Chapter 9. The Development of Christian Doctrine, and Reconciliation to Rome

{162} NEWMAN'S Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine may be regarded either as the first of his Roman Catholic or as the last of his Anglican productions. In point of time it was the latter; in point of substance it was the former. Speaking of the last year of his life at Littlemore, he says, "All this time I was hard at my Essay on Doctrinal Development. As I advanced my view so cleared, that instead of speaking any more of 'the Roman Catholics,' I boldly called them Catholics. Before I got to the end I resolved to be received, and the book remains in the state in which it was then, unfinished." Why the unfinished essay of which Newman thus speaks was never finished after he joined the Roman Catholic Church I have never been quite able to understand, unless it be that his fine sense of fitness discerned something appropriate in an abrupt termination to such a task, which he was unwilling to disturb. Although first published as the effort of one outside the Church to explain the apparent {163} changes which took place in the form of primitive Christianity, an effort which resulted in the writer's identification of that primitive Christianity with the Christianity of the Roman Church, there seems to be no reason at all, apart from reluctance to turn a tentative experiment in investigation into a formal demonstration, why the line of thought which was commenced while Newman was still in uncertainty as to its tendency, should not have been pursued and completed as a definite apology for the theology of the Church he has since joined. Of course he would have had to submit any book written by him as a Roman Catholic to the authorities of his Church, as he offered to do the Essay on Development in its present condition,—an offer which was refused,—but there is no ground at all for supposing that that necessity would have interfered substantially with the general drift of his argument. Even as it stands, the Essay on Development has, so far as I can hear, been adopted with enthusiasm by the most orthodox school in the Roman Catholic Church, and it is now usually regarded by Roman Catholics as one of the most powerful of modern apologies for their specific theological doctrines.

It is clear that what Newman was in search of, was a principle which should at once vindicate his life-long devotion to primitive Christianity, and yet discover in primitive Christianity signs of that capacity for growth which he had early learned from Scott, the commentator on the Bible, to regard as the true test of life. Primitive Christianity as a mere fossil, as a "deposit" which had to be kept apart from all the transforming change into which living principles blossom when they enter into combinations with so changeful and elastic {164} a universe as ours, and with a nature so full of all sorts of potentialities as man's, had become nearly inconceivable to Newman. He had begun to see that even though principles remain the same, doctrines must expand, must become explicit where they had been only implicit, must assert themselves under new conditions which shed new light upon them, must explain themselves, must illustrate themselves by giving birth to moral consequences, to customs, to institutions, to devotional forms; and that without such a developing power as this, the primitive teaching, the deposit given once for all, would be a dead formula, and not a living power. The doctrine of the triune Deity must explain itself. In what sense is God Three and yet One? The doctrine of the Incarnation must explain itself. In what sense was Christ both God and man? Was His humanity real or only apparent? Was His personality both human and Divine? or if Divine only, how was that to be reconciled with a real humanity, if real it was? Again, if sin is the fearful evil which primitive Christianity teaches it to be, what forces would be the most suitable for stemming the torrent of this evil? To what institutions should the penitent be submitted? What are the emotions, and fears, and hopes with which his weak nature may be legitimately aided to keep this evil at a distance? And if the primitive revelation is to be susceptible of this sort of moral development, what is to be the check on this development? who is to prevent it from so combining with the desires and hopes of our nature as to degenerate from its former purity, and from popularizing itself by virtue of that very degeneration? Must there not be some guiding power which resists the tendency of man's intellect, either to rationalize it, or {165} to cover it with parasitic superstitions, or perhaps to injure it in both ways at once? If Christ provided by the apostolate for authorities who represented Him when He had ascended into heaven, was it not probable that the Apostles had left behind them some successor to their authority, when they too, one by one, disappeared from the scene of their labours? Such were the questions which Newman set himself to answer in his Essay on Development, and the answers he found for them were answers full of devout subtlety, as well as answers in sympathy with the principle of what was to be the great scientific conception of the century.

When we consider that the Essay on Development was written in 1844 and 1845, many years before the scientific conception of biological evolution had been explained and illustrated by Darwin and Wallace, and a host of other writers, it appears to me that this essay, with its many admirable illustrations from biology, demonstrates that Newman's genius is not simply, as has been often asserted, a special gift for the vindication of authority in religion, and for the revivification of the past, since it betrays so deep an insight into the generating thoughts which are transforming the present and moulding the future. His discussion of the true tests of genuine development is marked by the keenest penetration into one of the most characteristic conceptions of modern science. Seven tests of a true development, as distinguished from a corruption, are given: (l) preservation of type, as the type of the child is preserved, though altered and strengthened in the man; (2) continuity of principles, in the sense in which the principle of one language favours compound words, while that of another does not; (3) the power of assimilating {166} apparently foreign material, as a plant will grow luxuriantly in one habitat and only sparely in another, but assimilates more or less foreign material in any habitat in which it will grow at all; (4) "early anticipation" of the mature form, as the Russian nation began to aim at Constantinople centuries before they were a great power even on the Black Sea, and as Athanasius was made a bishop by his playfellows in anticipation of his genius for ecclesiastical government, or as Sir Walter Scott delighted his schoolfellows by relating stories to them when he was a mere child; (5) "logical sequence" of ideas, as when Jeroboam, in his anxiety to prevent a return of the ten tribes to their old allegiance, set up a worship that might wean them from their attachment to Jerusalem, on the express ground that if he did not, their religious instinct would be taking them back to their great Temple; (6) " preservative additions," such, for instance, as Courts of Justice, to the authority of government, which strengthen the government by protecting the obedient and punishing the rebellious; and finally, (7) "chronic continuance," as the chronic continuance of the American Union shows that the republican principle is still alive, whereas the gradual engrafting of imperial institutions on Republican forms, showed that the Republican principle was dying out in ancient Rome.

All these tests of true, as distinguished from corrupt or deteriorating, development are discussed by Newman with admirable subtlety, and a very fine sense for the scientific character of the conception of evolution itself, which would not be remarkable now, but was certainly very remarkable in the year 1845. He illustrates his first test—"preservation of type or idea"—by collecting {167} the descriptions given of Christianity in the first three centuries by independent observers, and putting it to his readers what form of Christianity it is that now most closely corresponds to the type so described. He gives the account of Tacitus, of Suetonius, of Pliny, shows how all these writers describe Christianity as something subversive of both political and social peace, as of the nature of a secret conspiracy, as possessed by a spirit of obstinacy, as insisting on the duty of addressing to Christ a certain form of words (carmen), and as even more mischievous and contagious through the inflexible resistance it inspired to any State decree which interfered with its rites, than through the morality it enforced, which is described as intrinsically unobjectionable, though tending to the break-up of the structure of human society as it was then understood by these writers. He runs through the story of the divisions in the early Church, the Arian and semi-Arian, the Nestorian and Monophysite controversies, and shows how these divisions were caused by thinkers who rebelled against mystery in theology, and tried to simplify the truth handed down; how, after the emperors became Christian, the heresiarchs almost uniformly sought, and often—like Arius, the semi-Arians and the Monophysites—found, help from the State, which naturally disliked the dogmatic independence and tenacity of the Church; and how it became almost one of the chief indications of heresy to lean on the civil power instead of on the doctrinal tradition of the Fathers. And then he asks if there is no Church in modern times which excites the suspicion and jealousy of the world and the State, just as the Church of the first six centuries excited it, and yet stands alone and {168} unawed when it finds the powers of this world ranged against it. Newman's conclusions are stated in a few pithy paragraphs, first as to the Church of the first three centuries, next as to the Church of the fourth century, finally as to the Church of the fifth and sixth centuries, and as they show the drift of his thought very clearly, these conclusions I must quote. In summing up his review of the first three centuries he says—

"If there is a form of Christianity now in the world which is accused of gross superstition, of borrowing its rites and customs from the heathen, and of ascribing to forms and ceremonies an occult virtue;—a religion which is considered to burden and enslave the mind by its requisitions, to address itself to the weak-minded and ignorant, to be supported by sophistry and imposture, and to contradict reason and exalt mere irrational faith;—a religion which impresses on the serious mind very distressing views of the guilt and consequences of sin, sets upon the minute acts of the day, one by one, their definite value for praise or blame, and thus casts a grave shadow over the future;—a religion which holds up to admiration the surrender of wealth, and disables serious persons from enjoying it if they would;—a religion, the doctrines of which, be they good or bad, are to the generality of men unknown; which is considered to bear on its very surface signs of folly and falsehood so distinct that a glance suffices to judge of it, and careful examination is preposterous; which is felt to be so simply bad that it may be calumniated at hazard and at pleasure, it being nothing but absurdity to stand upon the accurate distribution of its guilt among its particular acts, or painfully to determine how far this or that story is literally true, what must be {169} allowed in candour, or what is improbable, what cuts two ways, or what is not proved, or what may be plausibly defended;—a religion such that men look at a convert to it with a feeling which no other sect raises except Judaism, Socialism, or Mormonism, with curiosity, suspicion, fear, disgust, as the case may be, as if something strange had befallen him, as if he had had an initiation into a mystery, and had come into communion with dreadful influences, as if he were now one of a confederacy which claimed him, attested him, stripped him of his personality, reduced him to a mere organ or instrument of a whole;—a religion which men hate as proselytizing, anti-social, revolutionary, as dividing families, separating chief friends, corrupting the maxims of government, making a mock at law, dissolving the empire, the enemy of human nature, and 'a conspirator against its rights and privileges';—a religion which they consider the champion and instrument of darkness, and a pollution calling down upon the land the anger of heaven;—a religion which they associate with intrigue and conspiracy, which they speak about in whispers, which they detect by anticipation in whatever goes wrong, and to which they impute whatever is unaccountable;—a religion the very name of which they cast out as evil, and use simply as a bad epithet, and which from the impulse of self-preservation they would persecute if they could;—if there be such a religion now in the world, it is not unlike Christianity as that same world viewed it when first it came forth from its Divine Author." [Note 1]

It is worth notice, perhaps, that in this passage {170} Newman makes the suspicion, distrust, and almost disgust with which what he regards as the true Christianity was viewed, to be one of the main "notes" of the Church; and that if that be so, the better Roman Catholics are treated, the less conspicuous, according to this passage, will be the "note" of authenticity in the Roman Catholic Church. In a world which humbles itself before such men as Father Damien, the apostle and martyr who gave up his life for the lepers of the Sandwich Islands, this "note" of the Church on which Newman insists so emphatically can hardly be called conspicuous.

After his review of the Church of the fourth century Newman concludes, "On the whole, then, we have reason to say that if there be a form of Christianity at this day distinguished for its careful organization and its consequent power; if it is spread over the world; if it is conspicuous for zealous maintenance of its own creed; if it is intolerant towards what it considers error; if it is engaged in ceaseless war with all other bodies called Christian; if it, and it alone, is called 'Catholic' by the world, nay, by these very bodies, and if it makes much of the title; if it names them heretics, and warns them of coming woe, and calls on them, one by one, to come over to itself, overlooking every other tie; and if they, on the other hand, call it seducer, harlot, apostate, Antichrist, devil; if, however they differ one with another, they consider it their common enemy; if they strive to unite together against it, and cannot; if they are but local; if they continually subdivide, and it remains one; if they fall one after another, and make way for new sects, and it remains the same; such a form of religion is not unlike the Christianity of the {171} Nicene era." [Note 2] There again I should say that the Roman Catholic Church of Pio Nono is much better described than the Roman Catholic Church of Leo XIII. Neither does the Church of Leo XIII. denounce external heresy with anything like the same verve as the Church of Pio Nono; nor do the Christian Churches outside the pale of the Papal Church denounce the Papal Church with anything like the same vivacity. Indeed, there is something like an entente cordiale between the Roman Catholic Church of today and various other Churches—an alliance against scepticism.

After Newman's review of the fifth and sixth centuries, in which the Nestorian and Monophysite heresies flourished, he concludes thus—"If, then, there is now a form of Christianity such that it extends throughout the world, though with varying measures of prominence or prosperity in separate places; that it lies under the power of sovereigns and magistrates, in different ways alien to its faith; that flourishing nations and great empires, professing or tolerating the Christian name, lie over against it as antagonists; that schools of philosophy and learning are supporting theories or following out conclusions hostile to it, and establishing an exegetical system subversive of its Scriptures; that it has lost whole Churches by schism, and is now opposed by powerful communions once part of itself; that it has been altogether or almost driven from some countries; that in others its line of teachers is overlaid, its flocks oppressed, its churches occupied, its property held by what may be called a duplicate succession; that in others its members are degenerate and corrupt, {172} and surpassed in conscientiousness and in virtue, as in gifts of intellect, by the very heretics whom it condemns; that heresies are rife and bishops negligent within its own pale; and that amid its disorders and fears there is but one Voice for whose decisions its people wait with trust, one Name and one See to which they look with hope, and that name Peter, and that see Rome;—such a religion is not unlike the Christianity of the fifth and sixth centuries." [Note 3]

Is not that almost equivalent to making partial and local degeneracy of the Church, when it occurs without derogating from the authority of the Central See, one of the "notes" of the Church? Is it not almost equivalent to ratifying the judgment of that German monk in the Lutheran period, who was said to have been converted from his doubts by a visit to Rome, because he found the Church of Rome so corrupt and yet so powerful; his view being that no Church not divinely sustained could survive such corruptions? No doubt our Lord distinctly anticipates unfaithful stewards in His Church, but He certainly does not speak of them as being, even involuntarily, witnesses to the truth He had revealed. Such is the mode in which Newman deals with his first and chief test of a true development, the "preservation of type or idea."

In dealing with the second test of a true development, the continuity of the principles under which the development proceeds, Newman illustrates that continuity first by the resolute adhesion of the early and the later Church alike to the mystical as distinguished from the exclusively literal interpretation {173} of Scripture; and next by the resolute assertion of the early and the later Church alike, that faith is a better attitude of mind than doubt; that the highest mind inclines to take on trust what lower minds challenge till they have an adequate proof that their trust is legitimate—in a word, that the philosophy which (like Locke's in modern times) insisted on what is called evidence that a revelation was Divine, before reposing any trust in it, was the kind of philosophy which would have undermined all the greatest spiritual movements that the world has ever experienced, and extinguished all noble enthusiasm in the very moment of its birth.

As regards the first of these illustrations, the inclination to connect a mystical with a literal interpretation of Scripture, often attaching more importance to the mystical than to the literal interpretation, Newman shows that very early in the history of the Church Irenĉus treats the account of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary as in some sense a fulfilment of the prophecy in Genesis concerning the seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head, and argues for the dignity of the Virgin Mary as a nobler Eve, on the strength of that mystical fulfilment of prophecy. From Polycarp to St. Alfonso Liguori, according to Newman, the Church has steadily insisted on attaching the greatest possible importance to the mystical interpretations of Scripture. I do not suppose that any one who really enters at all into the spirit of Scripture ventures to deny the obviously mystical signification of many passages, nor the double current of meaning in others. It is hardly possible not to see the connection between the willingness of Abraham to give up his son to death on Mount Moriah, and the willingness of the Father to give up {174} His Son to death on Mount Calvary, though the one sacrifice was not completed, while the other was. It is hardly possible not to assign a prophetic and mystical meaning to Isaiah's prophecy as to the Son who should be called "Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God." It is hardly possible not to regard such a psalm as the 104th, when it speaks of God sending forth His Spirit,—after He had withdrawn it,—"to renew the face of the earth," as an inspired anticipation of the sending forth of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost to renew the earthly life of man. But many of the mystical interpretations of the Fathers are altogether different, and seem to be even distinct perversions of Scripture. For example, Isaiah's prophecy as to a child not yet born, before whose maturity the lands of Syria and Israel should be forsaken, appears to admit of no double current of meaning at all. The date is fixed at which it is to be fulfilled, and that an early date; and the event prophesied is not of a kind admitting of a larger fulfilment in the future. Of course the reason for giving the passage a mystical interpretation was the apparent prediction of a supernatural birth, though that is a point on which the best modern Hebrew scholars are very doubtful; and as no supernatural birth is even alleged to have taken place within the limits of time assigned, the pious imagination identified the prediction with the supernatural birth of the Saviour of the world. That, however, is quite illegitimate while the strict limit of time exists, and cannot be explained away. The child's birth was to be a sign of the judgment coming upon Israel and Syria, and that judgment was to be fulfilled before he could choose for himself between good and evil. If the sign is to be disconnected with {175} the conquest of Syria and Israel, the prophecy as a prophecy disappears. Yet the supernatural birth (if the Hebrew word indicates a supernatural birth) cannot be pushed forward many centuries without disconnecting the sign from the event which was to follow it. Mystical interpretation in the sense of catching eagerly at one single word in a sentence, and ignoring the whole drift of the sense, is surely not so much mystical as perverse. The objections reasonably urged against such interpretations are not really objections to recognizing one event as a sign of another and greater event of the same type, but objections to the practice of subordinating the plain sense of an explicit statement to the desire to discover a supernatural meaning, which can only be squeezed into the language by a tour de force. Religious mystery is not enhanced, but brought into disrepute in the estimation of men, by the habit of discovering it where it is not, as freely as where it is. In relation to his second illustration of the test of continuity of the principle of development, Newman has no difficulty in showing that the early Church and the mediĉval Church were equally eager to encourage that forwardness to believe which springs rather from the liveliness of the affections when the grace of God touches them, than from reasoning. The New Testament is full of the censure of the unbelieving spirit, and later theologians, like St. Thomas Aquinas and Suarez, confirm its teaching. The real difficulty, I imagine, is to distinguish between superstitious readiness to believe and generous readiness to believe—the readiness which, like Louis XI.'s, arose from selfish fear, and the readiness which, like St. Francis of Assisi's, arose from generous hope. {176}

Then Newman goes on to show how the second test of sound development—the continuity of the principles by which development is regulated—blends with the third test, the power to assimilate and transform alien material, till the new life imparted to that alien material brings about a complete transformation in the characteristic influence which that foreign material is made the medium of diffusing. Sacraments of evil are exchanged for sacraments of grace, and the very same class of rites and practices which under a false religion had degraded men, under a true religion purifies and exalts them. Here he approaches, of course, the most disputable of the positions of the Roman Catholic Church, which has avowedly adopted the pagan externality of ceremony with a freedom and a readiness that has justified the suspicion with which it is viewed as a compromise with superstition rather than a triumph over it. Thus, as Newman quotes from the life of St. Gregory of Nyssa, that saint "increased the devotion of the people everywhere by instituting festive meetings in honour of those who had fought for the faith. The bodies of the martyrs were distributed in different places, and the people assembled and made merry, as the years came round, holding festival in their honour. This indeed was a proof of his great wisdom, … for perceiving that the childish and untrained populace were retained in their idolatrous error by sensual indulgences, in order that what was of first importance should at any rate be secured to them,—viz. that they should look to God in place of their vain rites,—he allowed them to be merry, and solace themselves at the monuments of the holy Martyrs, as if their behaviour would in time undergo a spontaneous change into greater {177} seriousness and strictness, and faith would lead them to it; which has actually been the happy issue in that population, all sensual gratification having turned into a spiritual form of rejoicing." [Note 4] In one of his Roman Catholic books Newman returned to this subject again, and somewhat developed his view that Christianity had assimilated pagan practices, and turned them from sacraments of evil into sacraments of good. He admitted that besides exerting a spiritual influence on the men of good will, these transformed sacraments, which were originally concessions to childishness of mind, often familiarize the evil-minded with sacred objects and associations, which they learn to treat almost with contempt, though, as he maintained, without any abatement of their faith in the Divine power of the religion they thus ignore. The character of all these popular external observances of religion is, he declared, "pretty much the same as St. Jerome and St. Gregory Nyssen bear witness in the first age of the Church. It is a mixed multitude, some most holy, perhaps even saints; others penitent sinners; but others, again, a mixture of pilgrim and beggar, or pilgrim and robber, or half-gipsy, or three-quarters boon companion, or at least with nothing saintly and little religious about them. They will let you wash their feet and serve them at table, and the hosts have more merit for their ministry than the guests for their weariness. Yet one and all, saints and sinners, have faith in things invisible, which each uses in his own way." [Note 5]

Newman's apology for all this mixture of careless or {178} even deliberate evil with faith, is, that even if the faith aggravates the responsibility for the evil, which I assume that he would admit, though he does not say so, it leaves the way open to a much less embarrassed path of repentance than is available for evil done in unbelief. He holds that it is not the general tendency of moral evil in Roman Catholic countries to disturb faith. The faith remains through even many of the worst stages of corruption of the will, and he thinks this a preferable state of mind for the mass of men, to the unbelief into which moral evil almost always plunges a Protestant. But by the necessity of the case it is not possible to show that this power of assimilation, in the sense of a half-compromise with pagan rites, was ever really exhibited and sanctioned in time earliest age of the Church; nor even, I think, that in the apostolic age faith was thus retained in its vividness, in separation from holiness and love. That the Church showed great power of assimilating pagan habits of thought, and of leavening them more or less—often rather less than more—with her own higher purposes, is obvious enough; but whether that did not involve a kind of toleration of what is unholy, which the Apostolic Church would have thought most reprehensible, is extremely doubtful. I can hardly conceive an Apostle acquiescing in Newman's vivid presentation of supernaturally-minded but pagan-hearted believers, as he afterwards gave it in his lecture on "The religious character of Catholic countries no prejudice to the sanctity of the Church." I should have thought that Christ not only taught that "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself;" but also implied the converse—namely, "If any man {179} will not do His will, he shall cease to know of the doctrine whether it be of God or not." At all events, I cannot help thinking that the state of a population absolutely believing in sacred truths which they openly disregard, is even more morally hopeless than that of a population which has gradually lost faith in the truths it has practically ignored.

Newman's fourth test of a sound development is the "early anticipation" of characteristics not fully developed till much later; just as we find in great men's childish character an early anticipation of their most striking mature characteristics. Goethe, for instance, often displayed as a child that deep sense of personal dignity and of something like authority which was so characteristic of his maturity and old age; and Sir Walter Scott as a child used to delight his schoolfellows by telling them stories of his own invention, just as thirty years later he delighted the whole world. Just so Newman shows that in the first age of the Church there is the most remarkable evidence of that conception so fully developed and so elaborately applied in the Catholic Church in later centuries, which treats material things as susceptible of being made the channels of Divine grace. We are specially taught that the body as such, far from being evil, was like the whole material creation, a Divine work and "very good," that the Gnostic dislike to admit that Christ had come "in the flesh" was a fatal heresy—"Every spirit that confesseth not that Christ Jesus is come in the flesh is the spirit of Antichrist." As a consequence, even the mere earthly remains of good men were treated with a spirit the very opposite of pagan shrinking—with a passionate reverence and belief in their sanctifying {180} influences. The very wood of the cross on which Christ suffered was regarded as full of virtue. And the feeling for relics, for sacraments, and indeed for all the physical objects which the Church consecrates, a feeling which Protestants regard as superstitious, was, in Newman's belief, a mere development of these early indications of respect for the material channels of Divine grace. Newman treats the cultus of the Virgin Mary as only one of the most remarkable developments of this creed, of which we have the anticipation in the account of the Annunciation, and of the visit of Mary to Elizabeth, in the early chapters of Luke's gospel. Another illustration of the early anticipation of a form of Church activity which assumed its fullest development centuries later, is the systematic and almost scientific treatment of theology to be found in the Ignatian epistles at the opening of the second century. Thus Ignatius speaks of Christ as "perfect man" as well as God, and therein anticipates the very formula of that later creed which bears (of course improperly) the name of Athanasius.

The fifth test of true development, "logical sequence," is the one which is, I fancy, most open to abuse in dealing with matters so much above us as theology. To infer correctly, the mind should be able to take in the full scope of a premiss. Even in mathematics it is always unsafe to treat inferences, which are correct when applied to ordinary cases, as justified when applied beyond the limits of quantitative measurement. It is true, as a rule, that if a x x = a x y, x must be = y, but the inference is quite false if a happens to be zero; otherwise every number would be equal to every other number, inasmuch as 2 x 0 = 1000 x 0, but yet it does not in the least follow that 2 = 1000. Just so inferences {181} from principles which appear true when we are dealing with finite minds, are very apt to be quite false when applied to an infinite mind. Indeed, all the juggling with "the Absolute" and "the Infinite" which made so much show of scientific reasoning in the late Dean Mansel's Bampton Lectures, was really founded on the fallacy that what would be a legitimate inference from any statement as to a finite mind, would be an equally legitimate inference from the same statement as to an infinite mind.

Newman's chief illustration of the principle of "logical sequence" as the test of a true development, is the inference drawn from the condemnation of Arian forms of doctrine, that there is so infinite a gulf between any creature and God, that when once the true adoration of any creature has been condemned, it becomes perfectly safe to render homage to the saints and the Virgin Mary, since it is no longer possible to suppose that they are reverenced on their own account, but solely on account of their close union with their Divine Master. The charge of idolatry, he says, becomes unmeaning after the condemnation of Arius. All good Catholics know that the cults of the Virgin and the saints are cults totally different in principle from religious worship. They are far less to be called idolatrous than the homage paid to a constitutional minister for his influence with a monarch is to be called disloyal, whereas it is really an implicit recognition of the true claim of loyalty. The orthodoxy of the subordinate kind of homage is a "logical" inference from the Church's anathema on the proper adoration of a created being of any kind; that is Newman's illustration of the test of "logical sequence." But is it trustworthy? Is it true that the {182} anathema on Arianism rendered it safe to make so much of the intercession of the saints and the mother of Jesus Christ? Are not finite minds very apt to accept in the abstract a principle which they find it very difficult to realize in the concrete? Is it any less possible to preoccupy our minds with the influence and benevolence of beings like ourselves, to the virtual exclusion of the higher acts of worship, solely because we recognize in the abstract the infinitely superior power and love of God, than it is to fill up our minds with "the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches," only because we recognize fully in the abstract that these have the power to choke the word and to suffocate its growth in the heart? Surely the real danger of the immense development which the Roman Catholic Church has given to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and the saints, is, that it tends to present to us the wills of beings who in knowledge and limitations are like ourselves, and who are supposed, at least by ignorant people, to be more influenced by our pertinacity of entreaty than God would be, as likely to urge upon God what He would otherwise refuse to do, and to try to impose upon Hun by their entreaties their weaker forms of good-will; whereas, what ought to be impressed on the ignorant is, that the more completely any finite being has conformed himself to the will of God, the more resolutely would he refuse to intercede for any favour not intrinsically in harmony with the Divine providence. "Logical sequence" may be one test of true development, but unless you know that it has been faithfully applied to the higher and severer as well as the easier and milder aspects of the original teaching, it may be a test that leads {183} you into all manner of worldly and degenerate developments.

The sixth test of true development, "preservative additions," corresponds in theology to the doctrine of the Law Courts, that they may assert their dignity and authority by punishing severely any "contempt of Court," or to the amendments adopted in some of the republican constitutions of the present day, which provide safeguards tending to prevent representative bodies from arrogating to themselves too much of the power of the whole people, of which a good example is the Swiss referendum, which overrules the action of the representative bodies by a census taken of the wishes of the whole people on some individual issue.

Newman gives as his first example of the "preservative additions" of religious development, one which seems to be hardly a very good example, because instead of its intention being to safeguard what has been already revealed, its intention is to reveal something fresh. "We know," he says, "that no temper of mind is acceptable in the Divine Presence but love; it is love which makes Christian fear differ from servile dread, and true faith differ from the faith of devils; yet in the beginning of the Christian life fear is the prominent evangelical grace, and love is but latent in fear, and has, in course of time, to be developed out of what seems its contradictory. Then when it is developed it takes that prominent place which fear held before, yet protecting, not superseding it. Love is added, not fear removed, and the mind is but perfected in grace by what seems a revolution. They that sow in tears reap in joy; yet afterwards still they are 'sorrowful,' though {184} 'alway rejoicing.'" [Note 6] That is exquisitely put, but surely it degrades love to speak of its revelation as a mere "preservative addition" to a Gospel of fear. I think, perhaps, the best illustration which Newman gives of the "preservative addition" is the foundation of the Society of Jesus, for the protection and development of the Catholic Church as it was in the century in which Ignatius Loyola founded it, for it was clearly an addition, and it did tend to preserve the Church as the Church then was. Or perhaps his illustration of the use of the cross as a symbol of holy war, to safeguard the Gospel of peace, may be considered a still better instance in the minds of those who regard the society founded by Ignatius Loyola as preservative chiefly of existing abuses. "If light has no communion with darkness, or Christ with Belial, what has He to do with Moloch, who would not call down fire on His enemies, and came not to destroy but to save? Yet this seeming anomaly is but one instance of a great law which is seen in developments generally, that changes which appear at first sight to contradict that out of which they grew, are really its protection or illustration. Our Lord Himself is represented in the Prophets as a combatant inflicting wounds while He received them, as coming from Bozrah with dyed garments, sprinkled and red in His apparel with the blood of His enemies; and whereas no war is lawful but what is just, it surely beseems that they who are engaged in so dreadful a commission as that of taking away life at the price of their own, should at least have the support of His Presence, and fight under the mystical influence of His Name." [Note 7] {185}

I need give no illustration of Newman's seventh test of a true development, "chronic continuance." No one denies the historical continuity of the Roman Catholic Church. The question raised about her is not that, but whether she has fundamentally changed her type, her ideal. That she is, as the Protestants say, "incorrigible," is the best evidence that whether she has changed her type or not, she has continued to defy all the assaults made upon her.

This remarkable book in which the doctrine of development, treated many years afterwards so elaborately on its physiological side by Darwin, was anticipated in a theological treatise, concluded abruptly with a postscript evidently written after October 9th, 1845, when Newman was received at Littlemore by the Passionist Father Dominic into the Roman Catholic Church. The Oxford tradition says, that as Newman, month after month, stood at his desk writing the Essay on Development, he grew ever thinner and more transparent, till at last, when he suddenly dropped his pen and made up his mind that he had attained the fullest conviction that he must no longer delay his submission to Rome, on peril of sinning against light, you could almost have seen through him. The postscript to which I refer is one of those most characteristic passages by which Newman will be remembered as long as the English language endures. It is hardly as well known as the close of the last sermon which he preached as an Anglican, the sermon on "The Parting of Friends." Nor is it so exquisite in its pathos. But its absolute simplicity and appropriateness to the close of such an argument as this is most impressive. "Such," he wrote, "were the thoughts concerning 'The Blessed Vision of {186} Peace' of one whose long-continued petition had been that the Most Merciful would not despise the work of His own Hands, nor leave him to himself; while yet his eyes were dim, and his breast laden, and he could but employ Reason in the things of Faith. And now, dear reader, time is short, eternity is long. Put not from you what you have here found; regard it not as mere matter of present controversy; set not out resolved to refute it, and looking about for the best way of doing so; seduce not yourself with the imagination that it comes of disappointment, or disgust, or restlessness, or wounded feeling, or undue sensibility, or other weakness. Wrap not yourself round in the associations of years past, nor determine that to be truth which you wish to be so, nor make an idol of cherished anticipations. Time is short, eternity is long. Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine, secundum verbum tuum in pace, quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum." But the "nunc dimittis" was premature. Not the half of Newman's earthly career was run, though the portion of it most interesting to the non-Catholic world was at an end.

The late Canon Oakeley has given an account of the last day of Newman's Anglican life, which he calls the 9th October, 1845. Dr. Newman himself writes on the 8th October from Littlemore, that he is expecting the Passionist Father Dominic to arrive on that evening to receive him into the Catholic Church. Either Father Dominic was delayed a day, or Canon Oakeley was a day wrong [Note 8] in his reckoning, for according to him it was the 9th October, a day of wild wind and pouring rain, on which Father Dominic, shabbily dressed in black, {187} and dripping wet, arrived at Littlemore; and it was the 10th October, the day following his arrival, on which Newman was received into the Roman Catholic communion. On the evening of the Passionist father's arrival, Newman, as the story goes, flung himself at his feet, saying that he would not rise till the father had blessed him and received him into the Church of Christ. If so, his mind must have been wound up to a very high pitch of excitement before he could thus have thrown off the air of reserve and reticence so specially his own. The whole night was spent in prayer, and on the following day "the long gestation was accomplished," and Newman was born into the communion of the one Christian Church which has a historical continuity and an external organization as impressive and conspicuous as even his heart could desire for the depository of revealed truth.

Before I pass on to treat (very much more shortly) the story of Newman's life after the long period of doubt and hesitation was passed, and he had secured for himself the greater freedom of a position in the strength of which he had full confidence, I must make one remark on the general upshot of the essay which contained the fruits of his long hesitation and his elaborate research. What is the value of this Essay on Development for the world at large? I think it has done a great deal towards showing that many of the later developments of the original teaching of Christ and His apostles are the genuine and natural outcome of the supernatural teaching given to the primitive Church, but that none the less the disposition to assert on the part of one branch of the Church too high a claim for its own infallibility and certainty of providential guidance, has always been visible. Newman's {188} own sermon, insisting on the great prophets granted to a Church in open schism with the Jewish Church, the Church of Samaria, is the most instructive illustration of this disposition to over-estimate the infallibility of the Church, which the Jewish revelation could supply. It is hardly possible to conceive that the Church of Samaria could have been what the latest Jewish teaching held it to be, and could yet have been the Church of such a prophet as Elijah. And it is hardly possible to conceive that the Church of England could be what the Roman Catholic doctors describe it as being, and yet the Church of such teachers as Bishop Butler or Newman himself. Does not Newman throughout exaggerate the claims of the Church to unity and infallibility? In every age throughout the history of revelation there are distinct traces of the precipitation of the orthodox leaders of the Church in these matters. In the Essay on Development, Newman himself concedes to M. Guizot that dogmatic principles were "not so well understood and so carefully handled at first as they were afterwards. In the early period we see traces of a conflict, as well as of a variety, in theological elements, which were in course of combination, but which required adjustment and management before they could be used with precision as one. In a thousand instances of a minor character, the statements of the early Fathers are but tokens of the multiplicity of openings which the mind of the Church was making into the treasure-house of Truth; real openings, but incomplete or irregular. Nay, the doctrines even of heretical bodies are indices and anticipations of the mind of the Church. As the first step in settling a point of doctrine is to raise and debate it, so heresies in every age may be taken as the measure {189} of the existing state of thought in the Church, and of the movement of her theology; they determine in what way the current is setting, and the rate at which it flows." [Note 9] Does not that apply as truly to the present day as to any past day? Can it be doubted for a moment that the Roman Catholic Church's definitions on the subject of the inspiration of Scripture have been "incomplete and irregular," and, as I should say, directly misleading? Do not the most learned Catholics admit and even maintain that "inspiration" must be taken in quite a new sense before the inspiration of the Scriptures "in all their parts" can be asserted with even a semblance of truth? Yet if that be so, that means that the Roman Catholic Church has over-leaped the truth in her deliberate definitions and formal decrees, as well as in her ad interim pronouncements, and that just as Elijah was taught that God had not deserted the Church of Samaria in spite of schism and idolatry, so God has not abandoned Churches which Rome treats with mere contempt, in spite of their often cold and degenerate worship. Nevertheless, I sincerely believe that Newman has shown that many of the practices which were thought mere superstitions in the Roman Catholic worship are natural developments of the belief of the primitive Church, and not in the least inconsistent with the pure rapture of the primitive worship. Is there truer Christian worship anywhere than in the Church of Rome, in spite of the almost greedy traditionalism with which her most famous teachers seize upon doubtful and legendary elements of pious rumour in bygone times to feed the appetite of her contemplative orders?

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1. Essay on Development, pp. 240-2, 1st edition. James Toovey.
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2. Essay on Development, p. 269.
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3. Essay on Development, pp. 316, 317.
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4. Essay on Development, 1st edition, chapter vi. section 2, pp. 358-9.
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5. Lectures on Anglican Difficulties, 2nd edition, lecture ix. pp. 231-2.
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6. Essay on Development, chapter viii. section 2, p. 429, 1st edition.
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7. Ibid., chapter viii. section 2, p. 431.
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8. I see by a letter of Newman's to Mr. Allies, dated 9th October, 1845, that Canon Oakeley was a day wrong.
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9. Essay on Development, p. 349, 1st edition, chap. vi. section 2.
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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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