« PreviousContinue »
The party grew. It gained force and union from being wholly under the direction of one head, Newman, who was well constituted for the leader of a great religious movemente, In 1836 he published, in opposition to Dr. Wiseman, his Prophetical Office of the Church viewed relatively to Romanism and Popular Protestantism, and in 1837 his Essay on Justification”. By the end of 1837 the movement had spread over the whole of England. The Tractwriters attacked errors, but never individuals ; even their opponents acknowledged that they wrote as Christians should write, in humility and reverence, free from all bitterness and evil-speaking. And yet they met with opposition from all quarters. No secular aid, no courtly nor aristocratic influence, favoured them. Not only the leaders of the great political parties; not only Members of both Houses of Parliament, and Patrons of Livings, but, wonderful to relate, the Bishops also regarded them with marked aversion; of the episcopal charges of the day scarcely one but animadverts on the writings and tenets of the Oxford Tracts 8. The same was
cileably different from us; 6, Unscriptural ; 9, 32, 58, Persecuting; 38, 40, 41, 48, 72, Antichrist. Quoted Q. R., lxiii. 556.
Palmer's Narrative, 61.
He published in 1834 the first volume of his Parochial Sermons.
& See Bricknell, "Judgment of the Bishops on Tractarian Theology," (1845).
the case in Scotland and Ireland. A dinner was never given in the former country without Dr. Pusey and Mr. Newman being denounced as enemies of the Church ; in Ireland, on one occasion, the Clergy were ready to rise "en masse" against them, when lo! it was discovered all of a sudden that not a single Tract had at that time found its way into that country h.
The earliest Tracts were mere leaflets of four or five pages, but what, in spite of episcopal opposition they had grown to by the end of 1837 will appear from a reference to the fourth volume of the Tracts. In it there is a Letter by Dr. Pusey, consisting of 42 pages; Catena Patrum (No. III.), of 118 pages; Purgatory, 61 pages; Reserve, First Tract on that subject, 83 pages; Catena Patrum (No. IV.), 424 pages: total 728 pages in small type! So the movement went on progressing. From 1838–1841 Newman was sole editor of the “British Critic," and that Review, always an organ of the High Church party in the old sense, now became the organ of what was called the “Oxford party}.” In 1836 Hurrell Froude, cut
Q. R., lxiii. 540. Similarly the Clergy of a large district in the west of England resolved to register a protest against the Tracts, but when it was found that not one of them had read them, it was resolved that they would read them first and postpone their condemnation till the next meeting.
Mozley's Rem., i. 406.
off by consumption, died at the age of 33', and in 1838 Froude's Remains appeared ; in 1840 Faber's Tracts on the Church and her Office. The publication of the former of these works caused much anger amongst opponents, and, not altogether without reason, much alarm amongst friends. Hurrell Froude, together with Newman, had been at the commencement the life and master-spirit of the movement. Unlike Newman, who held that the Roman Church was anti-Christian, Froude openly professed his admiration for that Church, and spoke in strong language against the English Reformers. No doubt his youthful and fervent spirit often led him into hasty expressions which some might regard with regret, but it is only fair to his memory that he should be judged by his own words, written shortly before his death :-“If I were to assign my reason for belonging to the Church of England before any other community, it would be simply this, that she has retained an Apostolic Clergy, and enacts no sinful terms of Communion; whereas, on the one hand, the Romanists, though retaining an Apostolic Clergy, do exact sinful terms of Communion; and on the other, no other religious community has retained such a Clergy."
The first time the Tract-writers, as a body, appeared
The Church party also sustained a great loss by the death of H. J. Rose in 1838.
upon the scene was, in connexion with Churchmen of all shades of opinion, in opposition to the appointment by Lord Melbourne of Dr. Hampden to the Regius Professorship of Divinity at Oxford. When Dr. Burton, the Regius Professor, died at the early age of forty-two, it was supposed that Mr. Edward Denison k, who had strong interest as well as University and political claims, would be appointed as his successor: but instead of this, Dr. Hampden, who had given great offence by his Bampton Lectures, but who had particularly recommended himself to the government by his support to their proposals for admitting Dissenters to the Universities, was appointed. At the end of 1834 he had published a pamphlet entitled “Observations on Religious Dissent, with particular reference to the Use of Religious Tests in the University,” in which he stated that the Creeds were mere matters of opinion, and advocated the abolition of subscription to the XXXIX. Articles ; he spoke of “putting Unitarians on the same footing precisely of earnest religious zeal and love for the Lord Jesus Christ on which I would place any other Christian.” It is true that in his pamphlet he made no direct reference to the Tracts for the Times, but it was evidently directed against them, and struck at the very root of the whole movement.
The appointment of such a man as Regius Pro
fessor of Divinity, in which position he would have the opportunity of instructing and influencing half of the rising generation of Clergymen, was an unjustifiable act of aggression on the Church by the State. Seventy-three resident Fellows and nine Heads of Colleges signed a petition to the King against the appointment; but to no purpose. All parties in the University combined in petitioning the Heads to submit Dr. Hampden's writings to Convocation; the Heads of Colleges would not go so far as this, and only reluctantly agreed to a compromise, whereby the new Regius Professor should be refused a voice in the appointment of the Select Preachers at St. Mary's ; and a Statute to this effect was passed in the University Convocation by 474 to 94 votes.
In 1841 the contest for the Professorship of Poetry, vacated by Mr. Keble, between Mr. Isaac Williams, a poet who is known to fame as the author of the Baptistery and Cathedral, and Mr. (afterwards Archdeacon) Garbett, of whom as a poet no one ever heard then or since, was conducted on purely theological grounds. Party spirit at the time ran high in the University, for at the commencement of that year Tract 90 had appeared. Mr. Garbett was a Low Churchman, and Isaac Williams was one of the Tract-writers m; an actual contest was avoided
m He was the author of Nos. 8o and 87, on Communicating Religious Knowledge."