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Dr. N.'s description of the closing scene, certainly does not fail in the dramatic power and effect by which his whole Narrative is marked :
“ Littlemore, October 8, 1845.—I am this night expecting Father Dominic, the Passionist, who, from his youth, has been led to have distinct and direct thoughts, first of the countries of the North, then of England. After thirty years (almost) waiting, he was, without his own act, sent here. But he has had little to do with conversions. I saw him here for a few minutes on St. John Baptist's day, last year. He does not know of my intention; but I mean to ask of him admission into the one Fold of Christ.
P. $.-This will not go till all is over. Of course it requires no answer.”
If we have given the clear account we have wished to do of Dr. N.'s Romeward movement and Romish Conversion, little need be added to evince the small weight which it has, as against England and in favor of Rome. Romish sympathy, for years, fortified by a strongly imaginative interpretation of the history of the Church which utterly perverted the real facts of that history, irritation at the opposition which he found in introducing Romanism into the English Church, a spirit wearied with the vexing subtlety of its own speculations, and the desperate conclusion at last, for relief to this inquietude, that there was no middle ground between Atheism and Romanism,—these are the elements of his progress and his conversion, as he himself details them. And surely, for such reasons as these, the Church of England has no occasion to review the grounds on which her champions, whom Dr. N., in a manner the most false and dastardly accuses of fostering Romish sympathies, have defended her impregnable position of true Catholicity against the pretentious, but false and narrow, Catholicity of Rome. Indeed, Dr. N. fairly admits that these grounds are unassailable, when he abandons the plea of antiquity in behalf of Rome. If such reasons as he gives are the strong ones for joining the Church of Rome, we feel sure that those who are led by reason, and not by sympathy and imagination, will not find their way to her fold, which Dr. N. arrogantly characterizes as “the one fold of Christ.”
The prominent men who were with Dr. N. in the incipiency of the Oxford movement, are still doing true and noble service in the Church of England. Dr. Pusey, who could not be made to take the hints which Dr. N. gave him about his Romeward tendencies, because such tendencies were alien to his spirit ; in his breasting of the tide of Rationalism and Infidelity, as it seeks entrance into the Church herself; in his profound and learned and spiritual Commentaries on Holy Scripture; and in his searching Sermons, is giving the best of all proofs of the deep and pure Christianity. which is nurtured in the Church of England. And of John Keble we need not speak; whose praise is in all the Churches, and whose music vibrates with divine and inspiring power in thousands and thousands of Christian souls. Mr. Newman's career illustrates one phase of the movement, which was a divergence from its true meaning and original intention. He speaks, p. 201, of “this new party,” with which he allied himself, being separated, by his Romeward tendencies, from his “old and true friends," who “ were in trouble” about him. Of these new men, he says, that they “cut into the original movement, at an angle, fell across its line of thought, and then set about turning that line in its own direction." With them he sympathized and worked. But, notwithstanding this divergence and perversion,—though the Oxford party happily no longer exists,—the elements of Catholic truth and life which it started into action, are diffusing themselves for good in all portions of the world-wide Church of England.
Dr. Newman passed through the English Church like a bird of brilliant plumage and rapid flight across the face of the sun; or like a phantom ship, emitting portentous light from stem to stern, over the surface of the sea, in the darkness of the night. His sceptical turn of mind, his splendid theorizing, his changes of position, almost too rapid to be followed, have deprived of the influence which they deserve, some of his best works in the Church of England. And, in the Church of Rome, the insecurity, it may be, of the grounds which attached him to that Church, the shifting sands of development upon which he stands; his hard effort to reconcile the Romish claim of infallibility with the free and legitimate exercise of human reason, his restless spirit of speculation, his want of practical assent to tenets which he has formally acknowledged, which he receives, as he says, with blind and implicit faith, perhaps, too, his assignment of the infallibility of Rome to “the Pope in Ecumenical Council," as "its normal seat,” which removes the foundation of the pet dogma of Rome's modern infallibility,—the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary,—have withheld from him that influence and position which his genius, his talent, and his religious devotion would have secured him. He is one of the comets of our human history, and not a star, shedding its steady and benignant radiance in the sky of evening.
But he has found a home, he avers, of perfect religious rest and satisfaction. The implicit submission of such a mind as his to the infallible dicta of Rome, in what she has pronounced, and what she shall still pronounce,—and that, not only “on religious questions,” but “on opinions in secular matters which bear upon religion, on matters of philosophy, of science, of literature, of history,"—is certainly a phenomenon which may excite our attention and our wonder ; and can only be accounted for by the strong desire which we may believe him to have felt, and which appears from his own narrative, to find some protection from the restless beatings of his speculative, perturbed spirit against itself.
He expresses in his Book a willingness to be at peace with the Church of England, as fulfilling, for the nonce, the mission of a half-way house between Rome and Infidelity. But this peace, he says, is an “armed truce," and this position he assumes in behalf of the Romish Church in England, which, in the reign of Elizabeth, was born in ecclesiastical secession and political treason and rebellion, sanctioned and recommended by her sovereign Pontiff, which then erected her altars against altar in a clearly established branch of the Catholic Church, and, in our own day, has converted this missionary aggression into a schismatical establishment within the domain of the English Church. Thus has she violated the first principles of the Episcopacy of the Church, and subjected herself to the plain anathemas of the Ancient General Councils, which she herself recognizes.
Dr. Newman's appreciation of historical truth, his method of historical investigation, his blind and perfect submission of his judgment to the See of Rome, and the spirit which he cherishes towards the Church of England, to whom he cannot help attributing, nevertheless, the Christian Faith that he holds, are strikingly expressed by him on pages 320, 321, 322. Speaking of the completeness of the disappearance from his field of view, of the Churchly position of the English Church, he says :
“I went by, and lo! it was gone; I sought it, but its place could nowhere be found; and nothing can bring it back to me. And, as to its possession of an Episcopal succession from the time of the Aposles,—well, it may have it, and if the Holy See ever so decided, I will believe it, as being the decision of a higher judgment than my own; but for myself, I must have St. Philip's gift, who saw the sacerdotal character on the forehead of a gayly attired youngster, before I can by my own wit acquiesce in it, for antiquarian arguments are altogether unequal to the urgency of visible facts."
We are willing to leave the critical discernment, the knowledge of history, the good taste, and the good feeling of this passage, to speak for themselves. It is one of the saddest exhibitions of the sorcery of Rome, to see it thus transforming the spirits, whose birthright was in the English Church, and whose training was in her noble Universities. “ Antiquarian arguments are altogether unequal to the urgency of visible facts;" a marvellous assertion, as against the Episcopal Succession in England, with the “visible facts" before him, of the heresies, the schisms, the political intrigues, the violence and crime and evil living, which are found so abundantly in the Episcopal Succession of Rome. Did Dr. N. remember the charges of the English Bishops against his Romanizing in the English Church, when he wrote this flippant aspersion upon the Episcopal Succession of England ? This passage is alike remarkable for the scornful feeling which it exhibits towards the English Church, and for the unparallelled method of antiquarian research which it suggests.
The Catholicity of England, and the Catholicity of Rome ! “Look here upon this picture, and on this.” England, holding the whole of the Catholic Faith, with Rome and with Constan
tinople, worshipping with the Liturgies, which are the legacy of the Ancient Catholic Church, defending and conserving the Divine Depositum committed to her, against all the recurring attacks of Romanism and Rationalism; adapting herself, without compromising her Christianity,—as Dr. N. fairly confesses the Church of Rome does not, and as the Pope's Encyclical Letter shews that she does not,—to the advancing Science and knowledge of the world ; becoming thus, in a true Apostolic sense, all things to all men and all ages ; holding out the right hand of fellowship, with these terms of Catholic Communion, to all the Church in all the world, spreading the light of a pure Christianity in all parts of the vast dominion, upon which the sun never sets, and thus making her Catholicity conterminous with the world; going forth, in the name of her Lord, conquering and to conquer, with the weapons of spiritual, and not of carnal warfare !—and Rome, holding up her Creed of Trent, as the emblem of her Catholicity, which all Christendom, besides herself, rejects; sending forth her missions to divide, and not to unite ; intruding, remorselessly, upon the domain of branches of the Church more true, in their inheritance of Catholic Christianity, than herself, and even, in this year of Grace, in the Encyclical Letter of her sovereign pontiff, issued on the anniversary of the definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, the anniversary which marks her latest, new, unwarranted, uncatholic addition to the Catholic Creed, assigning controlling power to the mediation of the Virgin Mary, over the mediation of the "Sovereign Master;" claiming for herself unlimited control over the consciences and the affairs of men, and over the individual exercise of human reason; claiming that violations of sacred law should be punished by temporal penalties ; claiming temporal power as an adjunct of her sovereignty; and anathematizing all who do not, in these high assumptions, accord to her that which she claims !
Truly, which Catholicity is the one reflected from the mirror of the ancient Catholic Church, cannot be matter of doubt. The Catholicity of Rome of to-day, was one which Gregory the First, her greatest Bishop, plainly repudiated and rebuked ; VOL. XVII.