The Catholic Movement and the Society of the Holy Cross.
By J. Embry, M.A.,
Vicar of St. Bartholomews, Dover.
London: The Faith Press, 1931.
"THE VISION AT THE BEGINNING."
WHEN on February 28th, 1855, six priests met in private, at the House of Charity, Rose Street, Soho, to found a small fraternal band for their own advancement in personal sanctification and mutual edification, the thought of what it would grow to was excluded by the modesty and humility of the men themselves. They were, however, quite convinced that if the missionary zeal which inflamed their hearts was to bear fruit, it must rest on a disciplined priestly life fashioned after a definite spiritual rule. As an indication and a reminder of this they resolved to call themselves "The Society of the Holy Cross." Being but a few, they did what would be expected from men who were spiritually and prudently minded. They promised each other solemnly to keep silent concerning it, and promised equally to put themselves on probation, until the Feast of the Invention of the Cross (May 3rd). They would then proceed, all being well, to constitute themselves formally into a small society.
Of the six priests who thus met together, only the names of three became of vital interest, for of the nucleus three left it, by the then not uncommon desertion of passing into the Roman Church. At this time St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, and St. Barnabas', Pimlico, were under one incumbent. St. Barnabas' was not formed into a separate parish until 1866. There was therefore an intimate and co-operative relationship between the two churches (although they were worked separately) and a special fraternal bond between the priests. Occupying the front place, as these Churches did at the time, in Catholic life, controversies, battles and problems, no surprise can be felt at the fact that from them came the three staunch Founders of S.S.C. They were the Rev. C. F. Lowder, the Rev. A. Poole, and the Rev. J. Newton Smith.
While the aim of the Founders was unquestionably to fuse their individuality in united action, there can be little doubt that Fr. Lowder was real Founder of S.S.C. This was corroborated by what he wrote in 1856."It was so ordered also, by God's good providence, that a society of priests had lately been founded in London, called the Society of the Holy Cross. Its objects are to defend and strengthen the spiritual life of the clergy, to defend the faith of the Church, and to carry on and aid Mission work both at home and abroad. The members of this society, meeting together as they did in prayer and conference, were deeply impressed with the evils in the Church, and saw also, in the remedies adopted by St. Vincent de Paul, the hope of lessening them. They all felt that the ordinary parochial equipment of a rector and curate, or perhaps a Solitary incumbent, provided for thousands of perishing souls, was most sadly inadequate; that, in the presence of such utter destitution, it was simply childish to act as if the Church were recognised as the mother of the people. She must assume a missionary character and by religious association and a new adaptation of Catholic practice to the altered circumstances of the nineteenth century and the peculiar wants of the English character, endeavour, with fresh life and energy, to stem the prevailing tide of sin and indifference." (Life of Charles Lowder, pp. 74-75.) Between these lines can tie read the self-effacement of the writer, with the confession of a step taken towards an attainment of the inspiration which came to him from his study of St. Vincent de Paul. Charles Lowder was, moreover, the first Master of the Society, and in the Roll his name stood first in order being followed by the names of A. Poole and J. Newton Smith.
The Founders were joined at the very beginning by the Rev. J.S. Boucher, Headmaster of St. Paul's Grammar School, Knightsbridge, who afterwards for many years was Principal of the Training College, Carnarvon; by the Rev. C. J. Goulden; the Rev. W. H. Lyall and the Rev. G. C. WhiteMr. Skinner's successor at St. Barnabas', Pimlico and subsequently its first vicaralso by the Rev. F. H. Murray, Rector of Chislehurst.
At the inauguration of the Society, the six said together, in the Chapel of the House of Charity, the Office, which was much the same as that which has been used ever since, viz.:The Hymn of the Cross, Lustra sex Qui jam peracta, Psalms cix., cxxxi., cxxxii., a Chapter, Philippians ii. 5-9, and three Collects for the Church, the Society, and conversion to the unity of the Faith. It is interesting to note that in the manuscript copy of the Office the notation of each Psalm is sketched in at the head of it, showing that the Office was at least intended to be sung as well as said. After the recitation of the Office, the six made their promises, which were marked by simplicity and distinctness. The first was to observe solemnly the confidences of the Society; the second was a promise of faith and was simply the Nicene Creed; the third concerned mutual help, both temporal! and spiritual, after the manner of brotherhood.
The present part of the "History" is a fitting moment to remove much misunderstanding, which has prevailed in the past, relating to the first promise and which enemies never failed to utilise to the detriment of the Society. It is easy, nearly three quarters of a century after, to suspect the Founders of an error of judgment in making "secrecy" one of their principles. "Secret" is an unhappy word, because it admits of a double interpretation. It may mean ordinary privacy like that observed in family life and home affairs, or it may be used in the political sense of a cabal or intrigue. The Society employed the word in the first meaning; its enemies in the second. The reason of the "secrecy" is explainable, when the times are recalled. The disgraceful scenes which were enacted both at St. Barnabas', Pimlico, and later at St. George's in the East, with lesser evils arising from prejudice, suspicion, malice and ignorant gossip, made the use of much caution necessary in the management of all that pertained to Catholicism. It would be no unfair assumption that, if it had been known that a few priests had assembled together if or prayer and conference, the action would have been misinterpreted and their proceedings, as a consequence, disturbed and their persons insulted. It must not be forgotten that the aim of S.S.C. was a personal and brotherly one, for the sanctification of their own lives, and to form a spiritual bond of union in their special work. They were not to know how wonderfully blest their foundation would be, or how great a part it would play in the Catholic Movement. At the first, therefore, they lived very quietly and met very quietly. And they were so well accustomed individually to being disapproved of by the world that the question whether it approved or disapproved of the Society never entered their minds. They simply wanted to be unmolested for mutual edification and growth in holiness. This was the meaning of their "secrecy," this and nothing more.
It was neither "a Romanising Society," as sometimes was asserted when it became better known, nor an intrigue "to undermine the Church of England and to defy the bishops," as was equally stated. The many faithful and well known priests who have been connected with S.S.C. prove sufficient refutation of such groundless charges and fabricated innuendoes. The "secrets"so-calledin the many transactions of the Society would clearly reverse such accusations. They would reveal that S.S.C. had always taken; a firm and uncompromising attitude on the mission and jurisdiction of the English Provinces, as being the Catholic Church in England. It would be seen also & that' the Society had done more, probably, than any other agency to promulgate the Catholic and true conception of Episcopal Authority in the English Church, while never yielding to private episcopal opinions that were Erastian, uncatholic and unepiscopal. When Catholic principles were in question, the motto taken was always,no surrender and no desertion.
The real and only "secret" of S.S.C. has been the power it has exercised through the example, devotion and expert ecclesiastical knowledge, which the Brethren have contributed to the Society. Many a priest acquainted with the spirit of the Society would confess that from it he had learned for the first time what the Catholic Church and her Life really meant. Brought up perhaps in the ordinary "high church" school of thought and fairly satisfied, in a traditional and thoughtless kind of way, with "the beauties of Anglicanism," he was led on to see that the Church was something more than "an Anglican Paddock," in which to browse at leisure or to canter anywhere or in anyway, but must be a part of the One True Fold of Christ, or nothing. And if a part of the One True Church, then not free to teach, practise, or promulgate, anything that could be held as being at variance with the authority, faith and administration of the whole Catholic Church. This most important of salvable truths would brush away the taints, when fully grasped, of inaccurate theology or biased speculation, and bring to fruition the Catholic instinct. The reality of the Catholic Church thus understood would fire with zeal to bring others to the same truth, and give a definite aim to mission work. It would open up a new vision of Reunion, with eyes cast in legitimate longing both West and East. And if such things could be better impressed, after a churchly way, in the quiet of a Synod or of a Chapter, or pondered over in the seclusion of Retreat, or difficulties faced in an atmosphere hallowed by the offering of the Holy Mass, then surely S.S.C. was justified in regarding these things as "secret," as opposed to what is vulgarly known as "public." It must also be borne in mind that the early members of S.S.C. were with one exception (Dr. Pusey) sub-tractarians, impressed with the teaching of Isaac William's Tract (Tracts for the Times, LXXX. and LXXXVII.), and not unmindful of the Old Testament proverb concerning the knowledge which the priest's lips should keep.
This digression has been made, at the outset, to explain that which many well-affected towards the Society considered short-sighted, and which those opposed to it shot as a poisoned arrow with reckless persistency against it. A postscript should be added to state that, apart from the small publications issued in the ordinary way, the Society resolved some years ago to publish in parts the more notable of its papers and transactions. A first series did appear, selected by Dr. Lacey and the Rev. F. C. Kempson as Transactions of the Society of the Holy Cross. It contained a copy of the Minutes of the first Synod of the Society (May 3rd, 1856) and other information relating to S.S.C.; a ritual resolution on the "Ornaments' Rubric"; a Sermon, by Fr. Mackonochie; "the Catholic Doctrine of Inspiration," by the Rev. E. G. Wood; and some criticisms on "the New Edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern" (1904), by the Rev. J. F. W. Bullock and the Rev. A. M. Y. Baylay. The demand however proved to be so small that the series was not continued.
To return to the six. After the Office had been said, the Promises made, and the Pax given, a Convention of seven Articles was agreed upon to last until May 3rd (1855). By this the number of Members was provisionally extended to twenty-four. Officers were provided and necessary machinery, while it was agreed that no new member should be admitted till five days after his election, and then only by three Members; also that in electing Candidates, one dissentient vote should exclude. The first Officers were,the Rev. C. F. Lowder, Master; the Rev. J. N. Smith, Secretary; the Rev.v . H. Lyall, Treasurer.
The Objects of the Society were declared to be, "to resist the enemies of the Church, and to spread the reign of Christ, (a) mutual sympathy and aid, (b) constant prayer, (c) counsel in difficulties, (d) works of charity." Annual attendance at Synod and Annual Subscription were also specified obligations, without the addition in either case of "if possible."
The Rule of the Society, which was headed "Rule until May 3rd," was as follows:"1. Every Brother is to pray daily for the Church and Society, using either the Office or the Collects in the Office. 2. Every Brother is to make on Sundays an offering to the Society, out of which he is allowed to relieve the poor, the remainder being given at the next meeting to the Society. 3. Every Brother is to inform another Brother of any report he may hear either to his advantage or disadvantage. 4. When two Brethren meet, the elder is to salute the younger with the 'Pax tibi,' etc., but this need not be repeated again on the same day. 5. Every Brother is to attend all the Meetings of the Society he can; and positively the Great Meeting on May 3rd (Holy Cross Day), except by dispensation, which must be granted at the previous Meeting of the Society. 6. Every Member is to pay a subscription of twenty shillings a year by quarterly payments."
The first work of the Society was a proposal to produce a Manual for the Poor, which it was thought was "still a desideratum at the present time," and a Committee was appointed for the purpose of setting about it. This Committee began by applying to the Bishop of Brechin (Dr. Forbes) for leave to re-edit the Pious Churchman. The bishop placed it unreservedly in their hands, but it proved to be not quite what was required. In the Minutes of the First Synod, the statement was made that the Manual was yet incomplete, but the hope was expressed that it might be finished.
There was much deliberation over the formation of the Society's Voluntary Rules, and Dr. Pusey was largely consulted. In 1855 two Rules were drawn up, the one known as The White Rule, which was for Celibates only, and the other, The Red Rule, for single and married. A year later, another Voluntary Rule was added, called The Green Rule. These different rules were intended to promote a stricter standard of priestly life than was generally followed. It has to be realised that at that time there were few or none of the special spiritual advantages which later practice has rendered almost commonplace. To give but one example, there were no such helpful things as Retreats in the English Church before S.S.C. held one as a preparation for Lent in 1856. Ascetic Theology being little known, its rules were still less obeyed. The aim of S.S.C. was to awaken the sense of this defect Its Different Rules consequently impressed the definite and exact observance of the Church's Rules, with recommendations to mental prayer, sacred study, the practice of recollection, systematic self-examination and pure intention, the custody of the senses, or, in a word, the adherence to the approved aids which spiritual masters have always advocated.
There was nothing of mystical intent in the designation of these Rules. They were so called from a piece of fanciful yet harmless ceremonial which was practised at that time. Those who had accepted one of these Voluntary Rules wore round their necks a cross suspended from a band, during the meetings of the Society, the colour of which was white, red, or green, according to the Rule which the individual members followed.
A matter to which particular care was devoted in these earliest days, and which was continued, was the government of the Society. It may be said without exaggeration that it revived the custom of synodical action. While the history of the Society is in many ways a personal one, and unveils details of individual character, yet there was never anything papal in its mode of procedure. The Master was responsible for the general ordering and discipline of the Society, and presided over Synods and Chapters, even a bishop taking second place, yet he was assisted in his government by four Vicars of Provinces and the other Officers. The Statutes and Acts were always those of the Society, nor could a Statute be altered, except by the Synod and only then after due notice had been given at a preceding Synod. The Order of the Synod, too, followed that of ancient precedent.
Another matter, which lent gravity and dignity to the proceedings was the gradations in the Society itself. There were two Orders, the Higher and the Lower. Only those, who were priests could be admitted to the former, and they alone had voting powers, and the right of electing to the Society, while the Government of the Society was entirely in their hands. In the Lower Order, through which all who were elected to the Society at first passed, Deacons and Candidates for Holy Orders were admitted. In Synod and Chapter, each took his place according to seniority of admission to the Society, while in Synod the greater occasion was marked by each being properly vested in cassock, surplice and biretta.
While the Society was in its infancy, priests were frequently elected into the Society subject to their afterwards consenting to join it. In this way the Rev. G. C. White and the Rev. F. H. Murray were brought to the Society in 1855. Others were the Rev. G. W. Huntingford, Vicar of Littlemore, formerly a master at Winchester, and later Rector of Barnwell, Oundle; the Rev. C. Gutch, then at St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, and later for so many years of St. Cyprian's, Marylebone; the Rev. W. J. E. Bennett, Frome; the Rev. T. T. Carter, Clewer, and the Rev. T. Chamberlain, St. Thomas', Oxford. Very early in the list came Dr. Pusey, and a little later the Rev. J. R. Woodford, afterwards Bishop of Ely, and the Rev. H. P. Liddon. Bishop Woodford was twice elected, but there is no evidence of his having been admitted into the Society. Dr. Pusey was altogether in accord with it. In January, 1856, a Special Meeting was held by his desire, in order that the Society might confer with him, and he was at the previous meeting elected, conditionally on his expressing a wish to join the Society. On April 4th, he was again present at a Conference and asked leave to join the Society. On April 26th, 1856, Dr. Pusey was duly received into the Lower Order, and by Dispensation (common in those days) into the Higher Order on the same day. On May 3rd of the same year, he was admitted to the White Rule, which he had helped so much to frame; elected Senior Vicar; and on the same occasion, at the Master's request, delivered "a short address on the Aim and Duties of the Priestly Life, and the cultivation of Personal Holiness." Three years after that we find him taking an active part in the first Local Chapter of the Society, held at Oxford, in: June, 1859 the subject being the formation of "the Association for Intercessory Prayer," which apparently grew out of or was at the first attached to, S.S.C.
Dr. Pusey retired from the Society in its first decade, presumably because personally he was not drawn to ceremonial. Its aim, spirit and doctrine he never rejected: On two notable occasions in its after history, when great odium fell on S.S.C., he gave his name and powerful influence in defence of the truth which occasioned the odium. When, in 1873, the Petition to Convocation was presented asking for duly licensed confessors and was replied to by the Primate with such strangely forgetful words and historical inaccuracies; it was Dr. Pusey who sent the famous "Declaration" to the Times, on December 6th, 1873, signed by the learned theologians of the Catholic party and the most experienced priests of the English Church. And again when, in 1877, the unseemly storm shrieked round The Priest in Absolution, it was he who chivalrously stepped forward and took the entire blame upon his own shoulders, declaring that it was his own negligence in not publishing earlier, as he had undertaken to do, Gaume's Advice on Hearing Confessions, which had occasioned the production of the book and aroused the storm. Thus Dr. Pusey, although no longer as Member of the Society, was ever ready to stand with it when sacramental truth associated with S.S.C. became the object of attack. An interesting entry in the first Minute Book throws some light, perchance, upon that blame which Dr. Pusey took to himself. On January 10th, 1859, while Dr. Pusey was still a Member of the Society, Dr. Littledale called the attention of the Society to the want of a suitable Manual of Confession for the use of English Priests, and suggested that the Society should endeavour to supply it by obtaining the services of some competent men for the compilation of a new one." There is no account of any action, being taken for the preparation of a book, although it may have suggested itself to Dr. Pusey's mind. It was probably the real origin of The Priest in Absolution. What was arranged was that there should be Clerical Meetings at St. Barnabas' Pimlico, for the study of Moral Theology in order to meet the want for a time.
Having had two months and five days probation, and twelve months actual formation, the Society met for its First Synod on Saturday, May 3rd, 1856. The First Mass of S.S.C. was said in the temporary Church of All Saints', Margaret Street, the Master (C. F. Lowder) was the Celebrant, the Reverends D. Nicols and J. N. Smith acting as Assistants. After Mass and breakfast, the-proceedings began at 11.30, in the Oratory of the Clergy House, No. 10 Great Titchfield Street. The Brethren present were:C. F. Lowder, A. Poole, J. N. Smith, D. Nicols, W. H. Lyall, F. H. Murray, G. C. White, C. Caffin, C. J. Goulden, E. B. Pusey. The Rev. Bryan King, Rector of St. George's East, was received to the Lower Order, and by special dispensation to the Higher. It was arranged that all the monthly meetings during the year should be held at 10 Great Titchfield Street. From 1857 and during the remaining years of the Society's infancy, the Synod usually met at St. Mary's, Crown Street, or the House of Charity.
During these early years, between 1856 and 1859, there were two special good works to which the Society devoted', all its heart and soul, and for which it will always deserve to be honoured. One was the foundation of the St. George's Mission, and the other the Revival of Retreats. The idea which the Founders of S.S.C. had of Missions was evidently, at the first, not what afterwards was understood by the word, preaching in a parish for a period of say ten days, but the establishment of a continuous Mission in the first practically heathen district that they could get admission to. And for St. George's Mission the Society made itself wholly responsible, both as to funds and management, until it outgrew its earnest beginnings. The story has been fully told in Twenty-one Years in St. George's Mission and in Charles Lowder, a Biography. Its standing memorial is St. Peter's, London Docks.
It was on Ash Wednesday, February 6th, 1856, that the work began, and the plan was to preach three times a week in a schoolroom in the locality of St. George's in the East, whose Rector, the Rev. Bryan King, gave the warmest welcome to the venture the young Society offered to make. Handbills had been previously circulated in the neighbourhood, and the order of the Service was simply Lesson, Hymn, Sermon, and Prayer. For these Services the Brethren of the Society made themselves responsible, and a Rule was adopted by all the Society to say a prayer every morning, noon and night for what was being done; and another Prayer on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at the time of the Services. The Minute Book of the Society abounds in touching allusions to the trials and progress of the struggling effort. On March 12th, 1856, for example, it was noted, "that after some time, on February 27th, a change of place was made from 49 St. George's Street, to Lower Well Alley. In this most destitute place much opposition was made, the mob resorting to the throwing of missiles and mud at the clergy, in addition to blasphemy and violent language. The opposition had subsided at last, but it was generally felt that to do any lasting good there must be a resident Priest on the spot."
In June there was a great difficulty about securing a Mission House. The landlord would not allow the erection of a wooden Chapel within thirty feet of the house. An iron church, to cost £400, was regarded as out of the question, and a tent was suggested. But on September 16th the Society met in Synod at the Mission House, Calvert Street, "for blessing the House and Conference," Mass being said in the Oratory after laying the Foundation Stone of the temporary chapel. On November 11th, " A gentleman having offered a complete set of vestments to the Mission on condition of their being used, it was thought best to decline the offer for the present."
Again, on July 6th, 1857, the Minutes give evidence of the Mission being in difficulties, but always full of heart."On the proposition of the Committee, viz. that the house at present occupied by the Mission Priests in Well-close Square should be given up for the purpose of a Refuge, and that the two Priests should make arrangements for living as far as practicable in the Vestry of the Chapel during the summer months, their meals being served from the Sisterhood, the Master read a letter from Br. King, suggesting that if the present house was given up for the Refuge, a smaller one should be taken for the Clergy, who should be supplied from the Sisters' House."
In the same way and at the same time as St. George's Mission, the idea of Retreats sprang up in the Society. And it is wonderful to read how diligently the notion was laboured at, and made progress step by step, until it assumed the form with which most devout folk are now familiar. The idea seems to have been to provide an Annual Retreat every July for the Society itself, and at first none but Members of the Society were admitted. It was some time before Conferences on all manner of spiritual and practical subjects gave, place to silence in Retreat and, under the instruction and advice of Fr. R. M. Benson the practice of sitting instead of kneeling throughout the whole of the Meditations was adopted. At the first of these Retreats, which was held at Chislehurst, on 1 July 18th, 1856, there was no silence and there were no meditations. But there was held a "Spiritual Conference" after Nones, special subjects were chosen, for Prayer and Intercession at Mass, and all the Day Office was said. The first Retreat proper, with its complete rules of silence and other discipline, as distinguished from the previous half-system method, was given at Chislehurst in July, 1858, and to it a few Externs were admitted. The second took place also at Chislehurst the following year, and amongst those who attended was Bishop Forbes of Brechin. The following interesting statement concerning it, is to be found in his life:
"The picturesque old rectory at Chislehurst has the honour of inaugurating a species of devotion, which, whether under the name of Retreats or Quiet Days, have become so universally prevalent since, as to be a thing of annual or more frequent occurrence, not only in towns, but often in remote villages. Actually the first Retreat took place at Chislehurst in July, 1858. It was conducted by Father Benson. The second took place, also by the .kindness of Mr. Murray, at his rectory, on July 12th and 13th of the following year. It was conducted by Mr. T. T. Carter of Clewer; and Bishop Forbes was a Retreatant among about twelve others, including C. F. Lowder, A. H. Mackonochie, and G. Cosby White. It was the recollection of the addresses then given that furnished the basis of a Retreat given by the bishop himself to his Dundee clergy in 1869. The bishop's addresses on that occasion were afterwards reprinted in pamphlet form for private circulation.
Although many events were stirring the Church at large during the years of the Society's birth and infancy, and in their public life the members were taking their part, yet there is little or no trace of these controversies in the internal life of the Society. With the exception of the Roll, which was ordered to be printed in 1859, the Society printed none of its transactions till 1866. Its early years were chiefly devotional and the attitude of the Brethren, in their relationship of the Society, one of passive endurance. They were years of probation and of discipleship,"We have dedicated ourselves to Him under the Invocation of His Cross, and may venture to see in each fresh trouble, a token that He has accepted our offering. It is hard for us to realise the full meaning of this dedication. The title of our Society'The Society of the Holy Cross," of the still shorter and more common-form, SSCis so quickly said, that we easily forget its application to our own lives. Clearly it is to the thing, not to the name, that we pledge ourselves; to the consecrating of each thought and feeling to the Cross, and to Him Who hung thereon." This, in the words of its most illustrious Master, was the real aim of the Society of the Holy Cross.
That this stimulated the members to bear their parts in the warfare of the Church, during the stirring events which were taking place, we have significant token. When the English Church Union came into being, the following members of S.S.C. were placed as Clerical Representatives upon its first Council,T. T. Carter, J. G. Chambers, B. King, C. J. LeGeyt, W. H. Lyall and W. R. Wroth. In some of the proceedings, which marked the early years of the E.C.U., we find the Rev. W. H. Lyall taking a chief part in the proposals for:"The Increase of the Episcopate," and also in the criticisms which "The Clergy Relief Bill" raised, while the Rev. W. R. Wroth was chosen as the first speaker on "The Divorce Question."
The case of the Rev. Alfred Poole, St. Barnabas', Pimlico, in 1858, aroused as much Catholic indignation as it did litigation. The Bishop of London (Tait) had taken away Mr. Poole's licence for having heard a woman's confession. The woman later on was tampered with by outsiders opposed to the Church's teaching, and her words were distorted into imputations for which there was not the slightest evidence obtainable. The Bishop's unfair action was upheld by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Sumner), who also unfairly refused to hear Mr. Poole. Forced by a mandamus from the Court of Queen's Bench, when the Judge (Cockburn) said most emphatically "Mr. Poole shall be heard," the Archbishop heard the appeal, but confirmed the Bishop's action. Mr. Poole applied to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council for leave to appeal against the Archbishop's decision. The Archbishop and Bishop did not appear. Mr. Poole subsequently renewed his application, but the Prelates were again not represented, although their officials watched the proceedings privately. The Judicial Committee admitted the appeal and the Bishop was ' cited to appear. The case eventually raised the whole question of relations between bishops, incumbents and curates, which the E.C.U. took up. An able letter addressed to the Bishop of London,"On Confession and Absolution," by the Hon. and Rev. R. Liddell, Vicar of St. Paul's, Knightsbridge, was published in 1858. In it the Church's doctrine on Confession was upheld and proved, the Bishop's mistaken opinions were exposed, and Mr. Poole vindicated clearly and justly. An Appendix gave a copy of the whole correspondence and of the petitions sent to the Bishop by the Faithful of St. Barnabas'. Refused any further work in his Diocese by the Bishop of London, Mr. Poole was received by the Rev. John Keble, at Hursley, and was his curate for a year. Then for a time he became a master at Harlow Grammar School, and later Vicar of Purbrook, and from 1886 Rector of Laindon Hills, Romford. It will be remembered that. Alfred Poole was one of the six original Founders of S.S.C. He outlived all the early brethren of the Society and passed away on January 23rd, 1904. He is still well-remembered and revered by the more senior brethren of the Society. He was a great moral theologian and in difficult questions arising out of that sacrament, for which he had suffered, his opinions were widely sought. The effect of his suffering drew much attention to the Sacrament of Penance and helped greatly, under the Divine blessing, to revive and extend its use.
The story of the riots at St. George's in the East, which raged from 1859 to 1862, has been often told. These riots are only; mentioned because they were contemporary with the first decade of S.S.C., and were occasioned by the successful work of the Society's first members. Bryan King, the cultured, courteous and kindly-hearted Rector, had joined the Society in 1856, and had opened the door so that the ardent missioners of S.S.C. might make their venture in his parish. It was truly said of him that during these special strenuous years, "he had violated no law, but was refused the protection of the law." He had been Rector of St. George's for twenty years when he resigned and left in 1862 for, Avebury, where he remained Vicar until his death, January; 30th, 1895.
As to the many other external events which moved the Church, there is no necessity to trench on ground which has received, in other ways, a far more careful examination. These have been related on many occasions and viewed from many angles, both historical and biographical. Of the first brethren of S.S.C. and the part they took in the Catholic Movement, the world already knows. There have been written and published the Lives of C. F. Lowder, Bryan King, Bishop Venables, A. H. Mackonochie, T. T. Carter, R. M. Benson (Letters), J. L. Lyne (Fr. Ignatius), G. R. Prynne, A. H. Stanton, and the standard work of Dr. Pusey's Life, as well as numerous sketches and memories, which appeared from time to time, while Wakeling's Recollections of the Oxford Movement, gave an epitome of the work of the Revival, with mention of the names of nearly all those who were prominent in helping it forward.
There were other giants among the early Fathers of the Society whose size was not one whit diminished, even though they reached not the distinguishing mark of special biography. Just as in a building, that masonry is usually the most attractive and serves the greater use, which is not composed uniformly of stones the same size, but accommodates itself to the structure, so was it with the early building up of S.S.C. There were the special big stones, and there were those also, whose other size and shape served to build it a storey higher. There was J. Newton Smith, one of the six Founders and the first Secretary. He left London in 1858 for Wilmcote, then, after working in various places in the Midlands, and for a short time in Kent, he went eventually to a Lincolnshire parish. Having to resign this through ill health, his increasing infirmity caused him to withdraw from the Society in 1894. He would not belong to it when he found himself through physical weakness unable to fulfil its Rules. It was a Spartan act rather to be admired than imitated.
The Rev. Francis H. Murray, whose father had been Bishop of Rochester from 1827 to 1860 and was the last bishop to wear a wig in the House of Lords, became Rector of Chislehurst in 1846. The restored church had from that time its daily prayers, frequent Communions, festal services, and was one of the first to be kept open all day for private devotion. He joined the Society almost at its foundation and became the instrument of its initiative work. Mr. Thomas Charrington, resident Churchwarden of Chislehurst, with a big business in Shadwell, was informed by Mr. Murray of the Society's desire to find a suitable sphere for the experiment of a preaching mission. On his information being conveyed to Mr. Bryan King, we already know the good use which the latter made of it. Mr. Murray, together with the Rev. G. Cosby White, were the two first to go, after the Ash Wednesday opening by Father Lowder and J. Newton Smith. Mr. Murray was an active member of the Society for many years, but retired from it in 1878. He was the author of many devotional works and of a catena of authorities on the Holy Communion. He also, in collaboration with his friend the Rev. Sir Henry Baker, did some of the work of compilation of Hymns Ancient and Modern.
Richard Collins, then of St. Bartholomew's, Moor Lane, also joined the Society in 1855. He and his brother Henry had recently come to London. They were both able priests. Richard eventually became Vicar of St. Saviour's, Leeds, where he died, November 25th, 1876. Henry, it may be mentioned, worked for a short time; at St. George's in the East; afterwards he became a Roman Catholic. To him we owe the hymns, "Jesu, meek and lowly," and "Jesu, my Lord, my God, my all."
The year 1856 brought to the Society C. S. Caffin, a near neighbour of F. H. Murray, at Westerham, and afterwards of Broadway, Worcestershire, and also the Rev. T. Chamberlain, Vicar of St. Thomas's, Oxford, a student of Christ Church, and, afterwards an honorary canon. He was a man of scholarship, ability, determination and energy. Bishop Forbes was once his curate. He was the Founder in 1847 of the Community 'bearing the name of his parish, the; second Sisterhood in origin of the Revival. He was a prolific writer of small books on simple dogmatic teaching and guides to devotion, and edited from 1846 to 1868 The Ecclesiastic, a theological monthly publication, to which the greatest English-Catholic theologians of the day contributed. He was also responsible, from 1847 to 1883, for The Churchman's Companion, a magazine both popular and instructive, the old numbers of which are read, when obtainable, by Catholic neophytes even to-day. He died in 1892. The same year (1856) saw the entry into the Society of the Revs. C. Harrison, E. W. Huntingford, T. W. Mossman and W. H. Lyall, and these were followed the succeeding years by the Revs. C. J. Eagleton, J. E. Binney, E. D. Cleaver, E. H. Davies and J. A. Foote. Other early members of the Society at this time were, first, the Rev. Charles Lyford. Of him Mr. Wakeling wrote,"Mr. Lyford had been curate to Dr. Mountain at Hemel Hemp-stead, and afterwards at St. Barnabas', Pimlico, and was one of the most hard-working. He was a specimen of the ever-cheerful, kind, helpful, most active and energetic, at home with people of his own standing, and just as much so on the poorest woman's room or cottage, and ready to help in the most practical way. Nothing put him out, and they enjoyed a good laugh right heartily. He took charge for some years of the daily Litany at one o'clock at St. Ethelburga's Church, Bishopsgate Street, in conjunction with the churchwarden and precentor of St. Bartholomew's (Moor Lane), Mr. Spenser Nottingham, Canon Bristow (then a layman in the City), and a few others; only once, I think, was he away, and then by direction of the vicar, the Rev. J. M. Rodwell, the precentor sang the Litany up to the Lord's Prayer. Mr. Lyford left St. Bartholomew's to help the Rev. T. Simpson Evans, rector of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, and was the first incumbent of St. Michael's in that parish, where he was succeeded by Mr. Nihill, his curate." He died June 29th, 1867. About the same time as Charles Lyford came Dr. R. F. Littledale. His learning was enormous. He had taken a brilliant degree at Trinity College, Dublin, and carried off some of its best prizes. At the time he joined the Society, he was working as an assistant curate with the Rev. J. C. Chambers, at St. Mary's, Crown Street. His physical weakness: from a disease of the spinal cord compelled him to resign parochial work and direct his abilities into other channels. He was a theologian, historian, mystic, canonist and man of letters. It was said of him that he could quote Pickwick and Martin Chuzzlewit, as readily as he could repeat poem after poem, and Father after Father. He was a prolific writer and reviewer. Controversial works, ecclesiastical articles, reviews of fiction, acrostics and hymns came in a steady stream from his pen. Probably one of his best pieces of work was the completion of the Mystical Commentary on the Psalms, begun by Dr. J. M. Neale. Indeed he wrote the greater part of it. It was a monument of his deep acquaintance with the writings of the Fathers of the Church, no less than with her mediaeval authors. He did gigantic work for the Catholic Movement, not only in its spiritual aspect but also on the liturgical side. The great part he took in conjunction with the Rev. J.E. Vaux (who joined the Society in 1860) in compiling The Priest's Prayer Book was an indication of this. It was said of Dr. Littledale, at the time of his death in 1890, that he found Ritualism among scholars, antiquarians, and dilettanti, but vulgarised it, in the true sense of the word, by giving it to the common crowd, and by finding reasons and justifications for those who used it. He was undoubtedly one of the greatest powers the English Church possessed in the last half of the nineteenth century.
The Rev. J. Edwards (afterwards known as Baghot de la Bere) joined the Society in 1858. He was Vicar of Prestbury, and became one of the victims of the Church Association, After being harassed in the Courts, he resigned his benefice, which he had held since leaving St. Paul's, Knightsbridge in 1860. He became Vicar of St Mary's, Buxted, in 1890.
Some other well known priests who joined the Society in the early sixties were,the Revs. W. H. Lanphier, H. A. Walker, W. R. Wroth, T. W. Burridge, L. Rivington, T. W. S. Collis, B. Abbott, W. F. Adams, A. Tooth, H. S. Bramah, F. K. Statham, H. D. Nihill, T. S, Barrett, C. Parnell, J. Going, R. L. Page, G. R. Prynne, E. P. Williams, H. J. Palmer, and others. By this time there were eighty-six names upon the Roll.
The fulfilment of the Society's tenth year saw it well established. It had spread from London and its Brethren were scattered over the country, doing their own individual work in the consciousness of a spiritual power gained by the bond of association and of interest in the work of the Society. In 1866 the Society printed for the first time the record of its Synod, or the Address, which the Master gave, reviewing what had been done.
The Masters during these ten years were:Father Lowder for the first three (1855-1858); Father G. Cosby White for the next succeeding four (1858-1862); Father J. C. Chambers (1862-1863). In 1863, Father Mackonochie, who had joined the Society in 1859, was elected to the Mastership and he held the Office for thirteen years in succession, tie was not one of the Founders, but he so truly interpreted their design and ideals, to which was added his own wisdom, fervour, fearlessness and sanctity, that he became the real Master Builder of S.S.C.