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NEWMAN


799


NEWMAN


Letters" and Lessing's "Anti-Goeze". It annihi- lated the opponent and his charge. Not that New- man cherished a personal animosity against Kingsley, whom he had never met. His tone was determined by a sense of what he owed to his own honour and the Catholic priesthood. "Away with you, Mr. Kings- ley, and fly into space", were his parting words to a man whose real gifts did not serve him in this wild en- counter. Then the old Tractarian hero told the story of his life. He looked upon it with the eye of an artist, with self-knowledge like that of Hamlet, with can- dour, and pathos, and awe; for he felt a guiding power throughout which had brought him home. The hand- ling was unaffected, the portraits of Oxford celebrities true and yet kinil; the drama which ended in his re- nunciation of place and power at St. Mary's moved on with a tragic interest. His brief prologues are among the jewels of English prose. A word from St. Augus- tine converted him, anil its poignant effects could not be surpassed in the "Confessions" of the saint him- self. The soliloquy, as we may terra it, which de- scribes Newman's attitude since 184.5, presents in a lofty view his apology, which is not a surrender, to those Catholics who mistrusted him. Though he never would discuss the primary problems of Theism ex professo, he has dwelt on the apparent chaos of his- tory, goodness defeated and mortal efforts futile, with a piercing eloquence which reminds us of some lament in ^sohylus. He met Kingsley's accusations of double- dealing proudly and in detail. But by the time he reached them, Englishmen — who had read the suc- cessive chapters with breathless admiration — were completely brought round. No finer triumph of tal- ent in the service of conscience has been put on record. From that day the Catholic rehgion may date its re- entrance into the national literature. Instead of arid polemics and technical arguments, a living soul had revealed in its journey towards the old faith wherein lay the charm that drew it on. Reality became more fascinating than romance; the problem which stag- gered Protestants and modern minds — how to recon- cile individual genius with tradition, private judgment with authority — was resolved in Newman's great example.

Amid acclamations from Catholics, echoing the "aves vehement" of the world outside, he turned to the philosophy which would justify his action. He began the "Grammar of A.ssent". Still, Manning, now archbishop, Talbot, chamberlain of Pius IX, Ward, editor of the " Dublin Review", were not to be pacified. Manning thought he was transplanting the "Oxford tone into the Church"; Talbot described him as "the most dangerous man in England"; Ward used even harder terms. In 1867 an attack by a Roman correspondent on Newman led to a counter-move, when two hundred distinguished laymen told him, "Every blow that touches you inflicts a wound upon the Catholic Church in this country." His discrimi- nating answer on the cultus of Our Lady to Pusey's " Eirenicon " had been taken ill in some quarters. One of his Oratorians, H. I. D. Ryder, was bold enough to cross swords with the editor of the "Dublin", who in- flicted on friend and foe views concerning the extent of papal infallibility which the Roman authorities did not sanction ; and Newman rejoiced in the assault. In 1870 the "Grammer" was published. But its ap- pearance, coinciding with the Vatican Council, roused less attention than the author's suspected dislike for the aims and conduct of the majority at Rome. Years before he had proclaimed his belief in the infallible pope. His "Cathedra Sempiterna" rivals in fervour and excels in genuine rhetoric the passage with which de Maistre concluded his "Du Pape", which became a text for ' ' ultramontane ' ' apologetics. Yet he shrank from the perils which hung over men less stable than himself, should the definition be carried. He would have healed the breach between Rome and Munich.


Under these impressions he sent to his bishop, W. B. Ullathorne, a confidential letter in which he branded, not the Fathers of the Council, but the journahsts and other partisans outside who were abounding in violent language, as "an insolent and aggressive faction". The letter was surreptitioiLsly made public; a heated controversy ensued; but Newman took no further part in the conciliar proceedings. Of course he accepted the dogmatic definitions; and in 1874 he defended the Church against Gladstone's charge that "Vatican- ism" was equivalent to the latest fashions in religion (see his "Letter to the Duke of Norfolk".).

Newman's demeanour towards authority was ever one of submission; but, as he wrote to Phillips de Lisle in 1848, "it is no new thing with me to feel little sympathy with parties, or extreme opinions of any kind. " In recommending the Creed he would employ "a wise and gentle miniraism", not extenuating what was true but setting down nought in malice. The "Grammar of Assent" illustrates and defends this method, in which human nature is not left out of ac- count. It is curiously Baconian, for it eschews ab- stractions and metaphysics, being directed to the problem of concrete affirmation, its motives in fact, and its relation to the personality of the individual. This hitherto unexplored province of apologetics lay dark, while the objective reasons for assent had en- grossed attention; we might term it the casuistry of belief. Newman brought to the solution a profound acquaintance with the human heart, which was his own; a resolve to stand by experience; and a subtUty of expression corresponding to his fine analysis. He beUeved in "implicit" logic, varied and converging proofs, indirect demonstration (ex impossibili or ex absurdo) ; assent, in short, in not a mechanical echo of the syllogism but a vital act, distinct and determined. The will, sacrificed in many schools to formal intellect, recovers its power; genius and common sense are jus- tified. Not that pure logic loses its rights, or truth is merely "that which each man troweth"; but the moral being furnishes an indispensable premise to ar- guments bearing on life, and all that is meant by a "pious disposition" towards faith is marvellously drawn out. As a sequel and crown to the "Develop- ment" this often touching volume (which reminds ua of Pascal) completes the author's philosophy. Some portions of it he is said to have written ten times, the last chapter many times more. Yet that chapter is already in part antiquated. The general description, however, of concrete assent appears hkely to survive all objections. How far it bears on Kant's " Practical Reason" or the philosophy of the will as developed by Schopenhauer, has yet to be considered. But we must not torture it into the "pragmatism" of a later day. As Newman held by dogma in revelation, so he would never have denied that the mind enjoys a vision of truth founded on reality. He was a mystic, not a sceptic. To him the reason by which men guided themselves was "implicit" rather than "explicit", but reason nevertheless. Abstractions do not exist; but the world is a fact; our own personality cannot be called in question; the will is a true cause; and God reveals Himself in conscience. Apologetics, to be persuasive, should address the individual; for real as- sents, however multiplied, are each single and sui gen- eris. Even a universal creed becomes in this way a private acquisition. As the "Development" affords a counterpart to Bossuet's "Variations", so the "Grammar" may be said to have reduced the "per- sonal equation" in controversy to a working hypothe- sis, whereas in Protestant hands it had served the purposes of anarchy.

For twenty years Newman lay under imputations at Rome, which misconstrued his teaching and his char- acter. Tliis, which has been called the ostracism of a saintly genius, uiidnubfeilly was due to his former friends. Ward and Manning. In February, 1878,