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the first defective, if not radically unsound. Its prosecution was in the charge of men, who, with all their learning, culture, æsthetic or genuine devoutness, had no real fitness for their selfelected task, in a competent theory of reform.
Some good fruits have, doubtless, come of their labors; but the most patent result has been a revival of ceremonialism, a furious or a puerile absorption in an effete ritualism, among those who have remained in the English Episcopacy; and the open perversion to popery of numbers who having packed their luggage for Jerusalem and Alexandria, have turned aside to worship, in St. Peter's, the " virgin mother of God.”
The vitiating element of this movement was a misconception of vital Christianity. It was defeated by its dogmas of baptismal regeneration and sacramental grace. It was an attempt to secure a genuine spiritual growth by an opere operato pressure, that is, an outside discipline and culture. They started on the road whose natural termination is Rome. What marvel that some of them, out-travelling the rest, arrived there? Dr. Newman tells us that from the outset, " hardly any two persons, who took part in the movement, agreed in their view of the limit to which our general principles might religiously be carried”; p. 116. Before this, he had confessed of himself, " Alas ! it was my portion for whole years to remain without any satisfactory basis for my religious profession, in a state of moral sickness, neither able to acquiesce in . Anglicanism, nor able to go to Rome"; pp. 111-112. It was here that he spent toilsome years in endeavoring to construct his famous " Via Media,” which he describes as "but a receding from extremes.” It was an attempt to interpret the Thirty-nine Articles not on the Protestant but the Catholic platform, using the last term in its general and earlier sense. His fundamentals were these; dogma, that is, the Bible does not teach doctrine but only proves what the church teaches—a position which he affirms was also held by Whately, and church of England men generally of the higher type; secondly, the sacramental system of conferring grace; thirdly, opposition to the church of Rome. This ill jointed camp-stool underwent various repairs, but finally broke down hopelessly in " Tract Number 90,” in which Dr. Newman set himself to the deliberate task of proving that the formulas of
his church, its creeds, confessions, articles, could be fairly interpreted in harmony with the decrees of the Council of Trent, and honestly subscribed by a believer in those decrees. In order to this, he was obliged to maintain that no duty is owed by churchmen now to what might have been the convictions of the framers of those symbols, the fathers and martyrs of the English church. An easy way to discharge an obligation is to deny that it has ever been contracted; but it is no more honest in theological and ecclesiastical, than in mercantile affairs. Our casuist abroad, however, had also learned that language may mean whatever it can be made to mean ; that the intentions of creed-makers are not to interpret the sense of their formulas, very contrary to Sir William Blackstone's celebrated rule: "The most universal and effectual way of discovering the true meaning of a law, where the words are dubious, is by considering the reason and spirit of it, or the cause which moved the legislator to enact it.”* Mr. Newman says of this contrivance, after his submission to the Pope : "The Via Media” was an impossible idea ; it was what I had called 'standing on one leg ’; and it was necessary,
old issue of the controversy was to be retained, to go further either one way or the other.” p. 189. It has been our observation generally that most persons who attempt to halt on that road, are compelled, sooner or later, in like manner to move their quarters.
Our concern with this history of religious opinion is not so much to refute its reasonings or to criticise its statements, as to trace the progress of its subject to his final conclusions. The reader is painfully impressed with the vacillation and disquietude of mind every where apparent. Thus, as early as 1833, he confesses " that for years I must have had something of an habitual notion, though it was latent, and had never led me to distrust my own convictions, that my mind had not found its ultimate rest, and that in some sense or other I was on a journey.” It was a chronic weakness, possibly organic, but certainly aggravated by a wrong education. It moves our pity. The religious sensitiveness which, in boyhood, took a strong impression from the evangelical teachers of his church, but came into no real harmony with them, wearies itself in seeking satis
Commentaries, I., 41.
VOL. V.-NO. XXV.
faetion through ordinances and superficial reliefs, perching on
made his submission to the Pope in proper form, and since 1848 has been at the head of the Oratory at Birmingham after the institute of St. Philip Neri.
We are not quite done with this narrative. Dr. Newman's friends whom he has left behind him, will hardly accuse him of seeking to make out a case against them in a few passages which we shall quote as expressing his views of the relation of the English episcopate to its Romish congener. There is every appearance, on his pages, of an earnest desire to find justifying cause of continuance in the communion of his early love. But when he found, as he believed, so much more to conjoin than to divide these establishments, it was the most natural and logical thing for him to go over to the more ancient and wide-spread communion. When censured for his Romanizing tendencies and teachings while yet an incumbent of an Anglican pulpit, he thus exonerates himself:
“Say, that I move sympathies for Rome : in the same sense does Hooker, Taylor, Bull, &c. Their arguments may be against Rome, but the sympathies they raise must be towards Rome ; 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 [Dr. N.'s parish] be in my difficulty? Here it may be said, 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 it.”—pp. 176, 177.
The question does not appear to be so much, whether the excellent and venerable divines thus cited into court, themselves designed to play into the hands of their apostate mother, which no one supposes, as, whether they actually have done it through a silent, unconscious influence, which does not wait for our orders to start upon its often injurious and misleading errands. The next paragraph takes a bolder tone:
" As I spoke on occasion of Tract 90, I claimed, in behalf of who would, that he might hold in the Anglican church a comprecation with the Saints with Bramhall, and the Mass all but Tran
substantiation with Andrewes, or with Hooker that Transubstantiation itself is not a point for churches to part communion upon, or with Hammond that a General Council, truly such never did, never shall err in a matter of faith, or with Bull, that man lost inward grace by the fall, or with Thorndike that penance is a propitiation for post-baptismal sin, or with Pearson that the all powerful name of Jesus is no otherwise given than in the Catholic church. Two can play at that’ was often in my mouth, when men of Protestant sentiments appealed to the Articles, Homilies, or Reformers ; in the sense that, if they had a right to speak loud, I had both the liberty and the means of giving them tit for tat.”
pp. 136, 137. It must be confessed that the longitude of this "historical church," as thus set forth, is of the widest. Late decisions in its own ecclesiastical courts have shown that the line on which its breadth is measured runs as far away from Rome as toward that point. We are moved by no unkindness to a communion which contains so much personal excellence, in saying this ; nor yet in giving another of Dr. Newman's challenges to his former co-religionists, which brings the issue to a still narrower space :
“ Let candid men consider the form of absolution contained in that prayer book, of which all clergymen, evangelical and liberal, as well as high church, and (I think) all persons in University office declare that it containeth nothing contrary to the Word of God.'
I challenge, in the sight of all England, evangelical clergymen generally, to put on paper an interpretation of this form of words, consistent with their sentiments, which shall be less forced than the most objectionable of the interpretations which Tract 90 puts upon any passage in the Articles.
• Our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to His Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in Him, of His great mercy forgive thee thine offences; and by His authority committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.'
I subjoin the Roman form, as used in England and elsewhere : • Dominus noster Jesus Christus te absolvat ; et ego auctoritate ipsius te absolvo, ab omni vinculo excommunicationis et interdicti, in quantum possum et tu indiges. Deinde ego te absolvo à peccatis tuis, in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritûs Sancti. Amen.'”— pp. 130, 131.
These are noticeable and ominous points of resemblance. What impression they made on Dr. Newman's mind and con