John Henry Newman.

Letters and correspondence of John Henry Newman during his life in the English church, with a brief autobiography ; (Volume 2) online

. (page 26 of 47)
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study of A Kcmpis, Pascal's ' Thoughts,' tlio devotional
Avritings of Bishop Taylor, and similar Itooks "?

Has she such command of lu'r time as to Ix- al)le to give
herself, at least for a season, to devotions and penitence,
using some systematic exercise, such as Bishop Cosin's,
Bishop Andrewes's, or (if she has the slight knowledge of Latin
necessary) the Breviary, with such omissions as the English
Church requires ?

Should she not give herself to the contemplation of
obedience and holiness, and the reading of tlie lives of
saints, and set herself d('lil)eratt'ly to the l)usiness of self-
government, of changing herself where she most requires it,
of gaining perfect resignation to God's will, of unlearning
worldly oi)inions, notions and principles, and of living as if in
sight of things invisible ; and that without impatience at
apparent failure, or apparent slow advance ?

Is not this a most exact and most excellent mode of ful-
filling the vow she has made, that she would ' devote what
aljility God has given her to His service and glory ' '?

Is she so situated as to be aljle to fullil tliis vow (already
made before writing to me, and iAi by her to be binding) in,
not a mere season, Init a life of such observances, like the
saints of old'? There are doubtless many women who waste
their lives as things are, whose calling and happiness would
seem to be in uniting in a religious society, supposing they
luid a rule sufiiciently authoritative to overcome ditVertnces
of tastes and tempers.

]\[ay she not at least cherish the /r/.sA for such a life, if it
be at present impracticable ? nuiy she not pray for it ? And
as to promoting Catholic views, will she not be doing so most
etfectually at present, or at all times, by constant prayer that
clergy and laity may be enlightencid in the peit'< ct kiiowlidge
of the truth, and brought together in unity ?

As to the MSS. which she has sent, after what i have
said, any remarks on my part are almost superfluous. They

X 2

;,o8 / oliii I Icury Newman 1840

arc written clearly, iiaUiiiilly and usefully, and nothing which
I have said ahove is at all meant in discouragement of the
writer's thus eniphjyiiig herself in her own sphere, but of her

IiKV. J. H. Newman to Miss H.

Or'xd CoUcfic : June lo, 1 840.

Mr. Newman sends the following answers to some questions
wliich Miss H. has asked.

He wishes he had time to answer them more fully, but
tl links it better to send them, such as they are, than delay.

The translation in use of Bishop Andrewes's ' Devotions '
turns it from a book of prayers into a collection of texts. An
attempt has just been made in No. 88 of the ' Tracts for the
Times ' to remedy this. Sutton's ' Godly Meditations on the
Lord's Supper ' is a useful book, but the caution in the
Advertisement should be attended to. There are many
translations of A Kempis, none very good, and very different
from each other. The older are better. A new translation is
wanted. It is a most deeply valuable work. The translations
from the Breviary in ' Tracts for the Times,' No. 75, go a gi'eat
way to supersede a knowledge of the original, and, at all
events, direct a person to arrange the Psalms on the same
plan, for other seasons besides those there introduced.

Of course the circumstance that God grants a change of
heart is a just ground of hope and rejoicing, whatever our
past offences may have been. I do not think that such
feelings are at all incompatible with the deepest and most
lasting humiliation. Some of my published sermons are upon
the subject, as sermon 8 of volume iv.

It seems to me that there is great danger of any one who
has experienced such a change of views as the writer of the
letter, becoming excited. She must not expect to have always
the sunshine she now has, and the more she indulges her
feelings now, the greater reverse perhaps is in store. Such a
person should be very much on her guard against doing any-
thing out of the way, or of startling persons by anything she

1840 LclUis ami Corrcspondciuc 309

said. AVhilc (lod j^dvcs peace and joy, we have cause to be
thankful, but let us rejoice with trcmbhii^-. I think it is well
to be cautious and jealous with oneself as to any strong acts,
such as vows. It is true I alluded to something of the kind
in my last letter, l^nt it was with reference to a vow which 1
understood had r///v7/(/// ])een taken. If there be any matter
about which our Lord's caution Imlds ;i]>out ' eounting the
cost,' it is the sul)ject of vows.

As to the doctrine of God's receiving our prayers by the
intervention of saints, I am not aware that our Church has
given an opinion al)Out it. It speaks a.^ainst ' the liomish
doctrine of invocation.' And it does not in the Prayer Book
recognise the doctrine of saints' intercession, but it seems to
me to leave it open.

I suppose that any clergymnn wlio denies the Creed does
so far forth, and for the time, forfeit In's title to deference on
the ground of liis Ordination. The faitli is the foundation, it
was laid in the beginning, and no one can alter it. Now one
article of the Creed is that there is ' one baptism for the
rcniissioit of sins.' Another that our Lord will come again
' to judge the (piick and dead.' Clergymen, then, who deny
baptismal regeneration, or that the elect shall l)e judged, would
seem to contradict the faith once delivered to the saints. It
does not follow that it is right I'ov any <>ne to oppose them, but
at least one is not obliged to d(;fer to them. I should think it
l)etter for a person under the circumstances in question not to
get into argument, but to decline controversy altogether. 1
Avould under her circumstances accompany my friend U>
church, though it is certainly most painful to hear wrong
doctrine in a sacred place. I would not altstain from food iii
a way to attract attention ; but there are ways of denying
oneself, when no one would suspect it.

Tlu! following letter concludes with a warning against
yielding to sudden impulses, the excesses of an e.\citablc
temperament :

310 /('/•// Henry Nczuniaii l-<to

PiKV. J. H. Nkwman to Miss H.

Oriel Collerjc : Juhj 19, 1 840.

... It is not at all necessary to keep to the hours of
prayer, when good reasons come in the way — which they very
frequently will do — and I should recommend a person to be
very cautious before proceeding to break rest at night. Persons
do not know what they can do and what they cannot, and
may make themselves ill before they are aware of it.

No one must be surprised, particularly when first making
an effort to live strictly, at discouragement, failures, and the
apparent hopelessness of making progress. You must not
mind these things — ever^'body experiences the like. You
must not be impatient nor over-anxious, but go steadily on,
feeling thankful that you have, please God, time before you.
You cannot hasten the course of things ; you cannot become
what you would wish to be on a sudden. You can but do
God's will, as far as may be, according to your day, and leave
the whole matter to Him.

I do not think it advisable you should break off your usual

visits to Nothing in the course of engagements in which

you find yourself is actually objectionable, and therefore you
should continue in them. "Were you beginning anew, the
case would be altered. Though temptations present them-
selves to you in society, you would soon find temptations in
solitude, were you to indulge your love of it. AVe cannot
escape from ourselves wherever we are, and we are the sinners,
not the places in which we find ourselves.

I am concerned to hear you speak again of a vow, and, if
I understand you, of a very definite kind. Not that I would
have you for the world trifle with it, if you have made it — no
good can come of trifiiug with solemn engagements — but that
if so, you are in an anxious position, and have much before
^■ou to guard against. I do not deny that in that case you
ought to fear a great deal ; for if you do not make a great
point of keeping any pledge you have made, and keep the
thought of it before you, you may find yourself in very dis-
tressmg and dangerous circumstances. I shall l)e best pleased

1840 Lctlos and Corrcspoiidciicc 3 1 1

to liiid you liiive not ciituii^^led yourself with iiuy vow ; but, if
so, you must keep it. 1 would have you at uncc make up your
mind lioic far you havo pledged 3'ourself in God's sight, and
make a note of it. And then I'eligiously keep to the account
of it which you set down ; else circumstances might arise when
you might be very much tempted to give a new interpretation
to what you had done.

Such a general feeling exists among serious people of the
need of religious connnunities that I cannot help hoping we
shall be blessed, sooner or later, in our endeavours to form

Eev. J. II. Xewmax to ^fiss II.

()rl>l Colh'ffc : 184O.

Be assured that I have my doubts and difficulties as other
people. Perhaps the more we examine and investigate, the
more we have to perplex us. It is the lot of man : the human
mind in its present state is unequal to its own powers of
apprehension ; it embraces more than it can master. I think
we ought all to set out on our inquiries, I am sure we shall
end them, with this conviction. Absolute certainty, then,
cannot be attained here ; we must resign ourselves to doubt
as the trial ini<h r which it is God's will we should do our duty
and prepare oursehcs for His presence. Our sole question
must be, ivhat does a merciful God, who knows whereof we
are made, wish «.s /o d<> muhr our existing ignorance and
doubt ?

... As to your questions about the Church of liome, they
are most pertinent ; there is nothing unfair or extravagant in
them, and you have a right to an answer. I hardly like to
recommend my own books; but, having treated of the whole
subject in * Lectures on llomanism,' and it being one far too
large for a letter, I think I cannot do better than refer you to
it. It is not worth while that you should purchase it. If you
find you cannot Ijorrow it, pray let me know, and I will con-
trive to sup))ly you with u copy.

I should think you would gain great benilil, on thc' whole
subject of religion and ethics, from liishop JJiitler's 'Analog}'.'

312 fo/iii Jlc'iu-y XciciJiau 1840-

]t is ji very deep work, and , while it re(|uires, will iiinply repay
your study. But perhaps you know it.

"What Afr. Newman was to his h'ieiids, and as leader of the
Movement, maybe gathered from his correspondence. It may
interest the reader to l)e reminded how a stranger to him
personally, one who had felt his influence in his undergraduate
days, recalled an aspect and manner which so harmonised
with the tone of his teaching.'

' The influence he had gained without apparently setting
himself to seek it w^as something altogether unlike anything
else in our time. A mysterious veneration had by degrees
gathered round him till now it was almost as if some Ambrose
or Augustine of older ages had reappeared. He himself tells
how one day, when he was an undergraduate, a friend with
whom he was walking in the Oxford street cried out eagerly,
" There's Keble ! " and with what awe he looked at him ! A
few years and the same took place with regard to himself.
In Oriel Lane light-hearted undergraduates would drop their
voices and whisper, " There's Newman ! '' when, head thrust
forward and gaze fixed as though on some vision seen only by
himself, with swift, noiseless step, he glided by — awe fell on
them for a moment, almost as if it had been some apparition
that had passed. For his inner circle of friends, many of them
younger men, he was said to have a quite romantic affection,
which they returned with the most ardent devotion and the
intensest faith in him. But to the outer world he was a

This was from an undergraduate point of view.

In contrast with this singularly telling and faithful recollec-
tion, it will interest the reader to see a specimen of self-
portraiture, drawn in self-defence, while Oxford was still his
constant home.

The lady with whom Islx. Newman had exchanged letters,
meeting him for the first time in passing through Oxford, seems

' Studies in Poetry and Philosophy. By Principal Shairp, p. 245.

1840 Letters and Correspondence 31


to have implied in a subsequent letter that he had not fulfilled
her expectations. The reader will certainly be interested, and
perhaps Avill be amused with the answer :

As to myself, be quite sure that, if you saw me again, you
would just feel as you did when you saw me before, I am
not venerable, and nothing can make me so. I am what I
am. I am very much like other people, and I do not think it
necessary to abstain from the feelings and thoughts, not
intrinsically sinful, which other people have. I cannot speak
words of wisdom : to some it comes naturally. Do not suffer
any illusive notion about me to spring up in your mind. No
one ever treats me with deference and respect who knows me,
and from my heart I trust and pray that no one ever may. I
have never been in office or station, people have never bowed
to me, and I could not endure it. I tell you frankly, my
infirmity, I believe, is always to Ijc rude to persons who arc
deferential in manner to me.

PiEv. J. H. Newman to Rev. T. Mozley.

*S7. James's l^ay, 1840.

James is just now elected Fellow of Magdalen. He passed
a capital examination.

PiEV. J. H. Newman to Rev. J. B. Mozley.

Oriel: September 17, 1 840.

... I congratulate you on your French. [J. 13. M. had
taken up French and had lessons.] Rogers is here ; we agree
your hand is changing, and guess that it looks like a remark-
able development of energy, activity, and business-like des-
patch. We expect Wilson to-day. H. W. has been written
to, but the scaramouch has not answered me.

Mr. Bowden had returned to England in June. !Mr.
Newman writes, ' So you are back, God l)e praised ! Rogers is
going this winter. He is not so well quite as one should wish.'

3 1 4 J ohu J Jcjiry Ncioman 1840

Eev. J. H. Xkwman to J. W. liowDEX, Esq.

Ortohrr 1 3, I 840.

I was as much suiprisod as I was pleased l)y your very
kind offer received this morning about the Dedication [of
* Hildebrand '], and yet, do you know ? it is impossible I should
iiccept it. My theory has been that it was out of propriety
for two friends to dedicate to each other. And I have acted on
my theory. Pusey has offered to dedicate to me his * Types ' or
sermons (I forget which), and I have strenuously declined on
the above ground.

On the same subject he writes in November, no doubt
the sense of his friend's precarious health giving it a particular
interest :

The loss of your Dedication is one of the most trying
things I have had for some time. ... I think your Dedication
to Trinity very happy, and I hope to come in for my share
in it in that way.

Eev. J. H. Newman to J. W. Bowden, Esq.

Oriel : Xovemher 6, 1S40.

I do not think that people here arc in a dangerous way.
They are very good-litimourcd, as far as I know ; and if they
criticise me, it is in fun, meaning nothing by it. The only
vulnerable point we have is the ^k'/^V^s' toto divisos orhe.
It is the heel of Achilles ; yet a person must be a good shot
to hit it. I am sorry to hear that E. has been at Lord
Shrewsbury's. It is a bad thing stirring one's symjjathies
towards Eome.

I like your plan of Continental Tracts much. I have
been thinkmg of one on the kind of subject you mention.

As to the 'British Critic,' I give it up to T. Mozley in the
sunnner. This I have alwavs wished to do. I shall have

]<}() Lci/crs and CoiTcspondcncc 315

luul it three years. \ shall write lor it, I suppose, as
much as heretofore, and I hope our friends ^Yill not desert

The Archl)ishop t)f Canterbury aud the liishop of London
have allowed ministers the patronage of the Colonial Bishops ;
and in consequence, I suppose, our friends here will all have
much to say to the scheme.

Before seeing the hook, I am sorry that Gladstone is com-
mitting himself. I agree with j'ou (initc that we should, as
far as possible, confine ourselves to fadn. Sewell is very
unreal. Faber [F. W. Faber, afterwards a Catholic. — J. H. N.],
I hope, will turn out well, but I wish he would not write so

As to our young anti-Anglicans, I dare say you know
(through Johnson) more of them than I do. I do not think
anything great of the Continental churches, as you seem
to think, or of the Boman Catholics at home. Were there
' sanctity ' among the Boman Catholics, they would indeed
be formidable

Bev. -T. W. to Mi;s. J. ^Iozlky.

Xorrinbtr 15, 1S40.

^^'e have fniished our planting at Littlemore, and it looks
very nice. By the time I am an aged person, if ever I am so,

it will make a sliow.

Bi'.v. J. l\. ^'|■.\\^r.^^• to Miss CiinEnNt:.

(hid: Xiircinhcr 4, 1840.

^\'lKlt you hear about a convent is a mere mistake. I
know nothing of it. But I am very glad to hear that such
ideas are spreading, and talking is the first step to doing.
Several plans are in agitation for establishing Sisters of Mercy,
whether for hospitals, or for parochial visiting ; but I expect
notlnng of them yet. It is a great thing if persons communi-
cate to each other their ideas and wishes. No oiw cnn begin

3i6 jo/in I/ciiry A'czciuan 1840

solitarily, but the fceliiii^ that there are otliers like-minded gives
at once contidence and oi^portunity. . . . Women (no, nor
men still less) would not live together without quarrelling, as
things are among us. A very strong religious principle and
a tight discipline would be necessary. But it is a very good
thing for people to be thinking aljout. Nothing would need
more counting the cost.

... 1 will give you a story or two in payment of yours :
I. A clergyman of Northamptonshire told Dr. Ogle (he had
it on the witness of a lady, a parishioner of his, who was at
St. Mary's and heard it) that, during the course of the last
year, / had, in the service, not in the sermon, introduced
formally a prayer of vay own to St. Mary. The lady bore a

2. A person told a person who (I think) told me, that he
had called on Dr. Pusey and saw him with his own ej'es adore
a picture of St. Mar}'.

3. A French master told a lady at Bath, who told my
informant, that he had with his own eyes seen me at St.
Mary's with a large cross down the back of my surplice.

Do make a book of good stories.

Rev. .J. H. Newman to F. Rogers, Esq. \_In Itahj.']

Oriel: XoreDiher 2^, 1 840.

I feel the compliment you pay me at the tail of your letter
to Church, just received. You say ' Oriel is a sink of gossip,'
and you continue, ' tell him.' The suppressed premiss is not
immanifest. But to proceed. Miss Agnew has brought out
a little book or tract called ' The Young Parishioners,' which is
the most piercingly beautiful thing, and poetically so too, I
have read for a long while. I say this to you freel}', because
you will not see it. Also, persons are sure to be disappointed,
I know well, who hear these things said, and then take up
the subject of them.' Next, you will be glad to hear, Morris

' In an early memorandum of Mr. Newman's he speaks of a sick parishioner
being visited by a certain Mrs. B., a great professor, whose manner disturbed the

1840 Leilers and Correspondence 3 i -

told me yesterday that they have come to a College reso-
lution at Exeter to have the S. S. every week — a great

The ' Piecord ' of Monday contains a letter from Oxford signed
* Socius,' protesting against the * effrontery ' of our people
here, whereas others were modest, and the most flagrant
thing, because the most insidious — was that we had actually
taken to argue from Scripture \}.e. tradition being our legiti-
mate province], and people ought to be cautious of it. The
only reason I mention this is because I thought perhaps that
Daman (Fellow of Oriel) was Mr. Effrontery, and, if so,
' Socius ' would 1)0 a correlative. W. Palmer of "Wort-ester
has written me a ' confidential ' letter, saying that he is
agitating and wishing me to agitate for the addition of 100 or
120 Bishops to the Eiif/lish Church. Something is in the
wind somewhere, I suspect, for C. Miller has been wishing
me to put out again the pamphlet on Suffragans. Also, I tell
you as a deep secret, which I have not breathed to a soul, and
which I hope William Eogers, Esq., will not have the benefit
of, that Cardwell has a plan before the Heads of Houses for
introducing * Divinity Lectures in the University-.' ]\[aiiv
things conspire ; they are jealous of Durham, and Cliiclitster,
and Wells, and 1 suppose would not be unwilling to put down
our illegitimate influence.

Johnson is to have an heliometer ; there is but one in
England. It discovers the parallax of the stars, and hence
their distances. I am so much pleased, for it opens for him
a uric line, in which he has no competitor. Aircy so warmly
biicked him up with Peel.

invalid, apparently by its exaggerated tone ami want of uatine, but which hn<l
been accepted by the young curate of St. Clement's as a mark of spirituality.
Looking back, he writes this comment : — ' I saw her (Mrs. U.) at Mrs. Twells", a
year or two ago. She has a smooth, unnatural manner, and I cannot conceive
how I could have been taken in by her. But I took things on faith, i.e. I had
faith that God's presence ever was where people spoke in a certain way. I viewed
things through the imagination in a remarkable degree.' The present writer
can recall nothing of the tract exciting the above warm panegyric ; but accom-
panying these ardent words— as he writes them -is the expectation, no doubt
from experience, that his friends will not feel with him here, that they will sus-
pect him still of ' seeing things through the imagination.'

i,S /('//// llcury NcK'iiiau jsio

I tliinlc you know that a person luis ])ccn converted by the
' Iiemains ' back to the Church, and communicated lately at
Margaret Chapel. Dr. Wiseman has begun a Conservative
line on taking possession of his post : is silencing political
priests, &c. They say there is certainly a move that way in
a portion of the body. Pugin has been here, speaks strongly
against the R. C. body, and says that if 200 of the ablest and
i)est of our men were to go over, they would be received coldly.
I think our way certainly is to form alliances with forrifjners ;
the jealousies (natural) with R. C.'s at home preclude any-
thing good.

I suspect your friend had got the wrong passage of St.
Ambrose. There is a very strong passage either m the * De
Incarnatione ' or the ' De Sacramentis,' but the truth is,
Manzoni saw that (even if he could) it was endless argumg from
the Fathers, and that the infallibility of the Church was the
only real doctrine to take up. Your accounts are very inter-
esting, and I will not betray Hope at all, wliom thank for his
little bit of letter.

I wrote to Keble some time since telling him at full my
difficulties about St. Mary's, and resolving to go by his
judgment. I had three heads: (i) my inability to get on
with my parish ; (2) my exercising an influence on Under-
graduates to which I was not called ; (3) the tendency of my
opinions to create Roman siimpatli'ws. The third was the
only ground he thought much of, and he gave me full leave to
resign, if I could do it without creating scandal, kt the
same time he said he wished me to remain, and did not think
it a reason necessitating resignation. Upon this I felt I
ought to remam ; because what I wanted to get from him was
leave to do so. I mean, there are so many reasons making it
a duty to remain, so soon as one comes to the conclusion that
it is not a duty to go. Three considerations have gone far to
reconcile me to it since his decision : (i) that we don't know-
yet what the English Church will bear of infused Catholic
truth. We are, as it were, proving cannon. I know that
there is a danger of bursting ; but still, one has no right to
assume that our Church will not stand the test. (2) If I fear

L><40 LcUcrs and Correspondence 319

tbo tenclcney of what T teach towards liODio, it is no morr
than I see in Hooker or Taylor; they tend in Latium,^ only
they are not so far advanced. I think that Hooker would
have just my difficulty in St. Mary's pulpit, unless he set
himself formally to preach against Home, which I don't
suppose he would find it easy to do in parochial sermons, and
if ho did, still I don't think he would get out of the difficulty.
I think his difficulty, the difficulty of all our divines, would

Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanLetters and correspondence of John Henry Newman during his life in the English church, with a brief autobiography ; (Volume 2) → online text (page 26 of 47)