« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
in the Church of Rome, as time went on,—but so were all the Christian ideas; as that of the Blessed Eucharist. The whole scene of pale, faint, distant Apostolical Christianity is seen in Rome, as through a telescope or magnifier. The harmony of the whole, however, is of course what it was. It is unfair then to take one Roman idea, that of the Blessed Virgin, out of what may be called the context.”
Is this reasoning ? or is it pure imagination, or ingenious speculation, thrown into the form of the pretended or imagined discovery of a great fact ? Whatever it may be, it was the pivot upon which Mr. Newman surrendered himself to the doctriral approval of that Mariolatry and Saint-Worship of Rome, which had been his “great crux, as regards Catholicism."
A most noticeable instance of the mist of subtle speculation, in which he involves his plain admissions concerning himself, is to be found, pp. 233, 234, 235, where he plays fast and loose in so remarkable manner, between his own responsibility and that of the Anglican divines, for the hard things he had said against the Church of Rome. But the conclusion of this remarkable passage concentrates, in itself, all the venom of his attack, under the name of an Apologia pro Vita Sua, upon the Church, in which he learned, as he says, the abiding principles of the Christianity that he still holds. “I was pleading guilty," he says, after discoursing for a page upon his responsibility for his hard sayings against Rome :
“I was pleading guilty ; but pleading also that there were extenuating circumstances in the case. We all know the story of the convict, who on the scaffold bit off his mother's ear. By doing so, he did not deny the fact of his own crime, for which he was to hang; but he said that his mother's indulgence, when he was a boy, had a good deal to do with it. In like manner I had made a charge, and I had made it ex animo; but I accused others of having led me into beliering it, and publishing it.”
“But there was more than this meant in the words which I used :first, I will freely confess, indeed, I said it some pages back, that I was angry with the Anglican divines. I thought they had taken me in; I had read the Fathers with their eyes; I had, sometimes, trusted their quotations or their reasonings; and from reliance on them, I had used words or made statements, which properly I ought rigidly to have examined myself. I had exercised more faith than criticism in the matter. This did not imply any broad misstatements on my part, arising from reliance on their authority, but it implied carelessness in matters of detail. And this, of course, was a fault.”
Habemus confitentem reum. But what a confession! His own fault for what, ex animo, he had said and done, is reduced to an impalpable atom, in the deception and dishonesty, in the inaccuracy and falsehood which he charges upon the Anglican divines, who had “taken him in." He would have been better employed in shewing, if he could, the untenableness of their reasonings, and the falsity of their quotations, instead of seeking to shield himself beneath this wholesale charge against them of inaccuracy, and false reasoning and deception. It was, doubtless, easier to disparage the strong grounds of their opposition to Rome, by broad and general denunciation, than, by attempting to refute these grounds of Scripture and reason, to bring to light their invincible strength. Who shall say, after such a passage in his book, that Dr. N. is not writing in the interest of Romish Controversy ?
An indication of how thoroughly this Auto-Biography is written in the spirit of an advocate, is to be found, among many others, on page 218. In a letter there inserted, in which he is vindicating himself against the alleged charge of a Bishop, that Mr. N. had counselled a Mr. B. S., “to retain his living after he turned Catholic”-or rather, against the modified statement, “ that Mr. Newman was in close correspondence with Mr. B. S., and, being fully aware of his state of opinions and feelings, yet advised him to continue in our communion," Mr. Newman, “not going," as he says, “ to let the Bishop off on this evasion,” wrote the letter, which he publishes here (pp. 217, 218,) as his vindication. Now in that letter so published, in a passage of it relating to his intercourse with B. S., on the subject of his Roman proclivities, occurs the following sentence, asterisks, commas, and all as here given ;—“My letter was directed to the point, that it was his duty not to perplex himself with arguments on (such) a question, ... and to put it altogether aside. . ... It is hard, &c.” These asterisks occur in the middle and at the close of a sentence, in which he was touching upon the very point, on which the charge of the Bishop had been brought. Who can feel that Dr. N., though professing to do so, has put the whole case before him? So far from doing this, he has dotted down the marks of a con
cealment, which vitiates and renders worthless the whole explanation.
We are reading then, evidently, the work of an advocate, and of an advocate, too, who is consummate in his art ; and the man who so conceals what it might be inconvenient for him to produce, though he professed to make a clean breast in his confessions ;—this is the man who is angry with the Anglican divines, because they have taken him in,--poor unsophisticated mortal that he is!
Enough has been said to indicate the manner in which this Book is got up, and the spirit in which it is written. And the admissions of an advocate, of an unwilling witness, who cannot ignore the evidence which lies directly in his pathway, will be all the more valuable, as demonstrating, if they do demonstrate, the falsity and untenableness of the position, which, for many years, this man held in the Priesthood of the Church of England.
Upon the earlier portions of his religious history, we do not propose to dwell ;-upon his early indications of piety and thoughtfulness; upon his boyish figuring of crosses and rosaries, and vows of celibacy, as well as his early adoption of Calvinistic teaching ; upon his conversion to true faith in the Trinity, and to the reception of the “principle of dogma,” of the tenets of a Divine and Visible Church, of an Apostolical Succession, and of the belief that the Pope was Anti-Christ.
We come, at once, to the years of the noted Oxford Movement, in which Mr. Newman took the views and adopted the opinions and sentiments which landed him, at last, in the Church of Rome. “The true and primary author" of this movement, Mr. Newman asserts to be John Keble, of whom he speaks in terms of the highest reverence and admiration. How far this may be a concession ex modestia of one, who was publicly known as the Editor and Director of the Tracts for the Times, we have no means of knowing. One thing is sure, that Mr. Keble has never been disloyal to the Church of England ; and if Dr. Newman means to insinuate that a certain degree of responsibility rests upon Mr. Keble for a movement, whose logical end and termination Dr. N. believes to be Romanism, or, as he calls it, Catholicism ; we believe that, for the encouragement of such tendencies, Mr. Keble would be willing to accept no such responsibility.
The same disposition to include in the same logical category with himself, the departed as well as living divines of the Church of England, appears in other portions of his book. Thus he says, (p. 176) :
“Say, that I move sympathies for Rome: in the same sense does Hooker, Taylor, Bull, &c. Their arguments may be against Rome, but the sympathies they raise must be towards Rome, so far as Rome maintains truths which our Church does not teach or enforce. Thus it is a question of degree between our divines and me. I may, if so be, go further; I may raise sympathies more, but I am but urging minds in the same direction as they do. I am doing just the very thing which all our doctors have ever been doing. In short, would not Hooker, if Vicar of St. Mary's, be in my difficulty ? Here it may be said, that Hooker could preach against Rome, and I could not; but I doubt whether he could have preached effectively against Transubstantiation, better than I, though neither he nor I held it.”
Now here is a statement about Anglican divines, whose plain and powerful opposition to Rome is well-known to all men, which can only be characterized as a statement of unparalleled audacity. If Mr. Newman so read their writings, he exhibits here one of the most remarkable instances of the perversity of intellectual vision, which is recorded in the annals of mind ; and if he did not believe the statement he made, why then we have an instance of that fearlessness of lying, for the sake of what he considered the truth, which would justify all that Mr. Kingsley said about his opinions, though the instances Mr. Kingsley selected failed to prove his point.
But we have here, in the year 1840, the distinct avowal by Dr. Newman, of his Romeward and Romish tendencies and sympathies, and yet this was three years before he resigned St. Mary's, and five years before he was received into the Church of Rome. And, during all those years, he was swayed, as he freely acknowledges, by these tendencies and sympathies, which were drawing him to the Church of Rome, and leading him, first, to give up Anglicanism as untenable, then, to sojourn in it, as in “Samaria," which was no part of the Church of God;
and then, at last, when his Essay on Development failed to arrest his onward march, as he wrote it to see whether it might not have that effect ! to seek refuge, by Father Dominic's intervention, in the Church of Rome, the Mother and Mistress of all Churches.
It is well worth while to see how early these tendencies are owned by him to have developed themselves in his religious
On page 253, he says, that in 1839 her “Could not," "of course,” accede to Dr. Pusey's proposal to join him in a subscription to "a Cranmer memorial.” “And, as time went on,” he adds, "he (Dr. Pusey) would not take any hints, which I gave him, on the subject of my growing inclination to Rome.” And again, p. 257,—“As in 1840 I listened to the rising doubt in favor of Rome, now I listened to the waning doubt in favor of the English Church. To be certain is to know that one knows; what test had I, that I should not change again after that I had become a Catholic ? I had still apprehension of this, though I thought a time would come when it would depart. However, some limit ought to be put to these vague misgivings; I must do my best, and then leave it to a higher power to prosper it."
And now, for the singularity of the expedient which he adopted to try whether his convictions in favor of the Romish Church would not grow weaker :
“So,” he continues, “I determined to write an Essay on Doctrinal Development; and then, if, at the end of it, my convictions in favor of the Roman Church were not weaker, to make up my mind to seek admission into her fold. I acted upon this resolution in the beginning of 1845, and worked at my Essay steadily until the autumn.”
Here, then, we have the confession of the early rise of his Romeward inclination, and of the kind of breaks which he put upon it, to hinder its too swift development.
On page 251, he says, that the thought that “the Church of Rome” is “the Catholic Church, and ours not part of the Catholic Church, because not in communion with Rome,”
came to me last summer four years,” that is, in the year 1839. During all those years, he cherished those Romish views and sympathies, while he held position and exercised his Ministry in the English Church.
And he writes the history of these, his religious opinions, to