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All love of earth, and life's content
Are vows to sin, and not to God,
To turn the heart from virtue's road.
Whither to place thine earnest care,
A holy answer to thy prayer.
DR. PUSEY'S LETTER TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF
A Letter to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury on some circum
stances connected with the present crisis in the English Church. By the Rev. E. B. Pusey, D.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew, Canon of Christ's Church, and late Fellow of Oriel College: 2nd Edition,
Oxford, 1842. The main object of the writers of the Tracts for the Times, to use Mr. Newman's words, was to prevent members of the Anglican establishment from straggling in the direction of Rome; and this object was to be obtained ;—firstly, By showing that that establishment had in itself, if fully developed as its founders intended, all the gifts and graces which many of its pious members were disposed to look for in the communion of the Catholic Church only ; and secondly, That in as far as the thirty-nine articles and the decrees of the council of Trent were conce
ncerned, there is, in fact, if not a perfect accordance, no material difference ; that, in short, there is no incompatibility in an Anglican believing both. Such is the mode that has been adopted by the party of which Mr. Newman is the acknowledged head, to quiet the troubled consciences of those persons who have in vain been endeavouring to satisfy their hunger with the husks and crumbs which the establishment offers them. The plan, we are informed, has been to some extent successful ; but if we mistake not, it will eventually fail, and its failure will be signalized by a large secession from the Established Church, and a still more rapid extension of the ancient Church in this country than we have yet witnessed.
Dr. Pusey, though less Catholic in some respects than Mr. Newman, seems equally alive to the dangers which threaten the Established Church; and in a letter before us, which is intended as an exposé of those dangers, he informs the Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom it. is addressed, that the ground upon which he addresses his Grace is his anxiety “lest evil befall the (Established) Church, through an inadequate appreciation on the part of those in authority of the construction likely to be put upon what they do, and its effects." Dr. Pusey here alludes to some recent charges in which the Tracts for the Times are attacked, as he afterwards says,—" I do not for a moment wish to criticise what they (the Bishops) have said in itself. I wish only to remark upon some probable effects of things so said, which they probably do not anticipate." An episcopal charge, it seems, was till lately a thing little cared about or heeded, but the case is now different; for as Dr. Pusey observes :
“ The circumstances of the times have given to the charges of our bishops a character so different from that which they had heretofore, that I may anticipate that the bishops themselves would accept the more gladly any information as to the effects of them, which any might be enabled to offer. In quiet, one may say stagnant, times, such as until of late our's have been, a bishop's charge was listened to, one may say, perhaps mostly delivered, with little inte, rest; it was heard, perhaps read, in his particular diocese ; yet unless for some incidental expression, but little noticed out of it, and then perhaps criticised rather than heeded. The bishops themselves did not seem to expect much weight to be attached to their words; when they did rebuke, they expected to have
persons of a refractory temper to deal with, and their words were sharp accordingly. Now, both within and without, things are widely different. The change of feeling with regard to the office of every one's own bishop, wrought by more reverent habits, and increased appreciation of the feelings of antiquity, give their words a weight of which they themselves are not aware.”
Dr. Pusey contends that the charges in question furnish no ground for asking the Episcopal Bench, as certain lay inhabitants of Cheltenham and other places have done, to declare their united disapprobation of the opinions of the writers of the Tracts, and he expresses his “regret that the charges of Bishops who wished to warn, not to condemn, should yet have given such encouragement to those who would fain e xclude us (Dr. Pusey and his party) from our Church herself.”
Leaving the Episcopal Bench, and their directors the Laymen of Cheltenham, to settle the terms of an anathema against the Tracts and
their authors, as no concern of ours, we proceed to notice a subject introduced by Dr. Pusey, in which we feel a deep interest. It is a subject upon which the Doctor deems it " a duty to speak distinctly," however reluctant he may be “lest harm incidentally result,” or he “seem undutiful.” He observes, that unless the true nature of the evils which he is about to point out are known, remedies cannot be applied : and so it seems to him very important that the Archbishop and his Episcopal brethren should have a distinct view upon the subject, while yet he knows “ that it is one upon which it is most difficult for those of elder years fully to understand the present state of things." Not to keep our readers any longer in suspense, we have now to inform them, that the “subject is the great temptation to young or susceptible minds to forsake their own communion for that of Rome !" To prevent mistake, Dr. Pusey informs his Grace, that in writing on this subject, he (Dr. P.) has not forgotten (who indeed could imagine that he had) what he himself had recently said in his letter to Dr. Jelf, “as to the evils in the Roman communion, wbich should deter any from joining it, or the tokens of God's providence, which should bind us (Anglicans) to our own Church, or the affection with which we should love her.” Now, we really think that there was no necessity for this caveat on the part of Dr. Pusey, the main scope of whose writings is to bolster up a fictitious episcopacy by an approximating resemblance in outward forms to the Church out of which it went, and to which it set itself up in opposition, like the schismatical gainsayers of Mount Gerizzim. The temptations to which Dr. Pusey alludes are of recent growth in this country; but we must allow him to speak for himself;
“ Romanism (such is the nick-name given by Dr. Pusey to Catholicism), in our earlier days, was scarcely heard of among us, and so we learned Catholicity, partly as it had been handed down to us, partly from the study of primitive antiquity, not in contact with a system in which one must mourn that tares are mingled with the good seed. Romanism was, in our early associations, an antagonist principle; what is catholic and true in it, we learnt whence it is derived, from the primitive sources; of itself we thought, only for that which is peculiar to it, as distinct from Catholic antiquity, the error mingled with the truth. It was apparently at a low ebb, and partook of the general listlessness which crept over the Church during the last century; it seemed to present but the skeleton of the right practices which it retained, and helped, by its neglect of their spirit, to cast reproach upon them; the writer of a work then popular (Father Clement), could even speak as extinct among us. It is not so now. The Roman Church also has in some countries certainly
partaken of the same refreshing dew as ourselves ; the same Hand which has touched us, and bid our sleeping Church Awake, arise,' has reached her also; our Lord seems to be awakening the several portions of his Church, and even those bodies which have not yet the organization of a Church, at once ; it may be that we may altogether learn humility and none boast herself amid her imperfections, or think unhumbly of them, when she sees the like grace given to others whose imperfections, as not being her own, she has no difficulty in descrying. However, whatever momentary difficulties it may give rise to, we must acknowledge thankfully, that in England the Roman Communion bas, amidst its sad errors from which it will not part, a degree of life and holiness which in our earlier days it had not. And this perhaps at least through an infusion of members of our own, who in better times would have remained blessed and a blessing within ber. She has now for many years exhibited her peculiar system in a modified form, the most calculated to win those who know not the treasures stored up for them in their own Church. She stands too often in advantageous contrast not with our Church as she would be, did we realise her gifts and avail ourselves of the privileges lodged in her, but with her condition, such as, through our sins and negligences she has mostly become; and out of which she is beginning to be restored. The temptation comes not to those formed in the holy round of her daily devotions and humbled by her tones of penitence, but to those who through our carelessness have been unformed, untrained, uninstructed; or at least are unacquainted with her true principles, the grounds of her claims, the virtue imparted through her. And to these the Roman communion as at present seen in this country, does come in a fascinating and imposing form.* She comes to us with our common saints, which modern habits have led many wrongly to regard as hers exclusively; with holy truths and practices, which in our recent carelessness are too often disregarded or neglected, or even spoken against among ourselves; with unity on truths, whereon we are distracted (although alas! upon doctrines and practices also which are not true nor holy ;) with discipline, which we should find useful for ourselves, and which has been neglected among us; with fuller devotions, works of practical wisdom or of purified and kindled love; a ritual (which though withdrawn mostly from the laity,t) still in itself at some holy seasons,
* “The following is not an ideal picture of what is calculated to influence, it is a statement of what I know to have influenced persons, and to be felt. I do not then suggest temptations, but state what exist. Temptations are to be remedied not by denying their existence, but by a more vivid consciousness of duty.
“« There is so much of excellence and beauty in the services of the Breviary, that were it skilfully set before the Protestant by Roman controversialists, as the book of devotions received in their communion, it would undoubtedly raise a prejudice in their favour, if he were ignorant of the circumstances of the case, and but ordinarily candid and unprejudiced. To meet this danger is one principal object of the following pages.'”-- Tract 75 init.
+ There is no part of the Liturgy withdawn from the lasty.--Editor.
sets before the eyes more prominently than our own, our Saviour in his life and death for his Church, or which utters more distinctly some truths which the sins of the Church caused to be more veiled among ourselves; or she points to a Coinmunion of Saints in which we profess our belief, but of which little is heard among us now that even the prayer for the Church Militant, for the most part, practically forms no part of our weekly service. She has in her monastic institutious a refuge from the weariness and vanities of the world, and a means of higher perfection to individuals, which many sigh after, and which might be revived in a primitive form, but which as yet we have not; in her small communion in this country she is not pressed on all sides by the spiritual wants of her children as we are, which hinder perhaps from noble enterprise in God's service, some who might otherwise have essayed it ; still she does erect among us edifices to His glory, with which, notwithstanding the ample means at the command of our people, we have but a little here and there at this day to compare. Above all, she comes to us with her prayers : and some of her members by remembering us at the altar, and night and day in the Holy Week, have drawn men's hearts unto them, and won our sympathy and gratitude in any lawful way wherein we may manifest it.”—p. 9-13.
There is much of beauty and feeling and eloquence in the foregoing extract, but like all the writings of the school of which Dr. Pusey is the nominal head, it displays an innate bitterness towards the ancient communion, for which we are unable to account. While it gives us unaffected pleasure to see Dr. Pusey come forward as a witness to the “ life and holiness" of our Church, and the “ advantageous contrast” in which she stands with his own, we deeply regret that he should so far deceive himself, as to imagine that the gifts and graces which alone appertain to the true Church of Christ can ever obtain a development in a communion in which it may be fairly questioned they ever had an existence save in name. We could not forbear smiling, however, at the claim put in by Dr. Pusey to the saints as common property Will Dr. Pusey be so kind as inform us which of those saints ever abandoned the communion of the Roman See, or ceased to celebrate mass, as did the apostates who founded the modern Church of England ?
Dr. Pusey seems to wish, per fas aut nefas, to prevent the members of the Anglican Church froin joining the Catholic Church, and he even maintains, that “were it true that the Roman communion did possess greater advantages than our own, this would be no practical question to us individually. It may be (he continues that one end which Almighty God has in exhibiting the Roman Church in this form among us, is to dispose us as a Church to more kindly feelings towards her, and to have a less overweening opinion of ourselves than we have