Project Canterbury

Life of Edward Bouverie Pusey
by Henry Parry Liddon, D.D.

London: Longmans, 1894
volume three

Transcribed by The Revd R D Hacking
AD 2002










THE admission of Mr. Gorham to his new benefice under the sanction of the highest legal tribunals was a compara–tively unimportant consequence of this decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The correspond–ence of the last chapter has shown how painfully strained and anxious were the minds of many Churchmen as to what was involved in the trial. The authority of the Judicial Committee to decide in doctrinal questions had not been seriously examined so long as it was unexercised. But while the lay judges were actually engaged in this task, it was being argued by able writers that the existence of the present Court could not be justified, and yet it was only the legitimate working out of the position which the Church had deliberately adopted at the Reformation; that therefore for the last three centuries the Church of England had forfeited the right to be a true portion of Christ' s Catholic Church. When the decision was actually given, the doctrinal question was added to the previous constitu–tional difficulty, and not a few minds regarded it once more as  'the handwriting on the wall,'  which warned men that the Church of England was no safe home for believing souls.

Among those who thought thus were men of wide learning and of high reputation; and it seemed as if the events of 1845 would be repeated not in Oxford especially, but throughout the English Church. And the authorities of the Church of Rome were naturally not slow to make the most of the occasion.

 'The only resource for the Church of England in this her time of need,'  said Bishop Wiseman,  'is, I am persuaded, a return to the bosom of the Catholic Church; and I doubt not that this decision, guided as it has been by mere worldly wisdom, cannot appear other–wise than as a providential event, overruled by God for the advancement of His holy religion, and the triumph of His universal Church.'

Of the two sources of gravest uneasiness,--the doctrinal question about Regeneration and the constitutional question about the Royal Supremacy,-- the latter could only be fought out by long and careful controversy. The former subject admitted of some immediate action. The Church bad at that time no opportunity of any united expression of faith such as is now provided in the meeting of Convo–cation or even in Diocesan Synods. But it was felt that meetings of Churchmen might be held all over the country to reassert what was held to be the doctrine of the Church. Of course they were quite aware; as was said at the time, that this was a mere demonstration; but they knew that it would be of no slight weight. It was with a view to action of this kind that the London Church Union met on March 13th, five days after the decision of the Judicial Committee. Pusey had already been writing to various quarters on the different subjects at issue, in hopes as he told Keble,  'of allaying the fears of some who were terribly shaken.'  He entreated Keble to be present at the meeting of the Union, and to be a member of a sub–committee. It contained, he said,  'turbid elements, and would sadly need some oil.'  The meeting appears to have done little beyond agreeing to an address to the Bishop of Exeter, thanking him for the firm and consistent course he bad maintained, and appointing a sub-committee to consider what measures should be taken in consequence of the judgement.

That something must be done became increasingly ap–parent. While the London Church Union was endeavour–ing to organize a large public meeting in London, protests and declarations were being made in very various quarters. Of these the most important, in its terms, and in view of the names attached to it, was drawn up at a meeting held at Mr. J. R. Hope' s house in Curzon Street.


1.       That whatever, at the present time, be the force of the sentence delivered on appeal in the case of  'Gorham v. the Bishop of Exeter,'  the Church of England will eventually be bound by the said sentence, unless it shall openly and expressly reject the erroneous doctrine sanctioned thereby.

2.       That the remission of original sin to all infants in and by the grace of Baptism is an essential part of the Article-- 'One Baptism for the remission of sins.'

3.       That--to omit other questions raised by the said sentence--such sentence, while it does not deny the liberty of holding that Article in the sense heretofore received, does equally sanction the assertion that original sin is a bar to the right reception of Baptism, and is not remitted except when God bestows Regeneration beforehand by an act of prevenient grace (whereof Holy Scriptures and the Church are wholly silent), thereby rendering the benefits of Holy Baptism altogether uncertain and precarious.

4.       That to admit the lawfulness of holding an exposition of an Article of the Creed, contradictory of the essential meaning of that Article, is, in truth and in fact, to abandon that Article.

5.       That, inasmuch as the Faith is one, and rests upon one principle of authority, the conscious, deliberate, and wilful abandonment of the essential meaning of an Article of the Creed destroys the'  Divine foundation upon which alone the entire Faith is propounded by the Church.

6.       That any portion of the Church which does so abandon the essential meaning of an Article of the Creed, forfeits, not only the Catholic doctrine in that Article, but also the office and authority to witness and teach as a member of the Universal Church.

7.       That by such conscious, wilful, and deliberate act, such portion of the Church becomes formally separated from the Catholic body, and can no more assure to its members the grace of the Sacraments and the Remission pf Sins.

8.       That all measures consistent with the present legal position of the Church ought to be taken without delay, to obtain an authoritative declaration by the Church of the doctrine of Holy Baptism, impugned by the recent sentence; as, for instance, by praying licence for the Church in Convocation to declare that doctrine; or by obtaining an Act of Parliament to give legal effect to the decisions of the collective Episcopate on this and all other matters purely spiritual.

9.    That, failing such measures, all efforts must be made to obtain from the said Episcopate, acting only in its spiritual character, a re-affirmation of the doctrine of Holy Baptism, impugned by the said sentence.

H.     E. MANNING, M.A., Archdeacon of Chichester.

ROBERT I. WILBERFORCE, M.A., Archdeacon of the East Riding.

THOMAS THORP, B.D., Archdeacon of Bristol.

W. H. MILL, B.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew, Cambridge.

E. B. PUSEY, D.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew, Oxford.

JOHN KEBLE, M.A., Vicar of Hursley.

W.     DODSWORTH, M.A., Perpetual Curate of Christ Church,

WILLIAM J. E. BENNETT, M.A., Perpetual Curate of St. Paul' s, Knightsbridge.

HENRY WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, M.A., Vicar of East Farleigh.

JOHN C. TALBOT, M.A., Barrister-at-Law.


EDWARD BADELEY, M.A., Barrister-at-Law.

JAMES R. HOPE, D.C.L., Barrister-at-Law.


A second Protest, due in part, if not mainly, to Pusey' s influence, proceeded from the younger and not the least brilliant Tutors at the University of Oxford, and bore forty-five signatures. It showed that the Church feeling and faith of the University had by no means been destroyed by the secessions of 1845; and it was notorious at the time that the address was warmly sympathized with by some resi–dents who did not, for personal reasons, feel able to sign it. A close scrutiny of the document reveals the fact that it was in part modelled upon some of the declarations against Tract 90, and retorts upon the authors of the judgment of the Privy Council the charge of non-natural interpretation of the Formularies, which, nine years before, had been levelled so freely against Newman. It runs as follows:--

Whereas by the Statutes of the University of Oxford all Tutors are required to instruct the pupils committed to their charge  'especially in the Rudiments of Religion and the Articles of Doctrine set forth in the Synod held at London in the year of our Lord 1562'

And whereas it is declared in the 8th of those Articles that  'the three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles'  Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed, for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture,' --and it is an Article of the Nicene Creed,  'I acknow–ledge one Baptism for the remission of sins' ;

And whereas it is in the Formularies of the Church of England, amongst other passages containing and expressing the like doctrine, asserted of an infant  'lawfully'  baptized, that  'this infant being born in original sin and in the wrath of God, is now by the layer of Regenera–tion in Baptism received into the number of the children of God and heirs of everlasting life,' --and the same doctrine is in express terms declared in the  'Catechism to be learnt of every person before he be brought to be confirmed by the Bishop,'  to wit,  'My Baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, the child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of Heaven' ;

And whereas notwithstanding these and other like clear, distinct, and explicit assertions of the Faith of the Church of England, in common with the whole Church of Christ, principles of interpretation have recently been applied to the Formularies of the Church bearing upon the Sacrament of Baptism, by which opposite and even contra–dictory opinions may appear to be equally and indifferently tenable by Ministers and other members of the Church of England, thereby endangering the One Faith of Christ;

We the undersigned Tutors in the University, deeply persuaded of the extreme peril of all interpretations of our Articles, Creeds, and Formularies which are at variance with and evasive of their  'true, usual, literal meaning,'  and desiring to secure ourselves as instructors of youth in this University from any suspicion of agreeing with or acquiescing in such interpretations, do solemnly declare, that, in the discharge of the duties imposed upon us by the above Statutes, we teach and maintain, and, by the help of God, will continue to teach and maintain, the remission of sins to all infants, in and by the grace of Holy Baptism, and also the regeneration of the same universally by that Blessed Sacrament, not only as a tolerated opinion, but as an essential doctrine of the Church of England in common with the Universal Church of Christ.

THOMAS SHADFORTH, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of University College.

WILLIAM HEDLEY, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of University College.

EDWARD C. WOOLLCOMBE, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Balliol College.

JOHN R. T. EATON, M .A., Fellow and Tutor of Merton College.

HENRY B. WALTON, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Merton College.

WILLIAM SEWELL, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Exeter College.

WILLIAM ANDREWS, B.D., Fellow and Tutor of Exeter College.

JAMES P. TWEED, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Exeter College.

FREDERICK FANSHAWE, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Exeter College.

RICHARD C. POWLES, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Exeter College.

CHARLES DAMAN, M.A., Tutor of Oriel College.

GEORGE BUCKLE, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Oriel College.

JAMES E. SEWELL, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of New College.

WILLIAM E. C. AUSTIN, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of New College.

HENRY G. MERRIMAN, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of New College.

GEORGE G. PERRY, M .A., Fellow and Tutor of Lincoln College.

GEORGE FEREMAN, M.A., Chaplain and Tutor of All Souls College.

FREDERICK BULLEY, B.D., Fellow and Tutor of Magdalen.

EDWARD H. HANSELL, B.D., Fellow and Tutor of Magdalen.

THOMAS CHAFFERS, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Brasenose.

WILLIAM PULLING, M . A., Fellow and Tutor of Brasenose.

JOHN A. ASHWORTH, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Brasenose.

GEORGE HEXT, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Corpus Christi College.

OSBORNE GORDON, B.D., Censor of Christ Church.

EDWARD R. DUKES, M.A., Student and Tutor of Christ Church.

THOMAS P. ROGERS, M.A., Student and Tutor of Christ Church.

ARTHUR W. HADDAN, B.D., Fellow and Tutor of Trinity College.

SAMUEL W. WAYTE, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Trinity College.

THOMAS BRISCOE, B.D., Fellow and Tutor of Jesus College.

WILLIAM DYKE, B.D., Fellow and Tutor of Jesus College.

EDMUND S. FFOULKES, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Jesus College.

EVAN EVANS, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Pembroke College.

BARTHOLOMEW PRICE, M . A., Fellow and Tutor of Pembroke College.

RICHARD GRESWELL, B.D., Tutor of Worcester College.

WILLIAM ANDREW, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Worcester College.

We, the undersigned, being engaged in public instruction in the University, concur in the above Declaration.

CONSTANTINE E. PRICHARD, M.A., Fellow and Catechetical Lecturer of Balliol College.

EDMUND HOBHOUSE, M.A., Fellow and Divinity Lecturer of Merton College.

JOHN LEY, B.D., Fellow and Divinity Reader of Exeter College.

GEORGE H. HESLOP, M.A., Fellow and Assistant Tutor of Queen' s College.

NICHOLAS POCOCK, M.A., Public Examiner in Disc. Math. et Phys., Queen' s College.

WILLIAM BEADON HEATHCOTE, B.C.L., Fellow of New College.

JOHN C. ANDREW, M.A., Fellow, Mathematical and Greek Lecturer, of Lincoln College.

EDWARD HILL, M.A., Student and Mathematical Lecturer of Christ Church.

WILLIAM STUBBS, B.A., Fellow and Philosophical Lecturer of Trinity College.

GEORGE PETCH, M.A., Fellow and Rhetorical Lecturer of Trinity College.

Oxford. April 29, 1850.

This Protest was a manifesto addressed to parents by persons who were engaged in tuition and public instruction at Oxford; but two other declarations with a wider scope were drawn up and circulated among members of the University, and addressed to the Queen and the Arch–bishop of Canterbury respectively. The declaration of the Tutors had only repudiated that, particular interpretation of the Formularies which had been put forward by the Judicial Committee. The addresses to the Queen and the Archbishop refer not only to the theological import of the recent decision as implying that the teaching of the Church of England on the subject of Baptism was  'ambiguous,'  and so  'tending to produce an universal scepticism' ; but also and especially to the unsatisfactory character of the Final Court of Appeal. The Queen was prayed to give her Royal Assent to the proposal that all questions touching the doctrine of the Church of England should be referred to a Synod; that the judgment of such a Synod should be binding upon the temporal Courts; and that the question of the grace of Baptism should be referred to the Church itself in such a way as the Queen might be advised by the collective Episcopate. The Archbishop also was entreated to take such measures with advice of the Bishops of both provinces, as would ensure the ultimate decision of all doctrinal questions by a Synod, and the authoritative reaffirmation of the truth which had been called in question by the recent judgment. Both petitions were headed by venerable name of Dr. Routh, President of Magdalen. The only other Head of a House who signed was the Rev. Harington, the Principal of Brasenose. Every effort made by Professor Hussey to interest other Heads of Houses to come forward; but, from whatever cause, the application was unsuccessful. The preparation and cir–culation of these petitions had added not a little to Pusey' s usual correspondence. What form they should take was for a while under discussion.

 'Bull,'  wrote Pusey to Keble in April, 1850,  'is for a declaration rather than a petition from members of the University: what should you be for? A petition to the Crown, and for what ends? for a Synod, or for Convocation, or for both, to reaffirm the doctrine impugned? and then for a right Court of Appeal for matters of doctrine? I fear that a declaration is of no use whatever except to free individual consciences.'


April 26, 1850.

I should have thought that there could not be a better petition than Mr. Hussey' s, if we ask for Convocation generally. If, as the Bishop of Exeter recommends, and, as I suppose, is wiser and more prac–tical, we ask only for a Session to reaffirm or settle this doctrine, so as it may have been disturbed, a very simple statement would be sufficient. Asking for a new Court of Appeal is a longer business. Whenever it is done, there is one topic which I should say ought to be more dwelt on than it has generally been in petitions which I have seen for that end: viz, that the authority from which this jurisdiction, so far as it is conferred by Parliament, emanates, is not only Lay, but without the Church. Were it the Queen' s supremacy, we could bear it better, for the Queen is a Catholic Christian; but this is a restraint of her supremacy by a set of people--the House of Commons--who may be anything. I don' t feel as if I could draw it up well for the University: but if anything occurs to me I will send it.

We have got our Bishop' s reply to our Petition: very kind, but most unsatisfactory in doctrine, &c. I will send it you when copied.

People are feeling more and more that we must come to agitate for  'no Establishment.'

By all means petition, and do not only declare.

I think I like your first title best,  'Faith of the Church of England matntained, &C'           

Ever your most loving

                                J. K.

Petitions from the clergy continued all the while to pour in upon sympathetic and, more or less, unsympathetic authorities. Thus, ten were addressed to the Crown; twenty to the Archbishop of Canterbury; two to the Northern Primate; ten to the Bishop of London, including one from four Bishops of the Church of Scotland; twenty to the Bishop of Exeter; five to the Bishop of Bath and Wells; two to the Bishop of Bangor; four to the Bishop of Peterborough; three to the Bishop of Oxford; three to the Bishop of Salisbury; one to the Bishop of Winchester; one to the Bishop of Worcester; three to the Bishop of Rochester; one to the Bishop of Norwich; three to the Bishop of Chester; six to the Bishop of Ripon; seven to the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol; three to the Bishop of Chichester, and one to the Bishop of Ely; two to the Bishop (Maltby) of Durham; two to the Bishop (Prince Lee) of Manchester; two to the Bishop (Hampden) of Hereford.

While the protests were finding their way to Episcopal studies, Pusey and Keble were corresponding about the arrangements for the public meeting in London. Pusey did not like public meetings for religious objects. This was not for the selfish reason that he was not himself a good speaker in public; but because he thought that the discussion of sacred topics before general audiences, and without those restraints which are happily imposed on speakers in a church, was inevitably attended with danger either to truth or reverence. Doubtless this has occurred to many other good men; and yet they have held that in an age like ours, public meetings, with all their drawbacks, are unavoidable. So thought Pusey on this occasion.  'It may,'  he wrote to Keble,  'be a necessary evil: and might in some way be overruled to good.'

Keble thought that the risk of mischief would be lessened if the speakers at the meeting were laymen. The clergy, he thought, should have a meeting by themselves, simul–taneously with  'the great meeting, and preceded  'by a very solemn service. Delegates from the country might attend.'  The object of the clerical meeting would be  'to agree upon a memorial to all the outlying bishops in our com–munion, Irish, Scotch, American, Colonial, stating our case, and imploring aid in His Name' ; while the lay meeting addressed itself to Churchmen generally at home. The sub–committee of the London Church Union was instructed to consider these suggestions; but it proved impossible to carry them out. The clerical meeting by itself would lack sufficient weight, and the laymen desired the sanction and guidance of the clergy. Eventually one large and mixed meeting was decided on; and it was to be held at St. Martin' s Hall as soon as the result of the Bishop of Exeter' s appeal to the Court of Exchequer had become known. As the time approached it appeared that this building would not be nearly large enough for the purpose. A new impulse bad been given to the motives which prompted this meet–ing by the fate of Bishop Blomfield' s Bill for a new Court of Appeal, which had been rejected in the House of Lords on June 2nd.


35 Grosvenor Square, Monday evening, July 15, 1850.

We had a hurried meeting on Saturday, too late, as everything else has been, in which the difficulty was started, that very likely there would not be room for half the numbers. Exeter Hall was not to be had. People could not be left in the streets. Who was to receive them and speak to them in a second room, if necessary? Two names were put down; then Mayow asked me whether you would help. I doubted not that you would do anything for such an emergency. So he put down you and me. Hope was for leaving them in the street...

The great meeting, or rather meetings of July 23, 1850, more than satisfied the hopes which had been formed by earnest Churchmen. St. Martin' s Hall and Freemasons'  Tavern were filled with men whose hearts were profoundly stirred on a subject which they felt to be of vital moment. Many of them had received the Holy Communion in the early morning; and the bearing of the meeting befitted the solemnity of the occasion. It had been suggested beforehand that there was to be no applause; and those who were assembled readily acquiesced in the proposal. The effect was said to have been that of a solemn synodical assembly, deeply impressed as they were with what was due to Him Whose truth they believed to be in jeopardy among them.

In St. Martin' s Hall, Mr. J. G. Hubbard (afterwards Lord Addington) presided: the only prelate who supported him being Dr. Bagot, the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Among the speakers were men who were never to meet again on a public platform. The older days of the Oxford Movement were recalled by the Rev. W. Palmer and the Rev. W. Sewell. They had stood aloof from Pusey and Keble since the troubled years which pre–ceded Newman' s secession; but a danger which threatened the plain sense of the Prayer-book and of the Nicene Creed brought them once more into perfect harmony with their old friends. The former warned the meeting that indifference to the doctrine of the Sacraments must be followed by a general decline towards infidel opinions; the latter was not less earnest on the duty of maintaining the Church' s teaching of Baptismal Grace, but he added a warning against sympathies with Rome. Side by side with them, on the other hand, were those who had hitherto supported Anglican principles, but were already beginning to waver in their loyalty to the English Church. Archdeacon R. I. Wilberforce argued, with temperate strength, that the Church of England must recover synodical action in order to reaffirm the imperilled truth; and Archdeacon Manning, in a speech containing sentences of the truest eloquence, contended that those who were present must carry away with them a clear and definite perception of the two principles on which they had met. These principles were, first, to recognize, to venerate, and to obey, the royal supremacy known to the common law of the realm, and secondly, to safeguard complete freedom of action for the divine office of the Universal Church.

Lord Feilding, better known afterwards as Lord Den–bigh, presided. at Freemasons'  Hall, where some of the speakers in St. Martin' s Hall, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and Mr. A. J. B. Hope, repeated their arguments. But the attraction of this meeting lay in the careful and deliberate utterances of Pusey and Keble. Keble, after dwelling characteristically on the bearing of the true doctrine of Baptism on the simple religion of the poor, went on to prepare his hearers for the long delay which, as he foresaw, must ensue before the question could be satisfactorily settled. The ancient Church taught patience under trials like these. The long agony of the contest with Arianism shewed this.

 'Look,'  he said,  'at the early Church after Nicaea, A.D. 325: how long was it before she had rest from the troubles which then beset her on a chief point of doctrine? We are now in 1850, and some eager ones think it much too long to wait for 1851 or 1852 for settlement of our present trouble: but she waited until the Council of Constantinople, A.D. 381, under all sorts of interruptions and anomalies, charges of heresy, breaking of communion, &c. .. . The whole air of England seems to me to ring with voices from the dead and from the living, especially from the holy dead, all to this effect:  " Stay here; think not of departing, but here do your work." If it seems to any unsatisfac–tory let him consider that we are under appeal and have been so for three hundred years.'

Pusey' s speech combined the theological and devotional aspects of the subject in his own peculiar manner. It might have seemed more outspoken and peremptory than either Archdeacon Manning' s or Archdeacon Wilberforce' s; but its greater unreserve was the result of his greater confidence in his position.

 'We stand,'  he said,  'where two roads part, the way of the world and the way of the Church; the way of man and the way of God: the way it may be of earthly loss and heavenly gain, or the way of earthly prosperity and spiritual loss. For if the State will not, as Magna Charta pledges it, allow that  " the Church should have liberties inviolate," we must ask that the State will set us free from itself, and go forth, as Abraham, not knowing whither he went, poor as to this world' s goods, but rich with the blessing of that Seed in Whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. . . . We are met in the most solemn way. We meet having anew recited the symbol of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. We have, such of us that could, received our Lord; and such as could not, were in spirit joined with us. We there offered ourselves, our souls and bodies (how much more did we offer everything earthly which we have!) to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice to God, through Christ; and now we are met, in the name of that Saviour, to maintain that faith--our Baptismal Creed--in which we were re–generated, with which we hope to die, and which we hope to transmit, in its full meaning, unimpaired, to the children' s children of the Church. We have met, not merely to give vent to our feelings--not, by a protest, to rid ourselves of our responsibilities.'

In describing the doctrines which the meeting wished to assert, he said that they had come

 'to demand, in behalf of each Christian peasant-parent, the assur–ance that his child does not return from Baptism as it went; for the child, the supporting belief, in every hour of temptation, despond–ency, and dejection, that it has been made the child of God; for all alike, the assurance that our Church has not departed from the Apostolic faith, does not degrade the faith to the level of human opinion, to be accepted or yielded, as a child' s toy, by every one' s caprice; that our Church has not parted with any portion of the good deposit, the faith once for all delivered to the saints, that faith in God the Son, for us made flesh, whereby the Church stands secure on the rock which is Christ, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'

Then, remembering the warm discussions which were now going on in private between himself and those whose thoughts were turning towards Rome, on the true import of the Reformation Statutes, he proceeded to argue that the legislation of that day did not mean to make the State the judge in matters of Christian doctrine, but only to protect individuals against temporal injustice which might be inflicted on them by ecclesiastical courts. He pointed out at length how serious was the  'oversight'  which, as Lord Brougham had declared in the House of Lords, had been made by the Acts of 1833 and 1834, which without intending to do so had placed the decision of doctrinal questions in the hands of a Final Court of Appeal which was being constituted for other purposes: he pointed out that that body, with the wonted instinct of lawyers, would naturally be more careful  'lest they injure the vested interests of individuals than lest they injure the vested interests of our people in the faith of Christ.'  In a passage which might almost seem prophetic, when read by the light of what has since occurred, he exclaimed, with regard to the principles on which the Committee had reached its decision:--

 'Apply these principles to other articles of the Creed, and what will be the result? We believed that by no mistake could any doubt be thrown on the belief of the Church as to Baptismal Regeneration. We saw it expressed as plainly as if it were written in the sun, in all her formularies. We could not be persuaded that it could ever be judged that the Church of England did not teach that in Baptism all children were made members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. The Judicial Committee itself seems to imply that such is rather the doctrine of the Church of England, only that it is not so stringently laid down that a clerk who does not hold it can, therefore, be rejected from cure of souls. What, then, as to other sacred doctrine? It would be far more difficult to prove that one who denied, or held any false doctrine as to the inspiration of Holy Scripture, taught contrary to the doctrine of the Church of England. More difficult to prove it as to one who taught falsely as to the office of God the Holy Ghost. It would be more difficult to disprove by the letter of our formularies, the Socinian gloss on the word aionios and so to maintain that a clerk is to be rejected for denying everlasting punishments, and, by consequence, everlasting rewards, to be the doctrine of the Church of England, than to disprove that Baptismal Regeneration of all infants is part of her faith. If, as is believed, and as there are already tokens, the last struggle of the Church is to be with unbelief, what a prospect does this open before us!'

And then in conclusion:--

 'The prerogative of the Crown may be opposed [to us]: politicians may strive to subject the kingdom of Christ to the kingdom of the world; our very fathers, the Bishops, may look anxiously on, fearing lest, if the doctrine be asserted without any explanation, some should fall away from the Church. But the hearts of kings are in the hands of God. He can turn them as He willeth: politicians can do that only which He willeth before to be done. He will strengthen the hands of our Bishops, and give them wisdom and the healthful spirit of His grace. Had we prayed more sooner, we might not be in this distress. Let us ask in His name Who hath all power in heaven and in earth. Let us become ourselves more such as He will hear. Let us ask perseveringly and we shall obtain; for God gives to prayer of His own omnipotence. Oratio vincit Deum.'

The Bishop of Exeter, who had not felt himself at liberty to be present at the meeting, wrote to Pusey in terms of warm admiration.

 'My eagerness,'  he observed,  'to write to you was mainly caused by my wish to express to you my high admiration of your eloquent, and--what is far higher praise--your soul-stirring and most righteous address to the assembled Churchmen in Freemasons'  Hall. I cannot believe--in humble reliance on God' s mercy--that such appeals as yours and Archdeacon Manning' s to the high principles, which, we hope, are yet dominant in the hearts and spirits of myriads of our brethren, lay and clerical, can be in vain. But I fully feel the necessity of perseverance and activity.'

The meeting adopted five documents. The first is a Protest, contrasting the teaching of Mr. Gorham as stated in his work on  'The Efficacy of Baptism,'  with the lan–guage of the Church of England in the Prayer-book and Articles; and which, since Pusey had much to do with framing it, and it is of permanent value as a careful state–ment of the case, may here be given in its integrity.


WHEREAS, upon an appeal by the Rev. George Cornelius Gorham against the sentence of the Dean of the Arches Court of Canterbury, it has been declared by the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty' s Privy Council, in contradiction to the judgment of the Ecclesiastical Court,  'That the doctrine held by Mr. Gorham is not contrary or repugnant to the declared doctrine of the Church of England;'  and further,  'that Mr. Gorham ought not to have been refused institution to the Vicarage of Brampford Speke;'

AND WHEREAS the Reverend G. C. Gorham, being presented to the Vicarage of Brampford Speke, declared and has published:--

( 'Efficacy of Baptism,'  p. 83)--'  That no Spiritual Grace is conveyed in Baptism except to WORTHY RECIPIENTS, and'  (that)  'as Infants are by nature UNworthy recipients, being born in sin and the children of wrath, they cannot receive any benefit from Baptism, except there shall have been a prevenient act of grace to make them worthy,' -- herein declaring Original Sin (the remission of which is a promised effect of Baptism), to be a bar to the due reception of Baptism;--

AND WHEREAS the said G. C. Gorham, in accepting the Church' s statement that  'Infants which are baptized, dying before they commit actual sin, are undoubtedly saved,'  holds and has published

(p.       85),  'That they MUST have been regenerated by an act of grace prevenient to their Baptism in order to make them worthy recipients of that sacrament;'

And, moreover (p. 88), that  'the new nature MUST have been possessed by those  " who receive baptism rightly," and therefore possessed BEFORE the seal was affixed;'

(p.       " 3),  'That Faith and that filial state, though clearly to be  " ascribed to God," was given to the worthy recipient BEFORE Baptism, and not in Baptism;'

(p.       197),  'As Faith must PRECEDE beneficial Baptism, and as Justification is invariably consequent on Faith, therefore Justification also PRECEDES beneficial Baptism, and cannot be equivalent to it;'

thereby declaring that the gifts of Regeneration, Adoption, Remission of Sins, and Justification, which the Catholic Church--and in it our own--has ever taught and does teach to be given by God, in and by the Sacrament of Baptism, are given before Baptism, upon some prevenient act of grace, whereof Scripture and the Church are wholly silent;

AND WHEREAS the doctrine of the Church of England is declared as follows:--

1st. In the NICENE CREED:-- 'I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.'

2ndly. In her Two FORMS OF MINISTRATION OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE BAPTISM OF INFANTS--wherein the Priest, having baptized the child with water, in the name of THE FATHER, and of THE SON, and of THE HOLY GHOST, thus speaks :--In the Public Form-- 'Seeing now, dearly beloved Brethren, that this child is regenerate, and grafted into the body of Christ' s Church. In the Private Form-- 'Seeing now, dearly beloved Brethren, that this child is BY BAPTISM regenerate: and grafted into the body of Christ' s Church:'  and, moreover, in the previous certificate by the Minister, who saith-- 'This child, being born in original sin, and in the wrath of God, is now, by the laver of Regeneration of Baptism, received into the number of the children of God and heirs of everlasting life; for our Lord Jesus Christ doth not deny His grace and mercy unto such Infants, but most lovingly doth call them unto Him.'  And again, in  both Forms-- 'We yield Thee hearty thanks, most merciful Father, that it hath pleased Thee to regenerate this infant with Thy Holy Spirit, to receive him for Thine own child by adoption, and to incorporate him into Thy Holy Church.'

(In which said Forms the 57th Canon of the Church declares  'the doctrine of Baptism to be so sufficiently set down,'   'as nothing can be added to it that is material or necessary.' )

3rdly. In her ORDER OF CONFIRMATION, when the Bishop prays that God will strengthen His servants whom He had  'vouchsafed to regenerate by Water and the Holy Ghost,and unto whom He had given the forgiveness of all their sins.'

4thly. In her CATECHISM, which teaches that  'in Baptism we are made members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven'  . . . that'  Baptism is a Sacrament generally necessary to salvation'  . . . that  'Sacrament means an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ Himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof;'  and that  'the inward and spiritual grace in Baptism is a death unto sin, and a new birth  unto righteousness.'

5thly. In her ARTICLES, viz., in her TWENTY-FIFTH ARTICLE-- 'Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men' s professions, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace and God' s good will towards us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us.'  And again, in her TWENTY-SEVENTH ARTICLE-- 'Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christian men may be discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of regeneration or new birth, whereby as by an instru–ment they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church;'

Now, WE, the undersigned, members of the Church of England, accepting without reserve these distinct declarations of her doctrine (denying also that her deliberate and unambiguous expressions in the actual ministration of the Sacrament of Baptism are to be taken in a qualified or uncertain sense), and holding THAT ORIGINAL SIN IS REMITTED TO ALL INFANTS BY SPIRITUAL REGENERATION, THROUGH THE APPLICATION OF THE MERITS OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST IN AND BY THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM, which doctrine we, together with the whole Church, individually affirm when–ever in the recital of the Nicene Creed we  'ACKNOWLEDGE ONE BAPTISM FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS,'  do hereby solemnly repudiate and protest against the said judgment of the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty' s Privy Council; and do appeal therefrom unto a free and lawful Synod of the Church of England, when such Synod may be had;--

Because--While the Judicial Committee exclude from their abstract of Mr. Gorham' s doctrine (on which abstract alone they decide) all notice of the specific errors asserted by him in the afore-cited passages--their judgment sanctions the acceptance in an hypothetical and unreal sense of the plain declarations of the Church--suggests contra–dictory interpretations of her doctrines, and requires institution to a benefice with cure of souls of a Priest who professes doctrines utterly inconsistent with the Sacramental character of Baptism, and subversive of a fundamental article of Faith.

And Because -- through this decision touching doctrines of the Church, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council do (notwithstand–ing their formal disclaimer of  'any authority to settle matters of Faith' ), practically exercise in spiritual matters a jurisdiction for which they are utterly incompetent, and which never has been, nor ever can be, confided to them by the Church.

Besides this Protest, the meeting adopted a petition to the Queen, asking that all questions touching doctrine might be referred to the spiritualty of the Church of England, and that those impediments might be removed which now obstructed the exercise of the ancient synodical functions of the Church. In another petition the English bishops were asked to express their desire for the meeting of the Church in Synod, or at least to make some general declara–tion in favour of the impugned truth. The fourth ad–dress consisted of a vote of thanks to the bishops of the Church of Scotland for their synodical declaration on the subject of the doctrine of Baptism. Lastly there was an appeal to all members of the English Church at home and abroad for sympathy and assistance.

Two days after the meeting Archbishop Sumner re–ceived a deputation at Lambeth, who presented to him the address to the English bishops. He was courteous, but observed that he had the misfortune of disagreeing with some of the sentiments embodied in the address. He could have wished that the language of the address had been less positive and had made more allowance for differ–ences of opinion. But however courteous he might be, the well-known opinions of the Archbishop were not calculated to reassure those whom recent events had inclined to defection towards Rome. Besides there were some of these to whom the meeting and everything else intended to relieve the Church of England of moral complicity in the decision of the Privy Council were unwelcome. They had, as has been said, been disposed from the first to see in that decision a sign from heaven, bidding them no longer remain within the English Church. Keble had observed this tendency on March 19th--the day on which he and twelve others had signed the nine resolutions; and in a public letter of his, bearing that date, had warned his friends, not only against  'amusing themselves, as if nothing sacred were in jeopardy,'  but also against  'losing patience and rushing fretfully on, as though it were our duty to make the worst of every–thing.'

The class of people of whom Keble here speaks were those who felt most keenly the second great difficulty to which allusion has been made--that is, not so much the serious nature of the error which was sanctioned by the Judicial Committee, as the fact that in virtue of the Royal Supremacy such a tribunal should be allowed to deal with such a question at all. Two or three months before the Judicial Committee gave its decision, the title of the Com–mittee to do so had, as we have seen, been anxiously dis–cussed; and anxiety had gradually deepened into feelings and convections hostile to the claim of the Church of England to be a part of the Church of Christ.

A serious symptom of the impending difficulties appeared in  'A First Letter on the Present Position of the High Church Party in the Church of England, by the Rev. W. Maskell,'  which was published in February, 1850, some three weeks before the decision of the Judicial Committee. Mr. Maskell' s accomplishments as a Liturgical scholar, and his position as Chaplain to the Bishop of Exeter, invested this letter with an undeniable importance; and great was the surprise when it was discovered that the writer con–tended not only that the Judicial Committee was obviously (disqualified by the law of Christ from dealing with ques–tions of faith and discipline, but also that such a Court was nothing more than the necessary organ of the Royal Supremacy as established by the statutes of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth. The effect of Mr. Maskell' s pamphlet was to increase the widespread uneasiness: it was now definitely asked whether the changes which had been assented to on the part of the Church of England three centuries ago were such as to forfeit her claim to be a part of the Church of Christ? Mr. Maskell' s objection was directed not only against the constitution of the Judicial Committee, as a Court consisting of a majority of laymen who might or might not be Christians; he would have objected to it just as decidedly had it been composed exclusively of bishops.

He protested equally against Bishop Blomfield' s proposal for a new Court, on the ground that the real source of anxiety was not  'the character, the qualifications, or the position of the individuals'  comprising the Court, so much as  'the source whence the Court derived its jurisdiction.'

No merits in its constitution could warrant allegiance to a Court which derived its authority from the State. Another pamphlet on the same lines, written by the Rev. T. W. Allies, was based, as he tells us, among other authorities, on Suarez' s well-known attack on the Church of England. Mr. Allies'  pamphlet does not, as the accom–plished author was sanguine enough to think,  'make minced-meat of the Anglican position.'  It certainly says what there is to be said--and indeed something more--on the Roman side of the question in the best and most trenchant way.

It was with a view to meeting such objections as Mr. Maskell' s and the condition of thought which they in–dicated, that Pusey, some time before the decision of the Privy Council, had begun a work on the Royal Supremacy; and the discussions of the London Church Union at which he had been present had convinced him of its necessity.

It was written, amidst his overwhelming occupations, in scraps, as he could manage it; and it appeared, after an interval of three months, at the beginning of May. A letter to Keble throws a ray of light upon the process of composition.


[Undated, but March, 1850.]

Only one line to say how shocked I am to send you such scraps, which, as a whole, must be utterly unintelligible. I began writing thinking that I had something which might help to set some minds at rest. But I found that I needed more knowledge and more books, to satisfy myself that I was accurate; and more books gave me more things to say; and so some is re-written, and some re-arranged, and all is confusion. But if you find nothing to object to, or alter any–thing you do, this will be all well, please God.

Ever your very grateful and affectionate

                                                       E. B. P.

Pusey wrote as and when he could, in railways and on coaches as well as in his study; and then put the fragments together. But it is possible to separate the portion of the pamphlet which preceded the Gorham decision from that which followed it: in the former part he is still hopeful; in the latter he is gravely concerned with the new duties and anxieties of  'this threatening hour.'

Pusey' s book on the  'Royal Supremacy'  was, and remains, a fragment; though it was supplemented to a certain extent by his later work on the Councils of the Church. It is, however, of lasting value against theories which deny to the State those rights which, with due safeguards, were acknowledged in the early ages of the Church; and it was immediately addressed to those who held that any kind of Royal Supremacy was inconsistent with the precedents and principles of Christian antiquity. Taking his stand upon antiquity, Pusey asks and answers the question, what the Christian civil power may, and what it may not do, in relation to the guardianship of the faith. His answer neither supports the complicated claims of the Judicial Committee, urged with increasing aggressiveness, nor does it warrant those a priori assumptions which are made in the interests of the Church of Rome. In controversies of faith the Christian civil power claimed in ancient times no primary authority, as properly belonging to it. If Christian Emperors summoned councils, and were present at their deliberations, they neither spoke nor voted. If Christian Emperors might nominate Episcopal judges to try questions of discipline or doctrine, they were ordinarily not even present at the trial. A priest could only appeal from his bishop to other bishops, or to a primate or metro–politan, or to a general council. If he appealed to a civil court, he exposed himself to degradation. On the other hand, the Christian Emperors had done everything short of formulating doctrine, interpreting doctrinal formulas, and pronouncing disciplinary sentences in their own names. In cases of appeal, they might and did appoint ecclesiastical judges. They might suspend the judgment of a council respecting bishops accused of heresy, by convoking another council. They might remove a trial from one ecclesiastical province to another. They might summon a council as general and then change it into a provincial council. They might even prescribe the order in which subjects should be handled, or suggest doctrinal subjects to councils, whether general or provincial; or confirm their decrees, or, in matters of discipline, revise them. A general council could even allow itself to acknowledge that nothing should be done without command of the Emperor. Christian princes were regarded in ancient times as guardians of the Creed and Canons of the Church: and they took on themselves, without rebuke, the authority to enforce those Creeds and Canons, and even to admonish bishops to obey them. It was clear that the relations of Church and State, as defined in the preamble of the 24th of Henry VIII., had abundant justification in ancient precedents: and no violation of these relations had taken place until the establishment, seventeen years before, of the modern civil court of the Judicial Committee, which by. a legis–lative oversight had been entrusted with the decision of ecclesiastical cases.

Mr. Maskell had taught or implied that any control over Church doctrine or discipline on the part of the Crown, even though exercised purely through the Episcopate, was indefensible. Pusey, on the other hand, held that no layman, as such, has jurisdiction over matters of faith and discipline, and that every bishop derives spiritual juris–diction, not from the Crown, or from any superior or independent source, but from his See; he therefore maintained that the Crown, in moving bishops to decide spiritual cases, was not the source of jurisdiction but only the power which put into motion a jurisdiction existing independently of itself.

 'The principle,'  he wrote,  'which seems to me to run throughout these precedents [of Christian antiquity] is this; that the Civil Power called into action, regulated at times, limited, controlled, enforced by civil sanction the authority of the Church, or restrained it, that it should not act independently of itself, but hardly acted itself directly or usurped the Church' s place.'

The truth was Mr. Maskell was already thinking of Church history as read by Papal controversialists. He had forgotten that reading of it which is suggested by the career of such Catholic sovereigns as Theodosius or Justinian.

Pusey sent his book to the Bishop of Exeter, who acknow–ledged it in warm terms.  'Though I have not had time to read so much or so carefully as I wish, yet I have read enough to make me feel that it is worthy of you. Higher praise I need not give to it.'  Another copy was sent to Rev. W. K. Hamilton, Canon of Salisbury, whose acknow–ledgment of it is one of several testimonies to Pusey' s influence at this period in preserving loyalty to the Church of England.


Loughton, Essex, May 11, 1850.

I was very nearly going to Oxford after the Confirmations at Westbury last Saturday, and mainly in the hopes of finding you there--for I still find, as I have for many years, the best answer to harassing questionings which prey upon one' s mind, in the fact that you and Mr. Keble, and Williams, and some of my own immediate friends, are content to be patient.

However, I am not going to pour out any part to you of a very full heart. Written words are bad forms of such feelings, and notes the worst moulds in which to cast them. I would only thank you most affectionately for thinking at such a time of one so unworthy--and to ask you if you would put my name to the two Petitions, to the Queen and Archbishop, you sent me. I had only time just to glance at them and then sent them to our Bishop. If all our Bishops were like him: so earnest, so calm, so straightforward, so full of faith and love! I do not feel sure that you quite appreciate him as he deserves. He has been very anxious, and very true, and very busy, about all these sad things. .

I. remain, dear Dr. Pusey, with great respect,

                                                    Yours ever gratefully attached,
                                                              W. K. HAMILTON.

Acting more or less in concert with Mr. Maskell and Mr. Allies, was another clergyman, their inferior in literary ability, but with whom Pusey had been most intimately associated in religious and spiritual work, Rev. W. Dods–worth. Mr. Maskell and Mr. Dodsworth were both present at the meeting at which the Nine Resolutions were signed :he latter subscribed them; the former, probably from thinking that any expedient of the kind was inadequate or too late, did not do so. Mr. Dodsworth' s sermons were becoming increasingly indicative of an unsettled state of mind, and, as was inevitable, they communicated this unsettlement to members of his congregation, particularly to the Sisters of Park Village who attended his church.

 'What shall I do,'  wrote Pusey to Keble,  'if Dodsworth continues this sort of sermon? My children at the Sisterhood were so distressed at the last about Balaam, and the appeal to the young to think and act for themselves, that the Mother begged not to go there again. I suggested that they should try one more Sunday; but what if these sermons continue? One should not wish them to stay at home, and yet to pass Christ Church would be very painful.'

 'It is very sad,'  replied Keble,  'about Dodsworth. I think he is more angry with me than with you. His letter of withdrawal from the Church Union, which was read to-day, went out of its way to be sharp upon that poor letter of mine in the Guardian, and Maskell, in a way, countersigned it. . . I wish the Sisters could stop their ears or read their Bibles during the sermon. It would be the best thing. But I fear they cannot all be depended on for doing it... . In so many there would probably be some who would not or could not do it. Would it be wrong to make a distinction, and let them stay who might be trusted not to attend to the sermon, while the others were kept at home or went somewhere else? I really don' t see that for a sort of punctilio, any should be allowed to stay and get unsettled.'

In a pamphlet on  'The Gorham case briefly considered,'  and again in a sermon preached on Low Sunday, Mr. Dods–worth had laid especial stress on what he conceived to be the inadequacy of the restatement of the doctrine of Baptismal Grace which was proposed by Pusey. Mr. Gorham had denied that original sin was remitted to all infants in Holy Baptism, on the ground that all were not  'worthy receivers,'  as not being all  'already in God' s grace and favour.'  Pusey thought that this error which the Court had sanctioned would be adequately met by stating that  'the remission of original sin to all infants in and by the grace of Baptism is an essential part of the article,  " One Baptism for the remission of sins”.'  Mr. Dodsworth com–plained that the doctrine of Baptismal Grace meant much more than the remission of original sin; that its great and positive effect was the gift of membership in Christ, as the Church Catechism teaches. To this Pusey agreed with all his heart: but he pleaded that the statement of which Mr. Dodsworth complained was devised to meet the truth directly impugned. Another point of difference between Pusey and the minds whom Mr. Dodsworth repre–sented, was the view which was to be taken of a not inconsiderable section of the supporters of the Judgment.

 'Many,'  wrote Pusey,  'not the least devout and earnest of the so-called Low Church, are not opposing the truth of Baptismal Regenera–tion, but an untrue imagination of it. . . . The question which they suppose to be at issue is not, I am persuaded, as to the real grace of the Sacrament, but as to the actual change in the infant' s soul, and the need of any further change, by which the grace imparted in Baptism may actually take up all the powers of the man, and being continually enlarged and renewed, may conform the whole soul to the mind of God.'

All such language appeared to Mr. Dodsworth to be of the nature of a temporizing compromise with error; and he desired some statement which should summarily force Low Churchmen either to accept the Catholic doctrine un–hesitatingly and in its fullness, or to leave the communion of the Church of England.

This painful difference between those who had been at–tached friends may be studied in the postscript to Pusey' s book on the Royal Supremacy; but it was made far more emphatic by the public Letter which Mr. Dodsworth ad–dressed to Pusey on the 7th of May,  'on the position which he has taken in the present crisis.'  This Letter was accom–panied by a private note, full of the old deference and affec–tion, and lamenting the necessity for a further statement of disagreement with one who had been so loved and trusted. But the public Letter taunted Pusey with failing to assist his friends at a critical moment; one paragraph in par–ticular contained some non-relevant charges, partly exag–gerated but partly true, which were well calculated to increase the difficulties of Pusey' s position. The passage runs as follows:--

 'I must add one word on the grief and surprise which it has occasioned me, and many others besides me, that you should have taken this line in our present difficulties. You have been one of the foremost to lead us on to a higher appreciation of that  " Church system," of which sacramental grace is the very life and soul. Both by precept and example you have been amongst the most earnest to maintain Catholic principles. By your constant and common practice of administering the sacrament of penance; by encouraging every–where, if not enjoining, auricular confession, and giving special priestly absolution; by teaching the propitiatory sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, as applicatory of the one sacrifice on the cross, and by adoration of Christ Really Present on the altar under the form of bread and wine; by your introduction of Roman Catholic books  " adapted to the use of our Church”; by encouraging the use of rosaries and crucifixes, and special devotions to our Lord, as e. g. to His Five Wounds; by adopting language most powerfully expressive of our incorporation into Christ, as e.g.  " our being inebriated by the Blood of our Lord”; by advocating counsels of perfection, and seeking to restore, with more or less fullness, the conventual or monastic life;--I say, by the teaching and practice, of which this enumeration is a sufficient type and indication, you have done much to revive amongst us the system which may be pre-eminently called  " SACRAMENTAL." And yet now, when, by God' s mercy to us, a great opportunity has occurred, of asserting and enforcing the very keystone of this system, and apart                 from which the whole must crumble away--forgive me for speaking so plainly--you seem to shrink from the front rank. You seem ready to hide yourself under soft assertions of truths,  " which," it is said;  " not six men in the Church of England will be found to deny," and behind ambiguous statements which can be subscribed in different senses.'

With regard to this line of attack, it is perfectly true that Pusey, who had done so much to restore Sacramental teaching, had not taken up exactly such a position against the Gorham judgment as Mr. Dodsworth and his more impetuous friends desired. But he had good reasons for the course he had adopted. He did not share the exaggerated estimate of the error of the Judicial Committee, nor did he believe that the Low Churchmen, whose views the Court had sanctioned, were as widely removed from the Catholic position as was supposed. As he observed afterwards at Freemasons'  Hall, and with reference to Mr. Dodswofth' s criticisms, the Low Churchmen

 'were anxious chiefly to secure three points--Ist. That adults who receive the Sacraments unworthily do not then receive the grace of the Sacraments. 2ndly. That it does not avail to a man' s salvation to have received the Sacraments, if he is no longer living as a child of God. 3rdly. That one so living must by the grace of God be turned back to God, by a true and thorough conversion. And therefore,'  he proceeded,  'I believe that peace will be best secured by laying down truly, and in all its depth and fullness, and in its connexion with the Incarnation and death and merits of Christ, the truth of Baptismal Regeneration, but also by laying down the other truth, that those who have been made in Baptism the children of God, must by God' s grace, live as the children of God, and those who have fallen from that grace must be restored by a thorough conversion to God.'

Pusey in fact was unwilling, as ever, to insist upon a techni–cal statement of differences at the risk of endangering the real unity of belief which he hoped might exist beneath very different expressions of doctrine. If this was to be regarded as timid and compromising, he was ready to incur the charge.

But the main question at issue, namely that of the eccle–siastical jurisdiction in connexion with the Royal Supremacy, developed other points of divergence between Pusey and his opponents. In their discontent with the Royal Su–premacy, they were more and more inclined towards the supremacy of the Pope; and thus they became sensitively alive to any Anglican infractions of that theory of jurisdic–tion which had been developed by canonists as a pendant or corollary to the Papal supremacy. The question which they now raised was, under what authorization were private confessions received and absolutions given in the Church of England? Pusey was selected as  'the person to be publicly addressed'  on this subject, on account of his position in the Church, his acknowledged learning, and his long practice of hearing confessions in various dioceses. A joint letter was addressed to him by Mr. Allies, Mr. Dodsworth, and Mr. Maskell. They argued--practically assuming the Papal theory--that the act of remitting sin upon confes–sion was not only an exercise of the power of Orders, but also implied jurisdiction; they asserted that by the con–tinuous practice of the Church this jurisdiction could only be delegated by a bishop through an act distinct from that of Ordination. On this ground they proceeded to challenge the validity of the absolutions which had been given by Pusey and others in several dioceses, without any recognition of the necessity for such a delegation of juris–diction. They observed,  'with reluctance and sorrow,'  that if their premises are right,  'it would follow likewise that the vast majority of those persons to whom you and others have given absolution in this manner are still, so far as the effect of any such absolutions is concerned, under the chain of their sins, because they have not made confession to priests who had duly received power to absolve them.'  Together with this letter was sent an intimation that the writers purposed to publish it together with any reply that Pusey might send.

It must be hoped that the writers of this letter afterwards felt regret at the consequences to Pusey of such an appeal. To themselves it can have made little difference, for their own convictions had reached a point at which it must have been almost a matter of indifference whether confessions were received at all in the English Church, or whether, if they were received, the absolutions were valid; but it might indeed seem that Pusey was placed in a real difficulty by the question which they put to him.

Keble' s commentary on this letter shows that he took a severe view of their action.


Hursley Vicarage, Whitsun Eve [May 18], 1850.

If these men mean nothing personal, if they do not mean to stab the Church of England through your sides, they will not be in such a hurry, they will consent to wait a little, and let the matter be thoroughly discussed in private before they publish. Especially if they have not thoroughly made up their own minds, which the tone of the first letter I think affected to imply…

I almost think that you ought to decline having anything to do with them in this matter, on the mere ground of their unreality.

But perhaps my wrath makes me an incapable judge. . .

In a second letter on May 25, he adds:--

 'I feel that I am as it were in the same boat with you. But I am quite satisfied with your explanation--and so I think will all be who have faith in the Church of England. I see more and more, that it is little use making believe to go on with those who have not.'

Pusey' s reply to his three correspondents eventually took the form of a Letter to the Rev. W. U. Richards, who had succeeded the Rev. F. Oakeley at Margaret Chapel, and who had always been heart and soul with himself in loyal attachment to the English Church. The position that he maintains is that  'the Church of England leaves her children free to whom to open their griefs.'

To the ordinary reader this letter might appear at first sight an undigested mass of out-of-the-way learning directed to the establishment of a point which could only interest the mind of a schoolman. In reality, Pusey never in his life wrote anything more practical in its drift. It is, in fact, a statement of the whole question of Absolution from the, point of view of the Primitive Church, as distinct from the medieval theories in which his correspondents were entangled. The only questions with which he con–cerns himself are, first, whether the Church of England leaves the Power of the Keys in the hands of her presbyters, without restriction, so that they may use it freely for all who seek their ministry; and secondly, whether she is justified in doing so. He answers both questions affirmatively.

The first is proved from the words in the Communion Office,  'Let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned minister of God' s Word, and open his grief.'  This is the language which the Church of England puts into the mouth'  of every parish priest; and the point to be determined is, who is meant by  'some other minister' ? Mr. Allies and his friends contended that in 1548, the date of the earliest use of this language, the words would have meant what they had meant before that date, namely, some priest who had been appointed by the Bishop for that diocese or district, so that, in fact, the Church of England does not leave her people free to choose their own spiritual advisers. Pusey traverses this contention on three grounds. He shows at length, and with great success, that jurisdiction, even before 1548, was by no means only exercised when delegated by a Bishop; that, in 1548, the Church of England, by making confession optional instead of compulsory, tacitly abolished any medieval rules which might compel Christians to resort to a specified spiritual adviser; but that, had this been otherwise, there is no reason for the arbitrary selection of 1548 as the only date at which the sense which the Church attaches to these words can be really ascertained, since she has made them her own on four subsequent occasions, and in circumstances which render impossible the medieval gloss imposed upon them by the authors of the joint letter.

But then the second question arises whether the Church of England was justified in granting this larger liberty to her children. Mr. Allies had said that for fifteen hundred years there was no trace of the exercise of the absolving power in virtue of Ordination only; that it was always exercised immediately by the Bishop or by priests who were specially appointed by him. But when he appeals to the dealing of St. Cyprian with the lapsed, Pusey shews that Mr. Allies confuses public release from excommunication with the private exercise of the Power of the Keys. He shews further that there were no canons, either general or provincial, for 1,200 years, which imposed restrictions on the making or receiving of private confessions; that in early times private confession was carried on without being subject to any regulations; that, setting aside the forged Decretals, the first limitation of freedom by Urban II. in 1087 is accompanied by an acknowledgment that this limitation involved a change in the received discipline.

He argues that the theory on the subject advocated by Mr. Allies, and accepted in the modern Roman Church, dates only from the positive rule enacted by the Lateran Council in 1215. Upon that Council, and not upon any earlier authorities, was based the language of English medieval bishops, and indeed the general penitential system which the Church of England in the sixteenth century set aside in favour of that which had preceded it.

But Mr. Allies'  position on the subject was not so much based on historical precedent, as on an abstract theory, derived largely from Suarez, respecting what may be con–ceived to be best or needful for the spiritual well-being of the Church, as distinct from what may be shown to have been her practice in early centuries. Here Pusey touches one of the principles which separated him from minds like Mr. Allies, which were tending towards a system, founded largely, as is the Roman, on abstract and ci priori con–siderations.  'The force,'  he says,  'of abstract principles in matters of religion is to explain what we already know, to remove objections founded upon reason, not to be the foundation of any article of faith or practice.'  Ecclesiastical jurisdiction, such as Mr. Allies conceived it, was an abstract principle, unwarranted by primitive precedent, and adopted as an obvious corollary of the gradually developing doctrine of papal supremacy. If the Pope was the supreme monarch of the Church, all jurisdiction must flow from him; and bishops, who presumably derive their jurisdiction from him, must see that priests under them also exercise no spiritual powers except in virtue of the jurisdiction which flows from the Pope through themselves. Pusey extracts for examination from Mr. Allies'  letter and pamphlet eleven samples of abstract statements which belong to, if they do not presuppose, this primary assump–tion; the real account of jurisdiction, as he contends, is much simpler. Jurisdiction means no more than lawful authority, which even Roman theologians of high name believed to be given to presbyters at their ordination. Jurisdiction, as exhibited in the canons of the Primitive Church, is not so much delegation of a new faculty, as a rule of order, intended to prevent that confusion which must ensue, if the exercise of all ministerial duties were entirely left to the discretion of individual bishops and presbyters.

Besides its historical and theological value, this re–markable pamphlet contains some pages of personal interest. Mr. Allies and his co-signatories had alleged that Pusey had exercised his priestly authority in a manner which would, if known, have been against the will of both parish priests and bishops. This leads Pusey to make a statement which may here be reproduced:--

 'It is now [1850] some twelve years, I suppose, since I was first called upon to exercise this office. The more earnest preaching and teaching of repentance, which began in Oxford about 1835, drove people to look for a remedy for post-baptismal sin. The grievousness of  " deadly sin, willingly committed after Baptism" (Art. 16), had been dwelt upon; but no other remedy pointed out than repentance pro–portioned to the sin, that so it might be washed out by the Blood of Christ. But persons'  consciences needed some present comfort. They could not  " quiet" them for themselves. They found the peace they longed for in the teaching of their prayer-book. God taught them through it. The Church spoke to them by a  " living voice”; for God made her words live in their ears and in their heart. In this place, as you know, we are under no Bishop. There is no jurisdiction. The Colleges are extra-parochial; the University is exempt from Episcopal jurisdiction. Here, as you would suppose, there must be many tender hearts, anxious about their salvation, to minister to, and here has been my chief ministry to souls in this way. Then also priests came to me, who are plainly under no jurisdiction; many, because having been asked to receive the confessions of others, the office of ministering to these made them think the more that they themselves needed the same remedy. In like way, when residing elsewhere, I could not but con–ceive myself included in the Church' s words,  " or some other”; and so, when any came to me, I ministered to them. But not having a parochial cure, I have not led others to Confession. I felt, too, that God' s work is deeper than man' s. Except before the University, in which I was preaching on the comforts for the penitent, I have preached repentance, review of life, rather than confession and absolu–tion, because the soul must first feel itself wounded, before it can look for a cure; the heart must he broken first, before it can be bound up.'

A, lengthy postscript was added to this letter in conse–quence of what looks like a personal attack on Pusey' s conduct with regard to hearing confessions, which was made by Mr. Maskell after he had become a Roman Catholic. It concludes with the following indignant remonstrance against the action of his correspondent:--

 'One gainer there is in all these unseemly contests. It is not the Church of Rome; it is not truth; it is not holiness; it is not love; it is not the kingdom of God and His righteousness. It is he whose desire it is to have truth evil-spoken of; on whose kingdom Confession, and every other means of holiness, makes an inroad; who puts scoffing into the mouths of the profane, and delights to find occasion for it. For one whom Mr. Maskell will unsettle by such instruments as these, he will make private confession odious to a hundred, and give occasion to scoffing to a thousand, who will read his attack as it is commented upon in newspapers, and will jest profanely at priests and priestcraft.'

Mr. Maskell' s and Mr. Dodsworth' s pamphlets were read generally, and especially by high authorities of the Church of England. The Episcopal action which was taken in con–sequence with the hope of destroying Pusey' s influence, did nothing but weaken the English Church at this juncture. No doubt with the best intentions, the Bishops played into the hands of those who were urging to secession.



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