Chapter 7. Newman at St. Mary's

{97} FROM 1828 to 1843 Newman was vicar of St. Mary's, as well as chaplain of Littlemore, and preached in the pulpit of St. Mary's those Parochial and Plain, Sermons by which perhaps he has influenced the world more deeply, though not perhaps more widely, than it has ever fallen to any Englishman of our time to influence it through the instrumentality of the pulpit. Mr. Gladstone has described Newman's manner in the pulpit in a speech on preaching, which he delivered at the City Temple in 1887. "When I was an undergraduate of Oxford," he said, "Dr. Newman was looked upon rather with prejudice as what is termed a Low Churchman, but was very much respected for his character and his known ability. Without ostentation or effort, but by simple excellence, he was constantly drawing undergraduates more and more around him. Now Dr. Newman's manner in the pulpit was one about which, if you considered it in its separate parts, you would arrive at very unsatisfactory conclusions. There was not very much change in the inflexion of the voice; action there was none. His sermons were read, and his eyes were always bent on his book; and all that, {98} you will say, is against efficiency in preaching. Yes, but you must take the man as a whole, and there was a stamp and a seal upon him; there was a solemn sweetness and music in the tone; there was a completeness in the figure, taken together with the tone and with the manner, which made even his delivery, such as I have described it, and though exclusively from written sermons, singularly attractive."

I should very much doubt if Newman could ever have been properly described as a Low Churchman after he became the vicar of St. Mary's in 1828. He himself tells us in his Apologia, that between 1822 and 1825 he was fully under the influence of Dr. Hawkins, afterwards the Provost of Oriel, from whom he learned the doctrines of Baptismal Regeneration, and the relation between Scripture and tradition, as moderate High Churchmen understood that relation. Indeed, the first of the two sermons belonging to the year 1828 is a sermon on Baptismal Regeneration, and I do not think it possible that any one who held the views therein set down could properly be described as a Low Churchman. Moreover, on the appearance of The Christian Year in 1827, Newman adopted at once and enthusiastically the sacramental system as it was set forth in The Christian Year, and from 1828, when he was first made vicar of St. Mary's, he became one of Keble's intimate friends and, as one may say, disciples. Hence it is clear, I think, that Newman's reputed Low Churchmanship must have been in 1828 the mere vestige of the character by which he was at first known at Oxford, and not in any respects a true reflection of the teaching to which he gave utterance in the pulpit of his own church. Newman when vicar of St. Mary's must be {99} regarded, I think, as a representative of high ecclesiastical views from the very first. But I need not say that it was not this characteristic of his which gained him the eager attention of the Oxford undergraduates. The very first characteristic about the parochial sermons of this vicar of St. Mary's is, that they are so clear and so emphatic in their recognition of the actual facts of life.

Take as an illustration what may well have been one of the very first sermons preached by him as vicar of St. Mary's on "Religion a weariness to the natural man" (July 27th, 1828, sermon 2 of vol. vii.). Consider the calmness with which he sets the facts of the case before his hearers. "Putting aside for an instant the thought of the ingratitude and the sin which indifference to Christianity implies, let us, as far as we dare, view it merely as a matter of fact, after the manner of the text, and form a judgment on the probable consequences of it; let us take the state of the case as it is proved, and survey it dispassionately, as even an unbeliever might survey it, without at the moment considering whether it is sinful or not; as a misfortune, if we will, or a strange accident, or a necessary condition of our nature—one of the phenomena, as it may be called, of the present world." That is just the way to take the ears of young men, to tell them that you want to put edification for a moment aside, and to face the facts of the world as they are, without moralizing or preaching. Then how vividly he describes the feelings of the young about religion. "The very terms 'religion,' 'devotion,' 'piety,' 'conscientiousness,' 'mortification,' and the like you find to be inexpressibly dull and cheerless; you cannot find fault with them, indeed you {100} would if you could; and whenever the words are explained in particulars and realized, then you do find occasion for exception and objection. But though you cannot deny the claims of religion used as a vague and general term, yet how irksome, cold, uninteresting, uninviting does it at best appear to you! how severe its voice! how forbidding its aspect! With what animation, on the contrary, do you enter into the mere pursuits of time and the world! What bright anticipations of joy and happiness flit before your eyes! How you are struck and dazzled at the view of the prizes of this life, as they are called! How you admire the elegancies of art, the brilliance of wealth, or the force of intellect! According to your opportunities, you mix in the world, you meet and converse with persons of various conditions and pursuits, and are engaged in the numberless occurrences of daily life. You are full of news; you know what this or that person is doing, and what has befallen him; what has not happened, which was near happening, what may happen. You are full of ideas and feelings upon all that goes on around you. But from some cause or other religion has no part, no sensible influence, in your judgment of men and things. It is out of your way. Perhaps you have your pleasure parties; you readily take your share in them time after time; you pass continuous hours in society where you know that it is quite impossible even to mention the name of religion. Your heart is in scenes and places where conversation on serious subjects is strictly forbidden by the rules of the world's propriety." [Note 1]

Nothing could be more characteristic of Newman's {101} preaching than the passage in which he reminds his hearers how greatly they enjoy the little thrill of excitement which accompanies news-telling, nay, not merely news-telling, but telling what, under certain conditions which were "very near happening," but did not happen, the news might have been though it was not; and in what strange contrast this thrill of pleasureable interest in imparting to others the tidings of what might have been as much as a ripple in the stream of time (though in fact it was not even a ripple), stands to the dismay and weariness with which the mere mention of eternal interests is regarded. That profound reality of mind was one of the most important of the characteristics which made Newman's preaching so potent an influence at Oxford.

Again, nothing is more striking—it is indeed another aspect of this same reality of mind—than Newman's constant anxiety not to exaggerate at all in his delineations of human weakness and frivolousness. In the sermon on the duty of self-denial, preached in the Lent of 1830, he describes the preoccupations of ordinary society in a light not very different from that of the sermon I have just quoted; but observe how anxious he is not in the least to exceed the truth. "You may go into mixed society; you will hear men conversing on their friend's prospects, openings in trade, or realized wealth, on his advantageous situation, the pleasant connections he has formed, the land he has purchased, the house he has built; then they amuse themselves with conjecturing what this or that man's property may be, where he lost, where he gained, his shrewdness or his rashness, or his good fortune in this or that speculation. Observe, I do not say that such conversation is wrong; {102} I do not say that we must always have on our lips the very thoughts which are deepest in our hearts, or that it is safe to judge of individuals by such speeches; but when this sort of conversation is the customary standard conversation of the world, and when a line of conduct answering to it is the prevalent conduct of the world (and this is the case), is it not a grave question for each of us, as living in the world, to ask himself what abiding notion we have of the necessity of self-denial, and how far we are clear of the danger of resembling that evil generation which 'ate and drank, which married wives, and were given in marriage, which bought and sold, planted and builded, till it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.'" [Note 2] In the studious guardedness of this criticism of the world's ways lies more than half the impressiveness and power of this sermon.

It is impossible to speak of the extraordinary reality of Newman's sermons at St. Mary's without referring especially to the wonderful sermon preached on the 2nd June, 1839, on "Unreal Words." To more than one living man that sermon has, I believe, been one of the greater influences governing the conduct of their life—I mean, of course, their interior life as well as their external conduct. The teaching that under the Christian Revelation we are "no longer in the region of shadows," that as the true light shines we are bound to avail ourselves of it and make all our professions and words real, and yet that nothing is so rare as reality and singleness of mind, and that we ought to test our own sincerity as Christ so often tested the sincerity of those {103} who made great professions to Him, is enforced with a freshness and dramatic insight that makes the sermon unforgettable. The whole effect of it is to make its readers feel how easy it is to be unconsciously insincere. Newman does not want "to hinder us from obeying," but "to sober us in professing." "To make professions," he says, "is to play with edged tools, unless we attend to what we are saying. Words have a meaning, whether we mean that meaning or not; and they are imputed to us in their real meaning when our not meaning it is our own fault." [Note 3]

This is the sense in which Newman understands our Lord's saying, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Observe, he says, how little reality there is in any speech about matters with which people are not familiar, how absurdly a person entirely unfamiliar with military affairs will blunder if he attempts to make arrangements for the commissariat of an army, or how many ridiculous mistakes will be made by a foreigner who comes over and dashes at once into plans for the supply of our markets. It would be like the mistakes of a dim-sighted man in judging of colours, or a person who had no knowledge of music in criticizing a performance on the organ. It is the same when a stranger offers an amiable panegyric on the manners and character of some one of whom he knows nothing. They praise the wrong things, and if they find fault at all, imagine slights where no slight was intended, discover imaginary meanings in events, and do not understand the difference between one point and {104} another. "They look at them as infants gaze at the objects which meet their eyes, in a vague, unapprehensive way, as if not knowing whether a thing is a hundred miles off or close at hand, whether great or small, hard or soft." [Note 4] Just so unreal, he says, are most men in their religious duties. They pray not with all their hearts in their prayer, but are full of self-consciousness, and dwell on the solemnity of the act in which they are engaged, and attempt to rise to the occasion by feeding their mind on the thought of the greatness of God and the insignificance of man. That is not prayer, but only an inflated reverie to which the thought of prayer may give rise. Of this nature are the commonplaces about the vanity of life and the certainty of death, or the reflections to which people often give utterance in sickness or low spirits—"lifeless sounds whether of pipe or harp." The whole drift of the sermon is concentrated in the sentence, "Aim at things, and your words will be right without aiming." [Note 5] "Let us avoid talking of whatever kind, whether mere empty talking, or censorious talking, or idle profession, or descanting upon Gospel doctrines, or the affectation of philosophy, or the pretence of eloquence." [Note 6] I sincerely believe that many men's lives have been much sincerer and more genuine than they otherwise would have been for the writing and publication of this sermon.

But though reality was the first of Newman's characteristics as a preacher, it would not have been half as effective as it was, had it not been combined with that profound and vivid apprehension of the truth {105} and the marvel of revelation which is so seldom united with realism such as his. Sincere preachers have abounded in recent years, preachers who have shown their sincerity by openly discarding the belief in those truths of the Christian revelation which cannot, after some sort of fashion, be reconciled to what is called "modern thought." Newman held that modern thought needed reforming in the light of the Christian revelation, not the Christian revelation in the light of modern thought. Comparatively early in his pulpit at St. Mary's, as early as 26th August, 1832, he had denounced "the religion of the day," expressly because it accepted only that side of revealed religion which fell in with the tendencies of modern civilization, because it substituted enlightened prudence, or the love of the beautiful, or a mixture of the two, for the awe and fear which conscience inspires and Divine revelation sternly enforces. He did not accommodate his religion to the moral and intellectual atmosphere in which he found himself. If he had, it might have been comparatively easy to him to make men realize vividly what they were, and what he wished them to become. On the contrary, what he wished them to become, involved in every respect a very painful change of attitude, a change which they could not bring about without going through much inward tribulation. "I do not at all deny," he said, "that this spirit of the world uses words and makes professions which it would not adopt except for the suggestions of Scripture; nor do I deny that it takes a general colouring from Christianity, so as really to be modified by it, nay, in a measure, enlightened and exalted by it. Again, I fully grant that many persons in whom this bad spirit shows itself are but {106} partially infected by it, and at bottom good Christians though imperfect. Still, after all here is an existing teaching only partially evangelical, built upon worldly principle, yet pretending to be the Gospel, dropping one whole side of the Gospel, its austere character, and considering it enough to be benevolent, courteous, candid, correct in conduct, delicate,—though it includes no true fear of God, no fervent zeal for His honour, no deep hatred of sin, no horror at the sight of sinners, no indignation and compassion at the blasphemies of heretics, no jealous adherence to doctrinal truth, no especial sensitiveness about the particular means of gaining ends, providing the ends be good, no loyalty to the Holy Apostolic Church of which the creed speaks, no sense of the authority of religion as external to the mind, in a word, no seriousness,—and therefore is neither hot nor cold, but (in Scripture language) lukewarm." [Note 7]

This was the sermon in which Newman boldly denounced the optimistic religions of the day as shallow and false, and expressed his belief that "it would be a gain to this country were it really more superstitious, more bigoted, more gloomy, more fierce in its religion than at present it shows itself to be. Not, of course, that I think the tempers of mind herein implied desirable, which would be an evident absurdity; but I think them infinitely more desirable and more promising than a heathen obduracy and a cold, self-sufficient, self-wise tranquillity." [Note 8] "Miserable," he said, "as were the superstitions of the dark ages, revolting as are the tortures now in use among the heathen of the {107} East, better, far better is it to torture one's body all one's days, and to make this life a hell upon earth, than to remain in a brief tranquillity here, till the pit at length opens under us, and awakens us to an eternal fruitless consciousness and remorse. Think of Christ's own words, 'What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' Again He says, 'Fear Him who after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, fear Him.' Dare not to think that you have got to the bottom of your hearts; you do not know what evil lies there. How long and earnestly must you pray, how many years must you pass in careful obedience, before you have any right to lay aside sorrow, and to rejoice in the Lord?" [Note 9]

From this it is evident that Newman did not hesitate to preach unsparingly what he held to be the austere and threatening side of Christianity. And it is rarely indeed that a man who dares to do this, confronts the facts of human life, and the petty manœuvres and little self-deceptions of the heart, with the exquisite insight and delicate, unexaggerating candour which Newman displayed. Those who preach an austere religion usually take refuge in generalities, laying on the dull colours in impressive masses, which excite the imagination without bringing home to the conscience the actual significance of moral cowardice and worldliness. Newman made no attempt to pile up horrors, but while he kept to the language of Scripture in speaking of what was most awful, he showed a profound and accurate knowledge of the frivolities and self-deceptions of men which gave the world the measure of his appreciation and his hatred of what is worst in men. {108} That a man with so precise and delicate an insight into the subtle and intricate web of human motives should display so hearty an abhorrence of that tainted interior self which he so well understood, and should accept the severest judgments upon it as the very voice of Divine justice, appeared a remarkable vindication of that sternness of the Divine mind on which he insisted with so much vividness and force. That so sympathetic and musical a voice should cry aloud and spare not, was of itself a singular testimony to the forbearance of the Divine wrath, and to the searching fire of the Divine love.

For the tenderness and pathos in these sermons are at least as striking as their delicate realism and their uncompromising severity. There is a genuine marvel in the combination of so much sweetness and pity with so much sternness. We almost hear again the thrill of the subdued voice as we read those passages with which the sermons abound, where the overwhelming miracle of grace is delineated. For instance—"All the trouble which the world inflicts upon us, and which flesh cannot but feel,—sorrow, pain, care, bereavement,—these avail not to disturb the tranquillity and the intensity with which faith gazes upon the Divine Majesty. All the necessary exactness of our obedience, the anxiety about failing, the pain of self-denial, the watchfulness, the zeal, the self-chastisements which are required of us, as little interfere with this vision of faith as if they were practised by another, not by ourselves. We are two or three selves at once, in the wonderful structure of our minds, and can weep while we smile, and labour while we meditate." [Note 10] {109}

Or take the passage in one of the sermons on the Epiphany, in which Newman illustrates from ordinary human life that transitory gleam of earthly glory which Christ had in His infancy, when an angel announced His coming, Elizabeth saluted Him still unborn as her Lord, when the shepherds worshipped at the message they received from on high, and a star blazed above the humble roof under which He entered into our sorrows. "It often happens that when persons are in serious illnesses, and in delirium in consequence, or other disturbance of mind, they have some few minutes of respite in the midst of it, when they are even more than themselves, as if to show us what they really are, and to interpret for us what else would be dreary. And, again, some have thought that the minds of children have on them traces of something more than earthly, which fade away as life goes on, but are the promise of what is intended for them hereafter. And somewhat in this way, if we may dare compare ourselves with our gracious Lord, in a parallel though higher way, Christ descends to the shadows of this world, with the transitory tokens on Him of that future glory into which He could not enter till He had suffered. The star burned brightly over Him for a time, though it then faded away." [Note 11]

But what was most pathetic in Newman's sermons at St. Mary's was not so much the tenderness of feeling which he combined with great severity of conscience,—though that was most pathetic,—as the perpetual and constant struggle he made to convince a world that was not at all disposed to be convinced on {110} that head, that Christianity is not compatible with that eager and almost headlong immersion in external pursuits and practical cares which seems to be the special temptation of the English genius and temperament. Englishmen, so long, at all events, as they restrain themselves within given rules of conduct, are visited by no compunctions when they plunge into life and take their fill, as it were, of its joys and griefs, its anxieties and cares. They have no wish at all to be "detached" from this cheery and vehement fashion of living, no conviction even that they ought to be detached from it.

But Newman from the first date of his preaching in St. Mary's strove to drive home to his hearers his own profound conviction that such a life is not the Christian's life at all, and he pressed this upon them, till at last he was all but convinced that he could not press it on them with any success from his Anglican position, and must find some other Church in which he could, in his own opinion, more consistently preach that some degree of detachment of the heart from the joys and cares of this life, and of steady increase in the degree of this detachment, is essential to that growth in the love of God upon which all religious and moral discipline is intended to concentrate itself and in which it should find its consummation. He seems to have become gradually persuaded that this ideal of life was the opposite of the genuine Protestant ideal, and that the reason why Protestant nations on the whole beat the Roman Catholic nations in the race for predominance, is precisely this, that they give their hearts to that race, while the Roman Catholics, the more they are filled with the spirit of their religion, the more detach their hearts from the earthly struggle, and when they {111} are untrue to it, illustrate the saying that "the corruption of the best is the worst."

I have shown how trenchant was Newman's denunciation of the mere religion of civilization as early as 1832, thirteen years before he abandoned the Anglican Church. During the whole of that time an impression was, I think, steadily growing, which eventually assumed the force of a conviction, that the theology of the Via Media would not hold water, that the religion of the Via Media would never hold its own without the aid of those witnesses to the blessedness of worship which regular religious orders, devoted even in this world to the life of adoration, afford, and that Anglicanism aims too much at a compromise between different ideals of life, ever to sustain heartily religious orders of this kind. I have shown his feeling as to "the Religion of the Day" in 1832. Let me take one of the sermons of 1836 (vol. iv. sermon xx.), called "The Ventures of Faith," which shows how this feeling, that even the Christian life of the Anglican communion was not what it should be, was growing upon him even then, though he was far from feeling as yet any doubt at all as to the Church to which he owed his loyalty and love. He asks, how would Christians be greater losers (as they ought to be of course) than any other men, supposing, what is impossible, that Christ's promises were to fail? "What have we ventured for Christ?" he asks; "what have we given to Him on a belief of His promise?"—namely, that if we forsake all for Christ, Christ will Himself reward us both in this life and the next. "The Apostle said that he and his brethren would be of all men the most miserable if the dead were not raised. {112} Can we in any degree apply this to ourselves? We think, perhaps, at present we have some hope of heaven; well, this we should lose, of course; but how should we be worse off as to our present condition? A trader who has embarked some property in a speculation which fails, not only loses his prospect of gain, but somewhat of his own which he ventured with the hope of the gain. This is the question—What have we ventured? I really fear, when we come to examine, it will be found that there is nothing we resolve, nothing we do, nothing we do not do, nothing we avoid, nothing we choose, nothing we give up, nothing we pursue, which we should not resolve, and do, and not do, and avoid, and choose, and give up, and pursue, if Christ had not died and heaven were not promised us. I really fear that most men called Christians, whatever they may profess, whatever they may think they feel, whatever warmth and illumination and love they may claim as their own, yet would go on almost as they do, neither much better nor much worse, if they believed Christianity to be a fable. When young they indulge their lusts, or at least pursue the world's vanities; as time goes on they get into a fair way of business or other mode of making money; then they marry and settle; and their interest coinciding with their duty, they seem to be, and think themselves, respectable and religious men; they grow attached to things as they are; they begin to have a zeal against vice and error; and they follow after peace with all men. Such conduct indeed, as far as it goes, is right and praiseworthy. Only I say it has not necessarily anything to do with religion at all; there is nothing in it which is any proof of the presence of religious principle in those who adopt {113} it; there is nothing they would not do still, though they had nothing to gain from it except what they gain from it now: they do gain something now, they do gratify their present wishes, they are quiet and orderly because it is their interest and taste to do so; but they venture nothing, they risk, they sacrifice, they abandon nothing, on the faith of Christ's word."

And then Newman went on to say that St. Barnabas, for instance, had a property in Cyprus which he gave up for the poor of Christ, and that he therefore did something that he would not have done unless the Gospel were true, and that if the Gospel could have turned out a fable, St. Barnabas would have made a great mistake. But which of us, he asks, does what St. Barnabas did—gives up the prospect of wealth or eminence in order to be nearer Christ, or puts off worldly comforts, or schools himself by inflicting on himself voluntary penances for his sins, or even in prospect of wealth honestly and heartily prays that he may never be rich, because he thinks that riches would alienate his heart from Christ? Yet if we do none of these things, we are not really shaping our whole earthly course by Christ's promises, and making our life quite other than it would have been but for those promises. Such was Newman's pathetic impatience with the apparent absence in the Anglican Church of anything like habitual renunciation of the world as early even as 1836. But the feeling certainly grew rapidly before he first began to entertain any doubt that he was in a true Church. In a sermon preached on the 3rd March, 1839, on "Endurance, the Christian's portion," he expresses most pathetically his belief, that Christians who live a perfectly serene and happy life have {114} forfeited by their unfaithfulness the promise made to Christians of suffering in this world, which our Lord and St. Paul, and indeed all the Apostles, gave, and that their prosperity and good understanding with the world are as much proof that they are not living in obedience to the revealed truth, as the troubles and sufferings of the Jews under the Mosaic dispensation were proof that they (who had been promised prosperity if they did obey God's law) were not living in obedience to that truth.

He insists especially on the prosperity derived from the alliance of the State with the Church, as a kind of prosperity earned by unfaithfulness to the Church's true interests. "If 'the present distress' of which St. Paul speaks does not denote the ordinary state of the Christian Church, the New Testament is scarcely written for us, but must be remodelled before it can be made apply. There are men of the world in this day who are attempting to supersede the precepts of Christ about almsgiving and the maintenance of the poor. We are accustomed to object that they contravene Scripture. Again, we hear of men drawing up a Church government for themselves, or omitting Sacraments, or modifying doctrines. We say they do not read Scripture rightly. They answer, perhaps, that Scripture commands or countenances many things which are not binding on us eighteen hundred years after. They consider that the management of the poor, the form of the Church, the power of the State over it, the nature of its faith, or the choice of its ordinances, are not points on which we need rigidly keep to Scripture; that times have changed. This is what they say; and can we find fault with them if {115} we ourselves allow that the New Testament is a dead letter in another most essential part of it? Is it strange that they should think that the world may now tyrannize over the Church, when we allow that the Church may now indulge in the world? Surely they do but make a fair bargain with us; both they and we put aside Scripture, and then agree together—we to live in ease, and they to rule. We have taken the world's pay, and must not grudge its yoke. Independence surely is not the Church's privilege, unless hardship is her portion. Well, and perhaps affliction, hardship, distress, ill-usage, evil report, are her portion, both promised and bestowed, though at first sight they may seem not to be. What proof is there that temporal happiness was the gift of the Law, which will not avail for temporal adversity being that of the Gospel? ... You will say perhaps that the Jewish promise was suspended on a condition, the condition of obedience, and that the Jews forfeited the reward because they did not merit it. True; let it be so. And what hinders, in like manner, if Christians are in prosperity, not in adversity, that it is because they too have forfeited the promise and privilege of affliction by disobedience?" [Note 12]

The pathos of this self-accusation, that he and his friends had forfeited the privilege of adversity which Christ had promised, by disobedience, seems to me perfectly unique. Yet pathos of this kind runs like a silver thread through the whole series of Oxford sermons. Obviously Newman was very restive under the political conditions of the Establishment, not only because he wanted to obtain a greater independence {116} for the Church than the political alliance with the State admitted, but also because he resented the comfort, the ease, the sleek serenity, the worldly consideration and influence over worldly people, to which the alliance with the State had brought our Anglican clergy. He believed that no Church which was full of the spirit of Christ could possibly be on such good terms with the spirit of the world.

This was the line of thought which led Newman to the position which he took up so decidedly in 1843, when he was already wavering in his allegiance to the Church of England, as to the true character of "The Apostolical Christian"; and the pathos of his faith and his self-distrust was never more powerfully expressed.

He preached on this subject early in February 1843, and it was obvious from this sermon whither his thoughts were leading him [Note 13]. It is possible, he said, to draw out from the New Testament itself the typical characteristics of the Christian of the first age of the Church, only we had read the passages which describe him so often that we had lost the power of taking in their true meaning. The first of the characteristics of a "Bible Christian" was to be "without worldly ties or objects, to be living in this world but not for this world." St. Paul says, "Our conversation is in heaven;" and again, "Here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come." And it is from heaven, St. Paul tells us, that he looks for Christ. This, said Newman, was the chief mark of the Christian of the early Church—that he was one who looked for Christ, "not for gain, or distinction, or power, or pleasure, or comfort." The affections were {117} to be set "on things above, not on things of the earth." Hence watching was an especial mark of the Scripture Christian. "What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch." And the primitive Christians kept the command. "They were continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God." "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women." Peter goes up to the housetop to pray at the sixth hour. Paul and Silas pray and sing praises at midnight in their prison. The Church of Tyre bring Paul on his way out of the city, and kneel down on the shore and pray. And the result of all this watching and prayer is that the primitive Christians became "a simple, innocent, grave, humble, patient, meek, and loving body, without earthly advantages or worldly influence." They unite their possessions and have them in common, and are of one heart and one soul, and distribution is made by the Apostles to every man according as he has need. They take literally the exhortation to have their treasure in heaven, and not one which moth and rust can corrupt; they obey the injunction, "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;" and again, that implied in "how hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God." They take literally the suggestion, "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." "Love not the world, neither the things of the world," was the rule of their life. "Be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind," was the ideal of their inward character. They earnestly desired with St. Paul that the world should be crucified to them, and they unto the world. {118} In a word, "they love God, and give up the world." And finally, they glory in their tribulations, to use St. Paul's language. These troubles borne for Christ are a genuine source of joy to them. They are blessed in their mourning, and in their hungering and thirsting, and poverty and privations, as Christ promised them that they should be. Newman then entreats his hearers in the following pathetic words—"Bear to look at the Christianity of the Bible; bear to contemplate the idea of a Christian traced by inspiration without gloss or comment, or tradition of men. Bear to have read to you a number of texts, texts which might be multiplied sevenfold; texts which can be confronted by no others; which are no partial selections, but a specimen of the whole of the New Testament." [Note 14] It does not follow, he says, that all men are called upon to imitate this model to the life,—though he does not explain why it does not follow, supposing that these commands were given, as they were, to all the first disciples of Christ, and that apparently they were followed by the primitive Church as a whole;—but whether that follows or not, it is at least true that this was the life enjoined on His followers by our Lord, and it is also true, that in all ages there have been plenty of persons who followed them literally. When asked who these are, Newman answers,—and it must have taken great gallantry and courage to make this answer in an Oxford pulpit at that day,—"I am loth to say; I have reason to ask you to be honest and candid, for so it is, as if from consciousness of the fact, and dislike to have it urged upon us, we and our forefathers have been accustomed to scorn and ridicule these {119} faithful, obedient persons, and in our Saviour's very words, 'to cast out their name as evil for the Son of man's sake.' But if the truth must be spoken, what are the humble monk and the holy nun, and other regulars, as they were called, but Christians after the very pattern given us in Scripture? What have they done but this—perpetuate in the world the Christianity of the Bible? Did our Saviour come on earth suddenly, as He will one day visit it, in whom would He see the features of the Christians whom He and His Apostles left behind them but in them? Who but these give up home and friends, and wealth and ease, good name and liberty of will, for the kingdom of heaven? Where shall we find the image of St. Paul, or St. Peter, or St. John, or of Mary the mother of Mark, or of Philip's daughters, but in those who, whether they remain in seclusion, or are sent over the earth, have calm faces, and most plaintive voices, and spare frames, and gentle manners, and hearts weaned from the world, and wills subdued; and for their meekness meet with insult, and for their purity with slander, and for their gravity with suspicion, and for their courage with cruelty; yet meet with Christ everywhere—Christ their all-sufficient, everlasting portion, to make up to them, both here and hereafter, all they suffer, all they dare, for His Name's sake?"

This is the sermon which seems to me to announce most clearly the change of faith which was coming, but which was still deferred for more than two years. And the pangs of the anticipated rupture give to the pathos of all his sermons at this time the most exquisite tenderness and depth. Evidently he had made up his mind that detachment from the world was {120} enjoined by our Lord on His followers, and could see evidence of that detachment partially indeed in the secular clergy of Catholic countries, but completely only in the "Regular Clergy" of Christian monasticism. He never explains why he thinks that which is obligatory on those who set the example, is not obligatory also on the Christian community at large, why it should need a distinct call to make it the duty of ordinary Christians now, to act like the ordinary Christians of the primitive Church. He suggests that Ananias and Sapphira were not required to give up all their property, but were only required to be honest in stating what it was that they had given up. And he speaks of them as a proof that "those great surrenders which Scripture speaks of are not incumbent on all Christians. They could not be voluntary," he says, "if they were duties; they could not be meritorious if they were not voluntary." But if that be so, surely a great part of the literalness he has demanded for the interpretation of our Lord's words, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me," vanishes at once. Either these and similar passages exclude from true discipleship all who do not make these sacrifices, or they do not; and if they do not, surely they cannot be said to lay an absolute obligation on the Church at all. However, Newman had satisfied himself that what was imposed on those who were to set a Christian example was not imposed on all the followers of Christ, and this sermon was the announcement that he could see no true Church except where the ecclesiastical motive-power at least was in the hands of men who had renounced the joys of the world for Christ's sake, in other words, was in the {121} hands of a self-denying clergy, and under the moral influence of the great monastic orders.

Newman's next sermon, preached within a fortnight of this, and bringing out still more completely the deep pathos of his situation in a Church which he loved dearly but revered less every year, was that on "Wisdom and Innocence," which so painfully impressed the late Canon Kingsley, and served to convince him that not only had truth "never been a virtue with the Roman clergy," but that "Father Newman informs us that it had not, and on the whole ought not to be, that cunning is the weapon which Heaven has given to the saints wherewith to withstand the brute force of the wicked world, which marries and is given in marriage." And no doubt the sermon was Newman's own answer to the assertion that the independent ecclesiastical polity which he so much preferred to the humdrum Anglican establishment, has usually been disfigured by a diplomatic and furtive policy, which is plainly inconsistent with Christian rectitude and courage. What he said in answer to this was to put forward our Lord's injunction to His disciples, to meet the persecutions of the world of which He forewarned them by being "wise as serpents and harmless as doves." They were to go forth as "sheep in the midst of wolves," but not with the helplessness and witlessness of sheep. They were to injure no one, but they were to be prudent and wary, and not to expose themselves to unnecessary danger. They were to use a certain reserve, and not blurt out what would merely irritate the world without some sufficient hope of teaching the world. Now such conduct produces in the world the impression of duplicity and craft, an impression which is greatly heightened when it is observed {122} how successful Christians are in spreading their teaching not only in spite of their weakness but in consequence of it, for the blessing of God which rests upon the diffusion of the truth, and has of course a supernatural effect, is not recognized by the world, and so the world assumes that there must be great subtlety and craft where there was really nothing more than simplicity of purpose and the presence of mind which absolute faith brings with it. And no doubt Newman's was a sufficient explanation of the disposition of the world to ascribe craft and subtlety to the primitive Christians.

But Newman hardly recognized how thoroughly the maxim that the corruption of the best is the worst, applies to the ecclesiastical type of character, and how often that reserve and prudence which Christ enjoined has been transformed in that character into the duplicity and cunning which the world justly condemns. "Bishops," he said, "have been called hypocritical in submitting and yet opposing themselves to the civil power in a matter of plain duty if a popular movement was the consequence; and then hypocritical again if they did their best to repress it." [Note 15] No doubt they have, sometimes unjustly, and sometimes quite justly. It is a very difficult matter, especially when a great and able ecclesiastic finds himself pitted against a violent world, to keep his actions steadfastly within the lines of strict Christian simplicity and charity, and when he once transgresses these lines, he soon shows us how much easier it is to discredit the Church than to bring disgrace on the world. I don't think that the sermon itself was at all open to Mr. Kingsley's {123} interpretation of it; but I do think that, considered as an historical apology for the ecclesiastical type of character, it did need much stronger admissions than any which Newman gave as to the perversions to which that type of character has shown itself to be liable. As a defence of the humility and meekness of the primitive Church, it is very effective to say, as Newman did of her bitter enemies, "It is easy to insinuate, when men are malevolent, that those who triumph through meekness have affected the meekness to secure the triumph," but men who were not malevolent have made that remark concerning many of the ecclesiastical politicians for whose indirectness of policy it was supposed—perhaps mistakenly—that this sermon was intended to offer an apology. Perhaps the sermon would have answered its purpose better if a franker confession had been made, that Churchmen, in obeying their Lord's command, have been apt to mingle a good deal too much of the wisdom of the serpent with a good deal too little of the harmlessness of the dove; and that when they have done so, they have evolved a type of character inferior instead of superior to the worldly character which devotes itself to the same order of affairs.

On the whole, I think that Newman's extraordinary power in the pulpit of St. Mary's was due to the wonderful blending of the reality of his insight into human life and character with his absolute faith in revelation and the spiritual world which that revelation opened to his view, heightened as these great gifts were by a nature singularly sensitive to the pangs of lacerated feelings and wounded affections, and subjected to a severe strain by his gradual discovery that his ideal of the Christian character and Christian {124} doctrine was undermining his position as a Christian teacher, and demanding from him the one act of self-denial which he had long taught himself to regard as one of deliberate disobedience to the spiritual authority which he regarded as speaking to him with God's own voice. The great difference between his style as an Anglican teacher and his style as a Catholic teacher, was due to the profound pathos of his situation in the former position, and the comparative freedom of his situation in the latter. In both positions the delicacy and tenderness of his nature made themselves powerfully felt, but in the former he spoke like one repressing the anxious forebodings of his own heart, in the latter like one pouring out the pity of an enfranchised spirit.

As University preacher Newman perhaps hardly exerted so characteristic an influence as he did in the sermons in which he strove chiefly to drive home the significance of the Christian revelation. His University sermons may be said to be more or less attempts to discover the true relation of Reason to Faith, and great as these sermons are, abounding in passages of the highest power, and here and there of great eloquence, beauty, and pathos, they are not so saturated with the nature of the man, as the "parochial" sermons and the sermons on Subjects of the Day. Still the great series discussing the relation of Faith to Reason is a very memorable series, and the wonderful sermon on The Theory of Development in Religious Doctrine with which it closes, is probably among the noblest ever composed on what may be called the method of revelation. The whole series is full of new light on a subject which has been frequently treated since, the relation of implicit to {125} explicit reason, though seldom with anything like Newman's power and lucidity. Indeed, the subject interested him so deeply that he took it up again five-and-twenty years after his conversion in his Grammar of Assent. Newman started with an exposition of the mistaken idea which the sceptical world usually attaches to the word "Faith," as a species of weak and superstitious apology for reason, foundationless belief which contents itself rather with an excuse for credulity than with anything that deserves the name of evidence. A rustic will sometimes adduce as evidence of some strange event, that the tree under the shade of which it happened is still to be seen growing, and that he himself has seen it, or that the very room in which it took place is known to him. Faith, according to Newman, is usually supposed by the world to be an imbecile reason of such a kind as this. But in reality, he argued, faith has its origin in eagerness to believe that for which the evidence is more antecedent and presumptive than a posteriori and inductive. But such an eagerness to believe may be, and often is, a perfectly just and in the highest sense reasonable eagerness, where it is the outcome of the highest tendencies which are implicit, or folded up in man's nature; whereas it is an unjust and unreasonable eagerness to believe, where it is the outcome of the poorer and baser part of his nature; the difference being that in the former case the eagerness to believe proceeds from what is supreme over man, or divine, while in the latter case it proceeds from what is selfish and tainted in man, and far from having any authority to secure our submission. But apart from the question of moral predisposition, Newman was concerned to show also how readily the {126} sceptical world itself does trust these prepossessions, which it regards as merely superstitions in the region of religion, when they are the prepossessions of a great practical genius, as, for example, a military genius like Napoleon's. "Consider," he said, "the preternatural sagacity with which a great general knows what his friends and enemies are about, and what will be the final result, and where, of their combined movements, and then say whether, if he were required to argue the matter in word or on paper, all his most brilliant conjectures might not be refuted, and all his producible reasons exposed as illogical." [Note 16] In other words, such a general reasons by the antecedent presumptions of the case, and the least straw of evidence is sufficient to confirm these presumptions, whereas, if he had gone by the explicit evidence alone, he could not have ventured to draw any confident conclusions at all. Whence does such a general gather his antecedent presumptions? Evidently from all his previous studies, and partly even from all his previous reveries and imaginations as to the proper mode of conducting campaigns, just as a first-rate mountaineer, to use another of Newman's illustrations [Note 17], uses all his previous experience in climbing when he scales a steep cliff, using his eyes, his hands, his feet, his physical endowments of every kind, in some combination of which he cannot in the least analyze the proportions, and one probably which no one else could imitate, to achieve a feat which no one else could perform.

"And such is the way in which all men, gifted or not gifted, commonly reason—not by rule, but by an {127} inward faculty." Newman held that this especially applies to the way in which faith outstrips what is ordinarily called evidence. Just as a man who knows another intimately will judge by the slightest grain of evidence undecipherable to any one else what was his motive and what his line of conduct under given circumstances, though the actual story of what he did may be only half extant, so the prophet or apostle understood what God was doing before any one else understood it, and so the disciple of that prophet or apostle understood what his Master intended when the outside world was in perplexity and amazement. And so too in all the moral experience of life, the quick and vigilant conscience finds the clue to God's purposes more easily and with more certainty than the slow and sluggish conscience; and what one man rejects as evidence altogether, and deems too trivial to be of any account, except to the superstitious, and from his point of view rightly so rejects, another man with a different moral experience accepts eagerly as for him absolutely convincing, and rightly so accepts. In short, Newman maintains that implicit reasoning is a far more active and useful agent in actual life than explicit reasoning, and accounts for a great deal more of the practical wisdom of life. Courts of justice must go chiefly by explicit evidence, as they are not familiar with the ways and motives of those with whom they deal; but it would be as foolish for men who do know these ways and motives to trammel themselves with legal rules, as it would for Marlborough or Napoleon to trammel themselves with the formal principles of strategy, though their own minds contained not only all that had yielded these formal principles, but a great {128} deal more beside. And especially Newman maintains, that in judging of revelation man must guide himself, if he would guide himself rightly, more by the craving and love for God, which is God's witness in the heart, than by the external evidence of the supernatural as it is presented to him in treatises on Christian evidence.

Newman took up the same theme in the great University sermon on "The Theory of Development in Religious Doctrine." It was preached in February 1843, and was, I suppose, the last University sermon preached by him in the University pulpit, though he remained an Anglican, nominally at least, during the two years of his retirement at Littlemore. In that sermon he starts virtually from the maxims which, as he tells us, he learnt from Scott, the author of the commentaries, that the true test of life is growth, but he applies it in a somewhat novel way to the dogmatic development of the impressions derived from revelation. "Reason," he said, "has not only submitted, it has ministered to faith; it has illustrated its documents; it has raised illiterate peasants into philosophers and divines; it has elicited a meaning from their words which their immediate hearers little suspected. Stranger surely is it that St. John should be a theologian than that St. Peter should be a prince. This is a phenomenon proper to the gospel and a note of divinity. Its half sentences, its overflowings of language, admit of development; they have a life in them which shows itself in progress; a truth which has the token of consistency; a reality which is fruitful in resources; a depth which extends into mystery; for they are representations of what is actual, and has a definite location, and necessary bearing, and a meaning in the great system of things, and {129} a harmony in what it is, and a compatibility in what it involves. What form of Paganism can furnish a parallel? What philosopher has left his words to posterity as a talent which could be put to usury, as a mine which could be wrought? Here too is the badge of heresy; its dogmas are unfruitful; it has no theology, so far forth as it is heresy it has none. Deduct its remnant of Catholic theology and what remains? Polemics, explanations, protests." [Note 18]

Newman goes on to explain the process by which the impressions of God derived from the inspired teachers of the Church took hold of the mind of the first ages and worked upon them—often without getting any explicit acknowledgment for years or even centuries together,—yet showing their vitality at least by the decision with which they rejected and shook off misconceptions inconsistent with their full development. "The Christian mind," he says, "reasons out a series of dogmatic statements one from another," but reasons them out "not from those statements taken in themselves as logical propositions, but as being itself enlightened and (as if) inhabited by that sacred impression which is prior to them, which acts as a regulating principle, ever present, upon the reasoning, and without which no one has any warrant to reason at all. Such sentences as 'the Word was God,' or as 'the Only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father,' or 'the Word was made flesh,' or 'the Holy Ghost which proceedeth from the Father,' are not a mere letter which we may handle by the rules of art at our own will, but august tokens of most simple, ineffable, adorable facts, embraced, enshrined {130} according to its measure in the believing mind." [Note 19] Thus "Scripture begins a series of developments which it does not finish," but it records these first living impressions, while the developed dogmas do but mark out, as it were, so far as it is possible to do so, the real range, depth, and character of those impressions.

The multiplicity of propositions implies no multiplicity of dogmas, but resembles rather the multiplicity of observations taken in the trigonometrical survey of any country, of any conspicuous landmark or mountain-top. These imply, of course, no complexity in that landmark, but only that it is necessary to determine the bearing upon it of all the other points from which it can be seen. Observations are added to observations not with the view of multiplying landmarks, but with the view of making it quite clear how other things stand with relation to it. And so propositions are added to propositions in the definition of dogma, not because the Divine reality described is itself complex, but because being so much beyond and above us, it is not easy to fix our thoughts with regard to it without describing the impressions it makes upon us from a great many different points of view.

But then Newman raises the abstract difficulty, how it is possible for the infinite Being to make on a finite being any adequate impression that will reveal His nature at all. If God's nature is infinite, the impression or idea it produces within us must be infinite also in order to be adequate; and if our nature is finite, no impression or idea to which it is adequate can be other than finite. And to a certain extent Newman concedes {131} this, since Scripture itself treats our human knowledge even of God as He is revealed as necessarily inadequate, as the knowledge obtained by gazing through a glass darkly, and not as it will be when we are face to face; but he maintains that though it may be inadequate, it need not be without that real correspondence with the Divine nature which constitutes real knowledge. Just as geometry and the higher analysis are totally different, and each in their way inadequate methods of elaborating the same necessary truths, one failing to cover the ground at one point, the other falling short at another point, and yet both agreeing substantially in their results, and each enabling us to push our real knowledge of space further, so he says theology by calling in symbol and metaphor, and making use now of one part of our nature, now of another, by stimulating our conscience, exalting the emotions, and stretching our intellectual grasp, gives us knowledge of the real correspondence between God's nature and ours. And then he goes on to that noble passage, probably unequalled in its kind since the writings of St. Augustine, in which he dwells upon the wonders of musical expression, as suggesting that in spite of its limitations, human nature contains within itself elements capable of expansion into infinite and eternal meanings:—"There are seven notes in the scale; make them fourteen, yet what a slender outfit for so vast an enterprise! What science brings so much out of so little? Out of what poor elements does some great master in it create his new world! Shall we say that all this exuberant inventiveness is a mere ingenuity or trick of art, like some game or fashion of the day, without reality, without meaning? {132} We may do so, and then perhaps we shall also account the science of theology to be a matter of words; yet as there is a divinity in the theology of the Church, which those who feel cannot communicate, so is there also in the wonderful creation of sublimity and beauty of which I am speaking. To many men the very names which the science employs are utterly incomprehensible. To speak of an idea or a subject seems to be fanciful or trifling; to speak of the views which it opens upon us to be childish extravagance; yet is it possible that that inexhaustible evolution and disposition of notes, so rich yet so simple, so intricate yet so regulated, so various yet so majestic, should be a mere sound which is gone and perishes? Can it be that these mysterious stirrings of heart, and keen emotions, and strange yearnings after we know not what, and awful impressions from we know not whence, should be wrought in us by what is unsubstantial, and comes and goes, and begins and ends in itself? It is not so; it cannot be. No; they have escaped from some higher sphere; they are the outpourings of eternal harmony in the medium of created sound; they are echoes from our Home; they are the voice of Angels, or the magnificat of Saints, or the living laws of Divine government, or the Divine Attributes; something are they beside themselves, which we cannot compass, which we cannot utter—though mortal man, and he perhaps not otherwise distinguished above his fellows, has the gift of eliciting them." [Note 20]

And then passing into that idealistic mood of thought to which he had been prone from his earliest {133} boyhood, Newman suggests once more that, knowing so little as we do of the ultimate causes even of our sensations and perceptions, it may well be that the whole structure of the universe, physical no less than intellectual and moral, is but a system intended to educate the spirit into a right frame of mind towards the moral and spiritual realities of the universe, indeed to inspire us with trust—trust that the knowledge which we gain from it, whether it be greater or less, whether it be exact or vague, whether it tell us precisely what we suppose it to tell us, or only brings our minds as closely as they admit of being brought into correspondence with the ultimate realities of things, is the best that we could have in our present state, and may be implicitly depended on to do for us all that knowledge could do until "the day break and the shadows flee away." In other words, if the theological conceptions provided by revelation are to be regarded as purely relative, and as adapted more or less to our finite apprehension, yet so far from there being any reason to think of them as less intrinsically true than the affirmations of our senses and our judgments concerning sensible objects, there is not a little reason to suppose that while all are relative to our capacities, these truths of revelation are those which approximate more closely to absolute truths than any others within our reach. The highest creeds are doubtless unworthy of the Divine verities, but they contain the fullest measure of truth of which our nature admits. They contain the truth "as far as they go, and under the conditions of thought which human feebleness imposes. It is true that God is without beginning, if eternity may worthily be considered to imply succession; in {134} every place if He who is a Spirit can have relations with place. It is right to speak of His Being and Attributes, if He be not rather superessential; it is true to say that He is wise or powerful, if we may consider Him other than the most simple Unity. He is truly Three if He is truly One; He is truly One if the idea of Him falls under earthly number. He has a triple personality in the sense in which the Infinite can be understood to have Personality at all." [Note 21]

And perhaps this is the place to say that I think Newman in his idealism emphasizes too much the unknowable aspect of the Divine nature. Surely he insists too much on the pure mysteries revealed to us, and too little on that wonderful character of God displayed in the gospels, which is the consummation of all the teaching of the law and the prophets, and which is hardly to be classed under conceptions, which either assert or deny boundary at all. Is there not something in man's character which simply ignores quantitative rules and measures? Does it add much to our conception of our Lord's human nature and life to speak of it as bounded or as not bounded by finite limitations? Is it not like attributing colour to a thought, or locality to an idea? However difficult it may be for us to understand the relation of the Eternal Father to the Eternal Son, and of both to the Eternal Spirit, and of all three Divine Persons to the One God, it is comparatively easy to understand that God, whether Father, Son, or Spirit, or the unity of the three, is manifested in Christ, and that, in the singular combination of His meekness and His austerity, His {135} mercy and His wrath, His patience and His unyieldingness, His resolve to shed blessing on evil and good alike, and His unshrinking recognition that nevertheless there are those who transform their best blessings into sentences of condemnation on themselves, we get a glimpse which cannot deceive us of the true creative spirit, a glimpse which is none the less true though we are in apprehension limited, and He unlimited. It seems to me that Newman might have insisted more than he has done on the absolute character of the moral and spiritual revelation given us in the life of Christ; and that it is more because this revelation cannot stand alone, without some clear glimpse of how the same being can have been both God and man, that what he insists on as the dogmatic doctrine of the Trinity has come to be of the essence of revealed truth.

No one who knows Newman's writings well can doubt for a moment that from first to last the conviction that all the true light of the world is to be found in revelation has dominated his thoughts. But I think he has insisted a good deal more than he need have done on the subordinate difficulties before which the human mind reels, and a good deal less than he need on the commanding truths, in the warmth of which the human mind expands. Admit that there are economies, admit that there are adaptations, admit that there are symbolic elements in theology which are at best only the nearest approximations to the truth of which finite minds admit, yet surely there are clear rays of absolute truth, which are more than "economies," more than adaptations, more than symbols of reality, in the character of our Lord. He was like the sunshine and {136} the rain in diffusing his mercy on the grateful and the ungrateful alike, and in turning the other cheek, as Providence in its wider administration of human affairs so often seems to do, to him who has struck a passionate blow at Divine goodness. But while Christ impersonated the large and serene benignity of the Divine nature, which so steadily ignores ingratitude and even insult where they proceed from men who have not yet come to themselves, who have not realized that they are dealing with an individual character so far above their own that their ingratitude and insults carry no sting at all, except so far as they show evil in themselves, yet He impersonated also the sternness and the inexorability of God towards perverted consciences and consummated sin. Surely in this power of diffusing the sunshine and dew among the evil and the good alike, of ignoring importunity and irritability and exactingness and even torment with that calm magnanimity or even compassion which our Lord not only enjoined in the Sermon on the Mount, but personally exemplified in the agonies of the Cross, and yet of combining with all this supreme Majesty towards human folly and pettiness and misdoing, a power of reproving weakness, and branding wickedness, and exposing self-deception such as only the inspirer of the conscience could wield, we may justly say that we have a revelation of God that is much more than a mere economical adaptation to human weakness, and that may fitly be called an unveiling to our eyes of absolute truth. I cannot help thinking that Newman, though he always insisted on the certainty of the communion between God and the individual soul as the very starting-point of revelation, has conceded too much to those who speak of God as only {137} presenting Himself to us through sign and symbol and mediate adaptations, and has hardly dwelt enough on those aspects of revelation in which we see the very majesty and the very holiness of His character without even a film to hide its splendour and its purity from our eyes.

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Notes

1. Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. vii. A new edition, pp. 17, 18. Rivingtons, 1868.
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2. Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. vii. p. 88.
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3. Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. v., ser. iii. p. 33, edition of 1868.
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4. Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. v., ser. iii. p. 36, edition of 1868.
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5. Ibid. p 44.
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6. Ibid. p. 45.
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7. Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. i., ser. iii. p. 313-14, edit. of 1868.
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8. Ibid. p 320-21.
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9. Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. i. p. 323.
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10. Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. iv. pp. 146-7, edition of 1868.
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11. Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. vii., ser. iii. pp. 80, 81.
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12. Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. v. pp. 290-292, edition of 1868.
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13. The sermon is the nineteenth of those in the volume on Subjects of the Day (edition of 1869).
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14. Newman's sermons on Subjects of the Day, edition of 1869, pp. 289, 290.
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15. Subjects of the Day, p. 306.
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16. University Sermons, pp. 217, 218; 3rd edition, 1872.
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17. Ibid. p. 257.
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18. University Sermons, pp. 317, 318.
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19. University Sermons, p. 334.
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20. University Sermons, pp. 346-7, 3rd edition.
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21. University Sermons, p. 356.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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