course, know what had been Pusey' s real relation to them. The letter, or a considerable fragment of it, was sent in April, 1851, to Bishop Denison, who expressed his concurrence in it; he thought that 'a stronger case than he had thought possible' had been made out against Pusey. But he added that the consequences of such a publication might be so important that too much care could not 'be taken in guarding every position. Pusey was in London in the middle of May, and he then heard that the Bishop was about to publish a letter to himself, announcing the inhibition to the world, and justifying it. On Pusey' s mentioning this report to Keble, the latter wrote with characteristic warmth, suggesting that, if such a letter were published, it ought not to be allowed to pass unchallenged.
Pusey acted on the hint, and wrote the next day to the Bishop. He regretted that the Bishop had refused his repeated request for a personal interview, and told him that he was prepared to defend what he had published in an ecclesiastical court. Hereupon the Bishop sent Pusey the proofs of the proposed letter. Pusey asked permission to show them to Keble--a permission which was at once granted.
Pusey replied to the Bishop without a day' s delay. He restated what had been his own rule and practice in the matter of receiving confessions. The Bishop had contradicted Pusey' s statements: Pusey asked for some authority for the contradiction. The Bishop attributed numerous instances of secession to Rome exclusively to Pusey' s teaching: Pusey begged him to specify them. He explained at length what had been the real measure of his responsibility for the unhappy events at St. Saviour' s. He begged the Bishop to tell him whether he imputed to him tendencies or doctrine which seemed to contradict the Articles. If the latter, the only way to settle the question would be to try it in an ecclesiastical court. If the former, the Bishop might consider how he would deal with repre–sentatives of the rising Rationalistic School, or how he could in consistency leave them unnoticed .
Keble liked the Bishop' s letter at least as little as did Pusey.
REV. J. KEBLE TO E. B. P.
May 30, 1851.
I am deeply grieved at this Cuddesdon document: though I agree with you that he does not wish to be unkind. But he does seem to me most shallow in his theology. One can only pray that it may be somehow overruled for good. I must in some way speak a word about it, and that publicly and directly. I am thinking of putting out so many Decades of Queries on some of these important subjects-- with remarks after them on such points as may seem profitable--by way of bearing such testimony as I can.
In a second letter to Pusey, Keble added:--
H. V., June 2, 1851.
I have made memoranda on [Bishop Wilberforce' s letter] enough to satisfy me that such a writer as W. Law would indeed be able to tear it in pieces most effectually. Still, there is no end of the mischief it may do. I mean if I can to write him an expostulation to-night, for him to get to-morrow evening, in which without treating it as a personal matter I shall tell him my strong opinion of the falseness of his position on three points, Confession, the Eucharist, and penal satisfaction. I shall point out to him that with regard to the second of these especially he has attacked me quite as much as you, and is in fact in the same boat with the Bishop of Winchester, and that it will probably end in as great a disturbance as the Gorham case. In short I shall challenge him, as respectfully as I can: and shall intimate that it would not be hard to answer a deal more than be has alleged on these points. Then if he does not rest it on these but on general tendencies, matters of devotional taste, &c., how hard and unfair it must be: and in either case how very sure to give triumph to Lord J[ohn] R[ussell] and many proselytes to Rome, and to plant an unnecessary thorn in the sides of those who are trying to make the most of the Prayer-book. I will send you a copy of the letter, but I think it had better go independently of you.
I own to you, his letter appears to me perfectly scandalous in point learning and theology, yet so adapted, lawyer-like, to the state of men' s minds, as to be capable of doing very great harm.
I am not worthy of so great a boon as it would be if one could get him to be quiet. But I must try. You do not mean to reprint either of the three Avrillons, do you?
I expect to go up on Wednesday morning, not sooner: and to be quartered either at Coleridge' s or Rogers' s (9 Ovington Square, Brompton).
Ever your most loving
I wish I was a fairy, to send him a rosary, on which he should be forced to say the 119th Psalm (which he calls a choral hymn) every day of his life.
Look at the 23rd and 161st verses of it, my dearest Pusey.
Accordingly Keble wrote as follows to the Bishop of Oxford:--
H. V., June 3 .
MY DEAR LORD,
I do not apologize this time for writing to you, for I feel that I am too nearly and deeply concerned in the matter on which I have to write--your letter to Dr. Pusey, which he has sent me in proof, and your proposed inhibition of his ministering in your diocese. I have not the letter by me, having returned it to him, and for that and other reasons I will not now enter into the personal part of it at all: I mean what relates to the supposed effect of his ministry, and to the tone of devotion which he recommends. A great deal, as it seems to me, might be said against inflicting so definite, severe, and unusual a censure on offences so very vague and indefinite--tones, tendencies, and the like. It may remind some of the process of constructive treason in former times, and of the six Doctors in our own time, whose proceedings did not answer so particularly well.
Unprejudiced persons will hardly think the special charge sufficiently made out: I mean the facts about Confession and the general result of Pusey' s ministry. As to the obnoxious Devotions, those who do not like him or them, of course very many, will agree with you, but others will hardly be convinced. Indeed, even if I were not, as I am, compelled to differ from your Lordship on almost every one of your statements and opinions on these matters, I should I am sure be made very sad (excuse me, I am now in my sixtieth year) by the tone into which you have fallen in dealing with them. But I will say no more of them now: what I wish to do is, most earnestly to beseech your Lordship to reconsider the matter, before you make it a condition of the ministry that a person shall deny all real Presence in the Eucharist except in the faithful receiver. This your letter in effect does. You may perhaps remember that this is the point for which the Bishop of Winchester refused to ordain Mr. Young. I cannot but think that he made a great and perilous mistake, and that it will be an extreme calamity should you take the same line. On this matter the voice of Antiquity is so very very clear, that it will be indeed a stumbling-block not easy to get over, if we, who profess to go to Antiquity, are to be driven to deny this. You quote the Canon of the Mass as referred to by St. Ambrose. The word 'Panem' there is indeed very strong against Transubstantiation. But how can it tell against the offering of the Body, in the sense which Pusey (not 'baldly,' I beg leave to say, but with careful explanation from an old English divine) there attributes to St. A., seeing that, in the same treatise and in that De Mysteriis, St. A. had so often declared that after the words of Institution, it is our Lord' s Body?
Again with regard to Auricular Confession: with all due respect, I wholly dispute and challenge the legal right of any Bishop or Synod of Bishops to limit the discretion of English priests, as to whom they shall admit or move to Confession in the way now claimed. It seems to me inconsistent with the plain tenor of our authorized books, and I only wish there were any fair judges before whom it could be brought to trial. There are two or three other grave points of doctrine materially affecting the Pastoral care, on which your letter touches in a way to me most alarming. But I will not specify them. My simple object now is, to say to your Lordship what I firmly believe I should have said, had it been any other person, and not one of my dearest friends, whom you were proceeding to censure on the two grounds above mentioned. I am greatly mistaken if there be any one thing that could be done so likely to drive waverers on towards Rome, and to weaken the hands of the most faithful and self-denying among us. Could not some arrangement be made, by Pusey' s withdrawing certain books or portions of books, which might save us from such a calamity? I see that almost all the matters you specify as objectionable are in Avrillon, which he does not mean to reprint. O how thankful should I be if some such plan could be adopted! And I do not think you would ever repent it. I ought to add that I write this quite independently of Pusey, and of course I cannot say how this proposal would strike him.
Pardon me, and believe me, my dear Lord,
Your affectionate and grateful servant,
The Bishop appears to have answered' Pusey, observing, inter alia, that if he saw the same dangers in the teaching the young Rationalistic School, he should think it his duty to deal with it, as with Pusey. The Bishop did not answer Keble; but Keble again wrote to the Bishop. His letter contains one passage which must here be reprinted. The Bishop of Oxford' s statement as to Pusey' s influence in promoting secessions to Rome is traversed by Pusey' s most intimate friend in the following noble passage
'June 13, 1851.
'My own conviction is that [Pusey] has been the greatest drag upon those who were rushing towards Rome; that such an abuse [alarm?] being inevitable, under our circumstances, whenever the attention of thought–ful persons should be generally drawn towards the doctrine of the one Catholic and Apostolic Church, Pusey was raised, as it were, for this very purpose, to hinder their defection, as by other ways, so especially by showing them that all their reasonable yearnings are sufficiently provided for in the English system rightly understood; that it could not be but that, under such circumstances, Pusey would appear to superficial observers as smoothing men' s way to Rome, as any one else would who was the most efficient person in a move opposed to Puri–tanism; but that the more the matter was looked into, the more it would be seen that he was the great check on their going; e. g. the temptation arising from Hampden' s being made and acknowledged Bishop would have been more keenly, more extensively felt, had there been no Pusey among us. It is no answer to this to say that a great many of those who go attribute their going to Pusey and his teaching; they must do so for the credit of their logic; it is but another manner of saying that Antiquity led them that way. And some of them, I believe, make it a point of duty to drive him up, if they can, into a corner, expecting that he will be forced to follow them. But whether I am right or wrong in these opinions, it is plainly unjust and cruel to inflict such a disgrace and disability upon him without giving him the chance, so far as it may be done, of clearing himself.'
The Bishop saw that in one respect at least he had made a mistake. He dismissed from his mind--so he wrote to Keble--all reports about Pusey that had come to him privately, and that he could not refer to Pusey for an explanation. But his view of Pusey' s work and influence was still what it had been. Pusey was not sufficiently alive to our differences with Rome; and his devotional works encouraged Romeward tendencies. But shortly after–wards he met Keble in the railway.
REV. J. KEBLE TO E. B. P.
Hursley Vicarage, St. Peter' s Day, 1851.
I went tête-a-tête with 5. 0. on Tuesday from Bishopstoke to London, and in some measure poured myself out to him. I think he was inclined, when I left him, to adopt the course of censuring the tones and tendencies' in his forthcoming Charge generally, and so far as he pointed the censure, to do it in an Appendix, with references, &c., and to waive any public stay of your preaching. I shall press him, as I have opportunity, to leave it free also in private: but if he should not (of which I am greatly in fear) what will your line be?...
The Bishop hereupon announced a further concession. Pusey must still consider himself debarred from officiating in the diocese of Oxford. But the Bishop would not pub–lish his intended letter. He would reserve for his Charge in October what he had to say about the danger of certain lines of Pusey' s teaching; and he would put his remarks on Pusey' s adapted works into an appendix. Pusey might meanwhile publish his sermon, and anything with it that might tend to reassure the Bishop.
But Pusey could not acquiesce in this settlement. The inhibition from officiating was unjust; and he could only acquiesce in it, if at all, for a reason independent of the motives which had dictated it. He would acquiesce, if Keble thought that it would save scandal. But the real question must be settled otherwise. If the Bishop was not prepared to say that Pusey' s doctrine and practice were opposed to that of the Church of England, the inhibition ought to be removed. If--Pusey again urged as a matter of simple justice-- 'tones and tendencies,' pointing in one direction, were to be visited by an inhibition, they surely ought not to be overlooked when they pointed in another.
E. B. P. TO BISHOP WILBERFORCE
July 2, 1851.
'Germanism is (as the Bishop of London, too, thinks) a far greater more imminent peril than Romanism. I have lately had a letter a clergyman imploring me to furnish a friend of his (once a member of this College) with arguments to meet the Pantheistic sentiments and opinions which he continually meets with in educated society in London. I believe myself that and his school are preparing far more directly for Pantheism than I can be alleged to be for Romanism. The history in Germany is distinct evidence for this. Pantheism sprang out of much sounder divinity than -- 's, and in this place whatever ground Germanism has gained has been since those principles which I believe to be those of the Church of England have been discouraged. It is easier, my Lord, to pull down than build up. For myself, I would most thankfully have retired long ago from every office of responsibility, and sought peace, and left the struggle to your Lordship, had I dared. Most thankful should I have been to have been set free from this weary strife, but I dared not. I have seen for twenty-six years that Neologism was the peril which was before the English Church, and that the course which Evangelical theology (like the Pietism of Germany) shall take would have much to do with the issue' .
Pusey once more begged that the charges against him might be tried in a court of law.
'If,' he wrote to the Bishop, 'your Lordship would be hindered by the expense (having so many other calls upon your income), I would offer to pay your expenses, were you to prosecute me. If I have taught anything contrary to the Church of England, I have no wish to avoid being convicted; but I do deprecate any extra-judicial con–demnation.'
The Bishop replied that he was not blind to the threat–ening evils of Neologian teaching; but that he knew of no person, occupying the same position with regard to him–self, who appeared to do so much for Neology as Pusey did for Romanism. If it were necessary to prosecute Pusey, the Bishop would not be deterred by any considerations of expense; but a prosecution would not, in his judgment, be for the good of the Church. A Bishop might express his wish that a presbyter without a cure of souls should not officiate in his diocese without a formal inhibition.
Pusey' s last letter to the Bishop was as usual forwarded to Keble.
REV. J. KEBLE TO E. B. P.
St. Mary Church, July 8, 1851.
On Sunday I got your long letter to S. O. which we are copying (you will not mind that), and I hope to return it to-day. One wonders how he can stand against it. As far as I remember, what I said to him in the train was, in substance, that the less he did, the less mischief, and so far that secret inhibition was better than public: but that I did not know how it might strike you. Now it appears that there is no chance of secrecy. I found people at Hurst, where I was then going, rather full of the subject. And even if he had privately forbidden your preaching and you had acquiesced in it (as you must, except by remonstrance, for there is no legal remedy, I believe), he could not expect that we should not vindicate our principles against any public attack. I shall write to him, perhaps, to this effect, and mention a few more things which have occurred to me:
you will let me know more exactly how he has reported our conversa–tion, for you did not enclose his letter to me. I will mention whilst I think of it that he named -- and -- as persons who especially ascribed their going to what they learned from you...
With the Bishop' s letter and Keble' s answer before him, Pusey appealed once more, and in more direct and forcible terms than before, to the Bishop' s sense of justice.
E. B. P. TO THE BISHOP OF OXFORD.
35 Grosvenor Square, July 9, 1851.
[Mr. K.] mentions to me two of the cases which your Lordship mentions to me as having been under my care 'who especially ascribed their going to what they learned from me,' -- and --. Now, my Lord, this illustrates what I said, that I could explain the cases, if your Lordship would but tell me of them.
After explaining the two cases that the Bishop had mentioned, he goes on:--
In this way I am sure that I could show your Lordship how very exaggerated your Lordship' s impressions about me are.
I understand your Lordship' s proposition now to be, that I should remain without officiating in the parochial churches in your Lordship' s diocese, in compliance with your Lordship' s wish. But I suppose, my Lord, that you do not mean by a 'wish' an expression which I am at liberty not to comply with. So then it would only be an 'inhibition' under a gentler name.
What Mr. Keble wished to express to your Lordship was, 'that the less your Lordship did, the less mischief would ensue: and, so far, that secret inhibition was better than public.' But he adds, 'now it appears that there is no chance of secrecy.'
My Lord, I do not think your Lordship in the least knows whom this would disturb. I suppose that your Lordship would have appeals from some of your clergy whom you much value. I heard that your Lordship drew a distinction between Mr. Keble and myself. Your Lordship now finds that we are one. The part of the Paradisus which is most full of doctrine (that on the Holy Eucharist) was trans–lated by a friend of Mr. Keble' s, and I consulted Mr. K. upon the points of doctrine in it. In like way your Lordship will find, I think, that Mr. Marriott or Mr. Butler could not officiate except under protest that they agreed with me.
Your Lordship speaks of this prohibition as simply a request to a clergyman without cure of souls not to officiate in your Lordship' s diocese. But a Canon of a Cathedral church in a Cathedral city is not an ordinary case of a clergyman without cure of souls. Your Lordship chooses mild words, and puts the case as involving as little as possible, in order to soften to yourself the severity of the act. But I think, my Lord, that if you would consider the case of any other Canon in any other Cathedral city, your Lordship would see that no slight slur was cast upon him if he were suspended out of the pre–cincts of his Cathedral. And in my case there is the further anomaly that, as Professor, I am to preach next term in the very church in which your Lordship would forbid my preaching in the afternoon, in order to protect from my influence the very young men to whom I shall, by virtue of my office, have preached in the morning.
I see no satisfactory way open except that I should be admitted formally to clear myself, or not be condemned and punished without form of law. I am willing to be punished if I have offended against the rule of the Church. If not, I cannot but think that the punishment is arbitrary and unexampled.
If your Lordship adopt this course of punishing me without a hearing, and refusing the opportunity of explanation, the only course which I see before me (in behalf of those who, equally with myself, may suffer by these unofficial suspensions, or who may be distressed by them) would be publicly to call upon your Lordship to sustain in a court of law, if your Lordship can, any grounds for this virtual suspension. I shall be disposed to make it the most formal appeal I could to your Lordship not to punish me in an arbitrary way, but to give me an opportunity of vindicating my character as a faithful minister of the Church of England.
He enclosed in the letter a note stating that he had long ago determined not to reprint Avrillon.
Meanwhile many influences were being brought to bear on the Bishop. Mr. Gladstone, with the generous energy which is his characteristic, 'tried what he could do' to induce the Bishop to withdraw the inhibition, but in vain. Mr. Justice Coleridge, at Keble' s instigation, repre–sented to the Bishop, in strong language, the danger of proclaiming by his inhibition that Pusey' s teaching was incompatible with membership in the Church of England.
'I think,' wrote Keble to Pusey on July 10, 'the Bishop is a good deal staggered: and a few more such letters as J. T. C. is likely to write to him will very likely cause him to give up his inhibition alto–gether.'
That the Bishop was 'staggered' is plain from his next letter to Pusey. In order to maintain the consistency of his attitude, he refers to Pusey' s answer to Mr. Dodsworth, his sermon on the 'Rule of Faith,' and his private explana–tions, as so far 'improving' his position, that the Bishop, 'taking into account the large liberty allowed on the other side,' did not 'feel that it would be just to require Pusey' s silence on pain of inhibition.' But since the Bishop was not satisfied with the effects of Pusey' s ministry, and especially with the adapted books, he could not but tell Pusey that it was his wish that Pusey should not officiate in the diocese until he had disavowed the passages to which the Bishop excepted. The Bishop continues:--
There are some passages in your last letter which I read with great regret, and though they do not make me alter the decision at which I had arrived, yet I think it right to point them out to you.
(1) You use language concerning declarations which you expect from some clergy in my diocese as to their not officiating except under protest of their agreeing with you, which is far too like a threat.
(2) Further, you state that I am meditating 'punishing you without hearing you' : and you intimate that, in the event of my acting, you shall call publicly upon me, by the most formal appeal, to sustain my decision in a court of law instead of punishing you in an arbitrary way. Now as to the first of these statements I must say that I deny that I have not heard you. I have invited any written communication you may wish to send me: I am ready to receive more: and as to the second, I have already stated to you that I do not think that the highly responsible power now possessed by a Bishop of preventing in his diocese ministrations which he deems injurious to the Church by one without cure of souls in it, ought to be limited to cases of heresy and false doctrine, which would warrant the infliction of punishment by the Courts. To this view I adhere, and upon it I shall act.
I am, my dear Dr. Pusey,
Very sincerely yours,
Pusey, in reply, disclaimed any wish to make a threat, and again defended himself on the same grounds as before. He ended with a special appeal to be allowed to preach because of the practical needs of the young men at the University.
The questions between the Bishop and Pusey had, under the stress of discussion, been at last narrowed down to the one point of the adapted books. Mr. Gladstone then suggested that Pusey should express regret to the Bishop on the score of the adapted books, or withdraw them from circulation. Pusey replied:--
Christ Church, Feast of St. James, 1851.
I quite feel that any Bishop has a right to forbid any clergy–man from officiating in his diocese, if he think it undesirable, on grounds which Ecclesiastical Courts would not bear out. But then, if the wish or prohibition be public, he is, surely, bound in justice to see that no further imputation be cast upon him than is meant. If the Bishop were finally to express the wish that I should not preach, he ought to say publicly what he says privately, that he does not think that I exceed the bounds allowed by the English Church. This would be a great gain...
I cannot conceive that the Bishop would be in the least satisfied by my expressing my regret, if, in any cases, persons had been led away from the Church of England, on occasion of my books, unless I with–drew the books themselves, although the books are not all of the same cast, and on his own statement, it might be the effect of books out of print. I could not, however, say even this, without implying my belief that he was misinformed. For I cannot be party to a scandal against myself which I believe to be unfounded.
I do not want any answer to all this: I only wished to tell you my own feelings.... God bless you.
E. B. PUSEY.
Keble was equally against the withdrawal of the books, though he did not defend every expression.
REV. J. KEBLE TO E. B. P.
St. Mary Church, July 29, 1851.
I see no chance of what W. E. G. proposes coming to anything. For it amounts simply to this: you are to say, 'If the books have done harm, as on the Bishop' s statement on his own knowledge I am bound to suppose they have, I am sorry for it.' With this, the Bishop would not be satisfied: in fact, it would amount to nothing, and if he did accept it, it would be from a kind of feeling that it meant a great deal more, which he would think himself at liberty to express in his statements and comments.
You must on no account withdraw those two books . I do not say that you might not perhaps make a few omissions in reprinting the Para–disus, not as though the passages were unjustifiable, but on the ground of their being misunderstood, and startling good people. If you, asked my leave to do it, I should grant it you. But you know far better than I what effects such a thing might have in different directions....
Keble followed this up by a letter to Mr. Gladstone himself: who, in replying, after explaining the relation in which he stood to the Bishop and Dr. Pusey, stated his belief that the Bishop' s 'marvellously acute and rapid mind' had not yet matured; and he earnestly deprecated a crisis 'which would precipitate in fixed forms his cruder ideas and check the free growth of those which, but for that crisis, may be destined to correct and overrule them.' He quite felt with Keble that 'the Bishop' s in–terest and influence for good were mainly at stake' : and that 'Dr. Pusey' s influence would be increased, but in–creased in a sense (despite of himself) from which mischief and danger are inseparable.'
Mr. Philip Pusey went still further than Mr. Gladstone in the direction of urging concession to the Bishop' s wishes. He even drew up a form of retractation, which he advised his brother to sign. Pusey thanked him for his 'kind pains and love,' but added:--
'My own impression as to the draft is that I should be virtually condemning myself for what the Bishop is persuaded of but which I believe not to be true. To publish books which should tend to lead people away from the Church of England and persist in so doing, after people (whom I thought to be wrong) spoke against it, would of course be a grave fault. I do not believe the Bishop' s instances to be correct. He will not tell me what they are. I have told him that I do not doubt, if sifted, they would prove to be mistaken.
'The retractation which you have suggested would be interpreted far too vaguely, and be used to condemn what I believe to be true. I am sure that there must not be anything vague with the Bishop of Oxford. Besides, such a statement would unsettle hundreds of minds who use the books and would not know what to believe, what not.
'I do not retract anything which I have published.'
Pusey, from the early days of this controversy, had asked again and again for an interview with the Bishop. He had even talked of 'forcing' one. If he could only see the Bishop, the latter could not 'keep him courteously at arm' s length.' An opportunity presented itself on the occasion of a confirmation at St. Peter' s-in-theEast, Oxford, in August.
'I don' t know,' wrote Keble on Aug. 6, 'that I should rejoice in the thought of your meeting [the Bishop] were I thinking only of your cause as the cause to be pleaded, for I think S. O. more dangerous viva voce than on paper, for several reasons. Still we cannot be sorry that he should so far do what is right.'
In spite of Keble' s fears the meeting was satisfactory. The Bishop was evidently beginning to feel why Pusey' s enforced silence was a serious matter. The result of the interview was that the Bishop proposed, and Pusey agreed to the proposal, that matters should remain as they were until after the delivery of the Bishop' s Charge in the autumn. Pusey thought that he had 'mitigated' some of the Bishop' s impressions for the time; though he doubted whether the effect would last.
From this date the relations between the Bishop and Pusey were greatly changed for the better. Nothing further was said or done, until the delivery of the Bishop' s Charge in November, 1851. In Bishop Wilberforce' s Charge of 1851 may still be read the impression which this long controversy had produced upon its author' s mind. Un–doubtedly the Bishop pronounces unfavourably on some salient features of Pusey' s work; but he does this without mentioning any name, and if he does use expressions which could only have one reference, they are kindly and respectful. The appendix, however, supplies quotations from the adapted books of passages to which the Bishop took exception.
In conclusion, he was so far from publishing his inhi–bition that he contented himself with expressing an earnest hope that Pusey would no longer circulate the adapted books, and that by an open disavowal of Roman errors 'would remove the suspicions which must otherwise attach to his ministry' .
Pusey felt that the appendix to the Bishop' s Charge obliged him again publicly to defend himself, although he had gone over the same ground in his Letter to the Bishop of London. He therefore set himself to the task. In April, 1852, however, he found that, owing to the pressure of other work, little progress had been made with the proposed reply. As he had become hopeless of getting the neces–sary leisure for this larger work, he contented himself with sending to the Bishop a sketch of the 'line of explanation' which he intended to make…After dealing in detail with the passages that the Bishop had quoted, he concludes:--
'And now, my dear Lord, after making this explanation, I would ask whether I may not be left free as to the office of preaching within your Lordship' s diocese. I have publicly said that I did not and would not preach against the expressed wish of a Bishop.'
The letter was probably sent to Cuddesdon on Friday, April 23; the Bishop' s reply is dated May 6. 'I suppose,' wrote Pusey to Keble, 'that the Bishop is either taking time to consider or consulting.' At last the reply came. In view of Pusey' s recent University sermons, his private assurances to the Bishop of the nature and strength of his anti-Roman convictions and efforts, and the large liberty allowed to our clergy in an opposite direction, the Bishop did not feel that he could do otherwise than set Pusey free as he requested.
Pusey sent the correspondence to Keble, who replied as follows:--
Hursley, May 10, 1852.
'I hope I have not inconvenienced you by keeping these papers so long. On the whole I am thankful for them, and think that they indicate a certain progress in the Episcopal mind. And it seems to me that it may be very desirable, if it can be done consistently with the object which makes you anxious to preach, that you should quite defer acting on his permission (unless on any marked call to preachy which might possibly occur) until after the Long Vacation: I mean that it seems fairer to him in some respects, and more likely to conciliate him, and would be more satisfactory, I think, to one' s own feelings, to try the effect of the book first. You see, though he is on the whole disappointed, he does really in this letter give up several of his former objections--and whatever strong Lutheran bias he may have about those points which he still objects to, I cannot but think that when he sees how very anti-Roman your treatment of them is (an aspect which on every account I conclude you will make as clear as possible), he will feel that while continuing his protest against your view, it will be out of the question for him to renew his inhibition. The sermons which in the meantime you will have published will, I doubt not, help towards this good effect.'
At length this painful question was closed; the Bishop had virtually withdrawn the main charges against Pusey, which Mr. Dodsworth' s Letter had suggested. He no longer main–tained that Pusey' s teaching was 'directly condemned by the judgment of the English Church' ; but he still distrusted Pusey' s judgment in such matters as the practice of Con–fession and the recommendation of the adapted books, while he also wished that Pusey would make some such kind of declaration against Rome as would have been natural to himself. It was not probable that the Bishop and Pusey would at~ present agree on these matters; but they were felt not to be sufficient grounds for an inhibition. Pusey wrote, but did not publish, what he had to say by way of reply to the Bishop' s Charge; mainly, it is probable, from an unwillingness to prolong controversy with one who on personal as well as official grounds had so many titles to his respect. Some few years elapsed before the subject of preaching was again mentioned between them; it then took the happier form of an invitation from the Bishop to Pusey to take part in the Lent sermons at St. Mary' s, Oxford.