How the Jesuits Captured Oxford University
BEFORE the English people could go the way of the Continent and be brought to question their great English Bible, the course of their thinking must be changed. Much had to be done to discredit, in their eyes, the Reformation — its history, doctrines, and documents — which they looked upon as a great work of God. This task was accomplished by those who, while working under cover, passed as friends. In what numbers the Jesuits were at hand to bring this about, the following words, from one qualified to know, will reveal:
"Despite all the persecution they (the Jesuits) have met with, they have not abandoned England, where there are a greater number of Jesuits than in Italy; there are Jesuits in all classes of society; in Parliament; among the English clergy; among the Protestant laity, even in the higher stations. I could not comprehend how a Jesuit could be a Protestant priest, or how a Protestant priest could be a Jesuit; but my Confessor silenced my scruples by telling me, omnia munda mundis, and that St. Paul became as a Jew that he might save the Jews; it was no wonder, therefore, if a Jesuit should feign himself a Protestant, for the conversion of Protestants. But pay attention, I entreat you, to my discoveries concerning the nature of the religious movement in England termed Puseyism."
"The English clergy were formerly too much attached to their Articles of Faith to be shaken from them. You might have employed in vain all the machines set in motion by Bossuet and the Jansenists of France to reunite them to the Romish Church; and so the Jesuits of England tried another plan. This was to demonstrate from history and ecclesiastical antiquity the legitimacy of the usages of the English Church, whence, through the exertions of the Jesuits concealed among its clergy, might arise a studious attention to Christian antiquity. This was designed to occupy the clergy in long, laborious, and abstruse investigation, and to alienate them from their Bibles."(1) (Italics mine.)
So reported Dr. Desanctis, who for many years was a priest at Rome, Professor of Theology, Official Theological Censor of the Inquisition, and who later became a Protestant, as he told of his interview with the Secretary of the French Father Assistant of the Jesuit Order.
Why is it that in 1833, England believed that the Reformation was the work of God, but in 1883 it believed that the Reformation was a rebellion? In 1833, England believed that the Pope was Antichrist; in 1883, that the Pope was the successor of the apostles. And further, in 1833, any clergyman who would have used Mass, confession, holy water, etc., in the Church of England, would have been immediately dismissed, if he would not have undergone violent treatment at the hands of the people. In 1883, thousands of Masses, confessions, and other ritualistic practices of Romanism were carried on in services held in the Church of England. The historian Froude says:
"In my first term at the University (Oxford), the controversial fires were beginning to blaze... I had learnt, like other Protestant children, that the Pope was Antichrist, and that Gregory VII had been a special revelation of that being. I was now taught that Gregory VII was a saint. I had been told to honor the Reformers. The Reformation became a great schism, Cranmer a traitor and Latimer a vulgar ranter. Milton was a name of horror."(2)
The beginning and center of this work was at Oxford University. The movement is known as the Oxford Movement. The movement also involved the revision of the Authorized Version. Kempson indicates the deep background and far-reaching effects of the movement in the following words:
"Whoever, therefore, desires to get really to the bottom of what is commonly called the Catholic Revival in England is involved in a deep and far-reaching study of events: a study which includes not merely events of ecclesiastical history — some of which must be traced back to sources in the dawn of the Middle Ages or even in Apostolic times — but also the movements of secular politics."(3)
In order rightly to understand the immensity of what was done, the position at this time of the Church of England and of the University of Oxford must be understood. By the victory in 1588 of England over the Spanish Armada, England became the champion and defender of Protestantism. She became the impassable wall of defense which confined Catholicism to Europe, and by her possessions committed the continent of North America to a Protestant future. Whatever may be the defects in the doctrines and organization of the Church of England in the eyes of the large dissenting Protestant Churches, nevertheless, at the time when the Oxford Movement began, she was without question the strongest Protestant organization in the world. It was the Church of England, assisted by many Puritan divines, which gave us the Protestant Bible. The center of the Church of England was Oxford University. Mr. Palmer claims that half the rising clergymen of England were instructed in this seat of education.(4) This same writer speaks of Oxford as "The great intellectual center of England, famed for its intellectual ascendency among all the churches of the world."(5) Catholics on the continent of Europe also recognized that Oxford was the heart of the Anglican Church.(6)
At the time the Oxford Movement began, a growing tide of Catholic reaction was running in Germany and France. Every turn of events in these two nations profited for the Church of Rome. The strong influence in Germany of the Catholic writer, Mohler, and of Windhorst was carrying that erstwhile Protestant people toward the papal throne. The theories of Mohler on the Development of Doctrine became the basis on which the leaders of the movement toward Rome, in England, built.
At this same time in France, Lamennais, Lacordaire, and Montalembert were electrifying the youth of France with their brilliant and stirring leadership. The voice of Lacordaire was heard by enraptured audiences in the national Cathedral of Notre Dame. Montalembert, in his seat among the lawmakers of the French Legislature, was exercising an influence in favor of Catholic legislation. At the same time, Lamennais, with his pen, was idealizing the doctrines and plans of Rome, in the minds of fervent youth. The Jesuits had been restored in 1814. Was it possible that England could withstand this flood of Catholic advance which was devitalizing Protestantism on the Continent?
The Oxford Movement
All are agreed that the year 1833 marked the beginning of the Oxford Movement. The outstanding leader is generally recognized to have been J.H. Newman, who later went over to the Church of Rome, and who was the writer of the famous hymn, "Lead, Kindly Light, Amid the Encircling Gloom."
Until the year 1833 there was no outward evidence other than that Newman belonged to the Evangelical party of the Church of England. We are told how he read those serious books which led him to make a profession of conversion and to look upon the Pope as Antichrist. He became a diligent student of the prophecies, and even participated, in some measure, in the current preaching and belief of the time in the soon return of Christ. From the moment, however, that he entered Oxford University, his earlier Evangelical beliefs passed under adverse influences. Hawkins, the Provost of Oriel College, taught him that the Bible must be interpreted in the light of tradition. Whately led him to understand that the church, as an institution, was of God's appointment, independent of the State, and having rights which were the direct gift of heaven. Newman was led to investigate the creed of the Church of England, which was the Thirty-nine Articles. Of these Cadman says:
"They constituted an authoritative standard against the inroads of the Jesuit controversialists, and instilled those religious and political convictions which protected the integrity of the nation and of the Church against the intrigues of the Papacy."(7)
Shortly after Newman had taken his A.B. degree at Oxford, he was elected, in 1823, to a fellowship in Oriel College. This threw him into intimate touch with those eminent men of the day who were drinking in, and being molded by the intellectual influences coming from Germany.
As an illustration to show how agents from Germany and France were instrumental in changing thoughts and tastes of Oxford students, Mozley, the brother-in-law of Newman, tells us:
"In 1829 German agents, one of them with a special introduction to Robert Wilberforce, filled Oxford with very beautiful and interesting tinted lithographs of medieval paintings." And, "about the same time — that is, in 1829 — there came an agent from Cologne with very large and beautiful reproductions of the original design for the cathedral, which it was proposed to set work on, with a faint hope of completing it before the end of the century. Froude gave thirty guineas for a set of drawings, went wild over them, and infected not a few of his friends with medieval architecture."(8)
The following year Newman became curate of a nearby church. It was while in the exercise of his duties there, he tells us, that he became convinced that the Evangelical principles would not work. By far the greatest influence of the moment, however, in his life was the acquaintanceship which he formed in 1826 with Herrell Froude. Froude was the son of a High Churchman, "who loathed Protestantism, denounced the Evangelicals, and brought up his sons to do the same."(9) His attachment to Froude was so great that following the early death of this friend, he wrote endearing verses to his memory.
Another friendship formed in these Oxford days which equaled Froude's in its influence on Newman, was that of the gifted Keble, the author of the "Christian Year." In this book of beautiful poetry, according to Mr. Lock, will be found all the truths and tone, which came to the front in the movement.(10) Keble's parentage, like Froude's, was of the High Church party, strongly anti-Protestant, anti-Evangelical, which early turned the thoughts of Keble to those ideas and principles later to become outstanding features of the Oxford Movement. These three, Froude, Keble, and Newman, shared one another's isolation amid the dominant Protestantism of the hour, and encouraged one another in their longings for the sacraments and ritualism of the Papacy.
Newman, himself, early chose the celibate life, and no doubt Froude's passionate tendency toward Romanism answered in Newman's breast those social yearnings which men usually satisfy in married life. Thus, step by step, in a way most strange and mysterious, Newman, whom Cadman calls "the most brilliant and gifted son of the Church of England" was carried fast and early into that tide of Catholic enthusiasm which was running throughout the Continent.
Under these circumstances and in this frame of mind, he and Froude set out for a tour of the European countries in 1833, the principle point of their visit being the city of Rome. His mind had been prepared for sympathetic participation in the scenes of Rome by the years he previously had spent in reading the writings of the Fathers. From them he had derived a philosophy which would invest him with feelings of rapture as he viewed the historical spots and ancient ruins of the Catholic metropolis.
"Eventually," said Dr. Cadman, "the place of celestial traditions subdued his questionings; the superstitions of his youth that Rome was the 'Beast' which stamped its image on mankind, the 'Great Harlot' who made drunk the kings of the earth, were dispelled."(11)
Twice he and Froude sought an interview with Nicholas Wiseman, who later as Cardinal Wiseman, was to exercise such a telling influence upon the revision of the Bible, and the Romanizing of the English Church. We are not informed of everything which passed between them, but the question was submitted to the Papacy by these two Oxford professors, to learn upon what terms the Church of Rome would receive back into her bosom the Church of England. The answer came straight, clear, without any equivocation, — the Church of England must accept the Council of Trent. The future now lay plain before Newman. He left the city of Rome hastily, saying, "I have a work to do in England."
The man who was destined to bring forward successfully the greatest religio-political movement among the children of men, since the Reformation, stood on the deck of the vessel as it plowed its way through the Mediterranean waters toward the shores of England, and wrote the hymn which more than any other thing in his life has made him famous:
"Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene;
One step's enough for me."
Or, as the scholarly secretary of the French Academy says: "Newman landed in England, July 9, 1833. Some days afterwards what is called 'The Oxford Movement' began.'"(12)
What the Movement meant the following will show:
"Romanism is known to have recently entered the Church of England in the disguise of Oxford Tractarianism; to have drawn off no inconsiderable number of her clergy and members; and to have gained a footing on British soil, from which the government and public opinion together are unable to eject her."(13)
Newman wrote in 1841 to a Roman Catholic, "Only through the English Church can you act upon the English nation. I wish, of course, our Church should be consolidated, with and through and in your communion, for its sake, and your sake, and for the sake of unity."(14) He and his associates believed that Protestantism was Antichrist. Faber, one of the associates of Newman in the Oxford Movement, himself a brilliant writer, said:
"Protestantism is perishing: what is good in it is by God's mercy being gathered into the garners of Rome... My whole life, God willing, shall be one crusade against the detestable and diabolical heresy of Protestantism."(15)
Pusey, the well-known author of "Minor Prophets," and of "Daniel the Prophet," another member of the movement, and a fervent Romanizing apostle within the Protestant fold, said:
"I believe Antichrist will be infidel, and arise out of what calls itself Protestantism, and then Rome and England will be united in one to oppose it."(16)
Of the movement, Pusey was the moral, as Keble was the poetic, and Newman the intellectual leader. Like the Methodist movement, it sprang from the University of Oxford, with this difference, that Wesleyanism strengthened the cause of Protestantism, while Tractarianism undermined it.
Newman ever gave the date of July 14, 1833, five days after he returned from Rome, as the beginning of the movement. From the very first, secrecy veiled a large measure of its activities. Its promoters at the beginning grouped themselves into a society called "The association of the Friends of the Church." All that went on under cover will never be known until the judgment day.
The immense transformation, which was wrought in the Church of England, enables us to single out certain prominent activities as its cause. The leaders banded themselves together with aggressive determination to attack weak points wherever they could make their presence felt, by precipitating crises in the control of the University, and by challenging fundamental relationships between church and state. Further, they grouped around them the students of the University and changed the course of Oxford thinking. They published a series of tracts which threw a flood of fermenting thought upon the English mentality. Amid all their varied and powerful engines of attack, possibly no one thing exercised a greater influence than the sermons Newman himself delivered weekly in the church of St. Mary's at Oxford.
By voice and pen, the teaching of Newman changed in the minds of many their attitude toward the Bible. Stanley shows us that the allegorizing of German theology, under whose influence Newman and the leaders of the movement were, was Origen's method of allegorizing.(17) Newman contended that God never intended the Bible to teach doctrines.(18) Much of the church history read, was on the Waldenses and how they had, through the centuries from the days of the apostles, transmitted to us the true faith.(19) The Tractarians determined that the credit of handing down truth through the centuries, should be turned from the Waldenses to the Papacy.
Answering the general stir upon the question of AntiChrist, Newman declared that the city of Rome must fall before Antichrist rises. That which saved Rome from falling, he averred, was the saving grace of the Catholic Church, the salt of the earth.(20)
Those who were promoting the movement seemed at times uncontrolled in their love for Romanism. Dr. Pusey, whose standing has given the name of "Puseyism" to this Tractarian Movement, scandalized some of the less ardent spirits by visiting the Catholic monasteries in Ireland to study monastic life, with a view to introducing it into England.(21) Whenever any of the Tractarians went abroad, they revelled in the scenes of Catholic ritualism as if they were starved. Dr. Faber, a talented and outstanding leader among them, gives a lengthy description of his experiences in Rome, in 1843. His visit to the church of St. John Lateran on Holy Thursday, he describes as follows:
"I got close to the altar, inside the Swiss Guards, and when Pope Gregory descended from his throne, and knelt at the foot of the altar, and we all knelt with him, it was a scene more touching than I had ever seen before... That old man in white, prostrate before the uplifted Body of the Lord, and the dead, dead silence — Oh, what a sight it was!... On leaving St. John's by the great western door, the immense piazza was full of people. . . and in spite of the noonday sun, I bared my head and knelt with the people, and received with joy the Holy Father's blessing, until he fell back on his throne and was borne away."(22)
Two of the Tracts especially created a public stir, — Tract 80 and Tract 90. Tract 80, written by Isaac Williams on "Reserve in Communicating Knowledge," developed Newman's ideas of mental reservation, which he took from Clement of Alexandria. To Newman, the Fathers were everything; he studied them day and night; he translated them into English, lived with them, and in this Gnostic atmosphere of the early Christian centuries, he viewed all questions. Clement (about 200 A.D.), speaking of the rules which should guide the Christian, says, "He (the Christian) both thinks and speaks the truth; except when consideration is necessary, and then, as a physician for the good of his patient, he will be false, or utter a falsehood... He gives himself up for the church."(23) On this point Mr. Ward, another prominent leader in the movement, is represented by his son as saying, "Make yourself clear that you are justified in deception and then lie like a trooper."(24) Newman himself put this principle into practice, and was guilty of deception when he wrote against Popery, saying things as bitter against the Roman system as Protestants ever said, for the sole purpose of warding off suspicion that he was turning to Rome.
"If you ask me," he says, "how an individual could venture, not simply to hold, but to publish such views of a communion (i. e. the Church of Rome) so ancient, so wide-spreading, so fruitful in Saints, I answer that I said to myself, 'I am not speaking my own words, I am but following almost a consensus of the divines of my own church.'... Yet I have reason to fear still, that such language is to be ascribed, in no small measure, to an impetuous temper, a hope of approving myself to persons I respect, and a wish to repel the charge of Romanism."(25) (Italics mine.)
Tract 80 created a widespread stir. The term "Jesuitical" might have been heard on the lips of Protestant England everywhere to express what they considered to be the source of such arguments.(26) But that stir was insignificant compared with what was produced when Newman wrote Tract 90. In fact, if we were to single out any one outstanding event in the history of this Romanizing Movement prior to the Revision of the Bible in 1870, we would point to Tract 90 as that event. The three great obstacles which stood in the way of Catholicism's crumpling up the mental defenses of English Protestantism, were: the King James Bible, the Prayer Book, and the Thirty-nine Articles. The Thirty-nine Articles stood for the Creed of the Church of England. These Articles were born in the days when English scholars were being burned at the stake for their adherence to Protestantism. They represented the questions which might be put to an adult before he received baptism or to a candidate for ministerial ordination. With Tract 90, Newman leveled his blow at the Thirty-nine Articles. With a surpassing skill which the Church of England never satisfactorily met, he, point by point, contended that Roman Catholicism could be taught in the Church of England under the Thirty-nine Articles.
The hostility aroused by the appearance of this Tract forced the Puseyites to a period of silence. The writing of tracts ceased. From 1841, the year in which Newman wrote Tract 90, until 1845, when he left the Church of England for Rome, his public activities were greatly lessened. Newman was exultant. "'No stopping of the tracts,' he said, 'can humanly speaking, stop the spread of the opinions which they have inculcated.' Even Pusey, besides praising Newman's 'touching simplicity and humility,' writes hopeful on the general prospects:
"'You will be glad to hear that the immediate excitement about Tract 90 seems subsiding, although I fear (in the minds of many) into a lasting impression of our Jesuitism.'"(27)
The effect, however, upon the world, through Oxford was tremendous. Newman, from the beginning, saw the value of Oxford as a base. Some of his associates wanted to make London the center of the movement. Newman opposed the plan. He wished the tracts to be known as the Oxford Tracts.(28)
The Gorham Case
Previous to this, Dr. Wiseman, who subsequently became Cardinal, had left Rome for England and had founded the Dublin Review in 1836, for the express purpose of influencing the Tractarians of Oxford and leading them on to Rome.(29) He said in his Essays:
"I have already alluded, in the preface of the first volume, as well as in the body of this, to the first circumstance which turned my attention to the wonderful movement then commenced in England — the visit which is recorded in Froude's 'Remains.' From that moment it took the uppermost place in my thoughts, and became the object of their intensest interest."(30)
Dr. Wiseman, when studying at Rome, had devoted himself to Oriental studies and investigations of the manuscripts. His books brought him into prominence, and in 1828, when he was only twenty-six years of age, he was elected Rector of the College in Rome for Catholic youth of the English language. His appearance in England in the midst of the violent excitement occasioned by Tract 90, is described thus by Palmer:
"Wiseman saw that there was an opening for the circulation of that false and plausible reasoning of Jesuitism in which he was an adept; skillful to put a plausible face upon the worst corruptions, and to instill doubt where there was no real doubt. He was instantly dispatched to England as Vicar Apostolic, to follow up the clue thus presented to him. He forthwith set on foot the Dublin Review as a means for reaching the class of minds at Oxford with which he had come in contact."(31)
Dr. Wiseman found on his hands the task of welding together the Catholics of England, the Catholics of Ireland, so unlike them, influential Protestants of Catholic sympathies like Macaulay, Stanley, etc., as well as the Romanizing Movement in Oxford University. He was a textual critic of the first rank, and assisted by the information seemingly passed to him from Jesuits, he was able to furnish the facts well calculated to combat confidence in the Protestant Bible. Skillfully step by step, we are told, he led the Tractarian Movement toward Rome.
By this time, Stanley informs us, the Tractarians had become dominant at Oxford. Hort is thankful that the High Church movement is gaining ground in both Universities — Oxford and Cambridge.(32) Stopping the Tracts seemed like a blow, but authorities recognize that it was a contribution to success. Oxford still retains her Romanizing tendencies, and many bishops of the Church of England have wholly surrendered to most of the Catholic positions which gained ground, and some of the bishops without leaving the Church of England, mentally have gone the whole way of Rome. Even the Privy Council, the highest court of appeal in the British Empire, did not pronounce upon a very important case in a way that would run directly counter to the Council of Trent.(33)
Public sentiment was again aroused to intensity in 1845 when Ward, an outstanding Tractarian, published his book which taught the most offensive Roman views, — Mariolatry, and mental reservation in subscribing to the Thirty-nine Articles. When Oxford degraded him from his university rights, he went over, in September, to the Church of Rome. It became very evident that Newman soon would follow. On the night of October 8, Father Dominic of the Italian Passionists, arrived at Newman's quarters in downpouring rain. After being received, he was standing before the fire drying his wet garments. He turned around to see Newman prostrate at his feet, begging his blessing, and asking him to hear his confession.(34) Thus the author of "Lead Kindly Light" passed over to Rome, and within one year, 150 clergymen and eminent laymen also had joined the Catholic Church.
It might be wondered why Newman went over to Rome, if by remaining at Oxford he would have more greatly advanced his Catholic project. There is, however, another phase to the situation.
Cardinal Wiseman found great difficulties in developing Roman Catholicism in England. He lacked leaders, so he urged Newman to take his stand publicly that the Oxonian might be made available for the training of clergymen.
After the passing from Oxford of Newman, the leadership of the Tractarians devolved upon Dr. Pusey. A change came over the movement. Oxford ceased to be its home and center. Nevertheless, Jesuitism had captured it long enough to change fundamentally the character of the Church of England. In its larger proportions, Tractarianism passed from the study to the street. The passion to introduce the Mass, the confession, the burning of candles, holy water, the blessing of oils, and all the other gorgeous accompaniments of Catholic ritualism went forward so strongly that the movement since 1845 is known rather under the name of Ritualism. It is now more an appeal to the eye, than, as it was formerly, an appeal to the ear.
In 1850, two events of outstanding importance occurred which hastened the change of English sentiment. The Bishop of Exeter, on the point of ordaining a clergyman by the name of Gorham, demanded that he subscribe to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. He refused. The Bishop declined to admit him to the ministry. Mr. Gorham carried his case to the highest court in the Church of England, which decided against him. He then appealed to the Privy Council, which reversed the decision of the Ecclesiastical Court, and virtually decided that no man could be excluded from the Anglican ministry because he did not believe in baptismal regeneration. The effect on the country was tremendous. Even Gladstone, who had been drawn into the Oxford Movement, to whose thoughts and feelings it gave a new direction, wrote to his wife that it (the Gorham case) "may impose duties upon me which will separate forever between my path of life, public or private, and that of all political parties. The issue is one going to the very root of all teaching and all life in the Church of England."(35)
Gladstone felt that the bishops were to blame in not exercising a public influence strong enough to have secured a different decision. The bishops favored the Romanizing tendencies, but in order to make them prevalent, they were unwilling to pay the price, that is, to suffer a separation of church and state. There were still too many Protestant and non-religious influences to suffer the civil courts to be dictated to by the religious. The Privy Council would have been perfectly willing for the Church of England to have what it wished, even if it were Catholic ritualism, but was not willing to endorse such a change as long as the church received its salaries from the state. Stanley calls the Gorham decision the "Magna Charta" of the liberties of the English Church.
The Catholic Aggression
While the mind of England was still being agitated by the Gorham case, it sustained another shock from an unsuspected quarter. In October, 1850, the Pope had advanced Dr. Wiseman to the princely position of Cardinal, at the same time creating him Archbishop of Westminster, and dividing England into twelve bishoprics. Cardinal Wiseman stood for hours in Rome receiving the congratulations of the ambassadors and representatives of other governments. After the round of ceremonies was over, he issued a letter to be published in the English newspapers announcing the establishment of a Catholic hierarchy in Great Britain. This is known as the famous letter of the Flaminian Gate. Not even Cardinal Wiseman was prepared to witness the explosion of wrath which shook the cities of England. Everywhere was heard the cry, "No Popery!" Press, Anglican clergymen, and leading statesmen raised indignant protest in terms of ever increasing violence. Item by item the papal brief was analyzed by the press, each topic explained as a fresh insult to the English people. Some of the scenes in the different cities are described thus:
"The Church bells rang, the band played the 'Rose March,' and the procession, lighted by numerous torches, paraded the town. Placards were carried, inscribed, "The brutal Haynau,' and 'Down with tyranny!' 'Down with Popery!' 'No Puseyites!' 'No Tractarians!' etc. There were several masked characters, and all made up such a sight as was never witnessed in this ancient borough before."
The scene in Salisbury is thus described:
"The effigies of his Holiness, the Pope, Cardinal Wiseman, and the twelve Bishops were completed. Friday evening, about five P.M., Castle street was so densely crowded that no one could pass to the upper part of it. Shortly after, some hundreds of torches were lighted, which then exhibited a forest of heads... The procession having paraded the city, the effigies were taken to the Green Croft, where, over a large number of fagots and barrels of tar, a huge platform was erected of timber; the effigies were placed thereon, and a volley of rockets sent up."(36)
In spite of public opposition, the object of the Catholic Church was gained. The creation of this hierarchy, with its titles and magnificent dwellings, pleased the aristocracy, and brought over to the Church of Rome, many of the wealthy and cultured, and of the nobility. Simple evangelical Christianity, as Jesus lived it, is not acceptable to the proud and worldly heart. The papal aggression of 1850 was another blow in favor of Rome. As Stanley says of it, "The general reaction of a large part of the religious sentiment of England and of Europe towards Rome was undoubted."(37)
The Case of "Essays and Reviews"
Of the problems raised by the famous case, known as "Essays and Reviews," Westcott wrote:
"Of all cares, almost the greatest which I have had, has been 'Essays and Reviews,' and its opponents. The controversy is fairly turning me grey. I look on the assailants of the Essayists, from bishops downwards, as likely to do far more harm to the Church and the Truth than the Essayists."(38)
The period from 1850 to 1860 had seen a great forward movement among the Ritualists, and also considerable growth for the Catholics. In Cardinal Wiseman's address to the Congress of Malines in 1863, he reported that in 1830 the number of priests in England was 434; in 1863 they numbered 1242. The convents in 1830 amounted to only 16; in 1863 there were 162.(39) Parallel with this, the movement was going forward to introduce into England, German Biblical criticism. Something occurred in 1860 to test the inroads which had been made upon the English mind in its belief in the infallibility and inspiration of the Bible.
An enterprising publishing house put forth a volume containing seven essays and reviews written by prominent clergymen of the Church of England, some of whom were university professors. Dr. Hort was invited to be a contributor, but declined, fearing that the attempt was premature. These essays successively attacked such prominent Protestant doctrines as its position on the "inspiration of the Bible," "justification by faith," and "purgatory." A cry arose to demand the degradation of these writers from their positions as clergymen in the Church of England. A test case was carried before the highest court in the Church. the accused appealed from the judgment to a higher body. Although the indignation throughout the country was great, and a petition so voluminous as to be signed by eleven thousand clergymen was circulated, nevertheless the public mind was compelled to submit to this assault upon the beliefs held by Protestant England for three hundred years. One of these essays was written by Professor H.B. Wilson, who earlier had denounced Tract 90 for its views on the Thirty-nine Articles. Twenty years later, however, he argued in favor of the very views which he had denounced previously.
The case was carried still higher, to the secular court, the last court of appeal in the nation, the Privy Council. Here again the decision let the authors of these advanced views on higher criticism, go free. Such hostile attacks on inspiration were detaching the English mentality from its Protestant love of, and loyalty to, the Holy Scriptures. Now, campaigns favorable to the other side were needed to attach the English mind to the doctrines and practices of Rome. An event of this nature soon occurred.
While Ritualism marched forward in the Church of England through the leadership of Dr. Pusey, Newman was aiding Cardinal Wiseman to increase the numbers and influence of Catholicism. For twenty years, apparently to the public, there had been little contact between him and his former associates. They retained for Newman, however, their old love and affection. In 1864 occurred an event which broke down this public distance between them and restored Newman to aristocratic favor. Charles Kingsley felt impelled to write upon the growing Catholic mentality throughout England, and lay the blame of it upon Newman. Newman took the pen; and master of the English language as he was, wrote the "Apologia." An able controversialist, he handled Kingsley with a cruel invective that few can condone. With that subtlety of argument in which not many were his equal, he further advanced the cause of Catholic doctrine; while at the same time he placed himself so ably before the public as a martyr of honest convictions, that he threw open the door which admitted him, if it did not restore him, to a large place in public esteem. The publication of the "Apologia" added one more excitement to the many which, for a third of a century, had been stirring the Protestant mind of England.
Of the effect produced by this book in making acceptable the advance of Romanizing doctrines, Stanley says:
"The Hampdon controversy, the Gorham controversy, the 'Essays and Reviews' controversy, and the Colenso controversy — all have had their turn; but none excited such violent passions, and of none would the ultimate extinction have appeared so strange whilst the storm was raging, as the extinction of the controversy of Tract 90... What had produced the calm? Many causes have contributed; — the recrudescence of the High Church party; the charm thrown over the history of that time by the 'Apologia.'"(40)
By 1864, at the time of the "Apologia," the High Church party believed the divine authority of tradition, the inspiration of the Apocrypha, and escape from eternal punishment through purgatory.(41)
The decision of the Privy Council in 1864, in the case of "Essays and Reviews," legally declared to all intents and purposes that these views could be the doctrines of the Church of England. At the same time, the Protestant doctrine of Imputed Righteousness was condemned as it had been condemned by the Council of Trent. With public opinion placated by the "Apologia," with the voice of protest in the Church silenced by the judgment of the Privy Council, ritualism sprung forth with a suddenness that took the nation and church by surprise.
"At once in a hundred or more churches (so we are told) appeared colored vestments; candles lighted during the Communion in the morning, and during the Magnificat in the afternoon; a new liturgy interpolated into that established by law; prostrations, genuflections, elevations, never before seen; the transformation of the worship of the Church of England into a likeness of that of the Church of Rome, so exact as to deceive Roman Catholics themselves into the momentary belief that they were in their own place of worship."(42)
In other words, the Tractarians of Oxford simply changed its character, and instead of being centered in the hands of notable scholars, it spread in the form of ritualism to the country parishes. As another author says:
"In fact, there appeared now a type of clergyman hitherto almost unknown in the Established Church — one who was less a man of the world, and less a scholar, but more clerical, more ascetic, more apostolic, one who came nearer to our ideal of a Catholic priest. Though seeming to contend about questions of candles and chasubles, they really began to revive in the Anglican Church the Sacramental life which had become almost extinct. In many ways they were truly the successors of the Tractarians, continuing and completing their work."(43)
Very early in the Tractarian Movement, the ritualistic activities connected with purgatory, pardons, images, relics, and prayers for the dead, had manifested themselves. But they were carried on secretly. Self-punishment by a scourge of five lashes having five knots on the lash was practiced by the most passionate Romanists; some had worn the haircloth girdle.(44) Sisterhoods, embracing girls who had vowed their life to the Church, as Catholic nuns do, were formed in the Church of England. Throughout the years that ritualism had been advancing, different organizations were formed for attaining the different objectives sought by the Romanizers. The "Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament" was formed for the purpose of influencing others to celebrate the Mass; the "Association for the Promotion of the Union of Christendom" was organized with the intent to bring all Christian churches under the leadership of the Pope; the "Order of Corporate Reunion" was an association created to bring about the joining of the Church of England with the Papacy; the "Society of the Sacred Cross" offered an organization into which clergymen of the Church of England might be enrolled, whose practices were the fervent performance of Catholic rituals; and the "English Church Union" was brought into existence to further the interests of Roman Catholicism in England.
The Movement has also affected other Protestant churches, and "there are many to-day who, though themselves rejecting Catholic belief, recognize that St. Paul's sacramental teaching is far more like that traditional among Catholics than like that of the 16th-century Reformers."(45)
Dr. Wylie indicates that these great changes were effected, not by a stirring message from God, but by indirection, little by little, as the Jesuits operate:
"Tract 90, where the doctrine of reserves is broached, bears strong marks of a Jesuit origin. Could we know all the secret instructions given to the leaders in the Puseyite movement, — the mental reservations prescribed to them, — we might well be astonished. 'Go gently,' we think we hear the great Roothan say to them. 'Remember the motto of our dear son, the cidevant Bishop of Autun, — "surtout, pas trop de zele," (above all, not too much zeal). Bring into view, little by little, the authority of the church. If you can succeed in rendering it equal to that of the Bible, you have done much. Change the table of the Lord into an altar; elevate that altar a few inches above the level of the floor; gradually turn around to it when you read the Liturgy; place lighted tapers upon it; teach the people the virtues of Gothic basilisques. Introduce first the dogmas, beginning with that of baptismal regeneration; next the ceremonies and sacraments, as penance and the confessional; and, lastly, the images of the Virgin and the saints.'"(46)
It must not be supposed that this advance of ritualism went forward without opposition. There were riotous disturbances at Exeter and other places, chiefly directed against the use of the priestly robe in the pulpit, after a direction for its use had been given in a charge by the Bishop. The details of furniture and of Catholic garments worn by the priest, which had long since been discarded, and now were being used again by ritualistic priests, aroused great antagonism among the people. On one occasion in the church of St. Georges-in-the-East, the vast building was crowded with a furious congregation, trying to shout down the chanting of the liturgy. Policemen surrounded the clergy and choristers in their endeavor to carry on the ritualistic services. Anything in the recitation which appeared as a condemnation of idolatry was met with sounds of approval from the congregation. Congregations otherwise amiable, sociable, and friendly, were changed into bodies of wrath and resentment at Romanizing clergymen who persisted in services of ritualism repugnant to the worshipers.
A vast array of arguments, historical, legal, and ritualistic, were carried on between the clergy and their congregations. Who was to decide the question? This situation gave rise to a series of cases which were brought before the courts, both ecclesiastical and civil, amid tremendous excitement on the part of the people. Aided by the English Church Union, by eminent scholars of ritualistic sympathies, and by the strong Romanizing tendency among the bishops, the principal judgments went against the Protestants. Doctors Westcott and Hort, who come prominently before us later as leaders in connection with Bible revision, lent their influence on the side of the ritualists. "When consulted by a lady, as to the latitude admitted by the Church of England, which she thought tended towards Catholicism, Hort did not deny the divergencies, but thought they need not cause uneasiness."(47)
Dr. King, Bishop of Lincoln, whose influence multiplied converts to Catholicism, was cited by the Church Association (a society formed to support congregations imposed upon by the use of ritualism), before the Archbishop of Canterbury for his ritualistic enthusiasm. The Archbishop realized that if he decided in favor of the ritualists, and the case should be appealed, he risked the opposition of the Privy Council. He consulted with one of his most intimate friends, his former teacher, Bishop Westcott, and determined to take the risk. When, on November 2, 1890, before a numerous and excited throng, he left ritualism uncondemned and the door wide open for candles, absolution, eastward position, and other ritualistic activities, Protestants were greatly disturbed.
"They said that the Lincoln decision was the severest blow received by the Church of England since the Reformation."(48)
Or to sum the matter up in the words of another author:
"And so at present the ritualists have pretty nearly all the liberty of action they could desire."(49)
We are informed that so great was the increase of ritualism that it had spread from 2054 churches in 1844, to 5964 in 1896, and to 7044 in 1898.(50)
Relation of the Movement to Bible Revision
In the first place, had it not been for Jesuitism, Modernism might never have been a force in the Protestant Church. As the historian Froude says: "But for the Oxford Movement, skepticism might have continued a harmless speculation of a few philosophers."(51)
The attitude of Roman Catholics to the King James Version has ever been one of bitter hostility. The Catholic Bishop of Erie, Pa., calls it that "vile" Protestant Version.(52) This attitude is further evinced through the feelings expressed by two eminent characters connected with the Oxford Movement; one who critically described the Authorized Version before revision was accomplished; the other, after revision was well under way. Dr. Faber, the brilliant associate of Newman, and a passionate Romanizer, called the King James Version, "that stronghold of heresy in England;" and when revision began to appear as almost certain, Cardinal Wiseman expressed himself in these words:
"When we consider the scorn cast by the Reformers upon the Vulgate, and their recurrence, in consequence, to the Greek, as the only accurate standard, we cannot but rejoice at the silent triumph which truth has at length gained over clamorous error. For, in fact, the principal writers who have avenged the Vulgate, and obtained for it its critical preeminence are Protestants."(53)
The famous Tract 90 did not leave this question untouched. Though Cardinal Newman argued strongly for the orthodox Catholic position, that tradition is of equal, if not superior authority to the Bible, nevertheless, he put a divine stamp on the Vulgate and a human stamp upon the Authorized Version. These are his words:
"A further question may be asked, concerning our Received Version of the Scriptures, whether it is in any sense imposed on us as a true comment on the original text; as the Vulgate is upon the Roman Catholics. It would appear not. It was made and authorized by royal commands, which cannot be supposed to have any claim upon our interior consent."(54)
Furthermore, in the Dublin Review (June 1883), Newman says that the Authorized Version "is notoriously unfair where doctrinal questions are at stake," and speaks of its "dishonest renderings." This shows the Catholic attitude of mind toward the King James Version.
Cardinal Newman was invited to sit with the English New Testament Revision Committee. He refused. Nevertheless, with his reputation for Biblical knowledge, with the profound admiration Dr. Hort never failed to express for him, and with his Napoleonic leadership in breaking down Protestantism, the fact that he was invited is indicative of the influence which the Oxford Movement had on Revision.
How anxious Roman Catholicism was to do something to break the spell which the King James Version held over English speaking people, and through them over the world, was revealed in what happened as soon as Cardinal Newman had quit the Church of England for the Church of Rome. At that time he had been invited to Rome — which invitation he accepted — to imbibe the atmosphere of his new affiliations and relate himself to the Papacy in ways which might be deemed best for future service. How he was requested at that time to revise the King James, may be seen in a letter written from Rome to Wiseman by Newman, January 17, 1847. He says:
"The Superior of the Franciscans, Father Benigno, in the Trastevere, wishes us out of his own head to engage in an English Authorized Translation of the Bible. He is a learned man, and on the Congregation of the Index. What he wished was, that we would take the Protestant translation, correct it by the Vulgate... and get it sanctioned here. This might be our first work if your Lordship approved of it. If we undertook it, I should try to get a number of persons at work (not merely our own party). First, it should be overseen and corrected by ourselves, then it should go to a few select revisers, e.g. Dr. Tait of Ushaw, Dr. Whitty of St. Edmunds," (a Jesuit).(55)
It is a remarkable fact that Newman, now a Catholic, once a Protestant, is seeking for a revision of the King James Bible, for England, that will conform to the Vulgate, and is suggesting a well-defined plan to Cardinal Wiseman who rejoices that Protestant revisers are vindicating the Vulgate, as previously noted.
We have already spoken of the influence of the movement on certain Revisers, when we brought forward Doctors Hort and Westcott, as in sympathy with, and assisting the movement of ritualism. One need only to scan the list of the men who sat on the English New Testament Revision Committee, review certain acts in their history and read their writings, to know all to well that the majority were actually of the Oxford Movement, (Tractarians and Ritualists), or in sympathy with the same. Dr. Thirwall, who has been pointed out as the leader in introducing German textual criticism into England, and who has been described by two authors as a man of princely intellect, came out strongly in defense of the Tractarians when they were assailed.(56)
When Newman and Froude, in 1833, were in Rome and hand presented their inquiry to the Papacy to learn upon what terms the Church of England would be received back into the Roman fold, they had the direct answer, — only by accepting the Council of Trent. Previously, we have shown that the first four resolutions passed by that council, settled, first, that no one should say it is wicked to put tradition on a level with Scripture: second, that the Apocryphal books were equal to the Canonical; third, that there were no errors in the Vulgate; and finally, that the right of interpretation of Holy Writ belonged to the clergy. Newman left Rome saying, "I have a work to do for England." He could not bring the Church of England to accept the Council of Trent without establishing those books of the Catholic Bible which are rejected by Protestants and without securing endorsement for those Catholic readings of the accepted books which had been rejected by the Reformers. Revision became the inevitable outcome of the Oxford Movement.
That this was so understood by the participants in Tractarianism, I will now quote from Mozley, the brother-in-law of Cardinal Newman:
"The Oxford Movement, unforeseen by the chief movers, and to some extent in spite of them, has produced a generation of ecclesiologists, ritualists, and religious poets. Whatever may be said of its priestcraft, it has filled the land with churchcrafts of all kinds. Has it not had some share in the restoration of Biblical criticism and in the revision of the Authorized Version?"(57)
It ought to be further noticed that Dr. Pusey, who succeeded to the leadership of the Oxford Movement upon the defection of Newman to Rome, he who pushed forward ritualism, established nunneries and monasteries, and was passionate in Romanizing, was also invited to sit on the English New Testament Revision Committee. The fact that he refused, does not in any way lessen the mental attitude of sympathy with Tractarianism which possessed the dominant majority of that committee. And we are told that so strong were the efforts on the Revision Committee to revise different passages of the New Testament in favor of Rome, that on one occasion the Dean of Rochester remarked that it was time they raised a cry of "No Popery."(58)
The Oxford Movement had created great discontent with existing theology and had emphasized the apparent contradictions and inconsistencies of the Bible. At the same time textual criticism had cast discredit upon the Received Text and the King James Version translated from it. There had been enough agitation to arouse an expectancy that some kind of revision would be attempted. But even then, revision of such a revolutionary nature, as happened, could never have been brought about, unless men who long had policies of a nature little suspected, were at hand to do the deed. These men were Westcott and Hort. Let us now throw some sidelights upon their surprising beliefs and purposes.
(1) Desanctis, Popery and Jesuitism in Rome, pp. 128, 134 quoted in Walsh, Secret History of Oxford Movement, p. 33
(2) J.A. Froude, Short Studies on Great Subjects, pp. 161, 167
(3) F.C. Kempson, The Church in Modern England, p. 59
(4) Wm. Palmer, Narrative of Events, p. 129
(5) Ibid, p. 7
(6) Abbott, The Anglican Career of Cardinal Newman, Vol. II, pp. 282, 283
(7) Cadman, Three Religious Leaders, p. 453
(8) Mozley, Reminiscences, Vol. I, p. 32
(9) Cadman, Three Religious Leaders, p. 459
(10) Dr. Overton, The Anglican Revival, p. 24
(11) Cadman, Three Religious Leaders, p. 496
(12) Thureau-Dangin, The English Catholic Revival, Vol. I, p. 57
(13) New Brunswick Review, Aug. 1854
(14) Newman, Apologia, p. 225
(15) J.E. Bowden, Life of F.W. Faber (1869), p. 192
(16) Walter Walsh, Secret History of the Oxford Movement, p. 292
(17) Stanley, Church and State, pp. 135, 136
(18) Tract 90, p. 11
(19) Lathbury, Letters of Gladstone, Vol. I, p. 7
(20) Tract 83, pp. 30, 37
(21) Walsh, Secret History, p. 282
(22) Bowden, Life of Faber, p. 193
(23) Newman's Arians, p. 81
(24) Newman's Letters, Vol. II, p. 249 quoted in Walsh, Secret History, p. 16
(25) Newman, Apologia, p. 233
(26) Abbott, Anglican Career of Newman, Vol. I, p. 119
(27) Abbott, Anglican Career of Newman, Vol. II, p. 261
(28) Dr. Overton, The Anglican Revival, p. 53
(29) Thureau-Dangin, English Catholic Revival, Vol. I, p. 122
(30) Wiseman's Essays, Vol. II, pp. VI, VII
(31) Palmer, Narrative of Events, p. 73
(32) Life and Letters of Hort, Vol. I, p. 86
(33) Stanley, Essays, p. 139
(34) Thureau-Dangin, Vol. I, p. 278
(35) Lathbury, Letters of Gladstone, Vol. I, p. 83
(36) Ward, Life of Wiseman, Vol. I, pp. 551, 552
(37) Stanley's Essays, p. 48
(38) Life of Westcott, Vol. I, p. 215
(39) Ward, Life of Wiseman, Vol. II, pp. 459
(40) Stanley's Essays, pp. 238, 239
(41) Ibid, p. 111
(42) Ibid, p. 253
(43) Thureau-Dangin, English Catholic Revival, Vol. II, pp. 587, 588
(44) Walsh, Secret History, pp. 37, 40
(45) Bishop Gore, A New Commentary, Part III, p. 420
(46) Dr. Wylie, The Papacy, pp. 527, 528
(47) Thureau-Dangin, The English Catholic Revival, Vol. II, p. 153
(48) Ibid, Vol. II, pp. 578, 579
(49) McClintock and Strong, Encycl. Art. "Oxford Tracts"
(50) Thureau-Dangin, Vol. II, p. 583
(51) Froude, Short Studies, p. 164
(52) Bishop Tobias Mullen, (Erie, Pa.) The Canon of the Old Testament, p. 335
(53) Wiseman, Essays, Vol. I, p. 104
(54) Newman, Tract 90
(55) Ward, Life of Wiseman, Vol. I, p. 454
(56) Cadman, Three Religious Leaders, p. 424
(57) Mozley, Vol. II, p. 42
(58) Hemphill, A History of the Revised Version, p. 55
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