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The Oxford Movement by R.W. Church

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[53] "Dr. Wilson was mightily pleased with my calling the traditionals
the 'Children of the Mist.' The title of 'Veiled Prophets' he thought
too severe" (1838), _Life_, ed. 1875, p. 167. Compare "Hints to
Transcendentalists for Working Infidel Designs through Tractarianism," a
_jeu d'esprit_ (1840), _ib._ p. 188. "As for the suspicion of secret
infidelity, I have said no more than I sincerely feel," _ib._ p. 181.

[54] "It would be a curious thing if you (the Provost of Oriel) were to
bring into your Bampton Lectures a mention of the Thugs.... Observe
their submissive piety, their faith in long-preserved _tradition_, their
regular succession of ordinations to their offices, their _faith_ in the
sacramental virtue of the consecrated governor; in short, compare our
religion with the _Thuggee, putting out of account all those
considerations which the traditionists deprecate the discussion of,_ and
where is the difference?" (1840), _ib._ p. 194.

[55] _Apologia_, pp. 131, 132.



The stage on which what is called the Oxford movement ran through its
course had a special character of its own, unlike the circumstances in
which other religious efforts had done their work. The scene of
Jansenism had been a great capital, a brilliant society, the precincts
of a court, the cells of a convent, the studies and libraries of the
doctors of the Sorbonne, the council chambers of the Vatican. The scene
of Methodism had been English villages and country towns, the moors of
Cornwall, and the collieries of Bristol, at length London fashionable
chapels. The scene of this new movement was as like as it could be in
our modern world to a Greek _polis_, or an Italian self-centred city of
the Middle Ages. Oxford stood by itself in its meadows by the rivers,
having its relations with all England, but, like its sister at
Cambridge, living a life of its own, unlike that of any other spot in
England, with its privileged powers, and exemptions from the general
law, with its special mode of government and police, its usages and
tastes and traditions, and even costume, which the rest of England
looked at from the outside, much interested but much puzzled, or knew
only by transient visits. And Oxford was as proud and jealous of its own
ways as Athens or Florence; and like them it had its quaint fashions of
polity; its democratic Convocation and its oligarchy; its social ranks;
its discipline, severe in theory and usually lax in fact; its
self-governed bodies and corporations within itself; its faculties and
colleges, like the guilds and "arts" of Florence; its internal rivalries
and discords; its "sets" and factions. Like these, too, it professed a
special recognition of the supremacy of religion; it claimed to be a
home of worship and religious training, _Dominus illuminatio mea_, a
claim too often falsified in the habit and tempers of life. It was a
small sphere, but it was a conspicuous one; for there was much strong
and energetic character, brought out by the aims and conditions of
University life; and though moving in a separate orbit, the influence of
the famous place over the outside England, though imperfectly
understood, was recognised and great. These conditions affected the
character of the movement, and of the conflicts which it caused. Oxford
claimed to be eminently the guardian of "true religion and sound
learning"; and therefore it was eminently the place where religion
should be recalled to its purity and strength, and also the place where
there ought to be the most vigilant jealousy against the perversions and
corruptions of religion, Oxford was a place where every one knew his
neighbour, and measured him, and was more or less friendly or repellent;
where the customs of life brought men together every day and all day, in
converse or discussion; and where every fresh statement or every new
step taken furnished endless material for speculation or debate, in
common rooms or in the afternoon walk. And for this reason, too,
feelings were apt to be more keen and intense and personal than in the
larger scenes of life; the man who was disliked or distrusted was so
close to his neighbours that he was more irritating than if he had been
obscured by a crowd; the man who attracted confidence and kindled
enthusiasm, whose voice was continually in men's ears, and whose private
conversation and life was something ever new in its sympathy and charm,
created in those about him not mere admiration, but passionate
friendship, or unreserved discipleship. And these feelings passed from
individuals into parties; the small factions of a limited area. Men
struck blows and loved and hated in those days in Oxford as they hardly
did on the wider stage of London politics or general religious

The conflicts which for a time turned Oxford into a kind of image of
what Florence was in the days of Savonarola, with its nicknames,
Puseyites, and Neomaniacs, and High and Dry, counterparts to the
_Piagnoni_ and _Arrabbiati_, of the older strife, began around a student
of retired habits, interested more than was usual at Oxford in abstruse
philosophy, and the last person who might be expected to be the occasion
of great dissensions in the University. Dr. Hampden was a man who, with
no definite intentions of innovating on the received doctrines of the
Church--indeed, as his sermons showed, with a full acceptance of
them--had taken a very difficult subject for a course of Bampton
Lectures, without at all fathoming its depth and reach, and had got into
a serious scrape in consequence. Personally he was a man of serious but
cold religion, having little sympathy with others, and consequently not
able to attract any. His isolation during the whole of his career is
remarkable; he attached no one, as Whately or Arnold attached men. His
mind, which was a speculative one, was not one, in its own order, of the
first class. He had not the grasp nor the subtlety necessary for his
task. He had a certain power of statement, but little of co-ordination;
he seems not to have had the power of seeing when his ideas were really
irreconcilable, and he thought that simply by insisting on his
distinctly orthodox statements he not only balanced, but neutralised,
and did away with his distinctly unorthodox ones. He had read a good
deal of Aristotle and something of the Schoolmen, which probably no one
else in Oxford had done except Blanco White; and the temptation of
having read what no one else knows anything about sometimes leads men to
make an unprofitable use of their special knowledge, which they consider
their monopoly.

The creed and dogmas of the Christian Church are at least in their
broad features, not a speculation, but a fact. That not only the
Apostles' Creed, but the Nicene and Constantinopolitan Creeds, are
assumed as facts by the whole of anything that can be called the Church,
is as certain as the reception by the same body, and for the same time,
of the Scriptures. Not only the Creed, but, up to the sixteenth century,
the hierarchy, and not only Creed and hierarchy and Scriptures, but the
sacramental idea as expressed in the liturgies, are equally in the same
class of facts. Of course it is open to any one to question the genuine
origin of any of these great portions of the constitution of the Church;
but the Church is so committed to them that he cannot enter on his
destructive criticism without having to criticise, not one only, but all
these beliefs, and without soon having to face the question whether the
whole idea of the Church, as a real and divinely ordained society, with
a definite doctrine and belief, is not a delusion, and whether
Christianity, whatever it is, is addressed solely to each individual,
one by one, to make what he can of it. It need hardly be said that
within the limits of what the Church is committed to there is room for
very wide differences of opinion; it is also true that these limits
have, in different times of the Church, been illegitimately and
mischievously narrowed by prevailing opinions, and by documents and
formularies respecting it. But though we may claim not to be bound by
the Augsburg Confession, or by the Lambeth articles, or the Synod of
Dort, or the Bull _Unigenitus_, it does not follow that, if there is a
Church at all, there is no more binding authority in the theology of the
Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. And it is the province of the divine who
believes in a Church at all, and in its office to be the teacher and
witness of religious truth, to distinguish between the infinitely
varying degrees of authority with which professed representations of
portions of this truth are propounded for acceptance. It may be
difficult or impossible to agree on a theory of inspiration; but that
the Church doctrine of some kind of special inspiration of Scripture is
part of Christianity is, unless Christianity be a dream, certain. No one
can reasonably doubt, with history before him, that the answer of the
Christian Church was, the first time the question was asked, and has
continued to be through ages of controversy, _against_ Arianism,
_against_ Socinianism, _against_ Pelagianism, _against_ Zwinglianism. It
does not follow that the Church has settled everything, or that there
are not hundreds of questions which it is vain and presumptuous to
attempt to settle by any alleged authority.

Dr. Hampden was in fact unexceptionably, even rigidly orthodox in his
acceptance of Church doctrine and Church creeds. He had published a
volume of sermons containing, among other things, an able statement of
the Scriptural argument for the doctrine of the Trinity, and an equally
able defence of the Athanasian Creed. But he felt that there are
formularies which may be only the interpretations of doctrine and
inferences from Scripture of a particular time or set of men; and he
was desirous of putting into their proper place the authority of such
formularies. His object was to put an interval between them and the
Scriptures from which they professed to be derived, and to prevent them
from claiming the command over faith and conscience which was due only
to the authentic evidences of God's revelation. He wished to make room
for a deeper sense of the weight of Scripture. He proposed to himself
the same thing which was aimed at by the German divines, Arndt,
Calixtus, and Spener, when they rose up against the grinding oppression
which Lutheran dogmatism had raised on its _Symbolical Books_,[56] and
which had come to outdo the worst extravagances of scholasticism. This
seems to have been his object--a fair and legitimate one. But in arguing
against investing the Thirty-nine Articles with an authority which did
not belong to them, he unquestionably, without seeing what he was
doing, went much farther--where he never meant to go. In fact, he so
stated his argument that he took in with the Thirty-nine Articles every
expression of collective belief, every document, however venerable,
which the Church had sanctioned from the first. Strangely enough,
without observing it, he took in--what he meant to separate by a wide
interval from what he called dogma--the doctrine of the infallible
authority and sufficiency of Scripture. In denying the worth of the
_consensus_ and immemorial judgment of the Church, he cut from under
him the claim to that which he accepted as the source and witness of
"divine facts." He did not mean to do this, or to do many other things;
but from want of clearness of head, he certainly, in these writings
which were complained of, did it. He was, in temper and habit, too
desirous to be "orthodox," as Whately feared, to accept in its
consequences his own theory. The theory which he put forward in his
Bampton Lectures, and on which he founded his plan of comprehension in
his pamphlet on Dissent, left nothing standing but the authority of the
letter of Scripture. All else--right or wrong as it might be--was
"speculation," "human inference," "dogma." With perfect consistency, he
did not pretend to take even the Creeds out of this category. But the
truth was, he did not consciously mean all that he said; and when keener
and more powerful and more theological minds pointed out with relentless
accuracy what he _had said_ he was profuse and overflowing with
explanations, which showed how little he had perceived the drift of his
words. There is not the least reason to doubt the sincerity of these
explanations; but at the same time they showed the unfitness of a man
who had so to explain away his own speculations to be the official guide
and teacher of the clergy. The criticisms on his language, and the
objections to it, were made before these explanations were given; and
though he gave them, he was furious with those who called for them, and
he never for a moment admitted that there was anything seriously wrong
or mistaken in what he had said. To those who pointed out the meaning
and effect of his words and theories, he replied by the assertion of his
personal belief. If words mean anything, he had said that neither
Unitarians nor any one else could get behind the bare letter, and what
he called "facts," of Scripture, which all equally accepted in good
faith; and that therefore there was no reason for excluding Unitarians
as long as they accepted the "facts." But when it was pointed out that
this reasoning reduced all belief in the realities behind the bare
letter to the level of personal and private opinion, he answered by
saying that he valued supremely the Creeds and Articles, and by giving a
statement of the great Christian doctrines which he held, and which the
Church taught. But he never explained what their authority could be with
any one but himself. There might be interpretations and inferences from
Scripture, by the hundred or the thousand, but no one certain and
authoritative one; none that warranted an organised Church, much more a
Catholic and Apostolic Church, founded on the assumption of this
interpretation being the one true faith, the one truth of the Bible. The
point was brought out forcibly in a famous pamphlet written by Mr.
Newman, though without his name, called "Elucidations of Dr. Hampden's
Theological Statements." This pamphlet was a favourite object of attack
on the part of Dr. Hampden's supporters as a flagrant instance of
unfairness and garbled extracts. No one, they said, ever read the
Bampton Lectures, but took their estimate of the work from Mr. Newman's
quotations. Extracts are often open to the charge of unfairness, and
always to suspicion. But in this case there was no need of unfairness.
Dr. Hampden's theory lay on the very surface of his Hampton Lectures and
pamphlet; and any unbiassed judge may be challenged to read these works
of his, and say whether the extracts in the "Elucidations" do not
adequately represent Dr. Hampden's statements and arguments, and whether
the comments on them are forced or strained. They do not represent his
explanations, for the explanations had not been given; and when the
explanations came, though they said many things which showed that Dr.
Hampden did not mean to be unorthodox and unevangelical, but only
anti-scholastic and anti-Roman, they did not unsay a word which he had
said. And what this was, what had been Dr. Hampden's professed
theological theory up to the time when the University heard the news of
his appointment, the "Elucidations" represent as fairly as any adverse
statement can represent the subject of its attack.

In quieter times such an appointment might have passed with nothing more
than a paper controversy or protest, or more probably without more than
conversational criticism. But these wore not quiet and unsuspicious
times. There was reason for disquiet. It was fresh in men's minds what
language and speculation like that of the Bampton Lectures had come to
in the case of Whately's intimate friend, Blanco White. The
unquestionable hostility of Whately's school to the old ideas of the
Church had roused alarm and a strong spirit of resistance in Churchmen.
Each party was on the watch, and there certainly was something at stake
for both parties. Coupled with some recent events, and with the part
which Dr. Hampden had taken on the subscription question, the
appointment naturally seemed significant. Probably it was not so
significant as it seemed on the part at least of Lord Melbourne, who had
taken pains to find a fit man. Dr. Hampden was said to have been
recommended by Bishop Copleston, and not disallowed by Archbishop
Howley. In the University, up to this time, there had been no
authoritative protest against Dr. Hampden's writings. And there were not
many Liberals to choose from. In the appointment there is hardly
sufficient ground to blame Lord Melbourne. But the outcry against it at
Oxford, when it came, was so instantaneous, so strong, and so unusual,
that it might have warned Lord Melbourne that he had been led into a
mistake, out of which it would be wise to seek at least a way of escape.
Doubtless it was a strong measure for the University to protest as it
did; but it was also a strong measure, at least in those days, for a
Minister of the Crown to force so extremely unacceptable a Regius
Professor of Divinity on a great University. Dr. Hampden offered to
resign; and there would have been plenty of opportunities to compensate
him for his sacrifice of a post which could only be a painful one. But
the temper of both sides was up. The remonstrances from Oxford were
treated with something like contempt, and the affair was hurried through
till there was no retreating; and Dr. Hampden became Regius Professor.

Mr. Palmer has recorded how various efforts were made to neutralise the
effect of the appointment. But the Heads of Houses, though angry, were
cautious. They evaded the responsibility of stating Dr. Hampden's
unsound positions; but to mark their distrust, brought in a proposal to
deprive him of his vote in the choice of Select Preachers till the
University should otherwise determine. It was defeated in Convocation by
the veto of the two Proctors (March 1836), who exercised their right
with the full approval of Dr. Hampden's friends, and the indignation of
the large majority of the University. But it was not unfairly used: it
could have only a suspending effect, of which no one had a right to
complain; and when new Proctors came into office, the proposal was
introduced again, and carried (May 1836) by 474 to 94. The Liberal
minority had increased since the vote on subscription, and Dr. Hampden
went on with his work as if nothing had happened. The attempt was twice
made to rescind the vote: first, after the outcry about the Ninetieth
Tract and the contest about the Poetry Professorship, by a simple
repeal, which was rejected by 334 to 219 (June 1842); and next,
indirectly by a statute enlarging the Professor's powers over Divinity
degrees, which was also rejected by 341 to 21 (May 1844). From first to
last, these things and others were the unfortunate incidents of an
unfortunate appointment.

The "persecution of Dr. Hampden" has been an unfailing subject of
reproach to the party of the Oxford movement, since the days when the
_Edinburgh Review_ held them up to public scorn and hatred in an article
of strange violence. They certainly had their full share in the
opposition to him, and in the measures by which that opposition was
carried out. But it would be the greatest mistake to suppose that in
this matter they stood alone. All in the University at this time, except
a small minority, were of one mind, Heads of Houses and country parsons,
Evangelicals and High Churchmen--all who felt that the grounds of a
definite belief were seriously threatened by Dr. Hampden's speculations.
All were angry at the appointment; all were agreed that something ought
to be done to hinder the mischief of it. In this matter Mr. Newman and
his friends were absolutely at one with everybody round them, with those
who were soon to be their implacable opponents. Whatever deeper view
they might have of the evil which had been done by the appointment, and
however much graver and more permanent their objections to it, they were
responsible only as the whole University was responsible for what was
done against Dr. Hampden. It was convenient afterwards to single them
out, and to throw this responsibility and the odium of it on them alone;
and when they came under the popular ban, it was forgotten that Dr.
Gilbert, the Principal of Brasenose, Dr. Symons, the Warden of Wadham,
Dr. Faussett, afterwards the denouncer of Dr. Pusey, Mr. Vaughan Thomas,
and Mr. Hill of St. Edmund Hall, were quite as forward at the time as
Dr. Pusey and Mr. Newman in protesting against Dr. Hampden, and in the
steps to make their protest effective. Mr. Palmer, in his
_Narrative_,[57] anxious to dissociate himself from the movement under
Mr. Newman's influence, has perhaps underrated the part taken by Mr.
Newman and Dr. Pusey; for they, any rate, did most of the argumentative
work. But as far as personal action goes, it is true, as he says, that
the "movement against Dr. Hampden was not guided by the Tract writers."
"The condemnation of Dr. Hampden, then, was not carried by the Tract
writers; it was carried by the _independent_ body of the University. The
fact is that, had those writers taken any leading part, the measure
would have been a failure, for the number of their friends at that time
was a _very small proportion_ to the University at large, and there was
a general feeling of distrust in the soundness of their views."

We are a long way from those days in time, and still more in habits and
sentiment; and a manifold and varied experience has taught most of us
some lessons against impatience and violent measures. But if we put
ourselves back equitably into the ways of thinking prevalent then, the
excitement about Dr. Hampden will not seem so unreasonable or so
unjustifiable as it is sometimes assumed to be. The University
legislation, indeed, to which it led was poor and petty, doing small and
annoying things, because the University rulers dared not commit
themselves to definite charges. But, in the first place, the provocation
was great on the part of the Government in putting into the chief
theological chair an unwelcome man who could only save his orthodoxy by
making his speculations mean next to nothing--whose _prima facie_
unguarded and startling statements were resolved into truisms put in a
grand and obscure form. And in the next place, it was assumed in those
days to be the most natural and obvious thing in the world to condemn
unsound doctrine, and to exclude unsound teachers. The principle was
accepted as indisputable, however slack might have been in recent times
the application of it. That it was accepted, not on one side only, but
on all, was soon to be shown by the subsequent course of events. No one
suffered more severely and more persistently from its application than
the Tractarians; no one was more ready to apply it to them than Dr.
Hampden with his friends; no one approved and encouraged its vigorous
enforcement against them more than Dr. Whately. The idle distinction set
up, that they were not merely unsound but dishonest, was a mere insolent
pretext to save trouble in argument, and to heighten the charge against
them; no one could seriously doubt that they wrote in good faith as much
as Dr. Whately or Dr. Faussett. But unless acts like Dr. Pusey's
suspension, and the long proscription that went on for years after it,
were mere instances of vindictive retaliation, the reproach of
persecution must be shared by all parties then, and by none more than by
the party which in general terms most denounced it. Those who think the
Hampden agitation unique in its injustice ought to ask themselves what
their party would have done if at any time between 1836 and 1843 Mr.
Newman had been placed in Dr. Hampden's seat.

People in our days mean by religious persecution what happens when the
same sort of repressive policy is applied to a religious party as is
applied to vaccination recusants, or to the "Peculiar People." All
religious persecution, from the days of Socrates, has taken a legal
form, and justified itself on legal grounds. It is the action of
authority, or of strong social judgments backed by authority, against a
set of opinions, or the expression of them in word or act--usually
innovating opinions, but not by any means necessarily such. The
disciples of M. Monod, the "Momiers" of Geneva, were persecuted by the
Liberals of Geneva, not because they broke away from the creed of
Calvin, but because they adhered to it. The word is not properly applied
to the incidental effects in the way of disadvantage, resulting from
some broad constitutional settlement--from the government of the Church
being Episcopal and not Presbyterian, or its creed Nicene and not
Arian--any more than it is persecution for a nation to change its
government, or for a legitimist to have to live under a republic, or for
a Christian to have to live in an infidel state, though persecution may
follow from these conditions. But the _privilegium_ passed against Dr.
Hampden was an act of persecution, though a mild one compared with what
afterwards fell on his opponents with his full sanction. Persecution is
the natural impulse, in those who think a certain thing right and
important or worth guarding, to disable those who, thinking it wrong,
are trying to discredit and upset it, and to substitute something
different. It implies a state of war, and the resort to the most
available weapons to inflict damage on those who are regarded as
rebellious and dangerous. These weapons were formidable enough once:
they are not without force still. But in its mildest form--personal
disqualification or proscription--it is a disturbance which only war
justifies. It may, of course, make itself odious by its modes of
proceeding, by meanness and shabbiness and violence, by underhand and
ignoble methods of misrepresentation and slander, or by cruelty and
plain injustice; and then the odium of these things fairly falls upon
it. But it is very hard to draw the line between conscientious
repression, feeling itself bound to do what is possible to prevent
mischief, and what those who are opposed, if they are the weaker party,
of course call persecution.

If persecution implies a state of war in which one side is stronger, and
the other weaker, it is hardly a paradox to say that (1) no one has a
right to complain of persecution as such, apart from odious
accompaniments, any more than of superior numbers or hard blows in
battle; and (2) that every one has a right to take advantage and make
the most of being persecuted, by appeals to sympathy and the principle
of doing as you would be done by. No one likes to be accused of
persecution, and few people like to give up the claim to use it, if
necessary. But no one can help observing in the course of events the
strange way in which, in almost all cases, the "wheel comes full
circle." [Greek: Drasanti pathein]--_Chi la fa, l' aspetti_,[58] are
some of the expressions of Greek awe and Italian shrewdness representing
the experience of the world on this subject; on a large scale and a
small. Protestants and Catholics, Churchmen and Nonconformists, have all
in their turn made full proof of what seems like a law of action and
reaction. Except in cases beyond debate, cases where no justification is
possible, the note of failure is upon this mode of repression.
Providence, by the visible Nemesis which it seems always to bring round,
by the regularity with which it has enforced the rule that infliction
and suffering are bound together and in time duly change places, seems
certainly and clearly to have declared against it. It may be that no
innovating party has a right to complain of persecution; but the
question is not for them. It is for those who have the power, and who
are tempted to think that they have the call, to persecute. It is for
them to consider whether it is right, or wise, or useful for their
cause; whether it is agreeable to what seems the leading of Providence
to have recourse to it.


[56] See Pusey's _Theology of Germany_ (1828), p. 18 _sqq_.

[57] _Narrative_ pp. 29, 30, ed. 1841; p 131. ed. 1883.

[58] [Greek: Drasanti pathein, Trigeron mythos tade phonei.] Aesch.
_Choeph_. 310. Italian proverb, in _Landucci, Diario Fiorentino_, 1513,
p. 343.




By the end of 1835, the band of friends, whom great fears and great
hopes for the Church had united, and others who sympathised with them
both within and outside the University, had grown into what those who
disliked them naturally called a party. The Hampden controversy, though
but an episode in the history of the movement, was an important one, and
undoubtedly gave a great impulse to it. Dr. Hampden's attitude and
language seemed to be its justification--a palpable instance of what the
Church had to expect. And in this controversy, though the feeling
against Dr. Hampden's views was so widely shared, and though the
majority which voted against him was a very mixed one, and contained
some who hoped that the next time they were called to vote it might be
against the Tractarians, yet the leaders of the movement had undertaken
the responsibility, conspicuously and almost alone, of pointing out
definitely and argumentatively the objections to Dr. Hampden's teaching.
The number of Mr. Newman's friends might be, as Mr. Palmer says,
insignificant, but it was they who had taken the trouble to understand
and give expression to the true reasons for alarm.[59] Even in this
hasty and imperfect way, the discussion revealed to many how much deeper
and more various the treatment of the subject was in the hands of Mr.
Newman and Dr. Pusey compared with the ordinary criticisms on Dr.
Hampden. He had learned in too subtle a school to be much touched by the
popular exceptions to his theories, however loudly expressed. The
mischief was much deeper. It was that he had, unconsciously, no doubt,
undermined the foundation of definite Christian belief, and had resolved
it into a philosophy, so-called scholastic, which was now exploded. It
was the sense of the perilous issues to which this diluted form of
Blanco White's speculations, so recklessly patronised by Whately, was
leading theological teaching in the University, which opened the eyes of
many to the meaning of the movement, and brought some fresh friends to
its side.

There was no attempt to form a party, or to proselytise; there was no
organisation, no distinct and recognised party marks. "I would not have
it called a party," writes Dr. Newman in the _Apologia_. But a party it
could not help being: quietly and spontaneously it had grown to be what
community of ideas, aims, and sympathies, naturally, and without blame,
leads men to become. And it had acquired a number of recognised
nicknames, to friends and enemies the sign of growing concentration. For
the questions started in the Tracts and outside them became of
increasing interest to the more intelligent men who had finished their
University course and were preparing to enter into life, the Bachelors
and younger Masters of Arts. One by one they passed from various states
of mind--alienation, suspicion, fear, indifference, blank
ignorance--into a consciousness that something beyond the mere
commonplace of religious novelty and eccentricity, of which there had
been a good deal recently, was before them; that doctrines and
statements running counter to the received religious language of the
day, doctrines about which, in confident prejudice, they had perhaps
bandied about off-hand judgments, had more to say for themselves than
was thought at first; that the questions thus raised drove them in on
themselves, and appealed to their honesty and seriousness; and that, at
any rate, in the men who were arresting so much attention, however
extravagant their teaching might be called, there was a remarkable
degree of sober and reserved force, an earnestness of conviction which
could not be doubted, an undeniable and subtle power of touching souls
and attracting sympathies. One by one, and in many different ways, these
young men went through various stages of curiosity, of surprise, of
perplexity, of doubt, of misgiving, of interest; some were frightened,
and wavered, and drew back more or less reluctantly; others, in spite of
themselves, in spite of opposing influences, were led on step by step,
hardly knowing whither, by a spell which they could not resist, of
intellectual, or still more, moral pressure. Some found their old home
teaching completed, explained, lighted up, by that of the new school.
Others, shocked at first at hearing the old watchwords and traditions of
their homes decried and put aside, found themselves, when they least
expected it, passing from the letter to the spirit, from the technical
and formal theory to the wide and living truth. And thus, though many of
course held aloof, and not a few became hostile, a large number, one by
one, some rapidly, others slowly, some unreservedly, others with large
and jealous reserves, more and more took in the leading idea of the
movement, accepted the influence of its chiefs, and looked to them for
instruction and guidance. As it naturally happens, when a number of
minds are drawn together by a common and strong interest, some men, by
circumstances, or by strength of conviction, or by the mutual affinities
of tastes and character, came more and more into direct personal and
intimate relations with the leaders, took service, as it were, under
them, and prepared to throw themselves into their plans of work. Others,
in various moods, but more independent, more critical, more disturbed
about consequences, or unpersuaded on special points, formed a kind of
fringe of friendly neutrality about the more thoroughgoing portion of
the party. And outside of these were thoughtful and able men, to whom
the whole movement, with much that was utterly displeasing and utterly
perplexing, had the interest of being a break-up of stagnation and dull
indolence in a place which ought to have the highest spiritual and
intellectual aims; who, whatever repelled them, could not help feeling
that great ideas, great prospects, a new outburst of bold thought, a new
effort of moral purpose and force, had disturbed the old routine; could
not help being fascinated, if only as by a spectacle, by the strange and
unwonted teaching, which partly made them smile, partly perhaps
permanently disgusted them, but which also, they could not deny, spoke
in a language more fearless, more pathetic, more subtle, and yet more
human, than they had heard from the religious teachers of the day. And
thus the circle of persons interested in the Tracts, of persons who
sympathised with their views, of persons who more and more gave a warm
and earnest adherence to them, was gradually extended in the
University--and, in time, in the country also. The truth was that the
movement, in its many sides, had almost monopolised for the time both
the intelligence and the highest religious earnestness of the
University,[60] and either in curiosity or inquiry, in approval or in
condemnation, all that was deepest and most vigorous, all that was most
refined, most serious, most high-toned, and most promising in Oxford was
drawn to the issues which it raised. It is hardly too much to say that
wherever men spoke seriously of the grounds and prospects of religion,
in Oxford, or in Vacation reading-parties, in their walks and social
meetings, in their studies or in common-room, the "Tractarian"
doctrines, whether assented to or laughed at, deplored or fiercely
denounced, were sure to come to the front. All subjects in discussion
seemed to lead up to them--art and poetry, Gothic architecture and
German romance and painting, the philosophy of language, and the novels
of Walter Scott and Miss Austen, Coleridge's transcendentalism and
Bishop Butler's practical wisdom, Plato's ideas and Aristotle's
analysis. It was difficult to keep them out of lecture-rooms and
examinations for Fellowships.

But in addition to the intrinsic interest of the questions and
discussions which the movement opened, personal influence played a great
and decisive part in it. As it became a party, it had chiefs. It was not
merely as leaders of thought but as teachers with their disciples, as
friends with friends, as witnesses and examples of high self-rule and
refined purity and goodness, that the chiefs whose names were in all
men's mouths won the hearts and trust of so many, in the crowds that
stood about them. Foremost, of course, ever since he had thrown himself
into it in 1835, was Dr. Pusey. His position, his dignified office, his
learning, his solidity and seriousness of character, his high standard
of religious life, the charm of his charity, and the sweetness of his
temper naturally gave him the first place in the movement in Oxford and
the world. It came to be especially associated with him. Its enemies
fastened on it a nickname from his name, and this nickname, partly from
a greater smoothness of sound, partly from an odd suggestion of
something funny in it, came more into use than others; and the terms
_Puseismus, Puseisme, Puseista_ found their way into German
lecture-halls and Paris salons and remote convents and police offices in
Italy and Sicily; indeed, in the shape of [Greek: pouzeismos] it might
be lighted on in a Greek newspaper. Dr. Pusey was a person who commanded
the utmost interest and reverence; he was more in communication with the
great world outside than Oxford people generally, and lived much in
retirement from Oxford society; but to all interested in the movement he
was its representative and highest authority. He and Mr. Newman had the
fullest confidence in one another, though conscious at times of not
perfect agreement; yet each had a line of his own, and each of them was
apt to do things out of his own head. Dr. Pusey was accessible to all
who wished to see him; but he did not encourage visits which wasted
time. And the person who was pre-eminently, not only before their eyes,
but within their reach in the ordinary intercourse of man with man, was
Mr. Newman. Mr. Newman, who lived in College in the ordinary way of a
resident Fellow, met other university men, older or younger, on equal
terms. As time went on, a certain wonder and awe gathered round him.
People were a little afraid of him; but the fear was in themselves, not
created by any intentional stiffness or coldness on his part. He did not
try to draw men to him, he was no proselytiser; he shrank with fear and
repugnance from the character--it was an invasion of the privileges of
the heart.[61] But if men came to him, he was accessible; he allowed his
friends to bring their friends to him, and met them more than half-way.
He was impatient of mere idle worldliness, of conceit and impertinence,
of men who gave themselves airs; he was very impatient of pompous and
solemn emptiness. But he was very patient with those whom he believed to
sympathise with what was nearest his heart; no one, probably, of his
power and penetration and sense of the absurd, was ever so ready to
comply with the two demands which a witty prelate proposed to put into
the examination in the Consecration Service of Bishops: "Wilt thou
answer thy letters?" "Wilt thou suffer fools gladly?" But courteous,
affable, easy as he was, he was a keen trier of character; he gauged,
and men felt that he gauged, their motives, their reality and soundness
of purpose; he let them see, if they at all came into his intimacy,
that if _they_ were not, _he_, at any rate, was in the deepest earnest.
And at an early period, in a memorable sermon,[62] the vivid impression
of which at the time still haunts the recollection of some who heard it,
he gave warning to his friends and to those whom his influence touched,
that no child's play lay before them; that they were making, it might be
without knowing it, the "Ventures of Faith." But feeling that he had
much to say, and that a university was a place for the circulation and
discussion of ideas, he let himself be seen and known and felt, both
publicly and in private. He had his breakfast parties and his evening
gatherings. His conversation ranged widely, marked by its peculiar
stamp--entire ease, unstudied perfection of apt and clean-cut words,
unexpected glimpses of a sure and piercing judgment. At times, at more
private meetings, the violin, which he knew how to touch, came into

He had great gifts for leadership. But as a party chief he was also
deficient in some of the qualities which make a successful one. His
doctrine of the Church had the disadvantage of an apparently
intermediate and ambiguous position, refusing the broad, intelligible
watchwords and reasonings of popular religionism. It was not without
clearness and strength; but such a position naturally often leads to
what seem over-subtle modes of argument, seemingly over-subtle because
deeper and more original than the common ones; and he seemed sometimes
to want sobriety in his use of dialectic weapons, which he wielded with
such force and effect. Over-subtlety in the leader of a party tends to
perplex friends and give a handle to opponents. And with all his
confidence in his cause, and also in his power and his call to use it,
he had a curious shyness and self-distrust as to his own way of doing
what he had to do; he was afraid of "wilfulness," of too great reliance
on intellect. He had long been accustomed to observe and judge himself,
and while conscious of his force, he was fully alive to the drawbacks,
moral and intellectual, which wait on the highest powers. When attacks
were made on him by authorities, as in the case of the Tract No. 90, his
more eager friends thought him too submissive; they would have liked a
more combative temper and would not accept his view that confidence in
him was lost, because it might be shaken.[63] But if he bent before
official authority the disapproval of friends was a severer trouble.
Most tender in his affections, most trustful in his confidence, craving
for sympathy, it came like a shock and chill when things did not go
right between himself and his friends. He was too sensitive under such
disapproval for a successful party chief. The true party leader takes
these things as part of that tiresome human stupidity and perverseness
with which he must make his account. Perhaps they sting for the moment,
but he brushes them away and goes forward, soon forgetting them. But
with Mr. Newman, his cause was identified with his friendships and even
his family affections. And as a leader, he was embarrassed by the
keenness with which he sympathised with the doubts and fears of friends;
want of sympathy and signs of distrust darkened the prospect of the
future; they fell like a blight on his stores of hope, never
over-abundant; they tempted him, not to assert himself, but to throw up
the game as convicted of unfitness, and retire for good and all to his
books and silence. "Let them," he seemed to say, "have their way, as
they will not let me have mine; they have the right to take theirs, only
not to make me take it." In spite of his enthusiasm and energy, his
unceasing work, his occasional bursts of severe punishment inflicted on
those who provoked him, there was always present this keen
sensitiveness, the source of so much joy and so much pain. He would not
have been himself without it. But he would have been a much more
powerful and much more formidable combatant if he had cared less for
what his friends felt, and followed more unhesitatingly his own line and
judgment. This keen sensitiveness made him more quickly alive than other
people to all that lay round him and before; it made him quicker to
discern danger and disaster; it led him to give up hope and to retire
from the contest long before he had a right to do so. The experience of
later years shows that he had despaired too soon. Such delicate
sensitiveness, leading to impatience, was not capable of coping with the
rough work involved in the task of reform, which he had undertaken.

All this time the four o'clock sermons at St. Mary's were always going
on. But, besides these, he anticipated a freedom--familiar now, but
unknown then--of public lecturing. In Advent and after Easter a company,
never very large, used to gather on a week-day afternoon in Adam de
Brome's Chapel--the old Chapel of "Our Lady of Littlemore"--to hear him
lecture on some theological subject. It is a dark, dreary appendage to
St. Mary's on the north side, in which Adam de Brome, Edward II.'s
almoner, and the founder of Oriel College, is supposed to lie, beneath
an unshapely tomb, covered by a huge slab of Purbeck marble, from which
the brass has been stripped. The place is called a chapel, but is more
like a court or place of business, for which, indeed, it was used in the
old days by one of the Faculties of the House of Convocation, which held
its assemblies there. At the end is a high seat and desk for the person
presiding, and an enclosure and a table for officials below him; and
round the rest of the dingy walls run benches fixed to the wall, dingy
as the walls themselves. But it also had another use. On occasions of a
university sermon, a few minutes before it began, the Heads of Houses
assembled, as they still assemble, in the chapel, ranging themselves on
the benches round the walls. The Vice-Chancellor has his seat on one
side, the preacher, with the two Proctors below him, sits opposite; and
there all sit in their robes, more or less grand, according to the day,
till the beadle comes to announce that it is time to form the procession
into church. This desolate place Mr. Newman turned into his
lecture-room; in it he delivered the lectures which afterwards became
the volume on the _Prophetical Character of the Church_, or _Romanism
and Popular Protestantism_; the lectures which formed the volume on
_Justification_; those on _Antichrist_, and on _Rationalism and the
Canon of Scripture_, which afterwards became Nos. 83 and 85 of the
_Tracts for the Times_.[64] The force, the boldness, the freedom from
the trammels of commonplace, the breadth of view and grasp of the
subject which marked those lectures, may be seen in them still. But it
is difficult to realise now the interest with which they were heard at
the time by the first listeners to that clear and perfectly modulated
voice, opening to them fresh and original ways of regarding questions
which seemed worn out and exhausted. The volumes which grew out of the
Adam de Brome lectures were some of the most characteristic portions of
the theological literature of the early movement. They certainly greatly
influenced the course of thought in it, and some of its most serious

The movement was not one of mere opinion. It took two distinct though
connected lines. It was, on the one hand, theological; on the other,
resolutely practical. Theologically, it dealt with great questions of
religious principle--What is the Church? Is it a reality or a mode of
speech? On what grounds does it rest? How may it be known? Is it among
us? How is it to be discriminated from its rivals or counterfeits? What
is its essential constitution? What does it teach? What are its
shortcomings? Does it nerd reform? But, on the other hand, the movement
was marked by its deep earnestness on the practical side of genuine
Christian life. Very early in the movement (1833) a series of
sketches of primitive Christian life appeared in the _British
Magazine_--afterwards collected under the title of the _Church of the
Fathers_ (1840)--to remind people who were becoming interested in
ancient and patristic theology that, besides the doctrines to be found
in the vast folios of the Fathers, there were to be sought in them and
laid to heart the temptations and trials, the aspirations and moral
possibilities of actual life, "the tone and modes of thought, the habits
and manners of the early times of the Church." The note struck in the
first of Mr. Newman's published sermons--"Holiness necessary for future
blessedness"--was never allowed to be out of mind. The movement was,
above all, a moral one; it was nothing, allowed to be nothing, if it
was not this.[65] Seriousness, reverence, the fear of insincere words
and unsound professions, were essential in the character, which alone it
would tolerate in those who made common cause with it.

Its ethical tendency was shown in two things, which were characteristic
of it. One was the increased care for the Gospels, and study of them,
compared with other parts of the Bible. Evangelical theology had dwelt
upon the work of Christ, and laid comparatively little stress on His
example, or the picture left us of His Personality and Life. It regarded
the Epistles of St. Paul as the last word of the Gospel message. People
who can recall the popular teaching, which was spoken of then as "sound"
and "faithful," and "preaching Christ," can remember how the Epistles
were ransacked for texts to prove the "sufficiency of Scripture" or the
"right of private judgment," or the distinction between justification
and sanctification, while the Gospel narrative was imperfectly studied
and was felt to be much less interesting. The movement made a great
change. The great Name stood no longer for an abstract symbol of
doctrine, but for a living Master, who could teach as well as save. And
not forgetting whither He had gone and what He was, the readers of
Scripture now sought Him eagerly in those sacred records, where we can
almost see and hear His going in and out among men. It was a change in
the look and use of Scripture, which some can still look back to as an
epoch in their religious history. The other feature was the increased
and practical sense of the necessity of self-discipline, of taking real
trouble with one's self to keep thoughts and wishes in order, to lay the
foundation of habits, to acquire the power of self-control. Deeply fixed
in the mind of the teachers, this serious governance of life, this
direction and purification of its aims, laid strong hold on the
consciences of those who accepted their teaching. This training was not
showy; it was sometimes austere, even extravagantly austere; but it was
true, and enduring, and it issued often in a steady and unconscious
elevation of the religious character. How this character was fed and
nurtured and encouraged--how, too, it was frankly warned of its dangers,
may be seen in those _Parochial Sermons_ at St. Mary's, under whose
inspiration it was developed, and which will always be the best
commentary on the character thus formed. Even among those who ultimately
parted from the movement, with judgment more or less unfavourable to its
theology and general line, it left, as if uneffaceable, this moral
stamp; this value for sincerity and simplicity of feeling and life, this
keen sense of the awfulness of things unseen. There was something _sui
generis_ in the profoundly serious, profoundly reverent tone, about
everything that touched religion in all who had ever come strongly under
its influence.

Of course the party soon had the faults of a party, real and
imputed.[66] Is it conceivable that there should ever have been a
religious movement, which has not provoked smiles from those outside of
it, and which has not lent itself to caricature? There were weaker
members of it, and headstrong ones, and imitative ones; there were
grotesque and absurd ones; some were deeper, some shallower; some liked
it for its excitement, and some liked it for its cause; there were those
who were for pushing on, and those who were for holding back; there were
men of combat, and men of peace; there were those whom it made conceited
and self-important, and those whom it drove into seriousness, anxiety,
and retirement. But, whatever faults it had, a pure and high spirit
ruled in it; there were no disloyal members, and there were none who
sought their own in it, or thought of high things for themselves in
joining it. It was this whole-heartedness, this supreme reverence for
moral goodness, more even than the great ability of the leaders, and in
spite of mistakes and failures, which gave its cohesion and its momentum
to the movement in its earlier stages.

The state of feeling and opinion among Churchmen towards the end of
1835, two years after the Tracts had begun, is thus sketched by one who
was anxiously observing it, in the preface to the second volume of the
Tracts (November 1835).

In completing the second volume of a publication, to which the
circumstances of the day have given rise, it may be right to allude to
a change which has taken place in them since the date of its
commencement. At that time, in consequence of long security, the
attention of members of our Church had been but partially engaged, in
ascertaining the grounds of their adherence to it; but the imminent
peril to all which is dear to them which has since been confessed, has
naturally turned their thoughts that way, and obliged them to defend
it on one or other of the principles which are usually put forward in
its behalf. Discussions have thus been renewed in various quarters, on
points which had long remained undisturbed; and though numbers
continue undecided in opinion, or take up a temporary position in some
one of the hundred middle points which may be assumed between the two
main theories in which the question issues; and others, again, have
deliberately entrenched themselves in the modern or ultra-Protestant
alternative; yet, on the whole, there has been much hearty and
intelligent adoption, and much respectful study, of those more
primitive views maintained by our great Divines. As the altered state
of public information and opinion has a necessary bearing on the
efforts of those who desire to excite attention to the subject (in
which number the writers of these Tracts are to be included), it will
not be inappropriate briefly to state in this place what it is
conceived is the present position of the great body of Churchmen with
reference to it.

While we have cause to be thankful for the sounder and more accurate
language, which is now very generally adopted among well-judging men
on ecclesiastical subjects, we must beware of over-estimating what has
been done, and so becoming sanguine in our hopes of success, or
slackening our exertions to secure it. Many more persons, doubtless,
have taken up a profession of the main doctrine in question, that,
namely, of the one Catholic and Apostolic Church, than fully enter
into it. This was to be expected, it being the peculiarity of all
religious teaching, that words are imparted before ideas. A child
learns his Creed or Catechism before he understands it; and in
beginning any deep subject we are all but children to the end of our
lives. The instinctive perception of a rightly instructed mind, _prima
facie_ force of the argument, or the authority of our celebrated
writers, have all had their due and extensive influence in furthering
the reception of the doctrine, when once it was openly maintained; to
which must be added the prospect of the loss of State protection,
which made it necessary to look out for other reasons for adherence to
the Church besides that of obedience to the civil magistrate. Nothing
which has spread quickly has been received thoroughly. Doubtless there
are a number of seriously-minded persons who think that they admit the
doctrine in question much more fully than they do, and who would be
startled at seeing that realised in particulars which they confess in
an abstract form. Many there are who do not at all feel that it is
capable of a practical application; and while they bring it forward on
special occasions, in formal expositions of faith, or in answer to a
direct interrogatory, let it slip from their minds almost entirely in
their daily conduct or their religious teaching, from the long and
inveterate habit of thinking and acting without it. We must not, then,
at all be surprised at finding that to modify the principles and
motives on which men act is not the work of a day; nor at undergoing
disappointments, at witnessing relapses, misconceptions, sudden
disgusts, and, on the other hand, abuses and perversions of the true
doctrine, in the case of those who have taken it up with more warmth
than discernment.

From the end of 1835, or the beginning of 1836, the world outside of
Oxford began to be alive to the force and the rapid growth of this new
and, to the world at large, not very intelligible movement. The ideas
which had laid hold so powerfully on a number of leading minds in the
University began to work with a spell, which seemed to many
inexplicable, on others unconnected with them. This rapidity of
expansion, viewed as a feature of a party, was noticed on all sides, by
enemies no less than friends. In an article in the _British Critic_ of
April 1839, by Mr. Newman, on the State of Religious Parties, the fact
is illustrated from contemporary notices.

There is at the present moment a reaction in the Church, and a growing
reaction, towards the views which it has been the endeavours [of the
Tract writers] and, as it seemed at the commencement, _almost hopeless
endeavours_, to advocate. The fairness of the prospect at present is
proved by the attack made on them by the public journals, and is
confessed by the more candid and the more violent among their
opponents. Thus the amiable Mr. Bickersteth speaks of it as having
manifested itself "with the _most rapid_ growth of the hot-bed of
these evil days." The scoffing author of the _Via Media_ says: "At
this moment the Via is _crowded_ with young enthusiasts who never
presume to argue, except against the propriety of arguing at all." The
candid Mr. Baden-Powell, who sees more of the difficulties of the
controversy than the rest of their antagonists pot together, says that
it is clear that "these views ... have been extensively adopted, and
are daily gaining ground among a considerable and influential portion
of the members, as well as the ministers of the Established Church."
The author of the _Natural History of Enthusiasm_ says: "The spread of
these doctrines is in fact having the effect of rendering all other
distinctions obsolete. Soon there will be no middle ground left, and
every man, especially every clergyman, will be compelled to make his
choice between the two." ... The Bishop of Chester speaks of the
subject "daily assuming a more serious and alarming aspect": a
gossiping writer of the moment describes these doctrines as having
insinuated themselves not only into popular churches and fashionable
chapels, and the columns of newspapers, but "into the House of

And the writer of the article goes on:--

Now, if there be any truth in these remarks, it is plainly idle and
perverse to refer the change of opinions which is now going on to the
acts of two or three individuals, as is sometimes done. Of course
every event in human affairs has a beginning; and a beginning implies
a when, and a where, and a by whom, and how. But except in these
necessary circumstance, the phenomenon in question is in a manner
quite independent of things visible and historical. It is not here or
there; it has no progress, no causes, no fortunes: it is not a
movement, it is a spirit, it is a spirit afloat, neither "in the
secret chambers" nor "in the desert," but everywhere. It is within us,
rising up in the heart where it was least expected, and working its
way, though not in secret, yet so subtly and impalpably, as hardly to
admit of precaution or encounter on any ordinary human rules of
opposition. It is an adversary in the air, a something one and entire,
a whole wherever it is, unapproachable and incapable of being
grasped, as being the result of causes far deeper than political or
other visible agencies, the spiritual awakening of spiritual wants.

Nothing can show more strikingly the truth of this representation than
to refer to what may be called the theological history of the
individuals who, whatever be their differences from each other on
important or unimportant points, yet are associated together in the
advocacy of the doctrines in question. Dr. Hook and Mr. Churton
represent the High Church dignitaries of the last generation; Mr.
Perceval, the Tory aristocracy; Mr. Keble is of the country clergy,
and comes from valleys and woods, far removed both from notoriety and
noise; Mr. Palmer and Mr. Todd are of Ireland; Dr. Pusey became what
he is from among the Universities of Germany, and after a severe and
tedious analysis of Arabic MSS. Mr. Dodsworth is said to have begun in
the study of Prophecy; Mr. Newman to have been much indebted to the
friendship of Archbishop Whately; Mr. Froude, if any one, gained his
views from his own mind. Others have passed over from Calvinism and
kindred religions.

Years afterwards, and in changed circumstances, the same writer has left
the following record of what came before his experience in those

From beginnings so small (I said), from elements of thought so
fortuitous, with prospects so unpromising, the Anglo-Catholic party
suddenly became a power in the National Church, and an object of alarm
to her rulers and friends. Its originators would have found it
difficult to say what they aimed at of a practical kind: rather, they
put forth views and principles, for their own sake, because they were
true, as if they were obliged to say them; and, as they might be
themselves surprised at their earnestness in uttering them, they had
as great cause to be surprised at the success which attended their
propagation. And, in fact, they could only say that those doctrines
were in the air; that to assert was to prove, and that to explain was
to 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 inquire 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 backwoods-men 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.


[59] "I answered, the person whom we were opposing had committed himself
in writing, and we ought to commit ourselves, too."--_Apologia_, p. 143.

[60] "I very much doubt between Oxford and Cambridge for my boy. Oxford,
which I should otherwise prefer, on many accounts, has at present
two-thirds of the steady-reading men, Rabbinists, _i.e._ Puseyites." But
this was probably an exaggeration.--Whately's _Life_; letter of Oct.
1838, p. 163 (ed. 1875).

[61] "The sagacious and aspiring man of the world, the scrutiniser
of the heart, the conspirator against its privileges and
rights."--_Prophetical Office of the Church_, p. 132.

[62] _Parochial Sermons_, iv. 20. Feb. 1836.

[63] _Vide_ J.B. Mozley, _Letters_, pp. 114, 115. "Confidence in me was
lost, but I had already lost confidence in myself." This, to a friend
like J.B. Mozley, seemed exaggeration. "Though admiring the letter [to
the Vice Chancellor] I confess, for my own part, I think a general
confession of humility was irrelevant to the present occasion, the
question being simply on a point of theological interpretation. I have
always had a prejudice against general confessions." Mozley plainly
thought Newman's attitude too meek. He would have liked something more
spirited and pugnacious.

[64] _Romanism and Popular Protestantism_, from 1834 to 1836, published
March 1837; _Justification_, after Easter 1837, published March 1838;
_Canon of Scripture_, published May 1838; _Antichrist_, published June

[65] Cf. _Lyra Apostolica_, No. 65:

_Thou_ to wax fierce
In the cause of the Lord!

* * * * *

Anger and zeal,
And the joy of the brave,
Who bade _thee_ to feel,
Sin's slave?

[66] This weak side was portrayed with severity in a story published by
Mr. Newman in 1848, after he left the English Church--_Loss and Gain_.

[67] _Apologia_, p. 156.



The Hampden controversy had contributed to bring to the front a
question, which from the first starting of the Tracts had made itself
felt, but which now became a pressing one. If the Church of England
claimed to be part of the Catholic Church, what was the answer of the
Church of England to the claims and charges of the Church of Rome? What
were the true distinctions between the doctrines of the two Churches on
the great points on which they were supposed to be at issue? The vague
outcry of Popery had of course been raised both against the general
doctrine of the Church, enforced in the Tracts, and against special
doctrines and modes of speaking, popularly identified with Romanism; and
the answer had been an appeal to the authority of the most learned and
authoritative of our writers. But, of course, to the general public this
learning was new; and the cry went on with a dreary and stupid monotony.
But the charges against Dr. Hampden led his defenders to adopt as their
best weapon an aggressive policy. To the attack on his orthodoxy, the
counter buffet was the charge against his chief opponents of secret or
open Romanising. In its keenest and most popular form it was put forth
in a mocking pamphlet written probably under Whately's inspiration by
his most trusted confidant, Dr. Dickinson, in which, in the form of a
"Pastoral Epistle from his Holiness the Pope to some Members of the
University of Oxford," the Tract-writers are made to appear as the
emissaries and secret tools of Rome, as in a _jeu d'esprit_ of Whately's
they are made to appear as the veiled prophets of infidelity.[68] It was
clever, but not clever enough to stand, at least in Oxford, against Dr.
Pusey's dignified and gravely earnest _Remonstrance_ against its
injustice and trifling. But the fire of all Dr. Hampden's friends had
been drawn on the leaders of the movement. With them, and almost alone
with them, the opposition to him was made a personal matter. As time
went on, those who had been as hot as they against Dr. Hampden managed
to get their part in the business forgotten. Old scores between
Orthodox, Evangelicals, and Liberals were wiped out, and the Tractarians
were left to bear alone the odium of the "persecution" of Dr. Hampden.
It must be said that they showed no signs of caring for it.

But the Roman controversy was looming in earnest, and it was idle to
expect to keep it long out of sight. The Tracts had set forth with
startling vehemence the forgotten claims of the Church. One reason why
this had been done was the belief, as stated in the first volume of
them, "that nothing but these neglected doctrines, faithfully preached,
will repress the extension of Popery, for which the ever-multiplying
divisions of the religious world are too clearly preparing the way."[69]
The question, What _is_ the Church? was one which the conditions of the
times would not permit men any longer to leave alone. It had become
urgent to meet it clearly and decisively. "We could not move a step in
comfort till this was done."[70] "The controversy with the Romanists,"
writes Mr. Newman in No. 71 of the Tracts, about the end of 1835, "has
overtaken us 'like a summer's cloud.' We find ourselves in various parts
of the country preparing for it, yet, when we look back, we cannot trace
the steps by which we arrived at our present position. We do not
recollect what our feelings were this time last year on the subject;
what was the state of our apprehensions and anticipations. All we know
is, that here we are, from long security ignorant why we are not Roman
Catholics, and they on the other side are said to be spreading and
strengthening on all sides of us, vaunting of their success, real or
apparent, and taunting us with our inability to argue with them."

The attitude taken by Mr. Newman at this time, as regards the Roman
Church, both in the Tracts and in his book on _Romanism and Popular
Protestantism_, published in the early months of 1836, was a new one. He
had started, as he tells us, with the common belief that the Pope was
Antichrist, and that the case was so clear against the whole system,
doctrinal and practical, of the Church of Rome, that it scarcely needed
further examination. His feeling against Rome had been increased by the
fierce struggle about Emancipation, and by the political conduct of the
Roman Catholic party afterwards; and his growing dissatisfaction with
the ordinary Protestantism had no visible effect in softening this
feeling. Hurrell Froude's daring questions had made his friends feel
that there might be more to be known about the subject than they yet
knew; yet what the fellow-travellers saw of things abroad in their visit
to the South in 1832 did not impress them favourably. "They are wretched
Tridentines everywhere," was Froude's comment. But attention had been
drawn to the subject, and its deep interest and importance and
difficulty recognised. Men began to read with new eyes. Froude's keen
and deep sense of shortcomings at home disposed him to claim equity and
candour in judging of the alleged faults and corruptions of the Church
abroad. It did more, it disposed him--naturally enough, but still
unfairly, and certainly without adequate knowledge--to treat Roman
shortcomings with an indulgence which he refused to English. Mr. Newman,
knowing more, and more comprehensive in his view of things, and
therefore more cautious and guarded than Froude, was much less ready to
allow a favourable interpretation of the obvious allegations against
Rome. But thought and reading, and the authority of our own leading
divines, had brought him to the conviction that whatever was to be said
against the modern Roman Church--and the charges against it were very
heavy--it was still, amid serious corruption and error, a teacher to the
nations of the Christian creed and hope; it had not forfeited, any more
than the English Church, its title to be a part of that historic body
which connects us with the Apostles of our Lord. It had a strong and
consistent theory to oppose to its assailants; it had much more to say
for itself than the popular traditions supposed. This was no new idea in
Anglican divinity, however ill it might sort with the current language
of Protestant controversy. But our old divines, more easily satisfied
than we with the course of things at home under the protection of the
Stuart kings, and stung to bitter recrimination by the insults and the
unscrupulous political intrigues of Roman Catholic agents, had exhausted
the language of vituperation against a great aggressive rival, which was
threatening everything that they held dear. They had damaged their own
character for fairness, and overlaid their substantial grounds of
objection and complaint, by this unbalanced exaggeration. Mr. Newman, in
his study of these matters, early saw both the need and the difficulty
of discrimination in the Roman controversy. It had to be waged, not as
of old, with penal legislation behind, but against adversaries who
could now make themselves listened to, and before a public sufficiently
robust in its Protestantism, to look with amused interest on a
dialectical triumph of the Roman over the Anglican claims. Romanism, he
thought, was fatal both to his recent hopes for the English Church, and
to the honour and welfare of Christianity at large. But in opposing it,
ground loosely taken of old must be carefully examined, and if
untenable, abandoned. Arguments which proved too much, which availed
against any Church at all, must be given up. Popular objections, arising
from ignorance or misconception, must be reduced to their true limits or
laid aside. The controversy was sure to be a real one, and nothing but
what was real and would stand scrutiny was worth anything in it.

Mr. Newman had always been impressed with the greatness of the Roman
Church. Of old it had seemed to him great with the greatness of
Antichrist. Now it seemed great with the strange weird greatness of a
wonderful mixed system, commanding from its extent of sway and its
imperial authority, complicated and mysterious in its organisation and
influence, in its devotion and its superstitions, and surpassing every
other form of religion both in its good and its evil.[71] What now
presented itself to Mr. Newman's thoughts, instead of the old notion of
a pure Church on one side, and a corrupt Church on the other, sharply
opposed to one another, was the more reasonable supposition of two great
portions of the divided Church, each with its realities of history and
fact and character, each with its special claims and excellences, each
with its special sins and corruptions, and neither realising in practice
and fact all it professed to be on paper; each of which further, in the
conflicts of past days, had deeply, almost unpardonably, wronged the
other. The Church of England was in possession, with its own call and
its immense work to do, and striving to do it. Whatever the Church of
Rome was abroad, it was here an intruder and a disturber. That to his
mind was the fact and the true position of things; and this ought to
govern the character and course of controversy. The true line was not to
denounce and abuse wholesale, not to attack with any argument, good or
bad, not to deny or ignore what was solid in the Roman ground, and good
and elevated in the Roman system, but admitting all that fairly ought to
be admitted, to bring into prominence, not for mere polemical
denunciation, but for grave and reasonable and judicial condemnation,
all that was extravagant and arrogant in Roman assumptions, and all that
was base, corrupt, and unchristian in the popular religion, which, with
all its claims to infallibility and authority, Rome not only permitted
but encouraged. For us to condemn Rome wholesale, as was ordinarily the
fashion, even in respectable writers, was as wrong, as unfair, as
unprofitable to the cause of truth and Christianity, as the Roman
charges against us were felt by us to be ignorant and unjust. Rome
professes like England to continue the constitution, doctrine,
traditions, and spirit of the ancient and undivided Church: and so far
as she does so--and she does so in a great degree--we can have no
quarrel with her. But in a great degree also, she does this only in
profession and as a theory: she claims the witness and suffrage of
antiquity, but she interprets it at her own convenience and by her own
authority. We cannot claim exemption from mistakes, from deviations from
our own standard and principles, any more than Rome; but while she
remains as she is, and makes the monstrous claims of infallibility and
supremacy, there is nothing for English Churchmen but to resist her.
Union is impossible. Submission is impossible. What we have to beware of
for our own sake, as well as for our cause, are false arguments, unreal
objections, ignorant allegations. There is enough on the very surface,
in her audacious assertions and high-handed changes, for popular
arguments against her, without having recourse to exaggeration and
falsehood; she may be a very faulty Church, without being Babylon and
Antichrist. And in the higher forms of argument, there is abundance in
those provinces of ancient theology and ecclesiastical history and law,
which Protestant controversialists have commonly surrendered and left
open to their opponents, to supply a more telling weapon than any which
these controversialists have used.

This line, though substantially involved in the theory of our most
learned divines, from Andrewes to Wake, was new in its moderation and
reasonable caution; in its abstention from insult and vague abuse, in
its recognition of the _prima facie_ strength of much of the Roman case,
in its fearless attempt, in defiance of the deepest prejudices, to face
the facts and conditions of the question. Mr. Newman dared to know and
to acknowledge much that our insular self-satisfaction did not know, and
did not care to know, of real Christian life in the Church of Rome. He
dared to admit that much that was popularly held to be Popish was
ancient, Catholic, edifying; he dared to warn Churchmen that the loose
unsifted imputations, so securely hazarded against Rome, were both
discreditable and dangerous. All this, from one whose condemnation of
Rome was decisive and severe, was novel. The attempt, both in its spirit
and its ability, was not unworthy of being part of the general effort to
raise the standard of thought and teaching in the English Church. It
recalled men from slovenly prejudices to the study of the real facts of
the living world. It narrowed the front of battle, but it strengthened
it enormously. The volume on _Romanism and Popular Protestantism_ is not
an exhaustive survey of the controversy with Rome or of the theory of
the Church. There are great portions of the subject, both theological
and historical, which it did not fall within the scope of the book to
touch. It was unsystematic and incomplete. But so far as its argument
extended, it almost formed an epoch in this kind of controversial
writing. It showed the command of a man of learning over all the
technical points and minutiae of a question highly scholastical in its
conceptions and its customary treatment, and it presented this question
in its bearings and consequences on life and practice with the freedom
and breadth of the most vigorous popular writing. The indictment against
Rome was no vague or general one. It was one of those arguments which
cut the ground from under a great established structure of reasonings
and proofs. And its conclusions, clear and measured, but stern, were the
more impressive, because they came from one who did not disguise his
feeling that there was much in what was preserved in the Roman system
to admire and to learn from.

The point which he chose for his assault was indeed the key of the Roman
position--the doctrine of Infallibility. He was naturally led to this
side of the question by the stress which the movement had laid on the
idea of the Church as the witness and teacher of revealed truth: and the
immediate challenge given by the critics or opponents of the movement
was, how to distinguish this lofty idea of the Church, with its claim to
authority, if it was at all substantial, from the imposing and
consistent theory of Romanism. He urged against the Roman claim of
Infallibility two leading objections. One was the way in which the
assumed infallibility of the present Church was made to override and
supersede, in fact, what in words was so ostentatiously put forward, the
historical evidence of antiquity to doctrine, expressed by the phrase,
the "consent of the Fathers." The other objection was the inherent
contradiction of the notion of infallibility to the conditions of human
reception of teaching and knowledge, and its practical uselessness as an
assurance of truth, its partly delusive, partly mischievous, working.
But he felt, as all deep minds must feel, that it is easier to overthrow
the Roman theory of Church authority than to replace it by another,
equally complete and commanding, and more unassailable. He was quite
alive to the difficulties of the Anglican position; but he was a
disciple in the school of Bishop Butler, and had learned as a first
principle to recognise the limitations of human knowledge, and the
unphilosophical folly of trying to round off into finished and
pretentious schemes our fragmentary yet certain notices of our own
condition and of God's dealings with it. He followed his teacher in
insisting on the reality and importance of moral evidence as opposed to
demonstrative proof; and he followed the great Anglican divines in
asserting that there was a true authority, varying in its degrees, in
the historic Church; that on the most fundamental points of religion
this authority was trustworthy and supreme; that on many other questions
it was clear and weighty, though it could not decide everything. This
view of the "prophetical office of the Church" had the dialectical
disadvantage of appearing to be a compromise, to many minds a fatal
disadvantage. It got the name of the _Via Media_; a satisfactory one to
practical men like Dr. Hook, to whom it recommended itself for use in
popular teaching; but to others, in aftertimes, an ill-sounding phrase
of dislike, which summed up the weakness of the Anglican case. Yet it
only answered to the certain fact, that in the early and undivided
Church there was such a thing as authority, and there was no such thing
known as Infallibility. It was an appeal to the facts of history and
human nature against the logical exigencies of a theory. Men must
transcend the conditions of our experience if they want the certainty
which the theory of Infallibility speaks of.

There were especially two weak points in this view of Anglicanism. Mr.
Newman felt and admitted them, and of course they were forced on his
attention by controversialists on both sides; by the Ultra Protestant
school, whose modes of dealing with Scripture he had exposed with
merciless logic and by the now eager Roman disputants, of whom Dr.
Wiseman was the able and not over-scrupulous chief. The first of these
points was that the authority of the undivided Church, which Anglicanism
invoked, though it completely covered the great foundations of Christian
doctrine, our faith as to the nature of God, did not cover with equal
completeness other important points of controversy, such as those
raised at the Reformation as to the Sacraments, and the justification of
the sinner. The Anglican answer was that though the formal and conciliar
authority was not the same in each case, the patristic literature of the
time of the great councils, all that it took for granted and preserved
as current belief and practice, all that resulted from the questions and
debates of the time, formed a body of proof, which carried with it moral
evidence only short of authoritative definition, and was so regarded in
the Anglican formularies. These formularies implied the authority of the
Church to speak; and what was defined on this authority was based on
good evidence, though there were portions of its teaching which had even
better. The other point was more serious. "Your theory," was the
objection, "is nothing but a paper theory; it never was a reality; it
never can be. There may be an ideal halting-place, there is neither a
logical nor an actual one, between Romanism and the ordinary negations
of Protestantism." The answer to the challenge then was, "Let us see if
it cannot be realised. It has recognised foundations to build upon, and
the impediments and interruptions which have hindered it are well known.
Let us see if it will not turn out something more than a paper theory."
That was the answer given at the time, abandoned ten years afterwards.
But this at least may be said, that the longer experience of the last
fifty years has shown that the Church of England has been working more
and more on such a theory, and that the Church of England, whatever its
faults may be, is certainly not a Church only on paper.

But on the principles laid down in this volume, the Roman controversy,
in its varying forms, was carried on--for the time by Mr. Newman,
permanently by the other leaders of the movement. In its main outlines,
the view has become the accepted Anglican view. Many other most
important matters have come into the debate. The publicly altered
attitude of the Papacy has indefinitely widened the breach between
England and Rome. But the fundamental idea of the relations and
character of the two Churches remains the same as it was shadowed forth
in 1836.

One very important volume on these questions ought not to be passed by
without notice. This was the _Treatise on the Church of Christ_, 1838,
by Mr. W. Palmer, who had already by his _Origines_ of the English
Ritual, 1832, done much to keep up that interest of Churchmen in the
early devotional language of the Church, which had first been called
forth by Bishop Lloyd's lectures on the Prayer Book. The _Treatise on
the Church_ was an honour to English theology and learning; in point of
plan and structure we have few books like it.[72] It is comprehensive,
methodical, well-compacted, and, from its own point of view,
exhaustive. It is written with full knowledge of the state of the
question at the time, both on the Anglican side and on the Roman. Its
author evades no objection, and is aware of most. It is rigorous in
form, and has no place for anything but substantial argument. It is a
book which, as the _Apologia_ tells us, commanded the respect of such an
accomplished controversialist as Perrone; and, it may be added, of a
theologian of an opposite school, Dr. Doellinger. It is also one on which
the highest value has been set by Mr. Gladstone. It is remarkable that
it did not exercise more influence on religious thought in Oxford at the
critical time when it appeared. But it had defects, and the moment was
against it. It was dry and formal--inevitably so, from the scientific
plan deliberately adopted for it; it treated as problems of the
theological schools, to be discussed by the rules of severe and
passionless disputation, questions which were once more, after the
interval of more than a century, beginning to touch hearts and
consciences, and were felt to be fraught with the gravest practical
issues. And Mr. Newman, in his mode of dealing with them, unsystematic,
incomplete, unsatisfactory in many ways as it was, yet saw in them not
abstract and scholastic inquiries, however important, but matters in
which not only sound argument, but sympathy and quick intelligence of
the conditions and working of the living minds around him, were needed
to win their attention and interest. To persons accustomed to Mr.
Newman's habit of mind and way of writing, his ease, his frankness, his
candour, his impatience of conventionality, his piercing insight into
the very centre of questions, his ever-ready recognition of nature and
reality, his range of thought, his bright and clear and fearless style
of argument, his undisplayed but never unfelt consciousness of the true
awfulness of anything connected with religion, any stiff and heavy way
of treating questions which he had treated would have seemed
unattractive and unpersuasive. He had spoiled his friends for any mere
technical handling, however skilful, of great and critical subjects. He
himself pointed out in a review the unique merit and the real value of
Mr. Palmer's book, pointing out also, significantly enough, where it
fell short, both in substance and in manner. Observing that the
"scientific" system of the English Church is not yet "sufficiently
cleared and adjusted," and adding a variety of instances of this
deficiency, he lets us see what he wanted done, where difficulties most
pressed upon himself, and where Mr. Palmer had missed the real substance
of such difficulties. Looking at it by the light of after-events, we can
see the contradiction and reaction produced by Mr. Palmer's too
optimist statements. Still, Mr. Newman's praise was sincere and
discriminating. But Mr. Palmer's book, though never forgotten, scarcely
became, what it at another time might well have become, an English


[68] Whately's _Life_, ed. 1875, pp. 187-190.

[69] Advertisement to vol. i. 1st Nov. 1834.

[70] _Apologia_, p. 139.

[71] Vide _Lyra Apostolica_, Nos. 170, 172:

How shall I name thee, Light of the wide West,
Or heinous error-seat?...
Oh, that thy creed were sound!
For thou dost soothe the heart, thou Church of Rome,
By thy unwearied watch and varied round
Of service, in thy Saviour's holy home.

And comp. No. 171, _The Cruel Church_.

[72] "The most important theological work which has lately appeared is
Mr. Palmer's _Treatise on the Church_.... Whatever judgment may be
formed of the conclusions to which he has come on the variety of points
which he had to consider, we cannot contemplate without admiration, and
(if it were right) without envy, the thorough treatment which his
subject has received at his hands. It is indeed a work quite in
character with the religious movement which has commenced in various
parts of the Church, displaying a magnificence of design similar to that
of the Bishop of London's plan of fifty new churches, and Dr. Pusey, of
Oxford's, projected translation of the Fathers."--_Brit. Crit._. July
1838. Short Notices.



The first seven years of the movement, as it is said in the _Apologia_,
had been years of prosperity. There had been mistakes; there had been
opposition; there had been distrust and uneasiness. There was in some
places a ban on the friends of Mr. Newman; men like Mr. James Mozley and
Mr. Mark Pattison found their connexion with him a difficulty in the way
of fellowships. But on the whole, things had gone smoothly, without any
great breakdown, or any open collision with authority. But after 1840
another period was to begin of trouble and disaster. The seeds of this
had been partially sown before in the days of quiet, and the time was
come for their development. Differences in the party itself had been
growing sharper; differences between the more cautious and the more
fearless, between the more steady-going and the more subtle thinkers.
The contrast between the familiar and customary, and the new--between
the unknown or forgotten, and a mass of knowledge only recently
realised--became more pronounced. Consequences of a practical kind, real
or supposed; began to show themselves, and to press. And above all, a
second generation, without the sobering experience of the first, was
starting from where the first had reached to, and, in some instances,
was rising up against their teachers' caution and patience. The usual
dangers of all earnest and aggressive assertions of great principles
appeared: contempt for everything in opinion and practice that was not
advanced, men vying with each other in bold inferences, in the pleasure
of "talking strong." With this grew fear and exasperation on the other
side, misunderstandings, misgivings, strainings of mutual confidence,
within. Dr. Hook alternated between violent bursts of irritation and
disgust, and equally strong returns of sympathy, admiration, and
gratitude; and he represented a large amount of feeling among Churchmen.
It was but too clear that storms were at hand. They came perhaps quicker
than they were anticipated.

Towards the end of 1838, a proposal was brought forward, for which in
its direct aspect much might plausibly be said, but which was in
intention and indirectly a test question, meant to put the Tractarians
in a difficulty, and to obtain the weight of authority in the University
against them. It was proposed to raise a subscription, and to erect a
monument in Oxford, to the martyrs of the Reformation, Cranmer, Ridley,
and Latimer. Considering that the current and popular language dated
the Church of England from the Reformation of the sixteenth century, and
cited the Reformers as ultimate and paramount authorities on its
doctrine, there was nothing unreasonable in such a proposal. Dr. Hook,
strong Churchman as he was, "called to union on the principles of the
English Reformation." But the criticism which had been set afloat by the
movement had discovered and realised, what defenders of the English
Church had hitherto felt it an act of piety to disbelieve, when put
before them by Romanists like Lingard, and radicals like Cobbett. that
the Reformers had been accomplices in many indefensible acts, and had
been inconsistent and untrustworthy theologians. Providentially, it was
felt, the force of old convictions and tradition and the historical
events of the time had obliged them to respect the essentials of
Catholic truth and polity and usage; we owed to them much that was
beautiful and devotional in the Prayer Book; and their Articles, clear
in all matters decided by the early theology, avoided foreign extremes
in dealing with later controversies. But their own individual language
was often far in advance of the public and official language of
formularies, in the direction of the great Protestant authorities of
Geneva and Zurich. There were still, even among the movement party, many
who respected the Reformers for the work which they had attempted, and
partly and imperfectly done, to be more wisely and soberly carried on by
their successors of the seventeenth century. But the charges against
their Calvinistic and even Zwinglian language were hard to parry; even
to those who respected them for their connexion with our present order
of things, their learning, their soundness, their authority appeared to
be greatly exaggerated; and the reaction from excessive veneration made
others dislike and depreciate them. This was the state of feeling when
the Martyrs' Memorial was started. It was eagerly pressed with ingenious
and persevering arguments by Mr. Golightly, the indefatigable and
long-labouring opponent of all that savoured of Tractarianism. The
appeal seemed so specious that at first many even of the party gave in
their adhesion. Even Dr. Pusey was disposed to subscribe to it. But Mr.
Newman, as was natural, held aloof; and his friends for the most part
did the same. It was what was expected and intended. They were either to
commit themselves to the Reformation as understood by the promoters of
the Memorial; or they were to be marked as showing their disloyalty to
it. The subscription was successful. The Memorial was set up, and stood,
a derisive though unofficial sign of the judgment of the University
against them.

But the "Memorial" made little difference to the progress of the
movement. It was an indication of hostility in reserve, but this was
all; it formed an ornament to the city, but failed as a religious and
effective protest. Up to the spring of 1839, Anglicanism, placed on an
intellectual basin by Mr. Newman, developed practically in different
ways by Dr. Pusey and Dr. Hook, sanctioned in theory by divines who
represented the old divinity of the English Church, like Bishop
Phillpotts and Mr. H.J. Rose, could speak with confident and hopeful
voice. It might well seem that it was on its way to win over the coming
generations of the English clergy. It had on its side all that gives
interest and power to a cause,--thought, force of character, unselfish
earnestness; it had unity of idea and agreement in purpose, and was
cemented by the bonds of warm affection and common sympathies. It had
the promise of a nobler religion, as energetic and as spiritual as
Puritanism and Wesleyanism, while it drew its inspiration, its canons of
doctrine, its moral standards, from purer and more venerable
sources;--from communion, not with individual teachers and partial
traditions, but with the consenting teaching and authoritative documents
of the continuous Catholic Church.

Anglicanism was agreed, up to this time--the summer of 1839--as to its
general principles. Charges of an inclination to Roman views had been
promptly and stoutly met; nor was there really anything but the
ignorance or ill-feeling of the accusers to throw doubt on the sincerity
of these disavowals. The deepest and strongest mind in the movement was
satisfied; and his steadiness of conviction could be appealed to if his
followers talked wildly and rashly. He had kept one unwavering path; he
had not shrunk from facing with fearless honesty the real living array
of reasons which the most serious Roman advocates could put forward.
With a frankness new in controversy, he had not been afraid to state
them with a force which few of his opponents could have put forth. With
an eye ever open to that supreme Judge of all our controversies, who
listens to them on His throne on high, he had with conscientious
fairness admitted what he saw to be good and just on the side of his
adversaries, conceded what in the confused wrangle of conflicting claims
he judged ought to be conceded. But after all admissions and all
concessions, the comparative strength of his own case appeared all the
more undeniable. He had stripped it of its weaknesses, its incumbrances,
its falsehoods; and it did not seem the weaker for being presented in
its real aspect and on its real grounds. People felt that he had gone to
the bottom of the question as no one had yet dared to do. He was yet
staunch in his convictions; and they could feel secure.

But a change was at hand. In the course of 1839, the little cloud showed
itself in the outlook of the future; the little rift opened, small and
hardly perceptible, which was to widen into an impassable gulf.
Anglicanism started with undoubted confidence in its own foundations and
its own position, as much against Romanism as against the more recent
forms of religion. In the consciousness of its strength, it could afford
to make admissions and to refrain from tempting but unworthy arguments
in controversy with Rome; indeed the necessity of such controversy had
come upon it unexpectedly and by surprise. With English frankness, in
its impatience of abuses and desire for improvement within, it had dwelt
strongly on the faults and shortcomings of the English Church which it
desired to remedy; but while allowing what was undeniably excellent in
Rome, it had been equally outspoken and emphatic in condemnation of the
evils of Rome. What is there to wonder at in such a position? It is the
position of every honest reforming movement, at least in England. But
Anglican self-reliance was unshaken, and Anglican hope waxed stronger as
the years went on, and the impression made by Anglican teaching became
wider and deeper. Outside attacks, outside persecution, could now do
little harm; the time was past for that. What might have happened had
things gone on as they began, it is idle to inquire. But at the moment
when all seemed to promise fair, the one fatal influence, the presence
of internal uncertainty and doubt, showed itself. The body of men who
had so for acted together began to show a double aspect. While one
portion of it continued on the old lines, holding the old ground,
defending the old principles, and attempting to apply them for the
improvement of the practical system of the English Church, another
portion had asked the question, and were pursuing the anxious inquiry,
whether the English Church was a true Church at all, a true portion of
the one uninterrupted Catholic Church of the Redeemer. And the question
had forced itself with importunate persistence on the leading mind of
the movement. From this time the fate of Tractarianism, as a party, was

In this overthrow of confidence, two sets of influences may be traced.

1. One, which came from above, from the highest leading authority in the
movement, was the unsettlement of Mr. Newman's mind. He has told the
story, the story as he believed of his enfranchisement and deliverance;
and he has told the story, though the story of a deliverance, with so
keen a feeling of its pathetic and tragic character,--as it is indeed
the most tragic story of a conversion to peace and hope on record,--that
it will never cease to be read where the English language is spoken. Up
to the summer of 1839, his view of the English position had satisfied
him--satisfied him, that is, as a tenable one in the anomalies of
existing Christendom. All seemed clear and hopeful, and the one thing to
be thought of was to raise the English Church to the height of its own
standard. But in the autumn of that year (1839), as he has told us, a
change took place. In the summer of 1839, he had set himself to study
the history of the Monophysite controversy. "I have no reason," he
writes, "to suppose that the thought of Rome came across my mind at
all.... It was during this course of reading that for the first time a
doubt came across me of the tenableness of Anglicanism. I had seen the
shadow of a hand on the wall. He who has seen a ghost cannot be as if he
had never seen it. The heavens had opened and closed again." To less
imaginative and slower minds this seems an overwrought description of a
phenomenon, which must present itself sometime or other to all who
search the foundations of conviction; and by itself he was for the time
proof against its force. "The thought for the moment had been, The
Church of Rome will be found right after all; and then it had vanished.
My old convictions remained as before." But another blow came, and then
another. An article by Dr. Wiseman on the Donatists greatly disturbed
him. The words of St. Augustine about the Donatists, _securus judicat
orbis terrarum_, rang continually in his ears, like words out of the
sky. He found the threatenings of the Monophysite controversy renewed in
the _Arian_: "the ghost had come a second time." It was a "most
uncomfortable article," he writes in his letters; "the first real hit
from Romanism which has happened to me"; it gave him, as he says, "a
stomach-ache." But he still held his ground, and returned his answer to
the attack in an article in the _British Critic_, on the "Catholicity of
the English Church." He did not mean to take the attack for more than it
was worth, an able bit of _ex parte_ statement. But it told on him, as
nothing had yet told on him. What it did, was to "open a vista which was
closed before, and of which he could not see the end"; "we are not at
the bottom of things," was the sting it left behind From this time, the
hope and exultation with which, in spite of checks and misgivings, he
had watched the movement, gave way to uneasiness and distress. A new
struggle was beginning, a long struggle with himself, a long struggle
between rival claims which would not be denied, each equally imperious,
and involving fatal consequences if by mistake the wrong one was
admitted. And it was not only the effect of these thoughts on his own
mind which filled him with grief and trouble. He always thought much for
others; and now there was the misery of perhaps unsettling
others--others who had trusted him with their very souls--others, to
whom it was impossible to explain the conflicts which were passing in
his own mind. It was so bitter to unsettle their hope and confidence.
All through this time, more trying than his own difficulties, were the
perplexities and sorrows which he foresaw for those whom he loved. Very
illogical and inconsecutive, doubtless; if only he had had the hard
heart of a proselytiser, he would have seen that it was his duty to
undermine and shatter their old convictions. But he cared more for the
tempers and beliefs in which he was at one with his Anglican friends,
than for those in which they could not follow him. But the struggle came
on gradually. What he feared at first was not the triumph of Rome, but
the break-up of the English Church; the apparent probability of a great
schism in it. "I fear I see more clearly that we are working up to a
schism in the English Church, that is, a split between Peculiars and
Apostolicals ... I never can be surprised at individuals going off to
Rome, but that is not my chief fear, but a schism; that is, those two
parties, which have hitherto got on together as they could, from the
times of Puritanism downwards, gathering up into clear, tangible, and
direct forces, and colliding. Our Church is not at one with itself,
there is no denying it." That was at first the disaster before him. His
thought for himself began to turn, not to Rome, but to a new life
without office and authority, but still within the English Church. "You
see, if things come to the worst, I should turn brother of charity in
London." And he began to prepare for a move from Oxford, from St.
Mary's, from his fellowship. He bought land at Littlemore, and began to
plant. He asks his brother-in-law for plans for building what he calls a
[Greek: monea]. He looks forward to its becoming a sort of Monastic
school, but still connected with the University.

In Mr. Newman's view of the debate between England and Rome, he had all
along dwelt on two broad features, _Apostolicity_ and _Catholicity_,
likeness to the Apostolic teaching, and likeness to the uninterrupted
unity and extent of the undivided Church; and of those two features he
found the first signally wanting in Rome, and the second signally
wanting in England. When he began to distrust his own reasonings, still
the disturbing and repelling element in Rome was the alleged defect of
Apostolicity, the contrast between primitive and Roman religion; while
the attractive one was the apparent widely extended Catholicity in all
lands, East and West, continents and isles, of the world-wide spiritual
empire of the Pope. It is these two great points which may be traced in
their action on his mind at this crisis. The contrast between early and
Roman doctrine and practice, in a variety of ways, some of them most
grave and important, was long a great difficulty in the way of
attempting to identify the Roman Church, absolutely and exclusively,
with the Primitive Church. The study of antiquity indisposed him,
indeed, more and more to the existing system of the English Church; its
claims to model itself on the purity and simplicity of the Early Church
seemed to him, in the light of its documents, and still more of the
facts of history and life, more and more questionable. But modern Rome
was just as distant from the Early Church though it preserved many
ancient features, lost or unvalued by England. Still, Rome was not the
same thing as the Early Church; and Mr. Newman ultimately sought a way
out of his difficulty--and indeed there was no other--in the famous
doctrine of Development. But when the difficulty about _Apostolicity_
was thus provided for, then the force of the great vision of the
Catholic Church came upon him, unchecked and irresistible. That was a
thing present, visible, undeniable as a fact of nature; that was a thing
at once old and new; it belonged as truly, as manifestly, to the recent
and modern world of democracy and science, as it did to the Middle Ages
and the Fathers, to the world of Gregory and Innocent, to the world of
Athanasius and Augustine. The majesty, the vastness of an imperial
polity, outlasting all states and kingdoms, all social changes and
political revolutions, answered at once to the promises of the
prophecies, and to the antecedent idea of the universal kingdom of God.
Before this great idea, embodied in concrete form, and not a paper
doctrine, partial scandals and abuses seemed to sink into
insignificance. Objections seemed petty and ignoble; the pretence of
rival systems impertinent and absurd. He resented almost with impatience
anything in the way of theory or explanation which seemed to him narrow,
technical, dialectical. He would look at nothing but what had on it the
mark of greatness and largeness which befitted the awful subject, and
was worthy of arresting the eye and attention of an ecclesiastical
statesman, alive to mighty interests, compared to which even the most
serious human affairs were dwarfed and obscured. But all this was
gradual in coming. His recognition of the claims of the English Church,
faulty and imperfect as he thought it, did not give way suddenly and at
once. It survived the rude shock of 1839, From first to almost the last
she was owned as his "mother"--owned in passionate accents of
disappointment and despair as a Church which knew not how to use its
gifts; yet still, even though life seemed failing her, and her power of
teaching and ruling seemed paralysed, his mother; and as long as there
seemed to him a prospect of restoration to health, it was his duty to
stay by her.[73] This was his first attitude for three or four years
after 1839. He could not speak of her with the enthusiasm and triumph of
the first years of the movement. When he fought her battles, it was with
the sense that her imperfections made his task the harder. Still he
clung to the belief that she held a higher standard than she had yet
acted up to, and discouraged and perplexed he yet maintained her cause.
But now two things happened. The Roman claims, as was natural when
always before him, seemed to him more and more indisputable. And in
England his interpretation of Anglican theology seemed to be more and
more contradicted, disavowed, condemned, by all that spoke with any
authority in the Church. The University was not an ecclesiastical body,
yet it had practically much weight in matters of theology; it
informally, but effectually, declared against him. The Bishops, one by
one, of course only spoke as individuals; but they were the official
spokesmen of the Church, and their consent, though not the act of a
Synod, was weighty--they too had declared against him. And finally that
vague but powerful voice of public opinion, which claims to represent at
once the cool judgment of the unbiassed, and the passion of the
zealous--it too declared against him. Could he claim to understand the
mind of the Church better than its own organs?

Then at length a change came; and it was marked outwardly by a curious
retractation of his severe language about Rome, published in a paper
called the _Conservative Journal_, in January 1843; and more distinctly,
by his resignation of St. Mary's in September 1843, a step contemplated
for some time, and by his announcement that he was preparing to resign
his fellowship. From this time he felt that he could no longer hold
office, or be a champion of the English Church; from this time, it was
only a matter of waiting, waiting to make quite certain that he was
right and was under no delusion, when he should leave her for the Roman
Communion. And to his intimate friends, to his sisters, he gave notice
that this was now impending. To the world outside, all that was known
was that he was much unsettled and distressed by difficulties.

It may be asked why this change was not at this time communicated, not
to a few intimates, but to the world? Why did he not at this time hoist
his quarantine flag and warn every one that he was dangerous to come
near? So keen a mind must, it was said, have by this time foreseen how
things would end; he ought to have given earlier notice. His answer was
that he was sincerely desirous of avoiding, as far as possible, what
might prejudice the Church in which he had ministered, even at the
moment of leaving her. He saw his own way becoming clearer and clearer;
but he saw it for himself alone. He was not one of those who forced the
convictions of others; he was not one of those who think it a great
thing to be followed in a serious change by a crowd of disciples.
Whatever might be at the end, it was now an agonising wrench to part
from the English body, to part from the numbers of friends whose loyalty
was immovable, to part from numbers who had trusted and learned from
him. Of course, if he was in the right way, he could wish them nothing
better than that they should follow him. But they were in God's hands;
it was not his business to unsettle them; it was not his business to
ensnare and coerce their faith. And so he tried for this time to steer
his course alone. He wished to avoid observation. He was silent on all
that went on round him, exciting as some of the incidents were. He would
not he hurried; he would give himself full time; he would do what he
could to make sure that he was not acting under the influence of a

The final result of all this was long in coming; there was, we know, a
bitter agony of five years, a prolonged and obstinate and cruel struggle
between the deepest affections and ever-growing convictions. But this
struggle, as has been said, did not begin with the conviction in which
it ended. It began and long continued with the belief that though
England was wrong, Rome was not right; that though the Roman argument
seemed more and more unanswerable, there were insuperable difficulties
of certain fact which made the Roman conclusion incredible; that there
was so much good and truth in England, with all its defects and faults,
which was unaccountable and unintelligible on the Roman hypothesis; that
the real upshot was that the whole state of things in Christendom was
abnormal; that to English Churchmen the English Church had immediate and
direct claims which nothing but the most irresistible counter-claims
could overcome or neutralise--the claims of a shipwrecked body cut off
from country and home, yet as a shipwrecked body still organised, and
with much saved from the wreck, and not to be deserted, as long as it
held together, in an uncertain attempt to rejoin its lost unity.
Resignation, retirement, silence, lay communion, the hope of ultimate,
though perhaps long-deferred reunion--these were his first thoughts.
Misgivings could not be helped, would not be denied, but need not be
paraded, were to be kept at arm's-length as long as possible. This is
the picture presented in the autobiography of these painful and dreary
years; and there is every evidence that it is a faithful one. It is
conceivable, though not very probable, that such a course might go on
indefinitely. It is conceivable that under different circumstances he
might, like other perplexed and doubting seekers after truth, have
worked round through doubt and perplexity to his first conviction. But
the actual result, as it came, was natural enough; and it was
accelerated by provocation, by opponents without, and by the pressure of
advanced and impatient followers and disciples in the party itself.

2. This last was the second of the two influences spoken of above. It
worked from below, as the first worked from above.

Discussions and agitations, such as accompanied the movement, however
much under the control of the moral and intellectual ascendancy of the
leaders, could not of course be guaranteed from escaping from that
control. And as the time went on, men joined the movement who had but
qualified sympathy with that passionate love and zeal for the actual
English Church, that acquaintance with its historical theology, and that
temper of discipline, sobriety, and self-distrust, which marked its
first representatives. These younger disciples shared in the growing
excitement of the society round them. They were attracted by visible
height of character, and brilliant intellectual power. They were alive
to vast and original prospects, opening a new world which should be a
contrast to the worn-out interest of the old. Some of these were men of
wide and abstruse learning; quaint and eccentric scholars both in habit
and look, students of the ancient type, who even fifty years ago seemed
out of date to their generation. Some were men of considerable force of
mind, destined afterwards to leave a mark on their age as thinkers and
writers. To the former class belonged Charles Seager, and John Brande
Morris, of Exeter College, both learned Orientalists, steeped in
recondite knowledge of all kinds; men who had worked their way to
knowledge through hardship and grinding labour, and not to be outdone in
Germany itself for devouring love of learning and a scholar's plainness
of life. In the other class may be mentioned Frederic Faber, J.D.
Dalgairns, and W.G. Ward, men who have all since risen to eminence in
their different spheres. Faber was a man with a high gift of
imagination, remarkable powers of assimilating knowledge, and a great
richness and novelty and elegance of thought, which with much melody of
voice made him ultimately a very attractive preacher. If the promise of
his powers has not been adequately fulfilled, it is partly to be traced
to a want of severity of taste and self-restraint, but his name will
live in some of his hymns, and in some very beautiful portions of his
devotional writings. Dalgairns's mind was of a different order. "That
man has an eye for theology," was the remark of a competent judge on
some early paper of Dalgairns's which came before him. He had something
of the Frenchman about him. There was in him, in his Oxford days, a
bright and frank briskness, a mixture of modesty and arch daring, which
gave him an almost boyish appearance; but beneath this boyish appearance
there was a subtle and powerful intellect, alive to the problems of
religious philosophy, and impatient of any but the most thorough
solutions of them; while, on the other hand, the religious affections
were part of his nature, and mind and will and heart yielded an
unreserved and absolute obedience to the leading and guidance of faith.
In his later days, with his mind at ease, Father Dalgairns threw himself
into the great battle with unbelief; and few men have commanded more
the respect of opponents not much given to think well of the arguments
for religion, by the freshness and the solidity of his reasoning. At
this time, enthusiastic in temper, and acute and exacting as a thinker,
he found the Church movement just, as it were, on the turn of the wave.
He was attracted to it at first by its reaction against what was unreal
and shallow, by its affinities with what was deep in idea and earnest in
life; then, and finally, he was repelled from it, by its want of
completeness, by its English acquiescence in compromise, by its
hesitations and clinging to insular associations and sympathies, which
had little interest for him.

Another person, who was at this time even more prominent in the advanced
portion of the movement party, and whose action had more decisive
influence on its course, was Mr. W.G. Ward, Fellow of Balliol. Mr. Ward,
who was first at Christ Church, had distinguished himself greatly at the
Oxford Union as a vigorous speaker, at first on the Tory side; he came
afterwards under the influence of Arthur Stanley, then fresh from Rugby,
and naturally learned to admire Dr. Arnold; but Dr. Arnold's religious
doctrines did not satisfy him; the movement, with its boldness and
originality of idea and ethical character, had laid strong hold on him,
and he passed into one of the most thoroughgoing adherents of Mr.
Newman. There was something to smile at in his person, and in some of
his ways--his unbusiness-like habits, his joyousness of manner, his racy
stories; but few more powerful intellects passed through Oxford in his
time, and he has justified his University reputation by his distinction
since, both as a Roman Catholic theologian and professor, and as a
profound metaphysical thinker, the equal antagonist on their own ground
of J. Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer. But his intellect at that time
was as remarkable for its defects as for its powers. He used to divide
his friends, and thinking people in general, into those who had facts
and did not know what to do with them, and those who had in perfection
the logical faculties, but wanted the facts to reason upon. He belonged
himself to the latter class. He had, not unnaturally, boundless
confidence in his argumentative powers; they were subtle, piercing,
nimble, never at a loss, and they included a power of exposition which,
if it was not always succinct and lively, was always weighty and
impressive. Premises in his hands were not long in bringing forth their
conclusions; and if abstractions always corresponded exactly to their
concrete embodiments, and ideals were fulfilled in realities, no one
could point out more perspicuously and decisively the practical
judgments on them which reason must sanction. But that knowledge of
things and of men which mere power of reasoning will not give was not
one of his special endowments. The study of facts, often in their
complicated and perplexing reality, was not to his taste. He was apt to
accept them on what he considered adequate authority, and his
argumentation, formidable as it always was, recalled, even when most
unanswerable at the moment, the application of pure mathematics without
allowance for the actual forces, often difficult to ascertain except by
experiment, which would have to be taken account of in practice.

The tendency of this section of able men was unquestionably Romewards,
almost from the beginning of their connexion with the movement. Both the
theory and the actual system of Rome, so far as they understood it, had
attractions for them which nothing else had. But with whatever
perplexity and perhaps impatience, Mr. Newman's power held them back. He
kept before their minds continually those difficulties of fact which
stood in the way of their absolute and peremptory conclusions, and of
which they were not much inclined to take account. He insisted on those
features, neither few nor unimportant nor hard to see, which proved the
continuity of the English Church with the Church Universal. Sharing
their sense of anomaly in the Anglican theory and position, he pointed
out with his own force and insight that anomaly was not in England only,
but everywhere. There was much to regret, there was much to improve,
there were many unwelcome and dangerous truths, _invidiosi veri_, to be
told and defended at any cost. But patience, as well as honesty and
courage, was a Christian virtue; and they who had received their
Christianity at the hands of the English Church had duties towards it
from which neither dissatisfaction nor the idea of something better
could absolve them. _Spartam nactus es, hanc exorna_ is the motto for
every one whose lot is cast in any portion of Christ's Church. And as
long as he could speak with this conviction, the strongest of them could
not break away from his restraint. It was when the tremendous question
took shape, Is the English Church a true Church, a real part of the
Church Catholic?--when the question became to his mind more and more
doubtful, at length desperate--that they, of course, became more
difficult to satisfy, more confident in their own allegations, more
unchecked in their sympathies, and, in consequence, in their dislikes.
And in the continued effort--for it did continue--to make them pause and
wait and hope, they reacted on him; they asked him questions which he
found it hard to answer; they pressed him with inferences which he might
put by, but of which he felt the sting; they forced on him all the
indications, of which every day brought its contribution, that the
actual living system of the English Church was against what he had
taught to be Catholic, that its energetic temper and spirit condemned
and rejected him. What was it that private men were staunch and
undismayed? What was it that month by month all over England hearts and
minds were attracted to his side, felt the spell of his teaching, gave
him their confidence? Suspicion and disapprobation, which had only too
much to ground itself upon, had taken possession of the high places of
the Church. Authority in all its shapes had pronounced as decisively as
his opponents could wish; as decisively as they too could wish, who
desired no longer a barrier between themselves and Rome.

Thus a great and momentous change had come over the movement, over its
action and prospects. It had started in a heroic effort to save the
English Church. The claims, the blessings, the divinity of the English
Church, as a true branch of Catholic Christendom, had been assumed as
the foundation of all that was felt and said and attempted. The English
Church was the one object to which English Christians were called upon
to turn their thoughts. Its spirit animated the _Christian Year_, and
the teaching of those whom the _Christian Year_ represented. Its
interests were what called forth the zeal and the indignation recorded
in Froude's _Remains_. No one seriously thought of Rome, except as a
hopelessly corrupt system, though it had some good and Catholic things,
which it was Christian and honest to recognise. The movement of 1833
started out of the Anti-Roman feelings of the Emancipation time. It was
Anti-Roman as much as it was Anti-Sectarian and Anti-Erastian. It was to
avert the danger of people becoming Romanists from ignorance of Church
principles. This was all changed in one important section of the party.
The fundamental conceptions and assumptions were reversed. It was not
the Roman Church, but the English Church, which was put on its trial; it
was not the Roman Church, but the English, which was to be, if possible,
apologised for, perhaps borne with for a time, but which was to be
regarded as deeply fallen, holding an untenable position, and
incomparably, unpardonably, below both the standard and the practical
system of the Roman Church. From this point of view the object of the
movement was no longer to elevate and improve an independent English
Church, but to approximate it as far as possible to what was assumed to
be undeniable--the perfect Catholicity of Rome. More almost than ideas
and assumptions, the tone of feeling changed. It had been, towards the
English Church, affectionate, enthusiastic, reverential, hopeful. It
became contemptuous, critical, intolerant, hostile with the hostility
not merely of alienation but disgust This was not of course the work of
a moment, but it was of very rapid growth. "How I hate these Anglicans!"
was the expression of one of the younger men of this section, an
intemperate and insolent specimen of it. It did not represent the tone
or the language of the leader to whom the advanced section deferred,
vexed as he often was with the course of his own thoughts, and
irritated and impatient at the course of things without. But it
expressed but too truly the difference between 1833 and 1840.


[73] See Sermons on _Subjects of the Day_, 1843.



While the movement was making itself felt as a moral force, without a
parallel in Oxford for more than two centuries, and was impressing
deeply and permanently some of the most promising men in the rising
generation in the University, what was the attitude of the University
authorities? What was the attitude of the Bishops?

At Oxford it was that of contemptuous indifference, passing into
helpless and passionate hostility. There is no sadder passage to be
found in the history of Oxford than the behaviour and policy of the
heads of this great Christian University towards the religious movement
which was stirring the interest, the hopes, the fears of Oxford. The
movement was, for its first years at least, a loyal and earnest effort
to serve the cause of the Church. Its objects were clear and reasonable;
it aimed at creating a sincere and intelligent zeal for the Church, and
at making the Church itself worthy of the great position which her
friends claimed for her. Its leaders were men well known in the
University, in the first rank in point of ability and character; men of
learning, who knew what they were talking about; men of religious and
pure, if also severe lives. They were not men merely of speculation and
criticism, but men ready to forego anything, to devote everything for
the practical work of elevating religious thought and life. All this did
not necessarily make their purposes and attempts wise and good; but it
did entitle them to respectful attention. If they spoke language new to

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