John Henry Newman.

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

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led to direct it to the instruction of those who did come>



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FROM 1839 TO 1841. 133

instead of those who did not. The Weekly Communion,
I believe, I did begin for the sake of the University. ♦

" Added to this the authorities of the Fniversity, the
appointed guardians of those who form great part of the
attendants on my Sermons, have shown a dislike of my
preaching. One dissuades men from coming; — the late
Vice-Chancellor threatens to take his own children away
from the Church ; and the present, having an opportunity
last spring of preaching in my parish pulpit, gets up and
preaches against doctrine with which I am in good measure
identified. No plainer proof can be given of the feeling in
these quarters, than the absurd myth, now a second time
put forward, * that Vice-Chancellors cannot be got to take
the office on account of Puseyisni.'

" But further than this, I cannot disguise from myself
that my preaching is not calculated to defend that system
of religion which has been received for 300 years, and of
which the Heads of Houses are the legitimate maintainors
in this place. They exclude me, as far as may be, from
the University Pulpit ; and, though I never have preached
strong doctrine in it, they do so rightly, so far as this,
that they understand that my sermons are calculated to
undermine things established. I cannot disguise from
myself that they are. No one will deny tl\at most of my
sermons are on moral subjects, not doctrinal ; still I am
leading my hearers to the Primitive Church, if you will/
but not to the Church of England. Now, ought one to be
disgusting the minds of young men with the received reli-
gion, in the exercise of a sacred pffice, yet without a conmiis-
sion, and against the wish of their guides and governors P

" But this is not all. I fear I must rillow that, whether
I will or no, I am disposing them towards Eome. First,
because Rome is the only representative of the Primitive
Church besides ourselves ; in proportion then as they are
loosened from the one, they will go to the other. Next,
because many doctrines which I have held have far greater.

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134 HISTORY OF MY RELIGIOUS OPINIONS

or their only scope, in the Roman system. And, moreover,
if, as is not unlikely, we have in process of time heretical
Bishops or teachers among us, an evil which ipso facto-
infects the whole community to which they belong, and if,
again (what there are at this moment symptoms of), there
be a movement in the English Roman Catholics to break
the alliance of O'Connell and of Exeter Hall, strong temp-
tations will be placed in the way of individuals, already
imbued with a tone of thought congenial to Rome, to join
her Commxmion.

" People tell me, on the other hand, that I am, whether
by sermons or otherwise, exerting at St. Mary's a beneficial
influence on our prospective clergy ; but what if I take to
myself the credit of seeing further than they, and of
having in the course of the last year discovered that what
they approve so much is very likely to end in Romanism ?

" The arguments which I have published against Roman-
ism seem to myself as cogent as ever, but men go by their
y sympathies, not by argument ; and if I feel the force of
this influence myself, who bow to the arguments, why may
not others still more, who never have in the same degree
admitted the arguments ?

"Nor can I counteract the danger by preaching or
writing against Rome. I seem to myself almost to have
shot my last arrow in the Article on English CathoKcity.
It must be added, that the very circumstance that I have
committed myself against Rome has the effect of setting
to sleep people suspicious about me, which is painful now
that I begin to have suspicions about myself. I mentioned
my general difficulty to Rogers a year since, than whom I
know no one of a more fine and accurate conscience, and
it was his spontaneous idea that I should give up St.
Mary's, if my feelings continued. I mentioned it again
to him lately, and he did not reverse his opinion, only
expressed great reluctance to believe it must be so."

Mr. Keble's judgment was in favour of my retaining my

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FROM 1839 TO 1841. 136

Uving ; at least for the present ; what weighed with me
most was his saying, " You must consider, whether your
retiring either from the Pastoral Care only, or from writing
and printing and editing in the cause, would not be a sort
of scandalous thing, unless it were done very warily. It
would be said, * You see he can go on no longer with the
Church of England, except in mere Lay Communion ; ' or
people might say you repented of the cause altogether.
Till you see [your way to mitigate, if not remove this
evil] I certainly should advise you to stay." I answered
as follows : —

" Since you think I may go on, it seems to follow that,
under the circumstances, I ought to do so. There are
plenty of reasons for it, directly it is allowed to be lawful.
The following considerations have much reconciled my
feelings to your conclusion.

" 1. I do not think that we have yet made fair trial how
much the English Church will bear. I know it is a
hazardous experiment, — like proving cannon. Yet we
must not take it for granted that the metal will burst in
the operation. It has borne at various times, not to say
at this time, a great infusion of Catholic truth without
damage. As to the result, viz. whether this process will
not approximate the whole English Church, as a body, to
Home, that is nothing to us. For what we know, it may
be the providential means of uniting the whole Church in
one, without fresh schismatizing or use of private judg-
ment."

Here I observe, that, what was contemplated was the
bursting of the Catholicity of the Anglican Church, that is, ^
my stthjeciive idea of that Church. Its bursting would not
hurt her with the world, but would be a discovery that
she was purely and essentially Protestant, and would be
really the " hoisting of the engineer with his own petar."
And this was the result. I continue : —



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136 HISTORY OF MY RELIGIOUS OPINIONS

"2. Say, that I move sympathies for Rome: in the
same sense does Hooker, Taylor, Bull, &c. Their argU"
merits may be against Bome, but the sympathies they raise
must be towards Eome, 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 objected,
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 that doctrine.

" tJ. Rationalism is the great evil of the day. May not
I consider my post at St. Mary's as a place of protest
against it P I am more certain that the Protestant [spirit],
which I oppose, leads to infidelity, than that which I re-
commend, leads to Rome. "Who knows what the state of
the University may be, as regards Divinity Professors in
a few years hence ? Any how, a great battle may be
coming on, of which Milman's book is a sort of earnest.
The whole of our day may be a battle with thi? spirit.
May we not leave to another age its own evil, — to settle
the question of Romanism P*'

I may add that from this time I had a curate at St.
Mary's, who gradually took more and more of my work.

Also, this same year, 1840, I made arrangements for
giving up the British Critic, in the following July, which
were carried into effect at that date.

Such was about my state of mind, on the publication of

/^ Tract 90 in February 1841. I was indeed in prudence taking

steps towards eventually withdrawing from St. Mary's, and



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FROM 1839 TO 1841. 137

I was not confident about my permanent adhesion to the
Anglican creed ; but I was in no actual perplexity or
trouble of mind. Nor did the immense commotion conse-
quent upon the publication of the Tract unsettle me again;
for I fancied I had weathered the storm, as far as the
Bishops were concerned: the Tract had not been con-
demned: that was the great point, and I made much of it.
To illustrate my feelings during this trial, I will make
extracts from my letters addressed severally to Mr. Bowden
and another friend, which have come into my possession.

1. March 15. — "The Heads, I believe, have just done a
violent act : they have said that my interpretation of the
Articles is an evasion. Do not think that this will pain
me. You see, no doctrine is censured, and my shoulders
shall manage to bear the charge. If you knew all, or were
here, you would see that I have asserted a great principle,
arid I ought to sufler for it :— that the Articles are to be j
interpreted, not according to the meaning of the writers, j
but (as far as the wording will admit) according to the*
sense of the Catholic Church."

2. March 25. — " I do trust I shall make no false step,
and hope my friends will pray for me to this effect. If,
as you say, a destiny hangs over us, a single false step
may ruin all. I am very well and comfortable ; but we
are not yet out of the wood."

3. April 1. — "The Bishop sent me word on Sunday to
write a Letter to him Unstanter,' So I wrote it on Monday:
on Tuesday it passed through the press : on Wednesday it
was out : and to-day [Thursday] it is in London.

" I trust that things are smoothing now ; and that we
have made a great step is certain. It is not right to boast,
till I am clear out of the wood, i. e. till I know how the
Letter is received in London. You know, I suppose, that
I am to stop the Tracts ; but you will see in the Letter,
though I speak quite what I feel, yet I have managed to



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138 HISTORY OP MY RELIGIOUS OPINIONS

take out on my side my snubbing's worth. And tbis
makes me anxious bow it will be received in London.

" I have not had a misgiving for five minutes from the
first : but I do not like to boast, lest some harm come.''

4. April 4. — " Your letter of this morning was an ex-
ceedingly great gratification to me ; and it is confirmed, I
am thankful to say, by the opinion of others. The Bishop
sent me a message that my Letter had his unqualified
approbation ; and since that, he has sent me a note to the
same effect, only going more into detail. It is most
pleasant too to my feelings, to have such a testimony to
the substantial truth and importance of No. 90, as I have
had from so many of my friends, from those who, from
their cautious turn of mind, I was least sanguine about.
I have not had one misgiving myself about it throughout ;
and I do trust that what has happ^ied will be overruled
to subserve the great cause we all have at heart."

5. May 9. — " The Bishops are very desirous of hushing
the matter up : and I certainly have done my utmost to
co-operate with them, on the understanding that the Tract
is not to be withdrawn or condemned."

Upon this occasion several Catholics wrote to me; I
answered one of my correspondents in the same tone : —

"April 8. — You have no cause to be surprised at the
discontinuance of the Tracts. We feel no misgivings
about it whatever, as if the cause of what we hold to be
Catholic truth would suffer thereby. My letter to my
Bishop has, I trust, had the effect of bringing the prepon-
derating authority of the Church on our side. No stopping
of the Tracts can, humanly speaking, stop the spread of
the opinions which they have inculcated.

" The Tracts are not suppressed. No doctrine or prin-
ciple has been conceded by us, or condemned by authority.
The Bishop has but said that a certain Tract is ' objection-
able/ no reason being stated. I have no intention what-



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FROM 1839 TO 1841. ' 139

ever of yielding any one point which I hold on conviction;
and that the authorities of the Church know full well."

In the summer of 18il, I found myself at Littlemore
without any harass or anxiety on my mind. I had deter-
mined to put aside all controversy, and I set myself down

to my translation of St. Athanasius ; hut, between July <

and November, I received three blows which broke me.

1. I had got but a little way in my work, when my
trouble returned on me. The ghost had come a second time.
In the Arian History I found the very same phenomenon,
in a far bolder shape, which I had fouyd in the Monophy-
site. I had not observed it in 1832. Wonderful that
this should come upon me ! I had not sought it out ; I
was reading and writing in my own line of study, far
from the controversies of the day, on what is called a

" metaphysical " subject ; but I saw clearly, that in the ^^
history of Arianism, the pure Arians were the Protestants, ! ,
the semi- Arians were the Anglicans, and that Rome now
was what it was then. The truth lay, not with the Via '
Media f but with what was called " the extreme party." As
I am not writing a work of controversy, I need not enlarge
upon the argument ; I have said something on the subject
in a Volume, from which I have already quoted.

2. I was in the misery of this new unsettlement, when
a second blow came upon me. The Bishops one after
another began to charge against me. It was a formal,
determinate movement. This was the real " understand-
ing ;" that, on which I had acted on the first appearance
of Tract 90, had come to nought. I think the words,
which had then been used to me, were, that " perhaps two
or three of them might think it necessary to say something
in their charges ;" but by this time they had tided over the
difficulty of the Tract, and there was no one to enforce the
*' understanding." They went on in this way, directing



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140 HISTORY OP MY RELIGIOUS OPINIONS

charges at me, for three whole years. I recognized it
as a condemnation ; it W£is the only one that was in their
power. At first I intended to protest ; but I gave up the
thought in despair.

On October 17th, I wrote thus to a friend : " I suppose
it will be necessary in some shape or other to re-assert
Tract 90 ; else, it will seem, after these Bishops* Charges,
as if it were silenced, which it has not been, nor do I
intenij it should be. I wish to keep quiet ; but if Bishops
speak, I will speak too. If the view were silenced, I could
not remain in the Church, nor could many others; and
therefore, since it is not silenced, I shall take care to show
that it isn't."

A day or two after, Oct. 22, a stranger wrote to me to
say, that the Tracts for the Times had made a yoxmg friend
of his a Catholic, and to ask, " would I be so good as to
convert him back ;" I made answer :

" If conversions to Home take place in consequence of
the Tracts for the Times, I do not impute blame to them,
but to those who, instead of acknowledging such Anglican
principles of theology and ecclesiastical polity as they con-
tain, set themselves to oppose them. Whatever be the
influence of the Tracts, great or small, they may become
just as powerful for Rome, if our Church refuses them, as
they would be for our Church if she accepted them. If
our rulers speak either against the Tracts, or not at all, if
any number of them, not only do not favour, but even do
not sufler the principles contained in them, it is plain that
our members may easily be persuaded either to give up
those principles, or to give up the Church. If this state
• of things goes on, I mournfully prophesy, not one or two,
but many secessions to the Church of Rome.**

Two years afterwards, looking back on what had passed,
I said, " There were no converts to Rome, till after the
/^ condemnation of No. 90."



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FROM 1839 TO 1841. 141

3. As if all this were not enough, there came the affair
of the Jerusalem Bishopric ; and, with a brief mention of
it, I shall conclude.

I think I am right in saying that it had been long a
desire with the Prussian Court to introduce Episcopacy
into the new Evangelical Religion, which was intended in
that country to embrace both the Lutheran and Calvinistic
bodies. I almost think I heard of the project, when I was
at Eome in 1833, at the Hotel of the Prussian Minister,
M. Bunsen, who was most hospitable and kind, as to other
English visitors, so also to my friends and myself. The
idea of Episcopacy, as the Prussian king understood it,
was, I suppose, very different from that taught in the
Tractarian School : but still, I suppose also, that the chief
authors of that school would have gladly seen such a
measure carried out in Prussia, had it been done without
compromising those principles which were necessary to the
being of a Church. About the time of the publication of
Tract 90, M. Bunsen and the then Archbishop of Canter-
bury were taking steps for its execution, by appointing
and consecrating a Bishop for Jerusalem. Jerusalem, it
would seem, was considered a safe place for the experi-
ment ; it was too far from Prussia to awaken the suscepti-
bilities of any party at home ; if the project failed, it failed
without harm to any one ; and, if it succeeded, it gave
Protestantism a status in the East, which, in association
with the Monophysite or Jacobite and the Nestorian bodies,
formed a political instrument for England, parallel to that
which Russia had in the Greek Church, and France in the
Latin.

Accordingly, in July 1841, full of the Anglican difficulty
on the question of Catholicity, I thus spoke of the Jeru-
salem scheme in an Article in the British Critic : " When
our thoughts turn to the East, instead of recollecting that
there are Christian Churches there, we leave it to the



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142 HISTORY OP MY RELIGIOUS OPINIONS

Russians to take care of the Greeks, and the French to
take care of the Bomans, and we content ourselves with
erecting a Protestant Church at Jerusalem, or with help-
ing the Jews to rebuild their Temple there, or with
becoming the august protectors of Nestorians, Monophy-
sites, and all the heretics we can hear of, or with forming
a league with the Mussulman against Greeks and Romans
together."

I do not pretend, so long after the time, to give a full
or exact account of this measure in detail. I will but say
that in the Act of Parliament, under date of October 5,
1841, (if the copy, from which I quote, contains the
measure as it passed the Houses,) provision is made for
the consecration of " British subjects, or the subjects or
citizens of any foreign state, to be Bishops in any foreign
country, whether such foreign subjects or citizens be or be
not subjects or citizens of the country in which they are to
act, and .... without requiring such of them as may be
subjects or citizens of any foreign kingdom or stat« to take
the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and the oath of due
obedience to the Archbishop for the time being "... also
" that such Bishop or Bishops, so consecrated, may exercise,
within such limits, as may from time to time be assigned
for that purpose in such foreign countries by her Majesty,
spiritual jurisdiction over the ministers of British congre-
gations of the United Church of England and Ireland, and
over Buch other Protestant Congregations, as may be desirous
of placing themselves uuder his or their authority."

Now here, at the very time that the Anglican Bishops
were directing their censure upon me for avowing an
approach to the Catholic .Church not closer than I believed
the Anglican formularies would allow, they were on the
other hand, fraternizing, by their act or by their sufferance,
with Protestant bodies, and allowing them to put themselves
under an Anglican Bishop, without any renunciation of



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FROM 1839 TO 1841. 143

their errors or regard to their due reception of baptism and
confirmation ; while there was great reason to, suppose that
the said Bishop was intended to make converts from the
orthodox Greeks, and the schismatical Oriental bodies, by
means of the influence of England. This was the third
blow, which finally shattered my faith in the Anglican
Church. That Church was not only forbidding any sym-
pathy or concurrence with the Church of Rome, but it
actually was courting an intercommunion with Protestant
Prussia and the heresy of the Orientals. The Anglican
Church might have the Apostolical succession, as had they
Monophysites ; but such acts as were in progress led me
to the gravest suspicion, not that it would soon cease
to be a Church, but that, since the 16th century, it had
never been a Church all along.

On October 12th, I thus wrote to Mr. Bowden :— " We
have not a single Anglican in Jerusalem ; so we are sending
a Bishop to make a commimion, not to govern our own
people. Next, the excuse is, that there are converted
Anglican Jews there who require a Bishop ; I am told
there are not half-a-dozen. But for them the Bishop is
sent out, and for them he is a Bishop of the circumcision "
(I think he was a converted Jew, who boasted of his
Jewish descent), " against the Epistle to the Galatians
pretty nearly. Thirdly, for the sake of Prussia, he is to
take under him all the foreign Protestants who will come ;
and the political advantages will be so great, from the
influence of England, that there is no doubt they «ri7/ come.
They are to sign the Confession of Augsburg, and there is
nothing to show that they hold the doctrine of Baptismal
Regeneration.

"As to myself, I shall do nothing whatever publicly,
unless indeed it were to give my signature to a Protest ;
but I think it would be out of place in me to agitate, having
been in a way silenced; but the Archbishop is really



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144 HISTORY OP MY EELIGIOUS OPINIONS

doing most grave work, of which we cannot see the
end."

I did make a solemn Protest, and sent it to the Arch-
bishop of Canterbury, and also sent it to my own Bishop,
with the following letter : —

" It seems as if I were never to write to your Lordship,
without giving you pain, and I know that my present
subject does not specially concern your Lordship; yet, after
a great deal of anxious thought, I lay before you the en-
closed Protest.

"Your Lordship will observe that I am not asking
for any notice of it, xmless you think that I ought to
receive one. I do this very serious act in obedience to
my sense of duty.

" If the English Church is to enter on a new course,
and assume a new aspect, it will be more pleasant to
me hereafter to think, that I did not suflFer so grievous
an event to happen, without bearing witness against it.

"May I be allowed to say, that I augur nothing but
evil, if we in any respect prejudice our title to be a
branch of the Apostolic Church P That Article of the
Creed, I need hardly observe to your Lordship, is of
such constraining power, that, if we will not claim it,
and use it for ourselves, others will use it in their own
behalf against us. Men who learn whether by means of
documents or measures, whether from the statements or
the acts of persons in authority, that our communion is
not a branch of the One Church, I foresee with much
grief, will be tempted to look out for that Church else-
where.

"It is to me a subject of great dismay, that, as far
as the Church has lately spoken out, on the subject of
the opinions which I and others hold, those opinions are,
not merely not sanctioned (for that I do not ask), but not
even suffered.



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FROM 1839 TO 1841. 145

" I earnestly hope that your Lordship will excuse my
freedom in thus speaking to you of some members of your
Most Rev. and Right Rev. Body. With every feeling
of reverent attachment to your Lordship,

"lam, &c.''



PROTEST.

" Whereas the Church of England has a claim on the
allegiance of Catholic believers only on the ground of her
own claim to be considered a branch of the Catholic
Church :

"And whereas the recognition of heresy, indirect as
well as direct, goes far to destroy such claim in the case of
any religious body :

" And whereas to admit maintainers of heresy to com-
munion, without formal renunciation of their errors, goes
far towards recognizing the same :

" And whereas Lutheranism and Calvinism are heresies,
repugnant to Scripture, springing up three centuries since,
and anathematized by East as well as West :

" And whereas it is reported that the Most Reverend



Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanApologia pro vita sua: being a history of his religious opinions → online text (page 13 of 33)