John Henry Newman.

Discussions and arguments on various subjects online

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REESE LIBRARY,

or

\ OP THE

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.



Received
Accessions No. _




DISCUSSIONS AND ARGUMENTS
ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS



THIRD EDITION



DISCUSSIONS



ARGUMENTS



ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS



JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
OP THE ORATORY

HONORARY FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, OXFORD.



THIRD EDITION

u




LONDON
PICKERING AND CO.

196, PICCADILLY

1878



TO

THE REV. HENRY ARTHUR WOODGATE, B.D,

RECTOR OF BELBROUGHTON, HONORARY CANON OF
WORCESTER.

MY DEAR WOODGATE,

Half a century and more has passed since you
first allowed me to know you familiarly, and to possess
your friendship.

Now, in the last decade of our lives, it is pleasant to
me to look back upon those old Oxford days, in which
we were together, and, in memory of them, to dedicate
to you a Volume, written, for the most part, before the
currents of opinion and the course of events carried
friends away in various directions, and brought about
great changes and bitter separations.

Those issues of religious inquiry I cannot certainly
affect to lament, as far as they concern myself: as they
relate to others, at least it is left to me, by such acts
as you now allow me, to testify to them that affection
which time and absence cannot quench, and which is
the more fresh and buoyant because it is so old.
I am, my dear Woodgate,

Your attached and constant friend,

JOHN HENRY NEWMAN.
January 5, 1872.






ADVERTISEMENT.

THIS Volume is a fresh contribution, on the part of
the Author, towards a uniform Edition of his publica-
tions.

Of the six portions, of which it consists, the first
appeared in the British Magazine in the spring of 1836,
under the title of " Home Thoughts Abroad." As that
title was intended for a series of papers which were
never written, and is unsuitable to a single instalment of
them, another heading has been selected for it, answering
more exactly to the particular subject of which it treats.

The second and third are the 83rd and 8sth numbers
of the "Tracts for the Times," and were published in the
5th volume, in the year 1838.

The fourth, "The Tamworth Reading Room," was
written for the Times newspaper, and appeared in its
columns in February 1841, being afterwards published
as a pamphlet. The letters, of which it consists, were
written off as they were successively called for by the
parties who paid the author the compliment of employing
him, and are necessarily immethodical as compositions.



vi Advertisement.

The same may with still more reason be said of the
Letters which follow, entitled, " Who's to blame ? "
written in the spring of 1855, for an intimate friend, at
that time the editor of the newspaper in which they
appeared.

The Review, which closes the Volume, was published
in the Month Magazine of June 1866.



CONTENTS.

PAGE

I. HOW TO ACCOMPLISH IT I

\

II. THE PATRISTICAL IDEA OF ANTICHRIST :

1. HIS TIME 44

2. HIS RELIGION 62

3. HIS CITY 77

4. HIS PERSECUTION 93

III. HOLY SCRIPTURE IN ITS RELATION TO THE
CATHOLIC CREED:

1. DIFFICULTIES IN THE SCRIPTURE PROOF OF THE

CATHOLIC CREED IO9

2. DIFFICULTIES OF LATITUDINARIANISM ; . .126

3. STRUCTURE OF THE BIBLE ANTECEDENTLY CON-

SIDERED 142

4. STRUCTURE OF THE BIBLE IN MATTER OF FACT . 152

5. THE IMPRESSION MADE BY THE SCRIPTURE STATE-

MENTS 170

6. EXTERNAL DIFFICULTIES OF THE CANON AND THE

CREED COMPARED 196

7. INTERNAL DIFFICULTIES OF THE CANON AND THE

CREED COMPARED 2l6

8. DIFFICULTIES OF JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN FAITH

COMPARED 236



viii' Contents.

IV. THE TAMWORTH READING ROOM:"

1. SECULAR KNOWLEDGE IN CONTRAST WITH RELIGION 254

2. NOT THE PRINCIPLE OF MORAL IMPROVEMENT . . 26l

3. NOT A DIRECT MEANS OF MORAL IMPROVEMENT . 269

4. NOT THE ANTECEDENT OF MORAL IMPROVEMENT . 277

5. NOT A PRINCIPLE OF SOCIAL UNITY . . 283

6. NOT A PRINCIPLE OF ACTION 2Q2

7. WITHOUT PERSONAL RELIGION, A TEMPTATION TO

UNBELIEF 298

V. WHO'S TO BLAME?

1. THE BRITISH CONSTITUTION ON ITS TRIAL I , 306

2. STATES AND CONSTITUTIONS 311

3. CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES AND THEIR VARIETIES . 317

4. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ATHENIAN . . .325

5. THE ENGLISHMAN 331

6. THE REVERSE OF THE PICTURE 339

7. ENGLISH JEALOUSY OF LAW COURTS. . . . 345

8. ENGLISH JEALOUSY OF CHURCH AND ARMY . . 353

VI. AN INTERNAL ARGUMENT FOR CHRISTIANITY. 363




HOW TO ACCOMPLISH IT*



I.

WHEN I was at Rome, I fell in with an English
acquaintance, whom I had met occasionally in
his own county, and when he was on a visit at my own
University. I had always felt him a pleasant, as rather
engaging companion, and his talent no one could ques-
tion ; but his opinions on a variety of political and
ecclesiastical subjects were either very unsettled or at
least very uncommon. His remarks had often the effect
of random talking ; and though he was always ingenious,
and often (as far as I was his antagonist) unanswerable,
yet he did not advance me, or others, one step towards
the conviction that he was right and we were wrong in
the matter which happened to be in dispute. Such a
personage is no unusual phenomenon in this day, in
which every one thinks it a duty to exercise the " sacred
right of private judgment;'* and when, consequently,
there are, as the grammar has it, "quot homines, tot

* [The discussion in this Paper is carried on by two speculative Angli-
cans, who aim at giving vitality to their Church, the one by uniting it to
the Roman See, the other by developing a nineteenth-century Anglo- Catho-
licism. The narrator sides on the whole with the latter of these.]

i



2 How to accomplish it.

sententias ;" nor should I have distinguished my good
friend from a score of theorists and debaters, producible
at a minute's notice in any part of the United Kingdom,
except for two reasons first, that his theories lay in
the different direction from those now in fashion, and
were all based upon the principle of "bigotry," (as he,
whether seriously or paradoxically, avowed) next, that
he maintained they were not novelties, but as old as the
Gospel itself, and possessing as continuous a tradition.
Yet, in spite of whatever recommendations he cast about
them, tney did not take hold of me. They seemed un-
real ; this will best explain what I mean : unreal^ as if
he had raised his structure in the air, an independent,
self-sustained pile of buildings, sui simile, without historr-
jal basis or recognized position among things existing,
without discoverable relations to the wants, wishes, and
opinions of those who were the subjects of his specu-
lations.

We were thrown together at Rome, as we had never
been before ; and, getting familiar with him, I began to
have some insight into his meaning. . I soon found him
to be quite serious in his opinions ; but I did not think
him a wit the less chimerical and meteoros than be-
fore. However, as he was always entertaining, and could
bear a set-down or a laugh easily, from the sweetness
and amiableness of his nature, I always liked to hear him
talk. Indeed, if the truth must be spoken, I believe, in
some degree, he began to poison my mind with his ex-
travagances.

One day I had called at the Prussian Minister's, and
found my friend there. We left together. The landing
from which the staircase descended looked out over
Rome; affording a most striking view of a city which
the Christian can never survey without the bitterest, the



How to accomplish it. 3

most loving, and the most melancholy thoughts. I will
not describe the details of the prospect ; they may be
found in every book; nothing is so common now as pano-
ramic or dioramic descriptions. Suffice it to say, that
we were looking out from the Capitol all over the mo-
dern city ; and that ancient Rome, being for the most
part out of sight, was not suggested to us except as the
basis of the history which followed its day. The morn-
ing was very clear and still : all the many domes, which
gave feature to the view before us, rose gracefully and
proudly. We lingered at the window without saying
a word. News of public affairs had lately come from
England, which had saddened us both, as leading us to
forebode the overthrow of all that gives dignity and in-
terest to our country, not to touch upon the more serious
reflections connected with it.

My friend began by alluding to a former conversation,
in which I had expressed my anticipation, that Rome, as
a city, was still destined to bear the manifestation of
divine judgments. He said, " Have you really the heart
to say that all this is to be visited and overthrown ?"
His eye glanced at St. Peter's. I was taken by surprise,
and for a moment overcome, as well as he ; but the
parallel of the Apostles' question in the Gospel soon
came to my aid, and I said, by way of answer, " Master,
see what manner of stones and what buildings are here !"
He smiled ; and we relapsed into our meditative mood.

At length I said, " Why, surely, as far as one's imagi-
nation is concerned, nothing is so hard to conceive as
that evil is coming on our own country : fairly as the
surface of things still promises, yet you as well as I ex-
pect evil. Not long before I came abroad, I was in a
retired parish in Berkshire, on a Sunday, and the in-
estimable blessings of our present condition, the guilt of



4 How to accomplish it.

those who are destroying them, and moreover, the diffi-
culty of believing they could be lost, came forcibly upon
me. When everything looked so calm, regular, and
smiling, the church bell going for service, high and low,
young and old flocking in, others resting in the porch,
and others delaying in the churchyard, as if there were
enjoyment in the very cessation of that bodily action
which for six days had worried them, (but I need not go
on describing what both of us have seen a hundred times,)
I said to myself, ' What a heaven on earth is this ! how
removed, like an oasis, from the dust and dreariness of
the political world ! And is it possible that it depends
for its existence on what is without, so as to be dissi-
pated and to vanish at once upon the occurrence of certain
changes in public affairs ? ' I could not bring myself to
believe that the foundations beneath were crumbling
away, and that a sudden fall might be expected."

He replied by one of his occasional flights " If Rome
itself, as you say, is not to last, why should the daughter
who has severed herself from Rome ? The amputated
limb dies sooner than the wounded and enfeebled trunk
which loses it."

" Say this anywhere in Rome than on this staircase," I
answered. " Come, let us find a more appropriate place
for such extravagances ; " and I took him by the arm,
and we began to descend. We made for the villa on
the Palatine, and in our way thither, and while strolling
in its walks, the following discussion took place, which
of course I have put together into a more compact shape
than it assumed in our actual conversation.

2.

" What I mean," said he in continuation, " is this : that
we, in England, are severed from the centre of unity, and.



How to accomplish it. 5

therefore no wonder our Church does not flourish. You
may say to me, if you please, that the Church of Rome
is corrupt. I know it ; but what then ? If (to use the
common saying) there are remedies even worse than the
disease they practise on, much more are remedies con-
ceivable which are only not as bad, or but a little better.
To cut off a limb is anyhow a strange mode of saving
it from the influence of some constitutional ailment
Indigestion may cause cramp in the extremities, yet we
spare our hands or feet, notwithstanding. I do not wish
to press analogies ; yet, surely, there is such a religious
fact as the existence of a great Catholic body, union with
which is a Christian privilege and duty. Now, we English
are separate from it."

I answered, " I will grant you thus much, that the
present is an unsatisfactory, miserable state of things ;
that there is a defect, an evil in existing circumstances,
which we should pray and labour to remove ; yet I can
grant no more. The Church is founded on a doctrine
the gospel of Truth ; it is a means to an end. Perish
the Church Catholic itself, (though, blessed be the pro-
mise, this cannot be,) yet let it perish rather than the
Truth should fail. Purity of faith is more precious to
the Christian than unity itself. If Rome has erred
grievously in doctrine (and in so thinking we are both
of one mind), then, is it a duty to separate even from
Rome."

" You allow much more/' he replied, "than most of
us ; yet even you, as it seems to me, have not a deep sense
enough of the seriousness of our position. Recollect, we
did that at the Reformation which is a sin, unless we
prove it to be a duty. It was, and is, a very solemn
protest. Would the seraph Abdiel have made his re-
sistance a triumph and a boast, spoken of the glorious



6 How to accomplish it.

stand he had made, or made it a pleasant era in his
history? Would he have gone on to praise himself,
and say, ' Certainly, I am one among a thousand ; all of
them went wrong but I, and they are now in hell, but
I am pure and uncorrupt, in consequence of my noble
separation from those rebels ' ? Now, certainly, I have
heard you glory in an event which at best was but an
escape as by fire, an escape at a great risk and loss,
and at the price of a melancholy separation."

I felt he had, as far as the practical question went,
the advantage of me. Indeed it must be confessed that
we Protestants are so satisfied with intellectual victories
in our controversy with Rome as to think little of that
charity which " vaunteth not herself, is not puffed up,
doth not behave herself unseemly."

He continued : " Do you recollect the notion enter-
tained by the primitive Christians concerning Catho-
licity ? The Church was, in their view, one vast body,
founded by the Apostles, and spreading its branches out
into all lands, the channel through which the streams of
grace flowed, the mystical vine through which that sap
of life circulated, which was the possession of those and
those only who were grafted on it. In this Church there
can be no division. Pass the axe through it, and one
part or the other is cut off from the Apostles. There
cannot be two distinct bodies, each claiming descent
from the original stem. Indeed, the very word catholic
witnesses to this. Two Apostolic bodies there may be
without actual contradiction of terms ; but there is neces-
sarily but one body Catholic." And then, in illustration
of this view, he went on to cite from memory the sub-
stance of passages from Cyril and Augustine, which I
suspect he had picked up from some Romanist friend at
the English College. I have since turned them out in



How to accomplish it. 7

in their respective authors, and here give them in trans-
lation.

The first extract occurs in a letter written by Augus-
tine to a Donatist bishop :

" I will briefly suggest a question for your consideration. Seeing
that at this day we have before our eyes the Church of God, called
Catholic, diffused throughout the world, we think we ought not to
doubt that herein is a most plain accomplishment of holy prophecy,
confirmed as it was by our Lord in the Gospel, and by the Apostles,
who, agreeably to the prediction, so extended it. Thus St. Paul
preached the Gospel, and founded churches, etc. John also writes to
seven Churches, etc. With all these churches we, at this day, com-
municate, as is plain ; and it is equally plain that you Donatists do
not communicate with them. Now, then, I ask you to assign some
reason why Christ should ... all at once be pent up in Africa,
where you are, or even in the whole of it. For your community,
which bears the name of Donatus, evidently is not in all places
that is, catholic. If you say ours is not the Catholic, but nick-
name it the Macarian, the rest of Christendom differs from you ;
whereas you yourselves must own, what every one who knows you
will also testify, that yours is known as the Donatist denomination.
Please to tell me, then, how the Church of Christ has vanished from
the world, and is found only among you ; whereas our side of the
controversy is upheld, without our saying a word, by the plain fact,
that we see in it a fulfilment of Scripture prophecy. " *

The next is from one of the same Father's treatises,
addressed to a friend :

"We must hold fast the Christian religion, and the communion
of that Church which is, and is called, Catholic, not only by its
members, but even by all its enemies. For, whether they will or
no, even heretics themselves, and the children of schism, when they
speak, not with their own people, but with strangers, call that Church
nothing else but Catholic ? Indeed they would not be understood,
unless they characterized it by that name which it bears throughout
the world." f

* Ep; 49, Ed. Benedict. f De vera Rel., c. 7, n. 12.



8 How to accomplish it.

The last was from Cyril's explanation of the doctrine
of the One Holy Catholic Church :

"Whereas the name (churcJt} is used variously .... as (for
instance) it may be applied to the heresy or persuasion of the
Manichees, etc., therefore the creed has carefully committed tothee
the confession of the One Holy Catholic Church, in order that thou
mayest avoid their odious meetings, and remain always in the Holy
Catholic Church, in which thou wast regenerated. And if per-
chance thou art a traveller in a strange city, do not simply ask,
' Where is the house of God ? ' for the multitude of persuasions
attempt to call their hiding-places by that name ; nor simply,
'Where is the Church? 7 but, ' Where is the Catholic Church?'
for such is the peculiar name of this the holy Mother of us all, who
is the spouse of the Only-Begotten Son.' 1 *

3-

After giving some account of these passages, he con-
tinued : " Now, I am only contending for the fact that
the communion of Rome constitutes the main body of
the Church Catholic, and that we are split off from it,
and in the condition of the Donatists ; so that every
word of Augustine's argument to them, could be applied
to us. This, I say, is &fact; and if it be a grave fact,
to account for it by saying that they are corrupt is only
bringing in a second grave fact. Two such serious facts
that we are separate from the great body of the
Church, and that it is corrupt should, one would think,
make us serious ; whereas we behave as if they were
plus and minus, and destroyed each other. Or rather,
we triumph in the Romanists being corrupt, and we deny
they are the great body of Christians, unfairly merging
their myriad of churches under the poor title of 'the
Church of Rome ; ' as if unanimity destroyed the argu-
ment from numbers."

* Cyril Hieros. Catech., xviii. 12.



How to accomplish it. g

"Stay! not so fast!" I made answer; " after all, they
are but a part, though a large part, of the Christian
world. Is the Greek communion to go for nothing,
extending from St. Petersburg to Corinth and Antioch ?
or the Armenian churches ? and the English communion
which has branched off to India, Australia, the West
Indies, the United States, Canada, and Nova Scotia ?
The true state of the case is this : the condition of the
early Church, as Augustine and Cyril describe it, exists
no more ; it is to be found nowhere. You may apply,
indeed, the terms which they used of it to the present time,
and call the Romanists Catholics, as they claim to be ;
but this is a fiction and a theory, not the expression of
a visible fact. Is it not a mere theory by which the
Latin Church can affect to spread itself into Russia ? I
suspect, in spite of St. Cyril, you might ask in vain for
their churches under the name of Catholic throughout
the autocrat's dominions, or in Greece, as well as in
England or Scotland. Where is the Catholic Bishop of
Winchester or Lincoln ? where the Catholic Church in
England as a visible institution ? No more is it such in
Scotland ; not to go on to speak of parts of Germany
or the new world. All that can be said by way of reply
is, that it is a very considerable communion, and vener-
able from its consistency and antiquity."

" That is the point," interrupted my companion ;
" they maintain that, such as they are, such they ever
have been. They have been from the first ' the Catho-
lics/ The schismatical Greeks, the Nestorians, the
Monophysites, and the Protestants have grown up at
different times, and on a novel doctrine or foundation."

"Have a care," I answered, "of diverging to the
question of Apostolicity. We are engaged upon the
Catholicity of the Latin Church. If we are to speak of



IO How to accomplish it.

Antiquity, you yourself will be obliged to abandon its
cause, for you are as decided ,as myself upon its corrup-
tions from primitive simplicity. Foundation we have as
apostolical as theirs, (unless you listen to the Nag's-head
calumny,) and doctrine much more apostolical. Please
to keep to the plain tangible fact, as you expressed it
when you began, of the universal or catholic character
of the Roman communion."

He was silent for a while, so I proceeded.

"Let me say a word or two more on the subject I
had in hand when you interposed. I was observing
that the state of things is certainly altered since Augus-
tine's time that is, in matter of fact, divisions, cross
divisions, and complicated disarrangements have taken
place in these latter centuries which were unknown in
the fifth. We cannot, at once, apply his words as the
representatives of things now existing ; they are, in
great measure, but the expression of principles to be
adopted. May I say something further without shocking
you? I think dissent and separatism present features
unknown to primitive Christianity so unknown that in
its view of the world a place is not provided for them.
A state of things has grown up, of which hereditary
dissent is an element. All the better feelings of sta-
bility, quietness, loyalty, and the like, are in some places
enlisted in its favour. In some places, as in Scotland,
dissent is the religion of the state and country. I am
not supposing that such outlying communities have
blessings equal to the Church Catholic ; only, while I
condemn them as outlying, I would still contend that
they retain so much of privilege, so much of the life and
warmth of that spiritual body, from the roots of which
they spring, as irregular shoots, as to secure their indivi-
dual members from the calamity of being altogether cut



How to accomplish it. II

off from it. In the latter ages of Judaism, the ten tribes,
and afterwards the Samaritans, and then the proselytes
of the gate, present a parallel, as having a position be-
yond the literal scope of the Mosaic law. I shall scruple,
therefore, to apply the strong language which Cyprian
uses against schismatics to the Scottish presbyterians
or to the Lutherans. At least, they have the Scriptures.
You understand why I mention this to show, by an
additional illustration, that not every word that the
Fathers utter concerning the Church Catholic applies at
once to the Church of this day. The early Christians had
not the complete canon, nor were books then common,
nor could most of them read. Other differences between
their Church and our Church might be mentioned ; for
instance, the tradition of the early Church was of an
historical character, of the nature of testimony ; and
possessed an authority superadded to the Church's pro-
per authority as a divine institution. It was a witness,
far more perfect in its way, but the same in kind, as the
body of ancient writers may be for the genuineness of
Caesar's works. It was virtually infallible. Now, how-
ever, this accidental authority has long ceased, or, at
least, is indefinitely weakened ; and to resist it is not
so obviously a sin against light. Here, then, is another
reason for caution in applying the language of the
Fathers concerning schism to our own times, since they
did not in their writings curiously separate the Church's
intrinsic and permanent authority as divine, from her
temporary office of bearing witness to the Apostolic
doctrine as to an historical fact."

"I must take time to think of this," he replied; "mean-
while, you at least grant me that the Latin communion.
is the main portion of Christendom that participation
with it is especially our natural position and that our



12 How to accomplish it.

present separation from it is a grievous calamity as such,
and, under the circumstances, nothing short of a solemn
protest against corruptions in it, of which we dare not
partake."

" I grant it," said I.



Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanDiscussions and arguments on various subjects → online text (page 1 of 30)