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1. Draper's Civil Polity of America. 2. Stone's Life and Times of Sir
William Johnson. 3. Appleton's Annual Cyclopædia for 1864. 4.
Apologia pro Vita Sua : By John HENRY NEWMAN, D.D.
New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1865.
This book has attracted much attention, and has most generally been pronounced a remarkable one. That epithet may perhaps be conceded to it, but not on account of the influence its Author has left behind him, in the Church of England, or that which he has acquired in the Church of Rome. What Dr. Newman says of himself, in a letter to Cardinal Wiseman, of November 25, 1845, (p. 262,) is most strictly true, as has been demonstrated by the history of his life :
“I hope you will have anticipated, before I express it, the great gratification which I received from your Eminence's letter. That gratification, however, was tempered by the apprehension, that kind and anxious well-wishers at a distance attach more importance to my step than really belongs to it. To, me, indeed, personally, it is of course an inestimable gain : but persons and things look great at a distance, which are not so when seen close; and, did your Eminence know me, you would see that I was one about whom there has been far more talk, for good and bad, than he deserves, and about whose movements far more expectation has been raised than the event will justify.” “In July," he says again, (p. 261,)“ a Bishop thought it VOL. XVII.
worth while to give out to the world that the adherents of Mr. Newman are few in number. A short time will now, probably, suffice to prove this fact. It is well known that he is preparing for secession; and, when that event takes place, it will be seen how few will go with
In October, then close at hand, he went, and how exactly has that prediction of the Bishop been fulfilled. Mr. Newman went to Rome, leaving, as his parting legacy to the Church of England, his Essay on Development; and we never heard that the Church of England reeled beneath the blow of his secession, or that she, for a moment, interrupted that career of steady, still extending work, by which, in all parts of the world, she is asserting her true Christianity and Catholicity, in contrast with the mock-Christianity and the world-wide schismatical position of the Church of Rome. The phenomenon stands before us, which Dr. Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua enables us to account for, of a man of undoubted genius,— full of the life of intellect, of imagination, and of spiritual thought and sentiment, and whose great ability is universally admitted,—having lived and worked, with intensity, in the Church of England, and now, for twenty years, a well-known member of the Church of Rome, who, in neither of these churches, has acquired any influence, which is strong, widespread, and lasting.
But, though, on account of the personal importance of Dr. Newman, his Book is not remarkable or noticeable ; yet there are several reasons which render it a fit subject of notice and of animadversion in a Church Review. It is the history of a mind, whose constitution, whose most singular combination of qualities, makes it an interesting and instructive study in the field of speculative opinion and spiritual development; and it is, moreover,—though Dr. Newman disavows any such object, -a renewal of the shower of Parthian arrows against the Church of England, the Mother of his New Birth, by which he signalized his departure from her; and an uncompromising and unqualified attack upon her Christianity and Catholicity, as contrasted with the claims of the Church of Dr. Newman's adoption, whose chief claim to Catholicity is