Pusey, Edward Bouverie (DNB00)
PUSEY, EDWARD BOUVERIE (1800–1882), regius professor of Hebrew at Oxford and canon of Christ Church, was second son of Philip Pusey (youngest son of Jacob Bouverie, first viscount Folkestone), who adopted the surname of Pusey when he succeeded in 1789 to the estates of the old Pusey family at Pusey, a small village in Berkshire. His elder brother, Philip Pusey, is noticed separately. Edward was born at Pusey on 22 Aug. 1800. He received his earliest teaching at a preparatory school at Mitcham in Surrey, kept by the Rev. Richard Roberts; thence, in 1812, he passed to Eton, and, after spending two years under the tuition of Dr. Edward Maltby [q.v.] (afterwards bishop of Durham), he matriculated at Oxford as a member of Christ Church in 1819. His name appears in the first class of the classical honours list in 1822, and in the following year he gained, after open competition, a fellowship at Oriel College. This was at the time one of the most coveted distinctions in the university. In 1824 he won the university Latin-essay prize with an essay on the ‘Comparison between the Colonies of Greece and Rome.’
Pusey graduated B.A. in 1822 and M.A. in 1825. The intervening years determined the whole drift of his after-life. At Oriel he was brought into contact and intimacy with his brother-fellows Keble and Newman, while Dr. Charles Lloyd (1784–1829) [q. v.], regius professor of divinity, also exerted great influence on him. Lloyd was deeply impressed with the dangers that would beset the introduction into England of the biblical criticism and exegesis at that time current in Germany; and he strongly urged upon Pusey the advisability of a prolonged residence at several of the German universities so as to acquire familiarity with the language and theological literature of that country. Consequently Pusey spent the greater part of two years, from 1825 to 1827, at Göttingen (where he formed a friend- ship with Bunsen), Berlin, and Bonn. He studied at first under Eichhorn and Schleiermacher, and enjoyed the friendship of Tholuck and Neander. It was not long before he fully appreciated the necessity for a careful preparation to resist the attack that was threatened upon revealed religion. He knew enough of the condition of theology in England to see how entirely unprepared English churchmen were to handle such questions. To complete his equipment as a champion of orthodoxy, he turned to the study of oriental languages, placing himself under the instruction—first of Kosegarten, the professor of theology at Greifswald, and then of Freytag, the professor of oriental languages at Bonn. His devotion to Syriac and Arabic studies seriously affected his health, but he was able to finish his work, and returned to England in June 1827. Very soon after his return he published his first book, ‘An Historical Enquiry into the Probable Causes of the Rationalist Character lately predominant in the Theology of Germany.’ It was an answer to a course of lectures which had been delivered before the university of Cambridge by Hugh James Rose [q. v.] on the same subject. Rose had endeavoured to trace German rationalism almost exclusively to the absence of that control which is provided in the church of England by formularies of faith and devotion and by its episcopal form of government. The natural conclusion from Rose's argument was that the English church, possessing as it did such safeguards, need not fear the rationalism into which the German protestant bodies had lapsed from want of them. Pusey was convinced that there was every reason for such a fear. He saw in German rationalism the outcome of ‘dead orthodoxism,’ of a merely formal correctness of belief without any corresponding spiritual vitality. The church of England seemed to him to betray similar symptoms. The aim of his book was to trace historically the working of this ‘orthodoxism’ in the decadence of the religious life of German protestants. Many of his expressions, and his evident sympathies with the German pietists, caused the book to be widely misunderstood in England. Its writer was supposed to have sympathies not merely with pietism, but also with rationalism, if not to be himself a rationalist. He defended himself from these charges at great length, and in guarded language, in a ‘Second Part;’ but, although he always maintained that he had not at any time, in any sense whatever, held rationalistic views, the charges reappeared from time to time through his life. In later years he was greatly dissatisfied with this first book and its sequel. He never reprinted them, and in a will which he drew up a few years before his death he forbade any one to do so.
On 1 June 1828 he was ordained deacon, and in the following November he was appointed by the prime minister, the Duke of Wellington, to the chair of the regius professor of Hebrew in Oxford; to this office was attached a canonry at Christ Church, Oxford, the acceptance of which necessitated Pusey's ordination to the priesthood. His position as professor was thus at once academical and ecclesiastical; his duties, as he understood them, were therefore at least as much theological as linguistic. But from the first he set himself a high standard of duty as regards the teaching of Hebrew in the university. The university statutes contemplated only one lecture twice a week; but from the first, with the assistance of a qualified deputy, Pusey provided three sets of lectures, each three times a week. In these lectures he treated the study of Hebrew as a religious subject, and deemed it unadvisable to confuse the minds of his young hearers with what he called the dryness of the ‘lower criticism,’ or with the precarious assertions of the ‘higher.’ He aimed at imparting a full idiomatic knowledge of the language, so that the student might ‘enter more fully into the simple meaning of God's word.’ He sometimes addressed large classes on general subjects, like inspiration or prophecy, but always preferred to give what he called ‘solid instruction’ in the deeper meaning of scripture to a small class of men of fairly equal proficiency. In the early years of his professorship the attendance at his lectures was large; it was chiefly made up of graduates preparing for ordination. In later years, owing to the establishment of theological colleges, the opening of fellowships to laymen, and other causes, far fewer students prepared in Oxford for ordination, and the demand for instruction such as Pusey desired to give diminished. In 1832, in conjunction with his brother Philip and his friend Dr. Ellerton, he founded the three Pusey and Ellerton Hebrew scholarships.
Pusey inherited, as a legacy of duty from his predecessor, Dr. Alexander Nicoll [q. v.], the laborious task of completing the catalogue of Arabic manuscripts in the Bodleian Library. To this he devoted nearly six years. When completed it proved a monument of patient learning. The only lectures that he published in direct connection with the Hebrew chair were on the book of Daniel (Lectures on Daniel the Prophet, Oxford, 8vo, 1864). His ‘Minor Prophets, with a Commentary, Explanatory and Practical, and Introduction to the Several Books,’ which ap- peared in six parts between 1860 and 1877, was not addressed to Hebrew students. It was part of a scheme for a popular commentary on the whole Bible, of which Pusey alone completed his share.
Great as was Pusey's oriental learning and widely exerted as was his influence in preventing the adoption in England of immature critical theories, the main work of his career was in connection with that great revival of church life which began between 1830 and 1840.
Pusey was in his early years a liberal in politics. He advocated Peel's re-election for the university in 1829, after his adoption of Roman catholic emancipation, and spoke of the Test Acts as ‘disgraceful laws.’ But the overwhelming triumph of political liberalism in 1832 seemed to him to threaten the church of England with change or mutilation, and, like others of her firmest adherents, he grew alarmed. His first attempt to assist in repelling the attacks of liberalism on the church appeared in the form of a reply to some proposals for the reform of the English cathedral system, which were recommended in 1832 by Lord Henley, the son-in-law of Sir Robert Peel. In his ‘Remarks on the Prospective and Past Benefits of Cathedral Institutions’ (1833), Pusey defended the existing system as having supplied some of the clergy with those opportunities for study which had produced, and would produce again, the chief works in English theology, and the soundest schemes of theological teaching. At the same time he suggested a few changes in the principles on which appointments were made to the chapters. Some of these have since been independently adopted. But Pusey came to see that the times called for a more thorough defence of the church. To meet the prevailing ignorance there was need of a full statement of the points in which the church of England radically differed from the various nonconformist sects, which, to the popular mind, claimed equally to represent primitive Christianity. At the same time the advances of rationalism could only be stemmed by the steady growth among the church's defenders of the conviction that she was divinely instituted. His friend Newman grasped this position before Pusey, and soon gave practical effect to his view. In September 1833 Newman commenced the ‘Tracts for the Times,’ with the object of ‘contributing something towards the practical revival of doctrines [such as the apostolic succession and the holy catholic church] which, although held by the great divines of our church, have become practically obsolete with the majority of her members’ (Tracts for the Times, vol. i., advertisement). Keble and others joined him at once. At the end of the year Pusey began to work with them, but it was nearly two years before he had health and leisure to throw all his energy into the movement.
Pusey's adhesion to the Oxford movement lent it great weight. His learning, academical and social position, high character, and open-hearted charity had already made him well known. ‘He was able,’ as Newman said, ‘to give a name, a power, and a personality to what was without him a sort of mob.’ Popular report soon gave him a prominence beyond that which was due to his actual share in the early stages of the work. He was ranked with Newman as the prime mover, and the whole revival was called indifferently ‘Puseyism’ or ‘Newmania.’ He soon altered the character of the ‘Tracts’ from stirring appeals to solid doctrinal treatises. His own most important contributions to them were those on baptism and on the holy eucharist. The former, entitled ‘Scriptural Views of Holy Baptism,’ was published in three parts (Nos. 67, 68, and 69 of the ‘Tracts’) in August-October 1835. In these Pusey maintained that regeneration is connected with baptism both in scripture and in the writings of the early church. A second edition of the first of the three tracts appeared in 1839; in it the argument was entirely confined to scripture, but was expanded from forty-nine to four hundred pages. Pusey never had leisure to restate the argument from the fathers. His ‘Tracts’ on the holy eucharist appeared in 1836. Their primary object was to recall the attention of churchmen to the almost forgotten sacrificial aspect of the eucharist, as it was held by the early church and constantly asserted in the writings of the best Anglican divines. At the same time he was careful to guard his statements against any popular confusion with the distinctive doctrine of the Roman church.
But he rendered perhaps greater literary service to the work of the Oxford school by his scheme for translating the most valuable of the writings of the fathers. ‘The Oxford Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, anterior to the Division of East and West,’ was planned in the summer of 1836. It at once enlisted the interest of William Howley, archbishop of Canterbury, and of a wide circle of readers; at one time there were 3,700 subscribers. The first volume appeared in 1838. It was a translation of St. Augustine's ‘Confessions,’ with a careful preface by Pusey on the value and necessity of patristic study, and on the special interest of St. Augustine's religious autobiography. There were forty-eight volumes, in the whole series, the last volumes appearing after Pusey's death.
Pusey's sermons, however, were even more influential than his literary labours. He preached wherever he was asked to go—in the university pulpit, at Christ Church, in London, and at the seaside in summer holidays. He had certainly neither the voice, nor the style, nor any of the gestures of an orator; nor had he the brilliancy and the lucidity of a popular preacher; but the intense reality of his language, his profound earnestness and spirituality, and the searchingly practical character of his teaching, compelled the respectful attention even of the unsympathetic. Sara Coleridge wrote of his preaching: ‘He is certainly, to my feelings, more impressive than any one else in the pulpit, though he has not one of the graces of oratory. His discourse is generally a rhapsody, describing with infinite repetition and accumulativeness the wickedness of sin, the worthlessness of earth, and the blessedness of heaven. He is as still as a statue all the time he is uttering it, looks as white as a sheet, and is as monotonous in delivery as possible. While listening to him you do not seem to see and hear a preacher, but to have visible before you a most earnest and devout spirit, striving to carry out in this world a high religious theory’ (Memoir of Sara Coleridge, i. 332–3).
Pusey's position in the church and university compelled him to take a leading share in the public defence of the church and of the ‘Oxford movement’ within it. Thus in the early days of 1836 he was one of the most prominent opponents of the appointment of Dr. Renn Dickson Hampden [q.v.] to the chief professorial chair of theology at Oxford, and issued two pamphlets controverting Hampden's theological views. In April of the same year he published the first of many defences of tractarianism in an ‘Earnest Remonstrance’ against a pamphlet called ‘The Pope's Pastoral Letter,’ which charged the tractarians with unfaithfulness to the English church. Pusey only answered this pamphlet because it was currently, but inaccurately, supposed to be from the pen of Dr. Arnold, whose notorious article on the ‘Oxford Malignants’ appeared almost simultaneously in the ‘Edinburgh Review.’ Pusey argued that if the Oxford tract-writers taught doctrines peculiar to the Roman catholic portion of the Christian church, they did so in the company of the best theologians of the Anglican church. Similarly, in 1839, Dr. Bagot, the bishop of Oxford, was so perplexed by the attitude of Pusey that he requested him to make some form of declaration which would clearly show his loyalty to the English church. This Pusey did, in the form of a long ‘Letter to the Bishop of Oxford.’ He tried to show in the case of each of the Thirty-nine Articles, which had been quoted against the Oxford writers, that its true meaning was clearly distinct from the ‘Roman’ doctrine which he was supposed to hold, as well as from that popular ‘ultra protestant’ interpretation which his accusers had placed on it. He claimed that such a via media was no weak compromise, but the ‘old faith’ of the primitive church ‘after whose model our own was reformed.’ Again, in 1841, he identified himself with Newman when the heads of houses condemned the interpretation which Newman had put upon the Thirty-nine Articles in ‘Tract No. XC.’ Privately he did his utmost to prevent any condemnation of his friend by the bishop of Oxford, and he also published a long ‘Letter to Dr. Jelf,’ in which he contended that Newman's interpretation of the articles was not ‘only an admissible, but the most legitimate’ interpretation of them. Again, in 1842, he addressed a letter to Howley, archbishop of Canterbury, in the hope of stopping the storm of condemnation which the English bishops were directing against the ‘Tracts’ and their writers. He especially dreaded the effect that such charges might have upon Newman's relation to the English church. In this letter he acknowledged that a tendency to conversion to Rome was growing, but declined to credit the ‘Tracts’ with that effect; its real cause (he said) lay in the evil condition of the church of England, which was far from irremediable.
In a few years Pusey had become practically the leader in the Oxford revival. From 1841 Newman was much less in Oxford than before, and Keble rarely left his country parish. Pusey was always in Oxford, and was still on good terms with his ecclesiastical superiors. His position was greatly strengthened by his condemnation for heresy in June 1843 by the vice-chancellor. On 14 May he had preached a sermon at Christ Church, which was afterwards published under the title of ‘The Holy Eucharist: a Comfort to the Penitent.’ Its main object was to show that one who is truly penitent for his sins could find the most solid comfort in the holy eucharist, both as a commemorative sacrifice wherein he pleads Christ's one meritorious sacrifice for all his sins, and also as a sacrament wherein he receives spiritual food and sustenance. But this simple teaching was wrapped up in the language of the early fathers of the church, to which many of his hearers were suspicious strangers. One of them delated the sermon to the vice-chancellor, who, in accordance with the statute which regulated the examination of delated sermons, appointed six doctors of divinity to investigate its teaching. The proceedings formed a series of most unfortunate mistakes, although in such a complicated matter it is impossible to charge any one with intentional unfairness; and in the end Pusey was suspended for two years from his office as a preacher before the university. The only charge alleged against him in the formal judgment was that he had taught ‘quædam doctrinæ ecclesiæ Anglicanæ dissona et contraria.’ There was a general outcry against this severe punishment, inflicted for an undefined offence upon one of the most learned and revered members of the university, who had not been allowed a hearing in self-defence. Among those who signed an address to the vice-chancellor regretting Pusey's condemnation was Mr. Gladstone, who also wrote to Pusey in the same sense. From this time their relations were cordial; they frequently corresponded, and Pusey supported Mr. Gladstone's candidature for the university in 1847. But he strongly objected to Mr. Gladstone's support of the removal of Jewish disabilities, to his advocacy of the admission of the laity to convocation; and further divergence of opinion manifested itself over the University Reform Act of 1854.
During the three years following Pusey's condemnation events moved rapidly. The sentence upon Pusey was one of the many causes which, to Pusey's great sorrow, led Newman to resign his living in Oxford; and on 9 Oct. 1845 Newman was received into the Roman church. Pusey, who never lost his deep personal affection for his friend, was thenceforward left to guide the revival. His nature was less sensitive; he was far less disturbed by abuse, and was never haunted by theological spectres, as Newman had been since 1839. He strenuously maintained that Newman's action was not the legitimate goal of his earlier belief; and, without Newman, he continued his work as before. In the same month as Newman seceded, he faced a storm of attack at Leeds at the consecration of St. Saviour's Church, of which he was the unknown founder. The first idea of the scheme occurred to him in 1839 after his wife's death; it was to be an act of penitence, and Pusey kept his share in it a complete secret. The foundation-stone was laid on 14 Sept. 1842, and, after many objections raised to details in its construction by Dr. Longley, bishop of Ripon, the church was finally consecrated in October 1845. The total cost to Pusey was some 6,000l., which he saved entirely out of income. He preached a series of sermons at the consecration, which were afterwards published in a volume. On 1 Feb. 1846 he resumed his preaching before the university, and there he reiterated the teaching for which he believed that he had been condemned. In this sermon, however, the objectionable doctrine was expressed in the language of English divines whose orthodoxy was unimpeachable.
During the years that immediately followed, Pusey's work lay less in the university than in the church at large. With the generous assistance of a large body of laymen, he made in 1845 the first attempt for at least two hundred years to establish an Anglican sisterhood (in London). This was followed in 1849 by the establishment of another institution of the same kind in Devonport; and it was not long before the example was followed at Oxford, Clewer, Wantage, and other places. Pusey was the chief pioneer throughout. He was confident that such machinery was needed for the sake of the poor, for the development of spiritual life in the church of England, and for the protection and support of ladies who wished to devote their lives to charitable effort. But ordinary Englishmen only knew such institutions as part of the system of the Roman church; and the suspicion with which Pusey was regarded in protestant circles increased. The numerous sisterhoods attached to the church of England at the present day are the results of his labour and the proofs of his faithfulness. To Pusey also was mainly due the revival of the practice of private confession, which he declared to be authorised by the teaching and custom of the Anglican church since the reformation. He defended his action in the matter in a letter addressed to the Rev. W. U. Richards in 1850, called ‘The Church of England leaves her Children free to whom to open their Griefs,’ and he contributed an elaborate preface to a translation of the Abbé Gaume's ‘Manual for Confessors.’ He encouraged the spread of ritualism, though he himself used but little ceremonial; and he took a leading part in the defence of those who were from time to time charged with ritualistic practices.
Despite the persistent outcry against him, Pusey continued to reassert the principles on which tractarianism rested, and to strain all his energies in dissuading those who held those principles from yielding to the temptation of joining the church of Rome. His position grew increasingly difficult. The decision of the privy council in the Gorham case in 1850 was followed by the secession of many distinguished clergymen, including Archdeacon (afterwards Cardinal) Manning; and some of the seceders strove to show that Pusey was guilty of cowardice and inconsistency in not following their example. At the same moment, too, the second set of clergy whom Pusey had sent to the church he had built at Leeds followed in the steps of the first vicar, the Rev. Richard Ward, and went over to Rome. The so-called ‘Papal aggression’ of 1850 intensified the hatred felt for the party which Pusey represented. This year was perhaps the most clouded in the whole of his life. Blomfield, bishop of London, openly attacked him in a charge to his clergy, and Bishop Wilberforce (of Oxford) secretly inhibited him from preaching in his diocese. He defended himself against aspersions on his character in private and public letters, especially in his ‘Letter to the Bishop of London,’ written in 1850. But while he declined to make any declaration against the church of Rome, he asserted at a public meeting that it was his intention to die in the bosom of the church of England. Such an utterance reassured many wavering friends, and did not a little to stay the steps of intending seceders. In 1856, when Archdeacon Denison was charged with holding heretical views on the doctrine of the holy eucharist, Pusey published, by way of supporting him, ‘The Doctrine of the Real Presence, as contained in the Fathers, from the death of St. John the Evangelist to the fourth General Council, vindicated in Notes on a Sermon, “The Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist,” preached a.d. 1853 before the University of Oxford.’ This appendix to a sermon is a volume of upwards of seven hundred pages, containing not only quotations from the fathers, but also a large mass of other information on the doctrine of the holy eucharist. A supplement was issued in 1857, when the trial had been decided in the archdeacon's favour, entitled ‘The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Doctrine of the English Church.’
Pusey's work in the tractarian movement had aimed at the strengthening of the church of England by the restoration of those portions of the teaching of the church which for some years had been overlooked. The opposition of earnest low churchmen to the ‘Oxford movement’ had, in his opinion, encouraged the growth of latitudinarianism, the possibility of which he had foreseen since he had studied in Germany. He therefore turned in later life from the war on behalf of tractarianism to engage in conflict with the latitudinarian tendency. The struggle first centred round the reform of the university. The first royal university commission had recommended many changes which were unwelcome to a large body of the resident members of the university. In the agitation which followed the publication of their report in 1852, Pusey was the selected champion of the old order of things. The heads of houses issued a report in reply to that of the commissioners, and at the head of the volume they placed Pusey's evidence on the proposed changes. It is a lengthy and learned defence of the tutorial system of the English universities, and of clerical influence in the training of young men, as against the scheme for increasing the professoriate and diminishing the number of clerical tutorships. He followed up the subject in 1854 in a defence of his evidence, entitled ‘Collegiate and Professorial Teaching and Discipline,’ in which he insisted on the training of the moral and religious nature as the true object of the universities, with and through the discipline of the intellect; and he maintained that it would be a perversion of a university to turn it into ‘a forcing-house for intellect.’ When the act, based on the recommendation of the commission, had passed, Pusey was at once elected to the new hebdomadal council which, under this act, displaced the old board of heads of houses. In this council he retained a prominent place until he was compelled to resign it by old age. Pusey fought the battle of the church in council and convocation; but it was throughout a losing cause. The constitution of the university was steadily altered according to the will of the liberal party; but Pusey's opposition at least secured a breathing-space for the church to prepare for the altered conditions of its life in Oxford.
A more direct conflict with latitudinarian teaching followed. Pusey had preached several times in the university pulpit directly in defence of the faith, especially two striking sermons, in 1855, on the ‘Nature of Faith in relation to Reason.’ The notes to these sermons made it clear that he regarded the undogmatic theological teaching of the regius professor of Greek, Benjamin Jowett, as a serious danger to the youth of Oxford. When, therefore, a proposal was brought before the university that the very inadequate stipend of that professorship should be increased, Pusey felt bound to oppose it. He feared that acceptance of such a proposal would be understood to express approval of the teaching of the holder of the Greek chair. Eventually, to justify this opposition, he endeavoured to do for Jowett what he repeatedly desired to have done in his own case. He attempted to submit the doctrinal question to the decision of a court of law. Accordingly, in 1862, he charged Jowett, before the court of the chancellor of the university, with teaching opinions on the atonement, inspiration, and creeds which were not in accordance with the doctrine of the church of England. In a correspondence in the ‘Times’ he stated that the object of the suit was to ascertain whether the university, in its altered condition, was willing to allow such teaching. On 27 Feb. 1863 the court decided not to hear the case, in terms which Pusey understood to mean that a professor's theological teaching could not be impugned, unless it was given, as Jowett's was not, in his official lectures. Under these circumstances, he himself voted in the following March for the proposal to increase the endowment of the Greek chair out of the funds of the university; and, when this was rejected, he assisted in another arrangement whereby the chapter of Christ Church supplied the requisite sum of money. This suit, in which Pusey's discretion may be blamed, embittered controversy in the university for many years. Jowett's friends could not forget his action any more than those who supported Pusey in the prosecution could understand why he afterwards abandoned his opposition.
While this subject was occupying the university, the prosecution for heresy of two of the writers in ‘Essays and Reviews’ had resulted in a decision of the privy council in favour of their teaching. Such a judgment would, Pusey feared, encourage conversions to Rome, as in the Gorham case. With a view to neutralise the effects of the judgment, he published letters, pamphlets, explanations, appeals to patience, a valuable paper on Genesis (read at the church congress), and his lectures on Daniel; he also began a series of appeals by which he hoped to draw the members of the Roman church to desire reunion with the church of England in the presence of this growing common danger of unbelief. Already the members of the high and low church within the church of England had shown a readiness to unite. But in April 1865 Manning, who at the end of the month was appointed to succeed Wiseman as archbishop of Westminster, asserted that the church of England was the real cause of infidelity by its denial of very much of the truth which the Roman church held; and he further twitted Pusey with forsaking his old position by allying himself with the evangelicals against unbelief. Pusey's first appeal for reunion was in a letter to Keble, which he called ‘The Church of England a Portion of Christ's one holy Catholic Church, and a Means of restoring visible Unity. An Eirenicon’ (1865). He maintained that English churchmen were prevented from union with Rome not so much by the authorised teaching of the Roman church as by the unauthorised (although permitted) practical systems of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the teaching about purgatory and indulgences. He appealed to the Roman church to disclaim the extreme statements which he quoted, and to allow a hope of reunion on the basis of an explanation of the teaching of the council of Trent. At the same time he reissued, with an historical preface, Newman's ‘Tract No. XC,’ which asserted the true meaning of the articles. Several Roman catholic writers favourably responded to this appeal, and many French bishops, with whom Pusey had interviews, gave him great encouragement, especially Monsignor Darboy, archbishop of Paris. This first ‘Eirenicon’ was formally answered in 1866 by Newman in ‘A Letter to the Rev. E. B. Pusey on his recent “Eirenicon.”’ Newman did not attempt to justify much of the language which Pusey had quoted with regard to the Virgin Mary; but he maintained that, when quoted without the balance of its context of devotion to Christ, it could not be fairly judged. He held out little hope of reunion on any principle that Pusey could accept. As soon as Newman's reply was issued, Pusey set to work on a second ‘Eirenicon.’ This was addressed to Newman himself. He completed it before the end of the year (1866); but its publication was delayed, partly because of the hostile attitude of the Roman catholics, and yet more because of a vehement outburst of hostility to ritualism within the church of England. But early in 1869 the approaching meeting of the Vatican council in 1870 caused Pusey at last to issue it; it dealt almost throughout, in reply to Newman's letter, with the question of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, and it was thought possible that this subject would occupy the attention of the council. The argument of this ‘First Letter to the Very Rev. J. H. Newman’ was based on the authorities cited in the elaborate but almost unknown work which Cardinal de Turrecremata compiled at the mandate of the papal legates who presided at the council of Basle in 1437, and an analysis of that work was appended to the volume. A few months later, in July 1869, Pusey published an edition of the Latin original of the cardinal's work, the text of which had been prepared for him by Dr. Stubbs, then regius professor of modern history at Oxford. These books he followed up at once by a third ‘Eirenicon,’ dated 1 Nov. 1869, under the title ‘Is Healthful Reunion Impossible? A Second Letter to the Very Rev. J. H. Newman.’ In this last appeal he discusses all the ordinary difficulties in the way of re- union between England and Rome, laying special stress on the question of purgatory, of the deutero-canonical books, and of the exact meaning of the ‘Roman supremacy.’ He specially emphasised the principles of the Gallican church as held by Bossuet, hoping to get a hearing on the strength of his authority. He asked for some clear terms of reunion which would save those who accepted them from complicity in the many and unjustifiable practices and opinions which were not authoritatively allowed, and yet not forbidden, in the Roman communion. This work he sent to many of the Roman catholic bishops who had gone to Rome to attend the Vatican council, and of whose sympathy he was assured; but most of the copies came back undelivered, and Anglicanism, as Pusey held it, was unable to get a hearing. The complete triumph of ultramontanism at the council annihilated all his hopes. A copy of his third ‘Eirenicon’ was found in his library after his death, in which he had expressed his despair of reunion by altering its title to ‘Healthful Reunion as considered possible before the Vatican Council.’ At the same time he endeavoured to discuss terms of reunion with the Wesleyans at home, and with the Eastern church through the Eastern Church Association. Both these efforts also failed; but the failure of the latter at the reunion conferences between members of the Eastern and Anglican churches, which were held at Bonn in 1874 and 1875, called forth from Pusey in 1876 a valuable treatise on the chief difficulty between the two churches—the double procession of the Holy Ghost. This book was in the form of a letter to Dr. Liddon, and entitled ‘On the Clause “and the Son” in regard to the Eastern Church and the Bonn Conference.’ At the end of the book he speaks of it in renewed hopefulness as his ‘last contribution to a future which I shall not see.’
Through all this time he was engaged in constant controversy at home. The attempt to remove the Athanasian Creed from its position in the services of the English church occupied a large share of his correspondence between 1870 and 1873. At last Pusey gave notice in writing to Dr. Tait, the archbishop of Canterbury, that, if the creed were either mutilated by alteration or removed from its place in the public services, he should feel bound to retire from his position as a teacher in the church of England. His continued resistance to the attack on the creed was one of the main causes of its retention in the public services, though an explanatory rubric was adopted by convocation in 1873. The same controversy reappeared in another form at the close of his life, when his views on everlasting punishment were attacked by Archdeacon (later Dean) Farrar in a series of sermons preached in Westminster Abbey in November and December 1877, and published the following year under the title ‘Eternal Hope.’ The attack gave him the opportunity of writing a book which has perhaps had as much influence as anything that he wrote: ‘What is of Faith as to Everlasting Punishment?’ (Oxford, 1880). There he insisted on the obvious meaning of the scriptural and patristic statements of the everlasting character of the punishment of those who finally reject God. In 1878 he prepared two university sermons. The first sermon was on the supposed contradiction between the facts of scientific discovery and the facts of revelation, under the title of ‘Un-science, not Science, adverse to Faith;’ and the second insisted on the reality of the predictive element of the Old Testament, and especially on Messianic prophecy. The latter was printed with the strangely worded title ‘Prophecy of Jesus the Certain Prediction of the (to Man) Impossible.’ These were the last university sermons that he wrote. His increasing weakness prevented him from delivering them himself. He died on 16 Sept. 1882 at Ascot Priory in Berkshire, and was buried in the cathedral at Oxford. The last work on which he was engaged was the preparation for his next term's lectures.
In his family life he had very great sorrows. He married in a rather romantic manner, on 12 June 1828, Maria Catherine, daughter of Raymond Barker of Fairford Park, Gloucestershire. She died of consumption on 26 May 1839, to the lifelong sorrow of her husband. Of his four children, only one, his youngest daughter, survived him. His eldest daughter died of rapid consumption at the age of fourteen. His only son, Philip Edward (1830–1880), graduated B.A. 1854 and M.A. 1857 of Christ Church. In spite of physical infirmities, he was an indefatigable student, and a very great help to his father. He died suddenly on 15 Jan. 1880.
Pusey published several volumes of sermons. His university sermons were in many cases printed soon after delivery, and were collected into three large volumes (1872). They all show signs not only of his wide reading and deep earnestness, but also of the extreme care which he bestowed on their preparation. They were nearly all in some special manner addressed to the needs of the time. The statement of sacramental truth; the controversy with evangelicals on justification; the many questions raised by the ‘Essays and Reviews;’ the later controversy about Darwinism and Old Testament criticism, are all represented in these volumes, besides several interesting sermons on the Jewish interpretation of prophecy. Other collected series of sermons were: ‘Sermons during the Seasons from Advent to Whitsuntide,’ 2 vols. 1848–53; ‘Parochial Sermons’ (vol. i. 1848, 5th edit. 1854; vol. ii. 1853, new edit. 1868; vol. iii. 1869); Lenten sermons (1874); and ‘Parochial and Cathedral Sermons’ (1883). The last contains perhaps the most tender, searching, and spiritual of all his discourses. In the preface he pleads characteristically that he may be allowed to leave as a last bequest to the rising generation of clergy the exhortation that they will ‘study the fathers, especially St. Augustine.’ Various selections from his sermons were published in 1883 and 1884.
There is complete unity in Pusey's ecclesiastical work. He believed that the true doctrines of the church of England were enshrined in the writings of the fathers and Anglican divines of the seventeenth century, but that the malign influences of whig indifferentism, deism, and ultra-protestantism, had obscured their significance. To spread among churchmen the conviction that on the doctrines of the fathers and early Anglican divines alone could religion be based was Pusey's main purpose. With this aim he set out in company with Newman and Keble. At its inception the movement occasioned secessions to Rome which seriously weakened the English church, and seemed to justify the storm of adverse criticism which the Oxford reformers encountered. Unmoved by obloquy, Pusey, although after the secession of Newman he stood almost alone, never swerved from his original purpose. He possessed no supreme gifts of rhetoric, of literary persuasiveness, or of social strategy. Yet the movement which he in middle life championed almost single-handed proceeded on its original lines with such energy and success as entirely to change the aspect of the Anglican church. This fact constitutes Pusey's claim to commemoration. Of himself he wrote with characteristic self-effacement when reviewing his life: ‘My life has been spent in a succession of insulated efforts, bearing indeed upon one great end—the growth of catholic truth and piety among us.’
A portrait by George Richmond, R.A., is at Christ Church. His library was purchased for the ‘Pusey House,’ an institution in Oxford which was founded in his memory to carry on his work.[A Life of Pusey, prepared by Canon Liddon, was completed after Liddon's death by the Rev. J. O. Johnston and the Rev. B. J. Wilson. Vols. i. and ii. appeared in 1893, vol. iii. in 1894. See also Newman's Apologia pro Vitâ suâ; T. Mozley's Reminiscences of Oriel; J. B. Mozley's Letters, ed. Anne Mozley; Newman's Letters, ed. Anne Mozley; Church's Oxford Movement; Oakeley's Historical Notes on the Tractarian Movement; Palmer's Narrative of Events; Browne's Hist. of the Tractarian Movement; Isaac Williams's Autobiography; W. G. Ward and the Catholic Revival; Mark Pattison's Memoirs; Prothero's Life of Dean Stanley; Purcell's Life of Cardinal Manning.]