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NEWMAN


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NEWMAN


"lucid concision" of his phrase when dealing with abstruse subjects. His brother Francis William, also a writer, but wanting in literary charm, turned from the English Church to Deism; Charles Robert, the second son, was very erratic, and professed Athe- ism. One sister, Mary, died young; Jemima has a place in the cardinal's biography during the crisis of his Anglican career; and to a daughter of Harriet, Anne Mozley, we are indebted for his "Letters and Correspondence" down to 1845, which contains a sequel from his own hand to the "Apologia".

A classic from the day it was completed, the "Apo- logia" will ever be the chief authority for Newman's early thoughts, and for his judgment on the great religious revival known as the Oxford Movement, of which he was the guide, the philosopher, and the martyr. His immense correspondence, the larger portion of which still awaits publication, cannot essentially change our estimate of one who, though subtile to a degree bordering on refinement, was also impulsive and open with his friends, as well as bold in his confidences to the public. From all that is thus known of him we may infer that Newman's greatness consisted in the union of originality, amounting to genius of the first rank, with a deep spiritual temper, the whole manifesting itself in language of perfect poise and rhythm, in energj- such as often has created sects or Churches, and in a personality no less winning than sensitive. Among the literary stars of his time Newman is distinguished by the pure Christian ra- diance that shines in his life and writings. He is the one EngUshman of that era who upheld the an- cient creed with a knowledge that only theologians possess, a Shakespearean force of style, and a fervour worthy of the saints. It is this unique combination that raises him above lay preachers de vanitate miindi like Thackeray, and which gives him a place apart from Tennyson and Browning. In comparison with him Keble is a light of the sixth magnitude, Pusey but a devout professor, Liddon a less eloquent Lacordaire. Newman occupies in the nineteenth century a position recalling that of Bishop Butler in the eighteenth. As Butler was the Christian champion against Deism, so Newman is the Catholic apologist in an epoch of Agnosticism, and amid theories of evolution. He is, moreover, a poet, and his "Dream of Gerontius" far excels the meditative verse of modern singers by its happy shadowing forth in symbol and dramatic scenes of the world behind the veil.

He was brought up from a child to take groat de- light in reading the Bible; but he had no formed reli- gious convictions until he was fifteen. He used to wish the Arabian tales were true; his mind ran on un- known influences; he thought life possibly a dream, himself an angel, and that his fellow-angels might be deceiving him with the semblance of a material world. He was "very superstitious", and would cross himself on going into the dark. At fifteen he underwent "conversion", though not quite as Evangelicals practise it; from works of the school of CaKdn he gained definite dogmatic ideas; and he rested "in the thought of two and two only absolute and luminously self-evident beings, myself and my Creator". In other words, personality became the primal truth in his philosophy; not matter, law, reason, or the ex- perience of the senses. Henceforth, Newman was a Christian mystic, and such he remained. From the writings of Thomas Scott of Aston Sandford, "to whom, humanly speaking", he says, "I almost owe my soul", he learned the doctrine of the Trinity, support- ing each verse of the Athanasian Creed with texts from Scripture. Scott's aphorisms were constantly on his lips for years, "Holiness rather than peace", and "Growth the only evidence of life". Law's "Serious Call" had on the youth a Catholic or ascetic influence; he was born to be a missionary; thought it God's will that he should lead a single life ; was enamoured of


quotations from the Fathers given in Milner's ' ' Church History", and, reading Newton on the Prophecies, felt convinced that the pope was Antichrist. He had been at school at Ealing near London from the age of seven. Always thoughtful, shy, and affectionate, he took no part in boys' games, began to exercise his pen early, read the Waverley Novels, imitated Gibbon and Johnson, matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford, Dec, 1816, and in 1818 won a scholarship of £60 tenable for nine years. In 1819 his father's bank sus- pended payment, but soon discharged its liabilities in full. Working too hard for his degree, Newman broke down, and gained in 1821 only third-class honours. But his powers could not be hidden. Oriel was then first in reputation and intellect among the Oxford Colleges, and of Oriel he was elected a fellow, 12 April, 1822. He ever felt this to be "the turning point in his life, and of all days most memorable".

In 1821 he had given up the intention of studying for the Bar, and resolved to take orders. As tutor of Oriel, he considered that he had a cure of souls; he was ordained on 13 June, 1824; and at Pusey's sug- gestion became curate of St. Clement's, Oxford, where he spent two years in parochial activity. And here the views in which he had been brought up disap- pointed him; "Calvinism was not a key to the phe- nomena of human nature as they occur in the world. " It would not work. He wrote articles on Cicero, etc., and his first "Essay on Miracles", which takes a strictly Protestant attitude, to the prejudice of those alleged outside Scripture. But he also fell under the influence of Whateley, afterwards Anglican Arch- bishop of Dublin, who, in 1825, made him his vice- principal at St. Mary's Hall. Whateley stimulated him by discussion, taught him the notion of Chris- tianity as a social and sovereign organism distinct from the State, but led him in the direction of "liberal" ideas and nominalistic logic. To Whateley's once famous book on that subject Newman contributed. From Hawkins, whom his casting vote made Provost of Oriel, he gained the Catholic doctrines of tradition and baptismal regeneration, as well as a certain pre- cision of terms which, long afterwards, gave rise to Kingsley's misunderstanding of Newman's methods in writing. By another Oxford clergyman he was taught to believe in the Apostolic succession. And Butler's "Analogy", read in 1823, made an era in his religious opinions. It is probaljly not too much to say that this deep and searching book became Newman's guide in life, and gave rise not only to the "Essay on Development" but to the "Grammar of Assent". In particular it offered a reflective account of ethics and conscience which confirmed his earliest beliefs in a lawgiver and judge intimately present to the soul. On another line it suggested the sacramen- tal system, or the "Economy", of which the Alexan- drians Clement and St. Athanasius are exponents. To sum up, at this formative period the sources whence Newman derived his principles as well as his doctrines were Anglican and Greek, not Roman or German. His Calvinism dropped away; in time he withdrew from the Bible Society. He was growing fiercely anti-Erastian; and Whateley saw the elements of a fre.sh party in the Church gathciiiif; round one whom Oriel had chosen for his iiilcllcclual promise, but whom Oxford was to know as a critic and antag- onist of the "March of Mind".

His college in 182S made him Vicar of St. Mary's (which was also the university church), and in its pul- pit he delivered the "Parochial Sermons", without eloquence or gesi ure, for he had no popular gifts, but with a thrilling I'ariicstiicss uiul a knowledge of human nature .srldoui einKilled. Wlirii i)uhlish('(i, it was said of them that they "brut all (itlicr si'mjons out of the market as Scott's tales beat all otlier stories". They were not controversial; and there is little in them to which Catholic theology would object. Their chas-