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There is some ambiguity about these words. To the statement of his own attitude towards Rome he adds an explanation of policy. It would be of no service to use positive language against Rome. A negative and neutral attitude suited his own feelings, and also was more politic for the sake of others. It is thus that we read his words; they are not, however, very clear. But in what follows there is no ambiguity. There is a pathetic wistfulness, when he describes the attraction which the Church of Rome had for those who went over. There is
‘weight of authority as supported by miracles, the high life of her saints, the tendency of prophecy both as to the visible unity of the Church and the eminence of St. Peter (interpreted as it is, of old, of the see of Rome), their oneness in all great points of doctrine, the depth of their spiritual system, their greater zeal and success in missions, the superior devotion and instruction of the poor, their greater fervour, the greater love and devotion in their spiritual writings.”
There is a dissatisfaction when he describes the other side of the case. Rome presents these superior attractions. On the other side there were numberless divisions, the toleration of heresy, fraternizing with Protestants, the tone of the Articles—the want of individual guidance, the difficulty of knowing what is truth; the neologism springing up even in Oxford. She can do nothing to reassure people in the way his correspondent wishes.
‘I am afraid lest I fight against God. From much reading of Roman books, I am so much impressed with the superiority of their teaching; and again, in some respects, I see things in antiquity which I did not (especially I cannot deny some purifying system in the intermediate state, nor the lawfulness of some invocation of Saints), that I dare not speak against things. I can only remain in a state of abeyance, holding what I see, and not denying what I do not see. I should say that wherein I have changed, it has been through antiquity.’t
Newman's defection took place within three or four weeks of the writing of the above letter. The letter was written on Se tember 14, 1845. Newman resigned his Fellowship, the preliminary step to his secession, on October 3.
‘On October 9, Father Dominic, the Passionist, was at Littlemore. The period of hesitation and suspense . . . was at an end. The dreaded event had come at last: Newman was lost to the English Church.';
* Vol. ii. p. 456. f Vol. ii. p. 457. : Vol. ii. pp. * le
The secession of Newman had, we think, a steadying influence on Pusey. The step once taken revealed to him its seriousness. Suspense, doubt, perplexity, the consciousness of his own changed position, the fascination of Newman's example, the personal tenderness of affection combined to paralyse for a time Pusey's own mind. But when the long-dreaded hour had come and had passed, Pusey began to recover his presence of mind. The shock had been painful, but proved wholesome. Pusey's affectionate nature does not turn against his friend; he follows him with a loving regard; but he seems to grasp more firmly the sense of the privileges and advantages of his own communion : he realizes the Divine goodness towards him. Perhaps the truest thing to say is that the effect of Newman's perversion was to drive Pusey nearer to God. His friend had gone; but the Divine love was still with him. He realized vividly at this moment the superintending love of God.. “His way is in the sea, and His paths in the great waters, and His footsteps are not known.’ He found reasons for comfort. The loss of Newman was a great one, he felt; but he must not despair.
‘We may be humbled, but neither need we be dejected. It would seem as if God, in His mercy, let us now see more of His inward workings, in order that, in the tokens of His presence with us, we may take courage. Life shows itself in deeper forms, in more marked drawings of souls, in more diligent care to conform itself to its Divine Pattern, and to purify itself, by God's grace, from all which is displeasing to Him, than heretofore. Never was it so with any body whom He purposed to leave.”
The volumes before us bring the biography of Pusey as far as the secession of Newman. It is the critical moment of the Oxford Movement. Of the Triumvirs who led it so far, one, and he the most unquestioned genius, had gone to Rome: the other two had so far moved along the same path that they had reached an attitude of neutrality towards her. But their charitable attitude was not and could not be reciprocated by him who had left them for Rome. Pusey mournfully admits that Newman “uses very decided language as to the Roman
Church being “the one only fold of the Redeemer.”” We quite agree with the biographers that Pusey fondly hoped that Newman would not go over to Rome: they were like children playing round the edge of a chasm; they did not dream of danger actually befalling them; but when his playmate fell from his side into the abyss, Pusey recoiled, startled, and found pleasure in feeling that there was firm ground beneath his his feet. His natural piety of disposition saved him from despair. The calamity deepened his sense of God's nearness. It also probably quickened his desire to promote in every way practical Church work.
We have said that Pusey's attitude towards Rome had changed, and that up to the time of Newman's perversion this change was more or less favourable to Rome. We think that as amatter of fact this was the case. In the view of his biographers his mind was unshaken and unshakable in its fidelity to the Church of England. It is difficult to declare authoritatively on such matters. The nearest and dearest friend can scarcely understand those innermost fluctuations of the soul which are mysteries even to ourselves. We think, however, that the biography before us makes it clear that Pusey's attitude towards Rome was not a fixed one, and that up till 1845 that attitude became one of affectionate regard and even wistful envy towards the Roman Communion. But we are far from saying that this implies any conscious insincerity or any insincerity at all towards his own Church. We need the key to a man's nature before we can convict him of insincerity in such matters. The key to Pusey's nature is not, we think, difficult to find. He was a scholar, and a man of studious habits; but he was not a man in whom intellect is developed at the expense of the moral nature. His studies hardly tended to develope the quality of mind necessary for such a result. But more than this, the very direction of Pusey's studies was due to his moral dispositions. It is almost inevitably so. Not one man in a thousand is led by the dry light of reason. He may employ logical processes, but he does not decide by logic after all. Some dominant moral impulse, for good or for evil, is discoverable behind the premisses upon which he erects his argument. If a man's nature be bad, the moral impulse will be an evil one ; and disastrous consequences to himself and to others will follow. We believe, of course, that practically many moral impulses combine to work out the result. But there is often some characteristic and dominant moral sentiment which strikes the keynote of a man's after-career. This sentiment is probably due to the combined influence of hereditary or congenital qualities and early training. It forms the canvas upon which all after events are painted, and it sets the tone to the whole picture. We know what this tone was in Pusey's case. The austere atmosphere of the home, its rigid method, its strong insistance on duty, impressed the child's mind with the sense of the solemnity of life, which meant reverence and perhaps even awe more than feverence,
The child naturally docile, frail in physique, timid and reserved in disposition, grew up in this atmosphere, which gave the sanction of duty and religion to self-repression and submission. Taught to distrust emotions, the free exercise of even natural and innocent affections was looked upon with suspicion. Such a nature is exposed early to disappointment, and to the experience of that free thought which he had been taught to look upon with horror, and from which his docile and diffident nature would almost without education have recoiled. For such an one the world was full of evil shapes, which might lure him from the side of good. Among these shapes none were so evil or so disastrous in their influence as the spirit of independence. The gateway of submission was the only gateway of safety. Self-distrust, and dread of what might befall selfsufficiency or disobedience, stood as the guardian figures which pointed to this gateway of safety. Only for one brief time did hope of any wider road dawn upon his mind; but the remembrance of even the temporary indulgence of this hope was pain and grief to him. All through his life the one ruling emotion was that of humble fear. He saw the world estranged from faith through self-will and self-confidence. Pride of intellect and pride of soul were written upon the portals of those palaces of evil in which the world delighted. Holiness had, as its first feature, docility and submission. Whatever had not this mark was to be suspected. These feelings grew into guiding principles. They unconsciously but very really determined his conduct. They coloured his thoughts. They influenced the view he took of every question. Did domestic misfortune befall him, it was a chastisement for his sins. The advantage of subscription to his mind was its witnessing to the principle that religion is to be approached with a submission of the understanding. Those who subscribed were not to reason, but to obey; and this quite independently of the degree of accuracy, the wisdom, &c., of the Articles themselves. He is easily aroused to misgiving lest the religious ceremonial of his wife's baptism may not have been fitly performed. He keeps her practically excommunicate for a period till he has settled this momentous question. He finally settles it by having her baptized again. The attraction which Rome has had for him is due to his dread of the growing neologism at Oxford. Round his life the spirit of awe kept watch. When he thought of the Eternal, ‘clouds and darkness were round about Him, righteousness and judgment were the habitation of His seat.' The wars which fascinated the years of his youth sounded loud with the voice of Him who arose to judgment. The movements of of the political world were watched lest the signs of national apostasy or sacrilegious measures should be seen in them. The sense of sin was deep. The thought of it deepened into gloom. The awful description of wilful sin, given in the Epistle to the Hebrews," was taken as the text of his sermon on sin after baptism, and was made to convey to the hearer the stupendous conception that for sin after baptism there remained no more sacrifice. ‘The key-note,’ writes Mr. Mozley, who heard the sermon, “the key-note was the word “irreparable,” pronounced every now and then with the force of a judgment.”f The dread of sin, the sensitiveness of conscience which feels the least sin to be a stain and a dishonour, is the sure sign of holiness of heart. But here we have dread raised to the pitch of horror, and sensitiveness in danger of being paralysed by terror. The prevailing characteristic tends to assume an exaggerated position among other emotions and influences, and the result is an unbalanced estimate of life. Reverence has become dread ; and dread has adopted a theory which is too narrow for the facts of life. It has created its own dilemma, and is imprisoned in the work of its own hands.
As we pause at this point, we may ask whether the Life of Pusey would have expanded into four volumes, if he had only been Edward Pusey, Canon of Christ Church and Professor of Hebrew in the University? He was not one who sought notoriety, or was even much enamoured of fame. But some men have greatness thrust upon them. It is to the Oxford Movement and the degree in which Pusey was identified with it that we owe so bulky a biography. For Pusey was not a man either of the quality or disposition voluntarily to initiate a new movement. He was no Chrysostom or Savonarola, to whom public activity and prominence in public affairs were congenial. He was a man of studious habits and reserved nature. But the days in which he lived were days of movement; and he was drawn into the current, and once in it he was accorded an eminence which he had neither sought nor desired. It is no disparagement to say that he was not of the stuff of which popular leaders are made. On the contrary, the wonder is that, being what he was, he was so readily conceded the position of a leader. The truth is that in the popular sense he was not a leader at all. He was a recluse. His study was his delight. Here he found abundant occupation and abundant satisfaction; but he had knowledge and attainments
* Heb, vi. 4-9. f Mozley’s “Reminiscences,’ vol. ii. p. 146. Wol. 179.-No. 357. H which