IN answer to a Correspondent who had asked, "on what authority," certain "statements" in Dr. Pusey's Tract on Baptism, pp. 133--135, rested, the Editor of the Magazine in question had made the following remarks:--
We are not sure that we perfectly understand all H. C.'s remarks; and we differ from his opinion that Bishop Burnet "ought to be allowed to have great weight in controversies respecting the doctrines of our Church." But, in reply to the question which he puts to us, as to "what authority" the doctrine which he quotes from the Oxford Tracts rests upon, we can only say, Upon the authority of the darkest ages of Popery, when men had debased Christianity from a spiritual system, a "reasonable service," to a system of forms, and ceremonial rites, and opera operata influences; in which, what Bishop Horsley emphatically calls "the mysterious intercourse of the soul with its Creator," was nearly superseded by an intervention of "the church"--not as a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments are "duly administered according to Christ's ordinance," as the Church of England defines it--but as a sort of "mediator between God and man," through whom all things relating to spiritual life were to be conveyed. Those who could not understand that "God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth," and those who had neither the reality nor "the appearance of spiritual life," readily allied themselves to a religion of ceremonials, in which the Church stood in the place of God. And as the Popish priesthood found their gain in encouraging these ritual and non-spiritual views 6f Christianity, they eventually prevailed throughout Christendom, till the Reformation restored the pure light of Scripture, and taught men to look less to the priest and more to God; less to "outward and visible signs," and more to "inward and spiritual graces;" and not to infer, that, because their names stood upon the register of baptism, it was therefore enrolled in the Lamb's book of life, when there was no "appearance" of spiritual vitality in their heart or conduct.
This fatal reliance upon signs, to the forgetfulness of the things signified, was rendered more proclivous, from the circumstance that in the early church persecution so purified its ranks, that there was little temptation for men to call themselves Christians who were not such in heart; and as adult converts were the first candidates for baptism, the outward and visible sign of regeneration was not resorted to till the inward and spiritual grace was already actually possessed; for there had been spiritually "a death unto sin and a new birth unto righteousness," before the party applied to make a public confession of his faith in Christ, at the risk of subjecting himself to all the secular perils which it involved.
We have devoted so many scores, nay, hundreds, of pages to the questions propounded in the extract from the Oxford Tracts (especially at the time of the Baptismal Controversy, upon occasion of Bishop Mant's tract, when not a few of our readers were thoroughly wearied with the discussion), that we are not anxious to obtrude a new litigation; but we have readily inserted the extract furnished by our correspondent, because, nothing that we could say would so clearly show the unscriptural character of the whole system of the Oxford Tracts, as to let them speak for themselves. When the Christian reader learns that Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and Job, and David, and Isaiah, and Daniel, were not regenerate persons, were not sons of God, were not born again, but that Voltaire was all this, because he had been baptized by a Popish priest, we may surely leave such an hypothesis to be crushed by its own weight. It is the very bathos of theology, an absurdity not worthy to be gravely replied to, that men were "sanctified," "greatly sanctified;" were the friends of God, that "the Spirit of God dwelt in their hearts, and wrought therein incorruption, self-denial, patience, and unhesitating, unwearied faith;" who yet, having been "by nature born in sin, and the children of wrath," and never having been baptized, so as to be made "the children of grace," were still "unregenerate," and therefore, in Scripture language, "children of the devil." Sanctified, unregenerate friends of God! The Spirit of God dwelling in men, who, not being "born again," were of necessity, being still in their natural condition, "children of the devil!" What next?
We defy a score of Dr. Hampdens, even were they to give lectures in favour of pure Socinianism, to do so much mischief to the cause of religion, in a high academical station, as is done by setting forth such doctrine as that contained in the following passage from one of the Oxford Tracts;--for Socinianism makes no pretensions to be the doctrine of the Church of England, nor do any members of that church profess to find it in Scripture; whereas the absurdity, the irrational fanaticism, the intellectual drivelling under the abused name of faith, which dictates such sentiments as the following, must disgust every intelligent man, and make him an infidel, if he is really led to believe that Christianity is a system so utterly opposed to common sense. The writer complains, that "We have almost embraced the doctrine, that God conveys grace only through the instrumentality of the mental energies, that is, through faith, prayer, active spiritual contemplations, or (what is called) communion with God, in contradiction to the primitive view, according to which the church and her Sacraments are the ordained and direct visible means of conveying to the soul what is in itself supernatural and unseen. For example, would not most men maintain, on the first view of the subject, that to administer the Lord's Supper to infants, or to the dying and insensible, however consistently pious and believing in their past lives, was a superstition? and yet both practices have the sanction of primitive usage. And does not this account for the prevailing indisposition, to admit that Baptism conveys regeneration? Indeed, this may even be set down as the essence of Sectarian doctrine (however its mischief may be restrained or compensated, in the case of individuals), to consider faith, and not the Sacraments, as the instrument of justification and other Gospel
Did ever any man, but the most ignorant Popish fanatic, till these our modern days, write thus? Administering the Lord's Supper (by which we feed upon Christ, "by faith, with thanksgiving"--that is, in a purely spiritual banquet) to infants, or to the dying or insensible, is not superstition, if it can be proved that there were in some former age some persons weak and ignorant enough to act or advocate such folly and impiety! Why not equally vindicate the Pope's sprinkling holy water upon the horses, or St. Anthony's preaching to the fishes? We will only say, Let those who adopt a portion of this scheme, and not the whole, mark well whither they are tending. Upon the showing of the Oxford Tracts themselves, the whole system hangs together. You are to adopt some irrational mystical system, by which grace is conveyed--not through "faith, prayer, active spiritual contemplations, or (what is called) communion with God," but--in the same manner that the Lord's Supper conveys grace when administered to an infant, or an insensible person. We have never been extreme in our views respecting the language used in our Liturgy concerning Baptism. We have thought that the words might be consistently used, either in reference to the undoubted privileges of Christian baptism; or in faith and charity, upon the principle stated in the Catechism, where it is said, "Why then are infants baptized, when, by reason of their tender age, they cannot perform them? (faith and repentance.) Because they promise them both by their sureties; which promise, when they come to age, themselves are bound to perform." Upon either of these principles we can cheerfully use our Baptismal Service. But if the use of it is to sanction the doctrine stated in this tract; if we are to believe that baptism "conveys to the soul what is in itself supernatural and unseen," in the selfsame way that the Popish wafer is alleged to convey grace to infants and insensible persons--(why not to idiots?)--and if our Church Service is to be tortured to bear this meaning; then we confess, that the sooner such a stumbling-block is removed the better. The Oxford Tract writers will not allow us to connect the outward and visible sign of Baptism, or the Lord's Supper, with the inward and spiritual grace, through the medium of "faith, prayer, active spiritual contemplations, or (what is called) communion with God," but only through the selfsame channel by which "primitive usage" supposed grace to flow to an infant or insensible person, when operated upon with the holy Eucharist. Nay, they sneer at and ridicule "what is called" communion with God (poor Bishop Horsley's "mysterious intercourse of the soul with its Creator"), as being something so "called," but without warrant; whereas true communion with God is through the intervention of "the Church:" by which intervention there is this communion when the priest puts a consecrated wafer upon the lips of an infant or insensible person. The Church of England teaches, after Holy Scripture, that we are "justified by faith;" Professor Pusey teaches that the Sacraments are the appointed instruments of justification. The learned Professor ought to lecture at Maynooth, or the Vatican, and not in the chair of Oxford, when he puts forth this Popish doctrine. It is afflicting beyond expression to see OUT Protestant Church--and in times like these--agitated by the revival of these figments of the darkest ages of Papal superstition. Well may Popery flourish! well may Dissent triumph! well may Unitarianism sneer! well may all Protestantism mourn, to see the spot where Cranmer and Latimer shed their blood for the pure Gospel of Christ, overrun (yet not overrun, for, blessed be God, the infection is not--at least so we trust--widely spread) with some of the most vain and baneful absurdities of Popery. We ask Professor Pusey how, as a conscientious man, he retains any office in a church which requires him to subscribe to all the Thirty-nine Articles, and to acknowledge as Scriptural the doctrines set forth in the Homilies? Will any one of the writers, or approvers of the Oxford Tracts, venture to say that he does really believe all the doctrines of the Articles and Homilies of our Church? He may construe some of the offices of the Church after his own manner; but what does he do with the Articles and Homilies? We have often asked this question in private, but could never get an answer. Will any approver of the Oxford Tracts answer it in print?
The demand here made had been met; and the following number of the Magazine had contained the following notice on the subject.
In reply to the communication of the Rev.------, of------College, requesting to know whether we will insert a letter in which he says he is prepared "both as regards Dr. Pusey and the Oxford Tracts" to furnish an answer to our inquiry, how the writers reconcile some of the statements in them respecting the Sacraments, with some of those in the Articles and Homilies; we can only say, that we are surprised that he should think it necessary to ask the question; for what honesty or love of truth would there be in our putting a query, and refusing to insert a responsible and properly written reply?
The following letter was the consequence of this permission.
Letter to the Editor of the ----- -------.
------ College, Jan. 11, 1837.
Sir,--Through that courtesy, which is on the whole characteristic of your Magazine, in dealing with opponents, I am permitted to answer in its pages the challenge, made in a late number, to Dr. Pusey and the writers of the Tracts for the Times, on certain points of their theology. The tone of that challenge, I must own, or rather the general conduct of your Magazine towards the Tracts, since their first appearance, has been an exception to its usual mildness and urbanity. However, I seize, as an ample amends, this opportunity of a reply, which, if satisfactory, will, as appearing in its pages, be rather a retractation on your part than an explanation on mine.
One would think that the Tracts had introduced some new articles of faith into English theology, such surprise have they excited in some quarters; yet, much as they have been censured, no attempt, that I know of, has been made to prove against them--I will not say, article of faith, but--even any theological opinion, which is not consonant to that religious system which has been received among us since the date of the Ecclesiastical Polity. Indeed, nothing is more striking than the contrast exhibited in the controversy between the great definiteness and precision of the feelings, and the vagueness of the outcry, raised against these Tracts. From the excitement on the subject for the last three years, one would think nothing was more obvious and tangible than the offence they contained; yet nothing, not only to refute, but even to describe their errors definitely, has yet been attempted. Extracts have been made; abuse has been lavished; invidious associations excited; irony and sarcasm have lent their aid: their writers have been called Papists, and Non-jurors, and Lauds, and Sacheve-rells, and that not least of all by your own Magazine: yet I much doubt whether, as far as you have thrown light on the subject, its readers have, up to this hour, any more definite idea of the matter than they have of Sacheverell himself, or of the Non-jurors, or of any other vague name which is circulated in the world, meaning the less the oftener it is used. If they were examined, perhaps they would not get beyond this round of titles and epithets: or, at the utmost, we should but hear that the Tracts were corruptions of the Gospel, human inventions, systems of fallible men, and so forth. These are the fine words which you give them to feed upon, for bread.
Even now, Mr. Editor, when you make your formal challenge concerning Dr. Pusey, you do not distinctly and pointedly say, as a man who was accusing, not declaiming, what you want answered. You ask, "will any of the writers or approvers of the Oxford Tracts venture to say that he [Dr. Pusey] does really believe all the doctrines of the Articles and Homilies of our church?" [The Editor meant by "he," not Dr. Pusey, but "any of the writers," &c.] How unsuitable is this! Why do you not tell us which doctrine of the Articles you have in your mind, and then prove your point, instead of leaving us to guess it? One used to think it was the business of the accuser to bring proof, and not to throw upon the accused the onus of proving a negative. What! am I, as an approver of the Tracts, to go through the round of doctrines in Articles and Homilies, measuring Dr. Pusey first by one, then by the other, while the -------- sits still, as judge rather than accuser? What! are we not even to have the charge told us, let alone the proof? No; we are to find out both the dream and the interpretation.
So much for the formal challenge which your Magazine puts forth; and I can find nothing, either in the remarks which precede it, nor in its acceptance of my offer, precisely coming to the point, and informing me what the charge against Dr. Pusey is. It is connected with the Sacraments: you wish him and his friends, according to your subsequent notice, "to reconcile some of the statements in them [the Tracts] respecting the Sacraments, with some of those in the Articles and Homilies!" In your remarks which precede the challenge, you do mention two opinions which you suppose him to hold, which I shall presently notice; but you are still silent as to the Article or Homily transgressed. This is not an English mode of proceeding; and I dwell on it, as one of the significant tokens in the controversy, what is the real state of the case and its probable issue? Here are two parties: one clamorous loudly and profusely against the other, and does no more; that other is absorbed in its subject, appeals to Scripture, to the Fathers, to custom, to reason, in its defence, but answers not. Put the case before any sharp-sighted witness of human affairs, and he will give a good guess which is in the right. If, indeed, there is one thing more than another that brings home to me that the Tracts are mainly on the side of Truth--more than their reasonings, their matter, and their testimonies; more than proof from Scripture, or appeal to antiquity, or sanction from our own divines; more than the beauty and grandeur, the thrilling and transporting influence, the fulness and sufficiency of the doctrines they desire to maintain--it is this: the evidence which their writers bear about them, that they are the reviled party, not the revilers. I challenge the production of any thing in the Tracts of an unkind, satirical, or abusive character; any thing personal. One Tract only concerns individuals at all, No. 73; and that treats of them in a way which no one, I think, will find to be any exception to this remark. The writers no where attack your Magazine, or other similar publication, though they evidently as little approve of its theology, as your Magazine that of the Tracts. They have been content to go onward; to preach what is positive; to trust in what they did well, not in what others did ill; to leave truth to fight its own battle, in a case where they had no office or commission to assist it coercively. They have spoken against principles, ages, or historical characters, but not against persons living. They have taken no eye for eye, or tooth for tooth. They have left their defence to time, or rather committed it to God. Once only have they accepted of defence, even from a friend, a partner he indeed also, but not in those Tracts which he defended. This, then, is the part they have chosen; what your Magazine's choice has been, is plain even from the article which leads me to write this letter. We are there told of Oxford writers, "relying on the authority of the darkest ages of Popery," of their advocating "the bathos in theology, an absurdity not worthy to be gravely replied to," of their "absurdity," "irrational fanaticism," "intellectual drivelling," of their writing like "the most ignorant Popish fanatic," of their "sneering and ridiculing," of their reviving the "figments of the darkest ages of Papal superstition," "some of the most vain and baneful absurdities of Popery;" and all this with an avowal you do not wish to discuss the matter. Brave words surely! Well and good, take your fill of these, Mr. Editor, since you choose them for your portion. It does but make our spirits rise cheerily and hopefully thus to be encountered. Never were such words on one side, but deeds were on the other. We know our place, and our fortunes; to give a witness and to be contemned, to be ill used and to succeed. Such is the law which God has annexed to the promulgation of the truth; its preachers suffer, but its cause prevails. Be it so. Joyfully will we all consent to this compact; and the more you attack us personally, the more, for the very omen's sake, will we exult in it.
With these feelings, then, I have accepted your challenge, not for the sake of Dr. Pusey, much as I love and revere him; not for the sake of the writers of the Tracts; but for the sake of the secret ones of Christ, lest they be impeded in their progress towards catholic truth by personal charges against those who are upholding it against the pressure of the age. As for Dr. Pusey himself, and the other writers, they are happy each in his own sphere, wherever God's providence has called them, in earth or in heaven; and they literally do not know, and do not care, what the world says of them.
Now, as I have already said, I cannot distinctly make out the precise charge brought against Dr. Pusey; that is, I cannot determine what tenet of his is supposed to be contrary to which of the 39 Articles. However, you condemn two, the notion that the Sacraments may, for what we know, in certain cases be of benefit to persons unconscious during their administration; and next that Regeneration is a gift of the new covenant exclusively. I will take them in the order you place them.
1. And first of Regeneration, as a gift peculiar to the Gospel.--You remark upon a passage from Dr. Pusey's work on Baptism (in which he contrasts regeneration and sanctification, and says, that the former is a gift of the Gospel exclusively, the latter of all good men), thus: "We have devoted so many scores, nay, hundreds of pages to the questions propounded in the extract from the Oxford Tracts (especially at the time of the Baptismal controversy, upon occasion of Bishop Mant's Tract, when not a few of our readers were wearied with the discussion), that we are not anxious to obtrude a new litigation; but we have readily inserted the extract furnished by our correspondent, because nothing that we could say would so clearly show the unscriptural character of the whole system of the Oxford Tracts, as to let them speak for themselves."--Now, it might seem at first sight as if they were an inconsistency in persisting for some years in speaking instead of us, then suddenly saying it is best to let the Tracts "speak for themselves," and then, in the very next sentences, relapsing in eandem cantilenam, into the same declamatory tone of attack as before; but there is really none. In each case you avoid discussion, which, as you candidly confess, and very likely with good reason, you are tired of. I doubt not you are discouraged at finding that you have still to argue what you have already done your utmost to settle. Or rather, if you will let me speak plainly, and tell you my mind, perhaps there has been that in the religious aspect of the hour, which has flattered many who agree with you, and perhaps yourself, that the day of mere struggle was past, and that of triumph was come; that your principles were professed by all the serious, all the active men in the Church, the old defenders of opposite views drooping or dying off; and that now, by the force of character, or by influence in high places, they would be secured a permanent impression upon our religious system. And if so, you are not unnaturally surprised to find "uno avulso, non deficit alter;" to find a sudden obstacle in your path, and that from a quarter whence you looked not for it; and, in consequence, you feel stimulated to remove it hastily rather than courteously. And hence, partly from weariness, partly from vexation, you prefer to act as if you were judge rather than-----, and to pronounce sentence by acclamation, not after discussion. If all this be so, you are quite consistent, whether you quote our words without comment, or substitute your own comment for them. In one point alone you are irretrievably inconsistent, to have inserted your challenge at the end of the article.
But what is the very doctrine that has created this confusion? Dr. Pusey's asserting (after the primitive teachers) that the old Fathers, though sanctified, were not regenerated. Is this, after all, the doctrine which is against the Articles, and such that he who holds it should quit his Professorship? In which of them is a syllable to be found referring to the subject, one way or the other--except so far as they tend our way, as implying, from their doctrine of regeneration in baptism, that those who are not baptized, and therefore the Old Fathers, are not regenerate? If, then, the plain truth must be spoken, what your Magazine wishes is to add to the Articles. Let this be clearly understood. This Magazine, which has ever, as many think, been over-liberal in its interpretations of our Services, and in concessions to Dissenters, desires to forge for us a yoke of commandments, and, as I should hold, of commandments of men. Years ago, indeed, we heard of much from it in censure of Bishop Marsh's Eighty-seven Questions; but it would seem that your Magazine may do what a Bishop may not. In reviewing those Questions, in 1821, it pointedly spoke of the wisdom of the framers of the Royal Declaration prefixed to the Articles, which prescribes that they shall be taken in no new or peculiar sense; contrasting, to use its own words, "the spirit of peace, of moderation, of manly candour, and comprehensive liberality, which breathes throughout this Declaration, with the subtle, contentious, dogmatical, sectarian, and narrow-minded spirit which," it proceeded, "we grieve to say, pervades the Bishop of Peterborough's Eighty-seven Questions." (----- March 1821). But why is liberality to develope on one side only? Why must Baptismal Regeneration be an open point, but the Regeneration of the Patriarchs a close one? Why must Zuinglius be admitted, and the school of Gregory and Augustine excluded? Or do persons by a sort of superstition so cleave to the word Protestant, that a Saint who had the misfortune to be born before 1517 is less of kin to them than heretics since? But such is your Magazine's rule: it is as zealous against Bishop Marsh for coercing one way, as against us for refusing to be coerced the other.
Will it be said that Dr. Pusey and others would do the same, if they could; that is, would limit the Articles to their own sense? No; the Articles are confessedly wide in their wording, though still their width is within bounds; they seem to include a number of shades of opinion. Your Magazine may rest satisfied that Dr. Pusey's friends will never assert that the Articles have any particular meaning at all. They aspire, and (by God's blessing) intend, to have a successful fight; but not by narrowing the Articles to Lutheranism, Calvinism, or Zuinglianism, but as feeling that they are contending for the Truth, and that Providence seems wonderfully to be raising up witnesses and champions of the Truth, not in one place only, but at once in many, as armed men from the ground.
But to return. It is hard to be put on our defence, as it appears we are, for opinions not against the Articles; but be it so. Let us hear the form of the accusation. Your Magazine speaks thus: "When the Christian reader learns that Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and Job, and David, and Isaiah, and Daniel, were not regenerate persons, were not sons of God, were not born again; but that Voltaire was all this, because he had been baptized by a Popish priest; we may surely leave such an hypothesis to be crushed by its own weight." To be sure the hypothesis is absurd, if your Magazine's own sense is to be put upon the word "regenerate;" but it will be observed, that it all depends upon this; and it is not evident that it will be absurd when Dr. Pusey's own sense is put upon his own words. If all who are sanctified are regenerate, then I say, it is absurd to say that Abraham was not regenerate being sanctified. On the other hand, if only Christians are regenerate, then it is absurd to say that Abraham was regenerate, being not a Christian. What trifling upon words is this! what is the use of oscillating to and fro upon their different meanings? Your business, Mr. Editor, was to prove his sense wrong, not to assume your sense and interpret his words by it; else, when you assert, "no one shall enter heaven, unless regenerated on earth," he, in turn, might accuse you, quite as fairly, of denying the salvation of Abraham, because, in his view, Abraham was not regenerated on earth.
I will now state briefly the view of Dr. Pusey, derived from the goodly fellowship of the Fathers, proved from Scripture, and called by your Magazine "the very bathos of theology." All of us, I suppose, grant that the Spirit in some sense is given under the Gospel, in which it was not given under the Law. The Homily (2d on Faith) says so expressly: "Although they," the Old Testament saints mentioned Heb. xi., "were not named Christian men, yet was it a Christian faith that they had: God gave them then grace to be His children, as He doth us now. But now, by the coming of our Saviour Christ, we have received more abundantly the Spirit of God in our hearts, whereby we may conceive a greater faith, and a surer trust, than many of them had. But, in effect, they and we be all one: we have the same faith," &c. Though man's duties were the same, his gifts were greater after Christ came. Whatever spiritual aid was vouchsafed before, yet afterwards it was a Divine presence in the soul, abiding, abundant, and efficacious. In a word, it was the Holy Ghost Himself; who influenced indeed the heart before, but is not revealed as residing in it. Now, when we consider the Scripture proof of this in the full, I think we shall see that this special gift, which Christians have, is really something extraordinary and distinguishing. And, whether it should be called Regeneration or no, so far is clear, that all persons who hold that there is a great gift since Christ came, which was not given before, do, in their degree, incur your Magazine's censure, as holding a "very bathos of theology." You might say of them, just as of Dr. Pusey, "When the Christian reader learns that Abraham was sanctified, yet 'had not the Spirit because that Jesus was not yet glorified,' we may leave the hypothesis to be crushed by its own weight."
Now, according to Scripture, I contend, first, that there is a spiritual difference between Christians and Jews; and, next, that the accession of spiritual power, which Christians have, is called Regeneration. Let it be understood, however, that I am not desirous here to bring proofs of the doctrine, for which you have no claim on me; but to show your readers that, even at first sight, it is not so utterly irrational and un-plausible a notion as to account for your saying, "What next?" in short, to show that the "absurdity" does not lie with Dr. Pusey.
The Prophets had announced the promise. Ezek. xxxvi. 25--27: "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean ... a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you . . . and I will put My Spirit within you." Again, xxxvii. 27: "My tabernacle also shall be with them." Vid. also Heb. viii. 10. In Isai. xliv. 3, the gift is expressly connected with the person of the Messiah: "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon Thy seed, and My blessing upon Thine offspring."
Our Saviour refers to this gift as the promise of his Father, Luke xxiv. 49; Acts i. 4. He enlarges much upon it, John xiv--xvi. It flows to us from Him: "Of His fulness have all we received." (John i. 16.)
St. John expressly tells us it was not given before Christ was glorified (John vii. 39). In like manner St. Paul says, that, though the old fathers lived by faith, yet they received not the promise" (Heb. xi. 39). And St. Peter, that even the prophets, though they had the prophetic Spirit--"the Spirit of Christ which was in them"--yet, after all, had not "the glory which should follow;" which was "the Gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven;" the Spirit, in the special Christian sense. Consider also St. Paul's use of the term "spirit," e. g., Rom. viii., as the characteristic of the Gospel.
It is described in the New Testament under the same images as it is promised in the Old,--a tabernacle, and a fount of living water (1 Cor. iii. 17; vi. 19; 2 Cor. vi. 16--18; John iv. 14; vii. 38).
Nothing, I think, but the inveterate addiction to systematising so prevalent, can explain away texts which so expressly say that we have a Divine presence which the Jews had not.
Now, secondly, is this gift to be called Regeneration? I grant that in one sense all the terms applicable to Christian privileges are also applicable to Jewish. The Jews were "sons of God," were "begotten" of God, had "the Spirit," saw "the glory of God," and the like; but, in like manner, the Saints in heaven, as their peculiar gift, will see "the glory of God," and Angels are "sons of God;" yet we know that Angels and Saints are in a state different from the Jews. The question, then, still remains open, whether, in spite of the absence of discriminating terms, Christians also have not a gift which the Jews had not, and whether the word regeneration, in its proper sense, does not denote it.
Our proof, then, is simple. The word regeneration occurs twice only in Scripture: in neither can it be interpreted to include Judaism; in one, most probably in both, it is limited to the Gospel; in Titus iii. 4, 5, certainly; and in Matt. xix. 28, according as it is stopped, it will mean the coming of Gospel grace, or the resurrection.
Such is some small portion of the Scripture notices on the general subject, which I bring to show that Scripture does not so speak as to make the view maintained by Dr. Pusey, with all Saints, guilty of absolute "absurdity" on the face of the matter, and a "bathos in theology." And the following consideration will increase this impression. In truth the view in question is simply beyond, not against, the opinion of your Magazine. It is a view which the present age cannot be said to deny, because it does not see it. The Catholic Church has ever given to Noah, Abraham, and Moses, all that the present age gives to Christians. You cannot mention the grace, in kind or degree, which you ascribe to the Christian, which Dr. Pusey will not ascribe to Abraham; except, perhaps, the intimate knowledge of the details of Christian doctrine. But he considers that Christians have a something beyond this, even a portion of that heaven brought down to earth, which will be for ever in heaven the portion of Abraham and all saints in its fulness. It is not, then, that Dr. Pusey defrauds Abraham, but your Magazine defrauds Christians. That special gift of grace, called "the glory of God," is as unknown to the so-called religious world as to the "natural man." The Catholic Religion teaches, that, when grace takes up its abode in us, we have so superabounding and awful a grace tabernacled in us, that no other words describe it more nearly than to call it an Angel's nature. Now mark the meaning of this. Angels are holy; yet Angels before now have become devils. Keeping this analogy in view, you will perceive that it is as little an absurdity to say that Abraham was not regenerate, as to say that he was not an Angel; as little unmeaning to say that Voltaire was regenerate, as to say he became a devil, as Judas is expressly called. Let me suit one or two of your sentences to this view of the subject, and then I will release you from the trouble of hearing more upon it. You will then speak thus: "When the Christian reader learns that Noah, Abraham, and Moses, were not Angels, yet that Voltaire was a devil, we may surely leave such an hypothesis to be crushed by its own weight. It is the very bathos of theology--an absurdity not worthy to be gravely replied to--that men are sanctified, the friends of God, had the grace of God in their hearts, and yet were not Angels. Sanctified, non-angelic friends of God! grace dwelling in any but Michael, Gabriel, the Cherubims and the Seraphims? What next?"
Alas! sir, that you should so speak of your own privileges! Perhaps it is my turn now to ask you, "What next?" and this I mean to do. Before proceeding to the other opinion attributed to Dr. Pusey I wish to see what you will say to what is now offered you. Only I would remark, that the subjects which I have not yet touched upon are to come, when due attention shall be shown to your remarks about Justification, the Homilies, and kindred points.
March 3, 1837.
2. I now proceed to the second of the charges which you made against Dr. Pusey. After saying what is necessary, I shall, as I promised, notice the subject of Justification, the Homilies, and the Articles; and shall intersperse the discussion with some remarks, as brief as is practicable, on the various matter "ramblingly and cursorily set before your readers," as you happily express it, in your animadversions on the portion of my letter already published.
That portion occupies not so much as seven pages of your larger type, and that in the course of two numbers. It has elicited from you in answer about sixty pages of your closest. I think then I have a claim in courtesy, nay in justice, that you should put in the whole of this reply without a word of your own. I will not embrace the entire subject in it, but leave one portion for an after Number of your Magazine, that you may not say I burden you with too much at once. But what I send, I hope to see inserted without mutilation. Do grant me this act of fairness--you will have months upon months, nay, the whole prospective duration of your Magazine, for your reply; I, on the other hand, limit myself to one letter. All I ask is the right of an Englishman, a fair and uninterrupted hearing.
The second charge you bring against Dr. Pusey is this:--that he holds that the sacraments may, for what we know, in certain cases, be of benefit to persons unconscious during their administration. You quarrel, however, with this mode of stating his supposed opinion; you say, "Mr. ------ misstates what we said. We were denying the utility of administering the Lord's Supper to infants or insensible persons, as the Papists employ extreme unction; which Mr. ------ skilfully turns into a charge of our denying that there is any benefit in Infant Baptism" (p. 124). Now, I must think you leave the matter as you found it. You have said, the notion of the Holy Eucharist benefitting infants was "an absurdity," "intellectual drivelling," "irrational fanaticism," &c. I ask, then, why is not the doctrine that Holy Baptism benefits them, all these bad things also? Surely you are speaking of the very notion of infants being benefited by means of external rites, when you say it implies "a system utterly opposed to common sense." You must mean there is an antecedent absurdity; antecedent to a consideration of the particular case. You speak, just as I have worded it, against the very notion that "the sacraments," one as well as the other, "may, for what we know, in certain cases, be of benefit to persons unconscious during their administration." What is an absurdity when supposed in one case, is an absurdity surely in the other. I cannot alter my wording of your objection.
Next let us consider the very passage which has led you to use these free epithets. It stands thus: "We have almost embraced the doctrine that God conveys grace only through the instrumentality of the mental energies, that is, through faith, prayer, active spiritual contemplation, or (what is called) communion with God, in contradiction to the primitive view, according to which the church and her sacraments are the ordained and direct invisible means of conveying to the soul what is in itself supernatural and unseen. For example: would not most men maintain, on the first view of the subject, that to administer the Lord's Supper to infants, or to the dying and insensible, however consistently pious and Believing in their past lives, wag a superstition? and yet both practices have the sanction of primitive usage. And does not this account for the prevailing indisposition to admit that baptism conveys regeneration? Indeed, this may even be set down as the essence of sectarian doctrine (however its mischief may be restrained or compensated in the case of individuals), to consider faith, and not the sacraments, as the instrument of justification and other Gospel gifts."--These words you attribute to Dr. Pusey. You say," Professor Pusey teaches that the sacraments are the appointed instruments of justification; the learned Professor ought to lecture at Maynooth, or the Vatican, and not in the chair of Oxford, when he puts forth this Popish doctrine." Again, in pp. 118, 119, you speak of Dr. Pusey's saying that the grace of the sacrament is unconnected "with the mental energies, that is, through faith, prayer, active spiritual contemplations, or what is called communion with God;" (here you interpose of your own "for shame, Dr. Pusey, to speak thus lightly of 'communion with God!'"); that "to administer the Lord's Supper to infants, or to the dying and insensible," is not "superstition," but "a practice having the sanction of primitive usage;" and "primitive usage," you add, "the Oxford Tracts" [Tracts for the Times] "teach is of Apostolical authority." It is quite clear you attribute the above sentences to Dr. Pusey.
Now, Mr. Editor, let me ask you a question. Should any one accuse you of having written them, should you not be startled? Supposing I boldly attributed them to you, and retorted your interjection of indignation upon yourself, would you not consider it somewhat outrageous? Should I have any reason to complain if you accused me of exceeding assurance, of being under a delusion, or at least of unpardonable carelessness? Be judge, then, in your own case. Those sentences no more belong to Dr. Pusey than to you. They are not in his Tract. They are not his writing. No one man is chargeable with the work of another man. Not even were Dr. Pusey to profess he approved the general sentiment of the passage, would you have any right to charge him with the very wording of it. Every man has his own way of expressing himself; I have mine, and you have yours. Dr. Pusey might approve the sentiment, yet criticise the wording. All these strong sayings then against Dr. Pusey, are misdirected. Learn, Mr. Editor, to be sure of your man, before you attack him.
To proceed. The words occur in the Advertisement to the second volume of the Tracts. Let us examine them, whosoever they are. Now, in what they say about administering the Holy Eucharist to children or the insensible, they do not enforce it, as you suppose, on "Apostolical authority." A usage may be primitive, yet not universal; may belong to the first ages, but only to some parts of the Church. Such a usage is either not apostolical, else it would be every where observed; or at least not binding, as not being delivered by the apostles as binding. For instance, the Church of Ephesus, on St. John's authority, celebrated the Easter-feast after the Jewish manner, on the fourteenth day of Nisan; yet such a custom is not binding on us. Now supposing I said, "the great reverence in which the Jewish dispensation was held in the best and purest ages, is shown in this, that the quartodeciman usage has primitive, nay, Apostolic sanction;" must I necessarily mean that all Christendom, and all the Apostles, observed Easter on the fourteenth day? must I mean that we are bound to keep it on that day? must I mean to extol such a usage, and to advocate it? Apply this instance to the sentence of this writer who is not Dr. Pusey, this Pseudo-Pusey, as I may call him; and see whether it will not help your conception of his meaning. He does not say, he does not imply, that to administer the Second Sacrament to infants is Apostolic; he does not consider it a duty binding to us. He does but say, that, since it has a sanction in early times, it is not that "absurdity," "irrational fanaticism," and so forth, which your Magazine says it is: and his meaning may be thus worded: "Here is a usage existing up and down the early church, which, right or wrong, argues quite a different temper and feeling from those of the present day. This day, on the first view of the subject, calls it an absurdity; that day did not." Surely it is fair to estimate inward states of mind by such spontaneous indications. To warn men against the religious complexion of certain persons at present, I should point to the Pastoral Aid-Society, though some who agree with them in general sentiments may not approve it. To describe that of our Bishops 130 years since, I should refer to the then attempt, nearly successful, of formally recognising the baptism of Dissenters. Again, the character of Laud's religion may be gathered even from the exaggerated account of his consecrating St. Catherine Cree's church, without sanctioning that account.
When such indications occur in primitive times, though they are not of authority more than in modern times, yet they are tokens of what is of authority,--a certain religious temper, which is found every where, always, and in all, though the particular exhibitions of it be not. In like manner the spiritual interpretations of Scripture, which abound in the Fathers, may be considered as proving the Apostolicity of the principle of spiritualizing Scripture; though I may not, if it so happen, acquiesce in this or that particular application of it, in this or that Father. And so the administration of the Lord's Supper to infants in the church of Cyprian, Saint and Martyr, is a sanction of a principle, which your Magazine, on the other hand, calls "an absurdity," "intellectual drivelling," and "irrational fanaticism." For my part, I am not ashamed to confess that I should consider Cyprian a better interpreter of the Scripture doctrine of the Sacraments, of "the minding of the Spirit" about them, than even the best divines of this day, did they take, which I am far from accusing them of doing, an opposite view. You, however, almost class him among, and at least make him the associate and abettor of, "ignorant fanatics," p. 119.
Now, if this interpretation of the passage in question be correct, as I conscientiously and from my heart believe it to be, it will follow that you have not yet made good even the shadow of a shade of a charge of opposition to the Articles--not only against Dr. Pusey, but against the Tracts generally; for no one can say that any one of the Articles formally forbids us to consider that grace is conveyed through the outward symbols; while, on the other hand, one of them expressly speaks of "the body of Christ" as "given," as well as "taken, in the Supper;" words, moreover, which are known to have meant, in the language of the day, "given by the administrator," and therefore through the consecrated bread. At the same time, let it be observed I do not consider the writer of the Advertisement to say for certain that the outward elements benefit true Christians when insensible; only as much as this, that we cannot be sure they do not.
Before closing this head of my subject I shall remark on the words upon which you exclaim, "For shame, Dr. Pusey!" though he has no reason to be ashamed of what he did not write. They are these: "or what is called, communion with God." You often mistake, Mr. Editor, by not laying the emphasis on the right word in the sentence on which you happen to be commenting. This is a case in point. The stress is to be placed upon the word "called"--"what is called communion with God." The author meant, had he supplied his full meaning, "what is improperly called." There is nothing to show that he denies "the communion of saints" with God and with each other, and, in subordination to the mystical union, the conscious union of mind and affections. He only condemns that indulgence of mere excited feeling which has now-a-days engrossed that sacred title.
To show that this is no evasion or disingenuousness on my part (for you sometimes indulge in hints about me to this effect), I will give your readers one or two more instances of the same failing in your mode of arguing, and one a very painful instance.
For example: I said, in the former part of my letter, that Dr. Pusey's friends insist on no particular or peculiar sense of the Articles,--a fault which I had just charged upon you. I had said you were virtually imposing additions: then I supposed the objection made, that we should do so, had we the power,--as is often alleged. To this I answer, "Your Magazine may rest satisfied that Dr. Pusey's friends will never assert that the Articles have any particular meaning at all." You have missed the point of this sentence: accordingly, you detach it from the context, and prefix it to the opening of the discussion, before it appears in its proper place in print; and when it does appear, you print it in italics. This is taking a liberty with my text. However, to this subject I shall have occasion to recur.
Another instance occurs in your treatment of the Homilies and Mr. Keble. The Homily speaks of "the stinking puddles of men's traditions." You apply this as an answer to Mr. Keble's sermon, who speaks of God's traditions, even those which St. Paul bids us "hold;" and who considers, moreover, that no true traditions of doctrine exist but such as may be proved from Scripture; whereas the Homily clearly means by men's traditions, such as cannot be proved from Scripture. You would have escaped this mistake, Mr. Editor, had you borne in mind that traditions "devised by men's imagination" are not Divine traditions, and that it as little follows that Catholic Traditions are to be rejected because Jewish and Roman are, as that the Christian Sabbath is abolished because the Jewish is abolished. But you saw that Mr. Keble said something or other about tradition, and you were carried away with the word.
The last mistake of this kind is a distressing one. I hardly like to mention it; so serious is it. I must call it an "idle word." It is a charge brought against Dr. Pusey. He has said; "To those who have fallen, God holds out only a light in a dark place, sufficient for them to see their path, but not bright or cheering, as they would have it; and so, in different ways, man would forestall the sentence of his Judge; the Romanist by the sacrament of penance, a modern class of divines by the appropriation of the merits and righteousness of our blessed Redeemer." You add three notes of admiration, and say, "We tremble as we transcribe these awful words," p. 123. I dare not trust myself to speak about such heedless language as it deserves. I will but say, in explanation of your misconception, that Dr. Pusey compares to Roman restlessness, not the desiring and praying to be clothed, or the doctrine that every one who is saved must be clothed, in "the merits and righteousness of our blessed Redeemer," but the appropriation of them without warrant on the part of individuals. He denies that individuals who have fallen into sin have any right to claim them as their own already; he denies that they may "forestall the sentence of the Judge" at the last day; he maintains they can but flee to Christ, and adjure Him by His general promises, by His past mercies to themselves, by His present distinct mercies to them in the Church; but that they had no personal assurance, no right to appropriate again what was given them plenarily in baptism. This is his meaning; whereas you imply that he denies the duty of looking in faith to be saved by Christ's merits and righteousness; that he denies backsliders the hope of it. If you do not imply this, if you really and simply mean that the act of claiming Christ's merits by this or that individual (for of this Dr. P. speaks) is, as you express it, "a most Scriptural and consoling truth," and that it is "blasphemous," but for "the absence of wicked intention in the writer," to compare to the Roman penance the confidence which sinners are taught to feel that their past offences are already forgiven them,--if this be your meaning, I am wrong, but I am charitable, in saying you have mistaken Dr. Pusey.
Now I come to the consideration of (q) the Homilies, (2) the Articles, and (3) Justification. And first concerning the Homilies.
1. You ask, "How do these clergymen ...... reconcile their consciences to such declarations as those which abound in the Homilies, affirming that the Church of Rome is 'Antichrist,'" &c.? And you say that you are considered "persecutors" or a persecutor, because you ask how I and others "reconcile such things in the Homilies with the Oxford Tracts." Who considers you a persecutor? not I; nor should I ever so consider you for asking a simple question in argument. What I have censured you for, has been the use of vague epithets, calling names, and the like, which I really believe you in your sober reason disapprove as heartily as I do. For instance: I am sure you would think it wrong to proclaim to the world that such a one is an ultra-Protestant. It is classing him with a party. There are ultra-Protestants in the world, we know; but we can know so little of individuals that we have seldom right to call them so, unless they take the name. A person may hold certain ultra-Protestant notions, and we may say so; this is deciding about him just as far as we know, and no farther. The case is the same in the more solemn matters of heaven and hell. We say, for instance, that they who hold anti-Trinitarian doctrines will perish everlastingly; but we dare not apply this anathema to this or that person; the utmost we say is, that he holds damnable errors, leaving his person to God. To say nothing of the religiousness of such a proceeding, you see how much of real kindness and consideration it throws over controversy. Of course I do not wish to destroy what are facts; men are of different opinions, and they do act in sets. There is no harm in denoting this; many confess they so act. In conversation we never should get on, if we were ever using circumlocutions. But in controversy it does seem both Christian and gentlemanlike to subject oneself to rules; and as one of these, to make a distinction between opinions and persons; to condemn opinions, to condemn them in persons, but not to give bad names to the persons, till public authority sanctions it. If I think you have ought of the spirit of persecution in you--(and to be frank with you, and in observance of my own distinction, though you are not "a persecutor," you speak in somewhat of a persecuting tone,) it is not for perplexing me with questions, or overwhelming me with refutations, but because your style is "rough, rambling, and cursory." I think it like a persecutor to prefer general charges, to use unmeasured terms, to be oratorical and theatrical, and when challenged to speak definitely, to accuse the party challenging, of complaining, being angry, and the like.
Now to return to the Homilies. You ask how I reconcile my conscience to the Homilies calling Rome Antichrist, I holding the doctrines of the Tracts. To this I answer by asking, if I may do so without offence, how you reconcile to your conscience the Homilies saying that "the Holy Ghost doth teach" in the book of Tobit? how you reconcile to your "subscription" that they five times call books of the Apocrypha "Scripture;" that Baruch is quoted as a "prophet" and as "holy Baruch," Tobit as "holy Father Tobit," the author of Wisdom and the Son of Sirach as "the Wise Man," and the latter is said "certainly to assure us" of a heavenly truth; in a word, that the Apocrypha is referred to as many as fifty-three times? Here you see I have the advantage of you, Mr. Editor. Though I believe the Old and New Testaments alone to be plenarily inspired, yet I do believe, according to the Homily, what you do not believe, that the Holy Ghost spoke by the mouth of Tobit. Here you see is the advantage of what you call my "scholastic distinctions." p. 193. When I said that the great gift of the Holy Ghost, called regeneration, was reserved for Christians, and yet that the Jews might be under His blessed guidance, you said I was drawing a scholastic distinction. This is one instance on your part of calling names. What do you mean by scholastic? Beware, lest, when you come to define it, you include unwittingly the most sacred truths under it. There are persons who think the Catholic doctrines of the Trinity and Atonement "scholastic;" and so they are, but they are something more, they are Apostolic also. The church went down into Egypt before it came out of it; nor is it any proof that the distinction in question is not Scriptural, that it is, if it is, scholastic. However, any how, it serves me in good stead in this instance from the Homilies; it enables me to understand and to assent to their doctrine concerning the Apocrypha. I consider the gifts and operations of the Blessed Spirit are manifold. What He is towards Angels, towards glorified Saints as Moses and Elias, towards the faithful departed, towards Adam in Paradise, towards the Jews, towards the Heathen, towards Christians militant; what He is in the Church, in the individual, in the Evangelist, in the Apostle, in the Prophet, in the Apocryphal writer, in the Doctor and Teacher, is one and the same so far as this, that it is holy; but it may differ in kind in each case. Life is the same in all living things; yet there is one flesh of men, another of fishes, another of birds: and so the spiritual gift in like manner may be the same, yet diverse; it may be applied to the heart or to the head, as an inward habit or an external impression, plenarily or partially; for one purpose, not for another; for a time, or for ever. This view of God's gracious influences you call scholastic. I, on the other hand, call the common division, into miraculous and moral or spiritual, jejune and unauthorized. However, whether I be right or you, I am at least able to do with mine, what you cannot,--agree with the Homily. If you will not take my explanation, which I sincerely believe to be the right one, you must "reconcile your conscience" to a better; till you find one, you must reconcile it to a disagreement with the Homily.
Now I will put another difficulty to you, which will be found in the event to put you into a greater strait as regards the Homilies, than you suppose me to be in. The last Homily in the volume is "Against Disobedience and Wilful Rebellion." It is one of the most elaborate of them, consisting of no less than six parts. It advocates unreservedly the doctrine of passive obedience to the authorities under which we find ourselves by birth. I hold this doctrine, you do not. [The charge against the Magazine was not of disloyalty, but of holding the doctrine that subjects may, under circumstances, rebel against their civil governors, e. g. as in the instance of the Revolution of 1688 in England, in Greece in 1821, in Spain in 1823, in France in 1830.] Let me put before you some of the statements of this Homily,--the direct, explicit, developements of its title. "If servants," it says, "ought to obey their masters, not only being gentle, but such as be froward, as well, and much more, ought subjects to be obedient, not only to their good and courteous, but also to their sharp and rigorous princes," Part I. "A rebel is worse than the worst prince," ibid. "But what if the prince be undiscreet and evil indeed, and it is also evident to all men's eyes that he so is? I ask again, what if it belong to the wickedness of the subjects, that the prince is undiscreet and evil? shall the subjects both by their wickedness provoke God, for their deserving punishment, to give them an undiscreet and evil prince, and also rebel against him, and withal against God, who for the punishment of their sins did give them such a prince?" (ibid.) Now, considering the high Tory doctrine, as it is called, contained in extracts such as these, I call upon you, Mr. Editor, as you would earn the meed of consistency and impartiality, to designate the writers and abettors of them, and all "subscribers" to them, "Lauds and Sacheverells."
I think I have now shown that you are not the person to take my conscience to task for not receiving every sentence of the Homilies as a formal enunciation of doctrine. I might, indeed, were it worth while, enlarge upon the venturesomeness of a writer, who seems, according to my apprehension, to hold that baptism is not a means of grace, but only "a sign, seal, and pledge," p. 167, and yet uses the Liturgy, being the man to make appeals to the conscience of others. But let this pass. Here, in the very instance you bring, you do not come into court with clean hands. You shrink from certain portions of the Homilies; and yet you use strong language about my supposed difference from other portions. Under these circumstances, were I merely writing for you, I should leave you to marvel at my conscience, or to turn to your own; but I write to your readers; and in what I say in explanation of my own behaviour towards the Homilies, I may perchance do something towards excusing yours.
I say plainly, then, I have not subscribed the Homilies, though you say I have, pp. 151, 153; though you add to my subscription to the Articles this further subscription also; nor was it ever intended that any member of the English Church should be subjected to what, if considered as an extended confession, would indeed be a yoke of bondage. Romanism surely is innocent, compared with that system which should impose upon the "conscience" a thick octavo volume, written flowingly and freely by fallible men, to be received exactly sentence by sentence. I cannot conceive any grosser instance of a Pharisaical tradition than this would be. No: the Reformers would have shrunk from the thought of so unchristian a proceeding--a proceeding which would render it impossible (I will say) for any one member, lay or clerical, of the Church to remain in it, who was subjected to such an ordeal. For instance: I do not suppose that any reader would be satisfied with the political reasons for fasting, though indirectly introduced, yet fully admitted and dwelt upon in the Homily on that subject. He would not like to subscribe the declaration that eating fish was a duty, not only as being a kind of fasting, but as making provisions cheap, and encouraging the fisheries. He would not like the association of religion with earthly politics.
How, then, are we bound to the Homilies? By the Thirty-fifth Article, which speaks as follows: "The Second Book of Homilies .... doth contain a godly and wholesome doctrine, and necessary for these times, as doth the former Book of Homilies." Now, observe, this Article does not speak of every statement made in them, but of the "doctrine." It speaks of the view or cast or body of doctrine contained in them. In spite of ten thousand incidental propositions, as in any large book, there is, it is obvious, a certain line of doctrine, which maybe contemplated continuously in its shape and direction. For instance: if you say you disapprove the doctrine contained in the Tracts for the Times, no one supposes you to mean that every sentence and half sentence is a lie. If this were so, then you are most inconsistent, after denouncing them, to imply, p. 167, that they "contain much that is godly and edifying, much that you are grateful for, and much that, if separated from its adjuncts, would be highly valuable in these days of liberalism and laxity." You even give logical reasons to show that there is no inconsistency, and protest against the notion. Now, sir, I am going to turn your "medium not distributed" against yourself. I say then, that, in like manner, when the Article speaks of the doctrine of the Homilies, it does not measure the letter of them by the inch, it does not imply they contain no propositions which admit of two opinions; but it speaks of a certain determinate line of doctrine, and moreover adds, it is "necessary for these times." Does not this, too, show the same thing? If a man said, The Tracts for the Times are seasonable at this moment, as their title signifies, would he not speak of them as taking a certain line and bearing a certain way? Would he not be speaking, not of phrases or sentences, but of a "doctrine" in them tending one way, viewed as a whole? Would he be inconsistent, if after praising them as seasonable, he continued, "Yet I do not pledge myself to every view or sentiment; there are some things in them hard of digestion, or overstated, or doubtful, or subtle?"
Let us, then, have no more such superfluous appeals to our consciences in such a matter. Reserve them for graver cases, if you think you see such. If any thing could add to the irrelevancy of the charge in question, it is the particular point in which I dissent from the Homilies, even if I do, which will not be so easy to prove;--a question concerning the fulfilment of prophecy; viz. whether Papal Rome is Anti-Christ! An iron yoke indeed you would forge for the conscience, when you oblige us to assent, not only to all matters of doctrine which the Homilies contain, but even to their opinion concerning the fulfilment of prophecy. Why, we do not ascribe authority in such matters even to the unanimous consent of all the Fathers. But you allow us no private judgment whatever; your private judgment is al particular and peculiar.
I will put what I have been saying in a second point of view. The Homilies are subsidiary to the Articles; therefore they are of authority so far as they bring out the sense of the Articles, and are not of authority where they do not. For instance, they say that David, though unbaptized, was regenerated, as you have quoted. This statement cannot be of authority, because it not only does not agree, but it even disagrees, with the Ninth Article, which translates the Latin word "renatis" by the English "baptized." But, observe, if this mode of viewing the Homilies be taken, as it fairly may, you suffer; for, the Apocrypha being the subject of an Article, the comment furnished in the Homily is binding on you, whereas you reject it.
A further remark will bring us to the same point. Another test of acquiescence in the doctrine of the Homilies, is this: Take their table of contents; examine the headings; these surely, taken together, will give the substance of their teaching. Now I maintain that I hold fully and heartily the doctrine of the Homilies under every one of these headings: nor, (excepting the question of Justification, on which I am myself thoroughly convinced I hold it, and which I intend to discuss; and of Repentance, in which the Homily says not a sentence which I do not hold;) will you yourself be inclined to doubt it. The only point to which I should not accede, nor think myself called upon to accede, would be certain matters, subordinate to the doctrines to which the headings refer--matters not of doctrine, but of opinion, as that Rome is the Anti-Christ; or of historical fact, as that there was a Pope Joan, which, by the bye, I doubt whether you hold any more than I do. But now, on the other hand, can you subscribe the doctrine of the Homilies under every one of its formal headings? I believe you cannot. The Homily against Disobedience and Wilful Rebellion is in many of its elementary principles decidedly opposed to your sentiments. And yet you are the writer to tax another with not holding by the Homilies! Unless I had some experience that to be represented as "troublers of Israel" and "pestilent fellows" is the portion of those who fight against the Age, I should feel astonished at this.
I verily and in my conscience believe, that whether we take the text or the spirit of the Homilies, I do hold both the one and the other more exactly than those who question me. Do not, then, in future appeal to me, as if I for an instant granted that the Homilies were on your side;--but I propose to say more on this subject when I come to speak on Justification.
2. It follows to speak of the Articles. You imply that I put no sense at all upon them, but take them to mean any thing; and subscription to be no test or engagement of my opinions. Now is not this somewhat a strong charge to bring against a Clergyman? and particularly a member of a University which has, within the last two years, shown extraordinary, and almost unanimous, earnestness in maintaining the necessity of subscription, even in the case of undergraduates, against the external pressure? Why did not Dr. Pusey's friends quietly sit by, and leave others to set them free? Surely the facts of the case are strong enough to excuse a little charity, had persons any to give. Persons really do astonish me, after all--prepared as I am for such exhibitions--by the ease and vigour with which they fling about accusations; showing themselves perfect masters of their weapon. In one place you say that we hold that there is "not one baptized person, not one regenerated person, not one communicant, among all the Protestant churches, Lutheran or Reformed, except the Church of England and its daughter churches," p 122. Now, what would you say if we affirmed that you held that men could be saved by faith without works? You would think us very unscrupulous, and might use some strong words. Well, then, there is not a word, which you would apply to such a statement, that I might not with perfect sincerity and truth apply to yours. You have touched on a large subject, on which we have no where ventured any opinion whatever, and in which we do not hold what you have expressed--the subject of lay baptism--but on which an opinion is forthcoming when needed.-----Another remarkable exhibition of the same science is your asserting that one of the Tracts calls the Dissenters "a mob of Tiptops, Gapes, and Yawns," pp. 172, 174, 177, 185, 186. Five times you say or imply it. Now it so happens the Tract in question has nothing to do with Dissenters; but with persons who wish alterations in the Liturgy on insufficient grounds, a circumstance which in itself excludes Dissenters. To those of your readers who do not know this Tract (it is one of the parts of Richard Nelson), the following explanation will be acceptable. The subject of the Tract is the shortening of the Church Service. Tiptop is a "travelling man from Hull or Preston," who "quarters at" a public-house at Nelson's village, "sometimes for a fortnight at a time," and "dabbles in religion as well as in politics;" a man who is praised by his admirers as "talking beautifully, and expounding on any subject a person might choose to mention, politics, trade, agriculture, learning, religion, and what not." He "lectures about the Church Prayers" among other things; and I suppose it is this word "lecture" which has caught your eye, and led you into error; if so, it is a sort of indication what attention you give to the matter of the Tracts. But to continue. Yawn is a farmer whose sons go to the Church school; and he himself "scarcely ever," as he boasts, "misses a Sunday," coming into the service "about the end of the First Lesson." Ned Gape too is a church-goer, though a late one. In what sense of the words, then, Mr. Editor, do you assert that when Richard Nelson, in the end of the story, says that he "cannot stand by and see the noble old Prayer-book pulled to pieces, just to humour a mob of Tiptops, Gapes, and Yawns," that the writer calls Dissenters by those titles?
I shall give one more instance of this freedom, and then return to the consideration of the Articles. I said in the former part of my letter, that you called Dr. Pusey's belief that the old Fathers were not regenerated on earth, "the very bathos of theology." On this you observe, "Mr.------ still finds it necessary to misapply our statement.
The remark respecting 'the bathos of theology' referred to the doctrine, quoted from some old writers, of the conveyance of Divine grace to an insensible person, by placing in his lips the bread and wine by which believers partake mystically of Christ's body--not however in a state of insensibility, but 'by faith, with thanksgiving.' This obsolete superstition we did and do consider the bathos of theology; but Mr.------, not venturing to defend it, turns aside our remark, as if we had said that it is the bathos of theology that 'by the coming of our Saviour Christ,' quoting the Homily, 'we have received more abundantly the Spirit of God.'" p. 192. Now, without dwelling on the unreasonableness of saying "Mr. ------ not venturing to defend it," when the doctrine I did not defend was to be the subject of the second head of my letter, and I was engaged upon the first head; and when, after all, I was not engaged in proving my belief on these points, but demanding proof that they were against the Articles; waiving all this, let the reader reflect upon your Magazine's original words, which you now accuse me of misstating. "It is the very bathos of theology, an absurdity not worthy to be gravely replied to, that men were 'sanctified,' 'greatly sanctified,' 'were the friends of God,' &c. &c. yet .... were still 'unregenerate.'" (p. 790.) Thus you do call the non-regeneration of the Patriarchs "the bathos of theology;" and when I say so in my letter, "No," you retort, "it is a misstatement; I said the doctrine of insensible persons benefiting from the Sacrament is the bathos." It is kindest to account for this strange mistake of yours by attributing it to what you yourself are partly conscious of, your "rough and rambling" ways.
And with a like heedlessness you imply that I hold the Articles as a nasus cereus, to use the controversial term. And you wish me to caution "indiscreet 'approvers'" of the Tracts against saying that "the Articles are the weak point in our Church; we may indeed sign them, for 'is there any taste in the white of an egg.'' "All this being as pertinent, when addressed to me, as if I were to accuse you of teaching salvation by faith without works. However, such unfounded charges are, I repeat, our omen of ultimate success; I cheerfully bear them; and now proceed to disabuse at least some of your readers, and perhaps to silence yourself.
You seem to me to confuse between two things very distinct; the holding a certain sense of a statement to be true, and imposing that sense upon others. Sometimes the two go together; at other times they do not. For instance, the meaning of the Creed (and again, of the Liturgy) is known; there is no opportunity for doubt here; it means but one thing, and he who does not hold that one meaning, does not hold it at all. But the case is different (to take an illustration) , in the drawing up of a Political Declaration, or a Petition to Parliament. It is composed by persons, differing in matters of detail, agreeing together to a certain point and for a certain end. Each narrowly watches that nothing is inserted to prejudice his own particular opinion, or stipulates for the insertion of what may rescue it. Hence general words are used, or particular words inserted, which by superficial inquirers afterwards are criticized as vague and indeterminate on the one hand, or inconsistent on the other; but, in fact, they all have a meaning and a history, could we ascertain it. [Hence faith, justification, infection, &c., are used, not defined in the Articles.] And, if the parties concerned in such a document are legislating and determining for posterity, they are respective representatives of corresponding parties in the generations after them. Now the Thirty-nine Articles lie between these two, between a Creed and a mere joint Declaration; to a certain point they have one meaning, beyond that they have no one meaning. They have one meaning, so far as they embody the doctrine of the Creed; they have different meanings, so far as they are drawn up by men influenced by the discordant opinions of the day. This is what I have expressed in the former part of my letter: "the Articles," I say, "are confessedly wide in their meaning, but still their width is within bounds: they seem to include a number of shades of opinion."
Next, as to those points (whatever they are) in which they cannot be said to have one meaning. Each subscriber indeed attaches that meaning which he at once holds and thinks the meaning; but this is his "particular" meaning, and he has no right to impose it on another. In saying, then, I shall put no "particular meaning" on portions of the Articles, I spoke, not of my own belief, but of my enforcing that belief upon others. I do sincerely and heartily consider my sense of the Articles on certain points to be presently mentioned, to be the true sense: but I do not feel sure that there were not present, at the drawing up of the Articles, persons or feelings which led the framers (not as doing so on a principle, but spontaneously, from the existing hindrances to perfect unanimity), to abstain from perfect precision and uniformity of statement. What can be more truly liberal and forbearing than this view? yet for thus holding that Calvinists and others, whom I think mistaken, may sign the Articles as well as myself, I am said myself to sign them with "no meaning whatever." And you actually take my own sentiment out of my mouth, clothe it in the words of the Royal Declaration, and then gravely make a present of it to me back again, as if it were something wise and high of your own. "The Royal Declaration," you say, "prefixed to the Articles, congratulates the Church that all the clergy had 'most willingly subscribed' to them, ' all sorts taking them to be for them:' which shows that each conscientious individual had carefully examined into their meaning, and not that he signed them without attaching any 'particular meaning at all.'" p. 191. Of course, these are just my sentiments.
Accordingly I go on to say, that I look forward to success, not by compelling others to take one view of the Articles, but by convincing them that mine is the right one. And this will explain what you call my "pugnacious terms." Were I fighting against individuals or a party in the Church, this would be party spirit: but then I should wish to coerce them or cast them out; whereas I am opposing principles and doctrines--so, I would fain persuade and convert, not triumph over those who hold them. I am not pugnacious; I am only "militant."
It will explain, too, what you consider my overweening and provoking language. For I consider I am but speaking what the Catholic Fathers witness to be Christ's Gospel. I am exercising no private judgment on Scripture; and while I will not enforce it coercively, having no authority to do so, I will never put it forward hesitatingly, as if I did not think all other doctrines plainly wrong.
So much about myself. On the other hand, my charge against you is, and I repeat it, that you do wish to add to the Articles; that is, in the same sense in which you accused Bishop Marsh of wishing to do so. You wish to impose upon me your particular or peculiar notion that the Patriarchs were regenerated; which is an invasion of private judgment, as permitted in our Church, as gross as if I strove to enforce on you my particular notion, in accordance with the Homily, that the Holy Ghost spoke "by the mouth of Tobit." Till you name the particular points of opinion for which you call on Dr. Pusey to resign his Professorship, and state the Article or determination of the Church which he transgresses, I will never cease to say that you do unwittingly--not of course with bad intention--that you do wish and aim to add to the Articles of subscription.
To sum up what I have said, and be at the same time more specific. I consider that the first five Articles have one definite, positive, dogmatic view, even that which has been, from the beginning, the Catholic and Apostolic Truth on which the Church is built.
From the Sixth to the Eighteenth, I conceive to have one certain view also, brought out in that particular form at the Reformation; but, as in the Seventeenth, not clearly demonstrable to be such to the satisfaction of the world.
In the remaining Articles, taken as a body, I think there is less strictness, perspicuity, and completeness of meaning. Some, though clear and definite in their meaning, are but negative, or protestant, as being directed against the Romanists; others, which are positive, are derived from various schools; in others the view is left open, or inchoate.
The first division I humbly receive as Divine, proveable from Scripture, but descending to us by Catholic tradition also. The next I admit and hold as deducible from Scripture by private judgment, tradition only witnessing here and there. The last division I receive only in the plain letter, according to the injunction of the Declaration, because I do believe in my conscience that they were not written upon any one view, and cannot be taken except in the letter; because I think they never had any one simple meaning; because I think I see in them the terms of various schools mixed together--terms known by their historical associations to be theologically discordant, though in the mere letter easy and intelligible.
And now, lastly, I will mention why I take these last Articles in that one particular meaning in which I do take them, and not in another. This again is from no mere private liking or opinion; it is because I verily think the Church wishes me so to take them. We at this day receive the Articles, not on the authority of their framers, whoever they were, English or foreign, but on the authority, i. e. in the sense, of the Convocation imposing them, that is, the Convocation of 1571. That Convocation, which imposed them, also passed the following Canon about Preachers:--"In the first place, let them be careful never to teach any thing in their sermons, as if to be religiously held and believed by the people, but what is agreeable to the doctrine of the Old and New Testament, and collected from that very doctrine by the catholic Fathers and ancient Bishops." This is but one out of the hundred appeals to Antiquity, which, in one way or other, our Church has put forth; but it is rendered unique by its originating in the Convocation from which we receive the Articles. It is quite impossible that that Convocation wished us to receive and explain the doctrines contained in them in any other sense than that which "the catholic Fathers and ancient Bishops" drew from Scripture. Far from explaining away, I am faithfully maintaining them, when I catholicize them. It were well for themselves, had others as good a reason for Calvinizing or Zuinglizing them.
And all this shows how right I am in saying that the Articles must not be viewed as in themselves a perfect system of doctrine, p. 189. They are, on the face of them, but protests against existing errors, Socinianism and Romanism. For instance, how else do you account for the absence of any statement concerning the Inspiration of Scripture? On the other hand, the Canon of 1571, just cited, is a proof that the whole range of catholic doctrines is professed by our Church; not, only so much as is contained in the Articles. Its reception of the primitive Creeds is another proof; for they reach to many points not contained in the Articles without them. To these documentary evidences may be added the 30th Canon of 1603. Speaking of the use of the Sign of the Cross, it says, "The abuse of a thing doth not take away the lawful use of it. Nay, so far was it from the purpose of the Church of England to forsake and reject the churches of Italy, France, Spain, Germany, or any such like churches, in all things which they held and practised, that, as the Apology of the Church of England confesseth, it doth with reverence retain those ceremonies which do neither endamage the church of God nor offend the minds of sober men; and only departed from them in those particular points wherein they were fallen, both from themselves in their ancient integrity, and from the Apostolical churches, which were their first founders."
It is clear, then, that the English Church holds all that the primitive church held, even in ceremonies, except there be some particular reason assignable for not doing so in this or that instance; and only does not hold the modern corruptions maintained by Romanism. In these corruptions it departs from Rome; therefore these are the points in which it thinks it especially necessary to declare its opinion. To these were added the most sacred points of faith, in order to protest against those miserable heresies to which Protestantism had already given birth. Thus the Church stands in a via media; the first five Articles being directed against extreme Protestantism, the remaining ones against Rome. And hence, when the Royal Declaration says that they "contain the true doctrine of the Church of England, agreeable to God's word," which you quote, p. 169, as if it made against me, it speaks of the doctrine of the English church so far as distinguished from other churches: it does not say the doctrine of the Gospel, the doctrine of the church catholic, or the whole faith; but it speaks of it in contrast with existing systems. This is evident from its wording; for the clause "agreeable to God's word" evidently glances at Rome; and the history of its promulgation throws abundant light on the fact that it Was aimed against Calvinism and Arminianism. There is nothing, then, in these words to show that the Articles are a system of doctrine, or more than the English doctrine in those points in which it differs from Romanism and Socinianism, and embraces Arminianism and Calvinism.
No: our Apostolical communion inherits, as the promises, so the faith, enjoyed by the Saints in every age; the faith which Ignatius, Cyprian, and Gregory received from the Apostles. We did not begin on a new foundation in King Edward's time; we only reformed, or repaired, the superstructure. You must not defraud us, Mr. Editor, of our birthright, by turning what is a salutary protest into a system of divinity.
Before proceeding to the subject of Justification, I will conclude what I have otherwise to say on your sixty pages, by adducing some further instances of what I consider misconceptions in them.
(1.) You say (p. 120) that Mr.------in his Parochial Sermons "most unscripturally" expresses himself to this effect:--even "the most hardened sinner" may "recollect those times of his youth when he was free [pure] from sin." You say this doctrine involves a "confidence of boasting," and is "fearful." Now he uses the word "sin" in the same sense in which our Church prays that Christ may "vouchsafe to keep us this day without sin;" and "that this day we fall into no sin." It seems, then, all we of the English Church pray every morning of our lives that we may be preserved through the day in a state which involves "a confidence of boasting." Your misconception has arisen from not observing there are different kinds of sin. You may call me indeed, and the Church in consequence, "scholastic" in this distinction; I call you "technical," and my epithet is as availing as yours.
(2.) You speak, p. 146, of Mr. Hook's University Sermons as embodying some of the leading principles of the Oxford Tracts. But you do not, I suppose, mean thereby to imply that he has taken his opinions from the Tracts. No, Mr. Hook is an independent witness, who has boldly put forth the Catholic doctrines in less promising times than these, and before some of the writers of the Tracts had any formed views upon the subjects he treats of. His sermons were listened to with extraordinary interest, and have made a deep impression on the minds of his hearers. In his instance, indeed, two distinct lines of usefulness are united, which have been granted together to no other clergyman of the day; viz. the successful preaching of Catholic truth both to a manufacturing population, and to the young. I say this, lest you should seem to be paying the Tracts an honour which they cannot claim, that of having influenced Mr. Hook's opinions.
(3.) You say of the Fathers, p. 147, "they were discrepant in their opinions, so that, beyond their general testimony to a few striking particulars, above all the Divinity of our Lord, they cannot be referred to with any certainty or confidence, for the opinion of one might not be that of another, much less of the Catholic Church." Now, Mr. Editor, observe what I am going to say, and never again accuse me of wishing to enslave the Protestant mind to the Fathers. I, as well as you, hold the Fathers not to demand our assent, except on those points in which they agree together, in the same sense in which they agree in witnessing "the Divinity of our Lord." You will find nothing in the Tracts for the Times stronger than this doctrine, which it appears is your own also. You and I, then, agree in principle in the matter; we differ in the matter of fact, what doctrines are unanimously attested, and what not.
This mistake is the more remarkable, because the exposition of our view on the subject occurs in the very Tract which you analyze and discuss at length, No. 71. It is there said, "It is quite impossible that all countries should have agreed in that which was not Apostolic. They are a number of concordant witnesses to certain definite truths; and while their testimony is one and the same from the very first moment they publicly utter it, so, on the other hand, if there be bodies which speak otherwise, we can show historically that they rose later than the Apostles. This majestic evidence, however, does not extend to any but to the articles of the Creed, especially those relating to the Trinity and Incarnation," p. 28. [A misconception in unexpected quarters makes it just necessary to observe, that in the language of the Primitive Church, here used, "the Incarnation," was taken to include under it the doctrine of the Atonement.] For the future, then, do not accuse us of what we do not hold, that one Father is of authority in a point in which others are against him. This instance will be sufficient to show your readers, that at least you cannot guide them into our views concerning tradition. They had better have recourse to Mr. Hook and Mr. Keble, if not to be converted, at least to ascertain how things stand.
(4.) Here let me observe, you attribute most gratuitously, and (I must even say) officiously, this same Tract, No. 71, to Dr. Pusey; and, as assuming it to be his, you accuse him of saying that it is "safest not," p. 149, to pray to the saints; and that "what the Fathers held" would be an "irrefragable argument" against transubstantiation. Again you say, "Professor Pusey considers the Eleventh Article as having been the cause of infinite mischief, by leading to 'the wildest Antinomian doctrine;' yet that, upon the whole--bountiful concession for an Oxford Professor to the glorious Eleventh Article of the Anglican Church--it was 'innocently intended!!'" p. 155; see also p. 189. I do really think this is a very great liberty to take with Dr. Pusey's name. It is the second instance of the kind into which you have been betrayed. This is very heedless. This Tract is not Dr. Pusey's writing. Dr. Pusey has written nothing to which he has not put either his name or his initials. One should have thought even the internal evidence of style would have saved you from such an awkwardness. The writer of it is as unwilling to surrender his claim to it, as to let others bear the imputation; nor is he in danger, of losing, or Dr. Pusey of being laden with, a property which all careful readers will see to want the exuberance of thought and language which is Dr. Pusey's characteristic.
As to the principal charge brought against this Tract, that it attacks the Eleventh Article, it will be best answered by quoting the passage referred to. It is as follows. "For specimens of the perverse reception by the nation, as above alluded to, of what was innocently intended, I would refer to the popular sense put upon the Eleventh Article, which, though clearly and soundly explained in the Homily on Justification or Salvation, has been taken to countenance the wildest Antinomian doctrine; and is now so associated in the minds of many, with this wrong interpretation, as to render almost hopeless the recovery of the true meaning."
(5.) You quote Dr. Comber against us as an "argumentum ad hominem." But a single divine is no authority with us; it is as one of a catena, it is as coinciding with the consensus Patrum, in matters of doctrine, that he is valuable. There are things in Jeremy Taylor, Hooker, Ussher, Laud, and Field, which one may well scruple to admit.
(6.) You say, "As Dr. Pusey considers this anointing "in baptism" as Apostolical (and if so, it is a Divinely appointed, and therefore an essential portion of baptism), we do not see how he can use the Church of England office, which omits it; thus violating a sacred precept of transmissive religion," &c. &c.--By "ordinance of our Lord" Dr. Pusey meant baptism. But, again, he holds with the Thirty-fourth Article: that "traditions and ceremonies may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's word. He only questions the adviseableness of the alteration in the particular instance, not the legality of the act.
(7.) You say that "Mr. Palmer must surely have learned" certain "language" in his learned work on the Prayer-book, "at Trent," p. 163. Mr. Palmer does not need defence from me. I notice him merely as an additional instance how certain a writer of our Church is to be called Popish by you, if he has any learning. Depend upon it, Mr. Editor, your only chance of maintaining your ultraism, is by keeping men in ignorance of theology. If even your stanchest advocate were to study theology, he would become either a professed Rationalist, or what you would call a Papist.
(8.) You say, speaking of Sacraments, "the Church of England, you believe, has gone as far as Scripture, and not beyond it, in the threefold expression of a sign, a seal, and a pledge." p. 167 vid. also pp. 169, 180. Now it has gone further; it considers them "means of grace." Since, then, our Church would, according to you, have gone as far as Scripture in making them "signs, seals, and pledges," it follows that, in making them means, it has gone beyond Scripture. This again is heedless.
(9.) You find fault with Ussher's argument against Purgatory (viz. that it is distinct from the objects contemplated in the primitive prayers for the dead in Christ), as "injudicious." It is as I said, Mr. Editor, you cannot endure a learned man. Ussher even, in spite of his alleged Calvinism, is not enough of a Protestant for you.
However, I shall now close for the present. One subject, and a most important one, remains; that of Justification. Before I commence it, I invite you to do, what you cannot decline. You have accused me frequently of "evasions," though not intentional ones, of course. I on the other hand accuse you, instead of coming to the point, of vague and illogical declamation, though not intentional either. Now, then, state definitely what Dr. Pusey's opinions are, for which he ought to give up his Professorship; and state also why, that is, what statements of our Church his own oppose. Till you do this, I shall persist in saying you wish to add to the Articles of subscription. I challenge you to do this, and call your readers to attend to your answer; and then, in my next, I will do my best to meet it.
The letter was not continued further, partly on account of the mode in which the above was printed in the pages of the Magazine, and partly because the challenge, repeated in its closing words, had not been met.