« ForrigeFortsæt »
persuade; and that the Movement in which they were taking part was the birth of a crisis rather than of a place. In a very few years, a school of opinion was formed, fixed in its principles, indefinite and progressive in their range, and it extended itself into every part of the country. If we enquire what the world thought of it, we have still more to raise our wonder; for, not to mention the excitement it caused in England, the Movement and its party-names were known to the police of Italy and to the back-woodmen of America. And so it proceeded, getting stronger and stronger every year, till it came into collision with the Nation, and that Church of the Nation, which it began by professing especially to serve." ("Apologia," pp. 75, 76.)
FROM the time that I had entered upon the duties of Public Tutor at my College, when my doctrinal views were very different from what they were in 1841, I had meditated a comment upon the Articles. Then, when the Movement was in its swing, friends had said to me, "What will you make of the Articles?" But I did not share the apprehension which their question implied. Whether, as time went on, I should have been forced, by the necessities of the original theory of the Movement, to put on paper the speculations which I had about them, I am not able to conjecture. The actual cause of my doing so, in the beginning of 1841, was the restlessness, actual and prospective, of those who neither liked the Via Media, nor
my strong judgment against Rome. I had been enjoined, I think by my Bishop, to keep these men straight, and I wished so to do; but their tangible difficulty was subscription to the Articles, and thus the question of the Articles came before me. It was thrown in our teeth, How can you manage to sign the Articles? they are directly against Rome." "Against Rome?" I made answer, "what do you mean by 'Rome'?" And then I proceeded to make distinctions, of which I shall now give an account.
By Roman doctrine" might be meant one of three things: 1. The Catholic teaching of the early centuries; or 2, the formal dogmas of Rome, as contained in the later Councils, especially the Council of Trent, and as condensed in the Creed of Pope Pius IV. 3. The actual popular beliefs and usages sanctioned by Rome in the countries in communion with it, over and above the dogmas; and these I called "dominant errors." Now Protestants commonly thought, that in all three senses "Roman doctrine" was condemned in the Articles; I thought that the Catholic teaching was not condemned, that the dominant errors were; and as to the formal dogmas, that some were, some were not, and that the line had to be drawn between them. Thus: 1. The use of prayers for the dead was a Catholic doctrine,-not condemned in the Articles; 2. The prison of Purgatory was a Roman dogma, which was condemned in them; but the infallibility of Ecumenical Councils was a Roman dogma,—not condemned; and 3. The fire of Purgatory, was an authorized and popular error, not a dogma,-which was condemned.
Further, I considered that the difficulties, felt by the persons whom I have mentioned, mainly lay in their mistaking, I. Catholic teaching, which was not condemned in the Articles, for Roman dogma, which was condemned; and 2, Roman dogma, which was not condemned in the Articles,
for dominant error, which was. If they went further than this, I had nothing more to say to them.
A further motive which I had for my attempt, was the desire to ascertain the ultimate points of contrariety between the Roman and Anglican creeds, and to make them as few as possible. I thought that each creed was obscured and misrepresented by a dominant circumambient "Popery" and "Protestantism."
The main thesis then of my Essay was this:-the Articles do not oppose Catholic teaching; they but partially oppose Roman dogma; they for the most part oppose the dominant errors of Rome. And the problem was, as I have said, to draw the line as to what they allowed and what they condemned. . .
In the sudden storm of indignation with which the Tract was received throughout the country on its appearance, I recognize much of real religious feeling, much of honest and true principle, much of straightforward, ignorant, common sense. In Oxford there was genuine feeling too; but there had been a smouldering, stern, energetic animosity, not at all unnatural, partly rational, against its author. A false step had been made; now was the time for action. I am told that, even before the publication of the Tract, rumours of its contents had got into the hostile camp in an exaggerated form, and not a moment was lost in proceeding to action, when I was actually fallen into the hands of the Philistines. I was quite unprepared for the outbreak, and was startled at its violence. I do not think I had any fear. Nay, I will add, I am not sure that it was not, in one point of view, a relief to me.
I saw indeed, clearly, that my place in the Movement was lost. Public confidence was at an end; my occupation was gone. It was simply an impossibility that I could say anything henceforth to good effect, when I had
been posted up by the marshal on the buttery-hatch of every College of my University, after the manner of discommoned pastrycooks; and when, in every part of the country and every class of society, through every organ and opportunity of opinion, in newspapers, in periodicals, at meetings, in pulpits, at dinner-tables, in coffee-rooms, in railway carriages, I was denounced as a traitor who had laid his train, and was detected in the very act of firing it against the time-honoured Establishment. There were indeed men, besides my own immediate friends, men of name and position, who gallantly took my part, as Dr. Hook, Mr. Palmer, and Mr. Perceval; it must have been a grievous trial for themselves, yet what, after all, could they do for me? Confidence in me was lost; but I had already lost full confidence in myself. Thoughts had passed over me a year and a half before in respect to the Anglican claims, which for the time had profoundly troubled me. They had gone: I had not less confidence in the power of the Apostolical movement than before; not less confidence than before in the grievousness of what I called the "dominant errors" of Rome; but how was I any more to have absolute confidence in myself? How was I to have confidence in my present confidence? How was I to be sure that I should always think as I thought now? I felt that by this event a kind Providence had saved me from an impossible position in the future.
First, if I remember right, they wished me to withdraw the Tract. This I refused to do; I would not do so for the sake of those who were unsettled, or in danger of unsettlement. I would not do so for my own sake, for how could I acquiesce in a mere Protestant interpretation of the Articles? How could I range myself among the professors of a theology, of which it put my teeth on edge even to hear the sound?
Next they said, "Keep silence, do not defend the Tract." I answered, “Yes, if you will not condemn it,—if you will allow it to continue on sale." They pressed me whenever I gave way; they fell back when they saw me obstinate. Their line of action was to get out of me as much as they could; but upon the point of their tolerating the Tract I was obstinate. So they let me continue it on sale, and they said they would not condemn it. But they said that this was on condition that I did not defend it, that I stopped the series, and that I myself published my own condemnation in a letter to the Bishop of Oxford. I impute nothing whatever to him, he was ever most kind to me. Also they said they could not answer for what some individual Bishops might perhaps say about the Tract in their own charges. I agreed to their conditions. My one point was to save the Tract.
Not a line in writing was given me as a pledge of the observance of the main article on their side of the engagement. Parts of letters from them were read to me, without being put into my hands. It was an "understanding." A clever man had warned me against "understandings understandings" some six years before: I have hated them ever since. ("Apologia,” pp. 77-90.)
"SECURUS JUDICAT ORBIS TERRARUM."
THE Long Vacation of 1839 began early. There had been a great many visitors to Oxford from Easter to Commemoration, and Dr. Pusey's party had attracted attention, more, I think, than in any former year. I had put away from me the controversy with Rome for more than two years. In my Parochial Sermons the subject had at no time been introduced; there had been nothing for two years, either