Letter to the Right Rev. Father in God, Richard Lord Bishop of Oxford, on the Tendency to Romanism Imputed to Doctrines Held of Old, as Now, in the English Church
by E. B. Pusey
Logos Bible Software 1840
An artful explication of certain crucial points of the Oxford Movement. Written on the Feast of Saint Matthias, 1839, this volume (composed as a letter to the Bishop of Oxford) is a defense of the author against charges that he was teaching doctrines of Rome rather than adhering to the Formularies of the Church of England. Here, Pusey acknowledges the sufficiency of Holy Scripture for salvation, while making clear that this is not mutually exclusive with the rightful authority of the Church. He affirms the doctrine of Justification as put forth by the 39 Articles of Religion, while making clear the necessity of good works by man. He addresses the Sacraments at length, giving particular attention to the Eucharist, in which he clearly rejects the doctrine of Rome, and speaks to the various aspects of the ministry of Priests, which the Oxford Movement held in high regard.
Quoting widely from Scripture, Tracts for the Times, the Early Church Fathers, his own writings and other sources, Pusey gracefully defends the work of the Oxford Movement. He describes the movement as the via media (the middle way), and distinguishes it from the Church of Rome and radical reformers. The letter may be best summarized by the final words of the title given to an appendix: “Showing that to Oppose Ultra-Protestantism is Not to Favour Popery.”
- Title: Letter to the Right Rev. Father in God, Richard Lord Bishop of Oxford, on the Tendency to Romanism Imputed to Doctrines Held of Old, as Now, in the English Church
- Author: E. B. Pusey
- Publisher: John Henry Parker
- Publication Date: 1839
- Pages: 253
About E. B. Pusey
E. B. Pusey(1800–1882), leader in the Anglo–Catholic Oxford movement within the Church of England
Pusey was Regius Professor of Hebrew and canon of Christ Church at Oxford. He shared with other brilliant young Oxford conservatives concern about the rising tide of biblical and theological liberalism and the reform spirit rampant in Britain during the late 1820s and 1830s. He contributed to reviving a “dead” High Church orthodoxy by stimulating knowledge of the early church fathers and of non–Puritan Anglicans of the seventeenth century. Their teaching had been obscured, in his estimation, by Deism, Broad Church theological indifference, and the evangelicals’ concentration upon God’s work alone in justification and the experience of that. Pusey began to warn against the dangers of the new German theology, which he had studied firsthand. He began in late 1833 to contribute to the Tracts for the Times edited by John Henry Newman and to make the Tracts significant expressions of Anglo– Catholic teaching. He established a residence for theological students and a society for professors, tutors, and graduates in order to spread his principles. In 1836, he commenced editing translations of early Christian writers under the title The Library of the Fathers, which became a lifetime project, the last of the forty–eight volumes being published after his death. He was the first person of prominence to identify himself publicly with the movement, causing “Puseyism” to become the sometimes popular designation for it.
Because of an 1843 sermon, “The Holy Eucharist,” he was suspended two years from preaching at Oxford for the Romish views expressed, an event that contributed to the conversion of Newman and others to Roman Catholicism. Pusey, however, remained steadfastly within the Church of England. He had learned to bear much sorrow in his private life through strict discipline and such practices as the wearing of a hair shirt. Nor did he share Newman’s view that officials were to be obeyed absolutely. Pusey’s strength helped retain others. He was instrumental in 1845 in establishing an order of sisters in London. This was evidence of his personal charity and of new vitality among Anglo–Catholics in reaching the poor, as well as of the Church’s ability to accept Anglo–Catholic concepts. In 1846, he resumed his university preaching, taking up theologically where he had left off. Later, a new wave of liberalism in the church provided Pusey his final thrusts of public activity against the influence of Benjamin Jowett and biblical higher criticism.