AT the annual meeting of his Synod on September 13, 1871, the Bishop took the Vatican decrees as the subject of his Charge to the clergy, beginning with an ejaculation which admirably describes its substance and spirit, "May your unworthy Bishop speak to you wisely, dispassionately and truly! "Roman Catholics, he said, were themselves members of the one body, and therefore they were bound to pray for the Roman Communion; " a family is not less a family because the members are not on speaking terms with each other". There had been during recent years "an influx of converts to Rome, many of them respectable in every way". This was due to "the dryness and unimaginativeness of official Anglicanism, as well as to the unwisdom and shortsightedness of the English bishops who seem disposed to mismanage the Oxford Movement, just as their fathers maltreated the Wesleyan in the last century". The Bishop then traced the papal claims in their development throughout the centuries, "assisted by the Italian instinct for consolidating power". The Reformation was like the removal of "a carious tooth which has caused exquisite pain; the pain ceases when the tooth is extracted but the natural arch of the mouth is destroyed and the foundation of the gradual destruction of all the rest proceeds from that removal; the aggression of the See of Rome into the jurisdiction of the Bishops was the carious tooth at the time of the Reformation. The Reformation was neither so bad nor so good as people say".
No Council of the Church could create new objects of faith. With the promulgation of the Infallibility of a Pope, Christianity must stand on a new dogmatic basis.
The appeal to history was now heresy. In the Roman Church the head, as in the case of a hydro-cephalous child, dwarfs the other members. The bishops have ceased to be judges of doctrine and are now the Pope's curates or vicars, and by a strange irony the instruments of civilisation, the telegraph and the iron-way, carry the commands of the Apostle of reaction and obscuranticism into the most distant villages and hamlets. The quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus is discredited for ever.
The Charge is one of the best things the Bishop ever wrote. The appeal throughout is to reason and freedom as well as to history; the facts are compacted into the stately structure of convincing argument, relieved by luminous illustrations and touches of irony and sarcasm. Of this Charge, the substance of which was published as a tract, Mr. Gladstone writes:--
October 16th, 1871.
Accept my best thanks for the tract you have sent me, taken from your recent Charge. Apart from this or that shade of colour and point of opinion, it is to me singularly refreshing, as, I am bound to say, on the other hand, it is very rare to read an argument of this kind couched so deeply in the historical as distinguished from the polemical spirit, upon the cardinal questions relating to the Church of Rome and to the Reformation. I earnestly hope it may attract much public attention, and cannot help wishing it had appeared as part of the entire Charge, as the public is more accustomed to that kind of document, especially in the case of Bishops. The paragraph which begins on page 29 seems to me "all gold", and I follow with strong general sympathy what follows to the end.
From 1870 to his death the Bishop was in close touch with Dr. von Dollinger, both by visits to him in Munich and by letters from Dundee. He was kept informed of the efforts of Archbishop von Scherr throughout the year 1871 to secure his submission to the Vatican decrees, until the edict of excommunication was issued against him in April. The Bishop's last visit to Munich was in 1873, wnen ne heard of the plans for the Reunion Conference at Bonn and of the progress of the Old Catholic Movement. " My soul ", he writes, " is filled with admiration for that fine old man fighting his battle so bravely against the strong forces allied against him. It is something in these soft days to see a man of seventy-four with such a trust in truth and right." It is worth while quoting Mr. Gladstone's judgment on the great German scholar. " I have spent", he writes in September 1874, "two-thirds of my whole time in Munich with Dr. Dollinger who is indeed a most remarkable man, and it makes my blood run cold to think of his being excommunicated in his venerable but, thank God, hale and strong old age. I know no one with whose mode of handling religious matters I more cordially agree. He is wonderful and simple as a child." The Bishop hoped to attend the Conference at Bonn, but ill health and episcopal engagements prevented him. In a letter to Mr. Gladstone he asks, " What is being done about Dollinger's Conference at Bonn? I gravely doubt whether my duties in Scotland will admit of my being present and I also am in some difficulty from ignorance as to the platform to be adopted." He goes on to say that the seventh General Council will be a barrier to co-operation with the Greeks, while the allegiance of the Old Catholics to the Council of Trent will frighten any English bishops who may be present. "The said English bishops are not exhibiting an edifying spectacle to the Christian world."
The last letter to Dollinger, written on September 4, 1874, contains an admirable summary of the Bishop's position on the question of reunion with Rome, and no one reading it can miss the affectionate admiration for the brave scholar, who insisted that in spite of his excommunication he still remained a priest of the Catholic Church.
MY DEAR AND HONOURED FRIEND,
It is not convenient for me to be present in person at the Conference over which you are to preside at Bonn. However great the apparent difficulty of bringing it to a successful issue, no personal guarantee for such a result can be surer, than that it shall be presided over by one who, alike in what he has done and in what he has left undone, has exhibited such wisdom, moderation, and high principle.
The hope of the Reunion of Christendom has been in my heart ever since I thought deeply on theological subjects. For years I hoped that such reconciliation might be effected on the basis of the Canons of the Council of Trent interpreted in a benign sense--interpreted, that is, on the principle of such moderate theologians as Catharinus, Cassander, Veron, Bossuet, and Bishop William Forbes of Edinburgh, the author of the Considerationes Modestae. I esteemed the XXXIX Articles of the Anglican Church not only patient of a Catholic interpretation, but valuable in guarding on one side what the Canons of Trent guarded on the other. I hoped that the increase of true enlightenment and spread of science or rather the cultivation of the scientific method, and above all, the motions of the Holy Spirit who had been so marvellously stirring up in men's minds the desire for unity, might lead men into closer bonds of ecclesiastical fellowship.
The unfortunate action of the Vatican Council has destroyed all hopes of an immediate union on such a basis as this. I wish to do justice to the sincerity of those who promoted it. I believe that they acted as they thought for the best, but I do not the less deplore the result. No immediate advantage in the way of consolidating the hierarchical power, no short and easy method for the settlement of controversies, can counterbalance the injury to Christianity which a break with history on the part of its largest section occasions, and such a break with history has been effected by the late Vatican decrees. If the Personal Infallibility of the Pope, and the consequent proposition that his determinations are in themselves, and not on account of any consent of the Church, irreformable, be part of the original depositum, the central truth of the faith once delivered to the saints, then the history of the Church is a tissue of inconsequences, and men for eighteen centuries have been in error as to the nature and conditions of the tradition and interpretation of Divine Truth.
Thrown back in this wise on ourselves, with hopes crushed, one cannot fail to hail with satisfaction such an effort as yours. Whatever difficulties may arise in attempting to adjust terms of ecclesiastical communion between those who hold to Apostolic succession and those who repudiate it, one must rejoice in every well considered attempt to break up the chronic state of separation which does more to retard the final triumph of Christianity than the fellest assaults of open or concealed enemies. May the Holy Ghost, the Life-Giver, the Illuminator, guide and direct you!
Dr. Pusey wishes me to express his devoted affection to you, and his unceasing sympathy with you.
The Bishop had long entertained the hope of establishing a Sisterhood in Dundee. For many years the Church had benefited from the services of a few ladies who lived together at 10 King Street and devoted themselves to the work of district visiting among the poor. But the Bishop felt that the Scottish Church should have Religious Houses served by her own daughters. He knew of not a few ladies and some priests who, for lack of Scottish Communities, had sought service in the Church of England. In the spring of 1870 two ladies offered, the one to buy the house, 10 King Street, and the other to provide a chapel for a Religious House, and on August 18 the Bishop laid the foundation stone of the Chapel of a religious community, "in which God should be served by constant prayer and works of mercy". A year later the chapel, which was designed by Street, was consecrated and the Mother Superior blessed and installed; the chapel was dedicated to St. Mary and St. Modwenna, the latter an Irish saint connected with Dundee. The Bishop drew up a rule for the Sisters, and in his own person directed their practical work, which included not only visiting among the poor, but also the training of poor girls for domestic service and nursing a few incurable women in a small hospital attached to the House. In 1871 he writes that nine members of the Community are in residence, and that he has hopes of two more.
Here should be mentioned the Bishop's interest in the Religious Life for men. In 1865 he was present, along with Father Benson and others, at the first meeting in London which resulted in the foundation of the Society of St. John the Evangelist at Cowley, Oxford. At that meeting the Bishop went so far as to indicate a hope that he might be allowed to give up his present work and join the Society. He could not, however, commit himself without taking the advice of his doctor and his friends. Their counsel was an emphatic "no". Ever since his trial in 1857 no year had passed in which he had not been laid aside by illness, sometimes only for a short time, often for several months. In the early part of 1871 he suffered from so sudden and alarming an attack in Edinburgh that his relatives almost despaired of his life; the rigorous life in a Religious Community was far beyond his physical strength. No doubt the "plain living and high thinking" which he imposed upon himself in the dull house he called his home aggravated the disease from which he suffered. It was a tall house, with a basement and three floors. "We breakfasted", wrote one of his curates, "at 9 a.m., after which came family prayers which the two servants attended. The Bishop might then discuss some parochial matter, and then would at once retire to his study upstairs; if you ventured to enter that room without some good reason, you were soon made aware that your presence was not wanted." The following account of the Bishop's way of life and of his household is taken from some reminiscences of the Rev. T. I. Ball which appeared in the Scottish Standard Bearer of 1892. From 1865 to 1867 Mr. Ball, then the junior curate on the staff, lived with the Bishop along with Mr. Macnamara and Mr. Nicolson. He was young, spectacled, and rotund, an ardent ritualist, with a keen eye for the faults and weak points in other people. In the Bishop's household, he writes, there were but two square meals a day--breakfast and a six o'clock dinner, lunch being an affair of bread and cheese and beer; afternoon tea was unknown. After forenoon Matins at St. Paul's, the Bishop was almost invariably besieged on the steps of the church by numbers of beggars, to whose cries he could never pretend deafness. A friend once remonstrated, "That fellow is a humbug", to which the Bishop's answer was, "If I were as poor as that man, I should be a humbug too, and so would you." On more than one occasion Nicolson followed a beggar into a public-house, and when the sixpence was put on the counter, nipped it up with the words, "I know who that sixpence belongs to."
Nicolson managed the household, but only on lines laid down by the Bishop. It was a standing joke among the clergy that he had all the disadvantages of being the Bishop's wife, with none of the advantages. In the afternoon the Infirmary would be visited, or calls made on members of St. Paul's. After the six o'clock dinner, which was a plain but abundant meal, the Staff would go off to services or meetings at the three churches, while the Bishop would spend the evening in his study if he were not due to preach at a mission church or be summoned to a sick-bed. In Lent and Holy Week he often preached on weekdays in towns as distant as Stonehaven.
For ten years (writes Provost Ball) I had longer or shorter opportunities of intercourse with him, but I never was in his company for more than at most a few hours at a time. There was no particular reason why I should have felt the Bishop's influence as I felt and even yet feel it. But I did feel it and I can only call it a fascination; I prized the shortest interview with him as a precious privilege. I studied and knew by heart every accustomed gesture and every shade of expression that used to pass over his singularly mobile face. When he died I experienced such grief as I have rarely felt at the death of anyone before or since. He was a charming conversationalist. It is said of the bewitching Madame Recamier that her listening was une seduction. The Bishop knew something of this art; he was what is even rarer than a good talker, a good listener. He possessed a delicate sense of humour and a very considerable power of sarcasm, which he used sometimes rather remorselessly but never rudely. Better than any man I ever knew, he was able to condense a good story into the fewest possible words without depriving it of the least suspicion of its wit or point.
"Ah," said an old lady to the present writer, "he was a good man"; and the way in which she stressed the adjective testified to inexpressible wonder and admiration. "But", she added, "he was never High Church." That was the common view even of intelligent members of St. Paul's. What they meant was that the Bishop was no ritualist, and this was true. The Bishop was as Catholic on doctrine and on such practices as private confession as anyone could be; but in his view belief in the Catholic faith did not necessitate any particular type of ceremonial. It was not that he feared unpopularity. No man set less store by mere popularity than he. What he dreaded was to incur the guilt of driving people beyond the sphere of the Church's action by hasty impatience with such Church traditions as they had inherited. He had an intense belief in the Sacraments and ordinances of the Church, and was convinced that, so long as people were faithful in their devotions at these, their acceptance of Catholic truth and practice would follow in due time. Dean Hatt once complained to the Bishop that the fisher-folk in his little church at Muchalls were so conservative and obstinate that, do what he would, they could not be persuaded to come to Holy Communion more than three times a year. "And pray", said the Bishop, "what was it that kept them loyal to the Church but that same conservatism and obstinacy?"
In the autumn of 1871 Dundee celebrated the centenary of the birth of Sir Walter Scott, and the Committee in charge of the arrangements, knowing something of the Bishop's ability as a speaker and of his family's connection with the great novelist, invited the Bishop to deliver the oration. Of this he writes to his brother, William:--
You will see that I have got in for an oration on Walter Scott. Do send me some hint for I am afraid of making a very dull and tame affair. I am going to Dupplin today to seek some inspiration from old Miss Grahame who at the age of 89 or 90 has just ordered a new carriage!
It is very pleasant to read Lockhart's Life over again, I read it in India when it was sent out to me at the time it was published. I must send you a newspaper with my speech. I am going to give Dundee a little taste of my recovered conservatism.
The Bishop at this time refers more than once to his drift from the political liberalism which had caused him to give steady support to Mr. Gladstone not only in his candidature for the University of Oxford, but also for years after. He tells Mr. Gladstone in a letter of this period, "Twenty-six years' collision with the selfish democracy of Dundee has thrown me back upon the Tory traditions in which I was bred and from which, for a time, I confess I swerved under the charms of your eloquence and character." Nevertheless no one loved and served the people of Dundee more whole-heartedly than he. In 1872 there was given him a special opportunity of calling upon clergy and laity alike to play their part in promoting the social well-being of the people.
This was the occasion of the semi-jubilee of his consecration as Bishop. To ensure that the celebration should not be merely a social affair, the festival of St. Simon and St. Jude (Monday, October 28) was fixed as the date. The day began with the ordination of a deacon in St. Paul's, followed by a Te Deum of thanksgiving for the blessings which had been bestowed upon the diocese under the rule of the Bishop; a short office, with prayers and the Bishop's blessing, concluded the service. In the afternoon the Bishop was entertained to a luncheon which was attended by over two hundred people and presided over by his friend, Lord Kinnaird; a pastoral staff was presented for the use of the Bishop and his successors. The Bishop, deeply moved by this demonstration of affection, disclosed in his speech the principles which had governed his work throughout his episcopate.
"I have not been used to over much praise in my past life, and therefore you may believe it is very sweet to me; without exaggeration I may say that this is one of the most gratifying events that have ever taken place in my life. When I see so many friends around me assembled to express their kindliness and affection, my heart is melted. But let me not talk about myself, but of the Church which is dearer to me than life itself and of the town of which I am a citizen. We have seen a second-rate town during the last twenty-five years starting into first-rate importance. I had the honour, more than twenty-five years ago, of having a conversation with the Prime Minister of this country, who asked me about the state of trade in Dundee. I told him about jute. "Jute," he said, "what is jute?" I tried to explain to him according to my imperfect light what jute was, and you see around you what jute has done. I come here conveying the message of the Church; for if the clergy were to give up that definite message, they should at once sell their chalices and shut their Prayer-books. At the same time the Church can do much for Scotland as well as for the Church, and that must be done in the place where God has placed us; we can promote the social and industrial civilization of the country in a way that others cannot, and we are bound to throw ourselves into all schemes for the benefit of suffering humanity."
After testifying to the devotion of his clergy and laity, with a special mention of "my own dear Vestry of St. Paul's", he said that he had never had in Dundee "a single collision or a single controversy with a minister of any denomination"; he had always tried to speak the truth in love, considering other people's opinions, while unflinching in holding his own. The pastoral staff, it may be added, was designed by Bodley; the Bishop would have no second-rate artist for Church work: Sir Gilbert Scott designed St. Paul's; Street, the chapel of the Sisterhood; Bodley, St. Salvador's and the pastoral staff.
At the Dedication Festival of St. Paul's on the following Sunday the church at Evensong was crowded an hour before the service began, numbers failing to gain admission, a fit climax to one of the most memorable weeks in the Bishop's life. The congregation by this time numbered 1600, and on Easter Day the communicants never fell below 500. A monthly choral Eucharist was now the rule at 8 a.m., and in the winter there was Evensong additional to that of the Sunday afternoon. But little or no change took place in the accustomed ritual or absence of it.
This year saw the publication of the Bishop's magnum opus, upon which he had been working for the last four years. In his letters occur frequent references to his "Saint book", as he called The Kalendars of Scottish Saints; in one he speaks of it as dull "as a last year's fillet or a presbyterian sermon". He was determined to publish the book with nothing less than the best type and paper and a facsimile of each ancient manuscript; but when he was informed of the cost of publication and of the lowest price at which the volume must be sold (two guineas), he feared that his "Saint book" would "fall stillborn from the press". Such a work was only for the learned, but his love of knowledge was so strong that he felt it was no waste of money to advance the cause of truth, even on so obscure a subject as Scottish Kalendars and the lives of Scottish saints. The book is a noble quarto of 380 pages, printed in large type on fine thick paper with wide margins. Nothing pleased the Bishop more than a beautiful book, and even to turn over the pages of this volume is a joy. The scope of the work may be judged by its sub-title, which states that the book is an attempt to "fix the churches where the Scottish saints were held in remembrance and the districts of their missions". In his Preface the Bishop acknowledges obligations to the following well-known scholars, with whom he corresponded on many points for several years: Dr. Reeves, his own kinsman Dr. Skene, A. W. Haddan, David Laing, Philip Pusey, Henry Bradshaw, and Dr. Rock. Among them appear also the names of Father Victor de Buck, the Belgian Jesuit, who had fed his hopes by vain promises of Roman support in the cause of Christian unity, and his colleague and dearest of friends, Roger Lingard (Guthrie). The volume begins with these words: "To those who do not appreciate the value of a Kalendar, the following work may seem to be labour lost: but it must be borne in mind that a Kalendar is in a sense an abridgment of ecclesiastical history in general, and where it exhibits local peculiarities, it sums up the results of the most remarkable fruits of Christianity in the country to which it belongs." After sketching the history of kalendars in general and the value of Irish and Scottish ones in particular, the Bishop holds that "the legends of some of the saints contain valuable historical matter". Some, however, of the so-called miracles of the saints "are such as to excite a smile upon the gravest countenance"; yet even these illustrate the domestic life and manners of epochs of which we know little." The nineteenth century, an age of reconstruction in art, in letters, in faith, has nobly avenged the skepticism of the preceding age which scoffed at everything. No author dare now boast, 'I know nothing of the ages that knew nothing'." Half the volume is occupied by an alphabetical list of Scottish saints, with brief summaries of their lives and full references to sources. The bibliography alone, which fills eight of the large pages, testifies to the immense amount of labour which the Bishop devoted to the writing of the book. Hardly a week of the preceding five years had passed without letters going and coming to and from scholars and friends in England, Scotland, and Ireland on points of detail which he himself, living as he did far from libraries, could not settle. It was work of this kind that enabled the Bishop to overcome the loneliness of his life in the comfortless house in Dundee. No one ever heard him complain of this solitude, but his letters to a favourite niece, some of which appear in the following chapter, contain constant references to this feeling as well as to the pleasure which her affectionate letters gave to him.
The year 1873 was notable in the history of the Scottish Church for the consecration of Canon Callaway as first missionary Bishop of the diocese of Kaffraria. The Scottish bishops (along with the Scottish Board of Missions established in 1871) had agreed to the request of the bishops of the Province of South Africa that the Church should be responsible for the foundation of a new See and mission. The Bishop assisted at the consecration of the first Bishop of St. John's, Kaffraria, and in his Synod, and by pastoral letter, in the pulpit and on the platform, he sought to arouse his people to the privilege of spreading the Gospel to the non-Christian world. His own self-sacrifice matched his teaching. When abroad this year in search of health, he came upon a picture which he decided to buy, but when a letter came with the news that funds were not coming in well for the endowment of the new See, he at once cancelled the order and sent the price of the picture to the new diocese. He preached a sermon in his own church as remarkable for its toleration as for its originality. "I do not presume", he said, "to judge the condition of the heathen in the eyes of the Supreme. I can only estimate their condition by their loss. What had they lost?" (1) Knowledge, the knowledge of God, of man and the universe. (2) Memory, the memories of God's mercies from the foundation of the world. (3) Grace and all the blessings connoted by that supremely Christian word, the love of God and the reverence for man as man. The sermon began by showing that missionary enterprise languished when divisions in the Church arose; it ended with an appeal for the cultivation of the corporate spirit. It was the Bishop also who brought forward the motion in the Episcopal Synod for the observance of St. Andrew's tide as a special opportunity for missionary intercession.
From Foreign Missions to Hindustani may seem a long leap, but it was nothing to Forbes, who never forgot his service in India. The Bishop in May 1873 wrote a column in a newspaper reviewing the work of his French friend, M. Garcin de Tassy, who had established a European reputation as a student of Hindustani literature. In this speaks Forbes, the Civil Servant of the John Company:--
From a combination of motives which we need not here discuss, we took away the government of India from the hands of the Company by whom it had been so ably administered. But how very few of our public men shew any feeling of conscientious responsibility towards the millions they govern! It is said that a large proportion of Indian officials themselves are more widely severed from the natives than they were 60 or 70 years ago. M. de Tassy is a Catholic in the best sense of the term, reminding us of what may be termed the Izaak Walton type of English layman. His sympathies with the Church of England are as warm as his acquaintance with Indian literature is extensive. So we find in his pamphlet a kindly recognition of the projected mission of the Scottish Church to Chanda in India.
During his Whitsuntide holiday that year the Bishop spent some time in Munich, and was so seriously ill that he did not expect to recover, but, as he told his friends afterwards, he felt " at perfect peace with God and was ready to depart this life if such were His blessed will ". It was evident that he was now losing his recuperative power, but he returned to his diocese sufficiently strong to put up a spirited and successful fight against the admission of the laity to share in the doctrinal and pastoral work of diocesan and general Synods, a question which was again being pushed to the front in the Edinburgh and Glasgow dioceses.
On May 18, 1874, the first Church Congress took place in Edinburgh, and Bishop Forbes was nominated as the preacher representing the Scottish bishops. A day or two before, the Bishop suddenly collapsed, and the sermon was cancelled, as it was too late to secure another preacher. He was, however, preaching in the North of England in June, and in July and August taking duty for some of his clergy who otherwise would not have had a holiday. "I am sorry to say", writes a reporter, "he is not in such good health as we could all desire."
The death this year of his lifelong friend, Dean Thorn, was a grief to the Bishop, but some compensation was found in the appointment, as Dean, of his tried friend, Nicolson, who had been for years not only a devoted priest, but also all the housekeeper and nurse his Bishop ever had. On October 28, 1874, the Bishop consecrated Bodley's beautiful church, St. Salvador's, which from the beginning had been under Nicolson's charge. At the service he looked ill and in sore need of rest; but at the luncheon he made an inspiring speech, in which he spoke of the wonderful progress made since the days when all the churchpeople of Dundee could be accommodated in an upper room over a bank; that one congregation had grown into five churches with over 6000 souls, three of them buildings of no ordinary distinction. Well might the Bishop say, "What hath God wrought!"
Some time before his large work on the Scottish Kalendars was published, the Bishop accepted an invitation to edit the twelfth-century lives of St. Ninian and St. Kentigern in the series of "The Historians of Scotland". The volume, which came out in 1874 as an octavo of 380 pages, contains, in addition to the Lives in Latin and English a long introduction and elaborate notes. Like his volume on the Scottish Kalendars, this scholarly work appeared too late in his life to establish the Bishop's reputation as a historian. Indeed, the two books were almost posthumous, and posthumous writings, from the publisher's point of view, are seldom successful. Besides, his reputation as a theologian and a devotional writer created a kind of prejudice against his ability as a historian: experts in history do not expect recruits to their field from the province of theology, though the Bishop's doctrinal works are stronger in the historical than in the theological aspect. Yet no adequate judgment can be formed of Bishop Forbes and his work unless he is recognized as a diligent historian who spent laborious days toiling over ancient manuscripts and hunting out the minutiae of facts, his only reward the glow of satisfaction which comes from the discovery of a new truth or the removal of long-standing obscurity from an old one.
Among those to whom he makes acknowledgment for help in the Lives of the two great Scottish saints stands the name of an old Oxford friend, A. W. Haddan, of whom he writes in the Preface: "The Editor must close the record of his obligations by stating that his friend, the late Rev. Arthur West Haddan, gave him the use of the proof-sheets of the unfinished volume of the Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents of Great Britain, of which, with Professor Stubbs, he was Editor, and which has been published since his lamented death." Haddan had been Newman's curate in 1842 for a short time, and Forbes a year or two later made an acquaintance with him which ripened into a friendship. Haddan died in 18 73, and next year Forbes was engaged in collecting essays and papers written by his friend, with a view to their publication.
On Sunday, December 20, the youthful and scholarly Professor of Theology at Trinity College, Glenalmond, John (afterwards Bishop) Dowden, came to preach the sermon at an ordination in St. Paul's; in the afternoon the Bishop confirmed eighty-one candidates and attended Evensong, at the close of which the preacher witnessed an old Scottish practice which he describes: "I well remember seeing in the year 1874 the late Bishop of Brechin (A. P. Forbes), on the Sunday before Christmas, after Evensong, standing in his robes at the chancel steps of St. Paul's, Dundee, and giving a 'token' to each member of the congregation who purposed to communicate at the great Festival. After they had left the church he said to me, 'I keep up this old practice as a last relic of church-discipline.'
With the beginning of the new year the Bishop appeared stronger than he had been for months. His visits, however, both to individuals and public institutions in Dundee, were curtailed. He seemed remarkably well on March 21, when he conducted an ordination on the Sunday morning, confirmed 160 candidates in the afternoon, and preached in the evening. After Easter he went abroad for his holiday, breaking his journey to stay with Pusey at Oxford and attend the annual Festival of Cuddesdon Theological College. During that visit the two friends worked together for the last time, in an endeavour to persuade the Bonn Conference not to expunge the Filioque clause from the Nicene Creed, but to leave the Eastern and Western Churches to retain each its present practice. In the summer he finished the short memoir of Canon Haddan which was intended to form the introduction to the literary remains of his friend. The memoir begins with this appreciation:--
I cannot commit this volume to the public without some acknowledgment of my sense of the privilege which I enjoyed in the friendship of this great scholar, and without contributing my own slender share to the sum of his recollections. Those who worked with him can testify to the profound conscientiousness and thoroughness of all his work. No passion, no predisposition, no foregone conclusion influenced the man.
In the middle of September he sent off the final proofs of this volume, and on the 2ist of that month journeyed to the northern part of his diocese to lay the foundation stone of a new church in Stonehaven, which was to take the place of the tumbledown building in which he had ministered nearly thirty years before. After a short service in the old church, the Bishop, with his clergy, followed by the large congregation, marched in procession to the site of the new church, and there conducted the ceremony according to the "Order for Laying the Foundation Stone of a Church" which was prescribed for use in his diocese. At a luncheon, which was attended by Canon Liddon, among others, the Bishop delivered a speech which revealed not only his own buoyant spirit, but also the high hopes which he could now hold for the future of the Church in Scotland. "I am sure that all through Scotland our Church has a noble future before her; I see consolidation, increased appreciation of our special privileges, increased attachment and progress." Canon Liddon (the future biographer of Dr. Pusey), who had known the Bishop for many years, pronounced this fine eulogy upon him when he said, "Your Diocesan is respected as no other bishop in Scotland is respected. On the Rhine, on the Thames, at Heidelberg, at Oxford, in London, wherever learning of the highest order, erudition, deep piety are held in regard, his name is mentioned with the deepest reverence."
Five days later the Bishop celebrated the early Eucharist in St. Paul's for the last time. Though far from well, he preached also at the forenoon service and attended Evensong. On the Monday he was confined to bed, but he had recovered from so many illnesses that no danger was feared. He hoped on October 5 to attend his Synod, to which he had invited the Rev. George (afterwards Canon) Body, and he had prepared with his usual care a Charge to his clergy. But this proved quite beyond his strength. He was nearing the end. Death, however, for him had no terrors, for reasons far other than that he had often been on its threshold before. More than once he had taken off his shoes in confession for the passage across it to the holy Paradise beyond. He did this for the last time on October 7, when he made his confession before an old friend, the Rev. R. S. Hunt, who had come to see him on his way through Dundee. On the following day he sank into a coma. Dean Nicolson, who had been with him the whole day, recited in the evening the Church's prayers for the passage of his soul. Soon after eight o'clock the end came, sudden to those who knelt by his bed in the small sparely furnished bedroom, but anticipated, expected, and, as signs indicated, welcomed by the Bishop. His body, clad in his episcopal robes, was laid in his study, where so much of his time had been spent, surrounded by lights and flowers. There was no formal lying in state; but on the Sunday 6000 people passed into the house to take a last look at the face of the most beloved Scottish Bishop at least since the Reformation. On Thursday, October 14, the body was carried to the church and laid before the Altar, and next morning the church was so thronged with communicants that the nine o'clock Eucharist lasted several hours, although there had been four earlier celebrations. For the Burial Service a long procession of bishops, priests, and laity passed from the schoolroom through streets crowded with people to the church, where was gathered a congregation which filled every inch of space. A vault in the chancel near the Altar had been prepared; and when the body was lowered into the grave, strong men hid their faces, women could not restrain their sobs, and tears ran down the cheeks of hundreds.
When Dr. Pusey heard the news of the death of his dearest friend, he wrote to Canon Liddon, "It chokes one, and it seems unnatural to do anything but follow him with prayer to those worlds unknown." He sums up his impressions in these words:--
What strikes me most about the dear Bishop in looking back are his great love, tenderness, simplicity, and self-forgetfulness, and his sensitiveness about whatever bore on doctrinal truth. His happiest time was that which he spent in the hospitals by the sick, or in the alleys of Dundee, if so he might minister to souls or bodies. Then there was his utter want of self-consciousness. He had, as you know, brilliant conversational talents, yet one never could detect the slightest perception that he was aware of it. So also as to his theological knowledge. He had a large grasp of mind, devoted loyalty to truth, sorrow for those who had it not, tender feeling for them; but for himself utter unconsciousness of his gifts. It was all a matter of course. Of his humility to God . . . I can only say the Day of Judgment will show how deep it was.
Shortly before his death the Bishop, through his legal advisers, Messrs. Skene, Webster and Peacock, W.S., of Edinburgh, had attached to his will "Instructions as to the disposal of Articles of Furniture, books and pictures etc.", possessions which were the personal gatherings of a lifetime. In the list stand the names of all his friends, each with a gift bequeathed by the Bishop. Dr. Pusey received "the silver cross I always wear, the authentication of which is in my large rosewood box", and "my bedroom crucifix"; Lady Mar "the Roman lamp that once belonged to Charles Erskine", and Lord Mar "my silver flask"; Mr. and Mrs. R. Lingard Guthrie five pictures, including two Sam Boughs; the Rev. R. Hunt "the Raphael that hangs on the right in my sitting-room", and Philip Pusey "that which is on the left". Lord Strathmore, Lord and Lady Glasgow, his younger brother, George, and his wife Eleanor, his elder brother, William, who received "my little Jacobite relics", his three sisters, Dean Nicolson, and Mr. Irvine of Drum--all these names appear. Even that of Dr. Case is not forgotten, a friend of his early days who had gone over to Rome and then lapsed into agnosticism; the agate cross which was sent to him was afterwards returned to the diocese of Brechin by his executors. To the National Gallery in Edinburgh was bequeathed a fine picture by Overbeck; the Diocesan Library received 1500 of his books, and Trinity College, Glenalmond, the De Liturgicis, "given me by Dr. Dollinger".