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REV. E. B. PUSEY, D.D.
IN REFERENCE TO HIS
LETTER TO THE LORD BISHOP OF OXFORD.
BY GEORGE MILLER, D.D.
FORMERLY FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN.
DUNCAN AND MALCOLM,
37 PATERNOSTER ROW.
In addressing you in this manner, I request to be understood to entertain very sincere respect for your piety, while I freely offer my animadversions on certain excesses, into which you appear to me to have been led by your anxiety to maintain a true profession of your adherence to the church of Christ. By your published letter, addressed to the Bishop of Oxford, you have in effect invited such animadversions; and that a considerable time had passed without the appearance of a reply may have caused surprise to you, as it was to me a motive for addressing you on the subject, especially when in a private discussion this consideration had been urged upon me in proof of the correctness of
your views. I had accordingly, with this intention, made some progress in preparing the following letter, when I found that the immediate occasion had passed away, a very able letter on the subject, addressed, like your own, to the Bishop of Oxford, having been published “by a clergyman of the
diocese and a resident member of the university.” If this letter had comprehended some topics which had occurred to me as important in the controversy, I would have abandoned my intention of taking any part in it, for in all of which it treats I entirely concur, nor could I hope to treat them with more ability or research. The writer, however, has professedly confined himself to certain parts of your letter, leaving to others the care of animadverting upon the remainder. I am therefore induced to persist in my original design of addressing you, adding thus my efforts to those of the very able writer, to whom I have alluded. I must premise that I entirely agree with
you in regarding the present time as a most important and interesting crisis of our church, and even in thinking that this has been evidenced, to borrow your own language, “ by the almost electric rapidity with which these principles are confessedly passing from one breast to another, from one end of England to the other.” But I cannot concur with
you in concluding from this extraordinary diffusion of your principles, nor from “the sympathy which they find in the sister or daughter churches of Scotland and America,” that the note which has thus vibrated throughout every part of our church, attests that “itself had been attuned to it by a higher unseen hand.” This is dangerous reasoning. We may indeed conclude, that the public
1 Letter, pp. 230, 231; second edition.
mind of our church had been by some predisposing causes prepared for receiving impressions of more than ordinary seriousness; but it is quite a distinct consideration to pronounce, as you are disposed to do, that the particular note, which has been actually addressed to it, had been attuned to it by a special interposition of the divine providence. It was the complaint of Hooker, that the reformation had been carried into dissent by the desire of withdrawing as far as possible from the corruptions of the church of Rome; and it is now to be considered whether, on the contrary, a desire of separating as much as possible from the evils of dissent is not at this time impelling the more serious members of our church into the other extreme, of adopting much of the character and spirit of that corrupted church, however they may, and doubtless with sincerity, protest against its grosser abuses.
In offering my observations to your attention, I beg leave to assure you, that I am not at all disposed to urge against you, so far as your intentions are concerned, any of the charges which you have particularised in your letter,' as those by which
you have been encountered. I expressly disclaim all disposition to charge you with “disaffection to our own church, unfaithfulness to her teaching, a desire to bring in new doctrines, and to conform our church to the church of Rome, to bring back either entire or modified popery.” However I may
2 Eccles. Polity, book iv. sect. 8. 3 Page 10.