Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/487

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reasoning which is applied to the confutation of Protestantism, with so much success, by one of the acutest and subtlest disputants who have ever championed ecclesiasticism—and one can not put his claims to acuteness and subtlety higher.

. . . the Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this. . . . "To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant."[1]

I have not a shadow of doubt that these anti-Protestant epigrams are profoundly true. But I have as little that, in the same sense, the "Christianity of history is not" Romanism; and that to be deeper in history is to cease to be a Romanist. The reasons which compel my doubts about the compatibility of the Roman doctrine, or any other form of Catholicism, with history, arise out of exactly the same line of argument as that adopted by Dr. Newman in the famous essay which I have just cited. If, with one hand. Dr. Newman has destroyed Protestantism, he has annihilated Romanism with the other; and the total result of his ambidextral efforts is to shake Christianity to its foundations. Nor was any one better aware that this must be the inevitable result of his arguments—if the world should refuse to accept Roman doctrines and Roman miracles—than the writer of Tract 85.

Dr. Newman made his choice and passed over to the Roman Church half a century ago. Some of those who were essentially in harmony with his views preceded, and many followed him. But many remained; and, as the quondam Puseyite and present Ritualistic party, they are continuing that work of sapping and mining the Protestantism of the Anglican Church which he and his friends so ably commenced. At the present time, they have no little claim to be considered victorious all along the line. I am old enough to recollect the small beginnings of the Tractarian party; and I am amazed when I consider the present position of their heirs. Their little leaven has leavened, if not the whole, yet a very large, lump of the Anglican Church; which is now pretty much of a preparatory school for Papistry. So that it really behooves Englishmen (who, as I have been informed by, high authority, are all, legally, members of the state Church, if they profess to belong to no other sect) to wake up to what that powerful organization is about, and whither it is tending. On this point, the writings of Dr. Newman, while he still remained within the Anglican fold, are a vast store of the best and the most authoritative information. His doctrines on ecclesiastical miracles and on development are the corner-stones of the Tractarian fabric. He believed that his arguments led either Rome ward, or to what ecclesiastics call "infidelity," and I call agnosticism. I believe that

  1. "An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine," by J. H. Newman, D. D., pp. 7 and 8. (1878.)