Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.
London: Longmans, 1894
Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
PUSEY' S ISOLATION -- HIS ATTITUDE TOWARDS ROME
MISUNDERSTOOD -- CORRESPONDANCE WITH MR.
GLAD–STONE -- PROJECT OF A COMMENTARY ON HOLY
SCRIPTURE -- LAST PHASE OF THE HAMPDEN CONTROVERSY.
AT NO time in his life was Pusey so largely cut off from human sympathy as during the ten years which followed Newman' s secession. During this time he was an object of widespread, deep, fierce suspicion. Some Heads of Houses would not speak to him when they met him in the street. The post brought him, day by day, from all parts of the country, various forms of insults, letters signed and anonymous, reflecting on his honesty or his intelligence, as might suit best the writer' s fancy.
The circle of his old friends--even of those who had not followed Newman--was seriously diminished. Anglicans like Churton, Sewell, and W. Palmer, were more distant than in former years, even if they did not express disap–proval after the fashion of Hook. Not a few of the younger and more brilliant minds, shocked by Newman' s secession, yet unprepared to follow him, were already drifting away, under the stress of an unbalanced logic, towards this or that form of infidelity. His intercourse with junior members of the University was more restricted than in former years; acquaintance with him was regarded by the governing authorities in the University as a reason for vie wing those who enjoyed it with suspicion, or as at heart possible converts to the Church of Rome. If Pusey was visited by Oxford friends, it was more or less by stealth; if acquaintance with him was avowed, it was, at least in some circles, iii a deprecatory and apologetic tone. He was, in the words of a vigorous writer at the time, widely regarded as 'tainted' ; he 'wandered about as an ecclesi–astical Cain, with the Vice-Chancellor' s mark on his fore–head, and an Exeter Hall anathema on his head.'
When, in the Christmas Vacation of 1846, he visited Clifton to be with his only surviving daughter, he was invited to preach in Clifton parish church on Christmas Day. Thereupon two or three of the local Puritans inti–mated their intention of walking out of the church 'with marked and significant stampings, the moment he mounted the pulpit.' Such 'a ravening wolf from the banks of the Isis' --again to quote the vivid language of the local writer--could not be allowed to devour these lambs at his good pleasure. Nevertheless he was asked to preach by the Rev. H. Richards at Horfield Church on the following Sunday. One who was present describes the scene.
'The incumbent and curate were officiating; in a pew under the pulpit in a plain black gown sat the man whose name is known throughout the kingdom--arraigned on the platform of our great cities, and pronounced with something like a supernatural sense of dread by the smallest coteries of the remotest village--one of no high or haughty bearing however, with authority in his eye, or commanding intellect enthroned on his brow, but drooping his head meekly on his breast, he seemed rather to shrink from than challenge observation. Of all the simple people that crowded that simple church not one looked more humble or more unconscious of self, or of the stealthy or fixed glances which were directed to him from time to time by the stray comers, some of whom, I have little doubt, expected to see the celebrated Pusey (an heresiarch in the eyes at least of half the Church) of some fearful outline, differing from other men in his form and visage: no horn or cloven hoof, however, protruded to reward their curiosity.'
The eye-witness proceeds--and it must be remembered that he writes 'in all the fervour of his Protestantism' :--
'While the last Psalm was being sung, the Professor left his pew (no officious sexton leading the way), and ascended to the pulpit, on the floor of which he knelt down in private prayer, his upraised hands and grizzled thin hair being the only parts visible, until the singing bad concluded, when he rose and prayed in a contrite and almost thrilling tone. Yet was there nothing affected in all this; on the contrary, whatever Dr. Pusey' s opinions or doctrines may be, so far as man can judge of man, you would have said his character was that of pious humility and self-abasement.
'His text was taken from part of the sixth verse of the twenty-first chapter of Revelation. " And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End." Never before did I hear so beautifully evangelical a sermon as this from the man who has given a name to a party which is supposed to represent a different principle in the Church. It had but one fault, it was fifteen minutes too long. Nevertheless, it was listened to throughout by that little crowded church-full with fixed and rapt attention, though it was neither declamatory, noisy, nor eccentric; but plaintive, solemn, and subdued, breathing throughout, I may say, a beauty of holiness and a Christian spirit so broad and catholic, so deep and devotional, that while the most zealous Protestant could find nothing in it he might not approve, the most bigoted Roman Catholic could not enter an exception to a single expression that it contained. I never recollect so feelingly apposite a sermon for the close of the year, the very last week of which was then lapsing beneath our feet--we seemed, as it were, to look back with him from an eminence, in serious review upon the transactions of the year, ere it had yet passed from our sight, while ever and anon, in touching recurrence and solemn effect, came the words, " It is done," which were every time, with some beautiful feature of novelty, illustrated and enlarged upon. He seemed, how–ever, to love to dwell upon the sad and melancholy; and his voice, though clear and distinct, had something mournful, and at times almost wailing, about it. The subject and the season, indeed, would seem to invite such a feeling, and at moments you could almost fancy you were hearing some office for the departing year, at the close of which, as if in mournful cadence, came the word (for in the language in which it is written it is but one word) " It is done." There he stood, a plain, and to all appearance, an humble and lowly man, preaching to a simple people, and speaking with the melancholy meekness as of one stricken and tried, yet uncomplaining. The very gloom of the little church (for the four candles by which he had to read his sermon, and which were hardly sufficient to cast a faint reflection on the fixed countenances of the attentive listeners, were all the light which parochial economy could afford) seemed in keeping; yet this plain and apparently unpretending man, of mild manners and of middle years and stature, who now preached a sermon more perfectly free from controversy than ever I before heard, had himself been foremost in the greatest controversy of the age, so as to attract the eyes of the kingdom to his collegiate retirement.
' " Who be that that preached ?" said one young rustic maiden to another as we left the church; " a monstrous nice man, but dreadful long.”
" 'Don' t you know?" replied the other; " it is that Mr. Pewdsey, who is such a friend to the Pope; but come along, or we' ll be late for tea”; and away they trotted.'
The writer' s own reflections are worth quoting as showing how much was felt at this date to depend upon Pusey' s steadfastness, and how difficult it was for those who did not know him as yet, to be sure that he would be true to the Church of England to the end:--
'Like some lone column, the only one of a stately row which once adorned the portico of some great academy, but which in melancholy series, one by one, have sunk, undermined, or fallen prostrate, he still stands, though alone. There is a solemn, but sad sense of solitude in the feeling with which you contemplate him; while at the same time there is in his very isolation something of insecurity, as though you feared the fate which levelled all the rest awaited him also, and you expected daily to hear that he too had disappeared. Yet, not–withstanding predictions and apprehensions, he still stands: the slender shaft has not snapped under the weight of academic censure and public obloquy that has been heaped upon it; but
" By the billow-beaten side
Of the foam-besilvered main,
Darkling and alone be stands.”
And if in some years more he still remain stationary and stable, still be found occupying his place within the pale of the Anglican Church, I shall regard him with as much triumph and satisfaction as I now watch him with anxiety; for if he abide with us, he will have established his character for fixed and founded principle, under an ordeal severe and trying. Those who call themselves his opponents in the Church taunt him with duplicity in remaining--they impatiently and petulantly demand the reason of his stay, and inquire why he tarries, after his old associates have passed the line; while his " old associates" themselves beckon to him with dim fingers from Rome to follow--voices long familiar to him and long loved, I have no doubt, with which he held deep and lofty converse in the shadowy cloisters of Oxford--voices which, even in their fall, must still have fond and affectionate associations for him--these call to him, too, from their delusive retreats at Oscot, " to come over," nor loiter behind his personal and intellectual friends and literary colleagues. These are things and temptations to try a man' s principles and solidity: those who are in, wishing to thrust him out, impugning his sincerity and taxing his patience; and those who are out, appealing to old feelings and old friendships to induce him to follow--tests, light, it is true, to fixed and rooted conviction, but full of peril to Edward Bouverie Pusey, if his principles are as infirm as by some they are represented to be.'
Pusey might have lessened the suspicion with which he was regarded, if he would have consented publicly to join in those vague popular declamations against the Church of Rome which are the stock-in-trade of Protestant oratory. He did indeed reject, with the deliberation warranted by solid learning, the 'modern parts '--as he called them--of the Roman system, and especially those claims to an exclusive Catholicity which involved a denial of Christ' s presence and grace in the Church of England. This he was saying in private every day of his life, by letter or by word of mouth, to those who sought his advice; but undoubtedly, now as always, he preferred to vindicate the claims of the Church of England by asserting her intrinsic merits, rather than by proclaiming and denouncing the errors of the Church of Rome.
Thus we find him writing to the Rev. W. J. Copeland, who found his position at Littlemore full of trials, arising from its associations, and the importunities to which he was exposed at the hands of his old friends
E. B. P. TO REV. W. J. COPELAND.
Hayling I. [Aug. 1847.]
You have been so accustomed to heartaches these many years, so much more than any of us, daily and hourly, that you can under–stand how the thought of your giving up duty goes through one. Yet you can think it possible that your having been continually with our friends at Littlemore, watched all their movements, seen them gradually losing their hold and letting go, may have insensibly biassed your view of things, not as matter of judgment, but as matter of impression and feeling. It could not be otherwise. It is almost a marvel to me that it has not done so more. It is one of those the great hold which the Church of England really has over those formed in her, and by God' s good Spirit in her; and 'I am persuaded she would not have this power, unless it were given her from above. But every one almost must have felt more or less the influence of merely having doubts continually brought across the mind; it is like living in an unhealthy atmosphere; one breathes, inhales it, insensibly. I suppose I myself shook some people, as being unloyal to the Church of England, although I do believe her to be a great instrument in God' s hands, and that His Holy Spirit is lodged in her…
I do wish you would put down all your difficulties about the Articles in detail and show them to J. K[eble]. Until we do this, we increase our difficulties often, letting them multiply into one another, and each bear the force of all the rest, instead of being single items. There must be some way of signing the Articles rightly, since J. K., who has so much more of God' s Holy Spirit, and so much more insight and tenderness, has no difficulty. I am satisfied they are anything but 'a condemnation of the generation of God' s children,' and only condemn what is really wrong. I cannot think of your giving up without being appalled. I know I am not worthy to counsel you about anything, except to go to the father of this Movement, and of each, J. K., and to do what he advises.
God comfort and guide you.
Your very affectionate
E. B. P.
Pusey' s confidence in the Church of England, and the exact form of his mental attitude towards the Roman Church at this period, appear very clearly in the subjoined letter:--
MY DEAR --
Your letter and sorrows have been much on my mind, although I could not write as I would.
I wish you could be employed in some way which would lead you to the Fathers. They have been these many years the same comfort to me, as modern Roman writers have been a discomfort to you. And on the same ground, I cannot think that while the children own their fathers, the fathers would disown their children. I read them, learn of them, live among them, as a child; adopt their words, say what they say, do not say what they do not. I live in them as my home. I have not gone about proving to myself our identity with them. I feel it. Theirs is my native' language: they are familiar accents. But it does impress upon me that the English appeal to Antiquity is something real and substantial. I could preach volumes of St. Chrysostom and St. Augustine without rebuke. I do not think a Roman Catholic could. If I should have a difficulty here and there, from a conjecture as to some intermediate purification, or some invocation of a saint (and they are very rare), a R. C. who should preach such courses of sermons, with no mention of St. Mary or of the Saints (for on St. Mary there is entire silence, and Martyrs are mentioned only some few times on their Festivals with regard to miraculous cures by praying at their tombs), would be considered lax or heterodox. I think I have understood that Ave Maria, [or] some commendation to her, is introduced into every Roman sermon. We have translated straight through, two thick volumes of St. Augustine: all his sermons on the New Testament. There was not a word to explain--nothing which one might not, as far as doctrine is concerned, preach in our English pulpits. I hear they are preached, changing the style a little. Now conceive a Roman Catholic preaching 133 sermons without any allusion to any one characteristic doctrine of the modern system! Should we not be soon at one, if is could be? And not this only, but St. Augustine' s thick folio volume on the Psalms, and half a one on St. John, one might preach through (except for the difference of the Bible, which is neither theirs nor ours). How would not a R. C. be suspected, if he did so! R. C.s sometimes appeal to Antiquity, and say, 'If St. Augustine were to rise and come among us, which would he choose?' I cannot but think he would blame both, and bid us be at one in the faith which he taught, the faith once for all delivered to the Saints. But I cannot think that while we cherish him, he would side against us, or take part with them, who could not teach only what alone was taught in his day. And so my own hopes have been that, as we became more penetrated with the spirit of the Fathers, we should meet backward in the parents of both. Can you imagine St. Augustine writing 'Ad majorem Dei [et] sanctae Mariae gloriam' --when there is not anything special about St. Mary in all his writings? Do you not think such a juxtaposition would startle him? I know how it is defended: still it is a fact, that these things are pressed forward now, and were unknown then. The current tone of devotion which is now made the popular mode of influencing minds is quite different from that which the Fathers would foster, and turns upon another subject. One who wishes us to be gained over to them, suggests a prayer to the Blessed Virgin (just the same prayer as I should use to the Holy Trinity), or says the Rosary of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin for this [object]; several others send medals of the B. V. as Dispensatrix of all graces, to be worn by~ people: (I think, as an act of the will, it might produce its effect.) This is very different from St. Augustine; and until they come to us with St. Augustine' s language and doctrine, I think they must not assume that St. Augustine would condemn us because we do not receive what he did not teach.
Yet neither did we think, I think, that those holy men of more modern times, from whose books we have learnt, would condemn us now, I mean where they now are. In the flesh, there may surely be 'invincible ignorance' on the one side as well as the other; i. e. the ignorance of long prejudice, accustomed to view the other from one side only, and not really understanding it. Most R. C.s are accustomed to nothing but foreign Protestants, a class whose fate and history shows them to be really essentially different from us. Say what people will on one side and the other, bodies which have lapsed almost wholly into Arianism in France, Socinianism in Switzerland, Rationalism in Ger–many, are not akin to us. Nor are the fragments of life among them. That sympathizes with Dissent, not with the Church of England. One need not use many words on this: one may assume it. What marvel then that R. C.s, accustomed to foreign Protestantism, condemn us. But, besides, if they condemn us, it is mostly not upon our doctrine, which they do not know, but on the bare fact of our separation from themselves, and our non-submission to the Roman see. But clearly, as to the right of this, early Antiquity is with us.
Besides, they condemn us (if they do so) unheard. If things had gone on as they did before [W. G.] Ward (as Copeland says), like Phaeton with the chariot of the sun, took the reins out of his father' s hands, and threw all things into confusion, England would soon have been Catholicized (I do not mean Romanized in Ward' s language). The same great work is going on now, and a far deeper work than in more prosperous days, and far wider. It must have its fruits. The seasons are in God' s hands. But when the harvest ripens, Rome must own us as a Church; and God, we may trust, will make us healthfully one.
But some of Pusey' s best friends were anxious that, because of the distrust occasioned by secessions at St. Sa–viour' s, Leeds, he should set himself right with general opinion by some explicit and public statement against the Church of Rome. This Mr. Gladstone had urged, and Pusey replied as follows:--
E. B. P. TO RIGHT HON. W. E. GLADSTONE.
Christ Church, Sexag. S. [Feb. 8], 1847.
MY DEAR GLADSTONE,
Richards has read me part of a letter of yours, in which, speaking more kindly of me than I deserve, I am sure, you express a doubt as to my present line of public neutrality as to the Church of Rome.
It would take long to say how I came to this, partly through one I love as a father (not J. H. N.); partly through finding the contrary irritate those to whom alone it could be of any use; partly because I must accompany it, probably, with qualifications still more unaccept–able to those who brame or suspect my silence; partly because I think we have enough to do at home; partly because I think it engenders a bad spirit; and then, personally, because I had no call for it.
And now my position is wholly changed. Time was when we were allowed to act upon the Church; Bishops, even if they chiefly censured us and us alone, still let us go on, and said something of the good done. Now (I do not blame them) they are all against us. When I was condemned for my sermon, not one spoke for me. The Bishop of Exeter half retracted the value of his permission to preach. I can preach in two pulpits in London, and here and there in a village. I could not, even before these troubles, preach at St. Saviour' s, although the instrument of building it. All confidence in me is gone. I do not mean that it has not been my own doing; still it is gone, except among some who love me, and shaken among some of these.
Everything seems then to withdraw me from attempting to do any–thing for the Church--I mean to act upon her--as a whole. I feel myself a suspected person, go to no meetings, take part in no Societies (though I continue to subscribe). I should only make a thing suspected by taking part in it.
On the other hand, even before this break-up, God had begun to give me a more individual work, and a large parish, as it were, in the cure of souls who came to me. This showed me part of a great inner work which He has been and is carrying on more deeply now in human souls, than when things were most prosperous. This seems now the work He gives me to do, when He has withdrawn the other. I hope to have done with controversy of all sorts, within the Church of England or without. My sermons on Absolution were not meant to be an exception to this; but to supply a great practical want. I have been in controversy great part of my theological life; now I may, if God permit, 'go down to my grave in peace.'
I do not wish to give up any duty which God gives me; and, of course, what I publish (if God enable me) must act, more or less, upon the Church, by acting (if He permits it) on individual souls in it.
It was an unusual thing that He gave to presbyters any such office, as seemed to come upon us, unencouraged by Bishops, to fight the battle against heresy, and recall people to forgotten truth. Dear N[ewman] felt this more than I. On looking back to his first Tract, his rallying-cry was 'Our fathers, the Bishops' ; when they cast him aside, he felt that his work was done.
I was never under a Bishop, although I wished to think so, and so felt and feel it less. Indeed, I am not depressed, even while I write this. I have full faith in the English Church, even while this storm is on her, and it seems as though she must be let drive, because no one can or will guide her. Yet 'wind and storm fulfil His word,' and will carry her whither He will, and those in her to the haven where they would be--Himself.
In my individual relation to any one, i.e. if any one consults me, I do not omit to speak strongly on the modern part of the Roman system, as a ground for staying where they are. My little books are a tacit protest against it, in that they omit it.
However, I do not mean that there are not all sorts of faults on my part, and that I have not added much to the confusion. I felt, too, that in trying to-keep others in our Communion, I was throwing away any remaining confidence in [me]. I did it deliberately, and do not com–plain. I am only accounting to you for the line which I, henceforth, hope to keep, unless Bishops should be given us who place any confidence in me: I mean, not to engage in controversy or to interfere in anything which concerns the Church, unless it comes individually to me to do.
You did not wish for this explanation; but I thought it due to you, having shown your love for me as to St. Saviour' s, and you may show it to any friends whom you do not think it will tend to depress.
E. B. PUSEY.
If I did say anything publicly about the Church of Rome, it would be that no good can come of this general declamation against it, without owning what is good and great in it. Many feel this, who love the Church of England deeply. Words like the Bishop of R[ipon]' s 'had been moved away from the hope of that Gospel' seem to them simply shocking. Our protest can, I think, be only healthful, effective, if we allow what we ought and what, if people acquainted themselves with the good side of the Roman system, they would. If ever, as a Church, we should put forth all we can admit as true, we might be listened to as to what we except against. But this vague declamation is sorely against 'Caritas.'
So you see I am not a physician for these days; and my medicine is stronger than people would take, so I had best keep it to myself.
Pusey, although constantly forced into a leading position, was genuine in underrating his influence and the effects of his silence. His desire for the present was to work quietly at the projected Commentary and with individuals, and let other men talk. Thus he writes:--
E. B. P. TO RIGHT HON. W. E. GLADSTONE.
Christ Church, 4th S. after Easter [May 2], 1847.
If you have any opinion as to anything I could do or undo for the Church, I should be glad to know it. My own bias is to be still. I seem to have an ergon before me, if it please God, in the Commentary, and I am disposed to work on in that, influencing the Church indirectly, as He may give me to do, but not attempting any–thing directly. I have no call. . .
Ever yours affectionately,
E. B. PUSEY.
Mr. Gladstone perhaps, from his circumstances, saw more clearly than did Pusey himself how easily his silence, at such a time, might be misconstrued. He had great doubts whether the world at large understood the strength of disapproval with which Pusey regarded both the secessions and the formation of the desire to secede. The tone of Pusey' s letters in the end of 1845 might, he thought, have given the impression that Pusey did not take any very strong view of the positive evils and dangers to which, independently of the act of desertion, persons joining the Roman Church expose themselves.
Pusey' s real difficulty in acting as Mr. Gladstone de–sired at this juncture lay in his relations with other minds that were being drawn more or less powerfully in a Roman direction. He could not allay the suspicions of one set of friends without forfeiting the sympathies of another set, whose loyalty to the Church of England seemed for the moment largely bound up with their confidence in his power of entering into their troubles and difficulties. He had present to his mind the Divine maxim about breaking the bruised reed and quenching the smoking flax. On the whole he preferred to endure the general and deepening suspicion. Everything, he used to say, will be set right at the Day of Judgment.
Pusey' s difficulties arising out of the secessions to Rome may be illustrated by the case of the Rev. E. G. K. Browne, Curate of Bawdsey, who had become a Roman Catholic at the end of the year 1845. In August, 1847, Mr. Browne travelled accidentally with a Low-Church Irish clergyman, who describes his experience in a letter to the Standard:--
On entering a diligence in the town of Caen, in Normandy, a few evenings ago, I made the usual apologies for disturbing the passengers already seated, when the imperfection of my French (I suppose) drew from a gentleman seated opposite, the inquiry concerning myself and a companion, " English, I presume, gentlemen?" On our replying in the affirmative, quick was the rejoinder, " So am I." And not long after the avowal, " I was lately a clergyman of the Anglican Church: I am now a Catholic, and hope soon to be admitted into the Order of Jesuits.”
'The speaker was a young man of very spare habit, quick, lively eye, but so exceedingly boyish in appearance, that I was induced to ask, " Do I understand you rightly that you had taken Orders in the Church of England?" to which the reply was " Yes; I was the Rev. George Browne for eighteen months, but I am now a layman again. I left the Church of England by the express advice of Dr. Pusey, whose last words to me were, 'Mr. Browne, you had better go to Rome, and God go with you' .”'
This sensational statement was met by a direct contra–diction.
'It seems best to say,' wrote Pusey, 'once for all, that if any person ever said anything of the sort he was guilty of wilful untruth. I never advised any individual whatever to go to Rome or to leave the English Church. Such advice mostly comes from a very different quarter.'
Meanwhile, before reading Dr. Pusey' s letter, Mr. Browne corrected the Irish clergyman' s account of his own report of Dr. Pusey' s advice.
'I never used the words he [the Irish clergyman] attributes to me, but said that the worthy and excellent Dr. Pusey advised me to the following effect. " If, Mr. Browne, you cannot bring your mind to believe in the Apostolic Succession of the Anglican Church, go to Rome, and God go with you. But if, on the contrary, you are con–vinced, after diligent study, that we possess the Apostolic Succession, then remain where you are”'
But if the Irish clergyman' s memory had done an injustice to Mr. Browne, Mr. Browne had done, however unwittingly, a greater injustice to Dr. Pusey. Pusey' s last statement is sufficiently explicit:--
E. B. P. TO THE EDITOR OF THE 'MORNING HERALD.'
I see in a letter of Mr. Browne, republished by the Guardian, that he says that I did not advise him to 'go to Rome,' but, hypo–thetically, to the effect that, if he were not convinced that we had the Apostolic Succession, he should go to Rome; if he were convinced that we had it, be should stay. I certainly never turned a young man adrift in this way, to find out for himself that we have the Apostolic Succession. Whatever of this sort I said, was said, after having impressed upon him, at some length, the fact that we have the Apo–stolic Succession unquestionably. It was said in order to cut off all thoughts of leaving the English Church. My argument was, 'It is a matter of absolute certainty that we have the Apostolic Succession. This is a fact which can be proved in a narrow compass. Since, then, the Church of England has this, and also the true faith " once for all delivered to the saints," there is nothing to impair her authority over us, and we, in her, have the Sacraments and whatsoever else we need to be saved.' It is sometimes of use to narrow the grounds of contro–versy; and it is to me a mystery how persons who are persuaded and know that we have the Sacraments and the Presence of Christ among us, can go elsewhere to seek Him Whom we have.
Pusey sought refuge from these heartaches in a scheme of which he was not the author, but of which he lived to complete the only part that was ever completed. The idea of a commentary on the whole Bible, written with all the aids afforded by modern scholarship, but in accordance with Primitive and Catholic faith, had originated it would appear, with the Rev. G. Forbes, of Burntisland in Scotland. He mentioned something of the kind to Marriott, who suggested to Pusey that the editors of the Library of the Fathers would be the best editors of the Commentary. The proposal was particularly welcome to Pusey, not only as belonging to what he used to call his 'own subject,' but also because he maintained that Scripture interpreted in such a manner as to exhibit not only the barren philological or historical import of the text, but the deeper truths beneath which constitute its 'mind' and justify us in describing it as inspired, would be the most powerful of all possible reinforcements of Church principles. 'People talk of Tractarianism,' he would say; 'but, after all, the most Tractarian book I ever open is the Bible.'
Pusey described his project as 'a Commentary for the unlearned.' Instead of making a display of acquaintance with modern criticism, it would give only those results of criticism which appeared to be well established, while taking no account, of the process by which they had been reached. It would take as its basis the Authorized Version, 'wrought as that is into the very substance of devotional minds amongst us' : but additional meanings, latent in the original, although perhaps inevitably unexpressed in the Authorized Version, and in some few cases, other renderings, would be suggested. The language of the Fathers would be embodied in the Commentary when there were different Patristic explanations. the commentator would select the most authoritative or probable, and ignore the others. The exposition
'should be confined to one or two spiritual interpretations (where these are called for) relating to Christ and His Body the Church, or the soul of each individual member of Christ' s mystical body, rather than give manifold spiritual meanings. For these, although all contained in the depths of Holy Scripture (as the prismatic colours are in light), and all beautiful, still rather perplex a reader who has not been ac–customed to look for them, or to consider how they may be evolved out of that original light. In attempting this, the writers would hope (following the Fathers) to take as their guides, leading interpretations in Holy Scripture itself.'
But the point on which Pusey laid especial stress was that each commentator should 'endeavour in all good faith to introduce nothing of the writer' s own into Holy Scripture: his business being to set forth the meaning of Holy Scripture itself, to extract truths from, not to import them into it.'
'This,' Pusey observes, 'the writers would desire to do, in the full conviction, that all truth does indeed lie in Holy Scripture, although individuals must necessarily be unable to see more than the skirts of it; and they therefore defer to the wisdom of those before them, and of the Church collectively, not as anything additional to Holy Scripture, but as derived from Him Who is the Wisdom of God, teaching them to understand Holy Scripture, through that Holy Spirit Who inspired it.
'In this attempt their hope is, not to involve the reader in contro–versy, but, on the contrary, to bring back whom they may, from restless and often irreverent controversies and speculations, to the deep, pure, calm waters of the river of God, hoping that by reverent contemplation and study of it, we, in God' s good time, may find the full truth, which now is too often divided among us; see its reality, which in disputation too often eludes men' s grasp; and be refreshed by it, or rather by Him Who is the Truth, instead of being dried up by controversies about it.
'They are also convinced, that the great bulwark against modern scepticism lies in the reverent study and unfolding of the meaning of Holy Scripture itself; that Holy Scripture so studied does carry with it the conviction of its own Divinity; and that thereby alone (with corresponding life) can the Faith be maintained against the unbelief of " the last days.”'
The first step to be taken was to consult Keble, who was said to have completed a fragment on the Epistle to the Romans.
'I am sure,' wrote Pusey to Keble on Oct. 29, 1846, 'that the best thing for us would be to see what you have written, as you will not object, and, as far as we can, take that as our model. It has always been a puzzle with me how to write a commentary, as well it, and everything else, might be; bow to blend together critical and practical. I should like very much to see something done; and indeed it seems one of the great wants of our Church.'
Keble was quite sure that his 'fragment' was of no use: it had been written in days when he had not yet learned from the Fathers how the Bible should be interpreted.
'I have been just looking,' he wrote to Pusey on Nov. 16, 'at the fragment of a commentary which I did many years ago on the Epistle to the Romans, and if I was not quite sure that it will not do, I would send it as you desire. I had no notion then of patristic interpretation, therefore the thing will not do in its substance: and the form of it is too analytical for a popular Comment, which I suppose is what we now chiefly want: to mention no other reasons, of which I have more than I could wish.'
Pusey wrote again to consult Keble about the editorship.
'What do you think of the editors of the Library of the Fathers without their names? Some one I asked said, " If you three are to take a chief part in it, it is just as well to do it openly." Or perhaps Manning may join.'
Keble thought it more prudent that only one of the editors of the Fathers should edit the Commentary. Pusey, as Hebrew Professor, ought in any case to be named. Other names which would give more confidence than his own were those of Moberly, Mill, Manning, Isaac Williams. Keble' s observations upon the character of the proposed Commentary, upon the sense and degree in which the Fathers could be embodied in it, upon the methods by which it might be made, in a good sense, popular, will be read with interest, even in days when commentaries abound as they do in our own.
REV. J. KEBLE TO E. B. P.
Jan. 19, 1847.
As to the Commentary, all of us here most welcome the plan and wish it undertaken: I long to be helpful in it, but somehow I do not feel that it is in me. I cannot please myself with anything that I have tried of the kind, but I shall not be easy till I have endeavoured and sent you a specimen. Do you mean that all the interpretations should be strictly patristical, or only on patristic principles? I should suppose, the latter: were it only for this reason, that so much of the Scriptures is not included (is it not so?) in what remains of the ancient Commentators. In the historical parts, I suppose it will be desirable to be as descriptive as reverence and discretion will allow. It will help to meditation, and will recommend the book in the same manner as pictures do. Then will it not be necessary to break up the whole into short sections, not adhering to our received divisions of chapter and verse except where the sense loses little or nothing by it? And I suppose, where the original gives a clear reference to some other text which is lost by our present translation, we may without undutifulness explain and supply it: our marginal translations giving a kind of warrant for the process. The sections should be short, and the paragraphs, and the sentences not involved: and N.B. the print large and clear: this last point is worth sacrificing a great deal for. I would circulate a specimen of the type with the Prospectus. Every–thing which illustrates the Prayer-book and ritual of the Church should be especially brought out: and for such a neighbourhood as this it would be a great thing to have the rural illustrations and allusions which take up so much of the SS. made much of, as corre–sponding with men' s daily tasks....
Pusey was especially anxious to secure the co-operation of Archdeacon Manning. But the Archdeacon declined to be one of the editors. Would he then contribute something to the work that was to be edited?
'It is in your line,' wrote Pusey to him on Feb. 17, 1847. 'Whom can we look to for doing anything to draw out the meaning of the Gospel for the poor, if you do not? Must we own things are so confused, that no one has leisure to study Holy Scripture, or put down - some of its meaning for others?'
Manning was hurt at this last sentence, to which he ascribed, not altogether unjustly, a certain exaggeration. He again declined to take part in the Commentary; and for reasons, the force of which could not be disputed. Pusey, with his incessant and inexhaustible energy, was too apt, perhaps, to forget that everybody cannot usefully attempt everything.
ARCHDEACON MANNING TO E. B. P.
Lavington, Feb. 20, 1847.
One of the worst causes of estrangement I have met with in particular minds has been this exaggerated way of describing our state. Particular persons have confused themselves, and see things through their own atmosphere. It seems to me that the way to make confusion is for us to fill our hands over-full of work. Our several places assign a certain kind of measure of work to each, and I think we shall do it least insufficiently by not (without due cause) increasing it.
It is because I am thankful that I am able to keep out of confusion that I have refused and do continually refuse proposals of all kinds which do not seem to fall within my duty or power to do as they ought to be done. Yours is only one of many. It is also because by this means I am able to secure such a quantity sure as to diminish my insufficiency in some small degree for other real works of a spiritual sort that I wish to decline every additional employment I can. And it is also because I see so many men all round me, abundantly able, and with abundant leisure to do what you wish, that I feel no reluctance, except from my affection to you, in declining it.
It is very difficult for us to transfer ourselves to another man' s place. I trust I have never urged anything on you beyond your power. Let me say that I doubt whether any one without a cure of souls can quite measure the time taken up in serving others: and I may add that this is the lesser demand on my time.
In a word, then, it is because I wish to avoid in myself personally the confusion from which we are happily free that I feel my first answer to be right.
Now, my dear friend, do not think I have written this with a shadow of soreness. I know your tender and affectionate regard too well to be even in danger of it….
Yours unworthily but affectionately,
H. E. MANNING.
Dr. Moberly would not undertake a share in the editorship; Dr. Mill declined with great regret; Isaac Williams was not well enough. Pusey, no doubt, made 'a mistake in thinking that any man, however busy, if he were only learned and devout, could find time for a great and most responsible work: he had to fall back upon Keble and Marriott, with himself, and this ultimately resolved itself into himself as sole contributor and editor of the Commentary on the Minor Prophets. But this contraction of a noble plan was the result of time and disappointments. For the moment Pusey was full of enthusiasm and hope.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. KEBLE.
Second Sunday in Lent [March I], 1847.
Now comes what is of great moment, the writers. I have expressed to your brother the hope that you, with perhaps his help and Isaac Williams and Wilson, could undertake the Gospels. Forgive me speaking about yourself, but I thought that what you said about writing as vividly as reverence permitted, belonged to you rather than to any of us, besides other things for which I should like you to under–take them.
C. M[arriott] is willing to undertake anything which is given him: i. e. he has studied several parts, but none so especially as to make it his own epyon. If you and others could undertake the Gospels, then he might be able to choose.
Would S. Rickards be able to help? I know not why he has done nothing. He is an able person, is he not?
Could Moberly undertake some book of Holy Scripture, although he cannot edit?
Did Wilson or any other whom you know express a wish or readiness to undertake the Book of Genesis? Some one did: I forget who.
I think you named Butler of Wantage. I suppose he has not very much reading yet. Do you yourself know him to be qualified?
In the Old Testament, C. M. and I have been thinking of Copeland (only you will, if you please, bid him work, and not destroy what he does, as is his way), Cornish, Burgon, Spranger, Barrow, perhaps Prichard of Balliol, Al. Forbes.
Do you know of any others? Jeffreys? I know so little or nothing of people' s minds and qualifications.
Laprimaudaye will help, but I do not know whether in the Old or New Testament. It is a very great work, but its very greatness seems to buoy me up and make me hope that it comes from God, and that He wills it to be done.
Would you like any other title for the Commentary than 'Com–mentary for the Unlearned' ? I could not say the 'poor,' because I fear its expense: but I thought we might supply clergy for their parishioners at trade price.
I have written to J. Mozley about it, who takes interest in it: he rather recommends its being a quarto, as it would be more of a family book, and not much dearer than a large octavo: only the difference of paper and working off.
It would then probably be better to bring out the work in parts, as was done with Mant' s Bible.
If C. M. were to set to work now, he would be able to bring out something by next year....
Your very affectionate and grateful son,
In his sanguine manner Pusey made the most of any encouragement.
'The prospects of the Commentary,' he wrote to Keble a week later, 'are going on well. Spranger is longing to set to work on the Psalms; your brother, whom I have referred to you, is ready to work; Barrow of Queen' s is at work on the Books of Samuel, and there are others who, I hope, will work when they have a pattern to go upon.'
Keble replies that he had no doubt of Wm. Butler' s com–petency, and that he would press the other writers whom Pusey had named to select their own work. In a later letter, Keble objected to Pusey' s proposal that he should provide a 'specimen' of the Commentary. 'I cannot do it,' he writes on April 21, 'and you must not press me for it: it will be a great deal better for the plan to have your " specimen" not interfered with by others.'
A day later Pusey sends to Keble a list of some con–tributors to the Old Testament.
Genesis T. Morris.
Exodus, Leviticus Spranger.
Joshua, Judges Kay.
I Samuel sqq Barrow, Queen' s.
Isaiah Perhaps I.
Jeremiah G. Williams, King' s.
Minor Prophets I.
'C. Marriott is to take the Epistle to the Romans. May we think of the Gospels as undertaken by you, your brother, Isaac Williams, and Wilson? They ought to be done by persons working together. Then one might go on to ask Moberly and others what they would take.'
Keble was so far carried away by Pusey' s eagerness that he consented at last to write 'something of a specimen of the way in which I could perhaps manage part of a Commentary.' But, he added, 'it must not be printed as a specimen, nor shown, except to be criticized, without my leave.' Pusey hoped 'that the specimen would not be short. The sort of commentary I am trying to compile on the Minor Prophets is very long, and there should be some proportion.'
Pusey' s further intercourse with Keble on this subject took place during a visit to Hursley and to Hayling Island in the Long Vacation of 1847. But he was constantly writing on the subject to other contributors. Here is his idea of what a commentary on Genesis should be, stated in correspondence with the Rev. T. E. Morris, Student of Christ Church, who was to undertake that part of the work. It offers a singular contrast to the most modern projects for elucidating the first book of Holy Scripture. In such projects the commentator is too much occupied with assigning the several portions of the book to earlier writers (who are supposed to represent different, or hostile, but always crude theological conceptions) to allow himself time to notice that everything, or almost everything, that can give it religious worth or interest, has disappeared.
E. B. P. TO REV. T. E. MORRIS.
Tuesday in 3rd week in Lent, 1847.
I send you a prospectus of what we were speaking of. I hope that we shall have several setting to work soon. Did you express a preference for Genesis? You ought to work on the Old Testament, having studied Hebrew. Our plan is to read all we can of the Fathers or old writers on it. On Genesis there is good store; our idea is to condense and rewrite, in short sentences, if we can, giving the cream, or what seems most edifying, drawing it out of the text itself and then dwelling upon it, or expanding it, as seems best.
I could lend you some of the most important vols. to take to Elstree--as
Tostatus. Rhabanus Maurus.
Corn, a Lap. Dionys. Carthus. (I hope).
Then, if you cannot get at them,
Origen. St. Cyril Alex.
St. Aug. (St. Ambrose you can have in 8vo).
These will give you probably most which you want.
It puts me into good heart to think of it. It is a great work, if God give us strength. It is to be in 4t0, so there will be good space for writing.
In more difficult parts, I suppose we shall comment on verse by verse, elsewhere by sections, and so I suppose mostly in Genesis....
For some years after this the Commentary fell into the background. The Gorham controversy, and the secessions which followed it, made other labours imperatively neces–sary: some of the writers dropped their task; others published in a separate form what they had begun for Pusey. Pusey himself suspended--he only suspended--his own share in it. When he resumed it some years later it was practically as sole contributor and sole editor. He bad hoped in 1847 that such a project of work would afford to some friends a healthy relief from the contro–versial anxieties of the immediately preceding years: Holy Scripture would restore a sense of the true relative proportions of questions which had in some cases been exaggerated or disturbed. 'The very thought of such a plan,' --he wrote to Keble,--' would tend to give some people courage which they want.' In later years Pusey bitterly lamented the failure of this--the most cherished project of his life ;--except so far as his own share in it was concerned, it was a failure. The reason is not only to be found in the painful and engrossing events of the time: a great common work, such as was projected, required the stimulus and concert which nothing but constant inter–course could supply. The Tracts had been fed by the Theological Society which met at Pusey' s house: the Library of the Fathers was due to the constant and intimate intercourse of the editors with each other and with others at Oxford in the earlier days of the Move–ment. When the commentary was proposed, the events of 1845 had led to 'the Dispersion' ; and, unless Pusey could have succeeded--which may well be doubted--in re-establishing at Oxford a company of men, with a common enthusiasm and definite aims, it was almost inevitable that the great plan of giving to the Church of England a Commentary on Holy Scripture, written with all the knowledge its editors could command, and at the same time in thorough harmony with Patristic teaching, should come to nothing. Those who were dispersed however were spreading Church principles in another way.
The year 1847 witnessed another phase of the controversy about Dr. Hampden. Lord John Russell had in the early part of the year signified to the Archbishop of Canterbury his intention to recommend Dr. Hampden for a Bishopric. It is a sign how little influence the convictions of orthodox Churchmen had at that time on political leaders that, in spite of what had previously happened, the appointment was contemplated. But the secessions of 1845 had weakened the High Church party so seriously that no formidable resistance need at the moment be apprehended from that quarter. It was also thought that such an appointment would be a tribute to the memory of Dr. Arnold, whose 'Life and Correspondence' had among certain circles com–manded much sympathy and admiration.
The translation of Dr. Musgrave, Bishop of Hereford, to the See of York, vacant by the death of Archbishop Harcourt on Nov. 5, 1847, enabled the Prime Minister to carry out his intention. On Nov. 15 The Times announced the appointment of Dr. Hampden to the vacant Bishopric; at the same time observing, that there was 'no party worth taking into account' to which such an appointment could be agreeable, and frankly describing it as a political blunder.
Pusey' s relation to this, the last phase of a controversy which had begun in 1836, was, as compared with the earlier phases, inconsiderable and indirect. He felt that he was out of court: that the condemnation of his sermon, and the secession of his friends, made it impossible for him to take prominent leadership. When, writing to the Bishop of Oxford, Lord John Russell stated that 'Dr. Pusey must be considered the leader and oracle of Dr. Hampden' s opponents,' he was merely trusting to common report, and perhaps was ready enough to associate the opposition to Dr. Hampden with the whole weight of unpopularity that, at that time, attached to Pusey' s name. The Remonstrance of thirteen Bishops against the appointment, and the action of the Dean and Chapter of Hereford, were resolved upon, it need hardly be said, without any consultation with Pusey; and the opposition to Dr. Hampden' s confirmation at Bow Church was primarily the work of Keble, although, as was natural, Pusey concurred and assisted in it. However, Pusey could hardly have allowed events to take their course without any interference on his own part; such inaction, at. such a time, on his part, would have shaken the confidence of many who trusted him, and whom his influence and example held in loyalty to the Church of England.
On the day of the announcement of Dr. Hampden' s appointment to Hereford, he wrote to Harrison, as having the ear of the Primate. After referring to the recent appointment of Dr. Prince Lee to the new See of Manchester, Pusey continues:--
Nov 15, 1847.
And now comes this appointment of Dr. Hampden. I doubt not that his own views have been amended through that note which was put upon them in 1836; that he struck back out of a very perilous course which be was in, and took refuge in the popular theology as most akin to liberalism. Still he has most pointedly refused to retract any of the very grievous things which he said, and by which he gave great scandal to the Church; and you too, when the Heads of Houses proposed to repeal the Statute, satisfied yourself that he had not removed the ground of the censure.
I suppose that the offence actually continues since the Bampton Lectures have been obstinately defended and are still on sale, I imagine. Probably his elevation to the Episcopate might be hin–dered at Bow Church. But it would be more satisfactory if from him, as from Mr. Gobat, a statement could be obtained which should satisfy the Church that, however he explained what he had done, he adhered to the sound expression of the Faith now.
God have mercy! The times are very dark, though with light in them.
The Hampden question could not but enter into Pusey' s correspondence. The practical question was whether any and what steps could be taken to prevent the confirmation of the appointment. Archdeacon Churton had discouraged resistance: Pusey replied with some of his old fire:--
E. B. P. TO ARCHDEACON CHURTON.
Nov. 23, 1847.
Many of these secessions do more harm by paralyzing us than even in themselves. It seems as if this trouble were allowed to bring together by a common pressure those who were scattered. Earnest Evangelicals feel it. As for secular, i. e. worldly persons, they will rail on, and say it is all party faction. They have been saying so from the first. It harms only those who like to believe lies. I do most earnestly protest against being hindered from anything by what people say, or by the Archbishops, if it were so, betraying us. A pro–test is essential, else we connive at heresy. This has been unsettling people, and I suppose did unsettle dear Newman more than anything, 'a strong principle of heresy living and energizing in the Church.'
We have had too much of 'let alone.' H. J. Rose warned us before Dr. H.' s first appointment (I have his letter) that evil would come unless something was done: there was something written in the British Magazine, but it was too late. If you do not protest now, it will be too late when you groan under him as Archbishop of Canterbury. ...
He will be opposed at Bow Church, if by no others, by J. K[eble]; but anything which is done will strengthen much the hands of the Arch–bishops. I hear that four of the Bishops are very indignant. Petitions are going from four Rural Deaneries in the diocese of Gloucester; some are petitioning the Archbishops not to consecrate until the case has been investigated; some, their own Bishops not to assist; some apply to the Dean and Chapter of Hereford. And most, I hope, to God. It is a very serious crisis for evil or good.
J. K. is very earnest; he writes, 'The hint about petitioning the Bishops for delay seems to me an exceedingly good one.' He says, 'I hear from several quarters how earnestly people are feeling about it; Hamilton for one, I am told. Moreover, I heard on what seemed good authority that Lord J. is fascinated by Arnold' s " Remains," and that this is the secret of these appointments. This makes it more than ever a matter of life and death.'
Keble' s letters and action show that he felt more strongly on this subject than Pusey himself. It was, as has been said, Keble who instigated the opposition to the confirmation of Dr. Hampden at Bow church.
E. BADELEY, ESQ., TO E. B. P.
Temple, Nov. 18, 1847.
Judge Coleridge handed to me in court yesterday a letter which he had had from Keble, who seemed desirous of having oppositores' properly instructed to prevent the confirmation at Bow Church; but I don' t know whether it is contemplated. The Judge put a quaere in his note to me, as to 'the wisdom of opposing.'
A doubt was suggested by Keble whether the Stat. of Praemunire, or at least that of 25 Hen. VIII, c. 20, would apply to the Archbishop if he refused to consecrate upon such opposition--but I own I fear it would.
On Nov. 21 Keble writes to Pusey:--
'I have desired Badeley to set to work regularly with the opposition, authorizing him to use my name, if no other can be found, but trusting that there will be no lack of substitutes. I should like some such persons as the Dean of Chichester, Mr. Bowden, and some respectable person of Hereford diocese: if it might be, the Archdeacon.'
Thereupon Pusey and Keble set to work to draw up articles for the 'oppositores' in Bow Church, and, following the advice of Dr. Addams and Dr. Harding, and of Keble' s proctor, Mr. Townsend, they endeavoured to institute a suit against Hampden in the Ecclesiastical Courts. This could only be done with the consent of Bishop Wilberforce, the Diocesan to whom Dr. Hampden, as Vicar of Ewelme, was responsible for his public language.
E. BADELEY, ESQ., TO E. B. P.
Temple, Dec. 2, 1847.
They [Dr. Addams and Dr. Harding] were very anxious that a suit should be entered in the Ecclesiastical Court against Hampden on the charge of teaching and maintaining doctrine against those of the Church of England, thinking that if a suit is actually entered against him, and they can allege this at Bow Church, it will be the most effectual mode of stopping the whole proceedings--and they suggested Letters of Request from the Bishop of Oxon for this purpose.
Can this be accomplished? I agree with them in this view, for the Archbishop could hardly proceed when such a suit was pending.
After this consultation Mr. Townsend visited Oxford in order to talk the matter over with Pusey, Marriott, and J. B. Mozley. Mr. Marriott then applied to the Bishop of Oxford for Letters of Request, by which the case would be transferred to the Court of Arches. The Bishop promised to grant these letters, and on Dec. 16 actually signed them; but he withdrew them when he was legally advised that, in granting them, he was expressing a judgment adverse to Dr. Hampden' s orthodoxy. He afterwards explained that he had granted them under the idea that he had no power to refuse. Under the influence of the Provost of Oriel, he read through the Bampton Lectures, and arrived at 'the conviction that they did not justly warrant those suspicions of unsoundness to which they had given rise, and which so long as he trusted to selected passages, he himself shared.'
The letter to Dr. Hampden in which the Bishop of Oxford made this statement exposed him to a great deal of criticism at the hands of Bishop Phillpotts and others; to Pusey and Keble it seemed a disaster at least as serious as the publication of the Bampton Lectures themselves.
E. B. P. TO REV. C. MARRIOTT.
114 Marine Parade, Brighton,
Sunday evening, Jan. 2, 1848.
The mischief of the Bishop' s letter is, that it pronounces, almost ex cathedra, that the language of the B[ampton] L[ectures] is hardly an object of slight blame in the English Church. You recollect how you spoke of them, that in every third page there was something which grated against one in matters of faith. At least, so I under–stood you speaking to Mr. T[ownsend]. And yet all which the Bishop says in censure is, 'I long for the manifestation of a more reverential spirit, in the discussion of the highest mysteries of our faith,' and in the same sentence, he designates it 'a thoughtful and able history of the formation of dogmatic terminology.' It were enough to make the hair of a sensitive person stand on an end. Between ourselves, strictly, Dodsworth was greatly troubled at it. He said, 'It makes one ask, Can this indeed be a part of the Church of Christ which, while it is so jealous of any sympathy with the other branches, tolerates anything on the side of heresy?' This strictly for yourself that you may not undervalue the effect of the Bishop' s letter. I agree with D. that it is far more injurious to the Church than Dr. Hampden' s appointment. An act of tyranny hurts not the Church; the betrayal by her own guardians does. The Bishop can hardly have thought that he was virtually sanctioning the use of the language of the Bampton Lectures in any pulpit in his diocese, except as far as it was unpractical, yet language as irreverent. And henceforward, with his quasi-judicial sanction, the Bampton Lectures are to take their place, along with Bishop Burnet, as part of the manifold exposition of the theology of the English Church. I think his letter is the greatest blow the Church has had since Newman' s secession. And just now N. has returned, alas!
I am not disturbed, because I never attached any weight to the Bishops. It was perhaps the difference between Newman and me: he threw himself upon the Bishops and they failed him; I threw myself on the English Church and the Fathers as, under God, her support…
Pusey wrote on the spur of the moment, and under the influence of his conversation with Mr. Dodsworth; and it must be admitted that his way of speaking of the Bishop' s letter betrays something like panic, or at any rate a disturbance of his wonted judgment. Keble' s estimate of the situation was calmer. But he, like Pusey, thought that C. Marriott was disposed to underrate the mischief of the Bampton Lectures and the seriousness of attempts on the part of authority to extenuate their real purpose.
REV. J. KEBLE TO E. B. P.
Hursley Vicarage, Cras Epiph., 1848.
…It is surprising to me that C. M. should not think more of H[ampden]' s holding that which is all heresies put together, viz. plain Latitudinarianism. But I put it down partly to his being out of health. I trust there will be such a rally against Rationalism that it will quite outweigh the result of this one bad appointment. Have you seen Moberly' s article on Arnold and Bunsen? It must have its weight. I quite agree with C. M.' s opinion that if people swerve to Rome for such things as this, they must be very odd kind of people. R. C.s might much more reasonably come to us on account of Archbishop MacHale preaching up murder.
Your most affectionate
Notwithstanding the withdrawal of the Letters of Request, Pusey and Keble were busily engaged in pre–paring theological matter for the use of counsel at Bow Church.
'I found things,' writes Pusey to Marriott on Jan. 2, 1848, 'in Godliman Street, in most utter confusion, Our articles of indictment just in the state in which they were sent in. The heads of K.' s articles (that is his preamble) not fitted in into the sequel (the allegations). I spent five and a half hours there on Friday, and put them to rights: at least ready to be copied out.'
A great deal of time, which neither Pusey nor Keble could well afford, was devoted in the winter of 1847--48 to the task of presenting an elaborate theological criticism, such as might be used in a legal argument, on Dr. Hamp–den' s Bampton Lectures. It was all lost labour. On Dec. 28 the Chapter of Hereford elected Dr. Hampden as their Bishop; the Dean, and the Rev. H. Huntingford, B.C.L., Canon Residentiary, dissenting. At the con–firmation which was held in Bow Church on Jan. 11 there -as no theological argument whatever. The only point on which the Vicar-General and Dr. Lushington would hear arguments was wether--notwithstanding the 'praeconisa–tions' with which the proceedings were opened by the Apparitor-General of the Archbishop of Canterbury, inviting all objectors to the confirmation to come forward and make their objections in due form of law--any objector was to be heard at all. It was ruled that the law did not allow any opposition whatever to the confirmation of the election.
This legal decision shocked a great many of the clergy and serious people because it seemed to reduce the act of confirmation to an ostentatious unreality; and the question was asked whether it would not be better to give up forms which had ceased to be anything better than idle formalities. Pusey, who especially felt the danger of seeming to invoke the Name of God to sanction such proceedings, yet would be no party to abandoning a usage which once had afforded to the Church protection against unfit pastors, and might in better times do so again.
E. B. P. TO ARCHDEACON HARRISON.
114 Marine Parade [Brighton], Jan. i4, 1848.
Nothing depends upon me else I would not give up the shred of an old form, even if it lay to rot, like dung on the face of the earth. I should hope it might still, in its very decay, help forward the shooting of the new life, whenever God should give it. They are at least a witness of what we have had, what a Church ought to have, what through our sins we have lost, what we should pray for, and be humbled that we have not. It is certainly humbling enough, if (as the late explanation of the Statute goes) there is no help whatever, if any persons however unfit, whether on moral or doctrinal grounds, be chosen by the Minister of the day for a Bishop, except in a resistance to the law. We shall see, I trust, whether this interpretation be right. At least I believe there is the Queen' s Bench yet, and the Queen in Council.
But supposing these adverse, we are in a different position from what you imagined us to be in when I wrote to you. One need not be impatient, or wish to throw away the very shadow of a shade. 'Son of man, can these bones live?' I would not part with the very dust into which what once had life was dissolved. It is a memorial of better days past, and when it really pitieth God' s servants to see her in the dust, He will raise her up. Only if there is to be any hope of a restoration, people must see and acknowledge that they are in an evil case. Moses was sent when the children of Israel cried to God by reason of the bondage. When fresh burdens were put upon them they complained to their very oppressors. I too shall deprecate any disposition in Churchmen to sweep these forms away; but I should deprecate still more if they were to acquiesce, as by a sort of optimism, and not feel that we are in a worse position than when you could write confidently to me a few weeks ago, that 'the Archbishop would feel that there was a constitutional remedy provided by the confir–mation at Bow Church.' …
E. B. P.
Still, the decision of the Vicar-General and Dr. Lushing–ton at Bow Church was challenged in the Court of Queen' s Bench, to which, on Jan. 24, an application was made for a mandamus compelling the Archbishop of Canterbury to hear objections to the confirmation of Dr. Hampden. The application fell to the ground, as the judges were equally divided; Mr. Justice Coleridge and Mr. Justice Patteson being in favour of granting the rule, Lord Denman and Mr. Justice Erie against it. The objectors were represented by Mr. Badeley, among others, who reported to Pusey as follows :--
Feb. 20, 1848.
'My speech gave satisfaction both in Court and out of it; even Lord Denman spoke highly of it; but I have reason to think it made an important impression on Judges Patteson and Coleridge. . . . The aid you gave me was very important; and I have to thank you very much for your kindness.'
The eloquent conclusion to Mr. Badeley' s argument states the issue which was presented to the Court with clearness:--
'My Lords, the question whether Dr. Hampden is fit or unfit for any particular bishopric shrinks into absolute insignificance when compared with the question now before your Lordships. The influ–ence for good or evil of any single Bishop can be but limited in its extent, and short in its duration. He will soon die and be buried; and the good or the evil which he may do may in a few years cease to be felt. But, my Lords, the appointment of Bishops, the right of the Crown to nominate without appeal, and without control, and without any responsibility at all, is to continue for ever. The injury therefore to the Church of England, if its pastors are thus to be forced upon it at the mere beck of the Prime Minister of the day, will be incalculable; for a succession of prelates may thus be perpetuated who may be a disgrace to Christendom. God forbid, my Lords, that that should ever be so! but undoubtedly it may happen; it may be even more than possible, if your Lordships discharge this rule.'
Eventually Dr. Hampden was consecrated at Lambeth on March 26; the Bishops of London and Winchester are said to have declined to take part in the ceremony.