Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.
London: Longmans, 1894
Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
ESSAYS AND REVIEWS --ECCLESIASTICAL PROCEEDINGS
-- THE OXFORD DECLARATION -- CORRESPONDENCE
WITH THE REV. F. D. MAURICE AND DEAN STANLEY.
ALREADY in the account of the troubles about the Greek Professorship, allusion has more than once been made to the volume of 'Essays and Reviews' which was published in February, 1860. Before describing the proceedings to which this volume gave occasion, it may be desirable to summarize briefly its contents.
It consisted of seven Essays, which had been written without any internal relation to one another. Dr. Temple, the Head Master of Rugby, wrote on The Education of the World in terms against which no direct charge on the score of orthodoxy was raised; Dr. Rowland Williams reviewed Bunsen' s Biblical Researches; Professor Baden Powell contributed an Essay on The Study of the Evidences of Christianity; the Rev. H. B. Wilson, one of the 'Four Tutors' who publicly assailed the arguments of Tract 90 in 1841, took the opportunity of a review of some addresses delivered at Geneva, to speak on The National Church; Mr. C. W. Goodwin wrote on The Mosaic Cosmogony; the Rev. Mark Pattison described The Tendencies of Religious Thought. in England; 1688-1750; and Professor Jowett concluded the volume with an essay on The Interpretation of Scripture. The note 'to the Reader' at the beginning of the volume described the book 'as an attempt to illustrate the advantage derivable to the cause of religion and moral truth from a free handling, in a becoming spirit, of subjects peculiarly liable to suffer by the repetition of conventional language and from traditional methods of treatment.'
The Essays differed very widely in ability, learning, and reverence; and, in spite of the claim for mutual independence and the limitation of the responsibility of each writer to his own Essay, the book was read as a whole in the light of its more startling portions. All the writers were popularly, though untruly, assumed to hold the same opinions, and the volume was interpreted as a concerted attack upon Revealed Religion. No doubt the Essays contained some good and true statements which, when duly qualified, have since been generally accepted, as well as others which were neither good nor true. But these thoughts, besides being new, were also stated in some cases recklessly and crudely, and in such a manner as to suggest irresistibly to the inexperienced general reader, conclusions hostile to the Christian Faith. That such a supposition was not without justification with regard to some of the Essays may be gathered from the words of one who was the most conspicuous champion of the book as a whole. Writing before the great outburst of indignation, Stanley, who was then Canon of Christ Church and Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History, says in a letter to the editor of the Edinburgh Review, for whom he was preparing a review of the volume:--
'Wilson' s [essay] has committed the unpardonable rashness of throwing out statements, without a grain of proof, which can have no other object than to terrify and irritate, and which have no connexion with the main argument of his essay. Powell' s is a mere rechauffé of his (to me) unintelligible argument about miracles. . . ' Goodwin' s is a clear, but offensive, exposition of the relations of Genesis and geology. Williams is guilty of the same rashness as Wilson--on a larger scale--casting Bunsen' s conclusions before the public without a shred of argument to prepare the way for them or support them.'
Dr. Tait also (the Bishop of London), who was after–wards the most prominent opponent in Convocation of the proceedings against the book, was bound to admit that he did not wonder at the outcry and alarm, for the clergy had been effectually frightened by 'the folly of the publication of " Essays and Reviews," and still more of Stanley' s ill-judged defence of them in the Edinburgh taken in connexion with " the madness of Bishop Colenso.”' He says, 'I deeply deplore, indeed execrate, the spirit of much of the " Essays and Reviews.”'
In this case, as in the matter of the Greek Professorship, the altered relations between the Church and the Uni–versities, and the enlarged experience of the Church during the last thirty years, might at first sight suggest the greater wisdom of leaving the book alone, on the part both of the ecclesiastical authorities and of Churchmen in general. Such a course was rendered impossible alike by its enemies and its friends. The Westminster and Edinburgh Reviews on one side, and the Guardian and the Quarterly Review on the other, compelled attention to it. Public feeling was too deeply aroused on both sides; six large editions had already made the book known all over England, and the mass of Churchmen were seriously alarmed. It was generally felt that the Bishops were required to take some active proceedings against the Clergy who held such teaching: minds were too agitated for calm argument, even had such argument been possible. To many simple Christians, who had been educated in a narrow tradition with regard to Holy Scripture, it seemed that if the Bible could not be trusted in the exact sense in which they had always understood it, everything was tottering. Yet the Essays were of a character that did not admit of refutation by any ready argument or by a simple statement of the orthodox Faith. This was well brought out in a letter from Pusey that appeared in the Guardian of March 6, 1861.
E. B. P. TO THE EDITOR OF THE ' GUARDIAN.'
A correspondent of yours mentions me with others (I know not whether excluding or including me) who are called upon, by their position, to answer the unhappy 'Essays and Reviews.' The subject has been in the minds of many of us. The difficulty has arisen, not in providing definite answers to definite objections, but in giving systematic answers to a host of desultory attacks on Revelation, its evidences, the Bible which contains it, and the truths revealed. The well-known passage in the unbelieving Westminster Review states the extent to which the truth has been attacked: it did not fall within its objects to notice the guerilla, pell-mell character of the attack. But look at the list:--
'Now in all seriousness we would ask, what is the practical issue of all this? Having made all these deductions from the popular belief, what remains as the residuum? In their ordinary, if not plain, sense, there has been discarded the word of God, the creation, the fall, the redemption, justification, regeneration, and salvation, miracles, in–spiration, prophecy, heaven and hell, eternal punishment, a day of judgment, creeds, liturgies, and articles, the truth of Jewish history and of Gospel narrative, a sense of doubt thrown over even the Incarnation, the Resurrection and Ascension, the Divinity of the Second Person, and the Personality of the Third. It may be that this is a true view of Christianity, but we insist, in the name of common sense, that it is a new view' (p. 305).
An attack may be made in a short space. If any one cannot rest on the authority of the Universal Church, attested as it is by prophecy, nor again, on the word of Jesus, he must take a long circuitous process of answer. But already, if books we must have, these would need to be books, not essays. What could be condensed into essays upon–-- 1. Revelation; 2. Miracles; 3. Prophecy; 4. The Canon; 5. Inspira–tion; 6. Our Lord' s Divinity and Atonement; 7. The Divinity and Offices of God the Holy Ghost? But beyond this, there is the miscel–laneousness of their random dogmatic scepticism. The writers, in their own persons, rarely affirm anything, attempt to prove nothing, and throw a doubt upon everything. If any of us had dogmatized a to truth as these do as to error, what scorn we should be held up to! They assume everything, prove nothing. There is only here and there anything definite to lay hold of. One must go back to the foreign sources of this unbelief, to find it in a definite shape which one could answer. I have made a list of the subjects on which I should have to write on my own special subject, the interpretation of the Old Testament. Some, indeed, admit of a short answer.... Yet these are but insulated points, easy to be defended because attacked definitely. But when their range of attack extends from Genesis to Daniel; when one says that credible history begins with Abraham (Williams, p. 57); another, that there 'is little reliable history' before Jeroboam (Mr. Wilson, p. 170; of course contradicting each other as to the period between Abraham and Jeroboam); another denies the accuracy of the Old Testament altogether according to our standards of accuracy (Prof. Jowett, p. 347), asserting that, 'like other records,' it was 'subject to the conditions of a knowledge which existed in an early stage of the world' (lb. p.41 I),--that 'the dark mists of human passion and error form a partial crust upon it' (Wilson, p. 177),--that the truth of the unity of God in Scripture only gradually 'dispersed the mists of human passion in which it was itself enveloped' (Jowett, p. 286); when contradictions between the Kings and Chronicles are vaguely assumed (Wilson, p. 178, 9--Jowett, 342, 7); when it is asserted that prophecies of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos, failed (Jowett, p. 343); and implied that God could not predict the deeds of one of His creatures by name (lb.); that when Nahum prophesied, there were human grounds to anticipate the destruction of Nineveh, which he prophesied (Williams, p. 60); or that Micah, in prophesying the Birth at Bethlehem, meant only a deliverer in his own times (p. 68); that 'perhaps one passage in Zechariah and one in Isaiah (it is not said which) may be capable of being made directly Messianic' (Williams, p. 69); and that 'hardly any, probably none, of the quotations from the Psalms and Prophets in the Epistles is based on the original sense or context' (Jowett, p. 406); when the genuineness of the Pentateuch (Williams, p. 60), of much of Isaiah (ib. 68, Jowett, p. 313), Zechariah (Williams, p. 68), Daniel (pp. 69, 76) is denied; when it is asserted that the aspects of truth in the Book of Job or Ecclesiastes are Opposite or imperfect (Jowett, p. 347), that actions are attributed to God in the Old Testament at variance with that higher revelation which He has given of Himself in the Gospel (ib.), when Abraham' s sacrifice of Isaac is attributed, not to God, but to 'the fierce ritual of Syria' (Williams, p. 61), not to speak of the temptation in Paradise (p. '177), the miracle of Balaam' s ass, the earth' s standing still, 'the universality of the deluge, the confusion of tongues, the corporeal taking up of Elijah into heaven, the nature of angels, the reality of demoniacal possession, the personality of Satan, and the miraculous nature of many events' (Wilson, p. 177' ), or the Book of Jonah (Williams, p. 73),--how can such an undigested heap of errors receive a systematic answer in brief space, or in any one treatise or volume? Or why should these be more answered than all the other attacks on the same subject, with which the unbelieving press has been for some time teeming? People seem to have trans–ferred the natural panic at finding that such attacks on belief could be made by those bound to maintain it, to the subjects themselves; as if the faith was jeopardied because it has been betrayed. With the exception of the still-imperfect science of geology, the 'Essays and Reviews' contain nothing with which those acquainted with the writ–ings of unbelievers in Germany have not been familiar these thirty years. The genuineness of the books impugned, the prophecies, whose accomplishments in themselves, or in our Lord, is so summarily denied, have been solidly...vindicated, not in essays, but in volumes. An observation on the comparative freedom and reasonableness of 'the Conservatism of Hengstenberg' and Jahn (Williams, p. 67) is, I believe, the only indication given in the volume, that much which the writers assume as proved, has been solidly disproved. Some volumes have, I believe, been already translated.
But in spite of these difficulties, the public excitement demanded some immediate re-assurance. In consequence of a great number of appeals for guidance, and not a few vehement protestations and indignant remonstrances, a meeting of Bishops was held in London in February, 1861, to consider the opinions contained in the volume, and the steps which should be taken with reference to it. Their deliberations resulted in a public Letter, drawn up by Bishop Wilberforce, which was signed by twenty-four Bishops, including Bishop Hampden and Bishop Tait, as well as the Bishops of Oxford, Salisbury, and Exeter. Without mentioning the book in this document they unanimously expressed their sorrow that any clergyman should in any way deny the Atonement or the Inspira–tion of Holy Scripture, and confessed their inability to understand how such opinions could be held 'consistently with an honest subscription to the Formularies of our Church.' They reserved, however, the consideration of any proposals for further action. A few days after, on March 13, a petition was presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury, signed by 8,500 clergy, requesting the Bishops to take some judicial proceedings in the matter. The book was con–sequently under discussion in both Houses of Convocation for some time, and it was decided that there were sufficient grounds to proceed to a Synodical Judgment upon it. But, on July 9, all such proceedings were indefinitely postponed because the Bishop of Salisbury had instituted legal proceedings against one of the writers on the ground of his Essay. The respondent in this suit was Dr. Williams, the Vicar of Broad Chalke. Another suit was soon after commenced by the Rev. James Fendall against Mr. Wilson, for certain passages in his Essay. Bishop Hamilton' s action in instituting the suit against Dr. Williams was warmly supported by Pusey, who was at first as sanguine about its results as he was convinced of its necessity.
It was but another instance or Pusey' s singular confidence in the interpretation which a Court of Law Would place upon our Formularies. It will be remembered that his objection to the action of the 'Six Doctors,' in 1843, was not that they had condemned him, but that he had been condemned unheard; and he vainly endeavoured to remedy this injustice by a suit in another court, and, even desired that Bishop Bagot should institute a friendly action against him. Later again he appealed to Bishop. Wilberforce to prosecute him So as to test his teaching in what seemed to him at that time the most suitable way. Whatever may be thought of this method in the present day, Pusey was convinced that was the most direct method of carrying out the discipline of the Church with regard to doctrine. His confidence in the employment of this weapon was apparently the result of the firm conviction that his own was the only legitimate interpretation of the Formularies He had not sufficiently realized the subtlety of the methods of legal interpretation Even the startling results of the Gorham Case had not as yet opened his eyes. This is expressed, early in the pro–ceedings, in the following letter to Bishop Hamilton
E. B. P. TO THE BISHOP OF SALISBURY.
Pentire, Newlyn, June 22 .
I can only Conceive one of two issues of the prosecution, either (1) the condemnation of Dr. W., or (2) even if it could not be proved to the satisfaction of a judge that Dr. W. were more than a relater of Bunsen' s theories, still a condemnation of these theories.... I wonder that persons.. do not see that the question is not about the clergy but about the people: that it is not whether A. or B. shall be interfered with or let alone, but whether our English congregation are to be taught these things by our clergy.
The suits against the two Essayists were adjudged by Dr. Lushington on Dec. 15, 1862, in the Court of Arches, on very narrow issues. Many of the articles of the accusation which had been handed in by the prosecution had been rejected for various reasons by the judge: so that the case was far less complete than it had been at first. The Bishop of Salisbury might have appealed to the Privy Council against their rejection; but he, not unnaturally, shrank from the responsibility of recognizing that Court by himself invoking its decisions; he therefore contented himself with allowing the suit to proceed in the Court of Arches on the four remaining charges only. On each of these Dr. Lushington decided against the respondents, and they without hesitation appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The cases were argued in the latter part of June, 1863, before the Lord Chancellor (Lord Westbury) and three other Law Lords, besides the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Longley, formerly Bishop of Ripon), the Archbishop of York (Dr. Thomson), and the Bishop of London (Dr. Tait, who, as Fellow and Tutor of Balliol, had joined with Mr. Wilson in 1841 in urging the authorities at Oxford to take proceedings against Tract 90).
The exact charges which were under consideration before the Privy Council can be briefly stated. Against Dr. Williams it was alleged that in certain passages of his Essay he had maintained that the Bible was not the Word of God nor the Rule of Faith, and, further, that he had described Justification by Faith as being no more than the peace of mind and sense of Divine approval which comes of trust in a righteous God. The other Essayist, Mr. Wilson, was charged with having in effect stated that the Bible was not necessarily at all, and certainly not in parts, the Word of God, and with having in effect denied a future Judgment and an eternal state of rewards and punishments.
While the matter was under the consideration of the Judicial Committee, the minds of Churchmen were further agitated by the works of Bishop Colenso, for which he had been sentenced to deposition by the Bishop of Capetown in December, 1863. Before the Judgment was delivered, it was generally understood that the verdict of the Ecclesiastical Court which had been adverse to the respondents, would be reversed, and grave fears and anxieties prevailed. Dearest friend, forgive me,' Keble wrote to Pusey on January 28, 1864, after apologizing for delay in writing, I fear more troubles are coming on, and I shall be even forced to write to you more punctually. .I mean about the Courts, Capetown, &c. Pusey was not at that moment so anxious about Capetown, but he had already made up his mind as to what ought to be done, if their worst fears about the Privy Council were realized.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. KEBLE.
[Christ Church], Jan. 29, 1864.
The domestic case is very grievous. We must try for two points: (1) to get the Bishops to reaffirm the doctrine or doctrines which the Judicial Committee denies, if it does; (2) organize a systematic annual agitation for a new Court of Appeal, and not rest, so long as we are here, until it is granted. We shall have the Low Church with us now. The Record inserted a letter of mine, signed 'Senex,' praying that the decision of the Privy Council might not be against God' s truth, or the like. (I told the Editor privately who Senex was, yet he put it in, I hear.) However, we shall know next week the form of the, decision. Only Jelf tells me, that the lawyers all shake their heads about the impending decision.
At the same time he penned a series of long and anxious letters to the Bishop of London, pointing out the evil con–sequence which would ensue if the doctrine of the Essayists was pronounced to be justifiable.
The long-expected Judgment was at last given on February 8, 1864. The Judges began and concluded their decision by emphatically stating that they were compelled to found their Judgment on 'the meagrest disjointed extracts,' contained in the reformed Articles as they came from the lower Court.' They stated, as had been already asserted in the judgment in the Gorham case, that they had no power to decide doctrine; they could but examine the plain grammatical meaning of the extracts and see whether they were in conflict with the true construction of the Articles and other Formularies of the Church of England. They further maintained that to justify a condemnation in a suit of this character the contradiction between the extracts and the Formularies must be direct. On these principles they held that the charges against Dr. Williams and Mr. Wilson were 'not proven.' Dr. Williams was charged with saying that the Bible is not the Word of God: the Judges found no such statement in the extracts before them, and therefore acquitted him. Mr. Wilson was charged with contradicting the Articles and Formularies by holding that the Bible was not written under the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it was not necessarily at all, and certainly not in parts, the Word of God. The Court held that this charge involved the proposition that it was contrary to the Articles and Formularies of the Church of England to 'affirm that any part of the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, on any subject whatever, however unconnected with religious faith and moral duty, was not written under the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit.' Since this proposition could not be found by the Judicial Committee in the portions of the Articles and other Formu–laries that were cited, the charge was held not to be sub–stantiated. As regards the second charge against Mr. Wilson, it was held that he had said nothing that denied a future judgment or eternal happiness, although he had expressed a 'hope' that 'a judgment of eternal misery may not be the purpose of God.' The Court was unable to find any such distinct declaration of the Church on the subject of the Eternity of final Judgment as to require them to condemn such a hope as 'penal.'
Pusey and his friends saw that if the appellants were ready to accept the interpretation which the Court had put upon their language with regard to Inspiration and Justification by Faith, their language was harmless enough. But it was felt to be extremely desirable to take im–mediate action with a view to the explicit assertion the belief of the Church about Inspiration and the future state, and also with a view to ascertaining the exact legal, force of this finding.
Immediately on reading the decision, Pusey poured, out all his thoughts about it to the Bishop of Salisbury, which he summarized in the following letter to Keble.
E. B. P. TO REV. J. KEBLE.
[Christ Church, Feb. 10], Ash Wednesday, 1864.
I wrote to the Bishop of Salisbury last night, expressing my own opinion that Dr. Williams had been acquitted by his words being taken in a sound sense. If he accepts the acquittal, he virtually withdraws what he said, and in regard to Inspiration, accepts a state–ment which, in its obvious meaning, is sound. In regard to the 'Merits of our Lord,' by accepting the acquittal he would accept the literal meaning of the words, that 'we are justified for His Merits,' which, unless he have any reservation, is a statement of the true faith. I suggested to the Bishop that as this was his own case in his own diocese, it might have a good effect to put forth something of this sort in a Pastoral.
With regard to Mr.Wilson, I said that I thought that what the Judges said on Holy Scripture might bear a possible sound con–struction, although, I fear, not theirs.
But in regard to that awful doctrine of the Eternity of Punishment their Judgment is most demoralizing in itself and in its grounds.
As to its grounds, it puts an end to all confidence between man and man, between the teachers and the taught, and it teaches people dishonesty on the largest scale. For if our English word 'everlasting' is not to mean 'everlasting,' because some have explained away the meaning of aionios, then one is not bound to the received meaning of any word whatsoever. Then the second Article might be consistent with Arianism, for 'Begotten from everlasting of the Father' might only mean 'a long time ago,' but 'in time' ; and we have no word to declare that Almighty God is eternal. This is an extension of the old argument, 'If there is no everlasting death, there is no statement of any everlasting life.' One class of heathen did not believe their supreme god (such as he was) to be eternal, but to be the active principle, developed in time, out of ule.
But on the same principle, every heresy would be admissible which took the 'received terms in new senses, and we might be inundated with every heresy.
If 'everlasting' might mean 'long enduring,' 'grace' might, of course, equally mean what the Pelagians called it, God' s 'favour,' or it might mean His 'help through our natural powers.' And this is, in fact, a far-spread perversion of words which the new compromising school of unbelievers adopts. They mean by 'Inspiration' God' s suggestions to any uninspired mind, and by 'Revelation' the understanding of God which they suppose us to acquire through our natural faculties. If 'everlasting' is to be taken in any other than its legitimate English sense, because it is not so defined, so may any other. An Act of Parliament may define its words, but words cannot be defined in Prayers or Theological statements. Do you not think that you could work up something of this sort for the Bishop of Exeter to write? He would like what you would write better than what I should. It would be of great value, if some of the Bishops would begin by speaking.
I have asked Cotton to try to stir up the Record. We have no organ, now that the Guardian is liberalized.... I am going to write to the Archbishop of Canterbury; and would not you write too? For the most formidable thing of this Judgment (as it appears on the surface) is, that the two Archbishops, while objecting to the Judgment on other points, do not object to this, which makes it seem as if they concurred. Surely Archbishop Longley cannot doubt that it is the doctrine of the Church.
Both Archbishops had openly dissented from the rest of the Judicial Committee on the subject of Inspiration; and Pusey was right in thinking that the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Longley) could not have consented to the language of the Judgment on the subject of Eternal Punishment. Appeals from the Bishop of Exeter, Keble, and Pusey brought the following private assurance from the Archbishop, which was printed in the Guardian in the middle of March.
Lambeth Palace, March 4, .
I wish it to be generally understood that, in assenting to the reversal of the Judgment of Dr. Lushington on the subject of Eternal Punishment in the case of Mr. Wilson, I did so solely on technical grounds; insomuch as the charge against him on this point was so worded that I did not think it could be borne out by the facts.
The Eternity of Punishment rests, according to my mind, exactly on the same ground as the Eternity of Blessedness; they must both stand or fall together; and the Church of England, as I maintain, holds both doctrines clearly and decidedly.
At the same time Pusey and Keble were representing to Bishop Phillpotts the great value of a short Pastoral Letter addressed to his diocese on the subject. They were deeply convinced that the practical results of this Judgment would be extremely serious with regard not only to the faith but also to the life of large numbers of people. So far as the matter was affected by the Judgment of the Judicial Committ–ee of the Privy Council, Pusey and Keble appealed to Mr. Gladstone in the hope of enlisting the aid of politicians in reforming the Final Court of Appeal for ecclesiastical cases. Mr. Gladstone' s answer fully acknow–ledged the unsatisfactory nature, both of the Court and of its decisions, but did not, to Pusey' s great disappointment, hold out any hope of effectual assistance.
On such matters as Inspiration and the Doctrine of Ever–lasting Punishment, Pusey had great hopes that it would be possible to unite the Low Church and High Church parties. In the Gorham and Denison Cases such a hope was out of the question; but the defence of the doctrines which were now assailed seemed likely to be of the deepest common interest. 'We shall have the Low Church with us now,' he said to Keble. Even before the decision he had written to the Record, and within a few days of the Judgment he sent two other letters to the same paper. In the former he gave expression to 'the pent-up longings of many years,' and made an appeal for 'one united action on the part of every clergyman and lay member of the Church.' He had long anticipated the coming of a time when the pressure of the common enemy of unbelief would draw closer into one band all who love their Lord as their Redeemer and their God, and the Bible as being indeed the very Word of God. He laid great stress on the wide practical evil and loss of souls that would result from any seeming doubt about Everlasting Punish–ment. His special wish was that in some way or other there should be a general reaffirmation 'of belief on that subject.
'There is more than one way of doing it. It is for others to think which should be chosen. But we should not rest, we should give no rest to men, nor (they are God' s own words) 'to God' until it is made plain 'that the Church does faithfully and lovingly warn the wicked of the doom which their Redeemer, Who died that they might not die eternally, says He shall pronounce on those who to the end reject His long-suffening mercy.'
He was greatly displeased at the position taken up by the Guardian with reference to the Judgment; both he and Keble declined any longer to read it, and ceased to use it, as before, as a medium of communication with their friends.
His appeal to the Record brought him many warm expressions of sympathy and promises of help. The most interesting reply was from his cousin Lord Shaftesbury, whose last letter to him had been written in a tone of severe remonstrance for neglecting to defend the Faith,--one of the duties of his academical position which his correspondent considered that Pusey had forgotten.
LORD SHAFTESBURY TO E. B. P.
Grosvenor Square, Feb. 26, 1864.
You and I are fellow-collegians and old friends.
Time, space, and divergent opinions have separated us for many rears; but circumstances have arisen which must, if we desire combined action in the cause of our Common Master, set at nought tiie, space, and divergent opinions. We will fight about those another day; in this we must 'contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints' ; and it must be done together. Now your letter to the Record shows (at least I think so) that you are of the same mind as myself. We have to struggle not for Apostolical Succession or Baptismal Regeneration, but for the very Atonement itself, for the ole hope of fallen man, the vicarious Sacrifice of the Cross. For God' s sake, let all who love our blessed Lord and His perfect Work be of one heart, one mind, one action, on this great issue, and show that, despite our wanderings, our doubts, our contentions, we yet may be one in Him. What say you?
Rev. E. B. Pusey, D.D.'
Pusey at once replied with characteristic warmth :--
E. B. P. TO LORD SHAFTESBURY.
Christ Church, Oxford, Feb. 28, 1864.
My DEAR SIHAFTESBURY,
I thank God for your letter, and for the renewal of old friendship ship. I always sought to live in peaceful relations with those who love our dear Lord, and adore His redeeming mercy. Those few lines in the Record express what has for these thirty years been the deep longing of my soul, that we should understand one another; and strive together against the common enemy of souls. This soul-destroying Judgment may, with, I fear, its countless harm, be over-ruled in God' s mercy to good, if it binds as one man all who love our Blessed Lord, in contending for the Faith assailed. I have ever loved the (to use the term) Evangelical party (even while they blamed me), because I believed that they loved our Redeeming Lord with their whole hearts. So now I am one heart and one mind with those who will contend for our common Faith against this tide of unbelief.
E. B. PUSEY.
I only had to-day your letter dated Feb. 26.
I had thought to write to you the letter which I afterwards sent to the Record, but I thought it best in the end not to ask you to own me again, till you should be so minded.
But beyond all other results of this common anxiety, the most important to Pusey was the complete establishment of the most friendly relations with Bishop Wilberforce. During the Denison Case it will have been noticed that from time to time friendly and confidential communications were passing between them: in 1857 and the following years the Bishop never failed to enlist Pusey' s help and advice with regard to the Courses of Sermons which he arranged at St. Mary' s and St. Giles' , Oxford, for the under–graduates. On two occasions they seemed to be in momentary danger of taking different sides about the endowment of the Greek Professorship; but those dangers soon passed away. The prominent action which Bishop Wilberforce took with regard to 'Essays and Reviews' from the very first, both in the Quarterly Review and in Convocation, made it natural that Pusey should appeal to him about the best practical course to pursue at this crisis. On Feb. 13, five days after the Judgment, he wrote to the Bishop urging the necessity of some action.
E. B. P. TO BISHOP (WILBERFORCE) OF OXFORD.
Christ Church, Feb. 13 .
One can hardly think of anything for the hidden blasphemy of that Judgment which declares that to be uncertain which our Lord taught, and for the loss of countless souls which it will involve, if not repudiated by the Church. For nothing, I suppose, keeps men from any sin except the love of God or the fear of Hell. And the fear of Hell in most cases drives us to seek God and to know Him and to love Him. It is most demoralizing in its virtual denial of faith and on the principles on which it is based. I am going over with Liddon the two Judgments to see what truths are thrown open between them, that it may be seen what has to be reaffirmed. As it is, the moral effect of the Judgment was briefly stated in the Times-- 'the teaching of the Essayists is recognized.' Without some combined effort to repudiate that Judgment the Church of England will be destroyed or will become the destroyer of souls.
On February 21 the Bishop Wrote to Pusey, enclosing two documents which had been drawn up by W. R. Fre–mantle, one of his rural deans and afterwards Dean of Ripon, and Woodford (afterwards Bishop of Ely). One was a proposed declaration of belief in 'the Divine authority of the Canonical Scriptures as being the Word of God, and in the certainty of the Everlasting Punishment of the wicked' ; the second was a Memorial to the Queen praying her to issue a Commission to inquire into the constitution and practice of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The Bishop joined in the wish for a Commission, but earnestly begged Pusey to serve on a committee which would, as a first step, take action with a view to the affirmation of the impugned doctrines by all except 'the tainted section' of the Church. Pusey at first signed both the papers, but on second thoughts he doubted the wisdom of any attempt to obtain a Royal Commission on the Courts. He feared that after a. year' s delay they would only obtain an unsatisfactory answer, and by that time people' s energies would have cooled down.
The Bishop in reply could not agree that it was inexpedient to have a Commission on the working of the Final Court of Appeal, but he added: 'What I am most anxious about for the present is that you should do your utmost to weld together for this purpose the two great sections of the Church, High and Low; and that at all events the protest and declaration should be numerously signed.'
A large number of graduates came to Oxford on Feb–ruary 25 to vote on some extensive changes in the Examination Statutes. This was regarded as a favourable opportunity for concerting some common action such as Bishop Wilberforce desired, and Pusey was appointed a member of a representative committee to which was assigned the delicate task of drawing up a Declaration which was to unite and satisfy the many diverging interests, all alike hostile to the Judgment.
The Declaration, which the Bishop had suggested, was altered by the committee until at last it assumed the following form, in which it was hoped that sufficient care had been taken to exclude evasion without going beyond the Formularies of the Church of England:--
'We the undersigned Presbyters and Deacons in Holy Orders of the Church of England and Ireland, hold it to be our bounden duty to the Church and to the souls of men, to declare our firm belief that the Church of England and Ireland, in common with the whole Catholic Church, maintains without reserve or qualification, the Inspiration and Divine Authority of the whole Canonical Scriptures, as not only containing but being the Word of God; and further teaches, in the Words of our Blessed Lord, that the " punishment" of the " cursed" equally with the " life" of the " righteous" is " everlasting.”
The following letter, in which Pusey sent a copy of this Declaration to his Diocesan, describes an interesting example of the extreme difficulty of uniting for a common purpose those who are separated by great differences of opinion on other points:--
E. B. P. TO BISHOP (WILBERFORCE) OF OXFORD.
Feb. 28, 1864.
The Warden of All Souls and I had a conversation with Arch–deacon Randall, yesterday, and he seemed satisfied with our explana–tions. Our idea in this Declaration was to unite as many as possible. You will observe, if you look, that we declare our belief, not, in the doctrines, but that the Church of England in common with the whole Catholic Church maintains them. The expression 'firmly believe that,' was put in to satisfy Dr. Ogilvie. He said that he would sign the Declaration with those words, and would not without. Heurtley, we hoped, would follow him. We had then the alternative of my standing alone in a document issuing from Oxford, as the one representative of the Theological faculty, or of according to his pro–posal. It is very sad that people stickle so much, each for his own form of words, but I have found it in the experience of some thirty years. I said to Archdeacon R, that we could strike them out, but with the loss of the one or two Divinity Professors who would sign it. For the omission of the reference to the Privy Council, we had two classes to look to. Mr. Fremantle wrote first, privately. Evangelicals, Erastians, and timid people were against any direct reference to the Privy Council, even in the very modified form in which the paper was drawn up. Dr. Miller of Birmingham adhered uncompromisingly, [?on behalf] of those whose adherence he told us would secure hundreds of signatures. Dr. Wilson, Mr. Venn, Mr. Auriol, demurred, and it was transparent, that they feared lest, in shaking this Judgment, they should shake the Gorham Judgment too--which of course they would. Then, too, timid people, like Heurtley and the Dean of Exeter, Lord Middleton, would not sign even a seeming Protest.
What then we hoped by this measure was, to lay a broad basis for future operation and to strengthen the hands of Convocation. I trusted that this Declaration would show that the misbelievers were but a small body, whereas I believe that the Privy Council passed their dishonest Judgment, believing it to be a large one. We owe it also to show to the people of England, who might be seduced to sin by being thus taught to disbelieve Hell, that the great body of their clergy believe it.
In regard to the word 'plenary inspiration,' it was the received term of my youth. I proposed at first 'that the whole Canonical Scriptures are the Word of God,' but Dr. Miller thought that it would not convey our full meaning, although he owned that Colenso and others, by substituting the formula 'contains the Word of God' for 'is the Word of God,' show how much lies in that word 'is.' Archdeacon Hale suggests 'the authority of the whole Canonical Scriptures as the inspired Word of God,' which I will propose to the committee to-morrow, please God. But Dr. Stanley and Professor Jowett own an 'inspiration' of the Scriptures, but a 'fallible inspiration.'
The opinion of the Archbishop ought to be elicited before the circulation of any Declaration. The use made of his name is terrible. The unbelieving party are parading it. Dr. Stanley (in answer to my expressing a difficulty as to preaching in Westminster Abbey) writes to me, 'I can understand that you might feel your relations altered towards the Church itself, whose highest tribunal and whose two Primates have delivered a Judgment which you so much deplore.' This language and the unexplained fact will drive hundreds to Rome.
The Warden of All Souls, who is not in Oxford to-day, has the sketch of a letter which your Lordship suggests; but the committee thought that it had no authority to write to the Archbishop or to address him, having been appointed for a different purpose. I would have written, but (I think that probably by some accident) he did. not answer the letter which I have already written.
It would be easy, I think, to settle to send the Declaration to his Grace, but owing to the interruptions of the proceedings on Thursday, the committee received very limited powers. Perhaps this could be repaired to-morrow week, when I suppose that there will be another gathering on the question of the endowment of the Greek Chair.
I have a very cordial letter from Lord Shaftesbury (my cousin), from whom I have been separated for many years, proposing union in very warm earnest terms.
But the work of the committee was successful at least in drawing men together. 'The Declaration is wonderfully uniting all but the Rationalists,' was the report that Pusey sent to Bishop Hamilton on March 1. At the same time he was cheered by a letter from Archbishop Longley, telling him that he was waiting for the presentation of the Declaration as the most suitable moment for a public assertion of his belief in the doctrines with which it dealt. But the Archbishop was unable to await the presentation, as it would unavoidably be two months before the signatures could be collected and arranged. Therefore, on March 14, he issued a Pastoral Letter to his clergy, in which he discusses the doctrines on which the Judgment had touched, and especially asserted his firm conviction that 'the Church has no more sure warrant for belief in the eternal happiness of the saved than it has for belief in the eternal suffering of the lost.' He explained that his concurrence in the Judg–ment on this point was caused only by the obscurity of Mr. Wilson' s language. In the following month the Arch–bishop of York also issued a Pastoral Letter to the same effect.
During March the 'Oxford Declaration' was the subject of a great correspondence. It was most violently attacked by many who, for varying reasons, felt unable to sign it, and Counsel' s Opinion was taken on both sides as to the legality of such a Declaration. On one side Dr. Stephens and Mr. Traill maintained that 'it is not consistent with the obligations under which the clergy have placed them–selves...to sign the Declaration' ; while another opinion, which bore the signatures of Sir Roundell Palmer and Sir H. M. Cairns, asserted that 'it is not in any way unlawful for clergymen,- either singly or together, in their preaching or oherwise, to affirm' the words of the Declaration. On legal grounds then the Declaration might proceed; but it was attacked for a very different reason by the Rev. F. D. Maurice in the columns of the Times. The lengthy cor–respondence is too important to be reproduced in any shortened form
REV. F. D. MAURICE TO THE EDITOR OF THE 'TIMES.'
London, March 4, 1864.
A document has appeared in the Times which purports to be a protest proceeding from certain divines in Oxford and presented for signature to all the clergy of England.
The protest is apparently occasioned by the decision of the Privy Council in the cases of Dr. Williams and Mr. Wilson. Yet I question whether any of the laymen or ecclesiastics who pronounced that decision would object to the mere terms of this protest. Dr. Williams and Mr. Wilson themselves might, I conceive, sign it with as much sincerity and good faith as Dr. Pusey and Dr. Miller.
For a sense--and by no means a non-natural sense--might be given to the words of that protest which would utterly prevent Dr. Pusey and Dr. Miller from signing it with any sincerity or good faith. If by declaring their belief in the inspiration of Canonical Scriptures they exclude men of this day from God' s inspiration, they must contradict the letter and spirit of the thirteenth Article. If by affirming that the Bible is the Word of God they mean to deny that any other and higher meaning is to be given to the expression 'Word of God,' they must refuse St. John' s Gospel a place among the Canonical Scriptures; they must set aside the creeds of the Church; they must place themselves on the level of M. Renan.
The second clause of the protest seems to affirm that the word 'eternal' or 'everlasting' in the Scripture applies as much to the punishment of the wicked as to the life of the righteous. If that is what the clause means, every one must accept it who accepts our Lord' s teaching in the twenty-fifth chapter of St. Matthew' s Gospel.
If it means anything else--if it means, for instance, that God' s punishments are not to be effectual, that eternal life is not the life of the eternal God, that eternal punishment is not the punishment of losing that life, that righteousness is not to prevail over evil, that God' s purpose is to keep man for ever and ever in evil--it should say what it means.
Seeing that the protest is intended, I presume, to protect the Church from ambiguities, it should not itself offer an excuse for all possible ambiguities.
F. D. MAURICE.
E. B. P.TO THE EDITOR OF THE 'TIMES.'
SIR, Christ Church, March 7,1864.
Since Mr. Maurice in his strictures on a Declaration (now in circulation among the clergy of England), as being ambiguous, speaks of me, you will I am sure think it fair to insert my answer. I shall not follow him into controversy on sacred subjects, but shall confine myself to the point that the Declaration is not ambiguous.
He alleges that 'Inspiration' in Article XIII ( 'works done before the grace of Christ and the Inspiration of the Spirit' ) is used of the ordinary gifts of God' s grace, and that the expression 'the Word of God' is used by St. John of our Divine Lord. But every one knows that the meaning of words is determined by the context. In the statement that 'the Church of England maintains without reserve or qualification the Inspiration and Divine authority of the whole Canonical Scriptures as not only containing but being the Word of God,' the word 'inspiration' clearly does not mean the ordinary gifts of God' s grace to all Christians, else the writings of Christians who have the grace of God, would be Holy Scripture (which is absurd). Nor can it mean by the word of God, 'God the Word,' both because there is no question as to the meaning of 'the Word of God' in the Articles referred to, and it would be senseless and blasphemy to say that the Holy Scriptures are God the Word. Dr. Lushington stated in his Judgment, that 'God' s Word written and " Scripture" are in Article XX plainly identical' (p. n5). Wishing to adhere strictly to our Formularies we employed the expression 'the Word of God' as being used of Holy Scripture seven times in the Articles.
In regard to the other statement of the Declaration, Mr. Maurice says--' It seems 'to affirm that the word eternal and everlasting applies as much to~ the punishment of the wicked as to the life of the righteous.'
The language of the Declaration is, not 'applies to' but 'is.' It further teaches, in the words of our Blessed Lord, that the punish–ment of the 'cursed' equally with the 'life' of the righteous, is everlasting.
I should have thought it impossible for any one to say that such a statement is 'ambiguous' or to doubt its meaning.
For the rest I keep my promise not to enter here into Mr. Maurice' s theology.
Your obedient servant,
E. B. PUSEY.
REV. F. D. MAURICE TO THE EDITOR OF THE 'TIMES.'
London, March 8, 1864.
I am not aware that I troubled the readers of the Times with any discussion about my theology. I commented on a document which was put forth under the sanction of distinguished names, which was published in your columns, and which all the clergy of England are invited to sign.
This document, being put forward as a protest on behalf of our Articles, used the word 'inspiration 'in a sense which I thought was very likely to interfere with the sense given to it in one of those Articles. I am most strengthened in that conviction by Dr. Pusey' s letter in the Times of to-day.
He says that I spoke of the 'ordinary gifts of God' s grace.' I never used the phrase. It is his own. I should not consider that an ordinary gift, which the Article says is necessary that we may do good works. That Dr. Pusey and the authors of this Declaration call it by that name is a proof to me how little they are in harmony with the author of the Article or of the Collect which we repeat in our Com–munion Service, and how far we shall go wrong if we follow their guidance. They wish us to think the only full-- 'plenary' I suppose, means full--inspiration is that which they find in letters. The in–spiration of life is only 'an ordinary gift.'
I do not for a moment suppose that Dr. Pusey confounds the Living Word with the letters through which He may speak to us. But I think he ought very seriously to consider whether the language of his Declaration of faith may not involve others in this confusion. The compilers of the Articles have carefully guarded against it. If they speak ever so many times of the Scriptures as 'the Word of God' they had begun with an Article 'on the Word or Son of God.' But this Declaration is the supplement to the Articles. It is to remove am–biguities from them.
Dr. Pusey wishes that we should give the fullest, strictest force to our Lord' s words respecting punishment. ~He cannot wish it more than I do. The punishments of God I find in Scripture are always said td serve the ends of righteousness. So long as 'they last, to whomsoever they are supplied, I believe they are witnesses that He does not wish His creatures to continue in unrighteousness.
E. B. P. TO THE EDITOR OF THE 'TIMES.'
As before, I will not trouble you with any theological controversy. Mr. Maurice charged the Declaration with being ambiguous which, if true, would have involved a grave moral fault. He grounded his charge on what certain words-- 'inspiration,' 'the Word of God '--might mean, apart from their context. My answer was that there could be no such ambiguity in that context. There can be no doubt what the meaning either of 'inspiration' or of 'the Word of God' could be in the sentence-- 'Maintain, without reserve or qualification, the inspiration of the whole Caponical Scriptures as not only containing but being the Word of God.' Plainly, it means such 'inspira–tion' as constitutes that which was written under its influence 'the Word of God.' Mr. Maurice ignores this statement and reads me a lecture on my use of the familiar theological term, 'the ordinary gifts of God' s grace.' Any operation of the grace of God on the soul is plainly Supernatural; 'the ordinary gifts of God' s grace' are stupendous gifts of His love. Yet they are ordinary, in that they have been for above eighteen centuries and are given to every one who has asked for them and has been or is a Christian, not in name only but in deed. A gift which has been given to every faithful Christian since our Lord left this earth must be different from that which, under the New Testament, was given only to Apostles or companions of the Apostles. God has raised up men whom He 'endowed with singular gifts of His Spirit,' but He has not, since He removed St. John from the earth, raised up one whose spiritual gifts could entitle what he wrote to be called Holy Scripture.
Any question, however, as to the ambiguity of the Declaration is removed by Mr. Wilson' s letter to the Daily News. Mr. Maurice said:--
'Dr. Williams and Mr. Wilson might, I conceive, sign it (the protest) with as much sincerity and good faith as Dr. Pusey or Dr. Miller.'
Mr. Wilson answers, in effect, that he would not sign it if he could, and could not if he would. He would not, because he believes it to be directed against the decision of the Judicial Committee: he could not, because it states explicitly what he does not believe.
Mr. Wilson, in reinforcing his own opinions by an extract from a Rotterdam pastor who denies eternity of punishment as inconsistent with the attributes of God, shows the depth and breadth of the question at issue. We do not believe in the same God. God Whom we adore in His awful and inscrutable justice and holiness, these writers affirm to be cruel. The God whom they acknowledge we believe to be the creature of their' own minds, not the God Who has revealed Himself to man.
REV. F. D. MAURICE TO THE EDITOR OF THE 'TIMES.'
I do not know what Mr. Wilson has written respecting the new Declaration of Faith; but like him, I never would sign it. My reasons are these :--
1. An irresponsible self-elected committee has no right to frame a new test for the Church of England. -
2. The test is not an honest one. It means more than it says. If a man does not accept it, he is told that he denies the inspiration of the Scriptures, that he rejects the Word of God, that he will not receive the express declaration of the Spirit. If he does sign it, he is told that he has committed himself to a condemnation of the decision of the Privy Council; to a special notion about inspiration which I for one believe to be dishonourable to the Word of God, to the notion that God condemns men to everlasting sin which I for one hold to be an accursed notion.
3. Because the adjuration prefixed to this Declaration that 'for the love of God' we should put our names to it, received a very lucid explanation from the recent decision of the Oxford Convocation. It means 'Young clergymen, poor curates, poor incumbents, sign, or we will turn the whale force of religious public feeling against you. Sign or we will starve you ! Look at the Greek Professor! You see we can take that vengeance on those whom we do not like. You see that we are willing to take it, and that no considerations of faithful and devoted services will hinder us.' This is what is called signing 'for the love of God.' I accept Dr. Pusey' s own statement, tremendous as it is. I say that the God whom we are adjured to love, under these penalties, is not the God of whom I have read in 'the Canonical Scriptures,' not the God who declares that He abhors robbery for burnt offering.
In my turn I will implore and even adjure. I call upon the richer incumbents of London and of all parts of England, upon the learned members of cathedral establishments, upon those in the Universities who are not yet pledged, to protect their younger and poorer brethren from this moral force--a phrase which means to these theologians, as it meant to the Chartists, the threat of physical force.
I call upon the bishops--not only upon those who have made themselves responsible for the whole or any part of the Privy Council decision, but upon all who are not prepared to surrender their own functions to any self-created committee, to say whether they think that the Church requires a new test, whether they think that we are obliged 'for the love of God' to subscribe one.
E. B. P. TO THE EDITOR OF THE 'TIMES.'
Mr. Maurice from a charge of ambiguity in the recent Declaration goes to a charge of dishonesty. 'The Declaration,' he says, 'means more than it says.' Before, it was to be capable of opposite senses, so that Mr. Wilson or Dr. William were to be able to sign it. Now that Mr. Wilson has declared that he could not sign it, Mr. Maurice says, 'Neither could I.' Where, then, is the alleged ambiguity? Now he alleges that it is expressed so clearly as to admit of no doctrine of Inspiration short of what it states, and that a doctrine which Mr. Maurice believes to be 'dishonourable to the Word of God.' How one mind could bring all the successive charges which Mr. Maurice had alleged I cannot understand.
Further, Mr. Maurice imputes blasphemy to the belief which he rejects. The Declaration is to 'commit men to the motion that God condemns men to everlasting sin.' This blasphemy Mr. Maurice well knows that no one holds; it is of course contrary to the Being of God that He should be the author of sin. Very few in England (whatever they may think or wish as to man) do not conceive of, Satan as remaining, of his, own free will, fixed in evil. Our Redeemer declares the endless punishment of the wicked; the addition that 'God would condemn man to everlasting sin' is Mr. Maurice' s.
In this life too God maintains in being persons who persevere to the end unchanged in sin, yet He does not thereby 'condemn them to sin.'
From allegations of dishonesty and of blasphemy Mr. Maurice goes on to charge oppression upon those who take part in the Declaration, viz, that they wish to impose a new 'test' and to make an oppression of it. This is childish as well as unjust. Any one who knows anything of the habits of mankind knows how very many concurrent grounds there always are against signing anything. Some 'never sign at all,' some take exception to this expression, others to that; some think such a statement not to be called for; others that it is of no use, &c. When, then, there may be so many reasons why a person may not have signed it, it cannot of course be assumed that any given individual clergyman did not sign it because he did not agree with the truths contained in it. The very idea, then, of 'a test' is gone. A Declaration would only he a 'test' if there were any authority which could require any party to declare his assent to or his dissent from it. I do believe that the 'Declaration' will have a great moral effect on the country. I believe the Bible to be very dear to the people of England, and that they will be much reassured to find that their clergy do as a body, with one heart and one mind, receive the Bible as the infallible Word of God, not as 'containing that Word' only. For if the Bible con–tained the 'Word of God' only, who could say where in the Bible that Word was to be found? Each would find it according to his own bias in what he liked. One would find it in this saying, another in that; and the negative tastes of any two persons might combine to find it nowhere.
Mr. Maurice excepts against our 'asking other clergymen to join us for the love of God.' This arises from our opposite convictions. What else could they do who feared lest people should be encouraged to disbelieve the Bible and Hell and that they were in risk of losing their faith and their souls?
Thus for the moment the controversy ended. Pusey' s conviction of the extreme gravity of the question at issue explains why he expressed himself throughout the whole controversy on 'Essays and Reviews' with a warmth which he uniformly repressed on all other occasions.
At the same time Pusey was carrying on another correspondence with Dr. Stanley, who had recently left his Oxford Professorship for the Deanery of Westminster. The Dean had a sincere desire to 'enlarge' (as he called it) the Church of England, and felt it his duty to give, to every preacher of eminence within the Church, the opportunity of address–ing the mixed congregations that assembled in the Abbey, on the subject of tile truths which they all held in common.
Pusey was among those who received an early invitation to preach. Stanley had from the first held aloof from 'Essays and Reviews' and declined to contribute to the volume; but he had in public warmly defended its writers and fervently expressed his thankfulness for the decision of the Privy Council. 'That the Church of England does not hold-- (1) verbal inspiration, (2) imputed righteousness, (3) eter–nity of torment, is now, I trust, fixed for ever' .
The points on which Stanley differed from him were necessarily at the moment painfully prominent in Pusey' s mind, both because of 'Essays and Reviews,' and also because he was at that moment specially harassed by the complexities of the controversy about Professor Jowett at Oxford, which had already laid him open to so much misunderstanding from friends who could not appreciate his tolerant attitude towards the endowment of the Greek Chair. He was greatly perplexed about his answer to the Dean' s invitation. He first wrote neither accepting nor declining, but calling attention to the importance of the questions on which they differed, and calling Stanley' s attention to a criticism of his Lectures on the Jewish Church, in the book on Daniel.
E. B. P. TO DEAN STANLEY.
Christ Church, Feb. 23, (1864].
We are at a critical moment. I, as you may have heard, have joined those, whether Evangelicals or others, who think it necessary that the Church should in some way reaffirm the doctrines upon which doubt has been thrown by the late Judgments; your friends, I hear, are rejoicing in it. So there we are in direct antagonism. Some to whom I owe great deference say to me 'I confess that I should feel a shock at your preaching at the Abbey at this juncture, and I think that this would be the feeling of many people.' Itgives an appearance of unreality if people, who are at that moment ill active antagonism on what they believe to be of vital moment, unite as if there were nothing at issue between them. ...I believe the present to be a struggle for the life or death of the Church of England, and what you believe to be for life I believe to be for death; and you think the same reciprocally of me.
I fear, then, lest in accepting a personal token of confidence from you, in offering to me what has never been offered to me before--the privilege of preaching to all those souls in the Abbey--I should be confusing people' s minds.... People might ask what do those people think to be truth?'
The Dean replied by stating the grounds on which he had made the offer, and renewing it 'in the name of our common Christianity and our common Church.' With regard to the decision of the Privy Council, he wrote as follows
DEAN STANLEY TO E. B. P.
Feb. 25, 1864.
I regret, but cannot be surprised (after what I have often heard you say), that you should be displeased at the recent Judgment, which to me appears so wise and just. But I cannot see that this divergence makes any difference in my position, or in yours, with regard to these sermons. I can understand that you might feel your relations altered towards the Church itself, whose highest tribunal and whose two Primates have delivered a Judgment which you so much deplore. But as to any action within the Church, I cannot recognize any further difference than may have been occasioned by the divergence which existed between us at the time of the Gorham Judgment, and which was expressed by many in terms at least as strong as those which you use on the present occasion.
I confess that I was startled and pained by your letter of adhesion to a newspaper (you will forgive me for saying what I am sure you must often have heard said by others) of so scandalous a character as the Record....
With regard to the theological differences to which you so kindly allude, and especially to the note which you mention in my 'Lectures on the Jewish Church,' I will only say that I have said there nothing, in principle, beyond what you yourself said formerly in the book on German theology.
Pusey was unwilling to stand aloof from any scheme designed to bring home the truth to the souls of people who are seldom within its reach. On the other hand, he dreaded lest he should appear to countenance indifference by allowing himself to be mixed up with those whose teaching he so profoundly distrusted. He therefore wrote again to Stanley to ask the names of those with whom he would be associated if he accepted the proposal.
E. B. P. TO DEAN STANLEY
February 28, 1864.
Can you tell me who the other preachers are whom you propose to preach at the Abbey? I know that you sympathize most with those most opposite to my belief. And yet this is not the case of persons preaching incidentally in the same church. It is a cycle of preachers--one system, one whole. You appeal to me kindly in the name of 'our common Christianity.' Alas! I do not know what the common Christianity of myself and Professor Jowett is. I do not know what single truth we hold in common, except that somehow Jesus came from God, which the Mohammedans believe too. I do not think that Professor Jowett believes our Lord to have been Very God, or God the Holy Ghost to be a Personal Being. The doctrine of the Atonement, as he states it, is something wholly unmeaning. Of his heart, of course, I do not speak; I only speak of his writings.
For yourself, my dear Dr. Stanley, you say that you have said nothing in principle beyond what I said in my books when I was twenty-eight. Would to God you did not!
I wrote to the Record because I wanted to unite with the party who take it in, and to whom I had access through it. I dare say it has said many a hard thing of myself and my friends; no one can suppose that I endorse these things.
But I must, and do, join heart and soul with those who oppose this tide of Rationalism. Nothing, of Course, but the deep conviction that the souls of the young and the faith were imperilled would have induced me to unite in the prosecution of Professor Jowett.
The Dean told him the names of the other preachers and renewed his request, saying that the Archbishop of Canter–bury would have preached, but he was engaged. 'I venture,' he added, 'to express my surprise that you should scruple about preaching in the same Church with the Archbishop and myself, and not scruple about making an ally (without a word of justification) of a newspaper which notoriously violates the first principles of truth and charity every week.' Pusey was as perplexed as ever, and wrote again for the advice of Bishop Hamilton and Keble. 'One' s feeling says,' he wrote to Keble, 'If God did but speak through one to six consciences of those 3,000! Then comes one' s fear of seeming indifference...'
Keble had not vet been invited to preach, but he had already made up his mind in his own case: if the Dean were to ask him, he should decline, for the same reasons as caused him to decline to preach at Oxford. But he found it very difficult to decide what Pusey should do. At last he wrote to say that 'having such countenance as that of Archbishop Longley, he should think that Pusey could say " yes" without scandal.' But before his opinion reached Oxford a letter from Bishop Hamilton had caused Pusey to send a final refusal.
E. B. P. TO DEAN STANLEY .
March 5, 1864.
I trust that I have not caused you inconvenience by the difficulty which I have had in making up my mind. It would have been a glad office to me to preach to those 3,000 if so be that God would have spoken through me to -one soul effectively. But I dare not. I think that one of the great dangers of the present day is to conceive of matters of faith as if they were matters of opinion, to think all have an equal chance of being right, which involves this--that there is no faith at all. The essence of your scheme seems to me to be to exhibit as one those whose differences I believe to be vital ; and so, although it is with a pang that I relinquish the offer which (differing so much from me) you kindly made me, of speaking God' s truth earnestly to all those souls, I cannot with a safe conscience accept it.
To the outside world it might have seemed that Stanley' s courteous invitation could have been accepted with a similar courtesy. But Pusey felt that such a judgment would only be passed by those who regarded all doctrinal differences as matters of unnecessary detail. However greatly he might prize each opportunity of preaching for the salvation of souls, he could not face the grave danger of seeming to, regard as Indifferent distinctions which he for his, part believed to be vital. It was no consolation to him that Other good men, who were at one with him on the question at Issue, did not share his apprehensions. As Keble said in reply to the invitation which Stanley sent to him a few days later, 'Were I to accept it, it would be in dis–comfort and fear, lest by seeming to bear with doctrines which you avowedly uphold, and which I believe in my heart to contradict the foundations of the Faith, I should cause harm which would far outweigh any good which one might do by preaching.'
Meanwhile signatures to the Declaration were pouring in from all sides. Altogether eleven thousand Clergymen signed it. In presenting it to the Archbishop on July 12, the Committee stated that they knew from the letters which they had received that there were some thousands more of the clergy whose faith the Declaration expressed, but who were deterred from adopting so novel a course of remonstrance by 'various natural and legitimate considera–tions.' But it was far more than a mere demonstration with no ulterior issues: as a united expression of the faith of the great body of the clergy it carried considerable moral weight, while it was an assurance to the Bishops of the very general support which they would receive in any measure that they might devise for guarding what was believed to be the faith of the Church on these points. In the next month it was followed by a Synodical condemnation of 'Essays and Reviews' by both Houses of the Convocation of Canterbury. It seemed at length that the clergy had taken the only practicable courses for protecting those positions which appeared to be assailed. But important as the Synodical Declaration was, it is not necessary in this connexion to trace its history at any length, as Pusey was not directly concerned in it.
The harmony of feeling which drew together the bishops and clergy belonging to both the great parties of the Church was the most cheering aspect of this sad discussion. It was in vain for Bishop Thirlwall to maintain that the 11,000 signatures added nothing to the weight of the opinion of Dr. Pusey. Dr. Tait, the Bishop of London, who was the chief opponent of the Synodical condemnation in the Upper House of Convocation, felt otherwise' . He saw clearly what powerful weapons this Declaration and condemnation were when representing a coalition of two such forces on the basis of the deep convictions which they held in common; and in a private diary he puts on record his interesting yet singular conviction that it is part of his vocation to resist the tendency of the Evangelical party to coalesce with the High Church for the purpose of resisting the spread of Broad Church teaching. Such a coalition would undoubtedly have greatly changed the lines of the policy according to which he was prepared to direct the fortunes of the Church of England.