NO one who desires the union of Christendom after its many and long-standing divisions, can have any other feeling than joy, my dear Pusey, at finding from your recent Volume, that you see your way to make definite proposals to us for effecting that great object, and are able to lay down the basis and conditions on which you could co-operate in advancing it. It is not necessary that we should concur in the details of your scheme, or in the principles which it involves, in order to welcome the important fact, that, with your personal knowledge of the Anglican body, and your experience of its composition and tendencies, you consider the time to be come when you and your friends may, without imprudence, turn your minds to the contemplation of such an enterprise. Even were you an individual member of that Church, a watchman upon a high tower in a metropolis of religious opinion, we should naturally listen with interest to what you had to report of the state of the sky and the progress of the night, what stars were mounting up or what clouds gathering,—what were the prospects of the three great parties which Anglicanism contains within it, and what was just now the action upon them respectively of the politics and science of the time. You do not go into these matters; but the step you have taken is evidently the measure and the issue of the view which you have formed of them all.

However, you are not a mere individual; from early youth you have devoted yourself to the Established Church, and, after between forty and fifty years of unremitting labour in its service, your roots and your branches stretch out through every portion of its large territory. You, more than any one else alive, have been the present and untiring agent by whom a great work has been effected in it; and, far more than is usual, you have received in your lifetime, as well as merited, the confidence of your brethren. You cannot speak merely for yourself; your antecedents, your existing influence, are a pledge to us, that what you may determine will be the determination of a multitude. Numbers, too, for whom you cannot properly be said to speak, will be moved by your authority or your arguments; and, numbers, again, who are of a school more recent than your own, and who are only not your followers because they have outstripped you in their free speeches and demonstrative acts in our behalf, will, for the occasion, accept you as their spokesman. There is no one anywhere,—among ourselves, in your own body, or, I suppose, in the Greek Church,—who can affect so large a circle of men, so virtuous, so able, so learned, so zealous, as come, more or less, under your influence; and I cannot pay them a greater compliment than to tell them they ought all to be Catholics, nor do them a more affectionate service than to pray that they may one day become such. Nor can I address myself to an act more pleasing, as I trust, to the Divine Lord of the Church, or more loyal and dutiful to His Vicar on earth, than to attempt, however feebly, to promote so great a consummation.


Fully, then, do I recognize the rights of conscience in this matter. I find no fault with your stating, as clearly and completely as you can, the difficulties which stand in the way of your joining us. I cannot wonder that you begin with stipulating conditions of union, though I do not concur in them myself, and think that in the event you yourself would be content to let them drop. Such representations as yours are necessary to open the subject in debate; they ascertain how the land lies, and serve to clear the ground. Thus I begin:—but after allowing as much as this, I am obliged in honesty to add what I fear, my dear Pusey, will pain you. Yet I am confident, my very dear friend, that at least you will not be angry with me if I say, what I must say if I say anything at all, viz., that there is much, both in the matter and in the manner of your Volume, calculated to wound those who love you well, but love truth more. So it is; with the best motives and kindest intentions,—"Cædimur, et totidem plagis consumimus hostem." We give you a sharp cut, and you return it. You complain of our being "dry, hard and unsympathizing;" and we answer that you are unfair and irritating. But we at least have not professed to be composing an Irenicon, when we were treating you as foes. There was one of old time who wreathed his sword in myrtle; excuse me—you discharge your olive-branch as if from a catapult.

Do not think I am not serious; if I spoke as seriously as I feel, I should seem to speak harshly. Who will venture to assert, that the hundred pages which you have devoted to the subject of the Blessed Virgin give other than a one-sided view of our teaching about her, little suited to win us? This may be a salutary castigation of us, if any of us have fairly provoked it; but it is not making the best of matters; it is not smoothing the way for an understanding or a compromise. Your representation of what we hold, leads a writer in the most moderate and liberal Anglican newspaper of the day, the Guardian, to turn away from us, shocked and dismayed. "It is language," says your reviewer, "which, after having often heard it, we still can only hear with horror. We had rather not quote any of it, or of the comments upon it." What could an Exeter Hall orator, what could a Scotch commentator on the Apocalypse, do more for his own side of the controversy in the picture he drew of us? You may be sure that charges which create horror on one side, will be repelled by indignation on the other; and these are not the most favourable dispositions of mind for a peace conference. I had been accustomed to suppose, that you, who in {8} times past were ever less declamatory in controversy than myself, now that years had gone on, and circumstances changed, had come to look on our old warfare against Rome as cruel and inexpedient. Indeed, I know that it was a chief objection urged only last year against the scheme then in agitation of introducing the Oratory into Oxford, that such an undertaking on my part would be a signal for the rekindling of that fierce style of polemics which is now long out of date. I had fancied you shared in that opinion; but now, as if to show how imperative you deem the renewal of that old violence, you actually bring to life one of my own strong sayings in 1841, which had long been in the grave, that "the Roman Church comes as near to idolatry as can be supposed in a Church, of which it is said, 'The idols He shall utterly abolish.'"—P. 111.