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resolute, and illusive exercise of private judgment that we arrive at the conclusion that we have no right to exercise it at all. We need not be surprised to find ourselves at the door of the Church which claims to be insallible.
“The originators of this movement,’ wrote Döllinger, “and the men of most note, of the same way of thinking, entered the Catholic (i.e. Roman) Church; whilst many others, when they were made aware, by this event, of the consequences of their own principles, turned back, and, from being “Anglo-Catholics,” became again ordinary Anglicans.
The italics are ours. The movement thus had its dangerous side. What movement has not? It has been the stock-in-trade of heady and heated opponents to point to the dangerous side, and triumhantly cry that there lies the significance of the movement. t is easy to mistake the drist of a movement for its aim. It is easier still to be too mentally indolent to distinguish between intentions and results, and too uncharitable even to wish to understand men. Calmer, if not more charitable times enable us to survey these controversies with a larger experience and with minds not agitated by personal and contagious influences. We can see that the Oxford Movement had a dangerous side. It was not wholly unfair to say that its drift was Romeward. Newman, as he drew near to the fatal vortex which drew him in, seems to have reached the smooth water which precedes the final plunge, and to have been able more clearly to discern the tendencies of proceedings which were concealed from the more eager minds of Keble and Pusey." The set of the stream was as surely towards Rome as the set of the Gulf Stream is northeasterly after it has swept the shores of Mexico. But its intention was not the same as its drift.f
* On the subject of Pusey's proposed translation of the Breviary, amended and corrected for the English mind, Newman wrote (1843): “Did I wish to promote the cause of the Church of Rome, I should say, “Do what you propose to do.”’ (Pusey's Life, vol. ii. p. 390.) + A pamphlet was published in 1839 for the express purpose of showing that there was no intention on the part of the writers of the Tracts to favour Popery. The pamphlet consisted of extracts from the ‘Tracts for the Times.’ It was obviously authoritative; and it serves to show that the Church of Rome was, at that time at any rate, by no means considered the goal of the Tractarians. ‘Till Rome moves towards us, it is impossible that we should move towards Rome, however closely we may approximate to her in particular doctrines, principles, and views.' (Pamphlet, p. 9; Tract 75, p. 23.) Certain Romish views were distinctly specified as causing practical grievances to the Christian. “The following are selected by way of specimen of those practical grievances to which Christians are subjected in the Roman Communion:–1. The denial of the cup to the laity; 2. The necessity of the priests' intention to the validity of the Sacrament; 3. The necessity of Confession; 4. The unwarranted anathema of the Roman Church ; 5. Purgatory; 6. Invocation of Saints; 7. Images.’ (Pamphlet, pp. 7, 8; Tract 71.) There * Froude, Short Studies, 4th series, pp. 238,239. Was
There was a good side to the movement. The religious spirit needs free expression. An injury is inflicted on humanity when a Church is regarded merely as supplying a sort of moral police. The Society which Christ founded was to supply an incentive to action far higher than any which could emanate from such a conception. This view of the work of the Church leads ultimately to the belief that the truth of certain opinions is of less moment than their usefulness. There is, no doubt, force in Mr. Froude's saying, that ‘Where there is life, truth is present, not as in propositions, but as an active force'; but when he goes on to say that “that is all which practical men need desire,’ he seems to us to forget that the question will recur—ls the thing true? People, Mr. Froude tells us in his narrative of these times, thought little of doctrinal problems:—
‘Religion as taught in the Church of England meant moral obedience to the will of God. The speculative part of it was assumed to be true. The creeds were reverentially repeated; but the essential thing was practice. People went to church on Sunday to learn to be good, to hear the commandments repeated to them for the thousandth * and to see them written in gilt letters over the Communion able.' *
But in this very description we see the drift towards that conception which fastens upon the utilitarian aspect of religion, and leaves the demand of the restless intellect or of the yearning heart unsatisfied. We can understand that this order of things should seem tame to an inquisitive understanding and an aspiring spirit. Over the dull, useful commonplace atmosphere, it is ever inevitable that some souls should seek to soar. “Oh that I knew where to find Him, that I might come even to His seat.' The moral decencies of life, even the respectable and God-fearing discharge of daily duties, could not represent the fulness of life. The more smoothly the machine works and the more satisfactory are its products, the greater leisure there is for the restless spirit to plunge into other investigations, and find reason for a hundred dissatisfactions. . The monotony of what is eminently satisfactory so far as it goes is the proclamation of its unsatisfactoriness in other aspects. But in the midst of this unsatisfying satisfactoriness of the working of the Church machinery came those startling changes which revealed how much still was wanting, and which set people asking whether the Church was to be viewed as a mere machine, or as a society which had a message and a mission to the world. Was it to be regarded as a department of the State like the constabulary force, or was it to be regarded as an organization which was to bear witness to the nations and peoples of the world, of righteousness, faith, and of judgment to come 2 Had it not a life which gave it a claim to express itself to the world? Was not the action of the State in suppressing the Irish Bishoprics an invasion of the sacred rights and a disregard of the organic life of the Church? But even if this were not so, was not the Church much more than the guardian of social decorum and personal morality? Was she not the witness of eternal realities? Conceptions of the spiritual dignity and lofty functions of the Church grew and aroused zeal in men's minds, We do not mean that zeal did not exist before. Simeon, Milner, Daniel Wilson, Henry Blunt, and Wilberforce were men of sincere devotion and unflagging zeal. But their zeal was for individual souls: they did not give prominence to the ideal of a working, witnessing Church. They were as men who, seeing a great need, rush to render all possible assistance. They saw what as individuals they might and ought to do; they did not pause to consider what might be the duty of the Christian Society; they saw their own duty and tried to do it. Their zeal was towards the world and the souls of men. The zeal of the Oxford leaders was towards the Church. They did much to make zeal popular. The movement had an academic flavour, and this gave it an advantage. With all the strange fluctuations of feeling with which the English people regard the Universities, they feel for them a real and reverent affection. It is the privilege of an Englishman to vilify his national institutions and to be proud of them. He will find fault, he will initiate vigorous and perhaps ill-considered reforms, but for all that he will yield a ready and remarkable, because unconscious homage to all that comes to him with the hall-mark of Oxford and Cambridge. John Bull, like a fretful husband, will complain one hour that nothing is as it should be, but in the next hour he will have yielded to the lady's fascination and will be guided by her opinion. The movement whose cradle was at Oxford was one in which personal zeal and spiritual devotion did not lose from coming forth to the world from the venerable cloisters of the University. The fervour of the movement spread throughout the country—like a flood it poured over the land. It wrought much havoc; it carried along with it a great deal of rubbish ; but it soaked the soil, and brought refreshment and new vitality to many barren spots. Religious movements, like the rising waters of the Nile, have their value
not in the tumult and depth of their first flood, but in the rich and fertilizing elements which they deposit everywhere. The matters in dispute during the Oxford Movement were many of them paltry and petty. We wonder at the vehemence of the conflict; we know that a great deal of the flame was caused by burning straw—certainly many of the points so earnestly insisted on were infinitesimally insignificant (though not a hundredth part so insignificant as the mint, anise and cummin about which their successors have made so much tumult). But the men who are in the fight do not see the salient points of the conflict. The man who watches the flood can only see its surface. We who see the subsiding waters can observe what regenerating influences have been at work on the earth. We can forget the noise of the waterspouts and the billows and waves which went over the world. We can see, now that the flood has abated, what tender green things are springing out of the soil. We can realize that the conception of worship has been raised among us. We are privileged to find dignified services with reverent chanting of anthem and psalm not uncommon among us. Cultivated feeling has joined hands with piety, and taste is not an exile from our churches. But it is not the presence of culture or the diffusion of a better taste which we claim as an outcome of the Oxford Movement. It is the conception of worship which made it possible for culture and taste to be admitted into the House of God. Miss Cobbe has pointed out that in too many places religious services are regarded over much from the standpoint of the good of the congregation, and the conception of worship as a duty in itself is forgotten. The religious service is only ‘for the benefit and educational training of the worshippers.' She notices that this is the aspect of the cultus in many churches, especially those of the Evangelical class; and she remarks, with much wisdom, “that the worship which is consciously self-educating, and nothing more, is, from that very circumstance, disqualified, in a great measure, from that purpose itself.’ This is most true. That which is sought directly and consciously is seldom won. The best good which comes to us comes because it is found, seemingly unsought, upon the pathway of some simple duty. In the worship of God, because of His greatness and of His love, there will come the spiritual good which is vainly sought in the eager mysteries of a self-conscious devotional exercise. This conception, or rather its revival in English life, we may trace to
the influence of the Oxford Movement. Parallel to this there is another conception whose value has been concealed behind much irrelevant controversy. It was argued, argued, and it is still argued, that the only value of religious services is found in the number of the worshippers—we reduce religion to a matter of statistics; and we close our churches because so few people come. But it may be asked: Is the service nothing? Is not the prayer offered by the few still prayer? Is not there something fit and appropriate that even while the great world goes about its business, and the streets and markets are thronged with anxious men doing their duty and fulfilling their daily tasks, there yet should be going on in the stately minster or the simple village church the intercessions and prayers of the few to whom God has given leisure and the opportunity to pray for their fellow-men 2 This aspect of English Church life forcibly struck a non-Episcopalian who visited our shores from America, and he recognized its value in terms which we venture to quote because of their justice and generosity:—
“To one who goes for the first time from our simple American churches into an English Cathedral, York or Westminster, and encounters its elaborate ritual, repeated twice every day, often to almost no congregation, a service composed largely of singing, the prayers intoned, the Scriptures read in a strange penetrating monotone—it seems the vainest form, a relic of Popery, a thing kept up to please the ear and eye, and to reap the fruits of the rich endowments. There is indeed much to criticise, much that might well be changed, much that might well be added; but the longer one thinks of this system and usage, the more one suspects there may be in it solid sense and far-reaching wisdom; he sees in it a nearly indestructible embodiment and assertion of worship. The building itself is of stone; its history shades off into dimly recorded ages. In its crypt lie the ashes of the great for a thousand years; on its walls are the names and effigies of statesmen and soldiers and philosophers and saints: its pavements are worn with the tread of generations. It is vast, beautiful, solemn, and enduring; it spreads wide and generous over the earth, resisting the encroachments of this world's eager hands, and rising high into the pure spaces of heaven. St. Paul's is not a beautiful structure, but it overlooks the Bank of England and the Exchange. And thus all over England, in towns nowhere two hours apart, are found these great churches with their corps of clergy and choirs, with daily service heralded by softly chiming bells, uttered by divinest music, and invested with the solemn usage of long ages. . There is no interruption of this service, no vacation, no holiday, no break from pestilence, or war, or political change.’
The revived realization of this idea we owe in large measure to
the Oxford Movement. There is another influence of which we must speak. Whether it