The Councils of the Church from the Council of Jerusalem A.D. 51, to the Council of Constantinople A.D. 381, Chiefly as to their Constitution, but also as to their Objects and History
by E. B. Pusey
Logos Bible Software 1857
A learned, albeit incomplete, account of the history of Councils of the Church, written chiefly to underline one vital message: “[M]atters of doctrine were always exclusively decided or attested by those whom the Apostles left to succeed to such portion of their office as uninspired men could discharge—the Bishops of the Universal Church.” However, the message remains unobtrusive within the fascinating narrative and historical aspects presented in the volume. And the book is far from being a mere compilation of learned lore without practical aspects.
Pusey here doesn’t merely focus on the commonly-held Ecumenical Councils, but also includes the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem, as well as the various Synods held in various places prior to the reign of Constantine. Of key focus in his work is the distinction, as established by the early undivided Church, between the roles of Bishops, Priests, Deacons, and the general laity. Also well-documented is the history of key doctrines and heresies, as defined by these early Councils.
Pusey began working on this history of the Councils of the Church in 1850, but found his work interrupted more than once, including the attack on him by others because of his sermons on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The work was never finished, and thus does not go through the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) as he had originally intended, but stops rather with the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D.
- Title: The Councils of the Church from the Council of Jerusalem A.D. 51, to the Council of Constantinople A.D. 381, Chiefly as to their Constitution, but also as to their Objects and History
- Author: E. B. Pusey
- Publisher: John Henry Parker
- Publication Date: 1857
- Pages: 353
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.