23 SEPTEMBER 1882, Page 5


NATIONS are rarely mistaken in the nicknames they fling, and English Churchmen were justified in attach- ing Dr. Pusey's name to the "Oxford Movement" of 1832- a845,—the movement towards the revival of belief in historic Christianity, as supplementary to the Christianity deduced from the Bible alone. He was not, it is true, the soul of that movement, its mouthpiece, or even its ablest apologist. He am more possessed the personal magnetism of Dr. Newman than he possessed his unrivalled mastery of the English tongue as an instrument of exposition, or his deep insight into the aspirations of his generation. As a reasoner and logician, no .one would, have dreamed of comparing him with Dr. Ward, who so often convinced men who yet were not persuaded ; while he did not possess in anything like the same extent Keble's gentle charm for all in any degree predisposed to his opinions. But Dr. Pusey, nevertheless, as his far greater col- laborateur heartily admitted, gave to the movement something, without which it could not have lived and flourished. That something may be best defined as local character, With all his learning, and all his personal gentleness, and with many opinions impossible to average Englishmen, Dr. Pusey was, and remained, at bottom, in the very essence of his mind what he was by birth and circumstance, a great but an English gentleman. Utterly convinced of his own views, absolutely sincere in pressing them to their conclusions, often defiant when asked to temporise, he had still somewhere in his nature the power of stopping short, of compromising without recognising 'compromise, which is the distinctive characteristic of the English thinker. He could be illogical without finesse, and without recognising defect in logic. He could accept the most formidable propositions of Rome, even a Sacerdotalism hardly 'distinguishable from her own, without accepting precisely those which must have made him a Roman priest. He was an ecclesiastical Old Whig, and had the obstinacy in standing on a narrow way which that party have so often displayed in politics. • He turned a " Romanising ' movement into Anglicanism, and when his fellow-workmen were rushing into the ancient Church, remained, though he was as sincere as they were, and, in his own judgment, as far-going, within the English Church. It was, he said, a living branch of the ancient tree. That was the ultimate source of his far-reaching influence. He stopped precisely at the point where the instinct of Englishmen, and especially of English clergymen told them that to stop was indispensable. The rank and file who followed in the move- anent did not mean to end as Catholic priests. Had Pusey gone as NeWman, went and as Ward went, there might hi; ve been a large secession to Roman Catholicism ; that Church might even have become the Church of a large section Of the cultivated pious, as it will become, whenever the Church is disestablished, and becomes ex-

usively Protestant ; but the movement would have died away, without influence on thet vas mass of English clergy-

men. Dr. Pusey did not see that, had no intention save ef accepting what

he conceived to be truth ; but there was in him the English English merit, which fibre, the English defect, the we may call moderation, or defective logic, as we please, but which Englishmen understand • and that fibre made him a great leader in the English Church, instead of a second-class doctor in the Roman Church. His position once understood, Anglican once as and his determination to remain

recognised influence, whether he was re- garded as reformer or a here.siarch, became greater than that of any single personagetwith in the Church. Learned in all the learning needed for is work, obstinately convinced of his fle own doctrines, one of wh most impressive though not the ,most eloquent preachers o ever lived, always resident in his University, he stamped on ten generations of Oxford students a deep impress—often, no doubt, 011, an impress of recoil—slew

Evangelicalism in Oxford, weakened the Broad Church, and was gradually accepted as the Grand Referendary, and in many cases spiritual director of all—and they were many—who in any degree accepted his opinions. His ascendancy mainly developed the hardly definable, but still deep, distinction perceptible between the theology of Oxford and of Cambridge, and penetrated the whole Church with that reverence for, we do not say that belief in, the Sacramental theory which marks its tone to-day. Among clergymen in particular, his influence was irresistible. He was of them in immut- able belief in Anglicanism, and yet stood a, little beyond

them. They did not as a body accept his view of Sacerdotalism, it was too roughly rubbed away by con- tact with the facts of life, but they liked his view. They did not, us a body, press the duty and utility of Confession with his unsparing zeal, indeed, many of them quitted him on that point, either feeling or fearing the incura- ble English repugnance to the practice, the English conviction that reticence is an essential element of manliness ; but they preferred, on the whole, that their leader should press the practice, while they treated 'it as a counsel of perfection. They cared much more than he did for Ritual and its accessories, for clothes and windows and beautiful churches, and suggestive formulas of public worship, but they knew he sympathised with their spirit, and recognised a certain grandeur in his personal indifference to such detail. It was the indifference of the gentleman, punctilious as to the respect due to him, but not greatly caring either about dress, or manner, or forms. They referred to him in all difficulties, till the charge of his correspondence will need as much care as the charge of the secret letters of a king, they quoted him as the final authority, and so far as they could they followed his direction. To them, his most visible intellectual defect, a certain want of proportion in his mind, which made him, for example, as dogmatic about a childish discipline like fasting as about the Sacraments, was an attraction. They wanted, as all followers want, a leader who would pay the attention to their difficulties about anise and cummin which he would pay to fundamental doubts or questions of heretical opinion.

The character of Dr. Pusey's influence will, of course, be differently judged by every different mind and class of opinion, but upon one point at least all will be agreed. If it is good that the Church, as a teaching corporation, should be alive, should be comprehensive, and should at least endeavour to reach the body of the people, the total result of Dr. Pusey's life was distinctly good. His followers, apart from their distinctive tenets, woke up the English Church, which was fast sliding into the morass which has BO often beguiled it, a cold and decorous profession of tremendous doctrines to which no living importance was attached, and which, when once the vitality was out of them, choked up the religious intelligence. They restored learn- ing to its importance. They gave back to public worship its attractiveness. They got at, or tried to get at, human beings with souls, instead of confining themselves to respect- ables. With'a zeal which often led them into absurdities, especially in the way in which they pressed symbolism on the attention of a people traditionally impatient of symbols, they roused an attention which, whether it became at last reverence or rejection, was at least the necessary condition of effective and living thought. They taught energetically a lofty morality more dogmatic than that of the Broad Church, and, therefore, more certain in its application ; while it was free from that taint of earthiness, of the desire to make the best of both worlds, of the latent belief that God gives flocks and herds to the good, which so spoils for all the higher minds the usual teaching alike of the old Clapham Evangelicals, and of most, though not quite all, the Noncon- formist sects. Surface Puseyism seemed to the body of Eng- lishmen, and in many respects was, a rather contemptible imitation of Rome, which at least avoids the folly of exaggerating localism, and talking as if a Christian Church could have geographical boundaries ; but the inner Puseyism proved itself a vitalising force, in a country where the tempta- tion of every creed is to lose its vitality under a crushing load of smug respectabilities. That was a great work, and it was due in large measure to the single-hearted, obstinate energy of the great ecclesiastic who has this week passed away.