John Henry Newman.

Apologia pro vita sua: being a history of his religious opinions online

. (page 1 of 33)
Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanApologia pro vita sua: being a history of his religious opinions → online text (page 1 of 33)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project
to make the world's books discoverable online.

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover.

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the
publisher to a library and finally to you.

Usage guidelines

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for
personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it.

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About Google Book Search

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web

at http : //books . google . com/|

Digitized by VjOOQ IC




by Google


by Google


by Google


i, iTfiC' l^T'T-FVFT^^


% Hitttcj of \.i liclipms ^pniinis.

^ Commit thy way to the Lord, and trast in Him« and He will do it.
And He will bring forth thy justice as the light, and thy
judgment as the noon-day/'






Digitized by VjOOQ IC





-^ '.


Digitized by VjOOQ IC


The following History of my Religious Opinions,
now that it is detached from the context in which
it originally stood, requires some preliminary ex-
planation ; and that, not only in order to introduce
it generally to the reader, but specially to make
him understand, how I came to write a whole book
about myself, and about my most private thoughts .
and feelings. Did I consult indeed my own im-
pulses, I should do my best simply to wipe out of
my Volume, and consign to oblivion, every trace of
the circumstances to which it is to be ascribed;
but its original title of " Apologia " is too exactly
borne out by its matter and structure, and these
again are too suggestive of correlative circum-
stances, and those circumstances are of too grave a
character, to allow of my indulging so natural a
wish. And therefore, though in this new Edition
I have managed to omit nearly a hundred pages of
my original Volume, which I could safely consider

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


to be of merely ephemeral importance, I am even
for that very reason obliged, by way of making up
for their absence, to prefix to my Narrative some
account of the provocation out of which it arose.

It is now more than twenty years that a vague
impression to my disadvantage has rested on the
popular mind, as if my conduct towards the Angli-
can Church, while I was a member of it, was incon-
sistent with Christian simplicity and uprightness.
An impression of this kind was almost unavoidable
under the circumstances of the case, when a man,
who had written strongly against a cause, and had
collected a party round him by virtue of such
writings, gradually faltered in his opposition to it,
unsaid his words, threw his own friends into per-
plexity and their proceedings into confusion, and
ended by passing over to the side of those whom
he had so vigorously denounced. Sensitive then
as I have evfer been of the imputations which have
been so freely cast upon me, I have never felt much
impatience under them, as considering them to be
a portion of the penalty which I naturally and
justly incurred by my change of religion, even
though they were to continue as long as I lived.
I left their removal to a future day, when personal
feelings would have died out, and documents would
see the light, which were as yet buried in closets
or scattered through the country.

This was my state of mind, as it had been for

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


many years, when, in the beginning of 1864, I
unexpectedly found myself publicly put upon my
defence, and furnished with an opportunity of plead-
ing my cause before the world, and, as it so hap-
pened, with a fair prospect of an impartial hearing.
Taken indeed by surprise, as I was, I had much
reason to be anxious how I should be able to acquit
myself in so serious a matter ; however, I had long
had a tacit understanding with myself, that, in the
improbable event of a challenge being formally
made to me, by a person of name, it would be my
duty to meet it. That opportunity had now oc-
curred ; it never might occur again ; not to avail
myself of it at once would be virtually to give up
my cause ; accordingly, I took advantage of it, and,
as it has turned out, the circumstance that no time
was allowed me for any studied statements has com-
pensated, in the equitable judgment of the public,
for such imperfections in composition as my want
of leisure involved.

It was in the number for January 1864, of a
magazine of wide circulation, and in an Article
upon Queen Elizabeth, that a popular writer took
occasion formally to accuse me by name of thinking
so lightly of the virtue of Veracity, as in set terms
to have countenanced and defended that neglect of
it which he at the same time imputed to the Ca-
tholic Priesthood. His words were these: —

Digitized by VjOOQ IC



" Truth, for its own sake, had never been a vir-
tue with the Roman clergy. Father Newman in-
forms us that it need not, and on the whole ought
not to be; that cunning is the weapon which
heaven has given to the Saints wherewith to with-
stand the brute male force of the wicked world-
which marries and is given in marriage. Whether^
his notion be doctrinally correct or not, it is at least .
historically so."

These assertions, going far beyond the popular
prejudice entertained against me, had no founda-
tion whatever in fact. I never had said, I never
had dreamed of saying, that truth for its own sake,
need not, and on the whole ought not to be, a
virtue with the Roman Clergy ; or that cunning is
the weapon which heaven has given to the Saints
wherewith to withstand the wicked world. To
what work of mine then could the writer be refer-
ring ? In a correspondence which ensued upon the
subject between him and myself, he rested his
charge against me on a Sermon of mine, preached,
before I was a Catholic, in the pulpit of my Church
at Oxford ; and he gave me to understand, that, after
having done as much as this, he was not bound, over
and above such a general reference to my Sermon,
to specify the passages of it, in which the doctrine,
which he imputed to me, was contained. On my
part I considered this not enough ; and I demanded
of him to bring out his proof of his accusation in

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


form and in detail, or to confess he was unable to
do so. But he persevered in his refusal to cite any
distinct passages from any writing of mine; and,
though he consented to withdraw his charge, he
would not do so on the issue of its truth or false-
hood, but simply on the ground that I assured him .
that I had had no intention of incurring it. This
did not satisfy my sense of justice. Formally to
charge me with committing a fault is one thing;
to allow that I did not intend to commit it, is
another; it is no satisfaction to me, if a man
accuses me of this offence, for him to profess that
he does not accuse me of that; but he thought
differently. Not being able then to gain redress
in the quarter, where I had a right to ask it, I
appealed to the public. I published the corre-
spondence in the shape of a Pamphlet, with some
remarks of my own at the end, on the course which
that correspondence had taken.

This Pamphlet, which appeared in the first weeks
of February, received a reply from my accuser to-
wards the end of March, in another Pamphlet of
48 pages, entitled, " What then does Dr. Newman
mean ?" in which he professed to do that which I had
called upon him to do-; that is, he brought together
a number of extracts from various works of mine.
Catholic and Anglican, with the object of showing
?hat, if I was to be acquitted of the crime of teach-
ing and practising deceit and dishonesty, according to

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


his first supposition, it was at the price of my being
considered no longer responsible for my actions;
for, as he expressed it, "I had a human reason
once, no doubt, but I had gambled it away," and I
had '' worked my mind into that morbid state, in
which nonsense was the only food for which it
hungered;" and that it could not be called "a
hasty or farfetched or unfounded mistake, when he
concluded that I did not care for truth for its own
sake, or teach my disciples to regard it as a virtue;"
and, though " too many prefer the charge of insin-
cerity to that of insipience, Dr. Newman seemed
not to be of that number."

•He ended his Pamphlet by returning to his origi-
nal imputation against me, which he had professed
to abandon. Alluding by anticipation to my pro-
bable answer to what he was then publishing, he
professed his heartfelt embarrassment how he was
to believe any thing I might say in my exculpation,
in the plain and literal sense of the words. " I am
henceforth," he said, " in doubt and fear, as much
as an honest man can be, concerning every word Dr.
Newman may write. How can I tell, that I shall
not be the dupe of some cunning equivocation, of one
of the three kinds laid down as permissible by the
blessed St. Alfonso da Liguori and his pupils, even
when confirmed with an oath, because * then we do
not deceive our neighbour, but allow him to deceive
himself?' . . . How can I teU, that I may not in

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


this Pamphlet have made an accusation, of the truth
of which Dr, Newman is perfectly conscious ; but
that, as I, a heretic Protestant, have no business to
make it, he has a full right to deny it ?"

Even if I could have found it consistent with n^y
duty to my own reputation to leave such an elabo-
rate impeachment of my moral nature unanswered,
my duty to my Brethren in the Catholic Priesthood,
would have forbidden such a course. They were
involved in the charges which this writer, all along,
from the original passage in the Magazine, to the
very last paragraph of the Pamphlet, had so confi-
dently, so pertinaciously made. In exculpating my-
self, it was plain I should be pursuing no mere per-
sonal quarrel ; — I was ofiering my humble service to
a sacred cause. I was making my protest in behalf
of a large body of men of high character, of honest
and religious minds, and of sensitive honour, — who
had their place and their rights in this world,
though they were ministers of the world unseen,
and who were insulted by my Accuser, as the above
extracts from him sufficiently show, not only in my
person, but directly and pointedly in their own.
Accordingly, I at once set about writing the
Apologia pro vitd sud^ of which the present Volume
is the Second Edition ; and it was a great reward
to me to find, as the controversy proceeded, such
large' numbers of my clerical brethren supporting
me by their sympathy in the course which I was

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


pursuing, and, as occasion offered, bestowing on me
the formal and public expression of their appro-
bation. These testimonials in my behalf, so im-
portant and so grateful to me, are, together with
the Letter, sent to me with the same purpose, from
my Bishop, contained in the last pages of thi^

This Edition differs from the Apologia in the fol-
lowing particulars: — The original work consisted
of seven Parts, which were published in series on
consecutive Thursdays, between April 21 and
June 2. An Appendix, in answer to specific alle-
gations urged against me in the Pamphlet of
Accusation, appeared on June 16. Of these Parts
1 and 2, as being for the most part directly contro-
versial, are omitted in this Edition, excepting the
latter pages of Part 2, which are subjoined to this
Preface, as being necessary for the due explanation
of the subsequent five Parts. These, (being 3, 4,
6, 6, 7, of the Apologia,) are here numbered as
Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 respectively. Of the
Appendix, about half has been omitted, for the
same reason as has led to the omission of Parts
1 and 2. The rest of it is thrown into the shape
of Notes of a discursive character, with two new
ones on Liberalism and the Lives of the English
Saints of 1843-4, and another, new in part, on
Ecclesiastical Miracles. In the body of the work,

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


the only addition of consequence is the letter which
is found at p. 228, a copy of which has recently
come into my possession.

I should add that, since writing the Apologia last
year, I have seen for the first time Mr. Oakeley's
" Notes on the Tractarian Movement." This work
remarkably corroborates the substance of my Narra-
tive, while the kind terms in which he speaks of me
personally, call for my sincere gratitude.

May 2, 1865.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


I make this extract from my Apologia, Part 2,
pp. 29 — 31 and pp. 41 — 51, in order to set before
the reader the drift I had in writing my Volume : —

What shall be the special imputation, against which I
shall throw myself in these pages, out of the thousand and
one which my Accuser directs upon me ? I mean to con-
fine myself to one, for there is only one about which I
much care, — the charge of Untruthfulness. He may cast
upon me as many other imputations as he pleases, and they
may stick on m^, as long as they can, in the course of
nature. They will fall to the ground in their season.

And indeed I think the same of the charge of Untruth-
fulness, and select it from the rest, not because it is more
formidable but because it is more serious. Like the rest, it
Tnay disfigure me for a time, but it will not stain : Arch-
bishop Whately used to say, "Throw dirt enough, and
some will stick;" well, will stick, but not, will stain. I
think he used to mean " stain,'' and I do not agree with
. him. Some dirt sticks longer than other dirt ; but no dirt
is immortal. According to the old saying, Praevalebit
Veritas. There are virtues indeed, about which the world
is not fitted to judge or to uphold, such as faith, hope, and
charity : but it can judge about Truthfulness ; it can judge
about the natural virtues, and Truthfulness is one of them.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


Natural virtues may also become supernatural ; Truthful-
ness is such ; but that does not withdraw it from the juris-
diction of mankind at large. It may be more difficult in
this or that particular case for men to take cognizance of
it, as it may be difficult for the Court of Queen's Bench at
Westminster to try a case fairly which took place in Hin-
dostan : but that is a question of capacity, not of right.
Mankind has the right to judge of Truthfulness in a
Catholic, as in the case of a Protestant, of an Italian, or of
a Chinese. I have never doubted, that in my hour, in
God's hour, my avenger will appear, and the world will
acquit me of imtruthfulness, even though it be not while
I live.

Still more confident am I of such eventual acquittal, see-
ing that my judges are my own countrymen. I consider,
indeed, Englishmen the most suspicious and touchy of man-
kind; I think them unreasonable, and imjust in their
seasons of excitement ; but I had rather be an Englishman,
(as in fact I am,) than belong to any other race under
heaven. They are as generous, as they are hasty and
burly; and their repentance for thoir injustice is greater
than their sin.

For twenty years and more I have borne an imputation,
of which I am at least as sensitive, who am the object of
it, as they can be, who are only the judges. I have not
set myself to remove it, first, because I never have had an
opening to speak, and, next, because I never saw in them
the disposition to hear. I have wished to appeal from
Philip drunk to Philip sober. When shall I pronounce
him to be himself again ? If I may judge from the tone
of the public press, which represents the public voice, I
have great reason to take heart at this time. I have been
treated by conteiyiporary critics in this controversy with
great fairness and gentleness, and I am grateful to them
for it. However, the decision oi the time and mode of my

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


defence has been taken out of my hands ; and I am thank-
ful that it has been so. I am bound now as a duty to
myself, to the Catholic cause, to the Catholic Priesthood
to give account of myself without any delay, when I am s.
rudely and circumstantially charged with Untruthfulness
I accept the challenge ; I shall do my best to meet it, anc*
I shall be content when I have done so.

It is not my present accuser alone who entertains, and
has entertained, so dishonourable an opinion of me and of
my writings. It is the impression of large classes of men ;
the impression twenty years ago and the impression now.
There has been a general feeling that I was for years where
I had no right to be ; that I was a " Romanist" in Pro-
testant livery and service ; that I was doing the work of a
hostile Church in the bosom of the English Establishment,
and knew it, or ought to have known it. There was no
need of arguing about particular passages in my writings,
when the fact was so patent, as men thought it to be.

First it was certain, and I could not myself deny it, that
I scouted the name " Protestant." It*^as certain again,
that many of the doctrines which I professed were popu-
larly and generally known as badges of the Roman Church,
as distinguished from the faith of the Reformation. Next,
how could I have come by them ? Evidently, I had cer-
tain friends and advisers who did not appear ; there was
some undergroimd communication between Stonyhurst or
Oscott and my rooms at Oriel. Beyond a doubt, I was
advocating certain doctrines, not by accident, but on an
understanding with ecclesiastics of the old religion. Then
men went further, and said that I had actually been re-
ceived into that religion, and withal had leave given me
to profess myself a Protestant still. Others went even
further, and gave it out to the world, as a matter of fact,
of which they themselves had the proof in their hands.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


that I was actually a Jesuit. And when the opinions
which I advocated spread, and younger men went further
than I, the feeling against me waxed stronger and took a
wider range.

And now. indignation arose at the knavery of a conspi-
racy such as this : — and it became of course all the greater
in consequence of its being the received belief of the public
at large, that craft and intrigue, such as they fancied they
beheld with their eyes, were the very instruments to which
the Catholic Church has in these last centuries been in-
debted for her maintenance and extension.

There was another circumstance still, which increased
the irritation and aversion felt by the large classes, of whom
I have been speaking, against the preachers of doctrines,
so new to them and so unpalatable ; and that was, that
they developed them in so measured a way. If they were
inspired by Roman theologians, (and this was taken for
granted,) why did they not speak out at once ? Why did
they keep the world in such suspense and anxiety as to
what was coming next, and what was to be the upshot of
the whole ? Why this reticence, and half-speaking, and
apparent indecision ? It was plain ttat the plan of opera-
tions had been carefully mapped out from the first, and
that these men were cautiously advancing towards its
accomplishment, as far as was safe at the moment ; that
their aim and their hope was to carry off a large body with
them of the young and the ignorant ; that they meant gra-
dually to leaven the minds of the rising generation, and to
open the gates of that city, of which they were the sworn
defenders, to the enemy who lay in ambush outside of it.
And when in spite of the many protestations of the party
to the contrary, there was at length an actual movement
among their disciples, and one went over to Home, and
then another, the worst anticipations and the worst judg-
ments which had been formed of them received their justi-

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


fication. And, lastly^ when men first had said of me,
" You will see, he will go, he is only biding his time, he is
waiting the word of command from Rome," and, when
after all, after my arguments and denunciations of former
years, at length I did leave the Anglican Ch^ch for the
Roman, then they said to each other, " It is just as we
said : we knew it would be so."

This was the state of mind of masses of men twenty
years ago, who took no more than an external and common
sense view of what was going on. And partly the tradi-
tion, partly the effect of that feeling, remains to the present
time. Certainly I consider that, in my own case, it is the
great obstacle in the way of my being favourably heard, as
at present, when I have to make my defence. Not only
am I now a member of a most un-English communion,
whose great aim is considered to be the extinction of Pro-
testantism and the Protestant Church, and whose means of
attack are popularly supposed to be unscrupulous cunning
and deceit, but how came I originally to have any relations
with the Church of Rome at all P did I, or my opinions,
drop from the sky P how came I, in Oxford, in gremio Uni-
versitatisy to present myself to the eyes of men in that full
blown investiture of Popery P How could I dare, how
could I have the conscience, with warnings, with prophe-
cies, with accusations against me, to persevere in a path
which steadily advanced towards^ which ended in, the reli-
gion of Rome P And how am I now to be trusted, when
long ago I was trusted, and was found wanting P

It is this which is the strength of the case of my Accuser
against me ; — not the articles of impeachment which he
has framed from my writings, and which I shall easily
crumble into dust, but the bias of the court. It is the
state of the atmosphere; it is the vibration all around,
which will echo his bold assertion of my dishonesty ; it is
that prepossession a^jainst me, which takes it for granted

Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanApologia pro vita sua: being a history of his religious opinions → online text (page 1 of 33)