Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.
London: Longmans, 1894
Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
ST. SAVIOUR' S, LEEDS--THE SECOND HARVEST OF DISAPPOINTMENT--CORRESPONDENCE--BEGINNINGS OF RITUALISM --
PENITENTIARIES -- IRVINGISM -- PUR–GATORY.
SIDE by side with Pusey' s anxieties arising from the Gorham decision, the secession of Archdeacon Manning and other friends, and his own unhappy relations with Bishop Wilberforce, there ran a renewal, and in a more aggravated form than before, of the troubles which at that date seemed to be inseparable from St. Saviour' s, Leeds. Pusey had so little to do with causing these troubles that it would be unnecessary to record them at any length were it not that his well-known relation to St. Saviour' s made him to be regarded as responsible for everything that happened there. Certainly these unfortunate occurrences increased the general suspicion against him, and the widespread alarm with regard to the issues of the Movement.
The Rev: Alexander P. Forbes, who has been previously mentioned as being incumbent of St. Saviour' s, had been consecrated Bishop of Breehin on SS. Simon and Jude' s day, 1847, and in the following January he resigned the incumbency. After considerable inquiry, Pusey offered the vacant benefice to the Rev. Thomas Minster, who had been Vicar of Farnley Tyas in the diocese of Ripon, and in earlier days a Curate of Dr. Hook at Holy Trinity, Coventry. On his acceptance, Mr. Minster came to Leeds at the close of 1847, and throughout the winter was assisted by the generous and devoted labours of the Rev. J. H. Pollen, Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. Before, however, he could be inducted, Mr. Minster begged Pusey to allow him to withdraw from the engagement. He was in very broken health, and was unable to obtain the Bishop of Ripon' s licence for any curate whose assistance he could procure.
'I recommended two men' (wrote Mr. Minster to Pusey on Jan. 15, 1848), ' Mr. Case and Mr. Crawley, to the Bishop; but he sees objections to the appointment of either of them. Dr. Hook has kindly mentioned a third, and wrote about him to the Bishop: but there is also an objection lying against his appointment in his Lordship' s mind.'
Mr. Minster desired therefore to make way for some one else, Mr. Moberly for instance, whose name had been before Pusey recently. To his nock, notwithstanding their brief period of connexion, Mr. Minster was already strongly attached.
'I never met with a people,' Mr. Minster wrote to Pusey, 'in which there was so much seeming promise. They are devoted to a degree I have never seen elsewhere, and my grief and regret at the thought of leaving them assumes a correspondingly deep character. Nevertheless it is for the good of St. Saviour' s that I should resign and that my place be quickly supplied. That it must eventually rise and be a model for the working of other manufacturing towns there cannot be a doubt. The work already done here is great. The tree has been severely shaken, but it has only become the more deeply rooted. There are signs even now of an abundant harvest in future years if labourers only can be found to gather it in.'
Mr. Minster' s letter was of a character to convince Pusey that he was in his proper place, if only his health could improve, and the difficulties about curates could be sur–mounted. As the spring went on, Mr. Minster' s strength rallied; the Bishop licensed as his curates the Rev. George Crawley and the Rev. F. Beckett, who had worked with him in his former parish; and Mr. Minster was instituted as Vicar of St. Saviour' s in April, 1848.
Throughout the greater part of 1848, matters went on quietly enough at St. Saviour' s: but at the close of the year trouble began to arise. The Bishop held a confirma–tion at the Parish Church: fifty candidates were brought from St. Saviour' s, and the Bishop heard from Dr. Hook and others that 'a regular system of confession was taught and practised at St. Saviour' s' . Mr. Minster had not been wanting in the confidence which was due to his Diocesan.
'I wrote to him [the Bishop],' he informs Pusey on November 23, 1848, 'some time since, giving him a full and very particular account of the work going on at St. Saviour' s, and the awful depths of sin we had to contend with in very many of the people who came to us, at the same time claiming his sympathy and advice. The letter was a long one, and appealed very forcibly to his feelings. It however signally failed in its intentions. He simply said in answer that he was sorry for the difficulties I had to contend with, passing by altogether the strong picture I drew of the state of morals amongst my people, and concluded his letter by regretting that the sins of former incumbents of St. Saviour' s should so strongly operate against my usefulness. In truth anything colder than his Lordship' s letter could not well be imagined.'
Pusey had been apprehensive that misfortunes were at hand, and had asked Keble, who preached at the Dedica–tion Festival of St. Saviour' s in 1848, to send him a report.
REV. J. KEBLE TO E. B. P.
Saturday after All Saints, 1848 [Nov. 4].
I wish you to know about Leeds, so far as I can report. There was no time for me to get an answer to my letter to the Bp. of R[ipon], so I went on Monday afternoon and got to St. Saviour' s at midnight. I found that the Vicar had been preaching strongly at the Parish Church the day before against Confession, and that all manner of foolish reports were being circulated. Next day came the note which I enclose. I was not so surprised at it, when I came to talk with Mr. Minster, for he told me all about the low view of the Bishop. That I think he said he had detailed to you. I asked as many questions as I could in friendship, and more than I ought to have done in courtesy, and it seemed to me that they had not at all gone beyond what the Prayer-book authorizes, either in teaching or in practice. With this impression, I called on Hook, on the Wednesday, and asked him whether he 'objected to the principle they taught or to their way of carrying it out. He said, 'to their principle, for they taught Confes–sion and Absolution as a " mean of grace," whereas he considered that the Prayer-book allows it only as " a mean of comfort," and that only in ' ' exceptional cases." I asked him how he reconciled this with what he himself said to me at Jedburgh about his own practice, in 1844. He said he was of the same mind then as now, that the Confession he approved and practised was no more than confession to a Christian friend (quoting St. James v. 16), and that more than that was more than the English Church allowed: that he did not want to attack anybody, but merely to defend himself: that St. Sa–viour' s was as a colony planted within his borders, undoing his work in various ways (of which he gave me instances, which only amounted to other persons misinterpreting what was done) : and that he was going in his own defence to publish the sermon which he had preached, with a set of extracts from English divines (which he said nobody read now), Taylor, Bramhall, and others, to make out his view. I begged him to be as sparing as he could, told him that I and others were so far in the same boat as St. Saviour' s, mentioned one or two points which seemed to me to make strongly against his view: and then I went up to see Mrs. Hook, and he walked back with me half through Leeds, and we parted very good friends. He did not specify any evil practices: so that, as far as I see, it resolves itself into an attack on the principle of private Confession and authoritative Absolution. I reported all this to Moberly to-day, and he wonders both at Hook and the Bishop, but says, if they were to attack Catholic doctrine, it is well they should have chosen this point, it is so impregnable, according to the Prayer-book. I was, as you may suppose, delighted with St. Saviour' s and with the kind and earnest people there: surely they and their work will be blessed.
Your most affectionate
While Keble was writing his report from Hursley the Bishop of Ripon was visiting St. Saviour' s. He was in a stern mood and was determined to 'expose and banish' all that he disapproved of; he took away with him from the parish library a copy of Pusey' s adaptation of 'The Paradise of the Christian Soul.' He left the clergy of St. Saviour' s in a state of anxiety, which was not relieved by any further communications from the Bishop for a long while afterwards.
'Somehow,' wrote Keble to Pusey on November 30, in his cheerful common-sense way, 'I don' t much think that a great deal will come of this Leeds matter, except (which is a sore exception) the scandal about Hook' s sermon.'
But with the New Year the Bishop broke silence. He wrote a long, letter, which was afterwards published, to Mr. Minster; he insisted that the Church of England only authorizes private confession either in the case of those who cannot quiet their own consciences before Holy Communion, or of the dying; and he desired Mr. Minster and his fellow-workers to order their practice accordingly. To this in–junction Mr. Minster promised obedience.
Throughout 1849 and the greater part of 1850 there was no disturbance of outward peace; but the Bishop continued to receive from Puritan quarters incessant complaints against the clergy of St. Saviour' s, and the latter were aware that he was receiving them. Mutual confidence in such circumstances was difficult, if not impossible; and the moral friction betrayed itself in battles over points which the clergy might well have waived and which the Bishop cer–tainly might have ignored. Thus the Bishop complained of the erection of a tombstone in the churchyard with a prayer for the soul of the deceased inscribed on it.. It certainly was not an imperative duty to truth to erect such a tombstone: but there was no doubt about the teaching and practice of the Primitive Church to which the Church of England appeals; and in 1838, in the case of Breek v. Woolfrey, the Arches Court had ruled that such an inscrip–tion was lawful. Again, the Bishop complained of a large cross 'over the rood-screen' ; of the eastward position of the minister in a return-stall, while saying the Morning and Evening Service; of ceremonies employed in the baptismal service; of locking the chancel-gates, and so on. Any of these things might have been refrained from or given up without sacrifice of principle; and none of them could be condemned unless at the dictates of Puritan prejudice. But on both sides matters were drifting into a desperate position. Distrust and suspicion were the order of the day.. In June, 1850, the Bishop stated to Mr. Crawley that the proceedings of the clergy of St. Saviour' s were of such a character as to destroy all his confidence in them; and the clergy of St. Saviour' s, feeling themselves outcasts from the heart of their Bishop, yielded to the temptations which such a situation too surely brings. The time was only too well adapted to encourage despondency as to the Church of England. The Gorham decision had been given a few months before; alarm and distress were everywhere prevalent: the Bishops, as a body, had done nothing to vindicate the Baptismal doctrine of the Church, and some secessions to Rome had already begun. Wiser people than the clergy of St. Saviour' s were losing their heads; and at the annual Dedication Festival of St. Saviour' s in October, in the midst of all the clamour about the 'Papal Aggression,' the excitement expressed itself in a manner which any English Bishop was bound to con–demn. Twelve clergymen who were present on that oc–casion passed a resolution to the effect that the history of the English Church previous to the Reformation indicates that her submission to the Church Catholic could only be made through the medium of the Papal See.
In accordance with the usual annual practice, a course of sermons had been preached at, St. Saviour' s during the Octave of the Festival. Two of the preachers were in–volved in trouble because of their sermons: Mr. R. Ward was suspended by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, in whose diocese he had, since his resignation of St. Saviour' s, been licensed to officiate; the Rev. J. H. Pollen, Fellow of Merton College, was inhibited not only by the Bishop of Ripon, but also by his own Diocesan, the Bishop of Oxford. Mr. Pollen had applied the word Sacrament in an unqualified manner to other rites than Baptism and the Holy Communion. In doing this he was, of course, using the word in a larger sense than that of the defini–tion in the Church Catechism, as Anglican divines had done before him, following indeed the usage of the Homilies. And the severe notice which the Bishops of Ripon and Oxford took of such an offence is an illustration of the curious pedantry of high-minded prelates, and of the strange unfairness into which it betrayed them.
In the attack upon St. Saviour' s, which the ill-judged declaration of. the clergy had done much to justify, the inhibition of the two preachers was only a first step. Where Bishops led the way, humbler people might follow. On Dec. 2, 1850, the Ruridecanal Chapter of Leeds decided to hold a special meeting 'to consider and adopt such measures as appear to be necessary,' with reference to the doctrines and practices at St. Saviour' s. This meeting was held on the 9th. Its members were by no means unani–mous; but a majority decided to ask the Bishop to institute inquiries. Within four days of the meeting, the Bishop opened a court of inquiry in the vestry of Dr. Hook' s Church. The St. Saviour' s clergy complained not only of the shortness of the interval, but of having had no notice as to the character of the proceedings. They found that they had to conduct their own case; to meet charges of which no previous notice had been given; to cross-examine wit–nesses, and to produce rebutting evidence on the spur of the moment and without any legal assistance; while the case against them was managed by three Low Church clergymen, and, practically, also by the Bishop' s deputy registrar. Several of the more absurd charges broke down altogether: the proceedings resolved themselves into an investigation of a single case of confession which had occurred more than a year before. It appeared that Mr. Rooke, then a deacon, while preparing a married woman for confirmation, had urged her to go for confession to Rev. H. F. Beckett, his fellow-curate in priests' orders; and that Mr. Beckett had asked her questions about her past life, which in this case his judgment caused him to think neces–sary. The facts were not denied, however differently they might be regarded by the parties concerned. The Bishop held that this single case proved the existence of a system which 'had no authority from the Church of England, and was opposed to a written injunction of his own,' and he with–drew the licences of both the curates. It must be added that the Low Church clergyman who had brought a charge of a scandalous character against Mr. Beckett, which he had totally failed to substantiate, was allowed to leave the court without a word of rebuke from his Diocesan. On the other hand, although nothing was proved against another of the curates, Mr. Crawley, he was warned by the Bishop that he must not reckon on remaining at St. Saviour' s, since he had 'acquiesced' in its doctrine and extravagant ritual observances without any remonstrance. Mr. Crawley was subsequently suspended for an unguarded quotation from St. Cyril of Jerusalem with reference to the Presence in the Sacrament in a sermon preached eight months before, and for saying the prayers with his face to the east. It is difficult, at this distance of time, while reading the published correspondence with respect to these unhappy episodes, to understand why such slight offences should have been so seriously punished.
The health of the Vicar, Mr. Minster, had been broken before his acceptance of the living; and he had since been obliged to obtain leave of non-residence for a year. His absence was particularly unfortunate at a time when a strong and responsible head was needed in the clergy-house at St. Saviour' s. It does not appear that any charges had been brought against him. Now, however, that his curates were being one after another dismissed, he was obliged to return to Leeds. A number of his parishioners presented him with an address expressing confidence and sympathy; and he replied to it by insisting that the Bishop' s interpretation of the rules of the Prayer-book re–specting confession was at variance with the mind of the Church Catholic, and with the true interests of souls. He was occasionally assisted by a neighbouring clergyman: but his health was unequal to the strain of mind and body, and he again wrote to Pusey to resign the living. At the same time a body of the parishioners addressed Pusey, asking him to nominate as their Vicar one of the late curates. The reply was as follows:--
E. B. P. TO THE SENDER OF THE ST. SAVIOUR' S PETITION.
MY DEAR SIR, February 12, 1851.
I was very sorry not at once to be able to reply to your memorial and that of other communicants of St. Saviour' s. You know, probably, the deep interest which I must myself ever feel in your welfare, both as the instrument, under God, of St. Saviour' s being built among you, and from subsequent love for your pastors, and interest in God' s work among you.
Mr. Minster had informed me privately some time past that his continued ill-health made him wish to resign a charge which, much as he loved, he was unable to fulfil; and, subsequently, he has requested me to endeavour to find a successor in his stead. Unwilling as I was, I was compelled at last to do this.
I had heard with feelings of deep pain of the persecution to which your clergy had been subjected on the part of some, who, I trust, knew not what they were doing, and now, I fear, the mind of the Bishop has been very deeply prejudiced against them. I love much those whom I know, i. e. all but one; and him I respect.
But I could not think that the way most likely to obtain for you the calm possession of the privileges which you have enjoyed, would be to nominate any of them as Vicar. It may be enough to say that I do not think that this sort of defiance of the Bishop would be most likely to gain our common end, the calm continuance of your past blessings.
You may be assured that I should not concur in nominating any one who would not, to the utmost of the ability which God has given him, continue those blessings to you, and especially, who could not receive in Confession those who desired to 'open their griefs' to him, and would not gladly minister to them.
I had offered the Vicarage, or rather I had requested two, for the love of 'Christ, to take charge of your souls, before I received your letter, and I am awaiting their answer. I am satisfied from my personal knowledge of one of these, that you would find in him what you wish. The other was named to me by two persons in whom you would have full confidence.
I hope that such an appointment, so far from depriving you of the comfort and ministrations of those whom you Love, might rather, if the new Vicar should gain a hearing from the Bishop, be a means of securing them to you.
Be assured of my deep interest in you, and remember me in your prayers, as I remember you all.
You might communicate this letter to those who with you signed the memorial, but it would be better not to say anything publicly about Mr. Minster' s resignation, until he himself announces it, or arrange–ments be finally made.
These are, indeed, times which call out, in no slight degree, the graces of patience and thoughtful waiting upon God. Pray Him, as you do, but pray perseveringly, and He will not fail to help you in His way.
May He ever bless you.
In Him your very faithful and loving friend,
E. B. PUSEY.
In the next month Pusey paid a hurried visit to St. Saviour' s 'to see whether anything can be done to mitigate a dreadful crash.' On his arrival, his chances of producing a satisfactory settlement and calming public excitement were somewhat curtailed by a letter from the Bishop, earnestly deprecating' his undertaking any ministerial duty in the church.'
On Pusey' s return from Leeds, he sent Keble a short report:--
Christ Church, March 23, 1851.
'I had a sad visit to St. Saviour' s. It has again to be built up from the foundation. The Bishop has cleared everything away: and I fear that two at least will (private) come back as Roman priests with a Roman mission. One can only hope that among the 7,000, mostly poor and beset by temptation, there may be room for both.'
In the event, all the clergy of St. Saviour' s, with one noble exception, joined the Church of Rome. No English Churchman can allow that any mistakes of those in authority could ever warrant such a course. Still the treatment which Mr. Minster and his curates received contributed not a little to this result. Under conditions such as these history and reason go for much less than moods and feelings which are assumed to be the workings of the Holy Spirit. Mr. Ward, the former Vicar, and Mr. Crawley, one of the curates, had already been received into the Roman Church, when at the beginning of' April, 1851, Newman, now Superior of Oratorians at Birmingham, arrived at Leeds to be present at the reception of the Rev. T. Minster, the Rev. S. Rooke, and two other clergymen, at St. Ann' s Roman Catholic Church. Newman preached on the counsel of Gamaliel. The Church of Rome, he argued, was proved to be of God by the apprehensions which it inspired, and by its success in spite of opposition; the Church of England was given over to the State. He begged his hearers to pray for the souls of all those who had anything to do with the erection of St. Saviour' s.
Pusey at once went again to Leeds: this time accompanied by Marriott. He found, that although so many of their clergy had deserted them, the mass of the communicants at St. Saviour' s were loyal to the Church of England. Mr. Beckett' s licence had been withdrawn: but he had appealed from his Diocesan to the Archbishop of York, and the latter had, on a technical issue, pronounced the withdrawal to be illegal. He was therefore still at his post; and to his patient and resolute courage at this trying time it was largely due that, with very few exceptions, the congregation of poor people was prevented from yielding to, the induce–ments which were held out to them to follow their late teachers. It was arranged between Pusey and Mr. Beckett that the former should preach on Palm Sunday, with reference to the recent secessions and the duty of loyalty to the Church of England. But the whole circumstances were too much for his feeble health; just before the time for the sermon arrived, he fainted away, and had to be carried out of Church, his place in the pulpit being taken by Charles Marriott. Pusey remained in Leeds for some days, doing what he could to strengthen Mr. Beckett' s hands.
'I am well again,' he wrote to his son, who was now an undergraduate at Christ Church, 'and amid much sorrow have had much comfort. It has been a new scene to me. Boys, mechanics, and mill-girls, using confession; kneeling thankfully for the Blessing, and bound to the Church by a stronger bond than that which bound them to their late pastors.'
Although the late clergy of St. Saviour' s had for the time entrenched themselves in the parish, and were doing what they could to make converts, Pusey had the satisfac–tion of leaving Leeds with the conviction that the worst was over, and that the work which was so near his heart would yet survive the ruin which had appeared to threaten it. He now had on his hands the difficult task of appointing a new Vicar. Mr. Beckett' s appointment was out of the question, on account of his relations with the Bishop of the diocese. The Rev. C. Gutch, now incumbent of St. Cyprian' s, St. Mary-le-bone, undertook the duty for three months, but declined to take charge of the living, which had already been offered to the Rev. W. J. E. Bennett. Towards the close of the year 1851, at Pusey' s earnest and repeated request, the Rev. J. W. Knott, Fellow of Brasenose College, and one of the masters at Shoreham. generously devoted himself to a work, the inherent diffi–culties of which had been enhanced by the errors of his predecessors, and, it is contended, had not been lessened by the attitude of Church authority in the diocese.
Pusey heard from Mr. Beresford Hope that the Bishop of Ripon was going to attack him on the score of St. Saviour' s. The Bishop' s 'attack' appeared in the form of 'A Letter to the Parishioners of St. Saviour' s, Leeds,' to which refer–ence has already been made. It was in the main a reply to the 'Statement of the Clergy of St. Saviour' s, Leeds,' in reference to the Bishop' s proceedings in April, 1851. In the text of his pamphlet the Bishop makes no reference to Pusey' s action, nor does he directly connect him with the secessions; but he reviews the circumstances of the founda–tion of St. Saviour' s. He had very soon discovered, he wrote, 'that it was the object of the founder to try an experiment; to force a system of his own imagining, copied to a certain extent from mediaeval practice, upon the Church at Leeds.' The Bishop claims to have warned the founder that the attempt would hinder the progress of the Church in the West Riding. In the appendix, how–ever, the general terms of the letter itself are exchanged for allusions to Pusey by name; and the Bishop complains that before the consecration, Pusey had earnestly insisted on several 'objectionable matters' in the decoration of the church and its arrangements, and that the church had not been consecrated until the Bishop had been satisfied on these points.
A melancholy correspondence between Pusey and the Bishop continued to the end of the year. It was almost entirely a review of the earlier communications with each other which preceded the consecration of St. Saviour' s.
The Bishop explained the gradual alteration of his tone and language, by the gradual emergence of new facts pointing in one direction; and he maintained that the position which Pusey 'really occupied as a patron of St. Saviour' s was something beyond that occupied by patrons in general.' He moreover contended that new experiments had been tried, in the 'system' of St. Saviour' s, apparently by the introduction of a 'celibate college of priests,' and that it was only by strenuous resistance on his part that he had not been forced into permitting departures from the ordinary Anglican methods in matters of decoration, cere–monial, and even practice. On the other hand, Pusey con–tended that, as patron, he was simply responsible as ordinary patrons were, no more and no less: he refused to allow that he had wished to force the Bishop' s hand, while, as was admitted by the Bishop himself, he had conceded every point to which objection had been raised. The fact was that the correspondence was really irrelevant to the main point at issue between the writers. The Bishop was not unnaturally influenced by the general alarm at the many defections to Rome which had occurred amongst the ad–herents of the Oxford Movement. He was, in particular, alarmed for Leeds and for his diocese by what he con–sidered the un-Anglican practices of St. Saviour' s. There was as yet no such counterbalancing experience as was afterwards exhibited in Pusey' s own life, of long sustained Tractarian loyalty to Anglican principles; as years passed, both the Bishop of Ripon and the Bishop of Oxford learnt to believe in that loyalty. At the present moment Rome they thought was the natural goal of the advanced Tractarian, whether at Oxford, London, or Leeds.
Yet it may be again questioned whether the Bishop' s method and action, to say nothing of the belligerent attitude of Dr. Hook, did not help to produce those very disasters which seemed to justify his seventies. Whatever mistakes were made by the clergy of St. Saviour' s (and they were many), there can be no reasonable doubt that both Dr. Hook and the Bishop were endeavouring, under the terror of the Roman phantom, unduly to limit the frontier of the Church of England. Pusey, although patron, was of course unable to do much in the matter; but so far as the exercise of influence was concerned, he could no more act as the Bishop on Hook would have desired than he could desert the Church of England. In truth he sympathized with neither party. He felt on the one side that no shortsighted alarms ought to lead to the surrender of any, even the least portion, of the Catholic principles of the English Church. And on the other hand he felt that a generation which had but lately become aware of the real strength of their own Church was entitled to special patience and sympathy, so as to reassure and retain their confidence, shaken and per–plexed by recent events. Years after, Dr. Hook had learnt to appreciate better the position of one whom he had come to call 'that saint whom England persecuted' ; and it may be believed that if Dr. Longley had exhibited towards St. Saviour' s that same discriminating judgment which characterized his gracious sway as Archbishop of Canter–bury, much bitterness might have been avoided, important controversies settled far earlier, and the Church of England might have been spared serious loss.
Pusey' s correspondence at this time was as large and exacting as ever. Allusion only can be made to the published communications with Lord Shaftesbury and with Lord Romilly. Lord Shaftesbury had charged him, as one of the Tractarians, with tenderness towards infidelity; and, as one of the Oxford Professors, with failing to answer the 'Nemesis of Faith' and other such publications. 'I have not heard,' he wrote, 'that any learned and leisurely Professor has as yet discharged his public duty and exposed their abominations.' Lord Romilly, on the other hand, had publicly stigmatized 'the peculiar set of persons commonly called Puseyites' as 'more dangerous than open and avowed Roman Catholics.'
But people were writing to him on other subjects of more permanent interest, which it may be convenient here to collect without regarding strict chronological sequence. Ritual, for instance, in the technical sense of our own day, was then comparatively unknown: the efforts to introduce it at times encountered fierce opposition. This had been the case at Plymouth, a few years before the period which we have reached. Pusey' s advice on the subject was marked, as always, by a consideration for others and a true moderation for which the world at large would have given him scanty credit.
E. B. P. TO REV. G. R. PRYNNE.
35 Grosvenor Square, 2nd Monday in Adv. [?1849.]
I was very sorry to see the worry to which you have been ex–posed. I hope it is now come to an end. These scenes do stir up so many bad passions, and so set people against the truth. Certainly, one should be glad that greater reverence could be restored: but I have long felt that we must first win the hearts of the people, and then the fruits of reverence will show themselves. To begin with outward things seems like gathering flowers, and putting them in the earth to grow. If we win their hearts, all the rest would follow. I have never had the responsibility of a parish, but while I could not but feel sympathy with those who held themselves bound by every Rubric, I could not but think myself that since the Church of England had virtually let them go into disuse, we were bound to use wisdom in restoring them, so as not, in restoring them, to risk losing what is of far more moment, the hearts of the people. We have high authority for avoiding even words which may give offence: and for myself I avoid using technical language, and try to teach truth in as acceptable a form as I can. People shut their ears and their hearts against the truth in one form, which they will receive patiently in another. It is quite amazing how much truth even the prejudiced will receive, so long as they do not meet with the terms which they have been accustomed to object to. And so they get leavened they know not how; and their old narrow belief falls off like the serpent' s old skin, when it outgrows it.
I am very glad to see that you acted on the advice of the old men to Rehoboam. One could not but see, amid all that prejudice against P--ism, that there was a good deal of real attachment to the Church. And, after all, the dislike of innovation is a good principle: for there ought not to be innovations in matters of religion. At Devonport, too, where they have been so long neglected, they require the more patience. Were I at Devonport, I would not edge in any outward changes, as though I were waiting for further opportunities, but go on earnestly, preaching, visiting, teaching, be forward in every work of mercy, enlist people' s sympathies for the poor, show them that we have large common ground, and that the characteristics of this formid–able --ism are deeper love for God, and of man for His sake.
I think it is of great moment that we should not foster the impression that this great battle is about things external. They think themselves forthwith more spiritual than their teachers, whereas the very thing which we wish to teach them is deeper reverence and awe of God, deeper sense of their own responsibility, deeper knowledge of God' s gifts in the Gospel, more frequent communion with Him, conformity to Him, &c.
When they have learnt this in some degree, there will be no more battles about surplices. There will be a deeper strife, but it will be with the world.
You will not mind my thus speaking, but it is a common cause, both in that my own name is so blended with yours, and, much more, for the sake of the very cause itself.
God be with you always.
In those days, bowing to the altar was looked upon with quaint misgiving, in spite of the old traditions and the special directions to that effect contained in the Canons of 1640. Replying to an esteemed correspondent on this subject, Pusey states what his own practice had been:--
E. B. P. TO REV. E. T. RICHARDS.
Pusey, Oct. 1, .
I bowed to the altar at Devonport. You know all the Canons do at Christ Church. Archbishop Laud recommends it, I think. I have understood that it used to be quite common in village congregations; only when the forgetful times came on in the last century, it was changed into a bow to the clergyman, and now probably discontinued altogether. Where people do not bow, I do not. I think it a matter in which I had best conform to the, practice. Indeed, I do not bow, except at Christ Church; but, bowing there, I could see no objection to the Sisters bowing in their little oratory.
Another question which occupied Pusey at this period, although not making a first claim upon the energies of his mind, was the movement in favour of establishing more Penitentiaries. This movement owed more to his own teaching respecting post-baptismal sin than to any other direct cause, except perhaps the influence and practical efforts of Archdeacon Manning and Mr. (afterwards Bishop) Armstrong. Mrs. Pusey had joined the Rev. W. K. Hamilton in setting on foot a rudimentary institution at Oxford for the reception and recovery of fallen women. Archdeacon Manning had sent in proof to Pusey the Preface to his re-edition of a sermon entitled 'Penitents and Saints.'
E. B. P. TO ARCHDEACON MANNING.
[Undated, but end of Nov. 1848.]
I have just read with deep interest your touching Preface. I should be glad of a few more sentences, or perhaps one, in pp. 5, 6, on the uselessness of providing retreats for the fallen unless you have more care against falling. It is said of us English that we begin at the wrong end. We have, such as they are, all sorts of Penitentiaries for the fallen, juvenile offenders, &c., &c. But where is our care to prevent falling? It has been said severely, 'A person must destroy his character, in order to become an object of English charity.' The life of these wretched ones is (horrible as it is to speak) a sort of profession. To draw off some few of them is doubtless a work of mercy to their souls sanctioned and blessed by our Lord Himself. But on a great scale you do nothing. You pluck out of the black, muddied, filthy stream, half-stained, a few unhappy beings; but it is only to make room for others to cast themselves into it, unless you begin at the other end to intercept them. The miserable number of 20,000 will be filled up, unless means be taken to save people from enlisting themselves in Satan' s service. As you have butchers and bakers, so you will have these unhappy ones, until one class is taught :o restrain their passions, or the others are made chaste. Either way you diminish their number. Else 'rusticus expectat dum denuat amnis, at ille labitur et labetur,' alas, not for all time only, but into eternity.
My own mind, then, has been turned into a different current from Mr. Armstrong' s. I do feel that a true Penitentiary, which the Un–happy ones need not leave, would be a great blessing, both to them and to the Church, as a token what enduring repentance is. I have wished for it, ever since I saw one under Roman Catholic Sisters in Ireland in 1841. But I have felt more strongly the need of providing or that most critical period of life, the development of the natural and spiritual life, when the girl is passing into the woman, and. the child is to become the full-grown Christian, confirmed and a communicant. Here our National Schools just fail us, and just when there is most peril, they are left to themselves, to unlearn (amid the contamination of bad, crowded homes of which you speak, or of hard drudgery, where they are outcasts from the Church and of all means of self-improvement-- I am speaking of great towns) all the good they had learnt, and learn all evil. At present, we teach in our schools, for the most part, only that our children may sin against the light.
I would not, then, discourage Penitentiaries, or anything God puts ~to people' s hearts, to reclaim sinners; but for one Penitentiary, should be glad to have ten abodes for training destitute poor female children. If we could but provide for orphans and children of first marriages! . . .
At times Pusey expressed himself almost impatiently n this topic. The Rev. W. Butler, at that time Vicar of Wantage, asked him to preach at the anniversary of St. Mary' s House--then a young institution, struggling to maintain itself in exceptional difficulties. Pusey in declining could say, with perfect truth, that he had no time to prepare such a sermon. But he added:--
'Englishmen have a monomania about Penitentiaries. They do not stir a finger to prevent people from falling into the black pool, and then say, " See what we are doing!" if they drag one or another out to make room for fresh victims. People use Penitentiaries to blind themselves to their own apathy.'
Pusey did not of course mean that Penitentiaries were not institutions of great value. Both in Oxford and Devonport he spent a great deal of time and money in helping such institutions and those who were in them. But the comple–ment to Penitentiaries was to be found, he held, in Orphanages: a home-like training in such an institution would save many who otherwise would afterwards need to find their way into Penitentiaries. He was especially interested--and remained so throughout his life--in the Orphanage of the Devonport Society. Commenced, as we have seen, at Devonport, the work was subsequently carried on for many years at St. Saviour' s House, Osnaburgh Street, London; and finally, in 1877, established at Ascot Priory, Berks.
From the year 1855 onwards, until the death of Pusey, the older and most promising of the orphans were transplanted to the 'Printing Press' of the Devonport Society, a work which was commenced at Bradford-on-Avon, and in later years carried on at 'Holy Rood,' Oxford. The germ of this enterprise,--which has not sur–vived its author, although it was for many years honourably associated with his literary and theological activity,--is thus referred to:--
E. B. P. TO REV. J. KEBLE.
Christ Church, June, 1855.
I have begun the plan of printing by women. The object is to find an additional employment for them in large towns, so as to save them from the temptation to eke out their narrow and insufficient wages by sin. The extent to which sin is thus occasioned is horrible. I hope that the plan of gathering the young women into dormitories, and putting them under religious care, may, when it is seen, by God' s blessing, to answer, be followed. The plan is a secret as yet. I have bought one of Marriott' s presses (which have been a great expense to him), and the plan is being begun at Bristol, under the auspices of the Sisters.
Pusey rarely came into close contact with any of the forms of Dissent. He had never been engaged in parochial work: and apart from the regular cases of spiritual counsel, he was mainly consulted by persons who were perplexed by infidelity or by the claims of Rome. His feeling towards Dissenters was a kindly one. He was careful not to obscure any of the deficiencies of faith or of practice which belong to systematized Puritanism: but he gladly recognized the amount of revealed truth to which many of the separated bodies give their witness, and was painfully aware that their dissent is largely due to the shortcomings of the Church in past generations. The Irvingites were the only body with which he had controversy at this time. The religious system which owes its name to Edward Irving had largely emancipated itself from the traditions of its Presbyterian cradle. It was a body of a different type from the old Dissenting denominations, and even from Wes–leyanism. It used the language of antiquity: it was not afraid of the principles of mysticism and beauty in religion: it enlisted art in its service, and held 'decency and order' to be attributes of Christian worship. Its strength lay in its belief in the power of the Holy Spirit resident in the Church of Christ to the end of time--a belief which is not the less important or true, because the form which it .took in the Irvingite system was con–nected with some extravagancies. A near relative of the Dowager-Duchess of Argyll, who was much influenced by Pusey, was greatly attracted by the Irvingite system; and the Duchess wrote to Pusey for arguments that might have weight with her friend. Pusey thought the Irvingites a 'most impracticable body.' 'They make a schism, and will not own that they are making it.' In their supposed revival of the Apostolic office,' they think they have something more than the whole Church: and so are losing God' s gifts through her.' The Duchess was often staying at Frome Selwood, to which the Rev.W. J. E. Bennett had been appointed in 1851. Pusey, after his wont, felt it necessary to go thoroughly into the question that had been raised; and he proposed to publish the result in a periodical which Mr. Bennett had set on foot--the Church Porch. But the Church Porch was a small publication; and Pusey' s articles had a habit of growing into pamphlets, or even volumes.
'The Church Porch,' he writes, 'is too small a vehicle for my long articles on Irvingism. The printer proposes to dissect my article on the tongues into three, so that I should not think many readers would remember in one article what I had written in the preceding.'
The attractive feature in Irvingism, at least in its early days, was the supposed revival, in the midst of our modern world, of those very gifts of healing, of tongues, and of prophecy, which were displayed in the Church of Corinth and elsewhere under the eyes of the Apostles. Whether these gifts were really revived or not was a question of fact; and Pusey' s criticism proceeds not upon any assumed im–possibility in the revival, but upon lack of evidence that it had taken place.
'I am going,' he writes, 'through the so-called prophecies. My statement is this. No true prophet of God ever spoke as prophecy what was falsified by the event. The Irvingite prophecies have never been fulfilled, except when those who uttered them have had the power of fulfilling them: as, for instance, when they said, " there shall be apostles”; and then, too, they were falsified; for they said that the apostles should have the gift of the Apostles -- miracles, &c.--and their so-called apostles have them not. Almighty God gave this as the test between the false prophets and His true pro–phets, that true prophecy should be fulfilled. Mr. Baxter' s earlier book furnishes, I should think, some twenty or more circumstantial statements which they said would be fulfilled, and which were not. I wish your sister could look this argument in the face.'
It would seem that in the Irvingite movement, as at Corinth, the claim to the more pretentious gift of tongues had for some minds a greater attraction than the more sober gift of prophesying or preaching. Supposing it to be real, it was a gift which readily lent itself to illusions; and this Pusey endeavoured to bring before the minds of his corre–spondents by a series of questions which ought, he thought, to be answered, before the gift was taken for granted. A great deal of stress was laid also upon the 'acts of healing,' which were alleged to have taken place, and which were, it was contended, of a strictly miraculous character. Pusey had questions to ask about these too, no less than about the tongues.
A little later Pusey writes to his son:--
'I am busy about Irvingism. I have finished my second article (on " tongues”); and am writing the third on their so-called prophesy–ings. A fourth will be on their heresies: a fifth, on the apostolic succession in answer to their claim for apostles.'
Pusey appears at one time to have contemplated a con–siderable work on this subject. He contributed eleven papers to the Old Church Porch; whence they were extracted to take a somewhat more permanent form in the Rev. W. J. E. Bennett' s work on 'The Church' s Broken Unity.'
Another of his correspondents at this time was the Rev. Arthur Baker, who had been on the staff of the clergy of Margaret Chapel, where he was distinguished for his general devotion and for the power and spirituality of his sermons. He seems to have been influenced by the idea that 'Purgatory as taught in the Roman Church was a special source of comfort, as holding out a hope of salva–tion to those desiring to be holy, but who are often falling.' This idea appeared to Pusey to be both vague and mis–leading; and he set himself to show that, whether on Anglican or on Roman grounds, it seemed unwarranted.
E. B. P. TO REV. A. BAKER.
I was studying Roman divines of authority last year on the subject, and what I set down was what I gathered from them, that they believed that (1) none entered Purgatory who did not leave this life in a state of grace; (2) that there was no growth in grace there; (3) that it was a state of satispassio, in which these souls stayed until the definite temporal debt was paid.
Plainly, there will be a great change when this corruptible body is put off, and with it and the close of this life the fomes peccati is put off, and the soul is fixed in the unchangeable, unvarying love of God. Our bodies too will be changed in the Resurrection. But what I wished to guard against, in that note, and my very object in writing it, was that the doctrine of Purgatory held out a hope of salvation to those who would not be saved otherwise.
Now both Roman divines and ours believe that all those and those only will be saved who, when they die, are in a state of grace. Almighty God knows who these are. They must be known to Him. They are already in a state of grace in this life. In what way He will fit them for the full fruition of Himself is a distinct question. But the number of those who are in a state of grace now is a certain number, certainly known to Almighty God. It is a present fact. It cannot depend upon what is future. Since what follows after this life does not change the fact in this life, the number of the saved cannot be increased by it.
The danger of 'often falling' (if the falls are of that deep sort, of which Holy Scripture says, 'They who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God' ) is lest they who so fall should at last grieve away the Spirit of God, and have not the grace to repent any more. This is the danger as relates to final salvation. There is the other danger, that they should lose that degree of bliss and the eternal love of God, which, by patient perseverance in the grace of God, they might have had.
Neither of these dangers are in the least met by the doctrine of Purgatory. If a person have sinned away the grace of God, he will not be saved on any system. The reward also in heaven, 'the crown of righteousness,' will be proportioned to the deeds done in the body. There is no attainment (nothing which is meant by men/urn) in the world to come. As a man sows, so shall he reap.
Mr. Baker was on the point of leaving England for New Zealand, where he worked for six years under Bishop Selwyn. He might never see England and Pusey again: and his mind dwelt much on the anxious question of what would happen after death. Pusey had to return to the subject. The mischief of such expressions as Mr. Baker used was that they suggested that
'what is neglected here, may be so supplied there as to affect the measure of a person' s eternal happiness. The more any one grows in grace here, the greater will be his eternal happiness. The reward there will be in proportion to his use of grace here. Neglect of grace here at one time may be compensated by greater diligence subsequently in this life. But the state of the soul is absolutely fixed by death, (1) whether it shall be lost or saved; (2) what shall be its final degree of bliss.'
In a third letter Pusey repeats himself; but his thought runs clearer as he writes and rewrites it:--
'Whatever there is in this life of repentance, faithfulness to grace, love, deeds of love, brings with it growth in grace and greater capacity of future bliss. Nothing in the intermediate state can compensate for this, if lost. Both a person' s salvation and the degree of bliss are fixed here. " The patient endurance of suffering for the love of God, and penitential sorrow" in this life, do, through the operation of the grace of God, enlarge the soul (whatever its present capacity is) for a larger participation of Almighty God. This is fixed in this life. To look then for that to be done in the intermediate state which ought to be done here, is to undergo loss. R. C.s say, " it is through the remissness of a soul that it goes to Purgatory at all." But what it loses in this life, it cannot recover. Through patient endurance and peni–tential sorrow, or deeds of love for the love of God here, the soul gains eternally, through the grace of God, larger measures of bliss. Whatever is lost here, is lost for eternity.
'I believe that your expression " growth in grace" would be accounted incorrect by R. C. writers, being limited [by them] to a state of probation. It implies that exercise of will and choice which belong to the state of probation only.
'You will not think me over-critical if I say that the expression " a course of purifying penitential processes, extending it may be into the intermediate state," is incorrect, even on Roman grounds. There is no repentance, no penitential process, in the grave.
'I am anxious about this both on its own account, because I think that it would be misleading; and because I fear that in New Zealand, where they have had none of this teaching, it might occasion trouble both to yourself and others. I fear that it would be a subject of anxiety to the Bishop, who has been winning people so wonderfully, and that his work would be hindered by any teaching which implied a belief in a state of Purgatory. I suppose that you would feel no difficulty in teaching what our Church teaches in common with the rest of Christendom as to the great truths of faith and practice, without touching upon these subjects.'
Pusey had been forced unwillingly into incessant contro–versy; but no one was more conscious than himself that it was not in the atmosphere of controversy nor in the promotion merely of theological study, that any real improvement in the Church must be expected: it must begin with greater strictness of life among the clergy. Only those who were living for God, he said, could persuade other men to live for Him. For this reason in July, 1856, what is believed to be the first attempt at a Retreat for Clergy in the later English Church was made under his auspices. Seventeen or eighteen clergymen were present, and were lodged and fed at his house in Christ Church. They met at half-past six, to say Prime and prepare for Holy Communion. Then the whole party attended a celebration at St. Thomas' Church at seven, remaining in church after the service for about half an hour for prayer. Returning to Pusey' s, they said Thanks–giving for Communion, and Terce over, breakfast followed, during which a meditation was read. Then they went to the Cathedral service at ten, returning to Sext, and a 'con–ference,' which lasted until two or three o' clock. It was on some such subject as conversion or confession. Dinner, during which there was spiritual reading, was followed by Nones and afternoon service at the Cathedral; after which the whole party took a short walk, returned to tea, to another 'conference' and Compline, and so went to bed. This was repeated every day for a week. The Rev. Charles Lowder, who describes it, says that it was an especial help to him before entering on his great work at St. George' s Mission. As compared with modern Retreats it was obviously de–ficient: meditations are better than conferences; and if souls are to deal faithfully with God and with themselves a rule of silence is a practical necessity. But in this, as in so much else, Pusey led the way to spiritual opportunities which are now, and without question, placed within the reach of all English Churchmen.